Monday, January 23, 2023

Straight Chatting from the Library: Meg Benjamin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Meg Benjamin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?

Well, that depends on how you define writer. I was a college teacher for a lot of years and I had to write papers and books as part of my job (publish or perish, y’all). But that wasn’t exactly writing for fun. I started writing fiction in my spare time because I wanted to do something that wasn’t related to my job, and because I’d always wanted to write novels. My first novel, Venus In Blue Jeans, was published in 2009, and I think that’s when I decided I really could be considered a writer, as in a fiction writer.

What advice do you have for a new writer?

The best way to become a writer is to write every day. You don’t have to write a whole book in twenty-four hours, but you should get a routine going where you promise yourself to write a certain number of words. Don’t worry if they’re not great. You can rewrite them later. Another absolutely crucial thing is a reader. Find a critique group or a critical friend. Don’t use someone who loves you—they won’t tell you when something stinks because they love you. To me, those are the two crucial things: writing and reading.

What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?

Rewriting and editing. It’s fun to re-read what you’ve written and figure out what you need to do to make it better. First drafts are work. When you get to the second draft, though, you know where you’re going and where you mean to end up. You can concentrate on making the journey as smooth as possible.

What is your favorite part of this story?

It differs from story to story. In my cozy mysteries, I get a kick out of writing the actual murder. Do you let people see it happening or do you have them come in after the fact? How do you build up the suspense around what’s going to happen or has already happened? You get to play God a little because you know what’s going on and your reader may not.

Which character was the most fun to write about? Why?

I really like my heroine, Roxy Constantine. This is the first time I’ve used first person since it’s not common in romance writing, and I enjoyed being in Roxy’s point of view and developing her voice. She’s a big women (over six feet), who’s not as sure of herself as she should be. But she knows her jam. And as the book goes on, she figures out what she wants and how to get it.

Which character was the hardest to write about? Why?

Probably the victim, Brett Holmes. He’s a thoroughgoing asshole, but, as Roxy says several times, “even an asshole deserves to live.” I wanted to make him creepy but believable, not so over-the-top that he seems too bad to be true. I wouldn’t say he deserves what he gets, but he definitely created a situation where it’s not surprising that someone decided to whack him with a frying pan.


Roxy Constantine is the jam queen of Shavano, Colorado, and she’s fine with it. Not that things couldn’t be better. Her social life is a bust, and she’s still recovering from a bad experience as a line cook in Denver. But things are looking up when she meets local chef Nate Robicheaux. Roxy would like to get closer to Nate, but she’s fending off the unwanted attentions of another local, Brett Holmes, who won’t take no for an answer. When Brett threatens to derail Roxy’s appearance on a national cooking show, the two have a very public fight. A few days later, Brett is found murdered in his restaurant kitchen, and suddenly Roxy’s a prime suspect. Now Roxy, Nate, and her other friends must find out the truth about Brett’s background and his murderer before the town of Shavano decides Roxy’s reign as jam queen is over for good.


I rounded the last curve in the path, heading toward the parking lot. And stopped cold.

My truck, which had previously been cleanish if not immaculate, was now caked in mud. I looked like someone had taken handfuls from the nearby riverbank and thrown it full force at the truck’s sides. There were clumps on the doors, the windows, the fenders and all along the locking cover over the back. If it hadn’t been for the cover, the booth I’d left in the truck bed would have been splattered, too. I didn’t want to think about how hard that would have been to clean up.

But the pièce de résistance was the word smeared across the windshield: slut. Done in shades of grayish black. My stomach clenched tight as I stared, and my mind tried to make sense of what I was seeing.

Who? Who did this? The words kept echoing through my mind. Did people in town really think I was a slut? What had I done to make them think that?

Nothing. I took a deep breath, pulling myself together. This hadn’t been done by the citizens of Shavano, who probably had no particular opinions about my sex life, given that I didn’t have one. This was done by somebody with a grudge. And the most obvious person in that category was Brett Holmes.


Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of romance. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (all are available from Entangled Publishing). Her new cozy mystery series, Luscious Delights from Wild Rose Press, concerns a jam-making sleuth based in the mythical small town of Shavano, Colorado. Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk trilogy from Soul Mate. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.


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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Seafarer's Bride by Laura Strickland

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura Strickland will be awarding an ebook of the first book in the Viking Brides Series, The Berserker's Bride, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


A year ago, Magnus Tolljursson helped repel a treacherous attack from his father’s enemies, and discovered he carries the berserker’s seed of madness. Now he must sail to the settlement from whence those attackers came, and fulfill a promise to a friend. He doesn’t know what he’ll find in Husavik and never suspects he may lose his heart.

In her father’s absence, Embra Fritisson has been engaged in a desperate battle to keep leadership of the settlement. When Magnus arrives saying her father is dead, she fears her unstable family will splinter into factions and destroy one another. She must retain control, but how can she hope to keep her head while falling in love with the enemy?


The walk to the great hall displayed Husavik’s splendor in full. The rain had cleared and new light slid in from the east—the direction of home—lighting the fine buildings. Such wealth displayed here! They knew nothing like it in Sorvagur.

As he went, he tried to calculate the number of raids it might have taken to amass such a fortune. The voyages launched. The lives spent.

Fadir traded. Their settlement had to, if they wanted to survive. Magnus had accompanied him on voyages and, ja, loved it. And things had become sticky a few times when deals had gone bad. But Fadir was an honest man.

Magnus feared he would have to employ a measure of deception here, if he wished to accomplish his aim.

He paused before the great hall. Last night, Mistress Embra had sent a messenger—an older servant—bidding him to meet her here early.

Well, early it was and—

The door swung open before him. “Come in.”

Not the servant but the lady herself.

Tall she was, this daughter of Friti Gunnarsson, though she might only reach Magnus’s ear. He outstripped his own father in height. This morning she wore her dull-gold hair only half braided with the rest of it spilling all the way down to her—well. As Magnus saw when she turned to lead him inside, she had a very nice bottom indeed.

Suddenly a vision flashed upon him—that of her standing naked before him, wrapped in naught but that curtain of hair.

By Odin’s eye, he dared not entertain such thoughts. Not now.

“I thought it best we meet early, Master Magnus, before any others of my siblings are astir. None of them tends to leave his or her bed early.”


“And I wished the two of us to speak together as plainly as possible.”

She turned to face him. She wore a simple woolen dress like Modir usually wore, pale green with a white overdress. The fabric clung to her long limbs and emphasized her narrow waist. And a pair of breasts that—nei, they were not lush and heavy, like her sister Vanja’s. but ja, they would make two generous hands full.

He had to make sure this woman did not prove a distraction.

And yet—as she stood there facing him, did she not eye him with similar interest? With speculation? Ja, sure her gaze lingered on his shoulders and at other, more intimate places.


Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, the latest being a little boy called Tinker, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

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Straight Chatting from the Library: Linnea Tanner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

I would like the ability to shapeshift into different forms.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Though I may appear reserved, there is a tiger ready to pounce out and engage with other in a multiple of subjects.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?

I usually start out with what role my hero/heroine plays in the story and what are his/her primary goals. Then I look for distinctive physical or personality characteristics that will distinguish him/her from other characters in the story.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I consider myself as having attributes of both. Before I began the series, I wrote a 3-page summary of the series which provided big moments that drove the story ideas. But as I drafted and edited the scenes, I sometimes changed the original ideas. As I imagined the characters speaking in my head while writing a scene, they sometimes surprised me by doing something I did not anticipate. For example, I had planned that my heroine, Catrin, would go back to Rome with Marcellus, a Roman tribune, as his mistress after he arranges for her freedom from slavery in Gaul. But, Catrin has overcome almost impossible obstacles in Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3). It was not in her character to go back with him. She had a destiny to fulfill— avenge her father’s death and overthrow her evil half-brother, King Marrock. Thus, she offers Marcellus the option to rule alongside her as equals after they defeat Marrock. Marcellus, unwilling to forfeit his birthright and heritage, chooses to return to Rome without Catrin but gives her the option of joining him there if she changes her mind. As a result, I had to major chunks of the original summary in Skull’s Vengeance because of Catrin’s choice to fulfill her destiny without Marcellus.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?

Unlike the previous books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, Skull’s Vengeance delves into the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty under the rule of Emperor Tiberius. As I researched the Roman political backdrop during the time period when the story takes place (27 – 28 A.D.), I became fascinated with the historical figure, Lucius Aelius Sejanus. He was the commander of the Praetorian Guard who over-reached to gain power from Tiberius through murder, conspiracy, and betrayal. Though Tiberius had been an able general and diplomat, his final years as emperor were tyrannical. Roman historians wrote about his sexual perversity and child molestation. At the height of Sejanus’s political power as a consul in 31 A.D., Tiberius unexpectedly had him arrested and mercilessly executed.

Antonia Minor, who is introduced in Skull’s Vengeance, is also inspired by my research. She was the youngest daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, sister-in-law of Tiberius, and half-sister to Iullus Antonius. As a confidant to Tiberius, Antonia Minor had a role in the downfall of Sejanus. She feared her grandson, Caligula, would meet the fate as his older brothers whom Sejanus had imprisoned.

In Skull’s Vengeance, Antonia Minor helps my hero, Marcellus, to navigate the political waters to meet directly with Tiberius. I was tempted to expand on the Julio-Claudian family discord, but the story needed to revolve around the Celtic heroine, Catrin. Thus, I may write another standalone historical fiction novel outside the series about the fall of Sejanus from Marcellus’s perspective.


A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.

AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent's stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin's head.

To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin's cause.

Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?


Exasperated, Catrin drew in a sharp breath. Then, she considered Trystan’s impassioned plea to meet with two of her most hated enemies. Recalling how her father had respected his second-in-command’s advice, she reluctantly conceded and squeezed her legs against her horse’s flanks to move toward the campfire’s glow.

The night’s chill mysteriously transformed into an embracing warmth as they neared a roaring fire with a black cauldron hanging over it. Sitting behind the crimson flames were two obscured figures.

“Welcome, Apollo’s Raven,” a woman’s deep voice intoned. “Come to our fire. Join us in the dance of souls.”

Though Catrin hesitated to join them, the fire’s radiance mesmerized her, luring her closer to the orange flames. She dismounted and handed the reins to Trystan, who quietly remained with the horses as she sat down on a fallen log near the roaring campfire.

“Drink the magic from the cauldron,” the woman offered. “It empowers all who partake with the knowledge of mystical mysteries from the ancient druids.”

“I already have that power,” Catrin proclaimed, trepidatious that perhaps Rhan had dropped hallucinogenic ingredients into the bubbling mixture. Thick steam flowed over the cauldron’s edge and down its metal surface in a thick, greenish fog.

“We know, my love, but you have only had a taste,” Rhan replied in a hypnotic voice. “You do not know how to control this dark magic. But we do.”

Suddenly light-headed from the smoky fumes emanating from the cauldron, Catrin struggled to maintain her wits. “Once before you said this, when you tried to trick me into revealing how I can travel to the Otherworld.”

“Believe me, this is no trick,” Rhan said soothingly. “I’ve seen your father’s spirit wander the top of cliffs, near a dagger embedded in a serpent stone. It is the blade on which my curse was etched.”

“I sense the curse has altered again, but I can’t see how the etched wording has changed on the blade,” Myrddin interjected. “You must help us solve the riddle of how the dagger got there.”

Catrin inhaled sharply, realizing Myrddin and Rhan had discovered the location of the dagger she had thrust into the stone. The image of her running away from the Romans played in her mind, and her thoughts transformed into words.

“After the final battle, I tried to escape the Romans, but…but there was nowhere to go, except jump off the white cliffs. At that moment, I chose to die rather than be captured.”

Rhan rose to her feet, walked around the fire, and sat next to Catrin. “But you didn’t die, did you?” she said, touching Catrin’s arm.

“No. A riderless horse galloped to me, stopping in front of me. My father suddenly appeared and told me not to jump,” Catrin disclosed, reliving the supernatural moment in her mind. “I couldn’t believe my eyes that Father was there. I knew Marrock had beheaded him. Yet, I felt his essence and his love radiate into me.”

Tears swelled in Catrin’s eyes as remorse that she had been unable to save her family from Marrock’s brutality overwhelmed her. She swallowed down a sob before continuing her story.

“Father told me to lift the cursed dagger toward the sky. To my amazement, sunlight flashed through the dark clouds, almost blinding me. He then ordered, ‘Thrust the dagger into the serpent stone that I create.’ What I saw next was not a vision. It was real.”

Catrin grimaced as she recalled the burning pain she’d felt as she’d held the hilt of the dagger.

“The blade turned orange, as if it had been taken out of a furnace. Father’s spirit burst apart into gold dust and melted into the blade’s etching. Serpents massed together on the ground. The venom dripping from their fangs hardened into stone. Somehow, I was able to push the dagger into the hard rock, like it was butter. And, and…”

“And what, my dear?” Rhan pressed.

Catrin’s voice cracked. “I was collared by the Romans and put on a warship.”


Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids.

Linnea has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Books released in her series include "Apollo’s Raven" (Book 1), "Dagger’s Destiny" (Book 2), "Amulet’s Rapture" (Book 3), and "Skull’s Vengeance" (Book 4). She has also released the historical fiction short story, "Two Faces of Janus."

A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Straight Browsing from the Library: Last Chance by Darren E. Watling

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Darren E. Watling will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


The earth's epilogue was a forgone conclusion.

Our World selects seven of the best human beings that man, woman, and other could put their faith in, to ensure human existence, each displaying traits of a master in his/hers/its field.

However, not all traits are in the best interest of humankind.

Out of this World places seven hospital patients on a Plan B shuttle. Life was difficult on Earth. A new planet presents new problems. The ex-Fruit and Nut Friendly Psychiatric Hospital patients are up for the challenge.

Into the Other World—The Twist. Not only a mid-1900s dance, it is also associated with a lemon, a warped shape, a frame of mind, a warped frame of mind, a face you pull from sucking lemons and an end of story, unexpected finish, not to be given away, glancing at the back cover.


“In this year, 2125, alcohol is still promoted and consumed in large quantities by a generous portion of the world. In the years before, an organisation who called themselves The AAF tried to stop this crippling society drug. They originated in Ireland but were quickly run out of their own country. Next, they travelled down under, all the way to Australia, looking to set up a base camp for their plight. They were quickly run out of there too. (Some say the Aussies were pissed, while running the AAF out of the country). They bounced from country to country, finally setting up shop on the shores of the Arctic. The AAF would fight for fifty years. To give credit where it is due, the AAF held a sensible argument and for an extremely brief moment, a famous politician was subconsciously almost contemplating giving consideration of thought to what they were saying. They spoke of the excessive numbers of Alcoholic Anonymous meeting places. (One can conclude there are an excessive number of alcoholics). They drove the point of the number of alcohol-related road deaths. They touched on the alcohol-related child abuse cases and fired up at the mention of alcohol-fuelled wife bashings. The hospitalised, the alcohol-responsible cancer patients, the effects it has on the liver, kidneys and almost every other vital organ needed for existence. They fought a long, good, worthy fight, but alas, they were extremely outnumbered. The dream of the world adopting the same attitude as religion was lost, buried somewhere under the Vodka bottles with the members of the AAF that drank themselves to death in protest.”


Born Darren Edward Watling, Subiaco, Western Australia, 1966. Darren excelled in English, maintaining ‘A’s, throughout his schooling and wrote a play, ‘Laughing Gas’, for his school at the age of 10. Credited with one small, published article, Darren found inspiration and reward, arriving at his latest piece, ‘Last Chance’.

He completed an apprenticeship, as a fitter, at Princess Margaret Hospital, while continuing his passion for short story writing.

Traveling Australia for three years on a private bus gave Darren a beginning to the experiences and continued, humorous outlook he has on life.

Darren approached his mother Jill Stubbs Mills and asked for her blessing to take her short story, ‘Deception’, and rewrite it into a novel. (The feedback from her publisher about her story was exceptional). Jill agreed to her son’s request. Sadly, Jill now suffers with dementia, but, keeps her sense of humour.

Various forms of employment, including a movie extra, a welder on a crocodile farm, a drummer for a touring band and currently a roof plumber, gave Darren considerable ‘fuel’, for a fired up, comedic novel.

Darren has had several passions over the past 56 years while walking this Earth. Drums, Karate, tennis and continuing today- comedic writing.


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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Straight from the Library: Family Pride: Blood Fever by Deborah A. Bailey

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Book two of the Family Pride Paranormal Romance Series

After claiming Zora Mason as his mate, and fighting off a threat to the MacKinnon pride, Mac is more than ready to get back to managing his coffee bar and settling into mated bliss. But just when it looks like things are quieting down, Mac and Zora find more challenges ahead.

Plans for Zora and Mac’s official introduction to the pride, and the opening of the new coffee bar may be derailed when, gripped by a mysterious blood fever lingering after the leadership challenge, Mac is driven to the edge of his endurance as he fights to keep his inner lion under control.

Juggling her responsibilities in the business and her position as the mate of the pride leader becomes even more challenging when Zora is forced to confront her fear that Mac is changing into someone she doesn’t recognize.

As the fever pushes Mac to the edge, the revelation of an old, painful family secret proves to be the key to saving Mac’s life. Zora and Mac come up with a plan to end the threat of the fever forever, but that same plan may destroy them both.

Is their love strong enough to defeat the blood fever, so they can live happily ever after as mates?


Mac rubbed his forehead. "Look, I can't help everybody right now, okay? I'm up to my eyeballs." He went over to the table and checked his phone.

"Mackenzie! I can't believe I'm hearing this from you. You've never been like this before."

Now Lena was the one calling him by his full name, and when she did it, she was one step away from going full lioness on his ass. "Grandma, just a month ago I was in a challenge, and I got mated. Now everybody wants me to do something for them. I've got a coffee bar to run and one to open!"

Instead of replying, she looked him up and down like she was appraising him. In lion form, she was a seasoned hunter and fighter. Though she was in her 70's, age hadn't slowed her down. In fact, her trim, toned body was the product of countless activities she busied herself with in both lion and human form.

"I see." Lena came over to the table, pulled out a chair and sat down. "What did you and Zora have a fight about? The business?"

"Me and Zora? What? I--how did you know? Did she call you?"

Lena chuckled. "She didn't have to. You're wound up. I've seen you under pressure before, and you've never been like this. Mackenzie, you've been a nomad for most of your adult life. I knew it would be…challenging to get mated."

"Please don't say, 'challenging.' Especially not after what I went through with Eldon."

"You did the right thing to take the challenge for your father. But now that you've tasted blood, you'll never be the same again." Lena crossed her legs. "Perhaps that's the problem."

"Grandma, I could've killed Eldon. When we were fighting, I wanted to tear him apart. Especially after he threatened Zora." Mac ran his fingers through his hair. "I've never felt that before."

"It's time to accept the beast inside you. Don't be ashamed of it," Lena said.


Deborah A Bailey's Romantic Fantasy, Paranormal & Science Fiction Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers' Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. She's the author of non-fiction books, and articles for various online publications.

Visit her website for more information and subscribe to the newsletter so you'll be the first to find out about giveaways, book launches and sneak peeks.

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Family Pride: Blood Fever and Family Pride: Love and Challenges will be on sale for 0.99 on Amazon, B&N, Apple & Kobo from 12/26/22 – 1/9/23

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Straight Browsing from the Library: Any Fin for Love by Petie McCarty

This post is par of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Petie McCarty will be awarding an Autographed paperback copy of Cinderella Busted (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on a tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


She could almost hear the fish laughing at her . . .

Cody Ryan’s father never missed fishing the annual Loon Lake tournament until his unexpected passing. So this year, Cody packs up her how-to fishing videos and her dad’s old johnboat and gives him one final entry.

Gage Connor needs some R&R away from his coast guard deployment catching drug smugglers along the Louisiana coast, so he borrows a bass boat from his buddy and heads to Loon, Alabama to do some fishing.

When Gage and Cody meet at Loon Lake, their attraction is immediate and intense—until the two discover there is only one boat slip left on the lake and they both need it, and there’s only one vacant hotel room left in Loon and they both want it. Thus, their competition begins. Both vow to keep their distance from the other to fight the temptation, but fate has other plans. The tournament pairing party picks the two-man teams and chooses Gage as Cody’s partner.

For two days.
Alone on a boat.
Working as a team.

Good things come to those who bait . . .


Double damn!

Gage looked over Lila’s head and saw Cody stomping toward the dock, a big Igloo cooler in her arms, fire in her eyes, and steam escaping from her ears. Okay, no steam, but she looked mad enough for some. He swallowed hard and tried to pry Lila’s arms free, but she was having none of that.

“Now you just hold still, cutie patootie,” she drawled, “and let little ole Lila give you my special good-luck hug.” She crushed her barely-covered breasts against his abdomen, causing the neckline on her tank top to droop almost to her navel.

Cody had reached the dock and stomped so hard he could feel the vibration in the boards. Her glare could singe the fins off an alligator gar, and Gage had Lila stuck to him like a tick. He was a sitting duck.

Cody looked even madder now than when she left to get the rest of her gear, which could only mean . . .

Wait a minute! She’s jealous.

Of Lila.

Cody’s glare deepened upon final approach.

And Gage grinned for real.

Zeke Tumson, my ass. She likes me.

He stopped trying to struggle free of Lila and waited for Cody to get to the boat and the fireworks to begin. Lila felt his struggle cease and snuggled in closer, rubbing every inch of her breasts against his gut, then laying her cheek on his chest. A week ago, Lila’s antics might have elicited a very pronounced and noticeable reaction. Today—he glanced down to check—nothing. His gaze shot to Cody steaming down the dock. Had she done this to him?

“Mmmm,” Lila cooed and squiggled her body again, “good luuuuck.”

Cody marched mere steps away. When Lila purred, Cody hesitated for a heartbeat, made a sharp left, stepped down into the johnboat, and proceeded to hook up her livewell.

Gage waited a five-count, but Cody kept her head down and fooled with the tubing attached to the cooler. He knew he had to move. If he didn’t, Lila would be in his shorts any second.

Maybe he should let . . .

Nope, bad idea.

Cody would push him overboard later, then drive off and leave him. Heck, she may already be planning that.

He cleared his throat to be sure Cody heard. “Thanks for seeing us off, Lila,” he said politely.

No reaction from Cody.

“I didn’t come to see her off,” Lila sniped. “Just yooouu,” she cooed and rubbed her breasts against his gut again.

Cody missed it. She never looked up.

“All right, you get on back to your registration table, and let me get to my fishing.” Gage took Lila’s shoulders and physically set her back.

Still ignoring him, Cody finished with the livewell and picked up a fishing rod.

Lila batted her eyelashes. “I’ll be waiting when you get back, sugar. What say we have dinner tonight?”

No way would he answer that question. He just smiled and stuck a foot out to step down in the johnboat at the same instant Lila hooked her finger in his belt loop to tug him back.

Too late, Gage saw the butt end of Cody’s rod push off on the dock cleat, and the johnboat shot back the full three feet of loose bow and stern line.

His sneaker stepped into thin air, and he dropped like a rock.

Gage hit the water at an angle, and Lila followed him in, her finger still hooked in his belt loop.


Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—"The Most Magical Place on Earth"—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.

Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and an opinionated Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.

Amazon Author Page



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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Straight Chatting from the Library: Neco Beasley

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Any weird things you do when you’re alone?

Thinking about what to write next, I thought it was over, people say once you start writing you can't stop.

What is your favorite quote and why?

quote: he would have won the war but he would have known he’d been in a battle PERIODT!!!

Who is your favorite author and why?

Steve Harvey “ Jump”

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Talk from the heart add jokes and add sad moments then readers can laugh with you and cry with you.

Where did you get the idea for this book?

In the salon chair serving the customers how I get my ideas, so many wounded women after a divorce.


So many men and women who have gone through divorce feel that life is over for them. It is time to change that narrative. This is a book of resilience and determination that demonstrates that it is absolutely possible to press on and have a happy and successful life and career following the challenges of a painful divorce.

This book accompanied by the workbook are an excellent starting point for any man or woman going through divorce that wish to push through the pain and go on to live a fulfilling and happy life.


CALLING ALL NEIGHBORS, I decided to contact all the neighbors who lived at the end of our cul-de-sac. I contacted the neighbor next door on our right, the one who lived on the left, the neighbor across the street, and the family who lived next door to the mistress' house. I invited them over one bright, sunny Saturday morning around 11 am to have a little pow-wow. I set out kitchen chairs for each of the five neighbors that attended my little impromptu gathering. I positioned myself in front of the kitchen sink and explained that I had news and they needed to hear it from me to avoid any misunderstanding.

After explaining the discovery of my husband's affair with our neighbor, two women began crying. One neighbor stated that the mistress had been committing adultery for years. She was known for cheating on her husband. They were upset because they didn't think it was fair that I was the one losing my spouse. They explained that her husband was clueless about his wife's scandalous behavior.

I told them that I was sharing the information because they would no longer see James coming and going from our home. I let them know that we were getting a divorce and that I was moving to Atlanta.


Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a close-knit midwestern city. Ms. Beasley discovered her gift as a stylist at a young age. She would pack her bag of supplies and walk to her family’s home to style their hair. Neco has been a licensed Cosmetologist for twenty-nine years, and a licensed instructor for thirteen. Ms. Beasley founded Star Network, a program that empowers women to be the best version of themselves while experiencing the effects of a divorce. Neco Beasley believes women should not allow detours to stop them from reaching their destination.

Ms. Beasley is blessed with four children and nine grandchildren.




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