• Blog

    Today’s Writers on Wednesday Post is a Q&A with romantic suspense author Karen Botha


    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    Down in the Well - Cover1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    My brother in law used to be a rodeo rider and so, what a perfect sounding board to use to write my next book. Especially as he lives in Florida, so I took the trip from the UK to spend a week chatting to him about it.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I have always written and wrote my first book when I was sixteen. It never got published and I’m willing to bet that my mom threw it away with the rest of my school stuff years ago. But, it was a start. Since then I’ve been writing my entire career. For many years it was copy in my marketing job. When I gave this up to become a therapist, I needed an outlet for my creative side and so that’s when I started writing books again. It’s almost three years ago now.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    It depends on the book. I’ve written a 6 book series about a racing car driver, so obviously with that the setting is important because this is where everything happens. But, as with all things, life moves us in different directions so usually the starting setting will end up evolving anyway. It’s a great place to get my thoughts together about the character though.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    I love Tommy. He’s such a complicated and misunderstood character with such a lot to give. This is the first book in Rodeo series and I can’t wait for the opportunity to develop him further in the second book. Down in the Well is just the start of his story and while it has a HEA and is a standalone, there’s just not enough word count to be able to understand everything that goes on in his head. And why.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Don’t’ give up. Pure and simple.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    Sometimes, it depends on where I am. Last year I set myself the task of releasing one book a week from 3rd Sept through to Christmas. So, that was quite a hefty schedule. I made it, but it was stressful. The issue is that I thrive under pressure and during that period I produced my best work. I had to think on my feet and my characters, particularly in the Daisy series are wonderful examples of living on the edge.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I’ve tried plotting and my work is flat. I love the winging it, just not when I’m committed to one book a week with my editor. That’s rough.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    Right now I am working on the follow up to the Love Series. It takes some of the characters that we fell in love with in that series, (titles include Daisy, Idris, Cassius) and develops their stories. The series is called Close Protection, if that gives you a clue…

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
    their journey?
    The same advice I received, don’t give up. Ever. Not if you love it.

    Down the Well
    When the grass isn’t greener; run.
    After leaving his home and everything he’s ever known for a new life away from a violent step father, Tommy finds himself alone with no plan. But, he’s not concerned about that, because how can whatever is around the corner be worse than what he just left?
    It can’t, unless you meet and fall in love with Hope, a sexy older black woman with a past that threatens to haunt them both. Tommy ignores the signs, loving working on her ranch and learning the ropes as a rodeo rider. Until it’s too late.

    Down in the Well is a BWWM suspense with more than a hint of romance along the way. This pair put their romantic differences to one side to pave the way towards a cowboy love like nothing you will have read before. This book by Karen Botha is full of romance, mystery and suspense while keeping it real with funny moments we can all identify with.

    This BWWM Cowboy mystery romance is the first in the Rodeo series of Romantic suspense books and is available as ebooks in the kindle store.

    Download this romantic mystery book now, and cheer Tommy on as he fights one twist after another to come out fighting for his HEA.​
    Grab your copy here:
    Amazon.com – https://amzn.to/2Mix57Y
    Amazon.co.uk – https://amzn.to/2T1KqnK

    Karen Botha
    Karen Botha was born in Lincolnshire England where her father was in the royal air force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing. Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. at the age of 36 She retrained for a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a re-found passion for writing.
    Her first novel was inspired by true life experiences and tales from clients. But don’t believe everything you read.
    She enjoys traveling rugby and motor sport, this gives her inspiration and ideas for her books.
    The first in the new lgbt series is a mm romance novel about a racecar driver and his mechanic.
    She currently lives in London with her Husband and rescue dog called Shadow.


  • Blog

    Let’s meet Lindsey Detwiler author of No Brides Club new release No Time For Promises


    To celebrate the launch of the No Brides Club series I’ll be hosting each of the authors on their release day – today let’s meet Lindsey Detwiler, author of No Time For Promises.

    No Time For Promises - No Brides Club - Promo Banner
    1. What made you want to write your No Brides Club novel?
    I loved the idea of teaming up with five other authors to create a series. I felt like creatively, it would push me and help me approach romance writing in a new way. I was also really drawn to the premise of the series as I’ve written several novels about women swearing off love in favor of careers.

    2. Is there a character in the novel you most relate to?
    I can relate with Rachel’s desire to chase her dreams, no matter the cost. I tend to be a planner who is always looking ahead to figure out what’s coming next.

    3. In the series the characters make a pledge to focus on their careers and not on dating/finding love? It’s January have you made a New Year’s resolution? Or have you ever made a group pledge or pact with friends and did you keep it?
    This year, my husband and I are both focusing on health. We have already started eating healthier, and we tossed out all of the cookies and candy in the house. I also have some financial and career goals I’m chasing.

    4. The No Brides Club series is set in New York – can you tell us a little about yourself and where you live.
    I am from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, which is a small, charming town in the central part of the state. My husband and I actually grew up here, and I now teach at the same high school we graduated from. We live a simple, quiet life. Neither of us are big on traveling, so we spend a lot of time at home with our five cats and Henry, our mastiff.

    5. The characters in the series have sworn off dating – have you ever been on a particularly memorable date – good or bad?
    I am actually married to my junior high sweetheart. We met at the age of 12 when we were seated at the same table in art class. We’ve been together ever since. My favorite date we’ve gone on was super spontaneous. We had been snowed in for about three days, and everything in town was closed. On a whim, we walked through several feet of snow to the town center. We found that the Chinese restaurant was open, so we ate Chinese food and then walked to a consignment shop that was also open despite the storm. It was simple, it was random, and it is one of my favorite memories.

    6. What was the most exciting part about writing your novel in the No Brides Club Series?
    I loved writing about Broadway and imagining how the two characters came together. I think Rachel and Zander just have a way of complementing each other, and despite their troubled pasts with love, they help each other believe in it again. I think that’s always exciting.

    Blurb for No Time for Promises
    When six friends make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers, the No Brides Club is born. But could meeting the right man at the wrong time cause them to break their vows to each other?

    Rachel Winters has less than a year until she turns thirty, and she plans to make it big-time on broadway before she hits this particularly stressing rite of passage. So, when the opportunity to teach young, aspiring actors at a weekend workshop presents itself, she eagerly agrees, hoping that this is the first sign her luck’s about to change.

    Zander Riley once dreamed of being a star, but a badly broken heart sent his priorities spinning in an entirely different direction. Now a special education teacher, he agrees to chaperone a weekend trip to an acting workshop for the kids’ sake more than his own. If only the gorgeous instructor didn’t reignite a number of passions he’d long since cast aside.

    Could it be love at first sight, or is he simply an unneeded obstacle to Rachel’s ambition? Can Zander learn to open his heart once more, even if it means it could break worse than ever before? And will these two theater lovers ultimately set the stage for romance… or tragedy?

    Get your copy here.

    Lindsey DetwilerAbout Lindsey
    An English teacher, a romance author, and a fan of anything pink and/or glittery, Lindsay’s the English teacher cliché; she loves cats, reading, Shakespeare, and Poe.

    Lindsay’s goal with her writing is to show the power of love and the beauty of life while also instilling a true sense of realism in her work. Some reviewers have noted that her books are not the “typical romance.” With her novels coming from a place of honesty, Lindsay examines the difficult questions, looks at the tough emotions, and paints the pictures that are sometimes difficult to look at. She wants her fiction to resonate with readers as candid, poetic, and powerful.

    Inked Hearts, released in 2017 with Hot Tree Publishing, was named a Romance Times Top Pick. Additionally, Remember When, released in April of 2017, was named a Route One Reads Romance Pick by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

    Lindsay currently lives in her hometown of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Chad (her junior high sweetheart); their cats, Arya, Amelia, Alice, Marjorie, and Tyrion; and their Mastiff, Henry. In addition to being a huge bookworm, Lindsay’s also a fan of cruelty-free makeup, coffee, chocolate, Netflix, and shopping.



    Be sure to connect with Lindsay:

    Instagram: @lindsayanndetwiler
    Twitter: @lindsaydetwiler
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lindsayanndetwiler
    Blog: www.lindsaydetwiler.com

    To enter the No Brides Club Giveaway click here or the image below
    No Brides Club Book Teaser Promo

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – A Q&A with author of Lovestruck Two Step, Mariposa Cruz


    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Today for Writers on Wednesday we feature a Q&A with Mariposa Cruz
    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    I intended to end the Rhythm & Romance series with “Wedding Tango”, but while having dinner with a friend of mine mentioned her club had a band for all of their dance events. I started thinking about a two-man band in a dive bar and by the end of the evening I knew had the final story in the series.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I’ve been jotting down stories in notebooks since childhood. I published my first short story in the college literary magazine and wrote articles for the campus newspaper. Once I saw my writing in print, I was hooked and I’ve been alternating between writing fact and fiction ever since. I write romance as Mariposa Cruz and I write women’s fiction and freelance articles as Susan Winters.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    The stories I like most as a reader is ones that “take you there” and I strive to do that with my own writing. The Rhythm & Romance series has been a joy to write because I love dancing and it has been a blast bringing readers out with me on the dance floor.

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    My hero’s Uncle Greer, co-owner of Last Chance, has a gruff exterior but a tender heart. He first appears in “Package Deal” and managed to elbow his way into “Ladies Man” and winds up sharing the stage with Carson in “Lovestruck Two Step”.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    A friend of mine who wanted to entice me into a home-based business forwarded me a recording extolling the benefits of being an entrepreneur. The speaker stressed the importance of treating the enterprise as a job, not a hobby you pursue when you feel like it. I passed on the “opportunity”, but I took a business-like approach toward writing, keeping a writing schedule and setting tangible deadlines. By having more structure in my writing life, I’ve been able to get more accomplished while still having a good time.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I’ve always written during the morning before anyone is awake except for Bentley, the cat. He’s an ideal writing companion. Bentley doesn’t criticize my work or interrupt me except for an occasional nibble on my computer screen to get my attention.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I tend to wing it. When I start a story, I have the ending in mind, but I’m not always sure how I’m going to get there
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
    “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis-I love the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but that one is my favourite.
    “Still Life With Bread Crumbs” by Anna Quindlen-A well-known photographer at the crossroads of life finds love and new life where she least expects it.
    “The Eight” by Katherine Neville-Though I’m more of a checkers girl, this novel about a mysterious chess set is absolutely riveting.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    My current WIP is the first book in a new romantic series, Men of the Silver State. It’s in the early stages of the first draft, but I can tell you it involves a beer- imbibing knitting circle, karaoke and a horrible car accident (not caused by the knitters).

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
    their journey?
    Believe in yourself. I know that sounds like grade school advice, but sometimes you have to hold tight to the basics when facing an incredible challenge (like finishing a novel). When you are serious about your work, eventually people will get it.


    Lovestruck Two Step - CoverLovestruck Two Step Excerpt:
    “You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.
    “Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.
    He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.
    “You’re good,” she exclaimed.
    “I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.

    Grab your copy here today!




    Mariposa Cruz
    About Mariposa
    Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.


    Blogs https://mariposacruz.blogspot.com/
    ​Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariposa.cruz.180

  • Blog

    It’s release day for No Time For Lullabies (No Brides Club Book 2) so let’s talk to author Sydney Logan about her new release.


    To celebrate the launch of the No Brides Club series I’ll be hosting each of the authors on their release day – today let’s meet Sydney Logan, author of No Time For Lullabies.
    No Time For Lullabies - No Brides Club - Promo
    What made you want to write your No Brides Club novel?

    I had an idea for a book about a woman who was perfectly content being single, with no desire to ever get married, so when submissions opened for the No Brides Club, I thought my story might be a good fit. I was also excited to have the opportunity to work with Melissa and Sweet Promise Press.

    Is there a character in the novel you most relate to?

    I relate to Melody in that she’s a country girl at heart and loves music. I didn’t make it a career like she did, but I’ve always enjoyed songwriting and singing.

    In the series the characters make a pledge to focus on their careers and not on dating/finding love? It’s January have you made a New Year’s resolution? Or have you ever made a group pledge or pact with friends and did you keep it?

    I’m terrible at keeping resolutions, but this year, I’m hoping to get healthier. If that means getting a treadmill desk, so be it (although I’m pretty sure I’ll kill myself trying to walk and type at the same time).

    The No Brides Club series is set in New York – can you tell us a little about yourself and where you live.

    Like Melody, I was raised (and still live) in rural Appalachia in a little town in East Tennessee. By day, I’m a school librarian with students ranging in age from PreK to 8th grade. I’m married to the man of my dreams who is a radio DJ. We love the Tennessee Vols and Golden State Warriors, and we eat way too much fast food (thus, the hoping to get healthier resolution).

    The characters in the series have sworn off dating – have you ever been on a particularly memorable date – good or bad?
    I went on a blind date when I was in college. It was with a guy I’d talked to on the phone and online for a few weeks. Super sweet guy, so when he suggested we meet at the mall, I thought why not? We hadn’t exchanged pics (this was the early 90s before cell phones were everywhere and selfies were the norm). I remember being so nervous, but as soon as we spotted each other at the food court, my nerves dissipated because I knew instantly that we were just going to be friends. He wasn’t unattractive, but he was shorter than me—by a lot. I’m 5’3, so to meet a guy shorter than me (with boots on) was surprising. I’m not a shallow person, but my one rule is they must be taller than me! lol

    What was the most exciting part about writing your novel in the No Brides Club Series?

    The most exciting part for me was the challenge of it—writing a story that would tie into an existing world that I didn’t create myself. I write small-town romances, so a story set in NYC was different for me. But, within the guidelines of the series, I was able to create my own little world of Meadow Creek and adapt my writing style and voice to fit into the No Brides Club.

    Sydney Logan
    About Sydney :
    Sydney Logan writes heartfelt romances that feature strong women and the men who love them. In addition to her novels, she has penned several short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul.

    She is a Netflix junkie, music lover, and a Vol for Life. Sydney and her husband make their home in beautiful East Tennessee.

    To learn more about Sydney and her books, visit her online at www.sydneylogan.com.
    Follow Sydney on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SydneyLoganAuthor/

    Follow Sydney on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/sydneylogan

    Don’t forget to enter the No Brides Club Series Give Away and of course get your copy of No Time For Lullabies.

    No Brides Club Girls Night Giveaway

  • Blog

    Launch day Interview with No Time for Love author, Raine English


    To celebrate the launch of the No Brides Club series I’ll be hosting each of the authors on their release day – let’s kick it off today with Raine English, author of No Time For Love
    The No Brides Club - No Time for Love Release Promo
    Q&A with Raine English

    Is there a character in the novel you most relate to?
    I would have to say it’s Kinsley King. I used to be a real estate broker so it was easy for me relate to her not wanting to give up her business and move to the country.

    In the series, the characters make a pledge to focus on their careers and not on dating/finding love. It’s January, have you made a New Year’s resolution? Or have you ever made a group pledge or pact with friends and did you keep it?
    2018 was a tough year. My home was hit by a tornado so much of the year was spent dealing with repairs. This year my resolution is to stay positive no matter what happens.

    The No Brides Club series is set in New York – can you tell us a little about yourself and where you live.
    I live in a quaint New England town about halfway between New York City and Boston. I’ve traveled to both cities many times and love spending time there.

    The characters in the series have sworn off dating – have you ever been on a particularly memorable date – good or bad?
    I’ve only been on one blind date. It was set up by a friend who thought she was a fabulous matchmaker. Well, in my case, not so much. Turned out my date was so boring that I couldn’t wait to get home. Needless to say, we never went out again.

    What was the most exciting part about writing your novel in the No Brides Club Series?
    I loved including so much wildlife in the story. Many of my books have dogs in them, but this is the first time I’ve written about wolves, bears, coyotes, etc. And the fact that Kinsley had no experience with animals of any kind was a lot of fun to write.

    No Time for Love - Cover
    No Time For Love
    When six friends make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers, the No Brides Club is born. But could meeting the right man at the wrong time cause them to break their vows to each other?

    Kinsley King loves her lavish lifestyle as one of Manhattan’s most in-demand real estate brokers. She’s worked hard to get to the top, and she’s not backing down now… But when her favorite aunt bequests her a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of nowhere, she has a tough decision to make: honor her aunt’s last wish or put the property on the market and maintain the life she adores.

    Dylan Reese, on the other hand, thinks life off the grid is just about perfect. That is, until the owner of the wildlife sanctuary he manages dies suddenly and leaves the place to her spoiled city-slicker niece. Now he, too, has a choice: leave it all behind or swallow his pride and take orders from a woman who wants no part of this particular commitment.

    Sparks fly in this opposites attract sweet romance as Kinsley finds herself falling for the swoon-worthy sanctuary manager, causing her to rethink the no marriage vow she made with her girlfriends, while Dylan wonders how he’s going to keep from losing his heart to the one woman who’s sure to break it.

    Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2VqPyDR

    Author Bio
    Raine English
    USA Today bestselling author Raine English began her career as a journalist, but writing romance novels was her passion. Her stories have won many awards, including finalling in the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® and winning the Daphne du Maurier Award. She lives in New England with her family and two French bulldogs, Bailey and Dolly.


    Social Links:
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raineenglishauthor
    Raine English Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RaineEnglishStreetTeam
    Website: www.RaineEnglish.com

    No Brides Club Series Giveaway
    Want to win some amazing prizes in the No Brides Club Giveaway? Click the image below to enter.

    No Brides Club Book Teaser Promo


    Raine English
    1/4/2019 05:14:30 pm

    Thanks so much for hosting me tonight, Monique! It was fun!!
    1/5/2019 01:20:37 pm

    My absolute pleasure Raine.

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – Q& A with Laura Boon, Author of the Millionaire Mountain Climber


    Writers on Wednesday - Rose
    Q&A with Laura Boon
    Millionaire Mountain Climber - Cover1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    I wanted to set my story in a place that was inspiring and a little exotic so that the characters had to consciously consider their environment. Being “out of place” heightens one’s awareness and raises the stakes on any difficulties. I had previously visited the Chamonix-Le Tour valley in the French Alps and thought what a wonderful setting it was for a romance. Beautiful but challenging, especially for an English-speaking person.

    2. When did you take up writing?
    I first started writing at university. I had written essays at school but always thought of them as assignments rather than writing. Taking a course in creative writing at university dared me to think that I could be a storyteller rather than just read the stories of others.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?

    Setting is very important to me. The space we occupy affects our behaviour, from our home outwards. Place can be safe or dangerous, from both a physical and an emotional perspective. Until I understand the environment my characters inhabit, I can’t predict how they will behave. Is walking down the street a ho-hum experience, so familiar they don’t even notice the shops or is every shop window an inspiration and a curiosity? Likewise, how do they fare in nature? Do they love the challenge of the environment or are they always on the lookout for spiders and wondering how soon they can turn around and head home?

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    I have a soft spot for my heroine Hailey Gordon. She’s always trying to do everything right and is flummoxed when life refuses to play along and follow her rules.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    “Bum glue.” If your butt isn’t in the seat, you won’t produce any words.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I don’t have a schedule although now that I am not working full-time, I am hoping to write more regularly. I am easily distracted – by the dishes, my dog, Facebook; you name it, I can be distracted by it. I aim for a particular word count per day, but it doesn’t matter when I do it, except of course if I leave it too late because then it doesn’t happen.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I would love to be a plotter. Plotting makes sense. Unfortunately, my characters are very uncooperative and have their own ideas. I start with a rough outline of the key action points in each chapter. By the time I finish the novel, this outline has been rewritten four or five times.

    8. Can you name three or four of your current favourite books?
    Only four? I’ll try. Lionheart by Thea Harrison (it is book three in a fantasy romance trilogy set between the contemporary world and other worlds people by magical beings and Arthurian legends. Rough and Tumble by Rhenna Morgan. This is book one in her six book Men of Haven series. It’s been my go-to comfort read since it came out. The others are fabulous as well. I just reread the whole series and I’m waiting (very impatiently) for book six. The Pursuit Of by Courtney Milan, a beautiful, sensitive, same-sex novella that is the origin story in her Worth Saga series. The Laird’s Wilful Lass by Anna Campbell, her first full-length novel in some time. It’s set in Scotland. There are kilts and accents and high-handed men who need to be taken down a peg or two.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I have two projects on the go, Lion Dancing for Love, which is part of the Deerbourne Inn series from The Wild Rose Press and book two in Romancing the Alps, currently title-less.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    Join a writing group or association, keep learning by taking as many courses as you can, and keep reading. Reading is the best education of all.

    Laura BoonAuthor bio
    Laura Boon stole her first romance from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was immediately captivated. After holding a variety of positions in publishing, from bookseller to sales rep and publicist, she eventually found the courage to write her own stories. She was born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa, and went to university in America. She now lives in Australia with her husband and their Pekingese Beau. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys sleuthing for artisan chocolate and beautiful stationery, watching tennis, and walking alongside Sydney’s beautiful harbour.

    You can find her at:
    Website and blog: https://lauraboon.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraBoonAuthor
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/LollyRussell
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-boon-russell-ae-6734145/
    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/laurabrussell/
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraboonrussell66/
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18376534.Laura_Boon

    Blurb and excerpt
    When danger threatens a bona fide city girl, an adventurer is her only hope of rescue
    Mountain climber Matt Hanley is a former investment manager whose lean body and rugged good looks epitomize an outdoor adrenaline junky. When his business partner in their country hotel is injured, he needs an efficient replacement in a hurry.
    Hailey Gordon lives a chic city life free of adventures and daredevils. She craves stability and security but loses her job and boyfriend on the same day. A holiday job in France is the perfect escape from her troubles.
    Sparks ignite when Matt and Hailey meet, but she resolves to ignore the flame flickering between them. Aside from the fact Matt is her boss, she is convinced he is not her type. Matt is determined to teach Hailey to look beyond appearances. He needs to show her how good they are together, even if he must risk life and limb to do so.
    Extract from The Millionaire Mountain Climber
    Hailey drank in the landscape, noticing the clarity of the late afternoon sky and the way the snow-capped peaks glistened despite the fading light.
    “Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Matt. “Trending down the valley, you have the villages of Argentiere and Les Praz and the town of Chamonix. Behind Chamonix you can see the Grand Mama of all the peaks, Mont Blanc.”
    “Yes, the pens––and the chocolates.” She shook her head. What hubris to name a pen after the magnificent towering peak, but what marketing genius.
    Matt grinned. “Ah, you know the chocolates, do you? We’ll have to buy you some.”
    “From the lips to the hips,” she murmured, “and I am sure they don’t do the mountain justice.”
    “Come on, let’s get you inside before your face turns blue, and I earn a reprimand from Genie for chatting up scantily-clad women in sub-zero temperatures.”
    “Really? You were chatting me up? I’m flattered.”
    The smile turned wicked. “You’re welcome.” As he bent to pick up her suitcase, he dropped his head next to hers and murmured into her ear in a low, deep voice, sending shivers down her spine. “For the record, Hailey, your curves are perfect. A little chocolate won’t do them any harm.”
    She blushed, and the fire of his words flickered all the way through her belly. When was the last time her ex had paid her a compliment? An appalling thought crossed her mind; she, the High Priestess of Order and Long-Term Planning, was ripe for the picking and contemplating a holiday romance.

    Buy links
    Amazon Australia: https://tinyurl.com/y9v28sq3
    Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/yabt9gww
    Amazon UK: https://tinyurl.com/ya26ljwh
    IBooks: https://tinyurl.com/ycjzhpks
    Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y9c93n6t
    The Wild Rose Press: https://tinyurl.com/y7n7ghg5

  • Blog

    Cat Lavoie author of Messing with Matilda author Q&A and blog tour stop


    Messing With Matilda by Cat Lavoie Cover Reveal

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    Cat Lavoie – Messing With Matilda
    Messing With Matilda by Cat Lavoie
    Published by Cat Lavoie on April 4, 2018
    Genres: Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy

    As a professional organizer in New York City, Matilda Hart wages war against chaos and clutter on a daily basis for her clients—and she vows to never let it invade her own well-ordered world.

    But when her boyfriend decides to deviate from the path she’s been planning for them, Matilda’s perfectly structured life begins to crumble. She reluctantly finds herself back in the tiny hometown she fled a lifetime ago—determined to lay low and avoid running into anyone she used to know. So why is she reconnecting with her former best friend and putting up with the bridezilla antics of Amber, her high school nemesis?

    When Matilda is tasked with keeping the bride-to-be’s heartbroken ex away from the ceremony, she discovers she has history with the man who’s trying to sabotage the wedding. Matilda quickly realizes that teaming up with cute and quirky—but hopelessly devoted—Silas Flynn could be mutually beneficial. He needs help wooing the woman he considers the love of his life and Matilda can’t pass up the chance to finally get back at the meanest of the mean girls by assisting Silas in his attempts to disrupt her wedding.

    Will everything go according to plan for this mismatched pair? Or will working so closely together make uptight Matilda and laid-back Silas lose sight of their common goal?

    One thing’s for sure—things are about to get messy.

    About Cat Lavoie

    Cat LavoieCat Lavoie is a chick lit writer from Montreal, Canada. She loves writing fun and quirky romantic comedies and is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN, PERI IN PROGRESS and MESSING WITH MATILDA.

    A fan of all things feline, Cat loves cats and hopes to someday have a house full of them in order to officially become a crazy cat lady. (But one or two cats will do for now.)

    If she isn’t reading or writing, Cat enjoys listening to podcasts (mostly comedy and true crime) and watching way too much TV. She fell in love with London many years ago and hopes to go back one day. Cat is currently at work on her next novel.








    To connect with Cat and find out more about her books, visit CatLavoie.com and follow @CatLavoieBooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Author Q&A
    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    I wanted to write a story about two completely mismatched characters who need to work together for
    a common goal. I love a good “opposites attract” story—and so laid-back Silas and uptight Matilda were born.
    2. When did you take up writing?
    I’ve been writing my entire life—I used to scribble stories in my notebooks at school and I started countless short stories that I never finished. But, in my early twenties, I decided to take it seriously and write a novel.
    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    I created the fictional town of Messina, Connecticut in my second novel, Zoey & the Moment of Zen. That setting is especially important in Messing with Matilda since Matilda is not very fond of her hometown—it represents a past she doesn’t want to revisit. Unlike Matilda, I’m quite fond of Messina and look forward to setting more stories there.
    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    Definitely Silas. He’s quirky and adorable and I loved writing dialogue for him.

    ​5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?

    Keep writing—everything will eventually fall into place.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I have a hectic day job, so I write whenever I can. I try to get a lot of writing done during lunch breaks and weekends.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I’m a plotter. I need to have a plan before I start writing, but if the story takes over and leads me in another direction, I’m willing to toss the plan.

    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
    In recent months, I’ve loved Tracie Banister’s latest, Izzy As Is, and The Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers. I also quite enjoyed The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I’m in the early stages of plotting and doing research for my next novel. Even though I’m sad to leave Matilda and the gang behind, getting to know new characters is so much fun!

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    I’d tell them… believe in yourself and your story. Write the story you want to tell and don’t worry too much about what’s going to happen after “the end.” And, of course, keep writing!


    I don’t want to go home. Facing an empty apartment—one I now know I’ll be living in for the foreseeable future—is too much to handle right now. But I can’t stand on the sidewalk forever while strangers walk around me giving me annoyed looks. I can’t be mad at them—if the situation were reversed, I’d be one of those strangers wondering why the idiot in the black cocktail dress isn’t moving.
    So I start moving.
    Since home isn’t an option, I decide to walk to Hart Your Space and partake in one of my favorite activities—ordering office supplies. My newest obsession is colorful paperclips and I feel like ordering two boxes today—look at me being all reckless with money. I also have a few follow-up appointments next week and I should look over my notes again just to make sure I’m adequately prepared. I could schedule a lunch date with Dr. Paxton too, but none of these things are urgent and just thinking of the word “date” makes me want to throw up what little dinner I ate.
    I take out my phone and see a new voicemail from my mother and two emoji-filled texts from Evie with a series of hearts, keys, and question marks. It’s like she knows something’s going on. Ignoring my messages, I fish my headphones out of my bag and connect them to my phone. Inserting the tiny white buds into my ears, I open up the podcast app on my phone and find the episode I was listening to earlier. The smooth voice of the narrator blasts into my ears—blocking out most of the traffic noise and the random conversations of the people walking past me—and I sigh with relief.
    “It was a gruesome crime scene, and I was the first police officer who responded to the call. Even twenty years later, I can still remember every single detail. They are etched into my memory, and I still become emotional when discussing the events of that day.”
    You wouldn’t think that listening to Crime Stalker with Jake Deno—a podcast about an NYPD homicide detective and his most memorable cases—would have a calming effect on anyone, but I’m completely fascinated by it, downloading each episode onto my phone as soon as it’s released. I listen to it at the gym, during my commute when Evie isn’t with me, and when I need to become immersed in someone else’s gory reality to escape my own.
    Forty-five minutes later, I’m a few steps away from my office, and I’ve already decided that I’m taking a cab home when I’m done here. My feet are killing me, and I can’t wait to collapse on my desk chair and kick off the uncomfortable shoes that are giving me blisters. If I had known I’d be storming out of my date with Arthur, I would have worn the orthopedic shoes he prescribed to me after diagnosing me with flat feet, or pes planus as they say in the foot business. The heel is so chunky, it would have been perfect to throw at Arthur’s head when he started talking about Fiona and Boston. I try to forget about those two idiots as I rip the buds out of my ears.


    Cat Lavoie
    4/12/2018 04:31:57 pm

    Thank you so much for having me, Monique! I had such a great time answering your questions! 🙂 Thanks for being part of my blog tour!

  • Blog

    An interview with Holly Cortelyou, author of new release Two Reckless Hearts


    Holly CortelyouHello My Lovelies!
    I’m Holly Cortelyou, and I write small town, contemporary romances with sassy heroines and swoon-worthy heroes. I love it sweet, and I love it steamy…but at the end of the day, I just gotta have my happy-ever-after!
    My latest book, Two Reckless Hearts, just released on March 1st — it’s the first in my Barrett Ridge series with the seven Barrett siblings and their crazy, heart-melting journeys to love.
    Two Reckless Hearts starts off with a family wedding at a luxurious beach resort – and it has all the quirky family dynamics that we adore in small town romances. Jami and Beck star in Two Reckless Hearts, and it was a blast writing an enemies-to-lovers story set on a lush tropical paradise, deep in the Caribbean. I dreamed of silky, blue waters and the hot, rhythmic beat of steel drums the whole time I was writing Jami and Beck’s battle to love.
    On my average writing day, you will find me in my little office with the white French doors, with a silver lab puppy napping on her giant Costco bed, and my Maine Coon kitty sprawled on my keyboard. Between fighting for my chair with the cat and fluffballs floating through the air, I sip on black coffee all morning and type away (or play on Facebook).
    My favorite quotation and writing inspiration is from C. Ara Campbell — “Here’s to the girl who read the compass written on the walls of her heart and follows the North Star etched upon her Spirit.” Following my writing dream has been scary and liberating, challenging and exciting…and I love it 99.99% of the time.
    But…that’s enough about me! Keep scrolling down and check out the snippet from Two Reckless Hearts – Beck and Jami are neck deep in the jungle on a wacky wedding scavenger hunt…
    Luv ‘n hugs,
    Holly Cortelyou
    …Dare to Love!

    https://www.hollycortelyou.com/hollygram (Free Novel and newsletter)

    Two Reckless Hearts - Cover
    TWO RECKLESS HEARTS (Barrett Ridge #1) by Holly Cortelyou

    She’s a temptation he can’t risk…
    One beach resort. Two arch rivals. Will hot island nights turn enemies to lovers? If you love heart-melting heroes, claim your new book-boyfriend today…
    Amazon: http://amzn.to/2GTGUFQ
    Nook: https://goo.gl/Qtixx2
    iBooks: https://goo.gl/yVnnJN
    Kobo: https://goo.gl/vTxvab
    Google Play: https://goo.gl/nH3Uoq
    Universal: https://www.books2read.com/u/mZ5Oj5

    Teaser from TWO RECKLESS HEARTS:
    Jami surveyed the list, and Beck peered over her shoulder. Her breath caught in her throat and a dart of tension shot between her thighs. He smelled of cedar and something tropical. It was divine. No, she was not going to let her knees buckle under her.
    “What is a red ginger lily? And how are we supposed to know if we find one?” Beck’s bicep brushed hers as he leaned over and pointed at the second item on the list.
    She was not going to break into a sweat. She steeled herself. She needed to remember she hated Beck Kavanagh. He was her competition, and she never lost her focus during a fight. Calm. She needed to find her Zen spot. Hell. Why did that make her think of a G-spot?
    Jami pivoted and stepped away from Beck as she handed the hunt instructions to him, but Beck grabbed her wrist.
    “Let go.”
    “Hang on. Hold still.”
    “There’s something small, brown and very crawly, right in the middle of your back.”
    Jami stiffened like a flag pole. “Get it off me.”
    Beck rolled up the map and brushed at her back. “It’s stuck.”
    Panic welled in Jami’s belly, but she dragged in a deep breath and exhaled in a low whistle. “You’ve got one job, mister. Now remove it.”
    “Maybe you should drop, roll, and squish it?”
    “Is that a joke?”
    “Yes, but you don’t seem amused.” Beck studied a spot right between her shoulder blades. “Hmm. It seems to have quite a few sticky-looking legs. Very wriggly.”
    “If you don’t get it off in the next five seconds, I’m going to rip this shirt right off my body and set it on fire.”
    Beck grinned. “Do you want me to flick it off or not? I like your idea better.”
    “Do it. Now.” Jami ground her teeth together as a whisper of wind tickled a wisp of hair against her neck. Her knees wobbled.
    Beck wound up as if ready to smack the crap out of the bug, but at the last second, he slid the map under the crawler and flicked it away, deep into the ferny undergrowth next to the pathway. “You’re good to go.”
    Jami jumped three feet to the side and shivered. “What the hell was it?”
    “It was a BDB.”
    “A big damn bug.”
    “Aren’t you the comedian?”
    “I’m an engineer, not an entomologist.”
    Jami scowled, but Beck grinned. She scrunched her eyebrows as if to convince him she was not amused, but he pointed at her and laughed. A burble of laughter escaped from between her lips.
    “Fine. You win. I won’t take this so seriously.”
    Beck threw back his head and laughed with ease. “I find that hard to believe.”
    As one, they bent over the map and the list and plotted their next move together. Beck’s shoulder brushed hers, and Jami’s pulse jumped. She threw him a side-eye. His nose was straight, and that chin of his was square, determined, and utterly sexy. His thick black eyelashes swept low, and her heart lurched.
    Jami leaned in, and her breasts brushed his arm as she delivered a fleeting kiss on the hard angle of his cheekbone. She sprang back before he could react.
    “Thanks for rescuing me.”


    Jessica Jones
    3/15/2018 06:44:02 pm

    Great interview! I’m excited to read the book.

  • Blog

    Q&A with Nicole Leiren author of Deadly Dirty Martinis


    Nicole Leiren - Deadly Dirty Martinis -Blog Tour Banner
    Question and Answer with Nicole Leiren

    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
    This is the second novel I’ve written for the Danger Cove Cocktail series so I wanted to delve a little more into Lilly (the protagonist) and her relationship with her parents. With the novel coming out in November, a Thanksgiving theme seemed very appropriate and a way to work in the idea that family is not always people who are related to us. Lilly had found a new sense of home with her friends and co-workers at Smugglers’ Tavern, but things got a little crazy when her parents show up—and then, of course, someone was murdered on Tavern property.
    2. When did you take up writing?
    I did the customary poetry in high school to help express all the crazy emotions that are part of every day life during that phase of life but didn’t start writing stories until I discovered fanfiction over ten years ago. I had so much fun exploring and honing my craft in the fanfic world that I decided to try my hand at an original story. That first story has been re-titled and re-written countless times, but is still waiting for its moment to shine. My next novel, my first story in the Heroes of the Night series, came about after meeting a retired soldier on a plane. His story and views on life inspired me to create a character from what I learned (with his permission of course!) and brought about my first publishing contract.
    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    I’m going to be honest as I like to keep it real with everyone – to me, the story itself is the most important part of my writing. I love fast paced dialogue that moves a story along and immerses the reader into the mind of the characters so they feel everything as intensely as those in the story. As a result, setting plays a role, but not as active in my stories as perhaps in other author’s stories. Because Danger Cove is a unique place, with many great characters (written by many different authors), it does, however, play an important role in the story. It’s almost as though Danger Cove itself is one of the characters.
    I may have contradicted myself with that answer – LOL but I think it depends on what story I’m writing as to how important the setting will be. Hope that makes sense!
    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    Of course I love my main character, Lilly, but if I had to pick a favourite outside of her, it would have to be Abe, the gardener. I love the relationship he and Lilly have as he’s like the grandfather she never knew (you can learn why that is in the first novel, Heroes and Hurricanes). Their interactions can be tense at times, but they always come to an understanding and their friendship is strengthened.
    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Susan Elizabeth Phillips once shared this valuable piece of advice (at least it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.) She said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “If you aren’t writing because life has gotten in the way, that’s okay. You can give yourself a break. But, if you aren’t writing because you don’t know where your story is going next, that is NOT an excuse!” I always remember that when I’m hesitant to put my butt in the chair and fingers to the keyboard.
    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    When I’m under contract and have a deadline, absolutely I do! I use WriteTrack to set up my project and help me track my progress. I’m a very visual person so if I see I’m falling behind, I dedicate more time to get caught up. My schedule is to minimally keep even with where WriteTrack says I should be each day to finish my story on time. If that means 20 minutes, then I’ll write for at least 20 minutes. If it means two hours…then two hours it is.
    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I started out being more of a pantser (the wing it by the seat of my pants kinda gal lol) but when I switched from contemporary sweet romance to cozy mystery, I found plotting was essential. Now, I’m a decent mixture of both. I do the plotting as I need to know where I’m heading in the story and get to the “whodunit” in a logical manner, but I also allow the characters the freedom to take me down a different path if they so choose. For example, I was over half-way through writing Deadly Dirty Martinis when I knew something wasn’t write. I let the characters take the lead for a little (yeah, us authors are a little crazy like that) and discovered who the REAL killer was – and it wasn’t who I’d plotted! Thankfully, it only took a little tweaking to make it all work. So I think it’s important to be open to something outside the outline.
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
    Sadly, reading is a luxury I don’t get to do very often (I know, I know!!) but when I do, I love to reach for a Lee Child (Jack Reacher) novel or one I recently read which I enjoyed very much was Jim Cangany’s “Start Your Engines” – a fantastic story about a second chance at love set in the racing industry. I’m also a huge fan of Sara Parestky and love reading her stories as well.
    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I’m working on edits for the next installment of the Danger Cove Cocktail, Tequila Trouble, which is due out this summer. I also have a new series, entitled “Delivering Applewood” out for consideration with some publishers. It’s set in the fictional town of Applewood in Door County, Wisconsin. If you’ve never had a chance to visit Door County, I highly recommend it!
    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    First, never give up. This business is full of rejection and disappointment, but there’s also the immense joy you receive in completing a project, having someone read it and telling you how much it affected them. Authors are an amazing and supportive group, be sure to connect with them – in person and online – you won’t regret it.
    Next, understand that – at the end of the day – this IS a business. Once you have published your first novel, you have to balance the business side and the creative side. This is essential for continued success.
    And finally, never give up. Being able to immerse someone else in your story is the greatest gift. Keep writing, learning, and telling your stories!

    Thank you, Monique, for the opportunity to be a part of your blog and your day.

    Deadly Dirty Martinis by Nicole Leiren
    Published by Gemma Halliday Publishing on November 7, 2017
    Genres: Cozy Mystery

    Lilly Waters is loving life as the new assistant manager at the Smugglers’ Tavern in the small town of Danger Cove. So the last thing she wants or expects is an impromptu family reunion with the wannabe-rock star dad and his number-one-fan (her mother) who were noticeably absent from her childhood. Not only does Lilly have her hands full dealing with Mom and Dad who act more like teenagers than parents, but she also finds herself in hot water when the son of a Chicago mob boss is murdered on tavern property. Now Lilly’s mom is the number one suspect, and Lilly isn’t sure where her loyalties lie.

    The search for answers leads Lilly down a dangerous path where she uncovers more suspects than she can say Thanksgiving grace over—including a tattooed trouble maker, a gambler who turned against the mob, and even her own father! All their motivations prove dirtier than her signature martinis, and if Lilly doesn’t get to the truth soon, not only will dinner be ruined, but the killer may serve her up on a silver platter.

    Enter to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!
    About Nicole Leiren
    Described by those who know her best as perky, quirky and effervescent, USA Today Best-Selling author Nicole Leiren likes to have fun — in life, with her characters and, of course, her readers. She admits to being sassy (just ask her mother!) and inspiration for her characters are drawn from the real-world heroes and heroines she meets while traversing the country.

    Nicole enjoys sharing the love, laughter, mystery, and occasionally a touch of the mayhem she forces her characters to endure—all for the reader’s pleasure! Her real-world heroes and heroines will keep you turning the pages until you reach the whodunit or happily ever after (usually both!)

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Street Team

    Blog Tour Organized By:



    Nicole Leiren
    2/27/2018 04:40:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday Featuring Tracy Krimmer


    Writers on Wednesday
    tracy Krimmer
    Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, popcorn, Drew Barrymore, and the movie Saving Silverman. She enjoys reading great books (of course) and writing realistic characters for you to enjoy. When she listens to music she prefers the 80s and 90s music she grew up on. In a typical day you’ll find her writing at one of her favorite spots–on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at her favorite hometown coffee shop.

    1. What was the inspiration for your latest novel?
    Christmas! My upcoming book, Something Just Like This, is very loosely based on How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I wanted to write a holiday book based on a favorite. The story took on a mind of its own, which they often do!
    2. When did you take up writing?
    I can barely remember a time NOT writing. I’ve always loved reading, and the earliest I can remember writing is around third grade. I wrote stories, poems, and journal entries from the time I was young.
    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    All my books take place in smaller towns or cities. I’ve never lived in a large city, and I like to write what I know. I’m not a big city person. The crowds are too much!
    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    My favorite in Something Just Like This is my main character’s brother, Hunter. He’s going through a lot and wants a second chance in life. Even though he’s not in the book a lot, I liked writing him.
    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Don’t listen to other’s advice! Everyone’s journey in writing is their own. You can only follow your heart and your own path.
    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    Yes and no! I tend to work out in the morning, watch The View, eat lunch, and then write for a few hours. When I’m really in a groove, I’ll write for a bit right when I wake up. I tend to never write on the weekends. If I do anything writing-related on the weekends, it’s usually administrative or putting together newsletters.
    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I’m a little bit of both. I like to plan out the first few chapters and then let my characters take over.
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books or recent reads?
    Yes! In no particular order, Three Last First Dates by Kate O’Keeffe, Snowed in with a Billionaire by Karen Booth, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, and Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris are reads I read over the past year I really enjoyed.
    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    Well, Something Just Like This releases on February 14. Once that release is all set, I’ll be revisiting All That Doesn’t, book 2 in my All That series. I want to revise the first draft and get that off to beta readers and start writing the last book, All That Matters. I want to release both in 2018.
    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    The only thing a writer can do—write. The more you write, the better you get. And you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t write.

    Something Just Like This
    Something Just Like This - Cover
    Love? Second chances? That crap is for romantics, not realists like Juliette. She has a bad attitude about love and an even worse one when it comes to second chances. And she may dress like an elf for a few weeks out of the year, but that doesn’t mean she loves Christmas.
    Stability? Purpose? Landon is surfing a pleasant wave of both until he’s fired. Devastating news from his sister certainly doesn’t help. At least he has the holidays to look forward to.
    ​When Landon shows up at the mall and Juliette prevents a disaster, he can’t stop thinking about that sweet elf. Juliette doesn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas, but she can’t help but wonder why Landon was in her line that day. Could Landon deserve one of those second chances she’s so unwilling to give?

    Excerpt of Something Just Like This
    ​“Don’t be a Grinch!”
    “Huh?” I lift my gaze and my best friend and co-worker Carly stands in the doorway, the smile so bright on her face it almost blinds me. “What do you mean don’t be a Grinch?”
    “Oh, you know,” she says as she makes her way into the room, planting herself in my chair. “Like you are every holiday season.”
    “I’m not a Grinch.” Maybe I am. I try my best not to show it. It’s possible I don’t have a convincing poker face. Poker was never my game, anyway.
    “You most certainly are. Every Christmas party you sulk at the table drinking gin and tonic and refuse to join in on anything. This year, you are in. You’ll be the life of the party.”
    “Over my dead body.”
    “Shit, Jules, your stiff body would be a better time than you are alive at these functions.”
    She’s right, and I know it. Why is she always right? I want to take offense but it’s no secret I’m not Christmas’s biggest fan. I may be the only elf working at the mall that despises it. The elf job isn’t for me, though. I do it for others. That’s festive, isn’t it? Isn’t Christmas about giving? I do plenty of that.
    “Leave me alone. And why are you so bubbly? Did you drink a bottle of bubble bath or something?” I grab the container of pens, staples, and paperclips out of the box and place them on the desk. This is much easier to deal with than the picture of my family with our fake smiles.
    “Oh, I don’t know.”
    She dots her face with her fingertips, moving them around from one side to the other. Why is she acting so weird? “Wait.” I stop when I see it. “Are you wearing an engagement ring?”
    She squeals and pops out of the chair, rushing over to show me. Her hand misses smacking me in the face as she shows off her princess cut ring, sparkles and all. “Pretty.”
    “Pretty? Are you kidding me right now, Jules? This ring is gorgeous and fit for the fairest princess in the land.”
    “Which is you, I assume.”
    “What crawled into your pants this morning? Or should I ask who didn’t? Another bad date, huh?”
    I shrug, not in the mood to discuss my date with Romeo. No joke. My cousin Dana claimed she found the perfect guy for me, and I said yes to a blind date. His name was Romy, like Mira Sorvino in that movie Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion. I’d only ever heard the name Romy from that movie. It turned out he used Romy as a nickname for Romeo. Yeah. Dana set me up with a Romeo because of course we’d be Romeo and Juliette. Barf. I don’t even spell my name like the Shakespearean character, and the last thing I would ever do is poison myself over a man. Dana had her fun. I did not. She’s never setting me up again.
    “Let’s say I got home very early, watched an entire movie, and was asleep by ten.”
    “Ouch. That is a bad date.”

    Where to Buy Something Just Like This