4/18/14

Book Blast: Andreas-Dubai and Dante-Monte Carlo by Bella Ross


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Club Pluto.Andreas.Dubai

I won't likely be reviewing this series on the blog--but, I have heard that it is a really good one for those who enjoy erotic romance novels.  The excerpt below is interesting--so, I think it is worth a read if you enjoy the genre!

Releasing May, 2014

One determined Journalist…. Freelance journalist, Genevieve Parker, has just been handed the biggest story of her career. But there’s one problem…Going undercover as a submissive in one of the most exclusive BDSM clubs in the world was more than she bargained for. But that’s nothing compared to the man she meets there. Andreas Contos. Her assignment. Gorgeous. Powerful. Mysterious. Genevieve is fascinated…intrigued. But does her intense attraction and willingness to go places with him she’s never gone before sexually really have to do with writing her exposé? Feeling confused and overwhelmed, every instinct tells her to run before her professional facade comes crashing down…before she has to choose between obligation and desire....  

One elusive billionaire… Greek billionaire, Andreas Contos, is more than he seems. Between the powerful company he keeps and the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, trusting anyone is out of the question – especially the lush and sensual woman he just met. But there is something different about Genevieve – a guarded nature he’s anxious to penetrate. Unable to resist her, Andreas proceeds in taking her under his wing for the night to show her his world – a world of exquisite pleasure. As the two of them get deeper in exploring the eroticism of mind and body, danger watches them from the shadows…

Buy on:  Amazon

Read an excerpt from Club Pluto – Andreas - Dubai:

Lifestyle journalist Genevieve Parker stood in the shadows to the right of the bar and did her best to tame her growing anxiety. How the hell had this happened?

She was in Dubai – in the middle of an arid desert – on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula just south of Abu Dhabi, about to embark on the worst nightmare of her life. Club Pluto – the most exclusive BDSM club in the world.

She gave herself a moment to calm down, pulled air into her lungs, held it, and exhaled slowly. But her pulse was still humming, her body trembling.

She looked around, trying to compose herself. Her eyes adjusted to the subdued light, and she could finally see into the dark and shadowy corners of the club. What had been hidden when she first walked in was now fully revealed.
Discomfort gripped her belly as her eyes swept over the opulence placed over three entire floors with unrivalled views of Dubai Marina. The shimmering skyline as backdrop was breathtaking. The mood inside surreal. A kaleidoscope of colours and textures and sounds.

The soothing darkness, erotic rather than romantic, was made more so by the golden glow of candles scattered about and red-toned lamps on tables and along the back ledge of the bar. She’d never been in a place this beautiful, rich or decadent. The overhead red and gold chandeliers bathed the sumptuous space in a sultry haze. From the burnished gold walls and eclectic statutes, to the jeweled colored velvet cushions, rich wood finishes and Asian flower arrangements everywhere was a delicious compliment to the well-dressed movers and shakers in her midst.

As her survey continued, she loved the ornate Chinese screens cleverly sectioning off the large space into smaller intimate corners and niches for romantic tête-à-têtes. The bar, main dining area and dance floor was where the bulk of action was taking place. Many lounged in groups on red velvet couches, while several were huddling around the bar, and the rest sat at small cafe style tables scattered about with drinks in hand murmuring their private conversations which was barely audible over the erotic trancelike music coming from the wall speakers. Each one, she noted, was totally at ease with the unabashed sensual and erotic energy around them. Of course they would be. This was Club Pluto. People came here to indulge their deepest fantasies or watch others fulfill theirs. Although she doubted that anyone beside the VIP members really knew what went on the third floor.

Genevieve cast her gaze to the floor, forcing her eyes shut and trying to calm her racing pulse. It was no use.
She groaned inwardly.

I need you to cover the story Parker, her boss had said. Due to a broken leg, Suzanne won’t be able to complete the assignment. You’re the only one available to do it. Larry Tams had peered at her with a stern frown.
At the time she’d answered yes, absolutely she’d cover for Suzanne. But that was before she’d known what the assignment was. And where. And what it required.

Now, agreeing had been a big mistake. Big. Huge.

Oh, God. What was she doing here? She was a respected freelance lifestyle journalist, writing features and articles about art and culture and politics, and not about BDSM sub-culture of whips and chains! What had Tams been thinking? Never mind that, what the hell was Suzanne thinking?

Apparently, Club Pluto was the venue of choice for billionaires with dark and kinky urges. And the hefty membership fee they paid ensured their privacy and bought them the privilege of indulging those urges. Membership was by invite only. Shrouded in secrecy, the main purpose for Club Pluto was kept within the tight confines of its elite members. Men with more money than God. Most of its patrons, if not all, had no idea what Club Pluto was really about. Its buzz as one of the hottest clubs in the world, catering to the uber-cool and monied crowd, was enough to keep inquiring minds at bay. A clever strategy if there ever was one. But Genevieve didn’t care about all that. There was only one member in particular that she’d come to inquire about tonight.

Greek billionaire, Andreas Contos, was on every journalist’s wish list. The dream interview. Rumours and speculation about his past abounded. CIA. Assassin. Mercenary. Thus the intrigue. But they were only rumors mostly because members of the press had yet to prove them. As for his status as a Dominant, well that was yet unproven too. But according to Suzanne, he was leader of the pack. If her claim was true, then Andreas Contos was going to be one hell of a headline.

From a journalistic point of view she could see the fascination. But from a personal one, who the hell cared? Did the world really need another exposé about a wealthy man with bizarre sexual tastes? Hardly, in her opinion.
The claws of irritation gripped her insides as she steeled herself for what she was about to do. It was a job, an assignment. How could she have refused? She needed the money. Hell, with the state of the economy right now every penny was gold. As a freelance journalist being picky or fussy was a breath away from living on the streets. Unless the assignment risked life and limb, refusing would’ve been downright stupid.

She knew nothing about the lifestyle nor had any interest in it. However, their readers would. The audience of ‘The World’ magazine, a popular monthly covering lifestyle, travel and culture, had eclectic tastes and appetites. The story would titillate, fascinate and push the boundaries of sexual taboos. As far as she was concerned, it was just plain weird.

Not that she was a prude. Sure, she was a small-town girl, but she’d lived in New York long enough to have stumbled upon a few lovers. Not that she was all that great in the sac. Really, making love was rather overrated, at least for her. Obviously the men she chose either didn’t know what pleased a woman or they weren’t interested in pleasing her. She didn’t know and hadn’t cared enough to ask.

Eventually, she’d resigned herself to the fact that men didn’t really want or desire her. They preferred women with trimmer bodies, who were uninhibited, and more sexually inclined. That realization had hurt like a bitch. She may not have been a modern day Aphrodite but at least she was a good person. Smart, sensible, practical, hardworking, unselfish. Relatively average, if not attractive. She gave all she could to her mom, her job. It was enough, right?
But evidently such qualities did not give men erections. As a result, her sex life was non-existent. She’d learned to channel those energies into her work instead. And besides, the idea of sexual exploration and experimentation sounded exhausting and time consuming. Who the hell had the time in a 24/7 world anyway?

Yeah, her sexual experiences were limited for this assignment. But her experience in her job was not and therefore she would not allow her biases to dictate the outcome. After all, she was a professional.

This assignment demanded that of her. In a big way.

Integrity was a central part of her core and she’d be damned if a few niggling fears and insecurities would prevent her from completing it.

For the past five years work had come first. She’d garnered a reputation for being persistent, thorough and cool. And those adjectives, she decided, were the reasons for staying put because she was going to get what she’d come for. The time wasn’t going to be wasted. All she needed was an hour. Sixty minutes. In that time she could gather enough information for a concise and very exclusive article about Andreas Contos.

Well actually, more like an exposé. It would be a coup, the biggest of her career, and maybe, just maybe help put her on the map.

Oh, God.

Undercover at a BDSM club.

Fabulous!

She pushed out a steadying breath and wrapped her rigid fingers around the strap of her navy blue purse. All she had to do was don her voyeuristic writer persona and observe from a safe distance. She wasn’t here to participate, after all, only watch, file and absorb.

Not that she judged people who were into BDSM. No, of course not. It was the extremes she questioned. The means to attain pleasure. And most all, the element of pain.

Why? Because her father had been a sadistic bastard.

But now was not the time to think about her abusive father. It was in the past and a lifetime ago. The anger would wait, it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It hadn’t for nearly twenty years. But she’d contained it, rolled mountains over it

Ever hear of earthquakes, Genevieve?

Shrugging off those thoughts, her eyes scanned the club once more, searching for the mysterious Andreas Contos. Her eyes travelled to the back of the club where a staircase rose up from the main floor in a circular fashion and disappeared mysteriously into the far recesses of the building. It reminded Genevieve of a labyrinth with ineffable depths. She knew the play area was up there and so were the rooms which members had to pay extra to use for private indulgences. She couldn’t even imagine what was going on up there right now. But down here, beside the subdued opulence and exclusive vibe, felt like a normal club at first glance. Well kind of, if you removed the waitresses rushing about in black, tight latex pants and red corsets, cinched so tight, Genevieve wondered how they breathed. But to her great relief everyone was at least fully clothed.

Jesus. How was she going to pull this undercover shit off? Just the thought of such sexual activities taking place upstairs filled her with…with what? Disgust? No, that was too harsh of a word for what she was feeling. Curiosity? No, that wasn’t it either. Anticipation? No, not quite. Turned on? She froze. She swallowed.

Oh, God.

Turned on? Really, Genevieve? Was she nuts? Then again she stood in a BDSM club. That realization created all sorts of funny feelings in her.

And then she saw him. Those funny feelings knotted in her stomach at the sight of him.

He was sitting with a few men in a spacious VIP booth that allowed plenty of room for the five men, all above six feet tall, with shoulder spans to match.

Was stunning even the right word to describe him? She wondered. His hair was dark as coal, thick and wavy, just long enough to brush the tip of his shirt collar. His eyes, thanks to the angle of the club lighting, showed green, vibrant as emeralds, like his aura. He was on the end, probably because he had the widest shoulders and longest legs. The white shirt he wore with his black slacks had to be tailored for those shoulders. He reeked of money. And a man who sat like that knew his net worth. But she wasn’t after his cash. Just to observe him in action. If she ever got up the courage to leave the corner that is.

“There you are.”

She snapped out of her mental bubble to find herself facing a tall and powerful man. He had dark, close-cropped hair and intense blue eyes, causing a shiver to run over her skin. She could tell he noticed, but he remained smooth, professional. “I’m Tye Warner, one of the owners here. I just wanted to come by and meet you. Gary Newman called me earlier to inform me that you would be coming to check out our club.”

“Yes.” Sort of check out the club. Andreas Contos being the reason. The third floor being the other. Once Suzanne had nailed down the billionaire’s club of choice, she’d contacted Gary Newman, a politician and a member at Club Pluto, and called in a favor. At first he’d been reluctant, but Suzanne had harassed him for an invite until he relented. Suzanne had enough dirt to have people do her bidding. Yeah, she knew where all the bodies were buried.

“Its been interesting so far.”

“I know at first sight its a lot to take in,” he said. “But there’s nothing to be nervous about.” He ran a light, reassuring hand down her arm. “We have security inside and out, and the staff knows to keep a diligent eye on VIP guests such as yourself. So you are safe.”

“Thank you,” she replied. “That helps a little.”
“Good.” He smiled. “So where do you want to start?”

“I…um. Well, I don’t know…” Her gaze flickered, a brief flash. Still, Tye shifted and determined exactly whom she’d been looking at.

“I see. Give me a second.”

And he was gone. Even though she felt awkward being left alone at the bar, she couldn’t help from noting he had a fine walk. Leather pants fitted tight, black shirt tucked in, the tight firm ass and the predatory grace of a panther commanded the eye of every woman in the room.

Stopping at one booth, he stroked a proprietary hand over a blue-eyed woman with red hair. From the way her gaze heated, whatever he said to her was obviously intimate. His eyes flamed in response. Stroking her hair once more, he moved away and straight toward the table where Genevieve’s target was sitting.

“Oh, s**t, no…” She stood, paralyzed, as he put a hand on Andreas’ shoulder, leaning down to his ear. If every man at that booth turned around and stared at her, she was going to pretend a bomb was about to blow and dive behind the bar for cover.

Andreas stilled, glancing up at Tye. Then he shifted his gaze to her.

In those few nervous seconds, Genevieve debated whether to meet his eyes or not. Smile, not smile. Oh, Jesus. This is what she always did. Worried about her appearance whenever a man looked her way. What, with her lush breasts, round hips, full ass, it was a far cry from Victoria Secret model perfection. That was for damn sure.

Men like him, she knew, preferred beauty if not physical perfection in a woman. She doubted he would like her. She’d heard the tales of submission that went on here from Suzanne and she wasn’t the type to fall to her knees before a man. She might fantasize about it, but she had too much pride to actually do it. So since she didn’t qualify on either count, she had to chill. This was only an undercover assignment and not a love match. Not that a part of her couldn’t imagine what it would be like to submit to a man like Andreas Contos, but she was too practical to indulge in such a fantasy.

Besides, he was way out of her league. From Suzanne’s notes, she’d learned some of the lingo associated with the lifestyle. Andreas was what those in the lifestyle would call a true Dom, a naturally dominant man that everyone automatically deferred to without being aware of it or knowing why.

And Lord help her, he was gorgeous. His face was flawlessly sculpted, chiseled jaw dusted with stubble. Strong, proud, beautifully male. What would it feel like to make love to a man like Andreas Contos? She frowned at that. Hardly appropriate. And totally unlikely.

She kept her eyes on anything but him. First she watched the people huddled around the bar not too far from where she was standing, then the hot looking waitresses serving food and drinks with machine like efficiency, then a man and woman getting up from their table, arm in arm, heading to the staircase. There was no doubt what was on their minds or where they were going. It didn’t matter, just so long as she didn’t look in Andreas Contos direction.
But it was useless. She could feel his stare demanding her attention. Genevieve fought the pull on instinct. Finally, she shifted her gaze and locked eyes with him. His expression changed. It wasn’t quite a smile, and it wasn’t quite amusement. It was something else. Approval.

While she knew she was standing by the bar, people shuffling past her, music vibrating beneath her feet and off the walls, it all melted away. Her breath went short and she couldn’t be sure why her heart was pounding. Fear, excitement, tension all went to battle. It was scary as hell. And she stood still, like a deer caught in the headlights, blinded by that hot, focused stare.


Also by Bella Ross

WebHeader_201404_Wanderlust

Wanderlust Series

From glamorous capitals to exotic playgrounds...couples are swept up in desire passion & lust. Genre: Erotic Romance

Buy on

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | ARe | Kobo
 

Wanderlust_Tahiti_BellaRossTempted in Tahiti - April 2014

Sometimes yielding to temptation is the only option... Halle Blake has landed her dream job as creative director for M & G, one of the largest luxury goods conglomerates in the world. But before officially stepping into her new role, she decides to celebrate by taking off to Tahiti for some fun in the sun. While there she meets a tempting and gorgeous photographer who sweeps her off her feet. But upon her return, all tanned, revived and feeling fabulous, Halle comes face to face with the biggest shock of her life...  

About the author:

Bella Ross is a writer with many passions, two of which are writing and travelling. She wrote her first book (a novel) at eighteen a la Jackie Collins. But back then, unbeknownst to her, life was about to take her on a detour. As she set off on her new course, her dream of writing took a backseat and her entrepreneurial spirit flourished instead. But after many years of worldly pursuits, the urge to write returned and the time was right to follow her bliss. She believes its never too late to follow your dreams/bliss. Her books/stories are her first attempt at erotic romance. She loves the genre and its endless creative possibilities. She likes pairing bold and dynamic (Alpha) men with sexy and strong women - which in her opinion - make for a hot and sizzling combination. With her love of travel, it is no surprise that her 'Wanderlust Series' take place in glamorous capitals or exotic locales around the world. Its the perfect backdrop/setting for her characters to explore and indulge their lusts and passions, loves and desires. When she's not writing, she's reading, or gallivanting all over seeking new inspiration, or people watching while enjoying a latte at Starbucks and jotting down ideas. She loves to hear from readers, and looks forward to interacting through her social media channels. You can also sign up for her mailing list to be notified about new releases and promotional offers.

Follow Bella:

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4/17/14

Book Review: Lady Henrietta's Dilemma by Katy Walters


Steena Final Lady Henriettas DilemmaAfter reading and reviewing the first book in this series, A Lady's Plight by Katy Walters, I was excited to read and review the second book.  What did I think of Lady Henrietta's Dilemma?
 
Quick summary of Lady Henrietta's Dilemma by Katy Walters. Lady Henrietta harbours a secret, so appalling, she cannot tell even her closest friend, the Lady Isabella. As her wedding approaches, it preys on her mind, and she pleads with her fiancé Lord Vaughan Bruges, the Marquess de Courres, to delay the consummation of the marriage. They have a shocking argument, in which Lord Vaughan refuses to declare any love for her, and to her anguish is unwilling to give up his mistress. Henrietta wishes to call off the marriage, but knows it would ruin her family's reputation. However, Lord Vaughan too harbours a secret, one that could break Henrietta's heart, even wreck her life. There is a certain prince, who is determined to have her, married or not, but what is his true title? A romance set in 1815 as the clouds of war gather over Brussels.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review--but, all opinions are my own.

Walters continues her wonderful character development and writing style in Lady Henrietta's Dilemma . I have read a few of Walters' books--and love her historical writings.  Since I had read her first book, I was able to immediately put Henrietta's Dilemma into its historical context--and I think that allowed me to bond with the characters more than in A Lady's Plight.

Would I recommend Lady Henrietta's Dilemma by Katy Walters?  If you enjoy historical romance--then I do think this is an wonderful book.  Rather than feeling left behind by the characters at the book's end--I found myself readily anticipating book three!

Buy on  Amazon


About the author:

katy Thank you for having me here today. My main loves are writing, painting and singing. I began work as a PA but to my joy was spotted by an agent in London and had an exciting career as a singer, meeting and singing with some wonderful people. Singing meant a lot of travelling both in the UK and abroad. At one time, I toured Germany and Turkey singing for the American troops, which was a fantastic experience. But then, my husband and I wanted a family, so I said good-bye to the singing career, although I did the occasional gig. Having children is such a precious time, and I would say to anyone, treasure it, it goes so quickly and before you know it, you’re waving them off to Uni or pursuing their own dreams and their own homes.

I have always had a deep interest in psychology for various reasons, and especially the area of neurosis arising from abuse. Later, I was to study how we could use our body, mind and spirit to relieve pain and overcome some life-threatening diseases. One important thing here is, I always told my patients to continue with medical treatment along with the complementary and spiritual methods, for I believe medical research and medication is also a gift from God, Spirit or the Universe, as each of us wishes to name it.

I have loved writing from a child and during the years of study, research and treating some wonderful people, whom I called my friends, I would write at night, mainly short stories, and reams of poetry. I wanted to learn how to write self-help books for my clients, so I took creative writing courses at university, which led to writing a novel. So self-help novels turned to fiction but even so, I hope the novels help the reader through their own challenges, as the characters experience love, loss, passion, jealousy, illness, joy and conflict, even the threat of death. At present, I am writing the third book in the series ‘Lady Phillipa’s Peril’ and also putting together some ideas for the self-help book. This has been so enjoyable thank you.

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4/14/14

Easy Easter Dinner with HoneyBaked Ham Catering


This post is brought to you by HoneyBaked Ham as part of their #HoneyBakedEaster campaign.

Easter Dinner is a special tradition in our family. The Easter ham is an absolute must-have--along with all of the traditional (time-consuming) side dishes, a huge Easter egg hunt, and a fun-filled, spring afternoon. As our girls have grown, extra-curricular activities often fill the weeks around Easter and my dedicated, kitchen time has dwindled significantly. The HoneyBaked Ham Company takes the work out of Easter dinner prep--without sacrificing that homemade flavor that my family expects. We recently shared an early Easter dinner with my parents, courtesy The HoneyBaked Ham Company catering--and it was a huge hit. We have previously reviewed HoneyBaked Ham party sandwiches and party trays (during the SuperBowl)--but, this time we were able to plan a quick and easy Easter dinner for our family and a set of grandparents. What did we think of HoneyBaked Ham for Easter?

We chose the Ham and Turkey Perfect Pair for our main dish meat selection. 
 
Glazed hams are tricky--either they are delicious or they are painfully sweet. My family is not a fan of painfully sweet--so I erred on the side of caution and added a half turkey breast to a quarter-ham for our meal. Wow. The glaze actually hardened--so we able to remove it completely from the ham, so that it flavored the meat--but, we didn’t have eat the “candy-like” coating. It was delicious--and the turkey was perfect. For a family that prefers ham--the lighter turkey option was equally selected from the tray. The pieces are pre-sliced for easy serving--and there is plenty of meat for 6-10 guests.

 The Side Dishes….. 
Potato Salad.


Generally my Grandma’s recipe (which takes two days of preparation) is the Easter dinner potato salad. When I discovered that even the kiddos would eat the HoneyBaked Ham Potato Salad--I decided then and there that my potato salad making skills would be reserved for only Thanksgiving!
Macaroni Salad 

There are so many ways that macaroni salad can go “wrong”--and this one is a hit with even non-macaroni salad fans.

Broccoli Salad 

This is a great broccoli salad--loaded with fresh, bite sized broccoli florets and cranberries. This is a yummy alternative to leafy, green salads.

The Dessert Tray. 

The HoneyBaked Ham Dessert Sampler is wonderful. There is a delicious mix of cookies, cake, and cheesecake---all of which can be cut into smaller portions for sharing. I love the cranberry oatmeal cookies. My middle daughter (the picky one) adores the bundt cake--and all of the cheesecake disappeared way too quickly.

If you are still planning your Easter dinner--take a look at HoneyBaked Ham. We purchased our meal from the McNaughten location in Columbus, Ohio.  Yes, they are a little pricey--but, you do get a quality meal for the price--and you are free to enjoy a little more of your Easter weekend with your family and friends when you opt to cater at least part of your meal!  We also have some HoneyBaked Ham coupons to share for this holiday at limited locations.

Disclosure:  We received out promotional materials for this post extremely late--so we were not able to participate in the giveaway or most of the promotions for this blog campaign.  We did receive a gift card to compensate for part of the meal purchased for review in this post--but all opinions of the service were our own.