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This review for That Taste of Orange appeared on December 17, 2009 on Dark Diva Reviews.  I’ve been waiting for a review by this site ever since my first release, Her Last, came out in July ’09.  Her Last–not being a romance–did not qualify for a review from this popular review site.  😦  But I got my wish when my Christmas-themed romance was released.  🙂

So…here it is!

Kathy’s Review: This Christmas tale goes a long way to dispelling the myth that Christmas is always a time of joyful celebration. What happens when a couple, married a number of years, has let other concerns take over their lives?

This is the basis behind Sabrina and Chas’s story. Valerie J. Patterson has, in That Taste of Orange, given us a timely reminder that we need to consciously appreciate what we have and the people in our lives. And that a marriage, regardless of the love between the couple, needs a lot of TLC, especially when stress levels are high. This is a lesson that both Bri and Chas have to learn and we are treated to a wonderful story about the magic of love, family and Christmas.

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I’m a little late in getting the reviews added here, but stick with me. I’m getting them up now this week. That said, here’s the second official review for my November Eternal Press release: That Taste of Orange.

Night Owl Reviews‘ Silvermage made That Taste of Orange a Reviewer Top Pick! It scored 4.5 stars out of 5! The review appeared on November 23, 2009.

The review:

Sabrina and Chas Montgomery are pastry chefs and have been married for four years. A while back they opened up Sabrina’s Sweet Sensations, a specialty dessert shop. They both enjoy chocolate and orange together and even have a chocolate orange cake. But not everything is sweet at the shop. They have lately been fighting. Christmastime is not turning out to be as inspiring as it should be.

They are working on their marriage, but are just so tired from all the long hours. After a good family get together and being passionate again will these two turn things around? Will Chas’s angel be the perfect gift?

I enjoyed That Taste of Orange and the characters. The relationship between Chas and Sabrina was touching and their romantic gestures inspiring. It was an enjoyable, feel good story. The family and Christmas aspects were just the icing on the cake. And the food references had me salivating and craving desert.



The Write Time & Place is pleased to welcome back Stacey Coverstone to Cover Corner. Stacey is launching a new book today, so pull up a chair and get cozy while you read about Outlaw Trail released by Champagne Books! When you’ve reached the bottom, please leave Stacey a comment and let her know you liked what you read! Thanks~~Valerie.

Blurb:

At nineteen, Josie Hart has lived a hard life on her New Mexican farm. A cryptic letter gives her a chance to change all that and guides her on a perilous journey toward freedom. But, there are others who want what she’s after, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Grey Paladin seeks justice after having had his fortune stolen out from under him. He’ll do whatever it takes to retrieve what’s rightfully his and reunite with the only family he has left. That is, until a feisty girl stands in his way.

When Josie and Grey form an uncertain partnership, they must battle outlaws, nature, and each other while riding two hundred miles of dangerous trail to reach their destination. What they discover at the end is something that’s been sorely lacking in both their lives–leading them each to rethink what the future holds.

Excerpt:

Josie let her weary eyes skim over the parchment once more. The trail will be long, her pa had said. Will I have the courage and strength to follow it? Will I be able to fulfill his last wish and make my own dreams come true?

For the first time in her life, she felt hopeful about the future as she clutched the map tightly in her fist. Though excited, she was dog-tired, both mentally and physically. Her eyes started to drift shut.

She had barely nodded off when the sound of snapping branches roused her. Her head jerked and her eyes flew open. Her spine went rigid when a low voice addressed her. “I’ll take that map now.”

She fished around in her pants pocket for the Derringer. Her hand touched the cold metal, and she squeezed her finger around the trigger of the gun and stumbled to her feet.

“Stay right where you are, and take your hand out of your pockets,” the voice ordered. “You won’t get hurt if you do as you’re told. Do it!”

She squinted at the tall figure standing in the shadows at the mouth of the cave and heard the click of a revolver. Ragged breaths escaped her throat. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked in a throaty whisper, as she showed him one empty hand.

“That depends on how much trouble you decide to cause. Just hand over that map and I’ll be on my way.”

Inhaling deeply, her eyes roamed over the parchment still clutched in her fist. The trail will be long. Don’t give up. Her pa’s words rang in her ears. Nothing was going to stop her from going after whatever lay at the end of that trail. Her pa had died so she could have a better life. No one was going to take that from her.

“If you want it, you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers,” she replied with bravado.

The man said nothing.

“Show yourself,” she challenged. Josie’s fingers twitched as she let her hand creep back into her pocket. She gripped the pearl handle of her Derringer again. “How do you know about this map? Who are you?”

The man took one step forward, but she still couldn’t see his face. When he spoke again, she sensed he was someone of little patience.

“I don’t have to explain anything to a girl,” he snapped. “Walk around that fire and lay the paper on this rock over here.” His gloved hand pointed to a stone ledge, which jutted out from the cave wall.

“I’m not a girl,” she snapped back. “I’m nineteen and this map belongs to me. I’m not about to give it to some coward who won’t even show his face.”

Apparently striking a nerve, the man swiftly strode forward out of the darkness, with his gun raised and leveled at her. The fire danced upon his features. She gasped. It was the stranger who rode the white stallion—the one all in black who’d been watching her in Dry Gulch. Her heart lurched. He tilted his dusty hat up with a finger to show her eyes the color of dark molasses. She could feel the heat radiating from those fiery pupils as they bore into her.

“Is that better?” he asked.

“It’s you!” she exclaimed. “Why are you following me?”

“I think I already explained. I’ve come for the map. Now, hand it over.”

Quick as a snake striking, she jammed the map in her back pocket and thrust the double-barreled Derringer into his rib. Just as speedy, he shoved his revolver against her temple.

“You’re fast, but not fast enough,” he drawled. “Put down the gun.”

“You put yours down first,” she countered.

Neither one moved. Josie’s chest rose and fell in erratic rhythm. The pistol felt cold as it pushed against her skin.

“Are we going to have a Mexican standoff?” he wondered aloud.

She felt his warm breath on her face. He stood so close, his musky smell, mixed with sweat and the faint scent of lavender made her woozy. “I know how to use this gun,” she managed. “I’ll shoot you. Don’t think I won’t.” She cocked the Derringer to show him she meant what she promised.

The tall, dark stranger looked down into her eyes. A muscle ticked along his jaw. After several long moments, she felt the release of pressure from her temple.

“Toss the gun down on the ground,” she commanded, as she kept her gun pointed at his ribcage.

“I’ll toss mine when you toss yours.”

Josie searched his face. “Are you crazy, or just stupid? You stalk me, want to rob me of my personal possession, and you think I’m just going to throw down my gun? Why should I trust you?”

“Because I’ve never killed a woman before,” he said without skipping a beat. “And I don’t intend to start now.”

His response surprised her. After considering his words carefully, she removed the gun from his rib. “On the count of three, we’ll both throw our guns onto the ground. Do I have your word as a gentleman?” she asked.

The man in black threw his head back and laughed. “Whatever gave you the idea I’m a gentleman?”

She rammed the Derringer into his gut again and narrowed her eyes. The gun pressed into taut, rigid muscle. She realized he could probably break her in half with one hand tied behind his back, but she was not going to be intimidated. She had too much to lose to let him scare her out of what was rightfully hers.

“I’ll kill you right now, mister. And it won’t bother me none. Believe me. I’ll take my map and high-tail it outta here, leaving you dead as a stone.”

The man grinned, baring a perfect row of sparkling teeth. “You’re a tough little half-breed, aren’t you?”

“Half-breed!” she shrieked, lunging at him. She pounded on his chest with her fists and clawed at his shirt. He grabbed her wrists and both the pistol and Derringer flew out of their hands and clattered to the hard ground.

The Book Trailer:

All About Stacey:

Stacey Coverstone lives in Maryland with her husband, horses, German Shepherds and a bunch of barn cats. She has a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development and works at a private liberal arts college. She’s been writing all her life and is the published author of five romances, with two more novels coming in 2010. Having fallen in love with cowboys at an early age, her favorite genre to write is the western romance, both contemporary and historical. She’s currently working on a ghost story set in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she’s not writing, Stacey enjoys horseback riding, photography, scrapbooking, and traveling—especially the American West where most of her stories take place.

To buy this or any of Stacey’s other wonderful books be sure to visit Stacey’s website.



{November 16, 2009}   Writing News…

I’ve received fan mail from several readers expressing a strong desire to read more about the United Universe and Spade.  So I am very happy to report that I’ve discussed book two with my publisher, Asylett Press.  As soon as I have run a cursory edit, the sequel will be sent to the publisher for release in 2010.

As I’ve said before, I am quite pleased with the reader reaction to GeeWhiz.  And I’m thrilled with reviewer reaction!

I’m also working on the final edit of book two in the Myerson Mystery series so that I can submit that to BookStrand for a release in 2010.

I’m writing a new book set in St. Ignace, too.  My husband and I visited St. Ignace a couple years ago and I fell in love with the area.  The community just seemed so close-knit.  I loved the live shows at the public marina.  It’s simply stunning, too.  I hope to have it written in 2010 and submitted for release the following year.

Of course, I’m always working on short fiction.

A lot coming up.  A lot to look forward to!



{October 21, 2009}   Cover Corner: Roxanne Rhoads

Story strumpet, tome loving tart, eccentric night owl…these are all words that can describe freelance writer and erotic romance author Roxanne Rhoads. Roxanne is a fellow Eternal Press author that the Write Time & Place is very happy to welcome to this week’s Cover Corner. Roxanne’s participating a virtual book tour for her October 7th release, Eternal Desire, which is why Cover Corner is appearing on Wednesday this week as opposed to it’s normal Tuesday. Please set a spell and read more about her new release, watch a video, and get to know Roxanne a bit! When you’ve scrolled to the bottom of this showcase, leave her a comment and let her know you’ve been here! Thanx so much … ~Valerie

Blurb:

Misty Overgrown CemetaryLiz Beth, a paranormal researcher, is haunted by the seductive vampire, Quillon, who may or may not be real. She arrives in New Orleans the week of Halloween to search for the elusive vampire of her dreams and instead encounters a handsome stranger, Christien, with whom she begins a passionate affair with.

Soon she is torn between her dream lover and a flesh and blood man, both of whom are a mystery to her. The closer it gets to Halloween the wilder things become. LizBeth gets closer to the truth about Quillon while Christien has her under his own spell.

Will all be revealed at the Vampyre Ball or will the masks stay in place?

In New Orleans at Halloween anything is possible.

Excerpt:

The ball was a grand affair, full of lavish and elaborate vampires of all types. Some were modern or Goth, and others were stylishly dressed in period costumes. Everywhere I looked, there was white flesh and sharp fangs though they all seemed to be fake. I retreated to a restroom to clean up and to do a better job of fixing my makeup. I also put in my fangs.

I left the restroom and, as I was walking by the coat check room, I felt a strange tingle on the back of my neck. Suddenly, an arm reached out and pulled me in.

I figured it was Christien again, but it wasn’t. A masked man stood only inches away. His face was almost completely hidden. All I could see were his full, sensual lips curving into a seductive smile. I noticed the cross dangling from his neck. It was my cross, the one the stranger took from me in the alley. Fear and fire coursed through my body. My knees became weak. He grabbed me before I hit the ground. His scent intoxicated me. I felt like I was floating.

“You look so enchanting tonight, Liz Beth, like a vampire bride. And you smell so wonderful—a mix of cinnamon and passion. You make me want you so.”

I was powerless to do anything as he slid his hand under my dress. It was just like my dream.

To read another excerpt

Bio:

When not fulfilling one the many roles being a wife and mother of three require, Roxanne’s world revolves around words…reading them, writing them, editing them, and talking about them. In addition to writing her own stories she loves to read and review what others write. She operates a book review site, Fang-tastic Books, dedicated to her favorite type of book- anything paranormal. Her favorite genres are paranormal romance and urban fantasy but she’ll read just about anything featuring vampires, ghosts, witches and whatnot.

Roxanne writes everything from articles to web content as a freelance writer and poet. Her erotic and romance stories and poems have appeared in Playgirl Magazine, several print anthologies, in ebooks and on numerous Websites.

When not reading or writing Roxanne loves to hang out with her family, craft, garden and search for unique vintage finds.

Roxanne’s Realm

Fang-tastic Books

Buy The E-Book!

Buy The Paperback!



{October 13, 2009}   Good News Indeed!
Spy/Suspense/Humor

Spy/Suspense/Humor

Hi There!

Just had to share the good news! My 2009 Asylett Press release–GeeWhiz Meets S.H.A.F.T. has its first review and it’s fantastic! The review is furnished by Readers Favorite Book Reviews.

Here’s the book’s blurb: Milton “Milo” Gee, the only surviving partner of the Gee-Whiz Detective Agency, is determined to solve the murder of his partner, Chaz Whiz. When he’s approached by two gorgeous dames-er, women-who want to enlist his talents to save the life of a Canadian Mountie, he’s not overly interested. But a man has eyes and dames have gams and Milo’s were fixed on these dames’ long, shapely legs…when he wasn’t gazing deep into their bedroom eyes. His resistance begins to crumble once they use their powers of persuasion…some of which might actually be considered violent. Turns out, these ladies are members of the United Universe-a secret agency dedicated to maintaining world peace-and the Mountie is one of their top gents, a.k.a. The Ghost. Once Milo passes his physical, he’s christened with his new UU operative codename: “Spade” and they set out to reel in the Mountie. But this operation is not going to be so simple-The S.H.A.F.T, an organization bent on world domination, wants the Ghost, too. Armed with cool weapons James Bond would love to have, Spade is determined to get his man…but he never expects to end up with a dame-er, woman!

And here’s the review: This James Bond spoof is hilarious. Valerie J. Patterson has a winner! I’d love to see this made into a movie with Ben Stiller in the starring role. The characters are over the top. This is sure to be a laugh out loud funny hit. The cliches remind me of an old Humphrey Bogart movie.

Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! 😛 😛

Here’s the thing…I was sincerely worried my sense of humor would not be everyone else’s sense of humor, which led to me worrying about how well the book would be received. Reader feedback has been stupendous…and a pleasant surprise. A woman stopped me on the street about two months ago and demanded a sequel to the book! She said–and I quote–“There had better be another book for Spade.”

After I picked my jaw up off the street, I broke out into a wide smile and told her there was a sequel on the horizon!

A writer is nothing without her readers. Thank you for accepting Spade with wide open arms! We both appreciate it!

Until next time…

Valerie



{September 30, 2009}   Honor Thy Neighbor: Snippets!

As promised, I’m posting various snippets from my new release, Honor Thy Neighbor. Honor Thy Neighbor is a mystery/crime novel that also falls into the romance genre due to the fantastic relationship between the two main characters: Ashlynn and Sean Myerson. Enjoy the snippets, and leave me a comment or two telling me which were your favorites! Thanks! … ~Valerie

Mystery Snippet #1:

Walking down the sidewalk and into the alley, she spied Eliza’s car in its usual spot. As she made her way around the car to the back door, a startled scream parted her lips. She found Eliza prostrate on the ground between the car and the shop’s rear door—the petal pink dress she wore saturated with her own blood.

Romance Snippet #1:

Ashlynn sat up, the sheet falling from her shoulders to reveal her naked torso, healthy and toned. “We haven’t made love yet.”

Sean turned, his eyes drinking in the view she willingly gave him. His body reacted. Her auburn tresses—unkempt by sleep’s beautician—poured over her shoulder, barely covering the firm swell of flesh. Her passion always turned her sultry blue eyes a subtle shade of navy.

Mystery Snippet #2:

“Alex spotted someone in the yard at the front of Leo’s house,” Nancy said to Sean. “He lost sight when the figure went around the side of the house.”

“Call the station. Get a car up there now,” Sean ordered. “They’re supposed to be patrolling the neighborhood, so it won’t take long to get a response. Dispatch will log your calls as anonymous tips. There won’t be any trails leading back to this house.”

Romance Snippet #2:

Sean searched her eyes, seeing nothing but love and desire there. His mouth met hers. He needed more from her, had to have more from her. Releasing the front clasp, he parted the soft silkiness of her bra, her breasts poured out and into his waiting hands. He tasted her, every bare inch of her breasts. The cool rainwater blended with her natural taste, inciting him to seek more from her.

His mouth moved along her neck, over her shoulders and again on her breasts before returning to her mouth.

Mystery Snippet #3:

Sean lowered his voice. “Is there a safe place behind the bar for my weapon?”

Leo showed his first sign of uneasiness. “There’s an old cash drawer beneath the bar. We stopped using it when we got the computerized registers. No one even remembers it’s there. Will that do?”

“As long as it’s accessible.” Sean glanced around. “Anyone besides you know what I’m really doing here?”

The older man paused, searching Sean’s eyes. “No one suspects a thing. Frank put out the word he wanted to hire a new bartender. Everyone knew.”

“What happened to the last bartender?”

“Someone murdered him.”

Romance Snippet #3:

“Nancy and Alex will be here in an hour. Are you getting up, or shall I conduct the strategy session in our bedroom?”

Tossing the sheet away from her, she stood and stretched. As she moved past him she whispered, “You may have won the round, but your eyes tell me you lost the bout.”

Catching her around the waist, he brought her naked body flush against him “I’d say you’re lethal.”

Mystery Snippet #4:

Nancy handed Cain the plastic bag containing the letter. “Sean wants it taken to Forensics.”

“When did he get this?”

“Sometime this morning. Leo found it when he opened the restaurant. Sean said it refers to a boy who’s been seeing Leo’s daughter. Apparently, he’s not in high school. He has his own agenda.”

“Where’s the girl now?”

Romance Snippet #4:

“Where are we?” she finally asked.

“I don’t know. I think we’re in a basement or under a porch. I don’t know.”

“How long have we been here?”

“I don’t know that, either. They drugged me after I put you in the car. I can’t be sure of the day, either.”

A small laugh parted her lips. “You are a well of information. What time is it?”

“Nighttime.”

“Looks like you got one right,” she mused.

“I do my best.”



{September 22, 2009}   Cover Corner: Lavada Dee!

The Write Time & Place is very pleased to welcome this week’s Cover Corner guest, best selling author, Lavada Dee. Lavada’s new Siren-Bookstrand release, Forever Love debuts today. Lavada’s current book, For Love or Money topped the best seller list almost instantly after being released. Check out both of her books below. Make sure you leave Lavada your comments and feedback at the end of the post. ~Valerie

Forever Love:

“I admire women who escape abusive and violent relationships to build a new life for themselves. I can imagine their sacrifices, fears and loneliness. I wanted to write a romance around the dark side of their life to bring out the hope of happy endings.” ~ Lavada ~

ld-flRoman Ragazzi, criminologist turned best selling author, works as a special investigator for the prosecutor’s office. When Bethany Towers is assigned to prosecute his latest case he has a problem. He thought he’d gotten over his love for her, but finds out a love like theirs isn’t all that easy to walk away from.

Bethany knows she’ll be working closely with Roman, and she’s not sure she can keep her professional and personal feelings separate. She’s loved him for what seems like forever and knows she always will. Once he felt the same way, then she made a decision that changed their lives. Will telling him the whole story restore his love, and what about his trust? She wants it all.

Excerpt:

As she slowly inched away from him, his hand tightened, pulling her hard against him. The breath she’d been holding came out in a soft groan of pleasure. Giving up the pretense of wanting to get up she rolled over and pulled herself up so she could reach his mouth. Lowering her mouth, she kissed him. He might not have been fully awake, but his senses evidently didn’t need his mind to react. Bethany gave a sigh as his tongue parted her lips and he deepened the kiss. He found the clasp on her skirt and slid it down. She helped him remove the rest of her clothes until all she had on were the thigh highs. His voice was whiskey rough. “Leave them on.”

With frustration, she worked the buttons on his shirt. He wouldn’t stay still long enough for her to get them undone. “Help me. I want to feel your skin against mine.”

At her softly spoken words, he took her hands away and finished the job himself. Pulling her back against him he said, “You feel so good, so soft, so….mine.”

It had to be early because the room was dark. Rolling away, Roman opened the door to the nightstand and took out protection. At same time, he snapped the lamp on.

It all took little more than a second, but long enough for Bethany to come fully awake and have second thoughts. A blush spread across her face and her voice shook. “I know I started this, but it probably isn’t a good idea.”

* * * *

Roman couldn’t believe what he heard. He’d woken up to all of Bethany. She’d been open and passionate as she’d kissed him awake and almost melted into him. Now, it wasn’t a good idea? With a groan he fell back across the bed. Shielding his eyes with his forearm, he willed himself to gain control. It didn’t work. With a curse he rolled over intending to get up, but at his first sight of her, he knew he couldn’t walk away from this. Her hair fell in sexy disarray and her lips were full and soft from their kisses. When she nervously moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue, he groaned and reached over, drawing her down with him on the bed.

She started to say something, but Roman put the tip of his finger against her mouth, silencing her. “Shush, no more second guessing. No more, all right?”

Bethany shook her head in assent and, snuggling against him, reached up and covered his mouth with hers. “I need you now. Please.” She breathed into his mouth.

“Make sure, because in another second I’m going to be beyond stopping. Beyond thinking. Tell me again you want me. You want this.”

“I do. I want you so much I ache.” She nipped on the lobe of his ear letting her breath tease his neck. “Please, I need to feel you inside me, moving and . . .” She broke of with a soft moan.

Romans soft laugh filled the room as he said, “Damn, I love it when you talk like this.”

Slipping his hand between her legs, he could feel that she was more than ready. Good, ready was good. This wouldn’t to take long and that was a shame. Click to continue reading.

* * * *

For Love or Money:

“One of my favorite movies is Pretty Woman. In this story, Megan, like Julia Roberts character in the movie, is out of her element in the world of the hero. To me, a must for a good story is being engaged in the emotion of the characters. Megan and Alex will bring you in as they struggle for their happily ever after.” ~ Lavada Dee ~

ld-flomWealthy hotel owner Alexander Colin King wants a child and heir. He is used to getting what he wants and he wants Megan Moore for the mother of his baby. Alex knows he can make his proposal easier if he takes a more traditional approach, but he will be honest with Megan. No courting, no wine and roses. This is going to be a business proposal.

When Alex presents her with his business proposal, Megan at first thinks he’s asking her to be a surrogate mother, but he quickly makes it clear he intends to create a child the traditional way.

Excerpt:

Alex took a deep breath. This wasn’t going to be easy, but he was used to getting what he wanted, and he wanted Megan. He knew he could make it easier if he took a more traditional approach, but from the beginning, he’d known he would be honest with her. No courting, no wine and roses. This was going to be a business proposal. However, he hadn’t factored Rebecca’s health into his plan. The way things were playing out, his proposal was going to be more brutal than honest. Megan worked for him, and now more than ever she needed her job. He held the winning cards. With Rebecca’s heart condition, Megan didn’t have much of a choice other than the one he intended to offer her unless she filed a harassment suit. If she did, he knew with her limited funds, and the legal counsel he had at his disposal, he would win. He also knew that if she went that route he’d instruct his attorney to settle. Either way Rebecca was going to get the best medical treatment money could buy.

Physically, she was everything he could want. She was a medium height of five foot five, and her figure was perfectly proportioned. She didn’t flaunt her looks, and dressed on the conservative side, though it didn’t matter, with her violet eyes and sensual mouth, she could be wearing a gunnysack.

Alex watched that mouth now, and was tempted to reach over and trace her lip with his finger. Not tonight, though. She wouldn’t let him tonight, but by next week, if he had his way…

Alex lifted his coffee, taking the time to gather his thoughts. He anticipated the impact of his proposal, and his heart thudded with the challenge. “I know it’s been a long day, and you’re tired. In truth, it would be better if we could put off talking until tomorrow. However, with Rebecca’s medical condition, we don’t have the luxury of time. The next few days are going to be hard.”

Alex stood up and walked across the room. “I heard most of what the doctor told you about Rebecca’s condition. I can guess the rest.”

Agitated, he ran his hands through his hair and sat back down on the couch. “Unless I’m mistaken, King’s Crown employs you as a casual employee, which means you’re not covered with the company’s health insurance.”

Megan’s eyes looked bruised. “No. You’re right; I don’t have any insurance.”

Standing up, she visibly pulled herself together. “I really have to go. This is my problem, not yours. I appreciate your kindness in stopping in at the hospital and for dinner, but it’s getting late and, as you pointed out, the next few days are going to be stressful, to say the least.”

Alex started to answer, but Megan interrupted him. “I know I don’t have sick leave either. Hopefully, Rebecca will recover quickly, and I can return to work before you have to replace me.”

Alex grated out his next word’s with a harsh tone. “I’ll take care of Rebecca’s medical expenses.”

Megan scooted to the edge of the sofa. “Why? You hardly know me. Look, I don’t want to be rude, but I can handle this.”

“Yeah, right. In the meantime, the clock is ticking for your daughter. If you try to get State Aid, which you no doubt can, it’s going to take time.”

Alex knew he was being brutal but continued on anyway. “Megan, you have to know what money can buy. Look around you. Hell, that car out there cost just under three hundred thousand. If I finance the operation, Rebecca will have the best. That means the best doctors and the best accommodations. Do you honestly think you can provide what she needs?”

He paused. “Well maybe what she needs, but is that all you want? To provide only the bare necessities?”

Megan blinked back tears. “So, what are you proposing, a loan? It will take me awhile to pay it back, but I have a friend who can help me get an extra job that pays well.”

“And who takes care of Rebecca while you hold down two jobs?”

Megan lowered her gaze to the floor. “This job is nights, after Rebecca is in bed, and our neighbor who watches her now can just spend the night. Besides…” Megan broke off. Taking a deep breath, she continued. “Besides, I wouldn’t have to work every night. Kel…my friend, says I’d have to work only a couple of nights a week.”

She didn’t have to finish the sentence for him to know she was talking about Kelly. Alex clenched his teeth shut on the nasty reply he wanted to make. He’d spent most of the day with King’s Crown security and the police. To add to his frustration, he’d wanted to fire Kelly outright, but they’d convinced him to hold off and give them a chance to close the escort service down by getting the top guys. Kelly, the receptionist that worked alongside Megan, was using the hotel for a place of business, and he didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know exactly how Megan intended getting the money to pay him back. Still, he wanted to hear her say it. “Do you have any idea of the cost for this kind of operation?”

Still avoiding eye contact, Megan kept her gaze focused on the floor in front of Alex. “When the first tests came back, I checked with the hospital office to get an idea of the costs. They said somewhere between a hundred and two hundred thousand. When I talked to the doctor, he confirmed it.”

So she had done her homework and knew how much money she was going to need. He winced at what it would take to get it. Even if she was good, which equated to expensive, that was going to be a lot of late-night work. He’d be damned if he cared. That she was willing to prostitute herself only helped the case he was going to make.

Alex leaned back against the sofa, giving the allusion of comfort, when he was feeling anything but comfortable with what he was saying. “I have a better option for you. You need money, and I have it. On the flip side, I need you for something I want.”

Megan’s head snapped up and Alex paused. In her eyes he saw what a cornered animal looked like just before it sprang for the jugular. The look was there for a only second, then gone. He had to give her credit; she was a fighter and a smart one. Click to continue reading.

Reviews:

5 BOOKS: “While For Love or Money features a marriage-of-convenience premise that has been done countless times before, I enjoyed this author’s take on the premise and the surprises and twists she threw in with the characters and their relationship with one another. For Love or Money is a extremely pleasurable story filled with characters you can’t help but come to love.” — Long and Short Romance Review

5 HEARTS: “This story is extremely thought provoking, making anyone who reads this story stop and think about how you would have reacted if you were in Megan’s shoes… For Love Or Money is an excellent name for this book, for both Alex and Megan will have to chose which road they will take. A great book with loving and passionate scenes written with good taste and a nice storyline for everyone to enjoy.” — Margo Arthur, The Romance Studio

Both books are available through Siren-BookStrand

* * * *

About Lavada:

Lavada lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She is an avid reader, enjoying almost all genres. She takes the advice to write what you enjoy reading to heart and her goal is to write books that cross genres, taking the reader on different paths with equally enjoyable and captivating stories.

A dreamer, Lavada has a need to create. She worked in the computer field designing and developing first mainframe applications and later web sites. The art of writing has proved to be a challenge but it gives her satisfaction beyond anything she could have dreamed. When not writing, Lavada enjoys reading, web development, and being with her husband and their very alpha Jack Russell Terrier.



My apologies. I promised a new Cover Corner for Tuesday, but I was feeling severely under the weather Monday and Tuesday and never got the opportunity to post the spotlight. Check back next Tuesday. I promise it’ll be here!

However, as I promised for today, here’s the blurb for Honor Thy Neighbor:

When mystery writer Ashlynn Myerson’s suspicions about her neighbors begin to mount, her homicide captain husband, Sean, warns her to just steer clear of them. He knows his wife has keen observation skills and a strong interest in becoming a police officer, but Sean’s knee deep in an investigation that thrusts him into an undercover assignment when one of his detectives is shot and left for dead. It’s not until Ashlynn steps on the wrong toes and is abducted that Sean sees the clue she left for him. He realizes her suspicions of their neighbors and his case are intricately woven together.

The effects of the investigation are far reaching, and the losses could be greater than either Sean or Ashlynn ever thought possible. But Sean will do anything within his power to get his wife back unharmed.

And here’s a brief excerpt:

Sean walked into the restaurant, looked at the faces of the wait staff preparing the restaurant for opening, searching for one face in particular. He grinned, heading toward an older man sitting at a booth, its table littered with papers.

“Can I help you?” the man asked without looking up.

“I’m looking for Mr. Ciarra.”

“You’ve found him. Have a seat.”

Sean sat down opposite Leo and his pile of bills. “I’m Sean Taylor, the new bartender.”

Leo sat silent a moment. “The last business decision Frank made turned out to be his deciding to hire a new bartender.” He offered his hand. “Welcome aboard.”

Sean released his hand. “Thanks for the job.”

Leo nodded. “Your shift is from ten until seven each day. We’re closed Sundays and Mondays—those are your days off. Otherwise, we open at eleven o’clock daily. Be certain the bar is stocked and ready to go. You’ll be responsible for the bar’s inventory. If you need supplies, I must have a list on Tuesdays before we open. Your tips are your own. What you report is your business.” He spied Sean’s wedding ring. “Good, you’re married. You won’t be hitting on the customers, but that is not to say you can’t charm a few of them. Any questions?”

Sean lowered his voice. “Is there a safe place behind the bar for my weapon?”

Leo showed his first sign of uneasiness. “There’s an old cash drawer beneath the bar. We stopped using it when we got the computerized registers. No one even remembers it’s there. Will that do?”

“As long as it’s accessible.” Sean glanced around. “Anyone besides you know what I’m really doing here?”

The older man paused, searching Sean’s eyes. “No one suspects a thing. Frank put out the word he wanted to hire a new bartender. Everyone knew.”

“What happened to the last bartender?”

“Someone murdered him,” Leo replied, fear in his voice. “Frank was the bartender. He said the place needed a fresher, younger face back there so he set about finding a replacement. I don’t think death figured into his plans for himself, if you know what I mean.”

Sean sat quiet a moment, not wanting to intrude on Leo’s thoughts. Finally, he excused himself. “I’d better get behind the bar and familiarize myself with the place.”

Leo stopped him. “Who’d you catch prowling around my place last night?”

“Some reporter claiming to be looking for her lost kitten.”

“Angelica Behrens?”

Sean nodded.

Leo shook his head in disgust. “She lives one street over. She doesn’t even own a cat.” He met Sean’s eyes. “You better get to work.”

* * * *

For some reason, the amount of alcohol consumed by the lunch crowd surprised Sean. He had no idea people drank so early in the day—or so excessively. While wiping down the bar after the last rush of people, he looked up to see Angelica Behrens seated alone at the other end of the bar. He recognized her from the photograph Cain sent to Nancy’s cell phone the night before.

“What can I get for you?” he asked, pulling her searching eyes to him.

Her hazel eyes made a lengthy appraisal of his six-foot-four-inch, muscled frame, and her red, glossy lips curled into an appreciative smile. “Let’s start with your phone number,” she replied in her practiced, ribbon-smooth voice. “Then we’ll move on down to the measurements of your chest and biceps, and any other measurements you think might interest me.” Again, her eyes moved over him before finally meeting up with his. “I’m Angelica Behrens, reporter.” She smiled. “Always after a good story as well as a good time. Your bed or mine?”

Sean brought his left hand up to rest on the black matte finish of the bar in front of her then extended his right hand. “I’m Sean. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Behrens.”

She pulled her eyes from his wedding band as his fingers locked around hers. “Is that for real or for show?”

He released her hand. “Real. As in really happily married. Newlywed in fact.”

She frowned. “Too bad. It could’ve been fun—for both of us. I’ll have a scotch, neat.”

Sean poured her scotch then watched while she downed it quickly.

She released her breath slowly, meeting his eyes—hers watering slightly. “One of the many traits I inherited from my father,” Angelica stated sharply.

“Your dad a newspaper man?”

She nodded. “A connoisseur of good scotch and fine writing. I’m the son he never had. He taught me how to write—and how to hold my liquor.” Angelica slid her glass across the bar top. “I’ll have another.”

Sean poured the scotch. “You must be off duty.”

“A reporter is never off duty.” Again, the scotch disappeared. “Care to join me? After a few of these, you’ll forget all about the little woman you have at home. I could teach you a few things you never knew you needed to know. It could work out to the wife’s favor. What do you say?”

He grinned, needing to let her down without insult or injury to her brazen ego. “I’m on duty as well.”

Angelica shrugged, her infatuation with Sean fleeting as her reporter persona took over. “You around when the cop caught the bullet meant for Leo?”

Shrugging, Sean replied, “This is my first day here.”

Her hazel eyes penetrated his. “Leo’s hiring new people in the middle of this mess?”

“Actually, Frank hired me.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not at all. He hired me before he died.”

“And Leo kept Frank’s word for him. I wonder if Leo has his partner’s guts as well.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning how long before Leo closes the doors because he’s too scared he’ll join Frank? Leo is the brains of this business. Frank, the brawn—the willful bouncer. You could say Frank had all the courage Leo needed.” She paused, a smile on her glossy lips. “Frank was quite the man with the ladies as well. I know that first hand.” Again, her eyes met Sean’s. “Don’t suppose I could talk you into taking over where Frank left off?”

Sean grinned. He liked her tenacity. “My wife would not approve.”

Angelica shook her head. “A bit of a prude, is she?”

“Let’s just say she expects me to keep our wedding vows. Can I get you anything else?”

Her hazel eyes darted over the empty booths. “Where is Leo today?”

“Is he expecting you?”

She graced him with a wry smile. “He should be. I’m here every day for refueling. I missed out that afternoon the cop bought it. Traffic jam over on Euclid tied me up for over twenty minutes. Didn’t get to see anything but the cop on the floor by the time I arrived.” She motioned with her head toward the end of the bar where she found Sean when she arrived. “Down there. In a crimson pool of his own blood. Never saw Leo quite so pale. He looked as if it was his blood on the floor. Trying to convince himself that the gunman hadn’t been looking for him. I’m surprised he’s allowed to be open this soon. I’m just as surprised he had the guts to open up this morning.”

Sean listened to her cold version of Matt’s shooting wondering how a person detaches so icily from such events. His cop’s intuition told him he could get information from her if he went about it in the right way. “How did you get in here?”

“What?”

“The day of the shooting. How did you get past the police line?”

Angelica smiled, obviously pleased with his curiosity. “I rode the coattails of some woman cop. A detective with the homicide department. No one ever saw me go inside.”

“Did you write about what you saw?”

The reporter watched him closely, suspicion in her hazel eyes. “Are you from another planet? Don’t you read the newspapers? Of course, I wrote about it.” She paused long enough to give him an obvious once-over. “You a cop? Someone they planted to cover Leo?”

Sean kept his cool, deciding to be amused with the leap she’d just taken. “Now, I have to ask what planet you’re from. You must have a very strong imagination to make that stretch,” he replied, giving her a grin that he hoped would chase her mind in another direction. “I’ve only been in town two days. My wife and I moved here from Canada. The only newspapers I’ve seen are the pages used to pack glassware.”

Angelica frowned. “Sounds too mundane for me,” she said, bored with him. She set a ten on the bar. “Keep the change. Buy yourself a copy of the Chronicle.” With that, she considered him no further, walking away from the bar.

Okay…I never really know how much of an excerpt to post, but hopefully this is enough to spark an interest in the book! I’ll perhaps post another excerpt later when the release date is close. If you’d like to pre-order Honor Thy Neighbor you can do so by clicking the link: PreOrder Here!

If you liked the cover and would like to see more of Jinger’s work, please visit the following link: Jinger Heaston

Jinger is such a talented individual, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of excellent covers, and maybe you’ll check out a book or two, too!

Until next time…take care and happy reading!

Valerie



{August 7, 2009}   Anniversary

August 9th is my wedding anniversary, and every year my husband plans a trip.  A majority of the time I don’t know where we’re going until we go, which is very special to me.  He’s planned some excellent trips, too.  I’m a huge fan of professional bull riding, so one year we went to one of the oldest running rodeos in the country.  I loved it!  I was glued to my seat in the stands and riveted to the action.  Then there’re trips to St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Washington DC, Dublin for the Irish Festival–an excellent festival–Finger Lakes, Mayberry, Toronto, etc.  We’ve had exceptional trips.

Today, we embark on another trip.  I didn’t sleep well last night, and was up at the crack of dawn.  I have no idea where we’re going, either.  He’s mentioned Chicago, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware, and the Great Smoky Mountains.  Now, these are all vastly different places, and too far apart to visit all in one trip!  So, I guess I’ll find out once the car’s all packed, and we’re pulling out of the driveway!

Today is release day at Eternal Press, so I hope you’ll pop over to their website and take a look at the 8 books released today, and give a couple a read!

Her Last has been at the top of the charts for Eternal Press on fictionwise since it debuted, but I have a feeling one or two of the talented writers being released today will knock it down a number or two…or three.  It’s all good, because every writer deserves that spot, and I don’t mind sharing one bit!

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  I’m off to make certain I’ve not forgotten to pack anything, and then we’ll be out the door!

Ciao!



et cetera