Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Hero Worth The Risk #SPeekSunday

It has been a while since I did a Sneak Peek Sunday. If you're not familiar with this weekly blog hop, it's simple. Authors post a six paragraph excerpt from a published story or a work in progress.

This is Memorial Day weekend, which around my house means auto racing weekend. My husband is a life-long motor sports fan, so he will be glued to the TV most of the weekend. Indycar is his favorite venue, but it's not the only race this weekend. Formula One is running the fabled Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday, with cars racing through the streets of Monte Carlo. So I thought I'd post a peek from Worth The Risk, the contemporary romance I co-wrote with my friend Anne Farrell.

If you're not familiar with Formula One, it is the premier world-class racing circuit, also known as Grand Prix Racing, as every event in the circuit is called a Grand Prix. Very upper class, jet-setting kind of circuit with races all over the world, from Europe to Australia to China to Abu Dhabi. Last year I wrote a short post about auto racing, if you're interested in some background. The hero of Worth The Risk is a former Formula One driver who retired after a bad crash that left him with a bum knee. 

In this scene, Mitch has taken Amanda to a sports bar for lunch:

He leaned close to her so he could be heard above the noise of the televised World Series game. “Well, what do you think? Quite a place, isn’t it?”

Amanda nodded. It was quite a place indeed. Six large-screen televisions were placed strategically so that every customer had a clear view of the action. Football helmets and jerseys lined the walls above them, and what looked like an actual racecar hung on the brick wall in the far corner.

“Is that real?” she asked Mitch.

“Yep, it’s real all right,” he replied. “It’s part of the body of a Formula 1 car.”

Amanda stared at it, thinking how incredibly small it looked. She wondered if this was the kind of car he’d been driving when he had his accident.

For the first time Amanda was glad Marcia had made her read all those articles about Mitch. Two days ago she wouldn’t have known the name of the premier international racing circuit. Though Mitch had spent most of his career in the States, his last season had been with Formula 1, until the day his car spun out of control on a wet track in Belgium. The accident had ended his racing career and almost taken his life. According to the article she’d read, he had been in a coma for nearly a week. Now the only visible reminder of his trauma was the small scar between his brows, and the slight limp she’d noticed when he first came into the library. A sudden feeling of compassion washed over her.


Children's librarian Amanda Lloyd values privacy above all else. Three years ago her wedding ended in disaster when her groom was arrested at the altar and the story of the 'Embezzler's Bride' appeared in the supermarket tabloids. The experience has left her determined to avoid being caught in the public eye again. Until she meets a sexy single dad with a scandalous past.

Ex-racer Mitch Delaney is a public figure whose life has been plastered across the tabloids more than once. But he believes that anything worth doing is worth a risk. After the death of his ex-wife, he moved to Southern California to take care of his son Josh. He doesn't need the complication of a woman in his life, especially since Josh's grandparents have filed suit for custody. But Josh is on the hunt for a new mother and he has his heart set on Miss Amanda, and Mitch can't fault his son's taste.

Against her better judgment, Amanda finds herself falling for both of the Delaney men. When she agrees to accompany Mitch to a high-profile movie premiere, they draw the attention of the tabloids. Overnight Amanda’s private affair becomes very public indeed, threatening her job and Mitch’s custody suit. She’s waited twenty-eight years for the right man. But will happiness come at too high a price?

Worth The Risk is available from Amazon Kindle, Apple, BN/Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords.


Use the linky list below to hop to another Sneak Peek Sunday blog post.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Release: Red The Were Hunter @VampWereZombie

When I was a child, Little Red Riding Hood was my favorite fairy tale. I liked it so much, my mother sewed a Halloween costume for me, consisting of a red skirt and matching cape, which I wore with a white blouse. Off I'd go on Halloween evening, with my trick or treat basket over my arm.

As an adult romance reader, I'm always drawn to stories that draw from fairy tales, esp. those that involve werewolves. Today I'm featuring an excerpt from a new fairy tale romance by Rebekah Ganiere, a fellow member of Orange County RWA.

Red The Were Hunter
by Rebekah R. Gamiere


What if you were the key to an ancient prophecy that would begin to heal your lands, but fulfilling your destiny meant you had to turn your back on everything you'd been taught to believe in? Redlynn of Volkzene, member of the Sisterhood of Red, is heartbroken to discover another girl kidnapped and her best friend slain by werewolves. Defying the head of her order, she sets out to kill the beast she believes responsible. The King of the Weres-- But there are worse things in Wolvenglen Forest than the wolves.

Adrian, reluctant heir to the throne of Wolvenglen, and his band of wolf brothers are bound to protect the humans; especially the Sisterhood. Finding Redlynn unconscious in his woods awakens in him a passion he's never before experienced and a protective instinct that has him ready to turn on his own men. Problem is, a female is the last thing Adrian needs complicating his life.

But all is not as it seems in Wolvenglen Forest and to save the missing girls before time runs out, Redlynn and Adrian must move past their inner demons and learn to trust each other. In the search for vengeance however, sometimes you must give up what you desire most.

Red The Were Hunter won 2nd Place in the Hook, Line and Sinker Contest and is a current finalist in the Great Beginnings Contest.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks.

Click here to view the video book trailer


Redlynn whipped her head from side to side. Where am I? Pain exploded in her neck; she tried to reach up with her left arm, but it was pinned to her stomach. It'd been strapped in place by a strip of red cloth. Why am I half-naked? Her tunic and cloak were gone. So was her locket. Redlynn looked around frantically for her locket. Pain hit her in waves, confusing her and forcing her to breathe deeply. She refused to cry.

Trying to process her surroundings, the fight with the Were flooded back to her. Shockingly, it seemed she wasn’t dead, she was alive, and in someone's very richly furnished bedroom. She wiped at her face with her right hand, her vision muddled.

Stone walls surrounded the large, mahogany, four-poster bed she lay upon. Dark, heavy curtains were partially drawn at the end of the bed. On either side, two ancient and beautiful nightstands held ornately carved glass oil lamps. A fire crackled, its golden glow peeking in the gaps of the curtains.

Redlynn maneuvered herself to the side of the bed and set her feet on the floor. It was colder than her wooden planks at home. Slowly she scooted off the downy mattress, and tried to steady herself on one of the posts. She weakened, the blood draining from her head, her legs wobbling beneath her.

On the floor lay her cloak. She stooped to pick it up, but lost her balance. At the last minute, she braced herself on the stone wall and avoided its colliding with her face. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself once more and slowly reached down for the cloak, pressing herself into the stone for support. It took her several minutes to get the clasps buckled so that she was covered almost to her waist.

By the time she finished, her body shook like she'd tried to pull a wagon by herself. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to clear her mind and listen for sounds. A faint rhythmical buzzing came from somewhere near the fire. Pushing past the end of the bed, she saw a large man asleep at a table.

His head was tilted to the side and long, wavy black hair fell over his eyes and chiseled features. His large and strong form was set with broad shoulders and a powerfully built frame. He'd fallen asleep in his linen shirt and breeches, with his boots still on. A flutter settled in her stomach, the same surge of adrenaline she got before a fight. He was snoring. What was he doing there?

Confused, Redlynn wasn't sure if it was her fighting instincts kicking in, or something else all together. Part of her wanted to know what his lips would feel like on hers. Another part wanted to run.

What the hell is wrong with you? You'd think you'd never seen a man before. She swallowed hard. She hadn't. Not a man like him.

She searched for an exit and found it to the far left of the room. The sleeping man didn't look like he was guarding her, but why would he be in the same room with her, if he weren't? She scanned the room for her things. Her pack, bow and quiver were nowhere to be found. If she were going to break out, she needed a weapon.

On the table lay a tray with an empty plate, a knife, fork and spoon. Redlynn inched toward the knife. The closer she got to him, the more drawn she was to him. She stopped, a foot from the table.

Keep it together! He's only a man, and obviously your guard. For all you know, he could be a murderer!

She slid her good hand across the polished wooden surface. As she reached for the knife, her collarbone burned with pain. She stumbled, tripping over her cloak and crashing into the plate.

The man was up in an instant. Rising, his chair clattered to the ground. Redlynn grabbed hold of the knife and held it out in front of herself, backing away. It took him a moment to comprehend what was going on. He stared at her, not moving. She shook like a rabbit. He had golden eyes.

“Your . . . your eyes,” she whispered.

“What's wrong with them?”

“They . . . They're gold.”

“They're brown.”

“No . . . No, they aren't.” She shook her head. “They're golden… just like—”

“Like yours,” he murmured.

Redlynn nodded, her head fuzzy, and her knees wobbly. She blinked several times. His eyes were brown. They had golden flecks in them, but they were definitely brown.

“You've had a bad wound. You should rest.”

“I have to leave. I have something I need to do.”

“Do you remember what happened?”

“Where am I?”

“In Wolvenglen.”

“Who in their right mind would live in Wolvenglen? Don't you know there are Weres out here?”

“Please, put down the knife.” He motioned to the knife Redlynn had forgotten she was pointing at him.

She glanced at it and weighed it in her hand. It was solid. Her hunting knife was larger, but she could make do with it if need be.

“Where are my things? I need to go.”

“Hanna, our healer, will bring them in the morning when she comes to check on you, and bring you a change of clothes.”

Still holding the knife, she reached up and touched her collarbone, underneath her cloak. A bandage covered the wound. It was tender. Peeling it away, she assessed what she could see of the damage.

“I wouldn’t do that,” he warned.

Redlynn gave him a hard stare and went back to inspecting the wound. She stuck her fingers in the salve and rolled it between her thumb and forefinger, smelling it.

“Comfrey and calendula.” Pulling at the green leaves, she winced as they ripped a piece of skin and seeped. Smelling the leaves, she put them in her mouth and chewed them before spitting them out. “Fernblend. Did she do that?”

“No, I did.”

“Don't you know you have to keep it wet?”

“I thought saving your life was more important,” he bit back. “You were in bad shape when I found you.”

“Well when I scrub it off, I am going to wish I were dead. Where did you find me, anyway?”

“Listen.” He took a deep breath. His eyes softened and his voice gentled. “I was trying to help you. It was one of the few things I remember my mother teaching me about herbs.”

“Your mother's a healer?”

“Was. Now, will you please lie down before you pass out? You lost a lot of blood.”

“I've had worse,” Redlynn lied. “I need to get my things and be on my way.”

“You need to rest. You can barely hold that knife, let alone walk through the forest.”

“I'll be fine.”

He stepped out of her way. “Very well. You are free to leave.” He motioned to the door.

Was this a joke? Was he really going to let her go? Gripping the knife, she took several steady steps toward the exit before her knees buckled. He caught her around the waist, sending a shockwave of tingles through her body.

His musky scent mixed in her nostrils and her head lightened again. His body wasn't just warm, it was hot; he was a fire in his own right.

“Let go,” she said softly.

“I was merely keeping you from further injuring yourself.”

His light blue tunic opened in a “v” and his chiseled, hairless chest peaked out beneath. Her eyes locked with his. He hadn't shaved in a day or two; the whiskers looked ruggedly good on him. His face wore an expression she'd never seen aimed at her before. Desire. The butterflies in her stomach danced and spun. His face was so close as he studied her features.

“Please, let go,” she choked.

Author Info:

Rebekah is an award winning author. Her first novel Dead Awakenings debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, will be published May 1, 2014. Her trilogy The Society will be released in early 2015 by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on Savvy and in her local SCV Writers group, or hanging out with her husband, four children and dog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, three tortoises and a handful of fish. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

Find her online at:

Twitter: @VampWereZombie

What's your favorite classic fairy tale? Leave a comment below.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review Club: Divergent Trilogy

YA Dystopian Fiction

A friend recommended the first book to me, and it happened to be on sale one day, so I grabbed a copy from Amazon.

The setting is a rigid and obviously dysfunctional society on the brink of disintegration, though that's not obvious at first. I was drawn in by her world-building. The story is set in a future city-state--the former Chicago--some years after a cataclysmic war. The city is ruled by five factions:

The Erudite - the intellectuals, scientists and engineers who teach, keep the city running and deliver medical care. They are smart but not particularly compassionate. Their color is blue. (I've taken the Faction Quiz on Facebook and I would be in this faction, assuming I could pass the IQ test.)

The Candor - a group of people who are scrupulously honest, pretty much unable to tell a lie. They administer the laws. What a concept! As I recall they wear black and white, because that is how they see the world.

The Amity - basically New Age hippies who grow and distribute food and keep peace among the other factions. They have no leaders and everything is done by consensus or nothing gets done. They are cheerful people and dress in bright red and yellow.

The Abnegation - these are the selfless ones, kind of like the old time Quakers. They live simply and dress only in shades of gray and are the only faction to help the factionless--society's downtrodden, the ones that have fallen through the cracks in the system. Interestingly, the Abnegation are in charge of running the government, the theory being that you only give power to those who do not want it. Another mind-blowing concept!

The Dauntless - the warriors and protectors of the world. Members of this faction wear black and have tattoos and piercings. They are noisy and reckless, and I suspect many have ADHD. The Dauntless are known as the cruelest faction, in large part because their initiation is so daunting. I know I'd have never made it into Dauntless.

Formal schooling ends at the age of 16, at which time the teens are given a test (a drug-induced simulation) to determine which faction they are suited to, and then there is a Choosing ceremony, where they young people can decide whether to stay in the faction they were born to or transfer to another faction.

The main character is Beatrice Prior, who narrates the first two books in first person. Born into Abnegation, she knows she doesn't quite belong. She finds Abnegation's selflessness a little stifling. She'd like to be able to run and jump and go wherever she wants without worrying about everyone else's needs first.

Things start to go wrong when there is a hitch in her test. Her results are inconclusive as she has shown affinity for three factions--Abnegation, Dauntless and Erudit. In short, she is Divergent, a very dangerous thing to be. The woman administering the test manually fixes the results to show affinity for Abnegation, but at the ceremony she chooses Dauntless and a new nickname, Tris. The rest of the book shows her growth as she goes through the initiation process and learns what it is to truly be dauntless.

I really enjoyed the first book, as it gives you a lot to think about re human nature and where we fit in society, wrapped in an exciting adventure story. Much more Hunger Games than Twilight. Also written in first person, single POV, teenage female protagonist. Well-written and hard to put down; I just wanted to keep reading. So I bought the next book.

 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Things have really fallen apart by the end of Divergent and the sequel opens with Tris and some other characters on the run from the city. In this book, we get to know more about the Factionless, as the city descends into civil war. I won't say much because I don't like to drop a lot spoilers in a review.

In this book we get to know more about Tris's love interest, the boy known as Four in Divergent, whose real name is Tobias. Good character growth for both teens, still first person, single (Tris) POV. I enjoyed Insurgent almost as much as Divergent, so I bought the third book.

Allegiant by Veroncia Roth

The third books is different in several ways. From a literary point of view, it differs in that it offers two first person points of view, that of Tris and Tobias, her boyfriend and fellow dauntless insurgent. Here the action moves outside the city and we learn what has really been going on and what came before.

I don't want to say much about what happens, but I will say that I stayed engrossed in the book until the climax when something so totally unexpected happened that I was horrified. I had invested a lot of time and emotion in these two characters and I'd expected them to have a happier ending than they got.

Yes, I'm a romance reader and therefore addicted to happy endings. I guess the author saw her story as literary fiction rather than genre fiction. Or maybe it was her way of empatically saying THE END, don't expect any more books about this character. Who knows? It doesn't matter since I probably won't be reading her again, though I imagine I'm in the minority. She has a legion of loyal teenage fans.

If any of you have read the trilogy, I"d be interested in hearing what you think in the comments section.


And as always, click on the graphic below for more great reviews in the Barrie Summy monthly Book Review Club.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Taste of California Romance #CincodeMayo

In recent years, Cinco de Mayo has become a popular holiday, rivaling St. Patrick's Day for drunken revelry. But it wasn't always an international holiday. It started in the Mexican state of Puebla and Mexican-American communities in the US to celebrate the victory of Mexican forces over the invading French army May 5, 1862. A triumph of New World democracy over Old World tyranny.

For Cinco de Mayo, I want to share one of my favorite Western romances, written by my friend Dee Ann Palmer, even though it predates Cinco de Mayo by about 30 years. The book takes place in the rancho period before California became a state and I think the author does a great job of re-creating the culture and lifestyle of the rancheros and their families, as well as the dangers from a harsh climate and roving bands of the native Americans displaced by the Europeans.

Where Eagles Cry is not just a Western, though. I like to think of it as California Gothic: Jane Eyre meets Zorro.

Where Eagles Cry
By Dee Ann Palmer
Western Historical Romance


Jilted by love in 1834, Cara Lindsay sails from Boston to Mexico’s rugged California to begin a new life with a favorite aunt. Heartbroken to learn her aunt has died, she takes a companionship position to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho.

Prior to her arrival, Miguel’s wife had suffered a permanent brain injury in a suspicious fall, and the lonely ranchero’s heart opens to Cara’s kindness and beauty like parched earth to rain. Yet love may break Cara’s heart again, for she would never be any man’s mistress. Until ships sail for Boston months away, she’s trapped in the midst of danger and an impossible love.

When the bells ring and the eagle cries, will she be the next to die?


A fire flamed orange in the grate on the far side of the room. Don Miguel Navarro, her new employer, stood near it, the light dancing off the dark surface of one boot as it rested on the hearth. He gazed into the fire, his thoughts apparently elsewhere for he was not aware of her presence.

Cara stood quietly just inside the door, studying this man who looked every inch the noble in black velvet breeches and a close fitting jacket that ended at the waist. The tails of the wide, scarlet sash he wore lay on his lifted thigh, and there was a sensuality about him she could not deny. It drew her in, tugged at her, interested her. He was younger than she'd expected, tall and broad shouldered. The flickering firelight below locked his finely chiseled profile in mystery, and his lashes cast a shadow on the sculptured cheek nearest her.
She drew closer, speaking in the soft Spanish of the gentry, just as Papa had taught her. "Excuse me, señor. Your aunt said you wanted to see me."

Withdrawing his foot from the hearth, he straightened, turning with a fluid grace of movement that stopped her breath in her throat and made her heart race. But then her hand flew to her mouth to hide the tiny gasp that escaped her, for the face she had just seen in profile, and which now she saw fully, was the face of the man on the roan. She stood with her mouth open, seeing in her mind's eye the wide hand raised once more, feeling the sharp slap of a glove across the other vaquero’s face. She completely forgot her intention of keeping her eyes decorously lowered.

In those brief moments of shock, his dark gaze bored into hers, and she wondered if he could read her thoughts and knew the distaste she'd felt at his action that day.

Yet Cara could not look away. His eyes held her, pulling her into their depths, their darkness, and the attraction she had felt when she first saw him on the roan flooded her now. Now, she realized with shock that if he motioned with just one finger to come to him, she would go into his arms.

The worst of it was she sensed he would welcome her there.

Horrified at her feelings, she closed her mouth and pushed the thoughts away. She was behaving like a school girl besotted by a man she did not even know.

"Welcome to Rancho Navarro, Señorita Lindsay. Our house is your house." He inclined his head slightly in recognition.

His voice matched his body, unintentionally yet unaccountably sensual, and the Spanish invitation of welcome was sincere. He motioned to her now, but it was an invitation to be seated, and she moved forward as if drawn by him. It was as if his hand had touched hers, searing it with sensations she had never known before. Not even with Baird, who was once her fiancé.

She could not sit. Instead, she stood behind the chair and gripped its back for courage.

He turned again to the fire and spoke. "You have met my...wife?"

The spell broke.

Available at Amazon, BN/Nook and Smashwords.

Add to your To Read shelf at Goodreads.

What will you be doing for Cinco de Mayo? It's a pretty big deal here in So. California, but me? I'll be watching my favorite competition show, The Voice on NBC, una cerveza in hand. The exciting life of an author...