Posts Tagged ‘SMP authors’

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.



Selected Insights from Julia Quinn

By Pamela Gibson

I write historical romance and Regencies have long been one of my favorite genres. Over the years, I’ve sat through several presentations at in-person conventions, learning different perspectives from some of my favorite authors. Here are a few I recently came across from Julia Quinn, the author of the Bridgerton series. She made them during a panel discussion in 2016.

Plot or characters, which comes first? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors’ blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.



Marisa on Marketing

By Marisa Dillon

As a professional marketer, I’ve learned some of the best ways to craft and place great ads, and how to design them to be “sticky.” Not gum on your shoe, “eew” sticky, but how to curate strong creative content that stands out, resonates with consumers, and ultimately, motivates them to interact with a product.
Lo and behold, though, when I turned my professional eye to . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Soul Mate Publishing blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.



Listen to Your Critics.

They Might Be Right.

By Nancy Massand

Wow, that’s really good!

You just submitted your latest draft to your critique group. Or your writing class. You bask in their praise. You are an author! Then you shop it around to every agent with a penchant for steampunk YA time travel fantasy romance, because you just know it’s gonna be a best seller. But no agent will touch it. Most don’t even reply. What happened?

What happened was that you stopped . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors blog

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

Does anyone else include this while writing?

Tackle Big Events While Writing

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Beth Carter

It’s easy to write about boy meets girl or girl meets boy. Insert a villain, some scenery, conflict, the use of senses, a bit of backstory and foreshadowing, and you’re done, right? Wrong. It’s much more interesting when you throw in big (or even small, intimate) events. Whether they are a fact of life (like a birth or death), a crazy family reunion or a tragic occurrence, your writing will be enriched and become much more realistic by adding these details.

Here are examples of . . .

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Thursday Threads


A Journey Home


Angela Scavone

Genre: Contemporary/Military

Heat Level: Sweet

20150702 ajourneyhone 

Book Blurb: Stephanie Tyler’s sole job is to fly overseas to war torn areas of the world to retrieve and escort the bodies of fallen soldiers back home to the United States. It is a tough and emotional job but she is honored for the privilege. Her duty also helps her to escape her past and her failed marriage.

But those flights have become increasingly more dangerous and she is forced to have a partner accompany her. Much to Stephanie’s surprise and dismay, she is partnered up with her ex-husband, Captain “D.A.” Douglas Aston. From the moment Captain D.A. enters the scene, he irritates her. It could have something to do with the fact he slept with her best friend while they were married. As they go on several missions together, Stephanie is forced to be courteous and professional with D.A. even though the very sight of him irritates her beyond comprehension.

Then, Stephanie’s cheating, husband stealing, ex-best friend is killed in Afghanistan and Stephanie and D.A. must escort her body home. While executing this difficult duty, a myriad of conflicting emotions makes Stephanie ponder how short life really is . . . and to question her own ability to forgive.


Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Home-Angela-Scavone-ebook/dp/B00W3UK05A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430155218&sr=8-1&keywords=angela+scavone


Social Network Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/angela.scavone.52

Twitter https://twitter.com/busterwhyte

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6683076-angela-scavone

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/busterwhyte/



The phone intercom buzzed and Pam came over the speaker. “Sorry to interrupt, Colonel, but you wanted me to let you know when Captain Aston was here.”

I stared at the Colonel wide-eyed.

He merely smiled and said, “Thanks, Pam. I’ll be out in a minute.”

“He’s here now?” I asked, incredulously.

“Didn’t I mention that?” He rose from his chair and walked to the door as I stood and straightened my uniform.

The Colonel stood with his hand on the doorknob, watching me fuss. “You look tremendous, Captain.”

“What? Oh I don’t care what I look like for him,” I immediately protested, waving my hand in the air.

“Of course.” He was still smiling as he opened the door. “Captain Aston, please come in.”

I heard his voice first. “Thank you, Colonel.”

I glanced down at my uniform to make sure everything was in place before he came into the room. When I looked back up, Captain Aston was walking through the door.

To the female eye, he was a very attractive man. He stood at six-four and was well built, but not so much that muscles and tendons were popping out everywhere. He had a strong jaw and black hair just long enough to run your fingers through. Dressed in full uniform, his handsome features were even more prominent.

Not that I noticed.

“Please come in and we can discuss your new role.”

“Yes, Sir.” Captain DA put out his hand for me to shake, flashing his killer smile that started in his bright blue eyes and ended in a set of mouth-framing dimples. “Good to see you again, Captain.”

I returned his smile and handshake, determined to be professional in front of the Colonel even if it killed me.

Colonel Madison resumed his place behind his desk. “Please sit. This is a quick, informal meeting to get reacquainted with each other.”

I remained on my feet which kept both men standing. “Sir, with all due respect,” I began, facing the Colonel, “I cannot work with Captain Aston.” Apparently, my mouth wasn’t on board with being professional.

“Why not?” DA asked, sounding offended.

I ignored his question and kept my attention on the Colonel, who looked as if he were about to laugh. “We used to be married.”

“I know that.” He smiled.

“Our marriage did not end on a positive note,” I continued, “and I don’t think I can work with him on a day to day basis. In fact, I left Virginia to get away from him.”

“You know, I’m standing right here,” DA chimed in.

“Captain Tyler, are you telling me you can’t put your differences aside to work together as a team? Even though I asked you as a personal favor?” The Colonel’s smile had vanished and there was now a warning in his tone.

“No, Sir.” I heard the warning and decided it was time to back off the fight. “I’ll try putting our differences aside to work together, but I can’t promise I won’t kill him in the process.”

The Colonel coughed out a chuckle. “That’s all I can ask for. Now, you—hopefully—have some time off before another call comes in. Why don’t you show Captain DA around?”

The Colonel spoke as I reached for the door handle. “I’m curious, off the record, of course. How did your marriage end? I remember the wedding. You two seemed so compatible and so in love. What happened?”

DA and I looked at each other for the first time since his arrival.

“He cheated on me with a friend of mine,” I replied baldly.

“I did not cheat on you! How many times do I have to say it before you believe me?” he retorted, all vestiges of professionalism gone.

“Oh, here we go again!” I shouted back. “I came home early, I walked into the kitchen and there was Alex on top of you on the kitchen floor.”

“I told you it wasn’t what it looked like. I have said over and over again that I did not sleep with Alex!” His tone increased until he was shouting, too.

“You’re telling me that you two never slept together?” I demanded an answer.

“Well . . .” He looked away from me. “Not while we were married.”

“I knew it!”

“It was after we were separated and you had moved here! What did you want me to do? Never sleep with anyone again?”

“You can sleep with whomever or whatever you want for all I care—”

“Ahem.” The Colonel cut in. I jerked back, startled; in the heat of arguing with my frustrating ex, I had forgotten my boss was there.

“Sorry, Sir. Do you see why I can’t work with him?”

The Colonel regarded us both. “Alex?” he questioned DA.

“Alexandra Keating, Sir. She was Stephanie’s best friend.”

“Best friend, my left toe! She’s a traitorous, backstabbing, two-faced, lying, husband stealing bitch.”

“Wow, that’s quite descriptive, Captain. Why don’t you tell us your true feelings about her?” Both of the Colonel’s eyebrows rose in shock.

“I’m only speaking the truth, Sir.” I addressed the Colonel but glared at DA.

“Well.” He clapped his hands together to signal the end of our bickering. “I know you two can be respectful when escorting a fallen soldier home and I know you will be professional during the dignified transfer ceremonies. However, please try and be professional at other times as well or at least civil to each other.” He waved us toward the door.

DA and I both nodded and exited the office. Before we could leave the reception area, the Colonel poked his head out of his office door.

“And, Captain Tyler-”


“Try not to kill him, please. He just arrived at our base and it wouldn’t look good in the press.”

Knowing the Colonel had a wicked sense of humor, I still couldn’t find my own jocularity. “No promises, Sir, But I’ll give it my best shot.”

“That’s all I ask.”

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Thursday Threads


Riding for Love


Tina Susedik


A sensuous, romantic mystery that is on sale for 99¢ until June 20th

Donald describes this book as a beautifully descriptive story of love gone wrong between high school sweethearts who find themselves still in love years later. The vivid descriptions of outdoor settings on the Wisconsin horse ranch give the reader the sense of being there with the characters. The author is especially true to the small town feeling evoked in the story. Good repartee between the hero and heroine sparks the dialogue in this story. If you are looking for an enjoyable happy ever after romantic, suspenseful mystery to read then this is your book.Riding for Love Cover



Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?


Eve leaned against the door frame of the woman’s bathroom. Grasping her purse against her stomach with both hands, she tried calming the herd of horses charging through her system. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and peered through the leaves of a tall potted plant placed to obscure the view of the restrooms. Her pulse picked up speed. Rose and Denton approached Max.

“Smart move,” she muttered. “Chicken. You should be raising chickens instead of horses, moron!”

She slapped her hand over her mouth when an elderly woman walked out of the bathroom and gave Eve a small smile and a wide berth. The woman went to her table and whispered something to her companion, probably about a crazy lady talking to a tree. Eve suppressed a laugh. Crazy, that was her all right. Crazy to be afraid of Denton and the rush of adrenaline snapping her nerve endings at the sight of him.

“C’mon, girl, he can’t eat you.” Visions of Denton nibbling on her neck sent shivers up her spine and down her legs. “Well, not literally, anyway.” Over the years, though, memories of his desertion had eaten away at her, turning her into an emotional cripple, afraid of becoming close to anyone except Tom. “Damn!  Why did he have to show up tonight and ruin the evening?”

She peered through the branches of the plant. Max kissed Rose on the cheek. Rose’s introduced Max and Denton.

Eve couldn’t help comparing the two while they shook hands. Both men were good-looking, tall, about 6’2. Max’s hair was blond, straight and short, while Denton’s was dark, wavy and worn nearly to the collar of his pale blue dress shirt. Max’s slim, wiry physique hid a strength making him capable of handling even the largest animals. Denton’s broad shoulders and hips accentuated his slim waist making him seem taller than Max. Women’s eyes followed Max when he came into a room, but he seemed to pale in comparison with Denton.

The men shook hands, but didn’t immediately let go. Max frowned. Did Denton grimace? Were Max’s fingers turning white? Were they going to start arm wrestling in the middle of the restaurant? Not that it mattered, but did Denton think she and Max were lovers? Max said something and the three of them turned in her direction. Eve quickly stepped back, hoping the rustling branches weren’t obvious. She peeked through the leaves again. They were still looking her way.

“Oh, hell!” she muttered. “I can’t hide out here forever.” Wiping her hands down the sides of her dress and taking a deep breath, she stepped into the hallway, head high, shoulders back, knees trembling. “I’m not chicken,” she said surprising a couple sitting nearest the restrooms.

“Eve, what a nice surprise,” Rose said, giving Eve a gentle hug when she reached the table. “You remember my son, Denton, don’t you?”

Eve couldn’t believe Rose’s question. What was she trying to pull? Even though her relationship with Denton had ended years ago, her friendship with his mother had grown and blossomed. Before she answered, Denton leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her cheek.

A lighted blow torch placed directly against her skin wouldn’t have burned anymore than his simple peck. Memories flashed back at her. Denton chasing her around the trees in his parents’ yard. Denton’s first tentative kiss on their fifth date. His last soul-searching one the evening before he left for college. The one from a lover during his Thanksgiving break.

“Hello again, Eve.” His soft words snapped her out of her memories.

“Hello, Denton,” she managed to utter, avoiding his eyes and glancing at Max.


Max observed the interaction. The urge to mark his territory overpowered him. He took Eve’s hand in his. “You two know each other?”

Max expected Eve to answer since Rose was only a passing acquaintance. When she didn’t say anything, he glanced at Eve. Her face had gone from pale back to rosy again and kept her eyes on their clasped hands. With a subtle motion, she turned the pearl side of her ring to the inside of her hand, leaving only the thin, gold band showing. What the hell?

It was obvious he was not going to get an answer from neither Eve nor Denton. He raised an eyebrow at Rose.

“Max, Eve and Denton went to high school together. They haven’t seen each other in a long time,” Rose answered Max’s silent inquiry. “Denton, Max is a veterinarian and takes care of Eve’s animals.”

“We’re out enjoying one last quiet evening before the seasonal rush starts,” Max said trying to cover the awkward situation while still trying to figure out all the currents flowing around them. It was more than the way Denton looked at Eve like a lost puppy having found his way home, or the way Rose watched Denton looking at Eve. There was so much voltage zapping between Eve and Denton, Max thought the restaurant lights should be popping and snapping. Was this Denton an adversary? A future friend? He sure as hell wished he knew because the situation was getting more strained by the second.

An awkward silence landed on the foursome once more. Eve didn’t understand Rose’s smug smile. Max squeezed Eve’s fingers tighter and glared at Denton as the silence stretched. Denton looked alternately between Max and Eve’s joined hands and their faces, seeming to come to some decision. He stepped forward and took Eve’s other hand in his.

“Eve, I need to talk to you,” he said, pressing her fingers in his.

Max’s hold on her hand increased as he gently pulled her away from Denton. Denton grasped her hand tighter.

“Please, Eve. I need to explain.”

Eve tried to turn and face Denton. Max’s grip pulled her back toward him. She was beginning to feel like a piece of taffy, being stretched and tugged to the maker’s satisfaction. A glance at Rose’s smiling face and Eve realized she wasn’t going to get any help from her. Max and Denton acted like gladiators in a coliseum ready to fight for their lives. Eve only wanted to leave. People were starting to stare at the foursome still standing beside the table. Eve tried to remove her hands from both men. Their grips became equally stronger. Her fingers began to tingle from lack of circulation. She tugged again and finally faced Denton.

“Please let go of my hand. I have nothing to say to you,” she said quietly.

Buy Links:

Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/




Contact links:

Website: TinaSusedik.com


Twitter: @tinasusedik

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love


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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines on

Lawfully Yours


Stacy Hoff


Blurb Lawfully Yours:

The prestigious Connecticut law firm of Grovas & Cleval has always been rife with office drama and crazy clients. But an office affair between a young associate and a powerful partner—her boss—might be the biggest scandal of all.

Quirky, quiet Sue Linkovitch is Jordan Grant’s newest hire. Barely out of law school and hired on a fluke, she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Unfortunately, Jordan isn’t sympathetic to her professional “growing pains.” In fact, he’s downright frosty. The only time he thaws is when he’s around his five-year old daughter. So why is she so attracted to him?

Jordan Grant sees Sue as bright, bookish and a terrible temptation. Yet he knows not to get involved with a woman again—he learned this from his divorce. And if that hard knock lesson wasn’t enough, he’s been falsely accused of sexual harassment in the past. If their colleagues even think he’s interested, it will be the death of his career—and hers.

Lawfully YoursExcerpt from Lawfully Yours:

The waitress who was on her way over to clear our table pauses, and then turns around to walk back into the kitchen.

“Not leaving?” Gerard asks Jordan.

“I want to brief Sue on tomorrow’s assignments.” He waves over another waitress. “More coffee over here, please.”

Gerard looks at me with pity. “Well, sorry for that Sue, since it’s 12:30 a.m. I hope a good portion of what I pay Jordan goes to you, considering your hours,” Gerard says before he leaves.

I turn to Jordan, incredulous. He’s going to give me more assignments now?

“Sue, I wanted a minute alone with you to say something. I know I put you in a tight spot tonight. I am sorry for that.”

The waitress comes back with the coffee. “More creamers over here?”

“No thanks,” he says, and she scurries away. “Sue, I want you to know I’m appreciative.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“It sounds like you don’t believe me. You should. Standing up there, ready to launch into that crazy stall act you thought you’d have to do took a serious amount of moxie.”

“I’m seriously glad I didn’t have to make the P & Z board read the metes and bounds into the record.”

“But you would have, and I’m sure you would have pulled it off just fine.” He pauses. “I’ve been meaning to ask you, did you forgo a lot of personal plans these past few weeks in order to get this job done?”

I’m not sure that I need him to know I don’t have a life. I hesitate. “Don’t worry about my personal life. I’m here for you.”

I think maybe I’ve said something wrong, given the strange way he’s looking at me. He’s been acting so oddly since we got to the restaurant, first silence, and then stares.

“You must have a personal life,” he says, before pausing again. “If it won’t ruin your relationship with the boyfriend I’m sure you have, I’d like to take you out to dinner at a more formal restaurant to show you how much I appreciate you.”

Confused, I find myself staring back at him. To my surprise, his expression is warm and more intent than a lighthearted conversation would ordinarily command. His light brown hair flips forward onto his forehead in an almost childlike way. I stare at his jawline, chiseled out of rock. Or maybe steel, because he is starting to look like Superman. Except for his lips. They’re almost sensual, too soft and full to belong to a man from a DC comic. My face burns so hot I probably look like a red balloon. I need to cover my horrific reaction. Say something to normalize the situation. “Uhh, the firm already celebrates my efforts with a very generous paycheck. You don’t need to spend any of your time or personal money on me.”

“I didn’t realize that buying you a fancier meal would take so much of my time or my money. Now I know.”

My conversation filler has failed. I hurry to smooth the situation over. “It’s a kind offer, Jordan, but unnecessary. Just telling me that you appreciate my effort is enough of a thank you.”

“Check,” Jordan demands of our waitress, who is chatting in a corner with the rest of the wait staff. My boss has, once again, dismissed me. About to get into my car, I realize he never did tell me what assignment he wanted to dole out.


LAWFULLY YOURS: http://amzn.com/B00U7U2WCC

SEASON OF LOVE: http://amzn.com/B00X3ZAR3E


Find Stacy on Social Media:Stacy_Cartoon_v2

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorStacyHoff

Web Site: http://www.stacyhoff.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorstacyhoff/

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Friday Features


Linda Bradley

Author of

Maggie’s Way


Linda Bradley shares with us a little behind the story, story. Take it away Linda:

When Maggie and Chloe came to life, so did I. It was the year I found my voice, determined to share their story. It was the year I battled cancer, began a new marriage, and discovered that with a little faith dreams can come true. I met Debby Gilbert, owner and editor at Soul Mate Publishing at a Greater Detroit Romance Writers meeting. When she heard my pitch for Maggie’s Way, her words stayed with me. This one will speaker to readers. –Debby Gilbert

This whole process has been one big circle of Karma. Everything from Jane Porter emails, sending notes back and forth with Claire Cook, then meeting Lori Nelson Spielman and discovering quite by accident we have a most beloved mutual friend has been a whirlwind.

An inspirational card that hangs near my desk reminds me to persevere as I read, hammer out ideas, make connections, and start over, again, and again. The author is unknown, but it reads, If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it. 

I believe!

Linda Bradley

20150605 LB_MaggiesWay_400x600 (1) (1)

Maggie’s Way: Women’s Fiction



Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old, Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

Tag Line: “Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.” –L. Bradley

Cover quotes:

“Linda Bradley’s fresh voice will keep readers riveted from beginning to end. Bradley delivers a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama…This one stands out!” –Jane Porter  New York Times and USA Today best selling author

Author Review:

“Maggie’s Way is a heart-warming tale of love and loss, fear and friendship. With charming characters and a moving plot, Linda Bradley’s lovely debut gently reminds is that it’s never too late for second chances.” –Lori Nelson Spielman, International Best Seller, Author of “The Love List” and “Sweet Forgiveness”


Linda BradleyLinda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters. Maggie’s Way is her debut novel, in her Montana Bound Series. She is currently working on Maggie’s Fork in the Road and Maggie’s Montana.

Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.


You can follow her on:

Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Bradley/389688594534105

Website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com/

Buy Link now available:


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Thursday Threads


Highland Deception


Meggan Connors


20140403 HighlandDeception2_850Title: Highland Deception

Heat Rating: Sensual

Genre: Historical Romance

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3D2JS6/



When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up hope on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares about her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.


She ignored Grant’s angry protests behind her and ran for her husband’s bedchamber. Slamming open the door, she stumbled inside.

Malcolm lay in the great bed. Alone.

Alone. She tried not to speculate about what meant.

His breathing was shallow, as if he’d been running. As the door bounced back and closed, his sky-bright eyes shot up and met hers.

No, not sky-bright. Darker, the color of the forget-me-nots that bloomed in the gardens in spring. The color of the night sky as it lightened with the first rays of dawn.

“Milord.” She gasped for breath.

Malcolm had never looked at her like he did now. This time, when he studied her, it was as if he didn’t dislike what he saw.

Being honest with herself, Malcolm had never disliked her. After all, the term dislike implied a depth of feeling he almost certainly lacked.


Isobel flinched.

Grant was suddenly at her back. “Sir, I apologize. She’s faster than you’d think.” He laid a hand on her shoulder, as if to steer her from the room.

She shook him off.

“Indeed.” Malcolm smiled, and a charming dent in his cheek appeared.

How had she not noticed that before?

“We will leave at once.” Grant took her by the arm.

She wrenched out of his grasp. “I’m not going anywhere. Not until I have my audience.” She glanced around the room and saw no sign of Malcolm’s mistress.

“Lady Mackay,” Grant began.

Malcolm held up his hand. “‘Tis fine, Grant. I can always make time for my lady wife.”

Isobel barked a hollow laugh, alleviating the ache, just a little.

“Are you certain?” Grant’s eyes shifted from Isobel to Malcolm and back again. A wrinkle formed between his brows, and the muscle in his cheek worked as he ground his teeth together.

He’d only ever done that when he was agitated or anxious.

But there was no reason for that, as Malcolm had never truly cared enough to keep secrets from her in an attempt to spare her feelings. Nor had he ever forced others to do the same.

Malcolm’s eyes met Grant’s, and something passed between the two men. Her husband gave Grant a clipped nod. “If you’ll excuse us, Grant.”

Grant released his breath slowly. His eyes narrowed first at Malcolm, then at Isobel. Scowling, he bowed his head. “Mackay,” he said stiffly. He turned to Isobel. “Lady Mackay.”

Isobel watched him go then waited until the door had closed behind him. “So, where is she?”

Malcolm arched a dark brow. “Where is who?”

“You know. Her.”

He lifted a single shoulder, as if she didn’t have a right to know. “I doona ken.”

The silence that fell between them was deafening, damning.

Finally he said, “Your arrival was unexpected.”

She breathed a mirthless laugh. “I have no doubt.” She expected him to look ashamed, but his expression didn’t hold even the slightest hint of remorse. She swallowed against the betrayal rising in the back of her throat and tried again. “Why are you abed?”

“I’ve been ailing. Naught to fash yourself over.”

She approached his great bed tentatively. “Ailing how? Has your cough worsened?”

He glanced down at his coverlet and then brought his gaze back to her face. “For a time, aye. I believe I’m on the mend now.”

Isobel pressed her hand to his forehead, then his cheek. His skin felt cool beneath her palm, if a little damp.

His breath hitched, then he cleared his throat. “Satisfied? As you can see, I am on the mend.”

“Perhaps,” she whispered. She ran her hand around to the back of his neck, then descended to his back.

He wore a thin linen shirt, unsuitable for the cool nights of the Highlands in late fall. She placed her hands between his shoulder blades. He was thinner than she remembered, but there was no mistaking Malcolm’s unique strength.

“Breathe,” she said, and then reminded herself to do the same.

“I hardly think—”

“If you want me to leave you be, you will appease my curiosity. Breathe.”

Malcolm tilted his head up and studied her.

She fought the desire to look at him for as long as she could before meeting his gaze. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw something in his eyes she hadn’t seen before.


“Breathe, milord.” Heat spread up her neck to her face, and, to keep her free hand from shaking, she clenched a fist. The warmth of his body seeped through his nightshirt, scalding her hand not with fever but with something else.

The corners of his lips tilted upward before he smoothed his features. He paused for a moment too long, then held her gaze as he took an extended, deliberate breath.

She shoved the raging emotions aside and forced herself to view him as a person who needed her help.

She felt no hint of the cough that had been nagging him before she’d left.

Swallowing hard, she slid her hand between the linen and his skin, against his chest.

His heart rate kicked up.

“Breathe.” She struggled to force the word out.

I feel nothing. Nothing. He needs my help.

She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing, feeling the rise and fall of his chest beneath her hands, the steady beating of his heart. His skin scorched hers.

Her mouth dried, her tongue thick and heavy. She removed her hand. “You seem to have mended nicely.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strangled.

His gaze searched her face. “Aye.”

Isobel cradled her hand against her chest and stepped back from the bed, nearly tripping over her own feet. “I will leave you now, sir.”

Malcolm gave her a clipped nod. “Very well, my lady wife.”

“I—I will be in my chambers should you require me.”

He didn’t laugh, as he normally would have. “Then I shall find you there if I do. Or I will send for you.”

She backed up a few paces, bumped into a trunk, and immediately turned her attention to her skirt, trying to smooth wrinkles undoubtedly permanent from long days of travel. It was better than looking at Malcolm.

“By your leave.” Her eyes locked on the floor as she dipped into a hasty curtsy and fled.

The moment the door closed behind her, she put her back against the cold, stone wall, cradling the hand that had touched him as if she had injured it.

She’d touched his skin, felt the heat of his body, and the responding heat of hers.

He hadn’t forced her hands away. He hadn’t mocked her.

Instead, for the first time since their marriage, he’d called her wife.


Where to find Meggan Connors20150528 Meggan Connors



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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Is shining on



Juanita Aydlette

20150527 It's in the Blood

Scheduled for release on June 17th


When Gabrielle Madsen accompanies her parents on a three month trip to Africa, she is in for a pretty unique summer. As a botany major in college, her first interest is to hopefully discover a new plant species during her visit. Her discovery, however, tips her world on its axis.

Being a very naïve and dangerously curious young woman, she accepts a sight-seeing invitation from strangers that she met in her hotel lobby. This little escapade sets off a chain of events that changes the course of her life forever.

She instantly falls for one of the group’s members named Joshua Van Ness. Very quickly, their relationship excels.

Joshua and his twin sister, Christina, are descendants of an ancient Brazilian tribe, and they have a secret. Gabby’s curiosity about Josh heats up and puts her life in danger. Will the dark forces that wish to possess Josh and his sister—view Gabby as an extra bonus?

Is this summer love worth the risk?



“Wait, Gabby!”

I looked back but continued to run, treading the sharp rocks that stabbed at my arches. I was being tailed at a safe distance by the young boys from the village, carrying their metal-tipped weapons. My foot got caught on a vine and I went down face-first. My cheek throbbed violently and I wiped away a sticky substance with the back of my hand. Opening my eyes I realized I had bumped my face, falling on Josh’s knee cap. He was lying on his back with blood smeared wounds and muddy clothing nearly torn off. He was conscious, but not one area of his body appeared to have escaped injury.

“Help him!” I sat on the wet ground and placed Josh’s head in my lap. The village kids looked on in horror at his left eye—swollen closed, and his right pectoral muscle—hanging open like a partially peeled banana. They did an about-face and widened the distance between us.

“Will they be, okay? I didn’t mean to scare them.”

“They’re much better off than some of us.” Mike frowned at Josh.

“Goddammit, Josh,” Chris shouted. She knelt down beside us and inspected his oozing wounds. He opened his eyes, looked past me and scowled at Mike.

“Why did you bring Gabby here? They attacked the village. It’s too dangerous here for her and you know it.”

“We went to her house looking for you after you stayed gone so long.”

“No way were they gonna leave me behind,” I said. Wait a minute—they who?” Josh hesitated for a moment before answering.

“Two lionesses came across the river.” He moaned in pain as Christina wrapped him with some tape that she had in her back pack. “It’s very rare that a pride would cross the river like that—unless they’re being driven.”

“They’re in search of a new leader, maybe?” Mike lifted his eyebrows while rubbing his newly grown chin hairs. “They could have escaped from the cat sanctuary, though.” He gave Josh a side glance.

“Whatever the reason, the villagers have always been safe here and now they’re not. The lion’s territory ends at the river and they will not cross over again—two of them won’t, at least.” Josh realized the impact he exuded with that statement and he anticipated my next question. This was as good a time as any to let on that I knew his secret, but I wasn’t prepared for things to backfire on me.

“How far are we from the village—can you walk?” Mike reached down to help him up.

As Josh lifted his head, the puncture wound on my leg from one of the large thorny bushes started bleeding. He raised his body up and gazed into my eyes, wiping away the stream of blood with his finger and placing it into his mouth. He smiled. My body shivered as he stroked my cheek, and he marveled at my confused expression.

“What’s wrong, Josh?” He didn’t answer, he just stared.

A rustling in the bushes caused us to switch to defense mode. We turned towards the noise, armed with back packs, scissors and a nail file. Four tribesmen stepped out from their positions behind the trees. They carried a bed made of animal hides wrapped securely around two poles.”

“Your ambulance waits,” Mike said. We helped Josh up and loaded him on the cot. His back exposed deep gashes as well. Chris tied some gauze around my leg when I stood up. No significant amount of blood was present, but the insects were having a field day. The men lifted him up and began walking and the three of us followed close behind.

“Were you expecting this, Chris?” I examined her face with scrutiny.

“Expecting what?”

“You expect me to believe that you just happened to have packed gauze, antibiotic cream, bandages and suture scissors in your back pack? Give me a little more credit than that!”

“Gabby, you don’t understand.”


Watch for the release of this book from Soul Mate Publishing.

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