Excerpt, Giveaways, Guest Blog, Reviews

Guest Post and #Review of Keeping a Warrior (Loving a Warrior #2) by Melanie Hansen w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #contemporaryromance @MelJoyAZ @carinapress

Keeping a Warrior

by Melanie Hansen

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Devon Lowe is a survivor.

A survivor of war. Of combat. And of a betrayal by men she considered her brothers-in-arms. But her trailblazing work as a Cultural Support Team member working alongside the Navy SEALs is too important for her to back down now.

Fresh off a painful break-up, Air Force pararescueman Rhys Halloran recognizes Devon’s trauma for what it is—something that’s left her isolated, but far from irreparably damaged.

With Devon’s trust still lying shattered back in Afghanistan, putting her faith in a man who’s nursing a broken heart isn’t easy. But she’s tired of people making her feel weak, and Rhys makes her feel anything but, sparking a heated attraction that was never part of the plan.

With all eyes on Devon to prove herself in a brutal man’s world, having it all will mean putting her heart on the line like never before. But when it comes to Rhys, it’s an uphill battle she’s ready to fight.

Publisher’s Note: Keeping a Warrior deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including past sexual assault.

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Excerpt One:

The night before, for the first time since he could remember, Rhys had fallen asleep with another woman on his mind.

The same woman now sitting and staring pensively at the plane. After a moment’s hesitation, Rhys gathered his courage and approached her, not sure of his welcome.

“Mind some company?”

Devon glanced up with what looked like a genuine smile. “Not at all.”

Rhys lowered himself to sitting and drew his knees up, ankles crossed, loosely draping his arms around them. “You okay?”

With a shrug, Devon mirrored his pose and nodded at the plane. “Just sitting here trying to analyze my feelings.”

“About going back?”

“Mmm.”

“I can imagine those are some pretty complicated feelings,” Rhys said gently.

“Yeah, well, I’m in a totally different place now, at least. Back then I was so idealistic, so trusting, so goddamn stupid.”

Rhys didn’t say anything, just let her talk.

“I thought that bad things couldn’t happen to me, or if they did, it’d be something heroic, you know? Not—” She shook her head. “And now all I want to do is reclaim that part of myself that someone else took from me.”

A lump rose into Rhys’s throat at the slight quaver in her voice.

“Well, this time around you have me,” he said fiercely. “You have the guys.” He nodded his head toward Matt and Shane, who were leaning against a nearby wall, arms crossed, each with one booted foot propped against it, heads close together.

Devon smiled when she saw them. “Think they worked everything out?”

Rhys was about to say he hoped so when Matt pushed off the wall. As he did, Shane snaked his hand behind him and gave his ass a firm pinch, followed by a discreet pat. Matt elbowed him, hard, but he was smiling while he sauntered away.

“Um, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.”

He and Devon snickered together, and she bumped him with her shoulder. “You’re right. It’s gonna be different this time, for lots of different reasons.”

I love talking about my research because I love to do it! Researching a topic is my favorite part of writing a book. The first thing I do when I decide on a subject to write about is open a draft email. That’s where I keep links to articles that I find, or ideas that pop into my head, or even snippets of dialogue. I like draft emails because then it’s available to me across all my devices—from my work computer to my phone to my iPad. It’s always at my fingertips to add to because I never know when inspiration will strike. A lot of times the best dialogue comes to me when I’m driving and listening to music. The minute I stop at a light, I can whip my phone out and jot it down in my draft email in a few seconds.

Another thing I love to do is read non-fiction books or blogs authored by people in the profession I’m writing about, or who have directly experienced the topic of my story. That way I can get a feel for the vocabulary used in the job, the culture around it, and some of the things they experience or feel while performing it. An example of this is the military. I read military non-fiction voraciously, especially since I’ve never served and never will. Because of my reading, I have a good feel for that way of life. I do try to stay away from military fiction, especially romance, because I don’t want another author’s writing to influence mine.

The last—and best!—thing I do for research is listen to podcasts hosted by people in my characters’ professions. There’s nothing like hearing about it in someone’s own words, from their own mouths and in their own voice. The perfect example of this is with Navy SEALs. There are some excellent podcasts hosted by ex-SEALs, and I learn so much about the culture from them. They share anecdotes, and use their internal terminology, and all of that really helps me add authenticity to my stories. Not to mention, they’re just fun to listen to!

So that’s a little bit about my research! Thanks so much for hosting me today!

This is my first book by Ms. Hansen and I was very impressed.  I will admit that went to Amazon and read some of the reviews on her other books.  And no, I didn’t cheat and read the reviews for this book.  I wanted to be surprised and Ms. Hansen did surprise me.  First with her writing.  It is smooth, she has certainly done her research and she takes her time with her characters and their development.  Her characters are some of the more fleshed out that I’ve read in a long time.  Devon and Rhys could be your next-door neighbors.  I love how Ms. Hansen let them get to know each other first, become friends and then lovers.  She took her time with them and let me tell their story.  Even Shane and Matt were well-drawn secondary characters.  And yes, their story is the first book in the series.

I will have to say that what Devon went through, off the page, is something that needs to be talked about and sadly it’s not.  The military is still a boys club and women shouldn’t have to put up with that at all.  How Devon coped with it and ultimately dealt with it was great.  It didn’t define her and when she realized that not military men are pigs, she developed real relationships with them.  Also, Rhys was there for her as a friend and comrade to help her through her self doubt at times.  Oh, she can totally take care of herself.  Just wait and read.  That’s what makes the romance work in the book.  Rhys had enough to deal with concerning his ex and didn’t know what to think of the feelings that he was developing for Devon.  Devon was very upfront with him from the beginning and it just worked.

Some of the other content is set in a combat zone and Ms. Hansen doesn’t sugarcoat it.  While this is a military book, she doesn’t use it as a backdrop for the characters and the relationships formed from it.  Again, I can not talk enough about the characters in this book.  I wish they were my friends in real life.  They genuinely care about each other and not just when they are on a mission.  I read a lot of military romance books and Ms. Hansen has really nailed the genre with just this one book that I have read.  I don’t need to know all the “secrets” that the military does but a general understanding is good and that’s what Ms. Hansen will give you.  Her characters and their stories are more important.

I just fell in love with Rhys and Devon.  Their romance is slow, sweet and bit sexy.  I appreciate the fact that they took their time before hitting the sheets and let their relationship take its time.  Also, Matt and Shane took a piece of my heart, too.  And yes, I bought the book.  I just have to know the backstory and those two.  Do yourself a favor and read this book.  You will believe in the power of healing yourself and letting love in to help you heal, too.  Most importantly, did I mention that Rhys is a redhead?

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Warrior-Loving-Book-ebook/dp/B07J3CW95D/

Social Media:

https://melaniehansenbooks.com

https://twitter.com/MelJoyAZ

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009084006829

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13505006.Melanie_Hansen

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Melanie Hansen will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of Racing Peril (the Tetrad Group #1) by January Bain w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #romanticsuspense @JanuaryBain #thriller

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. January Bain will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Revenge. Greed. Murder. And an insatiable passion…

Silk O’Connor resolves to take justice into her own hands on the steps of an LA courthouse. The scumbag who killed her sister is holding a press conference, set free by a corrupt justice system bought off by his rich father. Inconceivable. There is no way she will just let him walk away.

Jake Marshall is a decorated war hero on leave, filling in for a friend at Sterling Security—and protecting the very man who used his car as a weapon and murdered Silk’s only family. The war has left him with PTSD, fighting to salvage his own sanity, and a sniper is the last thing he needs.

The two clash when Jake finds Silk preparing to mete out her own frontier-style brand of justice from the courthouse roof…and the adrenaline-fueled high-stakes world of sex trafficking it ensnares the pair in tests them to their absolute limit.

And when Silk enters this den of depravity, she knows only one thing for certain, she may never come out alive.

What others are saying about Racing Peril.

From the editor, Rebecca Fairfax: “I love the unique ‘Januaryness’ January Bain brings to her writing. It’s a blend of her immense imagination, her fully rounded characters, her well-researched stories, the fast pace she tells them at and it’s all wrapped up in her love for what she does and sprinkled right through with her Canadianism. You can’t go wrong with one of her books, whether it’s the fun, sexy romps of her Brass Ringers series or the high-octane blast of this romantic suspense series. Just read Racing Peril and you’ll be rushing for book two, Racing the Tide!”

Dear Reader,

January Bain is an extraordinary author who has great talent in capturing the story and creating memorable characters. Romantic suspense is not easy to write. You must create characters who are vibrant and electric, make sure neither the romance nor the suspense overshadow each other, and craft a story that keeps the reader on edge from beginning to end. January Bain has done just that with RACING PERIL. It is one of my personal favorites and I know it will be one of yours, too. Thank you, January, for writing such an excellent story. This is a real treat for readers. I hope there are more like this to follow. – Desiree Holt, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author

Read an Excerpt:

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Get off me!” she screamed in instant pain. Both mental and physical. She had failed. The worst possible outcome.

“Is anything broken?” a strong male voice asked, the low timbre of the tone vibrating through her.

“Who the fuck cares!” she screamed, attempting to push him off along with the rifle she still clutched. He pulled it from her hands, checking that the safety was reengaged, and laying it aside.

Instead of letting her up, he rolled her over and straddled her hips. He grasped her hands as she flailed about, striking out at him, wanting to cause him pain. Tears began rolling down her cheeks. A sob escaped from her chest, loud, as all the terrible anguish that had built up since the accident broke free, a tidal wave of emotion born of pain and loss.

He held her steady as the tsunami flooded through her, a force far beyond her control in charge. Unavoidable. Unstoppable. It pushed her heart to release its crushing burden. The pain of the accident. Images of her sister in her coffin at the funeral. The pitifully small number of mourners to say goodbye to a young life cut so tragically short. The first clod of earth hitting the top of her casket—all the heart-bruising moments locked in her brain of the past few weeks, fucking her up. Then the images came from further back. Happier memories of her and Ashley in simpler times. Watching a movie together. Playing a favorite video game. Cooking up a feast to celebrate one of their birthdays. And her sister’s favorite—shoe shopping. All the record of her sister she would have to last a lifetime.

Her loud sobs eventually turned into soft hiccups. A catharsis born of the trauma and guilt she could no longer escape left her fighting exhaustion, yet strangely eased, some of the overwhelming tension that had driven her for weeks gone. Her other senses rushed in to fill the void. She became aware. Too aware.

I’m going to start off by saying that Ms. Bain is fast becoming a favorite author of mine.  While she is still new to me, I’ve come to love her voice, her characters but especially how she constructs her stories.  Plus, they are suspenseful, thrilling and sexy all at the same time.

I couldn’t get enough of Silk and Jake.  These two were destined to be together.  From the moment that they met, the action never stopped.  This is a very fast paced story.  But I also need to tell you that it is on the shorter side.  What makes this story work is Ms. Bain.  She packs a lot into Silk and Jake’s story but it is easy to follow, it’s palatable and a plot that makes sense.  You don’t have to suspend belief in this story.

Jake is going through some nasty stuff when he meets Silk and convinces her that her actions will not help her at all.  Silk finally agrees and the race is on with these two.  I won’t go into the action at the being and why Silk knew what she knows but she is one tough cookie.  And that’s what I really enjoy about Ms. Bain’s heroines.  They are flawed but no wallflowers.  They don’t “need” a man to rescue them from a situation, but maybe from themselves.

Jake is a dream.  When he realizes that Silk is right, he will do anything to make the wrong, right.  Plus, well, you just need to read the book.  Like I said before, the action never stops.  Between the mystery, suspense, thrilling action and some smexy times, this book has it all for me.  Again, Ms. Bain is fast becoming a favorite author of mine now.  Her characterization, plot lines and making this reader feel like they are right there…

Do yourself a favor and find this author.  Buy her books.  Read her books.  You can thank me later.

About the Author:

I think I’ve wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. And I know where it all began! I was blessed by being read to by my mom every night at bedtime. 🙂
I love spending hundreds of hours researching the unusual and the mundane to create books that feature strong, kickass women, hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks, and wild adventures full of twists and turns.

You can find me hard at work every morning without fail in my office with a furry baby trying to prove she does a better job of guarding the universe than anyone.

I enjoy talking books, so please connect on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/january.bain

https://www.totallybound.com/author/january-bain

Buy link:

Amason: https://www.amazon.com/Racing-Peril-Tetrad-Group-Book-ebook/dp/B07PBX6NB4/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130790669?type=eBook

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Excerpt, Giveaways, New Release, Reviews

#Review of Heart of a Highlander (a Real Men Wear Kilts novel) by Maxine Mansfield w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #timetravel #romance @LeekyShortz @WildRosePress

Heart of a Highlander

by Maxine Mansfield

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GENRE: Time Travel/Romance

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BLURB:

Staff Sergeant Ian Mackay didn’t care if he lived or died. He’d left what really mattered strewn across Afghanistan three years ago. All the self-help groups and doctors in the world couldn’t assuage his guilt. But when an accident takes his life and Fate steps in with an offer to fix what was once unfixable, he jumps at the second chance to save his men. Now he’s stuck in a strange land, in an even stranger time, and expected to bed his equally strange but desirable new bride. Healer Aila Gordan of the Sutherland clan thought her betrothed dead, had even seen his lifeless body the night before their wedding. Why then is her sworn enemy, Ian Mackay, standing before the priest, waiting for her to repeat the vows that would make her his wife? The fairies must have possessed his body, a frightening notion, indeed. But marriage to the handsome laird, possessed or otherwise, couldn’t be any worse than living in her brother’s castle where, like all women in 1643 Scotland, she has no freedom. And if the kiss at the altar is any indication, she could just steal the heart of a highlander.

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Excerpt Three:

“I’m from the future, Aila,” he spat out. “Almost four hundred years from now to be exact. But I’m not from this body you now see me in. You were right. The original Ian Mackay was dead that night you found him. He was one of my ancestors, you see, and we shared the same name and linage. When I died in an accident—in the future—Fate himself sent me back into the past and into this Ian Mackay’s body to correct a mistake that should never have happened in the first place.”

“What should nae have happened, Ian?” she asked.

He gulped. “Your death, Aila.”

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Yall this book.  I love a good time travel and this one is the best I’ve read.  There were things that I wasn’t expecting at all.  Let me explain if I can.

Fate is hilarious.  Great characterization and I felt the frustration that Ian had whenever he was trying to talk to Fate.  There is a saying that Karma is a fickle bitch, well, Fate at least has a sense of humor.  I loved how Ms. Mansfield used Fate to flesh out Ian’s backstory and his motivation to get back to his own time.

Ian is one of those characters that you just love from the first page.  He means well and has a heart of gold.  His issues with PTSD are real and are dealt with honestly.  He really did feel bad and thought they only way to help was to go back in time.  Little did he know how much Aila would change his life for the good.  I especially loved how Ms. Mansfield shaped their relationship as equals based on his parent’s relationship in the past.  Most often, historical writers still have their women as fragile women that can’t handle much on their own.

Which brings me to Aila as the heroine.  She was strong, smart and funny all at the same time.  Her belief that Ian was a fairy is hilarious.  The Scots are very religious and believe the legends that are passed on.  (Watch Brave, you’ll understand what I mean)  But what really stood out with me was her ability to believe Ian in the end and loving him no matter what.  Now her brother, Fergus was a tool in the beginning but towards the end, he ended up being a great character for both Ian and Aila.

But folks, this book is set in the Northern Highlands so some of the dialogue is Celtic (LOVE), and their way of life is brilliantly played out.  Ms. Mansfiled did her research and it shows.  She also doesn’t weigh the book down with all the very small details that some authors do when writing this time period.  She has a very deft hand and knows when to back off and just let her characters tell the story.

Again, this book.  It’s spicy and I love how Ms. Mansfield lets the characters own it.  It feels natural and not rushed.  Pick up this book and read it.  The ending is beautiful.  I wasn’t expecting it and I sighed and swooned in the end.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Hi, my name is Maxine Mansfield and I write erotic romance, be it Fantasy or Time travel from my easy chair in the great state of Alaska. A magical place where the summer days are long and bright, and the winter nights even longer.

Web site: www.maxinemansfield.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Highlander-Real-Wear-Kilts/dp/B07HFHGHMG/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maxine.mansfield.9

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Maxine Mansfield will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway