Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Splash of Christmas - Mary Manners

Hey Mary, so nice to have you back! I get that warm fuzzy feeling as soon as I know a story is yours, just knowing I'm gonna love it and you're going to tug on my heart strings. I can't wait! So thanks for the peek!

Back cover:

When Faith O' Fallon’s best friend ropes her into attending a popular reality show audition, the last thing she expects to find at the studio is the love of her life.

Ben Ward resents his family for coercing him into holding auditions to snag a date for the holiday episode of their reality show, Poolside Oasis. But when a studio mishap accidentally matches him with the lovely, rambunctious Faith O'Fallon, he finds that sometimes family knows best.

This holiday season is filled with the perfect blend of heartwarming surprises splashed with a dose of sweet romance.


Faith was in her first year as the recreation director here at the children’s home, and she’d quickly come to love every one of the kids, aged five to seventeen, with whom she crossed paths on a daily basis. They’d grown to be the family she’d never belonged to and had always longed for. Having spent the better part of her childhood at Mountain Light herself, she knew good and well the importance of even the smallest gestures of kindness. Now, she refused to let the kids down when it came to hosting the Christmas party they eagerly looked forward to all year…even if it killed her.

And it might…heatstroke was an option, or she simply might just melt to death. The tune “Frosty the Snowman” suddenly danced through Faith’s head and a stab of sadness pierced her heart as she imagined Frosty slowly dissolving into a shadowy puddle.

Faith forced the image from her mind and pushed through to the happy ending when Frosty returned with hearty singing, gleeful dancing and hopes for what might come the following year.

Yes, that’s what she needed to make it through to the other side of the Christmas party…a strong dose of hope.

Faith brushed a wavy wisp of long, cinnamon hair that had escaped its ponytail from her eyes. She wished for the umpteenth time that her hair was more controllable—a wave that fanned sleek and stylish much like the manes that models in the latest fashion magazines possessed instead of the mass of unruly curls that refused to cooperate whenever the humidity rose above forty percent.

Faith gave up the fight. She tugged the elastic band from the tail, releasing her hair to spring free over her shoulders and tumble down to the middle of her back. She raked her fingers through the curls as she drew another deep breath, inhaling the scent of lilacs that bloomed outside the office window. The sweet and slightly musky scent wasn’t exactly the key to nudging her into the Christmas spirit either.


She spun in the rolling chair and grabbed a small box filled with trinkets that sat atop the file cabinet. A quick turn back toward the desk, and she dumped the contents onto the blotter. Out spilled a half-burned jar candle she’d found at the bottom of her junk drawer at home. Next, a Bing Crosby CD, and a vintage ceramic light-up snowman with a snowflake belly that had once belonged to her great-grandmother followed suit.

Faith removed the CD from its case and inserted the disc into the player atop the file cabinet. Soon, the soft strains of Bing Crosby’s rich and throaty caramel voice filled the office with dreams of a white Christmas. The candle, once lit, sent aromatic whispers of pine drifting. Finally, the snowman found his place front and center atop Faith’s desk. The jolly, bright glow from his belly added the final touch of Christmas warmth.

I can do this…

Faith closed her eyes and breathed deeply, sending a quick but heartfelt prayer to the heavens above.

Lord, please help me find the funding to have a Christmas celebration for the kids. It will mean so much to them and they’re counting on me. They need me…and I need them.

The staccato click of heels signaled someone’s approach. A shadow crossed the doorway, momentarily blocking muted rays of sunlight that spilled into the hall from double-paned glass entrance doors across the way. “Faith, get a move on…we’re running late and we have to go—now.”

Faith’s head snapped up to find Avery Daniels, her best friend since the fifth grade, poised with one hip pressed against the door jamb. Avery worked a piece of gum between her jaws, snapping it smartly as was often her habit.

“Oh, hi, Ave.” Faith sighed and raked a hand through hair that refused to cooperate. “Is it noon already?”

“Five past—no, ten now.” Avery’s brow furrowed as she tapped the screen of the cellphone clutched in one fist. “And I’m parked in a tow-away zone. I’ve texted you at least half-a-dozen times. Don’t you check your messages?”

“Not when I’m neck-deep into work.” Faith tossed the crumpled sticky note onto the blotter as her belly did a convoluted little dance. She hated to let Avery down, but duty called. She snatched a curl that obscured her vision and twisted it around her index finger as she spoke. “Look, um…I really should stick around here and work through lunch instead of heading to that audition with you. There’s so much on my plate right now.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Avery waggled a finger capped by a scarlet-tipped nail. “We’ve had this gig set for a month now and you promised, Faith. You can’t back out on me this late in the game. I can’t do this alone.” She slipped one hand into the pocket of crisp, white jeans coupled with a V-necked black T-shirt that accentuated every ample curve. “Besides, there’s ten thousand dollars on the line.”

“Ten thousand?” Faith grabbed a pen and tapped it along the desktop. “I thought it was five.”

“I thought the same until I read the small print in the audition instructions.” Avery stepped through the doorway and her perfume did battle with the pine-scented candle and a glimmer of lilac that wisped through the window. “If I’m selected to co-star alongside Ben Ward in today’s first round of auditions—which I thoroughly plan to be—I’ll be awarded a cool ten-grand for my efforts. It’s a win-win situation, since Ben is a hearty slice of heaven in steel-toed boots. It’s no secret that he carries the bulk of the ratings for the Poolside Oasis show virtually singlehandedly. And the thought of filming a show with him…of sharing a romantic date with him—”

“It’s not a date, Avery—and there’s absolutely nothing romantic about this circus he and the producers are bent on staging. What’s being offered is simply the opportunity to sit beside Ben Ward in a trumped-up, made-for-TV episode at the poolside of one of his backyard creations.”

“Is that so?” Avery’s gaze darkened to storm status as she plucked the gum from her mouth and wrapped it in a tissue before tossing it into the trash can. “Well, aren’t you a dark cloud raining on my parade today?”

“I’m simply attempting to keep it real. This audition nonsense that’s stuck in your craw is nothing more than a far-reaching ploy to increase the show’s ratings.”

“Well, I can certainly help with that.” Avery flashed the smile that drew men to her like a magnet draws coins. She knew the power of her self-confidence coupled with a personality more effervescent than soda-pop. “Besides, a girl can dream, can’t she?”

“I suppose so, but this girl”—Faith crooked her index finger and poked herself in the chest, wishing that she might, for once, live as care-free and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants as Avery managed to do on a daily basis—“plans to keep both her feet planted firmly on the ground.”

“All work and no play can make a girl grumpy.” Avery slipped her cellphone back into the purse slung over one shoulder. “You, my friend, are living proof.”

“I’m sorry.” Faith reached for a list of potential donors for the party. Time was wasting and she had so much to do. Surely, Avery would understand. “But I have this Christmas party to plan. The kids—”

“I know…they’re counting on you.” Avery crossed the room and propped one hip on the corner of the desk. “Everyone is always counting on you, Faith, because you are steady as the thrum of April showers.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes you have to let loose…let go. The work will still be here, waiting on you when you return.”

“That’s exactly my point.”

“Stubborn…analytical…” Avery shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest. “Sheesh…you’re nearly impossible to bargain with, but I’ll give it one more shot. I’ll tell you what…you come and support me at this audition, and I’ll help you the rest of the afternoon—and tomorrow, too, since it’s my day off from the restaurant—to plan this holiday shindig for the kids. Plus, if I win Ben Ward over to my side, you can pencil me into your donor’s list with a cool thousand dollars—that’s a ten percent tithe by my estimation…the going rate, right?”

“That’s right. But—”

“Nope…” Avery held up a hand traffic cop style as she shook her head. “No but’s to be had here, Faith. Just tell me…how does my compromise sound?”

“It sounds doable.” Faith dropped the pen onto the blotter and smoothed her hands down the front of her skirt as she stood. Her feet wailed in pain as she found her balance, but she ignored the pinched cries of her polished toes. “But I’m not getting within ten feet of Ben Ward—or any of his brothers.”

“You can’t hold a grudge forever, Faith.”

“Watch me.” Faith nodded fiercely. “Ben promised to be the keynote speaker at our Mountain Light Spring Kickoff fundraiser this past March and then backed out just as tickets were going on sale. We—I mean, I—was left holding the bag because I couldn’t find a replacement on such short notice. I’d only been employed here a few months, and I was placed on probation when the dinner tanked and funding took an anemic nosedive. As a matter of fact, I’m still on probation, and it’s a miracle I didn’t lose my job. I’m not fond of sitting in the hot seat because someone else dropped the ball and, let me tell you, this seat is growing hotter by the moment.”

Avery pinched a strand of spiky black hair between two fingers. Her lips, outlined in a shade of red that might be used to perform a transfusion, pursed into a round little oh. On anyone else, the combination of colors might seem gaudy. But somehow, Avery managed to make the look work. She’d always been the bold one of the pair, outgoing and adventurous and oftentimes outspoken to a fault while Faith tended to be more selective with the thoughts she shared…more cautious and reserved. Through the years, their opposite personalities proved to forge a bond that, despite their differences, mirrored the strength of titanium. “I’m sure there was a good reason for the last-minute bailout, Faith. Give the guy a break.”

“Even if there is, by some stretch of the imagination, a valid reason, Ben Ward didn’t bother to share it with me. Obviously, the fame and wealth of his family’s wildly successful business has gone straight to his head…completely bypassing that steel-clad heart of his.” Faith leaned in to blow out the flickering candle. Even the cheerful scent of pine failed to chase away the chill that had suddenly swept into her heart. “I’ll attend today’s audition with you as I promised, Ave, and I truly hope you earn the chance to share an episode in his family’s crazy quest to find a ready-made companion”—Faith emphasized with air quotes—“for Ben Ward. But allow me to make one thing perfectly clear—I will never, ever forgive that heartless, uncompassionate, excuse for a man for letting me—as well as the kids who live here at Mountain Light Children’s Home—down.”


This is just so sweet! I literally felt butterflies in my stomach when Ben and Faith were together. What a wonderful, heartwarming story this is!

Buy links:

About the author:

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. Mary’s debut novel, Mended Heart, was nominated Best Inspirational Romance and was finalist for the Bookseller’s Best Award and her follow-up, Tender Mercies, was awarded an outstanding 4 ½ star rating from The Romantic Times Book Reviews and was also a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Buried Treasures, her third novel, was named Book of the Year by The Wordsmith Journal. Light the Fire took top honors for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award while Wisdom Tree garnered National Excellence in Romance Fiction. Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone. Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Plundered Christmas - Susan Lyttek

Plundered Christmas?

Back Cover:

Compelled to spend Christmas on a private island with her father's future bride and her family, Jeanine learns that Margo Banet is descended from a pirate queen.

Relatives and friends all have their reasons for attending the festivities--including the legendary treasure. But when Margo's nephew winds up dead and a violent storm cuts them off from the mainland, Jeanine has to wonder if they will solve the mystery before someone else dies trying.


I love Christmas. I adore Christmas. I start getting ready for the next Christmas right after the last one finishes. I am one of the first people you will find at the day after Christmas sales stocking up for next year. Christmas is my absolute favorite day of the year, and I wish I could make it last for a week at least.

Nevertheless, I didn’t love this one. And I couldn’t wait to escape it.

In the first place, it didn’t feel much like Christmas. Christmas, to me, meant Dad’s house with the fire roaring, a tree twinkling, and so many lights that the electric company writes him thank-you letters when he pays his bill in January. Or it meant the quieter Christmas at Mom and Dad Talbott’s with carols playing softly in the background, the persistent aroma of her secret gingerbread recipe, and a tree cut fresh from their back forty.

It did not mean eighty degrees, pirate legends, and a dead body. No. It definitely did not mean any of those things.

I’m getting way ahead of myself. But I do that. It’s a sign that maybe, just maybe, I’ve had too much coffee.

Nah. James, my sweetheart of an Army captain, says I love it too much, but honestly, I can’t believe that the words “too much coffee” could ever apply to me, Jeanine Adorabelle Talbott.

Too much mystery? Definitely.

Since James and I moved to Gentle Springs last year, mystery has plagued us. First, it was that treasure hunter killed in the cemetery next door. Then, when Justin, Josie, and I went up north for a field trip with our homeschool co-op, our tour guide became a victim of manslaughter. Now here.

That kind of track record is great for books and movies, but not for me. Speaking of track records, this is now three for three that soccer had something to do with our involvement. Maybe I should encourage Justin to find another sport. He is getting awfully good at tae kwon do. But that wouldn’t be fair to the Hornets. He is the best eleven-year-old goalie in the entire county.

I’m going to take a deep breath and start at the beginning...

This Christmas actually began back in June. In honor of Justin’s eleventh birthday, my dad invited Justin to accompany him and his bowling buddies to Virginia Beach for three days. James and I encouraged Justin to go because he was down in the dumps and needed a boost. His soccer team had only come in second place.

We were rejoicing about second place. They had played well and beaten some tough teams to achieve it, but since he’d come in first with his team in Georgia the year prior, he expected more of the same.

“The Hornets are way better than my last team, Mom. It doesn’t make sense that we came in second. We should have won.” Justin grumbled.

“Older players, sweetie, and a different league. You guys did great. Maybe next year you’ll get the first place you want. It was close between you and the Wolverines.”

“Maybe or maybe we’ll get third. The Knights were really good, too.”

How do you convince an almost-eleven-year-old that life is good after he tastes defeat? We didn’t know. That’s why we sent him to the beach with grandpa.

It seemed to work. He came back full of tales about the miniature clear crabs he dug out of the sand, and the little crab shack restaurant that Hank, Dad’s oldest friend and league partner, knew of with the best and freshest food. “You ought to have seen the pile of shells we made!”

In all the rave reviews about the vacation, there was one thing Justin didn’t like. His grandpa came home from the trip with a girlfriend.

“And it was all my fault, too! If I hadn’t been dribbling up and down the beach while they snoozed, we never would have met her.” Again, he grumbled.

Turns out, the gentle breeze off the ocean and the warm early summer sun had knocked out the bowling buddies. Dad insisted he was awake and reading, but I know his time window between reading a page and snoring can be extraordinarily short in the right circumstances. Justin, tired of just sitting in the sun, picked up his soccer ball and headed down the beach. The rule was that he had to be able to see “the guys” at all times.

Keeping one eye on his chaperones distracted my dribbling goalie. The ball hit too far back on the side of his foot and careened wildly—right into the side of a woman’s head.

Justin said she had on clothes too fancy for the beach and had walked right out of one of the poshier hotel complexes. It didn’t take her long to find the sheepish looking culprit. She picked up the offending ball, marched over to Justin and demanded to see his parents.

“I’m here with my grandfather,” Justin admitted, pointing to the line of reclined beach chairs.

She marched over to Dad, where she laid into him for neglecting his grandson and causing her bodily harm. Evidently, she used a lot of legalese. Dad, after nearly thirty years as a practicing lawyer understood every word. In addition, he dished it right back, telling her he could pull her in for unlawful possession of a soccer ball and some other such nonsense. Justin said he didn’t pay attention to much of it. He kept noticing how much, in her face, the woman looked like Grandma.

That detail obviously didn’t escape my father, because after Dad asked Justin to apologize he asked the woman out to dinner.

She accepted.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deep Freeze Christmas - Marian Merritt

You guessed it, another Christmas story...'tis the season after all!

Today we have Marian Merritt here with Deep Freeze Christmas. Sounds great! I just love a merry chase!

Back Cover:

Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday. When she meets the son of a movie producer, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona?

Cameron Fleming struggles with being in a career he hates in order to please his famous father. When he meets Leona, he feels a connection to her and wants an opportunity to get to know her. That is hard to do while dodging starlets…and the woman he wants is avoiding him.

Can love sizzle, along with the Cajun dishes, in subzero temperatures?


"Ready to cook some good Cajun food for some wealthy people?" Chef Julian's thick Cajun accent sailed through the thin air while he tried to catch his breath.

"I'm always ready to cook good Cajun food." Leona gasped for air as well. They weren't accustomed to the thin air at these high elevations. After all, in New Orleans, they lived below sea level. She hefted her bag onto her shoulder and entered the lodge.

The commanding entryway loomed above with massive log beams and a large chandelier of intertwined elk horns.

"Julian, I see you made it." A silver-haired man greeted them. Julian's friend, she suspected. His blue eyes sparkled in the natural light streaming through the twenty-foot wall of windows.

"CG." Julian extended his hand. "It's good to see you again." He turned toward Leona. "This is my Sous Chef, Leona Buquet."

"It's nice to meet you Miss? Mrs? Buquet."


"Miss Buquet. CG Fleming." He extended his hand for Leona to shake. "Welcome to my mountain home." He pointed down a long corridor. "The kitchen is down here." He guided them down the hallway where watercolor paintings of elk, deer, rainbow trout, and bear covered the walls.

The gourmet kitchen sported the finest stainless steel appliances and more than adequate counter space. Granite countertops covered a small bar with leather stools circling the opposite side. "Wow, it will be a joy to work in this kitchen," Leona said.

Julian looked around and snickered. "It'll do."

"I see you haven't changed much. Mr. Grinch." CG smiled.

Julian grinned. "Wouldn't want to disappoint." He plopped the bag holding their kitchen gear onto the counter. "Is our food shipment here?"

"Yes, it's been placed in the freezer room and the fresher items will be delivered later today. If you follow me, I'll show you to your rooms."

"Is Carletta here?" Julian asked.

"No she can't come this year." CG's smile faded and a flash of sorrow crossed his eyes. "Her best friend from college is ill, so she's flown to be by her side for Christmas." He turned to Leona. "Carletta is my wife and the person who has kept me on the straight and narrow for almost forty years."

"Yeah, his better half." Julian stared at CG. "Everyt'ing OK between you two?"

CG nodded. "Yes, never better."

"Well, give her my love and tell her I'm sorry I missed her."

CG led them out of the kitchen and to the massive stairs in the living room. They climbed to the second floor. Each step was a large log cut in half. Once upstairs, wide pine planks covered the floor of the expansive hallway that ran along the west side of the house in both the north and south wings. They stopped at the end of the North hallway. He opened the door on the east side. "Miss Buquet, this is your room. Julian you're across the way. I'll let you freshen up. If you need anything, I'll be downstairs. The housekeeper, Mrs. McCaffrey, can also help you. She'll be here later today."

Leona entered her room and placed her suitcase on the holder next to the log post bed. The multicolored quilt of burgundy, green, blue, and cream-colored squares covering the bed matched the curtains, and a hanging miniature version adorned the wall above the bed.

She peered out the window. The view took her breath. The snow-covered peak towered above the lodge with deep green Douglas fir dotting its base. Several pines grew near her window, their branches reaching out toward the lodge. The pristine snow covered the ground and sparkled in the midday sun. A river, frozen on the sides, flowed along the curves and over large boulders.

She took in the sight and then jotted a few notes in her journal. When she described CG on her pages, there was something about him—something familiar. She'd have to ask Julian how he knew him. Once she’d freshened up and changed, she met Julian down in the kitchen.

"How many are we feeding?" she asked.

Julian reviewed the guest list and counted off the names. "It looks like five guests, CG, his son, Cameron, and the housekeeper, Mrs. McCaffery. So with us two, that's ten mouths to feed every day. Three meals. You up for it?"

"Am I up for it? Really, Chef? This is a dream job chefs live for."

He grinned. "Oh yeah, over a week of isolation, cold weather, cookin' in the Rocky Mountains for a bunch of spoiled rich people. Dat's a dream, all right."

"C'mon, Chef, tell me how you really feel." Leona began unpacking their gear and placing the items where they would find them for dinner tonight. "Why'd you take this job if you don't want to do this?"

"Because I've known CG for over twenty years, and he's been a good friend. I couldn't say no when he asked." His tone softened. Chef Julian opened the glass doors and began rearranging the items in the refrigerator. "Besides he's not a spoiled brat rich dude, and he's paying us a boatload of money. I can get that new ice cream maker we talked about and a few other things for the restaurant. And you, my dear, will be a few thousand closer to getting your own restaurant."

Buy links:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas in the Rink - Dora Hiers

Well, here's another little Christmas story - this one all about second chances and you know how much I like second chance romances! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story with us, Dora!

Back Cover:

“Washed up Olympic hopeful looking for part time mechanic's job.”

Not quite the glamorous life Conner Weddington envisioned during those countless hours of high school skating practices; but after his mother’s untimely death on Christmas Day, Conner joined the Army and left everything behind, including the father who despised his dreams, and his beautiful skate partner, Chaney Mitchum.

Chaney Mitchum understands why Conner left, but he stole her Olympic aspirations along with her heart. She's never matched that graceful rhythm with another partner, so with her dreams squelched and an adorable niece who requires her attention, Chaney fills her days with diapers and students, not pleasure skating or romance.

Now that Conner's back in town, will he reclaim the joy he once felt about Christmas and faith? Can Chaney and Conner rediscover their poetic elegance on the ice?


Conner Weddington navigated the tow truck through the chaos that littered Highway 15, the only major road running north and south through Evergreen Peak, Colorado. Cars tipped, hood first, into the ditches on both sides of the road, and some were just plain stuck where they stopped, unable to go any further because of the slick ice and blinding snowfall.


Didn’t they know that ice was best enjoyed in the rink, and not on the highway? What was so all-fired important that these people had to be out on the roads and not safely ensconced in warm houses?

And now he had to be out in it. Working.

Maybe he was the stupid one. Digging thoughtless clods out of a killer snowstorm wasn’t exactly how he’d pictured his first day on the job. Not that he ever imagined he’d be back in Evergreen Peak. Or camping out in his father’s house while he sifted through fifty years’ worth of…junk.

Conner snorted and then ground his teeth while his boot hovered just above the brake. The truck cruised along on its own speed. With the heat blasting his face, he scanned the vehicles for the dark blue compact the auto club had called him to rescue. It wasn’t easy to make out colors through the wet, heavy snowflakes that reduced his visibility not much farther than the truck’s massive hood, virtually blinding him. He leaned forward, studying the car off to the right.

There. That had to be her.

He assessed the situation before maneuvering the big truck onto the side of the road, babied it to a stop, and stomped out. “Not too smart driving in this mess,” he muttered, the fierce wind stealing his words as soon as they escaped his mouth, but he didn’t care.

“You’re right. I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t leave work until my last student was picked up. And now I’m afraid I won’t be able to pick up my niece from daycare.” Worry came through loud and clear in her voice.

He hadn’t seen her get out of the car, but he didn’t regret his words. He glanced at the tiny slip of a woman. The top of her head probably didn’t reach his chest. With arms hugging her chest and teeth clacking together, the heavy jacket apparently did little to prevent the arctic wind from chilling her bones. His gaze landed briefly on her face. She reminded him of…

The frigid air he sucked in burned all the way to his lungs. Chaney Mitchum? No. That couldn’t be her. God, You wouldn’t do that to me, would You?

His gaze devoured the hair that cascaded over her shoulders in waves below the cherry red beret, before moving on to her eyes. Long lashes lifted from pink cheeks to reveal wide jade jewels. The oddly familiar puffiness rimmed the bottom lashes.

His jaw dropped, and his stomach plunged to his steel-toed boots. It had to be her. And he sure wasn’t thrilled about Chaney seeing him like this. He’d only planned to light in this town long enough to pack up his stuff and take care of business before heading back out, leaving a “For Sale” sign in his dad’s yard.

Ironic that his old partner would be practically the first person he’d run into. Not that Evergreen Peak was that big. He’d just hoped to…what? Blend in with the tourists? He gave his head a little shake. He should have known better.

So Chaney Mitchum was a teacher now, and an aunt. He tucked that knowledge away and rubbed greasy, grimy hands down his cargo pants, turning his back on her to hoist the shovel out of the bed. Digging out her car was the best option. He didn’t relish the idea of rubbing shoulders with her all the way into town. She’d ask too many questions. Questions he wasn’t ready to answer.

“You’re going to shovel it out? Not tow it?” she asked, as if she doubted his decision.

Well, she wouldn’t be the first.

“We’ll give it a try. Might work.” He firmed his jaw and got busy shoveling around the back end, farthest away from her. Maybe she wouldn’t recognize him. He wasn’t the guy she’d known back in high school, and definitely not wearing the same glamorous uniform.

Boots crunched through the snow, coming to a stop behind him.

He should have known. He huffed, but not from effort.

“Thank you for coming out in this.”

He didn’t turn around, just kept heaving snow out from around the car and tossing it towards the ditch.

“Yeah. No problem.” If it had been anybody else, it would have been. But Chaney? Definitely not. He owed her at least this much. So much more, truthfully, but—

With the shovel in midair, he twisted his head over a shoulder and stole another look. She hadn’t changed. She was still as breathtakingly beautiful as ever. He finished digging out the worst of it and turned back around, extending a palm to collect the key.

“I must have only been driving ten miles an hour. I tried so careful not to get stuck.” Chaney’s teeth were still chattering as she pressed the key in his palm. This time, she glanced full on at his face. Her brows arched, and then narrowed, her head tilting to the side just a bit, studying him.

He gulped, flicking his head towards the disabled car. “No worries. It doesn’t look too bad. I think we’ll have you out of here…” his voice faded at her gasp.

Her jaw dropped, her gloved hand fluttered to hover in front of her mouth, and shock registered in her green eyes.

So stunning, they’d always brought to mind a grassy meadow in spring.

“Conner?” Her voice came out barely above a whisper, and if it hadn’t been for the wind switching directions, he’d never have heard it. “Conner Weddington?”

Buy Links:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Eva - Clare Revell

Don't you just love Christmas romances? Well, I've got a great lineup for you, so stop by daily. You don't want to miss anything!

I'll start out with Christmas Eva by Clare Revell, one of my favorite inspirational romantic suspense writers.

Back Cover:

A voice in the light woke her from a coma. But can the man pull her from the darkness of her life?

Eva Anderson is trying to rebuild her life after a devastating accident. The first voice she hears when she awakes is actor Harry “Matthew” Lyell—A man she could love. But left in a wheelchair, she’s withdrawn into herself.

Harry Lyell often wonders about the woman he met at the theatre door and then again, when she woke from a coma. Trusting in his faith in God, he knows there must be something special in Eva.

As Christmas approaches, Eva and Harry's lives are drawn together in a way neither imagines. Can Harry help Eva find the Christmas miracle she needs or will a simple article destroy any future they might have?

Hmmm sounds like a tear jerker to me! I love a story with a lot of heart!

Here's a peek:

Eva’s heart skipped a beat.

Matthew Lyell opened his umbrella and held it over Hannah Daystrom. He seemed at ease with the actress as he put his arm around her waist. He glanced up and headed towards Eva and Sue, that trademark smile lighting his eyes. “Hello. You girls look soaked.”

“Not too bad,” Sue said. “We loved the show, Mr. Lyell. Could we have your autograph, please?”

“Of course.” He took her program. “And your name is?”


He signed it with a flourish and handed it to Ms. Daystrom to sign. Then he fixed his intense gaze on Eva. “Hi, there.”

Eva thought she was going to burst, and struggled to get words past the lump in her throat. “H-Hello.”

His smile grew. “I’m not going to bite.” He gently took the program from her hands. “Did you like the show?”

She nodded. “It was amazing. I actually felt every emotion possible, and you really made the part of Cedric come alive. Thank you.”

He seemed taken aback, as if he wasn’t used to being thanked. “You’re welcome. What’s your name?”

“Eva, but not with an A at the beginning. It’s spelled E-v-a.”

“Pretty name for a pretty girl,” Mr. Lyell smiled. He signed the program and passed it to his co-star. “Have you got a camera?”

“I only have the one on my phone.” Eva looked at him.

He smiled. “Would you like a photo?”

“I’d love one.” She fumbled in her bag and withdrew her phone. She pulled up the camera app on the fourth attempt, her trembling fingers not wanting to co-operate.

“Allow me.” Mr. Lyell took the phone. “Same as mine.” He stood between the two girls and took selfies of them together and then took one with each of them alone.

Eva didn’t even breathe as he slid his arm around her. She was sure she’d be smiling like a maniac.

“Have you got far to go?” he asked, handing back her phone.


“Not too far. Have a safe trip back.” He put his arm around the actress again and headed over to his waiting car.

Sue nudged Eva. “See—even he thinks you’re pretty.”

“He probably says that to all the girls.” Eva slid the program and phone into her bag. “We should go, or we’ll miss the last train home. I don’t want to have to ring Dad and ask him to pick us up from here.”

Sue nodded and together they ran the short distance to the tube entrance. The gates were locked.

“Now what?” Eva sighed.

“The main entrance is in the next street.” Sue set off at a run towards the road.

Eva followed, slogging through the deluge. Why had she worn such impractical shoes? Low heels—or no heels at all—would have been much better.

It was still raining back in Headley Cross as they waited for the lights to change, before crossing to the taxi rank.

Sue dragged her across the road. Then, a bright light approaching too fast blinded Eva.

A screech of brakes hung in the air; a car horn blared.

A thud.

Was she flying?

Darkness folded around her, cutting off a brief instance of pain.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Creighton's Hideaway - LoRee Peery

Welcome back, LoRee! I'm so glad to see

Back Cover:

Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn't expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader.

Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God—until he meets Shana. He's drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime's accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana's life is threatened, Creighton must protect her—even if it means letting her in.

Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?


Creighton found it hard to pull his gaze from Shana, trying to remember everything Rita had mentioned about her. The freckles were a surprise. Her large, blue-green eyes were stunning.

“Creigh,” his sister’s voice drew his attention as he headed her way. “I said, Shana will need a day or two to acclimate. She’s a terrific program manager, usually so in charge of what’s going on that nothing shakes her. But this ultimatum to get her degree came like a jolt out of the blue.”

“I thought she’d been working on her degree since she started as the director.”

Rita cradled the small roundness of her abdomen. “True. But she had planned on another semester to pull it all together. Upper management decided it was a good chance for her to use some vacation time and get that paper finished now to secure her job before it goes to someone hungrier.”

Creighton pulled Rita close and enveloped her in a hug.

Rita mouthed against his chest, “I think peace and quiet will do her a world of good.”

“If you say so, little sister.” Creighton pulled the end of Rita’s long braid in a gesture that went back to their childhood. “The timing is perfect since most of the cabins are empty. End of summer, before hunting season.”

He slanted a look across the hood of the SUV.

Shana’s thoughts must be far away. Was she as lost as she appeared to be? She looked small, but he sensed her strength was cloaked in vulnerability.

“You’ve been away too long, kid,” Creighton said to Rita. “Next time I see you, I won’t be able to get my arms around you!”

Rita punched his upper arm as they stepped apart. “Then I’ll expect you to hug the baby, Bro.”

He gave her focused attention. “You’re doing OK? You and the baby and Ray?”

“Couldn’t be better. The Lord blesses us every day. How about you?”

“Have to agree and say He blesses me beyond words. Don’t know where I’d be if He hadn’t brought me back to the ranch.”

“I thought of you when Shana said she was pressured by our boss, and we were so close following our sessions at Hope Circle, we just had to come see you.” Rita glanced at Shana and lowered her voice. “Can you check on her for me? When she starts working on a project, she often forgets to eat.”

Shana shot them a wistful smile and spoke to her feet, “You’ve done enough talking about me. I’m right here.”

“Right as usual, boss,” Rita quipped. “Guess it’s time to get back on the road. Ray’s probably had enough of his mom, so I’d better head down to Norfolk.”

Shana left her side of the vehicle to face them, leaning against the fender.

“Wish you could stay, Sis. Will you spend the night there, or go back to Lincoln?” Creighton reached in and grabbed all of Shana’s bags.

“This round belly needs its own bed, so we’ll eat a bite and head on south. I promise, after the baby comes, we won’t be such strangers to this wonderful ranch.”

When the women shared a warm embrace, he surmised that feminine tears threatened to surface. That’s all I need around here, a bawling woman. He watched them draw apart, avoiding eye contact.

“I suppose the next time I see you, you’ll be waddling like a duck,” Shana’s obvious attempt to lighten the moment came out rather flat.

“In two weeks? Dream on. You do your writing but don’t get so carried away you neglect taking in the ambiance of this land. That tiny cabin will drive you nuts in a couple of days! There’s not enough inside to sort and rearrange. So go out and enjoy nature. That’s an order.” Rita laughed.

“Tease all you want. I have plenty of interviews to tie together. In all seriousness, Rita, thank you for everything. Going to O’Neill with me, and bringing me here.” Shana waved an arm in front of her, indicating the expanse.

He could get used to the soft cadence of her voice. Keeping his eyes on Shana, Creighton longed to discover if those short dark curls were as soft to the touch as they looked. He guessed they were natural and he suspected she was a shampoo-and-go kind of gal, not one to fuss over her appearance.

And she didn’t have to. He found her stunning.

“Nonsense,” Rita sputtered, and turned from another quick hug. “I profited as well as you, sitting in on those group counseling sessions. For now, you’ll love it up here and it’ll do Creighton good to have you around. I’ve wanted you two to meet for a long time.”

“Well, little sis, your wish has been granted.” Creighton tugged Rita’s braid again while holding the door open. His expression went serious when he swung it shut. “Drive safe, you’re carrying my nephew, you know.”

“Or niece.” Rita waggled her fingers and put her vehicle in gear. “Bye, you two.”

Shana shoved her hands deep into her pockets. It seemed to Creighton that she shrank into herself. He studied her as much as the SUV turning onto the blacktop.

What had he gotten himself into this time? Big brother always there to help his little sister. He took one last look towards the road and caught a flash of sunlight as it glinted off Rita’s windshield.

Buy links:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Submerged - Dani Pettrey

Getting tired of all my favorite authors who keep cranking out good stories? Well, here's a new one for you! Dani Pettrey. I stumbled across her story and loved what I read (well okay, the cover caught my eye first - nice job!) but then the back cover hooked me. And since Dee Henderson recommended it, I had to check it out!

So tell me Dani, are you a diver? or have you dived in any way before?

I took scuba diving lessons, but found I didn't enjoy the sensation of breathing through a mask so I much prefer snorkeling :) 

I often wonder if I would feel the same way. Although I didn't like snorkeling because I was afraid I would suck up water! So many people I know who love swimming have not liked scuba. Perhaps you're a little claustrophobic? 

I'm not sure if it has something to do with feeling claustrophobic with me. I think it's more you can't come straight up when you want to with scuba diving, but you can snorkeling :)) I like to know I can reach the top at any time I want to. 

Well, no matter, you've done a marvellous job taking us down there with you. It certainly felt like you went plenty deep!


A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey, Alaska, again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a town that doesn't forget. She's returned only to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash, but then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can face dangerous rescue dives. He can face the fear a murderer may be threatening his town. But facing the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart... but doesn't seem to be the same girl who left Yancey ten years ago. And he's not the same guy she left behind.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Bailey and Cole must move beyond the hurts of their pasts to work together until the truth of what is hidden in the depths finally surfaces.

WOW! Certainly makes me want to find out more! Come on, dive in!


Never wager unless you control the stakes.

And she’d thought she held such a strong hand.

Agnes Grey forced her head against the rattling seat back, clenched the armrests with such force her nails broke. Perspiration soaked her brow, seeping into her eyes, but she refused to cry. She was too old to cry.

The plane was going down into the water within sight of her home. Home—warm, safe, dry. She’d never see it again.

Her friend Henry Reid strained to look back, his white knuckles bulging on the wheel as he fought to regain control of the spiraling Cessna, but the fiery plane seemed bent on destruction. Panic flashed through his eyes. “Tighten your belts. Put your head between your knees.”

His concern was sweet, but it wouldn’t change the outcome. Their fate was set.

They were going down—hard and fast. The other passengers’ terrified expressions said they knew it too. Innocents, every one, Agnes thought, fury on their behalf trumping her own fear. She was the only one on board who knew this catastrophe was no mechanical failure. It was him. She knew it as surely as she knew she’d seen her last sunset.

A bitter cry tore from her cracked lips. Any semblance of control on her part had been an illusion.

She’d played her hand, and he’d just called her on it.

If she hadn’t been so stinking stubborn, if she’d kept her mouth shut and given him what he wanted . . But Momma hadn’t raised her like that. She’d done the right thing. She only wished she hadn’t brought the others down with her.

Managing to crane her neck left, she took in the sight of the loving couple’s hands clasped tight, crying as they whispered frantic words to each other.

Agnes’s stomach lurched. She’d brought them on this journey, doomed them to a watery tomb.

At least now he’d be satisfied. She’d be gone. They’d be gone. No one was left to . . .

Acid burned up her throat.


Buy link:


Wow! Have you ever started a story, intending just to read a couple pages...then you can't put it down. You take it with you everywhere you go and read at every chance you get, even if it's a page or two. Well, that's what you can expect from this one. Submerged grabs hold of you from page one. Be ready to dive in, just don't forget to come up for air! Enjoy!

About the author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nailbiting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. Visit her website at

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Watchman - VB Tennery

Welcome back, Virginia! My goodness, you're getting to be a regular here! Some people might think I'm hooked on romantic suspense...they'd be right! Just wish I could write the stuff! LOL

But once again, this book had me hooked from the first page. Who can resist a story of abuse with a chance of a happy ending? First of all, there is no excuse, no pardon for abuse to a woman or child, and secondly my heart goes out to all who seek shelter from such abuse. May God's hand guide and protect them!

To some, this might just be a story, to me, this is a cry to the Creator to protect the innocents of this world!

So here's a peek:

When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene, and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah’s special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening.                    

Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody’s deranged father has taken his son and it’s up to Noah to follow the judge’s twisted trail to find the boy before it’s too late.

Corrupt city officials, a missing socialite, an attempted murder, and a rescue in the middle of a blizzard entangle Noah in the most complicated case of his career. A case that will mean his ultimate redemption or will take him back into the dark history that haunts him.

Hebron, Wyoming

What if you knew you could learn the deepest, darkest secrets of anyone you touched, but it would cost you emotionally? What if from your earliest childhood you could disappear in thirty-minute intervals and while invisible you could move through solid objects with impunity? What if these anomalies came as natural as breathing—clothing and anything in pockets or hand disappeared—an unknown field that surrounded you erasing everything inside?

What would you do with such powers?

I’d settled that question long ago, but this afternoon, as I focused on the scene outside my car window, it occurred to me perhaps I needed to rethink my mission. I’d covered domestic abuse cases during my five years with the Hebron Police Department, and I’d put away a lot of bad people. Different scenario here. I was no longer a cop.

Ahead, a small boy stepped from a school bus into the upscale Crown Heights neighborhood. Dead leaves and powered snow swirled around his high-end sneakers as he shuffled along the sidewalk.
My foot hovered over the gas pedal. The image disturbed me, and I almost drove away. His small shoulders slumped forward, and I was hooked. I had to know.

He stopped and turned around as if he might go back to the bus stop. He reversed and faced me again.

Confused? Lost?

Cute kid, maybe six years old. The designer logo on his backpack bounced with each step. Blonde locks pressed against his brow under a blue baseball cap, reminding me of another little boy—minus the designer gear.

Decision made, I swung the SUV to the curb, snatched the cell phone from its holder, and texted my friend.

Got 2 bow out of dinner talk 2 u later.

I left the car and stepped to the sidewalk. With a glance both ways, I moved into the boy’s path. Slow and easy. Not too close, not too fast. I didn’t want to frighten him.

With my friendliest smile, I took a step closer. “Hey, son, can you tell me where to find Oak Street?”
He gazed up at me and shook his head. Eyes dull, as if he’d lived life and found it wanting.

I patted his shoulder. “Thanks, anyway.”

He winced and jerked away as if I’d slapped him. I’d 
suspected abuse, but his pain caught me by surprise. In an instant his life opened up, film clips at the speed of light. Visuals of physical pain, overwhelming fear, helplessness, and a silent scream for help. Emotions too heavy for a child to carry streamed through my consciousness. With proof of abuse came certainty. The violence at home was escalating.

Something frightening rose within me―rage against the defenselessness of children and those who caused them pain. Abuse cases drew and repelled me at the same time, reviving memories I’d long ago buried.

I inhaled a resolute breath. When had I ever walked away from a troubled child? I couldn’t save the world—just the small corner God gave me. A common man, given uncommon gifts—a watchman on the wall.


What a phenomenal story! I love Virginia's writing! Pardon the exclamation points, but it's true. Her stories are wonderful. This is the fourth one I've read and they're all great.

The Watchman grabbed me, literally, from page one! Abuse a child? No way! And especially from someone he should be able to trust? Plus abuse the child's mother for trying to protect him? Not on my watch! We all need that Watchman, someone to watch over us when those who have  power are not what they should be.

This story is written with a gentle, but firm hand, true to the seriousness of the topic, but not overwhelming in the horrible details - but certainly enough to bring out the protector in anyone's heart. The dialogue is sometimes witty and entertaining, and the characters all reach out to touch your heart.

Wonderful story! Really, DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!!!

Purchase Links:

About the author:
Author V. B. Tenery lives with her family in East Texas. Her passion is writing books with shinning characters and settings with plots so exciting readers come away feeling delighted with the experience. Not content to stay in one genre, her novels range from contemporary suspense and supernatural suspense, to an upcoming historical suspense set in WWII England. When not writing she enjoys reading, hiking, and tube-floating down rivers in the Hill Country 

God's child trying to make Him proud.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Echoes of Edinburgh - JoAnn Durgin

Hello JoAnn! It's been a little while since you visited with me, so welcome back to my corner niche of the web - and thank you for introducing me to Edinburgh! Luckily my passport is up to date and I could visit Scotland with you (I wish)! That is one country I have wanted to visit for a long time, and I hopefully will be able to see it for myself next year (along with Ireland which has always been at the top of my wish list). But in the mean time, I got to soak in a little of the ambiance thanks to you!

I was truly impressed with this story, not wanting to put it down unless I really had to. (It's not often I can say that these days with the overflow of available reading material!)

Anyway, I'm very pleased to be able to share such a wonderful story with my readers!

Back Cover:

 To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky?

 Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh...or find her way home again?

Doesn't that sound great? Trust me, your heart will be drawn into this story from the start! Here, take a peek!


The tour guide said she’d find the man she sought somewhere on the grounds, most likely in the Castlehill Gardens. After rounding a bend behind a row of hedges, she stopped short. Hunched between multi-colored rose bushes, a middle-aged gardener was engaged in a tug-of-war with pesky weeds. Intent on his work, he grunted with the effort. Thankful he hadn’t yet spied her, she stepped off the walkway, frowning as her new ballet flats sank into the earth.

When she glimpsed his profile, Shelby’s breath hitched. The strong resemblance to the man in the faded photograph she’d found among her father’s possessions was undeniable, the only difference being the added refinement of a quarter century. His dark hair was peppered with silver and cut military short and his faded jeans were tucked into combat boots. The rolled sleeves of his denim work shirt revealed arms tanned a deep brown—an anomaly among the perennially fair-skinned Scottish natives.

He straightened to his full height and released a shallow groan. Sliding his hands down to his hips, he raised his face to the warmth of the emerging sun. As though sensing her scrutiny, he turned, his features a study in curiosity as he spied her.

“Please stay on the walkway, lass.” After tugging a soiled work glove from one hand, he pointed to the path. His slight brogue—husky as if thick with the ever-present mist—was tinged with an unmistakable Kentucky accent, an unexpected solace so far from home. He took a few slow steps toward her, favoring his right leg. As he approached, Shelby caught a glimpse of deep-set, piercing blue eyes that held a guarded wariness.

Not wanting to irritate him further, she stepped back on the walkway. “I’m sorry to interrupt your work, sir, but I’m looking for Robert Nichols from Lexington, Kentucky.”

“You’ve found him.” Standing a few feet away, he tilted his head and narrowed his eyes.
Shelby smiled, hoping to put them both more at ease. “I’m Shelby Harmon, Katie and Tom Harmon’s daughter.”

No immediate response was forthcoming although something akin to recognition flickered in his gaze.

“My Aunt Lily told me you worked at Harmony Lane with my mom when you were teenagers. I believe you knew her as Katie McCormick?” Her professional instincts taking over, Shelby extended her hand.
Robert’s stoic expression relaxed and, for a fleeting moment, reminded Shelby of her father. Gruff around the edges but softening at the mention of her mother. “Aye, I should have known. You have your mama’s same honey blonde hair and bonnie blue eyes.” He removed his remaining work glove and enfolded her hand in his warm grasp. A quick glance revealed the hands of a working man with small, rough calluses. His nails were clean and neatly trimmed, and he wore no wedding band.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve planted my feet on Kentucky bluegrass,” Robert said. “Left a big part of myself there. Kind of hard to shake it out of a man, not that I’d ever want to.” His lips curled as he released her hand. “Tommy was sweet on your mama from the time we were old enough to saddle up and ride.” He smoothed a hand over his short hair and glanced into the distance before returning his gaze to hers. “Seems fitting she ended up marrying the boss’s son and living at Harmony Lane. The way I see it, Katie belonged there all along. Born to the manor.”

Shelby had expected to hear more about her father, not her mother. What was Robert’s connection to her parents, enough to bring her across the world on a personal mission? For a half second, she considered pulling the envelope from her purse and handing it over. The promise to her father would be fulfilled, and she could return home to Chicago and her usual routine. No strings attached. End of story. “Mr. Nichols, I have something I need to—”


They both turned. A tall, lean man with tousled blond waves rounded the corner. He was rugged with high cheekbones, healthy sun-kissed skin, a square, chiseled jaw with a shadow of stubble, and a well-formed mouth—the latter not something she normally noticed. She estimated him to be in his late twenties to early thirties. With a black T-shirt stretched across broad shoulders, faded jeans and scuffed leather boots, he appeared an incongruous cross between a muscled surfer and an urban cowboy. Most definitely, this was a man she’d never expect to see standing in a garden outside a castle.


What a wonderful story! Shelby is so sweet, following her heart, wanting to fulfill her father's last wish that she deliver an envelope to a complete stranger in a foreign country. But she finds much more than she could ever imagine when she started out on this adventure. Her father's dear friend shows her around the countryside, introducing her to his best friend who becomes dear to her also. This story is  full of heart. Don't miss it!

Buy Links:

JoAnn Durgin is the author of five full-length novels, including The Lewis Legacy Series and Catching Serenity. Her novellas for Pelican Book Group include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (2012), its sequel Starlight, Star Bright (2013), and a soon-to-be released Passport to Romance novella entitled Echoes of Edinburgh. After living from coast to coast across the U.S., JoAnn and her family now reside in her native Southern Indiana. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville (KY) Christian Writers, nothing thrills JoAnn more than sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ with her readers.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Unexpected Wedding - Carla Rossi

Hi Carla. I'm so sorry I've lagged a bit. I noticed you have a  new story out and I had to go grab a copy. I love it! I hope you don't mind if I share what it's about. It's a great story! So here's a peek at Unexpected Wedding.

Back Cover:

Rocky Lionakis has been a wheelchair user since a fall in college. He plays bass guitar in Cornerstone Fellowship’s worship band and shares his testimony every week with the campers at Towering Pines summer church camp. At peace with his chair, he has settled into a boring but successful career in technology - until stunning camp counselor, Gia Rinaldi, enters his life and turns it upside down.

Lifelong preacher’s kid and occasional wild child, Giavanna Rinaldi, has always learned things the hard way. With a trail of bad choices in her wake, she has finally grown up and found her niche as a student of Christian child psychology. She returns to Camp Towering Pines where she’s worked since high school, but unsettling dreams and an unexplained illness lead her to a harrowing discovery.

Will Rocky and Gia’s budding romance survive her trauma? And is their bold decision an answer from God, or a serious step outside of His perfect will?


     Rocky Lionakis didn’t know what hit him. Last he remembered, he’d tucked his Bible beside him in his wheelchair and turned to leave the platform. Now he was flat on his back on the wooden ramp, gazing at the blue east Texas sky through a canopy of tall pines. It would have been a beautiful summer afternoon sight if he’d meant to be looking at it. 

He lifted his head and then decided it felt better to stay down. Voices grew softer, and bubbly chatter faded as camp staff herded the junior and senior high audience for his last talk away from the outdoor stage and down the path toward the dining hall. 

Somewhere the wheel of his chair spun with a rhythmic swish and put him in mind of an old bicycle he had as a child. It slowed, and he closed his eyes. Normally a tumble from his chair ended with a quick recovery. Propelled by sheer embarrassment, he could usually steady the lightweight titanium contraption and be upright in seconds. This time his scattered thoughts and developing headache told him he’d fallen harder than he realized. For all he knew, his chair had
landed in another zip code because it sure wasn’t beside him on the ramp. 

He felt for his Bible and discovered it under his left hip. Everything was quiet except for the coo of a mourning dove somewhere high above him and the scrape of a squirrel’s feet as it scampered up a tree. 

As he started to relax, all pain dissipated. Maybe the fall had killed him... 

The scent of something earthy and sweet reached his nose. He sniffed the air. Heaven smelled like strawberries. 

He opened his eyes and looked up into a warm chocolate-brown gaze. An angel stood over him. Strands of long dark hair slid off her shoulders and hung almost to his face as she bent over him. 

She smiled and knelt beside him. “Fall off your horse there, cowboy?”

He blinked. If this was Heaven, God had sent him one sassy angel to welcome him home. Nice.


I loved this story! The strength of the characters and the way they are so real about their circumstances is beautiful! This story really makes you feel like you're right there on the sidelines cheering them on. Honestly I just wanted to reach in and hug them sometimes! Great story, Carla!

Buy link:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Piece of Heaven & Precious Embrace

Wouldn't you just love to find a cozy little restaurant where you could enjoy a good dinner, good company, and good music? I mean good Christian music. A place where you wouldn't have to worry about anything, not even what the kids might hear if you brought them along. Well, this is the place. This is my dream. Come on in and visit A Piece of Heaven. I promise you'll enjoy it!

A Piece of Heaven

First we have Trina's story...

Trina Wembly dreamt of owning a Christian coffee house for years –a Godly place where people could enjoy a good meal, and entertainment that wasn’t offensive. A Piece of Heaven is that dream.
Jared Larou, the construction foreman who helps design and build the coffee house, is a wounded soul with a soft heart. 
Once the coffee house opens, Trina and her partner, Laura, work day and night. From coffee in the morning, to gourmet dinners in the evenings, it’s a heavy load. Plus Trina performs most nights as the entertainer at the coffee house.

After working together and building her dream, Trina longs to be more than just friends with Jared, she just hopes that’s what God wants for her too.

Here's a peek:

Trina was on the raised platform in the corner.

Jared glanced around.

Most of the tables were occupied. Must have been a good night, so far. Hopefully they’d had some downtime earlier in the day.

His gaze was drawn back to Trina as she plucked on her guitar. Seated on a stool, legs crossed, her green skirt covered all but her ankles. Long brown hair coiled in a thick braid was draped over one shoulder.

He’d love to run his fingers through it and see how soft it was as he unbraided the length. He sighed. He’d love to just sit with her and hold her hand, hold her as they talked about life.

She was so vibrant, so alive. Her eyes glowed with an inner fire as they roamed from one listener to another around the room. Her foot swung gently with the rhythm of the tune while the other rested on the bottom rung of the stool. Her fingers caressed the mahogany instrument in her lap, plucking out a warm, deep sound. Then she started to sing.

Words from what used to be one of his favorite hymns poured over him. Jared swallowed hard.

Trina glanced from person to person, seeming to connect with each one—until she looked up.

Jared was stunned. He couldn’t move his lips to form a smile. His heart was being shredded. Their gazes locked as the words of the song continued to tumble from her mouth, words that sent a crack along the walls protecting his heart, blocking out the God he had loved and trusted.


...and now there's Laura's story...

Precious Embrace

Laura Senton has found peace and happiness, knowing she’s right where she belongs, running her own kitchen at A Piece of Heaven, a Christian coffee house in PingreeMD. Being partners with her dear friend, Trina, she has carved out a niche and counts her blessings daily for being able to do something she loves doing. When the sins of her past are brought to mind by the appearance of Sean Laylor, her teenage crush, Laura tries to hide from Sean, as well as her own feelings.

At first not recognizing Laura because she changed so much, Sean is at a loss as to why she tries to avoid him. He has no idea of what Laura went through years ago, or how she felt toward him, but he still feels a share of the guilt for her past once he learns  some of the choices she made.

Both covet the memories of their time together, but sins of the past can be a tough hurdle to get over.


Orders trickled to a stop over the next half hour.

Wow. So much for a quick and easy clean up. Laura wanted nothing more than to put her feet up on a chair and relax. She pulled her apron off, hung it onthe back of the door, and stepped out into the restaurant.

Trina wasn’t playing—must be on her last break.

Laura grabbed a mug and stepped over to the latte machine. She looked over the crowd.Lise was just clearing off a small table by the wall.

The seat was Laura’s favorite. Maybe because she Jared had proposed to Trina there. Or maybe because it had a good view of the stage but was out of the way.

"Excuse me. Could I get a cup of coffee? The other waitresses look pretty busy."

"Sure, I’ll..." She lifted her gaze past the broad chest and shoulders to a neatly trimmed beard andstartling blue eyes. Eyes she would know anywhere.

She swallowed hard. "Sean?" Her first crush.

"Sorry, do I know you?"

No, he wouldn’t know the blonde, curly hair, or the body that was half the size it used to be. She shook her head. 

"Sorry, I thought you were someone else. I’ll get your waitress for you. What table are you—"

He touched her arm. "You look vaguely familiar. Are you sure we don’t know each other?"

Of course, he had no idea. But she knew him. Sean Laylor, high school quarterback, team captain senior year...why would he remember the fat girl with glasses and long, stringy hair who tutored him to get his English grade up so he could stay on the team and get into college?

She snapped back to the present. "Let me get your waitress for you."

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I was born and raised in New England and although I've seen much of the country, this is the area I will always call home. I love the change of seasons and the beauty each one brings. There is no place quite like it.

I've been married over 20 years and we have one teenage daughter who is currently attending college. 

I am an active member in my church, a member of the worship band, and I write not just stories, but  music as well. Maybe one day you’ll hear some of them!