All out of Love

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNER!  WINNER!  The lucky winner of the Shadow Falls wine glasses is: Melanie Macek!  Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your mailing address and I will get you your gift.  Congrats!

As promised, I have a wonderful treat for you today!  The talented and phenomenal Lori Wilde is here with us to visit and share with us about her upcoming July release, All out of Love!  I’m so excited to have her, so please give her a warm Laugh, Love, Read welcome, and be sure to leave a comment because TEN commenters will win their very own copy!

Okay, Lori, if your book was a sundae, what toppings would it have?

Caramel. Smooth and rich.

Yummy!  Hmmm… if you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island and could only take a few things, what would they be?

My husband, my glasses, a journal, and my dogs

Aw, so nice and practical!  OK, complete this phrase.  Stay calm and:

Write

What scene in the book was the hardest for you to write?  Easiest?  Why?

The love scenes are always the hardest (hehe, made a pun) to write. 

The easiest scene in ALL OUT OF LOVE was when the hero is hoodwinked into buying tumbleweed seeds because he was too busy ogling the heroine to notice. It was such fun to write.

That sounds like so much fun!  Can’t wait to read it.  Speaking of reading, what is the last great book you’ve read?

Gone Girl

Awesome!  So tell us, Lori, what is your guilty pleasure?

The National Enquirer. Yes, I’m shallow like that.
Hey, nobody’s judging you!  Now, can you tell us more about the book?
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The newest Cupid, Texas romance . . . Football star Pierce Hollister has fame, fortune, and beautiful women who’ll do anything for him . . . whether he asks them to or not. But when it all comes crashing down, Pierce finds himself back home, running the ranch in Cupid, Texas, wondering how it all went wrong.

But one thing is right: Lace Bettingfield. The former plain-Jane has turned into a luscious knockout—trouble is,she won’t even give him the time of day no matter how many passes he makes.

Being in love with your older brother’s best friend is awkward enough, and Pierce was the cause of Lace’s most embarrassing high school moment ever when her secret letter to him declaring her love landed right on the front page of the school newspaper! Pierce is still as stubborn, sexy, and arrogant as ever . . . but Lace is about to see that things aren’t always as they seem . . . especially when it comes to love.

Available for pre-order at Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/m38tnbw

B&N:  http://tinyurl.com/lutamd3

Thanks, Lori!  It’s been great having you here.  OK, it’s your turn . . . in All out of Love, Lace is totally humiliated before she can find true love with Pierce.  Anyone willing to share their good, bad or ugly high school stories?  Ten lucky commenters will win their very own copy.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won!  Good luck!

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Loriwilde

Lori Wilde is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty-five books. A former RITA® finalist, Lori has received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers’ Choice, and numerous other honors. She lives in Weatherford, Texas, with her husband and a wide assortment of pets.

Two Wines I’m Not Whining About!

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WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Robin Kaye are: Karen Roloff and Patti Shenberger!  Please email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your preference of print (with snail mail addy) or e-book (Amazon or B&N.)  Congrats!

Okay, most of you know that I’m a wine lover.  And I’m predominately a red wine lover. Now, I’m usually a Cab gal.  I love lots of fruit flavors, but with a hint of some pepper, chocolate, and I don’t mind a little oak tannin blended in to add to a long finish.  I belong to Wine Styles wine club, where as a club member I get two really good bottles a month.  Yum.

But I also shop around and find a good wine here and there on my own.  My daughter recently recommended one to me, and let me tell you, our tastes don’t always mesh.  I seem to like a fully bodied taste and she tends to go for a little sweeter.  But when I spotted the recommended bottle, being a good mom, I bought two: One for her, and one for me to try.  Hey . . . I do appreciate her thinking of me. 

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Surprisingly, I found it pretty darn good.  And for the price, it was a bargain.  Apothic Red is a California wine and a blend of grapes, but it has great fruit flavors, and for the price tag of less than $12, I’d buy it again.

Now Renwood, Old Vine Zinfandel, 2010 Dry Creek Valley, is another one definitely worth mentioning.  I really enjoyed sipping from this bottle.  As a matter of fact, it went way too quickly. 

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It’s an earthy wine with red berry fruits and underlying holiday spice on the nose.   It holds hints of pepper and black currant. On the palate, this wine has lots of red flavors. The prominent oak presence blends perfectly with the juicy fruit flavors, and for around $18, it’s one of those bottles I’d buy for the slightest celebration. 

And because I’m a wine drinker, I recently had some wine glasses designed with my Shadow Falls logo.  And today, if you share with me your favorite wine, one lucky commenter will win a set of four Shadow Falls wine glasses.  _MG_9653-2

And speaking of Shadow Falls, I recently got the title of my new spin-off series, as well as the titles for the first two books.  Shadow Falls: After Dark is the series title.  I really like it because it’s sort of spooky and well, sort of sexy, too.  The first book in the series is called, Reborn, and it will be out April of 2014.  The second book, Eternal, should be out in October 2014.

Recently, St. Martins released Saved at Sunrise, which is a novella from Della’s point of view.  If you’d like to sample the tone and essence of Della’s upcoming series, give Saved at Sunrise a try.  It’s on sale right now for a $1.59. 

Amazon:   http://tinyurl.com/c5u8u3v

B&N:     http://tinyurl.com/bxxobp4

Okay, so make sure you leave a comment and come back next week to see if you’ve won the set of four wine glasses.  Cheers!

You’re the One, Robin!

BlameItOnTexasWINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners of The Halo Effect from my blog last week with Shauna Allen are: Sabrina Robert and Sarah S.  Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com and let me know if you’d prefer a PDF or Amazon e-book and we will get you your prize.  Congratulations!

This week I have the wonderful Robin Kaye as my guest, and she’s here to share about her new Bad Boys of Red Hook novel, You’re the One.  Stick around and leave a comment and you might be one of two lucky winners of a copy!

So, Robin, tell us what’s the craziest job you’ve held outside of being an author?

I was a 120-pound bouncer at a restaurant/dance club called Swampwater Al’s AKA The Swamp. I worked the door, threw people out, even got into a few fights. I broke one guys nose—yes, he hit me first, so I laid him out. I had to get my diamond ring cleaned after that one. The man still has a nasty scar.

As you can imagine, my mother was so proud. The only good thing about it was that I knew every cop in Pinellas County, Florida and dated quite a few.

LOL!  Sounds like a lot of fun!  Must’ve made for a lot of rule breaking, or following, depending on how you look at it!  If the Ten Commandments was really a list of eleven, what do you think the eleventh commandment should be?


In my family we have 15 Commandments—number 11 is, Thou shalt marry a nice Catholic boy (or girl depending upon your sex) preferably Italian—and have lots of babies.

Love those Italians!  But back to books . . . What is the last great book you read?

I recently re-read Reflections Without Mirrors: An Autobiography of the Mind by Louis Nizer, it’s tied for my all-time favorite book.

Ooh, sounds intriguing.  And, for your book, if it were the main entree in a gourmet meal, what would be the side dishes?

Chocolate Fudge Cake with whipped cream, Mood music, and a huge bathtub…

Yuuuuummmm.  What scene was the hardest to write?  Why?

Technically: The restaurant scene with Skye’s brothers—only because there are so many character’s on stage, it was difficult to make it flow (I hope) seamlessly.

Emotionally, the scene where Skye leaves Red Hook—God, that killed me. Leaving Nicki practically guts her, and Nicki doesn’t understand. Poor Skye had emotional whiplash.   

Do you have a favorite character, either that you’ve written or from another book?

I think my favorite character I’ve written is either Nicki in my Red Hook books, or Karma in my Domestic Gods books. Nicki is a ten-year-old foster kid, who just steals everyone’s hearts.  And Karma—because she’s funny and she plays all her brothers like a fiddle–she’s just evil, but with the best intentions.

OK, totally serious . . . as I end all my interviews . . . Salty or sweet?

Salty or sweet? Both! I’m addicted to Ghirardelli Sea Salt Caramel Squares and Sea Salt Soiree. Can you say yum?

Why, yes . . . yes, I can.  LOL.  Now, can you tell us more about the book or give us a blurb?

You'reTheOne-RobinKayeBook2

Award-winning author Robin Kaye proves that home is where the heart is, even for a bad boy from Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

Logan Blaise expected to be taking a quick break from his successful vineyard in Napa to visit his hometown of Brooklyn. But what he finds is a complete mess: His father is sicker than he’d imagined, and Logan is responsible for keeping the family restaurant running smoothly. When the chef quits, he’s forced to hire the first person who applies for the job—Skye Maxwell, a beautiful enigma with great skills and gaps in her résumé.

Skye is determined to make it on her own, without trading on her famous family name. Working in the community of Red Hook offers the perfect opportunity to stay out of the limelight while pursuing her dreams. At first glance, charismatic Logan seems exactly like all the shallow men she knew back home. But as she notices his small-town roots and strong family ties, the Brooklyn bad boy and his restaurant start to feel exactly like where she really belongs….

***

“Rex, the head cook, just quit.” Logan leaned against the bar and looked from Rocki to Francis DeBruscio, waiting for their promised help.

Francis was a cross between a walk-in refrigerator and Shrek’s Sicilian cousin, Guido the Ogre. He’d been a fixture at the Crow’s Nest since he’d beaten the spit out of Logan back when they were in high school. Pete had told Frankie either he could work off the emergency room bill washing dishes or he’d call the cops.

Under Pete’s tutelage and watchful eye, Francis had turned his life around, and became a paramedic and an all-around good guy. It was hard to believe that the man upstairs acting like a cantankerous old fart had changed so many lives and single-handedly turned them all into men of whom he could be proud. Logan shook his head at the irony.

Francis did a double take. “Rex would never just up and quit.”

Logan rubbed his forehead where the mother of all headaches was forming. “He’s an only child and his mother just had a stroke. She’s paralyzed on the left side—and she lives in Florida. It’s not as if he really had a choice.”

Rocki tapped her foot. “Bummer.”

Logan couldn’t believe this. “Come on, guys, you’re supposed to help me out. Can either of you cook?”

The two of them looked like a pair of bobblehead dolls in a crosswind.

“Neither can I. This is just great. What am I supposed to do now?”

Rocki shrugged one shoulder. “I suggest you start looking for a cook.”

“It’s Sunday. How the hell am I going to find a cook by opening on Tuesday?”

A grin split Francis’s face. “You can put a Help Wanted sign in the window.”

“What does Pop do if Rex gets sick, Francis?”

“It’s never happened as long as I’ve known Rex—but Harrison the sous chef might be able to take over for a day or two, I think. Bree knew what was what in the kitchen, I’m sure she could step in if necessary.”

“Not a big help since Bree’s halfway to New Zealand.”

Rocki went around the bar and poured herself a soda, missing the glass and making a mess of the bar Logan just scrubbed. “Have you asked Pete?”

“No, I didn’t want him to have another coronary.”

Both Rocki and Francis shot him matching glares.

“Bad joke. He’s had a rough morning. I caught him smoking his cigar on the roof and we had words.” Logan was definitely not ready for the role-reversal situation he’d found himself in since he returned. “All I need to do is tell Pop his cook just quit.”

Rocki took a long sip of her soda and watched him over the rim of the glass. “It’s not as if you’re going to be able to hide it from him for long. He’ll notice on Tuesday. Maybe he has a backup chef.”

Francis shook his head. “I doubt it. He’s never needed one before.”

Logan’s phone vibrated. He didn’t have to check to know it was Payton; she’d been calling constantly, crying desertion. He let it go to voice mail. “Fine, I’ll tell Pop, but first I’m going to put a Help Wanted sign in the window. Maybe an incredible cook will walk by and want the job.”

Francis laughed. “Yeah, and maybe I’ll win the lottery.”

He got busy with the sign while they made fun of him. He had nothing to lose, and other than putting an ad in the paper, he didn’t have a plan B.

Logan taped the sign up in the front window and wondered if temp services had cooks—it was worth a try.

He was still running his finger over the tape when a beautiful dark-haired woman dragging a suitcase shouldered the door open. She was a little thing with black shoulder-length hair, pale, almost translucent skin, and the darkest blue eyes he’d ever seen.

“You’re hiring a cook?”

Logan shot a glance at Rocki and Francis, who stood beside the bar with their mouths hanging open.

“That’s what the sign says. Can you cook?”

“Honey, there’s nothing I can’t do in a kitchen.” She had a deep, smoky voice that made him think of tangled sheets and sleepy sex.
Between her voice and her comment, Logan’s mind spun directly into the gutter. What was wrong with him? Not only was she not his type, but he was engaged. He cleared his throat, temporarily rendered speechless.

“Lucky for you, I’m looking for a job. Can I see the kitchen?”

“Why?”

“I won’t work in a dirty or unsafe kitchen.”

“Where have you worked?”

“Here and there. You know how it is in the restaurant business.” She pulled a menu out of the rack on the side of the hostess stand and paged through it. “There’s nothing on here I can’t handle. How many people do you seat in a night?”

Logan looked at Rocki and Francis. The two of them shrugged.

“I don’t know. I just took over the place last night—I’m filling in for the month. It was a really bad time for the cook to quit.”

She smiled and she went from beautiful in a girl-next-door kind of way to simply stunning. “It’s a good thing I walked by, then.” She looked around. “I assume the kitchen is through there?” She pointed at the swinging double doors.

“Yes, it is.”

“Okay then, let’s take a look.” She set her backpack and suitcase on the bench of a booth and he found himself following her to the kitchen.

“Did you close today because you lost your cook?”

“No, we’re only open Tuesday through Saturday.”

She shot him another heart-stopping grin. Nope, he hadn’t imagined it. She was absolutely staggering. Her lips were full, rose-colored, and bare. She wasn’t wearing all that lip crap Payton was always applying—most of which tasted bad enough to put him off kissing for life. If this woman wore makeup, he couldn’t detect it—not that she needed it. Her eyelashes were coal black, full enough to create shadows on her pale cheeks, and as long as Payton’s fake ones.

“So I’ll only have to work five days a week? It’ll seem like a vacation.”

The way she spoke, he’d think he’d given her the job. He hadn’t. Still, he followed her into the kitchen and couldn’t help but notice that her back was as attractive as her front—not that he was looking. His cell phone vibrated. He snuck a peek—Payton—and shoved his phone into his pocket as the woman inspected the kitchen like a general inspecting her troops.

She even ran her finger under the hood. “Your cook kept a clean kitchen. I like that.” She took a turn through the walk-through refrigerator, stepped out, and closed the door behind her. “Okay, I’ll take the job.”

“You will?” He shook his head. “Hold on, I haven’t even offered it yet. Hell, I don’t even know your name.”

She stepped toward him and held out her hand. “Skye. Skye Sinclair.”

He took it—her hand was small, warm, and as callused as his. Her shake was surprisingly firm considering she barely came up to his shoulder, and her touch sent a shock wave through him that had him holding on to see if it would continue. It did.

***

Thanks so much for being here, Robin!  So now, everyone show your love and tell us if you’re salty or sweet people!  Two lucky commenters will win a copy of Robin’s book.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won!

You’re the One is available now at:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/p2zwjxx

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/oyjd232

Robin Kaye adult pic

Tattoos, Cupids and Bad Boys

BlameItOnTexasHi, my friends . . . you are in for a treat today!  I’m thrilled to have Shauna Allen back and to learn more about her second release, The Halo Effect.  Her writing is fresh, sassy, and witty—and chalk full of sexy bad boys. 

Two lucky commenters will win a copy so read on and please give her a warm, Laugh, Love Read welcome!

So, Shauna, let’s start with your heroine, Braelyn.  Is she anything like you?  What qualities do you envy in her?

Well, she may have tiny pieces of me in there (as authors, don’t most of our characters?) but she is very different, too.  What we’d have in common is our fierce love of our children, even to the point of embarrassing them sometimes, LOL.  But what I wish I had of hers would be her gardening skills (I kill stuff with my brown thumb,) her eternal patience with a roomful of children as a teacher, and her petite little body.  I wasn’t so blessed.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I’d like to say a writer, but that wouldn’t be altogether true.  The first job I remember wanting was an airline stewardess.  We travelled a lot, so I guess that job seemed really cool to me. 

What is the last great book you read?

Oh, it’s been more than one.  But the last two that made an impression on me, and they’re polar opposites, were “The Best Man” by Kristan Higgins and “Real” by Katy Evans.  I even Tweeted Katy to tell her how much I loved that book . . . Awesome!

What scene in The Halo Effect was the hardest for you to write and why?

Well, I don’t know if there was any particular scene that was “hardest.”  Noble, in general, gave me a few fits.  He’s so broody and quiet and internalizes everything.  He’s nothing like Jed from the first book who was so demonstrative with his emotions, which I found much easier to write.  Noble’s mystery is part of his allure and true to his character, but also harder for me to write.  I know, I know, my own fault, LOL.  But he’s also such a gentleman and quick to come to the rescue, including in this scene where he’s come to help Braelyn, but she’s learning just how hard he is to get to know.  Take a peek:

 Noble heaved the oven away from the wall a few inches and peeked. Damn. The cord was snugly plugged into the wall. All right, time to see about turning the bad boy on. One of the mismatched knobs was barely holding on to its post, but he was able to crank up the heat.

He tried to ignore her, but her scent overpowered his senses in the tiny room as she sidled up next to him. Sweet and floral with just a hint of something darker. He nearly groaned.

“So,” she said as he checked the stovetop burners, “you from Texas, Noble?”

He glanced over. Her huge, amber eyes glowed with curiosity. “No.”

“Where’re you from?”

The burners worked fine. He shut them off. With nothing to occupy his hands until he’d given the oven time to heat, he shoved them into his pockets and propped his hip against the counter. “Arizona.”

“Hmmm,” she mumbled as she hauled herself up to sit on the counter next to him, her hand brushing his arm. “We came to Texas because it’s where my grandma was from and she told me lots of stories about growing up here.” Her soft breath hitched as emotion filled her eyes. Obviously she loved her grandmother a lot. A thing foreign to him. “So it seemed the natural place to go when we needed a new home.” Her face brightened as she forced a smile and tucked away her nostalgia. “So what brought you to Texas?”

He rolled his neck and looked away. “This and that,” he hedged. He hated to talk about his past. It was ugly and he preferred to let it lie.

“How long have you lived here?”

He sighed. “A long time.” How much longer did he have to give the damn oven to preheat?

Her petite foot tapped the cabinet in time to the music. He didn’t meet her eye. “I love it here. The weather for one thing is much better than Indiana. Do you like it better than Arizona?”

He grunted a noncommittal answer and shoved away from the counter. He opened the oven and reached his hand inside. It was still ice cold. He fiddled for several minutes before deciding on the most likely problem. He turned the dial back off and faced her again.

“I think” He stopped mid-thought. She looked a touch pissy. Her amber eyes sparked with dark shots of gold and her fingers were drumming rhythmically against her perch on the counter. “What?”

She tilted her head. “Do I disgust you or something? Have bad breath?”

“What? No.”

“Do you find my Hoosier manners to be unacceptable down here in Texas then?” she sat forward, her palms braced next to her thighs, her head tilted.

He trained his eyes back up to her gorgeous, albeit frowning, face. “No.”

“So, are you generally just a pseudo-mute man with the conversational skills of a sloth, then?”

“Uh—”

She jumped off the counter, her bare feet landing softly on the linoleum floor. “See? I’ve been trying to make polite conversation with you. You know, be friendly. Get to know you?” She ran a frustrated hand through her hair. “And you’ve all but ignored me.” She turned around and seemed to be talking to herself. “Not that I’m surprised. You’ve been doing that since we met.” She spun back around. “Why do you come over here if you don’t even like me?”

Holy Moses. If she only knew. “Believe me, I wouldn’t do a damn thing for you if I didn’t like you. I’m not that charitable.”

Her mouth popped open then she snapped it shut. She studied him from under her lashes. “Really?”

He barked out a rough laugh. “Really. I’ve never really been known for my social graces.” He shrugged. “Sorry.”

Her million-dollar smile lit up the entire friggin’ room and his stomach tied itself into knots. “That’s a relief. And here I thought I was torturing the good-lookin’ guy next door with my crappy house and teenage son because he was too nice to say no.” She sagged against the counter. “Phew.”

She thought he was good lookin’? He filed that tidbit of information away for later.

***

Oh, I see what you mean, LOL!  Well, it still sounds like a good read, and I’m sure they get it together eventually, right?

Yes.  Thanks in part to their ever-vigilant Cupid, Michael.  But that’s a whole other story, LOL.

 Well, I’m intrigued.  Can’t wait to read it!  Can you give us the blurb and tell us where can we pick up The Halo Effect?

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He’s gotta earn his wings…again.

Love Detail’s favorite angel has his sights set on his next target: the stoic and mysterious Noble Blackfeather.  And it just may prove to be his toughest case yet.  Noble’s reclusive ways keep his angel at wing’s distance, and love even further.  But he’s not playing a part – he’s truly masking a painful secret and a profoundly wounded heart.

A cupid’s worst nightmare.

Noble’s been paired with Braelyn Campbell, the cute single mother next door.  She’s adorable, friendly, fun…everything Noble needs.  This should be a Love Squad slam dunk.  Except she’s making a fresh start in Texas to protect her son from a volatile ex, and she’s not about to risk her heart or her son on another man.  Even if he’s sexy as sin and always coming to her rescue.

Thank God for possibilities.

But, reluctantly, they are drawn together – thanks to their cupid’s dogged efforts and a whole lotta chemistry.  Can the girl next door learn to trust again and help heal Noble’s wounded heart? Together, can they save the lost, hurting boy she’s raising?  Can the angels help it happen before it’s too late?

Thank God for love.

Available now at Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/qhy5h3r

Also, the first book in the series, Inked by an Angel, will be free on Amazon for two days only, today and tomorrow, so you’ll want to take advantage of that!  http://tinyurl.com/afpfrd2

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Awesome! Thanks for being here, Shauna!  Now two lucky commenters can win a copy of The Halo Effect.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won and Good Luck!

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Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas.  She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three fantastic (no, that’s not a typo!) teenagers. 

When she’s not writing, editing, or acting as a personal assistant to a NYT Bestselling author, Shauna enjoys reading, movies with Gerard Butler, vacays to the beach, and hangin’ with the kiddos–even if they don’t like hangin’ with her!

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Shauna would love for you to visit her at her website and blog at: www.shaunaallen.com

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/shauna.allen.12

Twitter : http://tiny.cc/s0dlmw

Goodreads : http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6916632.Shauna_Allen

Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/shaunaallen7/