SPRING FLING Blog Hop #HopswithHeart

Sepia Shot of a Young Kissing Couple. Photo.Today the Spring Fling Blog Hop commences and the fun ensues. Join me in celebration of LOVE and SPRING!

Is there anything more Spring-like than seeing daffodils pushing up through cold, often wet ground to reach the sun? Here in northern Arkansas, the daffodils are up and beginning to bloom. The birds are returning. I see and hear more of them every day. And those noisy little frogs, the Spring Peepers, are in full song every evening.

Soon the Phoebe’s will return to their nest, court and preen and do what birds do in Spring. Yes, even the birds know that Spring is the best time for love.

Just as the earth comes alive again, so do our hearts, if we let them. And that’s the catch, isn’t it? To risk getting hurt again, to trust someone with our heart?

To illustrate that inner struggle, here’s a short excerpt from the first book in my Sweetwater Springs series, A Suitable Wife:

Rosie waited for the door to close behind her. When it clicked shut, her composure dissolved. She touched trembling fingertips to her lips and squeezed her eyes shut, reliving the moment Sam had deepened the kiss. The flash of heat had surprised her and had nothing to do with mere friendship.

She’d thought needing an infusion of cash into her business was a big deal. But this was huge. All their talk of marriage and wedding plans, hand-holding and kissing had resurrected hopes and dreams she’d thought destroyed. Dead.

From his ever present humor, he obviously hadn’t experienced the same level of attraction to her, if any.

Sam had made it clear this was a temporary, strictly business agreement. He didn’t want anything from her except a wifely performance good enough to fool a judge.

How could she possibly keep her attraction hidden for a whole year?

***

After a night of troubled sleep, the best solution Rosie could think of was avoidance. Whenever she and Sam weren’t in the public eye, she’d simply avoid him.

She’d figure out a way to make it work. After all, he had his work and she had hers. They needn’t spend every waking hour together.

As she backed the van from her garage, a masculine voice called “Hey, Rosie!” She braked and looked for its source.

Sam approached her vehicle. He was dressed for a run, in shorts and a tank that had seen better days. Lorelei rode along in front of him, buckled into a three-wheeled stroller.

Rosie lowered her window, deciding designers wasted their time with the business casual look. Rugged tatters were infinitely more appealing.

“Good morning.” Sam stopped alongside the van and leaned a tanned forearm on her window frame. He smelled deliciously clean with a trace of shaving cream. “Are we still on for brunch?”

Rosie tried hard not to let her gaze stray from his face. She would not stare at the sprinkling of chest hair peeking over his tank. Glance, maybe—to commit to memory—but no staring. Concentrating on his face didn’t help either. One look in those serious eyes rimmed with long dark lashes and her lower abdomen ached in the best way possible.

“We need to be seen together a lot,” he reminded her.

Right. Except then she couldn’t avoid him.

She tried to concentrate on his words. “I have a couple errands to run, but we could meet back here in about an hour.”

“Great. I’m sure the power bar I had for breakfast will be long gone by then.” He turned to leave, then pivoted back. “I called Bill earlier. He’ll overnight the prenup in the morning. If you can manage a couple hours free during the week, we could run by the courthouse, apply for the license and have everything ready for a quick ceremony after we tell your folks.”

“I’ll check my schedule and let you know when I can work it in.”

“All right. See you later.” Sam leaned in the window and gave her cheek a quick kiss. “There’s an elderly couple walking this way. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” he whispered with a wink before retreating.

Rosie stared at the spot where his face had disappeared, her cheek hot where his lips had brushed skin. She inhaled his lingering scent before checking her rearview mirror and accelerating. Nothing happened. She blinked twice while staring at the gearshift before realizing she’d shifted the van into park. Sheesh! The man should be arrested for looking so . . . distracting this early in the morning.

Here she was getting more gaga over his fine, testosterone-filled self by the minute, and he was merely concerned with getting the show on the road.

Why couldn’t she look at their agreement the same way?

Until she’d sequestered herself in the dark confines of her bedroom last night, she hadn’t realized how much the thought of a quick civil ceremony bothered her. Fake marriage or not, a hundred guests or two witnesses, she’d always seen herself in a long, white dress and veil at her wedding. And she was getting married—sort of.

She gripped the steering wheel, rested her forehead on her hands and sighed. It was silly to feel cheated. But this wedding might be her only personal experience with one. The fallout from her relationship with Dean had left her feeling like she was . . . less. Damaged goods. Not quite whole. Until Sam’s odd proposal, she’d kept buried what few romantic notions remained.

Stop it, Rosie scolded herself. She’d made her decision and she’d stick with it. Sam needed her. Lorelei needed her.

It would have to be enough.

She could still avoid Sam whenever possible. She might be stuck parading around town with him this morning, but the rest of the day would be hers alone.

- – - – -
The Grand Prizes for the Spring Fling Blog Hop are:
One Kindle Fire–Donated by Blushing Books!
One $75 Gift Card to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble)–Donated by Jane!
One $25 Starbucks Gift Card–Donated by Sue Lyndon!
One $25 Gift Certificate to Blushing Books–Donated by Patty Devlin!

For the Grand Prize Giveaway, readers only need to fill out the Rafflecopter box and press enter! (One entry per person!) Winners will be chosen on Monday, March 24 using Random.org. Click on this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway.

CarolBurnside_ASuitableWife800In addition, I’m giving away an ecopy of A Suitable Wife and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. For my prizes, entrants are required only to comment on this post. If you’re so inclined, browse around this website for more excerpts and book info. You may also connect with me via Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Goodreads

Winners of my prizes will be drawn on March 24th from commenters on this blog. and announced on this blog by March 25th. Good luck!

This link will take you to more participating authors and more prizes! http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

Posted in Books, Carol Burnside, Contests, Everyday blather, Free Stuff, Good Wishes, Promo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 74 Comments

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Luck o’ the Irish to ya!

May you find your

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Who knows, perhaps on this day, a cute, little impish

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will happen by and show you where to find a

MC900319550[1]Or maybe, like most of us, we’ll consider the day a success if we have a little corned beef and cabbage. Wash it down with a MC900444682[1]

However you celebrate (or not) have a…MC900090879[1]

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Everyday blather, Good Wishes | Tagged , ,

A Romance Caper with Prizes today on FB

Let’s talk romance and hot heroes at The Romance Caper on Facebook.

Come party with authors, Mary Marvella Author & Author MJ Flournoy and their guest authors: Carol Burnside, Linda Nightingale, Anna Kurtz Steffl, & Jodi Vaughn. There will be PRIZES!

When: Sunday, March 16th
Time: 2 pm to 10 pm EST (I’ll be there at 2pm EST)
Where: https://www.facebook.com/ARomanceCaper

We’re just looking to have a fun cyber party with readers who love romance. Come on by the site and comment to win.

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Books, Carol Burnside, Contests, Free Stuff, Going Places, Promo | Tagged , , , ,

News about Reviews!

I’ve got five 5* reviews and two 4* reviews to show off! Lately, I’ve been a writing cave like you wouldn’t believe! Everything is moving so fast I can barely keep a handle on things. But busy is good, right?

I did manage to send out some review requests and the responses have sent me soaring on Cloud 9, which makes it difficult to come back down to Earth and tend to business. LOL!

Links will take you to the full review, but just look at these snippits for A Suitable Wife:

CarolBurnside_ASuitableWife800“From friendship to love . . . a bumpy ride, but so worth it. This was my first time reading works by Carol Burnside, but it definitely will not be my last.” Shirley Buchanan, Romance Book Haven, 5/5 stars (Goodreads)

This story tugs at the heart strings. Mrs. Burnside produces a perfect afternoon read not to be missed. You not only fall in love with the characters but the town of Sweetwater Springs!” Susan May, 5/5 stars, Amazon review

“I loved this book, including the storyline and characters! can’t wait to read more in the series from this author.” — Anon, 4/5 stars (B&N)

I thought I would take a quick look at the first chapter… Before I knew it, I was more than halfway through the book and the only reason I finally quit reading was because my Kindle battery died. I admit I came home from work the next day and finished the story. This book was well worth the sleepy morning.

A Suitable Wife has it all. Passion, friendship, a villainous ex (or two), picturesque settings, heart touching back-story, dedicated family, and some great love scenes. Sweetwater Springs is a place where anyone would feel welcome. Carol Burnside has created a community that I hope to visit often. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.”Anon, 5/5 stars, Amazon review

Click HERE to read an excerpt from A Suitable Wife.

And here are some stellar review snippits for Her Unexpected Family:

CarolBurnside_HerUnexpectedFamily_500px“This is one roller-coaster of an emotional story. It is tender, heart-warming and at times heart-breaking. But I loved it.”– Laura: 5/5 star Recommended Read, Amazon

“I found this read to be very touching and also very humorous. Yes, I said humorous … I recommend this read for readers that don’t mind pulling out the tissues and looking like a fool when crying over a book and if you don’t mind laughing out load in the middle of nowhere whilst reading.” Desere, Romance Book Haven, 4/5 star review from Goodreads

“I laughed at the humor, cried with the heartbreaking parts and sympathized with their plight as they tried to find their lasting love. Well written characters meshed with a well developed plot for true reading pleasure. Real page turner. I look forward happily to the next book in the series.” — Shirley Buchanan, Romance Book Haven, 5/5 star review

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Her Unexpected Family.

Posted in Books, Carol Burnside, Excerpts, Good News, Reviews | Tagged , , ,

Read an E-book Week = SALE!

girlreadingMarch 2-8, 2014 is Read an E-book Week and I’m participating at Smashwords by discounting two of my books 50%. One Carol Burnside book and one Annie Rayburn book will be discounted for the entire week along with many others. It’s a site wide promotion at Smashwords, where e-books are conveniently offered in several file types, including ePub for Nook and most e-readers, .mobi for Kindle, PDF and more.

Yes, that’s right. 50% off the regular price, so:

CarolBurnside_ASuitableWife_300-MedA Suitable Wife is now $3.99 $2.00!

PF2 WEB 200-300Phantoms & Fantasies is now $2.99 $1.50!

Home For Christmas WEBSITE USE-aand Home for Christmas is always FREE!

Please spread the word about this sale. Tell all your friends, share this post, and enjoy
Read an E-book Week!

Posted in Everyday blather | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Release Blitz for Miss Redmond’s Deception by Sandra Cox

Miss Redmond’s Deception by Sandra Cox

missredmondsdeceptionBlurb: When Captain Richard Greyston encounters three figures in a graveyard, he takes them for a spectral visitation until he realizes it is two young ladies—in their nightgowns, no less—and their spinsterish companion. A spinster with slender limbs and an enchantingly velvety voice.

Pembra doesn’t care a whit for the captain’s opinion of her, even after circumstances force them into a sham betrothal. But when a gypsy warns her that his life hangs in the balance, she begins to realize that her heart is not so uninvolved as she might like to pretend.

 Buy links: EllorasCave / AmazonUS / AmazonUK / B&N

Excerpt:Where’s everyone going?”  she muttered. Her curiosity aroused, Pembra slipped out the door behind her sisters, keeping the spectral white nightgowns in sight as she stayed in the shadows. Her heart gave a hard ka-thump at the nearby screech of an owl. Ignoring it, she kept going. 

What are they up to? Pembra watched Sabrina follow Emma, who followed Betsy.

The maid turned off the path into the small graveyard located behind the rectory. She forgot to watch Betsy as she stared in astonishment at Emma sinking behind a large tombstone, like a specter sinking into the grave, while Sabrina crept up behind her.

Pembra tiptoed closer until she heard subdued voices. She braced her hands against the rough bark of an oak. Hidden, she leaned forward to hear.

 “Emma what are you doing here?” Sabrina demanded.

Emma clamped a hand over her own mouth, muffling her shriek. “What are you doing here?” she hissed back.

“Following you.”

“Gosh, you scared me.” Emma pulled Sabrina down beside her.

“At the risk of being repetitive, what are you doing here?”

“Following Betsy. You’ll never believe it, but she’s out there with Adolphus Webster.”

 “The rector’s son?” Sabrina gasped in shock. “Surely you’re mistaken. That platter-faced prig wouldn’t have the nerve to meet anyone.”

 “Oh, no? Well just take a look at that. Meeting is hardly the word for what’s going on.” Emma giggled.

“Oh my.” Sabrina clapped her hand over Emma’s eyes while peeking over the top of the tombstone.

“Hey, move your hand.” Emma wiggled trying to dislodge her disobliging sister’s fingers.

“You are much too young to witness such disreputable behavior,” her sibling scolded.

“Yes, and you are so much more worldly,” Emma grumbled, as she pried away Sabrina’s fingers.

 “Well, I’m worldly enough to know if Pembra finds out about this, its curtains for Betsy,” Sabrina replied, indignant.

The girls—so awake to the carnal pursuits under the maple tree—were paying not the least attention to their immediate surroundings.

Pembra stepped out from her hiding place. “If Pembra finds out about what?”

“Eeekk.” Both girls screeched and jumped up in fright.

~*~

It was unfortunate indeed that Captain the Honorable Richard Greyston, late of the Household Brigade,  grandson and only heir of the fifth Earl of Meade, had taken a wrong turn and was cantering by on his temperamental stallion, when the girls rose shrieking from behind the tombstone.

 “Bloody hell,” floated on the clear night air as Greyston fought to get his mount under control, not quite believing what he was seeing as three ghostly apparitions stared at him from behind an ancient funerary marker.

When his mount Doondiah was quieted down, Greyston unobtrusively drew a pistol from an inside pocket of his great coat.  Nudging the stallion with his knees, he approached cautiously. Though, damned if he knew what good a pistol would be against a ghost, much less three.

Greyston gave a snort of disgust as he drew nearer and saw that his ghostly apparitions were only girls, at least the two clutching each other were. The third was definitely an old maid wearing a ridiculous mobcap, pulled down nearly to her thick spectacles, and a night rail that had enough material in it to serve as an army tent.

 “You damn fool,” he told his horse succinctly.

“That will be enough of that language in front of innocent young females, sir,” the old maid snapped, stepping forward.

Spoken like a true spinster.  He sighed inwardly. But ye gods, the voice. Velvety as night. Low and smoky as sin. A nightingale sound that conjured up forbidden delights. If his mistress had a voice like that he’d never leave her side. A lot could be forgiven resonance like that even if it came from a dried up old spinster.

He moderated his cutting rejoinder to a mild, “Madam, what are you doing out here?”

 

BIO: Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes Crossover YA, YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Time Travel Romance and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and has a yellow belt in Muay Thai.

LINKS:  Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Posted in Books, New Release, Promo | Tagged , , , ,

Cover Reveal: His Small Town Princess

Ta-da!! Book three in the Sweetwater Springs series, His Small Town Princess, now has a cover.

CarolBurnside_HisSmallTownPrincess800This completes a set of covers for the first three novels in the series, which make up a trilogy featuring the Baxter siblings.

SSSeries covers_CBurnsideSo? Don’t keep me in suspense. What do you think?

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Books, Carol Burnside, Cover Art, Everyday blather, Good News, Promo | Tagged , , , ,

My Thursday Three

MC900437052[1]The popular thing seems to be blogging a Thursday Thirteen list, but my attention span doesn’t last that long, so I’m doing a Thursday Three.

1.  Special shout out to the wonderful ladies who’ve read my books and let me know how much they enjoyed them. I LOVE hearing that. Unless you’re a writer who has poured your emotions and energy into a book, you can’t know how great it feels to hear that someone appreciates the worlds you create in your imagination.

2. I have new cover art coming! Yes, the cover for His Small Town Princess is almost ready to show off. Yay!!!

3. I just took a peek at the PFHT blog and saw that my fellow blogger, Maxine Davis has written a review of HER UNEXPECTED FAMILY. How freakin’ awesome is that? I think it’s the ultimate compliment, when someone takes the time to share publicly their enjoyment of my work. The title of Maxine’s post is “Three Books That Guarantee a Good Read” so if you’re in the market for some new reading material, you might want to check out her recommendations.

And there you have it – my Thursday Three!

Have you read a good book lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Carol Burnside, Cover Art, Everyday blather, Thursday Three | Tagged , , , ,

Here and there 2-24-14

CarolBurnside_HerUnexpectedFamily_500pxWant a free book? Today I’m blogging on PFHT and giving away an e-copy of HER UNEXPECTED FAMILY. In writing the blog, I ended up with my Letter To My Reader for the book. Come on over, find out a little about my heroine, Claire, join in the conversation and be entered to win!

New to my writing and want a sample? Download my holiday release Home for Christmas for FREE and read the first three chapters of A Suitable Wife,  included in the file. Also, read the first chapter of Her Unexpected Family.

Have a great day!

Carol

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Books, Carol Burnside, Everyday blather, Free Stuff, Going Places, Good News, New Release, Promo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

And the winners are…

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Sofie S wins the $10 Amazon GC offered in the Writing Process Blog Hop!

Prizes and winners for my Release Day and Guest Appearance offered in two places received multiple entries and here are the results:

debjulienne is the winner of an ecopy of her choice: A Suitable Wife or Her Unexpected Family

Pam Asberry wins the $10 Amazon GC

See? It pays to comment!

Congrats, ladies. I’ll be in touch with you regarding your prizes.

 

Posted in Books, Contests, Free Stuff, Good News, Promo | Tagged , , , ,