Tag Archives: Release Day

Release Day Exclusive Excerpt: Taken by HelenKay Dimon

Hey y’all! We’ve got an embarrassment of riches here at ALBTALBS today! This is of course only a good thing. There was some confusion and a flurry of emails that needn’t bother you, but the end result is we have another exclusive excerpt today! Whee! Yes, Taken follows Mercy and Only and HelenKay Dimon sent on this exclusive excerpt of Taken to share with you all today. Isn’t she so nice? 😀

Taken is Eli and Wade’s story. I don’t usually say you have to read the first book(s) in a series, but here I think it’s important. I’m not done reading Taken yet, and while it seems you could read it as a stand alone, I think it makes a big difference here if you read Mercy and Only first. (Also because they’re good, so you don’t want to miss them. :P)

TakenWade Royer and Elijah Sterling are on shaky ground. While initially reluctant Eli is finally ready to take things to the next level, Wade is hesitant. He senses trouble coming and he’s right. Still, they know their fiercely undeniable connection—both in and out of the bedroom—is worth saving.

Then a man from Eli’s past reappears and the CIA comes calling—and they both want Eli back. With their relationship in jeopardy of falling apart and Eli in danger of a different kind, both men will have to decide what they really want—and then take it…

Wade focused on the man in front of him. He wanted to grab Eli around the shoulders and lead him through the dining room to the back of the supper club. Stake a public claim. But Eli had barely accepted who he was, who they were together. Public displays of affection could be the one step too far.

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Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Chasing Danger by Katie Reus

Hi friends! Today we have Katie Reus visiting with us! She’s a first timer at ALBTALBS – and it’s also release day for her, so everyone be super nice to Ms. Reus!

Thanks so much to Limecello for showcasing Chasing Danger here today! I hope you enjoy the exclusive sneak peek. Continue reading

Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri Ford

You. Guys!!! You know now nothing happens as expected but we make it work?? Well, today we have Keri Ford visiting with us! I’m totally excited because today it’s release day for her! Beyond that, freaking cupcakes are part of the title! Yes, Cupcakes and Crushes is available out in the wild today. Keri is super adorable, so everyone remember to wish her a very happy release day!

Sometimes there is enough sweet to make up for the bitter. Continue reading

Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Still the One by Jill Shalvis

Hi friends! We’ve got Jill Shalvis!!! Ish. Well an exclusive excerpt, which is still awesome. I have to tell you, this post has been a long time coming. Almost six months ago I emailed Jill … and we were going to do a birthday post for her, and then you know the holidays and life and this and that and now it’s April! But guess why that’s awesome? Because Still the One is out today. Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Dare to Touch by Carly Phillips

Hello darlings! Guess what? THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WON!!! WHEE!!! Okay. So, since I added that … let’s go back to the main attraction – Carly Phillips! (Also I know Carly’s daughter goes to another B1G school so hopefully she doesn’t begrudge me celebrating a win within the conference…) ANYWAY. It’s the second Tuesday of 2015! How did that happen?!

Carly Phillips is one of the most fabulous, nicest authors – and person in general – if you ever get the chance to meet her at a conference, do! I’m very excited to have an exclusive excerpt of her newest release Dare to Touch which is officially available today! Enjoy! Continue reading

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Lorelie Brown

You guys!!!! So … I’m still kinda on hiatus cuz pretty much nothing is figured out. [Although nobody has died since I went on hiatus, so that’s good? I guess holding steady is all I can ask for?] BUT!!! June is birthday month and that’s you know like a big deal. So … we’ll see how this goes and I hope to have it done and we’ll DO THIS okay?

First up – by the seat of our pants, is the wonderful  Lorelie Brown. She wanted to do an author interview. Because well, who wouldn’t? 😉

And also? Today is release day for her! Whee!! So remember to congratulate her – don’t worry – I’ll add book info 😛 but without further ado, the interview!

One LessonI know you watch Investigation Discovery so … If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your MO? [“Calling card,” what memento would you take?] Target = old men, young men, school children, college aged women, etc.
I think I’d go be a hooker, and then I’d kill anyone who treated me badly. Totally Eileen Wuornos style. Then I’d keep their keychains, because don’t you think there’s something personal about a set of keys? They’re the thing someone can’t leave the house without, you know?


Your next life you come back as a dog. What breed do you come back as and why?
I’d be a shih-tzu, but only if I could belong to an owner like me. Sleeping as many hours as I want, taken to the groomers regularly and getting free run of the furniture sounds pretty good to me. Much like my regular life, as a matter of fact.

Which celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
Jennifer Lawrence. She’s me! See the faces she makes? JLaw Gif

Or this moment, with the mint spilling and hiding. JLaw Spill GifShe’s completely me. You know, except for the fact that she’s young and has Oscars and it so damn gorgeous and fit. Other than that stuff, we’re completely alike.

What badass female character from TV (or books/movies) do you most want to be?
As of last night, I want to be Kacy Catanzaro. What’s that? You don’t know who she is? Why, she’s the very first woman to conquer the qualifying round of American Ninja Warrior. (If you don’t watch this show, you totally should. Incredibly in-shape people of all shapes, sizes and creeds doing physical shit that will BLOW YOUR MIND. And there’s shirtless men *every* show.) She ran up a 15 foot, inward curved wall. She is AMAZING. And only 5 foot tall. Here, just watch this.

Do you speak any other languages? What [other] language would you most like to learn and why?
I speak French only so much as two years of high school French means you know how to speak a language. Which is to say, not really at all. I would like to know how to speak it properly though. Fluently. Mostly because it can be such a pretty language, but also because I’d like to go to Paris and eat pastry and pretend I’m a native.

Riding the WaveHostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Probably a hostile alien invasion is more likely, but I think a zombie apocalypse would be scarier. Mostly because I live in suburbia boredom land. There’s no way the aliens would bother with my area. They’d be in the bigger, cooler places where they can annihilate more humans at once.

Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [real, then fictional?]
For my real team, can I pick Tom Hiddleston? So we can repopulate the world with beautiful babies? Or at least die trying? I mean, he is real after all.

Fictional, I’ll go with anyone from a Helenkay Dimon book. Her people are always so kickass and resourceful. Then I’ll pick up Selena and Jim from 28 Days Later, since they’ve been through this already and they’ll keep us safe. (But no one from the cast of 28 Weeks Later, because I’d be afraid their stupidity would leach into me.)

Favorite “gotta have it” drink? Alcoholic? Non-alcoholic?
I miss Coca-Cola so very, very, very much. I quit it almost two years ago. Then I moved to diet coke for a while, but I even quit that about nine months ago. I’m pretty much addicted to Canada Dry Ten and A&W Ten though. They’re my diet go-tos. Alcoholic wise, I’ve been drinking bourbon sours lately. Is that hideously geeky or retro cool? I don’t even know. I just like ’em. And didja know that most bartenders in NOLA are very generous with the bourbon? Just sayin’.

Ahead in the HeatWhat five other authors do you think more people need to be reading?  (You can assume you’re already on the list :P)
Carrie Lofty. Bwahahaa! Anyone who knows me, knows that’s a cheater answer since she’s my co-writer too.

Cara McKenna. I don’t understand how she’s not a best-seller. Her books are emotional and smart and angsty. Plus omg-dirty-filthy. In the best kind of way.

Charlotte Stein. Her voice is one of a kind, I love it so very hard. There is nothing on earth like a Charlotte Stein book.

Jennifer Echols. She’s my YA reading standby, plus she’s moved into full fledged adult romance. I’m behind on my reading (because there’s not enough hours in the day!) and it’s *killing* me that I haven’t read her Stargazer series yet.

Maisey Yates. She’s my favorite Presents writer. I love how she flips the standard tropes with so much loving care.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?
Hanging out of my trunk, trying to make sure my heroine’s wrists could be zip-tied to a support strut while she got fucked? My job, it is a strange and awesome one sometimes.

Um, the research I did for this novella had mostly to do with beer pong. The rules, the variations. What it took to win a game. You know, that kind of deep research stuff. 😉

An Indiscreet DebutanteWould you rather win the largest SuperMegaZillions lottery in history or be #1 on the NYT Best Seller list for 25 weeks?
NYT Best Seller list. *g* If I make it ten times, my 13 year old made me promise to take him to Japan. Little does he know that hitting the list once and staying there forevah is probably better! LOL

What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die
“Don’t put your arm out the window or it’ll go home in someone else’s car.” I mean, really. Has she LOOKED at how far apart cars actually drive? Or does she think my arms are 12 feet long?

What’s your favorite tv show?
Game of Thrones. Even when G.R.R. Martin breaks my heart.

(Maybe especially then.)

Now your favorite guilty pleasure secret shame show. I’m talking real housewives, the kardashians, bridalplasty, jersey shore, etc. *shudders*
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. It’s like six year olds were given a dress budget and a pack of colored pens and told to design their dream wedding dresses. The results are AWESOMELY HIDEOUS.

OWNWhat’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
It was the time a boy sitting behind me in an assembly reached up and touched my hair and said “Wow, you use a lot of gel. Your hair is crispy.” And my brilliant response was “I don’t use gel.” Not like I mentioned the other half-dozen kinds of mousse and hairspray I used, so he made this completely disgusted face and wiped his hands off on his jeans. Ugh.

At my first conference, I walked up to an author at the Literacy signing. I was surprised she had no line, because I’d thought she was more popular. “I love your books about [redacted],” I gushed. “You mean her,” she replied, pointing to the table next to her, which was surrounded by a line three deep on all sides. I’d gotten the right last name, and slightly different first name.

I can be such an idiot sometimes.

What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
I…don’t think I can remember one. Any. Does that make me the worst American of all time?


One LessonIn this steamy novella, it’ll take just one surfing lesson from a sexy billionaire to turn a beautiful, buttoned-up lawyer’s life upside down…

As a lawyer for the surf company WavePro, Bethany Harmon prides herself on being a hardworking, rational woman. She isn’t easily swayed by a charming smile and handsome face. When she’s tasked with tracking down James “Jammer” Montcrief for failing to fulfill his contractual obligations, she knows that’s exactly what she’s up against. But when the sexy playboy promises to finish the tour and teach Bethany how to surf—if she beats him in a game of beer pong—she agrees. And sinks every cup.

Now James has to pay up. Not that he minds. Little does Bethany realize, he has an ulterior motive. With delicious plans for the buttoned-up brunette, James means to give her everything she’s demanded—and much, much more…

Lorelie is offering a kindle copy of One Lesson to a lucky commenter, or any of her Samhain backlist! Whee! So now – I want to see what zany questions you can come up with to ask her! Go go go!

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long

Hello doves! I know I have to respond to … so much. Which will be a good distraction to not scratching my face off. (As in, I’m tempted to but know I shouldn’t.) >.> Ahem. Anyway, Julie Anne Long was fantabulous and stepped in with an exclusive excerpt – she did say “I’m not privy to what’s being shared on my blog tour.” So this might potentially be posted elsewhere… BUT for now, it’s exclusive because it’s all just for all of you. Whee! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

Oh! And I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention that today is release day! So yes you can get your hands on the book as soon as you finish reading the excerpt! Happy release day, Ms. Long! \o/

She might look like an angel . . .

The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she’s destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn’t be more infamous . . . or less interested.

But it takes a devil to know one . . .

A hardened veteran of war and inveterate rogue, Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?

And Heaven has never been hotter!

When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy— vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart . . . and be brought to his knees by love.

“I’ve watched you, Miss Danforth…in the midst of your games. And it’s so very clear you know little to nothing of the…shall we say, matters between men and women. I would wager my entire inheritance on it. And I find game playing combined with ignorance tedious. I’m not a boy.”

She was badly stung.

“The matters between men and women! Do you mean sex?”

A heartbeat of utter silence followed.

“I suppose you think you’re being very bold,” he said quietly.

She was fairly certain she had succeeded in shocking him.

Perhaps even rattling him.

She said nothing, because she’d shocked herself by saying it and needed a moment to recover.

“Have you ever even been kissed before, Miss Danforth?”

She contemplated which answer would incriminate her the least and impress him the most, though why she should want to do the latter eluded her. She had been kissed, because she’d been curious and the young man had been handsome and the moment had been right, but it \hadn’t caused a single unusual physical response.

Whereas simply looking at Ian Eversea seemed to cause her senses to riot.


She wouldn’t have blamed him if he rolled his eyes.

Perhaps mercifully, the incredulity simply amplified a bit.

“It’s a risky game you play, Tansy. Why do you do it?”

She was angry now. “Because. I. Can. And because they like it.”

“I suspect you mean because they like you when you do it.”

This brought her up short. A tense little silence followed.

Why do you do it?” she countered. Ha!

His eyes flared in surprise, then anger swiftly kindled in them.

Splendid. She was certain she’d at least startled him. Yes, captain eversea, I know about your alleged exploits. She imagined saying that aloud. She discovered she wasn’t that brave.

But he ignored the question.

“I won’t always be lurking around corners when you face the consequences of your actions, Tansy. Not every soldier is born a gentleman, and not every gentleman understands the word ‘no.’ Men are fundamentally brutes. Some just wear better clothes and have more money. You ought to be more afraid.”

He was undoubtedly correct. She ought to be.

“Come now, Captain Eversea, surely you of all people know that a little risk makes life less dull, altogether.”

He gave a short laugh. She suspected she’d surprised it from him.

My risks are calculated, Miss Danforth. And informed by experience.”

“And you can’t possibly know that I know nothing about, as you say, such matters.”

He inhaled deeply, exhaled at length, sounding oh-so-long-suffering. “Oh, you know how to make them yearn, I grant you. You know how to get attention. There’s a look experienced women have, that’s all. A demeanor. And you haven’t the look.”

This was news. How on earth would an experienced woman look? Shocked? Tired? Wicked? Reflexively, she tried an expression that she thought might incorporate all three.

He laughed again, genuinely. “I’ve seen that expression on one of the Colin’s cows, after she’d eaten something she ought not.”

Torn between laughing and scowling, she frowned.

“You don’t need the look. It isn’t something to aspire to, Miss Danforth. You’re going to marry a someone with a title and all the money you’ll ever need, isn’t that so? Aren’t you destined for a duke or something of the sort? So don’t even think about practicing. Like I said, I won’t always be around to rescue you.”

“I imagine you’ve benefited from that look any number of times, haven’t you, Captan Eversea?”

She was out of her depth with him, which made her even more reckless than usual. She was like a kitten with tiny sharp claws crawling up his trouser leg. She suspected he would indulge her only so long before he shook her off abruptly.

“Miss Danforth,” he said patiently. “It’s clear you want to goad me into saying scandalous things to you that you can take back to your room and savor, pore over, at night like found treasure. You want my attention. You don’t want the consequences of that attention. You don’t even know what the consequences are. And for me, it’s just…it’s well, just rather dull.” he said, with an attempt at kindness, and an intolerably condescending lift of one shoulder. “And in some circumstances, it might even be hurtful. And if someone I care about might be hurt as a result of whatever game you’re playing…I simply can’t allow you to do it.”


Someone he cared about!

Oh, the infuriating humiliation. Her eyes burned.

For some reason all of this hurt mortally.

“You don’t know me at all,” she said, her voice a rasp, her face hot. She could only assume it was a scorching, unflattering red.

“I know you some,” he said easily, sounding bored. “And some is enough.”

He leaned back against the wall of the terrace and struck a flint against the box and lit a cheroot without asking whether she minded. He sent the smoke up into the air, and aimed his gaze out over the landscape he likely knew the way he knew his own face in the mirror.

His own damned handsome, unforgettable face.

“Well, I suppose you’re right. But you ought to know, isn’t that right, Captain Eversea? Because you of all people know it’s all about the getting of someone or of something. Everything you do. Everything else is a waste of time. God forbid a woman should evince an interest in you first. I’ll wager you’ll run like a frightened little girl.”

She couldn’t seem to control what came out of her mouth when she was around him. Surely this was inadvisable.

He turned his head sharply then, eyes wide in surprise, then hot with a real fleeting anger. She took a step back, as though he’d lunged at her with a lit torch.

Then something speculative settled into his gaze. He studied her long enough for her heart to flop hard in her chest, painfully, like an obsequious mongrel. Eager to be patted or kicked, whatever he preferred. And she was angry that she was so very inexperienced that she couldn’t stop her heart from doing otherwise.
At least she felt seen by him for the first time.

Oh, how she wished she knew what he saw.

“Know a bit about being a frightened little girl, do you, Tansy?” he said softly.

Whee, so what’d you think? And who is going to be running out to buy a copy right now? 😀

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jessica Scott!

My dears, we have the wonderful Jessica Scott visiting with us today! <3 She is the cutest darn thing ever, and if she weren’t so awesome I’d hate her – seriously. She’s the bees knees. >.> Even though she was all “WTF?” To these questions. Guess she hasn’t checked out the other Author Interviews, eh? 😉

Also? Today is RELEASE DAY!!! Yes! Her newest book All for You is out today! Pretty, yes? 😀

All for YouCan a battle-scarred warrior . . .

Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood’s newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She’s also full of questions-about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza’s body and soul.

. . . open his heart to love?

Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need-and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it’s just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she’s thrilled. Too bad it doesn’t help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He’s the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .

And because it’s Black History Month (and sometimes called Black Heritage Month) – I gave Ms. Scott an “assignment” of sorts. This is what she came up with. Very thoughtful <3

How about this: Before we get to the fun, though, we need to take a moment to remember that February is Black History Month. I was talking with my daughters the other day about Black History Month and why it was important. I pulled up a video of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech. I told them to listen to his words and to look at that crowd. The crowd was a diverse group: there were whites and blacks standing together fighting for the right to simply stand together.

I think we’ve forgotten far too much that we are stronger together than we are divided and that we must continue the fight for equality. We may not get there together but we still have to carry on the torch that Dr King and Rosa Parks and so many others have left us.

Now … to the fun inanities! (Which you know, is how I operate :X)

Back to YouIf you were a candy, which one would you be? Along those lines, what would you put in your perfect candy bar?
Mounds with the option to be Almond Joy because well, I am a little bit nuts sometimes.

What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die
My mom told me when I was a kid that she didn’t like onions when she was little and now she loved them. I may have said the exact same thing to my kids. I hear my mother far too often in my own voice. It’s scary, honestly.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Well, I managed to dodge octopus when we were in Korea. My husband had to eat one that a little old lady forced on him. He said it tasted like salty rubber. I chickened out.

What do you prefer? Winter Olympics, or Summer? And which sport/event?
I think I like the Winter Olympics probably because it involves being in lots of clothing and well, bathing suits and I aren’t on speaking terms currently:) Downhill skiing. I miss skiing.

What do you think about clowns?
That they are best avoided.

When did you get your first aol screen name? Do you remember what it was?
Waaay back in the dark ages of 1996. It was Space Frog. Don’t ask.

It's Always Been YouDeadliest Warrior. Who would win? A Ninja or a Viking?
Ugh, you’re going to make me choose between my love of Johanna Lindsey’s Vikings and Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and The Star? I have to vote for Samuel. The ninja takes it in this case.

What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? Is there a story to tell?
Heh, not one that can be shared in public but the first thing I ever drank was 151 and Mountain Dew. I’ll leave the details to your imagination but it was not a good night.

If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.

Did you ever wake up laying on the sidewalk in front of a McDs in Tokyo at 5 AM after a night of drunken debauchery? If yes what were you doing? If no – tell us – what do you imagine it would take for such a thing to happen?
Nope. Never gonna happen. I’m a good girl. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it and anyone who can say otherwise is no longer living 🙂

What are your five most prized possessions?
The things that would get saved in a fire: My kids, my cats, my dogs and my hamsters and my photo albums. You can replace everything else.

Anything for YouHostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Zombie apocalypse is so going to happen and it terrifies the hell out of me.

A person has you trapped and will shoot you if you do not a) eat yourself sick on something and b) watch a marathon for 72 hours. What do you choose to eat, and what show/series or movie would you watch?
Ice cream and Lord of the Rings

If you could be a super hero, what would your nemesis be named? And what would your super hero name be?
I always wanted to be Jean Grey. Or Rogue. Rogue would be awesome. I have no idea how to answer that otherwise. My nemesis? Snappy Cumberpatch? I don’t freaking know, lol!

Coffee, tea, other caffeine, or no caffeine? Also, how do you take your coffee/tea/other?
Caffeine of the coffee persuasion with LOTs of cream and sugar.

Hee! So I hope you get to know Jessica a little better with these silly questions. Now, it’s your turn! What questions do you have for her? And note, all you happy print readers … Ms. Scott is giving away a print copy of I’ll be Home for Christmas. Let’s do this!

Pssst – someone ask her about Space Frog! >.>

Oh and note, Anything for You is free right now! Grab the goodness! For the prize, I know you want to know about what’s up for grabs, so here’s the back cover copy for I’ll Be Home For Christmas … 

I'll Be Home For ChristmasThere’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

Debut Author Laura K. Curtis on Why She Loves Serial Killers … >.> In Fiction

Hi friends! Today we have my buddy Laura K. Curtis visiting with us! She is all sorts of awesomecakes, and guess what? Her debut book is out today! Whee! So not only is she a debut author, it’s also release day! *sing songs* So I hope you’re extra welcoming with her. 😀

Why I Love Serial Killers (In Fiction)

In college (lo these many moons ago), I double majored in English and Psych. I didn’t learn nearly as much about either one as I hoped to, but I did learn that people, whether on paper or in reality, are endlessly fascinating. In fact, I probably learned as much about the workings of the human mind and heart in my lit classes as I did in my actual Psychology coursework.

The MentalistHere’s one thing I know: we’re all a little neurotic. I mean, seriously, do you know anyone who’s not just a little off? I certainly don’t. And I’m not at all sure I want to. Quirks are what make people interesting.

But serial killers…well, their quirks are well beyond the average. They set everyone else’s neuroses into perspective and allow the more normal relationships in the stories that feature them to coalesce in that normative light.

Now, that’s not to say that you can just toss a serial killer into a book or movie or television show and I will automatically like it better (I’m looking at you, The Mentalist…you could have left the Red John episodes out), but when a serial killer is well-written, he provides a certain balance that sharpens the other characters. One show that does this consistently is Criminal Minds. I’ll never forget the episode about the comic book artist who has a psychotic break—yes, he killed a lot of people very violently, but in the end you felt sorry for him. That’s an achievement.

Out of ControlAnd I love a rampaging killer in a romantic suspense. Shannon McKenna brings the crazy really well, I think. Her villains have some normal motive—a desire for power or for wealth—but then they take it totally over the top. Of course, her heroes and heroines are totally over the top, too; they have to be in order to go toe-to-toe with the lunacy of the villains.

When it comes to nature vs. nurture, I’m a believer in both. It’s not enough for me that a character is just plain nuts, I have to know how he got that way. But just a “bad childhood” won’t do it for me, either. Especially since so very often in romance, either the hero or heroine also has a troubled past. What’s intriguing to me is why the hero turned into the hero when the villain turned into the villain.

So bring on the serial killers…and the heroes and heroines who fight them. I’ll be sitting here in the safety of my living room, gobbling them up.

And I know you all want to hear about Laura’s book… so here you go!

TwistedLucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now.  She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.

After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.

And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever…

Guess what else? Lots of giveaways!!! Laura is giving away something every day on her blog. Seriously – check it out here. But more? Someone who leaves a comment here at ALBTALBS will win something as well! ‘Tis the season and all, yes?

So I hope you all respond to her post (comments of substance win me over…) And offer Laura many congratulations and felicitations on her fancy new book! Yay!

UPDATED: Jessica Scott Launch Day Blitz: I’ll Be Home For Christmas + EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

I had the chance to meet Jessica Scott this past summer, and it was a total highlight for me, even though we didn’t really get to chat or hang out. Fair warning ;-), she’s a hugger. So it’s doubly a sign how much I like her that there’s that, and I’m ok with it, and this. You all know I’m not big on blog tours (or you know, at all) – and I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these generic reveal things… but for Ms. Scott … here we go. An ALBTALBS first! A post that other people will have. O_O

I'll be Home For ChristmasThere’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.

As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

“You’re not serious.”
Carponti turned around, his shoulders covered in flecks of red hair. “What?”
Nicole grinned as she leaned against the door. “Garrison is going to kill you.”
“Garrison is going to love my new hair cut. It looks just like his.”
Nicole arched one blond eyebrow. “Except for the bright red fuzzy patch in the center of your head.”
Carponti shrugged and rubbed his hands over his freshly shorn scalp. “I can’t wait to see what the sergeant major says.”
“Isn’t he going to be mad?”
Carponti brushed the hair off his neck. “We’re going to war. My hair isn’t on the list of things he’s going to worry about.”
Nicole looked down at the pile of hair on the floor and sighed. “Then why do it?”
Carponti smirked. “Because it’ll get a rise out of him and I live to make his blood pressure go up.”
She laughed. “You need a hobby. Other than blowing things up.”
He sidled across the room and hooked his thumb into the waist of her jeans and tugged her close until their hips met. “I have a hobby. Keeping you well satisfied.”
She sniffed but her lips curled at the edges. “You’re going to be derelict in your duties for a while.”
“But I’ll be home soon enough and then I’ll make up for it.”
“I think I’m going to need a deployment boyfriend.”
He grinned wickedly. “Did you already get one?” He backed her up against the wall, his body hard against hers. God but she loved this man. “Can I see it?”
A slow flush crept over her face and she tried to look away. He threaded his fingers with hers and lifted her arms over her head. Her back arched with the movement.
“Please?” he whispered against her lips. “That would be an awesome memory to take with me downrange. Just think of me, alone in the middle of the desert. One visual of you with your deployment boyfriend and it could make a lonely night go by so much faster.”
Nicole giggled until the laugh overwhelmed her and she was gasping for air. He released her hands and she threaded them around his neck. She buried her face against his throat and laughed.
“There’s something really wrong with you,” she said when she could breathe again. “I’ll send you a video.”
He brightened instantly. “Really?”
“Yes. And dirty letters.”
“Promise?” He nibbled along the edge of her jaw, guiding her slowly backward toward their bed, stacked high with his two duffle bags and all the crap he still hadn’t packed.
But he didn’t care.
“I promise. And you’re going to be late.” Her voice caught in her throat.
“Screw it,” he whispered. “This is the last chance to make love to my beautiful wife before I have to go traipsing across the desert like Lawrence of Arabia.” He nibbled at her earlobe while his hand slipped down her belly to the moist head between her thighs. “Tell you what. You send me a picture of yours and I’ll send you a picture of mine. Maybe I can get him a little horse and saddle and send you a picture. Maybe a Barbie camel. I can put him in a little man dress.”
She laughed and Carponti’s heart swelled in his chest at the sound of it.
“I’m going to hold you to that.” She traced her fingers over his scalp, her body soft and warm against his erection. “I want a picture of him in a man dress in exchange for a video of the deployment boyfriend.”
Her legs bumped into the back of the bed and he followed her down. Tangled between the duffle bags and his uniforms, he made love to her one last time before he got on a plane and headed to war.

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… >.> Maybe I can get Jessica to give us an exclusive excerpt at some point. But for now … you should check out her first guest post here, where I dared her to talk about hamsters and dryer lint 😀

LOOKIT! WE MADE IT HAPPEN! An exclusive excerpt just for ALBTALBS 😀 All of chapter two! Whoo!

Chapter Two

“Hey babe, can you find my socks?”

Nicole narrowed her eyes in the direction of the bedroom. Since the night they’d first met six years ago, she’d learned to tell when he was up to something. And he was always up to something. The man didn’t know how to be serious and it was the thing she loved most about him.

But she hadn’t known it that night she’d pulled him and a couple of his buddies over and arrested him. She’d been a young military police officer, eager to make a difference and her very first traffic stop at her new duty station had been a car full of smart-mouthed infantrymen, fresh out of basic training.

She’d walked up to the driver’s side window and had been greeted by…a sock puppet. A sock puppet that had asked her out on a date after she’d threatened to put him in the back of the police car. Her lips curled at the memory.

Yeah, most people had romantic stories about how they met their husbands. Nicole? She had a sock puppet. She’d learned that night that when Vic’s voice sounded funny, he was up to something.

And right then, standing in her living room, his socks in her hand, she paused because her husband’s voice sounded a little too funny.

And that was never a good sign.

“What’s wrong?” she called, stuffing his socks into the bag that would keep them protected from the desert weather.

He was deploying for the third time later today and Nicole was doing her best to stay busy, to help him pack. She was determined not to spend the last twenty-four hours she had with him crying. She’d done this all before, right? This was nothing new. Nothing different. So why did it feel like her heart was breaking in her chest? She blinked rapidly and breathed deeply. She wouldn’t cry. Not tonight.

No, she’d save that for later, after he was gone. Today, she would laugh at his jokes because he needed her to laugh. She’d help him pack and savor the last hours she had with him.

Later, after she’d kissed him goodbye, the year would start and her countdown would begin. One day at a time, trying not to let the worry and the fear and the sadness crush her.

“Nothing’s wrong. I just need you to come here for a second.”

The odd catch in his voice made her instantly suspicious. Still holding the gallon bag of his t-shirts and socks she’d been packing for him, she rounded the corner into their bedroom.

And stopped short. Blinked. Then doubled over laughing.

Her husband—a decorated infantryman—stood in the middle of their bedroom wearing her panties. And not her time-of-the-month granny panties. No, not her husband. He’d managed to squeeze into the tiny little patch of white lace.

She doubled over and clutched her sides and tried not to pee her pants.
“Oh my god. I can’t breathe,” she said, trying to stop laughing.
He turned around and wiggled his ass. “Does this make my butt look big?”
Nicole gasped for air. “There’s something the matter with you.”
“Does this get you horny, baby?” She caught the edge of shadows in his eyes despite her

own tears of laughter. They were both trying so hard to laugh away the sadness of the night. She loved him even more for that. Something so simple but so important.

She swiped her fingers beneath her eyes, glad at least that she had a moment to hide the well of sadness that had surged behind the laughter. She would miss his sense of humor when he was gone. Nothing seemed as funny when Vic deployed. It was like he took funny with him every time he got on that plane. Still laughing, she crossed the small space, dropping the gallon- sized bag and t-shirt on the bed before sliding her arms around her husband’s neck. “You know that you wearing my panties always gets me horny.”

He pulled her close and she arched into him. He nuzzled her lips with his. “I’m not really sure what that says about you or me but I’m not going to complain.”

She reached between their bodies and wound her hand beneath the fabric clearly not meant to contain male anatomy and found him—flaccid.

“I think we need to get you out of these. They’re inhibiting your performance,” she said, hooking her thumbs in the waistband.

“I think that’s an excellent plan.”

He shimmied out of the panties and then surprised her by scooping her up and tossing her onto the bed.

She bounced once then opened her arms for him.

She held him close for a long moment, savoring the feel of his body on hers, knowing it was going to be the last time she would have him with her for a long while.

She knew the fear she would live with for the next year. And she hated it.

But she loved her husband and he loved being a soldier. She’d never planned on making the military a career. Vic? Vic wanted to stay forever. And because she loved him, she’d wait for him. No matter how much it hurt.

She blinked rapidly, trying to hide the tears that burned behind her eyes, and pressed her face into his neck. Her no-crying plan was failing miserably. She swiped at her eyes and tried to keep him from seeing the tears that ran down her cheeks.

Carponti might be a smart-ass but that didn’t make him an idiot. His wife was crying. He hated it when she cried. It was worse because he knew it was his fault—he was leaving again. No matter how much he tried to make light of the situation, no matter how ridiculously he behaved to coax a laugh out of her, this deployment was different and everyone knew it. He shouldn’t have been surprised that Nicole was having a hard time with it. Even Captain Davila and his wife looked like they were having a hard time.

Everyone was—her, the guys, the guys’ wives. Carponti and his boys were getting ready to head downrange into the Surge, a shit hole time in a shit hole war that didn’t make a damn bit of sense to anyone. This war sucked.

But that didn’t make saying good-bye any easier. And Nikki, God bless her, was doing her best to put on a brave and happy face. He felt her shudder beneath him and he tightened his arms around her a little more.

He didn’t want her to cry. He hated it when she cried because it usually meant he’d screwed something up. He tried not to do that on a regular basis. He never wanted to give her a reason to realize that she could do better than a redheaded infantryman. Nicole was so far out of his league, every day he woke up wondering if today would be the day that the love of his life left him for someone better. The day she would stop laughing at his jokes.

Because let’s face it, he wasn’t much of a catch. Scruffy redhead with a penchant for saying the first thing that came to mind, Carponti knew his weaknesses. And still, his wife, his

beautiful, talented wife with a degree in criminal justice, chose him. He’d married her as fast as he could just to keep her around. Even when she’d gotten out of the army to pursue her degree, even when she could be with someone smarter, better looking—not better in the sack, though. Carponti had always taken care of her that way. He marveled at the ways he could bring her pleasure — just like the sound of her laughter, the sound of her coming was its own special pleasure.

All because she’d pulled him over for driving like an ass and said yes to a date with a sock puppet. He was the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet.

He lifted himself on his arms and looked down at her, stroking her blond hair out of her face and cupping her cheek. Her eyes were a little bit red and she was trying to hide it and failing badly.

“Don’t cry, babe,” he whispered.
“I’m trying not to.” She pressed her lips to his. “Sorry.”
He grasped for anything to say to make her laugh and came up empty. She shifted then,

her body rubbing against his, and he smiled slowly, stroking his thumb over her damp cheek. “We are really wasting this opportunity,” he said, kissing the side of her lips.
“What’s that?” Her mouth curled into a faint smile, the remnants of her laugh trembling

through her body.
“I’m naked. What other opportunity did you think I was talking about?”
He loved it when she laughed. Her eyes lit up and her whole face smiled. He laughed and

shifted, rocking gently against her. “It’s a shame you’ve got on so many clothes.”
She lifted her arms for him as he dragged the t-shirt over her head, leaving her in a bra

and her jeans. She reached between them to unhook her pants but he stopped her, his hands

covering hers. He shimmied down her body. “That’s my job,” he whispered, then he flicked his tongue over her navel.

He loved the little sounds she made as he tugged her pants off. “Your panties look so much better on you,” he said.

“I’m glad you approve.” There was laughter in her voice. She threaded her fingers through his hair, her nails tracing his scalp with tiny bites of electricity.

He framed her hips in his hands and pressed his lips to her center. She arched beneath him and shifted her thighs, opening to his touch. He held her there, his thumbs holding the fabric in place when she tried to shuck out of her panties. “I want to try something.”

She pushed up onto her elbows, looking down at him, a tiny frown knitted between her brows. “What, the night before you leave, now you want to get creative?”

He met her gaze, his eyes not moving from hers, and traced his tongue over the swollen mound beneath her panties.

“Oh, I am definitely going to miss your tongue when you’re gone.” She gasped and her breath caught in her throat. “Where on earth did you learn that trick?” she whispered.

She reached down to cradle his face in her palms and Carponti was lost for a moment in the love looking back at him. His wife, his beautiful, smart, sexy, funny wife. A tiny curl of fear licked at him. What if she got tired of waiting for him?

“I watched this sex in your marriage video with Wilks last weekend on staff duty.” Nicole fell back into the bed and cracked up. “The art of making love or something. He’s going through counseling with his wife and the therapist is trying to save their sex life first. So I watched it with him. See if I could pick up any pointers.”

Nicole sighed and turned her head to look down at him. “You are a strange, strange man,” she said, smiling. But there was a fear beneath his smile. Fear that someday, the deployments would be too much. That the distance and the time spent apart would change them. That she’d stop wanting to make love, stop loving him enough to wait for him. Garrison, Carponti’s platoon sergeant, had recently gotten divorced. They both knew it was because Garrison had been gone too much. Carponti shoved aside the melancholy, focusing instead on her body. Her touch.

“And you’re wasting an opportunity to use that talented tongue of yours.” She arched into him, lifting her hips in silent offering.

The laugh snuck out of him and he rested his forehead against her thigh until he could control himself. “This has got to be the corniest thing we’ve ever done,” he said, stroking his thumb over the seam of her panties.

She scraped her nails over his cheeks, gently. “It beats spending the morning crying,” she whispered.

A lump rose in his throat and he crawled up her body, capturing her face in his hands. He kissed her then, fiercely, pouring a thousand unsaid things into that one moment. He wasn’t good with words or big gestures. There wasn’t a way for him to tell her how much he was going to miss her. How much he worried that she would be alone, that she might go through a day without laughing because he was gone. And the unspoken fear that he would leave her alone forever. He kissed her like a dying man, peeled her clothes from her body like it was the last time he would feel her writhe beneath him—because he was terrified that it was.

He paused a moment before he slid into her body, desperately grasping for something funny to say to lighten the moment, to make her laugh. But he had nothing as he fell into her embrace, sliding into her body and completing his soul.

He savored her in those final moments before her release crashed over her, shuddering through them both and taking him under with her.