An Affair to Dismember (The Matchmaker), Elise Sax {$0.99}

Certain to appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, and Katie MacAlister, Elise Sax’s hilarious series debut introduces matchmaker-in-training Gladie Burger, who stumbles into a dangerous quagmire of murder and red-hot romance.

Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her eccentric Grandma Zelda recruits her to the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has “the gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head—with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued—either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?

What readers are saying:

“Elise Sax’s new Matchmaker series is off to a rousing start! . . . Sax gives the comic mystery genre a new spin. . . . A fun read sure to entertain.”—RT Book Reviews

“Fans of laugh-out-loud romantic suspense will enjoy this new author as she joins the ranks of Janet Evanovich, Katie MacAllister, and Jennifer Crusie.”—Booklist

“Elise Sax will win your heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis

“In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Elise Sax’s new novel is a funny, sexy ride.”—Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind

“What a fun book! It will leave readers begging for more.”—Kim Gruenenfelder, author of There’s Cake in My Future

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.5 stars {55 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase An Affair to Dismember (The Matchmaker) for  $0.99 from Amazon!

Between Boyfriends, Sarka-Jonae Miller {$0.99 After Memorial Day Sale!}

At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills.

Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up.

Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?

BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up… but not necessarily in that order.

What readers are saying:

“This book is the ultimate chick-lit read–a light-hearted romp focused on the travails of Jan, a college student dumped by her boyfriend, an SDSU student. The moment proves an epiphany, as Jan resolves to stop dating and find fulfillment as a single woman.” – East County Magazine

Between Boyfriends “presents a unique twist on the chick lit genre.” – Hollywood & Vine magazine

“Over the course of the book, Jan, who is in her early 20s, begins to grow as a person and even strikes up a true friendship with a man, a first for her.” – Rancho Santa Fe Review

“Between Boyfriends is a delicious slice of chick-lit! Snappy dialogue sets this story apart from the pack as it follows a young woman who, financially cut off by her parents when she fails to attend school, learns that life is more than her Amex card, and reunites with a mother who has endured her own brand of pain.” – Jan Moran, bestselling author

The current Average Amazon Review Rating is 4.2 stars {56 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Between Boyfriends for $0.99

The River Valley Collection Boxed Set, Tess Thompson {$2.99}

In the first two novels of THE RIVER VALLEY COLLECTION, bestselling author Tess Thompson (formerly known as Tess Hardwick) assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on two journeys that will make you believe in the possibilities of life and renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community – even in the face of unimaginable grief.A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food – THE RIVER VALLEY COLLECTION entertains while reminding you of life’s greatest gifts.

RIVERSONG – April 2011
When Lee Tucker’s husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother’s dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee’s resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband’s debt as her business blooms. Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read.

RIVERBEND – New release May 2013
“Tag. I found you.”

Just as Annie Bell’s reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.

Also includes an exclusive preview of RIVERSTAR, the third book in The River Valley Collection, coming September 2013!

What readers are saying:

5 star Amazon Review - I am a huge fan of Tess Thompson’s. Her books always leave me wanting more. I fell in love with the characters and the beautiful settings and most of all I fell in love with the message of hope. If you like suspense and intrigue with romance thrown into the mix you will love the River Valley Collection.

The current Average Amazon Review Rating is 5 stars {7 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase The River Valley Collection Boxed Set for $2.99 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Thirty-Nine Again, Lynn Reynolds {$1.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Sponsored Post

Lynn Reynolds‘ Frugal Find Under Nine:

Get it now, here

Description of Thirty-Nine Again:

A “Chick Noir” novel from award-winning author Lynn Reynolds.

So what’s Chick Noir? It’s like chick lit, but with guns and dead bodies instead of shoes.

A portion of author royalties from the sale of Thirty-Nine Again will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

On her first thirty-ninth birthday, Sabrina O’Hara battled cancer. This year, she discovers her fiancé Scott’s leading a treacherous double life. Now she’s on the run – from Scott, from the Mexican Mafia, and from one dangerously sexy Homeland Security Agent. Thirty-nine the first time was horrible. But can Sabrina survive Thirty-Nine Again?


Accolades:

J★★★★. 4 Stars. A first-class mystery and . . . a first-class read.”
~ Cindy Himler, RT Book Reviews

5 Cups. Sabrina . . . has strength and tenacity in abundance. With the guns, bad guys, and sexy men, Thirty-Nine Again is a wonderful and exciting read.
~Coffee Time Romance

. . . a contemporary romance full of excitement and suspense. You will be rooting for Sabrina and Evan until the very end.
~Night Owl Romance

5 Ribbons. A Romance Junkies Blue Ribbon Book of the Month.
~RomanceJunkies.com

 

Review Rating:

Thirty-Nine Again currently has an average Amazon Review Rating of 4.5 stars {32 reviews}. Read the reviews here!

 

Thirty-Nine Again is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $1.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


An excerpt from Thirty-Nine Again:

Evan jogged around a corner and stopped beside me. “Hey, I thought maybe you decided not to come!”
I looked up, disappointed to discover his dark eyes were hidden by a pair of those Oakley sunglasses that are big with military guys.
“Ready to go?”
“Yeah, sure!” I felt my face heating up involuntarily and heard the perky little exclamation point in my voice. It made me ill. I charged up the steps next to the Harbor to cover my embarrassment, but I’d never finished with that whole shoelace-tying thing, so I got tangled in my own feet and stumbled. Badly. I stumbled in a way only I could stumble. I started to fall face forward right into Evan’s arms. That threw me into such a huge panic that I windmilled my arms wildly and tried to arch away from him. I flailed backwards, somersaulting down the steps and coming within a millimeter of rolling into the dirty, oily water of the harbor. The only thing that saved me was Evan, who dove down the steps with incredible speed and grabbed me by the arms. I wound up with my legs in the water but my clothes unscathed. He pulled me onto the steps, and I buried my face in my hands.
“Oh, that went way better than the gym,” I muttered.
Evan snorted, blatantly failing to hide his amusement. “Are you okay?”
“No,” I replied. “I am not. I have a bloody knee that’s probably been exposed to all sorts of mutant flesh-eating bacteria. And my pride is utterly in tatters.”
“Not to worry. Be right back.” He left me there and jogged over to the nearby tourist mall. When he returned, he was carrying two cups and a little plastic shopping bag.
“Water, bandages, and lemonade.” He knelt beside me.
“What good will all that do?”
He hooked his sunglasses over the neck of his t-shirt. Then he lifted the lid on the cup of water, put his hand under my knee, and poured the water over the wound. The water was warm, but it stung nonetheless. Still, I was impressed at the effort he’d made to get the water temperature right. I peered at him surreptitiously. His head was down, and the sun’s rays glinted off shoulder-length hair so black it almost seemed blue. He wore it tied back in a ponytail, which looked natural, not phony and pretentious. At my firm a couple of investment bankers with receding hairlines had adopted the mini-ponytail look in some lame effort to compensate. On them, the effect was comical. Not on Evan though.
The hard lines of muscle in his shoulders and back flexed as he leaned forward and blotted at my knee. To my surprise, he used the hem of his olive green t-shirt to clean the wound.
“Oh, Evan, don’t,” I protested.
“It needs cleaning.” He glanced up with a reassuring grin. His almond eyes were so black I couldn’t even see the pupils. But his smile was so open and honest, like none of this was the least bit of trouble, and there was no place he’d rather be.
“This is an old shirt,” he added. “From my Army days. It’s seen worse than this. Anyway, time to let it go.”
We both laughed, because when he laughed, I couldn’t help but join him. His eyes gleamed, and little crinkly lines formed at their corners. How could a woman not want to laugh with him? No wonder Scott had blown a gasket last night when I’d said I was going running with Evan.
Scott and I considered ourselves engaged, even though no ring had ever been proffered. He was an immigration lawyer at Homeland Security, and he came from an uptight, politically well-connected Southern family. They didn’t blow gaskets in Scott’s family, so his display of temper had come across to me as almost flattering. Making Scott a little jealous was one thing, and not a very classy thing. But I knew it was about more than making an indifferent lover jealous. Scott wasn’t even here to bait, yet I continued to sit, immensely enjoying the feel of Evan’s hands all over my leg. Guilt fluttered at the base of my skull, like a moth trapped in a light.
Evan pulled a couple of bandages out of the bag he’d brought with him.
“Where did you find those?” I peered over at the pavilion he’d just left. Baltimore’s big tourist Mecca was full of overpriced chain restaurants and gift shops. No drugstores in a place like that.
“I went to their first aid station. No big deal.”
He shrugged in that mellow way he had. Everything about Evan as my personal trainer was like that—laid-back, low-key. So unlike the other Evan I came to know later. He ripped open a packet of antibiotic cream and dabbed it all over my knee as I winced.
“That’s what this is for.” He handed me the lemonade. “To take your mind off the pain.”
“I’m sorry I’m being such a girl,” I said.
“I’m not.” His voice sounded uncharacteristically husky. When his eyes tried to meet mine again, I looked away.
“I should go.” I half-rose from the step, his hands still wrapped around my leg.
“Come on. First let me bandage this,” he insisted.
I sat back down. He laid a piece of non-stick gauze against my knee before fixing the big square bandage on top. His hands were broad with long, thick fingers, and they moved with swift confidence, like he’d done this a million times.
“Can you walk okay?” He rose with a lithe, animal grace and offered me his hand. As I took it, I realized I’d never remotely believed he was gay or bi. Except in a couple of really weird fantasies involving him and me and Matt Damon. I shook my head hard, trying to knock those embarrassing images out of my head.
“Does your head hurt?” Evan threw his arm around my shoulders, not in a romantic way, but like he was trying to steady me.
My head did hurt now, mostly because I’d shaken it so hard. I’d almost been able to hear marbles rattling around.
“It’s fine.” I squirmed out of his unexpected embrace.
“Where’s your car?”
Normally I wouldn’t even have my car with me. I can walk to my office from my condo at Harborview and usually do. But I’d driven to a client’s that morning and then left my car in the office parking garage. When I told Evan where I’d parked, he said that was a long walk with a sore leg, which it wasn’t. Then he offered to come with me. I don’t know why I said yes. Okay, I do know why I said yes. But at least I had the dignity to hesitate a bit.
We lumbered down the street side by side in silence.
Evan interrupted my private musings, laying a hand on the middle of my back as he guided me into the garage. We came to a halt in front of a bank of elevators.
I turned to face him. “I’m on the top level. Thanks for walking with me.”
And then I kissed him, just like that—a shy little girl kind of kiss, a geeky peck on the cheek. I slapped a hand over my mouth.
He froze, his golden-brown skin darkening slightly. This would be the moment where he would tell me he had a girlfriend in L.A. or wherever he was from. A girlfriend way prettier than me, who didn’t try to drop barbells on him at the gym or trip over her own shoelaces. He stared at me for the longest two seconds of my life.
“Hey, come on,” I joked. “It wasn’t that bad.”
He gave a peculiar little smirk and turned away, planting his hands on his hips as if he were angry or thinking hard about something. I was fourteen the last time I’d tried to kiss a guy first, and it had gone about as well as this seemed to be going. I looked down at the grimy concrete floor and opened my mouth to apologize.
Evan spun around with a fluidity that startled me. He caught me by the elbow and pulled me close. He pressed his other hand against my neck, so that his fingers were tangled up in my hair and his thumb teased at the corner of my lips. Then he ducked his head down and kissed me, long and hard. My hands slipped around his back as if they were used to going there. I staggered a bit as his tongue slipped into my mouth. When we stopped for breath, he pressed his forehead against mine and sighed.
“That was incredibly unprofessional of me,” he murmured.
He surprised me. I had suspected personal trainers were like tennis pros—that a fair percentage of them were in the job for the extracurricular benefits. I thought about Scott and how angry he’d been last night. He’d implied I was trying to bait Evan, and I’d denied it heatedly. Now here I was proving him correct. I’ve always hated women who try to make their boyfriends jealous.
“I should really go. Now,” I said. The elevator doors opened and I felt a childish tear steal its way down my cheek.
“Hey,” Evan protested softly.
He raised a hand again, as if he wanted to touch me. But then he drew it away, balled it into a tight fist, and clamped his other hand on top.
“I’m sorry,” I babbled. “Scott and I had a fight yesterday, and he left for his business trip in a really bad mood. He was so flustered he even took the wrong damned laptop, which is not like him. He never lets me touch his computer. Barely lets it out of his sight. He’s going to be in such a mess at his meeting in Mexico, and then he’ll be in an even crankier mood when he calls later.”
Behind me, the elevator doors whooshed closed again. Evan’s face twisted, a deep line creasing his brow.
“Do you have the laptop with you?”
Talk about a non sequitur.
“What, when I go jogging I should bring someone else’s computer? Not even my own?”
I laughed but he didn’t. His whole demeanor had changed somehow, like a panther sighting a wounded rabbit.
“Do you have it in your car?” He said it with a weird, disconcerting urgency.
“What do you care?” I was baffled and even a little alarmed. The kiss had obviously rattled us both way more than it should have.
“You know, I need to leave.” I thrust out a hand to keep him at bay and backed up a little. What did I know about him, except he looked hot in a muscle shirt and could probably wrestle me into submission with frighteningly little effort? As I stepped away from him, two silver-haired businessmen approached the elevator and pressed the call button. The doors slid open again.
“Sabrina,” Evan said, lunging toward me. “Wait. I need to tell you something.”
“Please don’t,” I said, backing away.
I positioned myself close to the two, fatherly businessmen, who eyed Evan with suspicious sneers. One of them moved to block the center of the elevator doors. He pushed the “close” button before Evan could follow me.

 

Thirty-Nine Again is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $1.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Lynn Reynolds:

Website: www.lynnreynolds.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorlynnreynolds

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Cupid Kind Of Day, L.A. Dale {$0.99}

Sponsored Post

L.A. Dale‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of A Cupid Kind Of Day:

Lily Appleby was down on love. Her dreams trampled on, her belief in romance shattered, she was about as happy discussing Valentine’s Day as a vegan discussing meat options.
Then, she met Damon in a cobbler’s shop, of all places, and over a near death incident with a hairy spider and a mix up over shoes, a bond was formed. For Lily, the attraction was instant and beyond chemical. She felt as if someone filled her veins with champagne and the fizz was overflowing. For Damon, it was just as strong. So strong, in fact, that he was prepared to go to all manner of lengths to ensure that Lily ~ the girl he barely knew ~ had the best Valentine’s Day ever and that her faith in love would be restored.

Or would it?

Will Lily fall hopelessly in love over a CD and a Crunchie Bar? Or will she choose NOT to love again?


Accolades:

“I loved this book. It was a quick read that had me laughing out loud in a few places. A great new twist on the Valentine’s theme.” S. Saujani.

“5 stars again to Lindy Dale. This author knows the chick lit genre and how to melt a reader’s heart. I simply loved this story.” M Bonnell

“This is the perfect story to read whilst curling up on the couch on a cold winters day or whilst sitting around the pool or beach on a hot summers day.” D. Kitchen

 

Reviews:

A Cupid Kind Of Day currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.8 stars from 6 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

A Cupid Kind Of Day is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


An excerpt from A Cupid Kind Of Day:

The walk back to the office was only a few blocks and having a spare ten minutes ~ Lily liked to make full use of her one-hour lunchbreak ~ she stopped at The Cobbler Shop to pick up her shoes. Under normal circumstances, having a pair of shoes re-soled would have been out of her realm of comprehension, Lily was more of a ditch-them-and-buy-new-ones type of girl but the shoes in question had sentimental value. Lily had been wearing those pretty red pumps with the impossible heels on the day she’d been offered her current job, the one she thought she’d never be offered. She’d been wearing them at the bar the night she and Travis met. He’d complimented her on them. She’d also had them on when she’d discovered she’d won two VIP tickets, complete with backstage passes, to see Coldplay. Yep, those red pumps were her lucky shoes and there was no way she was letting them die.

Letting the front door swing closed behind her, Lily approached the counter, rustling in her handbag for the docket as she went. She stopped, taking in the pigeon holes filled with newly mended shoes, all fixed and ready to be loved again. A smell of leather and shoe polish filled her nose and she breathed it in thinking how odd it was that people never polished their shoes anymore. She still did. She loved the look her biker boots took on after a good spruce up.

Placing her manicured finger on the bell, she gave it a quick ‘ting’ to summon the cobbler.

“Hi, can I help you?”

A large hand swung back the plastic curtain, revealing an unidentified man, who sported the nicest shoulders Lily had ever seen ~ well, through clothing. This certainly wasn’t the cobbler, who would’ve been pushing eighty on a good day, but it certainly was a nice surprise. A very nice surprise.

The man was wearing a baby pink checked shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbow and a pair of stone coloured pants with a thick brown belt. His forearm bore a tastefully small tattoo of what looked to be a girl, like one of those 1940’s pin-ups. Lily would have loved to get a little closer to see the detail but she was vaguely aware that she was staring and as her mother had always told her staring was very rude. Even if the object of the stare was hotter than a bushfire in summer.

“Can I help you?” the man repeated, running a hand through his sooty hair and making it stand deliciously on end.

“Oh, um, yes. I’ve come to pick up my shoes. Leroy said they’d be ready today.” She handed him the ticket with her order number on it. His fingers brushed faintly against hers and Lily’s heart did a little skip inside her chest. Okay, well actually it was a more of a high jump.

The man pivoted to look along the rows of mended shoes, which was fortunate as it gave Lily a view of his bum that she otherwise would not have seen. And gosh, what a lovely muscular bottom it was, the perfect ending to a pair of perfectly muscled legs.

Realising she was staring again, Lily raised her eyes to the ceiling and tried to look casual, cool.

Oh. My. God.

Was that a spider coming across the roof towards them? One hairy step closer and she’d be leaving without her shoes. Confident and capable under normal circumstances Lily turned to jelly when it came to spiders especially the big, grey hairy type. She was petrified of Huntsmen and no matter how many hypnosis sessions she went to, she was unable to conquer the overwhelming fear. Biting her lip, she watched the spider advance. She wished hot-butt guy would hurry with her shoes. Because she was either going to faint with fright or puke all over his floor.

The man’s hands scanned the collection of shoes and stopped; sliding out a particularly hideous, clunky, tan-coloured pair with the most sensible sole Lily had ever seen. He placed them on the counter.

“This them?”

With one eye on her eight-legged companion, Lily looked at the proffered footwear.

Oh puh-lease! Was he taking the piss or something?

“Uh, no.”

“Thought not.” A devilish twinkle sparked in the man’s as he put the shoes away.

“What about these?” He plonked another, equally atrocious, pair in front of her.

At least they were from the last decade.

“No.”

Lily began to tap her foot. Geez, did he have to be so hot while he was annoying her like this?

“What colour are they?”

Lily swallowed, the words choking in her throat which was at that moment beginning to constrict so that she couldn’t breathe. Her tapping foot froze. The spider was making its way down the wall, past the rows of shoes. Lily could practically see its big nippy pincers, its black eyeballs. She could feel tiny beads of sweat forming on the hairline of her neck. She was inhaling hard and it wasn’t from the sight of the guy in front of her. Though that would have been the preferable option.

“Red. Patent.”

Turning back, the man produced what seemed to be a pair of the extremely large ruby slippers and clomped them down on the counter, looking at Lily in expectation. Their sequin-covered toes blinded Lily and she blinked. No Dorothy, unless she was six feet five and a cross-dresser would be seen dead in them.

“You’re kidding, right?” she gasped, almost hyperventilating.

“They’re red.”

“They’re also hideous.”

The spider was by now crawling down the side of the shelf and heading towards the counter, and her! Lily’s skin began to go clammy. Perspiration trickled from her armpit and down her side.

“You okay?” the man asked.

Unable to open her mouth for fear she might vomit, Lily pointed.

The man looked around. The spider ambled closer, taunting her with its invisibility to everyone but her. Then it started to run. And it makes sense, that if you have eight legs, you can run a lot faster than when you have two.

Lily screamed. Her knees buckled and she stepped away from the counter grabbing the bench next to it and trying to shrink into the corner of the seat. She pointed again, a feeble gesture that by the time she’d raised her arm was utterly useless because the spider had moved.

But this time, the culprit was caught. With a move swifter than Usain Bolt could run the hundred metres, the man took a dustpan from under the counter and smacked it over the spider, squashing it into mud-coloured slushy particles and bits of leg. Then he took a tissue, scraped up the remains and tossed them carelessly in the bin.

The man brushed his hands together in finality. “All gone.”

“Thanks.”

“You look a bit pale. Can I get you a glass of water?”

Lily didn’t want to ask if that would involve being left alone in this possibly spider infested room. “Yes, please.”

Thirty seconds later, the man was back, a large glass of iced water in his hand. Squatting in front of Lily, he gave it to her. A tender palm came to rest on her knee while she drank. His deep brown eyes examined her face.

“Better?” he asked.

If only he knew he was making things twenty times worse by looking at her like that. It was like someone had taken to her with a Taser gun. Pulses of energy were shooting up from her knee to her groin.

“Much,” she mumbled.

Lily sat for a minute longer, enjoying the warm pressure of his hand and the concern in his eyes. Then an odd thought came to her. Travis had never looked at her like that, not even when she’d slipped on the ice in the gutter and torn the ligaments in her ankle. He’d just said it was her own fault for wearing those ridiculous shoes. Come to think of it, she couldn’t remember him ever being this sweet. Had she imagined he cared?

“Sorry to cause a scene like that. Huntsman spiders scare the crap out of me.”

“I kinda figured that. What’s the deal?”

“It’s embarrassing. Well, for me anyway.”

“I’m into embarrassing. I’ve got tonnes of embarrassing stories. We could swap embarrassing stories if that’d make you more comfortable?”

Oooohhh. How cute, he was willing to share his drunken exploits with her in the name of compassion.

“Well, I’d love to,” Lily said, glancing at her watch and seeing that she only had two minutes left to hike it back to the office before Jordy Brown-nose dobbed on her for being late. “But if I don’t get back to work in the next five nano-seconds I’m going to get fired.”

A Cupid Kind Of Day is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

Connect with L.A. Dale:

Author Website: www.LADale.net

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/L.A.Dale.Author?ref=hl

Author Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/LA_DALE

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Caramel and Magnolias, Tess Thompson {$0.99}

Sponsored Post

Tess Thompson’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Caramel and Magnolias:

Crushed by a broken heart ten years ago, Cleo Tanner walked away from her acting dreams and now leads a quiet, secluded life in Seattle. Sylvia, her best friend from college, is trapped in a loveless marriage, distraught by her inability to conceive a child – until an adoption agency owner in relentless pursuit of Cleo offers to help.

Just as Sylvia begins to experience a profound love that only a mother can feel, a detective approaches Cleo with disturbing questions about the adoption agency. Determined to protect her friend, Cleo jumps into a dangerous investigation that forces her to confront the ghosts of her past.

Bestselling author Tess Thompson, whose debut novel Riversong touched the hearts of readers worldwide, delivers a captivating and suspenseful tale of the possibilities that await us in life and in love – if we can find the courage to get off the sidelines.

A toast to friendship, motherhood, mended hearts and new beginnings, Caramel and Magnolias reminds us it’s never too late to reawaken the heart.

 

Accolades:

“It kept me completely engaged with love, mystery, drama, and a few twists! I loved “Riversong”, but I have to say I just might love this one a bit more”
 
“I’ve never read a book that was so relateable! I laughed. I cried. I cringed. I rejoiced.”
 
“You can’t help but fall in love with the characters in” this book as they finally awaken to the possibilities that life has to offer.”
 
“I got swept off my feet, my heartstrings were pulled, I held my breath, and tightened my muscles in suspense.”


Reviews:

Caramel and Magnolias currently has a customer review rating of 5 stars from 17 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Caramel and Magnolias is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

An excerpt from Caramel and Magnolias:

The call from Scott Moore came just as Sylvia was getting out of the shower.

“You sitting down?” Moore asked.

“No, yes, it doesn’t matter,” she said.

“We have a baby girl available for adoption. This is a somewhat unusual circumstance in that the birth mother gave her blessing to our agency to choose adoptive parents and then disappeared. She was very young and wanted nothing to do with the child. Wouldn’t even hold her. This will be a closed adoption, meaning she’ll never be able to learn the identity of her birth mother. You’ll have to explain this to your daughter after she’s older. It’s my experience that most adopted children, or those who never knew one of their birth parents, become very curious about their origins, usually during their teens.”

A closed adoption? It was too good to be true. She sank onto the side of the bed and looked out the window to Lake Washington. “Really?” Several speedboats carrying water-skiers dressed in wetsuits sped around in circles on the gray water.

“The baby’s on her way to Seattle. She’ll be here by tomorrow morning,” said Scott.

“I can’t believe it.”

“Believe it.” He paused. “Do keep in mind that nothing’s legal until after the six-month waiting period.”

“Yes, I understand,” she said. But if it was a closed adoption, it was unlikely that anything could come up between now and then, she told herself.

“I don’t suppose you’d put in a good word for me with Cleo?”

“Of course,” she said. When Hell freezes over. This guy was unbelievable. She must keep him far away from Cleo.
She hung up, reeling, and dropped to her knees, thanking God, grateful tears dripping down her cheeks onto the cross she always wore at her neck. Then, realizing her teeth were chattering from both excitement and cold, she wrapped her wet hair in a towel before pulling on her terry cloth robe that the housekeeper had draped over the end of the bed.

She went down the spacious hallway, habitually running her fingertips over the lip of the white wainscoting, imagining the tea-colored walls one day lined with family photos. She stood at the top of the stairwell, looking for Malcolm. His keys were on the hall table and his briefcase was sitting near the front door but the spacious den off the main foyer, where he often had a drink after work, was empty.

She found him in the kitchen, still wearing his suit from the office. He stood at the counter, typing something into his phone. On the counter was a glass of red wine. Red wine? That was odd. Maybe he’d poured it for her.

“Malcolm,” she said, moving towards him. “Scott Moore called. We’ve been chosen. They have our daughter.” Tears started at the back of her throat.

He blinked as if trying to figure out who she was, like she was an American acquaintance in a train station in Paris. She almost expected him to say, “How do I know you?” Instead, he sighed, running his fingers through his hair. His eyes looked guilty, evasive. She shivered. Rain fell in slants onto the patio furniture in the courtyard beyond the French doors. She tugged on the end of the towel still wrapped around her hair. “What is it?” she asked.

“I thought I’d have more time,” he said, almost like he was speaking to himself.

She felt relief, tightening her robe. He was only shocked, that was all. “Well, they say you’re never prepared. We’ll just have to dive in.”

He faced her, shoving his hand into his pants pockets. “No, I’ve come to a decision. An important decision.”

She watched him. He seemed jittery but also resigned. What had he done? Quit his job? Bought a vacation home without telling her? “What is it?” she asked again, this time with impatience.

He cleared his throat and looked out the window. “I’ve met someone else. I want a divorce.”

She felt her legs go weak. She leaned against the counter for support, trying to understand what he was saying. “But we’re about to have a baby.”

“All four years of this marriage, Sylvia, it’s just been you and your obsession with having a child. There’s been no room for me in this house.” His cell phone buzzed. He set it on the counter but she saw his eyes moving. He was reading a text from her. She expected to go into a rage. She could almost see herself lunging towards him and snatching the phone, perhaps even calling the number and accusing the woman on the other end of wrecking her life. But somehow she was stuck, rooted to her place in the doorway, with the rain now sliding off the gutter and dripping on the black metal table in the courtyard where they liked to have coffee on a summer morning.

Malcolm’s eyes and voice were expressionless. “She actually notices I’m in the room. I’m in love with her.”

For a long moment, she stared at him, untangling his words like a knot on a package she urgently wanted to open. “But what about the baby?”

He took a step back. “This is what you say when I announce our marriage is over?”

“Well what do expect me to say? We’re supposed to go pick up our baby. You told me you wanted this too.”

“I never said that. I agreed to it because I knew it was what you wanted. But I don’t. Realizing this is actually happening makes me know more than ever that this marriage was a mistake. You’ve never loved me.”

“That isn’t true.”

“At this point, wouldn’t it be better to stop lying, Sylvia?”
She gaped at him, rage coming now, roaring and crashing like waves between her ears so that she heard nothing but that hum like an angry electric fence. “You’re the liar. I’ve been loyal to you every minute of this marriage, which is more than I can say for you. Who is she?”

He turned away, his eyes darting to his phone. “You don’t know her. Someone from work.”

“How long has it been going on?”

He looked back at her. “A year.”

“Oh my God. I think I’m going to be sick,” she said, rushing to the sink, where she vomited up her breakfast.

“Sylvia, I’m sorry.”

“Get out,” was the surprising thing she uttered, wiping her mouth with a paper towel. And then she pointed at the door, as if he didn’t know where it was. “My father will be delighted he pushed me on the pre-nup.”

 

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Playing Along, Rory Samantha Green {$2.99}

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Description of Playing Along:

Two Lives. Two Continents. One Song…

Then: George Bryce was an awkward, English schoolboy fantasizing about being in a band.

Now: George is frontman of Thesis, an overnight indie scene sensation. Intense, creative and self-deprecating, his childhood dreams have all been fulfilled – so why does George still feel so lost?

Then: Lexi Jacobs was a confident Californian high school cheerleader, planning her future marriage and a meaningful career.

Now: Lexi is searching for substance in a life full of mishaps. Cautious, bemused and rapidly losing the control she used to rely on, none of her teenage dreams have delivered and she’s left wondering, “What next?”

Follow George and Lexi as they navigate their days thousands of miles apart. Fly with them from London to LA and back again, as George copes with the dynamics of his tight knit band and loose knit family, while Lexi juggles her eccentric new boss, bored best friend and smother mother.

Even though there’s an ocean between them and their worlds couldn’t be further apart, George and Lexi are pulled together through music, and their paths appear determined to cross.

The question is – when?

At the end of this delightfully quirky, irresistible story, you too will be left wondering which of your fantasies are destined to come true…

 

Accolades:

“You’ll fall in love with George and Lexi…All the characters are so clearly defined. ””Green is an amazing writer, can’t wait to read more from her.”

“Love the references to music and the time it takes place. It’s hard to find books that will pull you in like PLAYING ALONG.”

 

Reviews:

Playing Along  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars from 6 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

Playing Along  is available for purchase at:

 

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

 

An excerpt from Playing Along :

PLAYING ALONG

by Rory Samantha Green

THEN

GEORGE, 1st November, 1994, Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire

“Your brother’s grown up a bit, hasn’t he?”

George holds his breath when he hears these words swoop past his bedroom door. He’s thirteen, but his sister is two years older and her friends are an enigma. They smell like grapefruit and cigarettes and layer mascara on their lashes until they look like pandas. Most of them have boobs. Big ones. He’s fascinated by the divide. George’s sister, Polly, has maybe said one word to him in the last two weeks and that was muttered in disdain when he had mistakenly knocked her make-up brush off the counter and into the toilet. It had floated forlornly in the bowl like a drowned rodent.

“Arsehole!”

But now there’s a chance of redemption. Despite his skinny legs and spotty rounded face, it seems as if one of the awesome grapefruit girls has noticed something in him. Something unique. He reckons it will take a very special woman to appreciate his nuances. His love of Grover from Sesame Street (so underrated – why did Kermit get all the limelight?) and his adoration of the most amazing music the universe has to offer – Bowie, U2, Portishead, Dylan, New Order. The woman who takes his heart must take his record collection as well.

“My brother?” replies Polly in dramatic shock. ”Yeah, you could say he’s grown up – into a first rate troll.”

The grapefruit girls giggle and their laughter snakes under his door and rings painfully in his ears. George bites his bottom lip, scraping his teeth against peeling skin. Another nervous habit.

“And listen to this… he claims one day he’s going to be in a famous band and be on the cover of NME and have groupies. What a joke!”

George, prepared for the inevitable cackle of mockery, grabs his headphones and his CD player and presses play with an urgency. “Fools Gold” by the Stone Roses floods his brain. He turns up the volume as loud as it will go and hurls his notebook across the room where it ricochets off the wall and slides under his bed. The notebook is filled with songs. George has been unpacking heartache from his sensitive soul since the age of ten.

His sister’s harsh words are never as brutal as the words he calls himself.

He knows what he wants, but he’s pretty damn certain that a boy like him is never going to get it.

LEXI, November 1st, 1994, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California

“I’m psyched about the game tomorrow!” Andrew enthusiastically polishes off his second burrito, gazing longingly at Lexi across the table. She smiles at him mischievously knowing that she drives him crazy with her Juicy Fruit breath, her shiny brown hair, and her legs which have conveniently slimmed out and toned up since she started diligently attending an after school kickboxing class.

“I’m excited too,” she replies, playfully nudging his size twelve basketball shoes under the table. “I hope you win, so we can celebrate.”

Lexi and Andrew are the couple at Pali High. Just embarking on their senior year, they have been an item since the eleventh grade. Andrew first kissed Lexi on Zuma beach with the waves lapping at their bare feet two nights after passing his driving test. His parents had given him a convertible Mustang for his sixteenth birthday and when he drove her home, one hand on the wheel, the other holding hers, Lexi had a sweet taste lingering in her mouth and salty wind in her hair.

“So unfair,” her best friend, Meg, had complained the following morning. “It’s not supposed to happen like that. He’s supposed to drool, or run out of gas, or step on your toe or something. Why is your life like an Audrey Hepburn movie and mine like a bad TV sitcom?”

And Lexi certainly didn’t want to be smug, but there was some truth in Meg’s observation. Things just seemed to go her way. Her parents had raised her to believe in herself and face life with a positive outlook. Not that she was syrupy or self-obsessed. She worked hard at her studies and had an excellent Grade Point Average. She volunteered at a local homeless shelter, fingerpainting with vulnerable kids after school. She’d started up a current events debate club in her junior year and persuaded many of her friends to join. They now competed nationally. Oh and of course, she kickboxed and played on the girls’ volleyball team, and thankfully had the sort of hair that didn’t frizz on damp mornings when the fog rolled in off the coast.

Lexi had lost her virginity to Andrew on the floor in his bedroom on a Sunday afternoon while his parents shopped at Target. He had lit a scented candle stolen from his mother’s bathroom, and the smell of orange mimosa flooded the room. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 was playing on his CD player.

When it was over (slightly painful, but not nearly as uncomfortable as she had imagined), he leaned on his elbows beside her and whispered in her ear, “I can’t help falling in love with you…” One year later, sitting opposite him watching him wipe guacamole from the side of his lips, Lexi feels in her heart that she loves him too. In fact she is sure, along with almost everyone else at Pali High who either knows them or admires them from afar, that they will most likely end up getting married. Lexi’s mother has saved her own wedding dress for the occasion, wrapped in delicate layers of archival tissue in an ivory box on the top shelf of her cupboard. “It’s just waiting, my beauty,” her mother has promised.

Lexi can picture their home now (a cozy New England style house, a few blocks from her parents, with whitewashed floors and shabby chic couches), two or maybe three kids (she really doesn’t have a preference for boys or girls) and most definitely a dog, a black Labrador called George. She imagines a fulfilling and creative part time job as well, maybe a teacher or an art therapist, something that leaves her with the freedom to be a hands-on mom. So what if she is only seventeen? It’s just a dream, but life has already proven to Lexi that dreams do find a way of coming true.

NOW

GEORGE, 1st November, 2009, Greenwich, England

“George… I love you!” On certain nights this professed love is yelled out a hundred times from men and women alike. Most nights it disappears into the roar of the crowd, but at some gigs a single voice will miraculously separate out and hover above the throng of faceless fans and George hears it and needs it to be true.

George is at the piano finishing the final chords of “Beyond Being,” a poignant ballad based on his teenage existential musings and a lyric which popped into his head one day as he polished off a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The audience sways in time and cell phones punctuate the blackness like rechargeable flames. George hangs his head as the song comes to a quiet end, his voice wavering with a sad clarity.

Thousands of fans cheer and whoop in adoration and George looks up shyly with his trademark grin. ”Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate you might have better things to do with your Saturday nights, like watching X Factor, and the boys and I really enjoyed playing to you tonight…” This, as intended, whips up the crowd into an even louder frenzy as George and his band mates lope off the stage with a schoolboy charm that has captivated fans across the world from Denmark to Chile, and every destination in between.

George has come a long way from the corner of his brown bedroom. His band, Thesis, stormed onto the music scene with an unstoppable force after his best mate and guitarist, Simon Ogden-Smith, persuaded George to start up a Myspace page and stream some of their music. George, Simon, Simon’s cousin Mark, and Mark’s sister’s friend Duncan from Australia, had been playing local pubs in Islington and had been slowly building up a loyal fan base. But the Myspace page catapulted them into a whole new stratosphere, and with a swiftness which at times found George’s throat closing with unprecedented anxiety, they burst onto the alternative music scene and made their mark. Three months after being signed by a record company they were flown to Los Angeles to record their first album,Twelve Thousand Words. George Bryce, still a sweaty lonely teenager at heart, found himself surrounded by attractive, fawning women called Claudia and Agnes and Nell. They willingly offered their breasts to him without any pleading involved and he indulged in a whole new adolescence at twenty-two.

The band’s first big hit was a rocking anthem called “Grapefruit Girls,” an opportunity for George to get his revenge on those elusive females who had inducted him into the hall of shame. George became an unlikely heartthrob, a self-deprecating lad who wore T-shirts with Grover on them and gave interviews about obscure comic books and rare vinyl. His boyish looks, lopsided smile and thick shaggy black hair, once his greatest insecurity, suddenly became irresistible. Even America, notoriously hard to break for an unheard-of alternative band, lapped up the accents and the awkwardness. Critics either loved or hated Thesis and George made a point of reading every review, because no matter how famous they became, he never stopped caring about what people thought of him.

 

Playing Along is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Death Turns A Trick, Julie Smith {$4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Death Turns A Trick:

A rollicking tale of murder, romance, and bordellos…

Rebecca Schwartz, nice Jewish lawyer with a few too many fantasies, is happily playing the piano in a whorehouse when she suddenly finds herself assigned to make sure a near-naked state senator escapes a police raid. That dirty job done, a lovely evening turns even more delightful when she’s picked up by the cops and spends the next two hours at the Hall of Justice. Could this day get any worse? Of Course! Guess who arrives home to find a dead hooker on her living room floor?

Handsome Parker Phillips, Rebecca’s new beau and the most attractive man she’s met in ages, is arrested for the murder. (Worse, she suspects he might actually have done it.)

On the plus side, another very attractive man is following the case–reporter Rob Burns of the San Francisco Chronicle, a possible ally. And there are other possibilities.

 

Accolades:

A lively romp of a novel … Smith shows an Agatha Christie-like capacity for making much ado about clues, concocting straw hypotheses, and surprising us, in the end … Smith’s crisp storytelling… and her likable, unpredictable heroine will make readers look forward to more.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Funny and witty, with a clever, outspoken heroine.” — Library Journal

“Rebecca’s lively first-person narration brands her a new detective to watch.” — Wilson Library Bulletin


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Death Turns A Trick currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars, with 10 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Death Turns A Trick is available for purchase at:

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Excerpt from Death Turns A Trick:

The argument was getting loud, so I played loud to drown it out. I was looking at the keyboard, I guess, or maybe staring into space, I don’t know which. Anyway, I didn’t see two uniformed cops come in the door with guns drawn. I just heard a hush and then some screams. That made me look up. I saw them and stopped playing. People in the foyer were crowding back toward the stairs. Elena Mooney was backing toward the fireplace.

“Awright, everybody quiet,” said one of the cops. “This is a raid.” Those very words.

It’s funny how you react in a situation like that. I should have been terrified. I should have had visions of lurid headlines: “Lawyer Caught in Bordello Raid.” I should have despaired of my Martindale-Hubbell rating and started planning how I was going to explain to my mother. But I didn’t. I was looking down the barrel of a gun and hearing someone say “This is a raid”—a thing I’d done a million times in movie theaters. I gripped the piano so I wouldn’t holler, “Cheezit, the cops!”

Then the lights went out. I don’t mean I fainted; I mean it got dark. A hand closed over my forearm, jerked me to my feet and started pulling. People started screaming again, and one of the cops fired. I didn’t know if anybody was hit or not, but the reality of the situation dawned on me and I offered whoever was pulling me no resistance. We bumped into a lot of people getting through the saloon room, but it took about two seconds, I guess. I vaguely heard things like “Don’t panic” and “Be quiet,” which I suppose came from the cops, and I heard two more shots and a lot more screaming.

My rescuer pulled the kitchen door open and me through it. The kitchen window had cafe curtains, and there was a little light from outside, enough to see that I was with Elena. She dropped my arm, grabbed a flashlight from the top of the refrigerator, and opened a door that I imagined led to a pantry. But I was wrong. Elena shone the light on steps descending to a basement.

She gestured for me to go first, then followed, locking the door behind us. There was a tiny landing at the bottom of the stairway and, on the right, a doorway to the basement itself. You couldn’t see into it from the stairs.

When I got to the landing, I waited for Elena to join me with the light, but she turned it off as soon as she got there. I noticed a faint glow coming from the doorway to the basement. Elena put a finger to her lips and squeezed past me into the room. I followed.

The room was unfinished, but the plasterboard was painted. The light came from a silver candelabrum on the floor, with all its black candles lighted. Attached to two beams on the far wall were manacles at ankle and shoulder level. Some scary-looking hoists and pulleys hung from ceiling beams, but I can’t say I was in a mood to examine them too closely. In fact, it’s a miracle I noticed them at all, considering what else was in the room—a brass bed with a naked man lying face up, spread-eagled on it.

His wrists were tied to the headboard and his ankles to the footboards. Even without his customary conservative suit, I recognized him. He was State Senator Calvin Handley. That same week I’d seen him on TV holding a press conference about the bill he’d just introduced to legalize prostitution. At least he wasn’t a hypocrite.
Elena still had her finger to her lips for his benefit. She removed it and started untying his wrists. “Rebecca, get his ankles,” she whispered.

She spoke to the client, without addressing him as “Senator”—on the off chance, I suppose, that I wouldn’t recognize him. “There’s been some trouble. The cops are here, but the door’s locked and we’ll have time to get you out of here. Where are your clothes?”

“I think Kandi forgot to bring them down. We came down the usual way.”

“Damn her!” Elena finished freeing the senator’s hands, and he sat up and rubbed them. She looked in an armoire at the front of the room. “She forgot, all right. You’ll have to wear this.”

She picked up something black from a low chair. In the chair underneath the black garment were a pair of handcuffs and a square of black fabric fashioned into a blindfold. I figured it must be quite a trick to negotiate those stairs coming down “the usual way,” but chacun a son gout. Consenting adults and all that.

I finished with the senatorial ankle bonds, and the lawmaker slipped the black garment on. It was a floor-length robe with full sleeves and a hood, perfectly decent but damn-all odd.

“Shoes?” asked Elena. The senator shook his head. “Okay, come on. You too, Rebecca.”

She pushed aside the armoire, revealing a crude passageway—a tunnel, really. She gave me the flashlight and fished a key from her bodice. As she handed it over, I could see that her hand was shaking. “Listen, both of you,” she whispered. “Shots were fired up there. For all I know, someone may be dead or hurt. This is my house and I can’t leave. Rebecca, this is . . . Joe. I’m depending on you to get him to his car. Then go home, change into street clothes, and get back here. We’ll be needing you. The door at the end of the tunnel is padlocked, and this is the key. My car is parked almost dead against the door. It’s unlocked and the keys are in it. Take the padlock with you; we may need to use the tunnel again tonight. Just get the sen—get Joe out of here. I’ll wait five minutes after I hear the car drive off before I go back up. Good luck.” She squeezed my hand.

We had to bend nearly double in the tunnel. I went first with the light, the senator following with a hand on each of my hips. I felt this was not completely necessary, but I put up with it. It was the least of my problems at the moment. I cursed whatever insanity had made me comply with Elena’s request, and I cursed Elena for making it sound so safe.

She hadn’t exactly lied. It was true no one was turning tricks at the party. But leaving out a naked senator in the basement was a rather serious sin of omission, if you ask me.

Senator alter kocker took his hands off me long enough to hold the light while I unlocked the door. Elena’s Mustang was parked close, all right, but not close enough to avoid stepping in a mud puddle getting in. Since I had on sandals and the senator was barefoot, it was deuced inconvenient.

The Mustang snorted a couple of times, then laid back its ears and reared. We were in a lane that led to Broderick Street.

“Where’s your car?” I asked as we reached the street.
“Oh my God. I’ve got to go back—I haven’t got my keys.”

“Keys, hell. You can’t go back. I’ll take you home.”

“But my money! My ID! They’ll find it. I’ve got to get it. Turn around.”

“No.”

“I said turn around.”

“Look,” I said. “The cops don’t care about johns. They’ll probably just return your things discreetly. It’ll be embarrassing, but nothing compared to being caught traipsing around a bordello in that outfit.”

“Goddammit, turn around.”

A citizen likes to think her elected officials have at least a minimal amount of brains in their tiny heads, whatever their sexual proclivities. But this guy had fried eggs. I stopped trying to reason with him. I could see he wasn’t used to taking orders, except maybe from Kandi when they played amusing games, so I stopped being firm. I just drove, more or less in the direction of my apartment, and carefully, because of the rain.

He was quiet for a minute or two, so I tried again as we turned onto Fillmore Street. This time I tried to sound helpful and cheerful like a secretary or a wife, someone he could identify with. “Where can I drop you off?”

“Goddammit, young woman, take me back!” he shouted.

“You’re out of your senatorial head!” I shouted back.

“Where the hell do you live?”

He reached over and grabbed the wheel. I lost control and we skidded to the right, tires squealing like seagulls. I jerked the wheel back in time to avoid plowing into a parked car, and slammed on the brakes. But I overcompensated and winged the parked car with the rear end of the Mustang. I heard a siren even as I felt the bump, and I looked in the mirror. The red light of a police car was half a block away.

Before I could get my bearings, that fruitcake of a senator had his door open and his bare feet on Fillmore Street. Without so much as a “thanks for the lift,” he rounded the car wed hit, stepped up on the sidewalk, and took off running, with that silly black robe billowing behind him. In that context, he looked like just another San Francisco freak, only they don’t usually have a fine head of silvery hair. I leaned over and shut the passenger door, hoping the cops hadn’t seen him. They pulled up as he turned the corner.

The cop who got out of the patrol car had a fine silky mustache, and the rest of him looked okay, too. “Are you all right, ma’am?” he asked.

“I think so. I skidded in the rain and pulled too far back.”

“Let’s see your driver’s license.”

“I—uh—had an emergency. I don’t have it.”

“You’ve got your keys. They must have been in your purse with your license.”

“No, they were already in the car.”

“What’s your name?”

“Rebecca Schwartz.”

“You been drinking, Miss Schwartz?”

“A little. That’s not why I hit the car, though. I skidded.”

“How about parking the car over there on the curb, Miss Schwartz? I’ll be with you in a minute.”

I don’t do my best parking jobs in situations of stress, but I don’t think the cop noticed. He was doing something with his partner in the patrol car.

He joined me in a minute. “You got any ID at all?”

“I told you I didn’t.”

“We just ran this car through the computer. It’s registered to an Elena Mooney.”

“I know. I borrowed it from her.”

“Does she know you’ve got it?”

“Certainly.”

“Miss Schwartz, I’m going to have to ask you to take a roadside sobriety test. Would you mind just stretching your arms out horizontally? Good. Okay now, put your head back a little, close your eyes, and touch your nose with the tip of your index finger.”

“Left or right?”

“Both. Three times.”

I never have been good at silly games. I hit my nose three out of six times, and that’s as well as I can do cold sober. I know, because I’ve tried it a million times since. But I don’t have to tell you the attractive cop wouldn’t believe it was just a personal idiosyncrasy. I have to say he was nice about the whole thing, though. He seemed almost apologetic: “I hate to ask you on a night like this, but do you think you can walk a straight line, toe-to-heel?”

“I’ll get wet.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He was really nice, that fellow, especially considering I wasn’t looking any too respectable.

The rain pelted into my cleavage as I got out of the car. I got up on the sidewalk, put one shoe in front of the other, and kept on doing it until the cop told me to stop. I wanted to go on, because I knew that line would straighten up as soon as I got the hang of it, but the cop wasn’t convinced. I’d meandered pretty far off course.
“I’m afraid that emergency of yours is going to have to wait, Miss Schwartz. You’ve just had an accident in a car that’s not yours, and you got no driver’s license and no ID, and you can’t pass your sobriety test. And the car’s got 200 dollars’ worth of traffic warrants on it.”

“But . . .”

“I don’t think you’d better drive the Mustang. Just lock it, please, and get in the backseat of the patrol car.”

“Wait a minute. I can explain what I’m doing with the car.”

“All the explaining in the world’s not going to convince me you’re sober.”

So I locked the Mustang while they inspected the parked car for damage. Then we sat in the patrol car, the cop with the mustache and me, while his partner made out an accident report. I never did figure out why that had to be done at the scene instead of at the Hall, but it did give me time to pour out my story.

I said I’d been to a costume party—which I had hoped might explain my get-up—and that a friend had been suddenly taken ill. I was driving him to the hospital when I hit the parked car.

“So where is he now?”

“He got frightened when I hit the car and ran away.”

“How sick was he?”

I lowered my eyes. “I don’t know. He was acting very strangely. I think he was having some sort of nervous attack.”\

The cop came to the conclusion I wanted him to. He raised an eyebrow. “Were there drugs at that party, Miss Schwartz?”

I said there were, and he didn’t ask any more questions.
On the way to the Hall, I assessed the situation. I was dressed like a hooker, so they probably thought I was one in spite of my lame little explanation; no one has costume parties three weeks after Halloween. So there was no use protesting that I was a lawyer without an ID to back it up. It wouldn’t do any good anyway, since they thought I was drunk.

I figured Elena and the others would be at the Hall. We could straighten out the ownership of the car and maybe establish my identification. Then we could call my partner to get us out.

But I wondered if she could. It might just be that Rebecca Schwartz, Jewish feminist lawyer, was about to spend a night in jail. I prayed I would pass my breathalyzer test. And when I got done praying, I mused on the dark and sinister forces that had gotten me into the backseat of a patrol car.

 

Death Turns A Trick is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Phone Kitten, Marika Christian {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Phone Kitten:

Think “Bridget Jones meets Nancy Drew”. Throw in a gig as a phone sex operator, an unexpected hunk of a boyfriend, and a client’s murder and you have all the ingredients for the perfect chick-lit romp.

What’s Emily Winters, a self-described “chubby girl with a sexy voice,” to do when she loses her dream job as a newspaper writer? Why, phone sex, of course. After landing a gig as a phone sex operator, no one is more surprised than Emily to finds she’s good at channeling a wild alter-ego named Peyton. When a client is murdered and Emily becomes a person of interest, she decides to do a little sleuthing of her own. Along the way, Emily finds herself entangled with shady characters and an intriguing new romance, all colored by her sharp-witted and often hilarious observations.

 

Accolades:

“Christian hits it out of the ballpark with this hysterical, quirky, and endearing story … Phone Kitten is laugh out loud funny from page one. I was immediately captured by Emily and her innocence, and had to laugh at most of the phone sex scenes.” -ChickLitPlus

“When I first heard of this book I was intrigued; a phone-sex worker turned sleuth? Sounds like the perfect mix … Marika is an excellent writer and I simply loved Emily … A fabulous book.” -Trashionista

“Marika Christian’s debut novel was one of the most fun reads I have had this year. Sweet Emily taking a job as a “phone actress” has to be one of the funniest things ever. And after chatting with Marika and knowing these phone calls were real, amused me all the more.” -Just Jump


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Phone Kitten currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 88 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Phone Kitten is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Excerpt from Phone Kitten:

Chapter Two

ARE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PHONE?

GET PAID TO TALK TO GUYS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!

We offer a signing bonus, incentives, flexible hours, insurance and 401k benefits! Call now for more information!

Phone sex girls get retirement benefits? Who knew? But there it was, written in black and white. The job had everything I needed. The question was, could I do it? Was phone sex going to be my path to success? There’s just a chance, I thought.

Just so you know, not only am I invisible, I’m also a stereotype. I’m a chubby girl with a sexy voice. When telemarketers call me, one of two things happens. If it’s a woman, she’ll ask if my mother or father is home. If it’s a man, he’ll try to get a date. I don’t know how they’re able to determine that I’m of age, but somehow they can and they go for it. My voice is a little squeaky and little breathy. It’s a love-it-or-leave-it kinda voice. Some people call it annoying, but I’ve always preferred the term kittenish. The people who love it really love it, and that’s three-fourths of the male population.

Could I actually whisper dirty words in a stranger’s ear? There was only one way to find out. I called for an interview.

The girl who answered the phone sounded a lot like me. She was perky, upbeat, and wanted me to come in that night for an interview. The thought terrified me, but my only other option was Walmart. I heard Walmart locks employees in the store. I’ve often wondered what would happen if one of the employees were pregnant and went into labor while locked up. Would they let her out? Would her supervisor deliver the baby in housewares and slap a little smiley face sticker on the baby’s bottom? Phone sex had to be better than twenty-four hour retail.

The company name was Dimensions. Located in the back of an industrial park, it was a little scary. There was a gravel parking lot with a dozen cars and only one door with a camera to capture anyone who pressed the call button. I was buzzed in immediately. I wondered, Why does a phone sex place need this much security?

I was met by Taylor, the bubbly girl I talked to on the phone. “Come on, I’ll take you in the back and we can talk.”

She wasn’t what I pictured. Taylor was a tattooed Goth chick, with every piercing imaginable. Taylor isn’t what most people envisioned when it came to “bubbly.”

Once we were in her office, she quickly closed the door. “Look, we talk dirty here. The language is sexually explicit. You have to say it all. Tits, cock, and fuck. Can you do that?”

“Yes.” There, I said it. I said I could do it. I hoped I really could.

She whipped out a headset, plugged it in, and said, “I want you to listen to a call. We get a lot of girls who come in here and think they can do it, and then freak out on their first call. It really pisses me off. You aren’t going to piss me off, are you?”

Taylor didn’t seem like the type of girl I wanted to piss off. I put on the headset and listened as a girl named Raven guided some guy through the “manipulation of his instrument.” Like a man really needs that type of instruction. There were moans, groans, panting—even a few noises I couldn’t identify—and that was just from her. He screamed once, and then it was over. Raven went on to her next call. It occurred to me that freaking out wasn’t going to be my problem. Trying not to laugh was going to be my problem.

I did my best not to smile. “I think I can do that.”

She studied me for a second and said, “I think you can, too. Here, fill out these forms, and write down the hours you want to work.”

“That’s it?”

Taylor looked at me. “Well, this isn’t the kinda job that checks references.”

That made sense. What could they really check for?

When I left, I had my schedule. I was starting in two days, and my shift began at midnight. I’d even managed to score weekends off. At the end of the first week, I would have my signing bonus. Now all I had to do was learn to talk dirty, and there was only one man who could help me with that.

“You want me to what?”

“I want you to talk dirty to me. I want to see if I can do this. I got a job as a phone actress.” Why was Dennis making such a big deal about this?

He seemed stunned. “You’re a phone whore?”

“Phone actress,” I corrected.

“Phone whore. You’re talking nasty for money, right?”

“Given your past, do you really think you’re in a place to call me a whore? I know all about the debauchery that is Craig Boone.” Craig Boone is Dennis’s only weakness. Not only could Craig get Dennis to do anything, he could get him to do it anywhere, at any time.

“That’s slut, not whore. You’re going to have to learn the difference.” He sighed. “Were there no waitressing jobs in town? Emmie, what are you doing? I heard Walmart is hiring.”

“This will pay more, there are incentives, and a bonus, and… ”

Dennis screeched. “I do not even want to hear what your bonus is. Jesus! If someone had told me you’d be asking me to do this, I’d have said they were nuts! I’d have said, not my Emmie.”

“Come on, Dennis, I need you to help me! I wouldn’t do it if I weren’t desperate. Ask me about my boobs.”

“The less I know about your boobs the happier I am.”

“Dennis, they aren’t really my boobs, they’re Delilah’s boobs.” “Delilah? Who’s Delilah?”

“Delilah is the girl I’ll be playing. It’s my character. I told you: it’s acting.”

“Is that what they told you?”

His smug little chuckle was starting to annoy me, so I talked over it. “I thought Delilah was a good name. You know—Biblical temptress and all.”

“Emmie, do you think the men who are going to be calling you are going to be interested in Biblical temptresses? Do you think that after talking to you, they’re going to reach over to the night stand and get the good book?”

“Can you please do this?”

He groaned, cleared his throat, and in his sexiest hey-baby voice, he said, “Tell me about your breasts, Delilah.”

“Dennis! Say it right! A guy calling wouldn’t say breasts. He’d call them tits!” I was beginning to wonder what Craig saw in him. Dennis was being rather unsexy right now.

“I’m in character. My name is Arthur Wuller. I’m a shoe salesman from Beloit, Wisconsin, and Arthur would say breasts. He’s respectful.”

“Artie has had a couple beers and is looking to have fun. He’d say tits.”

“You’re making up a whole lot of rules for my dirty phone call!” He cleared his throat and said, “Take two.” Like he was directing. Once again, he started in his sexy voice. “So tell me about your tits.”

I started to laugh.

“You can’t laugh, Emmie! You’re supposed to be naked, nubile Delilah, who sits at home all day masturbating. Start with the nipples. Tell me about your nips.”

 

Phone Kitten is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Marika Christian:

Author Website: 

www.booksbnimble.com

Author Facebook Page:

www.facebook.com/booksbnimble

Author Twitter Page:

@booksbnimble

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The House of Six Doors, Patricia Selbert {$2.99}

Sponsored Post

Patricia Selbert‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

 

Description of The House of Six Doors:

Winner USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards

Multicultural Fiction

Finalist in General Fiction and Women’s Lit

1st Runner Up Eric Hoffer Award 2011 General Fiction

Serena, at thirteen, leaves her home on the colorful Caribbean island of Curaçao and her beloved grandmother, Oma, when her ambitious, impulsive, and emotionally unstable mother takes her and her sister to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. They drive from Miami to Hollywood, where their luck runs out and a 1963 Ford Galaxie becomes their first American home. Compelling and exotic, the narrative weaves together the hard realities of 1970s Hollywood and memories of an innocent past. The story is rich and tangy, filled with images from around the world. The timeless wisdom Serena’s grandmother imparted to her becomes the compass by which Serena navigates the unscrupulous world she confronts. Filled with brilliant and visceral characters from multiple countries that come to life and reveal themselves and their cultures, The House of Six Doors gives the reader an intimate look at the complexities of an immigrant’s journey and a young girl’s coming of age in a multicultural Los Angeles. A pageturner, this story is so distinct and intimate that it becomes universal and leaves the reader with profound insights.

 

Accolade:

The US Review of Books

The House Of Six Doors was a landhuis, or plantation house, that my grandfather owned. It was painted a brilliant cobalt blue  with white trim”

This story plays upon your senses, making you feel the terror and pain of Serena and her sister, Hendrika, as they leave the only stability and family they have known. The pair travel to the United States from Curacao with their adventure seeking, emotionally unstable, mother. Mama was like a butterfly, flitting from one flower to another. She was always uprooting her family and moving them somewhere better, but their mother’s obsession with money, which began when she returned from the war in Europe, transforms into an unfulfilled quest for riches, causing untold emotional and physical damage to her children.

The girls’ grandmother, Oma, was one of the few people that had given the children stability and guidance. She loved her daughter, but felt sorrow for the pain her poor life choices caused her grandchildren. Struggling in a new land and culture finally gave way to a semblance of a good life for Serena, although Hendrika wasn’t so fortunate. The family’s earlier struggles left her drug dependant, resulting in deportation to Curacao. Still their wretched unhappiness makes the few triumphs truly exhilarating.

Patricia Selbert is an author with genuine knowledge of immigrating to the United States. The research and compassion are evident. With a compelling plot and characters, the reader is held from the early going, experiencing the colorful Caribbean culture in matching verse.

 

Reviews:

The House of Six Doors currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars with 17 reviews! Read the reviews here.

 

The House of Six Doors is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

An excerpt from The House of Six Doors:

Curaçao Remembered

Raised in Curaçao speaking four languages, Patricia Selbert has always drawn her inspiration from her native island, with its rich history, vibrant architecture, stunning natural beauty, and diverse, resourceful people.  This excerpt from the novel takes us back to Curaçao in the 1960s.

…It was getting dark. Serena sat in the back seat of her family’s car as she waited for her mother and sister to return from another job interview. Their move to Hollywood, California had not turned out as they’d expected. They were living in their car and struggling to survive. Serena longed to be back home, she closed her eyes and recalled happier times in Curaçao.

… My grandfather, stood in front of me. “Let’s go to the House of Six Doors!” he declared. The landhuis was a one-and-a-half-hour drive from town and down dusty dirt roads, and about half a mile from the ocean. Next to the house was a windmill to lift water from the well. There were no other buildings for miles around, just rolling hills and gray-green brush.

The house got its name because it had six doors, three on the ocean side and three on the bush side. The ocean-side doors opened directly on the center of the house. Here there was a large living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. The three bush-side doors opened onto a gallery that ran the entire length of the house. Oma had said all the plantation houses were built this way to let the trade winds flow through them. When I asked her why six doors and not four or eight, she told me each door had a purpose. The three ocean-side doors were to bring in gratitude, wisdom, and compassion, and the three bush-side doors were to let out greed, ignorance, and anger. I loved staying at the House of Six Doors.

I found myself sitting in the backseat of Opa’s car, cradling on my lap the cake Oma had made six months before for his upcoming birthday. It was a Bolo Pretu, a black fruitcake soaked in rum, Curaçao liqueur, and Marsala wine, and decorated with snow-white icing and tiny silver balls of candy. Bolo Pretu was made only for very special occasions and tasted best six months to a year after it had been made. Opa’s birthday must have been a significant one, although Oma didn’t mention his age.

We traveled to the landhuis in my grandfather’s car. Boxes were tied to the roof of the car with rope; the trunk was so stuffed that several boxes were hanging out halfway. On the way, we stopped three times. We stopped at Shon Pètchi’s house, a modest mud house painted red with two green windows on either side of a green front door. The thatch on the roof was dry and sparse. Shon Pètchi came running when he saw our car arrive. He waved and smiled as if we were Santa Claus. Chickens and goats scattered in all directions. Three dogs tied on long ropes under a tree barked furiously when Oma got out of the car and went to greet Shon Pètchi. She shook his hand and asked how he and his family had been since the last time she had seen him. His wife came out of the house with three of her children. Her oldest daughter stopped feeding the donkey and smiled at us. It was good to see familiar faces. “I’m glad everyone is well. Look how much the children have grown,” Oma complimented him.

“Thank you, Shon Elena, thank you for your kind words. How long will you be staying at Kas di Seis Porta? Are you having any parties?”

“Oh yes, we’ll be here for the summer, and this year Don Diego’s birthday will be a big celebration.” I listened from the car. I was bursting with impatience to see all of Oma and Opa’s friends and my aunts, uncles, and cousins again.

“Would you like a goat for the party? I have some fat ones, really nice ones. They’ll be ready two weeks from Saturday. That’s the day, no?”

“Yes, that’s the day, but I would like to cook iguana. This is a very important year.” Shon Pètchi smiled and nodded; the whites of his eyes and his white teeth glittered in the sun against his black skin.

“Ah, Don Diego is having a special birthday? All right, I will find you the fattest, tastiest iguanas on the island.” Iguanas once had been abundant on Curaçao but now they were difficult to find. “Don’t worry, Shon Elena, I will catch them myself.”

A mango dropped from the tree, just missing his shoulder. Everyone looked up. Hidden among the branches was a ten-year-old boy, one of Shon Pètchi’s sons, trying to make himself invisible. I knew how much fun it was to climb a mango tree. Shon Pètchi frowned at his son and then turned back to my grandmother, apologizing and smiling.

We drove on down the dusty road lined with thorny, small-leaved shrubs. The occasional black-and-yellow barika hel flew from its hiding place, startled by the sound of the car. A turn off the main road led us to the beach and Shon Momo’s house. His one-room house was painted light blue with dark blue doors and windows. The recently thatched roof was golden yellow. Shon Momo sat in his rocking chair under a big tamarind tree.

He was asleep as we drove up, but when Opa turned off the engine he opened his eyes and stared at us as if we were a mirage. His three short wooden boats lay in the yard, fishing nets scattered around them. Fishing lines were hanging in the trees and an old anchor leaned against the house. His dog, tied on a rope, barked and wagged his tail. Oma got out of the car and slowly approached Shon Momo, who recognized her as she got closer, and his face lit up. “Shon Elena, kontá bai?” How are you? Very kindly, he took my grandmother’s hands in both of his and, nodding and smiling, he welcomed her and asked what he could catch for her.

His black skin looked like polished leather from being out on the ocean for so many years. He waved to my grandfather as he moved slowly and gently to Opa’s car, as if he were a boat on a calm sea. He took my grandfather’s hand in his, his big black hand covering Opa’s slight white one, leaving only Opa’s wrist showing. Shon Momo assured my grandfather he would bring him all the fish he could eat. With a smile and a wave, we were on our way again. Lizards scurried in panic as the car bumped along the dusty road.

Shon Tisha’s tiny pink house had a corrugated roof and a car in the driveway. The antenna on the roof proudly announced she owned a television. A chicken-wire fence ran around her yard, confining her dogs, cats, chickens, and goats. Shon Tisha was a very large woman; her hips jutted out eight inches to either side. She could easily rest children or baskets on them. We picked up her daughter, Mirelva, who would clean and serve while we were at the landhuis. Mirelva and I had played together for longer than I could remember. She knew me so well we could communicate without saying a word.

“How long before we get to the House of Six Doors from here?” I asked Oma.

“Well, if we were traveling by horse and buggy, the way your grandfather and I used to go, it would be another hour, but since we are in a car, it will be only fifteen minutes more. Aren’t you lucky?” Oma smiled. We turned onto another road. The House of Six Doors came into view as a speck at the top of the hill in the distance. A panoramic view of the landscape appeared as we ascended. Scrubby divi-divi trees, with their gnarly trunks and their branches all leaning in the same direction, were reminders that the trade winds always blew the same way.

Oma pointed out the window. “Serena, look at those trees. Curaçao doesn’t get enough rain to grow big shade trees so it gets strong winds to shape the trees we have, into giving shade.” It was true; a divi-divi tree had the perfect shape to lie under in the midday sun. As our car climbed to the top of the hill, a herd of wild goats scurried in front of us.

Opa blew the horn and waved his hands outside the window, trying to give the goats some direction, but they were confused and terrified as they dashed back and forth, bleating frantically. Opa stepped on the gas to scare the goats with the engine’s noise, but the car surged forward, barely missing one of them. The cobalt-blue house patiently waited for us against a backdrop of green-blue ocean and light-blue sky.

As soon as we arrived, we opened all the doors and windows to clear out the musty smell of the closed house; it was immediately replaced with the smell of the ocean. I helped Oma take off the colorful sheets that covered the furniture. Mirelva was busy unloading and unpacking.

Opa went to the kitchen and came back with a large bottle of blue Curaçao liqueur and three tiny glasses. “Ban dal un bríndis, Elena,” he said, calling for a toast as he poured. Opa always kept a large supply of Curaçao liqueur at the House of Six Doors. He put his arm around Oma and she raised her glass to meet his. “Un bida largu bon bibá,” he said. To a long life, well lived. Opa and Oma clinked their glasses, then each touched their glasses to mine, which contained only a tiny drop of Blue Curaçao. I pretended to drink: I didn’t like the taste of the liqueur, but I loved the occasions on which it was served. Opa took Oma’s glass from her and set it on the table. He hummed an old waltz as he took Oma in his arms, and they danced across the room. I sat watching them, giddy with joy.

Serena opened her eyes and her joy disintegrated. She realized she was still in the car in Hollywood, alone.

 

The House of Six Doors is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Patricia Selbert:

Websites: http://thehouseofsixdoors.com/http://patriciaselbert.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/patriciaselbert.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PASelbert

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