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About Dare to Hope:
She’s Betting on Love and the Stakes are High The “Crazy Eights,” eight women who have been friends for 30 years, have a powerful connection yet rarely see each other. At a pivotal time in their lives, they create a way to remedy this predicament, an audacious dare contrived to bring them together for weddings – each participant must get married within twelve months. The stakes are high. Win the bet and lose your heart; or lose the bet and perform a personally mortifying task. In the first of their stories, we meet Eliana, beautiful and brilliant, but starting over, focused on her career, not on some foolhardy dare. Longing for a family but recently divorced and on her own, Eliana sets her sights on a new job, a new home and accepting her single, childless status. Independent and determined, she has no idea that in less than six months she will both win and lose her heart’s desire. Jeremy Klein, genius engineer and inventor, is also making life changes. He’s sold his startup to a major medical device company, becoming President and CEO, and a billionaire before he is forty. Although he’s gun-shy about the dating game, Jeremy knows it’s time to apply his smarts, sex appeal and new-found success to finding true love. When Eliana meets Jeremy, they bond quickly. The couple has so much in common and a chemistry that sizzles. Winning Eliana feels like a fantasy come true to Jeremy. Their attraction is immediate and electrifying, and a one-night stand morphs into planning a future. But plans change. On track to wedded bliss, baby and all, Jeremy and Eliana are derailed by accusations that threaten their relationship, Eliana’s career and Jeremy’s future as CEO. Spies, lies, allegations and misunderstandings abound, threatening to destroy their happiness. That is, until those “Crazy Eights” get involved, scheming and manipulating to win Eliana her happily ever after. Can a group of determined friends help Eliana and Jeremy hold onto love? In the tradition of The Beguiling Bachelor Series, Madison Michael creates a romance series about independent and sassy women, sexy and successful men, true love, and lasting friendships. Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance Buy Links:
His grin was devastating up close – wide and welcoming, with a hint of naughtiness and the promise of shared pleasures. But it was his eyes, deep coffee brown and fringed with long dark lashes that were his best feature; piercing, intelligent and inquisitive eyes, trained on her.
Please, God, Eliana prayed quickly, do not let this man be the new sales manager. It would be lamentable if she had to keep him at arm’s length. He was the first man Eliana had felt drawn to since Nico. If she was honest with herself, he was the first man she had ever felt this attracted to so immediately. It was enough to make her believe in love at first sight or fate.
“Hi,” he stepped closer, ignoring the empty stool beside her to halt just inside her personal space. Usually, Eliana would have reflexively backed up, but she savored his closeness, the power emanating from his presence. Even in this stuffy bar, he smelled good – fresh, like soap and good whiskey. And up close, his eyes were more magical – a hint of gold dancing in their depths.
“Hi,” she responded on a breath, letting the single word hang there for a moment before adding “You aren’t in sales, are you?”
“Nope.” If he thought it was a strange conversation starter, he kept it to himself. “Engineering and design, although I have dabbled in sales. I could be in sales for you,” he offered in a voice smooth as brandy, redolent with sexual promise and a hint of curiosity. She laughed at his offer. “Are you in sales?”
“Yes, I am. I was thinking of what a crime it would be if you turned out to be my new boss. I’m meeting him tomorrow.”
“Jeremy,” he responded, extending his hand to shake hers. “Not in sales. Is your boss named Jeremy?”
“Thankfully, not.” Eliana extended her hand, savoring the moment as Jeremy wrapped his long fingers around hers. She noticed there was no wedding band as she admired the strength and length of his fingers, the fine hairs on the back of his hand, and his grip – warm and dry. His skin was soft over fine bone and healthy muscle. Everything about him captivated her. “Eliana.”
Jeremy seemed in no hurry to release her hand, but after several beats too long for politeness, Eliana pulled hers from his. “Is this seat taken?” he asked, already sitting down, not thinking twice about it. “Or perhaps that table against the wall? I am anxious to learn why you don’t know who you work with, Eliana.”
Eliana laughed and watched as Jeremy’s breath stopped. His every emotion was transparent, especially the desire flaming in his eyes right now. A passion she reciprocated. Wholeheartedly. She couldn’t remember such an instantaneous attraction. But with Jeremy, she felt electricity and lust move through her entire body, just from the touch of his hand and the sound of her name spoken in his rich baritone.
“Eliana,” he rolled the word around his mouth as if tasting a fine wine. “What a lovely name.” Eliana panties dampened. He was just saying words, but their underlying promise was undeniable. She wanted to be alone with him. She wanted to be naked with him. And all she knew was his first name.
Eliana nodded toward the table, questioning her sanity. She was sure about what this man wanted, but after only minutes, her body governed her head. Jeremy spoke briefly with the bartender, passed him a fifty like it was a single, and motioned for her to lead the way to the empty table. Before they had settled in their chairs, both had fresh drinks. Earlier, the bartender had responded to her beauty with decent service and half-hearted flirting, but he reacted with alacrity to the big tip.
“So, spill,” Jeremy directed, leaning forward on his elbows and putting his mouth dangerously close to hers. Just a few inches, Eliana imagined, and they could be kissing. “I am dying to hear your story. I want to know absolutely everything about you.” The way he lingered on the word ‘everything’ made Eliana wetter still. Oh man, she was in way over her head.
Meet Madison Michael:
Madison Michael loves to binge news, movies, books, Oreos and romance – reading romance novels, writing romantic stories, watching Rom-Coms over and over. Maddy has spent her self-isolation fretting about the health of her friends and neighbors and catching up on TV programs from ten years ago. Hunkered down with her cat, Gracie, and a Zoom life-line to the world, she is wondering how people date and social distance, how much junk food she can consume in a day and why Gracie only wants to play when Maddy needs to work. Oh, and Madison is also hard at work on the rest of the Double Dare Romance series. Watch for more of the series in Autumn and Winter, 2020.
Martimus. An underwater habitat dedicated to pharmaceutical research.
Martimus. A facility that staffs its vessel with inmate labor.
Martimus. The place where inmates visit and never return.
Agent Cate Creighton is in love. Unfortunately, as the Agency honeypot, she is knee-deep in an assignment that tests the bounds of her new relationship. It seems eight socialites have gone missing, all wealthy twenty-somethings with influential parents. No one seems to care until a former vice president’s daughter disappears.
When the vice-president shares a tale of false arrest, a broken promise of deportation, an illegal diversion into a private prison, and an alleged trip to an unwater habitat called Martimus, Cate and her colleagues must find a way to follow the same path. In other words, they must enter the right prison, meet the right fixer, wind up on Martimus, and hopefully return in one piece. And it looks like Cate is the perfect bait.
That doesn’t sit well with Cate’s lover, former U.S. Navy Seal Warren Hazelton. He intends to protect her until death ‘til do they part.
Fortunately, another possibility appears, in the form of an MISix agent who has interfered in one too many Agency operations. Tillie Henderson owes them and they are all too willing to serve her up on a plate. It’s race against time as the Agency attempts to lure their adversary out of hiding and into their somewhat ambiguous trap. Maybe then Cate can finally focus on love.
Release Date: May 29, 2019
Publisher: Extasy Books
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, four flames
Tom cocked an eyebrow. “Warren, you’re a former Navy Seal. Isn’t there some sort of limit on the amount of time you can spend under the sea before it starts to seriously impair your health?”
Warren frowned. “Usually two weeks. After that, the lack of exposure to the sun and the constant high pressure oxygenated environment would begin to take a toll. There’s also a psychological impact. Think sensory deprivation. Your senses are out of whack because you’ve been dumped into a soundproof sponge. There is no normal sensory stimulation. No sunlight, no sound… Even taste and smell become compromised. Coming back to the real world would be an adjustment.
“In addition, those underwater stations are small. People are right on top of each other. Things we take for granted, like privacy, hot showers, home cooked meals, are in short supply. That can create anxiety, depression, and stress. No way he served that sentence consecutively. He had to take a break in between.”
Warren gazed at Tom. “That environment is more hostile than a prison. You may not be in danger from other inmates, but you are putting your life at risk. Three months sounds like way too much time to be stuck underwater though, especially if you’re not leaving the station for deep sea diving on a regular basis. They must be breaking up the time somehow, otherwise they’d have a pretty tough situation on their hands. A lot of contract workers would be headed to a rubber room. It would be extremely difficult to survive a month, much less three, down there.”
“Could they be treating the inmates like guinea pigs?” Hope asked. “Testing their limits? Tracking actual survival rates?”
Warren sighed. “Possibly. It’s not like they have to answer to anyone. They are located in international waters. No country in particular has legal oversight. I imagine they could be doing anything they want without recourse. Unfortunately, when the prospect of a reduced sentence is dangled in front of some people, they grab it, damn the consequences. If one or two inmates suffer some sort of harm or die along the way, they chalk it up to collateral damage.”
“And who’s going to know?” Cate shook her head. “Someone dies, they probably flush them down a chute into the deep sea and they become shark chum. No evidence left behind.”
Hope cringed. “God, that’s kind of evil. But that still doesn’t answer our original question. Where the hell is Fuzzy? Has he already served out his sentence? Has he been released, and if he has, where the hell is he? He’s the one we need to find. He could have a lot of the answers.”
“That lack of governmental oversight is troubling,” Tom said. “If Cassie McIntyre is down there, I can’t believe the CIA isn’t all over it. At least, our government should be doing a welfare check through the Red Cross or something.”
Warren grimaced. “Unless no one knows she is down there. Think about it. They are on the bottom of the ocean, more than two miles under the sea. It’s not like you can just go down there and knock on the door. Any regular monitoring would be impossible.”
Cate nodded. “And we haven’t been able to confirm that she embarked on the same path as Fuzzy. All we’ve got are suspicions. Right now, she’s missing. We need to sit down with her family and get more information. And we need to find other prisoners who contracted with Martimus.
“Otherwise, we’ve got nothing.”
About Seelie Kay:
Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen! In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The White House Wedding, and The President’s Daughter.
When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.
Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!
Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.
Q. Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?
I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.
Q. Why did you write “Martimus?”
This is the final book in the series, so I needed a way to tie up a lot of loose ends. That meant the Feisty Lawyers needed a compelling story to accomplish that. Something in space was beyond the realm of believability, but something at the bottom of the ocean? The possibilities were endless. I went in all sorts of directions at first, but ultimately made Martimus a key step in a much broader journey. The bottom of the ocean is an unforgiving environment. Survival is never guaranteed. Divert a few socialites there to serve out a prison sentence, make then disappear, and you’ve got what I hope is an exciting story!
As a former lawyer, I also developed an interest in private prisons. These are institutions that are governed by a different set of rules, and not all institutions follow the same rules. In some cases, which private prison an inmate winds up in can mean the difference between survival and death. In addition, there have been several cases of prosecutors and judges who received a financial incentive to divert inmates to private prison. Some were so incentivized that people innocent of the crimes with which they here charged have been convicted just so the prosecutor or judge could get their kickback. It is an industry that requires serious regulation and monitoring.
Q. How does your former profession as a lawyer impact your writing?
My friends say I am obsessed with justice and I guess that’s true. After 30 years, the law and the legal world are so firmly embedded in my brain that I can’t flush them out. That has become the lens through which I view the world and that naturally guides my characters and plots. Injustice infuriates me, but it also leads me to great stories!
Our autographed print giveaway for June is a two-for-one: The Diary and its sequel, Writing Skin, in a single print volume.
For a peek into The Diary, head over to this blog post, How Could You, Luci? for an excerpt and a special link to the Diary Kate found at her sister’s apartment…
Without giving away the ending of The Diary, here’s more about Writing Skin:
What would it be like to be romanced by not one but two potential partners, simultaneously?
Luci Parker has finally achieved the career of her dreams as an erotic author – but the only romance in her life these days is in the books she writes. Long attracted to both men and women, Luci despairs of ever finding just one person to settle down with.
Owners of a South Side Chicago bookstore, Chai and Frank Ferguson eagerly devour Luci’s books as fast as she can write them, and now they wonder if she might be the woman they’ve been looking for.
Frank is deeply in love with Chai but knows she’ll never be complete without a woman to love as well. Can he match the passion of not one but two exquisite and complicated women at the same time? Will Luci even want him? And if Chai truly falls in love with Luci, will there be room for him?
“How long has it been since you’ve even been out with a man?” Kate asked.
“Not long enough.” Luci hugged herself against a shiver. “I don’t seem to have what it takes for a guy to hang around.”
“Nonsense, you probably intimidate the hell out of them. I don’t think I’ve ever known a slip of a woman like you who intimidates so easily. I know, I know.” Kate held up her palm. “You don’t try to intimidate. Most guys probably aren’t accustomed to dating women who write erotica.”
“So true,” Luci grinned. “Had a man ask me to take a taxi home once he heard about my writing. Another wanted me to crawl under the restaurant table and give him head as soon as I told him I wrote erotica.”
“Sounds like something you’d do.”
“In my college days, but even then I finished my drink before taking on an appetizer.”
Kate blinked. “I’m not sure I needed to hear that. I still have moments wondering how we could ever be sisters.”
“Half sisters.” Luci stretched and yawned. “But you may be right. I think I’ve mellowed with age.”
“That’s not all bad. You need to find a partner to mellow out with.”
“You don’t give up, do you?” Luci rose from her desk. “I really do have a deadline to meet.”
“All right, I’ll go leave you to your fantasy world. You sure you don’t want me to introduce you to our new assistant?”
Luci shook her head and hugged her sister tight. “No. And I won’t change my mind.” She stepped back and winked. “Maybe I should add a toy to my collection. It’s been too long.”