Category Archives: Excerpt

Sneak Peek Wednesday: Operation Get a Life by Marilyn Jeulin (Giveaway)

Operation Get a Life
(The Bias Wrecker Series, #1)
by Marilyn Jeulin
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: April 22, 2022
Genre: Romance

A chance encounter with an alluring American Music Producer suddenly turns Cha Min-Jun’s world upside down. And as the days go on, and he readies to perform his duty to his country, his mind is elsewhere, imagining how he could seduce the beautiful American girl.

Luisa “Seven” Fernandez is tired of having doors firmly shut in her face, so she packs up and goes to couch surf with her best friends in Seoul. And it’s there that she inadvertently meets one of Kpop’s biggest stars in a bar’s bathroom in Itaewon.

For the happy-go-lucky, quick-witted, no strings attached, Seven, meeting Min-Jun can’t come at a worse time. Not sure where her professional life is going, and seeing as not much is happening in Seoul, Seven makes a drastic decision that affects them both.

While Min-Jun and Seven try to come to terms with events that bind them together, they also have to race against the clock before Min-Jun’s fans turn on him as news of his current not so single status is splashed across Social Media. Will the secrets that unite them help their budding relationship flourish, or will it all be for nothing?

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Virtual Reality Bites by Ava Wixx

Virtual Reality Bites
by Ava Wixx
Publisher: Wicked Wixx Press
Publication date: April 19, 2022
Genre: Romance

What happens when a romance author agrees to test romance tropes in virtual reality?

Following divorce number two, Zoe Woods is jaded, bitter, and unable to write her latest novel. For an author whose brand is all about finding true love, that’s kind of a problem.

Desperate to revive her romantic optimism, Zoe accepts an offer from an unlikely place to beta test virtual reality romance tropes. Unfortunately, Zoe jumps in too fast, and instead of a fun romp in virtual Romancelandia to rekindle her creativity, she finds one debacle after another.

Regretting her choices, Zoe realizes nothing is ever what it seems when it comes to love and romance and fantasy vs real world. The only thing she does know for sure is that virtual reality definitely bites.

 

 

 Excerpt

“Xander?” I called. “Do I get any kind of directions or do I just go …” The rest of my sentence was swallowed as a man on a horse galloped up a nearby hill, heading straight for me. He wasn’t close enough that I could make out his expression yet, but I could see that he had long, dark hair that swept away from his face … and he was massive. Like Conan the Barbarian massive.
I gulped, my first instinct to run. As the horse’s hooves thundered closer, I could no longer sublimate my flight response, despite knowing I was in a fantasy world. Spinning on my heels, I took off at a dead sprint in the opposite direction. I made it only about a few yards when my feet tangled in my annoyingly cumbersome skirt, and I fell to my hands and knees.
“Shit,” I muttered, glancing frantically over my shoulder at my pursuer.
“Clara, lass, why are you runnin’ from me?” The man’s deep voice, dipped in a delightful Scottish brogue, washed over me as he pulled the horse to a halt, bewilderment playing across his chiseled features.
“Do I know you?” Hmmm … interesting. I also sound Scottish.
The man’s full lips turned down into a scowl as he dismounted and made his way to me. Before I could utter another word, he’d lifted me to my feet, resting his warm hands on my shoulders. “Are you all right, Clara? Did you hit your head?”
Nice touch. He sounded Scottish but not ridiculously so. It wasn’t historically accurate, but who needs perfection when it comes to fantasy? Besides, I hated when other authors wrote too much of an accent into their books, making it almost as difficult to decipher on the page as it would be out loud. Of course, I often got criticized for doing the opposite. To each their own, I supposed … Although, I probably should mention to Xander that it might be a good idea to let the client choose that particular detail. It isn’t one size fits all when it comes to fantasies. Or, maybe it already is a choice and this is just mine? Yeah, it would have been really helpful if I had more information going into this. Thanks a lot, Xander.
“Clara? Tell me what’s goin’ on with you, lass. You have me worried.”
I wasn’t exactly sure how to play this one. “Umm … maybe I hit my head? I can’t be sure.”
The man blinked a few times as if processing my response. “What do you mean by you can’t be sure? Do you not remember?”
I nibbled on my bottom lip. “No?” Now that I was no longer being motivated by fear, all I could do was stare at the perfection of man-candy being offered up to me. Where had the image for him come from? My mind? Algorithms? Bah. Guess it doesn’t matter. He’s here, and he’s beautiful.
Scooping me up in his arms, the man hopped back onto his horse with no effort, as if I weighed less than nothing. “I told you not to go wanderin’ off by yourself. Now you’ve gone and hit yer head, knocking Lord knows what out of it. What am I goona do with you, Clara? You’re the most stubborn woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
“What’s your name?”
“Och, I have a full day of training, but I can see yer goona be needin’ a doctor immediately.” He swept some of my hair off my forehead, gazing down at me tenderly as he cradled me closer. “Don’t worry, Clara, I’ll take care of you.”
Butterflies divebombed my stomach. “Okay,” I managed on a breathy sigh, much to my horror. Oh, get a hold of yourself. This guy doesn’t actually exist. He’s made up of pixels and … other techy stuff. Whatever.

 

 

Meet Ava Wixx

Ava Wixx escaped into books at a young age and decided to stay there. It was only a matter of time before she was driven to create her own fantasy worlds from fear of running out of places to explore. Reader, writer, dreamer … Ava only toils in reality when absolutely necessary. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, and spoiled mini-poodle.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: The Prince by Antony Soehner (Giveaway)

The Prince
(Prince Theo Saga Book 1)
by Antony Soehner
Publisher: Roll15 Publishing
Publication date: April 12, 2022
Genre: Fantasy

Destiny will always test the greatest of leaders.

“Theo never imagined life outside the king’s castle. But when the queen’s funeral reveals the king’s true colors, Theo must rely on his sister, her allies, and his friends to get him to safety. With the help of mercenaries and the native tribes of the plains, Theo must learn to face his destiny and open his mind to the diverse world he’s been thrown into.”

The Prince is a High-Fantasy Adventure and the first book in the Prince Theo Saga by Antony Soehner. A multi-layered story about a young prince who discovers the diverse, fantastic world around him as he escapes his abusive tyrant father, King George. Finding himself in the care of a native tribe thought to be the enemy, Theo begins his long journey of growing and healing from the traumas he faced back home.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Sweet Home Cowboy by Maisey Yates, Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm, Jackie Ashenden

Sweet Home Cowboy
(Jasper Creek #3)
by Maisey Yates, Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm, Jackie Ashenden
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication date: March 29, 2022
Genre: Romance

Four half sisters create the family they’ve always dreamed of in this enchanting quartet from bestselling authors Maisey Yates, Nicole Helm, Jackie Ashenden and Caitlin Crews.

The Hathaway sisters might have grown up apart, but when they agree to move to Jasper Creek, Oregon, to revitalize their grandfather’s farm, it seems a straightforward decision. Until they meet their neighborhood cowboys…

Sweet-natured Teddy has never met a man worth taking a risk on, until now. Tomboy Joey has more affinity with farm equipment than men, until a brooding cowboy changes her mind. Prickly baker Georgie can’t resist the temptation of the most forbidden cowboy of all, and sparks fly between ceramicist Elliot and the grumpy single-dad rancher next door.

The sisters’ feelings are anything but simple, but with the love and support of each other, they discover that a cowboy might be the sweetest thing of all about coming home.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Wolf Marked by Veronica Douglas

Wolf Marked
(Magic Side: Wolf Bound, 1)
by Veronica Douglas
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication date: July 30, 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Werewolves are hunting me down.

I was just an ordinary girl waiting tables in a small-town bar. I had no idea magic was real. That was, until I backed my car over a werewolf a couple times.

In my defense, the wolf was trying to murder me, and I was all out of mace.

Now I’ve got a cult of rogue wolves on my heels, and the only one who can protect me is Jaxson Laurent—the Chicago Alpha.

He suspects I’m special and can’t take his eyes off me, but the problem is—he’s the sworn enemy of my family. Every time we get close it feels like something is going to rip out of my soul, but the heat between us is irresistible.

With danger around every corner and wolves howling in the night, I need to master my magic and stand my ground, or I’ll be dead before the next moon rises.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Sadie on a Plate
by Amanda Elliot
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: March, 15, 2022
Genre: Romance

Sadie is a rising star in the trendy Seattle restaurant scene. Her dream is to create unique, modern, and mouthwatering takes on traditional Jewish recipes. But after a public breakup with her boss, a famous chef, she is sure her career is over–until she lands a coveted spot on the next season of her favorite TV show, Chef Supreme.

On the plane to New York, Sadie has sizzling chemistry with her seatmate, Luke, but tells him that she won’t be able to contact him for the next six weeks. They prolong their night with a spontaneous, magical dinner before parting ways. Or so she thinks. When she turns up to set the next day, she makes a shocking discovery about who Luke is….

If Sadie wants to save her career by winning Chef Supreme, she’s going to have to ignore the simmering heat between her and Luke. But how long can she do that before the pot boils over?

 

Sneak Peek

 

I picked up the phone, my shoulders already drooping. “Hello, this is Sadie Rosen.” “Hi, Sadie!” It was a woman on the other end, her tone far too chipper for this hour of the morning. “My name is Adrianna Rogalsky, and I’m calling from Chef Supreme. Is this a good time?”

I almost dropped my phone. “Yes!” I cleared my throat, trying to keep from squeaking the way I did when I got too excited. “I mean yes, this is a good time.”

“Great!” Adrianna chirped. “I’m calling to tell you that the committee really liked your application and your cooking video. Would you mind answering a few more questions for me?”

My eyes involuntarily darted to my bookshelf, which consisted mainly of cookbooks. I spent too much time in restaurant kitchens to cook much from them-or at least, up until a week ago I had-but I liked flipping through them to gather ideas and marvel at the food photography. Five were written by winners of Chef Supreme, and four by runners-up and semifinalists. I’d watched every episode of all six seasons, seated on the edge of my couch to goggle at every cooking challenge and winning dish and contestant who cried when eliminated.

Season three’s winner, Seattle’s Julie Chee, was my culinary idol. Derek, my boss, had taken me by her restaurant after-hours one day. She’d laughed when I told her how I’d been rooting for her all season, patted my head like I was a little kid, and then cooked me a grilled cheese with bacon and kimchi. It was the best night of my life. Right after that, I’d started dreaming about competing on the show myself.

“Hello? Sadie?”

And if I didn’t get on my game, that dream was going to evaporate like a pot of boiling water forgotten on the stove. I mean, I didn’t really think I was actually going to make it on the show, but it wasn’t like I was going to hang up on someone from Chef Supreme. “Sorry!” I said. “Bad connection for a minute there. Yes, I’d love to answer some questions.” I shook my head and grimaced. Love? Love was a strong word. I should’ve said I’d be happy to answer some questions. Now Adrianna was probably-

Talking! Already! “Your application from six months ago says that you’re a sous-chef at the Green Onion in Seattle?”

I cleared my throat. “Well, um.” This was not off to a great start. “I was a sous-chef there until last week. I decided to leave to . . . um, pursue personal business opportunities.” Another grimace. Personal business opportunities? What did that even mean?

I really wished I wasn’t naked right now. I knew Adrianna from Chef Supreme couldn’t see me through the phone, but I still felt way too exposed.

Fortunately, job-hopping is fairly common in the food world. So Adrianna just said, “Great. And how would you describe your personal style?”

I hoped she meant food-wise and not looks-wise, because my personal fashion style consisted mainly of beat-up Converses, thrift store T-shirts, and constant calculations on how far I could go between haircuts before crossing the line from fashionably mussed to overgrown sheepdog. “At the Green Onion, I was cooking mostly New American food with some French influences and a bit of molecular gastronomy,” I told her. “But my own style, I’d say, is more homestyle, with Jewish influences? Not kosher cooking; that’s a different thing. I’m inspired by traditional Jewish cuisine.”

Paper rustled on the other end. “Right, the matzah ball ramen you cooked in your video looked fantastic. We were all drooling in the room!”

I perked up. Forgot that I was naked. Forgot that lately I was a walking disaster. “That’s one of my go-tos and will definitely be on my future menu. I’ve been experimenting lately with putting a spin on kugels . . .”

As I chattered on, I could practically see my grandma shaking her head at me. Grandma Ruth had cooked up a storm for every Passover, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah, piling her table till it groaned with challah rolls, beef brisket in a ketchup-based sauce, and tomato and cucumber salad so fresh and herby and acidic it could make you feel like summer in the middle of winter. Pastrami-spiced pork shoulder? Really, dear?

I shook my own head back at her, making her poof away in a cloud of metaphorical smoke. I had that power now that she was dead and buried and existing primarily as a manifestation of my own anxiety.

“. . . so in that way it’s really more of a cheesecake with noodles in it,” I finished up. My blood was sparking just talking about my food; I had to do a few quick hops just to burn off some of that excess energy.

“I love your passion,” Adrianna said on the other end of the phone. “So, I take it that opening your own restaurant is hashtag goals for you?”

“Hashtag goals,” I agreed. And my shoulders drooped again, because that was a dream that was never going to happen now. After I got fired by the Green Onion and the chefs at all the other restaurants worth working at learned why, I became the joke of Seattle’s restaurant industry. Who wanted to invest in the local joke?

She asked me a few other questions, pertaining mostly to my schedule and availability (there were only so many ways to say, “I’m free whenever you want me, considering I no longer have a job”). I continued to pace around my apartment, circling the coffee table, bare feet padding over the rug. And then, “It’s been lovely to speak with you, Sadie.”

I stopped short, my shin slamming into the table leg. I swallowed back a curse. “It’s been lovely to speak with you . . . too?” I finished with a question, because I couldn’t ask what I really wanted to ask. Is this it? Did I not meet whatever criteria you have? What’s wrong with me?

“We’ll be in touch soon,” Adrianna said. “Have a great day!”

 

Meet Amanda Elliot

 Photo by Cassie Gonzales

Amanda Elliot lives with her husband in New York City, where she collects way too many cookbooks for her tiny kitchen, runs in Central Park, and writes for teens and kids under the name Amanda Panitch.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Sneak Peek Wednesday: Digging Up Love by Chandra Blumberg (Giveaway)

Digging Up Love
(Taste of Love #1)
by Chandra Blumberg
Publisher: Montlake
Publication date: Jan. 1, 2022
Genre: Romance

Alisha Blake works her magic in the kitchen, creating delectable desserts for her grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois. Though Alisha relishes the close relationship she has with her family, she can’t help but dream about opening a cookie shop in Chicago. She may be a small-town baker, but Alisha has big ambitions.

Then a dinosaur bone turns up in her grandparents’ backyard. When paleontologist Quentin Harris arrives to see the discovery for himself, he’s hoping that the fossil will distract him from a recent painful breakup. Instead, he finds Alisha—and sparks fly. The big-city academic and the hometown baker seem destined for a happily ever after.

But Alisha is scared to fall in love. And Quentin’s trying to make a name for himself in a competitive field, which gets even more complicated when the press shows up at the dig site. For love to prevail, the two may have to put old bones aside—and focus on the future.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Wolf Reborn by Sara Snow (Giveaway)

Wolf Reborn
by Sara Snow
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: Nov. 12, 2021
Genre: Paranormal Romance

As an Enchanted, I might not be able to shift like other wolves, but I’ve saved countless lives through the visions I receive. And in the end, saving others cost me my life.

That sacrifice buys me a one-way ticket to my LAST chance at happiness: an afterlife in the God Realm.

Sounds great, right?

Wrong.

The problem is, the perfect afterlife for me includes settling down with my fated mate. And whoever he is, he’s probably back down on Earth wondering where the hell I am.

When I actually find my fated mate, the gorgeous but scarred white wolf Lucian, in the God Realm with me, I learn that the wolf of my dreams, my other half, the wolf that was created to complete me…

…wants absolutely nothing to do with me.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, a second fated mate shows up out of nowhere… and he’s not even a werewolf. Just my luck.

It turns out my two mates can’t stand each other. And while Lucian may not want me himself, he doesn’t want Remir to have me either. Seriously?

All I know is, if either one of these two hotheads rejects me, my one last chance at a perfect afterlife could turn into an eternal hell—or worse…

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell

Along Came a Lady
(All the Duke’s Sins #1)
by Christi Caldwell
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication date: Aug. 24, 2021
Genre: Historical Romance

Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.

Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.

As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Fourth Down by Heidi McLaughlin (GIVEAWAY)

Fourth Down
(Portland Pioneers #1)
by Heidi McLaughlin
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication date: Aug. 10, 2021
Genre: Romance

Autumn LaRosa has been playing defense since the moment she met Julius Cunningham. After accepting a position as a meteorologist in Portland, she strives to make a good first impression. Then she meets the arrogant wide receiver who belittles her in front of her new friends. She could have walked off the sting of his bitter words, but he keeps showing up in her social circle.

Now, she is determined to meet him at the line of scrimmage and prove she’s not one to back down.

Julius Cunningham is well aware there’s a flag on the play after his harsh words to Autumn. The more he sees of Portland’s new weather girl, the clearer it becomes his judgments of her were unfounded.

But how can he call a timeout on the animosity he created?

When Autumn attends a charity event with the Pioneer players, she sees an opportunity too tempting to resist. Julius looks miserable being a part of the date auction, making it even more fun for Autumn to bid. Will she use the opportunity for some good old-fashioned payback? Or will this be their fresh start at the twenty-yard line?

Get ready for the snap and sprint for the end zone because Autumn and Julius are headed for either a tackle or a touchdown!

 

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