Choose a Man: Navy SEAL or Fire Fighter

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Two twenty-something women are sitting in a bar in San Diego or New York City. In the lounge of PF Chang’s or Ruth’s Chris Steak House. One of these women is you. You’re wearing four point five inch glossy red strappy sandals, one leg crossed over the other so your black and white polka dot skirt is halfway up your thigh. You’re chatting with your friend and she’s wearing light pink matte lipstick, a three-inch wide pink Bakelite bangle bracelet and her blond hair in a high ponytail of cascading waves.

You know you both look hot, but you always do. So, it’s no big deal. Another warm summer night out in the city. You feel the attention, but it’s like a second skin—always there. Music, clinking glassware and slightly tipsy conversation surrounds you while you take your second sip of your Singapore sling then exhale to relax after your initial catch-up with your friend.

Now you look around. At the men. And there are plenty of them.

Are you in the neighborhood pop-spot near the Coronado Navy base filled with newly inducted warriors?

Or are you in the neighborhood hot spot of a downtown Manhattan Firehouse frequented by hot-off-their-shift lifesaving men?

Do you want the kind of man who would kill to protect you?

Or do you want the kind of man who would run into a fire to save you?

Don’t worry, there is no right or wrong answer—unless you say neither. (But what woman would say that? Honestly?)

You might say either would do, but I think most would have a preference, most of us would see the subtle distinction and maybe come down on one side or the other.

Me, you ask? I’d go for the Navy SEAL. Don’t ask me why.

But I’m going to ask you (fair or unfair) which you would pick and WHY?

Go ahead—tell me.

In the meantime, I’m working on a few stories starring two best friends. One is a Navy SEAL and the other is an FDNY Fire Fighter. Coming soon…

Catch up with me and my progress on these stories at www.StephanieQueen.com.

 

 

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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My New Addictions: Chocolate Toffee and Sexy Romance Novels

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Maybe I’ve taken this summer vacation thing too far, indulged too much, for too long, but it’s too late now.

I’m addicted.

Even thought I’m back to work, I rush through my tasks to get to the end of the work day and back to my latest indulgences, nicely paired together (the new bonbons and soap operas): chocolate toffee and sexy romance novels.

I haven’t found anything else to distract me from this dynamite duo of delectably dangerous desert. (I know what you’re thinking: this girl needs to get a life.)

This pair of perfection is the exact antidote to the routine, boring life, or the stressed, crazy life. Either way, it’s a welcome reprieve from a life filled to the brim with responsibilities and work. If you’re up for a staycation experience on any given Sunday afternoon or rainy Saturday or evening after dinner alone, I want to share the delight with you.

The Recipe: Chocolate Almond Toffee

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. Toasted chopped almonds
  • 1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let butter melt and then cook, stirring constantly with a spatula (so the butter and sugar don’t separate!), until mixture turns a dark amber, 12 to 15 minutes. (This can take closer to 20 minutes if you’re heat is not high enough. Increase the heat and keep stirring until the color turns. Don’t give up! If you’d like to use a candy thermometer for this step, attach it to the saucepan and cook until the temperature reaches 285º, or hard crack stage.) Toffee mixture should be dark in color and very thick. Stir in ½ cup of chopped almonds.
  2. Pour toffee mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately top all over with chocolate chips. Let sit 2 minutes so chocolate begins to melt, then spread chocolate all over with a spatula to create a layer on top of toffee.
  3. Sprinkle all over with remaining ½ cup almonds and pecans (use chopped crumbs too for nice texture!) and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, then cut or break into pieces and serve.

AND

The Sexy Romance Novels:  Love on Fire

 

6 steamy romance novels by 6 bestselling authors…

Sometimes passion takes you and there’s nothing you can do to resist it. That hotfeeling overwhelms you until you can think of nothing else but him, want to do nothing else but make love.
Sometimes love sets you on fire until it consumes you.
Let these six novels of crazy hot love take you there, make you feel the heat of that passion, bring you that ecstatic joy.

Playing the Game – by USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Queen – International Digital Award Winning romance about a socialite playing the game of seduction to win against a superstar until winning feels more like losing her heart.
“Reading Queen is an absolutely scrumptious experience…with characters who come alive like Pop Rocks and carbonated beverages” –Romantic Times Book Review

Bittersweets – by bestselling author Suzanne Jenkins – A one-night stand for lawyers Terry and Alex segues into a long weekend of passion, leading to a lifetime of romance.
“…once I began reading I knew there was no turning back. Suzanne Jenkins has an incredible talent.”–Anonymous Reviewer

Red Rock Rises – by USA Today bestselling author Taylor Lee – A fiery former undercover agent, as tough as she is beautiful, no one messes with Red Rock until she meets the handsome Police Chief.
“Taylor Lee does it again! Red Rock Rises introduces another unforgettable heroine and a hero who is more than her match. From the first page to the last, the sparks fly between Jesse O’Donnell aka Red Rock and the sexy Police Chief.”–Kharma Queen

Bedroom Therapy – by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York – Phone sex, fantasies and fetishes are all in a day’s work for sex advice columnist Dr. Amanda O’Neal until she meets sexy detective Zack Grant, and things get personal.
“Bedroom Therapy is a torrid private investigative romance with the heated emphasis on the equatorial hot relationship between the sleuth and the doctor. The story line is fun to follow” –Amazon Review

Tempted by Mr. Wrong – by USA Today bestselling author Jacquie Biggar – How can something so wrong, feel so right?
Jacquie Biggar had me reading well past my bedtime. The characters are so well written they could walk right off the page!” –Avonna

To Love A Hero – by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Mona Risk” – Amidst a clash of cultures, an American scientist finds more chemistry than she bargains for with a national hero from Belarus
Outstanding Read. Mona Risk’s To Love a Hero is a wonderful love story complete with deception, conceit, stubbornness and the love of a lifetime for two people who couldn’t be more different. Ms. Risk hits a homerun with this.”–Simply Romance. Review

Available for Pre-Order Now – Release Date August 14th

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Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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How to be a Cool Cat: Then and Now

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First, let me say, by *Cool Cat* I mean hip, as opposed to arctic–as  in freezing temperatures. Myren, my chauffeur, thought I should mention this since he felt that few would associate me with anything to do with hip. We had a loud long discussion about this, but I won’t bore you with those details.

How would I know about cool? you ask. (Or I should say, Myren asked this very thing. Numerous times.)

Let’s say, I’ve had the chance to observe many of the cool-as-in-hip over the years. Sometimes I’ve even acted cool myself.

Why should I care? you ask. Everyone wants to be cool, I say. What planet are you from?

Here are my coolest handy hints!

Top 6 ways to be a Cool Cat:

  1. Don’t use the term Cool Cat unless you travel back in time to the 50s and join a band of beatniks. Or unless you’re referring to the old cartoon character based on beatniks from the 50s. Come to think of it, those beatniks were really cool cats.
  2. Wear a beret. Preferably black.
  3. Never smile.
  4. Always wear sunglasses.
  5. Get some bongo drums.
  6. Wear black. Or black & white stripes.

Okay, so if you don’t want to be a beatnik from the 50s, maybe you can skip the bongos.

Now you’re asking “Can I be a Cool Cat in the 21st century without imitating some ancient-times goth-looking characters?”

Sure, I say.

Top 6 Ways to be a 21st Century Cool Cat:

  1. Change out the beret for a baseball cap or knit cap.
  2. Wear very baggy pants or very tight pants.
  3. Get a tattoo or 4 or 5. Large and colorful ones.
  4. Grow a beard if you’re a guy and enhance your hair and nails if you’re a woman.
  5. Change out the bongo drums for the latest mobil with at least 479 apps.
  6. Join a gym. Muscles are in.

Keep the sunglasses. Shades are forever cool.

 

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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New Release: Hunks to the Rescue!

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Falling for Captain Hunk is here! I’m excited that this novella, a spin-off of my Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series, was released today, on JUNE 13th–your lucky day–as part of the Hunks to the Rescue box set.

The set features 18 novellas by award-winning, bestselling and wonderful authors who I can personally recommend. Each story features a hunky hero who rescues his woman from some danger or terrible situation. These are the special stories about being rescued by your dream man, the kind of stories that make your heart wobble and your blood hum.

But you don’t need to take my word for it–you can own the set for only $.99 and try all 18 novellas for yourself.

Today you can meet the authors at our HUNKS TO THE RESCUE Facebook Release Party. You’re all invited!

Here’s a SNEAK PEEK of Falling for Captain Hunk:

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

“Jim, you’re killing me. Literally.” Captain Colin Lynch looked at the bloody, fat-veined roast beef held up for his inspection by the deli man.

Cap, as his friends called him, was on a mission, but it had nothing to do with his usual state police business..

He’d been standing at the deli counter for the past ten minutes, and it was beginning to look nearly impossible to find food that did not contain some deadly additive or excessive fat. He might be the man in charge of keeping mayhem at bay on Martha’s Vineyard but, unfortunately, that was of no use in accomplishing today’s task

Jim shrugged.

“Then you belong at the salad bar with all them—”

Cap was spared the rest of the comment when Jim was interrupted by the sound of cans crashing to the floor followed by a surprised screech.

“Sounds like a problem in the canned vegetable aisle,” Jim said.

Cap would have responded with a wisecrack about the unhealthy nature of canned foods, but when he turned, what he saw stopped him.

A woman, a vision really, with long dark hair wearing jeans that curved tight around every sculptured turn of her long legs, brushed past him in a hurry. She might have been ballerina graceful, but she was strong enough to knock him back a step. Cap had no chance to react except with a jump in his pulse. She was past him and disappearing before he had a chance to stop her.

Then she turned to look back at him. The startling blue eyes that met his snapped with electricity. The zap shot through him and he could have sworn his heart actually stopped a beat. The connection lasted for only a fraction of a second.

Then it was gone as she moved away like a fawn on the run.

As his heart settled down, Cap exchanged a quick glance with Jim to see that the grizzled old marine-turned-deli man agreed with hiss assessment. The lithe beauty ran as if she were escaping from someone. This could be trouble.

And uniform or not, on duty or not, Cap was the man in charge of trouble. He tamped down the hum of alertness caused by adrenaline while he took off in the direction where he’d heard the crash. A man was halfway down the aisle and heading his way.

Shit. Not him.

He recognized Kaspian Ellison, aka Kasper the Ghost, from the morning’s bulletin from the governor’s office. His old special-ops-commander-turned-governor, Peter John Douglas, sent him the man’s picture with a warning. And a request. Technically, it was an order since Peter, as the governor of Massachusetts, was his boss.

The request had been to watch Ellison as a person of interest in a murder. The file would follow.

Kasper the Ghost marched forward like he was on a mission. As if he were trying to catch up with a disappearing beauty.

Cap hoped to hell this head of a heroin trafficking empire with a penchant for violence had nothing to do with the memorable woman he’d seen. Going on instinct, Cap decided to put himself in Ellison’s path at the end of the aisle.

Hunks to the Rescue is available at:

AMAZON.      iBOOKS.      NOOK.      KOBO   

For more information about special offers including a FREE BOGO box set and calendar pages featuring your favorite hunk, and information about all the books and authors, visit us at www.hunkstotherescue.com.

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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Chapter One excerpt – 2016 Love, Christmas Collection – Let It Snow – by Stephanie Queen #mgtab

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LetitSnowCover-GirlinWindow-black with snowflakeBestLet it Snow

Book 9 – Beachcomber Investigations Series

by Stephanie Queen

EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Was it strange that a grown man—scratch that—middle-aged man should feel like impaled gutter trash, so devastated by the death of a mother he’d seen only a handful of times in the last decade?

The bullet that killed Dane’s mother may as well have hit him. It left a cannon hole in him, obliterating whatever had been left of his heart and soul. Maybe there hadn’t been much there anyway. How could there have been? Seemed he’d spent a lifetime fighting the soul killing hurt in all the most hellish places on earth to no end. Saving people, but not saving everyone. Never saving everyone. But he’d survived.

In body anyway.

This wasn’t about his past catching up with him. No. Dane knew what the devastation, the pain and now the numbness was about. It was because he felt responsible for his mother’s death. Any shrink would have told him this.

The problem was—he was responsible for his mother’s death. She’d been murdered on his watch. At the hands of his enemies. It didn’t matter how much of the devastation he felt was guilt. It should be pure gut-gnawing guilt. He deserved to feel guilty as hell.

He should have been able to protect her. Least he could have done. She’d protected him all those years. Without his father. She saw that he got to adulthood when it was not at all a likely thing.

He stared out his kitchen window again. This time snowflakes filled the sky, obscuring his view of the bay and the ocean. Didn’t matter. He wasn’t going anywhere. Or maybe he should pack his bags and leave this place. Head for the next hellish place and destructive mission. Leave a mark. Try to make up for allowing his mother to die by saving someone else’s mother.

He may as well leave. It wasn’t like his beach shack or Martha’s Vineyard held the solace for him that they once had. Too many things happened here. Too much violence. And now death.

 

“I invited Cap over for eggnog.” Shana’s strident voice cut him.

Dane turned around to face her standing on the threshold of his kitchen. The glint of her beauty cut into him further. She stared him down with her arms folded like she expected an argument. Like she expected to win the argument.

He didn’t bother arguing. He’d retreat to his bed. Bring a bottle with him. Then he remembered she’d hidden or tossed all the bottles. No matter. She could celebrate the season with innocent eggnog and Cap if she wanted.

The thought of Cap—Captain Colin Lynch—and Shana together stirred an ember in him, but not much. Nothing like the spark it might have created before. There was no fire to be had in his belly. Not today.

“Go for it, girlie.” He smiled. It cost him to muster that much for her. But she deserved whatever he had. She tried hard. Probably too hard. He walked by her and headed to his room half hoping she’d follow him and he could seduce her, lose himself in mindless sex with her. But he’d drawn the line short of letting her put up her body for his use to cure him of his self-pity. Besides, sex was never a simple matter with Shana. He’d end up feeling guilty about it. More guilt. If it were possible.

She’d been trying to save him from himself ever since she’d come to the island. It was a matter of time now—a very short time he’d guess—before she realized the futility. Then he’d be left to himself. The only company he was fit for.

He shut his bedroom door behind him and didn’t bother pulling the blinds. It was barely mid-afternoon but the storm had darkened the sky to near nightfall proportions. It suited him. He’d sleep through the storm. Maybe when he woke again all the darkness would be gone.

*****

Shana wished she had some kind of miracle to get Dane out of his depression. She looked at his closed bedroom door. There was no way she’d go that route. Then she’d end up as depressed as he was and there’d be nothing left of Beachcomber Investigations. Or her. Or him.

Cap thought Dane needed a shrink or heavy medication. But short of hitting him over the head and dragging him bodily, Dane couldn’t be convinced to see a professional. Now weeks later, Shana had hoped the Christmas season would cheer him, but if anything he was worse.

So far, today being Christmas Eve hadn’t cheered her much either. Anxiety had moved into her bones. She’d never worried over anyone or anything the way she worried now about Dane. Cap wasn’t the only one who felt the same way. The governor—his special ops unit commander and friend–called almost daily. Acer, a member of their special ops unit and as far as she could tell, his closest friend–texted her every other day. Sassy and Ronnie, their local twenty-something junior investigators came by often and she was lucky they did. Sassy brought pies from her shop and Ronnie brought pilfered food from the restaurant where he worked. If they hadn’t brought the food and forced her to eat, she would have diminished to a stick figure by now. As it was, her clothes hung on her.

And Dane didn’t notice. Nothing stirred him. Nothing made a difference to him. If she left now, would he care? Would he notice? Would he be better off?

Would she be better off?

No. She’d never forgive herself. It was just as much her fault that his mother was murdered. On her watch. She should have been able to protect Dane’s mother, to prevent the murder—should have seen it coming and have been able to do something.

A rap on the back door saved her from sinking further. She’d hidden the bottle from herself just as much from Dane. She hoped she could enjoy a splash of brandy in her eggnog tonight without succumbing to sobbing. But Cap had been a shiny spot in the bleakness, like her north star, for this past month.

Cap pushed open the back door and stepped into the kitchen with a rush of fat wet snowflakes riding on the cold wind.

Behind Cap, in a bright red snow covered sweater and white knit hat, a stranger stepped forward. Shana jumped back and automatically felt for her gun on her hip and then the back of her waistband.

“Don’t worry—he’s with me.” Cap smirked and moved forward. The man stepped inside behind him and pushed the door closed. Shana shivered. Then she remembered she ought to smile at her guest. She was turning into her crazy aunt Shirley and she wasn’t yet thirty years old. She noticed the man had a bag. She looked at Cap for an introduction or an explanation or something.

“This is Father Pedro.”

She looked closer at the man. He had wet graying hair and dark eyes. Maybe they were kind eyes, but right now they were non-committal. Intelligent and searching like he was looking into her soul and sizing her up.

“I’m Shana. Have a seat. I’m about to put the final touches on the eggnog.”

“Do you have anything hot?”

“Of course—you must be cold.” He had no coat and his sweater was wet.

Cap took off his coat and looked around. She knew he was looking for Dane.

As if by thinking about him they had some cosmic pull, Dane’s door banged opened and a second later he appeared on the threshold of the kitchen. Shana was surprised he wasn’t aiming his old Glock at them, but the look he leveled was threatening enough.

“Dane—“ she said.

“Who the hell are you?”

Padre Pedro stepped around her and his face transformed to warm beautific saintliness. He went to Dane with his arms extended. He had to be nuts.

Dane put his arms out too—to stop the man in his tracks.

“Whoa there, fellow—answer my question. Who the f-ing hell are you?”

The padre stopped an arms distance away as Shana went to Dane’s side—or as close to his side as his porcupine mood would allow. She might need to step in to protect one of them.

“Dane—“ Cap began.

Dane glared at Cap to silence him. The Padre stood and took his time studying Dane—brave for a man with Dane the Demon expecting an answer. All the while Shana figured what kept the Padre safe was the new look on his face. It was like he was heartbroken, like seeing Dane made his heart weep. In fact he looked like he was about to cry when he spoke in a sad, deep ominous voice.

“Oscar sent me.”

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Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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