Friday, January 17, 2020

Book Spotlight with Melody DeBlois: THAT APRIL IN SANTA MONICA

Fellow Wild Rose Press author Melody DeBlois stops by today with a look at THAT APRIL IN SANTA MONICA, including an additional excerpt about Madison's slightly unhealthy relationship with clothes. Welcome Melody!


Madison receives acclaim for running a talent agency for people with disabilities, but she doesn't know how to take care of herself. When her altruism becomes life-threatening-a matter of either develop healthy habits or die-she joins a reality TV show that pairs her with hot, raven-haired Brandon. He is witty, sexy, and her teacher. That makes him off limits.

After a successful run on a soap opera, Brandon stepped away from empty fame and now focuses on his work as TV's most noted health teacher. He has one fast rule-never fall for a student. But when he meets Madison, their chemistry is combustible. There's no hiding their conflict or their attraction, especially when it's all caught on film.

Clothes Make the Character:

When Brandon and Madison are cleaning out her closet, frustrated, she asks, “Is there not some clothes-horse support group I could join? That pretty well sums up her addiction. Here is a short scene in which Brandon rewards her for clearing out the stuff she doesn’t need by taking her to Bloomingdales to pick out new yoga outfits.
The hangers click-clacked, rubbing together on a rail, as Madison Gray chose a cashmere pencil skirt, an off-the-shoulder romper, and a keyhole printed dress. She spied Brandon flagging her down. Being in the store she could never afford on her own, she’d forgotten his existence. 
 “Hey,” he said, puffing up next to her and shepherding in the cameras. “Don’t you remember your motto, ‘Only splurge if you can’t live without it?’ ” 
That catchphrase, coming from the king of catchphrases, had slipped her mind. Shopping without interference—a tribe of salesgirls on hand to supply her with all the latest fashion trends—meant a turf this side of paradise. 
 Brandon tapped the clerk who had been trailing behind on her shoulder. “What can you show Ms. Gray in the way of yoga wear?” 
The girl took off. “We just got a new shipment. Wait till you see.” 
Who cared about yoga? Madison whooped at gowns too gorgeous for words, chiffon, georgette, silk charmeuse—Givenchy galore. She was browsing through them, fingering the ruffles and tucks, when someone tapped her on the shoulder. 
Brandon wrinkled his handsome brow. “Did you forget why we’re here?”
Well, of course, she hadn’t. “No, how could I with the guru and his camera yahoos?” 
She’d be darn if he would make her feel guilty. After all, didn’t she deserve a reward for fulfilling all his demands for reform? The salesgirl awaited them with hands clasped at her waist. “Right around the bend,” she prompted with a slight turn in the opposite direction. 
Madison tried not to sound like a woman who had been locked away and denied shopping. “I’m right behind you.”

And another Excerpt:

“Don’t you feel the sun’s energy balancing and healing you?”

What Madison felt was Brandon’s body heat radiating through her, tightening her muscles, skimming up her spine. That kind of warmth should come with a warning— exposure might cause side effects. Maybe she could have blamed it on chemistry or like attracting like— called it a lethal injection. She was dying for want of him.

She managed to say, “I see a halo around the sun.”

“Feel it vibrate?” he asked, turning to look at her.

Somehow, she didn’t think watching the sky had anything to do with it. The heat had gathered at the sweet place between her legs— another side effect of her being close to him. If this didn’t end up in a kiss, she didn’t think she’d be able to bear it.

Drawing in a long shaky breath, she said, “I do feel the vibration.” Oh, did she!

“Being out in the middle of nature, with the birds and the sea creatures, it does something to a person, don’t you think?”

“Amen to Mother Earth,” she said dreamily.

“There’s harmony in the sounds.” His breath seemed to have caught in his throat.

“Yes, a more beautiful melody could not exist.”

“Do you feel your eyes blur? It’s the sun cleansing you.”

Cleansing? Try heating up as if some crazy so-and-so had switched on the gas.

She moaned, “My eyes have become pools of marvel.” No, that wasn’t right. They were pools of longing, no mistaking.

Buy Links: 

Kobo  ~   Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble

Author Bio:

Born in California, award winning author, Melody DeBlois follows the sun. When she isn’t swimming laps, she’s writing sweet and sassy romances. Her heroines are self-reliant and smart and her heroes are kind by nature and love dogs. She lives in California during the summer and spends winters in Arizona with her husband. She has plotted her novels while hiking the beach or trekking across the desert. Her most treasured possession is family.

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Melody DeBlois (@melody.deblois) • Instagram photos and videos

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

#NewRelease from Barbara Bettis: A WINTER KNIGHT

Medieval romance writer Barbara Bettis joins me with a look at her newest release, A WINTER'S KNIGHT. This novella is only .99 cents and is part of the Knights of Destiny series. Welcome Barb!

He’s running from his past; she’s running from her future. But on a snowy winter night, they find each other and the surprising gift of love.

Sir Nicholas has given up on marriage. These days he’s content to captain his friend’s troops and avoid entanglements—until one winter night when he rescues a half-frozen woman from a snowstorm. Her irrepressible spirit and kindness to others reminds him that all ladies aren’t like his former intended, who wed his brother while Nick was on crusade. But he can’t open his heart to Lady Clare. She’s bound to another, and Nick won’t forfeit his honor. Even if she were free, he has nothing to offer but love, and this lady deserves everything.

Lady Clare’s dying grandfather has arranged her betrothal, but the arrival of the man she’s to wed sends her fleeing into a snowstorm. Injured when her horse stumbles, she’s rescued by a mysterious knight. She recovers at his run-down manor, safe at last—until her betrothed tracks her down two days before Christmas. Trapped at home with the wedding imminent, she longs for the winter knight she’s come to love.

Only a miracle can bring Clare and Nick together. But at Christmas, anything is possible.


The strange horse fidgeted in the bailey, tossing its mane and stomping the new white fall into mud. The stable lad grasped the reins and murmured to the nervous animal. After a few token twitches, it settled in to nose against the boy’s shoulder while Nicholas removed a bag from one side of the saddle. He pulled open the cord and peered inside. Tom had been right. A lady’s garments.

Nicholas swore under his breath. What feather-brained female would venture out in a storm with such few belongings? Any lady he’d ever known traveled with trunks of adornments.

No ignoring the evidence. Some lady or her attendant was likely trudging through the frigid December night after being tossed from this mount.

Merde!” He sighed and ducked his head, then muttered another curse when kernels of icy snow melted down the back of his neck.

He had no choice. Couldn’t leave anyone to wander around in this weather. And a lady, at that. If God had any mercy, He’d see the lady’s party found her first. What would Nicholas do with her at the ramshackle manor he’d been tasked with putting to rights? You could do only two things with ladies—marry’em or mount’em. He’d sworn off the first and was too damned cold for the second.

The thought made him pause, and he winced with a flash of remorse. When had he become so cynical? These past months, he’d hardly known himself. He brushed a hand over his face and straightened.

“Take the mare to the stable, Tom, then help me get Solomon ready. I’ll see if I can find the lost rider.”

The wind had died somewhat by the time the gate disappeared behind Nicholas. How the hell was he to know what direction to search? Three roads passed by the manor, one south leading to Windom, one from the west, and one from the northeast.

Luck was with him, however. The snow, while blowing like a needle-toothed banshee earlier, hadn’t completely filled in the tracks left by the riderless horse. Faint, but Nicholas could make out the slight indentations. Northeast, then.

He and Solomon plodded along the path, stopping once to investigate a drift at the edge of the road, only to find a skiff of hardened snow covering a low bush.  When he remounted, he tugged the heavy wool cloak tighter around his shoulders. The wind might have laid, but the air was turning colder. He beat his hands together. They were numbing in spite of his sturdy leather gloves.

Only a reminder of snow lingered now. No longer falling as ice pellets, flakes sauntered in dips and turns through the air, settling on surfaces with deceptive grace. The clouds had chugged on, leaving a three-quarter moon to sparkle down on the glazed landscape.

Nicholas had about decided he’d missed the lady, or there’d never been one in distress. The mare might have wandered away from a party which had moved on and were now snug and safe by a friendly blaze. Where he’d like to be.

Then Solomon side-stepped and whinnied.  Nicholas pulled on the reins, reached forward, and patted the gelding’s neck. “What is it boy?”  The mount tossed his head.

Scanning the landscape, Nicholas spotted a mound in the road a few paces ahead. Odd place for a drift. He swung down and approached. Not a drift. He hunched beside the motionless form. A smattering of snow blended with the cloth that covered the mound. He pulled aside a corner of—fine, white wool? The inside of the material was lined in fur. The whole was tucked around a body.

Tugging gently, Nicholas freed more of the cloth to uncover a female, huddled in upon herself. When he turned the still figure, her head fell to the side, revealing bluing lips in a face as white as the ground.

Merciful God. 

She is dead!

He lifted her into his arms and stood. What was he to do with a dead female? He glanced at her form again. Dead—lady, his mind amended. No companion or maidservant would be dressed in such a fine gown or wear a fur-lined cloak worth more than Nicholas’s first set of armor. And that had been damned fine chain mail.

He turned toward Solomon, jostling the body higher against his chest. A soft “Umh” reached his ears.

 He paused.

 She lives? 

Merde. She lives! 

Buy Link:

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archaeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. Through careers as a newspaper reporter and editor, then a college journalism and English professor, she’s retained her fascination with history. Give her a research book and a pot of tea, and she’s happy for hours. But what really makes her smile is working on a new story. Now retired, she lives in Missouri where she edits for others and spins her own tales of heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

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