Books, Photos & a little bit of everything else: Oct. 15

  • The Three Graces by Nicola Italia: Release Blitz & Giveaway

  • Boss Me by Lacey Black: Release Day & Giveaway

Book: The Three Graces
Author: Nicola Italia
Genre: Historical Romance

In Alta California, the three daughters of Don Francisco de la Rosa are well known for their beauty and charm. Nereida, the youngest daughter, is sweet natured and kind while Narcisa, the middle daughter, is sensual and flirtatious. However, it is the eldest daughter, Natalia, whose beauty and spirit captivates their neighbor, Cruz Villareal.
A Californian with Spanish blood, Cruz is captivated by Natalia the moment he sees her riding at breakneck speed across the lush green grass of Santa Barbara. He vows that the Sonora beauty will belong to him and no other.
Natalia is at first put off by the arrogant Cruz, but as time passes, she succumbs to the growing attraction between them. In his arms, she experiences passion and love and wants to be his bride, standing beside him as he makes the Villareal vineyards a success.
But mistakes from both of their pasts come back to haunt them, threatening their newfound happiness.
Nereida and Narcisa struggle with their own relationships and responsibilities while Cruz and Natalia desperately fight to be together. But in a small town filled with secrets and lies, can true love conquer all?
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Cruz met his father on his way back to the house. “I am required elsewhere, but please see to our guest in the stables. Her name is Natalia.”
Cruz nodded. “Of course, Papa.”
He moved toward the stables and thought it unusual that a woman would wish to see the stables at a fiesta. Most women he knew would be concerned about their dress and hair, not horseflesh.
He stepped inside the large stables and felt the cooler temperature. The horses were each inside their stalls, and he saw a figure at the far end of the large structure. She was dressed in a dark blue gown. He took long strides toward the woman. He would see her safely back, as his father wished.
“Senorita,” he said swiftly, and when she turned, he felt his heart begin to race.
“You!” she said, startled.
Natalia noticed his crisp clothes, from the cut of his trousers made of wool to the jacket he wore that emphasized his shoulders and hips. Everything about him spoke of quality and breeding, and suddenly she knew without a doubt who he was.
“Senor Villareal,” she said quietly.
“And you must be Natalia de la Rosa,” he said softly.
Natalia almost flinched as he spoke her name so softly and with such sensuality. He enunciated every syllable of her name drawing it out as Nah-ta-lee-ah.
“Must I?”
“My father asked that I see to our guest, and he said her name was Natalia.”
“But why de la Rosa?”
“When I returned from Spain, I was told we had new neighbors, and that Don Paco had three daughters of uncommon loveliness. The eldest one in particular was said to be quite beautiful.”
Natalia blushed under his dark scrutiny.
“You shouldn’t listen to gossip,” she said.
“Let me escort you back, Natalia.” He threaded his arm through hers.
Natalia turned to him. “You may call me senorita, which is proper since I don’t give you leave to use my Christian name.”
“Now why is that? I quite like the taste of it on my tongue.”
Natalia flushed. “Your behavior is inappropriate.”
“Is it?”
 “Yes. It is.”
“I don’t recall any objection the other night when we were at the ocean’s edge.”
Natalia looked around to make certain that they were alone. “Nothing happened the other night except that you touched me when I did not give you leave to! And I said nothing because I thought you an ill-bred ruffian.”
He gazed down at her oval face and into her warm brown eyes. She was a lovely woman, and it amazed him that she was not already married with several children. What man wouldn’t want to bed her quickly and make her his?
“Ruffian? I thought I was a bandit, though in truth I am a Californio with Spanish blood,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“And I’m a Mexican woman of Sonora,” she said proudly.
“Our children would be another generation of Californios, were we to marry,” he said, caressing her arm.
Natalia was shocked at his words. “Marry? I’m sorry, Senor Villareal, but I can say with utmost certainty that I will never marry you. You’re very arrogant, and you presume too much.”
Cruz made a tsk-tsk sound. “That is most unfortunate. Because I suddenly find that after all this time, I am ready to marry.”
“Then I wish you much luck in your pursuit of a bride.” She tried to move away from him only to find him holding her arm in his firm, warm grasp.
“If I did wish to marry you, Natalia, nothing on earth would stop me from having what I want,” he said before he pulled her into his arms.
When his mouth touched hers, the kiss was filled with desire and a hint of anger. His tongue touched hers, and she was startled.
Since that first meeting at the ocean’s edge, he had been enchanted by her beauty and spirit. She was like one of his father’s magnificent Arabians. He wanted to possess her but also hold her and keep her safe. It was a feeling that overwhelmed him and shocked him. He had never felt that way about a woman.
Natalia’s heart raced, and she realized that she was kissing a virtual stranger. She felt desire for him, and it was a new and somewhat disconcerting feeling. When she pushed away from him, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand without thinking.
“That’s offensive,” he told her, fighting back a grin.
“You’re offensive!” A blush spread across her cheeks, and she looked delectable.
“Is there another lover I should be made aware of? Do I have to call a duel for your hand?” He made an attempt to peer about the stables as if looking for someone.
“My father loves me! I have final say on any marriage proposal, and you may rest assured that I will say no if you approach my father!” she said, her breasts heaving.
He would have sold his soul in that moment to drag her into a stall, toss up her skirts, and taste the sweet honey between her legs.
“I’m sure he does love you, Natalia. You are a beautiful woman. Perhaps he wants to keep you by his side for that reason. But even he knows that you cannot stay unmarried forever. I can offer you much.” He smiled at her.
“I dare you to ask him!” She was shaking, and she wanted to smack the arrogant grin off of his face.
“Stop the hysterics, Natalia. Come, let me escort you back. It was just a kiss,” he soothed.
“No, thank you,” she said, moving away from him.
She began to walk down the long aisle, passing the many stalls. When she glanced behind her, she saw he hadn’t followed. Instead, she saw him standing near his horse, touching its long neck and licking his lips as if savoring her taste. She despised him then.
When she rejoined the party, she saw Ignacio standing next to Neddy with a wide smile on his face. Neddy was smiling shyly up at him, and she knew that they would be married soon. She was happy for her sister and would congratulate her once the announcement had been made.
“Let’s dance.” Ignacio took Neddy’s hand, and they joined the other couples.
“My little girl is to marry,” Chelo said softly to Natalia as she stepped beside her.
“You don’t want her to marry?” Natalia asked.
“Oh, I do! I want her to be happy, but it’s hard. She was only a baby when your dear mother died, so she is like my own,” Chelo sighed.
“Of course. I understand.” Natalia nodded and touched Chelo’s hand. “But she will be happy. He’s a good man, a kind man.”
Kelly O’Keefe joined them wearing a bright green dress, which she said she had brought with her from Ireland. Natalia sipped her lemonade and looked across the courtyard past the dancing couples. She could feel the pull of Cruz’s dark eyes, and the desire in them was clearly evident. He was a demon, and she turned away from him to concentrate on her friend.
Alberto watched as his friend stared at the eldest de la Rosa sister across the courtyard.
“Oh no, Cruz, not that one,” he said, shaking his head and handing his friend a glass of agua fresca.
Cruz took the offered glass but barely glanced at his friend. He was still remembering the taste of her lips in the stables and her sweet curves pressed against him. “Why not?”
Alberto sipped his own drink. “When they first arrived here, all the men wanted her. She’s beautiful, no? And there are no sons, so the property will be distributed accordingly, and rumor has it that she is Don Paco’s favorite.”
“You have told me many reasons why I should, not why I should not,” Cruz stated.
“Well, that first year there must have been at least three offers for her hand, and they were all denied,” Alberto remembered.
“What was the reason?” Cruz asked.
“Well, that was the strangest part. Don Paco told each man that he would place their offer before Natalia, but it was her choice. Each time she said no.”
Cruz grimaced. So she was right. Her father did allow her final say on any marriage proposal.
“But it’s more than that. The youngest sister let it slip to Father Ybarra, who told the whole town that there was a man once.”
“A man?” Cruz straightened.
Alberto nodded.
Of course there was a man, Cruz thought. He remembered those lush lips underneath his and her body pressed against him. She was soft and feminine and everything a woman should be. Of course there had been a man who had claimed her as his and taught her all the things a man could teach a woman.
“What happened to this man?” Cruz asked nonchalantly.
“They were engaged before they left Sonora. Apparently, the father wanted his daughters to come to Alta California first. After several months here, they received word the man had died in Sonora. All the women in town think she still grieves for her lost love, and the men want to replace him.”
Interesting, thought Cruz.
“So as I said. Not that one.” Alberto smiled.
Author Bio

Nicola spent her childhood in Los Angeles. As a young student in elementary school, she had a great fondness for reading and began to write creatively. Her fifth grade teacher encouraged her to keep her creative stories and to continue to write which she did. She graduated from university with a degree in communications and held a variety of positions in journalism, education, government and non profit.
While her writing during this period was business related as she wrote for a newspaper, marketing newsletters and press releases she remained dedicated to romance fiction.
Her first novel “The Sheik and the Slave” began as chapters on a romance website and was voted top romance story. “The Sheik” fans are amazing and Nicola remains deeply indebted to them. They have encouraged her to continue writing and have been extremely supportive.
Nicola has traveled extensively throughout Europe, China and Central America. She speaks basic Spanish and has a love of all languages.
Nicola’s goal is to create rich characters with a strong male lead and a passionate female lead. She also strives to set her books in places not normally written about such as Arabia in “The Sheik and the Slave” and Ceylon in “The Tea Plantation.”
“We all want a happy ending but I like to create some friction and chase before my leads come together,” Nicola has said.
Her novels are available on Amazon.
“The Three Graces” is her sixth novel.


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Book: Boss Me
Series: Rivers Edge book 5
Author: Lacey Black

Last man standing. That’s the way it feels when Will Stevens looks at the happiness and fulfillment his siblings have found. Will isn’t necessarily looking for “happily ever after” but…what if? The one thing that helps him get through the loneliness of bachelorhood is his job. As a paramedic with Rivers Edge Health Care, Will is dedicated to saving lives. But one person has the potential to jeopardize everything he has worked for: his boss.

Carmen Brady is a woman working in a man’s world. Determined to be taken as a serious professional, Carmen is hard and ruthless on the job; not interested in being anyone’s friend. There’s no room for personal relationships in the workplace, and Carmen is unwavering in her pursuit to run a tight ship in the Emergency Department at Rivers Edge Health Center. Yet, as much as she tries, Carmen can’t seem to stop thinking about one man she can’t have: her employee.

What happens when the line between work and personal is crossed? Can Will and Carmen keep the two worlds separated? Everything comes down to a single choice: love or career?

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Thankfully, the elevator drops me on the ground floor moments later. The cafeteria is at the end of the long corridor and appears to have already cleared out from the lunch rush. A few nurses and CNAs sit at the back row of tables, discussing the snow that is expected later this week. With just over a week until Christmas, it looks like we’ll have a white Christmas after all.

I grab a ham and cheese on whole wheat, a container of yogurt, and a bottle of water and head to the register to pay.

“That’s all too healthy,” I hear a familiar voice behind me.

My entire body goes on high alert. I start to tingle in places that only seem to be brought out by one man. Will.

I slowly turn around and catch my first glimpse of the man who haunted my dreams for the past several nights. He’s perfection in his uniform. Tight navy pants and a fitted white shirt hugging his entire body. I’ve never been so jealous of a pair of pants before in my life.

I fight control over my smile. I want to give in, really I do, but we’re in the middle of the cafeteria and his partner for the day is standing right behind him.

Will seems to notice my struggle to maintain my professionalism. The slight smile he sends me is filled with cockiness and pure sex. His eyes are filled with mischief and desire. My body responds like crazy to him. I’m all tingly and hyperaware.

“I think you should get the chocolate cake,” he whispers so close into my ear that I feel his hot breath fan out around the side of my face. I shiver uncontrollably. “Of course, this cake would be a whole lot better if you shared it with someone. Maybe even let someone eat it off of your hot, naked body,” he says, reducing me to a pile of mush with his seductive words. My panties are soaked, damn him.

“Are you going to hold up the entire line?” Carlos complains from behind Will. “Oh, sorry, Carmen. I didn’t see you there,” he adds, as he peeks around Will’s shoulder and catches his first glimpse at me.

I quickly straighten up and turn to face Carlos. “Sorry, it was my fault for holding up the line,” I tell Will’s partner.

“No worries, Carmen. I was just giving Will a hard time. I didn’t realize it was you in front of him,” he mumbles sheepishly and goes about rearranging the food on his tray.

“Have a good day, gentlemen,” I say as I turn my steely gaze away from the men in line behind me.

After the plump older lady at the register gives me my change, I turn to walk out of the cafeteria. “Oh, Carmen. Did you still want to see me after shift to discuss the new hire?” Will says from the front of the line. Carlos watches the exchange with a questioning look on his face.

“Yes, that would be great, William. I’ll see you at two o’clock,” I reply before turning and walking out of the cafeteria.

My legs somehow manage to keep me upright until I’m in the small confines of the elevator. Then, almost instantly, they turn to mush and I practically slide down the elevator wall. Fortunately, I’m alone and not required to make small talk or explain why my equilibrium is completely out of whack.

Between bites of my sandwich, answering a ton of emails and vacation request forms, time slips by. I’m interrupted from reviewing the current request form on the top of the pile by a knock on the door. When I glance up, piercing blue eyes are staring at me behind sexy glasses.

Will doesn’t say a word as he walks inside my office, closes the heavy wooden door, and throws the lock on the knob. The look in his eyes when he turns around and faces me is predatory. My throat is instantly dry, but I’m not so dry in another place.

“So, Carmen, you wanted to see me,” Will says as he stalks around my desk with slow, deliberate steps. His eyes are dilated with need, and they remain fully locked on me. Like a heat-seeking missile, he is zoned in on his target.

“Yeah, um, yes. I wanted to know -” I start as I stand up, but my words die on my lips as Will runs his large pointer finger down the side of my check. From hairline to chin, his caress is soft but powerful. This one touch says so much about the man before me. Soft yet firm. Shy yet bossy.

“What did you want to know?” he asks as his finger makes its way down the column of my neck to the spot where my black sweater meets skin. I shiver at the contact. Or maybe at the anticipation. Take your pick.

“If I could have Janine shadow you. I, um, set it up so that she’s working with you on her first day. On Friday,” I whisper as his finger continues to explore any exposed skin. I feel like my brain isn’t quite connected to my mouth. I seem to be stumbling on forming complete sentences, and I know that Will Stevens is to blame.

“I can do that,” he answers without taking his eyes off of his finger trail.

I watch helplessly as he seduces me to a pile of goo with one touch. The stroke of his finger is magical. Fairytales are written on less passion than Will is displaying right now.

“Thank you,” I whisper hoarsely.

“Is that all you wanted?” he asks as his finger makes its way up my neck and to my lips. The rough pads of his finger traces the lines of my bottom lip, his eyes blazing with heat. It’s so hot in the confines of this little office that I start to sweat.

“Yes,” I finally choke out.

“Good,” he answers moments before his lips crash onto my own. His kiss is urgent, his tongue slashing at mine as he takes everything he can from the kiss. Yet, giving me so much more in return.

Will pushes me back until my butt is smashed against the edge of my desk. His hard, unforgiving body pins me in place as his hands wrap firmly around my back. Heat from his grip radiates through me as his body meets mine. Chest to chest. Somehow he manages to deepen the kiss, though I’m not entirely sure how.

My mind forgets everything. Where I am. Who I’m with. Why we’re here. Everything. The only thing I’m thinking about is this kiss. I feel the power of his need for me with each flick of his tongue, each bite of his teeth, every nip of his full lips. This kiss says everything about his desire. And if I had any doubts, I have my confirmation pressed firmly against my lower stomach.

“I’ve been thinking about you all day,” he whispers against my swollen lips as his large hands kneed my lower back.

“Me, too,” I confess, loving the way my body feels pressed firmly against his.

“I want you. Now,” he states so matter-of-factly that it’s as if he just told me today’s weather forecast.

“I want you, too.”

And that’s all it takes.

Boss Me_Finally Complete_Teaser

Other Books in the Rivers Edge Series


Trust Me Rivers Edge Series – Book 1 (FREE)

After all of the devastating betrayals by the one she loved, Twenty-two year old Avery Stevens has spent three years raising her daughter alone, with her family and best friend as a support system, never leaving her small hometown of Rivers Edge, Missouri. Though Rivers Edge holds the pain of her past, it also holds the one person she wants but can’t have – her brother’s best friend, Maddox Jackson. When she learns the attraction might not be one-sided, will Avery be able to trust Maddox with the one thing she’s held onto tightly for the past few years?

Police officer Maddox Jackson is a ladies’ man with one foot out the door. Never planning to settle down, Maddox fights the attraction he feels for his best friend’s little sister, Avery. But can he continue to fight it when his body and his heart are leading him to the one woman he shouldn’t want?

When secrets are finally exposed, can Avery and Maddox trust each other enough to overcome the past, handle the present, and preserve their future? Can Avery trust Maddox with her heart? Will Maddox be able to convince Avery to take the chance?

**This book is intended for an audience of 18 or older due to graphic sex scenes and language.

Links to Buy:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble


Fight Me Rivers Edge Series – Book 2

Jake Stevens has it made. A local police officer with an open invitation to any number of beds around town, Jake has no desire to settle down with any of the ladies he entertains by night. After watching his best friend fall in love with his little sister, Jake is certain that love and marriage just aren’t in his cards. Heck, he’s not even playing with the same deck.

After Jake encounters a blast from the past one night, he finds himself swimming in uncharted waters. For the first time, Jake has found a woman he can’t get out of his mind. The kicker? The woman wants nothing to do with him.

Erin Anderson returns to the small Missouri town of Rivers Edge for a job after a twenty year absence. Erin spent years loathing the memory of Jake Stevens for his cruelness back in seventh grade. Now, Jake appears to be the same self-centered player he was in junior high, and no one seems to be able to push her button the way the cocky, yet devastatingly handsome cop does.

Between circumstances that keep thrusting them together and Jake’s persistence to annoy her, Erin struggles to fight her growing feelings for Jake. But, can Erin get past the hurt she felt all those years ago at the hands of a young Jake? Can Jake show Erin that what they have is worth fighting for?

Links to Buy:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble



Expect Me Rivers Edge Series -Book 3

Travis Stevens struggles to move on and forget about the one amazing night he spent tangled up in the sheets with a beautiful woman who disappeared just before dawn. Now she’s just a memory that he can’t ignore. But what do you do when the woman invades your thoughts day and night?

Josselyn McCray spent one perfect night wrapped up in the strong arms of a handsome stranger before running out in the early morning light. Now she’s out of money and luck and forced to make some life-altering decisions about her future. A future that is going to involve the man she hasn’t been able to forget.

Brought together by one night of passion, Travis and Josselyn are now linked forever. Will Travis and Josselyn be torn apart by demanding responsibilities and the stresses of getting to know each other? Or will they overcome the odds and find their way to happily ever after?

One thing is certain: life isn’t always what you expect.

*This book is intended for an audience of 18 or older due to graphic sex scenes and language.

**Can be read as a standalone but would be better enhanced by reading the previous books.

Cover by Gin’s Book Notes & Designs

Links to Buy:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble


Promise Me Rivers Edge Series -Book 4

Holly Jenkins watched her best friend finally get her happily ever after. While there’s no one more deserving than Avery Jackson, Holly can’t fight the longing and ache that settles in her chest when she thinks about her own solitary life. After kissing so many frogs, Holly starts to wonder if Prince Charming even exists.

Jase Bentley is worn out. As lead singer of the award winning rock band, Bent, Jase has everything he could possibly ever want at his fingertips. When you’re on top, the music industry moves everything within arm’s reach; money, fame, and women just ripe for the plucking. Everything except for the one thing he’s really looking for. The one dream he can’t seem to make come true.

What happens when two people from different worlds meet and are thrust into unfamiliar and unsettling territory? Can Holly navigate the demands of dating someone with a high profile profession? Can Jase walk away from the only lifestyle he’s ever known for the first woman who’s ever made him want to?

Promises are made, but can they keep them?

*This book is a novella. 36,000 words

Links to Buy:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble


Protect Me-Rivers Edge Book 5

Nate Stevens loves three things: Work, Family, Women. In that order. Having absolutely no desire to follow in three of his siblings’ footsteps by settling down, Nate lives for his work as a firefighter. That’s why his chance meeting with Lia leaves him unsettled like never before. There’s just something about the beautifully shy and reserved woman that he can’t walk away from.

Run. Hide. Keep moving. That’s exactly what Lia Walker has done for the last nine months. Escaping from her past, Lia continues to move from place to place before finding herself in the small town of Rivers Edge, Missouri. Following a chance encounter with her new boss’ brother, Nate, which leaves Lia feeling confused and vulnerable for the first time in months, Lia has to make a decision: to run or to stay.

When pasts are finally exposed, Nate and Lia find themselves at a crossroads. Nate will do anything to protect Lia from her past, but the question remains: Will Lia let him? When Lia’s past finally catches up with her, will running be the only way to protect the ones they love most in this world?

Links to Buy:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iBooks

Share-med-File_-Protect-Me-Author Bio

Lacey Black is a Midwestern girl with a passion for reading, writing, and shopping. She carries her e-reader with her everywhere she goes so she never misses an opportunity to read a few pages. Always looking for a happily ever after, Lacey is passionate about contemporary romance novels and enjoys it further when you mix in a little suspense. She resides in a small town in Illinois with her husband, two children, and a chocolate lab. Lacey loves watching NASCAR races and should only consume one mixed drink because she’s a lightweight.

Lacey’s debut novel, Trust Me, was released in August 2014. It spent several weeks in the top 100 in contemporary romance on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers for e-books. Fight Me, book 2 in the Rivers Edge series, released December 2014 and was followed by Expect Me, Rivers Edge book 3 in February 2015 and Promise Me: A Novella in April 2015. All were Amazon Best Sellers in contemporary romance.








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