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Football is a purely American sport that epitomizes all the values that we hold dear in our country: hard work, teamwork, toughness, victory, and glory. Football is a fast-paced game of action that could change on any single play. The anticipation of a game-changing play always keeps fans on the edge of their seats, waiting for the moment to explode in jubilation.
Football is America’s game.
So take a sports reporter trying to rebuild her career, a college football coach trying to rebuild his own position in the sport while leading his alma mater back to the glory days, and two romance shy people wondering if they dare take a second chance on romance and what do you have?
Former NFL player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he can turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?
Olivia Grant’s ex-husband almost wrecked her journalism career while he definitely did a number on her self-esteem. The documentary on Duncan Hatcher is the perfect way to rebuild both. As a freshman in college, she’d had a crush on the senior football hero, but he hadn’t known she existed. She never expects the sparks that fly between them as they work on the project nor the struggles they must face if they both want to win.
Hatch winced at the memory of how goofy he must have sounded to the lovely woman he was going to be having a fair bit of contact with this season. Olivia Grant was, without a doubt, beautiful, not to mention sexy as hell. She was a natural reporter, putting him at ease, even in the face of his high-school-ish reaction to her at first. But dear Lord, the crap he’d said? That shit about her being “better than she thought” at the race? And “looking for a foot in the door”? He’d sounded about as slick as the grandpas he’d been named for.
He groaned and pressed his forehead to the leather blotter on his new desk. After his divorce, he’d made a point not to notice women, something that was a bit of a self-imposed penalty. But there was no not noticing Olivia. Her soft, dark blonde hair that kept dropping over one of her deep green eyes as she’d look down at her notes, then back up at him. That smile, and those full, barely lip-sticked lips. And there was no denying she had a body that would be hard to shake out of his brain. Scott had told him she used to play soccer here, a few years behind him as an undergrad. How he’d not known her… Granted, he hadn’t been a big partier then, kept mostly to himself and his close group of friends and, as always, focused on the game.
But damn. He’d missed out on something then, without a doubt. He felt his face flush red and his entire body begin to react in ways that didn’t really serve him well as a fully grown man, with plenty of experience under his belt, so to speak.
Thankfully, she’d left before he could embarrass himself anymore.
Home. Shower. Beer. Stare at a string of old movies on the giant television screen. Anything to get the lovely Olivia Grant and all her many attributes out of his head. She was, after all, the media. And everyone knew how he felt about the media.
It was get a grip time—on all parts of himself.
This was his chance at redemption. The opportunity was a godsend, considering the sorry state he’d left his life in on the west coast, and he didn’t intend to do anything to screw it up. He couldn’t afford to get distracted by a single thing. But how the hell was he going to do that when Olivia Grant might prove to be the biggest distraction of all?
Meet the Authors
USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and contemporary on a variety of heat levels up to erotic, a genre in which she is the oldest living author. She has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications.
Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She’s spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
I’m currently writing, Tin Toy, the second book in the Silver Cyborg Series, about a cybernetic librarian who looks like a pin-up model, kisses like an angel, and fights like a trained assassin. I thought it would be fun to make her a huge fan of Romance, and associate common Romance tropes with various situations she’s in. Like May-December romances, secret baby, and bad boy billionaire, just to name a few.
And, as is common when I write, my characters often hijack the story. Recently, librarian Betty did just that during a conversation with her love interest, Everett Dean. While I hadn’t planned it, she took that opportunity to explain why she loves Romance novels.
And it occurred to me that we might all have our different reasons for reading Romance. For me, it’s the escapism and the HEA/HFN. Stories without an emotionally satisfying ending leave a bad taste in my mouth. Movie example: hubby and I rented La La Land a few months ago, and I walked away in tears and vibrating with anger. Spoiler alert – the two characters don’t end up together! I loved the singing and dancing and piano playing and even the rest of the story, and yes, it’s more true to real life that people can love each other and still part ways. But, I WANT MY HEA!
So, I’m here today to pose the question to you: Assuming you read Romance, why? What is it that draws you to the Romance genre?I’ll select a random commenter for a $5 Amazon gift card.
Excerpt from Tin Toy, Betty’s response to the question…
“So, is that what women really want in a man?”
Her face screwed up in a frown as she considered her answer. She glanced around the aisle and clasped the book in her hands. “I don’t think you can take romance books as a literal guide. There’s too much diversity in personal tastes in the genre to land on any one thing in common where that’s concerned. Instead, I think they are written permission for women to embrace their own polarizing desires.”
“Desires? I assume you’re not just talking about what they want in bed.”
“I can’t deny that’s one aspect.” She shrugged. When she continued, her words were hesitant and measured as if she pulled them from a deep, unfamiliar well. “But it’s so much more. I think many women like the idea of having a man who can take care of them, even if she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. That a man can be as imperfect as we so often feel we are, and it neither diminishes his masculinity nor mocks our femininity. That a man can accept our love and cherish it for the precious gift it is and not use it as leverage or sully it with selfishness. That love is not restricted by trivial things such as money, geography, social status, or physical attributes. That, for each woman, there is at least one person who finds us beautiful, desirable, and—above all—worthy.”
She stared at the floor and tapped her fingers against the holo-book in her hand, her voice soft, almost wistful. “At least… that’s my theory.”
About the Author
Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of Sci-fi Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure… often set in a galaxy far, far away. She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and kiddos who remind her daily she’s not nearly as cool and hip as she thinks. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
I hope. I’m still writing it! I’ve been making progress, but I know I’m cutting it close. Have you already pre-ordered the next Hot SEAL, Holiday Edition story? It’s filled with tears and laughter. It’s possible to have both, I promise.
You can read a short snippet from the story and find all the buy links here!
It’s Sunday, and as happens all too often for me, it’s another workday. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I’m constantly chasing my tail with writing and editing. I’m of a “certain age” now and think more about what I might be missing out on with my family. Does that mean I plan to quit doing either? No, but I’m lucky that I have options. I already have two retirement incomes (one is very small—but every little bit helps!), and I’m eligible for Social Security. I can afford to take it a little easier, but I still have all these stories I want to write. I don’t need to earn so much money now. My priorities are shifting.
I plan to enjoy the summer with the kids. The pool will be my daily highlight. We plan for early morning walks along park trails. There will be flea market hunting—although our dear governor has removed the mask mandate, so those excursions will require extra planning, like trying to arrive before the unmasked hoards are out and about. I’ve had both injections, but we have little ones, including one who’s a two-time cancer patient who has another tumor we’re worried about. I wish people would be more considerate of others. Wearing a mask isn’t a big-ass deal when you consider the risks to the vulnerable. *sigh*
I want more time to play with my paint and beads and yarn. I want to create things for my family and friends. I am more than just a writer. I want the kids to remember me for being more than the weird relative who writes all day in her office. They’re such a joy. Did I ever mention that they give me toys to display in my office? They love to collect things for me. Once, they talked their mom into weekly runs to McDonald’s to collect all the How to Train your Dragon dragons that came in the kid’s meals. Yeah, I have every one of them. They didn’t care about keeping them for themselves because they knew I’d love them.
Okay, I’m rambling. These are the things I’ve been thinking about though. Maybe I’m just a bit aggravated with myself because of the self-inflicted time crunch I’m under.
Anyway, for a chance to win a FREE book from my backlist of books, let me know whether you’ve given much thought to your golden years and what you’d like to do!
I love the word “wonder.” The second I read it I see me, with my eyes wide-open radiating awe, my mouth rounded in an O of surprise, my mind bright with amazement. Songs like “God of Wonders” and “Wonderful Wonderful” make my heart sing. So imagine my delight when I started the research for this post on my favorite fairytale and learned that another description for fairytale is “wonder tale.”
The term “fairytale” is derived from the French conte de fées, i.e., short stories that contain all manner of nonhuman characters, not just fairies, and wonderment. I date my love for fairy/wonder tales back to my NYC public school days. In September during the first week of class, you received your subject books, one of which was a reader. You wrote your name and class on a bookplate then dug in for a year’s worth of reading. These books were broken up into three or four sections. I can’t remember what they were, but the final section always contained illustrated fairy tales. It is from those school readers that I first read about Rumpelstiltskin, the Shoemaker and the Elves, Puss in Boots, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I particularly loved the ones with talking animals. My favorite of all is The Bremen Town Musicians, a story that appeared in Grimms’ Fairy Tales in 1819.
Briefly, it’s about a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster, all who have become old and of no use to their different owners. They set out to find the freedom they deserve as musicians in Bremen. They come upon a cottage in which thieves are counting their booty. The animals scare them off and enjoy the food left behind. When the robbers send one of their band to retake the cottage, the animals vanquish him. He hurries back with tales of a monster from which he barely escaped with his life. No longer troubled by humans, the animals settle down in the cottage to the life of freedom and plenty they deserve. Although the animals never made it to Bremen, the town has a famous statue erected in their honor. Take a look at the statue here: https://www.bremen.eu/tourism/attractions/bremen-town-musicians.
I think about the little girl I was, who enjoyed reading over and over about these animals’ exploits. As an adult, I can see how each animal determining their own destiny and supporting one another would appeal to an urban kid growing up in the turbulent and heady days of the Civil Rights movement. How could the spunk of the Bremen Town Musicians not inspire me when I was seeing on television or overhearing adults talking about African-American people working together and not allowing others to determine their worth? I even see the Kwanzaa principles of kujichagulia (self-determination) and ujimaa (collective work and responsibility) at work in the story which adds another level of enjoyment to my favorite “wonder tale.”
So how about you? Do you have a favorite fairy/wonder tale? Share its title in the comments for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card.
Better To Marry Than To Burn
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Excerpt from Better to Marry than to Burn…
She sidled up to him, cupped his erection and fondled his balls.
“Ready for bed or ready to bed me?”
He moaned, placed his hand atop hers and increased the pressure. Already hard, he hadn’t imagined he could get any harder.
“Is that beautiful brass bed new?”
He gulped. “Ye—yes. Bought it—bought it for the honeymoon.”
“I’m ready to be bedded now,” she whispered. “Or is that something we must negotiate?”
All thoughts of dinner vanished.
“No,” he rasped, leaning forward, as hungry for her lips as he was to be inside her.
“Good.” She stepped back, out of reach. “But, let’s be clear…” She bent over, so her butt protruded toward him. She massaged each buttock so her crack parted invitingly. “Tonight it’s the Greek way or no way.”
He blinked, stunned by this demand to be taken anally. His master had had books filled with drawings, depicting naked Greeks wrestling. Those pen and ink depictions flashed before him now. Arms constrained by arms, legs entwined with legs, butts and groins enmeshed in snug contortions. He’d love to take Queen that way, experience first-hand the erotic intimacy etched in the men’s struggle-laden features.
He took one step toward her then stopped. No. One day, he would…but not tonight. Not their first time. Their first time would be the nose-to-nose, chest-to-breast, cock-to-vagina coupling he’d hungered five years for.
UPDATE: The winners are…Jennifer Beyer, Ann Ivey, and Arlene Miklovic!
The Montana Bounty Hunters series located in Bear Lodge is complete. I am three books into the spinoff series, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT. I loved writing the original series, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in writing many more of these heavy-duty, gritty guys in the near future. Have you seen the cover for Chase, which will release in June? Yeah. Some of the guys you love from the original series will continue to pop up here and there in Dead Horse—after all, they all work for Fetch Winter. Someday, he’ll get his happy-ever-after, too!
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Former Army sniper, Cochise Mercier, left Denver SWAT under a cloud of controversy, which was why he ended up back home in Montana, and where he heard about the Montana Bounty Hunters. The “cloud” didn’t seem to bother his new boss, so he’s “all in” and finding he enjoys hunting down fugitives for bounties, encumbered by fewer rules.
Sammy McCallister is a by-the-book sheriff’s deputy, who has a beef with bounty hunters. Forced to stand by with her gun in her holster, while hunters take down scumbags, she’s particularly irked by the new guy in town. Cochise, with his long black hair and thousand-yard-stare makes her uncomfortable, itchy in ways she’s never felt before. When she finds herself needing his help late one night, the reason for her irritation becomes all too clear. She wants him. But first, they have to make it out of the mountains alive…
Are you all caught up reading the Montana Bounty Hunters?
For a chance to win a download of one of the stories you may have missed
(I’ll pick three winners!), tell me this: Are you ready for more sexy bounty hunters?
Here are all the Bear Lodge Montana Bounty Hunters!
Cochise Mercier, the new hire at Montana Bounty Hunters, took a deep breath to force his heart to slow its pace. A trick he’d learned as an Army sniper to make sure a jerking breath didn’t mess up a shot. The trick worked in most situations when he needed his mind to slow and for his focus to home in on a target or a situation. Clearing his mind meant he was able to take in more of what was happening around him and enabled him to discard the things that weren’t important—like the way the wind beat a tree branch against the side of the house, a steady thump that sounded almost like clomping footsteps. Instead, he concentrated on the way the light, beaming through the tall arched windows at the front of the house, flickered whenever his target paced left or right, telling him where their mark was. An important fact, because in minutes, he’d have to breach the oak front door and be ready to take him down—with his weapon or his body, depending on whether Randy Pinter was armed. A fact Cochise would have to ascertain in a split second.
“Can’t see any movement in the back rooms,” came Jamie Burke’s voice through his earpiece. “I think he’s alone.”
He still wasn’t used to hearing a woman’s voice on the comms. He’d never had a female as part of any of his missions on the ground with the Army, and Denver’s SWAT had, at the time, been all male. That voice interrupted his calm. His instinct was to protect women and children, but she was a part of this team—and his boss—so again, he drew a deep breath, pushed aside his concern, and concentrated on his target. Pinter was pacing in front of the window to the right of the front door.
“Girlfriend’s car isn’t in the garage,” came Sky Reynold’s deep voice. “Must have gone for takeout. I’m moving around to the front.”
“Deputies just arrived,” Lacey Jones’s too perky voice sounded. “I’ll go brief them about what’s about to go down. Make sure they know we have the owner’s permission to be here.”
Cochise could hear the excitement in her higher pitch. Thank God, she was back at the road with the vehicles. The thought of her cotton-candy sweetness being anywhere near Pinter made him shudder. The girl might have qualified with her weapon and might be doing well with her self-defense classes, but she had no real experience going head-on with bad dudes. He didn’t want to be around the first time she was truly tested.
“You call it, Cochise,” Jamie said.
With his heart as slow as when he slept, he felt the familiar ice-water chill flow over him. “Ready,” he whispered and then stepped away from the bushes beside the porch. “Moving toward the door… On three. One…two…three.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’m Sierra Brave, author of the Horse Mountain Shifters series. I’m excited to be back on Delilah Devlin’s blog today to share an excerpt from my newly released paranormal romance. Scarlett and the Big Bad is a fantasy Red Riding Hood retelling but also the first in a three-book series filled with magic, romance, danger, and angst.
Most everyone knows the original story of Little Red Riding Hood, but Scarlett Capuche, the heroine in my book, is a young woman, who in some ways is as naïve as the original. Imagine being raised away from society and only being taught what your captors want you to know?
I imagine everyone remembers the old lines of “What big eyes you have, Grandmother!” The only elderly matriarch in Scarlett and The Big Bad isn’t exactly on her side, but the (were)wolf is much more open with his intentions. He does reveal something huge to her though…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a fun little compare and contrast:
Scarlett and the Big Bad
Fated Fairytales 1
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Promised power and position, Scarlett Capuche left her tiny village to join the prestigious Order of the Phoenix.
Monty Blackwolf never wanted a mate, especially not a human raised on a hidden farm for blood-ritual sacrifice. But his werewolf’s heightened sense of smell drew him to Scarlett’s sweet fragrance from miles away.
Duty-bound to protect her, he will break her of her religious devotion to the magical terrorist group responsible for the murders of his parents and older brother, even if he has to put her over his knee and turn her bottom as red as her hair.
She belongs to him now, and he will claim all of her despite his affliction with a unique, third shifter-form he doesn’t fully understand and isn’t able to control.
Will Monty save Scarlett, or will he prove more dangerous to her than anyone else?
Author’s Note: If you’re offended by steamy fairytale retellings with graphic language, explicit put-you-in-the-moment love scenes, elements of power exchange, and domestic discipline, you might want to look for a different book.
As she relaxed against him, his heart drummed against her back, the beat syncing with hers. The lump in her throat dissolved as her chest rose and fell with his.
She stared at the ceiling. The lights appeared to blur as she mewed and groaned. His hands, big and rough, worshiped her skin, every inch touched, washed, tenderly explored but never exploited. After a while, Scarlett blinked and stretched, realizing the naked girl staring at her was her reflection. Monty patted her dry as she sat on the edge of the tub.
“What happened?” Her heart pounded as confusion nipped at her brain.
Standing with only a towel wrapped around his hips, his six firm abdominals close to her eye level, he shrugged. “We had a bath. I think you might have dozed off a little. It’s been a long day.”
She tapped her finger against her lip as he hung up the wet towels before grabbing a fresh one. She most certainly had not been asleep. Now back in her right mind, she remembered every slight movement of his hand, every turn of his fingertips, the coiling in her stomach as the tantalizing sensations coaxed forth primal feelings she’d never imagined she’d possessed. She recalled breathing in his scent so deeply she could taste it even as they laved the fragrance away, and she had fantasized about him manhandling her, forcing her legs open and entering her even though he had not.
Sierra Brave is a multi-published author of heart-pounding, blush-inducing romance with put-you-in-the-moment love scenes. She enjoys writing about a variety of gorgeous alpha males who can’t resist head-strong heroines. Curvy girls have a special place in her heart and often grace the pages of her books. Tales of shifters, cowboys, twisted fairy tales, space pirates, Amazon warriors, and vampires capture her imagination as do tempting spanking and ménage scenarios, but she also engages in more down-to-earth themes such as office romance. You’ll find lots of unique characters and humor in all of her stories.
A former SEAL, a genius drone engineer, killers hot on their trail
Everyone knows about my love affair with SEALS, centering of course around New York Times best-selling author (and great friend) former SEAL Jack Carr. Through him, I have learned of the courage, honor, and valor of Navy SEALs, so writing them as my heroes is an easy task. In CRITICAL DENSITY, Hannah Modell, a brilliant drone engineer, is framed for the accidental drop of a killing payload on a sitting U. S. Senator. Isolated with a guard dog in a hotel room “for her protection”, she escapes and ends up with Matt “Viper” Roman, partner in Galaxy, whose motto is “We are your last resort.” Follow them as they race to find the real killer while dealing with the hot sexual tension exploding between them.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Book #1 in the series, RETROGRADE!
Book two in the Galaxy series
Running for her life, saved by a hunky former SEAL, she never expected the sex to be as hot as the danger zone.
Hannah Modell thought she had life by the tail: a great job as a drone engineer at top-notch Lowden Tactical with one successful project after another…until it all blew up in her face. Literally. Now she’s on the run. If she hadn’t met the sexy stranger, she has no idea what would have happened. But former SEAL Matt “Viper” Roman turned out to be both an answer to a prayer and the sexiest man alive. As the men of the mysterious agency, Galaxy, race against time to prove her innocence and find the real culprit, things heat to the boiling point between Hannah and Viper.
Hannah Modell looked out the window of her hotel suite to the aesthetic view of…the parking lot. Beyond it she could see other buildings in downtown Houston, accented by the sparkle of the evening’s lights just coming on. Traffic filled the streets as people came and went, punctuated by the impatient honking of horns. She’d be happy to be in that irritated crowd. She’d be happy to be anyplace except this hotel. Scratch that. Anyplace except for Houston.
Fourteen days since it happened, and she was still shocked by the whole thing. She and the rest of her GO-Team had been in a remote location, delivering explosives to take out a key terrorist figure who was hiding out in a house in upstate New York. The word was he planned a strike on a major United States city and their assignment was to take him out first.
Her GO-Team had been flown to an isolated location to launch the drone, which was outfitted with special equipment because of the explosives and had a long-range capacity. People from various branches of the government and the military would be back at Lowden watching the feed from the camera on the drone. It was only the third time Hannah had been tasked with doing something this enormous and she’d spent hours checking and double-checking everything to make sure nothing would go wrong. She knew she’d probably driven her team nuts, but she didn’t care. There was no room for error in a situation like this.
She was stunned when the helicopter carrying Greg Kingsley, Lowden’s vice president, had shown up at their site. Jumping out of the chopper he’d told them they had to shut down the job. Right. Now. Right that minute. For a moment, she’d just stood there, stunned.
“There’s a situation, Hannah. Something went wrong big time with the drone delivery. A fuckup and we have a tragedy on our hands.”
“A tragedy?” She’d stared at him like he was speaking a foreign language. We need to shut down here at once.
“Worse than that. A disaster of epic proportions. We have to get everyone out of here while we sort this out.”
“No buts. Lowden needs to see you ASAP, since this is your baby.”
What the hell?
She’d pestered him for details, but he had little to say beyond what he’d told her. Just said to wait until they were back at Lowden. She could not understand how this had happened. Misdirect a drone to dump its payload in a different place? Her? Hell, no. She was committed to her job, her country, her patriotism. That’s why working for a paramilitary company that did black jobs for the government had been so satisfying. Because she got to serve her country in a way a lot of people never could. She didn’t even have friends outside of the job. How disgusting was that?
The moment they landed at the complex they’d hustled her right to Eric Lowden’s office, where he’d told her she was off the job until the situation was resolved.
Situation? This was a hell of a lot more than that.