Monday, May 29, 2017

Not Your Mother’s Books

Hi All,

I hope you are enjoying the holiday with good weather, good food, and good neighbors and that in between the pancake breakfasts, the parades, and the picnics, you find a moment to think of the fathers, brothers, sons, husbands, and wives, and daughters who have served our nation.

Part of our holiday celebration was a friend’s garden tea, where, in between the clotted cream and scones, people were passing my pen around (a writer always has a pen) to capture recommendations for their book groups. It got me thinking.

What about you? Do you make note of every recommendation you hear? Do you trust a certain friend’s taste and know that what excites another friend will never do for you? And what about your mom? Did you ever read or NOT read a book because your mother recommended it? Are you still resisting your mom’s recommendations?

Just as certain retailers market a brand of jeans called “Not Your Mother’s Jeans.” I suspect that for some of us, at least for a few years of our lives, we’re thinking--Please, Not My Mother’s Books!

I have to confess that I’ve resisted some of my mom’s favorites because they seemed to belong to her and her life experience and not mine.

By chance I read about one of her favorite writers, while doing research for my upcoming book from Kensington, The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London--Rumer Godden. It was just a snippet in my research, but it made me want to take a second look at Mom’s shelves. Godden’s extraordinary life spanned the twentieth century, and she lived from Bangladesh to Scotland. She wrote “women’s fiction” before we had a name for it, perhaps because she had a husband abandon her, lost a baby, and raised a pair of daughters on her own before a second happier marriage.

She grew up at Narayanganj, a small town on a tributary of the Brahmaputra River in East Bengal where their father was the manager of a steamship company. She and one of her sisters were sent to England to school and returned to India with the outbreak of World War I. She taught dance and insisted that her parents educate her in the language and customs of the land she had come to love.

She claims that she didn’t “ever fall for any real man, not after Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice” a book she read over a dozen times. However, when her second husband James died in 1975, in her diary Godden wrote: "I never want to be consoled. I never want another man in my life." Now, I definitely want to read a writer who fell for Darcy and her own husband so deeply. It may be time to borrow a book or two from Mom’s shelf.

What’s on your Mother’s shelf? Have you and she developed shared tastes? 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

If you were an American heiress, where must you go to show off your wardrobe...and your figure? You're snaring a husband, you see!

Last October, I went to Paris for research and had to take in the Opera Garnier!
I started a new series, THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, October 17 with a novel starring a family of brash, bold American beauties and eligible robber barons. The opera was an important venue for young ladies to be seen by eligible bachelors and so I had to go there and do my digging for those yummy little facts we all love in our romances!

In the late ninetieth century, every American heiress had to have a wardrobe fit for a princess or duchess or whatever ancient title she could grab. So she went to Paris. Her papa spent tens of thousands on a complete wardrobe for her from lingerie to tea gowns to evening gowns and many many chapeaus! He also hired French or English ladies, impoverished as they were, to educate their young misses in everything from how to curtsy to how to use a fish fork.
These impressionable young ladies went to cafes, the races and soirees galore.
Detail, Grand Hall, Opera Garnier, Paris
While there, they also had their nights at the opera. The Opera Garnier, to be precise. In my first novel in the series, WILD LILY, our heroine and her entire family go to an evening at this ornate example of Belle Epoch architecture. They sit in a box. (I did.) They sip champagne in the refreshment room. (I went but did not sip.) They escaped to the balcony for an assignation or more. (I went with Mr. DeLand out onto the balcony but we were quite modest at 3 in the afternoon!)

There were explicit rules about how to arrive, when and why and what a lady might and might not do at the opera. I've incorporated all my research for you...and added a bit of risqué elements to entertain you!

Draperies at entrance to Grand Hall,
Opera Garnier
And not only in the first book do we go to the opera. But in the second book in the series as well. There I treat you to a Frenchman you won't be able to resist. Neither can my American widow who wanted only one night of pleasure...and gets much more than she bargained for!
This second in the series is not yet titled, but you can look for it early in January!

Enjoy the rest of my pictures! I adored this lavish theatre and I hope you will too!

Interior of the theatre.
Grand Hall, Opera Garnier

Grand Circle, entrance to private boxes,
Opera Garnier, Paris

Grand staircase, Opera Garnier, Paris

Detail, Grand Staircase, Opera Garnier,

Red velvet chair, private box, Opera Garnier 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dakota's Autumn: By Savannah Morgan

Dakota's Autumn : By Savannah Morgan

Flowers can be deadly.
When Autumn is abducted by the man responsible for destroying Shane’s family, he must face his personal demons and join forces with those he holds responsible for betraying Autumn. As Shane and the Deadly Flowers race to bring Autumn home safely, she stumbles onto what Shane has searched most of his life for, but will they be too late to end the reign of terror of a madman.




Find your romance journey in a Savannah Morgan story.
I am magical.
I am a Warrior Goddess.
I am words on the page!
I am in your head!
I can make it possible to fall in love over and over again!
Come take a Romantic Journey with me.
I am Savannah Morgan







Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pushing Through Writers Block by Suz deMello (#MFRWAuthor #iamwriting #writersblock)

You’d think I’d know everything about this subject—after all, I’ve been in the grip of writers block for well over a decade. There are many moments when I stare blankly at the screen wondering if the next word should be and, if or but.

What happened, you ask? What happened to the RITA-nominated, best-selling, award-winning Sue Swift that pushed her into becoming Suz deMello, hesitant yet subversive erotica novelist? 

When I first started writing, it seemed as though the words spilled out in an unstoppable flow. I’d get up at two am and write until four. On weekends, I was a river of words—good ones, too—beautiful phrases, sexy love scenes, deeply felt emotion, witty banter.

A series of life setbacks ensued: dead and dying family members, a marriage gone south, an editor who hated my work. This is one of the pitfalls of being with a publisher—people come and go, shift jobs and so on, and then you’re suddenly with an editor who didn’t acquire you initially and who really doesn’t like your writing.

And so I found myself orphaned at Harlequin/Silhouette, which in the best of times can be a very challenging work environment. I bounced around for a while, selling old manuscripts to Five Star for the hard-cover library market until they stopped buying romances. Then I languished. And anguished.

So, while I know a great deal about writers block, I’m not sure how to even spell the words. Is it writers, writer’s or writers’?? (Oh, those pesky apostrophes!)

But here are a few approaches that work, at least for me:

Paradoxically: stop trying. Yes, I actually mean stop writing. Instead, do something else that exercises your creativity. My favorite is refinishing old furniture. I’m moving back into my condo, where a tenant’s been living while I cared for my elderly mother. She’s with my brother now, so I can resume my life, and I’m looking forward to that. But there are a lot of built-ins in this home, including a huge dresser, where about a third of my clothes have been residing. And I gave my now ex-boyfriend the storage I’d been using—which itself had been a rescue-and-refinish item. So I get to do the same thing all over again. Yay!

I love the process of finding the right piece, deciding what colors to paint it, discovering the perfect drawer pulls. But you have to have the temperament for this. You have to love wandering around thrift shops and hardware stores. I happen to, so I’m good.

But do whatever tickles your fancy. Maybe you’ve always loved stained glass but never had the cojones to try that. Find a local class and give it a whirl. Try Paint Nite—in many cities, there’s an organization that sets these up in local bars. A team has already provided the materials you need, and an instructor walks everyone through painting a preconceived work. It’s a step up from paint-by-numbers, and because there’s alcohol involved, it’s fun, especially with a friend.

Another tactic is to go back to the original wellspring. For me, it’s Regency romance and Gothics, which were the only romances I’d read before I started writing. I was hooked on Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt, which explains a lot about the stories I write.

Being blocked as well as hella busy with life, I’m not writing right now but am moving, contemplating the dresser I want to find and refinish, and yes, reading a lot of Regency romance.

So the trick is to make this fallow period in your creative life a productive and fun time rather than wallowing in depression.

Another tactic is to shift your writing focus. Write something you’ve never
written before, but has intrigued you nevertheless. When I found myself at a standstill with Harlequin/Silhouette, where I wrote sweet romances, my friends persuaded me to write erotic romance for the burgeoning online market. So I wrote my first erotic romance novel, recently republished as Phoenix and Dragon. I haven’t made as much money as I would have if I’d persisted at H/S, but I’m much happier.

But what do you do when you’ve found an idea that sparks you, but it’s sooooo hard to write even a word?

Tactic number three: best to use when you’ve managed to get yourself immersed in a project: don’t allow yourself to do anything on your weekend until you’ve written a chapter. It doesn’t have to be a great chapter. (It should, however, be decently long, at least 5000 words.) Even if it sucks, you have spare moments during the week to make repairs. As Nora Roberts famously said (paraphrasing here): “I can fix a bad page, but not a blank one.”

I remember when I was living in China and teaching toddlers English as my day job. On Saturday I’d get up and stay in my PJs until I’d written a chapter of Temptation in Tartan. Sometimes I didn’t get out of my apartment until 2 pm! But it turned out to be a damned good book.

Read it yourself and find out:


And in the meantime, don’t stress about it. Fear is the mind-killer, as Frank Herbert told us in Dune. Stress will block you as surely as a big rig overturning during rush hour.

BTW there's hope: since I found myself blocked, I've written far more than I did before that awful time. I'd written maybe eight books and a couple of short stories. To date, I've written ten more novels and too many short stories and blogs to count.

So don't worry. You can push through this.

Good luck and happy writing!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

10 Things New Writers Need by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #authors #amwriting

10 Things New Writers Need by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #authors #amwritingAre you a new writer? Is this you?
I'm a new writer and...
a) I need help
b) I don't know where to start
c) I am starting to panic
d) I need my head examined for thinking I could do this
e) all of the above.

No matter what your answer was, don't worry! Wherever you are in your author career, there's help. Here's a checklist of things to do and/or create that will help you begin to market your book.
As with any advice, remember this is my opinion and not gospel. However, I have experience. I've published with small press and I've self-published. I have twelve books out (with more on the way), and I have six websites (yes, six). I founded a peer-mentoring group for authors (Marketing for Romance Writers) in 2006 and since 2009, I've managed a blog called Romance Lives Forever that features over 350 authors per year. I facilitate a critique group in my community. Authors talk to me.
Others may give you conflicting advice. That's to be expected. Not every item on a checklist will work for every person. Consider all sides, then go with your instincts -- and what you have time and budget to do.

Things New Writers Need

If you haven't already done so, consider setting up one (or more) of the following. [Don't let this list scare you. I've developed these over a period of several years. Begin working on it now and you'll accomplish more than you think.] I listed them in order of what I perceive as their importance, based on personal experience.
  1. Set goals for yourself. Create a list of things you can accomplish in 3 mos, 6 mos, 1 yr, 2 yr, etc.
    Make your goals "SMART" - http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html
    S - specific, significant, stretching
    M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
    A - attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
    R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
    T - time-based, timely, tangible, trackable
  2. Develop your brand - what you're known for (mine is Romance Lives Forever)
  3. Create a mission statement - Mine is "To give readers a great roller coaster ride of a story that brings excitement, fun, and takes them in directions they didn't expect." One of my reviewers wrote, "Think you know what'll happen next? No way. It's by Kayelle." Exactly the reaction I was going for.
  4. Design a logo or avatar and use it everywhere (mine is on the right)
    10 Things New Writers Need by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #authors #amwriting
  5. Grab a Gravatar -- what is this? A Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site? Once you create your avatar or logo, upload it here. http://en.gravatar.com/
  6. Get started on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (both are essential). Don't like the idea of social marketing? If you want to be a pro, suck it up. This is how the world does business in the 21st century. You can only have 5k "friends" on Facebook, but a pro page is unlimited. The interactions are different, but it's helpful to have both types. Each has its own use. Tweet every day.
  7. No matter who tells you otherwise, you need a website even if you're not published yet. Would you open a new business without having a store? No? Then don't bypass a website. It's vital. Don't get a free site. Those include ads and are a turn off to readers. Save your pennies and buy one.
  8. Get business cards. It's surprising how often you'll hand them out. Tuck them into giveaways, leave them at local businesses, tack them up on bulletin boards. If you have a website, you don't need a phone or address on them. My business cards have brought me business every month for fourteen years without showing a phone number. Instead, they have my website.
  9. Get a domain name that has your author name first. If that URL isn't available, add author or books to the end. Use JaneSmithAuthor not AuthorJaneSmith. Why? When people want to find you, they will begin typing your name, not the word author. You'll come up faster in search results if your name is first. If your excuse is you don't know how to do all that, then hire someone. I have six (yes, six) websites which are managed for me by Personalized Marketing Inc. Tell Dee Kayelle sent you and you'll get a nice discount. She does author marketing too.
  10. Always always always use a professional signature in your email. The signature may change, based on your newest book, a message you want to convey, and many other factors. I have a document that holds all my various signatures and commonly used links, and I keep it open while I'm online so I can copy/paste or ctrl+drag info into an email or window. Here are two I use often, one ultra simple, one complex.
    Kayelle Allen
    Kayelle Allen
    Author and Graphic Artist
    Enter my world www.kayelleallen.com
    www.twitter.com/kayelleallen ~ www.facebook.com/kayelleallen.author Marketing for Romance Writers www.bit.ly/mfrwgroup ~ Romance Lives Forever www.rlfblog.com

That's the basic checklist for writers. Want to know more? Join Marketing for Romance Writers and you'll learn plenty. It's free and members promote one another.

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. Her graphic design graces multiple book covers, banners, and websites.
Enter her world https://kayelleallen.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Reader Group https://kayelleallen.com/bro

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cornelia Amiri's New Republished Releases

My books use to all be with publishers, but then I went indie. However, I still had books under contract with two publishers. I finally got the rights to the last of those books and I just republished them. I had a novella series with Elloraís cave that I republished and recently put into a box set with all six books, Dancing Vampires. And I got the rights back to the last of my steampunk books and republished it, Starry Conquest. I then published a box set of all my five Steampunk Books, Cogs and Kismet. And republished my one young adult book, a medieval fantasy romance, Hostage. 

Seven vampiric temptresses dance with seven handsome highlanders. Then they turn on the men.
Sorcha’s six sisters vanish with the light of dawn, leaving her trapped by Ian in the mortal realm.
Murdina, goes hunting for a man, but this time she wants love not blood. She spots Cameron just as a strong wind lifts his kilt. Sorcha takes a good look and decides he's the one.
The same night Sorcha was left behind on earth, Ever danced with Calin. And, he’s fantasized about her ever since. When they meet again he waste no time in claiming and capturing Ever.
Angus was nearly killed by Charlak when she tried to free Sorcha. A year later Angus comes upon Charlak again. Despite the danger, he has to have one waltz with her. In a passionate embrace, Charlak and Angus dance across a field of heather. An insatiable hunger rises in her and it isn't for his blood.
Mordak spots Tor, and wants more from him than his blood. She burns for his touch, but before she can enchant Tor, three Valkyrie land in front of him. Mordak is not about to let the Norse blondes fly off with her man.
Finally, the last two of the dancing vampire sisters, Foomna and Afric, shimmy and strut their way into belly dancing at a Scottish Steampunk Con. It's all sizzle and steam when they get together with a sexy rock guitarist and a hot looking god at the con.

Starry Conquest

In an alternate history of 1610 AD, the King of Spain commissions the creation of giant cannons, fashioned from Leonardo Da Vinci’s design, for the purpose of blowing the island of England to the bottom of the ocean. Since that country separated from papal authority, Spain has the approval of the church to separate England from the rest of Europe. Then, after an interrogation by priests with the inquisition, Galileo sees a faraway dot in the night sky with his new telescope. He shows the pope planet X, an actual New World Spain can claim and all the inhabitants can be converted to Christianity. Also all the gold and riches discovered there will belong to Spain alone. So they find a way to use the cannons to that end instead.
Cogs and Kismet meet in five Steampunk stories of forbidden love so strong it transcends space and time— bringing together star-crossed lovers from regency France to ancient Egypt to Victorian London, to the depths of space, and even the afterlife.
The Brass Octopus
Can a prim librarian make a rogue smile...Can a lovable rogue make a librarian wild?
Librarian, Piety Plunkett is happy alone with her books until transformed by a beautifying machine. Blake enjoys the favors of women but only Piety consumes his mind night and day. If anyone discovers what they are doing in the library after closing time, Piety's reputation will be ruined. Is that Blake' plan?
As Timeless As Stone
Can love transcend time with the aid of robots and magic?
Seshat, an ancient Egyptian Priestess is newly awaken in 19th century Paris, after centuries as a stone statue. Though enchanted by the wondrous inventions of steam-servants and a steam-carriage, she is enthralled by the inventor, Ricard. He ignites her sensual desires and in a steamy night of carnal magic, Seshat transforms Ricard’s life forever. But how far will he go to secure her happiness? Is Ricard’s love for Seshat powerful enough to transcend time?
As Timeless As Magic
Magic, Mayhem, and a Time Machine…Lead to Love.
Heru, an ancient Egyptian, tinkers with a time machine, which sweeps him through the ages to nineteenth century London.
In a bell skirt, Felicity shamelessly straddles her motorized steam bicycle, and rumbles down the streets of London until a tall, dark, and half-naked bystander captures her attention. And, she crashes into a brick wall.
Heru rushes to the aid of the woman riding the noisy brass-horse. Once he lifts her into his arms, he doesn't want to ever let her go.
However, Felicity’s father will stop at nothing to steal the time machine. Can Heru keep Felicity and the time machine safe from the man's black-hearted machinations?
Starry Conquest
Forbidden love...so strong...it spans the universe.
Ana, a milkmaid disguised as a rich widow, boards a rocket to be blasted out of a huge cannon. Her destination is planet X, to start a new life. Sparks fly when Ana 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 Planet X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. His conquest is challenging. Though he swears to protect and love her, as a noble he cannot marry a peasant. Ana cannot deny her desire for Ramon but she will not be his mistress.
Will Ramon's conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life alone, amid the wonders of Planet X?
To Love A London Ghost
A Wild Ghost Chase
Queen Victoria orders the premiere phantom hunter, Sexton Dukenfield, to track down England’s missing ghosts. On the job, Sexton stumbles into Ceridwen, a phantom Celtic warrior woman. On a mission through the bustling narrow streets of London, to a dreary match factory, and to the Otherworld and back to stop a genius scientist and his phantasm debilitater machine, the ghost and the ghost hunter also seek the secret …to freeing the boundaries of life and death. Is it possible…or just a wild ghost chase?

An ancient god and a magic sword…can only lead to war or love.
In an age of heroes, Branda avails her power as a Saxon princess to aid a Welsh prince’s escape. In turn, the prince, Blaise, vows to take Branda to Scotland so she can evade an arranged marriage.
Instead, he holds her hostage in the unbreachable hill fort of Dinas Bran.
What dangers await her there?
Does Branda need an escape plan that will catch Blaise off guard?
Or has she already captured his heart?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Excerpt: KISSES FROM LILLITH by Adele Downs

KISSES FROM LILLITH by Adele Downs is a new release! Only .99/

"Wow! For a short story this is a long, thrilling ride." 5 Stars ~Will Work For Books


When Hunter receives an invitation for a group tour of an ancient cave to celebrate his cousin’s birthday, he and his girlfriend Rosa unwittingly attend a party…with unusual refreshments.


Chapter One

“It’ll be dark soon.” Rosa Martinez shook out the picnic blanket, and then watched the last carload of tourists exit the Crystalline Cave parking lot in a cloud of cinders and dust. She clutched the blanket to her chest, her big brown eyes tracking their progress until their taillights disappeared.

Hunter Reid glanced at the fading sky then back at his girlfriend. “We have an hour or so to kill before our tour starts.” He shot her a hopeful grin, but the hint faded with his smile as Rosa twisted a corner of the fabric around her finger and hugged the cloth tighter. Did she just…whimper? He took a closer look. Couldn’t be. Rosa was resourceful and tough. She’d grown up with five brothers.

He reached out to touch her shoulder. “We’ll be fine until the others arrive. It’s safe out here in the country.”

She glanced at the surrounding greenery and the trees towering above them. “Yeah, right. There’s probably a serial killer hiding in the bushes.”

Rosa was definitely in a mood, and not the kind that got them naked.

Hunter conceded the argument for the moment and threw their sandwich crusts, organic chips packets, and empty bottles of iced tea in the trash and recycle bins. Rosa brushed a palm down the front of her t-shirt and the back of her jeans, flaking off bits of crumbs and dried clover.

Katydids, tree crickets and cicadas chirped and buzzed in the thick grass and dark woods of the surrounding Pennsylvania Dutch countryside. The twilight sounds replaced the din of chattering children and their parents from the ancient cave on the hill, to the familiar comfort of their cars, trucks and SUVs. Almost one hundred fifty years after the cave’s discovery on a family farm, locals and tourists still flocked to the site.

Rosa stared up at the enormous cave and scrunched her nose. “Only your cousin would celebrate her birthday in a creepy place like this.” She clicked her tongue. “Who knows what creatures lurk inside?” She nodded for emphasis and her dark hair swayed around her shoulders. “And who has a party where you bring your own food?”

Hunter tried not to smile, since Rosa was being serious. If she only knew how cute she looked when she made that face, she might never do it again.

Rosa hated the dark and anything remotely otherworldly. She refused to watch fantasy or horror films and detested Halloween. Rosa liked Broadway musicals, TV cooking shows, and Christmas.

Hunter had mollified her with a picnic he’d prepared, but the novelty of his artisan sandwiches on home-baked bread had clearly worn off. “Didn’t we have this fight already? When the invitation arrived, you said you’d come with me.”

His cousin, Angela, had sent invitations through the mail, printed with elaborate calligraphy on expensive-looking faux antique paper, complete with an RSVP card and a wax seal on the back of the envelope. Hunter had to admit the old-school, snail mail method she used looked impressive. The contact was a definite improvement over the impersonal social media invitations that had become popular, though it also made it harder to refuse the request. Maybe that was the point.

Rosa huffed out a breath. “Don’t know what I was thinking.”

Buy The Book for .99!




Nook, Tolino, Page Foundary, 24 Symbols:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

.@SSaraDaniel confesses: I swore I’d never, but I just did it…

Get a dog.
Yep. I was never, ever getting a dog. I was convinced every dog wanted to eat me. I still think the majority of them probably do. But as of this writing, we’ve had a dog for all of 2 weeks, and he hasn’t shown any sign of making me his breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight snack.
Why did I get a dog, you might be wondering. Well, my daughter begging for one for about nine years (she’s 13) finally wore me down.
So, this got me thinking. What things have my characters done that they swore they’d never do? Have a one-night stand a week before her wedding. Yep. That one was a doozy.
SD_One Night with the Bride_SM
“It’s a week before my wedding, and you’re giving me what?” Surely no one would consider such a crass idea as an appropriate prenuptial gift. Caroline Sunburst turned to her best friend Sabrina, who appeared just as shocked.
“A one-night stand,” her mother repeated, patting a plastic card into Caroline’s hand as if the gifts were perfectly natural, expected even. “And one for your maid of honor, too. Sabrina, you need some excitement to spice up your boring life.”
Although too well-trained to make a scene in the crowded, elegant restaurant frequented by the society ladies of San Diego, Caroline would not accept the gift. Faithfulness and trust were her top requirements—she didn’t want a relationship like her parents had.
“Mother, I’m committed to being faithful. Blake and I agreed we won’t have affairs or cheat on each other.”
“How noble of you.” Her mother sniffed her displeasure. “You have a week to squeeze in a lifetime of passion. Lord knows there’s not a speck of it to be found between you and Mr. Stuffed-Shirt.”
Needing support, she glanced at her friend again, but Sabrina seemed too caught up in her own shock over receiving such an inappropriate gift from an impeccable, proper society matron.
“You like Blake.”
“Sure, I do. He’s the future of Sunburst Hotels and knows how to make a business profitable.”
Caroline squeezed the card until the edges dug into her flesh. Brought up to manage every aspect of the hotel business, she knew her competence exceeded that of the other executives, even though her contributions were denied equal consideration by her family and the corporate management.
“However,” her mother continued, “I have a hunch you and Blake have as much fun in bed as your father and I do, which is to say none. When we do have sex together.”
Ugh. “I do not need to hear this.”
“Actually, since you are following in our footsteps, you do.”
Caroline tapped the gift card against the restaurant table. Once, long ago, she’d experienced passion. Or maybe it being first love and her not knowing better caused her to imagine so. Anyway, it didn’t matter. Weighted by her father’s strong disapproval, she and her lover had gone their separate ways.
“The match has been set up through Madame Eve and paid in advance, but the gift card will pay for any extras you want at the Alvarado Ranch.”
She lurched, bumping the table with her knee and sloshing the water in their glasses. “Where?”
“I couldn’t exactly book a room at a Sunburst property, now could I? You need to go someplace far enough away no one will recognize you. I suggested this location, and Madame Eve immediately latched onto it.”
The logo on the plastic card came into focus, teasing her eyes. The Alvarado Ranch Resort. The Google alerts about Javier Alvarado and his Montana resort came regularly. Despite having no money for horses of his own, he’d shown a natural affinity for the animals as a stable hand where she practiced for equestrian competitions in high school.
Together, they concocted elaborate plans to combine their love of horses and her destiny as an hotelier. The resulting fantasy resort allowed people to pretend to be ranchers for a week while enjoying all the comforts of an upscale life. They even envisioned the house they’d build on the grounds, designing it right down to the “Home is Where My Horse is” craft sign hanging on the front door.
But she bowed to her family’s pressure, while he built their dream alone.
Her mother hadn’t stood up to her father when he’d forbidden all contact with Javier. Surely, she wouldn’t have set Caroline up to have a final fling him. No, the one-night stand was simply scheduled to take place at his resort. He might have knowledge of such setups but would hardly arrange one for himself where his employees might get wind of it.
She’d go to his resort, satisfy her curiosity over what he’d become and spend the night alone. When she returned home, she would delete the Google alert and marry Mr. Stuffed-Shirt…er, Blake…without a single hesitation over what might have been.
Pulling out her phone, she texted Blake to tell him about the trip, but saw no reason to mention the one-night stand. She would absolutely not sleep with anyone besides her soon-to-be-husband.
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CLVLJII/?tag=sardanromaut-20
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-night-with-the-bride-sara-daniel/1115231780?ean=2940016582603
Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/one-night-with-the-bride
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/one-night-with-the-bride/id645214003?mt=11
Audio Version