Cover Reveal: Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa A. Petreshock

Title: Fire of Stars and Dragons Author: Melissa A. Petreshock Release Date: April 2014 Publisher: Swoon Romance; http://www.myswoonromance.com/ Cover Reveal Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

Title: Fire of Stars and Dragons
Author: Melissa A. Petreshock
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance; http://www.myswoonromance.com/
Cover Reveal Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Following the death of her vampire uncle, twenty-one-year-old CAITRIONA HAYDEN finds herself in the midst of a trio of quintessential alpha male suitors in 22nd century sovereign America where human females should be seen and not heard.  Theo Pendragon claims her as his ward, ordained to guard her through to a long-awaited destiny unbeknownst to Cait, but finds more than he expected when passion ignites within the dragon for the first time. Always drawn to the pursuit of knowledge rather than the heat of desire, powerful demigod Dante cannot deny everything his future holds in Caitriona. America’s monarch, ancient vampire Corrin, has no interest in the frivolity of love, yet marrying Cait could be the answer to his continued survival.  Soon, Cait goes from studying for college exams to choosing a husband in seven days, knowing the consequences are eternal, the love undying, and the bond timeless.

DividerAbout the author and where to find her:

author - Melissa A. Petreshock_ photographer Candy Ailstock_ smaller fileMelissa lives on a small farm in rural Kentucky with her genius husband, exceptional children, and their feline overlords. When not inhaling or exhaling words, she subsists on unnatural doses of coffee, sarcasm, and music. To date, no dragons have been found in the woods surrounding her house, but she continues to hold out hope.

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Excerpts and Sweepstakes: Beauty from Love (Book #3: Beauty Sereies) by Georgia Cates

Title: Beauty From Love  Series: Book #3: Beauty Series Author: Georgia Cates Expected Release: January 28, 2014 Age/Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance Event Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

Title: Beauty From Love
Series: Book #3: Beauty Series
Author: Georgia Cates
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Age/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Event Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]

Synopsis:

The epic romance between an all-American beauty and her Aussie continues in this final installment of The Beauty Series.

Jack McLachlan is fulfilled by more than he dared to dream possible. He finds everything he never knew he wanted—or needed—in Laurelyn Prescott, his last and final companion. Life is beautiful with his beloved by his side but their post-wedded bliss is cut short when his dark past springs into their present happiness. He wants to shelter Laurelyn but keeping her untainted by his previous life proves impossible when  yesterday’s sins insist on returning to haunt him. Will it be possible for them to find happiness in their forever with a past like his?  Beauty From Love is an adult contemporary novel and is not intended for younger readers due to mature content.

DividerExcerpts from Beauty from Love (Book #3: Beauty Series):

Chapter One

Laurelyn McLachlan 

This is an unprecedented moment. I’m awake before Jack Henry, studying his sleeping figure—it’s a fine one—but that’s not what makes this morning a new experience. I’m waking next to him as my husband.

Wow. I did it. I married a man who propositioned me a year ago, asking me to be his companion for three months. His idea of our pairing deciphered into something much different back then—an offer of noncommittal sex in exchange for the time of my life. Translation? I agreed to be his whore. There, I admit it, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made regardless of what kind of label we place upon it. Now he’s my husband—forever mine—and I couldn’t be happier.

No number fourteen for him. Ever.

We began as strangers—as most couples do—but our beginning was so much more complicated. That simple word makes me giggle each time I hear or say it now. There’s never a time I don’t recall the freakish control my husband displayed when he told me he was a man who didn’t do complicated. Damn, was he ever wrong. I turned his world on its head. To know I hold that power over him makes me feel invincible. And adored.

Some would consider our inception into this whirlwind a perverted one. Even I did in the beginning, but then we became so much more than either of us intended. Now we’re Mr. and Mrs. Jack Henry McLachlan and this is the beginning of the rest of our lives. We’re setting out into the world to write our own story—in stone, never sand. 

Chapter Two

Jack Henry McLachlan 

I once thought I didn’t want a wife and kids but it was because I hadn’t met the right person. Everything is different now—I’m married to the perfect woman and I can’t wait until she becomes the mother of my children.

I’m glad L asked me why I was anxious to begin our family. I’m not sure I would’ve ever been brave enough to volunteer that information. Fear. It’s not something a man likes to admit but that’s the beauty of my relationship with L. I can tell her anything.

She turns in my arms and kisses me between words. “You. Are. Amazing.”

“I’m glad you think so since it seems you’re stuck with me for the rest of our lives.”

“Happily stuck by choice. There’s a difference.”

I watch the sun dance on her face as the palm trees above move in the breeze. A shorter strand of hair at her temple has escaped her grasp and I tuck it behind her ear. “Are you truly happy?”

“It isn’t possible for me to be happier than I am in this moment.”

I grasp her face and look into her golden-brown eyes. I see her sincerity and know her words are true. She didn’t marry me for any reason other than her love for me, so Laurelyn Paige Prescott McLachlan is a woman to be treasured. “Nor could I.”

I lean down to scoop her from the ground and she squeals. “I think it’s time I carried my bride across the threshold. I want you to see the rest of the house.”

I turn the knob and gently push the door open with my foot. L is like a wide-eyed child. I return her to her feet and her head oscillates slowly as she takes it all in.

The floor plan is open so she’s able to see the living room along with the kitchen and dining room. She says nothing and I can’t tell if she likes it or not. “What are you thinking?”

“How much I love you,” she says, propelling herself into my arms for a kiss. “You take care of me,” she says against my mouth. “No one’s ever done that before.”

DividerAbout the author and where to find her:

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.  When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her iPod and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

DividerSweepstakes:

Up for grabs: three (3) $50 USD Amazon Gift Cards – International.  If you would like to check out the FTC mumbo jumbo you may do so in the terms and conditions.  If you would just like to enter for your chance to win then click the Rafflecopter link below and good luck 🙂

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Review: A Medical Affair by Anne McCarthy Strauss

Title: A Medical Affair Author: Anne McCarthy Strauss Format: Paperback, 324 pages Published: September 30, 2013 by Booktrope Editions  (first published September 29, 2013)   ISBN: 162015174X

Title: A Medical Affair
Author: Anne McCarthy Strauss
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Published: September 30, 2013 by Booktrope Editions (first published September 29, 2013)
ISBN: 162015174X

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

While under the care of her pulmonologist after a life-threatening asthma attack, Heather Morrison enters into an affair with her doctor. This affair violates the state’s code of conduct and his medical treatment violates the Hippocratic oath. Heather’s life is shattered as a result. After the doctor terminates the relationship, Heather begins research for her own healing, and armed with this information, she initiates a civil lawsuit. Although it is a work of fiction, A Medical Affair was extensively researched. A Medical Affair is a critical book for women who want to make educated decisions regarding their relationships with their doctors.

Source: Publisher

Rating: 2½/5 stars

My Review: 

**PLEASE NOTE: This review contains spoilers and my opinion!!** 

In my pre-blogging/reviewing days, I would have been able to walk away from a book like A Medical Affair with my thoughts and feelings about the read remaining mine and mine alone.  But now, I am a blogger and a reviewer and feel, absolutely that it is my responsibility to provide my followers with as honest an opinion as I can provide.  So, here it is: I have struggled significantly with this read and my accompanying review and have, on several occasions considered backing out of this review.  

A Medical Affair is a work of fiction and though it is based on extensive research, I will approach my review on the work of fiction and nothing else.  Here goes: Heather Morrison is a single woman, unattached, intelligent, good at her job and, in the process of adopting a beautiful little girl.  Heather has accepted that a more traditional family is not in her future but adoption will accomplish her goals and fill a void she has long felt in her life.  With a few good friends by her side and supporting her fully, Heather has spent months filling out paperwork, being interviewed and, arranging her life to accommodate the arrival of her daughter.  To this end, Heather has left her long-time roommate and best friend to move into a beautiful apartment that will provide more space and more comfort for her child.  Everything in Heather’s world seems to finally be falling into place and then she has a life-threatening asthma attack that lands her in the ER.  Enter Dr. Jeffrey H. Davis.  

Heather’s night in the ER is beyond scary and when Dr. Davis enters the picture, calms her down and, helps relieve the symptoms of the asthma attack, Heather is both relieved and grateful for his help.  It just so happens that Dr. Davis is a pulmonologist and he asks Heather to make a follow-up appointment with his practice so he can continue to monitor her asthma.  For Heather, this all seems perfectly logical and completely reasonable and she complies with her doctor’s orders and makes a follow-up appointment.  Little does she know, Dr. Davis is a predator and his motives for seeing her again have little to nothing to do with her health. 

The affair between Heather and Dr. Davis begins almost immediately with the good doctor always being very attentive and digging constantly for more and more information about Heather and her life.  With every detail she divulges, Dr. Davis adds it to his arsenal of control.  Further, each and every time Heather mentions the slightest symptom, Dr. Davis is there to write her a prescription to alleviate the symptoms.  It doesn’t take long for Heather to become completely consumed by the affair and willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order to please the doctor.  This seemingly intelligent woman takes up smoking again because the doctor does (ironic that he’s a pulmonologist!),  she begins taking prescription medications that she normally would have never taken, she accepts all of the doctor’s lousy excuses for not being able to see her, she engages in unsafe sexual activity and situations that constantly make her uneasy and, when she tries to discuss her concerns or misgivings with her lover, he dismisses her and Heather accepts it.  In the quiet moments when she is alone and has time to question her actions and involvement with the doctor, Heather simply takes more of the medication he has given her to quiet the thoughts.  When her dear friends try to intervene and tell Heather the situation she is in is toxic, she ignores their advice.  

As you might expect, the affair eventually comes to a dramatic and ugly end.  For Dr. Davis, Heather is simply one more notch on his bedpost but for Heather, her life is completely destroyed to the tune of losing her job, losing her opportunity to bring home her adopted daughter and, very nearly losing her life yet again following a botched suicide attempt.  Though Dr. Davis is found out by his wife and his colleagues, he is generally unconcerned by the damage he has done, the hurt he has caused and, the ethical codes he has broken.  With few sanctions and/or consequences for his actions, Dr. Davis easily moves beyond Heather and toward his next victim.  

The Bottom Line: I had a very, very hard time simply understanding this read and Heather in particular.  In fact, this read made me angry.  Though we discover Heather has some serious issues from her past  (and I am not discounting those issues at all!) that need to be dealt with, those issues alone don’t entirely explain, at least for me, how she ends up so completely taken in by Dr. Davis.  Yes, he is handsome and charismatic but Heather is a smart woman who has managed to build a good life for herself and is in the process of creating a beautiful family.  Yet, in a relatively small amount of time, she gives up absolutely everything she has worked for to please a man who treats her like sh*t.  Certainly I was angry at the doctor for his very nature and presence but I also found myself quite angry at Heather for ignoring her basic instincts and intuitions about the situation she was in.  She doesn’t just ignore her feelings but abandons everything she believes in.  I also found myself being angry at her for ignoring her longtime friends in favor of a man she barely knows and who clearly has nothing but ill intentions.  It wasn’t until the very end of the read that I found myself rooting for Heather and sincerely hoping she would be courageous enough to follow through with the charges she files again Dr. Davis.  If ever there was a character who deserves to rot in Hell . . . .

To say that I didn’t like this read isn’t really a fair to the author as there is no fault on the part of the author for my dislike of this book.  In fact, the author’s writing style, research and, plot were just fine.  My dislike lies solely with the characters and their actions or, lack thereof.  Heather’s life is like a train wreck just waiting to happen and the catalyst for that wreck is Dr. Jeffrey Davis.  In this way, my great dislike is a compliment to the author and her ability to create such real characters – characters that elicited very strong emotions.  To that end, if you are a reader who likes very emotional, very damaged characters and a plot that is both interesting and incredibly disturbing then A Medical Affair is the read for you.  Sadly, as it turns out, it just wasn’t a read for me 😦

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DividerAbout the author and where to find her:

Anne McCarthy Strauss is a versatile writer, researcher and public relations professional.  She is also an avid supporter of victims’ rights.  She has spent the last decade educating women and men on the seldom revealed but all too frequent occurrence of affairs between doctors and their patients.  Her novel, A Medical Affair, is the story of a doctor who violates a sacred trust by having an affair with one of his patients.

A lifelong New Yorker, Anne lives on Long Island with her husband and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  The mother of one son, she has written for both consumer and trade magazines including Old House Journal, Waterfront Home & Design, Design Trade Magazine, Design New England, Distinction, Log Home Design Ideas and Florida Design Review.  She has been a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Vineyard Style.  She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).

Visit her at www.annestrauss.com

**Author information found on Goodreads**

Review: Tangled (Book #6: Going to the Dogs Series) by Zoe Dawson

Title: Tangled Series: Book #6: Going to the Dogs Series Author: Zoe Dawson Format: Kindle Edition, 69 pages Published: January 21, 2014 by Blue Moon Creative  ASIN: B00HZUY35G
Title: Tangled
Series: Book #6: Going to the Dogs Series
Author: Zoe Dawson
Format: Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Published: January 21, 2014 by Blue Moon Creative
ASIN: B00HZUY35G

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

A companion novella to Leashed, Going to the Dogs, #1. Your reading enjoyment would be enhanced if you’ve already read Leashed.

Callie and Owen are getting married, but there’s always been something that’s bothered Callie. Owen has never opened up about his childhood, never confided in her what formed him into the man he was today.   As they tie the knot, Callie’s determined that now that Owen is her husband, she has a right to know about his past. A past Owen would rather die than reveal to his beautiful new wife. His past is ugly and brutal. He’s worried that Callie will see him in a different light. He can’t take the chance.   But as they embark on their new life together, Callie can’t let it go and Owen won’t open up. How can their marriage progress in light of what Callie feels is Owen’s distrust. Will their marriage even survive the honeymoon?

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

Oh, Zoe Dawson how you love us so!!  Tangled is not just a fine new addition to the Going to the Dogs series but it is also a return to where the series began.  Tangled is the follow-up to the series opener, Leashed and brings Callie and Owen’s story full-circle. 

Thanks to their beautiful Great Danes, Jack and Jill and one unplanned pregnancy, Callie and Owen meet, greet, date, shag and, finally get engaged.  For both, it is a dream come true and for their dogs, a match made in Heaven.  Good thing, Jack and Jill have babies on the way and that’s a lot of dog for one person to handle.  But, handle it they do and between Callie and Owen and Jack and Jill, there is a ton of love to go around and the wedding is all but inevitable.  There is only one problem, Callie is a wide open book and tells Owen everything and Owen, well, let’s just say the spine has never been cracked on that book.  Callie is concerned that Owen never speaks about his past and though she has managed to let it go through most of their relationship, they are on the eve of their wedding and something just isn’t right.  To be fair to Owen, he knows how to distract Callie from her qustions is a most naughty manner 🙂

After a strange encounter on the street and Owen’s somewhat angry dismissal of the event, Callie once again begins to ask questions about Owen’s past.  Though she has told him time and again that nothing in his past will ever change her feelings for him, he just won’t open up.  For Owen, his past is just that, his past and not something he wants to revisit, ever.  Though he hates keeping things from Callie, there are shameful parts of his past that he never, ever wants to tell her about.  Seriously, something ginormously huge would have to happen to get Owen to break the seal on the jar full of past secrets.  You’ve read Zoe Dawson’s books, right?  You know she’s thrown in something ginormously huge to force Owen to spill his story and yep, she has ensured that he has to do it at a most inopportune moment.  Reason #458 on the list of why we love Zoe D!!

The Bottom Line: There is no stopping the awesome of this series and it truly is a credit to the author that she has taken the time to go back and give fans just a little bit more of each of the characters we have grown to love.  Callie and Owen kicked it all off and their wedding is just lovely and exactly what the two of them deserve.  Jack and Jill get to play a part in the wedding as do all of the Lassiter dogs (that scene was fun!) and the rest of the dog park girls and their significant others are along for the ride.  All in all, Tangled is a fine read with some excellent backstory and well-deserved HEA for the couple that started it all.

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About the author and where to find her:

author - zoedawsonZoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart. 

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Spotlight Sunday: At Last (Elizabeth Gardner Series) by Susan Thatcher

Title: At Last Author: Susan Thatcher Format: Paperback, First, 110 pages Published: December 1, 2013 by Create Space  ISBN: 1491042400 (ISBN13: 9781491042403)

Title: At Last
Author: Susan Thatcher
Format: Paperback, First, 110 pages
Published: December 1, 2013 by Create Space
ISBN: 1491042400 (ISBN13: 9781491042403)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

“At Last” picks up where “These Foolish Things” leaves off. Elizabeth Gardner and Ty Hadley seem destined for “happily ever after,” but fate has challenges in store that could tear them apart. Is their love strong enough to survive?

DividerExcerpt from At Last:

“Well, this afternoon promises to be a good time,” Liz commented as she rinsed her hair.

“Why’s that, Babe?” Ty asked over the hiss of the shower.

“OBGYN visit and mammogram, so much fun. ‘Mrs. Hadley, good to see you. We’ve devised some new tortures to visit upon your body in the name of practicing medicine, beginning with a nicely chilled speculum and ending with Liz answered.  “‘By the way, did we remember to recommend that you have a colonoscopy, too? Just a thought.’”

She heard Ty chuckling.

“You make sure that prostate stays in good working order, Ty. I’m not done with it yet.”

“You got it,” he said laughing.

Liz raised her left arm over her head and began making firm circles on the skin of her left breast with her right hand, feeling for irregularities underneath. “Okay, so far, so good.”

“What’s that?” Ty asked.

“Breast selfexam,” Liz answered. “Every month, like clockwork, haven’t missed in 9 years.” She put her right arm over her head and repeated the procedure on the right breast.

“Want me to do it for you?” Ty asked. “Be no trouble at all.”

Liz laughed, “Thanks for the offer, but it’s not really all…that…ero…tic…” The circling stopped and she returned to the spot and felt again.No, she hadn’t imagined it. “No. Oh, God.”

The shower curtain snapped aside.

“What just happened?” Ty’s eyes were fixed on her hand. He reached out to touch, imitating Liz’s hand and circling, pressing her wet flesh. “You found something?” Liz heard the fear in his voice.

“I’m not sure,” she admitted, “Could be my imagination. Could be a cyst.”

“Could be cancer,” Ty finished hoarsely. He yanked a towel off the rack and wrapped Liz in it, sarong-style, then pulled her close. They stood there for a minute, Liz holding as tightly to Ty as he held her. He was only wearing a towel around his waist and Liz needed the intimate contact of skin to skin.

“God damn it,” she heard Ty growl, “God damn it.” She could feel the anger in him beginning to build.

Liz put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed. She slid her hand up to Ty’s face and looked into his eyes.

Quietly, she said, “Look. This may be nothing, okay? Let’s stay calm until we know for sure.” She brought Ty’s face down for a kiss that took on more urgency the longer it lasted.

Ty broke off first. “I love you, Liz. I don’t want to think about losing you.” He kissed her forehead and left his lips pressed to it. “Ever.”

He kissed her again. “That’s it. I’m coming to the doctor with you.”

Liz buried her face in his shoulder, smiling. “No, Counselor. I can handle this. Besides, if there is a lump, the doctor will refer me to someone else for a biopsy and that will take a few days to schedule, so you’d be terrorizing the doctor today for no good reason. Take it out on opposing counsel instead, okay?” She kissed Ty again, deeply.  “I love you.”

“I love you, Liz,” Ty said. “Sure you’re okay with doing this by yourself?”

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DividerPraise for the Elizabeth Gardner series:

“I really liked the way Susan Thatcher has made it possible for me to just surrender to every written line not wanting to miss out on the love and the pain that was going on. Liz has a strong character with a super-ability to love.”   – Adriana LG, Central Bargains

“5 Stars…I loved that the book had a real life feel to it.” – Stephanie, It Started With a Book Blog

“I really enjoyed how the author develops her stories and characters, and I will definitely be reading her future books.” – Nicole, Author Groupies

About the author and where to find her:

author - Susan ThatcherThatcher was tired of romance novels that only featured 20-something women with supermodel features whose sole purpose was to capture a man. So, she set out to create a realistic character that would appeal to today’s women.  Thatcher grew up in Rutland, VT, graduated from University of Vermont, Class of 1983 and Franklin Pierce Law Center, Class of 1998 (Now UNH School of Law).

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Spotlight #1

Spotlight Saturday: Prologue and These Foolish Things (Elizabeth Gardner Series) by Susan Thatcher

Title: Prologue to These Foolish Things Author: Susan Thatcher Format: ebook Published: March 24, 2013 by Susan Thatcher

Title: Prologue to These Foolish Things
Author: Susan Thatcher
Format: ebook
Published: March 24, 2013 by Susan Thatcher

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

A man’s life hangs in the balance. His fate undetermined, his loving wife finds an assortment of mementos from their life together. As she sits by his side, she begins to tell him their story…

DividerPrologue to These Foolish Things:

It was chilly in the hospital room. The walls were a depressing sort of green. Someone must have believed that this color was soothing and calming. However, since it had now become the standard background for hospital rooms, the shade had been carrying with it an inseparable link to sickness and pain for years. And it now surrounded her.

Elizabeth hugged herself, unable to take her eyes from the bed. Monitors and other machinery surrounded the head of the bed, their noises adding to the uncomfortable ambiance of the room. A man lay on the bed, eyes closed, his breathing assisted by at least one of the machines around him through a tube inserted in his mouth and securely taped in place. The other machines had their slender tentacles attached to him through electrodes. They fed on his heartbeat and brain waves, digesting this input and turning it into wavy lines on either a screen or a piece of paper. A clear plastic bag on a stand slowly dispensed some kind of medicated fluid into his arm. This man, usually so strong, was utterly helpless. And Elizabeth was powerless to help him. The sight of him like this was almost enough to make her faint.

No, this wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. For Christ’s sake, he’d been fine this morning, giving her the usual coffee-flavored kiss as he left, murmuring “I miss you so much already. I’ll call and I’ll be back before you know it, I swear.” He had hugged and kissed their children, picked up his briefcase and garment bag, winked at her and left. She had noticed that his face looked a little more drawn this morning. When she’d asked him about it, he’d said, “It’s just a headache. I took something. I’ll be fine. Stop worrying.” Elizabeth looked at the bed. He’d been wrong. It didn’t happen very often, but when he was wrong, it was spectacular. Like right now.

There had been talk from the medical staff about “will to live” and its power to heal. She had tried to listen, tried to focus, but she could still see the bed and its occupant over their shoulders and that had commanded her attention. There had been gentle attempts to shoo her out of the room, but Elizabeth would not be moved. Finally, the nurses had given up, one or two secretly hoping that if she lay in a coma, someone would care enough to stay with her like this.

Elizabeth heard a knock on the door. She turned and saw one of his associates peering through the small window. She beckoned the man in.

“Gee, Liz, I’m so sorry to intrude. How is he?” The man was in his mid-thirties, nicely dressed in an expensive suit and carrying an equally expensive, new briefcase. Liz steeled herself to sound casual, not to give in to the choking fear that she felt.

“It’s hard to say, Fred. The term they’re using is ‘unresponsive.’ I guess it doesn’t sound as frightening as comatose. They tell me it’ll be 12 hours before they know,” Liz looked at the bed, an ironic smile on her face. “We were discussing retirement last night. I think this clinches my argument. If he survives, I promise I won’t be telling him ‘I told you so.’” It took all her strength not to sob on the words.

Fred cleared his throat. “If anyone can make it, he can. That man hates to lose.” Fred’s voice became almost apologetic. “Look, Liz, I really hate to ask this, but I need his files.”

She could tell by the tone of his voice that he didn’t really hate to make the request. In fact, one man’s crisis can be another man’s opportunity, particularly if the second man is looking to get a leg up on the competition for a partnership in a prestigious law firm.

Liz crossed her arms, nails digging into the palms of her hands. “Under the circumstances, maybe a continuance would be granted, don’t you think? Clearly, the attorney of record is unavailable to be in court.” You insensitive pig, she added mentally.

Fred gave her an annoyed shrug, “Look, I’m just doing what I was told. Come, get the file, get on the plane, which I’ll miss if I’m not out of here in 5 minutes. I just got married 2 weeks ago. Dontcha think I’d rather be at home?”

Probably not, thought Liz. This was one shot at the brass ring that was too good to pass up. And since the man in the bed had done most of the work already, it was an easy brass ring to grab. Fred had probably told his new wife she could quit her job and look for a house in Chestnut Hill. And so the bribery had begun, the parade of gifts to distract the woman from the knowledge that her husband’s job was more important to him than she was. Fred would probably be divorced with an ulcer within 5 years.

“Hang on, let me get it.” Liz knelt under the hospital bed and located Ty’s briefcase, a handsome one she had given him the previous Christmas. She opened it and stopped in the act of removing the sought-after files by what was lying under them.

“What the hell is that crap?” Fred asked, looking over her shoulder. “Books? When was he going to read? Letters? Who has time for that shit?” He started to reach around Liz, who slapped his hand away.

“That ‘crap,’” she said icily, “is none of your god-damned business. Here,” she thrust the files at him. “Get out. You don’t deserve to be in the same room with him, even if he doesn’t know you’re here.”

Fred snatched the files and ran, slamming the door behind him. Liz heard his snarled, “Bitch” even as the sound of his footsteps faded.

Liz didn’t give a damn about Fred or the others who were scrambling to achieve what Ty already had. They’d try to do it faster or better than their peers and those who had gone before them. Most wouldn’t succeed or would end up as casualties of legal warfare.

Liz reached into the briefcase and began to remove the items that had caught her eye, setting them on a tray near the bed. She found a framed photo of a man and a woman with a black eye sitting at a table and smiling together. She found the fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie, the lettering almost completely faded with age. There were two books, one of John Donne’s love poetry that showed its near-daily readings over the past years. Liz could hear her husband’s voice, warm and deep, reading passages as he’d held her naked body against his, her head pillowed on his shoulder and contented from their lovemaking. She quickly squashed the “maybe for the last time” that had come into her head. No. They hadn’t been together long enough. She wouldn’t let him leave. Not now.

Liz picked up a collection of short stories by one E.D. Gardner, as well-used as the Donne. Those, he’d insisted that she read to him. She smiled, remembering how self-conscious she’d been about it.

She found a bundle of old letters addressed to the man in the bed that also showed how often he’d re-read them. There was another photo of the man and the woman, this time holding two small children, everyone smiling. The oddest item was a hank of blonde hair, carefully braided and tied into a circle. It was attached to a reusable glitter tattoo of a rose. Liz smiled.

She found his clothes in a bag under the bed. Liz located the shirt he’d been wearing that morning and dug into the pocket. There was a small plastic disk that she turned it over in her hand, smiling even more. Her fingers had touched something else in the pocket and she removed a lavender-colored rose blossom, wilted and flattened, but still wonderfully fragrant.

“It’s a wonder you had room for files,” she said to the man. She didn’t expect a response and didn’t get one. “For a ferocious, fire-breathing litigator, you certainly are a sentimental bugger. Fred took it as a sign of weakness, but then Fred’s going to find himself with an ulcer and a divorce in about 18 months, give or take. Fred’s a prick. I think you ought to fire him.

“Look at this stuff. These are foolish things to lug around.” Liz picked up the crushed rose. “All you need is the airline ticket to romantic places and you’ve got the song. Cleveland’s not romantic. No cigarette with lipstick traces, though,” Unaware, she began to hum the tune. She touched the items, different memory pictures crowding her mind. Some good, some bad, some exquisitely wonderful, some carrying excruciating pain that was almost physical. Liz looked at her watch. Still about 11 and a half hours to go.

“Since nobody seems to know for sure whether people in comas, excuse me, people who are unresponsive, can hear, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. We’ve got some serious time to kill.” Liz seated herself on the edge of the bed.

“You know, I’m looking at this collection. If an archaeologist found it a thousand years from now, he could piece together our story. Well, with a little help here and there. I’ll show you right now. Don’t worry, we have plenty of time.”

Liz picked up the photo of the man and the woman with the black eye. “See? Here, we have the starting point.”

Barnes and Noble

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Title: These Foolish Things Author: Susan Thatcher Format: Paperback, 206 pages Published: June 9, 2013 by "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform"  ISBN: 149039754X (ISBN13: 9781490397542)

Title: These Foolish Things
Author: Susan Thatcher
Format: Paperback, 206 pages
Published: June 9, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 149039754X (ISBN13: 9781490397542)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Meet Elizabeth Gardner. She’s given up on being anything but a single woman who plays a supporting role in the lives of those around her. Fate, however, has a different plan for her. During a softball game, handsome, successful Tyrone Hadley literally runs into her and a stealthy kiss opens a world of new possibilities to her. What might have been “happily ever after” in most stories is just the beginning. Is love strong enough to survive?

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Excerpt from These Foolish Things:

Ty sat down and hitched his chair even closer to Liz’s. This undermined her careful self-control to a dangerous degree. So much for the weekend to clear her mind.           “What’s this?” Ty reached over to Liz’s notebook. “You were pretty engrossed when I came in.” He pulled the book closer. 

“I told you I wanted to be a writer when I grew up,” she said. “I’m writing.”   

Ty glanced over the pages. “I’d like you to read it to me later. If your creative writing is as good as your legal writing, this ought to be a real pleasure. Here,” he handed Liz the untouched glass of wine. “You look like you could use some of this.”       

Liz sipped some wine, willing her nerves to calm. She had tried to ignore the thrill as Ty’s fingers touched hers when he passed her the glass. She could feel the deep, slow vibration she had felt on the dance floor and the knot in her stomach. And the fear.

 Ty took the glass back from her and sipped some wine himself, his eyes never left her face. “You’re hiding from me,” he stated. She nodded.

Ty reached over and touched the nape of her neck. His fingers stroked downward, probing the tension Liz was carrying there. He began to knead her shoulder, massaging the tight muscles. His eyes were still on hers, looking for the answer to some question she was afraid to acknowledge.        

Liz could feel herself begin to shake and tried desperately to will herself to stop.     

“What brings you to Hyannis, Ty?” Her voice was unintentionally husky.        

“You.” He said it softly, his voice caressing the word.      

The single word devastated Liz’s self-control. Without really being aware of what she was doing, Liz reached up and covered Ty’s hand with her. She knew he could feel the shaking.     

“Feel that?” He nodded. “It happens every time I’m near you. Kissing me the other night made it worse. I don’t want to eat, I can’t sleep and I can’t get you off my mind.” She gently removed his hand from her shoulder. “I came here to find peace. If you’re just looking to get laid, Ty, then leave me alone. Please.” She released his hand.

Ty sat back in his chair. For a moment or two, he said nothing. When he did speak, his voice was low and angry.     

“Is that what you think? Listen, Baby. You’re not the only one not sleeping, not eating. If all I wanted was sex, I could have stayed in Boston. I’m here for you, Liz. I want you. I told you that the other night.”

“You were pretty drunk. I’m surprised you remember.”

Ty looked as if she’d slapped him. “That was cold, Counselor. I remember saying it because it was true then and it’s still true now.”

            Liz looked squarely into those beguiling eyes. “You sure it’s not just because I didn’t want to sleep with you? Wounded ego? We know you don’t like to lose. You don’t know what you’re getting into. Or into bed with, for that matter.”       

“I don’t care. I want you. I want to be with you.” 

“Yeah, right. The man who’s been seen with models and socialites wants the middle-aged, pudgy nobody.”        

“You know I don’t see you like that. Why would you say such a thing?” Ty practically snapped at her. “Christ, won’t you even give me a chance?”

“Because every time I give someone the chance, it blows up in my face. I don’t want to be hurt again.”

“I promise you, I will never hurt you. I love you.”

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

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About the author and where to find her:

author - Susan ThatcherThatcher was tired of romance novels that only featured 20-something women with supermodel features whose sole purpose was to capture a man. So, she set out to create a realistic character that would appeal to today’s women.  Thatcher grew up in Rutland, VT, graduated from University of Vermont, Class of 1983 and Franklin Pierce Law Center, Class of 1998 (Now UNH School of Law).

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Spotlight #1

Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Love and Cupcakes by Susan Bishop Crispell

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Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Love and Cupcakes tour hosted by AToMR ToursToday, I have an excerpt and a link to the event-wide sweepstakes for you.  If you would like to check out the rest of the stops on the tour just click on the banner above.  Thanks so very much for stopping by RoloPoloBookBlog and have a fantastic day 🙂

Title: Love and Cupcakes Author: Susan Bishop Crispell Release Date: January 17, 2014 Tour Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

Title: Love and Cupcakes
Author: Susan Bishop Crispell
Release Date: January 17, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Tour Organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com/

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

For Jaclyn “Jack” Pace, sensing what sweets people crave is as easy as breathing. But it’s not enough to keep her cupcake bakery in the black.   So, when her estranged sister Harper comes back to town with an affinity for making art out of icing—and a past full of secrets—she reluctantly gives Harper a job and a place to crash.   As their sisterly relationship begins to thaw, the one with her business partner Graham starts to heat up. Given the legend that says Hollingsworth men will recognize their soul mates at first touch, Jack’s always been resigned to the fact that she’s not his.   But when she starts sensing desires that are decidedly not dessert-related, it’ll take all of her magic to set things right with customers and make her own desires come true.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

DividerExcerpt from Love and Cupcakes:

He didn’t have to tell her twice. Jack took his hands and went with him when he pulled her to her feet. Her legs trembled. Then her bones melted altogether when he pressed her against the wall and kissed her senseless. His hands were hot against her shirt despite the cool night air. His mouth desperate as he tugged on her bottom lip. Her body hummed against his. He shifted, pulling her hips closer, bending her back just enough to expose her neck. He trailed his lips along her jaw, down her neck and along her collarbone. His teeth scraping lightly as he went, sending a trail of shivers rocking through her body. She had to lean a hand on the wall to steady herself when he released her.

Her vision was foggy as he opened the door and led her upstairs. Worried he’d disappear if she looked away, she didn’t take her eyes off him. Jack concentrated on his shoulders, the curve of his neck. Leaning into him, she pressed her lips to the soft skin below his ear. His pulse was jumping.

Graham stopped and looked down at her. “I’m trying really hard to make it into the apartment,” he murmured against her forehead. He kissed her brow and continued up the stairs.

“Sorry,” Jack said, suppressing a laugh. She’d never felt more wanted in her life. And she intended to enjoy every second of it.

They tumbled into his living room after he unlocked the door. His keys clattered to the floor. His hands were on her, tugging her shirt up before he managed to kick the door shut. She let go of him long enough to shrug out of it. Her skin was on fire where his fingers raked across it.

He backed her down the hall toward his bedroom, hands roaming over her as he walked. Her skin sparked with every touch. She half expected to see finger-shaped scorch marks trailing from her breasts to the top of her jeans. She would’ve welcomed the burns if it meant he’d never stop touching her. Pressing against him, she whispered his name. A plea to the universe to let her live in the moment forever.

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About the author and where to find her:

author - Susan Bishop CrispellSusan Bishop Crispell is not one of those writers who’s been scribbling down stories since she could hold a pencil. She didn’t read constantly growing up (blasphemy!), and she can still be found in public without a book tucked into her purse (again with the blasphemy!).  She is, however, the kind of writer who lives for the imaginative spark that introduces her to a new character or story idea that pushes her to turn everyday life into something magical.  She lives and writes near Wilmington, NC.

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DividerSweepstakes:

Up for grabs: One (1) $10 USD Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble – International; five(5) eBook copies of Love and Cupcakes (mobi and epub) – International.  If you would like to check out the FTC mumbo jumbo you may do so in the terms and conditions.  If you would just like to enter for your chance to win then click the Rafflecopter link below and good luck 🙂

RAFFLECOPTER SWEEPSTAKES

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