Sunday, July 24, 2016

Spotlight:Operation One Night Stand by Christine Hughes


Operation One Night Stand
by Christine Hughes
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 2 June 2015
Forever Yours


ON SALE for $0.99 on 25 Jul! One day only!
Summary from Goodreads:

IT'S TIME TO CHANGE HER SEXUAL KARMA

Caroline Frost had it all-until her boyfriend banged the superskank intern, and poof! Caroline's happy little bubble disappeared. Now it's been six weeks of weeping, a mountain of ice cream, and a permanent buttprint on the couch. Enough is enough. She and her ladybits need an intervention-now.

Enter Operation: One Night Stand: Find a man who is hotness personified and have some much-needed sexy time. The only problem is that Caroline is torn between a flirtatious, well-built guy and the ridiculously hot bartender serving her shots. This was supposed to be all fun and no games, but like the perfect scotch on the rocks, no good fling finishes without a twist . . .


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Excerpt:
“So, need something to drink?” he asked Melody. I noticed she noticed him. I frowned a bit at the thought of her thoughts infringing upon the perverted scenes that ran through my head but I had to remind myself, yet again, that Brian wasn’t the target.
“Sure. What do you recommend?” Melody leaned in and purred the question like she always did. I swear to God that girl was sex in heels.“Body shots.”
“Say what?” I, again, attempted to sit up and once again, Bartender Brian placed his hand on my shoulder and Melody clapped.
“Let me demonstrate.”
I felt like my eyes were going to roll into the back of head as I watched him pour a shot of tequila. With a shot in one hand and a saltshaker in the other, he leaned down and licked my neck. As he did, my eyes fluttered closed and I moaned.
Yes.
Moaned.
I heard him chuckle quietly.
I wanted nothing more than the floor to swallow me.
Before I knew it he shook the salt onto my neck and leaned back down. Instead of merely licking the salt off, he added lips and teeth and oh my God.
I gasped so hard for air I swore I was drowning. Then he placed a lemon wedge on my lips.
This shit doesn’t happen to me. Ever.
I didn’t see him take the shot but I heard the shot glass hit the bar top.
I held my breath and waited as he raked his fingers through my hair, then he bit around the lemon wedge, scraping his teeth on my lips. He must’ve bit the lemon because drops of juice and tequila fell onto my mouth. He used his lips and tongue to clean it up.
“That was fucking hot!” Melody clapped her hands.
“Thanks. I not only serve the drinks, I use them as entertainment.” With one hand in front of him and one behind, he bowed. Fucking bowed. I was a lick away from orgasm and he’s accepting applause.
Fuck.
“A little help here.” I was not able to sit upright. Melody grabbed my hands and pulled me up.
I whipped my head around. Bartender Brian was across the way chatting up a group of guys who were with my target. A few people sitting next to me at the bar clapped as I came to my senses. A loud chorus of cheers had me ducking my head to avoid the attention.
“What the hell was that?” Sarah asked, laughing.
“What?”
“Look at you making out with the bartender! Looks like someone jumped off the celibate carousel.”
“I did not! I was not making out with the bartender. He was just, he was just—” I looked to Melody for an answer.
“Don’t look at me. Bartender Boy is hot! I say you focus on him!”
I grabbed my purse and hopped off the barstool.
“No. I made a deal and I picked my target. You’ll see. I’m going to win this bet!”
“Caroline!”
Turning around, Bartender Brian smiled as he slid another drink my way. “Pink Panty Dropper.”
“What!” How did he know what color my underwear was?


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About the Author


I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.

I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.

So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.

Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.

A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.

A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.

The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Book Tour Review and Excerpt: Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh


New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

ROCK WEDDING IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Amazon US  | Amazon UK

iBooks | Nook  |  Kobo 


Blurb
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss  series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…
After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.
Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.
But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?


 Excerpt from ROCK WEDDING by

Nalini Singh

Plowing his gloved fists into the punching bag in front of him on the morning of the fourth day, Abe blocked out the other sounds in the gym and attempted to lose himself in the rhythm of the mindless action. It worked for about a minute before his mind filled with Sarah again. Her shy smile when he gave her a compliment. The way she’d sit curled up under his arm and read to him on lazy summer days.
Hard on the heels of that memory came one of him throwing her books in the pool in a drug-fueled rage. She’d been sobbing as she tried to save them.
“Fucking bastard,” Abe muttered, talking to his past self. He punched the bag so hard that it threatened to swing back right into his face. He didn’t care. He deserved to have his face beaten in.
Ripping off his gloves afterward, he showered, then went straight to a bookshop.
It was too little too late, but now that he’d remembered his asshole behavior, he couldn’t just leave it. Ball cap pulled low, he wandered the aisles… then realized most people here didn’t care who he was; they were more interested in the volumes that lined the shelves. He spent an hour inside the murmuring quiet of the store, searching for the titles he remembered seeing on their bedside table. She’d definitely read him Jane Austen.
He couldn’t remember which one though, so he bought the entire set.
And there was this one romance novel she loved and had read over and over again. He’d teased her it would fall apart in her hands one day. She’d just smiled and read him a paragraph that she’d told him was part of her favorite scene. What the hell had it been? Yes, that was it. In the end, it turned out the store didn’t have that book in stock, so he bought her a bunch of new releases featuring people with dogs or puppies on the covers. He definitely remembered seeing covers like that in their home
After spotting it in a display, he added in a nonfiction book about a woman who’d set up her own company while nearly flat broke and who was now a millionaire. At the counter, he paid extra to have the books wrapped up and packaged.
He’d called his car service earlier; the driver shot him a funny look when he put the package in the passenger seat and gave him Sarah’s address. “I’m a courier now?” the stocky middle-aged man asked, having worked long enough for Schoolboy Choir that he was a friend. They’d all missed his calm demeanor and total trustworthiness when he broke his leg recently and had been out for a while.
“Best in the business,” Abe responded.
The other man snorted. “I’ll get it to her now.”
Blowing out a breath after the gleaming black town car pulled away, Abe went to where he’d parked his SUV and got in. He didn’t want to go home to his empty house, but he didn’t want to barge in on his friends either. David and Thea, Noah and Kit, they needed time alone. As for Molly and Fox, while the newlyweds were back home after a short wedding trip, having postponed their honeymoon until later in the year, Abe wasn’t about to bust up their love nest.
Gabriel and Charlotte probably wouldn’t have minded the company since they’d been doing the sightseeing thing, but the other couple had flown back to New Zealand twenty-four hours earlier—after inviting all of them to their own wedding.
His phone buzzed right then.
Picking it up, he saw a message from Fox. Molly and I are at that Thai place with the noodles you like. We saved you a seat if you want to join us for lunch.
Damn, he loved his bandmates. On my way, he messaged back.
Starting the engine, he tried not to obsess over if Sarah would call him after receiving his long overdue gift. Hell, he’d be content with her throwing the books at his head. All he wanted was for her to talk to him, to let him show her he wasn’t that guy anymore, the one who’d destroyed them both.
 

What I thought about Rock Wedding


I'd almost forgotten about this series, but I'm really glad that I decided to stick with it because Rock Wedding is a lovely story of forgiveness and love that I think will touch many readers.  

Sarah is a sweet woman, eager to take care of her husband Abe.  He's the keyboard player from Schoolboy Choir, and he's got some big demons riding around on his shoulders.  He's dealing with some heavy grief made more potent by drug addiction, and unfortunately takes it out on Sarah.  In these brutal opening scenes, Nalini Singh gives a eyes-wide-open view of the end of a marriage.  The words here hurt and brought tears to my eyes with their nastiness.

In the aftermath, Sarah manages to make it through the dark days afterward. She moves past Abe as best as she can, but not everything she does works out for her. Her heart is broken a second time and it's Abe that comes to pull her out of her grief. 

But Sarah's heart is still tender and she isn't sure if she can survive Abe a second time.  I absolutely loved this part of the book, where these two people find their way back to each other. I rarely read romance where forgiveness plays such a huge part, and I adored that about this story.

I loved Abe and Sarah and their journey.  It was sweet without being sticky, and realistic without being a downer.  It was great to see the characters from the previous books in the series again too. 

The writing is great, the emotions pack the pages. I kept turning the pages to the end and it left me wanting more.  I definitely recommend this if you are looking for a romance that's a little bit different and diverse.

ARC provided for review. 


 Haven’t read this series yet?
Start the Rock Kiss Series NOW!
Rock Addiction (Book One) Rock Kiss Series


Rock Courtship (Book 1.5) A Rock Kiss Novel:
          Amazon US: http://amzn.to/XXjjxG
          Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1G9pmhZ
iBooks:
http://bit.ly/1lzgNIi
          Nook: http://bit.ly/1COgaC6
          Kobo: http://bit.ly/1pEeCy6
           
         
Rock Hard (Book Two) Rock Kiss Series
          Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1BXhHWB

          Rock Redemption (Book Three) Rock Kiss Series

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1hP7G54
Amazon UK:
http://amzn.to/1XBZsOB
Nook:http://bit.ly/1VIYkH2
iBooks: http://apple.co/1ITi0i7
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1VIYoXo


 About the Author

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.


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