featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Holiday Blog Hop Starting December 11th

Holiday Blog Hop

Blog Hop begins December 11th. Click on the graphic above for a schedule and list of giveaways, including a $60 Amazon gift card.

Friday, May 30, 2014

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR JACKIE KING

Jackie King loves books, writing tall tales, and murdering (on paper) people she dislikes. Her latest mystery is The Corpse Who Walked in the Door. Learn more about Jackie and her books at the Murderous Musings blog and CozyMysteries and Other Madness.

Creating My Series Character

Like most writers, my favorite game is ‘What If?’ Because of this game, Grace Cassidy sprang to life on a walk through an old Victorian neighborhood in Northern California. I was vacationing at a Bed and Breakfast, situated in a mansion that had been built by a sea captain in 1870. My hostess was a professional inn-sitter. She said she loved her job, loved traveling from place to place, and loved working when she wanted. Her services were booked for two years in advance.

I wanted to create a character who desperate to support herself, takes on such a job. My ‘What If? Question was:

What if I were stranded in a strange town with no friends and no money? Oh, and let’s throw in a corpse—a naked one—in my bed. Could I survive using my own determination, brains, and moxie? These are the problems that started me writing my first Grace Cassidy story, The Inconvenient Corpse, published in 2009. I felt compelled to write this novel to find out the answers to those questions. Then I added an older teenager and a cat, just for fun.

The second book in this series is The Corpse Who Walked in the Door. Five months have passed between these two books, and Grace has learned that she is made of a tougher fiber than she had thought. With the help of her zany new friends, she works as an inn sitter. Previously she chaired committees in social circles. Now she bakes, cleans, and entertains paying guests.

The trouble is, these pesky bodies keep showing up.

The Corpse Who Walked in the Door begins with Grace thinking that her life is almost back in order. She’s worried that Brand, her 19-year-old son, is getting too involved with the ditzy housemaid, Sandy Walker. Scary thoughts of becoming a grandma too soon, plague her. But still, life is good.

Grace is rebuilding her life and learning about the woman she really is, not the cardboard caricature of her former self. No wonder she bored her husband Charlie. She always did everything he expected. But that was in the past. Now she’s surprising and delighting herself with this new persona. Being a woman is a lot more interesting than being a perfect-lady, she decides.

Then life interferes with her well-laid plans.

The identical twin brother of her boss-from-hell, Wilbur Wimberly, shows up at a family reunion. This black sheep, thought to be long dead, stirs up memories of deeply buried family secrets. Dangerous secrets. The Wimberly clan is snapping at each other’s throats, and then Grace’s cat Trouble finds a dead body in a bathroom. To make things worse, her son is first accused of attempted murder, then of rape.

Once again, life unravels. Grace has a murder to solve and her son to defend.

The Corpse Who Walked in the Door
Former society wife Grace Cassidy is learning to live on the minimum wage she earns as a B&B inn-sitter. Things are going well until the identical twin of her boss-from-hell unleashes family secrets, her 19-year-old son’s girlfriend becomes pregnant, and her cat Trouble finds a dead body in a bathtub. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BEAUTY WITH NICOLE--FOODS THAT FIGHT AGING

photo by Glysiak
Many foods, along with being good for our general health, are especially good for our skin. More and more we’re seeing these foods as ingredients in beauty products. For a double-dose of anti-aging, you should eat these foods as well as apply beauty products using them.

Soy is rich in hyaluronic acid, a substance that attracts moisture and keeps skin looking plump. Along with using soy-based products in your beauty regime, add edamame and tofu to your diet.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so the saying goes, but it’s also full of vitamin A which your body coverts to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid helps with skin cell rejuvenation. Serums infused with apple will even out skin tones.

Grapes have anti-inflammatory properties and can calm redness and soothe skin, and grape seed oil helps shrink pores. That’s why you’ll find it in many facial toners.


photo by Sakurai Midori
Environmental stressors, such as pollution and the sun, break down collagen, causing skin to thin and sag. Guava is high in vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that helps counter these stress factors. One food very high in vitamin C is guava. You’ll find it in some body creams.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT--HERBS

photo by Paul Goyette
Whenever a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I often find the leftover herbs go bad before I have a chance to use them in another recipe. Does this happen to you? Wasteful, isn’t it? Well, here’s a tip I came across that will keep you from having to toss those rotten herbs.

Pull the leaves from the herbs. Place them in the compartments of an ice cube tray. Fill each compartment with a tablespoon of olive oil. Freeze overnight, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for future use.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

COOKING WITH CLORIS--WINE & CHEESE PAIRINGS WITH GUEST AUTHOR VINNIE HANSEN

Vinnie Hansen is the author of the Carol Sabala mystery series and a 2013 Claymore Award finalist for the next release in the series, Black Beans & Venom. Learn more about Vinnie and her books at her website. 

Throwing a party? If your friends are like mine, they are not fussy. The ordinary chardonnay and Brie will be fine. However, as a mystery fan, you might prefer to serve an element of surprise.

In Art, Wine & Bullets, my sixth Carol Sabala mystery, I offer provocative wine and cheese combinations from a self-described “culinarian.” To a recent NorCal Sisters in Crime meeting, I took the combination featuring a dusky Malbec or Shiraz with La Tur cheese, Marcona almonds, and figs.

For this occasion I selected Kaiken Ultra Malbec from Argentina, not because I know wines, but because it was an expensive wine on sale at BevMo. This wine turned out to be a deep, rich, full-bodied sensation.

“That’s divine!” said my sister-in-crime, Ana Manwaring.

The La Tur is a soft Italian cheese made with goat, sheep and cow’s milk. Warning: It is aromatic! I purchased the cheese a few days in advance of the Sisters in Crime meeting. My husband opened the refrigerator and said, “I think we have something going bad in here.” I was reminded of my teaching days when my freshmen read Twain’s “The Invalid’s Story,” which finds its humor in the combo of a dead body and Limburger cheese. I brought Limburger cheese to the classroom so my students would fully grasp the humor. One girl pinched her nose and jumped up and down on the desk seat.

As I warned our hostess, Terry Shames, about the “stinky” cheese, she declared, “I love stinky cheese.” So did many others at the meeting.

Because of the season, I used dried figs for this presentation, although sliced fresh figs would be more succulent and visually arresting. The one advantage of dried figs is the ease with which one can spread cheese on top of them. 

Recently re-released, Art, Wine & Bullets includes three creative wine and cheese pairings. Serve up a wine and cheese sensation the next time you entertain! Savor a good mystery to boot. Bon app├ętit!

Art, Wine & Bullets
An innocent visit to a premiere Santa Cruz gallery turns into a nightmare case for Private Investigator Carol Sabala. The strangled body of the gallery owner offers an opportunity to cement her reputation and to save her employer from insolvency. But precious time spent assisting her photographer boyfriend impedes her investigation, while his sudden obsession with photographing her impedes their relationship.

When Carol plunges into an art world offering urban graffiti to paintings of polka-dotted cats, she confronts the age-old questions: What is art? What defines an artist? She also confronts what defines a successful private investigator as she unravels much more than a murder case.

Buy Links
ebook 
(available in paperback in June)

Monday, May 26, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY 2014

Arlington National Cemetery
Anastasia and the gang are taking the day off to honor all those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR KATHLEEN L. ASAY

Kathleen L. Asay is published in short fiction and has written for arts magazines and a newspaper. Flint House is her first published novel. Learn more about Kathleen at her website. 

Can you Define “Beautiful?”

In my first published novel, Flint House, a burnt-out journalist is drawn into the battle to save a broken-down boarding house in Sacramento from closing and the residents from being evicted. Among the tenants is a mysterious older woman known as the Princess whom they all want to believe can save the day.

When I was in my twenties, I worked for a while in an office in Los Angeles, and on my lunch breaks I often walked across the street to a bookstore. Though I worked as a bookkeeper, I was already a writer. I looked at the world as a writer, storing up images, scenes, voices, so when I noticed an older woman, a pretty woman, who did herself up as she might have done when she was younger, I became intrigued. Who was she, and who had she been? I took her image with me when we moved and vowed to give her a story one day. That story became Flint House many years later and in it she became a princess.

Would I have noticed her and taken those second and third looks if she had been plain, perhaps even awkward or comical in old fashioned makeup and yellow hair? Noticed, shaken my head and moved on is what I see myself doing. I do it every day. I cast aside the unremarkable—no story there. But she was striking, pretty, interesting. You could build a story around that, and I did. Then again, would anyone have believed she was a princess if she hadn’t been beautiful?

I’ve come to dislike the word “beautiful” as a description in writing, especially when it’s used as in a beautiful house or a beautiful woman. If that’s all I need to know, so be it, but if you want me to follow where you lead then tell me why; let me see the beauty first.

Here’s how I describe her in the book when Liz, the journalist, first meets her: “She was probably seventy . . .Lines were deep in her face and her hair was beginning to thin, but I could see traces of the woman’s younger self, one who’d had lushly expressive eyebrows, full cheeks and golden tresses. Her hair, pulled straight back from her face into a knot at the neck, was the vague shade of yellow you’d get if you rinsed white with “summer blonde.” The color was clearly artificial, like the sienna in her eyebrows and the bloom in her cheeks, and yet— Time stopped; time marched on. She had green eyes, a heart-shaped face, strong cheekbones. Once upon a time, she’d been a looker, no, more than a looker, a beauty. Even in Maisie’s shabby bedroom, you could see this and more: a level chin, imperious eyes, back held straight against her chair, she was as regal as a princess. Damn.”

Flint House
What happens when a burnt-out journalist meets a house full of lost souls? Liz Cane has seen too many sob stories in her career with The Sacramentan to have much sympathy for the boarders in Flint House who face eviction after the owner of the house dies, literally at Liz's feet. But when she's drawn into the battle to save their home, she discovers the story isn't the one she expected, and family begins in the heart.

Buy Links

Thursday, May 22, 2014

TRAVEL TO PERU WITH GUEST AUTHOR ELIZABETH ROSE

Elizabeth Rose is the author of 31 contemporary, paranormal and historical novels, including her medieval series, Daughters of the Dagger and Legacy of the Blade. Some of her works have appeared on Wild Chicago as well as the History Channel. Learn more about Elizabeth and her books at her website.

Traveling to Peru 
I’ve always been impulsive, and one day many, many years ago, my husband and I decided to just up and go to Peru. I was always interested in anything to do with the jungle, and when we heard an advertisement on the radio about a group of astronomers going down to Peru to view Halley’s Comet, we decided to go with them.

Well, Lima wasn’t much different than Chicago – my neck of the woods, so that did nothing for me. Of course, they had Martial law at the time and soldiers standing around with machine guns. We almost made the mistake of going outside after 11 p.m. and getting shot.

But beside that, Cusco and Arequipa were both beautiful and more rural. We took a switchback train up the mountain to Machu Picchu and it was breathtaking. We stayed at a hotel up there, the only one I believe, and had two sunny days, which was very rare. It did rain a little and we saw a double rainbow – below us because we were so high up.

Then we hiked to the peak of Huayna Picchu, seeing ruins of temples along the way. And what is up there at the top of that 1,000-foot mountain, you ask? Just flies. You can see in the photo we are on the top of the peak and the switchback road is below us.

We also visited the jungles of Iquitos, and that is where I set my novel, Curse of the Condor. The trees were filled with colorful Macaws, and we hiked into the jungle to trade with the native tribe. My husband was blowing up balloons and giving them to the kids, (not an easy task at that elevation) and we got left behind. No group or tour guide, just us and topless natives wearing grass skirts, and tattooed men with blowguns. And with a dozen paths out of the native camp we had no idea which one to take. Speaking a different language, the tribe couldn’t even tell us. Finally one pointed to the right path and we finally caught up with our group who hadn’t even noticed we were missing.

We also sat out in the desert all night – let me repeat ALL NIGHT – while the crazy astronomers watched the stars come up and finally go back down. And there were no toilets or refreshments anywhere. Just us, a very black sky, probably a bunch of scorpions, and a whole lot of sand.

Curse of the Condor
Jetta Fitzgerald comes to the jungles of Peru searching for her missionary brother. She hires Conrado Nievez to take her into the jungle when she realizes he is a friend of her brother's.

Conrado has been raised by a native tribe in the jungle after the death of his parents. He is a loner and has no need for a city girl tagging along. He is known to the tribe as the boy from the prophecy involving a cave of treasure and a condor.

Conrado can't bring himself to tell Jetta that her brother is dead and it was the dart of his blowgun that killed him. But the longer he stalls, the more they start having feelings for each other. And when a dangerous situation occurs, it has them fearing for their lives. The jungle is a dangerous place for two lost souls in more way than one.

Adventure and intrigue are abundant as Jetta and Conrado set out on a journey that will change both of their lives forever.

Curse of the Condor is available as an ebook and only at Amazon. (No pun intended about the Amazon part.) It’s free on Amazon from May 22-26. Click here for your free copy. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TIPS FOR GETTING ORGANIZED

Are you overwhelmed by all the clutter around your home? Here are some tips for getting organized:

Coat Closets
Most hall closets are a disaster area with hats, scarves, and gloves tossed helter-skelter on the top shelf and book bags, shoes, and boots piled on the floor. Purchase wooden shoe organizers for the top shelf to store small items and another on the floor for shoes and boots. Attach sturdy hooks to the inside of the door for hanging book bags.

Kitchen Cabinets
Most older homes have small kitchens with limited storage space. Make the most of your kitchen cabinets by installing wire organizers on the inside of cabinet doors. Use these for storing sponges and cleaning products under the sink. In other cabinets, store rolls of plastic wrap, foil, and boxes of plastic bags; spices; boxes of tea; and any other small items.

Books and Magazines
Do you have books and magazines, piled all over your home? Keep them organized in baskets alongside your nightstand, under your coffee table, and in a corner of the bathroom (for those infrequent times when you get to soak in a bubble bath.)

Piles of Dirty Laundry Everywhere You Look

Instead of one laundry basket for the entire family (which most members of your family will ignore,) supply a laundry basket for each bedroom and one in the bathroom for towels. Hopefully, your family members will get the hint and stop tossing dirty laundry on the floor. (Emphasis on “hopefully”!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

COOKING WITH CLORIS--BEEF CANDY WITH GUEST AUTHOR MARION MOORE HILL


Marion Moore Hill has been a reporter, ad copywriter, legal secretary, and college teacher, and was for 20 years an adult-literacy tutor. Cook the Books is her fifth mystery novel. Learn more about Marion and her books at her website. 

I write about a librarian protagonist, but Juanita Wills is NOT the stereotypical librarian I have seen portrayed in some fiction. She's neither mousy nor rigid about details, and she does have a private life, thank you. She's far from perfect, but is responsible (most of the time), cheerful (most of the time), honest (most of the time) and kind (most of the time). She cares about her community and especially about people who have been dealt a tough hand in life.

Tracy Marie Riek is one of those. A doting mother and an attractive, hard-working young wife, Tracy Marie may seem to "have it all." But Tracy Marie doesn't read well, a fact she tries to hide in most interactions with others. Reluctantly, she has entered an adult-literacy tutoring program, and the local librarian is her tutor. Juanita likes and admires her tutee, although Tracy Marie's secretiveness and willingness to lie worry her. When Bobby Riek dies in his workplace, apparently the victim of nicotine poison introduced into a bakery cupcake that was packed in his lunch, Tracy Marie is suspected. Juanita risks her own life to prove her student innocent of a murder charge.

Juanita loves food (as I do) and is part of a gourmet group, but struggles with a weight problem. She doesn't obsess about wanting to weigh 105 pounds and have the waist of an anorexic teenager, but has been warned by a doctor that she needs to trim down and get fitter. Her on-and-off approach to dieting and exercising endures a reality check when long-time boyfriend Wayne Cleary lands in the hospital ER with a possible heart attack. Wayne's problem turns out to be gastrointestinal, caused by bolting greasy fast food too quickly, but the incident serves as a wake-up call about their eating habits for both Juanita and Wayne.

Writers' lives sometimes intersect in an eerie way with their characters'. I had finished writing Cook the Books, and it was in the publication stage when my own husband learned he had blockages in his heart that required triple-bypass surgery. Elbert's surgery got my attention, as Wayne's episode did Juanita's. My husband is now on a heart-healthy diet (low fat, low salt, low sugar), which I'm following, too, since that's easier than making two different meals. On the up side, we're both shedding pounds without making any real weight-loss effort. On the down side, a "low everything" diet can also mean low flavor. So it's a challenge to make interesting, varied meals these days.

But I've always liked a challenge. Over the years, I had developed recipes for friends and relatives who were diabetic, or gluten-intolerant, or had other food allergies. So this is just one more interesting food puzzle. Juanita and I will both work on solving it for ourselves and our loved ones, just as Juanita can't resist getting involved in solving mysteries.

Beef Candy

(This dish may be used either as an hors d’oeuvre or as an entree (served with either rice or rice sticks.)

1/2 lb. very lean beef, sliced cross-grain very thinly into 2-3-inch squares
4 cloves garlic (more if desired), mashed
2 green onions (white part only, more if desired), finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon grass (available at Asian markets), chopped (frozen or dried can be used
if fresh isn’t available)
2 teaspoons fish sauce (available at Asian markets)
pinch salt
pinch black pepper, ground
1/4 teaspoon red pepper, ground or flakes
2-3 teaspoons juice off Vietnamese pickled leeks (available canned at Asian markets)
—OR use 2-3 teaspoons lime juice if pickled onions aren’t used
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons canola or peanut oil
6 Vietnamese pickled leeks (available canned at Asian markets), cut into very small strips
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Slice beef and place in bowl with mashed garlic. Add chopped onion, chopped lemon grass, fish sauce, salt, black pepper, red pepper, pickled-leek juice, sugar, oil, and 5-spice powder (if used), and mix altogether well.

Tear or cut aluminum foil into 3-to-4-inch squares. Place a slice of beef diagonally on each foil piece. Top each with a few pickled-onion strips and a little chopped peanuts. Roll up each beef square, then roll a foil square around the beef. Twist and turn up ends of each foil roll (somewhat resembles a Tootsie Roll). Place completed beef rolls in an oven-proof dish. Broil in an oven for about 8 minutes, OR bake in 500-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

(The beef rolls may also be baked without the aluminum-foil wrapper, which is faster to do but makes a less showy presentation.)


NOTE: Beef Candy is referred to in Cook the Books when protagonist Juanita Wills cooks for an evening with her gourmet group. The recipe is one given to me by a Vietnamese friend, Quynhgiao Hoang.—Marion Moore Hill

Cook the Books
The third book in the Scrappy Librarian Mysteries takes Juanita Wills, intrepid public librarian in small-town Oklahoma, into the secretive world of adult-literacy studies as she strives to prove her student innocent of murdering her husband. Who poisoned that tainted cupcake that was in the victim's lunchbox--his wife or a co-worker at the same big-box hardware store? Or someone else?




Monday, May 19, 2014

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--NO SEW FLOSS DOLLS

(This project is an encore presentation from June 2010.)

These no-sew, easy-to-make dolls can be crafted into jewelry as pins, necklaces, or hair ornaments by gluing the dolls to jewelry findings, combs, headbands, etc.  Attached them to sweatshirts, sneakers, or pocketbooks.  Use them as Christmas ornaments or on plant pokes.  Use them to decorate gift boxes or as zipper pulls.  The possibilities are endless!  They also make great crafts projects for the female tweens and teens in your family.
Materials:
12” lt. pink chenille stem
18mm painted wooden bead head
flesh and assorted colors 6-strand embroidery floss
tacky glue
wooden skewer or wire (optional for making curly hair)
jewelry glue (optional for gluing dolls to jewelry findings, combs, or headbands)

Directions:
1.  Cut chenille stem into a 4” length and 8” length.  Bend 8” length in half for body.

2.  Glue bead onto folded end of chenille stem.
3.  Wrap 4” length around folded piece 1/8” below bead for arms.  Bend ends of arms and legs under ¼” for hands and feet.

4.  When wrapping floss around chenille stems, secure the floss at the beginning and end with a small amount of glue at the back of the doll.  Beginning directly under bead and following arrows on diagram, wrap floss around chenille stems, wrapping around neck first, then down one arm, back up arm and down next arm.  Wrap up second arm.  Crisscross floss several times at junction of arms and body to cover chenille stem completely.  Wrap down body for ¾”, then separately down one leg, back up the leg, down the second leg, back up the leg, then back up the body and neck.

5.  Using various colors of floss, create clothing for doll, wrapping in the same manner over the flesh colored floss.  Make long or short sleeves.  To form a skirt, wrap floss over both legs for desired length of skirt.  For pants, wrap each leg individually.  Make socks and shoes by wrapping feet.  Create patterns and accessories by gluing on individual lengths of floss to form stripes and plaids, a belt, etc.

6.  Glue floss around bead to create hair.  To make curly hair, wrap floss around a wooden skewer or wire.  Wet floss.  Allow to dry thoroughly before unwrapping.  Cut curled floss into lengths.  Fold each length in half and glue folded center to bead.  Repeat to cover bead.

Friday, May 16, 2014

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR LAUREN HAWKEYE

Lauren Hawkeye/ Lauren Jameson once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament. Learn more about Lauren and her books at her website. 

When you make the decision to have a child, your first thought isn’t often about what could go wrong. The fact of the matter is, however, that you roll the dice every time you mix that cup of genetic soup… and sometimes that soup comes flavored with Type 1 Diabetes.

My son Benjamin was diagnosed with this disease at just two years of age. I was, for lack of a better word, absolutely dumbfounded. Not only had we thought that we’d had a perfectly healthy child, but even weirder than that, I’d been a volunteer with my friend Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research for several years. She was the one who told me to take him to hospital. With no history of diabetes in our family, I thought, what are the odds?

But that’s exactly the point. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to you. And while yes, at least diabetes is treatable, it’s still a scary, scary thing to live with, especially as a parent. There is nothing that will prepare you for a life of counting carbs, sticking needles into your sweet child’s flesh, dealing with hypoglycemia, and being the meanie that says your toddler can’t have the grape juice at his preschool’s Mother’s Day tea party.

This is why I’m so glad that some force in the universe led Brenda Novak into my life. Though once I was only vaguely aware of diabetes at all, I now, like Brenda, desperately want a cure. While I have volunteered with the auction in the past, this year she gave me an opportunity to make a bigger difference by helping to put the A Sweet Life boxed set together. This set features fourteen—that’s right, FOURTEEN—full books from New York Times bestselling authors. It’s available for only $2.99. And it’s only available until the end of May.

Why should you go buy this set RIGHT NOW? Apart from the fact that all proceeds (every penny) go straight to the Diabetes Research Institute through Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research, if you wait until it’s gone, you can expect to pay over $50 to get all of these books onto your e-reader. So basically… if you like contemporary romance, why wouldn’t you?

A Sweet Life
Featuring a foreword by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber.

1500 pages/ 675,000 words

I Only Have Eyes For You by Bella Andre (The Sullivans)
The only woman wealthy Irish pub owner Jake McCann wants is the one he can't have--Sophie Sullivan, his best friend's off limits sister. But when the beautiful librarian appears on his doorstep as his every fantasy come to life, even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn't the right thing to do...how can he possibly resist?

On A Night Like This by Barbara Freethy (Callways #1)
From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the first book about the Callaways, a big Irish family born to serve and protect, many as San Francisco firefighters.

May Day! by Heather Graham
Members of the Krewe of Hunters team plan a relaxing vacation to jolly old London for the English celebration--they never figured that a May Pole just might be murder.

Shopping for a Billionaire by Julia Kent
When mystery shopper Shannon Jacoby meets billionaire Declan McCormick with her hand down a toilet in the men's room of one of his stores, it's love at first flush.

Built to Last by Susan Mallery
The tale of Aaron Cross, a man who doesn't know he needs saving...until he meets Marissa Spencer, a heroine inspired by the real life founder of the Motheread/ Fatheread Literacy Program.

A Baby of Her Own by Brenda Novak
Delaney is tired of waiting for the right man--all she wants is a baby. After seducing a handsome stranger, she returns to Dundee to find that same man is actually taking up residence on a ranch just outside of town--where he will very likely realize she's expecting.

Dare to Love by Carly Phillips
In relationships, Ian Dare offers the bare minimum--until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor changes his perspective. Their affair heats up and love comes into play, but Riley's secret past just might cost them everything.

Executive Seduction by Jennifer Probst
When Chandler Santell turns to Logan Grant, the most ruthless CEO in the finance industry to save her beloved Yoga and Arts Center, she never intended to have seduction as part of the plan...

In Too Deep by RaeAnne Thayne
Though fiercely drawn to the comfort of Andrea McPhee's arms, Will Tanner isn't sure he can find room for a woman like her in a life focused on vengeance--until he discovers she has secrets of her own.

Every Girl Does It by Rachel Van Dyken
Amanda gets a flash from the past when the nerdy kid she rejected in high school suddenly reappears in her life...dead sexy, he's all man and he wants her.

Homecoming Season by Susan Wiggs
Miranda Sweeney and her family find hope and healing while spending an autumn at Willow Lake after Miranda survives breast cancer. Inspired by the founder of Cottage Dreams.

Unspoken by Lauren Hawkeye
Once, Ellie Kendrick was the only thing that Dominic Gabriel wanted. Now she's back and her version of what happened between them so long ago makes him question everything he knows about himself.

Sweet Memories by Steena Holmes
Thinking her marriage is over, Tessa is shocked to fall into the arms of her husband... literally. What's a girl to do when her heart still goes pitter-patter for a man who ran out on her once but comes back determined to take another chance?

Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter
Jilted at the altar, Jenny Wright is devastated that bull riding champ Colton Thorpe witnesses her shame, but tough sexy Colton is a man who knows what he wants... and he wants Jenny.

Find A Sweet Life until May 31 at the following vendors: