women

Meet Diane Scott Lewis!


Thanks, Diane, for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

Thanks for hosting me. I’m originally from Northern California. I joined the navy at nineteen and was stationed in Greece. I met and married my husband there. We have two sons and now live in Western Pennsylvania near our granddaughters. We also have one naughty dachshund for a pet. Or rather, we’re her pets.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I’m definitely a coffee fiend in the mornings. My burgundy coffee cup is on my desk all morning, with my husband as barista. I’m a red wine fiend in the evenings. When we lived in Virginia, their wine industry was booming, and we traveled around tasting the many varieties. Pennsylvania is up and coming for wine, too, thank goodness. But we still visit Virginia once a year to see friends and drink wine. We prefer the dry reds.

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?

I was always proficient at creative writing in school, but I have no degree in that field. I love to research and write historical fiction. I’d call my books authentic historical fiction with strong female characters. Most of my early novels are set in the late eighteenth century, England, France, and America. Now I’m working on a WWII novel set in France.

Tell us about your most recent publication?

My most recent publication is a novella, To Entice a Spy. It’s set in England in 1794, during the French Revolution. A widowed countess returns from France to track an evil spy. But her childhood love complicates matters.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

When traveling in England, I found a book on eighteenth century Truro, in Cornwall. It names streets, who lived in the homes, politics, and so on. I just had to set a novel there. And since I’d researched the French Revolution for my first novel, I wanted to put it to good use and throw in spies and an aristocratic woman (I usually write of more common people) who must seek out a spy, who is also after her.

I learned that a man named William Wickham started the espionage investigators in England at this same time, referred to as the  Secret Services. I use him briefly as a character.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I loved being in the POV of a villain, a first for me. How nasty could I make him, and still make him believable? Even villains need plausible motivations for their actions. I had planned to visit Truro, the town where my story is set, but due to family issues, I had to cancel.

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

I like the research, getting my facts correct. I also enjoy creating quirky characters. The least? Promotion. You’re always pushing your books in people’s faces. Please buy! I need a cheap publicity firm.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. My first stories I illustrated at age five, then asked my mom to write the words I dictated. I wrote my first novel, set in ancient Egypt and Rome, at age ten. At this age major movies were my inspiration, such as Cleopatra and Mutiny on the Bounty.

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

I belong to the Historical Novel Society, and once belonged to the Napoleonic Historical Society. I’ve found the HNS conferences helpful and have made friends there. I’ve gotten to visit cities all over the U. S. for the conferences.

For me, Jack Lynch’s Eighteenth Century Studies website is the most useful.

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

I usually like it quiet, although I enjoy soft classic rock, and classical music; it puts me in a better mood. Now that my husband is retired, I hear the Today show from the other room.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

I’ve been with an on-line critique group since 2005. People come and go, and we even had a mutiny that split the group in half. But we prevail. My partners are diverse, and bring many vital aspects to the writing experience. Some might be good on grammar, others on character motivation, plot themes.

I met one of my critique partners in England three years ago. We’ve written together since 2006, and finally met face-to-face. Wonderful. I’ve also been in face-to-face groups that were helpful. I miss the one I had in Virginia.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

My path was a long and winding road. I never have gotten an agent interested, and the Big Houses no longer accept un-agented queries. So my first publisher was a small on-line press. I’m now with two well-established medium presses, one on Canada and one in New York. I have thirteen published novels.

I stuck with my first book (I’m stubborn) constantly revising it. That was my first sale after ten years of on and off queries—and tons of re-writes. The key is revision, critique partners, and perseverance. Take workshops and go to conferences.

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

I’m working on a WWII novel set in Brittany France. I have an unusual love story in the midst of war. How can it possibly end happily? We’ll see.

My next appearance will be at the Oil City Book Festival, in Oil City, Pennsylvania; date not yet determined. I did it last year and had a great time.
Anything else you would like to add?

Just thanks again for hosting me, and your questions are thorough and thoughtful.

Social media links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=diane+scott+lewis&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/diane-scott-lewis-999d8de3-fdae-46d4-8758-665f9362c2ae

FB Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Diane-Scott-Lewis-277223019312535/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3999998.Diane_Scott_Lewis

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DSLewisHF

Author bio:

Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons all over the world, including Puerto Rico and Guam. A member of the Historical Novel Society, she wrote book reviews for the Historical Novels Review. Diane worked from 2007 to 2010 as an on-line historical editor. She has had several historical and historical-romance novels published between 2010 and 2021.

Her first Time-travel, Beyond the Fall, was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2018. To Entice a Spy was published in 2021.

Diane lives with her husband in western Pennsylvania.

For more on her books visit her website: www.dianescottlewis.org

Iris Blobel has a new release! Check it out!

Let me take you to New Zealand
I’m happy to share with you another story which is set in NZ.
If you love Australian / New Zealand romance, be sure to get your copy today!

About IN THE SHADOWS OF A LIE

The discovery of her mother’s diaries unravels a secret which sends Lani on a journey to New Zealand …

She lost her mother in an accident. Now, Lani Dekker is determined to meet the man who, according to her mother’s diaries, is her father. He’s not what she expected, a bit on the extravagant side, but she soon warms up to him, thanks no less to Dylan, her father’s neighbour. Despite her attraction to Dylan, she can’t figure out whether he’s a friend or foe.

Dylan Harper is merely going through the daily motions after his wife died in a ski crash. That is, until his life is turned upside down by the arrival of his neighbour’s daughter. Their attraction is instant, even more so when they wake up in the same bed after an earthquake. However, it’s her accusation that his interest in her involves her father’s money rather than their mutual magnetism that derails their newfound bond.

Will finding the truth about her parents be a chance for Lani and Dylan to overcome their differences?

Get your copy of IN THE SHADOWS OF A LIE today!
on Amazon

What reviewers say about the story:

5 stars:
A beautiful plot line with very emotional characters.. The path to love is difficult and has lot of intresting turns for the characters.Loved the book and the leads.

5 stars:
Heartwarming story about love, forgiveness and acceptance. Lani’s grieving her Mother’s death and trying to cope, when her grandpa opens up and tells her about an untruth, lie. She finds her lost father, unbeknownst to him he even has a daughter. Toby, Lani’s birth father, never married or loved another woman after her mother. Toby’s neighbor, Dylan, and long time friend had lost his wife after only 2 years of marriage and he is still missing her when Dylan finds Lani in the stairwell of Toby’s home. Lani’s mother’s belief in memories and forgiveness helps Lani move on in forgiveness toward her Grandpa, accepting and loving her Dad, Toby and loving Dylan for who he is.

Add IN THE SHADOWS OF A LIE to your
Goodreads TBR !

Where to find Iris:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ68rL
Website http://www.irisblobel.com/
Blog http://www.irisblobel.com/blog
Twitter https://twitter.com/_iris_b
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Blobel/e/B00FNFP3LI/
Other Online Bookstores https://books2read.com/irisblobel

Follow in Lisabet Sarai’s footsteps as she takes you through a lustful landscape

Most authors borrow from their own experience in crafting their fiction, to a greater or lesser extent. People, places, and situations from our lives get selected, altered and recombined. This helps to make our tales lively, realistic and believable.

In my most recent release, Incognito, I mined my personal history to a greater extent than usual. The novel is set in the historic Beacon Hill district of Boston, with parallel plot lines in the present and in the late Victorian era. As it happens, I had the good fortune to live in Beacon Hill myself for eighteen months, back in the nineties, and I loved every minute. As I wandered along the cobblestone streets, marveling at the ivy-covered row houses, I felt as though I were going back in time. I’ve mentioned in other blog posts that I have a peculiar affinity for Victorian architecture, fashion and culture. Living in Beacon Hill was a dream come true.

My heroine Miranda literally walks in my footsteps. In fact, her apartment on Charles Street, with its wrought iron fire escape looking out on the brick alley, is more or less based on the place I rented. The antique and bric-a-brac shop where she discovers Beatrice’s diary was a place I often browsed. Louisburg Square, where Beatrice’s home is located, is as elegant today as it was in her time.

I even threw in some of my favorite restaurants. Both Iruña and the Guernavaca Cafe are closed now, but when I lived in Boston, they were much as described in the book. The trendy sandwich bar across from Miranda’s building where she and Lucy have lunch is also based on a real place – and according to the Internet, it’s still in business!

Of course some of the book’s locations come purely from my imagination, like the Fantasy Factory sex club and the seedy bar down by the waterfront where Miranda plays billiards with the bikers. All in all, though, I shamelessly indulged myself while writing Incognito, recreating many happy memories.

I wonder if my readers can tell?

Incognito New Release Giveaway

Win a $10 bookstore GC or free books in my INCOGNITO giveaway. Contest runs from June 1 to June 15.

To enter, do any or all of the following. (Each action is one entry.)

o Join my VIP email list: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

o Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisabet-sarai

o Email me, telling me what book of mine you’d like to read:  contest@lisabetsarai.com

On June 16th, I will randomly select one grand-prize winner who’ll get a $10 gift certificate, plus two runner-ups who can choose any ebook from my indie back list.

THE STORY:

During the day, Miranda Cahill works diligently on her doctoral thesis. At night, she has sex with strangers.

Public coupling, multiple partners, age play, spankings, bondage, lesbian lust—each salacious adventure exposes new dimensions of her depravity. Her secret life explodes when she realizes her masked partner at a kink club and the charismatic colleague courting her are in fact the same man.

Dickens scholar Mark Anderson seems like an affable, uncomplicated Midwesterner, but he has hidden depths, myriad talents, and an unlimited appetite for erotic variety. With Mark as her guide,  Miranda comes to accept the intricacy of her own desires, as well as to trust her heart.

Reader Advisory: This novel is an erotic romance featuring a committed relationship and culminating in a wedding. Nevertheless, the main characters participate in a wide range of taboo sexual activities, both together and separately.

Buy Links

Kinky Literature: https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/362-incognito-secret-lives-forbidden-loves

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165857058

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1147874

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/incognito-secret-lives-forbidden-loves

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61138791-incognito

About Lisabet

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, and  Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

EXCERPT___VICTORIAN

June 12, 1886

I scarcely know how to commence this account of my adventures and my sins. Indeed, I do not fully understand why I feel compelled to commit these things to writing. Clearly, my purpose is not to review and relive these experiences in the future, for in twenty minutes’ time these sentences will be invisible even to me. Perhaps in the years ahead, I will trail my fingers across the empty parchment, colored like flesh, and the memories will come alive without the words, coaxed from the pages by my touch like flames bursting from cold embers.

I have a secret life, another self, and that secret has become a burden that I clutch to myself, and yet would be relieved of. So, like the Japanese who write their deepest desires on slips of rice paper and then burn them, I write of secret joys and yearnings, and send that writing into oblivion.

Let me begin again. My name is Beatrice. The world sees me as poised, prosperous, respectable, wife of one of Boston’s leading merchants and industrialists, mother of two sweet children, lady of a fine brick house on fashionable Mount Vernon Street, with Viennese crystal chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, French velvet draperies, and Italian marble fireplaces. I devote myself to the education of my dear Daniel and Louisa, the management of my household, works of charity, cultural afternoons. In sum, the many and sundry details of maintaining oneself in proper society.

Though I have borne two children, I am still considered beautiful. Indeed, with my golden locks, fair skin, sapphire eyes and rosy lips, I am often compared to an angel. How little they know, those who so describe me. For in truth, I am depraved, wanton, and lecherous, so lost that I do not even regret my fall.

My husband is a kind, intelligent, and honorable man, for whom I have the deepest regard and affection. He treats me with the utmost consideration and respect; he rarely comes to my bed and when he does, he is profuse with apologies for his unfortunate lust. Alas, he hardly knows or understands me. I understand him to a much greater extent, enough to know that I must lie still and silent under him, not move or cry out as his manhood dances inside me. Everyone knows that for proper women, the rites of the flesh are a trial that must be endured; men are subject to carnal weakness, and women’s lot is to be the passive receptacle of their spending. This is what my husband believes. Knowing he believes this takes the fire from the moment, and makes it easier for me to play my frigid, compliant role.

I know better, though.

Today, I walked in Louisburg Square with Daniel, Louisa, and their nurse. The weather was glorious, sky of limpid blue sown with fluffy clouds, new leaves dancing in the breeze. My parasol raised against the sun, I did not see him until he was almost upon us.

He was of medium height, sumptuously attired, as fair-haired and blue-eyed as I. His mouth had a fullness that I liked, the look of someone who savors the sweet things in life, and a readiness to smile. As he swept off his hat and bowed, I noticed his hands, with long delicate fingers clad in beige kid gloves.

“Good afternoon, Madame,” he said courteously. “I trust that you and your children are enjoying this fine weather.”

Meanwhile, his eyes were sending me a different, more intimate message, which would have been lost on someone who was not sensitized to such things. There were no words in this message, only images, emotions, sensation, a quickening of breath, a heat, a tightening.

I am perpetually amazed at how we recognize each other, those of us who live beyond the pale of propriety. Is it some primal scent that we exude? Some subtle clue in posture or expression? Could it in fact be some spiritual connection, a mingling of thoughts in the ether? The mechanism is obscure to me, but I know the phenomenon only too well. I have sat in a concert hall with two hundred elegantly dressed, respectable members of proper society and found my eyes drawn to a single face in the balcony, a set of eyes that knew me, saw through my finery to the hungry flesh beneath.

“Good afternoon, Sir,” I said, my voice low and modest. “It is indeed fine, especially for so early in the season.”

“Of course, that may indicate that it will become hot sooner than usual.” The gentleman’s eyes sparkled with humor at his little private joke. Hot indeed, I thought to myself, adjusting my expression to signal some slight disapproval.

“I do not believe that I have the pleasure of your acquaintance, Sir,” I said.

“Forgive me for my lack of courtesy.” He reached into his waistcoat, withdrew a card and wrote something upon it. “Here is my card.”

“Thank you.” I examined the card. It was not, in fact, a visiting card, but a blank upon which he had inscribed the following few words:

Ten O’clock this evening    

No. __ Beacon Street         

With respect and hope,    

Charles Burnside

His name was unknown to me. Clearly he must be one of the many visitors to our prosperous city. I gave him my most luminous smile. “Perhaps we will meet again, Sir.” “I do hope so, Madame. Adieu for now.”

Check out this hockey two-fer from Linda O’Connor!

Welcome, Linda! Tell us about your books!

I’m celebrating the release of the first two books of a new series, Laugh-out-Loud Hockey Caper Romance. The first book is Love and the Hidden Hockey Clues. It’s about a doctor who finds a tin box hidden between the studs during renovations of her home. She thought the items were random hockey mementos but realizes they’re clues and enlists the help of the captain of the local pro hockey team to help sort out where they lead. I’ve always thought it would be cool to find a hidden treasure during renovations and that sparked the initial idea.

Love and the Hockey Heist, going live on June 12, is the second book in the series. It starts out with the theft of a treasured travel alarm clock and that triggers a hilarious series of events when Dr. Piper Roblin tries to steal it back! It involves a fake engagement with popular pro hockey player, Brent Dean. The theft of a travel alarm clock is based on a real-life experience of mine. I never did get it back, but turns out, it’s a fun premise for a story.

I also love escape rooms with the challenge of clues to decipher and puzzles to solve. I thought I’d weave that type of white-collar crime mystery into a romance. Add in a smart, sassy doctor and a swoon-worthy professional hockey player, and the stage is set for a fun, clever hockey caper. All of the (stand-alone) stories in this series will have an element of white-collar crime – like a cozy mystery without murder!

Here’s the blurb for Love and the Hidden Hockey Clues ~

When she was younger, Dr. Abigail Clark dreamed of playing professional hockey, but the world wasn’t ready for a female player. That stung. She skated as far away from hockey as possible – until she lands a job in the emergency department of a hockey-crazy town and buys the house of the late beloved Zamboni driver. A tin box is discovered during the renovation of her new home, and Abigail brushes it off as a time capsule left by the previous owner – that is until someone tries to steal it. Turns out, the odd collection is more than just sentimental hockey memorabilia.

Abigail inadvertently embroils Del Braebury, captain of the local pro hockey team, into helping her sort it out. Her history with hockey players is rocky at best, but he comes in handy when she needs to access parts of the rink that are off limits. Del is happy to be tangled up in the clues of the hidden hockey loot. In the process of solving the mystery, he hopes to win Abigail’s heart!

Enjoy an excerpt from Love and the Hidden Hockey Clues ~

“So you have a date for Saturday, and you have no idea who he is except that he’s a good kisser?” Sierra asked. Her hands might as well have been on her hips.

“Pretty much,” Abigail said, a tad sheepishly. “I’m sure I’ll see him again at the gym before next Saturday. I’ll ask him then.”

Piper’s eyes widened. “Isn’t that gym owned by one of the Edge players? I heard the team hangs out there.”

Sierra’s jaw dropped. “You kissed a hockey player?”

“What? No.” Although they certainly were built. And they dropped ten grand like it was Monopoly money. “Oh, jeez.”

Bailey laughed delightedly and pulled out her cell phone. “The woman who has vowed never to date a hockey player, who disses hockey players at every opportunity, who shows nothing but disdain for women who date hockey players…is going out with a hockey player. Wouldn’t that be karma?” She searched for pictures of the Brighton Edge players and handed it to Abigail.

Abigail took Bailey’s phone reluctantly and scrolled through the team members. Her heart dropped when she found him. She held the phone out to show the others.

Bailey whistled, Sierra’s eyes narrowed, and Piper tried unsuccessfully to hide a sympathetic smile.

Abigail was going to the dinner and dance with Del Braebury, captain of the Brighton Edge hockey team.

Here’s the blurb for Love and the Hockey Heist ~

Dr. Piper Roblin is peeved. She’s pretty sure her new neighbour stole her travel alarm clock. It may not be worth much, but it has sentimental value. Piper hatches a plan to get it back, but her plan relies on Brent Dean, popular forward of the Brighton Edge hockey team, to finagle a dinner invitation to gain access to her neighbour’s house.

Brent thought the invite from the stunningly beautiful cardiologist was based on a thoughtful gesture to welcome new neighbours to Brighton. He didn’t realize the gig included subterfuge, thievery, and a fake engagement. But he didn’t get to where he is without a lot of hustle and determination, and since he’s always up for some fun, let the games begin.

Enjoy an excerpt from Love and the Hockey Heist ~

“I need a fiancé.” Piper Roblin tucked her purse under the stool and sat down heavily. Her shoulder-length hair, the colour of rich dark chocolate flounced around her heart-shaped face. Her three best friends, already seated at the workstations waiting for the cooking class to begin, turned and stared at her with identical expressions: open-mouthed shock.

Bailey Jansen, a dermatologist with an adventurous spirit, and the most outspoken of their group, was the first to recover. “Excuse me?”

Piper pulled back her shoulders, trying to make the most of her one-hundred-fifty-seven-centimeter height, and raised her chin. “I need a man, a hockey player to be exact.”

Bailey grinned at the determination in Piper’s brown eyes and waved a hand. “I’ve been saying the same thing for months.”

They looked expectantly at Abigail Clark, a levelheaded emergency room physician, who sat at the workstation in front of them beside the fourth pea in their pod, Sierra Westlake, a serious-minded general surgeon.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Abigail asked.

“Two words. Del Braebury.” Bailey pointed at the impressive diamond ring on Abigail’s left hand. “You’re engaged to the captain of the Brighton Edge hockey team.”

“You can make it happen,” Piper said.

Sierra raised a hand. “Whoa. Let’s just pump the brakes here. Why do you need a fiancé? Last I heard you were too busy being the chief of cardiology to worry about dating, never mind planning a wedding. And didn’t you say that your parents are big on the whole pre-arranged marriage idea?”

Piper waved that aside. “This is just temporary. I have no intention of settling into a relationship. I accepted an invitation to a dinner party, but the only reason I was invited was because I sort of mentioned that my fiancé played for the Brighton Edge.”

Sierra shook her head. “What? Why would you do that?”

“I was backed into a corner.” Piper gritted her teeth.

Bailey laughed. “I hear you, sister. You don’t know how many times I’ve needed to use that.”

“Really?”

“No, never. How did that even come up?”

Buy link for Love and the Hidden Hockey Clues

Buy link for Love and the Hockey Heist

Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, romances – with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Website:  https://www.lindaoconnor.net

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA

Newsletter Sign up: https://www.lindaoconnor.net/contact/

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

A memoir of a life lived on the edge–Anne Hamilton Fowler

  Canadian Anne Hamilton Fowler appeared to have it all. However, life is not always as idyllic as it seems and at age twenty a series of events almost destroyed her. Emerging from the wreckage she reinvented herself, started over and proceeded to live on the edge with a risk- taking life style.                                                                   
Then, in 1993 an event experienced during a trip to Central America changed everything.                           

“I’ve Worn Many Hats” is an inspirational read that demonstrates our human frailties, one’s ability to survive personal adversity and how we can learn to forgive both ourselves and others. It is a story of redemption.
Anne Fowler is a retired Canadian who divides the year between her Haliburton summer cottage and a home in Central America. This memoir is her first book and all proceeds will be used to support Anne’s ongoing humanitarian projects in Honduras .

Anne says: The blurb on the book jacket cover gives the reader a glimpse into the rocky life I have experienced in my 81 years; a life that has most definitely not been without risk or uneventful!!
    Here is one of those risky romantic adventures that I relate in Chapter Ten, “Close Encounters of the **^%#!!* Kind”
         It was during a particularly unsettled time in my life when I was REALLY down in the dumps and thought, maybe a cruise will cheer me up.  Since I was travelling solo, I boarded not sure what to expect, but just in case, several books were tucked in my suitcase. The plan was to find a secluded spot on the top deck, relax in a deck chair, read and enjoy the ocean breezes while drinking a glass of wine.  Didn’t happen that way!                                                               
        The books were never opened because my first day on board I met an extremely attractive divorcee
travelling with his two teenaged sons. To quote one of my favorite speakers, Henry Kissinger, “Power is a great aphrodisiac.” It certainly was in this case!                                                       

Anne just before she went on the cruise

            While his boys were off doing their own thing, the attractive president of a Detroit based corporation became my charming companion for the duration of the trip. Although I’d been on many ships, my accommodations had never come close to the level of his state room. Luxurious beyond words with a large ocean view veranda, it was like something out of a movie. These surroundings alone could conjure up visions of romantic encounters presenting endless possibilities to explore… which of course we did on several occasions.
        However, one of the most exciting “no no” situations I’d ever experienced involved a life boat. One evening, while strolling on deck enjoying the warm breeze and star filled sky, we passed a craft
undergoing some sort of upgrading or repair. Not to be dissuaded from a chance for adventure, we looked at each other and said, “Why don’t we check out the inside?” What an opportunity! How could we resist?   We climbed on board carrying our evening’s second bottle of wine and proceeded to take advantage of the unusual locale. The risk that someone enjoying an evening walk might pass by and spy on our activities just added to the excitement! But totally unexpected was our discovery by four workmen at a particularly inopportune moment when they showed up to check on their repairs. After quickly reassembling ourselves, we beat a hasty retreat. The workers didn’t speak English but “sorry, sorry” is a universal term understood by all. Although we were spared further embarrassment and didn’t bump into them the rest of the trip, my guess is that we supplied a titillating story for the entire ship’s crew. Some
of the “looks” received from a few staff members were probably just imagined, the result of a guilty conscience! We enjoyed each other’s company in what was a classic shipboard romance that ended when we docked. The trip had accomplished its purpose, my spirits were substantially lifted and I no longer resided “in the dumps.”
  Romantic escapades were part of a life that included inappropriate behavior, run ins with the law, personal tragedy and eventually redemption. Better late than never!!!
Web Page:         https://anne.honduranhope.net
Video interview:       https://youtu.be/Zs-SZXzH6Lg
Facebook name:     Anne Hamilton Fowler

Get ready to experience a roller coaster ride of emotions!  Laughter, sadness, empathy, outrage. 

Buy links:
  For Canadian readers:  Paperback – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1778350321
   eBook – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09HDN55FV

  For US readers:  Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1778350321
  eBook –https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HDN55FV

  UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1778350321
  Germany – https://www.amazon.de/dp/1778350321
  France – https://www.amazon.fr/dp/1778350321
  Spain – https://www.amazon.es/dp/1778350321
  Italy – https://www.amazon.it/dp/1778350321
  Australia – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1778350321

Giveaway! Get in on it now!

Strong Enough

The Masonville Series Book 4

by Jana Richards

Genre: Small Town Contemporary Romance

Love can make you stronger, if you let it.

Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.

A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.

As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.

Add to Goodreads

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Unexpected

The Masonville Series Book 3

Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife’s parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.
Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She’s intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They’re determined to show the world, and the girls’ grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie’s efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.

**On Sale at Amazon for .99cents June 3 – 17!!**

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To Heal a Heart

The Masonville Series Book 2

Two souls in pain, two hearts in need of rescue.

Garrett Saunders’ world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.

Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett’s rescue horse and he’ll help with repairs around her farm.

Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she’s hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett’s love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?

**On Sale at Amazon for .99cents May 20 – June 3!!**

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Child of Mine

The Masonville Series Book 1

Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.

Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

**On Sale at Amazon for .99cents until May 20!!**

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When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads * Newsletter

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon

A small shoebox holds big secrets

  • WELCOME, LYNN GRIFFIN!!

Please tell us, what do you write?

The Twenty-One-Year Contract is a standalone, just like its prequel Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox. Both are 20th Century Fiction>romance>drama>crime>mystery>suspense. I didn’t realize when I started out, but generally I write romance, filled with characters that have something to say and plot lines that are real life. What happened in history still happens today. I aim to expose that fact.

Do you believe that characters are the most important part of your stories?

Characters wake me up in the middle of the night shouting “hey listen to me, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down!” How can I possibly ignore them? Their stories about strong women, courage, and survival. They are real, honest, hardworking. Though of course some are not so much. There’s always the villain that everyone loves to hate.

Then there’s those who read my books and tell me something that makes my day. One said, after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person said, “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion.

What’s the fun part of writing and why?

I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are!

Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract that you’re talking about today? 

I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. Those I taught in return taught me. I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them it has been astounding. Both my published books are standalone.

Then there are those coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you, or maybe you know someone who has talked their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.

What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?

Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! For me it’s a real issue unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuit’s!  I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my book. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But that would be wonderful if you did buy my book. Thank you.

Marketing can also be expensive, not only in time but money, and of course it stops me doing what I love to do most. Writing stories.

My sincere thanks go to every reader who has or is considering buying my book.  Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers?

Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort and those who share their kind thoughts in other ways.

I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned along the way.

I offer to host authors, new and experienced to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and share their thoughts.

If there’s anything else I think might be of interest, I post again on social media. And I get a real buzz to hear back from them. However, here comes an apology with regard to my blog. www.wifeinthewest.com because I have temporarily stopped responding to my readership. Why? Because unfortunately I have had over a 1000 scams/trolls ruining perfectly good dialogue my readers, with genuine questions. I take hours to read through messages to weed out the good from the bad. I’ve begun with a clean-up program, hopefully that will resolve the issue.

Oh, and I’ve also recently listed my recent up to date program on my blog so readers knew what is available, rather than them having to trawl through every post.

Kathleen Gray is our central character of The Twenty-One-Year Contract. Kate, as she is now known, agreed I could ask her a question for this blog. I think I floored her when I did. It was difficult for her I have to admit.

“In a nutshell Kate, why did you run away?” Kate gave me such a look.

“In a nutshell?” Her eyes watered, I felt guilty for asking, but she plowed on ever the determined character she is. “I think you know the answer to that, but honestly, I wanted to find my birth mother. But then of course there was Uncle Jack. I absolutely adore him.  Since my parents died… he had to take care of me… I knew he needed to get on with his own life. He needed to settle down, get married, have a family of his own. He couldn’t do that with me hanging around.”

                                                ***

Dorian Craddock is a secondary character in The Twenty-One-Year Contract. She’s pure evil, but in my opinion, she shines out as one of those people you love to hate. I thought I’d push one of her buttons to get a response. 

“Dorian, I think you owe an answer to our readers as to why you feel the need to be so mean to so many people.” I handed her the mic. And started typing furiously.

“I owe the readers an answer, do I? Seriously? Who do you think you are, pushing me about, asking me to tell the readers about my business? Really, I’m mean? Besides, you know full well Harriet and Kate got everything they deserved! It could have been so much worse.” She gave me one of those sly smiles.  “Read the dialogue, read between the lines. You wrote it. I’m owed plenty, as you well know, and I’m going to get what I deserve.”

(Little does she know!)

Tagline: Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…

Blurb: Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.

Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.

Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

SNIPPET FROM The Twenty-One-Year Contract

‘After a glass of water, Jack made himself a cup of tea and returned to the job in hand. This was going to be much harder than he could ever have imagined. Working deep through the night, Jack methodically sifted through volumes of paperwork until light inched its way through the curtain. Though he felt thoroughly ready for bed, he continued searching, his aim to find at least a smidgen of information about his niece. Randomly tidying up as he went, Jack noticed an encyclopedia oddly extended over one of the top shelves. He tried pushing it back into place. It was jammed. It looked awkward. Pulling it out to check the depth of the book, he found a box file hidden behind. Upon the side panel was one word, capitalized in thick bold lettering: KATHLEEN As the hazy sunlight grew, puzzled, Jack pulled the curtains to lend natural light, took the file off the shelf, sat back in Henry’s chair, and looked inside…’

BIO:

I’ve been happily married for 46 years and lucky enough to be surrounded by my lovely family. I’m lucky to be a grandmother of 5 and had plans to trek the world when we retired. But that was put on hold for good reason. We were in Spain when the invisible big bad wolf arrived (Covid). It changed so many lives,  forever.

Going back in history, I was told I was thick at school. No-one should ever do that, not to anyone. I’ve always had this notion I wanted teach and write, and I did, even though I came out of school with nothing. Just goes to show if I can do it anyone can!

Potted history: Married, two children and did a wide range of jobs: from cleaner, to barmaid, to secretary, to social worker and eventually got my certificates and became a lecturer. Nothing stopped me writing though. It’s a passion. I always wrote around the full-time paid job. Well, the bills don’t pay themselves do they?

When I eventually retired, my husband and I decided to travel.  I still didn’t have the confidence to submit my work. If it hadn’t been for a a couple of good friends and my husband with a: ‘do it before you pop your clogs mate,’ I don’t think I ever would have been in this wonderful position now. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the contract! Pinch me!

Available now Secrets, shame and a Shoebox / Sequel: The Twenty-One-Year Contract.

Reviews can be found on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Bookbub, Goodreads, and the books can be ordered at all good book stores near you.

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping drama

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars VINE VOICE: A poignant, disturbing and heart-warming page-turner

  1. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0971T3RGC
  2. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0971T3RGC
  3. Website: Blog: www.wifeinthewest.com
  4. www.facebook.com/lynngriffinauthor
  5. www.instagram.com/lynngriffinauthoruk/
  6. www://twitter.com/LBGriffinAuthor/
  7.  Title: The Twenty-One-Year Contract
    Series Name: Prequel to Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox
    20th Century Historical fiction> romance>mystery>suspense
    Page Count: 382
    Word Count: 86297
    Digital Price: $5.99
    Print Price: $18.99

 …”Very steamy, explicit, full of action, and guaranteed HEA”–is Inevitable for you?

Please welcome Melverna McFarlane!

When I decided to seriously write, I had a difficult time deciding what genre to write in. I love Romance, Epic Fantasy, and Young Adult Fantasy. I finally settled on Romance because it is by far the genre I read and love the most. It spans so many sub-genres that I couldn’t go wrong.

The idea for my first romance novel, Inescapable, came pretty easy to me.

Writing was a different ball game. There was a huge learning curve for me, but I actually enjoy the process. Even the days where words hide from me and the story stalls because I haven’t quite gotten the right mix of plot and character to move the story on.

When it came to writing Inevitable, I initially had no intention of writing a series. The couple featured in this sophomore novel, René and Nico, kept hounding me for a resolution to their broken love story. My readers wanted to them to be happy, and they wanted to be happy. So I explored their personal histories and the reason for their previous relationship ending and came out with a book about two beautifully flawed people who needed each other. Of course, I mixed their love story in with action and the dangers of Nico’s mafia lifestyle.

I’m really excited for the reception of this book, and my other author friends keep telling me this won’t go away. It makes sense. Each book is my child and once it’s published my child is leaving the safety of my home for the brave unknown of the world. What matters is that readers find the book entertaining and they feel an emotional connection to the ups and downs my book babies go through.

Blurb

Nico

Four years ago, I made one mistake, and she left. I couldn’t convince her to stay no matter how much I loved her. Still love her. But one day she turns up at my door asking for my protection. A rival family is threatening her life and the business she busted her ass for. No matter what unresolved issues lie between us, the heartache I’ve carried, or the dreams I wish were reality, I won’t let anyone threaten her or the family I had always wanted to be mine. I will always protect her. But I am more than just a temporary bodyguard. I have a second chance to show her my love is worth fighting for, and I will claim her completely. With this new chance, she can’t escape the inevitable.

René

Asking Nico for help is the last thing I want to do. After breaking up with him four years ago, I am not ready to be reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with him, to begin with. Avoiding him becomes impossible when he is still the only man I trust to protect me and my family from a rival mafia boss intent on ruining our lives. His every touch reignites my passions. Though I fight it, and will never admit it, my feelings for my ex had never died. As the heat between us flames to new heights, he tempts me with the possibility of a second chance at love.

Please Note: Both Inescapable and Inevitable can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Oliveri Mafia series

Buy Links $4.99

UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WH5LTPM

Series Link—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099MW7L8M

Excerpt – rated PG

“You’ve got this,” René told herself. She straightened her posture, and faced the door she had walked out of three years ago with no intention of ever returning. “It’s not like I am crawling back. If it weren’t for Onika I wouldn’t even be here right now.”

Although René was a first-generation American and had lived in the states her entire life, her family was big, loud, close, and international. With her childhood summer vacations spent in Jamaica, she and Onika, who had only moved to Felicidad two years ago, might as well have been twins. They spend almost every day of their breaks together.

Two years ago, René had offered to help Onika get settled, but her stubborn-ass cousin rejected her offer. Now René was a target with few options.

It was too late to lament her current circumstances, her business was at stake.

Okay, her life and Onikas were also at stake which technically was more important.

But damn, René had worked her ass off to become a hairstylist whose growing popularity resulted in two successful salons. She’d spent years renting chairs in other people’s salons while doing hair in her parents’ extension. Nights, weekends, and friendships were sacrificed on the altar of her dream. Finally, success had started trickling into her life. And now there was a threat to everything she had poured her soul into building, not to mention her life.

She wanted to curse Onika’s name, but Onika was only part of the equation. Who knew her friendship with Jessie would one day up the stakes to her dilemma?

There she went, hyping herself up when she needed a calm head to deal with that man behind the door. If anyone had gotten her wrapped up in drama she would have bet the bank on him—Nico Donini.

All this time she had avoided his name. In her mind, he was an abstract idea. Because thinking his name brought inevitable memories. Not the rip your heart out memories but the warm, cuddle sessions that plagued her after she’d ended things. They whispered to her of the what-ifs she could never voice.

Desperation had driven her here but it didn’t cancel out Nico as her wisest choice. Who was she fooling? She was not ready to face Nico. She spun to her car once again.

Before her first full step, the voice still haunting her dreams said, “Running again? You haven’t changed, have you?”

Author Bio

Melverna McFarlane loves stories with Happily Ever Afters. After years of characters taunting her imagination with their potential, she decided it was time to write her own scorching hot romances. She moved to America from Jamaica at a young age, and has lived up and down the east coast most of her life. The bitterly cold winter of 2013 was the last straw, driving her back to island life—this time to Hawaii. When not writing, she is reading romance, YA, and Fantasy, country hopping, or vicariously obsessing over other people’s cats (she awaits the day her landlords succumb to the truth: feline domination should be everyone’s goal in life).

Social Media Links

Website: https://www.melvernamcfarlane.com

Amazon Author Profile: https://www.amazon.com/Melverna-McFarlane/e/B098KP2DXN

FB reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/353173499490610

Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/ydk45fkx

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelvernaM

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21632673.Melverna_McFarlane

BookBub Author Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melverna-mcfarlane

Newsletter sign up (receive a FREE ebook of Nobody’s Wingman) https://tinyurl.com/2p9bvazp

Baking cookies: sweet combination or recipe for disaster?

Welcome to sister Wild Rose Press author Darlene Deluca and her cookie collection book!

—“Here, let me take your coat. Just dump your bag. I’ve got tons of chocolate and snacks.” Helen steered Alana into the spacious great room, which opened into a fabulous light and airy kitchen. Alana loved her aunt’s home—old and stately on the outside but completely updated and contemporary on the inside.

“Wow, Aunt Helen, this is gorgeous. You didn’t tell me you changed your color scheme. That tree is amazing.” The towering Christmas tree shone with white lights and hues of blue plus silver and white. “It’s festive and, I don’t know, tranquil at the same time.”—

That’s one snippet from my new Christmas novella, Cookie Collision, just released by The Wild Rose Press. It’s a sweet romance that’s part of a 50-some collection of holiday stories that all feature a cookie theme.

Isn’t it amazing how every Christmas tree has its own look? Almost like snowflakes or a fingerprint, no two are exactly alike. A thousand people can start with the same basic tree with green branches and make it fit their personality, taste, style and decor.

When my husband and I first got married, we had no particular style. We bought basic glass balls for ornaments and hand strung popcorn-and-cranberry garland to decorate our early Christmas trees. (We didn’t have much money, either.) Through the years we changed it up. For a while, we chose a red and silver color scheme. Then we switched to a more sophisticated look with rose and gold ribbons and ornaments. Then one year I found some blue and green ornaments that I absolutely loved, and a whole new “look” was born.

I love seeing how people trim their trees—colored lights or white, solid or flashing, handmade ornaments from the kids or high-end designer baubles. In the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of fun trees in pink and white and some beautiful, more traditional trees in reds and golds, and it makes me wish I could have a different tree in every room!

Do you have a favorite theme or color scheme? I’d love to hear about them!

And here’s another little peek at Cookie Collision, my newly released Christmas cookie novella.

—“Ooh, I love these. Sweet and savory at the same time.” Alana picked up a pretzel rod dipped in dark chocolate and set it on a small dessert plate.

“Yeah, those are good, but I’m in the mood for something sweet.”

“I think I can help with that.” She plucked one of her frosted snowman cookies from the plate.

A slow smile spread across his face. “Nah, I’m going to need that red stocking.”

“Well, okay. Picky, picky.” She placed the snowman on her own plate and lifted the other one.

“Reminds me of you.”

Her brows pulled together, and she gave a little laugh. “A Christmas stocking? And why is that?”

“Reminds me of how we met.”

“Ah, yes. Those snazzy red slippers. Those are some keepers, for sure.” She remembered his warm hands on her leg as he’d gently slid the socks on. She glanced back and saw they were partially blocked from view by the Christmas tree.

Justin bit into the cookie and chewed. “Yeah, that’s good. But I was thinking of something even sweeter.” He pulled her closer and brushed a thumb across her cheek.

When her eyes fluttered closed, his lips covered hers, and she wound her arms around his neck. Mmmm. Sweet, indeed.—

Book Blurb:

Before she can let up and enjoy some holiday cheer, real estate agent Alana Drake has work to do. With Christmas moving in fast, she has clients to meet with, houses to show, and cookies to bake. Every open house deserves her special touch—homemade and hand-decorated sugar cookies for a warm welcome. And she needs several dozen for upcoming holiday events and open houses.

But a poorly timed stop at the grocery store could upend more than her bag of groceries. Running into Doctor Justin Teague—literally—shakes up Alana’s tidy world. The chance encounter leaves her with a bum ankle, forces her to reconsider some dating ideals, and reveals new information about a longtime nemesis.

When all she wanted was to bake some cookies…

Excerpt:

Justin moved into the room, set the things on a side table, and perched on a chair. Watching her, he could practically see the pain fade from her face. Her brow smoothed, and the tension he’d noticed around her lips disappeared. He fought the urge to brush a kiss across her forehead. She looked way too peaceful to disturb. But now what? Sit here and watch her sleep? Sneak out the door? He couldn’t leave it unlocked, and he had no idea whether she’d be down for the night or if she did power naps.

Finally, he took off his shoes and quietly padded to the kitchen to deal with supper. For now, everything could go in the fridge. Feeling like an intruder, he moved stealthily around her kitchen. With that task completed, he grabbed a newsmagazine from a basket and settled into a chair across from his patient…and/or dinner date.

Twenty minutes later, Alana stirred. She pulled up her arm and adjusted her position. Then her eyes opened.

“Hey,” Justin whispered.

She bolted upright. “Oh, my gosh. Justin. Did I fall asleep? I’m so sor—”

He held up a hand. “Shhh. No worries.” He handed her the glass of water and tablets. “Why don’t you take a couple of these then I’ll wrap your ankle.”

For him, the biggest issue was not the condition of her ankle but trying to stay in professional mode and ignore the feel of her smooth leg under his hands. Seated on the table in front of the sofa, he forced his eyes to focus on the strip of fabric as he wound it around both foot and ankle and secured it firmly. “How’s that feel?”

Alana nodded. “That’s amazing. It’s better already.” Luminous eyes met his. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Keeping it tight is the key.” He couldn’t help himself. He reached out and touched her hair. “Sorry you had a bad day.”

A light sparked in her eyes, and she sat straighter. “I didn’t have a bad day.”

Frowning, he cocked his head. “You didn’t? Looks like the ankle was, well, a big pain.”

She grinned. “It was. Except for this stupid ankle, I had a great day. I got two offers on the house, and another couple that’s interested is supposed to let me know tomorrow. That means we could have a bidding war and get more than our asking price. And that is a good thing.”

Justin couldn’t help laughing. He held up his hand for a high-five. “Very nice.” He loved her triumph-over-adversity attitude.

“Hey, food’s in the fridge. Easy to heat up whenever you’re ready.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” She glanced toward the kitchen then met his eyes again. “Are you— Can you stay?”

He felt a pull deep inside as those questioning blue eyes leveled on him. Yeah, he wanted to stay.

Author bio:

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.

Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.

The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.

Author Website:

www.darlenedeluca.com

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Darlene-Deluca-282385088481413/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879809.Darlene_Deluca

https://www.instagram.com/darlenedelucaauthor/?hl=en

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/darlene-deluca

Buy Links:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/cookie-collision/id1585465393

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cookie-collision-darlene-deluca/1140147032?ean=2940162321422

You never know what’s hiding in your house: Kimberly Baer

My husband and I started our married life in a tiny, rustic house at the edge of a deep woods. Not surprisingly, we had many encounters with wildlife. Here’s the story of one of them.

Mice With Green Heads

One particularly snowy winter, our house was overrun by mice. We didn’t want to kill the little critters, so we put a big plastic garbage can in our utility closet and baited it with food scraps. Mice would scramble in to get the food, but the slick vertical sides prevented them from climbing back out. Every morning we would find five or more mice huddled at the bottom of the garbage can. We would drag the can three or four hundred yards into the woods (uphill, through deep snow) and release them.

Despite our efforts, the daily mouse counts never decreased. The situation was both perplexing and troubling. How many mice were living in our walls? Dozens? Hundreds? We wondered whether the mice we released in the woods were somehow finding their way back, but dismissed the idea. The distance was too great, the snow too deep.

Nonetheless, I decided to conduct an experiment. One morning I scooped one of the captured mice into a jar and painted the top of its head with green food coloring. The poor thing winced in misery the whole time (“Why is this HAPPENING to me???”). I murmured soothing words and then hiked up into the woods to release it.

The next morning, I found the usual five or six mice in the garbage can—including one with a green head! I repeated the experiment several more times—with the same incredible results. I recalled all those stories I’d heard about lost cats and dogs making their way home over impossible distances. Did mice have the same fortitude, the same mysterious homing instinct?

We moved on to Plan B: driving our wee captives to a wooded area about three miles from our house, on the far side of a creek. (Try to get back now, you little scamps!) We always left a handful of toasted-oats cereal to get them started on their new lives. That did the trick, though our mouse problem was never entirely resolved. Eventually we moved to the suburbs, where our house was occasionally infiltrated by lady bugs, spiders, and ants. But we never again saw a mouse—green-headed or otherwise!

New From The Wild Rose Press: Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams

Annie Barkley lives next to a forest but has worse things than wildlife to contend with. Read about her tribulations in the romantic suspense novella Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams, part of The Wild Rose Press’s Christmas Cookies series.

Check out the book trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448.

Blurb for Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams:

When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.

Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.

Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.

Excerpt:

She was startled by a thump from above, followed by the muffled slide of the attic window, first up, then down. The groan of floorboards beneath traipsing feet.

Goosebumps prickled across her scalp. Why hadn’t she thought to grab something to use for self-defense? A knife or a fork or Gram’s old cast-iron baking pan, which maybe, just maybe, would deflect bullets. There might be a metal nail file in her purse, except she had no time to hunt for it, because the trap door was creaking open, and—oh, God!—someone was coming down the stairs.

Footfalls thudded across the floor, mere feet from where she was hunkered behind the island. Squinting through the grainy dimness, she peeked around the corner in time to glimpse a slight, dark figure creeping into the room out front. She got to her feet and followed.

She came to a halt just beyond the doorway. The big neon clock on the rear wall glowed blue, giving the room a bar-like ambience. The cookie burglar was standing behind the counter to her left, cramming snowdrop cookies into his mouth.

God in heaven, it was a boy. The cookie burglar was a boy. And he was eleven. She was sure of that, even though the light was dim and she was seeing him only in profile. Something about him seemed familiar—his slouched shoulders, perhaps, or the long, straight slope of his nose. He was slender like her, though a few inches shorter. His hair was matted and dark but with a good shampooing would probably be the same tawny shade as her own.

An eleven-year-old brown-haired boy, come down from above to burgle her cookie shop…

She stepped forward with a gasp. “Jonah?”

Purchase link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Snowdrop-Thumbprint-Screams-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GXM27PR/

Social media links:

Website: www.kimberlybaer.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KimberlyBaer14

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

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Baer/e/B08D3RVKCH/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/kimberly_baer

About the Author:

Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Sadly, she never managed to get that story published.

Nowadays, Kim writes in a variety of genres. Her paranormal young-adult novel The Haunted Purse was the third-place winner in the 2021 National Excellence in Story Telling Contest (YA category), sponsored by the Central Region Oklahoma Writers. Her middle-grade novel Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal was the bronze medal winner in the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Contest, Children’s Mystery category. Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams is Kim’s first foray into adult romantic suspense.

In addition to being an author, Kim has worked as a professional editor for the past sixteen years. She lives in Virginia, where she likes to go power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you might find her binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Friends, The Office, or Breaking Bad.