On Conversations: #author Victoria M. Johnson

Please join me in welcoming author and film maker, Victoria M. Johnson to Conversations today! Victoria is here to talk about her new novella, Hot Hawaiian Christmas. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below!

Lisa ~


It's Christmas in Hawaii, but Lindsay Clark's vacation turns out to be anything but relaxing. With her uncle absent, she finds herself managing the hotel—a task at which she's normally very successful. However, Lindsay's life is turned upside down by the unfamiliar environment, Christmas festivities, and a very tempting guest—Chandler Lewis. He's the honorary Santa for the Kona Christmas parade and has a great life back home in California. Romance is the last thing on his mind. But when he meets Lindsay, he begins to wonder if life could be sweeter in Hawaii.

Hot Hawaiian Christmas is a novella length ebook.

Excerpt from Hot Hawaiian Christmas by Victoria M. Johnson

     Lindsay Clark stepped out of the taxi as the hotel and its surroundings took her breath away. Her uncle's Inn on the Beach sat right at the edge of the ocean in Kona, Hawaii. The waves crashed into the lava rock wall and splashed several feet high before rolling back into the sea.
     "Is there anything else?" the cab driver asked.
     Lindsay realized he had already planted her luggage at the hotel's doorstep. "Oh, just a moment." She dug in her purse for his tip. "Thank you."
     "Have a nice stay, miss," he said as he slipped into his cab.
     She pulled out the keys her uncle had overnighted to her and unlocked the door of her aunt and uncle's new hotel. Inside she found quaint Polynesian decor in the reception lobby and beyond that a spacious sitting room and a tiki bar. In every room expansive windows exposed a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and to the right, downtown Kailua-Kona. Lindsay exhaled and already began to feel herself unwinding.
     This place is perfect, she thought. Guests will love staying here. She spotted the staircase and decided she'd better find her room and unpack while things were quiet.  Before she reached her bags, the telephone on the desk rang. Lindsay leaped at it to prevent it from ruining the serene ambience of the lobby.
     "Inn on the Beach, Lindsay speaking. How may I help you?"
     "Hello, this is Ginger Applegate. I need to speak to whomever is in charge."
     "Aloha, Ms. Applegate. That would be me."
     "My reservation starts tomorrow, but my daughter and I need to come in tonight. If we wait until tomorrow, we might be stranded at the airport."
     Lindsay did her best not to panic. The hotel hadn't been stocked with food yet. She didn't know if the bedding had been placed on the beds or if there was bedding on the premises at all. And she didn't know when the hotel staff was coming on duty.
     "Hello?" an impatient voice blared in her ear.
     "Yes, of course we can accommodate you early. What time will you and your daughter arrive?"
     The woman let out a sigh of relief. "Thank you. Our plane will depart in thirty minutes—I've been calling you for over two hours—we expect to land in five hours, and then there's the cab ride."
     "I apologize for the phone. It's fixed now. It sounds like you'll arrive in time for dinner. Have a pleasant flight, and we'll have your room ready."
     "Rooms. We have two rooms reserved."
     "Yes, that's right. Aloha."
     After she disconnected the call, Lindsay decided to get things in order and familiarize herself with the hotel. She hurried past the sitting room to find the dining room and then the kitchen. Just as she suspected, the refrigerator and cupboards had no food in them. Beyond the kitchen she found a laundry area, closet, bathroom, and elevator. Then she was back in the lobby. She'd gone in a circle. She headed back through the sitting area to the tiki bar. A glance behind the counter revealed that at least the bar was well-stocked.
     Lindsay rushed to the reception desk and flicked on the computer to check all the reservations. Before the computer powered up, the telephone rang again. Glancing at the phone Lindsay noticed that 14 messages were waiting on the answering machine.
     "Inn on the Beach, Lindsay speaking. How may I help you?"
     "A person, finally!" an exasperated female voice said. "What kind of hotel are you operating where no one answers the phone or returns calls?"
     "I apologize. I'm the manager, Lindsay Clark. How may I help you?"
     "Well, where's the real manager, Mr. Clark?"
     "He is unavailable, but I assure you, I am the real manager."
     "I am Mr. Chandler Lewis' assistant. I want to go over the checklist to be sure everything will be ready for his arrival tomorrow afternoon."
     Lindsay inwardly groaned. Her uncle had made it clear that Chandler Lewis was the priority guest. He had a checklist in the computer—which had finally powered on—but she hadn't seen it yet. "One moment please, while I retrieve the checklist. What is your name?" Lindsay asked, trying to stall while she glanced at the list.
     "I'm Ana Garcia," she said. "Any changes, any issues, any requests go through me."
     Lindsay recognized the attitude of a pushy assistant who liked to exert the power of their employer on others. That coupled with the absurd checklist confirmed her suspicions. What man required 200% Egyptian cotton sheets and that they be ironed?
     "Ana, I have the checklist in front of me, and everything is in order and will be ready for tomorrow."
     "Are you sure you don't have any questions? Mr. Lewis is very particular and demanding."
     "We have it covered. He will have a wonderful Christmas in Kona."
     "Well... if you think you need help... I could fly down there too...."
     "No. That won't be necessary," Lindsay said, wondering if Ana had purposely made the checklist particular and demanding so that she would be needed.
     "Well, let me give you my cell number in case you have questions." Ana recited her number, and her tone changed from pushy to helpful.
     Lindsay did not reciprocate with her cell. She had a feeling Ana would be calling every day as it was. "Aloha."
     A truck pulled up the driveway and dropped off a grocery delivery. Lindsay knew that had to be her aunt's idea, and she silently thanked her as she put everything away in cupboards and the refrigerator.
     Just as Lindsay listened to the last non-urgent message on the answering machine, her cell phone rang.
     "Uncle Ray, how is Auntie Louisa?"
     "She's going to be fine; however, doctors confirmed she broke her leg. They don't want her to be moved for two weeks."
     "Poor auntie. Is she comfortable at least?" Lindsay asked.
     "She's miserable. She doesn't like lying in bed all day. And she's worried about you."
     "I've opened hotels before. I have everything under control," Lindsay lied. "Everything will be perfect for your guests."
     "We both appreciate you spending your Christmas vacation there. What are the odds? I finally convince you to take time off, and then we have to put you to work."
     "Don't worry about it. You just help Auntie Louisa heal and I'll hold down the fort. I do have some questions though." Lindsay had a dozen questions, but some were more pressing than others.
     "Remember Chandler Lewis needs to have his best hotel stay ever, or I'll have everyone in Kona upset with me, including the mayor," Uncle Ray said. "Maybe even the governor. I won't be able to golf anymore, and Aunt Louisa will be spurned from her circles."
     Lindsay laughed. "Okay. I get it. But I thought he was just the honorary Santa for the Christmas Day parade."
     "Just! They don't pick 'just anybody' to be Santa!"
     "Sorry. Of course not. I promise you he will have his best stay ever." She didn't get the hoopla over the man. He was just a regular business executive—a start-up entrepreneur. She'd dealt with plenty of them at her uncle's hotel she managed in Silicon Valley.
     "Thank you, dear. We know everyone's in good hands."
     After the call ended, Lindsay took a deep breath. Her uncle hadn't hired a bartender or chef because those were duties he and Auntie Louisa enjoyed doing themselves. They had only employed a groundskeeper and housekeeper and an on-call maintenance company. At least Uncle Ray would make the calls to ensure the housekeeper arrived in the morning. Even so, Lindsay felt this temporary assignment would be a relaxing walk in the park compared to her demanding job back home. In a way, she was on a vacation, she thought.
     Lindsay grabbed her suitcase and tossed it in her room. She'd unpack later. She pulled her hair into a ponytail and got busy making up the beds and stocking toiletries and linens in the bathrooms for tonight's guests. She mentally made a list of items to buy. The lobby and rooms all needed holiday decorations. That was something her aunt and uncle intended to do before their ski trip in Switzerland turned into a disaster. They were due in Hawaii two days ago, which would have offered plenty of time to put the finishing touches on their cozy hotel's grand opening. Now it was up to her. Tasks that Lindsay loved doing—shopping and decorating for Christmas.
     Lindsay had reached Manu Halapeli, the groundskeeper, and he agreed to help put up the lights once she purchased them. He gave her advice on how many strings of lights to buy for the exterior, and she estimated for the interior. Ninety minutes later she arrived back at the inn with her aunt's minivan stuffed with lights, wreaths, several red and green foil-wrapped poinsettia plants with big red bows, ornaments, and a spool of shiny gold ribbon. Manu, a lean Hawaiian man of about fifty years old, greeted her.
     "Hi Manu. We're cutting it close. Why don't we put up the interior lights today and the exterior tomorrow?"
     "Sounds like a good plan," he said with a smile. "I'll unload the van and grab my ladder."
     Lindsay had already grabbed a large box filled with packages of lights. "I'll help unload," she said, heading toward the entrance before he could take her box.
     They worked diligently. An hour later Lindsay stepped back and admired their handiwork. "You are a pleasure to work with, Manu. We got so much done." She rubbed her neck.
     "You are a work horse, just as your uncle mentioned."
     "What else did my uncle say?" Lindsay held up a wreath over the electric fireplace mantle in the sitting room.
     "Not to try to stop you or slow you down because that was impossible."
     Lindsay paused. "What? That's not true. I stop sometimes."
     Manu laughed. "I've yet to see you stop. Didn't you have a five-hour flight this morning from California? Have you eaten anything?"
     Suddenly her stomach growled, preventing her from denying her hunger. "I'll eat after the guests arrive and get settled."
     "Would you like me to hang the wreath?"
     "Yes, please. I think these rooms look wonderfully festive." They had managed to hang lights in the three main guest areas. She still needed to purchase a tree. "And can you hang a wreath on the front door, too?"
     "Yes, ma'am."
     With the wreaths the lobby was beginning to smell like Christmas. She found the spool of the gold lame ribbon she'd purchased.  She planned to unravel it on the mantel. "With the candles lit, this ribbon will really shine."
     "Very nice," Manu said.
     "I need to do more with the tiki bar," she said. "The existing lights are inviting, but it needs a holiday touch."
     "Hmm... maybe a garland of surfing Santas?"
     "Wait, what?" She laughed.
     "You haven't seen a surfing Santa? This time of year, you will see Santas everywhere, even surfing."
     "I can't wait to see that. I was thinking of poinsettias."
     "Poinsettias are nice."
     Lindsay skirted around the rooms, dropping off poinsettias here and there. "I want one in each guest room, too."
     "Guests will like that," Manu said, closing up the ladder. "Do you need anything else, ma'am?"
     "Oh, please call me Lindsay. I could not have done this without you."
     "I will come by in the morning to finish the outside lights. You have my cell if you need anything."
     "I truly appreciate all your help. Mahalo."
     "You're welcome." Manu closed the door behind him.
     Lindsay locked the door, grabbed two poinsettias, and zipped up the stairs to take a soothing hot shower. If the Applegates' flight was on time, she didn't have much time. She deposited one plant on the dresser in each of the guest rooms.
     Minutes later she stood naked under the pulsating spray of the shower. She would have preferred to stay in longer but turned off the water after rinsing the soap off her body and washing her hair.
     Wrapped in a towel, she finally opened her suitcase. Some of her clothes were wrinkled; some would be fine after being hung up. She selected a floral skirt and white blouse, then slipped on sandals. Using the towel to dry her hair, Lindsay thought about dinner. If the women wanted to eat out, she would provide suggestions. If they wanted to eat in, Lindsay would cook something for them. As she thought about menu options she blow-dried her hair. She took a few minutes to unpack, then headed downstairs to unlock the door and check the flight status of the Applegate women.

Victoria M. Johnson knew by the time she was ten that she wanted to be a writer.  She loves telling stories and she's happiest when creating new characters and new plots.  Avalon Books and Montlake Romance published Victoria's fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist).  Her other fiction book is a collection of romance short stories titled, The Substitute Bride. She is also the writer and director of four short films.

Visit Victoria's website at victoriamjohnson.com for inspiration and tips and connect with her on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook

Now Available: DAKOTA WEDDING by Lisa Mondello book 6 of Dakota Hearts

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Mondello, book 6 of the popular DAKOTA HEARTS western romance series.

Ian McKinnon was just getting steady on his feet, looking forward to the opening of the Wounded Veterans Center and a big McKinnon wedding celebration, when tragedy struck again. The soldier who'd saved his life while in the military has died. He's charged with his most important mission: find his friend Carlos's family in Mexico or become guardian and raise Carlos's children. The only mandatory stipulation of his friend's will was that Ian live under the same roof with Abby Townsend, a firefighter from Carlos's firehouse. Abby knew the kids well and she could help ease them all through the transition of becoming a family. Okay, so Ian may not be daddy material, but he'd grown up with a whole lot of McKinnons running around. He could handle the kids just fine. The beautiful Abby Townsend was another story.

Abby took one look at Ian and shook her head with utter disbelief. What were her dear friends thinking by naming a man whose nickname was "The Hazard" as guardian of their three small children? She only needed to spend one year in Ian's house in South Dakota. She had to either find Carlos's family, or convince Ian that she was the better person to raise the children. Abby knows how hard it is to lose someone you loved. She'll be there to protect the children in any way she can. But can she protect her heart from falling in love with a man known for taking too many risks...and risk heartbreak again?


Book 1 - Her Dakota Man
Book 2 - Badland Bride
Book 3 - Dakota Heat
Book 4 - Wild Dakota Heart
Book 5 - His Dakota Bride
Book 6 - Dakota Wedding

and coming in 2015, check for more Dakota Hearts books.

If you're a fan of western romance, contemporary romance, stories full of angst and emotion, and sexy cowboy and military heroes, then you'll enjoy the Dakota Hearts, Texas Hearts and Fate with a Helping Hand series of romance novels.


http://bit.ly/1eRxzN6 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=IDa5AgAAQBAJ

Awesome Romance Novels: 26 Black Friday #Kindle eBook Deals!

Awesome Romance Novels: 26 Black Friday #Kindle eBook Deals!: All these great books are being offered at bargain prices. They might be available for other e-readers (Nook, Kobo, iBook), but for ease of...

On Conversations: #AAMBookclub #author Tiss Devane

Please join me in welcoming author Tiss Devane to Conversations today! Tiss is here to talk about her new novel, Stitching Love. So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. 

Lisa ~

Stitching Love

In Part one of this debut series from Tiss Devane, Skyla Richards is a planner. But, all the forethought and organization on the planet can t prepare her for the events that are about to alter her world. After her six year marriage ends bitterly, her job becomes her refuge until Jonathan Bass enters her life. He s a young, handsome co-worker whose future includes an Ivy League opportunity and his upcoming nuptials to an unstable fiancée, Mia. But that doesn't stop him from recruiting Skyla to help him sew a few wild oats before the clock winds down on his bachelorhood.

His relentless pursuit has her tossing her to-do lists into the fiery flames of passion and reacquaints her with feelings she'd long since forgotten. And her feminine wiles has him rethinking his engagement and ultimately, taking a ring off of it. But while their hearts continue to align, their careers split into opposite paths when she gets promoted and his Princeton plans are jeopardized when his manager accuses him of dark and menacing acts. With Skyla's assistance, he rebounds and the two resume their future plans. But while they've been ring shopping and deciding wedding dates, Mia has been sulking and contemplating the fastest way to bring their relationship to a shattering demise. And what she comes up with will permanently transform all their lives.

Excerpt from Stitching Love

     We gazed out at the skyline in silence.  He reached back and cut my desk lamp off leaving only the city scene outdoors illuminating the room.
     “Sometimes, I could just look up at the stars all night,” he said, staring at the sky in wonderment.
     “You have that kind of time?” I asked, looking up at the sky.
     He turned to me and with a piercing look replied, “I make time for beautiful things.”
     I could feel myself blushing and started fidgeting with my Blackberry.
     Just then, he leaned into my neck and inhaled deeply.
     “Damn, you smell good,” he whispered, allowing his lips to brush lightly against my earlobe.
     My palms started to sweat as he moved closer.  I quickly turned to cut my lamp back on and dropped my Blackberry.  He bent to pick it up and placed his face as close to my leg as possible, blowing on it while slowly standing. My flesh tingled as the warmth of his breath traveled up my calf and reached my thigh.
     “Here ya go,” he said in a low tone, handing it to me.
     I clumsily took it, inadvertently hitting the send button on the earlier reply I’d typed Phillip.  But I didn’t care.
     He sat on the edge of my desk and swallowed my hand with his while drawing me between his legs.
     “What did you want to talk about?” he asked, taking his fingertip and gently sweeping a portion of my hair behind my left ear.
     “Oh….um, um…” My brain searched for words while my eyes became stuck on his lips. “It’s Angelica,” I said.
     “Yeah, what about her?” he asked, continuing to come closer.
     My heart started racing and I felt weak.
     “She…she’s gotta do something,” I mumbled.

     “Something like what?” he whispered, lips lightly grazing mine.  I wanted to pounce and run away at the same time.

Tiss Devane hails from the Southside of Chicago and wears many hats including mother, wife, business owner, columnist and now romantic novelist. Some of her other literary efforts range from poetry to political commentary. But her first love is fiction. Her passion for storytelling can be traced back to the often funny but always captivating stories she heard while growing up which ignited her imagination and sparked her creativity.

Find the author:
Twitter @TissDevane

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author LaShanta Charles

Please join me in welcoming author LaShanta Charles to Conversations today! LaShanta is here to talk about her new novel, Splitting Karma. So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know LaShanta Charles!

Lisa ~

Splitting Karma

Taylor Williams didn’t grow up with the loving parents, white picket fence, and a dog. She’s struggled to get where she is and knows that with all she’s endured, life can only get better. At 28 years old, she hails as one of the country’s top divorce lawyers and is ready to slow down and start a family with her husband. The only problem is he shuts her out and has treated her like everything but a wife since the night he came across her and his boss in a compromising situation. In spite of her innocence, she’s determined to make it up to him.

Isaac Warren is bad business; the kind of bad business that requires focus and determination in order to stay alive. It’s also the kind that caused him to shut himself off from serious relationships after the brutal murder of his fiancĂ© three years ago. Now his cold exterior keeps him at bay from everyone except those he considers family and right now that list doesn’t have room for anything more than the occasional tryst and nothing more, especially not with the highly acclaimed lawyer he’s accidentally stumbled upon.

*This novel is only recommended for readers 17 and older*

Excerpt from Splitting Karma

      My eyes flew open as I quickly sat up in the bed. What was that noise, a door slamming? I scanned the dark bedroom and waited for another sound. The voice I heard shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
      “Where the hell is my dinner?” Aaron’s voice boomed through the house.
     I scrambled from the bed, falling to the floor, my feet tangled in a mess of sheets and blankets. Ignoring the pain in my wrist and hip from my ungraceful fall, I slipped my robe on and practically ran down the flight of stairs.
     “Taylor, get your ass down here! A good wife wouldn’t let her husband go hungry!”
     I spotted him standing in front of the open refrigerator, his back to me. Without a word I made my way to the oven where his food was already fixed and waiting. I could feel his eyes on me, tracking my every movement as I slipped in front of him and grabbed a beer from the fridge. I refused to meet his eyes. Instead I stole a glance at the time on the microwave. It was a quarter past three. Working late again, huh? “I made you shrimp carbonara. I hope you like it,” I said as I placed the beer and food on the island in the center of the kitchen. Finally meeting his eyes, I pulled the stool out for him. He said nothing, simply stared at me. My heart pounded in my chest. Why wasn’t he responding? “I kept it warm for you,” I said as I closed the refrigerator and took his hand. Without protest, he let me guide him to his seat. I tried to give him a quick peck on his lips, but he turned his head away. A smirk played at the corner of his lip. My lips settled for his cheek and I stepped back. “How was your day?” I asked.
     “I want to take a shower when I’m done eating,” he replied.
     And just like that, I was dismissed. I took my time going upstairs, hoping he’d call me back. I could at least get a hug, right? I knew that would never happen, but that didn’t stop me from lingering on the stairs. The only sound that came from his direction was the fork as it scraped the plate and the occasional soft thud from him placing his beer bottle on the counter after he sipped. By the time he made it to our bedroom I had a fresh pair of boxers and pajama bottoms laid out for him and the shower was the perfect temperature. He undressed as he made his way past me in silence. I quickly scooped up the trail of clothes he left in his wake. While he showered I tossed his towel into the dryer, so that it’d be warm for him when he used it.
     “Dinner was actually very good. I’m impressed,” he said when he finally emerged from the bathroom.
     “Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.” I tried not to be, but I was mesmerized by his body. At 32 years old, he looked just as good as he did when we first met and he was only 25. His smooth, brown skin pulled tight against muscles that teased me with their presence. Not big and bulky, but just right for his 6’ 4” frame. His wavy hair was always kept cut low, cropped close to his head. Beautiful brown eyes stared back at me from behind dark lashes. If he’d smile – which I knew he wouldn’t – I’d see perfect teeth lined up behind those thick lips. He glanced at the boxers on the bed then smiled smugly as I gave them to him. I snapped my mouth shut, realizing he knew I was admiring him.

Interview with LaShanta Charles

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I started writing while in high school, around the age of 15. I remember writing a “story” that literally never ended. I would pass it along to my classmates and friends for them to read and they would be enthralled and begging for more. I like to think that was my first following! I’ve had a beautiful relationship with writing since then.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I enjoy creation! I love when that tiny spark of embers becomes a full blown raging inferno of 80,000+ words. I love the struggle of developing complex characters. I love filling in blanks within my plots, answering questions enough to give you that “aha” moment, but not so much I give you every single detail and leave nothing to wonder. I love seeing a finished product, a work that I put my heart and soul into, knowing that someone somewhere will either love it or hate it and I’ll be fine either way.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part was editing. I wanted to make so many changes (I actually made quite a few); even after my book went to the editor I was still making more changes! Then to receive it back from the editor with critique and suggestions, it was like someone was deciding my newborn baby could only have blue eyes and not brown. It was by far the worst part of it all.

Where do you get the inspiration to write?

I draw inspiration from just about anything, literally. For example, I just saw someone eating an apple – my current heroine will undoubtedly love snacking on peeled apples. I’m inspired by my surroundings, which are constantly changing, therefore I change as well.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite author! I know that’s a terrible answer, but there are just way too many for me to pick just one! I’ll read just about anything with a great plot.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?

I’m super lazy, so anything that requires physical effort is a no-no! I love to read and I love to eat; and I love to do it all at home alone – no kids, no husband, just me, my food and my books. This can also be applied to different settings such as a beach, an airplane, etc.

Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?

Hmm, I sometimes eat a spoonful of flour…can’t believe I’m sharing this! I’m pretty sure there’s some logical explanation for it and I should probably mention it to my doctor, but nope, I’m good.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I love interacting with readers, so feel free to contact me and let me know how you’re doing or what’s going on with you!

LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban / African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Currently she is preparing to release her third novel, Splitting Karma, along with other projects. In recognition of her work, LaShanta was named National Black Book Festival’s 2013 Best New Author and was nominated for 2013 Breakout Author of the Year through the African American Literary Awards Show. Lovely Lies was also awarded Most Underrated Book of 2013 for the Literary Scream Awards.

Connect with LaShanta Charles: Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

On Conversations: #bestselling #romance #author Melinda Curtis

Please join me in welcoming the award-winning contemporary romance author, Melinda Curtis to Conversations today! Melinda is here to talk about her new novella, The Christmas Date, the third story in the Christmas, Actually collection. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below!

Plus, readers of this blog will be emailed a FREE sweet, fun novella set within the Hollywood Rules world by signing up for Melinda’s book release email newsletter HERE.

Lisa ~


The Christmas Date is the third novella in Christmas, Actually – three holiday stories about three siblings living in Christmas Town, where tradition has it that a kiss on Christmas Eve in the town square gazebo will lead to wedding bells in the new year!

Gina Vernay was in an accident as a child and has a scar down her right cheek.  Since then, Gina has always sat on the sidelines, lacking the self-confidence to shine.  Wanting what many of her friends have – love, a family – Gina signs up for an online dating account.  But her picture doesn’t show her scar.  And she’s always too busy running The Tea Cup in Christmas Town to meet anyone, much less a man to share a kiss under the mistletoe in the town’s gazebo.  But when one persistent on-line suitor arranges to meet her on Christmas Eve, Gina’s life turns upside down.

Excerpt from The Christmas Date by Melinda Curtis

     In the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning, Gina stood at the edge of the town square and traced the deep, jagged scar that ran from her left temple to her jawline with the tip of a gloved finger, as if her touch could erase the past. The small ball of worry, the one that hadn’t let her sleep last night, expanded like bread dough in her chest, pressing against her lungs.
     I should have told him.
     Snow fell silently, blanketing the square and the balsam firs lining it. The trees, mistletoe gazebo and surrounding quaint old buildings were draped in holiday lights. The town square looked like a snow globe, beautifully pristine and peaceful. The wind swirled around her, stealing her worried breath.
     A whistled tune drifted through the darkness. “Jingle Bells.”
     A block away, a figure appeared on Taylor Street. Nick Banning, the town handyman and whistler.
     Gina sucked in cold, much-needed air. There was too much to do today for her to wallow in what-ifs. She hadn’t told him and this afternoon she’d face the consequences.
     Carefully, Gina walked along the snowy sidewalk toward The Tea Pot. She’d bought the corner shop from her aunt last summer, trading in safe columns of numbers and isolated cubicles for early morning pastry making and running the place where everyone in town gathered.
     Arriving at her doorstep just as she did, Nick finished a whistled chorus, his breath mingling with snowflakes. “Morning.” He had a boxy tool bag slung over his shoulder. Holiday lights softly illuminated his handsome, reassuring features. Nick was one of the few people in the world who made Gina feel at ease, despite her scar.
     She hurried to unlock the door and get them out of the cold. Once inside, she scuffed her boot soles across the extra large doormat, ridding them of snow. “When I asked you to show up first thing, I didn’t really think you’d show up this early...whistling.”
     “No reason not to whistle.” He stomped the snow from his feet, first on the outside grill, then on the inside mat. “Big day today.”
     She had the distinct impression that he knew she had a date this afternoon, and was teasing her about it. Gina flipped on the lights and peered at Nick. He tugged off his knit cap and slid it into a coat pocket, revealing short dark hair, a gaze that didn’t mock and a familiar, lopsided grin.
     Nick caught her staring. His grin widened. “What? You forgot today’s Christmas Eve? The annual Christmas pageant? The night Santa Claus comes to town?”
     “No...I...no.” Of course he didn’t know about her blind date. Well, it wasn’t exactly a blind date. In her continued quest to de-comfort zone herself, she’d signed up for an online dating service and had been instant messaging a guy named Football20 for a week. He was going to introduce himself to her in person this afternoon. They planned to have coffee together. That was, if he didn’t take one look at her scar and bail.

Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today recommended, Amazon best selling author.  She writes independently published, steamy Hollywood Rules series as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”  Melinda also writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”.

Connect with Melinda: 

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author Stacey Covington-Lee

Please join me in welcoming author Stacey Covington-Lee to Conversations today! Stacey is here to talk about her new novel, Hate The Way He Loves Me. So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Stacey Covington-Lee!

Lisa ~

Hate The Way He Loves Me

Zoe Shaw’s childhood was anything but perfect. She, her sister, Pam, and their mother, Martha, were terrorized by Otis Shaw. The man that vowed to love and protect them had become a drunken, abusive animal that took pleasure in their suffering. But when he begins to look at Zoe with lover’s eyes, she finds herself taking drastic measures to ensure that he’ll never hurt any of the Shaw women again, or so she thinks. When word gets out that Otis may be resurfacing, Zoe, being the strongest of the trio, decides that it’s time for them to move away and start anew.

Desmond Page, Zoe’s best friend, moved away a long time ago. Having had a difficult childhood of his own, he and Zoe found love and acceptance with one another and did their best to shield each other from harm. Now that she’s looking to relocate, he suggests that she join him down south.

Their new home offered everything the Shaw women ever wanted; peace, security, opportunity and even the possibility for love. When Ramon Martinez introduced himself to Zoe, the attraction was undeniable. And despite her better judgment, she allowed herself to fall for the uncommonly handsome business owner.  What she didn’t realize was that he was also the product of an abusive home, but unlike her, he chose to follow the example set by his father. His jealousy and insecurity led him to deliver painful consequences for what he deemed inexcusable behavior. But he has clearly underestimated Zoe and the question now is which one of them will survive this battered love?

Excerpt from Hate The Way He Loves Me

     Zoe’s phone rang again and when she saw it was Ramon, she simply put it back in her purse, said her goodbyes to Martha, and headed home. A little while later she pulled up to the house and was annoyed to find Rich’s truck parked in the driveway. She was not in the mood to deal with company, especially Rich. He was the biggest, most arrogant jackass she’d ever met. She’d only met his little mousy girlfriend, Candy, once and after ten minutes in Rich’s presence she felt nothing but pity for his girlfriend. Zoe walked into the house and politely said hello, but she never broke her stride as she headed for the bedroom.
     “Where you going, babe? I haven’t seen you all day. Don’t you want to sit out here with us and catch the end of the game?” Ramon asked.
     Zoe paused for a moment. “Thanks, baby, but I’m exhausted. I think I’ll just head on back and get ready for bed,” she replied as she tried to continue on to the bedroom.
     “Well, will you at least throw us a couple of sandwiches together before going back?”
     “How long have you been home Ramon?”
     “A couple of hours, why?”
     “Babe, you could’ve prepared a full meal by now. I’m really tired and it won’t take you but a minute to slap some mayo and ham on some bread.” Zoe turned and went on in the room and closed the door.
     “Damn, man, whose house is this? Cause it looks like she’s running things. I wish the hell Candy would talk to me like that or walk out on me,” Rich bellowed as if he were trying to insight a riot. He leaned back into the sofa with his round belly still sticking out as if he were eight months pregnant. His hair slicked back into a ponytail made him look as if he were some sleazy used car salesman. He kept staring at Ramon with those beady eyes waiting to see his friend’s reaction.
      As if he were a twelve year old, Ramon was unwilling to look like a punk in front of his friend. Without hesitation, he took off towards the bedroom. What he didn’t need was more encouragement, but that slimy, no good Rich offered it anyway.
      “That’s right, bro. Go handle your business.”
     Ramon stormed into the room slamming the door behind him. Startled by the loud noise, Zoe jumped and looked around to see Ramon fuming.
      “What’s wrong, babe? Did something happen with you and Rich?”
      “No, something happened with you. How are you gonna come up in here and embarrass me like that. You roll up in here and act like you’re too good to hang out with me and my boy and then refuse to fix a couple of sandwiches. You need to get your damn clothes back on and come out here and fix us something to eat!” Ramon demanded.
      “You sound like a crazy man! When my friends are here you won’t even speak to them. At least I acknowledge that animal you call a friend. And y’all are grown ass men perfectly capable of fixing a sandwich. I’m going to bed. Goodnight!” Zoe shouted as she slipped her shoes off. But Ramon walked up on her and grabbed her by the arm. He dug his nails into her flesh so hard that she immediately began to bruise, and when she still seemed unwilling, he dug in until he drew blood. “Ramon, I swear if you don’t let me go I’m calling the cops,” she threatened, trying her best not to cry.
      “What you’re going to do is take your ass out there, fix us something to eat, and act like you’re glad to do it.” He never let go of her arm as he shuffled her out of the room and into the kitchen. As they passed by Rich, they could hear him shouting words of encouragement to Ramon.

Interview with Stacey Covington-Lee

What inspires your writing?

I’m inspired by those around me, the people that I observe on the daily basis. Everyone has a story, everyone is trying to overcome something. It’s these situations, these struggles that tend to translate into the best stories.

Hate The Way He Loves Me focuses on domestic violence. What separates your book from other books with the same focus?

My novel is not the typical “poor victim” type story. This book is full of unlikely heroes and twists that you’ll never see coming. It’s an emotional story that you can’t help but get caught up in.

Was any part of this book based on real life experience?

While this book isn’t based on my experience, it was inspired in part by my experience. Many years ago I found myself in an abusive marriage. Fortunately I was able to get out of that situation and go on to make a good life for myself with a wonderful man.

Would men also find your novel interesting or do you view it as a “chick novel?”

There is definitely something in this book for everyone, including male reader. Women are not the only ones that suffer abuse and this novel shows just what can happen when boys/men are the victims of abuse.

As an author do you feel obligated to tackle social issues?

Not at all. As an author I feel that my obligation is to entertain. However, if I can use my writing to shed light on some very relevant social issues, why not do it? Raising awareness, imparting knowledge through my writing is truly a gift.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently working on a couple projects that are sure to be wildly entertaining and hoping to have one released in spring of 2015.

What advise would you give to an aspiring author?

I would tell them to be true to themselves. Don’t change your writing or try to do what you think will sell. Write what you’re passionate about, write in your own voice. And once your story is written be ready to do the serious work of promoting and building your brand.

Having fallen in love with literature at an early age, it only made sense for Stacey Covington-Lee to seek a career that would allow her to combine her passion for writing and her Communications education from Savannah State University. During her lengthy career in the insurance industry as an Instructional and PC Trainer, Stacey wrote and developed multiple training guides and manuals for both insurance companies and local government.

It was at the encouragement of a dear friend that Stacey wrote and released her first novel, The Knife In My Back. Continuing her exploration of love, friendship, and betrayal, she has since given us The Knife In My Back 2, Bitter Taste Of Love, and her much anticipated, Hate The Way He Loves Me.

Stacey is an Atlanta native and has found great enjoyment in visiting book clubs and speaking at various events throughout the Southeast region. She loves hearing from readers and invites everyone to visit her website, www.staceycovingtonlee.com, follow her on Twitter (@covingtonlee) as well as Facebook (www.facebook.com/staceycovington-lee) and Instagram (scovingtonlee).

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On Conversations: #bestselling #romance #author Melinda Curtis

Please join me in welcoming the award-winning contemporary romance author, Melinda Curtis to Conversations today! Melinda is here to talk about her new Hollywood Rules novella, Breaking the Rules. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below!

Plus, Melinda has a special gift just for you! Download a FREE copy of Amber Rules from Melinda’s web site October 15-21, 2014 HERE.  Three books are currently out in the series.

Lisa ~

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NHDOZT4/?tag=crlaofsu-20BREAKING THE RULES

To say Jack and Vivian Gordon’s marriage has been rocky would be an understatement. The Gordons have been on a roller coaster of love and lust, but can’t seem to get on the same page at the same time. This power couple needs a time-out to find their happily ever after.  And life coach to Hollywood’s rich and powerful, Cora Rule, has just the solution – have the couple sign their divorce papers in a safe room…and lock them inside. 

Excerpt from Breaking the Rules by Melinda Curtis

     Vivian Gordon had a problem.
     A six-foot-two-inch hunk of a problem.
     Sex with Jack hadn’t solved the problem.  Marrying him hadn’t solved the problem.  Leaving him hadn’t solved the problem.
     The problem was that Viv loved her husband, but Jack didn’t love her.
     It wasn’t as if Jack was incapable of love, as some of Hollywood moguls seemed to be.  No, Jack had passion aplenty, but it was for the NBA team he owned, the L.A. Flash, not for a woman.  Not for Viv.
     Viv watched Jack swim his daily laps with strong, commanding strokes.  Heaven forbid Jack didn’t get his laps in.  If he didn’t, he was the biggest shit.
     Her Gianvito Rossi black suede lace up heels clicked slowly across the white marble tile as she approached the patio doors in the house they’d once shared.  Her cadence was one of a doomed prisoner being shown the open door of the gas chamber.
     This is the end.
     And she’d chosen the execution date.

Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today recommended, Amazon best selling author.  She writes independently published, steamy Hollywood Rules series as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”  Melinda also writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”.

Connect with Melinda: 

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author M. Skye

Please welcome contemporary romance author M. Skye to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her new novel, Mixing Business and Pleasure. So, check out the cover and blurb below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know M. Skye!

Lisa ~

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NJ6STHS/?tag=crlaofsu-20Mixing Business and Pleasure

After his past bad relationship, twenty-nine-year-old, newly promoted, record label CEO Jackson Whitmore vows never to love again. With his best friend and vice president, Eric, at his side, Jackson's main focus is the business, until a beautiful woman, Milan Wells, waltzes into his life and is introduced as the new president. While Jackson wants to object to the decision, it becomes difficult when Milan brings forth bold and fresh ideas, catching both his and Eric's attention; for different reasons.

Tensions soon arise when Milan and Eric's competitive natures collide forcing Jackson to intervene causing a rift between the once inseparable duo. With rumors of Milan's abusive relationship surfacing and Eric spiraling out of control, Jackson finds himself stepping up to protect Milan and entering an intense physical relationship. While Jackson and Milan are slowly falling for one another, Eric's jealousy erupts into a vicious quest for revenge that plunges the lovers into danger they never imagined.

Interview with M. Skye

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly poems and short stories. I only recently started to dabble in full length novels. I love to read, so I was sitting reading a book from one of my favorite authors, and I thought, hey, I can do this. Two months later, I had Circle of Deception, my first novel,  and I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s the story behind the title of your book?

The title lets you know that there is going to be some king of sexual tension in the work place. What you don’t count on is the backstabbing and mudslinging reguarding the two best friends.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I have a full time job working in the medical field. I work 40 hours a week and still average to dedicate about 20 hours a week to my writing.

How did you create the plot for this book?

The plot for the book is completely fictional, while some of the relationships mirror those of people I know personally. For instance, the relationships and bonds between the siblings are like those between my siblings. (We meddle in each other’s lives as well.) Also, the relationship of Angela and Jackson somewhat mirrors mine with my guy best friend.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I loved all of the sisters, Rhea, Madison, and Noel. They are all so fun, carefree, and comfortable in their skin. They love their little brother with all their hearts, but give him a hard time in an attempt to make him face his true feelings. They  also have so many hilarious moments when speaking to Jackson

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

Hands down the lines where Jackson is angry with Milan because he thinks she is sleeping with another man. You get to see his jealous side and her stubbornness. At that point, you get to see exactly how deep his feelings run for her and vice versa. It’s great because you take this once reserved man and get to see what intensity the right woman can bring out of him.
“You don’t get to walk away from me like that, not until you explain it to me first. I want to know how you can be in my bed one night and in his face the next. I’m a very understanding man, but this is where my patience wears thin. I told you I didn’t want to share, and I meant it.”

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I’m a huge R&B fan, so I would have to say ANYTHING by Babyface or Toni Braxton. I have a playlist I use when I’m writing.

This is the sophomore novel for author M. Skye. In her novels, she likes to evoke strong dramatic story lines, with strong romantic content. She loves to throw twists and curve balls you won’t see coming into her stories, with racy encounters at every turn. This is the second published work, but won’t be the last from this imaginative writer. She spends her free time writing and spending time with her large family.

Connect with M. Skye:

Twitter: @IamMSkye 
Email: topics@pinkflameexp.com
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