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A TASTE OF TEMPTATION

This week, my latest book, A TASTE OF TEMPTATION, was released. Book 3 of my Honeywilde Romances, it’s the story of Sophie and Wright, the journey of finding themselves, and love. Friends to Lovers, Best Friend’s little sister, a sexy renowned chef hero on the brink of fame, a tenacious heroine who’s afraid to lose anyone else – this book has it all. I hope readers love Sophie and Wright as much as I do. I’ve included an excerpt below. Enjoy!

“If you want to tell them, I’m in. I’ll go tell your brothers right now.”

“No!” Sophie pinched her lips together again.

“Then we don’t have to say a word to them.”

“But . . . it feels wrong to lie. Doesn’t that mean we’re wrong?”

He could see where this was going. Sophie was a soft heart. Always had been. The last thing she’d ever want was to hurt or disappoint anyone. She was a pleaser, going above and beyond to make her family happy, even if it meant putting herself last.

And they were treading into what many thought was questionable territory: attraction and sexual interest for someone who was once a platonic friend.

Especially when that friend was his best friend’s sister.

Now that he’d accepted his desire for Sophie, there were plenty of times in the past when he should’ve known.

Two years ago, during a long, hot summer like this one, he and Dev had taken a day off. Dev had already stopped drinking by then and gone on to bed, but Wright didn’t want to go home. He’d pilfered the bar for beer and sat on the verandah.

Sophie had flopped down next to him and taken his beer. She gave it back after a sip or two, but it tasted like beer and citrus-flavored ChapStick.

He should’ve been disgusted at the fruit flavor disrupting his perfectly good beer. Instead, he’d shifted in his seat, his dick twitching in interest about what she’d taste like if he kissed her. But because sometimes he was a horny guy, like anybody else, he’d written it off.

Then he’d damned himself for having impure thoughts about the Bradley baby sister, and drunk half his beer to put out the fire and brimstone.

Sophie had lingered, griping about something or other with the staff. A cool breeze blew across the verandah and he’d tried not to notice, but her nipples pebbled against the cotton of her shirt, just enough to see.

He’d jerked his gaze away and told himself boobs were boobs and they were all attractive. He was a hot-blooded, heterosexual male. How could he not notice?

She kept talking and making him laugh with her impression of her brothers, and he didn’t want to leave. Two more beers borrowed from the bar, and he got her to stay. Together, they complained about almost every single person they worked with, and a few of the folks in town, laughing until his sides hurt.

When she did finally leave, he craved her company. He saw her every day, talked to her all the time, and still he wanted more.

He didn’t want Sophie. He just liked her as a person. At least, that’s what he’d told himself at the time.

Now, he was done fighting his desire. He liked her and he wanted her.

Sophie fiddled with the sunglasses in her hand and shrugged. “I don’t know, but if I feel this guilty about last night, then maybe we shouldn’t do it.” Her statement was a plea, her gaze longing for answers.

He only had one answer, and it wasn’t going to change.

Even as she questioned everything they were doing, she took a step toward him, not away. “We should stop, right?”

He closed the gap between them in one step. “Wrong.”

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble –  Kobo – Kensington Books

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Dear Santa

Should I start small with how I want a few books for Christmas? Or move right to the big stuff, like how the world needs more compassion and integrity, less disease, and fewer people being hateful assholes?

Oh, dear. I’m never going to get on the Nice list if I keep using words like asshole, am I?

What exactly is the cut off for being Naughty? Any chance that my letting the guy with fewer items ahead of me in the grocery line cancels out the language I used while stuck in freeway traffic? Or that my hugging the teens and telling them daily how proud I am balances the times I’ve lost my patience with their ever-growing need to challenge authority? (Because these smart alecks are OUT OF CONTROL, Santa. They argue with everything, they’re stubborn as hell, and then they have the nerve to make me laugh just when I’m getting ready to ground them. Why couldn’t they have been more like their even-tempered dad???)

Does it count as Nice that I write books that lifts people’s spirits and make them smile, or is the writing self-serving since it’s what I always wanted to do with my life? (Although, if I’m going to be selfish…can I ask for one of my books to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie? That would be great, Santa. Have an elf get the contracts department on the phone. Thanks.) And then there’s my January book, which I suppose could tip the scales toward the Naughty side.

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Half naked people on the front, a smart-ass heroine who speaks her mind from page one, an explicit relationship that includes a chapter of phone sex? Okay, fine, I have a Naughty streak. (What were you expecting, Santa? I’m blogging to you from a site called Bad Girlz Write.) But even imperfect people can have big hearts and good ideas. May 2017 be the year that people share their goodness with others and bless each other’s lives in unexpected ways, from small kindnesses to tangible solutions.

In the meantime, happy holidays and happy reading to all of you. (And if you’d like to kick your year off with some naughty fun, you should go order Tempting the Best Man. Oh, and watch for Jeanette Grey’s Nine Kinds of Naughty out in February!)

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The One That Got Me Hooked!

sight for sore eyes coverEver since we started the current blog topic of the books and authors that inspired us to become writers, I’ve been wondering exactly how to approach it. I’ve been a reader since I was three, and a writer of stories, poetry, and embarrassing handwritten fan fiction for almost that long, it only occurred to me to try writing novels fairly recently. What flipped that switch was an intersection of some ideas, a creative itch, and a summer full of free time. I’m a visual person. I love stories that draw me into their world, that make me feel like I’m there–and I strive to achieve that in my own work. Also (and you may not believe this about me), I’m a talker. I love to tell stories. It’s probably this desire to entertain people as much as anything else that made me a writer.

There are so many authors that I love and have read religiously for years, but if I had to choose the most inspiring one, it’s the incomparable, late, Ruth Rendell. She was the epitome of the lifelong author, publishing her first novel in the 1960s, and she continued to write up to her death this past May… and in her later years, she did it while also being a Member of Parliament. She’s deservedly one of the queens of British mystery, because of her long-running Inspector Wexford novels, but my personal favorites are the more psychological studies she creates in her standalone books, both as Ruth Rendell and the more Gothic/Literary ones penned as Barbara Vine. Seriously, folks, there are more good books written by this lady than I can count! Do you like dark humor? Do you like razor-sharp insights into the stranger aspects of human nature? Do you like getting into the mind of the villain or weirdo character? Plots that weave the lives of random strangers together with shocking consequences? How about being immersed in London’s neighborhoods and atmosphere? If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, my friends, then you owe it to yourselves to get on closer terms with this legend!

It all started innocently enough, about fifteen years ago, with A Sight for Sore Eyes. I found it on the shelf of the public library, where I was looking for some non-algae based reading material (I was in the midst of writing my Master’s thesis at the time…now that was riveting prose, let me tell you). I meant to read a few pages, take a little break before getting back to the scientific journals and my computer. Later, I realized the day was gone, it was the middle of the night, and I’d done nothing but read that book and pee since coming home from the library!

Her prose is cool and spare, no extra words anywhere, but you are right there in that story, witnessing the making of a sociopath. And sort of understanding him, if not actually rooting for him. And OMG, the hooks! Hooks at the end of every scene! The creeping dread and ominous buildup–and the absolute creepiest of poetic justice at the end! All bow down to the Queen, people.

Even though my light women’s fiction is about as far away as you can get from what you might find in the pages of a typical Ruth Rendell book, she still inspires me. Her hooks, her settings, the absolute realness of the inner and outer worlds of her characters…. if my stories could achieve half for what she did on the daily, that would be a lifetime achievement for me.

So what do you think? Have you ever read any of her books? If you’re a writer, do you have a favorite author who writes in a completely different genre? And most importantly, do you need any more awesome Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine recs? Hint: A Dark-Adapted Eye is just as awesome as ASFSE, but with added WWII intrigue!

Happy (and creepy) Reading!

 

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Give the Gift of a Book!

I’m the last of the BadGirlz blogging about the Holiday Season. We offered practical presents, a cute craft, encouragement, and even what NOT to get a writer. Everything I want is seemingly impractical or doesn’t even exist. Like Hermione Granger’s time-turner or a cloning machine or a microchip so I can find my way home after I go wandering, sleep-deprived and mumbling about conflict and dangling participles. Finding a personal chef or housekeeper or assistant under the tree would be awesome too.

Let me say up front, I am quite possibly the world’s worst gift giver. I struggle with birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries. I ask my husband what he wants and he tells me I should have been paying attention to all the hints he’s been dropping (like a woman). I stare at him blankly (like a man). He shakes his head and says with a fair amount of dismay, “You are a romance writer?!”

If it were up to me, I would give books to everyone (In the ultimate irony, my husband doesn’t read, by the way). So, instead of offering suggestions on what a writer wants, I’m going to throw out some suggestions on books you can gift. I’ve read and can personally vouch for all of these picks. Perhaps, you’ll even find a book to gift to yourself this holiday season!

  1. For the preschoolers and toddlers in your life: If your kids/grandkids/nephews/nieces haven’t PtCdiscovered PETE THE CAT by Eric Litwin and James Dean, then be their hero and introduce them to the coolest cat on the planet who teaches kids that “no matter what you step in, just keep walking along and singing your song.” That’s a lesson even adults can benefit from.
  2. Lower Elementary Age Kids: I SURVIVED series by Lauren Tarshis. Each book in this series takes place during an epic historical event. The latest was The Destruction of Pompeii. She also writes about Pearl Harbor and Gettysburg among other events. The books teach history in an engaging, exciting way.
  3. Upper Elementary Age Kids: WONDER by RJ Palacio. A beautiful story that teaches kids about acceptance. My son’s 5th grade class read this, and he loved it so much he insisted I read it as well. It was awesome.Wonder2
  4. High School: RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin Van Draanen. An inspiring tale about a high school track star who loses a leg in a school bus accident.
  5. Sweet Romance: ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell. I haven’t read Eleanor and Park yet, but it’s on my list. This book is set around Y2K and a techhead who is tasked with flagging inappropriate emails at a newspaper. It’s cute and different.
  6. Sexy Romance: MOTORCYCLE MAN by Kristen Ashley. Someone tweeted aboutAshley_MotorcycleMan_MM this book, and I was intrigued enough to check it out. Loved it. Very hot with two great main characters set around a motorcycle club.
  7. Super-sexy Romance: OBSESSION by Liliana Lee. A trilogy of serial novellas set in historical China. Fast-paced and entertaining.
  8. Heart-Rending Romance: ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. I’m not a crier normally, but man, this book got me good. It made for a great book club book. Lots of controversial topics for discussion.
  9. Dog Lovers: THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein. The life of an aspiring race car driverArt of Racing told from the point of view of his beloved dog. I read this book in one sitting.
  10. Serious Literature Lovers: CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese. I opened this book ready to trudge through it. (It was a book club pick). I could not put it down…loved it!! Forget everything you know about Ethiopia. I pictured a desert wasteland with starving children (Thanks Bob Geldof and Do They Know It’s Christmas?). This book shattered all my preconceptions.
  11. Unexplored History Lovers: THE ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline. I could not believe this book was based on real events in the early 1900s America. Blew my mind. While thirteenth-cover-usathere were a couple of plot points that had me scratching my head, overall the fascinating history made up for it.
  12. Mystery Lovers: THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diana Setterfield. This is a twisty, dark gothic. If you like to be surprised at an ending, check it out.

 

What are some books you’ve read this year that are worth gifting?

 

 

 

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Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection

Perfect for this hectic time of year, Tiny Treats is an anthology of micro-stories, all with different holiday themes. The best part of all is it’s free!

25 different authors offer tales in perfect bite sized pieces. Several of our own Bad Girlz contributed: Jeanette Grey, Sally Kilpatrick, Heather McGovern, Tanya Michaels, and Trish Milburn, with Trish Milburn editing and organizing.

Pick up a free copy today!

Amazon – Barnes & Noble  Smashwords Tiny Treats website.

tiny treats

http://tinytreatsfiction.wordpress.com/

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I Love the Eighties by Megan Crane: I Loved This Book, Y’all!

Today, i’m giving my occasional post series Bitching About Books a warm-fuzzy flip. While Bitching is just that: bitching in general, when I say something nice, I do want to be specific. A few things to mention first: this (and any other book I choose to review on this site) is a book that I have purchased for my own pleasure-reading purposes. The books I select may or may not be new releases, or romance, or even by someone still alive. I’ve never met the author, and my opinions are mine simply as a reader. That being said, when I find a book I really like, a little fangirling is called for…. So let me just say….I loved this book, y’all!

 

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Why I loved it: If you’ve read this blog long enough to get any sense of me at all, it’s obvious. Hello…it’s a romantic comedy where an obsessed fangirl time-travels back to 1987 and meets her ultimate rock star crush! There may be things out there more “me” than that, but I’m at a loss as to what they are. Jenna Jenkins is a thirty-something employee of and 80s video channel, which fosters her borderline-unhealthy obsession over the Wild Boys and especially Tommy Seer, the singer who died in a tragic and mysterious accident back in…you got it…1987! When Jenna time-travels back, she finds herself still at work, but this time, the videos are current, the band is together, and Tommy is alive, but will die in a few months if she can’t stop the person trying to kill him. That is serious, y’all! I mean, if you time-traveled  back to the time when your favorite singer was cute, available, and down to party, you’d be busy enough just boning the dude….amiright???? But Jenna’s got to save Tommy’s life!

Things don’t go as planned since she’s not really his type, and in his eyes, she’s a complete stalker groupie nut-job. From the future. And Tommy’s an asshole to Jenna at first. He makes no bones about his opinion of groupies. But save him, she must, even if he hates her. This is where the story veers from any insert-self fan fiction into reality (or as much reality as the awesome premise will allow). Tommy’s treatment of her is crushing at first. Not only are they not soul mates like she’d envisioned her entire life, she doesn’t even like him. Jenna feels frumpy and inadequate. She’s found herself smack-dab into her ultimate fantasy, and it’s not at all how she’d dreamed, and Tommy’s persona is a complete fake.

But, as they get to know each other, they get closer. When mysterious accidents keep happening too close to Tommy for comfort, he suspects that someone is trying to kill him. As the attempts on Tommy’s life escalate, it becomes harder and harder for Jenna to protect him without revealing the truth he’ll never believe. When he finds out, it devastates their relationship. But Jenna doesn’t care. This is what really sold it for me: her love for him is so deep and multifaceted: the real Tommy, his persona, his music, and all the potential he has to be the artist he truly wants to be–she must keep trying to stop Tommy’s murder if she loses him and her own life in the process.

This book is fun, funny, ridiculous in a great way, has fun with gender stereotypes, and is touching and very heartfelt, too.

What I didn’t love: The cover wasn’t eighties enough! There was a real opportunity missed regarding the tightness of those jeans. And I wished, just for Jenna’s sake, that she could have gotten some better eighties clothes to wear. She spent the entire time frumped-out in Facts of Life Sweaters. I wished she could have gotten herself into some Robert Palmer girl stuff just once. Then again, I guess that’s how we know Tommy fell for the real her. Just sayin’.

 

And now, let’s do an illustrated version!

Here is the band, Duran Duran The Wild Boys. Awww! So cute! Like kittens, but sexy! Which one is Tommy? Whomever floats your boat. There’s a bunch of ’em to choose from.duran duran 1981 a

But…..! Your favorite favorite dies young when you are still a kid!! Noooooooo!!!!

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 If only, there was some way to…..

Cher Turn Back Time (1)

But something suspicious is going on…

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Oh no!! Look out!!!

view to a kill

So you gotta….

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Damn Straight.

To conclude, I wholeheartedly recommend I Love the 80s. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy this book probably doesn’t like fun. Megan Crane, you are awesome.

Love, a new fangirl,

Syd

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