Strawberry Kisses

 

STRAWBERRY KISSES

by Marianne Rice
A Rocky Harbor Novel #2
Limitless Publishing

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Rachael Riley is back home in Rocky Harbor, but she’s not the same woman she once was…

After being rescued from an abusive relationship, Rachael is a shadow of her true self. The only place she manages to find some degree of comfort is in the kitchen, hiding behind her apron as she continues to shut everyone out. Her foster sister knows the real Rachael has been broken, and reaches out by signing her up for self-defense classes, hoping to get her outgoing, confident, and nosy older sister back.

Jake Morgan has done his time and is finally free of his past…

Teaching self-defense is Jake’s way of giving back, compensating for what was taken away from him years ago. He’s well aware that most women in his class have a backstory, and avoids getting emotionally involved—until a beautiful, blue-eyed woman walks in. Jake is instantly drawn to Rachael and sees the inner confidence she tries to hide behind her blonde bangs and hunched shoulders.

Wanting to know the story hidden behind those blue eyes, Jake sets out to break down every barrier Rachael has built…

As he helps Rachael find the strength she’d lost, teaching her how to trust again, a secret from his past threatens to ruin the safety they have found in each other. There’s more connecting them than just their mutual attraction. Once their pasts finally collide, revealing a devastating truth, Jake’s commitment to Rachael is put to the ultimate test.

There is no guarantee when it comes to love, but sometimes all a broken heart needs to heal are sweet strawberry kisses…

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Strawberry Kisses Promo

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines are smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, cuddling with her husband, a drink in one hand, a romance book in the other.
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A Constellation of Stars

I hung out with a constellation of stars this past weekend. Okay, maybe not exactly real stars (like in the heavenly bodies) but certainly with stars in their eyes. I speak of the fellow romance writers and all around amazing women I met during my stint at pretending to be a famous author at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Last year I came across (can’t even remember how) information about this yearly festival and that there was a chance–however slim–my books may be picked to be represented there. Nobody can blame me of being unenthusiastic. In fact I am at times stupidly optimistic. At the time I had one book published and one under contract and nobody knew who the hell I was (that part still holds true today, I’m afraid). But I had to try. I have missed so many good things in my life for being overly-cautious or just plain not confident enough, that I have decided in recent years to be brave even when it seems I’m just being impulsive. I went for it. The worst thing that could happen was none of my books would be picked and I would be out of four softcovers.

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I entered both the book I had out and the one that would be published before the deadline of November. As it turned out I sent copies of Desert Jewel after the deadline already. Imagine my surprise when not only was D.J. picked for the Festival but I was picked to be a speaker. A speaker! You know, talking in front of people I don’t know.

Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep the week leading to my panel. Especially after I received the questions the moderator, Her Awesomeness herself, Madeline Iva, who gave me an awful lot more credit than I probably deserved. Those questions were hard!

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I relaxed significantly after talking to my co-panelist, the fabulous Pintip Dunn and equally amazing Margaret Locke. Knowing that they had both dubbed it the Torture Panel because of the difficulty of the questions made me feel a whole lot better about it, strangely enough.

I could not have asked for a better moderator or co-panelists. What a fantastic group of women writers. I hope I didn’t sound too stupid because I definitely had a lot of fun.

Even though I didn’t sell one single copy of my book (kind of used to it) I had a proud moment when the winner of  a raffle picked the poster of the cover of my book over these other great books and told me she was going to try and convince her book club to read it. Score!

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All in all it was a great weekend. The other authors, the city of Charlottesville, the panels (who would have thought that listening to the male voices of audio romance books would be this exciting?), having two of my friends there to cheer me on…it was out of this world.

Note: If you’d like to hear (because you won’t be able to see us since it was recorded from a distance) our panel, Heroines of Destiny hop on to my Facebook page where I have posted it and some other pictures from the event.

Challenging My Introvert-Self

If you follow me you probably know by now that I’m an introvert. I love people, but I need my quiet and alone time. I love meeting with my friends but if I meet with more than a couple at time, I need a day or two to recuperate. It physically drains me.

I don’t go to concerts (unless it’s a classical music one and  I can sit in the dark while listening to it) even though I love music because I can’t handle the crowds, the noise, the constant movement…I hate being like that sometimes!

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Now that I am a bona fide published writer I discovered that I must try and do what does not come naturally to me if I want to make an impact with potential readers and/or potential publishers. It’s not the first time that I’m called to challenge my introvert-self. My first career, a tour guide in Portugal, required me to speak to a bus full of people (in different languages) on a regular basis. So, my new year’s resolution for 2017 was to put myself out there.

My first chance is coming up this Saturday as I will speak in public to a room full of people (hopefully it won’t be empty) as part of  a three-author panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book. My partners in crime have a lot more experience than I do.One is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction and winner of a RITA award (not to mention she’s a Harvard graduate) and the other is a full PAN member of the Romance Writers of America which requires the author to have sold quite a few books. I am neither.

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I am a second language learner who has always loved to read and write. I have a couple degrees in two countries and I have sold very few books in spite of having three out. Needless to say I’m a freaking nervous wreck.

In May I will be travelling to Atlanta for the great RT Book Lovers Convention where I will meet my amazing publisher and a bunch of other authors. I’m so excited to meet them all but very nervous as well.

And to further challenge myself I just applied to be a speaker at another big writers’event in September (not sure my proposal will be accepted but…hey!). Apparently I’m a sucker for punishment, lol.

Moral of the story? Not sure there is one but, if you’re an introvert like me, know that you can do it. It’s not easy and you may not sleep the week preceding the event (yeah, I’m pretty exhausted) but you CAN do it! Introverts of the world unite…even if in a different place and by yourselves (paraphrased from a FB post I saw a while back. Sorry I can’t remember the author’s name).

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Fame and Secrets (Lords of Lyre #2)

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Fame and Secrets (Lords of Lyre #2)

by Cora Kenborn

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An empty house in Hollywood isn’t what Phoebe Ryan envisioned when she said “yes” to a rock star’s proposal…

Phoebe is pregnant and alone in Tinseltown. She had hoped a fresh start, but instead gets flashing cameras and tabloid gossip while her famous fiancé is on tour. Then the body of a young woman surfaces, bearing the same scars Phoebe has kept hidden for years. Phoebe fears the nightmare she can’t forget has come to collect an overdue debt.

Julian Bale struggles to balance his life as a touring rock star and his new role as a family man…

Everyone wants something from him, but he just wants to go home to the woman he’s fought so hard to keep. When inside information comes to light, threatening his fiancée and unborn child, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect what’s his, even if it costs him everything he’s worked for.

Phoebe and Julian thought they left the drama and danger behind, but they thought wrong…

When the monster from Phoebe’s past claims the most innocent of victims, accusations and grief shred what they’ve fought to build. Some say tragedy can make or break a family, but can Phoebe and Julian unite to fight for what was taken from them, or will fame and secrets ruin everyone?

Cora

| About the Author |

Cora Kenborn writes contemporary and romantic suspense novels with lots of danger, snarky banter, lovable bad boys, and damsels NOT in distress. She loves delving into the twisted mind of a dark villain as well as writing light-hearted romcom.

Cora gets a kick out of talking about herself in the third person and is a true Southern girl from Eastern North Carolina, who grew up on sweet tea, front porches, and the simple life. She says “y’all,” “fixin’ to,” and should you deserve it will “bless your heart.” She’s the proud mother of three hyperactive and occasionally adorable children, and wife to an understanding husband who tolerates her chaotic writer’s cave.

Although reading is her passion, she can usually be found taking notes during true crime shows, effectively freaking out everyone in the room. Cora admits to being a horrible cook, an even worse baker, and believes she’s more dangerous with a hot glue gun than any weapon on earth. Oh, and she and autocorrect are mortal enemies.

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Follow Cora at:
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Website https://www.corakenborn.com
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Shattered Time Anthology

Shattered Time Anthology is #LIVE!! Get your copy today, only 99 pennies for a limited time! #SciFi #Fantasy #TimeTravel

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FEATURING NOVELS FROM ⇒

J.L. Clayton, Carissa Ann Lynch, Niki Livingston, Regina O’Connell, Ashlee Shades, Bradon Nave, Jeremy Simons, Joe Pranaitis, D.A. Roach, Genevieve Moultrie, Grace Charles, and T. Guthrie

⇒ NOVELS INCLUDED ⇐

Lines of Time and Desire
If someone sent you a text saying they’re from the future, would you believe them? Londyn doesn’t know if this stranger with a charming personality is just pulling her leg or telling the truth, but what she does know is that it’s too much fun not to play along. With her heart now on the line and dark secrets looming, will she make the right decision or will she let the love of her life disappear into time? A romantic tale of love, time, and tragedy.
By, Author J.L.Clayton

Homecoming
Astrid finds something at a local witch’s house, something that doesn’t belong there…
It belongs to her baby brother. The only problem with that is…he’s supposed to be dead.
Astrid searches for the truth, learning that sometimes death isn’t final…
By, Carissa Ann Lynch

A Web Through Time
Meet Alex. Ordinary. Quiet. And she plays by the rules. Until she’s forced into a world where her past becomes her future and the governments of Earth are searching for her execution. Will she embrace her true nature or succumb to the threats of her parents’ enemies?
By, Niki Livingston

Willow and The Forbidden Portal
Willow, a simple Herb Woman, flees for her life after a child under her care loses his life.
Accused of witchery, she knows the only way to save her life is to find The Forbidden Portal and escape through time.
By, Regina O’Connell

Cassandra’s Choice
One moment, Cassandra’s driving along in her car to meet her new niece; the next, she’s waking up in the bed of an angry 19th-century Duke. What begins as a battle of wills soon turns into a struggle of emotions as Cassandra finds herself falling in love with the Duke. Will she make it back or choose to stay with the man she has come to love?
By, Ashlee Shades

The Secrets Crows Keep
Mildred was certain she’d escaped her past…she buried him. So when he showed up at her front door she had no choice but to question everything. As secrets are revealed, she realizes nothing is as it seems and the truth is more bizarre than she’d imagined.
By, Author Bradon Nave

Bridging the Gap
A dismantled bridge. A portal into an era time had forgotten. That was all Garrett needed to realize how better the future could be. But at what price?
It isn’t until Garrett sees his ways are destroying the future rather than bettering it that he comes to his senses. But will it be too late?
By, Jeremy Simons

Time’s Launch
The year is 2363, and the Earth Confederation launched their first time-ship the ECS Andrea commanded by Captain Joseph Dyson, the ships experimental engines move them ten thousand years into the future.
By, Joe Pranaitis

The Salesman
Melanie, consumed by guilt over a recent tragedy, struggled to forgive herself and move forward, until one day, when a peculiar salesman offered a remedy to what ailed her.
By, D.A. Roach, author

“One Cockroach Left”
A tale of dinosaurs, aliens, time travel, and a really bad day . . . sixty-six million years ago.
By, Genevieve Moultrie

Time
When tragedy strikes, Vida Morton is given the choice to go back in time, and save the man she loves, Mort Vidal. But love is a tricky game, and so is time. Especially in the face of death.
By, Grace Charles

Whisper’s of Forever
A breathless caress, an echo of desire whispering of Forever.
Layla thinks she is from the modern world, but her modern life hasn’t been simple. Plagued with visions of others, Layla always felt as if she belonged in another time with the strangers that haunt her mind. Layla will soon find out if her visions are true. A deliciously dark serenade of hope filled tragedy.
By, Author T. Guthrie

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Lavender Fields-Coming Soon

PUBLISHING ANNOUNCEMENT

Natalina Reis has a stunning M/M PNR coming this July. Get ready for heavenly romance, witty dialogue, and emotionally charged tension.TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34497411-lavender-fields
Blurb:
Sky Heavensent, an angel of death, is charged with the collection of souls of the recently departed. Known to his peers and immediate supervisor, the archangel Gabriel, as the liability, Sky puts his heart and soul into everything he does.

When he meets Caleb Pierce, Sky is immediately smitten. The problem is Caleb is the soul he came to earth to harvest, and saving him means breaking one of the most sacred angelic directives.

Already in too deep, Sky pushes aside the consequences and follows his heart. Danger and mayhem follow, but he will do everything in his power to protect his lavender-eyed man.

Roller Coaster Ride

Living with someone who suffers  from a mental illness is like being stuck in a roller coaster ride for life. At first it’s scary but you can ride it out knowing–or hoping–the dips will eventually end but after a while, the non-stop changes in direction, rises and falls begin messing with your sense of equilibrium.

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My youngest son was always an active, bright, and adventurous kid. There was never a boring moment with him. He could be just as sweet as he was horrible and he came to earn the nickname of Houdini because there was no restraints that he couldn’t break from. By the time he was three or four he had figured out how to unlock all the children’s safety locks in the house. Car seats were no challenge for him, and when I bought a four-point harness to keep him in child seats at restaurants and coffee shops, his future career as an escape artist was looking very bright indeed.

Art was strong in this one. He loved dancing, singing, and playing instruments. He was playing the guitar in fourth grade and joined the strings orchestra in fifth. By the time he was in high school he was playing with local orchestras and being spotlighted as a soloist. In his senior year we had the opportunity to visit New York city with his orchestra and he decided then that’s where he was going to study music.violin-374096_1920

All his dreams (and mine) came crushing down one evening when he walked into our living room and declared to my husband and I that he was Jesus and like Jesus he must die in order to save his friends. At first we thought he was high on something but this went on for days afterwards with Facebook posts and strange and scary behavior from him. He began going to bed with whatever “weapon” he could find (gardening tools, kitchen knives) because they were after him. Who they were was never established.

He would get in his car and drive for hours sometimes in the middle of snow storms or tornado watches and often would stay in the car all night because “the house was not safe”. It became quite apparent to us that something had shifted in his mind. His behavior became more erratic and risky to himself and us at the house.

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Since then he has been hospitalized five times before we finally managed to find the right cocktail of meds that made him stable. He was stable for a few years until recently when he lost his balance again. The roller coaster began again…

Living with a mental health patient is difficult enough, but the system makes it even more difficult. As parents of an adult we have no rights whatsoever. Patient’s rights to confidentiality–which I totally believe in most cases–dictates that someone who is going through a psychotic episode and thinks everyone is literally watching and out to get him has to be the one deciding about his treatment options.

This roller coaster ride means sleepless nights followed by days when your body is at work but your mind is at home wondering what he’s up to. It is long days at work followed by hours of mind-exhausting nonsensical rants, followed by more sleepless nights. It means not having a single knife or headache medicine readily available because they have all been hidden somewhere safe, just in case.

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I never liked roller coasters, not even as a child. I don’t like anything that keeps me off balance. I don’t even like rocking chairs because of that. The universe sure has a warped sense of humor to put me in this ride and keep me in constant chaotic shifting and turning. I want out but know I am stuck on this ride for life. He’s my son and I love him. Seeing him unstable and suffering kills me one cell at a time. And there is nothing I can do to help him.

 

NOTE: This last return to our roller coaster ride was due in great measure to unwise choices my son made. It is totally possible to control most mental illnesses these days as long as you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices; such as taking your meds regularly, getting enough sleep, keeping partying to a minimum, and staying away from any substance that will make your condition spin out of control. At some point my son became very comfortable in the knowledge he was stable and decided he didn’t have to be cautious anymore. Thus the sudden “dip” again. He is now on the right track and staying away from everything that may cause him trouble. Of course, there is no guarantee he will stick to it forever. I’m cautiously hopeful…

Desert Jewel – Excerpt

Excerpt from Desert Jewel by Natalina Reis

Romantic Fantasy (with paranormal elements)

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Knocking was unnecessary since the front door stood ajar, but she still rapped her knuckles on it as a polite warning that she had arrived. From inside, she heard that gentle modulated voice that made her skin go all bumpy and triggered chaos with her matangazos.

“Come inside. The door is open.”

Hand on her ibhayi to make sure it was in place and not showing her unkempt hair, Milenda stepped inside, feeling her legs shaking beneath her. Why was she so nervous? It was not like they had never met before. They had been together just yesterday in the jungle. So, why all the jitters inside of her now?

Jaali did not give her too long to ponder. He took two giant steps and, before she could react, he was standing right in front of her, holding her small hands in his and drowning her eyes in the crystal lakes of his. “Msichana,” His gentle voice dropped an octave, and for a second she wasn’t even sure he had spoken.

Afraid that she would lose herself in his eyes, Milenda dropped her gaze to his full lips to confirm he had indeed spoken. They were moving again, but this time not in speech. He was going to kiss her.

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A princess cannot allow a boy, of lowly or high birth, to kiss her. The old traditional directive came to her as a scream inside her head, making her wince and involuntarily step away from him, their hands yanked apart.

Jaali looked disconcerted, confused. There was a question in his eyes that she couldn’t answer. That kiss was so desired by her heart and by her lips, but a lifetime of etiquette brainwashing had taken its toll. It was too soon for her, no matter how much her body yearned for it. She dropped her eyes to her feet, which she belatedly noticed to be bare. What would her tutors say? Barefoot and alone in a boy’s house. Fodder for scandal, she was certain.

His hand, which had been raised slightly, fell like a deflated balloon along with his whole demeanor. “Nasikitika,” he whispered, “I shouldn’t have…”

Her hand shot up to grab his wrist and pull him closer to her. “No, I am sorry Jaali,” she said, her eyes pleadingly raised to his. “I have these voices in my head telling me what I should and should not do.” His peering eyes danced with amusement. “Well, not voices literally. That would be crazy.” She giggled and his face opened up in a smile.

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With a gentle tug, he twisted his wrist in her hand and held it, palm against palm, fingers interlaced. Their bodies mere inches from touching, and his eyes glittering with excitement. “And what are those voices telling you not to do?” he asked, his voice low and meaningful. He tugged her closer to him, their linked hands now resting between them.

The strange hot/cold feeling she always felt when her matangazos were glowing spread from her face to her shoulder, as the heat from Jaali’s body seeped  into her skin underneath her kanga. With a shiver, she lifted her head to meet his eyes. He was taller than her by at least a foot, and as they came closer to each other he had to bend down in order to look at her face and mouth.

Jaali’s head dipped lower and his lips touched hers. They lingered there as if asking for permission to go any further. Milenda reveled in the feeling, but was too afraid to move.

“Is it all right?”

She felt his lips move over hers and losing all control, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him even closer. She had never kissed a boy before, but she found she knew how—or rather her body did. Instinct seemed to have taken over, and her lips latched on to his with a passion she didn’t know she had. Under her touch, Jaali’s lips opened, welcoming her exploration. Her legs gave up under her and she braced herself against him.

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