Monday, August 14, 2017

Hiking at Fenton Lake and Valles Caldera New Mexico

My husband and I recently made a trip to Los Alamos to visit a friend. On the way, we stopped at Fenton Lake State Park New Mexico where we were greeted by this golden-mantled ground squirrel.

Fenton Lake is a popular spot for fishing, and it has campsites, though they're pretty close together. If you prefer a more remote experience and don't need amenities, you'll find plenty of backcountry camping nearby. 
Still, we had a lovely three-mile walk around the lake, admiring the many wildflowers.
Fenton Lake is in the northwest part of New Mexico, a few miles north and west of Jemez Springs. From there, we headed more or less eased through Valles Caldera National Preserve. This circular depression, caused by a spectacular volcanic eruption about 1.2 5 million years ago, is America’s newest national preserve. 
Some areas are restricted or require permits, but parts of the preserve are open to hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. We stopped at a couple of random pull offs alongside the highway. The first trail was temporarily closed (I can't recall if it was fire danger or flooding danger, but both are risks during New Mexico summers.) The second was less of a trail than a few crisscrossing cattle paths, but we had some great views.
Fun trivia – the TV show Longmire is set in Wyoming but it is filmed in New Mexico, mainly in Las Vegas New Mexico and the Jemez Mountains. Sheriff Walt Longmire's cabin is actually an old cabin in Valles Caldera.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#AuthorLove Book Blog Exchange - Whitley Cox and #99c Tropical Tryst Boxed Set

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Tropical Tryst Boxed Set
Coming AUGUST 1st
25 Books for 99cents

Escape with these 25 brand new and exclusive sexy reads from NY Times, USA Today and International bestselling authors.

This set is perfect for romance lovers of all kinds. Offering up passionate, and enticing tales set in hot and tropical settings, this collection will feed your need for summer sexiness!

Boxed Set Links

Here's one of the many treasures you'll get:

Lust Abroad by Whitley Cox

Piper Valentine knows all too well that life is short. Off to Peru to heal after a grievous loss, she finds more than solace in the hot, charismatic travel journalist sitting across from her on the airplane. Derrick King’s had a brush with death, too, but he has no idea that he’ll face it again — and again — after giving in to his instant attraction to Piper. Their journey to the top of the world, filled with parties, humor, and fun, is turned topsy-turvy as they’re pursued by mysterious gunmen.

Determined to reach Machu Picchu and fulfill her promise to her dead husband, Piper finds that having Derrick along makes her feel safer, even as his lust for her endangers her heart. She’s never found another man so sensual, and with danger on their trail, they keep ending up in each other’s arms. Derrick’s a man with needs — and secrets. Will Piper find strength in surrender? And can Derrick find a way to believe in a future — for both of them?

Excerpt

I watched Mr. Handsome Photographer Man edit adorable baby sloths and cheeky monkeys, while I pretended to read about how awful a grieving widow I was being. I checked my phone briefly and noticed that the battery was getting low, but all the outlets around me were occupied, so instead I turned it off and picked up my book.

What cologne was he wearing? What was that scent? It smelled exotic, like…warm sand and fresh linen, beachy and clean and incredibly inviting…but also manly, very manly. What was his name? Where was he from? What were his plans in Lima? Was he single? Was I ready to start dating? The book said I needed to move on, meet people, find happiness again…which was why I was currently in the Panama airport and on my way to Lima. To do what Ray and I had always planned to do, and that was visit Machu Picchu. This would be our two-year anniversary, a belated honeymoon, seeing as we never got to go on one after we were married. This had been our dream, this had been the plan, and I wasn’t anything if not a planner and a promise-keeper.


A West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley Cox is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have a spirited toddler and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.

A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role playing, these books have everything we need to satisfy the curious kink in all of us.

Social Media Links

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Mad Monk's Treasure for #Free - #RomanticSuspense in the Desert Southwest

Happy birthday to me! Having an August 1 birthday is great, because there are no other big US holidays in August, and it's also Swiss National Day. (Not that I've ever been in Switzerland on my birthday, but it's still fun to imagine people there setting off fireworks.) Plus, when I was in grade school, we often visited family in late July/early August, so I got to celebrate my birthday two or three times – with friends at home, with my grandparents, and with whatever aunt and uncle we were staying with on the actual date.

To help me celebrate, please pick up a copy of one of my southwestern romantic adventure novels. (And a great gift would be an honest review on Amazon or GoodReads, or sharing the book with friends on social media or in person!)

How about this one? It's FREE at all ebook retailers!


Praise for The Mad Monk’s Treasure:

“The action never stopped .... It was adventure and romance at its best.”

“I couldn’t put this book down. You’ll love it.”

4.7 out of 5 stars with 38 Amazon reviews

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic—and deadly—New Mexico desert....

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”

This is book 1 in the Southwest Treasure Hunters series. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is book 3. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.



Award-winning author Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Her other books include Counterfeits, What We Found and Whispers in the Dark. To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com oher Amazon page.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Sharing #AuthorLove for Anita Philmar, Her Cookie Recipe and #Romance A Warrior in Me

Today, please welcome Anita Philmar, a romance author who is sharing a quick and easy recipe. I love those!

Anita Philmar likes to create stories that push the limit. A writer by day and a dreamer by night she wants her readers to see the world in a new way.

Influenced by old movies, she likes to develop places where anything can happen and where special moments come to life in a great read.

Naughty or Nice?

Read her books and decide.

Email: anitaphilmar@yahoo.com

We all can use an easy recipe that takes no time to throw together.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal no bake cookies.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 peanut butter
  • 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal old fashion


Melt butter and add brown sugar, stir and microwave 30 seconds. Break up unsweetened chocolate and stir into butter and sugar mixture. Microwave 15 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted.

Add peanut butter and vanilla - stir until smooth. Add oatmeal. Stir until oatmeal is coated.

Then cover cookie sheet with parchment paper, drop spoonful onto parchment paper.
Place pan of cookies in freezer and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Eat when ready.

Other alternatives reduce oatmeal 1/2 cup before add one of the alternatives

  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut  



The Warrior in Me – Erotic Murder Mystery/ Romantic suspense

Special Security Agent Sebastian Berlin is eager to track down his partner's killer. Instead, he’s assigned the job of baby-sitting a scientist. His boss thinks she's the key to an Ancient Warrior Prophecy. Science never interested Sebastian, but the know-it-all female standing at the end of his Alaskan dock could persuade him to do a little experimenting. That is, if he can keep his Neanderthal Warrior genes from taking control.

DNA specialist Lily Sinclair is in need of a vacation, or so her over-protective ex-husband tells her. Arriving in chilly Alaska instead of sunny Cancun, she's tired and cranky and so not in the mood for her bodyguard's he-man tactics. Still, there's something about the sexy eye-candy that makes her want to lick him all over even as she's demanding to go home.

Then Lily's ex is poisoned, and Sebastian is certain the two murders are connected and she could be next. She knows he's hiding something, but with the worldwide release of Neanderthal DNA project only days away, she has no choice but to trust him to protect her. But can she trust him with her heart?

Now available at:

Friday, July 28, 2017

New Mexico's Monsoon Rains

People are often surprised to hear the term "monsoon" associated with New Mexico. But we do have monsoon rains. 

Some definitions of monsoon specifically refer to the seasonal winds of the Indian Ocean and Southern Asia. A more general definition for monsoon is a seasonal shift in wind direction and pressure distribution, which causes a change in precipitation. In other words, the monsoon is not the rain itself, but monsoon patterns can bring rain. (More info here.)

Anyway, in New Mexico, we call the summer rainy season monsoon season. We often get short, very heavy rains in the afternoon or evening. As an example, the following three pictures were taken in a ten-minute timespan. 

It had been raining for perhaps 15 minutes before I took this first picture. The brownish area is muddy water. It rained so hard and fast that the water didn't have time to soak in, so it's flowing off of nearby scrub desert on to the golf course.

 The water is spreading and will soon join the water that is pooling up toward the lower left in the picture.

Now the golf course is half bog and half shallow lake. It won't be much fun for the golfers tomorrow!

Kris Bock lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and watching the sunset from her patio. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.

Kris writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

The Mad Monk's Treasure, “Smart romance with an 'Indiana Jones' feel,” is currently free at all e-book retailers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On Cinematic Scenes, by Mary Reed, author of History #Mystery Novels

Some years ago I lived in Florida and the local cinema showed Gone With The Wind. Naturally I grabbed my chance to see it on the big screen. As the audience waited for the lights to go down, an elderly man took the seat next to me and remarked "Now we get to refight the Civil War".

Mentioning that Civil War comment to Eric recently reminded me of what I refer to as Cinematic Scenes, the topic of this blog. After all, why should he be the only one to suffer?

On holiday in the Lake District years ago, I discovered the local cinema was an upstairs room with benches and a whitewashed wall or perhaps one of those handy screens on a tripod -- the details have faded after all this time. Just about every cinema I've attended was on the second or third or even older run films circuit, and those shown in the upstairs room were no exception. The films were from the sixties, being Farenheit 451 based on the Bradbury novel and Die, Monster, Die! inspired by Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space.

Wherever I've lived, most of the famous films reached local cinemas eventually though as noted sometimes they took a while to show up. On an earlier occasion, I went to see Summer Holiday, a film later mercilessly spoofed in the closing sequence of the last episode of the alternative comedy series The Young Ones. I wasn't a particular fan of Cliff Richard but when it showed up I was keen to see my home city bespectabled lad Hank Marvin, since Cliff's group The Shadows were also featured.

The big disappointment came as the film drew to an end. There was the group, in traditional dress as worn by Greek ceremonial guards, complete with the kilt-like fustanella and black garters under the knees. They were to play what I hear was a redux of the title song, but I never found out because the group had hardly had time to twang a couple of notes and make a few steps when the film disappeared, most likely because the last busses across town would be off soon and the audience or possibly the projectionist didn't care to have to walk home.

Nor was I particularly fond of Elvis, so I'm at a loss to recall why I would go to see Blue Hawaii, unless it was because a friend wanted to see it but didn't want to go alone. This time the disappointment was more personal. I suddenly heard the familiar laugh of my Great Teen Crush and glancing around saw him a couple of rows back with his girlfriend. Well, we all remember how crushed we were when such things happened to us, do we not? I won't mention his name but if he should happen to see this blog, hello Mr Mohair Sweater Who Lived Up The Street!

A coda to this unhappy event. Years later, after I'd long since left the town, I was visiting my mother and as luck would have it met Mr Mohair Sweater again. He was waiting for the same bus as myself at the stop outside that very cinema. He still lived up the street from the old house and we chatted on the journey until I got off. Seeing him again after ten years or so we waxed nostalgic about the old days. If only I could have told my younger self one day I would talk to him again and not skip a single heartbeat!

Yet it wasn't all disasters. Whisper it quietly please, but three of us cut school one Friday afternoon and went to see the Lee/Cushing Dracula. We raved about it so much that the following week Mr. B, our much liked but notoriously hard-marking English teacher, included the topic of A Week In The Life of Dracula as one of three choices for our next essay. He marked ours so high we almost took his oft-quoted advice that, should we get above 8 or so, we were to go home and lie down.

A scene in our new WWII mystery Ruined Stones is set in a Newcastle cinema a five minute walk from where the Reed family lived at one time, but I'm happy to say that particular one was never the scene of a cinematic disappointment!


Eric Reed is a pseudonym for Mary Reed & Eric Mayer. They are the coauthors of eleven books in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, set in 6th century Byzantium.

Ruined Stones, by Eric Reed
In December 1941, Grace Baxter, a new member of the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps, is posted to Newcastle-on-Tyne, northeast England. Her arrival coincides with the discovery of the body of a young woman, curiously difficult to identify, at the scanty ruins of a Roman temple situated across from a church. The bone-numbing cold, the fogs, and enemy bombing, not to mention the peculiar behavior of some of the citizens, test Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. There are many potential leads, and much suspicious behavior to sort through. What role do ancient rituals play in the murder and what follows? What current misbehavior or crimes is someone desperate to cover up? The investigation, carried out through fog and blackout and fear as well as the hostility of her colleagues, tests Grace's resolve to be an effective officer. Will it also endanger her life?

Twitter @marymaywrite

Monday, July 24, 2017

Meet #Romance Author Mia Jo Celeste and Share Some #AuthorLove


OTHER THAN, a Gaslamp Fantasy/ Paranormal Historical Romance

It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.

Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.

Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.


Excerpt:

He materialized in the inky shadow.

Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.

Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”

An accusation.

He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”

She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”

He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”

A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?

Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.

She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”

“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”

She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”

“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

Buy the Book


Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn.

Find the Author

Mia Jo Celeste on Setting and Other Than

One long, hot summer I worked in a non-air-conditioned dry cleaners. Around noon when the last cleaning loads finished, everyone left because of the stifling heat – except for me, the lowly counter girl. I sat on a stool and, to pass the time, read the owner’s paperbacks between customers. I remember being startled when a white-haired gentleman thumped the counter. I looked up from page 78 of The Wolf and the Dove and blinked. I couldn’t fathom what this man wanted until he thrust his claim ticket at me. Yes, I must admit: I was so engrossed in my book I missed the door buzzer and failed to notice my customer until his counter slap brought his presence to my attention.

I’d been transported to Darkenwald, in Saxon, England – out of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ imagination.

Last night I curled up in my favorite armchair and let my present world slip away so that I could ride shotgun with Stephanie Plum. We cruised the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, in yet another ill-fated Honda CRV. Again, I was transported. It was like experiencing a pleasant dream.

James N. Frey in How to Write a Damn Good Novel II says, “As a fiction writer, you’re expected to transport a reader. Readers are said to be transported when, while they are reading, they feel they are living in the story world, and the real world around them evaporates.”

I’ve often wondered how you cause your reader to slip into your story’s world? James N. Frey suggests using vivid details.

Chrystal McCoy says, “Setting is a great way to allow your reader to become part of your story.”

When I wrote Other Than, the setting was important to me. I wanted it to have a Gothic atmosphere, so I set the story on an isolated island before cell phones, electrical lights and even before America became a nation. Researching the 1800s, I fell in love with the gowns, the candlelight and the buildings of a colonial plantation. In addition, the historical period had an additional benefit because the heroes had only flintlock guns, which fired one bullet at close range, making the zombies they encountered super hard to put down.

I hope that readers will love Other Than’s setting as much as I do, but there are lots of great books and wonderful settings out there. What novel and setting is your favorite? Please share. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

#AuthorLove NOT THROUGH LOVING YOU by @pat_preston #NewRelease #RomCom

In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.

When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn’t exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad complete with Aaron’s cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.

Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she’s determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad and more unsettling, everything she’s ever hoped for in a man. After all she’s put him through, is it too late to form a family and maybe put a song in the good doctor’s heart?

Excerpt:

Aaron looked across the table at his brother and for a moment, all the fear and heartache bottled up inside him exposed itself in his voice. “I can’t go through losing a son for the second time.”

Stevie’s brow netted in a worried frown as he sat up straight. “Okay.” He tented his fingers. “So you’ve gotta get tight with the girl.”

“What are you talking about?” Aaron continued to squash the aluminum can. “I have nothing in common with Lia Montgomery.”

“You have the baby,” Stevie pointed out. “I know that’s not what you want, but it is what it is. And you need to make the most of it. Bro, women are not that hard. Listen to me. You’ve got this chick whose sister just died so she’s got all this guilt and grief going on. And then there’s the sister’s sick little baby. Okay, so what’s Lia gonna do? I mean, she’s family. She’s gotta do something or she’s gonna feel like crap about herself.”

“Stevie—” Aaron tried to cut in.

“You’re going at this ass-backwards by trying to scare her off. How’s that working for you? Acting like a jerk? No wonder she wants the baby transferred.”

Aaron threw the ball of crushed aluminum at Stevie, who caught it. “Just putting the truth out there,” Stevie said. “Of course, I know why you’re an asshole, but she doesn’t.”

Aaron glared at his kid brother, but he didn’t say anything.

“You gotta put on your sad face. Like this.” Stevie’s face crumpled so that he looked on the verge of tears. “It works every time. I promise.” He grinned. “You need to say you’re sorry for how things went today. Keep on the sad face. Then you tell her you really could use some help because the baby doesn’t have any clothes.”

“What? He’s in an incubator. He doesn’t need clothes.”

“It’s not about the baby needing clothes. For chrissakes, do you know nothing about women? It’s about shopping. The magic word. Shopping,” Stevie reiterated. “Tell her you’d like for her to pick out some clothes for the baby and, hey, decorate the nursery, too. She’ll go wild. Shopping for baby stuff. That’s like mainlining heroin for women.

“Tell her you want her to pick out some toys, too. And then you go from sad face to hopeful face. Like a dog waiting for a treat. And you say that with her help, you think you can be the best dad ever. Bingo! You win! She’ll be thrilled because she’ll get to feel good about herself and she’s getting to help with the baby. You got her hook, line, and sinker.”

“That’s crazy.”

“What’s crazy is you sitting out here, covered in sweat, having a pity party about the past. You’re missing the opportunity of a lifetime if you know what I mean. Call her.”

“I can’t call her. I don’t have her number.”

“You didn’t get her number? Holy shit.” Stevie threw the ball of aluminum back at Aaron who caught it. “You know, that’s standard protocol.”

“Maybe,” Aaron replied. “But in this case, she’s not available.”

Stevie leaned forward. “Every chick is available if you play your cards right, bro.”


Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble   http://ow.ly/vuIs30brDgY



Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes mainstream humorous romance, historical romance and comedy. She is represented by the Seymour Agency. Her newest titles are part of a standalone series, Love Heals All, for Kensington Books/Lyrical Press imprint. She has several other e-book titles available including a historical romance, TO SAVE A LADY, set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans. She also has a comic short story anthology, DIXIE DARLINGS, available in print. Besides writing she loves music, photography, graphic design, and visiting her favorite historical locales including the French Quarter and the Natchez Trace.

You can visit her website at www.patricia-preston.com
Follow her on Amazon  and BookBub

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Share Some #AuthorLove for #Romance Author Valerie Ullmer


Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One)
Valerie Ullmer

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Romance

A chance meeting will change their lives forever…

From the moment he entered the dark taproom, Caleb Hunt found himself drawn to the handsome man who sat alone at the end of the bar, away from the crowd. His interest in the dark-haired, muscled adonis took him by surprise, not remembering when he’d felt such hunger from a simple glimpse. Unable to stay away, he quickly found an open seat next to him and slid into it. When Ronan turned his ice-blue eyes to Caleb and introduced himself, his warm hand sent shivers of desire through his body and he was enthralled.

Ronan Scott’s boring Friday night had taken a turn for the better when Caleb took the seat next to him. Over the next few hours, he found Caleb easy to talk to and at the same time, he found that he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the beautiful man. Caleb captured his attention in a way that no other had for as long as he could remember. Taking a chance, he leaned forward and captured Caleb’s lips with his. And with the simple kiss, Ronan understood that Caleb would become an essential part of his life.  

As Ronan and Caleb explore their new relationship and integrate their lives together, they realize that not everything will be so seamless…

EXCERPT

That’s when he spotted him and everything stopped.

His breathing hitched in his chest and his heart thudded once, hard, and even the music seemed to fade as his gaze landed on a dark-haired man who sat by himself at the bar.  As Caleb’s eyes slid down the man’s body of their own accord, he noted the fitted black tee that emphasized the muscles of his arms, back, and shoulders, before his gaze dropped lower to his legs encased in denim.

When he lifted a beer to his mouth and swallowed, Caleb felt his own throat tighten.  A shiver of desire passed over him.  Never had he felt this way about a man or woman in his life.

Before he could analyze his actions or talk himself out of his stupid plan, he walked toward the man.  Part of him wanted to see if the man was as stunning as he believed from across the bar or if he’d been alone for so long that his mind had conjured the perfect man.

Before Caleb could reach the stool next to him, a beautiful blonde glided up to him, running her hand down his chest.  Her smile flirty and sensual.  Although Caleb had never been propositioned in any way close to resembling what he witnessed, he knew that she offered the man a brazen invitation to get to know her better.

Disappointment flooded Caleb’s chest.

In the next moment, however, she frowned and backed away from him as quickly as she arrived, leaving an empty chair.

Not questioning his good luck, Caleb hurried over and shed his coat, dropping it over the back.  He flagged down the bartender and indicated the beer he wanted.

He sensed the man’s eyes on him, but for the moment, he wasn’t brave enough to turn and catch his gaze.  Not when his breath had stuck in his throat, and he didn’t know if he could speak without sounding choked.

As soon as the bartender handed him his mug, the man turned his body toward him and leaned over to speak, close to his ear.

“Are you here alone?”

Caleb had to bite the inside of his lip in order not to moan out loud at the sexy, deep voice.  Remembering the question, he shook his head and pointed toward Dylan and Garrett across the room.  Dylan, of course, had a woman on his lap and was tracing a finger down her neck, before he leaned toward her and his mouth followed the same trail.

Garrett was looking down at his phone.  The shy woman he’d been talking to had disappeared, much to Caleb’s disappointment, and another was trying, unsuccessfully, to get his attention.  She looked drunk and very loud by the way he flinched every time she spoke.

“Dylan, the one on the right with a woman on his lap, is the biggest flirt in the world.  He’s never serious about any woman he takes home.  Garrett is his best friend, the complete opposite of Dylan, but he’s loyal.”

The man laughed and Caleb couldn’t help the lift of his lips at the sound.  It was deep, rich, and addictive.  But when the man turned his ice-blue eyes on him, something unidentifiable swelled in his chest.  He could sense that he should speak, to keep this gorgeous man talking for as long as possible.  “Are you here alone?”

Smart, Caleb.  Just parrot the same question back.

The man smiled before he nodded over to his group of friends.  Some were flirting, but others were enjoying the company of their friends on a Friday night.

“The ginger is Hawk; he’s a divorce lawyer who is handling Ryan’s divorce.  That’s why they’re hunched over their beers.  Ryan’s wife apparently hadn’t been faithful during their entire four-year marriage, and he found out when he came home early from a business trip.  Jack is the one who is flirting with the group of women; he’s like Dylan in that way, never serious.  He’s a CEO of a tech company and he could have any woman with his looks and the power he exudes, but he’s never been in a serious relationship.  Sam is my second-in-command, the one who looks faintly sick, because Adam is a forensic scientist who loves talking about his work.”

Caleb found himself smiling at the group of friends.  When he glanced at the man, who had turned back to Caleb after pointing out his friends, he snagged Caleb’s gaze.  “So, do you have a girlfriend at home?”

“No.  I can’t remember the last time I had a date, much less a successful one.  You?”

Caleb breathed a sigh of relief when he shook his head.

“I’m Ronan Scott.”  He held his hand out. 

Even the man’s name is sexy.

He had to clear his throat before he reached out and grasped Ronan’s large, warm hand in his.  “Caleb Hunt.”

Something inside Caleb warmed in increments until fireworks exploded behind his skin, all from a simple touch.

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Valerie Ullmer writes paranormal and contemporary romances with strong alpha males and brilliant, beautiful heroines. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character driven romances. 
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Monday, July 17, 2017

A #RomanticSuspense Inspired by a Treasure Hunting Legend

photo by Alan Erickson
I love the Southwest, and I love the romance and mystery behind tales of buried treasure. When researching lost treasures of the American Southwest, I came across the story of the Victorio Peak treasure, which has it all – a heretic Spanish priest, bandits, an Apache raider, and of course lots of gold. The Mad Monk’s Treasure – currently free at all e-book retailers – was inspired by this tale.

Treasure Hunting Law

Many people are fascinated by tales of lost treasures. Some people even devote their lives to tracking down one or more historical mysteries, while others dabble in treasure hunting as a hobby. But who actually owns the treasure if someone does find it?

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 states that on public land (BLM lands, national parks, etc.), archaeological finds belong to the government. Qualified archaeologists can put in permits for excavation, and the finds can go to universities or museums, but the objects still belong to the government. On private land, a treasure would typically belong to the finder, if they are excavating with the land owner’s permission. However, state rules vary. Also, “treasure trove,” paper money or objects of gold or silver, must have been lost for at least a few decades, so it is unlikely that the original owner would come to reclaim it.

Of course, not everyone follows the law. I did some volunteer training with the BLM for people interested in monitoring archaeological sites. We were warned to never approach strangers digging in the desert, as they might be illegal treasure hunters and might be violent. Life can be just as exciting as fiction!

Inspired by Legend

“Smart romance with an 'Indiana Jones' feel.”

In writing fiction, I took liberties with the Victorio Peak Treasure, which is still considered an unsolved mystery. According to the stories, the most likely location for the treasure is now within the restricted area of the White Sands Missile Range. I moved the treasure to public land, so my characters could actually find it. Not that the adventure is easy!

In The Mad Monk’s Treasure, quiet history professor Erin uncovers a clue to a lost treasure cave, but minutes after her discovery, a hit and run driver leaves her for dead. Is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Erin won’t give up an important historical find without a fight. She and her best friend Camie head into the New Mexico wilderness to track the treasure. The wilderness holds its own dangers, from wild animals to even wilder weather. The pair races to find the treasure as sinister men hunt them. Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”

The Mad Monk’s Treasure is the first of the Southwest Treasure Hunters novels. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is book 3. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. 
In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. 

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon pageSign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods.