Friday, October 31, 2014

A Cotillion Christmas

We should probably be talking about spooky stuff today, but I wouldn’t have a clue where  to begin. Sorry!

Earlier this year, Ellora’s Cave announced the gradual phasing-out of their Blush line, under which are the Cotillion Regencies. As I understand  it, there may be a few more (previously contracted) books issued, but only in the Blush line itself, which includes slightly more sexy books than traditional Regencies. Sadly, that means that this year’s batch of Cotillion Christmas stories will be the last of the line, as well.  So, here they are, one last time, for your delectation!

Christmas Fete  Barbara Miller released October 15, 2014
     When Dinah’s father inherits an estate, he decides 
she and her brother must go settle the matter. They 
arrive to find the place in need of much repair—and 
holiday spirit. As Dinah plans a cheerful fete for 
Christmas in hope of winning over the locals, she 
finds herself winning over someone else as well—
Richard, the handsome man who lives next door.    
     Richard never expected to meet someone like 
Dinah—a woman who is headstrong and decisive. 
A woman he could spend his life with. Unfortunately, 
Richard needs a Christmas miracle to extricate 
himself from a  tricky obligation.
     If it’s a miracle he needs to be free, Dinah is deter-
mined he’ll get it—that way they can spend their Christmas fete together and everyone can enjoy their happily ever afters.

Her Very Major Christmas: Saralee Etter  October 23, 2014

   Young widow Rosalind Joslin has dedicated herself to
helping others to get over her grief -- she's skilled in making healing lotions and salves, jellies and candies. Raised in India, she's always longed to experience a proper English Christmas with holly and the traditional feast and Christmas pudding.
    Rosalind's late husband's cousin, Major Harry 
Joslin, is recovering from the wounds he received at Waterloo -- wounds both physical and emotional. A career soldier, he's also dealing with a sudden inheritance: His cousin died unexpectedly and now he has a title and all the trimmings.
     They meet for the first time during this Christmas season, and discover both love and healing.

Size of the Scandal  Jillian Chantal, released October 30, 2014
     Charlotte Greystone can’t seem to stay out of 
trouble. When her father betroths her to a man she 
hasn’t seen in almost ten years, she runs away. 
Never mind that it’s days before Christmas and she 
has no survival skills.
     When she’s almost crushed by hunters on horse-
back, a handsome man on a black stallion comes to 
her rescue. Not thinking of the scandal of being alone 
with a strange man, she allows him to assist her in 
returning to her home.
      The next day, Charlotte is appalled when the butler 
announces her betrothed—the same man she shared a 
horse with the day before. Terrified he will tell her father of her behavior or cause an even bigger scandal by breaking off the engagement, Charlotte is knocked off-kilter—and stays that way as she spends the hours until Christmas 
trying to understand the man.

                It's Never Enough by Cynthia Moore, November 6, 2014.   

    Lady Selina Durwood has been in love with Lord Robert Crestor since she was a young girl. As the years passed by and their relationship matured, it was assumed by all who knew them they would eventually marry. But before leaving to join the fight against Napoleon, Robert releases her from any such agreement.
    Invited to spend the Christmas holidays with her parents at Robert’s family’s estate, Selina agrees to attend believing Robert is still stationed with his cavalry in Brussels. But upon entering the kitchen with her maid for a late-night meal, she unexpectedly encounters Robert.
    Through his strange questions and behavior, it becomes   clear to Selina that Robert is quite confused about her feelings for him. Will she be able to convince him that she is the only one for her? With a little help, she just might.

The final story for this year is A Christmas Scheme by Vivien Jackson and Christa Paige, due out on November 13, 2014.

    With her brother’s recent marriage, Kate Avery is no longer required to keep his house or look after their younger sister. She’s free. But for what? Secretly, she wishes for purpose and adventure, but finding it in the dull countryside seems unlikely. And then her brother arrives from London just in time for Christmas...with a visitor from a foreign land.
     A displaced Bengali lord, Kiran now serves the British crown in a covert capacity. Whilst on a mission to deliver a message to the Earl of Withering at his country estate, Kiran accepts an invitation to spend Christmas with the Avery family. He feels out of place and is eager to leave, until he meets Kate, who shares his desire for adventure.
     Caught in a winter storm, Kate and Kiran both must choose between the loyalties they have long held and the unexpected affection that blooms between them.

Enjoy the Cotillion Christmas stories for 2014!

                                                                -- Hetty St. James 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 NaNoWriMo-Bound!

I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I did it once before, in 2010, when I wrote what became the Samhain Publishing novel “God of Fyre Mountain” (Guardians of Light Book 6). Since “Moonwitched” is all but finished—and it WON the 2014 Utah RWA Heart of the West contest, BTW—and destined to hopefully become Book 7, the final installment of the Guardians of Light series, it’s a good time to start a new project.

Now, I know I said last time “never again.” 50K words in a month is HARD, especially when you’re not a full-time writer but a working mom, with a full-time day job with a schedule that’s all over the place. Last time it was torture—I’m a plotter, and I edit as I go. Ergo, I’m a slooowww writer. It’s much easier for my “pantser” friends, who actually enjoy going tearing off into the mists of a blank page and discovering what’s out there to put down. (Strange, foreign creatures, “pantsers.” How do they DO that?) I HAVE to have a road-map—then if I get stuck I can just work on a different part of the story, knowing it’ll all come together in the end…

But this is a good exercise—a way to jump start into my next series. Calling it “Daughters of the Guardians” and it’s precisely that. Book 1 is “Braeca,” who was Finora’s daughter in “Lycan Tides.” Half-selkie, half-human weather witch—able to sense changes and the coming of storms. To refresh your memory, as well as my own, here’s a snippet from “Lycan Tides,” of a little girl who I decided way back then I couldn’t wait to see how she turned out when she was all grown up!

Cover art by ANNE CAIN



Anuk went down the hall and unbolted the door. As she slipped into the room, a lamp crashed into her hip. She stared in astonishment at the small girl wielding it like a club. The room pulsed with fear, and yet the little savage dared fight, standing betwixt Anuk and the tiny boy cowering in the corner.

“Back off, beastie!” The little girl drew back for another blow.

“Ow! Drek! Stop it.” Anuk grabbed the lamp and twisted it out of the child’s grasp. She received a kick in the knee in exchange. Admiration warred with amusement. “I’m not going to hurt you.” To seem less threatening, she sat on the floor. “What’s your name?”

“What’s yours?” the little girl challenged.


The little boy sniffled. “I want Mama!”

A twinge of sympathy stirred. They were so small, so helpless…

What was she thinking? They were sworn to Cilaniestra. Their mother was gone. ’Twas up to her to win them over to their new life. But it all felt…wrong.

What was the matter with her?

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

The little girl shook her head, but her brother bit his lip and nodded. His big seal-brown eyes were wide and glittered with tears yet to streak down his chubby pink cheeks. An insane urge to cuddle him, comfort him, washed over her. He gave her a suspicious, somewhat awed look.

“You’re a dwagon?” he asked. “Like Twystan said?”

Anuk blinked. “Trystan told you about dragons?”

He nodded.

“And you can see me?” That meant he could see what was, in truth, and not just appearance. So no one could try to sneak up on him, pretending to be one thing whilst hiding another.

He nodded again.

“Why are we here?” his elder sister demanded, arms crossed.

“You’ve been chosen by the goddess Cilaniestra for a very special job, because of your gifts,” Anuk replied. “You’re to stay with us now.”

“Where’s Mama?” the little boy asked.

“Ssh. Your mama’s been returned to the sea. That’s where she belongs. She’s been made to understand this is the way things are supposed to be. I’m your new teacher and I’ll take care of you now.”

“I want Mama!” the boy wailed.

His sister went over to him to wrap her arms around him. “Where’s Trystan?”

“He’s here.”

“Can we see him?”

“In time.” After his compliance had been…assured…Trystan could be her greatest help in
getting the children settled in their new life. “What’s your name, child?”

“Braeca. This is Ioain.”

“Lycan Tides” was very successful, and hopefully “Braeca” will prove to be a worthy successor. Braeca has grown into a warrior/scout, a defender of her people. When a displaced band of dark elves comes looking to conquer a new homeland, she stands ready to fight them off. But the leader of the attackers, Prince Flyn, is more than he appears, and he was definitely not expecting anyone like her…

It’s all plotted out—shape-shifters, dark elves, magic and murder, mysterious caves, a basilisk, and a battle or three. Now to just shut my inner editor up, stay offline and keep writing for 30-days! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sabrina York Author Swag #Giveaway! LAST CHANCE TO ENTER!

Whew! Last week, I returned from the Emerald City Writer’s Conference. It was a great weekend featuring workshops with amazing speakers, exciting industry professionals and tasty food. My favorite part of any conference is the chance to meet new people (including readers and authors I love, such as Victoria Dahl!) and the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

It was so much fun to learn that my friend  Melia Alexander sold her first book (YAY) and Lucy Carol just released her second (Awesome). It was fun to catch up with Julie Brannagh, Ann Charles, Wendy Delaney and more…  Even Terry McLaughlin, president of Romance Writers of America was there!

I love to be handed a microphone (be afraid, be very afraid) so I was thrilled to talk about writing steamy books with Anna Alexander and Gail Bridges at a session entitled Behind Closed Doors. With the talented Shoshanna Evers as our moderator…how could we fail??

I also got to talk to some of the leading editors and agents in the business.

What a weekend. My mind is still spinning.


Whenever I go to a conference, I come home with all kinds of swag and luscious books and because I love my readers, and I’m a giver like that, I share. One lucky reader will win all the goodies I collected last weekend! Enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Good luck my darlings, and happy reading!

Please check out all the authors and bloggers who generously donated to this prize package!


Signed copy of Adam’s Obsession by Sabrina York
Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl (Keynote Speaker)
I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre (Keynote Speaker)
The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane (Keynote Speaker)
The Mistress of Normandy by Susan Wiggs
Pushed by Corrine Jackson

Love Books Notepad & Pen from Night Owl Reviews
Mug from Crista McHugh
Jackie Ivie 2015 Vampire Assassin’s League Calendar
Nicolette Reed “Word Nerd” Necklace
Marie Tuhart Cup Cozy
Magnet from Ashlyn Mathews
Random Bling from Sabrina York

If you’re nice, I might throw in some Seattle chocolate…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want Bling?

Check out my current tiara giveaways here:

About Sabrina York 

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching erotic romance.  Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check
out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Like my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Current deals:

Hometown Heroes Mega Bundle for $1.99   Sixteen full length novels from amazing authors
Hot Alpha Seals Megaset for 99¢  Twelve hot military romances from award-winning and bestselling authors.
Snow Angels (Calendar Men Series from Decadent Publishing) now available
for preorder! 

Other Giveaways & Promotions

If you want to check out all my work, Download my FREE teaser book. And share with your friends! Blurbs, excerpts and reviews! http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/
Follow my blog for juicy updates: http://feeds.feedburner.com/SabrinaYork  
Check out this smoking Tryst Island Video: http://youtu.be/uJ1rhyeLkAM

Monday, October 27, 2014

Travels with Cerise: Paris, anyone?

Exterior of Saint Chappelle,
Royal church built in 12th century
by Louis IX,
Paris near Palais de Justice
Fabulously elaborate church!

Statue of Charles de Gaulle
in Place de la Concorde

Exterior of Laduree, on Champs Elysee,
Makers of Macaroons
I loved them.
Hubbie passed!
Napoleon's Tomb in Les Invalides
Gives me shivers every time I see it.
His body was returned and interred here in Dome Church.
Just home from 2 (yes, 2) fabulous weeks in Paris, I want to tell you about the way Mr. Cerise and I do Europe.
In years past, we have done boats. We have done business hops. We have done tours led by others. We have lately begun to rent houses, villas and apartments. For one week. And lately?
In the past few years, we have struck out on our own...for extended periods of time.
Last year, we did the Champagne and Lorraine departments of France for 3 weeks. With a car, a British gal on our GPS system, an itinerary that had us moving approximately every other day to a new village or town.
This time?
Paris for two weeks. Two Whole Weeks.
With an itinerary that was The History of France by Metro and Train from Paris.
Exterior of Les Invalides, home for
former soldiers and built by Louis XIV
for his loyal troops' retirement!
Honestly. Yes. No lie.
We adored it.
The Three Burgers of Compiegne
atop their Hotel de Ville in Compiegne
Were we tired?
Were we hungry?
Were we proud of ourselves?
Pats on the back, every day.
These pictures here are from our trip last year, where we started in Paris and branched out, via car on to smaller towns in a rental car. With the help of GPS and good maps and excellent French roads, we ate and drank our way through more than 700 miles of northeastern France along the lines our American Doughboys fought in World War One.
Do visit my own blog for Cerise's Parisian Travels as I take you through the history of France in a few strategic trips by Metro and bullet train.
Here: http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com
Beginning the end of this week!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Is Amazon a Threat to our First Amendment Rights? (@Suzdemello @MFRW_ORG #ellorascave #notchilled)

Please welcome Suz deMello, a fellow Ellora's Cave author, as a guest author today. Her opinions are her own, but I confess to having similar feelings of ambivalence concerning Amazon these days. Their prices on non-book items are not always the lowest, but I find myself buying from them just for the so-called "free" shipping. And yet…is it possible to boycott a company like Amazon? Especially if you're an author?

What do you think? We'd love to hear your opinions?

by Guest Author Suz deMello

Amazon is known for its ruthless business practices—it doesn’t merely squeeze competition, it strangles it until it dies.

Amazon currently sells 40% of all new books sold in the USA. Their percentage of the market in ebooks is even larger—perhaps 66% according to the above-cited Salon.com article.

Amazon is not only a book seller, but a publisher, and it favors its own imprints and minimizes the ability for readers to find its competitors. The most famous case on point is that of Hachette. Check this URL for Stephen Colbert’s clips on the issue: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/search?keywords=Hachette

And the below is quoted from a letter sent by a group of authors to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and its BOD:

About six months ago...Amazon began sanctioning Hachette authors' books. These sanctions included refusing preorders, delaying shipping, reducing discounting, and using pop-up windows to cover authors' pages and redirect buyers to non-Hachette books.

These sanctions have driven down Hachette authors' sales at Amazon.com by at least 50 percent and in some cases as much as 90 percent. These sales drops are occurring across the board: in hardcovers, paperbacks, and e-books. (http://www.authorsunited.net/)

Well-known is Amazon’s dislike of sexy covers, adult-oriented books and erotica; it seems to especially target purveyors of steamy books. Though Amazon touts its independent publishing program as a boon for writers, many indie published authors, especially in erotic romance, complain that Amazon’s search engine has made it difficult if not impossible for readers to find their books. The Kindle Unlimited program has cut further into their book revenues. Ellora’s Cave, one of the most prominent publishers of steamy and erotic romance on the web, has downsized radically, citing a massive drop in Amazon sales of its books as the reason.

The loyalty of many customers to Amazon is misplaced. For example, Amazon often does not feature the best online price for a book or other item. A couple of cases in point:

On 30 Sept, the price of one of my shorties, Highland Vampire, on Amazon was $2.51. The price at Harlequin’s site was $2.39. 

Being the daughter of Brits, I’m a tea drinker and lately have been into using loose teas (they really do make a better cuppa). Initially I had been purchasing from Amazon—isn’t that the place we’ve all become accustomed to checking first? Then I went to the Twinings Tea site and found that I’d been grotesquely overpaying.  My fave Darjeeling at Amazon costs $8.24 and it’s an “add-on item,” which is some sort of irritating practice at Amazon—I couldn’t get the tea without buying other stuff, and I couldn’t find a work-around for that bit of Amazonian weirdness.

The same tea is almost half the price--$4.49—at Twinings.

Like many, I have come to rely on Amazon for so much! I listen to music on my Amazon music player on both laptop and cellphone, and download music from Amazon as well. I’m an Amazon affiliate. I also buy books for my Kindle Paperwhite, which I love, from Amazon.

But maybe it’s time to cut the cord. Why should I fund an entity that seeks to exploit me, maybe even put me out of business?

I’ll probably take down my Amazon affiliate ads—that won’t hurt, as they’ve never earned me a penny. I’ve changed my email signature line, which used to direct folks to my Amazon author pages, to instead include my website and blog. Other changes will be harder.

I’m an Ellora’s Cave author. I also have books placed with two other publishers that have disappointed me in myriad ways—see these links:

http://www.harlequinlawsuit.com/  and scroll down to #9 at

So I want to go indie. But Createspace and KDP are fabulous platforms for self-publishing. How ethical is it, given my concerns, to use those platforms?

And beyond my personal worries, there’s the greater problem. Amazon sells a huge number of books, films, music and other creative and factual works.

Should one entity control so much of what goes into our minds and thoughts?

About the Author

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms Totally Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Cowgirl & the Geek & Exciting News!


You probably heard the screaming as Sweet Christmas Kisses hit the USAToday Bestseller list two weeks in a row! All fourteen authors are thrilled that our sweet romance book has been so well received. It's not too late to get your copy!

Available now:
Amazon | Barnes and NobleiTunes  | Kobo

The Cowgirl and the Geek, the second book in the Small Town Sweethearts Series, now available!

I'm so happy to have this book available finally! You met Juan Diego in COWBOY CUPID, and saw a little bit of Katie, Josh's sister, in the background. Now they have their own story.

On the verge of seeing her dream become a reality, Katie Wooten questions her brother’s motives when he enlists the aid of his friend, Juan Diego Santiago, for the renovations on her bar and grill. The guy’s known as a player. She doesn’t need his drama.

Katie’s life was all about cooking, and no man was going to distract her from making her business a success. Oh, but this temptation was so distracting. So handsome. She’d have to use the same determination she put into the renovations to convince Juan Diego to find someone else. She doesn’t have time for love.
Available now:
Kindle | Nook |

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Story Behind A Romance for Christmas @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #holiday

A Romance for Christmas 
Most people know me as an author of erotic romance, science fiction romance, and gay romance. So when I said I was releasing a sweet contemporary holiday romance I got a few WTF and SayWhat comments. Even one or two #HowzThatAgain hashtags. *grin* The nicest was "I know it'll be awesome but why the change?" One person asked me if erotic romance was dead and I was leaving the fold. The short answer is "Um, no it isn't, and no, I'm not." But it was nice that they thought I'd know if this was true.
I wrote A Romance for Christmas in December 2004 as a gift for my critique group and asked them not to share it, but told them some day I might. Last year, Bill Hinkle, my brother-in-law, died. I promised his wife (my sister Cherry) I would dedicate a book to their relationship, which was 25 years and still going strong at the time of his passing. I also wanted to pay tribute to our parents, who had passed away the year of their 50th anniversary. My father had once told my mother he'd go first, and then "wait for her just beyond the moon." When it was his time, he didn't have to wait long. She died a few weeks later. The parents of the hero in this story bear their names. The book is dedicated to my sister Cherry in honor of Bill. There are other names of significance in the story.
You can download a preview of the book here: A Romance for Christmas (click for the pdf - it opens in a new window). There are more details about the story, and it includes links where you can buy your copy.

About the Book

A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift.
A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving.
It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.

Buy This Book

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1wpYfL2
Coming soon in print at CreateSpace

About the Author

Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. She is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the owner of The Author's Secret, an author support company. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.

Author Social Media

Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog

The Author's Secret https://theauthorssecret.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Book Of Life

My granddaughter and I and my grown son saw the new animated film, The Book Of Life. It’s a great movie and what’s more — it's a romance. It takes place on the Day of the Dead. ... and most of it takes place in de la Reguera, the Land of the Remembered.  It’s bright and colorful, funny, full of myth and magic, action and adventure but at the core it’s a story of a love so strong it transcends death. We romance writers and readers have seen that plot once and twice and loved it. I used it in To Love A London Ghost and also in Timeless Voyage but I used reincarnation for that one.  Take your kids or grandkids, take the whole family to see The Book Of Life, it might be the best family, Halloween themed movie I’ve ever seen.

I went to Houston’s Day Of The Dead Celebration about two years ago. So, I’m including some pictures I took.

I haven't written a book  about the Day Of The Dead or one set in Mexico, the closest I have is my out-of-this-world Steampunk Romance, Conquistadors In Outer Space.
Forbidden love…so strong…it spans the universe.
Ana—a milkmaid—seeks a new life. Disguised as a rich widow, she boards a rocket, to be blasted out of a huge cannon, and targeted for the newly discovered planet, X.

Sparks fly when she finds Ramon—the only man she ever loved and heir of the estate she worked on—is flying to Planet X as well. As the Spanish governor of Plant X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. Will his conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life for herself alone amid the wonders and dangers of Planet X?

I hope you all have a happy and romantic Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day, and Day Of The Dead. And by the way, the little power ranger with the skeleton is my granddaughter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NATURALLY YOURS by Adele Downs, New Release!

“Once again, Downs delivers. Brava!” 5 Stars! ~Words, Words, Words


Who will save a man who saves the world?

Paramedic Mickey Kendall hasn’t slept a full night since his return from Iraq. He rescues victims by day and protects the innocent after dark. Mickey doesn’t do it for glory; he wants absolution, not admiration. He lives by the rule: No personal contact after a rescue. That code meets the ultimate test when Mickey saves a child’s life on a roadside and declines the parents’ invitation to dinner at their upscale restaurant.

Master chef Amanda Greer lives by the principle that delicious food and good company build bridges. When she learns Mickey has refused her business partners’ hospitality, she persuades him to change his mind. The handsome paramedic visits her restaurant and Amanda joins him at his table. Their unexpected chemistry turns kinetic and leads to a passionate kiss.

In Amanda’s arms, Mickey finds relief from the stressors that haunt him, but resists falling in love. When Amanda challenges him to face his demons and accept the love she offers, Mickey arrives at a crossroad. The war-weary paramedic must first save himself to claim the woman who reignites his passion for living and revives his wounded heart.

 “They called you a hero in the press.” Her dark lashes lowered and lifted and she smiled at him with admiration shining in her eyes. “They were right, of course. What you did for Jack can never be repaid.”
Mickey winced at the hero reference. “I hate to disappoint you, but I only did what I’m trained to do.”
Amanda made sounds of disagreement low in her throat. “Elena told me at least a hundred and fifty cars passed her on the highway. Every one of them ignored her cries for help. Of all those people, don’t you think one might have been medically trained? Or at least cared enough to respond? No. You stopped. Only you.”
Oh. He hadn’t thought of that.
She pointed a finger at his chest. “There’s a difference between you and other people. There’s no other way to explain what happened on that roadway. Elena is convinced you’re special, and I never doubt her perceptions. That’s another reason why I wanted to meet you.”
Mickey stared into Amanda’s eyes and her pupils dilated. Her lips parted, ever so slightly, as if to welcome a kiss. Her tongue touched the inside of her bottom lip and disappeared. Mickey knew then, she felt it too. Synergy. Chemistry. An attraction so powerful it turned kinetic on contact.
Some called it love at first sight.
Amanda. Even her name was beautiful.
She took a sip of her drink and he watched her mouth and throat work the liquid. When she set down the tumbler, she wiped a droplet from the corner of her mouth with a trimmed, unpolished fingertip. Mickey wished he could have swiped the bead away with his tongue.
Amanda leaned closer and pressed a hand to his wrist. “Trained or not, you were the only stranger on that highway who had a heart.”
Mickey laid his hand over hers and she let him keep it there. Until now, he wasn’t sure he still had a heart. His had been chipped away, piece by piece, like a block of ice since the war. He’d considered it long gone, with his soul. In mere minutes, what was left had thawed in the center, leaving him raw and exposed.
Amanda continued to speak; clearly unaware she’d stripped away another layer. “I love Jack like he’s my own son. He’s a terrific kid. I’ve helped take care of him since the day the Martins and I started this restaurant. When you saved him, you saved us all.” Amanda leaned in and pressed a quick, sweet kiss against Mickey’s jaw.
Their gazes locked when she sat back in her chair. The gravity of her words and her straightforward kiss humbled him into speechlessness. He’d been thanked many times before, but this woman had gotten to him like no one else. He squeezed her hand and then downed the rest of his drink. Amanda took another sip of hers and set the glass on the table before retreating into silence. She turned the tumbler slowly in her hands.
Mickey looked back at her and tapped two fingers against the menu’s leather cover. “Nothing here is what I expected.”
Amanda returned a quiet smile, either assuming he meant food choices, or pretending he had. She tucked her arms beneath her breasts and leaned forward against the edge of the table, lifting perfect white swells above the neckline of her blouse. “Organic means untouched by artificiality. Grown and consumed in its natural state. We eat only healthy foods unspoiled by chemicals, preservatives, hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds or cells. Pure.”
Pure. Mickey gazed at the stunning woman by his side. The texture of her skin looked smooth as cream and welcoming to the touch. He longed to run his hands along her thighs, imagining sleek roads leading to heaven at their apex. “I like the sound of that.” The way she looked back at him while he studied her face made him wonder if she’d read his mind.
The one that had gone dirty.
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About the Author:

Adele Downs writes best-selling contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.

Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report) and has presented workshops for writers.

When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.

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