Spotlight on #UrbanFantasy: Huntress Rising by @LeeRolandM

Hello Dear Readers,
Whether you’re traveling or sheltering in place, it’s always time to add some books to your TBR. 🙂 Here’s a look at an urban fantasy series by author Lee Roland. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Huntress Rising by Lee Roland Book Tour, May 4 through 18, 2020

 

Title: Huntress Rising
Series: Angel of Death Series
Number: Book One
Author: Lee Roland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Release date: December 9, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5092-2887-4
ISBN: 978-1-5092-2888-1
ASIN: B081DR5SBJ
# or Pages: 378
Word count: 99K
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

The Angel of Death is no angel, but a world in ruins needs her guns more than wings.

In a post-apocalypse world besieged by monsters, Colonel Xavier, a military man with a deadly temper, deliberately challenges Maat Ferris, a fierce, werewolf hunter. When Xavier meets Maat, he can’t decide whether to shoot her or kiss her. There is no uncertainty in her. She promptly stabs him. His hot then cold attitude makes her crazy, and his tendency to protect her is even worse.

Unfortunately, the combative pair must join forces on a treacherous journey, across the bleak, barren country. Pursued by a dictator president and the vampire who holds him in thrall, they carry precious cargo that will give democracy seeking rebels a chance to remain free.

Maat and Xavier, true to their aggressive, passionate natures, must also battle their way through a most unusual courtship. Can their love grow amidst the destruction and rebuilding of a society under siege? Or will they kill each other first?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Milliion

Excerpt

Chapter One
May 18, 2085 A.D
Avalon Agricultural Commune
Appalachian Mountains

Christopher worked his way down toward paradise. His tongue flicked in my navel and his fingers had already reached the gate. The lantern’s golden light played across our warm, flushed skin. I twisted my own fingers in his thick red hair, urging him on to the heart of gratification. He stopped, raised his head, and stared at me.

“What?” I didn’t expect him to answer. Christopher never spoke. One of the other members here at the AG Commune told me he could speak but wouldn’t because he was a Prime Oracle. His prophecies always came true—and he hated it.

To my dismay, Christopher rose from the bed, grabbed his robe, and drew it over his head. A frantic knock sounded at the door. The knock came again, this time accompanied by the voice of Julia, our leader Anolia’s young assistant.

“Maat? Maat, are you there?”

I glanced at Christopher, but his face remained impassive. The dark night terrified Julia. What was she doing at my door?

“Maat? Maat, please.”

Each word came with a higher and more desperate note. Christopher gave me one of his sweet smiles. Yes, I knew I had to answer.

“I’m coming, Julia.” I rose, grabbed my own robe, tossed it on, and went to the door. Julia jammed herself inside before it completely opened. She stood gasping, eyes wide, and pale hands clenched tight around her lantern handle. She shivered, even though summer had almost arrived, and it wasn’t cold outside.

“What is it, Julia?” I touched her arm. She jerked.

She closed her eyes and whispered a broken version of the serenity prayer. She didn’t seem any calmer when she finished. “Anolia wants you in the chapel dining room right now.” Julia blurted out the sentence like a single, multisyllable word.

“Why?” Anolia often sent Julia on errands, but she wasn’t cruel. What caused her to send the girl into the darkness she so feared? Julia shook her head, unable to continue. She glanced over her shoulder toward the door. “I have to go.”

I wouldn’t get anything else from her.

“Tell Anolia I’ll be there soon.”

Julia nodded. I opened the door and watched her lantern sway as she hurried up the path and over the hill. After I closed the door, I turned to Christopher.

“Something’s wrong. I better go see what she wants.”

Christopher seized my shoulders with hands made strong by his work at the forge. His fingers squeezed in a savage grip, and his striking face twisted in anguish.

“Take your guns, Maat. Take your guns.”

He spoke with a gravity that stunned me. He gave me a sweet kiss, and he too hurried out into the night. Seconds passed while I recovered from the shock of hearing him speak for the first time in over a year. Then I took his advice. I dragged my old suitcase from under the bed and threw it open.

The scent of gun oil and saddle soap filled the room. All my weapons lay there as they had for the past two years while I’d lived in peace here at the commune. Regularly cleaned, they patiently waited for the once familiar killing urge to strike their mistress again. I pulled on well-worn, black denim pants and a knit shirt, both softened with age. The supple boots that allowed me to tread softly across most terrain still fit comfortably.

I’m tall, lean, and have a moderately androgynous face. I’m not beautiful. Beauty is a blessing for women who need it to survive in this dangerous post-war, post disease world. I’ve never envied them, those lovely things with their smiles and sparkling eyes. All I needed was a gun, a blade, and a little luck. I may even run out of luck, but I kept my blade sharp, and my well-oiled guns didn’t age. The bullets retained their devastating punch.

I pinned my mass of unruly and not so lovely brown curls at the nape of my neck and wedged a small sheathed knife into the knot. The .44 Magnum Rudra, loaded with high impact silvers, the only ammunition I used, went into the unwieldy and uncomfortable holster at the small of my back. A more accessible shoulder holster carried a .45 caliber Aries under my left arm. I strapped a leather knife sheath to my left forearm, so I could grab the hilt with my right hand. I’d seen sheaths that buckled to the thigh, but I preferred my legs free, so I could run better. Knowing when to run had saved me more than once.

 

About Lee Roland

After twenty years in public service, Lee Roland retired to become a full-time paranormal romance and urban fantasy writer. Her first three published novels, the Earth Witches, series tells the stories of strong men and women who battle the evil hiding under the surface of the modern world. Lee hasn’t always been a writer, but has always been a daydreamer, constantly making up stories and noted for rewriting her school day into happy endings when telling her mother. Winner of numerous literary contests and a Golden Heart nominee, she currently lives and writes with her beloved dogs and cats in North Central Florida.

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

Spotlight on #ParanormalErotica: Let’s Talk About Hex by @RoxanneRhoads

Hello My Dear Readers,
Hope you are all healthy and safe. We’re still okay over here in San Francisco. It’s our third month of the lockdown… For your Shelter-In-Place reading list, please enjoy this look at the Vehicle City vampires from author, and all-around awesome person, Roxanne Rhoads.
xo,
Celia

Let’s Talk About Hex by Roxanne Rhoads book cover and blurb

Carnivora by Lea Bronsen book cover

 

Title: Let’s Talk About Hex
Erotic Short Stories from the World of the Vehicle City VampiresGenre: Paranormal Erotica
Publisher: Bewitching Books
Date of Publication: April 2, 2020
ASIN: B086QNKFP6

After the humans go away, the supernaturals play.

Welcome to Vehicle City.

Let’s Talk About Hex features sixteen erotic short stories set in the world of the Vehicle City Vampires, including two brand new, never before published stories.

Amazon US | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | Smashwords |

Excerpt: Eternal Desire

Prologue

Cool fingers caressed my cheek as warm breah whispered against my ear, “So beautiful, ma cherie. Je reve de toi, every night, every day. And you dream of me as well. Ah, you are the one. Your time in Paris is over. I need you in New Orleans, Please, ma petite cherie. It is time. I need you to come to me in New Orleans.”

A delicate caress drifted faintly across my bare breast. Did I really feel it?

Was he here with me, touching me like I wanted him to? I tried desperately to escape the tangled web of sleep and catch him before he was gone. He wasn’t just a dream. He was real, touching me now if I could… only…wake…up…

 

Roxanne Rhoads

About Roxanne Rhoads

Roxanne Rhoads is an author, book publicist, mixed media crafter, and lover of all things spooky.

She is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours, a virtual book tour and social media marketing company. She operates a Halloween blog- A Bewitching Guide to Halloween and sells handcrafted jewelry, art, and home decor through her Etsy store The Bewitching Cauldron.

When not reading or writing, Roxanne loves to craft, plan Halloween adventures, and search for unique vintage finds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | A Bewitching Guide to Halloween |

 

 

Spotlight on #Romance: A Thorned Rose in the Sand, by @LeaBronsen

Hello Dear Readers,
We wrap Lea Bronsen’s visit to my blog this week with a high heat romance along with a foreword from the author herself.
Happy Reading!
xo,
Celia

A Note From Lea Bronsen

I got the idea for this story after watching a video of French “globe cooker” Fred Chesneau visiting nomads in the Moroccan desert. They generously shared their food, home, and wisdom with a stranger, and I thought it would be cool to write about a female rally driver having the same experience – but with more spice!

A Thorned Rose in the Sand is set in the beautiful, quiet dunes of western Sahara where the sun is so hot you can’t walk barefooted and you could go miles and miles without seeing a single soul. In this story, you’ll meet a badass 450cc rally motorcycle, an opiniated but gentle dromedary, and two highly strong-willed young persons from opposite sides of the planet who get off to a bad start then can’t keep their hands off each other.

Carnivora by Lea Bronsen book cover

 

Title: A Thorned Rose in the Sand
Genre: Interracial multiracial romance
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Date of Publication: 5/5/18
ASIN: B07CWGDZLY
Word Count: 77 Pages

When life in a big U.S. city becomes too much, Stevie Jones decides to live her wildest dream – compete against the tough guys in a motorcycle rally across Morocco. But the real excitement is found away from the race track, in the shifting sands of the desert.

After his studies in London, Ragab has returned to the nomadic lifestyle of his Bedouin family and the majestic silence of the Sahara. He dreams of the perfect wife, until a beautiful but feisty biker stuck in a sand dune turns his quiet world upside down.

 

 

 

Evernight | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | BookStrand | Kobo | Apple Books | Smashwords | GoodReads | Pinterest

Excerpt: A Thorned Rose in the Sand

The girl screamed behind him. “Eeeeee!”

Too hard to resist. Until now, Ragab had had a difficult time respecting her privacy, but surely, a scream called for attention. What kind of a gentleman would he be if he didn’t check on a woman in distress?

He spun and found her kneeling on her jacket, nude and wet, arms outstretched in shock. He bit down a laugh. Yes, the deep well water was cold, but one got used to it, and in the extreme heat of the desert, it was a blessing.

She turned, caught him staring, and even though he couldn’t see anything inappropriate, she hurried to cover her breasts and pubic area. “Look away!” she shouted, voice panicky.

The laugh bubbled inside him, but he obediently turned back to the motorcycle—then stood in such a way he could see her reflection in one of the side mirrors.

Oh, it was like watching a porn scene. Her long, red curls hung wild over her back and round, white butt cheeks. Every time she moved, a portion of her breasts appeared in the space between her ribs and arms. Such perfect feminine curves, all over. Imagine if he saw the front…

Blood rushed to his groin. Stiffening, bothered, he tore from the sight, walked over to the well, and leaned against its waist-high wall, hoping the hardness of the bricks and coolness from the water below would temper his arousal before it became a full-blown erection.

So silent…

He strained to hear.

Splashes. Muffled squeals. More splashes.

He turned slowly and stole a glance from the corner of his eye.

She washed her panties and black top in the bucket and leaned forward to spread them in the sun. […]

Ooh!

Shocked to his core, he turned back and groaned low […].

He closed his eyes, drew long, slow breaths to calm the painful throbbing and counted minutes, trying to think of something else.

His dromedary, for example. It would be cool to show her how to ride it. What if he rode another one, and they both galloped on the dunes together, she laughing, ecstatic…

Then they’d roll in the sand, and he would tease her thighs apart and […]. Oh, yes.

She called, “Ready?”

He risked a glance in her direction.

Wearing one of his sisters’ dresses and looking divine with her red curls floating behind her—and her face white and clean—she strolled to the motorcycle, carrying a bag and her clothes. She stuffed everything on top of the fuel tanks, got up, lifted the dress to her knees, and started the motor.

Not once looking at him.

 

Lea Bronsen

About Lea Bronsen

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and dark erotic romance.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest | BookBub |
Instagram | GoodReads

 

 

Spotlight on Psychological Thriller: Carnivora by @LeaBronsen

Hi Everyone,
Departing from our usual spotlights on romance and all things fantasy and paranormal… For the crime drama and thriller readers, here’s a dark tale from author Lea Bronson, along with a foreword from the author herself…

A Note From Lea Bronsen

I’ve always been fascinated by dark psychological thrillers that mess with your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. I toyed with the genre writing my debut novel Wild Hearted, but labeled it a crime drama. Its sequel, Carnivora, evolved over six years to become a full-blown hold-your-breath thriller that deals with grave issues such as kidnapping, child sex trafficking, and self-harm.

Telling five parallel stories with as many voices, it gives you the perspectives of a police informant, a hunted gangster, a mad avenger, an inconsolable girlfriend, and a psychotic kidnapper. I pull no punches weaving these stories, so be prepared for a dark, gritty, and graphic read – a little dirty on the erotic side – that I hope will play with your strings and stick with you for a long time.

Please note that this is part 1 of Carnivora and I am currently working on parts 2 and 3, so if those cliffhangers at the end are killing you, don’t despair. The continuation is right around the corner!

Carnivora by Lea Bronsen book cover

 
Title: Carnivora
# in Series: 1
Genre: Dark Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Writer’s In Crime
Date of Publication: 9/19/19
ASIN: B07Y53K3HM
Word Count: 144 Pages

Fight evil with evil.

TOMOR
Crime lord Tomor is serving a life sentence behind bars. Without warning, he’s abducted by mysterious men. A sick manhunt is on, with people around him dying like flies. He will need all his street flair and gangster skills to prevent his loved ones from ending up on the death list.

LUZ
Luz grieves the loss of her lover while striving to take care of their baby. The last thing she needs is to fall for the new neighbor.

DAVID
A year after he betrayed his adoptive father and sent him to jail, David is slowly rebuilding his life. Then everything falls apart again: he learns that Tomor has escaped, and his police connections lead him to a child sex trafficking ring involving cold, powerful men.

The cops are in over their heads with “Project Carnivora” … Perhaps the only one who can help bust the pedophile predators is an equally vicious devil: Tomor, the country’s most hunted criminal.

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | GoodReads | Trailer

Excerpt: Carnivora, Book 1

“Time to change your bandage again,” the nurse mutters, voice cool, and pulls my orange-colored sleeve up to the elbow.

She unrolls the long strip of bandage from my wrist and tugs at one corner of the gauze plastered on my wound. It sticks as if glued to the freshly grown skin, and instead of removing the gauze carefully, she tears if off hard, discharging pain through my arm, wrist-to-shoulder.

I open my eyes and lift my head off the pillow. “What the fuck are ya doing, trying to reopen the wound or something?”

“Like you care.” She stops pulling and glares, gauze between her fingers. “I can see who you are inside. You’re playing tough, aren’t you, bad guy? But you can’t fool me.”

“Shut up.” I lay down again, huffing, and stare at the white ceiling above me with its rows of long neon lights.

“You’re a good man.”

I glance back. “I said, shut the fuck up.”

Her eyes shine. She rips off the remaining gauze, ignoring my grunt of pain, and throws it in a bin. “Look.”

No fuck.

“Look at it,” she insists, voice low and demanding.

No. I know what I’ve done, and I can imagine what it looks like. A six centimeter-long deep, reddish, scratched-up ridge along my artery. Layers of skin, fat, meat, and whatnot must be visible and sweating a pinkish liquid from the reborn pores. I don’t need to see it.

I guess the girl wants me to be so horrified, I’ll never attempt suicide again. That’s right. She wants to shock me into acceptance.

You gotta be fucking kidding me, little thing.

She shakes her head. “I don’t understand why they gave you the life sentence.”

“You mean they shoulda given me the chair?”

Instead of responding to my sarcasm, she pivots to look up at the clock and widens her eyes as if realizing she forgot an appointment. Face tense, she returns to her work, applies some cool, gel-like liquid on the wound, and bandages it with quick routine moves.

What’s up with her? In my three days in this woman’s company, I’ve noted the things that make her tick. Maybe she’s upset because I’m leaving the infirmary soon. Earlier, she said she didn’t know when I’d be ready to go back to my cell. She probably knows now, but doesn’t want to tell me.

The door opens. She jumps.

A uniformed guard pokes his head in, checks the small room, and exits.

She seems frozen in place, features tense. Staring ahead and taking deep breaths as if trying to regain composure.

I cock my head a little. “What’s going on? They gonna transfer me?”

She visibly swallows and fixes her gaze on some point on the wall.

I snicker. “Are you sad ‘cause I’m leaving?”

Ha, I can be so ugly, when the girl clearly likes me.

As she sits there avoiding me, I take the time to check out her tits, and drink in the amazing sight of their pressing against her green blouse with each breath. She doesn’t have a name tag. Come to think of it, none of the personnel do. Evidently, so the inmates can’t identify their ‘caretakers’, and should they by some miracle leave the premises, track them down.

I nod to her blouse. “What’s your name?”

She twists back to me, brows raised, before shaking her head. “I can’t tell you that.”

“C’mon, I’ll never see you again.” I grin, then add with an ironic snicker, teasing her, “They’ll never let me slash my wrists, or hang myself.”

She looks away and busies herself collecting the medical stuff, throwing a quick, almost invisible glance to the door. What the hell is making her so nervous?

Coldness fills my chest. Something’s up.

“Come on, Babe,” I coax with my most gentle, sensual voice, wanting to buy time. “Tell me your name.”

“Why?” she whispers, fidgeting with the roll of bandage.

“’Cause I want a name to your pretty face when I jack off in my cell.”

Lea Bronsen

About Lea Bronsen

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and dark erotic romance.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest | BookBub |
Instagram | GoodReads

 

 

Spotlight on #EroticRomance: Shade Addiction by @LeaBronsen

Hello My Dear Readers,
Sending you love and hugs from Shelter-In-Place San Francisco. I hope you are all safe and healthy. This week, I’ll be sharing three works by author Lea Bronson. First up, a high heat romance.
Happy reading and enjoy Lea Bronsen Week!
xo, Celia

Shade Addiction by Lea Bronsen book cover

 
Title: Shade Addiction
Genre: Dark Erotic Romance
Publisher: Writer’s In Crime
Date of Publication: 3/13/20 (2nd Edition)
ASIN: B084KPTQT3
Word Count: 97 Pages

Ex-boxer Mike Logan struggles to put a brutal past behind and make ends meet as a bus driver. When a young runaway settles for an all-night ride, he seizes the chance to do a good deed—get her home safely. But first, they’ll drive around and talk.

What he doesn’t anticipate is that this broken night angel is also a sexy little minx needing a lot more…and not just the gentle kind.

**This is an expanded edition of the story previously featured in the anthology Passion, Pleasure, Pain in 2019**

#Dark #Erotic #Romance

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | GoodReads

Lea Bronsen

About Lea Bronsen

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and dark erotic romance.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest | BookBub |
Instagram | GoodReads

 

 

Deck the Halls with #Books: Maggie’s Starring Role by Emily Mims

Hi Everyone! Happy Holidays! The Deck the Halls multi-author event is drawing to a close soon. Here’s a look at participating author Emily Mim’s contemporary romance, plus check out her dressing and gravy recipe. Be sure to enter the event giveaway, too! Enjoy! xo, Celia

Bewitching Book Tours Deck the Halls with Books Event, December 2 through 20

Title: Maggie’s Starring Role
Series: Durango St. Theatre Series
Number: Book Two
Author: Emily Mims
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Company
Release date: Sept. 23, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-951055-16-5
# or Pages: 198
Word count: 68K
Cover Artist: Boroughs Art Department

It’s all about the money, honey.

Maggie Gutierrez’s job is to keep the Durango Street Theatre afloat financially. In other words, she spends her days sticking her hand in people’s pockets in the hopes of pulling out cash. Well, euphemistically.

The Harrington Foundation grant would go a long way to ensuring the theater’s continued survival, but the administrator of the grant is the guy she used to crush on in a big way, and the last time they saw each other…let’s say things didn’t go so well. As in, he blames her for his father’s death.

Soooo…what’s a girl to do? Anything she can to get that grant, including spending time with him, which takes them down a road that might just lead to a forever neither envisioned.

BooksToRead | Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Maggie’s Starring Role Excerpt

She settled into her desk chair and Kirby sat down across from her. “So are there any questions I can answer for you?” she asked, cursing the faint flush she could feel on her cheeks. She wasn’t sure if it was from wanting to impress him on the theater’s behalf or Kirby himself.

“No. Not a one.” He leaned forward with an unreadable expression. “Don’t get your hopes up about the grant. The only reason I came today was because the Rileys insisted. I have no intention of letting those people award their grant to the Durango.” She caught a smirk starting to cross his face before he schooled it into impassivity.

The rustling coming from the other office stopped. Maggie willed herself not to look up at the gap at the top of the temporary wall. “May I ask why? Don’t we meet the parameters of the grant?” she asked, feigning confusion.

“Actually, you do. If things were different, I would be happy to see them award the grant to the theater. But with things the way they are, I intend to see that they send the grant another direction. I’m sure you understand.”

Maggie’s heart sank as she looked at him. So the grant was lost because of his antipathy toward her. He really was going to take his anger with her out on the whole theater. Damn him, she thought hotly. He was a prick. Some things never change. The grant might be gone, but he wasn’t going to get away with a stunt like this. She’d be damned if she let him walk out the door with no repercussions. He was going to explain himself to everyone at the Durango and the chips could fall where they may. She had nothing to lose. “No, I’m afraid I don’t understand. If we meet the parameters of the grant, why are you so determined that it go elsewhere?”

“Because of your association with the theater,” he said, his voice calm and his expression cold. “I absolutely refuse to work with you. You are directly responsible for my father’s death and I will not work with you, have anything to do with you, or award the grant to the theater that employs you.”

“So let me be clear. You’re mad at me, so you’re willing to take it out on everyone here at the Durango, despite the wonderful proposal, and even though we meet the parameters and need the money desperately. Do I have that right?”

“I wouldn’t have put it that way, but yes. You have that right.” He leaned forward. “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?”

“Oh dear. I am so disappointed.” She leaned forward so that they were barely a foot apart. “Especially since your old friend Josh Goldstein, who’s my boss and the executive director of the theater, assured me you’d be fair despite your feelings toward me. Why, he sat in that office next door, the one he’s sitting in right now eavesdropping on this entire conversation, and said you weren’t the kind to take out your feelings about me on the theater.” She looked up and raised her voice. “Did you hear all that, Josh? Guess you were wrong. He doesn’t plan to play fair.”

“Yes, I heard every damned word,” Josh yelled.

“I did, too,” Rachel shouted from her office two doors down.

“So did I,” a deep voice piped up from the lobby.

Kirby’s face morphed from a vindictive smirk to unmasked horror. “You…you knew they were listening,” he gasped. “You knew they’d hear every word.”

“They needed to.” Maggie regarded him steadily. “You’re breaking faith with the Rileys and you’re breaking faith with us. I told you yesterday we both needed to behave in a professional manner. Instead you decided to use the grant as a weapon to pay me back for something in our past that you hold against me. You’re being unfair to the Durango and you’re being unfair to the Rileys. Somebody needs to know. Hopefully someone who will inform the Rileys of your duplicity.”

Kirby opened his mouth but glanced up and closed it again. He muttered something under his breath as he stood up and yanked the door open, slamming it behind him.

Maggie leaned her elbows on the desk and put her chin in her hands. That had been sneaky, but damn it, Kirby had no right to punish the theater because he was mad at her. They deserved a fair shake, and if that meant getting Kirby in trouble for admitting he was using the grant as a weapon, so be it. She giggled as the sound of raised voices filtered into her office. Good. Josh was giving Kirby a deserved ration of shit. And if she wasn’t mistaken, the voice she’d heard in the lobby was none other than Wade Baxter. The Rileys’ grandson. She smirked even as she rubbed her aching temples.

Yes, Kirby, Karma can be a bitch.

 

Feature article graphic

Granny Johnson’s Turkey Dressing and Gravy, by Emily Mims

This recipe is a treasured one from my childhood. We would gather at my grandmother’s home on Christmas Eve, nearly forty of us some years, and this would be on the menu every year, along with a big turkey and candied sweet potatoes and everyone’s favorite side dish.One of my proudest accomplishments is learning to make it just like Granny did. The recipe is admittedly complicated, but the end result is more than worth it!

(1) Two pans or baking sheets of homemade biscuits. Any homemade biscuits will work.

(2) Three recipes of buttermilk cornbread below. (Two if just the 6 of you.)

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk or something like ½ and ½ if your bunch doesn’t like buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

Heat oil in 10 inch cast iron pan, pie pan, or whatever in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix and make a well in center. Add buttermilk and eggs and pour into skillet or pie pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden. (The time kind of depends on the oven. Just watch and don’t let it burn.)

(3) Dressing itself…

Cornbread and biscuit mixture described below.
10-15 eggs, fewer if 2 recipes, more if 3
1-2 cups onions, fewer if 2 recipes, more if 3
Salt to taste

Rubbed sage to taste–I usually end up using most or all of a jar so buy 2.

Whatever turkey juice collects in the bottom of the pan–I always add water to the bottom of the pan to get more juice. If the turkey juice is loaded with butter, so much the better.

LOTS of chicken broth–I’ve seen the time that, with three recipes, I’ve used almost a gallon of broth. The cornbread and biscuits soak up the fluid like crazy. This may seem like a lot, but that’s what makes it moist and creamy. Too little and it will be dry. Don’t try to do this with the little cans–buy several cartons. Better yet, make your own. I collect chicken parts for several weeks-the skin and bones of breasts or the backs and innards of whole chickens or both and boil them for several hours. It’s way cheaper to make your own. If you do buy the cartons, be careful about the amount of salt you add as those are frequently salty already.

Cuisinart biscuits and cornbread. Mix in a 3 cornbread/2 biscuit ratio by volume until cornbread is gone. (Eat rest of biscuits for breakfast.)
Cut up and boil onions until they are soft and clear.
Add onions and cooking broth.
Add eggs.
Add turkey juice and chicken broth until downright wet and it stirs easily.
Add salt (carefully if using prepared chicken broth) and sage to taste.

(Note–at this point if it grew in the pan and you have a lot more than you think you can use, freeze part of it to bake later.)

Bake in large, deep baking dishes like Corningware or a Dutch oven. (It will dry out in a cake pan.) I usually cover mine so it stays moist.

Cook 1 ½ hours or until set throughout but you can and should stir it occasionally so it cooks evenly and doesn’t get hard along the sides of the pan. If it starts to dry out add more broth.

Please, please cook this separately from the turkey itself. With this many eggs, I worry about it not getting up to temperature in the cavity of the turkey.

I usually make the cornbread and biscuits the day before so they can cool completely before I run them through the Cuisinart.

You will need a HUGE mixing bowl to do this. My mixing bowls are those great big metal ones that are actually wider than my sink. Treat yourself to one if you don’t have one.

Gravy

  • Innards and neck from turkey
  • ½ cup of flour
  • Two boiled eggs
  • Some turkey broth from turkey if desired
  • Salt

Boil the innards from the turkey in 1 or two cups of water. Keep adding water for an hour or two until you have the goodness from the turkey parts.

Brown the flour in the oven 13-20 minutes until it’s light brown.

When dinner is close, remove the innards and the neck. If desired, chop the liver, gizzard, etc. and return to the broth.
Add the flour and stir until it reaches the consistency you desire.
You can also add a little of the broth from the turkey itself to add a bit more flavor. Add salt but do it carefully as some of the ingredients already have salt in them.
Slice the boiled eggs and add to the gravy.

Note: This can be cut down to one cornbread recipe, one sheet of biscuits, 5 eggs, ¾ cup onion plus whatever broth is needed for a smaller dinner. I made it last night to go with a baked chicken and used the juice from the chicken along with the broth. It was good but did suffer some from not having the actual turkey juices.

 

About Emily Mims

Emily Mims headshot

Author of nearly forty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write fulltime. The mother of two sons, she and her husband split their time between their home in San Antonio and a second home on Lake Buchanan, and make frequent trips to Tennessee to visit their grandchildren. For fun, she plays the piano, organ and dulcimer, and plays her ukulele and sings in two different performing groups. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Emily Mim’s prize in multi-author giveaway: 1 copy of Maggie’s Starring Role and $10 Amazon gift card

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>

 

Deck the Halls #Holiday #Recipe & Spotlight: Charm Me Again by @TenaStetler

Hello My Dear Readers! The Deck The Halls Holiday fun continues with a look at author Tena Stetler’s paranormal romance. Plus, check out her Fantasy Fudge Recipe and be sure to enter the multi-author event giveaway. xo, Celia

Bewitching Book Tours Deck the Halls Holiday Extravaganza, Dec. 12 - 20

Title: Charm Me Again
Number: Sequel to Charm Me
Author: Tena Stetler
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release date: December 9, 2019
ISBN 13: 978-1-5092-2973-4
ASIN: B07ZDKKC4N
# or Pages: 336
Word count: 85,360
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Breaking the curse is only the first step to forever.

Daylan, a warlock, is being haunted, but what the ghost wants is a mystery. His magical powers bring him no closer to an answer—until he encounters Josie, a Yoga instructor.

But when she is kidnapped by an ancient Fae Warrior set on revenge Daylan must rescue her before the rogue claims her as his own. During his quest, his world spirals out of control, and a devastating curse comes to light. Could the ghost hold the answers he needs?

Can he break the age-old curse to save Josie and their future, or will Daylan lose her forever?

Amazon US | Amazon UK |Amazon AU |Amazon CA |BookBub | GoodReads

Charm Me Again Excerpt

Suddenly, the wind changed direction, a thin maroon line formed along the flat bottom of the dark clouds spreading across the sky where moments before there’d been only a few fluffy cotton ball clouds in a sea of blue. The maroon line widened then switched to vertical and spread open to reveal a shimmering interior.

Shadows emerged from the cloud then disappeared. As he was about to comment, huge raindrops plopped on the ground followed by pea size hail that grew to softball size.

Josie ran for cover and he followed. Protected under a ledge, she cupped her hands over her ears as the roaring of the storm combined with huge ice balls smashing against rocks echoed through the canyon. She elbowed him and cocked a brow in question, pointing to the vegetation that remained unharmed.

His eyes narrowed. Something isn’t right. I can feel it. Magic is spinning this storm. But who—how and why? At a loss for answers, he shrugged and urged her further under the ledge to wait out the storm. Brushing the wet strands of hair out of her face, he smiled. She looked like a drowned rat but the fragrance around her reminded him of sweet spring flowers. He leaned into to her and brushed his lips over hers. Immediately, he straightened and backed away. Her eyes were still closed. Maybe I could’ve lingered…

Her eyes blinked open and she licked her lips. After a beat, she waggled a finger in front of him. “Not a good idea.”

 

Feature article graphic

Twinkle Bright – Elves Secret Santa & Fantasy Fudge Recipe, by Tena Stetler

hot chocolate picture Direct from the North Pole, welcome to the Elves Secret Santa party! Here at the North Pole it’s extremely busy, but we still have time for a little holiday fun and shenanigans. Let me introduce myself. I’m an elf and my name is Twinkle Bright because my elf hat has twinkle lights wound all around the scalloped edge and the pointy top.

I make yummy Hot Chocolate for Santa and the elves from a secret family recipe passed down from generation to generation. My hot chocolate keeps everyone warm and toasty inside at the North Pole. Do you like fudge? Great, I’ll share with you my favorite Fantasy Fudge Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 – 5 oz can of evaporated milk (do not use sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 – 12 oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • You may add chopped nuts if you wish

fudge picture

Directions:

Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Cook for four minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees.
High altitude takes about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until melted.

Add vanilla and nuts. Stir until blended.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan, spread evenly.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

About Tena Stetler

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance novels. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and strong mystical males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn.

Web Site | Blog: Authors’ Secrets | Tena Stetler’s Say What Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter | Pinterest | Instagram | Triberr | BookBub | Tumblr

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Tena Stetler’s prize in multi-author giveaway: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card, plus one of Tena’s e-books, winner’s choice.

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>

 

Spotlight & #Review: Skin Deep by L. R. Couch

Hello Dear Readers,
I recently read a contemporary romance by fellow Champagne Books author L. R. Couch. Check out my thoughts on the story, and enjoy an excerpt.
Happy reading!
xo,
Celia

skin deep by l r couch book cover

Title: Skin Deep
Author: L. R. Couch
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Release date: January, 2019
ASIN: B07M8355CW
# or Pages: 437

Hot, talent and a heart of gold… resistance is futile.

Keller Scott wants to embrace his inner Buscemi and channel his Dafoe, but damn, if his looks don’t keep getting in the way. He’s dying to be taken seriously as an actor and land some legit roles that don’t feature him shirtless, or worse. His playboy reputation precedes him, but that’s not who he is on the inside. Lately, he’s not even sure where Hollywood’s version ends and the real Keller Scott begins.

Enter Joey Mitchell. When she shows up at his office, vying to be his next Personal Assistant, Keller has no doubt that this Summa Cum Laude, USC grad is perfect for the position. She’s hot; petite and curvy in all the right places. But, a starry-eyed fan girl she’s not. Joey packs a mean left hook, along with some blistering hot pepper-spray. She kicks ass and takes names and doesn’t hesitate to put Keller in his place, a few times. On the outside, she’s all business and confidence for days, but on the inside, she’s broken and barely holding it together. Too many secrets and too much sorrow have taken their toll.

Keller and Joey’s lives collide on a more personal level when her best kept secret steals his heart. What begins as a PR goldmine in a pediatric cancer ward, becomes something else entirely. One amazing kid, with a spirit as big as the sky and eyes just as blue- has love enough to bring out the very best in Keller and help Joey heal.

Amazon US | B&N | Champagne Books | GoodReads

Celia’s Review: Skin Deep

Hot & Heartwarming

Contemporary romance fans, take note—Skin Deep by L. R. Couch may lure you in and steal your heart.

The story opens with the a cocky, rather unlikeable hero named Keller. I have no problem disliking one or both of the main characters when first introduced to them, as long as they grow and change during their hero’s journey. Keller does indeed become a decent human, so kudos to the author for this. The Meet Cute for our hero and heroine is an amusing misunderstanding and an enjoyable classic Rom-Com moment. Joey comes across as tough and smart—-a nice combo for a heroine—with some realistic and heart–wrenching ghosts in her mental closet.

In terms of characterization, both Keller and Joey are believable, flawed characters. At times they’re impulsive and irrational; they make mistakes, and this makes them interesting. The characterization for the rest of the cast is also spot on. I was particularly amused by Keller’s friends. The dialogue is both realistic and laugh-out-loud funny at times. The cast spends a fair amount of time at their favorite bar, so expect some goofy drunk-speak, too. And then there’s Charlie. Oh, my heart…this little boy drew me in and made me misty-eyed on more than one occasion. He provides a strong dramatic hook for the story, helping to move the at-times slow-paced plot along, and also serves as a focal point for our two lovebirds. No spoilers here, but know that thanks to this child, both Joey and Keller have a load of internal and external conflict to process.

The one con for me in this story is the pace. We’re in deep point-of-view (POV) with both Keller and Joey, and this is nice for a character-driven story. However, the pace was significantly slowed by the overlapping action in the majority of the chapters. Whatever plot point happened at the end of one POV chapter was repeated in the opening of the new chapter in the other character’s POV. This backtracking—instead of picking up where the moment left off—caused the pace to drag and sometimes pulled me out of the drama of the moment.

Leisurely pace aside, Skin Deep is a heart-wrenching and hot read. Joey and Keller sizzle during their intimate moments and that’s thanks to the author’s solid writing skills. Bottom line: it’s an entertaining contemporary romance and a good contribution to the genre.

* 4 Stars given on GoodReads. Complimentary copy received in exchange for a review.

Skin Deep Excerpt

Chapter 1 – Keller

Don’t hate me because I’m hot. It’s just who I am, who I’ve always been. Throw in the fact that I’m a Scott, and well, it just doesn’t get any better than that…at least not in Hollywood. My mother is Felicity Scott; Oscar award-winning actress…six times now, not to mention all the other awards she’s garnered over the years. She’s still America’s sweetheart for fuck’s sake. I got my good looks from her. My father? Not so much: gangly red hair and pale as a ghost. Thank God for my mother’s Guatemalan genes.

Chapter 2 – Joey

I seriously hope I don’t regret this. I mean, it’s not exactly what I dreamed I’d be doing when I graduated magna cum laude from USC. All the years I spent fighting and trying to make a name for myself finally paid off when I earned myself an all-expense paid, academic scholarship to the number one school on my very short list.

[…]

So, here I am, straightening my tie and practicing my most confident smile in the mirror before heading out the door. […] I grab my bag and head to the interview.

 

About L. R. Couch

Writing is her passion–romance, suspense, thrillers, and other things that go bump in the night… “I write Romance and I’m not ashamed to admit that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Yeah, I get stung a lot, but I’m also blessed on the regular, because of it.”

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter

Deck the Halls #Holiday Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: The Sugar Maple Chronicles by @barbarabretton

Hello Dear Readers, Author Barbara Bretton is here today with her paranormal romance and some movie recs for the holidays. Be sure to enter the Bewitching Book Tours multi-author, holiday giveaway, too! Enjoy! xo, Celia


Title: Enraptured: The Discovery
Number: The Sugar Maple Chronicles
Series: Book Seven
Author: Barbara Bretton
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Free Spirit Press
Release date: October 15, 2019
ASIN: B07Y2PLWXG
# or Pages: 255
Word count: 66,000
Cover Artist: Barbara Bretton

Welcome to Sugar Maple – where nothing is quite the way it seems

Chloe Hobbs, knit shop owner extraordinaire and de facto mayor of the picture-postcard perfect New England town, has faced danger to her beloved home before but this time she might have met her match.

When tech billionaire Jack Whittaker crashes his small plane in the middle of the Holiday Street Fair, the town’s future is suddenly in jeopardy. Plunged into a whirlwind of magick and mystery that includes Fae warriors and flying babies, Jack discovers a secret cave where a reflecting pool offers tantalizing glimpses into both the past and the future.

With two lives hanging in the balance, Chloe is in a race against time to uncover the secrets hidden inside the cave before it’s too late.

Amazon

Enraptured: The Discovery EXCERPT

Are you a worrier?

Since the birth of my daughter last year, I have become a world-class, gold medal-winning worrier. I worry that Laria isn’t getting enough sleep and then, when she’s snuggled down for the night, I lurk in the doorway to her room and listen for the soft sound of her breathing. I worry that she isn’t getting enough milk. I worry about the transition to solids. I worry about childproofing our cottage. I worry about potty training and her first day of school.

Mostly I worry about what she’s going to be when she grows up. All things considered, that’s pretty silly because everyone in Sugar Maple knows that Laria’s future had been determined long before she was born.

But, then again, so was mine.

I’m Chloe Hobbs, the half-sorceress/half-human owner of Sticks & Strings, the most popular yarn shop in New England. (And maybe the entire east coast . . . not that I’m proud of it, or anything.) I’m also the de factomayor of Sugar Maple, one of those postcard-perfect towns Vermont is famous for, a picturesque throwback to simpler times.

At least, that’s what we want you to think.

The truth is, there is a lot more to our small town than meets the eye. My BFF Janice, who owns the spa across the street, is a Harvard-educated witch married to a strapping selkie. Lynette, my other BFF, is a shapeshifter. She and her husband and kids keep our local theater up and running. A werewolf and his sons operate the hardware store.

A Norwegian troll named Lilith maintains both our library and our historical society. Three generations of Fae run the Sugar Maple Inn and restaurant. Don’t laugh, but a team of vampires own the funeral home.

And that’s just for starters.

We have been hiding here in plain sight since my sorceress ancestor Aerynn fled the horrors of Salem centuries ago to found a sanctuary for other magicks like her.

I’m not bragging when I say that for over three hundred years, we’ve done a pretty good job of flying below the radar. The fact that you didn’t know about us is proof of that. Thanks to a protective charm created by Aerynn, we have been able to escape discovery even while living and working among humans. I’ll admit, however, that it was a lot easier before the Internet and drones and smartphones became part of our daily lives.

And there are a few old-timers around town who would say I was the biggest threat of all. We were already a popular stop for tourists looking to experience a trip to nostalgic, old school New England, when the runaway success of Sticks & Strings added a steady stream of knitters to our village. Now I’m not saying knitters are nosier than your average visitor, but nothing much gets by them. A dedicated knitter can sniff out a bargain three towns away and will do anything to reel that treasure in.

But knitters go home at night, something you can’t always say about relatives.

 

Christmas movies! Is there anything better than curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate, a special someone, and a full slate of Christmas movies ready to take you away? Some of them are universal favorites. Some of them are up for debate. (Die Hard? That’s a no from me but my husband will argue the point for days!) Here are a few of mine. I’d love to know where they rank on your list of must-watch holiday movies.

Miracle on 34th Street – This is a Thanksgiving evening tradition in our house. The holidays don’t start until Kris Kringle shows up.

Holiday Inn – One look at Bing Crosby’s farmhouse and I’m ready to pack my bags and time travel back to 1940s Connecticut.

A Christmas Carol – The George C. Scott version gets me every time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched this classic, I turn into a teary mess when Tiny Tim runs into Scrooge’s arms at the end. Great from beginning to end.

White Christmas – Silly? Yes. Sentimental. Of course. (It’s the holiday season, isn’t it?) Outdated? In many ways. But I still love it.

Christmas in Connecticut – The Barbara Stanwyck original version. (And who doesn’t love S. Z “Cuddles” Sakall?)

I hope you’ll share your own list.

author photo

About Barbara Bretton

Barbara Bretton is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifty books. Her titles have been published in twelve languages in over twenty countries by Harlequin, Berkley, Crown, Pocket, and Free Spirit Press. When Barbara isn’t writing, she can be found knitting, reading, and cooking in New Jersey with her husband and a house filled with pets.

Web Site-1 | Web Site-2 | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon Author Page | GoodReads | Newsletter

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Barbara Bretton’s prize in multi-author giveaway: 1 $25 e-gift card to Amazon

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>

 

Deck the Halls with #Books Tour: @CeliaBreslin’s Tranquilli Bloodline & Black Hills Wolves

Happy Holidays, My Dear Readers!

To celebrate this holiday month, I’m taking my vampires and wolves on tour.
Tranquilli Bloodline series  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner Under A Mating Moon  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour photoAll the full-length novels in the Tranquilli Bloodline are on tour for this one, so you can see all three shiny new, awesome-sauce covers! Plus have a look at Under A Mating Moon from the Black Hills Wolves series.

Visit any stop below for book excerpts, my viewing and listening recommendations for the holidays, and holiday dessert recipes. Plus, be sure to enter the multi-author giveaway, too.

Plus, come chat with me at the Deck The Halls With Books Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on Wednesday, December 11. I’ll be there at 10 a.m. PT/ 1 p.m. ET. Yes, there will be more prizes to win. 🙂

Tranquilli Bloodline series  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner Under A Mating Moon by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner
 

TRANQUILLI BLOODLINE SERIES

12/2 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
12/3 Books 4 Book Nerds
12/4 Horror Made
12/4 The Book Junkie Reads
12/53PartnersinShopping,Nana,Mommy,&Sissy,Too!
12/5 Authors’ Secrets
12/6 Roxanne’s Realm
12/9 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
12/10 Jazzy Book Reviews
12/10 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
12/11 Sapphyria’s Books
12/12 Simply Kelina
12/16 Lisa’s World of Books
12/17 Angel’s Guilty Pleasures
12/18 T’s Stuff
12/18 Booklikes
12/19 Ilovebooksandstuffblog
12/19 Fang-tastic Books
12/20 Paranormalists
12/20 Urban Fantasy Investigations

UNDER A MATING MOON

12/2 Paranormalists
12/3 6 Feet Under Books
12/3 6 Feet Under Books on Facebook
12/3 Books 4 Book Nerds
12/4 The Book Junkie Reads
12/4 Ilovebooksandstuffblog
12/5 Sapphyria’s Books
12/6 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
12/9 Simply Kelina
12/10 Roxanne’s Realm
12/11 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
12/12 Booklikes
12/13 Fang-tastic Books
12/16 T’s Stuff
12/17 Jazzy Book Reviews
12/18 Boundless Book Reviews
12/18 Lisa’s World of Books
12/19 I Smell Sheep
12/20 Supernatural Central

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls With Books Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Multi-author prize pack, including $20 USD AmazonUS e-gift card from me.

Enter the Deck The Halls With Books Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>

Tour Manager

Tranquilli Bloodline & Under A Mating Moon tours are managed by book publicist Roxanne Rhoads of the fab Bewitching Book Tours.
 

%d bloggers like this: