March 31st, 2016
It's the final day of March Madness! I'm so sad to see it go because we've had so much fun. However, I have been impatiently waiting for this day, this book, this author to come along for a moment. I've in-boxed and harassed her about this book to no end. Join me in welcoming, Chicki Brown and those sweet, sexy, Stafford Brothers!
Ladies, let's meet Nick Stafford, the baby of the bunch, if you can call him that. (Laughing naughtily). Don't forget to comment on this post to be entered into the giveaway!
Nick Stafford is the youngest in his family. He's recently graduated from medical school and finished his internship. Everything was going well for him until Cherilyn, his girlfriend of two years, starts hinting about marriage. The thought of adding more responsibility to the pressure he is already facing getting ready to take the last of his board exams and the nearly quarter of a million dollars in student loan debt already hanging over his head is too much. He breaks off their relationship.
Eight months later, he runs into Cherilyn at an event on the arm of another doctor, and she's wearing an engagement ring. Seeing her with another man stirs up a jealousy like he's never experienced before. Now all Nick can think of is how he can get her back.
Their glasses met once more, and then Charles declared, “We can’t forget about the beautiful women who were sweet enough to give us a boys’ night out.”
“Speaking of the ladies,” Charles said after they took a few minutes to look over the menu and ordered their meals. “Is mine the only one who became paranoid about her weight after she had a baby? Adanna is driving me crazy.”
Vic snickered. “Mona’s always been irrational about her weight, but I thought that came from all those years on the beauty pageant circuit.”
“Gianne could’ve used some extra weight, but since she didn’t give birth to ChiChi, that was a non-issue.” Marc savored the fresh fruit in his 925 Stripped Sangria, the only drink on the menu he was willing to ingest.
“I don’t see why any of them are concerned about their weight,” Nick added with a chuckle.
“These women can get crazy about that scale,” Vic interjected. “You don’t understand, since you like big girls.”
“I don’t like all big girls. I just like Cher.”
Vic shook his head. “That’s something I admit I don’t really get. That’s too much woman for me.”
Nick leaned back in his chair with a wide grin. “She’s gorgeous, man, and when you see all of that uncovered, it can bring a man to his knees.
“Truthfully, I believe he’s been blinded by those titties.” Greg pumped his open palms in front of his chest.
“And I have a theory about why he’s a breast man.”
Nick reared back in his seat. “Really? Let’s hear it, man.”
“According to Mama, all of us were bottle fed. Back in the day, women weren’t into doing things the natural way. He was the only one that was breast-fed.”
“Now that makes a lot of sense!” Marc agreed as he slapped his baby brother on the back and all of them howled.
“If you guys want an honest answer, the sex is so much better with a big girl,” Nick continued. “As the saying goes, there’s more cushion for the pushin’.” Nothing is worse than having sex with a woman who feels like she’s going to snap like a twig when it gets good and you’re stroking hard.”
“I have to admit I felt like that with Gianne at first. She was so frail after being sick, I was almost afraid I might hurt her.”
Greg cocked one eyebrow. “But it didn’t stop you, did it?”
“Hell, no!” Marc said with a sly grin. “I was just careful.”
Jesse used the topic as a segue. “Speaking of stroking, are you still declaring urology and men’s medicine as your specialty?”
“Sure am, but that might not even be an issue if I don’t pass the last part of my board exams.”
Vic leaned forward and folded his arms on the tabletop with an expression of concern. “Why do you think you might not pass?”
“I’m not ready.”
Charles frowned. “Do you mean you’re not ready because you’re nervous or because you haven’t studied?”
“Both, I guess. I can’t find a place to study when I get off from work. I need silence.” Two servers appeared with their food. He waited until they were done placing their meals on the table before he continued. “My place is like Saturday at Lenox Mall all the time. Everywhere else I’ve been is too distracting. The libraries close at nine, and they’re not quiet at all.”
“Where were you studying before?” Vic asked then realized he’d asked a rhetorical question. “Oh. Cher’s not playing, is she?”
“Not by a long shot, man. I need help with this last exam.”
The brothers exchanged surprised glances then bowed their heads and said individual silent prayers over their food.
“Look, Nick, you have to pass that test,” Vic said, once they opened their eyes. “We have plenty of extra space at my house. You can use one of our guest rooms to study. Mona won’t mind. Maite can make you something for dinner, and I can quiz you one evening a week.”
“So can I,” Charles added.
Jesse concurred. “I can help you too, but with the three kids, quiet is in short supply at my house. Why didn’t you say something sooner? More importantly, why don’t you tell your roommate to get his shit together?”
“I knew how busy you guys were, and I thought I could change Cher’s mind.” Thunderous laughter from the three married men underscored just how absurd his words were.
“Seriously, man,” Charles reiterated. “You pay half the rent, so why can’t you negotiate some kind of middle ground with Jay?”
Nick snorted. “Finding a guy to split the costs who wasn’t a wacko was hard enough. Jay and I have been roommates for years now. We’ve become good friends. I’d rather keep the friendship and find somewhere else to study.”
In a rare moment of humor and what appeared to be an effort to lighten up the conversation, Jesse said, “Since you’ve decided on men’s medicine, I guess you know they performed the first successful penis transplant in South Africa recently. They haven’t agreed on the official name for the procedure, but from what I hear, it’ll most likely be called an attachadicktomy.” Again, a roar rose from their group. Other diners turned in their direction looking as though they were dying to know what was so funny.
Nick gazed around the table at the faces of the men who were not only his blood but his personal heroes. For so long they had treated him as if he were still in middle school. His brothers didn’t trust him to make decisions and relentlessly teased him. It wasn’t until he graduated from college and got accepted into medical school that they started looking at him as an equal. No longer did they treat him like the baby of the family, even though he was.
He admired them for what they each had been able to accomplish in their professional lives, but now he found himself looking up to them for their successful marriages. They had different personalities. None of them dealt with their wives in the same way, but this was his brain trust when he needed career or personal advice. And he loved them with a fierce devotion.
BUY THE BOOK:
US link: http://amzn.to/1qi7bFc
UK link: http://amzn.to/1UUfALq
Contemporary women’s fiction/romance author Chicki Brown has been featured twice in USAToday. She was the 2014 B.R.A.B. (Building Relationships Around Books) Inspirational Fiction Author and also the 2011 SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) Author of the Year. Chicki was also a contributing author to the Gumbo for the Soul: Men of Honor (Special Cancer Awareness Edition).
A transplanted New Jersey native who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Brown still misses the Jersey shore, the pizza and the hot dogs.
Nia Forrester, Beverly Jenkins, Iris Bolling, Lisa Kleypas, and J.R. Ward are among her favorite authors.
You can reach Chicki here:
Amazon Central Author Page: http://amzn.to/l2kjXQ
Thanks for participating in March Madness all month long. Show your love for Chicki by leaving a comment and to be entered into the giveaway.
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March Madness, Xio Axelrod...
Hi, I’m Xio Axelrod. I write contemporary romantic fiction that often examines how and why we fall, and the decisions we make when we do. Both good and bad. My novel,l, Falling Stars, is set in Hollywood; a place not really known for its authenticity. Still, my guy and my girl find themselves on a collision course. They’re soul mates, if there ever was such a thing, but the circumstances…well…they’re far from ideal. I’m giving away a signed copy of Falling Stars. Enter to win!
Falling Stars Overview:
What if you met the right person at the absolute wrong time?
Val Saunders and Sam Newman are two Hollywood actors at opposite ends of their careers. Hers is skyrocketing while his never really took off. Fate brings them together when they’re cast as lovers on a steamy new television series. The on-screen chemistry between them is off the charts and when it spills over into a real life attraction, they find themselves in a situation.
Sam is an honorable man. He has been faithful to a toxic, Hollywood marriage for nearly half his life. He’s never strayed and isn’t about to start now, despite the fact that he is falling head over heels for his co-star.
Val’s worked hard to get her career on the path to the A-list and the last thing she wants, or needs, is a scandal. If only her heart and her brain were working with the same script.
Romance is an ideal. This is a love story. It explores the possibility of second chances and asks hard questions about duty, fidelity, life in the public eye, and the cost of being happy. Falling Stars is the beginning of a sexy, sensual, and emotional roller-coaster ride that reminds us that love, while not often easy, is always worth it.
Sam hadn’t been on the lot in days. Not since that day. Had he been avoiding her, or was she just being paranoid? She’d gotten used to everyone being on set, hanging around like it was one, giant clubhouse. When he didn’t come back after they filmed episode six, a whisper of panic shot through her. The little voice in her head told her that he’d known how attracted she was to him – a married man – and it had made him uncomfortable. She needed to talk to him. To apologize, to explain, just to say…something.
“Ugh, don’t be stupid, Val. He’s got a life outside of work.” She gathered her purse and the sack of freshly-baked pepperoni bread that she’d brought for the viewing. And opened the door just as Sam appeared at the bottom of the hill.
He stopped when he saw her.
“Here we go.” Val got out of the car and closed the door, leaning on it for a beat longer than needed. She took a steadying breath before turning around.
“Hi.” He slowed to a stop a few feet away from her.
“Hi.” She smiled, her pulse suddenly off to the races.
They stood there for a moment, saying nothing. Just staring. Sam ran a hand through his hair. He had a sexy, sorta Robert Redford thing going on, white button-down shirt, crisp jeans and tennis shoes. It was like seeing yet another side of the man. A more relaxed version. It suited him.
“Haven’t seen you for a couple of days, everything okay?” The sun framed his body, giving him an unearthly aura. Val shielded her eyes.
“Yeah…yeah.” He dismissed her concern, moving slightly to block the glare. “Just been busy. Had some stuff to do. Things to take care of. Karen, the usual.” Sam shoved his hands into his pockets and the gesture suddenly made him seem, at once, very young and very male. Val blushed. He knew.
“Please, Valerie, don’t. You don’t have to…I mean, I know what you’re going to say and I’m-“
“Sorry.” They spoke at the same time.
“Wait, what?” Confused, Val walked toward him. Sam took a half step back. He looked like a man that wanted to melt into the asphalt and disappear. “What are you apologizing for?” He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. A pained expression flashed across his face.
“Last week, at the shoot, we…I-”
“I hear they loved it.” She cut him off. Things were awkward. Val didn’t like awkward. She gave him her best, talk show smile. He smiled back and seemed to relax a little. “If one more person tells me how hot it was.” Val rolled her eyes. Just go with it, Sam. Please.
“Yeah, well, it was pretty believable. I think.” Sam’s laugh faded. Her skin began to itch under his gaze.
“Oh yeah, totally.” She rushed to agree. “I mean, I’m sure it looked that way.”
Val had to look away. This was excruciating. She pretended to find something interesting up in the trees. Their co-stars had gone on and on about how, together, they’d made the scene sizzle. Carla and the network execs were convinced that the ratings would go through the roof once America got a glimpse of TV’s hottest new couple.
All Val could think about was going into Carla’s house to watch herself fall in lust with Sam onscreen, in a room full of people. As much as she dreaded it, another part of her wanted to relive that day. See if it was as amazing as her memories.
“Acting,” Sam said, snapping her back to reality. “Genius!” He grinned, pointing one finger at the sky in exaggeration.
“Wow, I haven’t heard that one in a long time. My dad loves those old SNL sketches.” She laughed, some of the tension melting out of her body. She was almost convinced that Sam hadn’t shared in her insane, lust-crazed delusions. It was merely acting. Really superb acting. And, of course, his natural, physical response to stimuli. That’s all. Lucky him.
Somewhere along the way, Sam had begun to study her. Memorizing the way she twirled her hair when she laughed, the curve of her neck, the way her silver jewelry looked against her copper skin. He gazed at her for a moment longer than was proper. She practically glowed in her off-white sundress. He loved her in those. Her arms were bare. The contrast between the color of the fabric and the tone of her skin brought back memories of the last time he’d seen her. The lace of her intimates sliding across his fingertips, her flesh soft against his lips.
She was absolutely gorgeous. So full of easy confidence and in the prime of her life. Plum. Succulent. He smothered the sudden impulse to kiss her.
In the quiet of Carla’s tree-lined street, Valerie was studying him too. He couldn’t interpret the expression on her face but something moved behind her eyes that made his heart pound loudly in his chest. He needed to stop this fantasy. It was getting dangerous and could threaten his career. Valerie had been nothing but a professional, but he was behaving like a schoolboy. He briefly closed his eyes and bit the inside of his cheek. Penance for his betrayal of their innocent relationship. Valerie stepped closer, a concerned look on her face.
“Hey. What’s going on?” She placed her hand on his shoulder and he had to fight not to jump out of his skin. Determined to stamp his budding infatuation down as far as he could get it, he swallowed before speaking.
“I’m alright. Really.” He smiled tightly. “You?” He licked his lips and she inhaled quickly.
He felt himself drifting in. Her hand tightened on his shoulder. That spark, that fire, it roared to life. How was he supposed to go inside and watch himself fall all over her on screen? Watch as she kissed him, caressed him. The others would know, if they didn’t already, how far down the rabbit hole he had tumbled. He’d be a joke. A laughing stock. Deservedly so. But it wasn’t like he could walk away now. Valerie tilted her head as if she had read his mind.
“Shall we?” Too loud, man. Unsure of what she was about to say, he’d panicked. Valerie stopped mid-breath. Sam gestured toward the door and she nodded slowly. Giving his arm one last squeeze, she let go and walked past him. “Here, let me.”
He took the parcel of bread from her, offering to carry it while she opened the door and they stepped inside. Into the lion’s den.
Book Trailer ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=846AR2mU_zI
“Yellow” (Single from Falling Stars soundtrack) ~
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26175703-falling-stars
Buy Links ~
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fallingstars-1924176-149.html
About Xio ~
Xio Axelrod, is an award-winning author of love stories, contemporary romantic fiction and (what she likes to call) strange, twisted tales. She also writes erotica and women’s fiction. Xio grew up in the music industry and began recording at a young age. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages (under a different, not-so-secret name of course). She lives in Philadelphia with one full-time husband and one part-time cat.
Connect with Xio ~
Email Signup: http://eepurl.com/SunFL
Instagram: http:// http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/
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