Fun with the In-Laws: Excerpt and Blog Hop #RHACafe #Kindlefire #prizes

Easter Blog Hop

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Are you ready for some post Easter fun? I’ll be giving away an ebook of either of my books to one person who comments on this post. In addition, you can head here to enter for the Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HD loaded with some ebooks from Mina Carter and Milly Taiden/April Angel.

I don’t have a book with an Easter scene in it, but I do have one with Christmas. So in honor of the holiday, I’m going to share a bit cheer. In my latest novel, To Growl or to Groan, Chloe travels to her boyfriend’s parents’ home in Scotland a little before Thanksgiving. It’s her first time meeting the family, as well, but by Christmas Eve, she’s feeling a bit more comfortable with his family. Here’s a snippet from the beginning of the scene where they open presents.

After dinner, everyone retires to the living room and lounges around digesting food. Jeremy is the only one who seems to have missed out on the food coma. He bounces between his parents and grandparents asking when we’re going to open presents, since the family tradition is not to wait for Christmas morning.

There are a lot fewer presents under the tree then there were a few days ago when we loaded up a bunch to take to various charities in the area. Now each adult only has one under the tree, and there are seven for Jeremy (one from each adult who isn’t his parent).

Feeling the need to get the food in my stomach moving, I heft myself off an easy chair and walk over to the tree. I notice that there are small presents nestled among the boughs. Jorge walks up behind me, encircling my waist. I lay my arms over his, the noise of the rest of the family’s chatter fading into the background. “What’s up with the presents in the tree?”

“Each year there’s one special gift for each person. My mom hides them during dinner every year. We each draw one person’s name and come up with the gift. This year you got out of the drawing because I wanted this part to be a surprise for you, so I got a present for you and Miriam.”

I peer around the tree, at least as much as I can with Jorge’s arms around me, and try to locate one with my name on it.

He laughs, pulls me closer. “No trying to find yours in advance. Unless, of course, you want to get scolded by my mother.”

“OK. How about you show me some of the ornaments you made now?”

“At the risk of my mother misinterpreting, I’ll find a few in the front.” He releases me, and I miss his warmth. He walks to the side of the tree facing his mother, plucking three ornaments as he returns to my side.

He holds up what looks like a reindeer made from Legos and felt. “I built this when I was seven. I loved Legos.”

“It’s so cute. It’s a reindeer, right?”

“Of course it’s a reindeer. It’s Rudolph. Look at the red nose.”

I chuckle. “Defensive much?”

He ignores my taunt and holds up a second one. A hand-painted candy cane. The stripes are there but decidedly uneven. “This one was a project in grade one.”

I lean in to inspect the ornament.

“Not bad for a six-year-old. I can definitely tell it’s a candy cane.”

He lets out a long-suffering sigh and places the two ornaments back on the tree haphazardly. Then he holds up a third and flips a switch. The tiny robotic Santa’s legs start to move. “If I set it down on a flat surface, it would walk.”

“Let me guess. This was from when you started to become really geeky?”

“I got an A on my robotics project in grade eight science, I’ll have you know.”

Jeremy, attracted by the whirring sound, zooms over and asks to play with the toy. Jorge kneels beside him and puts the Santa on the hardwood floor. It starts to march toward Adam. Jeremy claps and follows it until it runs into his dad’s leg.

Adam scoops up Jeremy and the toy. “What have we got here?” He inspects the robot, turns to Jorge. “Isn’t this a project you did for school?”

“Yes. I was just showing it to Chloe.”

Jeremy squirms, and Adam sets him down and hands him the toy. He races off to show his grandpa. Adam turns to me. “He made a ton of robots when he was a kid. I’m sure Mom still has them somewhere.”

“I’m sure Chloe doesn’t want to see my robots.”

I give him a bemused smile. “So you do still have them? How cute.”

Miriam enters the conversation. “What’s cute?”

Adam turns to her. “Jorge’s boyhood robot collection, which he evidently still has.”

“Ooh, I remember those robots.”

Jorge gives her a wry eyebrow raise. “I remember you breaking several of them.”

Before the discussion can continue, Alice stands and announces it’s time for presents.

She’s unready to face her past, but she may have no choice.

It may be her best friend who gets surprisingly accurate hunches about the future, but Chloe just  knows something big –and bad—is about to happen. She telepathically communicates with animals and shape-shifters, but her growing psychic abilities are beginning to scare her. She suspects her mother also had abilities, and when those powers grew beyond her control, she left her daughter and husband when Chloe was only ten.

Despite her worries, she won’t let anything interrupt her trip to Scotland to meet her shape-shifter boyfriend’s family. Meeting Jorge’s close-knit family and spending the Holidays with them is worry enough!

When his sister goes missing, her disappearance is linked to a shadowy organization that knows exactly how to hide her from her shape-shifting relatives’ tracking ability. What they don’t count on is Chloe’s psychic gift.

In the rush to find Jorge’s sister, Chloe loses control of her ability and accidentally harms an animal’s psyche. Ridden with guilt, she’s afraid her ability just might destroy her relationship with Jorge. She isn’t ready to find her mother and face her past, but she may not have a choice if she wants to ensure she never harms anyone again.

What readers are saying about To Growl or to Groan:

4* from Sizzling Hot Books: “If you like shapeshifters, some sexy romance, and a good mystery as well then I would definitely recommend To Growl Or To Groan.”

“I enjoyed reading more in this book about Chloe’s exploration of her abilities and past as well as her HOT relationship with Jorge. I will be looking for more from this author for sure. This book is a light and fun read with adventure, passion and a few unexpected twists and turns. Highly recommend reading this book.”

“I liked the twist with the shifter and non-shifter relationships in this book. It made it refreshing to read. I thought Katya Armock did a great job with the storyline and I was kept interested from the very beginning.”

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I’m sure Chloe doesn’t want to see my robots. #8Sunday

This week I’m sharing a glance into Jorge’s relationship with his siblings, Miriam and Adam. It’s also part of a larger snippet from To Growl or to Groan that I’m sharing as part of the MFRW Home for the Holidays hop. If you’d like to read the whole excerpt, go to this post.

“I’m sure Chloe doesn’t want to see my robots.”

I give him a bemused smile. “So you do still have them? How cute.”

Miriam enters the conversation. “What’s cute?”

Adam turns to her. “Jorge’s boyhood robot collection, which he evidently still has.”

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Be Mine this Christmas Night by L.A. Sartor

BLURB:

The Children’s Author …

Annie Hamilton’s children’s series Star Light~Star Bright is a mega hit. She loves kids and wants nothing more than a family of her own, but twice burned, thrice shy. When a gorgeous man with two young boys moves next door, Annie can’t help but dream her impossible dream.

 And The Widower Who Moved Next Door …

Cole Evans is a brilliant scientist, but finds fatherhood a challenge. When his son develops a bond with their enchanting neighbor, the boy’s favorite author, Cole discovers just how much he’s lost—and how much he needs.

Will Their Wish Come True This Christmas Night?

Can Cole overcome family meddling and alleviate Annie’s fears so they can be a ready-made family?

EXCERPT:

Chapter Two….

Mannheim Steamroller played through Annie’s earbuds from the MP3 player tucked into her parka pocket. What a glorious morning. The storm had moved on, the sky was brilliantly blue, and the sun sparkled off the pristine white blanket that covered everything.

Three weeks before Christmas and the snow was a foot deep. The forecasters predicted more this week, so Annie decided it was a sign they’d have a white Christmas. Not rational as that date was too many days away to forecast the weather, but she didn’t care. Sometimes you just had to believe.

She stopped pushing the snowblower for a moment, catching her breath, leaning against the heavy machine. The weight of the snow-spewing monster on top of no sleep last night took its toll far sooner than normal.

She’d bought the biggest snowblower she could handle, not only because of her wide driveway, but also, once she got going, the whole sidewalk on her side of the street got the Annie treatment.

And it was good exercise, especially when she knew she was going to make her favorite coffee as a treat afterward.

Taking a deep, frosty breath, Annie turned back to resume her task and jumped a foot when Doctor Cole Evans stood right in front of her machine, lips moving.

A chuckle bubbled up and despite her best intention, laughter escaped just as she pulled the earbuds from beneath her cap.

The furrow between his dark brows grew deeper. Annie grasped the handles of the snowblower tighter, fighting the urge to push him into the snow. He needed to lighten up.

“Jeeze, scare me to death. I’m sorry I didn’t see you come up, but I was listening to music.” She held one earbud closer to his ears so he could hear the Christmas music. If he didn’t believe in Christmas, then she was taunting him, and somehow that didn’t bother her a bit. Not her normal behavior, but the guy just seemed to push her ornery buttons.

“You don’t have to clear our walk. I was going to do it when I came out to clean off the Pilot before I headed for the lab.”

“I don’t mind—it’s good exercise so I can make myself a mocha peppermint coffee topped with whipped cream afterward. What kind of doctor are you that you have a lab?”

“An atmospheric physicist.”

Annie’s jaw dropped, then she laughed to cover her own astonishment as well as her embarrassment. “Not an MD, then. My mistake.”

“Not in a million years. I faint at the sight of blood and anyone will tell you I’ve got no bedside manner.”

“You got that right,” she murmured under her breath.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Nothing. Really, I plow the neighbor’s walks all the time and it’s fun, honest,” she said, seeing his skeptical gaze. “You have snow in Virginia, don’t you?”

“Of course. The wet slushy kind.”

“So you had to remove that, right?”

“Right.”

“No different.”

“Except you’re doing my sidewalk.”

“I’m a simple author who does sidewalks on the side, okay?”

He snorted and she loved that he would do so. It was such a plebeian thing to do. Not at all “East Coast.”

“Not a simple author. As you may have guessed, Josh loves your books. And having you live next door may be a curse to you.”

“Never. I love kids.”

“It’s evident in your writing.”

Not quite believing her ears, she stared at the man standing in front of her. “Why I do believe that’s a compliment, which, before you can retract, I’ll take,” she added swiftly, seeing his mouth open, then shut.

“What are Josh and his brother doing this afternoon? I’ve got a new character to illustrate and I’d love their input.”

“Mitch is taking them Christmas tree shopping, then onto snow shoeing lessons this afternoon.”

“Oh. Well that sounds like fun. Who is—”

Annie glanced up as Cole’s front door opened. And when did you start thinking of him as Cole instead of Doctor Cole Evans?

The man Annie had seen helping Cole move in stood in the doorway, zipped his parka, and turned back in apparent surprise as Josh pushed past him.

“Annie, we’re going Christmas tree shopping. Want to come?”

Cole froze as did the man at the door.

“Hey, Josh.”

Without stopping to think, Annie hugged the boy after he ran right up to her.

“Want to introduce me to your brother and friend?” Annie nodded to the man and boy who now stood next to Cole.

“Oh. That’s Uncle Mitch. And that,” he said, pointing to the youngest in the trio of males standing together, “is my brother, Peter.”

Peter stood unmoving and unsmiling until “Uncle Mitch” nudged him. Not Cole, Annie realized, but Mitch. Curious.

Peter looked at Mitch, then at her. “Ah, nice to meet you.”

Annie smiled at Peter and held out her hand to Mitch. “And nice to meet you both as well. It’s great Cole has a brother nearby.”

“I’m Lauren’s brother.”

Ah. More curious. “My mistake.” It was evident by Mitch’s clipped tones he didn’t like her. He didn’t know her at all, but he sure didn’t like her already. And that she wasn’t invited to their outing was also pretty darn clear.

Book Links:

BIO:

Leslie Ann Sartor (aka L.A. Sartor) began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at Leslie’s insistence, wrote them down and Leslie illustrated them.  As an adult she writes suspense and action adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation!  She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date.  Leslie loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter at her website.

 

 

No doubt one dog recognizes another… Vonnie Davis Warms Us Up for the Holidays

Today I welcome the lovely Vonnie Davis to get us in the mood for the Holidays!

Thanks for allowing me to share briefly about my Christmas novella, Katya. It released on Thanksgiving Day.

There’s only one thing on Becca Sinclair’s Christmas list this holiday season – her very own column in the local paper. And if she can build a huge blog following, her wish just might come true.

Enter Dan “Wolf” Wolford aka the man-whore next door and the new star of Becca’s popular, post-divorce blog about men. A Navy SEAL turned commander of the Florida Marine Rescue Unit, Wolf’s the very definition of the word alpha – and with an endless rotation of women on his doorstep, this hunk on a Harley has Becca and her female followers all hot and bothered!

All Becca wants for Christmas is her newspaper column, right? But when she finds herself the target of Wolf’s irresistible attentions, her snarky comebacks become less and less convincing and, suddenly, she’s not so sure anymore…

EXCERPT:

Just then his door opened, and man-whore stepped out on his small front porch. In a purely feminine reaction, Becca reached to smooth back her hair. Suddenly, Einstein wrenched his leash from her grip and took off.

“Einstein! Einstein, stop!” She sprinted after her errant dog.

Her neighbor pivoted. Einstein leaped, knocking him back against the door. “Whoa, there big guy!” He accepted the canine kisses and aimed dark eyes at her. “Is he yours? He’s some dog.” His large hands ruffled Einstein’s fur. Firm biceps flexed under her neighbor’s black Harley T-shirt, and the bottom of a wicked tribal tattoo peeked from beneath his right sleeve.

“Yes. I’m sorry he jumped on you. He never takes off like that.”

No doubt one dog recognizes another.

“Man, I’d love a dog like him. A man’s dog, you know? I’ve got a cat. Not by choice, though. When my sister went off to college, she left Fluffy with me.” Man-whore aimed a wide smile at her, his perfectly straight teeth a contrast to his tan. A dimple winked. The fact he only

had one dimple was the singular flaw on his flawlessly handsome face. Now that she was within five feet of him, she could clearly examine his features. Having watched him through her window from time-to-time, she knew he was tall and muscular. But up close, she realized he had the body of a serious weight lifter. His long, dark brown hair was brushed straight back. The skin crinkled at the corners of espresso-colored eyes when he smiled, which he seemed to do easily and frequently. Yet, it was the vision of him holding a cat named Fluffy that nearly made her smile. Muscle man and putty cat.

“You live next door, don’t you?” He jerked his head toward her home.

She bent to grasp the end of her dog’s leash. “Yes, I do.”

He extended his hand when she straightened. “Dan Wolford.” His dimple flashed again and his smile did all kinds of twitchy things to her insides. “Most people simply call me Wolf.”

I’ll just bet they do.

She glanced at his hand for a second. No need to be rude, even if she didn’t care for his cavalier attitude toward women. She did the polite thing. “Welcome to the neighborhood, Dan.”

“Wolf, please.” His large paw enveloped hers, and warmth spread upwards from her stomach, did a backflip and then dove downwards.

Meanwhile, his dark gaze assessed her entire body and face, as if she were the most dazzling woman in sweaty running clothes he’d ever seen. His solitary dimple winked along with his thousand-watt smile. One dark eyebrow rose as if he were waiting for her to share her name. She wasn’t sure why she hesitated. She was reluctant. Fueled by his cocksure attitude, no doubt. Now there was a cliché, if ever she’d heard one.

His thumb rubbed slow, lazy circles over her knuckles detonating sensual signals straight to her core. Oh, he was good at this magnetism stuff.

Wolf glanced at her prancing, panting dog. “Einstein, does your owner have a name? It looks like she’s not sharing today.”

Oh, for Pete’s sake.

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