Q&A with Jessica Lemmon, author of new release, Bringing Home the Bad Boy

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I’m really excited to share my Q&A with one of my favorite authors. Jessica Lemmon, in celebration of her  new book out this week: BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY. Readers of Jessica’s earlier books will recognize protagonist Evan Downey and his adorable son Lyon (YES! Evan gets his HEA–and some lovin’!!!)
If you aren’t familiar with Jessica’s other books WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?! Just kidding (sorta). If you like authentic dialogue, original characters, hot guys, strong women, and fantastic writing, you’ll love Jessica’s work! I bet you’ll find at least one new book boyfriend (I know I did ;)). Check out the Giveaway link at end of this post for a chance to win ALL of Jessica’s books, including #1-3 of Love in the Balance series (Tempting the Billionaire, Hard to Handle, The Millionaire Affair).
Pick up BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY today, you won’t be sorry!
Title: BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Availability: NOW! Ebook and mass market
Series: Second Chance, #1
Where you can buy BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY:
Amazon |  BAM |  B&N  |  IndieBound  |  GooglePlay  |  iTunes  |  Kobo
About BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY:
Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica LemmonCreativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she’ll be the addiction that brings him to his knees. 
Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae’s death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it’s a chance he has to take.
For his sake, and his son’s. Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can’t have Rae, then she vows she’ll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it’s the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness– if only they’re brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives.
Q&A with author Jessica Lemmon:

Is there a message you’d like your readers to take away from BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY?

That there is life for those of us left behind after someone we love passes away. It will be different than the life we had while they were here, but it will get good again.

What books do you curl up with when you need a comfort read?

Lori Foster, Jill Shalvis, Kristin Ashley, and Roxanne St. Claire to name a few. I also love to try new authors. Some of the recent ones I have discovered are Shannon Richard, Lauren Layne, and Rachael Lacey. They are fantastic!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Anything fried. Specifically, potato chips and french fries.

If you could write yourself into any book, what would it be?

I wanted to be Bella from Twilight so bad I couldn’t see straight! I think there is always a part of us, as women, that feels very plain and unnoticed. When the hottest guy around takes notice, likes you back… well, that’s every high school dream come true, isn’t it?

Which of your books was the most fun to write?

Tempting the Billionaire. I knew there was something special about Shane August, and that book was just a joy to write.

Which the most challenging?

Without a doubt, Rescuing the Bad Boy. Donovan and Sofie’s book was originally written back in 2010. Then rewritten in 2011. And, just because I was a masochist, before I handed it into my agent, I rewrote it one more time in 2012. Then, guess what? Once my editor and I talked about the direction of the Second Chance series, I decided to write it ONE. MORE. TIME. Yep, I wrote it again. And while I wondered if this rewrite just might kill me, I have to admit that the story is exactly as it should be.

About author Jessica Lemmon:
jessicalemmon_author photoJessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
Inspiration for Evan Downey, actor Ian Somerhalder Photo found on author's Pinterest board

Inspiration for Evan Downey, actor Ian Somerhalder
Photo found on author’s Pinterest board

Connect with Jessica’s Social Media:
Twitter: @lemmony  |  Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook

You also HAVE to check out Jessica’s Pinterest boards. She includes tons of amazing pictures that inspire and/or relate to her stories. Her board for BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY (found here) has lots of steamy pics of Ian Somerhalder, her inspiration for Evan Downey.

Excerpt from BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY:

“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.

She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.

“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.

“But why here?”

“Um…”

His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.

Reluctantly, she met them.

“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”

Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.

“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.

She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.

Before she could, his lips closed over hers.

Her thoughts short-circuited.

This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—

Oh my gosh!

His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.

If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.

And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.

When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.

She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as pleased as she felt.

“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.

She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.

He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”

Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.

“Sorry, Rae.”

She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.

“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”

Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.

Gosh. He was making her crazy.

GIVEAWAY!!!

Giveaway Kitty!

Enter the giveaway hosted on Rafflecopter: (1) One lucky winner will win a collection of Jessica Lemmon novels!

Click on the link here or on the Giveaway Kitty to enter. Good luck and happy reading!

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton

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Title: NEVER SURRENDER TO A SCOUNDREL
Author: Lily Dalton
Publisher: Forever Romance (Grandcentral Publishing)
Series: One Scandalous Season, #3 (Never Desire a Duke, #1; Never Entice an Earl, #2)
Release Info: Available January 27, 2015!
Where to Buy: 
Amazon |  BAM |  B&N |  IndieBound |  GooglePlay |  iTunes |  Kobo

About NEVER SURRENDER TO A SCOUNDREL:

unnamedA Reckless Desire . . .
Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger-and undeniable desire . . .
An Unexpected Arrangement . . .
As an agent for the Crown, Lord Dominick Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa’s grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife’s virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer-but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage “in name only” leads to exquisite seduction, Dominick must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.

My Rating:

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My Thoughts:

Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton is the third novel in the One Scandalous Season series. However, this final installment of the trilogy detailing the romantic lives of the Bevington sisters easily stands on its own. You need not have read Never Desire a Duke or Never Entice an Earl in order to enjoy this novel, although I would urge you to, since they are both delightful. Lady Clarissa and her future husband appear in each of the pervious novels and its fun to catch glimpses of their future friendship. Check out the Giveaway link at the bottom of this post for a chance to win all three books!

The marriage of convenience between Lady Clarissa Bevington and Lord Dominick Blackmer (originally known to her as Mr. Kincraig) wasn’t very convenient for either party. Clarissa had given her heart –and her virtue– to another and Blackmer was anxious to return to foreign duty as an spy for the Crown. When Clarissa’s beau unexpectedly marries another, Blackmer is caught up in her scandal when her family mistakenly assumes he’s to blame for her ‘interesting condition’. Rather than forsake the kind young lady, and out of deep respect for her grandfather, Blackmer agrees to marry Clarissa, keep her secret and raise her child as his own. I particularly enjoyed when Clarissa discovered her groom wasn’t actually Mr. Kincraig, the rake she’d presumed him to be.

I found Never Surrender to a Scoundrel to be a perfectly lovely read, one of those books that leaves you smiling and satisfied (and in this case, anxiously awaiting Lily Dalton’s next book). Clarissa and Dominick have a wonderful, mature relationship. Despite the circumstances at the beginning of their marriage, they quickly grow closer and become friends. Clarissa’s defense of Dominick against her family’s unfounded vitriol was especially touching and exemplified her respect and appreciation for his sacrifice. Friendship soon develops into much more, as they give into their mutual attraction. What could have felt rushed or forced in the hands of a less talented author felt like natural and organic character development. There is plenty of Blackmer family drama and secrets from Dominick’s past missions to add excitement and mystery. These plotlines add to, rather than detract from the story of Clarissa and Dominick, and highlight the strength of their partnership.

About author Lily Dalton:
unnamedLily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from Texas A & M University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. When she isn’t at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine “junque” from thrift stores and flea markets.

Connect with Lily’s Social Media:

Twitter: @LilyDalton  |  website |  Facebook

Excerpt (steamy and funny!):

He set the nightshirt back on the bed, and spoke over his shoulder.

“I think it’s time you returned to your room.”

He spoke the words without passion. She could only assume he’d had enough talking and wanted her to leave. The night air chilled her skin, and she wrapped her arms around her waist for warmth. She felt rebuffed by him. Stung. Her husband, the man with whom she would spend the rest of her days, did not have the slightest interest in spending a moment more in her company.

She knew she ought to calmly say ‘Very well then, I bid you good night,’ and quit the room, but she feared with a certainty that if she opened her mouth and attempted to utter a single syllable, her voice would falter and reveal the confused tumult of her emotions.

Not because she cared for him. Of course she didn’t. Clearly he did not care for her.

They’d been thrown together, and no amount of wishful thinking or good intentions would create a spark between them, when such a spark was never intended to be. She blinked away tears. Foolish tears! As if he had hurt her, but he hadn’t.

It had just been a long day, and a long night before that, and she’d made a terrible mess of everything, and she hated Quinn. And perhaps still loved him. And she was lonely. So very lonely and frightened of what the future held.

So instead she nodded jerkily, her chin outthrust, and turned on her slippered foot to escape into the dark dressing closet, taking care to close the first and the second door firmly behind her. Miss Randolph reclined in her sleeping gown and robe on the chaise with her book open and steepled across her forehead, snoring, which was just as well because Clarissa could not face the woman’s questions or her pity.

She doused the lamps and, in darkness, with only the scant light from behind the fire grate to see, crawled into bed and lay on unfamiliar sheets, her mind tangled with thoughts of… Mr. Blackmer.

Suddenly, the door swung open, and a shadow moved toward her, stealthily and swift, with only the faint white swath across his hips visible in the night. She recognized Blackmer instantly and desire ignited inside her.        He crouched above her, breathing hard, his skin still damp and the tight flex of muscles in his shoulders darkly illuminated. The scent of the soap from his bath filled her nostrils. Her pulse raced, her heart near exploding.

“You,” he growled deep in his throat. “Are my preference.”

A second later, he kissed her hard, pressing his thumb against the side of her jaw, commanding her lips to part while his tongue boldly entered and teased. She gasped for breath, stunned into half-senselessness…and surrendered, her mouth opening fully to accept each deep, possessing stroke.

He gave a husky groan. His large hands caught hers by the wrists, pinning her to the mattress. She squirmed beneath him—but with no intent to escape.

Moments before he had dismissed her coldly, and made her feel invisible and unwanted and yet in this moment, he revealed his true feelings, ones he’d tried to conceal. She knew without a doubt that her husband desired her. Something about that made her weak, and—

His mouth moved to her cheek…her neck, leaving her skin hot and awakened wherever his lips touched. Sensations she’d never experienced spiraled up from inside her, delicious and achingly sweet, awakening a need in her body and rendering her unexpectedly wild.

God help her, she didn’t understand, but she wanted him as well. The moment he released her hands she moaned and seized his shoulders, sliding her hands upward over his neck, finding unexpected appreciation in the powerful contraction and flux of his muscles beneath her palms. He exhaled, filling her mouth with his breath, and sucked her bottom lip—

Only to groan and twist away.

No. She reached, her hands trailing over his shoulders and his arms, desperately wanting more. More of his kiss, and his warm, firm skin. And yes, for him to ravish her so she would forget—

Then nothing.

The bed creaked, relieved of his weight. She heard his sharp exhalation of breath–a laugh, perhaps?

“Good night then, Mrs. Blackmer,” he murmured.

Silence filled the room.

“Good night,” she answered breathlessly.

He crossed the room, disappearing into the dressing closet, gone the way he had come. She heard the door close.

After a long moment of silence, Miss Randolph’s voice came from the direction of the chaise. “Well that was rather thrilling.”

GIVEAWAY!!! 

Giveaway Kitty!

Enter the giveaway hosted on Rafflecopter: (5) Lucky winners will receive the complete ‘One Scandalous Season’ trilogy by Lily Dalton

Click the link here or on Giveaway Kitty to enter. Good luck and happy reading!

Freezeray: A mother learns to let them grow, inspired by ‘If I Fall, If I Die’ by Michael Christie

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This post was inspired by the novel “If I Fall, If I Die” by Michael Christie, about a boy who’s never been outside, thanks to his mother’s agoraphobia, but ventures outside in order to solve a mystery. Join From Left to Write on January 22nd as we discuss “If I Fall, If I Die“. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

I’d like to think I know a wee bit about mother-son relationships, though I hope mine with my sons’ are healthier than Will and his mother’s.

When my eldest son was six months old I wrote him a letter. I was sitting in my office, missing him with an ache only a parent can feel, and I needed to somehow express my sense of longing for him. Granted, I was only gone for the duration of the work day, but those first few weeks back at work were a challenge for this first time mom. I wrote of the love his father and I have for him and how I wished I could freeze time. I went on to explain that because he was loved so much I would never truly want to keep him from growing up; I’d never want him to miss out on the opportunity to find love or to experience the joy of becoming a parent.

I think the desire to freeze our children for a moment in time isn’t an unusual one, we want to hold on to them as long as we’re able. Infants grow and change so rapidly, it can feel like you are constantly playing catch up. Babbling becomes talking and crawling becomes walking. Soon that perfect baby you have swaddled and protected is running around getting bruises and scrapped knees. With physical independence comes the expression of emotional independence.

Before you know it, you’re sending your little one off by themselves to school and they begin taking those first hesitant steps toward independence. The inevitable, “I can do it myself” is often heard from the same child who doesn’t want to go to sleep by themselves. Soon children discover the sense of accomplishment that comes with “doing it myself” and they begin craving independence. Time alone or with their friends becomes the norm, texts and group dates replace family time and actual conversations. If you manage to survive all this, you find yourself faced with a teenager, who not only desires independence, but demands it.

These steps of growing up and letting go are difficult enough on their own, imagine experiencing them all at once. That’s what I’m going through! I’ve been blessed with four very different, very independent sons, all experiencing their own paths and desires.

I’ve found no matter how much I have tried to limit access to certain T.V. shows or games, once kids are off to school, all bets are off. I have a Kindergartener who never watched an episode of Power Rangers but within the month of school he announced his desire to be the Red Power Ranger for Halloween. I put him on the bus everyday and I can no longer control what he’s exposed to as much as I’d like. As the youngest, he’s stuck between wanting to do for himself and having a house full of people at his beck and call. Maybe I’m guilty of babying him, or maybe I’m just too tired to deny him (or clean up the mess that’s sure to follow him pouring his own drink).

Next I have a 10 year old who’s convinced he’s more independent than he is actually ready to be. He wants to walk to the bus himself, he doesn’t need us escort him to the public restroom anymore, he’s ready to order from the adult menu (to my husband’s annoyance – but not the dog’s). This is one of the most difficult stages for me as a parent. Maybe I watch too many criminal procedurals on Netflix, but I can’t help but see the dangers of the world and how his premature independence makes him vulnerable. I can’t share the details of my concerns for fear of frightening him. I have to balance my worries with his needs and do all I can to protect him. Let him order the ‘big’ meal but insist he takes someone older to the restroom and never walks home alone.

Ahh, the joys of parenting a teenager… I’m cursed blessed with two at the moment. My thirteen year old has always been an independent sort, I consider him an ‘old soul.’ Lately he’s started wanting to be alone in his room more (who can blame him with the chaos of our house). Texting and time on his phone have become more common. I know group dates and wanting to go alone with friends to the movies, etc. are soon to follow. Luckily son #2 is too lazy to push the boundaries as much as his older brother did. ;)

All these stages are just training for the big leagues: High School. Putting a 5 year old on the bus for the first time is NOTHING compared with handing over the car keys for the first time. Clashes are a daily occurrence, over curfews and grades and social plans. My son tells me, “You have to trust me, Mom,” when he thinks I’m being overprotective. I have explained to him time and again, I trust him implicitly – it’s the rest of the world that worries me. I know I have done my best to raise him to have good judgment and values but that won’t protect him from some idiot drunk driver who runs a red light. I can’t wrap him in bubble wrap, as much as I’d like to. As hard as it is for kids to grow up, they ought to realize how difficult it is on their parents too. There’s a lovely quote in “If I Fall, If I Die” by Michael Christie that sums up the challenge all parents face:

Loving a person meant needing them to stay: alive, around. But the shadow that love can’t help but cast is fear: fear they won’t stay alive or around–fear they’ll be reckless or doomed, or just walk away and not consider you again.With love, you’re scared it will disappear. With fear, you’re scared it never will. The trick … was getting used to both of them at the same time. It was living in between.

In hindsight, perhaps I should have invested in a freezeray.

If I Fall, If I Die is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Want to learn more about our Canadian author? Visit Michael Christie at his website,Facebook, and Twitter.

New Release: I’VE GOT MY DUKE TO KEEP ME WARM by Kelly Bowen

I've Got My Duke Blog Tour**I was provided an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion**

Title: I’VE GOT MY DUKE TO KEEP ME WARM
Author: Kelly Bowen
Availability: December 16, 2014 (Forever, Grand Central Publishing) e-Book and Mass Market
Series Info: Book #1 The Lords of Worth Series
Where to Buy:
Amazon |  B&N |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  BAM!   |  Goodreads

Summary:

I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly BowenWHERE SECRETS SMOLDER . . .
Calm. Cool. Collected. Gisele Whitby has perfected the art of illusion-her survival, after all, has depended upon it. Years ago, to escape an abusive husband, Gisele “disappeared.” Now she must risk revealing her new identity to save another innocent girl from the same fate. But she needs a daring man for her scheme, and the rogue in question shows a remarkable talent . . . for shattering Gisele’s carefully constructed facade and igniting her deepest desires.

. . . PASSION IGNITES
This isn’t the first time Jamie Montcrief has awakened naked and confused from a night of drinking. It is, however, the first time a stunningly beautiful woman offers him payment afterward. Gisele has a business proposition for him, a mission involving cunning thievery and a brazen rescue.  How can he say no to a plot this dangerous . . . and a woman this delectable?

Giveaway Info: 5 winners to receive a copy of  I’VE GOT MY DUKE TO KEEP ME WARM hosted on Rafflecopter (or click on Giveaway Kitty for your chance to win!)

Giveaway Kitty!

Author Kelly Bowen’s Top Five Literary Heartthrobs:

1.)   Jamie Lost  (Defiant – Kris Kennedy) (e-Book on sale for $1.99 at various retailers)

2.)   Griffyn Renaud (The Last Arrow – Marsha Canham)

3.)   Godric St.John (Lord of Darkness – Elizabeth Hoyt)

4.)   Jamie Fraser (Outlander series – Diana Gabaldon)

5.)   Connor Riordan (The Runaway Duke – Julie Anne Long)

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About Author Kelly Bowen:

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand and spent a year working on a cattle station in Australia.  She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.

But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance.  When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process.  Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Connect with Kelly’s Social Media:

WEBSITE  |  TWITTER: @kellybowen09  |  FACEBOOK

Ciate London Mini Mani Manor: Day 2

Send those winter blahs away with today’s nail polish selection from the Ciate London Mini Mani Manor ‘Cha Cha Cha’. It’s a festive nearly neon orange that makes me want to paint my toes and head to the beach. *sigh*

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Ciaté London Mini Mani Manor: Day 1

As a young girl, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season was opening my Advent calendar every day from December 1 through 24. I had my grandmother’s calendar from Germany that was gift from her mother. No candy or goodies, just beautiful holiday pictures. Now with 4 sons of my own, I keep that treasured calendar far away from grubby fingers – and keep the Advent calendar tradition alive with the candy filled versions for my boys.
And a nail polish filled version for myself.
Yes, that’s right … a nail polish filled calendar from the creative folks at Ciaté London, featuring 24 days of lacquer goodness.
I give you the Ciaté London Mini Mani Manor:
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Here’s the inside, isn’t it adorable?

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Day 1 features the cheerful pink creme finish entitled ‘Kiss Chase’

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This color just makes me happy (and such smooth application too!).

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Can’t wait to see what the next 23 days brings! Happy Polishing!

Spotlight and Review: The Deepest Night by Kara Braden

Title: The Deepest Night
Author: Kara Braden
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Longest Night, book #2
Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | iBooks

My Rating: 

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The Deepest Night by Kara BradenWhen everything you love is on the line…

The Isles of Scilly off the coast of England are remote, windswept and wild. They’re the perfect place for Ray Powell to recuperate after the toughest Afghanistan mission the military contractor has ever run. Except instead of the peace and quiet he so desperately needs, he’s faced with a beautiful American woman who instantly challenges his iron control.

It’s best to proceed with caution…

Seeking her own safe haven, Michelle Cole is intrigued and flustered by the intensely compelling and irresistible man.

As their cautious friendship slowly builds into simmering attraction, their hearts and souls are about to be broken open…if they’ll allow it.

My Thoughts: 

I realized what a jaded reader I was becoming as I devoured The Deepest Night by Kara Braden.  I kept waiting for our hero, the sexy British military contractor Ray Powell, to show signs of PTSD or deep secrets from his ‘dark and dangerous’ past. Nope. He was well-adjusted and healthy. When asked about the mission that preceded his sojourn to his refuge on [Saint Michael], he was open and honest with Michelle.  No Drama (with a capital ‘D’), no evasion, no lies.

Then I worried Michelle was the one with the secret, maybe a crazy ex or a stalker or Mob ties or …  Again, nope. Sure, Michelle had some baggage in her past, but it only strengthened her resolve to remain an independent businesswoman, a decision Ray respected and supported.

Respect. Support. Communication.  All that plus steamy, slow-burn chemistry make The Deepest Night a refreshing must read.  I reveled in the lack of Capital ‘D’ Drama. I was giddy over the absence of a Big Misundertanding.  I fell in love with the quiet, mature, organic relationship that developed between Ray and Michelle set amongst the unique backdrop of The Isles of Scilly (the locale was so lushly described that I thought for sure author Kara Braden was a native – she’s not).  There’s enough emotional depth to this story that the plot didn’t need any padding to explore two people who were not looking for love – and are awed by the fact they found it.

I’m not the only one who enjoyed The Deepest Night by Kara Braden, it also received a prestigious starred review from Publisher’s Weekly:

“This sweet contemporary will appeal to romance fans who like their heroes powerful and smitten and their heroines capable and genuine.”—Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

See, industry experts agree – Kara Braden is an author you should check out ;-)  Click on Giveaway Kitty below for a chance to receive Kara Braden’s excellent debut novel, The Longest Night.

GIVEAWAY:

Giveaway Kitty!

Enter the GIVEAWAY powered by Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

  • (3) winners receive signed copies of The Longest Night
  • (10) winners get free Audible.com codes for The Longest Night

About Author Kara Braden:

Kara Braden makes her debut in modern romance with a story of love in isolation. She believes that engaging, romantic fantasy can be found everywhere in the world, even in the most unlikely places. With the support of her wonderful husband, cats, and dogs, she writes from her home office outside Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her time hiding from the sunlight and heat.

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Excerpt from The Deepest Night

But as they approached the patio stairs, Michelle slowed her steps. She wanted to preserve the night, to capture the fragile closeness she felt with Ray, to hold it tight against whatever tomorrow might bring.

She was, in fact, tempted to invite him to her room – or to go with him to his room, given the narrow single bed in the manager’s apartment. She could almost hear Vicky’s voice urging her to seize the moment, to let her hair down. To live a little.

That wasn’t her way, but she could…adapt. With a little smile, she stopped two steps up the stairs and turned. With Ray still on the grass, they were nearly the same height. She smiled at him and slipped the flashlight into his jacket pocket, but then her courage faltered. She couldn’t just lean into his arms and steal a kiss.

“Thank you for tonight,” she said, inching forward to the very edge of the step, hoping he’d read her intent and meet her halfway.

He put one foot on the bottom step and draped the blanket over the stairway railing. “Thank you for trusting me to surprise you,” he said, lifting his now-­free hand to her face.

The touch stole her breath, sparking heat across her cold skin. She closed her eyes and tipped her head, pressing against his fingers.

And then she felt his lips on hers, deceptively soft and undemanding, though she felt the strength coiled behind that gentle touch. Her lips parted on a sharp inhale that he stole, the heat of their breath mixing, captive between them. His hand slid back through strands that had fallen free of her ponytail, cupping her nape. Shivers raced through her body, and she lifted up on her toes to lean even closer, bracing her free hand on his chest. His jacket was like ice under her palm, but the leather was soft, pliant, barely hiding the powerful chest underneath.

He chased her gasp with his tongue, a soft swipe across her bottom lip as if he were tasting her. Vertigo hit more powerfully than it had under the infinite stars. She slid her hand up over his shoulder to hold his nape, seeking his strength, his steadiness.

Keeping his fingers entwined with hers, he dropped his other hand from her hair. His arm wrapped around her body, forearm fitted against the curve of her back. She sighed into the kiss, inviting him deeper. He didn’t refuse.

Their tongues touched for a single heartbeat. Parted. Touched again. He drew back and tipped his head the other way as he pulled her close against his chest, her toes now barely touching the edge of the stair. She held tightly, trusting his strength more than her own sense of balance, and gave in to the kiss with a sense of greedy indulgence she’d never before felt.

The raw power of him was a drug to her senses. There was no hesitation in him, no wavering in his intent. Everything she offered, he claimed.