Guest Author: Shana Galen & Giveaway!

I have a HUGE treat in store for my readers today.  I’m featuring the very talented author Shana Galen, who writes adventurous and romantic Regency-set historicals.  Shana is a wonderful writer who was first published in 2005, and she’s been wowing critics and readers ever since.

Interestingly enough, Shana’s first book was a contemporary romance called The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Men I’ve Dated, which she wrote under the pen name of Shane Bolks.  That book was nominated for a RITA, the prestigious award sponsored by the Romance Writers of AmericaIt’s the same book that Meg Cabot—yes, THAT Meg Cabot—said was a “fun, snappy read” that she couldn’t put down.

Oh, boy.  If I ever got a cover quote from Meg Cabot, I would probably faint on the spot!

Shana has garnered even more acclaim for her historical romances.  Take, for example, Blackthorne’s Bride, which was also nominated for a RITA.


Blackthorne’s Bride received a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews and tons of critical acclaim, including this review from the Chicago Tribune:

“Shana Galen adds a generous dash of action and adventure to the already irresistible mix of sexy romance and sharp wit in Blackthorne’s Bride, her latest fabulously fun Regency historical.”
—John Charles

This book is part of the popular Misadventures in Matrimony series, which was preceded by the Regency Spies series.  She also has a more recent series called The Sons of the Revolution, a trilogy about three brothers struggling to restore their noble heritage in the aftermath of the French Revolution.  Doesn’t that sound great?!

You can find out about these series on Shana’s website, and read some fab excerpts from the books.  Trust me—you won’t be sorry you stopped by!

Shana has a new book out, and I’ve been waiting several months to read this one.  It’s called Lord and Lady Spy, and it features the adventures of two out-of-work spies who just happen to be married to each other.


It’s been getting great reviews, including this one from RT Book Reviews: “Lively, utterly delightful adventure romance. The witty, sexually charged dialogue fuels the rivalry between the realistic characters and sets the pages flying.”

AND the book was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly Top Romance Picks for Fall!

Here’s the blurb for Lord and Lady Spy:

Meet Lord and Lady Smythe, England’s preeminent spies. Their identities are guarded even from each other. After years of secrets and lies, their marriage is little more than a crumbling façade. But even love isn’t as important as The Mission—to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte.

But what happens when the mission is complete?

Meet Lord and Lady Smythe, out of work spies. Lady Sophia Smythe will scream if she has to attend another tea party. Lord Adrian Smythe will hit someone if he’s forced to while away another evening in Parliament. What are secret agents to do when the war is over?

There’s one chance left to get back into the game. The prime minister needs a murder investigated. The problem? Two spies. One position.

All’s fair in love and war.

Oh, my God!  Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?  I’ve got this one sitting right at the top of my teetering To Be Read pile.

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You find read all about Lord and Lady Spy on Shana’s website.

To celebrate Shana’s new release, her publisher has donated two copies of Lord and Lady Spy for a giveaway to my readers in the U.S. and Canada.  Just tell me who your favorite book, movie, or TV spy is, and why.  Two people who comment will win copies of the book!


#SampleSunday: HARDBALL, by V.K. Sykes

For #Sample Sunday, here’s another excerpt from Hardball, the sexy contemporary romance I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  Our hero Nate, a superstar baseball player, is taking Holly, a serious and rather shy pediatric surgeon, to an upscale charity dinner for their first date.  Wanting Holly all to himself, he hustles her out to his sportscar, eager for their first kiss…and more!

Nate had enjoyed watching Holly charm the rest of the table with her intelligence and her sweet, slightly retiring manner.  He gave himself a pat on the back for having the brains to ask her out tonight, and silently thanked Martha for putting the idea in his head.

But right now he couldn’t wait for the damn speeches and trophy presentations to end.  Even at the best of times he found it hard to sit still for so long, but tonight he felt ready to crawl out of his skin.  His body hummed with energy, and an overwhelming desire to get Holly Bell alone.

Alone anywhere—as long as he had her all to himself.

Earlier in the evening, she’d spent most of her time talking to Dr. Fredericks.  Although Nate had expected that, he didn’t have to like it.  But since coming back from the rest room she’d focused almost completely on him, laughing at all his jokes and asking questions about baseball.  She looked and acted more confident, too.  It made him wonder what had gone on in that long trip to the bathroom with the scheming duo of Maddie Leclair Miller and Martha Winston.

Finally, Holly glanced at him, signaling her readiness to leave.  As they got up, she wobbled just enough to let him know she could use an arm to steady her.  When he slid his arm around her waist as they said their goodbyes, she leaned into him slightly and Nate’s hormones kicked into overdrive.

He kept his arm firmly around her as they strolled down a flagstone path to the parking lot.  “Have a good time tonight?” he said softly.

“I sure did,” she murmured.  “Your friends are great.  I especially liked Maddie and Martha.”

Nate was not interested in talking about his well-meaning but sometimes annoying friends.  He wanted Holly’s attention fully on him.  “I usually find these banquets boring, but not tonight.  It’s obviously because I spent the evening with the most beautiful and interesting woman in the place.”

She hesitated a second longer than he liked.  “You’re sweet to say that, but I think that must be the wine talking.  And, speaking of wine, I could kick myself for drinking as much as I did.  I had a grand plan you know,” she said with a sleepy, sexy smile.

Oh, he had some grand plans too, and he was about to set them in motion.  “Hold that thought.”

He opened the passenger door of the DB9 and handed an almost boneless Holly into the seat.  After he went around and slid into his own seat, he turned to face her.

“Okay, the grand plan.  I’m almost afraid to ask,” he said, deadpan.

The smile shaping her full, sensual mouth drove him crazy with lust.

With a lazy gesture, Holly made a half-hearted attempt to smooth her dress down, leaving most of her silky thighs exposed.  Nate clenched his jaw hard against the rush of blood to his groin.  He totally forgot what they were talking about.

Oh, right.  Her grand plan.

“I was going to ask if I could drive this sweetheart home,” she said.  “But that was before you plied me with all that wine.”  Her eyelids fluttered shut.  “Not to mention bourbon.  One would almost think you had an ulterior motive.”

Holding back a grin, Nate decided to yank her chain a bit.  “Hell, I wouldn’t care if you were stone cold sober,” he said in a growly voice.  “Nobody drives my baby.  And sure as hell not on a first date.”

Her eyes opened wider.  “So this was a date, after all?”

“What did you think it was?”

She stared at him, looking almost embarrassed, before she lifted one slender hand to rest just below her neck.  “Oh, I don’t know.  I guess I wondered if you were just being nice to a newcomer.”

The doctor was full of surprises.  Didn’t she get how attracted he’d been to her from the first moment?  He’d always been direct with women, and hadn’t disguised his interest.  How could she not see it?

“What do I look like, lady?  The welcome wagon?” he joked, wanting to ease her shyness.

Holly laughed as she aimed a little punch at his shoulder.  “Okay, I get it.  Anyway, I’d still like to drive this car.  Someday, if you’ll let me.”

Nate gave her a wink.  “Like Scarlett said, tomorrow is another day.”

“I’m taking that as a promise, Nate Carter,” she said in a schoolmarm tone of voice.  But then she relaxed back into the seat and, as she stretched her long legs, her dress rose even higher, revealing a couple more inches of creamy thigh.

That’s all it took for Nate’s erection to push aggressively against the fabric of his pants.  He clenched his hand into a fist to stop from reaching over the center console to stroke her silk-clad flesh.

As if reading his thoughts, Holly laid her hand on top of his.  Nate gazed at her, searching her eyes for confirmation of what he thought she was saying.

“It’s okay,” she breathed.  Her eyes were sensual and heavy, the lids almost closing.

Nate pulled her to him, unable to keep his hands off her gorgeous body a second longer.  Holly sighed as his lips found hers, and eased open her soft mouth to his probing tongue.  He knew he should be tender and gentle, but he wanted her as much as he’d ever wanted any woman.   He devoured her mouth, and his arms pulled her flush against him as he leaned over the console.  With a whimpering little moan that shot his lust sky high, she snuggled into him, sifting his hair through her fingers.

With a harsh breath, Nate drew back a few inches and gazed into her eyes.  There was no mistaking the message in their smoky, hazel depths.  She wanted him as much as he wanted her.

He came back down on her like a rocket, devouring her mouth again as he lost all sense of his surroundings.  The fire in their kiss seemed to consume the oxygen, taking his breath with it.  He knew only her lips, the hot cavern of her mouth, the sweet, welcoming taste of her.  But he needed more.  He needed her body.  So, he slid one hand up to cup a full, soft breast as his other hand inched across her lap to an exposed thigh.

A mechanical roar from behind drove them apart.  Nate jerked back into his seat as headlights bathed them in a wash of halogen light.  Part of him cursed the interruption, but the rest of him realized the parking lot was no place to be fooling around.  Especially not with a woman as classy as Doctor Holly Bell.

Holly let out a nervous laugh as she smoothed her dress down then ruffled out her hair.  “God, that was embarrassing.  I think I gave up about five years of life with that one.”

Nate buckled his seat belt and pressed the crystal starter knob on the dash.  “Scared the hell out of me, too.  Whoever it was must have been damn quiet getting into the car.  I didn’t hear a thing before the engine roared.”

“We were a little preoccupied.” Holly said in a muffled voice.  Thank God she sounded amused.  He sure as hell had no intention of offending her by making out like a horny teenager in the parking lot.

Hardball is available at Amazon, the Nook, and at Smashwords for $2.99.  You can read all about it, including another excerpt, on my VK Sykes website.

Have a great Sunday!


We Have A Winner!

The winner of the Karen Rose Smith book, His Country Cinderella, is Crystal GB.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest blogger tomorrow is the fabulous historical romance author, Maggie Robinson.  Be sure to stop on by!


Guest Author: Karen Rose Smith & Giveaway!

We have a very special guest author on the blog today.  It’s Karen Rose Smith, the USA Today bestselling writer of warm and heartfelt contemporary romance.  Unbelievably, Karen has published 75 books since 1991, with publishers like Silhouette, Harlequin, and Kensington.  She’s won several awards, including the Golden Leaf and the Golden Quill, and she’s made the Borders Group Bestseller list for Series Romance and the Amazon Romance Bestseller list.

Whew!  What a career!

Karen loves writing books with a lot of emotion.  She was an only child who dreamed of having lots of brothers and sisters, although she did grow up in a big extended family.  She brings that love of family into her books, with plotlines that include small towns and strong personal and family relationships.  Critics and readers alike love her stories.  Here’s what Romance Reviews Today had to say about her books:

“Karen Rose Smith’s storeyworlds are complete and realistic and lovely places to visit and revisit. She excels at stories that feature couples brought together by infants and children, and she handles her plots and characters with sublime sensitivity.”

Fortunately for her readers, Karen has lots of good stuff out this year.  In August, her Montana Mavericks release, His Country Cinderella, came out from Harlequin Special Edition.


The hero of this book is a country music singer—I love that idea!  Here’s the blurb:

Zane Gunther once entertained fans with his down-home, heartfelt songs. But a tragedy at one of his concerts has turned him into a hermit. The gift of music has left him.

Can a resilient single mom give him back that gift along with her love?

Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story?

Karen continues the Cinderella theme with her next book, coming out in late September.  This story is part of her Reunion Brides series, set in the fictional town of Miner’s Bluff, Arizona and featuring couples who attend their high school reunion.  Fun!


Here’s the blurb for Once Upon A Groom:

Zack and Jenny fell in love in high school. But Zack intended to escape the Rocky D while Jenny craved the roots she’d found on his parents’ ranch. With resentment and bitterness toward his father, blaming him for his mother’s death, Zack found a life as a movie director with wealth, fame and privilege. Now when he returns to Miners Bluff, his father isn’t the man he once was. And Jenny has a secret she has never divulged.

Old fires reignite as Zack and Jenny fall in love all over again. Will their differences push them apart once more? Or can love truly conquer all?

I love both fairy tale themes and reunion plots, so this book sounds great!  You can check out the details for both Once Upon A Groom and His Country Cinderella on Karen’s website

While you’re there, you might want to check out her short story collections, which also continue her Cinderella theme.  There’s Everyday Prince Charming and Everyday Cinderellas, both of which sound like lovely collections.  She also has some new e-books and number of backlist books re-released in digital format.  You can get all the details on her Dear Reader page.

And Karen has a lovely blog too, called Cats, Roses…And BooksTrust me—you’ll want to stop by and check out her Cranberry-Orange-Pecan scone recipe!

For my readers, Karen has graciously donated a copy of His Country CinderellaLet’s talk contemporary romance.  Do you read contemporary romance?  If so, which authors do you really enjoy?  One person who comments will win a copy of Karen’s book.

 


Guest Author: Mary Campisi & Giveaway!

Do you like emotional stories filled with love and laughter, compassion and hope, passion and warmth?  Then I think you’ll really enjoy my guest author today – Mary Campisi, who writes wonderful historical and contemporary romances.

Like many romance authors, Mary came to writing by a circuitous route.  She’s held a number of jobs, including registered nurse, manager for an ob/gyn, receptionist in a swanky hair salon, and she even worked as an accounts payable clerk (not her favorite job!).  But the lure of fiction always called to her and she finally gave in to her muse, eventually going on to be published with a number of publishers, including Kensington Zebra and Carina Press.  Her books have garnered loyal readers and critical acclaim, including a Romantic Times Top Pick for her contemporary romance, Paradise Found.


And here’s what The Season for Romance had to say about her recent Carina Press novella, The Sweetest Deal:

“Smart, sexy, and seductive; this novella is a great read for any contemporary romance fan.”

Mary also writes wonderful historical romances, which romance reviewers have called “absolutely delicious” and “not to be missed!”  Fortunately for her readers, Mary has a new book out, an ebook original called The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest.


Here’s the blurb:

Love and Betrayal . . . Regency Style

When Holt Langford, the new Earl of Westover, returns to England after twelve years at sea, he resembles more pirate than nobleman, a far cry from the scrawny youth shipped off by his father to become a man. No one recognizes him and he’ll use this anonymity to enter a game of subterfuge in order to expose the scoundrel who has vowed to destroy Holt’s family business.

Unfortunately, that scoundrel has a devoted daughter – Sophie Seacrest. Sophie can’t deny her attraction to the unorthodox stranger who stirs her blood and makes her think things no proper lady should. Holt and Sophie are drawn into a seductive tangle and just when he’s about to reveal his true identity and his honorable intentions, she discovers the truth and must choose between love and family duty.

I don’t know about you, but I love a nobleman who has a touch of the pirate in him!  I think Mary’s readers (and mine) are going to love this book.  Read all about The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest on Mary’s website, and don’t forget to check out the excerpt.

And while you’re there, check out Pieces of You, book one in Mary’s new contemporary romance trilogy,The Betrayed.

For my readers, Mary will be giving away a copy of The Seduction of Sophie SeacrestJust tell me what book you’re looking forward to reading this September.  One commenter will win a copy of Mary’s wonderful new release!


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