Friday, June 27, 2014

Where Love Takes You...Is it love or lust at first sight? #romance #asmsg

 Mmm...first encounters. I love it when characters in both movies and novels meet for the first time. It sets the tone for what's to come. Sometimes there's snap, crackle, sizzle...or maybe there's that slow burn of borderline contempt that you just know is gonna be fun to watch. 
 Today's encounter is from "Where Love Takes You" by Rebecca Scarberry. Let's see what we is love or lust--or something more complicated--at first sight?
 When they first meet...
Evelyn looked at the child’s mother, and laughed. The mother then took Charlotte away and the last people in line stepped forward. Evelyn sat up. There were three of them, two men in their fifties, one dark, one fair, but both handsome, and what looked like a twelve-year-old boy. They stepped forward. The fairer of the two men, the one standing closest to the boy said, “Hello, Evelyn. I’m Ben Richards, and this is my grandson, Jamie.” He looked behind him at the slightly shorter dark haired man and smiled. “And trying to hide behind Jamie is my best friend, Alan Denton.” 

Evelyn recognized the man’s British accent right away. Alan stepped forward and shook her hand. “You all haven’t come all the way from England to meet Henry have you?” She asked.

Alan answered, “No, ma’am. We’re here on holiday. Jamie’s been following your story, and wanted to meet him. We love pigeons too, so we were more than happy to bring him.” 

The British man who had introduced himself as Ben stepped forward, and picked Henry up. He folded the vest back, looked at the registration ring, securely fastened to Henry’s right leg, and inspected his body. “Evelyn, I had no idea that Henry was a racing pigeon.”

Evelyn looked stunned. “My husband trained the pigeons to retrieve and deliver messages, but we’ve never raced them. I have to say, though, Henry does seem faster than all the rest. What makes you think he’s a racing pigeon?”

Ben smiled at her. “Well, his physique, for one thing. He’s lean and muscular. And alert and calm. All qualities that make for a good racing pigeon.” He smiled even more broadly, and Evelyn thought how white his teeth looked. “Besides, he has a racing pigeon’s ring around his leg.”

“What do you mean exactly?” She knew that Henry and Cecilia both had small rings around their legs with letters and numbers on them. They’d been there for as long as she could remember. When she was in possession of her kidnapper, she was always in a hurry to scribble a message for Henry to take to Tammy. She didn’t take the time to tear the note into a size that would fit inside the ring. She would quickly rip some thread from her clothing and tie the note to one of his legs.

Ben pointed to the small ring. “It looks just like the rings on racing pigeons at home. They’re registered when they’re only a few days old, and that registration stays with them for life. If you’ve got a paper and pen, I could write down the details and check up.”

Evelyn felt even more embarrassed. She did have a ‘paper and pen’, as he put it, since she always carried a tiny pad of paper with a small pencil tied to it with string. She was writing her memoirs and always had it handy, stuck in her bra or a pocket. She stood up and made a pretense of searching for it, and while her back was turned, she undid two buttons on her blouse and slipped it out. Unfortunately, with the pad in her right hand, she wasn’t able to do the two buttons back up. Hoping that no one would notice, she handed the pad to Ben. “Here it is. I knew it was here somewhere.”

Ben slipped the pencil out and copied the letters and numbers from Henry’s ring. Both Henry’s and Cecilia’s began with ‘GB’, but Evelyn had never paid much attention to the rest of the letters and numbers. When he’d finished writing, he tore off a sheet and handed the pad and pencil back to Evelyn. “I’m fairly sure they’re British. I’ll check it out and let you know, but I can tell you that if I were given to gambling, I’d put money on Henry in a race. He looks fast, and I can see why he was able to fly such long distances.” Ben smiled at her again. “I’d really like to see your other pigeons at some point, if you don’t mind. Alan and I race pigeons in England. That’s how I knew about the band.”

Evelyn decided not to put the notepad back where she’d found it. “Come with me,” she said, as she gently shooed the bird back into the carrier. Leaving him on stage, she took them to Tammy, sitting in the front row. “Tammy, I’d like you to meet, Ben, his grandson, Jamie, and Alan. Ben and Alan are from England. They race pigeons.”

Tammy stood, smiling. “Nice to meet all of you,” she said, though it was obvious that Alan was the one she was most interested in. He was the first to step forward, but when he shook Tammy’s hand, it made her squawk.


Looking worried, Alan asked her what the matter was.

“Sorry. Nothing. I have a little arthritis in my hands, that’s all.” She smiled up at him. “And you have a very firm handshake.”

 “I’m sorry. I’d better kiss it better, then.” He was still holding her hand in his, so he lifted it to his lips and kissed the top of it. 

The way Tammy clearly appeared giddy as the two stared into each other’s eyes wasn’t lost on Evelyn, but she didn’t say anything. 

Ben took Alan by the forearm and moved him aside. He extended one hand and said, “I’m delighted to meet you too, Tammy.” Having seen what had happened when Alan had shaken her hand, he was obviously being careful. 

Ben then turned around and said, “Tammy, this is my grandson, Jamie. Anne, my daughter, moved to America years ago and he’s grown up here. He’s followed the story of Henry from day one.”

“Nice to meet you, Jamie. So happy you could come tonight and meet Evelyn’s hero.”
Without any British accent whatsoever, Jamie replied, “Yeah, pretty cool the way the bird saved her life. You don’t see that every day.” He smiled at Evelyn.

“I think Henry’s cool, too,” said Evelyn, fighting back a tear as she remembered how he and Tammy had saved her life. She turned to the two men. “How long will you be staying in America?” she asked.

Alan answered. “Another ten days. We fly out on the twelfth. Why do you ask?”

Evelyn said, “I’d like to invite all of you to my farm. You said you’d like to see my other birds, and I think Jamie might enjoy getting to see Henry in action.”

Jamie gave a little hop and asked his grandpa, “Can we go see Cecilia and all the others, Grandpa, can we?”

“Who’s Cecilia?”

“Don’t you remember, Grandpa? Cecilia is Henry’s true love. They had her picture in the newspaper. She’s totally white, just like Henry.”

“Let me give you my mobile phone number, Evelyn. When you want us to come over, just give me a call.” 

Evelyn grabbed her cell from her handbag. “Okay, shoot. I’ll put the number on my phone right now.” Before Ben gave her his number, she turned to Alan. “Of course, you’re welcome to come also, Alan.”

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Is that what you say? I just wish I had my fastest pigeon with me to see if Henry could beat him.” His smile suggested he didn’t think Henry would stand a chance. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you both.”

As the men were walking away, Tammy leaned over to whisper in Evelyn’s ear. “Alan’s cute, isn’t he?”

“Yes. So’s Ben,” replied Evelyn.

“And your blouse is undone. Your bra’s showing.” They both burst out laughing like a couple of teenage girls sharing a joke.

 Back cover copy of the novel...

Besides being an ingenious sequel to Messages from Henry, Where Love Takes You is also a light-hearted stand-alone romance novel. A chance encounter in Oregon leads to a four way transatlantic romance, with further adventures for Henry, the pigeon hero in book one; as he tries pigeon racing in England. There's love in the air and on the ground. 

Buy the book...

Author Bio...
Rebecca Scarberry was born and raised in Southern California. She’s retired, and writes full-time. She lives on a small secluded farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas with her husband and five cats. She has devoted her time to writing fiction since 2009, and has self-published six books in four different genres.
She has also written the script for one episode of her Jumper series of children’s books. Once she has the copyright, she’ll be sending it to TV producers per the request of her young readers/fans. She is currently writing book four in the Jumper series, tentatively entitled: Jumper’s Holiday Fun.
The books she has published are: Messages from Henry, Rag Doll, Where Love Takes You, Jumper, Jumper Bounces Back, Jumper Meets Bouncy.Link to Amazon author page:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Darling's Desire…Is it love, lust, or none of the above at first sight? #romance #newrelease

Mmm...first encounters. I love it when characters in both movies and novels meet for the first time. It sets the tone for what's to come. Sometimes there's snap, crackle, sizzle...or maybe there's that slow burn of borderline contempt that you just know is gonna be fun to watch. 

Today we're lucky enough to check out TD Hassett's new release, Darling's Desire. So what do you think? Is it love…or lust…or maybe neither at first sight? 

Darling’s Desire
When the hero and heroine first meet…

The champagne was flowing, and Darling was feeling a happy buzz hit her. At least until she noticed the two men approaching from down the street. She recognized Madison’s husband, Link, and the drummer from Becket in an instant. Link would be easy to chat with, but John Ross was another story. It was just so sad; his wife had died in a boating accident and he was in deep mourning. She never knew what to say to people who’d experienced such a loss. After all, she’d lost her mom when she was only nine years old, and nobody had ever said anything that helped her.

Madison continued talking about her son as Darling watched the men get nearer. Link put his finger to his lips, indicating that she should not say anything about his impending arrival. She almost nodded in response but stopped the action at the expression on his bandmate’s face. John Ross looked irritated. As if he was scowling at the whole world. His stride was stiff, and he appeared as if he hadn’t shaved in days. His longish light brown hair was stuffed under a cowboy hat, and he wore faded jeans and a black T-shirt, even in this heat. Even dressed sloppily he was taking-her-breath-away gorgeous. She was just noting his black boot tips when the men stopped behind Madison’s chair.

Link bent to place a kiss on Madison’s lips and brushed his fingers against her cheek. She jumped in her seat and flushed red in the face before swatting at his hand. Link laughed gently at his wife before coming around to Darling’s side of the table and chastely kissing her cheek. “You two ladies look up to no good. What have you been plotting?” Link asked, walking over to stand behind one of the empty chairs.

“I’m always on good behavior. It’s your wife you have to watch out for. She gets these ideas in her head.” She glanced over to see Madison welcoming Link’s friend, whom she wasn’t sure if she’d ever been introduced to before. Link and Madison had so many friends it was hard to keep track. She knew John Ross from pictures and videos but didn’t think they’d ever really met. Most of the time she and Madison did stuff, just the two of them, but she’d met some of Link’s friends and bandmates at the wedding and a smaller group at their son’s first birthday party.

“That wife of mine does have a wicked mind.” Link leaned over and tapped his friend. “Hey, Junior, meet one of Madison’s closest and oldest friends, Darling Roberts. Darling, meet Junior.” Link pulled out his chair and sat gracefully. His friend looked her up and down as if he was studying her. She wished he’d just ignore her altogether. Good-looking men made her nervous.

He pulled his chair out and sat watching her for a moment before finally saying, “Hey there, Darlin’, I’m John Ross. Ross to friends,” in a deep drawl.

She nodded her head feeling inordinately shy. She wasn’t sure, but from what few words the man spoke, he seemed to be straight out of the south. He took his hat off, exposing dirty-blond hair that was a bit too long. He was tan, so the outdoors was no stranger to him, and his eyes might’ve been blue or a very deep green; she didn’t want to get caught looking long enough to figure it out.

“Don’t mind him, Darling. He scowls at everyone but is a total pussycat.” Madison pointed at John Ross before adding, “Be nice, this is my BFF.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he answered and let out a mock purr that sent Link to laughing and slapping his hand on the small table, rattling the glassware. Darling began to count the wrought-iron rungs of the courtyard fence, feeling a bit out of her element now that the party had expanded.

“So, Darling is going to be staying at her late grandmother’s house for the summer and watching Beauty Belle for us there. It’s a big house built right on the water and surrounded by, like, acres of marsh and forest. Darling hasn’t been back to the house since she was a kid, so I got to thinking”—Madison paused, smiling brightly before continuing—“we have to practically drive past the lake on our way to Boston, and I thought it might be fun to go with her and check out the place. We could spend a couple of nights, soak up some sun, and be off to London. I could help Darling and Beauty Belle settle in while you take Will to the beach and all. What do you think? Link?”

“I don’t know, baby. I told Junior Ass here that he could ride up with us to Boston.”

“Oh, that’s fine. He can stay with us too. It’s a big house.” Madison looked at each of the men in turn, waiting for a response. Darling kept her mouth shut, amazed by Madison’s audacity.

Link found his voice first. “Sure, honey, if you want to we could stop by for a couple of nights.” He motioned the waiter over and ordered a couple of beers.

Darling waited with bated breath to see how her friend would proceed. She really should spend more time watching Madison to learn from the master. How did she just get him to agree without raising any suspicions? She was going to tell them the whole deal, right?

“I knew you’d think this was a good idea. You see, Darling inherited the house when her grandmother passed, over a year and a half ago or something like that, and has been meaning to check it out. She’s just a little nervous after so many years away from the family homestead, and well, that little incident that happened a week or so back was a nuisance. But I saw some pictures, and the house is really pretty and right in a quaint New England town.” Madison sipped her drink and picked at the salmon in front of her.

Darling had to hand it to her; she did have a way of avoiding the pesky details and focusing on the positive of any situation. The waiter arrived with beers for the guys and whisked away an empty appetizer plate.

“What do you mean by a little incident?” John Ross asked in a deceptively soft voice.

Darling attempted to answer. “A late tropical storm struck late last fall, flooding the dock, and there was a blizzard over the winter that caused some additional damage to the dock and one of the house’s decks. The house is still usable, and I contacted a company to begin repairs, but—”

Madison cut her off midsentence. “But the house is fine, and it would be an adventure.” She smiled at the seated men and pushed a plate of fruit and cheese toward them.

Ross picked up a few grapes, popped them in his mouth, and waited.

“Is anyone else wondering about this incident that has yet to have its curtains pulled open?” Obviously John Ross was a man of few words; he got right to the point. It was clear he was not one to fall for Madison’s ploys. How unusual.

“Well, there is a little more to it.” Darling attempted once again to explain, only to have Madison interrupt.

“Oh, stop. Just pour me another glass of champagne.” Madison tilted her glass to Link, who obliged, deftly pulling the bottle from the ice bucket. “Darling, you always focus on those little pesky details. It really is a lovely house, and we could use some time sitting on a beach.” She winked.

John Ross looked at her, an eyebrow raised in question. She took her time looking into his eyes; they were green and intense. She was beginning to squirm under his scrutiny. His looks could melt frozen chocolate.

He dropped his square jaw, keeping his eyes level with hers. “I’m thinking whatever you girls are leaving out is more than a few pesky details, so why don’t you, Darling, or whatever your name really is, fill us in on the meat and potatoes of the deal.” He swigged from his beer without breaking eye contact with her. Perhaps he had experience interrogating prisoners or something, because even Madison didn’t try to stop her from speaking this time. She knew she couldn’t follow the lead her friend had set. She needed them to know the whole story.

“I haven’t been to my grandmother’s lake house since the day my mom disappeared thirteen years ago. She was grabbed from the house, her car found abandoned in town, and eventually presumed dead. After that my father and I never went back there and instead summered on Cape Cod. Too many memories, I guess.” The story poured out of her in a just-the-facts manner. She’d had to explain the events to so many people over the years she’d become detached from the details. “My grandmother stayed, living in the house until she passed away. The house has been empty since, as I wasn’t sure what to do about the property. Then, I got a call from my aunt who lives in town and owns a real estate agency advising that I should just put it on the market. I was all set to do that, but with one of the deck pillars dropped and the end of the dock submerged in the lake, I needed some repairs. I wound up calling a local restoration company, and they sent a contractor to assess and repair the damage.”
Madison was opening her mouth to interrupt, but John Ross held his hand up and Link smirked, probably amused that someone could get his wife to hold her tongue.

Darling sipped her drink and went on. “Well, the handyman must’ve had an accident or something because his body was found up at the top of the driveway with a flathead screwdriver in his rib cage—it punctured the poor man’s lung. It was hard for the police to tell much because apparently some coyotes or bobcats got to the body, tore it up, and dragged it toward the street. He was found a few days later by a jogger.” She shrugged her shoulders and waited for her friend’s reactions.

Link just stared at her, perhaps trying to take in what he’d just heard. John Ross was less circumspect. “Holy fuck.”

Madison was done keeping quiet. “Oh please, Darling, you make it all sound more dramatic than it is. The repairman probably just fell down while holding some hand tools, and everyone knows that scavengers will mess with anything they can get.”

John Ross fixed his gaze right on her. “So you’re saying you and Madison want us to go spend a couple of nights at an isolated lake house, surrounded by dangerous animals, and where there may have already been at least two murders? Am I getting it all? Because I thought I was in a band, not guest-starring in a damn Scooby Doo episode. I’m not too gung ho about hopping in the mystery machine and looking to unmask old man Withers.” He slapped his beer onto the table. “Damn, little girl, you must be out of your tree. You ladies should go spend the weekend at the spa or something while the house gets cleaned out and sold for whatever some crackpot will pay. Place is probably haunted to boot.” He punctuated his comments by tipping the beer bottle toward her in emphasis.

John Ross’ comments set her teeth on edge. There had been a streak of bad luck at the house recently, but it wasn’t cursed. She might not have gone there for years, but it used to be a special place where her family spent every summer until her mom vanished. She’d loved to swim in the lake and take out the sailboat with her dad. She was ready to face the memories again and certainly didn’t need some rock-and-roll drummer giving her attitude about what she should be doing with her inheritance. She picked up her champagne flute and tipped it in a toast toward John Ross and asked, “So basically you’re scared, is that it?”

“I’m not scared of ghosts, if that’s what you mean. I just don’t want to go settle in there only to have you girls get all spooked in the middle of the night and start carrying on the way women do once the sun goes down. Not that it would be my problem ’cause I’ll be at the Four Seasons in Boston by tomorrow night.” He winked at her before shaking his near-empty beer at Link.

“Sounds good to me; they have a lobby with a grand piano at the Four,” Link kicked in.

“You know what, Darling, I think both these boys are a little rattled about your house. Maybe I should just come with you for the weekend and meet up with them in Boston on Sunday night?” Madison offered with a knowing smile.

Link signaled the waiter to bring two more beers to the table. “Now hold on, honey. I’m not letting you out of my sight for a whole weekend. Junior can find something to do if he’s spooked, but I’m in.”
“Who said I was spooked or rattled? I’m just thinking about you girls. I’m fine with hanging with the group. Besides you guys are driving me up to Boston. I don’t want to leave my baby at airport parking for two months. She’s getting garaged and wiped down with a diaper every day until I get back.” The waiter dropped the beers off for the guys, and John Ross took a healthy sip.

“So it’s all settled, then.” Madison smiled wide. “See, Darling, I told you I had good ideas. We’ll drive up in the Rover on Friday night and meet you. This is going to be so much fun!” Madison clapped her hands together with glee.

“Just one question before we all pack our bags for this little adventure. How exactly did your grandma pass?” John Ross asked, and all eyes at the table pivoted to look her way.

“She fell off the third-floor balcony.”


Darling Roberts is going back to the lake house her mother disappeared from thirteen years ago. She needs to decide to stay or sell. The locals believe the place cursed, but her best friend thinks it would be a blast to spend the weekend there before heading to Europe. BFF Madison is determined to set Darling up, even if that means dragging a recently widowed rock-and-roll drummer to the scene of a murder.

Ross Daniels has a secret. He can’t stand the pitying looks well-wishers have given him since his wife’s accidental death. The European leg of the Becket tour can’t come soon enough. A weekend stay at a mutual friend’s lake house seems like a decent way to kill a couple of days before hopping a plane, at least until he spends some time with temptation herself.

Passions ignite and Ross feels his heart beginning to beat again. Darling isn’t who he thought she was, and he can’t get enough of her sweet soul and lush curves. Darling is determined to take charge of her life, and the lake house is just the place to begin. Ross is a scrumptious distraction, but she knows she has to keep things in perspective. Why would a world-famous drummer want to hang out with her in a small town even the locals want her run out of?

Buy it now! It's a new release! 
Buy Link:

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's a 'Dangerous Secret'…#AuthorInterview with Jessica Lauryn #RomanticSuspense

I'm happy to welcome Jessica Lauryn back to Kisses, Caresses, & Whispers in the Night as part of her book tour for her latest release, 'Dangerous Secret.' In addition to the interview, she's graciously offered to do a giveaway for an ebook copy of  'Dangerous Proposition.' See the Rafflecopter below! 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate it.  Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
Author Jessica Lauryn

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and I’ve been writing with the pursuit of publication since 2006. My first book, Dangerous Ally was published back in 2011 and I’ve since had 3 more books published. My latest, Dangerous Secret, just released on June 10th!

I jumped back in time a couple of year to write Dangerous Secret, as it’s actually the prequel story in my current series, The Pinnacles of Power. This fast-paced romantic suspense series all centers around a dangerous criminal organization, and five couples whose passion for one another ignites as their lives become entangled with the danger that surrounds them at every turn.

In Dangerous Secret, we meet Abigail MacKenzie, the girl-next-door whose father was murdered 6 years ago and whose murder went unsolved.  After learning the only person who witnessed her father’s shooting has also been killed, Abigail meets a handsome stranger, and quickly realizes that the man has in his possession a business card belonging to her father’s witness. Shortly following, when Abigail is about to accept a new job position, the handsome stranger, Ryan Newberry, resurfaces, and Abigail learns he’s going to be her supervisor.

What inspired this novel in particular? 

I actually began writing this story many years ago, before I was even trying to write a story I felt was good enough to get published.  Like my heroine Abigail, I’d worked in a hotel that was undergoing renovation and I had the day-to-day grind of what we were all doing stuck in my head. I dreamed of having a dark handsome stranger join our staff, and I thought, what could be more romantic than having a secret rendezvous in some of the hotel rooms we were all working so hard to clean. ;)

Years later, when I’d had a couple of stories in The Pinnacles of Power Series under my belt, I was looking for ideas to extend the series and thought the story I’d barely began about the hotel romance would be a good fit.  Taking the initial premise of that story, I changed the characters to be the ones in The Pinnacles of Power Series, and I worked to create a story that would head up my five book story about diamond smuggling, sexy criminals, the men who get caught in their web and the heroines who fall for both.

I know this is part of a series, can you sum up the previous books for us so we can get a sense of the overall scope?

Dangerous Secret, [book # 1] kicks off The Pinnacles of Power Series in the small town of North Conway, New Hampshire. Abigail MacKenzie fights to learn who murdered her father years ago, simultaneously struggling to learn the dangerous secret of her handsome surpervisor, Ryan Newberry.

In Dangerous Proposal, [book # 2] Alec Westwood [Ryan Newberry’s best friend] goes into a panic when a mysterious young woman, Lena Benson, shows up in town wearing an amulet with the symbol of the underground organization who recruited him to assassinate a man ten years ago.

In Dangerous Proposition, [book # 3] Julia Dyson [Abigail MacKenzie’s best friend] discovers her father has been kidnapped and believes that he may have been taken by a man who appears to be concealing a liftime of secrets, her teenage crush [Alec Westwood’s older brother] Colin Westwood.

In Dangerous Ally, [book # 4] journalist Lilah Benson [Lena Benson’s younger sister] is sent on an assignment to expose diamond smuggling operation Project Gemstone and she comes head-to-head with its founder, [Lena’s ex-fiancĂ©] dark, mysterious Lucas Ramone.

Do you have a favorite character in the series?

I really do love all of my characters equally but if I had to pick a favorite I’d have to say Alec Westwood.  I really dug deep into Lena’s psyche while I was writing Dangerous Proposal, imagining the man I’d want to meet were I in her shoes.  Alec is handsome, charming, and he’s so funny! I still laugh whenever I re-read his dialogue, even though I’ve read each of the books that he appears in about a million times.  I really enjoyed writing scenes with Alec in Dangerous Secret, because I got to explore how he would have been a few years prior to meeting Lena. He’s a wise-guy, always confident, and a ladies’ man through and through. **Minor spoiler alert** Having Alec pursue Abigail a little bit and consequently push all of Ryan’s buttons was one of my favorite things to write about in Dangerous Secret!

What comes first--characters or plot ideas?

Character and plot are pretty much simultaneous for me, but I definitely work the plot out before fully understanding my characters.

I plot out every story with an outline before writing it, so my focus at the beginning is on the overall storyline, and not so much on the smaller details. One thing I do make myself do is to name the characters as quickly as possible, the hero and heroine in particular.  This gives me an idea of how to visualize them, and to hear their voices in my head as I go about plotting their storyline in my outline.

What motivates your main characters?

In Dangerous Secret, protagonist Abigail MacKenzie is strongly motivated by her love for her father and wanting to get him justice for his murder. When she learns that her father’s witness has also been murdered and that the shooting took place in the hotel where she is going to be working, she vows to do whatever it takes to learn whether there is a connection between the murders and bring her father’s killer to justice.

After being laid off from his previous job, Ryan Newberry is desperate to hold onto his new position at the Washington Valley Hotel. But when mysterious clues begin to show up in his new place of employment, the very same clues he believes he was fired for discovering last time, he realizes he must solve the mystery of the hotel murders or else risk being blacklisted for good this time. When Ryan sees that his front desk associate, the sweet pretty girl who is quickly getting under his skin, Abigail MacKenzie, is interested in solving this mystery herself, he realizes he must protect Abigail, the way he failed to protect his sister Rachel from a tragic accident.

What is the central conflict in this new release and how does it differ from the previous books in the series?

Central to Dangerous Secret’s conflict, is not only who killed Abigail’s father, John MacKenzie, but why they did it.  As Dangerous Secret is the first book in the series, we don’t yet know about the secret criminal organization Project Gemstone, which we later learn that heroes Alec Westwood, Colin Westwood and Lucas Ramone have all been involved in, in some way.  It’s a mystery, and Abigail and Ryan are each desperate to solve that mystery for different reasons. In the other 3 stories, we essentially know Alec’s, Colin’s and Lucas’s involvement with Project Gemstone and we are dealing with the aftermath of those heroes’ past mistakes. Whereas in Dangerous Secret, both hero in heroine are in the dark as to what is the cause of their surrounding danger.   

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? 

I love being a novelist, more specifically a romance novelist, because I get to think about romance all of the time. I’ve always imagined how it will be when I meet “the one” and I’ve come to realize I’m very good at imagining different ways that this might happen for various people. Throw in a bit of danger, and I absolutely love coming up with unique ways for couples to meet and fall in love.

What draws you to this particular genre?

Romance is at the core of who I am.  I never get tired of thinking about it!

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?

I enjoy mysteries and science fiction, however, I typically don’t enjoy a story as much if it doesn’t contain at least some element of romance. When reading another author’s work I generally perk up when romance takes the center stage and shut down when it doesn’t. I can’t think of too many things fiction-wise that I enjoy reading or watching that don’t include at least a certain degree of romance. I might write something that isn’t a romance at some point, but right now I’m having too much fun doing what I do.

If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would send myself to Switzerland where I could explore the picturesque Swiss Alps. I’ve only seen the Alps on TV and I think that the land out there is absolutely beautiful. Snow aside, I think it would be an ideal place both to live and to write.

Tea or coffee?  Neither

Night person or early riser?  Early Riser

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself.

1. I’m addicted to soap-operas.
2. Roses and orchids are my favorite flowers.
3. I collect Victorian-Era antiques.
4. I live in New Jersey.
5. I’m a hopeless romantic. 

Fabulous interview, Jessica. Now let's look an excerpt of your 'Dangerous Secret'. 

Abigail was about to attempt an answer when the old-fashioned bells on the door rang. A ray of light streaked against the floor. Through it stepped a man who appeared to be a couple of years older than herself. He was tall and broad shouldered, and he was wearing a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans. At second glance she observed that he had thick black hair and deep blue eyes. Mysterious eyebrows loomed above them. There was a touch of dark stubble on his cheeks.
A jolt of electricity shot up Abigail’s spine as the man approached the counter. His broad chest came into view as he came toward her. The man looked strong, like he could bench press their picnic table in the parking lot.
There weren’t a lot of twentysomethings living in their town. She would probably remember if she’d seen him before. Offering a smile she prayed wasn’t too anxious, Abigail straightened her posture.
His grin broadening, the man placed his large hands against the counter. He leaned forward and said, “Shouldn’t you be off the phone in case a customer walks in? I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules.”
Abigail hung up promptly. “What makes you think this isn’t the company phone?”
“It might be.” The man in the farm-shirt shrugged. “But something tells me the company phone isn’t pink.”
There were several things inside of that room that were pink. But Abigail didn’t suppose the fact would strengthen her case any.
“Probably good instincts,” she muttered, picking up a rag from beside her. Frantically, she scrubbed the counter.
“Aren’t you going to ask me what I’d like?” the man said, offering her a second glimpse of his perfect white smile.
Abigail dropped the cloth she was holding. “I’m sorry. Yes, of course. What can I get for you, Sir?” Of course, he didn’t look anything at all like a ‘Sir’ and a lot like the most handsome guy she’d ever seen.
Unable to hold back, she pressed, “You’re not going to tell anyone, are you? About the phone, I mean. Not that you don’t have every right to be angry. But for what it’s worth, I really need to keep this job.”
A look of sympathy and something she couldn’t quite describe settled about his lightly tanned face. “Tell you what. You make me a vanilla milkshake, throw in an extra pinch of syrup, and we’ll call it even.”
Abigail paled. She was terrible at making milkshakes. What was worse was that the machine had been acting finicky all morning. Saying a silent prayer that she could change his mind, she asked, “Sure that you wouldn’t rather have a banana split instead? We just made a batch of our fresh strawberry ice cream this morning. It’s rich and creamy, made with strawberries grown right here in North Conway.”
“I really don’t think—”
“Did I mention all of our sundaes are fifty percent off today?” She crossed her fingers behind her back.
He said, “I appreciate you letting me know. But it just so happens that I’ve got my heart set on a vanilla milkshake.” Inclining his head in her direction, he said, “In my experience, the more desirable choice is worth paying the price for.”
Ignoring the goose bumps that had formed along her arms, Abigail took a gigantic step back. She could do this. Just because she’d never successfully made a milkshake correctly on the first shot before didn’t mean she couldn’t do it now.
She took three scoops of vanilla ice cream from the dome beneath the counter. Then, she added extract. Sugar came next and finally, milk, which she was very relieved not to spill on the counter. With all of the ingredients packed safely inside the metal cup, she walked over to the milkshake mixer.
Ignoring the feel of her customer’s sinful blue eyes against her back, she proceeded to begin her task. She slipped the cup into place beneath the metal stirring wand. Breath held, she flicked the switch.
Turning the cup in slow circles, Abigail mixed the ingredients. After about thirty seconds, her confidence began to grow. Ice cream and syrup had become a smooth, drinkable liquid she was almost proud of. Beaming, she reached across the counter for the whipped cream, which she’d add to the top when she was finished.
Turning her attention back to the machine, Abigail gave the metal cup a final spin then pushed the switch downward. But instead of turning off, the wand spun harder, causing the chunky white liquid to spill over the sides of the cup. She placed her finger firmly over the switch, but it wouldn’t move. She forced it down as hard as she could, but the metal nozzle popped upward and the stirring wand spun at lightning speed. The contents of the cup flew up and out, landing on the floor and all over the ceiling.
Abigail gasped, turning to where her handsome customer stood. His shirt was covered in thick chunks of ice cream.
“Oh my God!” She grabbed a towel from the counter. Racing from behind it, she went to where he was standing and began rubbing his shirt vigorously.
Seeing that there was an enormous white streak near the bottom of his shirt, Abigail went to work on it. She quickly realized that she was only setting in the stain. She slowed her strokes, inadvertently lifting the man’s shirt as she did so. A wad of cash was sticking out of his pocket, but she barely noticed it, mesmerized by the look of his hard abdomen and silky dark chest hair. She breathed in and out. Warmth flooded her insides.
Clearing her throat, she took a step back and said, “I’m sorry. You’ll probably want to be doing that yourself.”
A smile spread across the man’s face. “Not really. I actually thought you were doing an excellent job.”

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Like she said in the interview, 'Dangerous Secret' is the prequel to 'Dangerous Proposition' so how sweet would it be to win a copy? Pretty sweet! Enter to win on the rafflecopter below. Winner will be announced on June 23. 

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