Blame It On Chocolate @JoanReeves #mgtab #NewRelease

Dog holding Valentine balloon.A funny thing happened on the way to writing this Valentine post. I didn’t get Blame It On Chocolate, a new entry in my short story series, A Moment in Time, finished.

Agh! Life has just been plain difficult since the New Year began. Of course, that was how 2016 was so I don’t know why I’m surprised!

I did however belatedly publish Last Chance New Year, another short story in A Moment in Time. It was, of course, a month late. Do you see a pattern here? *sigh* I’ll stop moaning and tell you a bit about Last Chance New Year.

This highly sensual romance short story should be available at all ebook sellers within a day. For now, it’s only at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, and it’s only 99 cents.

In 2015, I thought it would be nice to start a short story series for all those little ideas that pop into my head. Thus A Moment in Time Romance was born.

After all, A Moment in Time is all the heart needs for Love to blossom.

The first short story was LuvU4Ever, and it was about Noelle and David Morales at a crisis in their marriage.

LuvU4Ever is free at all ebook sellers: Kindle * Apple iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.

This past Christmas I started writing Last Chance New Year in which David and Noelle play matchmaker for two of their employees who are obviously in love with each other but haven’t done anything about it. They don’t know it, but one of those employees has also decided to remedy the situation.

Cheyenne SmithCover of Last Chance New Year by Joan Reeves, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

By tomorrow, Last Chance New Year should be available at all ebook sellers.

As I said, it’s live only at Smashwords with Kindle for now.

A Taste of Chocolate

Actually, it’s a taste of Blame It On Chocolate which should be ready to publish in a couple of days. Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite.

Excerpt, Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves © 2017

In years to come, Chloe Elliot decided if she ever told anyone about this night that she’d blame it on chocolate. Okay, maybe that and the bottle of Merlot she and her best friend and sister-in-law Sarah had drunk with the Valentine chocolates from the heart-shaped box Sarah’s husband—and Chloe’s big brother—had given his wife.

At the moment, Chloe’s heart beat so hard and fast that she ought maybe she was in danger of having a heart attack. Wouldn’t that be just peachy? They’d find her dead in this closet. Wearing nothing but red hooker stilettos and outrageous, hot pink lingerie beneath her khaki trenchCover of Blame It On Chocolate by Joan Reeves coat.

No way. She willed her heart to settle down. Besides, she was too young for a coronary, wasn’t she? She’d just turned thirty today. A Happy Fricking Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday combined. What a catastrophe.

Don’t panic, she told herself again. She wouldn’t have a heart attack. She didn’t dare. What would her mom say if she was found dead—like this!—in the coat closet in her brother’s insurance office? And her dad? She shuddered at the thought.

Chloe took a deep breath and released it slowly. Then another. The roaring in her ears subsided enough that she could hear the sounds beyond the closet door. Nothing. Maybe Hunter had left. Please God let that be the case. She pressed her hand over her heart to still the wild pounding, certain it was beating so hard that it interfered with her hearing.

She listened intently. Nothing. Oh, thank the good Lord above. Relief made her weak in the knees. She swore to go to church every Sunday and to never, ever, do anything remotely crazy again. Her hand was on the doorknob when she heard his voice. Goosebumps raised on her overheated skin. Who was he talking to? She didn’t hear another voice so she decided he must be on the phone. Slowly, she removed her hand from the doorknob and held her breath.

No one had a voice like Hunter Cole. Instead of baseball, he should have gone into broadcasting or acting. She imagined that voice could charm a woman out of her panties as easily as the perfection of his hard-muscled body. Even in high school when he’d been a senior, and her brother’s best friend, and she’d been a lowly freshman, one look at him had turned her brain to mush and her body to molten lava.

Why couldn’t he just go away?

Chloe’s feet hurt in the crippling stilettos, and she needed to pee. Plus, she could hardly breathe in the confined space. At least her nerves had settled so she might as well wait it out.

A little of his conversation seeped through the door. She strained to hear what he was saying.

“…a dozen of your best red roses…big heart-shaped box of chocolate…address…tonight even though it’s late.”

Chloe’s heart no longer pounded. It might have turned to lead in her chest or maybe plummeted to her toes. He was order flowers and chocolates for a woman. Another woman. Not for her.

Now she didn’t feel just ridiculous. She felt humiliated. How had she let Sarah talk her into this? If Sarah knew Hunter so well, why hadn’t she known that he was interested in a woman? She’d never had a chance. If she’d known Hunter was seeing someone, she’d never have done this. She felt a tear trickle down her  cheek. She swiped it away, determined to shove her stupid fantasy to the back of her mind. And she would just as soon as she escaped the closet.

Silence now filled the office. Had he finally left? Surely it was obvious to him that her brother hadn’t asked to meet him here. He should be leaving and racing over to his honey’s house to reap the rewards of the Valentine gifts that were probably being delivered at this moment.

Nothing had broken the silence for almost five minutes. Relieved, she opened the closet door and stepped out.

Right into Hunter Cole’s arms.

Valentine's Day note with rose.I hope you enjoyed that little teaser. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your true love.

Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. Check out her Amazon Author Page for a list of books.  (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook. Connect with Joan Online: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.

 

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Valentine Wedding Hound – Chapter One (excerpt)

Hey folks, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and there’s a wedding in the wings for the Harts of San Francisco. You’d think a Valentine’s Day wedding would be all hearts and flowers and sweet as can be, but Jenna and Larry’s wedding is anything but …

Please read an excerpt to find out what happens when a wedding becomes a reality show.

“She wouldn’t dare!” Jenna Hart rose to her full height and towered over her baby sister, Melisa. “It’s my wedding, not a reality show.”

Of course, shooting the messenger never worked, but it sure felt good.

“Contract’s already signed.” Melisa made a dour face and slapped a pink manila folder on Jenna’s ironing board. “I’m sorry, but you made a deal and you have to play.”

Last December, both Jenna and Melisa had encouraged their eldest sister, Cait, to take her husband’s surname and start a business. In returned, they had agreed to be her first clients. Hence, Cait Wonder and her business, Cait’s Wonderful Weddings, was born.

Melisa had had a New Year’s Eve extravaganza, which was another story on its own, but now, it was time for Jenna to pay the piper.

“Cait’s gone over the top, completely.” Jenna swept the folder onto the floor, scattering the contents.

Melisa, who usually sympathized with her concerning Cait’s screwball plans, shrugged and twisted her lips. “This will promote your design firm. Think of the visibility you’ll get.”

“I can’t do it! It’s going to be a zoo.” Jenna threw up her hands and paced around the small design studio. She was an independent fashion designer and owned Hart in SF Designs based in San Francisco.

She was also one of a few designers not headquartered in New York, London, Milan, or Paris, and she needed the publicity. At the same time, it was her wedding, and maybe behind the glamour and glitz of the fashion business, Jenna was still an old-fashioned girl who wanted a quiet church wedding—not the media extravaganza her sisters seemed to believe she really, truly wanted and needed.

Melisa calmly picked up the folder and showed Jenna the spec sheet. “You already agreed to the fashion show, right? You also agreed to the assortment of pets each groomsman would escort. You even agreed to the pet adoption after the reception.”

“Yes, yes, and yes!” Jenna tapped her finger on the terms and conditions. “But I didn’t agree to the reality show, especially one where I have to take on-camera dares.”

The popular reality show, She Wouldn’t Dare, was based on goading celebrities to accept challenges during important events—in this case, Jenna’s wedding to her fireman hero, Larry Davison.

They’d met a year ago when the mascot for her Valentine’s Day fashion show, a sweet and gassy basset hound puppy named Harley, was lost and then found by Larry.

A runway show, bachelor auction, and a house fire later, Jenna and Larry fell in love and decided to marry. At the time, it seemed fitting to have the wedding on Valentine’s Day. Romance, hearts, flowers, chocolates, and wedding vows went well with Cupid’s arrows.

But now, after Melisa’s raucous and highly publicized New Year’s Eve wedding, Jenna was tempted to take Larry and their dog, Harley, and elope.

“You’ll have to speak to Cait about the contract,” Melisa said. “I’m afraid you gave her power of attorney …”

“She wouldn’t dare.”

Melisa flipped to the signature page. “She already did. I don’t think you can afford the cancellation clause.”

She definitely couldn’t, and it might be a good idea to do the show. In fact, the exposure could get her name recognition and be a boost to her brand. Hadn’t a marketing guru once told her that all publicity, bad or good, was good publicity?

“When do they start shooting?” Jenna’s eyes darted wildly around her studio, currently in a deep state of chaos with half-finished dresses and material tossed everywhere.

“Camera crews are outside with Cait.” Melisa turned to the double doors and flung them wide open. “Come on in, Jenna Hart is ready to rock and roll.”

Jenna watched in horror as her older sister, Cait, led the camera and sound crew into her tiny studio, followed by the host of She Wouldn’t Dare, actress Amy Suzuki, who’d starred on the now defunct Romancing the Racer reality show a few years back. The show was a flop and cancelled when the motorcycle racer crashed and ended up in the hospital due to being distracted over her and the drama she’d caused.

“Welcome to this episode of She Wouldn’t Dare, featuring up and coming San Francisco fashion designer, Jenna Hart.” The Asian-American beauty spoke to the camera as she positioned herself beside Jenna. “We’re in Jenna’s design studio where she is busy putting together her bridal collection. How are you feeling today? Is the pressure ramping up?”

Jenna was sweaty, her hair was a mess, and she hadn’t put on makeup. She glared at her two sisters and felt every sharp pain of the knives stabbing and twisting in her back.

Gritting her teeth, she forced a smile for the camera. “Everything’s going great. I have these two bridesmaid’s dresses on the forms, and my two wonderfully adoring sisters just happen to be here for a fitting.”

There, that’ll get back at them and give them on camera time. See how they like not having their hair sprayed and their clothes ironed before going on camera.

“Awesome,” Amy chirped. “I see the two dresses are different in terms of cut and style. Why is that?”

“My two sisters are very different animals.” Jenna kept herself from growling. “Cait, the eldest, is efficient and very bossy. She favors clean lines and bold statements. She also has a figure which presents many design challenges.”

“How so?” Amy shifted her glance from Jenna to Cait’s waistline.

“I have to be careful with balance and form. For example, drawing the eye away from problem areas to provide the illusion of a slender femininity.”

“Rawrrr …” Amy made a catty noise as she place the mic in front of Cait. “We all know how difficult bridesmaid dresses are. Do you have confidence Jenna can tackle all of the problem areas, as she puts it, and make you a truly memorable dress?”

“I have no doubt. My sister is capable of anything.”

“Do you like your dress?” Amy asked. “After what Jenna said about her design goals?”

“Yes, I do.” Cait crossed her arms. “She captured my personality and style fabulously.”

“That’s why she’s the star.” Amy focused on the form holding together the pieces of Melisa’s dress, a lacey, frilly concoction of tulle and soft curves. “Tell me about your younger sister, Melisa.”

“She’s always been a sweetheart,” Jenna said. “Until now.”

“Oh, do tell. Is that why her dress is so juvenile?”

Jenna couldn’t help smirking at the frown which flickered across Melisa’s face. “She’s the baby of the family, almost, and she follows Cait around like a little duck.”

“I do not.” Melisa put her hands on her hips and stamped her foot. “I may be nice, but I’m no pushover.”

“Do you like the dress she designed for you?” Amy ran her fingers from the beaded lace bodice down to the poufy tulle skirt.

“No, it’s too fairy tale.” Melisa wrinkled her brow. “The problem with Jenna is she underestimates me. I don’t believe this dress reflects who I am.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” Amy said. “If Jenna had time for a do over, would you want her to make you another dress?”

“Of course.” Melisa jutted her chin at her designer sister. “I’m no longer that dreamy little girl she thinks I am.”

“Cait, Melisa, tell me something.” Amy chuckled in an annoyingly saccharine voice. “Is there anything Jenna wouldn’t dare?”

“Nothing whatsoever.” Cait bobbed her head as if she were an expert on Jenna, having bossed her around since she came home from the hospital. “Jenna has no circuit breakers. She’ll try and do anything.”

“Jenna’s brave. She always did her own thing,” Melisa said. “I looked up to her, and I still do.”

“Wonderful.” Amy turned to the camera. Her assistant handed her a pair of scissors. “Jenna Hart, you are five weeks away from your wedding. For your first dare on the She Wouldn’t Dare: Wedding Edition show, I dare you to cut up Cait’s dress, the one she likes, and replace it with one that isn’t so businesslike.”

“Can I cut up Melisa’s dress instead?” Jenna’s heart took a flying leap. There was no way she could redo both Melisa and Cait’s dress.

“No, the dare is to cut up Cait’s dress. She’s going to be in a wedding, not a presidential cabinet meeting. Up for grabs is a home remodel worth fifty thousand dollars.” Amy put the scissors in Jenna’s hand as the countdown clock began to tick.

“Does it have to be a remodel or does new construction qualify?” Jenna’s parents’ house had burned down earlier in the year, and they were having a new one built.

“New construction is okay as long as it’s within the budget. Do you take the dare? You have ten seconds left.” Amy turned to the camera and said, “She wouldn’t dare, or would she?”

Jenna swallowed and bit her lips, computing time and material estimates in her head. She owed her sister-in-law, Nadine, a dress, and her mother’s dress needed alterations. As for her own gown, she had a bad case of designer’s block, and it was still on the drawing board.

“Four, three, two,” Amy counted down.

“I’ll do it.” Jenna slashed the scissors across the satin lapel of Cait’s dress and ripped in the bodice.

“No!” Cait lunged to the form and put her arms around it, almost getting cut. “I love this dress. I love it, I love it.”

[End of Excerpt]

To read more, please PRE-ORDER Valentine Wedding Hound for a special pre-order price of 99c! Be sure to check out the other Have A Hart stories including:

Christmas Lovebirds, #1

Valentine Hound Dog, #2 [when Jenna and Larry meet]

Spring Fling Kitty, #3

Blue Chow Christmas, #4

I hope your Valentine’s Day is all hearts and flowers and everything sweet! Kisses, Rachelle

 

Be My Valentine

Valentine Day Heart on White Background

Did you know that on February 14th we are really celebrating ‘St.’ Valentine’s Day? So, who was this saint and what did he do that made him saintly? Actually, three different men named Valentine were martyred and recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.

History has contributed several Valentine legends.

Depositphotos_4962044_l-2015One such legend says that Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because in his opinion, single men made better soldiers than family men. Valentine continued to perform secret marriages for young couples. His reward? Claudius had him put to death.

Another legend tells of an imprisoned Valentine sending the first “valentine” after falling in love with his jailor’s daughter. He wrote her a love letter signed “From your Valentine.”

The truth behind the legends may be a little murky, but all the stories describe Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure.

So what about St. Valentine’s Day? How did that emerge? Some claim the Christian church created St. Valentine’s feast day to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. Members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathered at a sacred cave where they sacrificed a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. They took strips of goat hide soaked in blood to the streets, using it to smack women to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Holiday Card. Heart from paper. Valentines day

Today, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated the same way around the world. For example, in Japan and South Korea, women give their men chocolate.

In Norway and Denmark, men send rhyming love notes to women anonymously. The woman must guess the sender. A correct guess and she wins an Easter Egg later that year; a wrong guess and she owes her secret admirer an Easter egg.

In Wales, the custom is to give love-spoons, a tradition started when a Welsh sailor carved decorated spoons of wood for a lady he was interested in courting.

 

I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day by offering a Book Boyfriend Valentine for .99 this weekend.DropDead.Twitter Is he Drop Dead Gorgeous or Drop Dead Guilty? You’ll have to read to find out!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love In The Time of Chocolate

Soul Mates Cover

Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day would look through the eyes of a chocolatier and caterer?

For Maxine,Valentine’s Day and the weeks leading up to it are busy times. It seems she can’t make enough chocolate. From catering a wine and truffle party for her friends’s new dating service to making a chocolate torte for a couple who have been happily in love thirty plus years, the one constant in her life is chocolate.

It looks as if there might be something more going on than just dating at Soul Mates though and will she get her own HEA with a certain detective or is she in for a broken heart? And she’s stepping out of her comfort zone to take part in Victoria’s answer to So You Think You Can Dance complete with it’s very own mirror ball trophy.

In case you’re looking for a dessert to wow that certain someone this is Maxine’s special recipe.

Chocolate Lave Cakes For Two

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa

2 oz bittersweet chocolate (I recommend Callebaut)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup superfine sugar (put regular sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to make fine if necessary).

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

——————————————————————–

Heat oven to 325 degrees F

Chop chocolate into pieces along with butter.

Melt butter and chocolate in microwave doing 10 seconds at a time and stirring together until smooth and melted.

Cool for 10 minutes

Whisk together eggs and sugar

Sift flour over your chocolate mixture and then gently fold in.

Grease two three inch ramekins (I use Pam butter spray) and divide your chocolate mixture evenly between the two.

Bake at 325 for 11 – 13 minutes depending on oven

Turn your chocolate lava cakes out and serve immediately

Soul Mates is available on Amazon.com. More of Maxine’s Chocolate recipes can be found on my website, www.patamsden.com.