Welcome to March, my friend. To me, cold, dark February has always seemed like the longest month of the year, despite having the fewest days. I’m always glad to see it in my rear-view. This year, with the pandemic and the horrible freezing in Texas and nearby states, I’m doubly glad to be past it.
March is also my birthday month and despite my advancing years, I enjoy celebrating another circle around the sun.
Mr. B and I are both academic librarians for our day jobs and we live in a state that has prioritized education workers in the vaccination scheme, so we were able to get our first jabs a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been visiting our local winery (sitting outside, bundled up, under heaters) on most weekends and that’s pretty much it for getting out of the house (aside from walks and grocery shopping). I’ve read a lot of books over the years on our visits there, and it was a highlight of the last month to bring a paperback copy of Acting Up to visit our happy place.
Speaking of books, Method Acting, #2 in the Center Stage series, is getting ready for release on April 16! If you’ve read Acting Up, the heroine of the next book might be a bit of a surprise: I know some readers are expecting book 2 to be about Freddie and James, but no… The heroine of Method Acting is Alicia, Susan’s sometime correspondent and professional frenemy. (Don’t worry, Freddie and James fans - book 3, Acting Lessons, does star those two as they navigate a second chance at love). Method Acting is now up for preorder, with a cover reveal on March 10 on Frolic. (Link is to Books 2 Read, which is a universal book link service - you can set your favorite book retailer and then any B2R link you click will take you directly there! Currently only Amazon and Google have the preorder up, but the rest will fill in when I can upload both electronic and paperback covers to IngramSpark, my publishing aggregator.)
Here’s the blurb:
All the world’s a stage until your heart is on the line.
All Alicia Johnson has ever wanted is to be able to slip into someone else’s life, clothing, and makeup to become a murderess, a socialite, a mother, or a nurse for an episode or a season. And she’s good at it.
Being an actress comes with a healthy dose of financial insecurity and a willingness to live out of two jammed suitcases, ready to go wherever the next director wants her. Up until now, it’s been worth it for the creative escape and the thrill of applause.
All Colin St. Cyr has ever wanted is to win, going all-in to get Congress to see things his clients’ way. Despite being a Brit in Washington, D.C., he is well off, well connected…and well on his way to becoming a boring bachelor forevermore after a heinous breakup.
Especially as he’s just made an arse of himself with the first woman who has knocked him sideways in years. It won’t matter how much money he donates to the theater; Alicia Johnson is still going to look at him like a goddess looks at a flea.
The only thing he can do is use his highly attuned persuasive skills to talk her into giving him a second chance.
The stage is set, but by the final act, is it a love story between the provocative actress and the cultured power-player or will it end in tragedy?
Lastly, I was on Jess Michaels’ podcast last week - so if you’re a podcast fan, please give it a listen! We laughed a lot (and recorded it right before Valentine’s day, so we were pretty salty about the media’s “hot takes” about romance in February. These articles, which ironically come with dreary regularity to decry how “formulaic” the genre is, are so stale and cold that they have AARP cards).
And now for my monthly list of new releases I’m looking forward to (or may have already read). Affiliate links below:
Jayce Ellis’ Learned Reactions (March 9) You all know how much I love Jayce. She’s a brilliant writer and a great friend. And I ADORE the fake relationship trope! The blurb: Carlton Monroe is finally getting his groove back. After a year playing dad to his nephew and sending him safely off to college, it’s back to his bachelor ways. But when his teenaged niece shows up on his doorstep looking for a permanent home, his plan comes to a screeching halt. Family is everything, and in the eyes of social services, a couple makes a better adoptive family than an overworked bachelor father. A fake relationship with his closest friend is the best way to keep his family together.
If things between him and Deion are complicated, well, it only needs to last until the end of the semester.
Living with Carlton is a heartbreak waiting to happen, and once the adoption goes through, Deion’s out. He’s waited two decades for Carlton to realize they’re meant for each other, and he’s done. It’s time to make a clean break. But it’s hard to think of moving away when keeping up the act includes some very real perks like kissing, cuddling and sharing a bed.
Even the best charades must come to an end, though. As the holidays and Deion’s departure date loom, the two men must decide whether playing house is enough for them—or if there’s any chance they could be a family for real.
Jenny Holiday’s Sandcastle Beach (March 9) I read an ARC of this one and it’s classic Holiday: funny, tender, emotional, and the meddling older residents of this small-town series are a hoot. The blurb: Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay's new business grant. She's got some serious competition, though: Benjamin "Law" Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya's annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.
Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya's skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he's done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there's a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?
N.G. Peltier’s Sweethand (March 30) N.G.’s debut looks seriously adorable. I’ve been watching her career develop for some time and really look forward to this one! The blurb: After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.
When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.
When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.
Victoria Helen Stone’s The Last one Home (March 30) I’ve been a huge fan of Victoria’s since her days writing romance as Victoria Dahl. She’s also brilliant in her newer role as a writer of psychological suspense. The blurb: Lauren Abrams wants nothing to do with her damaged mother, whose spurious testimony sent Lauren’s father to prison for murder years ago. After a serial killer’s confession to the crime restored justice, Lauren chose to live with her father and grandmother. Now an adult, Lauren has come home to the Sacramento family estate for good, her mother’s lies be damned…
It’s been decades since Donna made her cheating boyfriend pay, but she hasn’t forgotten the past. She knows her estranged daughter has made a terrible mistake by returning to the estate. There’s more to the story of the welcoming old homestead—and her childhood—than Lauren knows.
As Lauren settles in, she is haunted by the questions of what really happened with her father, what her mother might be hiding, and what secrets the family ranch holds. It’s getting so dark, Lauren may not be able to see the truth to save her life.
Here’s to the coming of spring!