Friday, December 9, 2016

Books, Chocolate and Wine with Barbara White Daille

Snowbound with Mr. Wrong


Worst. Day. Ever.

After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley's annual children's party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can't stop thinking about her. And soon, he's fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day.


Publisher:  Entangled  http://bit.ly/swmw-pg
Amazon Australia:  http://bit.ly/swmw-au  
Amazon Canada:  http://bit.ly/swmw-ca
Amazon UK:  http://bit.ly/swmw-uk   
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/swmw-bn    


Excerpt

“Miss Elf! Miss Elf!”

Lyssa’s arrival hadn’t gone unnoticed by the children in the room. She smiled and returned the greetings with her own cheery hellos.

The youngest kids gazed at her with wonderment in their eyes. The older ones gave smug grins at knowing her true identity. The adults smiled and pretended not to see her at all.

Suddenly, the loudest noise she’d heard yet cut through the din. The bellow came from a sturdy, well-padded individual with a white beard and a fur-trimmed red suit, who shouted his familiar “Ho, ho, ho.”

No, no, no, Lyssa chanted silently. It can’t be.

But that voice…she could have picked that voice out from among any Santas, anywhere. Her vision blurred, filling with twinkling lights though she wasn’t anywhere near the Christmas tree. She knew her face had turned as white as Santa’s fake beard.

No wonder Amber had wanted a moment alone with Miss Elf. Amber always rounded up the volunteers for the Christmas party. She knew exactly who was inside that Santa suit. The man Lyssa had met and played assistant to at last year’s party. The man she didn’t want to be near now.

Instead, she felt herself towed along by her pintsized escorts, aided by the sea of children flowing around all three of them. With growing horror, she saw her every reluctant but inevitable step bringing her closer to Santa Claus, the jolly old elf she’d split up with this summer. The one she had hoped never to see again.

The man who—no matter what fibs she’d told Amber—had well and truly broken her heart.


Reviews

“There is a reason Ms. White Daille’s novels are on my list of must read books and this novel is a prime example. Treat yourself to an early present; pick up a copy of SNOWBOUND WITH MR. WRONG today and lose yourself in a story that is sure to lift your spirits and leave you smiling.” - Romance Junkies - 4.5 hearts

"With dashes of comedy, holiday fun and romance, Snowbound with Mr. Wrong is the right book to read this holiday season." - N.N. Light Author Promotions – 5 Stars

"Barbara White Daille has a great sense of humor. Snowbound with Mr. Wrong is both funny and romantic. It's a great combination for a perfect Christmas story." - Suzanne V. Reviewer – 5 Stars


About the Author


Barbara White Daille wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis, with a brand-new series from Entangled Bliss (Snowflake Valley), an ongoing series from Harlequin Western Romance (The Hitching Post Hotel), and many more books on the schedule.

She would love to have you stop by her website and to look for her on Facebook and Twitter.


Social Media Links


Monday, December 5, 2016

Medieval Monday with Laurel O'Donnell

We continue our theme, Celebration with an excerpt from Mistletoe Magic by Lauren O’Donnell. The innocence of childhood and the anticipation of her beloved father make for a wonderful read. Enjoy the excerpt.

Yuletide. It had always made Jaclyn Fainwick excited and happy with the potential of what the future held. This one day, amongst all the rest, was when every hope, every dream could come true. She loved this day above all the rest in the year.
She sat before the hearth in the Great Hall, waiting for the festivities to begin, swinging her feet back and forth. She had been waiting for most of the day. Her father would come, and her mother, and her brother. All the people she loved would be together on this day. No matter where they were or what they were doing, they would always gather together on the Yuletide.
She twisted and looked behind the large wooden chair she sat in. The shadows at the back of the Hall were getting long as the sun set, stretching dark fingers into the Great Hall. But no one was coming. She turned back and clutched her hands in her lap. If she were very good, her father would bring her something wonderful. A strand of her long dark hair had pulled free of the braid at her back and she swatted it back in place.
The flames danced in the hearth, warming her. She had been alive for ten Yuletides, this would make her eleventh, enough to know that the Yule log would soon be burned. It wouldn’t be long now.
Around her, the servants cleared the tables from the feast. A dog rushed beneath the table to gobble up a scrap of the duck that had fallen.
Suddenly, booted footsteps echoed down the hall.
Her stomach lurched with excitement and Jaclyn turned to see her friend, Alexander, run into the Great Hall, followed by her brother, Paul. She sat back in disappointment. Alexander reached her side first, skidding to a halt on the rushes.
“I told you she’d be in here,” Paul said, stopping at her other side. He was out of breath as if he had run a far distance. His brown hair was in a disarray on his head; his blue jupon was askew, his black boots dirty.
Alexander looked at her and grinned.
Jaclyn's heart lurched at his twinkling blue eyes, as it always did. Even at thirteen summers, Alexander was the most handsome boy she had ever met. His blonde hair reached to his shoulders and always had just the right amount of wave to it. He was not dressed as nicely as Paul, but he carried himself with more confidence. He usually wore a leather vest and black leggings, the same he was wearing on this Yuletide.
He met her gaze. “Your father is coming,” he said with restrained exuberance.
She turned in her chair to face the door.
“I was going to tell her,” Paul complained.
It didn’t matter who told her. Outside the door in the hallway, Jaclyn heard heavy footsteps. It sounded like the entire village was with her father! She could barely sit still in her exhilaration. A moment skipped by and then her father appeared. He was the tallest man of all the men following behind him, his shoulders broad, his hair dark. He was surrounded by knights and villagers. They entered the hall behind him as he walked toward her.
She stood to greet him.
“My dove,” he whispered and greeted her with a hug.
She embraced him.
He pulled back to look at her. “Before we light the Yule log, I want to give you this. You have been a very good girl this year, and a wonderful daughter.” He held something out to her.
Jaclyn hadn’t noticed he was carrying anything. She looked down to see he was holding a branch with green leaves and white berries. She gasped, “It’s beautiful!” and took the branch from his hand.
“The berries reminded me of the winter snow,” her father said softly.
 Jaclyn nodded. “But the green leaves belong in the summer!” She looked up at him. “The trees have long since lost their leaves. Where did you find it?”
“I had to travel very far to find it.” he told her, leaning in to add, “It’s magical.”
“Like Yuletide!” Jaclyn gasped.
Her father smiled and nodded. “That’s why I brought it to you now. Keep it safe, child.”
Jaclyn nodded and hurried through the villagers and gathered guests. She paused to glance back at her father. He was silhouetted before the warm hearth fire, his arms on his hips, watching her. She curtseyed slightly. “Thank you, Father.”
He dipped his head in a nod.
Jaclyn knew the perfect place to keep it safe. The perfect spot for it. She raced to her room and flung a cloak about her shoulders. She paused to stare at the branch. It was amazing. Summer and winter, all rolled up into one glorious plant. She gently touched one of the berries.
“Father’s going to light the Yule log.”

Blurb from Mistletoe Magic –

A confident knight arrives home to find his childhood friend grown into much more than he remembered. The lady of the castle keeps a dangerous secret that threatens all she holds dear. Will Mistletoe Magic save them?

Buy Link – Amazon

Monday, November 28, 2016

Medieval Monday with Bambi Lynn

Our Medieval Monday theme is all about celebrations. Today, Bambi Lynn's excerpt has a time traveling heroine taking time out of her quest to return home for a Thanksgiving celebration she's created in 1196. Enjoy the excerpt.

Marek’s family sat with them, although Bryn sat at one of the trestle tables, a better vantage point for grabbing the backside of every passing serving girl. As she looked around the great hall, Kitty thought every villager in Stonebridge must be in attendance. Many had never been to a feast as grand as this.
There was no corn or sweet potatoes, but Vale and Bryn had managed to hunt down a flock of birds remarkably like turkeys. There was no end to the bread stuffing, gravy, even stewed cranberries. Kitty herself had been guiding the cooks for a week to prepare enough food for everyone. They had even baked over one hundred pumpkin pies for dessert.
“My lady,” Bryn called from the floor below. “Tell me again the name you have given this feast.”
“Thanksgiving,” Kitty shouted back to him. “While you’re eating, you have to go around the table and tell about something you’re thankful for.”
Marek reached over and squeezed her hand.
Thane, who sat next to Bria, leaned behind his niece to speak to her. “Sister,” he said with a lowered voice only she could hear. “I have been forced to contend with talk of you among many of the villagers. It is not wise for you to suddenly appear out of a fire. I can only do so much to protect you. I beg you not do it again.”
Kitty smiled at him. “I promise.” She reached beneath the table and pulled out one of the carpet bags she’d brought with her. “I have something for you.”
When she handed him the portable Play Station, he looked at her like she might indeed be from the devil. Kitty smiled. “It’s a game. Watch.” She pushed the little machine beneath the table and away from prying eyes.
Thane nearly dropped the PSP when it lit up. “Shh. You’ll have to keep it secret. This is an easy game called PacMan. You have to move him through the path and eat as many of these little dots as possible. But don’t get caught.”
Kitty left Thane to the wonder of electronic video games and moved to sit next to Remi. He looked at her skeptically, but over the last few days, his animosity towards her had dimmed some. She reached into her bag and pulled out a portable DVD player. She had already loaded the Robin Hood movie.
Remi barely breathed as the credits started. “Don’t watch it now. If you’re caught, we might all be burned at the stake. But pay particular attention to the parts about Prince John.”
She caught Bryn’s attention as he was in between wenches and motioned for him to join her. She pulled a handful of Legos from her bag and spread them out on the table, hoping no one nearby was paying them any attention. “Look…you can snap them together, pull them apart. I have a whole box of them for you in my room. They come in all sizes and colors and you can build anything out of them.”
Adin and Vale were enveloped in ladies, so Kitty decided their gifts could wait. Vale would not need his bullet-proof vest for several months yet. Adin would have years to perfect his technique with help from the pristine copy of The Karma Sutra she’d gotten him.
By midnight, Bria had crawled into Thane’s lap and fallen asleep. Kitty would have to give her the Barbie doll later. Vanesa, however, was having the time of her life. She leaned forward to peer around the massive form of her stepfather. “Mom!” When Kitty looked across at her, Vanesa held up her goblet of weak ale. “Huzzah!” They both laughed as Kitty toasted with her. “This is so much better than the Renaissance Festival.”
“What is this ‘renaissance’?” Marek asked.
Kitty smiled and shook her head. “Come carry Bria up to bed. I have a gift for you.”

Back Cover Copy:
Boring accountant, Kitty Petty, struggles to get through each day one at a time since the brutal murder of her husband. She spends every free moment caring for her young daughter, until the night she wakes to find her bed on fire.

Kitty doesn’t know how she got to the year 1196, much less how to get back. But if she doesn’t, her daughter will be institutionalized. Having failed to save her child from the clutches of a madman. Kitty vows to protect her future. But going back to her time means risking her own life and separating her from the knight she has grown to love.

Marek Stone wants to protect his wife from the people of Stonebridge. Katherine has been declared a demon after her miraculous rise from the funeral pyre, and the villagers want justice.

Kitty doesn’t know how she got to the year 1196, much less how to get back. But she must if she has any hope of saving her daughter. However, the knight who loves her will do anything to make her stay.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

Monday, November 14, 2016

Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon

A playful race between a husband and wife lighten the long journey to court. The stakes are high. It’s a playful idyllic scene. Today my guest is Jenna Jaxon author of Seduction at the Christmas Court. I hope you enjoy the excerpt.
The cold, crisp air burned the inside of Alyse’s nose on the second day of their journey to Havering. Geoffrey had insisted they move slowly to accommodate young Thomas and his nurse, Ysa, a young girl from the village whose husband had been taken by the pestilence and whose babe had been stillborn. Grief stricken, the girl had come to dote on Thomas as though he were her own. They now rode together in the cart, bundled alongside numerous trunks and goods that would last them the month they would spend at court.
Alyse had chosen to ride Mirabelle and now relished the cold that stung her cheeks and made her impatient to move swiftly. Under its blanket of snow and ice, the countryside looked like a new world as the morning sun glinted off the dazzling white. She squinted at the glare and turned to Geoffrey, mounted on Saracen. The big black stallion pranced along, snorting as if he too was impatient for a gallop.
“Shall I race you to that oak tree yonder, my lord? Are you as ready for adventure as your steed or overtired with your journey?” Alyse grinned at her husband who constantly surveyed the landscape. Although the pestilence had left the land bereft of people for the most part, of those who had survived many had become lawless, roaming the countryside, robbing travelers and ravaging outlying villages.
Geoffrey quirked an eyebrow at her. “You are in fine fettle this morn.” He glanced once more across the still land, but nothing stirred. “What forfeit will you pay when I am the victor?”
Laughing at the arrogant flare of his nose as he arched his neck,  Alyse blew him a kiss. “Another of these, save it will have more substance.”
“I’ll take that wager, my lady. ‘Twill be my pleasure to claim your lips when we two are done.”
“And what will you forfeit to me, Lord Longford, when I best you?”
A grin immediately split his face, blue eyes brightening. “What would you ask of me, fair lady? Another feat of Hercules?”
Alyse laughed in return and a warmth spread through her heart, for he reminded her of their early days of courtship. “Nay, my lord. I think those days are put to rest.” Still, what could she ask of him? There was nothing he would deny her an she ask for it. At least she thought not. “If I am the winner, I beg…a lock of your hair.”
The startled expression on his face brought on a fit of giggling from Alyse.
“You want me to cut my hair?” The horror in his voice sent her into fresh peals of laughter.
“Not all of your hair, Sampson. One lock only.” She cut her eyes toward him to find him dragging his fingers through his dark hair, as if to assure himself it still remained on his head. “I want to make a keepsake token, like the one I gave you.”
“Aye. I can bear to be shorn thus.” He stole his hand to the breast of his dark green tunic, to rub the spot above his heart where her favor, a small blue silk bag with a lock of her black hair, lay. His eyes twinkled. “An I lose this wager, of course.”
During their conversation they had walked their horses much closer and the massive oak tree seemed to tower over them.
Not waiting for a signal, Alyse tapped Mirabelle hard with her heel and the mare shot away at a gallop.
“Ahhh.”
Geoffrey sounded farther behind her than she expected. He would not remain so for long. She leaned almost flat over the horse’s withers, urging her mount to greater speed. A quick glance over her shoulder showed Geoffrey and Saracen closing the gap at a frightening pace. They were but yards from the goal if only Mirabelle could keep her lead.
Blurb: 

Lord and Lady Longford have journeyed to the Christmas Court of King Edward III in the year 1349 to wait upon the king and take place in some Yuletide merriment. However, when Geoffrey is called suddenly into the king’s service again, Alyse must remain at the court, attending the queen and dissuading her rebellious sister from a disastrous action. When rumors of Geoffrey’s death arise,  Alyse fends off an old suitor who pays court to her once more. But how long will he take “No” for an answer?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis

Nothing is worse for a man of action then waiting. Told of Kate’s escape from Sir Mortimer, Lord Henry is forced to wait for her arrival. Did I say nothing is worse for a man of action then waiting? Henry isn’t pleased. Today my guest is Barbara Bettis author of The Lady of the Forest. I hope you enjoy the excerpt.

“Tell Kate to take no chances until I return.” From the downturn of Jamie’s mouth, Henry gathered how well she’d follow such advice.

“Hold.” Jamie trotted forward. “Guards patrol along here ever’ day. Don’t know if they been by yet, but you stay just inside the trees. There’s a path runs along the road. Won’t nobody see you. The crossroad’s on further, a bit.”

“My thanks, again.” Henry pinned him with a stern gaze. “Have a care for yourself.”
           
Before the youth clambered back into the trees, he flashed his jaunty grin. This time, the smile contained a trace of sadness.
           
Kate’s problems remained on Henry’s mind as he rode, but without all the facts, he couldn’t devise a plan of action. Of his own circumstance, he suspected Sir Mortimer played a double game, although why he pretended to believe Paxton was Henry remained unclear. Perhaps he sought power by supporting a usurper. More than likely, he played a waiting game, to see which outcome presented more opportunity.
           
Travel through the brushy roadside leveled into a slow, monotonous lull, during which he devised a variety of options for dealing with Paxton. His mind grappled with one of those plans when a disturbance, a sound, alerted him.
           
He reined in his mount and listened. Silence. It came again. A series of faint, sharp bird calls. Only a bird called Jamie could emit such a frantic warble. An emergency, indeed, to have sent the youth after him.
           
Henry urged the gelding around and started back. A score of steps later, the calls sounded from just ahead. Movement to his right sent him in that direction. The boy came into view, stepping carefully onto an almost-bare tree limb.
           
“What’s wrong?” Concern turned Henry’s tone sharp as Jamie jumped to the ground.
           
“I feared—I’d not catch you.”  Tight lines etched the youngster’s face. “It’s Cade and Oscar. They’re following.”
           
Henry swung down beside him. “Have they been harmed?”
           
Jamie hung his head and gasped for breath, hands on his knees. “Nah. But awful ole Hawise… she saw Cade leaving…and sent up a shout. Said the lad that…freed Oscar...were the dead Lady of Stonehill. You gots to help ’em.”
           
“How far back are they?” As he spoke, he took the boy’s arm to help him sit.
           
“A ways. I ran ahead to catch you.” He heaved in a lung-full of air and blew it out, then flattened
a hand to his chest. “For awhile I thought my heart would get here a’fore me.”
           
Kneeling, Henry ruffled the boy’s hair. “You did well. Stay here and rest while I go for them. Are Sir Mortimer’s men following?”
           
Oscar nodded, his unruly curls flopping into his eyes. “But they’re going the wrong way for now. Cade took the south road ’till she could double back without ’em knowing.”
           
“How could they not see her?”
           
The boy snorted. “She knows shortcuts better’n any old guard that don’t gets off his behind. And Sir Mort never bothered to learn nothing about the land nor the tenants since he come. He only cares what he can pry out of ’em.”
           
He gulped another breath. “See, Maddie caught up to me in the woods. She could leave, ’cause nobody never pays attention to a kitchen helper. I waited at the hut ’till Cade got there.”
           
Henry’s heart thudded at the thought of Kate being chased by soldiers. “Is she unharmed?”
           
“Said so, didn’t I?”
           
The boy’s spirit was bouncing back. He’d be fine. But Cade…Kate. He hoped they were near. “Do they have horses?”
           
Jamie nodded. “Cade had’em hid. They’ll be slowed down in the woods. That’s why I came after you.”
           
“You did the right thing. I’ll find her—“
           
“Cade said stay here, they’d come to you. If you gets lost in the forest, we’d have to go looking.”
           
True. He hated to admit it, but traipsing through unfamiliar countryside might cost unnecessary time. Inactivity grated on his nerves, but he had little choice. He paced a circle around the tree Jamie leaned against until restlessness became too much. Bedamned to an unknown landscape. Kate might be in trouble.
           
“I’m going back,” he announced.
           
“No need.” Jamie nodded toward the trees. “They’re coming.”
           
Two figures on horseback broke through the underbrush, but Henry saw only the blood splashed down the front of Kate’s tunic.

BLURB:
He must find a traitor; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry’s not an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate's past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.