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December 8, 2017

Mistletoe Kisses — annual Romance Tips from Cover Models and Authors and my TBR List paired with Holiday Martinis. Plus Giveaway Gifts!

By Kate Allure and friends

Is it just me, or does every year seem to fly by quicker, faster, swifter, as if the planet is spinning ever more rapidly?

It’s not. In truth, the earth spins a fraction of a fraction of an infinitesimally miniscule amount slower—about 20 millionth of a second slower every year—but to me it doesn’t feel that way. And that’s a good thing. Stuff is happening and life is exciting. Never a dull moment, as they say.

But in the mix of that, sometimes the most important things get lost. Romance gets lost. Taking a mere 30 seconds to hug or kiss your mate gets pushed aside in favor of putting groceries away or meeting the next urgent deadline. I’m blessed to have deadlines…it means I’ve got stories that are being published, like my most recent Bed & Breakfast & BONDAGE 2.

This holiday season I want everything to slow down. I want to savor the moments. I want to read a good book, or two, or three. They’ll be romances, of course. And I want to spend time with my guy. I want mistletoe kisses—and hopefully that's just start of something great.

I urge all of you to get some mistletoe. Hang it up. And grab your loved one for a nightly kiss...and then some. I fell in love with this sparkling mistletoe pictured above and couldn’t resist. I prefer natural stuff but sometimes...

So, essential decorations, check.

Romance Tips — Hot cover models make our romance covers smolder, and now they offer some ideas for making your holidays sweetly hot too.

Let me introduce you to Vikkas Bhardwaj. I think he’s a romantic at heart and a good grandson too!

I asked him what was the most romantic thing he’d done around the holidays, and he said, “I think not just the holidays but all year around, on special religious or holiday seasons I used to take a flight from Bombay to Delhi and surprise my grandmothers by being there and spending time with them. (May they rest in pace)."

As for the sexiest thing he’s done around the holidays, he says, “I went to the beach in swimwear with 4 hot models and shot for covers in the cold water. Trust me that was fun and wild.”

Lastly, by way of a romance tip, I asked him what naughty or romantic thing he wished a partner would do to surprise him? His response: “Book a flight and take me to a secluded island where we can romance each other all day and all night.”

While not many of us can jet set to a secluded island for romance, the basic idea is wonderful. Surprise your mate with a day or a weekend away—alone. It can be wherever, as long as it is just you two with no responsibilities and no other people. Give yourself the space and time to re-experience your special magic.

Michael Foster is another swoon-worthy cover model I’ve met at book conferences. He got married last year and offers a romance tip for newlyweds.

Says, Michael, “I think the most important thing newlyweds can do for the holidays is to drown out the white (Christmas) noise along with the hustle and bustle and spend quiet time together. I love to cuddle up next to the fireplace, turn on some soft Christmas music and unwrap my favorite present—my new beautiful bride.”

This is great advice and not just for newlyweds. Take a night off from holiday shopping, decorating, even watching the tube, and cuddle in front of a glowing fireplace or the sparkle of the Christmas tree. The chance to reconnect, even for just a few minutes, will go a long way toward making this holiday season meaningful to you and your partner.

So, romance tips…check.

Martinis and Holiday TBR List (books that are waiting…to be read). — Equally important during this busy season is to find a little “me time” and what better way than with a super story and a delicious drink. I’d like to introduce you to a few of my friends and their wonderful books. Plus, their choice for the perfect holiday libation.

First up, erotic romance author Jamie Schmidt. I got to know her a few years ago when we both did a public reading—my first—in New York City. A USA Today best-selling author of erotic romance, she agrees with Michael, saying, “The sexiest thing I like to do around the holidays is to make a boozy egg nog and put on the Yule log and cuddle with my honey. It doesn't relate to my writing at all, unless it’s to keep me relaxed and happy.”

Jamie has a favorite holiday drink invented by her hubby and appropriately titled, Triple X-O. It’s simple: .5 oz. XO Brandy, .5 oz. Moonshine (homemade or otherwise), 4 oz. Selzter, and 1 tbsp. Grenadine Syrup. Says Jamie, “Pour into a champagne flute and enjoy it with a cigar like Rory does on the cover of Hard Cover, or on it’s on while you’re curled up on a sofa like Dawn has in her bookshop.”

Here’s an excerpt from Jamie’s Hard Cover, which just came out November 21st:

He can read her like a book. But will he give her a happy ending?

Dawn: I’d do anything to keep my bookstore. It’s a safe place for all women, somewhere to let their freak flags fly. I call it sex-positive. The menfolk call it smut. That’s how I met Rory Parker, the local billionaire trying to shut me down on behalf of the “moral majority.” He walked in with an offer I couldn’t refuse . . . except I did. Now Rory wants to play dirty. Well, he picked the wrong bookseller. Let’s see how much support he still has after people get a load of the little movie I recorded of the two of us going at it like wild animals in my shop.

Rory: I couldn’t care less how Dawn Nolan makes her money. The only thing I care about is how much she’s making. Her bookstore isn’t the kind of upscale attraction my investors want in this sleepy little tourist trap, so it’s got to go. But when Dawn personally finds out how I treat bad girls who misbehave, she seems to enjoy it as much as I do. Now I just need to destroy the copies of that video she’s threatening to post—as soon as I stop watching it. The trouble is, when I’m with her, all I want to do is get started on the sequel.

Next up, is T.M. Cromer and her Burning Resolution. I asked what inspired her to write this story and she said, “About a year ago, on New Year’s Day to be exact, I started poking my belly and told myself I needed to get in shape. Scolded myself on my donut consumption. That was it. The idea came fast and furious. This book was created in six weeks, refusing to leave my head until it was finished. To date, it’s one of my favorite stories.”

Blurb: It's all fun and games until someone sets your world on fire!

Armed with a New Year’s resolution and a surly attitude toward physical fitness, Erica Sutton hires a personal trainer to whip her into shape. What she hadn’t bargained for was Zack Sharp - the owner of Workout World - assigning himself to be her workout nazi.

An obsessed admirer of Zack’s notices the attention he is paying Erica and sets out to remove the competition by any means possible.

Now, Erica and Zack are holed up, debating the merits of donuts, sex, and love while their crazy stalker sets out to light their world, quite literally, on fire. It’s a race against time to find their assailant before the relationship they’ve started to build is burned to the ground.

As for martini pairings, T.M. says, “If I had to choose, I would probably say the VEY-tini. It was a drink Barbara Vey created last year for her reader convention. I still don’t know what’s in it, but those things are nectar from the Gods. Prior to drinking this tasty delight, I would’ve said I wasn’t a fan of martinis. Now? Oh, hell yes! They are powerful. One provides the perfect buzz. Two will have you saying things you never thought you would reveal. LOL”

I contacted the founder of the ever more popular Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend and asked her to share the secret recipe. Barbara surprised me getting right back to me, saying, “I know it had pineapple juice and cake vodka. I think grenadine to add a little red color. My niece invented it. I just drank it.” So, if anyone has this yummy sounding recipe, please send it my way!

Finally, we have my friend and fellow RWA chapter mate, Marina Adair, an Amazon #1 national best-selling author. She has the perfect holiday read: Kissing Under the Mistletoe and the perfect holiday libation, the Smoretini. Make a pitcher full, as in this recipe, and you’ve got an instant party. Combine 12 oz. Vodka and 8 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur in a pitcher and refrigerate. Rim martini glasses with marshmallow fluff. Dip into crushed graham crackers. Place marshmallow on wooden skewers and toast over open flame. Pour 3 oz. drink mix into each prepared glass and garnish with toasted marshmallow skewer. Voila!

Here’s a little more information about Marina’s, Kissing Under the Mistletoe: Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.

Marina’s books are all very romantic, which—lucky for her—is sometimes carried over into her private life. Remembering one holiday season, Marina says, “The most romantic holiday I’ve ever had, was when Big Sexy whisked me away to Victoria British Columbia to celebrate our very first Christmas. Between his large Italian family and my Southern Baptist family we had so many traditions we were drowning. So, he decided that we would make our own traditions in a new place. We spent Christmas eve dinner at Bouchard Gardens and Christmas dinner at the Empress Hotel. Twenty-some years later, it is one of the most romantic holiday seasons ever.”

Marina offers another great idea for couples. Make your own family traditions, whether big or small, and that way you can make the holidays something meaningful to just the two of you and give you special memories to cherish. What’s more romantic than that!

Lastly, Bed & Breakfast & Bondage 2. If you want a quick and steamy story that’s just the thing to get you into the holiday mood…in the bedroom (as they say in the old fortune cookie joke), may I suggest my latest release. It answers the question, what happens when an innocent B&B guest stumbles across a wicked BDSM dungeon in full swing and meets the handsome Dom in charge?

As for my favorite holiday beverage, it’s got to be the Sugar Plum Cocktail created by my special guy. It’s 1.5 shots raspberry vodka,* splash of lemon juice, splash of bar syrup, and a shot of dry vermouth. Then shake (not stir, of course) and pour into sugar-rimmed martini glass. Pour 1 shot of chilled Chambord liqueur slowly at the inside edge of glass (it will settle to the bottom). Lastly, garnish with lemon twist…and enjoy! (* Note: Ideally a dry, unsweetened, black raspberry vodka such as Belvedere or Core, or you can go the Full Monty and infuse—also called macerate—your own. It’s easier than it sounds. Belvedere sadly has stopped making this delicious vodka but it can still be found at on Wine-Searcher.com.

So, holiday TBR book list, check.

Martinis, check.

Giveaway Gifts—No, nothing that naughty as this male thong! But wait for my Valentine’s Giveway which will definitely be steam inducing. Meanwhile, we’ve got something even better…Books! Starting tonight at midnight (12/9/17), enter here to win one of 6 prizes: Kate’s Holiday Giveaway!

You could win ebook copies of my Bed & Breakfast & Bondage, the original; or Jamie Schmidt’s Stud; or one of three copies of T.M. Cromer’s Burning Resolution; or a signed print copy of Marina Adair’s latest release, Every Little Kiss.

Now that I’ve shared some great reads and romance tips for the holidays, I hope you have a truly memorable and loving Christmas season!

And don’t forget to grab your loved one and kiss him or her under the mistletoe!

~ Kate

 

 

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