Tag Archive | Susana Says

Melissa Foster and “Sisters in Bloom”

NBtM Sisters in Bloom Banner copy

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“Steamy love scenes, emotionally-charged drama, and a family-driven story, make this the perfect story for any romance reader; especially those who have read Book One, Sisters in Love.

— Diane Donovan, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

About Sisters in Bloom

Kaylie Snow has always been the fun, flirty, pretty sister. Now, her burgeoning baby bump, hormone infused emotions, and faltering singing career are sending her into an unexpected identity crisis. Watching her older sister Danica glide through a major career change and a new relationship with the grace of a ballerina, Kaylie’s insecurities rise to the forefront—and her relationship, with fiancé Chaz Crew, is caught in the crossfire.

Chaz Crew has everything he’s ever wanted: a lovely fiancé, a baby on the way, and soon, the film festival he owns will host its biggest event ever. When he’s called away to woo the festival’s largest sponsor—and the lover he’s never admitted to having—secrets from his past turn his new life upside down.

With her baby shower around the corner, and her fiancé’s big event looming, the pressure is on for Kaylie to pull herself together—and for Chaz to right his wrongs. In a few short weeks, the couple who had it all figured out will learn things about life and love that may change their minds—and their hearts.

Sisters in Bloom is a testament to the bond of sisters, the strength of women, and the pains and delights that accompany motherhood. A book for every mother, sister, and daughter, Sisters in Bloom will resonate with readers who love to explore family dramas.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Kaylie Snow didn’t just have to tinkle, she had to pee. If she wasn’t out of bed in two minutes, she’d very likely not make it to the bathroom, and then she’d have to explain to her fiancé why the carpet was wet. She pulled the sheet over her naked, burgeoning belly, and sat up, watching Chaz’s chest rise and fall with each peaceful breath. She stifled the urge to lean over and kiss his barely parted lips. He’d been working so hard; he really did deserve to sleep in. The morning light streamed through the curtains reminding her of the morning after they’d first met. Surely, her bladder could wait one small minute while she savored those memories. She’d had far too many margaritas celebrating her best friend Camille’s impending wedding, and Chaz had been only mildly tipsy when they left Bar None together and headed to his place. She remembered thinking that she wanted to run her hands through his wavy blond hair, which set off his ocean-blue eyes like jewels. And she’d desperately wanted to kiss him, just as she did now.

She’d waited a long time for that first kiss. They talked until five in the morning, when—tucked perfectly into the curve of his arm, her head against his muscular chest—they’d fallen asleep on the couch in his living room. When she awoke,  the sun was warming the room, and his unkissed lips slightly parted as he slept. She could feel their connection as if it was another person in the room, and she’d known in her heart that she’d found the man she’d one day marry. She reached over now and ran her finger over the prickles of whiskers that lined the chiseled edge of his jaw.

He rolled onto his side, snuggling deeper into the pillow, and shifted just enough to jiggle her bladder. She winced, pressing the heel of her hand on the mattress to push herself to her feet—not an easy task at thirty-five weeks pregnant. As she raised herself off the bed, she felt Chaz’s hand fold into her own.

“Come back,” he whispered.

Kaylie turned, holding the sheet across her heavy breasts. “I have to pee,” she whispered.

“Then come back.” He squeezed her hand gently, and then let her go.

After Kaylie went to the bathroom, she washed her hands and inspected herself in the mirror. Naked Buddha. She turned sideways. Beached whale. She turned to the rear and looked over her shoulder. Oh, God, that’s even worse. What had she been thinking last night, believing each of Chaz’s compliments about how gorgeous she looked? The evening before came tumbling back to her. The phone call from the Denver nightclub, the one she’d sung in for the last two years. Just another in a long line of lost singing gigs that she’d hoped to secure, for after the baby was born. She was a good singer! Audiences loved her and she’d never missed a single gig. She’d always dreamt of being offered a record deal; now, it seemed as if her pregnancy changed everything, like she had a tattoo on her forehead that read, Don’t hire me. I’ll have a baby soon and it’ll make me unreliable. She’d cried for twenty minutes, blaming herself, the baby, and even Chaz. Later, she realized she hadn’t really meant a word of it, she’d just been overwhelmed. Chaz had stuck right beside her, calm and empathetic, and she’d fallen for every one of his lines about how sexy and beautiful she looked, and how wonderful of a mother she’d be. He’d reeled her right into his loving, secure arms, and whisked those worries away.

MEDIA KIT Sisters in BloomLook at me. That’s it! No more sleeping naked. She ran her hands along the pockets of flesh that had somehow gathered above her waist. Jesus, I have love handles? She’d been a size five since she was a teenager. How could she have love handles? Babies grew in the uterus, not above the hipbones. What the hell is this all about? She patted her blond hair into submission—sort of—brushed her teeth, and then grabbed one of Chaz’s T-shirts from his dresser drawer before returning to bed.

Kaylie lay on her back, her legs bent at the knees. She restrained herself from feeling the love handles that now seemed to silently taunt her. Just knowing they were there was making her cranky. She felt her chest tighten, and clenched her fingers around the edges of Chaz’s shirt.

Chaz curled into her, his knees tucked under hers, and his arm across her narrow hips, below her enormous belly. He rested his head on her shoulder, and she listened to his breathing, each breath calming her nerves a little bit more. She felt so safe when she was with Chaz. No wonder she hadn’t put on clothes last night. She believed anything that came out of his mouth.

“Wanna think about names?” he whispered.

“We agreed not to.” When Kaylie first learned she was pregnant, they’d decided not to find out the gender of the baby. There were so few real surprises in life that they wanted the birth of their baby to be one of those moments that really grabbed them by their hearts in a way that nothing else ever could. For that reason, and with her doctor’s permission, she’d only had one sonogram. She wasn’t a high-risk pregnancy, and she was so young that her doctor saw no reason to have more; Kaylie had been relieved. The idea of lying on the table with her baby on that screen—close enough to reach out and touch—would have been too hard to turn away from.

Kaylie was also adamant about not trying out names before it was born. She’d never understood how a child could have a name before the parents had met it. What if a Charles was really a Michael? It would be hard to change the name to fit the personality or looks of a baby if they’d been calling it Charles for nine months.

She and Chaz were so much alike. They agreed on almost everything, and Kaylie had dated enough men to know just how lucky she was. She closed her eyes, thinking about the things she had to do today. She was meeting her older sister, Danica, and her mother, who she hadn’t seen in—gosh—a year? Had it really been that long? Guilt settled in around her. Her mother was once such a big part of her life, but ever since she found out that her mother had stayed with her father after learning of his affair, she no longer saw her mother in the same light. The strong woman she thought she knew seemed weak and almost pathetic. Now that Kaylie was going to be a mother, she found herself thinking of her mother more often, but she had no idea how to handle the anger and disappointment she felt toward her. Once again, she tucked away these uncomfortable thoughts about her mother. They were too difficult to deal with right then. She had other pressing issues that she could not ignore.

Her nerves tightened against the incessant nag in the back of her mind, the one that reminded her that it had been months since her last singing gig. The one that reminded her that her sister Danica would never let her career just fade away, unless that’s what she wanted. Kaylie felt powerless to change the path of her failing career, and determined, fearless Kaylie had never felt powerless in her entire life.

Chaz moved his hand slowly across her pelvis, then traced gentle circles on the underside of her belly. “Gracie?”

“We’re not doing this,” she said, smiling despite her desire to chew on her worry for just another minute or two. She brushed his bangs from his forehead.

“Felix?”

“Chaz.”

He scooted up beside her and whispered in her ear, “Jezabel? Bambi?”

SusanaSays3SUSANA SAYS: Two sisters deal with issues stemming from parents’ breakup: 4/5 stars

Kaylie Snow hasn’t spoken to her mother in a year. She’s angry that her mother put up with her father’s infidelities and lived a lie for so many years. She’s happy to be carrying the child of the man she loves, but she has doubts about what being a mother will do—has already done—to her singing career. And Chaz has a couple of secrets that he knows he has to talk to Kaylie about, but he can never seem to find the right time.

Danica Snow seems to have moved beyond that stage in her acceptance of their parents’ divorce, but then, she does have a fear of commitment. Blake is the perfect man for her. She loves and trusts him. But there’s still a lingering doubt that keeps her from agreeing to move in with him. She wants to reconcile Kaylie with their mother, but she herself hasn’t done much to keep in touch with Dad.

This is a poignant story of two sisters who still struggle with the aftermath of a family that was broken for years before they learned of it. Although they react in very different ways, they both find the past interfering in their own relationships, and both must find their own way of dealing with these fears and insecurities.

Dysfunctional marriages where the parents stay together until their children are grown are not at all uncommon, and Sisters in Bloom makes me think it’s better to cut ties and live honestly than to stay together “for the children’s sake.” Such decisions are never easy, however, and I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer.

What do you think?

About the Author

MEDIA KIT Author PhotoMelissa Foster is an award-winning, International bestselling author. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa is also a community builder for the Alliance for Independent Authors. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Contacts

WebsiteFacebookTwitterFacebook profileGoodreads

The Women’s Nest (my social network for women)

World Literary Café: Where readers and author unite!

Fostering Success – www.fostering-success.com

“Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal”-— Bestselling Author Jennie Shortridge

“What sets Melissa Foster apart are her compelling characters who you care about… desperately. This  is psychological suspense at its most chilling. I dare you to read the first chapter and not be hooked.”  —International bestseller, M.J. Rose

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Virna De Paul and “Bedding the Wrong Brother”

Praise For National Bestselling Author Virna De Paul:

De Paul is amazing!” —NYT Bestselling Author Lori Foster

This story is beautifully written…I found myself falling in love with every single character from the first pages.”

Susana Says…Sexy and Satisfying Read…4/5 Stars

SusanaSays3Melina is an entomologist insecure about her ability to satisfy a man sexually. Her good friends know she has always had a crush on Rhys, the boy next door who has become a traveling magician along with his twin Max, and suggest that she ask Rhys to teach her what she needs to know. Melina cringes at that…making love with the man she loves with the full knowledge that it’s just sex to him would be torture. But Max…well, Max is another story.

Max, who feels guilty about the nasty trick he played on Melina and Rhys when they were teens—which resulted in keeping them apart—tries to make amends by setting them up. Even though the two of them are identical, Melina is one of the few who can tell them apart. But when Rhys finds out what Melina is up to, he makes it his responsibility to show Melina there’s nothing wrong with her—it’s the guys she’s been with that are the problem.

Rhys has always loved Melina, but it’s not just Max’s fault that he has avoided her over the years. He’s a traveling magician and Melina is the epitome of the white-picket-fence woman. She would hate the show-business life. But after they spend an intimate weekend together, he finds himself wondering if there is some way to compromise.

I love the ladybug theme. Rhys’ pet name for Melina is ladybug, since that’s her favorite insect. When he was in France—before the story began—he bought her a polka-dot bikini that he knew would show off her assets. Proof positive that he’s telling the truth about his feelings for her.

De Paul has a unique way of describing people:

Untitled-1Grace, a career counselor in the university’s humanities department, was class and calmness personified. While Lucy was Cherry Garcia—cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes—Grace was Ben and Jerry’s Crème Brûlée—sweet custard ice cream with a caramelized sugar swirl.

Here are some memorable quotes:

She was tired of men who sucked in bed and blamed her for their suckiness.

Then if your exes found you wanting, it wasn’t because you lacked skill, it was because they knew you didn’t feel that passion for them. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the passion inside you.” I should know, he thought. She’d given him the taste he’d been craving, and it had almost blown his mind.

“You’re as sexy as you’re willing to let yourself be. Always remember that, Melina.”

My previous experience with De Paul’s books have been her Para-Ops series, which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. But after reading this book, I can heartily recommend her contemporaries as well. Enjoy!

About Virna De Paul

Virna De Paul is a former criminal prosecutor and national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, HQN, and Random House. In her off hours, she loves Broadway musicals, spending time with her family and friends, and connecting with other romance readers.

http://www.virnadepaul.com/index.shtml

Virna’s books are available at most ebook retailers.

Spotlight on Laurann Dohner and the New Species Series

laurann_photoMy first introduction to Laurann Dohner came from a list of recommended books from a friend of mine, Selene Grace Silver. I’ve always been a fierce devotee of historical romances, although I’ve read my share of the other sub-genres as well. But I’m grateful that Selene introduced me to Laurann Dohner, Kresley Cole, Jaid Black, Laurel K. Hamilton, and others I hadn’t discovered yet.

Laurann specializes in erotic romances involving hunky alpha males who tend to like rough sex, although they do have a tender, more gentle side. The best thing about these hunky males—besides their muscular physiques—is that once they recognize their perfect mate, they won’t rest until they’ve won her…and once they’ve done that, they’re committed for life. They’re also very protective, and sometimes that causes problems because 21st century women tend to be independent and self-sufficient and don’t care to have their actions monitored or curtailed. On the other hand, sometimes it comes in handy to have protection. And what woman doesn’t yearn to have a man so fiercely devoted to her?

Incidentally, Lauren is a frequent poster on Facebook, and here are some things I’ve learned about her:

  • She is addicted to iced coffee
  • She has a good-looking husband who cooks and cleans and takes care of the children and keeps her stocked up with iced coffee and whatever she needs. (Not bad, huh?)
  • She just bought an “office house”. I’m drooling now!
  • She helped her mother buy a house nearby.
  • She has a magnetic wall in all of her offices. (I want one too!)
  • She writes a prodigious amount of words per day. (I don’t think I could equal her even if I had a house-husband.)
  • She wrote dozens of books and snippets of books before she finally got published, and she’s still using parts of them in her new releases. (Note: don’t throw anything away!)

The New Species Series

An American pharmaceutical company has been discovered to be conducting illegal experiments mixing human and animal DNA to try to create exotic new species. The results of these experiments, mixtures of human with primate, feline, or canine DNA, have been kept in cages and tortured and treated like animals all their lives. The problem the feds have when they crack down on the company and liberate the victims is…what should be done with them?

There are many who hate and fear the New Species and want them destroyed. They are relentless in their determination to rid the earth of the “abomination” of nature. The government, fearing that it will be held liable for not being on top of things with this company in the first place, and also for any harm that comes to the New Species, donates a large tract of land and resources so that they can live in comfort and peace. Although the new “homeland” is well guarded, the hate groups do not cease in their efforts to destroy the New Species and anyone else who gets in their way.

furyFury is the first book of the New Species series. The heroine, Ellie, was an employee of the Mercile, the company who conducted the illegal experiments. She accidentally found out what the company was doing and was determined to stop it. She finds herself drawn to one of the creatures she rescues, who ends up calling himself “Fury” because of his uncontrollable anger toward the captors who tortured him. Once betrayed by a woman, he wants to kill Ellie, but when he finally gets the chance, he discovers he can’t resist her. Ellie wants him too, body and soul. But with all the abuse he has suffered, is he capable of returning her love?

New Species Series: 

  • Fury
  • Slade
  • Valiant
  • Justice
  • Brawn
  • Wrath
  • Tiger
  • Obsidian
  • Shadow
  • Moon

Note: Many of Dohner’s books carry a reader advisory, and Fury is no exception. This story contains the heartrending aftermath of a rape scene involving a captive male. Another scene involves capture and forced touching by a hurt, vengeful Fury. I personally did not find this offensive, but I must say that the sex scenes in the Zorn Warriors series seem far too close to rape for my taste.

UPDATE: Dohner’s latest New Species release, Moon, has taken the best seller lists by storm! Not only that, it has been getting stellar reviews. Here’s what Susana has to say about it:

Susana Says: Good Read, 4 out of 5 Stars

SusanaSays3

Susana Reviews Moon

Moon’s story begins two years ago, as the situation with the New Species victims and the U.S. Government was still evolving. Dr. Joyce Yards is a psychologist assigned to counsel the traumatized victims, and 466 is an unwilling patient who sees all humans as the enemy after being tortured by them all his life.

In spite of his belligerence, Joy finds herself inexplicably drawn to 466. There’s definitely a strong sexual chemistry between them—466 wants her so badly he promises to cooperate with the therapy sessions if she will share sex with him. It’s not that simple for Joy, who is well aware that she could lose her job and her license for such unethical contact. And then there’s the fact that 466 hasn’t had sex for a very long time and doesn’t have any other prospects. Is it really Joy he wants, or any female who can assuage his raging libido? Eventually, Joy comes to the conclusion that it would be best for 466’s adjustment if she were no longer in the picture. So she leaves her job and moves away.

Fast forward two years:

After a successful adjustment, 466 (now called Moon) has been attacked by some sort of chemical that has left him a raging manic with no memory of the past two years. Justice and the NSO conclude that it’s a new chemical devised by Mercile fugitives to attack the New Species. Unable to combat its effects, they finally call in Joy, knowing that she was important to Moon at one time and that perhaps she could get through to him when no one else could.

Joy doesn’t hesitate. She loved him years ago and still does, and she wants more than anything to bring him back before the powers-that-be decide he’s a hopeless case and must be put-down. Better yet, now she’s not his therapist. Will having sex with him be the spark that is necessary to snap his mind back? If he does regain his memory, will he remember how angry he was when she left him? Is it just sex with him, or does he have feelings for her as well?

The book is skillfully written and kept me turning the pages (or pushing the forward button on the Kindle). The sex scenes are explicit and immensely satisfying, and the characters appealing and fully-faceted. It’s always nice to visit the protagonists of past books in the series, but the book stands well on its own.

The only issue I have with Moon and many of the others in the series is that it follows too closely to the standard framework: attraction/separation/reunion/resentment/emotional turmoil/attacks by hate groups/trust/resolution. Is it possible for Dohner to move beyond that with the confines of the world she has created? I’m not sure, but it would be fun to see her try!

Cyborg Seduction Series:

  • Burning Up Flint
  • Kissing Steel
  • Melting Iron
  • Touching Ice
  • Stealing Coal

ral'sZorn Warriors Series: 

  • Ral’s Woman
  • Kidnapping Casey
  • Tempting Rever
  • Berr’s Vow

Riding the Raines Series: 

  • Propositioning Mr. Raine
  • Raine On Me

Mating Heat Series:

  • Mate Set
  • The Perfect Mate

Laurann Says

I had a rather short area here telling a little about myself but then I had more than a few people ask me to expand it so… here goes. LOL. I’m a full time home ‘supervisor’ which is a nice word for saying I’m a housewife. I’m happily married, I met my dream guy 23 years ago, and we have 4 children. I live in Nevada and I can’t function without iced coffee. I believe in romance, I’ve always been a daydreamer, and I’m a HUGE fan of books – always have been.

No, I didn’t know that I always wanted to write. I inhaled books as a child. I read entire series (Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, Trixie Beldon, The Borrowers, etc) in a matter of days. By the time I turned nine years old I had an adult library card where I visited often. I moved on to John Saul, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Agatha Christie, and then found romance. I got hooked. I wrote poetry in my teens and then moved on to short stories. I started to write my first book after I read a real bomb of one that ticked me off with really horrible characters and a plot that was shabby at best. I thought…I could do better! 

I wrote my first book which will probably never see the light of day in the early 90’s. I wrote a series of  books from it. I’m a series fan! I kept writing for fun, wrote MANY books and then in 2009 I decided to attempt to get published. I wrote my first Sci Fi romance and Ral’s Woman came to be. I submitted it and with a little tweaking, Ellora’s Cave sent me an acceptance letter. It was kind of a ‘Cinderella’ experience for me. It’s been a terrific ride so far and I’m really happy. It’s a dream come true.

Web site: http://www.lauranndohner.com

Blog: http://lauranndohner.blogspot.com

Email: Laurannloves2write@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurann.dohner

Twitter: @LaurannDohner