#Blogtour “Child of Mine” by @JanaRichards_ ~~ @XpressoTours

Child of Mine
Jana Richards
Publication date: February 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.

Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

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EXCERPT:

“We asked you to come here this evening because we have something we want to tell all of you. Lauren and I are getting married.”

The room went deathly quiet. Lauren tightened her grip on his hand. Her face turned pale as she stared at her family’s stunned expressions. Cole put his arm around her waist, afraid she might faint.

He needn’t have worried. She lifted her chin at a defiant angle and turned to face the others.

“Cole and I have decided this child needs the best possible start in life and that means having a mother and a father. We’ve always been friends, so what better way to start a marriage then with friendship?”

Garrett pushed himself to his feet and came forward. “I think it’s a hell of an idea. You two will make wonderful parents.”

He enfolded Lauren in an embrace. Cole heard her murmur her thanks to her brother. “I think you’ll make a wonderful uncle.”

Charlotte was next in line. She kissed Lauren’s cheek. “I’m so happy for you, sweetie. When’s the big day?”

“In a couple of weeks,” Cole said. “As soon as we can arrange everything.”

Lauren’s parents, Robert and Grace, also extended their congratulations. If they had reservations, they kept them to themselves.

Only his mother remained in her seat, staring at them in disbelief. Cole sat next to her. “What do you want to say, Ma?”

“You can’t replace Billy.” She choked out the words.

“I know that.” He’d known he was second best in her eyes all his life. “I wouldn’t even try.”

“But to marry his wife, to raise his child? It’s wrong. They don’t belong to you. You always wanted what belonged to your brother.”

He wanted to shout at her that the baby was his, that it had nothing to do with Billy. And Lauren was his, too. He’d loved her first. His brother had never appreciated what a gem he’d had in her. He’d squandered his marriage the way he’d squandered the love that had been lavished on him all his life, from his parents, from Lauren, and even from him.

Instead he pressed his lips together and said nothing. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and saw that Lauren stood beside him.

“I know this is difficult for you, Ella. I know you’re grieving. But I have to raise my child in the best way I know how. Aside from my brother and sister, Cole is my best friend in the world. He’s a good man, and I know he’ll be a wonderful father. You should be very proud of him.”

His mother stared at Lauren as if she couldn’t believe what she was saying. Her face twisted. “Don’t you miss Billy at all? Don’t you grieve for him? Nobody understands. Nobody.”

“Ma.”

He said the word a little sharper then he’d intended, but at least it got her attention. She looked up at him in surprise.

“I’m sorry if it hurts you, but Lauren and I are getting married. We care about one another and we care about the baby. The three of us are going to be a family. I wish you could be happy for us.”

Ella dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. Finally, with a shuddering breath, she turned to look at him.

“For Billy’s baby’s sake, I’ll try.”

Billy’s baby.

The pain was swift and unexpected. If she’d stabbed him through the heart with a dagger it wouldn’t have hurt as much.

Author Bio:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier named cross Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

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#BookBlitz “A Love to Keep Me Warm” by Gina Ardito @GinaArdito @XpressoTours

 

A Love to Keep Me Warm
Gina Ardito
Publication date: November 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

 

 

After living in the carnival world, Polina Kominski is anxious to put down roots and build a life that includes a permanent home and, someday, a family. But first, she has to spend Christmas in Kraków, Poland to satisfy the final request of her late mother. Angry at having her strings pulled one last time, she’s resigned to follow the detailed instructions left to her, but refuses to believe the superstitions and allusions to magic Mom wants her to experience. And what’s with number eight on her mother’s itinerary, Kiss a Stranger?

To avoid facing his family’s sins, international banker, Rhys Linsey, will travel the lengths of the globe in his quest to regain the collection of ancient artifacts stolen from him years ago. When he runs into Polina on a Kraków street, he volunteers to help her experience the beauty of the holiday while sharing the history and folklore of this charming city. No matter how much she denies the existence of magic, he’s determined to prove her wrong.

Christmas in Kraków weaves a powerful spell, but Polina is running toward her future, while Rhys is stubbornly mired in the past. Can the magic of the holiday extend beyond December to bring Rhys and Polina full-circle to love?

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EXCERPT:

The day after they meet, Rhys takes Polina on a tour of Krakow and begins with the city’s origins according to legend:

“Back in the eighth century, all of this land was a village on the River Vistula, with nothing but mud huts and peace-loving people who traded goods up and down the river. Set into the deep side of Wawel Hill was a cave where a terrible dragon named Smok Wawelski slumbered.”

She stopped in mid-step on the sidewalk and tilted her head to stare at him with disbelief. “A dragon? Really?”

“Give me a chance to prove it, okay?”

He gave her a pleading look that melted her polar heart. How on earth did he plan to prove a draconian legend? Curiosity overrode common sense, and with a light laugh, she agreed. “Go for it.”

Eyes crinkled with a secret smile, he gave one simple nod. “Thank you. Generations were warned against waking the dragon and unleashing its fury upon the poor village, but one day several young boys who, like you, refused to believe the tales, strode bravely up to Wawel Hill to see the dragon for themselves. They crept into the cave and soon came upon the enormous scaly tail of the horrible beast. Well, apparently, one of the boys was so terrified, he screamed, awakening the dragon. The children turned and fled, but the damage was done, and the horrible creature soon began wreaking havoc upon all the townspeople. The dragon would come into their village, day after day, stealing the livestock and carrying off the virgins to be devoured at its leisure.

“The villagers attempted several times to kill the beast, but always failed miserably. Until one day, a shoemaker’s apprentice named Krakus mixed up a huge vat of sulfur and coated dozens of sheep with the mixture. When the sheep were ready, he led them to a grassy spot where the dragon was sure to see them. The dragon, naturally, spotted the sheep and swallowed them just as quickly. Soon the sulfur began to take its toll, and the dragon could not contain his thirst. He raced to the River Vistula and drank, but no matter how much water he swallowed, the thirst continued to burn inside him. He nearly drank the river dry until, at last, he swelled so much, he burst like a balloon. Boom!”

As Rhys’s hands flew in front of her face, Polina jumped back with a squeal of surprise.

Chuckling, he pulled her closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Nothing had ever felt so right as this man’s arm holding her close to his heart. She tilted her head at a slight angle, studying his lips, wondering how they’d taste against hers. All he had to do was bend his head forward a few inches…

“Well, of course,” he continued, apparently oblivious to her thoughts, “the village rejoiced at the dragon’s demise.”

She shook off the romantic silliness and refroze her heart. What had she been thinking? A kiss? Good God, she was behaving like her mother, acting on impulse, rather than logic. The last thing she needed was a love affair. Furrowing her brow, she took a step away from him to increase their distance then tried to refocus on his story.

“Krakus was named king and built a castle at the top of Wawel Hill where the dragon’s lair once sat. The village prospered into a city and was named Kraków in honor of their hero.”

Outside Wawel Cathedral, he stopped in front of a large stone wall where a strange collection of bones sat chained against the rock. An odd-looking snout rode above a rib cage about the size of a giant whale’s, some kind of bizarre cloven feet at the base.

“Behold,” Rhys whispered against her ear, sending delicious ripples of warm breath across her neck. “Proof. The dragon’s bones.”

Soft laughter escaped her lips. “Right. Good thing you brought me here. I wouldn’t want to waste my time on dusty old artifacts when I could see something as authentic as a dragon skeleton.”

Author Bio:

I kill houseplants. There. Now you know one of my greatest shames. I’m not boasting. I just figure that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for more than how wonderful life is as a writer. So here are a few more of my flaws:

I sing all the time. I sing in the car. In the shower. While I’m grocery shopping. And I headbop while I sing. When I’m not singing, I talk to myself. Just ignore me and move on. You get used to it after a while.

I don’t eat my vegetables. Seriously. I’d rather have a cookie.
I’m extremely fair-skinned and could burn under a 60-watt light bulb.

I can’t sleep without background noise. If it’s too dark and too quiet, all I have are my thoughts. And even *I* don’t want to be alone with my thoughts.

Don’t ask me to Zumba, line dance, or march in the parade. I have absolutely no rhythm.

Regrets. I have more than a few.

My favorite activity is sleep. I don’t clock a lot of hours, but I powernap like a Persian cat and rejuvenate within ten minutes.

I consider shopping and dining out excellent therapy for anything wrong in my life.

My feet are always cold. Always. My husband claims it’s because I’m an alien sent to Earth to destroy him. (He might be right about that.)

Coming to my house for a visit? Unless you’ve given me plenty of advance notice, be prepared. My floor will not be vacuumed, there will be dishes in my sink, and I only make my bed when I change the sheets once a week (I’m climbing back into it ASAP. Why make it?) Housecleaning is not high on my priority list. Okay, to be totally honest, it’s not on the list at all.

I can resist anything…except ice cream.

Since this is our first date, I figure I’ve revealed enough secrets for now. But if you’ve read this bio and think I might be the author for you, pick up one of my books. You won’t be disappointed.

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