Monday, January 14, 2019

Dark Chocolate and Strawberries by Daryl Devoré

Daryl Devoré’s 
Dark Chocolate and Strawberries

Character Interview ~ Red Hood

   What impression do you make when a person first meets you?
I try not to act like a bumbling idiot. I like to pretend I give the impression that I’m a sophisticated person, but I have been known to fail – miserably – at both.

   What is your greatest fear?
My mother. I get endless phone calls from her checking on me and my love life. Then there are the terrifying calls from her where she’s arranged a blind date with one of her friends’ sons. Yikes!

   What is your profession?
I’m a junior accountant at a middle size, family owned chocolate company.

   What skill do you have that you’re proud of? Why?
I can identify from which country Theobroma Cacao is from. In other words – cacao. It isn’t cocoa beans. It’s cacao. But I’m just showing off here.

   Describe your ideal man.
Someone I found on my own. Someone who will let me be me and not be so concerned about what other people think. Someone who’ll hold the door open for me when I want that kind of treatment and then be wise enough to know when I get the damn door myself.

   What trait do you like most about the person you fell in love with?
His joy for life, He’s not concerned about other people’s opinions about him. He knows who he is. He knows his faults. He’s accepted my faults and he’s willing to meet me half way and make a go of this relationship.

What's a naughty fairy tale like Red Riding Hood without Red, the huntsman, grandma and especially, the big bad wolf?

Red had barely stepped into the office marked R. Hood, when her mother pushed her aside and closed the door. “Your grandmother has booked a stateroom on a cruise ship and is taking a man with her.”

Sensing So what?? was the wrong answer, Red let her mother vent whatever bothered her. This day could still be saved. If her mother stayed focused on the crisis-of-the-moment she might forget the weekly discussion of her love life.

“A man. Did you hear me?”

“Yes, Mother.” Red unbuttoned her coat, dropped her gloves, scarf and onto the seat next to her then settled in the brown leather chair in front of the desk. Her mother walked around and sat behind her large, hand carved, oak desk. It provided an imposing barrier between mother and daughter.

“I haven't told you this before, but your grandmother's going through your grandfather's money faster than you can go through a tub of maple walnut ice cream after a breakup.”


Folding her immaculately manicured hands and placing them on her desk, Red's mother looked up. “Your flight's at two.”

“Excuse me?”

“I've booked a flight to Miami and a stateroom on The Emerald Forest.”

Red shook her head. “I can't afford a stateroom on a junior accountant's salary.”

“The company is paying. I had my secretary send everything to your cell. Now, you have no time to talk. Go home, pack, find your passport and save your grandmother.”

Red's voice rose an octave, “Save my grandmother? From what?”

R. Hood placed her fingers on her forehead. “Save your grandmother from spending your inheritance on some gigolo. Your grandfather built this company from nothing to a multi-million dollar business. And he had to fight the big boys like Hersey and the Mars brothers to do it.”

Red sighed. “I know the corporate story, Mom. He started by making his chocolate in great grandma's kitchen and from those humble beginnings—”
“Put you through Harvard Business School,” snapped her mother.

“Only to be dumped in a junior accountant's position.”

“We'll fight later. Now go. No. Wait.” Red’s mother pressed an intercom button.
A disembodied voice responded. “Yes, Mrs. Hood?”

“The box for my mother-in-law, where is it?”

“I'll bring it right in, Mrs. Hood.” A moment later, the door opened and Brittnee entered carrying a silver box. She offered it to Mrs. Hood.

Robin pointed to her daughter. The secretary handed the box to Red and left the office, closing the door behind her. Red didn’t need to ask, she knew it was the box. It contained the new samples for next year's line. Grandma Hood retained the right of final decision on what chocolates were sold at Hood Chocolatier.

“Take those to your grandmother. A taste of home might bring her to her senses.”
Red held back a frustrated sigh. She didn't want to fly to Miami. If she was away, Katerina would jump at the chance to sink her claws into Stanley. Her man, the stud, the gorgeous VP of Sales who made her body swoon with desire whenever he walked by. The smell of his aftershave made her undies wet. Once, she rode from the lobby to the sixth floor with him and almost had an orgasm before the elevator doors opened. She couldn't concede this hunk of a man to Katerina. But what could she do?

Her mother snapped her fingers. “Why are you just sitting there? Go. Save your grandmother. Save your inheritance.”

Blurb and Buy Link

What's a naughty fairy tale like Red Riding Hood without Red, the huntsman, grandma and especially, the big bad wolf?

Esmerelda 'Red' Hood is summoned to her mother's executive suite only to learn her sweet granny is headed for a romantic cruise with a gigolo. Horrified, Red races off to save her grandma before it's too late.

On board, Red meets Andrew Woodsman and Willem Olf. One a cutie with the biggest puppy eyes and the other a dark, sophisticated predator. Her grandmother's warning rings in Red's ear "Never trust a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Even with the warning, Red has trouble choosing which man could be the big bad wolf and which could be her happily ever after.

Note: This book was previously published by New Dawning Bookfair under the title Sexy Red Hood.

Bio and Social Media
Two writers in one. Daryl Devoré writes hot romances with sexy heroes and strong heroines. Victoria Adams is Daryl Devoré's alter ego when she's inspired to write sweet romances with little to no heat.

Daryl (@daryldevore) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, two black cats - Licorice and Ginny-Furr Purrkins - and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter, and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Untamed & Unabashed @Liza0Connor

Untamed & Unabashed

Welcome to Lydia’s Bennet’s story.
If you’ve read Pride & Prejudice, you know Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet sisters. Like her siblings she has little chance of making a good marriage. Still, Lydia is not your typical heroine. She doesn’t cry over her hopeless future. She sets about to change it, without concern to propriety or decorum.  Lydia falls to the charms of Wickham when she’s sixteen. She’s certain a marriage to the handsome fellow is the beginning of her fabulous life. Wickham’s many failings reveal themselves in short order and Lydia realizes she’ll have to secure a better future for them both.

Here’s a new bit of detail from Pride & Prejudice that touches upon Lydia’s story.

In Pride and Prejudice Wickham’s father was the steward of Darcy’s father. While Wickham and Darcy never got along, the old Mr. Darcy thought well of Wickham. When Wickham’s father died, the old Darcy promised to provide for Wickham when he became of age. There was mention of a ‘living’ at the local parish when it became available. According to Darcy, Wickham declared he had no interest in becoming a clergyman and asked for $3,000 pounds to study law. Darcy hoped rather than believed Wickham to be sincere, but gave him the money all the same.

After the money was spent, Wickham tells everyone that Darcy denied him the living promised to him by Darcy’s father. Thus, he is forced to make his way in the world with barely a pence to his name.

Liza’s thoughts:
Wickham might really believe what he says. Our memories are unreliable. If he told the same story over and over, he’s probably grown to believe it was the truth.

Elizabeth Bennet told her story in Pride and Prejudice. Now Lydia Bennet tells her side of her whirlwind marriage to Lieutenant Wickham. The youngest of five daughters with a pittance of a dowry and no hope for a good marriage, Lydia feared her life was doomed from the start. She learns how to set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men. She hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the patronage of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.

“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless.”
—quote by Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A Unique

Lydia could not believe the turn of her fortune. She had been trying to catch Lieutenant Wickham’s eye ever since Eliza invited him to dinner several months ago in Longbourn. While he had always been genial, his treatment of her had been that of an adult to an amusing child. Tonight, however, he finally saw her as a woman.
She was so glad she’d had spent all her dress allowance, and then some, on the newest fashion, an off-the-shoulder gown. It displayed her ample breasts sufficiently so no man could think her a child.
She laughed at her cleverness when Lieutenant Wickham’s hands rested upon her bare shoulders.
His eyes sparkled in the moonlight. “You are so breathtaking. Try as I have, I can deny my affection for you no longer.”
She opened her mouth to inquire why on earth he had ever resisted, but she lost the moment when his lips pressed upon hers calling forth passions she had hereto never known. She forgot her question, neigh, reason entirely, when his tongue parted her lips and drove inside her mouth.


More About the Author
Liza O’Connor’s favorite books are Pride & Prejudice and Douglas Adams’ four book trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Go figure…
Raised in the southern mid-section of the U.S., Liza escaped to the East Coast once out of college. She’s worked as a journalist, a radio DJ, a security guard, a stock broker, a strategist, and a business solutions consultant to name a few of her many occupations.  Again…go figure.
She learned to fly planes, jump out of planes, hang-glide, kayak and scuba dive, to name of few of her ‘let’s kill Liza’ moments. However, her favorite activity is to hike with her dog Jess among the shaved mountains of NJ.


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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Better Life, Angel's Trials Bk 3 by Liza O'Connor


A Better Life
By Liza O’Connor

Angel’s husband had barely left the country when the first attempt on her life occurred. Fortunately, Anna was at home and shot the man as he entered through a window that for some reason had been left open. Now a dead body chilled in the basement freezer.
Angel had always known this day would come. She had lived in fear of this day for the last five years. The terrorists had somehow discovered her identity. By the sounds of gunshots outside the house, she knew her nightmare was far from over. Any thought of her living a normal life from here-on wasn’t possible. God only knows what would happen to her and her children now.
Discover the new life of the extraordinary forensic auditor named Angel. She can locate improperly acquired money better than anyone. Unfortunately, that puts her and her children at serious risk.
Nor does her love life work nearly as well as her forensic abilities. Men are constantly using, then betraying her. Still, she remains positive and optimistic. Now that she is officially dead, living deep within a mountain, she hopes she and her children will be safe.
To her surprise, the biggest threat is not from criminals, but her husband, who has ordered her to be killed.


“Please God, keep my children safe,” she whispered beneath her breath. Her three young sons, ages eight, five, and one year old, were at Derrick’s house, next door, the older two playing with his kids. Hopefully, at the first sound of trouble, the former FBI agent had gotten them to the safe room hidden beneath the house she had built for him.

She could accept her death, but not that of her innocent children.

Anna, a young woman of twenty-five, whom she loved like a sister, and Sahid, a new guest, whom she barely knew at all, were struggling before the front door.

“Let me go! I have to see to Pete.” Anna yelled.

Sahid held onto her. “No! They will kill you! You must stay here!” He slung her away from the door, slammed it shut, and bolted it.

A moment later, someone pounded on the outside. “Help! We need help!”

Anna fought with Sahid, determined to go to Pete. Angel’s heart went out to her. After four years of not speaking to her ex-fiancé, Anna had recently fallen back in love with Pete.

Before she could unbolt the door, a rapid burst of gunfire erupted, and the bullets pounded against the outside of the door. Any normal door would have disintegrated into wood chips, and Anna would be dead now. However, Angel’s husband Max had upgraded her house right after they married. Her door was two-inch steel and the windows bulletproof.

They both had known someday this nightmare would occur and Max had done all he could to ensure she would survive it.

Unable to shoot their way in, the attackers shoved Pete, Anna’s former fiancé, against the window. His chest was covered in blood, his face contorted in pain.

Anna ran to the window and pressed her hands against the bulletproof glass. “Don’t hurt him,” she pleaded. “Please, tell me what you want. We can negotiate.”

“Open the door, and we’ll tell you.”

Pete cried out, “No!”

The man rammed a gun against Pete’s head. “Open the door or he dies!”

She looked at Pete, her face against the glass. “I love you!” she cried out. “Don’t die on me, Pete, please…don't die.”

“Open the door!” The man demanded.

Tears streaked down her face. “I can’t. The house is now in lockdown. Please, help him. I am willing to negotiate.”

The man pulled the trigger, and Pete’s brains splattered across the window pane.

Anna screamed, and Angel turned away, sick to her stomach. She had known one day she would die, but why Pete? Why Anna? And Sahid… he was just a temporary guest needing a place to stay.

Anna, amazingly strong just like her father, rebounded from her pain and focused on their imminent danger. “Take Angel to the basement,” she ordered Sahid.

“No, we should remain here together,” the man said.

Angel stared at Sahid. Why would he think he had any say at all? He was only an interpreter for the FBI. Anna had spent her life with some of the best FBI agents there were. And while she failed to graduate from the FBI academy due to a foolish prank, Angel never doubted her competence.

But Sahid was a Mid-Eastern man, so he would never think a woman could be competent.

About the Author
Liza O’Connor
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

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Books range from young adult to mature audiences.
I write them as my characters want them to be written.