A hot Irish rugby star…what an intriguing hero

Sexy. Passionate. Fierce. 

That’s how romance author Cd Brennan describes Padraig O’Neale, the hero in her latest novel In Touch. Released September 1, 2015 by Amazon Digital, In Touch introduces us to the rough and tumble world of professional rugby.

I personally know bupkis about rugby–other than it uses an odd looking football-ish thing and involves something called a scrum–but after reading Brennan’s book blurb, I’m more than willing to learn.

Let me know what you think…

In Touch book coverIrish rugby star, Padraig O’Neale, has fecked up his life and is one angry man. When caught using a banned substance for his back pain, Padraig is excused from both his provincial club and the Irish International team. Right before World Cup selection.

Out of choices, his agent convinces Padraig to play for a small American club in Michigan. Just until things settle down. But when Coach asks the team physical therapist, Gillian Sommersby, to help the newest Blues player with his issues, Padraig finds himself trying every wacky treatment out there from stinky salves to music to yoga.

Like her therapies, the therapist herself is a bit…odd. The cute college grad in Converse and glasses doesn’t seem all that impressed with Padraig’s celebrity status, nor gives a shite about his excuses. As it turns out, she might be exactly what he needs…

Available in print or for e-readers.

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And because I never buy a book without first rifling through the pages, here’s a tantalizing tidbit to tempt you:

Gillian unzipped her bag where she’d placed it on the table and grabbed a small jar of ointment. “I’ll use one of my special treatments on—”

“I’m not interested.” Padraig took a step back.

“I can show you some exercises specifically for the lower back, and if you apply this cream twice a day, you’ll notice a change within a week.”

His fist clenched at his side. “I told you I’m not interested in your help. I have a routine that my physio back home gave me. That’s working.”

“You’re not in pain?”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Nope.”

But she could tell he was lying by the way his eyes had darted to the corner of the room and back before he’d answered. The way they shone, all glassy. The way he walked with stiffness in his step. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Not anymore.

“Take your shirt off, please, and lie on the table with your head at the far side. I’m sure you are familiar with massage. Head goes down in the center.”

Padraig was staring at her as if she’d grown two heads. Maybe she had a ketchup stain on her tank top. She held the shirt out but saw nothing. Huh.

At his almost imperceptible nod, her courage grew. Just like any client. “Lie here on your stomach.”

He did as instructed and settled his head onto his overlapped hands. She lifted his hips to lower his track pants so they rode low on his bum. Sweet mercy. His ass was divine. Rounder and juicier than a summer cantaloupe.

But she was a professional, and he, a client. And a jock. A deep breath in and out. Gillian uncapped the jar and rubbed her palms with the ointment.

“What the hell is that smell?”

“None of your worry. It works really well. Hasn’t anyone told you the smellier the concoction, the better the results?”

“Just like Rory. You are all mad,” came muffled through the table.

“Crazy knows crazy. Now shush.”

She started at his lower lumbar and moved her hands in sweeping motions up his back, around his side, under his armpits, and finally over his shoulders. She began again at his lower back and kneaded and rolled along his spine, then outward, circling her palms over knotted muscles. Hitching his pants lower, she delved under his boxer band, massaging the top of his bum, smoothing the muscle out and away from his spine.

As normally happened once she was in rhythm, the time ticked by. After a few repetitions along his torso, she stopped to check on him.

He appeared to be asleep. The endorphins released by the massage weighted him to the table, as happened with most of her clients when they fell into a peaceful lethargy. So quiet, she couldn’t hear him breathe. Wide back, broad shoulders, dark, tousled hair. A man any woman would want. Except for Gillian. He was no Lloyd Dobler.

She should really be getting him up and out the door so he could catch his lift from Del, but she couldn’t get herself to do it. So she took a seat on one of the chairs along the wall. Leaning her elbow on her knee and resting her jaw in her hand, she watched him sleep. A dark, manly brow that had finally relaxed. Black, thick lashes. Strong nose and a top lip that came to a defined point.

He was gorgeous, really.

She was so mesmerized that when his eyes blinked open, she screamed. Just like in a horror movie when the corpse comes to life. She had scrambled halfway up her chair when he let out a laugh.

Her hand over her racing heart, she didn’t see the humor, but then, he’d only opened his eyes, which didn’t normally elicit such a dramatic response. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him move, first to sitting where he waited a few beats, then onto his feet.

As he was pulling his shirt over his head, Del barged through the door. “Everything all right here?”


About the Author

CD Brennan picHaving traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. Feisty heroines with wanderlust or sexy rugby heroes who breathe passion for more than just the sport.

Aussie/Yankee twined, Cd is now settled in Michigan with a rugby player of her own and two wee sons who are still adapting to the snow. A full-time editor and mum, her and her hubby still dream of starting up a buffalo farm. And maybe some chickens and pigs, too. She loves rugby, traveling, and all things from the 80s.

Doesn’t watch TV so don’t chat to her about that, but she loves to hear from readers about anything else! Perhaps some cooking suggestions? She’s desperate in the kitchen! Find her on loads of your favorite places.

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5 reasons why the Fifty Shades movie is better than the book

50 Shades cover art

So, this may run contrary to every review out there, but I liked the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. In fact, in many ways it was better than the book. Here’s why:

  1. Anastasia is not an idiot. She’s got sass. She sticks up for herself, pushing Christian, questioning him, and at times even outsmarting him. When they discuss the contract, she insists on a business setting and confidently negotiates the terms. She may have an antiquated flip phone, but she’s a poor college kid after all. And she  does know how to use a computer… it’s just on the fritz.
  2. Ana is funny. When she drunk dials him in the bar, her reactions are spot on. Alternately confident, nervous, cute, embarrassed, she’s charming. You can see why her friends like her and why Christian is intrigued.
  3. The movie glosses over the illogical parts. Christian is still a young billionaire, but they never say how young. The book puts him at 27, which is ludicrous. In the movie, he could be 30, maybe 32. Not so old that it’s creepy that he’s with a young college grad, but old enough that he had time to amass a fortune, learn to play piano/fly/dance and cozy up to 15 women. Plus, his family appears wealthy, so maybe he didn’t build Grey Enterprise from scratch, but rather took over the reins.AND the timeline doesn’t seem so compressed. Instead of taking place over two weeks (?), the movie gives the impression the relationship evolves over a few months.  After their initial meeting, Ana sits in class, Christian goes to work. Over time, she mulls, he pouts. She considers her options carefully, he stews impatiently. She muses chewing on a Grey pencil, he fidgets in his grey office. The pace is much less frenetic, which helps dial back the ‘Christian is an unreasonable control freak’ vibe.
  4. Christian’s got a gorgeous… apartment. I expected it to be cold, grey steel, white walls, hard angles, with large windows leading to the balcony. Nope. It was ALL floor to ceiling windows. Not much furniture, but there were warm brown pieces, glowy candle thingies, and a dramatic sweeping staircase. The only walls were in the upstairs hallway and bedrooms (ok, they were white) and the playroom (red, natch). The playroom was large, but kind of elegant in its own right. I would have had to explore it, just like Ana did. Kudos to the set designers.
  5. And overall, the movie was cast well. Ana was close to perfect (see #1 & 2). Loved her. Christian was a little off, some of his lines were poorly delivered, but he looks the part–nice body, tousled hair, sexy saunter. He’ll do.I expected Ana’s mom to look like a hippy throwback, but she was more a modern day free spirit. I hated that she didn’t come to Ana’s graduation, but that was straight from the book. Other than that, she was sweet. Ana’s roommate Kate was much more believable in the movie. She was pretty, dynamic, and not nearly as obnoxiously pushy as in the book. And Elliot? Perfect. Just perfect, front and back.

That’s not to say the movie was without its flaws. Christian’s performance was sometimes embarrassingly stilted. Early on, he rants at Ana for wanting him, and his reactions were so odd, the audience laughed. In the sex scenes, Ana seems to go from zero to the verge of orgasm in 2.5 seconds. I wish it were that easy.

And my own personal preference…I would have liked to see more of Taylor, the driver/bodyguard. He’s my secret crush.

But other than that, as a fan of the book, I’d say the movie was fifty shades of fabulous.

To see the few POSITIVE reviews printed regarding 50 Shades, check out my 50 Shades of Great Expectation page.

Twice in a Blue Moon cover art

Mastering romance in multiple genres

Twice in a Blue Moon cover artCate Masters has released her latest novella, Twice In A Blue Moon this month.

Published by Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press this contemporary romance features Melanie Michaels, a woman desperate to bury the grief she’s felt upon the death of her first love. She embraces the risky demands of a reality show, where her extreme stunts leave her teetering on the edge of danger. That’s exactly where she wants to be—until she arranges for her crew to traverse the Swedish Lapland in the dead of winter. It’s the one place she shouldn’t go, on the one day she should avoid—her would-be wedding anniversary.

Instead of romantic nights spent in the Ice Hotel or under the Northern Lights, Melanie is stuck with Joe “Buck” Wright, a snarky loner tour guide who loves his sled dogs and nothing and no one else. But Buck is also trying to numb a painful past. Can two people skilled at pushing others away find warmth at the edge of the Arctic?


Cate’s been kind enough to answer my favorite blog questions, so without further ado…

Welcome Cate! So tell us, who’s your favorite character in the book?

Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Alleigh! Hmm, favorites are tough to choose, but I’d have to say Buck, the hero. He’s a bit of a loner (kind of like a writer, lol), loves animals and is ruggedly handsome (just like Richard Castle, because Nathan Fillion was in my head as the hero).

Is your personality more like your hero or heroine?

Because the heroine performs extreme sports and I’m too fearful of anything remotely resembling those, I’d have to say the hero. Again, because of his love of animals and sometimes hermitlike existence lol.

What’s your favorite scene and why?

There are so many! I fell in love with this setting, and sharing a night beneath the northern lights is so romantic. Toward the end, there’s a scene where the hero and heroine bare their souls to one another, and she finally finds closure about her fiancée’s death, with the hero’s help.

What did you get stuck on when writing this book?

I didn’t necessarily get stuck, but I had to do tons of research for this story, about extreme sports, the Swedish Lapland, the Sami people, dog sledding, and the Icehotel, a fantastic place made entirely of snow and ice that melts away each spring.

What’s next?

On May 15, Kensington will release The Griffin’s Secret, my urban fantasy/retold fairy tale of magic and rock and roll:

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…

Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

Thanks again for having me on your blog today!

About the Author

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Contact Details

Website: http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

Twitter:  @CateMasters

Book video

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/SdWvcfhYzDM

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Advance praise for TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

“…a great read. It is fun, it is romantic, it is moving.” – Dan Curnett, 5 stars

“…a quick romance read that will undoubtedly leave them wanting more” – Maria, 4 stars

“… a satisfying and enjoyable read” – Jennifer Schultheis, 4 stars

“I really liked this book! It had a unique setting and a hero with a lot of baggage” – JoMarie DeGioia, 4 stars