Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Fave Fives: Time of Our Lives!

Welcome to an extra special edition of Fave Fives with a few sprinkles on top for good measure. That's right. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!! This month is all about those special days, and I'm so excited my friends and fellow authors are here to share it with me. Some birthdays come and go, but we all have a handful that stick with us. Read on to find out favorite birthday memories from some of the most kickass authors in romance!

So, today I turn 31. Or as my husband likes to say, it's the 2nd anniversary of my 29th birthday. To be honest, though, I'm happy being in my 30s now. I've had birthdays I'd rather forget, and for the most part, my birthday is just another day of the year, but one where people are obligated to be nice to me. LOL! There are a few that really stick out, though, ones that I'll remember forever. In no particular order...

  1. My 15th birthday rocked. It was the end of my Freshman year in high school, and it had been your typical Freshman experience. In other words... not fantastic. However, my friends all came together to make my birthday special by decorating my locker, leaving gifts inside, and my parents even sent me flowers to school.
  2. For my 19th birthday, my husband's Marine buddies took me to Outback Steakhouse. A dozen Marines with me as the guest of honor. It doesn't get much more awesome than that. 
  3. My 26th birthday was the year I published my first book (under a different pen name) and began my career as an author. My husband made me a shadow box with my print books, and I received flowers from 6 different friends. It was a truly special day.
  4. For my 29th birthday, I hadn't expected much. I was on a deadline, and to be honest, I'd completely forgotten about my birthday. I woke up to breakfast in bed, and then came downstairs to find my husband and kids had decorated everything that would stand still with ribbons, balloons, streamers, and sparkles. 
  5. My 30th birthday. Ah, the big 3-0. My best friend made me a time capsule filled with all kinds of awesome things from 1984. My husband surprised me with more decorations and a takeout meal from my favorite restaurant, and my kids were on their best behavior. It really was the perfect day. 

Driven and career-focused, Starla Winters doesn’t have the time or patience for dating. Other than her family, she has only a handful of personal connections, only a few relationships that truly mean anything to her, but she’s content. Or so she thinks. Then the laidback, free-spirited owner of a local toy store blows into her life, making her want things she’s never even contemplated. 

Turner McCord fell in love the moment the uptight advertising agent marched into his office, and nothing has been the same for him since. He knows it won’t be easy to break through Starla’s shiny layer of professionalism to the fiery woman beneath, but he’s determined to make her his. After all, to love someone as beautiful and captivating as Starla Winters would be an awfully big adventure.


Susan Hayes

I don’t know if it’s the warm glow of nostalgia or the sugar rush from all the birthday cake I used to eat before I knew what calories were, but my fondest birthday memories are all from my youth.

  1. I remember my mum bringing out this amazing angel food cake when I was four or five, and as I blew out the candles I wished so hard that there would be cherries in it. When the cake was cut and I saw it was full of maraschino cherries, I was beside myself with glee that my wish had worked.
  2. For my sixteenth birthday, my parents took me to my first “upscale” restaurant. Surrounded by family, all of us dressed up in our best clothes, it was the first time I felt like a real adult.
  3. It was either my seventh or eighth birthday that we were out on a two week boating trip. My parents woke me up around eleven o’clock because the northern lights were on display. We sat up on the command bridge of our boat and watched the lights dance across the sky while snacking on leftover birthday cake.
  4. I was born in the middle of August, so we were often camping or boating when my birthday rolled around. Somehow, in the days before microwaves or RV’s, no matter how far away we were from home or even civilization itself, my mum always managed to bake me a cake. It amazed me every year.
  5. My parents gifted me with riding lessons for my eleventh birthday. I was beside myself, nearly vibrating with joy at the thought of getting to actually learn to ride! My lesson was with a beautiful little bay pony named Vandy. I thought he was perfect, and when the lesson was over I didn’t want to dismount. As it turns out, that was a good thing, because my parents then told me that he was my real present. Yes, for my eleventh birthday I won the little girl lottery and actually got a pony.

As the future CEO of Forrester Industries, Lucas Forrester has the kind of life most men only dream of. He’s travelled the world, brokering deals and sealing contracts that have benefited the company while making a name for himself as a cold, calculating negotiator.

At work, Luke lives behind his corporate persona, but when a chance encounter with a beautiful and caring stranger brings out his true nature, he finds himself reluctant to go back into hiding.

Veronica Hood’s life will never be mistaken for a fairytale, but she’s proud of what she’s accomplished so far. After years of planning, she’s finally got her own coffee shop, with enough money coming in to stay out of the red and pay for her grandmother’s medical bills, too. When Lucas sees her delivering food to the hungry, he appoints himself as her protector, stealing her heart and starting a whirlwind love affair straight out of a storybook.

The trouble is, Lucas isn’t the only one who has fallen for Ronnie. When her stalker finally emerges from the shadows, Luke will have to fight for his redheaded angel. In the end only one of them can possess her, but who will be the victor...her champion or the dark-hearted wolf?

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Julie Morgan

  1. I receiced my first REAL tea set when I was 10 years old. I really wanted one to have "tea" with my friends. Of course we drank water when playing and being from Texas, we TRIED to talk with what we considered an English accent. We failed miserably but at the time, we rocked it!
  2. On my 30th birthday, my husband (boyfriend at the time) made arrangements to see me in Fort Hood. He had been activated in the reserves to go to Afghanistan. Best birthday present was seeing him before he deployed (and shortly later, asking me to marry him).
  3. When I turned 16 I received my first REAL kiss. His name was Mark (leaving last names off for this haha!) I thought he was amazing, until his tongue tried to go down my throat. Horrified, I went with it, then later told my bff. She laughed and I was hurt. It wasn't till later I realized she laughed at him, not me. It was quite traumatic haha! I've learned quite a bit about kissing since Mark.
  4. My first car purchase happened around my 17th birthday. After saving enough for a down payment, my father co-signed my very first loan and I bought my first car! I won't tell what year this happened for fear of really aging myself lol!
  5. My very favorite birthday memory, saved for last, was finding out the sex of my daughter while pregnant with her. Tears, excitement, and so many other emotions happened that day and I completely forgot it was my birthday. This year she'll turn 8. 

A chance encounter around the world led her to him…

Abby Masters knew it was time to move on and start her life on her own. No one was in her way, no one could stop her. Leaving her past behind was the best way to move forward.

Deciding to travel around the world, the intent was to clear her mind, to find herself and to start over. What she didn’t expect, what she didn’t see coming, was Clive.

Erika Reed

  1. When I turned sixteen, my father surprised me the day of my birthday with a 1990 Toyota Celica parked in the driveway. The funny thing was, I didn't even have a license or a permit yet, and I never expected a car for my sixteenth birthday. And no I wasn’t spoiled. But if you ask my two brothers’, I was. ;)
  2. I had just started dating my husband and he wanted to take me to Vegas on my twenty-first birthday. Being that I was born and raised in the Catholic religion, my family wasn’t too thrilled when they found out that I would be sharing a room with him and not getting my own. Lol ;) 
  3. The day I turned thirty I was eight months pregnant with my first daughter. I remember crying when my husband got home because I had spent the day by myself while he was at work. During the day, I was feeling sorry for myself because I felt fat and old, nothing exciting planned for my thirtieth birthday, so I moped around the house all day. What I didn't know was my hubby had planned a surprised dinner that night with my family and some friends.
  4. My 40th birthday party was the best! All of my friend’s were there. I had a DJ, catered food and a huge buttercream cake, my absolute favorite. My friend’s house had a gorgeous rockslide pool in their backyard, and after a few too many drinks, we all decided to jump in the pool with our clothes on. It was a birthday I'll never forget.
  5. I share the same birthday month with my husband and my two daughters. One weekend, my husband and I surprised my daughters with a weekend trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. We all had a great time and would do it again for our birthdays if we had the chance.

Goldie Locke is in love with her boss, Travis. He has always been the man of her dreams, but it’s getting harder to work for him when she really wants more. After a fire in her apartment leaves her temporarily homeless, she finds herself on her way to Travis’ cabin in the mountains, at his brothers’ insistence. She decides to use the time away to make some decisions about her future...with or without Travis.
Travis Baer had always prided himself at making his construction business a success. He is a man who goes after what he wants, but what he desires more than anything is Goldie. After being tricked into a weekend alone with his gorgeous assistant, Travis is determined to finally make Goldie his, and reveal his true feeling for her.
Could their weekend retreat be the beginning to the fairytale ending Goldie has always wanted?
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J.A. Hornbuckle

  1. On my 6th birthday, my mom asked me to choose my birthday cake.  Being the kind of gal I am, I went with chocolate cream pie with a whipped cream top (…only because I didn’t know what meringue was!).  See?  I was a rebel even then.
  2. My first make-out session took place on my 15th birthday with my first real boyfriend.  I don’t remember anything else about that day—not the gifts, the dinner or anything else.  Just the two and a half-hours of learning the dizzy delights of kissing while using your tongue!
  3. I’ll never forget my 23rd birthday because that was my first one as a mom.  And I remember going through the day with a heart so full of gratitude and awe at the laughing little boy I’d been given…and the little girl that was still growing within me.  (Yep, my kids are a year and two weeks apart!)
  4. 35 was a challenging year.  For some reason, I decided to spend that birthday alone in order to take stock of where I’d been, where I was and where I wanted to be.  Although I wouldn’t have said so at the time, it was one of my best birthdays ever.  Agonizing reappraisal can be awesome in retrospect!
  5. My last entry doesn’t have a year because I don’t remember the when of it, just the what.  And that ‘what’ has become a tradition in our family.  “Mom?  I know why everybody loves birthdays,” my darling girl announced on a birthday morning, although I can’t remember who's celebration day it was.  “Because it’s the day everyone gets to let you know they’re happy you were born!”   Indeed.

He was convinced he was dying, slowly wasting from the same disease that took both his father and grandfather’s lives.
So Bishop began to take the necessary steps to wrap up his life, trying to gain closure in every area.  Especially in regard to his ex-wife, Dory.  A woman who left him when he’d just been a lowly recruit in the Hellion Motorcycle Club.  Reaching out, he asks to meet with her in order to finally put to rest all the unresolved, heart-sick emotions her quick departure had left behind so many years before.

Dory had escaped Missoula and the Hellions where she’d once been a Honey and a wife.  
She’d moved on, creating a new life for herself in Casper, Wyoming.  And those thirteen years away had been bordered in secrets, both in the past and present.  So when Bishop calls her, almost demanding she meet with him, Dory recognizes it’s time for truth.  For letting go of the undisclosed, of exposing her hidden life in favor of the peace that only honesty can bring.

From the author of Hiding in Plain Sight, The Possibility of Trey and the other books in the Hellion MC Series comes the last novel, Checkmate With Bishop.

It’s a story about forgiveness…especially when one of the many apologies you offer must be given to yourself.

*Intended for mature audiences only (18+) due to strong language and sexual situations*

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Kele Moon

  1. For my 13th birthday my father rented a limo and surprised my friends and me. Then we got to ride into town (Waikiki) and cruise around in style. To a group of 13-year-old girls it was the epitome of cool!
  2. I think 18 was fun for obvious reasons. It was just me and my friends getting together, but I was an adult now, which in my opinion at the time was rock and roll. If I only knew O_o.
  3. For my 25th birthday my husband went all out. He took me to all my favorite places, and made sure I did all my favorite things. We went to get Crepes Suzette at a French place because he remembered me saying they were my favorite. We went to a bookstore. A Jazz club. Made several other little stops. Then we went to a symphony that night. When we got home he’d had a piano delivered while we were out all day. My mother-in-law called me the princess for a year after that birthday.
  4. For my 31st birthday my husband and I owned our Cuban restaurant and he shut it down for dinner, invited all my friends and cooked for us. It was very cool. Would love to do that again! My husband is a kickass chef!
  5. For my 36th Birthday my husband and one of my oldest and dearest friend’s Tony surprised me by arranging for Tony to fly in and spend a few days with us! I hadn’t seen him since I was 18. One of the best birthday’s ever! 

To Chuito the apartment was a self-imposed prison for a lifetime of sins. To Alaine, the girl next door, it was salvation from her overbearing, religious father.

He was a devil. 
She was an angel.

Two people who should’ve never met, let alone become friends, but it’s not until they give into the dangerous passion that’s been simmering under the surface for five years that things go to hell. 

On the outside, Chuito ‘The Slayer’ Garcia is on top of the world. He’s successful. He’s wealthy. He's a champion MMA fighter surrounded by friends who support him, but they don’t know what he was before he came to Garnet.

A gangster. 
A thief. 
An addict. 
A murderer.

Now his past is churning up demons he can’t ignore. Chuito knows he needs to go back to Miami to end it, but there's something holding him back, a single temptation he can't resist before leaving.


She’s the one drug he can’t give up…even if it destroys them both.

“To me you’re coke. Fine. Smooth. Perfectly white. Very bad for me, but so fucking sexy I don’t give a shit. It’s worth going down for.” – Chuito Garcia 

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Laurann Dohner

Happy Birthday, Kali. Thank you for asking me to give you my 5 favorite birthday memories in honor of it being yours.

  1. My 21st birthday is memorable. I didn't go out drinking. I was pregnant with my first child so we had iced cream and my husband took me out to dinner. Some of my friends thought it should be a bummer that I couldn't go out and get blind drunk. LOL. I remember thinking that spending time with MrL was the best gift ever!!! Perfect.
  2. My 34th birthday - I'd found out I was pregnant with baby #4 right after we'd bought a mobile home. We'd always lived in apartments so this was great. We'd had three girls so I was sure I'd have a forth. The doctor decided to take a peek and then turned the monitor my way to show me the boy parts on the screen.  Happy Birthday! We were having a boy! I was so ecstatic. Finally...I could buy all those cute little boy outfits.
  3. My 39th birthday was AWESOME. I'd just signed my first book contract and was finally going to be published. I'd written my first book in 1993 - had spent all those years dreaming of seeing my name on a book cover...and that came true in 2009.
  4. My 42nd birthday was a favorite of mine. We'd bought our first real house - coming from an old double wide mobile home. We'd just moved to Vegas. I'd been living in the new house alone until our kids finished out the school year in California. They drove to spend that weekend with me and I remember looking at them...knowing life how wonderful my life was with them in my life.
  5. Last year I turned 44 (June) and that was a very special one for me. I'd suffered a stroke six months before that so I felt VERY grateful to be able to celebrate it. I was walking again and recovering. We had bought a new house without pesky stairs and were about to move into it. It was just a fantastic birthday.

Vanni is furious when her fiancé tricks her into attending a conference where his father’s church is protesting the New Species Organization. She hates everything those vile bigots stand for. Vanni goes to the bar to cool off and ends up seated next to a handsome New Species. Things heat up fast when they are both drugged.

Smiley doesn't want to believe the sweet human would dose them with the breeding drug. He's willing to trust her and determined to save her life. He'll hold her. Protect her. Offer up his body to distract them both from the pain. She is his female, even if she doesn't realize it yet.

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Laurie Roma

  1. One of my fondest memories is being able to spend my birthday in Munich, Germany, drinking too much wine and having a fabulous time. 
  2. When I was really young, I remember my mother making me a bunch of Hello Kitty happy birthday posters so it was the first thing I saw when I woke up on my birthday. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. :)
  3. Another good childhood memory is when my family threw me a surprise birthday party. It was a blast.
  4. My 21st birthday...I don't remember much, but that's part of why it was so awesome! LOL
  5. Another year, I spent my birthday in New Orleans. Again, I don't remember much besides having good company, good food and lots of drinks. *sigh* Good times...

Tessa Campbell is a woman in an impossible situation. As the owner of an event planning company, her days are usually filled celebrating the best moments of people’s lives, but all of that changes when her father makes a grievous mistake that may cost him the job he loves. He is depending on her to fix his mistake, but nothing is ever as simple as it seems. In order to save him, she must find a way to reason with his boss...the man everyone calls The Beast.

Drake Vidal has a dangerous reputation. A ruthless business man who has taken Vidal Labs and Technology to the top of the industry, he expects perfection from everyone who works for him. He has never believed in love, but all it takes is one look at the gentle beauty that comes to him to plead for her father for him to lose his heart. Can she find a way to see beyond the savage veneer he portrays to the world to discover the good hidden beneath, or will she think he isn’t worth taming? For who could ever really love a beast? 

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Catalina Harper
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Holidays are exciting times for me. I can’t help it. I get like a little kid, complete with the sugar overloads, fighting sleep, and then subsequent snoring as I fall asleep on the couch. Birthdays are sort of like random holidays for me and I love participating in them. My favorite five birthday memories aren’t necessarily about my birthday but I’ll share them anyway.

  1. The time I got to buy my best friend an issue of Playboy from her birthday month that was printed the year she was born. Her birthday was a big one for her and I loved putting together a basket of time-capsule like collectibles for her to enjoy on her big day. 
  2. Once an Emu, who my redneck cousin thought was an ostrich, showed up in my backyard on my birthday. I will never forget every member of my family attempting to herd it. To where? I’m not sure. But it was hilarious. 
  3. The year I graduated from college, my bestie decided to take me to New Orleans for my graduation/birthday present. We met carnival workers from South Africa, a drag queen who directed traffic, and a tattoo artist with a stripper girlfriend. To this day, it was one of the most unique birthday trips I’ve ever had and one of my fondest memories. 
  4. There is nothing quite like throwing a Little Mermaid themed party for a twenty-five year old woman, especially when you have to go around collecting all the appropriately themed items and people inquire how old your child is. Finding the soundtrack to the Little Mermaid was a bit of a choir but we finally managed to have Under the Sea playing when she walked through the door of her surprise party. 
  5. My little brother’s eighteenth birthday was also a special memory for me. We didn’t do anything special but we played video games and hung out all day and I really cherish those sorts of memories considering he’ll soon be in college and won’t have time for his big sister anymore. 

So voila! My favorites list. Happy Birthday, Kali. You rock my socks off, girl.

We’re all Mad Here. The words immortalized on the door of Chris Jensen’s nightclub, Wonderland, have been a beacon for other eccentric souls in Chicago’s urban landscape. Chris might have been alone but he hadn’t realized he was lonely until he finds a bartender who makes him want more than good music and great Scotch. Alison Liddell walks into his life brandishing a rapier wit and a take-no-lip attitude, but trusting the attraction that sizzles between them will take more than his gut instincts to come into fruition. 

Alison has wanted Chris since the day she started working at Wonderland. However, the beautiful man is nearly as stubborn as she is and keeps her at arms’ length. A night of drinking leads to a kiss that neither of them are prepared to deny, however, walking into a relationship is unfamiliar territory for the both of them and only time will tell if they will be able to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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1 comment:

Susan Hayes said...

Happy Birthday! May this year be another one for the the "happy memories" file.