Flotsam & Jetsam

What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be. He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune. Flotsam & Jetsam

The dashing Frenchman or the handsome handyman? Who will she choose? For the Love of a Spy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Tall Cool Ranger: Dear Philomena meets Aidan

Something crashed in the woods.  Was it a deer?  Or something more dangerous? Dagne didn’t care; she just kept running… 

My family has been going to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands since my children were little, often twice, in the spring for the mating birds, and in the fall for the migrating snow geese. A barrier island situated east of coastal Virginia, it has everything: a lovely beach, a wonderful wildlife refuge, ponies, marshes, a lighthouse, and most alluring of all, oysters.  Dagne, like me, scarfs them up at every opportunity during her year on the island. Luckily, her new beau, Refuge Manager Aidan Ellis, is happy to treat her to them.



Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice columnist, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague would extinguish any feelings she had left for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that in her first week on the island she’s entangled in a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, disrupting her new romance with Aidan Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  As if that weren’t enough, Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or risk falling back into the arms of the man who broke her heart?

Tom's Cove

Excerpt (G): A Tall, Cool Ranger

As she leapt out of bed, someone knocked at the front door. She checked the clock. Eight. A bit early. Maybe it was the milkman. She clucked at her little joke, but took a moment to smooth her hair and flip off her fuzzy slippers. Halfway down the stairs, she peered through the glass door to see a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette. Someone new? And handsome too! Panting only slightly, she tripped on the last step and almost fell flat. Sucking in a couple of ragged breaths, she called, “Who is it?”
“Miss Lonegan? It’s Aidan Ellis. I’m the Chincoteague Refuge Manager. I apologize for the early hour, but I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”
Questions? Dagne zipped into the kitchen and turned the burner off before opening the door. A tall, remarkably good-looking man in the tan uniform of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stood on the mat. His dark brown eyes flecked with cream reminded her of the Sika elk that roamed Assateague. The flat-rimmed ranger hat obscured his hair but his tanned face sported a bit of five o’clock shadow, which only served to highlight the straight Roman nose. He smiled a dazzling smile, and stuck his hand out. “Miss Lonegan?”
“May I come in?” Dagne realized she was still holding his hand and gazing hungrily into those chocolate eyes. She shook her head to clear it.
“Of course, of course.” She led the way into the living room and indicated one of the easy chairs patterned in blue ponies. She sat down on the sleep sofa, only to spring up to clear the coffee table of half-filled take-out boxes and bits of underwear, her face burning. The ranger sat quietly, hat in hand, while she bustled about trying not to stare at his large, strong hands. A full head of rich brown hair too—is there anything that isn’t gorgeous about him? “Sorry. I’ve just moved in and I haven’t had time to organize, or even grocery shop.”
“I understand. Cora Anne said you’re staying for a year?”
Chincoteague sure was a small town. “Yes. I’m trying to write a novel.”
“That’s wonderful.” He didn’t seem surprised at the news. The pause lengthened. Dagne finally settled down on the sofa. “Well…Mr. Ellis, is it? What can I do for you?” How about a big, wet one?
“Miss Lonegan, as I mentioned, I supervise the wildlife refuge. I don’t know whether you’ve heard, but there’s been a murder.”
Dagne took a moment to pull her jaw back up and her eyes back in. “A what?”
“A murder. We found the body Saturday morning. On the refuge.”
“No, I had no idea. I haven’t talked to anyone yet today.” Wait a minute. When was I trapped on the Woodland Trail? “Saturday? The day before yesterday?”
“Yes.” He studied her, his eyes sharp. “I heard you were there on Friday afternoon. I mean, on the refuge. Nick, one of our volunteers, said he talked to you.”
Dagne tried to think. “Yes, that’s right. I stopped in at the visitor center just at closing around four. I’d seen a fawn with a broken leg on the Swan Cove trail the day before and wanted to let them know.”
“And where did you go after that?”
“I decided to walk the Woodland Trail.”
He sat forward eagerly. “You did? Did you see anyone else on the path?”
“There were a few people, yes, but they passed me early on. I was alone for most of the hike.”
“Did you see anyone in the parking lot?”
“No. No one. By the time I got back to my car everyone had gone.”
“What made you decide to go so late in the day?”
This was beginning to sound like an interrogation. His intensity made her nervous. “I…I didn’t really think about the time. I’d been working and thought I’d take a break and get some exercise. To tell the truth, I’d forgotten how long the trail was. When the sun went down the place spooked me a bit and I ran most of the way back.”
Hmm.” He sat back. A couple of minutes ticked by. He seemed lost in a reverie.
“Mr. Ellis? Who was murdered?”
“What? Oh, please, call me Aidan. A local girl, name of Terri Aster. She’d been missing for three days. We assumed she had run away, but then Park Service maintenance reported an…odor. Police dogs found her.”
“Oh dear. And do you know who killed her?” Now that’s a stupid question. Why would he be here if they’d already caught the murderer?
“No, ma’am. We’re just following up leads, looking for possible witnesses. That sort of thing.” He looked grim.
“I see…Aidan. And you can call me Dagne.” God, he’s cute. Did I just simper?
“Dagne. Nice name.” He smiled, and a tingling sensation trickled up her back. “Anyway, we don’t have much to go on yet. We’re questioning anyone who visited the refuge on Friday or early Saturday.”
Curiosity trumping prudence, Dagne ventured, “So, how was she killed?”
Aidan stopped smiling. “I’m afraid it would be inappropriate to give out details at this stage.” He stood. “Here’s my card. Since we found the body on federal property I’ll be in charge of the investigation. If you think of anything else that might be of interest don’t hesitate to give me a call. For example, if you saw or heard anything unusual.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to make a flirtatious reply, but she bit it instead. Talk about inappropriate timing! But he was so gorgeous, so polite, so different from Jack. Maybe, just maybe….

I Heart Book Publishing, October 12, 2015
eBook, 72,000 words, Print 209 pp
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery Romance
M/F, 3 flames

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Claire and Tristram Under the Lights--Artful Dodging romance

Murders, mistrust, misfits, and miscreants—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can Tristram Brodie prove to her that love conquers all?

An Old Town Romance

Brooding on both the death of her husband and the four needlepoint stockings she has to finish,  not to mention two mysterious murders, Milo Everhart is distracted by the handsome man standing in the pub doorway.

Tristram Brodie, hard-driving lawyer and former Marine, is focused on his plan to convert the Torpedo Factory Art Center into a box store. He is drawn to the beautiful woman watching him, but blocking the road to romance is his proposal to gut her beloved studio. 

As Milo and Tristram edge closer to love, they must find a way to overcome not only their differences but also the still painful memory of her loss.

A Bit About the Scene:
Just south of Old Town Alexandria is Mount Vernon and the Arlington Cemetery, where Milo and Tristram go to see the Christmas decorations. Mount Vernon was, of course, George Washington’s home, a delightful colonial plantation house overlooking the Potomac River. Built in 1735, Washington expanded it over the years to twenty-one rooms. An interesting fact is that it is actually made of wood that was beveled and painted with a mix of paint and sand to look like sandstone.

At Christmas, when Milo and Tristram visit Mount Vernon, the house is beautifully decorated and there is a fireworks show. Also in attendance is Aladdin the Camel. Washington paid to bring a camel to the house the Christmas of 1787, and the event has been reenacted every year since 2008.

Mount Vernon in the Snow

Excerpt (R): Mt. Vernon Bliss

“Exactly what I was thinking.”
On the other side of the river the lights of Fort Washington dotted the water with pinpricks of phosphorescence. Behind the couple on the bench the strings of silver bulbs outlining George Washington’s home shone brightly, casting long black shadows across the lawn. Two heads nestled together. Milo purred.
“Are you cold?”
“A little.”
“You want to go in?”
“Not yet. I’m too content to move.”
She heard the chuckle in his voice. “It’s been a…nice day, hasn’t it?”
She snuggled closer under his arm. “Very.”
He kissed the top of her head tentatively. “Do you mind?”
“Uh uh.”
He pulled her chin toward him and softly kissed her lips. She was too relaxed, too happy to argue. Tristram peered at her. “I can’t see your face. Are you smiling?”
For an answer, she reached up and pulled him to her. A few minutes later he placed a gentle hand on her breast and tickled the nipple through the layers of fabric, making her heart spin.
“Let’s go home.”
The familiar words brought her back to reality. “What about Ursula?”
“Ursula? What about her?”
“Don’t you live together?”
He paused. “No.” The unspoken words were clear. No more questions.
On the drive back, her tranquil state gave way to anticipation. Tristram whipped his Jaguar in and out of the sleepy parkway traffic, never overly reckless, but enough to get her heart beating faster. He didn’t speak. For some reason, his silence aroused her even more. What is he thinking? Is he going to make love to me or drop me off like so much used tissue?
They pulled up in front of Tristram’s townhouse on Lee Street. The last time they’d been together, the surroundings had paled before other, more pressing needs. Now, as he handed her out, Milo paused to survey the park that lay between them and the river. The sky opened up here, a change from the tall, impendent row houses and narrow streets of Old Town. Stars flashed in the Milky Way, and the moon grinned at her as she shivered in the chill breeze.
Tristram took her arm. “Do you think we’ll have a white Christmas this year?”
The question first hit her as so unromantic, she worried her little dream would dissipate into the night, but then the words took on a cozy kind of comfort, like the chitchat of an old established couple. “I don’t know.”
He sniffed the air. “Smells like snow. Come on, Milo.”
She followed him, stifling both the disappointment and her desire. He’s going to offer me a drink and send me home. And that’s okay. I’ll be fine. Oh, but look at that butt and those shoulders. Is he sexier in Armani or L.L. Bean?
He closed the door behind her, ran his arms around her middle, and kissed the back of her neck. The little hairs rose to meet him. Electricity shot through her like a high-tension power line. He touched the top of her head and slowly spun her around to face him. His eyes burned into hers, and her mouth went dry.
“Yes, Tristram?”
“Do you know where you are?”
“Um…your house?”
He grinned. “Just checking. You didn’t remember much about our last…encounter, and I want to make sure you are conscious during every single minute you spend here.”
Yeah, right. Forget the small talk and take me to bed, you big gorgeous lug.
Oh my God, I said that out loud! Shit.
It was too late to take back. He didn’t appear to be listening anyway. He dropped her coat on the floor and lifted her, taking the stairs two at a time. Translucent shafts of light from a recessed panel illuminated the California king that took up most of the room.
Tristram lit a tall, white candle on the bureau and touched her shoulder. “May I?” One hand went to the buttons on her blouse, which he undid carefully.
Why did he have to be so polite? Why didn’t he just rip her clothes off like he did the last time? Not that I remember. She let the blouse fall, her breath coming in short gasps. He reached out and cupped one of her breasts, encased in delicate azure lace. He pulled the lace down with his index finger, allowing the nipple to lift its hungry head. He flicked at it until it stood up hard and ready for something more substantial. Obligingly, he leaned down and licked it. Then he gently unhooked the bra and licked the other nipple. Milo didn’t think she could stand much more.
His hand moved to the button of her jeans. She tightened her abdomen as he unzipped them and let his hand reach in and cup the mound. She fought the urge to press against it but gave in when he started to knead.
He pulled the jeans off and knelt before her. His fingers wormed their way under the panties and tickled her yearning lips. Her mind emptied of everything but the aching in her vagina. He rolled the bit of lace off, tossed it in a corner, and began to suck. Slurping and swallowing, he twisted the sensitive flesh and sent his tongue to palpate her clitoris. Milo spread her legs wider, riding his mouth like a rodeo cowgirl. The candle flickered, shimmering on his desire-glazed eyes. She shouldn’t have looked at his face—it brought her to instant orgasm. She held a hand to her mouth to stop the scream. He pulled away from her, dribbling wet kisses down the inside of her thighs.
Then her lover moved lightning fast. He tore his clothes off, pushed her onto the bed, and moved up to close with her. His cock, hard and healthy, inserted itself into her. She folded her legs around his back and began the delectable climb to climax. He slid in and out, his penis scratching the itch inside her vagina. There. Almost there. Almost…arggggh.
He collapsed on top of her.

Wild Rose Press, 7/20/2016; Imprint Crimson Rose 
Theme(s): Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Contemporary romantic Suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Ebook, 66,830 words; Print 268 p. 

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Clare Dargin and Joy to His World--New Release

Please welcome my friend Clare Dargin to Tale Spinner. She’s going to regale us with an excerpt from her new BDSM Joy to His World, a sequel to her acclaimed Merry Chris Mas. Also fascinating is your discussion of BDSM and the personalities of your characters. Take it away, Clare!

He Is A Dom With A Dangerous Past…

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!  Joy To His World is my first BDSM book and I had so much fun writing it especially since this is a continuation in the lives of the main characters in my first ménage erotic romance Merry Chris Mas. After writing 'Merry Chris Mas,' I knew that was not all  Chris Spinell, Jilly Reimers and Chris 'Nate' Poole had to say about their lives. And it turns out I was so right. When we meet them in this book, we see that they have come a long way since their initial meeting through the Love Play Matchmaking Service. Among other things Chris Spinell has learned to embrace a side of himself he knew he always had deep inside of him but never had the confidence to live, which is becoming a full time Dom to Jilly and Chris 'Nate' Poole. 

BDSM is different for each person who chooses to live the lifestyle and for the people they choose to live it with and the same is so for the three of them.  We learned in the first book that Chris Spinell suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his army days while he was Afghanistan. I wanted to see how the characters chose to live out their lives in light of this challenge as Chris wrestled with the demons of his past while trying to stretch their boundaries and maintaining their need at the same time.

Even though BDSM offers Chris the control he needs, it is also filled with words and behaviors that can trigger a PTSD episode which could send him into a tailspin! Despite this he still has the need to dominate his submissives in the same ways as other Doms. Because of that, I wondered how this would impact the lives of the two people he loved the most in the world Jilly and Nate. For instance, how did Nate transition from being in love with Jilly and not making love to Chris to submitting and bottoming to Chris? He and Chris have similar military training and backgrounds and are leaders in their personal and professional lives so why would he choose to become a submissive when he could have become a 'Dom' in their marriage to their wife Jilly too?

I believe the main reason why is Chris' strength.  The security and primal desire that surfaced every time Chris exerted his dominion over him was indescribable as Nate put it. He likened it to a velvet steel-like authority, smooth to the touch but very strong underneath. As for Jilly, why would a strong independent woman submit to two strong men? Perhaps it is because BDSM took her to a level of love and self-esteem that she'd never known before. 

Their love is strong though at times Chris' desire to protect them goes overboard.  Chris' protective instincts are put to the test when a stranger comes to town and threatens Jilly and Nate's safety.

How will Chris handle it?  Will he be drawn into a world of darkness?  Or will he maintain self-control?

Excerpt (PG): Slow Burn

“What the hell is this all about?” Chris asked, storming up to Vander as he sat behind his desk inside the police station.

Vander held up his hands. “I know you’re pissed. But I have to do my job.”

“Hauling me in is doing your job?”

“No, but keeping the peace is. I had a feeling you’d end up at Gavner’s, so I told my deputy to check out the place at the beginning and toward the end of his patrol through town until this thing gets straightened out,” Vander said. “I instructed him to sit tight and keep an eye out for any potential problems because I didn’t want things to escalate before I got a chance to handle them. And I will keep sending my guy over there until this guy moves out of town or you get that gangsta look out of your eye.”

Vander leaned in close. “Yeah I see it,” he whispered harshly. “You got that slow burn going on back there and clearly the fire is almost out of fuel. And if you open that door to throw Gavner in the flames, the resulting backdraft is going to blow this town apart. You are not a killer and this asshole is not worth going to prison for.”

“Now you’re protecting him?”

“Did you not hear me? I’m covering you. I know this guy is a walking piece of shit but that’s not against the law so I can’t arrest him. However, I’m pushing to have him evicted from the town based on him not having prior authorization to reside here. So far, Love Play is okay with it and they are trying to get in contact with the Hendricks now.”

Chris saw red. He didn’t care about that bullshit. He wanted action. “Gavner assaulted my family, and all you can say is your waiting for paperwork?”

Vander jumped to his feet, grabbing his hat and coat off the stand. “He did what? Are they hurt?”

“They’re fine. They’re back at the house.”

“Wait,” Vander said, pausing. “Tell me exactly what Gavner did.”

“Nate and Jilly went to the mansion to handle some stuff to do with the party, and Gavner was there. He threatened them. You said you’d handle it, and I’m the one under arrest?”

“You aren’t. Nevertheless, I can’t let you get your hands on him, because if you do, I’ll be forced to arrest you for assault or worse.”

“Some friend you turned out to be.” Chris turned and walked to the door.

Joy to His World
Siren Books, released May 2017
Ménage Amour: Erotic Consensual BDSM Ménage à Trois Paranormal Romantic Suspense, M/M/F, HEA

Chris Spinell, Jilly Reimers, and Chris “Nate” Poole are happily married. Now living in a small town run by The Love Play Matchmaking Service, Chris Spinell hopes his family is safely away from the possible dangers that come from living in a big city.

Jilly and Nate cherish the life they have with Chris. They even love the fact that he is their Dom. BDSM gives them the structure and sense of belonging they’ve always wanted. However, life in Minaqua doesn’t give Chris the peace of mind he needs in order to quell his anxieties. The scars from his time in Afghanistan run so deep, Chris’s PTSD will not allow him to escape the fears that his family is at constant risk for harm.

When a stranger comes to town seeking to harm Jilly and Nate, Chris’s protective instincts are put to the test. Will he deal with this reasonably, or will he do whatever it takes to defend his family—including breaking a solemn oath?

A Siren Erotic Romance

About the Author

Clare Dargin is an author of science fiction and romance and has been writing stories all of her life before being published in 2007.  Writing and reading romance books have become her obsession and if you talk to her long enough she’ll probably bring it up in the conversation.

She presently resides in the Midwest, where she spends way too much time on the internet, hanging out with family and friends, and writing, too. Hearing from fans of romance novels or her own books is not only encouraged but greatly desired because it feeds her unhealthy love for the genre.

If you want to join her in desire for romance book world domination you can visit her blog at
www.claresblog2thehaven.blogspot.com or chat with her on Facebook or Twitter in order to feed your romance book obsession.


Blog Pages:
Clare's Blog 2: The Haven- http:claresblog2thehaven.blogspot.com
The Embraced: Scribal Love- http://theembraced.blogspot.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Clare-Dargin/e/B005CREN68

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Welcome Nell Castle and Turning the Tides

Thank you for welcoming me back to your blog, M. S.! I’m excited to discuss my new release, Turning the Tides.

Set on a fictional island that owes heavily to beautiful Anna Maria Island just north of your home, MS, Turning the Tides is about a woman coming to terms with who she is. Adopted from a South Korean orphanage at the age of two, Lee Cooper has struggled her whole life to fit in the mold created by her American family. When her job requires her to defend a mother accused of child abuse, she’s forced to revisit memories and feelings she hoped she’d buried forever.

Her advocacy for the accused mother puts her in direct conflict with Bricker Kilbourne, the gorgeous, profligate guardian ad litem assigned to represent the interests of the child. He isn’t buying Lee’s excuses for the mother’s behavior, but her impassioned defense makes him wonder if there’s more to this open-and-shut case than meets the eye.

This book is a departure for me in some ways. Whether reading or writing fiction, I’ve always prioritized the study of character over plot development. This is the first time I’ve attempted to incorporate mystery into a story. I’m inspired by novels like yours, MS, where you beautifully balance intrigue, suspense, and romantic tension.

Character is still king with me, though. Ever since I was a young girl, I liked to observe the people around me and create my own stories about them. Turning the Tides was inspired by a dear friend of mine whose origins were much the same as Lee Cooper’s. I always wondered about the two unaccounted years of my friend’s life in the orphanage before she was adopted. What are the consequences of growing from infant to toddler without the direct, loving care of a parent? My friend is a true original, with a personality so magnetic you can feel it pull you across the room. Considerate, loving, and generous, she also has a tough side; thick fencing that comes up to protect her when she feels vulnerable. With this character, I wanted to explore the dual qualities of fences that Robert Frost expressed in Mending Wall: “What [was] I walling in or walling out.” I’m grateful to my friend for allowing me to use the bare bones of her biography to inspire the character of my heroine.

Excerpt (G): The Alligator
“You don’t understand,” she whispered into the phone, gazing at the canal. Had the alligator inched closer to the egret?
“Then make me understand, Lee,” Bricker urged. “Talk to me.”
She closed her eyes. How to explain a lifetime of being the outcast, rejected by her birth family, and not quite fitting in her adopted home, either? “My sister. My family.” The words caught in her throat. “I have to tell them what they want to hear. My life is easier when they think I agree.” Lee ground her forehead against her knee. He’d never understand what living a lie was like.
“You have the right to be happy, Lee. Even if your idea of happiness is different than theirs.”
She shook her head. “I owe them everything. I want to make them proud.”
“You moved halfway across the country to get away from them.” His voice was soft but insistent. “Do you believe you’re making them happy? Because you sure as hell don’t seem to be making yourself happy.”
Squeezing her eyes shut, she lifted her face to the sun. Tears burned the back of her throat. “You’re right. When it comes to being the perfect daughter, I’m even a failure at faking.”
“If you’re not making them happy by ‘faking,’ you may as well be truthful about who you are. Try being honest with how you feel. Tell them what you really want.” He paused, his voice deeper. “You could practice with me.”
Her breath caught as she sensed an invitation in the thickening of his voice. She slid her legs down to the sun-warmed planks of the balcony. “What do you mean?”
“Tell me what you feel about me.”
His voice purred through the phone like a sunbathing lion’s. She ran her hand over the back of her damp neck. Every nerve ending in her body stood at alert. She eyed the alligator, as still as a boulder in the canal. Mere yards away, the egret remained oblivious to its stalker. Lee took a deep breath. “I’m afraid of you.”
“Why would you be afraid? All I want is to get close to you.” His words caressed her like warm hands. “Do you want to get close to me?”
Great drops of sweat slid from her neck into her T-shirt. She dug her fingers into her thigh. “Yes,” she whispered into the phone.
A violent splash of water from the canal shattered the stillness. The egret soared into the air, its great wings straining as it raced away over the canal.
The alligator stood motionless on the shore.

Buy Links:

Contact links:

Nell Castle
About the Author:  
Nell Castle grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. Since then, she’s lived in Key West, Anchorage, Sarasota, and Virginia Beach. She moved back to northeastern Ohio to raise her kids closer to the family homestead but looks forward to moving back to a gentler climate. Until then, she revisits white powder beaches and mountain streams in her writing. Turning the Tides is her second release with The Wild Rose Press.

Friday, June 9, 2017

All in for Love: Day Two with More Excerpts and Prizes

All in for Love

Welcome to Day 2 of our introduction to the new romantic anthology All in for Love. Today we hear from three more authors.

Please welcome three more lovely authors, who would like to introduce you to three wonderful stories in their new anthology All in for Love. To add to the fun, they are giving away one gambling-themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

ALL IN FOR LOVE: An Anthology
An Inn Decent Proposal By Sharon Buchbinder
Perfect Odds By Lashanta Charles
A Ghost To Die For By Keta Diablo
Raising Kane By Kat Henry Doran
For Money Or Love By Margo Hoornstra
Take A Chance On Me By M.J. Schiller

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Anthology
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee—99 cents!

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort and Casino!
With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef--when it comes to love, the stakes are high.
Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….
Ready to roll the dice?

To add to the fun, we are giving away one gambling-themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.


Excerpt from Raising Kane by Kat Henry Doran
Lt. Kieran Pollack signs in to work and comes up against the woman of his dreams: Mallory Kane, ace investigative reporter. Unfortunately she's just spent the night in jail and is in no mood to speak with anyone--particularly a cop.

“Anything I need to know before I head upstairs, Sarge?”
“It’s all there.” The night duty man passed him the report from the previous platoon. “The usual pugs, thugs and mugs threw themselves a circus down at The Dirty Dawg last night.”
Kieran scrawled his name on the sign-in roster. “Again? Somebody ought to look into closing down that pest hole.”
“I bet the Mayor is thinkin’ along those same lines. With the Chief on vacation and the Deputy Chief at a meeting out of town, as PIO it’s your job to handle the fallout. Lucky man.”
Fall-out? “What are you talking about?”
A woman with mile-long legs and hair the color of roasting chestnuts strode past the desk, heading in the direction of the revolving door.
“Overnight guest,” the sergeant advised under his breath. “TV Reporter. I was you, I’d head that one off at the pass.”
In addition to a talent for scoping out shapely legs, Kieran possessed the good sense to act on sound advice. After shooting both cuffs and ensuring his tie hung straight, he glided up beside the woman. “Excuse me, miss?”
She stopped, threw back her shoulders, then turned. “Yes?”
In the shimmer of an early morning sun he saw a nasty bruise blossoming across one cheekbone and winced. “Does that hurt as bad as it looks?”
“Who are you and what do you want?”
She possessed a voice designed to make a man think of hot nights and cool sheets. Extending a hand, he launched into his usual PIO song and dance. “Kieran Pollack, Public Information Officer for the Victory PD. What’s a pretty thing such as yourself doing in a joint like this?”
The screech of tires on the street outside obscured any response she might have made. Panel vans bearing the logos of the local TV affiliates disgorged reporters and camera-persons who wasted no time in storming the doors to the Public Safety Building.
Kieran attempted to head her off at the pass with a fast two-step and a faster line of bull. “Look, can you help out this hard working public servant?”
She raised one hand to shield her injured cheek. “Not without my attorney.”
“Aw, now. Why do you want to go and do something like that? We don’t need no lousy lawyers to make things right, do we?”
“I believe it’s somewhere in the Bill of Rights,” she murmured, eluding his out-stretched hand with a fast step to the left.
“Please. Hear me out,” he pressed, one eye on the camera-persons now jockeying for position just inside the doors. “I can make this all disappear―if we could go someplace to talk. It would be to your advantage, I promise.”
A spark flared in those dull, pain-filled eyes. “I’d sooner walk barefoot through a nest of pit vipers than spend one second alone with any member of the Victory Police Department.”

About Kat Doran
There was the time I played private duty nurse for my uncle, after he underwent a resection of an aortic aneurysm. Very scary for a number of different reasons. It became my job to ensure Father Joe got sufficient rest which boiled down to playing traffic cop and time-keeper on visitors. On one afternoon, I could see Joe was fatigued and needed a nap. As I rounded up the crowd to send them out the door, one smirked at me. "Who's Nurse Ratched, Joe?" he asked.
I said, "Who are you, the Pope?"
He said, "Close to it, honey. I'm the Bishop."
Aw geez.

Excerpt from For Money or Love by Margo Hoornstra
Lindsey Carr's two best friends, Rita and Anne, discuss exactly why she and her mega-millionaire boss, Daniel Montgomery, are no longer romantically involved.

Shooting Lindsey a quickly manufactured smile, she turned her full attention to the eye candy. “No doubt about it. Those are bedroom eyes.” She trailed her fingertips over Daniel’s forehead, down his cheek and onto the outline of his lips.
Lindsey brought both hands to her lap under the table, locked her fingers together and squeezed. It was a four-page spread in Today’s Tech magazine. The picture of Daniel’s forehead, cheek and lips.
An important distinction to remember. If that had been her boss in the flesh he’d be blushing beet red from all the fluttery female attention. Daniel Montgomery was different than most other powerful millionaires. Those she’d heard about anyway. Certainly drop dead gorgeous as had been established. With a mile wide shy streak not many people knew about or even suspected. Hands still clasped, Lindsey leaned away from the display.
Anne slid her glass aside and moved up to fill the void, her critical gaze focused on Daniel’s picture. “I’m never sure what the term ‘bedroom eyes’ means.”
“Not droopy or sleepy.” Rita didn’t bother to look up. “Sexy. There’s no other word for it. Well, maybe erotic would fit. I must say, Lindsey. It amazes me you can work side by side with this man day in and day out and manage to keep your hands to yourself.”
“It’s easy.” She murmured the blatant lie. Very easy. He does the same and then some.
“You and this marvelous specimen.” Rita waited until Lindsey glanced up then met her eye to eye. “As a couple, are old news, right? That’s what you’ve said.”
“Absolutely.” Purposely lowering her voice, she mentally counted to five before she spoke again. “We did the dating thing for a while.” She shrugged one shoulder for effect. “It didn’t work for us.”
Lindsey took a small gulp of wine to avoid having to share more, and was relieved when Rita and Anne went back to hunk browsing. Trying her best to ignore the fact it was Daniel’s hunk they browsed, she gave up to give into her own thoughts about the man.  Bowing to a mutual attraction that became evident soon after they met, Lindsey and Daniel dated for a time. A very short time, consisting of a few casual dinners, a couple of movies.  That one night in….
“Why didn’t it work for you exactly?”
Unsure who asked the question, Lindsey looked up then blinked. “It just didn’t.” She slowly let out a breath. “I don’t think of Daniel Montgomery in that way.” Much anymore.
“Then why are you blushing?” Her sharp gaze unrelenting, Rita leaned considered her from across the table. “Care to share?”
I’ll have no peace around here until I do. Taking her time to indulge in another sip, she completed a long, slow swallow then licked her lips.

About Margo Hoornstra
Becoming a coffee connoisseur wasn’t an instant fall head over heels event for Margo Hoornstra. Initial cups were loaded with milk and sugar. When the children arrived, two AM feedings coupled with six AM risings for work necessitated more indispensable caffeine. Flavored, iced, lattes and such, a true coffee aficionado, she covets them all.

Excerpt from Take A Chance On Me by M.J. Schiller
After chasing leads at the station, Cash returns to his home where his partner, Ian, is supposed to be watching over the murder witness, Harper...

Cash slowly pulled his keys out of the door, examining the pair. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing. Right, Ian?”
Ian nodded loosely. “Nothing. Like she said.”
Cash closed the door and set his keys on the end table. “Uh-huh.” He stuck his hands in his pockets. “What’s behind your back?”
Ian shot a glance at Harper. “You’re on your own.” He ducked into the kitchen.
“Coward,” she mumbled out of the side of her mouth.
Cash moved forward, and she took a step back. He lunged, catching her, and causing her to scream. He wrestled the bottle from her hand and brought it out where he could see it. Ian ran in, his concerned gaze darting to Harper. He stopped and put a hand over his heart, leaning against the side of the archway between the two rooms.
“Hmm.” Cash took a step back, tilting the bottle. He fought the smile tugging on his lips. “Is this my Jäger?”
Ian and Harper looked at each other with open mouths, but neither spoke.
Cash ambled over to the coffee table and clinked the bottle against the shot glasses as he set it down. “So—and correct me if I’m wrong—it looks like, while I’ve been out working my ass off, the two of you were busy getting snockered.”
“Oh, no.” Harper shook her head. “We were working hard, right, Ian?”
Ian made an attempt to stand straight, but swayed comically. “We were working hard.” He nodded, but turned to Harper. “What were we working hard at again?”
“Looking at the mug shots.”
“Oh. Yeah. That’s right. We were looking at the mug shots.” He faced Cash. “And doing shots.”
“Sh-sh-sh. It’s a secret.” Harper laughed.
Ian chuckled along with her. “Oh, yeah.”
Cash put his hands on his hips. “Well, I hate to tell you, friends, but the cat’s out of the bag now.”
“Cat? What cat?” Harper laughed, seeming to be slightly more sober than her partner in crime, his partner.
“He has a cat?” Ian seemed genuinely confused, looking around for the feline. “You never told me you had a cat.”
 Harper sputtered and broke into laughter again.
Cash sat, hiding his chuckle. She was so damned cute. He put his feet on the coffee table, spreading his arms out along the top of the couch. “Whose idea was this anyhow?”
They pointed at each other.
“It was mine?” Harper asked. Ian nodded. “Oh. It was mine.” She smiled and didn’t appear to try to hide her pride.
Cash shook his head, staring at them for a moment. He stood and pulled out his phone. “Okay, Ian. I’m calling you an Uber.” He punched some buttons. “Chrissy’s gonna kick your butt. And the next time she sees me, she’s gonna kick my butt.” He looked at his screen. “Two minutes away.” He came over and put his arm around Ian, steering him to the door.
“I’m leaving?”
Cash grabbed his jacket off a recliner. “Yes, you are. Maybe the night air will sober you up some.”
“I doubt it.”
Cash laughed. “I doubt it, too. And you, little missie—” he swung around to point to her.
She looked about, then put a finger on her chest and mouthed “Me?”
“Yes, you. Don’t think you’re off the hook. I’ll deal with you when I get back.”

About M.J. Schiller
One day--when M.J.'s triplets were about two, and her eldest four--she was doing laundry and matching up the socks, one of her least favorite chores. She lined them up all along her arms as she hunted for their mates. After a bit of fruitless searching, she glanced at the time and realized she needed to hustle to be on time for a prayer service she was attending at her church. 

She made it in time, her four children in tow, and removed her coat before kneeling to say a prayer. An half hour later, as she piously prayed along with the congregation, her eldest asked, "Mommy, why do you have a sock on your shoulder?" She had missed removing one of her husband's long, mateless gym socks!