BOOK FEATURE: “Bad To The Throne”

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“Bad to the Throne” by Jenny Gardiner, (book three in the series)

Blurb:

Sometimes you can let your heir down a little too much…

When wild-child Prince Alexander goes on a naked bender in a Vegas swimming pool, cocktail waitress Andi McDonough decides to preserve a shot of those family jewels on her phone. But when she’s fired for capturing the royal treasures, she heads off to find herself. After backpacking the world-over on a dime and a prayer, she finds herself in Rome, where a chance encounter with the wayward prince only reinforces to her that Prince Zander is indeed bad to the throne. And more than likely to her fragile heart as well.

**Click HERE to buy “Bad to the Throne”

EXCERPT

One year ago, Las Vegas

Andi McDonough assumed she’d seen it all working as a cocktail waitress at the amazingly cool swimming-pool-slash-lagoon at the hippest Vegas hotel on the Strip. Like the very, very (did she mention very?) old, very wealthy film star who had enjoyed an impromptu and extremely public poolside lap dance with a celebrated porn star—in his wheelchair. He damn near keeled over from a heart attack, and Andi damn near keeled over from a laugh attack at the preposterousness of the situation.

Or the time the famous bodybuilder-slash-actor pooped his pants while floating in the lazy river and they had to close the entire five-acre pool area for the day to disinfect it (meaning no tips for her, which was no laughing matter).

But never did she think she’d bear witness to such a stunning specimen of manhood as when the famous spare-to-the-heir prince from Moldavia or Monaforte—one of those blips on the map that no one knows much about—decided to strip down to his birthday suit while celebrating his own birthday and reveal to her and at least two hundred other pool-goers that his superior royal genes clearly had worked their magic with what until then had remained tucked awfully nicely into his royal jeans (that is before he’d decided to let it all hang out).

Yowza, she thought, is that a cricket bat he’s packing (a little nod to his country’s sporting pastime), or is he just happy to be stark-naked with a bevy of slutty gold diggers with particularly smokin’ bodies?

She hated those women.

Beyotches, she grumbled under her breath.

She certainly wasn’t allowed to peel off her own too-scanty cocktail-waitress uniform and join them. Not that she would, mind you. Her body couldn’t hold a candle to those women’s surgically augmented ones. Some could argue that Andi was toting a little spare in the back end, but she preferred to see it as just a bit “fluffy.” Semantics? Maybe. But it only mattered when she was stripped down to nothing, and under no circumstances would she ever do such a thing in a Vegas-hotel swimming pool. It was hard enough to take that plunge in front of a man who theoretically wouldn’t be judging her for her shortcomings.

Not that she’d had much experience with that lately either: with working full-time while attending school at night to earn her master’s degree in social work, there wasn’t time for a relationship in her life, let alone a casual fling. But damn, what a casual fling it would be with the likes of him, with his scruffy dark hair, green eyes, and trademark sexy five-o’clock shadow he was known for. And of course there was the little (er, make that big) matter of that package he was sporting…

Alas, Andi guessed the hookups would have to be left to the slutty gold diggers, because she’d be fired in a heartbeat for making a move on him, even if she were so inclined, which she wasn’t. She had too much self-respect to behave like a shameless skank just to have a roll in the hay with a, well, let’s admit it, an insanely hot, supposedly eligible man.

Now granted, she couldn’t—and wouldn’t—go near the man, let alone advertise her availability (She wasn’t! She was far too busy for that stuff!). But she could maybe discreetly pull out her phone and take a teeny, weeny (excuse the pun) picture or two. Just for memory’s sake. Not like she’d sell it to the tabloids. Though damn, if only that would pay for the rest of her schooling… It was a real shame she had too much integrity to attempt that. But she felt kind of sorry for him—the guy was just having fun. And it must be hard to simply let it all hang out (literally) if you were someone famous like him, to be able to just blow off steam and act like a stupid young man.

After all, it seemed to be the mandate of young men to act stupid, right? She’d seen enough of them here celebrating bachelor parties and birthdays and doing embarrassingly idiotic things to expect nothing less from the whole lot of them. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” they usually managed to blurt out just before vomiting or urinating into the fountain at the Bellagio or mistakenly wandering off with a tranny hooker at three in the morning. Indeed.

Andi wiped some spilled beer from her hand and tucked a strand of long blond hair behind her ear before pulling a phone from her front pocket (where she had to hide it because she couldn’t dare have a phone lumping out of the butt pocket of her very tight shorts). At least her skimpy apron hid her clandestine phone a little bit.

Angling from the hip, no ability to see if she was landing the money shot or not, she discreetly popped off a handful of frames, then tucked her phone back into her pocket and returned to attempting to do her waitressing job. But everyone in the pool area was completely focused on that prince guy, which meant no one was bothering to order more drinks. What was his name? William maybe? Ha! She could only imagine tomorrow’s headlines:

William Exposes his Willy!

Then she remembered—it wasn’t William after all. His name was Alexander something, she recalled, and Zander was the nickname. She remembered because it seemed such a strange nickname. Oh well.

God, it would be glorious to be able to pawn off her “exposé” images and pocket some desperately needed cash. But she couldn’t do it. Besides, there were likely a few hundred peter pictures of the guy already popping up right now on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It would be viral within the hour. The days of making money off something like this were over. Now it was just about bragging rights to have witnessed the event with your own eyes. Besides, the guy was asking for it, whatever exposure (aside from the obvious) he was going to land for this.

She was just pondering how to avoid tripping over the ogling crowd in order to attempt to deliver a few drink orders when her manager accosted her.

“Hand over your electronic order pad, McDonough,” he said with his hand out, a grimace smeared across his surly face. “And while you’re at it, give me your drinks tray and your apron.”

Andi stared at him as if he’d just asked her to pony up her firstborn child. “I’m sorry?”

“The phone,” he said, pointing to her hip. “I saw you taking pictures of him. And that is a clear-cut violation of company policy. It’s essential that staff respect the privacy of our customers at all times.”

“Privacy?” she shouted a little to be heard above the clamoring din of the rowdy crowd, all clapping to the beat of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” that the prince and three women were quasi-grinding to while pounding shots of Gran Patrón tequila in the shallow end. “Do you see him?” she said, pointing at his unclad body nearby. “This isn’t exactly the pinnacle of privacy! I was just taking a picture to show my mom when I get back from work today. She was feeling depressed, and I knew she’d get a laugh out of it.”

Her mother had been licking her wounds after her third husband left her for a much younger woman only a few months ago, and Andi was all about getting her mother’s mind off her misery, like it was her civic duty or something.

“Laugh or not, rules are rules,” he said. “After you’ve changed out of your uniform, you need to turn that in, plus your locker key. And you’ll not get a referral on your résumé, either. Now go.” He pointed with a stern look toward the main hotel, her only way out, one she would apparently have to exit with tail tucked neatly between her legs. She knew it wasn’t worth arguing. Despite this not being the world’s most gratifying job, she was well aware that women were lined up behind her to usurp her spot.

Andi did as she was told—which was how she operated usually—and as she climbed into her fifteen-year-old rusted-out clunker of a Ford Fiesta and drove away from the best-paying job (thanks to tips) she could’ve found in this town shy of stripping for a living, she couldn’t help but wonder how snapping a few innocent pics of the spare prince’s family jewels could lead her to a financial situation in which she’d never be able to afford any jewels. As it was, it was going to be near impossible to come up with tuition money without this job. And in this town, word got around fast enough she’d be blackballed from any of the higher-end waitressing jobs that could compensate for the lost income.

Jewels schmewels. They might have been old Zander’s crowning glory, but they now represented her financial demise.

Huh, she thought. If I had to do it over again, maybe I’d have kicked him in those jewels. Better yet kicked her boss in them. At least then she’d have gotten some satisfaction.

Despite the dire outcome, she and her mother got a few good laughs at her surprisingly spot-on shots of Zander starkers.

That and a whole lot more money would pay her tuition bill that was coming due.

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The “It’s Reigning Men” Series

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**Click HERE to buy book one: “Something in the Heir”

HeirTodayGoneTommorrowCoverPic**Click HERE to buy book two: “Heir Today Gone Tomorrow”

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JennyGardinerPic**About author, Jenny Gardiner:

Jenny Gardiner is the #1 Bestselling Kindle author of the award-winning novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver; the memoir Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me; the novels Slim to None (#1 bestseller on Kindle); Anywhere but Here; Where the Heart Is; the essay collection Naked Man on Main Street, and Accidentally on Purpose and Compromising Positions (writing as Erin Delany); and is a contributor to the humorous dog anthology I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship. Her work has been found in Ladies Home Journal, the Washington Post and on NPR’s Day to Day. She and her family live in Virginia. Visit her at her website, http://www.jennygardiner.net

**Contact Jenny: Email   Blog   Sign up for Jenny’s Newsletter   Facebook   Twitter

BOOK FEATURE: “Burning the Short White Coat”

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“Burning the Short White Coat” by Eve Shvidler M.D.

Blurb: In “Burning the Short White Coat: A Story of Becoming a Woman Doctor,” author Dr. Eve Shvidler narrates the humor and heartbreak in love and medicine through young medical student Elle Gallagher. A medical chick-lit novel, “Burning the Short White Coat” exposes the personal battles that single women must overcome in balancing a demanding profession and the desire to find a trusting and loving relationship.

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Prologue

The shrill of my pager jolted me from a dreamless sleep, and I fumbled for my eyeglasses. I focused on the tiny glowing screen of my nemesis leash and dialed the dreaded numbers to Labor and Delivery.

“This is Doctor Gallagher. I was paged,” I mumbled into the receiver.

“We have a decel in room five,” the nurse replied. “Heartbeat has been in the sixties for-”

“Get the terbutaline ready and open up the OR for a crash!” I said and slammed down the phone.

I bounced out of bed, pulled back my messy hair, slipped into my black dansko’s and grabbed my long white coat. My heart raced and thumped in my chest as I ran down the hall, through the double doors to the maternity ward.

I heard my patient moaning as I entered the delivery room. Her pregnant belly swayed back and forth as she squirmed in the hospital bed. The baby’s heart rate had not recovered, and I nervously slipped on a sterile glove.

“Did you push the terb?” I asked the nurse while examining my patient.

“Yes, Doctor, about thirty seconds ago,” she replied.

I felt the baby’s head well applied to the pelvis, but my patient’s cervix was only six centimeters dilated. I rubbed the baby’s head, hoping to stimulate him.

Thirty more seconds passed, and the heart rate continued to beat in the 60s. Normal heart rate for a fetus is more than 120 per minute. I sensed my patient’s helplessness. I sensed my own helplessness. I knew I had to get this kid out fast.

“What’s the problem?” my patient asked.

“Your baby’s heart rate has been down for four minutes. This is a sign of distress. At this time I would recommend performing an emergency cesarean section-”

“I don’t need to hear anymore. Just do it,” my patient said. She started to sob. I took a deep breath to calm myself.

“Crash!” I screamed. 
“Crash!” screamed the nurse.
 Four more nurses entered the room, hustling to grab IV lines, disconnect the fetal monitor, draw blood from my patient and roll her out of the room. The oversized scrub tech quickly waddled to the sinks and prepped her hands. The anesthesiologist emerged from his on-call room, eyes drooping with a mess of hair like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals.

“Call the attending,” I ordered the desk clerk.

My patient had broken down into hysterics from all the commotion, her bed rolled to the side of the operating room table. I shuffled to slip on my booties, blue bouffant and facemask and joined her in the OR.

“Take deep breaths. Everything is going to be okay,” I said, rubbing her shoulder and looking into her wet and puffy eyes. I glanced over at the anesthesiologist and nodded as he injected the milky fluid into her IV line. My patient dozed off to sleep.

“Just splash the betadine and start draping her,” I ordered the nurses, and I slipped out the door to the scrub sink. A twenty-something girl with long brown hair and a thin frame, wearing a short white coat approached me as I started to vigorously scrub my hands.

“Doctor Gallagher?” she inquired.
 I nodded my head, lathering my hands with orange-brown suds. “I’m Tracy, the third-year medical student on service. I just started-”

“Well, what are you waiting for, Tracy?” I asked. She had a startled look on her face and stood motionless for a moment.

“Start scrubbing. We don’t have much time,” I said.

She ran to the closet to hang her short white coat and joined me at the scrub station.

My attending arrived from her on-call room. She looked refreshed, her chocolate skin shiny and clean, scrubs unwrinkled and neatly tucked, her black hair perfectly fixed. I was always amazed by how composed she was.

“What’s the story, Gallagher?” she asked, grabbing an iodine sponge and firing up the scrub sink.

I explained the emergent situation to her. The anesthesiologist informed us we could start as I rinsed off the soap from my hands. Tracy fumbled around with the scrub sponge, trying to follow my attending’s lead.

“Get started,” my attending ordered.

I slipped on my gloves and gown and approached the left side of the operating table.

“Knife,” I ordered. The scrub tech handed me the scalpel, and I made a ten-centimeter incision just above the pubic bone. I took the incision down to the fascia, a tough connective tissue layer covering the muscles of the abdomen, and knicked the fascia in the midline. My attending and Tracy entered the room and joined me on the other side of the operating table.

“Quickly!” my attending cried. We cut across the fascia, separated the rectus muscles, poked through the peritoneum and incised the lower uterus. I placed my hand in the uterine incision and pulled out the baby’s head. My attending put pressure on my patient’s upper abdomen as I pulled the rest of the body out. The baby appeared floppy, breathless, dusky colored and silent.

Shit! Dammit! Breathe, dammit!!!

Expletives continued to run through my mind as I cut the cord and handed the little one off to the pediatricians. We listened for a faint cry, some sign of life, while we delivered the placenta and started to stitch up her uterus.

Breathe! Please! Breathe!

My fear was communicated to my attending through my eyes. The most agonizing moments in obstetrics is waiting for that cry. The bag mask continued to make a swishing sound as the pediatricians mumbled about exam findings. For a split second, I felt like hunching over, giving up and walking out of the room. My moment of weakness passed quickly, and I focused my attention on the open belly in front of my face.

“Please hand Tracy, the medical student, a Richardson retractor,” I said to the scrub tech. She handed Tracy the retractor, and I helped her properly place the instrument on the superior aspect of the incision. I then gave her the suction device and told her to keep the area dry. Her hands shook as she searched for fluid to suction.

We heard the cries from the new life as we finished closing the uterus. They were faint and soft cranky cries, but cries nonetheless. My heart felt as though it had sunk into my ankles and the entire operating room sighed with relief.

Thank God! Thank God! Thank God!

My heart rate slowed to an average rhythm as I removed my bloody gloves, gown and booties. Another life saved. We had won the race with Mother Nature this time.

“Nice work, Gallagher,” my attending said, strolling back to her sleep room. She had not formed a single drop of sweat over the potential catastrophe. I dreamed of one day practicing my trade with such finesse and confidence, but I still had a long way to go.

“That was amazing,” Tracy said to me, approaching the nurse’s station after we finished in the operating room. She appeared flustered and astonished, like a deer in headlights, still processing the late-night events. She reminded me of myself when I was a medical student — shy, clueless, awkward and anxious.

“In three years, you’ll be standing in my shoes,” I commented.

“I can’t believe how far I have gone and how much farther I have to go,” she said.

I thought about Tracy’s statement and reminisced about how much I had grown and changed in the process of my training. I remembered that first day of medical school, when I eagerly left my small town life nestled in sunny New Mexico to follow my dreams, only to find myself in a lab full of dead bodies. My life changed in an instant, and my journey began.

**Click HERE to buy “Burning the Short White Coat now!

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About Eve Shvidler M.D.: Dr. Eve Shvidler wrote “Burning the Short White Coat” while still single and in medical school. She is now a practicing physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Shvidler is married, and they have three children.

**Contact Dr. Shvidler: Publicist email   Author Twitter   Author website   Author Facebook fan page

NEW RELEASE: “The Dress Thief”

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“The Dress Thief” by Natalie Meg Evans

Blurb:

A modern tale of desire and deception set in the world of 1930s Parisian haute couture – perfect for fans of The Perfume Collector or The Paris Wife.

Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Hermès is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York.

Then Alix is given her big break – a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses – but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection.

Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep – or misplaced trust – could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams.

  • WINNER – 2014 Festival of Romantic Fiction’s Best Historical Read.
  • WINNER – 2015 Public Book Awards.
  • Shortlisted – 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA Awards.

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**Click HERE to buy “The Dress Thief” now!

**Click HERE to pre-order “The Milliner’s Secret” (available in the U.S. on July 30th)

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NatalieMegEvans**Natalie Meg Evans:

In the late 1970s, Natalie Meg Evans ran away from art college in the Midlands for a career in London’s fringe theatre. She spent five years acting, before giving it up to work in PR. Natalie’s writing has also won the Harry Bowling Prize, placed third for the RWA’s Golden Pen Award and was nominated for the 2013 Daphne Du Maurier Award. Her first novel The Dress Thief was recently released in the USA.

**Contact Natalie Meg Evans: Website   Facebook   Twitter

BOOK FEATURE: “Cocktails at Le Carmen”

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“Cocktails at Le Carmen” by Isabelle Andover

Blurb: When job cuts at Chloe Saddler’s London communications firm result in an unexpected transfer to Paris, she finds herself leaving behind her friends, family, and boyfriend Scott to start a new life in the City of Light. Getting to grips with La Vie Parisienne and keeping a long-distance relationship afloat is not made any easier by the culture shock. Committing the odd French faux pas and inadvertently indulging in a few too many flirtations with her very sexy (and very taken) boss, Jean-Luc, is just the start of it. Factor in her bridezilla of a sister’s wedding (the hottest event of the year in the Saddler family’s social calendar), an unexpected session of hot, naked yoga, a slightly psychotic stalker, and one incredible kiss at an infamous Montmartre nightspot, and Chloe can say au revoir to her old, safe London life and bonjour to the romance, splendour, and glamour of Paris.

A delightful debut that harks back to the early days of Chick Lit when heroines were flawed, funny, and forever battling for love and happiness. With quirky characters and classic comedic charm, Cocktails at Le Carmen is pure fun from page one.

**Click HERE to buy “Cocktails at Le Carmen” now!

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IsabelleAndover**About author, Isabelle Andover:

Originally from England, Isabelle Andover moved to France after graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages. She lives in Paris with her tabby cat Oscar, who occasionally blogs about apartment-style living in the City of Light, and who also inspired a prize-winning short story when he was a kitten.Following several years as a media analyst, Isabelle now works at a Paris-based media company specialized in the international beauty market. In addition to fully embracing the culture of her adopted country by way of consuming plenty of French wine and cheese, Isabelle can also be found indulging in the typically British pursuits of shopping at Marks and Spencer on the Champs Elysées and drinking copious cups of Earl Grey.

Click HERE to go to her website, where you can learn more about her!

BOOK FEATURE: “Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale”

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“Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale” by Pam Ferderbar

Blurb:

This is from the back of the dustcover: Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Every day is a bad hair day. Her boyfriend’s a snake, her job blows and her own family seems to hate her.

For over 4,000 years the Chinese have practiced the ancient art of Feng Shui, a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health, love and good fortune for people inhabiting it. The Chinese never met Charlotte Nightingale.

A handsome Chinese food deliveryman/Feng Shui master takes pity on Charlotte and breaks out every tool in his Feng Shui arsenal to bring her some modicum of happiness. It rocks her world all right. Charlotte’s life goes from bad to worse.

When everything comes crashing down and run-of-the-mill catastrophes pale in comparison to recent events, Charlotte unwittingly embarks on a great adventure during which she finds romance, a new wardrobe, bags of money and most importantly, herself.

Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is the laugh-out-loud feel good book of the summer.

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Praise for “Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale”:

“Pam Ferderbar’s debut novel Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is the funniest book I’ve read in ages. Ferderbar’s wit and quirky humor kept me laughing, while underdog Charlotte had me rooting for her. The ending is unexpected – and so so satisfying. I cheered for Charlotte!” Julie Tarney, author of the upcoming memoir My Son Wears Heels 

“Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is a fast-paced, hilarious rom-com of a romp that’s not only laugh-out-loud funny, it touches the heart. I couldn’t help but to root for Charlotte as her luck changes and, once a hot neurotic mess, Charlotte metamorphoses into a woman she is proud to be – thanks in part to a handsome Chinese food deliveryman and some on-the-sly Feng Shui. In her debut novel, Ferderbar has created a lovable and relatable heroine in Charlotte. Add in the cast of wacky characters and smart-as-a-whip wit and Ferderbar’s comedic genius shines. Get ready for a wild ride. Get ready for Charlotte Nightingale.” Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir

“Pamela Ferderbar is a witty and wonderful writer, and her book is a great reminder of the magic all around us. A delightful and enlightening read for anyone who’s ever wondered, “why me?”  Read it and get your chi flowing.” Cindy Guidry, author of The Last Single Woman in America

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PamFerderbar**About author, Pam Federbar: Pam was born and raised in Wisconsin, the only child of loving but quirky parents. She moved to Los Angeles, married the first man to see her fall off the turnip truck, wrote a short story that would later become Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, began collecting stray dogs, divorced the man, fell in with a wild group of beachy goddesses, wrote a novel and then moved back to Wisconsin where the goddesses wear long underwear and cheese hats and so do the men.

**Contact Pam: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Hashtag   Instagram   LinkedIn   YouTube

EXCERPT: “Conquest #1-3″

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“Conquest #1-3″ by Steam Bijou

Blurb:

Ten Delicious Episodes

Brie Baggio thinks she’s ready… for marriage, kids, the whole shebang. She’s pushing forty, and even though she’s the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at Los Angeles’s hottest med spa, Botox can’t paralyze that nagging feeling that it’s now or never. But when she witnesses a wild act of public sex, Brie tears her marriage plans apart and composes a sexual bucket list of scenarios she wants to experience before she settles down. She has life yet to live, lessons to learn, and someone to find—herself—along the way.

Sexy, smart, chock full of pop culture, Conquest is the it-series of the year. Help Brie cross each item off her list.

1. An Older Man

2. A Younger Man

3. A Teacher

4. Her Boss

5. A Woman

6. A Stranger

7. A Threesome

8. In Public

9. Make a Sex Tape

10. Dominate a Man Until He Cries

Ready for some steam? Start the adventure today.

EXCERPT

The women hang in Shavasana, shrouded in poppy-colored yoga hammocks and suspended above the gleam of the studio’s wooden floor. A stranger wandering in might think he had happened upon a room of human-butterfly hybrids in advanced stage of chrysalis, but this is Tuesday night aerial yoga at The Center and Brie is trying her best to breathe, release, renew, rejuvenate, relax here inside her nylon pod.

To say he took it hard would be an understatement. It was a scene of grotesquery not to be forgotten, complete with nasal mucous cascading down to his shirt as he blubbered, and a phone call to his mother—live, on camera, we’re talking Facetime—during which she demanded to speak to Brie, who was forced to exit the clearing to avoid such theater, where she bumped into the jungle lovers, who had heard the cries of the almost-fiancé and, mistaking them for signs of injury or illness, came to see if they could help. The woman patted the pained one’s back as her still-shirtless companion stared at Brie in confusion, and Brie wasn’t sure if she should thank him, ask him for his number, or leap from the nearest cliff.

Gretchen emerges from her hammock first, making eye contact with Brie and bending her wrist to pantomime her desire for a drink. Out comes Peyton next, who taps Bernadette on the feet to wake her. Bern always falls asleep in corpse pose; she’s permanently relaxed. Brie pulls her knees to her chest to enclose herself completely inside the pod, her world a brief oasis of orange until Gretchen says, “Come on, Buddha,” and tilts Brie’s pod so the slick of her Lululemons sends her sliding to the floor. It’s not that she doesn’t want to tell them. It’s just exhausting, all the questions that will come. Her mom is going to shit a hyena.

“Did he do it?” asks the girl who teaches the Pound class coming up next. It doesn’t help that Brie knows everybody here. She’s the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at The Center, where women rush in droves at first sign of decreased skin elasticity, lip fullness, eyelash thickness, muscle tone, metabolism, belly flatness, youthful glow, and general confidence in their outward appearance. Botox®, Juvederm®, SmartLipo®, Latisse®, non-surgical nose jobs. Lasers, acids, chemical peels, global thermonuclear war on cellulite. This is Star Wars for women, and it is serious fucking business.

“No,” says Brie, not ready to give up the goose.

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SsteamBijouPIC**About author, Steam Bijou:

Steam Bijou is the alter ego of author Jaime Boust, whose work ranges from literotica to anonymously submitted business plans to her favorite failing local retailers. Her fiction includes Book Club, Conquest by her alter ego Steam Bijou, and the forthcoming serial Night Life–a series about a thirty-something mother who, disillusioned by the monotony of motherhood, starts a high-end prostitution ring. The similarities between Ms. Boust and her anti-heroine are startling, minus the prostitution.

Jaime received her formal education at the University of California at San Diego and her informal education on the streets of London, the hills of San Francisco, the sewers of Paris, and the suburban wilds of Oakland. These days you’ll find her dodging traffic in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids. Many things have been said of her: idea machine, portmanteau enthusiast, cutthroat croquet player, national champion cheerleader, world’s spiciest cook. Believe them all.

**Contact Steam: Website   Facebook   Twitter

**Find the books: Conquest: Episodes 1-3   Conquest: Episodes 4-6   Book Club   iBooks   Nook   Google Play

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**Click HERE to see more stops on Steam’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour!

BOOK FEATURE: “The Cake Therapist”

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“The Cake Therapist” by Judith Fertig

Blurb:

“The Cake Therapist is a delicious treat for readers, full of unexpected delights and magical storytelling. . . . I savored every detail.” –BEATRIZ WILLIAMS, New York Times bestselling author

The Cake Therapist is a fiction debut from an award-winning cookbook author that will leave you wanting seconds.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings-cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of-and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.

**Click HERE to get your copy of “The Cake Therapist”

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**GIVEAWAY**

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**To enter to win your copy of “The Cake Therapist” leave your answer to this question in the comment section, (you must leave your email address, so that I can contact you if you won)! U.S. entries only, please.

Giveaway question: What is your favorite kind of cake to make?

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JudithFertigPic**About author, Judith Fertig: Cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and now lives in Kansas City. Described by Saveur Magazine as a “heartland cookbook icon,” Fertig writes cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland. Fertig’s food and lifestyle writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including Bon Appetit, Saveur and The New York Times. The Cake Therapist (June 2, 2015; Berkley), is her fiction debut.

**Contact Judith: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest

RELEASE DAY: “The Secret Daughter”

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“The Secret Daughter” by Kelly Rimmer

Blurb:

A heart-breaking decision. A lifetime of secrets. And the power of a mother’s love.

As I saw my new-born baby’s face for the first time I tried desperately to capture her face in my mind—to stamp it onto my eyelids. As she was taken from me I knew I might never see my daughter again.

37 years later…

‘You were adopted’. Three short words and Sabina’s life fractures.

There would forever be a Before those words, and an After.

Pregnant with her own child, Sabina can’t understand how a mother could abandon her daughter, or why her parents have kept the past a secret.

Determined to find the woman who gave her away, what she discovers will change everything, not just for Sabina, but for the women who have loved her all these years.

**Buy “The Secret Daughter”: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK

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KellyRimmerPic**About author, Kelly Rimmer:

When Kelly’s childhood friends grew out of make-believe games, she realised she’d have to become a writer (or join the real world with them, but that seemed far too dull).

Several decades later, she lives in rural Australia with her husband Daniel and their two young children, and when she’s not reading, writing, or daydreaming about reading and writing, she has one of those unfathomable IT jobs which no one outside of the industry really knows about.

**Contact Kelly: Website   Facebook   Twitter

BOOK FEATURE: “7 Years Bad Sex”

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“7 Years Bad Sex” by Nicky Wells

Blurb:

One wedding. One curse? Disaster ever after…

A seven-years-bad-sex curse? Surely not! Yet something went wrong when rock singer Casey and drummer Alex got married on that beautiful yacht anchored off St Tropez in the south of France. Something went badly wrong. For even on their wedding night, the young couple discovers a complete and somewhat surprising inability to make love. Muddling through their honeymoon with a string of thin excuses for their predicament, the lovers defer finding a solution (and panicking) until the return to their home in London. After all, they married for life and to make rock music, not for the love of sex. Right?

But when they resume life as normal in London, all hell breaks loose. Increasingly frantic in their quest for release, the unhappy newlyweds embark on a string of hilarious and occasionally harmful antics that drives them, their band, and an assortment of random strangers to the brink of despair. But it ain’t over ‘til it’s over or, in this case… it ain’t over ‘til the newlyweds sing.

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EXCERPT

There was a stunned silence in the room while Alex and Casey tried to assimilate the importance of this statement. She remembered all too well her conversation with Alex on the yacht after they had trawled through the wedding video. He had pointed out to her even then that she hadn’t looked at him.

Casey shivered. She caught Alex’s eye and saw nothing but utter confusion. Liza was still standing up, one fist raised in an air punch. Sasha had taken one of Casey’s hands into her own.

Eventually Alex spoke. ‘Maybe we didn’t look at each other. So what?’

Liza and Sasha shared another look. ‘The seven-years-bad-sex curse!’ they shouted as one.

Alex burst out laughing. ‘The seven-years-bad-sex curse?’ he repeated. ‘You’re taking the mickey, right?’

Myles was chuckling so hard, he toppled over sideways on the sofa and had to hold his stomach. ‘That’s why we had to rush over here? To tell them about a seven-years-bad-sex curse?’

‘Laugh all you want,’ Liza said calmly. ‘But you’re watching it in action.’

Casey swallowed hard. She didn’t believe in curses. They were nothing but delusory superstitions from the middle ages. But still, both Sasha and Liza looked utterly serious.

‘So—so what does that curse entail?’ Casey asked, her voice almost a whisper.

Sasha produced her smartphone and called up a website. ‘It says here,’ she said, ‘there’s a superstition in many parts of southern Europe about how not looking at each other when clinking glasses during a toast brings couples seven years bad sex.’ She angled her phone so that everyone could see the screen.

‘And you were in France when you committed this ritualistic mishap,’ Liza offered helpfully. ‘So that definitely applies.’

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**About author, Nicky Wells:

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and ad-hoc radio show presenter. Rock on!

**Connect with Nicky: Blog   Twitter   Facebook   Romantic Novelists’ Association   Sapphire Star Publishing   Amazon   Goodreads   Pinterest   Google+

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**Be sure to pick up your copy of “7 Years Bad Sex” for only $0.99 now!

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**A note from the author: 7 Years Bad Sex is my seventh book, and it’s a little different from my other books. For sure, rock stars feature in the story, but their rock musicianship is a backdrop rather than the main purpose. Rock music happens to be the characters’ job, but the story is very much about Casey and Alex’s…romantic misfortune.

Also despite what the title itself might suggest, this isn’t a retake on Fifty Shades, on the contrary. There are no explicit, long-drawn out, graphic scenes here. There is innuendo and suggestion—quite a lot of it, in fact—but the point is the funny side, the making lemonades-out-of-lemons approach that Casey and Alex try to adopt for most of the book. It’s a feel-good, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy probably quite unlike any other. But that’s only my opinion; why don’t you judge for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Book Feature: “A Leap in Time”

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“A Leap in Time” by Engy Albasel Neville

Blurb: The morning after hanging an antique painting, Lexi Carter notices strange noises in her living room. Scared beyond words, she confronts the sounds only to discover that the landscape itself has come alive. Did Roman soldiers on horseback just gallop across the thing?

She impulsively touches the painting and is sucked into the world of ancient Pompeii. Lexi meets Marcus, a Roman Adonis, who occupies her every thought, and sends her senses into a tailspin.

The year is 59AD and Pompeii is at its peak of glory and prosperity. Lexi is faced with the decision of choosing between two worlds, her modern day Los Angeles or ancient Pompeii…with the man who captured her heart and soul.

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GUEST POST

Love in a Another World by Lexi Carter

Amore

We all seek it, we all need it but it doesn’t always manifest on our terms.

Mine didn’t and thank the heavens for that.

My love is from another world, Pompeii 59 AD to be exact. Yes, you read that correctly. My Marcus is literally from another world. A world that has long disappeared into the history books in modern day.

How is this possible you ask?

By some divine intervention, I was able to time travel to ancient Pompeii through a time portal that seized to recognize the centuries between our worlds. Mine is Los Angeles 2014 and his is cemented in history books.

Admittedly, when I first met Marcus, I was drawn to him because he’s the most attractive man I’ve ever laid eyes on. His sparkling green eyes that flickered with mischief to the easy smile that lit up a room had me panting for air, praying my knees didn’t fail me.

As time went on, we were spending a lot of time together, talking, laughing and learning about each other’s likes and dislikes. In a way, Marcus was courting me in the most traditional and romantic way imaginable. At the time, he didn’t know about my real identity and I was too scared to tell him the truth. That story is for another day.

Being with Marcus reignited my faith in love and commitment. Despite the centuries and differences that separated us, he understood me better than any man in modern day understood me. We were in synch with each other’s feelings and thoughts even though in keeping with traditional courting, we refrained from any physical intimacy.

There was an innocence and sweetness about our relationship that I had desperately sought out in modern day but failed at finding. In ancient times, there weren’t any distractions to keep us from truly getting to know one another. Love was pure. At least, it was for us. My heart and soul fell in love with the ancient man that treated me like a precious jewel and listened intently to my words, cherishing every one of my ideas.

By the time we shared our first kiss, I was already his in heart, soul and everything else …

To read more about my adventures in Pompeii and about the Adonis that took my breath away, read my story in A Leap In Time.

Lexi XX

**Buy “A Leap in Time”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Google Play   Apple iBooks   Scribd   The Wild Rose Press

**”A Leap in Time” will be $0.99 on June 18th!

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EngyAlbaselNevillePic**About author, Engy Albasel Neville:

I’m Engy. I’m a mom, a wife, an amateur chef, yogini, bookworm, a nature lover and a hopeless romantic.

Prior to writing full time, I worked in the entertainment industry and later in brand consulting. Some of the interesting personalities I met along the way have inspired the characters in my books. I currently reside on Long Island, New York with my husband, two toddlers and dog.

**Contact Engy: Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads – Author Page   Goodreads – Book Page   Amazon – Author Page