Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Morning's Menu: The Mature Man's Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully

In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Joel has avoided serious relationship commitment all his life but now that his friend has passed away and he's been looking out for the husband left behind, has his thoughts changed on love?  Having harbored feelings for the grieving husband for years will he take the leap now that Perry has decided he's ready to start dating again?

I'm going to jump right in and start by saying I loved that Joel and Perry are older and more mature than the norm in romance tales.  I'll admit that I haven't really reached the point where I want to read that generation on an every day basis but its refreshing when you find one so well written.  Add in the holiday element and Chris Scully has brought a wonderful, loving novella sized journey of friendship, second chances, and new beginnings.  Throw in secret Santas, jealousy, and some self-denial and you are looking at a lovely holiday gift from the author that will warm your heart and leave you smiling.  What more can a reader ask for?


WHEN CHANGE arrives, it may unfortunately come as a shock.

“I THINK I’m ready to start dating again.”

Perry’s bombshell almost made me drop the tray of crispy samosas I was pulling from the oven. I blamed my misstep on the hot baking sheet and pretended I hadn’t heard him. Not a stretch given the music and the laughter that rippled like a warm breeze across Simon’s million-dollar backyard to the outdoor kitchen.

“How would you feel about that, Joel?” Perry probed, raising his voice a little. The mirrored glass of his aviators caught the afternoon sun and blinded me with the reflection.

I blinked. “About what?”

“About me dating again.”

“Looking good, Perry,” someone called from the pool. “Come on in—the water’s warm.” My heart sunk as Perry waved his hand in acknowledgment. He was looking good, and I wasn’t the only one noticing how the turquoise polo shirt set off his thick silver-threaded hair and the camel-colored chinos hugged his ass. He’d regained most of the weight he’d lost while Dale was sick, and since he’d started jogging again, he glowed with good health.

“So,” he said, returning to our conversation.

Head down, I arranged the golden triangles onto the serving platter next to the potato croquetas and dusted them with a pinch of finely chopped coriander. “Why ask me? You don’t need my permission.”

Silence. “Well, because you were Dale’s friend first. It might be weird for you.”

What I wouldn’t have given to strip off my clothes, hop in the crowded spa with a drink in my hand, and avoid this conversation. But it was my first time working one of Simon’s parties in a professional capacity, and I wanted to make a good impression. After a year of struggling, my personal chef business was finally taking off, and Simon’s recommendation would take it even further. I just wished he hadn’t elected to go with the menu of hors d’oeuvres and small plates. It was far more complicated than a sit-down dinner, and I was already tired and stressed.

“Here.” I thrust the plate of appetizers into the hands of a tanned waiter who materialized at my side, barely glancing at the Santa hat and matching red bikini he wore.

“Do you think they’re cold, dressed like that?” Perry murmured in my ear. “Or should I say undressed? It’s barely seventy degrees today.”

“Who? The waitstaff? Judging by the size of that guy’s package, he’s not cold in the least.”

Author Bio:
Unique characters. Heartwarming stories. Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada and grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of her corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her escape in writing. Now she longs for the day she can make writing a full-time career. Her stories feature everyday characters falling in love. She hopes to write across multiple genres, but you can always count on a happy ending.



Release Tour: The Holiday Package by Leigh Lennon

Title: The Holiday Package
Author: Leigh Lennon
Series: Jake Davis Novella #1
Genre: Adult Holiday Romance
Release Date: December 8, 2017
Ten days in the Cayman Islands should put a smile on my face but it becomes the reminder of what I lost. It didn't take long for me to come face to face with the sassiest and hardest of women, who may be able to make me forget all I left behind. In that moment, I realize I want her!

This vacation is about moving on, getting past what I can’t have. The saucy little ginger flaunting her perfect curvy body in her next to nothing bikinis can be the distraction I need to forget it all. Her fire and brimstone attitude is one reason I am in constant arousal. When she proposes a holiday affair, will I be able to say good-bye in the end? Will my heart allow this, even when my mind keeps on saying this is a hell of a risk?

Now, we sit in silence as I continue to feel her observation fall upon me, over and over again, while she doesn’t hide the fact she’s looking at me up and down like I am a mannequin.

Finally, being direct, I say, “Um, is there something I can help you with?”

Taking a sip of my coffee, I’m expecting her to sidestep but no, I should understand her candidness at this point, as she says, “I was just thinking what it would be like to fuck you.” My coffee makes its way out of my mouth. It would get all tens if this were a spitting contest.

“Oh, I shocked you?” she asks, almost timidly but with the little cocky smirk that is both behind her mouth, and moving up to those caramel-amber eyes of hers, she’s not attempting to be shy, not in the least.

“So, tell me,” I begin. “What have you come up with?” I ask.

Pursing her lips together, Sasha finally answers. “Um, let me really imagine this in my mind as I describe it. First, you have a long dick, like super long. It is thick and will fill me up just fine.” Instantaneously, my super long dick she’s describing aches. “Next, I would say you love pussy. However, mine is incredibly delectable.” Fuck, I try not to moan. “Next, I imagine you holding yourself up with one hand while you’re over me, licking my pussy, bringing me to a really good orgasm, all while you jerk yourself off. And by the way, if I had to guess, you’re really good with your tongue.”

I smile because I’ve been told this on many occasions but at the same time, my balls ache. She doesn’t say anything and I realize she’s finished. I respond, “I think that is a possible scenario.”

Standing up, she gives me a throaty little laugh. “Who knows, this may just be a long ten days.” She winks then leaves me aching in pain when she retreats to her bedroom.

Ah, fuck! This woman might be the death of me.

The Last Breath
Loss is not foreign to Julia Barnett. To the outside world she is the epitome of the perfect mom. That is, until the doors of her impeccable life are closed and reality hits her square in the face. Once the leading lady in her own epic love story, she can only look back at what used to be. With an absent husband, an intrusive father, a troubled child, and an ex-fiancé that is still tied to her life, it’s no wonder Julia is grasping for air in her chaotic world.

The bruises that Julia lives with are invisible to those closest to her. She lost so much early in life, more than most could survive. Now, she grapples with resentment towards her husband because of all the empty promises he’s made. In the midst of this turmoil, test results reveal an illness she is not sure she will survive.

For Julia, it is not her life that may be cut short that consumes her, but how her family will endure without her there. As everyone rallies around Julia while she fights like hell to live, she learns that family, along with love, comes in many shapes and sizes. It is her family that gives her the strength to fight the biggest battle of her life; one she doesn’t want to lose.

Leigh Lennon
Author Bio:
Leigh Lennon is mother, veteran and a wife of a cancer survivor. Originally with a degree in education, she started writing as an outlet that has led a deep passion as she wrote twelve books. Now ready to publish all of them, she lugs her computer with her as she crafts her next story. She can be found drinking coffee or wine, depending on the time of the day.


A Holiday Package

The Last Breath

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