Book Blitz: Playing For Glory Series, by Francine Beaton

playing for glory series

eye on the ballEye On The Ball
Playing For Glory, #1
by Francine Beaton
Contemporary Romance

What would prove to be stronger? Love, or loyalty?

It was World Cup Year, and top professional rugby player, Jakes du Plessis desperately wants to fulfil his childhood dream to play for the Springboks. However, to achieve his goal, he needs to adhere to the team’s strict vow of celibacy. ‘Focus, keep an eye on the ball – and stay away from women.’

What Jakes didn’t count on was a chance meeting with Angie Summers, an artist who shook him to his core and threw his well-laid plans into a tailspin. Not even his promise to his friends, teammates, over 9000 miles between them, and demons from his past could stop Jakes from falling for Angie.

Unfortunately, not everything is plain sailing, and Jakes finds that it takes a team to help him overcome obstacles to find his way to his own Happily Ever After.

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obstruction
Obstruction
Playing For Glory, #2

Everyone deserves a second chance…

They say there is a fine line between love and hate. When Christopher Brooks saw Riley Adams, his first love, at the Buffaloes’ first press briefing of the year, he still hated her with a passion for breaking his heart more than seven years ago.

Riley did not have the luxury of hating Christopher, nor of avoiding him. Her best option was to confront him before he found out about her secret from anyone else. If he found out, would he hate her even more or would he be willing to forgive?

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leading from the front
Leading From the Front
Playing For Glory, #3

Temptation can come in any form.

As long as it wasn’t Melissa Roux. Daniel Cooper had known that since the first moment he’d seen the new physio for the Buffaloes. As captain, he had to set an example and falling head over heels for the feisty blonde with the endless long legs, wasn’t the way to do it.

Melissa knew Daniel was going to be a problem from the first day she walked into Buffaloes Stadium. There was no way she was going to risk her career for an arrogant chauvinist who called her a blonde bimbo. For that, she worked too hard to get her dream job.

Neither had reckoned with the undeniable chemistry between them and the famous Cooper curse. When he couldn’t hide it anymore, Daniel made a simple request which had more repercussions than he expected. In his quest to find the truth, he made another error in judgement, risking not only Melissa’s career but also the loyalty of his team and the Club.

Daniel and Melissa both had to make important decisions: what’s more important? Your career or love?

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playing by the rules

Playing by the Rules
Playing For Glory, #4

“If you know what’s good for you and your career, stay away from my daughter!”

Ulrich Fölscher wants to play rugby for the Buffaloes and the Springboks and eventually become the best chef in town. In that order. There is no place for romance in his life. Obeying Coach Brady’s command is easy until he meets his daughter Samantha. She is everything he needs—warm, bubbly—and possibly, the missing ingredient he lacks to spice up his life.

Sammy is a professional athlete, and she too knows the rules. But it is hard to resist Ulrich’s quiet strength, focused determination and, most of all, his delectable kisses.

Both know how to fight for what they want. But as their desire for each other intensifies, so does the pressure to make a choice. Can Ulrich and Sammy continue to play by the rules or risk it all for love?

Playing By The Rules is the fourth standalone sports romance in the Playing For Glory series, it follows the lives of red-hot professional rugby players and the women they love.

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concussion

Concussion
Playing For Glory, #5

“I’m not good-looking enough. I’m a prop, not the catch on the team. Everyone thinks we’re the dumb guys on the squad. The loosies and the guys in the back get the beautiful women.”

Ryan Foster knew the score. He therefore had no expectations when he met trauma doctor, Margaret Blake.

Margaret always made it clear how she felt about rugby, a sport she considered only being being favoured by dumb and ignorant hooligans. When she met Ryan, she was surprised by the almost chemical attraction she felt towards the large prop with his bushy beard and long hair. One evening in his company convinced Margaret that there was more to Ryan than meets the eye and gave in to temptation. A severe concussion puts Ryan rugby career in jeopardy, and with it, his future with Margaret.

Could Margaret convince Ryan (and herself), that they might have a future? And even if they did, would they be able to overcome their pasts to find their own Happy Ever After?

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wrecking ball

Wrecking Ball
Playing For Glory, #6

One feisty redhead. One stubborn Scot. One chance meeting.

When Richie Campbell arrives in Pretoria, he has a reputation a mile long. After yet another brawl with a member of the British press, the Flying Scotsman has no choice but to leave — there’s no longer a place for him in the national team. Richie hopes to find peace and the ability to enjoy his rugby again on the other side of the world. What he did not expect was to meet and fall hard for his Scottish teammate’s sister. Not that it matters. Sarah Mackay appears immune to his best efforts.

Sarah has two rules. One: never date a client. Two: never date a professional sportsman. They have way too much testosterone. She should know; she’s been on the receiving end twice. Sarah adds one more nickname to Richie’s repertoire: Wrecking Ball. Getting involved with him spells disaster. But for how long can Sarah resist his charm, especially when she discovers his secret? And was Richie’s Nan right? Do things happen for a reason?

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About the Author:

Romance author Francine Beaton published her first romance novel—a contemporary sports romance called EYE ON THE BALL—in April 2018 after she first started writing in July 2016. Francine calls Pretoria home, but she loves travelling to faraway places and considers Scotland her second home. When she’s not reading or writing about love and Happily Ever After, she’s most likely busy painting or taking photos of everything that catches her eye. During rugby season, you’ll know where to find her. It will either be next to the pitch or in front of the television, following her favourite teams. It’s probably not difficult to figure out why her debut novel, Eye on the Ball, as well as the series, Playing for Glory, has rugby as a theme.

francine beaton

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Dark Lord, by Allie McCormack

the dark lord

 

The Dark Lord
When Darkness Falls, Book 2
by Allie McCormack

Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance, Vampire Romance

Release Date: June 17, 2021

Book 2 of a sweeping romantic saga in a medieval Arabian Nights type setting

Held captive in the Catacombs, Alyssa struggles with coming to terms with the loss of the life she had made for herself in the palace. She also has to learn how to deal with her strange magical powers that everyone but her seems to know she has. And she has to find a way to accept her new life with the ancient vampire who insists that she is his… but doesn’t seem to know what to do with her.

Lord Damien never thought to have a human woman in his life, and this one baffles him. He doesn’t understand his own need for her, but knows only that he must have her, at any cost. He had been prepared for anger and recriminations, but Alyssa surprises him with her determination to accept her new life, as well as her unexpected compassion and humor.

*Please Note, this is a trilogy! Books 1 & 2 have cliffhangers and are not meant to be read out of order.

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Excerpt

Chapter 9 – The Craft Hall

Some distance from the city, Damien paused, holding up one hand. “We glamour,” he stated. “Until we reach the Craft Hall.”

Gabrielle and Kayja complied, a faint shimmering disturbing the early morning desert air as all three cast the small spell that would cloak them from untrained eyes. The sun wasn’t yet above the horizon, the days already shortening with the oncoming of fall. Damien focused his attention to the East, storm clouds gathering, building at his command, delaying the effects of the sun on himself and Gabrielle. Kayja, pure demon, was unaffected by the sun’s rising. Damien, with his demon father’s blood, could tolerate the sun until it was fully above the horizon, but Gabrielle would be susceptible to the sun’s influence much more quickly.

They reached the city, moving swiftly past through the lines of those waiting to enter through the huge gates. Passing unseen, the trio headed into the heart of the lower city, Damien leading them unhesitatingly toward the Craft Hall. He knew this city, every block, every stone. He had been here when it was a walled village. Had walked the construction at night as the city was built, the palace towering above all. There was no corner, no shadow, that he did not know.

Most of the shops and stalls were closed tight still, aside from a few stalls dispensing tea and thick bitter coffee, and flat bread with beans and fried balls of ground grain and herbs to early workers. The craftsmen, however, would already be up and working in their high-ceilinged hall deep within the city.

Indeed, the wide double doors of the Craft Hall were open, workers within milling about on various tasks. Standing just within the doors, Damien and his companions shimmered into sight of those nearby. There were startled gasps, then a wave of rippling murmurs, followed by silence, spread through the hall as craftsmen, journeymen and apprentices turned toward the great doors. The tension in the suddenly quiet hall was palpable. There was stirring, shifting of a group at one side of the room, and a man emerged, approaching the trio at the entrance. He was stockily built, with graying hair framing a lined face. Sharp, intelligent eyes held a wary defiance; not outright hostility, but Damien sensed little flashes of anger from the man, who wore a Master’s badge on one shoulder.

He knows your little human,” Kayja spoke on their private pathway. “I see her in his mind, his concern for her well-being.”

Damien gave a tiny, barely discernible inclination of his head, acknowledging her words.

The Craft Master came to a halt some few feet from them, bending at the waist in a slight bow.

My Lord Damien.”

Craft Master Ahmed.”

Damien suppressed his amusement as the man started in surprise. He was Lord over these lands. Of course he knew all those who rose to prominence. Craft Masters, even prominent journeymen who were rising swiftly in the ranks; he made it his business to know everything in this city.

The man made a swift recovery, schooling his face to express polite inquiry. “How may we help you, Lord?”

Again Damien sensed that flash of anger from the man, swiftly suppressed.

We have come for furnishings,” Damien told him, his gaze drifting about the spacious circular hall, sectioned into areas… tables, chairs, beds and divans, lounges, lamps, screens. He brought his eyes back to the Craft Master. “You are acquainted with the young Scribe from the palace?”

A swift startled murmur swept the room, starting with those in earshot who passed word to those nearby. Relief crept into Master Ahmed’s face, and some of the rigidity left his stance.

Alyssa? Indeed, I know her well. All of us do,” and he made a gesture with his right arm, indicating the room at large. “She… she is alive, Lord? She is well?”

A rush of impatience swept him. “Of course she is alive,” he retorted. “What did you think I was going to do, eat her?”

Absolute silence. His lips tightened in exasperation. Obviously, they had. Humans! His stern gaze swept them all, meeting their eyes, commanding their attention.

Do you truly believe,” and he raised his voice so that all in the hall could hear him. “That Zahira, your Sultana, would have permitted me to carry off one of her Court… indeed, any citizen of this city… without being assured that no harm would come to her? You do your Sultana a great disservice in this. Zahira would have gone to war, rather. She insisted upon, and received, my promise that no harm of any kind would come to the girl. She was prepared to risk outright war, had I not given her my word on this.”

The silence continued as the last echoes of his voice faded, then shifting and movement as the men and women returned to their various duties. Noises began to fill the hall…. sanding, pounding, hammering. Damien turned back to the Craft Master. The man was smiling, his relief almost palpable.

What is it you would wish to see, Lord?”

Kayja stepped forward at this point. Her tail was twitching, to the apparent bemusement of a nearby apprentice, a boy barely into his teens who’d apparently never seen a demon before, from his fascinated stare. “We need furnishings for Alyssa. A bed to start. A clothing press. Tables, chairs. These will be delivered to the Temple in the desert.”

Ahmed nodded thoughtfully, gesturing them to an area across the hall. “This way my Lord, Ladies,” he added a bit doubtfully, with a glance at Kayja’s red skin, her curved, pointed black horns and shiny black hooves.

This is excellent,” Kayja all but purred on their private pathway. “The human’s mind is already full of what he calls extras to include with the delivery, for Alyssa’s comfort. At no additional charge.”

I can see his thoughts for myself,” Damien reminded her in some exasperation. Kayja huffed, her horned head tossing irritably.

They stopped before a display room, set back off the main hall, filled with bedroom furnishings. There were massive, carved poster beds, and simpler lounges and chaises. Gabrielle stopped before one, a pretty, low bed with soft sheets and a light throw, topped with several pillows. She leaned down to poke experimentally at the mattress, testing its firmness.

What about this?”

No.” His refusal was instantaneous. Ahmed had moved off to point out to Kayja a monstrosity of a bed with heavy wooden posts carved with fantastic animals, sure to appeal to the demon. Maybe he should have brought Aleksei instead. He turned to Gabrielle, leaning close to murmur. “It’s very similar to her bed in her tower room, in the palace. I don’t want it to be a constant reminder to her.”

As he straightened, his eye was caught by a burst of colors across the way. He moved toward the bed that had caught his eye. It was a combination piece, clearly designed for multiple uses as lounge, bed or sofa. A carved wood base rested on wood legs that rose high to support a flat lattice work above, like a canopy. The mattress was low and large, covered in bright turquoise damask. Gracefully carved spindles rose from the base to a smoothly polished banister, framing the bed on three sides, a warm backdrop for an array of colorful cushions, embroidered and sequined, propped against the supporting spindles.

He was aware of his sister and Gabrielle joining him, Ahmed at a respectful distance.

Gabrielle pursed her lips thoughtfully. “It looks more suited to a patio perhaps, or a balcony, than to a cave.”

Kayja glanced her way. “He already has a stone crypt that’s perfectly suited to a cave. That’s why we’re here.”

True.”

It’s suited to Alyssa,” Damien stated, his tone brooking no argument. “That’s what is important.”

Indeed, my Lord, I think she would love this,” Ahmed concurred. “It would certainly brighten a… a cave,” he glanced at Kayja standing beside him. “If that is your purpose, this would do well. And Alyssa loves the jewel tones. Always, the jewel tones are what draws her. There is a chest for clothing that would go well with this. The workmen could put together a grouping to match, it would take perhaps a day or two, no more. Floor cushions, a chaise lounge. A mirror set into a mashrabiyya frame.” He warmed to his theme. “We could create an inlaid table using the same wood, the spindles, and inlay the top with hues to pick up the colors from the cushions.”

Damien nodded decisively. “Bring this bed and the chest, and whatever else you have made now, to the Temple by mid-day. Then the rest as it is completed.”

Ahmed bowed low, far different from the stiff, polite gesture he’d offered when they had first arrived. The man exuded good will.

It shall be done, Lord.” He paused. “If you would send some of your human servants to the city, Lord, the bed will need to be disassembled to transport. We will show them how to put it back together again.”

Leaving the Craft Hall, they again assumed a glamour. Gabrielle hurried for the distant Catacombs, using the preternatural speed of the vampire to outrun the rays of the sun, rising swiftly now above the mountains to the east. Damien, his demon blood making him less susceptible, took longer in following, strolling leisurely through the streets with Kayja as they made their way to the great gates of the city and then taking flight for the longer distance to the mountains.

Entering the Catacombs, Damien made his way to the Great Hall, ringing the bell that summoned the khadam and the other human servants not immediately in service to the vampire they looked to as Liege.

His indifferent gaze scanned the humans gathered before him. “A number of pieces of furnishings are being delivered to the Temple later this morning. At least two males are needed for the heavier pieces. Also I need one of you to visit the Woodworkers Craft Hall in the city for instruction in assembling the parts.”

Instantly two men stepped forward, and several women. One, a bubbly, rounded redhead, jiggled in place, seemingly excited.

Is it for Alyssa?” she asked, apparently flushed with excitement. “Is it a surprise?”

He turned his full gaze on her, little red lights flickering in his eyes. Fangs extending, he snarled at her. She gulped, visibly paling, and the humans closest to him fell back a step, watching him warily.

Not deigning to answer the woman, he turned on his heel, stalking away to his private chambers, where Alyssa still lay deeply asleep, faint smudges beneath her eyes. The sleep of exhaustion. He stood looking down on her. Yesterday had been difficult for her. He must remember she was mortal, and young. He reached down to stroke her hair, his fingers slipping through the short, silky strands.

A surprise. The idiot woman’s words came back to him. As if. He was no fairytale prince. And yet… an image arose in his mind’s eye. Alyssa’s eyes alight, her gasp of delight, her radiant smile as she saw the furnishings.

He straightened, turning away, dismissing the notion with a flick of his hands. He was vampire. Demon. An ancient. He had no place in his world for such human nonsense. And yet the image could not quite be dispelled, lingering in the back of his mind.


Other Books in the When Darkness Falls Trilogy

When Darkness Falls Book I: The Palace

Released: June 3, 2021

 

When Darkness Falls Book III: The Prophecy

Release Date: July 1, 2021

Amazon


About the Author

A former career medical transcriptionist and disabled Veteran, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. Allie now lives in the beautiful southern California with her family and her two rescue cats.

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Spotlight & Excerpt: Mary, Everything + Giveaway

mary everything
Mary, Everything
The Flapper Covenant Series, #1
by Cassandra Yorke
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, LGBTQ+
Time Travel, Time Travel Romance
Date of Publication: March 30, 2020
ISBN: 9780578680361
ASIN: B086HYTB3Q
Number of pages: 414
Word Count: 108,498
Cover Artist: Cass


A gripping tale of best friends and romance, sorcery and survival, at the dawn of the Roaring 20s.

A young woman born in the wrong reality.

A destiny that will lead her into the past.

And a love so enduring it reaches across time – and existence itself – to bring her home.

Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.

Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.

Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…

Cassandra Yorke’s groundbreaking debut brings Magical Realism home to the Midwest in an explosive new style, blending midwestern gothic and historical fiction with a warm lesbian love story to create a riveting, deeply immersive epic you won’t be able to put down. It’s the world of Boardwalk Empire and Gatsby, with an urgent, immersive narrative about what it means to belong, what it means to be hated, what it means to be loved, and ultimately what it means to come home.

Author Commentary: This novel is a memoir wrapped in fiction. While it’s a tale of time travel and sorcery, at its core are real events and real themes – haunted yearbooks in college archives, yearning for times long gone, battery and abuse, exile and homecoming. 

While I hope you enjoy it, I promise you will never read another story like it. It’s from the heart, it’s gritty and lurid – and below the action, it’s real.


Excerpt

The crosswalk is the busiest place in town any time of the year, and even if Braddock has a fraction of the people in the summer, it’s still bustling. As I’m coming up, I spot a girl approaching from my left. She’s ghostly pale like me, with auburn hair cut in a short bob around her soft jawline. The most striking thing about her is her narrow, almond-shaped eyes. I’ve always thought chicks with eyes like that are really cute. They catch mine as I approach, and there’s a kind of click; two people in a crowd with matching energy. She greets me with a narrow, witty smile. I return hers in my usual unintentional way, soft and genuine and a little bit sad-looking without ever meaning to seem that way. And we stand there for a minute, waiting for the traffic to clear.

 “Say, is it gonna be dry like this all week?” she asks.

 “Um…” I wish I had a better answer ready. “I think so? I haven’t really checked the weather.”

“Why, I sure hope it is.” She stares back across the street at the shade of College Green. “Anything I hate is rain in the summer.”

 Roll my eyes in agreement. “Ugh, totally.”

I sneak a look at her. She’s wearing a brown bell-shaped hat, the kind that were popular in the 1920s. She’s wearing a 20s style dress, too: green, knee-length, with a round-cut neckline and loose cap sleeves. She’s even wearing old-fashioned brown stockings and brown heels. It catches my eye and I stare for a second or two; it’s a hot day for stockings, especially the old-fashioned silk kind like that. And her shoes are really retro, like old church grandma shoes. She must shop at that vintage thrift store all the way up at the far end of Court Street; it’s the only place around here where you could get clothes like that, unless she goes thrifting in Columbus.

She’s standing here next to me, watching the street, not self-conscious at all. Like she wears stuff like that every day without even thinking about it.

Then she looks at me, glances away, looks at me again a little longer. Her eyes linger on my top and on my legs, and she looks away again, blushing. I’ve always been a little bit empathic and I can feel curiosity in her glance. And…attraction?

Nah, that can’t be right – girls are never into me. Maybe I look too preppy, I don’t know. I’m a D&D nerd, raised on video games from the age of five, but because I wear an Abercrombie hoodie or Hollister shorts or flat iron my hair, people assign me a whole package of expectations – Courtney is a bitch, Courtney’s stuck-up, Courtney’s a backstabbing gossip, Courtney’s rich. Courtney is heterosexual…? Look, I’ll be honest with you, I’m gonna have a hard time living up to all of that. Maybe not the bitch thing – because yeah, I’m probably a bitch – but the rest of it?

Sorry, no can do.

The traffic finally stops from the other direction. I give her one last smile – which she returns warmly – and step onto the street. A few quick steps take me to the other sidewalk. I stop and look at my slender Fossil watch, making a pretense to turn in her direction again for one last look. She’s awfully cute, and I love her chic vintage style. I wonder if she’d think I was creepy if-

There’s nobody there. I glance around to see if she took off in another direction. Nothing. There are plenty of people around, walking dogs, wearing flip-flops, riding bikes. But no girls with vintage clothes.

She’s gone. It’s like she was never there.

But she totally was there! I talked to her!

Unless I’m finally losing it?

I rub an eye with the heel of my hand, not really caring that I just stamped dry mascara on my skin. Maybe I need to get out more. Maybe I need friends. I stand on the busy sidewalk for a moment, completely disoriented, before remembering that I was looking for a place to sit down and eat my salad. But even as I make my way onto College Green and up toward the Civil War statue, looking for a place to sit, I can’t get that girl out of my head. Not just because she was cute. Something about her, that weird click when we saw each other.

Eh, maybe I’ll see her again. I shove a straw through the lid of my drink. Nobody just vanishes.

I wish you could just disappear.

Though I guess if you wanted to disappear, this would be the place to do it. Outside the city limits, the nights are dark and old, and people who vanish are never seen again.


About the Author:
Cassandra’s life was changed forever when she was taken captive by a haunted college yearbook as an Ohio University senior in the summer of 2004. Ten years later, she started work on Mary, Everything to make sense of the experience. Bathed in summer sunlight and crafted from early 2000s punk rock, Cassandra’s goal is more than just telling a story – she wants to take you captive, too.
She lives in central Ohio with her wife, house rabbits, and video games.
And of course, her own ghostly memories.
 

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