Say hello to Martha of Bethany. She’d the second Bible woman to be featured in my Reflections series, books from the heart and for the heart.
Sister and Servant: A Life of Sacrifice and Love
Martha was never meant to be the head of her household, but a plague left her as the main caretaker for her piecemeal family. She is too busy juggling responsibilities to worry about her siblings Lazarus and Mary’s expectations that Yeshua of Nazareth is Messiah.
Then she meets Yeshua face to face. A single look from him and Martha’s heart knows that he is Israel’s Messiah. But undone work awaits, and Martha ignores the guilt of placing her worldly obligations before G-d—until Lazarus lies gravely ill.
The Lord’s Anointed arrives too late to save Lazarus but asks Martha to place her faith in him. She believes he’s the One but is still amazed when he calls Lazarus from the dead, proving to all he is Messiah.
Still, many don’t believe, and word of Yeshua’s miracle ultimately leads to his crucifixion. Martha’s family is shattered once more by a beloved’s death. Will faith allow her to set aside the weight of responsibility without stopping her loving service for others?
Today’s the day. Although the paperback version has been available for several weeks, today is the official release day for this book.
If you want to keep that summer romance alive, ONE SULTRY DAY is the perfect choice. And who doesn’t want a little romance in every day?
Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar
University drop-out and current barista, Lexi Fletcher-Bain upgrades to a position as a quality controller for a new agency established by her friend Jess. An agency designed to provide escorts for discerning women. Anything’s better than driving an espresso machine. Despite her shattered ego after a disastrous breakup, Lexi decides to try it for a month.
Sadly, the assessments aren’t any more fun than making espresso. The first subject, Jeremy Miller, gets the Aunt Freda special and Lexi manages to send him running for the last train back to the city. Her second assessment is ruined by an accidental meeting with her ex-fiancé Simon.
Back at the cafe, things get more complicated when Jeremy looks her up wanting a do-over. When Jess says Simon has applied to be an escort, Lexi is forced to explain why she broke off their engagement and why Jess shouldn’t hire him.
The bigger question: why is Jeremy no longer available?
Ghosts of SummersPastby T.E. Hodden
For five years Bunny has never once felt alone. He has been haunted by the tragedy that stole Hanna, his first true love from him, and has always felt her presence on one shoulder, and blame on the other.
Now Alice, a minor star from the show he writes, is on the verge of becoming more than just a friend, and the sun-baked palm beaches are almost feeling like home.
Can Bunny face the ghosts of his past? Or is history about to repeat itself in the most terrible of ways?
Unexpected by Sharon Hughson
Grad student Ivory Konner relishes a summer of guiding rafts on the Wenatchee River far from the expectations of her parents and the reminders of her recent dumping. Falling in love is the furthest thing from her mind when a thin guy and his dog nearly send her plummeting off the trail.
Cancer survivor Prescott Colyer drops out of college, escapes to his uncle’s photo gallery in Leavenworth, WA, and quietly pursues his art. But when an unexpected encounter during a hike exposes him to pain-free physical contact, he risks everything for a girl who’s not interested in romance, not even for the summer.
Once Ivory connects with Prescott’s art, she offers to help him build a business. As they spend time together, her heart takes on its own mission.
Can their unexpected encounter urge Prescott out of isolation? Will Ivory include love in her long-term plan?
Second Chance Summerby Lily Carlyle
Twenty years ago, Summer and Jason’s summer romance seemed destined to last. Until Summer abruptly broke it off, with little explanation. Heartbroken, Jason leaves the Outer Banks—indeed, the entire East Coast—waiting two decades to return. When he comes home to settle his great-aunt’s estate, one of the first people he sees is Summer.
She’s ready to tell him the truth about that summer. But is he ready to listen?
Excerpt from ‘Escorts for Hire – Heartaches Free’ by Deryn Pittar
She’d chosen the tearooms because of their proximity to the train station and had arrived before the time she’d told him on the phone. She wanted to be able to observe him before he realized who she was. Of course, having his photo gave her a distinct advantage, whereas he was looking for a woman wearing a floral dress carrying a largish, red sisal bag and wearing a sunhat, which now hung on the back of the third chair at the table. Perhaps she should stand outside to get a clearer view. She made to rise then sat again. Was this him?
Yes, she recognized his face from the photo she had and he was tall, very tall compared to her 5 ft. 2”. Just as well she wore sandals with a reasonable wedged hell which gave her another 2” in height. Despite his long legs he didn’t stride, he sort of strolled with a slight swing to his hips. His blond hair flopped over his forehead, cut short at the sides and long on top in what seemed to be the current trend. A pale chambray shirt over dark blue jeans, his pullover draped over his shoulders, its arms half knotted across his chest. Very casual chic. He looked absolutely delicious. Where did that thought spring from? Here she was, off men altogether and suddenly her brain had woken up from a long sleep and declared an interest.
He stood a short distance away from the tearoom’s doorway and checked his watch then after putting his hand in his pocket ran a comb through his hair, pulling back the fallen fringe.
Note to self: early for appointments, dresses well, takes care with his appearance.
Her heart sank. He walked away and to her horror disappeared around a corner across the road. What? He was abandoning her without even meeting. How could she explain this to Jess? How embarrassing. She left the table, waving her hand at the waitress. “Looking for my friend,” she explained and walked outside. The heat hit her. Unbelievable for this time of the day. The stone paving had already absorbed enough sunshine to reflect heat and the highest temperature for this summer was predicted for this afternoon.
She stood, feeling foolish and sad as early shoppers bustled around and past her. Once again the last girl left standing without a partner while everyone else danced. It wasn’t fair. She hitched her bag over her shoulder and decided to give him a few more minutes to change his mind and come back. After all, checking her watch, it really was just on half nine.
“Excuse me, would you be Alexandria?”
He’d returned, sneaked up on her from the side. His blue eyes set below arched eyebrows held her gaze and even as she thought to look away, she couldn’t. Ignoring the flip-flop in her chest as her heart bounced with excitement she got a grip and stood as tall as she could and gave him her best smile. This could be fun after all.
Want to keep reading? Click here to purchase the anthology from your favorite retailer.
One Fantastic Giveaway
In order to celebrate this newest release, I’m running a contest. The mandatory portion of this “Rafflecopter” is a scavenger hunt of sorts. You visit either websites, blogs or Facebook pages to find the answer to the question.
I promise, the answers are front-and-center and so obvious all but a blind person could find them. (No slight to my plethora of unsighted readers intended.)
Besides the scavenger hunt, there are multiple ways to enter, including visiting Facebook pages or following authors on different platforms. Four entrants will win.
THREE winners of a digital copy of the anthology
If you’re always game for cash to spend at Amazon and/or FREE books, click on the link. Enter by visiting the authors’ pages.
To make it simple, the answer to my scavenger hunt clue can be found in the blurb from “Unexpected” (scroll back up to see it). I’ve always liked the summer camp romances. What’s your favorite summer romance trope?
Don’t you love fictional towns? Sometimes walking the streets in Sweet Grove, Texas feels like coming home.
Or maybe I’m the only one who gets attached to fictional characters and places. It’s why I like to read well-written series set in places I like. Like Cedar Cove, WA (Debbie Macomber) or Wishful, MS (Kait Nolan).
Thanks to Amazon’s decision to close down the Kindle Worlds, the new title I slated for release on July 3 has been burbling impatiently on the back burner.
But it will make it into the world.
Thanks to the owner of the First Street Church universe, my Sweet Grove Romance series can continue. Furthermore, the author coalition that populates that world with dozens of new stories every year, is introducing new sub-genres into the mix. Sweet Grove Suspense is a line of clean Christian romances with suspense elements. Heroes of Sweet Grove features former or current military personnel as the main characters.
I don’t generally write suspense. I do have a military background, and I’ve dreamed up two former soldiers who will walk into Sweet Grove carrying more than their military duffel as baggage.
LOVE’S LINGERING DOUBTS
Enter Jazlyn Rolle. She hasn’t lived in Sweet Grove since she was the softball superstar for the Lady Shorthorns. In fact, she hasn’t been back for more than a few days since her brother’s funeral seven years ago. And she’s only stopping in while she picks up Drew memorabilia and figures out what she’s going to do with her life now that her military career has folded.
Bailey Travers would like to get away from Sweet Grove, but his family ties him there. His foster father is about to pass away and his little sister has returned with a college degree, work experience, and a plan to convert the family ranch into a guest ranch. There’s no way she can do it alone.
Back in the day, Bailey had a major crush on Jazlyn. Jazlyn is done with men, after her recent breakup cost her the military career she’d dedicated to her fallen brother.
They’re thrown together when Bailey needs help fighting for the ranch. If only his foster father had left a will. If only his foster parents had completed the adoption process. But Bailey’s learned not to waste time dreaming about “if only.”
In Sweet Grove, even where there’s no will, love still finds a way.
A Peek Inside
In the new publishing company, Ms. Storm implemented some word count caps for each novella. Which meant I needed to reduce the word count. By about 5,000 words!
This benefits you. Now, I’m free to share par of this scene as a teaser of what’s to come. I really wanted to keep this scene (as you read it, I hope you understand why) but ended up referencing it vaguely with a comment by Bailey at the end of the novella.
As soon as Bailey cut the motor, he heard the girls’ laughter. Miles of intestines knotted, and he clenched his teeth. He shoved his hat lower, swung down from the tractor and snatched the neon softball from the beneath the seat.
Just get it over with.
Elise called the girls together, and the voices dimmed to a hum. He was a few yards from the dugout where he planned to drop the ball and get back to work.
A figure separated from the cluster. He’d recognize those muscular legs anywhere. The knot from his stomach reared into his heart, which stuttered like a rusty engine.
His feet forgot to move forward. Jaz stopped a few feet from him, sweeping kinky strands of hair that escaped from the clip at her neck off her forehead. One corner of her lips curled and that same eyebrow quirked.
“We meet again. Or are you following me?”
Bailey blinked. The softball turned to a shot put in his hands, and her words jumbled inside his mind.
She cocked her head, and both brows shot upward. The movement drew his attention to her eyes, which sparkled like topaz in her chocolate face. “Back to “cat-got-the-tongue” huh? I figured spending an hour talking in the library would have changed all that.”
She was right. They had talked at the library, and he hadn’t acted like a freshman facing a hot cheerleader. Not even when she remembered their first meeting. He opened his mouth to answer, but his throat dried and his lips froze.
A few girls in the cluster around the mound turned toward them. One whistled through her fingers, but Elise regained her attention. Bailey flicked his attention back to the gorgeous woman baring too much thigh for his comfort.
She’s going to think you’re an idiot. As if she didn’t already know the worst about him. He licked his lips to gather moisture and make his move.
“What’s up, Bailey?” She stepped closer and nudged his shoulder, as if trying to shake him from a stupor.
Electricity raced straight to his heart, a thousand volts that made him jolt away from her. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she shifted away. The subtle motion of her hips compelled his gaze to flick toward her curves. Which was a major mistake because the sight sucker-punched him.
You can read this third story set in Sweet Grove sometime in August 2018. As an additional teaser, this will be the first in a planned trilogy for Jaz and Bailey’s romance, currently titled “Texas Homecoming.”
Be sure to get Hero Delivery to find out specifics or join the Friends of Sharon Hughson Facebook group. Have you read and reviewed LOVE’S LATE ARRIVAL and LOVE’S LITTLE SECRETS? Do you enjoy stories about military heroes?
When Riley finds a way to meet the cute swan boat driver she has been admiring on the banks of a pond in the Boston Common she does it knowing it would be temporary. Her plans had always been to leave the city at
the end of the summer and even the cutest guy she has seen in forever wasn’t going to derail that. However she quickly finds that Graham calls to her as no other guy has ever done. She also finds that that he has a secret just as she does—he’s afraid of water.
Riley, a lifelong rower, is shocked by the revelation but it does not dim her attraction. After all, she is leaving so what difference does it make? However, as they get closer she finds it harder and harder to imagine leaving both the city and the man at the end of the summer. What seemed so far away at the beginning of spring now looms in front of her and the reality of leaving everything she loves tears at her. When near tragedy forces both of them to face their deepest secret will the truth pull them together or tear them apart once and for all?
Chris and Kirk have always had chemistry, but he was with someone, and then Chris moved across the country for a better position in the company they both work for. Five years later, she’s happy in her job and recently single, having broken up with someone rather than be in a relationship without any kind of spark. She’s resigned to waiting for the right guy rather than settling.
Enter Kirk, recently transferred and also recently broken up with his girlfriend. He’s interested in Chris, and she’s interested back, but his break with his girlfriend was sudden and his move across the country even more so. He may say it’s over, but his ex didn’t get the memo, and Chris suspects Kirk may need closure before he can move on.
She wants to believe in him—he’s always been honest with Chris and faithful to his girlfriend—and in what they could have together. Their chemistry is still there but it’s not just desire: she really likes this guy. But is she a fool to wait for something that may never be? Especially when her big sister is urging her to give the man she broke up with another chance before he finds someone else.
One dark spring morning, the man that Maddie loved was swept away in a tragic accident that left her alone and pregnant on their wedding day.
Exactly three years later she has built a new life with Troy, her best friend from childhood, and the sun is shining as she sets off down the aisle for a second chance at happiness.
But before she reaches the altar her plans and her heart are thrown into disarray by Jack’s well-timed return, re-igniting all the feelings she thought were dead and gone. Like him.
Can she forgive Jack for the lies that left her broken three years before? Or should she trust Troy and his promises, when he may not have been entirely honest with her either?
Only her heart knows the truth.
Spring into Action
by Theresa Kemble
Tamara Goode lives a privileged life, always trying to please others. Her fiancé is like her father—well-meaning but controlling, and Tamara soon realizes she needs her independence. Escaping to a new life, she becomes a
personal assistant to the handsome TV reality show star, Joe Campo. Fighting her attraction for him is a losing battle, for how could such a man possibly fall in love with a Rubenesque woman when model-types fall at his feet?
As a celebrity, Joe Campo has money and beautiful women clamoring for his attention, but he secretly fears losing himself to a shallow existence. Enter his new, competent assistant who seems to read his soul and understand his struggle to become a better person.
Joe’s attraction for Tamara grows and he hopes love will spring into action, but will her shyness and insecurity keep her from recognizing the connection between them?
Today the second Sweet Grove Romance is born into the world of published books. You can snap Love’s Little Secrets up on Amazon, and check in with Kyanna and Roth while discovering the truth about Norma and Herman Wells.
The idea for this story was born as I drafted and revised Love’s Late Arrival. I really liked the high school secretary, Norma Wells, and I kept wondering why she stayed with that chauvinistic husband of hers.
It’s been five years since my own silver anniversary party, but the question that really got me going was: what if Herman had a son who crashed Norma’s anniversary party? All the other questions that helped formulate the plot sprung from that one.
Norma Wells is having a silver anniversary party under duress. Tabitha Olsen and the ladies of First Street Church won’t let such an important anniversary slide by, but Norma isn’t sure there’s much to celebrate. For the past several years, she and Herman have drifted further apart, and she wonders if she even loves him anymore.
Herman’s been wrestling with a lot of changes at work. But he doesn’t talk about that with Norma. It’s his job to take care of her and protect her from the harsh realities of life. Besides, who wants to talk about demotions and pay cuts?
When Herman’s well-hidden secret crashes the silver anniversary party, everything changes. This is only the first wall to crumble in Herman’s life.
Will he finally treat Norma as a partner? Or is Norma finished with him now that she knows he betrayed her in the worst possible way?
Romance shouldn’t end after the wedding and honeymoon. This story focuses on the struggles of marriage between Christian and non-Christian and the truth about real love and forgiveness.
Read an Excerpt
From chapter two:
Norma addressed everyone by first name, smiled, touched them with warm hands. She asked them about pets, children, gardens, and their health. It struck him that she belonged in Sweet Grove, but most of the faces were only vaguely familiar to him since he’d been on the road for so many years.
Herman stood beside her, munching on a generous slice of cake. Everyone loved her. A stirring in his chest reminded him of his affection, dampened by time and distance, and the bitterness of her broken dreams and his unfulfilled plans. He’d never stopped loving her, even when his duty kept them apart.
If the gem on her finger didn’t prove his love, certainly the four-bedroom farmhouse on twenty acres must do the trick. Every anniversary and birthday, he brought rose bushes and flowers, which she loved planting. And that darned gazebo she’d wanted a few years back, situated just so beneath the arching shade of pecan trees, had been a special addition.
Norma’s hand stayed on his arm as she led him through the crowd. Herman spoke a few words to everyone, nodding in acceptance of their well wishes. Talk of the Apple Blossom festival circulated, smothering him. Finally, a woman hugged his wife and her hand dropped away from him. He sidled toward the door.
A motor revved, roaring nearby before cutting off. Many heads turned toward it. Herman stepped closer, yearning for fresh air and space without clingy near-strangers.
A dark-haired young man in a black leather jacket swished through the doors. His fawn-colored skin contrasted with the white walls. Tousled curls flopped nearly to his shoulders, and he glanced around the room. White teeth flashed when he answered a query from one of the men clutching a cup of coffee near the door.
Herman glanced toward Norma, meeting her questioning gaze. He jerked his head toward the door. It was too soon to expect they could leave, but surely she wouldn’t begrudge him a few moments away from the crush.
He shuffled toward the door in time to hear the coffee man growl, “Don’t know no Manny Wells.”
The sound of the name anchored his feet in place. Only one person called him Manny Wells. One person he never wanted to see in his hometown.
“Do you mean Herman Wells?” Summer Davis slipped beside the older man, a carafe of water in her hand. “This is his anniversary party.”
“Can you point him out?” The younger man’s voice was smooth but unfamiliar.
All three of them turned, and Summer’s finger pointed directly to him. Her lips moved, but Herman heard nothing above the slamming of his heart against his eardrums.
The handsome stranger’s amber-flecked brown eyes fixed on Herman’s pale ones. His square jaw and wide nose were twins of Herman’s while the rest of him reflected the Hispanic beauty of his mother.
“Dad.” Fire lit the boy’s eyes, and his full lips didn’t smile.
Herman stiffened. Questions swirled through his mind at dizzying speed, and the sinking sensation in his stomach turned the spice cake to gravel.
You’ll meet some new characters in this story. I intend for you to like them enough you’ll want to read their stories in a few months.
Bailey Travers, the Wells’ neighbor, is the hero in the next book in the series. Love’s Lingering Doubts is scheduled to release on July 3, 2018.
I’m planning Ariel Stryker’s story for September 10, when the new young adult sub-line of First Street Church romances debuts. Adonis will play a role in that story, too, but my brain is churning up ideas for a romance all his own. If anyone deserves it, I’d say it’s Adonis.
With all the changes Kindle Direct Publishing is making to the Kindle World system, I don’t know if there will be more than these four books. But I’m committed to finishing out the 2018 projects I’ve planned.
What other characters would you like to know more about? Would you like to see me continue with the Sweet Grove Romances?
With the return of The Game of Thrones to HBO, people are into the groove of summer viewing. I’d rather be reading, and I know plenty of people who would rather READ George R. R. Martin’s next installment for this series.
Still, the anticipation of the show reminded me that summer’s long days encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book and head to the porch (or patio or deck)
What I’m Reading
I’m always reading something. This year, I’ve challenged myself to read 150 books. At the time I wrote this, I had read 102 (actually more since a couple were collections but Goodreads only counts them as one).
Recently, my reading choices have expanded to include more women’s fiction and Christian romance. These are genres I’m trying to break into with my writing, and the best way to understand what works is to read the genre.
As part of the First Street Church Kindle World, I’ve been reading the original series and some of the spin-offs.
I’ve been beta reading for some of my author friends. In this case, one of the books was a new take on vampire origins. (I’m NOT a fan of vampires.) I was intrigued by the twist on this, but still wasn’t convinced that I would invest myself in an entire series about them.
For my online book club, I read The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster for July. It sounded intriguing, but I had a hard time engaging with it.
On audiobook, I listened to a YA fantasy series from Tamora Pierce while cleaning, crocheting and coloring. (I love being able to multi-task.) The second book in the Spellsmith & Carver series releases on July 31 (TODAY), and I’m excited to read it. I read Coiled by this author (H.L. Burke) earlier in the summer and couldn’t put it down. If you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling…pick this up.
What I’m Writing
I’ve written the final installment for my Virtual Match romance series.
The first draft of my debut into both Christian romance and Kindle Worlds has been wrapped. I’ll be rewriting it and getting it out to beta readers. I have until September 7 to get a copy to my editor.
My next writing project will probably be a short story I’m submitting for an anthology my publisher is putting out in 2018.
After that, things are up in the air. Once I know how my manuscripts are received at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, I’ll know if I’m going to work on another women’s fiction story.
I will finish writing Through the Valley of Shadows, the grief memoir that’s been in and out of my queue for several years. I’ve decided to pursue indie publishing for it if I can’t get an agent to contract it.
Some books fill a hole in the market, and that’s how I see this book. Everyone will grieve (at multiple times in life) and the idea of mourning in a healthy way for as long as it takes isn’t highly promoted in Western society.
What I’m Wishing For
I’m not much for paranormal romances…most of the time. Maybe it’s because I forced myself to read the Twilight series so I could discuss it with my students. So if there are vampires and werewolves? I’ll pass. So color me shocked when I downloaded the first book in Melissa Haag’s Judgement of the Six young adult paranormal romance series a couple years ago.
To date, Hope(less) the first book, is still my favorite and Clay and Gabby are my favorite couple.
I love the integration of a society existing in our own world. It’s well-crafted and believable. For some time, I wondered if bulky blond men on motorcycles were actually werewolves.
Just as Stephanie Meyer created her own vampire history, Haag has given the wolves an interesting backstory. By starting with a skeptical character in the first book, she had a chance to show us the two sides of werewolves. Later we saw the “dark side” generally meant they were a different species.
And each human girl that is the central character in the book has a special gift. Because truly she is something called a Judgement. Six women are born in a 100-year cycle and if all of them unite, they get to make a judgment.
Haag has kept us in the dark about all this entails. But there is one group of wolves trying to round up the girls and mate them with their kind so they can control the judgment.
The final book, Sur(real), doesn’t release until November, but I’m ready for it now. This year I intend on re-reading the entire series in the weeks leading up to the release.
If you haven’t read this series, check out the first book for free. I promise you’ll get hooked. What books are you reading, writing or wishing for this summer?
“How would you bring in new business, though?”I’m amazed that he seems to find our conversation interesting. He’s an audience willing to listen and I’ve not had that in a long time. Damn this crush of mine. It won’t be easy to tame after tonight.
“New menu items, specials, things like that. Start serving dessert, like pies. Easy cook items. With the new burgers I’ve created and a new décor, I’d open in the summer when the air is fresh and everyone is happy to be out of the snow, hungry for grilled food. I think we could do fine.”“What’s your hold up?”“Tony, Dad. It’s complicated.” I shrug. His arm feels good, and I have the overwhelming urge to nuzzle against it. "Did you kiss Amy Parker when you were twelve? She still brags about it." Did I just ask him about kissing? What is wrong with me? Will this mouth of mine never shut up? Stop it, Stop it, stop it!"That I did, in a closet over at Robert Anderson’s house.""Ew.""I was twelve and desperate. You can't blame me. I do blame that stupid soda bottle. And your first kiss?" There is a challenge in his voice."Kevin Monroe at the Klines Movie Theater. He sent me a six-page note the next day about how much he loved me, and I freaked out and dumped him.""Any regrets?"I choke back a giggle. "Naw, ‘cept I remember I liked his cologne. It could have been aftershave, but it was nice." It’s not half as nice as the Aramis that Patrick has on. Something about it sends a shiver up my spine that has nothing to do with the zombie waiting in Dad’s office."The dark isn't so bad, now is it?""I guess not."Silence surrounds us. The fear that enveloped me seems to disappear."Are you seeing anyone?""No." It sounds terrible now that I've said it out loud. Like I’m admitting to being a desperate and dateless leper."So," he drawls out, "ever thought of dating a military guy?" He squeezes my fingers.Is he serious?His fingertip smooths over the rough callouses I've gained from years of hard work. Suddenly my wasted evening of not going out to celebrate is starting to look better. "I think it would depend on which military guy.""You're killing me. You know that, don’t you?" His strangled tone only sets off a case of the giggles."Are you asking me out, Patrick?""Trying to, but you're not making it easy.” The challenge is back in his voice."I wouldn't mind a date or two,” I manage to squeak out. Breathe, Harper, just breathe, calmly through your nose, out your mouth. Sainted Mother of God, Patrick asked me out!I hit the jackpot! Now all I have to do is not hit him.
About the Author
I never set out to be an author. Only a storyteller. Some days I succeed better than others.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a RoanePublishing.com Gift Code. No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.
Contemporary Romance By: Laura Lamoreaux and T.L. French Publisher: Roane Publishing
Sometimes, to remember all that is best and bright about love, you must go home.
After being dumped by her boyfriend of two years, there is nothing that Sarah Jepsom dreads more than going back home to her marriage-obsessed mother. To make matters worse, it’s for her little sister’s fairytale wedding on none other than Valentine’s Day. The only positive note is it will also be a chance to see her dear friend Mark for the first time in a year.
Sarah’s Bridezilla sister Valerie takes it upon herself to invite Sarah’s old high school boyfriend to be her date for the wedding. Nathan is set on renewing their relationship, but old feelings remind Sarah why it didn’t work the first time. When Mark confesses his long-held feelings for her, Sarah is angry and convinced that romance is not for her. Then, her father reminds her of all that is best and bright about love, that can often be found right under our noses.
Laura Lamoreaux is a licensed clinical psychologist, and drew from her work in therapy to show what living with a mental illness is really like. Her writing partner provided all of the teaching details included in the story.
Connect with her on Twitter – @laura_lamoreaux
T.L. French is a Junior High English teacher. Connect on Twitter : @ticilsmith
Win these Great Prizes
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your chance at a $25 Roane Publishing Gift Card, Bracelet with charm from Sweet Inspiration, Hot cocoa mixes and mug from The Crimson Curse
Melissa: I CANNOT WAIT for the live action movie to be released in March of this year. I’ve been stalking all the trailers.
When I thought about the original story, I wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed, and if the woman were the beast instead of the man. I worked my way backwards from that notion, considering how she could’ve ended up cursed, and what it would take for her to break free from it. There is still a strong emphasis on a woman’s physical beauty even in this day and age. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do believe true beauty comes from within and it doesn’t hurt to remind the world of that from time to time. If that makes me seem like a total sap, then so be it.
ME: Nope. The more technology advances, the more we become obsessed with visual images. And true love is more than skin deep, which is one of the reasons I LOVE the story Beauty and the Beast.
I was going to ask what your favorite Disney movie was, but since you’ve already copied my answer *sticks out tongue* what is your second favorite Disney movie? Have you ever considered doing a retelling of it?
Melissa: My second favorite would be Cars. My son absolutely loved this movie when he was little and I watched it countless times. In fact, I could probably recite a bunch of the scenes verbatim. I love watching Lightning McQueen’s struggle to figure out what happiness means to him. Also, I love the slow realization that success has different definitions as well.
I think it would be very difficult to do a retelling, but I definitely have other stories that revolve around this theme.
Thanks for giving us a “glimpse behind the author curtain.”
And because I have an inside track with Melissa, she’s agreed to give us a sneak peek inside the lovely cover of The Crimson Curse.
You’ll only read this segment of The Crimson Curse right here (unless you purchase the novella, links below).
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from The Crimson Curse:
Calliope may not have been able to leave the estate, but at that exact point in time, with her heart feeling so full, she couldn’t think of anywhere else she’d rather be. “What are you making?” she asked.
“Cookies.” Yareena turned, flashing a toothy grin. Flour dusted the little girl’s nose and clothing. “Mrs. Widdleworth is teaching me how to bake.”
“I most certainly am, and this child is a natural.”
Calliope approached and gestured at their preparation area. “May I?”
Mrs. Widdleworth drew back. “But, you’re the lady of the house.”
“So? When has that ever mattered? Yareena is a guest, yet here she is. You’re having such a wonderful time. I’d like to help.” She wiggled between Yareena and Mrs. Widdleworth, giving them each a light hip bump to make room for herself. She reached for the bowl filled with the prepared dough.
“Don’t you know three’s a crowd?” Bastian’s deep, baritone voice came from the kitchen’s doorway.
Calliope turned. “Excuse me?”
“I just think you should let the girls enjoy themselves.” He held a straight face, but the corner of his mouth twitched.
She raised an eyebrow. “Is that so? And what about me? Am I not allowed to partake in any fun?”
He leaned against the doorjamb and crossed his arms. “I thought you might like to take a walk instead?” A sly grin pulled at his lips, suggesting a different kind of enjoyment.
Calliope’s cheeks flushed.
Mrs. Widdleworth’s jaw slackened at the same time she dropped her spoon, causing it to clang on the countertop. “It’s a beautiful day outside.” Her eyes pleaded with Calliope to go as if the woman feared she would turn him down.
“All right,” Calliope said, “but I’m not convinced your company will be as entertaining as theirs.”
“We’ll see about that.” Bastian’s eyes met hers, filled with wicked suggestion, causing a tingle to travel down her spine. He held his arm out for her and she took it, allowing him to lead her out of the kitchen, and through the front door.
After walking a fair distance from the house, Calliope’s teeth chattered. The harsh winter weather had faded, but not enough to be outdoors without a coat.
They stopped, and Bastian faced her. His mouth quirked as if he was holding back a laugh. “I’m guilty of poor planning. Should we go back indoors before we turn into icicles?” The deep rumble of his chuckle warmed her insides.
“That might be wise,” she said, even though she would be more than willing to endure the cold in exchange for his company.
“Perhaps, but I should warn you, I may not be so wise when it comes to you.” He stepped forward and circled his arms around her waist, pulling her body against his.
His lips met hers, their tongues swirling in a delicate dance. All thoughts of the weather dissipated. She welcomed the feel of his body and the wave of desire that followed. Her fingers traced the angle of his jaw and caressed the back of his neck.
After a long while, he drew back and framed her face with his hands, taking care not to disturb her golden mask.
Her hands dropped to his shoulders. “You’re shaking.”
He leaned in until their foreheads touched. “You have that effect on me.”
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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 Roane Publishing Gift Card, Bracelet with charm from Sweet Inspiration, Hot cocoa mixes and mug from The Crimson Curse
Are you ready for a little romance? It’s Sweet Romance Month at my publisher’s, so they have a new romance novella for you every week in February. To start things off: Introducing REALITY MEETS ITS MATCH
My little novella, which you might think you’ve already read (if you purchased the VIRTUALLY YOURS collection last year), is making a comeback. REALITY MEETS ITS MATCH is an updated version of MATCHMAKER: REALITY, from the earlier collection.
What it’s About
In case you don’t recall, Ronnie Shay has a nagging mother and younger siblings who’ve already been paired off. In order to silence the matchmakers, she signs up for an online service, Virtual Match, which promises her texts, emails and even gifts from an invisible boyfriend. Given her aversion to relationships, this sounds like a perfect fix-up for Ronnie.
Little does she know that geeky Marcus Jordan is crushing on her–big time. When Marcus takes things into his own hands, Ronnie begins her first relationship with someone she’s invented. Or so she believes.
When things heat up, Ronnie decides it’s time to get a different invisible boyfriend. What she discovers when she calls the Virtual Match help desk sets her into a tailspin.
Can Marcus win Ronnie over? Will reality be even better than a Virtual Match?
There are Prizes
Check out the opportunity to win $25 in Roane Cash and some other nice prizes (at the end of the post).
A Sneak Peek
And, in case you’re wondering, here’s an exclusive (author’s website only) look inside the first installment of Ronnie & Marcus’ love story.
Ronnie yanked the cuff of her navy blazer, curling her fingernails into the satin-lined sleeve. The table hid her clenched hands from view. She must be crazy, agreeing to meet a stalker.
A quick scan reassured her. The quaint coffee shop where she imbibed caffeinated calories while working on reports over the free Wi-Fi was packed with customers. She would be safe, but the place would be tainted. She’d never find peace there again. This strange man had ruined it.
Over the melody of human voices placing orders and compressed steam frothing milk, the tinkling of the door’s bell rang ominously. Was that him? She clutched her cell phone and grazed its screen with her thumb. She’d arrived early. The digital numbers announced the agreed-upon meeting time.
Her table lurched as a body stumbled into it. She glanced toward the bulldozer. The nerd from the sixth floor stood there, smoothing a masculine hand down a purple and gray striped tie.
Her frazzled head buzzed at his attire. Something was off.
“Excuse me.” As usual, the deep voice tickled along her man-radar, incongruous coming from a klutzy geek.
“It’s fine.” Ronnie expected him to turn away. Instead, he shuffled his over-sized feet. The hand not touching his tie reached to shove his black-rimmed glasses further up his nose.
Ronnie shifted away from him. The iron legs supporting her squealed. “I’m waiting for someone.” Was there a polite way to tell him to get lost?
“I know.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his black slacks.
Slacks and tie weren’t his normal work uniform, were they? She rode in the elevator with him every day, but she had never really paid much attention to his wardrobe.
He pulled out the chair opposite her, tripping over the table leg and sitting hard in the counter-height seat.
“Thank you for meeting me.”
“Meeting you?” Ronnie’s mind spun. The nerd was her stalker?
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$25 Roane Publishing Gift Card, Bracelet with charm from Sweet Inspiration, Hot cocoa mixes and mug from The Crimson Curse