Saturday, April 30, 2016

Aloha to Lenora Bell and HOW THE DUKE WAS WON (The Disgraceful Dukes)


The Regency has never seen debutantes quite like these …

First there’s Charlene Beckett from HOW THE DUKE WAS WON:

Charlene Beckett is not your ordinary Regency heroine. She was raised in a bawdy house and learned the basics of martial arts for self-defense against the lecherous clientele. So when she’s asked to impersonate her half-sister Lady Dorothea and win a duke, she knows she’ll have to be on her guard every second. She can’t slip up and reveal her true identity. The only problem is, she never expected the duke to be so sinfully handsome…and so very tempting.

Photo credit (link)

Next is Lady Dorothea “Thea” Beaumont from IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE:

After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

Photo Credit (link)

And then there’s Miss Alice Tombs.  She’s known for being quirky, and she’s…not finished being written yet! But you can expect Alice will be just as determined and funny as Charlene and Thea.

miranda kerr
Photo Credit (link)

HOW THE DUKE WAS WON is a twist on The Bachelor (with some nods to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE is inspired by the Wizard of Oz (with nods to Arrow), and BOOK 3 will be a take on Alice in Wonderland.

I’m having tons of fun writing these lovely, determined ladies! I really hope you enjoy meeting them…and their disgraceful dukes!

Lenora Bell is a third generation Alaskan and her hometown still has no traffic lights or fast food, but the public library is going strong!

An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has traveled the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She currently lives in Switzerland with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties.

In 2014 she won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. She's thrilled to be debuting with Avon Books in 2016!

Learn more about Lenora at



The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns
[blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart
[no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.



A signed copy of HOW THE DUKE WAS WON and a fair trade Divine Chocolate bar! (U.S. only)

Co-op will stock 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger & Orange, and 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

Mahalo, Lenora, for introducing us to your debutantes!  To enter Lenora's giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - have you read the original book?  Seen the movie Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder?  Or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp?  

(In my original post, I wrote Gene Hackman).

2. Comments are open through Saturday, May 7, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8. 


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Coming in August 2016 ...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Aloha to Toni Anderson and COLD HEARTED (Cold Justice Book 6)


It is my privilege to welcome the multitalented Toni Anderson to SOS Aloha! From her bio,

A graduate of Marine Biology from the University of Liverpool, and the University of St. Andrews, Toni was a Post-doctoral Research Scientist for several years, and travelled the world with her work. After living in six different countries, she finally settled in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children. Now she spends her time talking to the voices in her head and making things up. Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea (never travels without it), and chocolate. She loves to hear from readers.

Learn more about Toni and her books at

Kim: Six different countries! What have you learned about people after your nomadic moves?

Toni: It’s fun moving around actually. I love people even though I’m a bit of a hermit. For all there are huge generalities about people from different countries, I found people everywhere world appreciate the same things: a smile or a laugh, good food, and a glass of something cold at the end of a long workday. And although there are ‘bad’ people everywhere, most people are generous and kind. A little kindness goes a long way.

Kim:  You recently visited my beloved Hawaii. What was your favorite "tourist" activity?

Toni: I was only there for a week and most days I was tucked up inside the conference center so I didn’t do as much ‘touring’ as I would have liked. What a beautiful part of the world! I loved the whole place. The sandy beaches, the warm sun, the fresh breeze, the clear ocean. I really enjoyed the hike up Diamond Head and loved seeing the hula dancers, but the most special thing I did was go to Pearl Harbor. It’s a fascinating place that brought that part of the war alive for me. I was honored I got to see it.

Kim:  How did your training as a Marine Biologist prepare you to write romantic suspense?

ToniMy training as a Marine Biologist helped in many different ways. Getting a Ph.D. taught me how to approach problem solving and roadblocks, how to persevere (there’s that word again). It also meant I had a lot of experience and background material to use for fictional characters. I get a little freaked out by how scientists are often portrayed in fiction. My characters are much closer to reality, except real scientists party more.

Kim: Tell us about the Cold Justice series, which was recently released as a box set. What inspired it?

Toni: I love Romantic Suspense; it is my favorite genre to read. I’ve always been intrigued by people who bend the rules and by situations where there is no right answer. My Cold Justice Series is loosely set around the FBI’s BAU-4 (ala Criminal Minds), but my heroes and heroines often bend the rules to achieve a ‘just’ending. My first hero is an assassin and he gets a lot of love from readers. The sixth book comes out May 31st, 2016 and is called COLD HEARTED. The hero of that one is FBI Agent Darsh Singh and the herione is a detective called Erin Donovan. The two share a bit of a history and then have to track down a viscious murderer on a college campus.

Dark Waters (Barkley Sound, #2)

I am giving away a copy of DARK WATERS from Toni's Barclay Sound series to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about tea - Toni never travels without it. Do you like it hot or cold?  Milk, lemon, or sugar?  

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Aloha to Nicole Helm and OUTLAW COWBOY (Big Sky Cowboys No. 2)


Ever since his father's accident, Caleb Shaw vowed he'd mend his wild ways, and he means to keep his word. He’s a changed man. A better man. And he knows he should want absolutely nothing to do with his crazy old life...or the maddening temptation that is Delia Rogers.

Because Delia? Is nothing but trouble.

Delia’s been stealing her sisters away from their violent father ever since she was old enough to fight back. But now with the police on her trail and all her bridges burned, there’s nowhere left to run but back into the arms of the one cowboy she knows she shouldn’t need. Caleb has always been too good for her, no matter how bad he claimed to be. Yet when close quarters turn into something more, Delia and Caleb are forced to decide what really matters: mending their reputations or healing their wary hearts...


Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in people who don’t live close enough to neighbors for them to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Visit Nicole’s website for more down-to-earth contemporary romance!

O'Fallon Veterans Memorial Walk
My oldest son was born on nearby Scott AFB

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from OUTLAW COWBOY ... 

“I know. I’m not comparing, Delia. I can’t.” He shook his head as his gaze returned to hers.

If she looked closely enough, she could probably see her own reflection, but getting any closer than this already too-close cab of his truck held zero appeal.

“But if you had something that was yours, that made you who you are, that gave you a reason to get up in the morning, wouldn’t you do everything to keep it? Wouldn’t you fight to keep the thing that made you feel like you weren’t a complete waste of space?”

She should look away. She should get out of the truck or demand he drive her to her family home. She should do anything but keep his gaze and let his words wrap around her heart and squeeze.

She didn’t have a thing that made her who she was, or a reason to get up in the morning—at least not once Steph was out. Yet she’d always kept plowing ahead, because no matter how bleak things were, she knew who she was. Strong. Resilient. And she knew, deep in her heart most of the time, that once she did her duty to her sisters, there would be something waiting for her on the other side.

She hadn’t planned on it being jail, but even in her darkest moments she knew even that would be a temporary thing, as long as she could get Steph safe first.

All the crap Caleb was complaining about was easier, but somehow sadder, because he didn’t know how to go on without this beautiful, amazing piece of land that made her feel an aching kind of hope.

Hope. Somehow, it kept her going. It kept people like them going. And all of Caleb’s was tied up in something that could be taken from him.

“I’m not expecting sympathy,” he said, his voice hushed and his eyes on hers.

She felt herself lean forward, as if there was some force pushing her there. Him or the sun disappearing in his eyes.

“I just want you to understand why I did what I did. Helping you isn’t an easy choice for me. It threatens my only chance at this. But I want to do it anyway.”

She couldn’t swallow the lump in her throat, and her eyes burned. It shouldn’t make it better and it shouldn’t make it understandable. It certainly shouldn’t make her forgive him for trying to kick her off Shaw.

But she saw his battle, and that thing inside of him so lost he couldn’t find a center without the beauty that surrounded them, and that seemed more depressing than getting up every morning ready to fight. Thinking the only thing that made you worthwhile could be so easily taken away seemed worse than working to save people you loved. At least, at the end of the day, she knew she’d have her determination.

He cleared his throat. “Christ, Delia. Why are you crying?”

“I’m not crying.”

He reached out and touched his thumb to an unruly tear trailing down her cheek. She had a handle on the rest, but that one escaped and now he was touching it. Her.

Why were they so close? Why was she letting him be this close? Letting him touch her? She should push him away. Knock that stupid hat off his head while she was at it. She should do everything but lean into that gentle touch. It was a lie, a distraction, anything but something she could believe in or allow.

But somehow their mouths were close, and her heart was beating frantically against her chest, pushing her even closer to him. With his mouth a whisper from hers, her body completely warm for the first time since she’d woken up in the Shaw house this morning, he didn’t press his mouth to hers. He shook his head.

“I can’t do this with you.” But he didn’t back away, and when his eyes searched her face, they didn’t seem to mean that at all.

“But here you are,” she managed to croak out, sounding not at all like the cool, unaffected, kick-ass woman she’d like to be. Here she was, letting him swoop in, letting him touch her and affect her. “I don’t trust you,” she whispered, because she had to put that between them. She had to remind herself.

“Good. I don’t trust myself.”

Why? Why did she feel sorry for him? He had everything, including all the power. But sympathy softened her heart against her will, because the jackass didn’t know himself at all, and that was damn sad.

She’d rather be stupid than sad. She’d rather feel than run away from it. So she did the stupid, feeling thing to do.

She leaned in and pressed her mouth to his.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Aloha to Kate Dyer-Seeley and SILENCED IN THE SURF (Pacific Northwest Mystery Book 3) - Book Review


Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…

Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance—or she too may get blown away.

Image by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives (link)

Out of water, I am nothing. - Duke Kahanamoku

Meg Reed is a budding reporter putting her journalism skills to work at Northwest Exposure, an extreme sports magazine. Her latest assignment takes her to the Columbia River Gorge for the "King of the Hook" windsurfing tournament. She invites her closet friends, fellow journalist Matt and law student Jill, to share her rental house for the weekend. Meg ventures out with the "top tiered" journalists for an early morning windsurfing demonstration, only to find that she drifted away from the crowd. As she scrambles to steer her windsurfer down river, she spots the reigning champion, Justin Cruise, floating upside down. Clearly, he was murdered.

Although she is warned to leave the investigation to the sheriff, Meg can't help but snoop around the tournament to find likely suspects. Along the way, she questions her career choice, her father's fatal accident, and her feelings for Matt - issues addressed in previous novels that seem to have no resolution in the near future. Meg's focus on these issues detract from the murder mystery which fails to reach its potential in carrying the plot. Dyer-Seeley offers some comic relief with Meg's challenge to overcome her klutzy tendencies while participating in extreme sports. The author also gives a nod to the "nerd herd" popularized by Comic Con and The Big Bang Theory. 

Dyer-Seeley excels with her vivid descriptions of the Pacific Northwest - its natural beauty, quirky culture, and outdoor activities. I was ready to book my flight to Portland and sample the microbrews, artsy vibe, and, of course, the gorgeous landscape. I learned more about windsurfing - I assumed competitions took place on an ocean beach, not a river gorge. Still, the windsurfing tournament (and the associated hoopla) reminded me of how the Hawaiians celebrate the kai (sea). I also enjoyed the references to holistic healing as practiced by Meg's grandmother.

In the end, I was satisfied with SILENCED IN THE SURF if only for the chance to visit the Pacific Northwest again with the millennials who I now consider book friends. I am hooked on the series and ready for the next adventure with Meg, Jill, and Matt.

I recommend reading this series in order.

I purchased a copy of SILENCED IN THE SURF since I enjoyed Books 1 and 2 in the series. 

Oneonta Creek
Image by Rocketstove (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 extreme sports - have you sampled any?  I was required to participate the "slide for life" at AFROTC camp.  I held on for life to an overhead bar as I slid down a rope from a tower to a lake.  Yes, I jumped into the water!

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Kate and her books at

18371392Slayed on the Slopes (Pacific Northwest #2)

Book 1 and 2 of the Pacific Northwest Mystery series

Aloha to Lynnette Austin and EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY (Magnolia Brides Book 2)


Cricket O’Malley can’t wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she’s returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory. The only blemish? Her neighbor’s house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.

Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he’d have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet Georgia town of Misty Bottoms, but his bubbly neighbor seems determined to shine happiness into Sam’s life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise…

Barnes & Noble
Books A Million
Indie Bound

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse. 

Lynnette’s Tip for the Perfect Wedding

He’s asked you to be his wife. After you’ve shared the good news with family and close friends, what should you do? Save that date! Choosing a date can start the whole ball rolling. It will help with colors, theme, and food. It will help you decide on that all-important dress! If you have lots of out-of-towners attending, keep this in mind as well as a venue and weather conditions. Florida outdoor weddings are wonderful, but in July or August? The heat and humidity will be unwelcome guests.

A spring wedding can be light and breezy with pastels and tulips, daffodils, lilacs, and peonies. Think summer and it’s bright with so many flowers to pick from. Sunflowers to roses, magnolias to sweet peas. Autumn weddings bring to mind the russets and burnt oranges, the deep reds and golds. Chrysanthemums and fall foliage, golden and dark orange roses, dahlias and gerberas. For winter weddings, red and cream roses, mistletoe, gardenias and orchids, along with Star of Bethlehem. The colors, feel, and flowers will be much easier to deal with once you save that date.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lynette offers an excerpt from EVERY BRIDE HAS HER DAY ... 

“Hold on a sec.” Sam raised a finger and headed back inside. Grabbing the small radio he’d found tucked inside a closet, he placed it on the ledge above the sink, dialed up a station that played a lot of Frank Sinatra, and opened the window. The music drifted into the twilight.

In another cupboard, he found a stub of a candle in a squat holder. His aunt Gertie’d probably kept it in case of a power outage. It would do. He lit it and stepped outside to find Cricket curled up on the back porch swing, Hobo at her feet.

“So you decided to come home,” he said to the dog. “You’ve been gone half the day.”

In answer, Hobo thumped his tail on the porch.

“Yeah, I know. You heard steak was on the menu for dinner.”

The tail thumped harder, and Cricket laughed, a warm, sultry sound.

Sam set the candle on a small side table, his system on high alert.

Cricket O’Malley. The girl-next-door meets sex goddess.

He didn’t understand it, but that didn’t seem to matter. Chemistry fairly sizzled between them.

He cleared his throat, then leaned down beside the fire circle. After he got a nice little blaze started, he pulled an old bench close. “I know we don’t need the heat—” He broke off. No, they sure didn’t. If they got within ten miles of each other, they generated enough of their own. “I mean, uh, I thought it might add a little ambiance.”

“Nothing I enjoy more than sittin’ around a campfire.”

“Have a seat then, and I’ll start the steaks.”

After he tossed them on the grill, he inched down beside Cricket.

The woman smelled like heaven. Or sin. He couldn’t decide which and slung an arm over the bench back. Hobo jumped up beside him.

Sam slid closer to Cricket to give the dog more room.

Hobo took it and more.

“You’re crowding me, boy.”

Those big eyes stared up at him, then Hobo threw his head back in an ear-piercing howl.

“Stop that!”

The dog answered with another mournful cry.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.” He tried to move the dog off the bench, but he’d become a boneless, dead weight.

Cricket laughed. “I think we both know what he wants.”

Sam let out a half-laugh. “You up for it?”

“I can handle it if you can.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m up for it.” He rolled his eyes. “Wrong way to put that, but—”

He broke off as she laid a hand on the side of his face, leaned into him, and gave him a taste of heaven.

“Not enough,” he muttered, pulling her closer, dipping his lips again and angling them to take more. He trailed kisses along her neck, then moved back to her mouth. His hands moved down her arms, brushed the sides of her breasts.

A log dropped and sent up a loud popping and a shower of sparks.

He drew back and laid his forehead against hers, noticed, thank you God, her ragged breathing matched his own. “Cricket—”

“Shhh.” She laid a finger over his lips. “Let’s just accept that for what it was.”

“What was it?”

“Darned if I know.” She laughed. “But Hobo’s quiet.”

Sam looked at the dog who, job done, had hopped off the bench and rested in the grass. “I’m liking that dog more every day.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Washington Loves Readers Luncheon - Spotlight on Anne Barton

The Washington Romance Writers (WRW) are hosting its annual Reader Luncheon (link) on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  I look forward to chatting with Anne Barton.  From her website (link),

Anne Barton started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Anne is the creator of the Honeycote series, including ONE WILD WINTER'S EVE:


As the Duke of Huntford's sister, Lady Rose Sherbourne follows the rules of well-bred society. Always chaperoned. Never engaging in unseemly behavior. Well, except for that one summer, years ago. And yet she's never been able to forget that handsome stable master or the stolen moments they shared. She's always wondered what might have happened if he hadn't disappeared without a word... Now she's about to find out.


Charles Holland never expected to see Lady Rose again. And yet the years haven't lessened his devotion—or his desire—in any way. Despite their differences in class, Charles cannot stop himself from wanting to possess her. But as they uncover one intimate secret after another about her family, they realize that, this time, their love may come at a very dear price...


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 your weakness - Anne's are "Reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee".  My weaknesses are Hawaii TV, cute cats, and chocolate.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Cute shoes, er, slippahs

Aloha to ML Buchman and FLASH OF FIRE (A Firehawks Novel)


Fourth in M.L. Buchman’s critically acclaimed Firehawks romantic suspense series ...

When former Army National Guard helicopter pilot Robin Harrow joins Mount Hood Aviation, she expects to fight fires for only one season. Instead, she finds herself getting deeply entrenched with one of the most elite firefighting teams in the world. And that’s before they send her on a mission that’s seriously top secret, with a flight partner who’s seriously hot.

Mickey Hamilton loves flying, firefighting, and women, in that order. But when Robin Harrow roars across his radar, his priorities go out the window. On a critical mission deep in enemy territory, their past burns away and they must face each other. Their one shot at a future demands that they first survive the present—together.


M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews and is a 2016 RWA RITA finalist. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. He is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics. You may keep up with his writing and receive exclusive content by subscribing to his newsletter at


Dear Reader,

Welcome to the latest in my Firehawks world.

Flash of Fire posed an interesting challenge for me right from the first page. There is a balance in building a romance world: I want it to be big enough to be interesting and small enough to be cozy.

In Pure Heat, Full Blaze, and Hot Point I had focused on the fliers of the three big Firehawk helicopters. But I didn’t want my little Mount Hood Aviation heli-aviation wildland firefighting group to get much bigger. Another consideration was that the series name is Firehawks and I wanted to honor that with another story using a pilot of one of the converted Black Hawk helicopters.

The challenge was that I already had married couples in each of the three pilot seats: Emily Beale, Jeannie Clark, and Vern Taylor.

And then I remembered a little scene in the Night Stalkers Bring On the Dusk.

Emily hadn’t eaten breakfast and only picked at her lunch complaining of a queasy stomach from the flight.

“Either that or you’re about to have another kid,” Claudia teased her.

Emily looked down at her perfectly flat stomach and then began swearing. “I’m going to kill Mark. I’m just going to kill him.”

“You don’t want another kid?” Claudia didn’t know whether to laugh or be shocked.

“The man is so insatiable, not that I’m complaining. We ran out of protection and figured one time without wasn’t going to…” She sighed and then rubbed her belly gently. “It’ll be alright.” She told her midriff. “You just won’t have a father.”

The goofy smile that bloomed on the woman’s face did something to Claudia.

Well, crap! I’d made poor Emily pregnant back in March, a year ago. So apologies for the 15-month pregnancy (no wonder she’s so pissed off by the time she’s too pregnant to fly in Flash of Fire).

With her seat now open, I needed someone who could fill it. Fill Emily Beale’s seat? Who was I kidding? She was the most kickass heroine I’d ever written. Well, I wasn’t the only one feeling daunted, the poor character I put in her place was plenty overwhelmed as well.

But then Robin Harrow never met a challenge she couldn’t face down…at least not until she met Mickey Hamilton, the pilot of a smaller Bell Twin-212. Which also solved my initial problem of transitioning from the big Firehawks to the smaller birds in the fleet.

I always love it when the characters take the story right out of my hands and run with it and Flash of Fire was certainly one of those.

Hope you enjoy the flight,

M. L. “Matt” Buchman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sourcebooks offers an excerpt from FLASH OF FIRE ...

Best buddies Mickey and Gordon have been jostling for attention from Vanessa, one of the other helicopter pilots. Gordon and Vanessa are assigned off to one fire, Mickey and the new pilot to another. They’re standing on the airfield about to part ways.

Mickey almost left Gordon to his own devices, but he’d be bound to screw it up. Just as he was duty bound to try to cut his friend off from any attractive woman, he also had to help him if he could.


“What?” his friend still looked a little overwhelmed.

“With Vanessa, just be yourself. Don’t gum it up with trying to be charming; it doesn’t work for you.”

“Sure it does,” he protested. “I’m a charming kind of guy.” He shot Mickey a grin.

Then he looked more carefully at Mickey’s expression and sighed. Mickey didn’t have to say a word.

“Okay, maybe not so much with the charm. Thanks, Mick,” and he turned for his helo.

Mickey caught his sleeve before he could move off, “Her name?” he nodded back over his shoulder toward the newbie.

“Robin something.”

“Like the bird?”

“Like,” that smooth female voice sounded from close behind him, “Robin Hood who will put an arrow in your ass if you say Robin Red Breast.”

Mickey turned to face her. He decided that all of his first judgments at a distance were accurate, and at this close range they were ten times more powerful—both the fine looks and the serious dose of attitude.

“Hi! Mickey Hamilton,” he held out a hand. “As long as it’s not a Firehawk you’re trying to ram up my ass, I’m fine.”

That earned a half smile; nice on the lips, not touching those crystalline pure blue eyes. Her hand was fine-fingered yet strong, like she did a lot of lifting with it. A lot. She glanced over his shoulder.

“He’s Gordon Finchley,” Mickey filled in before Gordon could speak and get a foot in the door. Helping him with Vanessa was one thing; easing his access to this pretty unknown was not going to happen. “Yeah, Finch just like a little Tweety bird. Don’t pay him any mind.”

“Hi, Gordon. Good luck in Leavenworth,” she leaned around Mickey and reached out a hand, which Gordon shook as he mumbled something unintelligible. Or perhaps it was intelligible and Mickey just couldn’t hear it.

He was struck by several things at once. It was the first time he’d actually seen Robin move, and both of his first guesses of ballerina and workout diva were equally justified. Her simple move was both lithe and powerful. Martial arts student perhaps. If so, it was a different form than his Taekwondo, something with more grace and flexibility.

Also, her lean toward Gordon had placed her so close that he could smell her. Her Nomex flightsuit was brand new and the woman wearing it smelled of clean soap and…cool ice—that impossible clarity of air when snow skiing. As if—newborn was the wrong image—newly wrought.

# # #

Gordon actually wasn’t fluttery like a Tweety bird, but he was also clearly a sweet man—a major mark against him in Robin’s book.

She knew from past experience that she tended to scare the shit out of men like him. They wanted her, but she would run over them roughshod, even on the rare occasions when she was trying not to.

This Mickey on the other hand, she had been able to feel him watching her from the moment she’d hit the line. He hadn’t shifted away as she reached past him to greet Gordon, letting her lean right into his personal space.

Guys named Mickey were supposed to look like hoodlums or something. Instead Mickey Hamilton looked like a cop…or a firefighter. The trustworthy kind, not the sneaky shit she’d always pictured slipping from her mother’s bed in the dark of the night and never coming back.

Up close she could appreciate how nicely broad his shoulders were. And he had the kind of blue eyes that could see through any fog or other BS—far away the best feature on a very handsome face. He was an inch taller than she was but looked bigger and more solid than his taller finch-friend.

Robin knew that—because her heritage was half firefighter and half truck-stop mama—she was a pushover for Mickey’s type. Now she had to ask if she wanted to be a pushover this time, or not.

She rocked back onto her heels and Gordon slipped out of her attention. Mickey didn’t fade in the slightest. He had a slow smile, a real one that showed beneath the quick grin he’d been using to tease his buddy.

He didn’t blink, squint, look away…or look down toward her chest. Mickey faced her eye to eye and offered that easy smile.

Summer is definitely looking up, she thought to herself. Most definitely. Didn’t mean she was going to make it easy for him.

“Mickey? Like the mouse?”

Gordon snorted out a laugh, slapped Mickey on the back, and headed away.

“Not Mickey Rooney either,” he offered in an unperturbed tone, showing no desire to hurry off to his aircraft.

“Not short and round?”

“Nor likely to break into a song-and-dance routine. And Mickey Mantle died about the time we both entered grade school, so I’m not him either.”

“How about Mickey Blue Eyes?”

“Well, my name is Mickey. Eyes are blue.”

“You don’t strike me as the Hugh Grant romantic comedy type.”

He shrugged noncommittally, “You the type to watch them?”

“Not so much,” Robin admitted. Astute question. “So, Mick Blue Eyes it is.”

At that he smiled and those blue eyes lit and sparkled with laughter that was only suggested by the sudden curve of his lips.

Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon.jpg
Mount Hood reflects in Mirror Lake, Oregon
Public Domain (link)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Aloha to Jodi Thomas and LONE HEART PASS (Ransom Canyon Book 3)


The incomparable Jodi Thomas is celebrating the release of LONE HEART PASS, Book 3 in her Ransom Canyon series.  She offers a guest post ... 

Someone asked me once what I would be if I didn’t write. My answer was I’d be a teacher. Teachers change the landscape of your life. Mrs. Dickerson in the fourth grade saw that I couldn’t read. She took the time to learn why and send me to a school for two summers. She opened the world of fiction for me. Without her, I would have been fine. With her, I’ve lived a much richer life.

As a writer I meet many interesting people and some of them are in my mind.

When I began LONE HEART PASS two people stepped into my mind. One, Jubilee Hamilton, who has just had all her dreams crash and the other, Charley Collins, who feels like he’s never had the chance to follow even one dream. Both are fighting to simply survive. Together they learn to start believing in love and form a dream, not of riches or fame, but of family.

Jubilee and Charley came to me fully developed. I saw them sit down in front of my desk (in my mind) and begin to tell me their story. Charley’s love for his daughter. Jubilee’s need to put down roots. His knowledge of ranching. Her fascination with keeping records and charts. Them learning to trust one another when no one believed in either of them.

I’m now the writer in residence at West Texas A&M University and the best part of my job is setting down with students in my office and beginning our journey with, “So, you want to be a writer?”

So now you can step into Texas with me. I promise you’ll love Charley and Jubilee. 

File:Scenic Ransom Canyon near Lubbock, TX IMG 0152.JPG
Image by Billy Hathorne (link)


With a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubalee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and its abrasive foreman are all she’s got.

Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he’s been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubalee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic.

Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. When he leads an injured Steeldust horse to a ramshackle ranch, he needs help. A horse-stealing ring is on his trail and the sheriff suspects him…and his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.

LONE HEART PASS is available wherever books are sold and at

Jodi Thomas

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at

Robert Bruno's Steel House overlooking Ransom Canyon
Image by Leaflet (link)

I am giving away a print copy of LONE HEART PASS to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let chat about that steel house - here's a link.  What do you think of the "sculpture"?  Have you seen an unusual house in your travels?

A La Ronde in Devon, England, is a "quirky 18th-century, 16 sided house with fascinating interior decoration and collections", maintained by the National Trust (link).

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Aloha to Anna Harrington and HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS (The Secret Life of Scoundrels Book 3)


Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of a baron, is officially on the shelf. But the silly, marriage-minded misses in the ton can have their frilly dresses and their seasons in London, for all she cares. Josie has her freedom and her family . . . until an encounter with a dark, devilishly handsome stranger leaves her utterly breathless at a house party. His wicked charm intrigues her, but that's where it ends. For Josie has a little secret . . .

Espionage was Thomas Matteson, Marquess of Chesney's game-until a tragic accident cost him his career. Now to salvage his reputation and return to the life he loves, the marquess must find the criminal who's been robbing London's rich and powerful. He's no fool-he knows Josie, with her wild chestnut hair and rapier-sharp wit, is hiding something and he won't rest until he unravels her mysteries, one by one. But he never expected to be the one under arrest-body and soul . . . 

Anna is an English professor in Chattanooga, Tennessee and a lover of all things chocolate and coffee. She's a member of RWA and when she's not hard at work writing her next book or planning her next series, she's watching BBC and piloting her own aircrafts.

Forever Romance offers a giveaway at this link ... and an except from HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS ...

With determination, she snatched a glass of punch from a passing footman and weaved her way across the room, unable to tamp down her growing curiosity about him and the inexplicable yearning to meet him. Would those midnight blue eyes be just as intriguing up close? Would that mouth would be just as sensuous?

Sighing at her own foolishness, she slipped through the crowd like a moth drawn toward a flame. She should have been watching over her brothers. At the very least, she should have been watching for Miranda Hodgkins. Instead, she was stalking a handsome stranger, lifting her glass ever so slightly as she glided toward him, bumping her arm against his—

And spilled punch across his jacket sleeve.


“Oh, I’m so sorry!” She gasped as his hand immediately took her elbow to steady her…or to keep her from spilling the rest of the punch, she wasn’t certain which. But when she glanced up at those sapphire eyes and a warmth stirred low in her belly, she didn’t care.

Oh yes. Those eyes were just as intriguing up close.

With a shake, she collected herself. “How awful of me!” she exclaimed and brushed her fingertips at the few droplets of punch still clinging to his sleeve.

The two Sinclair ladies excused themselves with a touch of embarrassment for her, which Josie didn’t give one whit about. Especially when the corners of his mouth curled sensuously at her in amusement.

“No harm, I assure you.” His voice came as a deep purr.

She cleared her throat at the responding shiver that scattered through her like warm rain. “I’m so terribly clumsy.” She continued to brush at his sleeve long after the punch had been cleared away, inexplicably unable to stop herself from touching him. “Everyone’s always saying, ‘Josephine Carlisle, how absolutely clumsy you are!’”

She thought she saw knowing laughter sparkle in his eyes before he sketched her a shallow bow. “Miss Carlisle, something tells me you’re not truly as clumsy as you protest.”

His words were just cryptic enough to give her pause and make her wonder again who this man was and why he was at the earl’s party when men of his caliber never came to Blackwood Hall. But at least they were now engaged in conversation, and she had managed to accomplish the meeting—albeit by the most wretched self-introduction in history—without having to seek out someone to do the honors for her. And she didn’t feel the least bit guilty at her subterfuge. Just hearing that voice had been worth it, no matter how briefly the meeting might last.

Deep in her heart, she wished it would last a good long while.

She smiled apologetically. “I do hope I haven’t ruined your jacket.”

“It’s fine.” His eyes swept deliberately over her as he murmured, “Very fine.”

Her heart skittered. Good Lord, was he flirting? With her? Despite her uncertainty, she blushed like a debutante at her first ball. Goodness.

“You’re not dancing.”

“Pardon?” she breathed, her foolish heart daring to hope that he might be asking…But no. His words were only an observation, not a request, and her stomach plummeted with disappointment.

Of course, he wasn’t asking her to dance. Why on earth would he make such a request of the clumsy woman who’d just doused him with punch? As if this man ever had to request a dance in the first place. Most likely, the London ladies would have all sought out his dance card if men possessed such things. And then her pride sank even lower as she realized she’d done exactly that herself by approaching him in such a pathetic ruse.

He nodded past her toward the dance floor where couples twirled in the roiling knots of a quadrille. “You’re not dancing,” he repeated.

“I’m saving my toes for the waltzes,” she offered, curious to see how he would respond to that.

“Ah, toe preservation,” he replied with mock gravity, his eyes gleaming. “A noble cause.”

She smiled, strangely satisfied at his answer. Truly, she would have been incredibly disappointed had his response been anything less entertaining. “Indeed, sir, but perhaps I’m biased since I have a personal interest in the matter.” She gave a small laugh. “Ten, to be exact.”

When he followed the dart of her eyes to her slippers, which she wiggled beneath the hem of her gown, he slid her a charming grin that trickled its way down her spine with a languid warmth. The laughter caught in her throat.

Entertaining? Well, that was the understatement of the year. This man was utterly captivating. And for one shameless moment, bewildered at how he could draw such an inexplicable reaction from her so immediately, she wanted very much to become his captive.

“And you?” She cleared her suddenly tight throat and hoped her voice sounded much steadier than she felt. “Why are you not dancing?”

“I prefer the side of the room.” Then he leaned in slightly as he admitted in a low voice, a faint smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “So much easier that way for beautiful ladies to purposefully spill punch on my sleeve to gain my attention.”

Her mouth fell open, and she gaped at him. Speechless. Both at his audacity at calling her out for her ruse and for claiming she was beautiful. And at her reckless desire to hear him say it again.


Books 1 and 2 in the series ...