Once and Forever – An anthology
By Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Emelle Gamble, Lavinia Kent and introducing Evie Owens
From five compelling authors, five original novellas which will make you laugh and cry, and believe in a love that once found will last forever. Meet a duke, a psychic, a bodyguard and a professor…and one “guardian fairy” in absorbing stories ranging from regency and contemporary romance to paranormal and women’s fiction.
Playing for Keeps by Mary Blayney
Actress Kendall Marshall is determined to get an autograph for her sick sister from famous TV personality Mike O’Hara, the Oprah Winfrey of sports. In the process she meets his brother, security consultant Steve Marshall, lands a job on O’Hara’s show and gets in the way of a man set on causing big trouble. As the stalkers attacks escalate, Steve and Kendall are thrown together and find it impossible to ignore the chemistry between them.
The Princess & the Pinot by Elaine Fox
When a beautiful woman shows up at the Vineyard Inn, wine manager Kim is certain she’s been sent by fate for the inn’s owner, Cooper. Self-effacing to a fault, Kim knows she can’t hold a candle to Principessa Bella, who also seems to know even more about wine than Kim herself, but her heart has belonged to Cooper since they shared one kiss as teenagers.
While Prin sweeps easily into the job of sommelier at the renowned inn, Kim is afraid Prin will sweep just as surely into Cooper’s arms if she doesn’t do something about it. Can she tell Cooper how she feels without losing even his friendship?
Kim is willing to try except for one problem: she’s almost certainly losing her mind. Or is that belching, swearing, smoking, farting fairy – who claims to be trying to help her – real?
Duets by Emelle Gamble
Duets offers alternating looks into the lives of two women who would seem to have little or nothing in common.
Screen star Molly Harper is on the verge of marrying a man who has swept her off her feet, thought perhaps hasn’t swept all her feelings for her first love away. Anne Sullivan, happily married for twenty-five years, is fighting to hold onto the man she loves, and hold off a confrontation that could shatter her family’s image of what they are.
Duets confronts a past secret that ties these two women’s lives together, just as chance events turn Molly and Anne’s worlds upside down.
Never and Forever by Lavinia Kent
Never and Forever is the beginning of the love story of two people who shouldn’t belong together. Molly, Miss Wilkes, runs an employment agency helping women of quality find positions perfected suited to their characters. Although her father held the title of Earl for just over a week before his death, Molly has never wanted to be a lady. She knows her place in this world – and it is not at the center of society.
The Duke of Radford also knows his place in this world – and it’s above everybody else’s. He cannot imagine a world without all the privilege and power that comes from being Radford. He’s had foreign princesses and heiresses dangled before him for years. Why would he ever have interest in a simple woman who doesn’t even understand that she should want to be a duchess?
Can these two overcome the obstacles of their own beliefs and realize that love can make all things possible?
Never and forever are both a very long time. Where will their love fit?
The Psychic Detective by Evie Owens
Psychic Martin Sterling doesn’t trust cops–and the feeling is mutual. Detective Erin Healy needs more than a ghost story to save her job and reputation. Her partner is dead, a million dollars in drugs and money is missing, and all the evidence points to her.
Can a sexy psychic and a by the book cop, trapped between the living and the dead, unearth the truth? Or will a cold-blooded killer get away with it all…
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
(Contemporary Romance – Mary Blayney’s Playing for Keeps)
“All we want is an autograph for Cassie. Who would turn down the wish of a girl waiting for a heart transplant? It can’t hurt to ask.”
Jessica rolled her eyes and Kendall knew her sister was almost convinced.
“Kendall, he’s a mega talk show host and will have a boatload of security.” Jessica nodded toward the edge of the set. “For example, who’s that guy over there watching us?”
Kendall looked over and stopped short. He was leaning against one of the old trees that lined the street, wearing a black lightweight jacket and apparently enjoying the scenery. No way was he part of a security team.
He smiled at her. It was a combo of friendly and come-on and Kendall only nodded back. But her whole body registered his whole body in a way that made her wish he was something other than a guy who had nothing better to do than pretend he was a part of a tree.
Apparently her glance was all he needed. Kendall swore very quietly when he straightened and came toward them.
(Contemporary Paranormal Romance – Elaine Fox’s The Princess & the Pinot)
“All right,” I said carefully, looking down at this tiny obnoxious man who called himself my fairy. “So what does that get me, three wishes or something?”
I wondered why it had to be me who went crazy. I mean, I already had enough problems.
“Naw, you don’t have to wish, girly.” He scratched his belly with three fingers. “I know exactly what you want. Hell, everybody here knows what you want. But the difference is – I can get it for you. Or maybe I should say, I can get him for you.”
I started shaking my head. “No. I don’t care if you are real and you can work magic. I don’t want him that way. I don’t want something fake.”
“Oh puh-leeze, you’ll take him however you can get him. And what is love but magic anyway? However it comes about?”
His point might have struck me true if he hadn’t just wriggled something out of his ear and stood examining whatever it was on the end of his finger.
(Contemporary Women’s Fiction – Emelle Gamble’s Duets)
“When are you thinking of having the wedding, Molly? And where?” Norma cleared her throat. “Here in LA or up at the Santa Barbara house?”
“In a couple of weeks, actually. At Cabo San Lucas. I think only two dozen people at most. It will be easier to keep the location a secret that way.” Molly clapped her hands together, throwing herself into the part of a thrilled bride-to-be. “It’s going to be perfect. I’ll wear your veil and your mother’s emerald earrings. Jason can give me away. Isn’t that what you always dreamed of? Me as a bride?”
Norma nodded. “Yes, I’ve dreamed of that.”
“Then be happy for me, Mom. For all of us. Please.” She folded her hands around her mother’s. “It’s a new chapter. And Ben’s perfect for me. Give him a chance and you’ll see.”
The limousine pulled into the driveway and a few seconds later stopped at the front entrance. Molly kissed Norma’s cheek and bounced out, directing the luggage removal and welcoming the family dogs that leaped around her like canine paparazzi at the sound of her famous voice.
But Norma didn’t move. A few moments later her chauffer opened the door and leaned inside. “Are you feeling alright, Senora?”
She pointed through the window at Molly. “My daughter is an excellent actress, Mr. Garcia. She looks very happy. But did you hear her say even once that she loved her fiancé?”
The old man shook his head. “No, I did not hear Molly say that.”
Norma nodded. “Ben Delmonico might be a lot of things, but ‘perfect’ for my daughter isn’t one of them.”
(Regency – Lavinia Kent’s Never and Forever)
“I do believe that we have actually circled back to my point,” the Duke of Radford replied. “Why would a man choose to marry a not quite suitable woman? Why would he willingly walk into such a trap? You say love. I wondered if there might be something else involved — if there might be some skill your women know, are taught, that renders a man insensible. I wanted to find out for myself.”
Molly had not thought it was possible for him to move closer, but now he did. Their bodies did not touch, but she doubted it would be possible to move a sheet of tissue between them. “I do not understand.”
“I spoke of seduction. I will be more frank. I wanted to find out if you — and your ladies — had knowledge of some sexual secret that would drive men from sanity. What man would not be curious? You do look as if you’ve been up all night. It does make a man wonder. Perhaps I should make you my mistress.”
Her mind went blank. It could not comprehend what he was saying. His words made no sense. Sexual? She knew the meaning of the word, but could not remember ever hearing it spoken.
She was still trying to find the words to answer, even a single word, when she felt the air shift, felt him close that breath of space between them, felt his lips settle on to hers.
(Contemporary Paranormal Romance – Evie Owens The Psychic Detective)
For a long moment he just stared back at her, into her, somehow, and Erin wondered what it would be like to believe. In psychics and magic and…to really believe in anything, other than the life you were living. She had police in her blood, though. If you couldn’t see it, feel it, taste it, smell it–if you couldn’t measure it in some way–it wasn’t real.
No matter how much you might wish it was.
But how did he know the girl was pregnant? She wasn’t showing yet.
Then she remembered he’d been watching them long before he joined them at the table, and in her mind’s eye she saw the way Mitra’s hands closed over her abdomen. Protecting and comforting. You didn’t have to be psychic to figure that out. Just observant.
And this guy was definitely observant.
Most con men were.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
NY Times Best Selling author Mary Blayney’s first two romances were contemporaries published by Silhouette Books. Since 2000 she has been writing regency set historical novels and novellas for Kensington, Bantam and Berkley. Returning to the contemporary market with her novella in ONCE AND FOREVER, Mary hopes to continue to tell stories set in both the regency and the 21st century.
Married to a retired Coast Guard officer, Mary has lived all over the US from Alaska to Puerto Rico, but is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland within sight of the Chesapeake Bay. Her life close to the Coast Guard and its mission to search and rescue, has convinced her that life is best lived with joy, love and a generous heart. Those convictions are what she most wantS to share with her readers. Family will always play a strong part in her books since she believes that family relationships are as fundamental as the love between a man and a woman.
ONE MORE KISS:
“Mary Blayney’s newest Regency romance is a genuine pleasure to read”(NY Journal of Books)
“One More Kiss is a delightful combination of social comedy, slight mystery, and sweet romance. It’s a thoroughly charming novel, well worth a read.” . . .(NY Journal of Books)
MIRROR MIRROR anthology, “If Wishes Were Horses”
Debut at #3 New York Times Mass Market List October 2013
“Blayney’s wish-granting coin entwines a pair of lonely adventure seekers in romance beyond their lives as a servant and a sergeant in her charming 1816 fantasy, If Wishes Were Horses. . . .” (Publishers Weekley, October 2013)
NY Times Best Selling author Elaine Fox began her career writing time-travel romances, such as Rita-finalist Traveler, and Impostor (both now available as e-books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble), then added historicals to the mix. After six books with Leisure Books, she moved to Avon to begin writing contemporary romances. Her first, Maybe Baby, hit the USA Today Bestseller list and eight more novels and four novellas followed, with several of them also reaching the USA Today list.
Most recently she participated in the anthology Mirror, Mirror from Berkley Publishers, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Elaine lives just outside of Washington, D.C., with a small Cuban dog and a lovely Argentinean man. Elaine is trying to learn Spanish.
Praise for Beauty, Sleeping, in the anthology MIRROR, MIRROR:
“Fox introduces a charming ghostly television reporter to the woman who buys his haunted house in Beauty, Sleeping, a clever, turned-on-its-head version of Sleeping Beauty.” Publishers Weekly
Praise for HELLO, DOGGY!:
“HELLO, DOGGY! by Elaine Fox is a laugh-out-loud, character-driven story that will captivate readers from their first introduction to the lovable pooch and her dreamy owner.” Fresh Fiction
Praise for BEWARE OF DOUG:
“A must read.” Fresh Fiction
Emelle Gamble was a writer at an early age, bursting with the requisite childhood stories of introspection. These evolved into bad teen poetry and worse short stories. She took her first stab at full length fiction in an adult education writing class when her kids were in bed. As M.L. Gamble, she published several romantic suspense novels with Harlequin. She has contracted with Soul Mate Publishing for Secret Sister, published in the summer of 2013, and Dating Cary Grant, a Spring 2014 release.
Molly Harper will be released by Posh Publishing in December, 2013.
Emelle lives in suburban Washington D.C. with her husband, ‘Phil-the-fist’, her hero of thirty years, and two orange cats, Lucy and Bella. These girls, like all good villains, have their reasons for misbehaving. Her daughter, Olivia, and son, Allen, are happily launched on their own and contributing great things to society, their mother’s fondest wish.
Praise for Secret Sister
“Along with being a very unique and captivating plot, SECRET SISTER offers a shocking turn of the paranormal kind. So if you are the type of person that wants ordinary romance in a book, you won’t find that here. This is a story of friendship, family, and most of all, true love and what those things can mean. I cannot recommend SECRET SISTER strongly enough… “ Fresh Fiction, Fresh Reviews
“If you’re looking for a typical women’s fiction/romance, don’t look here… this story has a twist of the paranormal that will have you willingly stretching your belief in order to enjoy the plot. Emelle Gamble has created a story that will tear your heart out.” Long and Short Reviews
Secret Sister http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Sister-ebook/dp/B00DUL4LQA
Evie Owens was born in Japan, but grew up on a dairy farm in Upper Michigan. She’s waited tables and tended bar, which makes her a very good tipper, but writing is her passion. She’s thrilled to be included in this anthology with some of her favorite authors.
These days, Evie lives in Maryland while her two fabulous daughters and one glorious granddaughter live too far away. Leaving her no alternative but to turn to a life of crazy cat ladyness (except for the “cat” and the “ladyness” parts).
The Psychic Detective is Evie’s first published novella.
Goodreads: Evie Owens
Lavinia Kent never knew that most people don’t make up stories in their heads to pass the time. She still has a hard time understanding how those who don’t survive the doctor’s waiting room or a grocery store line without another world to escape into.
Growing up in New York state and Wisconsin, Lavinia graduated from Wellesley College and, for reasons that are still not quite clear, also holds an MBA from Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University. Lavinia has remained in Washington ever since.
She lives under the gracious (and usually benign) rule of Erzsebet, the cat, along with her husband, three children, one cockatiel, two rats, and Erzsebet’s younger, subordinate tomcat, otherwise known as The Golden Snitch.
As the mother of three, Lavinia finds “leisure time” to be ever-elusive, but when she is not reading romance novels, she watches far too much HBO and reality television. It must also be noted that she has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Buffy and Doctor Who.
Lavinia was a two-term president of the Washington Romance Writers and is proud to be a four-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart nominee.
She was excited (and humbled and thrilled and over the moon) about the publication of her first historical Romance, A Talent for Sin, in June 2009. Her second book, Bound by Temptation,was released in February 2010. Her third book, Taken by Desire, is available in December 2010.