Guest Post — Molly McLain

A Little Extra Spring in my Step

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for having me on HSG! I don’t know about you, but I am ridiculously excited that March is finally here. Living in Wisconsin, spring is always a welcomed arrival and, let me tell ya, the mountain of snow in my front yard this year really, really has me hoping and praying on warmer weather…ASAP. Sure, things get a little mucky for a while, but there’s nothing I love more than the mental fresh start that comes with spring. The clean slate. The insta-motivation to write a gajillion new books. It happens to me every year, like clockwork, and this spring, I’m looking forward to that extra push more than ever. Here’s what’s put a little extra spring in my step this year…

Last week, I launched my debut book, Can’t Shake You. *happy dance* It’s the first novel in a series named after the small, sexy town of River Bend, Nebraska. The characters and town have been in my head for a long time and I’m so excited to finally share them. The plan is to put out at least five books in the series (three novels, two novellas)…all of which I’d like to release by next March. Yeah. Like…a year from now. *gulp* Needless to say, I’m going to need all the crazy, spring-induced mojo I can get if I’m to accomplish that goal!

But before I get myself all worked up with that monstrous to-do list, here’s a little more about Can’t Shake You.

Molly4i-1 (427x640)Lovers to friends to lovers…could it get any more complicated?

One thing Carissa Brandt knows: spontaneity always get her in trouble. Still, she’s gone and jumped head first into an impulsive summer renovation project with her fingers crossed. When her contractor turns out to be a cheat, it seems her only lifeline is the proffered hand of Josh Hudson—the sexy Marine who left her aching for more than their single night together three years ago.

Josh has two hard and fast rules: never mix business with pleasure and don’t look twice at women his friends have dated, much less loved. It makes life in a small town simple—or it would, if he wasn’t harboring a secret with the potential to destroy his good name and the reputation of a woman he can’t get out of his head.

When Carissa finds herself in a bind, Josh’s integrity—both personal and professional—won’t let her fail. Will working together finally extinguish the attraction lingering between them? Or will the smoldering embers of their passionate rendezvous ignite all over again and set aflame the friendships they cherish the most?

Warning: This book contains a hella-sexy, inked up hero, a spunky heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, smokin’ hot sex, and enough swearing to make your momma blush. For readers 18+.

~*~*~

You can find Can’t Shake You at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

And you can check out the reviews at Goodreads too!

~*~*~*~*~

Now for the fun part! Tell me about your favorite romance themes and tropes and the book (or books) that got you hooked. Using randompicker.com, I’ll name a winner on Tuesday evening to receive a digital copy of Can’t Shake You!

Thanks so much for stopping by and, as always, happy reading!

~Molly

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAAbout Molly…

Molly McLain lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, her three children, and a rambunctious German Shorthaired Pointer, named Tucker. She’s been penning fictitious love stories since middle school and, at her 8th grade graduation, her class predicted she’d be a published author by their 20-year reunion. Well, she’s achieved that goal with plenty of time to spare. Now the question is…how many books will she be able to show off when that big day comes?

You can visit with Molly at her website, http://www.mollymclain.com, her Facebook author page at http://www.facebook.com/mollymclainauthor, or via email at mollymclain@live.com.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Reading – Year in Review

Today I was scanning through my Goodreads bookshelf and realized I’ve read some great books this year!

Unlike some novelists, I love reading nonfiction. I like books on business, marketing, parenting, and faith.  I read several non-fiction books for writers, including The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke and 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron. One of the best books I read this year was a non-fiction book titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I recommended it to several people at work, and they also loved it.

I read several Christian novels this year. I especially like romances with a good dose of comedy like Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt and Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips. I also read Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, one of my favorite authors. I love her voice, and she creates some of the best heroes around.

I read sweet romances, including The Husband School by Kristine Rolofson and A Little Bit Cupid (which I highly recommend) by our very own Jennifer Shirk.

And when I wanted something different from all that romance, I read Proof, a great medical thriller by Jordyn Redwood.

Over Thanksgiving break, I read three different Christmas novellas. Mistletoe Magic by Terri Weldon and Faith House by Robin Patchen, two talented authors from my local writers group, and Muffins and Mistletoe by an extremely talented Heart Shaped Glasses author, Debora Dennis. There’s nothing better to get you in the holiday spirit than a great Christmas romance.

Well, those are some of the amazing books I read in 2013. I can’t wait to see what wonderful books 2014 has in store for me. What are some of the books you read this year?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Guest Post – Cynthia Owens

Back to School
By Cynthia Owens

Whenever I think of “Back to School,” so many images come to mind. Walks to school through crisply crunching autumn leaves. New teachers, classmates. New books in the school library. Pencils, pens and notebooks. New challenges.

This year, back-to-school will be a little bit different. This year my beautiful daughter will take the first step into adulthood when she starts college on August 21.

So many firsts, and all of them heart-wrenching. On her first day of pre-school, I’m not sure who shed more tears, me or her! When she started kindergarten, I was a little bit more prepared…though not much. By the time she got to high school, she and I were both looking forward to it…okay, well, she more than I, but I think we were both ready for the new adventure.

And now she’s a lovely young woman embarking on a new phase in her life. I’m grateful she’s going to be commuting every day…I’m definitely not ready for her to move out on her own, though I know that day will eventually come, and sooner than I’m prepared for it.

Many people think of autumn and the back-to-school season as the end of things. The dying of the year, the end of the summer. But I’ve always thought of it as an exciting time, and yes, even a romantic time. Cooler air is just made for cuddling by a sweet-smelling fire, and I love the smell and the sound of fallen leaves, especially at night, when the moon is a glorious golden orb hanging low in the sky.

Lydia Daniels and Shane MacDermott think autumn is a pretty romantic time, too. In fact, they had their very first kiss on a bright autumn day under a canopy of watermelon-red, lemon-yellow and pumpkin orange leaves.

*~*~*

Deceptive HeartsHer breath caught in her throat, making her feel dizzy and faint. The blazing canopy of leaves above her whirled crazily. “Please,” she whispered, wondering what she begged for. “Oh, don’t…”

In an instant he was beside her, his arm sliding around her shoulders. The heat of his body seared her to her very soul as she sank into the depths of his obsidian eyes. She felt the strength in his arm, in his hand. But he wasn’t threatening or intimidating. Instead he emanated a quiet, gentle, strength, almost caring, almost…tender.

“Are you all right, lass?”

His voice! Slightly gravelly, mellow, filled with concern. She stared up at him, and felt as if she were falling. Falling from some incredible height, knowing he’d be there to catch her. Falling into a soft web of gentleness, of caring, that she’d never known before.

“I-I am so sorry.”

“Ah, you needn’t be.” Humor laced his tone, and suddenly he smiled again, an endearing glint of mischief dancing in his eyes. “What man doesn’t want to play the hero to such a lovely lass as yourself?”

He thought her lovely! She despised herself for the little thrill that trembled in her heart, but she couldn’t help it. He was so compelling, so warm, so utterly masculine. He was gentle. She knew better than to trust such a man, she knew she did.

And yet…

“And what man doesn’t want to hold a beautiful woman in his arms?” His voice roughened, one hand reaching out to touch her cheek.

Despite herself, she flinched.

His hand paused in mid-air. “Don’t be afraid.” His voice flowed over and around her, making the sun filtering through the leaves of the trees seem brighter, the blue October sky seem bluer, the crisp, smoky air sweeter. “I mean you no harm, Lydia, I swear I don’t.”

He’d caught her up in his spell. “Then what do you mean, Shane MacDermott?”

He moved closer, closer, until she could feel the warm, moist whisper of his breath on her cheek. “This.”

He lowered his mouth to hers, capturing her lips in a kiss so sweet and so gentle that it stole her breath, filled her with warmth, and chased away her fears. His hand came up to stroke her cheek, his touch feather-light against her skin. His callused fingers scraped her flesh, thrillingly abrasive. Her heart pounded against her chest.

And she felt no fear at all. There was no harshness in Shane’s touch, no brutal invasion of her mouth, her body, her very soul. This…why this was comfort. This was warmth and tenderness and caring.

He raised his mouth. “Lydia,” he muttered, his breathing unsteady. “You’re so sweet. Sweeter than ripe strawberries. Sweeter than honey. Your hair…” He ran his fingers through the locks she’d allowed to escape, making her wish she’d loosed it all. “’Tis like the finest silk. Your skin…” He stroked her cheek, and she shuddered with pleasure. “’Tis the softest velvet. Your taste…” His tongue licked over her skin, sending lightning bolts of heat dancing through her. “I want to devour you.” His lips moved to caress her cheek, nuzzle her hair, skate over her collarbone, sending shivers of delight through her entire being.

This was insane. It was folly to allow her hands to slide up the strong, corded muscles of his arms. It was absolute madness to sink her fingers into the rough, dark curls at his nape, to press closer to him, absorb the warmth of his body with her own.

But she did. She breathed in his spicy scent, lost herself in his strength. She stroked the back of his neck and gloried in the harsh groan that rumbled through him. His hands slid around her waist, bunching in the fabric of her gown, pulling her closer, and closer still.

“Shane…” Her body trembled with desire, her entire being in thrall to his magic. “Shane…”

As if the sound of her voice had poured a bucket of cold water over him, Shane jerked away from her, his face accusing. Jumping up from the bench, he stalked a few paces away, his breathing harsh. “It seems you’ve a way of turnin’ a man’s thoughts from his purpose, so you have.”

*~*~*

DSCN1026I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there. My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII. A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond. The first three books in The Claddagh Series, In Sunshine or in Shadow, Coming Home, and Playing For Keeps, are all available from Highland Press. Deceptive Hearts, the first book in The Wild Geese Series, has just been released, and Book II, Keeper of the Light,will soon be published by Highland Press. I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.

You can find Cynthia and her books on her webpage, and most online book retailers:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

**Thank you so much to Cynthia for sharing her life with us. Please take the time to leave a comment for her. All comments will be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Happy September!!**

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.