A MATCH MADE IN SPAIN by Rochelle Merrill – Featured New Release

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A MATCH MADE IN SPAIN

by 

R.L. Merrill


BLURB

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A small-town ASL teacher is reluctantly captivated by the Catalonian vintner determined to woo her across the Spanish countryside. Can a match made on a tour of Spain be a fairytale second chance for this grumpy/sunshine pair?

The ink on Cecilia’s divorce papers might be dry, but she’s in no hurry to connect with another traveling businessman, especially the spatially challenged one seated beside her on a crack-of-dawn flight from San Francisco to Madrid.

Felip should be on top of the world running his family’s cava empire, however life has left him feeling unfulfilled as of late. Good conversation and a hard-won smile from his seatmate—a grumpy but lovely American hearing-impaired teacher—have him wondering if maybe fairytales are possible—or if he’s lost his mind, especially when a series of mishaps lands him in the role of the substitute tour guide for her group.

Over the course of twelve days, Felip’s irresistible charm and lust for life break down Cecilia’s carefully constructed walls as he competes with needy teenagers and pulls off a daring rescue to show her they are a good match. Will Cecilia see that their worlds are closer together than she thinks, and that faith and compromise can give them a real happily ever after?

Perfect for fans of Shipped by Angie Hockman and People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. And those who miss the excitement of exploring a new place with a special someone by your side will appreciate the journey.

Buy Links:

Amazon          Barnes and Noble          iBooks          Kobo           

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EXCERPT

“You were going to tell me about playing guitar,” she reminded him.

            “Sí, claro. I was a young boy, I do not remember how old, but my father played. I wanted to have special time with him, and since I was too small to be of much use to him in other ways, I thought if we could play together, we’d always have that. He agreed, and he began to teach me. It is quite a stereotypical Spanish thing to do, play guitar and sing.”

            “You sing, too?”

            He shrugged. “Sometimes.”

            “Sometimes,” she repeated. “I’d like to hear you,” she said, feeling brave. They were nearing the hotel, and she could see the kids entering the building ahead of her.

            “I’m happy to sing for you, cariño.” He pulled her closer and kissed the top of her hair. She couldn’t help how much she loved being this close to him, could she? Was it so wrong that she felt a bit like a princess, even though she didn’t believe in fairy tales?

            Cecilia felt her phone buzzing in the pocket of her dress. She stopped walking to pull it out. Greg. Awesome.

            “Do you need to answer that?”

            “No.”

            “No?”

            She exhaled and hit the accept button. “You know I’m in Spain, Greg.”

            “Uh, Cecilia? Is that you?”

            “Who else would be answering my phone?”

            Felip’s dramatic eyebrows raised and his eyes widened. She gave him the sign for ex-husband, but he probably didn’t know what that meant.  

            “I’m sorry. Is this a good time?”

            Cecilia smiled and wished she could say, “Yeah, I’m walking down a dark street in Madrid, one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a gorgeous man who just serenaded me in front of a whole roomful of people. No, it’s not a good time,” but years of practice attempting to be a good communicator kept her from shoving that in his face.

            “What do you want?”

            Felip gestured that he could walk away from her if she needed privacy, and she shook her head. She grabbed the front of his shirt so he would completely understand that she wanted him near. He looked down at her hand and chuckled, removing it from his shirt and pressing a kiss to her palm.

            “Well, we got an offer on the house.”

            The news startled Cecilia. She moved out of the middle of the sidewalk, dragging Felip with her. “That was fast,” she answered him finally.

            “It’s ten thousand over our asking price. I think it’s a good one.”

            They’d been unsure how quickly their house would sell. She’d done so much to fix it up over the years that the realtor had been pleasantly surprised by its condition and felt they could sell it as-is. But Grass Valley wasn’t exactly a booming real estate market, part of the reason Greg had left in the first place.

            “What does Nicki say?” Their realtor was an old friend of theirs from high school. It had been a bit awkward working with her since they were now a divorced couple, and everyone had assumed she and Greg would stay together forever.

            “She thinks it’s good. She said we might could get more, but seeing as we’re in a hurry—”

            “You mean you’re in a hurry. You and Carol.”

            Felip leaned closer, and she assumed he could hear both sides of the conversation since she wasn’t using the Bluetooth function on her hearing aide. She didn’t much care if he heard.

            “Well, yeah, honey. We talked about this. Carol and I need to find a place as soon as possible.”

            “And, honey, that isn’t really my problem. You could always move back in with your parents. That’s what I did.”

            Felip covered his mouth to smother a laugh. Cecilia winked at him. It was so nice to be free of Greg after two years of feeling like everything was her fault. She truly didn’t wish him any ill will, but his pushiness about this house business had bugged the shit out of her, especially because she knew it had more to do with Carol than with him.

            She heard Greg exhale on the other end. “Cecilia, I’ve waited a long time to make this move permanent. I’m ready to get on with my life.”

            His words chipped away at her buoyant mood but couldn’t demolish it. Having Felip beside her reminded her that she deserved better, and her brief stint with a therapist when they’d first agreed to get divorced had convinced her that she had every right to do what was best for her. She had gone just to make sure she wasn’t crazy for not feeling guilty or sad. It had been very much like dinner with a close girlfriend, and since her therapist happened to also know ASL, she’d been able to express herself in a way that had made those brief sessions a huge affirmation.

            “Greg, you did move on with your life, and that’s fine. We’ve been over this. I’m not trying to hold you back. I had no choice about taking this trip, you know that. The paperwork will need to wait until I get back so I can look at everything.”

            “I know,” Greg said, sounding defeated. “I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean to interfere with you having a good time. You deserve to have a good trip. Has it been good?”

            Cecilia’s cheeks hurt, she smiled so wide. She gazed up into Felip’s handsome face and wished they were alone somewhere so they could kiss each other silly again. Feeling brave, she slid her hand around his back and pressed up against him, his smile matching hers in intensity.

            “I’m having a wonderful time.” She ran the fingers of her other hand through the sliver of chest hair visible where his shirt was unbuttoned. “Spain is quite beautiful.” She smiled up at Felip, loving his lusty expression. His eyelids fluttered and he bent down to brush his lips against her forehead.

            He suddenly turned his head toward the hotel, and she looked to see Gabrielle gesturing for them to come inside.

            “I’ll see what she wants,” he said. “You take your time. I’ll be right back.”

            He kissed her hair before trotting up the street. Cecilia watched him run with appreciation. He moved like a soccer player, as though running was effortless. She’d never understood that ability. She felt like a total clod when she tried to run.

            “Are you still there? Who was that?”

            “Hmm? Oh that? That was Felip.”

            “Felip? Cecilia…?”

            “He’s our tour guide, sort of.”

            “Sort of? You sound funny. Are you alright?”

            “I’m great, actually. Sorry. Just distracted. We were at a flamenco show. It was amazing! The dancers, the singers… The club was really cool, too, and—”

            “A club? Didn’t the noise bother you?”

            “It did, a little, until they started performing. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. They were so passionate, so full of emotion when they danced.”

            Greg laughed, and she asked what was so funny.

            “Nothing, you just sound so, I don’t know… Different. Happy. I haven’t heard you sound like this in a long time.”

            “I haven’t felt like this in a long time.” She watched Gabrielle and Felip having a conversation outside the doors of the hotel and wasn’t even perturbed at the number of hair flicks Gabrielle made. They had no effect on Felip, and he likely didn’t notice them because he kept looking in her direction.

            “Cecilia…I’m—”

            “Greg, if you think the offer is a good one, I’m okay with it. I don’t want to hold you back.”

            He exhaled into the phone, sounding quite relieved. “Thank you, Cecilia. That means a lot. I’m sorry—”

            “It’s fine. You and Carol go start your life.” Maybe I’m about to do the same.

            “Thank you. I’ll have Nicki contact you by email for the official signature stuff if she needs it before you get back.”

            “Sure. When I get back. I’m not signing anything until I return.” Felip returned and gave her a look to see if she was okay. She signed to him that she was fine, and he shook his head. He tried to mime something to her, and it looked so ridiculous she held up a finger to him.

            “I gotta go, Greg. Take care.”

            He said something else but she was done with her past. Cecilia clicked the end button and slid the phone back into the pocket of her dress. She held out her hand and Felip took it, allowing her to pull him close.

            “You’re going to have to teach me sign language,” he said, slipping his arms around her waist.

            “Mmmm, you do fine without words.”

            She pushed up onto her toes, determined to take the lead this time, and the moment her lips touched his, he moaned softly and opened for her. His hands gripped her tightly, pulling her body flush with his, and the contact shut out the rest of the world. He whispered something against her lips she couldn’t quite make out, but then he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her so tight she forgot to breathe. All that mattered was this man standing before her, his kiss a promise of more passion and fun to come, if she simply took his hand.

He was right, she was silly to think they wouldn’t see each other. This wasn’t the dark ages. There were planes and FaceTime and Skype…

Oh, Lord she was in trouble. She’d scold herself, but then she knew it was too late. She was already involved.


ABOUT ROCHELLE 

roIf R.L. Merrill is your local hard rock/metal radio station, Rochelle is her Adult Contemporary alter ego. Spinning feel-good stories to make you laugh and swoon, Ro writes romance for grown-ups who use their words (mostly) and take care of business. She’s a mom and wife who’s on hiatus from a career in education while she explores the new terrain of mid-life adventures. You can catch her walking and gardening in her neighborhood by the Bay, spoiling her rescue pets, and dreaming of attending concerts and theaters again someday. Stay Tuned for more hits coming your way

Connect with Ro at rlmerrillauthor.comtwitter.com/rlmerrillauthor, instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor, or facebook.com/rowritesrocknromance. 

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Featured New Release

A Delicious Dilemma

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA

Sera Taíno

 

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ADD Book CoverDifferent worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

 

Purchase at your favorite retailer here: https://serataino.com/a-delicious-dilemma/

 


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Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is out now with Harlequin Romance Special Edition.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


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A Delicious Dilemma is a triumphant debut for Sera Taíno. It’s a sumptuous celebration of food, culture, family, friendship, and love. I devoured this tasty offering in one sitting, its themes so familiar and dear to me.

I find myself relating closely with Val. The eldest of three, close to her dad, loves dancing and cooking, and takes the responsibility for her family’s well-being upon her shoulders. She’s a truly admirable heroine.

Sera’s writing of Philip was impressive as well. I loved the way he handled his inadvertent deception. I cheered his coming into his own against his father. His gentle wooing of Val put a smile on my face. 

I loved that the romance was sweet and slow-burn. The tension in the story was just enough that Val and Philip still had to work for their happy ending. Their conflict was authentic but not too heavy drama and was resolved in a satisfactory manner.

Overall, a start that’s more than promising. It already shows Sera Taíno’s immense talent. I want more stories from her. Soon, please. 

 

4 Four-half-stars

 


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A couple of my favorite recipes from the Sabor de Casa cookbook are Roasted Pork and flan as I featured here. Check them out for yourself. 

BABY, IT’S HOT OUTSIDE, A Contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Café – Happy Book Birthday!

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BABY, IT’S HOT OUTSIDE

A Contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Café


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It’s getting HOT in here …

This multicultural charity anthology has something for everyone: enemies to lovers, swoon-worthy athletes, vacation romance, insta love, fake relationships – take your pick or read them all!

All proceeds go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This summer read is available for a limited time only, don’t miss it!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096THQTVW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B096THQTVW

Available in KU

INDIVIDUAL STORY BLURBS

Ignite – Kenna Shaw Reed

She. Hit. Me.

My first day in town and my ute is wrecked. I’m here to play football, not play fireman. Rylee’s sexy, sassy and knows her way around cars. But I’m not looking for the perfect woman— even if she crashed into me.

He’s not my type.

I’m done with footballers. I’m done with sexy AF men who can have any woman they want. I’m done. Except, Ethan is more than a footballer. He’s more than his billion-watt smile. But if he’s not ready to be part of our town, then we have nothing to ignite.

***

Say You’re Mine – Charlotte O’Shay

Skylar: I’m not the type of woman who kisses strangers in bars. But if you met this guy—the one with a shiner on his sculpted cheekbone and a New York City sized chip on his massive shoulders, if you looked into his turbulent eyes—you’d understand. He figures I’ll tumble into his bed—because I kissed him without knowing his name. But one stolen kiss is all I’ll take because this bad boy will never be satisfied with a woman like me.

Finn: Actions speak louder than words and I’ve learned to let my fists do my talking. Schoolyard bullies who ridiculed my stutter only made that mistake once. These days women want my tatted-up fighter’s body more than romantic words I can never give them. But when a sleek uptown woman comes on to me in a bar, everything changes. Now I have to find the words to make her mine.

When serendipity brings them together, will they have the courage to say yes to forever?

***

Segments From A Secret Summer – A. Perveen

Meet-cute with a namesake stranger was the last thing on Tamanna Shaikh’s mind when she’d reluctantly boarded the plane to get to her ex-husband’s cousin’s destination wedding. Her mother was cross with her, the last two books hadn’t sold well, and inspiration was playing hard-to-get. Could spending time with her intriguing co-passenger raise the temperature enough to help unfreeze that cold, colossal bitch? Ah, well, no harm in trying…

As a successful, exclusive event planner, Armaan Jatoi loved weddings. Good thing his clients didn’t know he hated marriage. Having witnessed the train wrecks on steroids that counts as marital bliss for most people, a lasting relationship was the farthest thing he wished for. But casual flirtation with a gorgeous namesake wedding guest? Count him in. Only, the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to turn away…

She spins dreams from truths. He dresses up lies for a living. Can love be born in a place that was dismantled before they met? No place like a desi summer wedding to find out.

***

Summer Vacation Blitz – Jackie Paxson

Ellie Franklin is a devoted elementary school teacher. Her whole life revolves around her school year and her garden. On the last day of school, her best friend offers her a free two-week trip to Fiji.  At first, she’s reluctant but when she glimpses what her future could be she jumps on the opportunity. What could possibly happen on a two week vacation?

Lucas Stallworth is a star football player and a hopeless romantic.  In one swoop, his heart and dreams of his own happily ever after are shattered. To break Lucas out of his stupor, his best friend arranges a vacation/training excursion to Fiji. A reluctant Lucas drags himself to the sunny beaches.

When Ellie and Lucas have an unconventional meeting, the sparks fly along with some choice words. Can two people really fall in love in two weeks or will reality crush their romance before it’s really begun?

***

The Way You Drive Me Crazy – Olivia Hardin

Can a simple drive lead to something as crazy as love?

Lacey isn’t adventurous.  She’s not a wild child and crazy isn’t what she does. She’s certainly not the kind of girl who gets into a car with a total stranger to go off on a wild goose chase. But losing her dad changed things and she’s been on a mission. So, if hitching a ride with a cute mechanic from Simoneaux Bayou is needed to track down the last mysterious piece of her genealogy… well, a girl’s gotta do at least one crazy thing in her life, right?

Luke is just a grease-under-the-nails diesel mechanic.  A mechanic who just happens to be the favorite nephew of one Betty Ruth… as in Betty Ruth’s Country Store.  In his aunt’s eyes, he can fix just about anything, so it’s not that unusual for him to get a call about “pretty little girl” who’s car is broken down out at Simoneaux Bayou. But this girl is all woman and its hard to keep his eyes off of her long enough to get a good look at her busted transmission.  And when Aunt Betty tells him he has to drive the girl to Lafayette… well, he’s not gonna argue over getting to spend a few hours alone with the best looking girl a mechanic like him has ever seen, is he?

***

Challenging Helen – Susanne Ash

Sparks fly when an disorganized wedding planner has to rely on the help of a new competitor with a hidden agenda.

Event planner Helen Williams’s day goes from bad to worse when the venue for the biggest wedding of the year falls through. Ethan Shaw is the new competition, but to her surprise, he comes to her rescue. But there’s a catch: they have to work together. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if she didn’t feel so attracted to him.

Ethan Shaw lost a big promotion to nepotism and he’s out for revenge. He needs Helen’s help to get close to one of her clients. A client who can help him get a foot in the door back home and show his old boss that he’s made a big mistake. The problem? He likes Helen and using her for his own gains is becoming harder by the day.

How will Helen react when she discovers Ethan’s secret agenda? Is the deception something they can overcome to find their happily ever after?

***

Queen of Hearts – L.D. Wosar

Radio talk show lonely hearts advisor, Darinda Levian, tells her callers to open themselves to love.  However, her track record with men is anything but romantic; it’s an epic fail.

Jeffery Halohan, confirmed bachelor, thinks Darinda’s lonely heart spot on the radio is fluff.  They have a friendly competition on the radio station. His failing financial advice show versus her matters of the heart. They make a deal to engage in a fake relationship for one month to help boost his ratings.

Is this agreement business as usual or will love blossom at the end of the month?


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PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

Kenna Shaw Reed

Kenna lives in the land down under with most of her books set in Sydney or the south coast of Australia. She writes from experience of past loves and lovers. Of broken hearts and redemption. Of women who get the man (or men) they deserve. Kenna lives with her darling hubby, two children and two dogs who love her, and a cat that refuses to acknowledge she exists.

Facebook | Instagram | Website

***

Charlotte O’Shay

The only thing award winning author Charlotte O’Shay loves more than reading steamy romance where happily ever after always wins is writing them. Charlotte lives with her IRL hero, Mac, in the West Soho section of Manhattan where walks along the Hudson Riverfront serve up fresh story ideas every day. Charlotte loves to talk all things romance at:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook  | Bookbub

***

A. Perveen

A. Perveen is a South Asian introvert who daydreams about love-myths, monsters, and magic during her day job and binge-watches period dramas at night. When she’s not writing romance, she’s either having imaginary conversations with fictional characters over chai or chatting up the stray cats in her backyard. She spends most of her life reading steamy books, humming off-key old Bollywood songs, and sighing over gardening blogs because she loves plants and has a knack for killing them.

You can follow her at:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A-Perveen/e/B08R44J192
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/20234394.A_Perveen
FB: www.facebook.com/A.PerveenAuthor
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/saraab.e.sukhan/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aperveen1
Blog: www.sarabesukhan.com

***

Jackie Paxson

Jackie lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids and two crazy fur babies.  When she isn’t writing, she’s busy irritating her colleagues at her day job.  Most of her one-liners they have heard during work hours.  She’s an avid reader who had a blog for more than seven years.  Her love of reading and writing goes all the way back to her days reading Sweet Valley High while pretending to clean her room.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jackiepaxsonauthor
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jackiepaxsonauthor
Newsletter:  www.jackiepaxsonauthor.com

***

Olivia Hardin

Olivia Hardin always realized how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings.  She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about one out of five projects, a jogger who hates to run, and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she’s generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, and their two rescue pups, Bonnie Sue and Heidi Ho.

Facebook  | Bookbub | Goodreads

***

Susanne Ash

Susanne Ash writes sweet contemporary romance. When she’s not busy putting pen to paper, she loves to cook, knit, and head out exploring with her husband and daughter. She lives close to the beach in beautiful South Carolina. You’ll find that her novels’ settings are often a fictionalized version of her surroundings and the places she’s visiting with her family.

For more Palmar Island stories, check out her other books on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Ash/e/B07TFTMD5D

Sign up for her newsletter and get a free sweet romance novella at https://www.susanneash.com/news

***

L.D. Wosar

LD Wosar writes Western Fantasy. She’s from Olympia, Washington but currently living in Las Vegas and works in the Gaming Industry. She’s written the Western trilogy, Kit Weston Chronicles, A Capot Adventure Series, a time-travel adventure, Relic, as well as her newest Jaded Vamp series. Writing is her obsession, which she spends all of her free time writing stories with a Paranormal flare.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/L.D.-Wosar/e/B081DD1WHP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ldwosarbooks
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LdWosar
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ld-wosar
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19390914.L_D_Wosar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ldlegendarylitcrew

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Preorder Blitz

A Delicious Dilemma

A Delicious Dilemma by Sera Taíno is coming August 24th! Pre-order now and get an EXCLUSIVE cookbook straight from the fictional family restaurant featured in the novel! Simply email seraspromos@gmail.com with a screenshot or forward of your pre-order receipt to claim!

Pre-Order Graphic

Pre-Order Here at Your Favorite Retailer


Different worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

A Delicious Dilemma Pre-Order Blitz 2

 


ABOUT SERA

Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is scheduled for publication with Harlequin Romance Special Edition in September 2021.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


SABOR DE CASA

I had the privilege of receiving an early copy of the cookbook Sabor de Casa and I immediately taste-tested several of the recipes. With the Spanish heritage common in both Filipino and Puerto Rican cultures, the dishes are familiar to me and the recipes for them easy to follow. I made the roasted pork (similar to lechon), tostones (the Filipino maruya is a sweet relative), mojo, and the perennial favorite (leche) flan. All the ingredients are readily available in the local grocery stores, especially here in Texas with its huge Mexican community. I chose the small limes because they reminded me of the calamansi. I also substituted evaporated milk for whole milk in the flan recipe.  

The house smelled amazing with the aroma of garlic, of the succulent pork while it roasted in the oven, and the sugar being caramelized. The roast pork was super moist and delectable my 12-year-old son had two servings.

I didn’t have a tostonera so I improvised by smashing the plantain with the use of two differently-sized dipping sauce dishes. One note about the tostones–I fried the plantains five minutes per side two times. It should probably only be five minutes for both sides. Ten minutes total frying not twenty. They turned out browner than the recipe called for. My bad. They were still delicious but did not photograph very well beside the pork. I love brown food, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. 

The flan came out great. Creamy and not too sweet. I’ll probably use less sugar next time (2/3 cup instead of 3/4) and I’ll make it with 6-8 egg yolks. In short, I’ll revert to my own recipe. Hahaha. 

I cooked a feast with the three dishes I chose. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the recipes. Maybe I’ll do the arroz con gandules, bistec encebollado, and tres leches cake next. Come back here on August 24 to see which dishes I made and to check out my review of A Delicious Dilemma. Preorder the book so you too can make these scrumptious meals.  

 

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Fourth of July

4th of July 2021 captivating display

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Epilogue

“A captivating display like no other,” Aidan recited, looking in admiration at his girlfriend. Her back to him, Maddie’s jet-black hair styled in an elegant updo shone with a thousand little stars from the lights illuminating the hotel behind them. Sleek dress in traffic-stopping red lovingly caressed her returned curves. A long string of cultured pearls from her home country worn backwards around her throat aligned with the now completely healed “Carpe Diem” spine tattoo.

Spectra, the light and music show on the bay that would culminate the embassy’s advanced Fourth of July celebration might be captivating. Madeleine Duvall, French Filipina public relations and events management expert, his woman, was absolutely dazzling. No question about it.

. . .

Cheers went up as the colors of the rainbow lit up the night sky of Singapore, along with the soaring fountains that danced in time with instrumental music, fulfilling their promise to captivate. Aidan was enchanted, all right. Not by the show, but by the woman in his arms.

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of the fun and sexy multicultural contemporary romance series Carpe Diem Chronicles.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

AAPI SPOTLIGHT – HAPPY ENDINGS by Thien-Kim Lam

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HAPPY ENDINGS

by

Thien-Kim Lam

With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?

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Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.

The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.

Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?

 

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Buy links: 

Amazon     Harper Collins     Barnes & Noble     Indiebound     Bookshop

 


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A promising #ownvoices debut with a multicultural pairing, an admirable female lead, sex positivity, fierce female friendship, strong family ties, and loads of glorious food, Happy Endings is exactly my jam. 

I love that there are more and more Asian-American authors writing romance and I’m ecstatic that we are creating main characters who positively represent our heritage and who celebrate the joy of loving freely. It’s wonderful to read books with characters, backgrounds, and situations I can relate to. 

Ms. Lam’s debut excites me because she’s fearless in giving her Vietnamese-American female lead a job selling sex toys thereby confronting the issue of the hyper-sexualization of the Asian female in popular media head-on. Trixie’s pride in her accomplishments and her ambition in furthering her career no matter the obstacles delighted me. 

For me, this is very much Trixie’s story–her quest for success, her difficult relationship with her very traditional parents, her friendship with the Boss Babes were all fascinating to me. Her romance with Andre only takes second place. I do understand the attraction between them and the intimate scenes were really hot but, in my opinion, Andre needed to be more, to do more to deserve Trixie. His characterization was the weakest aspect of the book for me. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Lam’s Boss Babes. 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


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Thien-Kim Lam_Photo Courtesy of the AuthorThien-Kim Lam writes stories about Vietnamese characters who smash stereotypes and find their happy endings. A recovering Type-Asian, she guzzles cà phê sữa đá, makes art, and bakes her feelings to stay sane. Thien-Kim is also the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy romances with erotic toys. She’s been featured on NPR, BBC America, and NBC.

Thien-Kim brings over 20 years’ experience as a sex educator and sex toy expert into a steamy second-chance romance in her debut, Happy Endings. Selected as the winner of Avon’s 2019 open call for unagented Own Voices submissions, this romantic comedy is filled with heart; it is a story of honoring each person’s culture in an interracial relationship, sex positivity, and exploring non-traditional ambitions even when they terrify you.

Happy Endings is my love letter to all Asian women,” says Thien-Kim. “We live in a society that fetishizes us, but Trixie explores her sexuality on her own terms and wants to help the women in her life do the same. She may stumble a bit, especially when love is on the line, but she’s got her Boss Babes by her side. Just like how I have my Boss Babes in my corner.”

 

Social links:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram 

 

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Miss Universe

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Filipinas are widely considered to be among the most beautiful women in the world. Two of the last five Miss Universe titleholders have come from the Philippines: Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018. Both are products of interracial romance between a foreigner and a Filipina –Pia’s father is German while Catriona’s is Australian. 

In my series Carpe Diem Chronicles, I celebrate the harmonious melding of multiple cultures in my main characters. The American Ryan brothers have an Italian mother and an Irish father. Krista’s father is American, Maddie’s is French, Angela’s is Singaporean. All pairings created beautiful offspring. 

Of the three female leads, Maddie is the one most often complimented for her physical attractiveness. She worked as a model before she obtained her college degree. In three of my books, Aidan compares her to Miss Universe.

Boracay Vows

She sashayed onto the plane and waved to the pilots like she’s Miss Universe. Then she held out her hand to me as if I should be honored she acknowledged my presence at all.” 

Singapore Fling

The woman who approached him was, in a word, breathtaking. Not just any other beauty queen, but Miss Universe-caliber.

Tall and slender, she was both Filipina and Caucasian. Blond-highlighted, honey-colored hair was artfully arranged on top of her head, her sunglasses forming a black crown in the center of the thick mass. Smooth earth-toned skin—miles of it on display, thanks to her skimpy halter top and jean shorts—was luminous, even inside the poorly lit plane. Her eyes sparkled with good humor and a hint of appreciation as she followed his progress to a standing position.”

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“We have many beautiful ladies here in the Philippines. They can all win Miss Universe,” the other guy boasted.

Aidan’s lips twitched. He’d thought the same when he first met Madeleine. Her irresistible beauty was the reason he’d made time in his packed schedule. She ticked all his boxes.”

Of course Aidan doesn’t fall in love until he has gotten to know Maddie better. But that initial spark of attraction was necessary to ignite their sizzling romance. 

 

Photo note: based on my photo face-swapped with a model using Face App. 

 

AAPI SPOTLIGHT – SIPS & STROKES by Sarah Skye

Sips and Strokes

Sips & Strokes

by

Sarah Skye

SYNOPSIS

premade sold_sarah skye pink 2Lily Maldonado is screwed. The people-pleasing art professor has been roped into attending her ex’s wedding by her overbearing, image-obsessed parents. Even worse? The woman her ex is marrying is Lily’s childhood bully. She can’t back out, but she’s not sure she can face this nightmare solo.

Enter Calder Ross. The sexy Scot’s abs have graced the cover of many romance novel bestsellers, but the reformed playboy needs a more serious image if he wants to land his dream job as the spokesman for Sonce Whisky. Modeling for Lily’s figure drawing class is step one in the right direction.

After their very adorable—and very naked—meet-cute, Lily and Calder realize that they can be each other’s saving grace. Lily can bring Calder to the wedding as her fake boyfriend to ward off pitying stares. Calder can bring Lily to Sonce events as his fake girlfriend to show he’s the responsible, relationship-minded guy that execs want as the face of their brand.

But the longer Lily and Calder play pretend, the harder it becomes to deny the very real chemistry between them. Will they play it safe and stick to their fake roles? Or will they throw out the playbook completely and risk it all for love?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble

 


 

EXCERPT

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I enter the classroom expecting to find Ms. Maldonado already there but stumble to a stop as soon as I’m inside. There is no middle-aged professor dressed in a long skirt and cardigan. Instead, there’s a young woman seated on the pedestal in the center of the room. Her legs swing idly as she stares up at the sunlight streaming in from the windows close to the ceiling. An overstuffed blue velvet armchair sits on the pedestal, providing an interesting backdrop for her.

Her serenity, the graceful ease of her posture, and the faraway expression on her face make me wish I had my camera. It’s a moment, absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. Shame no one’s capturing this.

She blinks and hops to her feet when the door shuts, her gaze focusing in on me. Her dark eyes give me a full-body scan, brows rising as she goes for round two. She shakes her head and swallows hard. “Oh, hi. Sorry, I was just having a moment.”

“I hate to interrupt. Are you modeling for this class too?”

Her lips curve as a blush sweeps her cheeks. My attention snags on her mouth. Her full, pink lips are fucking lush. She’s got the kind of mouth that women kill for and men daydream about. I’m not above daydreaming a bit myself, and with the way that blush makes her skin glow—

“I’m sorry, what?” I shake my head, sure that I was too distracted to hear her correctly.

“I said no, Mr. Ross, I’ll save everyone from that horror and stick to teaching, thanks.”

Well, fuck me running. This stunner in blue jeans and a white t-shirt is Ms. Lily? Where is my buttoned-up professor?

I look around, taking in the space. The linoleum is there, sure, but this room is a proper studio. The walls are draped in warm cloth to enhance the soft lamps glowing in the corners. Easels are at attention around the dais with a teacher’s desk off to the side, but everything about this place has been set up with creativity in mind. Impressive.

I stick out my hand and abandon all presumptions I’d had about this gig. “It’s Calder, please. And I am sorry to interrupt, but I’m also sorry I’m a bit late, Ms—”

“Lily.”

“Ms. Lily.”

She laughs as her hand slips into mine. I’m hit with a double whammy of sensation. First, the warmth of her soft skin sliding across my palm and then the muted sound of her mirth, which she hides with her free hand.

Her eyes squint as she shakes her head. “Just Lily. If that’s what you’re comfortable with.”

“I could be very comfortable with it.”

The words I’d meant to keep in my head tumble out without warning. What the fuck is with you? Is this amateur hour? Pull your shit together and be a professional for a second.

Lily’s blush deepens, so I release her hand and flash an easy grin. “No need for formality in my opinion,” I clarify.

She exhales and nods, and I take that as a decent recovery. I watch her go to her desk, shuffling a stack of papers as she says, “We’ll start with some short gesture poses if that’s good for you?”

“Of course.” I tug off my tee as I head to the pedestal. Once I hop up, I drop my sweatpants and toss everything on the armchair.

“Great, so if you need any suggest—oh!” The papers flutter to the floor as she turns and looks at me. “Oh my god, you’re already naked.”

My brows knit. “Just getting comfortable. Was I meant to wait for a specific moment?”

“Well, I just, I mean class hasn’t started and we—or, no, but it’s just that you’re… so naked.”

Her eyes dart around the room, landing on me at regular intervals as a blush paints her cheeks all the way down her neck now.

I bite the inside of my lip, glad I’m not the only one off their game today. “You could get me a robe.”

 


 

ABOUT SARAH AND SKYE

SarahSarah Skye is the nom de plume of romance authors Sarah Smith and Skye McDonald. Sarah and Skye met on Twitter as fledgling authors seeking critique partners. That turned into a brilliant friendship, a joint podcast (Quick & Dirty Romance Podcast), and now a novel.

Sarah Smith (Faker; If You Never Come Back; Simmer Down) is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie’s stash of romance novels. She’s been hooked ever since. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem.

Skye McDonald (The Anti-Belle Series) is an author and personal development coach. Skye’s Anti-Belle series feature sassy GRITS (Girls Raised In the South) learning to love themselves before they can claim their happily ever after. (Spoiler: they always do!) Her coaching method uses fitness and life skills to teach individuals to do the same. When not writing sexy books or cheering for you to live your best life, Skye can be found out on a new adventure, usually with her pup at her side.
 
 
Author links:

 

GLOBAL CITY TRYST Is Live!

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My latest book Global City Tryst, a Carpe Diem Chronicles novelette, is now live! 

This prequel to Singapore Fling is special to me because it’s the only work I was able to complete in 2020. While the pandemic didn’t affect me physically, it stifled my creativity severely. At the same time, the Romance writing world was in turmoil. With the additional responsibility of supervising my son’s virtual learning, my mental health suffered. The inspiration well dried out and all my progress on my ongoing project Samui Heat, Angela and Craig’s story, came to a full stop. 

Thankfully, all was not lost. When an author-friend of mine invited me to participate in an anthology she was coordinating, I readily accepted. The theme of a contemporary romance set in a high-rise building lit a spark of inspiration within me. I already had the makings of this story. I already know the characters inside and out. I had sprinkled scenes all over Singapore Fling about Maddie and Aidan’s sexy weekend after they left Boracay. 

When we were together at my condo in Makati, we …”

  … subsisted on sex and kisses.”

It still took me a couple of weeks to flesh it out, but I managed to write a fun and sexy story detailing how Maddie and Aidan’s romance really started. 

The Big City Heat anthology was published in October 2020 and sold well enough to be listed as no. 1 bestseller in a couple of categories and enabled us to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative. Now, the rights have been returned to me and I can re-release as a stand alone story. 

I’m excited for y’all to read this (long) short story. It explains so much why Maddie and Aidan’s relationship progressed so quickly in Singapore Fling.  

Check it out from these stores: 

Universal Link          Amazon          Kobo          Nook          Google Play 

I hope you’ll also review it on Goodreads or wherever you purchased it. Thank you! 

 

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY SALE – Carpe Diem Chronicles Exclusive

I’m a Scorpio and so are three of the main characters in my books. Maddie’s birthday is October 26, which I mention in Global City Tryst. Aidan and Krista were born on November 2 six years apart. They celebrate together in Boracay Vows. Aidan talks about his and Maddie’s shared Scorpio characteristics in Singapore Fling.

To celebrate our birthdays, I’m placing Boracay Vows, New York Engagement, and Singapore Fling on a SPECIAL 50% SALE from Monday, October 26 to Saturday, November 21. EXCLUSIVE to Google Play worldwide. Click on the link or enter this code:

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I hope y’all enjoy the books. Happy reading!