Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Order of the Crimson Lotus by Suzanne Quill

THE ORDER OF THE CRIMSON LOTUS
by Suzanne Quill

Genre: Historical Romance




The Ravished Rose


Attractive, capable, intelligent, Elizabeth Mannings returns to London after two years on the Continent, looking forward to experiencing her first Season and finding a man to love and marry. Instead, she is brutally attacked, forcing her to flee London and abandon her hopes for the future.


Allan Ridgefield, Earl of Ridgecrest, no longer has a need for love, having had his heart crushed two days before his wedding when his childhood sweetheart fell from her horse and died. Ten years later, he desperately seeks a marriage of convenience in order to meet the terms of his father’s will and retain his estates and title.




“I know this is very awkward for you. It is for me, too. I, at least, had a momentary glimpse of you back in London. I knew you were attractive and from what I have heard, you have at least a degree of intelligence.”


A degree of intelligence, she thought to herself with disdain, his condescension raising her ire. Indeed! I’ve had the best education. I’ve read the classics, speak French and Italian fluently, and acceptable Spanish and Russian. I’ve even had some Latin. My logic is impeccable when I choose to use it. A degree of intelligence, indeed! She rallied to control her feelings before she erupted in his face.


Allan continued, “To you, however, I am an unknown quantity. You must be very intimidated by me, your new surroundings, and everything that has happened.”


Everything that had happened? Had her father told him the details? Did he know what she had actually been through?


“I hope this marriage of convenience will turn into a friendship, at least, over time. I will not force you to do anything you do not wish to do. Elizabeth, I will never force my attentions upon you. If at some point we both choose to, we may have greater intimacy, but for now I don’t think that is appropriate.”


Elizabeth stood as still as the post she clung to. Had she heard right? He would not bed her tonight? She did not have to tolerate his hands on her body, the intimacies she did not want?


“Elizabeth, did you hear me?”


She let out a quiet gasp of relief. “Yes, my lord.”


He started to go, then stopped and turned back to her. With great care, he laid his hands on the sides of her face, tilting it up.


Elizabeth stiffened once again.


“Look at me,” he said firmly but gently.


Her body trembled, her eyelashes fluttered as she reached for all of the strength she could to gaze up, to face the man she had married, her husband. When their eyes met, she was sure he could see the fear, distrust, the sense of danger that must reflect in her eyes.


She could see . . . What? His eyes were clear and blue. They held strength and coldness, but something more. She could see gentleness, like his voice. He could take her if he wished. He certainly had the size and strength to do it. But that did not show in his eyes, nor his touch. Both were gentle now. Tender to her.


His voice broke into her thoughts. “Elizabeth . . . may I kiss you good night?”


What should she say? What should she do? He was her husband. He had promised not to force his attentions. His hands strong and warm against her face, his eyes delved deeply into hers. “Yes, my lord,” she heard herself say, not knowing from where the answer came.


He bent over her to gently brush his lips on hers. Then he pressed his mouth to hers, firmly, tenderly.
Shivers coursed through her body, not missing a spot. His energy poured through her. The heat in her heart rose.


Review of The Ravished Rose by Suzanne Quill

This is a well written, long book, of the late Regency era.
All in all, I enjoyed the book a great deal. There were a few pages of describing furniture, fabric, and beadings that went on for too long, but that was the only time I skimmed, and this was a very long book. So kudos to the author.

The premise was most interesting and engaged me right off. I genuinely like both the hero and the heroine. While I suspected the identity of the villain early on, it didn’t undermine my enjoyment of the story. The story was fabulous throughout. It did not require a surprise villain to shock all.

Elizabeth’s friend Amanda and her new sister in law, Helen, both left me with ample mistrust of each. Not sure if that’s what the author intention, but I’d never trust either of them again. (A reader doesn’t have to like everyone in the book. They just need to genuine people, which they most decidedly are!)

And the villain. Now he is very evil.

I received an ARC for an honest review of this book.









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An Improper Seduction


Geoffrey Chisholm doesn’t want to be the head of a family, no less a marquess. But, his life radically alters when a cousin dies. At five and thirty, he must manage estates, marry, and provide an heir. A difficult chore considering how jaded he has become with affairs in the ton. He refuses to leg-shackle himself to just any woman; she must be one for whom he has some feelings.


Most women live to marry or must do so for family or finances. Angeline Hartley, her father’s estates unentailed, has no requirement to wed. Two years past her thirtieth year, she is on the shelf, her life contentedly complete. After the Marriage Mart and encounters with local gentlemen, she has vowed to remain unattached. After all, men do it when they have no need of a wife.


But Geoffrey meets Angeline and entices her to sample the intimacies of lovemaking. The coupling is explosive and now two strong-willed individuals must decide if they will give up personal stubbornness to make a bond for a lifetime.



“Lady Angeline,” Geoffrey began, “I will be off shortly.” He would for sure if he didn’t get his rampant sex away from her immediately. “I thought it best to come to say goodbye. And, before I take my leave, I thought I should tell you your father has given me leave to court you.”


Angeline turned upon her heel, her eyes blazing, the seafoam depths now a raging sea, wrath plain upon her angelic face. “I think not, my lord. I have no desire for your attentions,” she said with scorn. “You shall only be wasting my time and yours in such a fruitless endeavor. Leave me be. I do not wish to be the center of your marital goals. Surely there is some other woman who would be easier met to satisfy your needs.”


“There is no one else I wish to assuage my needs, my lady,” Geoffrey assured her as his rod twitched within his trousers. “And to attain your interests ours will not be a proper English courting.”


Throwing caution to the wind and taking the bold path, Geoffrey lowered his voiced and asked, “Tell me, my lady, have you ever felt the pleasures of a man? Have you ever swelled under the feelings of desire?”


The heat and color rose to Angeline’s face so quickly Geoffrey could not help but see it.


“That is none of your affair, sir. What I have or have not felt is no one’s business but my own. Your questions are most improper.”


Geoffrey moved a few steps closer, putting him less than a foot from her. He could easily reach out now to stroke her hair, her breasts, to raise her skirts from over her sensual derrière. “I thought not, based upon our little encounter this morning. My dear Angeline. . .”


“I gave you no leave to call me by my Christian name,” she spat out at him. “Please desist from these efforts and leave me be.”


Eyes still glaring, she refused to give him the satisfaction of backing off. She remained rooted in place before him, her cheeks an explosion of red color.


“Lady Angeline,” he went on, ignoring her reprimand, “let me be blunt. Do you truly wish to die a virgin? Do you have no thought to leave this plane having some knowledge of the secrets held between a man and a woman?” he quietly demanded. Only inches from her face, her lips, pink and full, enticed him to take them with his own.


***


Angeline was startled and appalled by his inquiry. “That is no business or concern to you, my lord.” But the heat was pooling in her abdomen.


What was it like to feel such things with a man?


“Ah, but it is, my lady, because I choose to be the one to teach you the pleasures between the sexes. You may never marry, me nor anyone else, but you shall not go to your grave pristine and untutored. You shall know the very meaning of passion and desire.”


His eyes were heavy-lidded and held a glint of knowledge she knew she wished to share. But she would not. Especially not with this. . .this. . .rake.





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Only You


Denied the right to marry his beloved Jessica due to his depleted estate, Jonathan Stratton, the Earl of Sheffield, travels the world in search of his fortune. Not only does he gain wealth, he learns the ancient Tantric sexual teachings of the Order of the Crimson Lotus. Returning after a five-year voyage, which was only supposed to take three, he finds Jessica more beautiful and desirous than when he left and married another.


Heiress Jessica Esterly, Lady Wickham, is beside herself. Not only was she forced to marry a man she did not love, she discovers him to be a debauched, avaricious rake of the first water. To make matters worse, she's having nefarious nightmares and hauntings that are threatening to drive her mad.


Then Jonathan returns, handsome, wealthy, and ready to love her and share the ancient Tantric mysteries of the Order of the Crimson Lotus.


How is she to tell Jonathan of her impending madness? How is she to tell him her husband will kill her rather than give up any of the funds her inheritance provides?



“No, no, that’s not all of it!” She jerked away from him. “There’s more, you see. You’ll not want me after you know but I must tell you. I am . . . I’m losing my mind. I’m going quite mad. I know I am. The sounds, the visions . . .” Jessica collapsed against his shoulder and sobbed once again.


“Mad, Jessica? What are you talking about? There’s no one in your family who has ever gone mad, no such tendency. Whatever would make you think you’re going mad?” Jonathan nudged her gently away so he could scan her tear-stained face. Tears were still coursing down her cheeks.


“Truly, Jonathan, I’m not making this up. I wake in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Then I hear sounds, awful sounds.” Jessica’s voice cracked with anguish.


“Tell me about the sounds, my heart, I’m listening.” He cleared his mind of all other thoughts as he held her gently to his chest, his only concern now her current state of safety and well-being.


“Moans and groans and chains. They start softly at first. I can barely hear them when they start. They sound so far away.” Jessica’s eyes glazed as she seemed to go into a trance. Then she came back to herself abruptly. “They get louder and closer. Soon they’re right inside my room. And then it comes. I know not what it is.”


“You see something, my heart? Something appears to you?” he inquired with care.


“Yes, yes. It’s white, I think, and not quite there. It seems to float. It groans and moans. Sometimes I think it calls my name. Sometimes it reaches out to me.” Her voice was still strained, her face downcast.


“Who have you told about this? Who else has seen or heard the vision?”


“No one else that I know of. I told Martin. He told me I was dreaming, having a nightmare. He says they can recur when a conscience is not clear. That there has never been a ghost in the house before. He suggested I might grasp a little tighter on to reality,” she said forlornly.


“I see,” Jonathan said, his mind reviewing all she had said. “It’s all right, my heart, maybe it was a bad dream. Maybe it’s not. Promise me you’ll let me know the next time it happens.”


“I never know when it will happen, Jonathan. It just does.”


“I know, Jessica, but I’m here now, you don’t have to go through this, or anything else, alone. Promise me. Promise that you’ll come to me or send a message the next time it occurs. Maybe I’ll see it, too, or maybe I’ll be able to figure out what it is.”


“Yes, Jonathan, I’ll let you know. It would be a relief to share my nightmare with someone. It would be even better if I could make it go away. I promise, I’ll let you know.” She dropped her head against his shoulder. She was so tired, tired of being scared, tired of crying, tired of being alone and lonely.





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If Love Were Enough


Priscilla Brunell, Marchioness of Rutherford, is in desperate need of a son and heir. Her seventy-year-old husband of ten years has died leaving her a virgin and the protectress of his estates. If she can’t produce a son in the next nine months, the current heir, Damon, will succeed in ruining the family fortunes in a matter of a few years due to his gaming and womanizing. Dare she ignore her morals and pass another man’s child off as her husband’s? Can she do so without losing her heart?


Soon to be the Viscount Brookfield, Brandon Bradley arrives at a house party at the insistence of his dying father. In all rights, he should be home marrying Estella and begetting his heir. Estella is certainly pleasant and attractive, but in all their years of friendship he has never felt anything but a cold distance from her. Then he meets Lady Rutherford. Not only can she help him through his grief, he is immediately attracted to her. Can he let down his father and Estella merely for his own benefit? Can he break the pattern of society and marry for love?


Priscilla thought of her last moments with Robert, how he held her hand so weakly, his hand frail and dry clasping hers. He had looked into her eyes, but the twinkle had dulled in his. Still, his earnestness, his caring, had been apparent.


He counseled her to find another and to marry once again. But he begged her not to be dictated to by Society. She would have money from his estate. She should look for a man to love her not her fortune. Look for someone who could gratify her in all the ways his old, arthritic and impotent body failed to do. She should find someone who would teach her the full meaning of marriage and the conjugal relations that could be shared within its bounds. She should seek gratification that could be given by another.


Tears ran down her cheeks again, and she dabbed at them as she tried to regain her composure. She turned her face away again using the brim of her bonnet to hide the image of her grief.


She was afraid and intimidated by such thoughts. Of course, she knew what should happen in bed between a man and a woman. But that never happened with Robert because of his maladies. After waiting so long, she feared she would not be able to release herself to someone else’s care and tenderness, no less return the same intimacy with him.


Robert asked too much of her, considering he could never demonstrate what she should expect to give or have returned.


But she had smiled and reassured him amidst her tears. She agreed she would try. If it never occurred, it would not be her fault, nor would it be a promise broken since it was predicated on deep feelings that would never exist.


But she would have a man bed her in hopes of an heir. And, if she could manage it and get over this incessant crying, she would like to make it this handsome stranger who had some of Robert’s younger features and seemed so much kinder than she could have ever hoped.


Her companion shifted next to her. A shiver ascended her spine once again. She was sitting too close if she could sense him so easily.


And she could breathe the scent of him.


This man did not smell of ointments and age. He smelled of sandalwood, leather, and something indefinably male. She knew too little of the world in general and men in particular to be comfortable in his company.


But he did quirk her interest. And he could solve her problem. He could unknowingly gift her with a son.


Knowing what an old man felt like beneath her hands, what would this Corinthian, with his muscles and strength, feel like when her fingertips slid over his skin?


She felt heat pool in her belly as her thoughts meandered to the intimacies she could share with him.
And he, being a rake of the first water, would know what to do with a lady, to her, to deliver on the promises whispered between them before the mating.





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Suzanne Quill, the nom-de-plume for Susan Dudics Dean, has been pursuing a fiction career for over fifteen years. With prior experience writing articles for interior design trade magazines and local newspapers she decided to find a more creative outlet for her vivid imagination. Inspired by romances from such icons as Amanda Quick, Diana Gabaldon and Mary Balogh, she chose historicals as her first genre. She is currently writing a sensuous series called The Order of the Crimson Lotus. The series includes: If Love Were Enough, Only You, An Improper Seduction, and The Ravished Rose. All are offered through Soul Mate Publishing and Amazon.com.


Currently a member of Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers Chapter, Suzanne lives in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. She is happily married, has a beautiful daughter, two inside cats and two outside cats. After years of running a successful interior design business that started in Southern California, relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and finally in the Greater Washington D.C. Area, she has finally retired to pursue her writing dreams full time.


Look for more in the Crimson Lotus series soon and contemporary romances under the name of Susan Dean in the near future.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mystery Angel Romance Series by Petie McCarty

MYSTERY ANGEL ROMANCE SERIES 
by PETIE McCARTY


Official Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance






NO GOING BACK (Book 1)



Kellen Brand's inheritance turns out to be a whopper -- one dilapidated farm in West Virginia and one guardian angel! Since Kellen is convinced no sane woman would choose to live in Riverside, she vows to sell her farm and quick.


Her handsome and reclusive neighbor Luke Kenyon must block the farm sale or risk exposure of his family's secrets. While Kellen has located one potential buyer, she faces a town full of objectors. Someone is trying to frighten her off, and Luke is forced to step in and rescue her more than once.


Unfortunately, Kellen can't seem to stay out of trouble. She stumbles onto a clandestine hazardous-waste-dumping operation next to her farm, and she prays Luke has one more rescue up his sleeve. It's her only hope of staying alive.


Unless her mother really did leave her a guardian angel…







A horse whickered behind her, then the telltale creak of a saddle -- too close for comfort. Kellen froze. The hair on the back of her neck prickled as though lightning were about to strike. Ankle deep in the water, she couldn't make a decent sprint for the car, and she regretted her impulse to visit this deserted stretch of riverbank.


She eased around and saw the towering silhouette of a powerfully built man astride a huge black stallion, the rider's face shadowed beneath a wide-brimmed Stetson. The cowboy made an impressive, and at this moment intimidating, sight -- a throwback from the frontier days of the wild wild West.


The horse whickered again and sidestepped away from the edge of the embankment, forcing the cowboy to twist around to keep her in sight. She could feel his dark eyes studying every inch of her. The intensity in his gaze raised goosebumps on her arms and sent a tiny shiver vibrating up her neck. Trapped here along the edge of the river, she felt vulnerable yet strangely unafraid. Would he come any closer?



ANGEL TO THE RESCUE (Book 2)



Child psychologist Rachel Kelly isn't quite sure how to handle the situation with her newest client -- a six-year-old boy who says he can talk to angels and one is coming to help Rachel. She already has her hands full of trouble this Christmas season, and things quickly take a turn for the worse when a stalker crashes Rachel's Christmas party and takes her young clients hostage.


Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet when the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make -- stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.


Unless Rachel's little angel-spying client is telling the truth…









"Want to tell me what that was all about?" Wally asked, when they climbed into their Crown Vic.


"No."


"You said ex-fiancée."


Jake ignored him, hoping he'd shut up. Seeing Rachel -- touching her -- had shaken him.


"She's gorgeous."


He shot Wally a fulsome glare.


"Just saying is all. Kind of hard to believe you'd let somebody that gorgeous get away."


"Drop it," he growled.


"But we're partners. Partners talk."


"We've only been partners for three days."


"We can still talk about stuff that bothers you," Wally prodded.


"Nothing's bothering me," Jake snapped. "Come find me in three months. We'll talk then."


"But as real partners, we're supposed to share--"


"No, we're not," Jake bit off. "You don't need to know everything about me."


Wally stuck his palms up. "Okay, okay. Gees! Doesn't matter anyway. Some things I can see for myself."


Jake glowered at him again. "What are you talking about?"


"I thought you said to drop it?"


"Spit it out," Jake snapped.


"I can see you're not over your ex-fiancée. Yet."


Jake swung the Crown Vic hard into traffic. "You're crazy."


Wally shrugged. "I don't think so."



THE SEAL'S ANGEL (Book 3)



Navy SEAL Sean MacKay's teammate is murdered after stealing a deadly nerve-gas formula from Syrian terrorists. Naval Intelligence believes MacKay's teammate was a traitor and shipped the stolen formula to his sister in the states for safekeeping. MacKay is given orders to find the sister before the terrorists do and to retrieve the stolen formula at all costs.


Foreclosure looms for Cory Rigatero as she fights to keep her rustic resort near Mt. St. Helens afloat after her brother deserted her to join the SEAL Teams. Cory's whole world dives into a tailspin when Sean MacKay shows up at her resort with the news of her brother's death and the wild suspicion her brother may have sent her traitorous classified documents. No way will Cory trust MacKay -- the man who once seduced her and then vanished into the night without a trace.







Mac hauled ass for the main house, Garth huffing hard alongside, already winded and trying to stay on his heels. Something had happened to the dog, but he couldn't worry about that now.


The two broke through the border of the side garden. Mac could see the kitchen door of the main house standing wide open and raced that direction.


A second scream ripped through the air. This one sounded closer to the front of the house, and Mac turned course to race in that direction. Garth stayed straight and bounded through the kitchen door as Mac cleared the corner on the house.


He stumbled when he spied a man wearing a black hood and dark clothes -- a knife held at Cory's throat -- half-carrying, half-dragging her down the front steps. Mac skidded silently into the rhododendron bushes lining the porch. The assailant hissed over his shoulder to someone behind him.


Okay. Two tangos.


A wolf-like howl suddenly echoed in the house, clearly audible through the open front door. A heavy thud, a scream of pain, and vicious snarling sounded in rapid succession. Mac had backup. Garth had made it inside.






Petie earned a Bachelor's degree in Zoology from the University of Central Florida, which was no help at all when she decided to write romance novels as a second career. Her particular background did afford her the luxury of many unique assignments during her career as an aquatic biologist, including aquatic plant surveys in Florida lakes and streams by airboat. Many of those off-the-wall assignments provided background for her stories.


Petie spent most of her career working as a biologist at the Walt Disney World Resort, "The Most Magical Place on Earth." What could be more magical than driving by Cinderella's Castle on your way to work every day? Living in the heart of the theme park entertainment industry constantly tweaked her imagination and made her want to write. She had the fun of working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her wonderful "day" job to write her stories full-time.


These days, Petie shares her home on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English springer spaniel addicted to green olives stuffed with pimento, and a talkative Nanday conure named Sassy who makes a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue. She loves golf, running, and reads voraciously. That's Petie, not the conure.


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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jacquie Biggar shares the Beast Within Content Warning 18+

THE BEAST WITHIN
Mended Souls, book 2
by Jacquie Biggar

Genre: Thriller
Content Warning: 18+




She didn't expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.


Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?


When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter's job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn't expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.


Connor O'Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores. And threatening his key witness.


As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?


Or will a killer become the winner?





Her skin was tender as the belly of a kitten. And just as fragile.


Her screams edged toward hysteria, muffled by the material of her slutty shirt. He’d taken pleasure in cutting the offensive cloth from her body and stuffing it into her cherry red mouth.


Almond shaped eyes, the color of strong black coffee and wide with terror, glittered with the tears streaming down her dusky cheeks.


Too late for that. She should have begged for mercy when he demanded it. Instead, she’d laughed at him.


She wasn’t laughing now.


He ran a finger from the gold love knot piercing her belly button, up to coffee-colored breasts tipped with cocoa nipples peaked with fear. She should be scared. He was her master and she’d wronged him. She had to pay.


He grinned.


This was his favorite part. There was probably something wrong with him, but the thrill he got out of having complete control over his subjects filled his body with adrenaline, made blood rush to his extremities, and turned him rock hard. Way better than sex. Sex was dirty, all that sweat and bodily fluids. Not this. This was clean—spiritual.


He picked up the red hot iron he’d been heating on the propane stove. When she saw what he had in his hand, her body bowed against its bonds, but there was no escape. She’d run away from him for the last time.


He pinched her pebbled nipple, tipping her breast upward so he could access the tender skin beneath. The acrid scent of burning flesh and the inhaled silent scream of torture before her eyes rolled back in her head rewarded him for his patience. The S was perfectly shaped. The snake’s head crested the top of the curve, its forked tongue curling around the scorched meat of her breast.


She was his now.












Restitution begins with the truth.


Lucas Carmichael and Scott Anderson had it all, money, fame, and fortune. But one night's stupid mistake takes everything they thought they cherished and dumps it upside down.


A car accident ends Lucas' life and leaves Scott injured and bitter.


As the local ME, Tracy York, investigates the case, discrepancies begin to point to more than a simple drunk driving incident.


When threats are made to Tracy's life can Scott and his guardian angel, Lucas, protect her, or will she become another casualty?



The Guardian is one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. It all begins with a wreck…or does it. One could say it began long before that. However, the wreck creates repercussions beyond imagination that will continue into book 2 as well.
Two vehicles crash, leaving a man dead in one, and a young woman and her older brother dead in the other.  The now dead older brother has a funny sense of humor, even when he wakes up in the Medical Examiner’s room. Good news! There is an afterlife and Lucas gets some really large pigeon wings.
The reason why I’m so cheery about this, is because despite all the violence, the story is mostly about forgiveness and second chances at love…for those still living. That would be Scott and the female medical examiner, Tracy.
But there remains at the end of this story, two problems, one living, one dead, so be warned of a late night cliff hanger. Still, this story was properly wrapped up except for one strand that heads off to book two with you.

I enjoyed the story and give it a 4.5 rounding to 5






JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they're gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.


She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.


Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can't function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂


Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her website. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email her via her web site.


Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!






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