the December Intrigues

"Intrigues make my heart feel awesome. Not only with the romantic part of the story that can make the heart do that ‘awww’ thing. But also with the tension and mystery that increase the blood flow and causes my heart to pound ferociously. There has been many a night that even when my eyes want me to sleep, my brain says, “Finish the darn book!”  ~Charlene Brody

Nico is giving away an autographed copy of his  debut Intrigue, Renegade Protector! Be sure to leave a comment and get extra chances through the Rafflecopter.

When intimidation turns to deadly force,
It’s time for Frontier Justice.

If ruthless developers want Mariana Balducci’s land, they’ll have to kill her for it. And they nearly succeed—until Ty Morrison foils her attacker. The sexy San Francisco cop is part of a secret organization called Frontier Justice. Mariana is tough, but she realizes she can’t win this fight alone. And when bullets fly, Ty realizes battling bad guys is easier than fighting their sizzling attraction.

ANGI:  Favorite thing about Ty Morrison
NICO: I love how dedicated Ty is. Once he commits to helping Mariana, there’s nothing that can stop him.

ANGI:  Favorite thing about Mariana Balducci
NICO: Mariana’s strength through the turmoil is something I really like. A lot of terrible things are thrown her way, but she isn’t broken.

ANGI:  Favorite thing about Renegade Protector
NICO: I love the legacy that Ty brings to Mariana with Frontier Justice. It’s a group of people helping others, not for anything in return, but because it’s the right thing to do. His ancestor started it in the 19th Century, and Ty’s bringing it back when people need it most.

ANGI:  Where is Renegade Protector set?
NICO: It’s set in Rodrigo, California. A fictitious town just inland from the Monterey Bay. 

ANGI:  Favorite scene in Renegade Protector
NICO: One of my favorite scenes is when Ty walks the land of Mariana’s orchard with her. It ties together the past of their ancestors and the current story, revealing how connected she is to the space as well as his growing feelings for her. 


Danger is hiding in the hot Miami night…

Much to their mutual annoyance, FBI agent Jacob Wolff and Miami detective Jasmine Adair discover they’re both undercover to bust a notorious organized crime group. But amid a glamorous South Beach nightclub opening, their key informant is killed, leaving Jacob and Jasmine the dangerous job of infiltrating the ring. With desire igniting between them, can they set aside their distrust and work together to bring down the brutal mobsters.


His life is dedicated to the SEALs.

His heart is dedicated to her.

Their mission was clear: do not engage! But when his SEAL team is ambushed, “Big Jake” Schuler sacrifices his safety to draw the terrorists away from his unit. When village missionary teacher Alexandria Parker runs right into Jake’s arms, they must hide together in the wild hills of Niger, causing Jake to discover that Alex is as tough as she is beautiful. This mission he’ll engage with feelings he thought he buried a lifetime ago.

Mission Six

Barb Han

Where there’s a will…there’s murder.

When the Butlers gather for the Christmas reading of their murdered father’s will, tracker Rory Scott is focused on finding the killer targeting his ex, Cadence Butler. He’s shocked to find the ranch heiress pregnant…with his twins. Wild spirit Rory has never “done” love, but keeping Cadence safe on the run threatens to tame his untamable heart.

Crisis: Battle Barge


A wounded soldier battles for total recall.

But can he trust his elusive memories?

Amnesia has robbed Asher Knight of his memories of a fatal mission. Now he doesn’t recognize Paige Sterling, the woman who claims to be his fiancée. Does the Delta Force lieutenant have PTSD—or something more sinister? On the run, he must rely on Paige to dodge unknown assassins and help him regain his memory…but is the secret she keeps from him even more shocking?

Red, White and Built: Pumped Up

Nicole Helm

A killer has been hiding for two years.
This Christmas, he’s ready to finish what he started.

He didn’t need her to care, so why did Wyoming loner Will Cooper’s world implode when Gracie Delaney quit helping him solve his estranged wife’s murder? Despite her ties to a rival family, the beautiful coroner had been the stubborn recluse’s one link to humanity—and his last chance to clear the cloud hanging over him. But when Will and Gracie become the killer’s next target, reviving their platonic partnership is the only option. If only Gracie’s lips weren’t so tempting…

Carsons & Delaneys
Your host, Angi Morgan
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A Little Nostalgia For the Season

My offering for November's of Between the Pages is about the past--

Recently, I visited Toy Storyland at Disney World in Orlando and was totally amazed at the wave of memories that washed over me. It was like walking into my childhood--which oddly now is considered "antique" in some circles....

Perhaps its walking through the array of toys there are out there with a new grandson seeing and experiencing them for the first time. I'm happy to say that some of the Fisher Price toys did survive the rearing of 4 kids and are now enjoyed by my little grandson, Winston James.

I'm a fifties kid, so I grew up with Paint-by-Number kits, Color-forms, Trolls,
Etch-A-Sketch, Barbie Dolls, and a plastic horses farm that stayed at my grandmother's house. Then there were games --Mystery Date, Life, Parcheesi, Othello, Candy Land, Monopoly, and of course, Chinese Checkers. And let's not forget the books!  Black Beauty and The Boxcar Children were my favorites!

So, I wondered, do others wax nostalgic like me?  I ASKED THE CREW:

What was the toy you loved and cherished until it fell apart? Do you still have any toys/games from your childhood? What game do you still like to play?

AMANDA --Silly Putty comes to mind. I used to find it fascinating that it could up the ink on the Sunday comics! And Slinky--seeing how many steps I could get it to go down! And my cherished Betsy Wetsy Doll (which I still have)

JACQUI --I know Barbie gets a bad rap, but she and her many pals were my favorites when I was growing up. I remember having two Ken dolls. One with blond hard plastic hair and one with brown soft vinyl threadlike hair...which led to me cutting his hair...and then being very sad when it didn't grow back. A tough lesson learned.

Angi's Play House
ANGI --Oh gosh. I know this will sound really weird, but I loved borrowing my brother's toy cars for the sand box. I didn't bury toys in the sand (like the neighbor kid in Toy Story), but I made tons of sand cities complete with streets for the cars and living rooms for my dolls. The sandbox was added to the front of my playhouse. AND AND AND -- My dad built my daughter a play house that I still have waiting for her children to play in.

AVRIL -- I think it was a doll that was about the same size as me, and I called her Rose Red. I must have been only two or three years old. My naughty older sisters took me into the cupboard where Mum had stashed the Christmas presents and let me play with her well before Christmas morning dawned!

E.E. -- Roller skates. Every Christmas I would get a new pair (having outgrown or destroyed the old ones from use). I'd put them on and go straight outside to skate. I LOVED roller skating. (Mind you, I lived in Florida, so I could skate outside year round!)

LIZBETH -- I, too, loved Barbie, which is still really weird to me because I was a tomboy's tomboy most of the time. But my friends all had Barbie and friends and we played all the time. I literally had the original Barbie doll--she came with a black and white striped bathing suit and mine had a black pony tail (you could choose black, red, or blonde!). I also had Ken, Barbie's sister Skipper and her friend Midge. We got to enact so many real-life situations from marriage to having babies to being astronauts or whatever. We had no idea we were learning so much.

AMANDA --I loved Black Beauty and Boxcar Children when I got a little older, old comic books were big since my dad worked for a magazine publisher out of New York for most of his life. But I used to LOVE sitting and leafing through IDEAL books--especially the holiday poems!!

JACQUI --I loved any book with a horse. My favorites were Judy Van Der Veer's "Hold the Rein Free" and a whole bunch of books by Marguerite Henry: "Misty of Chincoteague," "San Domingo, the Medicine Hat Stallion," "Justin Morgan Had a Horse," "King of the Wind" and "Brighty of the Grand Canyon"...oh, wait that one was about a burro, not a horse, but loved it all the same.

ANGI --Hands down the original One Hundred and One Dalmatians or the Great Dog Robbery by Dodie Smith. The 1956 original story was in my school library. I checked it out so many times that the librarian ordered a new copy and gave me the old. I wish I still had that copy but it must have been given to charity.

AVRIL -- The first book I really remember reading is The Children of Primrose Lane by Noel Streatfeild. I have no idea how I got my hands on this book because it was written before I was born. It;s about a group of kids who save the say in WWII England when they take it upon themselves to trail a German spy. I  wanted to pack my bags and go adventuring after reading this book!

E.E. -- That's easy. Black Beauty. I read that book over and over until the pages fell out and we have to tape them back in. Then I started through every library copy until the librarian said I HAD to read something new. I checked out Man O' War (about a race horse). I also read the horse books mentioned by Jacqui, in addition, National Velvet ... did I happen to mention I was (am) horse crazy?

LIZBETH -- Have to join the horse crazies here. I stared with the Billy and Blaze books (oh how I wanted a pony like Blaze!) Then I lived, breathed, played, and read ten times over all the Black Stallion books. Because I was a tomboy, at first I made my friends pretend I was Alec Ramsay. But as I got older Alec turned into my first book boyfriend, with his slim hips, broad shoulders, and natural ability with wild horses! I wanted to run Hopeful Farm with him in the worst way! Marguerite Henry books were right up there, too. It's still on my bucket list to get to Assateague Island and see the Chincoteague ponies!  I passed on my horse craziness to my daughter, too. She owns six horses and became an equine veterinarian!

AMANDA --One of the very first games I was taught was Chinese Checkers on a board that my grandfather made and a coffee can filled with the marbles. I collect Chinese Checker boards now I have one sitting out all the time on a game table just waiting to be played. It's one of the first games I taught my kids to play and that I'll teach my grandkids!

JACQUI --My favorite game was (and still is) the board game Clue. I loved trying to figure out whodunnit. We also played Chinese Checkers a lot but it wasn't my favorite because my sister was so good at that game that it made any chance of winning very unlikely. I liked my odds better (still do) in Clue.

ANGI --I have to say that I didn't really have board games. With the play house, bicycles, sand box and a neighborhood full of children...we ALWAYS played outside. We'd turn our bikes upside down, put them in a circle and pretend we were in a spaceship to the moon. Remember that moon race back in the '60s?

AVRIL -- Elastics! I have no idea if anyone these days even knows what it is but it was all the rage when I was a kid. All you needed was a piece of elastic stitched end to end, and (at least) three people - two to stretch out the elastic between them, holding it taut, and one (or more) to jump over it. The elastic starts at ankle length and climbs higher and higher up the bodies of the two people acting as posts as the jumpers progress.

E.E. -- Pretend play based on TV shows. We had a boat in the back yard and played Gilligan's Island. Our back porch became the Starship Enterprise. I argued that a girl could be Mr. Spock if she wanted! We also play-acted Westerns, and I took my brothers "guns" and holster and cowboy outfit because the cowgirl stuff was too sissy!

LIZBETH -- I'll never forget Mystery Date, the goofiest game ever where you got to wind your way around a board and then open a white door to discover your date. Everyone wanted #4, the guy with the white sport coat. I never got him--I always got the sporty guy or the guy with the scruffy beard, which definitely wasn't hot back in the 60's!  The other game we absolutely loved was Mouse Trap--that Rube Goldberg-like build-a-trap game where there was a bathtub, a shoe that kicked a bucket and a silver ball that rolled down a slide and then sent the basket tumbling down to catch the mouse. Played that a million times as a kid!

Send us a picture or a description of your nostalgic toy, book,  or game  and you could win a $25 Gift Card to Cracker Barrel to use in store or online for your holiday season shopping! They have some of the best blasts of the past!!


Through My Lens: Blast from the Past

Recent flooding in the Hill Country of Texas brought back memories of my aunt's lake house and the flooding they experienced (not on this year's scale). Rain and flooding from 2000 to 2002 inspired the my first published Intrigue: HILL COUNTY HOLDUP.

GET MORE OF THIS STORY and the CHANCE to win a $5.00 GIFT CARD THURSDAY & FRIDAY on Just Romantic Suspense.

YES, this is the SEA DOO that inspired the scene from HILL HOLDUP (read the excerpt on Just Romantic Suspense November 15th & 16th).

The actual Jet Ski is on the far right.

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Thanks for joining me!
Leave a comment here AND on Just Romantic Suspense for a shot at an additional $5.00 Gift Card.


Romance and Danger in the French Alps with Laura Boon

A book set in France, a dash of Alpine danger, and snow on the cover? I am so there! Welcome Laura Boon – whose debut novel The Millionaire Mountain Climber, out now, is clearly tailor-made for me.

About Laura...

Laura Boon stole her first romance from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was immediately captivated. After holding a variety of positions in publishing, from bookseller to sales rep and publicist, she eventually found the courage to write her own stories. She was born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa, and went to university in America. She now lives in Australia with her husband and their adorable Pekingese Beau. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys sleuthing for artisan chocolate and beautiful stationery, watching tennis, and walking alongside Sydney’s beautiful harbor. 

Connect with Laura via her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

 When danger threatens a bona fide city girl, an adventurer is her only hope of rescue 

Mountain climber Matt Hanley is a former investment manager whose lean body and rugged good looks epitomize an outdoor adrenaline junky. When his business partner in their country hotel is injured, he needs an efficient replacement in a hurry.

Hailey Gordon lives a chic city life free of adventures and daredevils. She craves stability and security but loses her job and boyfriend on the same day. A holiday job in France is the perfect escape from her troubles.

Sparks ignite when Matt and Hailey meet, but she resolves to ignore the flame flickering between them. Aside from the fact Matt is her boss, she's convinced he is not her type. Matt is determined to teach Hailey to look beyond appearances. He needs to show her how good they are together, even if he must risk life and limb to do so.

Read a little...

Hailey drank in the landscape, noticing the clarity of the late afternoon sky and the way the snow-capped peaks glistened despite the fading light.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Matt.  “Trending down the valley, you have the villages of Argentiere and Les Praz and the town of Chamonix. Behind Chamonix you can see the Grand Mama of all the peaks, Mont Blanc.”

“Yes, the pens––and the chocolates.” She shook her head. What hubris to name a pen after the magnificent towering peak, but what marketing genius.

Matt grinned. “Ah, you know the chocolates, do you? We’ll have to buy you some.”

“From the lips to the hips,” she murmured, “and I am sure they don’t do the mountain justice.”

“Come on, let’s get you inside before your face turns blue, and I earn a reprimand from Genie for chatting up scantily-clad women in sub-zero temperatures.”

“Really? You were chatting me up? I’m flattered.”

The smile turned wicked. “You’re welcome.” As he bent to pick up her suitcase, he dropped his head next to hers and murmured into her ear in a low, deep voice, sending shivers down her spine. “For the record, Hailey, your curves are perfect. A little chocolate won’t do them any harm.”

She blushed, and the fire of his words flickered all the way through her belly. When was the last time her ex had paid her a compliment? An appalling thought crossed her mind; she, the High Priestess of Order and Long-Term Planning, was ripe for the picking and contemplating a holiday romance.

Buy the book at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, or the Wild Rose Press

Let's Talk!

Avril: Tell us about your change from the business side of publishing to the author side. 
Laura: I loved working in publishing for two reasons. I got to meet many authors, most of whom are wonderful, inspiring, generous individuals. And I got to promote books, which I believe are a cornerstone of civilization. Since my early twenties I’ve wanted to write a book of my own, but always feared it would never be good enough. Then I had to learn how to do it. Working with my publisher was a wonderful experience. As an author, I couldn’t have asked for more. I do have this problem creature who followed me home from my day job, my publicity alter ego. She sits on my shoulders and nags me every day about what I haven’t done yet from a marketing, publicity and social media perspective – and no matter how much she whines, I just can’t get to everything! As an author, I’ve realized I have to set goals and then just try to get as close as possible. Being an author is still a surreal experience for me. I’m inspired and touched by the kindness of other authors and readers.

Avril: I love the idea of reading a romance set in the French Alps – what made you choose that setting?
Laura: I love to travel. These days I do it mostly from my armchair. I wanted that escape and thought other readers might enjoy it too. I chose the French Alps because I have been lucky enough to visit them, so I could picture the village where I set The Millionaire Mountain Climber. They’re beautiful, challenging, romantic. It’s also my experience that when you are off home ground, you are more open to new ideas and experiences, so it was a way to both test my characters and give them opportunity.

Avril: I understand your heroine is on the feisty side – are we going to see a few more feisty heroines from you in the future? 
Laura: Oh yes! Feistiness is an essential survival skill for a woman. My first romantic heroine was Jane Eyre and she was constantly called stubborn and sullen. I read into that ‘not a doormat’, opinionated, feisty and resilient.

Avril: What’s your favorite kind of hero?
Laura: I like an Alpha who is a Beta – or a Beta who is an Alpha – by which I mean a man who is confident, knows his own mind, and is good at what he does. He can sometimes be bossy, even arrogant, but he is never domineering and aggressive to those over whom he has power. And he has to have a sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at the world, days are dark indeed.

Avril: I know you’re a fellow Georgette Heyer fan – what made you choose contemporary over historical for your foray into fiction writing?
Laura: Ha! I was stupid enough to think a contemporary romance would be easier to write because I wouldn’t have to do research. Yes, I can hear all the contemporary romance writers in the universe doubling up in laughter. It didn’t take me long to work out how wrong I was, but by then I was committed, and my characters determined I would finish their journey. I’m still planning to write historical romance, but first I have a contemporary quartet to finish.

Avril: What’s your pet hate in romance novels?
Laura: First person heroes who describe their achievements in glowing terms. “I’m a ruthless, self-made multi-billionaire, the best in the business with the biggest dick that all the chicks love.” *Gags* I read one that was literally that bad, which is to say I started it, but when he answered the door to interview the heroine for a housekeeping job in nothing but a towel which he then dropped in the kitchen to display his ‘assets’, I fled through the front door alongside her, never to return. I think first person is hard to write for that exact reason; you’re permanently inside the characters’ heads but they absolutely can’t talk about themselves.

 Laura is giving away an eBook of The Millionaire Mountain Climber (open internationally). Comment on the blog to enter, and please include your email address either with your comment, or private message it to Avril Tremayne via Facebook.