Second Chance in Laguna

Second Chance in Laguna

by Claire Marti

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Genre

Contemporary Romance

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Blurb

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

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Excerpt

He poured the wine and offered the glass to her. When his fingers brushed hers, flames shot straight to her belly. Her heartbeat accelerated as she imagined those hands running down her body. Focus, girl, focus.

Flings were in her future, just not yet. She resolved to keep her mind above the table. One problem. Her body wasn’t quite cooperating with her mind.

“So, what brought you to Laguna from San Diego?”

“It’s a long story, I don’t want to bore you with the details.” Sophie stiffened, refusing to allow memories of Doug to ruin her appetite.

“You couldn’t bore me.” He reached across the table and squeezed her hand.

She jolted as once again her nipples pebbled.  She yanked her hand back into her lap. What was going on?

“I was going to take a sabbatical, oh hell. I realized I never wanted to go back, so I guess I quit my job at Healthy Woman. I was an editor.” She guzzled down half her glass of wine.

“I’ve seen that magazine. What happened?” Nick leaned closer, heat darkening his eyes.

“The job was fine…” She polished off the rest of her wine. At this rate, I’ll be sloshed by the time our entrees arrive. Slow down Sophie.

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Author Bio and Links

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SecondChanceinLagunaClaire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. Her debut releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

Website ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter ♦ Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon ♦ The Wild Rose Press, Inc. ♦ Barnes and Noble ♦ Kobo ♦ iBooks

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Giveaway

Claire Marti will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

RAFFLECOPTER

 

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Review

KTFourStars

Second Chance in Laguna is a fun, light, sexy romance by Claire Marti. It isn’t a book that deals with second chances alone, but also with betrayal, insecurities, sabotage and trust.

“Is it better to regret the things you’ve done instead of those you haven’t?”

Sophie, the main character, is a woman who has decided to reinvent herself, to start fresh, right after her fiancé breaks up with her. Regardless of what her friends and family expect from her, she decides to move to another city and start a career that he loves, writing. Not giving a second thought and fully decided to place love and relationships in the back burner as she reaches her main goal: write her first novel.

Because she planned on chaining herself to her computer for the foreseeable future, she crammed the cart with colorful produce, basic supplies, and enough chocolate to repair any crisis.

However, life has other plans for her.

Right now, Nick signaled danger. Too kind. Too handsome. Too everything.

She ends up having a very hot and handsome landlord, Nick. He is the definition of sexappeal, he’s not only physically attractive, but fun. His sense of humor makes you fall in love with him immediately. On his part, Nick has gained a player reputation, even if he’s unaware. He also has ambitious goals in his architectural career that have him concentrated in work and nothing much.

His sole focus for the last fifteen years, besides taking care of his baby sister, was to become one of the top architects in the country, just like his father.

The attraction between them is palpable since the beginning of the story. The dynamic between them has the reader wanting them to understand that they’re meant for each other even if both of them resist to let their relationship to become serious and exclusive. These characters are complex and insecure, but most of all they’re likable, especially the little furry pets that make the story more entertaining and realistic.

“You’d be better off not getting involved with me.” Bullshit. We’re already involved.

Second Chance in Laguna is the kind of book that light, enjoyable and easy to read. It’s romantic and funny, the perfect summer read!

 

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Before you go…

Scoll down to read the post that Claire wrote for my blog exclusively!

Don’t forget to participate in the giveaway and get your copy of Second Chance in Laguna.

Buy Links

Amazon ♦ The Wild Rose Press, Inc. ♦ Barnes and Noble ♦ Kobo ♦ iBooks

Giveaway

Claire Marti will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

RAFFLECOPTER

 

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Guest Post by Claire Marti

I’m very excited to have you meet Claire Marti, author of Second Chance in Laguna. When I learned about her story I knew she was someone I wanted you to meet. She had a story to tell, as we all do, but in her case she refused to let herself down to a terrible desease and achieve wellness through the storm.

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surviving how to

Surviving the Unthinkable

How to achieve wellness through the storm

 

Seven years ago, I received a dramatic reminder that now is the time to live life to its fullest. Not tomorrow. Today. All we really have is the present moment. Here’s my story.

In January 2010, I was living my dream. I had exited corporate America the year prior and was happily balancing teaching yoga full-time with a blossoming writing career. I was in a relationship with the man of my dreams, living close to the ocean. To put it simply, I was happy. Out of the blue, I found a lump in my breast. I was shocked and devastated, especially because I had a clear mammogram three months earlier. I was healthy, fit and felt invincible

Over the course of that year, I endured three surgeries, six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, and almost two months of daily radiation. I balanced out this assault on my body with a primarily plant-based diet filled with anti-oxidants, daily exercise, acupuncture, and most importantly, yoga. My doctors often commented that I was their “Superwoman Patient” because I never got really nauseous through chemo and seemed to maintain a comparatively high level of energy during treatment.

Don’t get me wrong: many days I was exhausted and despondent. Despite the fluctuations in my energy levels, I continued to teach most of my yoga classes and got certified to teach Yoga for Cancer Recovery while undergoing chemotherapy myself.

cancer attacks your bodyCancer attacks your body, but it also attacks your mind and heart as well. Feeling physically sick often isn’t the biggest challenge of a serious illness. Mental perspective and emotional balance are vital to navigating through the tough challenges. Were my values and emotions aligned with my daily life?

Before cancer, I had learned at a young age to live in the here and now. I know first-hand that your loved ones can be snatched from you too soon. I’ve lost three brothers and my older sister is also a breast cancer survivor. I understand loss. I understand grief. So, I have never hesitated to take risks, to make changes, to shift gears, careers, you name it. I’ve always wanted to squeeze all that I could out of every day. It is easy to lose sight of that in our busy lives. Cancer can be a wake-up call.

 

You’d think I wouldn’t need a reminder, especially not one in the form of cancer. After all, in sixth grade I’d won a contest for writing the best essay entitled “The Time is Now.” Seriously. The dubious reward for this honor was reading the essay over the morning announcements to the entire school. Let’s just say I was embarrassed for the rest of the day.  

yoga kept me sane

So, how did I choose wellness through that terrible year? After a great deal of crying, screaming, anger, and self-pity, I decided that I would do my best to live in the present through my cancer journey. Teaching and practicing yoga kept me sane. Being able to lose myself in the joy of stepping onto the mat or guiding my students through practice was a blessed escape from my own story, which at times was very dark. Yoga is about becoming present. Yoga is about living in the now and experiencing ease and the discomfort of each day.

Practicing yoga and/or exercising empowers you. It helps to handle side-effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Taking some time to boost energy, improve mood, and learn relaxation techniques helps combat fatigue, stress, and pain.

Blogging my experience was another way I coped. Sharing my experiences: the good, the bad, and the ugly helped me and many people told me it helped them and their loved ones as well. I was real. I was raw. I was actually quite entertaining, but I definitely didn’t sugarcoat anything. It was quite a rollercoaster ride. I compiled those blogs into a memoir, Come Ride with Me Along the Big C, in the hopes that I would help and inspire others.

Treatment stinks. Being forced into inactivity and weakness drove me crazy. I hated feeling stagnant. One day, I was happy Claire, thrilled with yoga and love and friends and the sun setting over the ocean and the next, a bitter bald lady curled in a ball, hiding under the covers for hours or even days at a time feeling like the only person on earth.

To counteract the myriad of emotions, I scheduled positive experiences to balance out the dark ones. For the last three rounds of chemo, my husband and I went on some great trips. I didn’t want to postpone vacations until I was done; I wanted to live in the moment, despite the baldness and weakness.

accept love and supportWhat was the biggest gift of cancer? It varies for most people, but usually there are silver linings in the difficult times. For me? I learned an incredible lesson: I learned how to accept love and support.

I’ve always been independent, always taken care of myself, and always prided myself on keeping it together. I prided myself on my strength. Well, I got to the point where I couldn’t keep it together, where I couldn’t take care of myself, and something profound happened.

When I relinquished the tight leash of control, a huge groundswell of support, love, and

 

generosity enveloped me. Not just my wonderful husband, not just my family and close circle of friends. No–acquaintances, strangers, blog followers, you name it. Letting go of control allowed me the biggest gift: learning to truly receive.

So, was 2010 the toughest year of my life? Absolutely. Was it also a year of incredible growth and gifts? Definitely.

Most of all, traversing through cancer was a reminder that the time is now to live your life to the fullest.

 

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I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you, please leave a comment before you go. Here are her social media pages, make sure to visit her there too.

Website ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter ♦ Goodreads

 

Spooning Daisy

Spooning Daisy

by Maggie McConnell

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Genre

Contemporary romance (romantic comedy)

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Blurb

 

Her mango chutney is exquisite; her blueberry sauce to die for. But Chef de Cuisine Daisy Moon is a woman without a kitchen after a “bit of trouble” at her last job. Now blacklisted from Seattle to San Francisco, Daisy’s sole job offer is from Wild Man Lodge in Otter Bite, Alaska, where the end of the road is just her beginning.

 

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Excerpt

Max cocked his head at her. No siree, Bob. Daisy Moon was not easy. She was like a 1500 piece puzzle, where all the pieces are really tiny, and similar in shape and color, but are nonetheless different, and it would take weeks, maybe even months, just to get the edges put together.

“Don’t look so surprised,” she said. “I know I’m not exactly laid back. Okay, maybe that’s being kind,” she responded to Max’s smile. “But I’m an incredible cook. And a really good speller. Not to mention having a humongous vocabulary. I came in fourth in the national spelling bee championship when I was fourteen.”

Without meaning to, Max pictured Daisy at fourteen, in a prim white blouse and a demure plaid skirt with her hair tied back in a ribbon, triumphantly spelling words like…concupiscence.

“Do I know what men want, or what?” Now Daisy smiled…at herself.

Taking the cue, Max leaned into her and spoke sincerely, but resisted the urge to cup her hand.

“Somewhere there is a man who wants a pretty redhead who’s difficult and a great cook with a really humongous vocabulary who can spell…and next time it won’t be a cross-dressing felon.”

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Author Bio and Links

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SpooningDaisyGolden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell spent her childhood overseas as the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she earned a BA in Art and an MBA while working at the local humane shelter. At 26, she packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Maggie provides a sanctuary on her Arizona ranch for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena, and an ever-growing dynasty of chipmunks. Every year, like the Gray Whale, Maggie returns to Alaska.

WEBSITE FACEBOOK 

BUY SPOONING DAISY

AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE ⟡ KOBO

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Giveaway

 

Maggie McConnell will be offering 1) Nordstrom “Daisy” vegan leather clutch, 2) Nordstrom turtle pin, or 3) Rebecca Minkoff star pendant/necklace to 3 randomly drawn winners (US only; international winners will receive a $25 Amazon/BN GC).

 

ENTER HERE

 

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My Interview with Maggie McConnell

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Hello, everyone!!

I’m very excited to have Maggie McConnel visiting today. She was kind enough to let me interview her, and I’m thrilled to publish my very first author interview ever. 

Maggie is not only a great author, but an amazing human being with the biggest heart. She has travelled and lived all around the world. I personally love that she’s funny and witty, specially really down to earth… not only do we share love for animals but we both like sitcoms. There’s so much to learn from an author, it is always exciting to find similar tastes and activities. 

So, please, take a moment to read the interview and leave a comment. Be bold and brave and ask your own question. I’d love to hear what you have to say 😉

Hello, Maggie! Before I start asking you about everything there is to know about Spooning Daisy, I would love it if you share with us something unique that distinguishes you as an author.

Nothing like starting with a tough question! I think everyone is unique (in his/her perspective) and, at the same time, no one’s unique (we have many shared experiences). If I’m unique, it’s because of my combination of experiences, from my childhood spent overseas in countries like Vietnam and Ecuador, my extensive world travel, my life in Alaska, and now in Arizona, and all that goes with that. I’m not the only one who’s lived in Alaska and can fly a plane. I’m not alone in my love for animals, or even my ability to relocate rattlesnakes. There are others who have Art degrees and still others who have MBAs, and certainly, I’m not the only one who’s had to pick herself up after a divorce late in life. But it’s the combination of those experiences that color my writing (and plotting) and create a different (if not unique) reading experience. And I’m NOT mushy, so neither are my characters. No confessions of undying love or sentimentality. That might make me unique in the romance genre!

I really enjoyed your book and so did many other readers, but, what do you think about you book? What would be your review of Spooning Daisy (or could you describe it in five words)?

I’m humbled by the great reviews. I’m also humbled by the occasional bad review! Fortunately, more good than bad. I’m probably harder on Spooning Daisy than most readers—it’s not The Mists of Avalon—but it’s a happy book, and won’t give anyone nightmares; it’s something I would read in bed before turning out the light.  The writing is smart, dialogue witty, and plot unpredictable. The cast of characters, including Otter Bite, is quirky. 

The main character in your book, Daisy, was forced to rewrite almost her entire life. Would you share with us a moment in your own life that you’ve had to, or chose to, rewrite your own script?

I’ve started over a few times, by choice and not. When I was 26, I moved from Illinois to Alaska, by choice, but I did it without a job or a support group waiting for me. I sold my 280Z, bought a Ford truck, packed my clothes, art, dog and cat and drove the Alcan. (I’ll put some photos of that time on my author Facebook page.) More change when I moved from Alaska to Arizona, not really by choice, because my hubby wanted a ranch, and once again, I had to adjust to a different life. And then, 7 years later, after 24 years of marriage, we divorced, not my choice, and I felt really isolated and alone, and at age 55, I began a new life. So I understand what Daisy is going through, and I relate to her (sometimes) tough shell.

Even if Max is all kinds of man candy, he isn’t exactly the most lovable character at first read. He takes his time growing on and conquering Daisy’s heart. In your opinion, what’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Dialogue. Fortunately, I have a critique partner who catches dialogue that isn’t “manly” enough! But my career in business, where most of my colleagues were men, and having several very good male friends, plus two stepsons, two sons-in-law, and seven grandsons, gives me an advantage in “knowing” men. And I married later in life, so I had ten years of adult dating to get to know a variety of men. I feel confident in writing a believable character, even if he’s not instantly loveable. (Not every man is.)

Your characters go through a series of events that are challenging, even if they can come out as hilarious and entertaining. Worrying about these isn’t easy. What was Daisy’s hardest scene to write? Where did you get the inspiration to write it?

The hardest scene was probably when Daisy and Max were in the woods at night along with the bear and Daisy kept hearing “Yogigo” thinking it was Japanese, and the ensuing action. It can be hard to get comedy right, keeping it believable, without turning my characters into caricatures. My inspiration comes from watching sitcoms like Modern Family and Big Bang Theory and Life in Pieces (naming a few of my favorites). I gravitate toward the crazy and absurd and can often find it in my own life, then use it for my books.

Editing a book isn’t always fun.  Some scenes are difficult to let go of. What did you edit out of Spooning Daisy? Are you willing to share with us one of those rough draft scenes that didn’t make the cut?

I’d share one if I could, but Daisy didn’t require much editing. Ask me this question about Embracing Felicity—book 2 in the Otter Bite series. I got halfway through, started whacking, and took it in a different direction.

I believe that good writers love reading, but that doesn’t mean that authors necessarily follow avid readers’ trends. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I love Illusions by Richard Bach. I have it in a drawer of my nightstand, and periodically read it again. I’m also a fan of Dorothy Cannell who writes fun and funny mysteries. (Is there such a thing as mys-com?) A favorite book is How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams.

Are there any “Easter Eggs” in your books? Did you hide any secrets in Spooning Daisy that only a few people will find?

I’m not sure if this is an egg, but I do use a phrase in each book, which since I have only one published, no one would notice yet. But if you read book 2 (or any future book) you will find “like a red neon vacancy sign on a midnight highway.”

Authors are constantly under the microscope. People have great expectations about them and nothing less than perfect is always expected. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

During my freshman year at college, I had to write about “anything” for an English Composition course. I could think of nothing and time was running out. It was Sunday, and the piece was due Monday. I sat down at the typewriter and cranked out a couple of pages on “time.” The Professor loved it, likened it to Kafka, and I got an A on the paper and for the course. I mean, seriously, I was just trying to complete the assignment. Yet that experience has stayed with me forty years.

Would you give us a piece of advice? What are common traps for aspiring writers? And how do you recommend authors to avoid them?

I feel unqualified to give advice. I’m not trying to dodge the question, I simply don’t think I’m a writer to emulate. However, if you want good advice on how to do this writing/publishing thing?  ASK NORA!

 I’m sure taking some time to read this interview was worth your time. I’m really greatful for anyone visiting and encourage you to give me a like and leave a comment. 

It was super fun to create this interview for Maggie McConnell.

Thank you for visiting, Maggie! It was a wonderful experience to have you visit.

If you haven’t read Spooning Daisy I encourage you to do so. As Maggie described it you’ll find it fun, smart, witty, unpredicable and quirky. I honestly recommend it!

You can buy it here:

AMAZON BARNES AND NOBLE ⟡ KOBO

Before you go make sure to participate in the givaway that she prepare for you.

A Nordstrom “Daisy” vegan leather clutch, Nordstrom turtle pin, or Rebecca Minkoff star pendant/necklace for 3 randomly drawn winners (US only; international winners will receive a $25 Amazon/BN GC).

ENTER HERE

Again, don’t be shy. Take a minute to ask her your own questions. I’m sure she’ll be happy to meet you. 

Thanks, everyone!

Have the best day, 

KT

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Plus One

Plus One

by Aleatha Romig

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A fun, sexy new stand-alone from New York Times bestselling author Aleatha Romig.

He’s sexy and confident, the kind of man every woman notices. You know, the one with the to-die-for body and panty-melting smirk. And then there’s the way his designer suits drape over his broad shoulders and big…well, we’ve all heard the rumors, the ones that say he’s up for any challenge.

But I can’t see him that way. He’s my boss—technically one of the owners of the company where I work—and definitely not in my league. Men like him don’t notice women like me, and they don’t date them.

And I don’t date men like him.

Until that one time that I catch him in a compromising position when I’m also in need of a last-minute date for a wedding…and then it’s not real. It’s blackmail.

For one weekend, he’s my plus-one.

Beautiful and unobtainable.

From the moment she walked into my office with those stunning blue eyes and crazy sensual curves, she’s been on my mind. Three years and never once has she acted interested in me. Usually I flash a million-dollar smile and women fall to their knees, some literally.

Not her.

Then on the occasion that I agree to let another woman do that—fall to her knees—guess who happens to catch us?

It may not be the most conventional way to get on her radar, but I didn’t get this far in business without knowing when to seize an opportunity. If this sexy little firecracker with perfectly kissable lips thinks she can blackmail me into attending her cousin’s wedding, I’m going to jump at the chance to be her plus-one.

You love her darker side. Now it’s time to meet Leatha, the lighter side of Aleatha, as she trades her renowned twists and turns for laughs and love with this sexy new stand-alone romance, PLUS ONE.

PRE-ORDER NOW

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N

Chapter 1

I push the thought of my mother’s call away and concentrate on my friend, Shana. As I do, the slippery napkin escapes my hold. Quickly, I slide from my seat to retrieve it.

“Excuse me,” a deep voice says as black leather loafers stop precariously close to where I’m now kneeling to rescue my napkin.

Seeing the shoes, I look up and suck in a deep breath.

Towering above me are long legs covered in tailored trousers. As I follow them up, they lead to a trim waist, a black belt, and a white shirt that buttons over a broad chest. I barely swallow the lump in my throat as I recognize the wide shoulders covered with the matching suit jacket. Seizing the napkin, I stand, suddenly face to face with one of the owners of the company where I work.

My face burns with embarrassment as his shimmering green eyes narrow and head tilts. Inches away from me is one of the handsomest men I’ve ever met. He should be on the cover of GQ, not gracing the halls of Buchanan and Willis.

His firm lips form a tight smirk and cheeks rise in amusement. “Miss Jones.”

Staring into the sea of emerald, I try to pretend I wasn’t just on my knees in a chic restaurant in front of Duncan Willis.

“Mr. Willis,” I respond, my voice cracking. Nervously I take a step backward. As if the moment weren’t awkward enough, I wobble, teetering precariously on my high heels.

Swiftly, he reaches out, grabs my elbow, and steadies my footing. Though he just saved me from making an even bigger fool out of myself by falling face-first into what I can only imagine is a hard, defined chest, my mind is suddenly consumed with the electricity of his touch. The energy heats my skin as his grasp lingers.

 About the Author

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Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband of nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she’s not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time a with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

Aleatha released her first novel, CONSEQUENCES, in August of 2011. CONSEQUENCES became a bestselling series with five novels and two companions released from 2011 through 2015. The compelling and epic story of Anthony and Claire Rawlings has graced more than half a million e-readers. Aleatha released the first of her series TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE, INSIDIOUS, in the fall of 2014. These stand alone thrillers continue Aleatha’s twisted style with an increase in heat.

In the fall of 2015, Aleatha moved head first into the world of dark romantic suspense with the release of BETRAYAL, the first of her five novel INFIDELITY series that has taken the reading world by storm. She also began her traditional publishing career with Thomas and Mercer. Her books INTO THE LIGHT and AWAY FROM THE DARK were published through this mystery/thriller publisher in 2016.

Aleatha is a “Published Author’s Network” member of the Romance Writers of America and a member of PEN America. She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

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