Monday, August 19, 2019

Blog Tour: Heart Strain by Sammi Cee & Michele Notaro ~Guest Post #Giveaway

Heart Strain
Sammi Cee & Michele Notaro
M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 07.22.19

Cover Artist: Soxsational Cover Art



When I get a call that my twin brother’s been shot, I’m in shock as I head back to Baltimore to be with him. Seeing him in a coma is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; sitting here not knowing whether he’s going to live or die is the worst thing I can imagine. But at least Jameson is with me—he makes it more bearable, and I don’t feel like I’m in this alone. With everything going on, I probably shouldn’t be checking out my brother’s work partner, but I can’t seem to help it. Jameson’s been so sweet and kind and considerate; not to mention he’s so sexy I can’t keep my eyes off him.

My partner getting shot and ending up in a coma brings everything in my world to a screeching halt. He’s not only my partner on the police force, but my best friend and confidant. When I see his twin brother, Holden, sitting in the waiting room, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that he neither blames me nor pushes me away. Now I’m doing my best to take care of him and support him; if only I’d stop noticing how his emotions reflect in his eyes and wondering how it would feel to touch him.

Will the bonding that takes place during their long bedside vigils become more than they expected? Can they be honest enough with themselves and each other to take it to the next level? And if they do, will Holden be willing to sacrifice the life he loves for the brother he’s kept at arm’s length for almost ten years and the man who could end up being his everything?

Heart Strain is the first book in the Interlocking Fragments series, but is a standalone novel. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but the couples will show up throughout the whole series. This is a contemporary romance intended for 18+.

Universal Buy Link:

Thank you, Meredith King and Diverse Reader, for sharing Heart Strain and letting us give some of our insights about co-writing.

We’re currently working on our fifth novel together and loving every minute of it. So
far we’ve written two under our YA pen names—Bobbie Rayne and Steph Marie—and the rest are by Michele Notaro and Sammi Cee. (Sammi Cee is also a pen name for IRL Stephanie Carrano.)

We’re both passionate about young people and share a similar philosophy on how to guide and empower them, so writing our first YA book together seemed like a brilliant idea. It was. It’s practically seamless how our words combine together. We know how lucky we are, so we’ve really jumped into it with both feet. We have this adult MM contemporary and the YA series already started, but we have a PNR Academy and a NA college series in the works.

So here’s what we’ve learned on our journey—so far—about co-writing:

Do: As soon as we get a feel for our characters, we plot out the rest of our book.
Don’t: Give so much detail that we can’t both move with our characters and let them take us where they want to go. It’s important for both of us to have that philosophy or there’s a potential for division.

Do: Know the goal for the characters, besides the HEA, before starting.
Don’t: Introduce a major change to a character or the direction of the story without plotting it out together.

Do: We’re really flexible with each other. We both have children and busy lives. There have been some health challenges along the way, as well, so we support each other in our daily lives first.
Don’t: Be rigid. You have to work together. It has to become our vision. They’re no longer separate. We share our ideas immediately so we flow and no one feels out of the loop.

That’s all we’ve got for now, but with another fourteen books plotted, I’m sure we’ll learn more along the way.



As soon as the movie ends, I say, “I’m going to start dinner.” I need to get away from him for a minute before he notices what he’s doing to me. Unfortunately, the sexy bastard follows me into the kitchen with Nala trotting behind him. 
“What can I do to help?” 
I point to a stool. “You can sit down and look pretty while I cook.” 
His eyebrows go up a little. “I can’t help?” 
“When did you have time to buy all this stuff?” 
“Uh… I woke up early, so I went out this morning before you picked me up.” What I don’t say is that I’ve been having trouble sleeping—no matter how long I run at night or how tired I am—and it seems to be getting worse every night. But that’s not his problem, so I keep it to myself. 
He hesitantly sits on the stool and tentatively asks, “Why are you doing all of this?” 
Blowing out a breath, I shrug as I get the ingredients out of the fridge. “You’ve been helping me since I got here, and… and I wanted to do something nice as a thank you.” 
“You don’t have to thank me.” When I look at him, I can tell he has something else to add, but he doesn’t say whatever’s on his mind, so I just shrug again and get everything ready. 
“I made this marinade this morning and the tofu’s been soaking it up all day, so hopefully you’ll still like it even though you like eating animals.” 
He laughs out, “Gross.” 
I shoot him a grin. “Anyway, I’m gonna do some mashed potatoes and green beans, so hopefully you’ll like at least one thing.” 
“Sounds delicious, even the tofu.” 
After a minute, I notice him looking a little sad or something, so I finally relent. “Will you stop frowning if I let you help?” 
“Yes.” He smiles, just a tad.
“Fine,” I groan. “Help me with the potatoes.” 
“Yes!” Jameson grins widely and hops off the stool. “I knew you’d cave.” 
I laugh. “Was your plan to sit there looking all sad and pathetic until I did?” 
“I was going to start sighing dramatically to add to the effect.” 
I elbow him in the side with a chuckle and catch his gaze again. I can feel his warmth radiating off him because he’s standing so close to me. The moment I lick my dry lips, I see his eyes track the movement, and my breath catches. Does he want to kiss me as badly as I want to kiss him? Don’t look at his lips, Holden. Don’t look at them! 
I look at his lips. Dammit!
But I catch myself, clear my throat, and force my body to move away from him. 
Lucky for me, Jameson isn’t a huge awkward nerd like I am, and he ends up talking about the movie while we cook. Before I know it, he has me laughing again. 

Michele is married to an awesome husband that puts up with her and all the characters in her head—and there are many. They live together in Baltimore, Maryland with their two young boys and two crazy dogs. She grew up dancing and swimming and taught dance—ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, & modern—for ten years before her kids came along. Now she stays home to write about the sexy men in her head and does PTA everything—as long as coffee is involved. Two other tattooed moms run the PTA with her, and though she wants to rip her hair out from it, she still loves it.

Michele Notaro Links:

Sammi Cee was raised in a family of readers. Summer vacations consisted of a good book while sitting lakeside from as far back as she could remember. After growing up and having her own children, her appreciation of how the written word could transport you on an adventure, bring you to tears, or give you hope, took on a whole new meaning.

These days Sammi is watching her children develop into fine young ladies while doing the things she enjoys most: drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing her own stories.

Sammi Cee Links:


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