If you love small-town romances, you’ll love Sweet Grove, Texas. People there will make you smile. Stories there will leave you feeling content.
Tomorrow, the first book I wrote for the First Street Church series will be FREE. I know, free books are one of my favorite things in all the world.
I hope you’ll adore Kyanna and Roth. They aren’t the typical romance couple. First of all, they’re middle-aged. *Gasp* I know! People in their 40s can fall in love?!? It’s true.
Kyanna has sacrificed everything to get ahead in her career. When she finds herself in a new town thousands of miles from her family, she begins to doubt whether her life has the right priorities. A scary call from the doctor? That’s enough to make anyone wonder if God’s trying to get their attention.
Roth has been a single parent since his wife died five years ago. New to Sweet Grove, his teenage daughter Ariel hooks up with the wrong crowd. And they both end up in the principal’s office. But Roth’s not prepared for the attraction he feels toward Kyanna.
And neither of them is ready for what will bring them together. But will they give love a second chance?
Four-star review: “The story was riveting and I had a hard time putting it down. The characters were so real that I felt they could be my friends, or even me had my path gone in the same direction.”
Five-star review: “What I love the most about this book is that it is a wonderful story by a Christian author. The writing is extraordinary, the characters heartfelt and the storyline does not allow the reader to put the book down. I read the entire book in one sitting and could hardly believe it was over! I didn’t recognize the time passing! Wow! Now I can hardly wait to read ALL her books.”
Tomorrow is the day. My book baby MOMMY LOVES THE BANKER will be live on Amazon. (Sorry. I wish it was available on other platforms, but that’s a decision my publisher makes.)
Yes, that means this book is only available in ebook.
I hold the print rights. If I cough up the money for the cover, I could release the book in print. But it would cost $9.95, and that seems like a chunk of change for a book you can read in one sitting.
Post on this if you would buy such a book. Maybe if there is enough interest, I will fork out my OWN chunk of change (which will require I sell 15 books just to break even).
Now, on to the book.
Isn’t she lovely?
An excerpt from the beginning to get you primed.
Mommy Loves the Banker
This mommy gig wasn’t going like she remembered. When her daughter was in elementary school, parents sent their kids to school on the bus or their bikes. Or—Heaven forbid—they walked. Every Clara Barton Elementary student needed to be dropped off.
Or so it seemed as Meredith Williams eased her daughter’s Toyota minivan forward in the two-block long line of cars. Finally, she caught a glimpse of the school building.
“Are we late, Mimi?” Poppy nibbled her brown curls and hugged her self-constructed wind chime closer. Wearing her bulging backpack, she couldn’t sit flush against the built-in booster seat.
Meri glanced in the rear-view mirror, checking the line of vehicles behind her before meeting the worried gaze. Brown eyes brimmed with urgency and sent a knife into Meri’s midsection.
“Not unless all these people are late, too.”
Poppy twisted around. Meri pulled forward, three car-lengths this time. The end of a long sidewalk peeped around the tires of the SUV in front of her. Rain sprinkled the windshield until the automatic wipers cleared it away. Kids who’d been playing four-square on the covered playground beside the athletic fields scurried toward the doors. Was school starting?
The clock on the dashboard showed three minutes until eight.
“Come on, come on.” Good mommies—or mimis—didn’t make their kiddos late for school.
Two cars pulled away from the curb near the school entrance. Several kids piled from the minivan in front of her. She checked her side mirror and flipped her blinker down. She’d go around, and Poppy wouldn’t be tardy. Again.
She steered into the street with her foot nudging the accelerator. A honk like a freight train bellowed, and Meri floored it. The Sienna reared forward. Brakes screeched, and more horns blew.
Meri’s heart sprinted as she swerved back to the curb. She ignored the nasty glares from the drivers she passed. Certainly they’d do the same to make sure their kids made it to school on time.
Another truck gunned in front of her and Meri ignored the driver’s one-finger salute, although his blaring honk made sure she saw it. She slammed to a stop beside the door and slapped the shifter into park.
“Cheap Trick.” The name of the band slipped out in a curse as she fumbled with the button to open the side door. “Can you get the buckle?”
Her spine crackled as she swiveled toward the back seat. Poppy held out the conglomeration of wrapping paper, paper towel, and toilet paper tubes they’d spent an hour gluing together the night before. Meri grunted as she contorted to hold the creation without smashing it. The seatbelt cut into her neck.
Strangled by a seatbelt. She’d suffer worse for Poppy and Sunnie.
Poppy released her harness and scrambled out of the seat. Her cool lips pressed into Meri’s forehead. “See you, Mimi.” Her granddaughter balanced the sculpture in gentle hands and hopped out of the minivan.
Warmth poured into Meri’s stomach and chest, drowning the honking-induced panic. That simple kiss wiped away the negative sensations. Precious Poppy was the reason Meri’d left everything, drove across four states, and bumbled her way through the new era of motherhood.
I’ve been hinting about my next story for weeks (okay, months). Yesterday, One Sultry Day went live at retailers everywhere.
There’s a contest. Scroll to the end of the post for details and a link to the entrance form.
BUT…I know it’s a risk to buy stories written by strangers. So, I’ve promised to share an excerpt from each of the stories. Each author has graciously contributed up to 500 words from their story.
Read on for an excerpt from ‘Second Chance Summer’ by Lily Carlyle:
Jason poured himself a large cup of coffee and went to the register to pay.
“Mornin’. That be all?” A t-shirt with “KDH Pier” emblazoned across it stretched tight over the cashier’s bosom and round belly, and although she did not have a cigarette dangling out the side of her mouth, both her demeanor and her voice suggested she might have just recently stubbed one out.
Jason dug three ones out of his wallet.
“You on vacation? Haven’t seen you before.” She punched keys on the old-fashioned cash register, took his proffered money, and handed him some change.
Jason hesitated, unsure whether she was being friendly or nosy. After so many years on the west coast, he wasn’t accustomed to strangers asking personal questions. “This is my first time here in 20 years. I just inherited a cottage, so I’ll be around most of the summer.”
“Yeah? Who died?”
Taken aback by her directness, Jason blinked, but was saved from answering by someone lining up behind him.
“Jake, dude, I haven’t seen you forever.” Her husky voice rose slightly as she greeted the person behind him.
Happily stepping aside out of the limelight, Jason turned and came face to face with the young man he’d seen earlier running on the beach. He blanched, realizing why the young man had looked so familiar. He was the masculine version of Summer. His hair was the same shade of rich, dark chestnut, and the high planes of his cheekbones were identical to hers. Even his gesture, as he swept the sweat-dampened hair off his forehead, reminded Jason of Summer.
He could feel his mind churning, trying to process this bit of information. Summer must have a son. Then he reminded himself, this could be a nephew. Or even a cousin.
As if to help him find an answer, the woman behind the counter interrupted his thoughts with her grating voice. “Where’s your mom? I haven’t seen her in forever.”
Jason tried to subtly lean in so as not to miss the young man’s response.
Jake shrugged and pulled on the water he’d just bought. “She’s been busy, I guess. She was at my grandparents’ a few days. Just got back last night.”
“Tell her I said hi and to stop being such a damned snob. She hardly comes around anymore.”
“Sure thing.” The young man turned to leave, rolling his eyes at Jason as he passed. He probably assumed Jason’s dazed expression was entirely in response to the cashier’s inquisitiveness.
He watched Jake walk away. Even his stride reminded him of Summer’s, not to mention his rangy build and long legs.
A husky cough drew his attention back to the woman behind the counter.
“He’s too young for you.” She straightened some straws in a container next to the register.
“What?” Then realization dawned. “Oh, God, no. He just reminds me of someone I used to know.” He took a big gulp of the bitter coffee, and although it burned from both temperature and sheer badness the whole way down, he never flinched.
“Is his last name Ingalls?” Jason tried to sound casual.
“Jake’s? Nah, he’s a Foster.”
Jason heaved a sigh of relief, but before he was finished exhaling, the woman added. “But his mom’s maiden name was Ingalls. Summer Ingalls. You might know her.”
Conscious of his quaking legs, Jason pulled out a stool from under the counter, and sat down with studied casualness lest he collapse on the floor. “How old is Jake?”
She narrowed her eyes at him, as if offended by his curiosity. “I dunno. 19, 20? I barely know how old my own kids are, let alone everyone else’s in Kill Devil Hills.”
Jason didn’t answer but pretended to watch the TV suspended behind the counter while he sipped the gut-burning coffee. His stomach churned, not so much from the disgusting coffee, but from his own suspicions.
Was Jake his son?
Can’t stand the suspense? Need to read more? Grab your copy of ONE SULTRY DAY now.
What Else You’ll Get
Since One Sultry Day is an anthology, that means you’ll get FOUR complete stories. Each one is written by a different author.
Although each one has something to do with summer, they are quite unique and distinct.
You’re a fan of escort services and accidental romances? Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar
You like a little mystery or spookiness with your love story? Ghosts of Lost Summersby T.E. Hodden
Love comes in unexpected places, and those are the tales you enjoy reading. You’ll enjoy Unexpected by Sharon Hughson (yes, that’s me)
Still not sure? Come back tomorrow for a peek inside another story.
Enter to Win
There’s a little scavenger hunt. Enter your answers in the Rafflecopter form. The more stops you make and the more answers you give (pages you visit or people you follow) the better your chance to win either:
A $10 Amazon Gift Card or
A digital copy of One Sultry Day
Make sure you check back here tomorrow for another peek inside the anthology of sweet romances. It’s one way to insure there’s a little romance in your summer.
Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar
University drop-out and current barista, Sandi Fletcher-Bain is offered a position as a quality controller for a new agency, established by her friend Jess and designed to provide escorts for discerning women.Anything has to be better than driving an espresso machine and despite her shattered ego after a disastrous romance Sandi accepts the position providing she can trial it for a month.
Sandi’s first assessment subject is Jeremy Miller, tall, blonde and rather dishy. She takes him home for the day under the pretence of viewing the estate’s gardens, pretending she’s never been there before. Aunt Freda dispels that lie and after an evening meal Sandi manages to offend Jeremy to the extent that instead of staying the night he leaves to catch the last train back to the city. While their relationship fizzed and cooled during the day she has to admit he has all the qualities required to be an escort. It were her faults that caused the problems.With Nicholas, her second assessment, she is honest from the beginning and their visit to her parent’s home is an enjoyable day out, ruined only by an accidental meeting with her ex-fiancé Simon. This destroys her confidence and she gives up being a quality controller, it’s no fun at all, and returns to cafe work.
Jeremy finds her and asks to begin their friendship afresh; admitting that the good wine had something to do with his previous reactions.
Meanwhile Jess says Simon has applied to be an escort and Sandi is forced to explain why she broke off their engagement and why Jess shouldn’t hire him.
And why is Jeremy no longer available Jess wants to know?
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?
Love Unexpected by Sharon Hughson
Grad student Ivory Konner relishes a summer of guiding rafts on the Wenatchee River for from the expectations of her parents and the reminders of her recent dumping. She isn’t looking for romance 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 his collision on a hiking trail exposes him to physical contact without pain, 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 CarlyleTwenty 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?