E.E. Burke's Best of the West: Dueling the Desperado by Mimi Milan

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"This place is too dangerous for a face like yours."
"I feel as if I've heard those words before."

It’s been several years since Araceli Arroyo left behind the burning ruins of her family’s hacienda in New Mexico for a new start in California. Despite the time that’s passed and all the loss she’s suffered, the painful memory of war is like fresh paint on a blank canvas. Perhaps that’s why the prints she creates always hold a touch of sadness. However, she’s determined to produce something new – a masterpiece that will inspire the folks in the growing town of Blessings. Could the new hire at her father’s sawmill help her do that… or will the secrets he carries destroy them both?

From Texas to New Mexico, problems stick to Miguel Santiago like stink on old fish. Hoping to shed his old life, he’s thankful for a friend’s invitation to start anew in a place where he can be anyone – literally. Operating under the alias of Michael St. James, his fair looks and country twang allow him to pass as any other American cowboy in search of California’s promise of golden opportunities. Could the family he’s always wanted also be part of the prospect… or will the woman of his dreams discard him like her dried jars of paint when his past is revealed?

A story of desire and deception, dismay and deliverance, hearts burn as bright as the summer sun setting on the golden California coast in this classic western.


There – in one corner of the softly decorated study—was a woman in a pair of boy trousers and dark fitted blouse. He could hardly make her out in the dim light, but she stood in such a way that there was no mistaking her gender. She appeared to be calmly examining small glass jars all lined up on a desk beside a large wood frame supporting a blank crème colored canvas. Miguel wasn’t sure which fact surprised him more— that there was a woman unconventionally dressed or that she carried on her task as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
“What do think you’re about?” he blurted.
The woman spun around, her eyes wild. She raised the jar in her hand, bringing it back behind her head only to swing her arm forward and then suddenly stopped. She glanced down at the jar with a look of mixed emotions. With a sigh of resignation, she placed it in a satchel she carried and then faced him again, her hands planted on her hips.
“Are you blind or ignorant?”
“What?” Miguel sputtered.
The woman stepped forward, the light shining onto her face enough for him to make out her flared nose. A bit of anger stained her voice. “Didn’t you ask me what I’m doing? Only someone blind or boorish wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Since you’re staring at me with eyes that look ready to roll out of your head, I can only assume it must be the latter.”
What in the—
The sound of irritated tapping brought Miguel’s attention down to her feet where one boot anxiously rapped the floor. He slowly dragged his gaze upward. Despite her obvious irritation, she was quite a sight to behold. His eyes were adjusting to the gentle glow of the lamp she had lit, and he could see her features well enough now to know that her long-lashed, brown slanted eyes would be engraved on his mind forever. He searched the rest of her sun-kissed face and decided that he found the rest of it pleasing as well. From her full lips to her arched brows and all the way up to the coiled braid wrapped around her head like a crown, he was positive she was the kind of woman that could turn his head every time.
“You need to leave.”
The words came out gruffer than he had intended. Her eyes drew into angry slits.
“This is my house,” she hissed. “You are the one who should be leaving.”
Her words set him back with the realization that she was part of the family they had forced from the land. That meant that she was also related to the two Mexican soldiers his men had killed. Part of him felt sorry for her. The other part had no remorse what-so-ever. While she herself was innocent of any wrongdoing, her family had housed traitors who had stolen important documents from one of his generals. His expression hardened.
“Like I said, you should leave.”
She refused to be intimidated. “I’ll have you know I hate American soldiers.”
“Well, that’s a pity because I’m rather positive my men would love to make your acquaintance. It’s been a long time since any of them have had the pleasure of a woman’s company.”
She gasped, making him feel as dark as the shadows he still stood in.
“Good. You get it now. This place is too dangerous for a face like yours.”

On sale for a special pre-order price of only 99 cents!

Meet Mimi Milan

Mimi Milan is an award winning, bestselling Latin American poet and author of both historical and contemporary fiction. The majority of her stories feature characters that resemble the melting pot of people she grew up with (from New Jersey to Mexico), as well as the languages she speaks (English, Spanish, and Italian). A candidate for the MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University, she can usually be found in the suburbs of North Carolina, spending time with her family and imaginary friends. 

Contact Info: 

Q. What's the first book you remember reading?

A. LOL--The very first book I recall reading is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess when I was about five years old. I specifically recall that book, because I was taking a bubble bath and I slyly brought the book into the bathroom with me. Needless to say, it didn't make it back out. Rather, it did but in a big, wet ball of papers.

Q. What's your favorite fairy tale?

A. Oooh. That's a really good question. I like them all. Hmmm... If I think about it hard, though, I might say my favorite is Rapunzel. She wins despite all odds, gets a truly awesome prince in the end, and she does it all with great hair!

Q. Fairytale or Action Adventure?

A. A little of both! In other words, The Princess Bride (my all-time favorite story).

Q. What sound or noise do you love?

A. Baby noises--all of them. I don't even mind when they cry. It just gives me an opportunity to sing them to sleep.

Q. Be honest. When reading, do you put yourself in the heroine's role?

A. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. In fact, if I can't envision myself in the heroine's role, then I might be motivated to shut the book. I have to relate to the character--which isn't that hard to do if the author has crisp dialogue, and hasn't made the heroine into a whimpering ninny. I need strong women who still need a hero, but wants to help save herself.

Q. What's something you'd like to tell your fans?

A. LOL--Do I have any of those? If so, thank you so much for reading! I truly do appreciate all the support. Honestly, I'm very approachable too. So, feel free to reach out. If you're an aspiring author, I am more than happy to help in any way that I can. If you prefer to read the books instead of writing them, then know that I'm always on the look out for a good reader for the review team. Contact me to see if I have any spots currently available!

Today, Mimi is giving away an autographed copy of her novella, The Dancing Lady, and some extra swag! Just answer the question and enter the Rafflecopter.

What is your favorite fairytale and why?

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#loveofbooks Amanda visits with USA Bestselling author Carolyn Brown

I'm delighted today to have here at GLIAS a gifted and prolific storyteller, Carolyn Brown. Carolyn is no stranger to our blog and we love having her here! 

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist. The author of more than eighty published books, she’s also the three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award, a Bookseller’s Best Award, and a Montlake Diamond Award.
Carolyn and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, as well as what they’re doing and when—and they read the local newspaper on Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.
When she’s not writing, Carolyn likes to sit in her gorgeous backyard with her two tomcats, Chester Fat Boy and Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw, and watch them protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts, and spiders. Visit her at www.carolynbrownbooks.com

Today we'll be visiting a bit about her new book SOMETIMES SISTERS. Carolyn describes it as a women's fiction story with romantic elements! (My kind of book!!)  I asked if she could give me a little insight to the book...

CAROLYN: The Sometimes Sisters started out to be a humorous book but it didn't turn out to be that way. It has humorous moments but it's so much deeper. Three sisters all with emotional baggage inherit their grandmother's small lake side resort when she dies suddenly. They have to run the convenience store/gas station/café and the few little cabins together and through it all, with the help of the old black man who does the cooking in the café, they find they can be more than just sometimes sisters.

A bittersweet inheritance reunites three estranged sisters in a novel of family, trust, and forgiveness from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.
Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…
To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.
Amanda: This sounds like an amazing excerpt! Would you mind sharing an excerpt?

EXCERPT for The Sometimes Sisters
“Promise me,” Annie whispered.
“I promise.” Zedekiah nodded with tears in his eyes.
“You’ll bring them all home where they belong.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “They need to heal.”
“I’ll get them here. You rest now.” Zed cradled her frail body in his arms.
She’d been in and out of consciousness for two days, and each time she awoke she made him promise all over again that he’d bring her granddaughters home to the lake resort. Suddenly her eyes opened wide, and she cupped his cheeks in her hands.
“You . . .” Tears flowed down her face.
“I know, Annie.” His salty tears mingled with hers when their cheeks touched.
“I’ve loved you since we were kids.” She inhaled deeply and let it out slowly.
“Oh, Annie—” he started to say, but then he realized that she’d taken her last breath.
Time stopped as he hugged her closer to his chest. One heart beat steadily as it silently shattered. The other heart that had kept perfect time with his for decades had entered into eternity without him.
“Why, God!” he moaned. “I was supposed to go before her.”
Stop it! Annie’s voice was so real in his head that he watched her lips to see if she might start breathing again. I told you that there would be no mourning. We’ll be together again before long—remember when we were separated while you were in the military. You’ve got work to do now. So suck it up, Zedekiah, and call the girls.
They’d talked about this moment for three months and gotten all the pieces in order. Even though they’d argue about things sometimes, the plan was in place for the next step, as she called it. And now it was up to him to make sure that her wishes were carried out. But dear sweet Jesus, he’d never thought about the pain when he’d have to let her go for good.
He laid her gently on the pillow, laced his darker fingers with her paler ones, and bent to kiss each knuckle. “Oh, Annie, life without you isn’t life at all.”
The girls will help, the voice in his head said sweetly. Now let me go, Zed. You’ve got things to do.
“I can’t,” he groaned.
He sat with her for half an hour before he made the call to the doctor, who was also the coroner for the county. When they came to get her, he accompanied the gurney to the van with his hand on hers.

Amanda: Wow! I've got to get this on my TBR list! Now for a little bit more about you and your writing. As is tradition, we love to share with readers more about the author behind the stories.What do you love most about writing about family dynamics? How much of it is personal for you?

CAROLYN: It’s very personal for me. I was raised in a very unconventional family. I lived with my blind grandmother when my grandfather died. I became her eyes and led her wherever she wanted to go—church, to visit her aunts, or just on long walks. She was my idol and I adored her because she taught me that blindness didn’t have to be a handicap. My mother and father divorced when I was four and Mama didn’t remarry until I was twelve—my step father was a great guy but he was 32 years older than her. My father, that I seldom saw, was married ten times and the last time he was 55 and the new bride was 18, just two years older than my son. I really think that I should get at least an honorable mention in the “Guinness Book of World Records” because at one time I had a two year old half brother and an 80 year old step sister. I was forty two that year and it was the year I realized that my family had every dynamic in the world. From young to old, I had an example. From good to downright ornery, I had an example. From religious to alcoholic, I had examples.  And I don’t regret a single experience because it’s given me so much understanding of human behavior for my books.
Amanda:  Do you prefer quiet when you write, or music? Maybe the sound of something else?
CAROLYN: Basically, I love the quietness so I can hear my characters talking to me and feel whatever emotion they are facing. Shhhh…I know I have voices in my head but they tell the most amazing stories.
I can’t write about a sad scene when I’m giggling over a funny line in a song. However, that being said, when I write myself into a corner, sometimes I listen to country music. I like the slow ballads by the older artists. That gets me right back into the writing mood.
Amanda: What is the greatest compliment a reader has ever given you?
CAROLYN: Two come to mind. One was from a friend who said, “To be as far advanced in your career as you are, you are the most humble person I know.” To some folks that might not be a compliment but it is to me. I never want to forget where I came from and how hard it was to get where I’m going. And I sure never want to forget to stop and help a struggling author who might need an answer to a question. The other one came recently from the daughter of a lady in southern Texas. Her mother had lost a husband many years ago and later remarried. Then this past summer, she lost her second husband and her sister within a few months of each other. The daughter was writing to tell me that my books had brought her mother out of a deep depression and when she called to talk to her every day she talked about the characters in my books as if they were real. She told her daughter what they were doing and what was happening in their lives. If I can write a book that will help someone—well, that’s pretty special!
Amanda: What do you do to unwind and relax?
CAROLYN: I have a large family and I love to cook. I also love watching reruns of NCIS, Justified (that Timothy Olyphant just steals my heart), Golden Girls and Friends.
Amanda: What can readers look forward to from you in the coming few months? Will you be attending conferences this year?

CAROLYN: I’m planning on going to RWA in Denver this summer. I have an author buddy that I didn’t get to see last year and I can’t wait to spend some time with her—hello, Shirley Marks. What’s next on the publishing schedule? Cowboy Bold kicks off The Longhorn Canyon trilogy, a new cowboy series, in May and Small Town Rumors, a women’s fiction book, has a July publication date. After that Cowboy Honor, the second book in the new series, has a late September date. Then the final book in the series, Cowboy Brave, will probably be published in January. Right now I’m working on a women’s fiction, The Magnolia Inn that will be out in early 2019.
Now it’s my turn to ask a question. Do you buy a book based on the title, the cover, the back blurb or maybe the first few lines on page one? What makes you put a book in the cart and take it home?

Carolyn is giving away a copy of SOMETIMES SISTERS to one lucky reader chosen from comments to the question above!! So give us your feedback!! Authors want to know!

Learn more about Carolyn and her work by following her online:

Carolyn's facebook page

Carolyn's Blog

Thank you, Carolyn!! I look forward to seeing you again in July when we talk about your small town women's fiction book-SMALL TOWN RUMORS!!


Get lost in Wolf Lords of London book # 2: Wolf on Fire

Jillian Stone

Elle Hathaway is starting to accept her new, wilder wolf side. She’s even adjusting to life with her new wolf mate. But now that they’re talking about marriage, she’s not so sure. Granted, she’s wildly attracted to Detective Inspector Abelseth Durant—the man with the impossible name who’s also impossible to resist—but marriage? Elle senses he cares for her, but is he willing to marry her out of obligation, or love?

Back in London, Elle moves in with her new flatmate and attends Coxley Grey Wolf Academy. She also returns to work at Chelsea Physic Garden and is presented with a somewhat dubious opportunity. There’s been a last minute wedding cancellation—if she and Abelseth want it, it’s theirs. It’s a very odd feeling when the universe decides to play cupid.

Meanwhile, DI Abelseth Durant has his hands full protecting his new mate. He's still got a tube mauling to investigate, and he’s being shadowed by a government agent. For years, the Wolf Lords of London have exercised great power above and below ground, but Abelseth senses a seismic shift on the rise, one that could pose a threat to their very existence.

In Wolf on Fire, closely held secrets of London's wolf culture are revealed as well as the heart-wrenching backstory on the handsome wolf prince who offers Elle everything but his heart.

"Fast-paced and highly original new shapeshifter series."
—NetGalley Review

Hi Get Lost in a Story readers!

I'm very excited to post a sneak peek at book #2 of the new Wolf Lords of London series. You're going to get emersed in the London's wolf culture, meet a few new characters, and get taken on more than a couple of wild rides. Here's an excerpt to give you a tantilizing taste of Wolf on Fire which releases March 10, 2018.

   They hadn’t quite made it out of the Wyvern College car park when she remembered. “We can’t practice on Saturday afternoon,” she declared, “we have a conflict.”
   Abelseth steered the car onto the exit ramp. “What kind of conflict?”
   “Viggo and I can always train with you another day.” 
   “What’s wrong with Saturday?” 
   “We’re getting married—” She swallowed. “You and I. Or is it you and me? I can never remember.” 
   He braked harder than necessary at the stop sign. “Yes, I’ve always believed that if we married, it would be you and me.” His mouth twitched, and his brows knit together. “You’ve had an abrupt
change of mind. This morning you were rather frosty on the subject.”
   Elle sighed. “Well, nothing is certain yet, but it looks like there’s going to be a last minute wedding cancellation at the Chelsea Physic Garden.” 
   Abelseth turned right onto Finchley and left onto Prince Albert Road.
   “Why are you taking us around Regent’s Park?” 
   “Because I am. What shall it be? Pub food, Chinese? Curry or Tandoori Chicken—do you like Indian?”
   Questions like these were a stark reminder that they barely knew one another. “I haven’t had Thai in ages—Tom Ka Gai soup, and the dish with the big thick noodles…” She got out her phone to look up the dish.
   “Have you been to the Drunken Noodle?” he asked.
   “No, but I hear the food is…” She scrolled through the restaurant’s reviews. “‘Spicy and ambrosial.’ It says so right here on Yelp.”
   He stopped at the traffic light and took a moment to study her. Long lashes shaded crystalline blue eyes, that gleamed in the dark. His gaze lowered to her mouth. “Thai food it is.” He leaned close. “With a bit of Elle for starters.”
   His lips were soft and sensuous and she felt his kiss everywhere. He cradled her head in his palm and began a slow, possessive assault that included sensuous nips and a lovely chase after her tongue.    A shower of tingles rippled up and down her spine. 
   It took the rude honk of a car horn to break the spell. 
   “Bastards,” she whispered against his lips.
   “Just when we were getting spicy and ambrosial.” He settled back into the drive. “Tell me more about this wedding cancellation.”

“Elle and Abelseth are a hot couple…witty dialogue with lots of sexual tension 
and bickering—heaven!” —Joy Reads Romance

   Elle thought about how the opportunity came about. “A cautionary tale of woe entitled the perils of weekend bachelorette parties. Apparently, the bridesmaids thought to do it up right and hired a suite full of male strippers.”
   “Harmless enough one would think.”
   “Until the groom led a surprise panty raid. Caught the bride sitting on top of Magic Mike.”
   “Pole dancing?” 
    Elle nearly convulsed with laughter. “We shouldn’t make fun—poor girl.” 
   “Poor girl? What about the poor sod?” 
   Elle tried to frown but couldn’t. “Without their misfortune, we’d be standing up at the Chelsea Registry with a couple of pals.”
   “And where will the ceremony be held?” he asked. 

 “The gallery inside the main building has been reserved for the ceremony—lovely old hall. And the main lawn for the reception party.”
   Elle blinked. “You can’t have a wedding without a reception, champagne, dinner, and cake—perhaps some dancing?” 
    “In less than a week’s time?” He stole a quick glance at her. 
    She wondered how long that majestic brow arch would stay elevated. “It’s too late for formal invites, but Violet and Tallis have phones, and we might compose a simple, tasteful email?”
   “By all means, let’s put our two busybody mothers to work.” Abelseth turned onto a narrow street somewhere in Soho. “Subject line: ‘No weekend plans? Pop by Chelsea Physic Garden for a wedding party.’”
   Elle rolled her eyes, but she also smiled. “Definitely has the right tone—and the good news is, there’s no time to argue over the wording.”
   Abelseth appeared thoughtful. “I assume the wedding in jeopardy is already planned within an inch of its—”
   Elle cut him off. “We just passed Drunken Noodle.” She pointed out the window. “Look—there’s a spot just ahead!” 
  “Hold on—” He slipped the Mini into a parking space not fifty feet from the restaurant. Abelseth killed the engine and set the brake. “Tell me, am I about to marry a backseat driver?” 
Elle met his gaze and nodded. “But only when starving for Thai food.”

Hope you enjoyed this pre-release excerpt for Wolf on Fire. And be sure to enter the 
Wolf Lords of London Rafflecopter giveaway! 

The Rafflecopter giveaway ends February 28th, Enter soon for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD8, or a 'Find your wild' graphic tee or a signed copy of the Wolf Lords of London anthology (Christmas 2018 release) or chose an ebook of the Wolf on Fire now!  

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Nancy Holland New Release: THALGOR'S WITCH

Happy Thursday GLIAS friends! I have a treat for you today. Wonderful author (and my good friend and critique partner) Nancy Holland, a several-time GLIAS guest, has a super special release today and she’s agreed to come back again and share an excerpt with you. It’s not every day an author gets to publish the book of her heart-but when you read THALGOR’S WITCH (from Tule Press) you’ll see why this is one of those “heart books” that was chosen for publication!

Give a big GLIAS welcome back to Nancy Holland!


In a land of perpetual war and wandering, warrior Thalgor not only leads his people in battle, but keeps the hope alive that someday his displaced tribe can rebuild the kingdom that was lost to the treachery between witches and men. When he captures a beautiful witch, he knows he cannot trust her. But to succeed in his quest to find a new home and prevail over his enemies, he also knows he needs her. 

Erwyn might be a slave and feared for her powers and precognition, but she doesn’t cower when confronted by the feared warrior. Nor does she act as expected. Thalgor’s kindness confuses her. His flashes of humor confound her. And the reaction he ignites in her body creates a longing that she cannot deny.

Neither anticipated falling in love. The stakes are high, but when Thalgor is mortally wounded, Erwyn realizes she must she must accept help from an unlikely source to save him.

[Erwyn has let Thalgor think her younger sister is her daughter. He asks her why.]

“I thought motherhood might protect me.”
            She smelled the leather of his breastplate, the subtle aroma of maleness that surrounded him. She smelled and savored, and hated herself for that as well.
            “Protect you from what?”
            She pulled free and sat back on the rock. “From you.”
            He walked away and stood with his back to her.
            “You know I cannot take you by force.”
            “I did not want you even to think of me that way.”
            He gave a low laugh. “As if I would take captive a witch and her child if I did not think of her that way.”
            “But I have been useful to you.”
            “Very useful,” he acknowledged, turning back toward her. “But I am not certain it has been worth the trouble you cause.”
            “The trouble I cause?” She stood to face him. “I made an enemy of Batte, I know. But you can handle Batte. Otherwise I see no trouble I have caused you.”
            He took her by the shoulders.
The delicate trembling in her body began again. The moon behind him shadowed his face so she saw only the movement of his head as he lowered it toward hers.
            “No.” She pushed him away and fled back to the camp.

            Thalgor sat on the rock Erwyn had abandoned and laughed.
            Not caused him trouble! The witch had done nothing else since he first set eyes on her.
            She only troubled his body at first. So badly he could scarcely think of anything else, could scarcely sleep, could scarcely look at her without being awash in lust.
            The lust had finally overwhelmed all that was sacred to him, even the memory of his mother’s suffering. His need to take doubled by the battle lust that day, he’d carried her off to the woods with every intention of breaking the only vow he ever took.
            But she had been so vulnerable, so empty not only of her power, but almost of herself. Empty because she worked to save his wounded men, warriors who would not have been wounded if he’d listened to her warning.
            The need to take had died when she fell asleep in his arms. In its place had grown something he could not name at first, but now knew was tenderness. A strange and unexpected thing, that tenderness.
            Not that the lust went away. Once the witch was whole again, it returned double. And grew each day.
So he avoided her when he could and cursed his weakness for her when he couldn’t.
Tonight she had confided in him, allowed herself to weep, and he thought perhaps…
            She had never been with a man, he realized with a sudden certainty.
His body was swept with waves of lust, tenderness, and a need to protect that fragile body with its great powers.
            The Sea Witches gathered their strength from the sea and from their total devotion. She could not become one of them if she surrendered to her desire for him.
            He never doubted her desire. He had witch blood enough to see it in her eyes, smell it in the air around her, feel it in her touch. That would have to be enough. For now.
            Rygar waited when he reached the edge of the camp.
            “Trouble?” Thalgor’s hand went to his sword.
            The younger man shook his head. “Erwyn left the camp. You followed her. She returned alone. I came to make sure she didn’t turn you into a toad.”

THALGOR’S WITCH is available now! Here’s how to find it:

Check out Nancy’s fun and engaging contemporaries, too!


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