Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Anna Sugden | Exclusive Excerpt: HOT ON THE ICE
Author Guest / February 23, 2021

Lily reached behind her and held up a Ziploc bag. “I put these aside specially for you.” “Score!” Fist-pumping, Noah jumped off the stool and plucked the bag from her fingers. He then grabbed her waist and started twirling her around the kitchen. “You totally rock!” “Put me down, you idiot, before you injure yourself or me,” Lily laughed breathlessly. “Is this a private party, or can anyone join?” Dante’s tone was mild, but the brittle edge cut through the light-hearted atmosphere like a warm knife through cold butter. He stood in the doorway, his expression unreadable. Lily disentangled herself from Noah and stepped back to the counter, although she had no reason to feel guilty. Dante had no claim on her. Besides, there wasn’t the slightest spark between her and Noah. The man who made her pulse race wasn’t the one whose arms she’d just been in, but the one watching her with a muscle twitching in his jaw. She picked up the squeeze bottle and began icing again. Her hand shook a little, making the white lines of the ‘M’ a little wobbly. Unwilling to show how rattled she was, Lily gritted her teeth and continued with the…

Mara Wells | 20 Questions: PAWS FOR LOVE
Author Guest / February 23, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? PAWS FOR LOVE 2–What is it about? Danielle is dedicated to finding forever homes for retired greyhound racers and fancies herself something of a matchmaker when it comes to dogs and people. When her high school boyfriend comes back to town after fourteen years in the Marines, Danielle is determined to match him with a perfect dog, but it turns out it’s not the dog who’s his perfect match . . . 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  Living in Miami Beach for fourteen years gave me a real appreciation of Art Deco architecture and Mid-Century Modern design. I tried to infuse that love into the Fur Haven dog park series. I also love writing about what it’s like for a regular person like me to live in a place more known for its celebrities and excesses. There’s definitely the glamorous side to life on the Beach, but there are also days when people crowd the beach because there’s a major fish migration happening and if you stand in the water, the fish swim around you. And of course it’s understood that if you see a dolphin, you…

Sharon Sala | Exclusive Excerpt: SOMEBODY TO LOVE
Author Guest / February 19, 2021

Ava was still daydreaming about her lunch with Hunt and didn’t think to check the rearview mirror before heading home. It wasn’t until she was pulling up into her drive that she caught a glimpse of red and then a car pulling in behind her. When she realized it was Vince, her heart stopped. She had a moment of sheer panic, and then anger washed through her. The fact that he was an utter jerk was no longer in question. He was stalking her and it made her mad. She reached beneath the seat, grabbed the old baton her dad had given her years ago when she began working nights at the hospital in Savannah, and got out with it in her hand. Vince got out, holding up his hands in a joking I-give-up gesture when he saw what she was holding. “There are laws against stalking,” Ava said. Vince took a step toward her, grinning. “Aw, come on, Ava. I’m not stalking you. I just wanted to clear the air. I didn’t mean anything back at the grocery store. I was just surprised to see you and—” “You weren’t surprised. You were looking for me or you wouldn’t be…

Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup: BEST LAID PLANS by Roan Parrish
Author Guest / February 12, 2021

Thank you SO much for celebrating Valentine’s Day with us this week! We hope you discovered some great new books and will try a recipe or two that have been shared. Don’t forget to leave comments on the posts for chances to win amazing books by these wonderful authors. Today, Roan Parrish brings this roundup to a close with more about her book, BEST LAID PLANS and a recipe for decadent truffles! Best Laid Plans is the second book in my Garnet Run series, which features cozy, queer romances that take place in a beautiful small town. We met Charlie Matheson briefly in Better Than People, the first book in the series, which featured his brother, grouchy children’s book illustrator Jack. When Charlie Matheson’s parents died just days before his eighteenth birthday, he learned to fend for himself and take care of his younger brother, Jack. That included learning how to cook. He was always competent, but he never saw food as anything more than fuel to get him through the day, repeating the same five meals every week for the last fifteen years. When tattooed new arrival, Rye Janssen, inherits a house in Garnet Run, Wyoming, he brings much-needed…

Jenny Hartwell | Title Challenge: MY SWEET ENEMY
Author Guest / February 9, 2021

Thanks so much for having me on Fresh Fiction! My debut romcom, MY SWEET ENEMY, just came out yesterday, so I’ve been eating celebratory chocolate cake and toasting with some bubbly. I’m thrilled to continue celebrating here with you all! My enemies-to-lovers romcom features a sweetheart chocolatier and a stiff MBA competing in a reality contest for a position at a luxe chocolate company who find the only thing tempering their insta-hate is their heart-melting attraction. Bitter rivalry, sweet attraction! Oo la la! And here we go with the title challenge. M-My inspiration: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired this story of a gourmet chocolate company that offers 5 social media applicants an internship and a competition between them with the winner getting a high-level job. Y-Yummy treats: I adore chocolate, and there are a lot of scenes where the characters are eating truffles, chocolate bars, and other confections. My research at two local gourmet chocolate companies (with samples) was pretty amazing. * S-Stuck in a walk-in cooler: In my favorite scene, the hero and heroine get stuck in a walk-in cooler together and have to snuggle to preserve body heat. Why wear a sweater when a hunky man will…

Garrett Leigh | Exclusive Excerpt: UNFORGETTEN
Author Guest / February 9, 2021

Gus Billy didn’t throw up. He swallowed the pills I gave him and drank the tea, and when he was sufficiently buzzed, seemed to remember he hadn’t eaten since the mini doughnuts I’d forced on him that morning. How does he even live? I’d put away at least six sandwiches since then. “What do you want?” I asked, trying to ignore how much I was enjoying seeing him stretched out on my bed. “I can order something?” Billy shook his head, eyes hooded and heavy. “No. I don’t want you spending money on me, and I don’t have any. There must be something in the cupboards. I just remembered I bought other stuff that’s not in the fridge.” “What did you buy?” “Can’t remember.” “Okay…do you remember where you put it?” “Nope.” Truth be told, he could’ve bought a hundred different things and stashed them in my kitchen cupboards before I noticed. It wasn’t like I ever looked. Curious, I rolled off the bed and sloped downstairs. The fridge was as bare as I’d left it, but a scout of the corner cabinet revealed a squirrel store of baked beans, Super Noodles, and tins of tuna. I couldn’t imagine how…

Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup: HOPELESS ROMANTIC by Marina Adair
Author Guest / February 8, 2021

We are so excited to bring you the 2021 Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup! We have a fun week of great authors, awesome books, and delicious recipes to share to get you ready for Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating Galentine’s Day with friends or making a special meal with your significant other, these recipes are yummy and fun.  Today, Marina Adair is here to tell us more about her new book, HOPELESS ROMANTIC, and a great recipe for chili. . . While I love a good summer barbeque, nothing beats a warm bowl of soup and fresh baked bread on a brisk winter night. With the days getting shorter and the night longer, we tend to stay indoors. A good way to beat the cold-day chill is a home cooked meal of comfort food. For three generations, my family’s favorite winter meal is a pot of my grandmothers chili and warm cornbread—and I can’t forget the honey butter. I may have been corn in California, but with my family hailing from Arkansas and a live in grandparents, my upbringing was more the Clampetts than the Cleavers. I grew up on chicken fried steak, scratch biscuits smothered in white gravy. And that…

Naima Simone | Exclusive Excerpt: BACK IN THE TEXAN’S BED
Author Guest / February 2, 2021

Wiping her hands on a towel, Charlotte turned to Faith, smiling as the manager typed out a message so fast on her ever-present phone that her thumbs blurred. “What’d you need?” Charlotte asked. “You, your effervescent personality and beautiful face.” “Do you want me to clue you in on how pimp-ish that sounds, or are we just going to ignore it?” Char­lotte drawled, quirking an eyebrow. “Ignore it.” Charlotte snickered, then grinned. As she had been headhunted from the California restaurant where she’d been working, so had Faith, from her native San Anto­nio, to run Sheen. Faith had created a name for herself as a Jon Taffer in heels. Not that Sheen had been failing and needed rescuing when Faith had been brought on several weeks ago and prior to Charlotte’s hiring, but the owners had wanted to make sure their venture hit the ground running from the beginning. “Okay, give. I have nearly a full restaurant of hun­gry customers to feed,” Charlotte said, crossing her arms. “What’s up?” “What’s up is I just heard from a source who shall remain nameless that the food critic from the New York Voice magazine will be dropping by Sheen next Tues­day.” Astonishment…

Rachel Lynn Solomon | 20 Questions: THE EX-TALK
Author Guest / January 26, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE EX TALK 2–What is it about? THE EX TALK is a romantic comedy set in the world of public radio, about coworkers who pose as exes to host a show about dating and relationship—only to fall for each other as the show gains popularity. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I’m a born-and-raised Seattleite, and it’s a setting I really love exploring through fiction. I’ve always felt there’s a hopeful romanticism associated with the Pacific Northwest. One of my favorite scenes in The Ex Talk takes place outside of Seattle on Orcas Island, and without giving too much away, I will just say that there is only one bed. 4–How did your heroine surprise you?  At the beginning of the book, Shay comes across as a fairly put-together person: she has her almost-dream job, she owns a house, she has a support system. But as her layers are gradually peeled away, I was able to see that she’s not entirely fulfilled at work, she’s still grieving the loss of her father, and she’s scared to enter a relationship, as badly as she wants one, because she’s always…

Sasha Summers | My Top Five Favorite Country Music Artists
Author Guest / January 26, 2021

While I was writing SONG FOR A COWBOY (the whole Kings of Country series actually), I listened to a lot of country music. It helped get me in the mindset and set the ‘tone’ for each book. Of course, picking out certain songs turned into liking certain artists who then, sort of, ended up becoming character inspiration for the Kings family. How about we just dive right in, shall we? 1-Tim McGraw – “Don’t Take the Girl” and “Highway Don’t Care. I think he has a super sexy voice. Smooth and confident. He knows what he’s doing and he’s in his element. I sort of imagine Hank King, the patriarch of the family, as a mash-up between he and George Strait. Plus – the way he looks at his wife, Faith Hill, gives me the tingles. 2-Blake Shelton – “God Gave Me You” and “Mine Would Be You” Who doesn’t like Blake Shelton? He’s funny and handsome and down to earth and, of yeah, he can sing. I admit, I’m a fan of his ballads and I’ve listed to quite a few of them while writing Song for a Cowboy and the rest of the Kings of Country series. 3-Keith…