What’s Made Your Favorite Books Magic? And This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Romance Do’s In Your Romance Novels.

What’s Made Your Favorite Books Magic?

 

Several books I finished this week just furthered my ideas as to what helps launch a romance novel above the mass of romance stories you read or will read over the course of a year or more.  One wasn’t terribly successful in the romance department in my opinion while succeeding wildly in almost every other aspect, while two others had an almost constricted romance that still managed to allow their main characters love shine through along with an unusual storyline that unfolded around them.

Why does one fail while others succeed?  What makes a well done romance novel?  Yes, yes, I know so much can be subjective.  I remember that one write’s advice that I repeated (and still think is awful) on concentrating only on the main characters and leaving secondary characters totally alone.  Insert roll of eyes here.  Because imo a well done supportive cast makes a novel…romance or not.  All of my favorite  stories mention a marvelously done secondary grouping of characters, almost or as memorable as the main ones.

For some authors, they use their stories as love notes to  locations, towns they visited or grew up in or in one instance (Basil, Switzerland) one they live now.  The result can be a superb blending of location, culture, and story.  For others, its some other element…tree planting, apple orchards, a trip to the Sun Temple and Machu Picchu.  This list is endless.  Then there is the fantastical…the marvelous blending of mythologies, cultures, gods, and beasts that can come about when imaginations soar and blend with romances.

All of the above have managed to come together for me in romances that became something splendid, magical…even when the book itself was contemporary or science fiction.  The author or authors wrote and their story spoke to something deep inside of us.

Stories and characters we remember.

What are those books that still speak to you now and why?  What’s so special about them?  I really want to know.

What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway

So let’s make this official with a What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway.  Send in your comments, it will run til the end of the month and we will giveaway 2 gift certificates to 2 lucky readers.  Leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

 

Now for this week’s books and tours.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 15:

  • Smoke in the Mirror by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Blitz
  • Fireworks and Stolen Kisses by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:Fireworks and Stolen Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay
  • Romance Do’s And This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 16:

  • Drive Shaft by Geoffrey Knight Book Blast
  • Release Blitz – Thief Of Hearts by Ruby Moone
  • Review Tour – Riza Curtis’s The Dragon’s Thief
  • An Alisa Review:  The Dragon’s Thief by Riza Curtis
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: Hearts and Flour By Tara Lain/ Ry Forest (narrator), Stephen Kurpis (narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review:The Wolf at Bay (Big Bad Wolf #2) by Charlie Adhara

Tuesday, July 17:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo JS Harker on Soul Bond
  • DSP Promo Tia Fielding
  • Audio Tour for Unscripted Love by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Soul Bond by JS Harker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Soul Bond by JS Harker

Wednesday, July 18:

  • DSP Promo Rayna Vause
  • Release Blitz – Nothing Serious – Jay Northcote
  • Review Tour – Ari McKay – Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together
  • A Dangerous Dance by Davidson King Release Blitz
  • A Lucy Review: The Pet Stylist and The Playboy by Rebecca James
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lies That Bind (Boystown #8) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

Thursday, July 19:

  • In the Spotlight: Sink or Swim (Anchor Point series) by L.A. Witt
  • Blog Post – V.L. Locey – Lost In Indigo
  • DSP Publications Promo August Li
  • An Alisa Review: Tainted Life​ by ​Mel Gough
  • A MelanieM Review: Lucky Days (Boystown, #9) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Beneath This Mask ( Enhanced World #3) by Victoria Sue and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Friday, July 20:

  • BOOK BLAST – Daisy, Yellow by Angelique Jurd
  • DSP Promo Hudson Lin
  • DSP Promo JL Merrow on Camwolf
  • A Lila Review: The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Aquilante
  • A Caryn Review Daisy, Yellow by Angelique Jurd
  • A MelanieM Review: A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics #1) by Diana Waters (
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Sink or Swim (Anchor Point #8) by L.A. Witt

Saturday, July 21:

  • Audio Tour for Someone to Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Gifts Given (Boystown, #10) by Marshall Thornton

A MelanieM Review: Fireworks and Stolen Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 (world building, creativity, characters)

Enjoyment Rating: 2 stars

Book one in the Lijun series

No. Eating. Pixies.

At the annual Global Lijun Alliance conference in Tokyo, Tally Bastille makes the first impulsive decision of his life. Others perceive his uktena—the enormous legendary serpent that’s his dual-spirit—as a threat, which makes him all too aware that he frightens fellow lijun. But an encounter with a passionate, obviously not-straight otter lijun one evening convinces Tally that he’s found his Em’halafi, his destined match. Tally is determined to barrel through all obstacles to make the match happen, including the otter’s conservative, traditional family.

Trained as a Satislit—a bride-son—Haru Tanaka chafes at the strict boundaries set around their life. They rebel against their clan’s constant attempts to force an arranged match and wish desperately for someone who will love them. At the conference, Haru is horrified to learn their family has accepted an offer for them, one too lucrative for the clan to refuse. Not only has the Urusar sold Haru to a stranger, but the lijun is also a giant snake and one who believes in the tired old superstitions regarding Em’halafi. Threatened with banishment if they refuse, Haru has no choice but to marry the wealthy American serpent.

Back in Tally’s home in Wisconsin, Haru and Tally must navigate both the widening gulf between them as they realize how much they’ve misunderstood about each other, and the tricky politics of the lijun clan Tally leads. Murder, intrigue and increasing hostility threaten to tear apart the little town of Wadiswan and the arranged marriage they’ve barely managed to begin.

I have been debating over how to write this review since I finished this story.  And honestly I’m still not sure how this review is going to turn out.

Never have I been more conflicted about a novel than I am about Fireworks and Stolen Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay.  First its written by two of my all time favorite authors and bears many of the elements that makes them so.

First of all there is the world building.  Its  highly imaginative, working mythology, natural history, and various cultures into a rich tapestry upon which they weave their story.  Native American and Japanese cultures are highlighted to an impressive degree right down to the clothing different individuals will wear at various times.  The research done and the manner in which all the details are woven into this  story is absolutely wonderful.  I  found myself enchanted by detail after detail.

I loved the idea of the two spirits, the Lijun, the name of the series.  The way this is brought to life with many species here, not just otter and snake, but some adorable opossums too is truly heartwarming and for me the best part of the story.  They  kept me coming back truthfully when I often wanted just to put the book down.

Angel Martines and Freddy MacKay’s ability to create characters (fantastical or otherwise) that jump off the page, alive and breathing, is without doubt, one of the major reasons I love them so.  I remember their characters, their worlds, and what happens to them. I go through it with them, emotionally every step of the way.

As I did here.  Unfortunately.

I’m not sure what I thought I was getting into with this story.  The first few pages sparkled with a lighthearted delight, lovely, intriguing as we met both Tally and got glimpses of Haru as they led children on a great desert battle.  I was captivated by both Tally’s charm and Haru’s drunken kindness with the children.

What a great start! Then with one false move Tally, Haru, and frankly, the story, took a dive that it never pulled out of.  Not even until 90 percent when it looked like Tally and Haru might find a way to make things work.  That’s right not until you  reach 90 percent finished.

Until then it’s almost stomach churning in the constant refrain from Haru of “he bought me, he owns me, I’m stuck, etc”.  With no attempt to talk to Tally who   has no idea Haru feels this way at all.  Tally who feels that he’s married his soulmate and thinks Haru feels the same about him.  And while at first you feel sympathetic towards Haru, that starts to chip way…faster than you might think.  He’s befriended by an otter, one who will bear their children, feels comfortable enough to have sex with this otter before the marriage ceremony, and yet doesn’t believe them when they tell Haru they are safe and within a wonderful environment.  Especially when Haru is shown that over and over, and Tally asks them to communicate. Instead Haru remains tightly within their established emotional and cultural boundaries without making any attempt to step outside, even given amble evidence things aren’t as “black and white” as Haru thinks.  On one hand Haru seems to be one individual, all rainbow suspenders and modern, and another so held by culture that they are totally victimized by their situation.  Its a dichotomy not resolved by this story in my opinion, even if planned that way.

On one hand it’s an interesting argument of “What would happen if the mating bond is one sided” sort of thing.  It’s also a look at an arranged marriage with a species twist on it.  But does it make for romantic or happy reading? No. Its as pleasant you might think listening to someone’s refrain of “he owns me, he bought me, I’m stuck, I’m in prison”. etc.  Its non stop  yet they do little to communicate to the person their true feelings when given the chance. Haru says they grew up accepting this would be their fate and yet their treatment of Tally is anything but.  Somehow it’s forgotten that Tally is also a victim here along with Haru.  He believes strongly that Haru is his soulmate and thought Haru would feel the instant attraction he felt.  That caused he to act with the disastrous results.

In so many scenes I just put my Kindle down or switched to another story because I needed a break from the nastiness this was leaving with me. I ended up reading with an Excedrin bottle next to me.  Still, the story is beautifully written for all that.

And there’s a murder mystery too but with everything else going on, I barely noticed.

At around 88 to 90 percent, Tally and Haru finally talked, lightbulbs went on and they looked to salvage something of their marriage.  I was exhausted.  And more than ready to move on too.

This is the first in a series.  I’m flummoxed as to what to tell you.  About the book or series.  I’ll leave it up to you. I’m still divided.

Cover art is exquisite. Exactly how I would have picture them both.

Sales Links:

Pride Publishing | Pride Publishing (print) | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Kobo | iBooks | QueeRomance Ink | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


 

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 246 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786516701
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.pride-publishing.com/book/fireworks-and-stolen-kisses
SeriesLijun #1

 

Special New Release Tour for Firelights & Special Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay (guest post,excerpt, and giveaway)

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Freddy MacKay and Angel Martinez have a new M/NB Urban Fantasy: Fireworks and Stolen Kisses.

Opossum are Your Friend

Why lijun opossum? Because we felt that the opossum gets a bad rap. They’re actually pretty neat critters.

So how about some fun facts about opossum?

Opossum are naturally immune to rabies, and not only rabies, but some or all immunity to different snake venoms. A neat superpower if you ask me. It was this immunity that actually attracted us to them as a lijun type we wanted to showcase.

Baby opossum sneeze to get their parent’s attention. How adorable is that? It’s f**king priceless. The babies are also referred to as “joeys.”

Opossum have prehensile tails. It’s a useful thing to have when running about. They also have opposable thumbs, which means they can cause havoc because they have skills when it comes to using their paws.

Eclectic diet habits of opossum are good for you and your garden. Opossum eat ticks. This is a good thing. That means the ticks don’t get on you, and with the way the climate is changing, a certain type of tick that causes a meat allergy in humans is slowly moving north. You really want to be bit by a tick like that? They also eat snails, slugs and other garden pests. To be honest, opossum eat a lot of things—they’re not picky eaters for sure. Snails? Small birds? Grain? Good. Dead animals? Also good.

Opposum have a beef with cockroaches and rats. It’s over food, of course, but if either of those two pests are around, opossum kill them too. Helps they have 50 teeth to do it with.

A group of opossum are called a passel.

There are more than 60 species of opossum and they are the only marsupial found outside of Australia.

No. Eating. Pixies.

At the annual Global Lijun Alliance conference in Tokyo, Tally Bastille makes the first impulsive decision of his life. Others perceive his uktena—the enormous legendary serpent that’s his dual-spirit—as a threat, which makes him all too aware that he frightens fellow lijun. But an encounter with a passionate, obviously not-straight otter lijun one evening convinces Tally that he’s found his Em’halafi, his destined match. Tally is determined to barrel through all obstacles to make the match happen, including the otter’s conservative, traditional family.

Trained as a Satislit—a bride-son—Haru Tanaka chafes at the strict boundaries set around their life. They rebel against their clan’s constant attempts to force an arranged match and wish desperately for someone who will love them. At the conference, Haru is horrified to learn their family has accepted an offer for them, one too lucrative for the clan to refuse. Not only has the Urusar sold Haru to a stranger, but the lijun is also a giant snake and one who believes in the tired old superstitions regarding Em’halafi. Threatened with banishment if they refuse, Haru has no choice but to marry the wealthy American serpent.

Back in Tally’s home in Wisconsin, Haru and Tally must navigate both the widening gulf between them as they realize how much they’ve misunderstood about each other, and the tricky politics of the lijun clan Tally leads. Murder, intrigue and increasing hostility threaten to tear apart the little town of Wadiswan and the arranged marriage they’ve barely managed to begin.

Series Blurb:

From the time humans became a unique species, the lijun have lived among us. Dual spirit beings able to change at will between their human halves and their animal halves, at different periods throughout history lijun have been revered, feared and reviled. Modern lijun realized some time ago that their survival in the human world depends upon successful, peaceful integration—a partnership with humans who are unaware of their existence. But in the little town of Wadiswan, Wisconsin, tensions between rival factions run high, escalating to the point where the secretive lijun community risks exposure. The survival of lijun everywhere may depend on which side wins.

Pride Publishing | Pride Publishing (print) | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Kobo | iBooks | QueeRomance Ink | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Giveaway

Angel and Freddy are giving away a $25 Pride Publishing gift certificate with this tour. Enter via rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4720/?


Excerpt

Back straight, back straight. Is this person my social equal? Tally offered a futsurei to be safe while the evening’s host introduced him as the new Urusar from Wisconsin. He wished Dad had come with him. As hard as he tried to think of this as just another business conference, the names and places had started to run together. Back home, he might have reached for the worry stone in his pocket. Here, that might be rude.

The ballroom was gorgeous, with the doors to the terrace rolled back to reveal the view of Mt. Fuji. Tables groaning with food lined the walls. Arrangements of blood-red flowers decorated every table. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, though that might have been an illusion created by nerves.

“Wisconsin?” the middle-aged woman inquired with reserved decorum. “That is the state of cheese, yes?”

“Very true.” Damn it, he’d forgotten her name. She was the Uruma, the village mother, to one of the larger cities to the south. “Though thankfully the state is more than just cheese.”

She laughed politely, turned to greet another conference-goer, and Tally hoped it had been a dismissal. He shouldn’t have felt out of his element. Employees depended on his decisions all day, every day. Meetings were his lifeblood, or at least took up most of his life. Not to mention these were his people. The perfectly draped Global Lijun Alliance banner dominated the front of the room—there for anyone, human or lijun to see. For the humans, it was simply a trade organization. For the lijun, it was survival, a shared bond of secrecy and a way for lijun communities to thrive.

Except Tally would always stand outside, which simply made diplomacy that much more important. When his father had gleefully announced his retirement as Urusar, village father of their community in Wadiswan, Tally knew his duty. He’d been groomed for it all his life. He’d taken up the leadership mantle with the sobriety and respect it deserved, even though some of their lijun neighbors had whispered about another deadly serpent leading them.

Uktena.

Tally couldn’t escape his heritage or his lijun type, but he was here at this conference to continue his father’s work—to ensure his community thrived, that the lijun under his care were safe, and to fight against the ancient prejudices that branded him as dangerous.

He retreated to one of the buffets to nibble on sectioned oranges with his back to the wall so he could observe. Not everyone at the welcome dinner was as bound by formalities. The younger attendees had dressed in a variety of styles and more or less appropriately. Nearer the terrace, a young woman in a leather miniskirt tapped her boot heel to music only she could hear. On the other side of the room, a handsome young man in a strange mix of business formal and rebel-casual lounged against the bar. The suit jacket and expensive jeans fit in well enough. The faded T-shirt and rainbow suspenders? Not so much.

Tally thought he would introduce himself to this interesting person, but an older gentleman beat him there and spoke urgently to the young man, who made an impatient gesture and stalked off.

Too bad. He’d been an…otter? Tally surreptitiously flicked his tongue out to taste the air. Difficult to tell in such a large gathering, but he was sure he was right. Something beyond the rainbow suspenders drew him to the otter, a yearning that he didn’t want to deny. He was about to follow when someone touched his arm.

“Herr Bastille, is it not?” A man with flame-red hair, an educated European accent and a calculating smile stood at his elbow. “I am Gerhard Klug. I understand you are a hotelier?”

Tally offered his hand rather than a bow and smiled in return. “Good to meet you. Tal-tsu’tsa Bastille. Everyone calls me Tally. Yes, I run the family business back home. Several properties.”

“Good. Good.” Herr Klug put an arm on his shoulder and steered him toward the bar. “I’m hoping we could discuss a possible business arrangement.”

“I’m always interested in discussion, Herr Klug.” Tally signaled the bartender. “What are you drinking?”

“Gerhard, please.” The fox lijun laughed. “You’ll make me feel old. And they have a pear brandy here that is good.”

Tally ordered the brandy and a whiskey sour for himself. Yes, Gerhard was obviously here to woo him, but Tally didn’t like being put at a disadvantage right from the start, even with something as small as who paid for drinks. “What is it you do?”

“I have glassworks,” Gerhard said as he hopped onto the stool next to Tally’s. “My family has been in glass for several centuries. While we have commercial lines, we have sites dedicated to custom work, as well.”

Tally had the oddest image pop up at the phrase in glass of littles foxes running about under cheese domes. Of course he knew what Gerhard meant and the more focused part of his brain perked up at the mention of custom work. “Oh? What sort of custom work?”

Gerhard pulled a small tablet from inside his suit jacket. “For restaurants. For hotels. Erholungsort…what is the word? Resorts.”

Tally answered the fox’s calculating look with a soft laugh. “I have the feeling you’ve brought a portfolio. Please, let’s have a look.”

“Thank you. It’s very kind of you to give me a hearing.” Gerhard opened the tablet between them as their drinks arrived. “We have contracts across Europe. This first set is work we recently added for a winter resort in Sweden.”

They leaned in together to inspect the photos, Tally nodding and asking questions here and there. The images showed wine glasses, water goblets, tumblers and beer glasses in beautiful shapes and colors, with the property name and logo etched discreetly into each piece. Tally particularly admired the champagne flutes with the snowflake-shaped feet. Lovely, though he gave no outward indication that he reacted to any one set more than another.

When they reached the end of the photo samples, Tally sat back, sipping at his whiskey and making Gerhard wait. “It’s a very interesting thought. Though I imagine a certain percentage of that pretty glassware vanishes from the properties as souvenirs.”

“Ha. I’m sure some of it does. Though not offering the prettiest glasses in the guest rooms most likely reduces that number.”

Gerhard’s eyes twinkled as he laughed and if Tally had been someone who craved casual sex, Gerhard might have been a candidate, but his heart would only be half in it. The other half had already left the room with the handsome otter. The suspenders were a beacon, a flare sent up, and Tally was going to speak with the otter of definitely-not-straight orientation that evening if it killed him.

“I’d like you to work up some samples with the resort manager at Sapphire Lake.” Tally didn’t mention immediately that the manager was one of his sisters. “We’d need to see physical pieces, of course. Then we can discuss the possibility of starting a small contract there first. I do have properties in Europe, but allow me to begin closer to home.”

“Very good. A pleasure, Tally, surely.” Gerhard extended a hand and they shook—a gentlemen’s agreement to further negotiations.

When Gerhard Klug finally let him go with an exchange of business cards, the otter was nowhere in sight. Uncharacteristically disgruntled, Tally left the main ballroom to check some of the smaller venues where different sorts of food were on offer. The first meeting room had been set up as a sushi bar, which seemed a good place to find an otter. He wasn’t there. The second was a room dedicated to international cuisine, offerings from host countries of previous years. No otter.

The third was a paradise of desserts which had drawn the children since the beginning of the evening with its siren song. Tally hurried his steps when he picked up shouting from that direction and he skidded to a stop in front of the door.


Author Bio

Freddy MacKay

Freddy is a bisexual, biromantic, genderfluid nerd and geek who grew up in the Midwest playing soccer, diving, swimming and doing gymnastics, along with running around outside as much as possible—preferably spending that time in swamps and hiking through forests. The haphazard escapades have not changed, except some of them have been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction and a love for Science Fiction and Fantasy. This love of SFF developed into a writing passion and has led to several awards in the gay science fiction and fantasy categories. Freddy likes worms, dancing and being outside… and toll passes, but you’ll have to ask on that one. (They/Them/Their pronouns.)

Angel Martinez

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough. She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

Author Websites:

https://freddysstereograph.weebly.com/ http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook (Personal):

https://www.facebook.com/freddy.m.mackay https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/FreddyMacKay

https://twitter.com/AngelMartinezrr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5355677.Freddy_MacKay https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez

Author QueeRomance Ink:

https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/freddy-mackay/ https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/angel-martinez/

Author Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Freddy-MacKay/e/B006GQV29U https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Martinez/e/

Release Blitz for Smoke in the Mirror (A Road to Blissville Story) by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Smoke in the Mirror RDB Banner

SMOKE IN THE MIRROR

A ROAD TO BLISSVILLE STORY

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.12.18

 

Smoke in the Mirror Cover

 

COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: WANDER AGUIAR

MODEL: TRAVIS 

Universal link: http://mybook.to/Smoke_in_the_Mirror

Smoke in the Mirror Graphic

BLURB

Memphis Sullivan thought he was coming to Blissville to help his cousin out, but instead, he gained three meddlesome females, a tribe, and a permanent home. More than a year later, he owns a popular comic book and vinyl record store and doesn’t think his life could get any better. That all changes when the star of his favorite television show and bad-boy fantasies rides into town and spices up his vanilla world.

Lyric Willows’ decision to visit an old friend in Blissville will change his life in ways he never dreamed possible. The paranormal investigator is immediately drawn to the mysterious disappearance of the town’s founder in 1850 and rumors that his former home is haunted. More alluring to Lyric than the history of Bliss House is the immediate connection he feels to the adorably geeky owner of Vinyl and Villains, who also happens to be his friend’s cousin.

Lyric becomes Memphis’s houseguest when he decides to stay in town to conduct a paranormal investigation. Tight spaces lead to sexy encounters, and before long, ghosts aren’t the only things that go bump in the night. The more they unravel about Anthony Bliss’s disappearance, the more tangled in one another they become. How is it possible for two virtual strangers to feel like they’ve known each other for their entire lives? Was their love written in the stars, or is it nothing more than an illusion?

Smoke in the Mirror is the fifth book in the Road to Blissville series. Each book can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Smoke in the Mirror Teaser 1

Smoke in the Mirror Teaser 2

 EXCERPT

            “Any ideas where I should start?” I asked Maegan.

“The attic,” they all responded.

Aiming a crooked smile at Memphis, I said, “Sounds like we have a date with an attic.”

All I could think about was being alone with Memphis long enough to claim the kiss I’d planned to give him in his office. The rest could wait until we were alone at his house, but no living or dead person was going to keep me from kissing Memphis up in that attic. Regardless of his blasé comments earlier, we needed to have a conversation before I got him naked. Lust made you bolder, but it also made you the ultimate rationalizer. I didn’t want Memphis to compromise anything to be with me, because I wouldn’t change my mind. No matter how good sex would be between us, I wouldn’t wake up the morning after wanting to live a happily ever after with him.

“I’m ready,” Memphis said as he rose to his feet.

“We’ll hang back here,” Maegan said.

“Yeah, we don’t want to get in the way,” Milo added.

“Unless you want someone to hold the video camera on you…I mean, for you,” Andy offered. I looked over in time to see Milo jab him a good one with his elbow, making all the air in Andy’s lungs whoosh out of him. “Never mind,” he squeaked.

I exchanged a smile with Memphis. “We’ll be back in a bit,” I told them.

“Don’t rush on our account,” Elijah said.

“You guys have serious issues,” Memphis said then left me standing there by myself. It felt like I was standing in front of the firing squad, which wasn’t too far off the mark if Memphis wasn’t being honest with me and ended up hurt by my inability to give him more than sex.

“Um…yeah,” I said then hurried after him, only stopping long enough to grab my bag of equipment before heading up the grand staircase. I caught up with Memphis just as he reached the top. I set my bag down and he spun around and faced me. I backed him up until I had him pinned between me and the wall then lowered my head until my lips hovered above his. “I don’t think I can wait.”

“So don’t,” Memphis challenged.

I fucking knew it was a mistake to give in to temptation, but I’d never wanted anyone as much as I wanted him. I couldn’t live the rest of my life without knowing if his lips were as soft as they looked. I would never kiss another man without wondering if Memphis tasted better. Kissing him might ruin me for everyone else, but it was a risk I was willing to take. Correction: had to take.

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees. I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever- after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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