First Kiss Flash Fiction!

I have a confession to make. I’m a flash fiction virgin. Before I got invited to participate in this blog hop I’d never written flash fiction before and had only read one or two. The premise—write a short piece based on the First Kiss video that went viral last month (click here if you happened to miss it)—was too tempting. Even though the video was later revealed to be part an advertisement, I loved the idea behind it. Strangers meeting for the first time, getting paired together to kiss on camera? Sounds good to me. I’m a sucker for a first kiss. First kisses are among my favorite scenes to write (and among my favorite personal memories). When you’re done watching Oliver and Abbey share their first kiss don’t forget to click on the above logo so you can check out the amazing list of super-talented authors participating in this hop!

First Kiss Flash Fic…

Oliver’s Twist

I should be nervous but all I can think about is how the Altoid the short blonde girl handed me in the ladies room is burning a hole through my tongue. Curiously strong my ass. I’m not curious. I’m horrified. I also don’t see a trash can. What am I going to do with this thing? My eyes are starting to water. That’s not going to look good on camera. And no one’s going to want to kiss the crying girl. Fuck. All I wanted was fresh breath. Now I’ve got a mint coup going on in my mouth. The mouth I’ll need to use in less than five minutes if the giant clock above the sign-in desk is correct.

“Number eight.” The tall skinny guy who took my head shot at check-in is tapping me on the shoulder.

Tucking the mint into my cheek I turn toward him. “Yes.”

“We need you over here. Your partner’s ready.”

Partner. Oh God.  Now I’m nervous. And my mouth is still in the minty version of hell. I follow Skinny Guy, keeping an eye on his dark green Chucks so I don’t lose him as we weave past other people. Still no trash can in sight. How can there not be a trash can? He stops and I can see the guy he’s standing next to. His back is turned. Dark hair. White T-shirt. Thin but muscled. Great arms. Not too big but well defined. Narrow hips in classic faded jeans that look like they were made to be worn by him. And an index card in his hand with the number eight on it. My number. That’s my guy.

There’s no other option. I pretend it’s a Valium and swallow the killer Altoid. An icy streak tumbles down my throat and I swear I can feel it radiating its freakishly cool heat inside my stomach. But maybe that’s just more nerves. Number Eight has turned around and is scanning the crowd.

Skinny Guy points to me. “There she is. Okay. You two stay here. Everyone else is partnered up. Let me check that the crew is ready and we’ll shoot.”

Number Eight’s eyes meet mine and for a second I can’t breathe. Blue eyes are not my thing. But these blue eyes? I’ve never seen anything like them. Silver grey flecks and swirls inside the deepest, clearest royal blue. Like Murano glass. I didn’t know eyes could look like that. I can’t look away.

“Eight?” He tilts his head to read the paper in my hand as he waggles his card between his fingers. Long, strong fingers. Those are my thing. I love men with expressive hands and long fingers are always a plus. Now I’m doubly mesmerized. Eyes. Hands. And the burn in my mouth has finally begun to fade. A little. Now it’s just a cool whisper every time I inhale, which I’m not doing much because I’m barely breathing at all.

“Yeah. I’m eight.” That’s what I’m opening with? Not my name or ‘how’s it going?’ or anything else semi-intelligent or friendly. No. I announce I’m eight like I’m a third grader who’s just been approached on the playground rather than a grown woman about to kiss the handsome stranger with perfect gemstone eyes and gorgeous hands and hair. Oh God. He’s got really nice hair. My fingers rake through my own messy brown locks before I can stop them. It’s my nervous tic. Only this time it doesn’t calm me, it makes me want to run my fingers through his hair. It’s black and shiny and just long enough that I wonder what it looks like when he gets out of bed…. But I don’t dwell on that because Skinny Guy is now talking really loud and everyone else has gone silent.

“Okay folks, we’re ready. There’s a crew set up in each corner of the room. We’ll start with couples one, five and eight. The crew will do a countdown so you know they’re rolling and the rest is up to you. Questions?”

Nothing I can ask out loud.

Blue Eyes has his hands tucked into his front pockets which makes his T-shirt bunch in a way that’s kind of adorable. It also accentuates how broad his shoulders are in comparison to his hips. He smiles, a little crooked, then makes a small laugh and glances down at the floor before meeting my eyes again. He’s as nervous as I am and it’s somehow comforting.

He takes a step closer to me and, like an idiot, I step back. I can’t help it. My instinct is to keep personal space between myself and people I don’t know. He chuckles. “Sorry,” I say and cover my face with my hands, raking my hair back again.

“It’s okay.” He reaches forward and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “I’ve no idea what I’m doing.”

That’s when I hear the accent. He’s British. Thank you God. Thank you blonde in the bathroom. Thank you hellish Altoid. My stranger not only has sexy hair, eyes and hands, he’s got a beautiful voice. James Bond’s voice. Double Oh my God.

Skinny Guy’s voice booms and I can’t help but startle. “And ready in five, four, three.” He holds up two fingers then one and I know we’re being filmed. My heart switches places with my minty fresh stomach. “I’m Abbey.”

“Abbey.” My name coming out of his mouth sends a ripple of excitement through me. He steps closer and this time I don’t step back. He tucks my hair behind my ear again but this time his hand lingers at the base of my head, his fingers lightly stroking my neck. “I’m Oliver.”

My hands go to his chest and I can feel his muscles tense beneath the soft cotton. Nerves? Instinct? Attraction? His thumb makes gentle passes up and down my neck that make my eyelashes flutter. “Nice to meet you, Oliver.”

His eyes stay fixed on mine and their blue heat starts to melt something deep inside me. Inching closer I slide my hands toward his neck. His other hand cups my face and my pulse skips wildly. Thick dark lashes obscure the blue as he tilts my head. Full brows, razor thin nose, cheekbones—did I mention the cheekbones?—all blur together  as soft lips graze mine then pull away then touch again. His nose brushes mine then his head tips to the other side and his mouth closes in, firmer this time. Once. Twice. Then he does it again. That perfect nose edges mine as his head shifts back the first way and now he’s kissing like he means it.

My hands slide around his neck and he pulls me closer. He bends his knees as I go up on my tiptoes and our bodies align as we move in toward each other. Strong fingers trail down my spine to my waist, clutching at the fabric of my dress and making it ride up the back of my thigh just enough that I shiver from the tickling sensation.

His head shifts and this time his tongue flicks out against my lips. Just a teeny bit. Like a question. I smooth my hand up his neck to his chiseled jaw, tracing my fingertips over his features, so I can see him again in my mind. A second flick repeats the inquiry and my mouth springs open. Our tongues meet, warm and sweet, and I sink my fingers into his thick dark hair, which I now know is soft and silky. A small sigh rumbles in the back of my throat and I wonder if it made a sound anywhere but inside my head. Oliver presses against me harder and his fingers grip at my waist. His muscles bunch beneath his shirt and I know he heard me. Heard me and liked it.

Oliver twists once more, angling his mouth in a way that makes me dizzy and for a second I forget that he’s a stranger, that there are cameras watching, that we’ve never done this before. In that second it’s as natural as breathing and I fill my lungs with him. His tongue spirals slower and then he’s back to soft kisses, our lips barely brushing. He presses his forehead to mine as he stands upright, still holding me. My hands are still curled in his hair but I ease my grip and slide them down his chest as we inch apart.

“Lovely,” he says, looking into my eyes, lips curving into a devilish smile. His gaze darts to the ground before flickering back up to mine.

A giggle bubbles out of me and my cheeks heat as I replay the kiss in my mind. I guess he likes mint.

Share

Blog Hop! What’s your writing process and what’s coming next?

Many thanks to fellow Samhain and Ellora’s Cave author, Lynne Connolly, for inviting me to do this blog hop! Please take a moment to visit Lynne’s blog and find out about her books and her writing process.

Here are my answers to some often asked questions. Be sure to check out Margaret Ethridge, Holly Gilliatt and Karen Booth’s blogs later this week to see their answers! (And stay tuned for a special offer on a box set of all four of our novels…)

 

*1) What are you working on?

That’s not an easy question to answer! I have several projects under way at the moment. They’re at various stages of completion and I don’t want to give away all my secrets yet so I’ll just say I’m working on a sequel to one of my existing titles (Joey gets his own book), two NA contemporary projects (friends to lovers stories, my favorite), a 4-book contemporary series (featuring some smoking hot brothers), and one super secret project that’s not only a different genre but is my first time writing first person point of view. I’m hoping to have some news to share on some of these in the near future. I’ll keep you posted!

*2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

The biggest difference between my books and a lot of the books in the genres in which I write (erotic romance/contemporary romance/NA) is that my stories don’t feature alpha heroes. The majority of my heroes are beta heroes (the long term best friend or the sweet sexy neighbor). You’ll never find a MMA fighter or a billionaire CEO or a dark Dom as the lead in one of my books. That doesn’t mean my heroes aren’t strong. Quite the opposite. Sensitive and caring doesn’t equal weak in my eyes. My heroes are passionate, witty, charming and know how to romance their heroines. They’re just not traditional macho alpha men.

Likewise, I enjoy writing characters who go through serious emotional growth in the course of a story but I don’t tend to write the kind of angst that leaves you sobbing your eyes out for half a book. My goal as a writer is to pen relatable characters that readers fall in love with—people they will feel as if they know by the end of the book. My favorite compliment is when readers tell me that they’ve made that kind of connection with someone I’ve written, where the characters feel like their lifelong friends. Those are the characters I love to find when I’m reading. They’re the reason I write. To meet them, get to know them and introduce them to my readers.

*3) Why do you write what you write?

I write character-driven love stories because those are my favorite kind of books to read. I write romance, specifically, because in real life you’re not guaranteed a happy ending, but in my books, where I get to make the decision about how things work out in the end, I can give every character the perfect happy ending in a way that’s still believable. If I could figure out a way to do that for real people I’d do it in a heart beat. Until then, I’ll do it for my fictional friends and let everyone live vicariously through them until they find their own happily ever afters.

*4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process is very simple. I try to write as much as humanly possible. And then I write some more. One of the most important parts of my process involves making sure I take notes when I have an idea. Scenes, plot points, lines of dialogue, sometimes even entire stories, tend to come at me fast and furious in my mind, often when I least expect it. If I’m on line at the grocery store or at a meeting or in a waiting room I know I need to find some paper—any paper—ASAP and get the thoughts down as I’m having them. If I don’t, I never recapture it quite as clearly as the first time I’ve had it. It’s like waking up and remembering a dream with total clarity and then a half hour later you can barely recall it. The idea has faded, the specifics are blurry. Once I’ve captured those ideas it’s really just a matter of sitting down and writing. I’m a cross between a planner and a pantser. I don’t write out elaborate outlines but I do see a story in my head, from beginning to end, before I write. If I can’t see it all play out in my head, I can’t write it. But at the same time I can’t say “Okay, I’m going to have x number of chapters and this will happen here and that will happen there”—I have to just write and let the story unfold as it wants to unfold. I guess that makes me a plotser.

Share

Mushroom Strudel with Sour Cream and Fresh Dill

Welcome to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP! We are so excited to CELEBRATE the New Year with mouthwatering dip, appetizer, and drink recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! Hop around each author’s site for a new recipe, and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter our GIVEAWAY: an Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository GIFT CARD!
 
In addition to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP giveaway, Amanda Usen will be featuring Hungry Hearts authors on Writer.Chef.Romantic this week and gifting their books to lucky winners. Stay tuned to get in on the fun! If you’d like to party in real time, please join our Facebook Party December 26th – January 1st.

 

 

This is a favorite recipe with family and friends and works equally well as an appetizer or a side dish. I usually make it as a strudel and cut it into slices to serve but it can also be made into individual triangle or it can be made in muffin tins (full size or mini) for little “purses” or bite-sized tarts. No matter how you shape it the buttery, flaky, crunchy goodness blends with the creamy, savory mushroom filling for perfectly heavenly mouthfuls. Make a lot. Your guests will love it!

Mushroom Strudel with sour cream and fresh dill

2lbs of assorted fresh mushrooms (I like to use a mix of crimini, shitaki and button but any combination will work)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 package of frozen filo dough, thawed

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use unseasoned but add a teeny bit of black pepper and garlic powder)

1 bunch fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for sauteeing

Preheat oven to 400F (if you plan to bake this right away, if you’re making it ahead, preheat oven before you put strudel in to bake)

Brush the mushrooms clean and slice them into uniform slices. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute the mushrooms until they are cooked down and have released their moisture. You don’t want them dried out but you do want to make sure they’re nicely cooked and all the water has been released and has evaporated (you don’t want moisture ruining your pastry dough).

Spoon the mushrooms out of the saute pan with a slotted spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. While it’s cooling, rinse and finely chop your fresh dill. You want to add this to taste as well but I’d say you’ll need several tablespoons or more. Add a generous spoonful of sour cream to the mushrooms along with the chopped dill. Stir. It should be creamy and the consistency of a very thick dip/spread. Taste it to see if you want to add more dill. Once you get it to the right flavor set it aside to come to room temperature.

Melt a stick of butter. Set up your work space with your roll of filo dough (keep it covered with a damp towel whenever you’re not using it so it doesn’t dry out—there are tips about this on the box).

Place a cookie sheet on your work space and put down a layer of filo dough. Brush it quickly and evenly with a thin layer of melted butter. Sprinkle on a tablespoon or two of bread crumbs then add another layer of filo dough. Repeat until you have 6-8 layers of dough. Spoon the mushroom filling down the center of the dough and roll it like a jelly roll. Make sure to tuck the ends under then carefully flip the roll over enough that the seam is facing down. brush the whole loaf with a final coating of melted butter. If you’d like to, for decoration, you can place some more chopped dill or even a few sprigs atop the roll and brush them with butter to keep them in place.

If you have used a small box of dough or made a lot of mushrooms you may have enough ingredients to repeat this process. If you do, go ahead and do it all again!

At this point you can refrigerate the studel (if you’re going to serve it later that day) or you can freeze it for use another time.

When you are ready to bake it, place it in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the loaf is a golden brown color. Allow to cool at least a little before slicing and serving. May be served at room temperature.

Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat to serve.

To make individual filled triangles, prepare the filo dough as above but use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into long rectangles. Put a spoonful of mushrooms at one end of the rectangle then fold the dough over into triangles again and again until you’ve reached the end and have a neat triangle packet. Brush the whole top and any seams with butter. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Bake until golden brown.

To use muffin tins, prepare the dough as above. Spray the muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or brush each tray with melted butter. Prepare the filo dough as above but once it is layered cut the dough into square that are slightly larger than the size of the muffin cup. Press a layered square of dough into each cup, fill with mushroom, tuck the corners down on top of the filling to cover it, brush with butter. Bake until golden. Allow to cool slightly then gently pop each one out of the muffin pan with a spoon or dinner knife, being careful not to pierce the crispy crust.

Enjoy!

Click here to visit the rest of the blogs in the hop!

And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

FREE READ! A Christmas excerpt from Meant To Be

There is a Christmas chapter in MEANT TO BE that captures the spirit of Christmas and the budding friendship between the main characters, Daniel and Marienne. It’s always been one of my favorite scenes in the book and that’s why I’ve decided to share it as my holiday gift to all of you.  To read the story, CHRISTMAS COOKIES, click here.

To read the rest of Daniel and Marienne’s story you can purchase Meant To Be and its sequel Holding On at most major book retailers.

Amazon     Barnes&Noble     AllRomance     TurquoiseMorning

(And if the read makes you hungry for the cookies, click on the various recipe links throughout my blog so you can make some of the recipes mentioned on the pages of Daniel and Marienne’s Christmas tale.)

Happy Holidays!

xoxo

Karen

Share

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies (AKA Snowballs)

Welcome to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP! We are so excited to CELEBRATE the holiday season with mouthwatering cookie recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! Hop around and fill out the Rafflecopter form on each author’s site to enter our GIVEAWAYS: a spectacular mix of Harry & David Truffles, books, gifts cards, and Hungry Hearts author swag! Lots of awesome prizes to win!

In addition to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP prizes, Amanda Usen will be featuring Hungry Hearts authors on her site and giving their books away to lucky winners. Visit Writer.Chef.Romantic to get in on the fun!

When the holiday season arrives, our hearts fill with CHEER. Life is a gift, isn’t it? Hop with us for the chance to win, and share your holiday JOY while we share our favorite COOKIE recipes with you!

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies (aka Snowballs)

Holiday times are busy and with all the baking that I do I’m always excited when I find a simple recipe that not only tastes fantastic but is capable of doing double duty. This butter cookie recipe is one of my absolute favorites for both of those reasons. The cookies themselves couldn’t be easier to make. They’re rich and buttery on decadent. They’re perfectly round and look temptingly delicious. And after they’re baked you can serve them one of three ways: coated in powdered sugar (snowballs), dipped in chocolate, or dipped in chocolate an sprinkles (or jimmies depending on where you live).

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or regular if you don’t have kosher)

 

Semisweet chocolate (for dipping, amount will vary by number of cookies you dip, approximately 6 oz for a whole batch), sprinkles (chocolate or holiday colored), confectioners sugar (if you’re going for the snowball look)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix butter and confectioners sugar in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla until well combined. Add flour and salt in small increments and continued stirring until the dough is firm. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc that is approximately an inch thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour hands and counter top. I prefer to use a pizza wheel to cut the dough but a knife works just fine. Slice the chilled dough into strips then cut the strips into pieces and roll each piece until it’s smooth an spherical. You should get approximately 36 balls out of a batch of dough.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet (nonstick or ungreased) about an inch apart. Press down just gently enough that they won’t roll off the sheet, but don’t flatten them at all, you want them nice and round.

Bake 10-12 minutes until set but not yet browned. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 2 minutes. Roll in confectioners sugar OR dip half in chocolate and then sprinkles if desired.

Allow cookies to cool completely on a rack (and allow chocolate to set up) then store in air tight container. Separate layers with wax paper to prevent sticking.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Leave a comment below and I’ll choose a winner at random to receive an e-book of his/her choice from my backlist!

CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE OTHER HOPS!

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Share

Grandma Rose’s Marmalade Cookies

Welcome to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP!
We are so excited to CELEBRATE FALL with mouthwatering Thanksgiving recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! Hop around and fill out the Rafflecopter form on each author’s site to enter our Grand PRIZE Giveaway: a Harry & David Crater Lake GIFT BASKET Classic!
In addition to the Grand Prize, one SWAG pack will be given away on Amanda Usen’s blog on each day of the hop. Visit each day for an AUTHOR spotlight and more FALL GLEE.
When the seasons change, our hearts fill with GRATITUDE. Life is grand, isn’t it? Hop with us and share your love of all things food, fall, and THANKS-giving!
To see all the awesome participants in this hop, click below!

Now, about those Marmalade Cookies mentioned in the title of this post….

My novel Then, Again is a foodie romance that is dedicated to my grandmothers and all the wonderful food-related memories they gave me while I was growing up. This recipe is one of my favorite cookies. My grandmother, Rose, used to bake them at holidays when I was a child then later sent them to me in care packages while I was away at college. It’s a simple recipe but I bake a lot and have never come across any other recipes that duplicate the taste and texture of these treats. Honestly I don’t even like marmalade but somehow in these cookies it’s wonderful. Try them. Enjoy them. Share them with your family and friends. Taste a bite of my memories.

Marmalade Envelopes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
Small jar of orange marmalade (I use Smuckers brand)
Powdered sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Melt butter and add sugar. Stir until combined. Mix in eggs one at a time. Gradually add flour, stirring slowly until a loose dough is formed. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle flour on counter top or rolling surface. Scoop out a large spoonful of dough and roll out using a lightly floured rolling pin.  The dough is fairly delicate and becomes softer as you roll it, so go carefully, be sure to flip it over and flour the surface beneath it each time you flip.
Roll dough to between 1/8 inch and ¼ inch thickness. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut the dough into squares about 2×2 inches. Place a small spoonful of marmalade in the center of each square and fold the corners in toward the center. Pinch the dough shut at each corner so you wind up with a little sealed pouch.  You may reroll scraps as you repeat the process with all of the remaining dough.
Place each cookie gently on an ungreased cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart (they will spread while baking).  Bake until just starting to turn golden at the corners (roughly 8-10 minutes). Let sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool sift powdered sugar over the top to coat. Store in an air tight container.  When ready to serve you may sprinkle with additional powdered sugar to freshen the look.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
Don’t forget to visit the other blog stops on this hop and click to enter rafflecopter! Enjoy! and Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Lucky 13 Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

Want a chance to win some fantastic prizes to heat up the cool Autumn nights? Join me on the Lucky13 Blog Hop!

My novels run the range from sweet and sexy to sweet and smoking hot so you have a chance to win one of each, among other prizes. DECADENCE is my most recent Ellora’s Cave release. It definitely falls in the smoking hot category because it’s all about a couple reigniting the passion in their marriage—and the do! They really, really do. And most of the story takes place on a single fall day. Autumn has always been my favorite season (beautiful colors as the leaves change, apple and pumpkin picking, dressing up for Halloween, starting the fireplace up again) but I get the feeling everyone would pick fall as their favorite season if it guaranteed them a day like Eric and Jessica have in Decadence.

Here’s the blurb…

In eight years of marriage, Eric Carlson has never forgotten to kiss his wife Jessica goodbye—until this morning. As Jessica runs her errands, all she can think about is the missing kiss. When Eric calls to tell her he thinks he left the toaster oven on, she rushes home, annoyed and afraid her house may be burning down. Instead of smoke and flames she finds Eric, looking hot and sexy as hell as he prepares fresh waffles.

Eric knows he and Jessica have been drifting apart. He’s bought the hot new product everyone’s talking about—the Spice Rack, guaranteed to spice up your love life. The jar he opens advises them to “Spend a decadent day indulging all your senses.” With the whole day ahead of them, a fridge full of tempting treats and the house to themselves for a change, that’s exactly what Eric intends to do—in the kitchen, on the washing machine, wherever the mood strikes. And Jessica’s got a super-steamy surprise for him too.

To be entered for a chance to win an e-copy of Decadence, leave me a comment and let me know YOUR favorite thing about fall. (One winner will be chosen at random—open internationally!)

For a chance to win my sweet but still exceptionally sexy foodie romance, THEN,AGAIN enter the main BLOG HOP drawing for the TREAT prize package.

THEN, AGAIN is also a seasonal love story as it takes place during a summer spent at the beach.

Here’s a peak at the blurb…

Sometimes you have to lose it all to find what you really need.

Photographer Kay Turner is dealt a double whammy when she flies home for her grandmother’s funeral to find her boyfriend with another woman. Now with two losses to mourn, she retreats to her newly inherited beach house to clear her head.

Everything at the beach is familiar: the sounds of the ocean, the scent of her grandmother’s perfume—and the irresistible smile of James Margolis. The man Kay spent her adolescence pining for is every bit as charming as she remembers.

James always thought of Kay as “a nice kid”, but he feels something very different for the woman she’s become. Especially when he asks if she’d be willing to part with some of her grandmother’s recipes for his new restaurant—and they wind up sharing much more than culinary secrets.

But as their relationship deepens, Kay finds herself caught between the demands of her dream career as a travel photographer, and a chance for happiness with the one man she’s wanted for a lifetime.

Product Warnings: This foodie romance contains sensual scone baking, a heroine who discovers one bad apple hasn’t spoiled her appetite, and a delicious hero you can’t help but crave. Blend well, serve hot.

Be sure to take a look at the list of awesome authors below so you can follow the Hop and enter all the contests. Stop at each of their blogs and see what they’re giving away plus get more chances to win the grand prize! And don’t forget to fill out the rafflecopter entry form! Good luck to all. I look forward to reading your comments below and giving away a copy of DECADENCE to the lucky winner. Happy Fall!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Coming November 5 – Leave The Lights On!

I’m very excited about the November 5th release of Leave The Lights On, a contemporary romance from Samhain Publishing. Here’s a peek at the blurb and cover!

When love throws you a curve, swing for the fences.

Parker Wood’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player are shattered when he’s injured in a devastating car crash. After two years in hospitals and physical rehab facilities, he’s ready to move back to his childhood home and take over the family landscaping company. The house and business are his, now that his father has passed.

Sophie Vaughn has suffered through a hellishly public divorce from a husband who couldn’t manage to stay faithful for two months of marriage. Determined not to let her personal drama impact her successful wedding and party planning business, she buys her parents’ old house, hoping the comfort of familiar surroundings will help her heal.

When Parker and Sophie discover they’re neighbors once again, it’s as if time has stood still. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, along with the decade-long crush neither of them ever admitted having. Then the heat between them exposes a long-held secret that threatens to tear them apart…unless they can detach from their painful pasts and move forward—together.

Warning: Contains sultry summer nights, steamy pool-side encounters, and you’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way again.

Pre-order now!

Amazon     Barnes&Noble     Samhain

Share

Now Available in Paperback!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEANT TO BE and its sequel HOLDING ON are now both available in paperback! You can purchase copies at most major online book retailers.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble Turquoise Morning Press

Reviews/Quotes:

“The characters are charismatic, their fears and trust issues are palpable, the lust is like molten lava…hot and dangerous, and the love is so darn endearing that it will make you sigh with pleasure.” ~BlackRavens Reviews 5 stars; Recommended Read

“I don’t know if there is a ‘talented writers gene’ that sets some apart from others; but if there is, then Karen Stivali has it. If you want to read a book that will make you grin, laugh, love, forgive, understand, and lust, then I highly recommend Holding On.” ~Literati Literature Lovers 5 or 5 stars

I love when I read a sequel and like it as much as the first one. I couldn’t have asked for a better story for Marienne and Daniel to show what it’s like after the Happily Ever After ending at the end of Meant to Be. The beauty of this story is the way the author develops her characters and their relationships and gives you a true sense of how people would react and interact. Karen Stivali is a superb writer in contemporary romance.” ~Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews 5 of 5 stars; A True Gem

“Sigh. That’s what I always feel like doing after reading one of Miz Stivali’s novels. I just want to sit here, with my hand over my heart, and sigh. And smile. Because there is something so innately sweet and heartfelt about her characters and their love. I loved Marienne and Daniel in Meant to Be and I think I may love them even more in Holding On.” ~Romantic Book Affairs

Share

Twelve Books of Christmas Giveaway!

Want to check out some awesome authors and have a chance at winning a GRAND PRIZE of 12 fabulous books plus a gift box of treats from Swiss Colony? Click on each of the author links below and leave a comment at each blog and you’ll be entered for the grand prize package of all 12 amazing titles and a treat!
All you have to do is answer this question:
What’s your favorite holiday song?
(One winner will be selected from the replies to this question to win his/her choice of any of my available books—be sure to hop over to the other blogs and leave a comment too so you can be entered for the grand prize!)
Happy Holidays!
After you leave your comment click on these authors to hop along!
Share
Privacy