MVP: New Release 6/21

MVP_ByRhondaLaurel-200x300

The game has just begun…

Morgan Reed-Blake discovers that being the wife of MVP quarterback Seth Blake has its perks…and its challenges. Thrust into Seth’s high-profile world, she must wade through the celebrity, status, and the ghosts of girlfriends past. So when Seth takes Morgan home to his ranch in Texas and introduces her to his family and friends, she’s not surprised when his high school sweetheart comes to call. Morgan suspects she wants to rekindle the flame, and how can she blame her? Distraught over the changes their relationship has caused for Seth, Morgan wonders if maybe he’s better off without her.

Pro quarterback Seth Blake is elated that his wife Morgan is giving their “fake” marriage a real chance. But he doesn’t anticipate running into the woman who broke his heart years ago. He hasn’t told Morgan about the complicated relationship with his ex, but as he guides Morgan through the maze of his celebrity lifestyle, can he convince her the past is in the past? The MVP does not accept defeat, and he’s determined not to lose. But winning Morgan might be the most difficult game of his life…

Excerpt

Morgan Blake took one more sip of her wine before placing the glass back on the silver tray. She looked out across the five-thousand-acre ranch from her seat on the veranda, but her view was suddenly obstructed by two strong hands covering her eyes.

“I’ve got another surprise for you,” Seth purred in her ear.

Another surprise? They’d only been in Texas for six hours but she’d taken a tour of the Twelve Horse Shoes ranch, met Seth’s mom, Teri-Lyn, and got her first riding lesson on her new horse, Reed’s Fire. Then Seth had suggested they stay for the rest of the week. What more could he give her?

“Will it be better than finding out the ranch hand I was talking to earlier was actually your mother?”

“Don’t worry, you’re gonna like it,” he drawled, as he led her into the bathroom. Candles surrounded a huge claw foot bathtub that sat in the middle of the room, filled with bubbles and rose petals.

“Want to take a bubble bath with your husband? Take your mind off lunch with momma tomorrow?”

“Only if you wear the hat.” The minute she had seen him wearing that Stetson on the ranch, her heart had skipped a beat.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Morgan shivered at the feel of Seth’s big, strong, calloused hands as he undressed her. Seth took his time removing each piece of clothing from her body before removing his own. He then gathered her into his arms and placed her into the tub, without getting a drop of water on his Stetson.

The hot bath felt like heaven, soothing her aching muscles and washing away the dirt from touring the ranch. But it was all worth it, especially getting to ride her brand new horse for the very first time.

“Reed’s Fire is a beautiful horse. I think we made a connection.”

“Well, that’s what I was going for, a love connection between you and the horse.”

“I read this book…”

Seth’s chest rumbled against her back. “What a surprise.”

“About animal totems.” Morgan flicked bubbles onto his nose. “It was interesting. Animals come into our lives at different times as a way to teach us a life lesson. It’s a very interesting and spiritual topic. I’ll bring a book home for you to read. Your bookcase could use a little diversity.”

“Hey! I have some pretty good biographies.”

“And they’re excellent reads, if you want to be a general in the military or a pro athlete.” Morgan rolled her eyes at him.

“I can’t remember the last time I had the time to just read a good book.” He kissed her shoulder.

“Well, you could read at night before you go to sleep.”

“Reading a book is the last thing I think about when I’m in bed with you.”

“Good point. But when you come to the bookstore, you browse around and I never see you reading anything.”

“That’s because I’m distracted by the owner. She’s really hot. Can’t take my eyes off her.”

“I’m serious. There’s so much we don’t know about each other.” Morgan sighed. She had agreed to give their relationship a chance but the nagging doubt still lingered in the back of her mind that she would wake up one day and it would all go away. Seth didn’t want to talk about their differences and insisted their whirlwind romance wasn’t a flash in the pan. She wished she had his unwavering confidence in their marriage.

Seth nibbled on her ear. “We have plenty of time to learn those things about each other.”

“What genres do you like?”

Seth thought about it for a moment. “Hmm. I like spy thrillers. And I am a history buff. What about you?”

Morgan picked up her wine glass and took another sip. “Spy thrillers, absolutely. History, yes. I also like horror but it scares the crap out of me.”

Seth chuckled. “So why read it if it scares the crap out of you?” “Because a good horror book is supposed to do that.” She shrugged.

“Well, those nights you get scared, I’ll make sure to check all the closets and under the beds.”

“Deal.”

“What did I tell you? We have a lot in common.”

“I’m glad you like taking baths but I never pictured you as a claw foot bathtub kind of guy.” Morgan put the glass back on the tray and relaxed against Seth’s chest.

“I am not a claw foot bath guy. You love the tub in the penthouse so I had one installed here.”

“You what?” Morgan splashed water on the black marble floor with her lightening quick turn. Seth assailed her with kisses to mute her practical protests about the tub. His hands ran along her rib cage, palming her breasts, then torturing her with his thumbs making lazy circles around her taut nipples.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I knew it would make you happy.” Seth held her in place so she’d stop squirming.

“It did but—”

“Morgan Blake, are we going to fight every time I try to do something nice for you?”

“No.”

“You finished fussing with me, woman?”

“Yes,” she sighed. “That was very nice of you to have the tub installed.”

“Glad you’re beginning to see things my way,” he drawled as he continued his sensual exploration of her body.

* * *

You can buy MVP at the following retailers:

Amazon (Kindle)    Barnes & Noble  (Nook)    All Romance E-books

Amazon UK (Kindle)     Kobo     Amazon (Canada)

Amazon (France)     Amazon (India)     Amazon (Brazil)

BookStrand

MVP is the sequel to For the Love of the Game, released November 2012.  If you haven’t read it, check out an excerpt of how Morgan & Seth met!

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Check out an excerpt of my  novella Star Crossed, released April 2013.

Don’t forget to check out the MVP/For the Love of the Game Fan Page!

And the Rhonda Laurel Author Yahoo Chat Group!

Coming Soon! California Bored & Tourism, July 30, 2013!

For the Love of the Game Released!

Blurb:

This quarterback is making the greatest play of his life…

Quiet bookstore owner Morgan Reed can’t wait to lie on the beach on her much-needed tropical vacation, but getting tackled by a tall, green-eyed stranger playing touch football isn’t exactly what she had in mind. Neither is falling for said
stranger, or going along with the eccentric islander who sends them off with a
mock wedding. But all’s fair when it comes to vacation romance, and Morgan has
plenty of time to get back to reality when she gets home.

When he slams into the beautiful Morgan on the beach and sends her to the infirmary, superstar quarterback Seth Blake insists on helping her recover—if she agrees to share his bungalow with him. Seth is nothing less than smitten, and the best part is that the beauty has no idea who he is.  But when he finds out that their little “wedding” was the real thing, Seth finds himself in a sticky situation.
Especially when Morgan finds out the man she fell for isn’t at all who he made himself out to be…

Excerpt:

Morgan Reed was long overdue for a vacation. It occurred to her while doing inventory in her quaint bookstore last week that she’d read almost every book in the travel section, but she’d never seen any of the scenic places. Her world had never seemed quite as small as it did once she made the realization.

When she told Teresa, her travel agent, she wanted to get lost on an island, Teresa took her cue and began furiously tapping on her keyboard.

“I want to get lost at sea if possible.”

Theresa’s eyes narrowed as she read the screen. “There’s a new destination, just started doing business with them a month ago. Very secluded. All-inclusive, the rooms are beautiful. They don’t allow cell phones or newspapers. Just days of endless bliss on a deserted island.”

“How deserted? I won’t be seeing Gilligan and the Skipper, will I?” Morgan winced.

“No, silly. Deserted as in no obnoxious people standing on the beach gazing at a beautiful sunset with cell phones in their hands.”

“I’ll take it,” Morgan said. The idea that no one could contact her was the most appealing part of the package. She longed for the days when cell phones were things you carried for emergencies only. Now it was a cure for boredom in most, and brought out bad driving habits in others. Paradise sans technology sounded like a good idea to her.

After tunneling through all the frivolous crap in her spare bedroom closet, Morgan finally located her suitcases. The large, pale pink suitcase and matching carry-on had seen better days; they looked like props from a seventies movie. She surveyed them and had to admit the style was a bit old-fashioned. An old airport luggage tag was still attached. When she leaned closer, she realized the tag bore a date from seven years ago when she went to Vegas. Seven years! What had she been doing for seven years?

Oh yeah, she’d spent the last seven years trying to keep her dream of owning a bookstore alive. The bookstore was her life. A quiet and organized life and she loved it, even though sometimes it was hard to keep afloat.

Whenever she got the blues, she would read one of the books in the travel section. She read about Fiji, the Cayman Islands, Australia, Hawaii, and Scotland. All of these places had rich histories set against the backdrop of a cinematic dream. It took a book about stress falling off the shelf and onto her head one day to make her take action.

Morgan walked to her desk in the living room and began jotting notes. First, she would get a new set of luggage. Then she would sift through her summer wardrobe and see what was salvageable. She wasn’t much of a summer dress-up person, so maybe a visit to the mall was in order as well. She would have to go to her dad’s house and get her passport. She was pretty sure it was still current. Now if only she could break in in the middle of the night and get the passport without having to inform her father she was going on vacation alone.

Morgan knew why they treated her that way. She had gotten lost during a family camping trip at Lake George when she was fifteen. After storming away from the family when one of her brothers had told her she was too young to get on a Jet Ski, Morgan had walked around for hours, refusing to admit she was lost. Finally she’d happened upon another family, who’d called the ranger’s office to report she’d been found. Four hours later, a ranger dropped her off at the hotel. Her father’s initial relief was followed up with the lecture to end all lectures. And to make matters worse, the brothers chimed in for good measure.

She kept her passport at her father’s house not only because it would never be misplaced there, but because her dad was comforted by the idea that he would know when she was leaving town.

While writing all these things down, a wave of serenity washed over her. Ten glorious days on an island with nothing to do but watch the sun set while pondering the mysteries of life. She smiled and screamed into a pillow. Oh my God! I am going on vacation!

You can buy For the Love of the Game at the following retailers:

Amazon (Kindle)     Barnes & Noble  (Nook)     All Romance E-books

Check out an excerpt of my debut novella Ebb Tide, released July 2012 and my short story Masquerade in the Halloween Heat anthology, released October 2012.
Coming Soon!  My novella Shutter.  Details to follow soon!

For the Love of the Game – Excerpt – Release date 11/9/12

Join me on my literary journey as my sophomore novella For the Love of the Game will be released next Friday, 11/9/12!  Stay tuned for my swag giveaway event!

Excerpt:

For the third time that evening Morgan regained consciousness. The pain medication the doctor had given her made her euphoric and sleepy. When she’d come to, a nurse had informed her she had a bruised rib but nothing was broken. She lay in bed watching the white ceiling fan above her rotate, thinking of how quiet and sterilized the office seemed. She heard a sound from the corner of the room and turned to see the muscle head guy who had run into her on the beach, sitting in a chair opposite her, watching.

“Good evening.”

“What are you doing here?” she asked, confused.

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I’m sorry about running into you like that. I didn’t see you.”

“I don’t take it personally. Nobody ever does. Besides, you were too busy flexing for the beach bunnies,” Morgan said, flashing a condescending smile. So what if he was six foot three and gorgeous? That didn’t give him the right to steamroll over people on the beach.

“Was not,” he scoffed.

“If you weren’t, then you had a bad case of tunnel vision. Ever think of trying out for a team? I could be your reference to confirm that you could tackle someone pretty good.”

“You know football?” he asked with an amused smirk.

“Steroid-pumped overgrown men on a field trying to throw a ball back and forth and scoring points.”

“Well, that’s the layman’s explanation for it. It’s more complicated than that, though. And minus the steroids.” He coughed. “I can explain it to you.”

Men and their posturing about sports. Morgan held up a hand. “No need. First you injure me; now you want to bore me to death. I have no need to fill my brain with random trivia about things I don’t care about.”

“Well, sports are a meaningful way of exercise, keeping in shape, strategizing, and it has a place for those of us who weren’t selected for the IQ Olympics.” He chuckled as he leaned back in his chair, crossing his leg over his knee. “What slogan will tomorrow’s shirt have on it? Your SAT scores? I’ve rather enjoyed reading your T-shirts the past three days.”

“I wouldn’t want to make the rest of the island feel inferior to me. Especially since they’re a bunch of muscle head jocks running around. I would fear for my safety.”

As he shifted slightly in the chair, she noticed how finely sculpted his body was and reaffirmed why he was out running around like an idiot. Every inch of exposed skin was muscled, well-defined, and lean. His shoulders were wide, but his waist narrowed, and he looked as if he ate five pounds of pasta for breakfast. But the face was in great contrast to the body. He had soft, striking features and piercing green eyes, giving him a hint of a boyish look, but she knew he hadn’t been a boy in a long time. And his smile was perfect and rehearsed, like he’d practiced it a lot. It seemed more controlled than natural. Did he feel the need to put on a pleasant mask all the time? Smiling on command wasn’t an easy thing. She’d ruined many a family photo because her two-second freeze frame would expire before the picture was taken. She wondered what would make him smile genuinely.

“Did you know that you moan in your sleep?” he asked in a low Southern drawl, surprising her.

“I do not.”

“I was wondering if your husband told you that.”

“I’m not married.”

“Hmm. Then maybe that’s why you moan in your sleep.” He smiled.

Morgan returned the smile. “I think I know what tomorrow’s T-shirt is going to say.”

“What’s that?” He leaned in closer to the bed.

“Up yours.”

* * *

Check out an excerpt of my debut novella Ebb Tide, released July 2012 and my short story Masquerade in the Halloween Heat anthology, released October 2012.
Coming Soon!  My novella Shutter.

The Rabbit Hole Chronicles 9/3/12 – Issue 6

9/3 – September looks like it’s going to continue my upswing of literary news!  My recipe for the Passionate Cooks Cookbook ARE (All Romance) was accepted!  I will keep the recipe under wraps but I will say it is a dessert.  Cooking is number three on my list of passions, writing and photography are always 1 and 2 and take turns alternating.  Lol.

So this October will be eventful in more ways than one.  For the Love of the Game, Masquerade and my recipe will all be released in October.

Still working on my new WIP (Star Crossed) is up to 14k!  I like to stop and read and re-write and re-read before I get into the meat of the book.

Visited Inner Harbor again this weekend and took some great shots, got inspiration for a locale for a new story and bought some lovely costume jewelry that store I love.

For those of you interested, my page The Artist’s Studio will go live this month!  I have lined up my questions and hope to introduce you to other authors, like me, that are looking to get acquainted with a new audience.

Until next time.

Rhonda