A Top Read of 2017 · Christie's Reviews · Paranormal Romance

New Review!!!! Witch for Hire by Shyla Colt

Witch For Hire

by Shyla Colt

witch for hire

SYNOPSIS

Young, terrified, and bound to a vampire, Louella Eschete fled the bayou and swore off magic. Years later, she’s returned to the tiny town of Cypress, Louisiana to take her rightful place as head of her magical family, whether she likes it or not.
In order to keep the tentative peace formed between the various races of powerful beings who rule side by side, she must face her own demons. Mainly one, Cristobal Cortez. Now a master vampire, and lord of the seven cities surrounding New Orleans, her former lover has moved up in the world. Their relationship gets way more complicated when his court is framed for a rash of murders they didn’t commit.
Forced to play her role as his bond mate, and launch an investigation into the darkness threatening to overturn truces, she may be in over her head.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2AfgnAl

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Here is what some reviewers are saying about Witch For Hire:

 Come take a ride with Lou, Cristo, Fel and the gang. You don’t want to miss a story full of romance, angst, murder, secrets and more.

 

 I read it in one sitting into the wee hours of the night . I couldn’t put down .

 

It’s love to read about someone using all their wits and skills and still coming up against seemingly impossible situations, and having to figure it out and grow beyond it.

 

PURCHASE NOW

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2hVa9NN

***ALSO AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED***

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CHRISTIE’S REVIEW

*****5 STARS*****

Shyla Colt hit this one out of the park. It’s been a while since I’ve read a paranormal romance, and I’m so glad I downloaded this one. Witch for Hire exceeded all my expectations. She reminded me why I love paranormal romance.

Lou comes from a long line of powerful witches. Years ago, she fell in love, not with another witch, but with a powerful vampire, Cristobal Cortez. That’s not really accepted within her family, and when she thought Cris betrayed her, she ran from Louisiana to Kentucky. She made a good life for herself, but she feels less than whole not using her powers, and she misses her family, especially her grandmother. Now, the time has come when she has to return home and face all her demons. She has no idea returning home will completely change the way she lives her life.

Things are different when she returns home. Her selfish aunt is trying to make a play for the ruler of her family, but her grandmother has other plans. She finds that she also has to make amends to her best friend, Sacha, and cousin, Fel, for leaving like she did. She will also have to face her biggest obstacle, Cristobal. He never stopped loving her, and she may find his betrayal wasn’t as black and white as she initially thought. As she is reconnecting with those she loves, she will also find herself in grave danger. Something is killing humans, and it looks like a rogue witch and a mysterious vampire are trying to destroy the peace among vampires and witches for good.

I LOVED Lou and Cristobal. The chemistry between these two is EXPLOSIVE. That is evident just when the two are near one another. She sassy, beautiful, independent, and powerful. What is there not to admire about her? Cristobal is all male…protective, masculine, but he is also a perfect balance of strength and compassion. The two perfectly complete the other. They truly are soulmates!

This wasn’t only a romance, but it was a journey of self-discovery for Lou. She has always felt like she didn’t fit completely within her family. She is on a quest to discover who she is. During that journey, she finds that change is necessary, not only in her own thinking but the way her family views the world as well. This is when readers get to the crux of who Shyla Colt is as a writer. She may be writing romance or paranormal romance, but there is always a deeper plot going on. This book addresses the issue of change and diversity. As Lou’s Meme says,

“Change comes with opposition. It’s uncomfortable and full of uncertainty. It takes a strong person to stand firm against that unrest and hostility.”

Lou’s journey of self-discovery and her place within the world epitomizes that.

I have read different books from Shyla, but I have to say this one is my favorites! I highly recommend reading if you love complex characters, romance, action, and don’t have plans until you finish the last page.

 

 

 

 

MEET SHYLA COLT

shyla

Shyla Colt is the sassy USA Today Bestselling author of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places.

As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.

 

SHYLA’S SOCIAL LINKS

You can interact with Shyla Colt online:

website http://www.shylacolt.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorshyla.colt 

Twitter: @shylacolt Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shylacolt/  

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/shyla-colt 

 

        

A Top Read of 2017

Christie’s Top Reads of 2017!!!!

 

Last year was a fantastic year for books! I was blown away by some of my favorite writers, and I discovered some brand new writers who are phenomenal! I read almost every type of genre, and some brought tears to my eyes while some made me laugh hysterically.  It’s very difficult to narrow down my list, but this year we are adding a new page to the blog that will contain our favorites of 2018. So, here are some of my favorites of 2017 in no particular order.

 

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Tall Chimneys

by Allie Cresswell

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2ConeMw

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Witch for Hire

by Shyla Colt

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2hVa9NN

***Available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Show Me the Way

by A.L. Jackson

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2lB04rx

***Also Available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Birthquake

by B.L. Berry

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2lzlJ3E

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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All the Way

by M. Mabie

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2Ex48kn

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Part of the List

by Xavier Neal

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2qchT4T

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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The Illusion Series

by D. Kelly

Synopsis & Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DCDJQ2/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

 

The Frenemy Series

by Kate Benson

Frigid Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2C77byr

Sprung Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2lzjf54

***Both are available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

The Outskirts Duet

by T.M. Frazier

The Outskirts Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2lzt9DI

The Outliers Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2C5QzXF

***Both also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

unloved

Unloved

by Katy Regnery

Synopsis & Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2CtOA2P

 

A Top Read of 2017

Danielle’s Top Reads of 2017

It’s that time of year when we like to share our favorite books over the past year. We’ll start with Danielle’s Top 10!

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Found in Silence

by Lisa Sorbe

Synopsis & purchase: http://amzn.to/2DE725J

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Bad

by LP Lovell & Stevie J. Cole

 Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2q55n7j

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Free Ride

by M.N. Forgy

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2q2pCCJ

 

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He Loves Me Knot

by RC Boldt

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2zSBerw

 

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When Life Happened

by Jewel E. Ann

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2EnqfKn

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Without Merit

by Colleen Hoover

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2BYOOvh

 

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Drive

by Kate Stewart

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2zVCk64

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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Parasight

by E.S. Carter

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2q4abKm

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

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I’ll Make You Mine

by Gia Riley

Synopsis & purchase link: http://amzn.to/2zTxpm4

***Also available on Kindle Unlimited***

 

A Top Read of 2017 · Christie's Reviews · Excerpt · Release Blitz · Romance

Broken by Ellie Messe Release Blitz with Excerpt & 5-Star Review

 

From Ellie Messe comes her Debut Novel Broken

Blurb

 

 

Mama didn’t come home.

Daddy liked to hit.

Brothers followed suit.

So I ran.

I ran from that life.

I ran from myself.

I ran into him.

I have no experience with the game board we’re playing on, and that makes this a lethal game. One wrong move and my heart could land in the fire he’s created inside me. Worse, it could lead my past to his doorstep and it won’t just be my blood that taints this floor.  

I should run.  I need to run.

My father is the devil in a flesh suit, he won’t be happy until he paints this town red for my betrayal.

I should run. I need to run.

Because despite my feelings for Parker Hayes, the devil is coming and he wants what’s his.

 

 

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2BMZsG5
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2zdImyz
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2BwiMuu
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B078JZFTXC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt

I made forty bucks at VIN’s which is really good considering it’s just a dive bar, and HEAT is bloody packed tonight. Josh added two additional fire shows to appease the crowd and we’re making a killing. The usual banter between Drew and I has been on fire with all the people giving additional tips for funny bartenders.

Sliding three cocktails down the line, I spin to grab a clean towel when my freaking world comes to a halt.

“Hi Ryan.” Everything freezes.

Not just my body, but the blood in my veins, the heart in my chest, and the air in my lungs, they all freeze at that voice. The stillness is replaced by a vibration in my bones as I slowly turn around.

Messy, overgrown hair falls in blonde locks over familiar gray eyes. Jesus Christ…

“You were harder to find then I thought.” What the fuck, how is it- this isn’t- I don’t. I don’t know what’s happening. “Especially since you’re not blonde anymore.

I don’t speak, all I’m capable of doing is staring. I examine his nose, that despite being broken countless times remains straight. My eyes travel to his strong jaw that’s slightly dusted with facial hair. Jesus Christ, it’s actually him.

“You alight, Hales?” Drew’s hand falls on my lower back, and despite my hate for being touched, he grounds me as I stare into the eyes of my long lost brother. “Move along friend.”

Kaylan lets out a dark chuckle that isn’t friendly. “How about you go back to work, friend. This is important.”

“I’m sure it is, but this is a business and she has work to do. So, I’m going to ask politely that you order your drink and move along.”

“I’m not here to drink, I’m here to talk to Ryan.” I shudder at the name.

Ryan’s dead. She died in that hell hole a year and a half ago.

 

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CHRISTIE’S REVIEW

*****5 STARS*****

Wow! What an intense and emotional read! I knew from reading the synopsis that Broken might be hard to read at times. Haley really is a broken individual, and horrible things happened to her. Ellie Messe did an amazing job of showing me what she endured without going into graphic detail.

It’s been hard for me to write the part of this review in which I describe the main character, Haley. There aren’t enough words to adequately express how extraordinary she is. She is broken, and she could have just allowed herself to be tossed aside and given up. No, she didn’t do that. She is the bravest character in this book. Yes, Parker, the man who loves is her brave knight, but she is the bravest knight. She picked herself up from the ashes of her life, and like a phoenix rose again to make a new life for herself, ironically in Pheonix, Arizona. She ran away to save her life, but she had no idea she was running to something she never had…family, love, trust, and a home.

Parker was an amazing character as well. He loved her, and he loved her even when she insisted she was unlovable. He proved to her again and again that he loved her for her. Her past never mattered to him even though he would have given anything if she hadn’t had to endure what she did. I did get angry with him when he called her a coward when she ran, but I can understand his fear for her. Yet, I can understand why she made the decisions she did. That was what made her such a brave and unselfish character.

All the secondary characters, Josh, Maria, and especially Drew definitely added another layer to the story. They were proof that family isn’t always the one that is connected by blood and biology but by making the choice to love each other. I think my heart belonged equally to Parker and Drew. Drew was the best kind of friend Haley could have had.

Broken has to be one of the best debut novels I have read. I didn’t even realize this was Ellie Messe’s first book until I looked for her other books on Amazon. Imagine my surprise!!!! This is a long book, and she informs her readers of that in the first pages of the book. In no way does it seems as long as it really is….yes, it’s that good! You dive in, and time just flies by. I was so glad to see my man, Drew, will be getting his own book! You better believe I will be waiting on that one!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

 

 

I’m a fun loving book dragon who has the ability to make sailors blush with colorful language and obscene gestures. I love reading, mostly romance, young adult and new age. I’m a part of a BANGerangin’ book club that is guaranteed to be better than yours. I like to spend my days wondering around department stores while reading erotica out loud, scaring the piss out of people, and playing “The floor is lava”. (Adulting is lame.)

 

 

 

A Top Read of 2017 · Christie's Reviews · Historical Romance · Release Blitz

It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe Release Blitz with 5 Star Review! Magical Holiday Romance!

 

Title: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Contemporary/Holiday Romance
Release Date: December 15, 2017
 

 

Blurb
Finding your soul mate is a dream Adeline Hamilton thought was just that … a dream. After several failed relationships, she realizes she’s not capable of falling in love. The only passion she’s ever had is teaching U.S. History at the local high school.



A week before Christmas, Adeline is all set for her best friend’s wedding, even though she dreads having to go to it alone. But when she’s given a Christmas wish that could change her future forever, she’s whisked away to the past, to a completely different place and time. It’s also when she meets him, William Blair, the man who steals her heart. 


As their relationship grows, Adeline realizes that true love does exist. What she doesn’t know is that her wish can’t last forever, that soon she’ll have to leave the past behind. Will Adeline and William find their way back to each other? Or will their love have to stay where it all began . . . in 1865? With mistletoe and Christmas magic, anything’s possible.
 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

 CHRISTIE’S REVIEW

*****5 STARS*****

TOP READ OF 2017

It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe by L.P. Dover is a perfect, magical holiday romance! I’ve still got a smile on my face after finishing it!

The is the first year that I have read Christmas books, and this one is one of my favorites! Adeline is a high school history teacher, and she loves her job. It isn’t just a job for her; it’s her life. She loves history. As good as her life is, filled with a great family and good friends, she still hasn’t found true love. Her best friend is getting married, and she wants Adeline to meet his brother, Will.

Will is moving back to his hometown of Asheville, N.C. He worked hard in his family’s real estate business and has sacrificed his personal life to keep it successful. Leaving California, he is now looking forward to cutting back on work, enjoying life, and finds himself looking forward to meeting Adeline.

While at the wedding rehearsal, Adeline receives a special gift from the wedding planner, a locket. She loves it, but she has NO idea how this locket will change her life. This is where the story got very interesting. She finds herself back in the 1860s and falling in love with Will. I found myself falling in love with both of them too! Their romance is soooo sweet!

When the book returns back to the present time, I still had a lot of questions. I won’t go into them all because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say Dover brings the story full circle. The ending was PERFECT!!!!

Dover did a phenomenal job of capturing the magic of Christmas. I highly recommend reading if you are looking for a sweet, magical holiday read. If this doesn’t put you in the mood for Christmas, nothing will! The icing on the cake was the recipe for homemade biscuits at the end! YUM!!!

Trailer
Author Bio
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, the Circle of Justice series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

Author Links

 

A Top Read of 2017 · All-time Favorites · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Excerpt · Holiday Romance · Review Tour · Romance

Sweet Life (Sugar Rush) by Nina Lane Excerpt & Review Tour…5-Star Romance!

 

 

 

 

He knows if she’s been bad or good.

Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she’s having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she’s ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.

Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for thirteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.

 

And when Warren decides Julia is all he wants for Christmas, will she risk their longtime friendship for the gift of love?

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CHRISTIE’S REVIEW

5 STARS

Sweet Life is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE HOLIDAY ROMANCE!!!! Seriously, it’s better than any Hallmark movie could ever think of being! AND……it is a romance about people who aren’t in their 20’s. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is so nice to see a romance with people nearer my age.

Julia has the reputation of being an ice queen. She scares her young interns, but underneath all that ice, she does have a heart, especially for her family. She has spent the past thirteen years being an aunt, a mother, and a best friend to her late sister’s children and husband. She is independent, successful, and gets things done. This Christmas is no different, except she has taken on more responsibilities and is dealing with the aftermath of a business deal that fell through. She not in a festive mood, and it seems her stress level may reach a breaking point.

Her late sister’s husband, Warren, is the president and owner of his family’s business. Instead of taking on more things, he is letting things go, retiring and focusing on living his life. He notices all the stress that Julia is under, and he does what he can to relieve that, even though she fights him every step of the way. He also realizes what he wants most in his life, and that is Julia. Both of them have had feelings for one another but have kept them confined to the far reaches of their heart because of the fear that they are betraying her sister’s memory. Warren has always been in control, and he gets what he wants, but Julia may be the hardest challenge he has faced so far.

There was no character in this book that I didn’t love, even the secondary characters. Each one of them had something to do with Julia finding a little bit of herself that she had lost over the years. She is the rock that held the family together and gave Warren something to live for again. When she came home after her sister’s death, she never left his or the children’s side again. I enjoyed getting to see the wild child that she was through Warren’s memories of her. She never lost her passion; she just encased it into a being the successful and responsible sister. Now, that she is looking at turning 50 squarely in the eye, she is questioning a lot of things in her life…one of the most important is facing the fact that she in love with Warren.

Warren is one sexy man. He might be middle-age, but let me tell you, younger men don’t have a thing on him! But, it’s the other qualities of Warren that set him apart from other men.. his strength, his honor, his loyalty, and mostly his love for his family. He is as controlling in the bedroom as he is the boardroom. It is that aspect that Julia loves, she can let go with him. She doesn’t have to be in control, and that frees her.

The steam between these two is off the charts! The love scenes are sexy but done with class as well. I could feel the deep love and emotion between them. Julia and Warren perfectly illustrate that just because you are a certain age doesn’t mean that you aren’t sexy or relevant. Nina Lane reminded me that I’m not just a mother or wife. I am an individual outside of those. She did the same for them. Thank you, Nina Lane, for showing all your readers that age is just a state of mind, and we should be living life fully and joyfully, making bucket lists until we are 100 years old!!!!

 

iBooks | Amazon

EXCERPT

 

“Now step into my office.”

Julia blinked at his hard tone, her gaze shifting to his closed office door. “I beg your pardon?”

Warren opened the door. “In. Now.”

Her features tightened with resistance just as the elevator doors opened and several employees emerged, their voices rising in chatter. Julia crossed the hallway in front of them, her shoulders rigid. He caught a whiff of Chanel No. 5 as she passed him.

He entered the office behind her and closed the door, flicking the lock shut.

“You are not to take out personal crap on my employees,” he said. “That’s not how I run this company.”

Julia’s lips compressed. “Odd that you’ve never before questioned my treatment of your employees. And it wasn’t personal. She needed to know she’d screwed up.”

“Announcing the holiday party early is not screwing up,” Warren replied evenly. “You’re pissed off because you’ve had a shitty week, you have too much on your plate, an old bucket list has thrown you off your game, and you don’t know what to do with the fact that we fucked the other night.”

Two spots of color appeared on her cheeks. “I seem to recall that what I did with that fact was tell you it wasn’t going to happen again. After which you informed me in excellent caveman style that I was wrong. You seem to forget I’m never wrong.”

About this, you are.

He bit back the words. He hadn’t become the president of Sugar Rush by throwing his weight around. He knew how to bide his time, work his way into getting what he wanted. And damned if he didn’t want her more with every passing second.

“Well?” Julia put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Are we done here?”

Under her make-up, purplish smudges shadowed her eyes. Brackets of tension lined her mouth. His jaw tightened.

“You had a migraine yesterday,” he said.

“What the fuck do you care?” Julia snapped.

Warren’s hands flexed. He was used to her quick-fire cursing, all the more effective when delivered by a woman who looked like royalty, but he didn’t like being the recipient of her wrath.

“I’m putting Mia Donovan in charge of the Sugar Rush holiday party,” he said.

“You’re firing me?” Julia stared at him, her eyes widening. “Are you serious?”

“Yes.” He steeled himself against her shock and the knowledge that he was hurting her. “You’ve planned it for the past ten years, and it’s time to hand it over to someone else.”

“You don’t get to decide that.”

“Yes, I do. Sugar Rush is my company. This is also the event where I’ll be announcing my retirement. You’re not going to plan it.”

“Because I have too much on my plate?” Julia stopped in front of the windows, her arms crossed and her fiery gaze fixed on him. “Thanks for your concern, Daddy, but I assure you I can handle everything I take on.”

“That’s why you’re such a success. It’s also why your headaches are getting worse.”

“You are not my fucking doctor.”

“Stop swearing.”

She barked out a laugh. “You need to rethink this retirement thing, Warren. It’s making you soft.”

Given the state of his dick, he was anything but soft.

“If you won’t delegate your projects, I will,” he said.

“Because you can’t stop being the boss, even if you think otherwise.” Julia paced angrily to the desk, her eyes flaring with blue ice. “Why are you retiring, Warren? Everyone knows you’re the power behind the throne, much as you’ve let the boys take all the glory. Three months—hell, one month from now when you have nothing to do and no one to order around, you’re going to wonder why you made such a bad decision.”

Warren’s jaw clenched. He was sick of getting pushback from all sides. “I’ve been in business my entire life. I know what I’m doing.”

“So do I, dammit,” Julia retorted. “I don’t need you looking out for me.”

“I will always look out for you.”

She came to a halt, her whole body stilling. By contrast, Warren’s heartbeat kicked up, sudden heat flooding his veins. Their gazes met across the room, a crackling electric current firing through the air.

Julia took a breath, her breasts heaving beneath her jacket.

“Goddamn you, Warren Stone,” she whispered.

“I told you to stop swearing.” He advanced, his own breath increasing, his hands fisting and unfisting at his sides.

Rebellion tightened her features. “And if I don’t?”

“You sure you want to find out?”

He closed the distance between them, his lust flaring like a match to dry leaves.

What the fuck was going on with them?

The question flared like a comet through his mind and died just as fast—because he didn’t care about the answer. His mind was consumed with the thought of tasting her red lips again, sweet like cherries, spicy like peppers. Her mouth could deliver an insult as sharp and searing as a blade, but he knew—had always known, even if he’d smothered the knowledge—that the sounds issuing from Julia Bennett’s mouth could also be smooth, hot murmurs of lust that rushed straight to his blood. Weakening him of all thought, all control, inciting him with the urge to—

He grabbed her shoulders, hauling her soft, slender body against him. He’d always loved the contrast of Julia, the sharp-tongued, acidic queen and the relentlessly devoted aunt. The rigorous boss who shot orders like arrows, and the loyal friend who bought Hailey’s favorite peanut butter, sent care packages to Gavin Knight when he was deployed in Iraq, spent hours on end with Evan at the hospital.

He stared down at her fine features, pale skin, and wide blue eyes that he’d seen almost every day of his life for the past thirteen years—and suddenly now it felt as if he were looking at her for the first time. Had he never noticed that tiny birthmark right beneath her left eye? Or the silver flecks in her irises, like falling snow? Or the perfect curve in her upper lip, tempting him to put his tongue there and—

Oh, he’d noticed all right. He’d just tried to pretend he hadn’t.

“What the hell am I going to do with you, Julia?” he muttered.

“Fire me, apparently.” Her tone was bitter, her eyes blue fire.

Her gaze flickered involuntarily to his mouth, her lips parting. He slipped his hand beneath her chin, lifting her face to his. His heart jackhammered. Her breath brushed against his mouth, the familiar scent of her—Chanel No. 5, lavender soap, pure Julia—suddenly exotic and tantalizing.

“I’m going to let you go,” he said slowly, “and take two steps back. I want you to reach under your skirt and take your underwear off… if you’re wearing any.”

 

 

 

 

 

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

 

 

A Top Read of 2017 · All-time Favorites · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Excerpt · Fiction · Interview with the Author · Must Read

Tall Chimneys: A British Family Saga Spanning 100 Years by Allie Cresswell! Brilliantly Written Must Read!

Tall Chimneys: A British Family Saga Spanning 100 Years

By Allie Cresswell

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Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.

Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.

Publication Date: 12th December 2017

 

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EXTRACT

The relationship between Evelyn and the revolting estate manager, Sylvester Ratton, provides much of the drama and tension in the story of Tall Chimneys. He is older than her, and much worldlier. He is in a position of power in the house, while she is a newcomer, naïve and there under sufferance. I wanted all these things to come over in their first encounter. At the same time I wanted to show that Evelyn has some spirit – she is not afraid of him. The scenes between Ratton and Evelyn were some of the most enjoyable to write.

An evening with Mr Ratton

So, back to Tall Chimneys I went. I was admitted back into the household, as I had left it, with indifference, given some draughty rooms in the north wing and more or less left to my own devices. I was eighteen years old.

George and Rita were only rarely at Tall Chimneys. To their credit, though, using, I presume, funds from Rita’s wealthy papa, they did initiate a programme of repairs and modernisation to the house; under their benefaction we had improved plumbing and electricity produced by a noisy generator installed in the cellar. We had a telephone but it was very unreliable, the wires strung across the moor and through the trees were very vulnerable. These up-grades, the house, lands and tenant farms were in the hands of George’s agent, Sylvester Ratton, who oversaw their management in George’s absence. Ratton was perhaps ten or twelve years my senior, a man of few personal charms but large ambition; I took an instant dislike to him. He had round, lashless eyes and a small, misshapen blob of a nose. Nothing escaped him, not the least suggestion of an extra bucket of coal in the servants’ hall or the hint of a purloined hare in a ploughman’s pot. He sniffed out and came down hard on any perceived misdeed, reducing housemaids to tears for the smallest misdemeanour and dressing down farm-workers in a voice which carried from the estate office, behind the stables, to the morning room without any tempering of volume or expletive colour. While parsimonious with others, he denied himself nothing, living, while George and his wife were in town, as de facto owner of the house, lording it over the servants and tenant farmers, occupying the second best suite of rooms and wolfing down the choicest of comestibles and the finest wines in the cellar.

The first evening of my residence we dined together, he at the head of the table, me at the foot – a ridiculous and anti-social arrangement which made conversation difficult and made extra work for the servants. It soon became clear that these things were entirely by Mr Ratton’s design. He enjoyed sending the staff scurrying hither and thither, rejecting dishes and then changing his mind about them so they had to be brought in again. He spoke to me as though from a great height as well as a great distance, emphasising my extreme smallness and insignificance.

‘You are lucky,’ he stated, heavily, to me, ‘that your brother and sister in law are prepared to accommodate you here. Many girls in your situation would have been placed elsewhere and expected to make their own way. Perhaps in the end you will think it might have been preferable.’

I told him in a quiet but prideful voice that I felt my good fortune. I would make the best of being allowed to return home.

‘One wonders,’ he mused, swilling wine around a heavily embellished goblet, ‘why they did not accommodate you in town. Perhaps,’ he gave a twisted, almost suggestive grin, ‘they consider the tone there unsuitable. They do entertain some rather… outré guests.’

I made no reply to this observation.

‘The house is sadly depleted since you were last here and George is here but rarely,’ Ratton went on to observe. ‘You will lack for company. You will be lonely. It is hardly suitable. Some might say it is hardly respectable. You ought to have a female companion.’

The idea of the smug, porky individual at the far end of the table posing any kind of threat to my maiden reputation was laughable, but I restrained myself from saying so. It was on the tip of my tongue to suggest that, if he felt the delicacy of my situation so keenly, he ought to move into the agent’s quarters which I knew were provided for him above the estate office. ‘I will use the time to improve myself,’ I said instead. ‘I shall enjoy the outdoors when the weather is fine. When it is not, the library is well-stocked.’

‘Indeed.’ He nodded. ‘No doubt your education has left you lacking in real knowledge. Girls are taught accomplishments, merely. I cannot think your schooling will be much use to you here.’

I felt stung. This accusation was unfair; my schooling had been pretty thorough in arts and humanities although rather coy on the subject of science.

‘While your brother is from home, I run the house very frugally,’ he told me. ‘I told Jones to serve dinner tonight to celebrate your arrival, but after this we will take it separately, in our rooms, unless there is company. You will not find it very convivial.’

I wanted to laugh at Ratton’s idea of a celebratory meal; nothing could have been colder or less hospitable than the atmosphere at table. The prospect of dining alone, even in my rooms, which were dour enough, was a preferable prospect.

‘Of course,’ I agreed. ‘I shall try to incommode your arrangements as little as possible.’

Clearly, having gained his object, Mr Ratton lapsed into silence.

 

CHRISTIE’S REVIEW

****5 STARS****

Brilliantly written family saga! I am somewhat at a loss of words! I was pulled in from the very beginning of Evelyn’s story, and what a story it was….pain, loss, betrayal, secrets, romance, and second chances. It spanned 100 years, and I hung on to every word Evelyn spoke.

Evelyn is the youngest child born unexpectedly to her parents. Throughout her life, she was considered a burden to her family. When her parents died, she was sent to live with an older sister. She was happy there, but when she became an adult, she was sent back to her family estate, Tall Chimneys. She is happy to be back there. She did have fond memories there with the family who lived in the gatehouse, and of spending time with Kenneth, the young handy man. However, when she returns, it’s not like she remembers it. The family is gone as well as Kenneth. This begins her journey to save her home at all costs, possibly costing her own happiness and freedom.

Through the decades, many characters pass through the doors of Tall Chimneys. Some of them are good and bring Evelyn much joy and happiness, and others bring her pain. Evelyn is a very relatable character. She isn’t perfect; she’s human. At times, I felt so sorry for her and her isolation, but she made those choices. Those choices are what made me so frustrated with her. One thing is certain. She had was a strong woman. She endured things I can’t imagine, but she endured it and lived quite a long life. It was amazing to see history unfold through the different decades of time.

What amazed me about this book was that the house itself was a main character in this novel. It had its own personality and pulled me into the story as much as Evelyn did. Its story was just as important as hers because the two were so intertwined and connected. Cresswell’s descriptive writing put me right there. I could see John’s artwork and the beauty of the home. I was sitting at the kitchen table at dinner with the American soldiers who were staying there during World War II, being a part of their discussions. I was there in the gatehouse which was such a source of happiness for Evelyn.

As soon as I thought Evelyn’s story had ended, the author gave us another at the end. It brought everything full circle and made perfect sense. WOW! I loved spending the day with Evelyn and hearing her story. My one regret is having to leave Evelyn and Tall Chimneys behind.

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Author Bio

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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

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Q & A with Allie Cresswell

 

  1. How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Initially I heard a news report about an elderly lady found living in squalor and penury in the servants’ quarters of her once-magnificent stately home, and it got the imaginative juices flowing. Secondly, Downton Abbey came to a conclusion and it left me wanting to know how grand houses like that one survived the years from the 1930s onwards, so I started doing some research and found that many of them didn’t. Lastly it came to me that while large country houses were a dying breed in the years after WW1, the fate of women was on the up, with the vote, matriculation, birth control and a shortage of men all meaning that women could step into roles they had been debarred from before. All these ideas coalesced into Tall Chimneys.

  1. What was your favourite thing about each character?

I liked Evelyn’s grit and resilience as well as her naivety. She has such fortitude. I admired John’s creativity as well as finding him powerfully attractive! I think Kenneth is my favourite character. Without giving too much away, he stepped out of the shadows in a way I hadn’t expected and his silent presence elbowed its way into the plot with a strength which took me by surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Sylvester Ratton, imbuing him with every mean and vicious characteristic I could come up with.

  1. Do you have a playlist you listen to when writing?

No. I find any kind of background noise very distracting. I like to write in silence. However, when I take a break I find the classic serials and plays on the BBC iPlayer really enjoyable, and I always stop at 2pm for The Archers!

  1. Any favourite foods/drinks you like while writing?

Lots and lots of tea, and the odd plateful of hot buttered crumpets which magically appears at my elbow from time to time.

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I must have been about seven. The teacher asked us to write about a family occasion and I chose to write a long, harrowing and entirely fictional account of my grandfather’s funeral. I had never even met him, but I decided he had been a Vicar (which I spelt ‘vice’) and lavished on the details of weeping relatives and the horse-drawn ‘hurst’. I didn’t finish the story during the time allotted and the teacher allowed me to go on with it over the next few days. Mum was confused to be offered condolences when she went to parents’ evening. The teacher had thought she was giving me the opportunity to expiate my grief, whereas in fact (as Mum knew all too well) it was only an excuse to get out of learning my times tables, something I have never achieved. BUT, the thrill of making up stories and writing them down was born and has never left me.

  1. What are your favourite reads?

I love most nineteenth century classics: The Barsetshire books of Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, Dickens and the Brontes. Writers like RF Delderfield, Howard Spring and Daphne du Maurier are rarely read these days, but they are brilliant story tellers. I recently read North of Here by Laurel Savile, and was blown away. I hope she writes more.