Thursday, January 17, 2019

$2.99 SALE of Maverick!

With the release of Cat Star Legacy 2: Mystic coming soon, Sourcebooks is running a promotional sale of the first book in the series, Maverick, on all ebook platforms. For only $2.99, you can start this fun new series!




If the price isn't enough to capture your attention, here are a few fun facts about Maverick...

Fun Fact Number One:
When it comes to love, being irresistible to the women of many different species can make it difficult to find someone who loves you for yourself. Larry Tshevnoe is as sexy and desirable as any Zetithian man. With his catlike features and natural athleticism, he’s not only gorgeous, he can purr! And that’s not all. With sexual abilities that are second to none, ladies throughout the known galaxy have been clamoring for his attention since he was a promising young teen. He’s in his mid-twenties now, and he thinks he may have found someone he can love.

Fun Fact Number Two: 
If you aren’t sure whether your girlfriend loves you for yourself and not your money or your sexual prowess, it helps to be friends with an empath. Althea Banadänsk has been Larry’s pal for as long as they can remember, but the constant barrage of empathic readings from people—and planets—have forced her to seek refuge on Barada Seven, a peaceful world where the emotional vibes seldom rise above a low ebb.

Fun Fact Number Three: 
Sometimes, it takes a little time apart to realize that your childhood buddy has grown up to be the one man you can love. Althea’s Mordrial and Zetithian blood limit her chances of ever finding a compatible mate. For a female Zetithian, only a Zetithian male will do, and for the latest in a long line of Mordrial witches, finding The One man who can father her children is a tougher challenge than any faced by her predecessors. Little does she realize that the man of her dreams has been right there in front of her since the day she was born.   


You'll find links to most ebook platforms on the Cat Star Legacy page of my website.
http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/id28.html
Happy reading! 

Cheryl Brooks

Monday, January 14, 2019

Going Down The Habit Hole by Alyson McLayne


As I counted down to January this year, I knew I had to make a lot of changes in my life—both personally and professionally. But as New Years Eve approached, I couldn’t find my usual enthusiasm for sitting quietly beside the Christmas tree and scribbling my bright, shiny new goals in a notepad with a fine-point Sharpie.

This year I just felt overwhelmed with “all the things”, yet unmotivated to do them. What was the point of spending hours tapping away on my keyboard, making lists and creating snazzy-looking tables with titles like Weekly PrioritiesScheduling and Daily Tasks,when I’d done the same thing the year before and the year before that—and then still found myself struggling with deadlines, overwhelmed with household tasks, and buying chocolate bars from 7-11 rather than tracking my daily points?

Don’t get me wrong, it felt good to plan, and for a few days or weeks I multi-tasked like a boss. But in the long-run IT NEVER WORKED! January 1st would come along, tease me with promises of a productive, healthy, and organized new year, only to burn out faster than the twinkling lights on my cheerful snowman in the front yard.


So… this year I’ve done things differently. I’ve given myself only one goal: Create 17 new and helpful habits over the course of a year. And while I definitely have some over-arching, long-term goals, the emphasis is not on these goals, but on the daily habits I need to establish in order to reach them.

Why seventeen? Because according to some books I’ve read, it takes three weeks to hard-wired a habit into your brain. So if I choose a new habit every three weeks, that’s approximately seventeen habits over the year. By the time I’m ready to instill another habit, the previous one will be automatic—like getting up an hour earlier every day to write, emptying the dishwasher before work, or walking the dog after I drop the kids off at school. And doing it this way will keep me focused ALL YEAR LONG on instilling habits that drive me toward more books written, a better-organized life, and a fitter, less-stressed me.

At least, that’s the plan! I’m only a week in, and this morning, for the first time, life (aka children) got in the way. But tomorrow’s a new day and when I drag my butt out of bed at 6 am rather than 7 am, I’ll be one step closer to improved productivity.

I think the second habit I’ll be working on, is getting to bed by 10:00 pm!

Suddenly, 2019 is looking up. 

Anybody else want to go down the HABIT HOLE with me? Choose a daily habit (the only one for now) that you want to hard-wire into your brain for the next three weeks, and let me know how it goes! 
* * *
Alyson McLayne writes historical romance set in the Highlands of Scotland. Highland Betrayal, Book 3 in her series, The Sons Of Gregor MacLeod, is out now!

A Betrothal… A Betrayal… A Love Threatened By Treachery.


To keep her safe, he betrayed his promise.
Laird Callum MacLean vowed to marry Maggie MacDonnell. But when his father's apparent suicide makes him laird of his clan, Callum must unmask his father's killer before bringing Maggie into his dangerous home.

She's a strong Highland Lass. She can save herself.
Maggie's home isn't any safer. When Callum fails to return, Maggie does what any resourceful Highland lass would do. She escapes—and find's herself toe-to-toe with Callum, who's determined to fulfill his promise. Maggie can't bring herself to trust him with her heart again. But with a traitor still at large, they must rely on each other in every way, or their clans—and their love—will be destroyed.


Snag your copy today!


~~~~~~~

Alyson McLayne is a mom of twins and an award-winning writer of contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance. She’s also a dog lover and cat servant with a serious stash of dark chocolate. After getting her degree in theater at the University of Alberta, she promptly moved to the West Coast of Canada where she worked in film for several years and met her Prop Master husband.

She and her family reside in Vancouver with their sweet but troublesome chocolate lab puppy named Jasper.

Please catch up with Alyson on social media. She loves chatting with her readers! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Happy New Year


I hope 2019 is going great for you so far. Have you ever wondered why we start the year in January? Instead of, say, around the spring equinox when plants start to come back to life. That’s the time they used in Mesopotamia and ancient Rome. Well, around 153 BC, the Romans started inaugurating their consuls in the new month of Januarius. Since they dated years by consulships, this began to seem like the New Year. There was a bit of back and forth on this, but in 1582 when the pope adjusted the errors in the Julian calendar by adopting the Gregorian calendar (don’t ask), January 1 officially became New Year's Day for most Catholic countries. This was gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, didn’t cave until 1752. Until then, England  – and its American colonies  – still celebrated the new year on March 25. I kind of like that idea.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Every Deep Desire Excerpt & Giveaway


Although my Deadly Force series revolves around the men of Colonel Kells Torridan’s Green Beret unit who were accused of war crimes and dishonorably discharged, the heroines in each book are the protagonists. 

In EVERY DEEP DESIRE, Juliet Capel is a heroine who refuses to live life by another’s leave. She not only survived her husband’s abandonment, but also lived through an intense interrogation that lasted for weeks. Since Rafe went AWOL, the army was convinced she knew why. Eventually they let her go and she went into her homeless stage, then earned her degrees, and became an admired landscape architect in Savannah, GA—a city famous for its gardens.

As we get to know Juliet, we see a woman who’s willing to strip to pay her way through college. Who’s intensely loyal to her friends and employees. A woman who refuses to rely on others. She’s fought hard for her current happiness and although her husband has returned—now a full-grown man and sexier than ever—she won’t risk her heart. 

But as she learns about the horror of Rafe’s life for the past eight years, and not only how he’s been protecting her this entire time but that she holds some responsibility for his situation, her resolve wavers. Then we learn, before Juliet, that even if they solve the mystery, she will lose him. Rafe is tied to the Fianna forever . . . unless she’s smart enough to come up with a plan.
Today I'd like to share en excerpt from EVERY DEEP DESIRE that shows Juliet's powerful inner conflict. 
------------------Excerpt from EVERY DEEP DESIRE---------------
Rafe stood and flexed his hand, contracting the muscles along the length. The tattoos swept away any warmth she’d felt in his arms, and her shivering made it hard to swallow. Within the space of a breath, he pulled her close until their noses almost touched. One of her hands rested against his pounding heart.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered. 
“Waking you from a nightmare.” 
“Why are you really here?” 
“Protecting you.” 
How was she supposed to bear this sadness all over again? “I don’t understand.” 
“All I want is to save the life you’ve built.” 
She frowned. “You’ll want something in return.” 
“There is one thing.” When she arched her eyebrow, he shrugged.. “To keep you safe, I need to find something.. To do that, I need your help..There are bad people out there. Men who’ll hurt you if I don’t return with what I’m looking for.” 
“You know that sounds insane?” 
“All of the vandalism, the loan being sold, the cathedral are related to one thing. You.” 
“If I trust you, and we find this thing and fix my problems, you’ll leave?” 
“I’ll do what’s best for you.” 
So many emotions, so many thoughts driving garden stakes through her mind.. But she wasn’t stupid. Someone was tormenting her, and she had no idea how to stop it.. Rafe might be the last person she’d ever turn to for help, but he might be the only one who could help her.. 
Her hands fisted against his chest. She’d always assumed this confrontation between them would be cold and bitter and ragged. She’d never expected to have this conversation in solemn, quiet darkness.
“Rafe?” The word hurt coming out. Like knives carving each letter along the way. 
“I’m here.” He spoke with a soft drawl she used to love. 
She rested her forehead against his shoulder. Now she knew the source of the heat. His body threw off enough warmth to reset the thermostat. Why was she such a coward? “That letter you sent me — ” 
“Things aren’t what they seem. Just please trust that everything I’ve ever done has been for your safety.” He paused. “We have one week to find what I’m looking for.” 
She raised her head to meet his gaze. Before he left, she’d been able to read his eyes. His secrets and dreams.. His unspoken desires. 
Now there were shadows tinged with sadness and regret. The blazing fire she’d loved had turned to gray ash. And for some reason she didn’t want to examine, it mattered. She blinked, determined to keep herself together and him separate. “Then we start tomorrow—I mean later today.” 
He held her head with one hand while his other arm wrapped around her waist. Her breasts flattened against hard chest muscles. His breath tickled her nose, warm and forceful. How could she consider being this close to him? Working with him? He brushed a kiss against her cheek..The sensation hit her system like the bottle rockets he used to shoot for her to see from her balcony, and she closed her eyes. His lips traced hers, and the tingle curled her toes.
How, after all these years, could she still be so susceptible to him? Because he’d once been her husband. The one man she’d loved beyond reason. Forever and always. She tilted her head, and the brush became a demand. The demand became an ache.. And the ache became a need so great she threw her arms around his neck.. Her world tilted, his arms tightened, and his lips explored hers as if he’d never kissed anyone else ever. The air around them vibrated, matching the motion of the kiss. 
He broke away, leaving her a disoriented mess.
“Juliet.” The word rolled like a wave break. Forward, then retreating.. His body heaved,, and he ran his hands over his prison-shorn hair. “I’m sorry.” 
Those words stung more than his rejection. He was sorry. Hadn’t he said so in his letter eight years ago? “You should leave.” She glanced at her clock. “It’s almost three a.m. We both need to sleep.” 
And she needed to be alone. Because when he touched her, she melted. When he whispered, she caved. And when he kissed her, she begged for more. It’d always been like that. All he had to do was walk into a room, and she wanted him. When he looked at her, like she was the only woman he’d ever need, she dreamed of lying beneath him,, his heavy body possessing hers. Her reaction to him was sad, pathetic, and wrong. She wasn’t sure who she hated more:  him or herself for her reaction to him.. 
Without warning, he swung her up and laid her on the bed.. “I’m asking you to help me fix what I’ve ruined. Then your life can go on as it was.” 
Her eyes drifted closed. The nightmare’s adrenaline rush left as swiftly as it came in, leaving her depleted. She heard the words but his face blinked in and out of time and space. The bed sagged, and she scooted over so he could adjust his body. Then, just before sleep hit, she reached to feel his warmth.. 
No, she wasn’t happy he’d been released from prison. She wasn’t happy he’d come home.. She wasn’t happy he’d kissed her and she’d kissed him back. But she didn’t want to be alone. And that was going to be a problem.
~~~~~Today I'm offering a giveaway of a signed paperback copy of EVERY DEEP DESIRE for one lucky commenter. I'll leave the winner announcement in the comments by midnight on Thursday January 10th. This contest is limited to U.S. residents only. Good luck!~~~~~~

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

Her acclaimed debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife.
EVERY DEEP DESIRE is available on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo |  Google
And adding it to your Goodreads TBR list is also always appreciated!

Monday, January 7, 2019

New release: Trailblazer by Anna Schmidt


Trailblazer, book 1 in the Cowboys & Harvey Girls series by Anna Schmidt, is out now!


MEET THE HARVEY GIRLS

These real-life pioneering women were symbols of elegance in the wild frontier: taming rough manners, falling in love, and changing the face of the West forever.

Grace Rogers is ready for the adventure of a lifetime. With her family’s farm falling on hard times, she accepts a position with the prestigious Fred Harvey Company and heads for Juniper, New Mexico. There she meets a handsome cowboy who quickly turns her head. Too bad the Harvey Girls are forbidden to marry...

Nick Hopkins has a plan: buy a little land, marry, and raise a family—in that order. But after meeting Grace, he can’t keep away. Their only choice is to marry in secret...but Nick isn’t the only man entranced by Grace’s charms, and this unexpected rival doesn’t plan on taking no for an answer. He will have her, no matter the cost: to Grace, to Juniper, or to the happily ever after Grace and Nick fought so hard to make their own.

********
READ ON FOR AN EXCERPT:

She glanced at him, saw his lips quirk in what might be a smile and then turn his attention to the window. His skin was tanned to a burnished gold except for a lighter stripe across his forehead. His head was probably usually protected—her father had the same line on his face for the same reason—though in the cowboy’s case, it would have been by that black hat on the seat next to him. His thick, chocolate-colored hair kept falling over his forehead even though he repeatedly brushed it back with his fingers. He needed a shave, but there was something appealing about the stubble of whiskers. He was tall; that much was evidenced by the fact that even when occupying a seat meant for two, he seemed to need more space. He had broad shoulders that stretched the limits of the dark-gray sack coat he wore. The tan cotton shirt underneath it was in need of a good ironing. His trousers were a dark brown and his boots black, with fancy tooling.

“Do I pass inspection?” he asked, jarring her back to reality—and the realization that she had been studying every inch of him.

Her cheeks grew warm and red. “I…”

He waved away any excuse she might offer. “Look, Miss…” He waited.

“Rogers,” she said, her voice cracking. “Grace Rogers.” She saw no harm in giving him her name, and she didn’t want to be rude.

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Rogers.” He hesitated, then added, “Like Ollie said, I’m Nick Hopkins. I wonder if you would do me the honor of joining me for supper?”

The offer was more tempting than it should have been. She had looked forward to dining in a real Harvey eatery, but even though her first-class ticket included meals, having dinner with this stranger—even paying her own way—simply would not do. “I have food with me. Apples and cheese and some bread.” She nodded reluctantly toward the carpetbag and the sack of food inside it that Miss Culver had given her at the station.

“But did you ever eat in a Harvey House, Miss Rogers?” he asked.

“Yes. In Kansas City.” She took pleasure in his surprise. He probably saw her as some country bumpkin. She straightened her back and shoulders and met his gaze directly for the first time. “You see, I work for the organization.” She flashed the practiced smile she’d developed in training.

His return smile took her breath away. How could any man be this good-looking? She felt her cheeks begin to turn pink, but she shook off the attraction. She had no time for flirting. She was on her way to a job, a new life that would hopefully provide adventure for her and much-needed financial assistance for her family.

Still, she couldn’t help but cast him a quick look from beneath her lashes.

“Well now,” he drawled. “In that case, it seems to me it would be to your advantage to try as many of Mr. Harvey’s establishments as possible. You could look at things from the customer’s view and see how the one we’ll be stopping at soon is different from the one where you’ll be working.”

“Oh, there are no differences, Mr. Hopkins,” she replied, parroting the information she’d absorbed during her training. “At least not when it comes to service and quality of food. Our organization adheres to the same standards no matter where we are. It’s the Harvey way.” As the train pulled into the station, Grace pressed her hands over her skirt. “Enjoy your meal, Mr. Hopkins,” she said brightly.

Nick Hopkins grinned and stood. He reached past her and took her carpetbag from her, lifting it into the overhead rack, then stepped back to allow her to go ahead of him. “If you change your mind, Miss Rogers…”

A dozen different thoughts flashed through Grace’s mind. She reminded herself that going with this man might be construed as breaking the strict rules for conduct set forth in her training. She reminded herself of her mother’s warning not to talk to strangers. She reminded herself that she had no time for exploring a possible friendship with a man—or more.

She was a Harvey Girl now and, as such, represented the high standards of the company. “I won’t,” she said, “but thank you for your kind offer, sir.” With that, she made her way to the exit.

The establishment was a far cry from the place her train to Kansas City had stopped. Greeters met passengers at the entrance and discreetly directed them to the appropriate washroom. By the time Grace returned to the dining room, Mr. Hopkins was already seated at a table near the door. He looked up, arching an eyebrow and nodding toward the empty place across from him in question.

She hesitated. The truth was, now that she was actually standing in the dining room filled with people, it struck her that she was alone and knew no one—other than Mr. Hopkins. Where would be the harm in sitting opposite possibly the most handsome man she’d ever seen, a man who also appeared to be quite intelligent, and genuinely concerned for her welfare? After all, the conductor had vouched for him.

On the other hand, given how strict Mr. Harvey’s standards were for his employees, how did she know someone wouldn’t be watching and report her? Maybe Mr. Hopkins worked for Mr. Harvey and was supposed to be testing her.

She straightened to her full height—just over five feet—scanned the room quickly, and made her way to a vacant chair at a table occupied by two other women. Seating herself, Grace smiled up at the waitress in her pristine uniform: a black dress covered by a crisp white pinafore apron, black shoes polished to a sheen, and black hose, all topped off with a perky white bow in her upswept hair. “Milk, please,” she said and watched as the waitress set her coffee cup next to its saucer, its position a simple cue to the girl who served the beverages.

As soon as the waitress walked away, the drink girl arrived, glanced quickly at the way the cups had been set, and poured coffee for Grace’s tablemates, leaving a full pot on the table in case they wanted refills. Moments later, she delivered a tall glass of milk to Grace, presenting the beverage on a small silver tray. A girl could be fired for simply carrying a glass or plate to a customer. Serving on a tray was the Harvey way.

This is my future, Grace thought, not some cowboy who is far too handsome for his own good.

********

Award-winning author ANNA SCHMIDT delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for the reality of her characters—exposing their flaws as well as their strengths as she delivers strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin and Florida. Visit her online at joschmidtauthor.com.

BUY Trailblazer now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Indiebound