Countdown to Christmas: Release Day!! As You Were, Cowboy – Lone Star Leathernecks Book 2 by Heather Long

As You Were, Cowboy
Lone Star Leathernecks Book 2
Heather Long


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Mateo Lopez, honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on medical leave, is struggling to rebuild his life. The spinal cord injury that left him feeling like a broken man resulted in his inability to ride the horses he loves and works with on Round Top Ranch.

The new horse trainer at the ranch, however, has decided that this isn’t acceptable. Claire Windsor, a spirited, London-born spitfire of a woman, has come to begin a new program to turn the horses into therapy animals. She turns Mateo’s world upside-down, and try as he might to avoid her, she keeps inserting herself into his life. As their plans for the ranch clash, so too do their hearts…making all things fair in love and war.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Clare is excited to start training therapy horses at Round Top Ranch. However the reception she receives at the barn is not what she anticipated.

Mateo had finished up what he could and was heading to his place to take his pain meds. Before he reached his truck he ran into the new arrival. As he realizes her purpose he is not pleased.

Tanner sort of soothes things over with Mateo, but essentially tells him to work with her. They need her expertise with training the horses to be therapy horses.

Now while there is some animosity between the two, there is also a truce.

A favorite scene is Mateo’s first cup of tea after a harrowing episode of pain while they were in town.

Trusting her had been the easier decision. Not when his trying to drive while in the midst of a spasm would end with them in a wreck. Rubbing the back of his neck, he leaned against the counter.

“Are you sure I can’t convince you to go upstairs and sleep? I may be overstepping, but I don’t think you should drive yet. Your pupils are still a little dilated. While we’re on the ranch, you could still run off the gravel road.”  No judgment showed in her expression, nor reflected in her tone. What struck him as so prim and proper before seemed to resonate with something deeper.

She was something else. “I’m not putting you out of your bed,” He protested.

“I’m not using it currently. I’ve been sitting here reading and enjoying my tea.” She’d freed her hair from the ponytail and it had fallen in a long gleaming mass. The temptation to stroke his fingers through the golden strands to see if they were as silky as they appeared pulsed through him.

It took a moment for her words to penetrate as he studied her little table set before glancing at her again. “Why are you still awake?,” he asked her. “It’s…” He looked at his watch. 3 a.m. It had been afternoon. “I slept twelve hours.”

“I know, you were in a lot of pain.” No matter how sympathetic and understanding her manner, he’d let her down—and then he’d become less than useless, a lump on her sofa. His apology died unspoken when she rubbed his arm. “If you’re going to be up, I can make you a sandwich. Jules stocked my fridge.”

“You don’t have to do that.” He withdrew, not because he didn’t like her touch, but because the sensation of her rubbing his arm was too pleasant. It provoked thoughts he shouldn’t be having, particularly when she was all soft and gorgeous. Thoughts he couldn’t act on.

Not anymore.

“Go sit down,” she ordered, and oddly enough, he obeyed it. At least her kitchen chairs were wider than the ones in the tea shop, and cushioned. Lowering himself slowly, he sat. The drugs had done their work. The radiating lashes of agony abated to an aching soreness. A glass of water appeared in front of him, then Claire went across the room to pour boiling water from the kettle on the stove into the teapot.

Fuck. Discipline kept him from cursing aloud. He’d slipped a couple of times since coming home. He’d been a lot freer with his language when deployed. Neither Maria nor Ramon tolerated the language so he’d rehabilitated.


“I’m heating up one of the shepherd’s pie that was in the fridge.” Claire’s voice soothed him, and gave his wandering mind something to latch onto. That was the problem with pills and why he didn’t want to take them. They screwed him up and he’d seen too many guys struggling with addiction to spend any time down the rabbit hole.

“Shepherd’s pie?” Another weak attempt at conversation, but if she were going to make an effort, he needed to try and repay her kindness.

“Apparently your mum wanted me to feel at home, so she prepared several familiar meals and left them in the freezer for me.” Claire smiled. “I didn’t realize how many until tonight. It’s such a lovely gesture.”

“Mama’s really good at taking care of folks, especially if we let her.” A long drink of the water helped wet his throat, but cottonmouth feeling hadn’t gone away fully. Claire refilled her teacup, then added some to a second cup he hadn’t noticed immediately.

“I will be certain to thank her tomorrow—later today. Do you prefer sugar and milk? I know there’s honey but I’m not sure about lemon.” She hadn’t taken a seat yet, but she set the teapot on the table and reclaimed the kettle and returned it to the warmer.

“However you do should be fine.” He wasn’t a tea drinker, so he had no idea how he’d like it.

Claire added two lumps of sugar to each cup, then a dash of milk. She stirred them both before nudging his closer to him. Reclaiming her spot on the window seat, she lifted her tea for a sip.

What the hell, couldn’t hurt to try it. The cup felt a hair too dainty in his large hands, but he managed to lift it without spilling a drop. His first sip tasted strange, but not bad. Claire watched him over the rim of her own cup as she took a sip.

“Not my first choice,” he said, then took another sip. The cinnamon left a faint burn against his tongue, but the orange afterward added to the experience.

“Tea makes everything better,” she assured him with beatific smile.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“You don’t have to,” she chuckled, and crossed one leg over the other. “Do you feel better?”

Inexplicably, he did. “Yes.”

“Which proves my argument, tea makes everything better.”

Conceding the point, he nodded. Still a little fragmented, he focused on sipping the tea and on Claire herself. “Learn something new everyday.” With every drink, he found himself liking it more. “You didn’t tell me why you’re sitting in your kitchen at three in the morning.”

“You remember when you knocked on my door yesterday morning?”

It still felt like the same day, but he nodded. No way he’d forget how deliciously disheveled she’d been. “You were sleeping in and I woke you up.”

“Jet lag is not kind, and my body thinks I’m still on Stafford time. It’s late morning at home and I was used to being up by five each day, which is 10 p.m. here.”

“That’s the suck. I had the same problem after deployments—on both sides of the coin.”

“Any tips for overcoming it?”

He’d finished his cup and she lifted the teapot in offering. “Yes please,” he said and slid his cup over. After she refilled it, he added the sugar and milk. He’d paid attention to what she’d done earlier. “Sorry, wish I had better tips than ‘Stay up until you’re at the new time you want to sleep and crash then’. One good part about the Marines, if I needed to sleep, I trained myself to go right to sleep. Didn’t matter if I’d been on a plane all day or walking miles.”
Heather Long. Long-Heather AsYouWereCowboy ARC (Kindle Locations 1095-1142). CBS Corporation. Kindle Edition.

I absolutely loved the prim and proper Claire. She’s smart and feisty and more than capable of holding her own against Mateo.

Mateo has much to overcome and he fights almost every step of the way.

The relationship is a slow build-up that I found very satisfying.

The book held some nostalgia for me, and I loved the British insight to being in Texas. I laughed, yelled and cried too.

This mix of cowboy and former military is a definite win! I can’t wait to see what the next book will hold for us.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

Heather Long Heather Long

USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.

From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.

When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

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Countdown to Christmas! ARC Review of Brazilian Surrender by Carmen Falcone

Brazilian Surrender
The Brazilians Book 4
Carmen Falcone


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Psychology student Camila Duarte is finally on her own, living in NYC and away from her overprotective brothers. Her serenity quakes when she receives terrorizing letters. When the threats ramp up, she hires the best problem solver in the business to protect her and look for the criminal.

After losing his wife and kid, Jaeger Bauer left the NYPD and has one simple rule: don’t get attached. A job is just a job. Working close to Camila, however, puts his remarkable self-control to the test. He wants to pursue her, even though they are complete opposites and want different things. As the stakes get higher, Jaeger needs to choose between protecting his client…or surrendering to desire and jeopardizing the entire mission.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Although this isn’t a Christmas story, I have been waiting for this book, the final book of the Brazilians. Thank you to Carmen Falcone for the ARC, it’s always a privilege to read a book before release.

What’s a girl to do when she finds herself receiving threatening letters? Well in Camila’s case she could turn to her brothers but her whole reason for leaving Brazil was to prove she could be on her own. Besides the publicity that would arise from her going to them or the police could jeopardize her future career as a therapist.

When Jaeger’s Aunt Gesa calls and tells him he has to take Camilla on as a client, he knew he couldn’t say no without incurring the woman’s wrath.

Threatening letters were one thing, but then Camilla comes home from work and finds her dog dead.

This is a favorite scene when Jaeger takes her to his home for the extra security.

A tiny brown Chihuahua ran to him, yapping and wagging its tail. He carried the dog to another area of the apartment, with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry.”

She blinked back more tears. Her heart raced at the memory of how happily Torto greeted her whenever she arrived at home, even if she’d been gone for a few minutes to get the mail. “It’s okay,” she lied, but her restrained voice betrayed her.

“This should have crossed my mind.” To the dog he said, “Sit down.”

She slid off her oversize bag, letting it fall on the floor, and then sat on one of the sofas. What a strange feeling. She’d lost both her parents, so she’d had firsthand experience on dealing with grief. Yet knowing about it did nothing to help her accept the loss of Torto.

“Some people say it’s just a dog, but he was my companion ever since I lived in Brazil. Having him here meant having a little piece of my family and homeland with me.”

“I…” He scratched his head. Would he offer his condolences again? He reached to his cabinet, grabbed a bottle of tequila and two shot glasses from another, and filled them up. “Here.” He walked to her, holding the glasses.

She accepted one, trying for her fingers to not brush his. She glanced at the clear liquid and realized that was the best he could offer her. Didn’t take a shrink to know Jaeger Bauer didn’t enjoy sentimental conversations, and maybe the alcohol would help numb the pain. Taking a deep breath, she lifted the glass to her lips and drank it all at once. A burning tightened her throat for a few seconds, and when she sat the glass on the coffee table her limbs loosened a notch.

“Better?” he asked, and she noticed he’d emptied his glass, too.

“Is that what you do not to feel?” she asked him, her brain barely catching up to the words escaping her mouth. He sat across from her.

“Not often. I train and work and deal with each day one at a time.”

“Whom did you lose?” she asked, composing herself on the sofa and crossing her legs. The way he talked about things had to mean he knew a thing or two about losing people.

He drummed his fingers on the glass. He shook his head. “Working for you will be easier if we don’t try to be friends.”

“Shouldn’t be a problem. Something tells me you’re not exactly an expert at making friends.”

He smiled. “You got that right.”

Why didn’t he smile more often? Okay, so it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky chuckle or anything. He curved his lips and slowly showed his straight white teeth, the grin sneaking up on him before he could dictate himself not to, she imagined.

“Okay, nonfriend…what’s up with the tiny dog? I’d picture you with a Rottweiler not with something that can fit in doll’s clothes.”

“He belonged to an old neighbor who passed away. I offered to walk the dog when she was sick, and after she died I thought she’d want me to keep it.”

“That’s sweet of you.”

“It’s not like I’m curing cancer. Pork Chop’s just a dog,” he said then, maybe realizing his words, sighed. “I’m sorry.”

She waved him off. “It’s okay. I understand what you mean. It’s still nice of you to care for him. And you can bring him to the living room. I promise I’ve run out of tears. Some warm interaction with another being would be good,” she said, then immediately regretted her moxie.

She avoided glancing at him and massaged her temples. Droga. What a crappy, crappy day. The night didn’t look much better either. She closed her eyes. Maybe she’d lied to him about the tears, she realized as a hot sting pricked her eyelids. No. She clamped her lips shut and tensed up her whole face, willing sadness away.

She felt something move around her, the weight in the sofa shift a bit. When she opened her eyes, she found him sitting next to her.

He put his hand on hers, and a sizzle traveled up her arm. “We’ll find who did this to your dog, Camila. I promise you.”
Carmen Falcone. Brazilian Surrender ARC (Kindle Locations 387-428). Kindle Edition.

With her brother’s wedding approaching, keeping her secure was going to be difficult. Especially since every minute spent with her is leading to something he’s not sure he’s ready for.

A fast paced, page turning read that will keep you guessing until the end. With plenty of steamy build-up to a sizzling relationship.

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Carmen Falcone

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband–living proof that opposites attract.

She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she’s not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

She loves to procrastinate, so please indulge her and drop her a line. For more info, visit her website.

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Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Catch by Ginny Baird

The Christmas Catch
Holiday Brides Book 1
Ginny Baird


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Since the death of her military husband two years ago, single mom Christine White has struggled to get by. By throwing herself into her work as a Chicago copywriter, she’s managed to keep food on the table but has gradually lost sight of what really matters, like building a bond with her four-year-old son. When Christine’s best friend insists she spend Christmas in Vermont so she can get her life in order, Christine initially resists. Little does she know she’s in for a memorable holiday that will reignite her faith and reawaken her heart.

Bachelor professor John Steadman has given up on finding the right one. Spending time with his friends while keeping up with his job seems satisfying enough. Then one day close to Christmas, a beautiful woman from Chicago nearly runs him off the road during a snowstorm. What’s more, she’s got a kid in her car. It’s only natural that John and his trusty golden retriever want to help drag them out of a ditch and steer them toward their destination. What John doesn’t expect is that soon he’ll be hoping Christine and her son will be staying in Vermont – for more than just a little while.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

This was one of the first books that came up in my search for not only Christmas stories but new authors to me as well.

Christine’s boss and friend Ellen believes she’s burning out, and maybe she was. Ellen sends Christine and her son off to Vermont to housesit for her cousin while she heads to Cancun for the holidays.

What could have been a disastrous accident turns into a chance meeting.

John is on sabbatical while the college debates the position of a new assistant dean. When his truck is almost run off the road by an SUV he’s sure is driven by ‘city folk’. He and his dog Mason, help Christine get her car out of the snowbank she landed in and a ‘real life’ meet by accident occurs.

This is a favorite scene from one of the outings they indulge in.

John turned his attention on Tyler, waiting eagerly nearby.

“Ever been on a toboggan, young man?”

Tyler shook his head.

“Well then, you’re in for a treat. Hop on!” he instructed, positioning Tyler right behind Mason. Tyler promptly wrapped his arms around the dog, who leaned back to lick his face.
“Will he be all right?” Christine asked with concern.

“Sure. You’ll be right behind him, holding on.”

“And where will you be?”

“I’ll be hanging on to you.” John grinned and her heart melted.

Christine warned herself not to get carried away. It was just an outing in the country. But when John settled in behind her and snuggled her and little Tyler securely in his arms, she couldn’t help but blush in his embrace. He was so strong and capable. Though the steep slope ahead looked formidable, Christine had no qualms about her and Tyler heading down it with John. 

“Ready?” he asked, as Christine gripped Tyler.

“What about Mason?”

“That old daredevil?” John asked with a laugh. “He’ll be fine!”

Then they were off, gliding at lightning speed down the snowy white slope. 

“Whee!” Tyler shouted. “Whoohoo!”

Christine laughed with giddy delight, feeling like a child again herself.

“What do you think of Vermont?” John asked with a husky whisper.

The truth was that she loved it. Loved it even more than she could have imagined.

“It’s perfect,” she said with a happy sigh.

John hugged them a little tighter and settled his chin on her shoulder.

“I’m glad.”
Baird, Ginny. The Christmas Catch (Holiday Brides Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 595-610). Winter Wedding Press. Kindle Edition.

A quick fun read with lots of winter fun. Thoughts of steamy but none go past that stage. There are several more books in this series, and another series with Christmas too. I may just need to read a couple more of these.

5 Contented Purrs for Ginny!

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Coming Dec 11, 2017

Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Ginny Baird

Romance writer Ginny Baird has published novels in print and online and received screenplay options from Hollywood for her family and romantic comedy scripts. Whether writing lighthearted romantic comedy or spine-tingling romantic suspense, she delights in delivering heartwarming stories.

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a Top 10 Best Seller on Kindle, NOOK and iBooks, and a #1 Best Seller in several Romance and Women’s Fiction categories. When she’s not writing, Ginny enjoys cooking, biking and spending time with her family in Virginia. Ginny loves hearing from her readers! She invites you to visit her website and connect with her on social media.

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Countdown to Christmas: Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers And Attitude – Kodiak Point Book 4 By Eve Langlais

Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers and Attitude
Kodiak Point Book 4
Eve Langlais


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Darn it, a man had his pride and a caribou a certain majestic presence, all of which could wind up ruined if he abased himself to play a simple-minded reindeer in the town’s Christmas parade.

No way was he wearing tinsel in his antlers.

Like heck was he sporting a red nose and pulling a sleigh.

But he changes his mind when he meets the woman in charge of the event.

Single mom, Crystal, is doing her best to offer her daughter the best Christmas ever. It’s their first in Kodiak Point, and she’s not about to let some vain jerk ruin it.

If playing dirty is what it takes…then bring on the Christmas games.

As Crystal and Kyle butt heads, they discover more than goodwill this holiday season. They’re gifted with a second chance at love.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Those of you who follow my blog know I love shifter romance. This series by Eve Langlais is one of my absolute favorites.

It’s Christmas in Kodiak Point and I started laughing on the first page! Kyle’s indignation at being asked by his Alpha to pretend to be a reindeer, more specifically Rudolph, was priceless. Another thing right from the beginning that had me cracking up, everything Kyle does he calls a mission.

Now Crystal on the other hand, is far more sensible and is more than a little annoyed at the self-centered Caribou. Unfortunately (or fortunately) her easily scared daughter Gigi takes a liking to Kyle.

This is a favorite scene when Kyle first wins over Gigi.

How could one pair of eyes look so sad? Ack. Kyle almost made the sign of the cross in front of her because surely she had some kind of magic at work because he almost said the most ridiculous thing. He almost told her not worry, that Rudolph would be there.


“Why don’t you climb out of that pile of hay and come with me? We’ll go find your parents. They’re probably worried.”

She shrank from him.

For some reason, this caused a painful pang in him. She was too young to show such fear. Yet he knew that look. He’d borne it when he was a kid and his father came home in one of his moods. “Oh, sweetie, don’t be scared. I won’t hurt you.”

“But you’re big.”

“Yes I am. And strong.” Hmm, maybe he shouldn’t have pointed that out.

She nodded. “You are, and scary,” she added.

“Me?” He grabbed at his chest in mock horror. “Is this your way of telling me I’m ugly?”

A small giggle escaped her. “No, silly. But handsome doesn’t mean nice. That’s what my mama says.”

“In some cases, probably, but not this time. Why, I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.”

“Malcolm said he was nice too, but he wasn’t. He was mean to my mama, and me.”

Wouldn’t Kyle love to teach this Malcolm a lesson about treating a woman right? “Well, I’m not this Malcolm Malcolm guy, and I can tell you right now, I’m never mean to the ladies.” Even stubborn ones. “And I’ll tell you something else, if that Malcolm dude were to walk in here right now and try anything, I’d totally kick his ass.” Whoops on the language.

Thankfully she didn’t seem to notice. “You’re a knight?”

Almost did he snicker, but she seemed so serious. He held it in. “Knight in tattooed armor, sweetie. So don’t you worry that pretty little head of yours. No one will so much as fart in your direction while I’m around.”

She giggled. “Farts don’t hurt.”

“But they sure stink,” he said with a smile and a moue of distaste.

Apparently it took a bodily function jest for her to decide he was trustworthy. She emerged from her pile of hay, clutching a ragged stuffed animal in a chubby fist.

When he held out his hand, he expected her to clasp it. Instead, she tucked into his reach and lifted her arms.

Despite him not spending much time around children, Kyle recognized the universal gesture for ‘pick me up’. He did, the little girl’s weight feather-light even with her jacket and boots.

“Where to, sweetie?”

“Mama’s working on the parade for Santa.”

“Then let’s go find her.” Maybe he could also get some clues on this Malcolm fellow, who seemed to think it was cool to threaten women. Kyle wanted to speak with the guy—with his fists.

Mission #737: Find this Malcolm dude and teach him a lesson. A Christmas gift to the little angel in his arms.
Langlais, Eve. Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers and Attitude (Kodiak Point Book 4) (pp. 26-28).Kindle Edition.

Now winning over Gigi was easy compared to winning over her mother. Kyle has a lot of work to do in that area.

A fun read with lots of laughs, some sizzle and a knight with antlers you’re sure to love.

5 Contented Purrs for Eve!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Eve Langlais

Hello, my name is Eve and I am a Canadian author who loves to write hot romance, usually with hot shifters, cyborgs or aliens. I should warn you that I possess a twisted imagination and a sarcastic sense of humor something I like to let loose in my writing.

I love to write, and while I don’t always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a happily ever after.

Thanks so much for coming by and checking me out. If you’d like to know more, read some excerpts or find out what’s coming next, then please visit me at any or all of the sites listed below.

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Countdown to Christmas: A Merrily Matched Christmas

Unwrapped in time for Christmas 2017!

Snuggle up with new holiday favorites for a kiss under the mistletoe. From handsome strangers to second chances, this collection will keep your heart warm and toasty this holiday season! So grab some eggnog and a blanket and curl up by the fire with a sexy new book boyfriend!

A Merrily Matched Christmas
Six Holiday Novellettes
Virgina Nelson
Ashelyn Drake
River Ford
Beth Fred
Cate Grimm
Lily Vega


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A Merry Matchmaker Mess
USA Today Bestselling Author
Virginia Nelson
Veronica “Ronnie” Murray loved fixer-upper projects, and she’d never met one as challenging as her absentminded and sometimes grumpy genius coworker, Elijah Conrad. She’s determined to help him find love, but a stolen Christmas kiss has her more than a little conflicted.

I have to say I love Ronnie, she’s quirky, mischievous and generous. However like many of us, she doesn’t see what’s right in front of her.

Elijah, is lonely. Something he discovers as he spends more time with Ronnie. He finds it ironic that she keeps pushing single women his way but really he wants her.

This is a favorite scene as they get to know each other.

Then she was taking a step back and laughing a bit nervously. “Sorry, I’m flighty—everyone says so. Never watch where I’m going.”

“You’re not flighty,” he corrected with a scowl. “Animals are great.”

“Sorry?” she asked, looking confused.

Stepping very intentionally into her space, he did what he’d been longing to do for months. He reached out and brushed the hair back behind one of her ears, stroking his fingertips down her lobe before touching the hidden hot pink hair beneath. He’d wondered if it would be as soft as the rest of her hair looked or if it would feel dried out or harder due to the color.

Soft and sleek, he found. Warm from her scalp and slipping through his fingers with the speed and silky slipperiness of sand through his hands at the beach. A soft flush touched her cheeks and she didn’t move away as he said very slowly, “I like animals. You asked what I thought about animals, and I was answering you. I like animals, although I’m not sure I’d ever want to own a goat.”

He turned and walked away from her before her startled flush tempted him to do more—to duck down and steal that kiss he’d been thinking about, or maybe twine their fingertips.

“Hey!” she yelped, springing into motion. “Wait up!”

“Not going anywhere, Veronica.” He liked the way her name slid off his tongue—all those syllables because she was fascinating and her name should be, too. “Just grabbing a loaf of bread.”

“Why not a goat?” she asked.

He didn’t resist the smile that tugged his lips upward. “They eat anything, and I have a lot of expensive cords and devices. I’d hate to bring an animal into my home that might chew up my phone.”

Her nose scrunched delicately. “Who brings a goat in the house?”

“A responsible goat owner,” he said, smile stretching further.

“That’s the weirdest thing I think you’ve ever said in my presence, Elijah Conrad.”

“Just wait,” he advised. “We’re just getting to know one another. I’m sure I’ll come up with some weirder stuff, given time.”
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 798-817). Kindle Edition.

A fun, sometimes silly, with a just touch of snark, holiday read.

5 Contented Purrs for Virginia!

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Lovers of Christmas Past
USA Today Bestselling Author
Ashelyn Drake
Nick Masters never got over Holly Michaels leaving him at the altar five years ago. Now, he’s volunteered to play the part of Santa at the children’s center’s Christmas celebration to get close to Holly again. Can he convince her he’s worth a second chance?

When a bride leaves the groom at the alter, there’s always a good reason. In Holly’s case the reason was children, and since Nick didn’t want them she couldn’t face a life not ever being a mother.

Nick hasn’t gotten over the fact he was left at the alter, but over the years he has changed his mind about children.

This is a favorite scene when she kind of gets trapped into a dinner date with Nick.

I’ve always liked April, but right now I could kiss her. She just pushed Holly into my waiting arms.

“Perfect. Do you need to go home first or are you good to go as is?” I’m hoping she’ll opt to go home first. I’d love to see where she lives and maybe convince her to spend the night in with me. I want her all to myself to find out if she still feels what I do between us.

“I’m fine like this,” she says.

“Great.” I force a smile on my face and motion for her to lead the way out of the office. She walks past April, glaring at her.

April hesitates, a smile on her face, and then she whispers to me, “You’re welcome.”

“Thank you,” I whisper back.

Holly starts for the back door but then hesitates. “Oh, how should we do this? I’m parked in the back. Do you want me to follow you, or do you want to follow me?”

It’s like she’s determined to keep space between us.

“Why don’t I drive and I’ll bring you back to your car after dinner?”

She doesn’t respond right away, and I’m sure she’s trying to come up with a reason why this plan wouldn’t work. She can’t, though. “Okay, I guess.”

I start for the front door and hold it open for her. Instead of walking through it, she pauses. “Oh, I forgot my coat in my office. Just give me a second.”

“No worries,” I say, removing my jacket. “You know I’m always hot.”

She pauses at my words, and I realize how that must have sounded to her.

“I mean, I don’t get cold easily.” I force a laugh. “Remember I used to wear shorts well into December? I can’t do that anymore, but…” I’m babbling like a frickin’ idiot.

She smiles. “You still ramble when you’re nervous, huh?”

I sigh. “What can I say? You still have that effect on me.”
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 261-267). Kindle Edition.

I have to say I sniffled a lot in this one. There’s a lot of love, children, Santa and well everything that makes Christmas, Christmas.

A thoroughly enjoyable read with just the right amount of heat!

5 Contented Purrs for Ashelyn!

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A Christmas Prayer
River Ford
Lindsey prays that moving east with her two year-old daughter will give them both the life they deserve. A car accident leaves her stranded in the middle of Wyoming. Jake comes to her rescue, and if Lindsey can learn to trust, they may find that love is the answer to both of their prayers.

Lindsay has been thrown the worst curve of her life. Now on the road with her daughter to stay with her brother, she ends up in a huge snowdrift when a truck speeds by her and she over corrects in the blast of snow.

Jake had been some distance behind her and saw her go off the road. In the middle of relative nowhere, he knew help would be a long time coming if he didn’t stop. Sometimes, prayer or fate, whatever you choose to call it, works.

This is a favorite scene as Jake gets her settled in his family’s not yet opened bed and breakfast.

Lindsey looked physically and emotionally worn out. She slumped in the chair with circles under her puffy eyes. The seat belt mark was lighter, but she’d have a burn mark for a few more days. She tried to sit straighter, her hand moving halfway to her hair before she let it rest on the table.

“Jessica was telling me she’d like you to stay for Christmas. We’d love to have you here, but didn’t you mention a brother?” Jake almost winced. Smooth. He just didn’t know how to ease into things, but he’d work on it.
Lindsey looked from Jessica to Jake and back. “Yes, I’m heading to his house. He sent me a key to his apartment.”

“Wait, he won’t be there?” Jessica asked.

“Not until after New Year’s.”

“Then you should stay here. There’s loads of fun stuff coming up in town. The dance at the resort, and we still need to decorate the tree for the front parlor. I bet Katie would love that.” Jessica fairly danced in place.

“I already feel like I’m intruding on your family time.” Lindsey glanced at Marion, then refocused on Jake. “Maybe we should see about my car and then I’ll think about it.”

Jake nodded. “TJ is headed out there now. It’ll take him a while to bring it in and look it over. If you want, Dad and I will play with Katie so you can get a nap. You look worn out.”

Jessica elbowed him in the side. When he glanced at her, she rolled her eyes.

“What?” he whispered.

“You’re hopeless.” Jessica threw her hands in the air. “I’ll keep an eye on the men while they watch Katie.”

Marion laughed. “They’ll be fine, Jessica. You need to help me bring the decorations down from the attic.” She stood and pulled Lindsey to her feet. “You do need some sleep though. Come with me.”

“But I want to play with Katie too.” Jessica put on an exaggerated pouty face making them all laugh.

“Thank you. All of you.” Lindsey’s eyes looked watery, but she didn’t cry. “If Katie needs me, please come get me.”

“Will do.” Jake watched his mom lead Lindsey out the door.

Jessica punched him again. “What was that for?” he asked.

“You’re supposed to make her want to stay, not tell her she looks tired. No woman likes to hear that.”
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 1333-1354). Kindle Edition.

A sweet fun filled read, with all the components of that make a perfect Christmas.

5 Contented Purrs for River!

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All I Want for Christmas Is My Book Boyfriend
Beth Fred
Katie doesn’t need a real boyfriend when she has the perfect book boyfriend, but when she ends up on a Christmas cruise–of sorts–alone with Eledon she finds the mutual attraction hard to ignore. Can Katie find a real happily ever after or is she destined to live in books?

This one had me cracking up right from reading the blurb. I mean who doesn’t want to meet their book boyfriend in a guy that’s not make-believe.

Of course the book makes me tear up at the beginning, with a selfless act by Katie. Then it has me laughing with the alternate plan made possible by ‘Santa’.

This is a favorite scene as her ‘cruise’ to Jamaica get off to an unusual start.

“You dock this boat right now, or I’ll have you arrested for kidnapping.”

Eledon laughed. “But you have your ticket. I’m sure no one would believe I stole you away.”

“What happened to the couple you mentioned?”

“I called Ryan to make sure he was okay before I pulled the anchor. Pete told him they were flying down to meet us and would sail back with us. Ryan might be able to fly in to.”

“Why would you pull the anchor without even asking me?”

He held her gaze. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I needed permission to pull my anchor back up to my boat. You were sleeping and since you seemed a bit…” He paused as if considering his words. “Tightly wound, I thought you could use the sleep.”

“The whole night, though?”

He held her gaze. “That generally is what people do at night.”

She shook her head. “You need permission to cart me off to Jamaica with you.”

“I kind of thought I had your permission when you came aboard and then sent my friend home.”

“Your friend is very lucky I happened to be here. If he had waited much longer, his illness would be a whole lot worse.”

“All the same, you seemed to be in complete control of the situation. If you didn’t want to be here, you should have left.”

She folded her hands in front of her, inhaled, and exhaled, the way Eliam taught Elizabeth to do. Finding enough calm to settle herself, she lifted her head and met his gaze. “I will pay you to dock and let me off.”

His grin grew wider.

She noticed a dimple. That dimple made it harder not to stare. This man was gorgeous.

“If you give me money, I’ll throw it overboard.”

She bit her lip. “Well, then just let me off.”



He laughed. “I have no idea why, but I enjoy seeing Dr. Fake Nails in a situation she can’t control.”

Her cheeks heated, and she bit the inside of her lips to keep from smiling. His confession both infuriated and elated her. “That’s horrible. You don’t even know me and you enjoy seeing me upset. What kind of monster are you?”

He leaned in and whispered, “The kind that makes you blush.”
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 2076-2098). Kindle Edition.

The snark, the ‘book boyfriend’, hold your breath unexpected, and things that bring tears, make this a perfect holiday read.

5 Contented Purrs for Beth!

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A Cowboy for Christmas
Cate Grimm
Fashionista Sarah Jayne traded in her Laredos for Louboutins and planned to make it big in New York City. When her life in the Big Apple falls apart, she comes home to Love, Texas and runs into Cody Hayes. Will Love, Texas be the perfect place for two people with wanderlust to find a happily ever

I love second chance love, and this one has it in spades.

Cody and Sarah have each pursued different goals, far away from Love, Texas. She opened a boutique in Manhattan, and he travels the world photographing anything with a story behind it.

They both end up in Texas for Christmas, Cody with his son, and Sarah without the fiancé she expected to bring.

This is a favorite scene as Sarah tells her Aunt about Cody and his son being in town.

“Speaking of worthy men. Guess who I saw at the airport last night?” Sarah tried to force a bit of breezy nonchalance into her tone when she added. “Cody.”

“The Hayes boy? Now there’s a nomad if ever I saw one. I seem to remember him being the no strings attached type.” Aunt Jo was right about that. Except, Cody had said he wasn’t quite so opposed to strings.

“He seems to be warming to the strings. He has a son now.”

“I had no idea he’d married,” Aunt Jo said. “Ellen never said anything. I would have expected her to be shouting that from the rooftops.”

“Cody’s not married,” Sarah said.” His son’s name is Davie and he’s eight.”

“An eight-year-old definitely comes with strings,” Aunt Jo said. “And they tie your heart up with a bow.”

“But, I’m not sure those strings will lead to roots.” Sarah wasn’t even sure Cody wanted roots. “Maybe the strings between him and Davie are enough.”

“Maybe that’s worth exploring while you’re here. Since you don’t have other plans.”

“Maybe.” Exasperated with her inability to make a firm decision about anything right now, Sarah said, “Maybe I should just wrap myself up in a Christmas bow and offer him a no strings affair.”

Aunt Jo leaned in, patted Sarah’s knee and said, “Maybe you should.” Then she stood and added, “Right now, maybe you should be neighborly and say hello. I’m sure I need to borrow a cup of sugar from Ellen.”
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 2857-2869). Kindle Edition.

Laughter and fun with some steamy thrown in for good measure. Blending of the past and present, plus some Christmas activities I’m sure will trigger memories of your own.

5 Contented Purrs for Cate!

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Merry Mismatch
Lily Vega
Stick-in-the-mud Director of Finance Aaron gets under edgy party girl Zara’s skin. Can they survive the Windy City Gaming’s holiday retreat in spite of their growing attraction and Aaron’s ex-girlfriend’s quest to eliminate the competition by getting Zara fired?

It truly sucks when your immediate boss is the ex of the company owner. Zara knows there’s a good chance she’s going to lose her job at Windy City Gaming, but she’s going to pitch her game, and try to save her favorite from the axe.

Aaron knows Zara is the one who taunts his OCD by changing out his office supplies and rearranging his desk slightly. He finds it amusing, and he likes her far more than he’d care to admit. He knows that work-place romances can end up quite uncomfortable when things end.

This is a favorite scene as Aaron picks Zara up for the ride to the retreat.

Thank goodness Zara volunteered for the trip. Cheryl had been acting strangely. He worried one of her goals for the trip was a reconciliation. He didn’t want to get back together with Cheryl. Zara was the person he couldn’t get off his mind.

Her unpredictability was as exhilarating as it was frightening. Until he met her, he’d thought himself allergic to surprises.

She was off limits. Unfortunately, his libido didn’t get the memo on his ban on dating company employees.

He poured a dollop of coconut milk into his coffee, added a couple of packets of raw sugar, and stirred before taking a sip. Different than he was used to, but not bad. The drink could grow on him like Zara had.

Something rubbed against his leg. He jerked and splattered coffee on his shirt.

A black cat blinked up at him. “Licorice likes you.”

Zara reached around him to scratch behind the cat’s ears. Her scent, a combination of rose and vanilla, stirred his desire.

“I like licorice,” he said, “but not the cat kind. I’m a dog person.”

“What kind of dog do you have?”

“I don’t have a dog. Well, I did have one. Tiny is a toy poodle.” He hadn’t argued when Cheryl insisted on keeping the dog, but he missed being greeted when he came home from work. Even if the one doing the greeting was dyed cotton candy pink.

“Losing your pet must have been awful.” She scooped up the cat. “Poodle, huh? I never pictured you with a purse-sized pet. I figured you’d own a big dog.”

“Tiny has too much energy to be contained. Will the cat be okay while you’re gone?”

“My neighbor will be watching Licorice.” She gave her pet one last cuddle and placed him on the floor.

“She has a key?” He really needed to have a chat with her about security.

“Yes, he does. Warren bails me out whenever I accidentally lock myself out.”
The idea of a strange man having 24/7 access to Zara’s apartment twisted his insides.

“Does that happen often?” He pictured a guy who fit perfectly in her life, someone spontaneous and quirky just like her. His polar opposite.

She shrugged. “Enough that I was glad he hung on to the key after we broke up.”

“We should get on the road. There’s a winter storm advisory.” His words came out clipped and formal as though they were at work rather than in her kitchen chatting about former lovers.
Nelson, Virginia. A Merrily Matched Christmas (Kindle Locations 3365-3387). Kindle Edition.

The retreat proved to be more of set up by Cheryl made even worse by the fact they were the only ones in attendance and it was pretty obvious she planned on having Aaron in her bed.

I loved how Aaron and Zara got to know each other better in spite of Cheryl. Even with the overtones of a holiday firing, this story was heartwarming, fun and sizzling.

5 Contented Purrs for Lily!

Countdown to Christmas: The Cop Who Stole Christmas – Tall, Hot and Texan Book 2 by Christie Craig

The Cop Who Stole Christmas
Tall, Hot and Texan Book 2
Christie Craig


Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

It’ll take a tall, hot Texan and a little holiday spirit to mend a broken heart and catch a Christmas killer . . .

Savanna Edwards is feeling downright Scrooge-like. Who can blame her? A truly unjolly Santa—suit, beard and all—just repossessed her car because of her ex’s shady business dealings. She’d like to murder the no-good lying cheat, but somebody already did that for her—and left him right in the middle of her kitchen, wrapped up with a bow.

Detective Mark Donaldson has a rule against getting involved with his neighbors. He can look—and he’s studied every sweet curve of Savanna from across the street—but he can’t touch. So when she lands on his doorstep in need of help, he finds himself torn between being naughty or nice, and fights every urge to unwrap her like a shiny new Christmas present.

Trouble is, even Mark can’t resist a little holiday magic . . . and there’s definitely something magical happening between him and the girl next door.

Christmas 2015 Blog buy links

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

So I went on a little book hunt on Amazon looking for Christmas Romance titles. Now normally I don’t do that, but I wanted some new to me authors.

I thought I had read Christie Craig but I hadn’t and of course I started with the second book in this series. This book stands alone but I did go get book one when I finished.

Nothing like having your relaxing bath and evening destroyed by your car being repossessed.

Even though Savannah recruited her sexy cop neighbor to help, it was taken away by a tow truck driver dressed as Santa. I mean with the paper work in order there really wasn’t much he could do about it.

Having been divorced myself I totally get wanting to murder your ex. I’m going to jump right to one of my favorite scenes where Savannah is out with her friends after Santa took her car.

“I don’t love him!” Savanna snapped. “He used the title of the Honda to get a loan, and didn’t pay it. I’m soaking in the tub with my blue mask on when a wrecker driver dressed like Santa pulls up and starts hooking up my car to take it away.”

“You didn’t get the title turned over to your name after the divorce?” Bethany asked.

Savanna shook her head. “I know I was supposed to. It was on my list to do, but—”

“Don’t beat yourself up,” Jennifer said. “Grief screws you up.” Jennifer who’d lost her mom when she was sixteen was still grief stricken. But then again, Savanna could understand. Losing your mom sucked.

“I can’t believe Clint did that!” Bethany seethed.

“I can,” Mandy added.

“I told that asshole what would happen if he messed with you again!” Vengeance, the kind she used in the courtroom, tightened Bethany’s tone.

Savanna rested her palm on Bethany’s hand. “It’s not your fault.” Because Clint was Bethany’s cousin, and the one who’d introduced them, Bethany felt responsible. “I married the jerk. You even warned me.”

“Give me the information and I’ll look into it,” Bethany said. “I swear, I’ll chew his ass up one side and down the other in court! He’ll pay for this.”

Savanna reached into her purse and pulled out the paperwork. “Here’s everything Santa gave me.”

Bethany looked at the paperwork. “Is the guy’s last name really Claus?” She grabbed her phone and dialed a number. “Mr. Claus,” she said,” this is Bethany Carver. I’m Savanna Edwards’ lawyer. Can you tell me . . .”

“Only five more days till Christmas.” Leonardo popped over to the table. “Have you beautiful bitches decided what you want for Christmas yet?”

“I want a body lift,” Jennifer said.

“Your body is tight,” Leonardo said.

Mandy huffed. “I want my new boyfriend to stop lighting up his farts.”

Bethany, still talking to Santa, held up her hand. All eyes went to Savanna. “I want my ex dead with a ribbon tied around his pecker!” She frowned when she realized she’d said it too loud. Laughter filled the restaurant.

“Sorry.” Savanna looked up at the waiter and Bethany moving away from the table. “Can I have a margarita?”

Leonardo chuckled. “Honey, you don’t have to explain. I’ve had more than one guy break my heart, too. Men can be evil creatures. But we still love ’em, don’t we?”
Craig, Christie. The Cop Who Stole Christmas (Tall, Hot & Texan Book 2) (pp. 10-11). BookEnds,LLC. Kindle Edition.

Normally when you blow off steam like that and have a good time with your friends you feel good, go home and life goes on. Well, in this case Savannah’s day goes from bad to worse when in the dark she trips over her naked dead ex, complete with ribbon.

Her neighbor cop, Mark was waiting to apologize to her, but it was too late when he saw her arrive home. He had just gotten in bed when she woke him screaming for help.

From here the book just gets better and steamier. Mark and his partner are trying to find the killer.

Savannah is the number one suspect along with her friends and the owner of the restaurant where she made her Christmas wish.

A series of twists and turns, a couple of embarrassing moments, steamy scenes and a few laughs too.

I enjoyed this book, it was just the right amount of different to make it a Christmas favorite.

5 Contented Purrs for Christie!

Christmas 2015 Blog Other Books

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Christie Craig

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig is an award-winning writer, photojournalist, motivational speaker, writing teacher, and author of thirty-four books.

An Alabama native, she is a NEW YORK TIMES Best-Selling author of more than 30 books and thousands of magazine articles. During her 25 year career, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone.

Also writing young adult books as C.C. Hunter, her complete New York Times bestselling young adult paranormal series, Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark, are available now from St. Martin’s Griffin. Her new young adult series, The Mortician’s Daughter, is now available and her contemporary young adult debut, This Heart of Mine, will release from Wednesday Books in February 2018. She also has a new romantic suspense series coming from Forever Books in 2018.

She currently resides in Texas.

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