Happy Tuesday, everyone! As my kids would say, we’re only nine “sleeps” away from Christmas Day! Whoo Hooo!
I love this time of year–the lights, the shopping, keeping secrets from the kiddos, and, of course, the food.
Another thing that helps get me in the mood are romance reads with a bit of a Christmas theme. When I asked fellow Romance Writers Weekly author, Xio Axelrod, if she would give me a sneak peak into her new novella, The Calum, I had no idea it would slide into that category quite nicely.
And man, what a wonderful read! Novellas are really tricky to pull off and not leave the reader feeling cheated when it comes to story, character, or plot development. One of the three nearly always suffers. But Xio managed to wrap all three up quiet nicely.
Oh, and did I mention there are hot Scottish men? I will never, ever, ever turn down a hot Scott. Ever.
So, if you’re up for a quick, sexy read with a Christmas mood and hunky Scottish men, I’d definitely recommend you grab this new release. Summaries, excerpts, and buy links are listed for your convenience below.
The Calum Series # 1
By: Xio Axelrod
Releasing December 16th, 2014
Xio Axelrod LLC / Bookbaby
Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend Christmas vacation.
If Duff had his way, he’d never step foot in Inverness again. Only his best friend’s wedding, and his ailing grandmother, could bring him home. Duff’s plan is keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Hard to do when the groom targets a pretty blond tourist for one last conquest.
When Duff and Lovie meet, stones, sparks and insults fly. He’s instantly attracted to the sexy, sharp-tongued American. She’s just glad to have someone to hang out with, especially the bad boy with a mysterious past. Lovie is determined to learn his secrets, but as they grow closer, Duff is forced to choose between his best friend and his heart.
Link to Follow Tour: http://xioaxelrod.com/?p=1209
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/xioaxelrod
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23718245-the-calum
The Buy Links
Philadelphia native and global citizen, Xio Axelrod writes love stories, sexy romance and what she likes to call “strange, twisted tales.” Bitten by the literary bug in 2003, she has self-published two volumes of poetry. Her short stories have also appeared in e-magazines such as Oysters and Chocolate. After a five year hiatus from writing, Xio returned with the fiery web serial, Starstruck: a story about finding the right person at the wrong time that became a viral hit. The Calum is book one in a series.
Xio is a vocalist and songwriter by day and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mr. X, and their on-again/off-again cat, BB.
Where to find Xio:
Instagram: http:// http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/
Lovie Grant wished like hell that she had paid the five dollars for the airline headphones. But that balloon had popped, and now she was stuck listening – again – to Joana’s latest “brilliant” plan. She hunched her shoulders and buried her face in the in-flight magazine. Anything to avoid one more word about their freaking trip.
“Are you even listening to me?” Her shrill tone bounced off the airplane window and directly into the oh-my-God-let-me-off-this-sky-bus-before-I-kill-her section of Lovie’s brain.
“What is it now, Jo?”
“You’re not paying attention. And you keep sighing like you’ve been left home on prom night.”
“I’m just tired, and I can’t sleep on planes.” And I should be relaxing on a beach instead of chasing after you.
Flip. Flip. Flip.
Page after page taunted her with one photo of crystal blue waters and palm trees after another. There would be no palm trees where they were headed.
Which asshole decided to put that magazine in her seat-back pocket?
How very astute. “It’s a scientific fact that a lack of sleep causes a decrease in the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.” Flip. “Otherwise, I’m fine, Jo. Let it go.”
“I call bull. You’ve already convinced yourself that this is going to suck.” Jo’s bottom lip poked out in her signature pout. With her blonde locks twisted into two braids, and her bright pink Juicy sweatpants, the picture of a bratty twelve-year-old was nearly complete.
Lovie’s best friend, roommate and constant damsel-in-distress had a plan. A good plan, she’d said. A sound plan, if you dared to believe her. Lovie didn’t, but the plan was this:
- Go to Scotland
- Find “The Calum”
- Marry him
Jo had been saving up for this particular trip for three years – ever since Lovie picked up a dog-eared copy of A Laird to Love at a used book store. It was a great read, sure, but why the hell did that one have to fall out of the stack?
Like millions of other women around the globe, Jo had fallen in love with its hero, Calum MacKenzie.
Unlike most of those other women, Jo believed that someone like him was just across the ocean, waiting for her.
“The Calum,” Jo explained to anyone that stopped long enough to listen, was the perfect man. A lover and a fighter, he was a chivalrous, six-foot-four redhead with a six-pack and a penchant for languages. You could find variations of him in the pages of Jo’s vast collection of romance novels.
Campbell. Covington. Cage. Colton.
She had shelves filled with ideal men, but somehow The Calum stood out to her from the rest. Enough to convince Jo that she needed to go to Scotland and find him.
Each year since college, they’d flipped a coin to see who would pick their Christmas vacation destination. This year, Lovie lost. So there they were, thirty-five thousand feet above the Atlantic, on their way from Philadelphia to Brigadoon…er…Inverness.
Lovie couldn’t believe she’d agreed to spend her measly handful of vacation days tailing Jo through the Scottish Highlands. It was going to be cold and damp.
And fucking cold.
There was a beach somewhere with her name on it, and that name was getting washed out to sea. Or sat upon by German tourists. Her lungs deflated in a heavy sigh as her dream of endless mojitos drifted away on the clouds below.
“You didn’t have to come with me, you know.”
Yeah right. Lovie laughed. “You get lost in Chinatown. I can’t even imagine you on your own in another country. Of course, I had to come with you.”
“Your confidence is inspiring,” Jo deadpanned. “I am perfectly capable of looking after myself.” She drew her tiny feet up into the seat and hugged her knees to her chest. “I don’t need a babysitter.”
“Okay, how about a bodyguard?”
Jo snorted. “You’re not much of one.”
Lovie turned, her brow arched. “I’ve got four inches and twenty-five pounds on you. Put on your seatbelt.”
“Yes mom,” Jo said. “I’ve got it all worked out.” She fumbled with her seatbelt. “When I meet The Calum, and I will meet him, I’ll just play it cool and casual. Like I’m not into him at all. Show just enough of the girls to make him pant after me.” Jo smacked the ends together like she was trying to force a size ten foot into a size six shoe. “What’s wrong with this thing?”
“Oh, for the love of…” Lovie reached over and untwisted the contraption, closing it with a snap.
“I had it.”
“Anyway, as I was saying, I’ll be like a piece of candy that he can’t wait to unwrap.” Throwing her blonde locks over her shoulder, she batted her eyelashes in demonstration.
“So your plan is to lustrate him until he falls in love with you?”
“Good word, lustrate.” Jo grinned. “I’ll have him eating out of my hand. You’ll see.”