Enjoy the following excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE…
Chase almost missed the flickering light off on the right side of the two-lane country road. In the past thirty minutes, he hadn’t passed a single car, because on a night like this, most sane Californians—who didn’t know the first thing about driving safely in inclement weather—stayed home.
Knowing better than to slam on the brakes—he wouldn’t be able to help whomever was stranded on the side of the road if he ended up stuck in the muddy ditch right next to them—Chase slowed down enough to see that there was definitely a vehicle stuck in the ditch.
He turned his brights on to see better in the pouring rain and realized there was a person walking along the edge of the road about a hundred yards up ahead. Obviously hearing his car approach, she turned to face him and he could see her long wet hair whipping around her shoulders in his headlights.
Wondering why she wasn’t just sitting in her car, dry and warm, calling Triple A and waiting for them to come save her, he pulled over to the edge of his lane and got out to try and help her. She was shivering as she watched him approach.
“Are you hurt?”
She covered her cheek with one hand, but shook her head. “No.”
He had to move closer to hear her over the sound of the water hitting the pavement in what were rapidly becoming hailstones. Even though he’d turned his headlights off, as his eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, he was able to get a better look at her face.
Something inside of Chase’s chest clenched tight.
Despite the long, dark hair plastered to her head and chest, regardless of the fact that looking like a drowned rat wasn’t too far off the descriptive mark, her beauty stunned him.
In an instant, his photographer’s eye cataloged her features. Her mouth was a little too big, her eyes a little too wide-set on her face. She wasn’t even close to model thin, but given the way her T-shirt and jeans stuck to her skin, he could see that she wore her lush curves well. In the dark he couldn’t judge the exact color of her hair, but it looked like silk, perfectly smooth and straight where it lay over her breasts.
It wasn’t until Chase heard her say, “My car is definitely hurt, though,” that he realized he had completely lost the thread of what he’d come out here to do.
Knowing he’d been drinking her in like he was dying of thirst, he worked to recover his balance. He could already see he’d been right about her car. It didn’t take a mechanic like his brother, Zach, who owned an auto shop—more like forty, but Chase had stopped counting years ago—to see that her shitty hatchback was borderline totaled. Even if the front bumper wasn’t half smashed to pieces by the white farm fence she’d slid into, her bald tires weren’t going to get any traction on the mud. Not tonight, anyway.
If her car had been in a less precarious situation, he probably would have sent her to hang out in her car while he took care of getting it unstuck. But one of her back tires was hanging precariously over the edge of the ditch.
He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Get in my car. We can wait there for a tow truck.” He was vaguely aware of his words coming out like an order, but the hail was starting to sting, damn it. Both of them needed to get out of the rain before they froze.
But the woman didn’t move. Instead, she gave him a look that said he was a complete and utter nut-job.
“I’m not getting into your car.”
Realizing just how frightening it must be for a lone woman to end up stuck and alone in the middle of a dark road, Chase took a step back from her. He had to speak loudly enough for her to hear him over the hail.
“I’m not going to attack you. I swear I won’t do anything to hurt you.”
She all but flinched at the word attack and Chase’s radar started buzzing. He’d never been a magnet for troubled women, wasn’t the kind of guy who thrived on fixing wounded birds. But living with two sisters for so many years meant he could always tell when something was up.
And something was definitely up with this woman, beyond the fact that her car was half-stuck in a muddy ditch.
Wanting to make her feel safe, he held his hands up. “I swear on my father’s grave, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay to get into my car.” When she didn’t immediately say no again, he pressed his advantage with, “I just want to help you.” And he did. More than it made sense to want to help a stranger. “Please,” he said. “Let me help you.”
She stared at him for a long moment, hail hammering between them, around them, onto them. Chase found himself holding his breath, waiting for her decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.
But, for some strange reason, it did.
…Excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE by Bella Andre © 2015
I received an advanced reading copy of this book and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Calling a Spade a Spade
I grew up in a household where girl parts were called vaginas, boy parts were called penises and pooping was called a bowel movement. My parents believed in calling a spade a spade. There was no mystical voodoo surrounding these perfectly natural parts of life.
Imagine my surprise when I met and married my husband, only to learn these ordinary words were taboo to him. In his puritanical Victorian thinking, girl parts were girl parts, boy parts were boy parts, and pooping was ding ding. No, I’m not kidding.
When we had children, I was unyielding that our daughters learn the proper terms for both body parts and functions. He was equally adamant they hear some watered-down version of the truth. After much heated discussion, I finally agreed to let him have his way, but only while the girls were very young. As questions arose and curiosity developed, I vowed to arm them with the correct scientific words. A sort of truce was called.
During the potty-training years, Margery came up with her own terminology. She pottied out of her front door and pooped out of her back door. This jargon stuck in our household. I recently had a discussion with both girls where I introduced the correct terms for their female bits. Both were pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. They didn’t have any questions so we seamlessly moved on to watching a show on the mating rituals of seahorses.
I hope to always be open and honest with my children, even if they venture into uncomfortable territory. From my recollection, seventh grade seemed to be the age I hit my mom with all kinds of forthright queries. For instance at the lunch table, the boys began throwing around the word, “dildo,” like it was the best word they’d ever heard.
When I got home from school one day, I asked my mom what a dildo was. Without a blink, raised eyebrow, or demand to know where I’d heard such a filthy word, she seamlessly responded, “A dildo is a fake penis, honey.”
Wow, awkward. I dropped the subject right then and there.
While I wanted to know more, like, what in the heck do you do with a fake penis? Who thought up such a crazy idea? And where in the world would you buy something like this? It felt like a change of subject was the best course of action. Not too long afterwards, I asked her about the word douche.
It seemed when the boys weren’t calling each other dildos, they were busy referring to each other as douches. My mom’s explanation that a douche was a female hygiene product, did very little to enlighten me on the reason this term was being bandied about so often and apparently, incorrectly.
A couple months later, I inquired what it felt like to have an orgasm. My mom thought for a minute before responding, “It’s like having an itch and getting it good and scratched.” Needless to say, I scratched my arm bloody that year and just didn’t get what the big deal was.
I hope I can be as cool and informative as my mom was. I mean, no one wants to talk to their children about this stuff, but what an honor if your kids are comfortable enough with you to ask you anything.
Margery and Hope’s cousin, Nikki, introduced them to the word “wiener” last summer. OMG, they took to it with such wild abandon I had to threaten them daily with, “If I hear the word wiener one more time, I’m going to take away sweets for the entire summer! NO MORE WIENERS!”
Then the son of one of my friends lost his swimming trunks at the pool. This was the girls’ first sight of a boy’s business and a slew of conversation ensued. Margery demanded to know why that “little bit of stuff” on the front of a boy was called a wiener.
She insisted on knowing where the term came from. I did my best to explain.
I’m not looking forward to all the uncomfortable dialogue ahead, but I darn well plan on having it. After all, nothing can be as bad as the summer of the wiener.
Date Published: August 7, 2015
In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets – ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.
The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.
EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.
Women’s FictionDate Published – January 7, 2016
Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift…
In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.
Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.
Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.
Virtual Book Tour – March 6 – April 14
March 6 – Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours – Kick Off
March 7 – The Flipside of Julianne – Guest Post and Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift
March 8 – Books, Dreams, Life – Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift
March 9 – Nerdy, Dirty, and Flirty – Excerpt of Both Books
March 10 – Eskimo Princess – Excerpt from Evanthia’s Gift
March 11 – Chosen By You Book Club – Excerpt both Books
March 12 – Eyes on Books – Guest Post
March 13 – Wining Wife – Review of Both Books
March 14 – Mello and June – Excerpt from Evanthia’s Gift
March 16 – Hearts and Scribbles – Excerpt from Evanthia’s Gift
March 17 – T’s Stuff – Excerpt of Both Books
March 18 – Bound 2 Escape – Excerpt of Both Books
March 19 – Author B.L. Blair – Excerpt from Evanthia’s Gift
March 20 – Insatiable Readers – Excerpt from Evanthia’s Gift
March 21 – The Flipside of Julianne – Guest Post and Excerpt from Waiting for Aegina
March 22 – The Avid Reader – Excerpt from Waiting for Aegina
March 23 – The Bookworm Lodge – Excerpts from Both Books
March 24 – Tele’s Word Bites – Interview*
March 25 – 50 Book Challenge – Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift
March 27 – Annette Gisby – Excerpts for Both Books
March 27 – Fantastic Feathers – Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift
March 28 – Just Us Book Blog – Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift
March 29 – Memes and Fiction – Review of Both Books
March 30 – Eskiemama Reads – Review of Both Books
March 31 – Cafinated Reads – Excerpt for Evanthia’s Gift*
April 2 – Book Junkie Mom – Review of Both Books
April 3 – The Indie Express – Review of Waiting for Aegina
April 4 – Tina Donahue Books – Guest Post
April 5 – Quiet Fury Books – Interview
April 6 – Celtic Lady Reviews – Excerpts of Both Books
April 7 – Texas Book Nook – Review of Evanthia’s Gift
April 8 – It’s Satisfaction for Insatiable READERS – Excerpt for Waiting for Aegina
April 9 – Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt of Both Books*
April 10 – Beach Bound Books – Excerpt of Evanthia’s Gift
April 11 – Book Junkie Mom – Review of Both Books
April 12 – Novel News Network – Review of Evanthia’s Gift
April 13 – On a Reading Bender – Review of Waiting for Aegina
April 14 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up
Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.
Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.
Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.
Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.
As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.
Website: (foodblog) https://cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com
Amazon: Evanthia’s Gift – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013MG484M/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_1lTFxbE4PRKJ3
Waiting For Aegina – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT6KLN4/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Landing page for both books –