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FacingtheMusicFive years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters”; hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

 

When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

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Does Size Matter?

Did that title get your attention? I’m betting so. In my new southern contemporary, Facing the Music, the heroine is a rock star that has made her career writing songs about her exes that aren’t so flattering. Ivy’s first song, her breakout hit, was called “Size Matters”. It was written about her high-school sweetheart after she finds he’s made out with a cheerleader while they were apart. The song becomes an anthem for underwhelmed women everywhere and her ex, Blake, becomes a national laughingstock.
 
Now, in full disclosure, the song isn’t really about Blake’s junk. It’s about the size of his heart and how he was holding back in their relationship, but you’d only get that if you really listened to the lyrics. If you just sang along with the chorus, it’s all about a woman who admits she’s lied when she told her lover that size didn’t matter. Here’s a few lines from the song:
 
Size matters…
I said it didn’t, I didn’t mean it
I told you everything was fine
But size does matter
 
Blake and Ivy have a big hurdle to get over when she returns to her home town and they’re forced to work together for the common good. Both of them have some apologizing to do, some growing up to do and some lost time to make up for.
 
But it does raise an interesting and controversial question.
 
Does size matter?
 
As with all romance heroes, Blake is not lacking in the physical attributes department, which Ivy finally admits. If romance novels are supposed to be driven by women’s fantasies, it would seem that size does matter. And yet, is there too much of a good thing? Is it more about what you can do with it? Let’s have a discussion. Be honest and tell me what you think and maybe we can answer this question once and for all…
 
— Andrea Laurence
 
Excerpt from Facing the Music
 
“I wish I could silence every iPod in America,” Blake retorted. “I would consider it a public service—protecting the general population from bitter, autotuned, subpar pop music.”
 
“First,” Ivy said, taking a few steps toward him. Her spine was ramrod straight and defiant, pressing her breasts against her silky top and giving him unhelpful flashbacks to today’s earlier encounter. “My music is not autotuned. I am not a belly-baring teenage pop princess. I play my own instruments. I perform live. I write my own music. And if that music is bitter, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.”
 
“Blame?” Blake laughed. “I think I should get a cut of those four million sales. Before I broke your heart, your songs were nothing but the sad refrains of coffeehouse open mic nights.”
 
Ivy’s mouth fell open, her response stolen from her lips. It was a low blow and he knew it. Ivy had struggled with her music for months. He knew how hard she’d worked and how her professors just hadn’t seen the emotion and spark that made her songs special.
 
Grant sidled up. “That’s probably not the best idea,” he noted. “Never piss off a woman with a dart in her hand unless you fancy an eye patch.”
 
Blake smiled and shook off his brother’s suggestion. “I’m not too worried about that. I remember watching her out on the field during gym in high school. Her aim was never that great.”
 
“It may not be,” Ivy said, recovering herself. “But at least if I stuck something in you, you’d notice.”
 
A roar of voices and laughter followed her insult. Blake sighed. Why did she always go for the small-dick jokes? He didn’t have one. He wanted to scream it at the top of his lungs, but it would only make him look like he protested too much. No one would believe him, and he wasn’t about to start wagging it at strangers on the street to prove his point. It was above average. And an excellent performer, too, if his reviews could be trusted. He’d never heard any complaints.
 
Ivy, of course, didn’t count.
 
Author Biography


ALAndrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s working on her own “happily ever after” with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business.


Social Networking Links


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5398672.Andrea_Laurence

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GIVEAWAY
For the chance to win Facing the Music by Andrea Laurence just leave a comment below. The winner will be drawn on Sunday. Good luck!

 

Winners!

Joye

wins A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas

*

cmucha319

wins  How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte

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Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

MH

I can’t believe it’s here! The third book in my four book series—the McCauley Brothers—has arrived.

Ruining Mr. Perfect introduces two of my favorite characters in the series. (Okay, yes, I love them all. But I have to admit Cam and Vanessa were truly made for each other.) They’re two brainy people who need each other more than they know. Cameron is the square peg in a family full of round holes. He’s a financier, the odd duck not following in his father’s and brothers’ blue-collar tradition.

Vanessa is a brainy CPA, a perfectionist who knows her worth…or does she? When it comes to numbers and her job, she knows she’s amazing. She’s pretty, intelligent, and in great shape. But she’s hopeless when it comes to meaningful interpersonal relationships—especially with men.

Cameron makes her feel things she’s not used to. And she wants things to work between them, even though she knows their relationship will probably end before it starts.

This book was so much fun to write. I got to revisit the brothers and their respective loves from the previous two books. But this story belongs to Cam and Vanessa… and to Cam’s parents, who’ve been building to some tough decisions.

For me, the magic of the McCauleys is in the way they love each other, tease each other, and sometimes annoy the heck out of each other. They’re family in all the ways that matter. And the same with the heroine and her family—Maddie and Abby, her roommates (though Maddie is also a blood relation.) They share, as much as Vanessa can, and love each other. Through thick and thin, they stick. We get a peek at why Vanessa is the way she is, and that there’s so much more to her under the surface. And we get to see that Cam isn’t as happy being different as he lets on.

Take a peek at Ruining Mr. Perfect, and happy reading!

RuiningMrPerfect

Ten minutes later, Colin sat fat and happy with her and the girls as they watched an old Godzilla movie. It was as if the corner had never happened. Man, to be that young and innocent. But innocent was a relative term. Vanessa had once been six, but she’d never been so carefree. She’d never eaten cookies with her parents or watched television with them. Not unless the program could be classified as educational.

“So who’s our green lizard fighting?” Maddie asked as she munched on processed popcorn. “Mega-somebody?”

“Not Mothra, I don’t think.” Abby frowned. “Megaguirus, maybe?”

Vanessa cringed. “That you even know which monsters he fights is a bit frightening.”

“You’re so smart, Abby.” Colin continued to consume sugar at a frightening rate. But since Vanessa would soon be returning him to Mike, and the kid had owned up to his issues, she figured he deserved it.

“Yeah, smart at B-movies and how to handle blondes—myself excluded.” Vanessa smirked.

Abby stuck up her hand and peeled down all her fingers but the middle one, then put her hand back before Colin observed the profane gesture.

“Crude but effective. On that note, I’m getting something to eat. How you guys can shovel that crap in your mouths is beyond me.”

“Everything is ‘beyond you,’” Maddie muttered. “Including fun.”

“I heard that.”

Colin laughed with the others.

Vanessa laughed with them as she walked away, but deep down she had to wonder if Maddie was right. So many people saw her as this robotic, cold woman. Just because she enjoyed something as dry as accounting and didn’t take shit from losers, she was labeled the un-fun roommate. Well, numbers didn’t lie. Numbers delivered the same thing to everyone. No playing favorites, no changing rules. Once you had a formula, it stuck and made sense.

She’d spent enough time with her cousins to know that her parents had borderline personality disorders. Neither of them could tell her they loved her, if they felt it at all. She’d never hurt for food or a roof over her head, but their affection they doled only on their studies. Geniuses in their respective fields of mathematical and physical research, yet complete dumbasses when it came to celebrating a birthday, holiday, or kissing a boo-boo.

Fortunately, Vanessa had grandparents and cousins, and good old Aunt Michelle—Maddie’s mom—who loved to hug and kiss and play the doting aunt. Still, life with her parents had taken its toll. While Vanessa knew why she at times behaved too rationally or emotionlessly, she was helpless to stop being herself.

A flaw.

More truth. Sometimes she hated her overwhelming need to be honest with everyone.

As she rummaged in the cabinet for her organically grown corn kernels and oil for popping, the backdoor rattled. She turned to see Cameron’s face in the window, and her heart raced.

Exhaling a long breath, she forced herself to be calm and crossed to unlock the door. “Yes?”

It was either move back or be walked over, so she stepped back while he entered and shut the door behind him.

“Just checking on the little guy,” Cam said in a low voice. “Mike can be such a hoverer—”

“Where’s the boy?” Mike asked from behind him.

She pointed to the hallway. “Living room.”

Mike left, and she and Cameron stared after him. Mike returned moments later, gave Vanessa a nod and a grunt—of approval?—and left.

“Told you he’s mental about the kid,” Cam reiterated.

She frowned. “Did he really need to check on me? What? He thought I might beat Colin for taking my candy?”

“Nah. I kind of hinted he might want to see what you guys were up to so I could come with him. To see you.” Cameron smiled at her.

How she’d ever called him average with a straight face, she didn’t know. The man was her every fantasy made flesh. A great body, handsome face, and amazing mind. And God, he could kiss. As much as she wished she didn’t continually replay their embrace, she hadn’t forgotten that kiss at Christmas.

“Oh?” Damn, she sounded out of breath.

Cameron stalked her until she realized he’d backed her into a corner of the kitchen, away from the view from the hallway.

“Cameron?”

He planted his hands on either side of her on the counter. What the hell?

“The guys are on break while we order pizza. The crap kind from a chain.” He sighed. “What can you do?” He glanced at her popcorn and grinned. “Oh, that’s my favorite. Just a bit of oil and it pops up a storm.” He looked back at her mouth. “Great taste.” Pause. “I just came over to say what a good job you did being firm with Colin.”

“Ah, okay.”

He moved in closer.

“Cameron?” she squeaked on a whisper, for some odd reason not wanting the others to know he was here with her.

“Your lips are so red. So pretty. Do you wear lipstick?” He leaned in and kissed her before she could answer or even think to refuse.

Vanessa stood still, letting him control the kiss, his lips soft yet firm, his tongue sipping then penetrating slowly. No rush, but a leisurely exploration that turned her knees to jelly.

He moaned low in his throat and deepened the kiss. Not enough to overpower her, but enough that she felt a raging lust to wrap her legs around him and hold on until the storm passed.

Instead she remained frozen, her hands gravitating to his waist, her mouth under his.

He eased back. His blue eyes looked cloudy, his lips slick from their kiss. He smiled, and the curl of that grin shook her foundation, made her want with a passion that shocked her.

Ruining Mr. Perfect

 

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MH3-cropped200Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.

 

 

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For the chance to win a copy of How to Handle a Heartbreaker by Marie Harte, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

APlaceCalledHarmonyDesperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way. After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open… All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves. Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

 

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In A PLACE CALLED HARMONY readers will be looking at Harmony for the first time.  I enjoyed writing about the three men who were brave enough to travel half of Texas to build a town.  All three men came to me full and strong as did the women who loved them.  From the opening I was running full gallop with a plot.  With my great-grandmother’s chest sitting in front of my desk, I felt like I was loading up the wagon and heading for a new life.

 

Many times during the writing of this story I felt all three men standing behind me telling me their lives.  Patrick McAllen, young and full of dreams, thought of it as an adventure and believed love came easy.  Clint Truman felt old at thirty and didn’t believe in love.  When he heard he had to have a wife to get the job, he went to the prison gate and picked the first woman walking out.  And then there was Captain Gillian Matheson who loved his wife but also loved adventure.

 

All three men were prepared for the challenge of building a town but unprepared for the depth of love they found as they build their families.

 

I loved writing these men and I hope the readers will follow me into this historical romance.  If you’ve read a Harmony book, you’ll feel like you already know the characters.  If you’ve never read one this book would be a great place to start.  So, step into Harmony for the first time as the three families build a town while they form bonds and loves that last a lifetime.

 

Enjoy the adventure,
Jodi Thomas

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For more information, including preorder links, visit www.jodithomas.com. And for a chance to win a copy of A Place Called Harmony, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

SRR+Xmas+Final - Copy

 

The Christmas Promise by Melinda Curtis

They used to call her the Bon-Bon Heiress…Tiffany Bonander (of Bon-Bon Chocolates) grew up in New York with a silver spoon, a heart of gold, and a lifelong supply of sweets. But now her life is falling apart. Recent changes in cocoa supply are threatening the quality of the family’s chocolate and sales are down. Add to that Tiff’s penchant for falling in love quickly and breaking engagements at the last minute…Now they call her the Bon-Voyage Bride. Can this socialite turn around a cocoa plantation in South America?

Jackson Hardaway is trekking through the Andes in Ecuador as a tribute to a fallen comrade. This wounded warrior didn’t expect to meet a beautiful damsel in distress and her three fairy godmothers…er, trio of meddlesome nuns…on his journey. But everything in Ecuador is bigger – the trees, the snakes, the attraction. Is this love? Or just another case made to label Tiff a runaway bride? Find out in The Wedding Promise (part Runaway Bride/part Romancing the Stone).

Excerpt:

It was raining. Again.

Tiffany Bonander tried humming a few bars of White Christmas. It was, after all, December 23. Cheer was called for.

But the incessant beat of fat raindrops on the tangled foliage of the Ecuadorian rainforest and on her pink rain slicker, drowned out her cheer.

Or maybe she was just drowning under the pressure of heavy responsibilities.

Ankle-deep water rushed down the steep, muddy road toward Tiff and her precious cargo–thirty pounds of cocoa beans. She couldn’t lose the beans. They were the answer to all her troubles.

Thunder boomed. And boomed again. The downpour increased to a deluge.

Tightening her grip on the wheelbarrow handles, Tiff tried to find purchase with her rain boots, tried to make it to the next rise before the road turned into a river. Tried…and failed.   Somewhere above her the river had risen high enough to crest a bank. Water surged toward her.

Tiff’s father claimed they’d abandoned this cocoa plantation years ago for drainage reasons. He should have used the F-word: flood.

Tiff stumbled to her knees, and water rushed into her boots–cute, pink-flowered plastic ones which quickly filled with water and felt as heavy as cement shoes. If not for her grip on the wheelbarrow, she might have been swept downhill. Just last week, she’d heard about a woman who’d been carried away by the cresting river and smashed into a tree. Smashed as in: to pieces. Dead.

That would be worse than being broke and the laughing-stock of the civilized world.

This was karma, plain and simple. She shouldn’t have jilted Chad at their engagement party or left Malcolm at the altar.

 

Bio/Release Info:

MelindaCurtis (574x640)Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today recommended, Amazon best selling author. She writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line (book 4 coming 3/2015). Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes independently published, steamy and fun romances as Mel Curtis (a new novella out 10/22). Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood’s Golden Age except a lot hotter.”

The Christmas Promise is available in the Sweet Christmas Kisses anthology (14 sweet holiday stories for 99¢ available now!).

Buy Links for Sweet Christmas Kisses:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/Zd6FuJ

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1lVUtc2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/ZgZ2mZ

B&N: http://indi.uno/1mvOISk

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1nbyOgR

 

Special Offers/Freebies:

Join the authors of Sweet Christmas Kisses for a Facebook release party with prizes, freebies, and fun on 9/30. Guest authors include RaeAnn Thayne, Brenda Novak, and Jayne Ann Krentz. Join the party at 3pm Eastern: https://www.facebook.com/SweetRomanceReads

 

Readers of The Romance Reader @ Heart blog will be emailed a FREE fun, sweet novella set within the Hollywood Rules world by signing up for Melinda’s book release email newsletter. Link: http://www.melindacurtis.net/join-melinda-s-mailing-list

 

Website: http://www.MelindaCurtis.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelindaCurtisAuthor

Twitter: @MelCurtisAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melcurtisauthor/

 

Maggie Robinson winner!

azteclady

wins a digital copy of any Edwardian-set Ladies Unlaced book by Maggie Robinson

*

Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

The_Unsuitable_Secretary_finalHarriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for part time work, she immediately accepts, despite the fact that her new boss is scandalously indecent—and dangerously appealing.

Though his reputation paints him as a scoundrel, Sir Thomas Featherstone is more proper than anyone would guess. But Harriet’s wit and luscious curves are driving him to distraction. She’s the perfect woman to fill his office requirements, and other desperate needs he’s been ignoring…

Harriet has always held firm to the rule that a secretary must never fall in love with her employer. Only Thomas is determined to win her affections—and he’s willing to risk any cost to make her his…

 

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Fatin, thanks so much for having me here to talk about my latest release, The Unsuitable Secretary! I have a little confession to make, just between friends: I am a typing class dropout. So how, you ask, can I write 13 full-length historical romances, the latest featuring an efficient secretary? My three fingers and home row are virtual strangers, and I’d be fired before lunch time if I had to earn my living typing anything accurately.

But writing TUS is kind of homage to my dad, who always told me to have a “fall-back” career. In the Dark Ages when I grew up, the suitable professional jobs for young women were teacher, nurse and secretary (i.e., administrative assistant in today’s world). I get super-queasy in hospital settings, so that was out. I wanted to teach (and I did), but my father always nagged me to learn how to type, “just in case.” I wish now I hadn’t dropped out of adult ed night school typing class, cause maybe I could write books faster. But I took the class with my college boyfriend, and we’d leave at the break to make out in his car, LOL.

But if I can’t be a secretary, I can write about one, right? My heroine Harriet Benson has none of my impediments—she is a graduate of commercial college at the turn of the twentieth century, trying hard to be a modern woman and a help to her family. While her office skills are excellent, she’s never had total self-confidence as a woman until her employer Sir Thomas Benedict Featherstone makes her an offer impossible to refuse.

Thomas has some issues, too—he’s a virgin!—and he thinks Harriet is just the goddess to solve them. He’s asked her to be his mistress for one week, but we all know a week is not enough. J

Thomas was nothing like reconciling a column of figures or typing a letter. She couldn’t compare him to baking her apple tart, either. She had mastery over the business and domestic sides of her life, but being a mistress called for qualities she might be lacking in.

Never in a million years would she have thought of herself as some sort of Delilah. But if clothes made the man, they made the woman too. Harriet knew she’d cleaned up very well tonight. She could almost see in herself what Thomas saw.

It helped if she removed her spectacles.

It wasn’t that she was ugly. But she’d grown so tall and had felt gawky all her adult life. It had seemed best to call less attention to herself. If her mother had lived, perhaps she could have taught Harriet how to comport herself differently.

But her mother was dead, and her father was downstairs making a nuisance of himself. Harriet hoped Thomas would return to give a report. Once he did, Harriet planned to attack him.

Well, not an attack exactly. But they would finish what they started earlier, because they didn’t have all the time in the world.

Harriet gets the ultimate makeover as she turns Thomas’s life upside-down even as she organizes his office. And Thomas, being an art-lover and connoisseur of the finer things of life, knows shy Harriet is the woman for him. It was a delight to bring this couple together, and I hope readers enjoy their journey.

I’ll give away a download of any Edwardian-set Ladies Unlaced book (In the Arms of the Heiress, In the Heart of the Highlander, The Reluctant Governess or The Unsuitable Secretary) to one random commenter. How’s your typing? Do you know how to take shorthand? Have you ever had a crush on your boss? Do you remember the Dark Ages?

 

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