New Release: California Bored and Tourism

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When Faith Travers sets out on a vacation to sunny California, she didn’t expect to meet the man who is destined to change her life.

Faith Travers embarks on a dream vacation to California at the worst time in her life. A layoff at work precipitates her travels but her money cannot be refunded!  Faith is all out of ‘faith’ when she meets Nick Constantine, the all too cheery tour guide who seems to be dead set on prying the travel guide out of her hands while taking one of his custom-made tours for her group of friends. Faith and Nick find out they have a lot in common and see the vulnerability within each other they both hide from the world while exploring scenic California.  Nick shows Faith there is more to life than her worries at home…

Excerpt

Nick looked at her for a moment in disbelief then slowly turned to work his way back to the front of the bus. Why the hell would someone go on vacation and stay in a bad mood the whole time? He looked in the mirror and saw that she’d closed her eyes in defiance. With her eyes closed, he noticed how young she looked even though he was sure she was in her early thirties. Contrary to her friends wearing skirts, sandals, and pretty hair accessories, she looked like she was ready to scale a mountain. He’d never thrown anyone off his bus but today might set the precedent.

Nick dropped the ladies off at the Hollywood and Highland Center, allotting two hours to eat lunch and shop. He never tired of telling someone all the things he knew about Hollywood and the great state of California. The tours gave him a sense of fulfillment and something to do when he didn’t feel like being cooped up in the office. He found a good spot, parked, and then noticed Faith sitting on a bench with her eyes closed.

“Finished your sight seeing early?” he asked as he took a seat next to her.

She jumped. “You scared the crap out of me!”

“You should know better than to sit with your eyes closed on a bench in L.A.”

He took the California guidebook out of her hands and looked it over. “He,” he pointed to one of the names on the cover, “is a good friend of mine.”

“I won’t hold that against him.”

“So where are your friends?”

“Shopping, I think.”

“And you don’t like shopping?”

Faith turned and held a hand up. “Before we get into that old chauvinistic debate, why don’t we save ourselves the trouble? If you want to make small talk and engage in low-level flattery, don’t bother. I suggest you try one of my friends who find you oh so adorable with your dimples and your come hither eyes.”

Come hither eyes? That was a new one.

“Are you sure you’re immune to the dimples? Women always love my dimples,” Nick said with amusement.

Faith opened her mouth, her mind seeming to reel with a stinging retort, when the rest of the group showed up. Everyone, full from eating and shopping, were chatting and gazing up at the Hollywood sign. Faith continued to sit on the bench while the others followed Nick.

“Hey, Happy. Are you coming? We’re on a strict schedule,” he said then smiled.

Faith joined the group, dragging her feet the whole way.

After dropping the ladies off, Faith still in resistance mode, he headed back to the office.

Nick smiled to himself as he cleaned out the bus. Faith decided to remain mute for the rest of the day. To his surprise, he missed her butting in and trying to take over his tour.

As he made his way to the back of the tour bus he saw her MP3 player on the seat. She probably listens to devil worshipping music. He turned it on and scrolled through her playlist, pleasantly surprised. She had a good reason for ignoring him. Her taste in music was the same as his. He’d call the hotel and leave a message that he’d found it, but tonight it gave him something to do.

If intimacy could be achieved by listening to someone’s MP3 player, then Nick felt as if he’d known Faith all his life. He listened to her music into the wee hours of the night, looking forward to seeing her the next day so they could continue their sparring match. It was strange to want to know someone who, by first glance, he had nothing in common with, but that’s what he liked about the world, things weren’t always as they seemed and Faith was no exception.

He awoke the next morning, still listening to Faith’s MP3 player.

Nick readied himself then headed out the door for another day of touring with the ladies.

The group was waiting for him, all smiles, dressed in pretty sundresses and floppy hats. Faith was standing at the front desk talking to a clerk.

“Good morning, ladies.” He greeted everyone with a big smile.

“Good morning, Nick.” Kendra beamed at him. “We’re ready to go.”

“Just waiting for Happy.” He smirked, watching Faith at the front desk.

“She’s not coming today,” Kendra said sternly.

“No?”

“No, you can talk without interruptions today.”

Strangely, today, he wanted an interruption. “The tour bus is open. Go on in. I’ll be right there.” He strode over to Faith, who was finishing her conversation.

“Your friend said you’re not joining us today?” he said with a raised eyebrow. “Was it something I said?”

“As if anything you say would turn my world upside down. Don’t flatter yourself, Dimples,” she said curtly.

“Then why won’t you be joining us?”

“I’ve decided to see Los Angeles another way.” He glanced at the map in her hand.

“Don’t worry, your groupies didn’t want me along today anyway. Now they can all drool and gaze at you like you’re some sort of misogynistic messiah.”

“What’s wrong? Scared I might know a little more than you?”

“I just got a map of Los Angeles from a man at the front desk named KiKi. It’s safe to say my courage level is up this morning. Do you have something of mine?” she questioned.

He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out her MP3 player. “You have very…interesting taste in music. I’m a big Eric Clapton fan too.”

“You thought I’d have crappy taste in music?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But I think that’s what you expected.”

“Is not. I don’t know what to expect with you.”

“And you don’t have to,” she said snidely. “Your tour group is waiting.”

“I’m not going anywhere without you.” He stood in front of her with his arms folded.

***

 *Buy links for all other retailers will be available 7/22!*

You can purchase California Bored and Tourism at the following retailers:

Sweet Cravings Publishing

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

BookStrand

Smashwords

Kobo

iTunes

 Check out another sweet, short story Memories of You!  Released March 2013.  In case you missed it MVP, the sequel to For the Love of the Game released June 2013.

Giveaway

Happy Reading!

Rhonda

The Rabbit Hole Chronicles 7/9/13 – Issue 20

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In this Issue…

Happy Anniversary to Ebb Tide!

 Rhonda Laurel Author Group

Short Story: California Bored and Tourism Release

MVP News

 And of Course…

Happy Anniversary Ebb Tide!

July 2012 was the release month for my debut novella Ebb TideEbb Tide was my literary introduction into the world and still holds a special place in my heart.  It didn’t get much traction in the beginning, but for those of you who have read the novella, I enjoyed writing about Griffin and Evan.  And in tradition of my Six Degrees of Character Relations, the very minor character Faith, the tour guide mentioned in Ebb Tide, has her own short story coming out at the end of the month: California Bored and Tourism.  I was asked a while ago if Ebb Tide would have a sequel.  It is on my list of continued stories.  I think there is a bit more to tell about how Griffin and Evan are managing their happily ever after.  Because sometimes you just want to peek behind that relationship curtain. 

Rhonda Laurel Author Group

The Rhonda Laurel Author Group went live last week!  This group will be dedicated to chats about releases and periodic updates.  It allows members who want to discuss the characters, plots and new developments in my novellas and short stories.  (I’ve already talked about the next chapter for Morgan & Seth and some things are taking shape for their next book.)  You can start your own discussion thread, take a poll, or leave me a question!  Word Press only has so many capabilities for this blog and this allows me to offer a new coffee lounge atmosphere for my readers.  The rules of engagement are very simple: have fun and be polite to others!

Thank you to the new members who signed up and participated in the MVP chat on Sunday!  We had a blast!  I had two people actively participate, which was a happy coincidence since I had two $5 gift cards to give away. 

For those of you who did not see the post or sign up link, just click below to join the group.

Click to join Rhonda Laurel’s Author Group

Short Story: California Bored and Tourism Release

My short story, California Bored and Tourism will be released at the end of the month.  As I mentioned above, Faith had a bit part in Ebb Tide

MVP News

MVP has been going strong since its release!  I am happy to say that the many fans of For the Love of the Game returned to see how Morgan and Seth’s happily ever after bloomed.  I was touched by the reviews detailing why the story worked for them. 

MVP will be on a virtual book tour starting July 22.  I will post details for anyone who would like to follow it. 

MVP was on the All Romance eBooks best seller list for a moment and has fluctuated on  Amazon’s interracial/multicultural, African-American, multicultural and sports best seller categories the past week and a half.  But I am especially pleased with the way readers have reached out to me on Facebook, Twitter and my blog.  Thank you for giving this couple a chance. And THANK YOU for giving me the inspiration to write about them again. 

For the Love of the Game/MVP fan page link

And of Course…

I will be launching a new segment in The Artist’s Studio called the Feature Release.  The Feature Release will showcase a new book cover and blurb of an author, instead of a full-blown interview.  The debut post is tomorrow and will feature author Susan Arden’s new chart climbing book Rock Into Me.  The Artist’s Studio will still post interviews and I have them scheduled for the rest of the summer. 

My writing varies in many ways and sometimes a story becomes a short story and sometimes it develops into a novella.  Memories of You was a glimpse inside the lives of Cameron and Marc.  California Bored and Tourism will peek into the lives of Faith and Nick.  As I’ve said before I write until it’s finished and I would never monopolized a reader’s time with unnecessary filler.  But that mode of thinking does change every now and again.  For the Love of the Game was intended to be a short story but after working my publisher, it became a novella and the best decision I’ve ever made as a writer.  Happy reading everyone.

 

Until Next Time

Happy Reading!

Rhonda

MVP: New Release 6/21

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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!

***

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!