Summoned – Cover Reveal

Welcome back, folks! And, for any first-time viewers, hi, and welcome to my blog!

It’s time for my first cover reveal of 2014! This is for Rainy Kaye’s upcoming book, Summoned. Below that, you’ll find the link for a giveaway and the option to receive a notification once Summoned is out!

Dun…

Dun…

Dun…!

align_cover_full

Click here for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card; if you’d like to be notified when Summoned is released, poke this.

Good luck to all who enter the drawing!

Are you excited for Summoned? What do you think of the cover?

Periphery Review

 Image

“Ida Peck was nearsighted. REALLY nearsighted. She had been burdened throughout her life with wearing thick glasses, and was nearly blind without them. So when her best friend, Leonie Williams, suggested that she have laser surgery to correct her vision, she thought that was a pretty appealing idea.

And the surgery succeeded — perhaps too well. Because once Ida had her eyes fixed, and was able to enjoy something she’d never had before — peripheral vision — she began to see things out of the corner of her eye. Things no one else could see. Her friends and her eye doctor all tell her that this is no problem, that it happens to everyone, that she’ll get used to it, that the little shadows and patterns of light you see in your peripheral vision aren’t real.

Unfortunately, Ida finds out fairly quickly that even if her friends can’t see what she sees, the creatures in her periphery are very real indeed.

Even more alarmingly, Ida discovers that once she became aware of the creatures in the shadows, they became aware of her. And when one of them starts to follow her around, and causing trouble for her and her friends, she decides that maybe having laser surgery hadn’t been such a good idea, after all.

Set in the village of Broussard, Louisiana, “Periphery” is the story of three good friends, whose unflinching loyalty to each other leads them to take on the monsters that lurk in the shadows.”

Like half the books I have, I can’t recall how I stumbled across this to save my life. I do remember, however, that I found the cover and synopsis interesting. I often consider the things I see from my peripheral vision, wondering just how real they are in this world.

As for the book, what you see is definitely what you get in this case. By that I mean that it’s a short, fun read. If you’re seeking something of this nature that delves deep into the mythology at the core of it all, I don’t recommend this. However, if you simply want a fun story about the power of friendship and how even the best of ideas can have consequences, you just might enjoy Periphery! Personally, I’d love to read something with more depth and detail, but I did not dive in expecting such from this short tale.

As for the writing itself, it’s very easy to read and understand. The typos I saw were very small mistakes that, while still noticeable to me, did not distract from the story.

I’ve heard many people say that it’s impossible to become attached to the people in short stories. I think that’s bullshit; like with longer works, I’ve found it to be a personal thing with each story. In the case of Periphery, I didn’t become attached them. That’s not to say I didn’t feel something, but I think the strongest emotion I felt was annoyance towards Karen.

Above all else, I found myself very interested in the folklore, but, unfortunately, that was one of the most lacking parts.

Again, if you’re looking for a quick read, I think this might satisfy your taste.

Overall, I rate Gordon Bennet’s Periphery 3 out of 5 stars.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Review)

Image

“Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.”

Jay Asher stated that the idea for his debut novel began to grow while he was listening to audiotapes. This has been stuck with me since I read it, as I find the idea of a voice, a fragment of a person, stuck in time, forever a memory, and an echo to anyone who will listen, very beautiful, haunting indeed, and bittersweet. This is exceptionally true in Hannah Baker’s case, in my opinion. These recordings are remnants of her soul, echoes from beyond the grave…they are reminders of the best and worst memories Hannah experienced leading up to her death. With that said, let’s talk about the reasons…the 13 reasons why Hannah killed herself.

Well, okay, I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, but, rather, I want to talk about what I feel is necessary to be fully engaged in this book. You, dear reader, need to take a step back and, while still forming your own opinions and such in the back of your mind, tap into Hannah Baker. Of all the (mostly 1-3 star) reviews I’ve seen of this, there’s not a single one that didn’t at least mention, if only in a footnote of sorts, that Hannah’s reasons are ridiculous, no reason at all to commit suicide, etc. Folks, I cannot stress this enough, so listen up: do not look at this through your eyes. Do not go through the motions and assume that her reasons will make sense to you! Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter that you don’t think her reasons were enough, not in my mind. If you do not tap into her as she tells her story, as she explains the last impressions made upon her, than perhaps you’re just wasting your time. To put a finer point on it…this is not about you, me, or anything/anyone else! This is about Hannah Baker and her reasons. Tap into her, allow her echoes to fill your soul, and, for fuck’s sake, see through her eyes. It will help you understand a bit better. It will help you grow. I don’t think you’ll ever see the world the same…

Ah, I suppose I should include this so that my review isn’t just me screaming at people… Asher has done a magnificent job of combining descriptions of places, people, and events; I had no trouble at all seeing every single detail in my mind…just as I didn’t have a problem feeling even the slightest prick. This is a very emotional novel, and it left me feeling nothing short of raw. The pain (AKA most of the novel), the anger, guilt, the sparse moments of joy…everything came in tidal waves…I did not have to search for it.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you have not, I strongly recommend that you do so. Sooner rather than later. This is an incredible debut, and it’s an outstanding novel in general. Read it, reread it, let it suck you in and rip you apart. It’s a very powerful tale, and I’m so glad I read it.

Well done, Jay Asher. You, sir, have a gift, and I truly hope you continue to wield it!

I rate 13 Reasons Why 4.5 stars!

*Two things… I read this in 2013, but, despite my efforts, could not post my review any earlier than today. Also, it should be noted that Hannah’s tapes can be found here. I just discovered this today, and my breath hitched in my throat. I know what I’m doing tonight!*

Happy New Year!

|Cate|

Self-Checkout

Hahahaha I laughed so hard! This is truly wonderful. Brilliant!

five by five hundred

It feels like forever while I wait for the guy buying three different kinds of organic peppers and one vine tomato to figure out how to punch in the produce code into the keypad and realize that he’s not supposed to weigh all four fucking fruits together at the same time and then I still have to watch him struggle with swiping his god damn credit card and screwing up the system that I start to consider running for office entirely on a political platform that pledges to require  all potential Self-Checkout users at the grocery store to be licensed before they can be let loose in the lines.

When he’s finally finished fucking up my evening, I step up to the machine and swipe my savings card on the score. “He-lloThome.Well-comeback.,” intones a clunky mechanical voice that vaguely resembles some concept of femininity. “How-was-the__Elli-osPiz-za__that.You.pur-chasedAt__two. Twenty-Seven. Aye-Em___To-Day?”

“Uh, fine. Thanks…

View original post 299 more words

Book Extravaganza (Promotional Tour)

Book
Extravagaza Tour
with
Kindred
Night School Vampire Hunter Book 2
The
Life and Times of Noone In Particular
The
Skeleton Key
By
– in order of books above
Michelle
Cornwell-Jordan
Jamie
B. Musings
C.P.
Bialois



Tour Wide Giveaway – $25 Amazon Gift Card & 1 Cecile Monique Music CD

About
Michelle Cornwell-Jordan
Michelle
Cornwell-Jordan is a YA Paranormal Author.
Her
titles: Reahket (Co-written with Author Danny Jones)
Michelle
is also the author of the YA novella series Night School Vampire
Hunter trilogy.
Series
includes:
Night
School Vampire Hunter novella #1

Released date March 2012
Kindred
(A Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy novella) #2

Released date November 2012
Redemption
(A Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy novella)

#3 Released date spring 2013
Works
–In-Progress
Chrysalis
(Full
Length) Released date spring 2013
Hunters
Series
novellas
Released date summer 2013
Ame
Academy’s Paranormal

novella series summer 2013
Michelle
Cornwell-Jordan is also the producer of the online radio segment
IndieReview
Behind The Scenes
,
where she and her co-host Jamie B Musings interview Indie Authors and
Musicians.


About
Jamie White
JamieBMusings
is a music addict, book lover, pet servant & NaNoWriMo survivor.
When she’s not busy writing posts for 
CultureShock,
she’s taking pictures for her new obsession (That Photo Blog) and
spending time with her husband and pets.


Her
first book, The Life and Times of No One in Particular, was released
in May.


P Bialois’ love of
words began as a small child when his father bought a stack of comics
to teach him the reading skills he wasn’t mastering in class.
Before long, he was reading at an advanced level and teachers were
shaking their heads over the unconventional method.
Growing up in the ‘80s,
Bialois was exposed to even further inspiration through the popular
cartoons of the day. Transformers, in particular, sparked his
imagination and led to him put his first stories on paper. After a
decades-long break, Bialois began getting back into the world of
writing by joining some role-playing groups. These groups taught him
about fleshing out characters and building worlds that stuck with him
as he began writing short stories for fun.
To his surprise, Bialois
would end up completing his first full-length novel,
Call
of Poseidon
,
in 2007. Armed with a finished product, Bialois began working on
another book,
The
Sword and the Flame
,
unsure of what he would ultimately be doing with either. As with many
others in the later part of the first decade of the 2000’s, he
found himself out of work and looking into new options. Over the next
two years, he would spend most days at the library, completing an
additional half-dozen works.
Two books later, Bialois
is planning for the release of many more and enjoying the feedback he
receives. The up-and-coming author takes inspiration from favorites
such as Steven King, Tom Clancy and Sue Grafton. His love of history,
fantasy and old monster movies has also served as a muse.
When he’s not busy
writer or chatting on his social networks, Bialois enjoys watching
Hockey and Football as well as Metallica DVDs. He currently lives
with his wife- a fellow writer- and their fur children. CP Bialois is
also active in several South Florida writing groups, as well as the
online writer community.


Publisher:
Michelle Cornwell-Jordan

Genre:
YA Paranormal

Release
Date: 11/24/2012

Amazon|Barnes
and Noble
|Smashwords
Blurb:
The
Kindred is the second novella in The Night School Vampire Hunter
Trilogy.


Angel
and her friends at Ame Academy, a boarding school for preternatural
and humans are back, and they are preparing for battle against the
dark forces that kidnapped Angel’s younger brother Jordan. Angel
had recently discovered that she was a Hunter and that she alone has
a special weapon against her enemies; her blood, which is discovered
to be toxic to her enemies. Angel is prepared to use her training and
all that is at her disposal in order to save Jordan, even if that
means joining forces with the strange and mysterious Rafael, who at
their first meeting, she recognized him as the boy she had dreamed
about for weeks prior to his arrival at the school. Angel cannot
shake the feeling that she knew Rafael before, and is hopelessly
drawn to her extremely handsome fellow hunter.

Rafael
frightens her, he hints of a secret; another time and another life
lived.


Can
love survive two lifetimes?


Events
unfold that provides the answers to who Rafael really is and what
they mean to one another; and along with these strange and blossoming
emotions for Rafael, along with guilt and fear for her brothers
safety; Angel discovers that she is more than just a Vampire Hunter,
and that she plays a major role in a ancient prophecy, which she must
fulfill by facing an a force so evil that survival is not
promised.


But
she will face the Dark One, Angel will sacrifice all, if it means
saving all whom she loves.

Many
questions are answered, but the drama is just
beginning….


Amazon|Barnes
and Noble
|Smashwords
Kindred Excerpt:

A thought came into my head and I turned, pinning Rafael with a please don’t mess with me right now…or I’ll rip your heart out stare. I said, “When we first met, you said we knew one another that you were with me when I was little, that we’ve always known one another…always…l-l-oved one another…” I quickly tuned out the others in the room, not wishing to focus on the reactions of the others…although I did catch the big smile from Elin; an incurable romantic it seemed. I knew this should have been a private conversation, but deep down I felt Rafael knew what was happening; I wanted to know what he knew…
He looked at me, with one of those intense, smoldering I’m a hot guy, and I really know what this look is doing to you stare…but I wasn’t going to allow it to affect me. I simply held his gaze in a stable, strong manner…and hoped I didn’t look like a deer in the headlights… he sighed and said, “Do you really want to talk about this here?” Rafael looked at me intently, leaning forward, resting his forearms on his knees…hands pressed together in the steeple formation that everyone uses to signify they are deep in thought.
I said quietly, “Yes.” He looked at me again, and I swear, if he didn’t stop looking at me that way, I would completely forget what we were talking about. He stood up, and crossed the room and came to stand in front of me—did I happen to mention how close he was? Well, enough that I felt a little uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t step back, and I refocused. I needed to hear what he had to say.
I knew you because I am ThunderKin; yes, I knew who you were and what this meant in the war coming Samhain…”
Okay,” I said trying to digest that here stood one of the legendary Thunderbirds…I saw how his eyes glowed, now appearing that unearthly golden hue; a worried expression passed over his features, and I wondered what worried him. I said, “And the rest about knowing me?”
I knew you because…” he said as he reached out, placed his hand on the side of my face, and leaned in close, lips almost touching. He whispered, “I knew you because you are my destiny…my mate.”
Really can you believe this?

Genre:
Satire
Amazon

Beware
the muse with a chip on her shoulder.

Muses
are often called uncooperative, grumpy, lazy beings who abandon a
writer when they’re needed most. Now, one of them has decided to tell
their side of the story. Meet Clarissa, a muse who has spent
centuries trying to inspire artists who sometimes are too stubborn to
listen to her.

What
is your muse trying to say to you? Clarissa might just be able to
answer that…


The Life and Times of Noone Inparticular Excerpt:
So why do they happen? Like I said, some people are not opening up to their muses so they can’t hear the messages we’re trying so hard to get through. They are some that are tuning out because it’s just easier to take someone else’s work and modify it. Others aren’t doing it because they’re afraid of falling flat on their faces. With a proven name, you’re
guaranteed an audience. What if you do an original movie, show or song and no one likes it? I’ve heard it all a hundred times. Some of the most high-strung people I have ever met in all my years of doing this were entertainment executives.It’s like they’re afraid to be human or to have the actors and musicians they hire do the same. I gave up on them years ago. They always take the safest route possible. The safest route might make it easier to get rich quick, but it’s usuallythe most creatively boring.

Fear hampers the creative process and makes it harder for us to get through to our charges. That’s the one most important piece of advice you need most, take it from a muse- relax. Art doesn’t just inspire or teach here and there; it’s supposed to be fun, too!
Music- “Merry Go- Distressed” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0” http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/3.0/”]


Publisher:
CP Bialois
Release Date: 10/23/2012
Genre:
Horror/Suspense
Amazon

Blurb:From
the imagination of CP Bialois, author of Call of Poseidon and the
Sword and the Flame series, comes a collection of short stories
filled horror and suspense. Nothing is as it seems in the world
around us. Join us as we step through the doorway and into the unseen
workings of our world. With each story, Skeleton Key will warm your
heart with a brother’s love, break it with the ultimate betrayal,
and bring the shadows around you to life.


Keep
telling yourself it’s only a book, and maybe that sound you heard
will be just a tree limb scratching against the window. Be sure to
read the paper in the morning, as it may save your life. And never,
go into a room without something to defend yourself with. Most
important of all, relax and have fun.



Skeleton
Key Excerpt:

Camping
101 excerpt
The
one that comes to mind is about a family that went camping one
summer, not too long ago. They settled in by their fire, much as
we’re doing now, huddled together and sharing blankets. The night
was clear and you could see all of the stars.” He motioned to the
cloudless sky and stars, which could still be seen despite the fire.
“The same as tonight.”


Unknown
to the family, there was a secret military facility at the base of
the mountain where they were experimenting on volunteers. The men
that volunteered did so to help their country, but what was done to
them…” He trailed off, shaking his head before continuing. “Is
beyond description. Earlier that night they managed to escape,
killing a handful of guards before escaping into the woods. Just as
the family settled in for the night, the bushes around them rustled
and the seven men burst out and seized the family.”


Did
they kill ‘em?” Jason’s eyes were wide as were the rest in the
group. Lester knew he had them right where he wanted them.


Slowly,
Lester nodded. “They tore the people apart with their bare hands
and began to eat them. That was how the men were found an hour later,
sleeping with full stomachs and dried blood coating their faces,
hands, and chests.”


What
happened to the men?” This time Eric spoke, his face was the only
one of the group that hadn’t gone pale.



Lester
sat back and let out a deep breath, his hand dropped to the machete
propped next to him against the tree. “They took the six of them
back to the compound where they still are as far as anyone knows. The
incident was covered up and blamed on a hitchhiker, turned serial
killer.”

Scratches
Excerpt
Lee
nodded, “Exactly, here I thought I had found paradise. But then
I guess no matter where you find it, paradise has to have a serpent.”


Elias
looked at him with a worried look. Thoughts of Slasher films danced
through his head. “Is there something wrong here, Lee?”


Lee
shrugged, “Dunno, depends on whether you believe all them ghost
stories. People always come up here lookin’ fer the ghost of the
little girl, but they never find her.”


Meredith
felt a little chill go through her. “A little girl’s ghost?”


Lee
nodded and puffed on his pipe some more. “That’s right. A little
girl supposedly heard scratching at her bedroom window one night and
opened it. Next day she was found dead by her brother. No one knew
what to think or believe. There was no signs of struggle, no sign of
what happened besides deep scratch marks on her windowsill. Since
then, some say her ghost can be seen by the lake, but those that see
her don’t live to tell about it.”


Meredith
remained quiet for a moment. Her own mind was thinking of the stories
of missing children in the paper on a daily basis. “Do you
believe those stories?”


Lee
stayed quiet for a few seconds before shaking his head. “Nah,
for the simple fact that how’s anyone to know you died if you see
her, if no one’s lived to tell about it? Nothing more than campfire
stories, if you ask me.”



About
Artist Cecile Monique
With
her powerful, yet angelic voice and unmistakable charisma, Cecile
Monique is a multi-talented musical artist ready to make her mark on
the international music scene. Cecile Monique is not only an
accomplished vocalist; she is also a skilled writer, composer, and
arranger of her own original music. Her years of formal classical
vocal training provided the foundation, but her singular
creativity…
,
diverse musical influences, and her fresh, youthful style have
provided the fuel to create the distinctive fusion of rich,
classically-influenced vocals with modern, innovative instrumentation
that exist together in perfect harmony and have become Cecile
Monique’s signature, genre-bending sound.

In addition to
her impressive musical talent, Cecile’s cosmopolitan personality
and multicultural roots (half European and half Hispanic) also
broaden her appeal to an international audience; Cecile is fluent in
several languages and has recorded and performed songs in English,
Spanish, French, Italian, German, Czech, and Latin.

In 2010,
Cecile Monique was awarded the prestigious FACTOR New Talent Award in
support of her self-titled EP release featuring three of her original
compositions, which was recorded at Metalworks Studios, Canada’s #1
recording studio. With the launch of her new EP now available on
iTunes worldwide, and a myriad of new projects on the horizon, Cecile
Monique is a rising star poised to become an international
phenomenon!

Contact
Cecile Monique


Cecile
Monique Speaks about Kindred (A Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy
Novella)
Listen
Now!
Listen
To Immortal Beloved!
You
Tube Video

Follow the tour and Tweet each day for Extra Entries.
January 10 – VBT Cafe’ Blog
January 10 – Impressions of a Princess
January 10 – AZ Publishing Services
January 11 – BK Walker Books Etc.
January 12 – Infinite House of Books
January 13 – Free eBooks Daily
January 14 – Hywela Lyn
January 16 – Marketing Cafe’
January 18 – Mass Musings
January 20 – BK Walker Books
January 21 – Lost To Books
January 22 – Reviews & Interviews
January 23 – Lori’s Reading Corner
January 24 – Writers with Books
January 27 – The Writing World
January 29 – Brooke Blogs
January 30 – VBTC Authors On Tour
January 31 – The Avid Reader

A Monster Calls review

It’s rather hard to find the words for this… This is such a powerful story, there’s nothing in this world that I can say to farther enhance it or make it come even more alive.

First, I suppose I should start by saying how much I love A Monster Calls. All of the lessons, each and every moral, hits home in some way, some more than others. Let me be perfectly clear: no, I have not lost anyone to cancer. A friend does have a small tumour, benign, but that’s not even close to being the same. I have, however, lost people, whether to death or time. We’ve all lost people in one way or another. People die every day, people move out of our lives just like we are but mere apartments. Letting go of anyone, in anyway, is something that that individual has to deal with on their own. My reason for saying this is due to some comments that no one would react to loss in the way Connor does. Excuse me, who the hell do you think you are? It’s quite impossible that you know how every single person reacts, so you don’t really know what you’re talking about, do you? I think these opinions might be influenced by Connor’s age, as he’s only nine years old. I was younger than that when I first lost a loved one to death, and I reacted in a very similar way. Almost on the dot, really. How you react, how I react, how the homeless man on the street corner will react, it’s personal. Or perhaps it’s not so personal, but it’s still a personal reaction. Connor is extremely brave, but that doesn’t mean others who react differently are cowards. We all have to deal with loss; we all have to deal with pain. How you choose to, that’s up to you, and I’ll not badger you for it. I ask for the same in return.

Enough about that. This book, this magnificent tale… I can’t find the words to sum up just how much I love it, how glad I am I stumbled upon it. The detail, the characters, the ideals… This is definitely going to linger with me for a very long time. The writing is simple. The type of simple that I love. Patrick Ness, you’ve done a marvellous job, and I salute you, sir. I think Siobhan Dowd would be very proud of this.

On a more personal note, I wonder if it’s too late… Is it ever too late? I don’t think it is… Many moons have come and gone, but perhaps my own monster will come walking soon.

I look forward to reading more from both Ness and Dowd, who’s idea for the book this was. She passed away before she could pen it, though. Yes, cancer.

I’d recommend this book to…anyone. Everyone. All who will listen, all who have a moment to spare, read this book.

Cate

The Elf Who Saved Christmas Review

This is yet another tale by Rebecca M. Senese (shush), although this one isn’t near as short as the others I’ve reviewed. It is, however, definitely up there with my favourites, second only to Writer’s Block.

In her typical, engaging style, Senese spins a tale of love, sacrifice, corruption, greed, and hope as one elf races against the clock to save the North Pole and, ultimately, the world.

Several morals rest in these pages, one of the most prominent being sacrifice. Whether it’s for a friend, an employer, a family member, or the good of the world as a whole, most people have at least one person they’d give everything for. Those who live at the North Pole are no different. Whether you’re an elf, reindeer, the man in red himself, or one of the people waiting up for the man to come down the chimney, you likely have someone in your life that you’d do anything to protect in every way.

This is, as I’m sure you can guess by the name and the setting, a story about Christmas, but I don’t think this should stop anyone from reading it…whenever they want. I began reading it on the tenth, finished it on the thirteenth (co-reading A Monster Calls, which I’ve almost finished).

Senese combines her knack for horror with an ultimately sweet tale, and she does it very well! I enjoyed this story a lot, one of the best things, to me, was Senese’s dedication to the horror. She built the suspense very well and, when it came time for sheer horror, it was unrelenting.

If you have read this story or you plan to, I hope you enjoyed/will enjoy it as much as I!

Until next time,

Cate

Final Post for The Sullivans Tour

This isn’t the final day of the tour, but it is my final post! The excerpt from Come a Little Bit Closer by Bella Andre, so here you go! Please enjoy, and don’t forget about the giveaway!

Enjoy the following excerpt for COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER…

 

 

Gravity was the story Smith Sullivan had been waiting his entire career to tell. It wasn’t a big-budget, smash ’em up blockbuster. Nor was it a period film with impeccably researched costumes and accents. Instead, it was a pure, honest story about love and family and what really mattered.

And he was staking his entire reputation on the deceptively simple story.

If ever there was a time for focus, for pure and total concentration, it was now and through the next eight weeks of filming. He couldn’t afford to let anything—or anyone—distract him from making the best movie he had in him.

Only, as he followed Valentina to his trailer, her waist, hips, and legs gorgeous in her form-fitting pencil skirt, he already knew holding that intense focus wasn’t going to be easy.

Valentina Landon had attracted him from the start with her exotic looks which she downplayed into cool, businesslike reserve. He couldn’t miss the slightly seductive tone to her voice, or the fact that her scent was pure, rich sensuality. If she thought she was putting anyone off with her suits, soft golden hair pulled back into a simple ponytail, and the thick-framed glasses she slid on when she was poring over contracts, she was way off base.

Didn’t she know that all those carefully constructed conservative elements made a guy like him want to find out just how deep her passions ran? Especially when she was so intent on hiding them. Not, of course, that she’d even come close to letting him find out the answer to that question.

During rehearsals, she was always either with her sister or making her way out of a room the second he walked into it. He’d been impressed with her business acumen during the past weeks with regard to Tatiana’s career, as well as how well she took care of her sister on a personal level. Valentina didn’t hover, but at the same time, she was there whenever Tatiana needed her.

As the second-oldest brother in a family of eight siblings, Smith knew just how hard it was to watch over his brothers and sisters while also letting them spread their wings and live their lives without his constant interference. Family meant the world to him, but he craved his independence, and his work, too. It was a constant balancing act, but one he wouldn’t have given up for all the peace and quiet and spare time in the world.

From the beginning of his career just after college, he’d started with whatever scraps he could get and built on from there. He knew people thought he’d been handed his acting career, that his looks had paved the road with gold bricks and Hollywood stars. In truth, those looks had made being taken seriously so difficult that after the first couple of years of countless auditions, he’d almost taken one of the dozens of underwear commercials he’d been offered. Until, finally, an older actor had given him his chance to prove that he was more than just a pretty face. Smith had grabbed that chance with both hands, and when the movie was a box office hit, other doors finally started to open.

It was one of the reasons he’d been so interested in casting Tatiana Landon. Yes, Valentina’s younger sister was beautiful. No question, she was going to be a star, one way or another. But when she worked, he saw several qualities in her that he recognized and admired. Determination. Concentration. And joy.

Yes, he thought, as Valentina threw open his trailer door without waiting for him to let her inside, there was much to admire about the Landon women. Particularly the older sister he hadn’t been able to get out of his head since he’d met her in that initial casting meeting two months ago.

Talk about determination and concentration. Valentina had clearly taught her sister everything she knew. And when Valentina was with Tatiana, when they were laughing together the way sisters did when they were very close, her own joy rang out loud and clear.

Smith had just stepped inside and closed the door behind him when Valentina turned and faced him down.

“My sister is not going to become one of your little playthings.”

Momentarily taken aback, Smith simply echoed, “Playthings?”

Valentina didn’t have the obvious, more conventional beauty of her younger sister, but to Smith that made her face even more alluring. A man had to look under the surface with Valentina, but once he did, he was paid back richly with the contours of high cheekbones, incredibly long, unpainted lashes, eyes that tilted up slightly at the corners, and a cupid’s bow on full lips that couldn’t help but whisper of sex and heat no matter how tightly they were pursed.

Just the way they were right this second, in fact.

“Tatiana and I have been in this business for ten years,” she said in a frosty voice. “I know exactly how this world works, Mr. Sullivan.”

He had to cut her off, then, if only because he hated the way she used the Mr. as yet another way to keep distance between them. Not another damn person on his set called him Mr. Sullivan. He wouldn’t let her do it, either, whatever her reasons for wanting to keep her distance.

“Call me Smith. Please.”

Her mouth tightened even further, her eyes flashing yet again even as she nodded and said, in a very soft voice, “Smith.” Her long, slender fingers twisted in her grip as she stared back at him. “You’re older. You’re successful. You’re extremely good look—”

She stopped just short of the full word and it was all but impossible to keep himself from smirking just a little bit. And from saying, “Thank you, Valentina. I’m glad to know you think so.”

Her eyes widened at the way he spoke her name, with more than a little heat. Any woman looking for his attention would have noticed she had it weeks ago. Then again, she hadn’t been looking for his attention—had stopped just short of running from it, in fact.

Valentina was the opposite of every woman he knew in Hollywood. Instead of trying to draw attention to herself, she worked to keep it away. Smith had transformed himself into so many different characters over the course of his career that he knew all it would take were a few simple changes to her hair, clothes, makeup, and the way she held her body as she stood across from him, to shift her message from back off to come closer.

She was an incredibly intelligent woman. Only, despite that, he didn’t think she realized just how much the mystery of her was drawing him in, making him want to discover who she really was. And why she was so intent on deflecting the male attention she deserved. Especially his.

Nor did she realize just how refreshing it was to finally meet a woman who wasn’t beyond eager and ready to throw herself at Smith Sullivan’s feet. Especially just when he’d been worried there wasn’t a woman alive who could see beyond his fame and all the shiny things that came with it.

Now, as he watched her work to bank her anger, it occurred to him what an excellent actress she would have been. Emotion simmered just beneath the surface of her eyes, her mouth, her skin, all covered with an outward calm that could fool even the closest observer. A shared family trait, though one Valentina had perfected for real life, whereas her sister merely played it out for the camera.

One sister so contained, the other so open.

Smith couldn’t help but wonder—had Valentina sacrificed her own openness so that her sister could have such freedom?

She gestured to the pile of phone numbers that littered his desk, her upper lip curling slightly. “You have plenty of women falling for you. More than enough for any man to enjoy making his way through.”

If he hadn’t been in a hurry earlier that morning, he would have thrown the numbers away instead of just dumping them on his desk. With anyone else, he likely would have explained just that. But he found he didn’t like having to defend himself to Valentina, especially when he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I meant it when I told you I wanted you to come to me if anything was wrong,” he said in an even voice. “I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to pull me aside this morning, but I’m afraid I don’t yet understand what’s bothering you.”

“I’ll tell you exactly what’s bothering me: You and I both know the power you hold. We also both know that my sister is perfect in this film.”

He nodded in agreement. “You just heard me tell her that.”

“And it meant the world to her.” But instead of looking happy about it, a flash of deep-seated worry crossed Valentina’s face. “Tatiana looks up to you. She has never been so committed to a production. All she wants is to do her best for you, and I know she’s going to give a thousand percent to do just that.” Her gaze was direct, unblinking, as she said, “And in return, I want you to give me your word that you will not cross any professional lines with her.”

Damn it, he hadn’t signed Tatiana to star in his film with nefarious plans of seduction. He’d signed her because she was a great actress who was going to get better and better.

Were it not for two unfounded accusations in the span of minutes, he would have taken the time to answer Valentina more carefully. But as it stood, she’d been questioning his honor since the first second he’d met her sister. Silently, perhaps, but it had been there nonetheless.

His honor was everything to him, and now he felt like a bear poked one too many times by a long stick, coming out of his lair grumpy and with teeth bared in warning. Which was why he gave her an answer he knew was bound to aggravate more than soothe.

“Your sister has already signed the contracts.”

Instead of backing off at what many people would have construed as a warning, Valentina came closer to him, so close that he could smell the lavender in her shampoo.

“I asked around about you before we signed on for this movie. Everyone told me you were different.” Her eyes slid again to the phone numbers on his desk, then back to him. “But you’re just the same as everybody else, aren’t you?” Fire leapt to new heights in her eyes as she told him, “I don’t give a damn what she’s signed. If you do one single thing to hurt my sister, if you dare toy with her emotions or her body, I’ll—”

“Damn it, Valentina,” he said in a voice loud enough to break through to her, “I’m not going to seduce your sister!” He had to work to gentle his voice as he said, “Tatiana is young and beautiful and I’m going to work like hell to make sure she wins an Oscar for her performance in my movie. But I don’t want her.”

And yet, even as he reassured her about his intentions toward her sister, there was no way for him to keep the silent words I want you from hanging in the air between them.

He was sure that was what had her taking a step away from him as she said, “I saw the way you grabbed her and kissed her after the scene. And I saw the way she looked at you—like you hold the key to the secrets of the universe.”

It was because he had two sisters and a mother he loved that he realized just how badly he’d misplayed this situation with Valentina. Instead of going on the defensive and throwing the signed contracts in her face like the big bad movie star who only had to snap his fingers for the world to fall at his feet, he should have done whatever he could to reassure her that Tatiana was in safe hands.

“Your sister did such a great job with the first scene that I got excited, and I wanted her to know how thrilled I am to be working with her. But I honestly don’t think she took my enthusiasm for her performance in the way you thought she did.”

He could see that Valentina was still wary, but she took a deep breath and finally backed down enough to say, “I sure hope not.”

He’d thought her eyes were a dimmer green than her sister’s, but now he could see that they were a beautiful hazel, a clear green on the inside, deep brown on the outside. Smith had never been much interested in perfect, even less so after so many years in Hollywood where people hired doctors to rip them open and put them back together until they looked like the dolls his sisters had played with as kids.

He was also finally close enough to see the slightly dark smudges beneath the delicate skin under her eyes.

“It’s got to be exhausting being your sister’s watchdog all the time.”

“I’m not her watchdog. I’m her sister and I love her. I—” She sighed, letting her exhaustion come through for a moment. “I just need to make sure she’s safe. Always.”

“Your sister is lucky to have you to protect her, Valentina. But who’s protecting you?”

Her eyes met his again, wide with surprise…and an answering desire that she could no longer effectively mask as her hazel eyes dilated until the green near her pupil pushed out all of the brown along the rim.

Hot damn if he didn’t want to kiss her beautiful mouth as she lifted her chin and her eyes flashed at him one more time.

“I don’t need anybody to protect me.”

She walked out of his trailer without a backward glance.

 

…Excerpt from COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER by Bella Andre ©2012.

Day 6 of The Sullivans Tour

Happy Saturday! Today I bring you an excerpt from Let Me Be the One by Bella Andre.
Enjoy, and keep the giveaway and today’s event in mind!

Enjoy the following excerpt for LET ME BE THE ONE…

Fifteen years ago, Palo Alto High School

Victoria Bennett couldn’t take her eyes off Ryan Sullivan, who was laughing with some of the guys on his baseball team, as she headed through the high school parking lot toward the art store on University Avenue.
None of the other girls in her tenth-grade class could take their eyes off him, either, so at least she didn’t stick out. Not for that reason, anyway. Her clay-stained fingers and clothes—along with the “new girl” sign she felt like she was wearing during her first few weeks at every new school—did that with no help whatsoever from Ryan…or his ridiculously good looks.
Normally, she could have gotten over his pretty face without much trouble. As an artist, she always worked to look beneath the surface of things, to try to find out what was really at the heart of a painting or sculpture or song. That went for people, too. Especially boys who, as far as she could tell, only ever told a girl what they wanted to hear for one reason.
No, what had her stuck on Ryan Sullivan was the fact that he was always laughing. Somehow, without being the class clown, he had a gift for putting people at ease and making them feel good.
Before she could catch herself, she put her fingers to her lips…and wondered what it would feel like if he kissed her.
She yanked her hand away from her mouth. Not just because dreaming of his kisses was borderline pathetic given the utter unlikelihood of that scenario, but because she needed to stay focused on her art.
She wasn’t just another tenth grader mooning over the hottest boy in school.
She was studying her muse.
Vicki had never been much interested in sculpting formal busts before. Old, dead, overly serious guys in gray didn’t really do it for her. But it had only taken a few minutes near Ryan at lunch her first day on campus to be inspired to capture his laughter in clay. She wished she could get closer to all that easy joy—if only to figure out how to translate it from her mind’s eye to the clay beneath her fingers.
Yes, she thought with a small smile, she was perfectly willing to suffer for her art. Especially if it meant staring at Ryan Sullivan.
The light turned from red to green and she could have picked up her pace and made it across the street. Only, she’d been having such trouble getting the corners of the eyes and mouth just right on her Laughing Boy sculpture. Knowing there wasn’t a chance that Ryan or his friends would notice her, rather than leaving the school grounds, she closed the distance between them in as nonchalant a manner as she could, while surreptitiously watching him from beneath the veil of the bangs that had grown too long over her eyes during the summer.
A few seconds later, his friends high-fived him and walked away. Ryan bent down to finish packing up a long, narrow black bag at his feet, which she guessed held his baseball stuff.
What, she wondered on an appreciative sigh at the way the muscles on his forearms and shoulders flexed as he picked up the bag, would happen if she talked to him? And what would he say if she outright asked him to pose for her?
She was on the verge of laughing out loud at her crazy thoughts when she heard a squeal coming from the parking lot. In a split second she realized an out-of-control car was whipping straight toward Ryan.
There wasn’t time to plan, or to think. Vicki sprinted across the several feet between them and threw herself at him.
“Car!”
Fortunately, Ryan’s natural athleticism kicked in right away. Even though she was the one trying to pull him out of the way, less than a heartbeat later he was lifting her and practically throwing her across the grass before leaping to cover her body with his.
She scrunched her eyes tightly shut as the car careened past, so close that she could feel the hairs on her arms lifting in its wake. Breathing hard, Vicki clung to Ryan. Wetness moved across her cheeks and she belatedly realized tears must have sprung up from landing so hard on the grass.
The seconds ticked by as if in slow motion, one hard, thudding heartbeat after another from Ryan’s chest to hers and then back again from hers to his. He was so strong, so warm, so beautifully real. She wanted to lie like this with him forever, more intimately, closer than she’d ever been with another boy.
Only, voices were rising in pitch all around her, and suddenly, the reality of what had just happened hit.
Oh my God, they’d both almost died!
She was starting to feel faint when he lifted his head and smiled down at her.
“Hi, I’m Ryan.”
The way he said it, as if she didn’t already know who he was, pierced through her shock. He acted like it was normal to be sprawled over a girl. Which, she suddenly realized, it probably was. For him.
Definitely not for her, though.
Her lips were dry and she had to lick them once, twice, before saying, “I’m Victoria.” The words, “But my friends call me Vicki,” slipped out before she could pull them back in.
His smile widened and her heart started beating even faster. Not from shock this time, but from pure, unfettered teenage hormones kicked into overdrive by his beautiful smile.
“Thank you for saving my life, Vicki.” A moment later, his smile disappeared as he took in her tear-streaked cheeks. The eyes that she’d seen filled with laughter so many times during the first two weeks of school grew serious. “I hurt you.”
She would have told him no, and that she was fine, but all breath and words were stolen from her the instant he brushed his fingertips over her cheeks to wipe away her tears.
Somehow, she managed to shake her head, and to get her lips to form the word no, even though no sound followed.
His laughing eyes were dark now, and more intense than she’d ever seen them. “Are you sure? I didn’t mean to land so hard on you.”
“I’m—”
How was she supposed to keep her brain working when he’d begun the slow, shockingly sweet process of running his hands over the back of her skull, and then down to her shoulders and upper arms?
One more word. That was all she needed to get out to answer his question.
“—fine.”
“Good.” His voice was deeper, richer, than any of the other fifteen-year-old boys. “I’m glad.”
But as he stared down at her, his expression continued to grow even more intense and she found herself holding her breath.
Was he going to kiss her now? Had her life just turned into the quintessential after-school-special fantasy, the one where the artsy girl caught the eye of the jock and the whole school was turned upside down by their unlikely but ultimately perfect and inevitable pairing?
“One day, when you need me most, I promise I’ll be there for you, Vicki.”
Oh. She swallowed hard. Oh my.
He hadn’t given her a kiss…but his promise felt more important than a mere kiss would have been.
Before she realized it, he was standing up again and holding out a hand to help her up, too. Instantly missing his heat, the hard muscles pressing into her softer ones, all the lies she’d been trying to tell herself about Ryan simply being a muse scattered out of reach.
“Can I walk you home?”
Surprised that he wanted to spend more time with her, she quickly shook her head.
He looked equally surprised by her response, likely because no girl on earth had ever turned him down.
“No, I can’t walk you home?”
She fumbled to explain. “I’m not going home. I was actually heading over to the art store to pick up some supplies for a new sculpt—”
She barely stopped herself from rambling on about her latest project. Why would Ryan Sullivan care? Besides, she reminded her racing heart with brutal honesty, he probably had some pretty cheerleaders waiting on him. And they wouldn’t need an out-of-control car to get him to lie down on top of them.
Because no matter how tempting it was to believe that she had suddenly been cast in a happy-ever-after fairytale romance, the truth was that getting that close to Ryan had been nothing more than a fluke of fate.
And Vicki remained the star of her artsy, and often lonely, move-to-a-new-town-every-year-with-her-military-family teenage life.
Only, for some strange reason she couldn’t understand, Ryan wasn’t running in the opposite direction yet. Probably because he felt like he owed her after she’d saved his life. After all, hadn’t he just told her that he would be there for her one day when she really needed him?
“What are you getting supplies for?” He asked the question as though he were truly interested, not just acting like it because he felt he should.
“I’m making a—” Wait, she couldn’t tell him what she was making. Because she was sculpting him. “I work with clay. Lately, I’ve been trying to capture specific facial expressions.”
“Which ones?”
Never in a million years did she think she’d ever speak to him, let alone have this long a conversation. But, what shocked her most of all was just how comfortable she felt with him. Even with all of her teenage hormones on high alert, Ryan was, simply, the easiest person she’d ever been around.
And she wanted more time with him than just five stolen minutes on the high school lawn.
Her nerves were starting to back off a bit by the time she told him, “I started with all the usual expressions every artist knows best.” She played it up for him. “Tears. Pain. Suffering. Existential nothingness.”
His laughter made her feel like she could float all the way to the art store and back.
“Sounds fun.”
“Oh yeah,” she joked back, “it’s a riot. Which is why I’m trying something different now.” She took a breath before admitting, “I’m working on laughter.”
“Laughter, huh?” He grinned at her. “I like it. How’s it going?”
Being so close to the full wattage of his smile made her breath catch in her throat. In an effort to cover her all-too-obvious reaction to him, she scrunched up her face. “Put it this way, I think I’ve started to resemble all those other expressions.”
“Even the existential nothingness one?”
As if she were watching the two of them from a distance, Vicki knew she’d always look back to that moment as the one that mattered most. The one where she fell head over heels in love with Ryan Sullivan. And not because of his beautiful outside.
But because he’d listened.
And, even better, because he’d appreciated.
“Especially that one,” she replied.
He picked up her bag from the grass. “Sounds awesome. Mind if I tag along?”
Okay, so maybe the two of them didn’t add up on paper, but Vicki couldn’t deny that they had clicked.
“Sure,” she said, “if you don’t have anywhere else you have to be.”
He slung his equipment bag over his other shoulder and walked beside her. “Nothing more important than hanging out with a new friend.”
This time, she was the one grinning at him. In the two weeks since she’d moved to Palo Alto with her family, she hadn’t done a very good job of making friends at the high school. As an Army brat who moved more years than not, she’d stopped making the effort a long time ago when she realized how hard it was to not only break into fully formed cliques, but also to maintain long-distance friendships once she inevitably left town.
Ryan made everything seem so easy, though, as if the only thing that wouldn’t make sense was their not hanging out.
By the end of their trip to the art store and back, she knew all about his seven siblings, he knew she had two annoying little brothers, he’d told her what he liked about baseball, she’d told him what she loved about sculpting, and she’d been invited to dinner at the Sullivan house.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The best one she’d ever had.

* * *

Present day, San Francisco

Ryan Sullivan threw his car keys to the valet as he shot past him. The young man’s eyes widened as he realized that he was not only about to drive a Ferrari into the underground parking lot, but that it belonged to one of his sports idols.
“Mr. Sullivan, sir, don’t you need your valet tag?”
Ryan took his responsibilities to the fans seriously and made it a point never to let them down. But tonight the only thing that mattered was Vicki. Even though a half-dozen missed connections over the years had kept them from meeting up again in person after high school, they’d kept in touch through email and phone calls.
Vicki was his friend.
And he wouldn’t let anyone hurt one of his friends.
Ryan pushed through the dark glass doors to the exclusive hotel foyer and made himself stop long enough to do a quick scan of the glittering room. The Pacific Union Club wasn’t his kind of place—it was pretentious as all hell—and he hadn’t thought it would be Vicki’s usual stomping grounds, either.
So why was she here? And why hadn’t she told him she was finally coming back to Northern California after so many years in Europe?
He’d been hanging at his brother Chase’s new baby celebration when her texts had come in.

I need your help. Come quick.

Ryan had cursed every one of the thirty-five miles into the city from his mother’s house on the Peninsula. He’d texted Vicki again and again to get more information, and to make sure that she was okay, but she hadn’t replied.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so worried about anyone…or so ready to do battle. Vicki wasn’t the kind of woman who cried wolf. She wouldn’t have sent him those texts just to try to get his attention. She was the only woman he’d ever known apart from his sisters and mother who had ever been completely real with him, and who didn’t want anything from him besides his friendship.
His large hands were tight fists as he surveyed the cocktail lounge, his jaw clenched tight.
Damn it, where was she?
If anyone had touched Vicki the wrong way, or hurt her even the slightest bit, Ryan would make them pay.
He was famous for being not only the winningest pitcher in the National Baseball League, but also one of the most laid-back. Very few people had a clue about Ryan’s hidden edges, but it wouldn’t take much more to set him off tonight.
He grabbed the first person in uniform, his grip hard enough on the young man’s upper arm that he winced. “Is there a private meeting room?”
The young man stuttered, “Y-yes, sir.”
“Where is it?”
His hand shook as he pointed. “On the back side of the bar, but it’s already reserved toni—”
Ryan hightailed it through the lounge and it shouldn’t have been that hard to get through the crowd, but it seemed that every single person in the room either got up to buy another drink or was trying to get his attention.
When he found a subtly hidden door just to the side of the bar, he nearly knocked it off its hinges in his hurry to open it.
Ryan saw the flash of Vicki’s long blond hair first, her killer curves second.
Thank God, she was here, and in one piece.
But his relief was short-lived when he realized he’d interrupted her and her cocktail companion just as the man’s hand was sliding onto her thigh.
Vicki jumped off her seat as Ryan strode into the room. The terror that had been on her face when the other man touched her leg slowly morphed into relief at his arrival.
Her companion, on the other hand, was clearly surprised to see Ryan…and he wasn’t happy about it, either. The man was probably in his fifties and was obviously loaded. Or at least wanted people to think he was, holding meetings in a place like this, wearing a handmade suit.
Quickly conjuring up an expression of surprise, Vicki said, “What are you doing here so early, honey?”

…Excerpt from LET ME BE THE ONE by Bella Andre ©2012.

Day 5 – The Sullivans Tour

Day five of The Sullivans tour through Novel Publicity! This is the last day I’ll have anything to combine with an excerpt, so here it is: the third guest post and the excerpt for If You Were Mine. Remember the giveaway and today’s event!

 

Enjoy the following excerpt for IF YOU WERE MINE…

There were half a dozen girls in bikinis waiting in Zach’s garage, but the woman laughing with his dog in her arms, wearing a sweaty, long-sleeved T-shirt and muddy shorts, with a messy braid trailing down her back, put them all to shame.

He couldn’t think of a time he’d ever seen eyes that color, brown with so many flecks of gold that he couldn’t look away. And, Jesus, that mouth of hers, rosy and full, made a man want to do crazy things…like grab the puppy and kiss it all over its drooly, disgusting little face for bringing Heather here today.

He’d been pissed off at Gabe and Summer for dumping the dog on him for two weeks. Now he realized he should thank them, instead.

Unlike most women, however, he could tell Heather wanted nothing to do with him. Fortunately, her dog didn’t seem to have any of the same qualms, especially when he sniffed the glazed sugar on Zach’s fingers from the donut he’d been eating for breakfast.

“Hey, mutt,” Zach said, thinking fast, “I left the rest of my donut on the counter inside. You want it?”

The huge dog’s ears twitched as if he understood, but he didn’t move. Instead, he looked up at Heather for approval.

Clearly, she was gearing up to refuse. But, man, that huge dog could play up the puppy dog eyes when he wanted to. Zach was impressed. He’d have to remember how to do that in the future.

Her dog let out a low whine and Heather finally sighed and said, “Okay, fine. Go.” As she let go of his leash and the enormous dog loped off toward the garage, she followed him, still carrying Cuddles.

“I get that you weren’t prepared for a puppy, but I can’t leave her with you if you’re going to put her in a crate all day. She needs to understand how to stay with you so she doesn’t get hurt by something in the garage. You’re going to need to work on training her to understand your commands. And you’re going to have to do it without yelling at her.” She shot him a hard look. “Ever again.”

He would agree with whatever Heather said just as long as she stayed long enough for him to convince her to give him a chance. He couldn’t remember ever wanting a woman this bad, this fast.

“Hey Chase,” he told his brother, “I’ve got to call off the shoot.”

The models looked at his brother in confusion and Chase told them to take five before saying, “Chloe is going to have the baby any day now, and then I’m out of commission for a while. You sure you want to reschedule?”

Despite her ongoing protests that she was fine, Zach was already kneeling in front of Heather and gently wiping at the open skin on her knee with an antiseptic wipe from a nearby First Aid kit.

“I’ve got to clear my schedule for puppy training.”

“Seriously?” Heather blinked at him like he was driving on three wheels. “That’s why you’re sending everyone home? Isn’t your boss going to be mad?”

“Agnes didn’t mention my last name, did she?”

Her eyes widened with disbelief as she looked from him to the sign on the wall, then back again. “You’re the Sullivan in Sullivan Autos? This is your garage?”

“Don’t worry, I know cars a lot better than I know dogs.”

But he knew women best of all. And, he thought as he slid a Band-Aid strip over her left knee, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on more than Heather’s knees. Because even as he cleaned and bandaged her cuts, her skin was so warm, so soft, so responsive to his touch.

After he slid another Band-Aid strip over her silky smooth skin, he held out his arms. “Now that the shoot’s off, I’m all yours to train.”

Most women would have been pleased by the sensual undertones in his words, or would at least have blushed, but she simply glared at him with icy cool eyes.

Cuddles yawned and curled closer into her chest. What Zach wouldn’t do to be where the puppy was.

She shifted her legs out of his reach. “You can’t cancel your photo shoot. You’ll lose too much money.” She stood up and grabbed her dog’s leash again. “Atlas, it’s time to go.”

Damn it, she was going to leave. Panic gripped him, even though he’d only just met her, even though he could easily find another woman to have sex with. “Heather

She frowned as she looked down at where he was still kneeling on the cement floor. “Since you can’t keep Cuddles here while you’re” She paused to look at the models chain smoking and talking on their cell phones in the parking lot. “—working, I’ll take her to my office. When she wakes up, she can play with Atlas until you get there for our first session.”

She told him the address, then made a clicking sound that had her huge dog following her out of the garage with an adoring look on his furry face.

Zach understood exactly how the dog felt. One sign from her and he’d happily do the same thing.

His brother moved beside him and, together, they watched Heather leave, her long braid swinging behind her, her legs strong and tanned in her shorts.

“Who’s that?”

Zach grinned. “My new dog trainer.”

And, hopefully, a hell of a lot more than that real soon.

 

…Excerpt from IF YOU WERE MINE by Bella Andre ©2012.

Please enjoy this guest post by Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the contemporary romance series, The Sullivans. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards!

Why I Love Family-Based Romance Series

A guest post by Bella Andre

I love reading romance (I read one book a day when I can!), and one of my favorite tropes is the family-based series. I absolutely love Julia Quinn’s historical romance Bridgerton series and have loved taking that idea of the big family into present day with my Sullivan contemporary romance series.

What I love when I read – and what I want my readers to get from The Sullivans – is to feel like they’re a part of the family, and to know each of the characters so well that they can begin to know anticipate what the will start saying and doing at family gatherings. I love it when I’m reading a big family scene and I know, “Oh, this character is going to react like this” or “This character will hate this!” I love it even more when the characters surprise me and I learn new things about them.

One of the advantages of writing a series about a large family is that even as the hero and heroine are having conflict with each other, we can see them being loving towards their families, so we know the depth of love they’re capable of.

There are plenty of big family scenes in my Sullivan books for you to get to know each character, what they’re like, and how they feel one another. Just like a real family, every Sullivan has a special relationship with each of the others. Smith and Sophie are extra close, as are Marcus and Lori. Ryan and Zach are so close in age that they spent a lot of time together as kids and have a special bond as adults.


fall in love

The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We’ve got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW!

You’ll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You’ll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world’s heart.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Sullivans: In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love…usually where he or she least expects it.

Get the eBooks via Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, the iBookStore, or the Kobo Store.

Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.

All Sullivan Covers

Bella Andre_1About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she’d found her perfect career. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they’ll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.

Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.