Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lying Eyes: Two Lips Reviewers Choice and a Recommended Read

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I’m often surprised at what sells in today’s market. One minute, we read about vampires with psychological problems and the need to see a shape-shifting shrink. Then, next thing readers find are mummies on the move and everyone wants a little bump and bang in an Egyptian crypt. Hey, I’m one of those readers too.

I devour everything from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series to Pauline Ash and Emilie Loring’s romances of yesteryear. We’re so lucky to live in an age where the oldies but goodies are easily found online and off. Full of choices, a reader can find what they’re in the mood for with one click of the mouse.

As a writer, I’m often surprised. What I think will sell well, doesn’t always bring in the numbers. Sometimes, I write something I feel will do very well to sell five hundred copies and then the book blows me away with more than five hundred copies sold within the first week. Yes, those are the times when I pop a cork and celebrate in grand style. The nice surprises and the unexpected, that’s what I love about this business.

Lying Eyes, a contemporary M/F romance, is one of those books I thought would outperform the Winning Virgin series and pretty much everything I sent out to my publishers under any pseudonym. What I discovered is mediocre sales. Don’t get me wrong. Any sale, one or five thousand of them, always earns appreciation. However, I’m promoting this book aggressively now. Lying Eyes is one of my best and covers a topic I know as well as anyone—gambling and poker. I’ve spent as many hours in a casino as I’ve probably spent behind a computer monitor so this book is near and dear to my heart. I think you’ll enjoy this contemporary erotic romance novel too.

Earning a Reviewer’s Choice and Recommended Read, Two Lips Reviewer Lila wrote, “Lying Eyes by Destiny Blaine is about a world where the slightest movement can tip off your opponent. Max is about to take the biggest bet of his life because he’s looking at Audra to give him a full house, and he’s not talking poker.

"Max Reynolds, poker champ, ladies man, devastatingly handsome, was captivated the first time he met rookie poker player Audra Alexander. Audra is young, beautiful and has a comeback to his every line. He didn’t figure he would see her much in the poker circuit after that first meeting, her being female and all. Imagine his surprise two years later when they are competing for millions in Las Vegas, but Audra and Max both have pasts that are less than a perfect hand. Can they move forward to discover a future worth having together, or leave it all behind in Las Vegas?

"I was captivated with Max and Audra from page one, not to mention the cover is really hot. Blaine introduces you to poker playing, set in Sin City itself, for The World Series of Poker. I admit, I don’t know much about poker but I had no trouble with this story. It really felt like I was there at the table, the descriptions were that vivid. I actually felt like I could imagine the feel of the table. I found myself laughing with the characters at some of the word play that went on. I think it’s a great author that can pull you into a story with descriptions that vivid. At one point, Audra asks Max “How the hell did you end up at my table?” and Max says, “I know people,” she counters back “Lucky me.” They banter like this all through the story. I really liked that Max was all out there and honest with Audra, it was refreshing to see a man really go after what he wanted. Lying Eyes is a great story, one that I intend on reading again. Destiny Blaine did a superb job, and I highly recommend the story.”

When you’re in the mood for a contemporary romance, I hope you’ll pick up your copy of Lying Eyes. The novel is now in print at Amazon and an e-copy can be purchased through Siren-BookStrand, ARE, or Fictionwise. An excerpt follows below.

Hugs and love,
Destiny Blaine

Audra immediately felt transparent when she saw him, especially since he’d become the object of her poker obsessions and a few fantasies, too. A spark of nervous energy inspired a few hairs to stand up on the back of her neck. Just feeling his warm palm in hers, even if it was only for a moment, did things to a woman that should’ve disqualified her from the tournament.

Soon after she took her seat, Audra posted the big blind and waited. She planned on folding her cards once she saw them but no one raised the bet so she stayed in the hand. The dealer dealt the first three community cards and after she saw the flop, Audra knew she owned the hand. She felt it in her gut or at least she thought so, and she’d played enough cards to earn rest assurance, to an extent.

She felt fairly confident until the man seated at the opposite end of the table decided to talk her right out of a comfort zone. Naturally, he would.

“You gonna call me, baby?” Max tossed in his chips with a raise around the same time he let go of the question. The man with the notorious reputation emerged and he didn’t waste time doing it.

As luck would have it, Audra became the center of attention. She swallowed hard. She hated to be taunted at the tables but knew how to deal with Reynolds. Even though the man she first met in Tunica didn’t remotely resemble the tough-talking poker player staring back at her now, she’d watched him play. She was ready for him because deep down she knew she needed to prepare for moments like these and men like Max.

“If I decide to call you, you’ll know it,” she fired back while trying to maintain some level of composure. Just hearing the word ‘baby’ shook her a bit but it didn’t rattle her enough to avoid a feisty comeback. Maybe it was because she anticipated words exchanged or maybe it was possible to sit there and imagine him in his underwear, an old trick she used back in high school whenever she stood in front of crowds. No, she didn’t think stripping him down to boxers worked, absolutely not. If she let her mind move too fast then she’d picture him at bare bones and her hours there would be limited. She tried to focus and just breathe. Most of the time the concept worked, she had nearly twenty-four years to serve as proof.

A player’s player, Max wasn’t just a dominant force at the poker table, he gained the respect of a true card playing powerhouse. From what Audra had heard, his skills reached far beyond the casino floor too, and one thing seemed certain, he earned quite the reputation with the opposite sex. In fact, his notoriety for being a ladies man proved legendary. A point she found hard to ignore after she began following his career.

Crossing his arms, he leaned back in his chair. “I’m right here waiting for you when you do,” he continued to tease her. Midnight blue eyes pierced through her with fierce intensity. Some would say they were as cold as the icy waters he often represented, but Audra saw something else beneath them, too. Thank goodness for Ray-Bans. She made a mental note to remember them on a daily basis now, right along with her iPod. If she covered her eyes and ears, then ignoring Reynolds wouldn’t present much of a problem.

“Waiting on a woman,” her voice hitched and the words spilled out like a song, “I imagine it’s something you’ll never tire of, kind sir.” She tilted her sunglasses down on the bridge of her tiny nose and tried to find a seductive smile—one just for him. She hoped it worked.

The men around the table appreciated the war of words. Snickers were followed by a couple of sound effects, not to mention outright laughter. The man seated on her immediate left slowly rippled his chips. Already, he irked her. It was a decision she reached in record time right after she sat down. His careful gaze, creepy really, made her very uncomfortable. Soon after she’d joined the table, the young man tried to profile her as she removed her chips from the rack.

Most of the time, profiling wouldn’t bother her. Players always tried to sum up the competition, but today wasn’t a day like any other, which is why she tilted the rack over. She even took her time to fumble around before gathering the fallen chips. Max chuckled on cue when it happened. He realized it was deliberate. The profiler didn’t have the brains to understand. He took her for a novice; a dumb brunette who had the audacity to show up at his table with boobs.

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