Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Monday Musings about Erkenci Kus…

If you need something new and fun to focus on amidst all the horrible craziness lately, check out the Turkish show Erkenci Kus. I don’t speak Turkish, although it fascinates me and I wish I did, so I watch the show on Facebook by following EK Candem, a site that has all the episodes of the show with English subtitles. There are many versions on YouTube but they can be blocked depending on where you live. I do like to keep the sound up to hear the emotion in the voices and I think I’m picking up a few Turkish words!

It’s a wonderfully nutty story about life in and around an advertising agency in Istanbul and surrounding neighborhoods. The main character is Sanem Aydin, an inexperienced, naive girl from a very traditional Turkish family who takes a job at the ad agency as a “bring-take” person — I think in America we would call that position a go-fer. The oldest son of the agency founder, super sexy world famous photographer Can (Pronounced Dzhan) Divit, returns to Turkey to head the agency in his father’s absence.

The chemistry between Can and Sanem is off the charts, the acting is fabulous, the clothing and jewelry are incredible. There’s drama, comedy, romance, corporate intrigue, adventure, silliness and gorgeous scenery!

The show aired in Turkey in 2018 and 2019 and starred Can Yaman and Demet Ozdemir, both internationally known Turkish stars, although apparently he is Albanian and she is Bulgarian. I don’t know if those things matter, but people write about it, so maybe so. Either way, they are both gorgeous and fun to watch, especially together.

Before you get hooked on this series like I am, I must warn you that each episode is a little over two hours long — no commercials — and there are 51 — yes, I said 51 — episodes! I am currently on Episode 16.

Sometimes — well, maybe every night — I stay up too late watching because I literally HAVE to know what happens next! It’s pure escapism and perfect for what’s happening right now…

Lessons Learned, Part 6…


I’m sorry I’m so late in posting Part 6 of Lessons Learned!  I’ll give you a little synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5  for the complete story  especially if you’re new to my blog. 🙂

Regina loved Bobby back in high school, they had a huge fight and split up before they knew she was pregnant.  When she lost the baby, she tried to get in touch with him but he never got a message to come to the hospital.  They haven’t spoke since, until they meet up in the airport on Maui, where they’re unknowingly standing up at the same wedding.  He’s always called her Gina and she always called him Bobby, but their friends (Jaime and Mike from my short story  Eyes Wide Open) know them as Reggie and Rob.  

Bobby and I spend the rest of the evening trying to understand what had happened back in Virginia after high school.  When we finally looked around and realized how dark it had gotten, he asked if I would come up to his room, just to talk.  Since we were in the same building and on the same floor, I figured it would be okay.  And I didn’t think we were going to get much sleep anyway, at least until we’d heard each other out.

Neither of us remembered exactly what we had argued about when we broke up, just that we were young and going away to different colleges.  I think it seemed easier to have a big blow out fight and go our separate ways than try to have a long-distance relationship and maybe find out that our love wasn’t strong enough to keep us together.

Then I had the miscarriage almost before I knew I was pregnant and when Bobby didn’t come to the hospital, I had been sure it meant we never had a chance.  And now I’m reeling with the news that he never even knew about the baby.

“But I called your house.  I talked to your dad,” I say.  “I told him it was really important.  How could he not tell you?”

“I don’t know, honey, I’m really not sure what happened.  He was still traveling for work a lot then and I’d left for college already, with practice every day of the week pretty much.  If he called and left me a message, I didn’t get it.  I know mom and dad wanted me to focus on school, too.  I know they liked you, but I knew they were kinda glad we broke up then.  I think they just thought we were too young to get serious.”

“We were too young,” I say ruefully.  “But it didn’t seem like it back then, at least not to me.”  “Me, either,” he smiles into my eyes and the years just fall away.   Then he’s shaking his head thoughtfully.  “God, you don’t think they didn’t tell me on purpose?”  We just stare at each other and it occurs to me that maybe his mom and dad didn’t love me as much as we thought they did.

“Maybe they really didn’t like me?” I whisper, “Enough to keep you from finding out you lost a child?”  I can see the pain on his face and I hope that I’m wrong.  But how else could things have gotten so muddled all those years ago?

His jaw tightens as he looks at me again.  I can tell he’s wondering the same thing and it looks like it’s tearing him up inside.  I mean, his family had always been super close.  His mom and dad and Rhia and him, then me.  They had taken me in so many times as a kid.  They’d shared meals with me and let me stay at their house all those nights.  I thought they were my family, too.  I had pretended they were…

But I guess helping me was different than thinking of me as maybe their son’s wife or the mother of their grandchild.  My mom’s influence again, I thought bitterly.  Nobody really wanted the town drunk’s kid as part of their family.  Sure, they felt sorry for me and helped me out, fed me, gave me a place to stay sometimes.  People could always feel good about a local charity project.  But anything permanent?  No, thanks —

I didn’t realize I’d spoken out loud till I saw the shock on Bobby’s face.   “You really think that’s how my family was?”  His voice is flat. “Well, now I’m not certain,” I say and I’m working to keep my voice from shaking.  “It sure seems like that’s the only explanation, doesn’t it?”

“Did they even know you were pregnant?”  His voice is rough with emotion and he clears his throat.  “Sorry.  I mean, what exactly did you tell my dad when you called?”

“I don’t remember anymore.  It was years ago!”  Now I’m the one getting emotional and I stop and take a breath.  “Okay, wait.  I started feeling awful and when I told my mom that I was spotting and having such bad cramps, she insisted that I go to Portsmouth. So we went.  My mom was driving, so I called your house and your dad answered and I told him I needed you to come to the hospital.  That something was wrong.”  I know I didn’t say anything specific, I would have been too embarrassed to tell his dad what was going on.  I’d been scared and in pain and hormonal and had just wanted Bobby.  And he wasn’t there…

He reaches for my hands and holds them in his, rubbing his thumbs across my fingers.  “God, Gina, I never stopped thinking about you. When I came home that first Christmas and you weren’t there, I didn’t know what to do.  Your mom said she didn’t even know how to call you, that you had a different cellphone number that you wouldn’t give her.”

“But that’s not true!”  I hadn’t changed numbers until years later when I moved away from home permanently.  “Why would she tell you that?  I had that number for years, but I didn’t want to be at home if I didn’t have to, because of my stupid ass of a stepfather.  I spent a lot of holidays with Jamie’s family.  She was my college roommate and I knew Mike way before they even started dating.”

“Well, what the hell?” Bobby is looking completely perplexed.  “I’m guessing your mom wasn’t too crazy about me, then, huh?   She just lied to my face.”

“Well, I can understand that a little bit.  I mean, she took me to hospital.  She saw what I was going through.  She saw how scared I was.  She knew I lost a baby, our baby, and you didn’t even call me back, let alone come to the hospital!”  I can’t believe tears are running down my face and I swipe at them angrily.

Bobby is looking resigned.  “Look, maybe we better get some sleep and talk some more tomorrow,” he says.  “We’re just going round and round and not solving anything.  You know I didn’t come to the hospital cause I didn’t know you were there.  Come on, honey, I’ll walk you to your room.  It’s late.”

I try to smile back at him as I grab my purse and sandals but inside I’m hollow.  Just like that, Bobby’s in charge again and I’m dismissed for the night.  Yeah, we’re tired and wrung out emotionally, but I still feel, I don’t know, broken.  I know I’m being unfair, but I can’t just let go of all those years of hurt…

~Diane D.

Hold your Breath…

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue, #1)Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today’s new release is an action-packed and suspense-filled mystery and romance that finds Lou Sparks as the newest diver in a remote Rocky Mountain town’s search and rescue operation. Lou moved across the country, far from her controlling family and an annoying ex and is planning to immerse herself in her new job. While she’s training hard and trying to fit in with the team, it seems that every time she slips up, it’s in front of her handsome but stoic boss, Callum Cook, who hardly ever smiles and certainly not at her.  We first met Lou and Callum in the introductory novella to this series, On His Watch.  You can find my review here.

But then Lou discovers a corpse during a diving exercise and is anxious to help local authorities solve the riddle of his identity. Staid Callum, with his cautious personality and OCD tendencies, reluctantly agrees to help, if only to keep Lou out of trouble. When it soon becomes apparent that Lou is being stalked and the stalking incidents escalate, Callum is forced to admit his attraction to his new recruit and his need to be the one to see that she is safe.

The cat and mouse game continues and Lou, Callum and local authorities try to figure out who would want to harm her and how it’s connected to the murder she uncovered. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful read with some twists and turns along the way.

I received this book as an advanced copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cuff Me, A Virtual Tour…

Enter to Win a Custom Mug, $25.00 Amazon Gift Card 
and a Print Set of FRISK ME and STEAL ME



New York’s Finest #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing on March 29th, 2016
Forever: Grand Central



Vincent knows he’s not the most charming of the Moretti brothers. He prefers brooding to flirting, reading to talking, and he sure as hell isn’t about to give into his mother’s insistence that he ‘settle down with a nice girl.’ Luckily, Vincent’s gig as one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives keeps him busy. As does his long-time partner, Jill Henley–a tough-as-nails cop with the face of an angel and smart mouth that makes Vincent crazy in all the worst ways.


After six years of working the homicide beat with the tight-lipped Vincent Moretti, Jill figure she knows him better than anyone. Which is not at all. But when their most recent case points to a potential serial-killer situation, the higher-ups send them on a rare
undercover mission to a place no NYPD officer dares go: the Upper Eastside.


Now the bureau’s most antagonistic set of partners is posing as Mr.and Mrs. Brooks of Park Avenue. Spending 24/7 in the suspect’s territory brings them closer and closer to their killer . . .
and closer to each other. Soon Vincent and Jill are playing good cop/bad cop in and out of bed, and Jill’s falling hard. But can she convince Vincent to give her a shot as partner in life, as well as at the bureau?




One never really realized how much New York City got under your skin until you left it for a while.

It was like one minute New York was your adopted home—a little bit intense, a lot scary.

And the next, you were holding your breath as your plane landed, your entire body on edge with the anticipation of being home again.

Jill Henley smiled as the plane touched down, her eyes closing just for a moment at the realization that she’d be sleeping in her own bed tonight. Going back to her job tomorrow. Eating at her favorite gyros place tomorrow.

But none of that—not the city, nor her pillow-top bed, nor the really freaking amazing gyros—were as important as who awaited her.

The Morettis.

Jill loved her mother desperately—it was the reason she’d spent the past three months in Florida taking care of her.

But the Moretti family had become every bit as much family to Jill as her own mom.

She couldn’t wait to see them again.

All of them.

Okay, so maybe there was one Moretti in particular whom she was especially excited to see.

Not that the excitement was mutual.

As she walked through JFK toward baggage claim, she couldn’t figure out for the life of her why she was even the tiniest bit disappointed about the fact that Vincent Moretti wouldn’t be the one picking her up from the airport.

She hadn’t even asked him. He might have said yes. Maybe. But it would have been done with a grunt and a grumble, and probably a lecture about how his workload was double because his partner had “up and ditched him.”

Besides, it made more sense for Elena to pick her up anyway.

Not only was Elena her best friend, but Elena was an attorney at a fancy-pants law firm, with access to a company car that was a hell of a lot nicer than Vin’s car and didn’t smell like old coffee.

Plus, Jill had news.

Big news.

The biggest.

The kind of news that female friends squealed over in the appropriate, gushing manner.

So why was she so nervous?




Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. 

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Want More Moretti’s?
Frisk Me
(New York’s Finest #1)




(New York’s Finest #2)



Eyes Wide Open, Finale


If you haven’t read them yet, catch up with the beginning of Eyes Wide Open, Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4Part 5 and Part 6

“Okay,”  I say brightly, “I’ll text him then, just to see if he misses me.”  Reggie snatches my phone out of my hand and luckily we pull up in front of my building before I smack her to get my phone back.  “What the hell, Reg?” I yelp.  “Give it back.”  “In a minute,” she says.  “Let’s go inside and make some coffee.”  “Okay,” I say, “Do you want to stay over so you don’t have to drive home?”  While she thinks about it, I unlock my door and we go in to make coffee.  And I snatch my phone back and before she can stop me I send Mike a text, “Are you working?  Do you miss me?”


Almost immediately my phone buzzes with a text from Mike.

“Where are you?”

“I’m home.”  I send back.

“What do you mean, do I miss you?

“The flowers made me think  about you.”

“We need to talk.  On my way home.”

“Talk now?”

“Yeah, now!”

Reggie is reading over my shoulder and laughs.  “You’ve done it!   I told you not to write him tonight.”  I’m thinking maybe she’s right.  I tell her she has to stay over, that Mike can’t be mad at me if she’s there.  She says she wouldn’t miss it for the world and sits down happily on the couch with her coffee.  “Uh, Reg, you’ve got raccoon eyes,” I say, gesturing under my eyes, and the word sends her into peals of laughter again, but she goes into the bathroom to wipe off the mascara smears.

Of course she’s still in there when there’s pounding on my front door and, of course, it’s Mike.  He’s looking really big and irritated with me.  He notices the two coffee cups on the table and glares at me.  “So, he’s still here?  And you’re texting to see if I miss you?” I open my mouth to explain, but just then Reggie comes into the room and picks up her coffee cup.

“Mike,” I say nervously, “this is my friend, Regina.  Everyone calls her Reggie.”  “Reggie, this is Mike, my… neighbor,” I trail off, not sure what else to say.  The look on Mike’s face is priceless and if I weren’t so nervous I’d laugh out loud.  Reggie, however, is not nervous at all and starts giggling again.

Mike is looking considerably less irritated now as he says hi to Reg. He grabs my hand and asks if he can talk to me in the kitchen. “Sure,” I say, throwing a help me look over my shoulder at Reggie.  She shakes her head and waves bye as Mike gently pulls me along into the kitchen, then turns toward me, his eyes glinting, but with what I’m not sure.  I take a step backwards and my butt hits the counter.  Mike’s right there, hands on either side, pinning me in place.

“I’m sorry,” I say.  “I didn’t realize at first that you assumed Reggie was a date.”  “What’s going on?” he asks at almost the same time.  We both say, “You first,” then stop and smile at each other.  He gestures for me to go ahead.  “I didn’t know you thought Reggie was a guy until you left here earlier.”  I look away self-consciously. “I wasn’t sure if — oh, this is so embarrassing,” I moan softly.

“Hey, Princess, it’s me.  You can tell me anything.”  Those hazel eyes have gone soft and warm again.  “Well, it seemed like you were jealous,” I say in a rush.  “And when I thought about it, I guess I kind of hoped you were jealous.”  He’s leaning into me now, his eyes definitely focused on my lips.  “Hell, yeah, I was jealous!   I knew it was for your story, but I didn’t want you always flirting with guys in the bar.  Then when you said you were going out tonight with Reggie, I figured it was too late.  But, you said you hoped I was jealous?”  His eyes search mine, questioning.

I can’t help myself, he looks so cute and discombobulated, so I just nod and lean in and kiss him.  And then he’s kissing me back, softly at first, then he picks me up and sets me on the counter and steps closer, his mouth slanting over mine as his hands pull me toward him.  Finally he pulls away and we’re both breathing kind of hard and he lifts me into his arms.  “Can we go sit on the couch?  I think it will be a lot more comfortable,” he says with a grin.  I just nod and wrap my arms around his neck and lay my head on his shoulder.

We stay up nearly the whole night talking and its amazing how much we have in common and how well we fit together as we snuggle on the couch.  And right then I realize exactly what I’m going to write my article about — opening my eyes to all the possibilities with the guy who lives right next door!

The End

~ Diane D.