Welcome to the book blitz for DOUBLE NEGATIVE, a standalone young adult contemporary romance, by Susan Marshall. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Injured competitive swimmer Reece never wanted to be Vice Prez of West Hill High. It was her brother Jamie’s idea, just something to do until she could get back into the pool.
She knew that Jamie—who led his campaign with a striptease “election speech”—would be a complete “President Dumbass.” But Reece didn’t foresee that she’d fall hard for Jamie’s Student Council rival, Zain.
Zain is hot and intense, plus an amputee and a basketball star. Between Zain’s disability and Reece’s surgery, they have their challenges, but that deepens their connection—until he drops a bombshell about his accident. Suddenly, everything important to Reece starts to implode.
Struggling with issues of family loyalty, secrets, and scars, Reece must decide if real relationships are worth the heartache.
Excerpt #2 “It’s a good thing you called,” Zain said, his eyes narrowing. “Your brother needs to be kept in check.”
“What’s with you two, anyway?” I asked, returning his look.
“He’s lived this charmed life. I’ve busted my butt to get good grades, on a winning basketball team, Athletic Council Prez. He takes off his clothes, says ‘Free ice cream,’ wins Prez, throws out the rulebook. He’s not accountable, not for anything he does. And he’ll get into a good school. I know your dad’s some hotshot lawyer with big connections. He’ll pave his way. How is that fair?”
“Nothing’s fair. You work hard, then your shoulder gives out, but you come back even better.” And as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back.
“Really? Not everyone comes back better. Not when someone runs over you with their car and smashes your leg so bad, they have to take half of it off. And you fight just to walk. And then more and more to get back on the court. In the end, I can only go so far. I’m hoping that I might be good enough for college, but adjusting to the prosthesis has taken a toll on my game. Once high school is over, so might basketball.”
“Shit, I’m sorry. When did this happen?”
“Two and a half years ago.” I sighed. “I don’t want sympathy,” he added, looking straight ahead.
“You’re the team captain, right?”
“Captain doesn’t mean you’re the best player. I’m pretty good, I used to be scholarship good, but I’m not so sure anymore.”
I pulled up in front of Zain’s house, a small, tidy-looking red brick bungalow with white trim and a carport. The only difference between his house and the ones on either side was the color of the door. Helped by a large, hanging white porch light, I could tell it was a deep navy blue.
I still hadn’t thanked him for bailing me out. I was grateful that he’d come, stopped the brawl, got everyone out, and helped with the mess. The situation had been tense. Someone could have gotten majorly hurt, not just bloody-nose hurt. We would have been in deep shit.
“I appreciate that you guys came.”
“I’m glad we got there when we did. It could have gone south. Fast.”
“It almost did. You’re not going to rat us out to DiFran, right?”
“I still have to think, but let me say I like having something on Jamie. I’d lose that edge if I blabbed.” I nodded.
Zain opened the passenger door and did his hop-strut thing out of Jenny. He shut the door, leaning into the window. “Come as your favorite sexual fantasy? That’s some theme for a freshman mixer.”
“Superheroes,” I said loudly, blinking. “Remember the shirt? I was Elastigirl? The capes? Superhero, not sexual fantasy.”
Author Susan Marshall
About The Author A lover of libraries, Susan obtained a Masters Degree in Library Science but found that she was too disorganized for that field. Instead, Susan worked at The Globe and Mail newspaper and then Seneca College. Four kids later, she decided to stay-at-home, spending her quiet moments indulging her love of writing.
The old adage is to “write what you know.” In Double Negative, Susan channels her experience as a parent of a teen amputee and her misguided belief that she was once an athlete. The inspiration for NemeSIS was the complicated sister dynamic in Susan’s estrogen fuelled household in Hamilton, Ontario. An avid reader, she loves e-books and falls asleep nightly to the soft glow, oblivious to what happened on the last page.
Susan lives in Toronto with her husband, three sons, a daughter, rescue dog Bean and Indy the cat.
Welcome to the book blitz for GOLDEN CROWN, the second book in the new adult contemporary sports romance series, Arthur Academy, by Kathleen Mare’e. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
GOLDEN CROWN (Arthur Academy Series #2) by Kathleen Mare’e
Synopsis “If the world is full of monsters, how do we know who wears the crown…”
In the dark of the night he bared his soul, delivering a shocking event that should’ve changed everything. So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…? The further I’m immersed in this world he calls the ‘elite’, the more I don’t understand. And it’s not only his world I’m afraid I’m falling for, but the Golden Crown himself as well. But Pax still has secrets. And I want him to trust me, like a flame wanting fire.
Because despite his world being nothing as it seems, I’m not sure I could walk away even if I wanted to. Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.
I want him.
In the dark of the night I revealed a truth, delivering the brutal reality of what the elite really means. So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…? It’s the same cat and mouse games, and the same political, power tricks where the Golden Crown is all they see. It’s all they want to see. Except for her.
But there are things I can’t tell her. Things I don’t think she’ll understand yet. And I need her to trust me, like a fire needing flame. Because despite me knowing what this world does to those who fall victim to it, I’m not sure I could walk away from Hendrix, even if I wanted to. Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.
I want her.
Excerpt #2 I took my lip beneath my teeth before opening my soul up as much as I was capable of. The words I were about to ask, meant more to me than she would ever know.
“I need you to trust me.”
I held my breath. Ready to wait for her reply but was surprised at how fast it actually flew from her mouth.
I stilled. “What? You trust me?”
I didn’t believe it. I was almost angry at Hendrix’s answer.
How could she trust me after everything I’ve put her through?
Everything I’ve hidden. It didn’t make any sense.
What also made no sense was her reaction either because she shook her head before taking a seat on the edge of her bed (which was too far away from me) where she played with the hem of her tee that was resting on her lap.
“Crazy huh? That I trust you. But… I can’t explain why I do. I’ve just always….”
“You’ve always what?”
She glances up, piercing my heart with her hazel eyes honing in on me with so much raw emotion. “I’ve always…” she starts, before seemingly coming to some realisation within herself. “When I was younger… I always sensed when things were wrong you know? Like that sixth sense that something bad was about to happen, or when danger was nearby. Even when I was too young to really understand my situation, I always knew deep down the kind of dangerous situation I was in. That it wasn’t normal. Well, it wasn’t everyones normal at least. I don’t expect you to understand, but I’m sure from those photos you saw that you have some idea of what I grew up in.” She pauses and my fists ball at the reminder instantly. I don’t have time to let that anger consume me though before she continues. “But I’ve just always trusted my instincts. They’ve never let me down and I guess in a lot of ways I’ve relied on it since I had no actual family to have my back. And…” she pauses again, nervously this time, when she notices me taking slow, measured steps toward her.
“And….?” I whisper, until I’m standing over her causing her head to tilt back to look up at me.
“And my gut? For some reason it trusts you Paxton. Despite you making me nervous, despite the things you say and the things you do. I feel safe around you. Protected. Like the only person capable of hurting me when you’re near – is no one else. Only…. you.”
My hand finds her cheek, letting her warmth seep into my palm. A palm, that was capable of so much destruction. So much hurt. But everything she just said was true. Because I’d always had this sense to protect her, like somehow our souls recognised the pain and destruction we both endured in our lives and wanted to somehow heal together. In most of our time together though, I wanted to protect her from me too. But this girl….
I held her as delicately as a guy like I could, when she gave me something of hers that was beyond precious. Her trust. I almost couldn’t believe she was giving it to me but it was something I was determined to keep. No matter the cost.
“You never asked me you know.”
“I never asked you what?”
“If I had something to do with… You never asked me.”
Her small fingers wrap around my wrist that’s still cupping her cheek and her eyes never sway from mine. “I may not know everything about you Pax, but I know you aren’t capable of something like that. I’ve been around monsters my entire life and you aren’t one. You’re not.”
I suck in a breath, wanting so much more in this moment when I breathe, “You called me Pax.”
She tilts her head, a knowing smirk crossing her delicate face. “It’s your name isn’t it?”
“I guess I like how it sounds coming from you.”
Then for the first time in a long time, I let myself feel…
About the Author Kathleen grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, where family holidays by the beach and tormenting her two younger brothers, was how she spent her early years. But at the young age of 11, when she submitted a short story to a talented writing competition through the NSW schools program, not only did she win it, but she quickly found a love for it as well. Throughout her schooling, writing was a hobby, along with sketching and various sports. But fast forward to her adult years when she moved to Europe to follow her husbands field hockey dream, and her love for writing surged to the surface.
Her debut story, Cut, was penned over two years where her hobby seemed to lead to the completion of Pennys’ world. The rest of the series came the following year. Kathleen enjoys writing stories full of self-discovery, emotional journeys and of course, love. Something else she loves is hearing from her readers, so feel free to follow her blog or drop her an email.
For signed copies of her novels, more information about upcoming stories, or to follow her blog, please visit her website www.kathleenmaree.weebly.com
Welcome to the book blitz for CROSSROADS SAGA tenth anniversary special, the award-winning four-book young adult paranormal romance series by Mary Ting. See below for information on the series, buy links, an exclusive teaser excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CROSSROADS SAGA 10th Anniversary Special by Mary Ting
Synopsis * * * READERS FAVORITE GOLD AWARD WINNER 2012–YOUNG ADULT * * *
Based on dreams the author had in high school-chapter 1 & 2.
Protecting her was his duty.
Falling in love was forbidden.
Loving her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity.
Claudia Emerson’s life is about to change. It seems like a tragic coincidence when her good friend, who shares the same first and last name, dies in a car accident. Grief brings tumultuous dreams—but these are more than simple dreams. In sleep, Claudia travels to another world called Crossroads.
There, she meets Michael, a Nephilim–half angel, half human. Meeting him and being there changes her forever. It marks her as special, and that may not be a good thing. Now fallen angels and demons are after her, and it is up to Michael and the other Nephilim to protect her. Her dreams become a nightmare as secrets are revealed about who she really is and the true identities of the people she loves most.
Author Mary Ting
About the Author International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author MaryTing writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.
Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years..
Author Daria White is revealing the cover to KILLER RUNWAY, the second book in her adult cozy mystery series, Bianca Wallace Mysteries, releasing January 25, 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, preorder inks, and details on her giveaway.
KILLER RUNWAY (Bianca Wallace Mysteries #2) by Daria White
Synopsis Bianca’s determined to live a normal life in Edenville with her family, and she has no intention of getting involved in another case. While attending a fashion show, a model, also a childhood friend of her sister, collapses off the runway. Dead. Not the show Bianca planned on attending.
Detective Sims shows up to solve the case, but Bianca can’t keep silent. Too many clues are surfacing, and with a long-term photo shoot in town, the suspects remain in Edenville. There’s no harm in Bianca investigating one more time, though Detective Sims wants her to stay away.
Can she discover the motive behind this unexpected death? Bianca’s life at risk with another killer isn’t wise. Not to mention the lives of her loved ones.
About the Author Daria has lived in Texas for most of her life. She never liked reading as a kid. In fact, she almost hated it. However, as she grew up that all changed. Though she received her degree in healthcare management, Daria kept her writing as a hobby.
She meant it to be private and her own way of expressing herself. It never crossed her mind to publish until she was in college. She took a chance and published. It worked!
Welcome to the book blitz for SHOPPING FOR A CEO’S HONEYMOON, the fourteenth book in the adult romantic comedy series, Shopping for a Billionaire, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julia Kent. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For al limited time, you can pick up the eBook for free!
SHOPPING FOR A CEO’S HONEYMOON (Shopping for a Billionaire Series #14) by Julia Kent
I am eating a piece of grilled white asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with melted manchego cheese and coated in crushed pistachio, when my friend and co-worker Josh ruins my culinary orgasm by bringing up my honeymoon.
More specifically, my lack of a honeymoon.
And all I can do is grunt.
“I’m just saying,” he says with a sigh as he waves his bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed date around on its toothpick like he’s the conductor of the Boston Pops doing a tapas bar gig, “you married a freaking billionaire. You deserve a honeymoon.”
“It’s not about what Amanda does or doesn’t deserve,” Carol insists on my behalf. As I chew, I give her a look that either says thank you or is so indecent, I need a cigarette and a fan, because damn, that asparagus is good.
“What is it about?”
“It’s about what they want. I mean, my God, Josh! Andrew bought her an estate as a wedding gift. I think he’s got all the good-husband bases covered.”
“Pfft. That? He’s a billionaire! That’s to be expected.”
“You’re pooh-poohing my husband’s gift to me? An estate in Weston, Massachusetts? It’s one of the most expensive zip codes in the country,” I say, parroting his affect.
“Hello? Billionaire? For him, that’s like buying a cheap condo behind the railroad tracks in Clinton. Declan bought Shannon an entire coffee chain.”
“This isn’t a competition,” I say, alarm making my pinot noir taste like vinegar.
“And he managed to give her a nice honeymoon in Hawaii.”
I lean in. “Define nice. Because those two still refuse to talk about their honeymoon.”
About the Author New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.
Stephanie Dunham is revealing the cover to TRAITORS & TYRANTS, the first book in her young adult fantasy series, Traitors & Tyrants, releasing December 6, 2021. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
TRAITORS and TYRANTS (Traitors and Tyrants Series #1) by Stephanie Dunham
About the Book
Title: TRAITORS & TYRANTS Series: Traitors & Tyrants Series #1
Author: Stephanie Dunham Release Date: December 6, 2021 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads
Their mother is a traitor. Their father is a tyrant. They know their enemies.
Hector is inheriting a kingdom in turmoil, one that is ready to retaliate after the many years of tyranny they have endured under a now-unstable king. Amidst a mounting coup, Hector is plagued by demons bent on hunting and killing him. Protecting himself will cost him the kingdom and countless lives. But Hector will do anything to protect his people – even if it means giving up his soul.
Kierra has lived her entire life inside a prison, watching her mother tend to everything but her. Hatred and rage fuel her magic, killing everything in her path. After years of neglect, she is ready for bloody, death-filled vengeance. But Kierra has a problem: she is being hunted. When demons infiltrate her home, she reluctantly follows her mother’s plan to free the imprisoned demon overlord, but freeing him will have dire consequences Kierra isn’t prepared for.
Author Stephanie Dunham
About the Author Stephanie has been writing for the better part of 10 years now and reading for many more. Her favorite genres are fantasy and mystery/thrillers. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys a good laugh while watching The Office or chilling with her family.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE WORST BEST FRIEND, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy, by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Snow. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow returns with a hilariously uplifting standalone romance where two jaded friends next door bring their lost hearts home.
It’s all sunshine and butterflies until your brother’s best friend dropkicks your heart. I knew I had it coming with Weston McKnight. The Adonis next door. The fever crush. The always protector. The man who walked away after pulverizing my soul.
Seven years ago, he left our little town with a promise he couldn’t keep. I waited. I worried. I suffered. I stopped chasing dreams built on that boy’s mile-wide shoulders. Then I found the pig—and sweet chaos found me.
I had to rescue that poor squealing baby before he was roadkill. I didn’t know he belonged to Captain McGrumpy. I never guessed I’d collide with a scowling, moody, scary-hot West again. Same man. New secrets. Oh, but that all too familiar tension…
We’re stuck as frenemy neighbors for the next two months. Facing a dilemma with bittersweet memories and flaming glances. What’s the harm in seeking a little closure? Massive. Can we even use words without risking an all out kissing war? Well… Am I in trouble with my worst best friend again? Definitely.
Full-length romance thriller with a sticky sweet Happily Ever After forged from friends-to-lovers madness. Witness one broken man’s redemption quest to claim the girl he shouldn’t with so many small-town hijinks, countless dad jokes, and a little help from a bad-tempered pig.
Excerpt “Look at me,” I rumble.
“W-why?” she stammers with a sniff.
The moment our lips meet, it’s like a generator blown to pieces. A hundred thousand watts of raw electricity, hot and fast and furious, so wild with sparks it welds our lips together.
She gasps into my mouth and I groan back a curse. Her lips firm with surprise, then soften, giving way to the sudden attack of my tongue.
I’m no longer in control of my own body.
This kiss has its own rules, its own gravity, its own soul.
I’d be a complete fool to try to stop its energy.
Her lips are too soft. Too warm. Too perfect in every way, shape, form, and whimper.
When my tongue claims hers, soft and wet as a summer strawberry, she molds to my chest, dragging her body against mine.
I can’t separate my hot mouth from hers, even though I know full well I should.
Stumbling back a step is the only thing that saves us.
That’s what she does to me, her and her thieving, glorious lips. She knocks me upside the head and renders me fucking boneless.
I tear myself away violently, just a few inches, both of us staring in wild-eyed shock at each other, fighting to remember how to breathe.
Goddamn. My eyes slide to those ruby-red lips again with a need to bite her.
I can’t. I won’t.
But hell…one more time, maybe.
Just one more taste and then I’ll stop. I’ll pull back from the brink before we face annihilation.
It takes nearly all my willpower to crush my lips against hers, to roam her mouth every way I’ve wanted for years—fucking years—only to shove myself away.
Dammit all. My bright ideas especially.
I’m panting like a wild animal—breathing like I’m in disbelief—and for her, I want to be.
I also want it to happen again, a thousand more times.
Author Nicole Snow
About The Author Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.
Welcome to the book blitz for BEAST, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance/fairytale retelling series, House of Misfits, by award-winning author, Cambria Hebert. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
BEAST (House of Misfits Series #4) by Cambria Hebert
A charismatic man cannot see beyond his own brilliant reflection, never learning that true beauty lies within. His selfish behavior draws the ire of a witch with enchantment on her wicked tongue. A fiery curse is unleashed, engulfing the self-centered man’s entire existence. When at last the flames are extinguished, he gazes upon his reflection to discover he is no longer breathtakingly handsome but condemned with scorched flesh and twisted scars.
He is no longer a man at all… but a beast.
While the ferocious beast rages, alienating everyone far and wide, a woman whose beauty is far more than skin-deep dwells in a world much simpler than his.
The beauty’s quiet life is disrupted when she is ambushed, threatened, and boldly steps in the path of her father’s debt. However, it’s not the thugs on her tail or the roaring beast testing her patience that threatens to be this sassy beauty’s downfall. It’s the way her heart flutters whenever he is near.
But some curses just can’t be broken, and really… How can she truly ever love a beast?
*Beast is book 4 in the House of Misfits series but it could be read as a standalone. There are mentions of the previous books & plots and the characters from the first three books do make appearances in Beast.
About the Author Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.
Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).
Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.
Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC..
Author Melanie Munton is revealing the cover to THE EXTRA MYLES, a holiday novella in her adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Southern Hearts Club, releasing December 21, 2021. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, preorder inks, and details on her giveaway.
THE EXTRA MYLES (Southern Hearts Club Series) by Melanie Munton
NOW HIRING… Fake boyfriend for 27-year-old desperate female. Must be able to deal with pretentious, New York City socialites. Attendance at family Christmas events required. Seasonal work only. Applicants not named Myles Colson need not apply.
The position has been filled. Granted, Myles is the only man in Blair McCauley’s life capable of looking her dragon mother in the eyes and not bursting into tears. Blair will need that steel whenever her mother helpfully reminds her over a glass of eggnog that a career is pointless when she could just marry rich. Thankfully, the barbecuing, beer swilling, football watching guy’s guy doesn’t even sort of fit in with her flashy New York lifestyle.
Which is exactly the point.
Although Myles is a lot more than a former jock with a pension for frosted mugs and Sweatpants Sundays. He also happens to be a gifted artist, and Blair is helping him carve out his space in the art world. Lucky for her, she’s the only one who gets to see the man behind the pottery wheel. Sans shirt.
But when Blair and Myles both come to the realization that they’ve just been pretending at pretending, they never see what’s coming for them next.
About the Author Traveler. Reader. Beach-goer. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Pasta-obsessed. North Carolina resident. Sarcastic. Bit of a nerd.
Author of the Cruz Brothers, Possession and Politics, and Timid Souls series, Melanie loves all things romance, comedies and suspense in particular because it’s boring to only stick to one sub-genre! From light-hearted comedies to sexy thrillers, she likes to mix it up, but loves her some strong alpha males and sassy heroines.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!
Welcome to the release blitz for MAYBE WE SHOULD, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Silver Harbor, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Melissa Foster. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
MAYBE WE SHOULD (Silver Harbor Series #2) by Melissa Foster
An emotional and sexy novel about guarded hearts, finding love, and families lost and found by Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe We Will.
After spending years wondering who she was, tattoo artist Cait Weatherby finally found her answers on the sandy shores of Silver Island. With two half sisters she never knew existed, a group of friends she adores, and a devastatingly charming admirer who flirts with her at every turn, she’s ready to figure out her next steps. The trouble is, Cait lives in the shadows of a dark past, and she can’t afford complications that might cause her to lose the family she’s only just found—complications like blue-eyed boatbuilder Brant Remington, who is as open as she is guarded. If only the sexy charmer would take the hint…
Brant is Cait’s opposite in every way, but he’s drawn to everything about the sexy newcomer—from the quiet strength that rivals the caution in her mossy-green eyes to her tough facade that he can’t wait to strip away.
As Brant works his magic, Cait’s walls come down. But as sweet as that feels, Cait knows how quickly good things can turn bad. It’s going to take more than a little trust to beat the ghosts of her past and claim the future they both deserve.
The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in paperback and audio formats at all book retailers, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a free Kindle reading app here: http://bit.ly/FreeKindle_App1.
Excerpt She went back to flipping the pages of her sketchbook, and her pulse quickened at a sketch of Brant Remington. Too hot and charming for his own good, the dimple-cheeked, flirtatious man had been hitting on her since the day they’d met, when she’d first come to the island. He made her feel things she’d never felt before, like the butterflies currently taking flight in her stomach at the mere thought of him. She quickly turned the pages to shut those buggers down, stopping on a drawing she’d been working on of Aiden proposing to Abby the day she and Cait had won the Best of the Island Restaurant Competition. He’d proposed in front of everyone at the award ceremony, like he couldn’t hold back a second longer. Cait couldn’t imagine being loved that much. Abby and Aiden were getting married in the fall, and she planned to give them the picture as a wedding present.
As she began working on the sketch of Abby, wide-eyed and teary, and Aiden down on one knee, looking at her like she was all he ever wanted, Cait filled with longing to be as openhearted as they were. She was anything but open, especially toward men.
A high-pitched yelp cut through the silence, bringing Cait to her feet. She brushed the sand from the backs of her legs, trying to figure out where the noise had come from. Splashing sounds and strangled cries sent chills down her spine. She hurried to the water’s edge as more cries rang out, and her eyes caught on ripples coming from the right. She ran along the shore, searching the water with her heart in her throat, and spotted an animal’s tiny snout poking through the surface. It yelped again and went under the water. Oh no! What was that? A cat? She couldn’t let it drown.
Scrambling to untie her boots as fast as she could, she looked around to be sure she was alone and pulled off her top and shorts. She hurried into the water, her feet sinking into the muck at the bottom. When the water hit her waist, she held her arms out to her sides, telling herself she was fine, fine, fine. The cold, murky water inched up her stomach, and the animal’s head bobbed a few yards away, its tiny yelps tearing at her. Her next step met emptiness, and she sank, screaming as she went under and was swallowed by darkness. She fought her way back up toward the surface and gasped for air. Arms flailing, legs kicking, she lunged for the animal—and missed—sinking beneath the surface again. She’d only just found her sisters, and now she was going to drown in the marsh, and nobody would ever find her or the animal she was trying to save! She hadn’t survived the horror of her father just to die in this muck. She fought her way up to the surface and grabbed the tiny beast with one hand, holding its frail body up above her head as she sank again despite her frantic efforts, taking the animal down with her.
She clutched the animal to her chest, holding her breath, one arm grasping for the surface, legs kicking frantically. Something thick and strong circled her waist, hauling her back against something hard. She fought to free herself, clutching the animal she was trying to save. Were there man-eating octopuses or maniacal anacondas on Silver Island? Oh God! Suddenly she was thrust to the surface, and she gasped a breath just as her foot connected with whatever held her, and a deep male voice shouted, “Cait! It’s me!”
Clutching the tiny animal, she looked over her shoulder, catching a glimpse of electric-blue eyes as she sank beneath the surface again…
About the Author Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa’s fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, and the Wild Boys After Dark. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented.
Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.
Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website.
Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.
Author B. Truly is revealing the cover to THORN OF SECRETS, the second book in her young adult coming of age romance series, My Darkest Secret, releasing January 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
THORN OF SECRETS (My Darkest Secret Series #2) by B. Truly
About the Book
Title: THORN OF SECRETS Series: My Darkest Secret Series #2
Author: B. Truly Release Date: January 2022 Genre: Young Adult Coming of Age Romance Links: Goodreads
In love with the same face that haunts me….
The falling leaves of autumn are like the deceit in my family lineage. Closing the door on the infinite cold—winter blossoms into the spring of new beginnings. In the next season of my life, I’m mending the pieces back together. Opening myself up, I even begin to date, which is a big step for me.
After graduating from high school, a shocking development causes me to be on alert. When nothing comes of it, I move forward, wanting desperately to put the past behind me.
About to start college, I bump into someone from my complicated past, and my heart is torn. The dilemma I struggle with: Do I let other people’s opinion define who I am? I must decide if I’ll push through the ridicule and pave my own path. Could the face that’s scorned me be the key to my resolve? I’ll never know if I take the easy way out.
I’ve unlocked my darkest secret only to have it return to torment me. As the thorns of his obsession encompass me, I discover I’m part of a twisted ploy. If I don’t figure a way out of this predicament, then the life I’ve known may cease to exist.
Don’t miss the riveting sequel to Madison’s story that will have you dangling on the edge of your seat.
Author B. Truly
About the Author B. Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old. She is grateful to have accomplished this dream. B. Truly has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She’s addicted to romance, and gets a thrill out of action and sci-fi. She writes new adult and adult romance—sci-fi, dystopian, and paranormal genres.
B. Truly likes to explore different elements of sci-fi romance, and create various realms of reality. She also loves creating impossible situations for her characters to grow from and try to overcome/
B. Truly has three wonderful children, and a husband who defines the person that she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Houston, Texas.
Welcome to the book blitz for A WISH TOO DARK AND KIND, a stand-alone adult dark fantasy horror/urban fantasy, by M.L. Blackbird. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
Among the immortals that inhabit our world, Arnaud Demeure is known as the man who can fulfill your one true wish or who can also conjure your worst nightmares.
Eight invitations are sent to eight immortals, and when Arnaud Demeure hosts a party, no one refuses his request. Why have they been summoned? Is it for a celebration or does a sinister fate await them? After all, in the ways of Magick, a party can also be a ritual to end the world.
As the mystery deepens, the attendees must overcome their personal grudges to unravel the threads of Demeure’s grand plan that has been centuries in the making. But, with one of the guests secretly working with their host to sabotage the group’s every move, it seems impossible to look behind the curtain to learn Demeure’s true intentions.
With each guest hiding dark secrets and darker intentions, will they be able to uncover Demeure’s mysterious motives or will the party prove to be the deadly nightmare that they each fear?
Excerpt #1 Had you walked with us on the roads of Paris in the old days, you would have heard many stories. And yet the nightcrawlers cared only about those talking of a man: Arnaud Demeure. The one with the gift to fulfill any wish. Only one rule—it had to be your one true wish.
If while walking in the shadows of a dark alley at midnight, you met one of ours and asked him, “What news do you bring, brother?” They would respond, “Have you heard of Arnaud Demeure?” And if by the witching hour, while hunting for prey, you talked with those of us who spy and report, they would tell you, “Arnaud Demeure . . .” So, when dark gave in to the light, on your way home to escape the sun, you thought, What’s my true wish, Arnaud Demeure?
Consider what you’d do if that fine little man invited you to his castle. Imagine, any wish you have he’d grant it, if it is true. They say the hardest thing for those like us is dying. Others say it is to stay human as time carries us around. But we are like you. We want something; we don’t know what it is and never get it. For you, it’s years, for us, centuries. Now you understand why that night many years ago, when I received his invite, against any logic, I accepted.
Author M.L. Blackbird
About the Author Born and raised in Sicily, M.L. spent most of his early life inventing stories and believing he could live in them. In high school, he spent way too much time watching B movies, playing video games, and reading everything he could get his hands on, provided it wasn’t recommended by any authority figure.
M.L. spent most of his college years and adult life writing in languages only machines can understand until he decided to put some of his stories on the page. After a few years spent in Scotland, now M.L. lives in Seattle with his wife, his cat, and a large assortment of books. When not writing, he still enjoys playing video games and explaining board game rules to his friends.
You can follow M.L. on: https://mylittleblackbird.com.
Synopsis When Blue Mancini’s mother picked her name, it ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A year ago, Blue’s brother, Jack, was involved in a car accident that killed the father of her classmate, Maya Rodriguez. Luckily for Jack, he got out of a manslaughter charge and into a plea bargain thanks to the top-notch lawyer hired by Blue’s wealthy parents.
The fallout is now affecting Blue as Maya returns to school determined to carve out a pound of flesh from the only member of the Mancini family she can reach. On top of that, Blue has a demanding mother, a father who’s never around, a drama-addicted best friend, and a secretive new guy who’s determined to make Blue his own personal cheer-up project. It’s a perfect storm of misery.
When Maya’s social media taunts and in-person digs finally push Blue to retaliate, they find themselves in afterschool detention and forced into a project meant to foster cooperation and civility. As the layers of their tangled drama unravel, Blue learns more about Maya’s life—and her own sense of privilege—when secrets are revealed that cast a new perspective on everything in Blue’s world.
My Review This may be my favorite read of 2021. High school junior, Blue, is as blue as her name. Her older brother, Jack, recklessly drove after a party and was involved in an accident that killed a man. A man with a wife and three children. The man may or may not have been partially to blame, but he’s dead. Though Jack was under the legal limit, he was also underage and drinking. Blue’s life is forever altered, but so is Maya’s, the daughter of the man killed, who also happens to go to Blue’s private school. Maya blames Blue for the loss of her father, even though Blue had nothing to do with the accident. The bullying at school as a result of Maya and her possy of friends is unrelenting, but as with everything, there are always two sides to every story.
After Blue and Maya get into a classroom altercation, they’re stuck in detention together where the school counselor is determined for them to learn how to co-exist in the school, forcing them to work together on a school club. It goes anything but smoothly, but Blue and Maya learn that neither of them is who they assumed the other to be, and that everyone has secrets they don’t want the world to know. And that includes Blue’s new boyfriend, Devon, who is hiding something so horrible, she isn’t even sure she wants to know what it is.
Plot The story centers around Blue and Maya’s relationship. The way Maya treats Blue early on, I was hoping she wouldn’t get a redemption arc, but by the time I got halfway in, I was rooting for it. The author does an amazing job of creating sympathetic, yet flawed characters that pull at you. Blue may live in a big house and have lots of money, but she discovers her life isn’t so different from Maya’s after all. A strong subplot is her relationship with Devon, and it may go down in history as one of my favorite teen romances.
The Characters All the characters are amazing. I loved Blue and Devon from the very first scene. Neither is perfect, but they’re so easy to adore. Maya grew on me. She’s got a massive chip on her shoulder, but for good reason. She deals with racism, classism, and dark family secrets in addition to losing her father. She makes it hard to love her, but she still manages to dig her way into my heart through amazing character development and writing by the author.
Top Five Things I Loved About BLUE 1. Blue. She’s perfectly imperfect. She’s kind, but she still makes assumptions about other people. Her heart’s in the right place, but she still manages to say the wrong thing far too many times. She realizes she lives a life a lot of other kids don’t, but she still takes much of it for granted.
2. Devon. The boy with the dark secret who still manages to be so upbeat most of the time is my soulmate.
3. Maya. The life she’s lived, the secrets she keeps, the burdens she carries all shape who she is, and as I got to know her, my animosity toward her melted away and I just wanted to hug her.
4. Secrets. The secrets everyone carries slowly unfold at just the right pace to keep me turning the pages.
5. Plot. I absolutely loved the plot. The author did a masterful job of making me feel all the feels, even when I didn’t want to.
Bottom Line My favorite read of 2021 so far! Loved the characters, the story, the writing, everything!
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author L.E. DeLano comes equipped with a “useless” Theatre degree that has opened doors for her in numerous ways. Though mostly raised in New Mexico, she now lives in Pennsylvania with two adventurous kids and two ridiculous cats. When she’s not writing (which is almost never), she’s binge-watching Netflix and planning road trips.
Her debut novel, TRAVELER was selected as a Keystone To Reading Secondary Book Award finalist for school year 2018-19 by the Keystone State Reading Association (KSRA) and also voted one of The 20 Most Beautiful Books in the World for 2017 by MTV UK.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE SHADE OF SANTA FE, the seventh book in the adult supernatural mystery series, The Mystery House, by USA Today bestselling author, Eva Pohler. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE SHADE OF SANTA FE (The Mystery House Series #7) by Eva Pohler
Synopsis A haunting in Santa Fe will either reunite Ghost Healers, Inc. or disband the group forever.
When Ellen decides to buy a fixer-upper in an art community in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she’s reassured by the realtor that nothing evil has ever occurred there. What she doesn’t know is that the bridge near the back of the property is notoriously known in the town as Suicide Bridge. As she and her friends try to uncover why so many people have taken their lives there, they are shocked by what they find. Can the reunion of Ghost Healers, Inc. untether the troubling spirits near Ellen’s fixer-upper, or will their discoveries be too much for them this time?
Excerpt #1 “Ready for our hike?” Tanya asked.
“Do pigs fly?” Sue said with a laugh.
“The sooner we do our hike, the sooner we can get on the road to Santa Fe,” Ellen pointed out. “Just think, in five hours, we could be shopping in the plaza.”
“Is that supposed to motivate me? That’s just what I’m looking forward to, more walking.”
“Oh, come on, Sue,” Tanya said. “This will be more of a stroll than a hike. I promise.”
Ellen and her friends put on their walking shoes and then took the trail beside their cabin into the canyon.
Ellen breathed in the cool, morning air. The beauty of the canyon elevated her mood. Some of the stone formations were thick and striated, while other rocks formed mounds of crushed granite. In the distance was a tall formation that reminded Ellen of the sphinx.
“Watch your step,” Tanya said from up front as she stepped over a large rock.
“This feels so good,” Ellen said from where she took up the rear. “I feel like we’re one with nature.”
“And nature is so majestic, isn’t it?” Tanya said. “Doesn’t that big rock look like the tower of a magical castle?”
“I thought it looked more like the sphinx,” Ellen said.
Sue shook her head. “You see a castle and Ellen sees a sphinx. What does it say about me that I see a penis?”
Tanya scoffed. “You know what it says about you.”
“Don’t tell Tom,” Sue warned. “He’ll say my mind is in the gutter.”
“Isn’t it?” Ellen asked.
“Yes, but there’s no need for Tom to know that.”
The three friends chuckled. Ellen realized that if someone had overheard Sue, they might think she was a promiscuous woman who hid her extramarital interests from her husband, but her friends knew she just liked to make people laugh.
Tanya asked, “You think there’s any truth to what that psychic said about there being a shade in Santa Fe? What if there is? What if he confronts us?”
“Oh, Tanya,” Sue said, “you know as well as we do that there are ghosts everywhere. I’m sure there’s more than one shade in Santa Fe.”
“But why would the psychic warn us?” Tanya wanted to know.
“If anyone can handle a confrontation with a ghost, it’s us,” Sue said. “Don’t let fear get in your way of having a good time.”
Ellen heard a shriek as Tanya stopped short.
“Tanya? What are you screaming about?” Ellen asked from the rear.
“That wasn’t me,” Tanya said, backing up. “It was that tarantula. See it?”
On the trail two feet in front of Tanya, a hairy tarantula stood on its hind legs shrieking like a small child. The spider was as big as Ellen’s hand.
“Turn back” Sue said, as she pushed Ellen in the direction from which they’d come. “I’ve had enough of nature for one day.”
“So much for not letting fear get in the way of having a good time,” Ellen teased.
“I can handle just about anything but a hairy spider,” Sue said. “Especially one that screams.”
Author Eva Pohler
About the Author After earning her Ph.D. in English and teaching writing and literature for over twenty years, Eva Pohler became a USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult paranormal romance based on Greek mythology. Her books have been described as “addictive” and “sure to thrill”–Kirkus Reviews.
Welcome to the book blitz for SHOPPING FOR A TURKEY, the eighteenth book in the adult comedy romance series, Shopping for a Billionaire, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julia Kent. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SHOPPING FOR A TURKEY (Shopping for a Billionaire Series #19) by Julia Kent
Synopsis I don’t understand Americans. Or, as we say in Scotland, I dinna understand ye eedjits. And I definitely dinna understand the crazy mother-in-law of my cousin Declan. Who in their right mind names a wee dog Chuffy?
I’m stuck in New York after ma agent makes a bloody mess of an otherwise good endorsement contract for a sports towel company, and this crazy American holiday–Thanksgiving–is in two days.
The invitation to spend it in Mendon, Massachusetts, with the Jacoby family is about as appealing as rotten haggis. As far as I can tell, Thanksgiving is about stuffing yerself silly, watching pathetic American “football,” while fighting with relatives ye only see once a year.
If I wanted that last one, I’d head back to Scotland, where we dinna need a holiday to be salty to each other. Ma firm answer is nae. Until I remember Amy is part of the family. Suddenly, I’m available. Eager, even. Perhaps she’ll pull ma wishbone. I hear that’s part of the Turkey Day festivities, aye?
What I canna admit, though, is how she pulls ma heartstrings, too. Which shouldna feel better than the wishbone, but it does. And here comes Amy’s mother with another holiday tradition, this one a bit early. A sprig o’ mistletoe, dangling right above Amy’s bonnie head.
Shopping for a Turkey features Scottish football player Hamish McCormick and Amy Jacoby as they navigate unusual cultural norms, new traditions, and the undeniable attraction between these two characters, who have appeared as supporting players in Julia Kent’s New York Times-bestselling Shopping series.
It’s their turn to have their own all-new spinoff series. And to pull the wishbone. 😉
Excerpt #2 Amy
My attention wanders to the back yard. I watch Hamish doing sprint after sprint, over and over, each one as enthusiastically brutal as the last. His legs are a work of art. I’ll give him that.
Soccer player legs are a thing. Tree trunks in muscled form, they’re huge and powerful, developed by years of daily footwork and bold runs. He’s a cocky jerk, but a premier player like Hamish doesn’t get to his level without a crushing amount of hard body work.
He just keeps going, sprint after sprint, ignoring the dripping sweat, until he stops to drink, then…
My boots are by the front door, so I pass Dad and Declan, who are laughing together about James being a sophisticated older man. Massachusetts winters mean the heavy boots come out in late October. I’m fine without a coat today, my sweats warm enough, but no way will I head out there bootless.
The yard gets plenty of sun, so the ground he’s running on is tan, dead grass, but there’s a perimeter of snow at the base of the fence, where it’s always in the shade. It’s cold enough for the top layer of dirt to be frozen, but the terrain is uneven.
Nothing like a soccer field.
“It’s not flat like the fields you’re used to playing on,” I call out from a small spot of clear concrete on the patio.
“Excuse me? Did you just call me a bitch?”
That makes him stop, brow down, sweat dripping from copper-colored ringlets, true horror in his eyes. “What? Nae! I said pitch. With a P.”
“What’s a pitch?”
“A field. A soccer field.” He says soccer the way I say, well…
Dripping with sarcasm.
“Are you capable of having a single conversation with me that doesn’t involve insults or sex?”
“I was about to ask ye the same, Amy.”
Author Julia Kent
About the Author New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 1.5 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 16 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing soon. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three children in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.
Welcome to the blog tour for BELLS ARE RINGING, the fourth book in the adult contemporary holiday romance series, Christmas in Evergreen, by USA Today bestselling author Lacey Baker. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
BELLS ARE RINGING (Christmas in Evergreen Series #4) by Lacey Baker
Synopsis Welcome back to Evergreen,
the town built on Christmas wishes…
And learn what happens
after one snow-globe wish comes true.
Life is going great for Hannah, really. She’s fallen in love with her best friend, her brother is getting married, and she’s looking forward to another festive Christmas in Evergreen. Still, between her job, taking charge of the choir, and being the town’s jill-of-all-trades, she’s feeling uninspired…especially when Elliot starts to question his own role in the town.
Hannah finds fresh inspiration in the brand-new Evergreen Christmas Museum, and she volunteers for their storytelling project. When she interviews her fellow Evergreenians, however, she learns that not everyone wants the museum around; specifically Mr. Cooper who owns a third of the building. As Hannah finds herself with more and more responsibilities, and as her relationships with Elliot and her family grow strained, she starts to wonder about what she really wants. Can her love and newly-found purpose survive the changes that loom after the holidays are over?
Excerpt #2 Walking through the narrow foyer toward the big country kitchen at the back of the house she peaked up at familiar pictures that lined the walls. One was old, the frayed edges visible through the black frame. It was a black and white of her parents in front of the church where they’d been married. Her mother’s ankle length dress with its lace edges was still the most elegant wedding dress she’d ever seen, while her father looked debonair in his three piece suit and fedora hat. She loved how the picture instantly brought to mind big red heart boxes of candy and jazz music, two things that were always in the house on Valentine’s Day thanks to Isaac’s love for Barbara.
Another picture was of the whole family, she and Thomas seated in front of their parents, all of them sporting huge grins, happiness practically beaming through the frame. There was also contentment in those faces as they were all happy to be together and in this town. That’s the feeling that reached out to Hannah tonight, that same contentment that she’d felt all her life, even now.
“I had to drop off David at the skating pond,” she said walking into the kitchen and immediately dropped the box and sheet music onto a counter.
“Then I ran into Mrs. Pringle and Sonya and Michelle,” she continued, but paused when she noticed Elliot finishing a glass of wine.
He looked so comfortably handsome in black slacks and gray button front shirt. When she’d seen him at the museum earlier he’d kept his coat on so she had no idea what he’d been wearing today. His black hair had always been curly and now he kept it longer on top and close-cut on the sides. The barest hint of a five o’clock shadow was now showing along his jaw and he looked right at home in her kitchen. The sight touched her heart. “You started without me,” she said when she saw he already had the bowls filled with different candies and plates stacked with cuts of gingerbread.
“No. No,” he insisted. “I had some time, so I got things ready. How were the Cooper sisters today?”
She accepted the glass of wine he offered. “You know finishing each other’s sentences and being lovely as—” Her words trailed off as she glanced into the dining room. “Eliot.”
Hannah was speechless—a new thing for her—at the scene. He’d set the dining room table with white candles and sprigs of holly tucked into a red vase. There were bowls of food and two place settings on the cherry wood table.
“Did you make dinner?” she asked.
“I did. But, it’s cool.”
Now Hannah felt horrible. She’d been so busy taking care of everything on her schedule, then stopping to hold conversations with people she could’ve easily told she had plans, instead of focusing on getting here in time. She set her glass on the island and dropped her head down to groan.
In seconds, Elliot was there, touching her arm. “It’s cool,” he repeated.
Coming to a stand, Hannah circled the island. “Oh, it’s not cool at all. I’m so sorry.” She hugged him and loved how comforting it felt when he hugged her back. Her thoughts circled back to moments ago on the porch. Eliot could’ve been upset that she was late, yet again. He’d gone through so much to prepare dinner for her on top of his offer to help her with the gingerbread house. She should’ve been more considerate, should have prioritized him in the way he seemed to have done with her tonight. “I just lost track of time.” It was the truth and yet it didn’t sound like enough of an excuse.
“I know,” he said pulling back a bit so he could look at her while holding her in his arms. “You’re looking after your nephew, your schedule is packed with the town’s Christmas needs. And you’re still fitting in time to celebrate Michelle’s wedding. Tell me how to help.”
“This. This is what’s helping. Thank you, Eliot.” This was also one of the reasons she’d fallen in love with him. His ability to take any situation, examine it and figure out what he could do to make it better.
Case in point, he’d prepared dinner for her, which was a tremendous help. Otherwise she would’ve tossed a frozen pizza into the oven while they worked on the gingerbread house and called it a day.
“Come on, let’s go sit and eat. I hope it’s not too cold,” she told him.
Taking her hand he led her into the dining room. “Not in those great new ceramic dishes you bought, they really hold the heat just like you said they would.”
“See, I told you they were a good investment,” she said as Elliot released her hand and pulled out a chair for her to sit.
Taking the seat as if they were at some elegant banquet dinner, she smiled up at him and watched as he moved around to the other side of the table. When he sat and then extended his hands across for her to hold, Hannah took them quickly. Elliot said a quick blessing over the food and then released her hands.
“Behold, my most famed macaroni and cheese,” he said, lifting the indigo top off one of the two ceramic pots she’d purchased from the TV shopping network.
It was box mac ‘n cheese, not homemade baked, but he always garnished it with bacon bits as his special flourish and it always made Hannah giggle because it was just the right amount of corny and romantic. “Oh, you know I love your famed mac ‘n cheese.”
He nodded, a goofy grin spreading across his face. “I know it.”
Minutes into the meal Eliot asked, “Hey, you remember that time the church had a spaghetti dinner and we were in charge of boiling all the noodles?”
Hannah had just set her glass of wine down and used her napkin to wipe her mouth. “Yes, I do! We had four pots on the big stove down in the church kitchen. Two of them came from the firehouse so we could cook more at one time.”
“And we put too many noodles in one of them then lost track of time because we were so busy talking that the water started bubbling over the top,” he said, forking another mouthful of mac ‘n cheese into his mouth.
“Right.” She was nodding now, the memory so clear in her mind. “That quickly got out of hand and the next thing I know you were mopping up water while I was using the strainer to catch the noodles that were coming out of the pot.”
He chuckled and she did too. “I was trying to get them before they hit the floor.”
“And I was trying to keep you from falling on the water, with the bowl of noodles in hand,” he said after chewing.
“Then, Mr. Finley came in asking what was going on, but we were laughing too hard to explain what had happened.” Similar to the way they’d begun laughing now.
They’d had some fun times together over the years, so many that Hannah was certain they could spend every night for the next five or maybe ten years recounting them all.
“We always had a good time together,” Eliot said when they quieted down a bit. “No matter what we were doing, as long as we were together, it was the best time ever.”
His words were both sweet and true and Hannah couldn’t help but smile. “You know, now that you say that, I realize how true it is. I mean, we’ve been friends for a really long time. It still amazes me that it took until last year while we were fixing the snow globe for us to realize there was something more between us.”
“Well, that’s how long it took you to realize it,” he said. “I’d known for a while.”
“Really? You never told me that.” And she’d never even considered that Eliot had harbored feelings for her. Hearing this now had emotion swirling in the pit of her stomach as she slowly reached for her glass. Another sip of wine was definitely in order.
Author Lacey Baker
About the Author Lacey Baker, a Maryland native, lives with her husband, three children, two grandchildren and English Bulldog in what most would call Suburban America–a townhouse development where everybody knows each other and each other’s kids. Family cook-outs, reunion vacations, and growing up in church have all inspired Lacey to work towards her dreams and to write about the endurance of family and the quest to find everlasting love. To date she has written in several genres including small town romance, YA paranormal (as Artist Arthur), a cozy mystery series titled Rumors and adult paranormal (as A.C. Arthur).