Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coming Attractions


October is one of my favorite months.  I love the cool nights, the crisp mornings, the clean scent of the air and the beautiful, vibrant colors of changing leaves.  I love the fact that October brings Georgia Romance Writers' Moonlight & Magnolia conference, college football Saturdays, pumpkin patches and the treats of Halloween.  And I love the fantastic line-up of authors who will be visiting the Romance Dish.  Get ready for a month full of treats...no tricks allowed!  




We kick off the month on Tuesday, October 1st with a visit from Maggie Robinson.  Maggie will be here to celebrate release day of the second book in her Ladies Unlaced series,  In the Heart of the Highlander.









Be here Friday, October 4th when Andrea brings us her list of new October releases.  There are some awesome books being released this month and you don't want to miss any of them! 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and on Tuesday, October 8th we bring you all the details of Penguin's Read Pink campaign to raise money for and awareness of Breast Cancer research.  







Wednesday, October 9th brings Molly Harper to the Romance Dish! Rhythm and Bluegrass, the second book in Molly's Bluegrass contemporary romance series will be released October 7th.












Trish Milburn returns Thursday, October 10th with her monthly Teen Menu.  I always look forward to Trish's news and reviews from the world of Young Adult fiction.

Drop by Friday, October 11th to find out what November books Andrea and I are most anticipating in this month's Make Your Reservations.









Monday, October 14th we're spotlighting the newest release from contemporary romance author, Catherine Bybee.  Catherine's book, Not Quite Enough releases on October 8th.











It's a Historical Hookup on Tuesday, October 15th when we welcome the Elizabeth Hoyt, Eileen Dreyer, Jennifer Delamere, Anne Barton and Lily Dalton Historical Hookup Blog Tour from Forever Books.  You won't want to miss this one!










Debbie Mason joins us on Wednesday, October 16th with a stop on her spotlight blog tour. Debbie's new book, The Trouble with Christmas, a contemporary Christmas romance with plenty of humor and heart is available now!












Christie Kelley returns to blog with us on Friday, October 18th.  Christie's newest historical romance, Enticing the Earl will be released October 17th.













Contemporary romance author Molly O'Keefe blogs with us on Wednesday, October 23rd. Molly's Wild Child will be released on October 29th.  












Thursday, October 24th brings Anna Campbell and her Second Helpings column.  This month, Anna turns her spotlight on one of my favorite contemporary authors.  Join us on the 24th to find out who! 








It's always a pleasure to have Jodi Thomas blog with us.  Jodi's new historical,  Promise Me Texas (a Whispering Mountain novel) will be released November 5th and Jodi will be here to talk about it on Monday, October 28th.











Tuesday, October 29th brings the always entertaining Jill Shalvis back to the Romance Dish for a blog tour stop celebrating her November release, Rumor Has It.












We turn the spotlight on Barbara Pierce (who also writes as Alexandra Hawkins) on Wednesday, October 30th.  Barbara's The No Good Irresistible Viscount Tipton will be released for Kindle on November 1st. 








Join us on Thursday, October 31st for a look at our November Coming Attractions.




Has it really been four years since we first opened the doors to the Romance Dish?  It has! Come party with us on Friday, November 1st as we celebrate our 4th anniversary!  (Yes, I know this is October's coming attractions and our anniversary is in November but I wanted to give you a heads up so you can mark your calendars now!) 






Hope to see you here in October for author visits, reviews, giveaways and more!  


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Calling All Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses


Show us your UGLIEST bridesmaid dress!


Sourcebooks is getting ready to release New York Times bestselling author, Julia London’s brand new novella, The Bridesmaid on October 1st! In order to celebrate, they want to see the ugliest bridesmaid dresses out there! Have YOU been forced to wear one? Or do you have a friend or family member that had to put one on? They want to see it!
Tweet a picture of it and use the hashtag #UgliestBridesmaidDress anytime during October 1st – October 4th! Sourcebooks will pick a grand prize winner on Monday October 7th who will receive a wedding themed gift basket! Ten more runner up winners will receive a copy of Julia London’s novella!
You can also enter to win a copy of The Bridesmaid here at The Romance Dish by commenting and sharing your worst wedding horror story, best wedding story, story of your engagement, etc.! 
US & Canada only please.  We will pick the winner on Friday October 4th.




New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London’s romantic twist on Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Getting her to the wedding on time is the least of his worries...
Kate Preston just moved to New York, but she has to get back to Seattle in time for her best friend's wedding. Joe Firretti is moving to Seattle, and has to get there in time or risk losing his new job. But fate's got a sense of humor. Kate goes from rubbing elbows on a plane with a gorgeous but irritating strange (doggone armrest hog) to sharing one travel disaster after another with him on four wheels. Joe thought he had his future figured out, but sometimes fates has to knock you over the head pretty hard before you see what opportunity is standing in front of you...in a really god-awful poufy bridesmaid dress.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

B.J. Daniels Winners



The winners of a signed copy of REDEMPTION by B.J. Daniels are

kmannrn

Mary Preston

Nicole Laverdure

Congratulations!  To claim your book, please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Tracy Solheim Winner






The winner of a signed copy of GAME ON by Tracy Solheim and 
handmade bath soaps is:

erin

Congratulations, Erin!  Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) dom




Friday, September 27, 2013

Guest Review - - Butterfly Cove

Butterfly Cove 
By Christina Skye
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date:  September 24th, 2013





After eight months of ten-hour work days, Olivia Sullivan’s job with a Seattle architectural firm ends shortly before noon with a hand-delivered, single-paragraph letter lacking a personal signature. Troubled by what unemployment means for her finances, Livie heads home to Summer Island, Oregon, not to the showy modern house she has inherited from her father but to her sanctuary, Harbor House, the historical house that she and her three closest friends have spent the past two years renovating. The upside to her unemployment is that she now has the time to help with final preparations for the rapidly approaching grand opening of the yarn shop and café at Harbor House.

The last thing Rafe Russo or anyone else who knew him ever expected was that the troubled, young rebel of Summer Island would find himself at not yet thirty a reluctant hero and the newest deputy sheriff in his old hometown. But after a fuel dump explosion almost killed him and did end his career as a member of a Marine recon team, it’s not as if he has a lot of options. Summer Island is a far cry from Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other distant places where Rafe has spent the past decade, but petty thefts and a stolen identity case have kept him hopping during his first day on the job—and that’s before the first winter storm of the season hits.

Olivia is on her way back to Harbor House with supplies for plumbing repairs when rain and ice turn the trip on the narrow coast road into a nightmare. Watching in horror as a speeding truck passes her and collides with an oncoming SUV, Olivia finds the road blocked by a stalled school minivan half-buried in a mudslide. Swerving to avoid the minivan and the children beside it, she strikes a law-enforcement vehicle. Not until she is in the local clinic recovering from a separated shoulder and possible concussion does Livie learn that the driver of the other vehicle, the man who administered first aid to her at the accident site, was none other than Rafe Russo, the bad boy who broke her heart ten years earlier when he left Summer Island and Olivia without even a goodbye.

The sizzling physical attraction between Olivia and Rafe remains undiminished since their teenage years, but the bond between them, based on a friendship dating back to elementary school days, is even harder to ignore—even in the face of their heavy emotional baggage. Olivia was a child of wealth and privilege, a good girl who did everything she could to earn the love and approval of her demanding, critical, emotionally distant father. A licensed architect, a gifted photographer, and a skilled knitter, thanks to her upbringing, she has little confidence in herself professionally or personally. She’s not the only one with daddy issues. Rafe’s father was literally absent, having abandoned his family when his two sons were children. Rafe responded to his father’s desertion by rebelling against authority in all forms. He was constantly breaking rules at school and later even breaking the law. He thought Livie was too good for him; so did most of the good citizens of Summer Island. They haven’t changed their opinion, and neither has Rafe. Livie’s low self-esteem and fear of another betrayal and Rafe’s feelings of unworthiness, magnified by some of the things his job as a warrior required of him, mean that they have a mountain of obstacles to overcome before they find their HEA.

Although it is less obvious than it should be, Butterfly Cove is the third novel in Skye’s Summer Island series. This book and the series in general have most of the elements of a terrific series: a picturesque small town, adorable animal characters; a group of women with a long history of loving, loyal friendship and shared experiences; hunky, wounded heroes with dangerous pasts (in some cases dangerous present as well) that required them to lay their lives on the line for the greater good; and sufficient external and internal conflict to keep things interesting. Yet, I’ve finished all three novels and the one novella in the series in love with the characters but feeling cheated by too many loose ends and unanswered questions.

“Return to Summer Island,” Skye’s novella in The Knitting Diaries (2011), introduced the series. It is the story of Caro McNeal, victim of an automobile accident and accomplished knitter, and Lieutenant Gage Grayson, a Marine on his way to Afghanistan. I liked the characters and enjoyed the epistolary quality of the story but disliked the truncated feel of the conclusion. A Home by the Sea (2011), my favorite of the series, is the story of Noah McLeod, a bomb squad specialist who works for a top secret government agency who is still dealing with grief over the loss of his brother when he meets food historian Grace Lindstrom, who is dealing with her own conflicted grief over a fiancé whose infidelity was exposed with his death. I found a heroine who rescues abandoned puppies and a hero who adores his mother irresistible, but the ending left me wondering (1) how a relationship with the H/H living nearly a country apart could end in an HEA, (2) what would happen to Grace’s ailing grandfather, and (3) if Noah’s niece, the only child of his dead brother, would be lost to her father’s family. The Accidental Bride (2012) is the story of Jilly O’ Hara, owner of a successful restaurant, and war hero Walker Hale, member of a wealthy, politically powerful, dysfunctional family, and their fake wedding that becomes real. I concluded my review of that novel with these words:

[O]ne of the reasons I’m addicted to series is that I love catching glimpses of the ongoing happiness of the H/H pairs from earlier books. In The Accidental Bride, Caro is on Summer Island caring for her baby and worrying about Gage who is still in danger every day, and Grace is wondering if she and Noah will ever have time together because he can’t seem to keep his promise to break free of his dangerous job. So although Jilly and Walker get their HEA, I wasn’t altogether happy with how they arrived there, and I finished concerned about Caro and Grace. I’ll be back for Olivia’s story. I can only hope that it will bring not only an HEA for her but also reaffirm the HEAs of her three friends.

Butterfly Cove does expand on Jilly and Walker’s HEA, but Gage is still not home and Grace and Noah are still living 3000 miles apart. Added to these ongoing concerns are those particular to the third novel. First, there’s Rafe’s family. We know he has a mother and a younger brother, but when he returns home, he never visits them or calls them or has any contact at all with them. I kept wondering why. Also, while connecting his youthful rebellion with his missing father is a line the weakest student of psychology can draw, the issue is never really addressed. Then there’s the matter of the missing fortune of Livie’s father. He was a wealthy man, but he left debts and only $34 in his bank account. Even Olivia’s inheritance and personal effects from her grandmother are gone. Olivia learns something about her father’s secret, kinky sex life, but she has only an unopened letter. The novel ends with no real answers.

I understand that series sometimes have overarching plot threads, and that authors may use them to tantalize readers, up to and including cliffhangers. But the money issue is not an ongoing thread; it is a central concern in this particular book. I felt betrayed when the mystery was left unresolved, especially when logic dictated that the story of the fourth and final Harbor House friend should offer closure. Skye indicates vaguely in an author’s note that the Summer Island series will continue. I’m invested enough in these characters to keep reading, seeking the answers I need, but I will do so as a frustrated, irritated reader rather than as an excited one, happily anticipating more of this series and motivated to follow the author into other books unrelated to Summer Island. If you are a patient reader who is undisturbed by a plethora of loose ends, you may find Butterfly Cove and the other Summer Island books more satisfying than I did. For readers whose expectations mirror mine, I really can’t recommend this book.

~Janga
http://justjanga.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Review -- I Married the Duke

I Married the Duke
The Prince Catchers Series-Book 1
By Katharine Ashe
Publisher:  Avon
Release Date:  August 27, 2013







She thought he was a pirate. He thought she was a governess. Two wrongs have never made such a scandalously perfect right.
On the way to marry a prince in a castle a lady should never:
  • Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,
  • Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,
  • Battle assassins at his side, or
  • Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.
But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no ordinary shipmaster. He’s the new duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess. 

It is actually quite fitting that I review I Married the Duke for The Romance Dish.  It was here at The Dish that I first discovered Katharine and her books when she visited to talk about her debut Swept Away by a Kiss. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of the book, and her passion and enthusiasm.  I am thrilled that things have come full circle in this way.  I Married the Duke is the first book in Katharine’s Prince Catchers series, and it was a delightful and engaging read. Katharine’s passion, joy, and investment in her books and her characters are palpable, and draw in the reader instantly.
Arabella Caulfield is the second of three sisters who were orphaned as young girls with no real knowledge of their past.  Their only clue is a ring. Years ago, the three sisters met a fortune teller who told them one of them would marry the owner of the ring, a prince, and only then would the three sisters know their past and who they truly are. Arabella is determined to fulfill the fortune teller’s prophecy, so she accepts a governess position to the sister of a prince. She and Prince Reiner will fall in love and marry, and all would be revealed. Unfortunately, she runs into an obstacle by the name of Captain Luc Westfall, the captain of the ship that’s taking her to Saint-Nazaire so she can assume her new position.  She finds him rude, arrogant, and maddening. And utterly attractive, compelling, and irresistible. Naturally, her plans to marry the prince are not meant to be.
Arabella is a woman whose experience with men makes her suspicious and wary of them and their motives.  Her beauty has long made her the target of men’s lascivious thoughts and unwanted advances. In addition, her guardian has made her feel her looks was something to be hidden and ashamed of, and maybe even to blame for those thoughts and advances.  Therefore, she has trouble trusting Luc and his intentions.  It leads to many crossed wires and miscommunications between her and Luc because she constantly second guesses his actions and motives. But eventually, she learns to trust him and herself. I liked  Arabella’s kind and caring nature, and admired her strength in facing down her doubts and fears, physically and emotionally, so she could truly give her heart to Luc, fully and openly.  I loved that Arabella comes to Luc’s rescue time and again, both literally and figuratively.
As with all Katharine Ashe heroes, Luc isn’t exactly who he first appears to be.  He is, in fact, the potential heir to the Duke of Lycombe. But due to his troubled past, he’s not anxiously waiting to assume the dukedom. Luc has many demons haunting him, and must make peace with his past in order for him to embrace his future with Arabella.  My heart ached for what he and his brother went through as children, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the villain get what’s coming to him, and then some.  I liked that despite Arabella’s initial reaction to him, Luc truly is a man of valor and honor who strives to do the right thing. And I must admit the kerchief covering his eye injury makes him so dashing and even more appealing!
Katharine’s romances are very passionate, sensual, and deeply emotional. I Married the Duke is no exception. The hair washing scene in particular still gives me shivers.  She makes you feel every high and low her heroes and heroines go through on their way to the happy ending, and you can’t help but be swept along on the journey. You get the sense that not only do they want each other, they NEED each other, like the missing piece of the puzzle that makes their lives and joy complete.
I thoroughly enjoyed I Married the Duke, and definitely recommend it. Katharine has said that a book for baby sister Ravenna is already in the works, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Prince Catchers series! In the meantime, a Christmas novella featuring Princess Jacqueline and Luc’s cousin, the Earl of Bedwyr, will have to tide us over until then.
 
~Lisa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today's Special - - B.J. Daniels


I'm delighted to welcome B.J. Daniels to The Romance Dish today.  I've been reading B.J.'s books for a number of years and had the pleasure of meeting her in person at last summer's RWA conference.  

The USA Today bestselling author lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three Springer Spaniels, Spot, Jem and Ace. When she isn’t writing, she quilts, snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis.  To contact her, write: B.J. Daniels, P.O. Box 1173, Malta, MT 59538 or email her at bjdaniels@mtintouch.net Check out her webpage and blog at www.bjdaniels.com

Take it away, B.J.!




Imagine that you’ve weathered a lot of losses in your life. Now all you have left is a struggling sheep ranch and an old sheepherder who is more like your grandfather than hired help.
            Then the worst happens. The young man you sent to help the sheepherder is a suspect for murder, your faithful sheepherder is missing and Deputy Sheriff Bentley Jamison is at your door.
That is what happens to Madison “Maddie” Conner in my new book FORSAKEN. Maddie is an amazing woman who I fell in love with the first time I met her. She’s strong and determined and capable. She’s been running the sheep ranch by herself for years with only the help of Branch Murdock, her sheepherder.
But now she must pull on her boots and ride back into the unforgiving Beartooth mountains to find
out what has happened. Worse, Deputy Jamison refuses to let her go alone because he suspects what they will find when they reach the sheep camp is a murder scene.
What made this book fun for me to write was that Jamison is a greenhorn from back East. He doesn’t know anything about the wilds of Montana let alone sheep. But he does know about murder since his former job was as a homicide detective in New York.
Trapped together in a late summer storm high in the mountains miles from civilization with a killer, the two have to work together to survive.
I love writing about strong women but I have to tell you, Maddie is my favorite. She has accepted her life, one that only includes hard work. But the greenhorn deputy reminds her that she is a woman and still desirable.
This book idea came from meeting one of the real-life sheepherders who used to take a flock of two thousand sheep back into the Beartooth wilderness, a trek of over 150 miles, and three long summer months without seeing another soul other than his “tender,” the young man who took care of the camp.
I spent some time recently in that area. There are no roads, no houses, nothing but high mountains, rocky cliffs and beautiful wild meadows. There is some cell phone coverage if you are on one of the highest peaks, but even that is sketchy. The only way to get back into this country is on foot or a horse.
Maddie is as beautiful and as wild as this country she loves. But she has no idea what is waiting for her back in the mountains.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did writing it. Maddie Conner could be my favorite character of all time. A character like that needed a special man. Deputy Sheriff Bentley Jamison is that man.
B.J. Daniels
www.bjdaniels.com

Thanks, BJ!  I'm looking forward to reading Maddie and Bentley's story!  Is there anything you'd like to ask our readers today?

Question: Maddie and Jamison are older than a lot of "romance" novels. Do you like reading about characters who find love after having had other lovers/marriages?

Okay, readers.  Let's see some comments!  BJ is giving away three signed copies of Redemption, the second book in her Beartooth, Montana series from HQN.  (open internationally)



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Super New Talent!

by Anna Campbell


I love it when I find a fantastic new author (I think we all know that feeling of  discovery!). I had this experience recently when I picked up RESERVATIONS FOR TWO, the debut SuperRomance from Jennifer Lohmann.

Even better, I had met Jennifer back in 2010 at the Orlando Romance Writers of America conference where she received the Librarian of the Year award. Jennifer and I bonded over many glasses of zinfandel and our mutual love of classic romance fiction. At the time I had no idea that this companion in the zinfandel murder conspiracy wanted to write romance as well as recommend it to her library patrons.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Jennifer was taking part, along with a couple of my dear Romance Bandits sisters, Jeanne Adams and Nancy Northcott, in a Lady Jane's salon in Raleigh in March. So I rushed to order her debut romance, RESERVATIONS FOR TWO.

RESERVATIONS FOR TWO introduces the first of the Polish-American Milek sisters, Tilly, who has overcome personal tragedy to start up her own restaurant in her home town Chicago. So much hinges on the restaurant being a success, not least Tilly's need to justify her late grandmother's faith in her, so it's a devastating blow when an all-powerful food critic who operates under a pseudonym delivers a horrible review soon after the launch. Still reeling, Tilly encounters charming Dan Meier and experiences an immediate attraction unlike anything she's ever felt before.

Yep, you're right - Dan is our EVOL food critic. But don't worry, this book is so much more than an extended rap on the big misunderstanding romance trope. Both of these characters have enormous emotional issues standing in the way of their happiness and it's such a buzz watching them conquer their demons one by one until they're ready to stand together and seize their joint future. Yay!

Having finished RESERVATIONS FOR TWO, I immediately ordered THE FIRST MOVE which features Tilly's older sister, the very self-contained Renia Milek. Renia has risen above tragedy and its aftereffects to become a respected photographer in Chicago, but her emotional life remains a complete wasteland. That's the way she likes it - having been hurt so badly in the past, she is reluctant to trust again.

Miles Brislenn had a huge high school crush on Renia but she didn't know he was alive. When these two meet again while Renia is photographing a wedding, sparks immediately fly. Miles sets out patiently and lovingly to mend the broken heart of the girl he's never forgotten. Renia, as you can imagine, isn't exactly a willing participant in this process,but Miles proves irresistible.

In this book, I really liked Renia but I LOVED Miles. He's just such a lovely guy and he knows pretty much from the get-go what he wants. There's something so breathtakingly appealing about a hero willing to go to any length to cherish the woman he loves. Sigh.

Both of these books are great reading and if you're looking for a new voice in contemporary romance, run to your nearest bookseller and grab them. There were a whole stack of things I loved about these stories - the characters act like adults and they're so real, you feel like they could be sitting next to you; the emotional depth; the complexities of the family relationships portrayed (again, very real); the fresh, modern voice. I also loved the cultural detail of Chicago with its various ethnic neighborhoods and rich urban life. It's a city I've always wanted to visit - why doesn't RWA go there for a conference? I'd be the first person to book!

So my verdict on Jennifer Lohmann? Definitely a discovery!

As I said above, I love to find great new authors. Have you recently read any authors new to you who have become your new autobuy? What attracted you to these stories?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Today's Special - - Tracy Solheim

Tracy Solheim is an author who speaks my language.  Like her, I've been a sports enthusiast since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Give me an athlete hero and I'm sure to give your book a second...and third...look!  

After years of writing reports and testimony for Congress, Tracy Solheim decided to put her fiction writing talents to better use.  In May, Berkley Publishing launched her Out of Bounds series, featuring the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team.  GAME ON, book one in the series is available where all books are sold.  FOOLISH GAMES, book two, will be released December 3, 2013.  She lives in the heart of SEC country, also known as the suburbs of Atlanta, with her husband and their two works-in-progress.   When she’s not at the barn with her daughter or working out with friends, she’s writing.  Except for when she’s reading, but according to her, that’s just necessary research.  See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.comWomenUnplugged and Romancing the Jock.  Be sure to LIKE her on Facebook to be eligible to win an advanced copy of Foolish Games!

Please give Tracy a warm Romance Dish welcome!





PUTTING A LITTLE GAME IN ROMANCE
Long before I cracked the spine of my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel and well before I was introduced to Deirdre Martin’s New York Blades hockey team or Jill Shalvis’ Santa Barbara Heat baseball team, I was dreaming of my own jock hero.  Just ask my mom.  While other girls were reading Seventeen, I was pouring through Sports Illustrated, cutting out pictures of hunky athletes to tape up to my bedroom wall.  (Don’t mention the tape to my mother, though.  She’s still unhappy about the damage to the freshly painted room.)
            When it came to writing my first contemporary romance, GAME ON, I naturally gravitated to an athlete as the hero.  At the time, Navy SEALS were the rage and there weren’t enough books on the contemporary shelves about jocks.  (Not that I don’t love a good Navy SEAL book, because I really do!)  But times have changed since that first draft a couple of years ago and sports romance has quickly developed into a strong sub-genre of its own.  Which leads me to ask:  What took so long?
            Athletes—like the aforementioned Navy SEALs—are larger than life. They’re warriors with hard bodies, ego-induced swagger and lots of disposable income.  What’s not to love, right?  They are the absolute perfect romance hero.

Not so fast, though.  It takes more to make a reader cheer for a jock.  The best sports romance heroes have to be vulnerable, too.  Vulnerable to injury or loss of the championship, or worse, their career.  In GAME ON, quarterback Shane Devlin is scrambling to keep his career alive.  Not for the money, necessarily, but so he can surpass NFL records set by his estranged father.  In FOOLISH GAMES, the second book in the Out of Bounds trilogy, linebacker Will Connelly’s vulnerability is an infant son he never knew he had and will do anything to keep.  In the third book, RISKY GAME, tight end Brody Janik is hiding a potentially career-ending secret. Of course, all three players meet women who help them navigate their vulnerabilities to score their happily ever after.  It is romance, after all.
            But let’s look at this from a totally different perspective.  What about a book with the heroine as the sports star? Would her vulnerabilities be the same as a male athlete?  I think most would.  More importantly, what would her hero look like?  I’m seriously toying with the idea, so I’d appreciate your perspective.  
Leave me a comment with your thoughts and you’ll be eligible to win a signed copy of GAME ON and some fun, handmade bath soap! (U.S. addresses only)





Saturday, September 21, 2013

PJ's Birthday Bash Winners





Wow!  What an amazing birthday!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by The Romance Dish yesterday to help me celebrate and a very special thank you to all the authors who generously donated books for you, my birthday guests!  Here are yesterday's winners.  Congratulations to you all!



flchen1
fedora at gmail dot com

Signed copy of What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long

Cheryl C
castings at mindspring dot com

In the Heart of the Highlander and In the Arms of the Heiress 
by Maggie Robinson

Quantum
quantumphase AT supanet DOT com

Digital copy of Lethal Confessions and Curveball by V.K. Sykes

Marcy Shuler
bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

Print copy of His Mistletoe Bride by Vanessa Kelly

Jessica C
jpchez02@hotmail.com

Signed copy of To Tempt the Devil and Claiming the Courtesan 
by
Anna Campbell 

shysanta
shysanta (at) verizon (dot) net

Signed copy of Werewolf in Alaska by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Heather 
Azacia (at) gmail (dot) com

Pkg. of books from Cathy Maxwell

krazymama_98
lisakhutson (at) coxnet

Signed copy of Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James

hannahdabink
hondapearl (at) gmail (dot) com

Signed copy of As You Wish by Eloisa James

ally_in_Canada
achingchew(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Signed copy of As You Wish by Eloisa James

Jeanne M
jeannemiro(at)yahoo(dot)com

Signed copy of As You Wish by Eloisa James

Dawn Wagner
disneywag@gmail.com

Copy of London's Last True Scoundrel by Christina Brooke

Krysten Michelsen
kmichels06 (at) gmail (dot) com

Signed hardback copy of 'Twas the Night After Christmas 
by Sabrina Jeffries


Pirouette
bcostedoat1 AT hotmail DOT fr

Copy of I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

Kristy Birch
kristina.birch (at) gmail (dot) com

Kindle copy of Meant to Be by Terri Osburn

Petite
elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Up to the Challenge by Terri Osburn

Marnee Bailey
marneejo (at) hotmail (dot) com

The Summer He Came Home by Juliana Stone


BONUS GIVEAWAYS!

May
maybe31 at yahoo.com

A Perfect Distraction by Anna Sugden

Leah O'Connor
laurelskoog at comcast dot net

Pkg. of books from Katharine Ashe


Thanks to Anna Sugden and Katharine Ashe for the Bonus Giveaways!


Winners, to claim your prize please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.



New winners will be drawn for any prizes not claimed by Saturday, September 28, 2013.

Tawny Weber Winner





The winner of a FEARLESS goody pack from 
Tawny Weber
is

Laney4

Congratulations, Laney!  Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Jennifer McQuiston Winner





The winner of a retro box of salt water taffy and a copy of 
Summer is for Lovers 
(U.S. address only)

from Jennifer McQuiston
is

Diane D - Florida

Congratulations, Diane!  

Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


V.K. Sykes Winners






The two V.K. Sykes winners are:

Chey

You've won a copy of Lethal Confessions in print (North America) or digital (international)

and

Debra L. Martin

You've won a print copy of His Mistletoe Bride (North America only)

Winners, please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Karen Hawkins Winner





The winner of an audio book version of
How to Pursue a Princess and swag 
from Karen Hawkins is

Kimberley
(kcnrhtx (at) charter (dot) net

Congratulations, Kimberley!  Please send your full name and mailing address to us at
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com




Friday, September 20, 2013

PJ's Birthday Bash





Many thanks to my friend, Sharlene Moore of Graphics by Sharlene for the awesome birthday graphic to the left that she designed for our facebook page!

       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Birthdays and presents.  They go hand in hand, right?  Well, maybe not always but in a perfect world, they should! Today is my birthday so, of course, my thoughts have turned to birthday gifts...but not in the way you might imagine. As the saying goes, it's better to give than receive.  So for this year's special day, it won't be all about me. Today, it's going to be all about YOU!  

A few of my author friends are here today to share some of their birthday gift memories.  Some are good, others not so good and then there are those "what were they thinking?" gifts that we've probably all received at one time or another (which is why I became a huge fan of gift cards the moment the kids in my family each turned 13).   

We're also giving away books today.  Lots and lots of books so be sure to leave lots and lots of comments!  Since we have multiple giveaways with some open to everyone while others are restricted to U.S. or U.S./Canada, we're asking you to please include additional information with your comments.  To be eligible for the giveaways, please include your email address and location (U.S./Canada/International).

So, let's get this party started!  Grab a drink, check out the goodies our waiters are serving (don't forget to check out the waiters too!), relax, have fun and please say hello to my Birthday Authors!

Sending out a big Romance Dish welcome to Julie Anne Long, Maggie Robinson, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Cathy Maxwell, Eloisa James, Christina Brooke, Sabrina Jeffries, Katharine Ashe, Terri Osburn and Juliana Stone!



Julie Anne Long







Happy Birthday to PJ! AND to me! Clearly all the very best people were born on September. 20th.  

I've had so many wonderful birthday presents over the years—including surprise parties—and it's so hard to choose one favorite. One that stands out for its hilarity, however, was when a group of my friends surprised me with a visit—our very first visit as young adults—to a (very no-frills) spa in Calistoga, the very first spa experience for all of us. They'd chosen the most affordable one they could find. At first they were going to drive me all the way there (3 hours) blindfolded, and I balked. They told me to bring my bathing suit and I balked. I asked why, and they told me they were entering me in a pageant. (Ha. They're very witty, my friends.) 

As it turned out, we didn't need the bathing suits—once we got there, we were told to strip completely, then handed these little white scraps of towels to cover ourselves while we sat in shivering traumatized silence on benches, cheek by cheek, with other nude strangers of all genders and awaited our turn to be dunked in vats of mud, hosed off, then steamed in a booth, then pummeled into pliancy by enormous, rectangular, German masseuses (mine was named Olga). We could see other naked people casually strolling about in the midst of their treatments as we waited. But by the end of the experience, we'd abandoned all modesty and were strolling casually and nudely about, too. I felt like I was finding mud in my various nooks and crannies for days afterwards. It was a blast. I'm getting a (considerably more genteel) spa treatment for my birthday this year, too.


Oh my gosh, what an experience!  I've never been to a spa.  Maybe I should give it a try.  I think I'll go for the genteel one too. ;-)

Happy Birthday, Julie!  I hope you have a fabulous day!

I'm giving away a signed copy of one of my favorite Pennyroyal Green books today, What I Did For a Duke.  (U.S./Canada only)  ~PJ

Learn more about Julie and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.



It Happened One Midnight
(Pennyroyal Green)
Avon
June 25, 2013


More than one beautiful woman's hopes have been dashed on the rocky shoals of Jonathan Redmond's heart. With his riveting good looks and Redmond wealth and power,the world is his oyster—until an ultimatum from his father and a chilling gypsy prophecy send him hurtling headlong toward a fate he'll do anything to avoid: matrimony.

Intoxicating, elusive Thomasina de Ballesteros has the bloods of London at her feet. But none of them knows the real Tommy—the one with a shocking pedigree, a few too many secrets,and a healthy scorn for rakes like Jonathan.

She's everything Jonathan never wanted.But on one fateful midnight, he's drawn into Tommy's world of risk, danger . . . and a desire he'd never dreamed possible. And suddenly he's re-thinking everything . . . including the possibility that succumbing to prophecy might just mean surrendering to love.





PJ & Maggie
Maggie Robinson











nps.gov

Happy Birthday, PJ! I hope this turns into one of your favorite birthdays! Mine was when I turned ten. My birthday request was, I acknowledge, pretty weird for a ten-year-old (but pretty spot-on for a future historical romance writer). I wanted to go to Teddy Roosevelt's house, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, New York, not too far from where I grew up. This was Roosevelt's "Summer White House", and he lived there with his family from 1885 to his death in 1919. The period rooms were wonderful and loaded with antiques, and I could imagine myself living there in elegance--all except for the numerous animal trophies on the wall which skeeved me out.







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After the house tour, we went to White Castle, where I ate FOUR hamburgers, a harbinger of dietary issues to come. So turning ten was pretty pivotal in terms of my interest in historic homes and "gourmet" food, LOL.






Okay, I can see where the dead animals may have put a bit of a damper on the festivities but I wholeheartedly applaud your decision to hit up White Castle.  Love them!  ~PJ

Maggie is giving away an early copy of October's In the Heart of the Highlander and a copy of July's In the Arms of the Heiress (both Edwardian-set romances of which Teddy would approve) in honor of my birthday!

Learn more about Maggie and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  


In the Heart of the Highlander
Berkley
October 1, 2013


She has exactly what he needs—and desires…
 
Ever since Mary Evensong’s elderly aunt Mim got sick, Mary’s masqueraded as the owner of the Evensong Agency, finding housemaids and husbands, and solving pesky problems, for the peerage. Someday she’d like to shake off her silvery wig and spectacles and be the young woman she truly is, but desperate clients are waiting for “Mrs. Evensong” at the office.
 
Like a scandalous Scottish baron. Honor forbids Lord Alec Raeburn from explaining the suspicious circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, but he knows who’s responsible. He just needs to hire an actress to lure the scoundrel into a trap. 
 
After listening to Raeburn’s story—and seeing him in his kilt—Mary knows the perfect person for the role. Letting her red hair down, she heads off to the Scottish Highlands to pose as a seductress, but soon finds herself with more than her virtue at stake in a tug-of-war between two powerful men. She could wind up in danger—or in the heart of the highlander.

  

Vanessa & PJ
Vanessa Kelly / V.K. Sykes









My all-time favorite gift was for a birthday milestones a few years ago (no, I’m not going to tell you which one!).  I had just taken my first timid steps toward becoming a romance author, doing most of my writing by hand in lined notebooks.  For this particular birthday, my family got together and did two things to celebrate with me.  The first was to come from all over the country


for a big party, which would have been an awesome gift in itself.  But they also bought me an AlphaSmart, a portable, lightweight keyboard processer.  It was a such a great sign of support for my dreams, and I had to choke back tears when I took it out of the box.  I’ve subsequently written every one of my books on it, to the point where I’ve worn the symbols off the keyboard.  But it still works like a charm, and I hope has many more books left in it!


Aren't those surprises wonderful, Vanessa?  My family did the same for my last zero birthday and surprised me with a Nook Color, something I'd been wanting but I didn't think any of them knew it and, honestly, traveling from three different states to spend my birthday with me was gift enough.  I didn't expect anything else!  Special people, special gift, special memories.  ♥ ~PJ

Vanessa is giving away digital copies of Lethal Confessions and Curveball (open internationally) and a print copy of His Mistletoe Bride (North America only). 

Learn more about Vanessa Kelly at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  Connect with V.K. Sykes at Facebook and Twitter and learn more about their books at their website

Lethal Confessions
Indie
September 6, 2013

The brutal murder of her twin sister drove Amy Robitaille into a career as a homicide detective for Palm Beach County. When a serial killer targets the wives of local baseball players, Amy has more than just a professional interest at stake—her only surviving sister fits the profile of the other victims. Amy’s hell-bent on catching the killer, not only to protect her sister but to destroy the demons haunting her since the death of her twin.

Baseball star and former soldier Luke Beckett has just retired from the game and is looking to move on with his life. When he’s asked to consult on the serial killer case for the local police, he finds the challenge he needs—despite the objections of lead detective Amy Robitaille. But Luke has no intention of backing away from the job and every intention of getting to know the intriguing detective.

Amy has no time to babysit a celebrity consultant while trying to catch a serial killer. But Luke is not the man she assumed him to be and he threatens to become a powerful distraction. That’s the last thing she needs, especially when the killer starts closing in on her family. But without Luke’s help, Amy stands to lose everything.



PJ & Anna
 Anna Campbell



Happy birthday, PJ! I really think they should make your birthday a public holiday. They celebrate lots of other great people. Why not you??!! Birthday presents? I’ve received too many great ones to list here, but right now I’m loving the i-Pod shuffle that wonderful historical romance author Christina Brooke gave me last year. PJ, hope you have a magnificent day. You’re an adornment to the world. I’ll be raising a glass in your honor!


Gosh, thanks, Anna! *blushing*  To thank Anna for that lovely toast I'm giving away signed copies of To Tempt the Devil and Claiming the Courtesan.  (U.S./Canada only) ~ PJ

Learn more about Anna and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  



A Rake's Midnight Kiss
(Sons of Sin)
Forever
August 27, 2013


IT TAKES A LADY

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett's secret identity as the author of her father's articles is her greatest deception-until her father's handsome new student arrives on their doorstep. Genevieve recognizes him as the masked intruder who earlier tried to steal a priceless gem from their home. Keeping the seductive stranger's identity hidden is a risk, but she's got secrets of her own to keep.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Sir Richard Harmsworth fakes a rakish facade to show society that he doesn't care about his bastard status. Yet haunted by his unknown father's identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will prove he's the rightful heir. Intent on seducing the stone away from its owner, Richard finds himself face-to-face with a beauty more breathtaking than any jewel. But even as she steals Richard's heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure . . 





Audrey & Vicki




Vicki Lewis Thompson













Happy Birthday, PJ!  My most spectacular B-Day gift ever was when my daughter Audrey and I went on a Greek cruise in 2011!  We started in Venice, and on my actual birthday, October 11, we stopped at Dubrovnik.  This is a picture of us leaving the ship that morning, and as you can see, I have a Chesire-cat grin going on!









My funniest birthday gift came from my bestie and plotting partner Rhonda Nelson.  His name's Tiki-mon, and he's our muse.  We ferry him around the country to our various plotting sessions, so he's a well-traveled little dude.










LOL @ Tiki-Mon!  He's so ugly, he's kind of cute!  

Readers, I'm giving away a signed copy of Vicki's Werewolf in Alaska today.  (U.S./Canada only) ~PJ

Learn more about Vicki at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  


Werewolf in Alaska
(Wild About You)
Signet
July 2, 2013

He’s a lone wolf—for now.
 
In Polecat, Alaska, Rachel Miller and Jake Hunter have a mutual admiration for each other—from across a lake. There’s nothing Rachel likes more than spying on the very fit wilderness guide when he skinny-dips each night. And Jake has always been curious about his reclusive artist neighbor. He even bought Rachel’s first wood carving: a wolf who looks suspiciously like him....
 
Jake is a werewolf, but not just any werewolf. He’s the founder of WARM (Werewolves Against Random Mating). And that means a human like Rachel is off-limits, no matter how attractive he finds her.
 
But when Rachel is threatened by a bear, and Jake shifts to save her, their lives collide with an intense passion, one that could change everything they’ve ever felt about themselves—and each other.... 




PJ & Cathy


Cathy Maxwell








I grew up receiving breakfast in bed for my birthdays—but I married a man who rarely celebrated them.  If anything, Max lived every day as if it was special and, after a few years of adjustment (giving up breakfast in bed is tough!), I came around to his way of thinking.  Why settle for one special day when I can have three hundred and sixty-five of them?

Happy birthday, PJ!  Thanks for letting us all celebrate with you.

Thanks, Cathy!  I like the way your hubby thought.  My late husband was of a similar mindset and, like you, I came to realize that 365 days of "special" were a lot better than just one! ~PJ

Cathy is giving away an assortment of her books today.  (U.S. addresses only)

Find more information about Cathy at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  



The Devil's Heart
(Chattan Curse)
Avon
April 30, 2013


They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry.The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers' lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the Highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.
Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.
But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.





PJ & Eloisa

Eloisa James











In the first years of our marriage, I used to steal my husband's t-shirts all the time to sleep in.  Then one year I ripped open my present to find two black t-shirts, XL, men's style, from TJ Maxx.  My face must have revealed my feelings about this present, because Alessandro said, very quickly, "I thought this would be just what you'd want!"  He does much better these days!

Just the thought of the panic-stricken expression that must have been on Alessandro's face had laughing out loud.  Glad he's doing better these days! ~PJ

Eloisa is giving away three signed copies of As You Wish! (open internationally)

PJ here.  I'm also giving away a signed copy of Once Upon a Tower. (U.S./Canada only)

Find more information about Eloisa at her website and connect with her at Facebook and Twitter.  



Once Upon a Tower
Avon
May 28, 2013

Once upon a time...
 
A duke fell in love
 
Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.
 
Edie--whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene--had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn't notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer... she panics.  And when their marriage night isn't all it could be, she pretends.
 
But Edie's inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower--locking Gowan out. Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge.  Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower...
 
When she already has the keys to his heart?






Christina & PJ
Christina Brooke




Happy birthday, PJ! Much love and many hugs to you on your special day. As for birthday gifts, the ones I love most have been gifts that show the person knows me well--Fowler's Modern English Usage is one of the best gifts I've received because I'm such a word nerd. I have some gorgeous jewelry that I really treasure, like the sapphire and diamond ring my husband gave me. As for weird, for my 18th birthday I received what looked like a wooden replica of male genitalia. I was scared to ask what it was but someone later told me it was supposed to be for giving yourself a back massage :) I don't think there are any bad presents, but I do tend to lean towards my mother's rule of "nothing that implies housework"!

Laughing uproariously over the back massager!  I don't think I'd have been brave enough to ask either.  Oh, and I totally agree with your mom's rule!   

Because I enjoyed this story so much, I'm giving away a print copy of Christina's most recent book, London's Last True Scoundrel.  Open internationally to any country to which Book Depository delivers.  ~PJ

Connect with Christina online at Facebook and Twitter and find more information about her books at her website.  



London's Last True Scoundrel
St. Martin's
July 2, 2013


LONDON’S ULTIMATE BAD BOY…
Physically reckless, irrepressibly roguish, and poised on the brink of ruin, Jonathon Westruther, Earl of Davenport, returns from the dead only to throw himself into dissipation. Until he meets his worst nightmare: a straitlaced former schoolteacher he can’t get out of his head. He resolves to seduce the delightful Miss Hilary deVere by fair means or foul. But when his past returns to endanger Hilary, he must protect her at all costs…

MEETS ENGLAND’S MOST PROPER MISS
Dismissed from her post at a ladies’ academy because of prejudice against her uncouth family, Hilary will do anything to avoid going back to live with her loutish brothers. She longs for a London season to show the world a deVere can behave with utmost decorum and to find a respectable husband. Everything about Lord Davenport appalls her but desperation makes strange bedfellows. To get to London, Hilary strikes a bargain with the devilish Davenport, confident that she’s immune to his charm. But as she discovers surprising depths beneath his rakish surface, this infamous scoundrel becomes more temptation than even the most proper lady can withstand…in London's Last True Scoundrel by Christina Brooke.




Sabrina & PJ
Sabrina Jeffries











My weirdest birthday present was also one of my best. My husband gave me a big chunk of green glass one birthday, and when I looked at him as if he were crazy, he explained that it was a deck prism from a ship, used to disperse light below decks. I'd never seen one, and I thought it was seriously cool! He gave it to me because The Pirate Lord had just come out. I still have it prominently displayed in my office, a symbol of his thoughtfulness.



What a lovely gift!  Shows a lot of thoughtfulness and creativity on your hubby's part.  And it's beautiful too!  ~PJ

Sabrina is giving away a signed hardback copy of 'Twas the Night After Christmas."  

(PJ here.  This was one of my favorite 2012 books and will be issued in paperback on October 29th, just in time for Christmas 2013!)

Find more information about Sabrina's books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  



'Twas the Night After Christmas
Pocket
October 29, 2013

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has never forgiven his parents for inexplicably abandoning him to distant relatives as a child. Nevertheless, when he receives word that the stranger he calls “Mother” is gravely ill, the unabashed rogue makes a rare return to Montcliff, his country estate. There he finds that the woman is perfectly healthy—and that he has fallen for a cunning ruse crafted by her lady’s companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart. The lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce, is determined to reconcile the Earl and Lady Devonmont. None of them can predict the secrets, both heartening and shocking, divulged between a mother and son, and between two lovers, each haunted by their pasts, that will make Christmas night at Montcliff one to remember—and the glorious night after, one to treasure for a lifetime.



Katharine Ashe










As a little girl, I adored the Pink Panther. He was smart, funny, clever, astonishingly resilient and of course pink. It tickled me to pieces that a powerful, intelligent creature could have a silly side. When my parents surprised me with a child-sized stuffed Pink Panther for my birthday, I leaped out of my Keds.









Nearly my height and filled with sawdust and fluff, Pink would look at me with that oh-so-smooth and sanguine regard that just begged me to invent adventures. The best was on Halloween. Pink couldn’t walk the neighborhood candy route on his own, of course. So I found an old prom gown in the dress-up box and a Chinese jacket that looked vaguely medieval to me, and I dressed Pink as a princess and myself as the prince. I carried my damsel around all night and had the happiest Halloween ever. I suppose there was something in me even then that loved experiencing adventures from the hero’s perspective too! 






Oh, Katharine, those pictures are just too adorable and, wow, I'm really impressed with your creativity at such a  young age!  Thanks so much for sharing the story and photos with us today!

I'm giving away a copy of I Married the Duke (any country to which bookdepository.com ships) to a randomly chosen person leaving a comment.  ~PJ

Find more information about Katharine at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.




I Married the Duke: 
The Prince Catchers
Avon
August 27, 2013


Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never:
  1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,
  2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,
  3. Battle thieves at his side,
    and
  4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.
But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.



Terri Osburn







Growing up in small-town Ohio, my early life didn't include much in the way of culture. We never traveled, and outside the occasional rock concert (think hair bands) or Pirates game (NOW they're winning), my childhood could best be described as bland. But I longed for more, and for my 18th birthday, my older sister came through. It was just after Christmas 1989 (my birthday is New Year's Eve) and my sister gave me two tickets to see Les Mis live at the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh. I still laugh every time I see the picture of my reaction. She took me completely by surprise and I'm not sure I believed the tickets were real at first. My best friend and I sat in the very last row, making the actors appear the size of gummy bears, but the music swirled around us and we were part of the révolution! I've seen countless stage productions since, but you never forget your first. And oh, what a first.

Oh, Terri, what a wonderful surprise. Les Miserables is my all-time favorite stage production. It would be hard to top that gift!

I fell in love with Terri's small-town contemporary romance debut, Meant to Be and am excitedly counting down the days until the release of her second book, Up to the Challenge on October 22nd. Today, I'm giving away one Kindle e-copy of Meant to Be. ~PJ

Terri is giving away a copy of her October 22nd release, Up to the Challenge. Here's your chance to read it a full month before it goes on sale! (U.S./Canada only)

Find more information about Terri at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.




Up to the Challenge
(An Anchor Island Novel)
Montlake Romance
October 22, 2013


Opposites attract in a sexy tale of unexpected love

When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad.
Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist.
After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love.
But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win.
Up to the Challenge is a sexy, fast-paced, romantic story of family, island life, and finding love in unexpected places.


PJ & Juliana
Juliana Stone

There are several things I look forward to every year.  Fall—cuz I like pumpkins, hot apple cider and sweaters.  (I’m not a fan of Halloween however, go figure) I also look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter—family times equal good times.  Around my parts May 24 weekend is a great time to open pools, go to the cottage and have a party.

The one thing I don’t really look forward to is my birthday. Not because I’m one of those women who are freaked out by ‘the number’. I’m not. It’s just a number. I know many people who are a lot older than I who seem younger than some half their age.  No, it’s more that I don’t like receiving presents, or rather, being the focus of opening said present when everyone is watching.  Because of that I tend to not make my birthday a big deal which is kind of hard when you have a husband who is Mr. Social Butterfly.

A few years ago, on my birthday, he planned a big party.  It was the year after I turned 40 and I believe on that particular birthday we were at a hockey tournament so we didn’t do much.  Which I was fine with.  But on this day I’d gone to watch my son play at an outdoor event (he’s a guitarist in a rock band) It was a Saturday, my hair was in a clip, I was wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt. I remember my friend convinced me to go shopping even though I looked like crap. 

I remember finally coming home and still looking like crap.  I remember seeing cars down the street. Lots of them.  At that point I knew two things. Hubs had planned a party and invited everyone we knew. 

And I still looked crap.


All I’m gonna say is that it took me a bit to warm up to the idea and when I finally relaxed (which was easy ‘cuz I was in yoga pants) I had a great time…so I’m glad I didn’t go with my first instinct and drive the heck away!

LOL!  That's always been a fear of mine; big party, everyone I know and me with no make-up and dirty hair.  Glad to say it's never happened but if it did, I'm afraid my first instinct would have identical to your's. Glad you were able to relax and have a great time! 

Juliana is giving away a copy of The Summer He Came Home, the first book in her wonderful small-town contemporary Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series (and one of my favorite books of 2013) in the winner's choice of e-book or print (if U.S./Canada) or a print copy from bookdepository.com if international. 

The second book in the series, The Christmas He Loved Her releases on September 24th.  I've read an early copy and it's a keeper!

Find more information about Juliana's books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.


The Christmas He Loved Her
(Bad Boys of Crystal Lake)
Sourcebooks Casablanca
September 24, 2013

All he wants this Christmas is her...

In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it's also time to come home and face the music. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother's widow, Raine.
Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can't imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother's sudden death. Now he's back and she doesn't know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Or maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.

Okay, Readers.  Now it's your turn.  Tell me about your birthday memories. Or share what you'd like to do or what gift you'd like to receive for your next birthday.  Or talk about your favorite books.  Or your favorite birthday treat. 

Bring on the comments and don't forget to include your location and email address to be eligible for the giveaways!

Let's get this party started!

~PJ