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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

HEAVY SECRETS by Elle Aycart

Happy Release to Elle Aycart!  
Heavy Secrets is NOW LIVE! 

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Christy Sheridan has come a long way from the physical and emotional wreck she used to be. She's made Alden her home and is happily engaged to a man who loves and accepts her for who she is, curves, quirks, and geekiness included. Life is good. Until mommy dearest blows into town to "help" her clueless daughter seal the deal.
Cole Bowen is experiencing a world of firsts: first time in love, first engagement, first Valentine's, first in-laws. He's found the woman of his dreams, so he figured dealing with Martha Sheridan was a small price to pay. That is before his monster-in-law plants herself in their home and inside Christy's head, stirring up old demons and destroying her newly regained self-esteem. And while his hands are full with trying to neutralize their meddlesome guest, a mysterious phone call turns his world upside down.

With ghosts from the past resurfacing and threatening to tear Cole and Christy apart, can they make it to the wedding they both so desperately want, or will heavy secrets send their relationship to the breaking point?

Chapter One

“How many years do you think I’d get for offing my mom? Because honest to God, if we’re talking single digits, I’m willing to risk it,” Christy said while leaning back on the lounge chair after getting a full-body massage that had left her totally gooey.
They were at the spa, wearing fluffy bathrobes and sipping tea, except for Christy, who was nursing a diet soda.
“Just name a time and place, and we’ll be there with a shovel. No questions asked,” Annie said, and Holly and Tate assented.
“I could claim temporary insanity.” Heck, emotional self-defense too.
“Don’t worry, we’ll vouch for you. No jury in its right mind would convict you,” Holly stated. “I thought you were exaggerating, but boy, were you understating. What a…character.”
Ha. That was one way of putting it.
Annie nodded in commiseration. She’d met Martha a long time ago, when the girls were in college. Christy had gone for an East Coast institution, hoping it would be out of her mom’s range, but going away had been useless. There was no place far enough.
Crazy had its own methods of reaching her.
“Where’s the Grand Diva now?” Tate, Christy’s future sister-in-law, asked.
“Checking out wedding dresses. She arranged an appointment at a bridal shop. I stood her up.”
Her whole posse turned to her, looking stupefied.
“She’s picking out a wedding dress without the bride?”
Yeah, typical Martha stunt.
“I know I should be there, but why, really? She won’t listen to anything I say. I might as well save my breath.”
And a whole lot of pain and abuse in the process.
The girls pondered for a second and then nodded.
“Oh, and remember,” Christy added, reaching for her diet soda. “I’m not here. I’m in the middle of a massive twelve-car accident. Well and healthy but stuck inside the vehicle and waiting for the firefighters to come and cut the roof open to rescue me.”
That her mom hadn’t rushed to her side when Christy called her—and that Christy had known she wouldn’t—already said it all.
“And when your mom realizes your car is intact? Then what?” Tate asked, to which Christy couldn’t help snorting.
“That would imply she remembered our talk. It won’t happen. A total impossibility.”
Christy would bet anything, her first unborn child included—and her second and third—that her mom wouldn’t even mention it. That was the advantage of being disappointed one too many times; no way in hell to harbor false illusions.
Martha’s number-one priority was…Martha. Followed by whatever man she was screwing with at the moment. How she’d managed to marry a decent guy and keep him for several years was beyond Christy. Then again, Fred was too kind for his own good. That or he had a hell of a lot of bad karma from a previous life.
For a split second, she’d considered going to the bridal shop, but then she’d discarded the idea. Defaulting to her smile-accept-and-walk-away technique, she’d nodded and kept quiet. And had run in the opposite direction at the first chance. Let her mother get her kicks. Just let her do it far away from Christy. Besides, there was no damage Martha could do; Christy had told the shop assistant not to reserve anything without her consent.
Holly poured herself more tea. “Doesn’t she know you don’t want a traditional dress for your summer wedding?”
“She knows. She just doesn’t care.” They were talking about a woman who had gotten married four times, once with a beer-can tab as a ring. Appointments at high-scale bridal shops were a dream come true for her. “I feel like a shitty daughter, but I’m so ready for her to leave.”
Martha had come for Christmas with her husband and stayed a couple of days. It had gone rather well, probably because Cole was scary enough and Martha hadn’t worked herself up to be…well, herself. This time around, she’d been in Alden for three days, without Fred, and Christy was ready to face the gallows for a chance to get rid of her.
Fate had thrown Christy the mother of all curve balls when it chose Martha as her sole parent.
Their relationship had always been complicated, to say the least, with Christy spending all her life putting out fires—Martha’s—and eating to cope. Eventually she’d gotten her food addiction under control, but changing her mom and her nasty ways was something out of her reach.
And having Martha living with her without Fred as a buffer was bringing up all sorts of feelings and automatic coping mechanisms that Christy had thought she’d left behind.
Lora, Christy’s former sponsor, had been right: nothing guaranteed recovery, and they were always one upset away from relapse.
“What about Cole?” Tate asked, taking Christy out of her reverie. “Isn’t he putting her in her place?”
He would if he knew. Apparently Martha was learning subtlety, at least in front of a 240-pound, uncompromising ex-marine. It also helped that Christy had asked him not to interfere. Cole was a black-and-white kind of person. Intransigent and not inclined to put up with moronities. Left to his own devices, he would have kicked Martha out the first day.
“She’s…contained around him. I think she’s scared of him.”
“She and half the world, sister,” Holly mumbled.
Christy rolled her eyes and, after reaching inside the pocket of her bathrobe, fished out a sugar-free cherry lollipop. “Come on. Cole is a harmless sweetie.” Who liked macho power tripping and playing with cuffs, but a sweetie nonetheless.
They’d been together for six months, and although they’d clashed several times, he’d kept his word and hadn’t shut her out. He’d leave to cool down—sometimes he went to his brother James’s; sometimes she saw him pacing up and down the yard, muttering under his breath—but he always came back and they always found middle ground.
“To you he’s harmless,” Holly corrected as Christy unwrapped the candy. “Wait until he finds out about the pole-dancing classes. Mike already told Kyra to up her insurance. And to make sure there are no guys lurking around during said classes.”
Cole and his men had started working on Kyra’s dance studio right before Christmas and had gotten it ready in no time. Anything to get the exotic aerobics and the horde of giggling women in tight thongs out of Haddican’s, the local gym, and away from so much bubbling testosterone.
“It’s all Annie’s fault,” Christy shot back, giving her friend the evil eye. “She signed me up without asking.”
Christy wasn’t much for showing herself off, and pole dancing was exactly that, but Kyra had been so excited to have her and Tate on board that it had been impossible to get out of it without hurting Kyra’s feelings.
On the plus side, Martha hadn’t found out about her daughter’s new hobby. She would have made fun of Christy or joined the classes. Either way, no number of twelve-step meetings would have helped Christy get through that trauma. Her mother was many things, but ugly and clumsy she wasn’t. That her ass and boobs were still perkily pointing north and that she moved perfectly to capitalize on that also helped. Working a pole under her reproving stare would have killed Christy and her shaky, newly developed self-esteem. For all Martha’s dumb decisions in her personal life—and boy, were there plenty—she had a witty tongue and knew how to deliver killer putdowns.
“Duh, you would have said no,” Annie replied, bringing her back to the present. “And I owed you one after you got me into exotic aerobics.”
“You know I can’t quit the exotic aerobics. I needed company.” Christy had gone there just on a whim, but then Cole saw her and, in one of his my-way-or-the-highway stunts, had tossed her over his shoulder and stomped out of the class. Now she couldn’t quit, just on principle. She needed to stand her ground with Cole, especially when he was being a control freak and attempting to fuck her into submission, which was very often.
Besides, she liked that class. And defying Cole.
Annie pursed her lips. “A pregnant woman wiggling her ass around a chair and pretending to be sexy is…definitely not.”
“I’m pretty sure Max feels otherwise,” Holly said. “I’ve seen him watching you. No way to disguise that look.”
“What look?”
“That tight expression. The she’s-mine-everyone-back-the-fuck-off glare, mixed with wait-till-I-get-a-closed-door-between-us-and-the-rest-of-the-world.”
Tate laughed. “That’s the standard Bowen look.”
Damn right. Christy had seen it on Cole’s face many times. Before and after fucking her senseless. Heck, while too. She loved that proprietary look. It said she was beautiful and he needed her. For someone who’d battled self-esteem issues all her life, it meant the world. Cole meant the world to her.
“As soon as the baby pops out,” Christy said, pointing at Annie’s seven-months-pregnant belly, “you’re marching into the pole-dancing classes with me. No frigging excuses.”
Annie shook her head. “I have shitty coordination. I’d kill myself.”
“Sure. And the swing up in Max’s room?”
They were all rosy from their facial massages, yet Annie visibly flushed. “Hmm, that’s for yoga?”
Christy couldn’t stifle the giggle. Neither could Holly or Tate.
Yeah, because Max was such a yoga type.
Christy dipped her sugar-free lollipop on her diet soda. “If I’m making an ass out of myself and Kyra is risking the integrity of her new business, you’re joining us after recovering from childbirth.”
Annie grimaced, pointing at Christy’s glass. “That’s gross. I thought you were cutting back on your weird stuff.”
Yeah, she’d thought that too. Until her mom blew into town.
“Cola-flavored cherry lollipop or cherry-flavored soda. Not weirder than scooping Nutella with bacon.”
“True, but I’m hormonal.”
Ha! Pregnancy hormones had nothing on the spike of anxiety that Martha created.
“By the way, Tate,” Holly chimed in, “did you get a pole installed in the bedroom?”
Now it was Tate blushing. “Yes.”
She blushed even harder. She was six months pregnant, and although she had some limitations where the movements were concerned, Christy had seen her dance. Tate really knew how to make it work. She kicked ass. Pregnant and all.
“James loved it. As in really loved it.”
“On a scale of one to ten?” Holly asked, wiggling her eyebrows.
“Thirty. And don’t worry,” Tate hurried to appease Christy. “I made him promise he won’t say a word to Cole about the classes.”
Good, because Mike was right. If Cole found out, Kyra was going to need top-of-the-line insurance, especially with Amantis’s dancing crew and the security detail snooping around.
“Although I don’t see the big issue. It’s for Cole. Whenever you’re ready, he’ll be the one enjoying the result of the classes, right?”
“Right,” Christy mumbled. She’d started liking it, but considering how klutzy she felt at pole dancing, it was going to take a couple of decades before Cole got to see her.
Holly turned her inquisitive gaze to Annie. “And your, uh, yoga swing? Scale of one to ten?”
“Thirty,” she answered after a long pause, red as a frigging tomato.
“Wow. Swings, dancing poles. The pregnant ladies here like their toys,” Holly said with a grin.
Christy glanced at Annie and Tate, both fanning themselves. “We should change the subject. Before the kinky pregnant ladies faint.”
“You’re a fine one to talk. And the cuffs tucked in the drawer in your nightstand?”
“What? I’m being tactful. The cuffs were the only objects I recognized.”
Okay, they were so banned from each other’s bedrooms.
“Really?” Holly asked, looking intrigued as hell. “What kind of objects?”
“We are deviating from the subject, people. We were talking about how to off my mom, remember?”
Tate waved around. “That’s easy. We bring her here, lock her in the sauna, and turn it to high.”
“It won’t work. She’s from LA. And she lived in Georgia for a while, chasing after some crocodile hunter. The heat’s nothing for her.”
“Or now that we have plenty of props,” Holly said with a wink, “we could plant Tate’s dance pole somewhere in the forest and cuff Martha to it. Leave her for the wolves.”
Poor wolves. Her mother would have them committing suicide in no time. Christy couldn’t do that to them.
“Must be a simpler way. Can’t you just send her to hell?”
Christy shrugged. It was easier said than done. Her mom had the nasty habit of doing something nice whenever Christy was reaching critical mass. She couldn’t send her to hell in good conscience.
The girls couldn’t understand. Annie had a kick-ass mom. Tate too. Holly’s she didn’t know, but the messages between mother and daughter were hilarious, so she imagined their relationship was solid. People with great parents had no clue how difficult it was to deal with bad ones.
“How long until she leaves?”
“Still a while. Thirteen days, nine hours”—Christy reached for her cell—“twenty-five minutes and thirty-five seconds, to be exact.”
Annie chuckled. “You keeping track?”
“I have a countdown set.” Every twenty-four hours, an app sent her a yay-you-can-do-this message. “She’s leaving four days before Valentine’s Day. She wants to be in LA then, so that she can prepare for it.”
“Four days in advance?” Holly asked. “What’s she planning on doing for her husband?”
“For Fred? Nothing. She goes to make sure he gets her all that she wants.”
“Oh boy.”
“You can say that again. How he puts up with her, I don’t know.”
Her smile-accept-and-walk-away technique was failing her big-time now that they were both under the same roof. Or maybe it was that she had gotten a taste for normal and supportive with Cole, and going back to mental was hard.
“We should call Fred and get some pointers,” Holly suggested. “Thirteen days is a long time. Spending your and Cole’s first Valentine’s Day in jail wouldn’t be too much fun.”
“Run to Vegas ahead of schedule. You’re going there anyway for your annual convention, right?” Annie asked.
Tate frowned. “What convention?”
“The geeky version of Valentine’s,” Annie said. “I was there once with her. Memorable. Not going ever again.”
Christy rolled her eyes and turned to Holly and Tate. “There’s a Star Trek convention held in Vegas the weekend before Valentine’s every year.” Plus this year they had the premiere of a new Star Trek movie. “And no, I’m not going. Cole wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like that. I’ve been dropping hints about it for a couple of months already, but he isn’t biting.”
Holly patted her on the arm. “So no hanging out with your nerdy friends and stuck with your mom. That sucks.”

Yep. Totally.

Bowen Series Reading Order

 More than Meets the Ink (Bowen, #1)
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Heavy Issues (Bowen #2)
Barnes & Noble:

Inked Ever After (Bowen, #2.5)
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To The Max (Bowen, #3)
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All Romance ebooks:

About the Author

After a colorful array of jobs all over Europe ranging from translator to chocolatier to travel agent to sushi chef to  flight dispatcher, Elle Aycart is certain of one thing and one thing only: aside from writing romances, she has abso-frigging-lutely no clue what she wants to do  when she grows up. Not that it stops her from trying all sorts of crazy stuff.

While she is probably now thinking of a new profession, her head never stops churning new plots for her romances. She lives currently in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two daughters, although who knows, in no time she could be living at the Arctic Circle in Finland, breeding reindeer.

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QUEEN OF BLOOD by Jill Myles Release Blitz!

A War is brewing!   Find out what happens in Queen of Blood!



For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.
Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .
A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

Excerpt #1

“You work too hard.” Rilen took her hand in his own and turned it over, pressing a kiss onto her callused palm. “When you become my wife, that will change.”
“Does your family not eat?” She smiled and snatched her arm back for the second time that day. “And why is it everyone is fascinated with the state of my hands?”
A possessive look swept over Rilen’s face and he took a step closer to Seri. “Who else has been touching you?”
Uneasy, Seri moved closer to the brazier. “No one important. A visiting noblewoman made me a proposition, that’s all.”
His eyes narrowed. “What sort of proposition?”
She finished her treat and tucked the cheesecloth into her pocket. “Nothing important. There’s a ceremony in a few days, and she wanted a little Vidari lapdog at her side to draw attention.” Seri was unable to keep the disgust out of her voice. “Offered me three dru for the sevenday, too.”
“A sevenday?” Rilen glanced over at Timmar. “And you’d live in the castle?”
“I assume.” Seri eyed him uneasily, moving toward her mule as a subtle hint that they should leave. She’d thought Rilen would have been furious at the thought of her debasing herself for a few coins. Instead, he was stroking his chin, regarding her in the same speculative fashion that Lady Mila had.
 “Think, Seri,” he began. “If you’re inside the inner walls of the palace, serving a noblewoman, you’ll have access to everything that goes on inside. Everything that we can only wonder about.” His voice grew excited, and Timmar nodded eagerly.
“I would be a plaything for one of their spoiled ladies. A mockery of our people dressed up for their enjoyment.”
He threw up his arms. “Let them laugh! You can find out who the prince marries and what he intends to do here. We can use this knowledge.” He lowered his voice and leaned in. “You could spy for us. For the rebellion. Think of the things we could learn.”
“But my father and my sister,” she protested, weakening in the sight of his excitement. Humiliation or no, it would be three dru . . . and she cared more about the money than about being a hero.
Rilen shook his head at her. “I’ll visit them every day and make sure that they’re well. It’s only for a sevenday, and think of how you’ll help our cause. When we discover the Athonites’ intentions, we can find out the best time to strike! Soon we will bring the castle down and the land will belong to the Vidari once more.”
“Rilen, I don’t know.” The thought of spending a week inside the enormous stone walls of the palace, alone and friendless and an object of scorn, terrified her. What if more of the soldiers came upon her? Would they stop at mocking her? Or would they take it one step further? But then she thought of the Athonite healer refusing to save her father, just because he was Vidari. Of the new taxes Grimald told her about, and of how she would have to work her fingers to the bone to keep her farm afloat.
Rilen clasped her cheeks and forced Seri to look into his eyes. “I love you, Seri. Won’t you do it for me? For us? So our children won’t have to grow up under Athonite rule?”
He leaned in and kissed her fiercely, and just like that, it was decided.

Meet Jill Myles

Jill Myles has been an incurable romantic since childhood. She reads all the 'naughty parts' of books first, looks for a dirty joke in just about everything, and thinks to this day that the Little House on the Prairie books should have been steamier.
After devouring hundreds of paperback romances, mythology books, and archaeological tomes, she decided to write a few books of her own - stories with a wild adventure, sharp banter, and lots of super-sexy situations. She prefers her heroes alpha and half-dressed, her heroines witty, and she loves nothing more than watching them overcome adversity to fall into bed together.

$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Monday, 29 June 2015

TO KISS A RAKE by Barbara Monajem.

To Kiss A Rake
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #1
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release Date: July 29, 2015


Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.


Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

Setup: Melinda Starling was abducted by mistake and is now being returned home by her abductor. She falls asleep in the carriage.

     Melinda dreamed she was safe in the arms of a truly wonderful man. He adored her with a passion that knew no bounds; she loved him with all her heart. The swaying of the coach pressed them together. She inhaled his warm, male scent and snuggled closer, savoring the way her breast rubbed against his arm. She ached for the pressure of his lips on hers, yearning, yearning… She always woke before her dream lover kissed her.
     Not this time. His lips were warm and soft, his breath hot and laced with brandy. Her lips parted instinctively beneath his, and she heard herself give a little moan of pleasure. The tip of his tongue slipped between her lips and touched hers.
     The coach came to a halt. Her eyes fluttered open as she woke. The obnoxious lord who’d sworn he wouldn’t touch her broke the kiss, still holding her in his arms. She shoved at him, but he held fast.
     “How dare you?” she cried.
     The interior of the coach was still cloaked in gloom, but dawn was well on the way. She caught a glimpse of amused eyes before he pulled the brim of his hat over his face. “You fell asleep and slid right into my arms,” he said, his calm voice feeding her rage. “I couldn’t resist.”
     She wiped a hand across her mouth. “I was—I was—” She couldn’t get the words out. She’d been saving her first kiss for the man she would marry, and this dastardly person had stolen it.
     Thank God she was home. She wrenched herself from his arms just as the groom opened the door.      She tumbled out of the coach without waiting for the steps, gathered the skirts of her costume, and ran up the pavement to the house.
     She lifted the knocker and rapped it hard against the door, and rapped it again. And waited, shivering in the chill dawn wind, her arms tight about herself. Hurry!
     No one answered. The servants must be asleep, but surely Grandmama would have left someone on watch for her. She knocked once again. And waited.
     Silence, but for the shuffling of the horses, the barking of a dog, and the rumble of a wagon in the next street. London was coming to life.
     She turned, anxious now. Why did the coach still wait? “You needn’t stay any longer. Someone will wake up and let me in.”
     “Someone should already be awake and waiting,” the man said irritably from within the coach. He didn’t give the order to leave.
     Melinda rapped again. What was going on? She thought she heard a sound within the house, thought she heard a voice, and knocked once more… Nothing. This was ghastly. She had to get indoors before someone saw her.
     “Miss Starling, are you sure this is the right house?” The man who’d kissed her was framed in the coach window, his hat low over his brow once again.
     “Of course I’m sure. Why don’t they answer?”
     “Try the area stairs,” he suggested softly.
     She’d never gone in by the servants’ entrance, but it was a good idea, the sort she would usually think of herself, but she couldn’t get her mind to work properly. She lifted the latch and hurried down the steep, winding stairs, shivering now from anxiety as much as the chill dawn air. She banged hard on the door. It was close to the housekeeper’s room, so surely that kindly woman would hear.
From inside the house came a furious bellow. “No! Do not open that door.”
     Melinda froze. That was Grandma’s voice. She was…ordering the housekeeper not to let Melinda inside.
     Her shiver became a tremble. She stumbled up the steep, narrow stairs and through the gate. She gaped at the dark house, her home, its curtains drawn like the blank eyes of a statue, cold and forbidding and utterly silent again.
     “Damn,” the man who had kissed her said. “What the devil is going on?”
     The sky lightened, and it finally dawned on Melinda. Grandmama wasn’t going to let her in. She’d been turned away from her own home.
     “Did I hear her say not to open the door to you?” the man asked in a low, disbelieving voice.
     Melinda blinked back hot, horrified tears and faced him, away from the house and the grandmother who had always wanted to be rid of her. “She used to threaten to wash her hands of me,” she said. “And now she has done it.”


4 out of 5 stars Kindle Copy for Review

What happens when a lady tries to help an elopement but ends up getting kidnapped instead?  She finds herself marrying her kidnapper to save both her reputation and his.

Melinda Starling finds herself in a situation with Miles Warren, Lord Garrison who he found himself assisting in the elopement.  But when he realizes he has the wrong lady, he takes her back to her grandmother’s house in the early hours.  He is witness to her grandmother telling the servants not to let her in ax he feels sorry for her and takes her back to his place but he manages to steal a kiss.
Miles finds himself doing the honorable thing of offering marriage despite being a rake.  He has his own secret that he is hiding.

Despite not wanting to marry him, she realizes that they both need the marriage and that they need each other.  Along the way, the find themselves falling for each other as they slowly learn about each other after their quick marriage.

Sometimes you never know when love strikes even when helping another romance. 

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.