Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wrong Side of the Grave by Bryna Butler (VBT, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)


by Bryna Butler

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BLURB:

When the dearly departed of Point Pleasant start walking and talking, the Men in Black mark Mothman as suspect number one. A fun read, Wrong Side of the Grave is a fast-action Teen Sci-Fi Mystery with a paranormal twist.

Parent Approved: Contains no profanity or sexual content.
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EXCERPT

A beep sounds off as Warner locks down the vehicle so he doesn’t wander off. No one can get in or out.



Most of the [Men in Black] black suits’ vehicles are equipped with the feature. Of course, that’s a lesson I learned the hard way...more than once.



From the trunk Warner pulls a shiny black, rectangular box. I think he’s going to open it from the top, but he slides his index finger over one of the small ends and it disappears. The end, not his finger. Warner repeats the motion on the opposite end and a large red button appears.



“Probably pretty tempting not to pocket one of those suit gadgets and try your luck as a magician in Vegas.” I smirk.



“You laugh,” he says. “But they actually have protocols in place for that. They call it the Penn and Teller Contingent.”



“Seriously?”



He just shrugs as he begins to pump the red button. With each intake of air, the box hums and whirs as he watches a tiny screen that has appeared on its top.



“There’s a trace of her DNA still here,” he announces. “Maybe we can find a trail.”



“So that’s like a bloodhound in a box? Handy.”



He tips his chin up to me. “DNA detector. Analyzes hair, bodily fluids, and even microscopic skin particles floating in the air. Anything that contains DNA, no matter how small, this device is on it.”



“Handy and disgusting.”



“Let’s focus on the handy,” he suggests.


Buy Links
Pre-order your Paperback edition directly from the author:  http://brynabutler.com/store/


 
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Bryna Butler is a journalism-trained writer having authored dozens of articles and financial publications before taking the leap into fiction in 2011. Her first book, Of Sun & Moon, skyrocketed to number one on Kindle top free charts in the categories of Teen/YA Supernatural Mystery, Teen/YA Romantic Mystery, and Teen/YA Time Travel in the U.S. and U.K. when the title went to free status in 2014. Butler’s work is free of profanity and sexual content making them safe reads for pre-teen as well as teen readers.



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Prison of Hope by Steve McHugh (VBB, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)



I have the pleasure of having a guest post from author Steve McHugh today.  He answered my question:


ELF:What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?

 

SMcHI’ve always enjoyed writing. Ever since I was young and we’d do creative writing in class. When I was 12 or 13, I knew I wanted to be a writer, knew that was the life for me. But at that age I was hardly about to commit my life to any one thing. By the time I’d left school, I still knew I wanted to write, but other things came first. I went to college, and writing got pushed even further back as college work, and a social life came first.
I flitted about with writing for several years; I’d write little bits here and there, but never more than a few chapters before going off to do something else. I’d tell myself there was always time, that I’d get around to doing it, but I never really did. There was always a reason to do something other than write, even though I knew I wanted to write.

Things changed 10 years ago, when I was 25. I’d found out that I was about to become a father for the first time, and decided that I really needed to get on with writing. I needed to do it rather than talk about it.

Over the next 3 or so years, I wrote my first ever book, I joined Kelley Armstrong’s online writing group and got critiqued and learned how to critique, which in turn made me a better writer. Those 3 years were a revelation. I learned how much I loved writing, I learned how to plot and pace and so many other things. By the time that story was done it was a steaming pile of crap, but I’d learned so much from writing it and loved the experience that instead of being disheartened, I immediately started writing something new. That book took 3 years too, and eventually became Crimes Against Magic, my first published work.

I wish I’d started earlier, I wish I’d taken it more seriously in my early 20s, but if I had I might be the writer I am now, I might not be published, so things probably worked out for the best. With every new book, I learn more, I get better at my craft, and I love doing it just that little bit extra. There’s nothing quite like seeing your work come to life in front of you, and I might never have taken it seriously if it wasn’t for the birth of my daughter.





by Steve McHugh

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BLURB:






Long ago, Olympian gods imprisoned the demon Pandora in a human—Hope—creating a creature whose only purpose was chaos and death. Remorseful, the gods locked Pandora away in Tartarus, ruled by Hades.

Now, centuries later, Pandora escapes. Nate Garrett, a 1,600-year-old sorcerer, is sent to recapture her and discovers her plan to disrupt the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, killing thousands in a misplaced quest for vengeance.

Fast forward to modern-day Berlin, where Nate has agreed to act as guardian on a school trip to Germany to visit Hades at the entrance to Tartarus. When Titan King Cronus becomes the second ever to escape Tartarus, Nate is forced to track him down and bring him back, to avert a civil war between those who would use his escape to gain power.



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EXCERPT


The power collected by the runes would have returned to me until I’d regained my strength. Breaking the runes had changed that. On the plus side, it meant getting my missing energy back much more quickly; on the minus side, it turned the car park into a damn bomb.

The remaining magic exploded outward like a nuclear shockwave. Windscreens and headlights shattered, tires blew from the pressure, and the lights and windows at the front of the restaurant rained down glass over the ground. The blast picked me up like I was made of paper and threw me aside. I felt a crunch as I collided, back first, with something hard. Pain rocked through me, and then, just as quickly as the magical energy had rushed outward, it stopped and all rushed back into me as if it were attached on an elastic band.

The final thing I remembered before passing out was that I cried out in pain.



Amazon



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AUTHOR Bio and Links:




Bio: Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full-length novel that was publishable, the results of which was the action-packed Urban Fantasy, Crimes Against Magic.

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A SEAL's Secret and A SEAL's Pleasure by Tawny Weber (excerpt, teasers, reviews and GIVEAWAY) (TBT)





A SEAL's Secret & A SEAL's Pleasure
Uniformly Hot # 6 & 7
By: Tawny Weber
Releasing January 20th and April 21st, 2015
Harlequin Blaze


A SEAL's Secret: Uniformly Hot # 6
Subject: Lt. Commander Mitch "Irish" Donovan

His Mission: Babysit a fitness queen with a hands-on approach!

Navy SEAL Mitch Donovan always plays to win. The push-up contest at the Halloween party should have been a piece of cake. Except that the cake in question is a hot woman dressed as a delicious dessert. Now the only exercise on Mitch's mind is restraint…

Livi Kane may be The Body Babe, but she has zero confidence. This hunky SEAL, however, makes her forget everything—except for a workout involving his hot, naked bod and a whole lot of sexy, sweaty delight. But Mitch has his secrets—and Livi certainly has hers. All it will take is one unexpected encounter to turn this steamy attraction into an even bigger secret that will start showing any day now…

GoodreadsLink

Goodreads Series Link


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

                                               

A SEAL's Pleasure: Uniformly Hot # 7

Subject: Navy SEAL Gabriel Thorne

Mission: Initiate Operation: Romance…and prove that one night isn't enough!

Explosives expert and Navy SEAL Gabriel "Romeo" Thorne makes his living tempting fate. Pushing the limits. So far, he's never lost—especially when it comes to women. That is, until his best friend's wedding, where Gabriel is suddenly face-to-face—and deliciously body-to-body—with the one woman hot enough to detonate his self-control.

Tessa Monroe is used to being in control with men. Gabriel, on the other hand, is pretty much her sex kryptonite. Hard, gorgeous, dark-eyed kryptonite. Even as her defenses whisper "danger," lust demands she take her pleasure with him and then run. Now they're skirting the edge of an explosive attraction…where one wrong move could mean disaster.





Teaser:
 Tessa’s heart clenched, anticipation coiling tight around desire as she waited to see what Gabriel would do.  She’d been secretly dreaming about his lips for months.  Wondering what they’d feel like.  Would he be forceful and take her mouth?  Or would he gently seduce? 
The closer he came, the more excited she got. At the last second, just before he reached her lips, he changed directions.  Tessa shivered as his breath whispered over her ear a heartbeat before his lips.
            Oh.  As his mouth brushed her flesh, anticipation uncoiled, sending that desire shooting through her system. 
            Holy screaming orgasms. 

GoodreadsLink

Goodreads Series Link


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

Author Info


 New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of thirty books and counting, Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first one hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook. 
Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website, www.tawnyweber.com, or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads








Excerpt (from A SEAL's Pleasure)
“What’s worse?” Gabriel asked in a musing tone as he gave in to the need and looked her over from head to foot.  He’d never known a more beautiful woman.  Or one he craved so desperately.  Figuring a little honestly would impress her more than games, he tilted his head.  “Excuses in order to have a good time? Or excuses to run from one?” 



            “I supposed it’s all perspective,” Tessa said with a slow, meandering inspection of her own.  Damn, the man was gorgeous. From the tip of his closely-shorn black hair to the toes of his impressively large boots, he was a study in, well, studliness. The little black cloud that’d been hovering over Tessa’s mood didn’t stand a chance against Romeo’s appeal.  “One person’s excuse is another person’s reality, after all.”

            “Nicely put,” he said with an impressed nod.  “Philosophical, fair and completely reasonable.”

            Tessa gave a regal inclination of her head.

            “And totally bullshit,” he added, making her burst into laughter.

            “You’re calling bullshit on my reasonable philosophy?”

            “I think I am.  You see, we’re a lot alike, you and me.”  He waited a beat, as if giving her an opening to object.  But Tessa didn’t see any point arguing with the truth. His dark eyes glinted at her silence, then he continued.  “You and I, Angel, we’re damned good at doing what we’re good at.”

            “Oh, now there’s a philosophical statement,” she teased.

            “We’re good at taking a challenge and making it our own,” he said quietly, his tone reflective.  And so non-threatening that she found herself nodding.  

            “We live on our own terms, we embrace what feels right. And we ignore what doesn’t.”

            Not sure why she felt so at ease with him sitting there reading her like she was a book, Tessa found herself nodding again.  Maybe she was comfortable with it because they were both on the same page.  All he was doing was stating simple facts, and those facts would work just fine when she turned them around on him to support of her refusing to play his little pay-for-sex-with-romance game.


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REVIEWS




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4 out of 5 stars


 A SEAL's Secret by Tawny Weber is part of the ‘Uniformly Hot!’ series and gives a glimpse into the life of Lt. Commander Mitch Donovan (known as Irish) as his life is changed by his interactions with Olivia (Livi) Kane (known as The Body Babe). Mitch’s responsibilities as a SEAL and the temporary duties that cause him to be assigned to the west coast brings him into contact with a woman whose determination, bravery and dedication make him take a careful look at his life and what he wants to achieve with it.  Livi is also at a crossroads in her life and must find the courage to make decisions about her future, with or without the sexy SEAL who has changed her forever.



This is a story about overcoming adversity, a tribute to fitness, and a glimpse of the sacrifices that can be involved during the process of becoming a SEAL…and that’s just Livi’s side of it. Family expectations and pressures, and learning to aim for one’s own desires and finding one’s comfort zone is also a big part of the story that showcases two driven personalities and some of the factors behind their actions.  I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the lives of these two people and found myself able to identify with many of the issues that they face, despite the fact that I much prefer to watch OTHER people get into shape, lol.  There is a nice blend of heat and emotionalism, and although the heroine was initially a bit too passive for my tastes, she did grow throughout the course of the story.  There is no problem reading this as a stand-alone story, but there are definitely plenty of secondary characters who deserve their own places in the spotlight, and I am sure that there will be plenty of other tales to follow.  This was a delicious light read and I look forward to reading more about these yummy SEALs.







Teaser:  Gabriel was a man used to giving his all. 
            When this was done, Tessa might walk away.
            But she’d never forget him. 
            He’d make damned sure of that.
            It was time to put Operation: Romance into play. 



4.25 out of 5 stars


A SEAL's Pleasure by Tawny Weber is another story in the ‘Uniformly Hot’ series and focuses on SEAL Chief Petty Office Gabriel Thorne, whose nickname is Romeo.  Tessa Monroe is one of the founders of a popular and successful magazine called ‘Flirtatious’ and thinks she understands pretty much everything about sex appeal and, like Romeo, is used to being in control of interactions with the opposite sex.  They each like to win, and neither wants or needs a permanent relationship, so does that mean they are perfect for one another, or the worse match-up ever?   
This deliciously spicy contemporary military romance is inter-connected to A SEAL's Secret and features many of the same characters from a slightly different perspective.  It is a delightful exploration of the complicated interaction between two people who are used to being accepted at face value and frightened of deeper commitment, given what they have experienced in the past.  I enjoyed the sparring and the dance of attraction that plays out between the hero and heroine who find a surprising amount of similarity in both their cockiness and their vulnerability.  There are military conflicts and repercussions that are a little too quickly glossed over for my tastes, as I like to understand the issues involved and it was frustrating to have a particular secondary character so shallow and immature, despite having advanced to such an elite fighting force.  Tessa’s friend Livi was also a bit frustrating since it seemed that she had finally developed a little backbone in the prior story but apparently lost some of it for a good part of this one.  The heat between the main characters is incandescent and their chemistry is wonderful and I definitely hope to read more about them in the future, even as I hope that some of the intriguing secondary characters get their own turn in the spotlight.  A great addition to the series.


Teaser

Later, Tessa would wonder if Romeo had some sort of triggering device that told him just when her defenses had hit their lowest. Because that’s when he made his move. 
            Romeo’s hands shifted from her hair to cup her butt, pulling her tight against his body.  His mouth angled, lips widening as he shifted gears from sweet to sexy with the slip of his tongue.
Before she could do more than gasp, he plunged.  
            His teeth scraped over her bottom lip, his tongue sweeping her mouth, luring hers into his before tangling them together so tight, so close, that her brain didn’t even have time to send up warning signals.
            It was too busy exploding.
            Right along with her body.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Fury of Obsession by Coreene Callahan (VBB, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) Goddess Fish Tours




by Coreene Callahan

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BLURB:

Dragon-warrior Venom lives in self-imposed isolation. Cursed by his toxic touch, he is deadly to anyone who has contact with him for too long. Set apart from others and hounded by intense loneliness, he craves the lasting connection he believes he cannot possess. Until a chance encounter with a sultry mortal offers a ray of hope…

Evelyn Foxe is the woman of Venom’s every desire, but she’s too busy running from the Russian mob to think about love. As she accepts Venom’s offer to help her escape her precarious situation, she’s skeptical, afraid that he’s in league with those sent to harm her. But when a biological weapon is unleashed in her hometown, Evelyn is forced to trust Venom—or risk the dangers of going it alone.

Will they survive the firestorm that rages around them? And can they pull from the ashes a love that will defy all the odds and last through the ages?


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EXCERPT

“It’s nothing serious,” he said, lying through his teeth. Tell her . . . tell her about energy-fuse. He’d revealed so much already, trusting her with a secret only Wick knew. Still, the words refused to trip off his tongue even as honor urged him to be honest. Down and dirty. Quick and clean. The truth tied up in a neat little bow. Venom cleared his throat. He opened his mouth. Nothing came out. Goddamn it, he was pathetic. In need of a good ass-kicking or something. A boot to the balls. A fist to the head. The method didn’t matter just as long as it allowed him to move forward. Away from the fear of her rejection. “Really, it isn’t, but I’ve still got to go.”

Her brow furrowed. “Why are you lying to me?”

“I’m not.”

“You’re asking me to take a lot on faith, Venom.” Raising her hand, she stroked a finger along his jaw. “To trust you without proof or knowing why.”

“I know.”

“A tall order.”

“It is, but . . .” He trailed off, struggling to find the right words. Again. Like always, but like it or not, he needed her to stay put until he got home. Her safety wasn’t optional. It qualified as a must. Especially now that Ivar knew her name. The rogues weren’t stupid. Masters of technology, the bastards pulled intel off the Internet in the same way Sloan mined human data- bases. Personal information—address, job history, friends, bank account numbers—ranked as important when hunting prey. Which meant his enemy would already be tracking her credit cards, looking for patterns and preferences in the hopes of finding her favorite haunts. “Do this for me, Evie. Stay here. It’s not safe for you in the city after dark.”

Chewing on the inside of her lip, Evelyn held his gaze. One second ticked into more. Silence spun into tension. Venom stayed quiet, forcing himself to be patient, waiting her out, praying she fell in line.

***
© 2015 Coreene Callahan



PURCHASE LINKS:


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


 After growing up as the only girl on an all-male hockey team, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write characters inspired by them. After graduating with honors in psychology and taking a detour to work in interior design, Coreene finally gave in and returned to her first love: writing. Her debut novel, Fury of Fire, was a finalist in the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest in two categories: Best First Book and Best Paranormal. She combines her love of romance, adventure, and writing with her passion for history in her novels Fury of Fire, Fury of Ice, Fury of Seduction, Fury of Desire, Fury of Obsession, Knight Awakened, Knight Avenged and Warrior’s Revenge. She lives in Canada with her family, a spirited golden retriever, and her wild imaginary world.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Aspen Valley Series (Thrown, Jumped and Branded) by Colette Auclair (Spotlight)


Terri Osburn gives Colette Auclair a shout out in the USA Today Happy Ever After blog at this link
 
The Aspen Valley Series:
 
Description: CoverDescription: CoverDescription: Cover
 

The Kentucky Derby is just one week away and I am highlighting the EBooks Thrown, Jumped , and Branded in Colette Auclair’s award-winning Aspen Valley series!
 
 


 
Thrown (December 2013; $5.99) is the first book in The Aspen Valley Series.  Professional horse trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t compete. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—and braces herself for three miserable months. But the movie star is funny, down-to-earth, and gorgeous—and his spoiled daughters are just desperate for a mother figure. By Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.
 


 
Jumped (August 2014; $5.99), the second book in The Aspen Valley Series, is Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown. A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for her ex-husband.  Thoroughly enjoying herself at her best friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth is shocked when she is seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from. 
 
Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at Amanda and Grady’s estate.  Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities.  But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.  Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give it another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.  Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all? 
 


 

Branded (December 2014; $5.99), the third book in The Aspen Valley Series, will take readers on a wild and dreamy ride through the beautiful valleys and mountains of Colorado.  Professional, polite, and pearl-wearing, dressage rider and resort consultant Cordy Sims is the last person anyone would expect to initiate a weekend of debauchery. And yet, that’s exactly what she does after meeting a handsome stranger at an Aspen resort. Agreeing that they’ll leave personal details at the door, they indulge in a memorable weekend of carnal recreation. On Sunday night, Cordy doesn’t want to leave this charming, seductive man, but she must play by her own rules.

On Monday, Cordy sits in a meeting at the ad agency that’s hired her as a freelancer, and her professional and personal worlds collide. Turns out agency owner Jack Cormier looks just as good in the boardroom as he did in the bedroom. Forced to work together, Cordy and Jack can’t ignore the chemistry that crackles between them, or the deeper feelings that have developed. But secrets and scars from their pasts may prove too formidable, even for a love that’s as powerful as it is unexpected. 
 
Praise for The Aspen Valley Series:
 
“The story portrays two convincingly flawed but likeable characters who find each other’s aults both provocative and exciting, as they try to decide whether a second chance at marriage is worth the risk.”
Publishers Weekly on Jumped
 
“Harris, the Brunswicks’ chef, is a clairvoyant Cupid, full of honest evaluations of people and their love lives. He adds a spark to the story as Auclair continues to build her cast of series characters and develop their varied personalities.”
—Library Journal on Jumped
 
In JUMPED, the author returns to the Aspen area with many of the same characters that were in her well–received debut novel, THROWN…Major and minor characters are interesting and likable, and the friendships add to the primary romance. There will be at least one more book in the series. Look for BRANDED to release in December. If you like horses, a tangled relationship, and a series that flows from one book to the next, check out these titles.”
—Romance Reviews Today on Jumped
 
“If you’re looking for a highly entertaining, fast-paced, horsey beach read, Jumped should fill the bill.”
—Horse Nation on Jumped
 
“There is enough tension among all the forces at play to keep the pages turning. Debut novelist Auclair is a 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, winner of the 2011 Winter Rose Contest, and a finalist in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.  Recommended for most romance fans.”
—Library Journal on Thrown
 
“Romantic fiction with an equestrian theme gets a fun new twist in this novel which follows trainer Amanda Vogel… the star is single, handsome, and has the hots for Amanda. But both characters are carrying hefty loads of their own baggage, and as they navigate through various dramas and horse-related mishaps, the layers (both physical and psychological) start to come off. Thrown weaves horses into the story with a practiced tone, and the accuracy of equine knowledge and horse people adds to the plot. For a fun, entertaining read, be sure to pick up this debut novel by Colette Auclair.” 
Horse & Style on Thrown
 
Totally accurate, as far as HorseGirls go…Colette Auclair nails the horse stuff…whether it’s describing Amanda’s selection of appropriate mounts for Grady’s beginner daughters, or setting up a human cross-country course for the girls to play Olympics over, or accurately detailing an episode of colic (including the joy when the horse finally poops), or explaining the feeling of connecting with a once-in-a-lifetime horse…my favorite part about the book, aside from the discussions of how horse training prepares just about anyone for human training…is the humor…Aside from getting the horse stuff right, the characters are also well-developed…The story is quite a page-turner, so be prepared to be completely unable to stop–like a runaway horse except actually fun.  And the book does have one pretty detailed sex scene and multiple explicit make out sessions, so it’s not for kids. Bottom line: if you like romantic comedies, you’ll definitely enjoy Thrown.”
Horse Nation on Thrown
 
Description: Colette Auclair headshotColette Auclair has been a copywriter for more than twenty years.  She’s ridden and shown horses since she was ten and owns a lovely twenty-year-old Thoroughbred mare.  Thrown, her first novel, was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the single-title contemporary romance category.  It also won the 2011 Winter Rose Contest (Yellow Rose Romance Writers) and finaled in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest (NE Ohio Romance Writers Assoc.)  Jumped is second and Branded is third in the Aspen Valley series.  Please visit coletteauclair.com.