What I’ve Read, I’m Reading and Will Soon Be Reading

Once a month, I’ll share with you what I’ve read, what I’m reading and what I’ll soon be reading. This month, I’ve got three choice reads I think you should add to your TBR and 1-click lists. All three are by writers who happen to be women of colour, and all three are about love and come at it from different perspectives.

What I have read:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.37.44Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

Publication Date: March 8

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Whiskey & Ribbons and it was unputdownable. It’s one of those heart wrenching stories of love and loss and finding love again that had me feeling emotional for a while. Yes, I had a book hangover. Pre-order it ASAP. 

Synopsis:

Evi—a classically-trained ballerina—was nine months pregnant when her husband Eamon was killed in the line of duty on a steamy morning in July. Now, it is winter, and Eamon’s adopted brother Dalton has moved in to help her raise six-month-old Noah.

Whiskey & Ribbons is told in three intertwining, melodic voices: Evi in present day, as she’s snowed in with Dalton during a freak blizzard; Eamon before his murder, as he prepares for impending fatherhood and grapples with the danger of his profession; and Dalton, as he struggles to make sense of his life next to Eamon’s, and as he decides to track down the biological father he’s never known.

In the vein of Jojo Moyes’ After YouWhiskey & Ribbons explores the life that continues beyond loss, with a complicated brotherly dynamic reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys. It’s a meditation on grief, hope, motherhood, brotherhood and surrogate fatherhood. Above all, it’s a novel about what it means – and whether it’s possible – to heal.


What I’m reading:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.37.09Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Publication date: January 1

I’m nearly done reading Halsey Street and … yes, I know I keep posting about it on Twitter and Facebook, but that’s because it’s a beautifully written novel that I think you need to read ASAP. Review coming soon.

Synopsis:

A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another.

Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.

When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she’s found a semblance of family—and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.

An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.


What I’ll soon be reading:

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 12.36.32.pngThe Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Publication date: January 30

I pre-ordered The Wedding Date a few months ago and I am happily counting down the days until I can read this one. Going on sick leave for an operation on January 23, so I’ll be reading this one while I recuperate. 🙂

Synopsis:

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about each other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century—or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

 

Happy Reading!

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Review: A Summer Affair by Janae Keyes

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 06.47.44I love short stories. I like the feeling of satisfaction I get when I can read a complete story while on my morning commute or during my lunch break. Not every short story succeeds in eliciting that satisfied sensation–the pacing may be too rushed or the characterisation flimsy, but Janae Keyes’s A Summer Affair most definitely succeeded.

With A Summer Affair, Janae gives us a very emotional and relatable story about unexpected love. We meet Ashlee, a wife and author who is dealing with a clingy child and a neglectful husband. We also have Kyle, the author who just happens to be as sexy as all get-out. Of course sparks fly. And we want them to–even when we know they shouldn’t.

I loved the emotional rollercoaster that Janae takes us on. I also loved how she depicted Ashlee and Kyle’s feelings for one another. It came across, for me, as believable and understandable. This was my first time reading a Janae Keyes book and it definitely will not be my last.

My rating?

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What’s Kim Reading: 5 Books on My Summer Reading List

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading off to Sicily for a much needed vacation and some writing time. I’m looking forward to eating lots of gelato, drinking vino rosato and feeling the heat of the sun on my skin.

When I am on vacation, I devour books. I’ve already got a few books on my June vacation reading list. I head to the US in August, so I will probably save a few books for that trip (and buy a few more).

Camden by Xio Axelrod

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Xio Axelrod‘s got a new book coming on 23 May and I seriously cannot wait to read it! It’s called Camden and right now it’s available for preorder exclusively through iBooks, but will be sold wide.

I love the cover copy:

Sometimes there’s a moment when you know you’ve screwed up. For Camden Skinner, it’s the night a dead pop star walks into his pub.

As one-half of Skin, an agency which specializes in cleaning up behind the ultra-rich and infamous, Cam has gotten used to getting his hands dirty. A little too used to it. After the young singer at the center of a client’s controversy is found dead, Cam decides he’s out. He walks away from Skin in search of a simpler life. Maybe even a shot at redemption.

Redemption arrives in the form of Yara Bujold.

The singer’s meteoric rise to the top surprised no one more than Yara herself. All she ever wanted was to make music. Caught up in the dark underbelly of the industry, Yara is forced to fake her own death. But she can’t hide forever.

Yara tracks down one of the principals at Skin, the very people that helped to tear her down. She’ll force Camden Skinner to make it right, whatever it takes. What she doesn’t expect is remorse from the man that helped to ruin her. And she certainly doesn’t expect to lose herself in him.

Cam finds himself sucked right back into a world he’d hoped never to step foot in again, but he can’t walk away. He has to fix this. Not only for himself, but for her. For Yara. Because she might just be everything he didn’t know he needed. She just might be everything.

Intrigued? I know I am! 🙂

Somebody Else’s Sky by Jessica Hawkins

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Last summer, I stumbled upon Jessica Hawkins’s books and now I am hooked. I’ve got Somebody Else’s Sky on my Kindle, but I am waiting until Sicily to begin reading it. I want to be able to savor this without any distractions (other than my lovely hubby).

Here’s the blurb:

If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.

A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.

Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.

Book two in the Something in the Way series, an epic, 3-book saga of forbidden love…

Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

summerslease-ebookI’ll have to wait until July for this one, but I will make sure I have a lazy weekend to enjoy Carrie ElksSummer’s Lease.

If you’ve never read her books, you’re missing out on something good.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet the Shakespeare family: four sisters, four stories . . . four ways to find true love

Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

A brand new series from the bestselling author of Fix You and the Love in London series.

 

The Boy Friend by Mika Jolie

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 11.53.02Mika Jolie’s latest came out at the end of April, but I am saving it for my summer holidays.

If the cover isn’t enough to whet your whistle, then check out the blurb:

According to the law of attraction, women and men can’t be friends.

Contrary to this myth, my friendship with Coriander Phillips does not rest on unrequited love or un-actualized lust. We’ve been inseparable since the day I pulled one of her pigtails and she punched me in the gut.

She’s hilarious, fun to hang out with. Together, we’re like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, wings and beer. A match made in heaven.

She’s the bomb.

Did I mention she’s smokin’ hot? I’ve checked her out…maybe once or twice. Hey, I’m a guy.
Seriously, no awkwardness, no secret yearning for our relationship to escalate beyond the purely platonic. I’m the boy friend—the loyal shoulder she cries on, the dispenser of coffee, sympathy, hugs, advice, and affection with no expectations.

Until the invisible line between friends and lovers became blurry.

Now I want more. I want her.

All I have to do is convince her we can be more than friends.

Right?

If only it were that easy.

The Promise: Tactics of Love by L.S. BergmanScreen Shot 2017-05-22 at 12.03.07

L.S. Bergman’s The Promise: Tactics of Love is another title I purchased a few months ago, but that felt more like a summer book, so it’s on my vacation reading list. I love the cover–it’s intriguing!

Here’s the blurb:

Every girl wants the fairy tale, ‘the promise’ of a perfect love.

Alessa Monroe is no exception.

Every guy has his way, his tactics for getting what he wants.

Keith Parker has enough skills and fame to consider himself a pro, and Isaiah Fieldman’s powers hate to be underestimated.

One woman is responsible for both men’s sudden awakening and moment of reckoning… Alessa Monroe.

For Alessa, her life feels like it’s finally on track.

With a bright ‘too-good-looking’ mentor and boss, Isaiah Fieldman, and a dreamboat celebrity boyfriend, Keith Parker, everything in Alessa’s world seems to be on the fly. The niggling feeling at the base of her stomach, that it is all too good to be true, too perfect; Alessa is happy to ignore, until … she can’t help but read the writing on the wall.

Words that say. Men and their wily ways don’t always add up. What you think you see is not always what you get. The guy you think you’ve got all figured out isn’t who he seems.

Because love is like that, complicated, oft bumpy, seldom smooth. These are how the games oft go in the tactics of love.

So that’s what my summer reading list looks like so far. Have you got suggestions for books you think I should add to it?

 

Blog Tour: Captured by Sabrina Sims McAfee

Captured, the first book in The Good Doctor’s installment is out now!

17916417_1325195797535355_744396414_oTitle: Captured by Sabrina Sims McAfee
Genre: Romance/romantic suspense/women’s fiction

SENSUAL***THRILLING***STEAMY ROMANCE

Bestselling Author Sabrina Sims McAfee brings you another steamy romance filled with twists and turns and edge of your seat suspense.

Love and War brings them together. But with evil lurking in the dark shadows will they stay together?

Dr. Sean LeBlanc past experiences taught him that being in serious relationships is not for him. His only interest right now is providing medical care for the underserved people in the Democratic Republic of Congo—Africa.  However, when his new roommate arrives—Dr. Santana Kingsley—he’s shocked to learn it’s a woman—a strikingly beautiful woman at that. From the moment he lays eyes on her sparks fly and everything he thought he never wanted is now right in front of him.

Santana’s horrible past leads her to Africa where she plans to escape and drown herself in work. When she arrives and meet her boss, she never expects him to be her roommate and a gorgeous hunk. Though she’s instantly attracted to him, she’s sure he would never cross the line.

As Sean and Santana work day in and day out together, their professional relationships turns into a steamy romance.

Then suddenly, a war erupts and the unthinkable happens—Santana goes missing.

Now Sean is determined to get back the only woman he’s ever loved—his sweet Santana.

 

Excerpt

Prologue

Santana
Dr. Santana Kingsley sat on the bleachers, watching her son play soccer with the neighborhood kids. A smile washed over her face. She’d never been happier.
Dylan looked too cute, kicking the soccer ball down the field, running beside the other kids.
Santana’s eyes traveled over to where her girlfriend, Gina, stood. Gina smiled at her and then waved for her to come over.
She rose to her feet, descended the bleachers, and began making her way over. As she crossed the lawn, the hot sun burned her face. It was a great day to go to the pool. Perhaps she’d take Dylan for a swim—
A loud horn blasted the air.
Screams erupted.
Santana spun around and faced the commotion. Her heart dropped, twisting violently in her chest.
“Noooo!!!!” A tortuous screamed erupted from her lungs.
Dylan lay sprawled in the street in front of the car with the soccer ball beside him.
She took off running.
Fear and panic coursed through Santana’s veins as she plummeted to her knees, placing a finger on Dylan’s neck, checking for a pulse. There was a faint one.
The driver paced back and forth, gripping his head. “He just came out of nowhere and ran in front of the car! I’m sorry!”
“Is he dead?” someone asked.
“Who was supposed to be watching him?” another person asked.
Santana’s shoulders rocked violently as tears seeped from her eyes. “Someone please call 911!”
Terror gripped her. She pinched Dylan’s nose, covered his mouth with hers, and blew.
“Come on, Dylan. Breathe, baby. Please breathe,” she said, sobbing, administering chest compressions to his tiny body.
“Oh my God! Dylan!” the familiar voice screamed. She glanced up to find her husband glaring down at her. “What happened?!” Eric dropped to his knees beside her.
“I only took my eyes off him for one second.”
Tears made a burning trail down Eric’s jaws. “You were supposed to be watching him!” he barked, crying profusely.
Dizziness assailed her as she sobbed, painfully. She gathered Dylan in her arms, cradled him against her chest, and prayed harder than she ever had before.

Chapter One

Democratic Republic of Congo
many years later

Santana
Dr. Santana Kingsley sat in the front passenger seat of the opened window Jeep, taking in the view of the rain forest. Nervousness swarmed inside her veins, but the anticipation of providing medical care to the underserved people of Congo brought warmth to her inner being.
The nonprofit organization she was going to be working for—DEAR: Doctors Emergency Aid & Rescue—had a stellar reputation as to how they went about epidemics, conflicts, and disasters. And although she always dreamed of being a philanthropist, she knew she wouldn’t be here if her son—Dylan—hadn’t died.
The remembrance of her son dying in her arms after he’d been struck by a car made Santana shiver. She felt hollow and empty. If she would’ve been watching Dylan more carefully, he’d still be alive and her husband would’ve never divorced her, leaving her with nothing but an aching heart.
Santana stared at the powder blue sky. I miss you so much, Dylan. Mommy is so, so sorry. Deep regret filled her soul as she felt her eyes grow wet.
“It’s nice of you to come here, Doctor.” The sound of the African driver’s thick accent cut into her painful thoughts.
The Jeep rocked vigorously over the unpaved road. Santana gripped the handlebar to steady herself, hair whipping at her face. She transferred her gaze to the driver. “I’m glad to be here. Africa is so beautiful.” She swiped at the hair brushing her lips.
The male African driver gave Santana a despondent stare, then fixated his gaze back on the road ahead. Shaking his head negatively, he cleared his throat.
“The view you see now is indeed a pretty sight to see, but as we get farther into the east into Kinshasa, you’ll see it’s quite ugly. The sea is infected with garbage, dead animals, and human remains.” A harsh breath expelled from his dark lips. “My uncle died in the water, trying to escape the rebels.”
“The wars here are bad. The worst in the world.”
“Yep. They’re horrible. Here in the Congo…people are slaughtered for no good reason. We need your help, Doctor. Thank you for coming.”
God sent me here to restore my soul and to help others. “You don’t have to thank me. It’s my pleasure to be here. I’m looking forward to helping.” A short moment of silence passed. “How long will it be before we get to the DEAR house?” She was anxious to see where she’d be living.
“Not long. We’ll be arriving any minute now.” The driver pulled off the main road and drove into the forest. Tires crunching branches resounded in Santana’s ear. Where exactly was she going to be staying? In the jungle?
The driver cleared his throat. “Dr. LeBlanc takes great pride in his medical foundation—DEAR.” He smiled. “He’s a mighty good man. Us Congolese people have high regards for Dr. LeBlanc. We think he’s the best thing next to God. Out of the goodness of his heart he hired me, and now I’m able to buy food from the local market to feed my family.” He chuckled. “My wife and children can eat good food now because of the doctor. We finally getting some meat on our bones,” he said on a laugh.
Santana smiled at his fond words pertaining to Dr. LeBlanc. “I can’t wait to meet him. I’m looking forward to working for him.”
She reached into her purse for the DEAR brochure. On the cover was a nice photo of Dr. Sean LeBlanc. Dressed in a navy suit, he had gray hair, dark eyes, and looked to be around sixty years old. He’s such a handsome older man. From what she’d researched, the doctor had a stellar reputation and was a genius. Perhaps Dr. LeBlanc could teach her how to start up her own nonprofit humanitarian aid organization.
The Jeep came to a screeching halt. Sand whooshed up from the worn tires, stirring the air. “We’re here, Doc!” The driver flashed a wide grin.
Santana took in her surroundings. A white, tiny house made of sun baked bricks was centered dead smack in the middle of the forest. In the middle of…ummm…nowhere. Looking beyond the tall trees, she could see the mountains. This was her new home.
Immediately, she felt culture shock. She was going to be living in the actual jungle. In a tiny shack.
Anxious to meet Dr. LeBlanc, she opened the door and stepped onto the grass. Strong stenches of wildlife assaulted her nostrils. Her nose wrinkled.
The driver pulled her luggage from the trunk and came to stand beside her. “So what do you think of your new home?”
“It’s different. Real. Different.” This is going to take some getting used to, that’s for sure.
Shaking his head, he chuckled. “I’m sure it’s different all right,” he mocked, dragging her suitcase along the grass.
Santana followed him.
Suddenly, the front door of the shack cracked open and a handsome man appeared in the entryway. Tan complexioned and dark hair, he wore a white tank top and light denim jeans. Opening the screen door, he walked onto the porch.
Santana paused at the foot of the steps, glancing up at the fine man. He must be a servant of some sort. He’s gorgeous.
He offered her a gorgeous smile, causing her heart to do somersaults. Then he descended the staircase.
The hot sun beat down on his masculine face as he peered down at her, towering over her, making her feel short beneath his bold, domineering stance.
As her eyes glazed over him, lust crawled through Santana’s system. She swallowed. She was nearly melting like an icicle, and he hadn’t said one word yet. Body temperature rising, she tucked a pieced of hair behind her ear.
“Hi. I’m Dr. Sean LeBlanc,” he said in a husky voice, outstretching his hand.
Santana’s heart dipped. Dr. Who? What? Wait!
She was confused. When she grasped his calloused palm, warmth spread through her hand and up her arm before spreading through her chest like a wildfire.
“Hi. I’m Dr. Santana Kingsley.”
Sean’s eyes spread wide with shock. “You’re Dr. Santana Kingsley!” His voice pitched. She nodded. He ran his hand raggedly through his hair. “Apparently, there’s been a mix up. Your application stated that you were a man.”
“What? I’m not a man.”
Sean’s blue eyes gleamed. “Well, I can see that.” A baffling expression settled on his face. “I’m Dr. Sean LeBlanc,” he repeated, “the CEO of DEAR. And umm. I’m your new roommate.”
Santana’s heart dropped as a lump clogged her throat. And all of her bravado was shot straight to hell. There was no way in hell she could live with a man that looked like him!
What in the world was going on?
“I’m confused. The man on the brochure and the website had gray hair and was a much older man,” she said wearily. She pulled the DEAR brochure from her purse and held it up to his face.
Sean surveyed the brochure. “That’s my father. He’s the founder of DEAR and just recently retired. I’ve been running the organization for the last couple of months now.”
Santana’s heart lurched with strained excitement. Working with an old man that had wrinkly skin was one thing, but how in the world was she supposed to work with a man as fine as Sean? Heat rushed through her body. She wanted to blame it on the temperature outside and not some man she’d just met, but then she’d only be lying to herself if she did. Guys like Sean could be more vicious than the war in Congo itself.
“I’ll take it from here,” Sean told the driver.
The driver released the handle of the luggage. “Have a good day, Dr. LeBlanc. Nice meeting you, Doctor.” He walked away.
Her roommate is a man, her mind screamed. “Wait! Am I staying here? Isn’t there a hotel room somewhere around here?”
“Sorry. You’re stuck with me. Now let’s get out of this heat and go inside where it’s cooler.” Sean hefted her suitcase and climbed up the steps. The door creaked when Sean opened it. “Ladies first,” he said, stepping to the side.
Santana entered the quaint homestead. Sliding her hands into her jean pockets, she surveyed the inside. Stone floors, white walls and two bedrooms, the DEAR house was tinier than her apartment back home. But it was spotless, especially for a man.
Sean shut the door. His tall, domineering presence standing behind her caused her heartbeat to spike. “With time, you’ll get used to it.”
When she glanced over her shoulder, their gazes linked. Tingles spread through her bones. “Used to what?”
His powerful presence completely unraveled her. She swallowed.
“Your reduced living standards. It’s quite different than living in a big city like Chicago.”
“Yes, it’s very different.”
“I’ll show you to your room.” Rolling her luggage behind him, he strode into the den and then into the bedroom on the left. Inside was a full-sized bed and a dresser. “I know it’s not much, but—”
“It’s plenty,” she said. “Thank you.”
“For what?”
“For hiring me.”
His lips drew back into a handsome grin. “Don’t thank me just yet. Wait until after you actually start.”
“Why so?”
“Working in the Congo is extremely hard work. Many doctors that come here don’t make it past two weeks before they end up quitting.”
After what she’d been through with losing her son and husband, she felt she could handle anything. “I’m tough. I’m sure I can handle it.”
Sean’s gorgeous blue eyes roamed up and down her body. “Tough, huh?”
“Yeah. Tough.”
“No offense, but you don’t look like you have one tough bone in your body.”
She bet he had a tough bone in his though. “I’m tougher than I look,” she said, folding her arms across her chest.
“For your sake and mine, I hope you are, because the Congo is in dire need of strong doctors. Are you tired from traveling?”
“No. I slept a lot on the plane.”
“Well, if you’re up to it, I’d like to show you one of our nearby clinics.”
“I’m up to it.”
“Good, I’ll be right back, going to get my medicine bag. Oh yeah, there’s a white DEAR shirt in the closet. Thinking that you were a man, my administrators ordered a size large, so it’ll be big on you. I’ll order another one for you tomorrow.” He walked away.
Santana opened the closet to find several white DEAR shirts hanging. She removed her clothing, pulled the shirt from the hangar, and then slipped it over her head.
My new roommate, huh? How in the hell had this happened? Santana flopped down on the mattress to find it hard. Yikes! The bed was in need of a mattress pad bad. She reached into her purse for a brush. As she began detangling her hair, she spotted Sean in her peripheral vision, standing beyond the doorway, staring at her.
Oh snap.
Pretending as if she didn’t see him, she unzipped her suitcase, pulled out a mirror and hooked it to the nail on the wall. Just as she looked into the mirror, Sean entered and their gazes hooked. Her heart took a perilous leap.
From a looks point of view, Sean was everything she’d want in a man. If she was looking for one. But she wasn’t. After her husband had divorced her, she’d vowed to never remarry, and she planned on honoring that vow.
Santana slowly turned around, her gaze instinctively reconnecting with Sean’s. Like wires on a computer, electricity shot to her sex and her labia quivered.
She shook her head, hoping to shake off whatever it was she was feeling for him—her boss. Get it together, Santana.
She had to get a freaking grip. Like yesterday.
“Are you ready?” Sean asked, huskily.
“Yes,” she said, trying to tamper down her inclined pulse rate.
“After I show you the clinic, we’ll head to one of the villages. It’s about twelve miles from here.”
She grabbed her medical bag from her suitcase, strapping it over her shoulder. “I’m ready when you are.”
“Let’s go, Doc.” When he’d called her Doc, it had such an affectionate undertone to it.
Santana descended the porch behind Sean and headed towards the white SUV parked beneath the tree. The word DEAR was written in red, bold letters on the side of the vehicle. As she crossed the front yard towards the SUV, her eyes skimmed over Sean’s firm butt. Nice, hard ass. She smiled.
She climbed inside the truck, buckled her seatbelt, and the SUV drove even deeper into the east of Congo—a war-stricken country.

 

About the Author

Bestselling author Sabrina Sims McAfee is your writer of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and romantic suspense. She loves writing about alpha men and sexy strong women, and the adventurous journeys they travel.

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Book Review – An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 06.50.37Alyssa Cole has done it again: written a historical IR romance set in a tricky time period and done so with amazing aplomb! I am usually skeptical about IR romances set during the American Civil War. This is due to too many of them romanticising the master-slave relationship in a way that, for me, feels disingenuous. In An Extraordinary Union, Cole takes the completely different angle to her story.

Instead of giving us the stereotypical master and slave who fall in love trope, we get something far more exciting–two Union spies in the Loyal League infiltrating the household of a Confederate senator. One of the spies is Elle, a free Black woman with the gift of being able to remember *everything*; as a spy, she puts her life on the line by going to Richmond, Virginia to pretend to be a mute house slave to get information that will help foil the Confederacy. The other spy is Malcolm, a Scottish immigrant pretending to be a Confederate soldier who manages to get close to the senator for the very same purpose–to get whatever information he can about the Confederates’ plans in order to bring them down.

Of course their paths cross in a not-so-meet-cute, but it’s exciting and it sets up the story well. We are reminded constantly of the dangerous situation that Elle and Malcolm are in–if they are found out, they will be tortured and/or killed. And for Elle, who has seen the horrors of slavery as a child and has willingly put herself back in the same situation for the sake of the Union, she is not willing to give in to the attraction she feels for Malcolm–initially she does not know he is also a spy, but also because she has seen the reality of her situation face to face–she and other slaves are property, they are seen as breeders, less than human, disposable. And she’s seen it from the side of slavery and from the abolitionists, some of whom view abolishing slavery as a mission while not caring about or even respecting the very people they claim to want to help. Malcolm’s own experiences in Scotland at the hands of English tyranny have left an indelible mark on his life and that of his family. And while he knows it cannot compare to what Elle has seen and experienced, it does make him more aware of the reality they face and it strengthens his conviction that this is not the sort of world–where men can deem other men as being less than human, buy and sell other men, rip apart families, even kill other men with no fear of the law–he wants to live in.

Cole has woven an exciting story that hooked me from the first page. And my skepticism was completely blown away thanks to her writing a story that does not shy away from the harsh realities of slavery and racism. I used to live in Richmond, Virginia–the capital of the Confederacy–so it was nice being able to picture the story taking place there.

Highly recommended! I am definitely looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

My rating?

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Blog Tour: More than a Mistress by Delaney Diamond

MTM tour banner

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 15.49.52Title: More Than a Mistress

Author: Delaney Diamond

Genre: Contemporary Romance, IR/MC Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2017

Synopsis

Will their arrangement ever be enough?

Relationships are not a priority for restaurateur Esteban Galiano, and when he sees Sonia Kennedy at a party, he plans to make her a conquest in a long line of many. But she rebuffs his advances and forces him to adjust—determined to meet the challenge and do whatever he must to make her his.

All her life, Sonia’s beauty has caused unnecessary problems, and right now she needs a job, not a suitor. When Esteban makes an indecent proposal, her first instinct is to turn him down. But soon she’s rethinking her response. Maybe it’s time for her to use what she’s got, to get what she wants.

Getting to Know Delaney Diamond

Tell us about yourself.

I’m the middle child of three and an aunt to one nephew and one niece. My siblings and I are very close and live near each other. My favorite TV shows tend to be comedies, such as Modern Family, Blackish, and Fresh Off the Boat. I also like documentaries, romantic comedies, action flicks, and stand-up comedy—which, thanks Netflix, I can get my fix of numerous options. My biggest pet peeve is meanness. I think we can have a difference of opinion without tearing each other down, but nowadays that’s becoming more and more difficult to do.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I won some writing contests back in high school, but I never considered becoming a romance writer until about 8 years ago. I did my research, joined the Romance Writers of America, and within a year I was published. My first book was a novella titled The Arrangement, and it was the first book in the Latin Men series.

Name something readers would be surprised to learn about you.

People are always surprised when they find out I don’t like musicals or plays, lol. I know, I know, what’s wrong with me! I’ve tried to get into them in the past, but it never ends well. Years ago I went to see “Cats the Musical” with a friend and dozed off. The production was great, but it just didn’t hold my attention.

What are your favorite genres to read?

I read romance more than any other genre. Within romance, you’ll most often find me with a contemporary or historical novel, but I also enjoy a good romantic comedy. The other genre I enjoy is thrillers—the more over-the-top the better—and a well-paced suspense keeps me up all night and turning the pages.

Your bio states you like to travel. Tell us about one of your favorite trips.

Is it okay if I mention two? The first is the summer I spent in Paris, ages ago when I was in graduate school. The friends I made then are still friends I have today. My French-speaking skills got a lot better, and I traveled throughout the country of France, visiting Marseille in the south and Dunkerque in the north. I had a blast.

I also thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Galapagos Islands, where I spent a week. It was on my bucket list, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to visit. It’s practically untouched. I was able to get up close and personal with seals (they’re very tame and not afraid of humans), turtles, hike to a volcano, eat some great food, and go snorkeling in some of the most beautiful water. I still love looking at the photos from that trip.

How do your travels influence your stories?

Traveling gives me ideas of places I can write about. For instance, in Perfect (book 2, Johnson Family series), the hero and heroine went to southern Spain for their honeymoon. I was able to incorporate some of what I experienced when I went there myself, such as the burro (donkey) taxis and dining at a seaside restaurant.

 More Than a Mistress (book 5, Latin Men series) takes place in Miami. I visited there in January, so the setting was fresh on my mind—eating brunch on Ocean Drive, the craziness of South Beach at night where everyone is showing off their cars, and checking out the homes of the wealthy on Star Island, which is where my hero, Esteban lives.

Tell us about the excerpt you brought to share with us.

This scene takes place before Sonia becomes Esteban’s mistress, but after she agrees to work as a wine consultant for a private party at his home. The attraction between them is mutual, and Esteban has no qualms about letting her know how he feels about her.

MTM blog tour prizes

 Don’t miss out on your chance to win Delaney Diamond’s More Than a Mistress Giveaway!

PRIZE DETAILS: $25 VISA gift card and a Blakemore Winery Duet gift basket from Wine Country Gift Baskets that includes a chardonnay, cabernet, wine stopper, and several sweet and savory snacks. NOTE: If the winner is from a state that restricts wine sales, they will receive a gift basket that does not include wine. Contents may vary.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to U.S. entrants only.

HOW TO ENTER: Enter your name and email address on the form below.

DEADLINE TO ENTER: 11:59 PM EST April 10, 2017

*Winner will be contacted via email.

Excerpt

For the multicourse meal, she picked a red, with a rich, earthy flavor she thought would go well with the meat dish, and a white for the fish course.

When Esteban came out, he was scrumptious in a pale blue button-down shirt and dark slacks. Sonia averted her eyes and gestured toward the table. “Well, what do you think?”

“Lovely. Surpassed my expectations.”

Pleased, she turned to look at him again, but he wasn’t looking at the table. His eyes were on her, his hot gaze tracing the curve of her behind in the figure-hugging skirt.

A soft blush crept into her cheeks.

Esteban walked closer but stopped a few feet away. “It’s unfortunate you’re not accustomed to hearing compliments.”

Sonia clutched the back of one of the dining chairs as his gaze practically caressed her, sliding from her face down over her body.

Her heart raced. She told herself she hated the way he looked at her, but a little voice inside whispered, Liar.

Guilt deepened the heat in her cheeks.

“You clearly don’t hear compliments enough, or you’d be used to them.”

“I get compliments, but I’m not used to receiving those kinds of compliments from men I work with.”

“I find that hard to believe. I think…” He gave a knowing smile. “I think maybe you are not used to liking to hear those things from a man you work with.”

BUY LINKS

Autographed print copies – Amazon – Amazon UK – Amazon Canada 

 Nook – iBooks –  Google Play – Kobo

About the Author

Delaney Diamond is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet, sensual, passionate romance novels and the owner of Garden Avenue Press, a digital-first press that publishes romance novels and women’s fiction with people of color. Born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Atlanta, Georgia is now her home. She reads romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, and a fair amount of nonfiction. When she’s not busy reading or writing, she’s in the kitchen trying out new recipes, dining at one of her favorite restaurants, or traveling to an interesting locale. To get sneak peeks, notices of sale prices, and find out about new releases, visit her website and join her mailing list. Enjoy free reads and the first chapter of all her novels at www.delaneydiamond.com.

Keep Up with Delaney Diamond

Website – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest

Required Reading: Yes, you need to read these books.

required-reading

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-36-11Philadelphia Fire: a novel by John Edgar Wideman

Anyone who grew up in Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s remembers the MOVE group. John Edgar Wideman’s  novel, Philadelphia Fire, was inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE house in West Philadelphia that killed eleven people and razed an entire neighbourhood, destroying sixty houses. What surprises me is that no one outside of the Philadelphia area seems to even know about this, but it’s left an indelible mark on the city.

So what is Philadelphia Fire about? From the blurb: Cudjoe, a writer and exile who returns to his old neighborhood after spending a decade fleeing from his past, and his search for the lone survivor of the fire — a young boy who was seen running from the flames.

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In case you’re wondering who is the little boy running from the flames, the character is based on Birdie Africa, who died in 2013. He was the lone child survivor of the bombing and spent years trying to build a new life for himself. He was only 41 when he died.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-19-56-26Another book that is definitely required reading is Kindred by Octave E. Butler. This is a brilliant take on time travel/speculative fiction with Dana, a modern-day black woman, finding herself time and time again being snatched from her home in California and transported back to the antebellum South to save the life of a white plantation owner’s son. Each time, she is stuck there longer and longer and more dangerous and Dana finds herself drawn to the slave quarters and wondering if she will ever be able to return to the present, or if her life will end before it’s even properly begun.

I love Octavia Butler’s novels. She was an amazing writer and her stories speak to the human experience, of the ways humans work against each other, and are as relevant today as when she first wrote them.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-20-58-45Kim McLarin‘s Meeting of the Waters is set in the tense months following the 1992 LA riots. What happens when Porter Stockman, a white journalist covering the trials of police officers who beat Rodney King, finds himself in danger in the midst of the riots and black journalist Lenora Page saves his life. Afterwards, he tries to find her, but she’s disappeared into thin air. Back in Philadelphia, he ends up finding Lenora right under his nose in the offices of the newspaper where he works. What starts as a wary friendship becomes a turbulent relationship, with Lenora constantly second-guessing Porter and Porter not understanding Lenora’s uncertainty and resenting that she is not always open with him or others about their relationship and that he is always on the defensive.

Just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 2001.

Haven’t read any of these? Do yourself a favour and one-click ASAP.

 

Blog Tour: Lies You Tell by LaQuette

Lies You Tell

by

LaQuette 

Blurb:

A mob boss finding his dead lover alive six years after her death, shocking.  Learning they’ve got a five-year-old son…deadly.

Six years ago Sanai Ward fled her life in Florida when her lover’s infidelity nearly brings her life to a fiery end.  Scared and devastated, Sanai starts over from nothing, determined to create a safe and happy life for the child she discovers she’s carrying.

Single parenthood isn’t easy. But the joy of watching her beloved Nazario thrive is more than enough motivation to ignore the ache in her heart for the man that shattered her soul.
Dante De Luca is a passionate man who’s had his life stolen from him.  Six years ago he was in love and happy, until his woman was killed in a fire. Sanai was gone.  There was nothing left in the ashes but the locket he’d placed around her neck.  Too angry to deal with his loss, Dante seeks to make the rest of the world pay for his broken heart by forming an unholy covenant with an unspeakable ally.  He knows he’ll live to regret it, but signing away your humanity to the devil seems meaningless when your soul is already gone.
When an accident involving a family member draws Dante to New York, and forces an unexpected meeting between he and Sanai, Dante has to decide what’s more important.  His rage and revenge, or the safety of the woman he once loved and the health of their son?
Just when Sanai’s deception is beginning to sting less, Dante is faced with the fallout of his own lies.  Will she forgive him?  Will they survive them, or will their lives become tragic casualties of the dangerous lies he told?

Excerpt:

She watched her son glance back and forth between the two men now sitting on either side of him. He was biting on his fingernails, a nervous habit he had developed when he began school. Sanai’s first instinct was to cross the room as quickly as she could and snatch her baby up.

 Yeah, it was just hair, and it was already falling out from the chemotherapy, but her protective instincts weren’t exactly running off of logic.
This plan Dante had of cutting it all off sounded rational, but being rational wasn’t really high on her list of priorities. That was her baby, and if he wasn’t on board with the idea, she was shutting this entire plan down.
She moved to take a step in their direction, but Dante’s smile halted her. He wasn’t looking in her direction—probably had no idea she was watching him so intently. But the easy way he smiled at her son, the way Nazario mirrored Dante’s same crooked smile that spread slowly across his little mouth and lit up his entire face—the power of it held her in place.
Tony opened his bag. He pulled out a drape and shook out its folds. She saw Nazario stare at the drape with a bit of trepidation shaking his small frame. Tony lifted it in the air and placed it carefully around Dante’s neck.
Her eyes met Dante’s, silently asking for answers. Before she could form the words of her question, Tony turned on his clippers and took a quick pass up the side of Dante’s head. When he pulled the clippers back, she saw scalp, or more aptly described, scalp covered by a short fuzz.
She glanced back at her son. He  had a front-row seat of Dante getting his hair shaved off. Nazario stared at the man, his fear morphing into curiosity. Without so much as a word this man took the fear out of something for her child, making it something fun.
In a few minutes, those beautiful dark curls that were Dante’s signature were gone. When Tony was done with Dante, he cleaned him up, shook out the drape, and motioned for Naz to take Dante’s place.
The boy hesitated for just a minute and then settled into his chair. Tony secured the drape and turned the clippers on. Nazario jumped a little at the sound, but Dante calmed him down by leaning in front of him and giving him a thumbs-up. While Dante kept him distracted, Tony shaved the boy’s hair down to his scalp, and with what appeared to be practiced ease, he lined the boy’s edges up, making the haircut look less like they were attempting to cover up illness and more like a trendy haircut a young boy would wear.
Tony dusted off the excess hair from Naz and pulled off the drape. When those dark brown eyes she loved so much looked up with both excitement and approval, she pulled on a trembling smile. She walked up to him, running a gentle hand over his head.
“You look real good, Naz. Mr. Tony did a good job.” Her voice felt thick and heavy as she spoke. The little boy fell into her arms. She hugged him as tight as she could and lifted watery eyes to Dante and Tony. Too full to speak over the growing ball of emotion in her chest, she simply mouthed a silent thank you to them.
They each nodded, but it was the red rim around Dante’s eyes that pulled her attention. In their depths she found understanding. Her brain questioned briefly how Dante could know just how relieved she was to see a happy smile on her boy’s face.
It almost didn’t compute that someone else could fathom how much it would mean to her that her son looked less like a sick cancer patient and more like an average five-year-old. But when Dante’s watery gaze fastened on to hers, she realized something crucial. Dante was Nazario’s father. Not just in blood, but in every way possible.
Orchestrating this haircut to preempt the trauma of hair loss was something only a parent would recognize as necessary. Only a father would sacrifice his own healthy mane to make his son feel less afraid, less abnormal.
Sanai opened her free arm to Dante, inviting him into the embrace she and their son shared. He hesitated briefly, and she hated that he thought he had to. Truth was, there was no one else she could blame for that.
She’d done this. She kept her arm open, and he finally leaned in. He circled
them both with strong arms, and she lightly scraped her fingers against his
near-smooth scalp.
“Thank you,” she whispered in his ear. He didn’t speak. If he was experiencing the same emotional overload, she understood why. He simply tightened his hold and squeezed Sanai and Nazario closer to him.
Her annoying mind kept trying to bully its way into the moment, but she refused to allow it. She wasn’t going to worry about how right it felt to be in Dante’s arms, how protected she felt with his arms surrounding them. She wasn’t going to listen to the fear screaming in the back of her mind that Dante was getting too close too soon. She simply burrowed into his embrace and let her battle shield fall.

 
 
 

Author Bio:

LaQuette is an erotic, multicultural romance author of M/F and
M/M love stories.  Her writing style brings intellect to the drama.
She often crafts emotionally epic, fantastical tales that are deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush. Her novels are filled with a unique mixture of savvy, sarcastic, brazen, and unapologetically sexy characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page.
This bestselling Erotic Romance Author is the 2016 Author of the
Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2015 Swirl Awards Bronze Winner in Romantic Suspense, and 2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance. LaQuette—a native of Brooklyn, New York—spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.
Writing—her escape from everyday madness—has always been a friend and source of comfort. At the age of sixteen she read her first romance novel and realized the genre was missing something: people that looked and lived like her.  As a result, her characters and settings are always designed to provide positive representations of people of color and various marginalized communities.
She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running
around in her head causing so much trouble.  Contact her on FacebookTwitter, her website, NovelsbyLaQuette.com, Amazon, her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge, and via email at LaQuette@NovelsbyLaQuette.com.
 
 

Lies You Tell

Book Trailer

by

LaQuette

Spotlight: Shyla Colt

 

Coming soon from Shyla Colt

PRETTY HURTS

Coming 23 September

Pre-Order your copy now
http://smarturl.it/PrettyHurtsColt

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Blurb

Efia Bello knows firsthand how much Pretty Hurts. As a make-up artist and stylist, she’s seen the cruelty and unrealistic expectations of perfection required in the industry. When her hair begins to fall out and she discovers she has Alopecia Areata she’s forced to dig deep and find the beauty in herself. The last thing she expects to find during her struggle is love, but barber, Edgar Gilborn is a temptation she may not be able to resist.
When Edgar Gilborn agrees to open his Barbershop early to accommodate a woman with a hair crisis, the last thing he expects to walk in the door is a curvaceous dime piece who threatens to break his one-year dating drought. Healing from a broken engagement he’s focused on his business and family. Now he has his eyes set on a different prize.
Can he show her hair doesn’t matter, and the chemistry between them is worth exploring?

 

Watch the trailer!

About the Author

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Shyla Colt is the sassy international bestseller of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.

As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.

Connect with Shyla Colt online

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