Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spotlight-Review and Giveaway: Love Least Expected Anthology


Under the Mango Tree
Meredith Bond

Lakshmi is a good 18th century Indian girl who should not be avoiding her chores and enjoying a mango while hidden amongst the high branches of the mango tree in her mother’s garden. She truly should not be seen by a man who is not a member of her family—an Englishman, no less. And she absolutely should not even contemplate speaking with this man. But Lakshmi has never been one to follow the rules. This time, though, it could ruin—or make—the rest of her life.
~~~~~
Rolf’s Quest
Aubrey Wynne

Baron Rolf Arbrec, the royal wizard for King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, is burdened with a centuries-old quest to break the spell cast on his descendant, Merlin. To lift the enchantment, he must find true love without the use of magic or deceit, something that has eluded the men generations before him.
Finding genuine love is no easy task, even for a wizard, and time is running out not only to complete his Quest, but to give future generations a chance at happiness. When Melissa steps from his dreams and into his arms, he realizes his need for her love runs deeper than just a way to free Merlin.
Lady Melissa Garrick travels to London to meet her betrothed. Along the way, she encounters a man who haunts her dreams and makes her reconsider her destiny. Torn between loyalty to her family and her intense attraction to Rolf, she struggles to remain an obedient daughter. Though she desires him, will she defy her family and turn her back on her betrothed? Or will time run out and Rolf be doomed to a life of discontent and bitterness like his ancestors before him?
~~~~~
Fall Into Darkness
Valerie Twombly

Eli lives by his own rules and bows to no one, even when summoned before the Tribunal Seven. They deem the hunter has lost his humanity and sentence the angel to earth with one mission: find some compassion or be condemned to hell.
Ashley considers herself a freak. With one glance into a person’s eyes, she foresees their death. When an attack brings a handsome stranger to her rescue, she can’t help but be drawn to his steel-blue gaze.
Fate will bring them together but desire could bond them for eternity.
~~~~~
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo 
 Kris Calvert

On the night before Valentine’s Day, floral and greenhouse owner, Alexander Chase Tabeau should be preparing for the biggest day of his family’s business. Instead he’s drowning his sorrows at the Voodoo bar after burying the only real parent he’s ever known – his grandfather, Pops. The rugged and handsome man promised Pops he would get his life together, leaving behind a string of undesirable women and focusing on what was most important – family.
Rose Westwood has always known what she wanted and planned her life down to the tiniest detail. She’s packed up her belongings and is ready to take a new and challenging position with her company as their first female vice president. Not wanting to be alone on her last night in Tampa, she stumbles into what she never planned on – the best night of her life.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Rose and Chase spend one night confessing their hopes for the future and their failures of the past. After opening their hearts to one another, the morning after sheds new light on their destiny. Can one night together change them both forever?
~~~~~
Alphabetical Disorder 
Katie Stephens

Everyone in Mason’s Circus understands and respects the powers of the resident gypsies—the Romani tribe—and most steer clear of any involvement. But when Susie gets caught in a web of prophecy and magic that brings danger to the troupe, her non-Rom interpretation turns out to be flawed. She pushes aside the man of her dreams to date alphabetically, in the hopes of saving her circus family.
Sam has had his eye on Susie since she joined the company. He’s puzzled by her actions, but not blind to the way she responds to him. A patient man by nature, he battles his need to claim her immediately or allow her game to continue. When disaster strikes, they join forces with their Romani friends to stop the curse before it destroys the circus.
~~~~~
Love's Not Viral
Nessie Strange

Twenty-four-year-old bartender Aster Sanderson’s life is turned upside down when drunken Hollywood actor Bradley Stone snaps a picture of her...and tweets to his 12.8 million followers that she's his fiancee. As the internet blows up with the news and gossip flies out of control, she’s left feeling helpless. This has to be a misunderstanding, right? But when the actor in question shows up on her doorstep, it's clear he's unhinged and she soon becomes a prisoner in her own home (literally).
Her savior? Bradley’s handsome—and seemingly normal—older brother, James, who quickly stirs up feelings she never expected. Can they disarm the ticking time-bomb that Bradley Stone has become before any more damage is done? And is their mutual attraction the result of these unusual circumstances...or could it become something more?
~~~~~
Taking the Plunge
Kishan Paul

Since graduating high school, Eve Cambridge has dropped ten dress sizes, became an RN, and dumped her jerk of a boyfriend – all on her own. So when her high school crush shows up in her life, she does what any normal self-reliant woman would do -- pepper spray him.

Since inheriting the family plumbing business, Peter Russo has tried to make the best of a career he never planned for. He’s made his share of mistakes, but he's worked hard to learn from them. Now that he's run into Eve, he's not so sure he isn't making another one. After all, she did almost blind him.

When logic and emotion don’t agree, which path should they follow?
~~~~~
The Trouble With Never
Isabella Harper

Summer McKenzie is starting fresh.  With her soon to be ex-husband in another state, she’s ready to start over in her small Texas town.  That is, until she runs into the one person that has never gone too far from her memories, or her heart.
Since graduating college, Caleb Davis has planted roots in the form of a thriving BBQ business.  He’s got everything he’s ever wanted, except the one woman that he could never have.  It’s clear she’s had a painful past, but he wants nothing more than to create a promising future.
Will she let love heal old wounds, or will she let her fears push him away?
~~~~~
Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate
Michaela Miles

Eleanor Carrara is angry. At the world, at the people who had her committed to the institution, and at the people holding her captive in it. When the sexy, but calm and stoic Chris becomes a fellow resident of the facility, things begin to change. He taunts her, challenges her, and even makes her cry. But her anger dissolves as she realises he’s the one person who may be able to break through the armour built around her heart.
Christopher Tailor feels nothing. Haunted by the memories of his awful past, he is institutionalised, and utterly alone in the world. Meeting Elle changes everything. She’s conceited, rude, and completely unaware that in some ways she’s just as broken as he is. But something about her gets under his skin. He takes a chance and shares his secret with her.

~~Love Least Expected, coming February 3, 2015~~
Pre-Order today for only 99¢

Excerpt
Kishan Paul
Excerpt from Taking the Plunge:

A woman stood about ten feet down the hall. Leaning against the threshold of one of the doors, she stared into a room, oblivious to his presence. Rays of the morning sun bathed her in a hue of gold. 

Pete sucked in a breath. She looked like an angel. Tall and lean with just the right amount of curves, she wore light blue scrubs with blue cartoon characters all over her shirt. Her fiery-red hair was tied back in a ponytail with a few loose strands of waves against her cheek.

Evie.

When her full red lips stretched into a smile, the muscles in his face tugged to do the same.

What made her grin like that?

He moved closer for a better view. 

A few steps later, the red-headed beauty turned to him. His ability to breathe ceased the minute her blue eyes fixed on him.  

Before he could say hello, she raised her arm and sprayed him.

F*ck!

The peppered air felt like smoldering granules of sand shoved into his eyes, mouth and nose--all at once. He dropped the bat, covered his face, coughing and yelling as the burning heat soared through his eyelids and sinuses. 

“I’m the plumber. Dan sent me,” he managed to say through his coughing fit.

Keys clattered against the wood floors. “Oh my God! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

He was too busy coughing up his lungs to accept the apology. Hands grabbed his shoulder, steadying him. Unable to open his eyes, he let her guide him through the hall.

When he tried to scrape the fire away from his skin, she pulled his hands back and planted them on a cold surface. “Don’t touch anything, it’ll only make it worse.” 

He grunted and clenched the countertop. Tears and snot streamed down his face.

“I’m going to wash it off with water. Okay?”

At this point, Pete wouldn’t have cared if she poured acid on his head as long as it made the inferno stop. Although in the depths of hell, he nodded through his coughing fit and fought the urge to rip his eyelids off his face.

Gentle hands began to wash the sting away, while a soft voice whispered to him calmly. It took a long while for the pain to ebb enough so he could open his eyes without cursing. 
Pete sat on the toilet and wiped his face with the towel she handed him. He cleared his sore throat. “Thank you,” 

Evie grabbed his towel and dried her hands. “For what? Almost blinding you?”

He eyed the strands of her hair hanging in loose curls against her tanned cheeks and itched to tuck them behind her ears. But after the last twenty minutes of misery, thought better of it. 

As if reading his thoughts, her cheeks flushed. She pushed the loose locks out of her face and stared at her toes. Damn she looked cute. 

“I’m sorry I sprayed you.”

Pete chuckled. “I showed up unannounced, waving a baseball bat. I think I kind of deserved it.”

When Evie smiled, something fluttered in his stomach. 

She bit her lip, obviously to keep from laughing. “Nice bat, by the way.”

How the hell had he not met her until now?

Before he got the chance to tell her just how nice his bat was, his butt started vibrating. 

Pete reached into his back pocket, pulled out the cell and looked at the screen. “Your uncle.”

Her eyes widened. “Crap. He thinks I already left. Don’t tell him I’m here.” She turned and headed for the hall. 

“Hold up.” Pete grabbed her arm with one hand while hitting the ignore button on the cell with the other. “Have dinner with me and I won’t.” He decided to play his cards and omit the part about how her uncle already knew she was still at the house. 

She stared at the wrist he currently possessed. “You know, I still have the pepper spray.”

The cell buzzed a second time. Pete shrugged and kept a grip on her wrist. “I’ll take my chances.” 

My Reviews (selected stories)

Fall Into Darkness

I may have been a bit predisposed to liking this one since I really enjoy the fated mate type of story, but even so...this is a really great start for this series. After starting off with a tense dramatic scene that immediately draws you in, we go right into another, and then your attention is kept from then on with the engrossing development of things between the two lead characters. 

Eli is the definition of alpha male, with a healthy dose of condescension for humans for good measure. Ashley has her own issues, being able to see a person's death just by looking in their eyes...yet she still seems like a compassionate soul and deserving of some peace and the chance to feel and experience things as others do. The two of them together?  They fit like pieces of a puzzle clicking together. 

But of course there's more to it than that, and as the story comes to a close we're left with even more questions, but you'll become invested enough in the story to be clamoring for the next part as soon as you finish this one. Intense, absorbing writing along with fascinating characters, I give Fall Into Darkness 5 stars. 

Love’s Not Viral

With the way this story opened, I was immediately interested with this unique hook.  But my interest wasn’t totally held the whole way through as it felt like there was something lacking.  

It’s very easy to see that there’s something not right with Bradley (I swear, a comparison to Charlie Sheen is popping up in my head right now).  And it’s not just the “oh, get a load of the kooky celebrity” type of “not right”.  As far as Aster goes, at first I thought she was going to be a great, strong female lead who doesn’t take any crap from anyone…but while she seemed tough at first, that kind of waned as things went on.  For me, James was the best of the three of them…patient with his brother Bradley, polite and gentlemanly toward Aster, while still hot with a protective streak.

I think I would have liked this one more if it didn’t end the way it did.  The regular part of the story just kind of…well…ended, and the epilogue really didn’t pull everything together for Aster and James like I’d expected it should-so it felt kind of incomplete.  Overall, I’d give this somewhere around 3 to 3.5 stars.

Taking the Plunge

For a short story, Taking the Plunge really packs a good punch.  A great opening scene, a lot of emotional moments for the characters, writing that pulls you in and makes you feel for the characters and an ending that leaves some things hanging but makes you want to know what happens next…all written to keep your interest and make you invested in the characters.

Both Pete and Eve are characters to whom you can really become attached-both with their own problematic pasts, both overcoming those pasts to build a good life…they seem perfect for each other.  

I really enjoyed Taking the Plunge, and can’t wait to find out what happens next-you can be sure I’ll be picking up the next story as soon as it’s available…5 stars!

The Trouble with Never

This is one of those short stories that is just a bit too short to get the whole story…and one of those ones that you don’t want to have to wait to find out what happens and how things turn out.  It is written well, focusing you in on the characters, how their situations affect them and how they handle those situations.  

Kevin-ugh, yeah he’s one of those that you just want to walk right up to and give him a smack along with a very big piece of your mind.  Meanwhile, Caleb is the polar opposite (and hot, sexy, plus a man who can cook-REALLY cook-that’s just a bonus), and he’s the one that you KNOW that Summer should be with.  And Summer, after years of basically being oppressed by her husband, finally finds the strength to break free and start over…and women who find their strength are always a pleasure to read about.

There’s more coming to this story as well, so this short story is more like a prequel to what’s coming next-which I know I’ll be reading once it’s ready since this has hooked me in.  4 stars for The Trouble with Never.

Overall
This is a great collection of stories, definitely worth the read.  My overall rating is 4 stars, and I’d recommend for 18+ for language and adult situations.  A good addition to your library if you’re a romance fan!

About the Authors

Meredith Bond
Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published historical paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart”, Meredith’s romance novels include her new Medieval Fantasy series, the Children of Avalon, her Regency-set paranormal romances in the Storm series and traditional Regencies (without magic) in The Merry Men Quartet originally published with Kensington Publishers, of which three have been re-released and the last one will be coming out early in 2015. Meredith also teaches writing and publishing at her local community college. If you want a taste of her class in book form, Chapter One is available at your favorite e-retailer. 


 Aubrey Wynne
Aubrey Wynne’s first love is historical romance. Her current story, Rolf’s Quest, is set in the chivalrous 12th century court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane. Though she is an avid reader of historical fiction, her own works usually involve some level of fantasy. 
Aubrey resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers. Her debut story, Merry Christmas, Henry, was published in November 2013 by Melange Books, LLC and received Best Short Romance in the Editors and Predators Reader’s Choice of 2013. Her humorous shorts, Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies (Goodreads Top 100 Laugh Out Loud List) and To Cast A Cliché are published with AlfieFiction.com 
Hook up with Aubrey

 Valerie Twombly
As a child, Valerie would often get into trouble for peeking at her mother’s favorite TV show, Dark Shadows. She can still hear her mother saying “It will give you nightmares.” She was right of course, but that did not stop Valerie from watching. As an adult, her love of the fanged creatures never waned. She would watch any vampire movie she could find.

Being a true romantic, Valerie was thrilled when she discovered the genre of paranormal romance. Her first read was one of Lara Adrian’s, Midnight Breed Series and from there she was hooked.

Today, Valerie has decided to take her darker, sensual side and put it to paper. When she is not busy creating a world full of steamy, hot men and strong, seductive women, she juggles her time between a full-time job, hubby and her two German shepherd dogs, in Northern IL.

Valerie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers. 


 Kris Calvert
Kris Calvert is a former copywriter and PR mercenary who after some coaxing, began writing romance novels. She loves alliteration, pearls and post-it notes. She's married to the man of her dreams and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She's Momma to two kids, now in college - one at the University of Kentucky, and one at New York University -Tisch. She is also responsible for one very needy dog. When she's not writing, she's baking cupcakes.





Katie Stephens
If you discovered a sealed box with “Katie’s memories” scribbled on the side, you’d find a lifetime of partially completed stories, plays and musicals. A retired music teacher and curriculum writer, Katie Stephens has opened that box and switched her need to create from music to literature. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, where she happily experiments with all genres.
When her muse takes a break, Katie is a staff reader for freeze frame fiction and a grant writer for the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation. Although her grown children are scattered east and west across the country, she lives solidly in mid-America with three kitties and a husband who keeps asking when she’s really going to retire. 



Nessie Strange
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness, the first two novels in her urban fantasy Living Dead World series, were published by Etopia press in 2014.


 Kishan Paul
From daring escapes by tough women to chivalrous men swooping in to save the day, the creativity switch to Kishan Paul’s brain is always in the ‘on’ position. If daydreaming stories were a college course, Kish would graduate with honors.

Mother of two beautiful children, she has been married to her best friend for over 16 years. With the help of supportive family and friends, she balances her family, a thriving counseling practice, and writing without sinking into insanity. 



Isabella Harper
Isabella Harper has been putting her imagination to good use since she was a child. Throughout school, she would get caught reading or creating a story of her own instead of doing whatever it was that she was supposed to. 
 For now, she is fulfilling her life with her husband and being a stay at home to her two young children, at home in Texas.  When she’s not working on obtaining fitness certifications, writing a new contemporary Southern romance, or spending time with family, she’s probably enjoying a weekend in the countryside.  

Connect


Michaela Miles
Michaela Miles writes. By day she is a mild-mannered copywriter and web designer, but by night she is consumed by the characters in her head and writes to set them free.

In her spare time, she is primary carer and chief wrangler for a husband and three children, the big boss at her web design company and photography studio, and is completing a Bachelor of English Literature.

Social Media: 

Michaela is very active on social media and has an eclectic posting style—humorous writing memes, hump day hunks, quotes, inspirations, interviews, book reviews, and anything that takes her fancy!

Follow her everywhere to keep up to date on publications, interviews, book reviews, social media tips, and more. So come and join the fun and enjoy the ride!


GIVEAWAY!
$50 AMAZON GIFT CARD



4 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting us and for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed Taking the Plunge.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for the spotlight and great review. I love Pete and Eve. Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for having us on your blog! :-) xx

    ReplyDelete