Friday Feature & Guest Post: The Wrong Brother’s Bride by Allison Merritt

The Playlist for The Wrong Brother’s Bride

Music is an important part of my writing process. I may get so deeply involved in a scene that I don’t realize the songs I’ve been listening to have zipped passed, but I like that rhythmic noise in the background.

It’s kind of an odd mixture of pop and scores, but it worked for me.

1) Buy the Space farm composed by Michael Giachhino on the Star Trek Into Darkness score. I hope by now everyone knows there’s a major character death in that movie, so it suited my novel because the book starts with the August O’Dell contemplating his brother’s death and it haunts him throughout the novel.

2) Almost Home composed and sung by Jono Manson on The Postman soundtrack (everyone hated that movie, but I loved it). You’ll find this one cropping up on my playlist for several of my books. The Postman and August have a lot in common–they both fall for a woman who doesn’t think of him as someone she could love immediately.

3) Stay sung by Rhianna featuring Mikky Ekko. It’s the line that says “it’s not something you take, it’s given” that really caught my attention, because of August’s unrequited love for Loyal. He hoped he’d win her over, because she was always his brother’s girl since they were children, but he knew he’d never be able to force her to love him.

4) Home composed by Hans Zimmer on The Lone Ranger soundtrack. Like I said, I loved the movie, I loved the score. This 6+ minute song has soothing tones that work during the emotional parts of the
story.

5) Distance sung by Christina Perry. I know, I’m making August sound kind of desperate, but I promise he’s not. He’s just a man in love who’s trying to do the right thing by his brother’s former fiancée. It’s a little too awkward for him to mention, “By the way, I’ve loved you for a long time”, and much easier to try to prove it through his actions. The line “call it anything but love” suits him in the first part of the story.


brothersTitle: The Wrong Brother’s Bride by Allison Merritt
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical, Romance
Word Count: 61,214

Summary:

A haunted past, a marriage of convenience…a love for a lifetime?

After a tragic accident leaves Loyal Redfearn alone and pregnant, she writes to her deceased fiance’s ne’er-do-well brother, August OíDell. Her hope is he’ll help save her beloved home. What she doesn’t expect from him is a proposal so soon on the heels of his brother’s death. Although they grew up together, she’s never thought of August as the man she would marry, even as a means to save face with her family and friends.

Although returning to the township where August spent his troubled youth means facing the past, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the woman he’s loved since boyhood. They agree the marriage is in name-only, but August works to earn Loyal’s trust and waits for the day she’ll see his hard work as proof that she didn’t marry the wrong brother after all.

When evidence from a crime committed years ago points to August as the culprit, he and Loyal must face the reality that their newly forged family may be torn apart.

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Excerpt

She hugged Jeremiah’s pillow, breathing his lingering scent. The aching wound left by his loss gaped wide.

In the kitchen, she heard a floorboard squeak. Loyal choked back another sob, holding her breath as she waited for August to return to his room or come to hers. The curtains fell against the window as the breeze died.

“Loyal?”

August’s soft call made her tense. She could ignore him, pretend she hadn’t heard, but too many nights she’d been alone. Grief brought with it some puzzling emotions. It had been a relief when their friends left her alone at the farm after the funeral. And so lonely she thought she’d go mad if she didn’t hear another human voice. Trying to sort through what she felt now made her long for the sleep she’d missed the last week.

“I know you’re awake. I heard you crying.”

She sniffed, wiping her eyes with the back of her hands. “I thought you were asleep. I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“No. May I come in?” His voice was muffled through the door. “I’d like a word with you.”

“Just a moment.” One of Jeremiah’s flannel shirts draped across the foot of the bed where she’d left it this morning. She drew it over her shoulders and slipped her arms through the sleeves, pulling the loose ends around herself. Striking a match, she lit the lamp on the bedside table. “Come in.”

The door opened and August filled the frame. In the lamplight, his eyes seemed bluer than she remembered, like the sky after rain. Both O’Dell brothers had gotten their looks from their father, but August stood straighter than his old man ever had. His wide shoulders strained against his tan shirt. He scratched the scruff shadowing his jaw.

“I can’t sleep.”

She frowned. There must be something she could do to make him more comfortable. “Is it the bed? Do you need different blankets? Or maybe it’s because you didn’t eat.”

He shook his head. “Wandering mind. It’s partly because we got off on a bad foot. It isn’t easy to admit I’m wrong. I shouldn’t have acted like you don’t belong here. Seeing you brought back memories about the way your daddy treated us. And how Jeremiah stopped having time for me when he met you.” August swallowed. His Adam’s apple jumped in his throat. “Even if you don’t think marriage is right, there’s a place for you here. I’d like to help raise your son or daughter the way he would have wanted. That’s all.”

Loyal couldn’t speak. Surely the world was ending if August was apologizing for his actions. His father had never admitted his wrongs in his life. Her worry that August would follow his father’s path faded.

“That’s all,” he repeated and backed into the hall.

“Wait.” She swung her feet to the floor and padded across the room, craning her neck to look at him. “Thank you, August.”

“I heard you crying and I thought…”

He must have been sitting in the kitchen before he knocked on her door. She waved her hand, dismissing his reasoning. “I wasn’t crying because of you. Lately I can’t help it.”

He seemed a little more at ease, though he would probably grow sick of her tears before a week had passed. She had.

She reached out, slipping her hands beneath his arms. He didn’t move for a moment, even when she clasped her hands behind his back. Her cheek pressed against the soft material of his shirt and she closed her eyes. August wrapped his strong arms around her shoulders, and his breath stirred her hair. She clung to him as though she was a leaf and he was the root, an anchor in the storm.

For a moment, everything was alright. She had the farm, a child growing beneath her heart, and a strong partner to care for her. She stepped back, knowing what she had to do now.

August’s arms fell at his sides. His face changed and she was sure she saw the briefest flash of disappointment.

“Good night, Loyal.”

A knot formed in her throat. Jeremiah was gone, but his brother was offering to take his place. She inhaled, catching a faint whiff of leather that clung after his long ride and a scent that was all his own.

“Wait.”

He stood unmoving, watching her with a bemused gaze.

“August, I’ll marry you. For the baby. As long as we’re clear that Jeremiah is the father and we’re just friends.” Her throat scratched as she forced the words out.

“In name only.” His face was guarded.

“Yes.”

“Alright. Is your daddy—”

She dug her fingernails into her palm. “He won’t perform the ceremony, much less come.”

He nodded. “I’ll ask someone else.” For a moment he was quiet. “It’ll be alright, Loyal. I’m here.”

When he turned, she didn’t stop him. Tears rolled down her face. He couldn’t know Jeremiah had said almost the same words when she told him she was pregnant.

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Cover Reveal: Freed by Stacey Kennedy

The next novel in Stacey Kennedy’s Club Sin series:

freedTitle: Freed by Stacey Kennedy
Release date: September 23, 2014
Club Sin Series Book Four
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group)
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, BDSM, Romance
Length: 256 pages

Summary:

Perfect for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, the Club Sin series continues with Freed, a wicked, wild eBook original novel from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy.

Mary Schmidt knows only too well how thrilling a Master’s touch can be. Her husband, Charles, had been her ultimate fantasy, a seducer in the erotic dance of dominance and submission. She misses the sensual lifestyle they shared, but mourns him so deeply she cannot bear to embrace her submissive needs with another Dom—until a man who exudes temptation reawakens desires she can no longer deny.

Elliott Foster is dazzled by Mary. He instantly knows that she’s the woman he’s been waiting for—a woman who turns games into need. As her Master, he dares to unlock the deepest pleasures of her flesh, releasing her from pain and healing her mind. When Mary’s lithe body comes to life under his, he knows their connection goes beyond sex. Now that he has found the perfect woman, the perfect partner, the perfect submissive, he desires only to give her everything she craves.

Freed is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

Pre-Order Links: Amazon * B&N * More Purchasing Options: Random House


Check out the latest release in the CLUB SIN series…

BAREDTitle: Bared by Stacey Kennedy
Club Sin Series Book Two
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House Publishing Group)
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, BDSM, Romance
Length: 243 pages

Summary:

“Bared is a seductively haunting tale of control and surrender that will tantalize existing fans of the series, while enticing new readers into the passionate world of Club Sin.” ~Eliza Gayle, New York Times bestselling author of SUBMISSIVE BEAUTY

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Stacey Kennedy returns to Club Sin with another wicked and wild tale of submission, seduction, and love.

At Las Vegas’s exclusive Club Sin, Aidan Knight is the Master, unleashing the erotic yearnings of his submissive lovers. But his dominant façade conceals a devastating loss—something he instantly recognizes in his personally trained submissive Cora Adams. Sworn to unearth her secrets, Aidan uses his seductive skills to ignite her wildest desires until Cora yields to the pleasure she can find only with him.

Cora came to the BDSM club to act out her sub-and-dom fantasies without ever revealing the heartbreak that haunts her. But Aidan’s masterful touch is bringing her closer to the edge . . . and deeper into a world of control and surrender. He refuses to allow her to submit to any other man—nor does she want to. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing. For as they give in to passion, they must lay bare their souls for a love that could heal—and free—them both.

Bared is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * More buying options: Random House

Click HERE for info about Desired, book three in the Club Sin series (available 7/22/14)


Author Bio

kennedyUSA Today Bestselling Author, Stacey Kennedy is an urban fantasy lover at heart, but she also enjoys losing herself in dark and sensual worlds. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who gave her a happily-ever-after. Together, they have two small children who can always make her smile, and who will never be allowed to read Mommy’s books. If she’s not plugging away at a new story, you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Supernatural, True Blood, Lost Girl, and Sons of Anarchy.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Loveswept Website


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Blog Tour Stop, Interview & Giveaway: Breaking All the Rules by Cynthia Sax

It is my extreme pleasure to welcome Cynthia Sax to Book Reviews & More by Kathy. For today’s stop on her Breaking All the Rules tour, Ms. Sax graciously answered my “get to know you” questions.

Kathy: What book do you recommend everyone should read? Do you have a comfort read?

Cynthia Sax: My go-to book when I’m feeling lazy with the writing is Loretta Chase’s Lord Of Scoundrels. That historical romance is so crazily tight. There’s not a lazy line in the story. Many of the sentences have multiple meanings. My goal is, to someday, write a story that tight.

On the erotic romance side, I’m a Laurann Dohner fangirl. Fury, from her New Specie series, is MINE, all mine. She writes fantastic beast heroes, primitive males who will do anything for their women.

Kathy: What is your guilty pleasure?

Cynthia Sax: Cynthia Sax’s muse runs on Nutella. I wouldn’t say it is my guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty about this chocolate hazelnut goodness but boy, oh boy, is it a pleasure. I’m a purist. I like to eat it straight from the spoon.

Kathy: Favorite meal?

Cynthia Sax: I’m a simple gal with simple tastes. Give me a cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger and I’m a happy woman. The hubby is in Vegas right now and that’s what he’s bringing home for me.

Kathy: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Cynthia Sax: If I wasn’t a writer, I would be crazy. Writing keeps me sane. Being published is a choice. Writing is a must-have. I’ve written daily since I could hold a crayon.

Career-wise, I left new business development (I created new beverages for a major beverage company) to write full time. I loved new business development but I loved writing more. Yes, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve held quite a few interesting jobs.

Kathy: If you could time travel, what time period would you visit?

Cynthia Sax: If I could time travel, I’d visit the future. I rarely look back. I tend to look forward. I’d love to travel through space, to explore different planets and meet hunky aliens (in my mind, all aliens are gorgeous and male). Oh, and to play with a replicator. I’m make some crazy stuff!

Kathy: My husband and son LOVE nutella (although they eat it on bread)! Hmm, I hadn’t thought about traveling through space-it’s a good thing time travel really isn’t possible, because I’d spend all my time jaunting around with authors ;)

Thank you so much for chatting with us and congratulations on your new release.


breakingTitle: Breaking All the Rules by Cynthia Sax
Publisher: Avon Red Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 100 pages

Summary:

Nathan Lawford, Blaine Technologies’ chief financial officer, is known as the Iceman. He conducts his personal and business affairs without emotion, never allowing himself to become involved with anyone. When Nate sees something or someone he wants, he negotiates, paying a simple, set monetary price.

Now he wants Camille, the company’s green-haired intern.

Camille Joplin Trent never expected to be paid to pleasure the man of her dreams. She can’t quite figure out why this is a bad thing. Nate is intelligent, handsome, sophisticated—everything she’s ever wanted in a lover and never thought she could have. Their contract is for a month, thirty lust-filled days of making every sexual fantasy they’ve ever had come true. At the end of this month, the rules state that their relationship will end.

Of course, Camille has never been good at following rules.

Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * iTunes


Author Bio

Cynthia Sax lives in a world filled with magic and romance. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you”, they will do anything for the women they adore. They live passionately. They play hard. They love the same women forever.

Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago. Please visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Author Links: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter


Giveaway

Digital Set of Cynthia Sax’s Seen Trilogy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the tour HERE.

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Review: Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran

summerTitle: Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 298 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author

Summary:

After her father’s death, Summer Quinn realizes just how alone she feels in the world. With no family to fill her life now, she finds comfort among friends, but yearns for true love, contentment, and family. When her boyfriend, Matt, suggests they raise their relationship to a higher level, Summer jumps at the chance to get everything she’s always wanted. Only she doesn’t expect the heat arising between her and her best friend, Ian–a man who never seems to settle down. A man the complete opposite of what she’s looking for. But when her estranged mother reappears after twenty-eight years, Summer’s world completely flips upside down. As secrets from her family’s past and Ian’s true feelings for her emerge, Summer’s now faced with choices she’s not sure she can make. The rest of her life’s happiness hinges on her finally confronting a past she’d rather deny and legitimately opening her heart to love, even if it’s not where she expected to find it.

The Review:

Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran is a lovely friends to lovers romance. It is also an emotional journey of healing and forgiveness for Summer Quinn as she makes peace with her past. But the heart and soul of this wonderful story is the delightful friendship that Summer shares with her best pals Ian, Rick and Dee.

Summer has been unable to move on from the two defining moments of her life-her mother’s long ago abandonment and more recently, her beloved father’s death from cancer. On the four year anniversary of her dad’s death, she is shaken by her mother Sharon’s unexpected reappearance in her life. As if her life is not in enough turmoil, her longtime boyfriend Matt is suddenly asking for a commitment and her close friendship with Ian takes a surprisingly romantic turn.

Although Summer has a very close friendship with her childhood friends, she always holds a little piece of herself back from them. Instead of confiding in them, she puts on a happy face and keeps her strongest emotions to herself. This defense mechanism works perfectly well until her past and present collide and she comes very close to ruining her friendship and, quite possibly, her future with Ian. But help arrives from a surprising source and Summer has a few revelations about her parents and her friendships that help her heal the wounds from her past.

The budding romance between Ian and Summer is full of misunderstandings but lack of communication is probably their biggest issue. For two people who think they know one another inside and out, it turns out they really don’t know each other very well at all. Even worse, they are both guilty of assuming they know what the other person is thinking and this leads some frustrating conversations where they keep their true feelings hidden.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel is the close-knit friendship between Summer, Ian, Rick and Dee. Ian, Rick and Dee are more than Summer’s friends; they are her family. The three have been with Summer through good times and bad and their support for her is unwavering. But as they soon discover, their good intentions have undesirable consequences that have hindered Summer more than they helped. Fortunately it is not too late for Summer to make amends for her past behavior and she embraces what she has in life instead of lamenting what is missing.

Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran is a wonderful story of forgiveness, friendship and love. The cast of characters is appealing and beautifully developed. The story line is engaging with plenty of strong emotions. A heartfelt novel that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Kelly Moran, Rated B, Review, Romance, The Wild Rose Press

Blog Tour Stop & Contest: Laura Harner’s Willow Springs Ranch Series

Willow

Book 1 – Ty Hard

Tyler has used Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a shield against the truth since he was seventeen. Cut loose from his Navy career and mourning his mentor’s death, Ty must come to terms with his desire for another man, even while he fights to keep his PTSD from pulling him under. Rancher Cass Cartwright’s relationships never last more than a few hours, and that’s just the way he likes it. Now he’s done the one thing he swore never to do: fallen in love. Can Cass convince Ty to let go of his past or will sabotage at the ranch kill their love before it has a chance to grow?

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe

Book 2 – Hold Tight

Sheriff Holden Titus had organized his fresh start down to the last detail. Except for the part about the bomb that blew his plans all to hell. Now he’s running out of time, without a job, without a home, and struggling to get back on his feet. Literally.

Despite the impolite rejection, Drew knows he didn’t have the wrong impression months ago when he asked the sheriff to dance, but he never expected to have Holden’s life in his hands. Literally.

Thanks to some meddlesome matchmaking, the two men are now temporary housemates at the Willow Springs Ranch and Drew is determined to help Holden heal, both physically and emotionally. Even if it means he has to drag the other man kicking and screaming to physical therapy…and out of the closet. In fact, that might be kind of fun.

The problem is, Holden doesn’t consider himself in the closet…but not all secrets are created equal.

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe

Book 3 – Taking Chance

Officer Chance Carter is pretty sure he’d still enjoy being on either end of a good ass reaming—just not the one from his supervisor that lands him on an involuntary extended vacation. Another holiday season with nothing to do except visit an old friend.

Former hospital corpsman Bryan Mitchell doesn’t feel less than honorable, but that’s what his discharge paperwork states. Now he’s down and out in Kingman, Arizona until the charity of a stranger lands him a temporary job for the holidays.

When two federal employees go missing during a highly controversial wild horse roundup, the two Willow Springs Ranch newcomers are drafted to help in the search, but if rumors of a local anti-government militia are true, Chance and Bryan may be in serious trouble—and from something far more dangerous than their mutual attraction.

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe

Book 3.5 – Ty’d Down (free short)

Ty brushed his hands on the long white apron and moved to the island counter to add more frosting to the piping bag. Cake decorating had never been his favorite chef duty, but like many cooks in the Navy, he had plenty of experience. He took another sip of coffee then began the final step of piping the white border around the edge of the top layer. He would add the already prepared red roses, last. As peace offerings went, a chocolate three-layer cake with buttercream icing wasn’t much, but Cass would forgive him. Eventually.

Today should have been their wedding day, but Ty had put a stop to all the foolishness weeks ago. For fuck’s sake, Arizona didn’t even have gay marriage. The gathering of friends for a commitment ceremony just seemed…stupid. Besides, Cass had just been caught up in the events surrounding Chance and Bryan’s rescue when he’d proposed. The truth of their relationship had been plain as day when Cass tried to take over the conversation after Bryan had been rescued. The words still echoed in his head.

“It’s my ranch…my decision…” Cass was boss and Ty the cook. Point taken. Ty wasn’t even bitter. Much. Cass was right, this was his ranch and Ty had usurped his authority—but goddamn it! No one here was better than Ty when it came to running a covert mission. Cass should have respected him enough…trusted him enough…

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe

Book 4 – Hanging Chad

For Chad Ollom, landing on the Willow Springs Ranch after his teaching career crashed and burned last year was a lesson in irony, considering he’d sworn off all things related to horses and cowboys after a near fatal fall as a child. Now with a new mission in life, Chad plans to bring critically ill children to the ranch for a special celebration.

Aging rodeo cowboy Jesse Duran lives life eight seconds at a time, and whether it’s broncos or men, it’s always been get on and get off before anyone gets hurt. When he’s required to take a break from the circuit and ends up on the WSR, the enticing ass of a stand-offish teacher turned contractor might just be enough challenge to keep him entertained for a week or two.

As attraction flares, personal boundaries start to crumble, and the lines between seducer and seduced begin to blur. When the series of on-going attacks against the WSR moves from sabotage to arson, Jesse steps up to help, but when Chad is forced to return to his past to face charges, the men of the WSR want to know if Jesse will stick or leave Chad hanging.

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe

Book 5 – Park’s Lot

When vegan, peace-loving, social do-gooder Park Williams stumbles across the half-dead cattle rancher who has been sabotaging the Willow Springs Ranch in the name of a homophobic militia group…there’s only one thing to do. Save his life, then share his tent. Waking to find the man’s dick pressed against his ass is just a bonus.

Tanner Triplett is in trouble. Not the your-brother-is-a-sociopathic-murderer-and-you’re-his-next-victim sort of trouble. Not even the your-father-is-trying-to-overthrow-the-federal-government-and-you’re-going-to-jail-for-helping kind of trouble. No…this is the sort of trouble that comes when you wake up with stranger’s dick in your hand. Holy fuck. How is he going to get out of this?

A sudden need to run for their lives ought to do it.

Determined to make amends, Tanner leads Park to the relative safety of the WSR, where the biggest danger should be from gun-wielding cowboys seeking revenge. Tanner hadn’t counted on sharing a room with the exotically beautiful Park or the danger to his heart when the carefully erected walls protecting his secret come tumbling down.

Purchase Links: Amazon * ARe


Author Bio

Raised in California, Laura likes it hot, which explains why she ended up in Arizona via such diverse places as Japan, Maine, and Florida, and many more places in between. After retiring from the US Navy, she found a niche working for land management agencies, including the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though she has held many jobs around the world, her favorite was working and living in Grand Canyon National Park. Working (and eating) in New Orleans was a close second. You will find many of her books are set against the rich backdrops provided by coastal Louisiana and northern Arizona.

When asked how she started writing, Laura tells of waking on Boxing Day a few years ago, with a woman named Elena MacFarland yammering in her dreams, demanding her story be told. Despite never attempting to write fiction before that morning, Laura ignored all of the holiday visitors and the Highland Destiny series was born. She doesn’t believe it was a coincidence that the great grandmother who died when Laura was just a baby was named Elena MacFarland. Destiny does play a hand.

Laura became a full-time writer in 2012, and now she spends her time writing, watching her Arizona Diamondbacks, and working on her very own version of the Willow Springs Ranch in northwestern Arizona. She is a multi-published author of erotic romance, mystery, and urban fantasy and her books can be found at all major online retailers.”

Author Links: Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter * Website


Contest

Five $20 Amazon Gift Cards

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