Apr 182017

The top colleges in the United States have very high standards in terms of the students they will accept. This means that you need to have an outstanding academic record in order to even be considered for acceptance into one of those schools. There are a number of things that a student can do to make his or her chances of getting accepted into a great college much better than they would be otherwise. The competition to get into these schools is fierce. Therefore, any advantage you can give yourself is something you should strongly consider. Here are some things for you to keep in mind.

1. Think about going to a college preparatory school.

The academic differences between high school and college are like night and day. It would not be a good idea to walk into a college without knowing what to expect. This might cause your grades to suffer because you did not think the academic work load in college was going to be so huge. A college preparatory school will show students everything they need to know before they set foot in a university. Students can take classes that relate to their chosen major. This will help set you on the right path towards earning your college degree. Landon School is an example of a college prep school that has been around for many years. Getting a Landon School education would be a huge advantage for you in your academic career.

2. Make academics your top priority during your high school years.

There are a number of factors that colleges consider when they are deciding whether or not to admit a student. Obviously, academics are incredibly important. You need to keep your grade point average very high if you have any hope of getting accepted into any of the most prestigious schools in the United States. This means that you need to buckle down and study hard. This might not be easy for you to do. You will want to go to parties, hang out with your friends and play video games. You need to understand that getting into a highly ranked college will require a large amount of sacrifice on your part. You need to put your academics ahead of the fun activities in your life. There will be time for fun later.

3. Consider using a tutor for difficult subjects.

Most people have one or two subjects they have a hard time with. This is perfectly normal. You would be wise to seek help with the subjects that you are struggling with the most. Most schools have people that work as tutors. They will be able to work with you on a regular basis to get you to a point where you can pass the class. You need to understand that there is no shame in asking for help. Do not let your poor performance in a certain class take down your grade point average. Tutoring can allow you to get a grade that is better than you thought possible.

4. Consider trying some extracurricular activities.

Another one of the acceptance criteria that is commonly used by colleges involves extracurricular activities. Colleges generally value students more if they are involved in various clubs or if they play at least one sport.

Apr 182017

If summer 2016 bought us 70s styling then 2017 is definitely all about the 80s and what a box of fashion oddities and delights are being unleashed on an unsuspecting crowd that missed out the first ‘Hammer’ time round.

Everything is back – from shoulder pads to oversized shirts and not forgetting Adidas originals shoes, the must have accessory for any right minded fashionista, restyled for 2017 without losing any of that cool Bel Air edge.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane and check out the top 80s trends that are hitting the high street this summer.

Image from primpicha

Shoulder pads

Power dressing was big news back in the 80s as women began to assert themselves and their position as equals within the workplace. Women were starting to take positions of power and Dallas brought us shoulder pads that an Olympic ski jumper would be proud of. Shoulder pads are back – perhaps not with the same knife edge cut of 30 years ago but the broad shoulder is definitely back in fashion and perhaps this is a reflection of how women are feeling at the moment in a world dominated by political uncertainty, war and unfair immigration policy.  Will the return of the shoulder pad signal the rise and rise of women’s lib, if not a more gentle version?

Mini Skirts

If shoulders were big, skirts were tiny in the 1980s. Women seized their sexual liberation by wearing decency defying denim with pride and a touch of satisfaction.  In 2017 the mini skirt hardly seems riske given the surge in ever more revealing outfits worn by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus but it is going to be a summer staple this year so polish those pins and get strutting your stuff.

Picture from the Daily Mail archives

Leg Warmers

With all of those mini skirts it was inevitable that in the 80s we were cold! Never fear though fashion gave us the answer in the leg warmer. They began life teamed with lycra body suits worn by fitness fanatics such as Jane Fonda but soon ditched the aerobics class and moved into the pubs and clubs and brought with them the strangest neon woolen accessory perhaps ever imagined.  Leg warmers have enjoyed a surge in popularity despite no one really knowing what they’re for – luckily however the lycra all in one has remained firmly where it belongs, back in the wardrobes of 1980s TV fitness freaks.

Massive Earrings

Like dodgy hood ornaments we flaunted our stretched lobes laden down with fake gold, glitter and tassels like homemade kindergarten art projects. If earrings weren’t ridiculously big, uncomfortable, impractical and gaudy then they didn’t belong on the ears of any serious fashion follower. Massive earrings make their return with all of the drawbacks they had the first time round only now with the fashion for multiple ear piercings there are just more holes to fill up with jangling jewellery.

Fingerless Gloves

Madonna was the Queen of the fingerless glove but they weren’t just popular in pop culture, they seemed to purvey every genre of music from the new romantics like Adam Ant to rock. Again another fashion question mark in that as most were made of lace and fingerless they didn’t really function that well as gloves but hey if they made you feel like Lady Chatterley and meant that you could safely ride the subway without fear of touching something suspect they were good news all round.  What’s more in today’s touch screen world there is no need to remove them when texting or using your tablet so they are designed to be gadget friendly!

Adam Ant courtesy of the BBC

Parachute Pants

With the yoga explosion over the last decade it was inevitable that parachute pants would soon make a comeback. The great thing about their cut is that they failed to flatter anyone so it didn’t matter what size or shape you were you looked pretty ridiculous wearing them so they were definite fashion levellers. Happily for 2017 they have returned with a better cut, in more subtle prints and colours and with less of a contrast between the stomach cutting waist band and billowing bottoms that made it difficult to negotiate stairways. In the 1980s parachute pants were designed for men but in 2017 it is women fashion labels that are picking up the design so perhaps this is the explanation for the slightly more refined styling?

Members only jackets

If you wanted to be part of the club you had to own the jacket.  No substitute or imitations would do in the 80s. They were worn loose with the sleeves pushed right up to the elbows – which has handly been designed into the modern versions with cut down sleeves that prevent baggy excess material but lose some of the original laissez faire styling of the proper members only jackets.

Oversized tops

Like everything in the 1980s tops had to be big, colourful and completely shapeless. It was androgyny at its best and the look was everywhere from TV sitcoms to your Mom and Dad. If they had buttons they could be worn open over another layer of baggy material or if a single layer could be teamed with a belt to give the illusion of a wait underneath all of that ruffle. They are a festival fashion staple in 2017 – worn over leggings or tights with pithy slogans and clever prints, the oversized top has become even bigger reaching almost dress status. They are also great for hiding that post-dinner tummy so unlike some of the other trends that have found their way back into our wardrobes the oversized top has some real value – just stay clear of the belt.
So the 1980s are back with a vengeance – it’s nice to see the return of colour, expression and experimentation in fashion – something the 80s cultivated to the extreme. If you want to really rock the 80s look don’t forget the gaudy makeup, permed and tousled hair and chewing gum. Well maybe not!


Apr 182017

Whether it’s your mom, sister, or even daughter, fashion is a great route to go down when it comes to picking out a gift. After all, we all love to replenish our wardrobe as much as we can. In fact, shopping is one of our favorite hobbies. And if your female friend loves to be on-trend when it comes to fashion, a new piece of clothing, shoes or jewelry will go down a treat. Therefore, here are some fab gift ideas for the fashionista in your life.

Opt for a beautiful new handbag

A great handbag is an excellent way to complete an outfit. After all, it can turn heads if you have an eye-catching bag hanging on your shoulder. Therefore, if you want to get a great present for a fashionista, you should go down the bag route. For one thing, you ought to opt for a tote bag which is an excellent accessory for a casual outfit. And it can take the outfit easily from daytime to night. To ensure it’s fitting for the summer ahead, you might want to go for a pale pink or white. Or if the gift receiver loves to go on nights out, you might want to opt for a small clutch bag. You can never have enough of these in your wardrobe! And it means you can go for something sparkly to ensure they look fabulous on their night out.


Pick out some classy jewelry

Jewelry is always a good option to go for when you are looking for a gift for your fashionista buddy. After all, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to bling. First things first, look at the current pieces your friend already has in her closet. After all, you want to go for something which suits her current style. Then you can think of colors which would compliment her skin tone. After all, you want something which will ensure she looks beautiful. If the piece of jewelry is for your mom, you might want to go for a classic piece. For example, a beautiful diamond ring would be a great piece of jewelry for your mom’s collection! You can look online to find the real cost of a 2 carat diamond to ensure it’s something that you can afford. And if you are opting for something for your daughter, there is plenty of help and advice online for pieces of jewelry she will love. After all, she will want to make an impression with her classy jewelry when she goes through the school gates!

Image from Pixabay

Choose a stunning top

It can be a challenge to find a top for your fashionista friend. After all, they might be quite picky when it comes to clothes. But as long as you opt for something which is on-trend, it’s sure to be well-received. Also, make sure you pick something which is in a classic color such as black or white. That way, she can pair it with the rest of her wardrobe. Look in stores and online on sites she loves to ensure you pick something which is your friend’s style. And always keep a gift receipt with it, so that it can be returned!

And organizing a session with a personal stylist will also go down a treat.


Mar 272017

Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors account for a lot of your gift-giving habits. More importantly, while there is a story behind every gift that you make – whether you choose someone sweet for your best friend or a photo album of your holiday together for your old relatives – there is also a fun explanation for each gift that you receive. You know it, you’ve been on the giving side before. That’s what the person who has just made you a present was thinking at the time.

The secrets of gifters

The Prepared Occasion Gift

Sometimes, the gift takes your breath away. It is perfect in every way, and it matches exactly your tastes. Besides, it’s exactly what you’ve always been dreaming of! How is it possible? Let’s start by stating the obvious: You’ve received a present that has been thought through for the occasion. The person who has chosen the gift for you has invested a lot of time into thinking of something nice that you would love and that you didn’t have. In short, this person is the ideal gifter. But refrain from comparing every other gift to theirs. After all, some people know you better than others.


The Cheap Gift That Looks Expensive

Sometimes, all one wants to do is to pick something that they know will impress you without paying the full price for it. Very few people look at second-hand items, but you will find plenty of smart shoppers who use coupon websites such as DontPayFull.com. The smart shopper could be a careful gifter, who happens to know a few online tips to save money. Or this could be someone who didn’t invest as much thought in choosing the gift than they did in cutting down costs. You’ll notice the coupon addicts rapidly: They tend to buy the same products in several exemplars to make the most of the discount. This could look awkward around the Christmas time.


The Last Minute Gift

There’s also the gift giver who doesn’t always pay attention to dates until it is almost too late. He or she is easy to recognize. It’s the person who gets flowers delivered to you by courier on the day, or who joins your birthday party with a box of chocolate or a bottle of wine. The Last Minute gifter seizes the best way to find a present for the day. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t imaginative or useful. It’s a present, and that’s what counts in their mind. The last minute gifter’s nightmare is to be invited to a party in the middle of nowhere, with no shop to buy the necessary last minute present!

The ‘I Did It Myself’ Gift

There’s a trend about DIY gifts at the moment. Everyone has received once a jar of suspicious looking jam that is labeled handmade by a friend or a neighbor. They might have even found the recipe on Pinterest.com, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t make it better. Some people have a lot of qualities, but DIY is none of them. Unfortunately, they often are the ones who are the most enthusiastic about making their gifts. Sickeningly sweet pies, rock-hard jams, crumbly biscuits, you know the kind. Thank them and make a point of sharing it with them. That might discourage them to inflict their cooking skills any further!


Mar 162017

It’s often said that buying gifts for men is virtually impossible, but shopping for presents for the ladies in your life can be equally challenging. If you have birthdays approaching or you’re keen to get some early Mother’s Day gift ideas noted down, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. If you’re looking for inspiration for gifts for your mom, your sister, your aunties or your best girlfriends, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will hopefully give you some ideas and make shopping for presents completely stress-free.

For the glamor puss

Does your mom love fashion? Is she always dressed impeccably? Does your sister like to keep up with the latest trends or try out new beauty products as soon as they become available? If your mom is a glamor puss or your sister is a fashionista, there are so many options out there. Take a trip to the mall and keep your eyes peeled for a blouse she’d love or a bag that would fit into her collection perfectly. Visit the makeup counter and put a few new products into your basket or opt for something like a scarf or a pair of sunglasses if she likes to accessorize. Think about her individual style, and go for prints, patterns, and colors she loves. In the spring and summer months, it’s always good to go for pastels or prints like florals and polka dots.


If you’re not completely confident about choosing a new piece for your the closet, there are other options you could consider. How about signing up for a glossy magazine subscription or booking a couple of makeup masterclasses, for example?

Woman Handbag Purse Leather Pattern Bag Fashion

Image courtesy of http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Woman-Handbag-Purse-Leather-Pattern-Bag-Fashion-1031547

For the chef extraordinaire

Does your mom spend every spare minute in the kitchen? Is your aunt famed for her incredible dinner parties or is she known for her home-cooked, hearty family feasts? If you have a chef extraordinaire in the family, there are loads of cool and quirky gift ideas out there. Personalized paraphernalia is always a good idea. There’s a huge range of products available, and you can customize them to make them unique. You could design an apron or order some cookware with her name engraved on it, for example. If your mom loves baking, you could create a personalized cake tin or make a bespoke plaque or sign for the kitchen wall. Alternatively, if she’s is aiming to get to Masterchef standards, kitchen gadgets may be another option worth considering. Perhaps you could buy a new blender or stock up on gizmos that save time on peeling and chopping.


If you have a relative who is putting a lot of effort into honing her culinary skills, you could also explore options like booking a cooking course or some lessons. Have a look online for courses in your local area, and find out more about what it entails. If it sounds like something that is just up their street, go for it!

Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/17143287@N00/4321664430

For the sports fan

Does your best friend love going to the gym or does she jog most days? Does she enjoy playing tennis or has she expressed an interest in learning to play golf? There are loads of sporty presents out there, so tailor your selection to suit her interests. Perhaps you could get her some new gym wear or a personalized yoga mat. Or maybe she’d prefer a new tennis racquet or some golf lessons. If your mom is more of an armchair fan, why not try and get tickets for a tennis tournament or go for a day at the races together?

Image via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tennis_kremlin_cup_2005_semifinal_match.JPG

For the workaholic

Has your mom worked tirelessly for as long as you can remember? Does she spend all her time working or looking after other people? If so, why not treat her to a little bit of TLC? Time is something most of us don’t have enough of, so make an effort to plan a day out or a weekend away for your mom to relax, chill out, and recharge her batteries. You could go to a spa together or book a city break for your mom and dad. If you’re on a budget, you could pay for a meal out at a restaurant or a trip to the movies instead. If you’re teaming up with your siblings, and you want something really special, have a look online for last-minute vacations. You can often get some really good deals, and you can split the cost between you. Compare prices for flights and hotels, and email her boss to ask for time off so that you can keep it a surprise.

Image sourced from https://www.flickr.com/photos/denniswong/3818488264

For the magpie

Does your older sister love jewelry or anything that sparkles? Jewelry is always a popular choice for birthdays, as it has sentimental value, and you can keep it forever. If your sister has a collection of jewelry, take a minute to browse sites like frostnyc.com and considering adding a new piece. You could go for simple stud earrings or an elegant bangle or something more extravagant like a rose gold watch. Set a budget, channel her style, and have a look around for that item that catches your eye.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/bangles-jewellery-silver-gold-194034/

For the long-distance relative

Do you live a long way away from your mom? Do you barely ever get to see her? Sometimes, the most precious gift you can give somebody is your time. Think about planning a surprise trip home for her birthday, or book a weekend away together. You could meet in the middle or take a few days off to go on a mini break. If you’re keen to go for the surprise option, get other members of the family involved to make your story more believable and ensure that she’s in the right place at the right time. For many moms, seeing their children and spending time with them is the best present imaginable. If you can’t leave home, consider booking an airplane ticket for your mom to come and visit and spend a couple of days with you.

For the foodie

Is your cousin a foodie? Can she often be found trying out the newest restaurants or ambling around the farmer’s market? One great idea for foodies is a personalized hamper. You can buy a plain basket and fill it with all her favorite foods and drinks. Combine sweet and savory items and add a bow or a ribbon to finish off the look perfectly. You can buy hampers in stores, but you can’t always guarantee that the recipient will like everything in it, and you’ll probably pay a lot more for a ready-made version. If you’re a keen baker, you could also get your pinny on and do some baking at home. You can use mason jars or miniature baskets to present homemade brownies, cookies, muffins, and cupcakes. If you’re looking for recipes and cute ways to present DIY gifts, check out https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/baking-gift/.

Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CPN-17.jpg

For the adventurer

We tend to think of men as adventurers, but there are plenty of women out there who live for thrills and spills. If your closest friend loves an adrenaline rush, you could treat her to an experience day. Perhaps she’s a demon behind the wheel, or she’s always wanted to learn to fly a plane. Maybe she’s desperate to go in a hot air balloon, or she enjoys nothing more than spending time in the great outdoors. There’s a huge range of experience days out there if you want to buy a voucher, or you could plan your own intrepid day out.

For the creative genius

Is your mom a budding artist or does your sister love to sing? Does your grandma write in her spare time or is she always taking photographs? If you’re buying for somebody special who has an interest in creative activities, you can use this to find perfect presents. Buy some art supplies or a personalized camera bag. Print and frame some of her photographs or buy her a new journal or notebook for her to jot down her thoughts and ideas. Plan a session in a recording studio or put together a CD of her sample tracks.

For the proud mom/grandma

If you’re looking for a sentimental gift your mom will love, why not try and arrange a photo shoot with the family or get some professional photographs of you and your children done? You can order prints and then present her with framed photos to go on the wall. Framing photographs of you, the kids and your mom together is also a lovely idea. In the run-up to her birthday, try and get as many snaps as possible. You could print the images on canvases or even make a collage.

Grandparents Baby With Grandparents Generation

Image by http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Young-Old-Granddaughter-Family-Child-Grandad-Girl-71012

If you’ve got birthdays fast approaching, you may be starting to rack your brains for thoughtful, unique gift ideas. Channel that special lady’s interests and choose a gift that will mean the world to her. It’s nice to buy bubble bath and candles, but it’s ever better to go for presents that you know she will adore. Hopefully, this guide will give you some ideas, and you’ll be ready to treat your favorite girls in style.

Mar 092017

Frozen yogurt continues to be one of the most popular frozen dessert options available in stores and restaurants today.  When you want to add this treat to your menu but do not want to make the yogurt yourself in your kitchens, you may find it easier to partner with a vendor who can create treats like ice cream, frozen yogurt products, gelato, and other sweets that will satisfy your clients.  You can find a vendor to do business with by going on the Internet.  You can also find out the advantages of making this dessert option available on your menu.

Space Saving Dessert

When you add treats like cakes, cupcakes, pies, and even ice cream to your menu, you often have to free up space in your kitchen to accommodate the bulk and size of these desserts.  You may need to invest in shelving to store pastries and deep freezers to keep ice cream.  You may take on more expense than you can recoup in profits by choosing these dessert options.

With frozen yogurt, however, you might save the space in your kitchen because it comes in compact cups that are easy to stack in a walk-in or chest freezer.  You can keep plenty of cups of froyo on hand to serve your clients before you have to order more.   The cups also save you money because you do not have to transfer the frozen yogurt to another dish.

The frozen yogurt also comes pre-portioned so that your customers know exactly how much dessert they are getting when they order this menu item.  Many states require restaurants to provide nutrition details on their menus.  You can provide weights, calorie counts, and more easily because the frozen yogurt is already weighed out and packaged for you.

Healthy Dessert

Another advantage that could come with adding this treat to your menu centers on giving your clients a healthy dessert to enjoy.  Unlike ice cream, which is laden with fat and calories, frozen yogurt comes in fat-free and low-fat varieties.  Your customers can eat a dessert that satisfies them without the fear of packing on pounds.

Frozen yogurt can be a great seasonal or permanent menu addition.  You can save space in your kitchen and find a dessert that is healthy and delicious by going online today to learn more about frozen yogurt.  This treat comes pre-packaged and ready to eat.

Mar 092017

The appearance of your office is important. You need it to stay looking great so all of your clients are impressed. They might not want to do business with you if they come to your office and find that it is looking shabby and has garbage everywhere. Therefore, it will be extremely important for you to hire a dependable company to clean your office on a daily basis. The company you hire should take great pride in their work. So how do you weed out all of the bad cleaning companies and find a great one? Here are a few tips that will set you on the right path.

1. How is the company rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

The BBB is one of the truly outstanding organizations that allows consumers to find out what a company is like before you decide to hire them. Basically, you will be learning from the mistakes of other people. You should stay very far away from a company with a low BBB rating. A company has to show a great deal of incompetence over a long period of time to earn a low BBB rating. Only hire a company that has earned a high rating. This proves that particular company knows what they are doing.

2. Talk to other business owners in your area to find out which cleaning companies they use.

It would be a good idea to get some recommendations from business owners who you are friendly with. Ask these people how long they have been using their current cleaning company. Have they ever had any problems with the company they are using? Are they always on time? Do they make your office spotless? Do they charge a reasonable fee? All of this info will help you with your decision when you are searching for a company that offers Minneapolis cleaning services.

3. What sort of rate will they give you?

Do not be afraid to negotiate with a cleaning company. Talk to as many companies as you can and get quotes from all of them. Make lower offers if you feel their price is too high. You should also tell the cleaning companies you speak to that you are actively entertaining offers from competing companies. They might be inclined to lower their quote if they discover they have competition for your business.

Feb 242017
What does one do with a matchmaking cat named Romeo?
Bachelor Bake-Off #3
Jennifer Faye
Released Feb 21, 2017
Tule Publishing

What does one do with a matchmaking cat named Romeo?

Spirited and beautiful, Jillian Parker is one of Marietta’s newest business owners. Still, her mother worries about Jillian’s bare ring finger. So in order to give her mother something else to fuss over, Jillian adopts a cat named Romeo. He turns out to be anything but a docile lap cat.

One snowy night, Romeo makes a break for it. With Jillian right on his heels, they have a near miss with a passing pickup driven by Avery Wainwright, one of Jillian’s closest friends. A rodeo accident has the sexy cowboy returning home to recuperate, and he’s not happy about it.

So when Avery finds himself lassoed into the Bachelor Bake-Off, he turns to the one person who has always helped him out—Jillian. But will teaching him to take chances outside of the show ring have them both discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than they ever imagined?


Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.
Now living her dream, she resides with her very patient husband, amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats. When she’s not plotting out her next romance, you can find her curled up with a mug of tea and a book.

Feb 232017
the sexy soldier was a dare she couldn’t resist…
The Men of At Ease Ranch #2
Donna Michaels
Releasing March 6th, 2017
Entangled Lovestruck


Kissing the sexy soldier was a dare she couldn’t resist…
By-the-book event planner Beth Brannigan’s best friend dared her to kiss a cowboy. She should have said no. Instead, she said please…again and again. If her brother finds out she’s dating—okay, kissing—okay, sleeping with—one of his military buddies, he’ll kill her. Assuming he doesn’t kill his friend first.
Former Army Ranger Brick Mitchum isn’t a relationship kind of guy. But then he meets Beth and starts to wonder if maybe it’s time he settled down. She’s mysterious. Unpredictable. Curvy in every way he needs… And hiding something. He’s just got to figure out what.
“I know what we should do. Let’s play truth or dare.”
Beth drew back and adamantly shook her head. “Let’s not.”
“Come on. We could both use something to lighten things up. So, let’s see…” Her friend’s gaze narrowed as she tapped a finger on her chin. “I can’t help but feel there’s something you’re not telling me about the Roadhouse. The fact you knew about the line dancing has my Spidey sense tingling. So…truth: Did you meet someone there the last time you were in town?”
Damn. She’d forgotten about her friend’s astute superpower. “What are you talking about?”
Rachel’s amused, albeit determined, blue gaze bore deep. “Either tell me the truth about that weekend or take a dare.”
Double damn.
Beth didn’t do dares. Ever. She’d always taken the “truth” option of the game during their adolescence. She couldn’t risk reprimands or hospital bills back then. Not much had changed. But she wasn’t about to reveal her sexy cowboy weekend, either.
With a lift of her chin, she held Rachel’s gaze. “Dare.”
The bugger’s grin grew wicked as satisfaction gleamed in her eyes. “I dare you to kiss the next cowboy
who walks through the gate.”
Beth gasped. “I can’t do that! What if he’s married?” She jumped to her feet and headed to a nearby trash can to toss her garbage. “Not happening.”
Rachel followed and  shrugged. “You have to. You chose dare. But, I’ll amend it to: you have to kiss the next single cowboy who walks through the gate. We’ll watch for wedding rings. And just because you’re not looking doesn’t mean you can ignore the da…amn.” Her friend blinked. “Wow, Beth. I almost wish you’d given me the dare. Turn around and check out your ‘single’ cowboy.”
Without giving her the chance to protest, Rachel grasped Beth’s shoulders and physically turned her to face the gate and one hell of a sexy cowboy. Well over six foot of solid muscle that rippled under a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans hugging lean hips and
thighs, the guy oozed hotness she felt with an invisible wave of heat.
Her throat went dry. It was…him. The cowboy from two weeks ago. Seriously? What were the chances he’d walk back into her life at that exact moment? “Uh…”
“I know, right? And there’s not a wedding ring in sight. Now go over there and kiss him.” Her snickering friend pushed her after the hunk striding toward the livestock section of the fair. “Go on before he gets away. Or is that what you wanted?”
She gulped. Pulled herself together. The knowing tone in her friend’s voice revealed she expected Beth to chicken out.
Any other time, yes, she’d lose the dare. It was childish and irresponsible, and she didn’t have time for foolish games. But she did have time to help her friend de-stress. Her friend who was also her client. It was Beth’s duty to put her client at ease.
So, technically, it was her duty to kiss the sexy cowboy whose body she knew as well as her own.
That was her story and she was sticking to it.
“Fine. I’ll do it.”
Rachel squealed and clapped her hands.
Grasping bravado with two fists, Beth set her shoulders, lifted her chin, and marched after the hot guy striding away from her down the fairway. So what if she’d decided he was part of her past? The opportunity was too good to pass up. Things like this never
happened to her.
Zigzagging around fairgoers, she avoided running into two children wearing a blue coating of cotton candy, and closed in on her prey. Her confidence rose with each step. Not only had she received her first ever dare, she was actually in the position to have the upper hand on the challenge.
A flicker of guilt and a touch of anxiety mixed with excitement. She pushed them both aside and smiled when the cowboy suddenly stiffened and came to a halt. It was as if he could feel her presence as sure as she could feel his. Not wanting Rachel to see the guy’s expression, Beth didn’t give him a chance to turn around. She slid in front of him, her anxiety fading at the pleasure curving his mouth into a sexy grin, dimpling his cheeks.
“Hello, Brick,” she said.
Then she cupped his deliciously scruffed jaw, pulled his face down, and kissed the ever loving heck out of him.
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Donna Michaels is an award winning, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Romaginative fiction. Her hot, humorous, and heartwarming stories include cowboys, men in uniform, and some sexy, primal alphas. With a husband in the military fulltime, and a household of nine, she never runs out of material to write, and has rightfully earned the nickname
Lucy…and sometimes Ethel. From short to epic, her books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres, and one has even being hand drawn into a Japanese translation. Now, if only she could read it.
Feb 212017


The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?


Cora nodded and followed Mr. Ludlow into the parlor. He closed the doors and stood in front of them with his arms folded, looking far more intimidating than he had during their last meeting. He said nothing, merely lifted an inquiring eyebrow and waited.
Caught unprepared, Cora stared at him, trying to organize her thoughts into words. After a few moments of awkward silence, he lost patience. “What is it you wished to speak with me about, Mrs. Notley? Or are we to stand here staring at each other all afternoon?”
Not knowing how else to begin, Cora blurted, “Why have you hired me, sir?”
He blinked a few times before frowning. “I believe I have made that perfectly clear. You are to be the housekeeper, are you not?”
This was going to be more difficult than she had imagined. “Yes, of course, but there has been some talk about, or rather concerns expressed . . .” How did one put this delicately?
“About . . .?” he prodded, obviously not thrilled that his morning regime had been waylaid.
“About the reasons I have been offered the position,” she quickly said, hoping that would be enough to make him understand her meaning.
Unfortunately, his brows drew together in confusion. “What are you saying, Mrs. Notley? I have hired you to do certain duties that will hopefully make my household run more smoothly. What other reason could I possibly have for offering you the position?”
“You have hired me to do a job I am untrained to do,” she said. “While I am grateful for the opportunity, I also find it necessary to clarify that I have come here to be a housekeeper and only a housekeeper. Even though I am young and . . .” Her voice drifted off. Had she almost referred to herself as pretty? Goodness, this was proving to be very awkward indeed.
“Beautiful?” he finally guessed, not looking at all pleased with the direction the conversation was taking.
“I was going to say not repulsive,” she fibbed.
“Very well,” he said. “Even though you are young and not repulsive . . .” He moved his hand in a circular gesture, urging her to finish her thought.
Cora straightened her shoulders and forced herself to continue. “I am not the sort of girl who would ever . . . fraternize with her employer.” Her face infused with heat, but she forced her gaze to remain steady.
“I see.” He walked slowly towards her, rubbing his chin with his hand. A few steps away, he stopped and eyed her quizzically. “Have I made any improper advances towards you?”
“No, sir.”
“Have I spoken to you in an unprofessional manner?”
“Have I looked at you in a way that has made you feel uncomfortable?”
“No.” Cora suddenly wished she had not felt the need to clarify anything. He made her feel as though she had put the cart before the horse when what she had been trying to do was see that the cart and horse simply stayed in their proper places. Was that so wrong?
“Might I ask who, exactly, has led you to believe that I am the sort of man capable of—how did you put it? Fraternizing with my help?”
“I, er, would rather not say, sir.” Though Cora felt no loyalty towards Sally, she refused to bring Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd’s names into the conversation. “I did not mean to besmirch your name or cause any offense, Mr. Ludlow. I merely wanted to make my feelings on the matter clear.”
“And you have.”
“Good.” Cora dropped into a quick curtsy, anxious to get away. “I shall go and find Watts now.”
She was almost to the door when his voice stopped her. “Once again, you are attempting to scuttle away before we have completed our conversation.”
Slowly, she turned around and lifted her eyes to his. “I never scuttle, sir.”
“What would you call that rapid walk of yours?”
“A rapid walk.”



Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.



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