Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Summer to Remember (A Tallgrass Novel) by Marilyn Pappano Release Blitz and Giveaway


Tallgrass Series #6
Marilyn Pappano
Releasing June 28th, 2016


It's been a long time since widow Fia Thomas felt the spark of physical attraction. But from the moment she meets Elliot Ross one stormy night, she yearns for a fresh start, for him to make her feel whole and well again. With his broad shoulders and a warm smile crinkling his dark eyes, he could finally offer her the solace she's been seeking. And she's willing to give him anything in return . . . except a promise that could break his heart.

Now that Elliot is out of the Army, he's looking for a place to call home. Tallgrass was just a stop to stretch his legs, yet one look at Fia halts him in his tracks. In her sweet, sassy company, he finds the soul mate he never thought he'd have. But Fia is holding something back-something that keeps her from making any plans. Elliot's new mission: gain Fia's trust...and convince her that summer's end can mean a new beginning.

Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo

“Go on. Sing more.”
He did, and she listened with her eyes half closed. The tones were sweet, the emotion fierce, the quality hands-down better than the singer on the radio. Everything she learned about Elliot was adding up to an extraordinary man.
While she remained plain, average Fia. With “issues.”
“Beautiful,” she responded when the song ended. At about the same time, he turned into her driveway.
He came around and held hands with her to the stoop and up the steps, where he propped open the storm door with his boot while she unlocked the door. She set her purse on the floor inside the door, then faced him. “I’m not going to invite you inside because you’ve got to get up early.”
“Darn.” He moved a step closer, fitted his hands to her waist, and leaned toward her. She met him in the kiss, her mouth parting, her hands sliding around to the back of his neck, combing through his silky hair. Dear Lord, she’d forgotten how good a kiss could be. She nibbled at his lip, pausing only when his tongue thrust between her teeth, invading, exploring, rousing a long-unsatisfied need deep inside. Moving intuitively, her hands glided over soft cotton that covered the lean muscles along his spine. When they reached the rougher texture of jeans and leather belt, the tips tingled, like the briefest touch of a live wire, singeing and searing and sparking pleasure through her body.
When she stroked a few inches lower to slide her palm over his erection, his breath caught, and so did hers. It had been so very long . . .would be so very easy . . . back up one step, don’t let go, take him to the bedroom or, better, the couch, strip off their clothes . . .So easy. So perfect. So wrong.
Even the thought of that last word was wrong. It jangled in the midst of nerves humming with need. It pulled her out of the haze of what she could do, of the incredible satisfaction she could have, and brought back all the ugly uncertainty of her life. Elliot might be Prince Charming, but she was no princess, and her life was no simple, sweet fairy tale with a happily ever after.
Tears seeped into her eyes—disappointment, weariness—and she opened her eyes to blink them away. Apparently sensing the change in her, Elliot ended the kiss with another tiny, sweeter kiss, then clasped her hands in his. For a long time, he studied her face with an intensity that rippled along her skin, then he took a step back, putting breathing room between them.
When he spoke, he sounded as if he’d done a long hump with a heavy ruck on a hot day. “You never did tell me.”
“Is Fia short for something?”
“You never did ask.” She didn’t sound much better. “Sofia.”
He laid his palm gently against her cheek, repeated her name, then backed away even farther. “Thank you, Sofia.”
“For what?”
“Being in that parking lot Friday night. For liking me and my dog. For kissing like—” Breaking off, he grinned and shook his head. “Damn.”
“It takes two.”
His grin strengthened, then slowly faded. “Good night.”
Leaning against the door jamb, she watched him go to his truck, get in, and drive away with a final wave. Sighing deeply, she stepped inside the house, closed and locked the door, and stumbled, hitting the floor with a solid thud.

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today  bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband's Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.

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Meet Jan Elliott, author of Faith Full Retirement

Jan Elliot, author of Faith Full Retirement, has had a long and inspired speaking career, presenting women’s seminars and conferences for her own company, janspeaks, for National Seminars and as a certified trainer for the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. She’s trained hundreds of men and women how to be more effective in the workplace, and now she speaks to baby boomer women who want to make the most of retirement. Jan offers compassionate, faith-based guidance to help retiring women find clarity, take action and gain peace of mind in their golden years. Get to know her a bit better with these five fun facts:

Five Fun Facts (you didn’t know about Jan Elliott but now you do):

  1. During my speaking career with National Seminars and Franklin Covey, I spoke in every state in the US except North and South Dakota.
  2. My most favorite trip ever was an RV trip we took with my husband, daughter, son, mother in law, sister in law and niece from Seattle WA to San Diego CA in 1984. And we were all still speaking when we returned home.
  3. My husband went to school with Hillary Rodam Clinton in Park Ridge IL and therefore I got to attend his 25th high class reunion at the White House. And yes, Bill Clinton, just getting started in his Presidential term, is magnetic.
  4. I served, then Govenor, Jimmy Carter, tea and cake, in Atlanta when my husband was at GA Tech.
  5. My daughter and my most favorite thing to do is hit a really good Goodwill store. We find such treasures!

Faith Full Retirement

If you are a woman between 45 and 65 and struggle with planning for retirement and fear you may not make or be making the best choices, you have come to the right place. Once you discover how to analyze what's working and what's not working, you will be able to implement the tools need to put into action to find true joy in your later years.

"Be happy, for your life is a gift ... You make it beautiful at any age."
Jan Elliott

Get started on the website with a sneak peek

Retirement planning expert, Jan Elliott, works with women in close-knit workshop settings, to offer motivation and guidance in creating a vision and plan for retirement. Her past careers were spent supporting thousands of women in areas of weight loss, interior design, time management, appearance, organization and financial fitness through her own speaking business, as well as through National Seminars and Franklin Covey. She is also an entrepreneur at heart, with a knack for real estate investing and internet marketing, Learn more at www.faithfullretirement.com

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Syrup Maze by Debbie Simpson on #KindleCountdown

The Syrup Maze

Miracles happen every day. This is one of them. From severe TBI to recovery. Just two and a half weeks after telling mom, "We are treating his body in case he wakes up," the doctor told her, "We weren't expecting this."

Michael was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, caught between two cars that should not have been on the road. His mom started a CaringBridge® account in order to communicate updates with family and friends and to give her an outlet through journaling. The Syrup Maze is built around these CaringBridge posts that Debbie tried hard to keep upbeat and positive.

Yes, life can change in an instant, but with change comes choice: choice in how we think, choice in how we pray, choice in how we talk, choice in how we act. And at a time when it was all she could do to put one foot in front of the other, she discovered that, next to God, family was their strongest force. As “Team Michael” they leaned on each other, cried together and yes, even found reasons to laugh together.

The Syrup Maze is an inspiring account of the light that can shine through even the darkest of days. It is a tribute to those who dedicate their lives to saving the lives of others and it is to the many, many angels who presented themselves through this very difficult time.

‘The Syrup Maze: An Inspirational Journey Through Recovery from a Traumatic Brain injury’ was originally published as, ‘The Syrup Maze: A Mother’s Nightmare and the Strength of a Family United.’ This revised edition, published two years after the original book, includes remarkable updates written by both the author’s son and his passenger, who also suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Debbie Simpson, author of 'Adam’s Gluten Free Surprise: Helping Others Understand Gluten Free,' also highlights the need for increased education in hospitals and medical facilities in regards to special diets. As someone with celiac disease, requiring a strict gluten free diet, Debbie found the task of feeding herself safely while living at the hospital with her son to be a much less daunting task than overseeing Michael’s gluten free diet. Having to step in more than once when non-gluten free food was offered to her son, was inexcusable. Patients who require a gluten free diet – or any special diet – deserve to have their needs met and respected, and they deserve to be fed balanced, nutritious meals while in the care of medical professionals. But, as she discovered, this is not always the case.


Find Debbie Simpson on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Parenting in the Real World: The Reboot of Parenting by Olivia Black

Parenting in the Real World

Olivia Black, author of Falling Forward and Mulligan, has just released her first non-fiction title: Parenting in the Real World. Taking a non-professional boots-on-the-ground approach to parenting, Olivia dissects the unpleasantries of modern day parenting and presents them in a fun, easy read every parent can relate to. 

"I was shocked to find the advice of many so-called parenting 'experts' including the awful ancient advice by Benjamin Spock or unfounded and unrealistic psychobabble by Shefali Tsabary are still taken as gospel,” says author Olivia Black. “Many of the best-selling parenting books are two or more generations old. The world needs up-to-date parenting information.” 

Rather than present complicated statistics or results of psychological studies which are dated by the time they are vetted and published, Olivia Black’s book shares new insights into the troubles and challenges faced by parents in today’s hectic and fast-changing modern life. Black weaves her own insights and experience as a mother of four children now aged 14 through 25 into the book in hopes of helping parents around the world feel more at peace with the mistakes and frustrations they face daily. 

Throughout the book, readers are guided towards a new conception of what it means to be a parent and how not to take themselves so seriously in one of the world’s most perplexing positions. Comic relief and a surprisingly refreshing take on raising children are the focus of this 279 page book. 


About Olivia Black

Olivia Black resides in Melbourne, Florida, and is the author of the romance novel “Falling Forward.” In her spare time she enjoys painting, riding bikes, hiking, traveling, and reflecting on life.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pieces of You & Me by Pamela Ann

Pieces of You & Me

This is a story about firsts—love, hate and agony.

Olivia Taylor’s life turned upside down when she found out her mother was moving into her boyfriend’s home. The glitch? The boyfriend had a son named Greyson—the guy she loathed more than anything.

Greyson Edwards was your typical arrogant self-entitled jerk. He loved to taunt and tease Olivia. But the more time they got to spend together, the more complicated things became.

Will these two stubborn folks ever figure things out?

Will they let themselves feel what was truly boiling underneath the angst and unveil the passion that’s only a mere kiss away?


About Pamela Ann

Pamela Ann is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Torn series, the Chasing series, Falling for My Husband, and numerous other novels. Pamela studied fashion marketing in the United Kingdom and has a degree in business. She lives in Los Angeles. Find her other titles on Amazon.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Read an excerpt from The Champion of Baresh (Star World Frontier) by Susan Grant with giveaway!

An all-new, stand-alone tale of two improbable lovers, their daring secret, and the gamble destined to alter the course of their worlds forever!

The Champion of Barésh
Star World Frontier #1
By: Susan Grant
Released May 26, 2016

RITA-winner Susan Grant is back with an all-new, stand-alone tale of two improbable lovers, their daring secret, and the gamble destined to alter the course of their worlds forever!

She was playing with fire...

Jemm Aves battles to keep her dreams alive on a dead-end world. Working for the mines by day, she’s a successful bajha player at night, disguised as a male to be allowed to compete in the colony’s dangerous underworld where club owners will go to extremes to retain the best players. Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal: saving enough to escape Barésh with her family. When a nobleman from one of the galaxy’s elite families recruits her to be a star player for his team, it's because he doesn't know her secret. Her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at risk.

Prince Charming he was not...

Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan, a family as famous for its wealth and power as it is for being a bastion of male-dominated tradition. If his bajha team can win the galactic title it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished. He travels to Barésh to track down an amateur who’s risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha, offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime: a way off that reeking space rock for good. But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down. He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heart.

Read an excerpt:
As soon as Kes left the locker room, Klark turned to the wall and slapped his hands against the cold, tiled wall, keeping them pressed there, fingers spread, willing his hands to serve as anchors to prevent him from going after her. 
Sea Kestrel, a female. 
A woman! 
No mere woman, either. He remembered her as Jemm, the errant Nico’s alleged girlfriend: her long, strong, lean body and the graceful way she moved; that swaying, tempting bottom as she walked away; her wavy hair wild and loose—all but begging for his fingers to be tangled in it as he made love to her.

Damnation. The mental image alone made his body react and his blood run hot. Yet, this same female to which he was so attracted played bajha far better than he ever could. He had come to respect her as an unbelievably talented athlete, had let down his guard around her as a friend, and now she was a beautiful woman, as well? In his world, such disparate qualities could not apply to any one person. Yet, together, they added up to Jemm.

Susan Grant is a New York Times bestselling author who enjoys being able to indulge her love of travel and adventure by piloting jumbo jets around the globe. Her careers as a commercial pilot and air force pilot have provided endless inspiration for her books. Susan is the author of The Star King, launch book of her popular Star series about a spacefaring Earth family, as well as the RITA-winning novel Contact. Her new series debuts in 2016 with The Champion of Barésh. Susan and her family live in the scenic foothills of northern California.
Love to arm-chair travel? Sit down, strap in, and visit Susan's Come Fly With Me blog at her website

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Runner's Enticement (Men of Circumstance #2) by Addie Jo Ryleigh with giveaway!

Read an excerpt from The Runner's Enticement, and then enter to win a copy of The Duke's Temptation!

Men of Circumstance #2
Addie Jo Ryleigh
Released May 18th, 2016
Soul Mate Publishing

A Duke. A Runner. An Earl.
Three men, each born into different circumstances.
Each fighting to overcome their own adversity.
All striving to change their past.

As much as Nathaniel Frederickson, bastard brother to the Duke of Wesbrook, loathes the status and consequence of his lowly birth, he has reinvented himself by becoming London’s leading Bow Street Runner. But no matter his success or his charm, he never seems to be good enough.

Lady Annabel Baines, self-professed bluestocking, has one goal in life. To create a legacy for her deceased mother by ensuring the success of her school for young ladies. Even if it means being beholden to a man intent on ruining her life, forcing her to make impossible, heartrending choices.

Assigned to recovering stolen artifacts, Nate is thrust into Anna’s privileged world. To make matters worse, he is forced to protect her from a mysterious threat she refuses to acknowledge. While fighting Anna’s stubbornness—and his unwanted fascination with the spoiled chit—Nate becomes the renewed target of a blackmailer thought to be destroyed . . . while a killer sets his sights on Anna.

Will the well-born bluestocking ultimately save the bastard Runner?

Read an excerpt:
His longer stride allowed him to reach her before she vanished into the shadows of the entry. Securing her elbow, he directed her to an empty room off to the left of the foyer. Time to remind Lady Annabel exactly who is in charge.
His quick maneuver only allowed for her to sputter in resistance. As soon as the door clicked shut, she yanked free and rounded on him. “How dare you mistreat me in such a way!”
The flash of fire in her eyes held him spellbound. Gone was the perfectly put together gentlewoman. In her place stood a wild and captivating woman. The kind of woman he would easily welcome into his bed.
At his silence she continued, “I should have you dismissed for your impertinence.”
With the return of the haughty noble, the spell was broken. The heat simmering in her glare would never melt the coldness born of the nobility.
His touch hadn’t been anywhere near brutish, but he recognized the meaning beneath her objection. “Forgive me, princess, for soiling your precious sleeve with my dirty hand.”
Given the narrowing of her eyes, she knew, as well as he, his hands were as clean as hers.
“I would never—”
He didn’t give her the chance to launch into a lecture. He’d brought her here for a purpose. “We need to set a few things straight.” He ignored her sharply indrawn breath. “Firstly, I’m not your lackey. You may have the rest of England on a tether but you’ll never have me. I’m here to do a job and I’m not about to let an overindulged, spoiled brat stand in my way.”
So much for being reasonable. There was just something about the petite Lady Annabel that provoked him beyond anything he’d experienced before. More than just her title stirred his blood. Even when faced with the most condescending members of the ton, Nate still managed to hold onto his dignity and poise.
The entire mission might be manageable if she understood he would be the one setting the course. Moreover, if there was a threat to her safety, her rushing headlong into a situation could get her hurt—or even killed.
“Secondly, I am not your lap dog. I won’t sit and stay on command. Or obediently follow where you lead. If you have somewhere you absolutely must be, you will inform me before we go gallivanting all over England. Your father hired me to do a job and dammit, I will do it the best way I know how. Which doesn’t include you dictating our every move. I am the professional, after all,” he tacked on for good measure.
Given her glowering expression, she’d comprehended every word. And had found issue with each one.
Oh, hell. She was about to become indignant. The last thing he needed was an overwrought silk-stocking who felt the world had wronged her. Why couldn’t Lawson have sent him to some corner of the country lacking the delicate sensibilities of the nobility? He’d have gone to Scotland if need be.
Just when Nate thought he had her pegged and was prepared for her vicious onslaught, she took a steady breath and her eyes cleared like a passing storm.
Her voice held complete calm when she answered, “Mr. Frederickson, since you found it within yourself to speak so . . . honestly . . . with me, I feel I should return the courtesy. First, I will concede you are the expert. My father wouldn’t have entrusted myself—or his collection—to anyone less than capable. However, I’m not about to set aside my freedoms on what we both know to be an overreaction on my father’s part.”
She paused while he remained silent. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure how to respond. In the last minute, she’d destroyed every expectation he had.
He didn’t get an opportunity to think on it as her eyes suddenly narrowed and pinned his boots to the floor. He felt like a wayward student who’d spoken out of turn. “I have never in my life treated someone as a lap dog. No matter if their arrogance demanded it. If you are looking for someone who has acted childish, Mr. Frederickson, I suggest you place yourself in an empty room and look in a mirror. Overindulged, spoiled brat indeed!” Her chest expanded with visible outrage as she finished chastising him.


Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines. Addie Jo lives in the same cold winter and hot summer area of Minnesota where she was born and raised. And frankly, wouldn’t live anywhere else. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband that so graciously enabled her to fulfill her dream of writing. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not driving her children around central Minnesota, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Meet Tasher, the author and entrepreneur behind Divorced and Scared No More

Over the past several days, you have probably seen many excerpts and references to the Divorced and Scared No More series by Tasher, both on here and over at Uplifting Reads. She wrote the books to reach out to people who are going through a divorce and struggling to find their way again. Drawing on her own experience with her divorce after 26 years of years of marriage, she wants to let people know that they are not alone. Now, find out more about the woman behind the books. 

Welcome back, Tasher! Please tell us a bit more about yourself.
I was born in Flint, Michigan to Mary and Houston Asher. I have one older brother named C. Robert Asher. We lived on a farm in Linden, Michigan until she was in middle school. At which time my family moved to the suburbs of Flint so my parents could be closer to the factories they worked in. Mom worked for Chevrolet at the Metal Fab plant and Dad worked in Buick City on the North end.
Readers may not be aware that you have dyslexia, which can present its own challenges. What have you found your challenges to be?
I suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia until my high school teacher, Ms. Burdick recognized the symptoms and sent me for diagnoses. Ms. Burdick had a big impact forming my view of the reading disorder. She taught me how to use various strategies and techniques along with technical aids to help with the management of dyslexia. Within a short time, she taught me how it really was a gift that I just needed to learn to control. After learning to control my gift my grades quickly improved and I graduated Ainsworth high school with a scholarship. I attended Northwood University in Midland, Michigan graduated in four years with three degrees. Upon graduation I was hired by General Motors Corporation in their Memphis Zone. So I really don’t look at dyslexia as a challenge it is rather my gift.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have dyslexia and writing is something everyone told me I couldn’t do especially my ex. So after my divorced and with the encouragement of friends, family and my divorce attorney, I decided it was time to try.
So, you started with the Divorced and Scared No More series and also created a website. How did these come about?
I married my ex-husband on January 14, 1984 in Columbus, Mississippi. We had 3 children together. He was a pilot in the USAF and relocated from Columbus Mississippi to San Antonio Texas. At which time I decided to quit my job as a district manager for General Motors Parts Division and became a stay at home mother. Until, we divorced on our twenty sixth wedding anniversary January 14, 2010. After moving to Houston, I launched the website and became a frequent contributor to various online magazines. Along with co-author Tony Haynes published a 3 book series called ‘Divorced and Scared No More’. The main objective of this book was to help in dealing with a divorce. Therapist and clinical author Justin Nutt, LSCSW, LAC, was consulted as a technical advisor for the series.
What inspired the title?
The name of the series as a continuation of the website. The name for the website is to help people understand there is no reason to be scared post-divorce. Now is the time to make your life yours and do what you want. Create a life where you are in control and if you need help look to your higher power to forge the new life you will enjoy.
Into what genre does this book fit?
The series is for self-help in dealing with life after divorce.
How did you come up with the logo?
The logo for the website and books is a broken set of pilot wings. My ex-husband was a pilot and when they get their first set of wings in the USAF they break them in half and give one half to someone they love and the other half is thrown away. The point is those wings will never come together again. Just like our marriage after the divorce.
What can we find you doing when you are not writing?
My daughter and two grandchildren live in the Houston area by me and my spare time is enjoying watching the wee ones’ activities. My family is my world and I enjoy as much time with them as I can have.
What advice do you have for other writers?
No matter what your challenge is while writing stick with your passion. Do not listen to others that say you can’t…….if they say that to you think to yourself wanna bet! You can do anything you want to do but be prepared that you may have to work a little harder or find tools that can help you.
Thank you so much for your time!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=andsboorev-20&keywords=divorced and scared no more&index=aps&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=xm2&linkId=a1321ae84634012860a5fb6b7b90e0b7

Or purchase each title individually by clicking on it.

Connect with Tasher online

Tash Tasher DivorcedAndScaredNoMore –DASNM on Spotify

Read an excerpt from No Stranger to Love by Pamela Aares with giveaway!

Another page-turning contemporary romance in the Tavonesi Series, one of my favorite series, featuring love, suspense and adventure!

The Tavonesi Series #9
Pamela Aares
Released May 29th, 2016
SeaStar Press

With NO STRANGER TO LOVE, USA Today Bestselling Author Pamela Aares delivers another page-turning contemporary romance in the Tavonesi Series featuring love, suspense and adventure!
Juliet Cabot is no stranger to trouble, but she never imagined that her work defending endangered sea turtles on a beautiful Greek island would turn deadly. Threats to her life force her to call for help from the man who's haunted her dreams for years—wine country landowner and international polo star Parker Tavonesi.

Parker owes Juliet big time for getting him out of a fix in the past. Handsome, resourceful and fearless, she trusts him with her life but she vowed she would never trust him with her heart. When danger enshrouds them and warm island nights cause their bottled-up passions to flare, Juliet's every fantasy could become reality . . . unless the dark secrets of a sultry paradise prove fatal, not just for the struggling sea turtles but for Parker and Juliet as well.

Read an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes:

After lunch, Juliet changed into the sleek silk evening dress and headed down into the wine cellar with the stylist and hairdresser. It felt weird to be in such a fancy dress at two in the afternoon. Heck, it felt odd to be in such a fancy dress at any time. The dress and the shoes probably cost more than an entire month’s pay.
When she reached the wine cellar, Athena tugged at her dress and Brandy fussed with her hair. Barb had arranged a bank of lights in front of a wine barrel. A silver tray set holding two crystal glasses sat in its center.
But Juliet’s mind was captured by the scent of the cellar—cinnamon and berries and a deeper aroma she couldn’t identify. But she recognized the mélange of scents as Parker’s. She’d caught whiffs of the heady aroma in the guest room the previous morning and then again when he’d leaned in close for the shots in the redwood grove. But Parker wasn’t in the cellar.
Dimmed ceiling lights curved down the tunnel that led deeper into the wine cave. She shook off the hairdresser and peered into the darkness. When footsteps sounded behind her, she turned.
And sucked in a breath.
If she had thought Parker handsome in his riding clothes, a perfectly tailored tuxedo made him devastating.
His eyes landed on Juliet. He ran a hand through his hair as he looked first down and then up. “My God, you are a vision.”
Juliet couldn’t tear her gaze from Parker’s. She managed a smile and a nod, but didn’t trust her voice. For a moment, no one moved. The only sound was their collective breathing, as if the cellar had lungs of its own.
“Well,” Athena said, breaking the spell. “That’s the whole idea, after all.”
“I’ll need to angle this light,” Barb said.
Brandy moved toward Parker, pulling a brush from the belt of implements at her waist.
Parker held up a hand. “I do have limits,” he said in a gentle but firm tone, his eyes never leaving Juliet’s. He shook his head as if he were shaking off a troublesome thought. “And before we do this shot, I’d like for all of you to taste the wine I’m launching.”
He strode to a cabinet at the far side of the arched room and began to pull out glasses. Juliet let out the breath she’d been holding and moved to help him.
“No.” Athena put a hand to Juliet’s wrist. “You might muss your dress.”
God, she’d forgotten about the dress.
“Though we’ll have our wine critic taste all of these, I’d love to taste your wine here in its home setting,” Mark said.
Parker pulled a bottle from the cabinet. “This pinot is only three years in the bottle, but it’s ready.”
“I feel like we should have a drum roll or something,” Barb said from behind the light she was adjusting.
The thrumming of Juliet’s pulse was all the drum roll she could stand.
“As much as I’d like to, we won’t have to come back tomorrow,” Mark said. “After this session, Barb will have what she needs, and I have more than enough for the article.”
Juliet sighed, relieved.
Parker poured wine and handed out the glasses.
Juliet reached for hers.
Athena took the glass from Parker’s hand. “Best to wait until after Barb gets her shots.”
“You must think I’m clumsy.”
“No one could ever accuse you of that.”
Parker’s sultry tone rolled through her. No one had ever called her graceful. And though he hadn’t, she heard the message in his words. The compliment pleased her more than it should have.
“Just a precaution,” Athena added. “I’ve learned from experience.” She eyed Juliet. “We’d have a hard time coming up with another gown that looked like this one does on you.”
Parker leaned close to Juliet’s ear. “I’ll make it up to you after. You can have your own private bottle.”
“I might need it by then.” She shook off the shiver threatening to take up long-term residence in her body. “Maybe a case.”
“Upping the ante?” he whispered, his teasing tone warming her belly.
He’d already paid far more than he should have. “No. But I will be glad when we’re done here. I’m sure you will be too.”
He held her gaze. “Maybe. I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”
Everyone except Juliet sipped the wine, admired it in the light and murmured kudos to Parker. There was talk between Mark and Parker about the aroma of the pinot varietals. Juliet concentrated on the words, the facts, anything to keep from looking Parker in the eye.
“I think at five years this wine will be at its peak,” he said, as proud as any artist would be over the fruits of his work.
“Black cherry and...” Mark paused. “I was going to say ripe tomato or mushroom. Smooth. Balanced.”
Parker beamed.
“Delicious,” Barb said as she set her glass down on the cabinet. “And now, time for work, gang. The sooner we wrap, the sooner Juliet can imbibe.”
At first Parker stood on one side of the barrel and Juliet on the other. Barb instructed them to raise their glasses and touch the rims together as if in a toast. Her camera whirred as she ran off a few shots. She looked at her preview screen and frowned.
“I think they should kiss,” Mark said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“I think you’ve had too much wine,” Parker said.
“No, he’s right. Romance. That’s what’s missing from this piece,” Barb said. “You two aren’t shy, so let’s try it. I’d like to shoot it from this angle. Mark, give me a hand with these two lights.”
Barb tugged Juliet close to Parker and then took up her camera a few steps away.
The new light positions threw a golden glow across Parker’s face. The soft light played over the sculpted planes of his jaw and cast the shadows of his long lashes onto his cheeks.
Juliet leaned close. “Now you really need my help,” she whispered. And without further comment, and before she could chicken out and blow their cover, she raised her hands and pulled his head down so that her lips touched his.
Her body quivered at the contact. She closed her eyes and brushed a light kiss along his lips. Trembling, she pulled away. She opened her eyes and, not trusting her ability to school her features, looked down at her hands.
Barb moved to their right. “Can we try that again from this angle?”
Neither Juliet nor Parker moved.
“And keep your eyes open for this one. I want to capture you gazing into each other’s eyes,” Barb said.
“One more,” Juliet said, trying to keep the waver out of her voice.
Parker moved first. His hand slid up her bare back and shot shivers along her spine. Juliet’s gaze locked with his. He looked as stunned as she felt. Or maybe she was projecting. But as he leaned down and kissed her, the lights, the room and the people in it melted away, and she was locked in the throbbing energy of his kiss.
Shocked at her response, she broke off their kiss and stepped back from him. Leaning her palms on the wine barrel to steady herself, she turned to the camera and pasted a false smile on her face that would’ve had her drama coaches applauding.
Then she turned to Parker. His lips were pressed together in a tight line.
“Smile,” she whispered so that only he could hear. “Mission accomplished,” she added, widening her own smile.
He flashed a quick grin that only she knew wasn’t real. Athena, Brandy and Mark applauded. But Barb stared at them, head nodding, her lips quirked into a smile as if they’d pleased her. Juliet could only hope that the camera had captured what Barb had wanted it to. The way Juliet’s legs were trembling beneath her gown, she couldn’t pull off a repeat performance.
“That’s a wrap,” Barb said as she flashed through the shots on the preview screen. “We definitely have our cover shot.”
Parker handed Juliet her glass of wine. “I’m thinking you might need this. God knows I do.” He turned from her and filled everyone’s glasses.
Barb flashed the shot for the cover to the group. Still stunned by Parker’s kiss, Juliet barely registered the good news. Her heart stuttered when she saw the photo. Anyone viewing it would think she and Parker were truly in love.
“To First Flight wines,” Mark said as he clinked his glass against Barb’s. “And to your always amazing work.”
“He says that to all the ladies.” Barb set her glass down and began to wrap the light cords into their cases. She looked up at Juliet. “Have you set a date?”
“April twentieth,” Parker answered.
“I’m sure you already have your dress,” Barb said. “But if you don’t, my friend Vera has the most delicious wedding designs. They’d be gorgeous on you.”
Juliet couldn’t look her in the eye.
Parker topped off the glass that Barb had set aside. “That’s the date we’re launching First Flight.”
Barb smiled and picked up her glass. “Ah, yes.” Her eyes slid to Juliet. “First things first.”
Thankfully, the sound of raised voices coming down the passageway had everyone turning.
“You really are a rat,” Zuri said, aiming her comment at her brother as she and Coco burst into the room. “Did we miss all the action?”
“You could say that,” Parker said. “But I saved you a taste.”
Coco sidled over to Barb. Juliet heard her asking for tips about lighting and camera angles.
Parker poured wine into a glass and handed it to Zuri. He turned to Juliet and raised the bottle. She shook her head. Her head was spinning well enough without alcohol. Zuri knit her brows as she looked from her to Parker and back again to her.
Mark took out his notebook and began peppering Parker with questions about the launch.
Before Zuri could corner her with questions, Juliet slipped out of the room. The stiletto heels made it hard to navigate the brick flooring of the dim passageway, but it wasn’t the shoes that made her feel unsteady. What had happened back there? Flaring passion she didn’t want to admit to feeling flooded her as she finally exited the tunnel and stepped out into the daylight.
She didn’t stop walking until she reached the barn. Just past the entrance, she sank down onto a bale of hay, ignoring the prickle of the straw through the silk of her dress.
Lowering her head to her hands, she pressed her palms to her eyes. She hadn’t planned on her heart having to pay the price of her deception.
“Yo!” Zuri’s voice startled her. “Hope you don’t mind that I followed you.” Zuri sat on the bale next to her. “Hey, you okay?”
“Just tired.”
“We could spend the night here. Unwind. Have a girls’ night. You can drive home in the morning.”
“I should get back. We wrapped the shoot.”
“I heard. Parker seems pleased.”
When Juliet didn’t respond, she added, “This was really, really good of you. Parker said you played your part perfectly. He even admitted I was right—pulling this off was so much easier without all the stickiness of attraction.”
But she hadn’t played her part perfectly. Her heart had pulled up stakes and crossed the line and now... Now she had to corral it back to reality.
But at hearing Parker’s words via Zuri, her anger fired and she couldn’t stuff it down.
No stickiness of attraction.
Well, wasn’t that a kicker?
When had her feelings begun to run away with her? To obliterate her good sense?
She shouldn’t feel anger toward him. He’d donated to the foundation. He’d done everything he said he would.
Zuri tapped Juliet on the knee. “He owes you, you know. He told me so this morning.”
“He doesn’t owe me. He wrote the check.”
Zuri narrowed her eyes. “Did he do something he shouldn’t have? I’ll have his—”
“Zuri, he was a perfect gentleman.”
“Well, he has many talents, my brother. If you ever need help, just ask.” She laughed. “I doubt you’ll need a polo player, but he’s really good at throwing parties.”
Juliet stood and brushed the hay from her gown. “I need to change. And I should get going. Mom will be thrilled that I can have dinner with her tonight. Especially since she couldn’t make it for the shoot.” 
And maybe, after a good night’s sleep in familiar surroundings, she’d wake up and be able to remember the past two days for what they were—a caper. Wasn’t that what Zuri had called it?
She’d fly back to Kona early, wrap up her work there and make her reservations to fly to Greece.
And try to forget the chasm that Parker had unwittingly opened in her heart. Try to forget a caper gone wrong.

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Pamela Aares is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance novels. Her contemporary series, The Tavonesi Series, explores the lives, loves, friendships and sizzling romances of the Tavonesi family.

Her popularity as a romance writer continues to grow with each new book release, so much so, that the Bay area author has drawn comparisons by reviewers to Nora Roberts.

Pamela Aares writes romance books that she loves reading, particularly those that entertain, transport and inspire dreams while captivating and tugging at the heart. She takes her readers on a journey with complex characters in both contemporary and historical settings who are thrown in situations that tempt love, adventure and self-discovery.

Before becoming a romance author, Aares wrote and produced award-winning films including Your Water, Your Life, featuring actress Susan Sarandon and NPR series New Voices, The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination.

If not behind her computer, you can probably find her reading a romance novel, hiking the beach or savoring life with friends. You can visit Pamela on the web at http://www.PamelaAares.com.

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