As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Celebrate THAT DATING THING with Mac Crowne - and win a download

“I love New York! The Big Apple!” Lyn throws up her arms as if to hug the skyscrapers. “I’ve always dreamed of visiting and here we are!” Cuddles perches on her shoulder glaring at the throng of passersby.

“I totally agree.” Mary adjusts the leash on Nibbie’s collar. “Mackenzie said the Block Party is in Times Square! Imagine us at a party in Times Square. I’m so excited I can’t believe it. I watch the New Year’s Eve Party every year!” She frowns. “Wish it was New Year’s Eve. Too bad Dick Clark died. He was the best!”

“I think so too!” Patsy spins in a slow circle, head back as she stares upwards. Timid Hampy peeks from her pocket. “I’ve never been to a city so big.  Drove by Chicago once but just around the outskirts. This is so amazing!”

Mary sits on a bench, resting her aching feet. “How far to Times Square?”

Lyn pulls out a tourist map and studies it. She turns it this way and that, muttering to herself. “According to this, we’re somewhere near the subway connecting Queens to Manhattan.” She points to a spot on the map. “Long Island City is here, just across the East River.”

“So how far is Times Square?” Mary gazes longingly at a drink stand. “I hope we get there soon.  I’m starving.”

“Let’s take a taxi!” Patsy steps to the curb, pokes her fingers in her mouth and whistles, the sound loud and shrill. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she laughs.

A yellow taxi squeals to a stop and the door pops open.

“!#$#@!)..)(8&^*,” the cab driver says.

“Wha……” Lyn looks helplessly at the other two.

“What did he say?” Mary hisses.

“I don’t think it was English,” Patsy whispers. “Better just get in and hope he knows where we want him to take us.”

They hustle into the cab waiting expectantly.

“(**&^%_)*&^%$ go?” The cab driver says again.

“He said ‘go’,” Lyn whispers. “We. Want. To. Go. To. Times. Square.” She enunciates each word clearly.
Driver smiles, stomps on the gas and peals away from the curb darting like a maniac through the heavy traffic. The meter begins clicking, so fast it’s hard to keep track of the fare.

“ACCCKKKK,” they all scream as they are tossed to and fro in the backseat. The animals whine with terror.

“Slow down,” Patsy yells.

“We’re gonna die,” Mary wails.

Lyn covers her face, peeking through her fingers. “Are we there yet?”

As if in answer to their heartfelt prayers, the cab screeches to a halt. They levitate forward and then slam back down on the seat.

Driver points to the meter which now reads $41.50.

“Forty-one fifty!” Patsy gulps as she pulls out cash. “For a few minutes in the taxi from hell?”

“Next time we’re walking.” Mary hands Patsy a twenty.

They clamber out of the cab, thankful to be in one piece.

Lyn consults the map. “We’re here! Times Square!”

All three gaze in delight at the carnival-like atmosphere pervading the site.

Patsy pushes through the crowd to an open spot. “Mackenzie said the Block Party would be near the Carnegie Deli. She said it’s the one catering the affair.”

“I hear it’s wonderful,” Mary gushes. She inhales. “Just smell that food.”

“Over here,” Mackenzie calls. She races towards them. “Isn’t this just too fun? I’ve been here all day and I still haven’t seen everything. And it was wonderful. Tall buildings loaded with shops surround the square on every side, enough to make a shopaholic moan with unrestrained pleasure."

Their hostess leads them through the mass of meandering human bodies. “This is the edge of the Theatre District. Used to be a pretty bad crime area but has been pretty good since Mayor Guiliani cleaned it up.”
She stopped near a cordoned off area with rows and rows of tables and chairs fairly bursting with partygoers. “We’ve been advertising this for weeks and the response was outstanding.”  She looks them over. “You guys look like you need a Manhattan! Jet fuel it is but not for the faint-hearted.”

As if by magic, Oliver appears with a serving tray loaded with drinks. He smiles. “Welcome ladies.”

They all sigh.

Mary wanders to the food carts. “Omygawd! Look at this food. Those diets we’re on just died a crashing death.”

Carnegie’s has done itself proud. Stacks and stacks of sandwiches, each a foot high. Hot pastrami and corned beef on homemade rye bread slathered with mustard horseradish, slices of dill pickles, hot dogs covered in sauerkraut and dripping with mustard and catsup. Bowls and bowls of deli salads - macaroni, potato, three bean, pasta - salads of every kind and for dessert – New York Cheesecake!

“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!” Patsy samples a taste.

“I did die, but I ended up in New York!” Lyn grabs a plate. “Let’s eat!”

The daughter of Wall Street’s most notorious stock swindler, dog trainer, Rylee Pierce has perfected the art of flying beneath society’s radar. Prosecutor, Cooper Reed is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?

Rylee reacted to Coop’s suggestive comment exactly as he expected. She blinked and a tiny frown creased her brow. Whenever the conversation veered toward anything even remotely personal, she either fell back on that sarcastic wit she’d perfected or she retreated into silence. Like now.

Curious contradictions lurked beneath the carefree, lighthearted image she projected. She’d dismissed his show of interest, along with his invitation to meet his friends, and yet he caught her watching him several times during dinner, her eyes full of feminine awareness. Her aunt’s matchmaking annoyed her, but she smiled and teased him, including him in the family camaraderie around the table.

Confusion trumped wariness in her eyes now. He’d thrown her off-balance. Good. Since meeting her the other day, she’d been popping into his head with annoying regularity. Why should he be alone in his madness?

He’d been anxious to see her again, telling himself he’d imagined the unprecedented sexual pull he’d experienced for Elliott’s step-daughter, step-cousin—step-whatever. His imagination was in play, all right. From the moment he’d seen her again, he’d envisioned her in a number of different situations. She’d been naked in all of them.

And he wasn’t the only one experiencing the pull. Those flashes of feminine awareness in her dark-chocolate eyes broadcast her attraction to him, an attraction she evidently planned to ignore. He’d see about that. He hadn’t earned his reputation as a successful prosecutor by backing away from a difficult case, and the beautiful dog trainer was a case he meant to crack.

He turned away and wandered further into the room. Pippin trotted at his side.

“So, this is The Canine Academy?” He eyed the cages. “Where are your other students?”

A soft release of pent up breath reached his ears and he smiled. Yes, off balance was just how he wanted her.

“Gone for the day.”

“Why is Pippin still here?”

“Pippin required a more intense program. He’s our only boarder at the moment.”

“Have dinner with me,” he said, without turning around. She didn’t answer and he waited several beats before glancing over his shoulder. Her eyes shuttered, she fell back on sarcasm.

“We just finished dinner. What do you have, a tapeworm?”

He faced her. “I’d like to take you to dinner, Rylee.”

Her hand went to Belle’s head beside her and she jutted her chin up a notch. “That wouldn’t be a good idea, Coop.”

“Why? I’m attracted to you, and a man can tell when the attraction is mutual.”

She said nothing, returning his gaze while she scratched the fur between Belle’s ears.

“It’s just a meal.” He crossed his arms. “I’m not suggesting we jet off to Vegas.”

She snorted softly. “That’s a relief. Casinos give me a headache.”

The dry sarcasm made him smile. She hadn’t said no.

“Look, you’re a great-looking guy.”

He flashed a grin, pleased when her lips twitched in response.

“And I admit you have a certain amount of charm.”


“But, your father is married to my aunt.”

“Your mother’s cousin,” he corrected. He dropped his arms to his sides and stepped toward her. “And Dad and Silvia can get their own dinner.”

Her lips formed a genuine smile, but she shook her head. “People rarely come out of this kind of thing on friendly terms.”

“This kind of thing?” He continued to advance.

“We’re connected through Sil and Elliott. I don’t want to see them caught in the middle when this…dating thing, or whatever it is you’re after, ends.”

“This dating thing?”

“Or whatever it is you’re after,” she repeated. As he closed the distance, she stepped back and bumped up against the shark cage. She slapped her spread fingers against his chest to prevent him from coming any closer. “I’m not in the market for a relationship right now.”

“Then we don’t have a problem, because neither am I.” He brushed a fingertip over the perfect skin of her cheekbone. “So, here’s what I suggest.”

Her eyelids fluttered, pupils dilating, and reluctant temptation replaced the wariness in her dark orbs. Still, she kept a defensive hand on his chest.

“If you insist on negotiating when I’ve already explained my concerns,” she said, holding his gaze, “I’d rather you didn’t touch me.”

He checked the urge to kiss her at the artless admission of finding his touch disturbing. Instead, he moved his hand to the cage beside her head. He wrapped his fingers around the metal bar and dipped his head, bringing his face closer to hers. She blinked but held her ground, boldly meeting his gaze.

“I propose we get to know one another,” he pressed. “A few dinners. Maybe a show, or a ball game or two if you like. We find out what makes each other tick.”

“Hmmm.” Her mouth moved into a smirk. “Five seconds ago you were talking a meal. Now it’s a few dinners and a ball game or two. At this rate we’ll be jetting off to Vegas by the end of the week.”

She didn’t try to stop him when he took the final step that brought their bodies within inches of each other. “Has anyone ever accused you of being a wiseass?”

Head cocked as though considering the question, her mouth quivered on a smile. “Nope.”

“How about a liar?”

She lost the battle with the smile and her low laugh sent a lash of desire whipping across his midsection. He did what he’d wanted to do since arriving at his father’s condo days ago. Leaning in, he took...


My name is Mackenzie Crowne. Mac to my friends.
I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious little boys who we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the ‘Testosterone Ranch’ more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s 'Leave It To Beaver'. I’m one of eight kids, raised just north of Boston. I moved to Phoenix as an adult because living in the southwest feeds my soul. My love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. In October I will be a five year survivor, living my dream.


To win a download of Mac 's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends tomorrow and everyone who comments is eligible.


  1. Welcome to your Roast! Congratulations on your latest release, and what a cliffhanging excerpt!

  2. Morning Mac, Fellow Hostesses! Congratulations on the release! New York! What a great idea for a party! I'm going shopping!

  3. Good morning, ladies.

    I'm so happy to share one of my favorite cities with you, but you all really look like you need one of Oliver's Manhattans after your cab ride. *grins* You should have taken the Long Island Railroad. It's safer!

  4. Now she tells us! Good morning Mac!

    Lyn hugs Patsy - I think one of those Manhattan's sounds like a good plan!

  5. All of us outsiders don't know about the Long Island Railroad. Sheesh, would have saved us the ride from helloooo! I do need a Manhattan (even though I'm more of a beer girl at heart).

    I also want to have one of those foot tall Carnegie sandwiches. A guy in my office here told me about them. Said they are amazing.

  6. Pass the Manhattan I got stuck on one of those subway turnstiles and almost tore my dress. The city that never sleeps, the big apple! I was here and watched the big ball drop on New Year's eve one time!

  7. I didn't get in the cab till we reached the city, I was visiting Port Washington, where I still have friends and relatives.
    I think i saw a guy selling donuts down there who looked a bit like, Oliver? Naw, couldn't be.
    Anyone for the statue of Liberty later on? I once was on the tippy top of the Empire State Building. Up just below the antenna!! They say if you drop a penny you could hurt someone, how about a say, pie?

  8. Sorry, Patsy, but a visit to NY just wouldn't be complete without at least one cab ride. My sis and I were in one once. The cabbie pulled over at a scary looking doorway, said, 'Be right back' and jumped out, leaving us sitting there in the back while he disappeared inside to do a drug deal or something. We thought we were going to die. LOL It was great!

  9. My aunt lives three houses away from the Port Washington stop on the LIR, Mary. I stay there whenever I visit the city.

    And don't be throwing any pies off of buildings. Water balloons work better! ;-)

  10. Sounds dangerous to me - I think I'll stay well clear! :)

  11. What town does she live in Mac? Water baloons yeah! good idea!
    So whose coming with me???
    I know someone who works there who will let us up way, way, up. As high as you want to go!
    Above the clouds sometimes!
    Lyn, you candy butt. Come on...

  12. What a scary cab ride. I actually had a cab ride in Vegas where my husband told the guy to slow down. We were careening around corners and when he stopped, that's how I got the idea for levitating in the back seat :)

    No water balloons off the buildings? What's with that? *she slumps on a bench lips pouting* I don't get to have any fun!

  13. I'm for the water balloons, it's Lyn who's chicken. Puck, Puck, Pedok!
    Pass me one of those roast beef sandwiches. And regular potato salad please. Wait a minute, hold the phone!!!!
    How about we Museum of Natural History?? We can see some preserved mummies!! And maybe we could go to central park and watch the strange people?? I got my taser from Oliver, we'll be fine. We'll just grab a cab and.......

  14. I would love to see the mommies - er mummies! Right up my alley! Maybe I need another Manhattan. These strinks are drong!

  15. *hic* LOL Patsy you're not kidding!
    Mary, who are you calling chicken? It's just that I know what your aim's like! *grin* I LOVR museums, let's go!

  16. Has anyone seen my camera? I think I just spotted the naked cowboy!

    Yee Hah!

  18. oOH Mary, don't tell me you invited the Duke and the James gang again!
    You're incorrigible!

  19. All right I admit I invited them. But, naked!!! Wow, Lyn you got the binoculars?? Break them out! JESSIE!!! Wo! boy!

  20. Oh Mary you make me blush! What will Mac think of us? Oh, ok, you can have the binoculars, but just for a minute, I want them back! :)

  21. Sheesh, I never thought to bring binoculars.

  22. Nice butt! Gimme those back, don't be greedy. Lyn holds the binoculars up and no one can reach them.
    Heck, I'm going in for a closer look, you with me Mac?? I mean it's the James Gang!!!
    Patsy, no grabbing.

  23. No binoculars? What are you thinking? Those are staples with this crowd! Was that the "Urban Cowboy" perhaps?

  24. Cute post, Mac! I wish you huge sales!

  25. Dunno Patsy, does that mean he a bike instead of a horse? I was too busy looking at his erm, physique to notice if he had a horse!

  26. Sorry, I was fantasizing -er- daydreaming there for a minute. I'm with you, Mary.

    Not the Urban Cowboy, Patsy. The Naked Cowboy! Hat, boots, skimpy little shorts hidden by his blinged out guitar. I actually got to see him in person once. What a stir that man caused with the group of chickies I was traveling with.

    Sigh. That was a great day.

  27. WoW! Where have I been. Well I like the muscles and stuff. Yeah stuff!

  28. OMG - wish I'd been there. Did he have chaps on?

  29. Stuff? Hmmm, methinks I'd better not ask! LOL

  30. Mac didn't mention chaps, just a guitar. A small guitar, or a big guitar Mac?

  31. LOL Just right, Mary. He has a website with pics. Nakedcowboy.com ;-)

    Don't trample each other!

  32. No chaps eh?
    Not just any old naked cowboy eh?

  33. He's his own cottage industry, Mary.

  34. I do love cowboys. During my single years, I only hooked up with cowboys and one night I was in a yuppie bar being my friend's crying shoulder and this dark-haired guy leaned around a post and asked me to dance, and that was the end of the story :)

  35. The end? The end? Crumbs,sounds like the beginning to me - of a great romance story!

  36. You guys came to New York and didn't call me? Serves you right for getting in a cab that dropped you off at 42nd street when the Carnegie Deli is on 54th. Definitely a day for getting blisters, hope you weren't wearing your stilettos.

  37. Good morning everyone. Dang it Friday surprised me this week. LOL. This heat is getting me me. Cute book cover. Sounds like a really great story. Love to shop but; this morning I could really go for a donut. I am so craving one. LOL.
    Sue B

  38. LOL Shelley. You noted that did you? Tourists! Although, I admit I've done a few ten block dashes in heels.

  39. Thanks, Sue. I completely lost track of the days this week myself. A mid week holiday always screws up my inner calendar. I love donuts myself but nothing beats a piece of NY cheesecake for breakfast.

  40. Hi Shelley, hi Sue, so glad you could both join the party. Darn Shelley, we didn't have your number! No wonder we got lost!

  41. Okay, time to give up the free copy of That Dating Thing!

    Congrats, Sue. A copy is on its way to your inbox. Enjoy!

    And thank you, ladies. It's always so entertaining spending time partying with the Roast & Toast chicks.

  42. Awesome! Thank you very much! Have a great day!
    Sue B

  43. Congratulations Sue, you're always such a good supporter of the Roast.
    *Waves to Ceri|* Hi Ceri, I think I missed you before!

    Mac, we've loved having you, you've been a fantastic guest, as always. Wishing you huge success and many many sales.

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  45. I always love visitng your blog because I never know what to expect except I can be sure of some truly amazing creativity!

  46. Hi Howard, thanks so much for your lovely comment, it's great to know that you enjoy our blog!


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