Spotlight – Maybe This Time

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Y’all, hurry up and get this one while its free!  The first book in this series got some fantastic reviews.

*****

Maybe This Time

Begin Again series

by Claire Yezbak Fadden

Blurb:

Architect Kate Jameson has sworn off men. That is until she meets Eric, the handsome son of her current client. Fresh out of a messy relationship with a co-worker, Kate’s not ready to trust her judgement where men are concerned. She dodges Eric’s advances, but can’t deny the attraction growing between them. Everything–especially his soul-searing brown eyes–makes her want to throw caution to the wind and try again. At her sister’s prodding, Kate finally agrees to date Eric, surprised at the joy he brings into her life. But when their budding romance is threatened, Kate is forced to make hard decisions and fight for her true happiness.

Undercover CIA agent Eric Wiley has survived enough loss in his life to ever want to risk being hurt again. He has long since given up on true love. Still, he’s drawn to Kate in a way he can’t rationalize. Avoiding her isn’t working and for the first time in a relationship, he wants to be truthful about his past and his career. Before their romance can bloom, however, Kate goes missing. Recognizing the danger, Eric stops at nothing to rescue the woman who has captured his heart.

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Kindle Unlimited

*****

Excerpt:

Kate walked faster, but Colleen stopped. “There’s a guy back there waving at you. Kinda nice looking. Now he’s coming our way.” Colleen smiled as though inviting him to come closer.

“Don’t encourage him,” Kate said.

“Too late. Here he is.” Colleen made a sweeping motion as though she were a hostess on a game show introducing today’s prizes.

Oh God, his eyes are browner than I remember.

“Kate, I’m glad I caught you,” Eric said. “Sorry I missed you on the phone. I got back into town early.”

“I see that,” Kate muttered, her icy tone coating each word. Not going through this drama again. Crazy guy. Multiple girlfriends. Bad endings.

“I’m Eric Wiley,” he said, offering his hand for Colleen to shake before returning his attention to Kate.

“So maybe we can set up that coffee date. There’s a great little place a couple of doors down.”

“I know. Colleen and I just had coffee there.”

“And scones,” Colleen chimed in, handing Kate her bag of leftovers. “I’ve got to get going. I have class in thirty minutes.”

“Teacher or student?” Eric asked.

“Yoga instructor.”

“Nice. Maybe I can take your class sometime. It’s not that sweaty yoga, is it?”

“No, it’s more of a flow class. Kate can tell you all about it.” Colleen tapped Kate on the shoulder. “I’ll see you later,” she said before scurrying toward the yoga studio.

“I like your friend,” Eric said gesturing to Colleen’s back.

“She’s pretty terrific. We met in her class. Used to be a cop.” Kate wanted to run away, but her feet grounded into the earth as though an alien force rooted them in place. All the small talk didn’t comfort her. Minutes before this guy was kissing another woman, and now he was flirting with her. Was there no end to his nerve?

“Now that’s really switching career paths,” Eric said. “I consider doing that sometimes.”

“And leave the family business for what? I don’t see that happening.” You’re such a privileged mama’s boy, Kate wanted to say, but didn’t. Truth was during their earlier interactions, Eric didn’t strike her as someone who life had been easy on. It was obvious his parents leaned on his judgment. Eric presented himself as a self-made man, working for what success came his way. Still, he was hiding something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

Granted with business-owner parents, his path may have been smoother than many. Even if your folks set you up, you’re the one who has to walk that path. Kate knew lots of privileged folks who took the benefits they were born into and managed to drink, gamble or in some other way squander their advantage, as though opportunity was an all-you-can-eat buffet. Made a bad choice, no problem. Just get a clean plate and try again. The sports pages and movie magazines were filled with celebrity examples. A couple of Kate’s sorority sisters were still trying to find themselves. That’s what they claimed at the last reunion.

“You’d be surprised. I can tell you more about my future plans over a hot mocha.”

Kate readjusted her purse strap and leaned away. “Thanks for the invite, but I need to get to work. We’re already brainstorming the next complex. Proposal is due in two weeks.”

“Yeah, I know. We talked about your innovative ideas. I thought they were great. You’re great.” Eric licked his lips and stepped closer. “Seems to me like we connected, at least a little bit, but if you’re not interested, just say so. You don’t have to go through not answering my calls and giving me the brush off. Just be honest. It will save us both a lot of time.”

Kate shoved her paper pastry bag in her coat pocket and crossed her arms. “Honesty? Is that the most important value to you, because I believe in always telling the truth. I always tell the truth.”

“And you’re suggesting I don’t?” Eric’s nostrils flared with anger, causing Kate to step back. “We are standing in the street arguing about I don’t know what. Do you want to have a cup of coffee with me or not? It’s just that simple.”

“Not until you answer a question first.” Kate straightened to her full five-foot-six height. “Who were you kissing a moment ago?”

“Kissing? What are you talking about?”

“Near the cab. The woman who kissed you. Who is she? You’re an only child, so I know that wasn’t your sister. A cousin, maybe?” Kate huffed.

Eric’s eyes widened.

Is this how he stalls for time, cooking up a lie, Kate thought. This should be really good. She waited, even tapped the toe of her boot a time or two. “Well?”

“Like I said on my call, business ended early. I grabbed a cab with a coworker. End of story.”

“Not quite. Here comes your coworker, and she looks ticked.”

*****

Author Info:

When she’s not playing with her granddaughter, Pennsylvania native Claire Yezbak Fadden is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first. Claire loves butterflies, ladybugs and holds a special affinity for carousel horses – quite possibly the result of watching “Mary Poppins” 13 times as a young girl.

Claire loves to cheer on the San Diego State Aztecs, her alma mater, and is a big fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The mother of three, she lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Nick and two spoiled dogs, Bandit and Jersey Girl. Claire’s work as an award-winning journalist, humor columnist and editor has appeared in 100 publications across the United States, Canada and Australia.

Maybe This Time is a continuation of her Begin Again series, starting with her debut novel, A Corner of Her Heart.

Follow Claire @claireflaire, email her at claire@clairefadden.com, join herFacebook Fan Page or visit her at clairefadden.com.

*****

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Spotlight – Martinis & Moonlight

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This book (and the entire series) is getting some fantastic reviews … get your copy today!

*****

Martinis & Moonlight

A Country Road Novel – Book 3

by Andrea Johnston

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Minnesota “Minnie” Walker has worked hard for the life she has – a close knit family, successful career, and long-term relationship. When a tragedy strikes, Minnie sacrifices everything to be there for her family. Never expecting a move to the small town of Lexington would change the course of her future, Minnie finds herself wondering if what she always thought was perfect is really what’s best for her … and her heart.

Owen Butler has lived in the town of Lexington his entire life. After years of feeling second best and wasting his time vying for the attention of his father, Owen has settled into an uncomplicated life. Not one to believe in happily ever after, he never expected the new woman in town to have him questioning everything he thought he wanted in life.

Together, under the rays of the moonlight, Owen and Minnie find themselves wondering what the future holds and if facing it together is worth the risk.

Amazon US | Amazon.AU | Amazon.CA | Amazon.UK | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Goodreads

Whiskey & Honey (A Country Road Novel Book 1)

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Tequila & Tailgates (A Country Road Novel Book 2):

Amazon  | Kobo | iBooks | Nook

*****

Excerpt:

This week has been particularly quiet in the office, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’d even take an encounter with Owen at this point. Yep, be careful what you wish for.

The door to the office opens and I sense him before I hear him. Maybe it’s that I smell him. Not smell in a gross way, but a way that is like some weird mating call. I’m sure there’s a name for that but I can’t think of it because there he is, walking toward me in a pair of khaki cargo shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt that, thanks to the sweat on his body, is clinging to his torso and chiseled chest, and a pair of sunglasses sitting atop his head. That smile I mentioned taking over his face as he gets closer to my desk has me quickly looking away in embarrassment. I know he can tell that he affects me. I know my tell-tale giveaway to embarrassment has completely taken over my arms, neck, and cheeks in a glorious shade of strawberry.

“Well, Miss Walker, fancy meeting you here.”

“Oh, hey.” I don’t take my eyes from my screen and very diligently read the same line over and over. Why does he make me nervous? I don’t get nervous.

“Here are some invoices for you and I signed off on the time cards for my crew.”

I finally lift my eyes from my screen to see Owen sitting in the chair in front of my desk, leaning back so he is rocking on the back two legs of the chair, with his arms crossed, and a smirk on his face. The same smirk he usually offers me before not so subtlety suggesting something flirtatious.

“Thanks. Checks will be ready Monday as usual. Was there anything else?”

“What’re your plans this weekend? Date with your boyfriend? Painting your nails with the squirt?”

Clicking the save icon on the spreadsheet I’m working on, I sit back in my seat, crossing my feet at the ankle while folding my arms, and contemplating how to answer this. He’s trying to get to know me and I promised myself I’d be open to new friendships. Owen Butler is a lot of things, and while I’m not sure he’s completely harmless, I doubt he’s much more than talk.

“No boyfriend,” I casually respond before whispering under my breath, “anymore.”

“What? Some schmuck let you go? What a loser.”

I snort out a laugh; I guess my whisper was louder than I thought. The more I’ve thought about my relationship with Kent, the more appropriate a word like “schmuck” is a perfect way to describe him. Boring, self-absorbed, career driven, and missionary style are also other ways.

“Well anyway, I’m actually going to just hang out this weekend. The girls are going with my parents and it’ll be the first time in weeks I’ve had time to myself. How about you? Got a date?”

Owen chokes on what I think was supposed to be a laugh, startling me a little while simultaneously sending a little shiver down my spine to my lady bits. His voice is deep and gravelly, as is his attempt to laugh, almost like he doesn’t do it very often and his vocal cords don’t know how to respond.

“Yeah, I don’t date. Hook up maybe, but dating indicates I’m interested in a relationship and that’s not the case.”

“I hear ya. A relationship is the last thing on my mind these days.”

We sit in silence for a few ticks before Owen clears his throat and rests his chair on all four feet. I follow suit by sitting up more in my chair and grabbing my mouse. A few clicks and Owen stands and then taps the top of my monitor.

“You should call the girls.”

I look up at him, slightly confused, but not before acknowledging the sweat has dried from his torso while his shirt still clings to his skin. He must notice my gaze has lingered a little longer than necessary because he offers me that smirk again.

“Sorry, the girls – Piper and Ashton. Me and the guys are heading to the lake for a little fishing so I’m sure they’re around.”

“Oh.” The realization of how much my life has changed in the last few months struck me; when he said “the girls,” I thought of my nieces. “Yeah, uh, maybe.”

“Well, all right then. Have a good weekend, Minnesota. See ya next week.”

I don’t bother asking Owen to not call me by my full name. I know he knows it’s not my preference. And honestly, for whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me when he says it. I would never tell him that, but it’s true.

*****

Author Info:

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper. An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.  A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.

Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs.  When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

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*****

Giveaway:

$20 Amazon Giftcard & Signed Paperback

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*****

Book Review – Comeback Cowboy

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We first met Lucas and Naomi in Hometown Cowboy and I am so excited to share book 2 with you!

*****

Comeback Cowboy

Rocky Mountain Riders, #2

by Sara Richardson

On Sale: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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Blurb:

A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS HER FIRST COWBOY . . .

As a single mother, Naomi Sullivan is used to doing things on her own. She’s finally saved enough from working at the Cortez Ranch to buy a lovely home for her and her little girl. Life is going as planned. But when her high school sweetheart comes riding back to town, this self-sufficient woman feels something she hasn’t felt in years: red-hot, unbridled need for the handsome cowboy who left her behind.

Lucas Cortez doesn’t plan on being in town long. Yet when he sees Naomi again—the gorgeous girl he never stopped loving—he’s tempted to hang up his hat and stay awhile. He’s already charmed his way into her daughter’s heart, but he’ll need more than sweet talk and roses to convince Naomi to give them a second chance-especially when she’s hiding a secret that could change their lives forever…

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*****

Excerpt:

A yellow Volkswagen Beetle blitzed toward Lucas, picking up speed. Yep, he’d know that car anywhere. Naomi.

He watched her draw closer and closer, and just like it always did when Naomi got near, his heart picked up. Would she stop and give him a lift to the ranch? They hadn’t exactly been alone since he’d come back to Topaz Falls. She’d made sure of that.

As the yellow car sped around the curve, he lifted a hand to flag her down, but the car didn’t slow. Maybe she hadn’t seen him. Waving his arms, he stepped onto the shoulder…

Shit! The car was coming right for him! Adrenaline fired through him and sent him rolling into the ditch just as the car’s brakes screeched. The thing skidded and fish tailed, likely taking out half of the tires’ tread.

Breathing in the scent of burnt rubber, Lucas stared up at the sky. Well, that’d been one hell of a close shave.

The car door opened and out Naomi flew, stumbling down the embankment in her polished red heels, to where he lay on the ground.

“God, Lucas. I was so distracted I didn’t even see you.” Her delicate hands covered her face. “My god, I almost hit you.” She staggered a few steps.

That got him off the ground. “Hey.” He hurried over to her, brushing the gravel off his ass. “I’m fine.” He’d been through a hell of a lot worse than a tumble down into a ditch. “See. No blood. I’m good.”

She nodded, but seemed to be on the verge of hyperventilating. Which meant she was in no condition to get behind the wheel of that car.

“Why don’t I drive you back to the ranch?” He slipped an arm around her waist to support her, and he couldn’t resist drawing her close to him, closer than she’d been in ten long years. She still smelled like carefree summer afternoons—a subtle hint of lemon along with the coconut oil she used to use to soften her hands. That scent, the feel of her leaning into his body, roused a sudden overpowering greed. He’d never hungered as desperately for something as he hungered for her. To turn her fully to him. To feel those breasts he used to kiss so intimately against his own chest again. He knew that body, remembered every curve and bend, every fine detail…

“I’m okay,” Naomi whispered, shaking him off. “I can walk.”

Of course she could. But she did hand him the keys before hurrying to climb into the passenger’s seat without his assistance.

Lucas folded himself into the driver’s seat. “All right, then. We’re off.” He started the engine and backed up, then turned carefully out onto the highway.

He stole a glance at Naomi. Her soft lips twitched as he studied her. It wasn’t her full, bright, beautiful smile.

But it was a start.

*****

Review:

Lucas is as sexy a cowboy as you could ask for – strong, honest, caring, and maybe just a touch stubborn 🙂  But Naomi is is a good match for him – just as strong and caring … and just as stubborn.  Thanks to a mistake that was made while he was a teen, Lucas was sent to prison and after his release he felt he couldn’t come back.  Because of that he pushed Naomi away as well (for her own good of course).  Yeah, that goes over as well as you expect.

I get why Lucas did what he did and why he’s stayed away.  And if he even thinks about staying in town he’s going to have to face down a lot of negativity.  But time spent with Naomi and her daughter has him thinking about his future a little differently.  Thinking that maybe coming home is the right thing after all.

Naomi definitely has a reason to not want to give Lucas another chance.  She’s been a single mother for years and she’s got her daughter’s heart to think of too.  She may find herself drawn to Lucas still but the chance that he could leave again means that she’s got a lot to lose.

I think it would be too easy for someone to write off Comeback Cowboy as just another second chance romance, but Richardson delivers a really delightful read.  Her characters have heart (and a boatload of problems) and while the story may be somewhat predictable it is still enticing and hard to put down.

With years of hurt feelings on her part and the disapproval of the town weighing on his shoulders, Naomi and Lucas don’t have it easy.  But with Lucas back in town because of his father’s failing health, being together again may just force the two to face their past and make a decision about their future.

(If you haven’t read Hometown Cowboy you can still enjoy this one.  Richardson does a good job keeping you up to date.)

*****

Author Info:

Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

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*****

Giveaway:

Ten (10) print copies of COMEBACK COWBOY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/26635ce2477/

*****

Spotlight – More Than a Soldier

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This one is sure to pull at your heartstrings…

*****

More Than a Soldier

by Irene Onorato

Genre: Inspirational Romance

Pub Date: 6/6/17

Blurb:

There’s more than one way to be a hero . . .

Former Special Forces soldier Hank Fleming is living a safe, quiet life in upstate New York, but there are days he isn’t sure he’s going to make it. The sole survivor of a devastating grenade attack in Afghanistan, he is still scarred, physically and emotionally. He hangs on to his faith and tries to keep moving forward, waiting for the day that something—or someone—can make him feel whole again.

Cindy Giordano is searching too—for her biological family and a fresh start. When her journey to find her brother, Edward, leads to Hank’s front door, she is instantly drawn to Hank . . . and instantly wary. With her ex-fiancé’s betrayal still fresh in her mind, friendship is about all she can muster.

When shadows from Cindy’s past threaten, Hank’s protective instincts shift into high gear, and he realizes everyone has their own battles to fight. But the road to healing would be much sweeter with the right person by his side . . .

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*****

Excerpt:

Hank Fleming peeled off his cold, wet T-shirt and tossed it aside in the dark. The nightmare clung to his psyche even as he stood at his hotel room window staring into the night illuminated by only a stingy sliver of moon. Whitecaps danced like ghostly apparitions across the pitch-black ocean surface, adding to his uneasiness.

Was this reality, here, now, with his toes deep in the plush carpeting of a resort hotel in Miami Beach with the air conditioner humming? Or was the real Hank Fleming still lying on the ground in Afghanistan, a soldier bleeding from multiple wounds with his left eye dangling off his cheekbone by a few threads of nerves?

If only he could erase the images. The sounds. The RPG blast. The roaring fire consuming what was left of the truck he’d been driving with four men inside. But most of all their horrible deaths.

Hank willed his breaths to an even cadence and reined in his galloping heart. The rat-a-tat of M4 rifles, acrid smell of burning rubber, and the unit medic’s face started to dissolve as if being sucked, particle-by-particle, feature-by-feature, back into another realm.

Hank brought his fingers to the eyepatch that covered his left eye socket and pressed the fabric into the hidden void. Reality, harsh and merciless, stung him to the core. He’d lost an eye, hearing in one ear, and bore fading scars where the explosion had hurled shrapnel into his flesh. But, he’d survived while four of his fellow soldiers perished.

Hank lifted his gaze to the crescent moon. “Why, God? Why?”

*****

Author Info:

Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.

In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.

Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana. Readers can visit Irene’s website at ireneonorato.com, and find her on Facebook.

Website * Facebook * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

Print copy of the book

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*****

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Book Review – Tracking You

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We saw Puppy Love earlier this year.  Now it is time for the next O’Grady to take a fall.

*****

TRACKING YOU

Redwood Ridge series

by Kelly Moran

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 5/23/17

Blurb:

Love isn’t always loud. Sometimes it’s silent.

Gabby Cosette has always been dubbed the good girl of quaint Redwood Ridge, Oregon, and being permanently put in the friend zone has left her dating life stagnant. With no prospects in sight, she clings to her friends and resolves to not let loneliness drag her under. So when the town Battleaxes set their matchmaking sights on her, she figures it can’t hurt. Yet the guy they think is perfect for her just happens to be not only her boss at the veterinarian clinic, but her best friend. Sure, Flynn O’Grady is attractive and the nicest guy around, but going there with him would topple both of their carefully constructed worlds and there would be no going back. Even if he is starting to make her girly parts zing.

Having been born deaf, Flynn has already felt like an outsider most of his life. Aside from his brothers, Gabby is about the only person who’s gone out of her way to treat him as more than a handicap. Which is exactly why he’s banked his secret attraction for his sweet, beautiful vet tech. Except his meddling family is trying to play Cupid and ruin the best thing to ever happen to him. Without Gabby, his work as a veterinarian, never mind his personal life, wouldn’t flow. Determined to ignore the antics, he’s secure in the knowledge she’s not interested in him romantically. But then a kiss changes everything . . . and he’s wondering if taking the ultimate shot at love might be worth the risk.

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*****

Excerpt:

Gabby Cosette smoothed her hand down the simple baby blue sundress she meticulously picked out for this evening and tried not to look too eager. Or throw up. That wouldn’t do either.

From a back booth, she glanced around the only Italian restaurant in Redwood Ridge, comforted by the fact it was still early yet for the dinner rush. The place was a good choice. Right? Not as casual as Shooters—the bar she and her friends frequented—but not as formal as one of the seafood restaurants that dotted their Oregon coastal town. A step above grabbing coffee or a beer, yet it didn’t scream desperation.

Was a booth in the back too obvious? Had she overdone it with her makeup? Maybe she should’ve put her hair up instead of down?

No, no. She went for light and natural on purpose. The patrons of Redwood Ridge had known her all her life. It wasn’t far out of the realm of ordinary for her to wear a dress and light cosmetics. She was being a basket case.

It’s just… Well, she hadn’t had a date in a year. A year!

To calm her nerves, she drew in a deep breath and focused on the red checkered tablecloth. A votive candle flickered on the windowsill to her right, the flame reflecting off the tinted glass. The parking lot stretched beyond, where her date’s car was not in one of the available spots.

It was silly to get this worked up over a first date, especially with Tom.

She’d gone to elementary and high school with him. His parents still lived down the street from hers. Strange how he’d never shown any interest in her romantically, yet out of the blue, he’d asked her out this week.

Then again, most everyone in town viewed her as the sweet Cosette girl, everyone’s friend. Thus the no date in a year. It was hard to get a guy to think about kissing her, never mind imagining her naked, when she had platonic all but tattooed on her forehead.

The waitress strolled over in her apron, holding a notepad in her hand.

“Are you waiting on someone, sweetie pie?”

“Yes.” She smiled and grabbed her cell on the table. Tom was five minutes late. “He should be here any minute.”

“Ooh. Is it a date?” Mavis planted a hand on her plump waist and grinned, the wrinkles around her eyes growing to crevices. Gabby wasn’t sure how old Mavis was, no one really knew, but she never seemed to age past the state from when Gabby was a child.

Gabby opened her mouth to answer, but Tom strode toward her, weaving around tables and plopping in the seat across the booth.

“Couldn’t find ya at the bar. I wasn’t expecting a table.”

It was still early, and Le Italy didn’t get that crowded even on a Friday night. How hard could it possibly have been to locate her? “Give us a sec,”she told Mavis and waited for her to step away.

Tom had blond hair too short for her preference and a thin mouth. His unremarkable brown eyes darted around the restaurant and back to her. He made no attempt to apologize for being late, and it appeared as if he’d just come from work. His jeans and T-shirt were paint-splattered. The hazard of working for his dad’s commercial painting and roofing company.

“Thanks for meeting me.” He took off his ball cap and scratched his head.

Why did that sound un-date-like? “Um…sure thing. How’s work going?”

Her gaze dipped to his hands, no better off than his clothes. Maybe she should’ve picked Shooters after all.

Something felt very, very off as her belly twisted. Not with nerves this time. Confused, Gabby’s mind scrolled through their conversation from earlier in the week when he’d brought his dog into the vet clinic where she worked. As he was checking out, he’d anxiously spun around to face her and asked if she could meet him.

“Good. Work’s good.” He put his hat back on and glanced outside.

“Getting to be warmer out, so the jobs are picking up.” Perhaps he was just nervous, too. Her tension drained a degree.

Mavis returned and asked for a drink order.

Tom lifted his hand to wave her off. “Nothing for me, thanks. I can’t stay long. Got a poker game with the guys tonight. I need to shower before they show up.”

The forced smile Gabby had plastered on her face began to wilt like her mom’s petunias in August. What did he mean he couldn’t stay long? And why would he ask her out and schedule a card game on the same night?

Plus, he could shower for his friends, but not her?

Mavis divided her gaze between them, a mix of bewilderment and irritation lifting her brows. She tapped her pen to her pad as the silence hung. “Can I get you something?” She focused on Gabby, her tone indicating she should order something.

“I’ll have a sweet tea. Thank you.” When the waitress walked away, Gabby looked at Tom. He’d thrown his arm over the back of the booth and had stretched his legs out. The aroma of Eau de Paint Thinner wafted across the table. “So…?”

“Right, right.” Tom leaned forward and crossed his arms. “I appreciate you letting me do this in person.”

She stilled. “Do what?” Because she was definitely getting the this-is-not-a-date vibe now.

A warring shift in contradiction took over her body. Everything inside grew rapidly chilly while her skin heated in what she hoped wasn’t a blush. Her pale complexion always gave away her emotions and she hated that more than she’d hated freshman algebra. Math was evil.

He let out a tense laugh, which sounded more like a guffaw, and drew several heads from other diners. “Not exactly a conversation you want to have over the phone or somethin’, ya know?”

No. She didn’t know. “Maybe if you just tell me?”

He played with the parmesan shaker, not meeting her gaze. “Well, the whole town’s buzzing about Rachel and Jeff’s split.”

She frowned, not connecting the dots on his crazy pattern. Her older sister had only dated Jeff for a few weeks which, per Rachel standards, might as well have been marriage. Rachel liked to keep her options—and legs—open.

Guilt immediately consumed her for the crass thought, but it didn’t make it any less true. She and Rachel couldn’t be any more different. Rachel was aloof and sexy. Gabby was the girl next door. Men desired Rachel. The only thing they desired from Gabby was a shoulder to cry on after her sister shot them down.

She twirled a strand of hair around her finger to keep from fidgeting. “I don’t understand what Rachel and Jeff have to do with…” Unable to finish the sentence—because she had no idea anymore what “this” was—she waved her hand between them.

“Well,” he said in an aw-shucks kind of way that made her want to grind her teeth, “now that Rachel’s available, I thought maybe you could put in a good word for me?”

*****

Review:

I didn’t read Puppy Love when it came out in May but now I’m wishing I had because if Avery & Cade are half as adorable as Flynn & Gabby then it is definitely a must read.  The deep friendship between them just shines off the pages and had me waiting with them to see if they can figure out how to make something more work.

I really appreciate that Moran is willing to address disabilities in her stories – first she had an autistic daughter and now our hero is deaf.  It isn’t that uncommon to have a child on the spectrum in romances today, but I think that usually it isn’t as severe.  And while we are seeing more amputations (especially in books with military characters) I can’t think of the last one I’d seen with a deaf person as a main character.  I think that it is refreshing to address that the world isn’t made up of 6’+ hunks and willowy women.

Granted Flynn is still sexy but he does have some hang-ups thanks to the way he’s been treated.  Many of them are tied back to his childhood but those scars can be some of the deepest, coming as they do at such an impressionable age.  While it hasn’t stopped him from leading a very full life, it has impacted the way that he approaches his love life.

Gabby has been Flynn’s best friend since Kindergarten and she understands him like no one else, even his brothers.  Her big heart and giving nature makes her a wonderful vet tech and even more so it makes her a great friend.

And that’s the problem.  While they love and value each other, both are a lot scared that any changes in their relationship might ruin their friendship.  And while they are struggling with deepening feelings, that fear is their main driving force.  What they need help seeing is that while they are concentrating on what could happen if it goes bad, they are missing what could be if it goes right.  They are already so important to each other that their relationship could be spectacular if they’d only let it.

Not knowing any one who is deaf (not since middle school) I’m not sure how realistic Moran’s treatment is but it felt like she handled it well.  Flynn’s concerns seem realistic as does the life he’s built for himself.  It’s not easy for him, but if he can finally let go of some of his old baggage he could find out how great life really can be.

*****

Author Info:

Bestselling author Kelly Moran says she gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her and there’s always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself, and no one is safe from becoming her next fictional character. She is a Catherine Award-Winner, Readers Choice Finalist, Holt Medallion Finalist, and earned one of the 10 Best Reads by USA Today’s HEA. She is also a Romance Writers of America member. Her interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don’t tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, three sons, and two dogs. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

Print copy of the book

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a9238/

*****

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Spotlight – Sam’s Legacy

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For lover’s of Western romances, Shirleen Davies brings another treat with the latest in her MacLaren historical series.

*****

Sam’s Legacy

Book Four, MacLarens of Boundary Mountain Series

Historical Western Romance

by Shirleen Davies

Blurb:

Samuel Covington, ex-Pinkerton agent and deputy in the frontier town of Convictionhas come a long way from his upbringing in Baltimore. His job, and a particular woman, occupy his time and thoughts. His future is assured—until a message from home tears it all apart.

Jinny MacLaren loves the ranch, her family, and one particular deputy. Even though Sam’s never said the words, she’s certain of his feelings, envisioning a future as his wife—until the day he announces he’s leaving without a promise to return.

His future no longer belongs to him. Sam never anticipated the news awaiting him, or the consequences of a past he’d left far behind.

Shoving painful thoughts of Sam aside, Jinny focuses on a life without him, allowing a friendship to grow with someone else. He’s handsome, smart, and caring, yet in Jinny’s heart, he’ll never be Sam.

As both face an uncertain future without the other, neither anticipates the dangers stalking them.

Protecting what’s his is Sam’s calling. Reclaiming what he left behind may prove to be the biggest challenge of his life.

Sam’s Legacy, book four in the MacLarens of Boundary Mountain historical western Romance Series, is a stand-alone, full-length novel with an HEA and no cliffhanger.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

*****

Excerpt:

“Jinny, let me explain.” Sam tried to turn her toward him, feeling her resist. “There are reasons I must go.”

She refused to look at him, let him see how much his leaving hurt. She’d been a fool to dream about Sam, hoping someday he’d feel the same. “I’m certain there are, and I respect that you believe you must leave.”

Looking around, he eased her between two buildings, out of the range of prying eyes and ears. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he held steady, even as she twisted to leave.

“Look at me, Jinny.” He waited until she stopped squirming, her reluctant gaze meeting his. “I don’t want to leave. It’s something I have to do. You were the reason I stayed beyond the time I’d agreed to with Brodie.”

Her eyes widened. “I don’t understand. Why must you go now?”

Letting his hands slip from Jinny’s shoulders to stroke her arms, he felt her shiver, his own body tightening. A life with her was what he wanted. He’d thought of little else the last few months, yet it may now be out of his control.

His resolve began to slip as she moved closer, her feelings for him clear on her face. Even as his hands moved to her back, he knew it was a mistake. Drawing her to him, he leaned down, brushing a soft kiss across her lips. Seeing the intensity in her eyes, feeling her hands tighten on his arms, he took her mouth again, letting passion take control.

A thrill rushed through him as he realized she knew little of what was happening. He doubted she’d been kissed before, yet her response was immediate. Moving his lips across her jaw, trailing kisses down her neck, he felt a shudder rush through her.

“Sam…”

Her soft plea brought an unwelcome flash of sanity. Placing one more kiss on her lips, he pulled Jinny close, tucking her head below his chin.

“There are things you don’t know about me. I wish it could be different. You know I’d stay if I could.”

Her body stiffened at his whispered words. Moving her hands to his chest, she pushed away. Clearing her throat, Jinny took another step back. “I should go.”

“I’ll walk with you.”

“Nae. It would be better if I go alone.” Taking a few hesitant steps, she stopped. “When will you be leaving?”

His throat worked as he sucked in a slow breath. “As soon as a decision has been made on the prisoners. I can’t leave Brodie with just two deputies.”

“A few days then.” Her voice was devoid of all emotion. “Then I won’t see you again.” She tried to smile, but couldn’t manage it. “I wish you the best, Sam. Always the best.” Without waiting for him to respond, she hurried away, leaving him feeling a loss greater than he’d ever known.

*****

Author Info:

Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.

Email | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest

*****

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Book Review – The Bronte Book Club for Hopeless Romantics

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As an avid reader (obviously) a series centered around a librarian and her book club just tickled me pink!

*****

The Bronte Book Club for Hopeless Romantics

by Laura Briggs

Blurb:

Quaint Lewis Cove is home to the charming three-story Victorian manor known as the Alice Wilshire Lending Library and its plucky librarian Peg Turner:  the current hostess of the weekly Bronte Book Club, better known as the ‘Hopeless Romantics’ of all ages. Nurse Annette has been too busy working for love; mechanic Tim has missed the boat somewhere in his past; art student Sophie comes off as too unique, while tech geek C.J. has fallen—hopelessly—for the too-cool-to-care Llourdes.

With her vacation plans indefinitely on hold for the summer, Peg has decided to transform the ‘Hopeless Romantics’ into hopeful ones. But while she’s trying to help her fellow readers find romance, she’s avoiding her matchmaker friend Caroline’s latest blind date—only to see her best friend Cam, the ruggedly-cute-but-sometimes-curmudgeonly coffee shop owner fixed up instead. And that’s something Peg isn’t sure she likes.

Questions about love and last chances on her mind, and way too many books piled on her desk, will Peg succeed in finding romantic hope for anyone, including herself?

*****

Excerpt:

“Evening everybody!” Caroline breezed into the coffee shop in her usual manner. She pulled off her summer scarf and dropped her shopping bags on the floor as she sat down at our table. “Did you see the repair work they’re doing on the highway? I had to cut across Ocean Lane in Valencia to get here from the city.”

Next to Stacy — and Cam — Caroline was my oldest friend in Lewis Cove. We had known each other in college; now she worked as a realtor with an office closer to the metropolis than town, and believed firmly that one’s social life should never slow down, no matter the time of day or the fatigue one might be feeling.

“Just a cup of black coffee for me, and a low-cal snack,” she said to Cam. “What’s with the book?” Her gaze fell on the copy of Jane Eyre.

“It’s mine,” I said. “I’m trying to recruit new members for the book club.”

“Was that tonight?” said Caroline. “Is that why you said ‘no’ to going out with Greg’s friend tonight?” Greg was Caroline’s current boyfriend — his friend was a blind date setup I had been stealthily avoiding for two weeks.

“A date?” said Cam. “You’re dating again?” He looked at me.

“For the record, I was never not dating,” I clarified. “I just haven’t met anybody with whom the interest is mutual. Not in awhile, anyway.”

“To qualify as ‘dating,’ you have to go out with them,” said Caroline. “Not just say you’re going to do it sometime, then keep giving them excuses for why you’re not available.”

“Those aren’t excuses, Caroline, those are reasons,” I said. “Friday nights, I’m always at the book club. I’m the librarian, I have to be there to unlock the door and let them in.”

“So? Get them to meet somewhere else. They can meet in Cam’s coffee shop. Lots of atmosphere and great beverages.”

“The music will drive them out,” said Cam, placing a low-fat granola bar in front of her. “I’m instituting an ‘all rock and roll, all the time’ policy come Monday.”

I hid my smile for this answer. “Besides, I like the club,” I continued. “I like being part of their meetings.”

“The Hopeless Romantics?” said Caroline. “There’s a reason why it has that nickname, Paige. They’re people who can’t find the right person because they’re too picky, or because they’re too blind to see the right person when it’s right in front of them. You are not hopeless — and you’re definitely not a fully-fledged romantic.”

“I have a romantic streak,” I said. “And it’s mean to call them hopeless just because they have a lot of free time and no romantic ties. They’re just trying to spend an evening with people they have something in common with. That’s the whole point of the club — an exchange of mutual ideas on literature.”

“Will you exchange mutual ideas with Greg’s friend next week?” she asked me.

“Maybe,” I said. “I’ll call him. We’ll find an evening we’re both free.” From behind the counter, Cam coughed noisily. I wondered if he had tried a bite of the low-fat granola bars he kept on hand for calorie-conscious customers.

Caroline leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Speaking of dating,” she said, “I have the perfect person for Cam.” She glanced to the side, making sure he was busy with a new customer.

Did I mention Caroline is an obsessive matchmaker, too?

*****

Review:

This one reminded me of an entertaining comedic drama (dramedy?) on TV.  We get a fun diversion, with a complete storyline, but there is still so much going on that we just have to wait for the next installment.

Paige fits the lead character role well.  She’s got her friend’s best interest at heart while she meddles, perfectly matching up two of them thanks to some insights from their reading habits (she is a librarian so it works).  Unfortunately her own love life is a little lacking and hopefully it’ll play out over the next couple of books as she works to find a HEA for the rest of the book club.

Briggs brings together a cute premise and fun characters to deliver a satisfying quick summer read.  Perfect for a trip to the pool – introducing us to a lot of fun characters and giving the satisfaction of a successful romantic pairing, while also leaving us curious about who will fall next.

*****

Author Info:

Laura Briggs is the author of several women’s fiction and chick lit novels, with themes that range from wedding planning to modern Jane Austen. Even though she tends to write stories with a romance theme, as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).

Author Website: http://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter Account: http://bit.ly/1ME9ivJ

Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JjeMoI

Spotlight – Dating the Wrong Mr. Right

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This one is getting some fabulous review – you don’t want to miss Amanda Ashby’s Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm series!

*****

Dating the Wrong Mr. Right

Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm, #3

by Amanda Ashby

Publication Date: June 19, 2017

Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary, Romance

Blurb:

Pepper Watson has lost everything–her job, her fiancé, and the future she’d so carefully planned. Now she’s back at Wishing Bridge trying to figure out her next step. Her new plan does not include the ever-so-sexy Ben Cooper. Nope. She’s getting her life back on track, and getting out of this little town as fast as possible.

Ben Cooper is doing his best to build his business and help his parents. The last thing he needs is the distraction that is Pepper Watson. She might be prickly every time he’s in her presence, but he sees another side of her. The side that has set aside her dreams to help her sisters. And then there’s the fact that kissing her is pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

He’s putting down roots. She’s running away. It’s going to take more than a wish for these two to find their happily ever after.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rpiFrF

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2rpxASB

B&N: http://bit.ly/2rFTosp

iBooks: http://apple.co/2sIldop

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rAZ6Rd

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2rAHBQS

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2rAoBSS

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2tbYzCm

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2tctVci

*****

Excerpt:

She tilted her head a fraction. Was it an invitation? He leaned toward her.

“Coop, we shouldn’t,” she croaked, not moving.

“Oh, we really should,” he assured her as his mouth found hers.

Want exploded through him. Her lips were soft against his and she tasted of beer and freshness. Last time they’d kissed, it was over too soon. This time it’s on my terms. Her mouth opened to his as the beer fell from her hand. Coop discarded his own bottle and slid his hands around her back, drawing her closer.

The stars, the night sky, everything faded away.

She ran her hands down his back, turning him on more than it had the right to. He deepened the kiss before planting a trail of kisses down her neck. His fingers slid down the inside of her coat, but before he could tug her shirt from the waistband of her slacks, her cell phone beeped. It was like a siren in the night, and they both froze.

Pepper was the first to respond as she pulled away from him and a series of emotions flickered across her face.

“Um, I should check this. It could be urgent.”

“More urgent than this?” Coop tried to get his breathing under control.

She opened her mouth and then shut it again. Obviously lost for words. She stood up, carefully stepping over the beer that had spilled out onto the ground.

“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what came over me, but I should go.”

Coop bit back his disappointment with a shrug. “Sure. But you know Pepper. Kissing me once might have been an accident, but twice…”

“Twice was a mistake. It won’t happen again,” she said in a regal voice.

“You’re the boss,” he said. She turned her back and hurried toward her car and driveway.

Okay, so that had happened. If only I knew what the hell that was.

*****

Author Info:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Library?s Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

She also runs writing workshops and loves to speak to people about Buffy (er, she means writing). See her Website for more information.

Website | FacebookPinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

*****

Giveaway:

$15 Amazon Gift Card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1cb554951104/

*****

Falling for the Best Man (Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm, #1):

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rFINO3

The Wedding Planner’s Baby (Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm, #2):

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sHZk96

*****

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Spotlight – The Colorado Mountain Series

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Announcing three beautiful new trade paperback editions from The Colorado Mountain Series!

*****

THE GAMBLE

Life isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s meant to be lived . . .

Nina Sheridan thought she’d found the perfect man who would become the perfect husband. She was wrong. When Nina realizes the man she planned to grow old with doesn’t know her at all, it’s time to rethink her idea of perfect. And what better place to get her life in order than a remote Colorado mountain town halfway around the world?

Gnaw Bone, Colorado, may not be flashy or cosmopolitan, but it’s got a brand of hospitality all its own. Nina isn’t entirely sure she’s ready to trade the life she thought she wanted in England for cozy evenings in her mountain retreat, and she definitely isn’t sure she’s ready to handle the connection she feels to the owner of her rental house, Max Holden . . .

Nina didn’t come to Colorado to find love, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Now, if Nina can let go of her past, Max-and a future in Gnaw Bone-might just be the perfect second chance she’s been waiting for.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pGUXVV

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IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2raSZ28

Target: http://bit.ly/2pHrHiX

Add The Gamble to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNSwR

SWEET DREAMS

When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she’d been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren’s fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She’ll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they’re not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rb5k6H

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Target: http://bit.ly/2pHrHiX

Add Sweet Dreams to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNlLd

LADY LUCK

All you need is a little luck.

Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. You name it, Lexie has probably survived it-or worse. But there’s only so much bad luck a girl can take, and now one promise is all that stands between her and a brand-new life.

When that promise brings her to Carnal, Colorado, Lexie isn’t sure the rough, yet strangely charming, town is for her. But there’s something Carnal has that might just make staying around worth it . . . and that’s Ty Walker.

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Lexie knows there’s a difference between vengeance and justice, and she’ll do everything she can to make sure Ty gets the latter. And with the good people of Carnal on their side, Lexie and Ty might finally find their luck is changing for the better.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2raJy2O

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Target: http://bit.ly/2qc08kt

Add Lady Luck to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qBpB8d

*****

Author Info:

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links

www.kristenashley.net

www.facebook.com/kristenashleybooks

www.twitter.com/kristenashley68

*****

Giveaway:

Enter to win 1 of 5 sets of The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, and Lady Luck! http://bit.ly/2r26Avw

*****

Book Review – Her Baby, His Love

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Her Baby, His Love

by Lynne Marshall

All Taylor Clark ever wanted was a normal life and a traditional family, but so far she’s had neither. Soon after discovering that her boyfriend was secretly engaged and she moves to Charity, Montana for a fresh start, she realizes she’s pregnant. As her new friendly and sexy landlord helps her settle in, they become friends, although Taylor has to keep reminding herself to keep her distance. The last thing she needs is to start something new.

As an ex-con, Joe Collins knows a little something about fresh starts. Despite his determination to keep his head down, he can’t ignore Taylor’s natural beauty or obvious vulnerability. In short time, a tentative friendship blooms along with something more precious—trust.

When Taylor’s ex comes to town, he threatens everything that Joe and Taylor have built together. Joe steps up to care for and protect her, even though he risks losing more than the woman he loves.

I’m giving this one 3.5 stars … I’m not quite comfortable with giving it 4 but it definitely doesn’t deserve 3.

As you can imagine this story spends a lot of time delving into trust issues.  Taylor has had some really bad luck with men and so she’s pretty much at the point of thinking they are all going to treat her poorly.  Then when she does meet one that seems like he could be different, he turns out to be an ex-con.  Not having known anyone who has gone to jail, she’s pretty much only got stereotypes to go off of.  It’s a slow process as Joe shows Taylor what an up-standing guy he is, regardless of a stupid choice in his youth.

There is a lot of back-and-forth on the romance side of things as they both struggle with timing and their own histories.  I can understand where Taylor comes from on a lot of stuff but Joe really is a good man and he shows it.  There comes a point where I think that some readers might be tired of her attitude but luckily she figures things out.