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, June 14, 2013

She's got Dibs - A J invites the hostesses to partake in a glittering cocktail party

“This is just amazing,” Mary whirls, flaring the silky black skirt of her Christian Dior dress.

“Wasn’t it grand of AJ to send these outfits over?” Lyn fluffs the ruffled neckline of her Calvin Klein below-the-knee length dress. “I’d never be able to afford one like this on my income.”

“You and me both,” Patsy agrees. She runs her hands down the slinky off-the shoulder cocktail dress. “The label in this one says Anna Sui—whoever that is. I feel so…svelte.”

“You look svelte,” Mac laughs as she admires herself in a full length hall mirror, one of many in the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. “We all look svelte.” She arches back to see behind. “My tag says Fendi.”

“This is going to be one heck of a cocktail party if we’re dressing like this.” Mary’s brows scrunch together in thought. “I wonder why they call them cocktail parties?”

“I can think of a few good responses to that one.” Mac grins. “But I’ll keep them to myself for now.”

Lyn’s gaze follows a male figure clothed in a black tuxedo. “I just love a man who can dress up and look good.”

Mary sighs, eyes following the disappearing male. “He does look great but personally, nothing is more thrilling to me than a guy in uniform.”

“I’d have to go with the muscular beach bum in a thong bikini,” Patsy admits, dimples flashing.

“As long as he’s walking, talking and packing, you’d be happy,” Mac says dryly. “I’ve never known you to be particular as long as he’s breathing.”

“Ladies,” AJ steps from the lounge and waves. “Don’t stand in the hall. Come on in.”

They follow AJ, gawking at the sophisticated and beautiful crowd. Men in tuxedos and women literally glitter with expensive jewels beneath the lavish many-tiered candelabra.

“This is right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!” Lyn stops by a waterfall cascading down the wall. “I wonder how they do this?”

“Maybe it’s all an illusion,” Patsy leans into see better. “But I can feel a light spray hitting my nose.”

“Oh, it’s real,” AJ says. “Just to be sure, I stuck my hand in it before everyone showed up.”

“How can you afford all this?” Lyn follows stumbles on the spike heels. “I didn’t know you made this kind of money.”

          “Me?” AJ shakes her head laughing. “Not even. My friend Tessa is the events planner and all the famous dress designers are just wild to have their creations on display at these parties.” She whispers conspiratorially. “The man who’s hosting the event is worth half a billion dollars easy.”

“Oh my,” Mary fans herself. “I just know I’ll say or do something stupid.”

“How about an alcoholic libation to loosen you up.” AJ motions to a passing waiter who just happens to look exactly like Oliver. “Bring the ladies a nice drink, something really refreshing.  Tessa is so creative and there’s a variety of flavored martinis. Everything from pomegranite to chocolate to key lime to the Waikiki Martini which is flavored with pineapple. For the more adventurous, there’s spicy martinis with jalapeno stuffed olives.”

“Oh, I don’t want one of them,” Mac reaches for a key lime cocktail. “My stomach would be groaning the rest of the evening if I even thought of drinking one.”

“Well,” AJ’s brows arch and she taps her lips. “We don’t want you getting sick, not with the spread Tessa has planned. Just for starters, she’s put together mushroom ravioli, stuffed peppers with goat cheese, tuna nicoise crustini, grilled scallops wrapped in proscuitto, shrimp cocktail, bacon-
wrapped dates, crab canapes, carmelized onion tartlettes, and I can’t even remember all the rest.”

“Oh!” Lyn groans dramatically. “There goes the old diet.”

“Why are you dieting?” Mac asks. “You look great just the way you are.”

Even if you are dieting,” AJ laughs as she leads them to a buffet table. “When you see what’s for dinner, the diet will go right down the drain.”

Tables covered with lacy off-white cloths line the wall, laden with extravagant creations never before seen by the women.  Hors d’oeuvres on one table, dinner items including steamed lobster, oysters on the half shell, pheasant under glass, and filet mignon in the center, and, finally, a long table of scrumptious looking desserts including everyone’s favorite--chocolate triple layer cake with fresh fruit on the side including fist-sized strawberries.

“Oh YUM,” Patsy gasps. “I could graze here all night.”

“And so you shall.” AJ glances around the crowd. “There he is!” She almost dances with excitement. “Look while you can! That’s a walking, talking billionaire.”

The four women strain to see. Elegant and controlled, he strolls through the assembly, shaking hands, kissing cheeks and for every beautiful woman he nears, he graces them with a light caress.

AJ mutters for their ears alone. “I hear he’s somewhat of a gigolo.”

“Gigolo or not, he’s about the most thrilling thing I’ve ever seen,” Mac murmurs.

He stops in front of them. “Ladies,” he smiles a million dollar smile. “Welcome to my party.”

Book blurb:  
True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents' plan to destroy his life-long dreams. 

Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal? Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancé be their final undoing?

"Dibs." He extended his hand.

Frowning, she accepted his greeting. "Dibs on what?

"No." He chuckled. "That's my name. Or well, actually, my nickname. Either way, it's what everyone calls me."

"O-o-okay..." The guy definitely had the smolder covered...and those incredible ice-blue eyes. Yikes!

"And you are?"

"Oh, Tessa Adams." She laughed.

"And everyone calls you...?"
Her frown returned. "Tessa."

"Oh." He scanned her face. "No nickname, huh?"

"Not that I recall at the moment."

He pressed his full lips together as if restraining a smile, eyes twinkling with merriment, and handed her the notepad. "Here's your confirmation number. The room's at the Waldorf Towers over on Park."

Two suites at the Waldorf? In this mess? What was he, a wizard? "Wow, great. Thanks so much for the help."

"Glad to be of service." He retrieved his briefcase and started down the corridor, abruptly stopped, and peered at her over the perfect slant of his shoulder. "And don't worry, Tessa, I'll think of a good nickname for you."

She offered him a blank stare. "Hey, knock yourself out."

Mischief danced along his lips before a grin broke free and he continued down the hallway.

"What a whack job," she muttered.

Author bio:
Award-winning author and editor, AJ Nuest, lives in a small farming community in NW Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship. 

She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
Website:  http://ajnuest.com
Twitter:  @AJNuest

She’s Got Dibs Pinterest Page:  http://pinterest.com/ajnuest/shes-got-dibs/

To win a copy of  a A J's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.


  1. Hi AJ and welcome to your party. What a glittering occasion - and your book looks scintillating too, fantastic excerpt!

  2. Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to be here!! I LOVE the gowns, don't you? I can't remember the last time my legs looked so great. Must be the designer cut. It's worth every penny.

    (AJ leans into Mac's ear...Dibs is so handsome I can't really look him in the face...or breathe. I can't see or hear if he gets closer than five feet. Maybe I need another drink.)

  3. Morning Everyone! AJ, love the concept of the book. I love the color of my gown - my shoulders look terrific and look at that waistline!

    Anyway, I digress. Much luck with sales and great to have you here!

  4. Hi P.L.! *AJ air-kisses P.L.'s cheeks* You DO look fabulous. But then again, I had no doubts. Thank you for hosting me today!

  5. Hey, AJ and crew! What a great party! Oh, how long I've been waiting on this book! Somebody better pour me another drink; there's still months to go!!! Congrats, AJ! And many sales!!!!

  6. Ames! Thank you so much for stopping by! Garcon! *AJ snaps her fingers in the air* Please be a doll and refresh Amie's martini. And you don't have to wait months! She's Got Dibs is FREE during the week June 25-29th! Whoo Hoo! Can't wait!! Love ya!!

  7. Good morning chickies, AJ. what a fun party for a great book! by the way, I've got dib On Dibs! :-) YUMMY! sorry Oliver, You're yummy too.

  8. Hi sister hostesses, hi A J *Blows air kisses*

    Yes, we do look pretty good don't we, and you look gorgeous AJ, thanks for these lovely gowns - and what a fantastic book 'Dibs' sounds.

    Hmm, I think I'll have a martini while I check out all these handsome looking guys! :)

  9. Ooh-la-la! I'm SOOOOO glad I didn't miss Dib's party! Thansk fro the invite, AJ and ladies of RAT! I'ma dig into some of this scrumptious food before he reaches me. I even think I'll try one of those pineapple Martinis. :D

    Congrats on your book, AJ! Tessa is one lucky woman!

  10. I am having a hard time keeping the girls in place this week. Shoulda picked a dress with shoulder straps. Could I, should I, ya know, ask him,(gulp), if he has an available friend or two?
    I could handle being wealthy with no problems.
    AJ you look marvelous!!

  11. It's officially a PAR-TAY! Calisa, you must try the tuna nicoise. It's to die for. And where'd you get those earrings? FABU!

    Mary, I'm sure Dibs could introduce you to several eligible bachelors. Although, he's so charming none that I've met quite measure up.

    Hywela, I recommend the pometini. YUM. Besides, pomegranite juice is STACKED with antioxidants.

    Whoo hoo! This is so much fun!

  12. I'm just going to swish across the floor and grab some of these wonderful eats, hope this dress doesn't bust with the added inches

  13. Here's the thing. I like pomegranate juice a lot. But, I like to eat the fruit of my fruit sometimes. Now, who would agree that those pesky seeds, which I refuse to swallow, are in an abundance?
    Now pass the lobster Patsy and could you save me some butter...
    Yes, the real stuff, I'll admit it!!! If you have lobster you need real butter! Along with your cholesterol pill.
    Lyn, being the imp that she is, hears pop music, and you know what happens when there is pop music, Uh huh! She starts to dance and those flying feet are lethal weapons. Mac screams,"Somebody please!!! A waltz before we all get killed."
    Help!! Where is Oliver when you need him?

  14. Hi Calisa *waves*!

    Oh,. thanks for recommending the pometini - delicious AND healthy - can't be bad! Now if only I could hook up with one of these handsome guys who'd be as healthy for my bank account LOL.

    I really must read your book AJ, you have me so intrigued!

  15. Love this blog. So much fun happening here. I must change into something more appropriate to fit in with all the fashionable ladies here. :):)

  16. Lobster, Pomtinis And Watching Lyn Flail. I Mean Dance. You Sure Know How To Throw A Party, AJ. :-) *Waves At Chrisitine, Calisa and Amie*

  17. Lobster, Pomtinis And Watching Lyn Flail. I Mean Dance. You Sure Know How To Throw A Party, AJ. :-) *Waves At Chrisitine, Calisa and Amie*

  18. ROFLOL! You ladies are hilarious! I really must come to more of your shin-digs. I haven't had this much fun in a long time. I agree about the pomegranite seeds! Love the fruit, but not the seeds. That's why the vodka...:-)

  19. Vodka Fixes Everything. Just sayin'. :-)

  20. LOL That's been my mantra for years, Mac! Well, that an "When in doubt, more eyeshadow!" :-)

  21. Hi Christine, so glad you could join us for AJ's party - isn't 'Dibs' something!

  22. I prefer champagne, love the bubbles and makes me feel wealthy, even if it's just Andres cheap stuff, I can't tell the difference! Even sober!
    Does anyone have a space in their dance card for me? Oh, I was supposed to be the one holding the card? Why didn't I get one?

  23. Lyn, are you doing that on purpose? Oh, it's dancing. Like I said before ever seen Seinfeld's, Elaine, dance?
    Lyn gave her lessons!!

  24. Oh yes, I can dance - I can boogie -alll night loooooooooong!

    I think you gave your dance card to that rather sus looking guy at the door, before you had all those martinis, that is! :)

  25. *SnickerIng About The Elaine Comment* Oh, Oliver! I Need A Refill Darling.

  26. Those were Martini's???
    Tasted like pineapple juice.
    Did you ever see that show Lyn??

  27. Ahh, there's one! See you all later, my date showed up. (Actually my coach turned back into a Watermelon, you heard right). Guess why a watermelon?

  28. I hate to think, Mary dear. What show was that by the way?

    AJ - any chance of another excerpt - and do you have a trailer for 'Dibs' I looked but I couldn't find one!

  29. No trailer for Dibs yet! So sorry!

    Why watermelon, Mary? You're sorta scaring me. LOL

    Sure I can post another excerpt of She's Got Dibs! Hold on and let me go grab a goodie...

  30. LOL, that's why I couldn't find one! :)
    No worries, just wondered.

    And I'm sure all the other guests would love another excerpt too!

  31. Here you go!! Dibs excerpt #2!!

    He entered the living room with a can of soda and an armload of snacks, and dumped everything onto the coffee table. Reaching one hand between his shoulder blades, he fisted the back of his sweater and whisked it over his head.
    The white T-shirt beneath crawled up his tapered back and ribbed sides. The front edge slipped from his waistband, exposing the downy dark hair along the sculpted planes of his lower belly. Her jaw nearly unhinged when every muscle rippled, the sleeves of his T-shirt taut and straining around his biceps as he tugged the sweater off his arms.
    The man could eat all the carbs he wanted. A body like that was downright criminal.
    “You don’t mind, do you?” He balled up the sweater and tossed it onto one of the chairs circling the small dining table. “My sweater is still damp.”
    “I don’t mind at all.” Not by a long shot. If the T-shirt was wet, he could always strip that off, as well. Too bad his jeans were dry, because…Dammit! She internally smacked herself. Maybe if the man wasn’t such a Chippendale’s poster boy, her mind would leave off dabbling in such cataclysmic territory.

  32. Lyn, I think your dancing is sublime!!! LOL

  33. Oooh, What a great excerpt, steamy and tantalising, thanks AJ. I'm just going to have to read this to find out what happens next!

    Well sorry folks but that handsome hunk over there wants me to show him my moves again, so...I might be some time. Catch you all tomorrow!

  34. Mary, did you eat ALL the lobster, I was hoping for a plate. Guess I'll have to nibble on the oysters. I heard once they increase men's virility - OH YOOHOOOO - handsome man over there, I have something for youuuuuuu!

  35. Lol Patsy, I don't think it's the men's virility you have to worry about, do you really think you should have eaten all those oysters? :)

  36. I'm heading for cake! I just saw how the cover of Dibs was on top and I need a picture! Hopefully Dibs will pose with me!!

  37. Okay, ladies, my "date" for the night (aka my 13 year old son) has requested we go watch a movie. Thank you for the great party! I will be sure to pick a winner from our commentors tomorrow!

  38. Arial dashes out the cab and skids to a halt when the driver hollers through the open backseat door. "Hey, lady! You need to pay me!"

    "GAH!" Fumbling with her miniscule, rhinestone pocketbook, she extracts a few bills and tosses them at the driver, slamming the door shut. Whirling away from the squealing vehicle as it peels from the curb, she scuttles through the glass doors of the Ritz-Carlton. Her head swivels left and right as she frantically searches for the sign to AJ's party. "There!" Running as fast as her stiletto heels will allow, she darts down the hall and slides across the slick tile floor, sailing past the door and into the arms of Oliver with a resounding OOMPH!

    “Holy bananas! Am I too late? Are they still here?” She doesn’t wait for an answer, and instead launches from his massive chest and bolts through the door into the party...or, rather, the last remnants of it.

    The cleaning crew is picking up the lipstick-stained cloth napkins and tossing them into hampers. The busboys are stacking frost-smeared dishes into black plastic tubs. Confetti litters the floor and the buffet tables look like a tornado put the mid-west’s latest disasters to shame.

    “I missed it?” Arial’s bottom lip flaps in and out of her mouth as she hyperventilates her anguish. Throwing her purse to the floor, she clutches her taffeta and wails to the ceiling, “I thought it was eight PEE-EM! Not AY-EM! Who has cocktails at eight in the morning?! I’m still sleeping!” She sinks to the floor, her skirts pooling around her knees.

    “Can I help you?”

    Arial snaps her gaze to the source of the deeply delicious voice and gawks at tall, dark-blond and handsome sex-on-a-stick. Her jaw bobs like a fish gasping for air.

    The corner of that full mouth turns up in a sympathetic grin and he offers his hand. “Here, let’s go find AJ. I’m sure she or one of the other girls are still around.”

    Arial snatches her purse and slips her fingers into his sure grip, struggling from her pathetic seat on the dance floor. “I thought the party was in the evening. I-I—”

    “Yes, so I heard you exclaim.” He grins and she melts. “Let’s go find the girls.”


    Well, I feel all kinds of stupid! I was so darned busy today, I just…oh, pooh! AJ, honey, I’ll have to make it up to you for missing your awesome party. Looks like I’ll be doing your trailer for you!

    Congratulations on your new release, Sweet Pea! And for those of you who haven’t read it yet…OMFG!!!!! I loved it and I’m sure you’ll all love it, too. Dibs is JUST too yummy for words. AJ does a much better job at describing him, so I’ll leave it to her, and I LOVE both the excerpts! {{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}

  39. Hello Ariel (and escort)

    Don't worry, you haven't missed the party!

    Just love your entrance, what a way to arrive! You obviously fit right in with us

    Don't worry, the Blogger gremlins have obviously eaten my last post, where I was kept a little -er - 'busy' with one of Dibs's good looking friends, but mentioned that our parties tend to spill into Saturday and sometimes even Sunday - so you're more than welcome.

    Just disregard the cleaning crew, they're only tidying up the place so we can carry on partying! ;)

    Ooh Dibs does seem yummy doesn't he. Just going to go and get my copy!

  40. AJ - I'm glad you like the cake, one of Oliver' 'specialities' - and you look so good posing next to it with Dibs, what a photo!

  41. Boy, do I feel underdressed!! I need some of that chocolate cake thank you & a drink.

  42. Arial! Mary! Thank you so much for coming. There is no "too late for the party" in my book. No. No. You are right on time, of course! Whoo Hoo! I did step out for a bit of a refresher, but I'm energized now and ready to spend the day with great friends. I MAY even post another excerpt. Hmmm... If the ladies want me to, that is. :-)

  43. Whew! What a fancy party. *glances down at flip-flop clad feet and notices three toe nails are no longer armed with nail polish* Uhm...I think I'll slide over to that corner chair with a piece of cake and a drink. *tucks foot behind leg and eases toward the chair* What better place to admire the view? SHE'S GOT DIBS sounds awesome! Can't wait to enjoy it. :-)

  44. Maeve!! I'm so glad you're here!! If you saw my toenails right now you would feel right at home. :-) Don't stop at cake! We have a ton of leftovers! Help yourself and I'll be right back with a hunka hunk to massage your tired feet!!

  45. No I didn't eat all the lobster! Just the tails I could steal. Here, is a great hangover drink, come have some. Not much alcohol in it at all.
    Now why the watermelon? I like my melons (hehe) with water in them. And why do we like watermelons when they are so PITFUL?
    And you cantaloupe in any other melon!
    Lastly, they smash better then pumpkins!
    Yes! Post more AJ!!

  46. Seinfeld Lyn, did you ever watch it?
    So what happened to everyone's toenails anyhow? Oh! Dude! Who is that guy who just came in?? Any one know him??

  47. Psst I'm At The LA FILM festival Working But I Just Had To Pop In And Read Those Awesome Excerpts. I Think I Need To Re-Read Dibs. Yummy!

  48. Oh, I'm so glad I'm not too late!! *Arial sighs and downs an apple martini*

    YES, AJ, please post another excerpt!!!

    Woot! They just brought more lobster tails in! See ya!! *Arial scampers off in her stilettos...hops on one foot, takes off shoe, hops on the other and tosses both shoes to the side...then dashes to the buffet*

  49. Mi Mary P and Maeve - fantastic to see you both thanks so much for coming.

    Mary dear, how kind of you - a hangover drink - just what I need *Polite hic*.

    No, don't think I ever did see Seinfield - but I think I know that guy who just walked in!

    Hi Mac, gosh, you lucky thing, have fun!

  50. Hi again, Arial, yes plenty of lobster tails, we ordered some more specially for you since Mary demolished the last lot! :)

    Yes please AJ - more, more!

  51. Hi ladies, sorry to be late to the party but best of luck AJ - I loved your author blurb btw, lol about your battle with the cat :)

  52. Hi Kathryn, don't worry about being late, we love to keep the party swinging all weekend!

  53. Whew! What a rousing PAR-TAY this was! Did I hear there's a winner? Whoever it is will love Dibs! And the book!

    AJ- do you know nuthin' about guilt? Don't tell Arial she's not late...until AFTER she presents you with the trailer-of-guilt, girl! Play that thang!