Friday, July 31, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Shelley Coriell and THE BLIND


THE BLIND by Shelley Coriell (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Apostles #3)
As part of the FBI's elite Apostles team, bomb and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez knows playing it safe is not an option. Especially when tracking a serial killer like the Angel
Bomber. He calls himself an artist—using women as his canvas and state-of-the-art explosives as his brush. His art lives and breathes . . . and with the flick of a switch . . . dies. 


As the clock ticks down to his next strike, Evie faces an altogether different challenge: billionaire philanthropist and art expert Jack Elliott, who's made it clear he doesn't care for Evie's wild-card tactics.

Jack never imagined the instant heat for the Apostles' defiant weapons expert would explode his cool and cautious world—and make him long to protect this woman. But as Evie and Jack get closer to the killer's endgame, they will learn that safety and control are all illusions. For their quarry has set his sight on Evie for his final masterpiece...

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About the author...A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and restaurant reviewer. These days Shelley writes smart, funny novels for teens and big, edgy romantic suspense. A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, she lives and loves in Arizona with her family and the world's neediest rescue Weimaraner. When she's not behind the keyboard, you'll find her baking high-calorie, high-fat desserts and haunting local farmers markets for the perfect plum.

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At the door to the roof stairs, Jack dug into his pants pocket and frowned. He patted his suit coat and shirt pockets.
The frown reached his eyes.
“What is it?” Evie asked.
“I left my key card in my other suit coat.”
“No worries.” She dug into her bag and pulled out her key card. “I got us covered.”
He waved it off. “Visitor badges don’t allow roof access.”
She swiped anyway. The dot remained red.
Jack dug out his phone and jabbed at the face. He barked an order, then disconnected the call with another jab. “Security will have a man here in ten minutes.” He jabbed at the phone again. “Let me call my maintenance team and see if they can get here quicker.” His face now sported a full-fledged scowl.
“It’s not that big a deal, and there are worse places to be stranded.” Evie wandered back toward the garden. Back home in Albuquerque, she had a potted cactus garden one of her nephews had made her for her last birthday, the perfect type of garden for her as it could stand the heat, was small, and didn’t need much tending.
“As you keep reminding me, a clock is ticking.” More than a hint of irritation edged his words.
She laughed and sat on a bench near the copper-sheeted fountain. “This isn’t about a clock, Jack. It’s about you making a mistake.”
As expected, he strode to her side. “Excuse me.”
She propped her boots on the rock surrounding the koi pond. “You’re the type of guy who doesn’t make mistakes, and it ticks you off that you left your key card in your other coat.”
He watched the fish slide in and out of light dappling the waters before shaking his head and sitting next to her. “I take it you know this because you’re not the type of gal who makes mistakes.”
A laugh ripped from her chest. “Hardly.”
“There’s no room for error in the bomb business,” he argued.
“True. I don’t cross wires while at work, but I’m no stranger to messes.”
This time he laughed as he reached out and plucked a leaf from her hair. “So you get a little ruffled.” He held up the leaf.
She plucked it from his fingers. “Oh, no. I make full-on mistakes.”
“Like?”
“I think we’ll need more than ten minutes.”
“Like?” He kept that intense gaze on her, a man who commands attention and answers. But she didn’t have anything to hide.
She cupped her hands behind her head. Where to start? “Like having an egg hunt with my nephews last Easter in my mom and dad’s house and not being able to track down all the eggs. For three months the house stank until my mom unearthed the last of the rotten eggs, which six-year-old Tommy had hidden in a vent in the laundry room.”
“I call that unbridled enthusiasm.”
“And there was the time just last month when my teammate Finn Brannigan asserted his motorcycle was faster than my truck. Of course I had to prove him wrong, and I did until a cop pulled me over just as I got the speedometer past one hundred. Definitely a mistake, and for the record, we both got speeding tickets.”
“And that’s team bonding.”
She could see why Jack Elliott was so successful in business. He could put a twist on anything he wished. She unlaced her hands and let them fall in her lap. Did he even remember kissing her fingers? Did he sense the jolt his lips had sent through her entire body? “And then there’s last night.”
A vertical line striped the center of his forehead. “What mistake did you make last night?”
She grabbed his hand and twined her fingers with his. Last night he’d been vulnerable when he admitted his hope, his bone-deep desire, that his sister was still alive. Looking at him over their clasped hands, she said point-blank, “I should have kissed you back.”
Jack’s eyes sparked, and she knew he remembered the touch of his lips to her fingers. His shoulders, so wide they blocked the rising sun behind him, bounced in a soft laugh.
“You’re fearless.”
“Does that bother you?”
“No, not at all. I like strong, courageous, independent women.”
“Is that the type you take to your bed?”
                “I . . .” He tilted his head, not a single wave of hair falling out of place. “Yes, it is.”
“That’s good to know.” Because knowns were always so much easier to work with. She was about to open her mouth, when the roof access door opened, a harried security guard rushing at them and apologizing for not getting there sooner.
For a solid five seconds, Jack stared at their clasped hands before turning to the guard. “No worries,” Jack said as he pulled her to her feet and walked her toward the stairs, their fingers still intertwined.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Samantha Grace and THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES



Hi, everyone. I’m Samantha Grace, RITA-nominated author of the historical romance series, Rival Rogues. Today I’m very happy to be joined by Benjamin Hillary, the hero of my latest novel, THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES, and the heroine’s brother, Sebastian Thorne. Ben’s younger sister, Lady Lana Forest, has graciously agreed to act as the interviewer and she has promised to put these two rogues through the paces.

Lana: Since you both know Miss Thorne so well, I thought we could focus the interview on her today. After all, I would like to know more about my future sister-in-law.

Sebastian: Er...You do realize my sister is betrothed to Sir Jonathan.

Lana flicks her hand dismissively: I’m sure she will come to her senses in time.

Sebastian slants a look at Ben: You have one of those, too.

Ben: One of what?

Sebastian: A sister who believes you can do no wrong.

Lana: I wouldn’t say he does no wrong. I simply love him in spite of his failings. I still haven’t completely forgiven him for jilting your sister.

Sebastian scowls at Ben: Neither have I.

Ben: We settled our differences on the field, Thorne. You’ll have to let it go eventually.

Sebastian: And why is that?

Ben: Because I intend to win your sister’s forgiveness and her hand in marriage.

Lana: Ben is correct. Lay the past to rest. Should we talk about Miss Thorne now? What makes Eve Thorne so amazing?

Ben smiles: She is tender hearted, forgiving but not gullible, funny, intelligent, and beautiful. She has the loveliest freckles across her nose. And I love the way she wrinkles her pert little nose and invokes every one of my names when she is irate. Benjamin James Arran Hillary. Her habit of setting everything back to rights—a hair out of place drives her mad—is adorable.

Sebastian exchanges a grin with Ben’s sister: He is smitten.

Lana: I believe he is, Lord Thorne. Perhaps you could stand aside and allow my brother to try to woo her away from Sir Jonathan.

Sebastian: Ah, now I understand why you invited me here today. You are a clever one, my lady.

Ben: I almost forgot clever. Miss Thorne is too clever by half.

As Ben continues to extol his ladylove’s virtues, Sebastian’s grin widens: Very well. I promise not to interfere.

Lana: I knew you would see everything my way eventually.    

Title: The Best of Both Rogues 
Author: Samantha Grace
Series: Rival Rogues, Book 3
ISBN: 9781492608103
Pubdate: July 7th, 2015
Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Book Summary

The worst thing Mr. Benjamin Hillary ever did was abandon his bride-to-be on their wedding day.

The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man.

After two long years abroad, Ben finds Eve every bit as captivating as she was the first time he saw her, and he vows to set things right.

Lady Eve Thorne has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble. She is no longer a starry-eyed young woman, and now that he’s back, he can go hang for all she cares. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself…


Biography

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever. 

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Excerpt from THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES by Samantha Grace

Ben made a slow circle of the brightly lit ballroom, stopping occasionally to study the couples as they sashayed past, their cheeks pink from exertion. After several moments, he was satisfied Lord Wellham wasn’t among the dancers, not that Ben was surprised. If his memory served, the earl favored gambling over gamboling.
Reaching a secluded corner near a dark alcove, he paused to check once more for his quarry before he sought out the card room.
“What are you doing here?” a voice hissed. “You are not on the guest list.”
“Pardon?” Ben spun toward the speaker and came up short. His eyebrows veered toward each other. “How do you know?” he whispered back to the mass of green palm fronds.
“Because I helped make the list.” The plant’s fronds parted, and Eve Thorne’s stern glare greeted him. What the devil was she doing?
Her frown deepened when he simply stared, at a loss for words. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Hillary?”
The corners of his mouth twitched. “Let me guess, you’ve been attacked by a man-eating plant. Are you in need of rescue, Kitten?”
She growled softly and the fronds snapped back into place. Ben checked the surrounding area to be certain they hadn’t earned any unwanted attention, then peered around the massive greenery. Eve was wedged against the wall, her yellow chiffon skirts crushed against the large pot. Her chest rose and fell in rapid movements, drawing his attention to the modest swell of her breasts peeking above her lacy neckline. A rosy glow infused her ivory skin, making the sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks almost unnoticeable.
God, he had missed her – her freckles, her pouty lips, her soulful brown eyes. He had been smitten from the moment he had spied her at the theater during the little Season, and two years on a faraway continent had done nothing to cool his ardor.
“What are you doing back there, Miss Thorne, and shouldn’t you have a chaperone?”
She crossed her arms as if erecting a wall between them. “God only knows why, but I am trying to save your skin, Benjamin James Arran Hillary.”
Damnation. He had almost forgotten he’d been burdened with so many names, and that she had a habit of invoking every one when she was perturbed. His smile expanded. Despite her pretense of indifference, she was worried for him. “Am I to conclude your skulking about means you still care?”
“I care about Lady Eldridge, and I do not want to see her ball ruined by you and Sebastian coming to fisticuffs. You really must leave before he sees you and demands another meeting on the field.”
Crossing paths with Sebastian Thorne didn’t concern Ben. Her brother’s need to defend her reputation after Ben jilted her had been satisfied three weeks earlier in a duel, and Thorne would not issue a second challenge for fear of losing. Ben suspected neither of them wanted to risk looking like fools again either. Instead of dueling with pistols or swords as any other normal men would do, they had allowed Eve to choose the weapons. She had chosen gloves.
He scowled. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous it looked for two men to engage in a slapping match?” The gents at Brooks’s hadn’t stopped talking about the duel for days, and Ben had endured the brunt of the teasing since he’d followed his youngest brother’s advice and allowed Thorne to win.
Eve’s smile radiated with self-satisfaction. “Since no one died, I would say I made an excellent choice.”
H grudgingly admitted her cleverness had managed to resolve the conflict without bloodshed – or much, anyway. Ben had walked away with a cut on his cheek and a nasty bruise, thanks to her brother filling his glove with pebbles. But bruised pride and a bruised mug were small prices to pay to see Eve’s position in Society restored.

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3 Signed Rival Rogues Book Bundles open 6/24/2015 – 7/31/2015

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Lauren Layne by FRISK ME


About FRISK ME...A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Seattle-area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out laurenlayne.com!

About Lauren Layne...After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York's most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the "American Hero," Luc's boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn't mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who's been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

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Ava Sims reached out and gave his arm a smug little pat, either oblivious or indifferent to Luc's inner turmoil.
"We start Monday. What time do you get to work?"
"Sorry?" he said.
"Your work day. When do you start?"
He shook his head. "Why does it matter? Don't you just tell me what day and time to show up at your studio?
She rolled her eyes. "We can't just have three hours worth of face-to-face interviews in cushy chairs. This is an inside look at America's Hero."
"Hold on now," Luc said, his irritation escalating to panic. "Three hours? And America's what?"
"America's Hero. It'll be the name of the series."
Oh sweet Jesus.
"Now hold the hell on," he said. "There's not going to be a series. Just ask me a few questions and be done with it."
Her grin had gone beyond smug to full out gloating. "It's already approved. It'll be a three-hour special, divided up over three nights. Pretty standard."
"Standard, my ass," Luc snapped. "How the hell are you going to stretch four minutes of amateur video into three hours?"
Ava gave an expectant look at the captain who cleared his throat nervously before explaining. "Ms. Sims and her team will be shadowing you for a while, Moretti. A day in the life of a New York's Finest, and all that."
"Just think, two whole months together!" she said, with a mockingly bright smile meant to annoy him. "Won't that be fun? You can show me all the lives you've saved with those parking tickets."
Luc was too busy grinding his teeth to reply. Ava dug something out of her purse, slapping it against his chest before sweeping towards the door in her sexy high heels.
"See you on Monday, Officer."
Luc swallowed against the surge of panic. He couldn't do this. He wouldn't do this. It was one thing to be a local hero. Another thing entirely to become a "household names" as Ava had indicated. The last thing Luc needed was an even brighter spotlight on him, shining in places that should remain in the dark forever.
"I don't like it either," Brinker said gruffly, displaying a rare perceptiveness. "But I can tell you right now, there's no point in fighting it. Your father's replacement made it clear that this was an order. Not a request."
Fuck. Fuck. If he were Anthony, or even Vincent, he would have pushed back. Would have shoved his principles down Brinker's throat, superior or not.
But Luc wasn't his brothers. Luc wasn't a hotheaded hotshot. And he had far too much respect for the NYPD to pull a tantrum. 
He would do his duty. He always did his duty. With pride.
Still, he couldn't stop the groan of dread in anticipation of what lay ahead , Luc glanced down at the crumpled piece of paper that Ava had thrust at him. There was a coffee stain in one corner, and something that looked like lipstick smeared across the front, but there was no mistaking what he was looking at.
It was a three-year-old parking ticket. 
She'd never paid it. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Kim Amos and AND THEN HE KISSED ME


About AND THEN HE KISSED ME...Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He's still hot as hell, but she won't fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she's calling the shots.

Kieran never thought he'd return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she's just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn't know why he had to leave-or that he's missed her every day since. But he can't deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he's sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.

About Kim Amos...A Midwesterner whose roots run deep, Kim Amos is a writer living in Michigan with her husband and three furry animals.

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Audrey was just coming out of the women’s bathroom—makeup on, and bustier laced, and ready for work—when Kieran came striding around the corner from the other direction. Audrey pulled up short, thinking that the sight of Kieran could stop any woman in her tracks.
            He was wearing a white collared shirt that had Harley Davidson embroidered above the breast pocket. The crisp material set off the dark-flamed color of his hair, and the impossibly pale green of his eyes. He’d tucked the shirt neatly into jeans with a black leather belt, and he wore black, thick-soled Harley boots on his feet.
            It was the perfect blend of professional and edgy—that same mix of contrasts that she’d once found so appealing about Kieran—and she found herself staring longer than she should have. Just walk past, she commanded her legs, but they stayed rooted on the spot.
            “Little late, aren’t you?” he said gruffly, glancing at his watch.
            It was 9:55, and work didn’t start until ten o’clock. But instead of firing back, she gave him a slow smile. The kind of smile a woman who dressed in a leather bustier all the time might give a man she wanted. I can pretend I have an alter ego, she thought suddenly. She could be a different Audrey altogether—a badass, sexy Audrey—who could ride a motorcycle because Kieran would teach her. She’d tilt-shift Kieran Callaghan’s world, instead of the other way around, and get him to do what she wanted for a change.
The idea was ludicrous—and thrilling. 
            In spite of the alarm bells sounding in her head, she inched closer to him. Her pulse ricocheted just beneath her skin, and she prayed she wasn’t sweating visibly. “Maybe I’m right on time,” she whispered.
His eyes widened in surprise. She could already feel moisture collecting at the small of her back. Internally, she repeated shut up to the part of the brain screaming to stop what she was doing already and get to work.
She was ready to turn away when Kieran made an animalistic sound in the back of his throat. It froze her in place like prey in the wild. His eyes flashed dangerously. She’d had an effect on him.
“This isn’t how you get ahead in businesses that I run,” he said, low and gravelly.
“That’s because,” she demurred, “maybe you’re talking about the wrong kind of head entirely.”
If he started to smile, he pinned it back quickly. “I don’t remember you being so forward.”
“A lot can change in five years.”
He looked her up and down. His gaze was ravenous. “Clearly,” he growled, thrilling her.
The raw emotion coursing through her was suddenly carnal enough to spark fear. It jolted the logical part of her brain into action. What was she even doing? This was downright reckless. It was tawdry. She could lose her job.
“I should….” She started, but the words faded away into less than a whisper.
She should what, exactly? A few weeks ago, she thought she knew how to answer that question: She should work hard at a job that would reward her efforts. She should try not to make waves. She should put others first. She should guard her heart so no one like Kieran Callaghan would come roaring into her life ever again.
Which had all led her here. Broke. Underemployed. Restless. And with Kieran Callaghan staring at her like he wanted to devour her.
Turn away, her internal editor commanded. Go to work. But instead she simply watched as Kieran’s hand grasped her upper arm, and he pushed her straight back into the women’s restroom from which she’d just emerged. It was just a single stall and a sink, a cramped space, which felt smaller still from the heat of Kieran’s body and the overwhelming mass of him. Had he always been this tall?
He turned the lock with a satisfying click.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Katie MacAlister and DRAGON FALL

About DRAGON FALL...For Aoife Dakar, seeing is believing-and she's seen some extraordinary things. It's too bad no one else believes that she witnessed a supernatural murder at an outdoor fair. Returning to the scene for proof, Aoife encounters a wise-cracking demon dog-and a gloriously naked man who can shift into a dragon and kiss like a god. Now thrust into a fantastical world that's both exhilarating and terrifying, Aoife is about to learn just how hot a dragon's fire burns.

Kostya has no time for a human woman with endless questions, no matter how gorgeous or tempting she is. He must break the curse that has splintered the dragon clans before more of his kind die. But his powerful attraction to Aoife runs much deeper than the physical-and there may be more to her than even his sharp dragon eyes can see. To survive the coming battle for the fate of his race, he needs a mate of true heart and soul.


About Katie MacAlister...For as long as she can remember Katie MacAlister has loved reading, and grew up with her nose buried in a book. It wasn't until many years later that she thought about writing her own books, but once she had a taste of the fun to be had building worlds, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes, she was hooked.

With more than fifty books under her belt, Katie's novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. A self-proclaimed gamer girl, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her dogs, and frequently can be found hanging around online.

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Kostya took my arms in his hands, giving me a little shake. “You appear to be denying the existence of Jim, amongst other things. Is that it? You do not wish to admit that I am a dragon, and Jim is a demon?”
“Oh, now you’re a dragon, are you?” I asked, stifling the urge to laugh hysterically.
“I have always been a dragon.” His tone implied that he was vaguely insulted, but before I could make a comment about his sanity—let alone mine for even having that conversation—the world as I knew it came to an end.
Or rather, the world that I had lived in for the last two years ended. Before my unbelieving eyes, Kostya’s form seemed to shimmer for a moment before morphing into that of a black dragon, complete with glossy black scales, ivory claws, and trickle of smoke coming out of one nostril. I froze, staring, my brain trying to come to terms with the impossible being in front of me, but before I could do more than squawk, the dragon shimmered again and Kostya stood in its place.
That was the moment that my sad little inner voice stood up and shouted with joy, filled with vindication after two years of denial.
“Holy sex me now!” I said, the rest of my brain still having problems coping with the fact that a dragon—a dragon!—had stood before me, his claws on my arms.
Told you so, said the formerly sad inner voice. Guess Terrin was right all along, huh? Now we can get on with life. I wonder what a demon lord does?
And that’s when the penny dropped. “You’re the black dragon I saw at GothFaire that night the world went insane. You’re the guy Terrin pointed out to me.”
“I do not know anyone named Terrin. As for your request—”
“What request?” I asked, confused while my mind was busy pushing bits of puzzle pieces into place. No wonder Kostya looked familiar to me. But that meant that everything Terrin told me was true. Which in turn meant I wasn’t the least bit ga-ga. Relief swamped me when I added, “I didn’t ask you for anything.”
“You did. You asked me to sex you now. I realize that you desire my body,” Kostya said to me in the same stern tone of voice that my father had used whenever I was caught doing something I oughtn’t, “but now is hardly the time or place for such actions. I will admit, however, that the thought is not displeasing to me. You are quite comely. Later, we will have the sexing. But for now, we must remain focused.”
I giggled. I couldn’t help it, the giggle just slipped out.
His frown returned. “You find me amusing?”
“I find your phrasing amusing. Comely, to be exact. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used outside of a Georgette Heyer novel. And for the record—” I had to stop for a moment to get a grip on myself. Apparently, my brain decided that giggling was good, and there was no reason to cease that action. “For the record, I do not desire your body. Not that you’re hideous or anything, far from it. Even with those scars, your chest is really nice, and I like your legs because they aren’t scrawny, and you have nice shoulders and naughty bits, but I’ve never been one to put physical attributes ahead of more important things.”
“Such as?” He had his hands on his hips when he asked the question, which just made me want to giggle again.
“Intelligence, a sense of humor, and oh yes, not being a mythical creature.” I swallowed another giggle. “Not that it wasn’t a cool form, but still. I like my men without the sort of baggage that must go with being a shapeshifter.”
“Is that so?” One eyebrow lifted.
“Yes.”
“Then you will not like this.” He pulled me against him, his mouth moving into place on mine, his breath hotter than I could have imagined. And then he kissed the very wits right out of my brain.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mary Gramlich Is Blogging Along With Lia Riley and INSIDE OUT (plus two other surprises)



INSIDE OUT by Lia Riley (July 28, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Off the Map #3)
Love is their best adventure yet . . .Talia Stolfi is deeply in love with the brooding Aussie surfer who stole her heart-but their infrequent letters only get her so far. While she fulfills her dream of being in the Peace Corps, a dangerous condition jeopardizes her life . . . and threatens to shatter her heart.

After nearly losing Talia forever, Bran Lockhart sailed to the stormy seas at the ends of the earth. Deep down, he knows that all roads worth traveling lead back to the beautiful California girl with the sunny smile. There's no denying that he belongs with her, but to have her by his side means Bran must dare to do something he's never done before: hope.  Everything they've fought for has come down to this moment. Can Talia and Bran discover the courage to claim their future and learn that sometimes, in order to earn true love, you need to venture off the map?


About the author...After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Who was I when I first fell in love with Bran?
A person who had courage to stare down an unfeasible situation and say, Sure, I’m up for the challenge.
Who was I when Bran threw himself at me like a wounded animal, all claws, abandonment fear, spit, and fang?
A person who accepted that the moon has two sides, light and dark.
Who am I now?
I feel like a lost soul rocking in the corner, fresh out of ideas.
Bran pushes me through the long line until it’s our turn at the passport desk.
“How long do you plan to stay in the United States?” The customs official glances from Bran’s face to his passport photo and back again.
My stomach squirms like a writhing snake. We’ve avoided any discussion about future plans, focused instead on the short term. I had to accept the reality that I couldn’t return to the Peace Corps, even with the medical separation. I was too sick, too shattered. Our discussions about the logistics of leaving Africa were easier to concentrate on than the looming issue of what we were going to do with each other. I treated the topic like an abandoned lot, filled with weeds and rusting cars, a subject to walk past and pretend to ignore.
Now a stranger is forcing the issue.
“Until this one gets better.” Bran cocks his head in my direction.
The woman scoots forward, peers at me with a faint frown. “May I see proof of a return ticket, sir?”
Bran digs out the photocopy of his itinerary. When we bought the tickets, he had to borrow money from his dad. He hasn’t said much, but I know the fact must eat at him. Add another bitter drop to my guilt bucket—soon it’s going to overflow.
“You’re on a temporary tourist visa.” The customs agent flips the passport to a blank page and stamps with obvious relish. “You have three months, starting now.”
Here we go again.
Visa issues.
Ticking clocks.
People imagine international romance is excitement, hot accents, and adventure. They don’t want to hear about the bureaucratic drudgery that threatens to harden the arteries of even the most passionate hearts.
I thought I was going somewhere.
Nope.
I am an idiot Icarus who flew too close to the sun.
Bran leans forward, his lips hover an inch from my ear, his breath a hot caress on my cool skin. “You okay, Captain?”
“Fine.”
“What are you thinking, thinker?”
“I’m just sitting here, a sitter.”
We roll past an American flag overhanging a framed photo of the president. His smile seems smug, as if to say, You really thought you’d get away?
Yes, sir. I kind of did.
“We’re up next.” Bran hands a final customs form to yet another officer who waves us toward big silver doors that open and shut like gnashing teeth. On the other side is California. I can’t shake the disorienting sense we’re heading in the wrong direction.
“Ready?”
Nope.
Bran crossed an ocean for me. I have to find the way out of this black swamp, but I’m manacled to an island of self-doubt, and the tide is rising.



UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley (May 12, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Off the Map #1)
If you never get lost, you'll never be found…Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

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SIDESWIPED by Lia Riley (June 30, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Off the Map #2)
It was only meant to last the summer . . .
Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that's what she'll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he'll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can't stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won't give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

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