Guest Post with Francine Beaton

Rugby meets romance

What has Fourth of July, rugby and romance in common?

The obvious answer should be, absolutely nothing. It was, however, what led to the writing of the Playing for Glory series. On 26 February, I’ll release the third book in the series, and the first I’ve ever written, Leading from the Front.

A chance meeting with a rugby player from Jersey on a Fourth of July boat cruise on the Hudson planted the seed although I didn’t know it then. Before, and even during that meeting I not even dreamed about writing a novel, so a rugby romance was out of the question. It was only on the long flight from New York to Johannesburg while struggling through another rugby romance, the seed was planted.

I’m not mentioning the writer or the book, but it was absolute garbage. It felt as if the author knew nothing about the game, fitting in sex scenes on every second page to cover for the bad storyline. I suddenly thought that I’m sure I can write a better rugby romance than that. When we arrived in Johannesburg, I already planned a series. I’ve never written a book before and never dreamed of writing one either. It was just a random thought. But it seemed that I unpacked my muse along with my dirty laundry. Two days after our return from New York, I started writing. That was the end of July 2016.

I wrote non-stop for the next six months, finishing about six novels during that time. The first ones were just as bad as the one I read on the plane. It didn’t stop me though. In May 2017 I attended a Romance Master Class in Cape Town with writing coach Sarah Bullen of The Writing Room. Just before that class, I’ve finished the seventh novel in the series I called Taming a Buffalo. I took that book called Under the Mistletoe along to the course. During the course, Sarah read parts of the novel and encouraged me to continue. Over the next three months, Sarah helped me to polish the book. She also advised me to change the names of the books and the series name to something that relates to sport. Under the Mistletoe changed to Eye on the Ball, which was first published in April 2019 by Roane publishers who had closed their doors at the end of 2018. Since then I’ve got my rights back and started to self-publish. 

The series Playing for Glory, as well as the prequel series called Kick-Off, consisting of three books, all deals with the players and management of a fictional rugby team based in Pretoria. Because rugby is a professional sport, I had no choice than to create my own team called the Buffaloes, playing in a fictional series called the International Club Challenge. 

The Playing for Glory series was supposed to be typical sports romances with sizzling sex scenes. It didn’t stay that way. My characters seem to follow their own destiny and it doesn’t matter how hard I tried, they stay true to themselves. I still blame it on Jakes in Eye on the Ball. Although Jakes had the looks, the physicality, macho male image, the intelligence and other attributes to make him an alpha male, Jakes wanted to highlight important issues that had nothing to do with his looks. With Eye on the Ball I wanted to show the readers that even though men like Jakes are physically tough, playing a hard and physical game, they may struggle with the same insecurities other people suffer from. They may be emotionally vulnerable and that is okay. It is, however, important to talk about it, and sometimes show your sensitive side before it is too late.

Leading from the Front is my ninth book. Two of those nine books are in Afrikaans, my home language, and the rest in English. Leading in the Front was supposed to be the first book, but again Jakes had a different idea.

 

LEADING FROM THE FRONT

Temptation can come in any form.

 

As long as it wasn’t Melissa Roux. Daniel Cooper had known that since the first moment he’d seen the new physio for the Buffaloes. As captain, he had to set an example and falling head over heels for the feisty blonde with the endless long legs wasn’t the way to do it.

 

Melissa knew Daniel was going to be a problem from the first day she walked into Buffaloes Stadium. There was no way she was going to risk her career for an arrogant chauvinist who called her a blonde bimbo. For that, she worked too hard to get her dream job.

 

Neither had reckoned with the undeniable chemistry between them and the famous Cooper curse. When he couldn’t hide it anymore, Daniel made a simple request which had more repercussions than he expected. In his quest to find the truth, he made another error in judgement, risking not only Melissa’s career but also the loyalty of his team and the Club.

 

Daniel and Melissa both had to make important decisions: what’s more important? Your career or love? 

 

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A Time For Change!

Hi to all of you lovely people…yes, you there, the one that has bothered to open this blog post and give it a read!

I’ve been posting plenty of reviews here over the past few years as well as my rants, usually about something that happened on FaceBook, aptly named by my step-father as ‘the book of the devil.’

Upon great reflection it has come to my attention that my rants have had far more attention, and therefore that’s what I’m going to do! JUST KIDDING! But, my posts will be more centred around my observations and experiences. You will not see me writing about the bloody casting of The Little Mermaid though, I mean…why is this even a thing?

I’ve recently become a reviewer for a lovely FaceBook page called Rainey Day Book Reviews (link opens in a new tab) and you can still follow my reviews by hitting the ‘like’ button. I’m joined by the lovely Lorraine Leatham, the pages original owner and Grace Coronado who joined at the same time as I did. If you’d like a review, please do get in touch by messaging the page or e-mailing us at raineydaybookreviewcrew@gmail.com.

I’ll also still be posting cover reveals, interviews, new releases…I’ve been offering, but strangely they haven’t been taken up. This must be a really rubbish blog! If you’re looking for content for your blog, you go right ahead and message me! I’d snap your arm off for the promo!

On a final note, and because I’m here, please don’t forget to enter my giveaway, share it around, for the love of all that’s holy…do something with it! L.T. Kelly’s Giveaway

Thank you!

Lucy

Chrissie Bradshaw Spotlight

Today, I’m welcoming fellow RNA author, Chrissie onto my blog. I met Chrissie at the 2016 RNA annual conference. I seem to recall her being green with envy when she spotted me outside stylishly sporting leopard print silky pyjamas and rocking heated rollers…Bet Lynch eat your heart out!

Paws in books

I like it when a pet is a minor character in a novel I’m reading. Animals sneak into my own writing too. I suppose including them depends on whether paws tread over your everyday life or not.

In ‘ A Jarful of Moondreams’, the Moon family have an Egyptian Mau with a huge personality that can’t be ignored. Did I mention that I once had a wonderful Egyptian Mau? We really do write from experience. 

I needed a fiesty little dog who would win the heart of an old lady in ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’. Before I knew it, I was writing about a Welsh terrier. Did I mention that a Welsh terrier is the bane of my life? At least I could make my fictional Welshie, Bracken a well-behaved little fella. 

My own little terror has been through enough adventures to merit his own novel. For instance, one day I wanted a sundrenched stroll and I got a drenched Sunday stroll! It was quite a day and Oscar almost drowned. 

Oscar and I were walking on the beach with my friend and her lab, Ruby before lunch and the beach was really busy so we decided to walk around the old outdoor swimming pool as it was deserted at that end.

The pool runs alongside the beach and the sea at the other side of the pool is deep when the tide is medium to high but the barrier is waist height with railings after that so it seems safe and I wasn’t worried about Oscar, who detests water.

After a couple of minutes of walking along and watching the dogs race around the inner well where the pool had once been, I couldn’t see him and thought he must have hightailed it back onto the beach. I called him and a man from high up on the top prom called back, ‘Your dog’s slipped into the water!’

I just couldn’t believe it and ran to look over the high wall where he was pointing to see a drop of at least 10 foot and deep choppy sea water ( there are rip tide signs around this bit of the beach) I verged on hysterics because I couldn’t see Oscar. 

The man called out, ‘He’s scrabbling to try to get back up the wall!’ But Oscar was so far below I couldn’t see him.

We all sprinted back to the beach and I waded in to the ice cold sea up to waist height but then the sea bed fell away to rocks and deeper. The lovely man had run down to us and came into the sea too. He had the foresight to remove his jacket (I was just in there quilted coat and all) and he told me to stay put and he’d swim around to find him. I was frantic in case he’d drowned and worried in case he barky-faced the swimmer away. After a lifetime, the man swam back with Oscar under his arm and I gave them both the biggest hug! Our hero just shook off the water and picked up his coat and went back to his friends soaking wet! What if he hadn’t been around? 

Some day, that scene might just appear as a first encounter of the hero in one of my novels. I much prefer my pet drama to be contained in my books where I can control the outcome. 

Biography

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar.
A JARFUL of MOONDREAMS, a contemporary story about family relationships, secrets and how dreams can come true, is her first novel. 
THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS, a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother, is out now as an ebook and a paperback.
Chrissie has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.
Chrissie enjoys tweeting to readers on @ChrissieBeee
Her instagram account is chrissie_bradshaw_author
Her blog is http://www.chrissiebradshaw.com
and she has a Chrissie Bradshaw author page on Facebook.
She would love to hear from readers.

Buried Dreams by Chrissie Bradshaw

Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams. 

Erinhas buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is avoiding the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her ask, would Mark cheat on her?

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?

As soon as I started talking to the characters, I knew I was hooked.’ 5 star review  

‘This is a book with a number of serious threads running through it that make the whole so much more than the sum of it’s parts… a very well written story and the characters are so well rounded that you really feel for them and hope that everything will turn out right for them all.’ 5 star review

‘This is the second book I’ve read by this author and it didn’t disappoint. Like the first book, the characters are believable and have you involved in their lives from the start.’ 5 star review 

Thanks for doing me, Chrissie! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us 🙂

Grab your copy of THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1719995176

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1548606335&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=The+Barn+of+Buried+Dreams&psc=1

***REVIEW***Malibu Secrets by MK Meredith

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Blurb:

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesn’t want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.

Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addi’s home is perfect for the shoot, but she’s far too tempting. He’s never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling there’s something she’s hiding…

Review:

Well, MK Meredith has done it again! See my review of the tasty Malibu Betrayals here. That was book one in the Malibu Sights series of saucy standalone novels that first whet my appetite for Meredith’s smooth as glass writing.

For book two she delivered her readers Malibu Secrets. Any fan of MK, or indeed of contemporary romance, will not be disappointed! This is the story of Addi Decker, the younger sister of Samantha Dekker who was the heroine in Malibu Betrayals.

Addi is suffering with what I’d call youngest sibling disorder. By that I mean she still feels as though her family view her as a child. Addi possesses nothing if not a steely determination to rid her family of that viewpoint. However, she’s hit a wall and everything is about to come crashing down on her. Addi quit her job in pursuit of her dream to become a full time published author. So far no-one is biting at her manuscript. Her great-aunt left her a beautiful house, and if she doesn’t come up with a solution soon she could lose it. Addi is a beautifully written character that’s easy to identify with if you’re a woman that’s got something about you.

Then comes the answer to her problem. The chance to rent her home out for a Hollywood movie. Hollywood has always left a bad taste in her mouth after her sisters experiences. She’s turned it down before, but now it’s looking like the last chance to save the home she dearly loves.

Then comes ex-model, Roque Gallagher who’s pouring his time and money into making a film. He has his own agenda to fulfil. He wants to prove he’s more than just a pretty face and his family name. I shit you not, this guy is HOT HOT HOT! He’s undoubtedly your next book boyfriend waiting to happen.

Addi makes a deal with Roque and allows him to rent her house. She needs more money though, so she pockets the cash for the hotel and lives out the film time uncomfortably in the house. That means going against the contract that she’s signed, not only that but she’s keeping an epic secret from Roque who she’s come to fall in love with. Let me tell you, Roque has an excellent reason as to why he hates secrets…

As always Meredith’s writing style triumphs above all else. I can’t imagine reading anything she’s written and not letting it take me into every scene. She’s the smoothest writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Her sex scenes are second to none and leave me hot under the collar even in the frigid cold of a British winter.

I can’t recommend Meredith to enough people. So, I’ll just end with saying that she is da’ bomb of romance authors, and you’ve sorely missed out if you don’t pick up her book today.

I award Malibu Secrets 5 easy film reels:

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Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

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Connect with MK:

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***EXCERPT*** Kissing Katie by L.T. Kelly

Cover:

Kissing Katie

 

Blurb:

Iraq war widow Katie Simmons hasn’t considered giving love another chance since the devastating loss of her husband. She’s happy sharing her love with her six-year-old daughter, Jessica. What more could she want from life?

Evan Waters is headed for the big time. He’s plowing his time, money and energy into recording Spires’ debut album. Following on in his British rock legend father’s footsteps, he has big shoes to fill, a mission made more difficult by his alcoholic mother.

When Katie and Evan meet on the London Underground, she denies his advances. Evan must find a way to demolish the walls she’s built around her heart. But even if he’s successful, will he be able to provide her with the commitment she deserves and still fulfill his ambitions?

Excerpt:

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” she called up the street as Evan turned to look at Katie. His sea-green eyes homed in on hers, loaded with revelation as he glanced at Jessica then back to her. The realization that she hadn’t told him because she’d been scared he’d run slapped her already pink cheeks. Despite her protests, she hadn’t wanted him to go away.

“Hi.” She greeted him breathlessly, even though she’d stopped running long before the physical exertion had the chance to take her breath away.

“Hi.” He smiled as she stood there awkwardly and aimlessly fiddled with a stray thread on her work tunic. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Jessica eyes popped from Katie to Evan, her face still screwed up, and her father’s bright-blue eyes flashing with confusion. Katie opened her dry mouth to speak, but Jessica got there first.

“Hi, I’m Jessica. Who are you?”

Evan walked around the car, stepped onto the curb and held out his hand. “I’m Evan. Do you enjoy going to the zoo?”

Jessica shrugged. “I’m six years old. Of course, I like the zoo.”

Katie chuckled at her daughter’s serious face. She could tell Jessica was trying to act grown up. Evan laughed, too.

“We could go, if you like?”

Jessica folded her arms and glanced around the street as though she were thinking about it. She loved the zoo, so she had nothing to think about. “When? Now?”

Evan nodded.

“It’s a school night, you know?” she stated matter-of-factly.

Evan nodded again. “I promise to have you back in time for bed.”

“Okay, then, we have a deal as long as my mom can come, too.”

Evan and Katie exchanged grins. “Is that okay with you?” he asked, his head dipped and his voice but a whisper.

“It’s a bit late to ask for my permission, but yes, as long as it’s okay with you?”

“Sure it is.” He opened the passenger door and pulled out a wicker basket. “We’ll have to take the train, though. I didn’t expect there to be three of us.” He nudged Jessica with his elbow and looked at Katie as though to indicate Katie might be the unexpected guest.

Katie smiled, shaking her head while pulling her keys out. She took Jessica’s school bag from her and placed it in the hallway. “Come on then,” she said, taking Jessica’s hand and pulling her alongside Evan on the way to the underground.

kissing katie 3

“What’s your favorite animal?” Evan asked Jessica as they leaned on the railing outside the monkey enclosure.

“It has to be the penguins,” she replied after appearing to give it much thought.

“Why so?”

“Because they’re cute, funny, they’re good swimmers and they like fish.”

“Ah, just like you then.” He reached out and patted her white-blonde head.

She rolled her eyes at him. “How do you know I’m a good swimmer?”

“I saw the swimming badges sewn on your school bag.” He dramatically rolled his eyes back at her, forcing her to giggle.

Katie had stepped back. She’d hardly spoken a word since they’d embarked on the trip. Her stomach hurt, and her heart ached. Evan had been nothing but spectacular with Jessica since they’d met. He hadn’t even questioned why Katie hadn’t mentioned her daughter’s existence, but she knew the questions would come later. She’d been glad her daughter had good taste in food when Evan had produced bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon from the picnic basket. Not your usual children’s dinner, but Jessica devoured it.

“Shall we head back?”

Katie nodded. “I hope Al’s car is still there.”

Evan laughed. “It’ll be cool. Knowing Al, there’s probably a tracker on it that would blow the thief up.”

Katie laughed and grabbed Jessica’s hand. “Aw, do we have to go, Mommy?”

“Yes, bunny, remember, Evan said he’d have you back in time for bed, and…” She glanced down at her watch. “He lied. We have fifteen minutes to get home.”

“Oh man, my bad, I’m sorry.” He pressed his palm to his chest in mock horror.

Jessica giggled and grabbed his hand. “I like you. You talk like you’re off the television.”

Katie’s eyes traveled from her hand to his, also being held firmly by Jessica. Her stomach constricted. They must look like a family, walking along hand-in-hand. Tears burned behind her eyes as she squeezed the little hand, stared straight ahead and tried to pretend this wasn’t happening.

The last thing she wanted was to start playing happy families then have it all snatched away from her…again.

They arrived back, and Evan kind of invited himself in. A bottle of wine remained in the bottom of the picnic basket, and he insisted on them drinking it together.

Jessica whined until Katie gave in and allowed Evan up to say goodnight to her before they went downstairs together.

Kissing Katie 1

Katie’s limbs moved awkwardly once they were alone, her emotions were all over the place. She didn’t know what to say, how to act, and consequently was relieved at the sight of the offered bottle of wine. She hoped it would soothe her frayed nerves. She grabbed the bottle and busied herself trying to locate the corkscrew in the kitchen drawer.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she turned to face him.

“Why are you sorry?” He cocked his head.

She mirrored his movements and leaned against the counter opposite him in her tiny galley kitchen. “Because I should have told you.”

“Yes, you should have. What did you think I’d do? Run?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I think I probably would have told you if I’d thought you would take off,” she lied, trying desperately to resurrect her protective walls.

He sighed heavily and looked away from her. “You keep saying that. The problem is that you’re not giving the signals that you want me to leave you alone. They’re just words, Katie.”

“I’m fucked up, Evan. I can’t risk getting any more fucked up than I already am. Trust me, you don’t want to get involved with me, not romantically anyway. Besides, I can’t afford to feel that way ever again.”

“What way?”

“Utterly destroyed, heartbroken, completely shattered.”

“What happened to you, Katie?” he growled.

She flinched. “It’s a long story.”

He leaned forward and shifted beside her. Her fingers burst with electric energy as he wrapped his large hand over her fist and slipped the corkscrew from her hand. She turned to look at him, finding sadness in his eyes, but luckily no pity. She couldn’t stand pity. His ragged breathing picked up a notch as she stared into those amazing clear green eyes. Her breathing quickened as he smoothed his warm fingers along her jaw line.

“It’s a big bottle, and I can get more if we need it. Tell me what happened so I can understand.” His fingers reached her chin and stopped.

She blinked back tears. His head moved slowly toward her face and broke its descent down her cheek with his lips. She knew she should move away, but he still clung to her chin, and the feel of his velvety lips fluttering gently over her skin had her paralyzed in the sweetest of ways.

“Where are the glasses?” he asked, finally stepping away.

Her head spun as she shot him a look of confusion. “Oh, yes, the wine.” She brought her palm up to her forehead, trying to disguise the heat rising from her groin to her face. “I’ll get them. Take the wine through.”

He nodded, grabbed the wine and went to the living room. After he left, she steadied herself, clutching the kitchen counter and trying desperately to cling to her resolve. He’d done an excellent job at battering it. She smoothed her hands over her face and ran her fingers under her eyes in an attempt to wipe away any mascara that might be there then grabbed two glasses from the cupboard. She took a deep breath in preparation for baring all and followed Evan into the living room.

He’d taken a space on her couch, his solid arm laid out along the back and one knee perched up on the cushion. She placed the glasses on the coffee table in front of him. He’d already removed the cork, so he poured the wine into the glasses as she sat beside him, her knee pressed against his. She sipped the wine gratefully.

“Where do you want me to start?”

“The beginning is always a good place.”

Kissing Katie 2

Buy links:

About the author:

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L.T. Kelly lives in rural Lincolnshire with her husband, two children and a mentally unstable Cockapoo named Mylo. She enjoyed a successful eleven-year career in the Royal Air Force which put plenty of stories in her writing cap. 

L.T. now divides her time between writing, being a wife, mother and an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the ambulance service. 

It’s the writing that keeps her sane.

Connect with L.T. Kelly:

Video Interview with MK Meredith

 

This is probably the worst video interview in the world EVER! Please forgive me, the editing is awful but we sort of had fun. I should have had wine first!

Please check out MK Meredith and her books! You will not be disappointed. Also, read the post about my visit with her, HERE. 🙂

Connect with MK

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For all information on all of MK’s books please check out and subscribe to her Amazon author page.

Amazon U.S.

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Malibu Betrayals

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Her chance to write a whole new ending…

Hollywood screenwriter Samantha Dekker spent the last year picking up the pieces after her husband’s suicide. Along with grief, guilt, and tabloid hell, she’s had to watch helplessly as the film industry slammed its doors in her face. Now Sam has the rarest of Hollywood opportunities – a second chance…working with the one man she swore never to see again.

Hunktastic A-lister Gage Cutler knows that Sam blamed him for his part in her husband’s death. Still, Sam is the one woman he can never forget. All he wants is a second chance of his own – to prove he’s not the player she remembers. And Malibu is the perfect backdrop to make a girl swoon.

Except they’re not alone. Someone is watching Sam and Gage’s steamy off-screen romance with the most dangerous of intentions…

Malibu Secrets

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Every girl has a secret (or two)…

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesn’t want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.

Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addi’s home is perfect for the shoot, but she’s far too tempting. He’s never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling there’s something she’s hiding…

Seducing Seven

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Romance author Seven Michaels believes in love to her very core. She has to—not only for herself, but for her readers. So when luxury salesman Blake Turner insults not only her books but the people who read them, Seven’s ready to throw down. How dare a playboy like Blake insinuate romance lovers are full of crap? He wants proof? Fine. She bets Blake she can make him fall for her by using the rules in her latest novel before the end of the convention, or she’ll denounce love in front of all her fellow authors and fans at the Romance Lovers Convention ball. A dangerous game to be sure, but humiliating Blake is worth the risk. But when Seven realizes she’s the one who’s being seduced, she’s no longer sure who is playing whom…or whether she’ll have a career when the bet is over.