Tag Archives: Birthday Fun!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COURTNEY MILAN!!!

Hee. I couldn’t resist the allcaps. I mean, it’s a birthday! Those days are meant for celebration and excess! And yes, it is in fact Courtney Milan‘s birthday today! Whee!

I don’t know if you know, but I love birthdays. It’s some sort of compensating for my own, I’m sure, but that’s fine because it’s sharing the love and celebrating others! In fact, at ALBTALBS it is all about Ms. Milan today! I’m also evil though, because I ask people if they’re willing to guest on their birthdays and put them to work. 😀

Here’s what Courtney had to say.

So Limecello asked me to tell you what I was doing for my birthday.

Answer: I’m finishing the final formatting/proofreading touches on my upcoming book.

This is not something that lends itself to reason or–since I do all of my editing and proofreading on paper–cleanliness. Here, for instance, is what it looked like when I went through the second-to-last draft of the book.

That big stack o’paper you see I just dumped over the edge of my chair onto a convenient holding surface. I will clean it up…somewhat later, to my husband’s chagrin. Maybe next week.

Now, you might wonder what I mean by “convenient holding surface.” Ha! I will show you.

Behold. Don’t worry; there are three levels on the cat tree, and the cat prefers the top. It’s totally okay!

So that’s what I’m doing today: working, getting paper everywhere, and annoying my cat.

(Okay, I’m also going out to lunch with my sister, but whatever.)

And if you’re wondering about the book? That book is The Heiress Effect, the second full-length book in The Brothers Sinister series.

It’s about Jane Fairfield, the most outrageous woman around, and Oliver Marshall, an up-and-coming politician who should have nothing to do with outrageous women..but who just can’t stop himself.

And since you can’t read any of the text in the photos I’ve attached, I thought I’d give you an exclusive snippet:

[Here’s the book blurb to give you some background]

Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing–and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances–and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

“Miss Fairfield. Miss Johnson. Miss Genevieve.” His words were proper enough, but his gaze lingered on Jane alone.

“Do you like my walking gown?”

His gaze swept up to her bosom, then down to her toes, as palpable as a caress.

“Tell the truth,” she said. “Miss Johnson and Miss Genevieve are in my confidence now.”

“It’s an improvement on screeching horror,” he told her. “It ranks almost as high as sick fascination.” He gave a mock shiver. “But really. Are those vermilion bananas printed on the fabric?”

“Yes. I love it. Look.” Jane held out her pendant, a green enameled monkey with fierce topaz eyes. “See? Isn’t that wonderful?”

He stepped forward and looked obligingly.

Maybe not so obligingly. She was close enough to see his eyes behind his spectacles, dropping not to her pendant but…

Technically, her gown climbed halfway up to her neck. Also technically, all the fabric above her corset was dark lace. Lace with holes.

Nothing showed that wouldn’t have shown in a ball gown, but it still showed, and if someone stood close, pretending to look at a necklace…

He lifted his gaze to her face and gave her an unapologetic smile.

“You’re right. That quite makes the outfit.” He crooked his finger. “Let me see it again.”

The Heiress Effect will be out on July 15th.

So come on! What did you think of the excerpt? Have you read Courtney Milan before? Will you? (You should.) And now, everyone wish Courtney a very happy birthday. And go pre-order her book! The prequel novella to The Heiress Effect, The Governess Affair is free right now, so you should get a copy.

And you know, because it’s Courtney’s birthday, and I think we should celebrate … a giveaway! It’s been beastly hot, and I love reading “winter” books in hot weather, so I’ll be giving away a copy of A Kiss for Midwinter – yet another companion novella to The Brothers Sinister series!

So go on, be creative with your birthday wishes to Courtney!

Birthday Twins! Birthday Bash with Maisey Yates and Vivian Arend!

A few months ago I was looking at future ALBTALBS scheduling, and I saw March 2nd was free. I then thought “hey I know something…” so being mischievous I poked at Viv and Maisey and was like “HEY! It’s your birthday ON THE SAME DAY!” And they were both like “huh, so it is!” Then I was all MAJOR BIRTHDAY BASH! Being good sports, they responded with “let’s do it!” So here we are. Everyone wish Maisey and Vivian an awesomely wonderful birthday!

Serendipity: a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.**
**from Wikipedia

Used in a sentence: It’s very serendipitous to discover that Maisey Yates and Vivian Arend share a birthday.

~~~**~~~
It is easy to understand this discovery is a ‘happy accident” and a “pleasant surprise”. Maisey and Viv are friends as well as writers who face each day armed with their trusty computers and a plethora of ideas, and in the end they create stories.

How is this good? Well. Between them they have 25 (Maisey’s books number, not all released yet) + 30 (Viv’s book number) which equals a whole of stories to make you smile, laugh, cry or shake your fist in the air when appropriate.

How is this useful? Well…. Since we’re talking about birthdays, there are usually presents involved. So how about some presents for this post?

—–birthday word association, Maisey and Viv style—–

PRESENTS:
HARLEQUIN! (well, I mean, come on…I write Presents!)

Wrapped up…unwrapped…belt removal…abs…sexy shifters…Viv’s Takhini Wolves

CAKE:
Frosting…abs…cowboys… Maisey’s Silver Creek series!

Cowboys, Angel, Kissing, Environmental issues…Viv’s Rocky Mountain Angel!!

CANDLES:
Wax…burn…sexy burn…kinky stuff…silk scarves…Maisey’s April release Heir to a Desert Legacy

Wax…burn…sexy burn…kinky stuff…oh wait, is there an echo in here? We’ll just stop at the kinky stuff then, and find Viv’s newest release, out this coming Tuesday, March 5, High Risk

ICE CREAM:
Abs? Any of Maisey’s books.

In Viv’s house they have ice cream every Friday. Friday night is also pizza night. Pizzas are round. Knobs are round. You turn knobs. The Turner Twins are two books by Viv!!! Turn It Up and Turn It On.

~~~**~~~
Viv: So Maisey, I just have to point out that you seem to have a bit of an obsession with abs. Not that there’s anything wrong with it per say, but… 😀

Maisey: it’s probably because I don’t have them…. Honestly though, you can eat birthday cake off a plate, but wouldn’t you rather eat it off abs?

~~~**~~~

BIRTHDAY BASH PARTY PRIZES
Leave a birthday wish and be entered to win one of six ebooks. Three winners names picked for Viv, three for Maisey:

Viv: Winner’s choice of any ebook in backlist

Maisey: E copies of Maisey’s Secret Heirs of Powerful Men series, Heir to a Desert Legacy and Heir to a Dark Inheritance!

Sounds good, right? I’ll start off the birthday wishes – may you both have a fabulous day with good food, good company, lots of fun, cocktails (virgin if you prefer!), cake, and sculpted abs to use as a plate for your ice cream. 😉

Special Guest: Annette C!

Hey you guys! The very fun and special Annette C is wrapping up my birthday month! (I mean, come on, she’d be special if for no other reason than she’s here on the last day of June, right?) 😉 I “met” Annette on twitter way back when, and she’s always been incredibly nice and super sweet. I got to meet her in person at RT10, and she’s basically the reason I attended the conference.

Fun, right?! So now I’ve dragged her out of hiding (she’s been on a hiatus of sorts) and here she is, sharing with all of us! So let’s give her a warm welcome. 

I have an addiction… To series’ reading.  When Lime reminded me I promised her this, I racked my brain thinking over and over about all the things I read, what should I discuss, what would others find interesting… or agree with… Ok, perhaps even just understand without thinking I am a nutter ;). Everything kept coming back to the fact that most of what I read are series’. I love them, am totally addicted to them.

I have the complete Harry Potter series, hard covers, first edition.  I was one of those you would hear moaning and groaning on twitter about just. How. Long. Two years is when waiting for the final book in Karen Marie Monings Fever series…. I was also one of those you saw happy dancing all over the Internet when the day finally came that it was released. I utterly refuse to start a series unless I have all of them that are published to date. Refuse to read a book, even if I am half way through it, as soon as I find out its a series.  I will put it down, set it aside and start ruthlessly gathering the rest. Craziness right?

But c’mon. How can you not love a series! Jude Deveraux has so many amazing ones, I wouldn’t even know where to start… But I know that every time I re-pick up one of her series, I truly feel as though I have come home to visit old friends. Christine Feehan… Have mercy. Imagine putting down Dark Prince, never to have another carpathian to drool… I mean, meet :).  Devastating!  What makes it even better is the fact that throughout most series’ you get visits from old friends from earlier in the series. Even with spin offs! I would be so upset if Katie MacAlister never let us know what antics Jim the demon dog was up to. Like, seriously upset… I really do love that dang demon dog.

There are so many more things that I could list spouting my love for series, but then I do believe I would be rambling… So, though I have listed some of my favorite series’, I will close by listing a couple more.

Donna Grants’ Highlanders… O.m.G… Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson, Sharon Sala & Heather Graham (ok, seriously just read them, anything by them… Everything by them) Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas…  Elisabeth Naughton, Alyson Noel, Jennifer Estep, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, James Michener…

Oops, what was that I said about not rambling… Sadly this isn’t even an 1/8th of my favorites… So if you haven’t read these yet, run … run and get every one of them, because they are just *that* awesome.  So… Enquiring minds and all… What are your favorite series’?

Erm and… *angelface* I might have chosen random covers from series, just because. >.> Hope Nettie’s head doesn’t explode… ;X
And on a personal note, a huge, heartfelt thank you to Annette for her patience. We’ll all pretend this went up at the normal time, shall we? And cross out fingers July is better while letting out a breath of thanksgiving that June is ending.

Birthday Bash Blog Blowout Giveaway

Hey y’all. I had lofty ideas of listing EVERY BOOK with it’s cover AND BLURB! I… am not up to that. And also don’t have enough time so instead… I’m adding a trailer to Magic Mike. Because, well really it needs no explanation. (Matt Bomer!) <3

Also there’s SYTYCD.

Ok soooo…. you know how to get brownie points in this giveaway? Sign up for Swagbucks. And… I know it’s too much for you to message me… so when you sign up, enter JUNETASTIC for an extra 70 swagbucks. http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/limecello that’s all! If you have questions, let me know. Sorry, code is for new registrants only.

Now, the stuff you care about – THE PRIZES!!!

First of all, the AMAZINGLY awesome @mamaboo7907 is offering three gift cards.

You know what? Forget that. Joke’s on you!!! You know what the Birthday Bash Blog Blowout Giveaway is? It’s that Lime wins all the things. I’m kidding. But seriously – how did I manage to make it so you guys all win things on my birthday, and I get nothing? 😛

Ok, seriously though. In alphabetical order of the givers… Hint – if you want to find out more about the book you can click on the book cover.

@mamaboo7907 is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card, as well as two $5 ones! That’s three up for grabs!

Nurse Kayla Friday has dedicated her life to science and reason. But for her, Seattle is a placeof eerie loss and fragmented, frightening memories. And now the only clue to her sister’smurder reveals a secret battle between two ancient mythologies…and puts Kayla in the sightsof lethally-sexy werewolf mercenary Hart. He’ll do whatever it takes to obtain the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead and free what’s left of his soul. But seducing the determinedKayla is putting them at the mercy of powerful desires neither can control. And as the clockticks down to hellish catastrophe, the untested bond between Kayla and Hart may lead to theultimate sacrifice.

[I’m actually assuming this is the prize (a print copy) because I asked Kira but she’s gallivanting about in Scotland, so you know. That’s what she gets!!!]

Contains:

The Efficiency ExpertGlintForbidden TreasuresPower of Three

Author’s warning: These stories contain explicit scenes of erotic activity and experimentation, including sex with multiple partners, spanking, caning, exhibitionistic sex and voyeurism and male/male lovemaking. Some of the graphic language is only suitable for broadminded adults.

Both prizes from Portia are ebooks.

From the moment Red Webster arrived at executive Vicki Renard’s firm, sparks flew between them. The photographer is supposed to create a company profile for its new owner, but he spends most of his time flirting with her. His sexy teasing infuriates Vicki…and piques a desire to submit to him. His hypnotic eyes promise what she’s been secretly craving: a sexually dominant master, like the ones in her favorite erotic novels.

Investigating his new business incognito, billionaire F. W. Shanley–aka Red–is turned on by Vicki’s fiery personality and undeniable beauty. When he discovers her reading a BDSM novel on her eReader, he knows he’s found a woman who shares his desires and promises to be a challenging submissive.

When Red arranges a weekend at a secluded hotel, Vicki agrees to indulge in no-strings-attached erotic fun. But can she commit to this kind of life with Red when he realizes they can have so much more?

Now Alyssa Day’s prize is actually the winner’s choice of one of her current Warriors of Poseidon’s books – but I liked this cover. And you know, winner’s choice. Print and international is fine. (For most the books in fact.)

Alaric, Poseidon’s High Priest, has made a vow to Quinn, the woman he loves and the leader of the Resistance: to save her friend Jack before his last bit of humanity has been drained. Should Alaric succeed, there’s one danger-he may lose Quinn to the love of the man whose life he saved…

The Roughnecks Series (Book One) You do for family, no matter what. Lane Iverson knows that better than anyone. Harboring a secret about his mother’s death, Lane is counting the days until he finishes helping his brothers with some work and can head back to his hiding hole hours away. As long as he doesn’t have to face his three brothers every day, the guilt is easier to carry. There is only one thing that can risk his plan. All of five foot tall, with these deep eyes and a voice that shudders through him. The completely addicting, Gretchen Jones. She’s been watching him the entire time he’s been in town. With courage from her friends behind her, she confronts what she wants. To her surprise, that’s the easy part. Keeping her heart protected when she knows he’ll be leaving? Not so easy, but her only choice.

“Where Darkness Lives” by Alexandra Ivy – No one’s more surprised than Sophia when she’s struck by an unfamiliar maternal urge to move near her daughters. But instead of being greeted by a welcome committee, she’s targeted by kidnappers…and saddled with a gorgeous bodyguard on a mission to protect – and seduce…”Murder on Mysteria Lane” by Angie Fox – When a werewolf trophy wife is found dead in Vampire County, Heather McPhee goes undercover to investigate. Heather’s never been a mascara-and-manicures sort of girl, but she’s willing to learn. Especially with sexy vampire detective Lucien Mead posing as her husband…”What’s Yours is Mine” by Jess Haines – Still Waters is like many other exclusive gated communities – except that it’s home to one of the largest werewolf packs in the state. But Tiffany Winters isn’t frightened of her big, bad new neighbours. In fact, she intends to take her place among the pack…”Werewolves in Chic Clothing” by Tami Dane – Ever since Christine Price moved in with her fiance, Jonathan, and his twelve-year-old son, she’s worked hard to fit in with a cadre of local women whose lives seem picture-perfect. Except no one in Jon’s upscale neighbourhood is quite who they appear to be. Least of all Jon…

In the lusty humidity of the Deep South, among the neon lights of Vegas, and the glitz of high-fashion, demon slayers are the new sexy…”Hot!” by Kathy Love: At Hot! Magazine, the devil really does wear Prada. When the CEO is an actual demon and the mailroom people are undercover demon slayers, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for an up-and-coming photographer and a model possessed by much more than a sweet tooth to fall in love. “What Slays In Vegas” by Angie Fox: When a sexy succubus comes up against a fearless demon slayer intent on killing her boss, a truly wild Vegas night turns into a quickie wedding. But in a city where anything goes, a demon slayer wedding a succubus is strictly forbidden. Which doesn’t mean either is rushing to jump out of the marriage bed. “The Bride Wore Demon Dust” by Lexi George: He’s perfection in a tuxedo – more so out of it – and on a mission to protect his Alabama woman from the mysterious mayhem intent on her destruction. But the bride is a spunky steel magnolia with special powers of her own, determined to drop-kick evil forces across the state line and give her slayer a run for his money.

From New York Times bestselling author, Angie Fox: Last month, I was a single preschool teacher whose greatest thrill consisted of color-coding my lesson plans. That was before I learned I was a slayer. Now, it’s up to me to face curse-hurling imps, vengeful demons, and any other supernatural uglies that crop up. And, to top it off, a hunk of a shape-shifting griffin has invited me to Greece to meet his family. But it’s not all sun, sand, and ouzo. Someone has created a dark-magic version of me with my powers and my knowledge–and it wants to kill me and everyone I know. Of course, this evil twin doesn’t have Grandma’s gang of biker witches, a talking Jack Russell terrier, or an eccentric necromancer on its side. In the ultimate showdown for survival, may the best demon slayer win.

A whopping five copies of this book – to be given away here and on twitter. (I’ll figure out the division.)

Samantha Carpenter always considered sleepwalking a harmless condition. Most people wander their own homes or their immediate neighborhood. Sam wasn’t most people. She was found miles away from home at her place of employment behind locked doors bypassing the security system, putting the job she desperately needed at risk.

Emily Hunger was being followed by a dark presence. She could feel it. Fleeing college to escape her stalker, she landed in Salt Lake City where she found a career, love and a degree of freedom. Her ability to sense danger came in handy as a rookie on the SLCPD, but she never anticipated that ability would attract attention.

When a woman claiming to be their aunt brings these two strangers together, her revelations will lead Sam and Emily on a journey of self discovery in a world they never knew existed. They must race to establish their right as witches to be one of the Consul members in the Realm of Lights. Struggling to accept their new reality, the Gemini Witches are thrown in with Wizards and demons as they try to learn how to control the elements. With the Autumn Equinox fast approaching, they must find a way to unite, their untested talents the only defense against the forces that threaten to consume them, but when Sam is kidnapped, can Emily save her in time?

The news that wild socialite Veronica St. Germaine has cleaned up her act and stepped into her father’s shoes as ruler of a Mediterranean principality creates a tabloid frenzy! But it’s not just the paparazzi that are out for blood.…

Duty demands that bodyguard Rajesh Vala must protect Veronica—whatever the cost.… But Veronica has always rebelled against commands, and she isn’t making Raj’s job easy!

He calls it safeguarding. She calls it being held captive at his beach house. Both realize that the attraction between them is inconvenient.… Veronica is forbidden, not for bedding!

Well, Kate Hewitt is awesome for offering this prize. I can’t find the book blurb though. I checked Amazon, used a search engine, Waterstones (which is what was supposed to be the M&B link) ended up at – and then her web page. So there you go. But this book is up for grabs, and that’s the important thing! You can also read an excerpt of it here. So that should help.

Erm, if anyone wants to hunt that down for me – not at the top of my list right now what with all the other books, but I’m sure it’s a great category romance. 🙂 And notice now this is one of the UK covers, not an American one? Anyone have a preference for types?

(This is an ebook prize)

The relationship is pretend. The chemistry…isn’t.
After her last job ended with a broken heart and a humiliating exit from the company, Shelby Leighton’s project management career is back on track with a new job and a high-profile project. The problem: her new boss is a little too friendly, and the staff is talking. Can you say, “déjà vu?” The solution: casually mention a fictional new boyfriend.

New problem: she’s expected to bring her new man to the upcoming corporate picnic.

Jake Magill doesn’t do relationships. It’s casual or nothing, but the hot blonde he’s been eyeing at the coffee shop sure is something. Especially when she confesses her problem, and he finds himself offering to act as her date.

Sounds simple. Stroll around the party with Shelby’s sexy curves clinging to his arm? He’s all over it. Until he meets her boss—the man who once stole and married the one woman Jake thought he loved.

Now Jake’s the one with a reason to pretend. If only to save his own pride…and Shelby from the predatory gaze of the man who could ruin her, and any chance of finding out if their fake connection is the real thing.

Um, yes, I know there are already three copies of this book up for grabs on the blog. So… you might want to enter there for better odds. One of my favorite books this year. (One of two.) You want it. And lucky all of you, you have two more chances here!

The Marquess of Fenris has loved Lady Eugenia from the day he first set eyes on her. Five years ago, pride caused him to earn her enmity. Now she’s widowed, and he’s determined to make amends and win her heart. But with their near explosive attraction, can he resist his desire long enough to court her properly?

After the death of her beloved husband, Lady Eugenia Bryant has come to London to build a new life. Despite the gift of a medallion said to have the power to unite the wearer with her perfect match, Eugenia believes she won’t love again. And yet, amid the social whirl of chaperoning a young friend through her first Season, she finds a second chance at happiness.

Unfortunately, the Marquess of Fenris threatens her newfound peace. Eugenia dislikes the man, but the handsome and wealthy heir to a dukedom is more charming than he has a right to be. Constantly underfoot, the rogue disturbs her heart, alternately delighting and scandalizing her. And when their relationship takes a highly improper turn, Eugenia must decide if the wrong man isn’t the right one after all.

Irish film director Rill Pierce fled to the tiny, backwoods town of Vulture ‘s Canyon, seeking sanctuary and solitude after a devastating tragedy. Once, his raw sex appeal and sultry Irish accent made women across the globe swoon. Now, he’s barely recognizable…

But Katie Hughes, his best friend’s sister, is not the type of woman to give up on a man like Rill. She blazes into Vulture’s Canyon determined to save him from himself. Instead, she finds herself unleashing years of pent-up passion. In a storm of hunger and need, Katie and Rill forget themselves and the world. But will Rill’s insatiable attraction to Katie heal his pain—or will it just feed the darkness within him?

Darkness can arouse the senses…

John Corcoran loved the isolation of the Shawnee National Forest with the crisp spring air, the sounds of nature, and the bracing scent of pine. Isolation is what movie star Jennifer Turner craved as well, an escape that only a weekend hike, a long and blissful distance from Hollywood, could provide.

Yesterday, they were strangers—until a fateful accident, deep in the forest and far from civilization, throws them together and plunges them both into darkness. For Jennifer it is as unnerving as the night itself, trapped in such close quarters with a man as mysterious as John. He is alpha: bold, rough, and masculine, but with a scent of firewood and spice she finds intoxicating.

In the dark, Jennifer’s nightmares spring to life. The only way to vanquish them is by submitting to blind, naked need. Now, as intimately close as a man and a woman can be, they find themselves alone, battling fear and vulnerability. Only an unexpected passion will comfort them—a sensual, raw experience from which neither is certain they want to be rescued.

This is a print copy for US only – sorry kids, but hey! Variety!

Shannon’s Christmas Wish List 1. A gorgeous billionaire to buy her store… enter Rory Wallace-swoon! 2. The magic of Christmas… Rory and his little girl need to know that it still exists. 3. Willpower… because kissing Rory under the mistletoe would be a Very Bad Idea. Shannon Raleigh can’t believe that both Rory Wallace and his little girl dislike Christmas so much and she’s determined to make her favorite season as magical as possible! But working with handsome Rory every day proves challenging, because Shannon finds herself longing for Christmas kisses with the man she can never have…

Cedric Reeves has just been sidelined, and the bad-boy pro footballer suddenly finds himself without an agent or a prayer of getting back in the game. What he needs is someone pulling for him…someone like gorgeous go-getter Payton Mosely.

A media-hounded celebrity like Cedric is just what the ambitious up-and-comer Payton needs to jump-start her career. That’s why she’s waging a no-holds-barred campaign to land the Saber running back as her first client. But how’s the NFL sports agent supposed to keep things strictly professional when Cedric pursues her with a passion no sane woman can resist? Could this sexy bad boy be good for her after all?

Now we have two signed copies of this book up for grabs! And like most of the others – international is quite welcome!

The last thing Valerie needs, after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star.
John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.
Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?

In the wake of his parents’ murder, Matthew Graham must take the reins at the Circle Eight – a vast spread in the eastern wilds of the newly independent Republic of Texas. He also needs to find a wife in just thirty days, or risk losing it all. Plain but practical, Hannah Foley seems the perfect bride for him…until after the wedding night. Their marriage may make all the sense in the world, but neither one anticipates the jealousies that will result, the treacherous danger they’re walking into, or the wildfire of attraction that will sweep over them, changing their lives forever…

And now last but definitely definitely not least… Samhain Publishing.

That’s right. Samhain Publishing is giving away FOURTEEN books!!!

Yup, fourteen different lucky winners get to choose any of Samhain’s current books. [Not ARCs, but um, their current selection is pretty awesome. If that’s not enough for you you might need to reassess some things.] Seven commenters will win the print book of his/her choice, and seven will in an ebook.

So… how do you enter? Say something fun! Nice! Birthday related! (Or birthday horror? My birthdays actually tend to suck. Like… a lot so… if you have sob stories to share those are welcome too!) Or you can tell me if you’ve joined Swagbucks (http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/limecello) with “JUNETASTIC” yet. And if not, why. ;D

So that’s what, 42 prizes? (Remember, some are multiple copies. Come on – that’s not bad, right? :D)

Look – it’s my birthday. I’m allowed to be bratty about something. Also – full disclosure and honesty – why am I “harping on this stupid Swagbucks thing? ” Well the blogger who gets the most referrals – ending today – gets a prize. Since I can’t win any of these awesome blog birthday prizes, won’t you help me try to win something else?! On my actual birthday? Thanks!

Oh – and to also help the process – please fill out this form for giveaway purposes. And remember to skim the previous posts – there are a number of open giveaways still. For those of you with questions on how this will be run, most of them are likely addressed here.

Teaser “Tuesday”: Sway by Lauren Dane

I know we’ve got super awesome author Lauren Dane sharing an exclusive excerpt of her upcoming book with us today… and it’s even part of an anthology with Maya Banks. The story, Sway, is a novella in the book Cherished.

CherishedSway by Lauren Dane
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing August 7

The Sway blurb:
Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.

She tasted like honey.

Odd and yet, not entirely unexpected.

Her lips were soft, opening on a sigh. He took her invitation and took the kiss deeper, his tongue sliding into her mouth.

His hand remained in hers, though he wanted to haul her close and take her to the couch. He hadn’t wanted to get horizontal on a woman with this much intensity in a very long time.

The more he tasted, the more he wanted until need beat in his head like a pulse.

The depth and intensity of his desire shook him. Hit him so hard he had to fist the hand she wasn’t holding to keep it from shaking.

He kissed like a master. Daisy knew she was in way over her head and all he’d done was kiss her. They weren’t even touching except for lips and tongues and his hand in hers, but it was enough. Enough that it was a full-body caress when he groaned as she sucked his tongue.

So very controlled, this man. But it was there, just under the surface. Levi Warner was a very dominant male and she wondered if that extended to his sexuality.

Hoped so. It wasn’t that she’d had many dominant lovers or anything. But he’d awakened something inside her. Curiosity, yes, but a sense of satisfaction in letting him lead. Something she’d never experienced before.

The weight of his focus on her was tangible. It made her a little drunk, needing more even as she barely managed to process what he gave her through a simple kiss.

It was enough to let him lead the kiss, enough to step back and wait for whatever he had in mind next.

Her body ached, her nipples throbbed and her pussy was wet and swollen. She shivered, imagining what he’d be like naked. In her bed. In his bed with her in it. Whatever, it didn’t matter where, the naked part was important.

He was patient. So very patient as he continued to kiss her. A nip of her bottom lip that had her gasping for air. His beard stubble gave her just the right amount of friction. Nearly painful. Enough to make her imagine what it’d feel like against the skin of her inner thighs as he went down on her. And she bet he did it well. If his kissing was any indicator, he’d be a marvelous pussy eater.

With a sharp intake of breath he broke the kiss and stared at her. His pupils were huge again and it gave her yet another shiver of delight.

“I should go.”

“You should?” She grabbed the front of his shirt without meaning to and released it quickly. If he left, she’d never speak to him again.

“Christ.” He scrubbed a hand through his hair and she let the other one go. Whatever it was he was fighting with himself over, he had to deal with it. He was a big boy and she sure as hell wasn’t his mother. Nor did she plan to beg him to stay.

She knew her worth as a woman. She’d been raised by not only a kick-ass mother, but her grandmother and sister were also strong, smart women. Whatever her concerns about her talent and art, she’d never beg a man for his attention.

He wanted her or he didn’t. So she sat back a little and let him work through it.

“You’re too young. I shouldn’t even be thinking about sex.”

She sighed. “You keep saying that. I’m far over the age of consent. Also, you’re assuming a lot. I don’t fuck on the first date.”

Then he laughed and she felt better for it.

“You’d leave me with blue balls?” he teased.

“I’m too young? You give me that line and talk about my age? I’m sure I heard that one back in the day. Do you think I’ll give you a pity hand job?” She grinned. He was adorable and damn, she might have broken her no fucking on the first date rule earlier, so it was probably good that they both stepped back for a moment. He made her feel . . . unfettered. And as lovely as it was, no man had ever made her want to jump so foolishly into something.

He grinned back. “Well, all right, it’s been some time since I’ve used that line.”

“What’s next? Will you tell me you’ll only put the tip in?”

You can read another excerpt here. And you know what else?! Lauren is giving someone a copy of Never Enough which is the book that takes place right before Sway begins! (Sway is part of a new series – here’s the info:

The Delicious series will feature Gillian’s friends – Daisy – Sway, Jules – Tart (11/12), Mary’s book and Raven’s book both out in 2013. The books are about a group of friends, all set in Bainbridge Island, WA. More info as we get closer. Sway will be in the Cherished Duology with Maya Banks out in August of 2012 and for those of you who wanted an epilogue in Never Enough, you’ll see Adrian and Gillian’s wedding prep in Sway. Sway is contemporary erotic romance with BDSM themes. Tart is Jules, Cal and Gideon’s story and you’ll meet Mary’s hero at Gillian and Adrian’s wedding…

Are you excited? Tell me what you think!) p.s. if you have any questions about how this giveaway will/is run it’s likely answered here.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Julie Anne Long

Hi friends! Birthday month is almost over 🙁 And not a single present! But that’s okay, because you know what? I have presents for you! And you know what’s a great gift? A fun visit from author Julie Anne Long! She’s answered some questions, and is also sharing an exclusive excerpt of A Notorious Countess Confesses which isn’t out until October 30! Whee!!!

Ms. Long is also a sneaky one, so keep an eye out for her! 😉 Anyway, let’s start out with those questions!

1. Which would you prefer wearing – cowboy boots or stilettos?
Cowboy boots. Where else would I keep my miniature pearl-handled  derringer?

2. As a child, did you ever imagine your stuffed animals came to life?
“Imagine”? What do you mean? Didn’t…yours?  I suspect my Breyer horses of galloping all over the place while I was sleeping.

3. What do you think about clowns?
I try not to think about clowns.

4. What author promo has been most effective for you?
It’s so difficult to meaningfully quantify the impact (though it’s tempting for anyone who likes to analyze things, and boy do I) of any particular promo. I think I’ll instead offer a bit of advice: think the smartest (and it sounds simple) thing any author can do is to make sure the readers who love her books know when she has a new one coming, however that works best for you—newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or so forth.  Maintain a consistent, ongoing connection with your readers. It’s such a pleasure.

5. What was your favorite book as a child? Which character in it did you most want to be?
I loved so many books as a child it’s nearly impossible to choose one. But when we were little, my sister and I went through a phase where we were obsessed with all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. We played “Little House on the Prairie” every day. We baked mud pies on baking day and pretended to milk our poor Malamute (she was the stand-in for a cow) and churned fake butter. If I could have been Laura Ingalls Wilder riding Black Beauty, that would have been SWEET.

6. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste is on your bathroom counter right now? What about your toothbrush? Are there brands for either you prefer?
My toothbrush, huh? It’s pink. And has bristles at all different heights. The toothpaste is Crest and apparently it does an awful lot of things—whitens, brightens, scrubs, freshens my breath—and the tube is huge, about the size of a forearm, maybe because I bought it at Costco.

7. If you were to become a bear, which type would you choose?
I think I might like to be a Giant Panda. I quite like the idea of the word “Giant” in front of my name.  Their scientific name, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, translates to “black and white cat-foot,” and I’m for anything to do with cats. They’re omnivorous, and so am I. Black and white as a color combination never goes out of style.  And they look unbearably (unbearably. Ha!) puffy and adorable, but they’re still BEARS, and they might just attack anyone who irritates them.

8. What is your secret plan for world domination?
Little do you all know, but I’ve been dominating the world for some time now. You are all puppet s in my intricate master plan. 😉 But I’m a benign (and subtle) despot.  But you have nothing to fear: unlike Chase Eversea in Since the Surrender, I don’t have any issues with puppets.

9. Do you collect anything? If no, have you ever collected anything? What did you do with it?
I don’t collect anything with real conviction. Unless you count, of course, books (then again, I’m sure most of the people reading this blog have prodigious libraries).  I love very old books, but I don’t have a lot because  I like to come across them serendipitously—I love thrift stores and rummage sales and the huge Friends of the Library sale at Fort Mason for that sort of thing. I have several books with lovely worn Art Nouveau covers. I have a few special Art Deco objects. The older I get the less stuff I seem to want, and I’m particular about what I acquire.

10. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Deceased authors?!? That’s an alarming notion! Are they zombies? Will I need to serve brains??
If I may resurrect five authors, let’s see…if I don’t do this completely off the top of my head I’ll be mulling forever, so I’ll do this completely off the top of my head. I want to laugh, think and flirt during my dinner party, and I want my guests to get along with each other and have a wonderful time, and you didn’t specific fiction authors (and I love wriggling through a loophole), so I’ll invite Jane Austen, Benjamin Franklin (a thinker and a flirter if ever there was one), Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winning Physicist; I read his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”, many times—he was a kick. I wish I knew him), and George Gordon, Lord Byron. I think they’ll all hit it off.

Exclusive excerpt from A Notorious Countess Confesses, coming October 2012
copyright 2012 Julie Anne Long (It’s so exclusive and early Avon hasn’t even posted the cover on Amazon yet! Eee!)

A little bit of set-up here: Shortly before this excerpt takes place, the Countess of Wareham and Reverend Sylvaine had an inauspicious and very brief first encounter, right after morning services at the church in Pennyroyal Green. They’re coolly polite to each other, but our jaded countess is unmoved by the admittedly handsome vicar,  and Adam privately thinks the countess, though beautiful, seems remote and untouchable, “as sealed and gleaming as a jar of preserves,” and therefore not terribly interesting to him. When Lady Wareham  and her maid run into a little carriage trouble on the Sussex downs and the countess steps out of her carriage while her maid goes in search of help,  they have another little encounter when he accidentally startles her. Do impressions change? Let’s see…

She leaped back with a stifled shriek, clapping her hand to her heart.
“Sweet Merciful Mary Mother of God, ye shouldna sneak up like that! Ye creep like a cat ye bloody big …”
She stopped.
A very ripe Irish accent, long dormant but apparently healthy and whole and frisky and unleashed by shock, echoed across the countryside. Bloody big bloody big bloody big …
Ohhhh. The shame of it.
She wanted to close her eyes and sink deep, deep into the earth.
Instead, she forced herself to look up—very up—at who proved to be the Reverend Adam Sylvaine, the vicar.
He appeared entirely unruffled. Apart from his eyes, that was. They fair danced like flames with wicked, wicked, downright un-Christian mirth.
One of her horses whickered into what threatened to be a never-ending silence.
Be a gentleman, she silently willed him. Leave it lie. Pretend you heard nothing at all.
Up his eyebrows went.
“Biiiig …” he prompted.
She eyed him stonily.  Bastard, she was tempted to complete. Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound.
He waited. Patient as Job. Wicked as Lucifer. Amused as hell.
“Vicar,” she completed inanely, finally, on a mumble.
His head went back as though this was almost too good to be true, then came down on a nod.
“I suppose I am,” he agreed thoughtfully, though his voice held a suspicious tremble. Stifled laughter. “I suppose I am a big …vicar …. Though no one has ever before accused me before of creeping like a cat. Something to do with being … well, big, I suppose.”
The vicar was taking the piss out of her, as her brother Seamus would say, and quite effectively, too.
She looked full into his face then. His eyes were such a disarming blue—the color of deep, still water, of Lough Leane in Killarney—they made her strangely restless. It was if the weather inside him was always clear and temperate. Like his conscience and unblemished soul, no doubt, she thought sardonically. An unprepossessing black wool coat—Weston hadn’t stitched up that one, she knew this for certain—whipped behind him in the stiffening wind, which was also doing its best to pluck a carelessly knotted cravat from the confines of a gray, striped waistcoat  of no discernible pedigree.
And as though it they were was a beckoning road, her eyes followed the line of longer, finer, harder thighs than a vicar had any business possessing down to the dusty, creased toes of his boots. Which most definitely had not been made by Hoby.
Her eyes stayed safely on the ground. She took advantage of a moment of unexpectedly necessary composure gathering in the wake of the revelation about his thighs.
“I thought vicars were supposed to wear dresses.”  She said this almost testily. At least she had gotten  control of her accent.
“Oh, a dress is optional.”
Ping! Insults bounced from him, it seemed.
“And by ‘dress,’ I suppose you mean ‘cassock’?” he added helpfully. “Difficult to creep like a cat in a cassock, you see, Lady Wareham. It swirls about one’s ankles, flaps noisily in the breeze. One needs stealth to stop iniquity in its tracks.”
In … iquity?
The word was a slap.
But … perhaps he was jesting? Surely he was? Did he know about her? Was the whole of this horrid village going to take turns plaguing her in turns? Would they turn out with boiling oil?
“Is that why you’ve suddenly appeared? Did you scent iniquity on the wind then, Reverend Sylvaine? Do you roam the Sussex countryside sniffing for it, like a truffle-hunting pig?”
He didn’t reply for so long she finally turned to look at him.
To find he’d gone as rigid as if he’d been driven into the ground.
Something about that stillness made her think that angering him would be very unwise, indeed. Which seemed a peculiar thought to have about a vicar. But despite the fact that he wasn’t blinking, he didn’t seem angry. He was studying her the way one might study a lock about to be picked. The only movement was his hair. The breeze lifted it, let it fall, lifted it, let it fall. Hidden in the dark blond were dark gold or copper threads and strands sun-bleached to silvery fairness. In the silence and stillness it was absurdly fascinating.
“I’ve dozens of cousins and a number of siblings, Lady Wareham. If you’ve siblings, you won’t be surprised to learn that my hide is quite callused. It’s nearly impossible to offend me.”
Well.
He said it evenly. As if he hadn’t just seen right through her, and neatly incinerated her defenses, as surely as if she were a petulant child.
“Some might interpret that as a challenge, Reverend.”
He went quiet again.  And then he smiled. Very, very faintly. Just enough, it seemed, for her to notice the elegant shape of his mouth. To tease out one dimple at the corner of it. And when at last he spoke, again she felt his voice more than she heard it, like fingers brushed along the short hairs at her nape. It had gone soft, so soft. But somehow it wasn’t gentle.
“Oh? Did you come to Pennyroyal Green for challenge, then, Lady Wareham?”
She stared at him.
He stared back.
And to her astonishment, heat slowly washed the back of her neck, the backs of her arms, and tightened the bands of her stomach. It was suddenly more difficult to breathe. It occurred to her that she’d never seen a man who was so … contained. Yes: That that was precisely the right word. As though something in him, some potential, required control. And whatever it was, whatever he was, pulled at her. The way earth pulled water into it. It felt stronger than she was, and her entire life had depended upon her being stronger than anyone.
She turned abruptly away. She inhaled in the hopes of clearing her head, but the traitorous air had turned to wine or some such; her thoughts staggered like foxed heirs at a gaming hell.
He was only a vicar, she reminded herself. The man had caught her in a rare moment of weakness amidst a particularly vulnerable episode in her life. That was all. And she was very weary, of course. After all, the church nap had hardly been the restorative kind.
She tugged her pelisse about her more snugly and stared toward her halted carriage with a little frown. Where the devil was Henny?
“It seems one of our horses threw a shoe,” she said finally. Her voice was fainter than she would have preferred.
She wondered if she’d disappointed him.
He’d been watching her. She half suspected he knew the number of her eyelashes now.
“I see,” he said easily enough, after a moment. “I was on my way to visit a parishioner when I saw your stopped carriage. And as since there’s no worry about brigands on this road since One-Eyed William haunted these parts a few decades ago, and as this isn’t precisely one of the more scenic parts of Sussex, I feared something might be amiss.”
One-eyed William? Was he jesting?
She said nothing.
“I’ll just have a word with your driver then, shall I?”
When she didn’t reply—for she couldn’t seem to find her voice—he turned. She listened to him take one step, then two steps away, and somehow the sound of his footsteps seemed like the sound of failure.
“Reverend Sylvaine …”
He stopped, turned back toward her, his brows raised in a query.
The surest way to regain her power was to deploy what made her powerful.
“I must ask your forgiveness. I fear you startled me from my manners, and … I’ve never before met a vicar, you see, and it seems like such an interesting, important role. Pray, how does one become a vicar?”
She, possibly better than any other woman in England, knew the way beneath any man’s ramparts—whether he was the Home Secretary or the King of England or a coal monger: It was flattery, served up with flirtation and innuendo.
She was startled when Reverend Sylvaine drew up visibly, instantly almost comically wary.
“One of the best ways, I’ve learned, to become one is to be related to the family who owns the living,” he living.” He said shortly. With just a hint of irony.
And said nothing more.
“Must one be faultless of character? Entirely … free of vices?”  She folded her hands before her and aimed her gaze up at him through her lashes with the precision of a rifleman.
The vicar glanced down at her demurely folded hands as though she’d unlocked a pistol. And then he slowly looked back up into her face.
He hesitated.
“I suppose it depends on how one interprets the word.”
A masterpiece of circumspection, that sentence.
His eyes were now unreadable as an empty sky, shuttered. Hers, she was fairly certain, thanks thank to some collusion between her thick black lashes and the color of her eyes and the angle of sunlight and the sheer intent to charm, were sparkling.
“Have you any vices, Mr. Sylvaine?” Her tone implied that she sincerely hoped he did, that she would be understanding and forgiving, would indeed find them fascinating, and that her own would nicely complement his.
The vicar was now as tense as a bunched fist.
And then a faint dent appeared between his eyes.
Alas, by no stretch of the imagination could she interpret this expression as “bewitched.”
“None, I’m certain, that would interest you.” He said it gently, and turned his head just slightly back toward the road, where his duties apparently awaited. As though, of all things …
… he was bored.
She was speechless.
“I should think it’s safe enough to walk alone along this part of the green, Lady Wareham, but perhaps you oughtn’t go far until you know the country better. Perhaps you’d prefer to wait inside your carriage out of the cold?”
She knew when she’d been dismissed. Pride—and astonishment—prevented her from flailing.
“Seeing to the safety of your flock, are you?” she managed almost lightly. Her voice was faint from the jostling her pride had taken.
He smiled politely. “And to my duty as a gentleman.”  More of that peculiar, distancing gentleness.  “I apologize for startling you. It wasn’t my intention.”
To her horror, heat bloomed in her cheeks again.
“My maid is very nearby,” she said shortly, struggling to hide her embarrassment. “And I don’t mind the cold.”
“I’ll just see if I can be of some assistance to your driver then, shall I?”
When she said nothing, he made a very elegant bow and turned away from her. She stood still as a stone, watching as he hailed the driver and her footman, who greeted him cheerily. All those male heads gathered together, the wigged one and her stocky, hatless driver and Mr. Sylvaine’s fair one, conferring in low voices. While the driver gently held the horse’s head by the harness, the vicar bent and lifted up the glossy animal’s hoof and inspected it. Evie watched in astonishment as he tugged his cravat free of his waistcoat and carefully, almost tenderly, wrapped the horse’s hoof to the evident approval of her staff.
And then he turned and waved a farewell, striding up the road, no doubt toward his original destination. Cravatless.
She watched him go.
At last she heard the huffing of Henny’s breathing before she saw Henny, and then Henny crested the hill, skirts lifted in her hands, exposing a few inches of thick, sturdy ankle decorously covered in thick, sagging, thick woolen stockings. “I fear no one answered me knock at the door, m’lady.”
She dropped her skirts and froze in place when she saw her mistress’s face.
Her eyes went wide.
Then she narrowed them shrewdly and swiveled her great head about and raised a hand to shade her eyes when she saw Adam Sylvaine walking away, posture like a soldier’s, stride long and easy.
Silently, they both watched him.
They in fact watched long enough for it to become ridiculous.
He never once looked back.
“Now that one is a man,” Henny pronounced finally. As though they’d been debating the topic.
Evie snorted. “The country air has curdled your brain.” She tossed her head and strode toward the carriage. Henny followed on her heels, still huffing.

So what do you think of the excerpt? Are you sold? Gonna preorder it right now? [Getting my hints? ;D] So you know the drill – ask Julie Anne Long any question you want! And one lucky commenter gets any two Pennyroyal Green series books of his/her choice! Fantastic!

Oops and Winners

So… I didn’t pick winners last week. I meant to but you know… life happened. I think I really am going to do a twice a month pick because… it’s really too much for me. Sorry guys – think I’m going to adjust the “FAQs/Contests” page to reflect that too. Thanks for understanding!

Although I wonder if anyone checks that… See how subscribing is good and pays off? Also because … today is Sundayaturday :X so you know, it kicks off MY BIRTHDAY WEEK. Did you know that commenting on posts gets you brownie points for winning prizes? Cuz… I figure if I can’t pick favorites on my birthday for winners, when can I?

Speaking of… there’s going to be some zonky stuff with the posts. I believe I’m going to re-post Keishon’s because she all of a sudden messaged me and was like “HOLY SHIT. EMAILING NOW.” And totally scared the crap out of me. So anyway, she sent a new post so … I guess that’s going up. Also, I just saw in the pending comments Carrie left one with links, so that will be added too. Good thing I looked!

Back to the business at hand. Winners. You know the deal – send me your relevant info via the contact form. Please include what is needed AS WELL AS the prize you won. Sorry you’re getting the brunt of it, but I’m sick of people not reading the things I say. When I ask for specifics, it’s important, because I rarely do it. And if I’m in a bad mood, I might just ignore your email. And we don’t want that, do we? [Actually, in the interest of honest disclosure, guilt will make me respond, but it sure as hell won’t be a priority.]

Some lucky reader commented when HelenKay Dimon shared an exclusive excerpt with us. Cathy P! You enjoy romantic suspense, and now you get to try another one!

Meljean Brook came and … well frankly I think it’s one of the best posts I’ve ever had at the blog. Those author interview answers? Yes. What everyone should aspire to! Her lucky lucky winner is… (and since it came up a lot – I do want to note, her books are not comedies. So… please don’t expect something all light hearted and laughter. Please let me know if that’s what you were expecting/want to pass on dark stories then.) … jeannemiro.

Beverley Kendall shared an exclusive excerpt of her newest book, and is giving away two copies! Her winners are Diane P. Diamond and also Barbara E.!

And you know what? The lastest posts… I’m going to leave open. Starting with Leslie Kelly’s. She’s giving away six copies, so come on. We can do better than 16 comments!

I feel like I might be missing some things, so if so, please let me know. As I’ve kinda mentioned – my life is in a bit of upheaval.

So winners –  please email me  and include A) what you won and B) the relevant information. [If print, your address. If electronic and you get a format choice, that. If you get a book choice? please tell me what you chose.]

Thanks! And, I really really really hope there’s a huge turnout for the massive birthday bash on Thursday. Tell your friends! Everyone wins! [… Except me. Somehow this is going down where you guys all get prizes. Maybe I’ll have to reconsider for next year. ;)]