Mandy Baggot Is Made In Nashville / @mandybaggot / #LLm

Hello all! Today, we’re featuring Made In Nashville, by Mandy Baggot. Read on for more about this great title and a free excerpt!

Made In Nashville

Made In Nashville

Author:
Genre: Romance
When a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it’s no longer just about the music. Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want? And who is really behind the anonymous gifts she keeps getting sent? More info →
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Excerpt

Hover over the excerpt and scroll to read the text…


Honor had smelt the alcohol on him when he’d taken the guitar from her hands. Biker boots on his feet, torn-up jeans with chains hanging from his belt and a black long-sleeved top under a leather jacket. He was at least a week unshaven and wore a baseball cap low down over his face. He didn’t look like he could afford a place to sleep let alone an expensive guitar.She watched him take a pick out of his pocket and then without any hesitation he began to play. Straight away the other guitars hanging on their hooks began to vibrate as Jared let fly. She knew her mouth was hanging open but she couldn’t help it. She’d never heard anyone play like that before. Not on stage and certainly never in the store. He had something special, something unique. It was grungy. It was bluesy. It was some sort of amalgamation of country and metal.

He took the volume down and smiled at her.

‘I couldn’t help hearin’ you singin’ there earlier. And it seemed to me that you were kinda fightin’ with the bridge,’ he started.

The mouth came up and her shutters went down. A cold, icy feeling spread from her boots, up through her body and ended in her shoulders. She flinched. He’d heard her sing. No one heard her sing now unless Countrified 103 played a track on their old school morning country show. Not that she ever heard it. She hadn’t turned on the radio in ten years. The only country music she listened to was piped through the store sound system and now it was as good as white noise.

‘Don’t get me wrong or nothin’. It sounded like a great song. It’s just you stopped right before the bridge and…you stamped your feet a little.’

‘It was nothing.’ She stuttered her words, giving away her apprehension.

‘Well, if it were my song I’d probably go for a long ripped-up guitar solo. But, bein’ as it’s not my song and you sound a little more traditional.’ He took off the electric guitar. ‘How about this?’

He grabbed an acoustic from the rack, put the strap over his body and started to play. Within a few seconds he paused, played again and this time added a line of lyrics.

 

And we couldn’t break through, no we couldn’t break through together

 

His voice had a gruff rock edge to it but the tone was tender. Something in her stirred. He’d just broken into song, in front of her, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. No hesitance, no awkwardness, just a line of music that fitted perfectly. She just looked at him, standing there in his shabby clothes, and waited.

 

I wasn’t enough, you were just too much for ever. So I’m leaving right now and I’m never coming back not ever

 

He was writing her song right in front of her eyes.

 

You need to let me go. It’s time to close the door

 

He strummed out the final chord and grinned.

‘I guess you had other plans for it. But, you know, if you like it you can use it. I won’t ask for any credit on the album.’

She stared at him, not knowing how to react. Who was he? How had he just written such a fantastic middle eight in two minutes? There was only one thing she could say.

‘Do you want the Gretsch?’

Café Munchies

What would Mandy Baggot order at our café counter?

My favourite cafe treat would have to be a bacon sandwich. Thick rashes on white bread with lots of brown sauce! I’m actually going to Nashville for the very first time in April 2016 and I can’t wait to sample pancakes and hot fried chicken!

Café Soundtrack

What music will be playing in the café today as we feature Made In Nashville?

Made in Nashville has it’s own playlist at the front of the book. Two of my all time favourites from it are:-

Sin Wagon by the Dixie Chicks

Kick it in the Sticks – Brantley Gilbert

Special Feature! Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot / @mandybaggot / #LLm

Good morning! We’ve got a special feature today from the lovely Mandy Baggot. It’s an excerpt from her new title, Truly, Madly, Greekly! Read on to learn more…

 

Truly, Madly, Greekly

Truly, Madly, Greekly

Sun, sea and a sexy stranger - a whole lot of fun just got a lot more complicated. Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn’t and everything fell apart… More info →
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Excerpt From Truly, Madly, Greekly

‘So, what do you think, so far? Is it the place? For my wedding?’ Lacey asked. She dragged her body into a sitting position.

‘It’s a beautiful spot. The mountains of Albania just across the water, the sea, the sand … not forgetting the water platform.’ She levelled a smile at her sister.

‘It’s pretty special,’ Lacey agreed, nodding.

‘But no matter how special the place, it has to be right. You and Mark have to be right.’ Ellen faltered on the last part of the sentence. This was so hard. How could she understand how Lacey was feeling? And what qualifications did she have for guiding her? Years trying to be the mother she really wasn’t. That was it. Nothing else. It was exhausting.

‘It feels like we’ve been engaged forever,’ Lacey admitted.

‘It feels like we’ve been planning the wedding forever.’

Lacey sighed. ‘I need to be sure that when the cake’s been cut and eaten … when the doves have been released and all the goody bags have been given out … when the disco’s playing “Run” by Leona Lewis … I need to be sure it still feels special.’

‘Volleyball! We have volleyball in five minutes over on the sand court!’
Sergei’s voice had broken into the conversation, booming the next part of the animation program through the microphone.

‘Lace, if you need the thought of a big wedding … if organising the party of your life is the only thing making your relationship special, then …’ Ellen started.

‘It isn’t … I don’t think. I’m just not sure how to be sure.’ Lacey stopped talking and put a smile on her face at the sight of Sergei striding towards them.

‘Why are you smiling at him like that?’

‘Like what?’

‘Like a drunk celebrity on Alan Carr: Chatty Man.’

‘Drink your drink. Good morning,’ Lacey purred as Sergei arrived next to them.

‘Good morning. How are you?’ Sergei’s eyes were fixed firmly on Lacey’s bikini top, his dark hair perfectly gelled back, sunglasses on his face.

‘All the better for seeing you looking so energetic and ready for action.’

‘Don’t stand too close, Sergei. She’s been vomiting since seven.’ Ellen put her empty cocktail cup down.

‘You have too much last night?’ he inquired.

‘Too much what?’ Lacey batted her eyelids.

‘Please! Just tell us what you’d like us to sign up for before I start being sick.’

‘Volleyball. In five minutes.’

‘Lacey’ll play.’

Within a couple of minutes her sister’s mascara would be running down her face and her hair would resemble Seal in his dreadlock phase. Surely that would make her less attractive to Sergei.

‘I won’t. I can’t. I don’t know how to,’ Lacey protested.

‘I teach you,’ Sergei assured.

‘Great. That’s you occupied. I’m going to see if they have space left on the coach trip.’ Ellen got up from the lounger.

‘What coach trip?’ Lacey asked.

‘It was on the board outside the restaurant.’ She began to gather her things up together. ‘Some place beginning with “S”. I’m not sure. I don’t care. It looked nice and it isn’t volleyball,’ Ellen stated.

‘But we’ve only just sat down,’ Lacey protested.

‘And until you’re ready to make decisions one way or the other about this wedding I’ll be in the place beginning with “S”.’

‘Well, what am I going to do?’

‘I don’t know. Just try not to get pregnant.’

 

Photo Courtesy: James Nash, Flickr Creative Commons via Share Alike Permission
Photo Courtesy: James Nash, Flickr Creative Commons via Share Alike Permission

 

Recipe of the Day

So Mandy kindly explained that she doesn’t have a coffee recipe for us, but asked if one of the cocktail recipes from the book would work. I don’t know, would it? Uh, yeah. I think so! So here it is!

Apricot Cooler

4 Drops Angostura Bitters
2 Measures Apricot Brandy
1 Measure Lime Juice
Top up Soda Water
0.5 Measure Sugar Syrup
0.25 Measure Grenadine

 

Music of the Day

Song inspiration? Well, it has to be the sound of the bouzouki and the Greek dancing to go with it. It captures the spirit of Greece and the atmosphere of the book. Here’s a taster to whet your appetite.

Breaking The Ice And A Knockout! @EmmaCalin / @mandybaggot

We’re getting a little rough and tumble at the Author’s Café today! Not only are with up for a little Breaking the Ice by Mandy Baggot, we’re also serving up a Knockout! from Emma Calin. Read on for great excerpts, super treats, and fab music!

 

Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice

Author:
Genre: Romance
Can Samantha save her job, save the Civic Hall and stop her panic attacks just long enough to give her away her heart? More info →
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Excerpt From Breaking The Ice

The air was cold but it felt refreshing as it hit her. Samantha skated round trying to emulate some of the moves she has seen performed earlier. The women had spun and twisted and turned without putting a foot out of place and, when they’d been lifted high in the air, they had held themselves with such poise. They’d been dainty and coordinated, things Samantha didn’t know the first thing about.

She skated on, gaining speed and relishing the feeling. She lifted one foot off the ice and straightened her leg behind her, copying a move from the Miss Saigon routine. She smiled to herself, She was shaky but she had tried it and no one had seen her. She felt like a naughty schoolgirl doing something she shouldn’t. It was unlike her, she didn’t do anything she shouldn’t, but this felt fun.

She was so busy racing back round the rink to try the move again she didn’t see Jimmy taking to the ice behind her. She pushed off, gained momentum and gingerly lifted her leg up behind her again.

‘Nice work,’ Jimmy announced, appearing at the side of her.

Samantha panicked, shocked at the sound of a voice so close to her. Her leg came down, she slipped in her desperation to stop herself and she landed with a bump on the hard, cold floor, jarring her back. Dainty and coordinated, hmm.

‘God, I’m sorry. I thought you heard me come on the ice. I didn’t meant to scare you. Are you OK?’ Jimmy asked, bending down beside her.

‘I’m fine. I was just being stupid. I’m sorry I was on the ice. I didn’t think anyone else was here,’ Samantha responded, getting quickly to her feet.

‘Just me and some guy on the bar. He let me back in. What are you still doing here?’ Jimmy wanted to know.

‘Cleaning up. Health and safety regulations. It all has to be properly disposed of,’ Samantha informed him.

‘I can imagine. So, are you going to keep me company? Stay a while?’ Jimmy asked her.

‘No. No, I should get going. Cleo will be wondering where I am,’ Samantha spoke, skating across the rink towards the exit.

‘I don’t think she will. She seemed rather attached to Jeremy. Said they were going for an Indian and then on to a club.’ Jimmy followed her to the edge of the rink.

‘You met Cleo! Oh, I’m glad. She’ll be so pleased. She thinks you’re fantastic,’ Samantha gushed, happy for her sister.

‘I didn’t have a lot of choice. She burst into my dressing room with two other women with really blonde hair. They screamed a lot and wanted photos,’ Jimmy told her with a smile.

‘That was Chantelle and Harmoney. They work with her.’ Samantha prepared to get off the rink.

‘Come on, don’t go. Skate with me a bit, tell me what you thought of the show.’

He had put his hand out and touched her bare arm.

 

Knockout! (Passion Patrol #1)

Knockout! (Passion Patrol #1)

Author:
Series: Passion Patrol, Book 1
Knockout! A romance novel with a twist of suspense that will take you on a roller coaster ride of passion, deception and love. More info →
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Excerpt From Knockout!

For a moment the box sat in the palm of his open hand. She watched his long dark lashes as his eyes studied it. Then he opened the box and at once the sparkle of the largest and most beautiful diamond reflected the light of the chandeliers in perfect rays as if he had opened a door from which the sound of a symphony filled the room. He slipped it on her finger.

“You are mine and I am yours,” he said simply, as his eyes embraced hers in a ballet that swept her up and possessed her in its grip.

She blinked at the platinum band set with a 5 carat princess cut solitaire diamond.

“It fits,” she mumbled stupidly, ashamed that she could not rise above banal confusion.

“I stole – borrowed – a ring from your flat to get the size. I was very bad.”

“It is so, so beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. ”

“Not beautiful enough,” he said.

“I can’t find the words,” she began.

“The magic word was ‘Yes’ – and you found it,” he smiled.

She looked away. How could she go on? How could she deceive him? She was his woman. She was a detective, a fraud and a liar. He was her man and she loved him more than her own life. A battle raged in her mind and heart. She retreated onto safe ground.

“You decided to marry me at my flat after one taxi ride and one night?”

“Oh no – I am a boxer Anna, I cannot wait that long to react. It was raining and I was standing in the street, I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and I knew that if I did not act, then it would be too late.”

She shook her head in wonder and disbelief. Could real life be like that? She looked at him – and knew that it was like that. Just like that!

“I must tell someone,” she said, bursting with joy, despair and the loneliness of her false life.

“Maybe your mother. You never seem to be in touch – but I guess you talk to them all the time about the business.”

It would have been the natural thing to do, but she had hardly spoken to her since she had rejected the family firm and had moved to London as a cop. Her mother had planned a life for her and it did not involve crime and violence. As she thought she realized that her time with Beaumont had reduced her own circle of friends down to zero. Judy was her closest confidante and it was by no means certain that she would approve.

“I’ll let it wait – I’ll just wrap myself up in you,” she said, focusing on the beautiful ring.

That night they made love tenderly, without urgency or complication, reaching out to each other like the roots of two seeds blown by chance and woven together as one. At around midnight they lay together in the moonlight. The window was a little open and admitted sounds from the street. In the distance voices and traffic spoke the muffled language of other lives. Somewhere close by in another apartment a sad saxophone played reflective moody late night jazz. If there had ever been a moment when she would have stopped time it would have been then – in the mellow moments of their after-love and their before-life. The great River Seine rippled and pushed on to the sea as the sun tip-toed the back stairs of the world climbing towards dawn across Paris. Maybe the morning light would never uncover two lovers hiding within the protection of each other’s arms…

 

Recipe of the Day

Emma Calin dropped me a line when I asked her about recipes. Here’s what she had to say!

As for coffee–well, I love all things coffee.  Last week I had my best ever cup of coffee! It was the most expensive cup I’ve ever bought –  It cost €9 (about $10, £6.50!). It was a simple cappuccino–strong, strong smooth coffee with a thick foam layer, served with a Bussolà Buranello.Check out the picture for a clue as to why it was so expensive…..

Emma also included a video. I am so jealous of this view!!

 

Here’s a yummy recipe to make your own Cappuccino right at home!

IMG_0138_2
Photo courtesy Emma Calin

You’ll need:

  • 1 double shot of espresso to your favorite cup
  • 4 oz. foamed milk

Add your foamed milk on top of the espresso as soon as foaming is completed.

Add sugar to sweeten.

 

Music of the Day

We’ve got some great music for you today! Let’s hear from the authors about their top picks!

Emma says:

It has to be Charles Aznavour singing ‘She’.  My hero is a hunky half-French half-American boxing champ whose father was a French poet.  He meets the heroine in the swirl of a London evening.  This song expresses his overwhelming emotion at seeing her. The London based movie “Notting Hill” features this song and I must confess it was playing in my head as I imagined Freddie tumbling over and over into a hopeless love for Anna at first sight. It’s a knockout song in any language.

 

 

Mandy says:

I think it will have to be Run by Leona Lewis. I can imagine Samantha and Jimmy ice skating to that one in the final scenes. It’s quite funny as that song is also mentioned in my upcoming release, Truly Madly Greekly. It’s quite atmospheric!

 

Leona Lewis Run from M.Pokora A. on Vimeo.