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Leyla Brand has one perfect day in her life: the day she meets rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville. They have so much in common, Leyla is sure they are soulmates and will have a future together.
The very next morning, when Arran receives the call to hit the big time, he vanishes into the world of California rock and roll to become an international star, leaving her behind. Only a few phone calls keep them in touch — until his phone is disconnected. After that, all she has of him is every new song that hits the charts.
Five years later, she gets a message on the Internet from an unfamiliar address. Someone wants to know if she’s the Leyla of Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be? Who else could it be? And if it is Arran, why does he want to contact her now, after all this time? Will he just break her heart again?
This excerpt has a personal connection for me– at the time I wrote it, my daughter was working as a pastry chef at the Stable, at the Biltmore–and I included her very own strawberry and lemon custard pie in the story!!
As the first colors of twilight painted themselves onto the clouds overhead, Leyla and Arran walked through the rose garden at the Biltmore’s botanical gardens, hand in hand. She could hardly believe this was happening. She’d hoped for a simple meeting, a conversation. Instead, he’d swept her off her feet.
They’d lingered over a late lunch of roasted vegetable panini, followed by strawberry-and-lemon custard pie at the Stable, a casual restaurant built on the site of the former stables of the estate, the booths constructed from the wrought iron and solid wood of the old stable panels. When the staff politely eased them out at closing, they’d left the restaurant and strolled the gardens.
She learned that he refused to wear the glasses he’d been prescribed in junior high, because he thought they made him look old; that she’d been right that he didn’t drink, since he came from a family of alcoholics; and that his fear of needles had kept him from getting the typical rock star tattoos. She shared that her mother had left just before Leyla went to kindergarten, that she’d always thought cats sucked the breath out of people while they slept, which is why she wanted a cocker spaniel puppy, and that science fiction shows had always been her favorite.
“So you grew up fast,” Arran observed, reaching out to gently touch one of the tea roses along the walk.
“Had to. My dad worked all the time, and I kept house, cooked, you know, all that.”
She walked beside him, close but not touching, noting others’ glances at them. People stared. Did they recognize Arran, or was it the smile on her face, the one she couldn’t control, her delight warm and shining through?
He laughed, but it wasn’t an amused sound, more a bond of understanding. “My parents really quit keeping track of me about the time I turned fourteen. They spent more time finding the bottom of their bottles.” He hunkered down to examine the leaves of a plant. “So it seems like we both had to grow up on our own.”
“Well, kind of.” She didn’t feel sorry for herself. She really didn’t want him thinking she was just another loser. “I had plenty of friends, too. So I got out of the house a lot. Spent a lot of time running from reality, actually.”
“Oh, I know. Me, too.” He grinned. “Some pretty bad years there, about age fifteen, sixteen. I’m surprised I’m still alive, actually.”
She wondered what he’d done that was so bad. She knew her own sins. She’d bet everything in her wallet that they’d echo each other. We’ve got time to discover all our shadows. “Amazing,” was all she said.
THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, from the Wild Rose Press in ebook format–costs less than a cup of coffee. Give it a try!
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Hello all! Today I’m the Wild Rose Press pick Author of the day– Check it out! http://thewildrosepress.blogspot.com/
Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.
Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.
Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?
Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”
She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.
A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.
Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.
A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”
She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
Series: Deerbourne Inn (book 4)
Narrator: Georgia Allens
Audiobook Rights Holder: Amber Daulton with Daulton Publishing
Audiobook Release Date: January 23, 2020
Ebook Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Ebook Release Date: February 11, 2019
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat Rating: 3 Flames
Want to hear a sample?
Audio Buy Links (US)
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About the Author
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.
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After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.
Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.
When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?
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The women weren’t dressed in what he expected as usual afternoon casual wear in suburbia. No culottes or capris here. Their hair curled loose around bare shoulders. Two wore cocktail dresses; the rest some sort of silky lingerie. They seemed perfectly comfortable as his gaze crawled over their exposed bodies. Most wore no makeup, they were all beautiful.
Gene’s diagnostic brain clicked forward along some trail of logic. “Is this a…?”
The woman smiled. “Bordello? You could say that.”
The redhead walked across the room toward him, the front of her skirt flowing open, revealing legs that couldn’t possibly be on the upward side of thirty, although his trained eye recognized subtle evidence of her age. She held out a peach-nailed hand. “I’m Lily Pearl Evans. Welcome to the Sassafras Social Club.”
He automatically took the extended hand, felt the softness of her skin against his. Up close like this, he could see she had cultivated an early beauty into striking middle-age allure. “I’m sorry to impose.”
“So, Mr. Richards, I’m curious what brought you to us.” Her fingers held his hand, turned it over to examine it.
He tried to pull away, but she held tight, her grip stronger than he’d expected. “What are you looking for?” he asked. What if the bordello had ties to Agustin’s cartel? Several of the girls had olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Thinking he was safe, he could have landed in the snake pit.
“Your fate line is very strong,” Lily said, tracing the midline of his palm.
“Is it now?” He didn’t look at his hand, his mind’s eye still seeing it covered in blood.
The warmth of her hand didn’t leave his. “An itch under my skin tells me there’s more to you than meets the eye, Mr. Richards.”
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Leyla Brand had one perfect day in her life: the day she met rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival. They seemed to share so much in common, Leyla was sure they were soulmates and had a future together. The next day he received the call to hit the big time and vanished into the world of California rock and roll, becoming an international star and leaving her behind. Five years later, a stranger contacts her on social media, wanting to know if she’s the Leyla Brand he met at Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be, or, if it is him, will Arran just break her heart again?
We read stories all the time about people who reconnect with long-lost lovers, old high school sweethearts, cherished beaus who just didn’t stick around… You’ve got to wonder how they have changed, or how you have changed, over the time passed. Is it possible that if last time was the wrong time, that now might be the right time?
Here’s the lead-up to the big question:
Is this Leyla with an E from Bele Chere 2005? If so, please answer me.
The Facebook message, like the last, was from Bonsai Boy. Leyla with an E? Now that sounded a little more familiar. Who was this Bonsai Boy? She clicked through to his homepage, but found that he kept most of his information private except for those he’d chosen as friends. All he listed publicly was his hometown, Salinas, California, that his occupation was ‘farmer’, and that his birthday was March 11. A Pisces…Who did she know with a March birthday?
When was Arran’s birthday? Had she ever known that? She couldn’t recall him telling her. It hadn’t been relevant. Damn.
Think, Leyla. Someone should know. She typed an Internet search for Arran Lake, seeking one of those intrusive fan pages that collected information like a crazed stalker. She found several, and clicked through to be confronted with a host of photographs of Arran, in concert, on the red carpet, with his arm around a succession of young actresses or musicians his name had been linked with over the years. He was still jaw-dropping gorgeous, even six years later. The site featured articles about his concert schedule, his charity to raise money for the homeless, and…there it was. His birthday. March 11.
Could it be?
She went back to Bonsai Boy’s page, then his message. Why would he list his occupation as farmer, when he was a famous performer? She thought back to she and Arran, strolling through the greenhouse at the Biltmore, when he’d known so much about the plants, his education in that field.
Could it be?
Only one way to find out.
What would you do?
THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE….
Then, I was delighted to attend local events with her, and there always seemed to be something going on! One of my favorites was the Bele Chere Festival, a street event with art, music and so much more.
Sadly, this festival has gone by the wayside. (Not to worry–Asheville and its surrounding mountain communities proudly support over 300 other festivals a year! )
I wanted to commemorate the Bele Chere, though, and so I set a novella right in the middle of it. That Girl’s the One I Love, published by the Wild Rose Press, tells the story of Leyla Brand, a waitress whose crush on Arran Lake, a local band singer, turns into something more at the Bele Chere Festival.
If she could have predicted what a “soulmate” might be for her, someone who seemed to share so many common qualities, right down to their favorite peanut butter cup ice cream, she’d have chosen someone like Arran. A man who took no effort to be with. Someone she could really be herself with. No matter what she was wearing, or how her hair looked, or how much she earned.
It was time.
When they reached the end of the path at the rose garden, she whispered, close to his ear, “Why don’t you come home with me?”
He drew back, his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure? You’ve just met me.”
Another surprise. She’d always believed men were hardwired to say yes any time they were propositioned. Arran was indeed out of the ordinary.
“I’m sure,” she said. “I’ve even got a couple of Danish in the refrigerator for breakfast. And coffee.”
“Breakfast, hm?” He studied her a long moment. “Leyla, I don’t want you to think that because I sing in a band means I just use women. I’d never take advantage of you.”
Now, that could be one hell of a line. Maybe it was. But his eyes were so sincere. She didn’t want to frighten him off, not now. That kiss had promised much more. “Guess I don’t usually stalk guitarists and throw myself at them, either. Does that make us even?”
But as is often true, life gives with one hand, and takes away with the other. Arran gets the Call” from a record label and is gone. The long-distance relationship takes its toll, and soon all she has of him are his songs on the radio.
Is that the end of their love? Not at all.
To find out what happens, read the story–it’s short and sweet and can keep you warm on a snowy afternoon.
That Girl’s the One I Love, an ebook only $1.99 at the Wild Rose Press!
also available at Amazon and other online booksellers!