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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins (Promo, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) Tasty Book Tours




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For Your Love
Blessings # 6

By: Beverly Jenkins

Releasing April 28th, 2015

William Morrow





NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to Henry Adams, Kansas-an unforgettable place that anyone would want to call home-with a story of family, friends, and the powerful forces from our past that can irrevocably shape our future.


Blurb

Mayor Trent July and his wife Lily are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But being a father has inevitably forced him to think about his own birth mother. Raised by his grandmother Tamar—and in many ways the good people of Henry Adams—Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love.



But now he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?



Trent has always believed no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on him. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it—and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together…yet can also tear them apart.






 


Excerpt



When Trent and the boys returned home, all the ladies’ vehicles were gone and the interior was quiet. They found Lily in the kitchen feeding the dishwasher.

“Hey baby,” he said affectionately. “Did you and your girls have a good time?”

Her smile said it all. “Yes we did. No one wanted to go home. How was your afternoon?” Her eyes brushed her sons.

“The Chiefs lost.” Amari said speaking first.

“We saw Zoey and Wyatt,” Devon said.

“Did you wave?” Lily asked.
He shook his head.

“Did you want to?” she pressed gently.

“She doesn’t want to be friends with me so I don’t want to be friends with her.”

“She might be waiting for you to make the first move, Devon.”

But her son wasn’t buying. “She’s the one who started it, so she should make the first move.”

Apparently Amari wasn’t buying either. “No. You were the one who started it.”

Devon tensed but Amari ignored him and asked, “Is it okay if I go hang out at Brain’s for a little while?”

Devon’s eyes shot daggers.

Trent asked, “What’s wrong, Devon?”

“Nobody ever agrees with me."

“That’s because you’re always wrong,” Amari pointed out.

“Amari,” Trent cautioned.

“Well, he is.” Under Trent’s mild look of censure, Amari amended his answer. 
“Okay, maybe not all the time, but for sure ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. So, can I go?”

“The colonel’s out of town but if Mrs. Payne’s okay with it, you can stay until half-time.” He then sent Amari a speaking look.

Amari sighed loudly before asking his brother, “Do you want to go?”

Trent and Lily had been encouraging Amari to include him in some of his activities with the hope it might help Devon chill out. They knew Amari would rather walk to Topeka through the snow with bare feet than do so, but he never overtly balked.

“No. I’m going up to my room and watch some videos.”

“Okay. Be back at the half.” Amari left to get his coat and Devon headed for his bedroom upstairs.

Once both boys were gone and Trent was alone with his wife, he draped his arms around her waist and looked down into her dark eyes. To him she was still beautiful as she’d been when they were in high school together. “This parenting business is more than a notion.”

“No kidding.”

“Have I kissed you today, Mrs. July?”

She made a point of thinking, “Hmm. I don’t remember so you should probably get busy.”

Chuckling softly he did as requested. When they finally came up for air, she whispered, “Very nice.”

“Do you want help cleaning up?”

“Men who help with housework are considered very sexy.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and later, after the knuckleheads are snuggled in their beds, I’ll show you just how much.”

“I like the sound of that.”

She waggled her eyebrows. “Thought you might.”

It took only a short while to remove all the spent plastic cups, plates, and reposition the furniture. As they worked, Trent watched the way she moved, the flow of her walk and savored the way his heart rate accelerated like a teenage boy each time she glanced his way and smiled. Circumstances tore them apart after high school but after nearly two decades apart they’d settled their differences and were now man and wife. He loved her as much as he did breathing. When his first two marriages crashed and burned, he never thought his life would ever hold happiness again, but his Lily Flower brought all that and more. He felt blessed.

When they had the space cleaned to their satisfaction, Lily walked over and circled her arms around waist. “Have I thanked you for my beautiful room?”

Mimicking her, he paused for a moment to think. “Hmm. Not today, so tonight,

I’ll be looking for a little extra in my reward package.”

“I think that can be arranged.”

“You know that silky little black number you brought back from Spain?”

Mischief shone in her eyes. “Yes.”

“I want my reward package wrapped in that.”

Laughing she nestled against him. “You got it.”



Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link




Buy Links:  AmazonB & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher





Author Info

 Ms. Jenkins is the nation's premier writer of African American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She has over thirty published novels to date.

She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club.

She has also been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured and given talks at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history and was the 2014 featured speaker for the W.W. Law Lecture Series sponsored by the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.



Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads




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GIVEAWAY

Ten Print Copies of For Your Love


a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Link to Follow Tour

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander (Spotlight, Excerpt and GIVEAWAY) TBT


(Happy Cinco de Mayo to those who celebrate!)



By: Victoria Alexander
Releasing April 28th, 2015
Zebra

Blurb
To Do:
Swim naked in the moonlight
Play in a high stakes card game
Ride an elephant
Be painted sans clothing.
Take a lover…

Lucy Merryweather has inherited a fortune—and her great-aunt’s list of unfulfilled wishes. What better way to honor her memory than by accomplishing as many of them as possible? And with Lucy’s family an ocean away in New York, nothing stands in her way—if one ignores the private investigator hired to spy on her.

Yet Cameron Effington is infuriatingly difficult to ignore…

As a reporter, Cameron is always looking for a good story. An American heiress running rampant between Millworth Manor and Mayfair is the perfect subject. Not to mention captivating. And extremely kissable. And if Lucy believes he’s a detective? Well, the truth should never get in the way of a good story—or hinder delicious, impetuous passion…








Excerpt

When the family had finished dinner, his mother drew a deep breath. “Cameron, your father has something he wishes to discuss with you.”
Father’s brow furrowed. “I had planned to have that discussion privately.”
“Absolutely not.” Mother shook her head. “I do not intend to take sides, but I will not be left out of this.”
“Nor will I,” Grandmother said in a deceptively pleasant tone. Obviously she too knew what this was about.
“Very well.” Father’s tone was sharp. “The rest of you may leave.”
“I believe I prefer to stay,” Spencer said mildly.
Thad glanced at Grace and Simon and nodded. “As do we.”
“As you wish.” Father paused, then his hard gaze met his youngest son’s. Unease clenched Cam’s stomach. “I have not been happy at this rift between us. So, a few days ago, in the spirit of harmony or even perhaps compromise, I read an edition of the Daily Messenger for the first time.”
“For the first time?” Cam said slowly.
“Good Lord, Father!” Grace stared. “He’s been writing for the paper for over a year and you haven’t read it until now?”
“No,” Father snapped, and glared at his daughter. “I have not.”
“Don’t you think you should have?” Simon asked.
“The rest of us have,” Thad added.
Cam stared at his father, disappointment and something that might well have been hurt rising within him. “You haven’t read anything I’ve written?”
“I have.” Mother raised her chin. “I have read every single issue since Cam began his work there.”
“And I have read most of them as well,” Grandmother said.
“As have I.” Spencer gestured at his siblings. “We all have.”
“You needn’t look at me like that, any of you.” Father glared. “I said I haven’t read the Daily Messenger. In point of fact, I have read every word Cameron has written.” Father slanted Mother an annoyed look. She refused to meet his gaze. “Your mother has clipped every story, every article for me in what I now see as a most devious attempt to keep me in a state of innocent ignorance. However, three days ago I read the Messenger in its entirety and I now understand why she went to such great efforts to prevent that.” Father’s eyes narrowed. “I have never before read something as filled with slander and gossip and salacious skewing of facts and events. Something so scandalous and so . . . so liberal. It’s appalling and not worth the paper it’s written on.”
“I don’t think it’s any worse than any other paper, Father,”
Spencer said.
“The Cadwallenders are an honorable family and I do not understand how they can publish this sort of rubbish.”
“Admittedly there is a great deal of emphasis on scandal and gossip and sensationalism, but unfortunately, Father”— Thad shrugged—“that is what sells papers. It’s what people want to read.”
“It’s not what I want to read,” Father said firmly. “It’s not what respectable members of society want to read.”
“Then perhaps you would do well not to read it again,” Cam said in as calm a manner as he could muster.
“Cam’s work is very good, Father.” Thad offered Cam a smile of support. “He is an excellent writer.”
“I know that,” Father snapped. “But he should put that talent to a better use.”
“What would that be, Father?” Cam’s voice hardened. “Should I occupy myself with the family’s business interests alongside Simon and Thad and write reports on investment strategies and import regulations? Should I work with Spencer and write about the newest agricultural methods for increasing profitability of the estates?”
“Don’t be absurd.” Father scoffed. “You know as well as I you aren’t suited for any of that. You could write books. That’s respectable enough.”
Cam’s jaw tightened. “One doesn’t just sit down and write a book. It’s not that easy.”
“Balderdash.” Father waved off the comment. “Your grandmother did it.”
“Thank you, dear,” the dowager said in a wry tone.
“I don’t have anything to write about.” Cam drew a deep calming breath. “I have led a life of privilege and wealth. I have been well educated and have been fortunate enough to have had the means to travel. All in the comfort we are accustomed to. I think one should know the world in its fullness, the good and the bad, before one attempts to create worlds of one’s own. But I know nothing of the real world and the real people in it. I know nothing of life.”
“I thought we were real people,” Grace murmured.
“Stuff and nonsense.” Father huffed. “Your grandmother knew nothing of life and yet she—”
She,” Grandmother said sternly, “had a mother who died when she was quite young and a father who gambled and drank away the family fortune and honor. A father prepared to sell his daughters to the highest bidders to finance his vices. She and her orphaned sisters lived in a country house that was barely held together by little more than prayer and hope. She knows what it’s like to have little to eat, no dowry, no prospects for improvement, and no future. I should think that would give me some sense of life beyond the privileged world we now inhabit.”
“My apologies, Mother.” Father grimaced. “I had forgotten about all that.”
Cam stared in surprise. This was a story he had never heard before, and judging from the looks on the faces of his siblings, neither had they.
“It’s best forgotten, really.” Grandmother shrugged. “It was a very long time ago and most of my life has been quite lovely. But those early days taught me a great deal about life I never would have known otherwise.” She turned toward Cam. “Every experience, every new person you meet, every new situation you observe is all fuel, Cameron. Muses are notoriously hungry, but if you feed them they will shower you with inspiration.”
“Thank you, Grandmother.”
Father stared for a moment. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Why, I wrote as a young man. Certainly, I never had anything published—”
“They do say certain talents are known to skip a generation, dear,” Mother said pleasantly.
“Regardless, I had no need for a muse.” Father snorted.
“Which explains a great deal,” Grandmother said under her breath.
“Thank you, Mother.”
“Don’t take that tone with me, Jonathon. I am an old lady and I deserve respect if nothing else.” Grandmother pinned him with a firm gaze. “I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. Although I will say, your writing was better than your father’s poetry.” She shuddered. “Sentiment is not the same thing as good, although he did try, the dear man. And while you may have been a dreadful writer, you have been an excellent duke. The family is as sound as the Bank of England itself, thanks to your leadership, in terms of its finances and reputation. And I am extraordinarily proud of you.”
Father’s mouth dropped open and a stunned look crossed his face. “I don’t think I have ever heard you say that before.”
“Don’t be absurd, Jonathon.” She picked up her sherry. “I say it all the time.”
“Well, that’s that then,” Mother said brightly, and started to rise, her sons getting to their feet as well. “I think we should all retire to the—”
 “Sit down all of you, I am not finished.” Father glared and they all sat back down. “I have yet to make my point.”
“I thought he made any number of points,” Grace said in an aside to Simon beside her.
“Exactly what I hoped to avoid.” Mother sighed. “Very well then, go on.”
“I intend to,” Father said sharply, then turned to Cam. “Regardless of the fact that you are writing under a different name, this reporting of yours for that disreputable rag of a newspaper is scandalous and embarrassing and puts this family in the poorest of lights.” Father’s tone hardened. “You will resign your position at once.” Mother groaned. “Jonathon!”


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Author Info


 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in a very old house in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two allegedly grown children and two bearded collies. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it's never too soon to panic.

Author Links:  Website Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


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Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three Print Copies of THE DARING EXPLOITS OF A RUNAWAY HEIRESS)


 a Rafflecopter giveaway




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My Review

4 out of 5 stars




The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander is part of the 'Milworth Manor' series and follows American Lucy Merryweather who accompanies her erstwhile fiancé to England where he claims his inheritance, but pursues her own agenda once there.  A private promise to the great-aunt she was named after results in a series of unconventional experiences, complicated by the presence of the man who she believes was hired to watch over her but who has his own very different agenda.  A complicated web of half-truths and dissembling mixed with the struggle against family expectations cannot help but backfire for the participants, hopefully with results that both can live with—unless they pass the point of no return and find that forgiveness is an impossibility.


This fun historical romance provides a twist on the typical stories of this genre and gives a view of the rigidity of society of this era from the perspective of a woman who has grown up in a brash new country that has made its own rules.  It is fun to see the way the culture and mores conflict between those in America and those in England, while in other respects there are still strictures that have traditionally circumscribed the roles of women over the years, as is seen in the flashbacks provided by Lucy’s great-aunt’s writings.  I like that this is a non-traditional hero who is doing his own excellent job at rebelling against the rules imposed on him by his position in society and his family. 

The combination of curiosity, stubbornness and creativity gives the heroine a delightful personality that makes her adventures fascinating while the hero’s actions dig him deeper and deeper into a quagmire of his own making.  I enjoy the combination of humor and passion that permeates the blossoming relationship although I think that some of the revelations took a bit too long to discover and the resolutions were drawn out a little too long for my tastes.  This author pens enjoyable tales peopled with complex individuals whose exploits provide both humor and heat in an entertaining combination and this story is no exception.  I look forward to getting more in-depth looks at some of the intriguing secondary characters from this tale and, although I had no trouble reading this as a stand-alone, there were cameos by several characters from earlier in the series whose story I would like to read, therefore I am going to be looking for earlier books in the series as I seemed to have missed a few.



© Night Owl Reviews 
I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Charmed, I'm Sure by Lynda Simmons (VBB, flash fiction chapter and GIVEAWAY)





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The Ballad of Jimmy James

A Serialized Novella by Lynda Simmons

Chapter One

 (please follow the tour over the next 9 days for the rest of the chapters, using this link )


                  For as long as I can remember, my mother has kept housework to a schedule. Monday is wash day followed by ironing on Tuesday, dusting and vacuuming on Wednesday and Saturday, and fresh linens on Thursday. Sunday means pancakes for breakfast, roast beef for dinner and a full lineup of television Ministries in between. Which leaves Friday for banking, groceries and any other errands on her list. Of course, it came as no surprise when all of these tasks were added to my usual list of chores after I retired.  My mother always made it clear that once I no longer had a day job, much would still be expected of me at home. If nothing else, she is a woman of her word. 

                  Having reached the ripe old age of sixty-one, I admit there are days when it all feels like too much. But I don’t complain because along with all that extra work, came the unexpected reward of Fridays. My mother never viewed those errands as anything but a pain, something to be handed off to me as soon as possible. Which is why I never forget to offer up a quick thank you to God and Guardian Angels and even lucky stars each and every time I wake up to another of those blessed Friday mornings, despite the fact that nothing good can happen until I hear my brother’s heavy footsteps on the front porch stairs.

                  “George is here,” my mother says, as though the curses accompanying those footsteps could belong to anyone else. “Don’t let him in yet,” she adds, letting the living room curtain fall back into place; the heavy velvet shutting out the sun, the street, the prying eyes that are surely turned our way, trying to see things that are none of their business.

                  George’s curses grow louder when he discovers the front door is locked, still refusing to accept that this is the way it will be forever. He may be the favourite son, but money is precious and forgiveness is not my mother’s concern, that’s up to God. So until He makes His wishes known, George will never again have a key, or an opportunity to steal from her.

                  “George James, you keep your voice down out there,” she hollers on her way to the curio cabinet by the fireplace; a birdlike figure in black moving slowly across an oriental rug that has been known to bunch up suddenly and trip her. Stepping carefully around the coffee table whose corners have recently grown sharper, like teeth waiting to bite into her shins. “You’d think this house would be kinder to a woman of eighty-two,” she mutters, eyeing a rocking chair she no longer trusts.

                  Her troubles have nothing to do with the house and everything to do with age and deterioration, but my mother likes to imagine herself as feisty. A fighter of odds and a survivor of more misery than any woman should have to bear.  There is no room in that picture for a cane or a walker or one of those chairs that take you up the stairs, so it’s been almost a year since she visited the second floor. George is the only one who rummages through my things now and every Friday night I thank those same lucky stars that George is not half as smart as my mother.

                  Taking a key from around her neck, she unlocks the curio cabinet where she keeps her purse. Removes a debit card and a list of errands, then turns to me. “You can open the door now.”

                  While she locks her purse into the curio again, I turn the deadbolt and step out of the way as the door swings back and my brother sweeps into the foyer.

                  He’s tall and broad shouldered with a full head of silver hair. A handsome man by any standard, my twin who looks nothing like me. The smell of liquor is all around him and when he turns his blue eyes on me, all the hate and anger of more than forty years is still right there, as fresh and hot as ever.  I understand why, everybody understands why, but if anyone had ever asked me, I’d have said the scar on the left side of his face was almost a good thing; adding mystery to perfection, a story waiting to be told. But my opinion is the one thing my family is happy to let me keep to myself and since George is never likely to agree anyway, perhaps it’s better that way.

                  “Tell him I’m gone at noon,” George says to my mother and strides past me, heading for the kitchen.

                   George hasn’t spoken to me in close to twenty years. I can’t remember why. He probably can’t either, but I’m so used to it now I can’t imagine what it would be like if he suddenly turned around and said, Hey Jimmy, want some company? Which is good because I don’t want company, and that would make him mad and then he’d stop talking to me and we’d be right back where we started. But at least we’d know why again, which would be something.

                  “Tell him, I’ll leave whether he’s back or not.”

                  We all know George won’t go anywhere until I return, but my mother plays along. “Jimmy knows the rules,” she says. “He’ll be back in time for lunch, won’t you Jimmy.”

                  In the six months that I have been doing Friday errands, I have never once been late for lunch, but that doesn’t matter. She holds out the debit card along with the list of groceries and errands. “Tell me you’ll be back by lunch time.”

                  “I’ll be back,” I say and put my fingers on the card.

                  She holds on tight. “That gives you three hours.”

                  Two hours and fifty-five minutes to be exact, but unless I want it to be two hours and thirty minutes, I need to stick to the script. “I know,” I say and give the card a tug, not expecting her to let it go. I have to try to take it three times before she’ll relinquish control. This ritual is to teach me patience and respect, both of which I now have in abundance.

                  “Tell him not a minute later,” my brother calls from the kitchen.

                  “I know,” I say, taking the card on the third try and grabbing the bundle buggy from the closet.

“Noon,” my mother says.
“Noon,” I say and push open the door, finally making my escape.

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by Lynda Simmons

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BLURB:



Laugh Out Loud Funny...With Just a Touch of Magic



One minute Maxine Henley is the happy bride-to-be and the next she’s the girl who gets dumped over the phone. Max has never believed in magic and fairy’s tales, but if wearing a love charm can warm her fiancé’s cold feet, she’s happy to stuff that little wooden heart next to her own and wait. The charm came with a promise that the right man will find her, guaranteed, but how can that happen when her teenage crush Sam O’Neal keeps getting in the way!







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AUTHOR Bio and Links:




Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.



With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman. If you’d like to read the legend of Birman cats click here. If you’d like a link to allergy relief, click here.



When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!









Twitter @LyndaMSimmons






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