Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, I’ll be hanging out with my kids as hubby is away on a sales trip and won’t be home until Sunday. Of course I got the chocolate before he left. Now that’s not romantic in any fashion, but that’s my life.

Thank goodness, I have the fictional life of others to make me all warm and fuzzy on Valentine’s Day even though I get the all the pillows for the next few nights.

***The Couple***

If you haven’t met Darcey and Vincent, I think they may be having a spectacular Valentine’s Day…and night.

Cheers (1)Darcey St. Claire met Vincent Guidry in a posh hotel in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve. Though he was fourteen years her senior and her VIP client, the naturally flirtatious Darcey couldn’t stay away from the handsome former quarterback.

She broke the cardinal rule of hotel sales – You don’t sleep with your client.

Vincent made that part easy with his gleaming blue eyes, rock hard body, and attitude which said he was entitled to have anything he wanted.

BookCoverImageAmazonIn the follow up to their steamy meeting, Vincent Guidry gave up on the thought of Darcey as a casual fling. The young woman had rooted herself into his thoughts and refused to budge.

He’d showered her with everything his wealth could provide and yet she pushed away from him at every turn. Though her copper eyes sparkled, he hadn’t missed the glint of sadness.

What he wouldn’t give to wipe it away.

Their story is done but I don’t think Vincent is done with the showering of gifts for this woman. What is Darcey getting for Valentine’s Day? Here’s a few hints to help with your answers.

  • Vincent’s first gift to Darcey was a set of platinum earrings with pink diamond centers.
  • Darcey is a first generation American. Her father is from Jamaica and her mother is from England.
  • Vincent has never traveled outside of the US.
  • Darcey is a huge fan of the Miami Dolphins.
  • Darcey is a clothes whore. This is the woman who would rather shop than eat.

There you are readers, for your chance to win a $10.00 iTunes gift card to be sent via US mail, tell me what Vincent is getting Darcey for Valentine’s Day.

The winner will be chosen at random by Random.org among those who answer the question. The winner will be contacted by Vallory Vance via email so be sure to leave your email addy.

Winner will be announced on Monday, February 17th. Another holiday? Maybe he’ll do something really big!

~Val

Phantom Lover by Tamaria Soana

SOR Phantom Lover VBT BannerGenre: Paranormal Romance

Can true love transcend life and death?

Olivia Shaw-Clayton’s life revolves around her job ever since her husband was killed eight months ago in Iraq. She slaves away at her desk in hopes of numbing the pain of her loss and the guilt of longing to fall asleep once again to be joined by her phantom lover.

 

***My Thoughts***

This is short story about a widowed attorney, Olivia, dredging through her days as she fights the pain of losing her husband in Iraq. The one thing she has to look forward is dreaming of the man who has been visiting her for the past few weeks. Since this is a short story I won’t give away much but I loved it. It was sweet and steamy sexy and had me smiling from ear to ear. I give this four enthusiastic stars!

About the Author:
Tamaria Soana is middle aged, but just feels her life has begun. She writes sexy contemporary romance stories that always end with a ‘happily ever after’. Growing up she loved to read and make up new places in her head to escape to. In her late teens she began writing short stories and poetry; it wasn’t until her late thirties before she began to spin a full story.
She’s married and a stay-at-home-mom of two beautiful young girls, they reside in Western New York. Cuddling up with a good book under an electric throw is her way to escape the cold Buffalo nights. Besides writing, she co-owns Shades of Rose Marketing and hosts a talk show on Talkshoe called Live with Tamaria ~ Giving authors a voice.
Author Links: Site | Facebook Author Page | Twitter
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour:

Spotlight on Cupid’s Bow by Jewel Quinlan

cupidsbowRecently heartbroken, Raine Daniels arrives home in Las Vegas, Nevada, to help with her parents’ fortieth anniversary party only to discover they are planning to separate as soon as the last guest walks out the door. Everything she thought she knew—her very foundation is rocked to the core.

When she learns that Alexander, the sexy stranger she’d sat next to on the plane, is really the god of love, Cupid—she asks for his help, but he declines. The god of love, now long divorced from Psyche and living on earth among mortals, no longer believes in love.

Raine decides to take matters into her own hands, even if a god tells her she’s wrong.  With her life falling apart around her and the solution seemingly within her reach she dares to try and make everything better. Unfortunately, she’s unprepared for the consequences of stealing Cupid’s bow …

Where you can buy it:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Decadent

About the Author:

From a young age, Jewel Quinlan had an abundant imagination and strong desire to write novels.  She particularly enjoys writing paranormal and fantasy romance. An avid traveler, she has visited fifteen countries so far (which she enjoys using as settings in her novels) and has plans to see more of the world. She has a particular fondness for Bavaria and studies the German language as one of her hobbies. During the day, she works as a pharmaceutical sales representative and, at night, she writes romance. She currently lives in Orange County, California with her two dogs; Shimmer and Penny.

Contact Details:

For more information visit her website and blog or you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Enjoy the following excerpt for Stealing Cupid’s Bow:

From the corner of her eye, the back of a blond head, paired with broad, strong shoulders, caught her attention.

She knew who it was instantly.

Alexander was walking up ahead of them in the same direction. Her entire being zeroed in on him at once and she felt her pulse spike.

Jane was saying something to her, but all of her attention was tied up with trying to see his face. He’d moved off to the side now, and it looked as though he was watching someone intently. Actually, a couple of someones—a man and a woman. On the surface it looked like he was strolling along casually, but she could not mistake the intensity of his gaze on them. It seemed almost…predatory. Was he following them?

Both her mom and her aunt walked so slowly it was almost an agony for her. She didn’t want to lose sight of him. But there was nothing she could do. If she tried to make them hurry, it would spark questions from all three. And the most likely result of her telling them why would be her mother flagging Alexander down in a loud voice, which would be embarrassing.

Jane continued to chatter away, but Raine still couldn’t focus on her cousin.

Up ahead she saw that the man and woman had stopped next to a fountain. The man was saying something. From the look they shared, it seemed to be one of those special moments. Alexander stopped, too. He was leaning casually against a pillar watching the couple.

The man Alexander watched sank down on one knee while retrieving something from his pants pocket.

Alexander changed his stance at the same time. Out of nowhere a bow appeared in his hands. He quickly notched an arrow from the right side of the quiver on his back. He drew and took aim, gazing along the shaft of the arrow.

From what she could see there was only one target apparent in that direction: the woman.

As he released the arrow, a scream rose from within her, but the sound caught in her throat. The gleaming shaft streaked across the space and sunk deep into the woman’s chest, emitting a shower of golden sparks on impact. A second arrow struck the man as well and another cloud of gold erupted. She stopped walking and, since their arms were linked together, Jane did, too.

“Did you see that?” Raine asked.

Jane glanced at her. “See what?”

She pointed in the direction and her cousin peered up ahead.

“What is it, Raine?”

Her cousin wasn’t reacting at all and neither had either of their mothers. And none of the people that had passed right by the scene of the crime were disturbed. She looked again at the couple, afraid of what she might see…and blinked.

There was no blood. No body lay on the floor. No arrow shaft stuck out from either of them. Quite the opposite. The woman was unharmed and glowing with happiness. She had accepted the ring and the man was now swinging her around in joy.

“Did you mean the couple getting engaged?” Jane asked. “Oh yes, it happens all the time here.”

Raine was stunned. Her eyes found their way back to Alexander.

Almost There – The Scent of a Witch

I’m on the fifth draft of my first paranormal romance and I think I’m almost ready to turn it over to one of favorite editor’s, Khriste Close of Scribe Ink Editing. This is a novella so I’m working through this one extra hard because I want to make sure that all the questions are answered in less than 30,000 words and it has the feel of a longer work. I don’t want to miss a thing.

And I think I’m finally ready to share a little bit of the story, so here goes! This is the first meeting of Ada Trevors and Ewan Hathorn.

The Scent of a Witch

yay-10013652“She’s new.” Ada pointed to a female bartender at the smaller bar near the entrance. The shapely blonde poured a line of shots for a group of guys. “Whoo,” she yelled out after throwing the first one back like it was water. “Who’s buying the next round?” Her laugh-filled holler rang in the air.

“Maybe you should buy the next round for her.” Ada nudged Russ, disrupting the fourth check of his watch in the last thirty seconds. “She seems approachable.”

“We’re leaving.” Russ glared at her.

“We have three minutes. Go talk to her.” Ada pinched his thigh as she’d done when she needed him to focus on course work in college. “Do it or I’ll start tickling.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“Huh?” Ada released her hold on Russ’s thigh and looked up at the man who had appeared at their table. Of course she wouldn’t have heard him approach. The band was playing at an earsplitting level and the guys surrounding the side bar were laughing just as loud, still she jumped a little at the sound of his voice.

“Your credit card. It’s on the house.” The man held a gold card between his long fingers and smiled.

“Cool.” Russ jostled in the seat next her, indicating that she should move.

Russ’s bounce to get out of the booth rocked her body from side to side on the springy cushion, but she remained otherwise motionless. Her gaze locked with that of the man in front of them.

He was as out of place as she was in the bar. Among a crowd of button down cotton shirts and jeans, he wore an olive green suit that fit his lean body like it had been sewn into place. He was the first man she noticed all night because stood with a wide stance of absolute confidence not some imagined, alcohol-induced swagger. And an unfettered smile stretched her own lips upward.

“Thanks” She managed to take the card from his hand and shove it into what she hoped was her purse. “We appreciate it.”

It wasn’t that he was strikingly handsome – his brows were too thick and dark for his parchment colored face, his chin ended in a point and his smile revealed incisors that appeared sharper than normal. It was his eyes that held her in place. Looking into the dark orbs rimmed in a flaming gold was like looking into a pond in the moonlight – playful beams of light mingled in the shadows creating something beautiful and slightly dangerous. Her heart skipped a beat then two then three as she searched the depths of his eyes for her reflection in them.

For a moment she thought he sought the same. That was until he spoke again.

“Management hopes you have enjoyed your evening but you are being asked to find entertainment elsewhere.” His voice was deep and smooth, devoid of the Texas twang she encountered in the small town, like it was meant to be heard accompanied by a saxophone. She could have listened to him talk all night.

Only if he hadn’t just told her to get out.

“What?” Ada gulped the last of her now tepid beer, trying to find relief from the heat that overtook her body with the speed of a forest fire. Asking her to leave or not the man was quietly but deftly triggering her libido. “Wh-why?”

He raked his long fingers through his midnight black hair which hung in a straight line inches from his shoulders and groaned.

Ummm

She could also bear to hear that deep throated sound all night. Of course it would be better if her hands were twisted into his silky looking hair and her naked body was writhing beneath his.

Shit, had it been so long since she’d been with a man that good grooming and a sexy voice had her body humming a symphony? Maybe.

And just maybe she imagined the slight rock of his body backward and the gentle purse of his lips as if he were following her thoughts down the same licentious path.

Spotlight and Review of Arranged Love

SOR Arranged Love VBT Banner

What It’s About:

They think they’re fooling their parents, but really, the joke’s on them.

Kayla Ames’s parents could win an award in meddling. Every time she turns around, they’re setting her up with someone new. Try as she might, she can’t convince them to butt out of her love life.

Ryan Newell isn’t looking for love. After having his heart torn to shreds by his ex, he’s determined to never again fall in love and leave himself that vulnerable to being hurt. His parents, however, believe he just needs some help finding the right woman, and their friends’ daughter, Kayla, might be a perfect match.

Realizing they both have the same problem—parents who won’t stop nagging them about finding a partner—Ryan and Kayla agree to an arrangement of sorts. All they have to do is pretend to date, and they don’t even have to see each other, they can discuss the details of their “dates” via email. But then the email conversations lead to real dates, and Kayla finds herself struggling to keep her feelings for Ryan in check as he’s made it clear love will not enter into the equation for him. Then Kayla’s parents suddenly announce they’re getting a divorce, and she begins to wonder if maybe Ryan has the right idea.

When it all gets to be too much for Kayla, she has a hard decision to make—agree to stay with Ryan and never experience love, or walk away for her chance to find it.

Content Warning: contains adult language and graphic sexual content

 Excerpt:

ArrangedLove_MediumLeaning forward, Kayla grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. It was early still and since she wasn’t tired, sleep wasn’t an option. She could go out again. Maybe call a friend to go to a club or something. Or she could go back to the bar from last night…no, no she couldn’t.

If she went out though, she’d have to change. And she was really comfortable. She grabbed the remote again, and as the TV turned on, she swore she heard someone tap on her door. Was Bunny chewing on something she shouldn’t be?

Kayla got off the couch, but saw the rabbit had taken a corner and was lying there, far away from the front door. She peeked through the peephole and, to her surprise, she saw Doug, or whatever his name was. Why was he there? And what was he carrying in his hands?

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. “Hi.”

“It’s nice to see you again.” He smiled an oh-so-sexy grin. “Your parents sent me with food. They insisted I get this to you right away.”

“They did, huh?”

He held the bag out to her and she took it. “Could I come in?”

She sucked in her bottom lip and weighed her choices. Send him away and be done with this, or see what he wants. What did she have to lose? “Sure.”

Doug brushed past her into her house. She stood back a moment, watching him as he glanced around and then finally took a seat on her couch. Kayla joined the mystery man in the living room, tossing the bag of food on the coffee table as she sat on the love seat opposite of the couch he was on. Her stomach rumbled as she inhaled the aroma from the bag now sitting on the coffee table.

“So, what brings you by, besides the food?” she asked, and quickly added, “Please tell me your real name as well. It’s only fair since you know mine.”

“Kayla, and it’s a lovely name. Mine is actually Ryan. Ryan Newell.” He took a moment to rub his temple and proceeded. “Obviously, our parents are interested in us hooking up.”

Hooking up…they’d covered that already. “I’m sorry. My parents are a bit over the top.”

“I’d have to agree. Yours are a little worse than mine. Usually my parents leave me alone, but with your folks, it was like they were double-teaming me. They feel very strongly about you and I getting to know one another.”

“Figures. I’d say we accomplished that in a way they probably weren’t wanting.”

He grinned again. Her heart fluttered. She needed to pack this man up and get him out of there.

“Why don’t we give them what they want?”

What did he say? He couldn’t really want to go along with them. “Excuse me.”

“Let’s date, for them. It’ll get them to leave us alone.”

She laughed. He wasn’t serious, was he? “Brilliant plan, but I’ll pass for now.”

“Just hear me out. I’m not looking to fall in love. But if we pretend to be dating, our parents won’t try to set us up anymore. We don’t even have to see one another. We can discuss our dates and be on the same page with our stories.”

“Wait.” She held her hand up, staring at the dark-haired man that made her stomach do summersaults. “You’re saying we aren’t going to actually date. We never have to see one another. But our parents will think we are.”

He nodded.

“I’m in.” Kayla shrugged. “What could go wrong?”

 Buy Links:  Beachwalk Press

My Review of Arranged Love

Over all I liked this book and give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I love a quirky heroine and Kayla didn’t disappoint. She spends her days working from home as a freelance editor with her pet rabbit, Bunny. She dresses up like a “hooker” as her mom says for a dinner and quickly regrets her decision. She made me laugh on more than one occasion and I could believe her struggle with her feelings with the hero, Ryan.

I liked the romantic arc of the story and the sex scenes were HOT!

My only wish for this story is that was more of a reason for the characters to be involved in the fake relationship to the extent they were. Did that stop me from finishing this book in less than a day? No, because the story was so good and I wanted them to make it work!

 I received a free ARC for review in return for an honest opinion of this work.

More About the Author:

Lacey Wolfe has always had a passion for words, whether it’s getting lost in a book or writing her own. From the time she was a child she would slip away to write short stories about people she knew and fantasies she wished would happen. It has always been her dream to be a published author and with her two children now of school age, she finally has the time to work on making her dream come true.

Lacey lives in Georgia with her husband, son and daughter, their six cats and one black lab who rules the house.

Author Links:    Site     Twitter    Facebook

Sad Song Tuesday – Total Eclipse of the Heart

Researchers have found, according to an NPR report on a random day, that Americans are most unhappy on Tuesdays. The happy effect from the previous weekend has passed and the upcoming weekend seems far away.

One of my favorite lines:

I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight

Late January 2014 Update

Late January 2014 Update

I’ve promised myself that I’m going to be on track this year for writing. And I’m already off to a bad start.

The monthly update is late!

031859083-woman-call-lying-beside-manIn January, I started work on my first paranormal romance, a novella, tentatively entitled The Scent of a Witch. It has gotten some good feedback from my beta readers. Now, I’m working to get it wrapped up to send to an editor before I submit to a publisher.

I’m a little hesitant to release something different. I’m a new writer and I’ve only written contemporary romances to date, so how will this be received? I don’t know, but why not start my year with some excitement?

I’ve written a story I enjoy with the elements I like in the paranormal romances.

The heroine: Ada Trevors, professor of anthropology, is spending her summer in the canyons of West Texas searching for the truth behind the Ap-Muea legend. Stories of a man who can change into a puma have been told for centuries in the region and she has reason to believe that they based partially in fact.

The hero: Ewan Hathorn is Ka’lai. He reigns as the chief magistrate of the five clans of the Ap-Muea who roam the canyons. As the Ka’lais before him have done, he must protect their way of life and keep their existence secret even if it means silencing a beautiful woman.

The setting: The canyons of West Texas – second only in size to the Grand Canyon.

yay-10013652The puma: I had fun researching this animal. A few quick facts for you – Pumas, cougars, mountain lion and panthers are all names for the same animal. The Cherokee held the puma as a sacred. The Apache held that the puma’s wail meant death. Pumas screech and hiss instead of roaring. Males often spit at each other. They are primarily solitary animals.

The language: This was great. I got to play around with developing an Ap-Muea language. Shortly, you’ll learn what Najuo jina lako means.

And the witch? Well that’s a secret.