Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday's Film Adaption: Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The life and times of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at losing to this relatively obscure Illinois lawyer. Yet Lincoln not only convinced them to join his administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary of the treasury, and Bates as attorney general--he ultimately gained their admiration and respect as well. How he soothed egos, turned rivals into allies, and dealt with many challenges to his leadership, all for the sake of the greater good, is largely what Goodwin's fine book is about. Had he not possessed the wisdom and confidence to select and work with the best people, she argues, he could not have led the nation through one of its darkest periods.

Ten years in the making, this engaging work reveals why "Lincoln's road to success was longer, more tortuous, and far less likely" than the other men, and why, when opportunity beckoned, Lincoln was "the best prepared to answer the call." This multiple biography further provides valuable background and insights into the contributions and talents of Seward, Chase, and Bates. Lincoln may have been "the indispensable ingredient of the Civil War," but these three men were invaluable to Lincoln and they played key roles in keeping the nation intact. --Shawn Carkonen

Team of Rivals doesn't just tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. It is a multiple biography of the entire team of personal and political competitors that he put together to lead the country through its greatest crisis. Here, Doris Kearns Goodwin profiles five of the key players in her book, four of whom contended for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination and all of whom later worked together in Lincoln's cabinet.

1. Edwin M. Stanton
Stanton treated Lincoln with utter contempt at their initial acquaintance when the two men were involved in a celebrated law case in the summer of 1855. Unimaginable as it might seem after Stanton's demeaning behavior, Lincoln offered him "the most powerful civilian post within his gift"--the post of secretary of war--at their next encounter six years later. On his first day in office as Simon Cameron's replacement, the energetic, hardworking Stanton instituted "an entirely new regime" in the War Department. After nearly a year of disappointment with Cameron, Lincoln had found in Stanton the leader the War Department desperately needed. Lincoln's choice of Stanton revealed his singular ability to transcend personal vendetta, humiliation, or bitterness. As for Stanton, despite his initial contempt for the man he once described as a "long armed Ape," he not only accepted the offer but came to respect and love Lincoln more than any person outside of his immediate family. He was beside himself with grief for weeks after the president's death.

2. Salmon P. Chase
Chase, an Ohioan, had been both senator and governor, had played a central role in the formation of the national Republican Party, and had shown an unflagging commitment to the cause of the black man. No individual felt he deserved the presidency as a natural result of his past contributions more than Chase himself, but he refused to engage in the practical methods by which nominations are won. He had virtually no campaign and he failed to conciliate his many enemies in Ohio itself. As a result, he alone among the candidates came to the convention without the united support of his own state. Chase never ceased to underestimate Lincoln, nor to resent the fact that he had lost the presidency to a man he considered his inferior. His frustration with his position as secretary of the treasury was alleviated only by his his dogged hope that he, rather than Lincoln, would be the Republican nominee in 1864, and he steadfastly worked to that end. The president put up with Chase's machinations and haughty yet fundamentally insecure nature because he recognized his superlative accomplishments at treasury. Eventually, however, Chase threatened to split the Republican Party by continuing to fill key positions with partisans who supported his presidential hopes. When Lincoln stepped in, Chase tendered his resignation as he had three times before, but this time Lincoln stunned Chase by calling his bluff and accepting the offer.

3. Abraham Lincoln
When Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination in 1860 he seemed to have come from nowhere--a backwoods lawyer who had served one undistinguished term in the House of Representatives and lost two consecutive contests for the U.S. Senate. Contemporaries attributed his surprising nomination to chance, to his moderate position on slavery, and to the fact that he hailed from the battleground state of Illinois. But Lincoln's triumph, particularly when viewed against the efforts of his rivals, owed much to a remarkable, unsuspected political acuity and an emotional strength forged in the crucible of hardship and defeat. That Lincoln, after winning the presidency, made the unprecedented decision to incorporate his eminent rivals into his political family, the cabinet, was evidence of an uncanny self-confidence and an indication of what would prove to others a most unexpected greatness.

4. William H. Seward
A celebrated senator from New York for more than a decade and governor of his state for two terms before going to Washington, Seward was certain he was going to receive his party's nomination for president in 1860. The weekend before the convention in Chicago opened he had already composed a first draft of the valedictory speech he expected to make to the Senate, assuming that he would resign his position as soon as the decision in Chicago was made. His mortification at not having received the nomination never fully abated, and when he was offered his cabinet post as secretary of state he intended to have a major role in choosing the remaining cabinet members, conferring upon himself a position in the new government more commanding than that of Lincoln himself. He quickly realized the futility of his plan to relegate the president to a figurehead role. Though the feisty New Yorker would continue to debate numerous issues with Lincoln in the years ahead, exactly as Lincoln had hoped and needed him to do, Seward would become his closest friend, advisor, and ally in the administration. More than any other cabinet member Seward appreciated Lincoln's peerless skill in balancing factions both within his administration and in the country at large.

5. Edward Bates
A widely respected elder statesman, a delegate to the convention that framed the Missouri Constitution, and a former Missouri congressman whose opinions on national matters were still widely sought, Bates's ambitions for political success were gradually displaced by love for his wife and large family, and he withdrew from public life in the late 1840s. For the next 20 years he was asked repeatedly to run or once again accept high government posts but he consistently declined. However in early 1860, with letters and newspaper editorials advocating his candidacy crowding in upon him, he decided to try for the highest office in the land. After losing to Lincoln he vowed, in his diary, to decline a cabinet position if one were to be offered, but with the country "in trouble and danger" he felt it was his duty to accept when Lincoln asked him to be attorney general. Though Bates initially viewed Lincoln as a well-meaning but incompetent administrator, he eventually concluded that the president was an unmatched leader, "very near being a 'perfect man.'"

Release dates: October 8, 2012 (New York Film Festival)
November 9, 2012 (United States)
Running time: 150 minutes
Lincoln household
Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln
Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln
Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln
Gulliver McGrath as Tad Lincoln
Stephen Henderson as Lincoln's valet William Slade
Elizabeth Marvel as Mrs. Jolly
White House
David Strathairn as Secretary of State William H. Seward
Bruce McGill as Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
Joseph Cross as Major John Hay, Lincoln's military secretary
Jeremy Strong as John George Nicolay, Lincoln's private secretary
Grainger Hines as Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles
Richard Topol as Attorney General James Speed
Dakin Matthews as Secretary of the Interior John Palmer Usher
Walt Smith as Secretary of the Treasury William P. Fessenden
James Ike Eichling as Postmaster General William Dennison
House of Representatives
Tommy Lee Jones as Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania
Lee Pace as Democratic Congressman Fernando Wood of New York
Peter McRobbie as Democratic Congressman George H. Pendleton of Ohio
Bill Raymond as Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax of Indiana
David Costabile as Republican Congressman James Ashley of Ohio
Stephen Spinella as radical Republican Congressman Asa Vintner Litton
Michael Stuhlbarg as Democratic Congressman George Yeaman of Kentucky
Boris McGiver as Democratic Congressman Alexander Coffroth of Pennsylvania
Walton Goggins as Democratic Congressman Clay Hawkins of Ohio
David Warshofsky as Congressman William Hutton
Michael Stanton Kennedy as Republican Congressman Hiram Price of Iowa
Raynor Scheine as Republican Congressman Josiah S. 'Beanpole' Burton of Missouri
Christopher Evan Welch as Clerk of the House Edward McPherson
Republican Party
Hal Holbrook as Francis Preston Blair
James Spader as Republican Party operative William N. Bilbo
Tim Blake Nelson as lobbyist Richard Schell
John Hawkes as Republican operative Colonel Robert Latham
Byron Jennings as Conservative Republican Montgomery Blair, son of Francis Preston Blair
Julie White as Elizabeth Blair Lee
S. Epatha Merkerson as Lydia Smith: Smith was Thaddeus Stevens' biracial housekeeper
Wayne Duvall as Radical Republican Senator Benjamin "Bluff Ben" Wade
John Hutton as Senator Charles Sumner
Confederate States
Jackie Earle Haley as Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens
Gregory Itzin as John Archibald Campbell
Michael Shiflett as the third Confederate delegate to Hampton Roads, Senate President Robert M. T. Hunter
Christopher Boyer (non-speaking role) as Robert E. Lee
Union Army
Jared Harris as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant
Asa-Luke Twocrow as Lieutenant Colonel Ely S. Parker
Colman Domingo as Private Harold Green
David Oyelowo as Corporal Ira Clark
Lukas Haas as First White Soldier
Dane DeHaan as Second White Soldier
Adam Driver as Lincoln's telegraph operator, historically Grant's operator, Samuel Beckwith

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
WON Best Actor  Daniel Day-Lewis
NOMINATED Best Adapted Screenplay  Tony Kushner
NOMINATED Best Cinematography  Janusz Kaminski
NOMINATED Best Costume Design  Joanna Johnston
NOMINATED Best Director  Steven Spielberg
NOMINATED Best Editing  Michael Kahn
NOMINATED Best Original Score  John Williams
NOMINATED Best Picture
WON Best Production Design  Rick Carter, Jim Erickson
NOMINATED Best Sound Mixing  Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ronald Judkins
NOMINATED Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones
NOMINATED Best Supporting Actress Sally Field

Author Bio:
Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and is also the author of the bestsellers Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband, Richard N. Goodwin. 




Author Spotlight: RE Hargrave

Author Bio:
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and now, a writer. Other hobbies include gardening and a love of a music.

A native 'mutt,' Hargrave has lived in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California. She is fond of setting her stories on location in South Carolina and Texas, but its anybody's guess as to what the genre will be!


To Serve is Divine #1
Catherine O’Chancey is a reserved, demure, and graceful submissive. All traits she trained hard to enhance when she discovered the world of Dominance and submission in college. In an attempt to start fresh after the unexpected death of her last Dom, Catherine moves to Dallas, TX to escape the shroud of darkness he left behind in her life. She has tried to fight the need that resides deep within her to submit, but finally has to admit she can’t for it is not a choice, but part of who she truly is. After months of mental preparation, she ventures back into the lifestyle by attending a coveted open-night event at Dungeons and Dreams, an exclusive BDSM club.Is it fate or coincidence that Catherine garners the attention of one of the club’s board members who happens to be on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?Jayden Masterson is many things: a firm Dom, a shrewd businessman, and a gentleman. What he isn’t, is someone who partakes in relationships outside of contractual ones with his multiple, uncollared, regular submissives. While he likes rough sex, he is not an animal, and can find pleasure only if it is consensual. What his harem is missing is a pain slut; could there be one in his future?
Upon meeting Catherine, Jayden feels an instantaneous spark inside him that has him wanting to know not just her body, but her mind. He wants to unravel her mysteries and discover her secrets. Through pain can they find the pleasure they seek? Can part-time pain lovers find full-time fulfillment when it’s not in their contract?
***Contains explicit sexual content (including multiple partners and gender pairings) and mature situations which could be trigger-inducing for some readers. Not meant for underage readers.***

I really enjoyed this first installment of the Divine Trilogy. I would've liked to have had a little more detail into Catherine's horrifying time with her previous Dom but we still learn enough to understand her hard-limits and why she's been away from the lifestyle for awhile. I really enjoy the chemistry between Jayden and Catherine as well as Micah.


A Divine Life #2
Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom—she thinks. To celebrate their collaring anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?  While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?  ***Contains explicit sexual content (including multiple partners and gender pairings) and mature situations which could be trigger-inducing for some readers. Not meant for underage readers.***

This was a perfect 2nd installment for the Divine Trilogy. I didn't really think it possible but this is even sexier than the 1st book. Erin's limits are tested as is the relationship between her and Jayden. We learn a little more of her past with the despicable Spencer through a flashback/memory. Even though the time frame is considerably shorter than what was covered in the 1st book, I think that both characters actually grow and discover more, not only of each other but themselves as well. We're also introduced to a few new characters and others that are "expanded" on, which in my opinion only heightens both Erin and Jayden's places in the Dom/Sub atmosphere.


Surreal #3
***2015 Nominee for BDSM Writers Con Golden Flogger Award for Best BDSM Novel of the Year***  Catherine O'Chancey is a young submissive who has found her happily ever after, with a man far better than she’d ever dreamed.  Or has she? Is life that easy?  Jayden Masterson first opened his playroom to Catherine—a provocative Irish beauty with a penchant for pain—and then his heart to her everyday persona, Erin. For him, life has never been more perfect . . . Or more confusing.  He's comfortable as a Dominant, but still finding his way as a lover and equal partner. Jayden is also learning that he can't protect his jewel from everything—nor should he. Some battles she must fight on her own.  The travesties of Erin's past still haunt her, and as the couple move forward in their merging relationship, they must now cope with the physical damage left behind by her abuser.  Catherine and her Master have a lot to learn—about each other, and about themselves. If Jayden and his jewel can overcome the challenges they'll face on the next leg of their journey, their ending just might be . . . Surreal.  ***Contains explicit sexual content (including multiple partners and gender pairings) and mature situations which could be trigger-inducing for some readers.***

I'm not going to say too much in my review, as I don't want to risk giving anything away.  Now, I will say that I think this is a perfect way for this series to end, if it must end.  It's like seeing a story come full circle as well as the characters involved.  I think we finally get to see just how far Catherine has really traveled.  Throughout the series, we've seen her blossom but in Surreal, she becomes the Rose Parade.  We are always learning and growing in life and this is a great example of how even Jayden, who is so confident in his role as Dom, can still be taught a few things.  If you're looking for a true story that involves the BDSM lifestyle, than this is the one for you.  In my opinion, 50 Shades doesn't hold a candle to RE Hargrave's Divine Trilogy.


The Food Critic
Serena Peters has made her place in life writing an exclusive column for a popular foodie magazine. She has fame and fortune, what she doesn’t have is companionship or love. Chef Stuart Wellings comes from an embittered past and has had to fight for the simple way he lives. When Serena shows up to interview him and his small town diner, will an appreciation for food be the only thing they have in common, or will there be more?
Unchained Melody
Marshall Chandler is a true American who grew up wanting nothing more than to serve his country to the best of his ability, by becoming a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. On the eve of his first assignment, he meets the woman that will haunt his dreams and change his life.  A single night to connect, but a decade to realize it . . . when one man is torn between the love of his country and what might have been the love of his life, how does he stay sane? How does he cope? And will he ever get a second chance at love?  Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways.

Haunted Raine
Distracted by the everyday routine of raising children, being a wife, and keeping a home, Lorraine Morrissey let life pass her by. Her wake up call comes when she realizes that with their children gone, her husband Richard is rarely home, and she’s filling her solitary days with trivial tasks. A crazy idea to save her marriage leads to a summer beach vacation unlike any she’s ever taken; one that involves unknowingly buying a haunted house.

This has a little bit of everything for everyone, love, history, southern charm, and a ghost.  How the author connects everything together makes for an enjoyable read.  With summer coming, this will make a great little read to add to your list or even take on vacation, when you need a little breather from all the family fun.


Fire Lust
Heather Marsden and Cody Stevens have been an item since their first year of high school. With their future planned and their college graduation within reach, Cody gets devastating news from his doctor. Heather must now cope with the knowledge that she might lose the man who was supposed to be her forever.  While trying to come up with a grand final birthday surprise for him, Heather ends up befriending the new girl in town. Suzanne Cross lives a hippie life full of color and extravagance, seemingly without a care in the world. In truth, she’s all alone and hides a secret.  Heather’s new friend is something more than human, but how far will she be willing to go to save Cody? Just how much faith in “love” can she muster?  ***Contains adult material, including sex and recreational drug use. Meant for readers 18+***

Treasured Moments Collection
Presented by the Crazy Lady Authors, a collection of the good, the bad, and the ugly side of relationships. Hold on to your seats. Some of our tales will have you doubled over in laughter, bring tears to your eyes, and some will make you thankful for the place you call home.
Cooking with the Crazy Lady Authors
The Crazy Lady Authors aren't just cooking up plots in their books, they're also cooking up tasty vittles! Hey, we're 'crazy' about you, so we're 'dishing' our best recipes out in this awesome cookbook. It's the CLA's way of helping you serve up outstanding dinners in between reading any one of our published works. We know how easy it is to get lost in the pages. Before you know it, the hours have flown by and it's time for dinner. The hubby is hollering, the kids are complaining, and even the dog wants treats. We figure it's all our fault so why not help you maintain peace and harmony in your home by providing this amazing book of easy recipes to keep your clan well-fed? We do, however, stop short of coming to your house to cook it all up for you. We're writing our next novels, after all! Don't be greedy. Bon appetit!

***On sale from .99 to $1.49 for the week of the tour***
To Serve is Divine

A Divine Life

Surreal Life

The Food Critic

Unchained Melody

Sugar & Spice

Haunted Raine

Fire Lust

Treasured Moments

Cooking with the Crazy Lady Authors

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Release Day Blitz: Lies Come True by Emerald O'Brien

Title: Lies Come True
Author: Emerald O'Brien
Series: The Avery Hart Trilogy #1
Genre: New Adult Mystery
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Avery Hart narrowly escapes death after being attacked in the woods of Crown River.

Ten years later...

The body of a young woman is found along the path of a park in the same town. The killer is cunning and ruthless, but even the best killers make mistakes.

Fiona Wolfe, the second woman to be attacked, survives and reveals a potential link between the current killer and the attack on Avery Hart.

Noah Cotter, an ambitious new inspector, becomes drawn to the case when his curiosity combines with his attraction to Avery.

The dangerous search for truth appears to be muddied with each shocking secret brought to light, as Avery, Fiona, and Noah realize that when someone is deceived for too long, sometimes...

Lies Come True

"This man is considered armed and dangerous. Please contact the Crown River Police with any information you may..." The segment was ending, and the picture disappeared from the screen, as a phone number crawled along the bottom.

That has to be wrong.

Avery stared at the screen, stunned, as they began to broadcast a different story.

She thought about calling the news station, but they wouldn't have any more information, and she had already seen the sketch.

That was the part that mattered.

The feeling that glued her to the couch turned into something she recognized.

She couldn't be sure what she saw. That's what they told her after all and that's what finally stuck after years of therapy.

Music I listened to before I wrote Lies Come True (The Avery Hart Trilogy, Book One) and while I'm writing The Avery Hart Trilogy, Book Two:
Go- Meg Myers
Scared- The Tragically Hip
Got You Where I Want You (re-recorded)- The Flys
If I Didn't Know Better- Nashville Soundtrack
Breath of Life- Florence and the Machine
Shouldn't Have To- The Mark Inside
Bent- Matchbox 20
Make a Shadow- Meg Myers
Lie- Ryan Levine
Shadows- Lindsey Stirling
and the whole soundtrack to Gone Girl

Author Bio:
Emerald O'Brien is a Canadian writer who grew up just East of Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the program of Television Broadcasting and Communications Media at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. Emerald is the author of new adult mysteries Darkness Follows and it's sequel, Shadows Remain. Her upcoming release, Lies Come True (The Avery Hart Trilogy, Book One), is also a new adult mystery.

When she isn't reading or writing, Emerald can be found with her family and friends.  Emerald loves to cook and entertain, and spends many nights watching movies with her husband and their two beagle pups.


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Release Day Blitz: Unsportsmanklike Conduct by Melody Heck Gatto

Title: Unsporstmanlike Conduct
Author: Melody Heck Gatto
Series: Renegades #2
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Patrick was a infamous playboy known for his love of women and of course, puck bunnies. He never wanted to be a one woman kind of guy...

Since the day he laid eyes on his cousin's sister-in-law he's been in knots. Actually, the first thing he laid eyes on was her ass, and a mighty fine ass it was. The way she paraded herself around, strutting and swaying her rocking body made his mouth water. The things he would give up to have that body against his.

Gia's first impression of Patrick was pure disgust; the way he ogled her was just gross. With blatant staring and drooling he made no attempt to hide his attraction to her. The cocky smile that spread across his face made her want to puke. Sure, sauntering around her sister's yard in a teeny tiny bikini didn't help the situation. The fact that she liked the attention was wrong since she was with Tyler. Patrick was dangerously hot and there was a naughty excitement that filled her, but flirting was as far as it would go.

Until that night.

One night of weakness.

One night of pure lust.

Gia quickly learned it was impossible to make her feelings vanish, seeing Patrick brought all those raw desires back. She was determined to fight them, her relationship with Tyler meant too much. That cocky smile that infuriated her also turned her on. Coming face to face with him, her body took over and she gave in to her primal desires.

When Gia's life takes an unexpected turn, all true colors are revealed.

In the midst of her life falling apart, her true love may have been in front of her the whole time.

     The church bells rang gleefully though the warm summer air. Gia squinted and pushed her hair out of her face. The sun glared in her eyes; its rays poured in through the colorful stained glass windows. It was a warm Sunday in August, the church beautifully decorated with light blue and white flowers. The organist played an upbeat melody while the church choir sang. Soon everyone joined in.
     Gia stood at the church altar. What a beautiful day for a baptism. She didn't know the hymn, so she just smiled. Neither Kat nor Kris sang so she didn't feel bad.
     When she looked back at Tyler, warmth surged through her body. He stood in the pew, so handsome in his suit and tie. She couldn't wait to run into his arms once the ceremony ended. He caught her watching him and smiled a small, shy grin.
     Seriously, my boyfriend is hot in a suit.
     It was a day full of joy and peace, the priest reminded everyone when he spoke. Yes, it should be all about baby Ian but without Tyler beside her she was a ball of nerves.
     She hadn't seen Patrick in a year, hadn't even thought about him and now did her best to avoid his heavy stare. Standing here in front of her friends and family, she felt dirty and wished she could erase that night from her memory. It had been a terrible mistake--insanely poor judgment on her part.
     "What name have you given your child?" the priest asked.
     "Ian James," Kat and Kris said together.
     Gia sighed. Those two really were perfect for each other. She peered at Tyler out of the corner of her eye.
     She had kept her distance from Patrick for the last year. She didn't go to games or team functions. Tyler understood, even though she felt bad leaving him on his own. But she couldn't be around Patrick.
     Gia heard the priest say something about bringing Ian up in the church faith. She drifted off into her own thoughts. I hope he doesn't ask me about church. I can't even think of the last time I went to mass except for a wedding.
     He continued to talk, telling some sort of a personal story. But she could only concentrate on Patrick. A year had done nothing to absolve her attraction.
     She turned her attention to Kat and Kris holding Ian. She wanted that love of a lifetime. She adored her sister's husband, Kris. He was kind and sweet and downright handsome. He had made her feel at home since the day they met. Kat won the lottery with him.
     She missed the family functions. But this last year she just couldn't be there when Patrick attended.
     Family gatherings at Kat's house were tricky to get out of. Luckily her work schedule had solved the problem. But how long could she do this dance?
     Today was the exception; she was here for Ian.
     The priest’s voice brought her attention back to the sermon.
     "Are you ready to help the parents of little Ian in their duty as Christian parents?" he asked Patrick and Gia.
     "We do," they answered.
     He began to ask questions that needed only a nod as an answer, or she grunted a yes when she heard Patrick do so. I’m surely headed to hell for being this uninterested in mass. Is this going to be over soon?
     She stared blankly at the priest as he made the sign of the cross on Ian's head.
     Why did Kat have to make them both the godparents? Not that she wasn't honored to be that adorable little munchkin's godmother, but to be paired with Patrick again? Being stuck as his partner at their wedding last year had been bad enough. Why not Tyler? Or even Matt? Of course, she knew the reason why. Patrick was Kris's cousin. More than a cousin, they were like brothers.
     So here they both stood at the altar as godparents.
     She didn't have to look at him to know his eyes were on her. Her body was hot and her pulse raced. She hated her reaction anytime he was in the vicinity. Gia started to sweat, her body hot and clammy. Please don't let me get pit stains on my favorite dress shirt. Doesn't this place have air conditioning?
     She smoothed her white blouse, diverting her attention to anything but him. She counted the pipes behind the organ, studied the design in the carpet and counted each gray hair on the priest's head. But without looking, she knew he still watched her. Why wouldn't he stop? And why was no one else sweating?
     She tried to not think about the night that got her into this mess. That horrible mistake that almost cost her Tyler.

Score on You (Renegades #1)
Kat Torella didn't believe real love existed outside of her romance novels. She didn't believe in Prince Charming, or happily ever afters. Well, actually, she just didn't believe they would ever happen to her.

Kat was not built for love. She always felt like the fat girl that no one really saw. Being bullied as a child led to a lifetime of self-doubt. She feared that she would always see that little fat girl staring back at her in the mirror. Even as an adult, she's still dealing with it.

Hockey was her escape. She loved the game and she loved the players. One player in particular. He was dreamy. Even swoon-worthy. His dark eyes were mesmerizing. His smile devilishly sexy. His signature flowing locks always looked effortlessly perfect. He was flawless in every way...

Too bad she would never get a guy like him. Well, at least that's what she thought.

Kris Lafleur was the star defenseman for the Pittsburgh Renegades. Hockey was his life. Well, it was easy to be so dedicated to the game when he hadn't had much luck in the romance department. His hockey star status attracted puck bunnies and gold diggers. Neither was the kind of girl you wanted to bring home to mom; actually neither were the kind of girl that Kris even wanted to associate with. Deep down he was a hopeless romantic. He was looking for someone who was as devoted to him as he was to her, and not so interested in his bank account.

Then he saw her... Was it her smile? Was it her laugh? He didn't know what it was, but she already had his heart.

Author Bio:
Melody was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, son and two dogs. The whole family are avid Pittsburgh Penguins fans and like going to hockey games when they get the chance. Melody enjoys taking her son to meet the players on game days. It's no secret that meeting the players is just as exciting for her as it is for her son; especially when it comes to her favorite player!

Melody has loved writing since she was small, in school she never met a creative writing assignment that she didn't love. She is lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who encourages her to write. When she was laid off from her job of 14 years, he was supportive about letting her stay home and take care of their son. During that time she discovered hockey-romances and found a renewed love of reading as well as a passion for writing.

Melody spends her spare time reading hockey romances. At holiday time she really enjoys any romance about Christmas. When it is the hockey off-season, she enjoys swimming and spending her days out in the sun.


Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Score on Me

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