The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield – a Review

The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield – a Review


The InheritanceAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. It turns out her grandfather named four people beneficiaries to his vast estate—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany. But only one of them will win his millions: whoever finds out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago.

As her grandfather’s strange challenge pits Maggie against those nearest to her, she’s reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister and distracted by a lingering attraction to Andrew. But as she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious vanishing, she begins to discover that each of the contestants has dangerous secrets to hide—and with ten million dollars on the line, no one, not even those she loves most, can be trusted…



The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield was first published as a 6 part serial. It has just been released as a full novel, with all the parts together as one book. I am not a big serial fan, so I was very happy to have been able to read it as one book. I must say, this was one helluva book written so well by Mayfield, who is totally new to me. I will gladly read any new book by Mayfield.

The Inheritance begins with our heroine Maggie Willings returning home after a long absence for her grandfather’s funeral. She left home long ago after the disappearance of her younger sister, who to this day has never been found. To Maggie’s shock, as she listens to her grandfathers will being read, his fortune is now up for grabs to the person who discovers what really happened to her sister Cassandra. Besides Maggie, 3 other people are to take part in this competition of finding the truth, and winning the 10 million dollar prize; Robert, is Maggie’s older other; Bethany, her ex best friend; and Andrew, the young man who broke her heart before she left town.

This story got your attention immediately, and never let go. It was wonderful mystery that kept you guessing every step of the way. I loved Maggie, who was the main character, as we watched through her POV. Everyone and more, were suspects, with so many twists and surprises.   Throughout the book, the suspense intensified, as we had to know….What happened to Cassandra? Is she dead or alive?

Maggie doesn’t know who to trust, as her brother refuses to work with her, and she hates Bethany. Only Andrew wanted to work with her to solve the mystery, and he claimed that he wasn’t interested in the money. Poor Maggie, she still finds herself with feelings for Andrew, but can she trust him?

Maggie is determined to do everything she can to find out what happened that night when Cassandra disappeared, and enlists not only Andrew, but a former friend, who is now a cop. Along the way, as she tries to get information from the people who saw Cassandra last, the danger escalates and the excitement builds. Memories are sometimes best left alone, but as we get deeper and deeper, the plot thickens, with many of those twists coming quickly, as we race to the climax.

While we are caught up in the mystery and suspense, Maggie and Andrew rekindle their romance and it is very nicely done. Their chemistry was steaming hot, as was the sex scenes. The Inheritance was a fantastic, exciting and intriguing storyline. I am so glad I read this book in full, as I am not sure I could have handled waiting for the next book in a serial format. If you like a well done mystery, excitement, suspense, and a very nice romance, look no further than The Inheritance, which was so very well written by Olivia Mayfield.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


The Ultimate Seduction by Dani Collins – Review, Interview & Giveaway

The Ultimate Seduction by Dani Collins – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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The Ultimate Seduction
21st Century Gentleman’s Club #2
by Dani Collins
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance



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“I’m about to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

Tiffany Davis takes her first delicious step into the exclusive masquerade ball hosted by the secretive Q Virtus gentleman’s club. Here, behind the mask, Tiffany can hide her scars and reveal her true self—a powerful businesswoman with an offer for the president of Bregnovia, Ryzard Vrbancic.

Astounded by her audacity, only the fire in Tiffany’s eyes makes Ryzard look twice. He has no interest in her business deal, but the promise of a woman who can match his ruthless determination makes him eager to seduce from her the one thing she’s not offering….



The Ultimate Seduction by Dani Collins is the second book in her The 21st Century Gentleman’s Club series. This is a very sexy romance of two people, hardened by a tragic past and both very different, that are drawn to each other sexually, but with no chance of a future.

We meet our heroine, Tiffany Davis in the beginning. Tiffany has spent the last few years recovering from a tragic accident that killed her husband on her wedding day, leaving her with horrendous scars, both physically and emotionally. She has had quite a few surgeries to fix some of her disfigurement, and now she knows she must begin to go out in public again, especially now that she is charge of a conglomerate her husband left her. Tiffany is very conscious of her scars, and tries to cover some of it with makeup.   Her family is also wealthy, and well known, as her father is pushing his own political career. With the President of a small country visiting, her family insists she attend a private masquerade party to meet the president and convince him to allow her company help him make his mark in the United States. Tiffany does not want to go out to a public event, but is pushed to do so. The fact that it is a masquerade ball, makes it easier.

Ryzard Vrbancic is our hero, and is the President of Bregnovia. When he visits America, he often attends these events to meet privately with those who could help his country. When Ryzard sees this masked woman enter the ball, he is immediately mesmerized. What follows is a night of wild hot scorching sex between two people who have much to hide in the darkness of their room. Tiffany allowed herself to be succumbed by this stranger (not knowing he was the man she was to meet), as it built her confidence that someone was attracted to her. Ryzard was enamored by Tiffany and was determined to find out who she was. He could not get her out of his mind.

In a short time, Ryzard finds Tiffany and doesn’t allow her to cover up her face. To him she is beautiful with some battle scars. Of course, living life in a small country driven by war and revolution, Ryzard has seen much destruction. His heart though is frozen, by a memory of lost love, and this prevents him from ever falling in love again.

What we have are two people emotionally damaged, both deeply attracted to each other, as the sexual chemistry between them extremely volatile. Ryzard takes Tiffany with him, at first just to spend time on his boat, but then he brings her to the countries he is visiting, not letting her go. Tiffany finds herself falling in love with Ryzard, the man she originally felt contempt as she thought of him as a dictator. She learns differently that he is good man, who wants best for his country and his people. But Tiffany fears that Ryzard is using her to get her father to help him become accepted in the United States.

This is a very emotional romance of two people who come from different backgrounds, yet both need to rise above their emotional scars. The romance was very nice, and I did root for Tiffany and Ryzard to find a way to get past their deep issues. I sympathized with Tiffany throughout, as she was in a horrible place to overcome. Ryzard, though he was so good to Tiffany, helping her, his determination to not take their relationship to the next level was a bit annoying.   Will Ryzard open his heart permanently to Tiffany?

Dani Collins has written a very nice and emotional storyline that was very real. The romance between Tiffany and Ryzard was extremely sexual, with a lot of sex scenes throughout. Overall, this was a very good story.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


Interview beige 2

Dani, we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We are always looking forward to finding out about the author behind the book, and it is a pleasure to welcome you to The Reading Cafe.

Dani:  My pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

TRC:  Please tell us about yourself

Dani:  Mostly I feel like a fairly boring person. I married my high school sweetheart, we have a girl and a boy. She is home for the summer, but going back to university in the fall. He will graduate in two years. We used to have a cat. We live in a very small town of 1500 people which swells to 5000 in the summer on account of the beautiful lake. But otherwise, not much happens. ☺

TRC:  Did you always have an interest in writing? When and how did you first start writing?

Dani:  Once I found romance novels in high school, I knew I wanted to write them. I wrote a few scenes back then, got serious (ie rented a typewriter) when I was 21 and wrote and submitted for 25 years, finally getting the call in May of 2012.

TRC:  What was your first book ever published? Can you please describe your reaction when you found out you were going to be published?

Dani:  Given the long wait, I was as ecstatic as you can imagine. I’d been working with the editors at Mills & Boon in London for a few years by then, receiving revision letters and I knew I was close so it wasn’t a lightning strike from the blue when my editor asked to call and speak with me. I said, “This is The Call.” And she said, “Yes, it is.” I still tear up.

My husband was on nights at the time, so I told my kids then told him as I was leaving for my day job and he was coming home to sleep. Later that evening we had a proper celebration with my parents and dinner and champagne. I was still in the closet at work so I only told one person. I floated all day, though!

TRC:  Is there anything (in general) you find particularly challenging about writing?

Dani:  Well, the worst was trying to hold down a full time job and write, especially before I sold because I worried I was wasting my time. Selling was enormously validating. Then I turned in 14 books over two years while keeping the day job and THAT was extremely challenging. Now, I struggle with typical stuff like how much money to spend on promotion. I try not to identify problem areas in my actually writing because for me, it’s a bit of an act of faith. If I show up, the words will come. We will not borrow trouble by saying, “I am bad at this or that.”


TRC:  The Ultimate Seduction will be released tomorrow. Can you please give us a brief description of this book?

Dani:  It’s the second book in a mini-series concept created by the editors in London. They wanted a 21st Century take on an old fashioned Gentlemen’s Club. I was lucky enough to work with two amazing Presents authors, Maya Blake (The Ultimate Playboy) and Victoria Parker (The Ultimate Revenge.) Together, we decided to call the club QVirtus and have it meet quarterly in a different location so Maya’s opens in Macau and closes in Venezuela, where mine opens. I close in Zanzibar, where Victoria’s opens. The heroes are acquainted through the series with brief cameos in each other’s books.

Every quarterly meeting opens with a masquerade social. In mine, the heroine, Tiffany, has terrible scarring, which is covered by her mask, allowing her to feel normal for the first time since the accident. She goes out dancing and meets a stranger, also in a mask. One thing leads to another-wink!-and she leaves him afterward thinking that she has a lovely memory to keep her company for her loveless future.

But QVirtus meetings are also about providing a private space for high level business deals. When Tiffany goes to present hers the next morning, guess who her client is?

TRC:  How did you come up with the idea of this book?

Dani:  I kind of explained the bigger premise above. In terms of my own book, I honestly don’t know. I had an idea what kind of characters Maya and Victoria were crafting and we didn’t want to all offer the same thing. I wanted my heroine to be a member of the club, so I had to figure out how that would have come about. I loved the idea that the hero is regarded as some kind of despot so I gave him his own country (Bregnovia).

An Heir to Bind themTRC:  A couple of months ago you released An Heir to Bind Him, which we reviewed. Can you please tell our members who may have missed the review, the premise of this story? Also, what is Mills & Boon Modern?

Dani:  An Heir To Bind Them is the third in what I call the Makricosta series. My first sale book, No Longer Forbidden?, came out only in the UK, as a Mills & Boon Modern. That is what Harlequin Presents are called there. In Australia, they are called Mills & Boon Sexy. Just different covers and marketing, but the books are exactly the same.

In No Longer Forbidden? the hero mentions his three half-siblings which gave me the idea to follow their stories. So I then wrote More Than A Convenient Marriage?, which came out as my second Harlequin Presents and they made it a 2in1, putting No Longer Forbidden? in the back of it. So it’s super nice that my first book actually did come out in North America after all and was packaged with a linked book.

An Heir To Bind Them tells the story of the middle brother, Theo. The Makricostas are in hotels and he has an affair with Jaya, one of his employees, the day she is leaving for personal reasons. They’re both in a state due to family issues and it turns into a one night stand. Eighteen months later, Theo is saddled with temporary care of his niece and nephew and calls on Jaya to help, only to discover there’s a third baby needing attention and fatherhood is anything but temporary.

TRC:  You write both Romance and Fantasy genres. Do you have a preference in genres, and do you ever have a desire to write another genre?

Dani:  I actually only have The Healer and a short story in an anthology that I wrote to hopefully drive readers to The Healer. While I loved, loved writing that book, it was huge and a ton of work on the plotting side. There is a cast of thousands. I have a character guide and a map!

I would love to write another, but to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be a huge audience for that genre for me. Or another way to say it is, I can’t write in that genre fast enough to build an audience for it. So for the moment I’m leaving it at The Healer.

I somewhat accidentally wound up with a pair of erotic romances also out in August (from HarlequinE). I had written the first years ago and when I sold it, they asked for a second. I had fun with that and the audience crosses over more between that and Presents than it does with fantasy, but I don’t know that I’ll seriously pursue an erotic romance career.

TRC:  What is your writing process? Do you have a favorite spot or time? Do you like to outline your stories or just go with the flow?

 Dani:  I prefer to be at my desk in my office which is an converted attic. It’s actually quite spacious, I just have to be careful I don’t stand up too fast. I prefer mornings, before I get distracted by other things. I do write a synopsis for my editor to ensure she is on board with the concept and she often comes back with some comments or concerns that help guide me with the story going forward. It saves a lot of time working it out at that stage, for sure, but from there I’m a bit of a pantser and just run with it.

TRC:  What are you working on now, and what we can look forward to in 2014?

Dani:  I’m working on a Presents scheduled for March of 2015. My first sheik! Then I’ll finish Demitri’s story, which is Book Four in the Makricosta series mentioned above.

As far as 2014 goes, look for the erotic romances if you’re into that, plus a novella in the Chatsfield collection, Volume 2. Mine is called The Secret In Room 823. I’ve started working with Tule on their Montana Born series. Look for a homecoming novel in September or October and in November I have The Russian’s Acquisition, which is my next Harlequin Presents.

Yes, after waiting 25 years to publish, I am making up for lost time!

TRC:  Many authors have friends or family, that they bounce ideas and information back and forth. Do you have anyone you like to discuss your stories with?

Dani:  I’m the complete opposite. I hate talking about my work to anyone. If they get that look like, I don’t know…Is that really what you want to do? I just fall apart with second-guessing and losing faith in my process. I can take criticism from the editor because they know what they want, but I don’t enjoy talking about my work to anyone else. In fact, I’m so defensive, I always flip to a blank page when my family walks into the room. My daughter recently said, “For years I didn’t think you were writing at all when you disappeared into your office because there were never any words on the screen.”

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Dani:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been fun!


Favorite Food: watermelon

Favorite Dessert: watermelon

Favorite TV Show: Mad Men

Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice

Last Book You Read: I Love The 80’s, Megan Crane

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own): Don Draper

Milk or Dark Chocolate: Dark!

Thank you Dani for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best of luck with The Ultimate Seduction.


about the author

After a brilliant debut in the UK with No Longer Forbidden, a Mills & Boon Modern Book Of The Month January 2013, Dani’s first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won the Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. While her focus is Harlequin Presents, Dani also writes romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, and coming August of 2014, erotic romance. Whatever the genre, she always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.

Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest for a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visiting her here:

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway beige

Dani is graciously offering a signed paper copy of The Ultimate Seduction to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like Dani Collins on Facebook

6. Giveaway is open to USA only

7. Giveaway runs from July 31st to August 4, 2014


Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen-Exclusive Excerpt Tour and Giveaway

Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen-Exclusive Excerpt Tour and Giveaway

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Love and Let Spy
Lord and Lady Spy #3
by Shana Galen
Genre: historical, romance, mystery
Release Date: August 5, 2014


Love and Let Spy / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde . . .

A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love . . . until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife. . .

Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs.


“I see, and what makes Mr. Griffyn so…” She trailed off as a footman carrying a silver tray with champagne glasses approached.

“Champagne?” he inquired, smiling at her.

“Thank you,” Lady Melbourne said, taking a glass.

“Miss?” the footman asked, offering her the tray. Her aunt gave her a stern look, but Jane ignored her. She did not care for champagne, and if she was going to have to meet this Mr. Griffyn, she feared she needed fortification.

“Would you be so kind as to fetch me a glass of ratafia?”

“Of course.” The footman nodded. “I would be more than happy to fetch you ratafia—-or…or anything at all, miss.” He gave her a long, meaningful look, and Jane supposed the anything at all might include more than refreshment.

“Cherry, please.”

“My pleasure.” He began to walk away.

“Shaken, not stirred.”

“Certainly, miss. I’ll see to it personally.”

He moved swiftly to carry out the request, and Lady Melbourne hissed, “Can you not sip champagne?”

“I prefer ratafia.”

“You are too particular.”

“He did not seem to mind.”

“Because he could not stop staring at you. But enamored footmen aside, you are too particular.”

Oh, dear God. Jane hoped this would not be another discussion about marriage, and then she narrowed her eyes. “Aunt, what makes this Mr. Griffyn so special?”

Her aunt looked away, and Jane’s heart began to pound. “You do not intend for me to marry this man, do you? I have not even met him.”

“I had hoped to discuss this matter after you met him.”

Jane shook her head. Had the orchestra moved closer? All of a sudden, everything was once again too bright and too loud.
“What matter?”


Jane grabbed her aunt’s gloved arm. “What matter?”

Her aunt frowned. “Very well.” She lowered her voice so that none of the servants or guests passing by might hear. “Your uncle and I have decided. You and Mr. Griffyn will marry.”

About the Author

Shana GalenShana Galen is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She’s a wife, a mother, and an expert multi-tasker. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and twitter.

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Tour Schedule

From July 21 to August 1 (weekends excluded) 10 different blogs will each post an exclusive excerpt from Shana Galen’s upcoming LOVE AND LET SPY-book number three in her Lord and Lady Spy series. Each blog will offer up ONE excerpt and an exclusive giveaway for a paper copy of LORD AND LADY SPY (Book 1) by Shana Galen

SOURCEBOOKS is also offering a rafflecopter giveaway for a spy-themed giveaway basket to ONE winner at tour’s end.

Follow the tour for more chances to WIN.

21-July-Excerpt One
From the TBR Pile

22-July-Excerpt Two
SOS Aloha

23-July-Excerpt Three

24-July-Excerpt Four
Urban Girl Reader

25-July-Excerpt Five
Long and Short Reviews

28-July-Excerpt Six
The Book Vixen

29-July-Excerpt Seven
Cocktails and Books

30-July-Excerpt Eight
Manga Maniac Café

31-July-Excerpt Nine
The Reading Café

1-August-Excerpt Ten
Broken Teepee



Lord and Lady SpyjpgSourcebooks and Shana are offering a paper copy of LORD AND LADY SPY -book one in the Lord and Lady Spy series to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.



3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like Shana Galen on Facebook

6. Giveaway is open to USA/Canada only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 31 to August 5, 2014

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NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the rafflecopter giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact Sourcebooks.

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Darkness Possessed (Order of the Blade) by Stephanie Rowe-Review and Blog tour

Darkness Possessed (Order of the Blade ) by Stephanie Rowe-Review and Blog Tour

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Order of the Blade, #9
by Stephanie Rowe

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DARKNESS POSSESSED (Order of the Blade #9) by Stephanie Rowe

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 28, 2014

A fatal mistake stripped Zach Roderick of the powers that define him, leaving him a tormented shadow of the warrior he once was. Now, his teammate’s life depends on Zach resurrecting the fire that once burned within him. As he undertakes a battle he has no way to win, he is derailed by a tempestuous beauty that awakens in him the dark desires that destroyed him once before.

The scars etched on Rhiannon Diaz’s soul are so deep that she will never again be free. The once-powerful guardian is facing her last and greatest battle, and failure means a return to a sexual enslavement that is far worse than death. Her intense and passionate need for the powerful warrior who has vowed to protect her threatens the very foundation of her survival, but his refusal to abandon her drags them both into a world where wild, untamed passion rages, and surrender is their only chance.


REVIEW: DARKNESS POSSESSED is the ninth instalment in Stephanie Rowe’s Order of the Blade adult, paranormal romance series focusing on a group of supernatural warriors. As members of the Order of the Blade, these Calydons are tasked with destroying their own who have gone rogue after finding and mating their ‘sheva’ (soulmate). Although some male Calydons have found ways to avoid the inevitable-going rogue-others are too far gone and must be destroyed before they destroy everyone else. This is Calydon and Order of the Blade warrior Zach Roderick and Calydon female Rhiannon Diaz’s storyline.

I will point out from the outset that many readers of this series believe that each storyline can be read as a stand alone but I would strongly suggest reading in order from the beginning. Case in point is the reference to Zach’s former Order of the Blade mentor (and leader) Dante whose declaration in a previous storyline fuels the premise of DARKNESS POSSESSED. Saying that, Stephanie Rowe does provide some background information that gives the reader a bit of cohesive history.

The focus of this storyline finds Zach on the hunt for a mysterious ‘fire god’ who is in possession of a weapon that will reverse the effects of ‘going rogue’. When Order of the Blade warrior Rohan orders Zach to retrieve the magical staff, Zach finds himself accidentally partnered with a woman who is hoping to destroy the very person Zach is desperate to find. Rhiannon’s former soul mate demands she return as his sex slave but Zach is hoping to make Rhiannon his own.

The call to mate is reluctant due to the potential for going rogue and in this the Calydon males avoid finding their ‘shevas’ at all costs. When true love sparks something within the heart and the soul, there is nothing that can stop the roller coaster of emotions. It is the fear of the inevitable that forces many Calydon males in another direction.

The relationship between Zach and Rhiannon is one born out of necessity. Each has lost a little of themselves-their individual powers have remained dormant through guilt and loss. Zach’s power calls to the element of fire and Rhiannon’s calls to the element of earth. Zach is a man possessed to save his friend and fellow warrior; Rhiannon is a woman whose need for revenge outweighs everything else in her life.

DARKNESS POSSESSED is a dark, imaginative and violent storyline. There are scenes of abusive control, deadly battles, murder and destruction; and there are scenes of sensuality and love. Stephanie Rowe pulls the reader into a passionate and suspense filled story where the past controls the present; where power and control destroy any chance for love; and where two people will find in one another what they never found (before).

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post


Broad shoulders, silhouetted against a dark night.

Dark hair.

Chiseled jaw with shadowed whiskers.

The steely gaze of a man who feels no pain, who still stop at nothing to protect those he has sworn to safeguard…until his head turns and he see you. Then, his face softens, and he smiles, a smile just for you, that no one else will ever receive from him, because you are the woman who has broken through the iron shields around his heart and saved his soul.

That, my friends, is your alpha hero. Ruggedly handsome, powerful, and unapproachable by all. A man so strong that you could put the fate of the world in his hands, and not worry about whether he’ll be able to step up. As women, we love our men to be strong enough to protect us from any and all threats, not just those to our physical being, but we also want his big, strong hands to cradle our hearts so gently and protectively that nothing can ever hurt us again.

The beauty of the alpha hero in a paranormal romance is that he can be so much stronger, darker, and so much dangerous than in a contemporary novel. A man who has been tortured in hell for seven hundred years has a lot of weight to his soul, and a man who can defeat an army of demons is just that much tougher. The darker and more damaged a man is, the greater the leap he has to make to find the softness in his heart for a woman. As women, we want to be that special one who can bring light into his soul, and we want to be the one to save him. Snagging the alpha paranormal hero is like saving the ultimate bad boy, a fantasy that so many carry deep in their hearts.




The jungle smelled rich with the dampness of fertile soil. The trees were alive with the chatter of birds and the rustle of animals. Rhiannon closed her eyes and breathed deeply as she let the power of her birthplace roll over her and seep into her body. The freshness of the air seemed to cleanse her of all the grime and pollution that had accumulated during her years of living in civilization. She could almost feel her cells coming back to life and embracing the deep nourishment of the land she was meant to live in.

She went down on one knee and crumbled some dirt between her fingers, watching the rich, brown loam fall back to the ground from which it had come. To her surprise, she felt her throat tighten, and tears burned in her eyes. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed being home. It had been two days since she had left Boston. After much hard traveling, she’d almost reached the region that had once given her life…and then betrayed her.

A sudden sound broke through her focus and she went utterly still, listening intently. Another sound, quiet yet heavy, came from her right, and she recognized it instantly as the footstep of a creature that was too big to be a human, but could easily be a heavily armed Calydon. Without taking time to stand, she pivoted on her knee as she swept an arrow out of her quiver and pulled her crossbow off her shoulder. In less than a millisecond she nocked an arrow and had it pointing at the cluster of bushes from which the sound had come.

She knew she was in the open more than she wanted to be, but relocating into the trees would attract more attention than staying completely still. Her mottled brown and green cargo pants and jacket would help her blend into her surroundings. Even her crossbow still retained the colors of the jungle that had once been her home.

There was silence. No movement followed the steps that she had heard, which made her tension rise even further. Whatever it was had become aware of her, and it was waiting for her to move in the same way she was anticipating its next step.

Penetrating silence prevailed, each trying to outwait the other. The muscles in her arms began to tremble, and she realized how out of shape she was. There had been a time when she had been able to hold her bow at the ready for hours, outwaiting even the most patient of enemies. Now, it had been less than a minute and already her arms were shaking. Her hamstring was cramping from the uncomfortable position she’d frozen in. A trickle of sweat was slithering down her brow, and she knew it wouldn’t be long before it went into her eye. It wasn’t even hot compared to what the jungle often was, but she could feel the steam rising off her body, curling her hair, and dampening her clothes.

With grim trepidation, she realized she had gone soft. She was in no condition to take on José and think she could walk away. She’d lost to him even when she’d been fit and in her prime. Now? She couldn’t even hold an arrow ready for more than a minute. Her pulse began to hammer in her throat, and she willed it to quiet, knowing that José would be able to hear her heart pounding if he was the one in the bushes.

Please don’t let it be José. She wasn’t ready to face him yet. If she met him now, she would have no chance. A cold fear gripped her, and her fingers tightened involuntarily around the arrow, even as she fought to stay relaxed. Physical tension would throw off her aim. She had to stay loose.

Then she caught a scent, drifting to her over the complex smells of the jungle. It was the scent of a man. Not José. A stranger. He smelled of sweat, adrenaline, and something else. A deeper scent that seemed to reach inside her and unfurl in her belly. She instantly recognized her response as attraction. Desire. Lust. Dear God, she wanted this man. Fear gripped her with sudden cruelty, freezing her muscles and obliterating all thought from her mind except for a raw terror that screamed at her to run. Run. Run!

Her instincts knew she had to stay utterly still, but the fear of her attraction to a man was so deep that she could not make herself stay. Attraction was a trap. Desire could be twisted to hurt her. Lust was a cruel lie. Wanting a man was doom, torture, and a hell she’d never survive.

Instead of staying still and hidden as she should have, panic forced her to act. She leapt to her feet, spun around, and ran blindly through the forest, her boots thudding noisily on the ground. Branches tripped her and plants seemed to spring up out of the earth to grab her ankles. She couldn’t even focus enough to ask them to help her instead of hurting her. Her mind was a swirling miasma of terror and memories, screaming at her to run and escape while she still had the chance.

“Hey!” The man shouted at her, his deep voice booming through the jungle.

The rich bass of his voice plunged through her flesh and ignited a fire inside her. A fire of want, longing, and the urge to turn and charge right toward him instead of away from him. “Oh, God, no. Not again.” Tears streamed down her cheeks as she sprinted through the jungle, not even paying attention to where she was going. She couldn’t remember the layout exactly. Her mind was fragmented with fear and terror, just as it had been so long ago when she had run for her life through these very woods. She stumbled over a root and tumbled to the earth, barely getting her hands out in time to cushion her fall. Her crossbow jammed into her jawbone and she gasped as the pain shot through her.

She hadn’t even finished falling when she was already back up on her feet, stumbling as she tried to keep going. Trees loomed above her on all sides, but the branches were too high for her to reach, and she couldn’t focus enough to ask the trees to help her. Everything she had as a weapon was gone, disintegrated by the fear ripping through her.

Then she realized there were heavy footsteps thundering after her, getting closer and closer. He was chasing her! She put on another burst of speed, her breath burning her lungs as she fought for air. Her legs were trembling, shaking with exhaustion as she asked her body to do things it hadn’t done in so long.

She frantically tried to focus enough to take in her surroundings and understand where she was. She couldn’t keep this up. She had to find a way out. She had to—

A hand closed on her shoulder, and fingers dug into her flesh, pulling her to a stop.

With his touch, all conscious thought fled from her mind. She grabbed the dagger from where it sat on her hip and spun around, striking as she turned. Her blade hit flesh, plunging deep inside thick muscle before she’d even finished her turn to see who was after her.

The dark brands on his forearms told her all she needed to know. It was a Calydon, and her dagger was in his heart. She spun the rest of the way around, facing him as he fell.

“Shit!” The warrior’s dark eyes widened in surprise as he stumbled and went down to his knees.

Rhiannon ripped her dagger out of his chest and went still, bracing her legs in a ready position as she held the dagger ready. She knew she had to keep moving, but she couldn’t run anymore. Not yet. She needed time to recover. She had nothing left. Her breath heaved in her chest as she desperately tried to get air.

She saw the blood pouring from his chest, and realized she’d struck a clean blow into the heart. Instinct had shown her where to find a heart on a Calydon, taking into account his height when she’d made her blind strike. Maybe she wasn’t a total loss. Maybe she still had some of her old skills. Maybe she still had a chance to survive.

She took another deep breath, trying to recover from her run. She knew the respite from his injury wouldn’t last long, but the heart had been a good place to hit.

He looked up at her as he pressed his palm to the wound on his chest. “Why the hell did you do that?” His voice had the same effect on her as before. It slithered through her body like a warm, seductive caress of pure temptation. And now that she could see what he looked like, it was even stronger.

His eyes were dark brown, flecked with bits of gold. His stare was intense, sinking deep into her very soul as he gazed at her. She felt herself flush under his stare, her body pulsing in response to the heat of his attention. For a moment, the world seemed to freeze, and she was caught in his spell, in his raw masculinity and strength. His cheekbones were sculpted, giving him a regal appearance, despite the heavy growth of whiskers and the disheveled dark hair, which gave him an aura of danger and lethalness that should have terrified her…but she found herself riveted by him instead.

His shoulders were broad, but not as broad as José’s. Unlike José and his men, who wore camouflage pants, lean boots, and sported bare chests as if impersonating some ancient warrior, this Calydon was wearing the garb of civilization. His blue jeans were dirty and torn. His black T-shirt was loose and ragged. He was wearing hiking boots, but they appeared to be heavily insulated as if they were meant for trekking through snow and ice instead of the brutal heat of the jungle. He didn’t look like he belonged to this jungle or to José, but the twin dark brands on his forearms told her all she needed to know.

He was a Calydon, and that meant he was a threat, no matter how intense her reaction to him was. In fact, he was even more dangerous because of the way she wanted to fall under his spell. Men knew how to take advantage of a woman’s attraction to them. They preyed upon it, twisting it to their advantage. She knew better than to want a man, but her fingers actually twitched with the need to lay her hand over his wound and take away his pain, to feel his flesh beneath her palm, to move closer, and lose herself in the incredible strength and power of his being.

“Yeah…” he said softly, his gaze locked onto hers, as if he were having the same intense reaction to her that she was having to him. “Who are you?” he asked. “What’s your name?”

“Who am I?” The question jerked her back to the present, to the very real danger he presented. If he’d been sent to find her, his quest would have to end now. Even as she thought it, resistance pulsed through her, and she realized she didn’t want to kill him.

Grimly, she took a step back as she pulled another arrow out of her quiver. She set it in the bow and aimed it right between his eyes. “What do you want?”

She needed to know whether he had stumbled across her accidentally, or if José already knew she was here. Then, once she had her answers, she would do her best to kill the man kneeling before her.

She ignored the stab of regret at the notion of killing him. Sure, he smelled incredible and had eyes that had momentarily melted right through the fear of men that she kept wrapped so tightly around her. That didn’t mean she was going to make the same mistake that had once almost killed her. Never would she trust the wrong man, or any man, again.


He would have to die. There was simply no other option.




About The author

Stephanie Rowe

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty published novels with major New York publishers, including Warner/Grand Central, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dorchester & Sourcebooks. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher’s Weekly. Stephanie writes romance (paranormal, contemporary and suspense), teen fiction, middle grade fiction and motivational nonfiction, including her bestselling dark paranormal Order of the Blade series.

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Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg – a Review

Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg – a Review


Her Secret, His SurpriseAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Since being disowned by her strict father, Cass Stone has spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Her drive has led to more success than her family ever thought she’d achieve, and life is looking great. Not even an incredible and mysterious one night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up…until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy and unreliable as ever.
Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover as her assistant. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded…and then he meets Cass’s daughter


Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenberg is a very nice contemporary romance. Altenburg has created two fabulous characters that make up a wonderful romantic couple. But if you expect, as in some romances, the couple to fall love and jump into bed on page two……well yes and no. LOL This is a sweet romance that builds throughout the book, as they are both different and hesitant. But sex was on the agenda in the beginning. 🙂

Cass Stone is our heroine, who is very independent, has a successful career, and living on her own; as her father disowned her in her late teenage years. While on a business trip, on her last night before flying home, she meets a hot hunky bartender, who totally turns her on.

Logan Alexander is the bartender, and what Cass doesn’t know, is that he is undercover agent working on a case in the same hotel. He too is attracted to the beautiful Cass. One night of glorious sex that neither one would forget, then each went back to their lives. Shortly after, Cass finds out she is pregnant, and tries to do the right thing to contact the man at the bar, but he doesn’t exist (since he was undercover).

Two years later, Logan is assigned another case of sabotage at the company Cass works for, with the perpetrator selling company secrets. Both Logan and Cass recognize each other and are shocked, but they manage to keep it private. What follows is a sweet romance of two people, who are different, and a child that will draw them together. Logan has his issues of commitment, and once he finds out Cass’s daughter Olivia is his, he has to come to terms if he is father material. Cass wants a normal life, with a father for her daughter, but she feels that Logan is not reliable nor ambitious (she doesn’t know about his normal undercover job). Will Logan get past his issues with commitment and stay with Cass and Olivia? What happens when Cass discovers Logan’s real job and that she was part of this investigation?

In between watching this romance build, we are part of this interesting sideline story of watching Logan try to trap the perpetrator. Paula Altenburg has done a wonderful job writing this story of a very nice sweet romance, an adorable child, a bit of mystery, and a wonderful couple that had great chemistry together. If you want a fast sweet read, I suggest you read Her Secret, His Surprise.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Lead (Stage Dive #3) by Kylie Scott-Review and Release Day Blitz

LEAD (Stage Dive #3) by Kylie Scott-a review and release day blitz

Lead Kylie Scott BANNER

Stage Dive #3
by Kylie Scott
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary, rock musicians, erotic romance
Publisher: St.Martin’s Griffin

Lead Nov 14 / / Barnes and Noble /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 29, 2014

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.  

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him


REVIEW: LEAD is the third instalment in Kylie Scott’s adult, contemporary Stage Dive erotic romance series focusing on the member of the rock group Stage Dive. This is lead singer Jimmy Ferris and assistant/companion Lena Morrissey’ storyline.

Jimmy is in need of a baby sitter following his latest release from rehab. The temptations on the road and behind the scenes are too much and his friends want to ensure that Jimmy stays clean and sober-enter Lena Morrissey- an office secretary who has been pulled into the nightmare that is Jimmy Ferris. With his brash and self-centred attitude Jimmy isn’t the easiest person with whom to live but Lena makes every effort to keep Jimmy clean. From late night movies to companionable silence, Lena will slowly work her magic on a man who has never known love or acceptance.

The relationship between Lena and Jimmy is slow to build as they play around one another for a good portion of the story. Jimmy is a man haunted by his past; the childhood that was all but destroyed by an alcoholic mother and in this Jimmy wants nothing to do with falling in love or a permanent relationship. As the friendship between our leading couple grows, so too does Lena’s love for Jimmy-a love that will never be reciprocated.

The humorous banter continues throughout the series with drummer Mal’s manic repartee as well as the one on one interaction between Jimmy and Lena. Kylie Scott does a fantastic job pulling the reader into the storyline with her use of humor, sarcasm, heartbreak, and all too familiar feel of an emotional roller coaster ride. Jimmy is man whose life has been hard-from an abusive childhood to addiction and the fall out of a PR disaster aiming to take him down, he is a man hiding behind the façade of a rock star whose very nature pushes everyone away-a little bit at a time.

The secondary characters include all of the members of Stage Dive as well as their girlfriends and lovers. We get reacquainted with David and Evelyn: Mal and Anne; as well as a hint of what’s to come with guitarist Ben. The interaction between the members of Stage Dive with one another is colorful, frenetic and funny.

LEAD is a heartbreaking and emotional storyline where we get up close and personal with the infamy of Jimmy Ferris. I did shed a tear or two so be forewarned to have some tissues on hand. Stage Dive is a provocative and captivating series where the drama of being in the spotlight hides a world of secrets and bitter truths. Kylie Scott writes with a startling realism and an intensity that will pull you in and never let go.

Stage Dive

Reading Order
Deep (March 2015)

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

Stage Dive #1
by Kylie Scott
Genre: adult, contemporary, rock stars, erotic romance / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 1, 2013

Click HERE for our review of LICK by Kylie Scott

Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is for certain, being married to rock and roll’s favourite son is sure to be a wild ride.


Stage Dive #2
by Kylie Scott
Genre: adult, contemporary, rock stars, erotic romance / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

Click HERE for our review of PLAY by Kylie Scott

PLAY (Stage Dive 2) by Kylie Scott

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 25, 2014

Do you like to listen to audio books? Click HERE for a six minute PLAY audio clip from MacMillan Audio.

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?




“Lena, you seen my old black Led Zep shirt?”
“You sure?” His brows became one dark cranky line. The scratches on his face were healing well, thank goodness. Though it didn’t reduce my desire to throttle his mother on a daily basis.
“Yes. I haven’t seen it.”
Can’t find it anywhere…”
“And this is a surprise, how?” I slipped my hands into my back jean’s pockets. “Jimmy, you own more clothing than Cher, Brittney, and Elvis, put together. Things are bound to go missing.”
“Sure you haven’t seen it?”
“For goodness sake, what do you think, Jimmy? That I stole it to sleep in or something?” I laughed bitterly. Sure as hell, the truth deserved a good mocking. I’d sunk so despicably low.
I hadn’t even meant to steal the stupid thing, but the shirt had been mixed up with my laundry a few days ago. It’d been the first top I laid my hand on after stepping out of the shower, ready to go to bed. Without thought, I’d put it on and it’d been so soft, the scent of him lingering beneath the laundry detergent. Every night since, I’d found myself in it come bedtime. My shame knew no limits. And no, I still hadn’t quit. The words still hadn’t come even close to leaving my mouth.
He frowned. “No.”
“That I have some deep secret longing to feel close to you resulting in my stealing your shirt like some creepy perv?”
“Course I don’t fucking think that,” he replied crankily, reaching up to grip the top of the doorframe. All of his bulging muscles stretched the arms of his white T-shirt in the nicest way. It was all I could do not to start drooling, my heart beat taking up residence somewhere down between my thighs. And who could blame it? Not me. Maybe if I got laid, this would go away and things would return to normal. It’d seemed safer to avoid rubbing up against any men just in case I got carried away and started dating again. This new situation, however, changed everything.
“Well, of course not! That would be crazy.” And wasn’t that the god’s honest truth? Cray-zeee. Lock me up and throw away the key because it wasn’t like I didn’t know better.
“Just can’t figure out where the hell it could be.”
Angels couldn’t have smiled as innocently. They might have tried, but they would have failed, the dirty-mouthed, winged, little liars. “Jimmy, I don’t know where it is. But I’ll look around for it later, okay?”
“Yeah,” he said, and then added as an afterthought, “and stop looking at me weird.”
“I’m not!”



About the Author

Kylie ScottKylie is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Follow:  Website/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Goodreads/ Amazon/

Check out more of Kylie’s work:
The Flesh series:
Colonist’s Wife:
Heart’s A Mess:


The Winter King by C.L. Wilson – Review, Interview & Giveaway

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson – Review, Interview and Giveaway


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The Winter King.Nov 13jpegAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.

After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of whom he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.


I have been waiting anxiously for C.L. Wilson’s new novel, The Winter King. I am happy to say it was a great book, which is something you have come to expect from Wilson. This is a standalone book, and not part of her fabulous Tairen Soul series.

In The Winter King, Wilson has created two wonderful characters in our heroes, Wynter, The Winter King; and Khamsin (Kham), the one woman who will stand up to the King, and is as powerful as he is.

Wynter, as described in the book description, was at peace with his neighbor Summerlea, until their young prince came for a visit, and took Wynter’s betrothed and killed his young brother. Revenge changed Wynter, as he embraced the terrible magic of the Ice Heart, in order to enact his vengeance against Summerlea. After having successfully won the war, he arrives at Summerlea with his terms to King Varden. Falcon, Varden’s son, has been in hiding all these years during the war, and Wynter cannot get revenge on him. Instead, he tells Varden, he wants one of his daughters as his wife, to give him a heir (which he lost at the death of his brother). If within one year, the daughter does not give him an heir, he will come back for the next daughter.

Kham is King Varden’s 4th daughter, whom he despises and hides in his mansion, not allowing her to be part of the family. She is treated very badly, with only her three sisters secretly visiting her. But when he is faced with losing one of his three daughters, Varden devises a plan to secretly give Kham to Wynter as his wife.

All this is early on, and what follows is a fantastic story as we follow Wynter, Kham and his army back to his home in Wintercraig. The road home is difficult, as Kham gets sick and barely survives. The chemistry between Wynter and Kham is off the wall right from the start. As the romance builds, there are so many obstacles and betrayals that threaten to destroy their budding romance.

Kham grew up all her life thinking The Winter King was an evil man, who would do anything to destroy Summerlea. Wynter, despite his intense feelings for Kham, could not allow himself to totally trust her, as he knew her loyalty was questionable. But with each passing day, each obstacle, each threat, each incident, their feelings for each other intensified.

I will not give spoilers, but this was such an exciting, at times intense action filled story, that had me worried about the fate of our heroes; with all the betrayals, near death situations, the many battles, that I could not put the book down until I found out what was going to happen.

I loved Wynter and Kham together. They were the perfect couple, even if no one believed in them. Wynter, with the Ice Heart, was very powerful, but he knew it could also destroy him. Kham is very powerful in her own right, as we watch her learn to handle her powers, and put them to good use during the threats on her life, as well as Wynters. Kham’s nickname is Storm, which should tell you something (her sisters were named Summer, Autumn, Spring )

As much as I loved Wynter, as he was so swoonworthy; but I loved loved Kham. She suffered so badly all her life, but she was strong, independent, powerful, and when given a chance, loving. Kham is one of the best heroines I have read, and I do have some favorites.

The Winter King was a fantastic magical ride in a land of war, hatred, revenge, betrayals and love. The Winter King is a must read. C.L. Wilson has done it again with a fabulous story not to be missed.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


Interview blue

CL Wilson


Hi Cheryl. Welcome back to The Reading Café.

TRC: We would like to start with some background information.

Would you please tell us about yourself?



C.L.   Hmm. Not sure what to say. I’m a wife, mother of three, an avid reader, writer, and movie buff. I love to crochet, and I’m teaching myself to knit. (Crochet is so much easier, imo.) I quit counting birthdays when I turned 21 – I figured I was legal then for all the things I wanted to enjoy in life – so when someone asks me how old I am, I honestly don’t know. I have to do math to figure it out (and I’m horrible at math—too much moving around during my formative mathematics years, and the new schools were never in the same place in study as the old schools were.)

I love genre fiction, in particular fantasy and romance, although a truly excellent book outside of those genres can also hold my attention.

My first novel, LORD OF THE FADING LANDS, was published in 2007 by Dorchester Publishing. It spent two weeks on the USA Today list. My second book, LADY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS, which was released a month later, hit the NY Times extended list. I’ve got full length novels published (the Tairen Soul series, which was purchased along with my contract in 2011 by Avon / HarperCollins), I wrote a short story for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE, a contemporary angel romance in a holiday-themed anthology, ONE ENCHANTED SEASON, which I self-published with two good friends, and I return to full length fantasy romance fiction with THE WINTER KING, published by Avon.

TRC: When and how did you first become interested in writing?

C.L.   Well, first, I was an avid reader. (Honestly, I think all writers must be readers first. I can’t think how it would work any other way.) I loved books before I knew how to read. My mother read to me constantly—she tells me that’s the only time I’d sit still and let her hold me when I was small—when I was curled up in her lap and she was reading a book to me.

I wrote my first story—an episode of the old TV sitcom Hogan’s Heroes—when I was 5 or 6. I used to write illustrated rhyming children’s stories to entertain myself (the Tales of Tiffany and Timothy Turtle), and I’d write really melodramatic short stories that I’d make my sister Lisette read. I knew I’d done well if I could write a story that would make her cry! Ha!

Then when I was about 13 or so, I discovered Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and starting writing my own fantasy novels. I was 11 when I read my first romance (one of those 1970’s bodice rippers with names like Sweet Savage Rapture and Love’s Luscious Surrender). I definitely shouldn’t have been reading those, but I did and I was hooked. I started writing romance when I was sixteen or so.

TRC:  The Winter King was released today. Can you please tell us how you came up with the idea of this story? Is this a standalone or the start of a series?

C.L.   Well, as it so happens, THE WINTER KING was originally supposed to be a book written by someone else. My plotting buddies, The Starfish Club, and I came up with the idea for one of the other members. Which is a little funny, because this isn’t the sort of book she writes. Anyways, the idea wouldn’t leave me alone, so I finally called her up, begged her to let me take the idea and run with it. She said okay, and I was off to the races. The first hundred or so pages poured out of me. Then my manuscript TAIREN SOUL sold (to become LORD OF THE FADING LANDS & LADY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS), and I shelved THE WINTER KING until after I completed the TS series.

Coming back to finish up a story I’d started five yeas earlier when I was in a different place mentally was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be, but I finally wrote the end last year and turned it in. The story turned out worlds different than what we originally plotted, but I love it.

It’s set in a totally different world than the Tairen Soul series, and although I do intend to write more books set in Mystral (THE WINTER KING’s world), it’s a standalone novel.

TRC:  Can you please give us a brief description of The Winter King?

C.L.   It’s a marriage of convenience story on the romance front and a “save the world from Ragnarok” on the fantasy front, but at its core it’s a story about wounded people overcoming betrayals and learning to trust again.

 Here’s the blurb:

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.

After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

TRC:  When writing a storyline, do you envision actors as your characters? If so, can you tell us who you see in the roles of Wynter and Khamsin?

C.L.   I almost never do this. They are just “them,” the people I see in my mind. But if I had to pick an actor, I’d say Wynter might be played by Alexander Skarsgård or maybe a younger Dolph Lundgren. Khamsin is very definitely a young Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

TRC: Oh please, I love Alex. He would make a wonderful Wynter!

TRC: You have previously discussed returning to the Fading Lands. What can you please tell us about this?

C.L.   Yes, I will be heading back to the Fading Lands. I actually started Belliard vel Jelani’s book last year for NaNoWriMo, but I am currently working on the next Mystral novel, THE SEA KING, which my published wanted first. Once I’m finished with that, it’s back to Bel’s book.

TRC:  What are you currently working on, and what do you have planned for 2014/2015?

C.L.   I’ll be finishing up THE SEA KING the rest of this year, for a 2015 pub date, then in 2015, I’ll be concentrating on Bel’s book. I am hoping in the interim to offer a few smaller Fading Lands works for my Tairen Soul fans who’ve been so patient. Fingers crossed my schedule will permit it.

TRC:  What is your process in writing? Any specific place you like to write or special times of the day/night?

C.L.   Before I was published (and when I’d committed to finishing and publishing my TAIREN SOUL manuscript), I would get up and write from 3am-7am every day. I worked 50+ hrs a week and had three small children, so it was pretty much that or nothing.

Now, I do three to four scheduled Power Hours per day with friends (we conference call with starting word counts, set the timer, hang up and write for an hour, then call back to get final word counts and calculate our progress.) it’s super effective for all of us – like having an exercise buddy who keeps you on track, even on the days you really aren’t feeling it.

I may start doing the early morning thing again as well (although maybe more like 4 or 5-7am instead of 3!), just because I like the quiet, no pressure time to myself to just create.

TRC:  Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

C.L.   My plotting buddies (The Starfish Club)…and my power-hour buddies, which includes 3 of the 4 Starfish, plus a couple of friends. I also sometimes have crit night with another couple of writers who live near me.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

C.L.   Just that I will be signing books this coming week in Katy, TX, Houston, TX, Mobile, AL, and Pensacola, FL. See my website Events page ( for details.


Favorite Food: Sushi and Thai.

Favorite Dessert: Mango and sticky rice

Favorite Movie: Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS (all of them)

Favorite TV Show: The Closer

Last book that you read: Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison (reread for like the 5th time)

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk

Favorite character (male & female) not written by you: Vlad Tepesh (Jeaniene Frost), Ivory Malinov (Christine Feehan)

TRC: Love your choices, they are both two of my favorites

Dog or Cat: Purrrrrrr

Thank you, Cheryl for answering our questions. We look forward to continuing to read your books, and to work with you in the future. We wish you the best of luck with The Winter King.

You can learn more about C.L. Wilson at the following links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Blog / Tairen’s Lair



Cheryl  is generously offering a signed paper copy of THE WINTER KING to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like C.L. Wilson on Facebook for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open to USA only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 29- August 1st , 2014


The Bondage Club by Alexandrea Weis-Review and Release Day Tour

The Bondage Club by Alexandrea Weis-Review and Release Day Tour


The Bondage Club
by Alexandrea Weis
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic romance
Release Date: July 29, 2014

The Bondage Club

ebook is .99¢ for a limited time: / / Barnes and Noble /

About the Book: Release Date July 26, 2014

A man looking for a new beginning.

Hunter Donovan is a writer who dreamed of penning the great American novel but settled for a job running the family business, Donovan Books. Trapped publishing other people’s stories, Hunter buries his frustrations in vodka and an endless parade of one-night stands.

A woman with a secret.

Cary Anderson is the perky, petite, and staunchly determined editor who is well versed in erotica fiction. But Cary has a kinky side that she is struggling to keep hidden from the world.

Fed up with dwindling sales, Hunter hopes to breathe new life into his publishing house by breaking into the risqué world of erotica. He hires Cary to rescue his company and she is keen to show her new boss everything she knows. But what starts out as a lesson in sexual fiction turns into an unexpected roller coaster ride of disastrous romantic encounters. And just when Cary helps stir Hunter’s creative voice, he uncovers the truth about her wicked ways.

Some ties that bind can cut right to the heart in…The Bondage Club


REVIEW: THE BONDAGE CLUB is the third instalment in Alexandrea Weis’s adult, contemporary erotic romance series. This is writer/publisher Hunter Donovan and editor Cary Anderson’s storyline. Although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone without any problems.

The focus of the storyline is publishing house ‘Donovan Books’ and Hunter Donovan’s desire to break into the world of erotic publication. With the publishing house floundering without a competitive edge, Hunter seizes the opportunity to bring together an erotica author and a new editor for a publishing line that takes everyone at Donovan Books out of their comfort zone and into something new.

Enter Cary Anderson, a woman who knows a thing or two about the erotic publishing industry. As an editor and a woman with first hand information and knowledge of erotica storylines, Cary helps push Donovan Books into mainstream sexual novels with her contacts in the business and close friendship with an erotica author. But Cary has a secret, one that Hunter is the last to figure out, and it is this secret that will find Cary and Hunter at odds when the truth is finally revealed.

The relationship between Cary and Hunter is one of forbidden love. Hunter is Cary’s boss but their attraction to one another makes for some steamy scenes. While Cary tries to get Hunter out of his ‘vanilla’ habits, Hunter will learn that sometimes a relationship comes with a price. Hunter and Cary are colorful characters but none more so than Cary who tries to push Hunter into a world he knows nothing about. There are moments of humor, heartbreak, emotional upsets and questioning motives, and in this Cary has some explaining to do when all was said and done.

The secondary characters include Hunter’s family and the people who work at Donovan Books. We had previously met Donovan’s brother Chris Donovan in the first instalment Cover to Covers. We will get a closer look at the man and his methods in the world of book publication. The world building remains focused around publishing and erotic temptations, but also pulls the storyline back to New Orleans where our leading characters will find comfort and a happily ever after.

The Bondage Club is a storyline that invites the reader into the world of erotic fiction. From conception to research; publication and presentation Alexandrea Weis tells the tale of two people with a purpose in life and a similar end goal in mind-to be successful in a world already dominated by a plethora of similar storylines. Everyone needs an edge in the publishing business and Donovan Books has perhaps found just the edge that it needs.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight Black and White

by Alexandrea Weis
Release Date April 26, 2014

The Riding / / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

A woman finding her way.
After a devastating divorce, an emotionally skittish Rayne Masterson swears off men and vows to devote her life to her passion, horses.

A man with insatiable desires.
Trent Newbury is an expert rider who is arrogant, brash, and has a ruthless reputation for getting any woman he desires.

As the new riding master at Southland Stables, Trent is eager to make sure all of his riders are the best they can be. But when he meets Rayne, he takes a special interest in taming the beautiful woman’s stubborn nature. Slowly and deliberately, he weakens her defenses with his charm and beguiling good looks. And just when he thinks he has won Rayne’s trust, his philandering past threatens to pull them apart.

She thought no man could ever touch her heart, until she met…The Riding Master.


Cover to Covers
by Alexandrea Weis
Genre: contemporary, adult, romance
Release Date: February 1, 2014 / / Barnes and Noble  / The Book Depository

Cover to CoversA man driven by his desires.

Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants. CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.

The woman from his past.

Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.

Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, Tyler Moore is always in charge. But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes. A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler. Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget. Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.

Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets.



The veil of evening was reaching across his office window when Hunter’s cell phone on the side of his desk rang. Checking the caller ID, he frowned when he saw that the number was blocked.
“This is Hunter Donovan,” he barked into the phone.
“Do you always answer the phone in such a cheerful manner?” a seductive female voice reprimanded.
“That depends on who this is.”
“Cary told me of your little meeting today, and your interest in my next book. You don’t waste any time do you?”
Hunter’s heart skipped a beat. “Well, well, Ms. Slut. Nice to hear your voice again. I hope your time at the Book Expo was worthwhile.”
“You were the highlight of my trip, Mr. Donovan.”
Hunter smiled as he sat back in his creaky desk chair. “I’m so glad. I was beginning to think you didn’t like me.”
“Have you ever met a woman who didn’t like you?”
The question made Hunter chuckle. “Which answer will get me your next book, Ms. Slut?”
A high-pitched tinkling laugh came through the speaker of his iPhone, making Hunter’s stomach flutter ever so lightly. “I like a man who doesn’t waste time with sweet talk. Check your email. I just sent you the manuscript. It’s called The Bondage Club, and if you’re interested, e-mail me a contract, and I will look it over.”
“Can I ask what it’s about? I mean, with a title like that I can guess, but….” His voice faded as his curiosity rose.
“There are many different kinds of bondage, Mr. Donovan, that don’t involve ropes, chains, or even handcuffs.”
Hunter gaped at his cell phone. “I don’t get it.”
“Love can be a form of bondage,” she explained. “We can get tied to someone just as easily as we can be tied up by someone. The book is about bondage in all of its forms.”
“Then I look forward to reading it.” He paused as he thought of an idea. “But why not come to my office? We can discuss the details of the contract over lunch,” he pursued with a hint of insistence in his voice.
“I don’t think so. Lunch with you would be dangerous.”
Hunter coyly smiled. “For which one of us, Ms. Slut?”
“I’m not your type, Mr. Donovan.”
Hunter’s body rippled with the hint of a challenge. “You never know; if Donovan Books handles your novel, we may grow on each other.”
“I hope not. Getting involved with the man who publishes my book would complicate matters. I’m also a very demanding author. I might get on your nerves after a time.”
“I have a lot of demanding authors. You would fit right in.”
“Do you usually try and date your authors, or will I be the first?”
He fingered a corner of the manuscript open on the desk before him as his imagination began to wander. “You would be the first. I never date clients.”
“I heard a nasty little rumor to the contrary, about your brother and Monique Delome. They were engaged and then she up and married some Texas oil man. Lucky girl.”
“Lucky to be rid of my brother,” Hunter returned, pushing the manuscript in front of him to the side.
“Oh, do I detect a note of sibling rivalry, Mr. Donovan?”
He leaned back in his chair and turned his eyes to his arched window. “Rivalry, nah. More like deep-seated hatred. And if I’m going to bare my soul to you, you should start calling me, Hunter.”
“Let me guess, Hunter.” Her voice was throaty and delicious, spurring on his desire. “He stole your Legos when you were six and you have never forgiven him.”
Hunter ran his hand over his face, feeling the conversation was getting a little too personal. “Never mind my brother. Let’s talk about you.”
“I make it a practice never to talk about myself. The less people know about me, the better.”
“I don’t agree, Ms. Sl….” Hunter crinkled his brow. “What else can I call you? Ms. Slut is too—”
“Call me Smuttie, if you like.”
“Smuttie…don’t you have a real name?”
“Smuttie is all you need to know.” The sound of voices in the background broke in. “Let me know what you think of my manuscript, Hunter. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.” Then the line went dead.



About The Author Black and White

alexandrea-weis1FOLLOW: Goodreads / Website/ Facebook/ Twitter

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

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Giveaway: 1 set of eBooks (The Bondage Club, Cover to Covers and The Riding Master by Alexandrea Weis) – Open Internationally .

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