Amanda Usen

Seducing The Playboy is a HOT Deal!

In Writer on October 10, 2014 at 9:47 am

SEDUCING THE PLAYBOY is .99 for a limited time! Get him now, or if you’ve already had him, tell all your friends how good he is in bed, so they’ll buy him, too! Bwahaha! Sorry, I’ve had so much fun with the title of that book. Picture my dirty grin every time someone asks me about my latest book. Buy links and an excerpt can be found here if you need PLAYBOY bait. :-)

Seducing the Playboy book cover

.99 for a limited time! Grab him!

Out of glee and excitement (because our PLAYBOY is almost in the top 100 on Amazon!), here’s an EXCLUSIVE unedited excerpt from MAKE ME, TAKE ME, Book 3 in the Hot Nights series, a.k.a. Betsy’s Book, a.k.a. the book with TEN sex scenes. I have no idea how that happened. They just kept taking their clothes off…

Here’s the very first peek at MAKE ME, TAKE ME (coming SOON!):

Betsy tugged the padlock free and shut the gate behind her, but before she’d taken ten steps, it swung open again. She whirled, startled, and then she stared. Her skin flushed hot, and her heart hammered. Could lack of sleep and caffeine withdrawal cause hallucinations? If so, this was a beauty.

“Quin,” she gasped. “What are you doing here?”

“Opening my new hotel and making plans for expansion.” His slow smile wreaked havoc on her already taxed heart as he jerked a thumb at the building next door. He stopped in front of her, broad shoulders seeming to span the width of the narrow alley. “Just got into town and saw you walk past my office window. How are you?”

“You’re the new owner? You own the Keystone Hotel?”

“I own all of them. Hotels, remember?”

She nodded, trying to shake her brain into action, but she felt like she’d walked into a time warp. They were standing in the alley in broad daylight, almost three years after their night together, but her body remembered him—instantly, intimately, and inappropriately. Her mouth watered at his scent: spicy cologne, crisp cotton, and warm skin. Her hands clenched into fists, fingers itching to touch the luxurious still-too-long layers of his hair. When he held out his hand, her nipples peaked, and she went hot and wet at her center.

She slid her hand into his, and a lightning bolt of lust shot through her. Her head fell back, and her gaze caught his, seeing the reflection of her desire. His grip tightened.

“Oh, fuck it,” he said roughly, closing in. His lips slanted over hers, stealing her breath. She buried her hands in his hair, and he lifted her up, pinning her against the alley wall, arms cushioning her back. He rocked against her, turning her bones to butter, and she arched into him, wrapping her legs around his waist. They fit together perfectly, no space between them, every part of her welcoming his touch. Alarm shot through her.

“Whoa…hey. Wait. Stop.” The magic word whipped out of her mouth.

His arms hardened, squeezing, but then he set her on her feet and stepped back fast. She straightened her clothes and dragged the back of her hand across her mouth. One night. She’d allowed herself to surrender to him for one night because she’d never see him again. Now he’d bought the hotel next door? And she was making out with him in the alley like they were going to pick up where they’d left off? That wasn’t going to happen. She wasn’t that woman, never had been. If he was looking for more of what had happened between them, he was flat out of luck. She wasn’t spending more than one night with a player who had women stashed in cities all over the country, every one of them hoping for more than she was ever going to get. Betsy had already gotten what she wanted from him.


But if that were REALLY the case, she probably wouldn’t keep getting naked with him, huh? Betsy and Quin are hot, hot, hot! I can’t wait to share more of them with you. Until I can, I’d appreciate it so much if you’d help me spread the word about the .99 deal for SEDUCING THE PLAYBOY.



Fabulous Fall Soup a.k.a. Tortellini and Sausage Soup with Beans and Greens

In Chef on September 12, 2014 at 8:41 am

LusciousHow is it possible I’ve never posted Olivia’s Get-Your-Groove-Back Soup from Luscious? Huge oversight!

I’m making it today for my WNYRW writer’s retreat. It never fails to deliver inspiration. Revitalization. Food for my soul. My husband discovered it nigh on thirteen years ago when our first daughter was born. I nearly died, and he made batch after batch to bring me back to life. I think it’s the fresh fennel that does it for me – especially back then when I WAS a food source for a hungry baby. Fennel adds a fresh and mysterious yet warm and familiar note to this filling soup.

HungryForLove Usen Soup

Tortellini and Sausage Soup with Beans and Greens*

Serves 6

2 Tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces cooked sausage

2 medium onions, small diced

5 carrots, small diced

1 four-inch fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced then chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 cups chopped fresh kale, escarole, Swiss chard or other green

1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 9 ounce package frozen cheese tortellini

Parmesan or Asiago cheese for garnish

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and fennel. Cook until limp and translucent.
  2. Add garlic. Saute one minute, until it smells heavenly.
  3. Add broth and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cook tortellini separately, so they don’t suck all the broth out of your soup.
  5. When pasta is drained and the vegetables are tender, stir in white beans, cooked sausage, and greens. Simmer until greens wilt.
  6. Put 6-8 tortellini in each soup bowl then add soup. Serve with grated cheese and crusty bread. And butter…lots of butter.

* If you want to make this soup a day ahead, do not add the tortellini until you plan to serve it.

Off to buy fresh fennel! :-) Happy September!

P.S. Jessyka F. won the signed copy of WILD CHILD. Congratulations, Jessyka!


A Heartpunch Between The Sheets from Molly O’Keefe

In Romantic on August 1, 2014 at 9:12 am


Enter to win a signed copy of WILD CHILD by Molly O’Keefe.

So, I love Molly O’Keefe books. I kind of love the woman, too. (Once you start meeting authors in real life, the ones who are great people as well as great writers stand out.) So far she’s made me cry on a plane, a couch, and in bed. She writes people, real people. Shitty, messy, awesome people! My writer brain has been pondering what makes my reader brain fall in love with a book. What makes a certain part of a story hit me like a heartpunch. I can’t quite put it into perfect words yet, but it has to do with character. Also with conflict, stakes, torture, and payoff, but mostly with character.

In BETWEEN THE SHEETS we’ve got Shelby and Ty. Lo, they are broken. Ty is a bad boy, the genuine article. The dude doesn’t just drive a motorcycle, drink beer, and present an interesting sexual challenge for the heroine. Ty is wounded and at the end of his rope. Shelby (introduced in WILD CHILD, which I’m giving away here!) is so deeply miserable and repressed she’s about to bust her spring. At first I was like FINALLY, a nice man who can give Shelby amazing dirty sex that won’t make her feel bad. And then I was like *gasp* Ty is not a nice man. He’s damaged, too. And then the beam of light! And then the realization that even if the bad boy CAN be redeemed, the heroine has her own issues. And it’s HER issues that are the real problem. NO NO NO NO NO NO! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

And hot sex. Good stuff. And community, family, and belonging, which O’Keefe always does well. I don’t have “autobuy” authors. Books are expensive, so I make my decisions book by book based on whether the sample sucks me in. However…I may have to go back and pick up that blue one with the selfish, bitchy heroine in the Crooked Creek ranch series because O’Keefe excels at making me empathize with her flawed characters. Making me care. I haven’t finished BETWEEN THE SHEETS yet, but I care. I can’t wait. It’s all about the payoff. Damaged characters whose needs are as big as their flaws. Characters who will hurt each other to protect themselves. HUGE payoff.

photo(80)So that’s why I fangirl for Molly O’Keefe. She gives huge payoff. (And she’s not invulnerable, thank God. This blog post really touched me, and she won that RITA last month, btw. I fangirled CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE here. And she gave a kick ass workshop to the Western New York Romance Writers on writing sex scenes. And in that workshop, she didn’t even freaking MENTION she had two books coming out the next month. It’s a classy chick who sees you as colleagues instead of royalties. Or maybe she just forgot, but that makes me like her even MORE!)

Buy BETWEEN THE SHEETS from Buy from AMAZON, B&N, KOBO, and OTHER PLACES. Regret it, you will not.

Enter to win a SIGNED print copy of WILD CHILD, the first book in the Boys of Bishop series.


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