TBRG Holiday Recipe Exchange

TBRG Recipe Exchange copy
It’s that time of year again when we embrace the spirit of the season and giving…here on The Book Reading Gals we share our favorite holiday recipes and ask some of our favorite authors to share theirs as well. We’re also giving away a box of books all you have to do is comment on all posts throughout the month of December.

If you’re an author and would like to participate we still have some open dates…click here to sign up.

Don’t forget to scroll down to see today’s posts. This post will remain at the top of the page for the month of December.

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Holiday On Ice by Jaci Burton

cover54137-mediumTitle:  Holiday On Ice

Series:  Play by Play Book #8.5 (novella)

Author:  Jaci Burton

Genre:  Romance

Blurb:  In this original holiday novella in the Play-By-Play series, New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton gives readers the gift of “plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor.” (Smexy Books)
Superstar hockey player Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer and dancer Stella Slovinski have picked up where they left off a year ago, resuming their hot, uncomplicated affair. Stella refuses to call it dating, or a relationship. But lately, Trick is looking for more…
Stella’s been burned before—in a relationship she never talks about—not with her family, not with her friends, and definitely not with Trick. But now it’s the holiday season and Trick is determined to give Stella his heart wrapped up in a bow. He knows Stella is the right woman for him, but he’ll have to melt the ice surrounding her heart to keep her from walking away.
Includes a preview of Jaci Burton’s QUARTERBACK DRAW and LOVE AFTER ALL.

Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this short little Christmas tale from the Play-by-Play series by Jaci Burton – in fact, I loved it.  It was the perfect little mix of a modern day couple ‘on- again-off-again’ – nothing to serious – but yet is filled these sweet, heart grabbing moments.  And something that develops into to so much more!

While it is only novella length and makes for a quick read, it leaves you with the satisfaction of a full length novel though.

I thoroughly enjoyed it – and I love, love, LOVE Trick…he really makes the story in this one!

Rate:  A

YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS by Susan Mallery

18761615Title: Yours for Christmas
Series: Fool’s Gold bk 15.5
Author: Susan Mallery
Genre: Romance
Blurb:

Famous former NFL stars don’t date single working moms like Bailey Voss. She’ll allow herself to daydream about Kenny Scott’s muscles and killer smile, but wanting more would lead to post-holiday regret. Then Kenny volunteers to run a toy drive with Bailey, and she learns that he’s not just hot…he’s also generous, funny, nice. The whole package—tantalizingly out of reach.

The ache of past loss reminds Kenny why he needs to avoid getting too close to anyone. Especially to a gorgeous redhead and her adorable little girl. Mess it up, and he’d lose them both. Yet Kenny can only resist Bailey for so long. And as festive spirit spreads throughout the town, he’s all wrapped up in Bailey’s sweet, sexy kisses and determined to make this the first of many Christmases together.

The best love stories happen around Christmas and this is just one of the many.  The characters in this book will just grasp your heart and not let go.

Bailey Voss has got it bad.  Bailey is crushing on an ex-football player named Kenny Scoot,  but she knows that he is out of her league.  Kenny only dates super thin, well endowed women, that are mostly models and actors. 

Bailey knows that she does not stand a chance at catching Kenny’s attention, seeing as how she is a single mom and battling to lose that extra twenty pounds, but hey, a girl can day dream.  

Things change when the mayor of Fool’s Gold roped Kenny and Bailey to “volunteer” to run a toy drive. Bailey got to see the sweet, generous and kind side of Kenny and that coupled with his ruggedly good looks, Bailey was falling and falling hard.  To bad Kenny already told her where they stand.

Having gone through losing someone important to him, Kenny Scott has vowed to never again date a single mom.  Things were going as plan until sexy, curvy single mom Bailey Voss walks in and takes his breathe away.

Working on the toy drive together has made them spend a lot of quality time together and Kenny not only finds Bailey attractive, but he also likes her.  Thinking that stating his intentions from day one would help, Kenny is to be disappointed because everything Bailey does has his heart racing and brings out his protective instincts.

If only Bailey did not have a child already, she would have been perfect.  Kenny wants to settle down and have a family and he thinks that he has found that with Bailey.  Will Bailey already having a kid be a deal breaker or would Kenny get over his fear of loss and have a happy ever after.

The only way to find out is the read the book.  It also fits in with the holiday theme, welcome to a Fool’s Gold Christmas.

+Susan Mallery was having some very awesome thoughts when she was writing this book.  I love Kenny and Bailey.  How can I love Kenny you ask?  Even though he did not want to date Bailey because of her having a kid, it was not because he did not like kids, it’s because he loves them to much.

Kenny says that kids get at you.  They chip away at you until your nothing but putty in their hand and you have no choice other than to love them with all your hearts.  The problem with single mom are, when you fall in love with the kid and it does not work out, you not only lose the woman, but the kid leaves with a part of your heart.

How can I be mad at him for that. He was just trying to keep himself safe.  He was not doing a very good job of it since he barged his way into her life and started getting involved.  He was just being to hard to resist, how can anyone not fall in love with him.

Bailey seriously needed some confidence boost about herself.  She was obviously beautiful, but she did not think about herself that way.  Kenny saw what she did not see in herself and embraced it.  

The question is, was if enough for Kenny to get over his pain and his fear?  Was Bailey worth the risk?  I know the answer and the only way you would know is to read the book.

Grade: A

‘Tis the Season…

So this week I’m getting ready to travel to visit family for the holidays…I’m sure many of you are planning to do the same (if not this week then the next) – if you are, travel safe!  Here are some more books to look forward to this week to help keep us company…I’m in for a long trip, so I’ll need some good reads….LOL

23870028Who could skip a good vampire tale for Christmas..especially one as intriguing as this one?

Title:  Forever Red Christmas

Author:  Natalie – Nicole Bates

Blurb:  Has Fate finally delivered a Christmas angel?

For years, vampire Alexander May has lived in peace and solitude, emerging every so often to feed off the energies of unsuspecting women, while curbing the loneliness that has grated on him his entire existence.

Near Christmas, Alexander’s attention is perked by the alluring Tori Welch. To Alex, Tori shines. There is something so wonderfully different about her. That perhaps she is the woman who could love and accept him for what he is. The Christmas angel he so desperately hoped for.

But when a tragedy occurs eerily similar to another decades earlier, Alexander wonders if it is better to abandon his love for Tori to keep her safe, or is far too late to stop what Fate has in store for both of them this Christmas?

Links:  Goodreads   Amazon   

merry-christmas-paigeIf your looking for a bit of second chance at love for the holidays, this one sounds like a good one….

Title: Merry Christmas, Paige

Author:  Mackenzie McKade

Blurb:  One fateful detour. A raging storm. She didn’t see this love coming…Holding a knife against a child’s throat isn’t exactly how Dr. Paige Weston had planned to spend her Christmas holiday. But a jolt from an air pocket and here she is, performing an emergency tracheotomy as her flight to Fiji diverts to Kauai. The one place she swore never to return.  

Beside the fact her patient comes first, what’s the chance she’ll run into her ex-fiancé—the man who jilted her when another woman turned up pregnant? Then she realizes the island hospital is woefully understaffed, forcing her to lend a hand. And upping the odds that her heart will hit more turbulence before she makes her escape.

Nathan Cross can’t believe his eyes. The emergency room doctor tending to his daughter’s cut foot is the woman he’s dreamed about every night since he was forced to walk out of her life. He should have been prepared for her indifference, but he’s blindsided by the need to hold her in his arms. Just one more time.

Yet Fate is a trickster, leaving him wondering if he should grasp for a second chance…or take his punishment for one, long-ago choice.

This book contains two lovers destined to make up for lost time, which means moments of deep emotional and hot lusty sex, including in such places as against the wall, up against a railing (my personal favorite), on the hood of a truck, in the rain, and every other imaginable place.
Links:  Goodreads   Amazon   B&N   KOBO
1112-9780373778027-bigwAnd who could resist a love between co-workers – and a sheikh who falls in love with the nanny of his three adopted girls?  And both in one great anthology?  This one is a a great, can’t- be-missed read by none other than Susan Mallory!
Title:  A Christmas Bride
Author:  Susan Mallory
Blurb:  Only Us…Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She’s drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie’s good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. There’s just one problem—he’s her boss. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all….

The Sheik and the Christmas Bride…When Prince As’ad of El Deharia agrees to adopt three orphaned American girls, he does so on one condition—that their beautiful teacher, Kayleen James, become their nanny. His plan is to leave her to deal with the children as he continues his life, undisturbed. But all that changes when Kayleen and the girls invade the palace—and As’ad’s heart—and change it for the better.

Links:  Goodreads   Amazon   B&N   KOBO
mistress-christmasLooking for something…well, a little…..naughty?  This one may be more of what your looking for….
Title:  Mistress Christmas
Author:  Lorelei James
Blurb:  …all signs point North for not-so-Saint-Nick

In a rare moment of recklessness, mild-mannered accountant Holly North lets her best friend guilt her into filling in as Mistress Christmas at Sugar Plums, a Christmas-themed strip club. Fearing she’ll be recognized—or worse, considered a fraud—she dons a velvet mask along with the Mrs. Claus-meets-dominatrix costume. She’s shocked at how deliciously wicked anonymity feels.
Detective Nick West is determined to discover how his friend was supposedly robbed after a lap dance at Sugar Plums. His visions of revenge vanish faster than a flying sleigh upon his first peek at Mistress Christmas—a leggy brunette with smoky eyes and a lush mouth begging for hours beneath the mistletoe.
Their attraction flares hotter than a fireplace on a cold winter evening, and Nick is only too happy to oblige when Holly blurts out her one Christmas wish…
For a naughty secret Santa to sweep her away for a night of anonymous sexual pleasure.
This erotic comedy contains naughty holiday innuendo, creative use of garland, sexy love scenes hot as spiced cider, a heroine as sweet as sugared plums, and a wildly romantic hero with a great big…candy cane.
Links:  Goodreads   Amazon   B&N   KOBO
 

 

 

UPCOMING RELEASE & SNEAK PEEK: Dare to Touch by Carly Phillips

CarlyPhillips_DareToTouch1400 (1)

Get an exclusive first peek at Dare to Touch by Carly Phillips!

Title:  Dare to Touch (Dare to Love Book #5)

Author: Carly Phillips

Release Date:  January 13th, 2015

Blurb:  Olivia Dare, executive director of the Miami Thunder, and team travel director, Dylan Rhodes share more than just a passion for football–their chemistry is explosive and their feelings for each other are intense. But Olivia is wary of any man getting too close. Given her background – a near-bigamist dad and an ex-boyfriend who merely enforced her lack of priority in his life – Olivia fears being hurt again but she can’t resist embarking upon a passionate affair with Dylan, even as she holds part of herself back.

Dylan isn’t a man who does anything half way. Once he decides to pursue Olivia, he goes all in. When the Pro-Bowl takes them to the desert oasis of Arizona, Dylan is determined to make sure their time together isn’t all business. What happens while at the luxury resort is life altering but when Olivia admits her deepest pain, will Dylan be able to prove he’s a man with staying power? Or will Olivia be disappointed again, this time by the most important man in her life?

FIRST CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK:  The birthday party had wound down and only family and a few close friends remained in the private room where the celebration had been held. Olivia didn’t feel any older, only … more jaded. Was it any wonder? Her twenty-fifth birthday, surrounded by friends and family – if you excluded her wayward father. Of course he hadn’t been able to make the party. When had he shown up for anything important in her life?

She leaned against the bar on both elbows and closed her eyes for a few seconds to gather herself before packing up the presents and heading home.

“Happy birthday, Olivia.” A familiar masculine voice drawled in her ear. She shivered at the sound, all her senses prickling with awareness as Dylan Rhodes’ warm breath heated her skin.

She turned to find him close. Too close and her pulse picked up speed. Sexy chocolate brown eyes gazed at her. And his close cut goatee teased her with its nearness. In her dreams, that sexy goatee felt delicious against her bared flesh.

Jesus, Olivia, get a grip.

“Thanks for coming to the party.” Her voice came out too husky for her liking but Dylan always had this kind of effect on her. He was travel director with the Miami Thunder, her coworker, and the man she’d lusted after from the day they’d met.

“I’m glad your sister invited me.”

She wished Avery hadn’t insisted on throwing her a party, but now that it was nearly over, Olivia had had a wonderful time and was grateful her mom and her siblings, half and full, cared enough to attend the event. Friends and coworkers too.

Especially Dylan.

He studied her beneath his hooded gaze. “I wouldn’t miss your celebration.” He tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear, his fingers trailing a path over her cheek in what was a deliberate, lingering touch.

She shivered, her traitorous nipples puckering at his light caress. This was more than the flirting dance they normally did. There was intent in his coffee colored stare.

She shouldn’t be surprised. Until recently, a sense of corporate responsibility kept them as coworkers only. And then Olivia’s brother Ian had fallen for his now wife, Riley, and given her a job with the Thunder. Next her half-brother Alex had hooked up with his now-wife, Madison, and they too worked with the team. Ever since, Dylan had stepped up his game. It was like her family’s willingness to mix business with pleasure had given him the green light to pursue her. She’d managed to hold out so far, but she knew it was only a matter of time before she gave in.

What are you fighting, Liv? She asked herself. Too many things, came the reply. But her quivering insides and the liquid desire pulsing through her veins told her she was going to take the dive and deal with the repercussions later.

“I asked if you wanted your present?” Dylan’s voice brought her out of her own head.

She managed a nod, trying not to betray the excitement fluttering inside her. “Sure. I love gifts.”

A grin edge the corners of his mouth and he treated her to those irresistible dimples. He was raw, intense and kept his emotions in check. On simmer, never boiling over.

Although she didn’t come from his rougher background, she could relate to the need to hold things close. A father who’d betrayed his entire family in a way only soap operas saw and a first love that walked away when she needed him most taught her hard-won lessons. Hell, she was still learning them. Hadn’t she believed her father would come? He hadn’t even called to say he wouldn’t be able to attend. He’d sent a message with her half-brother Alex. She swallowed hard. The confident, tough Olivia people saw on the outside was far different than the sensitive, hurt girl that lived inside her.

She searched and found that outer Olivia now. “So? What do you have for me, hot shot?”

He grasped her hand and pulled her away from the bar, giving her no choice but to follow him, rushing in her heels to keep up.

Her sister, Avery, stared open-mouthed as she passed. Olivia’s face burned as she realized her entire family was watching Dylan pull her through the lounge area they’d rented for the night and into a darkened hallway.

He came to a halt, turned and steadied her with strong hands on her waist. “Dylan, what are you –“

He cut her off with a kiss. His lips on hers, hard, demanding and oh so good. Just as her brain told her this was stupid, he slid his lips over her jawline, she felt that rough beard for the first time, and her mind shut down.

He nipped at her ear and a low moan reverberated from her throat. “Dylan – ”

His hand gripped her hair, tilting her neck back and his mouth returned to hers. The slight tug on her scalp had the odd effect of arousing her, the moisture dampening her panties a clear indication she liked this birthday gift and wanted more. Tongues tangled and she reveled in his taste, a malty flavor from the beer he’d been drinking. No refined scotch for Dylan, he was rough in ways she hadn’t been exposed to before him. And she loved it, meeting his demanding kisses with more of her own.

He turned and pushed her against the wall, his hard body aligning with hers. The thick swell of his erection pressed against her belly and her knees went weak at the thought of what could come next.

He grasped her jaw in one hand and brushed a finger over closed lids. “Open and look at me.”

Her eyes fluttered open. Up close he was even more devastating to look at, pure want and need in his expression. For her.

His hand never left her neck as he gazed into her eyes. “Happy birthday, sunshine.” He leaned in and kissed her hard once. Then he slid a box into her hand, curled her fingers around it tight and stepped away.

She glanced down at the gift, dumbfounded. Her body still tingled in all strategic areas and her heart was beating a mile a minute. If not for the wall at her back, she would have collapsed to the floor in a heap. But before she could gather her wits, he winked at her. Then he turned and walked away.

#

Dylan’s head spun from that kiss. He’d wanted Olivia for a long time and this party provided him the perfect opportunity to make it clear things between them were going to change. No more staring at those red glossed lips and wondering what she tasted like. Now he knew.

He ran his finger over his mouth, coming up with sticky gloss and he grinned. He’d rendered her speechless, not an easy feat. The sexy vixen now knew where he stood.

So no more using her job as an excuse, either. “It’s difficult being a female in a male dominated profession. Getting involved with you will make it look like I can’t handle things myself.”

He called bullshit on that one. Once his assistant, Olivia was now the team’s executive director. She was dedicated to her job in a man’s world and had to work twice as hard to prove herself as her predecessor had. But she never complained.  She was smart, intelligent, and everyone in the industry that met her came to both like and respect her. She’d more than proved herself in their world.

And given her family’s propensity to mix business with pleasure … yeah. He wasn’t buying her reason. She was scared of something. Fine, that he could deal with. He sure as hell didn’t do well at relationships either. Which didn’t mean he wasn’t about to try one with her. They could be good together, given the chance. They shared a mutual passion for football, something that was rare. Dylan ought to know. He’d had enough women try to distract him from his love of the sport.

Added to Olivia’s brains and wit, she had a killer body. She was slender with small curves in all the right places, breasts just made to be held in his palms. He’d had to hold himself back from taking things in that hallway even further. Her waist was made for him to grip hard and those legs starred in his most heated fantasies. He was a leg man and he couldn’t shake the thought of those long limbs wrapped around him as she slid inside her wet heat.

Now that he knew her sweet taste and her feminine scent, he craved so much more. He intended to have it, too.

Dylan headed for the door, only to be stopped by his boss, Olivia’s brother.

“I’d like a word,” Ian said.

He didn’t want to get into his personal choices with Ian but he respected the man. So he gave him the time. “What’s up?”

Ian glanced around. No one was around to overhear. “I realize I’m in no position to judge relationships in the work place.”

Dylan cocked his head. “And?”

“I saw you two in the hallway.” Ian shifted on his feet, clearly uncomfortable with the subject.

Dylan had made a scene by pulling Olivia away. He knew Ian was overprotective of his sisters and since Dylan felt the same way about Callie, his sister, he wouldn’t lose his temper now.

But that didn’t mean he was opening a vein for the man either. “I don’t owe you an explanation.”

“The hell you don’t. That’s my sister you’re playing with.”

Dylan blew out a long breath. “Who said I’m playing?”

Ian inclined his head, acknowledging Dylan’s words. He cleared his throat. “My sister is tough on the outside but she’s … more fragile inside,” he said, clearly considering his words carefully.

“Your point?” Dylan asked the other man, not wanting information about Olivia from anyone but her.

“Don’t play with her head or her heart.”

Dylan inclined his head. “I don’t intend to.”

Ian eyed him through his infamous narrowed gaze, assessing him, causing Dylan to straighten his shoulders and meet his stare head on.

“We good?” Ian finally asked.

“Sure thing.” He and Ian known one another a long time.

They’d both attended the University of Florida and Ian had given him a job when they’d run into each other again a few years after graduation. Dylan owed the man but that didn’t mean he had to put what he wanted on hold. Ian would deal with whatever happened. He had no choice because Dylan wasn’t backing down. He was going after Olivia.

#

The Monday after her party, Olivia grabbed her coffee from the break room and settled into her office at the stadium. She loved her job. Growing up, she’d always wanted to hang with her older brothers, Ian and Scott, both of whom loved football. Although Scott was now a police officer, he never missed a home Thunder game. And since their father’s brother, Paul, owned the team, Olivia been exposed to the sport early. And often.

When Uncle Paul had left the country to travel with his partner, he’d turned the presidency over to Ian, who he’d groomed for the position. Olivia had graduated college knowing she wanted a position in the front offices. She’d started in PR and moved to travel, learning all she could before being promoted to executive director last year. She loved her job, loved that she worked with some of her family members, and appreciated how hard the players worked and their dedication to the sport and the team. Coming into work was never a hardship. She considered herself lucky.

Her birthday party merely reinforced the fact that she was surrounded by people she loved. She’d spent yesterday going through presents and anally finishing her thank you notes for each gift. Her sister, Avery, also her apartment-mate, made fun of her but at least she didn’t have those still on her To Do list.

She settled into her chair and reached into her bag for her eyeglasses. She didn’t wear them often but she’d had a headache today and opted not use her contacts. But instead of the case she ended up with the gift box from Dylan in her hand.

She ran her fingers over the velvet covering. Knowing what was inside, her stomach flipped over. This wasn’t just a, walk into a store and pick out the easiest present, kind of gift. This was well thought out and chosen with her in mind. She couldn’t bring herself to wear it and she couldn’t stand to leave it home either.

She snapped open the box and looked down at the necklace. The delicate gold pendant of the sun with a sparkling diamond in the center twinkled up at her. Because he called hersunshine.

She’d thought it was a lighthearted nickname, not something with more meaning. Even if every time she heard it her heart fluttered inside her chest. Olivia had no problem admitting she was attracted to Dylan. She was just wary of smooth talking guys. Oh hell, she was wary of most men and for what she thought was good reason. Hello, daddy, she thought with disgust. He’d called the next morning to apologize for missing her party, but too little too late. She’d murmured her easy acceptance because that’s what she did. Olivia accepted things as they were. She might be the peacemaker who’d convinced her siblings to at least outwardly forgive the father who’d betrayed them, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have her own issues and internal scars.

As for Dylan, he was a contradiction. From a rough part of Miami, he still managed to attend the University of Florida on scholarship. She didn’t know much about his past as he didn’t discuss it. She respected that. After all, they weren’t friends, they were colleagues. Even if he wanted to be more.

He possessed an edge, one that was apparent even when he wore a suit and juggled the schedules of dozens of players and team management. It was that edge that appealed to her. She liked the guy who took control and dragged her across the room, then kissed her senseless. She was drawn to the man who called her sunshine and gave her this gorgeous necklace. It showcased a softer side of him and that was the side that scared her. Because she could fall for a man like Dylan. So hard. Which meant she’d be open and vulnerable… and experience told her that kind of pain didn’t go away easily. She preferred dating men with whom she didn’t have a chance of getting in too deep.

She placed the delicate necklace into the box and snapped it closed just as a knock sounded at the door.

She dropped the box onto the desk. “Come in.”

The door swung open and Dylan strode in. Speak of the devil, she thought.

Today was casual, no meetings, meaning he wore a pair of black slacks and a white collared shirt open at the neck, revealing a sprinkling of dark – mouthwatering – hair. His sleeves were rolled up and she found that even his forearms were muscular and sexy.

“Morning, sunshine.” He treated her to a heart stopping smile.

She swallowed hard. “Good morning.”

“Got a minute?” he asked.

She nodded.

He shut the door behind him. “You look sexy in those glasses.”

With shaking hands, she pulled them off, suddenly self-conscious.

“You’re sexy without them, too.” He started towards her desk, where his gift sat front and center.

It was too much to hope he wouldn’t notice.

The big grin on his face told her she was out of luck.

He sat on the corner of her desk and folded his arms across his chest. “So?” he asked, his knowing gaze on the incriminating box.

Better to face it head on, she decided. “Thank you, Dylan. It’s beautiful.”

“But you’re not wearing it.” His lips turned down and she suddenly felt awful and didn’t want to disappoint him or hurt his feelings.

“I was just about to put it on.”

His gaze held hers for more than a few seconds before he picked up the velvet box and took out the necklace. “Turn,” he said in a gruff voice.

She stood and pivoted around. He stepped up behind her, his body heat already testing her resolve.

“Hair.”

She tilted her head forward and raised her long hair off her neck, allowing him to slide the necklace in place and engage the small hook. Instead of moving away, she suddenly sensed him closer.

His breath fanned her neck, warm air causing a wave of arousal to nearly knock her off her feet.

“What are you–“ She couldn’t continue, not when his lips skimmed her neck and her words morphed into more of a moan. His mouth was warm and he lingered, inhaling her where she stood. Her nipples puckered beneath the silk of her tank and she grabbed onto the desk for support.

“Do you want to know why I gave this to you? Why I call you sunshine?” His words vibrated against her skin but he didn’t give her a chance to reply. “It’s because when I come in to work every morning, seeing you lights up my day.”

Oh God. “That’s –“

“Corny but true.” He grasped her shoulders to keep her steady and rimmed her outer ear with his tongue.

He lit a fuse that ran straight to her core. Suddenly that’s all she was aware of, the pulsing of her sex, her damp panties and her heavy breasts, all three achy and needing his touch more than her next breath.

She wanted to turn, throw herself into his arms and kiss him for all she was worth. Wrap her legs around his waist and –

A quick knock and her door opened wide. Riley, her sister in law, strode in, speaking as she walked. “I wanted to talk to you about – Oh!” She came to a halt. Took in Olivia and Dylan and a big smile crossed her face. “Looks like I’m interrupting,” she said, but made no move to leave.

Olivia tried to step away but Dylan’s hands on her arms held her tight.

“Dylan and I were just – umm… I mean Dylan came to discuss the trip to Arizona for the Pro Bowl, didn’t you?” she asked on a rush, grasping for a business related reason for him to be in her office. Not that anything would explain how close they stood or how his lips had been on her neck….

Dylan merely looked amused. “Apparently, yes. I’m here to talk about the trip.” He stepped away but his hand dropped, skimming Olivia’s lower back. “We can pick this discussion up at lunch,” he said.

“Lunch?” she asked, parroting his words because her entire body was still tingling unable to process what had just happened between them. What would have happened if Riley hadn’t barged in?

It wasn’t much. It was everything. Shit.

“Lunch,” he stated. “I’ll come get you at Noon.” He turned to her and winked.

She ignored that in favor of his overbearing push to make plans she hadn’t agreed to. “Don’t I get a say?” she asked. “What if I already have plans?”

Ignoring Riley’s amused grin, Dylan met her gaze. “I gave you a say for the last couple of months. I decided it’s my turn. See you at Noon.” His fingers glided over her hand as he walked out. “Nice to see you, Riley,” he said, disappearing out the door.

“What was that!? And while you’re at it, what was with the caveman routine, dragging you across the room and into the hallway at your party?” Riley, her brother Ian’s wife, the team’s assistant travel secretary and Olivia’s close friend, settled into the most comfortable extra seat in the office. Her brown curls hung down her back, her eyes glinting with amusement as she waited for an answer.

Olivia eased back into her chair behind her desk, her awareness of everything around her heightened. Hell, she was trembling.

“I don’t know. We’ve always flirted but I thought I made it clear I wasn’t going to mix business with… anything else.” She didn’t want to use the word pleasure right now. She didn’t think her over stimulated hormones could take it.

“Didn’t seem like he was listening.”

She reached for pendant around her neck. “He gave me this for my birthday.”

Riley rose and leaned in for a good look. “That’s gorgeous. Obviously he’s not taking no for an answer. Are you still planning on resisting? And I have to ask, why? He’s a great guy and not hard on the eyes either… but don’t tell your brother I said that.” She grinned because they both knew how proprietary Ian could be.

Olivia groaned. “I can’t resist him. I don’t want to. But he’s so intense. Like all or nothing and I honestly don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

“You could keep spending nights home with your TV or you could go out with a guy who obviously worships you. Really difficult choice.”

“Oh that’s rich coming from how hard you fought Ian when he went after you.”

Riley rubbed her hands together. “Ian scared me because he’s so… dominant. And you know about my father.”

Riley’s father had been an abusive, controlling bastard. She’d had good reason to be wary of Ian and his dominating personality. Not that he’d ever hurt her. Worship her was more like it.  He’d won her over but not before she’d almost lost him first.

“I know, but –“

“Just hear me out, okay?” Riley asked.

Because Olivia knew her friend was coming from a good place, she nodded.

“I mistakenly thought trusting Ian would cost me my self-esteem and independence. But you don’t have those issues.”

“No, but I do have serious trust issues of my own and you know why.”

“Yeah. Your father and his other family. You know I’m well aware of both sides of that issue.” Riley was best friends with her half-brother Alex.

“So I get why you’re wary, but you ought to give Dylan a chance to prove he’s one of the good guys.”

Olivia forced a smile. There was more to it than just her father. Although she had to admit, he’d been the first man to shatter her faith and continued to do so. She’d thought the sun rose and set on Robert Dare and believed she was his princess, just like he’d always claimed. Problem was, he’d said it when he came home from his varied and extended business trips, arms loaded with gifts. And she’d been too young and naïve to know that those presents let him assuage his guilt because he had a mistress and other kids on the side. Kids he gave more time and more of himself to than he ever had to Olivia and her siblings.

Then came Olivia’s huge college mistake that merely reinforced the fact that she found it difficult to believe what any man she was involved with claimed.

“Look, I’m sure Dylan is a good guy.” A sexy man with dark hair she wanted to run her fingers through and lips she wanted to taste again.

Riley shrugged. “So go into it with your eyes open. Hot sweaty sex can be very fulfilling. You don’t need to worry about things like relationships and being hurt if you don’t invest your heart.” Riley met her gaze. “Right?”

A slow smile curled Olivia’s mouth. Maybe she should stop over thinking things. Dylan wasn’t asking for her hand in marriage, God forbid. Then she’d have to dig into her deepest fears and darkest pain. He was just asking for lunch. And probably more but that kind of more she could handle.

Olivia nodded, finally getting her head in the correct frame of mind to deal with Dylan Rhodes.

Link:  Goodreads 

Revenant by Larissa Ione

revenantTitle: Revenant

Series: Demonica bk 11, Lords of Deliverance bk 6

Author: Larissa Ione

Genre: Paranormal

HELL HATH NO FURY . . .

For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme—a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation . . . or destruction.

LIKE AN ANGEL SCORNED

Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she’s the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there’s no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won’t find her.

Thoughts: Larissa Ione is a member of the paranormal writers royalty. With her Demonica series she’s taken all those things that go bump in the night and should scare the crap out of us from the paranormal world and made us love them…and the women who’ve tamed them.

I’m not going lie, I’ve been not so patiently waiting for this book ever since I read Reaver. What more could Ione do to this set of twins? A whole heck of a lot. I thought what had happened to Reaver was bad…it makes what happened to Revenant look like a Disney movie.

Revenant…man he made me cry, rail, and want to hit sometimes on the same freaking page. But through it all I really just wanted this character to finally have something good happen to him. Because as much as he claimed to hate Reaver and his kids, all he wanted was to be accepted into their family.

That’s not to say he didn’t do a lot of things to piss them off and make them want to kill him. Most of the time though it was done with good intentions…at least to me.

Blas…man her mom really did a number on her. As much as her mom wants her to be evil, she can’t. It isn’t in her nature. She’s a healer, a caretaker. She can’t be anything else. Not even when she’s in a position to do something that will save everyone she knows and loves can she do something evil.

I loved this aspect of her. She continually saw the good in people as frustrating as that was at times. Especially to her.

She’s never done anything dangerous in her life, until Revenant shows up and wrecks all of her plans. She doesn’t want to want him, and yet she can’t stay away from him.

Watching the push pull between these two characters had them landing in my top paranormal reads of this year. Combine that with all the secondary characters and how they come into play it makes it that much better. Oh and that archangel we all love to hate and can’t wait for him to get his just due…let me just say it’s freaking awesome when it happens.

I’m sad to see this series come to an end, because it’s one of my favorite paranormal series. I guess this means I have to do a re-read of it.

Grade A+

TBRG Holiday Recipe: Mom Dabb’s Cutout Cookies from Lee Ryder

TBRG Recipe Exchange copy

Hi My name is Lee Ryder Author of the Broken Earth series of books. It’s a dystopian series about a viral outbreak that kills everyone over the age of twenty five, leaving the children behind to change the world and make a new way of life.  My main character Jess loses her family to the outbreak and is left alone.

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Sunday Snippet: Highlander Reborn by Laura Hunsaker

I recently read the prequel to this story and was immediately sucked into the story of Nevin and Amalia. Of all the vampire books I’ve read this is one that intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to read more. So I’m excited to share this snippet from the book. 

Scotland, 1304

The blood dripped down his forehead and caught in his eyebrows. Nevin didn’t have the energy to wipe it off. He leaned heavily on his sword, trying desperately to catch his breath. The moon gave off plenty of light, but his vision was turning dark. He tried to glance up at the stars one last time, but he couldn’t move his head. His body numb from blood loss, he’d gone beyond pain. His body was much too weak to register it. Before his knees buckled and he fell to the ground, the last sound Nevin heard was a woman’s soothing voice telling him to lie still. He couldn’t see her, though. All he could see was darkness. Everywhere he looked, there was only a thick, endless field of nothing.

A light formed and pulled him closer, closer. It was warm, and he was so terribly cold. But he couldn’t move. The darkness held him back. He instinctively knew that once the thick, inky black had him in its grip, he would never be free. So he fought. Nevin struggled and strained, trying with everything he had to reach the light, but he only exhausted his depleted strength even more.

The welcoming warmth of the light drifted farther and farther away. If he could have reached for it, he would have. But he couldn’t move. The Dark would not relinquish him. Not now, not ever.

***

Amalia brushed her fingers across her warrior’s sticky forehead. The blood didn’t bother her, his death, however, would. When she’d seen him struck down in that bloody, gods-awful battle, she’d shrieked in denial and rushed to his side. She was beyond furious. He wasn’t supposed to die. Not yet. She hadn’t had enough time with him. She found an unmarked patch of skin on his neck, leaned down and laved his skin with her tongue. His blood tasted bitter with the taint of death. Pressing her lips against his ear, she whispered, “Lie still,” and she bit his neck.

She didn’t have to drink much from him since he’d lost most of his blood on the battlefield. She immediately bit her wrist and held it to his mouth, praying he would drink, praying this would work. A shadow slipped over them, obscuring the silvery moonlight. Amalia didn’t glance up, she knew who it was.

Her voice snapped like a whip, “I expressly commanded you not to kill him.”

Sebastian flicked a non-existent piece of lint from his shoulder. “We were more concerned with defeating the heathens, than watching out for your pet Highlander.”

Amalia looked at him then, fury in her eyes. “He was not to be harmed.” A ripple of her power was carried on the wind, causing Sebastian to shudder. Amalia returned to stroking her warrior’s face, waiting for him to turn.

“And what happens when he wakes?” Sebastian’s silky smooth voice interrupted Amalia.

She glanced sharply at him. “What do you mean?”

“He’s spent his life fighting our kind, you cannot possibly think he’ll be grateful to you for turning him.” The ennui Sebastian usually projected was missing, in its place was true curiosity.

In truth, Amalia had worried about that, but when faced with letting him die, or knowing she could save him, she was willing to chance his ire. This magnificent warrior deserved a much longer existence than the minuscule six and twenty years he’d lived.

Amalia had been watching him for months now. He didn’t know it, but she knew him. Nevin   Maclachlan was a skilled blacksmith who lived in a cottage in the village. He had lost his wife to one of her kind, and ever since her death, he had fought in every battle against the Nightkind he could find. Instead of sleeping like most humans, he hunted her kind at night. The man was impressive. He slept very little, yet he spent a full day in his smithy forging weapons.

One evening, a night where the moon hung low in the sky, Amalia had been hunting when she’d realized that someone was following her. An amused smile tipped her lips at the thought someone would dare hunt her. No one hunted Amalia. She was royalty. And she was very, very powerful. Stepping out into a patch of moonlight, she turned. He stepped out from the cover of shadow and his hands fisted. She noticed the glint of metal in one of his hands. So he thought to kill her, did he? This arrogant human could no more kill Amalia, than he could sprout wings and fly. Gliding towards him, Amalia noticed his body tense in preparation for an attack. But he did not attack her. How curious.

“Demon,” he spat.

Amalia cocked her head at the venom he injected into that one word. Interesting.

She regally bowed her head a fraction. “Human,” she greeted him.

Quietly they stared at each other. Amalia was the one to break the silence, her curiosity getting the better of her. “Why do you follow me?”

“To kill you,” he said without hesitation.

“Yet you have not.”

His eyes tightened. “Aye, you have no’ made your move.”

Ah, he had honor, this one. He would wait for her to attack first.

“Shall I move my hand?” Amalia lightly touched her fingers to his lips. They stiffened beneath her touch.

“Keep your hands to yourself, vampire,” he growled. His growl would frighten most. She was not most.

“Will you kill me now?”

“Fight me and see.”

His deep voice intrigued her. Every word seemed a throaty growl, torn from him. He didn’t wish to speak; he wanted a brawl.

“What if I do not wish to fight?” Amalia slid her hand from his lips to his neck and around to twist in his hair. “What if fighting is the furthest thing from my mind?”

He wrenched himself away, cursing her. Her soft chuckle enraged him even more, yet he still made no effort to hurt her.

“Damn you, vampire. Fight me!” he roared.

Amalia sauntered back up to him, placed both her hands on his broad shoulders, stretched onto her tiptoes, and placed her mouth to his neck. “Is this what you want?”

He instantly had a blade at her heart. “Do it,” he ordered.

Amalia pressed her lips to his neck in the whisper of a kiss and murmured, “Nay.” She slid away from this very brave, very foolish human and disappeared into the night.

However, she did not forget him; quite the opposite, in fact. She began to follow him at night, every night. When this battle had begun, she spread the word that he was not to be harmed. Yet here she sat, his dead body in her lap, waiting for him to wake to eternity.

highlander rebornHighlander Reborn begins in Scotland, many centuries ago, where a blacksmith fights for his life and his people. His life is forever changed when Amalia, one of the Nightkind, makes the choice to save his life. But first, he has to die…

1304…

After Nevin MacLachlan’s wife was killed by a vampire, he made it his mission to hunt them all down. But one late Highland night, in a battle he couldn’t win, one of the Nightkind ripped open his throat. With his blood draining onto the grass, the last thing Nevin sees isn’t a white light; it’s the dark of night closing in on him.

Amalia has been enamored with the blacksmith ever since he first held a stake to her heart. Watching him die was unacceptable. Will he ever forgive her for turning him into what he hates most?

Nevin has lived his life alone for a reason. When Amalia walks back into his life seven centuries later asking for help, he wants nothing more but to turn his back to her. But something about her still calls to him.

Some of the Nightkind in Amalia’s seethe have been killed. It’s up to her to find Nevin and ask for his help. But how can she show Nevin that she isn’t the monster he thinks she is?

Series Saturday: Lords of Vice by Alexandra Hawkins

One of my absolute favorite historical series is the Lords of Vice series by Alexandra Hawkins. What I love about this series is that at it’s core a series of friendship. If you’ve never read this series here’s your chance. 

Notorious, handsome, and decadent, the Lords of Vice prowl the glittering ballrooms of Regency London– breaking rules and hearts with equal aplomb. But even the wildest rogue must eventually meet his match…

all night with a rogueIT BEGAN AS A FAVOR…
Seduce Lady Juliana Ivers and then cast her aside: Those are his sister’s instructions. Alexius Braverton, Marquess of Sinclair–known as Sin to the ton–is happy enough to oblige, especially when he catches a glimpse of his target. Juliana is completely unlike the empty-headed chits who barely hold his attention for a week. A true gentleman would leave her to find a worthy suitor. But then, a Lord of Vice would never claim to be a gentleman.

WOULD IT END IN FOREVER?
Juliana is expected to marry well to improve her family’s finances, even if she secretly longs to make a living through her musical compositions. A dalliance can only complicate matters, though not even practical Juliana can help succumbing to the aptly named Sin. But one unforgettable night will draw her into a scandalous affair–and a seduction begun as sport will soon become deliciously, dangerously real.

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The Christmas Tree Guy by Railyn Stone

cover56462-mediumTitle:  The Christmas Tree Guy

Series:  N/A

Author:  Railyn Stone

Genre:  Romance

Blurb:  Sydnee Garrett has a lot on her to-do list. Wrangle her young and rambunctious twin boys. Check. Get her life back in order since her husband decided to leave her for a much younger woman. Check. And buy a Christmas tree. Check.
What she wasn’t expecting was adding one more thing to her list. A young, sexy personal trainer. Check.  Quinn Masters is a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer. He isn’t fazed by age or race differences and he does everything in his power to win Sydnee over.  Will Sydnee continue to fight for her orderly life or welcome in the chaos that’s threatening to change her entire world?

Thoughts:  The Christmas Tree Guy was interesting on a number of different levels.  If you’re looking for nothing more than a simple, easy, light-hearted, holiday read, this isn’t quite what you are looking for.  That’s not to say it was not an enjoyable read…I enjoyed the characters and the story – but it is far from light hearted.  In fact, it takes on quite a bit of a serious element for the holiday season – but it is something that is dealt with everyday in our society – interracial relationships.  Sydnee is a single mother, raising twin boys on her own, who meets a man who is not only white, but also 8 years younger than her.  These are definitely challenges to a relationship, even though she is extremely attracted to him.  Not only does she have her own misgivings about a relationship with him, but she has to deal with how others in her life feel about interracial relationships – and finds out that she may not know those as close to her as well as she thought.

This was a bit of a refreshing read in a way.  Frankly, I have never seen interracial relationships handled quite so candidly in a book before – or so honestly.  I’ve read them, but for the most part they usually read just like a stereotypical “normal” romance, and to be honest you forget that your even dealing with an interracial couple.  You don’t get the hard stuff, the struggles, and the people who aren’t always accepting of people who are different than themselves.  This book was sometimes excruciating in its realness.  It wasn’t always easy to read.

I felt that Quinn was almost too perfect to be real at times, however….LOL  So perfect with kids, doesn’t care that she’s a single mom, an infinite amount of patience dealing not only with jerk ex-husbands but also a crazy mom with extreme prejudice issues that are insulting him to his face with ease?  Sydnee, however, could be a bit annoying and whiny at times, which could be understand though given the circumstances she’s going through in her life and the new pressures and discriminations she’s dealing with (not everyone handles that sort of stuff well).  But overall?  An excellent book, that is quite a refreshing dose of reality in this genre yet still maintains its romantic aura.

Rate:  A-

TBRG Holiday Recipe Exchange: Pumpkin Roll from Audrey Carlan

TBRG Recipe Exchange copy

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • .
  • Filling:
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese — softened
  • 4 tablespoons Butter — or margarine
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

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A Very Merry Hockey Holiday by Toni Aleo

21570816Title:  A Very Merry Hockey Holiday

Series:  Assassins Series Book # 6.5

Author:  Toni Aleo

Genre:  Romance

Blurb:  NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BEST SELLING AUTHOR TONI ALEO PRESENTS THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IN THE ASSASSINS SERIES…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – with eight stories featuring your most beloved characters and their families – it’s time to get comfy with a cup of hot cocoa and take a sneak peek at the holidays, Assassins’ style.

Join Lucas and Fallon along with Tate and Audrey as they await life-changing gifts; Erik and Piper, and Phillip and Reece who have decisions to make that could lead to exciting developments ahead in their lives; and Claire as she makes a Christmas wish and choices for her future. Spend Christmas morning with the Adler family and see what the New Year has in store for Karson and Lacey, as well as Kacey King. The King family faces significant changes and resolutions that will leave readers alternately cheering and maybe a little heavy-hearted…all wrapped up in a big bow.

Thoughts:  What a wonderful little gift from Toni Aleo for the holidays!  I know I enjoyed getting a glimpse into what all my favorite characters are up to for the holidays season – it was nice to revisit them, especially if you are a big time fan of this series!  I can’t tell you how much I love them myself – I feel like they are old friends, and these stories just touched my heart.  They definitely brought about a range of emotions – I swung everywhere from a lighthearted smile, to tears (in a good way, I promise!), and even sheer laugh-out-loud belly laughs…LOL  A great blend of stories featuring our most beloved characters, perfect for fans of the series.

Rate:  A-/B+

COVER REVEAL: Something Like Love by Monica James + Giveaway

SomethingLikeLove_ebook_Reveal

Title: Something Like Love

Series: Something Like Normal Book #3

Author: Monica James

Release Date: February 2015

 Blurb:  The secret’s out…Fate has never been kind to Mia Lee, but her misfortune has driven her to seek redemption from a past filled with regret.   Mia’s future depends on uncovering her past, but sadly, the answers lay with her mother, a mother who abandoned Mia when she was only a child.  Now that Mia has finally found her kin, she’s determined to get the answers she so desperately seeks.  But those answers come with a price…Mia’s blossoming relationship with Quinn Berkeley is the sole reason she carries on.  But Quinn has a secret of his own. Will his secret destroy the one stable foundation in Mia’s life? And more importantly, what will Quinn’s secret do to him once he confesses the sins of his past?  Life for Mia and Quinn is about to explode in a way she never thought possible… 

Link: Goodreads

 Also, check out the giveaway where can get a chance at a $5 gift card or an e-book of  the first two books in the series, Something Like Normal or Something Like Redemption -Giveaway

Buy Links for Book #1 – Something Like Normal – Amazon   B&N   KOBO

Buy Links for Book #2 – Something Like Redemption – Amazon   B&N   KOBO

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL: The Dark Thief by Amy Lynn Garcia

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Title:  Dark Thief

Series:  The Two Sides of Me

Author:  Amy Lynn Garcia

Release Date:  December 2014

Blurb:  Mia and Evan have been through a lot together in a short time. In Dark Thief, the second installment of The Two Sides of Me trilogy, Evan’s alpha male personality explodes when Mia spirals into a near fatal depression caused by his bizarre and dark past.
Short term amnesia following Evan’s car accident that brought these two together originally, seriously complicates their relationship. And as if that weren’t enough, Mia also learns Evan has an brain tumor that could take him from her permanently. When Evan finds he can’t protect Mia from his unknown demons, naturally he begins to use his wealth, connections and fear tactics to manipulate a plan that will return her to his side where he is convinced she belongs.

Don’t miss Dark Thief if you were left shocked and breathless at the end of Dark Kiss you need to come along on this wild ride with Evan and Mia to find out what’s next in their crazy story.

Excerpt:  I can feel his ankles brushing against my own. And then I hear a click what the hell? He’s taking pictures of me! I jump and flip to my back opening my eyes to Evan towering over me with an enormous professional looking camera.

“What the hell Evan? I’m naked!”

“I’m well aware baby now close your eyes and relax, I want some of this side.”

“Evan! No!” It’s then that I look at my arms, and then propping up I see my legs, hell every inch of me! I’m covered in his signature! Evan Lawson is scrawled across my skin in various sizes but the same name over and over, delicate looking font in some places and bold in others. He’s claimed me, quite literally.

Shocked and confused, mouth agape I look up at him as he stands there awaiting my cooperation. “Close your mouth baby, a bird might…” I cut him off “Evan! Why…why is your name…everywhere?” I lift my arms as if to show him what he’s done.

“Because you are mine.”

“And you couldn’t think of a better way to show that?”

“No, I like you covered in my autograph and I’m taking you out tonight to Dominus for dinner and drinks. I know all too well how my customers gawk and I don’t want anyone’s lustful eyes on you.”

I think my mouth is hanging even wider if that’s possible.  He wants me to go out like this, covered in his signature, so that no one will look at me. Ok, he’s totally lost it, I’m not going anywhere like this. “Uh uh, no way, I can’t go out all marked up like this!”

“Lay down Mia I want to get a few more shots.”

Link:  Goodreads

Link for Book #1 – Dark Kiss – Amazon

 

TBRG Holiday Recipe Exchange: Oyster and Black Olive Dip from Meg Benjamin

TBRG Recipe Exchange copy

This is a sinfully rich smoked oyster and black olive dip. It came from Peg Bracken’s I Hate To Cook Book originally, but it’s been passed down a lot since then.

Peg Bracken’s Oyster Olive Dip  

Ingredients

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or sour cream)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

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