Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Cowboy Christmas by Tanya Stowe & Delia Latham

Ooh, welcome back Tanya and Delia! Two in one season - and a Hearts Haven story, at that!!! I love this little community!

A mom on the run. A special child and her “imaginary” friend. A cowboy. And God. Heart’s Haven is at it again…

Back Cover:

Layne Mabrey is on the run.

Her ex-husband wants to have six-year-old Chloe institutionalized, but Layne will go to any lengths to keep her Down's Syndrome child.

Dex Beckett falls immediately in love with both Layne and Chloe, but Layne can't afford to get close to anyone—not even the shy, gentle cowboy next door. She and Chloe have to be ready to run…again.

Concerned that Chloe's sudden creation of an imaginary friend could be used to substantiate her father’s claims, Layne is shocked when Dex offers an unbelievable opinion about the child’s invisible visitor. But there's more to Heart's Haven than meets the eye. Is it possible a Christmas miracle awaits Layne and Chloe on the Heart's Haven Angel Tree?

Excerpt:

Tucked away inside Layne Mabrey’s purse, the last of her money waited to ensure a roof over her and her daughter’s heads. She drove through the double gates, beneath a carved wood sign that read “Heart’s Haven,” heart pounding with terror at this major step towards a new life.

But she’d do whatever it took to keep six-year-old Chloe safe and happy.

With Chloe clinging to her legs, she made her way up the graveled path leading to the big manor house. A host of blooms lined both sides of the walkway, sweetening the air with their fragrance. They climbed the three steps to the door, and Layne drew a deep breath before tapping on the dark wood.

Then they waited, their breath forming little cloudy bursts in the chilly air.

From inside, the unmistakable sounds of celebration gave her pause, and Layne gasped, horrified, when she remembered the date. February fourteenth. Why hadn’t she stopped to consider that Andrew Hart might be entertaining on Valentine’s Day? It was, after all, a special, much-anticipated holiday for most people. Not for her though, and she hadn’t given the possibility a single thought.

She grabbed Chloe’s hand. With any luck, her half-timid knock hadn’t been heard in the midst of all the frivolity, and she could sneak away with no one the wiser. But, as usual, her luck wasn’t that good. The door opened to reveal an older man with deep grooves around his mouth and crow’s feet crinkling his eyes. Andrew Hart, of course. The man who owned the complex of rental cottages, one of which Layne hoped would soon be home to her and her little girl.

The somber fellow looked a little stiff and uncomfortable in impeccable dress-up clothing. In a moment of crystal clarity, Layne knew he donned this type of attire only on rare occasions, and with great reluctance. Every white hair lay slicked into place, but a slight groove in the severely tamed strands told its own tale. Layne bit her lip, amused to find herself seeing the man in a battered old fishing hat, or possibly a baseball cap, and maybe worn overalls. Somehow she thought he’d be right at home in that kind of casual get-up.

“Yes?” The gravelly voice drew her up short, and she realized she’d been staring. Even Chloe, her little brow furrowed, gazed up into Layne’s face, clearly confused by her failure to extend a quick greeting.

“I’m so sorry to intrude…I can see you’re entertaining.”

“That’s not a problem.” His vivid blue gaze dropped to Chloe, and he winked. “Well, hello there! Why don’t you two ladies come on inside where it’s warm?”

“Oh, no, we can’t.” Layne shook her head. “In fact, please go back to your guests. We’ll come again tomorrow. I only wanted to inquire about your cottages, and it can wait until then.”

Even as she spoke, a man stepped from behind her and onto the porch. He was tall—so tall that he seemed to loom over them. Chloe stepped close and hid her face in her mother’s coat as she always did when she was frightened. The stranger wore a plaid shirt, cowboy boots and hat, jeans, and chaps complete with fringe dangling on the sides.

Taken aback by his cowboy garb, it took Layne a moment to realize he, too, had asked about one of the available units. Mr. Hart handed them both applications and made appointments for the next day, then bid all three visitors a polite good night. The tall stranger gave Layne a shy smile then walked away, his spurs jangling.

Chloe peeked out from behind her. “I want jingle shoes, Mommy.”

The cowboy paused then turned around and headed back with a stride that could only be called intimidating. Chloe wrapped her arms around Layne’s leg in a grip that would have choked her if it’d been around her throat.

Layne reached down to reassure her and stiffened. With Chloe’s face no longer hidden, the man would get a good look at her little girl. She braced herself for the reaction that always came when people saw her daughter’s round face and slightly upturned eyes. Usually they became speechless because they didn’t know how to treat a child with Down Syndrome, or they forgot their manners and stared. Layne’s instincts switched into full mama-lion mode, prepared for either response from the long-legged stranger.

Instead, he dropped to a crouch and tipped his large cowboy hat back, giving Chloe a clear view of his face. He waited silently until she peeked at him again. Then he turned one boot to the side so she could see the spur.

“Look here, little one.” His voice had a pleasant timbre, deep and smooth. “It’s not my shoes makin’ that jingle bell sound. It’s this silver thing.” He smiled, and Layne caught her breath at its sweetness. “See? It’s called a spur. You wear ‘em when you ride horses. But I never let mine hurt the animals.” He tilted his head and drew his brows together. “Do you like horses?”

Chloe’s beautiful, blonde, corkscrew ponytail swung rapidly back and forth as she shook her head.

“No?” The man kept his voice low and comforting. “That’s too bad. ‘Cause I happen to know horses love little girls like you.”

Layne’s hackles rose, and she started to ask exactly what he meant by “little girls like her,” but Chloe spoke first, with her slight lisp. “How do you know they like little girls?”

Once again, Layne was shocked into silence. Her daughter never talked to strangers, especially men.

The cowboy’s brilliant white smile stood out on his tanned face. “Why, ‘cause they told me so.”

Chloe’s mouth opened and she shook her head. “Horses don’t talk.” She raised her head to look at Layne. “Do they, Mommy?”

Layne would have had to be deaf not to hear the almost wishful tone in Chloe’s voice. How was she going to explain this one?

But the cowboy saved the day. “‘Course they don’t talk,” he said in the same mellow tone. “They show us what they’re thinkin’, though. When they’re scared, they roll their eyes up so you can see the whites, and sometimes their sides shiver. When they’re happy, they nicker and push you with their noses, kinda like a kiss. And when a little girl gets on a horse’s back, that horse will trot real soft and easy so she won’t be scared.” He grinned and winked at Chloe. “Every time.”

Chloe gave him a little half-smile with her lips sealed tight. She’d just lost her first tooth and didn’t like people to see the empty space, so she kept her mouth closed—just one of many little habits.

“When we know each other better, you and your mom can come see my horses, and I’ll show you what I mean. OK?”

Chloe nodded, surprising Layne again. Then the stranger rose to his full height. Layne looked up and into the most beautiful, caramel-colored eyes she’d ever seen, with lashes so long and dark they were almost sinful.

Now who was speechless? She struggled to find the right words.

The cowboy seemed to have the same problem. Layne thought he’d invite her to see the horses or at least tell her his name. But the silence stretched on until it was almost awkward. Then the man grabbed his hat and pulled it down over those gorgeous eyes. He nodded once, said, “Ma’am.” Then he just walked away.

Layne stared after him, still wondering what happened to her voice.


Review:

I love when these two authors get together. It's like magic! And I must admit, they had me wrapped up in this story from the start. A cowboy, a little girl, and a downtrodden mama - sounds like a wonderful mix to me!

Layne is the perfectly overprotective mom. I think every mom will see a little bit of herself here. Chloe is a sweet, gifted child with a very special Christmas wish, and Dex is the epitome of what a real cowboy is all about. He's a true gentleman with a heart of gold. I think you'll really love these characters. I know I did!



Buy links:


Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the Pineapple Express,Book 2, Pure Genius Series by H.L.Wegley


Welcome Harry, and what a pleasure to have you back with Book 2 in your Pure Genius Series. And boy, they just keep getting better!

Back Cover:

In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled ... permanently?


Excerpt:

"This morning I analyzed the data downloaded from my wireless scanner near Forks. Nearly thirteen days ago, it recorded an encrypted cell-phone conversation."

"Cell-phone conversation? You chose that location for your testing because there’s no cell service. But you need to—"

"You mean no legal cell service. When I had a colleague from Fort Meade decrypt the call, I heard
traffickers selling girls.‛
 

Silence again.

"Can you get the unencrypted conversation to me today?" His usual booming voice of authority had
softened.

"I’ll e-mail it from my cell when we’re finished talking. But, Petersen, the next exchange of girls is set
for tomorrow night. Can you move quickly enough to stop it?‛

"You intercepted a private call. That raises some legal issues we—"

"Legal issues? There’s nothing legal about that call, and what they’re doing is worse than illegal."

"You’re not thinking like a defense attorney. First, I need to analyze the conversation. If we have enough to go on, I can form a team by late tonight or tomorrow. But without specific information, no, I can’t
guarantee we can stop the exchange. If we botch things, we might never get a conviction."

"Lee is forecasting the Pineapple Express rainstorm to transition to a strong windstorm by tomorrow. The message indicated they don’t do exchanges if there’s even a small craft advisory. So the storm may delay the exchange and buy us a little more time, but we can’t count on that. We do know they’re holding the girls at an abandoned mill site on the peninsula."

"Where’s the mill?"

"We haven’t located it yet." She had lit the fuse on her bomb.

Lee plugged his ears.

She waited for the FBI agent to explode.

"We? Yet? Where are you, Jennifer?"

"At Lake Quinault. Lee’s with me, and we have five possible sites to check out."

"Far enough so I can’t stop you." Peterson mumbled. "So…you don’t know where the girls are, but you’re driving around to abandoned mill sites?"

"Something like that."

"Jennifer, you need to back off. If you’re right, these people will kill anyone who is a perceived threat. You could get the girls killed by charging in."

"Look, Petersen, Lee and I have collected some information. We’ve planned well, and we won’t do anything stupid. But there’s no way I’m going to stand by and let a group of girls be sold into a living hell. So you get your team out here as fast as you can. We’ll call you when we find the girls. But for now, Lee and I are
proceeding."

"You can’t do that! It’s too dangerous. At least wait until we can get out there."

"There’s not enough time. I’m going to terminate the call now so I can send you the intercepted message. And, Peterson, ten days ago one of the girls hanged herself with her own shoelaces rather than let these guys sell her. Lee and I are going forward. I suggest you do the same. Good-bye."

Reveiew:

WOW! If you like romance, and you like thrillers, this story will keep you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath as you slip and slide and slither around with Lee and Jennifer as they search for these girls. 

Jennifer is obviously not one to sit around and wait for someone else to lead the way no matter how dangerous a situation is. She follows her heart, and her heart is leading her to save these girls from a fate truly worse than death! And although Lee would rather be a bit more careful and circumspect, he trusts his brilliant fiance to lead the way (especially since he can't stop her).

These two make quite a pair! Grab a copy, you won't regret it!


Oh, and here's a special treat! For today only (Monday 12/16), you can get a copy of On the Pineapple Express for $.99 on amazon. Here's the link:  
http://www.amazon.com/On-Pineapple-Express-Pure-Genius-ebook/dp/B00GO7VTH6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387163932&sr=8-1&keywords=on+the+pineapple+express


And in case you missed it, here's a peek at Book 1, Hide and Seek: 

A computer security breach within a US defense contractor’s firewalls leads investigators, Lee Brandt and beautiful, brilliant Jennifer Akihara, onto the cyber-turf of terrorists, where they are detected and targeted for elimination. Lee leads them on a desperate and prayer-filled flight for survival into the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Will Jennifer’s pursuit of truth about the conspiracy, and the deepest issues of life, lead her into the clutches of terrorists, into the arms of Lee Brandt, or into the arms of the God she deems untrustworthy?

Links: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=426

http://www.amazon.com/Hide-Seek-H-L-Wegley-ebook/dp/B00B93AXJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387163550&sr=8-1&keywords=Hide+and+Seek+Wegley



Friday, December 13, 2013

Bright Copper Kettles by Candice Patterson

A hearty welcome to Candice Patterson! I think this is the first time I've hosted her! But nothiug better than a Christmas story to get things started, because we all know I LOVE CHRISTMAS STORIES!!! And I think this lady has a some firsthand knowledge of coppersmiths. So anyway, here's a peek at Bright Copper Kettles:

Back Cover:

Christmastown, Vermont: where it’s Christmas 365 days a year…

To Darcy Carr the holiday is depressing enough without reliving it every day. Her thriving wreath business and faithful cat are no longer enough to distract her from the pain of her past memories or her current loneliness. Is her frosty neighbor, the only man in town with no Christmas decorations, just another Scrooge, or could he be the one she’s been looking for?

Coppersmith Dean Whitfield hasn’t celebrated Christmas—or anything else—since the death of his wife and unborn child. And he certainly has no desire to carry on the family tradition of crafting a star for the town’s Christmas tree, even if it will benefit a charity. Can Darcy and the joy of the season thaw his frozen heart and help him love again?

Excerpt:

Dean Whitfield drummed his fingers on the side of the brown paper-wrapped box in his hands. The post office brimmed to capacity, no one in a hurry this morning. If he hadn’t already stood in line for so long, he’d give up and come back later. He hated crowds. Avoided them at all cost. Between the sardine-packed room and mindless chatter, a sense of claustrophobia crept in. He tugged his baseball cap lower and continued to wait.

“I met the new wreath lady at church yesterday,” Ruth Simpson barked from her place in front of him. After a few beats, he realized she was talking to him. She crossed her arms and stared at him, as did her identical twin sister standing next to her. At least he thought she was Ruth. Maybe she was Ethel.

Gray hair brushed the collar of her thick denim jacket. The Christmas tree embroidered on the front was littered with beads, pearls, bells, and bows. Was that star a real working light?

“Ma’am?”

Ethel leaned her wrinkled face closer. Or maybe it was Ruth. “The wreath lady.”
Ruth/Ethel curled the corners of her mouth. Hot pink lipstick bled into the fine lines branching toward her nose. “Her name’s Darcy Carr. She bought your parents’ place. Opening Twin Wreaths in the old parlor.”

Dean’s ears perked. He knew his parents’ house sold, but hadn’t investigated any further. A customer left, and they all moved up a foot.

“She’ll be selling wreaths and offering classes,” Ethel/Ruth continued.

Dean offered a tight-lipped smile to the town’s professional busybodies. “Good to know.”

Ruth/Ethel turned, tugging her sister’s arm closer to the counter. “We should sign up, Ethel.”

Ah, so she was Ruth.

“You haven’t seen her, have you? She’s the type that makes a sloppy t-shirt and sweatpants look like evening wear.”

Ethel gazed down at her paunch. “The type that makes the rest of us feel horrible about ourselves.” She shrugged. “I hear the bakery’s giving demonstrations on how to make German fruitcake. Let’s go there instead.”

Ruth shook her head. “I want to learn how to make a holly and twig wreath to put on Eddie’s grave. We’ll go to the bakery for dessert afterward.”

The line shifted again, and Dean moved forward, bumping his arm against a man groping for a package of clear packing tape on a rack beside him. Dean nodded his apology.

“Next,” hollered a sales clerk.

Double-trouble approached the counter. “What kinds of Christmas stamps do you have this year?” Ethel asked the clerk.

The employee named off several different varieties.

“Can I see them all?”

Dean hung his head. Good grief. This was why he avoided public places.

His customer’s package in the mail, Dean stepped out into the cold air and sucked in a deep breath. His claustrophobia subsided. He was sick of feeling trapped all the time. Like a caged animal, alive and well, viewing life in full motion around him but unable to participate.

All the way home, he avoided eye contact with as many tourists as he could, nodding at those he couldn’t. Pedestrians crowded both sides of Main Street, bustling with shopping bags like they only had hours until Christmas instead of thirty-five days. Bitter wind nipped his nose and ears, and a white cloud formed in front of his face with every breath.
His childhood home stood proudly up ahead. He missed the old place with the wrap-around porch. But nothing was the same since Bethany died. Nothing. Their short life together had been Indian summer and every day after a cold, bleak winter. Would the new owner find what he’d left behind?

“Blessed Assurance” echoed from the community church’s bell tower. Dean strode through his garage, passing Christmas decorations he ignored every day, and retreated to the silence of his workshop, blocking the music to a hymn he knew by heart but couldn’t bear to hear.

Review:

This story will grab you from the very first page and make you want to know the story behind the characters, but you'll just have to do a little reading of your own because I'm not about to spill the beans! 

Needless to say, Darcy is a very well rounded character with secrets of her own, even as she opens herself to the public with her wreath making classes. And Dean is just a puzzle for Darcy to figure out as she stumbles her way through some treacherous waters in her yearning to get to know him even as she tries not to intrude on his privacy. 

It seems God, and a couple little old ladies have a plan!

Sad and happy, sweet and bittersweet, this story has it all. Beautiful!

Link:


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Wishes by Mary Manners


Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas stories! Let's have Christmas stories year round! I love them!!!

Today I'm happy to welcome back Mary Manners, and as usual, I love the story! Better keep a box of tissues handy when you read this one though!

Back Cover:

When attorney Riley Harper comes home to Maple Ridge following the death of his grandfather, the last thing he expects to find is Kaylee McKenna living in his grandparents' guesthouse. Though he and Kaylee were once best friends, Riley cannot find it in his heart to forgive her for the death of his mother. His heart, full of bitterness and resentment, has room for little else.

Kaylee has no time to dwell on events of the past, especially where Riley's concerned; she's too busy raising her six-year-old niece, Rosie, and working as an ER nurse. With Christmas quickly approaching, her days are spent helping with charity events and filling the wishes on Rosie's Christmas list.

But when Rosie's father makes an unexpected visit, Kaylee must call on Riley's legal expertise to ensure Rosie of a safe and secure future. Will Rosie's special Christmas wish heal Riley's damaged heart and bind the trio together as a forever-family?

Excerpt:

Riley dropped his duffel bag and stepped over to the hearth to toss a log on the fire and stoke the flames. The tinderbox was full, and he wondered how Gran managed to stock it on her own, with her ever increasing flare-ups of arthritis. Guilt tugged again that
he’d stayed so absent, for so long, as he wound his way toward the kitchen, where laughter mingled with Christmas music and that little girl’s chatter once again. His curiosity piqued, he wondered who Gran had for company. Most likely someone from church. As he neared the doorway, Moose sauntered out, blocking his path. The mild-tempered golden Saint Bernard had always been a better lug nut than a guard dog so much for home security.

"Hey, buddy." Riley dropped to his knees, wrapping his arms around the loveable mutt. His
muzzle was sprinkled with a touch of salt-white, marking his advancing age, and he moved just a bit slower than Riley remembered. "How’ve you been?"

Moose nestled against him as if it had been decades instead of months—now closing in on a year—since the last time they’d seen each other, pushing his meaty jowls into Riley’s chest. The burly mutt wore a generous red velvet ribbon, tied into a large bow at the top, around his neck. It was adorned with an oversized jingle bell that chimed as Riley gave him a good rub.

"Yeah, it’s great to see you, too. Have you been taking good care of Gran?" Riley smoothed a hand down Moose’s massive back, burying his fingers in the bristly fur. "You look ready for Christmas. It smells like Christmas around here, too. What’s Gran got baking in the kitchen?"

Moose turned back toward the doorway, his tail thumping against the floor as his head cocked to the side as if to say, "Follow me‚ I’m on it." Riley stood to flank him as the dog
lumbered forward. "Smells like something good to eat. Maybe Gran made enough for all of us. Let’s go see what's up."

Review:

This is such a sweet story! You will fall in love with all of them! Riley, his grandma, Kaylee and Rosie are all so sweet I want to have them all over to my house for Christmas! And Moose! He is precious! There's just something about a big old lumbering dog who lets a kid climb all over him that makes me sigh. Sweet!

This story is full of heart. From Riley's regrets, to Kaylee's loss and regrets your heart will want to wrap around them both and just hold them. And Rosie is just the most precious child! This is the sweetest Christmas story I've read this season!

Buy links:

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=41&products_id=510

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Special-Delivery-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B00GM58SL0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386823312&sr=8-1&keywords=christmas+wishes+mary+manners

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Blessed Blue Christmas by LoRee Peery

Day 8 of Christmas stories, and still many more to come!!!

Welcome back, LoRee. So nice to have you here once again. And as usual, I love your story!

Here's a peek:

Back Cover:

Dahlia Delisi has poured her life into her store, The Blue Dahlia. Once, her faith was strong, and her life was on a different course. But when Sloan Letheby left town, Dahlia drifted from God.

Sloan Letheby has been transformed. His brush with death brought new meaning to his faith in God, and he needs to right old wrongs. However, there's a murder plot in the way of his reunion with Dahlia. Can he find a killer before it's too late? And can Dahlia accept him...and God, back into her life?

Excerpt:

“We should make this official,” he said, unhurried. Sloan pulled aside his charcoal blazer to reveal the star belted at his waist. Then he sank into the corner, dropping an ankle over a knee where he rested his hat.

“Please state your business.” She finally met his gaze and swallowed the dryness gathering in her throat. “Can’t imagine why you’re here.”

“There is no delicate way to jump into the reason. Do you know a man named Rusty Ewing?”

“I’ve never heard of him.”

“He’s under investigation. One of his past acquaintances is Carrie Delisi, from when she worked at Hickman’s Trackside Bar.”

“We’re so glad she doesn’t work at that bar any longer. Carrie is married to my brother. You remember Ken.”

“Of course I remember Ken. You’re only a year apart and you once told me the two of you grew up almost as close as twins.”

“That’s right. What’s this all about?”

“Ewing is into criminal activity. He’s reported to frequent that establishment in Willow, where he kept company with your sister-in-law. We haven’t yet figured out in what capacity. I understand she works for you now. Since you’re around her, has she ever mentioned his name, or have you noticed her make any suspicious phone calls?”

“As I said, I’ve never heard of the man. Most of our conversations are about family, the shop, and lately, our plans to help Mom redecorate Willow’s Main Street for Christmas.” Dahlia stood and led him to the front, where she stopped next to a customer at a display counter of beaded handbags.

When Sloan turned, Dahlia couldn’t prevent the gasp that escaped. A six-inch long, jagged scar in the shape of a seven marred the smooth skin on the back of his head.

He swung back at the sound. She took two steps forward.

“Sorry,” he said. Their eyes locked. “I forget it’s there. Hair doesn’t grow where the graft was, so it’s easier to keep it shaved.”

“You were hurt?”

“Goes with the job.” He boldly surveyed the boutique and tipped his hat. “I like this place, so much blue. The name becomes you, Dahlia.”

Her name rolling off his tongue erased images of what nasty weapon could have caused such an injury to his head. He made it sound like an old endearment. Pleasure shot awareness through her system. She refused to heed her reaction and hid it from him. “Thank you. Will you let me know what you discover?”

He slipped a business card into her hand. “Have Carrie call me when she comes in. Considering my line of work, this needs to be kept under wraps.”

The brush of his fingers danced to the inside of her wrist, where her heartbeat pulsed.
He gave her fingers a quick squeeze. “You look mighty fine in your blue boutique. I’m happy life turned out good for you.”

She pulled her hand from his, pushing away thoughts of a time when her life was all about him. And the forever they’d planned. She rolled the card between her fingers. “Thanks, again. But I am certain Carrie won’t be able to help when she calls you.”

“You never know, considering. Say hello to Ken and your parents for me, Dahlia.”

What if she hadn’t resisted his tug on her fingers? Tingles still radiated up the inside of her arm at the memory of his touch. She imagined the brush of his lips against the underside of her wrist, his signature touch going back to their first time together.

And his whispered words at her door that night, “I’ll always remember this night, and the way you felt in my arms.”

The jangling ding of the door closing on “Fa la la la la la” playing from speakers outside jerked her back to the here and now.

Sloan settled his hat, adjusted the collar of his jacket so it rose higher on the back of his neck, and walked into the darkening December evening.

Dahlia followed his movements. Memories flooded her mind. He hadn’t asked if there was a significant other in her life. Did he have a special woman in his?

They’d both wanted to see each other more away from school that second semester. But she’d been wrapped up in youth group at church in Lincoln and violin lessons. He spent most of his hours outside school training for cross-country before and after school whenever the weather allowed.

She glued her attention to his retreating physique. He paused on the walk and swiveled his head to take in his surroundings. What prompted Sloan to scratch the scar on his head, jostling his hat and tilting the brim just so? Habit? Ever the track star, he snapped open his phone and pressed his key fob on the way, racing towards his car now, eating up the yards. He drove one-handed out of the parking lot, buckling his belt when he hit the street.
She’d watched him leave one other time. She could almost feel the heat of summer between their senior year and college. He’d moved away to go to school in the East. She’d traveled west to college. A few phone calls once they got settled that fall had been their only connection. For some reason, they’d missed each other over Christmas break. Once settled back in her college dorm, she’d known her interlude with Sloan had ended.
That didn’t mean he hadn’t been constantly on her mind. She continued to doodle hearts and scribble Mrs. Dahlia Letheby in her college freshman notebook instead of doing Bible study. She’d wanted it all. Her dreams had been filled with Sloan and their life together. She waited for his call and continued to plan their life. A life that would begin with the flowing, long-trained white wedding gown she’d designed on paper. She’d imagined their life together after college, followed by their babies.

Dahlia shook her head at such girlish notions. 

Their forever had fizzled.

She’d been doing just fine on her own, knowing what to expect of herself. And rarely had she needed anyone else.

What about the Lord?

God wasn’t the same to her today. He had been real once. She’d viewed Him through the eyes of a child. Sure, she still believed. No one but the one true God could have created the world, and the entrance of Baby Jesus into the world was about to be celebrated. 

But He’d let her down by not making her dream with Sloan come true. And she’d begged for something else that hadn’t happened. She showed the window her back. Her customers needed her.

Life doesn’t turn out the way we imagined or wanted. My life is The Blue Dahlia now.

Review:

Another wonderful Christmas story! I love stories with strong female characters, and Dahlia is definitely one of those. She's built up a business on her own after losing her faith in not just people, but in God. She's worked hard to stand on her own after her losses. 

Then Sloan steps back into her life, and he is definitely on a mission. He has to deal with business first, but then he's determined to teach her to trust once again. 

It's beautiful watching her faith reemerge. 

Buy link:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mistletoe Magic by Terri Weldon

Another Christmas story, and yes, there are more to come! Gotta love 'em!

Welcome Terri, and thank you for joining us here on my little blog corner of the webiverse. I just want to share a little bit of this story since I enjoyed it so much!

Back cover:

Misty Winslow is determined to find her prince, and she meets the man of her dreams through an Internet dating service. Or is he, because the new dentist in town also sets her heart aflutter.

It's love at first sight for Tyler Davenport, but before he can finish his first root canal, Misty is involved in an exclusive online romance with Wes99—Tyler’s online persona. How can he tell her he’s the man she’s been waiting to meet, and how rational is it for him to be jealous of Wes99! Soon Tyler's pulling out all the stops to woo Misty.

As Christmas approaches, Wes99 and Tyler both ask her to meet them under the mistletoe. Which man will she choose?

Excerpt:

“This is my area.” Britt moved behind the front counter. “It doesn’t look like much now, but Dr. Davenport is going to add some kind of bead junk to make it look different.”

“It’s called beadboard, and it will look fantastic,” Misty said.

“He’s also having a granite countertop installed. Plus, I’ll have a new computer. A lot of the files and stuff will be computerized. He’s really into going paperless.”

“Your doctor’s a smart man. It will change the way the counter looks without costing a fortune. Frugal and good-looking, tell me more.”

“Good-looking doesn’t even begin to describe him. He’s perfect. Dark hair, dreamy blue eyes, and a killer smile. He’s smart, after all he is a dentist, and he’s great with kids. I mean he hasn’t met Kayla and JD, but I’ve seen him around other kids and he’s a natural.” 

Brittney looked at her watch. “Hey, I really need to run a few errands and then I’m going to stop by Mom and Dad’s and have a quick bite of lunch. You’ll be OK here by yourself, right?”

Considering Brittney was halfway to the door, Misty guessed it would be a smart idea to say yes. Besides, she’d get a lot more work done when her friend was gone.
 “No problem, catch you later.” She watched Brittney leave then wandered back to the small dental library. She noticed the faded paint and nicked woodwork in the clinic, not to mention the sixties-style light fixtures. Old Doc Harris hadn’t updated a single thing since he opened the doors for business fifty years ago. The clinic needed a major facelift, and it sounded like the good doctor intended to give it one.

Misty slipped a green scrunchie from her pocket, pulled back her hair in a ponytail, popped in her earbuds, and cranked up the volume on her MP3 player. Christmas music filled her ears, and she let out a contented sigh. She sent up a silent prayer that this Christmas would indeed be the most magical time of the year for her. She filled three cardboard boxes with dental journals from 1975. Seemed Doc Harris never threw anything away.
Achoo! 

Or dusted it. 

She grabbed one of the boxes and started towards the front door. She loved Christmas and since no one was around to hear her, Misty allowed herself the freedom to sing along with the music—loud and off key. As she reached the end of the hall, she tripped, sending the box of journals flying through the air as she grabbed for the doorframe. Her fingers scraped it and one perfectly manicured fingernail snapped as Misty tumbled forward and landed in a heap on the floor. 

Her elbow slammed into the hard tile floor, and she knew once the throbbing stopped she’d have a bruise the size of Rhode Island. Her chin was cushioned on a pair of brown loafers, the leg of perfectly creased jeans the first thing she saw. 

“Are you all right?” a deep male voice asked.

Misty lifted her head and gazed into gorgeous indigo blue eyes. Her brain melted like butter, and she stammered, “I, uh, I think I’m fine. Nothing feels broken.”

“Let me help you.” He reached down, grasped her hand, and pulled her to her feet. 

A boyish smile flashed across his face revealing teeth as white as the fresh snow that had fallen before dawn. Oh man, oh man, talk about gorgeous. This guy rewrote the definition. Forget Rural Romance. The only date she wanted stood about six-foot-two right in front of her.

The gears in her mind whirled. This had to be the new dentist, Dr. Tyler Davenport. In a town the size of Winslow, the coffee shop would have been abuzz with news if another good-looking man had moved to town. Wait until she told Brittney she no longer needed to join Rural Romance. Well, at least not until she learned more about the new dentist. Now what had Britt said about him this morning?

Brittney. Uh oh, her best friend forever had already staked her claim, and Misty wasn’t losing twenty-five years of church camps, sleepovers, and late night phone calls over any man.

“Are you sure you’re OK?”

Finding her voice, Misty forced herself to answer. “Sorry, your teeth were so white they dazzled me. You must be Dr. Dreamy.” She brushed the dust from her jeans. 

He chuckled, and heat flooded her cheeks. Had she really said that? 

“I, uh, I mean Dr. Davenport.” She’d never be able to look him in the face again.

“Call me Tyler. And you are…?”

“Oh, sorry. I’m Mistletoe Joy Winslow, the town librarian. But please, just call me Misty. Brittney Peters, your receptionist, is a friend of mine. I volunteered to come clear out Doc Harris’s old dental library.”

“Brittney mentioned you’d volunteered to help. I appreciate it, but I could have thrown everything in the school’s recycling dumpster.”

“Actually, I’m going to list the items on several online auctions. You’d be amazed at what people will buy. I’ll split the proceeds fifty-fifty with Winslow Elementary.”

“Nope, if you do the work I insist you take 100 percent of the profits for the library. Besides, that benefits the kids as well.”

Oh, man, why did he have to be as nice as he was handsome? More importantly, why did Brittney have to see him first? Lowering her head, Misty looked at the stack of dusty journals littering the tile floor. “Thanks. Well, I guess I’d better get this mess cleaned up.”
Tyler helped her, and in no time the journals were back in the box. 

When they finished, he picked up the carton and their eyes locked. After a beat of time in which Misty couldn’t take her eyes off him, he said, “Hey, I’m getting ready to have lunch and I hate the thought of eating alone. Would you care to join me?” 

Misty opened her mouth to answer just as Brittney appeared in the doorway, a frown darkening her pretty face. Misty bit back the guilty urge to accept Tyler’s lunch invitation. “Sorry, I can’t. I need to run a few errands.”

Review:

What fun! This story is priceless! The doctor competing against his own online dating persona for Misty's attentions is just quirky enough to be true! I can just imagine him getting tangled up in his own web of mistruths.

Misty is such a sweetheart, thinking always of her friend first. But where her heart really lies is evidenced with her first slip of the tongue when facing "Dr. Dreamy". 

And Dr. Davenport really is dreamy - but very real. Ms. Weldon did a very nice job of letting them bob and weave around each other. Loved it!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Faith House by Robin Patchen

Here we go again, more, more, more Christmas stories!

Today we have Faith House by Robin Patchen. Come check it out!

Back cover:

When Hurricane Sandy destroys Sadie’s home, she’s determined to restore it. She promised her dying grandmother she’d never abandon the house that is the only link to Sadie’s schizophrenic father—a man who disappeared twenty years ago.

Max has loved Sadie since grade school, but their mutual friend died when they were teens. A decade has passed, and he’s finally found her. This time, he won’t lose her—not to a flooded house hundreds of miles from home, or to her false hope as she awaits her father’s unlikely return.

When Sadie discovers her house is underinsured, she faces an impossible decision. Can she trust God enough to let go of her only connection to her dad? Can she trust Max enough to let go of her heart?

Excerpt:

Sadie slid off the wool coat and draped it over a desk chair she’d carried from her bedroom upstairs. It was the only piece of furniture on the first floor. She left her leather gloves on, grabbed a trash bag, and sat in front of the built-in breakfront in the kitchen. After a deep breath, she opened the bottom doors. Sand and mud and broken pieces of her grandmother’s life toppled out at her knees. Grandma had kept this crystal for special occasions that never came. 

Well, Hurricane Sandy was certainly special.

For the first time, Sadie felt grateful that her grandmother was no longer living. Seeing her house like this would have broken Grandma’s heart. As Sadie picked through the pieces and dumped them into the bag, she blinked back tears again. She had to be strong. She couldn’t think about Grandma and Dad and all she’d lost. All she would still lose if she didn’t hold it together.

A knock startled her. “Coming,” she said, scooping the last of the crystal into the trash bag and wiping the sand and mud from her jeans. 

It had to be the contractor. She’d expected him at nine. But when she swung the door open, a tall man greeted her with a crooked smile. 

“Surprise.”

Her breath caught as she took in the vision, just before she launched herself into his arms. “Max. What are you doing here?” 

He wrapped his arms around her back and squeezed. “Came to see you, of course.”

She stepped back. “Wow, you look great.” 

He wore a gray pinstriped suit, a royal blue shirt, and matching tie, as out of place on her damaged front porch as a Renoir in a crack house.

“Thanks. You look beautiful, as always.”

She looked down at her sandy jeans, her stained sweatshirt, and her worn leather gloves. “Right.” 

“You do. The clothes, not so much. But you...”

Sadie pulled off the gloves and shoved them in her back pocket. “Enter at your own risk.”

Max stepped into her house and whistled softly. “Thank God you evacuated.”

“I guess you talked to my mom.”

“I didn’t have your number, so I called her the night it hit.” He looked up the stairs to the second floor, and then entered the living room. His words came out slowly and echoed off the two-by-fours. “She said you’d promised to evacuate. And...wow. I mean, I knew it was bad, but...” He moved forward, the sound of his footsteps gritty on the sub-floor in spite of all the sweeping she’d done. He rotated, looked at what used to be her walls, the debris she hadn’t removed yet. “I didn’t expect the smell.”

“You get used to it.”

“Really?”

“No, not really. I thought when I got the carpet out of here, but...” She indicated the bare floor with a flip of her hand. 

“It’ll take time.”

“Yeah.”

“Are you here every day?”

“I try to come for a few hours. It’s hard to work very long, though. It’s so cold.”

With the mention of the cold, he rubbed his hands together. “I can imagine. At my hotel in Manhattan, you’d hardly know the storm hit. It’s all decked out for the holidays—typical New York City extravagance.”

The holidays. She closed her eyes, pictured the house as her grandmother had decorated it the December before she’d died. The Christmas tree always stood in front of the picture window, covered in homemade ornaments, some of which dated back to her dad’s childhood. 

Grandma had kept the most beautiful star—not one of those flat things that only looked like a star from the front, but one that had points in every direction, so no matter where she stood in the room, the star looked beautiful. 

Sadie could still remember her father lifting her up to set that star on the tree when she was a little girl. The Christmas decorations had been stored in the basement and were destroyed in the flood. She’d never see that star again.

Merry Christmas.

Review:

Oh my goodness, what a sweet story. Before you're done the first few pages you'll just want to wrap your arms around Sadie and hold her until everything's alright. And that's just what Max wants to do if she'll only let him, but Sadie is, well, as stubborn as the best of us. But Max is definitely the man for the job and you just want to cheer for him each time he inches a little closer.

This is a very sweet quick read. If you love feeling the real Christmas spirit leap off the pages then this is the one for you! It's all about faith!

Buy Link:



Friday, December 6, 2013

A Christmas Promise by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Christmas stories, Christmas stories, Christmas stories, more, more, more.

Here's another promising gift for under the tree, or in a stocking, or just to set the mood...

Back Cover:

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmast to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Excerpt:

The door flew open, and the burst of frigid air chilled the room and blew out one of the candles.

John stepped inside with a recent Lenape convert who had been baptized under the name Paul. Anna was glad the man had converted. Brother Paul was six feet tall and built like a tree.

Her husband was almost as tall and as broad across the shoulders, with a pleasant look that seemed to want to break into a smile at the slightest provocation. John’s strength helped her feel safe, as if being wrapped in a warm blanket. Even though she’d lived among Lenape most of her life, Brother Paul scared her.

Belinda and Lisel ran to their father and gave him a tight embrace. Katrina tugged on his trouser leg until he picked her up and ran a hand through her brown ringlets. Katrina was the only one of their children who favored Anna.

“Papa,” Belinda said. “I’m writing Scriptures to hang on the tree, and I helped Mama with the buns for the feast. We’re almost ready.”

John hugged his oldest girl. “You’re such a blessing to your mama.” He said the words in English, which was odd. They spoke Lenape when natives were around, especially ones who hadn’t learned English. John would normally remind the girls to speak Lenape when they had a guest.

“I helped, too.” Lisel allowed her lower lip to almost reach her chin.

“No sulking.” John patted Lisel’s head. “There’s enough work for everyone.”

“I help Mama,” Katrina said.

“Of course, you do.” John set Katrina on the dirt floor.

“Children.” Anna grabbed hold of Katrina’s hand. “Give your father an opportunity to settle. Why don’t you work on the Putz?”

Lisel clapped her hands together, and the girls gathered near the blazing fire where pinecones, cloth, and papers lay in a wicker basket. The children would make figures out of them depicting the Nativity, the wise men, and the Exodus from Egypt. John had already whittled a small manger. Katrina, as the youngest, would place the pinecone baby Jesus in it on Christmas Eve after the Lovefeast.

Anna tucked a stray curl into her Habba, turned to Paul, and spoke Lenape to welcome him. “Nulelìntàm èli paan. May I serve you anything—coffee, water?”

Brother Paul shook his head. He wore a grey shirt and trousers, a buckskin coat similar to her husband’s, and had shaved his Mohawk. But when he crossed his arms and leaned against the door post, he looked as intimidating as when he wore black and red paint around his eyes, and dressed like a warrior.

“We’ll need ashcakes.” John now spoke in Lenape. His Adam’s apple bulged as he grabbed the musket hanging on the wall over the fireplace. “And a couple canteens of water.”

Anna wrapped the cornmeal ashcakes in a cloth and poured water from the pitcher into the wooden canteens. “I kept some stew warm for you. Do you and Brother Paul have time to sup before your journey?”

“No, we must make haste.” John glanced out the window. “It’s already dark. We need to arrive at Gnadenhutten before it gets too late.”

She motioned John to the corner of the cabin, and whispered so the girls wouldn’t be alarmed. “Something’s wrong.”

“A delegation from a nearby Lenape tribe arrived at Gnadenhutten. They have requested to meet with leaders from both of our villages.” John touched her arm. “Don’t be troubled. They mean no harm. They only want to know more about what we’re preaching.”

Anna’s stomach knotted. “Is there any danger?”

“You fret too much.” A smile played with the edges of John’s mouth. But that’s all it did. “They only want to converse, nothing more.”

“How many will accompany you?”

“Brother Paul and Brother Luke.”

Her shoulders relaxed. Luke had been a trusted native helper to the Moravians since his youth. They’d known him for years in Pennsylvania. But Paul showed up at the village a few months ago.

“Why must you go?” Anna wrapped her arms around John. “You have responsibilities to your family. Let somebody without a wife and children take your place.”

John hugged her for a moment, and then pulled back to tilt her chin towards him. The lighthearted facade had been replaced by an intense gaze. “We came here to advance the Kingdom of God. Shall I pull back now?”

Anna wiped away the stray tear rolling down her cheek. “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” She said the words in Lenape to reassure him, but they didn’t make her feel any better.

“Amen.” Brother Paul stepped over to them and put a hand on John’s shoulder. “Brother, we must go now.”

John nodded.

Anna swallowed back the lump in her throat and spoke in English. It seemed too intimate a moment with her husband to let Paul understand her words. “Will you be home in time for the Lovefeast tomorrow night?”

John’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know.”

“You can’t miss the celebration of the birth of our Savior.”

“I’ll try to be back in time.” John’s jaw twitched. “I promise to be home for Christmas.”

Anna wanted to argue with him, tell him not to go, but it wouldn’t do any good. She forced her breathing to slow to a normal pace. “Then I’ll make it the best we ever had.”

“That won’t be hard,” John said. “Any Christmas with you and the girls is good.”

“Brother John.” Paul nodded towards the door. “They’re waiting.”

“I’ll meet you outside.”

The door made a thumping sound as Paul closed it on the way out.

“Children,” Anna said. “Papa’s going on a journey. Come say good-bye.”

The girls ran to their father and hugged him.

“When will you be back?” Belinda asked.

“Maybe tomorrow in time for the Lovefeast.” John wiped his hand across his neck. “If not, I’ll see you Christmas Day.”

John took Anna into his arms once again and kissed her. The heat of the moment swept through her as she leaned into the kiss with parted lips. He rested his mouth against her neck, and then pulled away. After strapping on his supplies and musket, he opened the door.

The blast of winter filled the cabin and sent a chill through her. She scampered to the fireplace, grabbed her ladle, and dished stew onto tin plates. “Children, come to the table to sup.” The door shut with a dull thud behind her.

John was gone.


Buy link:
 
http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=512

TAMERA LYNN KRAFT always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America. She’s married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio.

Tamera leads Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry. You can contact Tamera at http://tameralynnkraft.com and http://revivalfire4kids.com

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Starlight, Star Bright by JoAnn Durgin

Christmas stories, Christmas stories, Christmas stories, more, more, more.

Starlight, Star Bright first star I see tonight...and this one's definitely a star! Oh my goodness, after reading this excerpt I couldn't wait to jump in and read this one!!!

Back Cover:

Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight?

Amanda Marston is excited to be home for her brother’s wedding. When she drops in for a cup of coffee at Barney’s, she’s charmed by the mysterious, Italian-spouting cowboy. Before she can blink, the handsome stranger is helping with projects all over town and working his way into her heart. Does God have a plan for Dante in her beloved little Starlight or will he take her heart with him when he returns to Italy?

Excerpt:

A gust of cold December air blasted him as the front door flew open, the bell jingling away. Dressed in a light blue knit hat, jeans, a white parka, and snow boots, a young woman stepped over the threshold of the diner. With effort, she leaned against the door while the wind howled outside.

Dante jumped from his seat, moved around her, and gave the door a firm push.
She graced him with a bright smile. “Thanks.” Eyes the color of dark chocolate—with a hint of warm, melting caramel—met his. With her cheeks flushed pink and snowflakes dancing on dark lashes, she was lovely.

“Prego.”

“Amanda!”

They both turned as Caroline rushed forward, moving faster than he’d have thought possible as she enfolded Amanda in a warm embrace. “Oh, honey, what a wonderful surprise. I knew you were coming for Jake and Julia’s wedding, of course, but I didn’t expect you so soon. Sure is great to see you. We’ve all missed you around here.”

When Amanda pulled off her hat, a mass of loose, honey-blonde curls tumbled past her shoulders. “Molto bella,” Dante said under his breath. The last rays of sunshine shone through the picture window behind her, forming a sort of golden halo around her glowing face. Wow. Christmas season or not, all the driving must be getting to him. Next he’d be seeing Santa, flying reindeer, and elves.

“I decided to combine vacation time with the Christmas break and come home early. If Julia needs any help with last-minute details, I wanted to be here. Besides,” Amanda said with a grin, “palm trees and flip flops at Christmas somehow seem…wrong. You can’t beat Starlight during the holidays.”

“You got that right,” Caroline said. “Sit yourself down and I’ll get you a cup of coffee.”

“Actually, I called ahead, and Martha’s holding a box of frosted sugar cookies for Jake. I parked out front, and when I saw you through the window, I couldn’t resist stopping in to say hi. I’m going to run over to the bakery before Martha closes for the night, and then I’ll be back.”

Amanda slanted a curious gaze to where he stood beside her as if rooted to the floor like a teenager with a silly crush. She tugged off one glove and held out her hand. “Hi. I’m Amanda Marston. Thanks again for your help.”

“Buona sera, signorina.” Slipping into Italian came naturally but he hoped this gorgeous woman wouldn’t misconstrue his words and think he was some kind of Romeo trying to impress her. Based on her expression, she’d formed no early judgments. He reached for her hand, pale in contrast to his own, which was bronzed from the unrelenting Italian sun. The fact she wore no engagement ring or wedding band filled him with an unexpected sense of satisfaction. “I’m Dante. Very nice to meet you.”

“You, too.” Amanda tilted her head. 

Her movement drew his attention to her hair. Those blonde curls fascinated him. “Italian or American?”

He released her hand, ignoring Caroline’s smug grin. “Both. It’s sort of a long story.”

“Aren’t they all?” Her lips creased into an inviting smile. “I’d like to hear it sometime.” This woman was no shy wallflower, but her comment came across as simple curiosity rather than overt flirtation. Although he liked assertive women, he’d encountered far too many fawning, aggressive fans in the past few years. But Amanda seemed genuine, unassuming, and friendly.

Caroline elbowed him as she rounded the counter. “I would have introduced you, Amanda, but I hadn’t been able to get a name out of him. Until you came along, I’d decided to call him Italian Cowboy. After all, how many Italian-spouting cowboys do we get traveling through Starlight on the second Tuesday in December?”

Amanda laughed. “Not many, I’m sure. I’m going to run over to Martha’s, and I’ll be back in a few minutes for that promised cup of coffee.” With a quick wave, she tugged on her hat and opened the door, setting that bell to its infernal jingling.

“Was she a figment of my overactive imagination?” The question slipped out as Dante sank back onto his seat. He hadn’t intended to say it out loud, and he needed to leave before Amanda returned. His brain told him one thing, but why did everything else in him urge him to stay? Something about Amanda was different. Very special different. Need-her-in-your-life different.

Buy link:

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_46&products_id=509

Review:

Starlight, Star Bright...what a wonderful title for a story that shines so bright. I didn’t want to put this one down and I bet you won't either.


Just from the way he talks, I want to bask in the aura that Dante creates. I can hear the Italian words roll off his tongue, and I can totally understand Amanda trying to hold on to her heart and feeling it slip a little more every time they’re together. Amanda is sweetness and kindness personified. And Dante is equally sweet just trying to find his way back to God. 

What a wonderful story! If I could, I would give it more than just 5 stars!

****

And if you like this one, be sure to check out the prequel Meet Me Under the Mistletoe! (Both stand alone.)

Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa's hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won't kiss a woman until he knows she's "the one." Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it'll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend's sister, and Jake believes he's found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?

When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance.

But somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight learns Jake’s secret, and he's instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fairytale of Headley Cross by Clare Revell

Christmas stories, Christmas stories, Christmas stories, more, more, more.

Welcome back, Clare. I can't wait to go back to Headley Cross with this one...

Back Cover:

Christmas is a busy time in the church calendar, and Pastor Carson Armitage still trying to find his feet in his first job as an ordained minister. When he decides to organize a nativity for Christmas Eve, he employs the help of Maggie Turner, Sunday school teacher extraordinaire. She’s dedicated, smart and beautifu; and Carson finds himself falling for her. But when his past comes back to haunt him in a big way, Christmas may not be so merry.

Can the past be laid to rest? Or is happily ever after only a fairytale?

Excerpt:

Carson headed across the hall to the lady that Trudi had pointed out. Too late he realized he didn’t know if she were a Miss or a Mrs. And after last time, he wasn’t going to call anyone Ms. Well, whatever her title, she was a stunning woman. Perhaps she was a little on the willowy side, but with curves in all the right places.

She looked familiar. He’d seen her before. Well, obviously. In church on a Sunday he chided himself.

Carson sneaked a look at her left hand as she draped her coat over the back of a chair. “Miss Turner?”

She turned and looked at him. “Yes?”

He held out a hand, her voice familiar, but he was sure he hadn’t spoken to her before today. “I’m Carson Armitage. I understand you organize and teach the Sunday School classes for the children.”

Her eyes flickered for a moment. He could almost see her mind whirling as if trying to place him. Just like the way his mind was trying to work out where he’d seen and heard her before. And it wasn’t from church either. It was somewhere else.

“Yes, I do. It means missing the service each Sunday morning, but I try to make the evening ones.”

“That’s good to hear.” He paused. “This is going to sound really corny, but have we met?”

“You have a dog,” she said absently. “I’ve seen you in the park. You’re Mr. Border Collie.”

Of course. The blonde woman who was so upset earlier that afternoon. “Miss Sheltie. But it’s more than that. I’m sure I’ve heard your voice before. Have we spoken on the phone or something like that?”

His voice died in his throat. That was it.

Color flooded her face. Had she made the connection at the same instant he had? “Oh, no. Please tell me I didn’t ring you this afternoon by mistake.”

“I wish I could, but, yes, I’m afraid you rang the church office and I answered the phone.”

Buy link:

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_46&products_id=511

Review:

It's always such a pleasure to visit with old friends in familiar places. Fairytale of Headley Cross brings us back in touch with Pastor Jack, and Nate and the familiarity of Headley Cross. Not that you need to know them. This story stands alone very well.

So toss in a man with a history...a serious history that just doesn't fit in with people's expectations of a pastor, and as people see and interpret things unfairly. This story is a great reflection of a typical church including the staunch, cold hearted elders down to loving children and those who care for them.

This is a wonderful romance, and a wonderful reminder of the God who can do anything! Well done!!!