Saturday, December 13, 2014

"All's Fair" by Gabriella Mahoney (Historical Romance)

Genre:  Historical Romance

Summary:  Part 1 of the Island Temptress story.

The dashing Captain Stephen Garrott has never known bad luck until the fateful day his ship is attacked and run ashore by French privateers. His crew is dead and he is stranded on an island full of savages. With his uncertain fate hanging in the balance the last thing he expects to find is the woman of his dreams...

This short novelette is approximately 15,000 words.


Clara glanced about wildly. The ship was going down. She could either follow the crew’s example and jump into the frigid water or go down with the boat like the heroine of a wretched play.

She jumped.

The icy water immediately knocked the breath from her lungs. Her heavy petticoats worked against her flailing arms as she struggled toward the surface. Wreckage from the doomed ship was now dropping into the water everywhere. Clara knew that she had to get away from this area or she would soon suffer the same fate at her father. And even if she avoided being struck she would not last long if she remained in the water.

With no rowboats in sight she swam toward the largest piece of wreckage in eyeshot. From the looks of it the piece of wood might have belonged to the hull. Clara pulled herself onto the floating debris, positioning her body in a way that kept her from toppling back over into the water. The exertion had drained her body of energy. If her heartbeat wasn’t hammering so hard she might have fallen asleep on the rough surface then and there.

The churning waves pushed her further and further away from the wreck. Clara turned her head and watched with morbid fascination as the ship finally gave up its struggle to stay afloat and broke in half with a loud crack of splintering wood.

In a way it was the perfect burial service for her father. He had devoted his life to his work and Clara could think of no other way he would rather leave this world than going down with his ship. Clara couldn’t help but feel a pang in her heart. She had barely known the man but she had now lost both of her parents. She was completely and utterly alone.

Clara warily eyed the grey waters swirling around her.

Alone and stranded.

She had no idea where she was other than a vague notion that they had been sailing south from England. She had no food and no supplies. Her clothes were damp and the water was only slightly above freezing.

Clara pressed her lips into a grim line. She had wanted to see the world so badly. She had walked on board the ship, blatantly ignoring any possible risks. It seemed probable now that she would not survive her first and only adventure.

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Corral Nocturne: A Novella" by Elisabeth Grace Foley (Western Romance)

Genre:  Western Romance

Summary:  Life on her brother’s ranch is lonely for Ellie Strickland. Ed’s ungracious manners and tight-fisted habits keep visitors away and his mother and sister close to home. But when Cole Newcomb, son of the wealthiest rancher in the county, meets Ellie by chance, he is struck by an unexpected impulse to rescue her from her solitude—and Ellie’s lonely summer is transformed.

When Cole asks her to go with him to the Fourth of July dance, Ellie is determined that nothing, from an old dress to Ed’s sour temper, will stand in her way. By the time the Fourth of July fireworks go off at midnight, will they herald only more heartache, or maybe—just maybe—a dream come true?

Novella, approximately 21,000 words.


Ellie finished feeding the chickens, and stood for a moment holding the empty basket, watching them cluck and scratch and search in the dust for the kernels of grain. Then she turned and walked across the yard toward the little weathered frame house. The house, the low-roofed barn, the corrals and sheds made a half-circle around the hard-packed dirt ranch yard, and the garden patch lay east of the house. Sheltered by low hills, the ranch lay down out of sight of the main road. Few people came down the rutted track to the Strickland place. Those who did came on business with Ed—buying a cow, as today, or perhaps to borrow a piece of farming equipment; and they seemed to come rather of necessity than choice. Their infrequent comings and goings did little to affect the daily round of life. Though only five miles from town, the ranch was for Ellie a lonely place.

It was not a particularly hard life they lived here, though for Ellie and her mother there were often irksome extra tasks arising from rather unnecessary scrimping and making do. Ed was ‘tight’; he grudged every bit of new wire for mending a broken fence; he kept his cows as short on grain as possible and then complained when they did not gain flesh like the other ranchers’ cattle; he would never buy a new shirt when an old one could be patched. He was apt to grumble over small extra items in his mother’s modest grocery lists, and Ellie had long since given up asking for anything for herself, knowing she would only hear the familiar response, “But what for? We don’t need it.”

Ellie sat down on the front steps and put the basket down beside her. Ed was out of sight, and it was not yet time to start the midday meal, so she sat still for a moment and let the fresh breeze from off the prairie brush her face and flutter the edge of her calico apron. It was quiet—peaceful and beautiful, with the near-noon sun shining on wildflowers bobbing in the long grasses stirred by the wind. But today the quiet only served to remind Ellie that hardly anybody came down the road to the Strickland place, and those who did come disliked Ed Strickland so much that they never paid attention to Ed’s sister.

Ellie sighed a little, and scuffed the toe of her boot in the dust. She was eighteen now. A lot of the girls she had gone to school with in the little one-room schoolhouse over on Catlin Creek had beaus by now, who escorted them to picnics and dances and took them out for buggy rides on Sundays. Ellie and her mother seldom went anywhere except occasionally to church, for Ed disliked social gatherings and didn’t like to spare the team from work for them to drive anywhere. So they were cut off, to a large degree, from the other women in the area, who had plenty of acquaintances among their neighbors to keep them busy, and knew very little about the Stricklands except what they heard their husbands and sons say of Ed. And as for young men…well, the men that came out here usually left with a sardonic expression like John Bentley’s, and hardly even noticed that Ed had a mother and sister.

Ellie put her chin in her hand and stared away up the double-rutted track to the main road, with the green grass waving softly in its center strip. She was a quiet, practical girl, who simply accepted the little trials of her life that she could do nothing about. She did not spend her time pining for a beau—it was not a real cause of heartache, or something that constantly occupied her thoughts. But there were days, like today, when the accumulated loneliness of months made her heart weigh heavy; when she wondered wistfully how the right kind of young man was ever going to find his way down the road to her isolated home—and once there, what there possibly was that could make him want to stay long enough for a second look.

“No man in his right mind would want Ed for a brother,” she said aloud to herself, and then added as an afterthought, “and I wouldn’t want to marry the other kind.”

And with this reflection she stood up, looked round again at the sunny and empty horizon—empty of either kind—and then picked up the basket and went up the steps into the house.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

"Its Own Season" by Viola Solaro (Science Fiction Romance)

Genre:  Steampunk/Science Fiction Romance

Summary:   Book 2 of the Katrina Warren Trilogy. 

Captain Griffin knew my secret. How many sleepless nights had I suffered while hoping that some day I would be in exactly the position I’m in right now?

Well, maybe not exactly this position. In my mind the whole conversation would have played out more advantageously. Captain Griffin would admit that I was an invaluable asset to the crew and have me become a full-fledged member, woman or not.

The way things were going I doubted such words had even crossed his mind. I love him but I will not have that man dictate my life. I will either convince him to let me stay on board or I'm going to escape to another airship.

This SHORT steampunk romance is approximately 11,100 words long.

When I came to I did not know were I was. I was alive… I hoped. Reality was strangely mixed with my fading dreams. I dreamt about that time in the rain again. Only this time I was twirling beneath the tree. The light was so pretty. I was at home again and felt safe. My greatest concern was the innocent pleasure I took in escaping the house to play outside.

But I wasn’t at home. Not my childhood home at least.

Awareness of my surroundings began to slowly take hold of my senses. I could hear the distant hum of a steady engine. I was on an airship. But not in my hammock. I was far too comfortable and these bed clothes had the wonderful heady smell of a clean man. But if I wasn’t in my hammock then where...?

More recent memories came floating back. There was an attack. I remembered the horrible half-machine, half-man creatures boarding our ship. One of the assailants had been taking aim at Captain Griffin…

I gasped and bolted upright. Pain lanced through my arm as I clutched at the sheet that nearly slipped down and, therefore, exposing my secret. Captain Griffin was sitting in the corner at the table. I could tell from his grim expression that my efforts were in vain. He already knew.

His words formed slowly, deliberately. “A woman…”

I swore a string of unladylike oaths under my breath.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

“I'll Be Waiting (San Juan Island Stories #6)” by Wendy Lynn Clark (Contemporary Romance)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Summary:  For five years Skylar has awaited this moment--the return of her high school crush from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and the opportunity to learn if the sweet, silent and serious helicopter pilot shares her dream of the future.


“Skylar. You’re late.”

Luke’s serious voice tickled her eardrums, jolted her system like a warm finger sliding up her spine. Skylar swayed and turned to face him, mouth reacting before her mind could catch up. “You look great.”

His eyes made familiar crescents to match his beautiful smile. “Thanks.”

He did look great. Better than his last pictures taken in front of his new Black Hawk. The same dark brown eyes focused on her like only she existed on the roof; his hair, a flat Ice Man sheared cleanly up the sides made her want to dig in her fingers; and the adult muscle tone in that hard body perfectly filled his creased, off-duty jeans and starched, THIS WE’LL DEFEND T-shirt.

Skylar’s mouth went dry, and the crowd faded away and her chest ached. Ached for the boy she hadn’t made hers and again for the man that she had already lost.

“Sorry I missed you earlier. I made some wrong assumptions about…well, a lot of things, I guess.” The words stuck in her throat and she blinked back tears. “Congratulations.”

His gaze flicked over her shoulder, and Skylar’s followed…into the now empty space where his fiancée had been standing moments before.

“She brought it up on the boat,” he said. “Nothing’s settled.” His voice sounded flat.

“She seems really nice.” Skylar hugged her bag tight to her chest. “My boyfriend planned this big, suspicious dinner with all of our friends and family, but I put him off until after. But, he’s a really great guy, too, and so I’m sure we’ll both be super happy.”

Luke’s eyebrows lowered.

She didn’t mean to make him feel bad. Just because he hadn’t told her he had a fiancée or even a girlfriend—

Her chest hitched. Losing it. She was definitely losing it.

She pressed her cold hands against her collarbone. Her eyes burned. Oh God. She dashed away the moisture and turned, ready to run for the ladder, or possibly she could just throw herself off the edge. “See you at the ten-year reunion, maybe.”

His hand shot out and closed over her wrist, and he pulled her away from everyone into a dark corner of the roof. “Skylar.”
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Its Own Time" by Viola Solaro (Science Fiction Romance)

Genre:  Steampunk/Science Fiction Romance

Summary:  Book 1 of the Katrina Warren Trilogy. 

My father is dead and now I was supposed to begin my life of destitute spinsterhood. I was well aware that deviation from such a course could only end in a soiled reputation and being shunned by “good” society. I didn’t care.

My plan was simple: pose as a cabin boy on board an airship. Air-steaming between city protectorates is dangerous work but at least I would be free from the shackles of my class.

Little did I realize how ill-prepared my careful book learning had left me. And no amount of common sense could explain my wild headlong tumble into love with the savage Captain Griffin...

This SHORT steampunk romance is approximately 12,000 words long.


I let out a steadying breath as the birds chirped their merry tunes from a nearby oak tree. And now I was supposed to begin my life of destitute spinsterhood. Ladies of genteel birth that have fallen on hard straits were expected to find a respectable occupation that pays practically nothing in which to etch out a miserable existence for the rest of their days. 

I, however, had no intention of doing any such thing. I was well aware that deviation from such a course could only end in a soiled reputation and being shunned by all “good” society. I could never again go to a glittering ball where wine flowed freely all night. I could never again laugh with my rich friends about something trivial like watching a matron’s ridiculous headdress teeter about.

I didn’t care.

My father was the only remaining family that I cherished. My second cousin could go and rot. And I knew now that my “friends” could not really be so. Did any of them bother to pay their respects today? Would any of them invite me to tea now that I was poor? The answer stuck in my throat and made a bitter taste appear on my tongue.

The ceremony concluded and the small crowd began to disperse. Despite his wealth my father had been a very private man with few friends of his own. I nodded and thanked and said all that was proper as they one by one offered their condolences. Although I could not say it out loud, the only thing I felt at that moment was relief. My father had been sick for some time and I had been living in dread of this day. I was glad his suffering had come to an end. I would grieve but it would be in my own way, not some show in front of strangers.

Today was the day my father died and when a new chapter in Katrina Warren’s story is about to begin.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Made for Each Other" by Gabriella Mahoney (Historical Romance)

Genre:  Historical Romance

Summary: Book 5 of the Heart of the Highlands Series. 

Spring has finally arrived and the enormous task of repairing Castle Carinben has been set squarely on Malcom Grant's shoulders. Being only an apprentice when his teacher died, it is a task he feels woefully under-qualified for. He needs help and the last place he expected to find it was from a beautiful woman hailing from the rival Campbell clan...

This short novelette is approximately 12,400 words.


“Malcom, wait!” Kailey shouted after his retreating form.

He paused mid-stride at the sound of her voice. He said nothing, waiting for her to speak her peace. Kailey could tell that he was furious. It was no surprise; her father often had that effect on people. Wallace Birse may be a good father to her but he also had a well-earned reputation for being an overbearing tyrant.

“My father… he means well,” she started lamely. “He gets like that when he thinks I might be in danger.”

“Well tell him to direct his anger at someone else. Because all I see is a foolish old man.”

“He’s not a fool! At least, not when it comes to his work. My father was a stonemason and architect back in his prime. To this day his designs are unparalleled. He’s brilliant when it comes to some things. In fact, the only reason why we’re even able to eat is because of the special rabbit traps that he makes.”

“Lass, I’m sure your father is a good man,” he said with a sigh. “But I simply don’t have the time to try and convince him that he and I are on the same side. I have too much to do before I lose half of my workers to the farms for spring planting.”

“Nay… you misunderstand… I’m not trying to make you like him. I’m trying to offer to help.”

This made him raise and incredulous eyebrow. “You, lass?”

“Aye. My father isn’t the only one with ideas. I’ve grown up around him and the other craftsmen he worked with. He used to show me things here and there, thinking it nothing more than a daughter’s adoration. My father is good to me but he has always been set in his ways. He’s loyal to his clan and in his mind a man’s sphere should not cross over into a woman’s. A woman’s place is caring for bairn.”

“So why haven’t you married then?”

“Easier said than done with an ailing father, a war and living in hiding. Besides—“

“Besides what, lass?”

Kailey considered her next words. She wanted this man to understand her but she also didn’t want to appear as if she was throwing herself at his feet. This conversation had played out much more smoothly in her mind when she ran out of the cottage to stop him. “I…I haven’t…that is…I haven’t found the right one.”

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Clay, Book 1.5 of the Punk Series" by P.J. Post (New Adult Romance)

Genre:  New Adult Romance

Summary:  Clay is the second book of a New Adult Romance Series - Punk, and is a Novella running approximately 50 print pages long.

Why did she get in that truck?

Bethany Warner is graduating from high school and is looking forward to college and the gymnastics team with few regrets, except for maybe Tommy - her possessive ex-boyfriend.

And as the last party of high school is turning into a dangerous and unforgettable nightmare, she meets Connor Clay, a punk and musician with a reputation for violence.

Clay retells the opening chapter of Ache from Bethany’s point of view, showing us not only her perceptions of the events of that fateful evening, but also much more about who she is and most importantly – why.

Note: This Book is intended for 18+ audiences due to pervasive language and adult themes and situations.


I’m sick to death of all of it.

But now I’m finally getting some independence and no one is going to know me at State. Appearances can go fly a kite. They won’t know who my Mom is or who Daddy is: they won’t constantly remind me about those embarrassing stories from freshman and sophomore year: they won’t care who I was seen with last weekend or even if I wear my pajamas to class — none of it will matter.

I can totally start over, maybe even find a bad boy to date for a change, someone exciting, someone that’s unpredictable and not so preoccupied with what everyone else thinks or especially with what everyone else is doing.

Maybe an art major.

Some dark guy with mysterious eyes who caresses his beatnik beard with experienced fingers while he smokes clove cigarettes and quotes Dostoyevsky and Shelley, alluding to the greater beauty and purity of our impending transgressions. And all the while, he’ll be mesmerized, unable to avoid staring at me, beguiled by my enchanting full, inviting and impatient lips, and I shall offer him up nothing but the most modest hint of interest — but he’ll see the longing and passion in my eyes, emotions that I can’t hide from him and he’ll know we were meant to be together.

Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Hell, I’d take a guitarist from some local cover band as long as he can string two sentences together; just please, God, no more jocks or mindless morons.

I mean, I’ll miss it here, but college is going to be so cool, with or without my fantasy bad boy.
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