Venice: City of Romance or a Murky Mess?

My husband and I just finished our tour of Italy. The one place I wanted to spend quality time was Venice, a city that survives all odds. Built on a eries of low mud banks constantly beaten by the tidal waters of the Adriatic the brigthly colored facades still stand in their architectural glory.

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And I wanted to walk in the same footsteps of William Shakespeare centuries ago.

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After boarding a ferry we went from the train station across the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. The boatmen had a muscle building tasks of tying the old-school rope instead of nylon. The earthy scent and squeaking of the line as the man wrapped it around a dock post helped distract from the constant downpour of rain.

The croweded pathways didn’t detour me from appreciating the streets made of water, or the black gondolas as the black and white striped shirted gondolier manuevered visitors through the narrow watery alleys.

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Much to my disappointment many of the churches and museums didn’t allow photographs. The art work of Venice and architecutre of the buildings cannot be adequately described…you must see them in person.

Oddly enough my favorite store consisted of Murano glass products. The beauty of the clear and brillant glass made by Venetians since 1291 helped me to decide on gifts for many family members.

Our time in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region was too short. I wanted to spend more time exploring and maybe going over to the glass factory in the small cluster of islands, Murano.

 

all rights reserved jj Keller

 

 

 

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Italy: Amalfi Coast

If you’ve seen a painting or print of Italy, generally the scenery is of houses built into the mountain side. The Amalfi Coast has this spectacular landscape admired by most who venture along the rough, wicked turning roads to get to the quaint seaside towns. My husband and I joined two other couples in a van driven by an energetic Italian. The wheels of the van barely touched the asphalt surface, but the fear wasn’t enough to keep me from admiring the scenery. I couldn’t look past the terraces lined with lemon trees.

Crags of misshapen olive trees bursting with soon-to-be-harvested olives dotted the landscape breaking up the vibrant yellow. Houses, seemingly built into the sides of the mountain, glistened in the noonday sun.

We jolted to a stop for a thirty-minute sightseeing walk through Amalfi, where the infamous lemon liqueur is made. Our taste buds were not disappointed…and the next leg of the journey was not as shocking with a bit of 32 proof in me.

A troop of school girls in matching outfits rushed through the streets handing out flyers to a play being performed that night. Visitors and locals interacted despite the language barriers. Coins, EUROs, were exchanged and merchandise moved.

Our next stop was at Positano and lunch at Chez Black a few feet above Mermaid Beach. We tried the buffalo mozzarella and swordfish, both were excellent. Well worth the winding staircase trip to get to the location.

What do you think of the magnificent blue waters of the Amalfi Coast?

Road Trip to Old Stone Fort

The setting for Mystic Love was created from a road trip my family took a few years ago.

We were driving to Florida for spring break and took a rest stop in Tennessee. I’d been reading about ley lines and how the underground alignments of places hold a mystical power. And what do you know–Old Stone Fort Park was at the next exit.

Fee paid and car parked we shed our over coats and embraced the warmer temperature. The boys wanted to go to the site and get it over with

Instead we walked the trail that looped around. At the entrance of the ceremonial site were two mounds of soil, perfectly formed. The park had been created during the Woodland period so pedestal mounds…much like Native American burial grounds found in the northern Indiana area of my parents homestead… were typical in a religious place.

I stood in the center of the religious area and closed my eyes. I let the sounds of rushing waters from the Duck Rivers and the birds cooing in the leafless tree branches surround me. Earth scents from the warm fresh breeze, mixing with the fallen leaves and pungent waterfalls took me to another place. Peacefulness beyond anything I’d experienced before set over me. I could almost feel the magic in the area.

Until, my eldest son shouted into my ear.

The spell was broken, but I’ve never forgotten the special emotions I experienced.

Do ley lines hold mystical powers?

Mystic Love

Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

Rating: Spicy 
Page Count: 282 
Word Count: 68692

978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital

Excerpt

She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

Whom had she kissed?

****

Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

“Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

She retreated.

Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.

 

Mystic Love

 

Romantic, but Relationship Avoider, Ericka Gilmore

Mystic Love: characterization of Ericka.

Ericka Gilmore ached for a special love. Hidden deep down, for a brief insane moment, she dreamed of a husband, children, and pets. A perfect family. She came to her senses and shook off the unlikeliness. Love she could do, but engagement leading toward commitment…no. Forever wasn’t in her genetic code.

Men came in all shapes, sizes and personalities (some strange), and she always gravitated toward the wrong guy. None of her lovers progressed past the eventual clash of vow or not to vow. After a short fling with a ghost, who-like other males before left without a word, she found a loophole.

Cast a spell and bring forth a supernatural lover. She’d have constant romance without the messy entanglements of a relationship. In addition, the women of her family were cursed.

She convinces her BFF, Jacey, to chant a pricey abracadabra incantation. The result was a window slamming shut and lights flickering—possibly due to an approaching storm.

Jacey tried to dissuade her from continuing down witchy lane; but she had too much to lose.

The expression on her friend’s face …to repeat a cliché, ‘said it all’. She’d go on a date with one of her friends. Date arranged, Jacey left.

Ericka prepares for her only case.

As a new attorney in the area, her client list was dismal to the point her deflated bank account meant she had to win the case or sell her house. She loved Ames Mansion, with its soft southern charm and rambling acres. It was home and the first she’d ever owned. She needed the sense of posterity.

She had to win.

Too bad the guy was guilty. A high profile case would give her press, but not if she lost. What about morality? As an attorney she promised to defend. She didn’t like the guy. What if he proved to be responsible for the wrongdoing? What a mess.

A storm blew through by the name Joe Reeves. This handsome, motorcycle-riding nomad appeared on her doorstep and changed her entire world.

MYSTIC LOVE

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Joe Reeves: Deathwatch Cop

I’ve a new book, Mystic Love, with a release date of 10.26.16, and I can’t wait to introduce you to the characters. I  hope you grow to love them as much as I do.

This week I’ll be presenting Joe Reeves,a detective from Louisiana. He has a stellar work history and would be fighting crime today if it weren’t for a car accident.

Joe has one sister who is married to a psychology professor at a university in Pennsylvania. He has two nephews and a newborn niece, but do to his problem he hasn’t met the little tyke.

Joe Reeves: Deathwatch Cop

Flashing lights and the siren’s roar of a high-performance car during a chase had been an exciting part of law enforcement. The odor of burning rubber, fumes from the tailpipe of the criminal’s car and the thrill of putting him in jail was typically something Joe loved, but not on that day.

Adam, his partner, had insisted he drive. For the first time Joe sat in the passenger seat, gun primed and ready.

On reflection he regretted the mistake of allowing Adam to navigate the race. Broadsided by a failure-to-yield, his friend was instantly killed and Joe went comatose. The coma lasted for a month and left him with consequences.

Yeah, riding in a confined space gave him claustrophobia… and he dreamed of death.

Resolving the neurosis was simple–he purchased a motorcycle and stayed away from tight spaces.

The dreams were more difficult to manage.

At first he ignored the nighttime visions, believing them aftereffects of his coma. Then he had a prophecy of a kid being killed by a drive-by. He managed to locate the crime scene. His timing…he was to late.

The realization he could have saved him—if he would’ve taken responsibility for his mind’s trickery.

Something happened inside him. After the nervous stomach and subsequent puking, he experienced an empyrean light.

He paid attention to the visions, details and especially timing, and acted sooner.

The spark, fresh determination to succeed and to save victims, lasted six months. One of two results occurred each time he attempted to change the outcome of a vision: the bystanders labeled him a champion or they challenged him, claiming the circumstances made his activities suspicious. Either way he lost because people turned away.

His hero mindset dissipated when he concluded he couldn’t…it wasn’t humanly possible to keep the target from certain death.

He became a wanderer, trying to avoid remaining in one place for any length of time. His visions seemed to occur when he got close to a person. Emotional involvement set off a prophecy.

Running didn’t help, the predictions continued.

He had to make them stop.

Attempts were made to eradicate the foresight through religious avenues to no avail. No matter how bizarre or odd the gimmick he’d try. He would not allow another child to die.

The prophecies had to end.

Cyan, Indiana and a Native American healer became his aim.

MYSTIC LOVE AT THE WILD ROSE PRESS

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Next week I’ll introduce Ericka Gilmore…she’s a jewel. I hope you’ll visit and make her your book  friend .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Chance at Love: Nominated

Hi all,

Last Chance at Love has been nominated for an award. AND you can participate in getting the wonderful sweet/peppery story to the top.

Here’s how:

http://www.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php   Easy-Scroll down the page to near the bottom under PARANORMAL ROMANCE, Last Chance at Love click on nominate

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Last Chance at Love has to garner at least 50 nominations within the time period in order to qualify for the next and final round. The nomination will start on March 14 and end on March 31. Invite your fans and reader community to nominate the book here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

Last Chance at Love

THANK YOU!

When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

BUY: http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm

LastChanceAtLove-newcpdesktop

EXCERPT:

Alyson swung her attention from her laptop to the handyman bent over the kitchen cabinet. Chris’ powerful, flawless arms enabled him to wield the screw gun like a pro, and durr, durr, durr added a pleasant melody to the room.

The maple cabinets had been an impulse purchase, but she rather liked how the lighter color made the space appear larger. A bonus to having her kitchen updated, Chris modeled the hero in her current book. His white T-shirt pulled taut across his broad shoulders as he stretched to secure a bolt from a toolbox a foot away.

Jeans sheathed his tight, perfectly formed rear. His thick thighs enabled Chris to lift heavy pieces of lumber while her hero’s enabled him to hold the heroine against the wall during a hot, sexy, clandestine encounter. Chris’ dark blond hair, styled in a buzz cut, accentuated his sharp cheekbones and granite jawline. Her hero had light brown hair that touched the tips of his ears. However, the cheekbones and stubborn jaw…the same.

In a lot of ways, Chris reminded her of Sam Crown, her boyfriend at Chilton Academy nearly thirty years ago. Sam had been the love of her life, the man who’d created a cancer in her heart no other man had been able to cure. Returning to her hometown had stirred memories of their ill-fated romance, and she’d embedded some of those details into her book. In doing so, in giving fictitious-Sam and fictitious-her a happy ending, maybe she could finally eradicate him from her thoughts.

She scooted her chair away from the dining table and evaluated the renovations. The noise and scenery inspired her. She wouldn’t leave the area despite the strong odors of glue and dust. She had to think of another job to keep her handyman on site after the current project ended on Friday. At least long enough for her to write twenty thousand more words. She hated the thought of her “hero” leaving before her book was finished.

The whirring of the motorized tool ended, and wood particles flew into her nostrils. A couple sneezes had her frantically searching for the napkin she’d left amongst the clutter on the table.

“Ms. McLeod?” Chris’ resonant voice matched his six-and-a-half-foot frame. The scent of man-sweat radiated from him, so unlike anything she’d become accustomed to over the course of her marriage. Jasper, her ex-husband, was the type of man to hire people to shift a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other, so she’d rarely seen him perspire. Not even after he’d played polo, but he’d sure been sweaty when she’d found him naked in their marital bed with his assistant.

She looked away from the carpenter’s sculpted upper torso, and he chuckled, his tools clanking and tingling. Oops. She hadn’t looked away quickly enough.

She lowered her gaze to the keyboard. “Yes, I’m sorry, Mr.—”

“Please, call me Chris.” He nodded to her laptop. “How’s the book coming?”

She glanced into his eyes. The blue-grays were so reminiscent of Sam’s. She had to get a grip on her overactive imagination. Would she see Sam’s face in everyone, all over town? One of her high school friends had told her Sam moved away, hadn’t been seen since the funeral.

“Ma’am?”

“Sorry. Great. Good. The best one yet.”

Chris looped a thumb through a hanging hoop on his leather utility belt. “I’ll have a substitute here tomorrow. My son has a doctor’s appointment, and I need to check on another project. Sam will manage the installation of the countertop. It’s a simple task. He’ll arrive around ten in the morning.”

“No problem.” Good God, even her old flame’s name came into play.

“The sub’s my dad.” At the mention of his father, pride splashed across his roughened features. “He’s a professor.”

“Architecture or construction?”

“He’s a math professor at West Indiana State University. He’s been teaching a reduced load of classes this semester and going stir crazy with nothing to do. This project came at the perfect time.”

She wanted to jot down notes about mannerisms. Some of his phrasing was priceless. She lifted scattered papers and searched for an ink pen. Finding one, she slid a glance at him, put ballpoint to notepad and quickly scribbled to get the ink to infuse.

“I understand that happens,” she mumbled. “Maybe he needs a hobby?”

Wiping his hands on a red, thin square towel, he smiled and showed off his pearly whites. “Oh yeah, a hobby would be good.” He pointed to her computer, the cloth waving like a banner. “Is that the type of book you write? Hobbies?”

Heat infused her cheeks. She’d just finished a sex scene for the vamp character. Nope, not a book about typical hobbies. “Not exactly. I—”

The ding of a cellphone sounded and a light shone through his jeans pocket. He dug the phone out and glanced at it. “Excuse me. I need to take this.”

The younger man swiped a finger across the screen, and after a few mumbled comments, glanced at her as he took a few steps into the corridor. He wouldn’t have privacy in the Echo Wall hallway.

Alyson put the pad of paper in front of her keyboard and focused on the computer screen.

“Dad, Mrs. Clydesdale called and said you ditched her.” He paused.

She leaned forward, wanting to know more. Might be useful information for her book.

“Yes, she does look like her name, but you can’t keep dating women one time and…” Chris exhaled. “No, I don’t want to hear about that aspect of your life. I know. I’ll meet you at the usual place. Someday maybe we could meet at a coffee shop instead. Yeah, I miss her too. I’ll be on time.”

Alyson choked back a chuckle and lowered her laptop’s screen. In her own style of shorthand, she jotted notes. Busy trying to catch up from the previous interaction, she failed to hear more of the conversation. Usually, she couldn’t care less about other people’s phone discussions, but for some reason, the dialogue between Chris and his father had piqued her interest.

“Time to leave?” she asked when he returned.

“Yeah, something came up with my dad.” He tucked his phone back inside his pocket.

She smiled, hoping to reassure him she hadn’t overheard his conversation, at least not all of it. “I understand about complicated families.”

He nodded. “Oh, I forgot you’re a widow too, so you understand. Even after a year and a half my father’s adapting. He and my mother were really tight.” Chris packed up his tools. He slid screwdrivers into the loops of his utility belt and plunked heavier items into the metal toolbox.

She didn’t want to correct him about her single status. Perhaps her brother, Grayson, had declared her a widow. He’d arranged the construction company. Maybe Grayson didn’t want his friends to find out she’d left her husband. Divorcees had their own set of barriers and stigmas.

She dreaded the questions, the ones her friends would ask. From her experience, people were either predominately nosy or, the polar opposite, caring.

Chris looked barely twenty years of age, too young to lose a parent. Then again, maybe his parents had him later in life.

He returned to the table. Tools were no longer distributed throughout the kitchen. A sudden sense of loss snatched the warmth from her.

She slid the notepad forward. “I’m sorry about your mother. How did she pass?”

Chris hoisted his toolkit. “Cancer. She was an amazing woman.” His cell phone dinged. “Dad—Sam—will be here tomorrow around ten to do prep work and accept the delivery of the countertops.” He nodded toward the panel truck in the driveway, visible through the kitchen window. On the side, “Stiles Construction and Remodeling” was written in bold black letters over a sun rising on a blue sky. A ladder sat on top. “But we’ve remodeled a couple of kitchens, so he has skills.”

“Okay, thanks. I look forward to meeting Sam.” She stood, wishing she’d made more notes about the way Chris talked, some of the charming language he’d used and his magnificent facial expressions, but she always had next time.

* * * * *

The next day, Alyson tossed clothing on her king-sized bed. She’d collected a lot of designer eveningwear during her ten years of marriage. She selected a dress for the upcoming Wish Upon a Star charity event but added most of her gowns to the donation pile. She probably wouldn’t use formal attire as often now that Jasper was no longer dragging her to one black-tie affair after another.

With a smaller closet, she should have thinned out the older garments before moving back to Indiana. She’d donate the unused clothing to a local woman’s shelter. From the height of the pile, she’d need a truck to transport them. Most of the dresses could be converted into casual wear or business attire if their new owners were so inclined.

Dressed in her camisole and panties, she tried on summer outfits to determine if she needed new sizes. She didn’t want to think her hips had expanded or back fat had appeared. As a realist, she understood changes occurred in a woman’s body as she aged, but she didn’t want to admit she couldn’t keep a husband or that she’d gained weight in all the wrong places.

A knock sounded on the front door.

She glanced at the oversized medallion clock. Nine. Chris’ dad wasn’t due to arrive for another hour.

Her sleek emerald robe hung off the edge of a beige barrel table. She grabbed it and slid her arms into the sleeves as she scurried down the hallway and into the dining room. She bypassed the security panel and eased the white plantation shutter open to peer outside.

Her heart thudded to a stop. “Sam,” she whispered, not truly believing what she was seeing.

The man on the porch was Sam. Her Sam. The love she’d never been able to forget. The one who’d broken her heart over two decades earlier.

http://www.jj-keller.com

Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

WORDPRESS http://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

Last Chance at Love October 2015

The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love&

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.

All rights reserved.  Star-crossed #lovers: find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart? #LastChanceatLove @jjkellerauthor

REVIEW:

I just finished reading Last Chance at Love. I truly enjoyed it.

I loved that sexy cupid at the start, the gorgeous art work Sam and Alyson made, Tina’s growing understanding, and the depth of the emotion as the story built to resolution. A feel good factor of 10. Daisy Banks

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Last-Chance-at-Love-Keller-ebook/dp/B015VV68DA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443629710&sr=8-1&keywords=Last+Chance+at+Love+by+jj+Keller

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lastchanceatlove-1897353-349.htm

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/last-chance-at-love-3

Cobblestone Press http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/lastchance.htm

BN-Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-chance-at-love-jj-keller/1122751405?ean=2940151215930

 

Resolutions: Four Words

Four word Resolutions: Debunked
Weight
Exercise
Improvement
Friendship

 

At the beginning of the New Year I typically create resolutions…as most people do. Historically, I’ve found four easy enough to manage for an entire year.

After age 30 I added “lose weight” to the resolution list. As the metabolism slows the exercise must increase in order to maintain balance or eat less…but that’s a joke, as I enjoy cooking and especially savoring good food. So resolution number one…discredited.

Consistently exercise: the easiest of the four as I enjoy making my body stronger. I’ve discovered the importance of health, but time and motivation counteract my good intentions.

Help my children improve their lives: the most difficult because how does a mother know when to cease guiding and let the child make his or her own way. Making mistakes is a powerful learning tool. In retrospect I wished I had taught, “LISTENING” and “CONSEQUENCES” to a greater degree.

My third resolution is to be a better friend. As I grow more mature I learn the value of friendships and how harmony in one’s life evolves around health, wellness, family and friendship. However, friendship seem to mock me as we’ve moved to a larger city and I’ve found social groups are diverse and harder to infiltrate. I pledge to be a better friend to those I have—even if it’s via email and text.

Now, seventeen days into the year 2016 I’m debunking the four resolutions set. I refuse to let fear of the unknown dictate my thoughts, and I accept the reality of life…it ends without notice. I’m going to laugh, love and live so I’m going to embrace each day as if it is, indeed, the last.

How about you? Do you make resolutions? Stick to them?
Are you going to fling aside rules and cherish friends, family and time?

http://www.jj-keller.com
Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

WORDPRESS https://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

GOODREADS:
https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

Last Chance at Love

The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love&
Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.
All rights reserved.

121 characters: Star-crossed #lovers: find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart? #LastChanceatLove @jjkellerauthor

I just finished reading Last Chance at Love. I truly enjoyed it.
I loved that sexy cupid at the start, the gorgeous art work Sam and Alyson made, Tina’s growing understanding, and the depth of the emotion as the story built to resolution. A feel good factor of 10.
Daisy Banks
A Gentleman’s Folly
Marked for Magic
Christmas Carols

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Last-Chance-at-Love-Keller-ebook/dp/B015VV68DA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443629710&sr=8-1&keywords=Last+Chance+at+Love+by+jj+Keller

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lastchanceatlove-1897353-349.html

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/last-chance-at-love-3

Cobblestone Press http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/lastchance.htm

BN-Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-chance-at-love-jj-keller/1122751405?ean=2940151215930

 

COMING SOON: STALKER

How important is a story title?

Is a title of the book more important than the cover?

Would you consider reading The Mud Dungeon with a shirtless man on the cover? What would be the draw? The man or the idea something existed in a dungeon made of mud?

What about a title, The Killing Hotel with a basket of red roses on the cover? Do they even go together?

What is your idea of a good title for a story about second chances? Here is the blurb:

When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

I titled the book Second Chances because the couple has a second chance at renewing a love and the “messenger in training” had a second chance at getting the black off her soul. However, there is a freighter full of books with this title. My own publisher has a book in their store with this label.

So my editor and I came up with a list of possible name selections.

Here is the excerpt of Last Chance at Love for you, it’ll give you a better idea of what we were considering.

EXCERPT:

Alyson swung her attention from her laptop to the handyman bent over the kitchen cabinet. Chris’ powerful, flawless arms enabled him to wield the screw gun like a pro, and durr, durr, durr added a pleasant melody to the room.

The maple cabinets had been an impulse purchase, but she rather liked how the lighter color made the space appear larger. A bonus to having her kitchen updated, Chris modeled the hero in her current book. His white T-shirt pulled taut across his broad shoulders as he stretched to secure a bolt from a toolbox a foot away.

Jeans sheathed his tight, perfectly formed rear. His thick thighs enabled Chris to lift heavy pieces of lumber while her hero’s enabled him to hold the heroine against the wall during a hot, sexy, clandestine encounter. Chris’ dark blond hair, styled in a buzz cut, accentuated his sharp cheekbones and granite jawline. Her hero had light brown hair that touched the tips of his ears. However, the cheekbones and stubborn jaw…the same.

In a lot of ways, Chris reminded her of Sam Crown, her boyfriend at Chilton Academy nearly thirty years ago. Sam had been the love of her life, the man who’d created a cancer in her heart no other man had been able to cure. Returning to her hometown had stirred memories of their ill-fated romance, and she’d embedded some of those details into her book. In doing so, in giving fictitious-Sam and fictitious-her a happy ending, maybe she could finally eradicate him from her thoughts.

She scooted her chair away from the dining table and evaluated the renovations. The noise and scenery inspired her. She wouldn’t leave the area despite the strong odors of glue and dust. She had to think of another job to keep her handyman on site after the current project ended on Friday. At least long enough for her to write twenty thousand more words. She hated the thought of her “hero” leaving before her book was finished.

The whirring of the motorized tool ended, and wood particles flew into her nostrils. A couple sneezes had her frantically searching for the napkin she’d left amongst the clutter on the table.

“Ms. McLeod?” Chris’ resonant voice matched his six-and-a-half-foot frame. The scent of man-sweat radiated from him, so unlike anything she’d become accustomed to over the course of her marriage. Jasper, her ex-husband, was the type of man to hire people to shift a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other, so she’d rarely seen him perspire. Not even after he’d played polo, but he’d sure been sweaty when she’d found him naked in their marital bed with his assistant.

She looked away from the carpenter’s sculpted upper torso, and he chuckled, his tools clanking and tingling. Oops. She hadn’t looked away quickly enough.

She lowered her gaze to the keyboard. “Yes, I’m sorry, Mr.—”

“Please, call me Chris.” He nodded to her laptop. “How’s the book coming?”

She glanced into his eyes. The blue-grays were so reminiscent of Sam’s. She had to get a grip on her overactive imagination. Would she see Sam’s face in everyone, all over town? One of her high school friends had told her Sam moved away, hadn’t been seen since the funeral.

“Ma’am?”

“Sorry. Great. Good. The best one yet.”

Chris looped a thumb through a hanging hoop on his leather utility belt. “I’ll have a substitute here tomorrow. My son has a doctor’s appointment, and I need to check on another project. Sam will manage the installation of the countertop. It’s a simple task. He’ll arrive around ten in the morning.”

“No problem.” Good God, even her old flame’s name came into play.

“The sub’s my dad.” At the mention of his father, pride splashed across his roughened features. “He’s a professor.”

“Architecture or construction?”

“He’s a math professor at West Indiana State University. He’s been teaching a reduced load of classes this semester and going stir crazy with nothing to do. This project came at the perfect time.”

She wanted to jot down notes about mannerisms. Some of his phrasing was priceless. She lifted scattered papers and searched for an ink pen. Finding one, she slid a glance at him, put ballpoint to notepad and quickly scribbled to get the ink to infuse.

“I understand that happens,” she mumbled. “Maybe he needs a hobby?”

Wiping his hands on a red, thin square towel, he smiled and showed off his pearly whites. “Oh yeah, a hobby would be good.” He pointed to her computer, the cloth waving like a banner. “Is that the type of book you write? Hobbies?”

Heat infused her cheeks. She’d just finished a sex scene for the vamp character. Nope, not a book about typical hobbies. “Not exactly. I—”

The ding of a cellphone sounded and a light shone through his jeans pocket. He dug the phone out and glanced at it. “Excuse me. I need to take this.”

The younger man swiped a finger across the screen, and after a few mumbled comments, glanced at her as he took a few steps into the corridor. He wouldn’t have privacy in the Echo Wall hallway.

Alyson put the pad of paper in front of her keyboard and focused on the computer screen.

“Dad, Mrs. Clydesdale called and said you ditched her.” He paused.

She leaned forward, wanting to know more. Might be useful information for her book.

“Yes, she does look like her name, but you can’t keep dating women one time and…” Chris exhaled. “No, I don’t want to hear about that aspect of your life. I know. I’ll meet you at the usual place. Someday maybe we could meet at a coffee shop instead. Yeah, I miss her too. I’ll be on time.”

Alyson choked back a chuckle and lowered her laptop’s screen. In her own style of shorthand, she jotted notes. Busy trying to catch up from the previous interaction, she failed to hear more of the conversation. Usually, she couldn’t care less about other people’s phone discussions, but for some reason, the dialogue between Chris and his father had piqued her interest.

“Time to leave?” she asked when he returned.

“Yeah, something came up with my dad.” He tucked his phone back inside his pocket.

She smiled, hoping to reassure him she hadn’t overheard his conversation, at least not all of it. “I understand about complicated families.”

He nodded. “Oh, I forgot you’re a widow too, so you understand. Even after a year and a half my father’s adapting. He and my mother were really tight.” Chris packed up his tools. He slid screwdrivers into the loops of his utility belt and plunked heavier items into the metal toolbox.

She didn’t want to correct him about her single status. Perhaps her brother, Grayson, had declared her a widow. He’d arranged the construction company. Maybe Grayson didn’t want his friends to find out she’d left her husband. Divorcees had their own set of barriers and stigmas.

She dreaded the questions, the ones her friends would ask. From her experience, people were either predominately nosy or, the polar opposite, caring.

Chris looked barely twenty years of age, too young to lose a parent. Then again, maybe his parents had him later in life.

He returned to the table. Tools were no longer distributed throughout the kitchen. A sudden sense of loss snatched the warmth from her.

She slid the notepad forward. “I’m sorry about your mother. How did she pass?”

Chris hoisted his toolkit. “Cancer. She was an amazing woman.” His cell phone dinged. “Dad—Sam—will be here tomorrow around ten to do prep work and accept the delivery of the countertops.” He nodded toward the panel truck in the driveway, visible through the kitchen window. On the side, “Stiles Construction and Remodeling” was written in bold black letters over a sun rising on a blue sky. A ladder sat on top. “But we’ve remodeled a couple of kitchens, so he has skills.”

“Okay, thanks. I look forward to meeting Sam.” She stood, wishing she’d made more notes about the way Chris talked, some of the charming language he’d used and his magnificent facial expressions, but she always had next time.

* * * * *

The next day, Alyson tossed clothing on her king-sized bed. She’d collected a lot of designer eveningwear during her ten years of marriage. She selected a dress for the upcoming Wish Upon a Star charity event but added most of her gowns to the donation pile. She probably wouldn’t use formal attire as often now that Jasper was no longer dragging her to one black-tie affair after another.

With a smaller closet, she should have thinned out the older garments before moving back to Indiana. She’d donate the unused clothing to a local woman’s shelter. From the height of the pile, she’d need a truck to transport them. Most of the dresses could be converted into casual wear or business attire if their new owners were so inclined.

Dressed in her camisole and panties, she tried on summer outfits to determine if she needed new sizes. She didn’t want to think her hips had expanded or back fat had appeared. As a realist, she understood changes occurred in a woman’s body as she aged, but she didn’t want to admit she couldn’t keep a husband or that she’d gained weight in all the wrong places.

A knock sounded on the front door.

She glanced at the oversized medallion clock. Nine. Chris’ dad wasn’t due to arrive for another hour.

Her sleek emerald robe hung off the edge of a beige barrel table. She grabbed it and slid her arms into the sleeves as she scurried down the hallway and into the dining room. She bypassed the security panel and eased the white plantation shutter open to peer outside.

Her heart thudded to a stop. “Sam,” she whispered, not truly believing what she was seeing.

The man on the porch was Sam. Her Sam. The love she’d never been able to forget. The one–who’d broken her heart over two decades earlier.

You don’t meet Christina in the excerpt. She’s learning how to cleanse her soul in heaven. Yeah, she was a bad girl and oh so full of character. I can’t wait for you to meet her.

Considering the characters, the plot, and the setting we came up with the title Last Chance at Love, because it might very well be the last chance for Sam and Alyson to rekindle their romance.

Let me know what you think about the title…and the story.

Here’s the cover. Do you think it goes along with the title?

IMG_0373

Where to buy:

Last Chance at Love

http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Kobo

Cobblestone Press Inc.

BN-Nook

http://www.jj-keller.com

Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

WORDPRESS https://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

BLOGSPOT http://jjkeller.blogspot.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

Last Chance at Love October 2015

 The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love&

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint. 

All rights reserved.

Last Chance at Love

LatChanceAtLove-150x225

When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

All Romance Ebooks

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Kobo

Cobblestone Press Inc.

iBookstore

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BN-Nook

EXCERPT:

Alyson swung her attention from her laptop to the handyman bent over the kitchen cabinet. Chris’ powerful, flawless arms enabled him to wield the screw gun like a pro, and durr, durr, durr added a pleasant melody to the room.

The maple cabinets had been an impulse purchase, but she rather liked how the lighter color made the space appear larger. A bonus to having her kitchen updated, Chris modeled the hero in her current book. His white T-shirt pulled taut across his broad shoulders as he stretched to secure a bolt from a toolbox a foot away.

Jeans sheathed his tight, perfectly formed rear. His thick thighs enabled Chris to lift heavy pieces of lumber while her hero’s enabled him to hold the heroine against the wall during a hot, sexy, clandestine encounter. Chris’ dark blond hair, styled in a buzz cut, accentuated his sharp cheekbones and granite jawline. Her hero had light brown hair that touched the tips of his ears. However, the cheekbones and stubborn jaw…the same.

In a lot of ways, Chris reminded her of Sam Crown, her boyfriend at Chilton Academy nearly thirty years ago. Sam had been the love of her life, the man who’d created a cancer in her heart no other man had been able to cure. Returning to her hometown had stirred memories of their ill-fated romance, and she’d embedded some of those details into her book. In doing so, in giving fictitious-Sam and fictitious-her a happy ending, maybe she could finally eradicate him from her thoughts.

She scooted her chair away from the dining table and evaluated the renovations. The noise and scenery inspired her. She wouldn’t leave the area despite the strong odors of glue and dust. She had to think of another job to keep her handyman on site after the current project ended on Friday. At least long enough for her to write twenty thousand more words. She hated the thought of her “hero” leaving before her book was finished.

The whirring of the motorized tool ended, and wood particles flew into her nostrils. A couple sneezes had her frantically searching for the napkin she’d left amongst the clutter on the table.

“Ms. McLeod?” Chris’ resonant voice matched his six-and-a-half-foot frame. The scent of man-sweat radiated from him, so unlike anything she’d become accustomed to over the course of her marriage. Jasper, her ex-husband, was the type of man to hire people to shift a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other, so she’d rarely seen him perspire. Not even after he’d played polo, but he’d sure been sweaty when she’d found him naked in their marital bed with his assistant.

She looked away from the carpenter’s sculpted upper torso, and he chuckled, his tools clanking and tingling. Oops. She hadn’t looked away quickly enough.

She lowered her gaze to the keyboard. “Yes, I’m sorry, Mr.—”

“Please, call me Chris.” He nodded to her laptop. “How’s the book coming?”

She glanced into his eyes. The blue-grays were so reminiscent of Sam’s. She had to get a grip on her overactive imagination. Would she see Sam’s face in everyone, all over town? One of her high school friends had told her Sam moved away, hadn’t been seen since the funeral.

“Ma’am?”

“Sorry. Great. Good. The best one yet.”

Chris looped a thumb through a hanging hoop on his leather utility belt. “I’ll have a substitute here tomorrow. My son has a doctor’s appointment, and I need to check on another project. Sam will manage the installation of the countertop. It’s a simple task. He’ll arrive around ten in the morning.”

“No problem.” Good God, even her old flame’s name came into play.

“The sub’s my dad.” At the mention of his father, pride splashed across his roughened features. “He’s a professor.”

“Architecture or construction?”

“He’s a math professor at West Indiana State University. He’s been teaching a reduced load of classes this semester and going stir crazy with nothing to do. This project came at the perfect time.”

She wanted to jot down notes about mannerisms. Some of his phrasing was priceless. She lifted scattered papers and searched for an ink pen. Finding one, she slid a glance at him, put ballpoint to notepad and quickly scribbled to get the ink to infuse.

“I understand that happens,” she mumbled. “Maybe he needs a hobby?”

Wiping his hands on a red, thin square towel, he smiled and showed off his pearly whites. “Oh yeah, a hobby would be good.” He pointed to her computer, the cloth waving like a banner. “Is that the type of book you write? Hobbies?”

Heat infused her cheeks. She’d just finished a sex scene for the vamp character. Nope, not a book about typical hobbies. “Not exactly. I—”

The ding of a cellphone sounded and a light shone through his jeans pocket. He dug the phone out and glanced at it. “Excuse me. I need to take this.”

The younger man swiped a finger across the screen, and after a few mumbled comments, glanced at her as he took a few steps into the corridor. He wouldn’t have privacy in the Echo Wall hallway.

Alyson put the pad of paper in front of her keyboard and focused on the computer screen.

“Dad, Mrs. Clydesdale called and said you ditched her.” He paused.

She leaned forward, wanting to know more. Might be useful information for her book.

“Yes, she does look like her name, but you can’t keep dating women one time and…” Chris exhaled. “No, I don’t want to hear about that aspect of your life. I know. I’ll meet you at the usual place. Someday maybe we could meet at a coffee shop instead. Yeah, I miss her too. I’ll be on time.”

Alyson choked back a chuckle and lowered her laptop’s screen. In her own style of shorthand, she jotted notes. Busy trying to catch up from the previous interaction, she failed to hear more of the conversation. Usually, she couldn’t care less about other people’s phone discussions, but for some reason, the dialogue between Chris and his father had piqued her interest.

“Time to leave?” she asked when he returned.

“Yeah, something came up with my dad.” He tucked his phone back inside his pocket.

She smiled, hoping to reassure him she hadn’t overheard his conversation, at least not all of it. “I understand about complicated families.”

He nodded. “Oh, I forgot you’re a widow too, so you understand. Even after a year and a half my father’s adapting. He and my mother were really tight.” Chris packed up his tools. He slid screwdrivers into the loops of his utility belt and plunked heavier items into the metal toolbox.

She didn’t want to correct him about her single status. Perhaps her brother, Grayson, had declared her a widow. He’d arranged the construction company. Maybe Grayson didn’t want his friends to find out she’d left her husband. Divorcees had their own set of barriers and stigmas.

She dreaded the questions, the ones her friends would ask. From her experience, people were either predominately nosy or, the polar opposite, caring.

Chris looked barely twenty years of age, too young to lose a parent. Then again, maybe his parents had him later in life.

He returned to the table. Tools were no longer distributed throughout the kitchen. A sudden sense of loss snatched the warmth from her.

She slid the notepad forward. “I’m sorry about your mother. How did she pass?”

Chris hoisted his toolkit. “Cancer. She was an amazing woman.” His cell phone dinged. “Dad—Sam—will be here tomorrow around ten to do prep work and accept the delivery of the countertops.” He nodded toward the panel truck in the driveway, visible through the kitchen window. On the side, “Stiles Construction and Remodeling” was written in bold black letters over a sun rising on a blue sky. A ladder sat on top. “But we’ve remodeled a couple of kitchens, so he has skills.”

“Okay, thanks. I look forward to meeting Sam.” She stood, wishing she’d made more notes about the way Chris talked, some of the charming language he’d used and his magnificent facial expressions, but she always had next time.

* * * * *

The next day, Alyson tossed clothing on her king-sized bed. She’d collected a lot of designer eveningwear during her ten years of marriage. She selected a dress for the upcoming Wish Upon a Star charity event but added most of her gowns to the donation pile. She probably wouldn’t use formal attire as often now that Jasper was no longer dragging her to one black-tie affair after another.

With a smaller closet, she should have thinned out the older garments before moving back to Indiana. She’d donate the unused clothing to a local woman’s shelter. From the height of the pile, she’d need a truck to transport them. Most of the dresses could be converted into casual wear or business attire if their new owners were so inclined.

Dressed in her camisole and panties, she tried on summer outfits to determine if she needed new sizes. She didn’t want to think her hips had expanded or back fat had appeared. As a realist, she understood changes occurred in a woman’s body as she aged, but she didn’t want to admit she couldn’t keep a husband or that she’d gained weight in all the wrong places.

A knock sounded on the front door.

She glanced at the oversized medallion clock. Nine. Chris’ dad wasn’t due to arrive for another hour.

Her sleek emerald robe hung off the edge of a beige barrel table. She grabbed it and slid her arms into the sleeves as she scurried down the hallway and into the dining room. She bypassed the security panel and eased the white plantation shutter open to peer outside.

Her heart thudded to a stop. “Sam,” she whispered, not truly believing what she was seeing.

The man on the porch was Sam. Her Sam. The love she’d never been able to forget. The one who’d broken her heart over two decades earlier.

jj

http://www.jj-keller.com

Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

WORDPRESS https://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

BLOGSPOT http://jjkeller.blogspot.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

Last Chance at Love October 2015

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