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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ask Gina Spotlight + Giveaway with Gina Conkle, author of The Lady Meets Her Match

Author: Gina Conkle
Series: Midnight Meetings
Pubdate: April 7th, 2015
ISBN: 9781402294303

Finding her is only half the battle
Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around his study during a grand ball enflames his curiosity. They share one dance, but when the clock chimes midnight, she’s nowhere to be found. So Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is.

Claire Mayhew is risking it all by forging Ryland’s signature. But the maddening man won’t lease properties to an unmarried woman. He stands in the way of Claire’s dream: running her own business. The midtown property fits her plans perfectly—a place to live as an independent woman of commerce. When she sneaks into his study and forges his signature, she never expects to be attracted to the stodgy bachelor. But if he finds out who she is, all of her dreams could go up in smoke…


***

Today we’re sitting down with historical romance author Gina Conkle! Gina’s latest book, The Lady Meets Her Match, comes out this April. To celebrate we’re participating in the “Ask Gina Spotlight Tour”, take it away Gina!

Q. Do you have a favorite category of romance? (aka. Historical, Paranormal, Contemporary) is so, what is it and why?

A. My favorite reads are historical. I've been a history nerd for years, but the first fascination with romance and history came when I was 5 years old. My mom read 'The Highwayman' to me, and I was hooked.


An Excerpt:
Cyrus removed his fine blue coat, the slide of cloth on cloth an inviting sound to her benumbed senses.
“You’re not warming up sufficiently.” He leaned in and wrapped his coat over her shoulders, his deep voice like an intimate connection. “Someone needs to take care of you.”
She shuddered when his breath tickled her ear. His warmth and nearness was just as heavenly as what he draped around her. She could tell he found her refusal more amusing than deterring. Cyrus closed the coat in front of her, his body heat palpable inside. The collar’s woven broadcloth brushed her rain-misted cheeks, his pleasant scent on the cloth. The coat was part of an expensive, well-tailored ditto suit: identical blue fabric with spare gold trim on the coat, waistcoat, and breeches.
“I’ll ruin part of a perfectly good suit.” But she pulled the coat tighter, greedy for the snug feel.
He added more coal to the blaze. The inferno’s orange light danced across white cotton stretched over his shoulders. Muscles moved under the fabric, mesmerizing her while he built a hotter fire. And then there was his offer to waive her rent and give her a loan, an offer apparently free of unique requirements. His act of generosity pinched her conscience.
How dare he be so…nice.
“About the rent, the loan, I cannot accept your kind offer.” She cleared her throat, trying to sound competent. “I’ll find a way.”
Ryland glanced at her but said nothing to counter her refusal. Instead, he dropped to the floor, kneeling before her. Without asking her leave, he removed one shoe and then the other, and set the soaked footwear against the hearth’s ash pan.
“What are you doing?” Her words, like her body, went slack, all of her too worn down.
His head bent close to her knee. One hand, large and warm, curled around her ankle, rubbing life back into her foot. A big, masculine palm moved under the arch, creating delightful friction. She pressed her lips together, holding back a moan of pleasure.
“I would think a land steward’s daughter would know wet clothes are hazardous for one’s health.” He flashed a devilish grin. “You ought to remove your wet clothes, cover yourself with something warm and dry.”
Such as covering myself with you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Gina Conkle, a history nerd to the core, loves castles and museums. Her motto is “the older and moldier, the better.” When not enjoying relics, she lives in the present, dabbling in organic gardening at her home in San Diego, California. She lives with Brian, her husband and favorite alpha male, and their two boys. Visit her at www.ginaconkle.com.
Buy Links:
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1bczVHZ

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Joint Review: The First Wife by Erica Spindler

Author: Eric Spindler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Dte of publication: February 2015

An idealistic young woman marries a man she barely knows only to discover his first wife disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grew older, those dreams transformed, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who swept her off her feet and whisked her away from her ordinary existence; then, suddenly, there he was. Despite the ten-year difference in their ages and her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history Bailey knew nothing about surfaces, along with whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife and rumors about women from the area who have gone missing, and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.


I actually enjoyed The First Wife.  The book definitely has a soap opera feel to it.  I have seen others describe the book as something you would see in a Lifetime movie. You know, a guy and girl meet on vacation and instantly fall in love and marry.  The girl has no family and must uncover all of her new husbands secrets.  Can she really trust him?  This book would make a good movie.
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The story has a few twists that I didn't see coming.  You don't know who is telling the truth. I totally didn't call the ending! I liked the memory loss scenario. The reader discovers what happens right long with Bailey. I definitely recommend this book.  


So I liked that this book took place in Louisiana and the audiobook reader didn't give people ridiculous accents.  I also liked that it took place in a sort of "non-traditional" part of the state.

However, I don't watch soap operas because I can't stand all the melodrama.  I felt like all the characters in this book were hysterical half the time.  They were always crying or shouting or screaming.  I just wanted to tell everyone to chill out.

While this book wasn't really my cup of tea, it wasn't badly written.  The story was interesting.  The twists and turns were pretty good.  The drama overload just got to me after awhile and made this book less than pleasing to read.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog Tour: Officer Elvis by Gary Gusick

Author: Gary Gusick
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication:

After performing at a local old-folks home, off-duty police officer and part-time Elvis impersonator Tommy Reylander smoothes out his pompadour, climbs into his pink Caddy, and gets all shook up—fatally so, when a bomb explodes. Whether he was killed for his police work or bad singing is a mystery that detective Darla Cavannah is determined to solve.

Though it’s been several years since Darla (reluctantly) partnered up with Tommy, she convinces her boss to let her lead the murder investigation. As the new regional director of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Shelby Mitchell can think of better uses for his star detective’s time, but not even the most hardened good ole boy can resist Darla’s smart, savvy persuasions. She soon embarks on a roller coaster ride through the world of Elvis tribute artists while tracking down one of the most bizarre serial killers in the history of the Magnolia State. Aiding her pursuit of the killer is recently reprimanded officer Rita Gibbons, fresh from the trailer park and described by Shelby as “half a licorice stick short in the manners department.” But Rita’s plenty smart, even when this case takes their suspicious minds in an entirely unexpected direction.


Ever since I started reading the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, I have been on a quest to find good mysteries with colorful and amusing characters.  After finishing Officer Elvis, I think I have found just such a series.  This is the second book featuring Darla Cavannnah.  I haven't read the first one, but I will be seeking it out.

This time around, Darla is trying to solve the murder of her old partner, Tommy "Officer Elvis" Ryelander.  She ends up with a new partner and a case that ends up being more convoluted than she bargained for.  I really liked Darla.She is a smart no-nonsense cop and an all around likable character.  I also liked that she was tall.  Sometimes I get tired of reading about small, under 5 feet women.    I loved how she kept correcting people's English.  

The story is rounded out nicely with great peripheral characters for Darla to interact with. Even though this is supposed to be a stand alone, I do wish I had read the first one before this to get a better feel for the relationship between Darla and her boss as well as her husband.  This will definitely be on my recommend list!




About Gary M. Gusick


Gary Gusick is the author of The Last Clinic. A former advertising executive with more than thirty years experience as a copywriter and creative director, Gusick has won numerous national and international awards for creative excellence in advertising.

 Purchase Links


Gary M. Gusick’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, April 14th: Mystery Playground – author Q&A
Wednesday, April 15th: Vic’s Media Room
Friday, April 17th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, April 20th: Brooke Blogs
Tuesday, April 21st: Omnimystery News – author guest post
Wednesday, April 22nd: Lilac Reviews
Thursday, April 23rd: Rhodes Review
Friday, April 24th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, April 28th: Open Book Society
Tuesday, April 28th: Bell, Book & Candle 
Wednesday, April 29th: Lovely Reads - spotlight
Thursday, April 30th: I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Monday, May 4th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 5th: Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, May 7th: Joyfully Retired
Monday, May 11th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Tuesday, May 12th: Mom in Love with Fiction


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Charmed by Nora Roberts


Author: Nora Roberts
First published in 1992 by Harlequin

Anastasia Donovan knew that her gift marked her as different, special - perhaps even dangerous. She had spent years hiding herself from the world, terrified about the consequences of revealing what she really was. When Boone Sawyer came into her life, bent on finding out the truth about her.

Charmed is the 3rd book in the Donovan Legacy series.  For me, this is probably the one I liked the most out of the three books that I have read so far.  Boone Sawyer and his young daughter move into the house next door to Ana's.  There is an attraction from the start between the two, but each is reluctant to get involved.

I felt like the relationship between these two built slower than the other couples in this series.  I really felt like they became friends first and then lovers second.  I was really rooting for they three of them to become a family!  I liked that the other characters were an integral part in the storyline.  The scene on Ana's birthday was very funny.  

I do recommend this series.  I feel like it is Roberts as her finest when she is writing magical trilogies.  This is what the The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy could have been!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blog Tour: A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

Author: Judith Claire Mitchell
Publisher: Harper
Date of publication: March 2015

Three wickedly funny sisters.

One family’s extraordinary legacy.

A single suicide note that spans a century …

Meet the Alter sisters: Lady, Vee, and Delph. These three mordantly witty, complex women share their family’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They love each other fiercely, but being an Alter isn’t easy. Bad luck is in their genes, passed down through the generations. Yet no matter what curves life throws at these siblings—and it’s hurled plenty—they always have a wisecrack, and one another.


In the waning days of 1999, the trio decides it’s time to close the circle of the Alter curse. But first, as the world counts down to the dawn of a new millennium, Lady, Vee, and Delph must write the final chapter of a saga lifetimes in the making—one that is inexorably intertwined with that of the twentieth century itself. Unspooling threads of history, personal memory, and family lore, they weave a mesmerizing account of their lives that stretches back decades to their great-grandfather, a brilliant scientist whose professional triumph became the sinister legacy that defines them.

When I read the synopsis for A Reunion of Ghosts, I was sure I would like this book.  The idea of three sisters who make a suicide pact and write their family history as a suicide note was intriguing.
You know we always keep it real here on this blog, so here's the deal.  I didn't care for this book.  I stopped reading about about 20% of the way into it.  Once again, I find myself in the minority.

 I found the book dull and kind of depressing.    The book is described as funny and heartbreaking. I found nothing funny about it.  The story starts out with the three sisters writing as one but then switch back and forth to seemingly random moments in history.  I didn't like that format as I found it disorienting.  For example, the sisters are describing the first time Lady tries to commit suicide, but it take ages to get the story out because we get a family history lesson smack in the middle.  It just didn't work for me.

As I said, I am in the minority.  Plenty of people are raving about the book, So I recommend giving it a try,  Maybe you'll like it more than me,
About the auithor:

Judith Claire Mitchell, author of the novelThe Last Day of the War, is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Judy has received fellowships from the James A. Michener/Copernicus Society, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and elsewhere. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, the artist Don Friedlich.

Find out more about Judith at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Judith’s Tour Stops
Thursday, March 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, March 27th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 30th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, March 31st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, April 1st: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, April 8th: BookNAround
Thursday, April 9th: Doing Dewey
Monday, April 13th: The Discerning Reader
Tuesday, April 14th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, April 15th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, April 16th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, April 17th: Fuelled by Fiction
Friday, April 17th: Reader’s Oasis
Thursday, April 23rd: Spiced Latte Reads

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Threshold by G. M. Ford

Author: G. M. Ford
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Date of publication:April 21, 2015


Acclaimed for his best-selling books featuring P.I. Leo Waterman, Ford introduces readers to a new, yet equally unorthodox hero in THRESHOLD: embattled Detective Sergeant Mickey Dolan. Still smarting from the very public breakup of his marriage and facing conduct complaints for use of excessive force, Dolan is at the end of his rope – and possibly at the end of his career – when he catches a case that just might turn things around: the disappearance of the wife and daughters of a powerful city councilman. Assisted by a remarkable young woman who may know the terrible truth about the missing family, Dolan soon finds he must choose between helping his career and protecting innocent lives. A suspenseful police thriller about a not-so-good cop given the opportunity to do the right – and most difficult – thing, THRESHOLD is a new chapter for G.M. Ford that is sure to satisfy fans of his Waterman and Frank Corso stories and new readers alike.

I was looking forward to reading Threshold as it looked like it would be a good mystery. But, it didn't live up to my expectations.  For me, it wasn't very suspenseful because you know pretty early on where the missing family is located. So, in that respect is was kind of disappointing as it wasn't what I was expecting.

For me, the book is more about the question of how to you get a corrupt system to do right by a couple of children.  When do you stop being a cop and do the humane thing?  That is what Mickey faces in this book. I was happy he ultimately did the right thing and justice was served.  It was heart breaking that it all even had to come to that point.  I liked Mickey, but I didn't feel that he made a good cop.  His heart wasn't into it.

The story-line with Grace's ability to bring people out of a coma was odd to me.  I honestly didn't see how it fit into the story at all.  It was almost like I was reading 2 separate story-lines.  I don't know if this is a start of a series.  The ending leaves it open for a sequel at least.


About G. M. Ford

G.M. Ford broke onto the mystery scene with Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca?, a gin-soaked tome featuring Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman. The six-book Leo Waterman series was nominated for several awards, including the Shamus, the Anthony, and the Lefty. In 2001, Ford launched a new series featuring disgraced reporter Frank Corso and his goth assistant, Meg Dougherty. In 2011, after a twelve-year hiatus, he decided to write a new Leo Waterman novel, Thicker Than Water, which Thomas & Mercer promptly bought. His eighth Leo Waterman book, Chump Change, followed in 2014. Ford lives and works in Seattle, and is married to the beautiful and talented mystery author Skye Kathleen Moody.

Purchase Links


G. M. Ford’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 13th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, April 14th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 15th: 5 Minutes for Books 
Thursday, April 16th:Bibliotica
Monday, April 20th: Life is Story
Wednesday, April 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, April 23rd: MariReads
Monday, April 27th: Mystery Playground
Tuesday, April 28th: Words by Webb
Wednesday, April 29th: Built By Story
Thursday, April 30th: Bell, Book & Candle
Monday, May 4th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, May 5th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, May 11th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 12th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Thursday, May 14th: A Bookworm’s World

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Author: Elizabeth Haynes
Publisher: Harper Paperback
Date of publication: March 2015

An old case makes Detective Inspector Louisa Smith some new enemies in this spellbinding second installment of New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes’s Briarstone crime series that combines literary suspense and page-turning thrills.

Ten years ago, 15-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.

Lou and her Major Crime team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; and soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? How did she end up back here? And why is her family—with the exception of her emotionally fragile older sister, Juliette—less than enthusiastic about her return?


When another brutal assault and homicide are linked to the McVey murder, Lou’s cases collide, and the clues all point in one terrifying direction. As the pressure and the danger mount, it becomes clear that the silent, secretive Scarlett holds they key to everything.

Behind Closed Doors was a great read!  I couldn't put it down.  It had a much darker feel than the first Lou Smith book, Under a Silent Moon.  I did feel like you could read this one as a stand alone book, but there were some elements from the first book that are cleared up or taken further in this one.  This time around, Lou is up to her eyeballs in cases.  She is also trying to juggle a social life with her boyfriend Jason.  When Scarlett Rainsford is found after vanishing 10 years before, Lou has to slowly put the pieces together to solve the case.

I did think this was a little all over the place in the beginning.  None of the cases seemed to fit together.,  But I knew enough to trust the author to tie it all up for me as she did in the first book.  The book waffles between the present investigation and 10 years earlier as we see what happened to Scarlett.  As I said before, this book is a bit darker as it deals with human trafficking, specifically young girls who are kidnapped and sold to be prostitutes.  What happened to Scarlett was not easy to read. 

As in the first book, there are police reports and e-mails included.  This allows the reader to discover things right along with the characters.  I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. I was also surprised at the little twist in the end.  Not everything is completely solved, but that made it more realistic because that is often the case in real life crimes.

I look forward to the next book!



About the author:

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. Dark Tide is her second novel; rights to her first, Into the Darkest Corner, have been sold in twenty-five territories. Haynes lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.

Visit her at elizabeth-haynes.com, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Tour Dates:
Monday, March 30th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, March 31st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, April 2nd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, April 2nd:Literary Feline
Monday, April 6th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, April 7th: FictionZeal
Friday, April 10th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, April 13th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 15th: Vox Libris
Thursday, April 16th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, April 21st: Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, April 23rd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Friday, April 24th: Read-Love-Blog
Thursday, April 30th: The Discerning Reader

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2 by Catherine Bybee

Single by Saturday
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of publication: January 2014

Karen Jones: The petite blonde married a Hollywood star, yet she’s the one who spends every day playing a part: the part of a happy wife. A year ago, she agreed to wed a famous actor to diffuse rumors about his personal life. Now, her divorce sits just around the corner, along with a five million dollar payout. However, as she prepares to exit her fake marriage gracefully, her drop-dead-gorgeous brother-in-law walks through the door…and into her heart.

Zach Gardner: Dark-haired, blue-eyed hunk Zach crashes Michael and Karen’s fancy one-year anniversary party, determined to meet the wife his brother hid from their family. But sparks fly the moment he and Karen see each other. When the famous couple decides to visit the whole Gardner clan, Karen must keep Michael’s secret under wraps in front of his questioning relatives…including Zach, the man who could be the real love of her life.

Single by Saturday is definitely my least favorite of the series.  While I ultimately liked Zach and Karen together, I had some issues with the story of how they got there.  Karen is in a contract only marriage with Zach's brother Michael.  Michael is a famous actor and is trying to save his reputation as a ladies man by having a short marriage.  The thing is, he is gay.  Zach and Karen meet right before the divorce. 

The problem I had was the flirtation and physical contact between Karen and Zach.  Even though Karen knows she isn't in a real marriage, Zach doesn't.  Yet he lusts after and kisses his brother's wife.  Technically, it is cheating.  I really wish that the divorce was final or at least they would have been separated before the attraction scenario. I also wasn't sure I bought Michael's issue with not letting his fans know he is gay.  In this day and age, there are plenty of gay actors who play straight men on screen and society doesn't care.  I just wasn't comfortable with any of it.

Taken by Tuesday

Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of publication: January 2014

Judy Gardner: College graduate Judy stands ready to conquer the world…if she can get a job. Hoping to transition from aspiring architect to famous architect as quickly as possible, the dark-haired beauty moves to LA, staying in the home of her celebrity brother, Michael Wolfe. But it’s hard for Judy to focus on work when the sexy bodyguard she fell for last summer keeps showing up in her life and leaving her breathless.

Rick Evans: With his hard body, green eyes, and easy smile, Rick could have any woman he wants. But the Marine-turned-bodyguard only has eyes for Judy and her spitfire attitude. When a faceless villain attacks Judy, Rick will stop at nothing to protect the woman who opened his heart from the monster hunting her.
 

Taken by Tuesday is the 5th book in this series.  I definitely thought it was an improvement over the last book.  Judy has moved to LA to work as an intern in a design firm. She isn't looking for any type of relationship, but Rick can't get her out of his mind.  There is definitely a strong attraction between the two.  I loved Rick and Judy together.  I thought they fit well together and I loved their HEA.   There is a little bit of a mystery in this book.  Someone is stalking Judy and even brutally attacks her.  The action toward the end of the book definitely had me on the edge of my seat.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Spotlight & exceprt: Loving Maddie From A To Z by Kelly Jamieson

Loving Maddie
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: Self
Date of publication:4/7/2015


 Award-winning photojournalist Zack Donovan is happy to be alive after being held captive by a band of rebels in Syria. He's not so happy to be on his way back to Chicago to recuperate with his college friends Maddie and Aidan, who are now a couple. The fear while being held prisoner was nothing compared to how he feels about facing the two people who unknowingly broke his heart seven years ago. 

 Maddie and Aidan are deeply in love, but lately they feel something is missing for them. They'd do anything to make the other happy, but are struggling to figure out what that is. Those problems are set aside, however, when their best friend from college is taken hostage in Syria. After graduation, Maddie and Aidan were hurt by Zack's refusal to ever come home to visit, but he's still their friend and he has no family, so when he's finally free they insist he come stay with them to recover.

 Zack's a different man now. He's seen terrible things. He's come to terms with his sexuality and embraced his need to dominate. Maddie and Aidan would be shocked to know the kinds of things he likes to do. A guy like him will never have a relationship like theirs. But when Zack realizes he might be able to show Maddie and Aidan what they're missing, he faces a dilemma. Do something? Do nothing? Pretend everything's fine? Help them if he can? But will showing them what they're missing help save their relationship...or destroy it?    



Excerpt:
They talked about the Facebook page, which she still wanted to update. She’d posted that Zack was free and they were picking up him at the airport, but she hadn’t updated it since seeing him. “Do you want to post something? I think people need to hear from you.”
He lifted his gaze from his plate to meet her eyes and the pain she saw there made her heart clench. Then he nodded. “Sure,” he said casually, returning his attention to his breakfast. “I could do that.”
“We’ll do it after we finish eating.”
Maddie pulled Aidan’s office chair over beside hers for Zack to sit on. They went to the page. First they read the comments that had been left on Maddie’s post that Zack was arriving home in Chicago. It took a while to scroll through all of them and the congratulations and good wishes were overwhelming. Maddie found herself tearing up, hurting for those who were still missing family and loved ones.
She glanced at him, both of them leaning in close to see the screen. She could smell the shampoo he’d used, along with his own unique scent. Up close, could see every whisker that stubbled his jaw and cheeks, his thick eyebrows and short dark eyelashes. She let her eyes wander all over his face in profile to her while he read the comments.
“Wow.” Zack rubbed his mouth.
“I’ll move so you can post.” She pushed her chair away a little.
He hesitated, hands hovering over the keyboard. His fingers were as beautiful as the rest of him, long, lightly dusted with dark hair, his forearms sinewy and strong.
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Well. Start by saying it’s you. Just say…thanks.” She bit her lip.
He started typing. She leaned away to give him time and space to think. A few moments later, he said, “There. Done. I think. Have a look before I post.”
She leaned in again, brushing against his arm. He radiated heat and she breathed in that scent again. Her skin tingled everywhere.
She read his heartfelt words, words of thanks but also thoughts and prayers for the families of other missing and lost journalists. Her throat clogged up again. She nodded. “That’s great.” She cleared her throat. “Perfect. People will be so happy to hear from you. It’s a miracle. Like you said, I hope it gives strength and hope to those who are still waiting.”
He clicked the mouse to post.
The door of the condo opened and closed, and Aidan appeared, sweaty and flushed. He spotted them in the office. “Hey. What’s up?”
Maddie spun on her chair to face him. “We’re just posting on the Facebook page I created for Zack.”
“Cool.” Aidan swiped his brow. “Gonna jump in the shower. Be right back.”
“I’ll get his breakfast started.” Maddie pushed away from the desk. “If you want to use my computer for anything else, go ahead.”
“I could check emails.”
Maddie fled back to the kitchen. “Any time.”
“I’ll have to go buy a new computer.”
“Well, until you do, you can use mine. Or Aidan’s.”
She got busy heating bacon and making more pancakes. Her heart was beating fast and she felt warm. Was that just from sitting beside Zack for a few minutes?
He’d had that effect on her back in college too, but she’d determinedly ignored it. They were friends. Although, by the time Aidan and Zack were graduating, a year before her, it was getting damn hard to ignore the fact that she was completely confused about her feelings for both Zack and Aidan.
She didn’t want to think about that time, all the intense emotion and angsty internal drama, when she was trying to figure out what she was feeling and what the hell to do about it. Then Zack just leaving, and her disappointment and hurt and heartbreak. She was older now, in control of her emotions.
Then why did she alternate between wanting to hit Zack and kiss him? Why was she almost in tears one minute, then laughing the next? And why was she all goose bumps and breathless just from sitting beside him? Especially when she was in love with Aidan.


Kelly JamiesonAbout Kelly Jamieson:

Kelly Jamieson writes romances with heat that's sweet. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. If she can stop herself from reading or writing, she loves to cook. She has shelves of cookbooks that she reads at length. She also enjoys gardening in the summer, and in the winter she likes to read gardening magazines and seed catalogues (there might be a theme here...) She also loves shopping, especially for clothes and shoes. But her family takes precedence over everything else (yes, even writing). She has two teenage children who are the best kids in the world, not that she’s biased, and a wonderful husband who does loads of laundry while she plays on the computer writing stories. She loves hearing from readers, so please visit her website at www.kellyjamieson.com.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Black River by S.M. Hulse

by:  S.M. Hulse
published by:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
publish date:  January 20, 2014

When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the prison parole board. The convict who held him hostage during a riot, twenty years ago, is being considered for release.Wes has been away from Black River ever since the riot. He grew up in this small Montana town, encircled by mountains, and, like his father before him and most of the men there, he made his living as a Corrections Officer. A talented, natural fiddler, he found solace and joy in his music. But during that riot Bobby Williams changed everything for Wes — undermining his faith and taking away his ability to play.

I fell in love with this book.  It toyed with my emotions and then smashed my heart on the ground.  I couldn't believe that one smallish book could be packed with such a powerful story.

Wes's wife has just died from cancer.  As she's breathing her final breaths she only has one request, that her husband play his fiddle.  He can't do that because 20 years earlier when he was a Corrections Officer a convict held him hostage during a prison riot for nearly 40 hours and broke 9 of his fingers.   After she dies he has to go back to their hometown where he hasn't been in many years after a falling out with his stepson.  He has to spread her ashes and decide if he's going to testify at Bobby Williams parole hearing.  The homecoming is rife with turmoil for both Wes and his stepson, two men who aren't adept at letting go of the past.

This book was so good.  I highly encourage everyone to read it.  The first chapter or two was a little iffy for me because the writing style was a little unusual, but it was worth it.  The story is amazing.  It's sad and depressing, but in the end Wes turns out to be such a memorable character.  Love, love, loved it!!