Bring on the cookies–It’s Release Day

Gingerbread, shortbread, frosted sugar, chocolate chip…what do these have in common? Sure, they’re cookies, but they’re also one of the main ingredients in a new collection of holiday stories from The Wild Rose Press!

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Get in the holiday spirit this year by curling up with your favorite beverage and a Christmas story–and don’t forget the cookies! The novellas cover a range of genres including everything from contemporary romance to cozy mysteries and werewolves.

Today is release day for my novella “Cookie Collision!” Here’s a peek at it and a few others from the contemporary romance collection.

Happy reading! Let the merry season begin!
Darlene

–Justin moved into the room, set the things on a side table, and perched on a chair. Watching her, he could practically see the pain fade from her face. Her brow smoothed, and the tension he’d noticed around her lips disappeared. He fought the urge to brush a kiss across her forehead. She looked way too peaceful to disturb. But now what? Sit here and watch her sleep? Sneak out the door? He couldn’t leave it unlocked, and he had no idea whether she’d be down for the night or if she did power naps.

Finally, he took off his shoes and quietly padded to the kitchen to deal with supper. For now, everything could go in the fridge. Feeling like an intruder, he moved stealthily around her kitchen. With that task completed, he grabbed a newsmagazine from a basket and settled into a chair across from his patient…and/or dinner date.

Twenty minutes later, Alana stirred. She pulled up her arm and adjusted her position. Then her eyes opened.

“Hey,” he whispered.

She bolted upright. “Oh, my gosh. Justin. Did I fall asleep? I’m so sor—”

He held up a hand. “Shhh. No worries.” He handed her the glass of water and tablets. “Why don’t you take a couple of these then I’ll wrap your ankle.”

For him, the biggest issue was not the condition of her ankle but trying to stay in professional mode and ignore the feel of her smooth leg under his hands. Seated on the table in front of the sofa, he forced his eyes to focus on the strip of fabric as he wound it around both foot and ankle and secured it firmly. “How’s that feel?”

Alana nodded. “That’s amazing. It’s better already.” Luminous eyes met his. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Keeping it tight is the key.” He couldn’t help himself. He reached out and touched her hair. “Sorry you had a bad day.”

A light sparked in her eyes, and she sat straighter. “I didn’t have a bad day.”

Frowning, he cocked his head. “You didn’t? Looks like the ankle was, well, a big pain.”

She grinned. “It was. Except for this stupid ankle, I had a great day. I got two offers on the house, and another couple that’s interested is supposed to let me know tomorrow. That means we could have a bidding war and get more than our asking price. And that is a good thing.”

Justin couldn’t help laughing. He held up his hand for a high-five. “Very nice.” He loved her triumph-over-adversity attitude.

“Hey, food’s in the fridge. Easy to heat up whenever you’re ready.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” She glanced toward the kitchen then met his eyes again. “Are you— Can you stay?”

He felt a pull deep inside as those questioning blue eyes leveled on him. Yeah, he wanted to stay.–

Get your copy today!

https://www.amazon.com/Cookie-Collision-Christmas-Cookies-Darlene-ebook/dp/B09FXHKZDH/

https://books.apple.com/us/book/cookie-collision/id1585465393

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cookie-collision-darlene-deluca/1140147032?ean=2940162321422

The entire cookie collection

includes about 50 books.

Here’s a peek at a few other contemporary romances. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles by Maria Imbalzano

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Favorite quote from author:

“Dean’s gaze zeroed in on her, and her thoughts fuzzed. No way was she going to get out of this chair, sporting flannel pajamas and bunny slippers.”

Book Description:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella’s parents. But he’s a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents’ gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean’s generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

https://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Crinkles-Christmas-Sprinkles-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09FYVGDWR/

Tinsel and Tea Cakes by Jill Piscitello 5117yDXeTHL

Step back in time for an unforgettable winter wedding. 

Book Description:

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

https://www.amazon.com/Tinsel-Tea-Cakes-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09J3FHCP8/

Let it Snowball by Margot Johnson perf5.000x8.000.indd

Christmas tours brim with cookies, lights, and…unexpected romance?

Book Description:

Divorced, empty nester Merilee is on a roll. Filled with scrumptious cookies and old-fashioned fun, her Christmas bus tours aim to add festive spirit to her hometown and new meaning to her lackluster life. Too bad her reserved driver slams the brakes on fun.

Widowed farmer Ross needs a little joy to combat his December blues. Behind the wheel, he wears a Santa suit but can’t muster a convincing ho-ho-ho. Too many memories block his road to happiness…until irrepressible Merilee sparks a snowstorm of unexpected feelings.

In two weeks of holiday tours, Ross might drive Merilee crazy…or will romance snowball inside their lonely hearts?

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09FX386MR/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

The Gingerbread Cookie Code by Ann M. Trader 51zGTWNKSaL

Computer geeks write code… and sometimes they bake them in gingerbread.

Book Description:

Clay Blackstone, avowed bachelor, is an ambitious computer design engineer at a prestigious firm. When an accident puts his dad on crutches, he returns home to help with his family’s Christmas tree farm, never expecting to find romantic entanglement with an alluring woman he remembers as a tomboy in braids.

As a single mother launching a bakery business, Shelby Turner has experience with measuring cups and watercolor paints, but not handsome, intriguing men—especially one who is her secret schoolgirl crush.

Between her sweet treats, his tech savvy, and their combined chemistry, will they risk their hearts and discover the code to their happily ever after?

https://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Cookie-Code-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GNNRW1M/

Are you a seasoned holiday book aficionado? Just browsing some holiday reads? 

Hope you’ll find a new favorite in the cookie collection!

Comments or questions for the authors? Leave them here!

Cheers to all!

Watching happy-ever-after unfold

Word by Word

From the day they are born, we spend a lot of time watching our kids. And delighting in that activity. Who didn’t watch their kids sleep when they looked so peaceful and angelic?

Like most parents, when our daughter was young, we hovered constantly, watching her roll over, crawl, take that first step, etc. During the school days, we watched countless soccer games, band concerts, piano recitals and horseback riding lessons. We had so much fun watching our daughter discover nature – taking her to Sea World, aquariums and zoos all over the country. There were parties and dances and awards ceremonies where her fun, her accomplishments, were our entertainment and pleasure.

Those years whiz by, and then come the big events: Watching her receive her high school diploma and her college degrees. A couple of weeks ago we had the joy of watching her get married! Wow! What an…

View original post 326 more words

Book birthday: scoring a second chance

Today, please welcome authors Liz Crowe and Desiree Holt! These two romance authors have teamed up for a joint project that is hot off the press. Take a peek at Numbers Game!

Former pro football player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Former pro football player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Olivia Grant’s ex-husband almost wrecked her journalism career while he definitely did a number on her self-esteem. The documentary on Duncan Hatcher is the perfect way to rebuild both. As a freshman in college, she’d had a crush on the senior football hero, but he hadn’t known she existed. She never expects the sparks that fly between them as they work on the project nor the struggles they must face if they both want to win.

The book, a contemporary romance with a sports theme, is available in a number of retail outlets. Pick up your copy here: UNIVERSAL BUY LINK

Excerpt:

Excerpt:

Hatch winced at the memory of how goofy he must have sounded to the lovely woman he was going to be having a fair bit of contact with this season. Olivia Grant was, without a doubt, beautiful, not to mention sexy as hell. She was a natural reporter, putting him at ease, even in the face of his high-school-ish reaction to her at first. But dear Lord, the crap he’d said? That shit about her being “better than she thought” at the race? And “looking for a foot in the door”? He’d sounded about as slick as the grandpas he’d been named for.

He groaned and pressed his forehead to the leather blotter on his new desk. After his divorce, he’d made a point not to notice women, something that was a bit of a self-imposed penalty. But there was no not noticing Olivia. Her soft, dark blonde hair that kept dropping over one of her deep green eyes as she’d look down at her notes, then back up at him. That smile, and those full, barely lip-sticked lips. And there was no denying she had a body that would be hard to shake out of his brain. Scott had told him she used to play soccer here, a few years behind him as an undergrad. How he’d not known her… Granted, he hadn’t been a big partier then, kept mostly to himself and his close group of friends and, as always, focused on the game.

But damn. He’d missed out on something then, without a doubt. He felt his face flush red and his entire body begin to react in ways that didn’t really serve him well as a fully grown man, with plenty of experience under his belt, so to speak.

Thankfully, she’d left before he could embarrass himself any more.

Home. Shower. Beer. Stare at a string of old movies on the giant television screen. Anything to get the lovely Olivia Grant and all her many attributes out of his head. She was, after all, the media. And everyone knew how he felt about the media.

It was get-a-grip time—on all parts of himself.

This was his chance at redemption. The opportunity was a godsend, considering the sorry state he’d left his life in on the west coast, and he didn’t intend to do anything to screw it up. He couldn’t afford to get distracted by a single thing. But how the hell was he going to do that when Olivia Grant might prove to be the biggest distraction of all?

Introducing Desiree:

USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and contemporary on a variety of heat levels up to erotic, a genre in which she is the oldest living author. She has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications. 

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor 

FACEBOOK PROFILE

http://www.facebook.com/desiree01holt 

TWITTER

 @desireeholt

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor 

FACEBOOK PROFILE

http://www.facebook.com/desiree01holt 

TWITTER

 @desireeholt

Pinterest: desiree02holt

Signup for my newsletter and receive a free book:
https://desireeholt.com/newsletter/

Introducing Liz:

Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She’s spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

TWITTER

http://www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/etlizcrowe/

http://www.lizcrowe.com

WEBSITE

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/r2a2q5

NEWLETTER SIGN UP/FREE BOOK

Happy book birthday to Liz, Desiree and Numbers Game, and happy reading to all of you!

Darlene

Valentine Smooches for You! XOXO

Ahh, the kiss . . . affectionate peck . . . spine-tingling tease . . . soul-scorching lip lock . . . Anyone seen the movie Cinema Paradiso? Remember how the movie man, Alfredo, had to cut out all the kissing scenes from the movies, and then he put them all together on a reel for Salvatore? It’s a great montage of kisses!

Here’s a kiss reel of literary smooches! Enjoy! TSBU kiss

Reed leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

He threaded one hand into her hair while the other tipped her chin.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen couldn’t speak but managed a nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa and ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?  The Story Between Us/Sweet contemporary romance by Darlene Deluca https://www.amazon.com/Story-Between-Us-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B08DCVKMWV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=darlene+deluca&qid=1612996833&s=books&sr=1-1

“This is the proof we need. Oh, Tom. Thank you!” Becky grasped his shoulders and lifted on her toes, aiming for his cheek. 

Instinctively, he turned his head and their lips brushed in a brief kiss. Simmering desire roared into a full-blown bonfire. But she jerked away before he could get his arms around her and draw her into the flames with him.

“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” she stammered. 

“I’m sorry you didn’t mean to as well.”  Tom Sawyer Returns by E.E. Burke https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Sawyer-Returns-New-Adventures-ebook/dp/B08S9RF6TQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=K39HI2UMGFX8&dchild=1&keywords=ee+burke&qid=1613157930&sprefix=EE+Bur%2Cstripbooks%2C168&sr=8-1

“I…You…” He groaned and pulled her toward him, brushing his lips against hers. They were soft, giving, like everything about her. After the intractability of his father, he welcomed the change.

He needed the change. But he needed Dina more.

She gripped his elbows, and he kissed her. She tasted like wine and chocolate. His hands memorized the outline of her body beneath her sweater. In a corner of his mind he wondered if his hands distracted her as much as hers distracted him. Because hers currently played with the hair on the back of his neck and sent chills along his spine.

The thought came to him in a rush of panic. Like everyone else he’d ever cared for, she would leave him. 

He leaned forward, determined to make her stay. The gearshift dug into his rib, but he ignored the jab, needing to get closer. Pulling her against him, he traced kisses along her jaw. He nuzzled the skin behind her ear, smiling as she gasped. When her mouth opened, he plunged his tongue inside. She stilled before her tongue met his.  Learning to Love/contemporary romance by Jennifer Wilck On sale for 99 cents through 2/19 https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Love-Serendipity-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07J49V5SP

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Mandi leaned toward him, opened her mouth, and wiggled the pretzel on the tip of her tongue.

The invitation in her eyes stole his breath like a punch to the solar plexus. He moved in, ready to retrieve the pretzel. Just as their breath mingled, she quickly drew it back into her mouth. He helped himself to a handful of curls and landed a hard kiss on her lips instead. “You are a tease,” he said near her ear. “And you’ll pay for it.”

Laughing, she grazed his hand with her fingers. “Come on. One more dance then we go?”

Her whisper-soft touch sent an electrical current buzzing across his skin. “Yeah,” he managed. Something Good/contemporary romance by Darlene Deluca https://www.amazon.com/Something-Good-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B00J8UN1GI/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=darlene+deluca&qid=1612998121&s=books&sr=1-3

If Allison had ever imagined she would kiss Shane again in this lifetime, she would have imagined it this way. So sweet she wanted to die, so hard she tasted the need and the loneliness that bubbled up in both of them.

A sigh escaped her, and only drew him closer, and then he slipped the robe from her shoulders. He kissed her there and in the curve of her neck. When her knees buckled, he caught her and lifted her as if she was a wisp of marshland mist, a will-o-the-wisp. He sank onto the sofa, cradling her. She curled into his lap, put her arms around his neck, and kissed him again with all the heart of the young girl who’d first fallen in love with Shane McBride.  Will o’ the Wisp/ contemporary romantic suspense by Lucy Naylor Kubash http://lucynaylorkubash.com

“I can’t date the parent of one of my students.”

“What?”

His eyes narrowed as they bore into her.

“Is that a school policy?”

She looked away. “No. It’s not an official policy. But it’s not the way I operate.”

“Kate, I’m not married. It’s not like we’d be having an affair or something.”

“It just doesn’t look right, and I don’t ever want any suspicion of favoritism or inappropriate behavior.”

“Ah. I see.” He was quiet for a moment.

When she finally looked up, his mouth claimed hers. Heat surged through Kate, and her mind reeled as his lips moved over hers, warm and searching.

His hands pressed her back, and he stepped closer, deepening the kiss.

When he abruptly pulled back, she tightened her grip on his arm, dazed and unsteady.

“Might be time to re-think your position,” he said, lightly brushing his thumb against her lips.

Her lips were still buzzing when he closed the door behind him.  Unexpected Legacy/sweet contemporary romance by Darlene Deluca https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Legacy-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B00AW5NTC4/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=darlene+deluca&qid=1612999943&s=books&sr=1-7

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She examined her face in the bathroom mirror. She appeared as she felt—wasted. As she splashed cold water on her face, she heard knocking at the door. Drying her face and hands, she shuffled to the door and peered through the peephole. She opened the door and feasted on the sight of Aiden’s tall, powerful body looming above her. 

Without hesitation, Aiden wrapped an arm around her waist. As he closed the door with his foot, he gathered her to him and buried his face in her hair. Leila held on, burrowing close. On auto-pilot, she tilted her head. He captured her lips in a long drugging kiss as he buried his hands in her hair. For a few minutes, her world righted before she remembered where she was and why she was there. Breaking the kiss, she pulled away. She stepped back and wrapped her arms around herself.  Gravity by Mona Sedrak https://books2read.com/ap/8Yo0OQ/Mona-Sedrak

She drew herself up to full height, which was middling tall for a woman. “Noah is your brother,” she began, “If you can’t be bothered—”

    “Oh, I’m bothered, Miz Bramwell,” he said. “I’m tired and I’m hungry. I’m paying you to take care of—” 

    “And I’m telling you your brother needs your discipline,” she said, taking a step closer. 

He stepped toward her also. “If you calm down and tell me what he done—” 

“It’s did, Mr. Pershing. What he did was—” 

At her correction, Zeke saw red.

Her dark eyes glared at him and her mouth curved in a pout.

So he kissed her.  My Hope Secured/historical fiction by Theresa Hupp https://www.amazon.com/My-Hope-Secured-Frontier-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B07ZQM7SWP

“Janet,” he said, “you don’t want to get involved with me.”

       “I do,” she said. She bent her head and kissed him, gently at first. Then, as he began to respond, she slid her hand under his shirt and rested her palm on his warm, solid chest. She felt his heart beating.

       When at last she drew away, Wes looked at her for a long moment. Then he put his hands behind her head and pulled her back down to him.  Stranger in the Storm/romantic suspense by Patricia McAlexander https://patriciamcalexander.weebly.com

I held her close. She stroked my hair. With a thought I flipped the lights off; with another closed the wing of the piano. In the moonlight, I laid the woman of my dreams on top of the nine-foot concert grand, and I kissed her.

Breathing ragged, heart pounding, I stood back to worship her. I kissed her beautiful long neck, losing all consciousness except the wonders of her and the wonder that she was at last with me. I trailed my lips to her collarbone. She groaned, softly pleading.

Isabeau was trembling, her pupils so dilated her lavender blue eyes looked black.  Sinners’ Opera/Paranormal Romance (Vampire) by Linda Nightingale https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X3RSRXQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6

She leaned to kiss his cheek. An innocent gesture—until he suddenly turned to face her. Her lips landed firmly upon his.

Danielle should have backed away…should have resisted the temptation to explore. 

An explosion of tingles ignited from the tips of her curled toes to her fingertips as she received an immediate response. He tasted delicious.  Kissed By Winter/Sweet Contemporary Romance by Darlene Fredette  https://www.amazon.com/Kissed-Winter-Redford-Falls-Novel-ebook/dp/B08DZ6ZW2V/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Darlene+Fredette&qid=1613157289&s=books&sr=1-3

She had so not expected this, was totally unprepared for the way her body heated at his touch. His tongue swept into her mouth, stroking her tongue over and over until her knees turned to water and she had to grip his biceps to stay upright. He tasted hot, and a little desperate. Desperate for her. Her body arched toward him, his thumbs leaving a trail of fire in their wake.  

He stopped kissing her and she wanted to whimper in protest, to beg him not to stop. He leaned his forehead against hers, breathing heavily as his hands gripped her hips.

“Don’t go.” His voice was a rough whisper. “Stay with me tonight.”  To Heal A Heart/small town contemporary romance by Jana Richards https://www.amazon.com/Heal-Heart-Masonville-Book-ebook/dp/B0875SLGK6 

With his hands on her shoulders, Lane leaned in then planted a kiss on her cheek. That’s all he intended to do, but it was out of his control. As if some magnetic force surrounded them, they were propelled toward each other. He couldn’t pull away. And neither did she. Another second, and his lips found hers.

Her hands gripped his arms, and he deepened the kiss, his lips moving over hers with need and urgency, oblivious to everything around them.

When she let out a soft whimper, he broke off the kiss and pulled her against his chest, burying his face in her hair.  Something Good/contemporary romance by Darlene Deluca https://www.amazon.com/Something-Good-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B00J8UN1GI/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=darlene+deluca&qid=1612998121&s=books&sr=1-3

I walked him to the door, resolved to say good night and for once not mean goodbye. I didn’t want him to go.

“Stay.” I laid my head against his chest. “We can sleep on the Castro.”

His shudder was rewarding.

“If you only knew how long I’ve wanted to hear you ask me. Jesus.” He laughed, a shy embarrassed sound that gladdened my heart. “I can’t believe I’m about to say this.” He took a deep breath. “We shouldn’t. Not tonight.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not sure we’d be doing it out of love.” He looked at me with a question in his gaze. “I don’t want us to make love because we’re afraid.”

I frowned, my heart heavy, my spirit desperate to disagree, but unable to.

“Okay.” I sighed, but still clung to him. “Not tonight. But soon. And for the rest of our lives.”

“Soon. And for the rest of our lives.”

He cupped my face in both his hands then kissed me in our mutual agreement. Equal parts of nervousness and desire quivered in my belly. I liked the sensation, felt warmed as I imagined what soon would be like.  Haunted Serenade/gothic romance by Anna M. Taylor https://amzn.to/3aXifyu

Elmer slid his truck into a spot outside Margot’s apartment building, switched off the ignition, and sucked in a deep breath. Normally, he’d just ask for a good-night kiss. No big deal. But something about this tough little pixie urged caution and patience. Tonight, she’d loosened her armor just enough to glimpse the vulnerable softness beneath. If he wanted to see more, and he really, really did, he’d have to go slow.

   He took her hand and paused. When she didn’t pull away, he raised it to his lips. But before he could make contact, she made a funny grunting sound deep in her throat, tugged him close, and planted a wet smooch right on his mouth, her lips as soft and succulent as a ripe peach. For a second he froze. Then lust stomped on the gas. He crushed her against his chest and claimed what she offered.

   Rain pattered on the cracked windshield. In the darkness outside, the tires of passing cars hissed on wet asphalt. Inside, only the sound of their shallow breathing and the pounding of his heart, so damn loud she must surely hear it.

   Without releasing her, he pulled back just far enough to gaze into her face. Her deep blue eyes gleamed under the streetlamp’s feeble light.

   Her lips parted. “Wow, I uh…wow.” A deep blush painted her cheeks.  Love, Art, and Other Obstacles/contemporary romance by Sadira Stone https://books2read.com/u/bar2RP 

John smiles and cups the back of my head and we fall into a kiss. Our tongues dance together in sort of a slippery, erotic tango. I move closer to him and grasp his arm. I’m falling fast and hard and I don’t know how to stop myself. Not that I want to.

He pulls away first and holds my face between his hands. Then he kisses the tip of my nose. His lips travel to my cheek, my chin, and end at the nape of my neck, leaving me a hot, melting blob.

“Ace,” he whispers, we haven’t known each other long, and I know it might sound crazy, but I think I might be falling in love with you.”

Did I hear him right? My blob-self melts to a puddle on the floor. I pull it together long enough to say, “Thanks,” and pour myself out the door.  Cherokee Summer/ YA Romance by Susan Antony https://www.amazon.com/Cherokee-Summer-Susan-Antony-ebook/dp/B07L7GLGRG/

Shay turned to leave, but before she could walk away, Aden grasped her arm and pulled her to his chest.

“Uh-uh, no leaving before I get a kiss goodbye.”

Not one for PDAs, Shay glanced around. The coast was clear. She reached around his neck and pulled him in, giving him a fierce, swift kiss, then stepped back.

“Hey,” he complained, trying to get her back.

“I’ve got to go.” She giggled and danced out of his reach.  Rock House Grill/Romantic Suspense by D. V. Stone https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/

Catalina dove into the pool. Barely disturbing the surface, she cut through the water. Her hair flowed across he shoulders, tickling her with a feather’s touch. Five minutes passed. She looked to her left and saw Bonhomme resting against the side of the pool, elbows propped on the tile gutter. She swam a few more laps, then stopped and dipped her head back into the water.

 She waded toward Bonhomme. He reached out, pulled her close and held her with warm comforting hands. He placed a thoughtful kiss on her lips, moving to her neck and back to her lips again. He tasted her, then pulled away.  Return of the French Blue/suspense/women’s fiction by Pamela Boles Eglinski https://www.amazon.com/Return-French-Blue-centuries-International-ebook/dp/B008BDBKTS

He stepped closer, cupped her face in his hands, his thumbs resting on her cheeks, his exploring fingers spread into her hair.

He bent forward and kissed her on the lips. His long hair tickled her face, and intensely aware of his hard body, she let his strength call to her. His gentle tone tugged on heartstrings she never knew she possessed, and the sweet warmth of his touch lured her to lean into his hand. This close, his eyes were intense flecks of green, brown, and gold trapped within a black ring.

If he used magic on her, she didn’t care. All thoughts of the Guardians vanished. Nothing mattered. Only them. Only Cress. He created a longing in her that overshadowed everything else.

Her heart quickened and pulsated in a nice way. Maybe she could add lover to their relationship. A delightful shudder of anticipation rippled through her. — Woman in the Woods/ Fantasy romance by Darcy Carson https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Woods-Dragons-Return-Book-ebook/dp/B082S77VQ9/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=darcy+carson&qid=1613068531&sr=8-4

♥ Hope you enjoyed all those kisses! Happy Valentine’s Day to all! ♥

The Perfect Place for a Valentine Smooch!

Valentine’s Day weekend is the perfect day to think about kisses and romance. So on the blog today and tomorrow, it’s all about the smooch! First up, let’s talk about the perfect kissy locations! Many thanks to Janet McLaren, my favorite travel agent, for putting together this top-10 list for getting the perfect kiss pic!

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Here’s how to get them of you and YOUR sweetie:

  1. On the back deck of a cruise ship. Position yourselves so that you get the wake of the ship in the shot. Works well with a clear sky, interesting clouds, or a sunset. Better yet if your kiss is over a couple of glasses of champagne!
  2. Near an iconic structure. A classic fave is from Warsaw Square in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background! The Leaning Tower of Pisa is also a great example, because there’s a grassy lawn in front of it with plenty of space for crafting the perfect romantic backdrop.
  3. On a gondola ride in Venice. Get two shots — one with the city and canal behind you, and one with your gondolier in his jaunty striped shirt. I know it sounds “touristy,” but trust me on this one!
  4. In front of a waterfall. Really, just about any one will do, but may I suggest Niagara Falls? It’s big enough to create a wow! moment and a very splashy photo. Falls
  5. Near an iconic bridge. Probably nowhere is as glam as the Golden Gate Bridge framing the glory of San Francisco (drive to View Vista Point on the north side), but other famous bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge, Tower Bridge in London, or Liberty Bridge in Budapest are equally romance-inducing.
  6. In a colorful field of tulips. If you can’t make it to The Netherlands for this one, try a tulip festival near home! My faves are the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival outside of Mt. Vernon, Washington; the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival of Woodburn, Oregon, and the miles of tulip fields ablaze during Holland, Michigan’s famous Tulip Time festival (May 1-9 this year, but skip the crowds and go the week after).
  7. At the swim-up bar of a swanky all-inclusive beach resort. Order some fancy cocktails then have someone photograph your toast to romance! Be sure they get some palm trees in the background for maximum romantic effect.
  8. IMG_5364From the beach as the sun is setting. “Sunset beaches” are the best beaches! Think Panama City Beach, Florida (or really, about anywhere on the Florida Gulf Coast); Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; or Kaanapali Beach, Maui. If you’re in Hawaii, don’t forget your leis!
  9. In front of a showy fountain. If you can get there early enough to beat the crowds, then there’s no fountain as romantic as Trevi Fountain in Rome. Another lovely spot that happens to offer a variety of background options is the Raices Fountain in San Juan, Puerto Rico — I remember helping a couple there once with some fun off-angled pix (don’t be afraid to play around with your poses). And if you’re ever in Mazatlan, Mexico, don’t miss the dancing dolphins fountain on the waterfront!
  10. Up in the mountains. America is full of scenic wonders that make for dazzling romantic pix! Think Aspen, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Stowe, Vermont; and just about any of our fabulous national parks. Pro tips: if you’re at the Grand Canyon do not stand too close to the edge; and in Yellowstone stay away from the bison, they really hate getting their pictures taken with tourists.

If you need more romantic travel ideas, Janet can fix you up! 866-592-7351 | 972-231-0066 | jmclaren@cruiseplanners.com | www.cruiseplanforyou.com

All right now, don’t be shy! Tell us about your favorite smoochy spot!

 

Ta-dah! A shiny new cover!

After a couple of years of writing, revising, editing, querying, and editing some more, my contemporary romance The Story Between Us is inching its way into the world! Today, I’m excited to release the cover. The book will be published later this summer or early fall by The Wild Rose Press for its Sweetheart line.

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When a children’s book author gets a story idea from a young fan who’s lost his parents in a tragic accident, she knows she’s hit gold. She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake. But the boy’s guardian sees exploitation.
Stay tuned for release date!
Happy reading to all!
Darlene

Couples that Capture your Heart

When my kids were in elementary school one of the popular Valentine party games was a matching game. Room moms cut large paper hearts, then cut them in half and wrote the names of popular “couples” on each half . . . Romeo and Juliet, Beauty and the Beast, Hans Solo and Princess Leia, etc. The idea was for the kids to find their match.

It was just a fun way to pass some time during the classroom Valentine party. But it reminds me how fictional couples capture our hearts. So much so, that some book and movie couples become legend.

c0e3b31cedf0ae427b4600e905234257One of my favorite couples goes way back to childhood reading – Loved reading about the budding romance between Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder and their eventual marriage. A couple of other favorites: Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (of course), and Matt and Meredith from Judith McNaught’s novel “Paradise.” Movies also are a source of some of the greatest romances. A few that come to mind: Rose and Jack from Titanic, Sally and Harry, When Harry Met Sally, Ian and Toulah in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s have some fun. Everyone share your favorite couples!

Authors, take a few lines to introduce us to your “couple” characters. I’ll go first:

Darlene

From my novel “Unexpected Legacy,” fiction with romantic elements: Matt Dalton is about to meet his 16-year-old son for the first time. Kate Austen is an interim high school principal fighting to make her mark in a man’s world. Sparks fly when the two clash over the best approach to Matt’s son’s recovery given the recent tragedy in his life. Unexpected Legacy

Theresa Hupp’s latest novel, Forever Mine: Love Along the Oregon Trail, is the story of Esther and Daniel, who are emigrating with their families in a wagon train to Oregon in 1847. Esther and Daniel fall in love, but what chance does their romance have, when their fathers argue at every turn of the trail and their travels bring only danger, disease, and death? https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Mine-Along-Oregon-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0797F39SL

In Joyce Ann Brown‘s cozy mystery series, Beth and husband Arnie don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to Beth’s sleuthing, even when their “Psycho Cat” noses out clues. Arnie wants to stay clear of detecting. But he’s there for Beth when it counts.

When I was young I watched Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on a black and white tube TV and fell in love with the “singing cowboys/girls.” Today, as a writer of suspense and time travel, I’ve logged a number of characters. My first novel, Return of the French Blue, features Catalina Syrah and Nicholas Bonhomme. The story takes place in the California Wine Country, and the beautiful coast of southern France. Pit two strong spies against each other who desperately want to retrieve the legendary French Blue diamond—and you have the makings of a suspense-packed novel. The settings couldn’t be more beautiful, and the characters—oh my! I still see them in my dreams.  Please indulge at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008BDBKTS     Pamela B. Eglinski

Scroll through the comments below to discover other fave couples!

It’s book-for-a-buck month!

That’s right. During the month of July, Smashwords digital book seller is having a huge sale — and lots of books are only $1. That’s a great deal! And that means you can get my contemporary romance Something Good for only a buck!

Something Good was a Rone Award second-place winner in 2015, and also won Still Moments Magazine’s award for Best Ending. It has a 4.7 average review rating on Amazon, and some great reviews!

“… an absorbing story of redemption that’s hard to put down.” – Kirkus Reviews

“With surprising plot twists and unique character conflict, Something Good more than lives up to its name!” – InD’Tale Magazine

Get Something Good for $1

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Grab your copy, and enjoy!

Darlene

Happy Heart Day!

Happy Val

Hello, everyone! Hope you all are feeling the love today from significant others, fans, friends and family! Many thanks to all the readers who’ve shown my books a little love! Right back at you!

Today, the hubs and I are going out for a nice lunch and skipping the restaurant crowds tonight. Coming up on our 35th anniversary, we’ve kind of been there, done that! 🙂

There will most likely be chocolate and wine this evening.

However you celebrate the day – or not – enjoy!

Darlene