Friday, November 29, 2013

Negotiation Tactics by Lori Ryan Book Tour, Review and Giveaway







Negotiation Tactics: Book Three in the Sutton Capital Series
by Lori Ryan

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BLURB:

Fans of the Sutton Capital Series have been waiting for Jennie and Chad’s story for a long time and they won’t be disappointed! And, new readers are sure to fall in love with the series.

After the crushing heartache of losing her husband at a harshly young age, Jennie Evans had finally found a place to call home. She had a job she loved and new friends to support her. With the exception of having to continuously fight off the feelings she had for Chad Thompson, she was happy again. As happy as she could be anyway. When Jennie’s well-meaning friends meddle in her life, they send her world into a tailspin once again. Soon, she’s on the run from some very dangerous people with the one man she doesn’t want to be with.

Chad Thompson has loved Jennie from afar for the last year, but he’s maintained control. Jennie’s made it clear she wants nothing to do with him and he won’t cross the line she’s drawn in the sand. Until she asks him to. And, when that happens, their world is turned upside down. Chad’s left scrambling to keep Jennie safe as he tries to right their world again. Unfortunately, Chad has to accept the fact that his heart is likely to be crushed in the process and nothing will ever be the same again.

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Excerpt:

His dark looks – even with the smattering of scars that etched his skin from his time overseas – rivaled those of the biggest and brightest stars of Hollywood. In spite of that, there wasn’t an arrogant bone in Chad’s body. This, of course, made him all the more attractive.

The man was stunningly handsome, unquestionably kind and gentle, and he sent the bones in Jennie’s body into a puddle on the floor when he glanced her way. She didn’t want to be attracted to him. But, Jennie found she couldn’t ignore his effect on her no matter how she tried. And that, unfortunately, tore at her heart. Jennie wished with all her being that Chad Thompson didn’t have such a powerful effect on her.

When Jennie had first met Chad, she tried to find faults in him. If she could get herself to see him as an arrogant jerk, she might be able to ignore the physical attraction she felt for him. It would certainly make it easier, anyway. At first, Jennie thought he was just what she hoped for: a superficial jerk with no substance under the good looks and charm. Since Chad was born into the Sutton Capital family, he could have sat back and reaped the benefits of the family business without actually doing any work. Chad only worked until three o’clock many days, making Jennie assumed he was living off of trust fund money and not really contributing at all. That made it easier to resist the outward allure.

Sadly, her first impressions didn’t last and Jennie soon had to admit that Chad was just as attractive a person on the inside as he was on the outside. It turned out that Chad left work early to volunteer at a nearby veteran’s hospital. And the more Jennie got to know Chad, the more apparent it became that he was anything but a selfish, spoiled trust fund brat. That certainly didn’t make it easier for Jennie to resist him. But, she knew in her heart, she didn’t want a relationship with him or anyone else. She didn’t want the chemistry between them to exist.


Review
Jennie Evans and Chad Thompson have been in a deny your feelings merry-go-round since the minute they met.  The chemistry has always been there, but Jennie has never gotten over the death of her first love and husband.  Chad cares more about Jennie then trying to push her into something she clearly is not ready for.

When their friends decide too push them into the right direction and send them on a two week work vacation on a romantic island setting, the feelings are mixed.  Chad is ever trying to be the gentleman, while Jennie can't help but wonder if they could just have one night together.  When they discover something about the resort , they both find themselves in danger and Chad has every intent in protecting the woman he loves.

This was a new tome author.  I liked this story a lot.  I thought the pacing was perfect and the back story of Jennie really added to the tone of the book.  Will definitely pick up the others in this series.  I hope there are more coming soon.



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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lori is an award winning author and stay-at-home mom. Her second book, Penalty Clause, won first place in the romance category in Lcuky Cinda Publishing’s Annual Global Writer’s Contest in 2013.

Lori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.

More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two.

Lori still lives in Austin with her husband -- who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths -- and her two children, one cat, and three dogs.

How can your readers follow you?

To follow me on Facebook, visit: http://www.facebook.com/loriryanromance

To visit my website, visit: http://www.loriryanromance.com/

Want to be a part of my online street team? Email me at Loriryanauthor@gmail.com and put the words ‘street team’ in the subject line. I’ll email you back with directions for joining my team.

To join my email list to receive updates and news, including sneak peeks and free giveaways or contest news, visit http://www.loriryanromance.com/#!join-my-mailing-list/cdpp.

To buy my books, visit my author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/loriryan

Lori will be awarding a $50 gift certificate to Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $50 gift certificate to Amazon to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour for ore chances to win.
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Main Attraction by Ava O'Shay Book Spotlight

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Main Attraction by Ava O'Shay. Main Attraction is published by Entranced Publishing.

Information about the book: Title: Main Attraction
Author: Ava O’Shay
Genre: contemporary erotica romance
Release Date: November 25, 2013

Blurb:
Jessica Hunter lost her heart and her husband at the same time. He died, and she discovered his infidelities, leaving her a shattered mess.
Five years later, Jessica still isn’t interested in a relationship. That is, until she meets sexy, lead actor Penn Jackson on the set of a popular tween movie—and her life gets turned upside down. Swept away by Penn’s carefree attitude, she lets him into her heart—and her bed—even though Penn warns her that being with him will change her life.
Penn’s warning doesn’t mean much to her. But when his publicist begins a campaign to get rid of her, and a trip to the emergency room turns into a tabloid explosion, she doesn’t just lose her anonymity, but also her job. Now, Jessica will have to choose between the man she loves and the life she’s always known.

You can add Main Attraction to your to-read list on Goodreads

Review
When Jessica Hunter accompanies her niece on the set of Hollywood's hottest actor Penn Jackson, she never expects that her life will change. Penn has been with women, but they have never held his interest like Jessica.   Everything about her is refreshing and new, but the strain of keeping her in the shadow of his spotlight is hurting everything they are trying to build.

I thought this was an enjoyable read, I liked that the road was not smooth and Penn is a bit clueless about how to be in a relationship. If you like Hollywood romances, this is a good pick for you.

About the Author:
Ava O'Shay grew up in the north Seattle area but now resides on a hill in the heart of the city so she can be inspired by the sights and sounds of the Seattle waterfront. She loves the outdoors and gets most of her inspiration during long bike rides and kayaking adventures with family, friends, and her three dogs which she loves like children. She can be found on the balcony of her home, wrapped in warm sweater people watching in the winter and enjoying the concerts at the Seattle Center in the summer, while typing on her pink computer.

You can find and contact Ava O’Shay here:
- Blog
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Goodreads

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Main Attraction.
- 10$ amazon gift card
- 2 e-copies of Main Attraction by Ava O’Shay

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Romance Spotlight Book Tour and Reviews



Four sweet Christmas stories from your favorite romance authors to warm your heart for the holidays.




Halo's Wish-Sharon Kleve: Halo Ann Carlyle wishes for a home, family, and a boat-load of pets. What she gets is a bruised hip, a lump on the head, a broken ankle, and her new yellow Honda Civic is demolished. Rich McFarland, a sexy veterinarian, keeps showing up in the most unexpected places, promising everything she's ever wanted. Halo believes she only has time to pursue her career as a pet detective and must ignore her growing attraction to achieve her dreams. Will Halo trust her heart, and find a way to get both before Christmas?

Excerpt:
She'd just placed another call through to Pemsky's office, which went straight to his voicemail, when the office door opened. Halo smiled and looked up into dreamy, gold-flecked green eyes, short sandy brown hair, a slight cleft chin, and full lips set in a hard line. Even with the stern look he had on his face, my hormones jumped into overdrive.
Mr. Dreamy cleared his throat—she must've been staring. In her most professional voice she said, "Good morning. How may I help you?"
He removed a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and unfolded the sheet.
"I was parked in front of the Beacon Hill Ale House and my driver's side mirror was sideswiped by one of Pemsky's Security's SUV's Friday night."
Halo loved the Beacon Hill Ale House. Every Saturday night the Ale House allowed local bands to jam together. That's where she'd met her last loser boyfriend. She'd had a lot of loser boyfriends. She's currently on a hiatus from dating, but she wouldn't mind jumping back into the dating game for this dream-boat.
He handed her the piece of paper.
"I wasn't able to get a look at the driver, but I got the license plate number of the vehicle that hit my car and drove away."
He emphasized the last part.
"I'm very sorry about your car. I'm sure Mr. Pemsky will be happy to cover the damage." Halo checked the company log and Pemsky's name popped up as the driver—she gulped.

 
Sharon Kleve's Bio:
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.
Sharon is a writer of paranormal and contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.
When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

Find out more about Sharon Kleve by visiting here:
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=170105

Review for Brenda's Christmas Desire
As Christmas approaches Brenda is having a hard time mustering enthusiasm for the one holiday that brings back terrible memories.  Her boyfriend John has has dialed in on her hesitation to get in the Christmas spirit, but with a little help from Corny's ferret he has the perfect surprise for Brenda.

Sweet short story. John is a true sweetheart, would love to have him wrapped up for Christmas and under my tree.

http://www.amazon.com/Brendas-Christmas-Desire-Dreams-Come-ebook/dp/B00GLY8DR6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384271319&sr=1-1&keywords=Brenda%27s+Christmas+Desire




Central Bark at Christmas-Jennifer Conner: When Tennyson’s boyfriend left her for her best friend from high-school, all Tennyson received in the break up was her dog. She’s
sworn off men and now is rebuilding her life. The only thing Par does is work. He barely has time to do anything he wants for himself other than take his dog to the dog park. When Par and Tennyson find an abandoned dog at the park named Duke. Will they find room in their hearts to take him in? And can this Christmas season weave some special magic for the two of them?
Excerpt:
“I’m happy this wasn’t your worst date ever, because I had a great time.” He lifted her chin with the tips of his finger. Slowly he lowered his head until she thought she would die of anticipation. He clamped his hands to her waist and gazed into her eyes. “You’re so beautiful…” There was depth and sincerity in the tone of his voice. She felt special. Desired. He dropped his head and kissed her.
Gentle at first and then deep. She couldn’t breathe. He’d sucked all the air from her lungs, but there was no way she wanted him to stop. As she brushed his firm lips to hers, she relished the feel of her blood simmering in her veins. Par slid his fingers through her long hair to cradle and position her head to kiss her even more thoroughly.
His lips pulled away from hers and he stepped back. She reached for the roof of the car to steady herself. Oh. My. God… could this man kiss.
“Not bad for a first date,” he whispered and then kissed her gently again.
Okay… so it was a date. After that kiss it turned into an ‘official date’ and she had no regrets at all.

Review: Christmas Gift That Keeps Wagging

When his son complains about lack of friends and some teasing, Julian Barrows decides it is imperative to take action quickly.  His son has suffered enough with his seizures all his life. When he finds out about a therapeutic dog program, his hopes are high until he learns the cost.  On the plus side, he meets dog trainer Hanna Acker and sees a chance at happiness for he and his son.

Quick read.  This was a sweet holiday read that gets you ready to nestle up with hot chocolate and get into the holiday spirit. I liked the angle of the therapy dogs, I thought this was  a fascinating topic that I would be interested in reading more about.
Jennifer Conner Bio:
Jennifer Conner is a best-selling Northwest author who has over thirty short stories on ebook and three full-length books in print. She writes in Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, and Erotica. Shot in the Dark hit Amazon at #1 in Romantic Suspense and Christmas Chaos was #2 in the Romance category. Her novel Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests.
Jennifer is an Associate Publisher for the indie e-book company Books to Go Now that resides in the Seattle area. Books to Go Now offers professional editing, cover design, multiple book format file creation, and most important--publicity. Their staff works to help make our author books a success one book at a time. She lives in a hundred year old house that she grew up in. Her semi-small town holds an interesting mix of resident hillbillies, yuppies and Navy Seals. And of course Seattle, only a few miles away, is the birthplace of Starbucks so coffee is always on the check list. She blows glass beads with a blow torch, (which relieves a lot of stress and people don't bother you).
Find out more about Jennifer Conner by visiting here:
Publisher: Bookstogonow@gmail.com www.bookstogonow.com


Christmas Wishes-Danica Winters: For most, Christmas is a time for family, love, life, dreams, and wishes—but not for Lee Llewellyn, a mother who has recently lost her son to an accident and her husband to the resentment it caused. In a chance encounter, she is given the gift of company on Christmas, but is she ready to move forward and start living again?

Excerpt:
A solitary snowflake landed on the pine wreath in Lee Llewellyn’s hands. Its lacy white edges curled around the warm boughs like melting fingers, dripping down the pin-point needles and falling unceremoniously to the frozen grass of the cemetery.
The grass crunched under her feet as she made her way to the familiar marble headstone with the bird inscribed in the black-inked stone. Last week’s roses lay at the base, their heads drooping in icy lamentation. The aged, brittle roses reminded her of the way she always seemed to feel—frozen in time, waiting for someone to pluck her from her stupor, only to be replaced.
Today the flowers would stay. Lee couldn’t bring herself to destroy their despondent beauty. They could stay one more week. Daniel wouldn’t mind—or at least, she hoped his spirit wouldn’t. In truth, he’d never been one for flowers anyway. If anything, the flowers were more for her, like the wreath in her hands. Curling the velvety red ribbon so it sat perfectly at the center, she laid the circular wreath next to the roses, careful to leave her son’s name legible.
She read each word as she had done a thousand times before. Daniel Edward Llewellyn. Born May 10th, 1990. Died December 23, 2010.
The tear trickled down Lee’s cheek, unchecked by time or self-control. She couldn’t imagine a time when the deep pain of those words would leave her unaffected. Yes, they were only words, little letters etched into stone, but they signified so much pain and so many memories. They meant everything to her, just like Daniel.

Danica Winters Author Bio:
Danica Winters is a bestselling author who is known for writing award-winning books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and often a touch of magic. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing).  She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.

Find out more about Danica Winters by visiting here:
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life Blog: http://paranormalromancefanforlife.blogspot.com/

Christmas Hope-Casey Dawes: Clara Misowski is convinced Sam Richards’ cheese making operation would be a perfect stop for her culinary tour group. He’s adamantly opposed to anything to do with a group of women on his farm. Can she convince him to open his heart to company, Christmas, and maybe even her?

Excerpt:
Other than getting better at making the best sheep’s milk cheese in the country, his life could remain just the way it was.
The phone rang.
“Richards Handmade Cheese.” He forced his voice to be calm and pleasant. Calls at this hour might mean new orders.
“Is this Sam Richards?” The woman’s voice was sweet, but one he didn’t recognize.
“Speaking.”
“Oh, good! I was hoping it would be you. I have a proposition for you.”
Probably not a new order. He’d had a few of these calls since that damn reporter interviewed him—women who thought he needed rescuing from a gloomy life, and who were prepared to do it.
He hadn’t been that miserable looking during the television interview, had he?
Trying not to let his wariness carry into his voice, he asked, “How can I help you?”
“My name is Clara Misowski, and I have a tasting party business called The Perfect Plate, located in New Jersey. I make arrangements for groups of women to sample food directly from the source, like your cheese farm. The producer gives a demonstration of what he or she does, my clients sample your products, and buy something.” Clara paused. “Well, most of the time they buy something. But never mind. You get publicity and I get paid to arrange the trip.” She paused for a brief moment. “It’s a win-win!”
He almost groaned aloud. A pack of women on his farm would be worse than being stuck in the barn with the sheep during a three-day winter storm. “Sorry, I’m...”
“No, don’t hang up! Please...I mean...”
“Lady, I raise sheep. I make cheese. Occasionally, I force myself to market it.” He gripped the phone tighter. “You saw the television interview, right?”
“Uh, yeah.”
He tried to expel the gruffness from his tone. “You sound nice enough, but I’m not running an entertainment center for a gaggle of women from...where did you say you were from?”
“New Jersey. Morristown.”
Wherever that is. He made his voice polite, but firm. “I’m going to hang up now and feed my dog.”
“What’s the dog’s name? She was so fun to watch on the TV.”
He glanced at his dog who looked at him with alert brown eyes and thumped her tail.
“Maggie May. Now I...”
“I’d love to meet Maggie May. Can I at least come up and discuss this with you in person?”
“The answer will still be ‘No.’”
“Please? I promise I won’t take up too much time.”
The scent of warm venison stew wafted toward him, and a pang of hunger hit his stomach. “Do whatever you want, lady. I gave you my answer.”




Casey Dawes Author Bio:

Casey Dawes has lived a varied life--some by choice, some by circumstance. Her master’s degree in theater didn’t prepare her for anything practical, so she’s been a teacher, stage hand, secretary, database guru, manager in Corporate America, business coach, and writer.
With a few marriages, two sons, and three step-children, her personal life was a challenge when she met and married her current husband who has proved to be the love of her life. They reside in Montana where she quilts, writes, and coaches on the banks of the Clark Fork River. The couple has been adopted by two gently used cats.
Find out more about Casey Dawes by visiting here:



Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton Boook Tour and Review


Just Desserts
Barbara Bretton

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: originally Berkley; this is a digital indie reprint

Date of Publication: print 2008; digital 2013

ISBN: 9781940665047
ASIN: B00G2EE306

Number of pages: approx. 320
Word Count: approx. 88000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill

Smashwords     Amazon    iTunes    BN

Book Description:

Hayley had sworn off bad boys until Finn Rafferty set out to win her heart...

Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage had finally drummed the truth into her head. In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.

Hayley Maitland Goldstein knew all about how these things worked. First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.

But then Finn Rafferty came into her life and everything changed.

Hayley should have seen the kiss coming but it surprised her just the same. He had been looking at her with a crazy kind of unfocused intensity and she had been about to ask him if he was having a stroke when she realized she was about to be kissed by a man she actually wanted to kiss back.

Every now and then life handed you a perfect moment but the secret was figuring out how to make it last.

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ7ruFHrV1I

Review
Lawyer Finn Rafferty wasn't sure what to expect when he sought out the unknown child of a rock legend, but Hayley Maitland Goldsetin wasn't it.  Hayley questioned every motive for Finn being in her bakery ordering a cake for a rock star.  Why would he drive four hours out of his way to order a cake from a local bakery?

Hayley is waiting for the shoe to drop, the saying too good to be true is ever present in her mind.  It doesn't help that she finds herself falling for Finn.  When Hayley discovers the truth though will she be able to forgive Finn for keeping her in the dark?

This was a delightful read.  I thought the pacing was good and was eager for Hayley to discover the truth.  Lizzie, the daughter of Hayley is highly entertaining and brings a very family feel to the story.  A true gem.


Praise for Just Desserts

"Very few romance writers create characters as well developed and realistic as Bretton's. Her books pull you in and don't let you leave until the last word is read."—Booklist (starred review)

"Once again Bretton produces a wonderful, heartwarming story full of strong emotion, humor, charming pets, delightful characters and a lovely romance. There's also a poignant secondary romance. The way Bretton brings all this to life and pulls it all together for a satisfactory conclusion are what make her a wonderful storyteller."   --Susan Mobley, ROMANTIC TIMES

"Good pacing and dialogue make this warm-hearted story one that readers are sure to relish. The romances have both serious and funny elements. If you like light-hearted, feel good, romantic tales, you are sure to enjoy reading JUST DESSERTS."  --Marilyn Heyman, ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY

"There are surprising, funny twists to this story and a lot of touching episodes to pique the emotional side. I found Barbara Bretton's JUST DESSERTS to be highly entertaining, cleverly written and hard to put down. Being a witty and warm read, I recommend JUST DESSERTS and look forward to reading other novels by this author." --Kay Quintin, FRESH FICTION

"If you've not ever read Ms. Bretton then you are in for a real treat with Just Desserts." --Sandi, A Romance Review

"Just Desserts is a fun, romantic read. I enjoyed it and recommend it for all those who like a great story filled with humor and romance."--Victoria Kennedy, Midwest Book Review

"JUST DESSERTS is a warm family drama filled with tender humor . . . Fans will appreciate Barbara Bretton's invasion of South Jersey as everyone receives their JUST DESSERTS." --Harriet Klausner, Genre Go-Round Reviews

"Ms. Bretton gives her readers an easy, yet not bland, story with wonderful, vibrant characters and wholly believable situations. You'll want her backlist in your library, if it's not there already."--Amanda Killgore, Huntress' Book Reviews

Excerpt:

Trish, one of the high school girls Hayley was currently mentoring, burst into the kitchen looking like she had just bumped into Justin Timberlake and then ricocheted off Johnny Depp.
“There’s two guys outside who want to see you and they’re unbelievably hot!” Trish was seventeen, the age when the arrival of any biped with a Y chromosome rated a breathless announcement. “One of them looks like a rock star from, you know, way back in the eighties.”
Ouch. She had been Trish’s age in the eighties.
“A rock star?” she asked, lifting a brow. Rock stars were in short supply in Lakeside.
“A rock star,” Trish confirmed. “And he’s wearing leather.”
There was only one reason an aging leather-clad hottie would show up at Goldy’s Bakery at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and it had nothing to do with brownies, cheesecake, or bagels.
“Tell him Mr. Goldstein doesn’t live here anymore.” And that Mrs. Goldstein couldn’t be happier about it. Not even sending him his monthly share of the store’s profits dimmed her joy.
“But he didn’t ask for Mr. Goldstein. He asked for you.”
Why did that surprise her? She was the Goldstein with a bank balance, after all. It had been a while since someone had come looking for her ex but the knot in her stomach was painfully familiar. The faint stench of danger still lingered in the air. She wished she had a dollar for every angry enabler who had shown up at Goldy’s in search of the reluctant Mr. Goldstein. She’d be able to buy him out once and for all and still have money to spare.
“Then tell him I’m not here.”
“But, Mrs. G., I already told him you were.”
“Then tell him the truth,” she said. “I’m busy working on a cake that should have been finished an hour ago. I can’t spare a second.” And here she’d thought her life would settle down after Michael moved to Florida to mooch off his mother. The man’s problems had the half-life of uranium.
Trish rearranged her pretty features into an even prettier frown. “He really wants to see you, Mrs. G. Maybe—”
Hayley could feel the hot breath of the Cumberland County Association of Female Realtors on the back of her neck. She whipped out The Look, the same look every mother on the planet had down cold, aimed it in Trish’s direction, then hoped for the best.
“I’ll tell him,” Trish mumbled, then pushed through the swinging door to deliver the bad news.
The Look had stopped working on Lizzie when she was seven, but it was nice to know she still had enough maternal firepower at her command to keep her young staff in line.
She pressed her ear against the swinging door but she couldn’t make out Trish’s words, just a high apologetic string of female sounds that was followed by a male rumble. Leather Boy had a good voice, baritone, a little smoky. She couldn’t make out his words either but Trish’s answering giggle conjured up some painful memories of herself at that age.
First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.
She listened closer. Trish said something girly. Leather Boy rumbled something manly. This time Rachel, her other counter girl for the week, giggled too, a sound that sent Hayley’s maternal early-warning system into overdrive.
Rachel Gomez was a serious straight-A student bound for Princeton next year on full scholarship. She needed the paycheck more than any mentoring Hayley might have provided her. Rachel had probably never giggled before in her life.
If Rachel giggled, then even Lizzie might not be immune. Fourteen was when it started, that fizzy sensation in your veins, the yearning for things you couldn’t define, the sudden realization that boys were infinitely more interesting than global warming or the fate of the humpback whale.
Fourteen was also when young girls parted company with their self-confidence and traded in their love of math and science for a date for the prom.
Sometimes she wanted to lock Lizzie away in her room with her computer, her books, and a cell phone (maybe), and not let her out again until she was twenty-one. Thirty sounded better but even fantasies had their limits. The advisor at Olympia Prep had suggested that Lizzie might be better served intellectually by skipping the rest of high school and starting college in the fall but Hayley was dead set against it. Lizzie might be brilliant when it came to science but when it came to life, she was still only fourteen.
The world could be a scary place. A mother did her best to protect her kid from fast cars, drunk drivers, broken bones, flu, the common cold, but there was nothing she could do to protect her kid from growing up. No matter what you did or how well you did it, your little girl wasn’t going to stay a little girl. Right before your eyes she was going to grow up on you anyway and all you could do was pray she didn’t follow in your foolish footsteps.
Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage to Michael Goldstein had finally drummed the truth into her head. People didn’t change with time. They just became more of who they were to begin with.
In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.
Why didn’t women teach their young how to cope with the things that were really important instead of how to walk in their first pair of heels? Why didn’t they make a point of sitting their girl children down and telling them the truth about men instead of letting some guy in a leather jacket seduce them over a tray of black-and-white cookies?
That was one of the many reasons why she had helped institute the mentoring program at the high school. Lizzie claimed her overflow worrying needed an outlet but it went far deeper. She saw herself in those girls, insecure, struggling, hungry for love, and ready to hand over their futures to the first guy who came along.
Those idiot girls out there were like ripe fruit on a very low-hanging branch. The slightest breeze would be enough to shake them from the tree and into the waiting arms of Leather Boy or someone just like him and their entire lives would be changed forever.
Except it wasn’t going to happen on her watch. With apologies to the good real estate agents of Cumberland County, it was time to prepare for battle.







About the Author:


Oh, how I hate bios! All of that deadly dull information about name (Barbara Bretton) and date of birth (June 25) and geographical data (born in New York City; lives near Princeton, NJ), marital status (many years married), and hobbies (who has time??). How do you gather up all of those dull, dry facts and turn them into something interesting?

No wonder I tell lies for a living.

I considered weaving a story for you about life on a houseboat on the French Riviera. Or maybe my years as a concubine, hidden away in a golden pleasure palace in the shimmering desert. Then I decided to do the unthinkable and tell you the truth.

When I sold my first book and my life changed forever. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, "We want to buy your book." How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal to me. You would have thought I'd sold a first book every single day of my life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.

I was thirty-one years old, unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally come true -- and came with a $6000 advance!

He pulled into the driveway at midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two glasses. I didn't have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded into memory.

A lot has happened to me in the years since that first sale. I've learned that this is a difficult and demanding business (it takes a tough writer to write a tender book) and that I am happiest when I am most ignorant. I've also learned that a good friend, a writer and pal who truly understands, is worth her weight in good reviews and royalty checks.

I fell madly in love with Skye O'Malley in early 1982 and wrote an unabashedly gushy fan letter to our beloved Bertrice Small. By the time Sunny answered, I had joined the ranks of the published and Sunny became friend and mentor, guide and confidant. She has held my hand through broken dreams, disappointments, family illnesses, and accepted my bizarre need to go underground from time to time with great affection and understanding. Over the years I've come to understand the difference between the writer and her work, that loving the book doesn't guarantee that I will love the author. But what a joy it is when you discover that the author of a beloved favorite is even more wonderful and witty and wise than the characters she creates.

So this bio is for you, Sunny, for being the best of friends during the worst of times and -- even more wonderful -- during the good times as well.

And now for the statistics:

Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.

Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.

Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.

Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.