The Space Colonel’s Woman. @jayshawauthor.

Helicopter pilot, Julia Swift, lives her life from one rescue to the next. Unlucky in love, she longs for a lover who resembles the hero of her favorite space show, Phoenix Rising.

When an injured man falls through a portal and lands on her local beach, it seems the universe has granted her wish. Not only does Colonel Mark Holden resemble the fictional military commander, he also bears his name.

Despite the incredulity of their situation, Mark and Julia share an inexplicable connection. They realize they have spent their whole lives searching for each other. But when Mark’s team comes to rescue him, Julia must choose. Will she stay behind? Or will she travel with a man she hardly knows, to the fictional Dragonus Galaxy?

A world brought to life in an alternate reality…

Buy links:

Stranded in Love. Victoria Grant.

Stranded in Love is a fun and feisty contemporary romance by Victoria Grant. A stand-alone novel, it’s the first in the Calderone Family Romance Series.


If a gold medal was awarded for ‘Worst Day Ever’ Laney Calderone would win it today, hands down. She’s just discovered she’s pregnant, her fiancé abruptly dumps her when she tells him, and her new car refuses to start as a brutal snowstorm hits Toronto.

Good Samaritan Tyler Hammond offers to take her home; however, with the heavy snow falling and his patience dwindling, Laney’s gold medal day isn’t over yet.

Storms intensify both outside and in as Laney finds herself inexplicably attracted to this tall, dark and very handsome but infuriating stranger.

Can Laney fight her unwanted yet increasing desire for this man long enough to get through the relentless storm? And will Tyler let her walk out of his life as easily as she came into it?



Purchasing links:

When is a “bad” book not a bad book?

The other day on Twitter, I engaged in a brief discussion with Madelina Rivera at @LinasMusings. By the way, give this lady a follow for some engaging tweets. Madelina and I were chatting about something we had in common. We had both recently read books that we didn’t like. It wasn’t just a case of those books not being our “cup of tea.” We had real issues with them.

Here’s the thing though. Neither of us could get them out of our minds.

Sometimes a book really is just bad. Perhaps it suffers from poor grammar or a lack of editing. Perhaps the story goes nowhere or the characters never develop in any way. Maybe the message is just plain toxic. In other words, bad. I’m not talking about those stories here.

I’m talking about the ones that sit in the pits of our stomachs, long after we’ve read them. The ones we turned from, noses in the air. Is it possible those  “bad” books can be something else?

Madelina told me she kept thinking of the book she despised, over and over again. I had the same experience.

Now, of course, I’m not going to name the book I didn’t like. There may be plenty of people out there who love it and who am I to say it’s not a worthwhile read? I will, however, share a bit about how I felt about it.

The “bad” book I read was a contemporary romance set in a place I have never visited, so there was an element of the unknown for me. I thought the author did a lovely job in setting the stage and describing this unique locale. I loved the setting, but setting isn’t everything.

I had real issues with the characters and their romantic journey. It’s safe to say I hated the hero and the heroine. They both had major issues and emotional hurdles, and neither of them seemed willing to confront those issues, or to work on them in any way, not even to save their relationship. I remember thinking, “These people are awful. There’s nothing redeeming about them.” They didn’t give me an ounce of hope.

As for the plot, it was one of those stories in which the hero and heroine seem determined to hurt each other. That might work for another genre but not in romance. I didn’t feel the love at all. I did finish the book because I kept expecting something to change. It didn’t. Although it ended “happily,” I did not in any way buy into that happy ending. I walked away from that story, unconvinced and disappointed.

It was some time ago that I read it but I can’t get it out of my head. It pops into my consciousness every so often, making me wonder why I had such a visceral reaction to it. Making me wonder if I’d have the same reaction if I reread it.

Crazy, right?

This is a book I would have struggled to review and I never did. So why does it haunt me? I sometimes wonder if it is because of that evocative setting, but that can’t be it. I haven’t suddenly fallen in love with the characters. In fact, I’m quite sure if I read the book again, I’d hate them just as much. I haven’t changed as a person, and I doubt they have.

Perhaps the reason this story has lingered in my mind is because I had such a strong reaction to it. Is it possible that, on some level, it affected me even more than some of the books I’ve loved? I can’t help thinking this “bad” book might not be so bad, after all. Maybe it was just difficult for me.

Difficult can sometimes be good.

As authors, we despise finding negative reviews of our own books. We may train ourselves to read them with a thick skin, or not at all, but I don’t know anyone who enjoys reading negative comments. I certainly wouldn’t like knowing a reader hated my story.

And yet that level of dislike is powerful. Aren’t we trying to write powerful stories? Maybe it’s okay our beloved novels inspire something other than wholehearted love and approval.

Maybe it’s better than indifference.

Because I’ll tell you something. I’ve read a lot of likable books that I’ve forgotten.

But I have never forgotten the ones I disliked. There’s something to be said for that.

In the end, maybe it’s better for art to be disliked and remembered sometimes, than enjoyed and forgotten.



On love and redemption.

The other day, on social media, I asked my friends what initially drew them to romance as a genre. The variety of answers was interesting and informative. One response caught my eye, in particular, and has caused me to think a lot about what that person said. This reader said she was not a fan of today’s romance and one of the reasons was because these romances have strayed from the theme of love, and feature the theme of redemption far too often.

This blew me away. I think every single one of my books, on some level, has dealt with redemption.

Now, of course, this reader is perfectly entitled to read whatever she likes, as are the rest of us. However, I can’t help thinking love and redemption are linked. I believe the reason so many of us read and write romance is because we want to see those characters redeemed. Reborn, if you will, through the healing power of love.

This is not to say every romance character has to have major life issues, although I do like writing them that way, probably because I’ve had major life issues. I’m sure there are romances out there that feature characters who are perfectly content and well-adjusted. People who have a plan. I just don’t necessarily identify with those people. Me, the woman who started writing romance in her 30’s, after careening through a variety of careers? Yeah, probably not. It took me some time to figure out my plan.

Shouldn’t our characters also have wounds? If you read any writing manual, experts will always tell you characters needs wounds. They need flaws and they need to put their feet in their mouths from time to time. They must make mistakes in order to be interesting.

Our wounds shape us and drive us. I know my own wounds have shaped me. If I hadn’t witnessed my father’s gambling addiction, if I hadn’t seen my parents separate when I was seven, if I hadn’t lost beloved family members, I wouldn’t be the person I am. I am sure I still make mistakes because of my wounds. I have tried to rise above them, but do they still compel me to see the world through a particular filter? Of course.

I suppose it’s because of my own mistakes that I want to see my characters redeemed. I try to give them experiences and secrets that shape them, hoping my readers will identify.

I don’t ever want to simply hand that HEA over to my characters. I want them to fight for it. I want them to develop as people, and to realize through finding love that their wounds don’t have to color their world anymore.

In other words, I want them to be redeemed.

Marianne Rice. At First Blush.

Book Title: At First Blush

Series: A Well Paired Novel
Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction
Date of release: 1/23/2018

Book Blurb:

Alexis Le Blanc enjoys her simple life in Crystal Cove, Maine. After taking a chance on romance and getting rejected, she has given up on love. Now she devotes all her time to running her family’s winery, Coastal Vines. She wants to keep it small and traditional, but her parents have other ideas—hence why they hire some big-shot marketing executive from Napa Valley to rev up business.

When Benito Martelli shows up in her family’s tasting room, she’s more than stunned to discover he’s the man who wined and dined her the night before. Alexis is beyond peeved at his deception in trying to get into her good graces for the sake of making money on her winery. At first, she wants nothing to do with him or his big business ideas, but she’s pleasantly surprised when they come to a compromise, and even more surprised when she gives in to the sparks between them.

Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned and Alexis is faced with complications she never could have predicted. Promises and secrets unravel, and she must decide if love and wine are as well paired as she hoped.
















Book + Main:



Marianne Rice writes contemporary romantic fiction set in small New England towns. She loves high heels, reading romance, scarfing down dark chocolate, gulping wine, and Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and her husband and three children. You can follow her all over social media, and keep up to tabs with her latest releases on her website:


“You want brutal honesty?”

“That would be nice. For once.”

Ben grabbed the collar of her jacket and jerked her toward him, their faces inches apart. “I want you. In my bed. Underneath me. On top of me. But I also don’t want to hurt you. I’m letting you go because I don’t want to be a selfish bastard. There are things you don’t know…”

“I seem to go for selfish bastards so…” She licked her lips, hoping for one more kiss. Hoping he’d ask her to stay. Hoping he’d let her go.

“You’re too…special.”

“I’m not special.” Alexis lowered her eyes and shook her head. More lies to get her into bed. Only he didn’t want her in his bed. Her mind raced searching for answers, yet she didn’t even know the questions. It was all too much.

The way her heart raced when he was near. The way her legs trembled when his dimple appeared as if just for her. The way her mind went dizzy with longing when his stunning eyes were so intently focused on her.

“See, and then you do that vulnerable thing and I just want to…”

A spark ignited inside. She was not weak. “I’m not vulnerable.” She lifted her gaze to his and studied the intensity in his eyes, the seriousness in his jaw.

“I like that you are, and that you think you aren’t.”

“I think I should go.” She was smart enough and strong enough to walk away before she’d get emotionally attached and have her heart broken.

“I’ll follow you home.”

“When was the last time you drove in the snow?” Ben didn’t reply, his gaze still on her lips. “I didn’t think so. I don’t want to have to haul your ass out of a ditch so stay here. Play on your laptop. Style your hair. Go be sexy. Whatever it is you do at night.”

Alexis frowned when she pulled away from him so easily, and let herself out, driving home in silence and confusion.

Leaving her hot and horny and alone on a cold night, Ben was right about one thing. He was a total selfish bastard.


A sneak peek at “Al Dente.”

As I mentioned not long ago, my short story “Al Dente” was recently accepted to be part of the sexy anthology, Craving: One Night, coming to Crave Publishing this spring.

I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peek. My hero is a famous Italian chef by the name of Matteo Rinaldi and my heroine is a Toronto food blogger named Ruby Zhang. The story begins with Ruby winning tickets to be part of a private couple’s cooking class with Chef Matteo.

Only she loses the other half of her couple right before the event.

Please enjoy this excerpt!

“Al Dente”

It wasn’t so much that her boyfriend had taken dick pics.

It was more the fact he’d sent them to the entire internet.

Not the entire internet, of course, Ruby Zhang corrected herself. Just about half of it. The female half.

At least she assumed Steve hadn’t sent photos of “Moose” to the male half. If he had, that opened up a whole can of worms she wasn’t prepared to confront. It was bad enough knowing he’d cheated.

“I didn’t cheat, babe, I swear.” Steve had tried to justify his actions once discovered. “You went away for the weekend with your sisters and I drank too much. I was just bored one night. Those women meant nothing to me.”

“Wow,” she’d countered. “You actually think that qualifies as an excuse.”

He might as well have cheated and probably had. It was the only reasonable assumption, although she hadn’t stuck around long enough to ascertain the particulars.

Either way, he’d unleashed Moose. That was his pet name for his dick, given to him by an ex because of its admirable dimensions. He’d liked it so much he’d kept it and used it as much as possible. At first, Ruby had thought it was cute. Now, it made her want to vomit.

Eighteen months with a man who likened himself to a huge mammal known for its annoying moans and inability to sustain its energy after rutting.

Yup, that was Steve in a nutshell.

Still, they’d talked marriage … that is, they’d talked about it being a possibility one day. Those plans were over. Less than two weeks later, Ruby was still reeling.

However, life would have to go on.

That was why she now stood in front of Toronto’s Ristorante Al Dente. Although it was Valentine’s Day evening, the restaurant was closed to the public for a special event. And not just any special event.

Months ago, Ruby had entered a draw to win a private couple’s cooking class with famed Italian chef Matteo Rinaldi. As a food blogger, Ruby had followed Rinaldi’s career and tried many of the recipes featured in his popular cookbooks. In fact, she owned the entire collection of books and most of the pages were dog-eared and covered in splotches of sauce because they were such a treasured feature in her kitchen. The handsome chef wasn’t just an author, though. He’d hosted numerous cooking specials on TV and Ruby had been glued to every single one.

Matteo Rinaldi might possess some incredible knife skills but he was also so gorgeous most soap opera actors would hurl themselves over the nearest cliff out of insecurity.

Meeting the chef would be a dream come true.

Learning to cook with his instruction would be heaven.

When she won the tickets, she’d been over the moon, despite Steve’s indifference. When she broke up with Steve, she’d contemplated giving the tickets to some friends. After all, it was supposed to be a couple’s cooking class and she was no longer part of a couple.

Ruby had waffled for all of five minutes. After a short period of wallowing, she’d cuddled her aging pet rabbit Shania and said, “Fuck that shit.”

Shania always helped her channel her inner badass. The rabbit was the equivalent of one hundred human years old and had that effect on people.

Only now, standing in front of Al Dente on a cold February night, Ruby was losing her courage. What would Chef Matteo say? On TV, he seemed like a nice man but what if he was haughty and disparaging in real life? Ruby had met a lot of chefs in her line of work. They weren’t always known for their humility.

The wind whipped through her, compelling her to make a decision. She took a deep breath.

Resolved, she grabbed the door handle and walked inside.


Like the excerpt? Don’t forget my latest contemporary romance A Good Man, Handymen 1, is currently available. Click here for more!


“Al Dente,” a spicy romance novella…coming soon!

A short time ago, I received word that one of my submissions would be included in a spring anthology coming to Crave Publishing.

Craving: One Night is going to be a hot anthology featuring some memorable one-night stands. I’m excited that my novella “Al Dente” will be part of it.

I thought this would be an intriguing exercise for me because, believe it or not, I’ve never written a one-night stand before. Because I firmly believe in bringing my readers a “happily ever after” with each story, this novella will be no different. “Al Dente” might begin with a moment of lust but it will end with a commitment.

So what is this one about? Here’s a short blurb for you:

When celebrity chef Matteo Rinaldi announced he would visit Toronto on his latest book tour, food blogger and fan Ruby Zhang knew she had to be in the audience. The best part? Chef Matteo will be teaching a Valentine’s Day couples cooking class and Ruby has scored tickets for her and her boyfriend Steve.

Unfortunately, a week before the class, Ruby learns Steve has been “cooking with gas” with numerous other women. Determined not to let his betrayal impact her plans, Ruby attends the couples cooking class. Alone.

Chef Matteo notices Ruby on her own and invites her to be his “partner” for the class. Flattered by the handsome chef’s attention, Ruby decides it’s time she turned up the heat as well. A casual flirtation over the squid-ink linguine flares into red-hot need and a wild night in Matteo’s hotel room.

Come morning, will Ruby and Matteo find a way to continue their culinary adventures?

I can’t wait to share more about this one in the days to come. Please stay tuned or subscribe to my newsletter for all the latest.