Posts in the Contemporary genre

Guest Post

How Reading Romance Shaped Mari Carr As a Writer

Into the Fire
I write because I read. It’s as simple as that. I grew up with my nose in a book and, as my mother would say, my head in the clouds. I truly believe reading enhances and builds imagination. In my case, it built it up to the point where I had a million stories inside my head fighting to get out on to the page. Looking back, I can almost chart my course from reader to romance writer by simply looking at the stories I’ve read.

I read my first romance book in middle school. I checked Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret out from the library no less than a dozen times in sixth grade. I was enthralled and scandalized by the kissing in the closet scene! Then, my mother gave me another book by Judy Blume. Forever.

My mother, ever the teacher, handed it to me the summer before tenth grade with the words, “We’ll talk about it when you’re finished.” I read it in one day. For those of you who haven’t read the book, it’s a great story about a teenage girl’s first time. After I finished the book, my mother asked, “What did you learn?” I said, “I learned that if you really love someone, it’s okay to have sex.” My mother said, “No, you learned you should wait until after marriage.” The fight that day was epic and in the end, my mother didn’t try to instruct me with books after that. Now, as adults, we still laugh whenever that story is told!

Of course, when I look back, I realize both my parents were instrumental in guiding my future career as a romance writer. My father was a HUGE fan of romance books (and shhh…even the erotic ones). I stealthily lifted his copies of Jackie Collins’ Lucky Santangelo books all the time. He caught me reading one once and after the initial shock wore off, he simply said, “Don’t let your mother catch you with that.”

Read More

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: SILENT KNIGHT by Becky McGraw

silent-knight-cover2-final
Thomas Griffin never thought he’d be a homeless vet at forty-six years old. But when he was no longer useful to the government he’d spent his life serving, they turned their back on him when he needed them most, costing him everything he ever loved. After that, he really didn’t care. Living his life on the fringe was safe and he didn’t have to worry about anything except his next meal. That safety remains until a beautiful socialite decides to come slumming for Thanksgiving on the wrong side of town and gets herself into trouble.

Over her fifty-five years of life, Lou Ellen Wells had received many blessings. To pay them forward and honor the men in her life who served her country, both living and dead, she cooked Thanksgiving Dinner at the Dallas Veteran’s Services Center every year. It was located in a bad part of town, but she’d never had a problem, until this year when she’s brutally attacked and can’t get to her gun. A bedraggled man with piercing blue eyes jumps to her rescue and saves her with moves out of an action movie. She gives him her card and offers him help, but he tells her doesn’t need saving and takes off like his tail is on fire.

A couple of weeks later, Lou is surprised when the man calls her asking for help of a different kind. A teenage girl he cares about has gone missing in gang territory. He’s afraid she’ll get killed if he doesn’t find her soon. Lou calls in the team to help him, but her price for that help is finding out why her Silent Knight, who is obviously skilled and educated, chooses to be homeless.

But will satisfying her curiosity about Thomas Griffin put her in the crosshairs of a terrorist group even more dangerous than MS-13?

Check out our exclusive excerpt of SILENT KNIGHT below! 


Keep your head, Lou, she thought, as she squirmed and clawed at the thick arms around her chest. Her heels wouldn’t allow her to get her feet under her, so she kicked them off. It would be easier to run without them too. Her purse was trapped behind her, between her and her assailant, so Bruno would be of no help until he released her.

But he didn’t release her, he spun her and slammed her into the brick wall and put his forearm under her chin. Her head connected with the bricks and pain sliced through her skull as she fought to bring her knee up to kick him in the balls. This evidently wasn’t his first assault, though, because he stayed just far enough away to prevent it.

Read More

Deadly Rising Ad Gif
Exclusive Excerpt, Giveaway

Exclusive Excerpt: One Week to Win Her Boss by Barbara White Daille!

OneWeektoWinHerBoss500x750
Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It’s a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she’s the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…

A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude.

Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she’s looking for.

One Week to Win Her Boss is the second stand-alone story in Barbara White Daille’s Snowflake Valley series from Entangled Bliss. And to celebrate this week’s book birthday, Barbara’s sharing an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway!


Thanks for welcoming me to EverAfter Romance! I’m happy to be here and thrilled to have a new release from Entangled Bliss, especially because my series is all about the holidays.

Read More

Guest Post

Love in a Small Town | Barbara DeLeo

FourWeddingsAndAFling-500x750
I’ve been writing romances set in small towns for over ten years now and I love every minute of it. I’ve set book in cities too – L.A and Auckland – but there’s just something about the dynamics of small town life that’s fascinating. Maybe I’m just a classic nosey parker, but I love the complex relationships in a small town, the incredible connections between people and the depths of history you can find there.

My parents were high school teachers and as they moved up in their careers it meant moving towns – always small. And by small, I mean 800-1000 people. Okay, there were some annoying bits, like when we’d go away on holiday and the minute we were back home and had switched the light on, there would be people knocking on the door needing something that couldn’t wait a second longer. There were humbling times too. I can remember vividly, the day we held the funeral for a boy in my class who had been killed in a car accident on one of our remote country roads. The whole town came to the cemetery that day and for weeks after when I walked past his parents’ house I’d see home baking and flowers on their front step, or one of their friends mowing their lawns or bringing in the laundry.

I’ve chosen to bring my kids up in a small town too and while my daughters roll their eyes and say our town’s boring, and my boys can’t wait to hit the mall when we visit the city, I think they secretly love it as much as I do.

Read More

Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Bulletproof Butterfly by Anna Brooks

I wasn’t a rookie, but I made a mistake because I was selfish, impulsive, and headstrong.

I was also in love.

My desire for her overwhelmed me. Consumed me. Distracted me.

To protect her, I stood motionless as my partner pried her from the security of my arms. I watched as she fought his hold. I even listened when she screamed that she hated me.

For years I’ve been patient, I’ve been smart, and I’ve gone by the book. But now… it’s finally over.

It’s time to get my girl back.

When I show up to reclaim what’s mine, I discover she’s not ready to forgive me quite yet… but that’s okay, because I have no problem reminding her just how good it used to be, even if I have to show her over and over again.

What I do have a problem with is the guy who’s been trying to take my place. Because here’s the thing, I’ve waited too long to have her in my arms again to have anybody stand in my way… and I’m done following the rules.

Check out an exclusive excerpt below! 


Without taking his concentration off me, he strides in my direction. The intensity of his attention is suffocating. I sharply draw in a gulp of air because he’s going to be in front of me in a second. Close enough to touch. To smell again.

He ignores another officer calling him and comes at me, stopping even closer than earlier. His arms raise, and the rough callouses on his fingers abrade my cheeks when he holds my face in his hands. “Are you okay?”

My lips part. Words form on my tongue but won’t roll off.

“Livvie.” He leans down so he’s eye level with me. “You okay?”

My heart hammers.

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

“Yes.” I practically moan, and we sway closer together. His thighs rub against mine, and he’s close enough that if I took a deep breath, my hardened nipples could seek relief from brushing against his chest.

A moment is all it takes. Time suspends and the air around us is without gravity as I float from a single touch. I don’t know exactly what it is, but something is happening between us. Something big.

“Ah! Motherfucker!”

A man yells, and I jump as Jay reacts before I can blink. He turns around, blocking me from seeing anything except his tense and muscular back. Grabbing me with one hand behind his back, he reaches for his gun with the other.

Shielding me.

A moment of panic surges through me, but when his shoulders relax and he lowers his hand from the gun on his belt, my head falls forward to land on the center of his back. His fingers flex on my hip, assuring me everything is okay—or at least he’ll make sure of it—and a state of lust immediately replaces my fear. So powerful it makes me whimper.

He turns around but remains close and lifts my chin, causing my head to tilt up so I lock eyes with his. “I need to see you later.”

“Okay.” I need him to see me. I want to see him, too.

“I’m off in two hours. Will you be home then?”

One hundred and twenty minutes. “Yes,” I whisper.

“Jesus.” He steps back and takes no shame in devouring me with his eyes. “Christ. Be ready for me, Livvie.”

©Anna Brooks

9781635761559_fcABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Anna Brooks began writing when she thought the world would want to hear her sick lyrics through song. Since then, she’s realized her childhood dream wasn’t so far-fetched, just misguided. Now she writes romance with real emotions and happy endings. If Anna isn’t writing or reading, she can be found by a space heater drinking a ridiculous amount of Diet Dr Pepper. She also likes to hang out with her husband and two boys. If it wasn’t for them, she wouldn’t ever leave the house. Anna was born in Wisconsin but now lives in the Evergreen State.

Follow Anna online! Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

Q&A

Q&A with Ally Matthews! | Offsetting Penalties

9781640633384
Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.


We had Ally Matthews, author of OFFSETTING PENALTIES, on the blog to answer our burning questions! Now, let’s jump in!

What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Sixteen Candles Spoiler Alert (highlight to reveal) The ending of Sixteen Candles. It was so wonderfully awkward and romantic at the same time for Jake to pick up Samantha after her sister’s wedding and give her a birthday cake after her family forgot her birthday. 

For The Princesss Bride, my favorite scene is where Buttercup pushes Wesley down the hill, and when he says, “As you wish,” she realizes who he his. Of course, I can’t help but judge her a bit for not recognizing who he was immediately. 

Read More

Cover Reveals

#GIVEMEBLUEBALLS!

RCBBlueBallsBookCover6x9_HIGH
BLUE BALLS

Truth: A painful condition caused by a prolonged state of sexual arousal without release.
Myth: Only affects males.

SARAH

I’m beyond frustrated with the man who’s left me high and very far from dry. Multiple times. But, somehow, even though I’m not interested in a relationship, Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome keeps me coming back for more—one crazy, sexual debacle after the next.

Come hell or high water, the stars will align, and the release will be out of this world.

JACK

I’m captivated with the woman who’s left me sixty-nine shades of blue, and she’s only in this for one thing. The first time, I blew it—and not in the good way—but I’m going to ensure we finally see it through. I need to put an end to this “plague” of sexual calamities and prove to Sarah that we can have more.

It’s time to grab the universe by the balls and show it who’s boss.


RC BOLDT is the wife of Mr. Boldt, a retired Navy Chief, mother of Little Miss Boldt, and former teacher of many students. She currently lives on the southeastern coast of North Carolina, enjoys long walks on the beach, running, reading, people watching, and singing karaoke. If you’re in the mood for some killer homemade mojitos, can’t recall the lyrics to a particular 80’s song, or just need to hang around a nonconformist who will do almost anything for a laugh, she’s your girl.

Connect with RC! Facebook Reader Group | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Instagram

Exclusive Excerpt, Giveaway

GIVEAWAY/EXCERPT: A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns

First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

 

Check out our exclusive excerpt below!


Working to suppress the shivers traversing her spine, Megan switched the travel mug of sweet-scented mocha to her free hand and tucked her half-frozen one into her coat pocket. She tried not to focus on how much warmer the shoulder was that was rubbing against Craig’s upper arm as they meandered the darkened streets of Webster Groves.

“I wish it were still Christmas so you could see it,” she said. “I always feel like I’m in a snow globe because the houses are done up so cute.”

“It’d be colder if it were Christmas. It’s mid-March, and I can’t feel my toes.”

“I told you that you needed a jacket.”

Read More

Guest Post

Why Arianna Hart Writes Happily Ever Afters

StormingTheCastle_Ecover_Final_500x750
My husband is a news junkie. He has the network news on TV and is on his iPad cruising other sites. When something big happens he is glued to the TV.

I hate that.

A lot.

I am not a news junkie. In fact, I would be really happy to only hear the weather report, the sports scores, and how kittens got rescued from trees. That doesn’t mean my head is in the sand or I walk around like Pollyanna, but why go searching for bad news?

I work in a school for kids who have dropped out or have been kicked out of regular school. I teach teen moms, drug dealers, drug addicts, gang members, depressed students, bullied students, and a huge cross section of LGBTQ students who felt they didn’t fit in at their regular high schools. Many of my students are now or have been homeless. Many of them have been abused or neglected by the very people who are supposed to love them the most. This year alone I had 3 students die from drug overdoses.

Trust me when I say, I know the world has bad things in it.

Read More

Guest Post

Top 5 Sexy Baseball Players by Lynn Stevens

 

Aw, baseball, America’s pastime. There’s nothing better than sitting in the stands and watching a player smash a 90+ mph fastball over the wall. The art of the game, the patience, the strategy, and those hot baseball pants, what’s not to love?

I’m a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, but I love watching games even if my RedBirds aren’t playing. Pitching duels, high scoring games, the long ball, I’ll sit through anything. Even a rain delay. Naturally, I also enjoy the sexiness on the field.

So here are my top 5 sexy baseball players who don’t play for the Cardinals:

  1. Kris Bryant – 3rd baseman for Chicago Cubs – just look at those eyes. It also helps that he’s one hell of a player. His batting stance is almost perfect.
  2. Derek Jeter – former shortstop for New York Yankees – no list is complete without Jeter who seems to get better with age. Retirement suits him.
  3. Kevin Kiermaier – center fielder for Tampa Bay Rays – I watch the Rays when I can. For good reason.
  4. Dustin Ackley – 2nd baseman for Los Angeles Angels – The crooked smile is stuff novels are made of.
  5. David Freese – 3rd baseman for Pittsburgh Pirates – Okay this is a bit of a cheat since Freese was the hero of the Cardinals 2011 World Series run, but he plays for the enemy now so…

Read More