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Getting to Know John Martin

One thing I always hear from readers of my Southern Secrets Saga is, “I hate John Martin!”

If you’ve not yet started on the series, don’t worry. I won’t post any spoilers here. What I will tell you is how John became the man everyone despises.

First, I want you to envision the most attractive man you’ve ever seen. The one with perfect features and a flawless well-kept body. He never has one hair out of place, and it’s the thick kind every woman wants to run her fingers through. His deep blue, bedroom eyes easily captivate their victims. His good looks embolden him. But his devilish behavior started when he was much younger than he was the first time he’s introduced in Consequences, Southern Secrets Saga Book 2.Consequences Cover

John was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. His parents died when he was only three, and he was raised by his uncle, Theodore.  The man was a well-respected businessman, who traveled a great deal.

Until John reached his teens, he was reared by a nanny and rarely saw his uncle. But when Theodore realized his nephew was himself becoming a man, he decided to begin teaching him the ways of the world. He took John with him on every business trip.

Theodore never married, nor had children. No longer a fussy, childish brat, John became the son he’d longed for. He looked to Theodore for guidance and showed him the utmost respect.

Theodore taught him the joy of having wealth and ways to attain it in business by bending the law. His deviousness excited John, and led him to study the law further, eventually pursuing a career as an attorney.

By the time John turned sixteen, Theodore decided he needed another lesson in life. One that brought even more gratification. On his birthday, he treated him to a fine dinner, including champagne. When they returned to their hotel room that night, John was surprised to be met by an attractive woman. Theodore excused himself for a ‘much-needed walk’ and left John alone with her. She took away all of his innocence and taught him what his body had been made for. The woman was skilled, able, and of course, very well-paid.

She boosted John’s ego by telling him what a handsome and desirable young man he was. The flattery stayed with him. From then on, he stood taller and walked with his shoulders back. Her compliments were affirmed when every woman he passed took a second look. After tasting one woman, he always wanted more. Desire never left him.

His uncle noticed the change and praised him for it. They frequented out-of-the-way bordellos, but Theodore cautioned him to be discreet. Eventually, they knew enough women at every business stop, so they were able to enlist bed partners without having to pay. Women willingly gave themselves, especially when the men insisted they were the only one.

At eighteen, John was a legal student working as an attorney’s aide in Mobile, Alabama. When the opportunity presented itself, Theodore left him there at a boarding house and went on his way doing his own business.

On a one-day excursion to the bay for some relaxation, John met Ruth Montgomery. Her southern charm captivated him, and she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She, too, was eighteen, but unlike him, unspoiled. Their youthful passion took hold and he bedded her. It took little on his part to entice her, but when she told her parents what they’d done, her father came after him with a shotgun and insisted he marry her.

John wasn’t ignorant. He’d learned that backwoods country folk would pull the trigger without a moment’s hesitation.

He moved with Ruth into a small house she’d inherited from the family, not far from Mobile Bay. Nine months later, their daughter, Claire, came into the world. Ruth was elated, but John was anything but that. He felt trapped. Not to mention, his studies had virtually gone by the wayside. He resented Ruth and eventually shunned her. She noticed the change and tried to make things better by showing overly affectionate behavior. It only angered him. The last thing he wanted was for her to conceive again.

He went to Mobile to take his law exams, in hopes of some kind of escape. While there, he met Elizabeth. A raven-haired beauty from the North, with the blackest eyes he’d ever seen. They shared political views and interest in the law. No trace of a southern drawl passed her ruby red lips. She was not only intelligent, but well-spoken. Everything about her made him realize what was lacking with Ruth.

When he discovered that Elizabeth came from a wealthy family in Connecticut, nothing kept him from pursuing her. She was his way north again. She had the money to fund his career, and the intelligence to keep his mind satisfied. Her beautiful body would satiate his other needs.

John led her to believe that there was nothing tying him to Alabama. He discreetly sent Ruth a certificate of divorce. Her family urged her to sign it. They despised him and knew she’d be better off without him.

For the ten years he and Elizabeth were married, he remained faithful to her. But when she died, he returned to his old ways, and never looked back. He took satisfaction from any woman he wanted. Of course, he still told each one that they were special. The only one for him.

His uncle had taught him well.

 

John has a tendency to pop up in some of my other books. He’s in my contemporary novel, A Golden Life, and he also has a brief cameo in, From the Ashes of Atlanta. I thought you might enjoy reading it. No matter where John goes, his devilish character is unmistakable.

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Ashes of Atlanta CoverThe man approaching him was finely dressed, fitting in perfectly with the extravagant fixtures. Business suit, top hat, and looks that caused every woman he passed to turn her head. And, it was obvious he liked the attention. He smiled at each one in turn, regardless of whether or not they had a man accompanying them. But oddly enough, he appeared to be heading to the seat beside Jeb.

“May I?” the man asked, pointing to the empty seat.

Why not? Jeb wouldn’t be carrying on a conversation with the man, and he seemed harmless enough. So, he nodded, and the man sat.

“Thank you.” He leaned in and Jeb got a whiff of cologne. He smiled inwardly, thinking of Katherine’s ‘skunk.’ But it was nothing to smile about. Gwen would be marrying the skunk in less than six hours.

“I heard the conductor,” the man said. “I know you can’t speak, but it’s to my benefit. I tend to find myself sitting beside a woman who can’t keep her mouth shut. For the most part, I listen, and often times I’m rewarded for my attentions.” He wiggled his brows. “I’m certain you understand my meaning. But today, I need to watch myself. Not get carried away.” A sly grin curled the man’s lips. He removed his hat and placed it in his lap, then primped his hair. Never before had Jeb seen a man so concerned over his appearance.

He should have told him ‘no.’

Are all men from the north arrogant and rude in regards to women?

“My name’s Martin. John Martin. I’m an attorney.” He puffed out his chest and sat more upright.

An attorney. That explained the expensive suit. Jeb sighed. It wasn’t long ago that he answered to the name, ‘John.’

“My practice is in Bridgeport. So, if you’re ever there, or in need of legal help, look me up.”

The man’s arrogance oozed from every part of his body. One of the ladies, who had watched him pass by, turned to look at him. He acknowledged her with a slight lift of his head and one raised eyebrow. She covered her mouth, tittered, and then faced forward.

“That one shows promise,” he said through the side of his mouth, “but I dare not. I’m meeting a woman in Buffalo.” He cupped his hand over the side of his mouth. “For a tryst.”

Was this man always so bold? Talking to a complete stranger about his personal life? Maybe he thought he would be impressed, or did he simply find Jeb to be nonthreatening?

“You’re a handsome young man,” Mr. Martin said, rubbing his chin. “Even with your impairment. May I give you some advice?”

This could be interestin’….

“Circus women.”

What?

Jeb’s face must have shown his confusion, because Mr. Martin laughed aloud. An arrogant, sophisticated sort of laugh.

“I’m personal friends with Mr. P.T. Barnum. Phineas Taylor Barnum. I’m certain you’ve heard of him. Well…he knows all sorts of interesting people, and women with unique talents. Of course that mermaid was a hoax, but she brought him incredible wealth.”

Jeb nodded, intrigued by the man’s story. Not to mention that it took his mind off of Gwen and helped the time to pass.

Mr. Martin leaned in again. “He introduced me to a contortionist. I highly recommend that every man should give one a try. At least once. They can move their bodies in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine.”

Intriguing or not, Jeb couldn’t take another minute. He grabbed his cane and rose to his feet.

“Oh.” Mr. Martin looked up at him. “Do you need to use the facilities?”

Jeb scowled at the man, and stepped by him and into the aisle. Glancing toward the rear of the car, he spotted an empty seat, and made his way toward it. He pitied the woman in Buffalo and hoped she knew what kind of a man he was.

 

Wonderful Holiday Reads!

It’s that time of year, when it’s fun to cozy up with a good book and something hot to drink. So, I decided to recommend a few books that will help warm you up from the inside out.

From ‘sweet’ romance writer, Darcy Flynn, Seven Days in December.

seven-daysin-december

Elementary school teacher, Nikki Carpenter, packs her bags and heads to a friend’s cabin in the Rocky Mountains for the holidays. Not only does she need an escape from her busy work schedule, it’s time to start healing. Time to say goodbye to her late husband and begin living again.

Traynor Michaels needs time to think. Between his current girlfriend pressuring him to get married, and his sister’s constant matchmaking efforts, he’s more than ready for a few days alone in his family’s one-room mountain cabin.

Double booked and trapped together during a blizzard, frustration sets them both on edge. Traynor is immediately attracted to the gorgeous Nikki. But her affinity for lists and the habitual twisting of her wedding band proves beyond annoying, until he realizes something deeper is going on. As for Nikki, the handsome man sleeping on the sofa just messed up her plans, yet he may hold the key to her finding Christmas again.

You can purchase Seven Days in December here: https://amzn.com/B019O2LVIO E-book is just $1.99!

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Now, if you want to go from sweet to spicy, here are a couple books from author, Cynthia Gail, that will warm you all the way to your toes!

First, a romance set in Nashville, Tennessee, Winter’s Magic.

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth winters-magicSergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

You can purchase Winter’s Magic here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009WEFVLI

 

Perhaps you’d rather escape to another country for a bit of Christmas-time romance. How about Paris?

Cynthia Gail’s, A Paris Christmas, will take you there.

a-paris-christmasBillionaire Nicholas Adrien Rousseau works seven days a week. He lives on a schedule, doesn’t like surprises, plans his days, and outlines his goals. Until an irresistible blonde slides into the backseat of his Mercedes, mistaking him for the driver of the car service provided by his company, Bridal Bliss.

Bella Rose is late for the airport. The opportunity to turn Creative Couture into an International marketing firm is a dream come true, but if she doesn’t catch the last flight home to the states, she’ll miss Christmas Eve with her family.

Two strangers with an attraction that could melt an iceberg, are stranded in the heart of Paris, the city of light and love. When Bella throws caution to the wind, deciding to accept the spontaneity life has thrown her and enjoy the journey, she never imagines it will lead to the man of her dreams. Adrien realizes too late that by hiding his identity, he could lose the one woman who loves the man and not the money.

E-book is just .99 cents! You can purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018LGRH32

 

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As for my own books, both of my series have Christmas chapters, so if you want some lengthy reads, start with book one of my Southern Secrets Saga, Deceptions, or perhaps book one of the River Romance Series, Marked. Buy links for all my books are found by clicking the books tab above and scrolling down to the book you’re interested in.

For this special blog, I’m featuring my slightly unusual, yet magical tale, A Golden Life. Not only does it take place over Thanksgiving and Christmas, it, too, is a bit on the spicy side, and will take you on emotional roller coaster. You’re sure to laugh, and likely cry. But like all my books, it has a happy ending.

In the beautiful mountain setting of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, something unusual is about to happen…agoldenlifenew_850

Traci Oliver may be a best-selling romance author, but for the first time in her writing career, she can’t type a word on the blank page. Book number fifty is supposed to be her best ever—her golden book—but inspiration joined her husband in the grave. How can she write about love with a shattered heart?

At the precise moment of the anniversary of his death, a knock on her door changes everything.

Characters from her books take on human form and tell her they’ve come to help her. Of course, she doubts her sanity. Are they real, or has she lost her mind? When she lands smack dab in the middle of one of her own love scenes, she assumes the latter.

Her doctor says grieving is a process, but she never dreamed that part of the process would bring her heroes to life. She wonders if all people experience this kind of thing, or is it a weird phenomenon reserved solely for romance writers? Truthfully, the only hero she wants is her husband, and she can never be with him again.

Or maybe she can…

You can purchase A Golden Life by clicking here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Z6CREI

 

I wish you all happy holidays, and very soon, a more-than-merry Christmas!

Joyful reading!

 

 

 

They Seem So Real!

I’m suffering from a chapped nose. No, I don’t have a cold. Yes, I sometimes have allergies, but that’s not the reason either.

I just finished writing a difficult chapter. I can usually knock out a chapter a day, but this one took three. Along with half a box of tissues.

I tell myself all the time that I’m not crazy. Maybe that in itself is a little nuts. Then, I’m reminded of one of my favorite movie scenes from “Romancing the Stone.” Author, Joan Wilder, is hunting for tissues. Sobbing over what she’s written.

When I first saw that film over thirty years ago, I wasn’t a writer. At least, not an author of novels. But now that I am, I get it! When my characters hurt, I hurt. Thus, the tears.

I’ll never forget the first time someone told me that my characters seemed real. Probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. They’re certainly real to me. Otherwise, why would I cry for them? Why would I care so much?

I recently had a great conversation with a reader who’s on Book 3 of my Southern Secrets Saga. She talked to me about things that were happening in the story and asked a few questions. But mostly, we talked about the characters and how much we love them. I felt like we were discussing long-time mutual friends. At one point, she apologized for going on so long about the books. Oh, my goodness! There definitely had been no need for that, and I told her so. It was fun! I doubt she realized how she’d made my day.

I’m glad the imaginary people I bring to life feel real. I’m afraid that if they weren’t relatable, the story would fall flat. A reader should be able to walk hand in hand with the characters and experience what they’re going through. Good and bad. Emotion is healthy. I just wish I could spare my nose!

Desires cover 850

Goodreads Giveaway! He’s In My Dreams

I’m excited to announce another upcoming Goodreads Giveaway! The giveaway starts on May 6th and runs through the 31st. Winners of the five, signed copies will be selected at random by Goodreads. Though listed as a young adult novel, I highly recommend it for readers age thirteen and up. I hope it will prompt some deep conversations. I put a big piece of my heart in this story. It’s set in one of my favorite places in the country, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Check out the details below!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

He's In My Dreams by Jeanne Hardt

He’s In My Dreams

by Jeanne Hardt

Giveaway ends May 31, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/185561

Darcy Flynn – Double Trouble

I’m so excited to welcome Darcy Flynn to my blog!

Darcy Flynn

Darcy Flynn

Darcy writes sweet romance, and I can honestly say, she’s a very sweet and kind person.  Her stories reflect her genuine personality.

I had the privilege to read her newest release, Double Trouble, and I absolutely loved it! I was honored to have a sneak peek before the actual release date.

Darcy writes with a warm unique voice and pulls you right into her characters. She makes them real. I hope you all will give her books a read!

I could go on and on, but I want to share the information about her book, then I have some questions for her!

 

Double TroubleFrom the first moment coffee mogul, Will Carrington, gazed into the fiery, green eyes of Clare Sullivan, he’s hit with the feeling she does not like him. Not. One. Little. Bit. Used to being the proverbial prize by some gorgeous gold digging fortune hunter, he’s learned to be careful. But with his hunter instincts now on high alert, he’s determined to find out the why behind her stormy-eyed glances.

Top home designer, Clare Sullivan wants absolutely nothing to do with arrogant, self-assured Will Carrington, especially after he called her half-sister a gold digger. When she gets the opportunity to design his multi-million dollar Miami penthouse, she arrives at his office ready to decline his offer, and to tell him exactly what she thinks of his cruel and un-warranted comments.

While there, she overhears his one-sided phone conversation, which seems to further insult her sister. Assuming the worse, Clare makes the rash decision to accept the job and charge him a fortune in the process. Someone needs to teach him a lesson and what better way then with a swift kick in his wallet.

Since she and her sister have different surnames, Clare conveniently hides the connection to her sister. But while she works with Will, she discovers another side to this self-assured, woman-hater. A Jekyll to his Hyde. Charming and professional, he’s nothing like the man she’s heard about. What she doesn’t know is Will Carrington has a few secrets of his own.

 

Darcy, what inspired you to start writing novels?

I’d been writing non-fiction for the Christian and Home School market for years and after my son went to college, I found a box of 70’s Harlequin Romances in my attic. It was like Christmas. I’d forgotten I’d kept them and since I was officially an ‘empty-nester’, I  decided to re-read some of them. As I did, I’d think…I could write one of these. So I did and wrote Keeper of My Heart.

What makes your work different from other books in your genre?

My novels are so much fun! Romps for the most part. They’re similar to the vintage 70 stories, like the clean, Hollywood romantic comedies from years ago or the sweet Harlequin Romances, without the omniscient POV of course!  Some of my readers have even told me my novels should be Hallmark Channel Movies! Yeah! I so agree with that!

What are the most interesting character traits of your hero and heroine?

Well…all of my heroines seem to be rule breakers. As much as I try to make them otherwise.  I’m not a rule breaker – much to my own loss I might add. So, I love it when my heroine throws caution to the wind and does something she’d never do under normal circumstances. I really like that about my heroines! And if it happens to drive my heroes just a little bit crazy, then so be it.

As for my heroes, well, they don’t take a lot from these feisty gals. They’re no-nonsense kind of men and always up for any challenge my heroines toss their way. They’re quite dreamy and delicious. Okay, I know that’s not a character trait, but I couldn’t resist sharing that with you.

Will there be a sequel?

Oh, yes. The sequel is Wes’s story. It’s called, Double Take. More to come about that one later.

Excerpt:

Clare leaned against the white painted railing and soaked up the view. The Gulf waters spanned in front of them for miles, its waves beckoned as it broke against the shoreline. “Why would you ever want to leave this for the penthouse? You’ve got the sand at your feet and the ocean just yards away.”

“Who says I’m giving it up?”

“I just assumed…”

That, Miss Sullivan, is your trouble.”

“Excuse me?”

He took her hand and led her to the end of the porch, then faced her. “You assume way too much.” He gently pulled her into his arms. “About me, anyway.”

Heart thudding, she gazed up at him. “What are you doing?”

“What do you think?”

In business, Clare had one hard and fast rule—never get involved with a client. As tempting as he was, she made a half-hearted attempt to pull away.

“No. Wait. Don’t think.” He gently tapped her chin. Her eyes locked with his mesmerizing ones. Blue, like the ocean. Dancing with the light of the late afternoon sun. For a brief moment they roamed over her face, hungry, desiring, then he lowered his head.

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Darcy’s Bio:

Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing storylines, irritatingly handsome heroes and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last. Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.

Darcy lives with her husband, son, two English Setters and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights and indulges daily in afternoon tea.

Pre-Order:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CIPKWJI?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Contact Links:

Website/Blog: http://www.darcyflynnromances.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcyflynn

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DarcyFlynnAuthor

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0077AG3ZM

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2975929.Darcy_Flynn

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dflynnauthor/boards/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116563609469381811624/posts?tab=XX

 

 

 

 

 

A Golden Life .99 cent Promo!

I didn’t want any of you who follow my blog on a regular basis to miss out on the .99 cent promo for “A Golden Life!”

Starting today thru midnight on December 26th, you can purchase the e-book version on Amazon for this low price. I hope you’ll give it a read!

The story is set in the beautiful mountains of Gatlinburg, TN, but nothing about the plot is typical. It will take you on an unusual journey to say the least.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Z6CREI

A Golden Life

 

Something magical is about to happen…

Traci Oliver may be a best-selling romance author, but for the first time in her writing career she can’t type a word on the blank page. Book number fifty is supposed to be her best ever—her golden book—but inspiration joined her husband in the grave. How can she write about love with a shattered heart?

At the precise moment of the anniversary of his death, a knock on her door changes everything.

When characters from her books take on human form and tell her that they’ve come to help her, she doubts her sanity. Are they real, or has she lost her mind?

Her doctor says grieving is a process, but she never dreamed that part of the process would bring her heroes to life. She wonders if all people experience this kind of thing, or is it a weird phenomenon reserved solely for romance writers? Truthfully, the only hero she wants in her life is her husband, and she can never be with him again.

Or maybe she can …

Goodreads Book Giveaway! Deceptions

Goodreads Book Giveaway

I’m so excited to share my new release, “Deceptions.” This is the first book in the Southern Secrets Saga. I’ll be giving away four paperback copies, so be sure to click the link below and enter!

Here’s a little more about my book:

A little more than six years have passed since the end of the War Between the States, and life in Mobile, Alabama isn’t easy.

Claire Montgomery is twenty-five and unmarried. After years of listening to her mama’s caution regarding men, she’s determined to stay single. Until Dr. Andrew Fletcher arrives in her little town on the bay and she’s irresistibly smitten.

Andrew tends to the elite at Mobile City Hospital, but also cares for the poor Negroes in a less desirable part of the city. Despite criticism from the hospital administrator, he’s determined to stand by his principles and help anyone in need. Regardless of the color of their skin.

Their whirlwind romance is quickly followed by a wedding proposal. But Claire’s world crashes around her when she discovers a painful truth. With no choice but to run away, she leaves Mobile and soon realizes she’s carrying his child.

Every decision Claire makes changes the lives of those she loves. The secrets and deceptions she creates blur the line between lies and truth, until she can’t discern one from the other.

Deceptions by Jeanne Hardt

Deceptions

by Jeanne Hardt

Giveaway ends August 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway