Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet On Texas Blog Tour Giveaway, Excerpt and Author's Top 5 list

About the Author:
Christie Craig

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig grew up in Alabama where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs and mostly wears shoes, but focuses on rescuing mammals and hasn't kissed a frog in years. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog--who has a bad habit of eating furniture--a son, and a prince of a husband who swears he's not, and never was a frog.

If Christie isn't writing, she's reading or just enjoying laughter with her friends and family. As a freelance writer, Christie also writes nonfiction books, including the humorous self-help/book Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You're in a Romance Novel, as well as paranormal young adult romances under the pen name C.C. Hunter.

About the book:

The last thing veterinarian Leah Reece needs is a man in her life. They're nothing but trouble-and not even the fun kind. But when her apartment is broken into and Leah suspects Rafael, her dangerous half-brother, of foul play, she can't deny she could use a little help. She just never expected that help would come with twinkling blue eyes and a sexy smile... 

All PI Austin Brook wants is to nail Rafael DeLuna, the man who framed him for murder. He'll do anything for information-even lie about his identity to charm Leah, DeLuna's half-sister. But her sweet dimples and fiery spirit soon make her more than just his only lead. Leah becomes his every desire. As Austin closes in on DeLuna, it's clear he won't go down without a fight. Now the only way Austin can protect Leah is to reveal all of his secrets and risk losing her for good.


     Austin heard the expletive and leaned a bit closer.
     “Leah? It’s me, Austin,” he said, even though he’d seen the peephole go dark and knew she’d peered out.
     “I’m not home.” It was little more than a murmur, but the words still traveled through the cheap- ass apartment door.
     “You know I can hear you, right?”
    “Shit!” Her voice carried again, and he grinned trying to imagine her expression when flustered. Did her soft brown eyes get a little darker? Did those pouty lips get a little poutier?
     “I come bearing gifts,” he said, his mind envisioning her mouth.
     “I don’t want any gifts.” Her tone sounded extra- defiant.
     “I don’t like gifts.”
     “Why wouldn’t you like gifts?” He leaned his hip against the door frame, genuinely curious. Every woman he’d dated loved gifts. At the beginning of every relationship, he always brought them gifts.
     When she didn’t answer, he replied, “They really aren’t gifts. They’re . . . replacements. For the groceries I turned into roadkill. Please open the door.”
     She opened the door, but not enough to be an invitation to come inside. “You didn’t have to do that.”
     “Yes, I did,” he said. How else are you going to trust me enough to tell me what I need to know?  The thought brought tension in his shoulders. Or was the tension from feeling the punch of attraction again?
     She’d changed out of her wine- soaked clothes. She wore a light blue T-shirt and a pair of gray sweats. Both fit her very well and showcased a body that was all curves.
     “I was careful to get all the same items.” He held out the bag in his hand.
     She stepped out a few inches, eyeing the bags. Her hair hung loose and locks of it kept shifting over her breasts.
     “My frozen mushroom pizza?” Hunger flashed in her eyes. Her tongue dipped out and swiped across her bottom lip.
     “Got it.” His gaze stayed glued to her mouth when she leaned forward and glanced inside the bag.
     She looked up and smiled. “Wow. You must have felt really bad.”
     “Because I got your mushroom pizza?”
     “No”— she pointed inside the bag—“because you bought me tampons.” Her dimples deepened in her cheeks. “Never met a man who’d do that.”
     “There’s always a first time. And a last.” Damn she was pretty. And in a refreshing way. Not made up, or artificial. Half the women he dated used clothes and makeup as a mask. This petite little feminine package before him wore no mask; there was nothing counterfeit or artificial about her.
     She rolled her eyes. “You really didn’t have to do this. I didn’t blame you.”
     He didn’t blame her, either. The realization hit. He’d thought he’d instantly dislike her. He thought every time he looked at her, he would think of the scumbag who’d framed him and cheated him out of sixteen months of his life.
     But, nope. Right now he knew that she couldn’t help who her brother was, any more than he could help who his mother was. Or his father for that matter.
     But that didn’t change anything.
     If she knew where DeLuna was, he intended to find out. Just because he didn’t hold a grudge against her didn’t mean he didn’t hold one against her brother.
     “The only thing I gave you an upgrade on was the wine.” He set the bag on the floor and pulled out the bottle of Cabernet from the other.
     Temptation flashed in her eyes.
     He couldn’t help wondering what else tempted her. “I have a couple of glasses in my apartment.”
     She jerked her eyes up. The longing and humor vanished.
     Glancing at the bag at his feet, she said, “I tell you what. I’ll take everything but the wine.”
     “No. I mean . . .” He wasn’t accustomed to being turned down. “You sharing the wine with me wasn’t a condition. I just thought . . . since we’re neighbors . . .” He motioned to the door to his left.
     “You live . . . there?” Her expression looked as if she’d just sniffed sour milk.
     “Don’t worry, I’m a good neighbor. No loud music, no wild parties.” And as soon as I get the info
I need, I’ll never bother you again.  His gut tightened. “I’m just new in town and thought . . .”
     “I’m not interested in . . .” She paused.
      “Conversation?” he finished for her. “Because that’s all I was asking for.”
     She bit down on the edge of her bottom lip and studied him. “Gay?”
     “What?” he asked, certain he’d misunderstood.
     “Are you gay?”
     “No! Hell, no. Not even a little bit. I meant . . . I wasn’t looking . . . I just wanted . . .”
     She leaned closer. “Keep your eye out for the woman who lives in two-oh-six and the one in two hundred. Both blondes, they have guys come and go all the time, so I know they are open to”— she shrugged—“conversation.”
     “You’re difficult,” he said, not even meaning to state it out loud.
     “And you’re pushy,” she said, pursing her lips into a tight bow. 
     He frowned. “Because I asked you to share a glass of wine with me?”
     “No. Because I refused your offer and you can’t accept it.”
     “I can accept it.” He just didn’t like it.
     “Good. Then enjoy the wine.” She nodded at the bottle and reached for the other bag.
     “No,” he said, getting more agitated, “the wine stays with the pizza.” He leaned down and snatched up the other bag before she did, and placed the bottle inside. Then he handed both bags off to her. “Take it.”
She did but didn’t look happy. “See, you’re pushy.”
     “And you’re still difficult,” he answered back. But then he spotted the grin flashing in her eyes and couldn’t stop himself from laughing. The sound of her laugh followed his and had her dimples winking at him. He got the oddest desire to touch her cheek. Since when had he enjoyed arguing with a woman?
     “Okay,” she said, her smile still on her lips. “I’ll be the bigger person and say thank you.”
     He quirked  another brow at her. “But you still won’t share it?”
     “Nope.” She didn’t even hesitate. “But I’m still the bigger person.” 

Christie's Top 5 Things that Transform a Hero from Good to Great

My husband has gotten upset with me lately because I don’t like a lot of the new shows or movies that he wants to watch. But my reason is because I’m picky about my heroes/protagonists. Basically, they have to be . . . well, heroes. No, they don’t have to be perfect, in fact, I don’t want them to be perfect. But I need to be able to respect them. Here are a few traits of heroes in my books: 

1. Cares about animals, kids, and the elderly–You will see this in most all my heroes. Even Austin, who is Ailurophobic—a person with an irrational fear of cats—can’t mistreat the heroine’s feline babies.

2. Isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong. It may be hard for them, let’s face it men have their pride, and may even be a tad macho,but ultimately, a good man knows when to throw in the towel.

3. A great pair of shoulders. What woman doesn’t need a special spot to lean on when life turns crappy?

4. Puts up with your crazy family. I come from crazy, and one of the things I love about my husband is that he has learned to accept my unique and zany family. And this pops up in all my books. I mean doesn’t everyone have a crazy family member?

5. Loves to laugh, even at his own mistakes. Nothing makes a man sexier than a sense of humor. And nothing warms my heart more than a man who makes me laugh.

About the author:
Laura Drake

Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she's always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100. 

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She's an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals.

About the book:

A Love as Wild as the West...

Aubrey Madison is starting over. Leaving Los Angeles and everything behind except the scars of her ruined past, Bree sets out for cowboy country. Now she has a new home, a new job—and a new worry: the ruggedly sexy rancher who makes her long for things she shouldn't...

Rough and tumble cattleman Max Jameson has broken wild stallions and faced angry bulls. Yet the redheaded city cupcake who turned up at the High Heather Ranch might be his undoing. Bree has a plan to rescue the ranch from foreclosure that's just crazy enough to work. But will Max gamble his future on a beautiful stranger?


     Ducking his head to hide his grin, he tugged the passenger door handle. It didn’t budge. Damn, he’d forgotten. Last week, a bull had mistook the truck for competition and charged it. The dent was just one more in the ranch truck’s collection, but now the passenger door wouldn’t open.
     “You’ll have to slide in from the other side.” She gave him a dubious stare but followed as he walked to the driver’s door and jerked it open. She looked at the truck, then at him. “What?”
     “Where do you propose I sit?”
     He squinted into the shadowed interior and felt his ears heat. Reaching in, he pushed tools, receipts, soda cans, and bits of baling wire to the floorboard with a brush of his arm. “Well, excuse me, princess. I wasn’t expecting royalty or I’d have brought ’round the Bentley.”
     It was her turn to redden, and he enjoyed the view as she flounced into the cab and scooted to the far door. He climbed in, pulled off his hat, and hung it on the shotgun rack in the back window.
     She moved as far away as possible, cranked down the window, and rested her arm on the sill. The engine fired with only a prolonged crank. They rolled down the dirt drive, and when the truck hit the asphalt, she dropped her chin on her arm and closed her eyes.
      The scattered freckles on her cheeks stood out against her translucent skin. The dark circles beneath her eyes attested to the kind of tired that comes from long nights that don’t have much to do with sleep.
     “I’m sorry about your dad.” She sounded sincere.
      His knuckles on the steering wheel whitened. “Thanks.”
      “You must miss him. Were you and he close?”
     “What was he like?”
      He spit the toothpick out the window. “He was a Western cattleman. Out here, that means stubborn, hardworking, and an eternal optimist.”
     “Wyatt says you’re a lot like him, but he doesn’t say it like it’s a good thing.”
     Max kept his eyes on the road. “He was a hard man. The gene pool got watered down by the time it got to me.”
     A snort from his right. “Was he a good dad?”
     “To me he was.” Her hair swirled in the wind, bringing him the smell of lemons.
      “Is your dad the reason Wyatt left?”
     He reached in front of her. She started and scrabbled back in the seat. When he tore the duct tape that held the glove box, it flopped open, spilling receipts to swirl onto the floorboard. He jerked out a hank of twine and handed it to her. “How about reining in that mop? Your hair is going to be all over my truck.”
     Bree perused the trash on the floor and raised an eyebrow. “Well. If it’s gonna wreck your truck, by all means . . .”
     He resisted the urge to watch. “As long as we’re getting cozy in each other’s business, where did you come from?”
     “California.” The tight in her voice drew his eyes from the road.
     Small but perky breasts strained the fabric as she raised her arms to tie hair the color of fresh- cut cedar. He shifted to ease the sudden tightness in his jeans. He’d always been a sucker for red hair. Bree’s was thick and curly, not like Jo’s straight tresses. “Now, that fact does not come as a shock. What did you do for work?”
     “Nothing special.”
      Out the corner of his eye, he saw her fingers trace the angry weal at her neck. “Where’d you get the scar?”
     She cut him a cold glance. “I heard from John Wayne movies there was a rule in the West that people don’t ask where you came from.”
      If the edge on her words were real, he’d be bleeding.
      “Fair enough.” He held his hands up in surrender, then put one back on the wheel. “Then how about we play a little quid pro quo? You tell me what you’re comfortable with, and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
     “I suppose we could try that,” she said in a careful hostage-negotiator tone.
     “Wyatt and my dad didn’t click almost from the time Wyatt started talking. Wyatt was a good kid and couldn’t understand why Dad shied from him. Not sure my dad did either, at least at first.”
     “Did your dad know that Wyatt was gay?”
      He thought a moment. “Satchmo said, ‘I don’t let my mouth say nothin’ my head can't stand.’ It was like that. Your turn.”
      She hesitated, seeming to weigh her words. “After I was born, my mom brought me home from the hospital. My dad was gone, with his stuff and anything of hers he could hock. All she had was an empty apartment, an envelope full of bills, and me. Growing up, she told me a watered- down ‘You and me against the world’ story. But now I understand the terror she must have felt.”
      And from the looks of you, you’ve been bunking with that terror for a while now.
      “A retired neighbor lady kept me during the day, and Mom went out and got a job waitressing at The    Eighteen Wh— at a local truck stop.”
     “Your momma sounds like a stand-up gal.”
     “She is.”
     They reached the outskirts of town. He’d save the next round of interrogation for later.

Laura's Top 5 Things that Transform a Hero from Good to Great

1. He sees below what a woman wants to give her what she needs.

2. When the going gets tough, he gets sticky – staying till the end.

3. He’s willing to face what he fears for a woman

4. He does small things to lighten a woman’s burden, rather than bring flowers or in showy displays

5. An endearing habit: spouting quotes or talking to dogs, or sneaking cheater glasses because he’s too vain to be seen in them.

~ Giveaway ~
One person will win ONE copy of Texas Hold 'Em by Christie Craig and ONE copy Nothing Sweeter by Laura Drake

Rules of Eligibility: 
- Only residents of the US who are 18 years of age or older are eligible.
- Please leave your email address so I may get in contact with you to get your mailing address. **No P.O. Boxes, please**.
- Become a follower of my blog, if you aren't already. (Required)

Winner will be randomly chosen. Only one prize pack per person and per address. Giveaway ends on January 30th, midnight Eastern time. Winner will be posted on my blog and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Prize will be distributed by publisher. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What an exciting giveaway! I can't wait to get my hands on Nothing Sweeter, however it may happen. And Texas Hold Em is a definite book to pick up, too. Thanks for the tour and giveaway. :)

  2. Thanks for hosting us and for the review. Hope you all enjoy Texas Hold 'Em.

  3. I am looking forward to reading both of these books! Great excerpts! The rafflecopter is asking what you like about historical romance! This may be a glitch?

  4. Thanks for a fun post and giveaway! I like HR b/c it's truly an escape to a different world :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Not sure if this is the right question for this post, but: Historical Romances let me visit a time that we'll never see again. Contemporary Romance lets us think these things could happen to us (hah!).

  6. I won Craig's Don't Mess with Texas here a couple of years ago. It was really cute and well written. I'm a sucker for the HEA in romances. Hope I win again! :-)

  7. ohhhh my gosh!I envy you, having those kind of arrangement and furniture are spectacular. It makes our house more beautiful.


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