Lone Star Christmas by Delores Fossen

lone-star-christmas-800x600_1A family crisis brings him home…

Just in time for Christmas

Cattleman Callen Laramie has no intention of returning to his hometown of Coldwater, Texas, until a Christmas wedding and a family secret convince him he has no choice. And when he’s reunited with his childhood crush, the girl who’d always been off-limits, Callen knows leaving might not be so easy this time.

Shelby McCall is as pretty as a Christmas snowfall, and Callen wants to kiss her under the mistletoe…and the Christmas tree…and the stars. But once Shelby knows the whole truth behind this homecoming, will their holiday fling come to an abrupt end? Or will she accept the gift of his heart?

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BOOK EXCERPT

She was indeed training a new horse, and Shelby wouldn’t have minded a little talk about that if she hadn’t heard the vehicle approaching the house. Now she let go of the cup, practically slapping it onto the counter and hurrying to the door.

Her dad.

Buck pulled up in his red pickup that was as familiar to her as her own hand. Ditto for the weathered Stetson that had aged to a rich cream color. As usual, he wore jeans. She’d never seen him in anything else except for Sunday, when he wore his one and only suit. His buckskin coat covered a blue plaid flannel shirt.

“Please don’t mention that I said anything about sex,” Rosy whispered, coming up behind her.

Shelby would have voluntarily sat on a vat of hot pokers before doing that.

“Wasn’t sure you’d still be here,” her dad greeted her. “Thanks for staying with the kids.”

“Anytime.” Even though it would likely be a big red flag of concern, she went onto the porch and down the steps to hug him. She’d hugged him plenty of times, of course, but not when he’d only been gone an hour or so. The red flag probably flapped a little harder when she held on longer than she normally would have.

“How’d the appointment go?” she asked when she eased back from him.

Oh yes. He’d noticed her concern. He might look a little frail, but he was still sharp. And about to lie to her.

She was sharp, too. Shelby could see the lie forming in his green eyes, which were a genetic copy of her own.

“Everything went fine,” her father said with his arm hooked around her—which meant he was no longer looking her straight in the eyes. Easier to maintain the lie that way.

“Told you,” Rosy insisted from the doorway. “Buck’s right as rain.”

Because, of course, rain was right.

Except when it wasn’t.

“Callen called,” Rosy told him when they stepped inside. “Shelby talked to him.”

Buck paused in the process of taking off his coat, and his gaze shifted from Rosy to Shelby. “Is he coming to the wedding?”

Shelby shook her head, and she instantly saw something deflate inside her father. There was no other word for it. His chest fell. His shoulders sagged a little. And the sigh that left his mouth was as weary as it could get.

It broke her heart.

“Miss Rosy?” Rayna called out from the kitchen. “I accidentally dropped the eggs, and they broke. You don’t want me to pick them up off the ground, do you?”

Rosy gave a rare eye roll. “I’ll be back.” And she scurried away toward the kitchen.

Shelby figured her father might want to try some scurrying, too, but he stayed put. “I just need a few more tests at the hospital,” he said, fixing the lie he’d told her earlier. Still not the straight truth, but it was a start.

“What kind of tests?” she asked.

“Just a shadow that showed up on an X-ray.” He brushed a kiss on her forehead. “Don’t start worrying about it until we know. And don’t mention it to Rosy.”

She could agree to the second but not the first. That was because she was already worrying.

“Too bad about Callen not coming,” Buck said, walking away from her. “I really wanted to see him.”

Shelby sighed. Then cursed.

She was going to Dallas.

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MY THOUGHTS

Callen Larmaire thought he would never step back into the town of Coldwater, TX. When he left at the age of 18, he hadn’t ever really put another thought into it. But when Shelby shows up at his office in Dallas and asks him to return home for her dad, he just couldn’t resist.

Shelby’s dad was his foster father and he feels like he at least owes the man a visit since so many people think he needs his help. But what he finds when he gets to Coldwater, isn’t exactly what he was wishing for. Now that Callen finds himself back in Coldwater for a while, he needs to make nice with his brothers and hopefully not hurt the one woman he was never allowed to be near… until now.

This book is full of a lot of fun characters, steamy scenes and love that comes from the heart. I’m a big sucker for Texas Romances and can’t wait for the rest of this series on the Laramaire Brothers!

 

About Delores Fossen

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

Connect with Delores

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Five Years Gone by Marie Force

FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by New York Times Bestselling author Marie Force.

 

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

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The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

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Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.

Prologue

Ava

We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.

Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.

I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”

And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.

“I’m John.”

I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”

Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”

“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”

As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”

I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”

“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.

“Do people always do what you say?”

“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”

Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.

“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.

“That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.

When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”

I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”

“So, where’re you from, Ava?”

“New York.”

“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”

Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”

“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”

“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”

“Where’s home?”

“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”

I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”

“Somewhere we can talk.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”

 

That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me.

The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naïvely believed that.

Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow.

Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

“I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it.

“Where’re you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage.

I never saw him again.

I’m not his wife or even his fiancée, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force.

Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me.

Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen.

It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us.

My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West.

I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face.

It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief.

The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers.

It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced—precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me.

It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less.

The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself.

After all, what choice do I have?

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MY THOUGHTS

Ava fell for John the moment she meet him. He was charasmatic and intriguing and they set off on a whirlwind of a romance. They were in their own little bubble. John was in the military and Ava knew he could and would be called out onto missions at a moments notice. But when John didn’t return from a mission, because they weren’t married and she had never met anyone in his family, she had no way of knowing what happened to him. Heartbroken, she held on for 5 years and finally came to the realization that he wasn’t coming back.

So Ava moves back home, and meets Eric. Eric helps Eva heal. Just when she thought everything was starting to turn around… John is back. Emotions are high from everyone and when Ava finds out that not everything is what it had seemed with John…

This book was so full of emotions. You feel them all with each character. How do you move on from what you thought was the love of your life and then find out that none of it was really real?

Such a great read. Buy it. You  won’t be disappointed.

 

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

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Goodbye, Kate by Nicola Haken

Title: Goodbye, Kate
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 29, 2018
Cover Design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Covers
 
Crime families and mob wars only exist in the movies. Betrayal. Violence. Murder. They don’t happen to ordinary people.
 
Right?
 
Wrong.
 
For Lincoln Hollis, this is his world, and there isn’t a clapperboard in sight. A trained killer and advocate of justice, he’s been sent to unravel the neat little bow tied around Kate Fletcher’s perfect life, exposing her to the brutal truths she’s been so meticulously shielded from, before delivering the ultimate punishment for her family’s sins.
 
There’s just one problem. They’re his family’s sins, too, and he must make a choice.
 
Who will he say goodbye to first?
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children. She is the author of multi-genre romance, including the Amazon international bestseller, Broken. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary friends (or talking about them with real life friends) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all-round-slave duties, bingeing on boxsets, drinking too much Pepsi Max, or fussing over her menagerie of pets. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…
 

 

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The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

Christmas Wishing Tree COVER

Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From USA
Today bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting
account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.
A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas
trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday
season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to
ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to
make everything in his life so right.
Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe.
A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from
their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When
Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for
all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a
Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…
A delightful Christmas novel in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.

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Book Excerpt

Chapter One

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
Christmas carols played softly in the background. The scent of spiced cider perfumed the air. Shoppers munched happily on gingerbread cookies and perused the bookshelves for that perfect gift.
Dr. Jenna Stockton imagined ripping the halo off the angel’s head and choking her with it. Instead, she reached deep within herself for patience and managed to find a smile for the costumed character behind the bookstore counter. “If I could speak with your manager, please?”

“She’s awfully busy.”

Jenna thought of the ridiculous length of her own to-do list as she fought to keep her smile from turning into a sneer. “Yes, well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? Your manager?”
The little angel gave a haughty sniff, and then said, “If you’ll step out of line, please?”
Without missing a beat, the angel turned a bright smile toward the woman waiting behind Jenna.

“I’m sosorry for this unfortunate delay, ma’am. I’ll be as quick as I possibly can.”

Jenna didn’t snarl like a rabid dog. She didn’t. She smiled at the woman behind her in line. Sweetly.

Without canines.

The woman and the four people behind her each gave Jenna an annoyed glower. She gave them all a smile too, then reached for the nearest book, which she pretended to read until the clerk returned, accompanied by a fiftysomething woman dressed like an elf. The angel gestured toward Jenna and said,

“This is the one, Ms. Thomas.”

The elf spoke in a harried tone. “May I help you?”

“I hope so.” Especially considering that I went out of my way to support a local business rather than ordering online. Jenna set down the paperback. “I placed a special order two weeks ago and someone from this store called me last week to tell me it was in. However, your … angel … can’t find it in your computer system, so she insists I’m mistaken.”

“Do you have your receipt?”

“Not with me, no.”

“Well, if you’ll come back—”

“I don’t have time to come back. I ordered the books for an event that begins”—Jenna checked her watch—“in forty-five minutes. I’d like you to check your stock room. My name is Jenna Stockton.”

“Ms. Stockton, I can’t—”

“I ordered thirty copies of New Adventures in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room.”

“Oh.” The manager pursed her lips. “Oh. I recall that order.”

“Good.”

Then the manager winced. Uh-oh. Maybe not so good. Jenna drew a deep, calming breath, then asked,

“If you will get it for me, please?”

“Oh dear.”

Jenna closed her eyes.

“I’m afraid we had some internal miscommunication. We sold out of our stock of that particular title and an employee unfortunately failed to notice the hold notice on your order. She put them on the shelf.”

“How many are left?”

“It’s a popular title,” the manager hedged.

Jenna leaned forward. “The books are for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital. The Christmas party is at four o’clock.”

“Oh dear,” the manager repeated. “Four o’clock you say?”

Jenna nodded curtly.

“I’ll call our distributor. If you can stop back by—”

“You’ll need to deliver them directly to the hospital. To the attention of Dr. Jenna Stockton.” She removed a card from her purse and handed it to the manager. “Here’s the address. Take them to the information desk in the lobby. I’ll tell the volunteers working there to expect them.”

“But we don’t have a delivery—”

Jenna folded her arms and gave the manager her best take-no-prisoners look.

“I’ll do my best to have them there by four, Dr. Stockton. I apologize for the inconvenience. Now, is there anything else I can help you with? I saw you looking at the new Liza Holcomb thriller.” She picked up the book and handed it to Jenna. “It’s a fabulous book. Scariest stalker story I’ve read in years.”

Jenna quickly returned the book to the display table. A stalker story? That was all she needed. “No, thank you. All I need today is what I ordered. Thank you for the help. You have my phone number. I trust if there is any further problem, you will give me an immediate call?”

“Yes. Of course.”

“Perfect. Merry Christmas, Ms. Thomas.”

“Merry Christmas to you too, Dr. Stockton.” The manager gave her a bright smile that didn’t quite hide the worry in her eyes.

Jenna headed for the door, glancing over her shoulder before pushing it open. The elf was on the phone, the angel had been replaced at the register by a reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman was on hands and knees beside the urn of mulled cider wiping up a spill. She sighed. Angels with attitude aside, she liked this little store. She really hoped they didn’t let her and the children down.

Outside, the jangle from the Salvation Army bell ringer mingled with the shrieks and laughter of children embroiled in a snowball fight in the park across the street. Jenna tugged leather gloves from her coat pocket and pulled them on as she walked to the street corner and waited for the light to change. Her gaze drifted back to the snowball warriors. It did her heart good to see healthy, happy children playing, especially after a morning like this one.

When the walk signal flashed on, she crossed the street and cut through the park headed for her car, which she’d left in a lot a block away. Her thoughts returned to her to-do list. She could save a few minutes if she bought cookies at the grocery store instead of making the extra stop at the bakery before picking up Reilly from daycare. But she’d promised Reilly a gingerbread man from—

Whack.

Something cold and wet stung her cheek. What in the world? Reflexively, Jenna lifted her hand to her face and the remnants of … a snowball. She’d been hit with a snowball. Had the battlefield moved without her noticing and she’d been struck by an errant shot? Or had the attack been deliberate? If that was the case, one of these heathens was about to get a piece of her mind.

But when she turned to identify the culprit seconds after the snowball landed, her gaze skidded over a group of youngsters to an adult standing nearby. The pockets of a black wool coat concealed the man’s hands. A black knit cap pulled low on his brow and the matching scarf looped around his face shielded everything but his eyes.

Eyes that watched her.

A shiver of fear skidded down Jenna’s spine. She whirled around and picked up her pace. By the time she reached her car, she was all but running. She thumbed the key fob and unlocked the door as she approached, then locked it again the moment she was inside. She sat behind the steering wheel breathing hard, her heart pounding. Her gaze locked on the path through the park.

Nobody had followed her. Chased her. She’d let her imagination run wild.

“You didn’t imagine the face full of snow,” she muttered.

She should call the cops. File a report.

Sure. Be one of “those people.” Tie up a law enforcement officer’s time over a child’s prank. Because surely, that’s all it had been. One of those kids probably threw the snowball, and the guy dressed in black probably saw it as it flew by. He’d watched her to see if she’d pitch a fit about it.

She slipped her key into the ignition, started the car, and did her best to dismiss the incident. Forty minutes later—after stops at the dry cleaners, grocery, bakery, and party store—she made it back to the office in time for her one-thirty appointment with five minutes to spare. If she’d checked her rearview mirror more often than usual and paid close attention to those around her as she completed her errands, well, she was simply being responsible.

Whenever she had a few free minutes during the rest of the afternoon, her thoughts drifted back to the troubling events of recent months. The harassment had begun in October, although for the first few weeks, she hadn’t recognized the threat. Everyone got hang-up calls. She explained away the texts as wrong numbers. But once online orders she hadn’t placed began showing up on her doorstep, she realized she had a problem.
She’d thought she’d been a victim of identity theft. She’d spent an entire weekend canceling cards and changing accounts. Then last week when a particularly difficult case kept her at the hospital until early morning hours, she came out to the physician’s section of the parking garage and found the air had been released from each of her tires.

Random vandalism, the police said. Teenage pranks. Jenna wasn’t so certain, but she didn’t know who would be doing this to her or why.

As she exited Exam Room 4, her receptionist met her with the news that her three o’clock was a no-show, which meant she was done for the day. Jenna tucked away her dark worries and turned her thoughts to the light and bright. Now she’d have time to pick up Reilly from school rather than have hisafter-school caregiver drop him off at the hospital.

Luck was with her for a change because a parking place became available just as she pulled up. As she got out of her car, a bell rang, and the door to the kindergarten classroom opened. Reilly was the third youngster out.

“Mom!” exclaimed her six-year-old son. “You’re here! It’s time for the Christmas party, isn’t it? Is it time for the party? Is Santa going to be there? I have my list all ready.”
“Hello, little man. Yes, it’s time for the Christmas party and yes, Santa has promised to make an appearance.”

“I’m so excited!”

“Me too, Reilly. Me too.”

She’d been trying to make the Santa visit happen for two weeks now. Because kids grew up so fast these days, she knew that this might be the last year that Reilly believed in Santa Claus. Jenna had wanted to make it a special event for them both.

For the initial effort, she had planned an all-day Saturday holiday adventure beginning with breakfast at a pancake house, followed by shopping for gifts for Reilly’s friends, then a matinee performance of Rudolphat the children’s theater, and culminating with a visit to Santa’s Wonderland and a conversation with the big man himself. They’d had a great time eating and shopping and watching the play, but as they left the theater, her pager had gone off. She’d tried again the following Saturday with a different itinerary, but with similar Santa results. She and Reilly both were counting on “The third time is
the charm” axiom working today.

Arriving at the hospital, she took advantage of valet parking due to the amount of party supplies she had to tote inside. She loaded up a collapsible wheeled cart with gifts and decorations and bakery boxes, then Reilly helped her tug it inside, where she approached the information desk with trepidation. “I’m Dr. Stockton. Do I have a package waiting, I hope?”

“Books,” the volunteer said. “Yes, they’re here.”

Yes!

She reached beneath the counter then pulled out a box. Jenna spied twice as many gift-wrapped items as she’d expected. The folded note taped to the front of the box read, “Your complete order is enclosed. In addition, please accept these thirty copies of the first book in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room series as a gift to the children from the staff here at Hawthorne Books.”

“Well, isn’t that nice?” Jenna murmured.

“Isn’t what nice, Mom?”

“The Christmas spirit.”

He nodded in all seriousness. “I love the Christmas spirit. I wish it could last all year long.”

“You and me both, little man. You and me both.”

The Christmas party that followed was a bittersweet success. Local and a few national celebrities showed up to shower attention and gifts and good cheer on the patients of Children’s Hospital and their families. It was always nice to see the smiles, but invariably, tears were shed too. The what-ifs and if-onlys were unavoidable. Hospital events always caused Jenna to hug Reilly a little tighter and spend a little more time on her nightly prayers.

The books Jenna gifted were well received by parents and patients alike. Reilly finally had his visit with Santa, and Jenna shed a tear or two of her own while she snapped photos of the moment with her phone.

In the car ride on their way home, Reilly bubbled about the party—the food, the games, the gifts. “There were a lot of dads there,” he observed. “Did you see, Mom? There were a whole bunch of dads.”

“Yes.” Then, in an effort to alter the direction of the conversation, she said, “I was surprised to see how many football players attended. How many autographs did you get?”

“I don’t know,” Reilly answered with a shrug before proving that he was not to be distracted. “I thought Dr. David would be there. Why didn’t Dr. David come?”

Oh, Reilly. Dr. David Henderson was Reilly’s pediatrician, a widowed father whom she’d dated briefly last summer. “I told you he moved back to Minnesota to be closer to Bella and Jessie’s grandparents. Dr. Larimer is your new doctor.”

Reilly gave a long sigh. “I pretended I forgot. I thought he would make a really good daddy for us, Mom.”

“Oh, Reilly.”

“We really do need a daddy.”

“Reilly,” Jenna said, warning in her tone. “Please. It’s been a long day. Let’s not get started on that subject again.”

“But, Mommy…”

She silenced him with a stern glance. Her son could be a terrier when he got an idea in his head, and lately, every time she turned around, he’d been yipping and yapping about needing a daddy.

How about I just order one online? Everything else was showing up at the house. She’d certainly have more use for a daddy for Reilly than a yodeling pickle electronic noisemaker.

She switched on the radio, which was tuned to the Christmas music station. Listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks hope that Christmas wouldn’t be late wasn’t much better than the yodeling pickle. However, the music did manage to distract Reilly, who sang along the rest of the way home, so she wasn’t about to complain.

Her son helped her unload the car, and then he dashed about the house turning on the lights of all of their Christmas decorations while Jenna sorted through the mail. One envelope in particular caught her notice. Whitewater Adventure Rafting on the Snake River? Her stomach took a sick little flip.

Dread filled her as she stared down at the envelope addressed to JENNA M. STOCKTON, MD.

This was coincidence, surely. Just bad timing of an advertisement that probably went to everyone in her zip code.

She slid the letter opener blade beneath the envelope flap and removed the folded paper.
A reservation for one. Paid in full. January 23rd at 10:00 a.m.

She dropped the paper as if it were on fire. Her hands trembled. Her heart pounded.
Her always-adventuring parents had drowned in a whitewater rafting accident seven years earlier … on January 23.

“Mom, can we read a story?”

Jenna saw her son standing in the doorway with his stuffed Rudolph beneath his arm.

His request was a life preserver tossed to a drowning person. “Absolutely. I have a new book for us.”

Because she wasn’t on call tonight and she had no patients she suspected of being in imminent need of her services, she poured herself a glass of wine, traded her shoes for slippers, and settled into the overstuffed easy chair in the family room with the copy of The New Adventures in the Christmas Angel Waiting Room that she’d reserved for her own family. “In my lap, little man.”

He bounded over to her, his face alight with joy.

Story time was special for them both. She’d finished the first book and allowed herself to be talked into reading a second and a third. They were negotiating a fourth when she answered the doorbell to a pizza delivery she had not ordered.

By nine thirty, her doorbell had chimed eleven more times with deliveries of eleven more cheese and mushroom pizzas. Jenna was allergic to mushrooms. At nine forty-five she called the police.

Copyright © 2018 by Emily March in The Christmas Wishing Tree and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

MY THOUGHTS

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And what a great way to start off the Holiday Season in Romance! Although this book is a part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand alone, which is exactly what I did.

The Christmas Wishing Tree is the perfect blend of sweet romance with a little suspense thrown in. And let me tell you right now that Reilly absolutely steals the show. You will fall for this little guy from the moment you meet him!

If you’re looking for a good book to jump into the season with The Christmas Wishing tree will give you a little intrigue along with the Holiday Spirit!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily March

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library

Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

 

Social Links:
Emily March Website
Twitter: @EmilyMarchBooks
Facebook: Emily March
Instagram: Emily March

More of You by A.L. Jackson

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My daddy warned me never to fall for a boy like Jace Jacobs . . .

The second I saw him walk through the door, I knew he was trouble.

A gorgeous rebel with a bad attitude and a huge chip on his shoulder.

My heart warned me. I didn’t listen. I saw something protective and good beneath the fierce, tough exterior.

I fell hard and fast.

He promised we’d be together forever, and then left me with a broken heart.

Now, ten years later, Jace Jacobs is standing at my door.

Sexier than he’s ever been.

Provocative and commanding.

Successful and powerful.

The man I always knew he would become.

But I promised myself I’d never lose my heart to him again.

Even time couldn’t dim our chemistry. One glance of his intense eyes, and I become weak. One brush of his hand, and he brings me to my knees.

Little do I know, Jace holds the key to everything I’ve lost and everything that threatens my future.

Now he will either save me, or he will break me all over again . . .

More of You – a Confessions of the Heart second-chance, stand-alone romance

https://amzn.to/2QPavFo

https://amzn.to/2QPavFo

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MY THOUGHTS

There is something about Amy’s writing that is almost lyrical. Or it sends out a melody that hooks you and you can’t let go of it.

More of You is a romantic suspense/second chance love story that pulls you in. When you’re young you do things that you think will make it easier for the other person, but when it ends up being an even bigger mess, what do you do to fix it?

For Jace, he goes back to watch over Faith, even though he knows its not the best idea. He still has demons that haunt him and when Faith finds out eventually, he knows that will be the end of his dream. The dream of Faith and now her daughter Bailey being his.

Faith’s husband was murdered and now it seems whoever took him out, is still looking for something that they think Faith has. As the truth of who her husband really was comes to light, she is also facing the fact that the love of her life… the one who walked away is now back and he’s trying everything he can to make her life miserable… or so it seems.

Jace knew just exactly who Faith’s husband was. I mean he was his cousin and also the man he pushed into Faith’s arms by him leaving. Now he’s ready to save Faith from whoever it is that is after her and to protect her in a way he never could when he was only 19.

This book had me turning page after page and I couldn’t walk away from it for more than 5 minutes without going back and needing to know more. I cried and laughed and cried some more. A great group of secondary characters that I’m sure we will see more of with this being the first book in the series. I can’t wait for more.

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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, and FIGHT FOR ME novels.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.
Represented by Brower Literary & Management

All My Life by Prescott Lane

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All My Life by Prescott Lane
Release Date: October 10, 2018

 

All My Life, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Prescott Lane.

The beginning of any love story starts with the meet.

I’ve known Garrett Hollis since before I can remember, and I’ve loved him just as long. I loved him while he loved someone else. I loved him when he had a baby with her. I loved him when she left him.

The greatest of love stories is that between a dad and his daughter. I should know. I’ve had a front row seat. First steps, first words, all the big moments.

Garrett was just a teenager when Mia was born. I’ve watched him braid his daughter’s hair, hold her hand crossing the street, seen her asleep on his chest. I’m the best friend, the one they can count on for everything from dance lessons to motherly advice, anything they need. I’m their go-to girl.

The best part of any love story is the happily ever after.

But what if the happily ever after doesn’t include you?

All my life, that’s how long I’ve loved him.

Of course, he’s clueless.

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2E9rnF9

AppleBooks: https://goo.gl/Y4UjLN

Amazon Worldwide: https://amzn.to/2C60Tlw

Nook:https://goo.gl/KBS5PG

Kobo: https://goo.gl/ouv7qa

Paperback:https://amzn.to/2zZZdZd

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/t1CH95

MY THOUGHTS

I adore Prescott Lane. She always gives you great stories full of emotion, laughter and heart warming love.

Garrett is finding himself an empty-nester at the ripe age of 34. Being a teenage dad had its ups and downs but now that his daughter is graduating, its time for him to finally start living his life. He just never expected that his daughter’s graduation speech would turn his life upside down.

When Garrett’s daughter jokingly tells women that her dad is now available and he needs someone because she is leaving to go to college… and it goes VIRAL!!! Now instead of spending the last few months with his daughter before she leaves, he’s spending his time fending off all the women who are showing up claiming there are the ONES!

His best friend since childhood – Devlyn is his one saving grace. She sees how silly this all is and at least he has someone to confide in. But as the two start to see their lives in a new perspective, a lightbulb finally goes off in Garrett and he starts to see Devlyn as the one who saved him all those years. She stepped up to help him in his darkest hours. But he always just thought it was because she was his best friend… not that she loved him in any way, but did she?

As he finally gets his head out of the sand, the past is charging at him full force… and although his daughter is thrilled to have the prospect of love on the horizon for her dad, Garrett is trying to come to terms with the real love of his life being under his nose this whole time.

I devoured this book and I loved Garrett and Devlyn so much together. If you love a book full of funny moments, a hot sexy single dad and heartwarming father/daughter and friends to lovers, this is the book for you!

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Excerpt:

As far as dates go, this one has been good. I like her. She’s attractive, funny, smart, seems to have her head on straight. All the boxes are checked. This should be the point where I kiss her, ask her out again. I should be devising ways to get in this woman’s panties, but instead I’m thinking more about yanking down the tutu of one very sexy Biscuit Girl. I should be thinking about how to get this woman to fall for me, but it’s me that’s fallen. I should have one thing on my mind, and I do — Devlyn.

There’s just one big ass problem. She’s my friend. I can’t go there. There are so many reasons why I can’t go there. The town would have a field day. We’d have no privacy. Everyone would have an opinion. If we broke up, where would I get a decent cup of coffee? How would Mia react to this? Then there’s Scott, who’s actually the least of my concerns. Devlyn seemed pretty sure it was over, and if it’s not, I plan on convincing her.

I don’t want to lose Devlyn.

Staying friends guarantees her in my life. Dating her doesn’t.

Love doesn’t come with a guarantee.

Love is a risk. I used to be a risk taker, but teenage fatherhood buried that part of me. Stability became the name of the game. It had to. I look towards her diner, wondering if she’s back.

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About Prescott Lane:


Prescott Lane is the Amazon best-selling author of Stripped Raw. She’s got seven other books under her belt including: First Position, Perfectly Broken, Quiet Angel, Wrapped in Lace, Layers of Her, The Reason for Me, and The Sex Bucket List. She is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and holds a degree in sociology and a MSW from Tulane University. She married her college sweetheart, and they currently live in New Orleans with their two children and two crazy dogs. Prescott started writing at the age of five, and sold her first story about a talking turtle to her father for a quarter. She later turned to writing romance novels because there aren’t enough happily ever afters in real life.

Connect with Prescott Lane:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrescottLane1
Twitter: www.twitter.com/prescottlane1
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lfhlrh
Instagram: instagram.com/prescottlane1

Stay up to date with Prescott Lane by joining her mailing list:

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Website: http://www.authorprescottlane.com

 

Lovers at Heart Reimagined by Melissa Foster

Lovers at Heart, Reimagined
The Bradens at Weston

By: Melissa Foster

Releasing Oct 10, 2018
World Literary Press

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A Note From The Author:

Treat Braden and Max Armstrong’s love story is the beginning of my beloved Braden series and introduces you to some of my favorite characters, and to a family that has become so real to me, they’re always by my side. If you haven’t yet met the Bradens, dive in and fall in love with the couple that started the sensation! If you are already a fan of the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection, you may have read Treat and Max’s original story, Lovers at Heart. For the past several years, I have had the nagging feeling that there was more to Treat and Max’s story than I had originally thought. I wanted to give Treat and Max a more mature story without losing the essence of who they are. This is Treat and Max’s story, reimagined, and I hope you love it as much as I do.

In LOVERS AT HEART, REIMAGINED…

Treat Braden wasn’t looking for love when Max Armstrong walked into his Nassau resort, but he saw right through the efficient and capable facade she wore like a shield to the sweet, sensual woman beneath. One magnificent evening together sparked an intense connection, and for the first time in his life Treat wanted more than a casual affair. But something caused Max to turn away, and now, after weeks of unanswered phone calls and longing for the one woman he cannot have, Treat is going back to his family’s ranch to try to finally move on.

A chance encounter brings Treat and Max together again, and it turns into a night of intense passion and honesty. When Max reveals her secret, painful past, Treat vows to do everything within his power to win Max’s heart forever—including helping her finally face her demons head-on.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39334267-lovers-at-heart-reimagined

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/177866-the-bradens-at-weston-co

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Buy Links

➜KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/LAHR_K
➜APPLE: https://apple.co/2pihwTG
➜KOBO: http://smarturl.it/lahr_Ko
➜NOOK: http://bit.ly/2FP4iIo
➜GPLAY: http://bit.ly/2u1d7sZ
➜PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/LAHR_Pb

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My Thoughts

I was so happy to see Treat and Max get a reboot. Although I loved the first story of Treat and Max, I think the retaling of one of my favorite couples, was perfection. Just a little more heat and I think the storyline flowed a little easier this second time around.

Whether you are reading Treat and Max for the first time or tenth time, they are absolutely one of my favorites in the series.

Treat Braden is a successful hotel and resort entrepreneur who is so busy he doesn’t really have time for love. So why was it that all he could think about for the past six months was Max Armstrong, a woman who organized a wedding at his Nassua resort.

He needs to get away. The stress of his job and thinking about the girl who got away are just too much. So what better way than to spend time with his family on their ranch in Colorado. What he never expected was to run into Max.

Sparks fly between the two but Max is running from her own set of problems. The only thing is that Treat wasn’t going to let another opportunity pass him by. Both have been hurt in the past but can they let down their guards long enough to see what’s right in front of them?


Like I said these two are scorching hot together and if you haven’t read any of Melissa’s books, this is a great place to start!.

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Book Excerpt

When he pulled his shirt over his head, her breath rushed from her lungs. She’d seen his perfectly sculpted physique enough times that she shouldn’t still react to it like that, but her love for him continued to grow, and she had a feeling her reactions to him would, too. Her grandmother once told her that she would know she was in love because she’d be able to imagine loving the person no matter what they looked like. As Treat stripped off his pants, she imagined him gray and potbellied, and her heart still adored him. She took that further, imagining an even harder thing to think about. What if he was hurt in an accident? If he lost a limb or was disfigured? As he lowered himself to the blanket wearing only his boxer briefs, she knew her love for him was soul deep, and nothing could change that.

He patted the space beside him. “Sit with me.”

“This might be more dangerous than I had anticipated.” She was only half teasing. Did he really expect her to touch him without wanting to devour him?

He opened his hand, revealing a small bottle of oil.

“You just happen to keep this in the secret closet with the blanket? How much do you pay your friends to say that you don’t bring women up here?”

He tickled her ribs, causing her to squeal. “I don’t lie, sweetness.”

“I was kidding!”

“Good, because I want to be sure you know you can trust me on every level. I’ve never had anyone but Savannah here with me, and I slept on the couch, which is why the blanket is down here. She left the oil here.”

Kneeling by his side, she couldn’t help teasing him. “I’m supposed to buy the old only my sister routine?”

In the next second, Treat was on his feet and heading for the kitchen, where he retrieved his phone. He pushed a button and, a few seconds later, said, “Hey, Vanny. Hold on a sec.”

Max jumped up. “Oh my gosh. No! You know I was kidding!” Mortified didn’t begin to describe the embarrassment she felt.

He lowered his voice and said, “I’ll never have anything to hide from you, and I want you to know it and believe it.”

“I know I can. I was teasing!” she said in a loud whisper.

He put Savannah on speakerphone and said, “Vanny, say hi to Max. I’ve got you on speakerphone.”

“Hey, girl! I had no idea you were going to the Cape!”

Max was surprised by Savannah’s enthusiasm. “I wanted to surprise Treat.”

“Aw, that’s so romantic,” Savannah said happily.

“Hey, Vanny, I found your Apricot Kernel Oil.” Treat grinned, twisting the bottle between his index finger and thumb.

Max covered her face. This cannot really be happening.

“Oh, good. It’s great for aromatherapy. You guys should use it. It’s awesome, and it won’t leave your skin oily.”

Treat blew a kiss to Max and said, “I’m sure we’ll put it to good use.” He took Max’s hand, leading her back to the blanket, and lowered himself to the floor with another victorious smile.

“Was that all you needed?” Savannah asked. “I gotta run. I’m with Connor.”

“I just wanted you to know I had it.”

Max tried to dodge the mortification bullet as he set his phone aside.

“You can ask me anything, Max. I’ll always give you an honest answer, and I’ll never blame you for not believing me, because I know people lie and you’ve been hurt.”

“I was honestly only teasing you. You didn’t have to call her.”

“I knew you were teasing, but I also know you’ve been cheated on and lied to. I’m not taking any chances.” He kissed her tenderly. Then he flipped onto his stomach and stretched out. “Now that that’s out of the way, I believe you wanted to do me?”

“You believe that, do you?” She dripped oil onto his back and began kneading it into his muscles.

“How do you know I didn’t have this preplanned with Savannah?”

Max’s hands stopped moving as she considered his tease. She cracked a smile and said, “Because she’d never go along with it. She likes me.”

“How about because I like you, and I’d never go along with it?”

Swoon! She bent down and kissed his cheek. “That works, too.”

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mel author photo headshot400Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Newsletter: http://melissafoster.com/newsletter/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-foster

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

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