Friday, June 27, 2014

Dressing for the Heat

Because Hot Like This takes place at a commercial shoot with a tropical resort and casino in the backdrop, we got excited over planning the dresses and outfits that the female characters would wear. Think of it as packing for a trip -- but without having to worry about whether a dress will fit us or not!

When planning our collaborations, Chrissie, Miles, and I usually set up a Google spreadsheet that contains all the info we need. Think of it as our working encyclopedia. It usually contains character info: ages, families, backgrounds. Even when they end up not being used, we usually have details like this stored away. For Hot Like This, we even had pegs for the resort, and more importantly, for the characters' clothes.

We felt clothes were important here because 1) they added detail to a characters' actions and thoughts; 2) they played a crucial role to Elaine's transformationl and 3) we had to work out certain mechanics for certain steamy scenes. So it was very important that all three of us had a clear picture of what we were writing about. We picked the clothes based on what was required of the scene and what felt natural to the character.

The Cover Dress
Our primary requirement is that the back should be striking. A backless dress similar to what Ginny wore in All I Want for Christmas wasn't going to work for Elaine's manang personality, but we tried to push the envelope as much as we could. It also needed to be something that fits the beach scene. We're glad we found this: it keeps Elaine covered up but it's not really that conservative. It's sexy and flirty, perfect for her first date with Luis. Miles did a good job of tweaking the dress (like straightening the hemline and adding more fabric to the bodice.) We loved the color -- it's cool to the eyes and it captures the summer vibe we were going for.

The Maxi Dress
Elaine is a fan of maxi dresses, and if she had her way, these are all she'd wear at the beach! Don't get us wrong; we don't have anything against maxi dresses. :) We ended up picking this floral bohemian dress. It has a nice, fun print that Elaine would go for. We may not have described it fully in the story, but we all had this in our heads.

The Cocktail Dress
For the makeover and casino scene, we picked a dress which Miles found on Pinterest (but one we could never identify). We liked it because it hugged her body in just the right way, something that Elaine's other outfits didn't quite do. We thought it was elegant enough for the finale. Or, as Bern would say, "Joseph Gordon-LoveIt!"

Dia's Bikini
We wanted something sexy but still classic for Dia's commercial shoot. Chrissie and I both worked in advertising before and we've had our fair share of selecting swimsuits for various shoots. Real estate? Check. Alcohol? Check. We knew we wanted something that was sexy and high-end but didn't scream gold-digger. So we ended up with Lanvin! Expensive enough, right?

What do you think of their dresses? Were they similar to what you had in mind while reading the story? Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Scribbled: Hot Like This

Late last year, when my friends and co-#romanceclass authors Chrissie Peria and Miles Tan and I wrote a holiday short story called All I Want for Christmas, we already knew that we'd be writing a follow-up featuring the other characters. We initially planned a May release for Hot Like This but with scheduling things, we ended up releasing last June 21. Hey, it's still summer in the US and the heat in Manila still hasn't let up! If you've read All I Want, then you're already familiar with our next pair.

Ma•nang |má•naŋ| noun. origin: Filipino

1. older sister
2. conservative woman
3. Elaine Antonio

Self-proclaimed manang Elaine Antonio is restrained, cautious, and used to taking care of people. Gorgeous Brazilian-Japanese model Luis Inoue is laid-back, impulsive, and totally out of her league. But when they're thrown together at the same island resort one summer weekend, things unexpectedly heat up.

Elaine knows that once the vacation is over, they'll be returning to their two very different worlds. Is this destined to be just a summer fling? Or will she finally learn how to take a risk for love?

Hot Like This is longer than our first collaboration, but we still did it in the same style. We each took a character and wrote from that person's perspective, then we went around tightening the narration and dialogue up after we had the basics down. It's exclusive to Kindle for the next three months, but All I Want for Christmas will be free elsewhere. Expect to see it on other sites (even our own blogs) soon!

We couldn't have done Hot Like This without the help and support of Mina E, Tania A, Gail D, Osing B, and Dia P. (Dia, by the way, won a 5x5 Podcast promo run by Tania and Mina, and we ended up naming one of our characters after her!) We're also very grateful to everyone who has liked, shared, retweeted, reblogged, downloaded, and reviewed our short story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jenny Han in Manila

I was very excited when I heard that Jenny Han was coming to Manila. National Bookstore has been bringing in a lot of YA authors recently, but this was the first time that I was determined to show up. Loaded down with books, I trooped over to the book signing at National Bookstore Glorietta last Saturday, June 21.

Jenny Han in Manila

The Summer series marks one of the rare moments when my sister's tastes coincided with mine. She made me get all three books and was disappointed when I wouldn't spring for a hardbound. When I found out that Jenny Han was coming here, she was the first person I texted. I promised that I would head there to get a book signed for her and so last Saturday, I was there bright and early (lined up at 8:30 am for the 2:00 pm signing and got number #128).

There was a good crowd at NBS. Fans showed up in book t-shirts. Some showed their devotion by lining up at 11:00 pm the night before (there were free hot drinks for the first 30 people in the line, courtesy of Jenny, I heard). While the crowd may not have been comparable to some of the other book signings held in recent months, it's always good to be in the company of fellow fans and readers. I ran into some old friends and made new ones, and we filled in the waiting time with conversations about our favorite books and our TBR lists.

Waiting for the book signing to start

The afternoon began with a short Q&A. I wasn't able to get all of Jenny's answers' verbatim, but she talked about:

• her mentors, including David Levithan
• her favorite books, like The Time Traveller's Wife and the Hunger Game series
• the Burn for Burn series and writing with her best friend Siobhan Vivian: "I'm the good girl; she's the bad girl."
• the Summer series being optioned for TV
• diversity in literature: "Lara Jean is Asian because it was natural for the character... I believe in diversity in literature. It must reflect what we see in the world (paraphrased)."

One of the best things I heard from Jenny was when she said that '(her) priority is to write an honest and truthful story.' I missed recording the first part of her interview but here's the part that I did manage to catch(not verbatim, but pretty close):

Q: Do you have any advise for aspiring writers in the audience?

Jenny Han: My advise would be to do exactly what you are doing which is reading a lot and hearing other people's voices but trying to figure out what your voice is. I think my advice would also be to have a lot of adventures and to get your heart broken a couple of times because it's very good material for you. All those emotions, you can pour that into your writing.

What is your writing process? How does it work? Do you sit down and write every single day?

JH: No, not when I'm on the road and not when I'm on deadline. When I'm on deadline, I write a lot, a lot. (And right now, I'm on deadline. I'm going to be late! I'm going to blame you guys.)

You're writing P.S. I Still Love You right now. So will the ending still change or do you know who she'll end up with?

JH: It's still very malleable right now. We'll see. We'll see.

Are there any other series or trilogies or stand-alone books that you're dreaming up?

JH: Always. I have a few more books in my head that I've sold recently but it's still all being formed.

Your books have inspired some fanfiction. Do you ever read fanfiction? How do you feel about it?

JH: It always feel a little weird, yeah, because I think that for the writer, you write the story and then you kind of have to say goodbye to it, in a way and let it be what it's going to be. And then people can, you know, write fanfiction, or kind of imagine their own endings to it but I think that once it's in the world, it's no longer just yours so you just have to divorce yourself from that.

Do you read your own book reviews? How do you feel when you hear what people say about your writing?

JH: I think it's almost like the way that life is, when you kind of remember the mean things that people say about you and the nice things, you're like 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' you don't really believe it. So I try not to read reviews too much. It can be difficult, especially when you're writing a series, to hear outside opinions because you're just trying to finish and do what you want to do. But the temptation is always there to look and see what people are saying. I often succumb to that.

Jenny talking about her books and her writing process

Soon the floor was open to fan questions:

I would just like to ask, of all the characters you've created, who can you say was closest to your heart and why?

JH: Probably of all the characters I've ever created, I'd probably say, it's a book that you guys may or may not have read -- it's for younger kids -- it's called Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream, and it's about a little girl and her grandfather. That book is dedicated to my grandfather who passed away and that's very close to my heart. It's that story and those characters, a little girl and her sister and her grandfather.

Will you ever write a spin-off of Jeremiah for The Summer I Turned Pretty series?

JH: I don't think so, because I felt like Jeremiah, in my mind, is doing fine. He's happy, he's good, and I feel like his story is pretty much closed for me. I have a lot of stories that I want to tell and I want to keep going and doing new things.

But Jeremiah is fine. Don't worry about him. He's living a happy life.

If you were to describe your latest book, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, since there were cookies there, what cookie would you choose to describe your book?

JH: For that book, I might choose to describe that book as a lemon cookie. A little bit sharp, mostly sweet and sunshiny, but I think it's kinda like a warm, sunshiny book.

Your books are all about first love, first heartbreak, first crush, and do you believe that you can get over a first love and if you don't mind, who was your first love?

JH: Oh my gosh! (crowd shrieks in delight) I think that you can get over your first love but I think a part of them will always reside in your heart. But I think it's almost like the dream that you had of them but not the real person. Who they were to you at that moment and who you were at that moment.

My first love was a guy -- I'm not going to say his name because --

(Interviewer recites a list of male characters that Jenny has written: Reeve, Alex, Jeremiah, Conrad? Who's Conrad?)

JH: Yeah, this is like a Conrad-ish guy and once in a while, he will still show up in my dreams to haunt me. And I'm like, 'What are you doing here?' But it will always be the high school version of him, not the person he is now. I think that it's the nostalgia of that.

You mentioned earlier that Ashes to Ashes is coming out this September. Can you tell us a little more about it?

JH: Fire with Fire ends in a sort of fiery place. I'll say that there's another death to come, a beloved character. And I can say that it definitely gets a bit juicier with the romance as well. It gets a little scary and it also gets a little bit steamy.

Before the book signing, Jenny thanked the fans, "It's just so overwhelming. I feel that my heart is just like overflowing with love from you guys, and I'm so grateful and thankful. Thank you so much for the love."

I asked her to dedicate We'll Always Have Summer to my sister CJ

I ended up having four other books signed: my Summer series and a copy of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

With friends, author Mina V. Esguerra and PBBY chair Tarie Sabido

With fellow book blogger Camille

Thank you, Ms Jenny Han!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Foot in Front of the Other

I would have loved to say that the reason I haven't been posting regularly is because I've been traveling, but the truth is I've just been preoccupied with a lot of other things. I've been a bad blogger. Still, my year has been dotted with some short trips here and there, proof that I've never really been one to stay put. Finally writing this post has been good for me. It was real. It happened. It feels like a lifetime ago, but it happened.

(Warning: This post is image-heavy)

Singapore (January)
I was on a plane bound for Manila on New Year's Day and I want to think that it set the tone for this year's travel plans. Two days after that, my youngest sister CJ and I headed to Singapore. It was both my graduation present to her (she started college last fall) and a chance for me to visit some dear friends.
No trip is complete without a visit to Clarke Quay. We headed there for a short walk on our first night and then returned a few days after to take the river cruise.

It was my first time at the Botanical Gardens. I would love to bring my mom to this place.

My sister insisted on getting a henna tattoo at Little India. She even brought her own design.

We headed to Chinatown on our last day. I insisted.

Taken at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I've been there a few times before but this was the first time I found out its name.

Macau (March)
This was a bittersweet journey for me. At first, I was excited for a very brief shake-up-the-weekend trip with my long-time travel buddy Liv (and new friend Mark).
Casinos everywhere. Of course we had to try one.

We stayed only a few blocks from Senado Square so this was a familiar sight. We passed by the Square whenever we went out or came back to the hotel.

Good morning, sunshine.

Liv took this photo in front of the Macau Tower, showcasing different artists' work celebrating the Year of the Horse. This was one of my favorites.

Ruinas de Sao Paulo, gutted but still standing.

One of my best friends--light of my life, heart-sister--was in the hospital before I left for this trip. Macau was one of the places that we had always talked of visiting but we never really got the chance to start any concrete plans. So I took photos and filed notes away, chronicling my trip for her, thinking of all the things I would tell her when I returned. At about four-thirty AM on the day that I was supposed to return, I woke to missed calls and messages and I knew that she had gone on a different journey without me. I still miss her.

La Union (April)
Every year, I only make one New Year's resolution (I believe in focusing). This year's went to seeing more of the Philippines. When my good friend and neighbor Mac invited me to go to La Union for Visita Iglesia, I jumped at the chance. I was still reeling from many things and I thought this was a good opportunity for me to find a little breathing room. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera so my photos ended up being mobile device-grainy.
Little town, it's a quiet village...

At the first church we visited. It had plenty of painted leaves and forests on the walls that it made me feel at peace.

Plenty of these old churches had these steps (or are they buttresses?) built against each side.

I liked the contrast between the dusty-looking brick church and the green that seemed determined to break through. Rally, heart.

Quezon (May)
I checked off something on my bucket list when another old friend (classmate of many years) Camille and I headed to Lucban, Quezon for the Pahiyas Festival. We tease each other about being kaladkarin (literally easy to drag along) and in the past few months we've been hoarding up on cultural experiences. Visiting Lucban was a nice change of pace and I would love to return to Pahiyas (time to befriend a local!) in the coming years.
The Pahiyas is definitely the most colorful festival I've seen.

Like seriously colorful. This is edible decor.

Even our food was colorful.

Pahiyas is a time to be grateful for the bountiful harvest, so it was common to see houses decorated with wheat and vegetables.

I didn't want to leave without taking a photograph of Mt Banahaw. My final opportunity came while we were speeding back to the tour bus on a tricycle. Camille held me while I leaned out to take this shot.

I wonder what sort of adventure the rest of the year has in store for me. Liv and I have another trip planned; Camille and I have been plotting one (it would be the first time we'd fly together) since the beginning of the year. But time is such a curious construct that all these really do feel like they were part of another life, and all the plans that we're making now still seem to be so far away. What I do know is that I wish I can always keep going somewhere, 'one foot in front of the other, through leaves, over bridges.'

Friday, May 23, 2014

Heat of the Moment from Hot and Bothered Bundle: #BuqoSteamyReads Blog Tour + Giveaway

More #buqosteamyreads! When I first saw the list of titles and authors, I knew that I wanted to read EA Martelle's Heat of the Moment. From the cover alone, this promises to be a good one.

About the Book
She needs the diversion...

Noelle Sanchez is looking for a distraction from the pressure of organizing a company-
wide event and her recent heartbreak after a two-year relationship. She gets more than what she asked for in Aiden, the smoking-hot bartender at the resort where she and her colleagues are staying for the next two weeks.

...then Mr. Sex on Two Legs arrives.

Aiden Bennett has been on fire since the day he first saw Noelle. He tries to pursue her, but she turns the tables on him and amps up the heat, leading to one night of mind-
blowing sex and an insatiable craving to take care of her. But before he can tell her the truth about himself, she discovers his identity.

Will one lie be too many for Noelle whose trust is already damaged, or will Aiden manage to win her trust...and maybe her heart?

Now here's a short excerpt (I want more Aiden!):
Aiden wasn’t the type of person to get distracted at work. He had built Island Paradise Resort from the ground up, and he always took pride that it turned out to be more of a home than just a piece of property he inherited from his parents. With over eight people under his wing, Island Paradise was home to each and every one of his employees, and all of them depended on him. Aiden cursed himself for not being at the reception desk when the group checked in. The woman who made his senses go haywire talked to Cheryl at the front desk and checked in their group for the next two weeks. The second they left and headed to their cabanas, Aiden asked Cheryl about the group and learned her name—Noelle Sanchez. She was part of the HR team that made arrangements in behalf of Invictus. He said a silent prayer of thanks for the interesting turn of events.

Aiden caught Joe looking at him quizzically. Joe was one of the waiters at Café Mirasol, the resort’s main restaurant, and he had been working there for the past three years. Aiden pursed his lips, threw the wet rag in the sink, and turned the faucet on. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Joe shrugged and rearranged shot glasses on the counter. “Nothing much, boss. You just got that look on your face that says you got hit hard in the nuts,” he replied, then chuckled.

“Something funny?”

Joe grinned. “I don’t want to sound like I’m meddling in your personal life, boss, but I’d say it’s about time you devoted some time to it. You work too hard.” He nodded towards the direction of the beach where the woman still lounged. “She seems like a nice person.”

“You talked to her?” Unbelievable. Why did it seem like he was the only person in their resort who hadn’t spoken to her yet? Damn, he had to ramp up his game. Fast.

Joe was about to reply when the woman in question stomped back into the shade of the resort. Her long hair waved behind her like a dark flag as she made a beeline to the bar and sat on one of the stools just a few meters within Aiden’s reach. Her face was a mixture of anger and sadness.

The lanky waiter winked, gave Aiden a thumbs-up sign, and sauntered to the kitchen.

Aiden turned his attention back to the woman in front of him. She was even more breathtaking up close. With her sunglasses over her head, he was able to see her strong profile—a delicate jawline, pert nose, high cheekbones, and almond eyes framed by incredibly long lashes. She was also wearing a low-cut, see-through floral dress. Underneath the flimsy clothing was a hot red bikini. Aiden sucked his breath when she leaned on the counter, unconsciously giving him an enticing view of the valley between her breasts.

“I’d like a margarita, please,” she said without even looking up. She clutched her cellphone in a death grip while reading something on it.

He found it unusual for anyone to be in a sour mood while in a peaceful place. One of the things he loved about owning a resort was its close proximity to the ocean. There was something peaceful and calming about the area, and he had made it a point to enhance that feeling by creating a place where people can relax and leave their worries behind.

But the lady in front of him paid no attention to the serene atmosphere, or to the fact that she was in an upscale resort-hotel. Aiden wanted to know what ticked her off. More importantly, he wanted to make her smile.

“Did you have lunch already?” He tried to play it cool by heading over to the other side of the counter to put away the shot glasses Joe had been cleaning.

She had a puzzled look on her face. He tried to curb his compulsion to kiss those full lips.

“You don’t want to drink an alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach. Trust me; you’d get drunk faster than you could say ‘I shouldn’t have had a margarita on an empty stomach.’” It wasn’t one of his wittiest lines, but a smile peeked out from the corner of her lips. He felt like shaking his fist in triumph.

“You got me. I guess I just wanted to do something bad for a change, like get crazy drunk. I feel like I’m too much of a goody two-shoes.” She glanced at her cellphone and her expression darkened once more.

He leaned over the counter and glanced at the phone in her hands. “Guy problem?” He hoped not.

She sighed, blowing a lock of hair away from her face. He found the gesture to be quite endearing. “I wish it wasn’t.”

“Tell you what, sweetcakes.” He pulled out a bottle of champagne from the shelf and a couple of fruit juices from the fridge. “I’ll fix you a Mimosa to help get you out of that rut, but you have to promise me you won’t feel bad about yourself just because some jerk had balls for brains.”

That made her smile. He poured the concoction in a tall glass and garnished it with a slice of lemon on the side and a cocktail umbrella. “You should smile more often…” He let that statement hang for a bit, hoping he made the right cue.

Her blush showed through the slight tan on her flawless face. Oh boy, was he a goner.

#BuqoSteamyReads is the collective term for mature short stories produced by a writing workshop conceptualized by author Mina V. Esguerra and Buqo. Download the Buqo app ( on Android and for iOS) to get this short story, as well as the others in the Hot and Bothered Bundle:

Just for the Record by Six delos Reyes
Just for the record, the heat can get to even the most calculated of minds.

Let it be stated that Rhys loves Ryan forever and ever. But certain needs are not being met, leaving her frustrated and asking for too much than the conservative and almost-rock star, Ryan, is willing to give. Uncooperative (or cooperative, depending on your point of view) weather provides her an opportunity to ask not what she can do for her friends, but what a friend can do for her.

Isaiah likes to say that the best thing about Rhys is that he can stand in her breathing space and feel nothing. Something of a breather when dancing with Lia short circuits his entire operating system. But all his beliefs are challenged when Rhys chances upon him in a steamy practice room in the middle of a heat wave.

Intoxicated by VM Blanc
Deke, Sam and their new relationship will take you on a journey of friendship, love and complications.

Lights Off by Asha Carpio
Broadway Star Olivia Rivera knows exactly what she wants: fame, successful career, and to prove herself. She even has a “script” to get this: find the next big thing, grab it, then move on to the next one.

Her plans get shaky when the sultry and equally ambitious Jacob Pecson makes a surprise comeback in her life. Jacob knows exactly what Olivia wants, and he has a mission of his own: to turn her life around.

With their paths crossing again, Olivia finds herself troubled as she rekindles her fire with Jacob. Will Olivia finally give in to what her heart desires or will she runaway again this time?

Plus, you can join the giveaway to get the chance to win great prizes:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Whole Latte Love Blitz Blog Tour + Giveaway

Whole Latte Love
By Rachelle Ayala
Publication date: April 16th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

About the Book
Investment banking intern Carina Chen doesn’t need any distractions—especially the sexy, guitar-playing barista she rooms with for the summer.

Free spirit Dylan Jewell appreciates the delightful universe of women who vie for his attention. His goal in life is to do good, make happy coffee, and help the homeless.

When Carina moves in, she insists on rules of conduct to quell her instant attraction to Dylan. But when her boss asks her to turn Dylan into a businessman, she can’t think of a reason not to take advantage of his hospitality.

Their chemistry is white hot, but Dylan refuses to play Carina’s game, unable to understand how he can fall in love with a woman who puts profits in front of people. When Carina realizes Dylan isn’t budging, she risks all to gain a single night with him. Will her gambit backfire or will Dylan discover Carina’s true heart before she runs away with his?

Whole Latte Love is an opposites-attract romance mixing bluesy rock music, hot, steamy love scenes, and financial shenanigans.

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble

I've read Ms Ayala's Taming Romeo (New Adult Romance)before and her writing is filled with believable characters and great sexual tension. Let's see a sample, shall we?

“Great, let’s pop open a bottle of champagne and celebrate.”

“What are we celebrating?” Carina propped herself with one elbow on the counter, her jacket open to a low cut tank top that showed her slight cleavage.

She had perfect curvature. What he wouldn’t give to touch those puppies, suck on them. They’d be soft and oh, so sweet.

“Dylan, hello.” She snapped her fingers in front of him and smiled. “What are we celebrating?”

Oh, yeah. He cleared his throat and let out a chuckle. “BRF.”


“Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of BRF—Best Roomies Forever.”

“What are we, fourteen years old?” She made a gagging motion. “Barf.”

“You’ll love it, trust me.” Dylan fist bumped her. “Shall we have some rules? I know you like rules.”

“Sure, while you think up the rules, I’m going to serve myself some of this delicious food. I’m starving.” Carina grabbed a plate and stood with her back to him in front of the counter.

“Me too.” He put both hands on each side of her and leaned down. She smelled sweet and clean, her conditioner scented with a touch of jasmine. “Rule number one. BRFs get to hug and hold hands.”

She tipped her head back. “Is this an excuse to come on to me?”

“Oh no.” He feigned indignation. “Just making sure we get along, like when you had those rules for chores?”

“Which my cleaning service is taking care of.” She picked a snap pea out of the omelet and popped it into her mouth.

He leaned around toward her lips. “Rule number two. BRFs can kiss.”

She ducked and placed her index finger on his lips. “Barfs can kiss, except on the lips, and cuddle together while watching a movie.”

“Why not the lips?” He tucked a kiss on her temple.

“Because we’re Barfs.” She giggled. “That would be gross.”

“Bee. Err. Eff.” He enunciated each letter. “One more. Rule number three. BRFs can tickle and wrestle each other every night before going to bed.”

“Except …” She turned and poked his chest. “… no touching certain body parts.”

“Certain? Sounds too vague to me.” His erection knocked hard in his jeans and he was having trouble maintaining a casual note in his voice. “You’ll have to name the exceptions, one by one, or show me.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’d think the exceptions should be obvious.” Carina trapped his left hand. “It means wherever you want to touch, you can’t.”

He moved his right hand around the small of her back and caressed her behind. She made a small gasp, still holding his left hand, as her other hand rubbed the muscles on his forearm.

Her sharp jeweled eyes, glittering like black onyx, opened wider as her mouth relaxed, inviting him to capture it. But she was the one who made the no-kissing-the-lips rule, so he’d let her suffer.

He worked his hand from her behind to the side of her waist, sweeping up her rib cage. Her eyes were still luminous, focused on him, daring him to brush her breast, maybe even roll her nipple.

The biker jacket was in the way. He lifted his eyebrow, asking permission, as he loosened it off her shoulder.

Her gaze still challenging him, she nevertheless let the jacket slip to the floor, baring her smooth, creamy shoulders.

He dipped his head and pressed his lips on her neck, eliciting a sigh as her arms went around his shoulders. Kissing a trail from her neck to her collarbone, he alternately licked and nipped her exquisitely delicate skin.

“Any more rules?” he mumbled as he gently rubbed his beard shadow over her chest.

“No, except—”

Her phone rang.
About the Author
Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is an active member of the California Writer's Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Visit her blog at or contact her at

Author Links:

If you liked what you've just read, then you'll be pleased to know that we have two international giveaways today! The first prize is one (1) ebook copy of Ms Ayala's Chance for Love Boxed Set. You have until June 12 to join. Since Whole Latte Love has a whole latte coffee in it, I've decided to make our giveaway drink-related. Just answer the question: Which drink best defines your idea of love? Leave a comment below to get a point or tweet about it (don't forget to tag me so your entry will count). Winners will be chosen via

The next prize is a $50 Amazon Gift Card. It's an international giveaway that ends on May 25; just check out the Rafflecopter list below to see how you can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch from Passion Bundle: #BuqoSteamyReads Blog Tour + Giveaway

Early this year, author Mina V. Esguerra and Buqo came up with #buqosteamyreads, a writing workshop aimed to create mature short stories for readers 18 and older. Lots of authors came to play, resulting in five bundles of steamy goodness. One of them is Halina Cabrera's Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch:

About the Book
Jess Rodriguez always gets what she wants. That's why no one in her office has difficulty believing she tried to steal the gorgeous Martin de Guzman from his perfect girlfriend, Eliza. Now, the label "boyfriend-stealing bitch" has been slapped on her. Plus, Martin has to leave for the U.S. and Jess is left all alone to pick up the pieces.

Two years later, Martin shows up in the most unlikely of places: at Jess’s weekend getaway with her boyfriend, Joey. Will it be his turn to steal her away on a hot summer night? Is she finally going to claim the title she was so unfairly given back then?

Here's a short excerpt from Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch--and I guarantee you, you'll want to read more:
The week goes by really fast. And the next thing I know, we’re having a despedida party for Martin at a bar in Makati. Everyone’s there, and group pictures are being taken left and right. Martin, however, looks distant. He smiles and acts normally, but I know something’s wrong because he has that look on his face. Drinks in hand, I lead him away from the fray toward a balcony cocktail table far from the bar.

“Are you okay?” I ask him.

“I feel like shit. Eliza’s not talking to me.” I should have known.

“Maybe you should go patch up things with her.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I should,” he says, but he stays where he is. He’s quiet and, I suspect, a little tipsy, if not drunk.

“You could always go home.”


“Look, you’re in no condition to drive. Let me just call you a cab.” I start to head back toward the bar, but he puts his hand on my arm.

“Not yet, Jess,” he says. There’s a plea in his voice. His hand is warm on my skin. I’m not a very touchy-feely kind of person. And I’m sure we must have grazed elbows or arms at some point in the past, but this feels funny. Well, at least, the feel of his hand on my arm is making me feel funny. I know I should walk away, but I don’t.

“Just stay with me for a while.” I don’t say anything.

His hand is still on my arm.

“I’m going to miss you,” he says.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“Say it like you mean it.”

I look at his face. What is going on with him? Is it the alcohol talking?

“Look, Martin, I think you’ve had too much to drink—”

His hand has traveled up to my shoulder, and before I know it, he’s gently stroking my cheek and jaw. My heart is hammering in my chest. I know I should pull away, but stupid me, I feel frozen in place. I’m still waiting for something to make sense. Or I’m enjoying the way he’s touching me. I don’t know. Or maybe I’m realizing that he looks even better when his skin is slightly flushed.

“Jessica,” he says. He’s never said my whole name like that, like a half whisper. And then he’s kissing me. Slowly, at first, then hungrily. I can smell the vodka on his breath mixing with the scent of his cologne. I don’t know how it happened, but his arms are around me, and I’m leaning into his body. What am I doing? is the last thing on my mind before we hear a gasp behind us.

“Oh my God, Jess Rodriguez, you are a boyfriend-stealing BITCH!”

And there’s Eliza, tears streaming down her face. I think the whole floor has heard her.

Ready to read more? Download the Buqo app ( on Android and for iOS) to get this short story and the rest of the Passion Bundle:

Landing Dr. Right by Rylie Miranda
When Kayla Navarro storms Dr. Alexander J. Thomson's office to chew him out for his awful treatment of her mom, the last person she expects to see is AJ-slash-Alex, the hot, arrogant cousin of her best friend. Sparks ensue between them, but to Kay's discomfort, it's not just annoyance that she feels. The aloof half-Brit knows exactly how to get under her skin, and she’s not against giving as good as she gets.

Alex scores himself an invite to her out-of-town birthday celebration, and it’s only a matter of time until fireworks explode. In the close confines of their vacation rental, there’s no escaping him. Will Kay find out that she was right about him all along, or will she land herself a doctor she never thought she needed?

Love Under Cover by Mia del Socorro
Jake and Nicole have been close family friends for many years. He first met her as a shy thirteen-year-old tomboy, saw her through high school, watched over her as she went through the Philippine Military Academy, where he himself graduated, and continued to keep tabs on her through her early years in the Philippine Army.

A special undercover mission in the isolated foothills of the Cordilleras will place both of them in grave danger. Will it also bring them to a new frontier in their relationship?

Passion Within the Stone Walls by Kali Ragilles
Sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish…

Unless you’re Paige De Guia, whose only concern is to make sure all the bloggers under her charge enjoy themselves during their sponsored trip. Everything goes as planned, until she meets a handsome and mysterious tough guy on the way to the island of Sabtang in Batanes.

And just like that, Paige’s priorities turn upside down.

Plus, you can join the giveaway to get the chance to win great prizes:

a Rafflecopter giveaway