Tag Archives: Tamara Morgan

Teaser Tuesday: Exclusive Excerpt of Confidence Tricks by Tamara Morgan

Hi friends! We’ve got Tamara Morgan with us again, sharing a special excerpt of her new book that is out today! Whee! So happy release day to her – and enjoy!

A life of crime is easy…until love goes all ninja on your ass.
Asprey Charles has always assumed he would one day take his place in the family art appraisal and insurance firm. “His place” meaning he plans to continue to enjoy his playboy lifestyle, lavish money on his Cessna, and shirk every responsibility that dares come his way.

But when a life of crime is thrust upon him, he is just as happy to slip on a mask and cape and play a highwayman rogue. After all, life is one big game—and he excels at playing.

Poppy Donovan vows that her recent release from jail will be her last—no more crime, no more cons. But when she learns that her grandmother lost her savings to a low-life financial advisor, she’s forced to do just one more job.

It’s all going smoothly until the necklace she intends to pawn to fund her con is stolen by a handsome, mocking, white-collar thief. A thief who, it turns out, could take a whole lot more than money. If she’s not careful, this blue blood with no business on her side of the tracks could run off with the last thing she can afford to lose. Her heart.

Warning: This book contains masked crusaders, a remorseless con woman, and plans to boost a ten-million-dollar painting. Expect high speeds and fast hands.

“When you say you’re good at poker, do you mean you can play five-card stud with your accountant, or do you mean you can play poker?” Poppy warily eyed the way Asprey held the deck of cards. “Todd’s no card shark, but he knows his stuff. He once lost his speedboat to the Yakuza.”

Asprey cut the deck cleanly on Tiffany’s computer table, lifting his arm to reveal an ace poking out the sleeve of his old-man sweater. “There’s no need for insults. No one has ever invited me to play with the Japanese underground, but I’ll have you know I’ve been barred from every reservation casino within a two-hundred-mile radius.”

“That doesn’t speak very well of your technique.”

“Not my fault. I have very large hands.” He held them up as if to demonstrate. They were an odd combination of masculine and girly, his thumbs wide in all the right places, but with the kind of soft skin that belonged to someone who didn’t regularly plunge his hands into the dirty dishwater.

“Besides, cheating at cards isn’t really my thing,” he added, eyes glinting. She gulped and forced herself to look away. Asprey Charles was the last man in the world who needed his ego stroked. It was already at full attention and dangerously close to poking her in the eye.

“Oh? Is cheating too dishonest for the likes of you?”

“Don’t get me wrong,” he bragged, his chest puffing with misplaced pride. “I can count cards with the best of them. But actually getting in there and messing with the deck during gameplay? Not my style. I’m better at providing a distraction.”

No kidding. It had been a long time since she’d met a man with the ability to disarm her with just one laugh—and that was more dangerous than she cared to think about. Laughter was one step away from camaraderie, which put her on that dangerous and slippery slope toward friendship.

They all knew what came after that.

“So how is this going to go down?” she asked. “I told you Todd’s weakness is gambling—and I’ve been setting him up for weeks to believe I might be able to make a high-stakes game happen. If I want to take him for the full amount, that’s where he needs to be hit.”

“And that’s exactly where we’ll hit him.” Graff took the seat opposite Poppy—far enough away that he was out of arm’s reach, but still keeping her squarely in view. She nodded once, showing her understanding.

She hadn’t been lying when she said telling Graff about Todd had been the tipping point in moving things her direction—but that didn’t mean she liked the guy any better. He was too drunk on his own power, too much the master of the situation. There were very few men in this world who used that kind of power wisely, and she seriously doubted he was one of them.

Asprey set the deck of cards aside. “You never did tell me what it is you have against the guy.”

“He’s a crook,” Poppy said. “He might look like an upstanding financial broker, but in addition to the regular work with his firm, he runs a side scheme that purposefully tanks investments that are then rerouted to his personal account in the Cayman Islands.”

Asprey’s eyes widened. “And you know this for a fact?”

“No. I overheard it at the nail salon.” She placed her palms face up on the table, her way of showing a clean hand. “Of course I know it for a fact. He targets older investors, gaining their trust and then crushing all their retirement plans to fund his gambling addiction.”

Asprey let out a low whistle. “You’ve done your homework. Tiff didn’t uncover any of that stuff when she dug around in his records.”

“There’s no reason why she should have come across anything out of the ordinary.” Poppy wasn’t without pride as she told him what she’d learned from piecing together files lifted out of his home office and a visit to the Securities Exchange Commission in a deceptively secretarial suit and glasses. “He accesses the money only after it’s been laundered through his firm and put into accounts that fail on a spectacular level. In the eyes of the SEC, all is right and tight in his world—he has no more complaints lodged against him than any other financial broker, and everything always comes back clear. It’s only the unfortunate investors who pay the price.”

“A crook,” he said, echoing her previous words. But then he added, his eyes crinkled at the corners as he appraised her, “How exactly is that different from being a con woman, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Those were fighting words. She shot back in her chair, her hands grasping the table for support. “Because I don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, that’s why. I con people like you, Asprey, not the homeless man on the street corner looking for someplace warm to sleep. Besides, who are you to be casting stones? You’ve got enough loot in here to enjoy three lifetimes of luxury.”

Asprey spread the cards out in front of her. He’d somehow managed to get all the suits matched up and in order, and they unfolded in a clean, colorful line. “Fine. One deceitfully rigged poker game coming right up.”

Poppy looked to Graff. He was the unknown in all this, the wild card, as it were. “And you’re absolutely sure you’re on board? This is something you can handle?”

Graff bowed his head in a slight nod. “I told you. I don’t necessarily like it, but we can play our part if you play yours.”

BIO: Tamara Morgan is a romance writer and unabashed lover of historical reenactments—the more elaborate and geeky the costume requirements, the better. In her quest for modern-day history and intrigue, she has taken fencing classes, forced her child into Highland dancing, and, of course, journeyed annually to the local Renaissance Fair. These feats are matched by a universal love of men in tights, of both the superhero and codpiece variety.

Her home is in the Inland Northwest, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and variety of household pets. Feel free to drop her an email at tamaramorganwrites (at) gmail (dot) com or follow her on Twitter at @Tamara_Morgan.

(And hey, if you’d like to get your very own shiny new copy, you can do that here :D)

Review: Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan

Liz’s Review of: 

Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan
Contemporary romance released by Samhain Publishing February 14, 2012

It takes a real man to wear a kilt. And a real woman to charm him out of it.
Games of Love, Book 1
It might be modern times, but Kate Simmons isn’t willing to live a life without at least the illusion of the perfect English romance. A proud member of the Jane Austen Regency Re-Enactment Society, Kate fulfills her passion for courtliness and high-waisted gowns in the company of a few women who share her love of all things heaving.
Then she encounters Julian Wallace, a professional Highland Games athlete who could have stepped right off the covers of her favorite novels. He’s everything brooding, masculine, and, well, heaving. The perfect example of a man who knows just how to wear his high sense of honor—and his kilt.
Confronted with a beautiful woman with a tongue as sharp as his sgian dubh, Julian and his band of merry men aren’t about to simply step aside and let Kate and her gaggle of tea-sippers use his land for their annual convention. Never mind that “his land” is a state park—Julian was here first, and he never backs down from a challenge.
Unless that challenge is a woman unafraid to fight for what she wants…and whose wants are suddenly the only thing he can think about.
Warning: The historical re-enactments in this story contain very little actual history. Battle chess and ninja stars may apply.

Love is a Battlefield is a clever book, combining the allure of Scotland and regency decadence in modern times.  Julian, as the president of the Scottish Highland Society, is in charge of the games and has once more chosen the same venue they use every year.  Kate is a member of the Jane Austen Regency Reenactment Society and, after a debacle at a ball in which her best friend invited strippers, Kate is now in charge of finding a place to hold their annual gathering.  It should come as no surprise that she wants the same public park as Julian.  Let the battle begin!

Kate is a woman who is looking for that one great love – the perfect man, as she sees him from her romance novels.  She wants to be swept off her feet and worshipped for all eternity.  When she comes face to face with a man quite the opposite of what she pictures as her ideal, she winds up in a battle of wills with him that is about so much more than a tract of land in a public park.  For the first time, Kate decides to take a stand.  Not only for her friends in the reenactment society, but more importantly, for herself.  I cheered every time Kate put her foot down because Julian expected her to go along with whatever he wanted, even as I knew that every time she did, she drew closer to pushing him away for good.

Julian grew up idolizing his step-father who was a participant in the Highland Games.  When he passed away, Julian’s desire to reclaim his step-dad’s record from the current holder and his archenemy – Duke Kilroy III – and secure a coveted promotional deal with a whiskey company became everything to him.  He lived and breathed the Highland Games, believing that the secret to securing his mom and half-sisters’ financial welfare lay in those two things alone.  Julian is the perfect picture of an alpha male and the embodiment of everything a romance reader comes to think of when the term Scotland appears on the page: he is large, muscled, sexy, loyal to his friends, and wears a kilt with a roguish grin.  What he also is, however, is a very complex man, broken when he doesn’t know it, holding onto the ghost of the only man who ever thought he could be someone.  When he’s faced with the chance to grab onto real love, his internal struggles are heartbreaking, even more so when some harsh truths about his family are laid out for him.

The supporting characters in the book are as well drawn as the hero and heroine.  Both Kate and Julian have best friends, Julian’s Michael is a go-for-anything sort and Kate’s Jada is the devil on her shoulder.  Although we don’t meet Kate’s family, we do get a peek into Julian’s mom and half-sisters’ lives, and the value he places on them.

Love is a Battlefield is a very well written book that brings together two differing groups with equally stubborn leaders and tosses in a sexy adversary bent on taking everything from Julian and duping Kate in the process.  Kate is laugh-out-loud witty as she digs her heels in and sets her sights on the park, and Julian is frustratingly wrapped up in his precious games, proving to be that all too temping mix of rogue and knight.  When they go to war on a human-sized chessboard to decide who gets the park, the heat generated is enough to warm even the coldest heart.  But don’t think it’s that easy; no good romance ever gives the HEA up so fast.  You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens between the kilt-wearing warrior who spends the off-season as a construction worker, and the book-store manager who likes to dress up like Jane Austen in her free time.

It’s not too often that I come across a book that I can’t put down.  A book that, when I’m reading it, you’ll find me at the stove with a spatula in one hand and my kindle in the other.  But this is just such a book.  Once I picked up Love is a Battlefield, I positively couldn’t put it down.  Sleep beckoned.  Dogs whined to go outside.  My husband rolled his eyes.  And still, I read on until I finished it.  It’s everything I want in a true romance – the development of the characters and the intersecting of their lives is more important than the number of tumbles into bed, and the romance that blooms is one wrought from a marathon, not a sprint.

This book was so good I basically wanted to have sex with it, marry it, and raise a little family of Game of Love books.  I would highly recommend it to anyone with a thing for hot men with stubborn streaks, beautiful women with feisty temperaments and meddling friends, and loves their happily-ever-after to keep them on the edge of their seat, right to the very end.

Grade:  A+

You can read an excerpt here, or buy a copy here.