Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Shady Deals by Cindy McDonald (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Shady Deals by Author Cindy McDonald!

Author Guest Post

Ten Quickies For Writing Love Scenes

Hey writing is a tough business! Whether you write mysteries, suspense, romance, or thrillers it is hard to stand out in the crowd, and you definitely want to stand out in the right way. I’ve talked to so many writers who tell me that they struggle with or perhaps even shy away from love scenes. Truth is many writers avoid it at all costs because they feel awkward or lack the confidence to write so intimately. So with the timid writer in mind, I’ve compiled a list of ten quick suggestions to help you throw your inhibitions aside and write a good love scene.

1. Define your comfort zone: What are you comfortable reading/writing?

Not everyone (authors or readers) are comfortable with such strong scenes as those that E L James penned for Christian Grey’s “playroom”. Perhaps you are more at ease writing suggestive scenes: your characters touch, feel, explore, but you will only take the reader to the bedroom—not between the sheets, and that’s okay. When I began writing the Unbridled Series in 2005 suggestive scenes was where my comfort zone lived—I have since tossed some of my inhibitions aside to go farther with the First Force series, yet I’m still not as bold as some romance writers.

If you struggle with the idea of writing intimate scenes then you should take care to start slowly and build up. If you start out writing beyond your comfort level your scenes will reflect your unease, so its best not to force a scene that you are simply not prepared to illustrate.

2. Write for yourself, not your family, friends, or your pastor.

As I’ve said in past blogs, I have very conservative in-laws—they are simply uncomfortable with the subject matter of my books in general. That said I write love scenes that are explicit and yet tasteful. Some writers are concerned that their minister or church members will frown upon sexual scenes in their books. Hmmmm, then why are they reading your books? I’ve noticed that if I don’t bring up my books at church neither does anyone else—although I do have fellow parishioners who will approach me to tell me how much they enjoy my books—they never mention the love scenes—for whatever reason. ;}

3. Make sure the cover of your book matches the story inside.

The cover is so important to the marketing of your book. If your storyline is really smokin’ hot, then definitely put that erotic half-dressed couple immersed in a sensual kiss on your cover. If your storyline is more on the suggestive side—find something a little less provocative for your cover. You don’t want to promise something that you don’t deliver because then you could possibly upset two groups of readers: those who are expecting and looking forward to more than you are giving, or readers who are not comfortable at all with sexual scenes. The wrong cover can ultimately turn both sets of readers away from your books permanently. So make sure your cover sends the right message.

4. Heat it up! Sexual tension adds sooo much to the storyline.

Build the sexual tension between your characters from the very first moment they meet. The hero is bound and determined to win her heart, but the heroine isn’t exactly ready to give it—make him work to win her over and for that first kiss to be scorching hot. Sexual tension isn’t exclusive to those who write love scenes. You can use sexual tension even in the most innocent of books where an author doesn’t go any farther than that kiss.

5. Develop your characters well before tossing them into bed.

Your audience will find the story more believable and sensual if you have taken the time and effort to develop your characters before that hot love scene. Readers want to know that the love scene is right—that the hero and heroine are meant to be. Tossing them into bed before developing their relationship and personalities will leave the reader feeling cheated, and your carefully penned love scene could fall flat.

6. One POV please!

Only reveal one character’s POV during the love scene. Alternating thoughts, feelings, or sensual sensations from one character to the other during a love scene can confuse or frustrate the reader. Allow your reader to experience the sensual encounter through one character’s POV only.

7. Use subtext.

What’s subtext? Subtext is when a character says something without coming right out and saying it. Example: He leaned across the table, his hot gaze burning into hers. “You know I just love caramels.” He whispered, “I can’t help myself, I always end up eating the whole bag.”

8. Whoa! Watch those descriptions!

Most recently I began to read a book that actually started out with what the author considered a “hot” love scene. I put the book aside by page sixteen and haven’t picked it up since. Why? Because the author was using car parts to describe body parts. Can you guess what the gearshift was? Yep. Please, keep your automotive paraphernalia where it belongs—in the garage.

I had one author tell me that he liked to refer to the woman’s most intimate area as a… what for it… “honey hole”. E-gads!! One must be careful as to how to describe intimate body parts or it completely destroys the experience for the reader.

9. Use the senses.

Absolutely! Touch, taste, and smell—candles burning, the shadows dancing about the room, the smell of his skin, the gentle caresses over smooth silky flesh, and the taste of the wine still lingering on their lips. These descriptions (if done correctly and compassionately) will deepen the readers experience by drawing them into the moment.

10. Make sure it fits!

The scene I mean. Don’t write a love/sex scene just to do it—make sure the scene moves the story forward. The characters should share something during the scene: a deeper sense of their relationship, a secret can be revealed, or information that you have not shared with the reader can come forth during or as a result of the scene, but make the scene count. Love/sex scenes that are thrown into the story for no apparent reason are annoying, and yes your readers will notice!

So there you have it…some simple ideas to help you write a love scene. Here’s one more: read love scenes. The more you read love scenes the more you will learn how to write them—it’s really that simple. What did you like about the love scene that you just read? What didn’t you like? Learn from those who do it well.

About The Author

For twenty-six years Cindy Mcdonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance: She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005.Suddenly, she felt drawn to her computer to write about things she have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with her husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

Why didn’t Cindy write about my experiences with dance? You might ask. “Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy.” Cindy says. “The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.”

Cindy didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. When the series didn’t sell, Cindy recalls, “One of the readers said to me, ‘Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.’” And so she did!

In May of 2011, Cindy took the big leap and exchanged her dancin’ shoes for a lap top—she retired from dance. “It was a scary proposition,” Cindy confesses. “I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house.”

Does Cindy McDonald miss dancing? “Sometimes I do,” she says. “I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with readers.”


Shady Deals - Book Trailer

Book Review

Shady Deals by Cindy McDonald
Book 5: The Unbridled Series
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Publication Date: January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback - 298 pages / Kindle - 3448 KB 
ISBN: 0991368002
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Shady Deals

BUY THE SERIES: The Unbridled Series
Book 1:
Book 2: Hot Coco
Book 3: Dangerous Deception
Book 4: Against The Ropes
Book 5: Shady Deals
Book 6: The Dead Of Winter (Publication Date: TBA)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

Kate West and Dr. Holden Reese have put their troubled past behind them and are ready to set a wedding date. There;s only one thing in Holden's way: a powerful drug Lord at Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Race Track has Holden under his thumb, and he's not letting go!

Kate's family is determined to get to the bottom the of horse drugging ring, and when the West's get too close to the truth the Drug Lord sends them a brutal message that can't be misinterpreted. Now Holden is on the run, and he's dragging Kate with him.

Can he escape his indiscretions?

How long can he keep Kate in the dark?

And how damning will the truth be when it's finally revealed?

Book Excerpt:

“Take your clothes off.” Dr. Holden Reese said, as he closed the door to his veterinarian office at Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Racetrack. His hot gaze slid over Kate West’s slender curves. He dropped the deadbolt into the locked position. A shiver skittered down Kate’s spine as she turned to him. She wore a red tank top and a pair of tight Levi Jeans. Her long blonde tresses were pulled back into a ponytail. The florescent lighting glinted off the silver hoop earrings that dangled from her ear lobes.

While her full lips parted, her eyebrows rose. “Ever heard of sexual harassment, Dr. Reese?” Kate put in.

He strode toward her unbuckling his belt. He took the vet box from her hand to set it on a nearby shelving unit, and then pushed her against the block wall. Holden was six-foot-two of solid muscled male. His deep brown eyes burned into her baby blues. Caging her between his arms, he reached back to pull the band that held her hair letting it spill like a golden waterfall about her shoulders. He fisted his fingers through the locks tilting her head back to hold her in place. He said, “Oh, I’ve heard of it, Miss West, and I have every intention of taking you on my desk,” he nipped at her earlobe making his way slowly down her neck, “do you want to scream?”

Kate’s fingers splayed wide on the wall that she was pinned against. Everything female in her clenched at his teasing nips and licks and the way he smoothed his lips over her heating skin. She could feel her nipples pushing to stiff peaks against the inside of her bra. She swallowed hard letting go of a groan from deep in her throat. She rasped, “Do you want me to scream, Dr. Reese?”

Holden smiled against her shoulder. He whispered, “When I make you come.” He pressed his lips to hers pushing his tongue into her mouth savoring the taste of her, tangling his fingers tighter through her hair, possessing her. Kate wrapped her arms around his waist pushing up on her toes to capture more from the kiss, when suddenly Holden let go of her hair grabbing her by the shoulders. Kate blinked back, astonished that the kiss had ended so abruptly. 

“You were stripping...” he said, stepping back to take in the show about to start. Kate planted her hands on her hips, biting her lip. His gaze never wavered as he unbuttoned his jeans, while urging, “the desk is waiting, my pretty little assistant.”

“And if I refuse? Will you fire me?”

He lowered his zipper with slow unerring precision, “You won’t refuse.” He stated. He whipped his T-shirt over his head tossing it to the floor, baring his sculpted biceps and abs, while sporting a sinful come-on look that should’ve been in the category of a felony.

“That’s not fair!” Kate blurted.

His mouth curved into a wicked smile. “I’ll use whatever weapons at my disposal to get you naked. I’ve been fantasizing since yesterday about doing it on my desk with my sexy little employee.” Glancing at the desk, Kate noted that it had been cleared for the event. Holden added, “You won’t mention this to your boyfriend, will you?”

Kate rolled her eyes at his suggested role-play. Quirky. What fun. She went along. “He’s the jealous type, you know. Not to mention that he could probably beat the snot out of you.”

“I’ll take my chances.” Holden rolled his right index finger in the air at her, “Let the stripping commence.”

Knowing that he rather enjoyed a demure display, she peeked at him through her lashes. Kate slowly slipped her tank over her head, tossing it to the floor, leaving him to ogle her dainty blue lace bra. She unbuttoned her jeans, lowered the zipper bit by bit, and then she shimmied her hips until they slipped down her legs to pool at her feet, swiftly she kicked them aside. She could see the column of his erection bulging from his boxer brief through the open fly of his jeans, as she stood before him in a tiny lace thong and the lace bra. He licked his lips. She was driving him crazy. She liked it. Her lips curled at his delicious anticipation.

Slowly she reached back to unhook the bra, but rather than allowing it to fall to the floor, she cupped her breasts in her palms holding the bra in place. Holden sucked in a deep breath while he watched her bite her lower lip as she kneaded her breasts in a circular motion, until she slowly let the bra slip down her arms to fall at her feet.

Holden grabbed her hands restraining them behind her back before she could hook her thumbs through the bands of the thong. Sealing his mouth over hers, he kissed her hard while pulling her against his arousal. “Leave a little for me,” he snarled, releasing her hands to grab her buttocks and lift her until she wrapped her legs around his waist. Lips locked, he carried her to the desk, setting her down gently. He murmured, “I don’t want to hurry my fantasy. I want to savor it, baby.”

Kate pulled away from the kiss. She whispered, “I don’t know, my boyfriend will be coming to pick me up soon for the bonfire party at our farm tonight. He doesn’t like it when I’m late.”

Holden’s eyes brightened. “I almost forgot about that,” he brushed a lock of hair from her cheek with the pad of his thumb. His eyes narrowed when he asked, “Is the whole party taking place outside?”

Kate cocked her head, confused by the question considering the position they were presently in. She answered, “Yes...”

“No one will be in the barn?”


Carefully he laid her across the desk admiring her dusty pink nipples standing at attention waiting for him to nip. Thoughtfully, he ran his fingers along the inside of the elastic band that secured her thong. Kate’s tummy tightened at the sultry tickle. The sinful grin returned to his handsome face. “Mmmm, another fantasy just came to mind, Miss West: The rugged cowboy breezes into town and seduces the sassy cowgirl in the hayloft. At first she isn’t willing, but soon she succumbs to his cowboy charms.” Shaking her head, Kate chuckled, “Please, one fantasy at a time or I won’t be able to keep up, cowboy.”

She was right. So he decided to fulfill this fantasy right now. There would be plenty of time this evening for the other—if he could get her alone in the loft. He smiled to himself thinking of a clever way to lure her into the barn loft of her father’s Thoroughbred farm, Westwood.

Dropping both of his hands on either side of her, he lowered his face to kiss her between her breasts, when the cell phone in his hip pocket began to ring and vibrate. He groaned.

Kate giggled. “That’s a mood killer.”

“Not for me,” he said, running his tongue over her stiff nipple.

“Aren’t you going to answer it?”


“Holden, someone could need the vet. You should at least look at the number.”



“See, I knew there was a good reason that I proposed to you. You keep me on track. By-the-way, have you told the family about our engagement?”

“Answer the phone, Holden.”

He let out a frustrated sigh as he yanked the phone from his pocket to look at the screen: Chip Walker. Shit. Reaching across her body, he grabbed the handle to the middle drawer of the desk, pulled it open, flipped the phone in, and then slammed the drawer shut.

“It’s nobody important enough to interrupt this moment.” He looked into her crystal blue eyes full of desire. Raking his fingers through her hair, he said, “Nothing is more important than you are.” His fingers slipped from her hair, down her neck until he cupped her breast in his hand. “Now where was I?”


Chip Walker thumbed the END button on his cell phone, hard. Doc Reese hadn’t answered his calls or his texts in three days. Reese was getting too independent. He wasn’t respecting his authority. Reese could blow his whole operation to smithereens. The operation had been compromised six months ago, but he had managed to dodge that bullet. He couldn’t afford another mishap. Reese needed to conform. Reese needed to fall in line. Immediately.

My Book Review:

In the latest installment of The Unbridled Series, author Cindy McDonald transports the readers back to the rolling hills of Rosemount, Pennsylvania, for another riveting romantic suspense novel featuring the West family's Westwood Thoroughbred Farm and Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Racetrack.

Kate West is the vet assistant and fiancee of Dr. Holden Reese, the veterinarian at Keystone Downs Racetrack. While these two lovers should be making wedding plans, there is trouble brewing at the racetrack with Holden stuck in the middle. There is a horse drugging ring run by shifty horse trainer Chip Walker, and he won't let anything or anyone stand in the way of his operation, especially the West clan, who are determined to get to the bottom of the scam. When Chip sends the Walker clan a vicious message to back off, danger and deception abound sending Holden running out of town with an unaware Kate at his side. When shady deals occur, no good outcome can come out of it for Holden and Kate, or can it?

Shady Deals is a fast-paced and action packed romantic suspense novel that easily captivates the reader's attention. Author Cindy McDonald weaves a riveting tale set in the scenic horse country setting of Rosemount, Pennsylvania, that takes the reader on a dramatic roller coaster ride as she slowly builds upon the suspense revolving around a dark and scandalous activity at the local horse racetrack.

With a large cast of characters, some who are returning characters from the previous novels in The Unbridled Series, the reader is kept on their toes as the intriguing story unfolds with deception, danger, murder, and a police pursuit. Subtle spicy fantasy sex scenes is woven into the excitement of the story, but it doesn't overshadow the drama and suspense of the main subject of the story. The reader can't help but get immersed into the lives of the West clan and Dr. Holden Reese. With every suspenseful twist and turn that unfolds, the reader is kept guessing as the tangled web of deceit unravels in a dramatic and climatic style.

The author does a wonderful job of providing an exciting story filled with a fascinating and richly descriptive horse farm setting and in depth look into the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Shady Deals is a sexy romantic suspense thriller that is a must read!


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 3
Interview at As the Page Turns

Wednesday, February 5
Book Featured at Literary Winner

Thursday, February 6
Book Featured at Margay Leah Justice

Friday, February 7
Book Featured at Fabulous and Fun

Tuesday, February 11
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Wednesday, February 12
First Chapter Review at A Little Bit of Spice

Thursday, February 13
Book Featured at The Fiction Enthusiast
Guest Blogging at Raven Reviews

Friday, February 14
Interview at Nancy Woods Books
Book Review & Interview at Deal Sharing Aunt

Tuesday, February 18
Book Featured at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, February 19
Interview at Acting Balanced

Thursday, February 20
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Friday, February 21
Book Featured at Mom in Love with Fiction

Tuesday, February 25
Book Featured at Brooke Blogs

Wednesday, February 26
Book Review at Moonlight Reader

Friday, February 28
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on this last day of the SHADY DEALS book tour! I am so happy that you enjoyed the book and would like to thank you for the wonderful review. Be well always.

    1. Hi Cindy! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I read the book while on vacation in Florida, and the suspense made the long drive home go by so fast! :)

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