contemporary romance

Watch out for that first step–this hike’s a doozy!

During the daylight hours, I am a project manager, dad, ranch hand, and general all-around average guy. I spend my free time with my family, reading, playing games, golf, and the working on our small ranch.

A closet romantic, Fate Takes a Hike was a challenge I set myself almost a year ago. While I have been writing short stories and fan fiction for years, I’d never pushed myself to do a full, book-length tale, until now.

With the book’s release, I will start my journey into this world called romance writing. Let’s hope I survive!

EXCERPT:

Prologue— Jacob

Mist from the early morning rain clung to the trees and mixed with the light breeze to cool the sweat on my face as I walked up the small trail.

Just past the halfway point to the glade, I stepped over the roots of old Splitjaw. At some point in its past, the aged fir tree had been bent over and broken, creating a neck-like structure where the shattered ends split open, making the trunk look like the opened jaws of an alligator. Kara, my fiancé, named it Splitjaw during our first hike in this area.

I smiled, thinking back to that day and her silliness. She’d insisted that Splitjaw needed to be fed. She had dug through her backpack and pulled out some beef jerky, which she opened and stuck in its jagged “mouth.” Pleased with herself, she’d shouldered her pack and continued with our trek.

Digging into one of the cargo pouches on my pants, I pulled out the strips of beef jerky I brought with me for this very moment. I unwrapped them and placed them into Splitjaw’s mouth. Pocketing the wrapper, I patted the tree and proceeded on my way. Tradition satisfied.

It was close to noon when I stepped out of the trees and into the clearing. Sunlight bathed the meadow. The tall, waving grasses forming a sea of green, almost like a calm lake. The lone Oregon white oak dominated the center of the clearing, a soldier standing guard over the meadow and its denizens. I had no idea how that acorn made it to this area, but I was happy that it had found a home here.

Its branches spread outward to provide shelter and shade to all those who gathered below them, perfect for the task I had given it.

I drew in a cleansing breath, shaking myself from my reverie, and continued walking until I stood under the oak’s branches. I unshouldered my backpack and set it down against the tree before letting one hand rest gently on its trunk.

“Sorry I’m late. I was finishing up some drywall in one of the upstairs bedrooms and lost track of time.”

I bent down, opened up the pack, and pulled out a collapsible rake. Unfolding it as I stood, I began clearing the detritus of small limbs and leaves from around the area.

“It took longer than I planned, but I got the flooring finished in the kitchen. I know we talked about that white checkered slate tile, but it was out of stock and the backorder was going to take too long. So, I ended up doing a grey, sixteen-inch tile that has four small black diamonds in the center. I think it looks fantastic against the backsplash.”

I continued my rundown of my construction highlights as I kept raking.

Satisfied that no limbs or leaves remained, I collapsed the rake, stowed it back in the pack, and pulled out a small set of shears. I squatted down on one knee and began trimming the grass around the two small bronze markers. I worked in thoughtful silence, letting the metallic snip-snip of the trimmers soothe my mind and heart as I cleared back the grass and weeds that had grown since my last visit.

Once everything was pruned to my liking, I stowed the shears and retrieved a small rag and bottle of brass cleaner. Pouring a small bit of the solution onto my cloth, I began scrubbing the bird droppings off the markers.

With the bronze gleaming again, I stowed all of my tools and supplies and gazed down at the markers, telling myself I wouldn’t cry even as the first tear worked its way down my cheek. Every time I thought I had cried myself out, I found that with these two, I never would.

Kara Berman

Loving Wife

Karen Berman

Beloved Daughter

“I love you both,” I whispered, letting my fingers lightly brush the metal.

I stood up, grabbing my backpack and swinging it up and onto my back. I shrugged my shoulders a couple of times to seat the straps comfortably, then fastened the belly band, tugging on it to make sure it was tight.

With a final, pained glance at the markers, I turned and headed east, passing quickly out of the meadow and into the trees beyond.

Chapter 1 Josie

I shook the small handheld GPS unit in an attempt to make it work.

“You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! I will smash you into a million pieces, you worthless hunk of plastic!”

The small, yellow electronic devil was obviously unimpressed with my threat and mocked me with its refusal to comment. Looking up at the sky, I almost asked the heavens, ‘What next?’ But I didn’t want to tempt fate. Little did I realize at the time that the heavens could read minds, and fate could be a real bitch.

Sighing like a teenager being asked to do the dishes, I shoved the worthless plastic demon into my backpack and pulled out my trusty old compass. Flipping open the lid, I began turning in a small circle, talking to myself while the needle danced inside its glass case.

“Okay, let’s see,” I muttered to myself. “If that’s north, then that way is west and towards the lake. If I can make it to the lake, I should be able to get to the marina and use their phone.”

I nodded to myself, taking a deep, calming breath. This was good. Everything was going to be okay.

“I’m going to call Brianna Cranston and give her a piece of my mind. Wait, no. First, I’m going to get her to come pick me up and take me to my car, and while she’s driving me to it, then I’m going to give her a piece of my mind. She’ll be trapped then and can’t escape my wrath. Nice plan, Josie. Less walking, more righteous satisfaction.”

Brianna had been the one to talk me into this jaunt when I should have been helping Mom with the store. I knew that somewhere in those spreadsheets and invoices was the answer to our financial situation, something that would pull us up out of the hole we were spiraling into.

Apparently, I had been getting a tad bitchy with folks lately. Brianna cornered me in my small office Wednesday. Mom apparently let her slip back to harass me.

“Girl, you need to get away from the sheets of numbers and clear your head before you bite one of your worker’s—or worse, Kaylin’s head off,” she told me, crossing her arms and skewering me with an icy glare.

I scrubbed my tired eyes, glancing up at her. “I don’t have the time. We’re losing money every day and if I don’t figure out how to stop it, Mom and I are toast.”

Brianna began lecturing me, using her finger like a conductor’s baton. “Get your lazy butt out in the woods. You and your dad loved the woods and trails around here. Hell, you were a tomboy for most of your time here. Get out there, walk among the trees, and clear your mind. Maybe an acorn will fall on that head of yours and give you the idea you need!”

I had reluctantly agreed, more to get her to leave and to stop her nagging. And I had to admit … she had a point. I needed a break.

Putting my compass in the pocket of my shorts, I began walking in the right direction, only slightly limping, thanks to the blister on my heel. Normally, I’d have fixed it with some moleskin, but since I was in such a hurry to leave this morning, I neglected to pack my first aid kit.

My pack contained everything else I might need. Bear whistle, snacks, water, and dry socks. I even had a copy of Cosmo that I had filched from the beauty shop. Figured it could double as emergency toilet supplies should the need arise.

No GPS, no moleskin, a squishy blister on my heel, and still a long way from my car. The day was just a winner all the way around.

“Just you wait, Brianna, I’ve got two sweaty socks with your name written all over them!”

I chuckled evilly at the thought of taking off my boots in her car and launching an odoriferous attack. If I were lucky, she’d puke. Hey, if you can’t make your best friend puke, why are they your bestie?

While I might have thought Brianna gagging on sweaty socks would be funny, what galled me the most was that she was right.

About an hour into the hike this morning, I realized I actually felt better. The rich smell of the trees and the sounds of nature slowly eroded my stress level, lowering it to what most folks considered normal. I was bordering on darn near relaxed. Even with the blister and the evil GPS unit, I was feeling better than I had in several weeks.

“Okay, Brianna, maybe no socks this time.” Nodding to myself, I continued on down the trail.

After another thirty or so minutes of walking, I came to a ridgeline. Taking a moment, I glanced down into what appeared to be about a fifty-foot drop-off. It wasn’t a straight drop, more of a steep downhill, something you might ski on if there were snow, and if you didn’t mind rocks and trees at the end of your run. Unhooking my water bottle, I took a small sip as I drank in the panoramic view. I could just see the lake on the horizon. Clipping the water bottle back to my pack, I took a deep, refreshing breath.

“Finally, something is going my way.”

I began walking along the edge, hoping to find a way down that looked less like a blue diamond run and more like a bunny slope. I enjoyed skiing, but the lack of skis and snow put a damper on shooshing down the ledge. With my luck today, I’d fall and break an ankle.

At that exact moment, the heavens showed me that they had been paying attention to my thoughts. Just as I walked near a patch of scrub brush, a small rabbit burst out of it right at my feet, moving as if it was late for something.

Like any red-blooded girl seeing something that looks like a mouse on steroids flying at her, I screamed and high-stepped away from the impending rodent mauling that I just knew was coming my way.

Unfortunately, in my adrenaline-fueled rush to escape, I forgot about the ridgeline I had been admiring. I screamed again as I toppled over the edge. I smashed flat on my side and began tumbling end over end as the loose rocks and dirt gave way. I saw ground, sky, ground and then felt a sharp burst of pain in my leg and a punch to my stomach.

I barely had time to think, “Ow … shit,” before blackness took me.

CONTACTS

Email: bdswritings@gmail.com

Website: https://BDStorey.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BDStoreyAuthor/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/BDSwritings

About The author

When he’s not writing, or working his day job, Bob spends his time helping his wife take care of their three horses, four cats and the multitude of chores one finds around the farm. When there is free time left, he enjoys playing golf, video games, and DnD with his friends on the west coast and watching their three kids grow up and explore life.

New from Aussie author Cynthia Terelst!

Love and secrets are a tricky combination

For Emily, going home isn’t easy, especially when her small town never felt like home in the first place. She escaped Alma seven years ago when she went to university, but now her estranged father needs her help. At least returning means spending time with the only good thing in town—her best friend, Luke.

Luke always knew Emily needed to be free of their hometown, so he withheld his true feelings. Even though she has returned, he knows she will never stay. He tries hard to respect the boundaries of their friendship but every moment they spend together makes it harder to deny their connection. Self-control dissipates. One kiss turns into two…

But is Luke really the man Emily remembers? When Emily discovers Luke has betrayed her trust, they could lose the most precious thing of all—each other.

**This is a standalone romance with medium heat**

Buy Links

Release Price $2.99

Universal Link – https://books2read.com/u/3n7nPK

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Q2YD2DC/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08Q2YD2DC/

Aust – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08Q2YD2DC/

Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08Q2YD2DC/

Emily

Luke had been strange all morning. It was weird. Up until our visit to Brodsky’s he’d been fine. His normal Luke self. He seemed to change after he’d held my hand. Maybe he’d read my thoughts when I’d looked at him. He’d always known what I was thinking, sometimes before I did and at that moment, in that store, in front of Callum, I’d thought about kissing him.

I was so stupid. Luke had never shown any interest in me other than being friends even though he was always there for me. Always. I enjoyed spending time with him more than anyone else in the world. Had he read my mind and freaked out?

Filling the kettle, I shook my head. I kept busy, getting the cups out of the overhead cupboard while I waited for the kettle to boil. My thoughts strayed to Luke’s lips, his strong arms, his hands—so much bigger than mine but so gentle, roaming across my body. I dragged my thoughts away. There was no point ruining our friendship for a kiss.

The kitchen door creaked as it opened. Luke came in, running his hand through his hair. He was nervous. What had I done? One stupid slip had led to this. Not even a kiss. A dream of a kiss.

“Need a hand?” he asked, coming over to where the cups were sitting.

“My saviour,” I said, giving him a hip bump. I wanted the old Luke back. I handed him the plate of Tim Tams and started pouring the cups of tea. He grabbed one and took it outside. I watched him leaving, longer than I should have, but damn his arse filled his shorts nicely.

Luke

Callum walked up the driveway and Emily went out to meet him. I raised my hand in greeting but stayed on the porch with Jim. I didn’t need to be in the Emily/Callum bubble. So, I stood at the railing, watching them like a creeper. As they set off Callum put his hand on the small of her back just like he’d done last week at the meeting. Touching Emily seemed so natural to him. Even when he let go, they stayed close. They walked to the end of the field looking back once. Callum said something and Emily laughed, turning her attention back to him.

I could tell she liked being with him by the way she walked with so much energy. I could feel it from where I stood. She turned into him when he spoke, gazing up into his face. My hands hurt from clutching the railing too tight. I kicked at the post, visualising Callum’s shin.

“Looks like you left your run eight years too late,” Jim said from behind me.

I clenched my jaw. I should have known better than to get my hopes up. The kiss the other day meant nothing. Just a moment in time never to be repeated. It’s what I deserved for not putting up an argument about the fake dating and then for not telling Emily about it.

Author Bio

Cynthia Terelst is an emerging Australian author based in regional Queensland, where the sun shines 283 days a year. She is a project officer by day and a writer by night. Cynthia’s mother introduced her to a lifelong love of reading, for which she will be forever grateful. With love for the written word instilled in her, she wrote her first picture book at the age of 8, about her lost cat, Fluffy.

Cynthia writes contemporary romance and has four books published in her Love Down Under series. She refers to her writing style as ‘heat with heart’. In her novels, she likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian scenery and a whole lotta love. Her novels do not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.

Social Media Links

Website http://cynthiaterelst.com/

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Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Terelst/e/B07ZCTX8SB/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/cynthiaterelst

Linktree – https://linktr.ee/cynthiaterelst

Iris Blobel presents Touch Me

Touch Me, the fourth book of the Alinta Bay series comes out this weekend!

Blurb:

She loves the feel of his skin beneath her hands …

Lexie Marshall packs up and moves 3,000 km east with her daughter Zoe, to forget and move on. Now, all that matters is her daughter and her new job. She tries hard to stay focussed, but the sexy and extremely kind park ranger, Jesse, is not making it easy. And when her husband shows up in the small coastal town creating chaos, all she can do is hang on and trust her new friends.

After his last girlfriend walked out on him, Jesse Parker is doing just fine on his own. Until his accidental meeting with single mother Lexie, when he rescues her and her daughter from getting lost in the forest. But when her past catches up with her, he is right in the middle of it all and it might ruin his career.

Will returning to her old life be the only chance to save his career?

Now available on Amazon for 99c or free on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt:

Lexie Marshall looked around, seeing nothing but trees. Worry crept into her mind. It’d been a while since they’d seen another soul. The old farmer on the tractor had warned them, but she’d been certain she had known the way back to the car.

“Mum, are you sure you know where you’re going?” Zoe asked.

Loosely circling her shoulders to rid herself of the kink in them, Lexie replied, “Sweetie, I’m sure we’re almost there. It can’t be far.”

“Such a stupid idea to go for a bushwalk.”

Lexie stopped and turned, looking at her daughter, undecided whether to be annoyed or feel guilty. “I thought it was a great idea. We’re stuck in that small house seven days a week with the walls closing in on us.”

Zoe met her gaze, tears shimmering in her eyes. “Not my fault we moved here.”

Massaging the temples, she took a deep breath. “I hope we’re not going through the separation discussion again. Your dad and I drifted apart. Nothing I can do about it.”

The girl lifted her shoulder in a shrug. “That didn’t mean you have to drift all the way to this godforsaken place.”

“This godforsaken place is giving me a chance to work in my profession as a lawyer during school hours only so you’re not on your own at home.”

Zoe shrugged again. “I miss my friends.”

“Well, so do I, but I am trying to do the best in a bad situation. How about we try to get out of this jungle of trees and next weekend we’ll check the real estate agent for a bigger house?”

“We had a big house in Perth—”

Lexie looked into the distance and then back at her daughter. “Look, I get it that you’re not happy with the current situation. But I’m trying my best here.” She inhaled a long breath to calm herself. “I don’t really think this is the right place to have this discussion, but maybe the right time for you to ponder about the alternatives. Perth, big house, your mother working massive hours to afford it, which would mean you’re in after care, or Alinta Bay, small house, hopefully we’ll find something bigger soon, and I can drop you off and pick you up from school, plus we will have enough money for two holidays a year.”

Without waiting for an answer, Lexie turned again, but didn’t move. Cursing under her breath, she conceded that they were lost. And it scared her. A lot.

“Mum?”

Lexie whirled around again. “What?” But as soon as she saw her daughter’s timid look in her eyes, she apologised straight away. “I’m sorry, sweetie. But—”

Zoe shook her head. “Mum, listen,” she said just above a whisper.

Lexie focussed and followed the girl’s gaze.

“Look! A car.”

“Hallelujah,” Lexie murmured.

“Can you run?”

Hands on hips, Lexie said, “I’m old, but I’m no geriatric.”

“Well, duh, Mum. Run.”

“Wait,” she almost shouted. “We can’t just—”

“Mum, just run. You’re not wearing your glasses, are you? It’s the Park Ranger vehicle.”

Shaking her head at her own embarrassment, but also at her clever daughter, she rushed after Zoe through the forest, literally over sticks and stones. Worried about her daughter stopping a stranger’s car, Park Ranger or not, she screamed, “Wait, Zoe. Wait for me!”

Without looking back, her daughter replied, “No way I’m letting this guy drive off.”

When Lexie stopped a couple of minutes later in front of the Ranger’s truck, she placed her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.

“Mum got us lost.”

The Ranger came around the car and placed his hand on Lexie’s arm, “Ma’am, are you okay?”

She straightened. “I’m okay. Embarrassed, my ego dinted, and having aged by about ten years, but I’m okay.”

His deep chuckle invaded her senses with its warmth and did something to her. And it’d been a while since a man had stirred something inside her, not since … she pushed the thought of her husband away, as well as the flutter in her stomach, trying to deal with the problem at hand.

Nothing says love like the right piece of pie #MFRWHooks

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!

Check out all the other great books on the loop here!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=301282

A talented prince, a woman with a free heart–fire or ice?

Get off Your High Horse

Love Down Under Book 3

by Cynthia Terelst

Genre: Contemporary Royal Romance

When two opposites collide, will their differences ignite a spark or send them into turmoil?

Frankie and Sebastian live totally different lives. Lives that are entwined through polo, the sport of kings.

Frankie’s a country girl, working hard toward her dream of turning the family farm around. She needs to endure one more polo season to make that happen. She has no interest in high society or the rich, arrogant riders she has to deal with, especially Sebastian. Her heart may be softening to his charm, openness and love of working with horses, but her brain won’t be convinced. She looks forward to her summer break on the farm, away from him, until her parents decide to invite Sebastian to stay.

Sebastian descends from royalty. Rich and arrogant come with his family title. But that status is something he’d rather avoid, just like he avoids returning home to a life he doesn’t want. Sebastian sees a freedom in Frankie he wishes he had. Her life is full of love, family and horses; something he can only dream of. And her, he can dream of her. But a dream is all it will be, seeing as Frankie does her best to avoid him.

If only he can convince her to look past his title, and see that his hopes and dreams aren’t so different from hers.

Goodreads * Amazon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56239045-get-off-your-high-horse

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Get-Off-Your-High-Horse-ebook/dp/B089Y1NDN9/

Excerpt

Sebastian

“Princes have many talents I’m sure you’re not aware of.”

“Such as?” She turned to face me; her body so close I could feel her breasts pressing against my chest.

“We like to roll around under the covers as well.”

“Is that so?” Her breath brushed against my lips. Her body pushed against mine, sending electricity through me. I imagined her standing there in her lace bra and matching knickers. I wrapped one arm around her back pulling her tightly against me. The other cupped the back of her head, tangled in her pony tail. Her lips met mine and opened and I sought out her tongue. Her hands found their way around my back and held tight.

I couldn’t let her go. I wouldn’t. I’d wanted to kiss her like this for months. This was so much better than what I’d imagined. My erection pressed against her. I deepened the kiss, holding her tight. She sighed into my mouth.

I shouldn’t have kissed her. I shouldn’t have invited her down the road of misery I would soon be facing. Only one of us should have a broken heart.

About the Author

Cynthia Terelst is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian scenery and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.

She lives in Queensland, Australia, where the sun shines at least 283 days a year.

Website * Facebook * FB Group * Twitter * Instagram *Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Author Links

Website: http://cynthiaterelst.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaterelstauthor

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/572605370313807

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaTerelst

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cynthiaterelstauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cynthia-terelst 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Terelst/e/B07ZCTX8SB

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19874340.Cynthia_Terelst

Giveaway

$20 Amazon

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Can miracles happen at Christmas?

An Interview with Seelie Kay:

Q.  Why do you write romance?

Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Q.  Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Q.  Why did you write “The Last Christmas?”

My father is 94-years-old and as you might expect, has had a number of serious medical, age-related events. Each time, we were told to prepare for his death. Each time, he survived. The fact was, my Dad wasn’t ready to die. And his children and his grandchildren weren’t ready to let him go either. So I started thinking about terminal diagnoses and how they are really a best guess, not a guarantee. That, of course, led to thoughts how a terminal diagnosis often causes people to give up and prematurely mourn the death of the person who is ill. I wondered how that impacted the outcome. And because I was preparing to write a holiday book, I also started thinking about the power of family, and how, time after time, families are capable of creating miracles.

That led me to “The Last Christmas.” Christmas truly is a time for miracles, and thought it important that everyone be able to experience one through the tale of the Wright Family.

Blurb:

When the doctors say there’s no hope, Santa begs to differ. After all, he claims, miracles are love combined with action to get the desired result. And at Christmas time, everyone deserves a miracle!

David Wright is dying from cancer. He is not expected to see another Christmas. At least that’s what the medical professionals say. Fortunately, Santa begs to differ. After all, modern medicine is nothing more than a best guess. Santa believes anything is possible until you give up. When Santa tells David’s wife, Joan, that heaven is full and she has to keep her husband alive, she is beside herself. She has no medical skills. How can she save anyone’s life? Set your skepticism aside as Santa embraces a family already mourning their father’s terminal diagnosis and teaches them that a Christmas miracle doesn’t always require heavenly intervention. Sometimes, all it takes is a family with enough love to create their own. As Santa says, a true miracle is when love combines with action to get the desired results. And only humans are capable of that. Will Santa’s words fall on deaf ears? Or will Team Wright find a way to save their father’s life?

Excerpt:

“It’s not about you, it’s about him, Joan,” a grumbly voice said. “You’re looking at this all wrong.”

Joan turned so fast she almost lost her balance. She glared at the old man who had spoken. He was around seventy, with ruddy cheeks and twinkling blue eyes. And thick white hair. Lots of white hair. Flowing over his shoulders, winding up in a very lush beard. On top of his head was perched a brightly colored red knit hat. She frowned. “Wait a minute. You’re Santa Claus. Without the red suit, but clearly, you’re him. I’d know you anywhere.”

The man bowed and with a smile, said, “At your service.” He gestured toward a park across the street. “Let’s take a walk.”

“Oh, no. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Joan shook her head. “I didn’t mean you actually were Santa Claus. Everyone knows he doesn’t exist. I just meant you looked like him. You’re just a man who looks like him. I don’t know you. Why would I…” She glared at him. “You’re not even wearing a red suit. And since when has Santa taken up armchair psychiatry?”  She ran a hand through her blonde hair. “I must be hallucinating.” Despite her objections, she followed him across the street.

Santa laughed. “My dear, I have been dispensing advice since I was old enough to talk and make people listen. God chose my role a long time ago and I have gotten very good at it.” He looked toward the heavens. “Sorry, old boy. Still working on that humility!” He chuckled. “Man never stops reminding me.” He smiled at Joan. “Do you sense any ill-intentions from me? Of course not. I’m Santa. All I want to do is talk.”

Joan reached out and touched his shoulder.

He laughed again. A laugh that came directly from his belly. “Yes, I’m real. Well, as real as a centuries-old spirit gets. I even eat all those cookies children leave me each year. And let me tell you, that’s a heavenly feat.” Again, he looked skyward. “Yes, sir, I am well aware that borders on gluttony. A sin. You know darn well it has nothing to do with gluttony and everything to do with the magic of Christmas, an affirmation that Santa is real. I do it for the children.” He smiled at Joan. “Sometimes, He gets a little overbearing with his angels.”

He smirked. “Even God has his faults. He is by no means perfect.” A strong wind swirled through the plaza, nearly catching his knitted cap. He clapped his hand on his head to hold it down. He whispered, “And he doesn’t take criticism too well, either.”

Joan stared at the man. Surely, she was losing it. Santa a spirit, an angel? He and God didn’t even travel in the same circles. She shook her head, trying to make the hallucination go away.

Santa sighed. “I know, I know. You’ve been taught that I’m not real. That I’m a myth. That’s a rumor started by Satan himself, the old devil. He can’t stand the fact that people embrace the goodness in the world. And that I spread good cheer. He would much rather unleash a plague and make people miserable. He hates Christmas. He hates that the birth of Christ is celebrated, and his birth, well, is not. He really can’t stand the fact that love binds people so tightly during the holidays.” Santa shook his fist toward the ground. “The fool pouts all through the holidays.” He then sat up straight and gazed at Joan. “Christmas is really about love, you know. All kinds of love. The type of love he’ll never have. Love of family, love of children, love of—”

“What the heck do you want?” Joan blurted. “People are starting to stare.”

Buy links:

“The Last Christmas” is scheduled for release in December 11, 2020 and will be available from all major booksellers, including–

Extasy Books:  Preorder Link Available November 27, 2020

ABOUT SEELIE KAY:

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of 18 works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The White House Wedding, and The President’s Daughter.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Author links:

Website:  https://www.seeliekay.com

Blog:  https://www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/seeliekay51/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

Prior Books:

Kinky Briefs, http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs/

Kinky Briefs, Too, http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-too/

Kinky Briefs, Thrice, https://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-thrice/

Kinky Briefs, Quatro, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1734-5-kinky-briefs-quatro/

Kinky Briefs, Cinque, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2023-9-kinky-briefs-cinque/

The Garage Dweller, http://www.extasybooks.com/the-garage-dweller/

A Touchdown to Remember, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1504-4-a-touchdown-to-remember/

The President’s Wife, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1795-6-the-presidents-wife/

Snatching Dianna, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2263-9-snatching-diana/

The President’s Daughter, http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2032-1-the-presidents-daughter

Infamy, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2291-2-infamy/

Seizing Hope, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2349-0-seizing-hope/

Cult, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2538-8-cult/

Hope, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2658-3-hope/

The White House Wedding, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2796-2-the-white-house-wedding/

Martimus, https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2862-4-martimus/

Can a rescue cat help two damaged people fall in love?

Thanks, Cynthia Terelst, for being with us today! First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you live? Do you have pets that are your loves? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

Hi Everyone,

I live in Queensland, Australia with my two cats, Kimmy and Possum. Kimmy was adopted from a local refuge and Possum was a foster fail through a rescue. I foster kittens, and have had five in my home at one time. That was pure craziness, and I will be sticking to two or three from now on. It is rewarding to know that you are saving lives and preparing them for a wonderful forever home.

I do not have any formal training in writing, in fact my degree is in commerce, which is funny really when you think that numbers and words are opposites. I don’t think you need an education in writing to be a good writer.  Although, having an understanding of structure, flow and grammar helps. I find editing the hardest part of the process. Like most writers my first draft is about getting ideas and words on the page. Editing is perfecting those words and takes a lot of effort. You need to consider the plot, subplots, character arcs, flow, tension and much more.

The Cats Out Of The BagTell us about your most recent publication.

What inspired you to write this story?
What’s your favorite thing about the book? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

The Cat’s out of the Bag is my first published novel. It is a contemporary romance set in Australia. The two main characters are what some would consider tortured souls; Jesse is a billionaire from America who is trying to escape his empty life and Evie has rebuilt her life after escaping a bad relationship.

I felt it was an important story to write because it touches on family bullying and domestic violence. There is a lot of hope in this story and it is important for people to know there is always hope.

As it is set in Australia, I wanted to include different Australian scenes. Many of the places visited in my novel I visited with my daughter when we travelled around Australia with out cat and dog. Some of the places, like the Fairy Garden, needed research.  It was fun to learn about things I didn’t know before.

I added some comedy in there as well to lighten the mood.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cats-out-Bag-billionaire-international-ebook/dp/B07ZC2Y2PG

How would you best describe your books?

My books are full of love and hope. Even though I deal with some tough subjects I like to add some comedy in. It is amusing to write characters’ reactions to Australian English and Australian culture.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Gosh, I like to read just about anything. I have been reading a lot of romance recently to help with my writing. I am particularly fond of young adult dystopian. I have just started to read a space opera series because I wanted to know what I was missing out on.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I like creating life and watching it play out on the page. I wrote a scene recently where I cried and I hope the reader feels the same emotion I did.

I wanted to be a writer from a young age. My grandfather thought I might be a journalist like his father was. But young dreams have a way of changing. I even wanted to be a lawyer when I was thirteen. I had it all planned out. I would have a career and then have children when I was thirty-five. That didn’t eventuate either.

I wrote my first full length novel when I was sixteen.  Life interrupted and I put writing aside for over twenty years. Now I am back at it and I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I belong to Queensland Writers Centre. They send out a newsletter weekly. Another association I am a member of is Romance Writers Australia.  I am not a member of any groups where we get together to write or discuss writing.

I don’t find any one website useful. I google a lot when I get stuck.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

 No. I am lost in the zone, so it wouldn’t matter what I listened to. Sometimes I prefer silence; other times I like some background noise.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I have written one contemporary romance, The Cat’s out of the Bag, which is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. I have written a young adult novel which is yet to be published. I would like it to be traditionally published so it can be available in schools.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I am writing my second novel in the Love Down Under series, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.  It is a contemporary, second chance romance.

On April 4 I will be joining two other authors for an author talk at Hervey Bay Library. I am hoping to do some other local signing as well.

What would you like to tell readers?

I would like to thank readers for their support.

Blurb

One van. Two hearts. Thousands of kilometres.

Jesse’s a self-made billionaire who yearns to get away from his empty life and the money-hungry parasites who inhabit it. The plan? Go to Australia, tell no one about his money and find himself. Instead of finding just himself, he finds Evie, who is everything anyone should aspire to be. Now, what he aspires to be, is hers. But to be hers, he needs to tell her everything.

Evie has left her past behind. She has rebuilt herself, and her life, into one of happiness. annaAfter she meets Jesse, while volunteering at a cat shelter, memories of her past filter back in. She is stronger now and wants to trust him. But after all she has been through, is trust even possible?

The quest to find a cat a forever home leads them to travel across the country together. Can the close quarters drive them to open up to each other? Or will it drive them apart?

Excerpt

Jesse

The wave petered out, and I paddled back to the line-up. Sitting, watching, waiting. The constant breeze in my ears and the sound of waves breaking relaxed me. Lulled by the gentle rise and fall of the swells, I thought about Evie.

She was one of the most complicated people I’d ever met. Whatever she had been through had made her strong and independent. But underneath, she was all doubt. I could see her trying to be brave, but that could change in an instant as her insecurities took over. I felt like it was a fight between Nick and me, and I didn’t even know the guy. I didn’t know how to beat a ghost. But I would. I would figure it out, and I would gain Evie’s trust, bit by bit.

Her. Me. That’s what I would strive for.

*****

CYNTHIA TERELST is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian sceneryu and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.

Author photoSocial Media Links

Website http://cynthiaterelst.com/

Newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/p9p9y0

Blog http://cynthiaterelst.com/blog/

Twitter @CynthiaTerelst

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaterelstauthor/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cynthiaterelstauthor/

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cynthia-terelst

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_P_W_auth?_encoding=UTF8&author=Cynthia%20Terelst&searchAlias=digital-text&asin=B07ZCTX8SB

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/cynthiaterelst

A woman on the Rebound –Love, sex and mystery

the rebound effect teaser 1Today’s guest is LINDA GRIFFIN, author of THE REBOUND EFFECT. Welcome, Linda!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? 

I was an enthusiastic reader from day one. I read my very first Dick and Jane primer to everyone in the house, including two captive kittens, one tucked under each arm. Then I read it backwards. As soon as I figured out that somebody had to create the words I was reading, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up—a “book maker.” I dedicated The Rebound Effect to Dick and Jane “who first ignited my passion for the written word.” I’ve been writing all my life and was first published when I was in college, but I’ve been able to spend more time on it since I retired from my position as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library. My stories, from short shorts to novellas,  have been published in numerous literary journals. The Rebound Effect is my third published novel and the second with the Wild Rose Press.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I enjoy washing dishes by hand, but only if somebody reads to me while I do it.

Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!

Earlier this year, our old, unused dial-up phone started calling 911. The police came to the door several times, once in the middle of the night, before we figured it out.

What are some of your pet peeves?

The puzzling notion that conjunctions somehow reverse the pronoun rules. Only a two-year-old would say “Me went to the store,” but I constantly hear things like “Me and him went to the store” and “She gave it to he and I.”  Like Teresa, the heroine of The Rebound Effect, I also hate distracted driving and movie previews that give away too much of the story.

Where were you born/grew up?

I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and would never want to live anywhere else. I enjoy visiting other places, but San Diego will always be home.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

Reading! And eating chocolate.

Who is your hero and why?

Jaycee Dugard, because she chose to live her life with strength and joy and purpose, helping others instead of dwelling on what was taken from her. I also very much admire former President Jimmy Carter for all the good work he does all over the world.

What kind of world ruler would you be?

A terrible one! Overwhelmed and confused.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love the three R’s –reading, writing, and research. I also enjoy movies, Scrabble, and travel. I’ve been to three countries and forty-eight states, most recently Hawaii. I like to visit art museums, galleries, and botanical exhibits too—beauty feeds the soul.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Klutzy, independent, honest, and impatient.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I wrote my first story. I lifted the basic plot from a Nancy and Sluggo comic book and wrote “Judy and the Fairies”at the age of six.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I always find it impossible to choose just one favorite of anything, but the one I have watched most often is the 1968 film, No Way to Treat a Lady, with George Segal and Rod Steiger. Love, Actually may eventually overtake it, though.

 Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

I can see my forthcoming novel Guilty Knowledge as a movie, or better yet a TV series. I would cast Boris Kodjoe or Trai Byers as the hero, and his partner is one of my favorite supporting characters. I always enjoy writing dialog for tough, sassy women.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I’m not sure if it counts as a literary pilgrimage, but I went to England to visit the places described in the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. Cornwall is lovely.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have two. My sometime writing partner, Huxley, is a stuffed writer mouse from Starbucks. I consider him co-author of the novella “Starbucks” (Eclectica April/May 2015.). He named the characters and insisted that it not be a romance, although he is otherwise partial to bedroom scenes. My muse is a lizard named Sparkle. They can both be seen on my Facebook author page. Sparkle is in the cover image.

#OnTour with @SilverDaggerBookTours | #SilverDaggerBookTours #Romantic Silver Dagger Logo#Suspense #Psychological #Thriller #TheReboundEffect #TheWildRosePress @lindagriffinauthor @lindagriffin50702

About the book:

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.
Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.
Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.
And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45862670-the-rebound-effect

Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SS8SGT1/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rebound-effect-linda-griffin/1131957492

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Linda_Griffin_The_Rebound_Effect?id=WmqhDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-rebound-effect-2

Website: http://www.lindagriffinauthor.com/the_rebound_effect_134160.htm

~~&~~~~&~~~~&~~~~&~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Griffin_400x400I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection and initiating fiction order lists for the entire library system. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s–reading, writing, and research–I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.

What’s on a bordello madam’s bucket list?

Photo by Frank Kovalchek

Lily Pearl Evans has run the Sassafras Social Club in Chaparral, New Mexico for 15 years, and she’s seen some things. But there are still some things she’d like to see. But not chickens.

See, Lily Pearl has been lucky enough to deal with a more affluent clientele–credit approved only.

Things don’t always run smoothly, but none so rocky as the night a dehydrated, dirty stranger shows up on her front steps. He’s not a client–doesn’t even look like he’d be applying for services. But he’ll change her life in ways she can’t even imagine.

Check out the featured blog on Romance Lives Forever!