#BlogTour #Spotlight #Excerpt – THE PERFECT DISASTER Series by Aimee Horton

Book Tour

I’m so excited to bring you the ReLaunch and ReBrand of Aimee Horton’s ‘The Perfect Disaster Series’
Velvet Morning Press has recently ReLaunched these books with the fabulous covers below!

I LOVE these new covers!! I can’t wait to read these!!

(To find out more about each book, click on the covers)


Perfect Mishap

A hilarious and honest British mom’s madcap adventures in suburbia, from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

Dottie Harris has a knack for stumbling into chaotic situations, gin & tonic in hand. When Dottie and Henry Harris move to their new house, Dottie’s only desire is to make friends in the neighbourhood. But Dottie, just home from delivering her third child, is struggling to adjust to village life. Recently promoted Henry travels a lot, and the neighbours aren’t very welcoming (although that could be because when Dottie first met them, she had dyed her children green).

So when Dottie accidentally hears her neighbours’ conversations over her baby monitor, she can’t help but use the sneaky information in her quest to build new friendships.

Of course, eavesdropping never ends well, and when Dottie discovers that two of her neighbours are having an affair, she’s horrified. Worse still, the locals are convinced she’s the one who’s doing the cheating. It’s up to Dottie to clear her name and uncover (and expose) the real cheat—in her signature haphazard way!

A humorous blend between chick lit and cozy mystery, this funny novel will have you laughing along with gin-drinking amateur sleuth Dottie!

Previously published as Mothers Ruined


Am I the only one whose plans always go wrong?


I’m speeding. Well as much as you can speed when you’re stuck behind a tractor on what feels like a single-track road. There can’t possibly be enough room to overtake, even though that posh-looking car has overtaken us both and is already just a speck in the distance.

I glance at the seat next to me, where a Tesco carrier bag stuffed with various snacks, fruit shoots and about five different electrical gadgets is resting, along with my hospital bag. By hospital bag, I mean random clothes rammed into the first handbag I could find that didn’t have a layer of mini-cheddar crumbs crushed into the lining.

I didn’t expect this baby for another three or four weeks. How the hell was I supposed to know it would bloody come early?

The nearly out-of-battery iPad is charging in the cigarette lighter, and my mobile is propped precariously on the dashboard in front of the petrol gauge. Stabbing at the screen again, I select Henry’s number for the hundredth time and listen to it ring out. The kids in the back are irritating me even more by counting how many times it rings before going to answer machine. This time it’s only three before the sound of Henry’s “grown-up work voice” comes out of the tinny speakerphone and informs me he’s away on business and will be back in the office next week.

He’s bloody diverted my call! Three rings means he’s seen my name and diverted it! Idiot.

Stopping the car on the grass verge, I grab my phone from the dashboard and Google Henry’s Scotland office. He visits there every few months, yet I’ve never needed to call. I’ve always relied on his mobile phone to get in contact. However, this time it’s serious.

“I need to talk to Henry Harris, please,” I say to the Scottish voice on the other end of the phone. I attempt to sound calm, even though I can feel a niggling pain again in my lower back. The receptionist begins to inform me he’s in a meeting right now, but with the cars racing past and the kids shouting, I can’t hear her and lose patience.

“Look, can you give him an urgent message… no… I don’t want you to get him to call me back; I need you to use these exact words: THE BABY IS COMING. GET YOUR BLOODY ARSE HOME NOW. Have you got that?”

It’s times like this I wish I could slam my phone down instead of just pressing the screen angrily.

The pain subsides, and I try not to think about how cross Henry is going to be with me for speaking to her like that.

I suppose it was a bit rude.

But I’m having a bloody baby!

It’s not enough that he pissed off on a jolly to drink whisky for nearly a week and left me to move house on my own with the two kids—oh no. Now he’s going to miss the birth of his third bloody child, his second daughter. And yet again, I’m left to do everything myself. But I can’t do it all. I mean, I can’t even work out how to use the bloody newfangled baby monitor. It keeps screeching static at me or playing random music.

Starting the engine, I take a deep breath and carry on to the hospital. But all I can think about is: If I can’t manage to operate the baby monitor, how can I look after three children on my own?

Arriving at the hospital, I reach into my bag for my wallet to buy a parking ticket, but I can’t find it. Shit! I rummage about, but as I work my way through button-down nighties, big pants and feeding bras, the image of my lovely tan and pink leather wallet flashes in front of my eyes. It’s next to the kettle.

How the hell did I forget my wallet? I NEVER forget my wallet; you never know when there’s going to be a good shopping moment.

Sod it. I don’t have time to worry about little things like parking tickets. Balancing a vile-smelling, nearly asleep Mabel on my hip, I grab Arthur’s hand and make my way towards the entrance of the maternity wing. I’m nearly at the door when I hear a shout, and turning around, I see the traffic warden waving his hand, indicating my ticketless car.

This isn’t fair. Why do they charge for parking anyway?

In a sudden burst of pain-free energy, still lugging my bag and the kids, I march back towards him. As I approach my car, I realise he’s actually writing me a ticket. He’s not even given me a chance!

“You going inside to get change for the machine?” he asks, not even looking at me. He holds the ticket in the air, in what I can only assume is an overly dramatic way of giving me one last chance to say I was going to get change. But of course, I don’t give him that answer. Instead, I squeeze between my car and the one parked next to it and snatch the ticket off him.

“I…” I begin through gritted teeth as another pain builds up, “am… in… bloody… labour…”

He opens his mouth, starting to say something as he attempts to take his ticket back, and that’s when it hurts. Like proper hurts, and before I drop her, I thrust Mabel at him and grip onto the bonnet of the car, letting go of Arthur’s hand and the parking ticket as I do. The traffic warden visibly recoils, and I’m not entirely sure whether it’s because of the smell coming from Mabel’s nappy or because the ticket flies into the air and is carried away by the breeze.

Where the hell is Henry? How the heck am I meant to deal with all this on my own?

“Let’s get you inside, Miss.” I hear the attendant’s gruff voice, and holding onto the kids, he ushers me forwards. As we approach, we see a big sign on the automatic door reading “DOORS BROKEN. PLEASE USE REVOLVING DOOR” in bright red letters. The man moves through first, holding Arthur’s hand and Mabel in his arms.

Through the glass, I see a look of panic forming on Mabel’s face as she leaves me outside. Not wanting her to be scared at a time like this—I’m already terrified—I rush towards the door to follow them.

“Whose bright idea was it to put a revolving door in a maternity wing?” I mutter.

Taking a deep breath, I give the door a shove. It moves quicker than I thought, and one of the sections passes me by, then another. I jump into the next, managing to squeeze my big belly into the tiny compartment. I give another little push, hoping it will spin just as quickly, but my bag is blocking it.

Shuffling in farther, I drop my bag to the floor and try again. Nothing. My bump is too big; I can’t get the right angle. Damn it! Mabel’s calling my name. Her voice is on the edge, and she could start screaming any time now.

For crying out loud.

I turn sideways so that my bump is facing the middle, then take a side step. This time the door moves, and I manage to slowly sidestep round until a draft of air-conditioned air hits my red cheeks and the back of my neck. Collapsing into an undignified squat, I scoop up my bag before straightening up and turning around so I can make my way into the hospital.

Two young nurses and the car park attendant are trying their hardest not to laugh.

With as much dignity as I can muster, I wave at them, but in doing so, clout myself in the face. Instead of trying to save my dignity any further, I turn to the kids and point to some chairs next to a big television.

“Artie, here are some crisps for you and Mabel. Go and sit on those seats over there while Mummy talks to the nice midwife.” I collapse into a nearby wheelchair, nearly knocking another pregnant woman over who is about to ease herself into it. She opens her mouth, ready to say something, but I silence her with a glare.

That’s when I realise how serious the situation is, because while Henry will probably miss the birth of his child, the two small children already halfway through a bag of Pom-Bears might not.

I need a gin and tonic.


“Something’s not right.”

The words ring in my ears, and my exhausted, aching body jumps to attention.

After I collapsed in the wheelchair, the kids were ushered off with a nurse, and I was wheeled in for an examination. I was only two centimeters dilated.

How can I be only two centimeters dilated—I thought I was at least eight!

It feels like I’ve been here for days. They started to make noises about sending me home, muttering things about “coming back in a few hours,” but I couldn’t stand it. I could feel my voice getting higher and higher as I told them how hard it had been to get here. How my waters had broken on the stairs after celebrating a successful poo in the toilet (Mabel, not me). How I’d assumed it was a huge wee, but then the pains kept coming all through the afternoon and the school run. That’s when they changed their minds and whisked me off for another examination, promising me that the kids were perfectly happy and they would try to find out where Henry was.

That was hours ago, and now here I am, with those terrifying three words hanging in the air.

Something’s not right.

“What’s not right?” I ask, but it comes out as a whisper. Not that anybody is listening to me anyway. In fact, they’re all whispering to each other. I turn to the midwife hovering next to me, but she avoids eye contact.

“What’s not right?” I say again, louder, and I can hear the fear in my voice.

“Baby seems to be in a bit of an awkward position,” she trills, patting my hand. “We’re just fetching the consultant to come have a look.” She is smiling and seems perfectly calm, but I can’t get the words something’s not right out of my head.

What am I going to do? How can I do this on my own?

That’s when I remember Jane. My best friend Jane. She works on the children’s ward. As soon as her name pops into my mind, I start to breathe properly again. She’s at work today! Right at this very moment, she is somewhere in this hospital.

She’ll know what to do.

In my excitement, I gabble at the midwife, who eventually understands what I’m trying to say, and they put out a page.

As we’re waiting for Jane to appear, the doctor arrives. He’s tall, dark and looks to be in his late fifties. He obviously recognises me, but I don’t have a clue who he is.

“Dottie Harris!” he greets me. “I thought you were never going to have another baby as long as you lived!” His eyes are sparkling, and he has a smile on his face.

He must have been here when one of the kids was born.

“How is the young man?” he asks as he examines me. I start to tell him about Arthur and now Mabel, but he stands up and cuts me off. “This baby looks like it’s going to be a monkey, breech, so we need to prepare for other options.”

What does that mean? I can’t cope with this.

Totally overwhelmed, I burst into tears. Just then, Jane runs into the room, closely followed by a midwife who informs me that while she’s not been able to get through to Henry, his office confirmed he’s on his way.

On his bloody way? If he hadn’t gone to bloody Scotland he’d be here by now, telling me everything is going to be OK. Luckily, I have Jane.

Jane is already by my side, stroking my hair. After a few reassuring words, she turns to the doctor and asks what my options are.

Jane talks me through what the doctor said, and I look at her blankly. She realises I’m too far gone to hear anything in detail so pauses before saying, “They were going to try and turn the baby manually, but you’re quite far along now, so you’re more than likely going to have a C-section.” Her blue eyes are full of concern, and she searches my face, waiting for my reaction.

The words hit me like a punch in the stomach. Either that or it’s another contraction. I irrationally blame Henry for all that has gone wrong.

Idiot husband. If we’d not bought that stupid house, I’d not had to start bloody decorating the bloody awful nursery and gone into labour. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t bloody be here now. Alone.

Just as I start ranting at Jane, the door flings open again, and a midwife shouts, “Sir… sir… please! Who are you?!” as Henry appears, closely followed by two security guards in hot pursuit. As soon as they see me half lying, half sitting on a hospital bed, my legs akimbo and my gown hitched up around my knees, they stop short. One turns a funny shade of green, and looking at his shoes, starts to whistle tunelessly.

Yeah, because he’s the one in the awkward position… But wait. Henry is here?

“HENRY!” The tears pour down my face as he runs towards me and grabs my hand.

“I told you I’d be here!” He smiles down at me before winking at Jane who tactfully leaves the room, saying something about going to check on the kids.

I want to punch him, and I actually clench my fist, but another pain comes. Instead, I satisfy myself with squeezing his hand extra tight, making sure my engagement ring digs hard into him. To give him his dues, he doesn’t even cry out in pain, although I kind of wish he would.

“How did you get here? It takes hours to drive from Scotland,” I say when the pain passes. “I haven’t been here that long, have I?” I look around, disorientated.

“I jumped on the first plane here.” He smiles as he wipes my face and squeezes my snotty nose with a tissue. I feel a warm flush of pride grow on my cheeks. But wait a minute. This is Henry.

“You FLEW?” I’m unable to keep the disbelief from my voice. Henry would never pay for a direct flight; he won’t even pay for the train unless it’s on expenses.

Am I dreaming? Am I already in theatre? Have I died?

Laughing, he kisses my forehead and shrugs. “So, what’s happened? Where are we now?”

“Well, I got stuck in the door on the way in after the stupid car park attendant tried to give me a ticket, and I thought the removal men had kidnapped Mabel, but I found her hiding in a cupboard, and the nursery is all painted. I painted it pink and was about to pull the carpet up, but then Mabel did a poo on the toilet, and that’s when I think it all started. My waters broke on the stairs—don’t worry, I cleared it up. But then she threw up on the slide in the school playground and slid through it—she stinks—and I forgot to put the washing in the dryer, and oh God. I was so rude to the girl at your office. I’m sorry. I was just so scared and… oh… shit that hurts.” Another pain surges through me and snot bubbles come out of my nose. Great. I wipe my nose and cheek with his suit jacket.

“Shhh,” he says, pushing my hair away from my face. Then turning to the midwife, he murmurs, “Is she delirious?”

Before she has a chance to answer, the consultant returns. After a quick examination, he announces the baby is in distress.

No, I don’t want her to be in distress!

He fires out instructions to the room, which is suddenly full of people. Then he tells Henry and me that I have to go into surgery now, that it’s not too late, and that I can have an epidural. Henry is trying to stay calm for me, but he’s gone a bit pale and keeps clearing his throat. He clears it so often that I don’t catch everything the consultant says—something about where Henry needs to go while I’m going through to theatre?

Everything is happening so fast, and I’m terrified. I’m being wheeled off, and Henry is left outside on his own.

“I love you,” he shouts.

“Please don’t put me to sleep! I’m not ready to die yet! I want Henry… HENRY!” I sob, and the midwife comes to calm me down.

“Dottie,” she says, “listen to me. You aren’t going to sleep. We’re keeping you awake. Remember, you had an epidural with Mabel, didn’t you?” She’s gripping my hand and speaking firmly. “Henry can come in as soon as he’s scrubbed up, but we have to get to work now. The baby is in distress, so the sooner he or she is out, the better. Do you understand?”

Nodding my head slightly, I say, “She. It’s a girl. I want to name her Martha, but Henry doesn’t think having two Ms is a good idea.” I feel my breathing return to normal. “Maybe after going through this I can persuade him.”

That makes the midwife laugh. She holds my hand as the anaesthetist explains what’s going to happen.

By the time the needle has been inserted—it takes three attempts as I’m shaking so much—Henry is back by my side.

I have no idea what’s going on. I stare at the ceiling, at the blue screen constructed by a sheet, trying to work out what’s happening. Henry looks a bit green but keeps looking at me reassuringly, smiling and nodding as if everything is OK.

After what seems like ages, there is a bit of a kerfuffle, then, “Here we are. Wow, what a whopper!” But wait a minute. Now there’s silence.

Why isn’t she crying yet?

More silence, and I panic all over again as I watch/see the midwife wrap a pinky, purply, gross little body in a blanket.

“Is she OK? Is she breathing? Just bloody pinch her, OK?” There’s a ripple of laughter, which is quickly covered up by a few coughs, then I hear it.

First a whimpering that gets louder and louder, turning into a full-blown angry cry as they whip her off to get weighed. I’m crying again, Henry too, and he’s stroking my hair, and all of a sudden everything is perfect. Who cares about the horrible house, or a car that only has two back seats, or that Henry nearly missed the birth? He’s here now; we’re a wonderful family. Henry, Dottie, Arthur, Mabel and baby girl Martha.

“Well, he’s a healthy weight, that’s for sure,” the midwife says. “Nine pounds, thirteen ounces. And what a head! There’s no way you’d have turned this boy, and he obviously knew it!”

“She!” Henry and I both shout in unison, looking at the middle-aged woman who is carrying our still-crying daughter towards us. The baby’s blanket is already stained with blood.

Seriously, how is she allowed to be holding babies if she can’t even get the sex right?

“No, definitely not a she,” she says, smiling, “I’ve been doing this a very long time, and I can tell the difference, you know.” She winks as Henry and I glance at each other, confused. Then, lowering her arms so we can see the tiny scrunched-up red face, she says, “Congratulations! It’s a beautiful bouncing baby boy.”

Perfect Mayhem


Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries in this Amazon UK Best Seller!

The only thing Dottie Harris loves more than her gin & tonic is her family. Most of the time.

From her hapless-but-well-meaning husband to her two energetic bundles of joy, Dottie certainly has her hands full. And she’s tired. So tired.

With quips like “How do sleeping babies know the minute you sit down?” this modern-day diary will have you laughing—when you’re not crying with empathy, that is!

Dottie tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the eternal piles of dirty laundry.

If you’re looking for chick lit packed with parenting humor, or simply want to know you’re not the only one having trouble parenting newborns and toddlers, this book about the ups and downs of parenthood is for you! It’s a motherhood manifesto, social media style!

Previously published as Survival of the Ginnest.

Perfect Christmas

A hilarious Christmas novella from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

“Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!”

Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

A humorous Christmas novella, perfect if you’re looking for a funny read for the Christmas season, or want to get in the Christmas spirit. Or you can spread some Christmas cheer and give it as a Christmas gift!

Previously published as Survival of the Christmas Spirit.

Perfect Mix-Up


Find out just how British Dottie is…

Dottie Harris is as British as they come, which is exactly what endears her to us. But when her pregnant American cousin comes for a visit, Dottie is a frazzled disaster who can’t seem to overcome the language barrier.

Perfect Mix-Up is a funny look at parenting from both sides of the pond, and the surprising number of confusing language differences that entails.

If you’d like to try the ebook before you buy, it’s free if you join Aimee’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/aimee-gin-news

Previously published as Lush in Translation.

About the Author:

Aimee Horton


Aimee is from Lincoln, England, where she enjoys drinking gin and spending time with her family (and she won’t tell you which of those she prefers doing). As a child, one of her favourite parts of the summer holidays was to devour all the books in a little book shop in Devon. She continued reading at lightning speed right up until having children. She now reads with eyes propped open by match sticks.

Find her here:


Check out the rest of the #BookTour

July 18th

On My Bookshelf – Author Guest Post
Novelgossip – Book Promo/Excerpt
Hello Chick Lit – Book Promo

July 19th

Sylv all about books and films – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

July 20th

Jenna Books – Book Promo/Excerpt
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 21st

The Writing Garnet – Author Q&A
Book Lover in Florida – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 22nd

One Book At A Time – Promo Post
Dreaming With Open Eyes – Author Q&A
These Words: A Blog – Author Guest Post
Grass Monster – Book Review (Amazon)

BookTour arranged by HCL Book Tours & Author Services
(now taking clients and book for late summer/early fall)
HCL Book Tours Logo (2)

#Spotlight #ReleaseDay – ALL FOUR STARS SERIES by Tara Dairman


Tara Dairman banner

The books are about Gladys Gatsby, an 11-year-old who secretly becomes a restaurant critic for New York City’s biggest newspaper. Published by Putnam/Penguin, they’re perfect reads for foodies of all ages.


BOOK ONE: ALL FOUR STARS (July 10, 2014)

All Four StarsMeet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated, but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world. But to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret. Easy as pie, right?

 Penguin * Powell’s * BAM * B&N * Amazon * Walmart * Indigo (Canada)Book Depository (International)



The Stars of SummerAfter successfully completing her first restaurant review for the New York Standard newspaper, 12-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and eating. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley.

As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy. She struggles to pass her swim test, fails to keep the other campers happy while planning lunches, and cannot seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper. Worst of all, there’s no time to sneak away for her latest reviewing assignment: finding the best hot dog in New York City.

PenguinPowells * B&N *  Amazon * BAM * Indigo (Canada) * Book Depository (International)


Stars So SweetAs the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise:  her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

Penguin *  B&N *  Amazon * BAM * Indigo (Canada) * Book Depository(International)


Tara DairmanTara Dairman is a novelist,playwright, and survivor of the world’s longest honeymoon (2 years, 74 countries!). Thanks to her travels, parts of her first middle-grade novel, All Four Stars, were written in a mall in Brazil, a guesthouse in Morocco, and coffeehouses in Argentina, Cameroon, Gabon, and Tanzania. Revisions took place in the slightly less exotic locale of her parents’ basement in New York.

The book, which tells the story of an 11-year-old restaurant critic moonlighting for New York’s biggest newspaper, was published in 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin. It has won many accolades, including a Crystal Kite Award from SCBWI, and has been named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and A Mighty Girl Top Book of the Year. A sequel, The Stars of Summer, was published in 2015, and a third book in the series, Stars So Sweet, will be published July 19, 2016.

Tara’s plays have been produced professionally in New York and Dublin, Ireland, as well as at various universities, and have been shortlisted for prizes such as the Heideman Award (Actors Theater of Louisville), the Jerome Fellowship (The Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis), and the Princess Grace Award. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

With the traveling bug appeased (for now), Tara has finally settled down in Colorado, where she lives with her family and their trusty waffle iron.

You can also connect with Tara in these places:



#BlogTour #Spotlight #Giveaway – SWEET SECRETS SERIES by Taylor Henderson


Ever since Violet Forrester first moved next door to Brianna, she has been tortured relentlessly… 

It seems like Brianna has everything, and yet she still doesn’t have the one thing she really wants; the one thing that Violet cares about the most—Blake Edwards. 

After years of letting Brianna walk all over her, Violet’s finally had enough. She’s tired of sitting back and watching Brianna flirt with her boyfriend, steal her friends, and push her around. She’s finally ready to stand up for herself. 

To do this, Violet and her new friend, Lena, devise a plan to make Brianna realize that not everything is hers for the taking, and Violet knows the perfect way to do it… 

After all, nothing is better than revenge. 



That is, until someone gets hurt.




With the drama of the school year behind them, sisters Lena and Ella Snotty are off to California for the summer… 

Their parents have recently separated, and the sisters are becoming closer, though Lena can’t get past wanting to know more about their fractured family. While unpacking, Lena finds a photo of their mother with the twins she gave up for adoption, and notices something very strange. 

In the photo, there’s a man she’s never seen before… 

Assuming it must be the man who adopted the twins, Lena and Ella set out to find him so they can meet their younger siblings. As they search, Lena reconnects with Carter Anderson, the boy she dumped abruptly the year before, causing her to wonder whether or not she should return to Virginia in the fall. 

Did the man in the picture truly adopt the twins—or is John Symmes someone else altogether? 

A journey through the past might just change their lives forever…




Ella Snotty is worth more than a quickie… 

After a family scandal tore their family apart, seventeen-year-old Ella chooses to stay in California with her mom for the rest of the school year. Things are lonely since her sister Lena went to live with their dad. But at least she has her new boyfriend, Shane Quinn, to make things a little less depressing. 

Ella isn’t the only girl who thinks Shane is swoon-worthy… 

Shane takes Ella out to blow off some steam, and the party isn’t short on alcohol. When a tipsy old flame “falls” into Shane’s lap, her spontaneous kiss makes Ella more than a little jealous. And when details of Shane’s dating history surface, Ella is determined to be more than a fling. 

The V-word will slow things down… 

Afraid Shane wants to use her for a little fun, Ella lies and says she’s a virgin. According to his reputation, Shane has commitment issues. Maybe it’ll make him stick around long enough for them to form a real connection before the physical sparks fly. But is he worth the lie? And what happens when both of their insecurities come crumbling down like a house of cards? 

She wants his heart. He’s afraid to commit. As the pressure mounts, will they find comfort in each other? Or will they learn that when playing with fire, you risk getting burned?

The hot summer sun was beating down on us as we sat together on the side of the pool. Leaning forward, I dipped one foot into the water and made small circles, causing the clear water to ripple and shine in the bright sunlight. I could feel the heat radiating off of his body as he snaked his arm around my waist. Despite the heat I leaned into him, resting my head on his shoulder as I breathed in his scent. The strong smell of his aftershave mixed with citrus from his shampoo enveloped me, fogging my thoughts.
“Want to take a swim?” Blake looked at me with a small smirk on his sun-tanned face that made my heart melt.
I couldn’t help but notice the way his blue eyes twinkled every time he looked at me. A small breeze blew a few strands of his black hair into his eyes as I cupped his cheek with my hand.
“I dare you,” I whispered as I leaned in closer to him, pressing my lips gently to his.
He kissed me back softly, allowing his lips to mold and move in sync with mine, before pulling back and smirking at me. “I never turn down a good dare!” he exclaimed with a laugh as he shoved me into the pool.
The cold water slapped against my body, folding in around me on all sides until I was completely submerged. I had just barely managed to take in a breath before I had been so rudely shoved into the pool, and I was thankful that I had. When my toes touched the bottom of the deep end I kicked off of the concrete, propelling myself back upward. Once my head broke the surface I rubbed the chlorinated water from my eyes and squinted up at where Blake had been sitting moments ago.
A chorus of giggles erupted from the opposite direction and I turned my head to see Blake walking toward the fence that separated my yard from my neighbor’s, laughing at something that Brianna, the stuck up princess who lived next door, had said. She giggled, tossing her hair lightly as she spoke again, leaning her body against the wooden fence. As Blake drew near her, she leaned her body forward and pulled him into a tight hug, pressing her chest to his body while rolling her eyes at me, and smirking. I responded with a glare that only deepened when she mouthed the word, “Mine,” before she pulled away. The only word she has known ever since we were little.
Since I was younger, and even now, Brianna has been associated with some of my worst memories. As I watched her talk to my boyfriend while tossing me sly glares I remembered seventh grade when Brianna had done everything in her power to make my life miserable. Not even a month into the school year she had found a way to turn all of my friends against me. She dug a hole into my friend group, put herself in, and took me out. She had a leader quality in her, that was for sure. All of my friends followed her in spreading rumors about me, and isolating me from the main group.
I had learned at a young age how to entertain myself, and I had even gotten use to being alone. Her actions, and the actions of my so-called friends had shown me that trust shouldn’t be doled out easily. Trust is something to be given to those who deserve it. That was something that had stuck with me, and was probably the reason I had so few friends to this very day.
Logically, I knew that I was able to change that, but my trust issues ran deep, and I blamed Brianna. Even at a young age she had been conniving and evil. Nothing about her personality has really changed. She’s still conniving and evil—just more so.
That was just one of the many times that the stuck up bitch, formally known as Brianna Richardson, had taken something that was mine and made it hers, and I was tired of it. Brianna was the type of girl who had been spoiled and put on a pedestal her whole life, and I hated people like that. I wanted to rip the silver spoon from her smirking mouth and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. It was about time that she learned other people have feelings too, and I was just the person to teach her that.
I pulled a long sleeve sweater from deep within the confines of my suitcase, and stared at it quizzically. Wow, I really did go overboard packing. I know that I had said that I was packing in preparation for anything that came my way, but seriously, a long sleeve sweater? Did I think that sometime during my visit, San Diego was going to be hit by a blizzard?
Shaking my head, I folded the sweater neatly and tucked it away into the bottom drawer of my dresser. I had been unpacking for nearly two hours now, and so far I hadn’t gotten far. I blamed my lack of progress on my short attention span, and my laziness. So far, I had managed to organize each drawer according to clothing article. I had separate drawers for bottoms, tops, bathing suits, undergarments, pajamas, and miscellaneous. The sweater was placed into the miscellaneous drawer where it was accompanied by a thin raincoat, sweat pants, and a pair of gray leg-warmers. Seriously, I had a packing problem.
My phone buzzed on the dull hardwood floor just a few inches away from my thigh. I scooped the phone up and smiled at the screen when I saw that the message was from Violet. She had been sending me cute videos of her sister, Lilly, all morning. Lilly had started taking dance lesson a few months ago, and she had her first recital coming up in a week so she would practice throughout the house, despite her mom’s efforts. I unlocked the phone, which instantly opened the message to show another video. Along with the video, Violet had sent a message telling me to listen to her mom.
Smiling, I hit play on the video, and watched closely as the camera focused on a dancing, tutu-clad Lilly. She was spinning around the Forrester’s living room, weaving in and out of the furniture and doing ballet-style leaps over little obstacles that littered the floor. The obstacles were little stuffed animals, and toys that Lilly had probably set up.
“Watch this, Lizzie,” Lilly’s voice blasted from my phone’s speaker. She stopped moving and faced the camera head on, then smiled so brightly that her eyes scrunched up some. Her dark curls continued to bounce around her face from the previous motion. “I, Lilly Forrester, am going to do something that no other dancer can do.” She raised her arms high over her head, and proceeded to do a cartwheel from the living room into the dining room where her mom was.
I heard Mrs. F. let out a shriek, and it soundly like she was about to have an aneurysm or something. The shriek caused Lilly to lose her footing, and fall onto her butt. “No cartwheels!” Violet’s mom spoke loudly. She wasn’t yelling, but she was definitely worked up. “You could break your neck!” Then the video ended, and I laughed loudly at her words. Mrs. F. was known for being an extreme worrywart. I thought that it was hilarious, while Violet thought that her mom was crazy. I was sure that if I had grown up with her as my mom, I would think she was crazy too.
I shook my head; still smiling to myself about the video as I typed back a reply about how her mom was hilarious, before setting my phone back on the ground and staring into my suitcase again. I would probably be done now if I had continuously stuck with unpacking when I first started. I had begun right after breakfast, and Ella and I had decided to have a race to see who could finish first. She won.
It wasn’t fair really. I had more to unpack than she did, so I should have gotten a head start. It had only taken her half an hour to unpack everything. How was that possible? When she finished and had come up to brag about her winning, I no longer saw the point in rushing, and began to take my sweet time. I had even taken a break to go talk to grandpa who had been doing a little organizing of his own. Apparently grandma had given him the task of cleaning out the once guest room that had been converted to a storage room. She didn’t want me to be stuck up in the attic room for my whole visit. I was fine being in the attic, but grandma disagreed.
So when I went to see grandpa, he had been in the middle of trying to figure out the most effective way to begin cleaning the room. In my opinion the most effective way to begin cleaning was to start, but he was sure that there was a certain way that he needed to tackle his task. When I left him, he was grumbling about who was the person to come up with the saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” At the moment, making grandma happy by cleaning was not making his life happy.
Sighing, I shook my thoughts from my mind and reached into my bag again, pulling out a cute, red sundress that I had gotten on my last trip to the mall with Ella. I hadn’t worn it yet, but I was excited to get the chance too. Red had always been my favorite color. Not only was it just a nice color in general, but also I felt like it made me look sexy, and mysterious. It probably didn’t, but a girl could dream. Standing, I went to hang the dress up in my closet, along with the other dresses that I had already hung up. This unpacking thing was rapidly becoming tedious.
With a groan, I leaned my back against the foot-board of my bed that faced the closet. Maybe I could convince Ella to help me finish up? Just as I was about to stand, my eye caught a little corner of a piece of paper that was poking out from behind the dresser. I furrowed my brows at the sight of it, wondering what it could be. The rest of the room had been completely empty when I arrived, so I was curious to see what this was. It was probably nothing, but either way my interest was piqued.
Pushing myself away from the bed, I walked toward the dresser, crouching down next to it as I gripped the corner of the paper and pulled it from its hiding place. I unfolded it, seeing the back first. There was one sentence scrawled across the back. It was short, and sweet.
Keep us in your memories.
That was all that it said. There was no name signed under it, or even a date. Just that one sentence. Now I was really curious. Flipping the paper over, my jaw dropped almost instantly. It was a picture of my mom in the hospital, holding one bundle of white in each arm, with a man standing next to her. I could see now why there was no name or date listed on the back. The date was obvious. The picture had to have been taken on August 8th, the day that my mom gave birth to the twins. That was the first and last time that she had seen them. I assumed that the man in the picture was the guy who had adopted them, and probably the owner of the handwriting on the back as well.
I stood hurriedly, and took the stairs down from my room to go find Ella. Luckily, she was sitting in her room listening to music. I entered without knocking, earning a glare. I didn’t care though. I knew that she would want to see this.
Moving toward where she was sprawled across her bed, I trusted the photograph out to her. She took it curiously, staring at the front in silent before flipping it over to read the back.
“Do you recognize him?” she asked me, eyebrows furrowed.
I shook my head no. “He’s got to be the guy who adopted the babies. Why else would he be in the picture?”
Ella shrugged in response, staring at the front of the photo again. I stood in silence for a moment as she just sat, holding the picture and frowning down at it. Then, with a smile curving her thin lips upward, she met my eyes. “If we found him, we would probably find the babies too.”
I bit my lip as realization crashed over me. “We could finally meet them.”
The music blasting from the speakers in the living room was so loud that it felt like the house was pulsing to the beat. There were giant speakers set up against the walls, and each piece of furniture, with the exception of a few couches, had been moved out of the living room to make space for a makeshift dance floor. From my position on the loveseat in the corner I could see a group of drunk girls gyrating and grinding against each other to a completely different beat. Each girl was dressed as a cat, and I almost groaned audibly at their costume choice. There were so many damn cat outfits that I’d lost count. Is originality frowned upon on Halloween too, of all days?
Next to me, Carter laughed as one of the girls stumbled in her leopard-print heels and almost toppled over before she was caught by one of her more sober kitty-friends.
“Why aren’t you out there?” Carter asked, leaning toward me and yelling over the music so he could be heard.
I shrugged. Normally I was the type of girl who spent the night dancing in the middle of the crowd until my thighs burned, buttonight was different. I just wasn’t in the mood to dance, or to be social at all. I hadn’t even wanted to come to the party. If it weren’t for Shane and Carter, I would probably be at home right now squandering away the night watching old Disney Halloween movies and avoiding my homework assignments until the last minute. “I can’t find Shane,” I answered. It wasn’t the exact reason, but it was more or less true. About an hour into the party, Shane had disappeared. I told myself the only reason I was wondering where he’d gone was because he was the reason I was here, but everyone knew that wasn’t true.
Carter smirked at me. Shane and I had been dating, for lack of a better word, for nearly three months now and yet he still teased me about it every chance he got. I never teased him about how whipped he was when it came to my sister. The least he could do was extend that same courtesy to me.
“Aw, do you miss him?” he questioned, still smirking. The fact that his face was painted as the Joker only added to my annoyance. It was as if his smirk was extra defined.
I rolled my eyes dramatically.
“Hey, I’m only messing with you,” he said loudly, placing a hand on my shoulder. He offered me a small smile when I made eye contact. “If you find the alcohol, I can promise you you’ll find Shane.”
“Come with me?” I had to lean into his ear as I asked. I could barely hear my own voice.
He nodded in response and we both got to our feet. As soon as our butts left the couch, the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood swooped in to take our seats, then proceeded to make out. Her grandmother would be so disappointed.
Carter led the way out of the room and down the hall toward the kitchen. I’d only been in this house one other time for a party at the beginning of the year, and was surprised I remembered my way around. As we entered the room, we wove in and out of people who were standing around, guzzling substances from their red plastic cups. Some people had really gotten into the Halloween spirit and went all out for their costumes, while others had taken the easy route by sticking animal ears on their heads and calling it a night. If I had originally planned on coming to the party then my costume would’ve been way better than it was. Instead, I was wearing the same costume I wore last year to Brianna’s Halloween party—Marilyn Monroe.
I scanned the room as Carter and I made our way through the growing throng of our peers. Shane wasn’t anywhere in sight. I was rapidly becoming annoyed. How rude is it to force someone to come to a party with you, and then just ditch them? Very.
I followed closely behind Carter as he exited the kitchen through a sliding glass door and headed out onto the deck. The hot day had turned into a warm, breezy night. The sky was dark, but light came from tiki torches and the many candle-lit, carved pumpkins that surrounded the backyard. Almost instantly after I stepped out onto the porch, Shane walked up to me with a big smile on his handsome face.
“Ella!” he yelled, throwing his arms around me and pulling me in for a bone-crushing hug. The strong smell of alcohol hit my nose as he nuzzled his head into the crook of my neck. “I missed you,” he mumbled against my skin, sending tingles down my spine when he kissed my neck. The way my body reacted to him only served to annoy me further. I was mad at him for making me come out tonight, and then leaving me on the couch for nearly an hour while he drank. He did not deserve my affection right now.
I pushed him back by his shoulders, keeping him at arm’s length as I said, “If you missed me then you would’ve come inside and gotten me. Have you been out here the whole time?”
He nodded hard, causing his blond hair to fall into his eyes. Then, catching me off guard, he placed his hands on my cheeks and guided my face to his. He kissed me hard for a moment before I pulled away. If it was possible, he tasted worse than he smelled. Carter laughed as I scrunched my nose in disgust.
“What are you doing?” I groaned, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. I ignored the hurt in his eyes as he pouted.
“I just wanted to kiss you,” he answered, running a hand through his hair and glancing to the side.
I sighed, pulling him away from the door, down the steps into the yard, and over to a lawn chair. Carter followed us and stood with his arms crossed over his chest, just watching us in amusement. “You smell terrible,” I said, trying not to stand downwind of him. “How much did you drink?”
Shane shrugged as he dropped down into the chair. My gaze trailed from his face to his chest, which was on full display in his costume. He was one of the people who had taken the easy route out for a costume, and bought a cheap boy scout’s vest from the costume store earlier today. He paired it with some khaki shorts, and was ready for a night out. The vest was open and showed off his tan abs and muscular arms. I wasn’t the only one who was noticing either. Other girls were milling around the yard, obviously checking him out, and it was kind of pissing me off.
Shane pulled me down onto the chair with him, hugging me tightly to his chest. His muscular arms flexed as they circled my waist, and he leaned down to rest his chin on my shoulder. He sighed deeply. “You smell so good,” he commented.
Carter rolled his eyes. “I’m gonna go see if I can find him a bottle of water or something. He’s gotta sober up before he gets home or his mom will have an aneurysm.”
“Okay, hurry back. We should leave soon. I’m tired.” As if my body was trying to prove my words, a yawn escaped my parted lips. Behind me, Shane hugged me tighter. I shifted positions uncomfortably, trying not to gag at how horrible he smelled.
“Got it,” Carter replied, turning to head back into the house where I could see people dancing in the kitchen through the plate glass door.
More people were beginning to come outside, probably because of how crowded it was inside. It was hot in there, and there was hardly any space to move around. The only downside to being out here was that the music was only a dull thud. You could hear the beat, but it was hard to tell what song was playing. At least outside I could actually hear myself think.
I turned my head slightly so I could see Shane’s face as his head rested on my shoulder. When I moved, he opened his eyes and his gaze met mine. Then he shifted his eyes and looked around in front of us. Returning his gaze to mine, he sat up as he said, “He’s gone!”
He looked so cute and happy that I couldn’t help but smile at him. “Carter?”
Shane nodded in response. “I was waiting for him to leave.”
“Why is that?”
He smirked. “So I could do this,” he answered, turning me slightly as he leaned in to kiss me again. I pulled away before he could.
I placed my hands on his chest and held him back as he tried to lean in again. “Damn boy, you need to calm down. Your hormones are on a whole ’nother level right now.”
“It’s the outfit.” He raised an eyebrow at me as he pulled at the material of my white dress. “I always had a thing for Marilyn Monroe.” He winked, and even in his drunken stupor he managed to look so sexy that I almost swooned. How that was possible, I had no clue.
“Well, Marilyn is taking a vow of abstinence.”
Shane groaned. His mood changed so quickly. He went from flirtatious to looking like someone just ran over his puppy.
I laughed lightly as he pouted. “We really need to get you home.”
Shane instantly took the bait and his smirk returned full force. “You wanna take me home?”
“Yes, but not in the way you’re implying,” I answered, rolling my eyes at how cheesy his suggestion was. Then I glanced up and looked toward the door, hoping to see Carter coming out, but he wasn’t. “Where is Carter? He said he’d be right back.”
Shane waved my question off. “Who needs Carter? All he does lately is talk about Lena. He’s boring.”
“That’s not boring, that’s adorable.”
Shane scowled.
Sighing, I tried to push myself up, but Shane tightened his arms around me so I couldn’t stand. “Shane, I’m going to find Carter. Just wait here for me to get back. Do not move.”
Pouting, he let me go. Then he crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair, frowning.
“Seriously, don’t go anywhere.” I stared at him until he said he wouldn’t move, and then I headed back toward the house.
As soon as I entered through the back door the sound of the music filled my ears again. Everything was loud inside. People were yelling over the music, laughing, and singing. I had no idea how I was supposed to find Carter if he wasn’t in the kitchen. After I looked around the room and saw that he wasn’t there, I continued to push my way through the crowd. I hardly recognized anyone from school other than people who hung out with Carter and Shane. When I was almost out of the kitchen, a tall girl dressed as a pirate came hurtling around the corner and ran straight into me, spilling the cups of beer she had in each hand all over the front of my dress and down my legs. I groaned loudly, shaking the beer from my hands, and then holding the front of my dress away from my body as she apologized and ran off.
Now I’m going to smell like beer, I thought with a sigh. Holding my now wet dress away from my body, I walked down the main hall, scanning the throng of people for Carter. As I neared the bathroom door, it opened, and out walked Carter with a satisfied expression on his face. I almost wanted to hit him.
When he spotted me, he laughed, but it was covered by the music.
I marched toward him, taking him by the arm and pulling him to the kitchen, where he grabbed one of the many bottles of water that sat amongst the nearly empty bottles of liquor. Then we headed back outside, into the night.
“You look horrible,” Carter commented, gesturing to my beer stains.
I frowned in response. “Thanks, that’s what every girl wants to hear,” I said, the sarcasm heavy in my voice. “Let’s just get this water to Shane, so we can get out of here.”
Carter nodded, and we both turned our attention away from each other and to where I left Shane. I was happy to see he was still sitting there. I took the four patio steps down to the yard, and froze as I watched some girl stumble toward Shane. It was like one of those scenes in a movie where the main character knows in her gut that something bad is about to happen, but is powerless to stop it.
The girl was dressed scantily as a damn black cat, with her dark hair curled and two little cat ears sticking out of her hair at the top. When she got to Shane she plopped down into his lap, tossed her arms around his neck, and kissed him with everything she had in her. My heart clenched at the sight, and I felt anger bubble up inside of me. My head swam for the two seconds that she kissed him until Shane pushed her away. I felt like my blood was boiling, I was so mad.
Shane stood up, placing the girl on her feet and holding his hands up in a surrendering motion. I watched as his lips moved, and then the girl crossed her arms and stormed off. As soon as she turned away from him, Shane turned slightly and his gaze met mine. He looked apologetic, and it seemed as if that one action had sobered him up quick.
I didn’t know what to think. Why the hell did she feel comfortable enough to just come over and start kissing him? Was I missing something?
I didn’t wait to find out though, because as soon as Shane took a step toward me, obviously coming to explain, I turned away and headed back into the house. It was time to go.
I should’ve stayed home.
Taylor Henderson is a psychology major at the University of Mary Washington who was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She has been an adamant reader and writer since she was young, and has always found solace in the worlds and characters that other authors have brought to life in their works. Taylor plans to continue writing, and hopes to expand to different genres in the future.
Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson


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#Spotlight – ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS SERIES by Stephanie Perkins





annaCan Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

Published by Dutton (2010).

Malaprop’s <— signed copies from my hometown bookstore

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Playlist * Playlist (Spoilers) * Deleted Chapter *

Bonus Scene: “Vulcans Are Hot”


lolaCould the boy from her past be the love of her future?

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—the more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. And life is pretty close to perfect in Lola’s world, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend. That is, until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood and unearth a past of hurt and anguish that Lola thought was long buried. When talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna and Étienne.

Published by Dutton (2011).

Malaprop’s <— signed copies from my hometown bookstore

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Playlist * Playlist (Spoilers)


IslaLove ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Published by Dutton (2014).

Malaprop’s <— signed copies from my hometown bookstore

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Mark it to-read on Goodreads


Playlist * Playlist (Spoilers)


 SP_Blau_MediumHi, there! I’m Steph, and I wrote ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I also edited (and contributed a short story to) a romantic holiday anthology called MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME. A companion anthology, SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS, will be released in May 2016. My next YA novel will be horror—a teen slasher published by Dutton.

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#Spotlight #FreeBook – POPPY PETERS MYSTERIES SERIES by A. Gardner

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Poppy Peters Mysteries

Meet Poppy Peters… culinary student and sleuth!

Poppy is the star of A. Gardner’s #1 bestselling culinary cozy mystery series, the Poppy Peters Mysteries. She’s a grade A culinary student who doesn’t mind sharing a delicious recipe between her investigations.
Suzy Sweet of Chef’s Monthly was lucky enough to land an interview with Poppy recently and shared it with us…


Poppy Peters Mysteries Book 1

After an injury derails Poppy Peters’ ballet career, she gathers the courage to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and attend Calle Pastry Academy in a small-town Georgia. Poppy has her work cut out for her not only fitting in with her charming (and not-so-charming ) Southern classmates but also proving her worth to her teachers after her first publicly humiliating attempt a making the school’s famous peach pie. But Poppy’s pastry problems go from bad to worse when she’s suddenly accused of stealing expensive black truffles, and her attempt to clear her name goes awry…resulting in her finding a dead body instead! If Poppy’s going to survive this culinary experience, she’ll need to find the missing truffles and track down a killer, all while honing her baking skills to compete in the school’s dessert competition for a coveted pastry internship in Paris. Can Poppy prove she’s one tough cookie? Or is her life about to crumble?

**Recipes included!

Now FREE in ebook format for a limited time!

Amazon Kindle * Barnes & Noble Nook * iBooks * Kobo * Google Play


Poppy Peters Mysteries Book 2 

When Poppy Peters takes an internship in Paris working for a top pastry chef, she realizes that bakery life isn’t all cupcakes and frosting. The sous pastry chef dislikes foreigners, her mentor only speaks French, and to top that all off she finds the groom of the wedding she’s catering dead in his own backyard. But Lord Dovington wasn’t just a handsome royal waiting to sweep his bride-to-be off of her feet. He was also a well-known playboy with a long line of vengeful exes.

Now, as one of the prime suspects, Poppy must prove she’s innocent . . . and that her recipe for chocolate macaroons isn’t to blame. But the clock is ticking, and with a missing diamond, a break-in, and a hot batch of reporters on her tail, Poppy has a lot of sifting to do. Will she find the killer before she too gets baked?

**Recipes Included**

Poppy Peters Mysteries Book 3

Reluctant sleuth Poppy Peters is back in Georgia, and her last semester of pastry school is no icing on the cake when a body is discovered at the local farmer’s market, and the murder weapon has Poppy’s name on it. Not to mention, the victim belonged to a deadly southern crime family. Now, Poppy is being tailed by the mafia, and it doesn’t help that the school’s new pastry instructor has her working with her worst rival. But after a heart-stopping car chase, a frightening discovery at an old jam factory, and a spontaneous trip to New Orleans, Poppy discovers a secret that makes her past feats look like a piece of peach pie. Poppy’s chances of making it to graduation day are about to go up in flames just like her Bananas Foster.

**Recipes included!**

Poppy Peters Mysteries Book 4






An interview with Poppy Peters

Suzy Sweet: Welcome to Chef’s Monthly, a segment where we interview up-and-coming chef’s around the country, and gather exciting new insights into the culinary world. Today I’m here with Poppy Peters who comes to us from the Calle Pastry Academy in Georgia. Poppy, tell us about yourself.

Poppy: I’m Poppy Peters, a former ballerina turned pastry chef. I’m from the Pacific Northwest so I’m constantly melting in the southern heat, but I’ve learned that the remedy for that is sweet tea.

Suzy Sweet: Calle Pastry Academy has been in the news a lot lately. Do you care to comment on that?

Poppy: If I did I’d have to roll you up and bake you in a pie, Suzy.

(Laughter from the audience.)

Suzy Sweet: Alright, I get the message. Moving on. Do you have a favorite dessert?

Poppy: Nothing too fancy. My grandma used make these really simple, chocolaty Brazilian truffles called brigadeiro.

Suzy Sweet: Sounds delightful. Who is your ideal sous chef?

Poppy: A woman who carries her own serving utensil around in her purse. Yes, such a person does exist. My friend Bree has the habit of baking when she’s nervous, meaning she’s made more chocolate layered cakes than anyone I know. She would be the perfect sous chef.

Suzy Sweet: Oh, really? I thought maybe you would choose the famous Chef Bartolo Chimenti. After all, he did teach at your school for a semester, and he’s on television.

Poppy: Lots of people are on television, Suzy.

Suzy Sweet: Oh come on, is he as handsome in person as he is on his latest reality food show Bonbon Voyage?

Poppy: His Italian Pointer, Susu, has more of a personality. Oops, sometimes I blurt things out without thinking. Can you edit that part out?

Suzy Sweet: Next question. What’s the most important thing you learned in pastry school?


A. Gardner is a native westerner exploring the sweet bites of the south. After years of working in the healthcare industry, she moved across the country with her husband and adventurous baby boy. She is a mystery and romance writer with a serious cupcake obsession and a love of storytelling that began at an early age. When she is not writing, she is either chasing after her son, out for a swim, trying out a new recipe, or painting her nails bright blue.

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To learn about new releases, giveaways, and other book-related news, sign up for her Author Newsletter at www.gardnerbooks.blogspot.com.

Contact me: gardnerbooks@yahoo.com



#Spotlight – NURSE NATE TRILOGY by Brea Brown

Nurse Nate.jpg



Book One – LET’S BE FRANK (Amazon)

Nate 1.jpgNate Bingham’s successful career as a pediatric nurse provides plenty of personal satisfaction (and an endless supply of lollipops), but at the end of every day, he comes home to an empty house. He claims he wants domestic bliss—a wife, some adorable booger-munchers, and a pooch—but so far, a picket-fence existence has eluded him. Is finding The One really that difficult, or is Nate sabotaging his own chance at happiness?

When his obnoxiously perfect older brother, Nick, announces his engagement to the only woman Nate ever came close to marrying, Nate decides he’s ready to do just about anything to secure his own happily-ever-after, even if that means sliding on some skinny jeans and a pair of fake specs and tricking the chick lit reading public into believing he’s their latest overnight success. It thrills his new high-maintenance girlfriend, the real writer of the books, but her interests soon become Nate’s smallest motivator in the venture. And that’s a major complication that doesn’t fit into Nate’s tidy five-year plan.

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Book Two – LET’S BE REAL (Amazon)


Nate 2.jpgNurse Nate Bingham’s life is finally going according to plan, after a few unexpected modifications. He has the wife, the dog, the house, the career… even a start on that brood of booger-munchers he’s always wanted. Everything is great.

Too great.

Then things get real. Changes at work, revelations at family get-togethers, and disappointments at home threaten Nate’s healthy outlook and force him to diagnose and take action.

Unfortunately, nobody’s walking away from this treatment plan with an easy cure and a lollipop.

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Book Three – LET’S BE FRIENDS  (Amazon)

Nate 3.jpgNate and Betty’s long-distance relocation has shrunk their pesky problems like specks in a rearview mirror… or so they think. But small-town life in sultry South Carolina includes its own challenges, and the Binghams soon discover their northern hometown doesn’t have the monopoly on frustrating co-workers and dysfunctional families. Add in a bit of culture shock, and the result is a thick, hilarious pot of outsider gumbo. Plus, some people—and decisions—can follow you anywhere you go, for the rest of your life.

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Brea Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and three sons, but her international support network stretches as far as Australia. She’s an administrative assistant at an environmental consulting firm for forty hours a week and a writer all the other waking hours of the week not taken up by motherhood, wifedom, reading, and watching Netflix. (That leaves a surprisingly large number of hours, believe it or not.)


Connect with Brea on Social Media Website * Twitter * Facebook

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#Spotlight #ReleaseDay – THE LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER SERIES by Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe Banner



The Summer Girls



In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between Dora, Carson, and Harper, three half-sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds.

For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong…until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future.

In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer.

Selected as a CBS “TOP10 SUMMER READ!”





The Summer Wind


The-Summer-Wind-193x300.jpgThe Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer series, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds.It’s midsummer and Eudora, nicknamed Dora, is staying at Sea Breeze, the family’s ancestral home on Sullivan’s Island. For years, Dora has played the role of the perfect wife and mother in a loveless marriage. Now her husband filed for divorce, her child is diagnosed with autism, and her house is on the market. Dora’s facade collapses under the weight of her grief and she suffers “broken heart syndrome.” Mamaw and the girls rally around Dora—but it’s up to Dora to heal herself as she spends the summer prowling the beach, discovering the secrets of the island and her heart. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction.

When tropical storm winds batter the island, the women must band together and weather the tempest—both the one outside their windows and the raging sea of emotions within each of them. They must learn again what it means to be a sister. It is up to Mamaw to keep the light burning at Sea Breeze to guide the girls through the lies, the threats, and the rocky waters of indecision to home.





The Summer’s End


Summers-End-193x300.jpgIn the powerful and heartwarming conclusion to her bestselling Lowcountry Summer trilogy, New York Times author Mary Alice Monroe brings her readers back to the charm and sultry beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to reveal how the pull of family bonds and true love is as strong and steady as the tides.It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world.

Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit.

But summer is ending, and the fate of Sea Breeze hinges on Harper’s courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so, she must release her insecurities, recognize her newfound strengths, and must accept love fully into her life.





A Lowcountry Wedding


LowcountryWedding-cvr-195x300.jpgWedding season has arrived in New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe’s next novel in the “distinct, complex, and endearing” (Charleston Magazine) Lowcountry Summer series, set against the romantic, charming Charleston Lowcountry.Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding—or two!—in Charleston’s fabled lowcountry. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset…

Yet when a stranger arrives, a long held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed. In A Lowcountry Wedding, Monroe delves into the heart of marriage, commitment, and family ties. Huffington Post calls the Lowcountry Summer series “the perfect beach read and a whole lot more.”




 Mary Alice Monroe

monroe-home-portrait.jpgKnown for her intimate portrayals of women’s lives, Mary Alice Monroe’s writing gained added purpose and depth with her books set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  An active environmentalist, Monroe draws themes for her novels from nature and the parallels with human nature, thus drawing attention to various endangered species and the human connection to the natural world.

Mary Alice is  involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Volunteers for Literacy.  Her volunteer work with these and other groups provided the inspiration for  her novels, The Beach House Trilogy:THE BEACH HOUSE, BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES, SWIMMING LESSONS, and SKYWARD,  SWEETGRASS, TIME IS A RIVER,  LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA, andTHE BUTTERFLY’S DAUGHTER.  With the same heart of conservation, Monroe has written two children’s picture books, TURTLE SUMMER and A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE.

The Lowcountry Summer trilogy is her newest endeavor and is set against the backdrop of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.  THE SUMMER GIRLS, the first book in the series, was released summer 2013 and introduces the complex relationships between three sisters of the Muir family at Sea Breeze, their historic home on Sullivan’s Island, S.C.  The second installment, THE SUMMER WIND was released in 2014. Book three, THE SUMMER’S END out for summer 2015.

Mary Alice Monroe is the author of nearly two dozen novels, several non-fiction titles, and children’s books. Her body of work reflects her commitment to the natural world through literature.  Monroe has served on the faculty of numerous writer’s conferences and retreats.  She is a featured speaker at events, both literary and conservation.

Her books have achieved several best seller lists, including the New York Times, SIBA, USA Today and are sold worldwide.  Her childrens books received several awards, including the ASPCA Henry Bergh award.  Monroe was awarded the SC Center for the Book Award for Fiction and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. In May 2014, she was awarded the Career Achievement Award for mainstream fiction by RT Book Reviews, SW Florida’s Distinguished Author Award, and the South Carolina Book Festival Literary Excellence Award.

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#BlogTour #Spotlight – AMBER ALERT SERIES by Sara Schoen

AMBER ALERT (Amber Alert Series #1)
**Mature Content Warning** Recommended for ages 17+ due to
violence and sensitive subject matter.
Anna was taken…
Taken from her home to live out a sick game that a guy has been
playing for the last ten years.
With no certainty that anyone is looking for her, and seemingly
hours away from home, she’s forced to play housewife with a man that has had
twelve other ‘wives’.
Each of them now dead…
With 12 rules and the obvious exits blocked, from the previous
girls attempts to flee. Is Anna’s only way out to play along and become a
‘loving wife’? Or will she die during the chase?
Would anyone even know what happened to her?
Or would she be labeled as a runaway?
And where is she in the
first place?
ABDUCTED (Amber Alert Series #2)
**Mature Content Warning** Recommended for ages 17+ due to
violence and sensitive subject matter.
Audrey Thomas had been raised by overprotective parents and is sick
of it…
After the kidnapping and recovery of her mother, Anna Cowles,
eighteen years ago, parents had a harsh awakening as they realized any child
could be taken for any reason.
New laws were set in place to protect children, but those same
children ignored the rules and went out of their way to get into trouble.
Audrey has always done what she wanted, no matter what the
consequences were…
But what happens when her choices lead her to being taken by the
one man people feared everyday for the last eighteen years, right up to his
Will she make it out like her mother did?
Or will she suffer the
fate of the previous twelve girls?


APPREHENDED (Amber Alert Series #3)
**Mature Content Warning** Recommended for ages 17+ due to
violence and sensitive subject matter.
There’s a copycat on the loose…
He’s playing the part of the notorious Steve Bennett, a serial
kidnapper and killer.
Twelve known girls have already been taken from all over the
country, but none have returned. With the orignial house of the mass kidnapper
and murderer destroyed, where is he hiding the girls?
Jessi Sparks is about to find out for herself…
This is the case she’s been waiting for, and she won’t let it
slip through her fingers. She will risk everything to finally put an end to
mass kidnappings.
But will she be risking
her own life?


“No! Andy…please!”
I was roughly shoved into the back of  a black car. The door slammed shut, the front door opened soon after and he got in. There was a click, as the car was locked. He threw the car into forward, and took off at an insane speed leaving everyone I knew and cared for behind.
I watched in terror as trees whizzed by, leaving the familiar surroundings behind as the road went from pavement to dirt and the buildings were replaced with large trees and fallen branches. I didn’t know where we were going, but I wanted to go home. The locks wouldn’t budge; the child safety lock prevented my escape the moment he had locked me in this god-forsaken car. I had lost my phone in the struggle, and I was stuck in here.
 There were scratch marks and dark spots on the seat. It looked as though someone had tried to claw their way out and I couldn’t blame them. Every hair on my neck were standing on end with fear blazing through me. My throat was sore from the screaming, but all the drivers had ignored my pleas for help. They simply kept driving without another sideways glance in my direction.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked again, my voice hoarse from the screams and crying. It was answered the same way, with silence that slowly crept in and made me shudder.
“Shut up!’
“Where are we going?”
“Be a good girl and take orders. Now shut up!”
I wished more than anything to be back at home and under my bed, away from him. The road turned to gravel as we came upon a rundown house, its shudders were falling of the hinges, but what caught me was the windows were boarded up. To prevent escape, I felt a shiver travel up my spine as the car came to a slow stop.
He got out of the car and didn’t unlock the doors until he was at the door. That small click would have brought me relief at any point in the car ride other than now. I pushed against the other side of the car as he reached one long hand in and grabbed me by my ankle and roughly yank me out of the car on to the gravel. A scream ripped through my throat as the gravel cut into my skin and my head hit the side of the car.
“Get up!” he ordered. My head was spinning from everything that had happened, but when I didn’t move, he moved me.
His hand grabbed take a large chunk of my hair before he lifted me out of the car, ignoring my cries of pain. He roughly dragged me to the house, I couldn’t get my feet to walk and fell often.
The door was solid, he had to slam his body against the wooden blockade and force it open. There was a creak as it slowly opened from his blows, and he threw me inside onto the hardwood floor. There was no carpet, anywhere It would be possible to hear every step from anywhere in the home. The house was bare to the bones, the walls held no photos or phones, rooms remained empty of furniture unless it was bolted to the ground. A new wave of fear ripped through me in realization that he had done this before, he had taken precautions for it.
Sara Schoen began writing in middle school, but did not officially dedicate herself to writing until high school when encouraged by her writing partner. Before then, Sara had not thought about trying to publish her works because it seemed unlikely that anyone would take a chance on someone so young. Despite her previous thoughts, she published her first book, Amber Alert, at the age of nineteen, and began rewriting and editing a spy series that she spent years writing when she was younger. With a lot of hard work and determination, now that same series, which is close to her heart, is a bestseller.
Sara is a Biology Major with a minor in Environmental Science and a minor in Spanish at James Madison University, and spends her time writing, studying, and ghost hunting. While writing is a great hobby that turned into a passion to share with others, school is her priority.
Throughout her publishing journey, Sara has had an amazing support system from her family, friends, and significant other, who were with her every step of the way. She hopes to continue to write, and wants to inspire others to reach for their dreams no matter how far they may seem. She truly believes that dreams can come true at any age, if you put in effort and chase after what you want.
Social media links:
Twitter: @SaraNSchoen
Sara Schoen
Guarded Secrets Series
Suicide Mission (FREE): http://amzn.com/B011B1JMBY
Covert Operations: http://amzn.com/B0172DGCE0
Waking Up Blank: http://amzn.com/B00YTB0EZM
Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson

#Spotlight – ESCAPE TO NEW ZEALAND SERIES by Rosalind James




Just This OnceAudio book also available!

Now available to order in German–AUSZEIT IN NEUSEELAND for Kindle and paperback!

Everyone needs to be rescued sometimes.

Everyone but Hannah Montgomery, that is. She just needs a vacation. Three weeks in New Zealand to sort out her life, figure out what she wants, seems just right. Oh, and to relax. She should definitely put that on the agenda. She certainly isn’t looking for a fling with a professional rugby player, no matter how attractive he is. Hannah doesn’t do casual. But maybe just this once. . .

As much as he’s shared with Hannah, Drew Callahan has kept one very big secret. And learning the truth, now that she’s back home again, has made Hannah warier than ever. Drew knows that she’s right for him. But how can he convince her to let down her guard enough to explore what they could have together?

Read an excerpt

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Just Good FriendsAudiobook also available!

Some bets were made to be lost.

Kate Lamonica isn’t Koti James’s type. Too small. Too dark. And heaps too much work. So it’s an easy bet that he can be her friend for six weeks without making a move on her, no matter what his mates would have said.

Kate can’t believe she’s made the bet at all. New Zealand had seemed like the perfect escape from the stalker who’d threatened first her peace of mind, and then her life. She certainly doesn’t need any more trouble. Why on earth has she agreed to spend time with a Maori rugby player who’s far too handsome and charming for his own good—and knows it?

But there’s more than one game Koti’s good at playing…

Read an excerpt

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Just for NowAudiobook also available!

There’s no place like home . . .

For teacher Jenna McKnight, nothing spells “heartbreak” like finding her husband with somebody else–in her bed. Clearly, it’s time to reinvent herself. A new body, a new city, and a new job later, she’s done just that. This isn’t really her home, though. Or her family, however much she wishes it were. And playing house can be a dangerous game.

New Zealand rugby star Finn Douglas is just looking for a temporary nanny. Not a girlfriend, and definitely not a wife. He can’t resist Jenna’s cooking, it’s true. Who knew that he’d have so much trouble resisting her? He wants to do what’s right for his kids. But waiting is so hard . . .

Read an excerpt

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Just for FunAlso available in audio!

What if the person who broke your heart turned out to be the only one who could mend it?

Nic Wilkinson is a responsible, organized, disciplined rugby player at the top of his game. Emma Martens is a sometimes-scattered, often-emotional, and always-broke would-be designer with a big chip on her shoulder where Nic’s concerned.

They have no history together, except one perfect week. Nothing in common anymore, except the most important thing of all.

Getting together again would be messy. Complicated. Scary. And, just maybe, worth every risk.

Read an excerpt

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Just My Luck: Escape to New Zealand Book 5

A little distraction can be a wonderful thing.

Nate Torrance has a job to do, and the biggest rugby boots in the world to fill. He can’t afford to lose his focus, especially not to a brown-eyed Canadian who pushes all his buttons and looks much too good in a climbing harness.

Allison Villiers may not know what she wants to do with her life, but she’s clear about one thing. She’s not impressed by the new captain of the All Blacks, however big a deal he is to the rest of New Zealand. If only her unfortunate taste for adventure didn’t keep leading her astray . . .

Warning: This romance, like New Zealand, contains a fair bit of steam. If that isn’t your cuppa, you may want to visit some other country . . . er, book.

Read an excerpt

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Just Not MineDestiny has a way of sneaking up on you . . . or of smacking you in the face.

Hugh Latimer’s coping with a few problems just now. A broken hand, missing the European rugby tour . . . and a half-brother and sister who are playing havoc with his love life. Instead of packing down in the scrum, he’s driving the carpool to ballet—or forgetting it’s his turn. When he hears his neighbor wailing out bad pop in the wee hours, it’s the last straw.

Josie Pae Ata is a fortunate woman. A new house, good friends, a gorgeous boyfriend—oh, and stardom, too. Getting involved with her new neighbors would bring risks she doesn’t need. But sometimes, life changes the rules. When you get more than you can handle, all you can do is hang on for the ride . . .

Read an excerpt

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Just for YouNo shirt, no shoes, no … problems? 

Hemi Ranapia isn’t looking for love. Fun, yes. Love, not so much. But a summer fishing holiday to laid-back Russell could turn out to be more adventure than this good-time boy ever bargained for.

Reka Harata hasn’t forgotten the disastrously hot rugby star she met a year ago, no matter how much she wishes she could. Too bad Hemi keeps refusing to be left in her past.

Sometimes, especially in New Zealand’s Maori Northland, it really does take a village. And sometimes it just takes a little faith.

NOTE: This 36,000-word (120-page) novella begins about six years before the events of Just This Once, and yes, it gets a little steamy at times, because Reka and Hemi are just that way. It can be read as a stand-alone book, even if this is your first escape to New Zealand.

From the Author: Think you know Reka and Hemi? Think again! This stand-alone novella is a much-expanded (more than three times as long!) version of the story originally published in the It’s In His Kissboxed set, but is now available exclusively in its current format.

Read an excerpt

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Just Once MoreWhat does true love look like once the honeymoon’s over?

Eight smoking-hot rugby players. Eight partners. Seventeen kids. Beaches and barbecues and beer, salt and sand and sea. Family and good mates and no worries. December in New Zealand.

One very pregnant, very tired Hannah Montgomery Callahan playing hostess to it all, doing her best and wondering if her best is good enough. And one legendary All Black captain willing to do whatever it takes to show her that when he promised to be there for her forever, he meant it.

Note: This book, like New Zealand … aw, heck. Three steamy scenes, as usual. And they’re good ones.

From the Author: I started writing this book because people asked for it, and I had so many “extra” scenes in my head from the books–what happened after “The End”? I figured I’d have a nice little update for each couple, send you back to their story, write a fun little thing for Christmas.

As always, my brain had other plans. As soon as I started writing, the book somehow became a story about the kind of love that lasts through babies, ups and downs, and all the changes life loves to throw at us. It became the story of how a good man loves a woman through the years. It became Hannah and Drew’s story again. It’s still a reunion story too, a catch-up with all the players and their partners–but mostly, it’s a love song for Hannah and Drew. (And it has some steamy scenes too, just because I wanted to.) I hope you enjoy it!

Read an excerpt

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Just in Time ThumbWhat happens in Vegas…

Will Tawera doesn’t do commitment, except on the rugby field. Moving to Las Vegas to become a kicker for the NFL would be a big change from New Zealand rugby, but then, he’s ready for a change. And when he’s asked to do a little modeling on the side? Thousands of dollars to hold a beautiful blonde while looking dark, dangerous, tattooed, and Maori? He could do that.

Faith Goodwin doesn’t do dark, dangerous men. Especially not when they make her laugh, take her miniature golfing with four-year-olds, and are far too sexy and sweet for comfort. But when Will finds himself in hot water back in New Zealand, who’s he going to call? And who would be able to resist answering?

READ AN EXCERPT (First three chapters!)


web-Rosalind-James_rectangle_webMY AGENT: Because that’s important. I’m represented by the wonderful Jill Marsal, of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency(www[dot]marsallyonliteraryagency[dot]com). (You can reach Jill atJill[at]MarsalLyonLiteraryAgency.com. 

PERSONAL STUFF: I met my husband Rick at UC Berkeley when I was 21, so I really do believe in True Love and Happily Ever After—which helps a lot in writing about them! We renewed our vows a few years ago with the help of our two grown sons.  Our home base when we’re not having our own adventures is in Berkeley, California, where the summers are foggy and the food shopping is the greatest.

WHY NEW ZEALAND: My husband’s job as an engineer, and mine as a marketing consultant, have given us the opportunity to live in many different wonderful places in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. During the latest stint, 15 months living and working in Auckland, I fell in love with New Zealand: the beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny.  I wanted to share what I loved so much about the country with everyone I knew—and didn’t know!

THE BOOKS: We had traveled to Wellington to watch the final of the Rugby World Cup in a pub as the start of a North Island holiday. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the intensity of All Black fever that gripped the entire nation during the World Cup, and the stature of the players themselves at all times. I had never seen anything remotely like it. I started wondering what it would be like to be so intensely admired and instantly recognizable in a country that has zero tolerance for bad behavior—and how hard it would be to find the right partner in that kind of spotlight. And that is where JUST THIS ONCE was born—walking through the rhododendron gardens of Mt. Taranaki, two days after the World Cup final. Writing that first page was terrifying, but within weeks, I knew that I’d finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.




#Spotlight – TALES BEHIND THE VEILS by Violet Howe



Book 1: Diary of a Single Wedding Planner (Amazon)

Cover Art: Robin Ludwig Design


Wedding planner Tyler Warren left heartbreak behind when she ran away from her small Southern hometown and started a new life in a big city. Years later, she wants to believe in the fairy-tale endings her job promotes, but the clients she meets day after day seem to be more “Crazily Ever After” than “Happily Ever After.”

Meanwhile, her own attempts at romance play out as bizarre comedies rather than love stories, and she’s starting to think Prince Charming either fell off his horse or got eaten by a dragon. When unresolved issues from Tyler’s past complicate things even further, she discovers she may yet have some things to figure out before she can find her own happy ending.

This delightful first book in the Tales Behind the Veils series chronicles Tyler’s wacky misadventures, both personal and professional. Whether she’s getting insane requests from brides or outlandish requests on dates, you’re sure to be charmed and entertained by the Diary of a Single Wedding Planner.


Book 2: Diary of a Wedding Planner in Love (Amazon)

Cover Art: Robin Ludwig Design


When wedding planner Tyler Warren realized she was in love with her best friend Cabe, she thought surely he was The One. Tyler couldn’t wait to live out their fairy tale, but she was about to discover a lot can happen between Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After.

Sometimes modern-day princes have inner dragons to battle, and when issues from Cabe’s past threaten to end their relationship before it really begins, Tyler starts to question whether their love story is real. But the biggest test for Cabe and Tyler may be the arrival of a handsome new prince, ready to step in and steal her heart forever.

This second volume in the Tales Behind the Veils series picks up where Diary of a Single Wedding Planner ended, but Tyler’s personal drama dampens her enthusiasm for her crazy wedding clients. As she travels down the sometimes treacherous path of romance, Tyler finds that being a wedding planner in love isn’t always the easiest job to have!


Book 3: Diary of an Engaged Wedding Planner (Amazon)

Cover Art: Robin Ludwig Design


Tyler Warren felt like the luckiest girl alive when her very own Prince Charming proposed. Her euphoria was short-lived, though. Before long, she was wishing she could skip right over the fairy tale wedding and go straight to the happily ever after.

In her job as a wedding planner, Tyler has grown accustomed to dealing with demanding brides and their challenging family members. But nothing in her career prepared her for dealing with the most difficult Mother of the Bride she’s ever encountered—her own mama. It doesn’t take long for Tyler to decide her best wedding option may be to elope.

This third volume in the Tales Behind the Veils series follows Tyler’s hilarious efforts to rein in Mama as they both plan the same wedding with very different visions. It’s enough to make an engaged wedding planner feel sympathy for bridezillas, even as she struggles not to become one.


735003_af02681661544163bccd1b336994d956.jpgBefore dedicating myself to writing full-time, I spent fifteen years immersed in wedding planning and five years teaching in a middle-school classroom. Both of which gave me countless stories and experiences to draw from for writing inspiration!

I am happily married to a man I consider My Knight in Shining Armor, and I am a mother to a teenage son whose intelligence, wit, and finesse with sarcasm amazes me daily. We share our home (and live in servitude for) our three insanely spoiled dogs.

I absolutely love to travel, and planning a trip is almost as much fun for me as actually going. I am a fanatic about all things movies–quotes, trailers, awards shows, midnight premieres, marathons, trivia, the smell of popcorn. If it’s movie-related, I’m in.

When I’m not crafting novels, I create magic as a wordsmith, which sounds much more intriguing and dignified than freelance writer, don’t you think?