Monday, May 28, 2012

Drive Me Crazy excerpt

by Jenna Bayley-Burke

"Cross a meandering playboy with a studious control freak driving cross country and you have a plot that is fresh, fun, and blatantly sexy!" 5 stars, Slick Reads at Guilty Pleasures

**Blog Exclusive Excerpt**

The sky darkened and the storm that had been threatening for the past few hours loomed in the distance. Xavier must have sensed it too. He’d raised the roof of the convertible, closing them in the small space with no distractions from the conversation they needed to have. But even with over an hour of driving behind them, she still hadn’t figured out how to talk him into getting her to Oregon as fast as possible.

She turned in her seat and pulled out her travel folder, then placed it on her lap. Inside were the maps of three different routes they could take, with hotel stops marked along the way. She’d taken the drive so many times she barely needed them anymore, but it was always best to be prepared.

“What do you have there?” Xavier’s deep voice slid over her like molten chocolate over a truffle.

Truffles. Like the white chocolate version Allison had ordered for the wedding. Jaime blinked and steered her mind back to business.

“Driving directions. Since we got a late start and it looks like a storm up ahead, I think we should stop in Pittsburgh for the night. If the weather holds we might be able to make it to Ohio.”

His hands tightened on the steering wheel, his knuckles turning white. “How long were you thinking it would take us to get across the country?”

“Less than three days if we drive in shifts and get lucky with the weather. I don’t mind driving in the dark as long as it’s clear, but when it storms I’d rather be inside.”

“I don’t think we should get too caught up in the details, J’aime. It’s far too restricting.”

“It’s much more efficient this way.”

The muscles in his neck flexed as he swallowed. “I think we should stop sooner rather than later. That way we can get a few things straight before we head out tomorrow.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Such as?”

“I’m not driving three thousand miles to get somewhere; I actually want to see the country. I won’t be driving at night, or in a hurry. I want to enjoy the trip. You should too.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but wasn’t sure which argument to make. It wasn’t that she was against enjoying the trip. It just didn’t serve the purpose of getting to Oregon. She had to get there soon so she could start networking her way into a teaching position and find an apartment. She’d been on her own far too long to live at home for more than a couple weeks.

“This is an adventure. When was the last time you did something exciting? Something just to enjoy it?”

She couldn’t come up with a single instance, but would die before admitting it. “My life has plenty of excitement.”

He smirked. “Tell me about it.”

Clearing her throat, she offered up the graduation party she’d chaperoned, carefully omitting the fistfight that had broken out in the parking lot.

“That’s work. Do you ever enjoy yourself away from the kids?”

Again she felt like a fish, her mouth gaping open. “I run and I taught rock-climbing classes.” He looked thoroughly unconvinced she’d ever experienced elation. “Teaching is fun for me.”

“But what do you do for you, J’aime?”

Lightning flashed in the distance, illuminating angry clouds and a horizon blurred by driving rain. Electricity crackled in the atmosphere, the current flowing through the dense, humid air. She spied a road sign as they barreled down the freeway. Ten miles to Bedford. She checked her notes to see if they could stop there.

“What are you doing?” His voice held a mocking quality she didn’t appreciate.

“Looking to see if there is a Holiday Motel in Bedford. The weather looks pretty nasty up ahead.” The thunderous skies above them loomed ominously, waiting to release their fury.

“We’re not staying in a motel.”

“I have a preferred-customer account there. For every ten nights I stay, I get a night free.” Jaime rifled through the papers, looking for the list of participating motels along their route. “There isn’t a Holiday Motel in Bedford, so we’ll have to keep going. The closest one is in Mt. Pleasant, but that is barely an hour from Pittsburgh, so we might as well go all the way.”

“J’aime, can I see that folder?” He held out his large hand, never taking his attention from the road.

“While you’re driving?” To emphasize her point, large raindrops began to splatter on the windshield.

“I want a better look at that map on the top of the page.”

Reluctantly, she slipped the folder into his hand. He set it on his lap and pressed a button to lower the window. Before she could decide what he was up to, he’d slid her folder out the cracked window.

“Hey!” she yelled, the seatbelt cutting into her shoulder as she turned to watch the pages fluttering behind them. “That was mine. And littering is a huge fine, I’ll have you know.”

“Do you feel better?” A drum roll of thunder underscored his words.

“Better? I’m in a car with a crazy man who just dumped our itinerary in the middle of the road.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drive Me Crazy Review - Ten Stars!

How do you get a ten star review? Well, you don't really. Guilty Pleasures had two reviewers that wanted to read Drive Me Crazy, and since you do not mess with a romance reader's to-be-read list, they both got it. As an author, that's kind of scary. Review sites have a loyal reader-base that will buy a book based on those reccomendations. What if one likes it and the other not so much?

I don't have to find out, because Slick & Kitty both enjoyed it. Big relief. But they also took the time to put together such well-written reviews, I wanted to share a bit of each of them.

Kitty Angel :: "From the haunted hotel to the haunted brothel and all the stops between Washington, DC and Oregon, I laughed and smiled. She made this book fun, romantic, and erotic. This was a wonderful book that will have you wanting to go on a road-trip soon.....and not with the girls!"
Slick Reads :: "You seriously must read this book! It is that damn good."
"Cross a meandering playboy with a studious control freak driving cross country and you have a plot that is fresh, fun, and blatantly sexy!"

Thank you so much, ladies. I'm glad Jaime & Xavier touched your hearts.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Pink Heart Society: Male On Monday :: Music Awards

The Pink Heart Society: Male On Monday :: Music Awards: The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke had a Male on Monday post all planned out in her head, and then the Billboard Music Awards...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Date Day :: The Shooting Range

I haven't held a gun since the day my grampa snatched a rifle out of my hands. I forgot I was holding it and turned around...and may have pointed it at someone. I forgot I had it, honest. But for the last twenty-five or so years, I haven't even thought about shooting one.

Hubba Bubba has been thinking about buying a gun. I blame American Guns and Sons of Guns. He loves those shows. However, I see no reason why he should buy one if he's never even shot a pistol before. Call me crazy.
So, when LivingSocial had an offer at Beavercreek Armory, the local shooting range, I snapped it up. I'll try anything once.

Guns make me nervous. Not other people with guns, but me with a gun. I'm distracted by just about anything, and just might turn around while holding a gun without thinking. Hey, it's happened before.

We were walked through the basics of gun safety - there was even a video where some idiot shot himself in the leg because he was a bonehead - and practiced on unloaded guns.

I wish I could say my anxiety had eased by the time we put on our saftey galsses and headphones, but these were still guns and live amuntion we were shooting. Heightened awareness is a good thing. We went back to our lanes and hung up our targets, sending them to the back wall. I have no idea what they had piled back there to absorb the fore of the bullets. It looked like ground up tires, but it is probably some hi-tech ballistics something.

Then it was time to load the gun. Oh my. Bullets, in my hand. I had this ridiculous fear one would explode as I loaded it into the magazine. But this was real life, not a cartoon, so all was well. The magazine slipped into the gun, I cocked it to load the first round into the chamber, and aimed.

And kind of stood there. Good thing, because Hubba Bubba let off his first shot and I jumped! Even with the headphones, it was loud. The plume of smoke faded and he let off the rest of his rounds. Not to be outdone, I readjusted my hands and aimed. My gun had an electronic site, for all the good it did me. I figured out how to see the red dot and pulled the trigger.

My arms lifted slightly, the casing jumping out of the gun and against the lane barrier, coming to land on the bench in front of me. I have no idea if that bullet hit the target, but I'd done it. I'd shot a gun.

The rest of my fifty rounds went much the same. A deep breath of gunsmoke laced air, steadying my hands, finding my target, and feeling the bang race from the tips of my fingers to my shoulders.

We left wanting to go back and try it again. Hubba to hone is skils, me because they have zombie targets and that just sounds like a great idea.

Monday, May 14, 2012


One of the cheeses at my publisher wasn't in love with the original For Kicks cover. And I agreed with her. So, we got a new image for the print edition, out in time for the holidays.

Now I wonder... if I start using this one will readers get confused? Thoughts?

Sunday, May 13, 2012


With my brother and his squeeze in town, we wanted to do something special. We want them to like P-town, and we wanted to have a good time! Really, none of us get out enough. We found BrewCycle on Facebook and thought it was the ultimate Portland way to experience the breweries. Bikes, brews and quirkiness are what we are known for.

The BrewCycle is a bicycle built for 15. Twelve people sit around a picnic table-like contraption and ten pedal, with room on the bench for three or so more. We had Randy sit inside on the cooler, you know, to keep it safe.

Once we had our seats, I worried it would be like spin class, but since so many of us were peddaling, it was easy. We went a few blocks to our first stop, Lucky Lab. They had a great cider and everyone got into the atmosphere. Or maybe we got a buzz on from the vodka soaked gummi bears (slimy!) or jello shots.

Getting on and off the BrewCycle was the hardest part for me. Once we were aboard we steered over to Caps & Corks. They have an amazing selection of hard-to-find beers including blueberry cider and cherry lambic. Yes, they have guy beer too.

The weather was gorgeous, so we soaked up the sunshine a bit before gliding over to Bridgeport. They use a cowbell to warn motorists that this rolling picnic table is on its way, and by this point Jeff had appointed himself the chief cowbell shaker. I should have taken a video. Bridgeport had Strawberry Tart, so I was happy. They don't always have it, and while I like Summer Squeeze, there is just something about Strawberry Tart. Yum.

After the BrewCycle brougth us back to the beginning, we went back to Lucky Lab for a snack. And more cider. It was good!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Drive Me Crazy 1st Review

Google Alerts brought me the first reviews for Drive Me Crazy , which comes out May 29th.

Single Titles gives it 4 stars, "Wonderful story about not sweating the small stuff and enjoying life."

Love Romances and More gives it 4 hearts, "The sexual attraction between the main characters is sizzling"

Friday, May 04, 2012

Deadline Dinners

So many things slip away from me when I have my brain wrapped around a new book. Cleaning is the first to go. Then I start looking for fast, easy dinners. I need them anyway with the kids in scouts, swim, & martial arts. I can totally understand how families resort to drive-through dinners.

I would, but I have four conferences this year, so my pennies are going to that. (I'll be in Cincinati for the Lori Foster Reader Author weekend later this month.) So to keep the kiddos fed, I've turned to the crock pot.

I know, it's a 70s institution. And I am not saying everything that comes out of it is company-worthy. But it does put a hot meal on the table with minimum effort.

My kids favorite is either ravioli or tortellini. Yes, in the crockpot! Before we head out to the gym, I put a jar of sauce in the crock pot, then I fill the jar with water and add that in. Next is a bag of frozen pasta. We leave it on warm while we are gone and come back to dinner.

You can add in veggies, cheese, what-have-you.

Pot roast is another go-to meal. The roast, wine, a can of beef broth, worscetshire sauce, onions, carrots & mushrooms. Before we head to the gym I throw in potatoes. I've actually started getting small potatoes so I don't have to peel or slice.

Not all my crockpot concotions are a hit. Sausage and sauerkraut was fine, but not something we'd make again. Probably because we don't like sauerkraut. It was easy though - kielbasa, kraut & shredded cabbage.

Anyone have dinner tips to share?