Nina Crespo Presents: Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher’s Summer Fun

Nina Crespo: Summertime means vacations, getting away from it all, escaping everyday life for fun and adventure. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?

Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher:  That’s a tough question for me to answer. I’m one of those people who has reverse SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I revel in cold winter nights and dreary spring days. What better time is there to cuddle up with a good book, or my family, usually both? The super hot summer months have me hiding out in air-conditioned bliss—also cuddling up with a good book!

Readers, if you’re looking for a summertime read to escape into, read Nicole’s historical romance, The Queen’s Dance. Enjoy!

To save a kingdom, she may have to sacrifice her heart.

Lady Claire is the brightest addition to the queen’s retinue, but she hides a secret that could change the fabric of Aurelia: she can foretell another’s fate. This curse has only brought her sorrow, and because of it, she vows never to give her heart to anyone. But Trian, a shy Aurelian Guard, has fallen hard for Claire, and when King Godwin assigns him to escort her across the realm, he jumps at the chance.

When they are thrown together, Claire discovers that Trian may be the one person who is immune to her powers, and friendship takes hold. Trian teaches her his unique way of seeing the world, and Claire tutors him in the healing arts. She realizes too late that she has done that which she promised she would never do: she falls in love.

Her greatest fear is realized when Trian is knocked down by deadly quarrels. His assailants transport Claire far from Aurelia to the foreign lands of Nifolhad. To return home, Claire will need to cross the most treacherous parts of the kingdom, from the merciless desert to cities where spies listen to every whisper. She allies herself with the women from the Fenrhi Temple, who possess powers beyond Claire’s comprehension. Their customs and secrets seduce her, while plots and machinations drag her into the very heart of the battle for Nifolhad’s throne.

If she ever hopes to return to those she loves, Claire must overcome the most perilous challenge of her life and embrace her curse as a gift.

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Excerpt

Lark wondered why he had never before noticed the clouds of Cathmar as he lay flat on his back staring up at a sky so pale and thin that, if he could just reach it, he could rend it open one-handed. Mere wisps, the clouds were, nothing like the billowing masses drifting over the rest of the realm. The blue of the northern sky looked stretched, as if the expanse might rupture with the slightest breeze. Of course, there were no breezes in Cathmar. Only wind. Lark took a great gulp of air, his lungs unclenching as his own breath was returned to him.

He heard barking laughter above him, but turned instead to see Trian holding his own against his cousin Cordhin. It had been Terrwyn, Trian’s older brother, who’d knocked Lark flat. That was the way of the Cathmarans: any reason to brawl was a good one. Lark loved Trian’s family. And that Terrwyn attacked him so ruthlessly was testament to the fact that they counted Lark as one of their own.

His bear of a friend was locked in combat with Cordhin, neither one gaining nor giving ground. Though nearly as tall as Lark himself, Trian was a mere cub compared to his barrel-chested male relatives. Cordhin was greater in size and strength, but Trian was faster, both in body and in wit. It had been his friend’s wit that had started this trouble.

Lark grimaced. He had been enjoying the thick grog the Cathmarans preferred, and was feeling quite at ease. He and Trian were due to depart the next day, and Terrwyn wanted to send them off properly, pouring round after round into their cups.

Aside from being apart from his wife and daughter, the only disagreeable aspect of their journey had been Cordhin. The cousin was a constant needle, jabbing Trian at every opportunity with choice words and veiled insults, usually having to do with Trian’s proportions.

Here at Cathmar, where girth of chest was more important than height, Trian was the brunt of many a jest—delivered more oft than not by his cousin. Cordhin had just proclaimed that Trian was the runt of the house, smaller even than some of the women. Trian, with his ever-calm demeanor, took each sting with a serene expression. Lark knew better.

To forestall the coming storm, Lark had suggested that Trian test him on his knowledge of the rugged dialect that was still spoken in the remote states of Cathmara. It had put Cordhin off, at least for a short time, while Lark provided translations to the words Trian threw his way. Then Trian gave Lark the word dhin. Simple enough. It meant “tiny” or “small”. Terrwyn smothered a smirk that left Lark wondering.

“And corai?” his friend asked.

“Spear or sword, if I’m not mistaken,” Lark answered, unaware that, next to him, Cordhin was turning purple. “And if put together,” he continued blindly on, “you get coradhin, or ‘little dagger.’”

Terrwyn blew out his grog. When Trian winked, Lark grasped the meaning of Cordhin’s name, and his laughter echoed off the castle walls. Like all Cathmaran women, Cordhin’s mother had a wicked sense of humor. Trian held up his pinkie and wiggled it to renewed gales of mirth

And that was how Lark found himself staring up at the heavens. Cordhin had launched himself at Trian, and Terrwyn at Lark. Not because of familial honor, either. No, Trian’s eldest brother and heir to Cathmara attacked Lark for no other reason than that he enjoyed a good scuffle.

About the Author

Author of The Aurelian Guard Series, Nicole’s first book, Wild Lavender, is a 2017 NECRWA New England Readers Choice Finalist.

A graduate of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and Arts, Nicole E. Kelleher studied French Literature and Language, Spanish and Chinese. During this time, she attended classes at the University of Michigan’s School of Art with an emphasis on drawing, watercolor and photography.

She resides in Virginia with her children, husband, and Tully the Dog. When she is not writing or taking care of her family, she volunteers at a local organization helping the less fortunate. She encourages her friends and readers to do the same.

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Nina Crespo Presents: Heather Hiestand’s Summer Fun

Nina Crespo: We’re almost to the official start of summer, my favorite time of the year. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?

Heather Hiestand: I love how endless the days seem in the summer. It’s no big deal to go out for a walk or even run errands at times in the evening that would be unthinkable in the winter months. I enjoy catching up on my reading in the evenings on the deck, when it’s much nicer outside than in for a couple of months, even in the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking forward to getting my son away from the screens and electronics and be outdoors. My heroine in Wild Image, Kasee Kean, enjoys the minimalist clothing that warmer weather brings, and she meets my hero on the street where he’s trying to take photographs, but that short skirt creates quite an “oops” moment on the pavement!

Readers, how do you like to spend the long, lazy days of summer? If reading is one of your favorite ways to relax, Heather’s contemporary rom-com is a must for your TBR pile.

From bestselling author, Heather Hiestand, comes a stand-alone prequel to her Charisma series

Blond, bubbly, and single-minded Kasee Kean is a reality TV star, holding onto her celebrity status by the tips of her manicured fingers. Dion Hamilton is a professional photographer in search of a subject. When the two meet outside of Pat’s Irish Pub one sultry spring night, sparks fly and careers are re-ignited.

Losing her mind on camera during her divorce cost Kasee her featured spot on the Ladies of Baltimore television show, but she has a plan to regain her post. A romance manufactured for the tabloids will put her back on top. But what happens when she wants her made-for-television romance with sexy Dion to be real?

Dion isn’t sure what kind of person Kasee is underneath her perfect exterior, and all parts of his life aren’t camera-ready. Still, he can see her vulnerability, and she does have a way of punching excitement into his life. Is this a relationship he should keep turning into cash, or is there a chance she’s the one?

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Excerpt

“Quick,” Kasee whispered to Louise. “What do I have to do to get a picture?”

“They aren’t interested.”

“They want to make quick money. They all do. If I’m memorable enough…” she trailed off. “Maybe if we wait by the door? I can drape myself over anyone we recognize. That would get me in the blogs.”

“Do you care if they are married or not?” Louise asked, her gaze following a town car was stopping in front of the bar.

“Why?”

“Because that’s Sky Mitchell.” Louise pointed at a handsome man with dark hair and tight jeans, in a crowd of others, who had just exited the town car.

“Strange that he’s going in at the front. He’s family to the Collinses.” Kasee finger-combed her hair, refusing to second-guess herself. “Here goes.”

Watching for a break in traffic, she stepped into the street, then raced across on her heels, narrowly missing the back of a motorcycle. Louise squealed behind her, but Kasee ignored her friend as she barreled straight for Sky.

The famed rocker held out his muscled arms as she attempted to hug him. He held her off, her arms wheelbarrowing in an attempt to throw them around his neck.

“Come on,” she called. “Just give me a hug, Sky. It’s Kasee Kean.” She attempted to fling her arms upward again, but someone grabbed her around the waist and hauled her back.

The man pulling her sent her flying backward. Her right heel, stiletto thin, snapped against the rough pavement. The impact jolted her from ass to brainstem as she hit the sidewalk. Nerve endings in her hands began to scream. She glanced down and realized she’d attempted to catch herself on her hands. When she picked them up, her palms were scraped and bloody, and her nails were mere shards of their former glory.

“Sky!” she screamed, her jostled brain still on its former path. “I’m Kasee Kean. Please, I need this.” Sitting there, legs spread wide apart, displaying her black silk underpants for the world to see, she began to cry.

Three men surrounded the superstar and pushed him into Pat’s. Kasee stayed on the pavement, legs splayed, hands bleeding. And only then did she see photographers had crossed the street and were finally taking her picture.

About the Author

Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return to historical fiction as well as other subgenres. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

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Nina Crespo Presents: Andie J. Christopher’s Summer Fun

 

Nina Crespo: I’m making plans for the summer and I know you are, too. What do you like about the warmer months and what’s on your list of summer fun?

Andie J. Christoper: I love the summer months because I feel like everyone comes alive when the temperature warms up. My favorite thing to do in the summer (after the words are written, of course), is head over to my local Mexican restaurant patio with my dog, Gus, and drink a (large) margarita in the sun.

Readers, I’m sure you can jump on board with Andie’s plan. Who can resist a good margarita? You’ll want to heat up your summer with Andie’s sexy contemporary romance, Dusk Until Dawn. Enjoy!

No boundaries.
 
Bartender and aspiring painter Maya Pascual loves turning up the heat. And dumping a vodka-and-karma chaser on the man who broke her heart is perfect Bronx girl payback. But how can she resist when Miami playboy prince Javier Hernandez begs to make it up to her. . .
 
No regrets.
 
Between his disastrous personal life and his wealthy family’s meddling, Javi needs to get back on track. The only thing that’s certain is his passion for Maya. If she’ll just let him show her how sorry he is, maybe he can move on and start fresh. But one look in her gorgeous eyes and he knows letting her go will be easier said than done.
 
No rules.
 
Maya agrees to one dinner with Javi. But as their attraction threatens to combust, she wonders if a night of no strings, no repeats surrender is the only way burn off their desire once and for all. . . Unless the light of day reveals it’s impossible to let go.
Excerpt
“This isn’t about getting my dick wet, Maya.”

“How do I know that?”

“Because, if it was, I wouldn’t consider a ten thousand dollar suit a small price to pay for seeing you smile with satisfaction.”

She laughed. “I’m sorry about the suit.”

He shook his head and a few strands of the hair she’d pulled out of his ponytail hit his face. “No, you’re not. But I don’t want you to be sorry. I want you to say yes.”

“Why? Give me one good reason.” She didn’t know whether she was rooting for him to fail or rooting for him to succeed.

He cocked his head to one side and licked his bottom lip. Lech. “Remember what I said when I promised to let you go?”

Of course she did. Nothing about that conversation had faded from her memory. “That this doesn’t mean that we’re not still friends.”

“We are still friends, Maya. A ruined suit and the way I want to do you six ways until next week doesn’t change that. I haven’t had anything like our friendship in a long time, and I miss you.”

 

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher writes edgy, funny, sexy contemporary romance. She grew up in a family of voracious readers, and picked up her first Harlequin Romance novel at age twelve when she’d finished reading everything else in her grandmother’s house. It was love at first read. It wasn’t too long before she started writing her own stories — her first heroine drank Campari and wore a lot of Esprit.

Although, she set aside writing fiction for a while, her love of romance novels stayed with her through college, law school, and multiple cross-country moves. During one long East Coast winter, she decided writing a book would be a good excuse to avoid braving the elements. It was love at first write. Her heroes are dirty-talking alphas, and her heroines traded Esprit for Free People. (None of them would turn down a Campari, though.)

Nina Crespo Presents: Authors’ Summer Fun

I love summer with a passion. Although I had fun shopping for winter clothes and stocking up on a few nice pairs of boots, I’m ready to get out of the cold. Dreams of blue sky, sunglasses, cute sandals, and ice-cold cocktails give me goose bumps. I’ve already started building my summer fun to-do list.

Here are some of the activities I’m planning:

*A weekend birthday barbecue with my favorite cupcakes for dessert
*Attending the RWA National Conference and connecting with friends as well as meeting new people
*Visiting the Library of Congress
*Traveling with my husband 

Admittedly, I could have done a couple of these things earlier this year, but something about experiencing them with the sun warming my face or with the welcome of a nice ocean breeze makes it even more special.

What about writing? Yes, I’ll have a full writing schedule. In fact, I’m going to make an announcement, very soon, about who’s publishing my next two contemporary series in my newsletter. Sign up for it if you’re not already a VIP subscriber and be one of the first to help me celebrate the big news.

Over the next few weeks, I’m talking to authors about their summer plans and their latest books. Find your next summer read on my blog under the feature title, Nina Crespo Presents: Authors’ Summer Fun. Feel free to share what you’ll be doing this summer in the comment section. I’m including some video inspiration below to get you in the mood. Close your eyes. Relax. Daydream about all of the fun coming your way. Until next time….