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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sweet on Texas Blog Tour: Cristie Craig and Laura Drake and Giveaway

Meet Christie Craig, author of Texas Hold 'Em.

Christie Craig, an Alabama native, is an award-winning, multi-published writer, multi-published photo journalist, motivational speaker, and writing teacher.. Her non-fiction articles and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty RWA-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone. Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Her seventh humorous single title romance novel, published by Dorchester, will hit the stands in June 2010. Her non-fiction book, co-authored by Faye Hughes, released September 08, is The Everything Guide To Writing A Romance Novel and their second non-fiction book, a humorous self-help relationship book, Wild, Wicked and Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You Are in a Romance Novel is scheduled to be released December 2010. Craig's latest writing adventure is the sale of a young adult paranormal romance series, Shadow Falls Camp, that will be published by St. Martins Press in the near future.

Find Christie at:

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
A journey of humor with heart that includes duct tape and water guns.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
Those that make the reader laugh and yet still tug on the heartstrings. i.e. When Leah found out Austin had been lying to her, and she was so mad she refused to listen to him, so he was forced to tape her up, hog-tie style, and kidnap her.

If you could have dinner with any three authors (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?
Lori Wilde, because we’re friends and don’t get to see each other enough, Kathleen Brooks because we’re quickly becoming friends and I want to get to know her better, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips because I don’t know her at all, and I think we could get along really well because I absolutely love her humor. Oh, one more. (Hey, it can be a big party!) Susan Anderson. Love her work, too. She gave me a wonderful book blurb years ago.

What are you favorite types of stories to read?
I read across the board. But my favorite type of book to read is one that makes me smile, bite my nails, and makes me care. I want to feel as if these characters are my friends and I want to feel as if I know them inside and out. And while I want to feel the edge of suspense, I don’t want the book to be more about the evil or bad in the world than it is about overcoming it. One of my favorite movies in the last few years was White House Down. It was filled with action and bad guys, but also heroes you could root for, love, and didn’t mind seeing without their shirts. LOL.

Last question, are you working on anything right now?
Right now I’m working on Eternal, the second book in my Shadow Falls: After Dark series, which I write as C.C. Hunter for St. Martin’s Griffin. I’m also in the planning stages for another humorous romantic suspense.

As readers, what are your favorite types of scenes to read? What makes you take a book and move it up to your keeper shelf?

The last thing veterinarian Leah Reece needs is a man in her life. They're nothing but trouble-and not even the fun kind. But when her apartment is broken into and Leah suspects Rafael, her dangerous half-brother, of foul play, she can't deny she could use a little help. She just never expected that help would come with twinkling blue eyes and a sexy smile...

All PI Austin Brook wants is to nail Rafael DeLuna, the man who framed him for murder. He'll do anything for information-even lie about his identity to charm Leah, DeLuna's half-sister. But her sweet dimples and fiery spirit soon make her more than just his only lead. Leah becomes his every desire. As Austin closes in on DeLuna, it's clear he won't go down without a fight. Now the only way Austin can protect Leah is to reveal all of his secrets and risk losing her for good.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |


Austin heard the expletive and leaned a bit closer.

“Leah? It’s me, Austin,” he said, even though he’d seen the peephole go dark and knew she’d peered out.

“I’m not home.” It was little more than a murmur, but the words still traveled through the cheap- ass apartment door.

“You know I can hear you, right?”

“Shit!” Her voice carried again, and he grinned trying to imagine her expression when flustered. Did her soft brown eyes get a little darker? Did those pouty lips get a little poutier?

“I come bearing gifts,” he said, his mind envisioning her mouth.

“I don’t want any gifts.” Her tone sounded extra- defiant.

“I don’t like gifts.”

“Why wouldn’t you like gifts?” He leaned his hip against the door frame, genuinely curious. Every woman he’d dated loved gifts. At the beginning of every relationship, he always brought them gifts.

When she didn’t answer, he replied, “They really aren’t gifts. They’re . . . replacements. For the groceries I turned into roadkill. Please open the door.”
She opened the door, but not enough to be an invitation to come inside. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Yes, I did,” he said. How else are you going to trust me enough to tell me what I need to know? The thought brought tension in his shoulders. Or was the tension from feeling the punch of attraction again?

She’d changed out of her wine- soaked clothes. She wore a light blue T-shirt and a pair of gray sweats. Both fit her very well and showcased a body that was all curves.

“I was careful to get all the same items.” He held out the bag in his hand.

She stepped out a few inches, eyeing the bags. Her hair hung loose and locks of it kept shifting over her breasts.

“My frozen mushroom pizza?” Hunger flashed in her eyes. Her tongue dipped out and swiped across her bottom lip.

“Got it.” His gaze stayed glued to her mouth when she leaned forward and glanced inside the bag.

She looked up and smiled. “Wow. You must have felt really bad.”

“Because I got your mushroom pizza?”

“No”— she pointed inside the bag—“because you bought me tampons.” Her dimples deepened in her cheeks. “Never met a man who’d do that.”

“There’s always a first time. And a last.” Damn she was pretty. And in a refreshing way. Not made up, or artificial. Half the women he dated used clothes and makeup as a mask. This petite little feminine package before him wore no mask; there was nothing counterfeit or artificial about her.

She rolled her eyes. “You really didn’t have to do this. I didn’t blame you.”

He didn’t blame her, either. The realization hit. He’d thought he’d instantly dislike her. He thought every time he looked at her, he would think of the scumbag who’d framed him and cheated him out of sixteen months of his life.

But, nope. Right now he knew that she couldn’t help who her brother was, any more than he could help who his mother was. Or his father for that matter.

But that didn’t change anything.

If she knew where DeLuna was, he intended to find out. Just because he didn’t hold a grudge against her didn’t mean he didn’t hold one against her brother.

“The only thing I gave you an upgrade on was the wine.” He set the bag on the floor and pulled out the bottle of Cabernet from the other.

Temptation flashed in her eyes.

He couldn’t help wondering what else tempted her. “I have a couple of glasses in my apartment.”

She jerked her eyes up. The longing and humor vanished.

Glancing at the bag at his feet, she said, “I tell you what. I’ll take everything but the wine.”

“No. I mean . . .” He wasn’t accustomed to being turned down. “You sharing the wine with me wasn’t a condition. I just thought . . . since we’re neighbors . . .” He motioned to the door to his left.

“You live . . . there?” Her expression looked as if she’d just sniffed sour milk.

“Don’t worry, I’m a good neighbor. No loud music, no wild parties.” And as soon as I get the info I need, I’ll never bother you again. His gut tightened. “I’m just new in town and thought . . .”

“I’m not interested in . . .” She paused.

“Conversation?” he finished for her. “Because that’s all I was asking for.”

She bit down on the edge of her bottom lip and studied him. “Gay?”

“What?” he asked, certain he’d misunderstood.

“Are you gay?”

“No! Hell, no. Not even a little bit. I meant . . . I wasn’t looking . . . I just wanted . . .”

She leaned closer. “Keep your eye out for the woman who lives in two-oh-six and the one in two hundred. Both blondes, they have guys come and go all the time, so I know they are open to”— she shrugged—“conversation.”

“You’re difficult,” he said, not even meaning to state it out loud.

“And you’re pushy,” she said, pursing her lips into a tight bow.

He frowned. “Because I asked you to share a glass of wine with me?”

“No. Because I refused your offer and you can’t accept it.”

“I can accept it.” He just didn’t like it.

“Good. Then enjoy the wine.” She nodded at the bottle and reached for the other bag.

“No,” he said, getting more agitated, “the wine stays with the pizza.” He leaned down and snatched up the other bag before she did, and placed the bottle inside. Then he handed both bags off to her. “Take it.”

She did but didn’t look happy. “See, you’re pushy.”

“And you’re still difficult,” he answered back. But then he spotted the grin flashing in her eyes and couldn’t stop himself from laughing. The sound of her laugh followed his and had her dimples winking at him. He got the oddest desire to touch her cheek. Since when had he enjoyed arguing with a woman?

“Okay,” she said, her smile still on her lips. “I’ll be the bigger person and say thank you.”

He quirked another brow at her. “But you still won’t share it?”

“Nope.” She didn’t even hesitate. “But I’m still the bigger person.”

Meet Laura Drake, author of Nothing Sweeter.

Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she's always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100.

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She's an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals.

Laura now lives in California with her family. She is hard at work on her next novel.

Find Laura at:

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
A city girl with a secret past, a conflicted old-fashioned cowboy fall in love, and, with his gay brother start a business, ‘Total Bull’. But how can that work?

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
The funny scenes. There’s one in Nothing Sweeter, where Max, the hero, has to ride a cow. Not a bull, a cow. He ends up face first in a pile of bull– er - cow droppings.

If you could have dinner with any three authors (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?
Only three? Ugh. That’s hard! Okay, but know that I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night and smack myself for forgetting one…
  • Mark Twain. I wouldn’t be able to eat for laughing
  • Ayn Rand. Dinner wouldn’t be enough time.
  • Stephen King. Just because I’ve been a huge fangirl my whole life.
What are you favorite types of stories to read?
A cross between Women’s Fiction and Romance. I like meaty issues, but I’ve got to have my HEA!

Last question, are you working on anything right now?
If I’m breathing, I’m writing! I just turned in the second book of my small town, Widow’s Grove Series, and am starting the next. It involves a woman who inherits a winery, so the research is going to be hard to take (NOT!)

Why are you sweet on cowboys? For me, it’s their old-world manners. Okay, it’s the Wranglers in chaps, too!

Aubrey Madison is starting over. Leaving Los Angeles and everything behind except the scars of her ruined past, Bree sets out for cowboy country. Now she has a new home, a new job-and a new worry: the ruggedly sexy rancher who makes her long for things she shouldn't . . .

Rough and tumble cattleman Max Jameson has broken wild stallions and faced angry bulls. Yet the redheaded city cupcake who turned up at the High Heather Ranch might be his undoing. Bree has a plan to rescue the ranch from foreclosure that's just crazy enough to work. But will Max gamble his future on a beautiful stranger?

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |



When he looked up, the brightness of the barnyard almost blinded him, but there was no mistaking the sleek feminine line of those long legs.

“Can you tell me where I can find your manager?”

He had to give her credit. Though she avoided the reeking mess in the aisle, she neither minced steps nor held her nose, glancing into each stall she passed.

Creamy skin and high cheekbones spoke of good bloodlines. Curly hair the color of a chestnut’s mane floated around her shoulders. Damn, red hair wasn’t a dominant gene. So why did it keep cropping up in his life?

Sweet Jesus. He winced. When he realized he was staring at the angry scar on her graceful neck— and noticed that she noticed— he moved on to the fancy Saturdaynight-go-to-town shirt. He propped the pitchfork against the stall door and wiped his hands on the seat of his jeans.

“You found the manager. Are you here about boarding your horse?”

“No, sorry.” She pulled a folded newspaper from her back pocket. “I read you were looking for a groom,” she said in a perky interview voice.

In that getup? He gestured to the corridor. “As you can see, we need one.”

She put out a slim hand. “Aubrey Tanner.”

“Max Jameson.” Taking her hand, he let his eyes roam from the shiny new boots on up. “It’s not a job you’ll want.” This is a waste of time, but I need a break. The scent of fresh lemon drifted to him. And she smells a damn sight better than manure. Besides, he could use this as practice for that kinder- and- gentler thing. “Sorry. Strike that. Let’s go sit.” He turned and led the way to the doorway in the center of the building.

They had to cross the tack room to get to the office. Dusty saddles straddled sawhorses, and more lay sprawled on the dirty tile floor. A few bridles hung from pegs, but he didn’t even want to know what was in the pile in the corner, a snake’s nest of dirty leather.

The office wasn’t much better. He lifted a stack of battered Western Horseman magazines from the folding chair beside the WWII- era metal desk. He gestured for her to have a seat and then walked behind it.

“Our last groom ran out on us. Literally.” The torn leather chair let out an alarming squeal when he dropped his butt in it.

She perched at the edge of the metal chair. “I worked as a groom at an English riding stable on the outskirts of Phoenix for four years.”

“This is a working cattle ranch as well as a boarding barn. Our groom fills in as a cowhand during branding, castrating, and such. It’s not a job for a woman.” Especially another good- looking redhead. The last one about did me in.

She leaned forward, her back fence-pole straight. “I can handle myself around animals, and I’m stronger than I look.”

His interest caught on the frayed-wire undertone of desperation in her voice. Why so twitchy and nervous for a job as a stable hand? While she recited her skills, he studied her. Those smooth hands weren’t kin to manual labor. Her delivery was straightforward, yet she was clearly hiding something. She dressed like a rich client, yet she wanted a groom’s position. The red hair reminded him of Jo, but nothing else did. A trickle of interest seeped into a tiny crack in his wall of chronic vexation.

She finished and sat looking at him, chin thrust forward.

“Okay.” He lifted himself from the rickety chair. “Let’s see what you can do.”

Her brows scrunched. “Okay.” She stretched the word like warm taffy.

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 copy of Texas Hold 'Em, Nothing Sweeter + Swag

To Enter: 
  • Please answer Christie and Laura's questions: 
    • Why are you sweet on cowboys? For me, it’s their old-world manners. Okay, it’s the Wranglers in chaps, too! 
    • As readers, what are your favorite types of scenes to read? What makes you take a book and move it up to your keeper shelf?
  • US shipping ONLY.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Forever Romance sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Whoo-hoo, Laura! I'd saddle up to dinner with Stephen King with you!

  2. I love cowboys for pretty much the same reason! They are just so sweet and polite! Of course there's usually that little bit of alpha streak to them that's nice! ;)
    I don't know that I have a favorite type of scene really. I like it when the couple aren't immediately drawn to one another....or at least they think they aren't but we know different! ;)

  3. Well, as for the cowboys, I would have to say the laid back drawl & swagger. As for my favorite scenes in books, it would be the first kiss, first love scene and/or first declaration of love. Swoon!

  4. Cowboys have charm and manners! Plus, they know when to take control and when to let it ride. ;-)

  5. I like them for their manners and alpha factor, I think it's fun. First favorite scenes? The bickering, the tension scenes, always fun!

  6. I like that they are rugged, a bit untamed.

  7. Definitely the wranglers but the charm and swagger are pretty nice too! I like the scenes were they are finally honest. Letting down all the walls and just letting the honesty flow.

  8. focus on family

    good writing and characters

  9. Why are you sweet on cowboys? I love to read about the lifestyle. I enjoy reading about things that aren't like my life.
    As readers, what are your favorite types of scenes to read? I love interactions between friends and family. I love the moment when the love in the family is so clear.
    What makes you take a book and move it up to your keeper shelf? My keepers are books that contain scenes or characters that speak to me or move me in some way.

  10. I've always loved cowboys (or boys on horses) - ever since John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Zorro, High Chapperal, Big Valley ....

  11. I guess it's because it so different than now.

  12. The well worn boots, the jeans (that are worn well ;-) ), the old fashioned manners - who needs more reasons?

  13. I love their confidence and swagger. :)

  14. I love cowboys because of their rugged lifestyle, the boots, hats, and jeans.
    My favorite types of scenes to read are ones where the characters make an emotional connection. A book that has a good bit of action grabs me as well, more than just lots of sitting around talking, where I make a connection with the characters. That's what makes me hold on to a book and move it up to my keeper shelf.

  15. I also like cowboys b/c of there "old fashion" values :) I like scenes with heart and snark :) Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Man riding a horse, in tight jeans with all those lean muscles. That's why I love a cowboy.

  18. I like their laid back attitudes.

    I always like the first kiss scene. The anticipation just pulls me in.