Real Fake Love
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
Bang Laugh Love LLC
September 3, 2020
When a grumpy athlete's grandma tries to play matchmaker, he turns to a jilted bride who desperately needs to NOT fall in love to play his fake girlfriend.
His butt is in the baseball hall of fame. Mine's comfortably seated in the hall of lame.
When he's not snagging fly balls out in center field, he's modeling in shampoo commercials. I once jammed my own finger while stirring cookie dough, and sometimes I forget shampoo is a thing.
He's a total cynic when it comes to love.
I make a living writing love stories.
But after my latest broken engagement (no, I don't want to talk about how many times that's happened), it's clear he's exactly the man I need.
If anyone can teach me to be the opposite of me, it's him.
The first thing I want him to teach me?
How to not fall in love.
And as luck would have it, he's in desperate need of a fake girlfriend to get a meddling grandmother off his back.
We couldn't be more perfect together, because the last thing Luca Rossi will ever be is the next man to leave me at the altar.
Or will he?
Real Fake Love is a line drive straight to the heart featuring a grumpy athlete, a jilted bride, a fake relationship, and the world's laziest cat. It stands alone and comes complete with sibling rivalry, the world's most awkward shower scene, and a sweetly satisfying happily ever after.
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #13)
by R.J. Blain
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: December 25th 2020
Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary. Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring. Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life. Warning: contains magic, humor, cranky shapeshifters, cats, murder, and mayhem. Proceed with caution.
Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.
Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.
Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.
Why was murdering irate, irrational, ignorant, and flat-out wrong customers illegal? The idiot on the phone rambled about how it wasn’t fair that dumping coffee on his router invalidated his warranty.
I thought it wasn’t fair his stupidity might lose me IQ points, and I’d learned long ago that humans—or lycanthropes, such as myself—didn’t come with warranties or guarantees. I had bills to pay, and murdering one of the customers wouldn’t pay my bills.
Then again, in prison, I wouldn’t have to pay any bills. Every day by the end of my shift, I considered incarceration as a viable option.
Free board, free food, good medical care, and asshole inmates to beat on sounded a lot better than dealing with an idiot customer.
“Sir,” I said in the hopes of circumventing his tirade. Mr. Edward Lavell ignored me.
The idiots always ignored me. I bet my gender had something to do with it. On average, the men finished their calls five minutes faster, and every supervisor to review the situation came to the same general conclusion: customers took men in tech more seriously than women, and I, unfortunately, sounded too feminine.
“Sir,” I repeated, only to be ignored again.
Why couldn’t I just hang up on him? Oh, right. I valued my job. As I valued my job, I couldn’t hang up on him, I couldn’t curse, I couldn’t threaten to rip his throat out, and I couldn’t indulge in my desire to murder him.
There was a time and a place for murder, and on the job at a call center for a cable internet company was not the time nor the place.
For the fourth time since calling in, Mr. Lavell explained that it really wasn’t his fault he’d dumped coffee on his router.
“Sir, liquid spills are right in the contract for the router. I’m sorry, but I can’t change the rules for you. Spilling coffee on your router invalidates its warranty.”
“It’s not my fault the cup holder in my computer has a mind of its own,” he complained.
His computer’s cup holder has a mind of its own? The realization I dealt with someone far worse than just an idiot sank in. Every call center had legends of Code Red customers, who were in an entirely different class from the standard 1-D10T and the unfortunately common PEBKAC. With Mr. Lavell, I had it all. A problem certainly did exist between the keyboard and chair, and he’d definitely deserved his flag as an 1-D10T.
Until his call, I had remained safe from the evils of a Code Red customer.
By the time I got off the phone with him, I’d need some alcohol and someone to kill.
It’d be easier to find someone to kill than the alcohol; me and booze just didn’t mix, and I’d been banned out of every damned bar in town to keep the peace.
Maybe I could whip on some makeup, grab a gray wig, and pass for a little old lady. With my face covered in burn scars, it wouldn’t take much to pull off some makeup artistry and transform myself into an older woman rather than a mutilated one. I could become a conventional beauty given an hour and the right products. An old lady wasn’t an impossibility.
Alternatively, I could shift, pay my family a visit, and steal a bottle of liquor from one of the cabinets. With the number of lynxes running around the place, they might not even notice me before I made off with my alcoholic prize.
As sighing was not acceptable when dealing with paying customers, I took a moment to steel my nerves before saying, “Sir, computers do not include cup holders.”
That caught his attention. “What?”
“Sir, computers do not include cup holders,” I repeated, already dreading the moment I would have to explain what a CD was, how they were used, and what the player’s actual purpose was. Few systems still had any disc drives at all, as most companies had moved to online downloads of their programs and games.
The next few minutes of my life would not be fun, and I typed a message to my supervisor warning him I had a major 1-D10T on my hands, a possible Code Red situation, and to make sure he was aware I faced the demise of some IQ points, I notified him the customer had opted to use his disc drive as a coffee cup holder.
“What the hell is this thing for, then?”
“CDs, sir.” I closed my eyes and waited for the meltdown.
“First, you claim I invalidated my warranty, and now you’re telling me my cup holder plays music?”
“As this is an internet company, sir, I can’t help you with your CD player. However, it is not a cup holder, nor should it be used as one. As for your router, you owe $35.79 on the device. Once you finish paying for the damaged equipment, I can schedule a tech to come to your home and install your new router. Since you’ve been a customer for so long, I can waive the fifty dollar installation fee. Your monthly bill will not change if you opt to pay off the damaged equipment and start a new rental.”
If he gave me a hard time, I’d take my time and give him all of his options. None of them would be as good as my initial offer. I cracked open an eye and checked my messages with my boss.
He wished me the best of luck and promised to send flowers to my funeral. He also begged me not to tell my brothers about the menace wasting my time. If any one of my forty-seven brothers found out I dealt with customers screaming at me five days a week, they’d go on a rampage.
That my boss knew my family drove me crazy on a good day.
I figured my idiot family had gone on a hunt to meet my boss, and because we were all infected with lycanthropy, my boss wouldn’t have thought twice about their behavior.
Lycanthropes had a reputation.
Most days, it wasn’t a good one.
Only an idiot would piss off a bunch of male lycanthropes out to protect their precious little sister. Unfortunately for me, I counted as an endangered species, as the odds of a lycanthrope having daughters in the first place fell somewhere in around ten thousand to one.
I needed to notify my mother she needed to have more daughters. While she was at it, she needed to give me a new name, because nobody ever believed Harri was a woman’s name. I figured she’d meant to name me Harry because she’d expected yet another boy, swapping out the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ to make things easier on her.
When on the job, I went by Christine because Christine seemed gloriously feminine and nobody on the team used their real names. Technically, I was supposed to change my name every day, but I went by Christine for all new callers, and I only rotated through when I knew I was dealing with someone who gave me issues.
My method worked well enough, so my boss didn’t complain.
While Mr. Lavell spluttered and began the tedious process of mulling over his options, I began making plans for after work—assuming I escaped from my job without succumbing to the temptation of informing the customer he was most definitely wrong, he needed to go back to school to join the modern world, and it wouldn’t hurt if he learned to be civil.
I had to explain his options four times before he finally conceded he should stick with his old plan, pay for the damaged router, and move on with life. It took an extra ten minutes of listening to him whine before he finally hung up.
Above all, I hated the rule that we were not supposed to hang up on clients. It wasted time. Had I been allowed to just hang up, I would have wished him a good day, disconnected the call, and began the tedious process of adding notes to his file so the next customer service representatives stuck with him knew they had trouble on their hands.
My phone rang, but instead of a customer, my phone reported my boss wanted to speak with me. With slumped shoulders, I accepted his call and answered, “Sir?”
“I listened in on your Code Red.”
I hated when my boss actively monitored my calls; thanks to how the system worked, he could listen in on me at any time. But, a job was a job, and with my scarred face, finding a job became troublesome at best—and nobody in the call center knew or cared what I looked like. Oh, well. Before I jumped to conclusions, I’d ask. “What’s my grade, sir?”
“You did fine. You stayed professional, you didn’t come across as too condescending, and frankly, there’s no sane tech on this planet stays totally cool a Code Red. It could have been much worse.”
I checked the clock, breathing a sigh of relief that I’d hit the end of my shift and wouldn’t have to take any more calls. “What do you need?”
“I had a question about your schedule. You’re off for the next week, correct?”
“Yes, sir.” I had plans, and they involved the International Most Wanted List along with every legal bounty list I had managed to get my hands on in the past month. If my boss tried to put an end to my hard-earned vacation, I’d finally do what I should have done months ago, snap, and quit.
I wanted him to cross my last line so badly.
“Ted wants an extra shift. How would you feel about an unpaid day added to your vacation? I’ve already gotten approval if you’d like to claim the unpaid day.”
Score. I’d bid for time off almost a year ago, but sick days were the bare minimum the state allowed, which accounted to five for the entire year. An extra day tacked onto my vacation might let me bag an extra bounty.
Any day I bagged an extra bounty was a good day in my opinion.
“I can take an unpaid day, sir. That’s fine. Can you send me an email confirming the unpaid day off?”
“It’ll be in your inbox within the next ten minutes, and I’ll CC human resources notifying them you’re excused for that day.”
“Okay. Will the rest of my schedule remain the same once I’m back from vacation?”
“Yes. Ted just asked for extra hours, and the others with seniority declined the day off.”
I bet; on our income, every hour mattered. Most who worked for the call center had seen better days. I lived like I’d seen better days and I looked like I’d seen better days, but appearances lied. I only worked at the call center to maintain appearances. Thanks to depression in my teens and therapy that hadn’t gone like my parents had wanted, my entire family demanded I check in at least three times a week to ensure I remained human.
They believed if they took their eyes off me, I might shift into a lynx and never come back.
Two years ago, they wouldn’t have been wrong, but I’d found a new purpose in life. Not a single one of my brothers would approve, my mother would have yet another litter of kittens, and my father would be so disappointed.
Personally, I thought it was obvious. I worked in customer service. I was a prime candidate to become a murderous asshole. I did so legally, on behalf of the government and other legal entities, and I did so for a filthy amount of money.
Smiling stretched my scars, but I did it anyway. “If anyone needs any extra hours, I can afford another day or two off,” I offered. “I can take up to a week unpaid. I’ve been saving up to take some time off if any opportunities allowed.”
It would delay paying for the expensive procedure required to piece my face back together and remove the evidence of the fire that’d almost killed me as a child. It took a lot of magic to convince the lycanthropy virus I wasn’t supposed to be a scarred wreck.
A lot of magic cost a lot of money, and I figured I might have the three million dollars within five years if I landed a bounty every weekend and took on some of the more dangerous jobs. While I waited for my boss to mull over my offer, I considered the various jobs on offer.
I liked hunting other lycanthropes. Unmated males were easy catches, and the fugitives usually brought in a pretty penny. The last one I’d bagged as a live capture had added fifty thousand to my bank account.
Then again, if I landed an entire extra week, I’d make up the lost hours with a single small bounty, and anything else would be extra cash in my savings account.
My boss grunted, signaling he’d come to a decision. “I’ll keep that in mind and pitch the offer. I’ll email your personal and work addresses if there are any takers plus text your phone.”
“Thanks, sir. Have a good evening.”
He hung up, and before something could go wrong, I clocked out, filed my paperwork for my final call, and logged out of the system so I couldn’t be sucked back into doing even more work.
If all went well, I’d be a hundred grand richer by the end of the week and that much closer to being able to look in the mirror without wincing.
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: September 29th 2020
The Purrfect holiday awaits…
Snowball–an aptly named bundle of feline fluff–is thankful to be spending her first Christmas in the comfort of Weber Haus, the Victorian B&B run by Miss Tilly. Emily Diemer, who cooks for the guests, dotes on Snowball, but she’s not thrilled about another new arrival at the B&B: Miss Tilly’s nephew, Lukas. Which is odd, because Snowball’s animal instincts tell her that Lukas and Emily should definitely be friends.
Everything Emily needs is in this quaint community–including, she hopes, the chance to open her own bakery one day. She doesn’t think much of Lukas for leaving his aging aunt to struggle while he jets around the world taking photographs. But now that he’s here, helping to spruce up the property and getting mixed up in Snowball’s antics, she begins to soften a little. Until she learns what he has planned…
Lukas is going to sell Weber Haus so that Miss Tilly can retire. But Snowball is certain that this B&B, and these people, are supposed to be her forever home. Somehow she has to get these stubborn humans to see things through the wisdom of a cat’s eye and a kitten’s loyal, loving heart…
Sweet contemporary and Amish romance author Kristen McKanagh grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing) and an MBA. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it. Kristen also writes award-winning steamy contemporary romance as Kadie Scott, and award-winning paranormal and YA fantasy romance as Abigail Owen. No matter the genre, she loves to write happily-ever-afters that shine with home, heart, and humor. Kristen currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own swoon-worthy hero husband and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.
Fries and Alibis
Mitzy Moon Mysteries #1
Fiction, Women Sleuths, Mystery
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
October 20, 2019
A gift that's too good to be true. A murder she didn't commit. A barista in a latte trouble... Mitzy Moon believes she's an orphan, so she's dumbstruck when a special delivery to her low-rent apartment reveals a family. But her shock turns to awe when she discovers her grandmother left her a fortune and a bookshop of rare tomes brimming with magic. No sooner does she set foot in the quirky village of Pin Cherry Harbor to claim her inheritance, than the handsome sheriff catches her standing over a corpse. Desperate to prove her innocence, she's forced to accept help from her granny's entitled cat and a spirit from beyond the grave. Can Mitzy and her otherworldly helpers uncover the real killer before the long, sexy arm of the law hauls her to jail? Fries and Alibis is the first book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like amateur sleuths, small town intrigue, and a dash of the supernatural, then you'll love Trixie Silvertale's twisty whodunit. Buy Fries and Alibis to serve up the guilty today!
So here we have a an orphan with a gift from the grave - a magical bookshop and a cat.
As normal per me, I wondered what a pin cherry was as this was a tree /bush that was not familiar to me, and discovered that here in the UK we would call it a Bird Cherry - and if you want one for yourself, you would need to sow a seed - uncooked - because some people in the States, do eat these fruits.
And then our plucky heroine, having relocated to obtain her inheritance finds herself with a dead/murdered person, a hot sherriff and a cat - a Caracal who has apparently spent 17 years in captivity and calls himself Robin Goodfellow / Puck.
The amazing thing about Caracals are their ears and the great tuft at the end. They are quite large cats if you want a domesticated one - around 12 kilos. Our Maine Coon is 8 kilos and believe me you feel it when he sits on your lap - he may get up to 12 kilos as he is still growing!
This is a Cosy Modern Mystery with a Female Sleuth and is the first of a series. It is funny and warm and a good light read.
(Of Cats And Dragons) #6
by Carol E. Leever (Author), Camilla Ochlan (Author)
Fantasy, Animals, Magic, Adventures
23 Aug. 2020
Guided by troubling visions and chased by death-dealing horrors, Omen Daenoth and the feisty talking cats find themselves center stage in the city of Ven'taria, a place of uncanny magic and jaw-dropping revelry. But when Omen and his companions -- an eminent Sundragon scholar, the notorious prince of Terizkand, a child prophet, and a paranoid Machelli spy -- unravel the dark source of the Ven'tarian Socerium's incredible powers, a desperate countdown begins.Can our young heroes and their chatty felines break the dreaded Ven'tarian Silence or will they bring on the forbidding reign of endless night?OF CATS AND DRAGONS, where the epic meets the adorable.
The next in the series about the cats and dragons and…
So off the whole crew go in a rather special ship through a wormhole and into their world’s equivalent of Venice. A city built on canals and islands but the canals aren’t smelly (wow – not like Venice in reality then, especially in August) and the city is going to hold its Carnivale – see Venice’s Carnivale – which not only has masked balls but artwork and sculpture and…
And everyone needs a mask – even the cats – and when dusk falls they find out why they not only need the masks but also why they need to have hotel rooms, and not just for the banquet.
Adventures befall them all as they try to help the small sprites and ethereal creatures that power the magic that runs the city (and as they realise the ship too). Take down one, take down all. And disaster comes close as there are monsters out there in the night.
A rollicking tale of trial and tribulation and terrors which follows nicely on from previous adventures. And yes, cats can fly too… I’m sure mine would love to as they find climbing fences a lot of effort!