Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review of One Naughty Night by Joanne Rock

One Naughty Night
ISBN: 0-373-69151-3

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Download for Kindle & NOOK:
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Harlequin Temptation, Single in South Beach series
November 2003 / Re-released digitally February 2014

One naughty woman…
The sweet, innocent blonde on the dance floor is way out of her league in this hot, singles club. And the minute Renzo Cesare recognizes that, his protective instincts step up to the plate while he tries to rescue her. If that means pretending to be Esme Giles's blind date, well, so be it. But before he can escort her to safety, she starts whispering some not so innocent suggestions in his ear. How is a guy supposed to be noble when all he can think about is hitting the sheets?

One naughty man…
Esme Giles is turning over a new leaf-starting with a seduction. Sure, it's a bold move for her reserved self, but one look at her sexy date and she'll do almost anything to convince this hottie to spend a sizzling night with her. Too bad he's the wrong man! But Renzo's red-hot kisses convince her that she's found the right man…for more than just a night!
And a bed that's just right!

First of all, let me say, I want a Renzo!  What a great hero!  This sexy Italian guy isn't just a gorgeous body who falls for the heroine of the story.  His family values and strong, protective instinct are just as attractive as his good looks.  Joanne Rock amazingly brought the sweet together with the sensual and turned up the heat at just the right moments.  Esme was a heroine I could relate to in her struggle to remain independent and strong, yet allow herself to let go and be vulnerable in order to fall in love with the right guy.  I'll be rushing to snatch up the other books in this series and any others by Joanne Rock. This book earned Five Stars from me!

Happy Reading and Writing!
Cherie Marks

Friday, February 14, 2014

Join in for Joanne Rock's Get Tempted Tour

Get tempted banner
Get Tempted… with four of Joanne Rock’s Temptations!

This is my stop during the Get Tempted book blitz. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.
Joanne Rock writes sexy romance for Harlequin Blaze. Now, for the first time, you can read the books that launched her career before Blaze-- Joanne’s fun and sexy Harlequin Temptation novels in Kindle and NOOK! Read her Golden Heart winning book, Learning Curves and her first RITA finalist book, One Naughty Night, which is also her most reprinted book around the world. All of Joanne’s Temptation books won multiple awards and paved the way to her long career in Blaze. Join her as she celebrates this fun walk down memory lane with hard-to-find books you’ll love!

learningcurvesLearning Curves
By Joanne Rock

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult

Blurb:
Sociology scholar Madeline Watson can't wait to undertake the study of human mating rituals for her dissertation. Too bad the university thinks upstanding Madeline has spent too much time in the ivory tower to undertake such an earthy subject. Now she needs to shed her good girl image in a hurry, and she knows just the man to help her.
Mechanic-turned-business mogul Cal Turner might teach part time at the university, but he's definitely not ready to provide the proper Miss Watson with the kind of lessons she's looking for. Besides, despite his long-standing reputation as a rebel, Cal is ready to turn his life around now that guardianship of his younger sister is on the line.
Once Maddy decides to turn herself into bad girl extraordinaire, Cal has no choice but put out the fire in her wake. Will he be able to bring her to her senses, or will he get caught up in the blaze along with her?
Learning curves Excerpt:
…For the first time since he'd picked Maddy up at her doorstep, Cal allowed his gaze to travel slowly up her legs and over her curves in the dim lights from over the garage's reception desk. The professor wanted love lessons?

Well, by God, he'd do his best to make sure he taught her well before she found herself another tutor. No way would he let this sweet woman fall into the hands of some slam-bam-thank you-ma'am clod.

She flashed him her "A plus" grin, making his mouth go dry as chalk dust. Her faith in him was a bracing reminder that this woman wasn't just another fling. No matter how scientifically professor Maddy approached this business of seduction, nothing would ever be the same between them after tonight. He had to make their time together something she would never, ever forget.
"What about tonight's lesson in seduction?" He had been wanting to touch her for four years. He didn't think he could wait for her any longer.

At the door, she paused. She looked up at him with her most infectious bad girl grin. "I've decided there would be nothing more seductive than to learn among pink bubbles."

Oh, God. Where on earth did little Miss Innocent come up with erotic ideas like this? He waited for a moment, trying to envision how he could accommodate her without getting them both killed by twirling brushes.

"Please?"

Her soft request undid him, made him ready to slay dragons or heavy car wash equipment if need be. He leaned over her, powerless to keep his hands off her another minute.

Her eyes closed when his hand brushed around her waist, tangling in the length of her silky brown hair. She slid slender arms around his neck. Cal braced himself on the glass door behind her, the thrum of the machines vibrating though the barrier and up his arms to shake his whole world.
Her lips tilted toward him. He wanted nothing more than to accept that tempting offer and lose himself in her kiss, but first he would make sure this was one lesson she'd never forget. He scooped her off her feet, into his arms and backed them through the service door…


You can find Learning Curves on Goodreads

You can buy Learning Curves here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
revealed (1)Revealed
By Joanne Rock

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category Adult

Blurb:
A bachelor party seems an unlikely place to find romance, until the best man runs off with the reluctant stripper…
When her costume ends up falling around her ankles in an impromptu striptease, Jackie Brady realizes she just sang to the wrong party. Somehow these bachelors weren't expecting "Happy Birthday"-even if it was a rather revealing rendition. But the steamy look in gorgeous best man Greg De Costa's eyes tells her he's more than pleased she crashed the party. So what harm would there be in accepting bachelor number two's seductive invitation?
Greg is spellbound by this sexy singer-even before she loses her costume! He definitely wants to know more about the sensual Jackie. But, through a not-so-funny twist of fate they're working together and he's vowed never to mix business with pleasure. Too bad the memory of her scorching kisses has him forgetting about his good intentions…
Revealed Excerpt:
Jackie started to panic when her tail fell off for the third time. Thank God for duct tape or her fuzzy pants could have well been down around her ankles before she danced her way into the restaurant.

She finished her costume adjustments and smoothed her glued-on whiskers just as the elevator doors slid open. Careful not to tread on her ailing tail, she stepped into the penthouse level eatery of a downtown Boston brownstone. Now all she needed to do was locate the birthday boy, sing her telegram song, and then she could reclaim her Friday night as her own.

So what if her stint as a singing telegram wasn't exactly rocket science? It paid more than her daytime work as a copywriter. Both jobs were only a means to an end anyway. She was prepared to abide a few sacrifices to achieve her dream of being a composing children's music.

Besides, there was a certain nobility in any job that involved making people happy. A nobility that could scarcely be diminished by the kitty ears perched on her head.

The squeak of her tennis shoes on the polished wooden floor resounded throughout the dining area. Patrons paused between bites of mozzarella sticks and greasy chicken wings to note the cat woman strolling in their midst.

Not that Jackie cared.

But then, she'd been causing too much commotion all of her life. There was the time she decided to sing the elements of the periodic table for her science fair project. Sure she'd ruffled the feathers of all the kids who'd made robots, but she'd taken second place at the state competition. Then, just last week she'd gone out on a limb at a singing audition by transforming a rendition of a melodic herbal store jingle into a semi-tuneful Tarzan-inspired jungle cry.

Jackie was no stranger to turning heads. Or taking risks. Sometimes they paid off, like the science fair victory. Sometimes they landed her back on the pavement singing telegrams, as last week's unsuccessful audition proved.

Still, she wondered how she'd gotten suckered into this last minute singing assignment when all she'd wanted to do tonight was recharge her creative batteries and develop some new song concepts. She'd had an idea rattling around in her brain-- some rough lyrics for a new diet soda commercial she would polish and put on her demo tape. But the Zing-O-Gram office temp had sounded so desperate when she'd called, Jackie had no choice but to cover tonight's late breaking gig.

Just her luck, she had to be the only Zing-O-Gram employee on call without a date lined up for a Friday night. Nothing new there. Sure she had plenty of offers. Heck, the cat get-up on its own could usually elicit a few dinner invitations in the course of an evening.

But never from the right sort of guys. Jackie wanted a man who knew how to have a good time— someone who cared more about following his heart and his dreams than the Almighty Buck. Boston was full of gorgeous men, but they all seemed to be on a relentless career fast track that Jackie refused to enter.

Too bad.

She would locate Gregory the birthday boy, sing him a cute song for his special day, and be on her way back to her solo Friday night. She'd be fine without a man in her life, and she'd be fine getting through tonight's performance.

Assuming she didn't burst a seam on this two sizes too small cat costume first.

Jackie took slow, shallow breaths to ensure the black fuzzy suit stayed in place. She could handle this as long as she kept her song in a manageable octave. Those high notes had been known to strain even the best of seams-- she sure as heck wasn't about to try shattering any glass outfitted in this feline shrink-wrap. She'd just keep the tune in a comfortable range and she'd have no problem staying in her garb.

She was singing a simple ditty at a birthday party for a six-year old boy. What could possibly go wrong?

You can find Revealed on Goodreads

You can buy Revealed here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
tall_dark_and_daringTall, Dark and Daring
By Joanne Rock

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult

Blurb:
Her dare
Tessa O’Neal has taken on her sexy old flame, Mitch Ryder, as a client. That means she has to spend the next seven days in this man’s constant company and not fall into his bed. No problem. They may have once set the sheets on fire but she can definitely resist him. After all, that was then, this is now and she got him out of her system long ago.
His challenge
Mitch has never forgotten the passionate time he spent with Tessa. And he wants to relive it. So before the week is up, he’s going to use every sensual secret he knows to seduce her back into his arms. But their hot embraces are more powerful than ever and now they’ll have to decide if they’re daring enough to extend their week…
Tall Dark and Daring Excerpt:
"So you'll take a truth over a dare?" Ines asked Tessa, crossing her braceleted arms.

"Any day." Tessa would much rather reveal some inane secret of her past than sing a chorus of 
"It's Raining Men" out on the South Beach strip.

How much trouble could she get in with a simple game over drinks with her girlfriend?

Ines smiled. "Remember, you have to tell the truth."

Tessa sighed. "I hope you don't expect me to cross my heart and stick a needle in my eye and all that."

"I trust you. You still want to take the truth?"

"Sometime today. Yes." Tessa stared down at her empty ring finger where Rob's engagement diamond had rested just this morning.

"Are you still in love with Mitch Ryder?"

The name blasted away all thoughts of Rob and his ring.

Mitch Ryder. The first man she'd ever been with. The man she couldn't help but compare all others to.

The wretch who'd ditched her to travel the world with a snowboarding team.

Her foggy brain realized she was taking too long to answer. "What kind of question is that?"

"It's the kind I want an answer to," Ines replied as she waved away their waiter.

"I can't answer that," Tessa returned, indignant on her own behalf. "That was eight years ago!" She waved the waiter back and ordered another round. She refused to make this a night of sappy regrets.

Ines leaned across the table when their server left. "Then you have to take a double dare."

"Fine." She was too annoyed to care about the consequences of a double dare.

Of course, she most certainly was not still hung up on Mitch Ryder. She'd had one husband and one fiancé since then, so how could she be? The point was, she just didn't want to discuss Mitch with anyone.

Especially not with Ines who could pry confessions from a priest if given half a chance. Besides, Tessa knew she might harbor just a little affection for the guy-- even if he had walked away from the hottest affair ever to scorch across the Northeast.

"Are you sure you don't want to just answer the question?" Ines prodded.

The next round of drinks arrived, and Tessa raised her shot glass full of jiggling cherry alcohol in mock salute. "That chapter of my life is closed and I'm not talking, so bring on the double dare, girlfriend. I'm ready."

Ines retrieved her purse from the floor and pulled out a manila file folder with the Westwood Marketing seal on one corner. "Then I'd like to reopen the book, so to speak." She passed the file to Tessa.

A business dare? It was unlike Ines to challenge her with something so mundane, and something Tessa would actually enjoy. Tessa loved a good test of her marketing skills.

Curious, she opened the file and stared down at the business name on the cover sheet.

Mogul Ryders Snowboards.

Proprietor: Mitch Ryder.

"Meet your new client, Tessa. I'm sending you to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York for your last week on the job." Ines sipped her wine as calmly as if she'd just announced she'd decided to paint her bathroom. "I hear there's lots of snow on the ground."

"What?" Tessa's heart kicked up a rhythm so fast her blood outpaced the salsa music. Ines expected her to go back to the scene of her long ago affair and work with the man who'd turned her world upside down? "That's not a double dare, Ines, that's blackmail!"

"You are right that's not a double dare, querida. That's just the first part."

"There's more?" The file folder fell closed in her hand as Tessa waited for the other shoe to drop. She suspected the bunny hop would be a walk in the park compared to whatever torture Ines had cooked up.

"Si." Ines's self-satisfied grin revealed every tooth. "I dare you to stay out of his bed for the whole week, Tessa."

A week? Last time she hadn't been able to stay out of his bed for three days. The man was a walking aphrodisiac.


And somehow, Tessa had the feeling she'd just agreed to a lethal dose.

You can find Tall Dark and Daring on Goodreads
You can buy Tall Dark and Daring here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo

one_naughty_nightOne Naughty Night
By Joanne Rock

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult

Blurb:
One naughty woman…
The sweet, innocent blonde on the dance floor is way out of her league in this hot, singles club. And the minute Renzo Cesare recognizes that, his protective instincts step up to the plate while he tries to rescue her. If that means pretending to be Esme Giles's blind date, well, so be it. But before he can escort her to safety, she starts whispering some not so innocent suggestions in his ear. How is a guy supposed to be noble when all he can think about is hitting the sheets?
One naughty man…
Esme Giles is turning over a new leaf-starting with a seduction. Sure, it's a bold move for her reserved self, but one look at her sexy date and she'll do almost anything to convince this hottie to spend a sizzling night with her. Too bad he's the wrong man! But Renzo's red-hot kisses convince her that she's found the right man…for more than just a night!
And a bed that's just right!
One Naughty Night Excerpt:
…Renzo could not, should not, would not, get any more involved with Esme. The whole charade had been ill conceived and it would be least embarrassing for all parties concerned if he simply said good night to her right now.

Just as soon as he knew she was safely inside her room.

Once they cleared the Moulin Rouge Lounge and hit the bank of elevators, she paused, fishing in her purse.

"I'm on the fourth floor in the Sensualist's Suite. Maybe I'd better find my key." She shook her purse as the elevator arrived. Apparently convinced the key lay within the white satin bag, Esme began the search with determination etched on her delicate jaw line.

"The Sensualist's Suite?" He had no idea why he tortured himself by asking as they stepped inside the elevator.

Maybe because liars deserved to be tortured.

Withdrawing the plastic card from her bag as they soared up to the necessary floor, Esme's cheeks flushed lightly. "It's the kind of room that has to be seen to be believed. I had no idea the accommodations here were so…" Her eyes darted about the tiny elevator cabin—outfitted in soft brown suede walls and decorated with a fake leopard print covered bench— as if in search of the right word. Finally, her gaze landed on him. "…so sexy."

His body twitched in reaction to the word rolling off her tongue. In reaction to their proximity in the quiet privacy of the small space.


The torture had officially begun…

You can find One Naughty Night on Goodreads
You can buy One Naughty Night here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo

About the Author:joanne rock
Joanne Rock fell in love with reading at a young age and stayed out of trouble- mostly- as a teen thanks to long stints at her local library where she routinely checked out as many books as a bicycle basket would carry. She still pronounces all the names of the Greek gods incorrectly because she learned them through reading- a small price to pay for the vast amount of knowledge she gained from books! She started writing when the voices in her head kept her awake at night, demanding she tell their stories. A successful romance author and former Golden Heart winner, she’s penned dozens of books for a variety of Harlequin series and has been nominated for the prestigious RITA award three times. Her work is reprinted around the globe and has been translated into twenty different languages. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s cheering on her three sons in sporting endeavors of every variety.

You can find and contact Joanne here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Pinterest
- Tumblr
- Amazon author page

There is a tour wide giveaway for the Get Tempted book blitz! This giveaway is open International. These are the prizes you can win:
- Grand prize, which includes: Shayla Black's Strip Search, a special 2-in-1 Harlequin Blaze of Tawny Weber's Midnight Special and Coming on Strong, autographed special 2-in-1 Blaze of Joanne Rock's My Double Life and Wild & Wicked, A Soldier's Christmas holiday Blaze anthology featuring Leslie Kelly, Karen Foley and Joanne Rock, mini journal, wallet and Victoria's Secret Very Sexy body mist.
- 4 e-copies of My Secret Fantasies by Joanne Rock
Blitz prize, Joanne Rock

Enter the rafflecopter below for a change to win
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lost in Valentine's Day? Get Lost in New Falls for $.99 for a Limited Time

Love is in the air! Or at least currently in the stores since Valentine's is so close.  Everywhere you go, it's hard to avoid. So, why fight it?

Little known fact about me--I was meant to be a Valentine's Day baby, but I came a week early.  Pretty much the only time I've been early in my life!

And I just can't help myself.  I'm in the Valentine's Day spirit. For a limited time, you can get Lost in New Falls for $.99 at all the major e-tailers (of course, at this time, B&N is still holding strong at $3.99, but I'm hoping it will fall in line with the others).

Not a bad way to celebrate a quick, little holiday about one of my favorite subjects--love.


Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
BN
Kobo

Happy Reading and Writing!

Cherie Marks

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lost in New Falls--Sunday Snippet on Monday!

Let's cut to the chase.  Here's a look inside the Small-Town Contemporary Romance, Lost in New Falls.



Over…so over. Her life was over. Her career was over. As the sheriff’s deputies tromped around the little cabin her grandfather deeded to her last year, they catalogued missing items, but all Kate Delaney could focus on was the one major electronic that was everything to her—her laptop. She wasn’t sure how she’d managed to swallow a barbell, but it felt like one was lodged in her chest. It was gone, along with all she’d written over the years. Her articles and essays, short stories and even a novel, but the one that hurt the most was her newly-finished, just-edited, ready-to-send screenplay. She’d finished it two weeks ahead of her deadline, and it was the one. Not like every other piece she had written, this one would cement her name in the Hollywood community. Just one problem—along with her laptop, jewelry, MP3 player, a vase of flowers, and various other things, some infernal criminal had made off with it.

“Did you notice anything missing from the bedroom, Ms. Delaney?”

She unfolded her hands and lowered them from her mouth and nodded. She cleared her throat and bit her lip. It was a tad embarrassing. “An alarm clock, a pillow, and…uh, well, whoever it was, cleared out my underwear drawer.”

“You had valuables hidden there?”

If only. She took a deep breath, but the breath caught in her throat at the sight of the hulking man as he stepped through her door, one shoulder at a time. Anybody but him. Her heart began to pound. Quentin Taylor’s badge glinted on his shirt as he nodded to a few men in her kitchen, then he sauntered over to her and the young deputy standing beside her. His looks had grown more devastating over the past ten years, and she had to tell him exactly what the thief had taken out of her underwear drawer. Whoever it was ran away with her silky lingerie, leaving her with only the bra and panties she currently wore. What in the world would a thief want with her skivvies? It was just a tad creepy, to say the least.

As he stopped before them, planting his hands on his hips and moved his gaze from Deputy Johnson to her, no light of recognition glowed, and she was almost relieved. Maybe he wouldn’t remember her. Sure, New Falls, Tennessee was as small a town as they came, but she had changed considerably over the ten years she’d been away. Considerably.

“Frank, what we got here?”

His deep voice rolled over her like a beam of sun magnified through a window, and her abdomen twisted and fluttered with all the old nerves he’d inspired in her when she was a little younger. It really wasn’t fair that he still had all his light brown hair, smooth tanned skin, and a broad chest that narrowed to a lean waist. Was it too much to ask for him to have a pot belly, a receding hairline, anything that would make this humiliation less…well, humiliating? Instead, he looked the same. No, he looked even more gorgeous, and though it stung he didn’t recognize her, it would be best for all if he never remembered her and that night so long ago.

Of course, the odds were in her favor. Where he’d remained pretty much the same, she’d changed—really changed. Back in high school, she’d been the funny, chubby girl—everyone’s friend, but no one’s girlfriend. She’d grown up here, so she’d played her role, not realizing another option was possible, but the minute the chance arrived, she left and reinvented herself. She’d gone to California, attended USC in Los Angeles, began eating better and exercising until she’d lost fifty pounds. And although she was far from rail-thin, she felt confident in her looks. At least until Quentin sauntered into her little writing cabin.

“Well, Sheriff, someone waited until Ms. Delaney exited the premises and broke inside, taking various items that she’s currently listing for me. She was just going over the bedroom items. You were saying about your underwear drawer?”

She could feel her cheeks heat, and she had a sudden nervous urge to reach for something unhealthy but oh-so-tasty. She’d left emotional eating behind long ago though, so instead, she inhaled deeply and answered, “No valuables missing from the drawer, just the,” she cleared her throat again, “contents.”

Both men went still, their faces frozen, mouths open and for the briefest of moments, Quentin’s gaze roamed down her body and back up, lingering in a couple places. She could almost revel in that until she recalled it was Quentin.

“You mean they took your underwear?”

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Do I have to spell it out for you? Panties, bras, and other lingerie all gone.”

Their looks were laughable, but she just wasn’t in the mood to yuk it up when someone out there had her life’s work in his or her grubby hands, and her desperation to get it back ate at her just enough, she was willing to work with Quentin. Once they closed their mouths, both suddenly became very interested in the report in the deputy’s hands. She had the irritating urge to roll her eyes and stomp her foot. This was getting them nowhere.

“Kate Delaney? Your name is Kate?”

Here it comes. “Yes.”

He studied her again, disbelief apparent in his golden-flecked green eyes. If he was waiting for her to confirm they knew each other, they’d be standing here until the cedar smell wore off the log walls around them. She wasn’t saying anything.

“You can’t be the Katie Delaney I know.”

Oh, she most certainly was, but some dark part of her wanted to hear him say why she couldn’t be the same girl. Was she too thin? Would he even go there?

She put it out there to see what he’d do with it. “One and the same.”

“Wow! Look at you! You look amazing.” Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so bad he recognized her, but appreciation for the moment couldn’t be enjoyed properly since her world was currently flipped upside down.

“Thanks. I guess I’ve changed.” She knew she had, and he could put his tongue back in his mouth any time now.

He seemed to gather himself and ran a hand over the back of his neck. Yeah, he definitely remembered her. “Kate, you look amazing.”

“You said that already.” The awkwardness grew, and as much as his uncomfortable clumsiness made her smile, this wasn’t going to help her get her laptop back. She had to get the focus back on the problem at hand. “So, what’s the plan to find my stuff?”

He stared at her for a few more minutes before shaking his head and glancing back over the report. “We’ll investigate our usual places, and there’s always a chance in this small of a town, we’ll recover some of your stuff. But, the bad news is, it will take some time.”

She pulled a hair tie from the pocket of her jeans and began to smooth her hair off her face, quickly pulling it off her neck in a high ponytail. “Look, I’ll be honest with you. Most of it is replaceable, and I couldn’t care less, but it is absolutely imperative you get one thing back for me. Without exception, I have to have my laptop.”

“We’ll do our best, Kate, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you.”

Great! What now? Could she replace her laptop and re-type the script in two weeks? Ha! As if. She scrubbed her eyes and resisted the hopelessness welling up and threatening to dissolve into all-out tears. It was a little much to absorb on top of her grandfather’s illness. When the doctor informed her of her grandfather’s condition, she’d flown to Tennessee the next day. Fortunately, the Spelling-type TV show she’d written for rolled tape for good. It hadn’t seemed like a blessing at the time, but it freed her up to come back to New Falls just when her grandfather needed her. Once she was here, she’d kept a low profile, and finishing her script helped to relieve the stress of watching her grandfather slip closer and closer to the end. Just this morning, she’d gone to the hospital, and he’d slept throughout her visit. They were managing his pain at this point with heavy drugs, so the moments were rare when she actually spoke with him. Now she was more stressed than ever.

They walked through the five rooms of the cabin until she didn’t notice anything else missing, and they had a tally of everything in her refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and closet. Quentin sent the deputies out and pulled her into the kitchen. His familiar spicy scent tickled her nose, and feelings she’d thought she’d suppressed years ago surfaced.

Arms crossed, backside leaning against the tiled countertop, he stared at her intensely, and she felt like a slice of decadent chocolate cake. Maybe that was just her former food-addiction speaking.

“It’s been a long time. Crazy circumstances. Last I heard, you ran off to California, never to be seen or heard from again.”

She shrugged. Had he wondered about her after she’d gone? Part of her thrilled at the idea, but before she got too excited, she reminded herself who was doing the wondering. “My grandfather’s not doing well. I feel horrible about it, but he’s been in a nursing home the past three months, getting worse each day. The doctors don’t think he’ll last the week. I keep trying to get a hold of Reese, but he doesn’t answer my calls.”

“I’m sorry to hear about Bowden.” Her grandfather had practically helped raise Quentin after his father left for good, so she knew his sympathy was sincere.

“Thanks.”

“How is your brother?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t talked to him in six months or more.”

“He went up to Chicago or somewhere, didn’t he?”

“Indianapolis.”

He shifted his feet, bracing them apart meeting her gaze again. “You alright staying here by yourself?”

“I’m a big girl, Sheriff. If I need you, I’ll call the station.”

“It’s just Quentin. We go back too far for anything else.” She didn’t disagree but had no intention of getting on a first name basis with him ever again. He didn’t push the point. “Well, just to be on the safe side, for a couple nights at least, I’ll have one of my deputies drive up this way and check on you a couple times a day.”

“Don’t bother. Whoever it was took all the good stuff. I don’t have anything else valuable for a return visit. Besides, from the sounds of things, I won’t be staying in New Falls for long.”

One side of his mouth lifted slightly, causing a flutter to sway deep in her belly. “Do you think we’ll have time to catch up before you go?”

She didn’t know whether to laugh or freakin’ flip him off. Really? Did he really believe she wanted to catch up with the man she’d thrown herself at only to be completely rejected? Unless she caught some heretofore undiscovered crazy bug, she had no intention of catching up with Quentin Taylor, now or ever.

Fortunately, she wasn’t forced to decide because her cell phone vibrated with one of her favorite P!NK songs. She cringed as she glanced at the caller ID, which glowed with the number of her agent, Claire Strong. She hated to break bad news to people.


Happy Reading and Writing,

Cherie Marks

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top Ten Things Never to Eat Directly Out of the Schiller Fridge--M. J. Schiller Stops By!


Top Ten Things Never to Eat Directly Out of the Schiller Fridge

Cherie was gracious enough to host me today and then foolish enough to give me free rein over a top ten list. ;) This is the result. As we meander through the holidays we often have plenty of leftovers from the entertaining we do, so I compiled a list of the Top Ten Things Never to Eat Directly Out of the Schiller Fridge.

10) Open jars of pimentos. (I only use these for two dishes, so chances are, they’ve been in there a while!)
9) Anything that has changed forms (from liquid to solid, from solid to liquid, etc.)
8) Yogurt containers shoved to the back in order to gain access to something less healthy.
7) Anything that looks like it may have been left out on the counter for an extended period of time and then returned to the fridge, because nine out of ten times, it has.
6) Anything that can complete this sentence, “I didn’t know we had_________.”
5) Things partially wrapped in foil.
4) Anything that looks like it came from the school cafeteria where I work, unless you can match it up with that week’s calendar.
3) Anything that has an obliterated expiration date. (Hint: it’s probably expired.)
2) Half-eaten jars of salsa. (No telling when that puppy went in there!)
1)  Anything that has grown since being put into the fridge (whether it be from added ice crystals, mold, roots, or toxic gases).

Now that you’ve totally lost your appetite, how ‘bout something to read to distract you? Here’s a blurb for my new romantic suspense rock romance!



Blurb:
Heath “Hawk” McGowan is a young, single, cop and father. Jasmine Barrett is the rock star who has just discovered her best friend murdered in her own bed.  Jasmine, or “Jazz”, as her fans call her, is not at all what Heath expects when he first meets her. Anticipating having to work with a prima donna, he is surprised to find her sweet and completely unassuming, in addition to being as sexy as her onstage persona. After outlining a number of reasons why he shouldn’t become involved with her—the top reason being he is the lead investigator in the murder of her best friend—Heath finds that he can’t stop himself from falling in love. 

Things heat up between the two, especially after Jazz discovers another body in the condominium’s garage, and her terror drives her closer to Heath. Will Heath be able to solve the murders before Jasmine becomes the next victim? Or will he save Jazz, but at the same time, lose his heart to her?

EXCERPT:
The brass had called Lieutenant Heath McGowan in on the case because it was a splashy, high-profile murder. He knew how to handle VIPs with diplomacy, and still not let them walk all over him. A rare talent he’d heard, especially when it was found in one so young. It was a skill he had often been called upon to put into use, as in cases like this one, in which a woman had been murdered in the condominium of the famous rock star, Jasmine Barrett.
The detective flashed his badge at the door of the condo as he crossed the threshold. His partner, rookie detective Adam Cozwell, followed on his heels. Heath was sporting a grey blazer, stretched to the maximum over his upper body, and matching grey pants. Underneath he wore a bright blue shirt with a wide collar that lent his slate gray eyes a bluish tint, something his brother had teased him about earlier in the evening.
The suit screamed cop so loudly showing his shield at the door had been superfluous, especially since he was acquainted with the uniform posted there. But, regs were regs, and he was trying to set an example for Adam.
The opulent condominium was humming with police life, as he’d known it would be. He could feel his pulse begin to beat a little faster with the excitement of a new case. Crime scene technicians were busy doing what they could to record the scene, but had been told to leave things as they were until he arrived. He said a quiet hello to those he knew by name as he passed them and nodded to those he recognized from other crime scenes. The whole time his eyes were taking in details and recording them, an attribute that had earned him the nickname “Hawk” or “Hawkeye.” Some guys on the squad would probably be hard-pressed to come up with his given name, but “The Hawk” was known in circles wide and small.
Now his keen eyes took mental note of the plush white carpeting that still had vacuum trails visible in it despite the large amount of traffic that had been in and out. He surveyed and logged in his mind, a list of the expensive looking furniture in neutral colors, along with pricey glass and wrought iron tables. Very few personal items graced the walls and tabletops, though he saw a large black and white print, perhaps an Ansel Adams, hanging on the central wall. It was an interesting shot of bare trees along a walkway lined with empty park benches.
On the large beige couch he spotted her, Jasmine Barrett, or “Jazz,” as her fans called her. She did not look at all like her press photos or videos, where she was usually clad in scanty clothing with wildly flowing hair and her legendary pouting mouth parted suggestively. Instead, she wore one of those big, fluffy white robes often found in luxury hotels, provided one had the means to stay there. Her hair was not even shoulder length, he was surprised to find. After thinking it over, it made sense she might wear wigs as part of her “image.” The color was not a flamboyant blond or red, as he had seen in the past, but instead it showed a rather staid brown color, although it was wet, which probably muted the hue some. In the call she had placed to the precinct, Jasmine Barrett had stated she had been in the shower prior to discovering the body. Some junior officers had chuckled and wolf-whistled at that, for which he felt compelled to chew them out, despite the fact he had some rather steamy fantasies about that famously fabulous body himself on the way over to the scene.
As he watched her, he noticed the slight tremble in her slender hands as she clutched a white coffee cup and then attempted to raise it to her lips. No doubt someone had slipped something in there to calm her down, but her eyes still shone with terror. She alternately glanced around at all the faces surrounding her, and then stared at the empty table in front of her. Her damp hair was wavy and slicked back away from her pale face, offsetting her large eyes and wide, red lips. She lifted those eyes and caught his for a second. Hers were an arresting shade of green. And, indeed, he felt like his heart had been cuffed and read its rights for a minute as he peered into them, but then her gaze darted away. He saw anguish and horror and disbelief in her eyes, something that never failed to strike him to the core when he met a victim.

BIO:
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh, can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has an eighteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and sixteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

You’ll find M.J. Schiller at:
You can buy BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE at:
BN and Amazon.


GIVEAWAY:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Into Winter Romance Blog Hop

I write romance, and I mostly share this information with other romance writers or readers.  Occasionally though, I tell someone who is not necessarily familiar with the genre, and their misconceptions are laughable.  You'll notice there are only five items on the list this time.  This is because I had to have some space to clear up the misconceptions.  So, here are the top five misconceptions about romance writers.  I might have exaggerated...just...a...smidge ;-)

5.  Misconception--The ideas for stories come from our little, secret perversions.

     Reality--My perversions are BIG and out there, baby! (Okay, I've been married to the same man for fifteen years, and he's still my best friend and fave person to be with, so no hidden perversions here).

4.  Misconception--All romance writers are un-happy, love-starved housewives who need an outlet for all their pent-up frustration before they explode.

     Reality--I have a Master's Degree and a professional day job.  See previous item concerning my level of happiness and frustration concerning my love life.

3.  Misconception--All romance books are full of heaving bosoms, throbbing loins, and wistful sighs.

     Reality--As a genre, romance has come a long way.  There are many types of romance for all kinds of readers.  From chick lit to urban fantasy to romantic suspense to Inspirational, the choices are endless, and the heroines are multifaceted.  Gone are the simpering damsels in distress.  Now, she'd be more likely to kick his throbbing loins just for looking at her heaving bosoms until he was wistfully sighing for his crushed boys below, if you know what I mean.

2.  Misconception--Romance stories are the easiest genre to write, and anyone can write one.

     Reality--Pull all your fingernails and toenails out with a pair of pliers, pluck each of your hairs out one at a time with a pair of tweezers, and pull your bottom lip over your head until you can taste the back of your neck(I stole and modified that last one from Bill Cosby), then you'll know the pain and frustration a romance writer encounters trying to write a publishable story that appeals to a wide audience of readers and might make a little money.

1.  Misconception--Romance writers sit around in feather boas, pink fuzzy slippers, and eat bon-bons all day.

     Reality--Okay, this one is soooo true (or at least I wish it were).

There you go. Some major misconceptions about romance writers. If you're not running for the metaphorical door at this point, I hope you'll check out my latest release and re-release:
Former fat-girl, Kate Delaney left New Falls heartbroken. She’s spent ten years in Los Angeles, but is back, fifty pounds lighter, California hotter, and has a Hollywood mega-producer interested in her script. One problem—a nerve-nuking thief absconds with her laptop, attached USB, and the contents of her underwear drawer, and the heart-breaker from ten years ago just walked through her door.

Amazon
KOBO
Excerpt
Months after he stole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist. Each comes with a motive: Luke intends to win Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up. Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire? 

Amazon $.99
KOBO -Currently FREE!
Excerpt




Don't forget to check out the TWO giveaways on my blog. My personal blog giveaway--Two $5 Amazon Gift Cards, Two copies of Lost in New Falls, and Two copies of Into the Fire.  And the Grand Prize Giveaway for the Fall Into Winter Blog Hop.

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Don't forget to check out the other blogs:
Happy Reading and Writing!
Cherie Marks

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Top Ten Reasons Zombies Make Great Friends


It's been a while since I've done a Top Ten List, but here's one I've been hanging onto for Halloween. Though it's advisable not to kiss these friends, even on the cheek, here are the Top Ten Reasons Zombies Make Great Friends:

10. No pesky appointments getting in the way of hanging out. They're always available.
9. Not worried about outward appearances.
8. Other than a few interrupting grunts, they make great listeners.
7. And they never bore you with their problems (remember this is about them being good friends, not you).
6. They don't expect presents during the holidays.
5. Matter of fact, they have no expenses. Talk about never having to pick up a tab.
4. You can always blame bad smells on them.
3. You no longer need a security system.
2. They're not usually name droppers even though they've more than likely starred in some horror movies and possibly have been highlighted on The Walking Dead.
1. They'll never send you annoying memes on social networks.

There you go! Ten reasons why zombies make great friends and an annoying meme to...well...annoy your friends on social media with.

Happy Reading and Writing!