Interview with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst


We want to thank Jennifer Probst  for taking time out of her busy schedule to be with us here today. Thank you Jennifer for being just so wonderful.

SC: First, thank you for agreeing to this interview with us. We re absolutely thrilled!  Of course, congratulations on all of your success with the Marriage to a Billionaire series! New York Times & USA Today bestselling author! Those are such huge accomplishments and very well deserved.

JP: Thank you so much! I’m thrilled to hang out here with you today!

SC: The Marriage Bargain and The Marriage Trap are both amazing reads.  I’m a sucker for a love story full of emotion and angst. (The hot sex is just an added bonus)  What was your inspiration for writing The Marriage Trap?

JP: When I was writing the Marriage Bargain, Alexa’s best friend Maggie came bounding on the page in all her snarky glory. She started taking over scenes! I compromised with her and said if I sold Bargain, I’d give Maggie her own story and when I finally sold Bargain to Entangled, they wanted a series so I already had her story planned. I love when a character demands they be written!

SC: Love spells play a role in each of the books so far, why did you want to include this?  (I’ll admit that I have tried before)

JP: I was once a single woman. It’s hard to meet men! I had a conversation once with a group of friends about casting a spell into the universe to find a soul-mate and I thought it was the coolest thing. Inspiration struck and I decided to connect the books with the spell for a fun twist to entertain readers.

SC: In the Marriage Trap, Bergamo is the headquarters for La Dolce Famiglia as well as Michael’s hometown.  Why Bergamo? Have you been there? What is your favorite part of Bergamo?

JP: I knew I wanted to set Trap in Italy so I decided to do research for a location close enough to Milan where their headquarters would be housed, but private enough for a billionaire’s family to live with the old traditional values. Bergamo jumped out at me and I couldn’t stop reading about it. The upper and lower cities splitting the old and new was perfect. I’m planning a trip there this year but I’ve only seen photos on the web and poured over literature. I think my favorite part is looking out down over the city with the spectacular view. I imagined myself in Michael’s backyard drinking Chianti and staring at the gorgeous landscape.

SC: Family (and food) has a huge presence in The Marriage Trap.  Whether it is the family business La Dolce Famiglia, Mama Conte teaching Maggie how to cook, or The Count propositioning Maggie in order to help his sister get married… is your family similar to the Conte’s?  Do you know family’s like them?

JP: My family has had many challenges along the way but I remember wonderful memories of my youth at my Italian grandmother’s table. Everything was homemade, dinner lasted for several hours, the cousins ran around, the men smoked cigars and played cards, and the women held it all together. The bonds of family and food made an impression on me and I respect them throughout Trap and love giving readers a taste of that type of life. My family means the world to me.

SC: I have to admit, Mama Conte is amazing! Is she portrayed after someone you know personally?

JP: Thank you! Mama Conte sprung from nowhere and she became one of my favorite all time characters! The role of the matriarch in an Italian family is key, and I thought she would be the model to pull the family together, give them strength, and guide them. I had so much fun weaving her throughout the books (she has a main role in The Marriage Mistake!) and I don’t want to give her up. She is based on an image I had of someone you’d want to meet, speak with, and love. Older women are such great mentors and can give us so much if we would just listen!

SC: Maggie is such a great character.   Not only does she keep The Count on his toes but she’s amazing with his mother, sisters, and of course Alexa and Nick.  In that same respect, Michael is not only is a sexy strong man with a lovely Italian accent (I’m a sucker for a man with an accent…) but loyal to the bone.  When writing your lead characters for your books, how do they come to you?

JP: Writing the characters are key in my books. I don’t focus as much on plot or details as much as the careful reveal of emotions that make my hero and heroine come alive. I try to dive very deep into what makes them who they are today. I uncover their past, give them regrets, give them obstacles, and then sketch in their strengths. I wanted home and loyalty to be the mainstays of Trap and layered them throughout the story.  I already knew Maggie from Bargain, but the Count needed to be her match yet give her what she needed. The key is strength of family and loyalty – that is what Maggie lacked. The challenge was making him strong, sexy, and able to rip down Maggie’s barriers. He’s such a force in the book and never lets her run away. I love that in  a man!

SC: Who is your favorite character in this series to write and why?

JP: This is a trick question! Usually when I’m writing a book the characters at the time are my all time favorite. It’s like falling in love and lust all over again. But with the three books behind me, I have to say I was most fascinated by writing Maggie’s story for a heroine, and Nick as the hero. Must be the screwed up life of the Ryans that I wanted to give them their happy ever after! They were so damaged and I loved letting them find their way. But I absolutely adore the rest of my characters too!

SC: What do you want your readers to take with them through reading The Marriage Trap?

JP: A few hours of feeling really, really good. Life is too hard. We deserve a little slice of laughter, a bit of tears, and that satisfaction of knowing it all worked out but was a hell of a ride. When fans write to me and say they ripped through the book in a matter of hours and cried or felt as if they’d been through a journey, I get choked up. That’s all I want. To take a reader to Italy for a few hours, meet a big family, get a kick from their antics, and  put a smile on their face.

SC: With The Marriage Mistake (Carina and Max’s story – yay!) coming out in November, How many more books do you plan on writing for this series?

JP: Ah, that’s termed everywhere as the final installment. And it was. BUT…I have one sister with no happy ever after ending. How could I do that to her? And then this delicious yummy sexy hero sprung up in Mistake and wrecked my world. So, yes, there is one more coming in the series. And then I have a huge surprise for everyone but I can’t tell yet. Shhh.

SC: Are you working on any other projects right now that you can share with us? Any new series? Standalone’s? Children’s books?

JP: Yes! I have a wonderful new stand alone romance titled All The Way coming out in a few months. You’ll meet a food critic, and a restaurant owner with a rocky past. It’s  a story of redemption set in the world of food (you know how I love to write about food!).

I also have another children’s book written with my niece called Katie and the Hippo Egg. It’s very whimsical and fun. I have a holiday short sweet romance coming on November 7th called The Holiday Hoax to get you ready for snow and Christmas.


Random Questions

Favorite book   The Art of Racing in The Rain

Sweet or salty Both please!

Favorite movie  Too many to count. Let’s say The Way We Were.

Author you would like to collaborate with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Kill me now.

Photographing hot male underwear models or working in a bakery Male underwear models please. I’d gain too much weight the other way.


SC: Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

JP: Yes, I love stalking. I respond to every email or twitter and enjoy the conversation and feedback. You can keep in touch with all my social media links at my website:

SC: Thank you so much for your time Jennifer! We appreciate it!

JP: I had the best time! Can I come again soon? SubClub rocks!

SC: We did too! And yes, absolutely!, we’ll see you back here at Subclub very soon! Thank you again!

* We would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to Jennifer Probst for taking the time to do this interview with us.  We really appreciate you and your books!

Check out The Marriage to a Billionaire Series:

Book 1: The Marriage Bargain (Out Now)

Book 2: The Marriage Trap (Out Now)


Book 3: The Marriage Mistake (Out on November 6th)



4.5 Star Review of The Marriage Trap (Marriage to a Billionaire #2) by Jennifer Probst

“Her heart stopped.  A fierce longing shook through her core, and Maggie half closed her eyes in a battle to push away the emotional storm..”  

A love spell…check.  A man with a sexy Italian accent looking for a fake wife…check.  An independent woman looking for “The One”…check.  A story full of sexual tension, hot steamy sex, and romance…check.

The Marriage Trap is book 2 in the Marriage to a Billionaire series and it definitely did not disappoint.  This book focuses on Michael (Count) Conte and Maggie Ryan which we both met in the book that started it all…The Marriage Bargain.

Michael’s sister recently gets engaged but due to a promise made to his father on his deathbed to keep up with tradition, she can’t get married unless he does first.  Michael decides to take matters into his own hands to help her.  He propositions Maggie into helping him convince his family that they are married.  What they both didn’t plan on was falling in love in the process.

The characters in The Marriage Trap are amazing in their own respect.  Michael’s mother along with his sister’s are all so accepting of Maggie.  Mama Conte takes the time to get to know her and teaches her how to cook.  Maggie also helps Michael and his sisters (especially Carina) work out their issues with one another, as well as their problems in their family business, La Dolce Famiglia.

This story warmed my heart in so many ways.  Seeing Michael and Maggie’s conflicting feelings for one another and trying so hard to deny it was what made it so incredible.  Then to watch them fall in love with one another while neither one of them was expecting it was absolutely breathtaking.

Jennifer Probst has a style of writing that made me as a reader connect to Michael and Maggie’s love story.  I could feel every emotion they felt and see every action taking place as if it were on a screen right in front of me.  While I was sad that this book had to end, I’m so excited that The Marriage Mistake (Max and Carina’s story) is coming out on November 6th!  I’m sure we’ll be seeing more Michael and Maggie in that one as well.  I absolutely adore this series and I’m sure you will too.

“He loves you. It was always you – but you have to be brave enough to reach for it.  You have to believe you’re worth it…”



Guest Post by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst

Holding Out for A Hero….

Ah, the romantic hero. Bigger than life. Sexier than sin. He has all the qualities we crave in a soul-mate. Give a reader a hero she can fall in love with and you hook them.

So what are the main qualities readers want in their heroes?

I’ve done many posts and listened to tons of comments. Some want humor. Great sex. Loyalty. Passion. Sense of family. Physical attractiveness. Brilliance.

But I disagree.

I think the best thing about a hero is his faults.

That’s right. A hero’s dark secrets, regrets, and mishaps is the path to carving out a man women will go crazy over. If you combine all those perfect traits and swirl them into the poor guy, you will only achieve a cardboard character with no depth. The reader will toss that book after a few chapters.

Let’s take my hero in The Marriage Trap – the delicious Count. Michael is sexy and a self made billionaire by his own sweat. He’s powerful and loyal to his family. He has a wicked sense of humor and a gorgeous accent.

But he makes many asshole moves.

He treats his younger sisters with a bullying, protective attitude and doesn’t give them the support they need. He tries to be in control at all times and lead the family empire on his terms. He sacrificed his dream to take care of his family, and once in a while, he gets a bit pissed off and resentful.

That’s human. A real hero of flesh and blood. One who struggles with his past and his mistakes and moves on.

Maggie is there to challenge every one of his mishaps, but she also understands him. She becomes the perfect balance to his soul.

A good love story isn’t about shining a light on all the positive stuff. Put your flashlight in the dark corner of the closet where the monster hides, and you find buried treasure.

I hope you will enjoy the journey of Maggie and Michael in The Marriage Trap, and read the rest of the books in the series! Look for the third installment The Marriage Mistake on November 6th!

**We would like to thank Jennifer Probst again for not only writing this amazing guest post, but for her interview, and generous giveaway as well.  She is an amazing, talented author who is one of the nicest people we have ever met.  Thank you for everything Jennifer!  We’re looking forward to The Marriage Mistake as well as all of your upcoming releases!


Christmas in Chicago part 2 Ryan and Julia’s first Christmas together by Kahlen Aymes


The jet bridge was filled with the sounds of people talking, laughing and the grating whiz of the wheels of the many carry-on cases being carted up to the terminal.  Butterflies filled my stomach.  I had to admit that when Ryan suggested I fly to Chicago for Christmas, I was thrilled and filled with excited anticipation.  I’d never seen Chicago in winter, but it was the fact that Ryan insisted I come that was responsible for the nervous adrenaline pumping through my veins.  This was Ryan, my best friend.  My gorgeous best friend, true, but still, he was like my other half, the calm in my storm, the cream to my coffee.  I told myself it was the prospect at meeting his parents that had my stomach all tied up in knots.

I’d shoved a few changes of clothes and the bare necessities into a carry-on and grabbed a cab for the airport.  The fare was fifty dollars and I charged it on the credit card my dad had given me when I started college, for emergencies only.   I inwardly shrugged. This was an emergency.  I was dying of boredom in San Francisco and seriously missing the easy camaraderie that Ryan and I shared.  It was really the first time we’d been separated since we’d met and I’d been seriously unprepared for how much I’d miss him.  I looked down at my Nike clad feet and my stomach dropped.  I didn’t have time to shower or change and still wore the tattered jeans and hoodie that I’d thrown on that morning.  The purple coat that was shoved under my left arm was the first one I could grab as I’d rushed from my father’s house.  The first impression with Ryan’s family certainly would not be what I wanted.  The butterflies did somersaults in my stomach again and I swallowed hard, wishing I had a soda or bottle of water with me.  There were plenty of places to stop and pick one up, but my anxiousness to get to Ryan overshadowed the need.  My iPhone blipped in the front pocket of my sweatshirt and my hand plunged in to retrieve it, a smile already plastered on my face. Typical impatience from Ryan, only this time, I mirrored the feeling.

Jules? You here?

I furiously typed my answer one-handed as I pulled my luggage behind me and made my way past the security checkpoint.  The lines were insane and I was thankful I didn’t have to fight that mess.

Yeah.  Walking into main terminal.

When I saw the glass windows at the front of the terminal come into view, my eyes began the search for Ryan.  He was leaning up against one of the large pillars, nonchalantly scanning the crowd, his hands shoved unceremoniously into the front pockets of his jeans.  My heart did the little flip it always did when I saw him, and as usual, I pushed it away.  He was so gorgeous and I did have breasts and a uterus, so I couldn’t expect to be immune to the incredible pull he held over women.  Even Brian, an openly gay student who was a member of my philosophy discussion group, would gape and drool every time Ryan would come pick me up after one of our study sessions at the campus library.  Ryan’s discomfort on such occasions was palpable and it made me laugh.

“Brian is no different than the gaggles of women fawning all over you constantly.  That doesn’t seem to bother you, Matthews!” I’d mumbled under my breath. “And, he’s prettier than some of them.”

He’d had the grace to blush and shot me a look that could kill, his eyes warning me to stop my goading.  “Shut up or I’ll punish you,” he warned with a quirk of his lips.  Later, he’d held me down in my dorm room and tickled me furiously until I was screaming with laughter and begging him to stop the torture.  He didn’t let me go until I promised I’d never tease him about Brian again.

Ryan’s face lit up with a brilliant smile when he saw me and he quickly came forward and wrapped me in a tight bear hug.  The scent of his cologne engulfed me as his arms tightened around my shoulders.  I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes as my cheek pressed into the soft material of his sweatshirt over the solid muscles of his chest and my arms wound around his waist.  My coat dropped to the floor and the handle of my carry-on clanked against the tile as it dropped.  Ryan had hugged me before. He’d given me numerous piggyback rides and slung his arm around my shoulders on countless occasions, but this hug had me plastered up against his male body, my softness smashed to the hard contours of his male form.  I felt flustered and unsettled as I moved back and glanced into his face.  His blue eyes sparkled with excitement.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said.  His voice oozed over me as his hands grabbed my shoulders.  “My mom is circling the terminals and should be around to pick us up very soon.”

“I didn’t have time to get ready.  I look a mess. Thanks for that.”

Ryan chuckled and bent to pick up the bag and the coat.  He pushed the handle down and easily slung the bag over his shoulder before handing the coat back with a sardonic grimace.  “You’ll look like a giant purple people eater,” he teased, “or, a bloated grape.”

“Thanks,” I retorted shortly.  “Again, it’s your fault, dickhead.  I didn’t even look at what I grabbed out of the closet!”

“Did you wear that when you were five?” His shoulder nudged into mine and I couldn’t help but smile.  “I don’t think I can take you downtown in that.  I may have to buy you a new one.”

“It’s fine.”

“No, it’s not.  It’s hideous!”

“Some of us aren’t as vain as others,” I shot back as we started to walk toward the large revolving doors that would take us out to the curb, silently dreading wearing the horrible thing.  “You said it was going to be a blizzard here. I didn’t think we’d do much beyond making a snowman.”

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t lose you in that, even in a whiteout.  Here comes my mom.”

A sleek silver Lexus stopped and Ryan went around the back to deposit my bag into the trunk as a slender woman in a long black cashmere coat and black leather gloves emerged from behind the wheel.  I didn’t find similarities in their features, but her blue eyes and sandy hair were identical to her son’s.  She was impeccably groomed which only made my unkempt appearance more annoying.

“Julia, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m Ryan’s mother, Elyse.”  She embraced me warmly as the cold Chicago wind whipped around us and blew my long hair across my face.  I began to shiver.

“Thank you, Mrs. Matthews. Sorry for the short notice.”

She whisked my objection away with a casual wave of her hand.  “It’s no trouble at all, and you must call me Elyse.  Ryan, you drive, darling.  I want to get acquainted with your friend.”  She tossed Ryan the keys before he handed me my coat and held open the back passenger side door and ushered me inside.

The drive and shopping trip proved to be a lot of fun and I found an easy camaraderie with Ryan’s mom. She was warm, easygoing and very welcoming.  She chatted on about Ryan and Aaron, the tree-house they built in the backyard with their dad when they were ten and how Ryan broke his arm when he fell out of it the following spring.  Overall, there weren’t many embarrassing things I’d be able to tease Ryan with when the need arose to blackmail him but things changed that night at dinner.

“Ryan, have you bought any whores yet?” his father asked with a laugh.

I gasped and some of the roast beef I’d been eating got sucked into my lungs.  I began coughing uncontrollably, covering my mouth with the fine linen napkin that had been resting in my lap.  My eyes began to tear as my chest convulsed painfully.

“Jesus, Dad!” Ryan admonished, pushing back his chair and pounding on my back.  “Sorry, Jules, it’s a joke.”

Elyse rose from her chair and rounded the table toward the two of us, the tears in my eyes increasing as I struggled to regain my breath between coughing spurts.  She handed me the glass of ice water next to my plate and offered it to me.  I coughed again, wiped my tears and reached for it.  I was acutely conscious of Ryan’s hand rubbing my back between my shoulder blades.

“I’m so sorry, Julia.  I often tease Ryan about his whores.” The handsome face, so similar to his son’s, flashed a full grin as I finally took my seat again. I raised my eyebrow at Ryan who ran his hand through his hair. His agitation was clear.

“Gabe, explain to the poor girl.”

Ryan rolled his eyes.  “Or not,” he insisted forcefully.

“No, I’d like to hear this,” I said with a laugh, then flushed when Ryan shot me a warning look.  I guess he didn’t think that was funny, but I sure as hell did.

His father burst out laughing.  “I like this girl, son.  She’s smart.”

“Smart ass, you mean.”

“Ryan and Aaron went to summer camp for two weeks every summer from the age of seven.  It had horseback riding, canoeing and a lot of other fun stuff.  Ryan particularly like the horses and he’d write home telling us he’d like to buy a horse, only he spelled it H O R E S, so it’s been an ongoing joke.  Ryan and his whores.”

“Oh, my God!” I laughed out loud.  “Awww!” I reached out and pushed against his arm roughly.  “I guess not much has changed, huh?” I asked my friend.

“Nice, Julia.” Ryan looked annoyed.

“Well?” I teased.


“In your dreams.”

Four eyes bore into me as they waited for an explanation.  “Um, well, it’s just that Ryan dates a bunch, um… uh, a lot of girls like him.”

Elyse rescued me from further embarrassing myself.  “He’s always had a bevy of girlfriends, but we’ve yet to meet anyone he’s serious about. Only one he dated more than a month.  Ryan, do you still keep in touch with Jennifer?”


“What?” she asked, setting down her wineglass.  “Surely it’s nothing your best friend wouldn’t already know.”

“Can we just not… talk about that stuff?  Please?” Ryan begged.  He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

The truth was, I was feeling the pain as well.  We never seemed to get around to talking about the past much, not when it came to relationships.  We always seemed to be focused on the present, but the conversation put me in a weird place.  Of course, my subconscious knew he’d had at least one major girlfriend in his past.  He was funny, smart and gorgeous, and I wasn’t stupid, but somehow I’d managed to keep the thought buried in the back of my mind. I glanced in Ryan’s direction out of the corner of my eye.  He was staring at his plate.

After dinner, Ryan and I helped with the dishes without a lot of conversation and I started to wonder if maybe this was a bad idea.  As he stacked the last of the plates into the dishwasher after I’d rinsed them he nodded in the direction of the stairs and I followed him to his room.

“Don’t make fun of me,” he said with a slight smile and went into his room ahead of me.  He turned on a bedside lamp and the television on the wall opposite the double bed.

“What are best friends for?” I asked.  I always thought of Ryan as my best friend, but it’s never something we’d said to each other, nor had I ever heard him refer to me as such, but apparently he’d said it to his mother.

He flopped down on his bed as I glanced around his room.  I could see his eyes follow me as I checked out the trophies and the photographs.  I saw one of Ryan in a black tux with a blonde girl in a bright pink, sequined dress, and guessed that must be the infamous Jennifer.  I sensed his hesitation and my face burned and my lungs felt on fire.  I inhaled, trying to ease the heat and calm the weird emotions racing through me.  He studied me intently.

“What?” I asked, the bed giving softly beneath my weight as I sat next to him.

“Is that okay?” His jaw stiffened slightly and my eyes skittered over the shadow of whiskers shading it.  My heart thumped unexpectedly in my chest.  I knew what he wanted to know.

“Yeah.  You are my best friend.  Duh.”

“Yeah.  Good.”

“I told your mom I’d help her cook Christmas dinner.  Do you have any traditions?”

“Sure.  We have to suffer my dad’s Aunt Mabel’s fruitcake.  It’s so disgusting! Dad takes it and practically drowns it in rum to try to make it palatable and still it sucks ass.  Don’t eat it, whatever you do.”

I laughed and grabbed the remote out of his hand.  He let me take it without protest.  “Doesn’t your mother make your favorite dessert?”

“No. She said it’s not holiday-ish.”

“Hmmm.  I always make my dad Black Forest cake and Prime Rib for Christmas.”

He watched me with sparkling eyes.  “I like strawberry cheesecake, but that sounds good, too.  What is it?”

I flipped from channel to channel and shrugged.

“Chocolate cake soaked with Cherry Liqueur, filled with cherries, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s delicious.”

“Sounds good.”

“Yeah, I know.  It is.”  Tongue in cheek I waited for him to ask.  He would ask.  I would make him ask. The seconds ticked by, both of us starring at the T.V. without speaking.  Finally, he caved.

“Will you make them and save me from the gross fruitcake?”

“I don’t know.  Your mom’s right. Cheesecake isn’t Christmas-y.  Strawberries are out of season.”  I said, training my eyes on the T.V. and waiting, baiting Ryan more as I rattled off reasons not to make his beloved cheesecake.

Ryan huffed and lay down on his bed, finally leaning over and stealing the remote out of my hand.  “Fine!”

“Moody much?” My lips crept up at the corners.

“You tease me with that shit and then renege.   Just remember, payback is a bitch.”

I bit my lip to stop a laugh.  “Fuck you. You called me a bloated grape!  So what was it you were saying about payback?”

“Your ticket was $636 dollars and change.  I take cash or check.”  His elbow nudged my arm as he shifted again then leaned into me as the channel settled onto HBO.  The Bill Murray version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ was just starting.

“Okay, I’ll make it, if you’ll stop pouting, already. But, you have to go to the store and buy the stuff.”

“What?  The fucking thing already cost me $636!”

A laugh erupted from my chest and Ryan joined me as we settled in, both of us leaning on the pillows and each other to watch the movie. “It’ll be worth every cent.”

“It already is.”


A Poem From Darwin Blake..

Feels Like Sunshine.

Your love for me…
It feels like sunshine.
Your patience too…
It feels like sunshine.
When you smile at me…
It feels like sunshine.
When you look in to my eyes…
It feels like sunshine.
When rain beats down and you hold my hand…
It feels like sunshine.
When you kiss me on my nose…
It feels like sunshine.
When all fails and you are left…
It feels like sunshine.
When you hold me to your breast…
It feels like sunshine.
When I’m old and going grey, a  wheelchair bound and toothless fool, when I sit and think of you, of how we danced and smiled and things.
How I kissed you in the rain.
How we met and fell in love.
How our lives changed every day.
How we fought and soon made up.
How you were always right.
How my failings caused the fight.
How I said I’m sorry love.
How we hugged and made up.
All these things and so much more.
Tell you darling.
I adore.
Your gorgeous eyes.
Your pretty nose.
Your cheeky smile.
Your auburn hair.
Everything and so much more.
My darling!
It feels like sunshine.

To see more of his wonderful poetry, visit

All works of writing in this blog post are the property of Darwin Blake and in order to replicate or post his work elsewhere, you will need his permission.


Guest Blog Post from Darwin Blake

A great man once said something profound.
So profound that I have forgotten what it was.
So profound that it has shaped my entire existence.
A cartoon fox once said “Fear not my friends, for this shall be my greatest performance!”
It’s funny really…could my life have been influenced by a fox? A talking fox at that?
Sadly it shows me that as I am writing this, children of my generation and those of generations after are not influenced by the words of great minds or poets or genius.
But by…sigh…an animated fox.
We are all influenced by different things.
Some by…animated foxes…ahem.
Some by the musical talents of a woman who wears meat as a dress or by a movie star or a giant purple dinosaur.
The latter has not influenced me in any way. Except maybe to dislike purple dinosaurs.
In another life maybe a great speaker would have influenced me or a wise old sage…but…I am thankful for my influences.
For the words that moulded my existence.
If not by a animated fox or a song about frogs or by images so dark they make devils cry. Then what?
A purple dinosaur?
Give me strength!

On that note my friends.

Until the next time.

Darwin Blake.

The Almost Famous Author.

And Purple Dinosaur Hunter.

So, since writing this post, I have been thinking about a line from a Gorillaz song, the line…”without the truth of the eyes, the happy folk were blind.”

Makes me think…if you don’t see something, does it go away?
Is it still there when you open them again?

If you hear a scream or cry for help and you cover your ears, can you not still hear it?

If you don’t see somebody’s words, do they exist?
Do they matter?

The answer is yes.
It’s always yes.

Even if we don’t see it, it is still there.

Even if we don’t hear it, it still screams.

Even if its not written, its still thought…

Because without the truth, we are lost.

Do you see?

Once again…

Until the next time…

From the desk of Darwin Blake.

To see more of his wonderful poetry, visit

All works of writing in this blog post are the property of Darwin Blake and in order to replicate or post his work elsewhere, you will need his permission.

**We would like to extend a very special, heartfelt THANK YOU to Darwin Blake! For not only providing us with his guest post and poetry, but also for his daily updates and his amazing way with words that leave us swooning!  We are humbled and honored that you could share this with us and the rest of your loyal fans. **


Guest Post by Laura Kaye – Author of Hearts In Darkness

Why I Love Contemporary Romance By Laura Kaye


I’m in the middle of celebrating two of my contemporary romances: One Night with a Hero, which released on October 20, and Hearts in Darkness, my debut novel that is celebrating its 18-month publication anniversary. So, today, I thought I’d talk about how my stories fit what I think are the three attributes of great, page-turning contemporary romance! 

1) Characters you feel could be real and are relatable

My three contemporary romances are Hearts in Darkness (Caden and Makenna), Her Forbidden Hero (Marco and Alyssa), and One Night with a Hero (Brady and Joss). The characters in each of these books are “ordinary people” – not billionaires or princes or movie stars. Caden is an EMT and Makenna a forensic accountant. Marco is former military and currently working as a bartender, and Alyssa is a recent college graduate who takes a job as a waitress. In my newest book, Brady is Army Special Forces stationed at the Pentagon, and Joss is the assistant director of a children’s center. They’re all dealing with real-life issues: finding jobs, career advancement, health problems, grief over the loss of a loved-one, relatable insecurities and fears. You can imagine that Caden and Makenna are really out there, living and working and loving. You can imagine that Marco and Alyssa, and her brother Brady, are going about their daily lives. And that relatability—that belief that these are like people you know—is part of what makes contemporary romance compelling.

2) Well-described settings you can picture and might even know

That elevator Caden and Makenna get stuck in? In a real office building in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. And, while Her Forbidden Hero’s Whiskey’s Music Roadhouse is fictional, it’s based on two local music venues I’ve been to many times. Caden and Brady and Joss live in townhouses in Fairlington, Virginia, a community in which I lived for many years. All three stories are set in locations I know well, and that allowed me to describe these settings in vivid ways you can picture. And, if you’re familiar with these places, too, you’ll recognize the streets and businesses and houses I’m describing. I think this is part of what makes the characters feel so real—they’re living out their stories in places you could visit today.

3) A love that feels epic even though the characters and the setting are relatable

This is why we all read romance. We want to share in that epic, larger-than-life, whirlwind feeling of new love where the stakes are high and emotions run deep. We want to root for the hero and heroine to overcome their differences, their fears, and whatever other obstacles stand in the path of true love. We want Caden to overcome his fear of loss. We want Marco to believe he’s worthy of love. We want Brady to believe he is a good person who knows how to love. We hurt for the characters when they can’t get past their fears, and we cheer when they finally manage to overcome. And it’s because they seem like real people who we could know who live in places with which we’re familiar that the romance IS so epic—because that relatability means that this kind of epic love might be happening all around us. And could even happen to us.  And that’s one of the main reasons that, both as a reader and a writer, I love contemporary romance.

So, now, I’m curious: what do you most enjoy about reading contemporary romance?

Oh! And don’t miss my HEARTS IN DARKNESS HALF BIRTHDAY PRIZEAPALOOZA! I’m giving away the *last* HiD romance trading cards in existence and three pieces of winged heart jewelry (ends 10/28)! Plus, the ebook is on sale on Amazon for only 99 cents! But not for long!

Thanks for reading!

Laura Kaye

Buy Laura’s Books

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp

“Laura Kaye is synonymous with great, sexy romance.”

~NYT bestselling author Jennifer Probst

About Laura Kaye:

Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of over a half-dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. A published non-fiction author, Laura’s work as an historian and training as an archaeologist help her create vivid and accurate portrayals of other times and places. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

**We would like to thank Laura Kaye for the wonderful guest post, what a great insight!  Thank you for this post, and thank you for the amazing stories you share with us, your loyal readers!**




Emily 5 Star Review of Down to You by Michelle Leighton


The scorching tale of one girl, two brothers and a love triangle…that’s not.

Olivia Townsend is nothing special.  She’s just a girl working her way through college so she can return home to help her father run his business.  She’s determined not to be the second woman in his life to abandon him, even if it means putting her own life on hold. To Olivia, it’s clear what she must do. Plain and simple.  Black and white.

But clear becomes complicated when she meets Cash and Nash Davenport.  They’re brothers.  Twins. Cash is everything she’s always wanted in a guy.  He’s a dangerous, sexy bad boy who wants her in his bed at any cost.  He turns her insides to mush and, with just one kiss, makes her forget why he’s no good for her.

Nash is everything she’s ever needed in a guy.  He’s successful, responsible and intensely passionate.  But he’s taken.  Very taken, by none other than Marissa, Liv’s rich, beautiful cousin.  That doesn’t stop Olivia from melting every time he looks at her, though.  With just one touch, he makes her forget why they can never be together.

Black and white turns to shades of gray when Olivia discovers the boys are hiding something, something that should make her run as far and as fast as she can.  But it’s too late to run.  Olivia’s already involved.  And in love.  With both of them.

Both brothers make her heart tremble.  Both brothers set her body on fire.

She wants them both.
And they want her.
How will she ever choose between them?

Emily’s Review

“I promise you won’t regret it. I promise to make you feel things and enjoy things you never even thought of before. I’ll make every night the best night of your life until you say it’s over.”

I started reading Down to You right before I was going to bed and didn’t stop until I was finished. I think I got a total of two hours of sleep, but like every amazing book that I read, it was totally worth it. I had, what I like to call a Canash hangover the next day, or rather later that day.

“I’m completely mesmerized. As I look into them, I still can’t determine a color, but the orbs look nearly black. Even in the light spilling through the door behind him, they look like pools of ink. Just barely, he cocks his head to the side as he watches me.”

Olivia is just a girl trying to get back on her feet after a horrible break up with her bad boy ex.  While she is attending a bachelorette party, she mistakes a super sexy man named Cash as the male stripper. When Cash tells her he is the owner of the club, she’s mortified, Cash however, is intrigued.  Problem with Cash, he is the tattooed, cocky bad boy Olivia is trying to avoid.

The next morning Olivia wakes to find Cash sitting in her kitchen with her stuck up cousin. Or is it Cash? The man sitting there is reserved and educated, with impeccable manners. Turns out, this man is Nash, Cash’s twin brother. He is everything Olivia has ever wanted in a man. Problem with Nash, he is dating her cousin.

“I bet he’s an actual good guy. The kind that I desperately need in my life. The thing of it is, he’ll never be mine because he’s a good guy. By nature alone, a good guy would never cheat on his girlfriend, hence the impossibility of anything happening between Nash and me. Even if they were to break up, he’d probably be too nice a guy to hurt her like that, by dating her cousin.”

Bouncing between her feelings for Cash and her feelings for Nash leads to a night of being seduced in the dark. She doesn’t know which man has come to her room and in one sense she wants to know, and in another she just wants to keep that night sacred. Irrevocably, she has to make a decision, or does her decision get made for her. Neither man is willing to give up.

I absolutely enjoyed this story. I really felt for all of the characters in this story. I loved the different points of view between the three characters and I loved the humor each person brought to the table. If you have not read this story, then its a definite must read.

“I barely hear him whisper again, “I just want you”.


Part 1 of Guest post from Kelli Maine

I am delighted to have this guest post by Kellie Maine.  If you have yet to read Taken what are you waiting for .  It is hot steamy and just a wonderful story.  Thank you so much Kelli for taking the time for this wonderful interview.  I appreciate your talent, your kindness, the hottness that is Merrick, and most of all your friendship.

Enjoy Everyone!!!


Hi Subclub-ers! I’d like to introduce you to Merrick Rocha and Rachael DeSalvo from my Give and Take series.  I’ve invited them both here today for a Newlywed Game style Q&A. Let’s jump right in!

Kelli:Hi Merrick, Rachael. How are you?

Merrick:I’m good, Kelli. Thanks. You?

Kelli:Fantastic, thanks!

Rachael:*darts a cool glance at Merrick* I’m fine.

Kelli:Rachael, you seem a little put-out with Merrick.

Rachael:Why would I be put out with him?

Kelli:*backs up slowly* I guess you wouldn’t. Okay. On to the first question. Merrick, this one’s for you. What is Rachael’s favorite food?

Merrick:That’s easy. Chocolate raspberry cake.

Rachael:*blushing* Not anymore. I’m on a diet.

Merrick:*running his eyes over Rachael’s body* You’re perfect. You actually need more cake. You’d enjoy it.

Kelli:Next question! Rachael, if Merrick were an animal, which animal would he be?

Rachael:Oh, and easy one for me too. A donkey.

Kelli:A donkey?

Rachael:You know, a stubborn jackass.

Merrick:You’d be a kitten. My sex kitten.

Rachael:*folds her arms and turns away*

Kelli:Merrick, what is Rachael’s favorite flower?

Merrick:Yellow calla lilies. They have deep, warm secret places like she does. *Gazes at Rachael with hooded, lust-filled eyes, but gets no reaction*

Kelli:Rachael, who was Merrick’s first crush?

Rachael: *chokes*

Kelli: *runs and gets a glass of water*

Merrick: *pats Rachael’s back*

Rachael: His babysitter. *coughs a few more times*

Kelli: I should’ve anticipated that reaction. I hope this question goes a little smoother. Merrick, what does Rachael value most in your relationship?

Merrick: *takes Rachael’s hand and doesn’t let her pull away* Trust.

Kelli:Rachael, if Merrick could go back in time, what mistake would he correct?

Merrick: *places a hand on Rachael’s cheek* Don’t even think it. We started over, right?

Rachael:What about now?

Merrick:Trust, Rachael. Trust me.

Kelli:*sniffs back tears* You guys are killing me.  Let’s lighten this up. Merrick, what was the last book Rachael read?

Merrick: *thinking, thinking, sly smile, squeezes Rachael’s hand* The Joy of Sex.

Rachael: What? I’ve never read that.

Merrick: What are you talking about? You’ve been so preoccupied with the joy of sex, I haven’t seen you read anything else.

Rachael: *laughs despite herself*

Kelli:*giggling* Rachael, would Merrick jump out of an airplane?

Rachael: Does he have a choice, or am I pushing him?

Kelli: Um…

Rachael:Does he have a parachute?

Kelli: Yes.

Rachael:He’s done dumber things. He’s so impulsive, I’m certain he’d jump from a plane.

Merrick: Already have. More than once.

Rachael: You have?

Merrick: I’ll have to tell you about it. Maybe after this? We could grab coffee?

Rachael: *shoots him a death glare* THAT’S what you want to talk to me about?

Merrick: *scratches chin, looks guilty*

Kelli:Moving on! Merrick, who is Rachael’s favorite actor?

Merrick: Well, it used to be that guy on that show about vampires in Louisiana. The guy who plays the werewolf with the funny name. Um…Alice or Allen.

Kelli: True Blood. Alcide? Joe Manganiello?

Merrick: Yeah. That guy. But I don’t think she’s into him anymore.

Rachael: Psh! I’ll always be into him. Have you seen him?!?

Merrick: *grins like he has a secret* Lucky guy.

Kelli: Thanks to you both for talking with me today. I’m sure you’ll work your problems out soon

Merrick and Rachael began their love story in Taken and continued it in No Take Backs: A Taken Novella. They invite you to sit back and relax over at Bookish Temptations where they will take you on a tour of Turtle Tear Resort where their story will continue in Taken By Storm and Given, along with two more novellas to come.  I

’ll be at the bar drinking Pina Coladas. Stop by and say hello on your way through!


While not sitting at her laptop writing romance novels or procrastinating on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, Kelli Maine can be found avoiding laundry, waging war with a dishwasher, strategically planning her vacation requests to get the most time off, and convincing herself she doesn’t really want that dark chocolate Godiva bar.

Kelli loves hearing from readers! Find her on Twitter @KelliMaine, on her blog:, and on Facebook and Goodreads.