Excerpt: A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long’s latest release, A Notorious Countess Confesses, will be in stores October 30. Avon is sharing this excerpt.  Enjoy!

A Notorious Countess Confesses

More about the book:

She rose to spectacular heights . . .

From Covent Garden to courtesan to countess, beautiful, fearless, shamelessly ambitious Evie Duggan has riveted London in every role she plays. But the ton never could forgive her scandalous—if shockingly short—marriage, and when her star plummets amid gleefully vicious gossip, the countess escapes to the only legacy left to her: a manor house in Pennyroyal Green.

He never expected to fall so hard . . .

He has the face of a fallen angel and a smolder the devil would envy, but Vicar Adam Sylvaine walks a precarious line: resisting temptation . . . and the wild Eversea blood in his veins. Adam’s strength is tested when scandal, aka the countess, moves to Sussex. But when a woman who fiercely guards her heart and a man entrusted with the souls of an entire town surrender to a forbidden desire, will the sweetest sin lead them to heaven . . . or make outcasts of them forever?

You can order The Notorious Countess Confesses from your favorite bookseller or by clicking below. Available in print and digital.

Feed Your Kindle! YA PNR for Under a Buck!

The flavor of the day is YA PNR for less than a buck!  Prime members can rent some of these for FREE.

 

  Ember (Death Collectors, Book 1) by Jessica Sorensen .99

What if you knew when someone was going to die?

For seventeen-year-old Ember, life is death. With a simple touch, she knows when someone will die. It’s her curse and the reason she secludes herself from the world. The only person who knows her secret is her best friend Raven.

Then she meets Asher Morgan. He’s gorgeous, mysterious, and is the only person Ember can’t sense death from. So when he pushes into her life, she doesn’t mind.
But when unexplained deaths start to haunt her town, Ember starts questioning why she can’t sense Asher’s death and what he may be hiding.

 

 What Kills Me  by Wayne Channing – .99

An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.
So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

 

 

 Betrayal (The Descendants, #1) by Mayandree Michel – .99

At seventeen, Cordelia is an ordinary teen with an extraordinary and frightening secret. A secret that induces vivid dreams which she not only experiences true love, but crippling fear while barely escaping with her life each night.

After a life altering event, Cordelia has an unexpected encounter with Evan, the mysterious boy from her dreams, who reveals who and what she is – a descendant of the Greek gods. At that moment everything she knows of her world is a lie, and she must leave the present and go into the past to assume the role she was put on this earth for – safeguarding her ancient empire amidst evil forces that toil hastily to destroy it.

In a race against time, Cordelia must decide if she is truly a part of this dangerous world, or risk defying the gods, and ultimately lose the boy who has put a claim on her heart.

Sacrifice, the second book in the Descendants series, will release in Aug 2012.

 

Saltwater Witch (Book #1 of The Seaborn Trilogy)  by Chris Howard – .99

An army of the drowned dead, family betrayal, an exiled witch who doesn’t know she has power–or that enemies are lurking all around her, spying on her. Follow Kassandra as she discovers who and what she is in this moving underwater fantasy.
Kassandra comes from the sea, but she has no memory of saltwater, seagulls, or an incoming tide. She’s never seen an ocean, never heard the thunder of surf. She’s an exile, betrayed by her own family, sent as far from the sea as they could arrange–somewhere in the middle of Nebraska.

Everything changes the day she drowns in Red Bear Lake, and discovers she can’t really drown. Not in the way everyone else can. Then a two-thousand year old king wakes inside her head and turns out to be a prodigy with mathematics. Kassandra cries for the first time in her life, and learns that her tears are doorways for calling things from the sea. With clues from summoned sea-demons and the voices in her head, Kassandra sets out to find out what the hell is going on…and discovers she’s a prisoner, trapped between a murderous grandfather who controls an army of the drowned dead, river witches who spy on her through the plumbing, and Ms. Matrothy, the Girl’s Department Director, who’s been trying to kill her since she was four.


 

.Forbidden (Book 1, The Arotas Trilogy)  by Amy Miles – .99

Roseline Enescue didn’t ask to become an immortal, to have all of the guests at her wedding slaughtered, or be forced into marriage with a man whose lust for blood would one day ignite the vampire legend.

Willing to risk everything for a chance at a normal life, Roseline escapes to America, but her transition into the human world isn’t easy. Mortal men flock after her while cutthroat girls plot her demise. Yet she remains relatively unfazed until she meets Gabriel Marston. As their lives entwine, Roseline realizes he is more than he seems. His ability to grind concrete into dust pales in comparison to the glowing cross tattoo that mysteriously appears on his forearms.

Despite the forbidden bond between them, Roseline can’t help wondering what Gabriel is. He’s not human. He’s not immortal. So just what is he?

Cover Shot! Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Wow! I love the soft colors on the cover of Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt.  I love how the intense embrace, too!  So pretty!  What do you think?

In stores February 2013

 

 

WHEN STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

He lives in the shadows. The mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, his only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife . . .

BECOME LOVERS…

Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and the man she hasn’t seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more . . .

DESIRE IS THE ULTIMATE DANGER

When passion flares these two intimate strangers can’t keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband, Godric St. John—the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both

Review: Lucky Break by Kelley Vitollo

 

Title:  Lucky Break

Author:  Kelley Vitollo

Publisher: Entangled – Bliss

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

One lucky break is all struggling actress Sidney Williams needs. But when living the LA life becomes too much, she heads back to the small town of Shamrock Falls for the vacation she needs to get her life on track—and immediately runs into Kade Mitchell, her former best friend and the boy next door she’s always regretted leaving behind.

Kade, the new owner of Lucky’s—once the most popular bar in Shamrock Falls—is determined to bring the place back to its former glory, and seeing Sidney again is a distraction he doesn’t need. Sure, the chemistry between them is explosive, but Kade can’t let himself fall into a fling with his best friend—not when he knows she’s soon heading back to the glitter of Tinseltown.

Now, with the possibility of her first major acting role looming, Sidney must decide if her lucky break is in Hollywood or right where she left it—in Shamrock Falls.


Review:

I am always geeked for new category romance imprints, and when I saw that Entangled was launching their Bliss line, I was eagerly awaiting my introduction to the first three books.  Lucky Break is the second book from the Bliss line that I’ve read.  It is a very fast read, featuring my favorite tropes – second chances and friends to lovers.  This title was a mixed bag for me, though, for a couple of reasons.

First, I had a hard time feeling a connection with Sydney.  She’s carrying a lot of baggage around, all stemming from her mother’s abandonment of her.  After dumping her off at her Aunt Mae’s when she was a young girl so she would be free to pursue her acting career, Sydney was left with a heart full of justified bitterness and anger.  If her own mother considered her too much of a burden and didn’t want her, how could anyone else?  Sydney decided that the only way to prove her worth to her mother was to make it big as an actress herself, so she abruptly leaves for LA after graduation, leaving her best friends, Rowan and Kade, without even a word of goodbye. 

The story starts with Sydney blowing another audition, soon after having her car stolen.  She’s running late for her big break, so naturally she is further inconvenienced by a horrible ride on a city bus, followed by a shoe malfunction during her walk to the audition.  She bombs her chance, returns home in a huff, only to discover that her live-in boyfriend, Steve is dumping her for his big break in New York City.  Ugh! The day couldn’t get any worse!  Sydney takes the opportunity to leave her miserable life as a wanna-be starlet and takes a breather back in her childhood home in Shamrock Falls.  She needs desperately to de-stress, and quiet of Shamrock Falls beckons.  Only when she arrives at her aunt’s house, she discovers that Mae has rented the small cottage on the property to none other than Kade, the boy she dropped like a hot potato without even a word.  Her best friend in the world.  Now she has to man up to her guilt and reconcile both her feelings and her relationship with Kade.

Sydney was hard for me to like, and I failed to find her compelling.  I think it’s because to me, she seemed too young.  She reminded me of a teenager, and her reconciliation and courtship with Kade just didn’t push any buttons for me.  They did young things, like go to movies and hang out at the swimming pond.  Kade even taught her how to drive her aunt’s beat up old truck, which had a manual transmission.  I did not find these activities interesting.  I also didn’t warm up to their romance.  It lacked sizzle, and was too predictable.

I did enjoy Kade and his inner struggle to overcome his guilt at not being able to protect his mother from his abusive father.  Watching his mother suffer ate at him, and made him a fixer.  He wanted to fix everything and everyone.  He naturally felt an impulse to protect, as well, and no matter how heartbroken Sydney’s abrupt departure left him, he can’t deny his impulses to protect her when she’s suddenly back in his life.  Because he was always hyper aware of how others were feeling, he was ready to forgive Sydney for the selfish way she left him.

I am really disappointed that this story didn’t gel for me.  The characters read too young for me to relate to.  While this book didn’t work for me, it will appeal to new category romance readers, and young adults looking for a break from a high school set romance.  The sensuality level is on the sweet side, with kisses and sex behind closed doors, so there isn’t much objectionable for younger readers who are ready to start exploring adult romances.

Grade:   C

Review copy provided by publisher

Feed Your Reader with Cheap Contemporary Romances!

Today I’m spotlighting some inexpensive contemporary romances.  Everything is less than 4 bucks!

 

  Vittorio’s Mistress by Kimberley Reeves – $1.50 

Make her fall madly in love with him and then dump her, that is the plan. Dante Vittorio has never forgiven Paige for ripping his heart out when she left him four years ago, and now that she’s back, Dante is out for revenge.

Paige is shaken to the core when she runs into Dante unexpectedly, and despite the fact she’s still in love with him, she refuses his invitation to pick up where they left off. But Paige is harboring a dark secret and she’ll do just about anything to keep Dante from finding out, including giving in to blackmail and becoming his mistress for one month.

 

High Stakes (Book One) (Nashville Nights Next Generation) by Cheryl Douglas – $2.99

Former party girl, Alisa Turner, made a deal with her daddy, Trey. He’ll provide the seed money for her new business venture as long as she promises to stay out of trouble. Too bad her good intentions tumble 30,000 feet when she meets a sexy stranger on a flight to sin city.

Hotel mogul, Liam Bryson, has never believed in love at first sight, but when a sexy little siren twenty years his junior tempts him into a night of high stakes Blackjack, he’s suddenly playing for keeps.

Alisa wakes up in Liam’s bed the next morning, cursing Tequila and the five carat diamond on her left hand. She demands an annulment before her over-protective father finds out she reneged on their agreement, but her new hubby isn’t prepared to let her go without a fight.

Book One in Nashville Nights… Next Generation

 

 

 Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn $3.69

Loving him couldn’t be worse than losing him. Could it?

Candace Andrews has had enough of pleasing others. In an act of birthday rebellion, she sets out to please herself—by walking into the tattoo parlor owned by her cousin’s ex-boyfriend. All she wants is a little ink, and Brian’s just the guy to give it to her.

As soon as she submits to his masterful hands, though, the forbidden attraction she’s always felt for him resurfaces…and she realizes the devilishly sexy artist could give her so much more.

Sweet, innocent Candace is the last person Brian expected to see again. She’s everything he’s not, and her family despises him. He doesn’t need the hassle, but he needs her, and this time no one is taking her away. Not even those who threaten to make his life a living hell.

Backed into a corner, Candace faces the worst kind of choice. Cave in to those who think Brian is a living nightmare…or hold her ground and risk it all for the one man who rocks her world.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, naughty language, tattoos aplenty, family drama, a hot rock concert…and a bad boy hero who’s pierced in all the right places.

 

 

Rising Storm (Bluegrass Brothers) by Kathleen Brooks $2.99

Katelyn Jacks was used to being front and center as a model. But she never had to confront the Keeneston Grapevine! After retiring from the runway and returning to town to open a new animal clinic, Katelyn found that her life in the public eye was anything but over. While working hard to establish herself as the new veterinarian in town, Katelyn finds her life uprooted by a storm of love, gossip, and a vicious group of criminals.

Marshall Davies is the new Sheriff in Keeneston. He is also right at the top of the town’s most eligible bachelor list. His affinity for teasing the hot new veterinarian in town has led to a rush of emotions that he wasn’t ready for. Marshall finds his easy days of breaking up fights at the local PTA meetings are over when he and Katelyn discover that a dog-fighting ring has stormed into their normally idyllic town. As their love struggles to break through, they must battle to save the lives of the dogs and each other.


 

 Dog Nanny by Ann Whitaker  $2.99

It has dogs. I can’t resist.

Doggy do-gooder Julie Shields has one month to save two delinquent poodles from becoming doggies of divorce. A self-proclaimed born-again virgin with a biological clock running out of juice, she also needs to find a husband. When hunky pilot Nick Worthington arrives at the Abilene airport to fly her to Waco, he sends Julie into a tailspin. But he also may be a drug trafficker and smuggler of illegal aliens. Not only that, he’s involved with another woman. Julie’s quest for a suitable husband leads to several misfires. Only Nick leaves her panting for more. Will she have to put a choke chain on him before the month is out?

Excerpt: Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning is sharing an excerpt from her new book, Iced, which hits shelves on 10/30.  I haven’t read any of her books yet, so I am looking forward to checking out Iced.   Have you read the Fever series? Are you looking forward to Iced?

 

Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel (Fever Series) by Karen Marie Moning

More info about the book:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning picks up where Shadowfever leaves off with Iced, the first book in her hotly anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy set in the world of the blockbuster Fever series.

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

You can order Iced from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below:

Interview with Victoria Alexander, Author of What Happens at Christmas and Giveaway!

 

I am thrilled to have Victoria Alexander in the virtual offices today!  Please give her a warm welcome!  After we chat about her new release, What Happens At Christmas, you can enter for a chance to win His Mistress By Christmas!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Victoria Alexander] An original blonde w/ a passion for travel, cooking, entertaining, comedy, dogs, and books. I firmly believe a good read should be fun.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about What Happens at Christmas?

[Victoria Alexander] Camille, the widowed Lady Lydingham, has met a prince she thinks would be perfect as her next husband. She’s always wanted a prince after all. So, she decides to give him the perfect Charles Dickens’ Christmas with the perfect English family. Unfortunately, eccentric is a more accurate description of her family than perfect. What’s a girl to do?

The only solution is to hire a troupe of actors to play her family, which might well work out quite nicely if only her first love doesn’t reappear in her life determined to help her little charade—or so he claims.

And, as brilliant as Camille thinks her plan is originally, from bad acting to fake orphans to surprise guests, nothing goes quite as expected. And Christmas was never like this.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Victoria Alexander] I got the idea on my treadmill; I have no idea why. But it seems to me Christmas is when families get together and what better time is there to introduce your family to someone you’re involved with? But no matter how much you love your family, no matter how well you all get along, the holidays are always fraught with drama and crisis and the unexpected…and, oh yeah, lots of laughter.

As to where the characters came from—who knows? I knew Beryl (Lady Dunwell from My Wicked Little Lies) had a twin sister—Camille. I also knew she and her sisters were brought up to marry for money and position, and they did. Now, Camille and her youngest sister are widowed and Beryl is on her second husband and has—shockingly enough—fallen in love with him. Of course, she does expect that he will be prime minister one day.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Camille?

[Victoria Alexander] Intelligent, impulsive, and creative.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Camille would never have in her boudoir?

[Victoria Alexander] Cheap perfume, last year’s fashion magazine, and anything that reminded her of Grayson.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Grayson had a theme song, what would it be?

[Victoria Alexander] “Mama Mia”—at least when it comes to Camille.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Grayson’s most prized possession?

[Victoria Alexander] A photograph of his late parents.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Victoria Alexander] Lois Lane comics and old romantic comedies. I love old movies like No Reservations (Claudette Colbert & John Wayne), The Great Race or Move Over, Darling…any comedy really with Marilyn Monroe, or Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Victoria Alexander] I always have the television on for background noise. I can’t work if it’s too quiet.

Something to drink—coffee, coke zero, iced tea, or water.

My bearded collies—Louie and Reggie. If they’re not under my desk or plastered against the air conditioning vent in my office I find it hard to work. Because if they’re not with me—they’re doing something I won’t like. Eating a sofa pillow, counter surfing in the kitchen, creating chaos, that sort of thing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Victoria Alexander] It takes a lot to knock my socks off. :)

In terms of non-fiction, I absolutely adored The Sinner’s Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe by Tony Perrottet. I love the way Perrottet tells a story.

In fiction, Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep absolutely blew me away. To the point where I now have to have every one of her Mythos Academy books the moment I can get my hands on them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Victoria Alexander] Usually, I’m catching up on everything I let slide when I was writing. I like getting together with friends and I love throwing parties. I garden in the spring when I’m still optimistic that I can actually keep plants alive. My husband and I love to travel and we’re always planning the next trip, but for the most part, when I’m not writing I’m thinking about the next book.  :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Victoria Alexander] Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Alexander/238022460756

or

www.victoriaalexander.com

I’ll also be speaking at the Emerald City Writers Conference books and signing books on Oct. 27th at the Westin Hotel in Bellevue, WA.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase What Happens at Christmas from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Want to win a copy of Victoria’s His Mistress By Christmas?  Just fill out the widget below.  Extra entries for following.  US shipping addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt! Venomous by Fiona Paul!

I have a special treat for you today!  Check out this excerpt of Venomous, a short story written by Fiona Paul!  If you haven’t read any of it yet, you can backtrack through the blogs hosting segments of the story (see below for links).  Be sure to follow the rest of the blogs; there will be a new excerpt posted every day!

Venomous

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story

By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Cover Analysis.

“Sometimes I think my father will never have the money for a proper wedding,” she says. The folds of her lavender skirt sink low on the ground as her body deflates slightly.

“Don’t fret, my goddess,” the boy says. “In my mind, we are already married.” He reaches out to tuck a tendril of dark hair back from her face.

She brightens at his touch. “In your mind I bet we’re doing all sorts of things,” she says playfully. He bends down to murmur something in her ear and her mouth twists into a smile. “Yes, we could, couldn’t we?”

Wind whips strands of dark hair around her face as the boy rests his hands on her waist and bends down to kiss her. She rises to meet his embrace, her gloves hands threading together behind his neck. I shouldn’t stare, but I do. There’s something so graceful about the way their bodies move together.

I duck behind the fountain as they break apart and turn toward the front of the palazzo. Sharp peals of laughter float through the air as their silhouettes gradually fade. It makes me think of bird song and flute music and other sounds of sheer joy.

It has been a long time since I laughed like that. A few months ago, I was entertaining a traveling bard who always seemed more interested in singing to me than kissing me. I thought it was an odd waste of his money, but his songs always started out normal and then got sillier and siller until I couldn’t help but giggle—and then laugh, and then laugh until I snorted. He even gifted me a lute and persuaded me to accompany him in his act a couple of times.

It was fun, and I was happy during my time with him. But eventually he had to move on to another city. It’s for the best. If he returned it’d be one more man I’d want to see against Joseph’s wishes.

For the next part of the story, visit Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf tomorrow 10/18. [http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com]