“Love You So Special” By Tara Lain
Release Day Blitz
September 28, 2018
“Love You So Special” By Tara Lain
Release Day Blitz
September 28, 2018
ABOUT JILL SHALVIS
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
ABOUT HOT WINTER NIGHTS (a standalone Heartbreaker Bay novel)
Who needs mistletoe?
Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that—but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once . . .
Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.
Connect with Jill
It took Lucas Knight longer than it should have to realize he had a woman in his bed, but to be fair, he had a bitch of a hangover. Even worse than that, last night was a blur, prompting him to take quick stock. One, there was a bundle of sweet, soft curves against him. Two, his head was currently threatening to secede from the United States Of Lucas. And three, his side hurt like … well, like he’d been shot.
It’d been two weeks since he’d gotten caught in some crossfire on the job and he hadn’t yet been cleared for more than light duty – something he’d obviously managed to ignore last night given that he was palming a nice, warm, feminine ass.
Straining his brain, he remembered taking a pain med before going to O’Riley’s Pub to meet up with some friends. A client had been there, someone he’d recently helped save from a multi-million dollar corporate espionage. The guy had ordered shots to toast to Lucas and … shit. Knowing better than to mix pain meds and alcohol, he’d hesitated, but everyone had been waiting on him, glasses hoisted in the air. Thinking just one shot couldn’t hurt anything, he’d knocked back the drink.
Clearly, he’d been wrong and it’d been enough to mess him up big time, something he hadn’t been in years, not since his brother Josh had been killed. Shoving that away for another time – or never — Lucas cracked open one eye, but when his retina was stabbed by a streak of sunlight glaring in through the window, he immediately slammed it shut it again. Taking a deep breath, he told himself to suck it up and opened both eyes this time, learning two additional facts.
He was naked and completely uncovered.
And the woman snugged up at his side was rolled up in his comforter like a burrito.
What. The. Hell.
BUY LINKS for HOT WINTER NIGHTS:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2NCSGs5
Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.
Stella Lane was unlike any woman he’d ever met. Such a combination of stubborn pride and soft kindness. Not to mention drop-to-his-knees fucking gorgeous. She was the kind of woman a man didn’t get over. Or at least, he wouldn’t.
“You going to keep staring at me or are we going to play some pool ?” Stella rubbed the end of the stick with the blue chalk, her eyes dancing in a way he hadn’t seen before. Should have known she’d be competitive.
“I like staring at you. It’s a good view,” he said, racking up the balls.
“An off-limits view,” she reminded, coming around to break.
“Remind me why that is again.”
She’d started to lean over the table but stopped. “Why what is again?”
He didn’t know why he was stirring up a conversation like this when he agreed whole-heartedly with her views. But other parts of his body strongly disagreed.
“I kind of get the whole we work together thing, so we shouldn’t, but I get the impression you keep yourself off-limits in general. Haven’t seen any suitors showing up at our door. Who broke your heart, Doc?”
A flash of hurt widened her eyes and was gone before he could be sure he saw it. But it was as if his heart recognized it. He knew she’d been hurt. But seeing it in her face made him want to smack heads together.
“Tell you what; since I have a few questions of my own, why don’t we say every time one of us makes a shot, the other has to answer a question. Honestly.”
He stepped into her space, brushed a lock of hair off her cheek. “I’m always honest.”
Stepping back, she smiled and set herself up to break. She looked over her shoulder at him, caught him checking out her ass, and smirked. “Do we have a deal?”
He was a good shot, so he nodded. He wanted to know more about her, whatever it took.
She sent the white ball blazing across the felt and the rest of the balls scattered. A striped one went into the corner pocket.
“First shot doesn’t count,” he said.
Stella glared at him and walked around the table. “Don’t cheat. I’m stripes and you owe me an answer.”
“Fine. But you know what they say about payback.”
Stella paused, looking at the table before deciding where to shoot. “That’s the second time you’ve said that with no follow through. I’m not scared. Where was your first time?”
He smirked. Cute. But, in his opinion, she’d wasted a question. “Texas. I was nineteen.”
Stretching, she set the cue so she could hit a bank shot, but missed. Unfazed, she walked over to him.
“Why didn’t you come back to Brockton sooner?”
Zach’s throat went dry. Because he’d associated “making it” with a dollar amount. Once he’d been able to sink his money into a tangible future in the place he loved, he’d set his plans in motion. . “You didn’t sink your last shot. My turn.”
He went to the end of the table and lined up a shot, then sank it. He wanted real answers. “Why’d your last relationship end?”
Even as he moved to line up his next shot, he saw her face go pale. His stomach cramped—he wanted her to open up but he didn’t want her to be uncomfortable.
Stella’s fingers tightened around her cue. “He asked me to marry him. I said yes. When I tried to make plans to move forward, he kept stalling. Then I asked him about coming back here to live and he told me he’d never wanted to marry me in the first place. I was convenient and a really good vet.
Review and Excerpt Tour for MAKE ME FALL by Sara Rider!
Enemies make the worst neighbors, but the best lovers in Sara Rider’s MAKE ME FALL, the second book in her standalone Books & Brews series. Eli doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, Nora, until he hears about her “un-datable” status and all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard. Fans of Lauren Layne, Jenny Holiday’s ONE AND ONLY, and THE FINE ART OF FAKING IT by Lucy Score will devour this opposites attract, fun buy sexy romance.
Title: Make Me Fall
Author: Sara Rider
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Series: Books & Brews #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 226
After losing her job, her home, and her friends in her divorce, Nora Pitts is determined not to make the same mistakes when she starts over in the small town of Shadow Creek, Washington. No more toiling away in the lab at the expense of her social life, and definitely no more men. Ever. But making friends in her thirties is so much harder than she anticipated. And when it comes to her gorgeous yet obnoxious neighbor, it’s a whole lot easier to make enemies.
Eli Hardin doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, until he overhears her so-called new friends making fun of her un-datable status. Suddenly he finds himself volunteering for a date with a woman who’s been leaving angry hate-notes in his mailbox, and in way over his head. Because all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard.
But falling for Eli isn’t something Nora’s ready for—not when he’s her complete opposite, and especially not when he turns out to be the best friend she’s made in Shadow Creek. But as her attraction and her feelings for Eli grow hotter, resisting him might just lead to heartbreak anyway.
Amazon → https://amzn.to/2v6aCnn
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Add to Goodreads →http://bit.ly/2v1Vbws
MAKE ME FALL Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Sara Rider
Eli marked off twenty-six and three-quarter inches as precisely as he could and lifted the blade of the circular saw.
“Oh my God, I soooo wasn’t kidding,” one of the women next door said loudly. “Nora really does need to get laid.”
His shoulders tensed. This wasn’t the first time he’d overheard the women loudly shit-talking his neighbor behind her back. He had no idea why she hung out with them.
“Maybe you should set her up with someone,” another woman added.
The other two laughed. “Can you imagine Nora on a date? She’s so uptight and frigid. Who would want to date her? No lay is worth that kind of torture. Can’t you just picture her busting out her bottle of sanitizer before the poor sap tries to hold her hand?”
His jaw tensed and he felt the last of his patience snap like an icicle in his warm hands. He sliced the saw through the wood, threw his protective glasses onto the ground, and marched over to the waist-high chain link fence. “I’d do it.”
All three women turned to look at him like he was a space alien who’d just beamed down to earth. The one who’d been talking the most leaned forward in her seat. “What did you just say?”
“You heard me. I’d go out with her.”
“You can’t be serious.”
The more this woman pushed, the more he wanted to put her in her place. No, Nora was not the kind of woman he would normally ask out—mainly because she was one of the few who didn’t seem to fall for his charm. In fact, he was pretty sure she didn’t think he had any charm whatsoever, but she was attractive and smart enough to read a book every month. That alone made her more dateable than half the population in this town. “Sure as hell am.”
The woman leaned forward, smiling at him like he was freshly caught prey in her snare. “If you’re looking for a date, I could show you a much better time.”
He shrugged, keeping his fake smile on his face. “No thanks. Backstabbing and mean isn’t my type.”
He probably enjoyed the shocked look on the woman’s face a little too much, but it was seriously fucking rude to trash-talk the hostess while sitting on her porch and eating her canapés.
The screen door slid open right at that moment. Nora walked out with a plate of decadent-looking mini-chocolate cakes that made his mouth water on sight. Her eyes darted from her friends to him and back again. “Um, what’s going on?”
He rested his hands against the old chain-link fence. “What’s going on is that your so-called friends are talking trash about your love life behind your back and don’t seem to think you can get a date. So I volunteered.”
“Volunteered. You and me. Tomorrow night at seven. I’ll drive.”
She slammed the cake tray onto the coffee table and set her hands on her hips. She looked around, like she couldn’t decide where to focus her anger. Of course she settled on him. “Who says I’d want to go out with you?”
He raised his eyebrow, liking the way she got flustered around him a little too much. “Got better plans?”
Even at the distance between them, he could see her suck in a breath. Her mouth hardened into a flat line, but she didn’t say no.
“Tomorrow. Seven. Dinner. Oh, and consider making new friends who aren’t so damn mean. These ladies don’t deserve any of those amazing-looking cakes.” He grabbed his plank of wood and headed into the house, wondering what the hell he’d just gotten himself into.
Want Some More Books & Brews from Sara Rider? Pick up a copy of RIGHT KIND OF LOVE today!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and six digital copies of REAL KIND OF LOVE!
About Sara Rider:
Sara Rider writes contemporary romance full of heart, heat, and happily ever after. She lives in British Columbia with her husband and daughters. She spends far too much time in public libraries and never leaves the home without her e-reader stuffed in her purse.
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What’s a superheroine to do when her super soldier ex turns up alive after more than fifteen years?
Follow the first look and enter to #win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or one of five digital copies of a Jen Doyle backlist title
Title: Butterfly Ops
Author: Jen Doyle
Series: Butterfly Ops
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy with Romantic Elements
Release Date: Sept 24, 2018
Length: 120,000 words
What’s a superheroine to do when her super soldier ex turns up alive after more than fifteen years?
Lyndsey doesn’t have much time to walk down memory lane before she and Ian find themselves thrown together to investigate the mysterious deaths of ten young men in the Canadian wilderness. How do such seemingly normal, healthy men’s hearts just…stop?
With the hint of an evil spirit in the wind–and a whole lot of butterflies–there’s no telling what Lyndsey and Ian are dealing with, including their own extensive baggage. Though seventeen years is a lot of life to live, there’s one thing they can’t deny: their attraction is as intense as ever. But is it just a spark that will burn itself out, or is it true love bringing them back together? When the force they’re hunting turns its sights on them, the leap of faith required far exceeds either of their powers. But worrying about their future might be premature because one wrong move and they might not make it out alive.
In Book One of the Butterfly Ops trilogy, Lyndsey and Ian reconnect fifteen years after seeing each other for what each thought was the last time. That the spark is still there is undeniable—but is it enough to get past the secrets and lies that tore them apart the first time around? With old tensions rearing their heads as new challenges arise, what at first seems to be a sure path back to trust and happiness is rockier than it seems.
Note: this is Book One in a serial trilogy. Book Two will be released in Spring 2019; Book Three will be released in early Summer 2019. Books should be read in order.
What she should have been thinking about was spending three weeks in the woods with the next generation of the Army teams that had spent almost a year trying to kill her. Possibly even with some of the very same men, if Matt’s presence were any indication. That realization had used up all of five seconds of her mental energy, however. Army teams = men with guns who might still think of her as the enemy = she was going to have to watch her back even more so than in normal circumstances. Noted. Moving on.
What she couldn’t get her mind off of, however, was Ian. Spending three weeks with Ian. Even if he wasn’t going to actually be out in the woods with her, she’d seen enough about how Matt had operated to know they’d be connected, possibly even around the clock for that whole time.
Oh, God, she thought, sitting back in her seat. What if they really did end up on this job together for who knew how long? She had no idea how she’d manage to accomplish anything. It was all she could do right now not to openly stare. And it certainly wasn’t helping that—what was her name, Julianna?—was being totally flirty with Ian while talking about weapons, no less. If there was anything Lyndsey knew about Army guys, it was that they liked their toys.
Not fair, Lyndsey thought, fighting the urge to glare. She couldn’t exactly get all WWE and jump on the table and be like, Weapons? You think you’re getting to him because you know the difference between a Glock and a, um, not-a-Glock? Well, check this out. My body is a weapon. If he’d stuck around he would’ve gotten to benefit from that fully. What he did see, though, he totally liked. So top that Miss Desk Job.
Unfortunately, a somewhat irritated “Hmph” did slip out.
Conversation stopped as heads turned her way. “Lyndsey?” Matt said, eyebrows all bunched up into a frown. “Did you want to add something?”
Feeling her cheeks grow alarmingly warm, Lyndsey looked down at the table in front of her. “No,” she mumbled. “Sorry. Go on.”
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. CALLING IT, her four-book baseball/contemporary romance/romantic comedy series, has been winning awards since its inception, the most recent being the 2017 Best Banter Contest for Calling It and a nomination for the 2017 Harlequin Hero of the Year for Called Out. She also wrote the acclaimed HANSONS OF ST. HELENA series of novellas in the St. Helena Vineyard Kindle World. Butterfly Ops: Book One is the first installment of the BUTTERFLY OPS trilogy, an epic love story and her first in the paranormal realm.
Jen has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as an administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”). She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.
You can visit her online at the following places:
Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.
A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.
Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…
A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.
THE CHRISTMAS WISHING TREE
An Eternity Springs Novel
St. Martin’s Paperback
Christmas carols played softly in the background. The scent of spiced cider perfumed the air. Shoppers munched happily on gingerbread cookies and perused the bookshelves for that perfect gift.
Dr. Jenna Stockton imagined ripping the halo off the angel’s head and choking her with it. Instead, she reached deep within herself for patience and managed to find a smile for the costumed character behind the bookstore counter. “If I could speak with your manager, please?”
“She’s awfully busy.”
Jenna thought of the ridiculous length of her own to-do list as she fought to keep her smile from turning into a sneer. “Yes, well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? Your manager?”
The little angel gave a haughty sniff, and then said, “If you’ll step out of line, please?”
Without missing a beat, the angel turned a bright smile toward the woman waiting behind Jenna. “I’m sosorry for this unfortunate delay, ma’am. I’ll be as quick as I possibly can.”
Jenna didn’t snarl like a rabid dog. She didn’t. She smiled at the woman behind her in line. Sweetly. Without canines.
The woman and the four people behind her each gave Jenna an annoyed glower. She gave them all a smile too, then reached for the nearest book, which she pretended to read until the clerk returned, accompanied by a fiftysomething woman dressed like an elf. The angel gestured toward Jenna and said, “This is the one, Ms. Thomas.”
The elf spoke in a harried tone. “May I help you?”
“I hope so.” Especially considering that I went out of my way to support a local business rather than ordering online. Jenna set down the paperback. “I placed a special order two weeks ago and someone from this store called me last week to tell me it was in. However, your … angel … can’t find it in your computer system, so she insists I’m mistaken.”
“Do you have your receipt?”
“Not with me, no.”
“Well, if you’ll come back—”
“I don’t have time to come back. I ordered the books for an event that begins”—Jenna checked her watch—“in forty-five minutes. I’d like you to check your stock room. My name is Jenna Stockton.”
“Ms. Stockton, I can’t—”
“I ordered thirty copies of New Adventures in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room.”
“Oh.” The manager pursed her lips. “Oh. I recall that order.”
Then the manager winced. Uh-oh. Maybe not so good. Jenna drew a deep, calming breath, then asked, “If you will get it for me, please?”
Jenna closed her eyes.
“I’m afraid we had some internal miscommunication. We sold out of our stock of that particular title and an employee unfortunately failed to notice the hold notice on your order. She put them on the shelf.”
“How many are left?”
“It’s a popular title,” the manager hedged.
Jenna leaned forward. “The books are for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital. The Christmas party is at four o’clock.”
“Oh dear,” the manager repeated. “Four o’clock you say?”
Jenna nodded curtly.
“I’ll call our distributor. If you can stop back by—”
“You’ll need to deliver them directly to the hospital. To the attention of Dr. Jenna Stockton.” She removed a card from her purse and handed it to the manager. “Here’s the address. Take them to the information desk in the lobby. I’ll tell the volunteers working there to expect them.”
“But we don’t have a delivery—”
Jenna folded her arms and gave the manager her best take-no-prisoners look.
“I’ll do my best to have them there by four, Dr. Stockton. I apologize for the inconvenience. Now, is there anything else I can help you with? I saw you looking at the new Liza Holcomb thriller.” She picked up the book and handed it to Jenna. “It’s a fabulous book. Scariest stalker story I’ve read in years.”
Jenna quickly returned the book to the display table. A stalker story? That was all she needed. “No, thank you. All I need today is what I ordered. Thank you for the help. You have my phone number. I trust if there is any further problem, you will give me an immediate call?”
“Yes. Of course.”
“Perfect. Merry Christmas, Ms. Thomas.”
“Merry Christmas to you too, Dr. Stockton.” The manager gave her a bright smile that didn’t quite hide the worry in her eyes.
Jenna headed for the door, glancing over her shoulder before pushing it open. The elf was on the phone, the angel had been replaced at the register by a reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman was on hands and knees beside the urn of mulled cider wiping up a spill. She sighed. Angels with attitude aside, she liked this little store. She really hoped they didn’t let her and the children down.
Outside, the jangle from the Salvation Army bell ringer mingled with the shrieks and laughter of children embroiled in a snowball fight in the park across the street. Jenna tugged leather gloves from her coat pocket and pulled them on as she walked to the street corner and waited for the light to change. Her gaze drifted back to the snowball warriors. It did her heart good to see healthy, happy children playing, especially after a morning like this one.
When the walk signal flashed on, she crossed the street and cut through the park headed for her car, which she’d left in a lot a block away. Her thoughts returned to her to-do list. She could save a few minutes if she bought cookies at the grocery store instead of making the extra stop at the bakery before picking up Reilly from daycare. But she’d promised Reilly a gingerbread man from—
Something cold and wet stung her cheek. What in the world? Reflexively, Jenna lifted her hand to her face and the remnants of … a snowball. She’d been hit with a snowball. Had the battlefield moved without her noticing and she’d been struck by an errant shot? Or had the attack been deliberate? If that was the case, one of these heathens was about to get a piece of her mind.
But when she turned to identify the culprit seconds after the snowball landed, her gaze skidded over a group of youngsters to an adult standing nearby. The pockets of a black wool coat concealed the man’s hands. A black knit cap pulled low on his brow and the matching scarf looped around his face shielded everything but his eyes.
Eyes that watched her.
A shiver of fear skidded down Jenna’s spine. She whirled around and picked up her pace. By the time she reached her car, she was all but running. She thumbed the key fob and unlocked the door as she approached, then locked it again the moment she was inside. She sat behind the steering wheel breathing hard, her heart pounding. Her gaze locked on the path through the park.
Nobody had followed her. Chased her. She’d let her imagination run wild.
“You didn’t imagine the face full of snow,” she muttered.
She should call the cops. File a report.
Sure. Be one of “those people.” Tie up a law enforcement officer’s time over a child’s prank. Because surely, that’s all it had been. One of those kids probably threw the snowball, and the guy dressed in black probably saw it as it flew by. He’d watched her to see if she’d pitch a fit about it.
She slipped her key into the ignition, started the car, and did her best to dismiss the incident. Forty minutes later—after stops at the dry cleaners, grocery, bakery, and party store—she made it back to the office in time for her one-thirty appointment with five minutes to spare. If she’d checked her rearview mirror more often than usual and paid close attention to those around her as she completed her errands, well, she was simply being responsible.
Whenever she had a few free minutes during the rest of the afternoon, her thoughts drifted back to the troubling events of recent months. The harassment had begun in October, although for the first few weeks, she hadn’t recognized the threat. Everyone got hang-up calls. She explained away the texts as wrong numbers. But once online orders she hadn’t placed began showing up on her doorstep, she realized she had a problem.
She’d thought she’d been a victim of identity theft. She’d spent an entire weekend canceling cards and changing accounts. Then last week when a particularly difficult case kept her at the hospital until early morning hours, she came out to the physician’s section of the parking garage and found the air had been released from each of her tires.
Random vandalism, the police said. Teenage pranks. Jenna wasn’t so certain, but she didn’t know who would be doing this to her or why.
As she exited Exam Room 4, her receptionist met her with the news that her three o’clock was a no-show, which meant she was done for the day. Jenna tucked away her dark worries and turned her thoughts to the light and bright. Now she’d have time to pick up Reilly from school rather than have his after-school caregiver drop him off at the hospital.
Luck was with her for a change because a parking place became available just as she pulled up. As she got out of her car, a bell rang, and the door to the kindergarten classroom opened. Reilly was the third youngster out.
“Mom!” exclaimed her six-year-old son. “You’re here! It’s time for the Christmas party, isn’t it? Is it time for the party? Is Santa going to be there? I have my list all ready.”
“Hello, little man. Yes, it’s time for the Christmas party and yes, Santa has promised to make an appearance.”
“I’m so excited!”
“Me too, Reilly. Me too.”
She’d been trying to make the Santa visit happen for two weeks now. Because kids grew up so fast these days, she knew that this might be the last year that Reilly believed in Santa Claus. Jenna had wanted to make it a special event for them both.
For the initial effort, she had planned an all-day Saturday holiday adventure beginning with breakfast at a pancake house, followed by shopping for gifts for Reilly’s friends, then a matinee performance of Rudolphat the children’s theater, and culminating with a visit to Santa’s Wonderland and a conversation with the big man himself. They’d had a great time eating and shopping and watching the play, but as they left the theater, her pager had gone off. She’d tried again the following Saturday with a different itinerary, but with similar Santa results. She and Reilly both were counting on “The third time is the charm” axiom working today.
Arriving at the hospital, she took advantage of valet parking due to the amount of party supplies she had to tote inside. She loaded up a collapsible wheeled cart with gifts and decorations and bakery boxes, then Reilly helped her tug it inside, where she approached the information desk with trepidation. “I’m Dr. Stockton. Do I have a package waiting, I hope?”
“Books,” the volunteer said. “Yes, they’re here.”
She reached beneath the counter then pulled out a box. Jenna spied twice as many gift-wrapped items as she’d expected. The folded note taped to the front of the box read, “Your complete order is enclosed. In addition, please accept these thirty copies of the first book in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room series as a gift to the children from the staff here at Hawthorne Books.”
“Well, isn’t that nice?” Jenna murmured.
“Isn’t what nice, Mom?”
“The Christmas spirit.”
He nodded in all seriousness. “I love the Christmas spirit. I wish it could last all year long.”
“You and me both, little man. You and me both.”
The Christmas party that followed was a bittersweet success. Local and a few national celebrities showed up to shower attention and gifts and good cheer on the patients of Children’s Hospital and their families. It was always nice to see the smiles, but invariably, tears were shed too. The what-ifs and if-onlys were unavoidable. Hospital events always caused Jenna to hug Reilly a little tighter and spend a little more time on her nightly prayers.
The books Jenna gifted were well received by parents and patients alike. Reilly finally had his visit with Santa, and Jenna shed a tear or two of her own while she snapped photos of the moment with her phone.
In the car ride on their way home, Reilly bubbled about the party—the food, the games, the gifts. “There were a lot of dads there,” he observed. “Did you see, Mom? There were a whole bunch of dads.”
“Yes.” Then, in an effort to alter the direction of the conversation, she said, “I was surprised to see how many football players attended. How many autographs did you get?”
“I don’t know,” Reilly answered with a shrug before proving that he was not to be distracted. “I thought Dr. David would be there. Why didn’t Dr. David come?”
Oh, Reilly. Dr. David Henderson was Reilly’s pediatrician, a widowed father whom she’d dated briefly last summer. “I told you he moved back to Minnesota to be closer to Bella and Jessie’s grandparents. Dr. Larimer is your new doctor.”
Reilly gave a long sigh. “I pretended I forgot. I thought he would make a really good daddy for us, Mom.”
“We really do need a daddy.”
“Reilly,” Jenna said, warning in her tone. “Please. It’s been a long day. Let’s not get started on that subject again.”
She silenced him with a stern glance. Her son could be a terrier when he got an idea in his head, and lately, every time she turned around, he’d been yipping and yapping about needing a daddy.
How about I just order one online? Everything else was showing up at the house. She’d certainly have more use for a daddy for Reilly than a yodeling pickle electronic noisemaker.
She switched on the radio, which was tuned to the Christmas music station. Listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks hope that Christmas wouldn’t be late wasn’t much better than the yodeling pickle. However, the music did manage to distract Reilly, who sang along the rest of the way home, so she wasn’t about to complain.
Her son helped her unload the car, and then he dashed about the house turning on the lights of all of their Christmas decorations while Jenna sorted through the mail. One envelope in particular caught her notice. Whitewater Adventure Rafting on the Snake River? Her stomach took a sick little flip.
Dread filled her as she stared down at the envelope addressed to JENNA M. STOCKTON, MD.
This was coincidence, surely. Just bad timing of an advertisement that probably went to everyone in her zip code.
She slid the letter opener blade beneath the envelope flap and removed the folded paper.
A reservation for one. Paid in full. January 23rd at 10:00 a.m.
She dropped the paper as if it were on fire. Her hands trembled. Her heart pounded.
Her always-adventuring parents had drowned in a whitewater rafting accident seven years earlier … on January 23.
“Mom, can we read a story?”
Jenna saw her son standing in the doorway with his stuffed Rudolph beneath his arm. His request was a life preserver tossed to a drowning person. “Absolutely. I have a new book for us.”
Because she wasn’t on call tonight and she had no patients she suspected of being in imminent need of her services, she poured herself a glass of wine, traded her shoes for slippers, and settled into the overstuffed easy chair in the family room with the copy of The New Adventures in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room that she’d reserved for her own family. “In my lap, little man.”
He bounded over to her, his face alight with joy.
Story time was special for them both. She’d finished the first book and allowed herself to be talked into reading a second and a third. They were negotiating a fourth when she answered the doorbell to a pizza delivery she had not ordered.
By nine thirty, her doorbell had chimed eleven more times with deliveries of eleven more cheese and mushroom pizzas. Jenna was allergic to mushrooms.
At nine forty-five she called the police.
Copyright © 2018 by Emily March in The Christmas Wishing Tree and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.
Facebook: Emily March
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***Review to follow***
Amae Waters is a mermaid blending in with humankind. Her mission? Prepare the oceans for the return of her people. But a new predator has entered the Puget Sound, defying human understanding, and Amae must face it and darker dangers lurking in the deep.
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Title: Siren’s Calling
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: The Sea King’s Daughters
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Print Length: 22,000 words
Amae Waters will never live up to her father’s expectations–she’s not a leader and she’s not a soldier. Rather than live with his disappointment, she’s left his realm and built a life for herself in Seattle, a mermaid blending in with humankind. Her mission? To prepare the oceans for the return of her people. But she’s not sure she’s cut out to accomplish that either.
A new predator has entered the waters of the Puget Sound, ravaging orcas and leaving their carcasses to wash ashore for humans to find. Whatever is killing them is beyond human understanding and Amae must find it before it irrevocably damages the complex balance of the ocean ecosystems.
But a greater danger lurks in the deep. Amae is done evading traps. She’ll defend her territory and prove she needn’t be a soldier to be a warrior or become the sacrifice used to end her people.
Look for other stories in this exciting Urban Fantasy series from Philippa Ballantine, Stacia D. Kelly, Lauren Harris, Katee Robert, and Asa Maria Bradley.
Excerpt from Siren’s Calling:
I tasted blood in the water.
Changing course with a flick of my tail, I swam against the fast-moving ocean current toward the source. There were no vibrations in the water to indicate the thrashing of a living thing in distress and the seas were quieter than usual. Not surprising, with this much blood carried on the currents. Predators would be drawn to it and prey would be wise to leave the area or hide.
Curious, I’d come to investigate, thinking one of the killer whale pods had taken a baleen whale. It wasn’t unheard of, though it didn’t happen often. A big kill like that would draw plenty of ocean denizens, and I hadn’t tasted whale in a long time. I wouldn’t kill one, not when I couldn’t finish consuming it myself and not when so many whale species were endangered, but I wouldn’t let it go to waste, either.
When I didn’t find anything in open water, I’d pulled myself up onto the rocky outcropping between islands and found it. The body. But it wasn’t a humpback or gray whale, not a mink or fin whale, either. It was an orca, a killer whale, and that didn’t make any kind of sense.
Before I could take a closer look, the sound of a powerful motor cut through the morning calls of seabirds. Harbor seals lifted their heads and looked around from where they lay on another rock outcropping. A lone Steller sea lion grunted and scratched his head with a huge hind flipper. He turned to stare at me and I met his gaze, unconcerned. He was a prime specimen of a bull, the largest I’d ever encountered, but he posed no threat to me.
The waves slapped against the rocks around my tail fin in a changed cadence. A boat was approaching, and with it, humans. They were probably whale watching, which meant every one of them would be on the lookout for wildlife. Most of them would have binoculars. I couldn’t let them see me in this form.
I dove back into the water, darting through forests of kelp and berating myself for lingering past dawn. There was too much light and I had to dive deep to be sure nothing on the surface caught sight of even a tail flick from me.
As far as humans were concerned, I didn’t exist. I was a myth, a fairy tale.
If they saw me, they might not even believe what they’d seen. In their dreams or after too many drinks, they might whisper, “Mermaid.”
And they’d be right.
About Piper J. Drake:
Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. She is often distracted by dogs, cupcakes, and random shenanigans.
Connect with Piper at:
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Celebrate the Holiday Season with a collection of Regency Romances.
Available September 18th – Connected by a Kiss: Regency Holiday Collection.
Follow the tour and enter to #win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Title: Connected by a Kiss: Regency
Holiday Collection Author: Christina McKnight, Amanda Mariel, Dawn Brower
Genre: Regency Romance, Holiday
Romance Release Date: September 18th, 2018
A Kiss At Christmastide by Christina McKnight
After a ruinous London season, Lady Pippa Godfrey has given up on the idea of true love–until a devilishly handsome stranger arrives at her Somerset estate, seeking shelter from a winter storm. Soon, she’s daring to claim a Christmas kiss with Lucas Hatfield, the Earl of Maddox, but when the storm abates, will he break her heart like all the rest?
How To Kiss A Rogue by Amanda Mariel
Lady Natalie’s betrothal is ended and frees her to pursue the man of her dreams. During a holiday party she discovers the lord she desires in attendance. So hatches a plan to snare him.
A Wallflower’s Christmas Kiss by Dawn Brower
An arranged betrothal has Lady Juliette Brooks seeking out her former childhood friend, the Duke of Kissinger to beg him to honor his long ago promise. Grayson Abbot has no desire to marry, but he always keeps his word. As they race to Scotland they rediscover the joy of friendship and a passion neither planned on.
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Excerpt from A Kiss At Christmastide:
A moment of confusion clouded her mind as the laughter dimmed and a light breeze assaulted her face—as if someone had opened a window to a gusty wind.
At her side, Pippa’s mother fanned her face. Her wrist whipped to and fro, increasing as the room went silent.
Everything froze around her but her mother’s thrashing fan.
The Duchess of Midcrest, her dear mother, who’d labored for over twenty years to rise above her merchant class upbringing, would once again be embroiled in a scandal—all because of Pippa.
“Do you wish to depart?” her mother whispered.
“I did not…” Pippa stammered. “I would never…”
“I did not believe you had, my child.” Her mother sought to soften the blow—something that society had done to the current Duchess of Midcrest a hundred times over. “However, that does not change the appearance of things, no matter what we say or do in this moment.”
Pippa lifted her chin to keep her tears from streaming down her face.
“I do not understand why,” Pippa said as she leaned in close to her mother to whisper. “Lady Natalie and I are such friends.”
“Friendship and jealously often hold hands so tightly that one cannot distinguish between the pair.”
Excerpt from How To Kiss A Rogue by Amanda Mariel
Glancing from behind the fern, her stomach dropped. “Bradford,”—She came out into the open—“What are you doing here?”
“Knightly asked me to come in first.”
She released a breath she hadn’t known she had been holding. Christian was here. “You cannot stay.”
“I must. It would be highly improper to leave you unchaperoned with a man we are not related to.” Bradford smirked, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Natalie stepped up to him, placed her hands on his shoulders, and began pushing him toward the door. “Nothing untoward will happen as long as you leave now.”
Oh, why had she failed to think of a chaperone? Now Bradford had his nose squarely in the center of her scheme and he’d surely ruin everything.
A mischievous twinkle lit his eyes and he chuckled. “Nothing untoward will occur at any rate. Knightly has no wish to ruin you.”
Natalie’s face warmed and she gave another shove. “Mind your own affairs.”
“Perhaps I should tell Mother what you are about.”
“You would not dare! You cannot. Imagine what she would do, Bradford.” Natalie dropped her hands from his shoulders and gave him her best pouty look. “What do you think I am about? You act as though I am some sully maid,” She peered at him, her blood heated with angry indignation. How dare he think she was going about, carrying on trysting with men? No matter it was exactly her intended purpose…he should not assume such from her.
“Do calm yourself. Getting your skirts in a knot will change nothing.” Bradford shook his head. “We both know what you are doing here.”
She closed her eyes for a heartbeat. He was correct, she could no more lie to him than she could herself. “I beg of you, do not say a word to anyone.”
“You are quite entertaining.” He chuckled while he walked toward the door. “I will be directly outside should Knightly require my assistance.”
“You may well be the one in need.” Natalie reached for a nearby pot and flung it toward him. The projectile missed him, crashing into the floor. “You are not entertaining in the least.”
“You had better clean that mess up or Mother is certain to discover what you’ve been getting up to without my having to tell her.” His deep chuckle only increased in volume as he disappeared from the greenhouse.
She ought to have known he was teasing her. He no more wished for their parents to know his friend was secretly meeting her than she did. In retrospect, bringing Bradford along was a good plan on Christian’s part. As much as it pained her to admit it, he would ensure no one caught them alone together. Natalie released a sigh, then smoothed her skirts before Christian entered. Her heart pounded—this was her chance.
She stood still with one hip cocked to the left as he stepped into the greenhouse and approached her. “Lord Knightly, I am pleased you came.”
“You should be equally pleased that your brother was the only one to notice your note. Are you trying to get ruined?”
She swallowed at the harshness of his tone. “On the contrary, that is why I told you not to show it to anyone. Though I must confess, I am pleased Bradford came along. He will make an excellent look out.” She did her best to offer a charming smile despite her sudden nerves.
“And why would we need someone to watch out for us?” Christian leveled his penetrating stare on her.
She reached out a trembling hand and trailed the tips of her fingers across his strong jaw. Even through her gloves she felt his warmth seeping into her—imprinting on her soul. “I want a kiss. One more passionate than the one you bestowed on Lady Pippa.”
Excerpt from A Wallflower’s Christmas Kiss by Dawn Brower
Grayson sighed. She wasn’t going to be denied anything apparently. It was too late to save her from herself. Very well, he’d deal with her and then send her on her way. He turned and sucked in a breath momentarily stunned. A silhouette of pure beauty greeted him. Her midnight tresses were wound up and bound neatly into an elegant chignon. His fingers itched to unwind it and see it flow over her luscious curves. All of this and he’d still not seen her face. When she finally turned to meet his gaze he lost all ability to breathe. Those sea-green eyes kept him riveted in place. He should stand and greet her but his body refused to function. She was the last person he expected or wanted to enter his home.“What no words?” She raised an eyebrow. “And I thought you were noted as the witty duke amongst the ton. I must say I’m rather disappointed.”Grayson drank in the sight of her. He wanted to remember her as she stood before him for the rest of his days. She was glorious, proud, and fearless. “Didn’t your father teach you better than to enter the lion’s den?” He lifted a brow mockingly. “You could very well get eaten alive.”Her lips tilted at the corner. “I rather like my chances.” She moved further into the room. “After all I tamed a lion before.”“There’s a difference between a young cub, and a full grown male, Jules,” he explained. “One is more docile and willing to cuddle. The adult wants to be petted—in other ways.” He stood up and gazed directly into her eyes. “A bite can be pleasurable or….” Grayson crossed over to her side and leaned down, whispering in her ear, “painful depending on your preference.”Juliette took a deep breath but remained where she stood. He’d give her that much. She’d always been a stubborn girl, and apparently she’d not grown out of that trait. If she didn’t take a step back soon he’d be forced to make a choice. Either he pulled her into his arms and kissed her the way he craved or he put distance between them respecting her innocence. It was a hard decision and warred deep inside him, but he did what was best for her. Turned out that some things were ingrained. Protecting her had always been his first instinct.“If you’re done trying to intimidate me I have something I wish to discuss with you.”
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Christina McKnight writes emotional and intricate Regency Romance with rebellious women and maverick heroes.
Her books combine romance and mystery, exploring themes of redemption and forgiveness. When not writing she enjoys coffee, wine, traveling the world, and watching television.
You can visit her online at the following places:
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A Secret Turns Deadly in Lisa Harris’s Gripping New Novel
“Satisfying any reader looking for a twisty romantic suspense novel.” —RT Book
Reviews on Vanishing Point Ada, Mich.—”With her signature pulse-pounding style, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in A Secret to Die For.”
Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret—one that could ultimately lead to her death. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia. Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after suffering from PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for. Callahan and Quinn are locked in a race against the clock to uncover the secret and to stop the threat to the nation’s power grid.
About the author
Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, Pursued, Vanishing Point, and the SOUTHERN CRIMES series, Harris and her family have spent almost fifteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com.
A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris ISBN: 9780800729158 | Ebook ISBN: 9781493415144 | 320 pages, paperback | $14.99 | September 2018
Interview Questions A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris
What was your inspiration for A Secret to Die For?
As with a lot of my stories, my inspiration started off with a random idea for a heroine, who quickly became Grace Callahan. She was a psychologist, but more than that, she had her own personal giants that she was facing in her life. After I began to flesh out her character, I brought in the hero who was also dealing with loss, and the ideas for the plot line started to come together—both for them personally and for the greater danger they were facing.
What type of research was required for writing your new book?
I ended up having to do a lot of research, particularly on the nation’s power grid, survivalists and preppers, and hackers. Next to romantic suspense, my favorite genre is apocalyptic-type stories where someone has to save the world. So while there is no monstrous tidal waves, falling meteors, and definitely no zombies, the research was a lot of fun. In fact, I tend to get a bit too caught up in my research sometimes. Detective Nate Quinn strugles with PTSD.
How did his disorder come in to play in A Secret to Die For?
At the beginning of the story, Nate has just gone back to work after an explosion took the lives of his partner and several co-workers. And while he wants to be back on the job—even needs to be back—he’s not a hundred percent sure he’s ready. He encounters a number of triggers and begins to realize how his life has changed. He also has to deal with the guilt of being a survivor, which is something very real for those who have gone through trauma and lost people they care about. Grace becomes the perfect person to help him heal, which I love watching play out in the book. Was there any part of this book that really surprised you once you began writing it? As with a lot of the stories I write, I’m usually not sure who the villain is until the end of the book, and that was definitely true for this story. On the positive side, I’ve decided that if I’m not sure until the end who did it, then hopefully the reader won’t figure it out either!
You have written more than thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, Pursued, and Vanishing Point. Have you always written in the suspense genre or do you also write other genres?
I started out writing romance novels, but they always had a string of mystery in them. I just couldn’t get away from that thread in my stories. So it’s safe to say that I really love writing suspense and can’t imagine writing anything else!
For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.
What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?
While I definitely want my readers to be entertained—and maybe a bit (okay, a lot) scared—while reading my books, I also want them to discover how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things for him. People like you and me have the chance to allow God to use us in spite of all our fears and insecurities. I see the spiritual thread in my stories as a part of my characters’ reactions to life. How they react and deal with things on a spiritual level is crucial. Just like in my own life, I don’t want my faith to be simply tacked on but an intricate part of who I am.
What’s next on your writing to-do list?
Next up is another stand-alone novel for Revell that I’m super excited about as it takes my hero on a treacherous path I’ve never taken them on before. (Sorry, no spoilers!)
How can readers connect with you?
I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you to Karen Steele and
bakerpublishinggroup.com for this presentation!
But instead of a new beginning, Becca is thrust into a mysterious past she barely remembers … a past that includes complications from interacting with her teenage crush, Daniel, as well as living in her aunt’s old house (aka “The Witch House,” according to locals).
But is the house really haunted? Or is there something far more sinister out to destroy them?