, pub-4807045201008872, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 meta name=", pub-4807045201008872, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Ginger High- Books R Us: guest post


Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Friday, September 21, 2012


I would like to welcome Heather Frost to Books R Us. Heather is the author of the novel Demons (The Seers Trilogy). Thanks for stopping by.

Basic Qualities of an Author

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
 ― W. Somerset Maugham

I’ve often had aspiring authors ask me this difficult question: How do you know if you have what it takes to be an author? This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer, because there really isn’t a cut and dry answer. And the only one who can really find the answer is you: the individual writer. I know—not very helpful. But what I can do is make a short list of some qualities that I believe a serious author needs in order to succeed.
Talent. Now, don’t misunderstand this one! I’m not saying that you have to be a brilliant writer with perfect command of the language by the time you write your first story. What I am saying is that you need the talent of story-telling. You need to be able to imagine new worlds, characters, and possibilities. This requires an especially agile imagination. You can learn all the elements of story-telling, but if you don’t have the instinct, or the desire to tell a story, you’re not going to be able to write a successful book.
How do you know if you have this ability, this talent? You share what you’ve written. Maybe with a trusted friend, and then another. Slowly, you get feedback. You learn your weaknesses and strengths through criticism, and—though painful sometimes—it’s the only way to improve. You’re not going to know if you’re succeeding as a writer until you finally share your story with someone else, and get their response. Sharing your work is especially important, because it is also the way you find out if you can handle rejection or not.
Rejection is a painful, but large part of being an author. If you can’t take rejection, you should probably go find yourself another career. The only way you get accepted is by wading through rejections. Sure, it hurts, and it’s disappointing—but the day you stop getting rejections is the day you stopped trying for an acceptance. The best advice I can give here is this: don’t give up. Pick your favorite author, and know that even he or she was rejected at least once—generally a lot more than once.
This slides nicely into dedication. It takes an insane amount of self-discipline to be an author. You have to write, even when the blank screen is staring you down, taunting you.  You have to be dedicated enough that you make time to write, and time to research your publishing options. Both can be enormously time consuming, and daunting—but they are mountains a writer will always be climbing.
A final thought: If you want to write, write. Give it your best, and never give up. Everyone deserves the chance to follow a dream. Don’t become so overwhelmed with the “rules” of writing and publishing that you never dare to try.

About the Book:

Kate's life is far from normal. She can see Auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and her powers make her a target. But now that the Demon Lord is hunting her, things are about to go from dangerous to truly deadly. Packed with action, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters you can't get enough of, this is a fast-paced, heart-pounding read from cover to cover.

Connect with the Author: 


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I Would like to welcome Roy Segal to Books R Us. Roy is the author of The Devil's Dream. Thanks for stopping by.


What was your inspiration for writing “The Devil’s Dream?”
I am always amazed by documentaries about psychics solving crimes.  There seems to be some truth to the fact that psychics can give information to police detectives that could not be obtained in any other way.  I also like to write stories about characters that are upset by the injustices of this world.  Combine those two ideas and you get the narrator of my story, a man who has dreams about crimes yet to take place, who must struggle to find ways to prevent those crimes from taking place.  Thus, he can act to protect a victim, not just find the bad guy.
Do you ever have writer’s block?
I find when I am writing well there is a sense of action and movement, and drama.  When I get stuck I think that maybe I am just bored because I haven’t created enough suspense in my story.  I then try to think what twists will draw the reader in by creating more suspense.  There is an element of creativity to writing, but also an element of logic.  I want my novels to make sense.  Whatever kind of universe is created in the story, it should have consistent rules so that the readers always know what to expect.  In “Superman” for example, we know that he can’t be hurt by bullets from a gun, but that Kryptonite will weaken him and make him lose all his power.  Thus, the reader knows that if the bad guy has Kryptonite Superman is in trouble.  Whatever world is created in a novel, it should have consistent rules, even if there is magic or supernatural elements.
What advice would you give a writer starting out?
I would tell new writers to find the story that is burning inside them that wants to come out.  If a writer is inspired the reader will feel the energy and commitment the writer had when he wrote the story.  If the story is simply invented by a gimmick, however showy, the writing will suffer.  I think this is the key to good writing.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
Caroline Cash, the police officer, who is not sure if her boyfriend is a good guy or a villain.  She has the courage to offer her love completely, which many people can’t do.
Where can we buy your book?
It is available on for kindle and for kindle and ePub and nook and other formats.


          I am a private math tutor in New York City.  I help high school and college students pass their math courses, and I also tutor the SAT.  I have been writing fiction for nine years, and I have taken a dozen writing workshops at The New School and studied with Fran Gordon.  I write mystery and mainstream fiction.  I have recently attended the Book Expo America writing conference, and also the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


I would like to welcome an up and coming author Sherri Wilson Johnson to Books R Us. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi! I am Sherri Wilson Johnson. I write heart-warming Inspirational fiction (Historical and Contemporary) that challenges readers to have faith even in life's most difficult of storms. Pure Romance is usually the main theme of my books but there is so much more to them than just that. I love to sprinkle in suspense and mystery, as well. Although my primary focus is ministering to women readers, I am a former homeschooling mom so much of what I write is suitable for the Young Adult market.
Writing has been a hobby of mine since I was a little girl. As a young adult, I began writing Inspirational Romances, which quickly became my favorite pastime and grew into a calling. My debut novel, To Dance Once More (OakTara), is set in Victorian-era Florida, bringing the romance of the beach, Victorian times, and debutante balls together (some of my favorite things). I hope to prove that true love still exists and that it is worth the wait. I never shy away from speaking candidly of the purity of not only the heroine but of the hero, as well, because I believe in today's world, we need to encourage both men and women to live pure lives. Writing is so much a part of who I am that I must use it to share what I am passionate about. I desire to point others to Jesus through my words.

Several things inspired me to write To Dance Once More -- my love of the beach, Victorian times, romance, and purity. But it takes little inspiration at all to make me write. I would write 24/7 if I could and often forget to eat when I'm heavy into my work. Becoming a published author has been a life-long dream and although getting that coveted contract was a long process, I can say it was totally worth the wait. For years I submitted manuscripts to publishers and agents. Looking back, those manuscripts and even the proposals were sloppy. But after taking a two-year writing course through the Christian Writers Guild, my writing improved and so did my submissions to publishers. Eventually, I received the contract from OakTara and what an exciting day that was.
My next book, Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara), will be out in May 2012 and the sequel to To Dance Once More should be out by the end of 2012. I am also polishing a third novel, After the Raging Storm, and working on a legal mystery and a sequel to Song of the Meadowlark. In addition to fiction, I also write homeschool resources and Bible studies, which I self-published, and are available on my secondary website .

Connect with the Author-
Book trailer:

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I want to welcome James D. Sanderson to Books R Us. James is the author of The Angelic Mysteries and is touring the blogosphere. Thanks for stopping by.
About the Book:       

More is at stake than her wings when the beautiful angel Sarah finds herself grounded in New York City.  She is accosted by a man she believes is an anti-angel – one who would capture her and take her into the dark underworld.  Fortunately for her as she flees to Europe she meets a man, Daniel Allman, who is willing to travel along with her and offer some protection.  Allman, however, is fleeing his own demons – the specter of madness that runs in his family.  He is confronted with the possibility that none of this may actually be happening at all.  There is no going back for either of them, it seems. Lets learn more about Sarah.


I don’t even know where my name came from.  I like it though. Sarah.  There is something romantic about my name.  But when people ask about my mother or father, I have no idea how to respond to them.  I tried to explain it to Daniel, I really did, but he seemed to understand even less than anyone else.  Leave it to me to run into such a skeptic.

Actually, Sarah has always been my name.  There has never been a time I know of that I was not called Sarah.  It means something different in heaven though, I think.  Sarah was Abraham’s wife in the Bible, of course, and the name itself if from the Hebrew for ‘Princess’.  But a princess on earth is one who is honored for being born high-up in society, while in heaven the name has more to do with servant hood.  That’s what makes me the perfect guardian, I guess.  The name fits for that, don’t you think?

Many stories are told about angels but not many of them are very accurate.  Angels are not born as humans are.  We are created and have always been.  Our encounters with humans have been relatively recent, in fact.  I recall my very first assignment with human beings.  They were the first man and first woman – Adam and Eve.  They had become hopelessly lost in the harsh land to the east of Eden and I helped them find their way.  The morning after they were expelled from the Garden both of them paused for a long moment to look out over the land around them.  Behind them the smoke and fire at the gates of the Garden that had seemed so near the night before now was far off.  The black smoke was on the distant horizon.  Far beyond that – a mere dimple on the skyline – was the mountain they had called God’s Throne.  It was part of a great range of peaks that bled off into the distance, purple and indistinct.  The hillock they stood upon led down into what looked to have been a river valley; dry now.  As they descended they slid in the rough rock scree and were forced to steady themselves with their hands.  Adam was pricked by the spine of a tiny cactus and he held his palm to his mouth and tried to force the black spine out with his teeth.  At last he succeeded and he rubbed his palm against the thigh of his skin robe.

They reached the bottom of the slope now and began to follow the dry stream bed along, generally to the south.  Here, they were confronted with a world that was so different from the life they had led in the Garden that both of them felt slightly unhinged from their former identity.  Nothing was as it had been.  They were no longer who they had been.  The life they had lived was no more, and yet they had no idea what their life ahead might lead them to.  As they passed under gigantic overhangs of rock and the infinite sky overhead, they seemed to be passing through time – from one time  (the time that had been) – into another.

Distances were deceptive here.  They walked the entire long day before they reached the other side of the bowl and came upon a ridgeline of rotted rock and crumbling outcroppings.  They lay down in the sand at the base of this rise just as the sun was blotted out by the distant line of the horizon.  The next morning they climbed the outcropping to the top of the ridge.  Ahead was more of the same.  Rock sculptures were thrust up here and there with colors that were so muted they almost could not be called colors.  There were layers of light red and pink and brown and tan all fused together into one grand effect.  When the yellow sun hit them, they seemed to be transformed into even more indescribable hues.

A sense of emptiness plagued them all that day as they walked along the floor of this immense flat expanse of dirt and rock.  Only the shifting colors of the rocks – red, yellow, brown, confirmed that they were actually moving forward.  An eagle flying far overhead was a major event.  They found no water that day and by nightfall their tongues were thick with thirst.

The next day the land changed again and I managed to lead them without their knowledge to a narrow stream that ran down between the rocks.  They drank as much as they could hold – their bellies were bloated by the time they had finished – and then they began to follow the stream down into a wide valley that was strung along with greenery because of the water.  Who knows what would have happened to humankind if I had not been there to lead them to water.

Anyway, my story goes on like that over the centuries.  I go wherever I am needed and I could tell you some interesting things all right.  (Perhaps one day I will write my angelic memoirs, who knows?)  But my most recent story (the story Mr. Sanderson relates in his ‘The Angelic Mysteries’), begins with the trickery of Morton Toombs.  I was in New York City following my charge Daniel Allman when I found myself getting turned around in the dark alleys and streets.  I recognize now what I did not recognize then – that Toombs had drawn me into an elaborate labyrinth from which I could not escape.  In this way he clipped my wings and brought me into an earthbound existence.  I am still not certain exactly how he did it.

Then, when he had me completely lost and without my superpowers (as it were), he tried to get his hands on me.  I knew very well what would happen if he did.  But let me leave all that to your reading of ‘The Angelic Mysteries’ which is being released on August 18th.  Mr. Sanderson is a capable storyteller and he has written very well the story I have just begun for you.  I do hope you will continue reading it there.

Oh and by the way, you can keep up with Mr. Sanderson and his writing on Facebook.

Hope to see you there.  Sarah

Copyright © 2011 by James D. Sanderson.  All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:

James D. Sanderson is an author living in SW Colorado with his wife and they are raising a granddaughter. He has written two novels in the past -'Mirabilia' and 'The Angelic Mysteries', and one nonfiction book 'Called To Love'.
His novel 'The Angelic Mysteries' has been completely re-written ("For the better, I assure you", he says), and is available as a novella on Kindle.
A screenplay of 'The Angelic Mysteries' is also complete and James D. Sanderson will be looking to market it to film production companies soon.
He is currently working on a collection of short stories about nonviolence and the nonviolent revolutions that took place in 1989, called 'Sacred Are The Brave'. It will be out in the spring of 2012.
He loves to travel, hike, camp, read, blog, and watch movies. "I have been a writer all my life and love to read classic literature," he says. "I hope my readers will love my work as much as I love writing it."

Stop by tomorrow for my review of the Novella.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I want to welcome Brooke Moss to Books R Us. Brooke is Touring the blogosphere with her debut book  The "What If" Guy.Thanks for stopping by.

Finding the Love Story in Every Couple’s Past
By Brooke Moss

            Thanks so much for having me her at Books R Us, what a thrill!

Picture this: You’re in line at the grocery store, and there is a couple standing in front of you. He is wearing a slightly-to-tight business suit that has seen better days, and she is wearing sweats with not a drop of makeup on. The cart is filled with fruit snacks, diapers, baby wipes, and maxi pads. And there are three children, all of whom could desperately use a bath (and a leash) literally running circles around the checkout stand.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugYou stand there with your own groceries, trying to ignore it as one of the kids rams his soccer cleats into your calf, and pretend to be deaf as the couple starts arguing about money. This couple appears to have no romance. No flame of passion ignited between their bodies as they move to put the Gogurt and Flintstone vitamins on the conveyor belt. They seem dull. Bored. Tired. Typical.

       They don’t resemble the characters in the book sitting on your nightstand at home. Those two…now those two have some passion. The fire is definitely not out between Renaldo and Lady Katerina, that’s for damn sure!

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         As a writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction, I work hard at being able to see through the wrinkles and extra padding around the middle. I try my best to look past the wrinkles and worn clothes, and the mini van with the DVD player blaring the latest Disney movie at top volume.
Because, underneath it all, every couple—whether married or not, whether old or young—has a love story. There was a moment for each of them when a glimpse of a smile, or the brush of a hand, would send their heart into hyper drive. When their first kiss or their first intimate moment with each other rocked each other’s lives so greatly that, if even for just a millisecond, they saw stars.

        When I interact with people, I tend to ask a lot of personal questions. I don’t mean to be invasive, but I think it puts people off at times. But I want to know their stories. I want them to tell me about their first kisses, or about the moment when they knew that their husband was “the one”. I am always the one at the girls-night-out who asks everyone to share what their best date involved, or what their first time in bed with their spouse was like.

I know, I know…I’m that friend. (Everybody has a friend like that!)

I draw from real human experience when I write my books. When I create a new cast of characters, and a storyline filled to the brim with subplots, I draw from the families and friendships and working relationships all around me. Every character, whether protagonist or antagonist, is loosely based on someone I’ve met during my lifetime. It is my job, as an author, to create characters that my readers can relate to. Characters that one could potentially stand behind in the checkout line at the grocery store. Characters that could be you, or me, or Joe Blow down the street. 

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Chick lit is all about creating scenarios that the reader can connect with. Pain that the either has, or could have effected their lives. Joy that warms a readers heart because it is pain that could potentially happen in their own lives. Pleasure that could warm their beds at night. The couple in line at the grocery store could have an amazing love story to share. It’s just a matter of finding it underneath all of those diapers and fruit snacks. 
My name is Brooke Moss, and my debut novel, The "What If" Guy, is available now through Entangled Publishing. It shares the story of Autumn Cole, who reluctantly moves back to the miniscule farming community of her youth, to reclaim her role as daughter of the town drunk. Autumn quickly realizes that life will be much more complicated than she originally thought when she discovers that her son’s history teacher is the college sweetheart she dumped twelve years before.

Again, thanks for having me today. The "What If" Guy is available at Amazon, B&N, Books On Board, and at your local bookseller. A special thanks goes to Entangled Publishing for their amazing prizes and giveaways. Thanks guys!

Find me on the web at Website, BlogTwitterGoodreads, and Facebook
                                    Brooke Moss


The "What If" GuyAfter losing her job at a swanky Seattle art gallery, single mother Autumn Cole reluctantly returns to her tiny hometown of Fairfield, Washington. Autumn’s disgruntled twelve-year old son isn’t thrilled about going from hip to hick, but Autumn’s got it worse. She’ll get to resume her role as the town drunk’s daughter.  

When his public divorce turns ugly, history teacher Henry Tobler decides to disappear. He finds exactly what he’s looking for amidst Fairfield’s quirky residents, but when the woman he’s pined for since college shows and nearly breaks his nose in front of a classroom full of twelve-year-olds, his newfound peace threatens to crumble. 

Autumn cannot believe Henry is in Fairfield, or that fate chose such a miserable time to drop him back in her life. She and her father face a crisis decades in the making. Can rediscovering love--and herself--with her “what if” guy teach Autumn to forgive before it’s too late?


 Would you Like to win a ecopy of the book? Just enter my contest.

Main Entry: (Internationally)
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 Contest ends on 8/11 at 11:59pm. Winner will be chosen by Please provide a valid email address so your ebook can be sent to you. Good Luck .


Monday, July 25, 2011


I want to welcome Paul Levine to Books R Us. Paul is the author the the Jake Lassiter Series and is touring the blogosphere with his book, Flesh & Bones.  Stop by tomorrow for my review of the book.


“They don’t call us sharks for our ability to swim.”

FLESH & BONES (The Jake Lassiter Series) So says Jake Lassiter in “Flesh & Bones.”  Or rather, he thinks it in interior dialogue, sometimes called interior monologue.  It’s one way to reveal character and answer the reader’s question: Just who is this guy, anyway?

 I’ll let Jake answer that question, but first I wanted you to know that the international bestseller “Flesh & Bones” is now an e-book priced for a short time at $0.99, with all proceeds going to Hershey Children’s Hospital for cancer treatment. 
 Now back to Jake:  “A good lawyer is part con man, part priest—promising riches, threatening hell.  The rainmakers are the best paid and have coined a remarkably candid phrase: We eat what we kill.” 
 The linebacker-turned-lawyer is a brew and burger guy in a paté and Chardonnay world.  Noting the sign over the judge’s bench -- “We who labor here seek only the truth…” -- he  adds his own footnote: “Subject to the truth being concealed by lying witnesses, distorted by sleazy lawyers, and excluded by inept judges.”

 In “Flesh & Bones,” Jake’s client, model Chrissy Bernhardt, is accused of killing her father, claiming she had been raped by him as a child.  Jake seethes at hearing this.  Anger is not usually helpful in making important decisions, but with Jake, his fury helps form his legal strategy:

 “The male animal.  At the low end of the evolutionary scale, he lords his physical superiority over women, beating and raping.  At the very bottom, this horned beast is the father who would rape his own child.  For a moment, I felt like killing Harry Bernhardt myself.  Which made me think...if I get the jury to feel the same way, maybe I can win this case.”

 Complicating the murder trial, Jake falls for his client, while at the same time doubting her truthfulness.  All of which creates an ethical dilemma:

 “My ethical rules are simple.  I won't lie to the court or let a client do it.  But I've never been in this position before.  How far would I go for a woman who mattered?  Is there anything I wouldn't do to win?”

Is he defending an innocent woman or a guilty one?  Is there such a thing as true justice?  Rather than answer those questions – and spoil the book! – I’ll leave you with Jake’s final thoughts:
 " We seek justice in the courthouse, just as we seek holiness in a house of worship.  Justice is an ideal, a vague concept we strive for but can barely define.  Justice is the North Star, the burning bush, the holy virgin.  It cannot be bought, sold, or mass produced.  It is intangible and invisible, but if you are to spend your life in its pursuit, it is best to believe it exists, and that you can attain it."

 “Flesh & Bones” and all the Jake Lassiter novels are available on  Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.  More information please visit  Paul Levine’s Website.  


About the Author-

The author of 14 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity , International Thriller and James Thurber prizes. His critically acclaimed and bestselling "Jake Lassiter" novels have been published in 21 countries. The first of the series, "To Speak for the Dead," was named one of the top ten thrillers of the year by the Los Angeles Times. A former trial lawyer, he wrote more than 20 episodes for the series "JAG" and co-created "First Monday," Staring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. His next novel "Lassiter," will be published in the Fall of 2011 by Bantam.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I like to welcome Melissa McClone to Books R Us. Melissa is the author of  the novel Not-So-Perfect Princess (Harlequin Romance) and is touring the blogosphere with Goddess Fish Promotions.Thanks for stopping by.

How I Came Up The Novel.

It’s so good to be here today. Thanks for hosting this stop on my virtual book tour. I thought I’d talk to you about how I came up with the idea for my newest release from Harlequin Romance Not-So-Perfect Princess.
Back in February 2000, If the Ring Fits… was published by Silhouette Romance. In the story, I introduced two secondary characters, Crown Prince Brandt and his older sister Princess Julianna aka Jules. Brandt wasn't mature enough to be the hero of a romance novel, but I knew Julianna was ready for her own story. I tucked in a few details that I could use in her own book: a love of sailing, broken engagement and wanting to marry for love. But one thing led to another, and I never ended up writing her story.

Fast forward nearly a decade when I decided to wanted to write another royalty-themed romance. I remembered Julianna from my days at Silhouette, but now that I wrote for Harlequin Romance, I decided to come up with a new idea. After a few starts and stops, I settled on what would become my February ’11 release, Expecting Royal Twins!

In that story, I needed a secondary character, someone who could be both a friend and a sort of fairy godmother to my heroine. With my editor’s permission, I resurrected Princess Julianna. As soon as she showed up on the page, I knew I was ready to write her story. Fortunately, around the same time, my editor asked if I wanted to participate in the Once Upon a Kiss miniseries where books are loosely based upon classic fairytales. I said yes. I asked if I could use Princess Julianna in Sleeping Beauty. My editor's answer—yes!

I knew Julianna's character pretty well by now, but I wasn't quite sure about the plot. With Sleeping Beauty as the basis, I knew the story had to be about an awakening. Face it, a woman on her third arranged marriage contract when she'd rather marry for love has been sleepwalking through life and not being true to herself! I wanted to address the question of duty vs. desire. I also knew sailing needed to be a big part of the story. The question was how to do it.

I happened to be staying at my good friend and Avon historical author Elizabeth
Boyle’s house last summer. I was finishing up revisions on another manuscript, but wanted to start thinking about the next book I would write. One evening we sat a Seattle Starbucks. With Frappucinos in hand, we brainstormed. The idea of two brothers in the story came from our session, as did the island setting and the hero designing and building racing sailboats. From there, I started plotting, working on character arcs and the romance, until the story evolved into what was published in Not-So-Perfect Princess.


About the Book-

Not-So-Perfect Princess (Harlequin Romance)Dutiful Princess Julianna has a secret—she’s actually happiest makeup free, sailing with the sea breeze in her hair. Her attraction to rebel prince Alejandro is instant—but her intended is his brother, the proper but dull Enrique!

For the first time, Julianna’s irresistibly tempted. Before long, she’s spending her nights sailing with gorgeous Alejandro while the rest of the palace believes she’s sleeping. Soon she’ll have to choose—remain the perfect princess, or follow her heart and stop sleepwalking her way through life....

About the Author- 

Melissa McClone writes for Harlequin Romance. Her November '10 release Christmas Magic on the Mountain (Harlequin Romance) is a RITA® Finalist in the Contemporary Series Category. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but quit her job to write romance novels. Writing happily ever afters is a lot more fun than analyzing jet engine performance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, four cats and a dog named Chaos.

My Thoughts-

I have always thought that Harlequin Romance novels were erotic but that was not the case with this novel. I read the book while on vacation in Florida lounging by the pool. I was captivated by the storyline and I finished it rather quickly. I felt that all of the characters were developed fully and Melissa was able to retell a classic story in a whole new way. The use of the kitten Boots as a means for the main characters Julianna and Alejandro to meet was perfect and their romance started to develop throughout the book.. One character that I disliked was Enrique because he was arrogant and obnoxious but he played a major part in the plot. This a great summer read and I recommend the book to all of you romance lovers out there who likes a clean romance novel

Read an Excerpt-

“We are approaching the palace,” the pilot announced over the headsets.

Goosebumps prickled Jules’s skin.

Full of curiosity at her new home, she peered out the window. A huge white stucco and orange tile roofed palace perched above the sea. The multistoried building had numerous balconies and windows. But no tower. Another good sign?

A paved road and narrower walking paths wove their way through a landscape of palm trees, flowering bushes and manicured greenery. Water shot at least twenty-five feet into the air from an ornately decorated fountain.

The Mediterranean island and palace were a world away from Aliestle and the stone castle fortress nestled high in the Alps. Living somewhere lighter and brighter would be a welcome change from the Grimm-like fairy-tale setting she called home.

“Father may have finally gotten this right,” Brandt said.

Jules nodded. “It’s pretty.”

“At least on the outside.”

She sighed. “Don’t forget, dear brother, you’re here for moral support.”

“And to make sure the honeymoon doesn’t start early,” Brandt joked.

As if she’d ever had that opportunity present itself. She glared at him. “Be quiet.”

“Sore spot, huh?”

He had no idea. Engaged three times, and she’d never come close to anything other than kisses. Besides making out with Christian while a teenager, she’d been kissed once as an adult. Prince Niko’s kiss while sailing had been pleasant enough, but nothing like the passion she’d overheard other women discussing. Perhaps with Prince Enrique…

The helicopter landed on a helipad. The engine stopped. The rotor’s rotation slowed. Her hand trembled, making her work harder to unbuckle her harness. Finally she undid the latch. As they exited, a uniformed staff member placed their luggage onto a wheeled cart.

“Welcome to La Isla de la Aurora, Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Brandt and Your Royal Highness Princess Julianna.” An older man in a gray suit bowed. “I am Ortiz. Prince Enrique sends his regrets for not meeting you himself, but he is attending to important state business at the moment.”

“We understand.” Brandt smiled. He might not be the typical statesman, but no one could fault his friendliness. “State business comes first.”

Jules looked around at the potted plants and flowering vines. A floral scent lingered in the air. Paradise? Perhaps.

“Thank you, sir.” Ortiz sounded grateful. “I am in charge of the palace and at your service. Whatever you need, I’ll see that you have it.”

Jules glanced at Brandt, whose grin resembled the Cheshire cat’s. She would have to make sure he didn’t take advantage of the generous offer of hospitality.

“The palace grounds are lovely, Ortiz,” she said. “Very inviting with so many colorful flowers and plants.”

“I am happy you like it, ma’am.” His smile took years off his tanned, lined face. “Please allow me to show you and your party inside.”

Klaus nodded. Her bodyguard, in his fifties with a crew cut and a gun hidden under his tailored suit jacket, had protected her for as long as she could remember.

“Lead the way, Ortiz,” she said.

As they walked from the helipad to the front door, Ortiz gave her a brief history lesson about the palace. She had no idea the royal family had ruled the island for so long. No doubt the continuous line of succession had impressed her father who would want to ensure a long reign for his grandchildren and the heirs that followed.

“Prince Enrique has done so much for the island,” Ortiz said. “A finer successor to King Dario cannot be found, ma’am.”

If only Jules knew whether the compliments were truthful or propaganda. She knew little about her future husband besides his name. “I’m looking forward to meeting Prince Enrique.”

Ortiz beamed. “He said the same thing about you at lunchtime, ma’am.”

A third good sign? Jules hoped so.

When they reached the palace entry, two arched wooden doors parted as if by magic. Once the heavy doors were fully open, she saw two uniformed attendants standing behind and holding them.

Jules stared at the entrance with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. If all went well—and she hoped it did—this palace would be her new home. She would live with her husband and raise her children here. She fought the urge to cross her fingers.

With a deep breath, she stepped inside. The others followed. A thirty-foot ceiling gave the large marble tiled foyer an open and airy feel. Stunning paintings, a mix of modern and classical works, hung on the walls. A marble statue of a woman sitting in the middle captured Jules’s attention. “What an amazing sculpture.”

“That is Eos, one of the Greek’s second generation Titan gods,” Ortiz explained. “We are more partial to the Latin name, Aurora. Whichever name you prefer, she’ll always be the Goddess of the Dawn.”

“Beautiful,” Brandt agreed. “Eos had a strong desire for handsome young men. If she looked anything like this statue, I’m sure she had no trouble finding willing lovers.”

“Close the front doors,” a male voice shouted. “Now.”

The attendants pushed the heavy doors. Grunts sounded. Muscles strained.

“Hurry,” the voice urged.

The people behind Jules rushed farther into the foyer so the doors could be shut. The momentum pushed her forward.

A shirtless man wearing shorts ran toward the doors. Something black darted across the floor.

Yvette screamed. “A rat, Your Highnesses.”

“There are no rats in the palace,” Ortiz shouted.

The ball of black fur darted between Jules’s legs. Startled, she stumbled face-first.

“Catch her,” Klaus yelled.

Too late. The marble floor seemed to rise up to meet Jules though she was the one falling.

She stopped abruptly. Not against the floor.

Strong arms embraced Jules. Her face pressed against a hard, bare chest. Her cheek rested against warm skin. Dark hair tickled her nose. The sound of a heartbeat filled her ears. He smelled so good. No fancy colognes. Only soap and water and salty ocean air.

She wanted another sniff.

Ortiz shrieked. “Your Highnesses. Are either of you hurt?”

Highnesses? The man must be a prince. Her father had only spoken of the crown prince. No other brothers had been mentioned. Oh, if this were Enrique…

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Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book for my honest review and I was not compensated for my review.