Tag: T.E. Hodden

A Sneak Peak at a Ghostly Good Romance

I hope you’re not tired of this anthology yet, because there are still TWO more stories you haven’t sampled. Read on for more for ONE SULTRY DAY of romance reading.

Don’t forget to enter the contest at the bottom of the page. There are several ways to get entries, and I know you want to win TEN BUCKS to spend at Amazon.

Today’s Excerpt

Excerpt from Ghosts of Lost Summers by T.E. Hodden

“How many beers did you have?” I asked.

“Not enough to make that mistake,” she sighed. “Good night Bunny.”

“Good night Alice.”

She got out the car, and looked back as she reached the door. She wore a smile I hadn’t seen before. She stopped and walked back to the car, holding up a hand to stop me driving off. She pulled open the car door, and leant over me.

“Alice?” I asked, my throat feeling like it was made out thorns, my heart running so fast I felt weightless.

“You aren’t the mistake.” She wouldn’t look in my eyes. “You didn’t think I meant that?”

“I don’t think you meant that, but I think I would be a mistake.”

“No.” She held up her finger. “No. The kiss… the moment… would have been the mistake. I said it wrong. You will make the right woman very, very, happy, with a kiss like that. You would make me happy, but right now it would be a mistake. I know it’s a mistake for you. I know what you drag out of bed with you every morning. I carry it too. It would be. I know Phil was a while ago, and he has moved on, and he has Taylor now, but… I’m not ready for this. A date? I could do a date, dates are silly, and fun, and even when they go wild, it’s…with somebody I could happily walk away from and never have to see. But, this? A moment like this, with a good friend? A trusted friend? I… don’t want to walk away from you. This would be a mistake.”

“I know.” I stroked her cheek.

“Do I have to say sorry?” She muttered.

“I knew what you meant.” I smiled. “I appreciate it.”

“You do?” Her smile blossomed with relief. It was like a summer day dawning behind her eyes.

I nodded.

“Okay.” She kissed my forehead. “Good night Bunny.”

“Goodnight Alice.” I let her slip away.

When she was back in the building, I could breathe. I gripped the wheel and screwed my eyes closed, and concentrated on breathing, on not letting my heart punch its way out of my chest. I begged my hormones to stop flooding my veins, my flesh to stand down from the precipice of hunger, and for primordial, instinctual, bits of my brain to stop imagining all the wonders that might have resulted if only our lips had brushed together, and my hand had found the small of her back, to hold her to me, to welcome her.

All those little thoughts, all those little whispers to myself I had been burying deep and locking away bubbled up to the surface.

“No. No. No.” I chided myself. “That is not… I can’t… I shouldn’t…”

Those were true.

“I don’t,” I told myself, knowing it was a lie. “She’s just a friend. It’s all I want.”

I didn’t need to see Hannah to know she was painfully, keenly, aware of the lies I told myself.

Want to read more? Click here to get your copy of ONE SULTRY DAY.

What’s Inside the Anthology

There are FOUR stories from FOUR different authors with unique style and voice.

Second Chance Summer by Lily Carlyle

Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar

Ghosts of Lost Summers by T.E. Hodden

Unexpected by Sharon Hughson

You’re sure to find one summer romance to lose yourself in. And maybe you’ll discover a new author to love.

Scavenge to Win

If you’re not positive you will love these stories, how about reading them for free?

There is a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win:

  • A $10 Amazon Gift care
  • A digital copy of ONE SULTRY DAY (Three available)

Click and enter now!

PEEK INSIDE Summer’s Most Romantic Anthology

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?

Four Stories

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 Summers Past by 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 Summer by 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?

Today’s Excerpt

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.

The prizes:

The Grand Prize: TEN bucks to spend at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Get Ready for ONE SULTRY DAY

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO
ONE SULTRY DAY!

One Sultry Day
A Sweet Romance Anthology
 
 
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 Summers Past by 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 Summer by 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?

 
 

Come back tomorrow (and the rest of the week) for EXCLUSIVE excerpts from EACH story.

Also…there’s a giveaway.

 

 

Love Summer Romance? Get ready for ONE SULTRY DAY

Another new book from me? Two in one week? Well, this one is in the early stages. This week my publisher is revealing the cover and blurb information.

I’ve always been a fan of summer romance. Last year, I got a great idea for a “meet cute” while I was hiking with my best friend from high school. She’ll be shocked to discover I’ve dedicated this story to her, I’m sure.

What? You don’t know what a meet cute is? That’s when the two individuals who will fall in love in the book (story) first meet.

If you’ve read my other stories, here are some examples. It’s when Ashlyn hit Dylan with her car (“Dream Architect” in the ACCIDENTAL VALENTINE anthology). For Marcus and Ronnie in the Virtual Match novellas, it’s when they first meet in the coffee shop. (“That geek is the one sending me those too hot to handle texts and emails?”)

Anyway, enough about this subject. You’re all here to see the amazing cover and hear about the new stories.

Roane Publishing proudly presents:

ONE SULTRY DAY – A Sweet Romance Anthology

Featuring FOUR summer romances by FOUR different authors

Buy it at your favorite online retailer August 6, 2018

Blurbs

Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar

University drop-out and current barista, Sandi 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, Sandi 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 Sandi 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, Sandi 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 Summers Past by 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. She isn’t looking for romance when a thin guy and his dog nearly send her plummeting off a hiking 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 a collision on 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 Summer by 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?

A Sneak Peek Inside

Because this is my blog, and you are my favorite people in all of Readerville, I’m going to give you a glimpse inside this story.

This is from the submitted, unedited manuscript, so no guarantees that it will look precisely the same when you see it in print come August.

From chapter one of “Unexpected”:

A dog’s bark echoed from below. The portion of trail Ivory glimpsed seemed clear, but many people had brought their canine friends on the expedition. The deep tone of this bark reminded Ivory of her worst childhood memory, being chased down by a huge dog that bit her calf.

Her heart pounded as the recollection replayed. Or maybe it was from the pace she’d set, because she was practically jogging down the mountain.

The switchback disappeared around a corner of jutting rock and dirt. Ivory’s feet slid on loose pebbles. She threw her hands out for balance, glancing at the sheer edge only inches from her misbehaving hikers. When she glanced up again, a German Shepherd trotted around the bend, nearly slamming into her knees.

“Whoa.”

Her soles scrabbled on the lip of the trail, forward momentum careening her toward the drop. She thrust her shoulder toward the hillside and slammed into the lens of a camera. Pain spiked through her shoulder, but her racing mind screamed about the edge.

She lifted her gaze from the drop off only to headbutt the camera’s owner in the nose. He grunted and arms whipped around her waist. Together, they tumbled against the hillside. His head snapped back and his chin smacked her brow bone.

Ivory threw her hands up to stop another collision, placing them on shoulders barely wider than her own. Her stinging eyes riveted on a face inches away. A pointy chin tilted down and black hair, askew and sporting a dent from a hat, flipped in the wake of the abrupt halt.

Ivory stared into dark eyes, shocked by the striking amber ring around the iris. Something nudged against her legs, pinning her against the stranger. His camera dug into her collar bone.

“Sorry.” The word escaped on a wheezy breath.

“Rem, back up.” His tenor voice coughed out the command.

Ivory flattened her hands on his chest, noting slight definition beneath the breathable fabric. Pressure eased from her legs, but when she tried to inch backwards, her heel met resistance.

The stranger’s mouth puckered and Ivory leaned her head away, heart diving against her breastbone again. A sharp whistle pierced the air, and the block against her feet moved.

Hands rested on her hips, hot even through the layers under her sweatshirt. Ivory slithered backward, sighing once her body was free from the agony of the camera’s press.

“Are you okay?” His eyes stared into hers, the corona of light in their depths snaring her attention. “I should have had Rem heeling.”

Help Spread the News

There will be a blog tour and a release blitz for this title. If you want to get a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, that’s also an option.

Click on the button below to fill out the form. Someone from Roane Publishing will get back to you with details and all the information you need.

Who’s ready for summer? ME! And that includes a little (fictional) summer romance, too.

What You Should Be Reading this Weekend

Weekends are the perfect time for cuddling up in front of a fire with a good book. It’s even better if you can get a bite-sized story that fills the one or two free hours perfectly. And I have a recommendation that fits both bills: ONE SNOWY NIGHT.

This is a new collection of four short stories released by Roane Publishing only a few days ago. Because it’s my publisher, I read the advanced copy several weeks ago. And boy did it get me in the mood for snowy nights cuddled up with my honey.

I’m not going to give you the summary. You can click over to my blog earlier in the week to read the blurbs for all the stories.

My Review

You’ll enjoy four- and five-star reads in this collection. It includes stories with traditional tropes but all of them have a twist. That’s exactly the way I enjoy my tropes.

Melissa J. Crispin takes the “I lost my memory” trope and throws it into an interesting situation. What if you forgot you were divorced? What if you woke up after an accident expecting to see your husband? Asking these questions worked for the author because the husband under consideration hadn’t wanted the divorce in the first place.

These characters weren’t especially relatable as far as careers go, but their emotions were universally understood. Although I thought the story shifted too suddenly in some areas, it was still a powerful, feel-good read that made me tear up.

Four stars.

If you haven’t read anything by T.E. Hodden, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. I’ve read several of his stories, and this one has the most “feels” of any I’ve read. Again, he uses a common trope–friends to lovers–and freshens it up with incredible stakes.

He employs two devices I’m usually NOT impressed with. The first is that most of the story is a flashback. The reason this doesn’t really work for me is because I know where the story’s going and that takes away the tension in the progression.

That didn’t happen here. In fact, I kept turning pages wondering, “Well, how did this happen?” And although I figured out the big misunderstanding fairly early, I still wanted to keep reading.

The other thing is the use of first AND second person. I especially dislike second person because I never feel the “you.” In this case, the author pulled off this strange point of view. It came across as the narrator telling the story to the love interest (the “you” of the story). Some skilled writing went into this.

Five stars.

If you like the friends to lovers trope when it’s separated by a time lapse, you’ll like Laurie Treacy‘s story. While I felt like it told us the individual stories of Danielle and Quinn rather than truly building their romance, I still enjoyed it. Part of that could have been the hometown setting, which is one I generally adore.

The characters were well-developed and I could relate to their struggles. The plot progressed very much as expected in a romance, but I never felt the budding (or revisited?) relationship was in peril, so it didn’t have the sort of tension I need to fully engage with a romance-only story.

Four stars.

The final story I read in the collection was by Charlotte Snead. “One Snowy Day” took the trope of surrogate mother to wife and twisted it by giving an incredibly unique situation as the setup. It didn’t have the same “winter afternoon” feeling as the other stories, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable and engaging.

I never connected with these characters the way I did in the other stories. The only one who had my empathy was the little girl, Molly. I wanted the aunt and dad to get together so Molly would finally have a happy home.

Four stars.

My Recommendation

If you enjoy sweet romance, you’ll want to pick up this collection. Each story offers enough familiarity to pull you right in and enough originality to keep you reading.

These aren’t holiday stories. Yes, most of them center on events that happen in the winter, but many of them span several months or years.

Once you sample these authors, you’ll be back to Roane Publishing to read more from them. And that’s a perfect way to throw support to a small indie publisher.

Don’t forget the Giveaway for a $10 gift card.

What are you reading this weekend? I hope you’ll consider adding One Snowy Night to your pile.

Time for ONE SNOWY NIGHT of Romance

Another great short story anthology from my publisher, Roane Publishing. I’ve read this collection and will post a review later this week. If you’re ready for some sweet, snowy romance, grab your copy today.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO

ONE SNOWY NIGHT!

 
 
One Snowy Night
A Sweet Romance Anthology 
By Various Authors
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: Jan 8, 2018
Check out these blurbs for the FOUR great stories waiting to entertain you on those long winter nights.
 
All the Things I Should Have Told You
 
One snowy night, in an Accident and Emergency ward, a life hangs in the balance, and your best friend is going to tell you everything you don’t know about him, about your life, and what you both might be about to lose.
 
 
Unforeseen Circumstances
 
Marlene Martin wants to start over, to escape the sad past she can’t seem to leave behind. Between her marriage falling apart and her brother passing away, she has no reason left to stay in Mistport, New York. Her pending move across the country is exactly what she needs—or so she thinks.
 
Brady Miller doesn’t want to love Marlene, not after their agonizing divorce. His constant travel for work keeps his mind off of where they went wrong. But when he moves back to his small hometown to help with his brother’s business, seeing her again awakens the feelings he had long pushed aside. Each time they bump into each other, his interest in her only deepens.
 
When Marlene wakes up in the hospital after a terrible accident, she turns to the first person who enters her mind: Brady. Her world is shattered when he reveals that they’re divorced and her brother is gone. Brady helps her sort through the pain of memories she’s forgotten while he tries to avoid complicating her life even further.
 
Is Marlene’s memory loss a second chance for their love, or will history repeat itself?
 
 
Somewhere Between Falling
 
Recent college graduate Danielle Haviland had her future planned as a bride, band PR manager, and world traveler. Her dreams are ruined when her fiancée dumps her. On top of her heartbreak, Dani’s demanding mother issues an ultimatum: choose a viable life plan by the New Year, or assume a position picked out for her in the family real estate business. Dani runs away to the beloved town of her childhood summers to heal, refocus, and decide her future.
 
Still reeling from a family tragedy, Quinn Martin has been hoping for a second chance at happiness. His old friend Dani’s return might provide the opportunity he needs. When he offers Dani a job, the two grow closer and see that time hasn’t diminished their bond. Their chemistry sparks and broken hearts begin to heal. Will the plotting of a devious ex separate the couple before they can explore the relationship both desperately crave?
 
Somewhere between falling snowflakes, a chance kiss on a city sidewalk might offer childhood friends a new beginning. 
 
 
One Snowy Day
 
When tragedy strikes again, Aunt Evvie once more steps to the rescue. Her sister attempts to poison her daughter even after her own suicide, leaving behind chocolates tainted with arsenic in her daughter’s drawer and urging her to eat them in a note. Calling Molly’s beloved aunt for help, Phillip sees her convince her niece that she is both good and lovable. Evvie surrenders her job to stay home with Molly and in in the process comes to realize her brother-in-law no longer feels like a brother. Phillip convinces Evvie to enter into a psudo-marriage to provide stability for the hurting child. After rejection and betrayal, can Phillip trust romance again? Can the Evvie, the plain, older sister, compete with her beauty-queen sister? 
 
 
 
GIVEAWAY!
 
A $10 ROANE PUBLISHING GIFT CARD!

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.

Ready for some Love Under the Harvest Moon

Autumn is the perfect time for romance. Okay, is romance ever out of season? But you have to admit that being kissed under a harvest moon sounds totally romantic.

The newest anthology, Love Under the Harvest Moon, from Roane Publishing features five short stories centered around the theme of autumn. Three of them feature back-to-school in one way or another.

harvest_moon_cover

Amidst Strawberry Fields

This short story is by Nemma Wollenfang. I was interested to read it since Nemma shared a spot with me in Masked Hearts.

First of all, I was surprised that is was a young adult romance. Not because I don’t like them, because I’m a huge fan of young adult literature in many genres. However, Roane Publishing generally excludes stories with young adult characters from their anthologies.

I enjoyed the story. At first, I was thrown off because there was talk of a farm but the first sentence has a Ferrari pulling up to the school parking lot. What?

Eventually, I settled into the rhythm of the story. Beth was more mature than your average teenager. Maybe because of all the responsibilities she had at the farm.

This is a story about race relations, prejudice and even racial profiling. Not that any of those terms were used. But the gypsies aren’t welcome at the school and before long, it’s obvious the police want to blame them for any crime that happens around town.

Some things about Beth remained vague (like where was her father?) and the details of the harvest ceremony were released grudgingly.

A solid start for the anthology.

Four out of five stars

Autumn Leaves

HeartsofValor_eBook_CVRI’m familiar with T.E. Hodden because we shared a cover with the Hearts of Valor anthology.

His story ended up being the best in the bunch. His prose is poetic. His characters solid. And the one-day time frame of the story kept the pace ratched up so I had to keep turning pages.

It took me a few pages to orient myself to a romance narrated in first person by a man.  First, I’m not generally a fan of first person in romances because the tension can be tightened so much more effectively if readers can get inside the heads of both characters.

At first, I thought it was going to be another “I walked in on my girlfriend with another guy” story. But Hodden threw a curve ball (or three) in the middle of these over-used (in my opinion) trope.

I don’t want to give anything away because this is a story best experienced firsthand.

Five out of five stars

Moon Dance

This story by Patricia Crisafulli started slow and never really gained momentum.

It was written in present tense which is tedious for me to read, but I don’t think that’s why I didn’t connect with it.

The shero, Anna, was a single mom with plenty of problems. She was relatable and likable. The writing wasn’t terrible.

A romance never unfolded. We went from a guy telling her to loosen up to her holding hands with him at the harvest festival. No idea how they got from one point to the next. Most of the story is about Anna’s other problems and he makes brief appearances. You know he’s going to be the love interest because there’s no one else.

But how? The story has too many holes.

Three out of five stars

A Harvest Homecoming

This little tale penned by Laura Lamoreaux and T.L. French tried to pull me into its contemporary world.

Tanya is home again after an ugly divorce. She’s marking time until she can find another job as a reporter. And, of course, since anyone can be a teacher (in Texas, I guess), she takes a job teaching freshman English.

You all know I’m a substitute teacher with a background working in education for a decade, so this attitude rubbed me all kinds of wrong. But I kept reading.

Tanya runs into a guy she used to know, who once crushed on her, and he ends up being totally hot nowadays.

I probably don’t need to go on. It unfolded predictably from there.

At least the plot made sense and the story was complete. And the dig at teaching (unintentional or not) was redeemed by the end of the story.

Four out of five stars

Opposite Directions

Claire Davon, another anthology mate of mine from Masked Hearts, writes another girl comes home from the big city and takes a teaching job story. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t back-to-back with the other one.

Here Vanessa runs into her old flame, who broke up with her after cheating on her. See what I mean about the cheating boyfriend or girlfriend being an over-used trope?

Vanessa still has feelings for him. Does he have feelings for her?

Rather than taking the time to develop conflict and flesh out a longer story, Davon takes our couple out on a date and has them resolve everything over one meal. I believe in the restorative power of Italian food as much as the next person, but I couldn’t get on board with such an easy resolution of big issues.

I also didn’t connect with these characters as well as I had with those from the other stories.

Three out of five stars

Harvest Moon Button

All in all, this was a pleasant way to pass some time cuddled up on a rainy day. Each story is the perfect length for a lunch-hour dive into fiction-land.

Overall, it earns four out of five stars. (Okay, if you do the math, it technically gets 3.8 stars, but that rounds up to four, right?)

You can pick up your copy of Love under the Harvest Moon at your favorite retailer, or click here to get it directly from the publisher.

Time for LOVE UNDER THE HARVEST MOON

Happy Book Birthday to Love Under the Harvest Moon!

Love under the Harvest Moon
A Sweet Romance Anthology
By Various Authors
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: November 14, 2016
If you’re interested in a little romance to go with the changing leaves and the dawn of cocoa season, look for my review of this anthology on Goodreads. OR come back on Wednesday when I give each story my full-on attention. Take my word for it, these are stories that will take the chill off these lengthening autumn nights.

Claire Davon – Opposite Directions

Vanessa left her small Iowa town for the bright lights of Miami, also leaving behind the boy who devastated her young self by cheating on her with another local girl. Returning after four years to take a teaching job, she finds her attraction to Zane has not diminished in the time she’s been away.
 
Zane also works at the school and offers to show Vanessa the ropes. She cannot deny her attraction to him is still there, but is unsure if she should act on it. He broke her heart once, could he do so again? Or would their older, wiser selves be able to navigate the tricky waters of love and forgiveness, leading them back to each other’s arms?
 
Nemma Wollenfang – Amidst the Strawberry Fields
Good grades, happy home, pampered life, perfect boyfriend – sixteen-year-old Beth has it all. She tells herself that… a lot. That is until the new students arrive from the recently-built Traveller’s Site, led by the rakishly handsome Razovan Verlak, who begins to turn her world upside-down. The school didn’t want them, the town tried to avoid them, and Beth is determined to ignore him—them. But Raz is not to be ignored, and he has his sights set on her.
 
With the autumn harvest due in, and her boyfriend and the usual harvesters notably absent, Beth and her mother have to accept alternative help to bring in their farm’s crops. And Raz is all too eager to oblige. But Beth is uneasy, and with good reason. Raz and his crew have developed a worrying reputation around town. Assault, vandalism, theft – it seems there’s nothing they haven’t done…according to rumour. But are the gossips to be believed?
 
Will Beth listen to the disturbing tales and keep her distance? Or will she decide for herself and get to know the real Raz as they work together, amidst the strawberry fields?
  
T.E. Hodden – Autumn Leaves
So there I was, on the worst afternoon of my life, surrounded by the kind of argument that left me shaken and single. And there, in the park is Autumn, a beautiful, funny, sweet, trans-girl, who seems to be the only person in the world having a worse day than me. And that…that doesn’t seem right.
 
So, here we are. I have one day, to make her smile, and change her world, before Autumn leaves to face her winter.
Laura Lamoreaux and T.L. French – A Harvest Homecoming
When Tanya Sheldon loses her job and her marriage in the same day, she thinks her life is over. Unable to find anything else, she agrees to take a teaching position in her old high school, but moving back to Silver Lake turns out to be harder than she expected when old feelings come to light.
 
Tanya rejected Jake Green when they were younger, but now he’s all grown up and teaching across the hall. And for a minute, Tanya thought she might have something in her future other than a box of cats. But the moment is gone when Jake’s beautiful girlfriend Ashley returns. After learning the hard way what it’s like to be cheated on, there’s no way Tanya will let herself fall for Jake.
 
Patricia Crisafulli – Moon Dance
For Anna Oliver, life is one big to-do list and her responsibilities, large and crushing. Divorced and a single mother, needing to care for her own mother who is struggling with a cancer diagnosis, Anna has returned to her too-small hometown, which cannot compare with the life she enjoyed in Brooklyn. Now she is overqualified for her job in a community library and overburdened by everything.
When a storm brings down a tree on her roof—revealing damage that the insurance company won’t pay for—Anna feels as split in two as that old ash. Then someone unexpected comes into her life, and she must confront her need to trust, which seems far too difficult and risky. But under the harvest moon, anything can change.

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~~~oOo~~~

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For all you Autumn Lovers: Love under the Harvest Moon Revealed

Even though I love and adore summer, I see the appeal of changing the seasons. If it was all blue skies and hot weather all the time that would be boring. Bring on the changing leaves…and a new romance anthology from Roane Publishing: Love under the Harvest Moon.

Isn’t she lovely?

HarvestMoon_Cvr

This anthology includes five sweet romances sure to get your love of autumn stoked for some romantic afternoon reading.

Opposite Directions (Contemporary Romance)  by Claire Davon

Vanessa left her small Iowa town for the bright lights of Miami, also leaving behind the boy who devastated her young self by cheating on her with another local girl. Returning after four years to take a teaching job, she finds her attraction to Zane has not diminished in the time she’s been away.
Zane also works at the school and offers to show Vanessa the ropes. She cannot deny her attraction to him is still there, but is unsure if she should act on it. He broke her heart once, could he do so again? Or would their older, wiser selves be able to navigate the tricky waters of love and forgiveness, leading them back to each other’s arms?

Amidst the Strawberry Fields (YA Romance) by Nemma Wollenfang

Good grades, happy home, pampered life, perfect boyfriend – sixteen-year-old Beth has it all. She tells herself that… a lot. That is until the new students arrive from the recently-built Traveller’s Site, led by the rakishly handsome Razovan Verlak, who begins to turn her world upside-down. The school didn’t want them, the town tried to avoid them, and Beth is determined to ignore him—them. But Raz is not to be ignored, and he has his sights set on her.
With the autumn harvest due in, and her boyfriend and the usual harvesters notably absent, Beth and her mother have to accept alternative help to bring in their farm’s crops. And Raz is all too eager to oblige. But Beth is uneasy, and with good reason. Raz and his crew have developed a worrying reputation around town. Assault, vandalism, theft – it seems there’s nothing they haven’t done…according to rumour. But are the gossips to be believed?
Will Beth listen to the disturbing tales and keep her distance? Or will she decide for herself and get to know the real Raz as they work together, amidst the strawberry fields?

Autumn Leaves by T. E. Hodden

Blurb: So there I was, on the worst afternoon of my life, surrounded by the kind of argument that left me shaken and single. And there, in the park is Autumn, a beautiful, funny, sweet, trans-girl, who seems to be the only person in the world having a worse day than me. And that…that doesn’t seem right.
So, here we are. I have one day, to make her smile, and change her world, before Autumn leaves to face her winter.

A Harvest Homecoming by Laura Lamoreaux and T.L. French

Blurb: When Tanya Sheldon loses her job and her marriage in the same day, she thinks her life is over. Unable to find anything else, she agrees to take a teaching position in her old high school, but moving back to Silver Lake turns out to be harder than she expected when old feelings come to light.
Tanya rejected Jake Green when they were younger, but now he’s all grown up and teaching across the hall. And for a minute, Tanya thought she might have something in her future other than a box of cats. But the moment is gone when Jake’s beautiful girlfriend Ashley returns. After learning the hard way what it’s like to be cheated on, there’s no way Tanya will let herself fall for Jake.

Moon Dance by Patricia Crisfulli

Blurb: For Anna Oliver, life is one big to-do list and her responsibilities, large and crushing. Divorced and a single mother, needing to care for her own mother who is struggling with a cancer diagnosis, Anna has returned to her too-small hometown, which cannot compare with the life she enjoyed in Brooklyn. Now she is overqualified for her job in a community library and overburdened by everything.
When a storm brings down a tree on her roof—revealing damage that the insurance company won’t pay for—Anna feels as split in two as that old ash. Then someone unexpected comes into her life, and she must confront her need to trust, which seems far too difficult and risky. But under the harvest moon, anything can change.

If these sound like your sort of romances, click here to help promote the release. Sign up to get a free ARC is you will post a review during the release week.

Harvest Moon Button

With cooler weather coming, there will be more time to read. Mark your calendar for the November 14 release date and let’s get reading!

See this post on their website for further details about the release of LOVE UNDER THE HARVEST MOON and the blog tour.

Meet the Authors: Heart of Valor Blog Tour Continues

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome my fellow Roane authors onto the blog.

They’ve agreed to answer ONE question for this stop on the tour. Hopefully, it will whet your appetite for the romantic stories of military heroes in Hearts of Valor.

If someone has a heart of valor, what does that mean? Is it more than courage? More than being a hero?
Feel free to say why the hero of your story matches your ideal of valor.

London Saint James:

Courage? Yes. Bravery? Yes. Sacrifice? Yes. Brawn? Yes. Brains? Yes. Strength of will? Yes.
Dependability? Yes. A man or woman of their word? Yes. Honor? Absolutely.

T.E. Hodden:

Being a hero is not about being brave, or laying waste to the enemy. Being a hero is about doing
what is right, what must be done, despite being terrified. It is much more about mercy, and
consequences, than it is about being Rambo. Rambo is a great character to watch on a film for a
few hours, but he is an icon, a fiction, not a hero. Not in the way that can be found on any side of
any conflict, amongst the ranks, amongst the stretcher carriers, firemen, medics, and the
refugees. War stretches far beyond those who happen to fight it.

S.L. Hughson (yes, this is me):

Part of the dictionary definition (yes, I’m THAT person) specifies that valor involves
determination. To me, this means premeditated bravery, a strength of character that won’t allow
the man (or woman) of valor to back down from what they believe to be the correct and
honorable course of action. I don’t want to spoil “Hero of her Heart,” but both Nicole and Vince
exhibit valor in different ways.

Jean Young:

Valor is courage, it is bravery, it is heroism, but it is more. Heart of valor is a courageous man
with kindness and spirit. He is “a manly man”, as in my story. He would do what most men
wouldn’t do—he would be kind and do good deed, even in the face of evil, even when he had to
endure unimaginable pain. “Good for good is natural; any man can do it. Good for evil is manly;
only a noble man can do.”

Philip Lisagor:

I think of valor as a deep, core trait, of not being scarred in the face of danger—and courage as
more of the demonstration of valor through actions. The character in “Goin Home” confronts the
vagaries of his ennui about going home resulting from his deployment by taking a long hike with
a surreal experience which sends him back home.

Terri Rochenski:

Valor, to me, is bravery—even outside of battle. In my story, Walter goes off to war, but his wife
is the one with the heart of valor in the end.

What about you, dear readers? What’s your ideal of valor?

Feel free to direct comments to any one of the authors who appear here.

Now for the information about the book:

Hearts of Valor: An Anthology of Sweet Romances

HeartsofValor_eBook_CVRThe PromiseLondon Saint James

Veronica Weis married the handsome Lieutenant Carter Weis only to be widowed six months after the happy nuptials. Captain Quinn Alstrom of the U.S. Coast Guard eagerly begins his newest post in Key West. Will Quinn’s surprise arrival in Veronica’s life re-spark the fire in the vivacious woman he remembered? Or, will the memory of her fallen husband stop the two of them from finding happiness?   

A Manly Man Jean Young

Confederate POW, Braxton Bolton, had an unexpected visitor the day before his execution: Arabella Anderson walked into his jail cell and kissed him. Two years prior, she had been the Lieutenant Colonel’s prisoner and he protected her, now the grateful young woman had come to repay his kindness.

Hero of Her Heart S.L. Hughson

Nicole Taylor has loved Vincent for years. Now he’s back from serving in the Army, and she’s determined to make him see her as something other than a little sister. After a heated Valentine’s date, Nicole is confused by Vince’s withdrawal. He drifts further from her happily-ever-after plans. What will it take for him to see he is truly the hero of her heart?

Feathers T.E.Hodden

Kerry only wanted to do right by Christopher. To protect him from the whispers of ‘coward’ and the shame of a white feather. But the war doesn’t look like a grand adventure any more. All Kerry wants is Chris home safe. But will he still be the same man she once knew?

Goin’ HomePhilip Lisagor

How will Jack be able to put Iraq behind him and return home to Leah and their two children? The green peaceful coast of Ireland is the perfect landing zone from the brown violent landscape of Mesopotamia. Jack is humping ruck along the North Atlantic coast when a chance encounter with an Irish maiden turns him all around and he hears the voice of Leah in a magical moment calling him home.

Promises Kept  – Terri Rochenski

Ever since they were kids, Joan dreamed of being Walt Herley’s wife. But, Joan’s dream is short-lived when the Korean War draft has Walt trading his groom’s suit for army fatigues. With her heart a world away, Joan struggles to keep her spirit afloat while praying for the war’s expedient end.  Fate, however, has a plan of its own, one that threatens Joan’s faith in Walt’s promise to return.

Purchase Links:

Roane Publishing          Amazon                  Barnes & Noble           Bookstrand

Kobo                               Smashwords            iTunes                           AllRomance

And, of course, click the blue link to enter the Giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please click here to check out the rest of the tour: