Spotlight – Speeding Hearts

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Upon returning to his hometown, Dean Hughes makes a deal with his best friend Stella Archer. However the more time they spend together the more the lines between friendship and romance blur, will they risk their friendship to take a chance on love? Fall for this hard-working hottie in Speeding Hearts by Claire Wilder, a Friends to Lovers Romance, the next book in the Blue Collar Romance Series.

Speeding Hearts

a Friends to Lovers Romance

Blue Collar Romance Series

by Claire Wilder

Blurb:

STELLA

Stella Archer has never been afraid of a challenge.

She was the first woman mechanic in her hometown. She runs her own garage.

And when her best friend and fellow mechanic Dean announces he’s moving back to his hometown, instead of being devastated, she jumps at the chance to work part-time at his uncle’s dirt track—and finally fulfill her dream of racing cars.

But with plenty of time to train with her best friend, for the first time in my life, Stella’s scared. Scared that racing isn’t really what she wants. 

Scared that Dean is.

DEAN

Dean Hughes knows he can handle moving back to his hometown to care for his sick—and surly—father. He can even deal with returning to the scene of all his past mistakes.

The only thing he can’t take is the idea of losing his best friend Stella.

Now that she’s here in Oak Bend, she’s going to see what a screw-up he really is.

Worse, he might see the truth he’s been hiding from himself: he wants more from Stella than just friendship. 

And when Stella finds out?

There’ll be no putting the brakes on what comes next. 

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*****

Excerpt:

As it turned out, work kept me busy enough all day that I didn’t have time to think much about Dean at all.

Or at least, not much. I still felt the littlest fluttering in my stomach when I thought about tonight—he was going to come by the motel at seven-thirty and take me on a little tour of his hometown.

It almost felt like a date.

Except that it was my buddy, Dean.

But those thoughts only happened a few times that day. Most of the time, I concentrated on working my ass off.

By the time the closing time rolled around, I was shocked at where the day had gone. John gave me a begrudging nod as he left. He’d nitpicked my work all day, but before clocking out, he actually said, “You’re better than the last kid by a mile,” which I took to be the highest compliment.

Freddie showed me how to lock up, which I’d be doing on my own a couple days a week, and then, mercifully, I was on my own. Throughout the day, a couple of drivers had come by to practice on the oval, and each time, I’d looked up longingly at the sound of them but turned quickly back to whatever engine I was working on. It was imperative I showed Colin what I could do.

Now, with the track silent, I stood next to one of the nicer cars parked outside in the lot. I looked around. The place was completely deserted, and I happened to have the keys Freddie had handed me.

The keyring in my hand, I knew, contained the key for this particular car. I’d seen Freddie drive it around front earlier.

Colin had said I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere near the oval.

But he didn’t say anything about not test driving any of the cars.

I knew I was interpreting his words more liberally than his intention, but I was a grown adult, damn it. And what harm would there be in taking it in a circle around the lot?

Just slipping behind the wheel made adrenaline shoot through my stomach. When I turned it on, I was nearly sick. For a moment, the adrenaline running through me went cold and slick. What the hell was I doing? I’d never actually gotten this close to my dream of racing cars before. I’d driven nice cars in my career, sure. I’d topped the speed limit on the highway a hundred times over. But actually sitting in a street stock car with my hands wrapped around the wheel, my foot on the gas, the stick in neutral… I wondered for the first time if this dream of mine was really mine or something I’d cooked up to show everyone how tough I was.

No. This was mine. It had to be. Checking to make sure the car was in neutral, I revved the engine.

It roared under me, making me laugh with the thrill of it. I did it again.

Man, this felt better than sex.

Not quite, but in the moment, it felt close.

Then I chickened out. I cut the engine and got out, slamming the car door behind me. Then I raised my fists in mock triumph, imagining the crowd screaming around me. I even made the sound I used to make as a kid playing with my brothers. Then someone clapped behind me.

I couldn’t help it, I yelped.

Whirling around, my ponytail hit me in the eye just like it had the last time I was caught out here.

“Shit!” I swore, both at the sting in my eye and the mortification at getting caught by the boss playing make-believe.

But when I blinked, I saw it wasn’t Colin. The figure before me was tall. Broad across the shoulders. Covered in tattoos.

Looking at me with a grin that made my insides melt into taffy.

Dean.

Copyright 2021 Claire Wilder

*****

Author Info:

I write steamy lakeside romance novels (and the occasional sweet & sexy short story). When I’m not writing I’m either reading, taking long walks by the ocean (which I consider a giant lake!), or frolicking in the trees with my husband and three kids.

Follow:  Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon | Website | Newsletter | Reader Group | Linktr.ee

*****

About The Blue Collar Romance Series

Escape to Oak Bend where blue-collar hotties work hard and love even harder.

From broody carpenters to sexy electricians, these eight standalones are packed with small town feels, heat, and heartwarming happily ever afters.

Enjoy your favorite tropes written by an amazing group of authors: Jaymee Jacobs, Alexa Rivers, Evelyn Sola, Kate Carley, Tracy Broemmer, Mila Nicks, Claire Wilder, and Moni Boyce.

Fall head over heels for swoon-worthy book boyfriends who aren’t afraid of a little hard work for that happily ever after.

This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR

Spotlight – The Father of Her Sons

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The Father of Her Sons

Wild Rose Sisters series

by Christine Rimmer

Blurb:

She thought she knew everything she needed to know about him in New York Times bestselling author Christine Rimmer’s first book in the brand-new Wild Rose Sisters series!

How do you make up for four years of lost time?

No last names. No promises to meet again. No way for Payton Dahl to find the man who’s the father of her twin boys. Until fate reunites them four years later. Easton Wright now wants to be part of his sons’ lives—with the woman he fell hard for during those seven days and nights of bliss. Payton doesn’t want her sons to grow up fatherless like she did, but can she risk trusting Easton when she’s been burned in the past?

Add The Father of Her Sons to your Goodreads!

Buy The Father of Her Sons by Christine Rimmer

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408150_the-father-of-her-sons.html

*****

Excerpt:

It all started with a little innocent flirting.

And okay, yes. Payton Dahl had given up flirting. Flirting too easily led to fooling around. Fooling around often became romance and right now in her life, she had no time at all for romantic entanglements—not even brief ones, which were pretty much the only kind she’d ever known. She spent her nights tending bar and her days either helping at the family farm or huddled over her laptop.

For more than nine months, from January well into October, Payton had stuck with her plan to avoid men altogether. Yes, she’d been tempted more than once by a sexy smile or a smoldering pair of bedroom eyes. She’d kept her eyes on the prize, though. She’d said no to temptation. Payton had stories inside her head. She intended to get them written down. That required discipline and for months, she’d exercised strict self-control.

But then, on a Wednesday night in mid-October, a whole new level of temptation came calling, one that had irresistible written all over him.

That particular Wednesday night, the Larch Tree Lounge at the Heartwood Inn was deader than a frozen doorknob. In one of the booths, a very tired looking middle-aged couple argued in whispers without much enthusiasm. Cletus Carnigan, a nightly fixture in the lounge, sat slumped at one end of the bar gazing mournfully into his Logsdon Lager.

As usual, it promised to be a very long night—until a tall, broad-shouldered stranger with tousled dark blond hair and cheekbones sharp as knives in his stunning, angular face took the stool at the opposite end of the bar from Cletus.

No flirting, Payton sternly reminded herself. Pasting on her most professional smile, she marched down the bar to greet the smoking-hot newcomer. “Welcome to the Larch Tree Lounge. What can I get you?”

He ordered Redbreast Irish Whiskey, an admirable choice—both good quality and excellent value for the money. “And something to eat,” he added. “What’s good?”

“Right off the bat with the loaded question,” she muttered under her breath.

He narrowed his gorgeous blue eyes at her. “Is there a problem?”

“Sort of.” Unfortunately, not much was good at the Larch Tree Lounge. And while Payton despised lying to her customers, telling a guest that the food sucked wouldn’t do, either. She settled for evasion. “What are you in the mood for?”

He studied her face at length. She stared right back at him for way too long while hummingbirds flitted around in her belly and an electric current went snapping and popping beneath the surface of her skin. Finally, he folded his lean hands on the bar, canted toward her and spoke confidentially. “It’s all bad. Is that what you’re telling me?”

So much for evasion. What now? She didn’t want to lie about the food, but she didn’t want to get fired, either. Her best option at this point? Maybe a recommendation. The burgers were passable. “How about a burger?”

He was hiding a grin. She could see it kind of pulling at one corner of that fine mouth of his. “An honest woman.”

*****

Author Info:

A New York Times bestselling author, Christine Rimmer has written over ninety contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. Christine has won the Romantic Times BOOKreviews Reviewers Choice Award and has been nominated six times for the RITA Award. She lives in Oregon with her family. Visit Christine at http://www.christinerimmer.com.

Website: https://www.christinerimmer.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinerimmerauthor?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RimmerChristine

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinerimmerauthor/

*****

Spotlight – An Unexpected Amish Harvest

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An Unexpected Amish Harvest

by Carrie Lighte

Blurb:

She’s struggling to forgive…

But it’s the only way to heal her heart.

When Susannah Peachy returns to her grandfather’s potato farm to help out after her grandmother’s injured, she’s not ready to face her ex-beau. But with Peter Lambright pitching in to harvest her grandfather’s crop, she can’t avoid him. For his family’s sake, Peter can’t tell Susannah why he had to leave her. But sharing his secret could make all the difference for their future…

Add An Unexpected Amish Harvest to your Goodreads!

Buy An Unexpected Amish Harvest by Carrie Lighte

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335567185_an-unexpected-amish-harvest.html

*****

Excerpt:

When Susannah stayed in New Hope last summer, she had quickly formed a close friendship with Dorcas Troyer. The two young, single women had enjoyed each other’s company again when Susannah returned to New Hope for a week at Christmastime, and they’d written to each other frequently throughout the last year.

In fact, Dorcas was the only person that Susannah had confided in when Peter asked to be her suitor the previous summer…and the only person Susannah had told about their breakup last January. She still remembered teardrops splashing onto the stationery as she wrote,

Peter wouldn’t give me any reason for ending our courtship, other than to say he doesn’t think we’re compatible, after all. But I know it’s because I’ve gained so much weight since last summer.

Her friend had written back,

I’ve known Peter for years and I can’t believe your weight is such an issue for him. Are you sure that’s why he broke up with you? Could it be that he just finds it too difficult to carry on a long-distance courtship?

Susannah highly doubted that. After she’d left New Hope the first time, Peter’s biweekly letters had been filled with proclamations of his affection for her. The couple had called each other at their respective phone shanties at three o’clock every other Sunday. Even after two hours of talking, they’d never run out of things to share and laugh about. And although they had only been able to sneak off for an hour with each other when Susannah came to New Hope last Christmas, they’d agreed their time alone together was the best part of the holiday.

That’s why it was so confusing that four days after she got home, Peter called and said he had decided to end their courtship. The change in his attitude was so abrupt it made Susannah feel as if he was an utter stranger. As if someone else had been pretending to be him on the phone and in his letters. Had been pretending to fall in love with her the way she’d been falling in love with him.

“Why?” she had cried, as bewildered as she was devastated. “I don’t understand.”

“We’re just not a gut match.”

“But why aren’t we a gut match? What has changed all of a sudden?”

“I’m sorry to hurt your feelings like this, Susannah, but I don’t want to discuss it further. Please accept my decision.”

Afterward, she went over it and over it in her mind, trying to figure out what could have possibly changed to make Peter end their relationship. The only thing she could come up with was that once he’d seen her again, he was no longer drawn to her because of how much heavier she’d gotten. Maybe that was why he’d held his tongue about his reason; he hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings by telling her the truth. But whether he said it aloud or not, she’d been crushed to discover that Peter valued how she looked more than who she was. That he was rejecting her because of her weight gain.

Likewise, in the following months she was disappointed when certain other men accepted her because of her appearance. During the past spring and summer, she’d had no fewer than four bachelors in Dover ask to court her. Susannah would have felt honored, if it hadn’t been for the fact that they’d all known her for at least ten years and they’d never expressed an interest in her until she was slender.

*****

Author Info:

Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. When she isn’t writing, reading or researching, she likes to hike, kayak and spend time at the beach.

Website: https://www.carrielighte.com/books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarrieLighte

*****

Spotlight – Cold Case Double Cross

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Cold Case Double Cross

by Jessica R. Patch

Blurb:

They’re on a cold trail

and running out of time.


Convinced his brother was wrongly convicted of murder years ago, detective Cash Ryland’s determined to find the real killer—even if it puts him in the crosshairs. But he needs help from cold case investigator Mae Vogel, whom he mistreated in high school. Can they put their past aside to solve the murder…before the killer succeeds in silencing them for good?

Add Cold Case Double Cross to your Goodreads!

Buy Cold Case Double Cross by Jessica R. Patch

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335554529_cold-case-double-cross.html

*****

Excerpt:

She moved toward the lawn chairs Mom and Grandma Rose were sitting in, glanced up at the radiant display and smacked into marble.

Nope. A man.

She peered up to apologize, but the words died on her lips as recognition dawned. Cash Ryland. Mae hadn’t laid eyes on him, by design, since high school.

Maybe this was the origin surrounding her jittery feeling.

She put some pep in her step and moved backward, but Cash’s tanned arm reached out, as if assuming she’d stumbled and not retreated from him.

She swatted away his steady hand. “I’m perfectly fine.” No need for physical touch between them.

His thick eyebrows tweaked upward. “Sorry.” His voice had grown deeper, huskier since he was a kid. Cash shoved his hand into his pocket, drawing her eye to the badge clipped to his thick black belt looping through well-fitted jeans.

What? How in the world did Cash Ryland make it into any branch of law enforcement and why would he want to? His teenage years had been spent as a juvenile delinquent. Not that she’d imagined what Cash might be doing now, but if she had it would be more along the lines of doing time for drug possession or grand larceny or maybe both. Not on the grounds with a criminal investigations division badge from Willow Banks Sheriff’s Office.

Unbelievable.

“You never were too good at masking your feelings.” 

She glanced from his badge to his face and his lopsided grin rolled another wave into her stomach. How dare her body betray her common sense by being attracted to his strong, chiseled features.

His blond hair had turned a little sandier, but it worked for him, unfortunately. His eyes hadn’t changed—they were still the same intense shade of blue that won the hearts of girls determined to rebel against their parents. Cash had never been meet-the-parents material, unless a girl wanted to give them a heart attack and end up grounded for life.

Not Mae.

Mae knew better.

And she’d still been charmed then burned.

Speak, Mae. You have to at least speak. “I’m just surprised, I guess.” As if she were still a high school girl enamored by the bad boy of Willow Banks and unsure of herself, she folded her arms, which felt like dead weight across her chest.

Cash Ryland—a detective. She’d seen it all.

“Well, it’s a surprising thing. Um…” He scratched the back of his neck. “I actually was looking for you. I saw your family and hoped you would be here. Your brother mentioned you were in town on vacation.”

Why did Barrett have vocal cords? He hadn’t mentioned Cash to her. But then, why would he? Barrett was clueless about what had transpired during her senior year with Cash. All he knew was Mae had tutored Cash in English. But if anyone had been schooled that semester, it was Mae.

“Barrett talks too much.” She tried to pass around him, but he blocked her. “Detective or not,” Mae said, tossing grit into her tone, “if you don’t move, I’m going to move you. And I promise you, size doesn’t matter. I can do it.”

While Cash towered above her five-foot-one frame, she was not porcelain, and attached to her petite frame was the muscle to maneuver him if necessary.

His hands shot up in surrender, but there was no teasing in his eyes. “I have no doubt, Mae. You’ve always been strong.”

No one had ever uttered those words about her before, but flattery wasn’t going to get him one solid inch. His charm no longer affected her.

He cleared a path for her to flee. “I just want to talk to you for a minute or two. Please?”

*****

Author Info:

Publishers Weekly Bestselling author Jessica R. Patch is known for her dry wit and signature twists. When she’s not hunched over her laptop, you can find her cozy on the couch in her mid-south home reading books by her favorite authors, watching movies with her family, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter “Patched In” at http://www.jessicarpatch.com. 

Website: https://jessicarpatch.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicarpatch/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessicarpatch

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicarpatch/

*****

Spotlight – Missing at Christmas

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Missing at Christmas

by K.D. Richards

Blurb:

To bring her sister home for the holidays

They’ll put everything on the line.


Private investigator Shawn West is stunned when the attack victim he rescues is Addy Williams—the one woman he never forgot. She’s turning a quiet upstate New York town inside out to bring her missing sister home by Christmas. Shawn offers to help if she’ll provide a cover for his own investigation into a suspicious company in town, but can they work together to find Addy’s sister…or are they already too late?

Add Missing at Christmas to your Goodreads!

Buy Missing at Christmas by K.D. Richards

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335489111_missing-at-christmas.html

*****

Excerpt:

The doors to the kitchen swung outward, and the man reappeared, a white plastic bag in one hand and Cassie’s picture in the other.

Addy slid her phone back into her purse and rose. The pity she saw in the man’s face as he drew nearer dashed the hope that had swelled in her chest.

“I showed your sister’s picture to everyone who’s still here, and no one recognized her. I’m sorry.”

Two solid days of showing Cassie’s picture everywhere she could think of in Bentham and nothing. No one remembered seeing her.

“Thanks, anyway.” She didn’t bother trying to muster a smile of thanks. She reached in her purse for her wallet.

“No charge,” he said, thrusting her food and Cassie’s picture at her. “You take care of yourself.”

Addy looked up into the man’s now compassion-filled eyes and wiped away the single tear she couldn’t stop from falling. “Thank you,” she croaked out before turning and fleeing the restaurant before the dam of tears broke.

Silver garlands hung from the streetlamps along with fluttering signs ordering the denizens of Bentham to have a happy holiday. The lamps themselves were spaced too far apart for the weak yellow light they cast off to beat back the dark December night. 

Five blocks west, cars coasted along one of Bentham’s main thoroughfares, but the street in front of Addy was clear and quiet, the surrounding businesses having long since closed for the night.

She’d left the metallic-blue Mustang she’d rented for the two-hour drive from Manhattan to Bentham in the hotel’s parking lot. It was easier to canvass the neighborhood on foot. All she had to show for her effort were sore feet.

A footstep sounded as she pocketed her phone. Shooting a glance over her shoulder, she squinted into the darkness but saw no one.

You’re just not used to so much quiet, she thought, walking on.

She’d lived in New York City since she was twelve but spent summers on her grandfather’s ranch in Texas. She’d loved the ranch almost as much as she loved the city, but New York wasn’t called the city that never slept for nothing. There was always something to do and see, and she was used to being surrounded by thousands of people, even though she’d been very much alone since Cassie moved to Bentham.

A scraping sound came from close behind her, followed by the unmistakable sound of fast-moving footsteps.

She turned, intending to move to the side, when a hand clamped around her ponytail, jerking her backward against a hard chest.

It took a moment for her brain to catch up with what was happening, and by the time it did, her assailant had taken his beefy hand from her hair and clamped it over her mouth.

Addy fought her rising panic. Like any savvy city girl, she’d taken self-defense classes, but it had been a while since she’d brushed up. She’d never thought she’d actually have to use any of those techniques.

She tried to pull away, but the man’s arm was like a vise around her neck.

“Don’t fight, and I won’t hurt you,” the man growled.

She didn’t believe that for a minute. She’d left the small gun she carried for protection locked in her car’s glove compartment, a decision she regretted now. Who’d have thought the streets of Bentham were more dangerous than Manhattan?

Well, she had no intention of going down without a fight, gun or no gun. She sent up a quick prayer and fisted her hands at the same time a yell came from somewhere in the night.

*****

Author Info:

K.D. Richards is a native of the Washington, DC area who now lives outside of Toronto with her husband and two sons. You can find her at kdrichardsbooks.com.

Website: https://www.kdrichardsbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kdrichardsauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kiadwrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kdrichardsauthor/

*****

Spotlight – When You Were Mine

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Six years ago, Dylan Turner walked out of Penelope Spark’s life and she never thought she’d see him again, but now he’s back. Could a secret from the past destroy their second chance at love? Fall for this hard-working hottie in When You Mine by Mila Nicks, a Reunited Lovers Romance, the next book in the Blue Collar Romance Series.

When You Were Mine

a Reunited Lovers Romance

Blue Collar Romance Series

by Mila Nicks

Blurb:

From Mila Nicks comes a second chance romance packed with charm, heart, and a swoon worthy happily ever after.

When bad boy Dylan Turner walked out of Penelope Spark’s life six years ago, she was convinced she’d never see him again. Now a single mom to her daughter, Tabitha, and the owner of a small candle shop, Penelope looks forward to a stable life without heartbreak.

That was before Dylan Turner showed up in Oak Bend like a relic from the past. Even worse? He’s rented the apartment next-door. A few years older and more mature but still with a bad boy edge, Dylan is a firefighter just trying to figure out what he wants in life. Could that be a second chance with Penelope?

But there is one minor problem. Penelope has a secret that’s six years in the making. One that might destroy their relationship for good. If they’re meant to be together, they’ll need to come to terms with the past and learn to trust each other again. Is it possible their first love is their forever love?

Welcome to Oak Bend where blue-collar hotties work hard and love even harder, especially when it comes to landing their happily ever after.

Add to Goodreads!

Read Now!

*****

Excerpt:

“Just like old times,” he said, plopping a baseball hat over my head. He led the way onto the field with the diamond marking, dugout, and bleachers in the distance. None of it had changed; it was exactly like it was when we were in high school.

I didn’t object as he put on a catcher’s mitt and offered me a baseball bat. He tossed the baseball up into the air and caught it without his eyes on it. I gave a disbelieving laugh and shook my head side to side. He was so utterly hopeless.

“Still the cockiest player on the field,” I muttered.

“Isn’t that why you liked me so much?”

My eyes narrowed. “You realize you just proved my point, right? Didn’t they use to call you Heavy Hitter for a reason?”

He laughed, moving closer. So close he could’ve kissed me if he wanted. “Remember your nickname? Think it started with Ball and ended with Buster?”

“Someone has to keep your huge ego in check.”

“You were always good at the job,” he said with another husky laugh. He backed away and motioned for me to get in position. “Go on. You’re up to bat, Spark. Time to hit a home run.”

“We both know I’m the worst baseball player known to man.”

“But you look so dang cute in the hat and wiggling your booty like you do when you go to swing.” He was being bold flirting like that, but then again, I liked it. “Only wish you could be in my jersey again. I liked when you used to wear it.”

I stood still for a second, the bat limp in my grasp as nostalgia hit me. “Me too.”

We let the confession hang in the air for another second before moving on. He cleared his throat and winded up. I shook out my shoulders and bent my knees, booty out just the way that distracted him. Our eyes met in an intense stare off, his stormy grays connecting with my deep browns.

“Ready?”

“Been ready.”

He held in a laugh as he pitched the ball in my direction. I swung and missed—and swore under my breath. For as crap a player as I was, I was also competitive as hell. I hated to lose. Something Dylan knew and loved about me. My grip tightened on the bat and I demanded he pitch again.

The second time I swung harder and sent the ball hurtling into foul territory. No beats were missed as I told him to pitch a third time. He followed instruction and threw the ball at me. A tenacious growl left me when I swung, prompting a laugh out of him, making my heart beat in pride.

The ball soared across the field. I kicked off my wedge sandals and split into a fast sprint, moving faster than even I expected. I’d always been a runner, on the girls’ track team during our high school days, faster than a gazelle they used to say.

Dylan was fast after me. As I dashed barefoot across the wet grass of the baseball field, he tracked me down like a lion on the hunt. We were both laughing, the melodic carefree sound ringing in the otherwise quiet night air.

Inches before he could tag me, I jumped onto home plate with triumphant arms in the air. He caught up a split second after, plucking me off my feet. I squealed as he swept me up into his arms and he spun us around in dizzying circles. My arms slid around his neck into what felt like the most natural position in the world, eyes squeezed shut, head thrown back in laughter.

Copyright 2021 Mila Nicks

*****

Author Info:

Mila Nicks is a romance author on a mission to pen entertaining love stories featuring women of color. 

From the time she was a small girl with crayons and an overactive imagination, she’s had a passion for storytelling. In addition to serving ten years in the United States Air Force, she has received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing.

When she isn’t busy tapping away at her keyboard, you can find her binge-watching her favorite TV shows, daydreaming about her next vacation across the globe, or spending quality time with her spunky pet Chihuahua, Zayden. 

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*****

Review – Jingle Bell Hell

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Jingle Bell Hell, an all-new awkward meets sexy rom com from New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and USA Today bestselling author A.R. Casella is available now!

Jingle Bell Hell

Bad Luck Club series

by A.R. Casella and Denise Grover Swank

Blurb:

She’s a sexually repressed control freak. He’s a muscular ex-con with heavier baggage than Santa’s toy bag. They’re everything each other never wanted.

Mary

I’m usually the first person on my block to decorate for Christmas. This year? Humbug.

My six-year-old son, Aidan, just had a meltdown after learning some hard truths from a drunk Santa impersonator, and I can no longer deny we both need help. Change is hard for Aidan, and right now he’s dealing with several big ones, including A) his father abandoning us, B) our move to Asheville, and C) the Santa snafu.

And me? I’m a control freak, and my life is more out-of-control than a sled on ice.

That’s why I agree to let Aidan join Butterfly Buddies, a group that matches kids with adult mentors.

It’s also why I agree to a mentor of my own—terrifying, pink-haired Nicole, who wants to help me live life on the wild side. Her advice is strangely compelling, especially after I meet Aidan’s new “buddy,” a gorgeous tattooed hunk of a man who makes me wish there weren’t cobwebs in my…well, you know.

Jace

Mary O’Shea is sexy as hell, but she doesn’t know it.

She also doesn’t know I’m an ex-con, and if she finds out that I served three years in prison, extenuating circumstances won’t matter to her.

The last thing I should do is get attached to her kid…or her, but I didn’t get in this position by making good decisions.

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*****

Excerpt:

Jace reaches toward my face, and my heart feels like it’s about to beat out of my chest as his fingers near the soft flesh of my cheek. When he tucks an escaped lock of hair behind my ear, I almost melt into a puddle.

“You’re a good mom,” he says. “And you were probably right. It might not be a good idea for Aidan to get too attached to me, and me to him, given that you and I are attracted to each other.”

Shock roils through me. It’s as if I’ve opened my eyes and found myself on a different planet, where the ground is as solid as a bounce house and left is right and right is left.

No, it’s not possible. 

I gawk at him, taking in his sparkling eyes, the golden ends of his hair, and that short beard that shouldn’t look good, but oh God, it looks really good…

“Did you just say…?” I start.

It’s then that Aidan bursts through the door, holding something in his hand. He thrusts it out in front of him, scrunching his nose. “Did you get me this, Mom? It came in the box with my game. It was in a container, but I took it out.”

Shock renders me mute and still, like a pillar of salt. Especially since I can feel the intense scrutiny of Jace’s eyes. There’s no way Aidan knows what he’s holding, but Jace must know.

No, no, no, no, no, this can’t be happening.

The vibrator wasn’t supposed to come until tomorrow. Why would they pack it with a children’s board game?

A twisted sense of humor? A lack of reasonable bathroom breaks in the warehouse?

Aidan waves the bright pink vibrator around.

“There’s a little rabbit on it. Is it some kind of toy for Christmas? The package says it’s a magic wand that’s supposed to make people moan, but they spelled magic with a k, and it didn’t come with a spell book or anything.” He pulls a face. “I guess I can just use it with the Harry Potter spells. It does vibrate like it’s doing magic, and it can whirl in circles too.”

A short laugh sputters out of Jace.

My face is so red, it might as well be a fire truck. Magik wand. At least the name offers a reasonable explanation. For a six-year-old. God help me, I can’t bear to look at Jace.

 I make a grab for the vibrator, but Aidan evades me.

“Why’d you get it in pink, Mom? You know green’s my favorite color.”

Jace clears his throat, but nope, I still can’t look at him. He’s not laughing anymore, but I know he probably wants to. Who wouldn’t? If he did feel some sort of passing attraction to me before this, he certainly doesn’t now.

“Aidan,” Jace says slowly, his voice husky. “There are toys for adults too. That’s probably something your mom got as a treat for herself, although I’m sure she’ll get you a Harry Potter wand for Christmas if you want one. Let her have it.”

Aidan does, which is what I wanted, but then I have a vibrator in my hand.I think for a moment and then stuff it into my bag. The tip instantly pops out, unmistakable.

What is happening to me?

“It must be some kind of mistake,” I say, finally forcing myself to meet Jace’s gaze. “I didn’t order this. I wouldn’t…”

I thought I’d see laughter there, because he’s only human, but all traces of it are gone, and now he’s looking at me like I’m the last slice of birthday cake at an office birthday party. No, like I’m the first.

*****

Review:

**Maybe, possibly, some minor spoilers ahead**

I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything by Swank or Casella but I gotta say I really enjoyed myself with Jingle Bell Hell. It’s fun and humor, mixed together will all kinds of feels. While there’s a bit of drama over Jase’s past, it’s handled well, plus I appreciate that it wasn’t drawn out through a big part of the book. And Mary comes at it with maturity, owning up to her reaction to the news … well, eventually. Which is pretty much the way both of them make their way through all of their ups and downs, with reason and facing it head on. It’s not a smooth ride but they manage to come out the other side together.

If you are looking for a entertaining, sweet read, you can’t go wrong here.

(Part of a series but can easily stand on its own.)

*****

Author Info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in her own mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

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A.R. CASELLA is a freelance developmental editor by day, writer by night. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a variable number of fish. Her pastimes include chasing around her toddler, baking delicious treats, and occasional bouts of crocheting. Any Luck at All, co-written with New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank, is her first book.

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*****

Spotlight – Twelve Dates of Christmas

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Twelve Dates of Christmas

Sutter Creek, Montana series

by Laurel Greer

Available October 26

Blurb:

Can two rivals create mistletoe magic?

When a local wilderness lodge almost cancels its Twelve Days of Christmas festival, Emma Halloran leaps at the chance to convince the owners of her vision for the business. But Luke Emerson has his own plans—to keep the lodge in the family and protect his grandfather’s legacy. As they work together, Luke and Emma are increasingly drawn to each other. Can these utter opposites unite over their shared passion this Christmas?

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Buy Twelve Dates of Christmas by Laurel Greer

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408174_twelve-dates-of-christmas.html

*****

Excerpt:

And while he didn’t get why the Brownie leader was intent on making the tree into a rainbow bird, he wanted to do right by the kids. The small troop had asked him to help—a request that had earned a storm cloud of a frown from “Ms. Emma”—because he was the tallest person present who wasn’t already working on a tree. The girls also seemed to think being the local game warden gave him some sort of magical knowledge about bird-themed crafts. If feather number one hadn’t proved them wrong, feather two sure had.

No matter. He couldn’t disappoint the girls, even though he had electrical cords to run, spotlights to position and a staff to organize. And at the top of his to-do list: keep his grandfather from leaving his house to survey the action.

Luke gritted his teeth at the possibility of Hank Emerson trying to hook up the power connections for the trees while hacking up phlegm from his pneumonia-ridden lungs. No. Hank was going to keep his stubborn ass fixed to his well-worn couch for the next twelve days, and Luke would do everything else that needed doing.

He got into a rhythm, fully covering the high-up branches the little girls couldn’t reach with their shorter arms and rubber cement.

“Now the sparkles.” A Brownie peered at him hopefully as she held out a can of spray paint. No, spray glitter.

“Your troop leader didn’t mention sparkles,” he said.

The girl pressed the can into his hand. “We want it on the edges.”

“You got it.” He was asking for a dressing-down from Emma for following the girls’ instructions instead of hers, but she was nowhere to be seen and time was running out. With a careful hand, he sprayed the tips of as many feathers as he could. The Brownies oohed and aahed.

Choking on the fumes, he stepped back, forcing a straight face as he took in the eyesore. It was a good thing every charity or youth group who entered the twelve-day contest received at least a portion of the total funds raised. If the money was solely awarded to the first-place team, the Brownies wouldn’t have a chance at the new canoes they hoped to afford.

The Brownies were clearly of a different mind. They gazed at their creation, faces shining as bright as the pink-and-blue lights Emma had wound through the branches at exact one-inch intervals. Feathers filled in the rest of the spaces. An extra-large papier-mâché pear, wrapped in green, raindrop-size LED bulbs, topped the kaleidoscope monstrosity.

A pear in a partridge tree.

Only Emma…

“Looking great, girls,” he lied.

“That’s a big frown, Warden Emerson.”

The mild comment came from beside him.

He spun, facing Emma Halloran and her glossy red smirk. It didn’t matter the occasion—Emma was always done up like she was anticipating an Instagram photoshoot.

And no matter how many times she shot his flannel shirts and muddy work boots a disdainful look, he still struggled to keep his eyes off her. Her wool coat hid the curves of her tall figure, but he’d been able to conjure a mental image of her sexy shape since she sat behind him in twelfth grade English class. He’d turned around so often, trying to bring a blush to her pale cheeks, he’d had to go to the chiropractor for a kink in his neck.

Not much had changed in sixteen years. Not her sleek brown hair begging to be mussed, nor her legs, longer than the Gallatin River.

Nor her love of getting under his skin.

*****

Author Info:

Born and raised in a small Vancouver Island town, Laurel picked up her pen to write Julie Garwood fan-fiction during junior high English class. She hasn’t put it down since. Ever committed to the proper placement of the Canadian “eh,” she loves to write books with snapping sexual tension and second chances. She lives outside Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two daughters. At least half her diet is made up of tea. Find her at www.laurelgreer.com.

Website: https://laurelgreer.com/ 

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*****

Spotlight – Christmas Miracle in Jamaica

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This first story in The Christmas Project series sees neurologist Chloe Bailey and surgeon Sam Powell reunited in beautiful Jamaica, where they have to face the consequences of that one hot night!

Christmas Miracle in Jamaica

The Christmas Project series

by Ann McIntosh

Blurb:

’Tis the season For surprises!

One unforgettable night with surgeon Sam Powell signaled a newfound independence for freshly divorced neurologist Chloe Bailey. She never thought she’d see Sam again, until a new assignment takes her to stunning Jamaica for Christmas and Sam is there, too! But when Chloe discovers she’s pregnant, it’s life-changing for both of them! Sam will always be the father of her baby, but is he about to become a whole lot more?

Add Christmas Miracle in Jamaica to your Goodreads!

Buy Christmas Miracle in Jamaica by Ann McIntosh

Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408877_christmas-miracle-in-jamaica.html

*****

Excerpt:

Waking up five thousand miles away from her London home to her solicitor’s text saying the entire ordeal of getting free from Finn was over had made her equal parts sad and relieved. Finn had fought the divorce every step of the way, making what should have been a straightforward matter into a circus. Creating discord, spouting ridiculous demands and accusations, trying to force Chloe to go back to him rather than go through with severing the marriage.

She hadn’t cheated or lied. Finn had. Yet here she was, left holding the bag.

As she twisted the empty glass back and forth between her fingers, she heard her grandmother’s voice, clear as day, as though the older lady was beside her and whispered into her ear.

“Anyone who thinks life is always going to be easy is a jackass. When things get tough, lift up your head and look for the advantage. There’s always one, but usually you have to seek it out.”

That was Gran’s reaction anytime one of the family was dispirited or gloomy, but the familiar refrain rang hollow now.

“What possible advantage could there be to this mess?” she muttered.

But her brain was already whirring, putting aside the depressing, self-pitying thoughts and searching for the elusive silver lining.

Professionally, the breakup hadn’t changed anything. Her position at the Royal Kensington Hospital was both secure and rewarding, and the cutting-edge research she was involved in gave her a great deal of satisfaction. It was personally that she’d suffered, and perhaps that was where she could benefit?

All her life she’d been so careful, terrified of diminishing her good name, constantly aware that her parents expected her to set the best possible example for her younger siblings. Well, much of that had gone out the window over the last couple of years, leaving her…

Free.

To do things she’d wanted to but shied away from because they were risky or could potentially make others think less of her.

She’d always been so careful, so conservative and conventional. Wasn’t it time she let loose a little?

“Can I get you another tonic water?”

Startled, Chloe looked up at the bartender, and instinctively nodded. “Yes, thank you.”

She wasn’t ready to retire to her lonely hotel bed, knowing she’d only lie sleepless while she wrestled with all the ramifications of the life-changes she was going through.

But as the other woman began to turn away, Chloe was struck by a totally different type of impulse.

“Wait,” she said, causing the bartender to pause. “Do you serve mojitos?”

“Sure,” the woman replied with a smile. “Wouldn’t be a real bar if we didn’t.”

“I’ve always wanted to try one,” Chloe said, ignoring the whisper in her head telling her she rarely drank and she should be more careful, here in a strange city with no one to watch out for her.

“One mojito, coming up,” the bartender said, her smile widening.

“Brilliant,” Chloe replied, grinning in return.

When her drink came, she silently toasted her grandmother and her own quiet revolution, determined to make up for all the lost years of being so timid she’d forgotten how to actually live.

And when she found her gaze snagged by that of a very handsome man sitting across the bar, she refused to give in to the impulse to look away. Instead, she kept her eyes locked on his and raised her glass once more to her lips to sip the delicious liquid.

Then, as the gentleman in question rose and began to make his way toward her, she let herself smile, just a little, feeling excitement quicken her blood.

Here’s to new beginnings.

*****

Author Info:

I was born in the tropics, Jamaica to be precise, lived in the frozen North (Ontario, Canada) for a number of years, and now reside in sunny central Florida with my husband. I’m a proud Mama to three grown children, love tea, crafting, animals (except reptiles!), bacon, and the ocean. I firmly believe in the power of romance to heal, inspire and provide hope in our complex world.

Website: https://www.authorannmcintosh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorannmcintosh/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorAnnMc

*****

Spotlight – Hold Onto the Stars

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Nothing about CJ Everhart is traditional, from her blue collar job to her thoughts on relationships but now that she’s thirty, she wonders if there is more for her than the life she’s living.  Enter big-city transplant, Peyton Quinn, and CJ can’t deny the chemistry between them, but can Peyton convince her to take a chance on love? Fall for this hard-working hottie in Hold Onto the Stars by Tracy Broemmer, a Blind Date Romance, the next book in the Blue Collar Romance Series.

Hold Onto the Stars

A Blind Date Romance

Blue Collar Romance series

by Tracy Broemmer

Blurb:

From author Tracy Broemmer comes a blue collar, blind date romance with a fun twist, a sassy heroine, and a happily ever after.

CJ Everhart—small town girl, licensed electrician, professional sports fan. With her thirtieth birthday in the rearview mirror, CJ can’t help but wonder if there’s more to life than what small-town Oak Bend, Michigan has to offer. Nothing about CJ is what the people of Oak Bend would call traditional from her blue-collar roots and reputation as one of the town’s best electricians, to her thoughts on what she really needs in a relationship. She’s not the kind of girl who needs flowers or other silly romantic gestures, and her ideal future bucks the small-town script of marriage, babies, and soccer-mom minivans.

Peyton Quinn—big city guy, elementary school teacher, new to small-town living. Transplanted from a Chicago suburb, Peyton moves to Oak Bend for a change of pace—oh, and to hide from his well-meaning family. Enter a well-meaning friend who sets him up with the perfect blind date. Too bad she doesn’t hold a candle to the mysterious Tigers fan that he ran into in a local sports bar.

When their paths cross, sparks fly between CJ and Peyton. CJ doesn’t deny the attraction, though she insists she’s not the kind of woman Peyton needs. But the more they’re around each other, the more Peyton believes fate brought them together.

Can Peyton convince CJ they were made for each other and the sky is the limit for their love if they can hold onto the stars?

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Read Now!

*****

Excerpt:

CJ tried to keep her eyes off him. After all, he was Violet’s date. Never mind the fact that he was the best-looking guy in the bar, the most interesting thing to happen in Oak Bend since Sherry brought in the Fifty Shades of Grey series to their little local library, and currently leaning over the pool table, putting some prime all-American male on display. CJ let her eyes roam over his arms, the way his shirt bunched up a bit over his biceps.  One of his hands rested on the green felt, propping the pool cue, while the other held the cue loosely as he eyed his shot.

Cheeks hot, she dragged her eyes over his backside—she liked a man who filled out his jeans the way he did—and glanced at Violet, ready to beg for forgiveness. But Violet had her back to the table, talking to a few guys they had gone to school with. CJ looked back at Peyton when she heard the clack of the cue ball. She watched two solids drop into the corner pocket, totally unprepared when he looked up and hit her with that intense gaze.

“Lucky shot,” he said around a sheepish grin.

CJ simply smiled and watched him study the table for his next shot. When he did finally step closer to the table and lean, she let out a quiet groan. Embarrassed, she bit her lip when he straightened and looked at her in askance.

“What?”

“Nothing.” She shook her head.

“C’mon.” He turned to her and tipped his head. “What’re you thinking?”

“That’s not your best shot,” she mumbled.

“No?” He looked back at the table with a frown.

“You’re not at a good angle.”

Uncomfortable under his intense scrutiny when he shifted his gaze back to her, CJ grabbed her beer and drained it.

“The two ball is less than an inch off the corner pocket,” he told her.

And that less than an inch would mean he would miss the shot, but she simply shrugged and nodded to the table. With her beer gone, Violet still engaged in conversation, and nothing to do with her hands, CJ folded her arms over her chest and watched Peyton take the shot. It wasn’t pretty, but after a second of bumping around, it dropped into the pocket.

“What shot would you have taken?” he asked her as he eyed the table again.

“The five at the side,” she answered without hesitation. He swung his gaze to the five and shrugged, but he nodded. The last shot had left him with nothing good this time, so CJ’s eyes wandered over his backside again.

“You’re dry.”

CJ stared at him blankly when he joined her at the high-top table. Watching the fluid motion of his body moving around the table had been entertaining, and while her panties hadn’t melted, she was aroused enough to feel flustered by his comment.

Copyright 2021 Tracy Broemmer

*****

Author Info:

An only child, Tracy Broemmer grew up with a wild imagination. An avid reader from a young age, she spent a lot of time with her nose buried in books and a lot of time making up her own stories. She penned her first book in grade school and hasn’t stopped writing since then.

​When she’s not writing, you might find her with a book in hand, or maybe a glass of wine, or maybe a book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Tracy enjoys spending time with her family, traveling with her husband of twenty-eight years, music, NFL, and MLB. Tracy is the author of the Lorelei Bluffs women’s fiction series, the Williams Legacy, and several stand-alone women’s fiction novels. She has recently dabbled in contemporary romance, as well.

​Tracy’s books have been called gripping, emotional, and timely, and readers describe her characters as real and relatable.

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*****

About The Blue Collar Romance Series

Escape to Oak Bend where blue-collar hotties work hard and love even harder.

From broody carpenters to sexy electricians, these eight standalones are packed with small town feels, heat, and heartwarming happily ever afters.

Enjoy your favorite tropes written by an amazing group of authors: Jaymee Jacobs, Alexa Rivers, Evelyn Sola, Kate Carley, Tracy Broemmer, Mila Nicks, Claire Wilder, and Moni Boyce.

Fall head over heels for swoon-worthy book boyfriends who aren’t afraid of a little hard work for that happily ever after.

This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR