Monday, June 30, 2014

July sparkles with romance and freedom

7/1: Debbie Mason's CHRISTMAS IN JULY
7/2: Carolyn Brown's HOW TO MARRY A COWBOY

7/3: Rebecca York's BETRAYED
7/4: Independence Day
7/6: Weekly winners

7/7: Michele Summers' FIND MY WAY HOME
plus Kristina Matthews' WORTH THE TRADE
7/8: Grace Burrowes' THE CAPTIVE
7/9: Sara Humphrey's VAMPIRE TROUBLE

7/10: Elizabeth Michels' HOW TO LOSE A LORD IN 10 DAYS OR LESS
7/11: Ellen Butler's HEART OF DESIGN
7/12: Celebrate Little Victories
7/13: Weekly Winners
7/14: Jenna Jaxon's BELEAGURED
7/15: Kelsey Browning's PROBLEMS IN PARADISE
7/16: RWA Annual Conference - Roll Out the Red Carpet for Readers

7/18: Erin Duffy's ON THE ROCKS  

7/19: Ann DeFee's A HOT TIME IN TEXAS 

7/20: Weekly Winners

plus HOT ALPHA SEALS - Military Romance Megaset from Sharon Hamilton, Anne Elizabeth, Cat Johnson, Cindy Dees, Cristin Harber, Delilah Devlin, Elle James, Gennita Low, JM Madden, Sabrina York, Teresa Reaso, and PT Michelle

Aloha, San Antonio, here I come for the RWA National Conference!

7/21: Kat Latham's TEMPTING THE PLAYER cover reveal
7/22: Shana Galen's LOVE AND LET SPY

7/23: Jessica Scott's BACK TO YOU
7/24: Anne Elizabeth's ZOMBIE POWER 2
7/25: Elizabeth Michels' HOW TO LOSE A LORD IN TEN DAY
7/27: Fern Britton's THE HOLIDAY HOUSE
7/28: Weekly Winners 

7/29: Sharon Richard's UNSTOPABLE
7/30: Sarah Castille's IN YOUR CORNER
plus Robin Bielman's VEILED TARGET
7/31: Lauren Layne's ONLY WITH YOU

plus TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH Historical Anthology

8/1: Book Reads Blog Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)
8/2: Celebrate Little Victories
8/3: Weekly Winners
8/4: Happy Birthday, US Coast Guard!

8/5: Anna Sullivan's HIDAWAY COVE

8/8: Brooklyn Ann's ONE BITE PER NIGHT
8/9: Celebrate Little Victories
8/10: Weekly Winner
8/12: Debbie Macomber's LOVE LETTERS (A Rose Harbor Novel)
8/13: Open
8/14: Open
8/15: Open
8/16: Celebrate Little Victories
8/17: Weekly Winners
8/18: Misty Evans' OPERATION PARIS

8/19: Sabrina Jeffries' HOW THE SCOUNDREL SEDUCES
8/21: Anna Campbell's WHAT A DUKE DARES
8/22: Open
8/23: Celebrate Little Victories
8/24: Weekly Winners
8/25: Victoria Roberts' MY HIGHLAND SPY Teaser Tour

8/26: Jill Shalvis' IT'S IN HIS KISS
Mary Jo Putney's NOT QUITE A WIFE
8/28: Open
8/29: Open
8/30: Celebrate Little Victories
8/31: Weekly Winners

9/1: US Labor Day with Victoria Roberts' MY HIGHLAND SPY
9/2: Open
9/3: Open
9/4: Open
9/5: Open
9/6: Celebrate Little Victories
9/7: Weekly Winners
9/8: Sandra Owens' CRAZY FOR HER Blog Tour

plus Samatha Grace's IN BED WITH A ROGUE
9/9: Leslie Well's COME DANCING

9/10: Open
9/11: Open
9/12: Open
9/13: Celebrate Little Victories
9/14: Weekly Winners
9/15: Christi Caldwell's Scandalous Seasons Series
9/16: Open
9/17: Open
9/18: US Air Force's Birthday
9/19: Open
9/20: Celebrate Little Victories
9/21: Weekly Winners
9/22: Amanda Forester's A WINTER WEDDING
9/23: Merryn Allingham's THE CRYSTAL CAGE

9/24: Rosanne Bittner's DESPERATE HEARTS
9/25: Open
9/26: Open
9/27: Celebrate Little Victories
9/28: Weekly Winners
9/29: Open
9/30: Jill Shalvis' HE'S SO FINE

10/6: Mia Marlowe's ONCE UPON A PLAID

10/15: Christi Caldwell's FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE
10/20: Tracy Solheim
10/30: Lindesy Hall's IMMORTAL SOULS

11/9: Michele Callahan's WHITE FIRE

11/10: USMC's Birthday
11/11: Veterans Day
11/25: Eileen Dreyer's TWICE TEMPTED

1/6:  Tracy Solheim

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Aloha to Sherri Browning and THORNBROOK PARK - Book Review


I featured Sherri Browning earlier this month (link) to celebrate the release of THORNBROOK PARK:

Fans of Downton Abbey will adore this brand-new Edwardian-period romance series set at the grand estate of Thornbrook Park, seat of the Earl of Averford.

In a world poised for epic change...

Disowned for marrying beneath her, Eve Kendal has returned to England destitute after her husband's death and the mysterious disappearance of their savings. She's looking for survival, not romance. But from London to the Yorkshire countryside to the elegant estate of Thornbrook Park, Eve's path seems destined to cross that of the dashing but violent Captain Marcus Thorne.

Anything can happen

For Marcus, a return home means facing the demons that drove him to war in the first place. As he and Eve begin a steamy affair, tensions that had been simmering just beneath the surface threaten to explode and shake the very foundations of Thornbrook Park.

Praise for Sherri Browning:

"Browning gives the reader a most beguiling story and a classic plotline while capturing the atmosphere of the era." —RT Book Reviews

The 1908 Olympics in London - the games are referenced as a
"sign of the modern times" in THORNBROOK PARK.
Image released to Public Domain.

“First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in an H.G. Wells novel.” - Lady Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Given the current fever for DOWNTON ABBEY, it is inevitable to compare THORNBROOK PARK to the Edwardian drama.  THORNBROOK PARK delivers the enticing elements:  an aristocratic home tucked away in the country; a titled family embracing the modern era; and the emotional baggage from distant wars.   As much as I enjoy DOWNTON ABBEY, each episode tends to abruptly resolve one plot line and launch another.  In contrast, Browning's writing flows effortlessly as she introduce the denizens of THORNBROOK PARK, the ancestral home of the Earl of Averford. 

The hero, Marcus Thorne, is the earl's younger brother who bought an Army commission like most second sons.  He returns home from South Africa grieving that that his fellow officer, with a family, died while he lived.  Marcus seeks to provide for the family beyond his military pension. To do so, he must reconcile with his older brother, Gabriel.

Marcus considers courting Lady Alice to secure a new home for his comrade's family.  Alice is the younger sister of Lady Sophia, Gabriel's wife.  Such a match would make Sophia happy.  If Sophia is happy, then Gabriel is happy.  If Gabriel is happy, he might lease an estate farm to the struggling family, allowing Marcus to fulfill his battlefield promise.   But fate intervenes and delivers Mrs. Eve Kendall to Thornbrook Park.  Returning from India as an Army Widow, she seeks refuge with her childhood friend, Lady Sophia, until she can secure her husband's investments.   Eve is ready to embrace the independence that such savings would offer.  Yet she finds herself attracted to Marcus although he is intended for another. 

Browning successfully balances the celebrated pomp of historical romance with the looming changes to this structured society.  The budding romance between Marcus and Eve is sweet and passionate as they help each other recover from war's wounds.  Browning adds a mystery surrounding Eve's investments which brings hero and heroine closer to understanding that they have a future together.

I received an ARC from Sourcebooks for an honest review.

King Edward VII
Public Domain

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, stocked with other Sourcebooks titles, to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the Edwardian Era - what would be exciting (or frightening) about the turn of the 20th century?

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

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Sherri Browning and her books at


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekly Winners

Hood College in Frederick, MD

I am a winner after attending the Frederick Book Festival - check out my pictures on my travel blog at this link

We have winners at SOS Aloha!

Jayne Fresina's ONCE UPON A KISS
- Mary Preston wins a book choice from my convention stash.


- Janice wins a digital copy of HIGHLAND ECLIPSE.


- Marjorie wins a book choice from my convention stash.


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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Hood College

Aloha to HE'S IRRESISTIBLE with Susan Hatler, Veronic Blade, and Virna DePaul

THREE contemporary romance novellas with THREE irresistible men for ONE low price!

Three stories. Three authors. Three kinds of romance.

Sweet. Sassy. Sexy.

Sweet: Love at First Date by Susan Hatler

Ellen may not believe in storybook love, but it’s about to rewrite her life. . . .  Ellen’s figured out that finding the right guy is all about compatibility. That’s why she signs up for Detailed Dating—the local online dating scene in Sacramento. They ask men the hard questions, compare their answers with hers, then she filters through the profiles of each provided “match.” After numerous email exchanges, she narrows it down to two promising candidates she’s excited to meet in person.

When Ellen’s best friend asks her for a favor, dog-sitting leads to disaster and Ellen ends up at the local vet where she meets a man she can’t get out of her mind. Henry isn’t a logical choice, but she finds herself paying for dog obedience class to spend more time with him.

Ellen knows that in order to have a lasting relationship, she should take the safe route and go for one of the pre-screened guys. But, how can she think with her head when her heart keeps begging her to give Henry a chance?

Sassy: From Fame to Shame by Veronica Blade

When good-girl Maddie switches places with her famous bad-girl twin Jackie, she has some pretty high stilettos to fill.

Despite the danger of tabloid drama if their identity swap is discovered, Maddie has to save her sister's butt. When Jackie’s ex-boyfriend shows up with a rekindled spark for “Jackie,” his deep gray eyes and sweet kisses make Maddie's heart thumpety thump. But dating the guy who dumped her sister is a no-no. Too bad Dallas isn’t used to girls saying no. What will happen when he discovers Maddie’s deception?

Sexy: Wild For Mr. Wrong by Virna DePaul

Can an uptight prosecutor and a laid-back defense attorney find love despite their opposing agendas?

Bryn Donovon became a prosecutor for a reason and defense attorney Daniel Mays seems to take his job about as seriously as he does his love life. While straight-laced Bryn can’t deny she’s attracted to the southern charmer, she’s determined to keep her distance. Instead, she ends up finding something she’d lost long ago—a willingness to risk all for love.


Purchase: Amazon - Kindle - Barnes & Noble - iTunes  - Kobo

Susan Hatler is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan's books have been translated into Spanish and German. 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.

Find Susan at:

Virna DePaul is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction. Whether it’s vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love. Bedding The Wrong Brother is a #1 Bestselling Contemporary Romance, and is followed by Bedding The Bad Boy. Her PNR series with Random House, the Belladonna Agency Series, recently launched with Turned. She loves to hear from readers at

Find Virna at:

Veronica Blade lives in Southern California with her husband and children. By day she runs the family business, but each night she slips away to spin her tales. She writes stories about young adults to relive her own childhood and to live vicariously through her characters. Except her heroes and heroines lead far more interesting lives—and they are always way hotter.

Find Veronica at:

Up For Grabs: 

  • 1 $25 Amazon Gift Card

  • To Enter: 

    • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

    • Good Luck! 

      Special thanks to Susan Hatler, Virna DePaul and Veronica Blade for sponsoring this giveaway.

      Friday, June 27, 2014

      Aloha to Cathy Maxwell and THE WEDDING WAGER (rerelease)


      It's always a great day when we chat about Cathy Maxwell and her books.   This past week, Avon re-released THE WEDDING WAGER:

      From New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell comes a romance about a headstrong young lady determined to marry . . .

      Mary Gates longs to restore the family stables to their former glory . . . so she bids on the famous Spender Stud. The only way she can pay for the beast is to marry, but her only prospect is her neighbor and chief rival, Tye Barlow. She has been tempted by his charms in the past—but she's determined not to give in to him now.

      So Mary boldly goes to where the husbands are—London. She takes the town by storm, but the marital prospects are uninspiring when compared to Tye. He's followed her, determined to thwart her plans. Still she can't help but forget his protective embrace or tantalizing kisses.

      And soon Mary realizes she may have to take the greatest gamble of all . . .


      I have the original cover from 2001.  I asked Cathy to autograph it when I first met her in 2007.   It remains in my coveted keeper shelf.  The heroine is just as crazy about horses as Cathy.  From her Goodreads bio,

      CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

      She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.

      My picture of horses on Oahu's North Shore
      Notice the Opana Radars atop the ridge line.

      You'll find pictures of Cathy's beloved animals on her Facebook Fan Page (link).  I look forward to seeing Cathy at the RWA National Conference in San Antonio, July 23 - 26, 2014 (link).  I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

      1.  Leave a comment about horses - what is your experience with them?   I admire them from afar ...

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

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


      Kim in Baltimore
      Aloha Spirit in Charm City

      Learn more about Cathy and her books at

      Check out my review of Cathy's THE DEVIL'S HEART, nominated for RWA's RITA award, on Smart Bitches Trashy Books at this link.

      My kids chat with the horses at Turtle Beach
      on Oahu's North Shore.

      Thursday, June 26, 2014

      Aloha to Bronwen Evans and INVITATION TO PASSION

      Bronwen Evans joins us today to celebrate the digital release of INVITATION TO PASSION:

      Consummate rake, Lord Richard Craven, has his heartbroken when the woman he loves is forced into an arranged marriage to a violent brute. To make matters worse, circumstances force him to marry Lady Madeline Knight—a woman he views more like a sister-only for fate to play the cruelest of tricks. Shortly after his wedding his former lover is widowed, and Richard learns she could be pregnant with his child.

      Madeline Knight thought she was doing the right thing when she saved Richard Craven from his lover's irate husband. Now her silly schoolgirl crush has left her married to a man who's in love with another woman. Consumed with guilt over trapping Richard, she tries her best to be the perfect wife and win his heart. Failure is not an option. For if she fails she loses everything, she loves him too much not to set him free…

      Goodreads Page link
      Kobo: link

      Other books in series:
      Invitation to Ruin: link
      Invitation to Scandal: link


      Dear Readers,

      This is such fun. Just imagine if Invitation to Passion was made into a movie and I was allowed to select the cast. Who would I pick! Hugh Jackman is whom I’d desperately want to call, however, I’m sad to say he might be getting a bit too old for the part. The men in my books are round thirty-three-years old. So forgive me Hugh (I still love you), but here is my cast:

      Richard Craven – hero Philip Winchester
      Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham – hero’s Twin Richard Armitage
      Rufus Knight, Earl of Hascombe – brother-in-law Michael Fassbender
      Stephen Milton, Marquis of Worthington– friend Henry Cavill
      Daniel Kerrick, Baron De Winter – Rheda’s brother Chris Hemsworth
      Christopher Hindsworth – Villain Christian Bale

      Lady Madeline Knight – heroine Mila Kunis
      Lady Melissa Wickham – hero’s sister-in-law Jennifer Lawrence
      Lady Rheda Hascombe – heroine’s sister-in-law Scarlett Johansson
      Meg – Rheda’s best friend Jessica Chastain
      Lady Sarah Wrentham – Richard’s ex-lover Amanda Seyfried

      I hope you approve. What a feat it would be if I could get this cast together. It would likely cost a fortune! Do you think they’d be interested?

      There is no lady friend for Stephen Milton as yet but he will be finding his love very shortly in book #4, Invitation to Desire (2015). I have selected Jessica Alba as his lady love.

      About Bronwen: 

      USA Today Bestselling Author Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes.

      Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2012, and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. Her first self-published novella, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield, was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 201,2 and a finalist in the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2013. Her first contemporary released December 2012, The Reluctant Wife, won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Category 2013.

      Bronwen is giving away KAGI Pink Drop Earrings. These gorgeous earring charms feature pink cat's eye and complimented within a graceful silver setting of countless handset shimmering crystals. They come with a stunning pair of Luxe Huggies, or wear alone for a sophisticated look (link).

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Wednesday, June 25, 2014

      Aloha to Stacy Henrie and HOPE AT DAWN

      This year is the 100th anniversary of the Great War ... DOWNTON ABBEY gave us the British perspective while Stacy Henrie delivers a riveting story from the American home front with HOPE AT DAWN:

      With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents' farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home—and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

      More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country's struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy—and dark secrets from the past—threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what's right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

      B&N: link
      Indie Bound: link
      Books A Million: link
      Amazon: link

      Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations from Brigham Young University and worked in communications before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a stay-at-home mom to three, Stacy loves the chance to live out history through her fictional characters, while enjoying the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. In addition to author, she is a reader, a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator.

      Five things Stacy learned about WWI when writing this book.

      1. Most German-Americans experienced minor to intense amounts of persecution during the war, and yet to protect their families and livelihoods, very few fought back.

      2. Much less is known about this war than WWII, but the results of the First World War laid the groundwork for the second and is just as significant.

      3. Tanks, machine guns, and airplanes were new war weapons at this time, but horses were still being used at the front lines and wounded soldiers had to be treated in a time before penicillin had been discovered.

      4. To help fund the war, America held four liberty bond drives and a fifth after the war. People could pay for a bond in full, or in many cases, pay a little at a time until the full bond amount was met.

      5. Ragtime dancing, or ballroom dancing for the masses, was very popular during this time period.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Forever Romance offers an excerpt from HOPE AT DAWN:

      After another fifteen minutes had crawled by, Livy forced herself to accept the likelihood that Robert—for whatever painful reason—had chosen to spend her birthday with a bottle cradled in his arms instead of her. Hot tears of anger sprang up behind her eyes and no amount of blinking could keep several of them from leaking onto her face.

      “Are you all right?”

      Livy whipped her chin up and found herself peering into eyes more brilliantly blue than she’d suspected from her seat across the room. Their clear depths exuded friendly concern in a way that made her feel immediately safe, though she didn’t know anything about this young man. Up close, his Sunday shirt and pressed trousers, though worn, accentuated his strong-looking physique.

      She blinked, trying to remember what he’d asked her. Something about her being all right? “Yes. Thank you. I’m just fine.”

      She swept away the salty drops from her cheeks. Of course her first real cry in ten years would be witnessed by a stranger, and yet, his self-assured, compassionate manner made her suspect he didn’t find her silly.

      “You look like you could use a dance.” He crouched down in front of her and held out his hand. “How about it?”

      Livy darted a quick look at the entrance again. “I’m . . . um . . .waiting for my boyfriend.”

      “Ah.” He let his hand drop to his side. “Seems to be a bit late.”

      She blushed. Who else had noticed her sitting here for over an hour? “I’m sorry,” she offered lamely.

      “No, it’s all right.” He got to his feet and started to walk away.

      Who was she kidding? Robert wasn’t coming. If he happened to, he’d likely be drunk and she didn’t want to be around him .

      “Wait.” Livy jumped up. She could at least have one dance on her birthday. Why should she spend the whole evening hurt and angry over Robert’s absence?

      The young man slowly turned back around.

      She attempted a genuine smile. “I’d love a dance.”

      His face lit up as he smiled in return and held out his hand a second time. Setting her hat on her chair, Livy placed her hand inside his larger one and allowed him to escort her onto the dance floor. The band began to play a fox trot—one of Livy’s favorite dances. She and Joel had become fairly adept at the steps before he’d left for the war.

      It felt strange, at first, to be in another man’s arms, but the feeling soon left her. The way he held her hand in a confident but gentle grip, his hand warm on her back, helped Livy relax. He led her around the floor, their feet walking or spinning in time with the music. He was as skillful at the fox trot as her brother, and Livy relished the chance to do more than just sway to the music.

      “Are you from around here?” he asked her after a minute or two of dancing.

      “About an hour away. And you?”

      He shook his head. “I live outside of Hilden. In the county north of here.”

      Livy vaguely recalled hearing the town name. “You drove all the way down here, just to go dancing?”

      “We don’t have a public dance hall in Hilden. So we have to come here, or head farther north or drive all the way to Sioux City. Do you come to this one often?”

      “I used to, before I went to college in Cedar Falls.”

      With slight pressure to her back, he expertly led her through a spin before he picked up their conversation again. “What did you study in college?”


      “Are you a teacher now?”

      Livy frowned, doing her best to tamp down the seeds of resentment the question unearthed. She loved her family and wanted to lift the burden her brothers’ absence had created, but she missed college and the chance to pursue her own dreams.

      “I was only able to attend for a year before I was needed here.” Her words drew a look of sympathy from him.

      “I know what that’s like,” he murmured. Before she could ask what he meant, he poised another question. “Would you still like to be a teacher?”

      “Very much. I’m hoping someday I’ll have the chance.”

      The understanding in his blue eyes changed to enthusiasm. “That might be sooner than you think. The teacher at one of the township schools outside of Hilden was recently . . . .” He shot a glance at the floor, his jaw tightening. Livy wondered at the change in his mood. Then he guided her through another spin and his expression relaxed. “Suffice it to say, she’s gone now and I don’t think they’ve found a replacement. It’s a little far away, but you might want to inquire about it.”

      A possible teaching job? A flurry of anticipation set Livy’s pulse moving faster at the possibility. She tried to squelch it with the reminder she wasn’t likely to be hired with only one year of schooling completed and no teaching certificate, but she couldn’t destroy the hope completely. How wonderful it would be to be on her own again, and not learning how to teach this time, but actually being the teacher.

      Livy met his open gaze and found her thoughts moving from his idea to the man himself. She didn’t even know his name, and yet, she felt comfortable enough in his presence to share some of her regret at having her dream of teaching cut short. She hadn’t even voiced those feelings to Robert yet.

      “Thank you,” she said, hoping he sensed how much she meant it. “I may look into it.”

      “I hope you will.” He smiled in a way that made her stomach twist with unexpected pleasure.

      She searched her mind for a more neutral topic, one that wouldn’t mean spilling more of her secrets to this stranger. “Do you live with family, up there in Hilden?”

      He nodded. “I’ve got my father, stepmother and two half-siblings. What about you?”

      “I’ve got a few more than two siblings.” Livy laughed. “I’m the third of seven. Five boys and two girls.”

      She studied the firm shoulder beneath her hand. He appeared quite fit and healthy, so why wasn’t he a soldier? “Can I ask you something?”


      “How come you’re not wearing a uniform?”

      Livy wished the question back at once when a shadow passed over his face, erasing the easy camaraderie between them. Before he could answer, the song ended. He released her hand at once, though he didn’t join her or the other couples in clapping.

      She gnawed at her cheek, embarrassed at her apparent mistake. He’d been so kind to notice her distress earlier and suggest the teacher position in his town, and she’d repaid him by bringing up something he clearly did not wish to discuss.

      “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business,” she said, rushing her words in an effort to keep him from disappearing into the crowd. “I didn’t mean to pry.”

      He watched her, his expression guarded. What could she say to erase the awkwardness her inquiry had caused? They’d been having such a lovely time talking and dancing.

      “I appreciate the dance. You see it’s my birthday and I adore the fox trot. So you’ve saved my evening, Mister . . .” She waited for him to fill the pause with his name.

      The corners of his mouth worked up into a smile. “How about you call me ‘the birthday rescuer?’”

      Livy chuckled. She wasn’t sure why he refused to give his name, but she wouldn’t press it—not after her blunder about the uniform. His kindness had completely changed her botched evening. “Thank you for the dance, birthday rescuer. And for telling me about the teacher position.”

      “You’re welcome. Do I get to know the name of the birthday girl?”

      Two can play at his game, Livy thought with a smirk. “How about ‘the girl I danced with once?’”

      Tuesday, June 24, 2014

      Aloha to Diane Kelly and PAW ENFORCEMENT - Book Review


      I won an autographed copy of PAW ENFORCEMENT from Free Book Friday (link).  This is the first book in a new "cozy mystery" series from Diane Kelly, accountant turned author:

      Introducing police officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit—two Fort Worth cops who are worth their weight in kibble.


      Officer Luz is lucky she still has a job after tasering a male colleague where it counts the most. Sure, he had it coming—which is why the police chief is giving Megan a second chance. The catch? Her new partner can’t carry a gun, can’t drive a cruiser, and can’t recite the Miranda Rights. Because her new partner is a big furry police dog. Sothat’s what the chief meant when he called Megan’s partner a real b*tch…


      With Brigit out on the beat, Megan is writing up enough tickets to wallpaper the whole station. But when a bomb goes off at the mall’s food court, it’s up to Megan and Brigit to start digging—and sniffing—for clues. With the help of dead-sexy bomb-squad expert Seth Rutledge and his own canine partner named Blast, Megan finds herself in a desperate race to collar a killer. Will justice be served—or will she end up in the doghouse?

      "Readers should be prepared for a laugh fest. Diane Kelly is first class."—Night Owl Romance

      A dog enjoys the surf at Kailua Beach

      Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. - Roger Caras

      Diane Kelly starts her new series K9 with a bang, or rather, kaboom with a bomber running loose in Fort Worth.  Enter Officer Megan Lux, a new recruit to the Fort Worth Police Department.   After tasering her foul mouthed partner, she is reassigned to work with Sergeant Brigit, an extraordinary rescue dog who outpaces the male dogs on the force.   Reluctant to take on a canine partner, Megan comes to appreciate Brigit's abilities after she discovers the first bomb. 

      Kelly employs humor to delve deeper into Megan's psyche. She's the oldest of five children of a "Catholic family living in a Protestant's house".  Megan understands her parents were too overwhelmed with younger children to offer emotional support as she struggled with stuttering.  In turn, this caused Megan to turn to books, museums, NPR, and the Animal Planet (actually, the cable show was Brigit's idea).   Yet Megan is a champion baton twirler from marching band - a talent that enables her to catch criminals with her police baton (as guns scare her).   Kudos to Kelly for creating a multi-layered heroine in both Megan and Brigit.   Kelly hinted that soldier-turned-fireman Seth Rutledge is also multi-layered.   No doubt his emotional baggage will interfere their budding romance in future books in this series.    

      The plot unfolds from three perspectives (each POV unfolds in its own chapter) - Megan's first person POV, the Rattler's first person POV, and the third person point of view for what Brigit must be thinking.   I would have preferred if Brigit was able to share from her first dog POV.   Overall, PAW ENFORCEMENT was an engaging read that I could not put down.  

      I look forward to the next adventure of Megan and Brigit!

      Dogs enjoy the "salt flats" of Pearl Harbor

      I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

      1.  What is your experience with dogs?  We've always cohabited with cats, but I have cared for several dogs when neighbors are away.

      2.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 28, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

      3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 29.


      Kim in Baltimore
      Aloha Spirit in Charm City

      Learn more about Diane and her books at

      Paw and Order
      Coming in December ...

      Aloha to Jessica Lemmon and THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR

      Jessica Lemmon joins us today to celebrate the release of THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR:

      Millionaire ad executive Landon Downey has a policy: no romantic relationships allowed. So when he's saddled with his six-year-old nephew for a week, he doesn't think twice about asking a female friend to act as live-in nanny. What he doesn't expect is the palpable attraction to the woman he hasn't seen in sixteen years. And not only does she like him back, she suggests they work their way down a list of extracurricular activities in the bedroom. How can he resist? Kimber Reynolds knows what she's doing. Sort of. Tired of every failed attempt to turn her past relationships into her own happily-ever-afters, she's determined to prove once and for all that she can love em and leave em with the best of them. All she has to do is keep her heart out of the agreement she's made with the man she's crushed on for a decade and a half. No problem. Their string-free arrangement turns downright stringy when Landon starts to feel more for the redhead than good old fashioned lust, and Kimber has a scare involving a plastic stick and one-or-more blue lines. With the pressure mounting and their hearts involved, will these two be able to keep their original promise and walk away from one another?

      B&N: link
      Indie Bound: link
      Books A Million: link
      Amazon: link


      Top Five things Landon would rather do 
      than ""babysit"" his nephew

      Okay, okay I must be fair and say that Landon absolutely LOVES his nephew, Lyon, but Lyon’s arrival comes at a very inopportune time in Landon's life. That being said, here is my top five things Landon would rather do than babysit his nephew.

      5: Drink scotch. It's his father's drink, and Landon's drink of choice. He can usually be found on the balcony of his penthouse, overlooking the lake and enjoying a glass after a hard day’s work.

      4: Hanging with Evan and Aiden. Landon is very close with his family, and loves nothing more than to give his brothers crap. They are more than willing to give it right back.

      3: Landing a new account. In The Millionaire Affair, Landon has been tasked with reimaging a very old Chicago potato chip brand, Windy City. He takes his work seriously, and takes a lot of pride in his designs.

      2: Visit the pier. As a Chicagoan, Landon has a deep respect for the local sites. Navy Pier is his favorite.

      1: Anything involving Kimber. Especially the things involving Kimber and the balcony, the desk, the shower… You get the idea. ;-)

      But, Landon would never, ever miss his nephew’s birthday party. I will let you read that scene for yourself.

      Jessica Lemmon

      Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)

      Forever offers an excerpt from THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR:

      She shifted in her seat, her shoulders going back, her chin lifting in defiance. Her nipples pressed against the beaded owl on the shirt she wore, a distracting view, but he forced his eyes back to her face. Eyes that flared with bottle-green anger. Redhead. He’d never dated a redhead before. Maybe the lore was true and she was every bit the hothead she appeared to be right now.

      “Just because I follow my heart,” she said adamantly, her face a confusion of strength and hurt. “Just because I’m transparent and not in control of my every body movement”—she gestured with her hands, sending her small breasts sliding against the shirt and turning him on even more—“doesn’t mean I’m a doe-eyed innocent. I know what I’m doing. I think I can handle kissing you without losing all essence of who I am.” She leaned in and clutched the tie around his neck. “I am an independent, intelligent woman who does not need to be saved from anyone. Least of all you.”

      She was a woman all right. A seething, beautiful woman who was very close to him and smelling like the cucumber body wash stocked in her bathroom. He knew. He’d grown accustomed to the warm, sweet scent that eked its way into the hall every morning after her shower.

      “I wasn’t being insulting,” he said, hiding his amusement.

      “Yes you were,” she challenged, tugging him closer. He went, the tension pulling the tie against the back of his neck, unable to keep from admiring how beautiful she was, even this close. Natural, naked skin, full lips… “But I forgive you.”

      The side of his mouth ticked. He was going to kiss her again. But he’d give her a chance to make the first move. She did, fisting his tie even tighter and laying her lips onto his, but she didn’t stop there. She swung her leg over his lap and settled on top of him. She sat right over his manhood, heat emanating from her core and through his slacks.

      He didn’t usually find himself turned on by being put in his place. Was rarely ever put in his place, come to think of it. He would concede he’d given Kimber less credit than she deserved. Either she knew what she wanted, or had opted to take the upper hand when she found herself at a disadvantage. He respected both tactics.

      She deepened the kiss, running her hands through his hair and clutching his head. His hands went to her butt, cupping and kneading the soft globes in his palms, stopping short of grinding her against him and relieving the painful ache pounding his balls like a pair of bongos.

      She stroked his tongue with hers, completely in control of this kiss and knowing where to take him. He fought to keep pace, to figure out what she might do next, to catch the curveballs she was throwing. God, it was exciting. Amazing. The not-knowing…who knew that could be so enthralling?

      Then she stopped. Abruptly. Just turned off like a switch, climbed off his lap, reclaimed her wine, and settled onto the cushion she’d been lounging on when he’d first walked out here.

      He licked the side of his mouth, still tasting her there, his hands at his sides, chest heaving, hair probably a mess from her roaming fingers.

      She wouldn’t look at him, a study in casualness except for the one hand forced into a fist at her side. Trying to keep herself from fidgeting, no doubt. She was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. And she’d more than proved her point. If he wanted a partner to spar with, in bed or out, she was a worthy opponent not some delicate flower he had to handle with care.

      Giving in and moving the hand she’d forcibly stilled, she pushed her hair over her shoulder and studied the skyline. The moon was an unimpressive half, not the fancy crescent or mournful full. His chin was elevated when she spoke next, her words stunning him so much, he snapped his head to face her.

      “Hope no one saw that and is uploading it to YouTube.” She blinked as if she’d stunned herself, too. “I’m so sorry. That was…wow. Rude. I’m sorry.”

      Sunday, June 22, 2014

      Remembering the Battle of Bannockburn with Laura Hunsaker's HIGHLAND ECLIPSE


      On this day in 1314,  Robert the Bruce prepared to face King Edward II on Bannockburn to free Stirling Castle from the English army and gain Scotland's independence.  From the Battle of Bannockburn (link),

      Over the two days of battle, 23-24 June, Edward’s army was repeatedly thwarted by the Scots stubborn resistance before finally finding themselves trapped by the surrounding terrain with no room to manoeuvre their huge force.

      The result was an unprecedented rout of King Edward’s army.

      Located near the historic city of Stirling, the battleground still evokes the landscape that would have been seen by medieval soldiers in 1314 when the area was a royal hunting park.

      Sigh.  Alba.  Almost five hundred years later, a time traveler arrives in Scotland in Laura Hunsaker's HIGHLAND ECLIPSE:

      Highland Eclipse is a short story set in the Magic of the Highlands world as the beginning to a new series about the Time Ops Eclipse Agents. 

      A member of an elite Time Ops team called the Eclipse Agents, Declan Wallace’s job is to jump through time. He maintains order in the timeline, he hunts down those who would time jump for their own purposes. But sometime Fate intervenes.

      After a lifetime of living with illness, Lady Fiona McClure is proving to herself that she is finally healthy in an attempt to swim across the loch. If she makes it, maybe then her overprotective father won’t treat her as a child anymore. When she is snatched and dragged ashore by a man who thought she was drowning, her heart races for reasons that have nothing to do with the swim and everything to do with the man standing before her.

      With a mission to finish, Declan can’t allow distractions, and Lady Fiona is definitely a distraction. But he’s discovering that living for the next mission isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Staying in the past is forbidden, but Fiona McClure is his destiny.

      Who doesn't love time travelers and Highland settings?   I am giving away a Kindle copy of HIGHLAND ECLIPSE to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

      1.  If you could time travel, what date would you like to visit?

      2.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 28, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

      3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 29.


      Kim in Baltimore
      Aloha Spirit in Charm City


      Aloha to Jayne Fresina and ONCE UPON A KISS - Book Review


      Earlier in the month, I hosted Jayne Fresina during her blog tour for ONCE UPON A KISS.  Check out her guest post about the sleep village of Hawcombe Prior at this link.  Today I share my book review of ONCE UPON A KISS:

      In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, the five young ladies of the Book Club Belles Society are looking for their own leading men.

      The Perfect Hero

      When handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright strolls into town, the Book Club Belles are instantly smitten with this brooding good looks and prideful demeanor. It's as if he walked out of the pages of their favorite new novel, a scandalous romance called Pride and Prejudice. But Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence—surely a wicked Wickham would be infinitely more fun...

      An Unlikely Leading Lady

      Justina is the opposite of Darius's ideal woman—not that he's looking for romance. But when he discovers her stealing apples from his uncle's orchard, he can't resist his own thieving impulse. A stolen kiss from the mischievous Miss Penny leaves Darius wanting much, much more. If it's a dashing villain she desires, Darius is more than willing to play the part...

      Hawcombe Prior reminds me of Widecombe-in-the-Moor,
      a beloved village where my English granny treated me to picnics.
      Image by Jon Constant; released to Public Domain (link).

      Now a soft kiss.  Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. - John Keats.

      British author Jayne Fresina has already delighted Regency fans with her Sydney Dovedale series of "beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines".  She comes roaring back with a bold new series, the Book Club Belles Society, featuring her trademark humor and healtfelt storytelling that would impresss Jane Austen.  In fact, the Book Club Belles Society - five refined ladies tucked away in the country - are reading Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.   Four readers are swooning over Mr. Darcy while Justina Penny thinks Mr. Wickham is more exciting.  Adding fuel to the club's fire is the arrival of Mr. Darius Wainwright, heir to a crumbling estate outside the village (and where Justina is hiding a pet pig).  His appearance mirrors the plot of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as the townfolk scramble to impress him  ... except for Justina.   She is simply a woman ahead of her time.  Justina would rather keep her independence by becoming a writer.   Fate has other plans for Justina, Darius, and the other villagers folded into drama.

      Fresina delivers an ingenious way to pay tribute to the beloved Jane Austen while still crafting her own unique story, characters, and setting.  Everyday is an adventure with Justina flaunting convention, to a point, while trying to keep her heart under control every time she encounters Darius.   Fresina keeps readers' attention with Justina's over-the-top behavior and Darius' quick witted dialogue.  ONCE UPON A KISS is a must read for Regency fans ... and an intoxicating start to a new series that is sure to please with future installments.

      ONCE UPON A KISS is easily one of the top 14 memorable books from 2014.   I received an ARC from Sourcebooks for an honest review.

      Kenn Church
      Church of St. Andrew in Kennford, Devon
      My English family hails from Kennford.
      Image from

      I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, stocked with other books from Sourcebooks, to one randomly selected commenter.   To enter the giveaway,

      1.  Leave a comment about Jane Austen's work - do you have a favorite?   Mine is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, both book and BBC production with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

      2.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 28, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 29.


      Kim in Baltimore
      Aloha Spirit in Charm City

      Learn more about Jayne and her books from her blog at

      The prequel, BEFORE THE KISS, is now available for free on Amazon (link).