Spotlight & Excerpt: Tristan + Giveaway

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Tristan
by Jennie Lynn Roberts
(The Hawks, #1)
Publication date: February 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

His redemption might be her downfall…

Tristan has nothing left to lose. His best friend’s betrayal cost him everything. Now, he’s going to take it back. All he has to do to get the Hawks reinstated to their rightful position at the palace is track down the traitor’s younger sister and turn her over for execution. But Nim’s not the girl Tristan left behind years ago; she’s a stubborn, loyal, beautiful woman, and he can’t stop himself from wanting her.

Nim fled with nothing when the king’s favorite came for her. All she has left is the conviction that her brother is innocent—and her determination to free him. She’ll do anything…even if it means convincing Tristan to help her. But the man he’s become is a far cry from the boy she fell in love with so long ago. He’s formidably stern and deeply untrusting. She’ll just have to hope he still has a heart under that battle-scarred exterior.

When love and duty collide, will Tristan follow his orders or follow his heart?

Tristan, book 1 in The Hawks series, is a sexy, steamy, adult fantasy romance full of swords, shifters (kind of), and tons of action. But fair warning: This book is intended only for readers who love slow burn romance, fast-paced adventure, soul mates and found family—and characters who curse when they fight for survival. If that’s you, happy reading.

Tristan - release - 1 v2

Excerpt:

Gods, warm water. She could cry just at the idea of being clean.
She undid the stiff ties and breathed a sigh of relief as she took off the tight jerkin for the first time in days, letting her soft cotton blouse fall loose. She unlaced her long boots and yanked them off with a groan. She was about to pull down her breeches when she heard a quiet knock at the door.
“Who’s there?” she called, damping down her sudden nerves. The noise had startled her, but if someone wanted to hurt her, they wouldn’t have bothered knocking.
“Tristan.”
She didn’t want to face him again. Didn’t want to be reminded of her lonely teenage years as she slowly realized that what she wanted from him was never going to happen, that no matter how many times he visited, he never, really, saw her. Her even lonelier years as an adult, knowing that he didn’t want her and she didn’t want anyone else.
“What is it?” she asked, wishing he would go away.
His annoyed grunt was loud enough that she could hear it through the door. “I brought you some fresh clothes.”
She padded over and opened the door a few inches.
“Here.” He thrust a small bundle at her, no doubt his spare shirt and socks.
She hovered for a moment, uncertain. She didn’t want to take anything more from him, but she really wanted to rinse out her clothes.
He pushed it toward her. “Just take it.”
She reached out and took the bundle, glancing up at him as she did. As soon as he noticed that she was looking at him, the shutters came down and his face blanked, but what she’d seen in the moment before rocked her.
Just for a second, he had looked so much younger. Almost his old self. His eyes filled with a deep, complicated expression. Need. And uncertainty. And something like yearning.
But whatever it was, he hadn’t wanted her to see it.
“Why are you doing this, Tris?” she asked him carefully.
“Jos said you’d like fresh clothes.”
“No, not the clothes.” She waved her arm around the hut, indicating herself. “This. Bringing me here, helping me with Val.”
He looked confused for a moment, as if he didn’t understand the question, before replying, “It’s the right thing to do.”
“No,” she said, “it’s not. You are obliged to follow orders. That would be the right thing for you to do. Not this.”
She realized that she was clutching his shirt as if it could somehow save her from the dark look on his face and loosened her fingers.
She squared her shoulders and said what she had to. “You can leave me here. I don’t mind. I thank you, genuinely thank you, for bringing me all this way. I understand that this is against your orders and that it would be better for you to go.”
He strode into the hut and pushed the door closed behind him with an irritated click. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
She stayed exactly where she was, determined not to be intimidated. “I’m not that little girl anymore, Tris, the one that annoyed you so much. I don’t need another big brother bossing me around, and I’m very tired of you looking at me like you wish you’d never found me. I understand that you don’t want to be here with me, so just go.”
He stared at her for a moment before replying, his voice rough, “You’re right.”
“Okay.” She took a breath and let it out slowly, determined not to show how much that hurt.
“But not how you think.”
He stepped closer, and that time she did step back. He stepped closer again, and she tried to step back again, but realized she had her back to the stone wall of the hut.
He pressed one hand upon the wall behind her and leaned down, hard masculine body towering over her, lips against her ear, hot breath on her skin. “You’re right. You’re not a little girl anymore.”
He pushed himself a few inches away. Just enough that he could watch her, his eyes clear and completely focused on her. She felt herself flush, her breath coming quicker as a deep longing pooled inside her.
His eyes flicked to the open neck of her blouse, and he lifted a huge hand and ran the back of his knuckles ever so slowly just under the cotton, along the top of her breasts as he whispered, “And the last thing I feel toward you is brotherly.”

 

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Author Bio:

Jennie Lynn Roberts believes that every strong, kickass heroine should have control of her own story, a swoony hero to support her at every turn, and a guaranteed happily ever after. Because that doesn’t always happen in real life, she began creating her own worlds that work just the way they should. And she hasn’t looked back since.

Jennie would rather be writing than doing anything else—except for spending time with her gorgeous family, of course. But when she isn’t building vibrant new worlds, she can be found nattering with friends, baking up a storm, or strolling in the woods around her home in England.

If you want to talk books, romance, movies, reluctant heroes, or just about anything else with Jennie, feel free to contact her atwww.jennielynnroberts.com. But be prepared to settle in for a long chat if you bring up shifters, vampires, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride….

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Secret Recipe for Moving On + Giveaway

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The Secret Recipe for Moving On
by Karen Bischer
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 23rd 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

When Ellie is dumped by her boyfriend, she’s forced to make new friends (while watching her ex swoon over his new girlfriend) in The Secret Recipe for Moving On, a smart and funny YA debut from Karen Bischer.

Ellie Agresti’s not sure anything could be worse than being dumped by her boyfriend, Hunter, the first day of senior year.

But sharing a “life skills” class with him and his new girlfriend, Brynn? AND getting partnered with a “family” of misfits (A.J., the loudmouth; Isaiah, the horse-racing obsessive; and Luke, the tattooed stunt-biker)?

It’s a recipe for certain disaster…until an in-class competition allows Ellie to channel her angst into beating Hunter and Brynn’s team, and she unexpectedly bonds with her own group–especially Luke–in the process.

But as Ellie soon discovers, it will take more than classroom triumphs to heal her broken heart–and find herself again.

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Excerpt:

I’ve got a huge case of “don’t mess with me” by the time I get to the home ec room. If I have to spend the rest of the year watching this train wreck, then I intend to let everyone know how unhappy I am to be here. It’s better than being the sad and hurt victim, which is probably what Hunter is expecting me to be.
Hunter and Brynn arrive at the same time. Their heads are bent together, and they’re smiling as if sharing some sweet, cute little secret.
Vomit.
When they see me glaring at them, both of their faces stiffen and they swallow hard as they sit down at our table. I’d like to think they’re feeling guilty, but I’m not sure either is capable of it. More than likely they’re afraid of me, because Brynn makes a point to leave an empty seat between us. Like that space will stop me from kicking another globe at her or something.
After the bell rings, Mrs. Sanchez leans on her counter and peers at our table over her glasses. “It appears as if Paul Wilder has been expelled for his little stunt the other day.”
It’s only then that I notice Paul’s chair at the table next to ours is still empty. I’m relieved that I won’t have to be dealing with him again, but what does that have to do with us?
“And since your group has five people, and our assignments will call for groups of four, I was hoping one of you would volunteer to join Paul’s family to replace him.”
I feel my face grow hot as I scan my table. There’s Steve and Hannah, both Hunter and Brynn’s friends. And then there’s Brynn, Hunter’s new lady love. And the man of the hour himself. All of them are staring at me.
They expect me to volunteer to go.
You have got to be kidding me. I mean these people may be my new sworn enemies, but I’m not trading them for a group of delinquents and the opportunity to relive my middle school angst for the next nine months. No way, no how.
When none of us says anything, Mrs. Sanchez laughs. “I guess you’re all really tight. But you’ll still be in the same class. Surely one of you can join another group.”
Nope. Not me. Luke is staring at me, probably relishing the idea of teasing and laughing at me on a daily basis.
“I’m afraid if one of you doesn’t volunteer, I’ll have to pick someone,” Mrs. Sanchez says, annoyance rising in her voice. Good, let her pick. I’m not being pushed out of this group as if I’ve done something wrong.
“We don’t bite, yo,” A.J. says, tipping his chair back and lacing his hands behind his head.
Brynn leans toward Hunter and whispers, “I can’t believe her.”
“Can’t believe what, Brynn?” It comes out of my mouth before I can stop myself.
Brynn’s mouth hangs agape as she struggles for something to say. I feel kind of vindicated.
Until Luke speaks up. “Hey, Mrs. Sanchez. What if we pick someone?”
Mrs. Sanchez sighs. “Seeing as how this group is too stubborn to do anything, I think that’s a wonderful idea, Mr. Burke.”
Luke smiles. “I think there’s a little too much testosterone in our family, right, guys?” he says nodding at his group mates. I close my eyes, preparing for my utter humiliation.
“Okay,” I hear Luke say, and I suck in my breath. “We’d like Brynn.”
Huh? I open my eyes and exhale. Brynn is completely slackjawed. “Me?” she squeaks.
“Ms. Potts, gather your things and join their group,” Mrs. Sanchez says. “I think this is a more than sensible solution since none of you are volunteering.”
“B-but,” she sputters, looking helplessly at Hunter, who is shaking his head in dismay.
“Now, Ms. Potts!” Mrs. Sanchez snaps, clearly at the end of her patience.
And that’s when Brynn starts to cry. Like, her nose gets red and tears spill over. Her hands are shaking and she lets out a little sob as she pushes in her chair. Hunter makes a grab for her free hand. Hannah tries to pat her on the back. It’s like Brynn’s being shipped off to a war zone or something. And it makes me realize I’m now going to be viewed as the monster of the group for daring to stick to my guns.
“Oh, for the love of god,” I grouch, standing up and grabbing my backpack. “I’ll go.”
Brynn is totally stunned into silence as I huff over to the next table and sit down in Paul’s vacant seat with a heavy plunk. I don’t look at any of the guys and will my hands to stop shaking. I stare straight ahead at Mrs. Sanchez, who shakes her head, perplexed. I’m kind of confused myself, though I’m not really thinking rationally right now. All I know is there’s no way I’d let Brynn play the martyr, as if her anguish was somehow worse than the pain she and Hunter inflicted on me.
It’s only then I notice the guys in the group are all gaping at me.
“Hey,” A.J. mouths, wiggling his eyebrows at me. I quickly turn my attention back to Mrs. Sanchez.
What have I done? Oh god, what have I done?
Mrs. Sanchez is oblivious to my horror as she walks around the room, placing unmarked manila envelopes on each table. “Inside these are different income brackets for your family. We have everything from ‘Grad Students on a Budget’ to ‘Dual Income Investment Bankers.’ You will also find your monthly expenses and you’ll have to figure out a realistic budget for your family based on this.”
The classroom is suddenly buzzing as everyone opens their envelopes to find out their status. A.J. grabs the envelope off our table.
“May I do the honors?” he asks.
The guys nod, and A.J. unhooks the clasp on the envelope. He reaches in and pulls out a stack of papers, and reads something on top of the pile. His smirk fades away.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” he says. He sits back in his seat, disgusted, as he tosses the papers on the table. Clipped to the top of the stack is an index card, with “Single Mother, Two Kids” written on it in thick black marker.
“Maybe it won’t be that bad. Maybe the mom’s some big-shot executive,” Luke says, picking up the stack. He peeks under the index card at the first sheet of paper and his face falls. “Oh. She’s a bus driver.”
A.J. and Isaiah are shaking their heads at the stack of papers, as if it somehow has the capability to know it’s disappointed them. Luke, however, is studying me. I decide now is as good a time as any to let him know he can’t intimidate me, so I shoot what I hope is a defiant look back at him. But instead of mocking me, his eyes quickly shift away, the tips of his ears turning slightly pink.
I’m momentarily confused, but then I notice Steve and Hannah high-fiving, Hunter pumping his fist, and Brynn, having done a complete emotional 180, dancing in her seat. Hannah is holding their papers, and I squint to read their index card: “Husband and Wife Investment Bankers, Two Kids.”
Of course.
“Now,” Mrs. Sanchez is saying, “every month you will be responsible for paying the bills in your pile. You’ll find a current budget for the family attached, but you will be making changes to it based on your income. The goal is to have some money left over each week to go into savings.”
Isaiah is skimming through the pile. “Well, it looks as if we’re making thirty-eight thousand dollars a year.”
“In this area? With two kids?” A.J. says. “There’s no way this is going to work.”
I’m kind of surprised he’s even aware of how far thirty-eight thousand dollars goes. A year ago, I had no idea how much money a family would need to get by. Now I’m all too familiar with it. I didn’t suspect other kids in an area as middle-class as Ringvale Heights would have to worry about such a thing.
I’ve noticed Luke has stayed pretty silent on the subject, but he’s reading one of the pages.
“The mom is in the process of paying off hospital bills for her recently deceased husband,” he says quietly, and I’m surprised at his sober tone.
Everyone at the table is silent as this registers. Well, everyone but A.J. “Hey! How are we going to be able to make this budget work?” he says accusatorily at Mrs. Sanchez. “We’ve got bills coming out of our ass and barely any money coming in.”
“Please refrain from swearing, Mr. Johnson,” Mrs. Sanchez says, but she smiles. “I know your income is pretty low, but with a little smarts and teamwork, you’ll make it. I promise. Now, let’s move on to picking out names for your families. Maybe think of something that invokes the lessons of this class or teamwork!”
Teamwork. I survey the group at my table: A gambling addict in training, a loudmouth, and a tattooed goliath who may or may not be crushing on Brynn. “Making it” is somehow going to be impossible.

 

Author Bio:

Karen Bischer has written short stories for Girls’ World and Animal Tales magazines and currently works as a copyeditor. She lives in her native New Jersey, where she has never encountered Bruce Springsteen in the wild, but does have a cat named after a member of the E Street Band.

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Audio Spotlight & Excerpt: A Hundred Kisses + Top Ten List

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Title: A Hundred Kisses

Author: Jean M. Grant

Narrator: Rosalind Ashford

Length: 10 hours 49 minutes

Series: The Hundred Trilogy, Book 2

Publisher: Jean M. Grant

Released: Jul. 23, 2018

Genre: Romance

 

  1. Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the facade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him, and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders.

Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses….

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Author Jean M. Grant’s Top Interesting Viking Facts

The “hundred” trilogy spans three generations, from 1263 to 1322 (check out my bonus material for the series – family lineage, map, and complete glossary.). I delve into Norse, Scottish, English, and “mystical” cultures in the books. Since my first book in the series has a lot of Norse action and plots, I thought it would be fun to share some Interesting Viking Facts:

  1. Vikings refer to people of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden) from 750-1300 A.D., though their reign had greatly diminished after 1100 A.D.
  2. They put rocks inside the keel of a ship beneath removable planks for stability, and longships were made with a shallow draft and square sails to navigate rivers, coastal waters, and fjords, as well as open sea.
  3. There were three main types of ships: longships (warships that could carry 100 men), cargo ships (called knörr), and small coastal river ships.
  4. How did they navigate? Simple Mother Nature (including birds and the color of the sea), a sunstone, and the night sky. And luck. They were messy navigators, and even messier fighters. Though this unorganized brutality caught many opponents by surprise.
  5. They traveled far: ranging to Russia, Africa, and Asia Minor, and as far west as North America (Newfoundland) around 1000 A.D.
  6. Some Norse words present in English: Thursday (Thor’s day), window (vindauga), guest (gestr), anger (angr), husband (húsbóndi) to name a few of hundreds.
  7. Viking women had a freer status compared to many in Europe for this time period, with duties of maintaining the farm and wealth; some could be rune masters, priestesses, merchants, and warriors.
  8. The phrase “going berserk” comes from the elite warriors called Berserkers (Old Norse berserkir, “bear-shirts”) and úlfheðnar (“wolf-shirts”). These crazed warriors were rumored to either have supernatural powers (possessed by animal spirits), or modern theory suggests this trance-like frenzy was induced by drugs, alcohol, or precipitated by mental illness.
  9. Viking men loved blond hair and would use lye to bleach it.
  10. Though information abounds online, my primary resources included a tour of the Draken Harald Hårfagre, and several books including: The Sea Wolves, A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth; Norse Myths by Martin J. Dougherty; Vikings: Raiders, Traders, and Masters of the Sea by Rodney Castleden.

Jean has a penchant for the misunderstood be it sharks, microbes, or people (fictional and real). A scientist by training, she now spends her days as an author and champion for her children. She has five published novels in the genres of historical and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. She also writes for family and travel magazines and websites. When not writing, she enjoys tending to her flower and vegetable gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and chilling with her children, while taking snapshots of the world around her and daydreaming about the next story. Find her on jeanmgrant.com.

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Narrator Bio

I am also an Audible-Approved narrator and producer, and a member of both Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and SAG-AFTRA, the unions for professional performers. (Bit of a mouthful I’m afraid.)

I was born and raised in Worcestershire, England and trained in Dramatic Arts—dance, drama and film—in conservatory programs at Madeley College and Keele University, UK. I moved to NY in part to pursue a career in theatre, in part to satisfy a strong wanderlust. Whilst I have, since then, performed onstage from Off-Broadway to regional theatre and on film and TV, I also detoured into other fields over the years.

Microphone training and a great deal of valuable voice experience was acquired as a radio presenter, and for a number of years I read Books for the Blind live on the air—great on-the-job training for audiobook narration! I have also done many voiceovers and radio commercials for national and international markets.

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