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Early Review: Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

Posted on Dec 9, 2016 with No comments
The Highland Grooms

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands 

Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it. 
Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

4 STARS

 STAR
Delightful foray into the Highlands!  Wild Wicked Scot will charm you.  I loved the manner in which Julia London drives the story.  Margot and Arran are a perfect match, the pure fusion of passion and determination.  The mien in which both mature during the course of the story is vivid and tangible.  Love can truly conquer all. A must read for all lovers of historical romance. I look forward to the second installment of  The Highland Grooms.






Available for purchase at

              
Publisher: Harlequin Romance
Pub Date: December 27, 2016

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Forever's Special Holiday Blog Tour

Posted on Dec 7, 2016 with No comments


Forever’s Holiday Celebration Blog Tour

‘Tis the season to celebrate! Five of Forever’s authors with brand new Christmas romances are sharing their favorite holiday recipes and memories.

CAROLYN BROWN’S PUMPKIN BREAD

Kids, grand children, great-grands, all coming home for the holidays—the aroma of pumpkin bread baking in the oven—everyone waiting for it to get done so they can slice it up while it’s still hot, slather butter or whipped cream cheese on it, and tell the age old stories about the holidays we’ve had in the house. That’s the stuff memories are made off and every time I smell pumpkin bread it puts a smile on my face for the whole day.

PUMPKIN BREAD
This makes 2 loaves and 8 muffins; Or it makes one Bundt cake

½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
2 2/3 cups of sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-16 ounce can)
3 ½ cups flour
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 cup pecans (optional)
2/3 cup of cold strong black coffee
(NOTE: I use all butter if I’m out of shortening or even oil)

1.     Cream first four ingredients.
2.     Add canned pumpkin.
3.     Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee
4.     Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour for loaves or bundt cake, 25 minutes for muffins, or until they test done in the center.
5.     Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
6.     Cool completely before frosting with Harvest Moon Frosting (below).
HARVEST MOON FROSTING
3 egg whites
1½ cups brown sugar
6 tablespoons water
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a double boiler. Cook 7 minutes, beating the whole time with an electric mixer, over the boiling water.  The frosting will stand in peaks when done. Add vanilla.  Beat until thick enough to spread.


Find out more about Carolyn Brown at her website.












PAULA QUINN’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES

My dad used to live across the street from us. Every year, when my kids were little, he would dress up like Santa, climb out his window on the second floor, and hang Christmas lights on his fire escape. My kids would watch from our window with wonder in their eyes, unaware that it was grandpa. He would turn and wave to them, sending them into little fits of breathlessness. Later, we would visit grandma and grandpa’s for homemade cookies (left there for them by Santa). The house was always fully decked out with every Christmas decoration imaginable with Alvin and the Chipmunks on repeat while the kids hunted down little “pre-Christmas” gifts he’d hide for them. I loved witnessing the magic of Christmas and love through their eyes. Now grown, my kids will sometimes still look out the window at his fire escape and smile, remembering a grandpa who loved them beyond measure.

GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES

(A favored Italian recipe) 

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder


1. Sift dry ingredients.
2. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add vanilla and dry ingredients.
3. Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.
4. Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into shape.
5. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

ICING
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 teaspoons water

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir until creamy. Dip cookies into icing and sprinkle with trim. Place on wire rack with wax paper on counter to collect the dripping icing and sprinkles.

Find out more about Paula Quinn at her website.













DEBBIE MASON TREE TRIMMING PARTY

One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is our tree trimming party. We’ve held one every year for the past thirty years. Though I don’t know if it qualifies as a party seeing as it’s just the immediate family. But we do make a thing of it with our favorite carols playing in the background, fire on (mostly for ambiance), hot chocolate served in festive mugs, lots of holiday treats, and a special ornament for each of the kids and grandkids to open before the tree decorating gets under way.



But I think the most fun for all of us isn’t decorating the tree, it’s unpacking the ornaments. I’ve always tried to buy an ornament that’s uniquely suited to each of the kids, whether it was a sport they were into that year or a movie, book, or hobby they loved, so unwrapping each one brings back a lot of special memories. Here’s a peek at just some of the collection. I don’t think it will be long before we have to break from tradition and let the kids take some of the ornaments home to decorate their own trees. Either that or we’ll have to put up another tree.



And this one in my office doesn’t countJ Every year, my family gifts me with an ornament too. This year they gave me these three adorable oranaments to celebrate the release of the first book in the new Harmony Harbor series, MISTLETOE COTTAGE, and the short story, CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL.
 



Find out more about Debbie Mason at her website.




HOPE RAMSAY’S GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Every year for the last quarter-century, or possibly longer, I have set aside the Saturday closest to Christmas to bake gingerbread cookies with my children, and now, with my grandchildren.   These are the only cookies I make at Christmas time, and the activity is more about family fun than turning out a perfect cookie.  Usually I do most of the rolling, cutting, and baking.  And the rest of the family does the decorating.

The magic is in the royal icing.  The white icing is a snap to make, and it can be divided up into small bowls and colored with food dye, creating pots of colored cookie paint.  I give each child (or adult) a watercolor paint brush and let them paint the icing onto the cookies.  The kids have a blast, and the cookies always come out looking wonderfully homemade. 

To me, cookie baking embodies everything I love about Christmas: kids, family, baking, and yummy desserts.


GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
Makes about 6 Dozen

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 cup superfine sugar
1 egg at room temperature
½ cup unsulphured molasses


1.     Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour cocoa, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, backing soda, and salt.
2.     Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and molasses and beat thoroughly.
3.     On low speed, add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4.     Cut the dough into thirds, pat into disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm – 2 hours or overnight.
5.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/16 inch thick and cut cookies with cookie cutters.  Transfer the cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookie turn brown.
6.     Let cool on sheets and then transfer to a wire rack.  Decorate with royal icing.
ROYAL ICING
2 egg whites, at room temperature

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup water


Using a mixer, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until fluffy, thick & shiny (about 10 minutes.)  Divide the icing into smaller bowls and color it using food coloring. 




Find out more about Hope Ramsay at her website.






OLIVIA MILES SNOWFLAKE COOKIES
In my newest release, CHRISTMAS COMES TO MAIN STREET, my heroine owns a cookie bakery. As this story takes place over the holidays, I thought hard about a signature cookie she might make, and eventually I settled on charming snowflake cookies. Of course these are not just any old cut out cookie, though. No, Kara makes them by the dozen, sure to keep each one in the batch distinct in shape and decoration, because no two snowflakes are ever the same, after all! And it’s these snowflake cookies that she delivers every day to the inn in Briar Creek…where a Christmas visitor falls in love with more than just her cookies.
I hope you all enjoy these snowflake cookies as much as Nate does! J

KARA’S SNOWFLAKE COOKIES (sugar cookie cut-out and royal icing recipes courtesy of Martha Stewart)

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1.     Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
2.     Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3.     Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
4.     Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
ROYAL ICING
2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
Juice of 1 lemon
3 drops glycerin

Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, lemon juice and glycerin (if using); beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Decorate each as you wish!



Find out more about Olivia Miles at her website.











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Enchantress of Books Presents: Gift Ideas for the Book Lover #90

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Lots of different things for everyone and anyone on today's Gift Ideas for the Book Lover! Let us know what you think of the items Viviana, Enchantress of Books has shared! 


Happy Wednesday, aka Gift Ideas for the Book Lover day! There is still time to get gifts for your loved ones this holiday season!!  Below are just some for you to browse! Let us know which one is your favorite!




Womens Book Shirt -Book Nerd Tank Top
$17.99 (plus S&H)


Hand screen printed women's tank top for book lovers.

It's funny because its true! Book lovers never go to bed alone! If you are in a relationship with your stack of books, then this tank top is for you!

HEM-LESS WOMEN'S TANK TOP
- Small ( Width = 16 | Length = 27.2 )
- Medium ( Width = 17 | Length = 27.75 )
- Large ( Width = 18 | Length = 28.375 )
- X-Large ( Width = 19.5 | Length = 29 )
- 4.3 oz. Soft Light Weight

EXTRA SOFT SHIRTS
Our cotton blends are mixed to create the ULTIMATE SOFT extremely comfortable fabrics that become virtually non shrinkable.

TOP QUALITY APPAREL
Our designs are screen printed on TOP QUALITY made apparel.





Writing journal, spiral notebook, sketchbook, bullet journal, blank lined or grid, Game of Thrones - You know nothing Jon Snow
By ournalandCo
$8.00 (plus S&H)

-All our journals measure 5.5 x 8.5 inches

-Front covers are printed on 120lb heavy cardstock 

-Heavy black chipboard backings to provide a sturdy writing surface

-All journals are made with 100 pages (50 sheets) of 24 lb white acid free paper

-Bound together with black twin loop wire. Your journal will lay flat and have full page rotation.

-Your journal will come in a protective clear sleeve and wrapped for gift giving.






Reading is a Hoot Library Reading Nook Corner Playroom Owl Nursery Classroom Toy Room Bedroom Hallway Wall Decal Home Decor Sticker Art
$10.99 (plus S&H)

This decal is 8.5 inches tall by 21.5 inches in length. 

This decal reads: Reading is a Hoot. The decal comes in one color of your choice, the color options are listed below. This Decal is 8.5 inches tall by 21.5 inches long. It is perfect for any space that you would like to add a little something too, these decals also make fantastic gifts for friends and family. Please be sure to include your name and color choice, either when checking out or through a Etsy message.






Bookworm Marble Coasters. Ideal for Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Hobby Coasters, Unique Gift. Handmade.
$34.95 (plus S&H)

These beautiful marble coasters are perfect for any bookworm! With heartfelt and amusing quips to bring a smile to the lips, this gift made of travertine marble, with care will last a lifetime.

We deliver the highest quality prints. They will not fade, crack, or stick to your mug owing to the dye sublimation printing process which infuses the photos into the very substrate of the marble.

These unique 4" x 4" coasters make a wonderful Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday, Christmas, or Mother's Day Gift. Or you can just treat yourself! Useful for coffee, tea, wine and beer, potted plants, decorative bases --- the potential is endless!




If items are no longer available, please contact the seller to request further information. 

Click here to see more gift ideas!!

Visit us every Wednesdays for more awesome gift/present ideas for you or the 
Book Lover in your life!!! 


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Excerpt & Giveaway: Cowboys Don't Come Out by Tara Lain

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Cowboys Don't Come Out
by Tara Lain

Blurb:
Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad, and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.




Available for purchase at 

            


Also available in paperback


Excerpt



He stopped and tried to hear over the rushing of the surf out beyond the reef if anyone else hid in the dark. No sounds. Fortunately, no big water hit this beach, so he didn’t have to worry about getting swamped. Actually, between the lapping waves and the brilliant moonlight, the scene resembled some fairy-tale romance. Fuck that.
Right where the dry sand verged on the wet, he flopped on his butt. What she’d said—that he settled for a good-enough life. That he wasn’t happy. Don’t I get to decide that?
He leaned back on his elbows. Yeah, but she’s right. I created a whole life—as if I was somebody else. Most people find “the one” and build a future so it suits them both. I imagined a cowboy and slid into his boots—Rand McIntyre. Say that with a drawl, son. Just one problem. I’m gay—always have been—and cowboys don’t come out. Where does that leave me? A-fucking-lone, pardner. Always will be.
You’re not the only gay cowboy.
Have you seen Brokeback Mountain? Shit.
Phosphorescence sparkled on the tops of the waves farther out. Pretty. Guess there could be all kinds of weird man-eating shit in that water.
Do you think more sharks and barracudas swim at night than during the day?
Yeah, right.
He sprang up, stripped his Hawaiian shirt off and tossed it on the sand, then pulled off the shorts his mom had given him. Commando. What would it feel like to have fishes nibbling at his balls? Not like anybody else was doing any nibbling. He strode into the water. Whoa! Not cold, just startling.
When he waded out past his thighs, his penis and balls started to float. He chuckled. Kind of like being a kid in the bathtub. Endless hours of fun playing with your own built-in toys. A few more steps, and he submerged to his shoulders. He gave a tiny shiver. Weird being sunk in inky blackness. Still, the water felt good. He kicked off and swam a few yards out, turned, and stroked back towards shore. He wasn’t a good enough swimmer to push his luck alone at night.

After treading water a couple of minutes, he pulled himself back into the shallows and sat on the hard wet beach. He glanced down. Some shrinkage, but his balls still lay on the sand. Remember to rinse them off or you’ll itch. Slowly he released his breath. What was he going to do? Answer? Same as always. Nothing. He couldn’t risk all the great shit he’d made to try to make it better.



About the Author



Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!


You can find Tara at Lain

               


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