Friday, July 29, 2022

RETURN TO WYLDER by Author Maria Imbalzano **Excerpt Tour** **Review**

Welcome to Notes From a Romantic's Heart. Today, we're featuring Return to Wylder, part of the Wylder West series from The Wild Rose Press. Author Maria Imblazano is here to share some insight into her new release. You can find all the stops on this tour at Goddess Fish Promotions. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a chance to win an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. The entry form is at the bottom of this feature.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

The untimely death of EJ Hampton’s father kills her dream of practicing law with him in her hometown of Wylder. Heartbroken, she now has two weeks to organize the practice for sale. When she meets her father’s millionaire client Dylan Addison, he is demanding and entitled—yet his charisma captivates her.

Dylan is under pressure to renovate the Wylder Hotel before his father pulls the plug on his project. He needs EJ’s expertise, but she is bent on returning to her life in San Francisco despite the fireworks between them.

EJ walks a tightrope trying to balance Dylan’s needs against her own, but doing so is far more complicated when emotions get in the way.

Find Return to Wylder at Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Also available in print

EJ took a sip of her beer. “It may take some time, but you’ll win him over. If you start coming here at least once a week. Even if it’s just to have a quick drink at the bar or a sandwich at lunchtime. Get to know him, as well as the customers.” She nodded toward the bar at the few-dozen townspeople who all seemed like best friends. “You need to do this with all the businesses around town. What have you been doing for the past five months?” Her brow scrunched as she waited for my sorry excuse.

I would have grinned in an attempt to soften her underlying admonishment, but she might have then assumed I wasn’t taking her advice seriously. I cleared my throat. “I have projects in Chicago that I’ve continued to work on. When I’m in town, I’ve been dealing with contractors, getting estimates. The usual.”

“At least you’re using local tradespeople for the hotel.”

She would know that since she’d reviewed the contracts.

“Was introducing me to Chad your sole purpose in asking me to meet you here?” I had hoped it was because she was as intrigued with me as I was with her. The heat in her eyes when I stroked her palm last night couldn’t have been an illusion.

“Not my sole purpose.” Her sly smile gave me hope. “The Spring Festival is in nine days. You may have seen the signs around town.”

All hope was dashed with this turn in the conversation. I had seen the signs, but it wasn’t something I put in my calendar. Although perhaps I should, to assure I wouldn’t get stuck in traffic if I wanted to get out of town that day. “And?” There had to be more.

“The town’s budget is tight this year, and they can’t afford fireworks. That’s a big draw, so disappointment is running high. There are a few other things that need funding.” She opened her purse and withdrew a folded piece of paper. “My mom is co-chair of the event, and these are their current needs.”

I took the paper and scanned a host of sponsorship opportunities along with the estimated cost next to each. The most expensive by far was the fireworks. I searched her face. “Are you asking me for a donation? I can certainly write a check to contribute.”

“Does your father’s company support community festivities?”

Oh, so this was where she was going.

5 Stars

I'm a big fan of small town western romances, and I've especially enjoyed the variety of the Wylder series. So, when a review tour came up for Maria Imbalzano's new book, Return to Wylder, I knew I had to sign up.
I was immediately drawn to the heroine's dilemma of choice. I felt her sadness at her loss. The last thing she need, professionally at least, was an overbearing and entitled client. However, Dylan was such a delight right from the beginning, I couldn't even be angry with him for his privileged attitude. And, of course, the more I got to know him, the more I understood his personality.

EJ and Dylan were perfect foils for one another right from the get-go and it was very enjoyable to watch their relationship progress with just the right amount of steam thrown in for good measure.

I highly recommend this new addition to the Wylder series.

Maria Imbalzano is an award-winning contemporary author who writes about strong, independent women and the men who fall in love with them. She recently retired from the practice of law, but legal issues have a way of showing up in many of her novels. When not writing, she loves to travel both abroad and in the states. Maria lives in central New Jersey with her husband--not far from her two daughters and granddaughters.

Maria Imbalzano will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

LOVING BETWEEN THE LINES By Author Brenda Margriet

Welcome to Notes From a Romantic's Heart. Today we're featuring author Brenda Margriet and her new release, Loving Between the Lines. A contemporary, seasoned romance, this is the second book in her Silverberry Seduction series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

A one-night stand neither will forget.
She wanted a final fling before choosing science to make her a single mom. He needed an escape from the regret grinding him into dust. Her baby isn’t his…but maybe family is more than DNA.

After a childhood being dragged around the continent by her musician parents, Lynn Kolmyn has stretched her roots deep into her chosen hometown. When her absconding fiancé screws up her careful plans, she decides to become a mother at almost forty, realizing the only person she can rely on is herself.

Benjamin Whitestone was the hometown hockey hero until a spectacular mistake led to failure and condemnation. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to make it up to his parents, his teammates, or his fans. In a final bid to prove himself, he accepts a job coaching the junior team where he used to be a star, determined to rewrite history.

When Lynn and Benjamin collide—literally—they are both shocked to see the stranger from a single sensual night two years ago. Now the past tangles with the future…a future neither of them was expecting.

Purchased a copy from these eBook Retailers
Also available in print.

Benjamin Whitestone stepped into the concourse of the arena, closing the door to the Canyon Cats team offices behind him, and leaned against the red-painted brick wall. Pressing his fingertips into the rough surface, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply.

When Peterson Brewster had summoned him to his office that morning, he hadn’t been able to suppress the guilty feeling he’d done something wrong. He’d only been head coach of the Canyon Cats for two weeks, and logic dictated he had no reason to worry—yet—that his performance had been judged subpar already.

Logic never stopped him from worrying before, and it hadn’t then, either.

Turned out Brewster had just wanted to welcome him formally to the organization. He’d met the very involved owner during the hiring process but he’d been out of town since Benjamin’s return to Prince George. Now the meeting was over he could concentrate on his next challenge—his first official practice. Training camp had just ended and the roster set. The hardest work was about to begin.

Taking one last deep breath, he pushed off the wall and strode toward the stairs leading down to ice level. As he reached the door to the arena administration offices, it swung open. He dodged to avoid being struck by the heavy metal panel and a woman with her arms full of child stumbled into him.

“Careful now.” He gripped her shoulders to steady her. Two black bags draped off her shoulders and the sharp corner of one thudded against his thigh as she spun around.

“Sorry.” She shifted the baby to her other hip and gave Benjamin a quick, harried glance before focusing once more on the squirming, squawking child. He’d had little exposure to children, but given the length of the legs kicking at her thighs and the arms flailing about her head, this was no newborn. Other than that, he had no clue. “I didn’t meant to open the door so suddenly. I hope I didn’t hit you.”

That voice. Husky and low, it evoked a sudden memory of subdued lighting, sultry jazz, and smoky whiskey.

His fingers tightened on her shoulders, the bones rounded and firm under his palms. “Lynn?”

Her chin lifted and their eyes met. For a moment her expression remained blank, and then she blinked.

“Benjamin?” She twisted out of his hold and his hands dropped. He curled his fingers into fists, holding onto the tingling sensation touching her had evoked. The baby continue to wriggle and wail and she bounced and jiggled in the age-old way of mothers everywhere. “What are you doing here?”

He could only stare. He’d thought of Lynn more often than a one-night stand deserved. Especially a one-night stand that had occurred two years ago. Of course, it had also been the day after his father’s funeral. Maybe the pain of that time—and the comfort she’d given him—was why she’d stuck in his mind more than any woman he’d slept with—before or since.

She asked you a question. Answer, you dummy. “I’m the new head coach. Of the Canyon Cats.”

Her eyes widened. “You’re Benjamin Whitestone?”

Brenda Margriet writes savvy, slow burn, contemporary romances with ordinarily amazing characters. In her own ordinarily amazing life, she had a successful career in radio and television production before deciding to pilfer from her retirement plan to support her writing compulsion.

Readers have called her stories "poignant," "explicit and steamy," "interesting, intriguing and entertaining," and "unlike any romance you’ve read before" (she assumes the latter was meant in a good way).

Brenda lives in northern British Columbia with her husband, various finny and furry pets, and has three grown children.

Sign Up for Brenda's Newsletter

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Thank you so much for stopping by today. And, thanks to Brenda for sharing her newest release with us. See you again soon!


Monday, July 25, 2022

EMPERATOR by Author Miriam Newman **Review**

Welcome to Notes From a Romantic’s Heart. Today we are featuring author Miriam Newman and her historical fantasy romance, The Emperator. You can find all stops on this tour at Goddess Fish Promotions. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for an Amazon gift card. The entry form is at the bottom of this post.

GENRE: Historical Fantasy Romance

Son of a king, grandson of a general, Sergius is a warrior without equal. It has been easy for him to be a hero when he was expected to be. When he finds himself fighting to free his grandfather's country and the heart of a woman, he must be one because he is.

Available at Amazon and other ebook Retailers

The walls of the city were so dark, so immense, they stood out against the moonlit sky.

“How do you get over that?” he asked the commander who had issued the order to burn bodies.

“You don’t,” that one said, flashing him a smile in the dark. Sergius could see it by the light of hundreds of torches they had lit not only for themselves, but also for the Domidians. An intimidating display suggesting great numbers of troops was a mental game.

“You burn them,” the other man said.

Heavy horses kept for the purpose had dragged up land-borne versions of the hurlers Havacians traditionally used at sea. Like those, they had been fitted with flaming balls of pitch heated over immense bonfires. Omana had no shortage of wood and scores of teams had been busily hauling it from all over territory they now occupied, to feed the fires that would burn Xanthus. Even as he watched, the first fireballs flew.

“You’ll burn down the whole city!” Sergius protested.

“Yes,” his commander admitted. “People are going to die in there.”

It was a sound battle tactic, keeping his troops from being targeted by those on the walls, but directly contravened their orders to spare Omanis. Sergius’s entire mission would be jeopardized before he even had time to begin.

“If you burn their city, they will never work with us! King Yuri’s order was to spare them, not just their sheep.”

The commander shrugged. “My orders were to keep my men alive.”

It was a complete failure of imagination. Sergius felt his temper hit the top of his skull.

Believe it and make them believe it.

“You are relieved of your command,” he said.

The other man looked at him as if he had lost his mind. “On whose authority?”

“Mine,” Sergius said. “I am Sergius Magistri, cousin to King Yuri, and you are relieved.”

The commander hesitated.

“NOW!” Sergius bellowed. He beckoned imperiously to two Havacian troopers on either side of the commander. “Take him.”

Not waiting to see if they had obeyed, he spun his horse in a deliberate move he had learned from his father, forking him with one spur, making Arrow rear. It gave better visibility.

“Omanis!” he screamed. “Follow me or your people die.”

4.0 Stars

The Emperator by author Miriam Newman is a well written historical fantasy novel. The two main characters aren’t perfect, but they are well-rounded and their development throughout the story is even and consistent.

The atmosphere suits the story very well, the battles are well thought out and add a colorful layer to the overall story. The last chapter brought everything to a satisfying conclusion. The Emperator is a highly recommended read.

Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals.

Miriam Newman will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thank you for joining us today. We hope to see you again soon.


Friday, July 22, 2022

THUMB FIRE DESIRE by Author Carol Nickles *Virtual Book Tour* *Giveaway*

Welcome to Notes From a Romantic’s Heart. Today, we’ll be featuring author Carol Nickles’ new release, Thumb Fire Desire, a historical romance set in the late 1800s. You can find all of the stops on Carol’s tour at Goddess Fish Promotions. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing. The entry form is at the bottom of this post.

Genre: Historical Romance 

From the Author

The village of Parisville, smack dab in the middle of the “thumbnail” of Michigan’s thumb-shaped peninsula was established in 1856 by Polish immigrants and is the real-life setting of my novel, Thumb Fire Desire. Parisville has not changed much. Acres and acres of land are devoted to farming. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, thrice destroyed by fire, first in 1871, then in 1881 during the Great Thumb Fire (featured in my book), and then again in 1974 still stands. The majority of surnames represent the descendants of the early Polish settlers – Guza, Pawlowski, Lemanski, Susalla and more.

Today, if you take a leisurely drive through Huron County you will see a dramatic landscape change. Wind turbines populate the countryside. They represent a tremendous growth in renewable energy. Huron County on one of Michigan’s top agricultural counties. Eighty-five percent of Huron County’s acreage is farmland. Over twelve hundred farms call Huron County home. Major crops are navy beans, sugar beets, corn, wheat, alfalfa, oats, and barley.

Since I strive to keep real-life sadness at bay, when I choose a book to entertain me, I look for one with a predictable happy ending. The romance genre guarantees that finale.

But I also love stories of adventure in the name of science and braving the wild. One of my favorite reads as a girl was Call of the North by Jack London. And the book on my nightstand that I will hate returning to the library is Wolf Island a memoir by L.David Mech. Wolf Island is set in Isle Royale, a national park island in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. L. David Mech regales us with tales of the first years of the world-renowned prey-predator relationship study conducted on this remote island. The story has long intrigued me. I am spring boarding this interest into another historical romance, Past Preserve Us, not yet under contract.

Unlike some writers who prefer white or no noise, I seek noise. Music fills that need. I like instrumental, with no lyrics so I am transformed not by a message, but by a rhythm. Smooth jazz, lilting island music are my go-tos. My favorite is a well-worn CD featuring music indigenous to the Pacific islands of Fiji.

In the Spring of 1881, indigent seamstress Ginny Dahlke arrives in one of the earliest Polish American settlements-Parisville, Michigan. Deemed charmless and awkward by her mean-spirited sister-in-law, Ginny disparages her chance of securing love. But sought-after widowed farmer Peter Nickles is enamored by Ginny's perseverance, her pioneer spirit and, her inclusive acceptance of the indigenous peoples of Michigan. The seductiveness of a buxom heiress, a twisted story of an old-country betrothal, and the largest natural disaster in Michigan's history-The Great Thumb Fire of September 5, 1881, challenge their fledgling attraction and ultimate committal.

Find it in eBook and Print on Amazon

Peter sat atop the hay bale. Joseph’s shadow grew deeper and then faded away. For the first time, he and Ginny were alone—if he didn’t count a barn full of bawling sheep, milk cows dunking their heads in feed pails, Buster and Blue lazily flicking their tails, and slinky cats prowling the hay. His breathing came ragged. His chest puffed. He bent at the knees, shoved his hands under the bulk of shorn fleece, slowly aligned his spine, turned toward Ginny, and lost sensation in his arms. He dropped the pile, scattering barn dust and errant wool strands.

She stood idle. The sunshine pouring through the slats on the barn’s east side outlined her silhouette. The soft hollow in her neck swelled and emptied. A clothesline, bare for the warped wooden pins straddling it, swayed between its oak tree moorings behind her. She lifted the tray, set Joseph’s glass on it, and held her hand for his drink.

“I’ll wash your shirt. Sorry I spoiled it.” She leveled her gaze to his.

He turned the glass in his hand. A single mint leaf stuck to the bottom. He fished it out with a finger and rolled the bumpy foliage in his palm, releasing its scent. He rubbed the leaf on his wrist and opened his mouth. He bit into the sprig, savored the fresh prickly taste, and swished it around his gums and teeth. He swallowed.

Carol Nickles is the sixth generation of a German textile aficionado family. In 1881, her great-great-great-grandfather founded Yale Woolen Mill—the longest-lasting of Michigan’s once twenty-nine woolen mills. Carol earned a Master’s degree in Historic Clothing & Textiles at Michigan State University. Her thesis is a narrative of the Yale Woolen Mill. She held faculty positions at both Utah and Michigan State universities. She lives in West Michigan and enjoys spinning a tale, weaving a story, and threading a luring hook.

Carol Nickles will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. Please come back again soon! And, thanks to Carol Nickles for sharing her book with us today.