Monday, December 9, 2013

The Escape Diaries: Life and Love on the Lam [reissue]
By Juliet Rosetti
Published by Loveswept
On Sale December 9, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53431-6

Find The Escape Diaries on Goodreads

Introducing the hilarious new heroine, Mazie Maguire, in Juliet Rosetti’s irresistible debut novel that follows the outrageous adventure of a woman on the run.

Wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband, Mazie Maguire is three years into her life sentence when fate intervenes—in the form of a tornado. Just like that, she’s on the other side of the fence, running through swamps and cornfields, big box stores and suburban subdivisions. Hoping to find out who really murdered her husband, Mazie must stay a few steps ahead of both the law and her mother-in-law, who would like nothing better than to personally administer Mazie the death penalty via lethal snickerdoodle. With the Feds in hot pursuit and the national media hyping her story, Mazie stumbles upon a vast political conspiracy and a man who might just be worth a conjugal visit—if she survives.

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Crazy for You: Life and Love on the Lam
By Juliet Rosetti
Published by Loveswept
On Sale December 9, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53432-3

Find Crazy for You on Goodreads

In the tradition of Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Juliet Rosetti ups the ante in her laugh-out-loud funny Escape Diaries series, as Mazie Maguire must use any means necessary to keep her main squeeze out of the slammer.

Once you escape from prison and ride off into the sunset with the gorgeous guy who helped you nail a killer, you live happily ever after, right? Well, not exactly—not if you’re Mazie Maguire, and the flow chart of your life looks like a pinball machine. Mazie has broken up with her guy, Ben Labeck, she can’t pay her rent, her car is infested with mice, and she’s working at a coffee shop where the dress code is teddies, thongs, and toe-cleavage heels. Now Ben is the chief suspect in a murder investigation, and Mazie’s tapping into her fugitive wiles to keep him out of jail. Strictly as friends, she vows. No kissing, no touching, no romance. But how is Mazie supposed to keep her thoughts platonic when her “buddy” is giving her erotic back rubs, and a make-believe-we’re-newlyweds charade puts her in the mood for a wedding night?

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Hottie Latte was a block off Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee’s main drag, a narrow brick storefront sandwiched between a manicure parlor and an optometrist. The sign above the door displayed a pink coffee cup with a curvy, cleft bottom. Just in case you didn’t get the picture, the mug’s handle was a female arm, hand resting on hip.
Hottie Latte was Milwaukee’s first lingerie café, and might well be its last, judging by the protesters marching out front, brandishing signs with hand-scrawled slogans:
This Shop Serves Porn!
Send the Strippers Packing!
Close this den of iniquity!
Most of the demonstrators were women, but a few were men slinking around, hunch-shouldered, with my-wife-made-me-do-this looks on their faces. They appeared to have been bussed in en masse from the suburbs, and they wore plastic badges on their coats proclaiming themselves The Doyennes of Decency.
Hottie Latte’s windows were draped with café curtains sheer enough to let in light but opaque enough to prevent peeping. One of the male demonstrators was kneeling on the pavement next to the window, pretending to tie his shoes while sneaking peeks into the café through gaps in the curtains. A woman¾probably his wife¾came up to him and whacked him over the head with her protest sign. Creaking to his feet, the man sheepishly resumed marching, but you just knew that if his wife let him off the leash for a single second, he was going to be dashing straight through the front door.
The demonstration wasn’t my concern, however; I simply needed to get inside and do my job. “Excuse me,” I said politely, weaving my way toward the door.
One of the Doyennes stepped in front of me, blocking my path. She was tall, with feathery white hair, black eyebrows drawn into a scowl, and a beaky nose. Paste a goatee to her chin and she could have played Uncle Sam in the Fourth of July parade.
“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” she barked at me. “One of the jezebels.”
“Jezebels?” I repeated, wondering whether she was off her meds. I checked myself over to make sure I hadn’t accidentally worn my hot pants and thigh-high vinyl boots, maybe with a sign advertising “Hourly Rates Available” plastered to my rear. But I was dressed as usual. Black turtleneck, jeans, and navy pea coat. No makeup except for a brush of mascara and a light smear of lip gloss.
“Scarlet women. You’re not fooling anyone, calling yourselves waitresses.”
I didn’t have time for this. I had four more write-ups to do today. “Would you mind moving?” I asked.
The other demonstrators were gathering around, eager to harangue an actual harlot.
“Strumpet,” hissed a Doyenne.
“Floozy,” another sniped.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
“What would your mother say?”
Unfortunately for the Doyennes, their demonstration seemed to be having the opposite effect from what they’d intended. It was midmorning—time for a java, a jelly doughnut, and a jolt to the gonads. Men were streaming toward Hottie Latte in salivating clusters of twos and threes, some looking a trifle embarrassed, some hiding their faces behind sales reports, and some grinning broadly and sassing the protestors right back.
“Go back to the ’burbs.”
“Listening to the voices in your heads again?”
“You stay out of my coffeehouse, I’ll stay out of your church.”
I broke through the Doyennes and scuttled into the shop alongside a trio of construction workers. The place was jammed. The counter stools, prime viewing spots, were all occupied. Most of the tables were taken, too. All the customers were male. Businessmen, college students, gray-haired gaffers who looked as though they were here to have their pacemakers juiced, grungy guys in hip waders who appeared to have just climbed out of the sewers¾all of them were willing to pay seven bucks a cup to have waitresses in teddies and thongs froth their cream.
I found a place near the rear of the café at a table the size of a checkerboard. The place was loud. Silverware clattered, crockery banged, blenders roared, and male laughter boomed, nearly drowning out the chants of the anti-slut crowd outside. A delicious incense of coffee-cinnamon-cocoa-yeast swirled through the room, reminding me that I hadn’t had breakfast yet.
Six waitresses bustled about, three about college age, the others pleasant but unremarkable middle-aged women who might serve you at IHOP, except that IHOP waitresses didn’t wear bustiers that pushed their boobs up to their chins.
Being a female, I’d probably be ignored, I thought, fishing my company iPad out of my purse and bringing up the evaluation form. The café’s rating would be based on the friendliness and efficiency of the servers, as well as the quality of the product. Later I’d do a detailed write-up and email it to the office.
I lost my bet with myself. A waitress materialized at my elbow.
“Hey, girl—you here to apply for a job?”
“Job?” I was caught off guard. “Umm, no. I just want a coffee.”
“Oh, too bad.” Her eyes swept swiftly over me, not missing a thing. She was small and Asian, with glossy black hair piled atop her head, dark, tilted eyes, a wide mouth outlined in fuchsia lipstick, and freckles like a nutmeg sprinkle across her nose. She wore five-inch heels and a magenta teddy with ruffles cascading down the backside like a bustle. I would have robbed Victoria’s Secret at gunpoint for that teddy.
“I like how you stood up to those hags out there,” she said.
“They seem to think you’re running a strip joint here.”
She laughed. “Nothing that exciting. We really do serve coffee. I’m Juju, the manager.”
“Mazie. Nice to meet you.”
We shook hands.
“You like chocolate, right?” Juju said.
My mouth went into salivary overdrive at the mere word. I nodded.
“Knew it! I’m psychic that way. I always know what a customer really wants. Come back behind the counter so we can talk. I’ll whip you up a cocoa.”
I followed Juju to the galley behind the counter and watched. She was a blur of motion, whisking a pot of coffee off the hot plate, slamming an empty carafe into its place, standing on tiptoe to add water to the coffeemaker’s reservoir, scooping cocoa powder, adjusting the heat on the milk steamer.
“Sure you don’t want a job?” Juju asked, not missing a beat as she split two bagels and popped them into a four-slice toaster. “You could make a lot of money with those oompahs of yours. Real or silicone?”
My hands flew to my chest. “These, you mean? Original equipment.”
“Holy damn—you’re lucky, girl. Mine are fake.” She thrust her chest out so I could admire her bumpers, which thrust up like igloos out of the Arctic plain. “BOGO sale. Buy one, get one free. Cost me three grand. But my tips go up a hundred sixty percent. That silicone paid for itself in a month.”
“Hey, Juju, I need a refill,” a guy in a business suit called.
“You just hold your shirt on, Mister Big Shot,” Juju yelled at him, then turned to me and winked. “Better tips when you talk smack. I tell them I’m Thai because guys think Thai girls are hot, tip bigger. But I’m really Filipino. Dumb Americans don’t know the difference, they think we all look the same.”
“Is Juju your real name?”
“Shortened from Jhun-Jhun.”
She poured cocoa into a mug, squiggled whipped cream atop it, and sprinkled chocolate confetti over the whole thing. “Try it,” she ordered, thrusting the drink into my hands.
I sipped. I took a deeper sip, coming up for air with a foamy smile and the urge to tap-dance across the tabletops. “Terrific!” I raved, and dived in for another sip.
Juju grinned. “My own recipe. Starbucks would kill to get it. Come work for me and I’ll make you all the cocoa you can drink.”
“I’ve got a job.”
“I bet you don’t make fifty bucks an hour.” Juju switched on a Krups coffeemaker that looked like the boosters on the space shuttle. “Four hundred a day, cash. What the IRS don’t know don’t hurt it, right?”
I chewed over that four hundred a day. Rhonda Cromwell was paying me ten bucks an hour. Did I say paying? I hadn’t seen an actual paycheck yet.
“Ow! Shitshitshit!” The percolator spat scalding drops of coffee onto Juju’s breasts. Small, angry red blisters bubbled up on her exposed flesh. Working in skimpy lingerie left way too much skin exposed, I thought, shivering at the thought of flashing my thonged derriere to the frigid air every time the door opened or closed.
“Do all your waitresses wear those?” I asked, pointing to Juju’s heels, which forced her feet into en pointe positions.
“Oh, yeah—heels make your ass stick out. Gets you tips like crazy. You get used to them after a while.”
That was like telling a new prison inmate that you got used to the cheeseless macaroni after a while. I watched Juju as she trip-trapped out to the tables in her stratospheric heels. She worked the room, dipping low to display her 3K boobs, cajoling refills from customers who’d been dawdling over their mokes and caps, speaking in a singsongy pidgin she must have swiped from National Lampoon Goes to Bangkok. Juju was good. Juju was a walking stimulus package.
By the time she clopped back behind the counter carrying a tray of dirty mugs, I had enough material to write up my evaluation. I insisted on paying for the cocoa, because CRS mystery shoppers are not supposed to be influenced by freebies, not even a single stick of gum or sample bite of chicken on a toothpick. As I packed up my things and headed for the door, Juju called after me, “You go buy a cute teddy, come back and work for me.”
I smiled noncommittally. For four hundred bucks a day, could I put up with a frostbitten fanny?

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When I’d escaped from prison, my mother-in-law had first tried to kill me with a do-it-yourself home electrocution kit, then had attempted to brain me with a laminated horse hock. Facing charges of attempted homicide, she’d paid a psychiatrist to have herself declared non compos mentis and get herself committed to a velvet-lined loony bin. Since she was immune from legal proceedings as long as she was locked in the Ralph Lauren Institute for the Rich and Deranged, I couldn’t sue her to get my money back. But she couldn’t stay there forever. Someday she’d be getting out. And I’d be ready with my pit bull lawyer.
Until then I was clipping coupons, mining my pockets for stray pennies, and taking home doggie bags. Glancing at the Happy Soup wall clock, I discovered that I was running late. Too bad about my leftover booyah, but a doggie bag just never works on soup. I tossed my iPad into my purse and barged out the door, failing to notice that someone else was entering while I was exiting.
“Oops—sorry,” I said.
I looked up.
Of all the booyah joints in all the world, why did he have to walk into this one?
It was Labeck. He was holding open the door for the TV dodo behind him, but he came to a jolting halt when he saw me. We stared at each other. Well, not exactly stared, on my part. Drank in, inhaled, devoured. He was wearing the aftershave I liked, the one that smelled like cinnamon and wood smoke.
“Hi,” he said, looking as surprised as me.
“Hi,” I replied, as a hellish red tide swept from my hairline to my clavicles.
“How’s Muffin?”
“Muffin? Muffin’s good.”
“That’s good.”
“How are you?” I could feel my brain cells committing suicide, one by one.
“Me? I’m good, too.”
Who knows how long this witty repartee might have continued, but the Talent got tired of standing out in the cold and popped up beneath Labeck’s outstretched arm, which had frozen on the door. Looking as though he wished he could vanish beneath an invisibility cloak, Labeck said, “Mazie, this is Aspen Lindgren. Aspen, Mazie Ma—”
“Oh, this little gal needs no introduction.” Aspen smiled a dazzling high-definition-TV-just-out-of-the-box smile and stuck out her hand. We shook. “Maziemania, right? What a fantastic survival story! It’s terrific that you were cleared of those charges that you killed your husband.”
“Thanks.” For remembering to mention it.
To anyone watching, we were just two women making polite chitchat, but we knew better. We were taking each other’s measure. I was the ex-girlfriend and she was aiming for the new-girlfriend slot. Aspen was radiating, showing off for Labeck.
No one was going to outdo me at radiating, dammit! I wasn’t a former Miss Quail Hollow for nothing! I squared my shoulders, lifted my chin, sucked in my gut, thrust out my boobs, and turned up the wattage on my own smile. Labeck looked stunned, as though he’d been hit with exploding estrogen bombs.
“I’ll be sure to watch for your reports from now on,” I said to Aspen, still in the same overdosed-on-cotton-candy tones, resisting the urge to shorten her name to Ass.
“So where do you work, Mazie?” she asked.
“Cromwell Research Services.”
Aspen’s eyes lit up. “The website, right? They run tons of ads on our station. The owner of your company¾Rhoda? Rhonda?—anyway, she invited me and some people from our station to this party she’s throwing tomorrow night. I’m making Benny take me, even though he’s a great big ol’ grouchy bear about parties.”
“Yes, I bet he is.” I bit down on a laugh, noting that a nerve in Labeck’s jaw was twitching. How fascinating. I was almost enjoying this.
“I suppose we’ll see you there,” Aspen chirped.
“Probably.” My jaw muscles were getting sore from smiling.
“Super! Well, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got to grab a bite and then we’re off to the next crisis. Just rush-rush-rush, all day long, you know how it is with us media folks.”
“Uh-huh. Nice meeting you.” I fled outdoors into the cold, clear air. Tiny black specks boogied across my vision and I suddenly staggered, overcome by dizziness. I was about to fall into the gutter and get run over by a garbage truck.
Aspen would cover the story, of course. “And so ends the tragic story of Mazie Maguire, the woman who murdered her husband in cold blood but later beat the rap.”
I didn’t “beat the rap.” I flushed out the guy who did the actual crime. Thanks mainly to Ben Labeck, who’d hidden me in his apartment. He’d also arranged the setup that nailed the scumbag, despite the fact that he could have been charged with aiding and abetting a criminal. When I’d been released from prison, Labeck had asked me to move in with him. We’d spent five blissful days together, most of them in his bed.
And then, with dizzying suddenness, before I quite comprehended what was happening, we’d broken up, Labeck spinning off to the wilds of Montana and me to the urban wilderness of Brady Street. Six weeks had passed since then. I hadn’t even known Labeck was back in town.
The dizziness passed. I pulled myself together and walked to my car. Milwaukee wasn’t that large; sooner or later Labeck and I were bound to run into each other. Now we’d both survived the encounter. We were getting on with our lives, me with my canine companion, Muffin, and Labeck with his junior Diane Sawyer.
I’m over him, I told myself. I didn’t need Ben Labeck in my life.
One of these days I might even start to believe that.

Juliet Rosetti grew up on a Wisconsin farm. She has taught school in Milwaukee and in Sydney, Australia, where her duties included coaching cricket and basketball. Her work has appeared in The Milwaukee Journal, Chicago Tribune, and in many other publications. She is a past winner of Wisconsin Magazine’s Wordsmith Award for nonfiction. Currently she lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with her husband and son, teaches in the local public school system, and is writing the next book in the Mazie Maguire series.

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Tour Schedule
12/2 - Book Monster Reviews (Excerpt/Spotlight)

12/3 - Monlatable Book Reviews (Series Spotlight)

12/3 - Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews (Series Spotlight)

12/3 - My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Guest Post)

12.4 - Miscellaneous Thoughts of a Bookaholic (Series Spotlight)

12/5 - Eclectic Passions (series spotlight)

12/6 - TOME TENDER (Series Spotlight)

12/8 - KT Book Reviews (Series Spotlight)

12/9 - Salacious Reads (Series Spotlight)

12/10 - Same Book, Different Review (Guest Post)

12/11 - Charlene Blogs (Series Spotlight)

12/12 - Josie Cara Blog (Series Spotlight)

12/14 - Snarky Mom Reads... (Guest Post)

12/14 - Sun Mountain Reviews (Spotlight & Guest Post)

12/14 - Musings From An Addicted Reader (Series Spotlight)

12/15 - Manga Maniac Café (Series Spotlight)

12/15 - #BookNerd (Series Spotlight)

12/16 - Mythical Books (Guest Post)

12/16 - Bibliophile Mystery (Series Spotlight)

12/17 - The Hungry Freelancer (Guest Post)

12/18 - Offbeat Vagabond (Guest Post)

12/18 - Elle James Blog (Series Spotlight)

12/19 - Myla Jackson Blog (Series Spotlight)

12/19 - Fic Central (spotlight/Review)

12/19 - For the Love of Bookends (Series Spotlight/Review)

12/20 - (Guest Post)

Sharonda (SexxyBlogger) is a avid reader who enjoys a good book, good music, loves red wine and has an unhealthy obsession with the sexxy alpha males she reads about. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.  Happy Reading Reading Sexxys.


  1. Oh I thought that sounded familiar. I have book one but with the cartoonish cover. I need to pull that one out soon. Looks pretty good.

  2. These look like they might be pretty good. Thanks Sharonda!

  3. I agree, I do like the sound of them and the updated covers are cute :)