Monday, March 31, 2014

April blossoms with Romance

4/1: Cynthia Garner's VAMPIRE'S HUNGER
plus Rebecca Rose's SEDUCING MR. RIGHT
4/2: Christine D'Abo's QUICKSILVER SOUL Blog Tour
plus Laura London's ebook releases
4/3: Ella Quinn's DESIRING LADY CARO
plus Mindy Klasky's PERFECT PITCH
4/4: Juliana Stone's THE DAY HE KISSED HER
plus Hazel Gaynor's THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME
4/5: Great Scot Blog Tour with Paula Quinn's THE SEDUCTION OF AMELIA BELL and Sue-Ellen Welfonder's TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER
4/6: National Tartan Day with Nancy Lee Badger
plus Weekly Winners
4/7: Jennifer McQuiston's MOONLIGHT ON MY MIND - Spotlight
4/8: Tracy Solheim's A NUMBERS GAME

4/9: Ju Ephraime's ODOR OF VIOLET
4/10: HH Miller's INSCRIPTION - Book Blast
4/11: Jennifer McQuiston's MOONLIGHT ON MY MIND - Review
4/13: Weekly Winners 
4/14: Patience Bloom's ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB
plus DARK AND DEADLY Blog Tour
4/16: Joanne Kennedy's HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY
4/17: Alyssa Maxwell's MURDER AT THE BREAKERS

4/18: Ellen Butler's POPLAR PLACE
4/19: Carolyn Brown's  RED-HOT CHILI COOKOFF

4/20: Weekly Winners
4/21: Nina Pierce's IN HIS EYES 
4/22: Tracy March's A SHOT OF RED
4/23: St George's Day with Hannah Dennison's MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL
4/24: Gina Danna's LOVE & VENGEANCE
plus Robin Bielman's WILD ABOUT HER WINGMAN
4/26: Celebrate Little Victories - Books!
4/27: Weekly winners
4/29: Avery Flynn's FIX 'ER UP Blog Tour 
plus SWEET AND SASSY TOUR with Hope Ramsay and Molly Cannon 
4/30: Sue-Ellen Welfonder's TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER Release Week Blitz

May is Armed Forces Appreciation Month

Lily Dalton's NEVER ENTICE AN EARL Release Week Blitz
plus Darlene Marshall's THE PIRATE'S SECRET BABY 
5/2: Belles on Wheels - Gallery Books Bus Tour 2014
5/3: Phil Klay's REDEPLOYMENT
5/4: Weekly winners
5/5: Tracy Solheim's RISKY GAME
5/6: ML Buchman's PURE HEAT

5/8: Juliana Stone's BOYS LIKE YOU (YA) 
5/9: Sandra Brown's Blog Tour
5/10: Military Spouses' Appreciation Day with Teresa Taylor's NIGHT FLIGHT:  The Courage and Calling of a Coast Guard Pilot
5/11: Weekly winners
Aloha, RT Booklovers' Convention, here I come!
5/12: Linda Yellin's WHAT NORA KNEW
5/13: Hannah Dennison's MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL
5/14: Sarah Barthel's MACKENZIE'S CROSS

5/15: Heather Boyd's AN ACCIDENTAL AFFAIR 
5/17: Kieran Kramer's SWEET TALK ME
5/18: Celebrate Little Victories
5/19: Weekly Winners
5/20: Theresa Romain's TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS
5/21:  Jennifer Haymore's THE SCOUNDREL'S SEDUCTION
5/23: Jenna Jaxon's BELEAGUERED
5/24: Jennifer Haymore's THE SCOUNDREL'S SEDUCTION
5/25: Celebrate Little Victories
5/26: Weekly winners
5/26: Memorial Day - Remember the Heroes
5/27: Nina Rowan's A DREAM OF DESIRE
5/28: Collette Cameron's THE EARL'S ENTICEMENT
5/29: Paige Tyler's HER PERFECT MATE
5/30: Open
5/31: Celebrate Little Victories 

6/1: Weekly Winners
6/2: Jayne Fresina's ONCE UPON A KISS
6/4: Sherri Browning's THORNBROOK PARK
6/5: Kate Dyer-Seeley's SCENE OF THE CLIMB

6/6: Emily Greenwood's MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT
6/7: Celebrate Little Victories
6/8: Weekly Winners
6/9: Chip Hughes' the Surfing Detective: MURDER ON MOLOKA'I

6/10: Chip Hughes' The Surfing Detective: WIPEOUT!
6/11: King Kamehameha Day
6/12: Chip Hughes' The Surfing Detective: KULA

6/13: Chip Hughes' The Surfing Detective: MURDER AT VOLCANO HOUSE
6/14: Celebrate Little Victories
6/15: Gina Danna's THE WICKED BARGAIN
6/16: Open
6/17: Michele Gorman's THE CURVY GIRLS CLUB
6/18: Open
6/19: Open
6/20: Open
6/21: Celebrate Little Victories
6/22: Weekly Winners
6/23: Open
6/24: Open
6/25: Holly Chamberline's THE BEACH QUILT
6/26: Open
6/27: Open
6/28: Celebrate Little Victories
6/29: Weekly Winners
6/30:  Michele Summers' FIND MY WAY HOME

7/1: Grace Burrowes' THE CAPTIVE 

7/2: Elizabeth Michels' HOW TO LOSE A LORD IN 10 DAY SOR LESS
7/3: Rebecca York's BETRAYED

7/14: Tracy March's SUDDENLY SMITTEN

7/15: Kelsey Browning's PROBLEMS IN PARADISE

8/20: Sunset Inn:  Tales from the North Shore 

9/8: Sandra Owens' CRAZY FOR HER Blog Tour

10/7:  Jodi Thomas' A PLACE CALLED HARMONY

Aloha to Jennifer Haymore and ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL

Jennifer Haymore is probably walking on air with her RITA Nomination (link):

The Rogue’s Proposal
by Jennifer Haymore
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Selina McLemore, editor

The celebration continues with this week's e Release Blitz for ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL, available April 1, 2014 from ForeverYours (E-Novella; $1.99):

Beatrice Reece, Lady Fenwick, has retired from polite society. Everyone knows her late husband treated her abominably, and she simply cannot bear the whispers of the ton. But it's the night of London's premier masquerade ball-and Beatrice's one chance to revel in anonymity. She hopes no one will recognize her beneath her mask, not even the sinfully sexy stranger across the room who holds her captive in his gaze . . .

Andrew Sinclair would know beautiful Beatrice anywhere from the gentle sway of her hips, the richness of her hair, and the lushness of her body. When he asks her to dance, the attraction is instant and all-consuming. The only woman he's ever truly wanted is finally in his arms. But when the clock strikes twelve, will this one reckless night fade into the morning light?

Buy Links:

Plus the print release of THE SCOUNDREL'S SEDUCTION is available May 27, 2014 (Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn't question his mission. But Sam didn't know his deed had a witness--the beautiful and mysterious betrayer's wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner-one he can neither trust . . . nor resist.

Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor--including seducing him senseless. She didn't know of her miserable husband's crimes, but she has secrets of her own, secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise's deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won't let her go? Caught between the crown he's sworn to serve and the woman he's come to love, Sam will risk his heart--and his very life--to keep her safe.

Buy Links:


As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes quiet, sometimes raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she's earned degrees in computer science and education and held various jobs ranging from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she's never stopped writing.

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

Social Media Links:


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Forever offers an excerpt of ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL:

“What do you find fascinating, my lady?” he asked quietly. He knelt down and slipped her muddy slipper off her foot before setting it aside.

“You,” she answered honestly.

He smiled at that. It was an arrogant, supremely masculine smile. “Good. But what else?”

She looked away from him. But some part of her didn’t want to lie to him or evade his questions. “I have always been fascinated by food,” she admitted quietly.

“Food? Do you mean its preparation or its consumption?” He chafed the cold, damp skin of her foot between his hands to warm it.

“Its preparation,” she clarified. “As in, how to combine ingredients in a way that makes them most pleasing to a person’s palate.”

He looked intrigued. He bent down to kiss the top of her foot, his lips warm and soft. No one had ever kissed her there before, and it was…erotic. It made her pulse flutter and her cheeks burn with a flush.

He sat on the sofa beside her and stretched his long legs out, crossing them at the ankles. “So…you are a cook?”

“Not in a professional capacity,” she said. “But I enjoy going into the kitchen and collaborating with our cook.”

“What kinds of foods do you most like to prepare?”

“I enjoy all types of dishes. But my favorite? Baked sweets,” she admitted. “Biscuits, fruit pies, tarts, pastries, cakes…”

She looked away, eyes downcast, afraid of his reaction. No one of her class, except Jessica and her family, had ever accepted her fascination with cooking. The world in general believed that cooking was far below Beatrice’s station. She was lucky Cook allowed her into the kitchen at all.

“Look at me,” he commanded softly. Pressing one finger against her cheek, he turned her head to face him. “I’d like to taste one of your creations,” he said. The backs of his fingers stroked her cheeks. “A lemon pudding, perhaps.”

He trailed the finger from her cheek, down the front of her neck, and over her breast, gently swiping over her nipple. Even through the fabric of her clothes, the sensation was so strong she gasped aloud.

“Perhaps,” he said quietly, “I could lay you naked on our bed and eat the pudding off your skin.”

She shuddered.

“I’d lick off every bit of the sweetness, but that wouldn’t work, would it? Because once the pudding was gone, your skin would be even sweeter.”

Her eyes fluttered shut. He’d just given her the most erotic image of her life. Herself, lying naked across a bed while he licked lemon pudding from her skin.

His lips curved. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You’d like me to lick a sweet confection from your body.”

She gave a ghost of a nod, and his fingers swiped over her nipple again. She wrapped her fingers around the wrist of the hand that was touching her. “Wait. I…I want…”

“What do you want? Do you want me to take you back to the masquerade? Or…” He let the question hang, but she knew what he had been going to say.

Or do you want to stay?

And here it was. This was the moment of truth. Her universe balanced on a single point, and she had the power to choose. For once in her life, she was the master of her own destiny. This man wanted her—she could see it in the deep glint of his eyes, in the tightness of his jaw, in his posture, bristling with maleness. But he wouldn’t force himself on her. He was a gentleman, and if she wanted him to, he’d take her back to Jessica immediately.

He waited, gazing at her. Was that hope in his eyes?

“I want to stay with you,” she whispered.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Aloha to Jodi Thomas and BETTING THE RAINBOW - Guest Post


RITA winning author Jodi Thomas joins us today for a cozy chat about her new release, BETTING THE RAINBOW, Book 7 in her Harmony, Texas series ...

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas returns to the town of Harmony, Texas, where life has a way of making better plans than anyone ever imagined… ...

Sisters Abby and Dusti Delaney have spent their entire lives on Rainbow Lane, but they dream of something bigger. So when a poker tournament comes to town, Dusti is determined to win enough money to leave. Enlisting expert Kieron O’Brian to teach her the game, sparks begin to fly as they play their hands. But Kieron refuses to stand in the way of her dream, even if it means losing her forever...

After a year of traveling, Ronny Logan is settling into a home on Rainbow Lane, but that’s all the settling she’ll be doing. Ronny refuses to fall for anyone, regardless of the chemistry she has with her neighbor Austin Hawk. Yet something undeniable begins to grow between the two loners—if only they can let their barriers fall and open their hearts...

Release date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-26840-7
Retail price: USA $7.99


One of my favorite things to do in the world is to sit down with a character who walks into my office (figuratively speaking), sits down and tells me her story. That’s how the book BETTING THE RAINBOW began.

I knew I wanted to write about Ronny Logan since she’d been with me in Harmony for several books. I felt like I’d grown up with her from the shy postal worker who wouldn’t talk to anyone in town to a world traveler trying to run away from her grief.

Only I didn’t know Dusti Delaney when I started. She and her sister had put their lives on hold to come home and take care of a dying mother. By the time she finally passed they’d lost everything except the small farm on Rainbow Lane. They were barely holding on with no hope of reclaiming their former lives. Then, Dusti heard about a charity poker game. If she won she might be able to afford to make their dreams come true. Only problem was, the one man who could teach her to play had flown in to win the game.

Reagan Truman runs the huge event while in the middle of her own crisis. The one man she’s ever loved has come home, but she’s not sure she can accept him and all the baggage he brings. Noah has to do something far braver than riding bulls if he wants to win her back.

I'm betting that this touching story of deep love between family, friends and lovers will leave you feeling good all over.

Jodi Thomas


Mahalo, Jodi, for writing the Harmony series.   I am giving away a print copy of BETTING THE RAINBOW to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Can you share a time and/or place where you were amazed by a rainbow? I have seen many in Hawaii ... perhaps my favorite is the one captured by my inlaws over the pineapple fields on Maui.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Jodi Thomas and BETTING THE RAINBOW - Book Review


New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas returns to the town of Harmony, Texas, where life has a way of making better plans than anyone ever imagined… in BETTING THE RAINBOW:

Sisters Abby and Dusti Delaney have spent their entire lives on Rainbow Lane, but they dream of something bigger. So when a poker tournament comes to town, Dusti is determined to win enough money to leave. Enlisting expert Kieron O’Brian to teach her the game, sparks begin to fly as they play their hands. But Kieron refuses to stand in the way of her dream, even if it means losing her forever...

After a year of traveling, Ronny Logan is settling into a home on Rainbow Lane, but that’s all the settling she’ll be doing. Ronny refuses to fall for anyone, regardless of the chemistry she has with her neighbor Austin Hawk. Yet something undeniable begins to grow between the two loners—if only they can let their barriers fall and open their hearts...

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. - Lord Byron

BETTING THE RAINBOW is Book 7 in Thomas' contemporary series set in Harmony, Texas.   I joined the series with Book 5, CHANCE OF A LIFETIME, and continued with Book 6, CAN'T STOP BELIEVING.    Thomas makes it easy to settle into Harmony with BETTING THE RAINBOW as she seeminglessly introduces the characters from previous books while offering new protagonists to cheer.   

In fact, Thomas creates an entire community to envelope the reader with Harmony's warmth.   It is that commpassion that helps several characters heal from their broken bodies, spirits, and hearts.   Thomas' strength lies in the layers she builds to give each character depth beyond the obvious pain they have felt
Thomas delivers the rainbow and all its glorious colors to Harmony's denizens through this poignant, humorous, and romantic novel about second chances.   Recommended read for those who enjoy heartwarming romances set in small towns.

I received a print copy of BETTING THE RAINBOW from the publisher for an honest review.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

To learn more about Jodi and her books, check out her website at


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Winners

Aloha!  We have winners at SOS Aloha!

- Jeanne M. wins an ARC copy


Delilah Marvelle's NIGHT OF PLEASURE
- May wins a $5 Amazon Gift Card from Delilah

Michele Gorman's SINGLE IN THE CITY

- Mary K. wins an ecopy of RIDING DESIRE from Roni


Winners, please claim you prize by sending your mailing address to   


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, March 28, 2014

Celebrate Little Victories - Learner's Permit, Eagle Scout, and RITA Nominations

We have several victories to celebrate!

1.  My oldest received his learner's permit last weekend ... I shared our adventure with the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) on my travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND, at this link.

2.  My oldest and I attended the Baltimore Area Council's (BAC) annual reception to recognize the 2013 Class of Eagle Scouts.   I am grateful to the BAC for included Andrew even though he completed his Eagle Project in Hawaii.   His project was the Hickam Heritage Trail at link, link, link, and link, which started and ended at the Hickam Library.

3.  RWA published its nominees for its annual RITA awards at this link.   Congrats to all the nominees!

Two nominated books appear on my best of 2013 at this link.

Paranormal Romance

The Devil’s Heart
by Cathy Maxwell
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lucia Macro, editor


Historical Romance

Plaid Tidings
by Mia Marlowe
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Alicia Condon, editor


Both novels are set in Regency Scotland and feature Alba's "magic".   I am rooting for both to win their categories!

I have an extra copy of PLAID TIDINGS to enchant you.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the RITA nominees - who are you rooting for?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Roni Loren and NEED YOU TONIGHT

Let's kick off the weekend with Roni Loren!   From her bio,

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that's it. She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat. 

Kim:  Oh, we are going to have fun today with Roni Loren! Since you are a New Orleans girl at heart, can you share your favorite sight, sound, and smell of "The Big Easy"?

Roni:  Wow, that’s a tough one. There are so many things I love about home. I’d say my favorite smells are the scent of crab boil and fresh beignets. Not together, lol. My favorite sound is probably the Cajun accent so many people have (and that I’ve lost since I moved away.) And favorite sight is my family because everyone still lives there and I miss them.

Kim:  You are attending RT in New Orleans ... what can readers expect at the New Adult PJ party? And what PJs are you wearing?

Roni:  I haven’t bought my PJs yet. This is going to be a very big decision. ;) And you can expect lots of junk food and awesome authors and hopefully lots of fun. I’ve never been one of the hosts of an RT party, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Kim:  Reality TV - favorite? Mine is Storage Wars. Rock Concerts - favorite band? Mine is Def Leppard ... I even attended their first concert after the drummer's accident in New Orleans (the stage rotated so the entire audience could see Rick Allen play the drums with his feet).

Roni:  Favorite reality TV. Right now American Idol—it’s a classic and I’ve seen every episode of every season. But I’m also a fan of Top Chef. As for rock concert—wow, that is REALLY tough because me and my husband go to a lot of concerts. It’s our hobby. And that’s awesome about Def Lepard. I’ve seen them four times but it’s been in recent years. Some of my faves I’ve been to: Motley Crue, Pink, Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Metallica, The Toadies, Lit, Kelly Clarkson, Marilyn Manson. See! Can’t pick. : )

Kim:  Tell us about NEED YOU TONIGHT - what inspired it?

I wanted to write about a trophy wife. Like what would happen if a woman who had chosen that path walked away from it and had to start all over? And what if she ran into the geek boy from high school she used to love but now he’s all grown up, hot, and dominant?

Here’s the blurb, which explains it better than I can:

She’s making a wish list, and he wants to be on top.

From foster kid to trophy wife, Tessa McAllen is about to reinvent herself all over again—and defy every insult her cheating ex-husband ever used against her: Selfish? She’s championing a charity. Stupid? She’s getting her degree.

Boring in bed?

Kade Vandergriff can help her with that one. When they encounter each other at a singles event held at one of his restaurants, Tessa blurts out that kink is for girls who try too hard, and Kade instantly wants to show this sassy stranger how thrilling a night under his command can be…but when he learns her name, the game changes for both of them.

In high school, Tessa was the popular girl who stuttering, awkward Kade fell for. But she chose another. Now, as she eagerly learns lesson after lesson, he’s going to make sure she never forgets him again.

Kim:  What's next for Roni Loren?

Roni:  I have lots going on. I’ll have a novella tied to this series this fall. Then my serial NOT UNTIL YOU releases in paperback in November. I also am part of a multi-author series called Invitation to Eden and will have a novella out in August for that. So very busy!

Purchase links:
Amazon: link
Kindle: link  
Barnes & Noble: link
The Book Depository: link
IndieBound: link 
Books a Million: link 


 Roni is giving away an ecopy of the RIDING DESIRE box set.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  What do you know about New Orleans, including any personal experience!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 30.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Roni also offers an excerpt from NEED YOU TONIGHT:

Jim was scanning his list again, and Tessa smoothed the front of her dress. She hadn’t thought to put much effort into her outfit tonight. This was supposed to be a cooking class after all. So she’d stayed in the pale pink blouse and black skirt she’d worn to work. But now she felt plain and out of place. Everyone else had put on their A-game ensemble for date night.

God, why was she even worrying about it? This isn’t a real date. She’d been trained by Doug to look her best at all times because you never knew who you’d run into, and sometimes that old urge was hard to shake. But she wasn’t here to impress anyone. She was here to drink sangria and to learn how to cook. That’s it.

The door opened behind her as more people came in.

“Ms. McAllen?” Jim asked, a small frown curving his thin lips as he lifted his gaze from the clipboard. “Do you have your confirmation number with you? You’re not showing on my list.”

“My what?” She automatically put her hand on her purse but knew she had nothing of the sort in there. “No. My friend set all this up for us both.”

“Hmm.” Jim tapped his pencil on the clipboard. “Well, I’m not showing you on here, which means we don’t have confirmation of your payment. If you’d like to pay the fee now, we can let you stay for the class. Then if you find your confirmation, we’ll refund you. But since you weren’t on the list, we won’t have a match set up for you. You’d be staying for the cooking portion only unless we have any other walk-ins.”

No match? That sounded like a fantastic idea. She’d never been so happy to be left off a guest list. “How much is it?”

“Two-hundred dollars.”

A gasp escaped her lips. Two hundred dollars? She should’ve expected it at a place like this, but the number still caught her off guard. And it was a number she couldn’t fund. “I’m sorry. I’ll have to find out what happened to my original fee and do this another time. Maybe I can talk to my friend and see if she has the information.”

He smiled kindly, but she saw the instant dismissal in his eyes. He knew she was bailing because she didn’t have the money. He knew she didn’t belong there. “Of course.”

Shame tried to edge in, heating her cheeks. But she swallowed it back. She would not get teary over missing some stupid cooking class. She took a step to head toward Sam’s table, hoping that even though they were technically party crashers, her friend had some magical confirmation number. But before she could move forward, a warm hand touched her elbow.

“I’ll cover the fee.”

She stiffened at the touch, but the rich timbre of the man’s voice rolled over Tessa like sun-heated ocean water, making her want to close her eyes and soak in it, stay there a while. She turned around, her gaze going up, up, up, and finally colliding with clear blue eyes, a face made for Greek sculpture, and lips…God, his lips. She couldn’t imagine those had ever been used for anything but sex and sin.

She wanted to bite them.

As that image flitted through her mind, any shot she had at a normal, polite response evaporated into mist.

“I’d hate for you to miss one of the best meals of your life because of a computer glitch,” the man said with a ghost of a smile.

Tessa simply stared back like she hadn’t understood the language he spoke. The way he held her gaze had her thoughts scattering and her brain reaching for some memory she couldn’t quite grab ahold of. She shook her head, breaking the gaze and trying to clear her head. No. Get it together, Tessa. This stranger was offering to pay two-hundred dollars for her to eat. She knew how that worked. She’d played that game before. “Really, that’s very kind of you to offer. But I’ll just come back another time.”

He pulled his wallet from his pocket, pulled two crisp bills from it, and handed it to Jim. “I insist. And it’s no problem. I’m sure they’ll pay me back when they find your original reservation.”

Tessa shook her head again, even though her mind was already fast-forwarding and picturing how decadent it would be to sit and sip sangrias with this stranger. But she couldn’t fall into her old habits and let him pay her way. It didn’t matter that he was gorgeous or that he didn’t seem to mind or that he was wearing a watch that said two-hundred dollars was insignificant for him. “I’m sorry. I can’t take your money.”

Before the stranger could protest, she moved past him and the few people waiting behind them to head for the door. She needed to get out—now. She knew it was ridiculous, but she had the sudden urge to cry, to scream, to pound on something. All she’d wanted tonight was to relax and have a fun girl’s night with Sam. Instead, she’d been reminded of the life she used to have, how feeble her bank account was now, and how fucked up she was when it came to men.

She moved through the hallway that led back to the main dining room in a rush, hoping to reach the parking lot before the tears broke free, but a hand touched her shoulder. “Hey, hold up.”
The quiet command of his voice and the gentleness of the touch had her slowing her step before she could think better of it. She closed her eyes, took a breath, and turned around, speech prepared. But when she saw the genuine concern on his face, her words got stuck in her throat.

He tucked his hands in his pockets, the move pulling his black dress shirt snug across what looked to be long, lean muscles beneath. His eyes scanned hers. “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to chase you off.”

She put her hand to her too hot forehead, trying to catch her breath and center herself. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t you. I’m fine. This night just isn’t working out like I thought it would.”

“Expected to meet your perfect match?”

She made a sound that was some mixture of a snort, a sob, and a laugh. “Ha. Hardly. What a joke that is. A perfect match.”

His mouth lifted at the corner, his blue eyes dancing in the flickering light of the wall sconces. “Come on, you don’t think there’s the perfect someone out there for everyone? Someone who’s meant to fit only with you? All the movies say so.”

“Movies sell us a bill of goods,” she said flatly. All that mystical aligning of stars was such bullshit. People got into relationships for what it could do for them. When the benefit ran out, they moved on. She’d seen that proven over and over again.

“Uh-huh,” he said, his tone teasing. “So you’re telling me you paid two-hundred dollars to attend something you don’t buy into?”

“I didn’t pay,” she admitted. “A friend told me she’d get me on the list. And I—I wanted to learn to cook and to taste the food.”

He glanced back at the closed door and chuckled. “Ooh, a party crasher. How scandalous.”

His low laugh was like a gust of summer air across her nerve endings, reminding her of someone long ago. Someone she hadn’t had to be a chameleon for. She found herself smiling, her dour mood lifting. “That’s me. A scandal a minute. And now I’m causing more. I’m sure your perfect match date is anxiously awaiting you inside.”

“Nah, I’m not sold on a perfect match, either. But instant attraction…” He stepped closer and the air in the room thickened and warmed. “That I subscribe to. So, Ms. Party Crasher, answer me one question. Are you leaving because you were opposed to the money or me?”

She blinked, caught off guard by the question and his nearness. “What?”

“You came here tonight to take a class and have a nice meal. I was happy to help you do that. So, did you turn down my offer because you think the money comes with strings or is because you’re opposed to spending the evening with me?”

“I—” She wet her lips. The way he’d said spend the evening with me had her mind conjuring pictures of him braced over her, his blond hair mussed, his eyes burning through her, and that sensual mouth whispering dirty, filthy things in her ear. Her thighs clenched, and she tried to come up with something to say that wasn’t God, you’re beautiful, please push me up against this wall and make me forget my name. “I can’t accept the money.”

That answer seemed to please him. “And me?”

She couldn’t tell if it was the warm, smoky spices from the restaurant mixing in, but even the scent of him was exotic and dangerous, tempting. She wanted to bury her face in the open collar of his shirt and inhale. And possibly lick. No, scratch the possibly on that, tasting would definitely need to be involved. All her resolve disintegrated in the space between breaths. “I’m not opposed.”

He reached out and pushed a stray lock of hair away from her face, the simple brush of fingers like lightning rods touching her skin. “So if I promised you I wouldn’t pay a dime for the rest of the evening, would you agree to spend it with me?”

She swallowed hard, the notion almost too much for her psyche to absorb. She knew what he was offering wasn’t simply dinner and a chat. There was a ripple of heat beneath each uttered word, a promise. Her body was on board with this plan, whether her good sense agreed or not. Already, she could feel the flush of arousal tightening her nipples and making her panties cling. She hadn’t been touched by anyone since Doug, and her experiences with him had always been underwhelming. Just being close to this mystery man made everything inside her feel hot and alive. But it’d be stupid and reckless to say yes. She’d never had a one-night stand. She didn’t even know if she was capable of it. Plus, what if she really was boring in bed.

She’d told herself that Doug had thrown that out there just to hurt her, but what if there was some truth to it? Her sexual history was nearly nil since she’d gotten married so young. What if she hopped in bed with this guy and was completely out of her league?

“I can’t leave. I’m my friend’s ride,” she said, her voice thready and breathless from him being so close.

His smile was slow, sexy. “I never said we had to leave.”

She closed her eyes, his mere presence overwhelming her system and making her heart pound in her throat. “What do you mean?”

His breath brushed her ear. “Take my hand, and I’ll show you.”

A shiver worked its way down her neck and along her skin. Every nerve ending screamed for his touch, all the years of pent-up frustration surging to the surface and demanding relief. She needed this escape, this release. She needed to feel like a woman again.

When she looked up at him finally, the pure confidence and interest shining there in his eyes had her nerves smoothing. She knew in that moment that this man would never allow her to be boring in bed. This was a man who got what he wanted. A man who wouldn’t be afraid to tell her exactly what to do, how he liked it, and how he was going to have her.

Suddenly, she wasn’t so interested in sangria anymore.

Or sitting in the car alone to have a good cry.

She reached out and let her hand slide into his.

Maybe she’d scratch something off her list tonight after all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aloha to Michele Gorman, The Expat Diaries, and SINGLE IN THE CITY

Nottinghill Press is relaunching Michele Gorman's The Expat Diaries in the US, including SINGLE IN THE CITY, MISFORTUNE COOKIE, and TWELVE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS.    Michele popped up on my radar two years ago - I reviewed MISFORTUNE COOKIE and TWELVE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS - my reviews are here and here.   I am currently reading SINGLE IN THE CITY, the book that started it all:

Take one twenty-six-year-old American, add to a two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir.

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That's been the understatement of a lifetime. She lands upon England's gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she's supposed to build the life she's dreaming of. Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

Michele joins us today with a guest blog ...

Two nations, divided by a common book cover

I’ll never forget the day I first saw the cover for my debut novel back in early 2010. My editor emailed it to me while I was waiting to meet with my agent. I was sitting in a beautiful café on Piccadilly on a sunny February day (a rare thing in London). Excitement, tinged with nerves, fizzed when I opened that image. For months I’d wondered how Penguin would package the book that I’d spent years writing and rewriting until it was as perfect as could be. Would they take the same care over the cover? Would it reflect the story, about a young American woman named Hannah who moves to London only to find that she’s completely ill-equipped to live there?

It did, and I loved it. The cover fit perfectly with the story and perfectly with the romantic comedy genre in the UK – a pretty illustrated pastel cover. It reflected Hannah’s uncertainty, swept along and buffeted by London.

Then, about a month later, my agent took me out for dinner. “You’re not going to like what I have to tell you,” she said, pushing the cake we were sharing in my direction. “Penguin wants to change the title. To Single in the City. They feel that it has broader appeal.”

That explained why she’d been plying me with wine for two hours.

It took me a few days to get used to the change, but if Penguin, one of the biggest publishers in the world, thought Single in the City was a better title, then I’d trust them. So the book got a name change, and a new cover. And I loved it even more than the first one.

Happily, so did the British reading public. Single in the City gained tens of thousands of fans and I was officially a best-seller in the UK!

So when I decided to independently publish Single in the City in the US, I worked with the cover designer who’d done my UK cover. I wanted suitcases, and a little clue that she’s American. I loved the result (and note the tiny flag).

Misfortune Cookie followed, and then The Twelve Days to Christmas, and the series was complete.

But the thing about being an author is that there are always things you’d like to change in your books, and as I wrote 5 more after my debut, the number of things I wanted to change grew with my experience.

I couldn’t rewrite Single in the City in the UK, because Penguin owns those rights. But I could rewrite it for the US. Misfortune Cookie and The Twelve Days to Christmas also got makeovers. Together they’re rebranded as The Expat Diaries series, as I’d originally planned way back in 2010. (For those who follow me on twitter, that’s why I’ve been @expatdiaries all along)

And just as redecorating one room can make the rest of the house look tired, knowing that the text was rewritten made the covers seem out of date. So new covers were designed and they’re the ones that I’d want to snatch off the shelf, throw myself on the sofa with a glass of wine, and devour. I hope you will to!

The Expat Diaries: Single in the City launches in the US on March 25th.  A
ll the books are available globally, and here’s the link.

If you’re on Facebook and/or twitter, please do come say hello – I promise to do my very best to be entertaining.


Favourite English Recipes: Traditional Fare from Around the Counties - Favourite Recipes

Mahalo, Michele, for sharing the backstory of covers! I know American readers are enchanted by all things British ... and Michele captures that spirit in this series. I recommend you add The Expat Diaries to your TBR pile! Meanwhile, let's celebrate all things British - I am giving away the booklet FAVOURITE ENGLISH RECIPES to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. If you could be Hannah for a day, what would you do in London?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, March 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 30.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Aloha to Kristen Ashley and FIRE INSIDE

Kristen Ashley is celebrating Release Weekly with FIRE INSIDE, Book 2 in her Chaos series:

FIRE INSIDE by Kristen Ashley (March 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

Lanie Heron isn't looking for love-no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club . . .

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She's too polished and too classy for his taste. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can't say no. And he doesn't regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that's ever happened to him-in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble

A mini-motorcycle club?

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting b0etter.

Social Media Links:

Forever Romance is hosting a special giveaway ...


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Forever Romance is also offers an excerpt ...

Hop came out of the bathroom to see Lanie on her feet on the other side of the bed, panties on, hands twisted behind her back putting her bra on. Again.

He didn’t say a word. He prowled to her, reached out an arm the second he was close, yanked her to him and fell to his back in the bed, taking her down with him.

“Hop—” she started, pushing her weight against his arms, but he slid her off him then wasted no time rolling over her and pinning her to his bed.

“Sleep,” he ordered when he caught her eyes in the weak dawn. “After rest, I’ll get coffee, we’ll juice up, then round four.”

She blinked and breathed, “Four?”

“Got lots more I want to do to you,” he informed her and watched her eyes go soft, sexier, then her teeth came out to graze her lush lower lip, also fucking sexy, and her arms slid around him.

But she asked, “What about Tack and Ty-Ty?”

“I’ll make sure the coast is clear,” he told her.

“But they’ll see my car,” she told him.

“I’ll move it,” he offered.

Her hand slid up his back, around his shoulder, and then to his neck where her thumb moved to stroke him.

Her touch was light but, fuck, it felt good. He’d never had a woman touch him in an unconscious way like that, just a touch, a stroke, giving something that meant nothing at the same time doing it without thinking about it meant everything.



“This is just supposed to be one night,” she reminded him quietly, but he saw it in her eyes. She didn’t even try to hide it. She’d bitten off more than she could chew.

He had too and he was nowhere near done eating.

She was cute. She was sweet. She was hot. She was better than he expected and he’d expected her to be pretty fucking good. All that wrapped in a package that gorgeous?


He was nowhere near done eating.

“Change of plans. A night and a morning and, maybe, an afternoon and, possibly, another night,” he amended, and her eyes got softer as her hand slid up to cup his jaw.

“I have to work,” she told him.

“Call off,” he told her.

“I can’t. I own the joint.” She explained something he knew, that she ran her own advertising agency. “And things are a bit crazy.”

Things were always crazy for Lanie. The woman lived crazy. She thrived on it. If there wasn’t crazy, she stirred it up because she couldn’t breathe without it.

“Babe,” he pressed his body into hers, “told you, got more I want to do to you.”

Aloha to Delilah Marvelle and NIGHT OF PLEASURE


On Monday night, hubby and I attended a cozy concert at Ram's Head Live in Annapolis with Jake Shimabukuro - the Hawaiian born ukulele virtuoso. He played wide range of music on the ukulele, demonstrating that music transcends age, instrument, and genre.

Delilah Marvelle enjoys music while writing. She joins us today with her playlist for her latest release, NIGHT OF PLEASURE, Book 4 in the School of Gallantry.

Night of Pleasure Playlist

*Primadonna Girl by Marina and the Diamonds
*Love Don't Die by The Fray
*Just Give Me A Reason by Pink & Nate Ruess
*Memories Are Made of This by Dean Martin
*Roar by Katy Perry
*Please Don't Go by Mike Posner

Delilah Marvelle is the winner of the Reviewer's Choice for Best Sensual Historical Romance of the Year and had Booklist name her historical romance 'Forever and a Day' one of the TOP 10 Romances of the year. When she isn't writing, she's digging through inappropriate research books that include anything in history having to do with courtesans, brothels, sexual contraptions that were never properly used and other fascinating forms of dirty history that never made it into college textbooks. You can visit her at her website at

Facebook: link


An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand...

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.

To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father's wishes, not realizing he's about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charasmatic and dashing Viscount Banfield,
whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired
courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

Excerpt Link
Goodreads Link
Amazon: Link
B&N: Link
Kobo: Link

Delilah is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card.  To enter the giveaway,
1.  Let's chat about music - what would be on your play list?   

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 30.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aloha to Susan Hatler and BETTER DATE THAN NEVER BOX SET Book Blast


As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.  - William Shakespeare

Let's fire up our e-readers with Susan Hatler's THE BETTER DATE THAN NEVER Box Set, on sale for 99 cents from March 24 - March 30.

Better Date than Never Boxed Set (Books 1-6)

This book bundle includes six contemporary romance novellas from the bestselling series, Better Date than Never. Dating is so much easier when you have good friends to lean on. . . .

Love at First Date, Book #1
Ellen may not believe in storybook love, but it’s about to rewrite her life. . . .

Truth or Date, Book #2
Truth or Dare is all fun and games until a spontaneous dare has Gina falling for the office playboy.

My Last Blind Date, Book #3
Should Rachel risk another dating disaster by trying yet again for love?

Save the Date, Book #4
Kristen swears off men, but temptation swoops in when her sexy friend Ethan starts flirting with her.

A Twist of Date, Book #5
Will Melanie have to follow her best friend’s narrow dating rules in order to find lasting love?

License to Date, Book #6
Kaitlin agrees to five dates in five days only to fall for the mysterious bartender who’s there to witness them all.

Purchase Links:
Amazon: link
iTunes: link
Barnes & Noble: link
Kobo: link
Amazon UK: link

Susan Hatler is an international bestselling author who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too. You can visit her website at

Blog: link
Goodreads: link

Susan is giving awaya $20 Amazon Gift Card ....