Not All Men With Accents Are Swoon-Worthy

Guest Blogger-Amanda Byrne

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

Amanda ByrneWho likes free stuff? Stupid question. You like free stuff. And I sometimes like to give away stuff. SO. I’m having a giveway: $15 Amazon gift card and winner’s choice of either a signed paperback copy of Hidden Scars OR an advance ebook copy of Broken Down, book two in the Hidden Scars series (releasing April 12th). All you have to do is leave a comment about your worst date.

Pre-BF, I considered myself lucky that I hadn’t ever gone on a truly awful date. Even my worst date wasn’t that bad, but you could file it under “Don’t Get Sucked In By The Sexy Accent: or, Not All Scots Are Swoon-worthy.”*

*Name has been changed to protect the guilty

It was Christmas Eve, and I was working a full-day shift at Watch Station. We sold watches. Very exciting, yeah? The store did not do well at the best of times, and to make it worse, it was hidden away in a corner on the top floor of the mall. I was prepared to bored out of my skull.

Then in walked Michael.

I’m not going to lie. He was hot. Black hair, bright blue eyes, fantastic smile that made you want smile back. And then he opened his mouth to say hello, and out rolls this Scottish accent.

I blame the accent. For everything.

Over the next hour or so, we talked about everything and nothing. You know those amazing conversations you have where it just flows and then you’re like, wait, what? How long have we been talking? Michael was friendly and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. Plus, he played soccer (gimme a soccer player over a hockey or football player any day), was the proud owner of an actual kilt, and then, of course, there was the accent.

So it was easy to overlook the first red flag.

Beings as it was Christmas Eve, I had plans with my family to attend one of the Christmas Eve services at our church. Michael casually asked what I was doing that evening, and I told him. Then he asked if he could tag along and join us for dinner.

I almost said sure, why not? In addition to being away from his homeland during the holidays, he was unable to see his family, either – he was stationed at the naval base north of Seattle. But something about his question made me say no. The question came off a little pushy, and I didn’t really want to share my family time with a guy I’d met only hours before. Michael took in stride and when he asked for my number, I gave it to him.

Fast forward a few days later, and Michael calls while I’m shopping for a birthday present for my sister. I don’t remember much of the conversation other than agreeing to meet him for drinks the Saturday after New Year’s.

Oh, and the bus running back to the base stopped fairly early in the evening, would it be all right if he slept on my couch?

Distracted, I agreed, and then realized what I’d agreed to right after we hung up. The guy had done it again. I’d gotten sucked in by the damn accent and said why of course I’ll let a strange guy sleep on my couch without consulting my roommates first. I tried to call him back, but all I got was this weird dial tone – he’d used a calling card to call from a payphone. Yeah, they actually had those still.

The evening of our date arrived, and I met up with him at Watch Station, getting a discreet thumbs up from my friend and manager, followed by a mouthed “He’s hot.” I was nervous, but not in that tingly, butterflies-in-the-stomach way. I was worried about what Michael would say when I told him he was out of luck as far as a place to crash for the night was concerned.

It went badly.

He was mad. Really mad.

After some stilted conversation and some angry silence, he announced he was going to Barnes and Noble and if I wanted to come with him, I could. I don’t know why I agreed to go with him. He made an attempt to turn the evening around, picking out ridiculous books and trying to get me to laugh, but eventually he wandered away. Once he was out of sight, I ran.

Yeah, I literally ran to the bus stop and caught the bus home. Not the worst bad date in the history of bad dates, but definitely the worst one I’ve ever been on. Five years later, I met the most awesome nerdboy (aka The BF) and haven’t gone on a bad date since.


When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on.

If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.

Catch up with her online at


Hannah tells Alex about the Perfect Man:

“Well,” I said, drawing the word out, “he’d be tall. Handsome. He’d have superb dragon slaying skills, and his horse would be a Pegasus. It’d be nice if the horse pooped rainbows, but it’s not a requirement.” He snorted. “He’d cook and shoo me out of the kitchen if I tried to help. He’d—” Alex’s hand had wandered down to palm my ass, stroking it possessively. Breathe. I needed to breathe. “He’d know my favorite color and my favorite movie without having to ask, and he’d let me control the remote.” I traced hearts over his chest. You. You’re perfect. You’re perfect and you scare the crap out of me but I don’t want to let you go. Not yet.

He slid his hand so it was under my thigh, and shifted my leg up. “I stand corrected. The perfect man is a myth. You’ll just have to settle for mere humans.” I laughed, and he rolled us so fast the laugh ended on a gasp. “And we’ll have to find out the answers by asking the questions.”


The Perfect Man option 1jpgThe Perfect Man (available January 26th!)

A Valentine’s Day speed-dating event ends with Hannah locked in a closet with a gorgeous stranger. Over the course of the evening, Hannah grows more and more convinced that Alex is the perfect man. But will that impression hold up in the harsh light of day?



So…remember the giveaway? $15 Amazon gift card and winner’s choice of a signed paperback of Hidden Scars OR an advance ebook copy of Broken Down, hitting virtual shelves April 12th. Hit the comments with your bad date stories!

Posted in Guest Blogger | 8 Comments

Win a $100 gift card, a Versace handbag, Sephora Survival Kits, books, swag, and more!

Hi all!  It’s PARTY TIME!  Or rather, it will be party time soon.  :)

We’re having a Facebook party to celebrate the release of Mercury Striking on Wednesday, January 27th from 3:00 PST to 9:00 PST.  We’ll have tons of prizes and wonderful guest authors.  If you click on over right now and mark ‘going,’ then you’ll be instantly entered into a drawing to win one of the first three Sephora survival kits!  Then, if you are able to attend, you’ll be able to enter all of the other drawings as well.  :)  Feel free to invite anybody you want from your FB page as well.  Click on the FB header below to go to the site!


Here are a couple of the survival kits:

emergency kitSurvival kit 1

Posted in Scorpius Syndrome | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Power of Dates

Guest Blogger-Ayesha Patel

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!


AYESHA PATEL AUTHOR PHOTOThank you so much for of having me today, Rebecca! I wanted to share a little something about a weekend date my husband and I had. We share a million funny moments, but we’re not date people. We always just go out and do what we want, but I guess those could be considered dates. However, when we make weekend getaways, we dub them “dates”. But no pressure!

For the longest time, and I have no idea why, I’ve wanted to attend high tea. (As it turns out, there’s a big difference between high tea and afternoon tea, and the latter was actually the image in my head.) After much persuasion, he agreed. I found this quaint little tea place in Victoria Canada called The White Heather Tea Room. You guys have to go there! You won’t be disappointed. It’s much smaller and cheaper than the big touristy tea room at a nearby famous hotel, and this is where the locals go. If we’ve learned anything about being tourists, it’s eat where all the locals eat, and everything here is delicious!

Hubs had to offset all this daintiness by going to an Irish pub the night before and get manly. But let me tell you about this favorite place of his. Yes, it has a great atmosphere, not too rowdy, great live Celtic music after 8, delicious food, lovely architecture…and bartenders. In. KILTS. No joke. The girls were short kilts, too, yeah, yeah…whatever…but handsome men IN KILTS. Plus I love plaid. And the hero of my last book is Irish. Yes, please.

I’m not the sort of girl who ogles other men or has eyes for anyone other than my sweetie, but hubs is the biggest joker. So guess what he does? Tries to get me to drop my fork when the bartender brings drinks to the table. He has the camera. He’s ready to film. And I’m mortified. He’s laughing so hard because I just don’t think to do things like that, much less actually do them! I didn’t drop my fork. Sorry, ladies. I didn’t have the guts to play along.

The next day, we skip breakfast and head to afternoon tea. The biggest three-tiered silver platter sits in between us. One layer full of delicious scones, the next little sandwiches and mini-quiches, and the top filled with an assortment of itty bitty desserts. We have lemon curd and clotted cream and raspberry jam. We have an assortment of house teas and honey and sugar and cream. You think that between a girl who can eat and a man who eats three times as much as she does, that we would devour it, right? We never finished. Desserts are to take home. But let’s not forget the big picture. We have photo proof of a six-foot tall, athletic, jack-of-all-trades, meat-loving, beer-chugging, nobody-better-mess-with-my-woman man with a cloth napkin on his lap, a hand on lace tablecloth beside a tiny spoon, and drinking tea out of a delicate teacup with pinky up. Yep.

The man loved it. And he’s man enough to admit it. Not even that, he tells everyone about it and why they should try afternoon tea. A few days later, I heard him leave the house and went outside to see what he was doing because he’d been outside for so long. I kid you not, I walk outside and see hubs chatting with a Hell’s Angel still on his motorcycle, telling him why afternoon tea should be on the top of his list of things to try. Here is a tattooed, burly man rubbing some intimidating facial hair in contemplation of how to get his girlfriend to try this, because as he said, his old lady is a beer chick and wasn’t going to go for some frilly tea. I can believe that my husband is talking to just anyone like they’re best friends. He’s just that outgoing. But I couldn’t believe he’d just convinced this random bad you know what with an equally bad you know what girlfriend to get excited about afternoon tea.

The power of dates. It changes lives.

Twitter: ByAyeshaPatel


Ayesha was born in colorful Gujarat India, raised in Texas, and now wanders nearby Hawaiian beaches for the next breathtaking picture. With a love for literary things, diversity, culture, and food, she intends on stepping foot in as many corners of the world as time allows. Her head is always in the clouds but she occasionally comes back down to pen her next piece of multicultural fiction.


Priya_in_Heels_500Priya in Heels

Priya Patel strives to be the perfect daughter for her traditional Indian parents. With her medical residency underway, she faces the inevitable pressures to marry an Indian man of her parents’ choosing. She’s perfectly content to do so until the Irish-American musician down the hall gets her attention and destroys everything she has worked so hard to build.

Tyler O’Conner can’t stop thinking about the beautiful doctor who treated his sprained ankle in the ER. But between weekend band gigs, an intense workload at NASA, and trying to lower Priya’s barriers, he doesn’t expect to fall in love…with a woman who is meant to marry another man.

Priya struggles to maintain her relationship with her parents, to be their source of happiness, but falling for an American might be the one thing that unravels their world and leaves her in tattered pieces.

Posted in Guest Blogger | 1 Comment

Want to Know My Secret?

Guest Blogger-Riley Murphy

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

I’m doing a giveaway for a 25.00 Amazon gift card (to be emailed to the winner) and…

An eBook copy of each book from my completed “Make Me” series.

book coverbook cover a

And my newest release: PERSUADED

book cover-latest release

All you have to do to be entered is answer the three questions I ask within this post in comments. *Side-eyes you* Don’t despair. It’s going to be super easy. Three little questions that require either a “yes” or “no” response. That’s it.

Now, before I get to the dirt, a.k.a the dating portion of my post, I’m sharing one of my biggest secrets right here. I hope you’re ready.

As an author, I tend to look at life as one big unfolding tale. So my ideas about romance and dating are as follows.

I’d liken a courtship to a prologue and a marriage as the culminating story that follows. Think about it. A prologue is meant to tease. It’s filled with all kinds of things that are designed to capture the reader from the very start of the first meeting. In essence, a seduction.

Now the story that follows is trickier because it’s filled with one inescapable truth. None of us are immune to the consequences of the vagaries in life. We all have to move through them in order to survive.

The author in me tries to touch upon some of these everyday trials and tribulations between the lines of my stories. I strive to let my characters ride out their emotional journeys with as much common sense, dignity, and humor, as possible without becoming caricatures. The truth is I prefer my hero and heroines to laugh in the face of the small, but difficult adversities they meet on a day-to-day basis, rather than cry over them. Well…sometimes they cry and when they do, I want it to be a big deal to the reader. Huge. That’s why I consider myself a literary sadist. 😉

*Points right at you* There you go. Now you know my secret. So this won’t come as a great surprise to you when I share what I like to call my dating extravaganza. But before I get to that, I’d like to ask you my first question. Brace yourselves.

Is the earth round?

*Deadpans* Hey, I told you these yes or no answers you’ll need to put in comments to qualify for the giveaway were going to be easy. I got your back.

Alrighty. On to my dating extravaganza that amounted to one month during the summer when I was eighteen. Yep, you read that right. Honey and I met when I was thirteen (he was seventeen, and had a really great car). Great hair too. *Fans self*

Anyways, we dated on and off, mostly on, except for that summer before I left for college. That’s when we both decided to try and see other people. We figured that it would be the grown up thing to do before we made a real commitment to each other. Now that I look back on that time, I see he was giving me space from him, before distance literally would. It might have been a smart move on his part, but it was very painful. I can tell you that.

So don’t judge me when I give you a few of the highlights of what I have dubbed “The Summer of Riley’s Massive Discontent”.

The time is 1980. Think big hair, Blondie singing Call Me, and queen belting out Crazy Little Thing Called Love, on the radio.

Now imagine an eighteen-year-old with a broken heart and a major attitude because of it.


My poor Mom. That’s all I’m saying. Dad would have gone to bed most nights during the extravaganza, but my mom would stay up and wait for me to come home after each date. She’d go through the same ritual with me each time.

Here’s a sample of her greeting me after the first date.

“I’m glad you’re home. Now we can lock up. He seemed nice.”

“Nope. He had a chip in his front tooth.”

*Leans in to whisper to you* The “chip” by the way, had been no more than a hairline crack that could only be seen by my imagination and the poor guy’s dental hygienist during an x-ray. But hey, without it he would have been perfect for me, so San Andreas Fault was definitely riding his pearly whites. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Second date.

“He was nice.”


“Come on, Riley. He brought you flowers.”

“Yes, but he also ordered a giraffe of wine with dinner. I could barely eat. He was so off my list I was making getaway plans faster than dinner was served.”

Third date.

“I suppose there was something wrong with this young man…?”

*Turns and then lifts a brow in your direction to ask you my second question of the post* Wow, does that sound like a snippy tone to you?

“As a matter of fact, yes.”

“And what would that be? He looked fine to me.”

“His nose whistled when he breathed.”

I still remember my mom’s scowl. It wasn’t one of those ones that said, “Are you serious?” It was the one that said, “We’ve got a section eight in the making here.” But I’ll give her credit. She didn’t say a word. She just let me lock up before we both went to bed.

That’s when I went into my Goldilocks mode over the next few dates. Mom didn’t even have to ask when I got home. I’d walk into the house and burst out before the door was even closed behind me.

“He was too short.” Or…

“Too tall.”

“Too rich.” *Stares at that complaint for a second and shakes head* Huh. Maybe I was crazy.

“Smells like dirty laundry.” *Tilts head over that one and decides* True story. That complaint was for real. The guy did smell like clothes left in the washer for days. *Insert a Homer Simpson shudder here* I hate that smell. Man, oh man. That night turned out to be the longest date of my life. And what’s more. I despise a perfectly good classic movie because of it.

“Swears too much.”

“He was too nice.”

“Is not nice enough.”

“Doesn’t like cats.”

“Likes cats too much.”

“Doesn’t like dogs.”

“Likes dogs too much.”

“The guy’s ambivalent about animals. He’s dead to me.”

And then there was the excuse I pulled on the last date that curtailed my dating extravaganza altogether…

“He had a chipped tooth.”

There you have it. By the time things came full circle my mom sat me down and this is what she said, “Snap out of it! You know who’s perfect for you, and if I’m ever going to get a good night’s sleep again you better agree to marry him.”

*Stares right at you* So…of course I didn’t. Not right away, anyways, because while I was dating the plethora of guys who were NOT IN HIS FRIEND CIRCLE and who didn’t measure up to him in my eyes, he was seeing someone I shall never, ever, name, because I smote my ex-friend’s moniker from ever crossing my lips while I live and breathe on this planet!

*Lifts chin up a notch and clears throat* I know this should go without saying, but I shall say it anyways. If “Oh nameless one” miraculously makes it into heaven and we run into one another there, I’m going to do my best to scrounge up a book of matches and char her flowing white robes until she’s hopping from cloud to cloud to put out the flames. This is an oath, people, and I fervently pray The Man upstairs is willing to turn a blind eye for the duration.

Man, I was so upset back then when I learned about their date. What do they say? A jealous woman does better research than the FBI? So true. Unbelievable, I’m mad all over again even now, all these years later.

Actually, mad is kind of an understatement. So while I stew over that, let me ask you the third and final question so you can be entered into the drawing. I want you to think hard about this and tell me the truth. Is blue your favorite color?

“Innocently blinks before I beam at you* What? No need to look at me like that. I told you this was going to be easy. 😉

Good luck!

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering. Honey and I have been married for thirty years, and trust me on this. He’s been taken to task over going on that date so many times. One might say he rues it. Very, very, much.

Any of you guys have a memorable date? Something that can top a guy ordering a giraffe of wine or…did I mention the salad bowl guy? Crap, I forgot about him. Maybe I’ll tell you about that disaster in comments.

Thanks for stopping by!




Riley Murphy writes sexy, humorous, and emotional romance, happy ending guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is awesome, people are complicated, but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently calls Florida home with her gorgeous husband. She has two phenomenal kids and one very bossy pooch. When Riley’s not working she enjoys reading, oil painting, and getting to the Sunday crossword before anyone else does, so she can fill in all the easy answers first and pull the smart card with the family.

If Riley wasn’t a writer she’d be an international spy with top-level security so she could have a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real. Failing that, she’d likely go with chicken sexer. Riley loves her characters and she hopes you do too.
For more information about all of Riley’s books and upcoming releases you can visit her at: or find her on Twitter @Riley__Murphy or Facebook



Favorite reader quote in Persuaded:

This is Greyson Maddox speaking to his heroine.

“The world is a better place when I feel the warmth of your breath against my skin.”

A Favorite reader passage. This is Greyson explaining to his girl:

“I want a woman who wants me as opposed to needs me.” He straightened his shoulders and the light in his eyes became more intense. “She’s strong enough to conquer her world, life, and problems without me, but she’s soft enough to know that with me by her side everything will be far better for both of us.”

Reviewers say:

Amazing! This is BASIC INSTINCT meets ROMANCING THE STONE! Fun, hot, sexy and suspenseful!

Clever, fun, and hot! 5 STARS! Rereading this one!

Fantastic! Persuaded grabs you from page one & doesn’t let go.




To enter, either answer the questions, or talk to Riley in comments. Your name will be thrown into a big hat that Charly is going to draw from. Here’s what the winner will receive. Riley’s completed “Make Me” series in the eBook version of their choice (mobi or kindle) and a 25.00 Amazon gift card emailed to them.

To check out some of Riley’s other books visit her author page on Amazon:

other books

Posted in Guest Blogger | 99 Comments

Be Selfish With Your Love

Guest Blogger-Rebecca Brooks

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

Rebecca Brooks headshot copyIn April 2015, my brother passed away after a long and heartbreaking struggle with depression. I know, this is a huge downer, but bear with me. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships in the eight painful months that have passed, and I think I’ve stumbled on a little wisdom: be selfish with your love.

Once, on a first date in college, the person who’d asked me out started talking about family while we were heading to a café. I don’t remember what I said, but my brother was in the middle of a particularly difficult period and I was trying to lighten the mood—not fair, probably, but I’m not getting that intense on date number one. Well, whatever I said was clearly the wrong thing because my date started crying in my car.

We didn’t hang out much after that. Because if you’re going to be in my life, romantically or otherwise, you need to be able to support me. And that’s the biggest piece of unsolicited advice I want to shout from the rooftops. Be with the person you want to be around in the worst possible moments of your life. Not just the person who sweeps you off your feet, but the one who’ll take off from work at a moment’s notice, and give you cookie wrappers that say “The Power is Within” to make you smile, and make lunch for your mom and sit with your grandma and listen while she tells the same stories over and over again.

If there’s one thing I’ve been constantly reminded of during this, the worst period of my life, it’s how generous, loving, and amazing my family is. And how deeply my husband cares for me in all the small ways that matter. (And how much writing and reading about Happily Ever Afters is the best job I could ever imagine.)

I try to stay from people who need comforting when it’s their turn to comfort me—like the person I once dated who got upset when I had to cancel plans to go to a funeral. So I say be with someone you can be selfish with when it’s your turn. And someone you’ll be just as giving to when the time comes—the person you’ll go above and beyond for when they are in need. Without resentment, without keeping score, but because that’s what we do for the people we love.


Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx. Her books are about independent women who leave their old lives behind in order to try something new—and find the passion, excitement, and purpose they didn’t even know they’d been missing.

Find Rebecca on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Check out her books and sign up for her newsletter at


Brooks_HtF teaser2


HowToFall_500How to Fall

One week of adventure might just lead to love…

Julia Evans has always put others ahead of herself—her high school math students, her troubled best friend, and her ex. But with New Year’s approaching, she buys a round trip ticket to Brazil. For one week, she can put her needs first. She can meet a stranger in the hotel pool at midnight and dance all night on the beach.

Screenwriter Blake Williams has to keep moving before Oz’s latest scandal catches up to him. But the dark-haired beauty with a backpack and an adventurous streak is messing with his plans. He can’t seem to walk away from her. But secrets have a way of coming out, and when the week is up, Julia and Blake will have to decide if they’re jumping into the biggest adventure of all or playing it safe.


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