Posted in Anthology, christmas, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 10, 2017

Title: Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms

Author: Leigh Greenwood with Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas

Pub Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis

The Beating Heart of Christmas

Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and—most of all—love.

The six authors participating in this anthology are: USA Today bestseller Leigh Greenwood, USA Today bestseller Rosanne Bittner, New York Times bestseller Linda Broday, RITA finalist Anna Schmidt, New York Times bestseller Margaret Brownley, and USA Today bestseller Amy Sandas.

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Authors

Leigh Greenwood

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Rosanne Bittner

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Linda Broday

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Margaret Brownley

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Anna Schmidt

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Amy Sandas

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Excerpts

In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from bestselling authors Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas

From “Father Christmas” by Leigh Greenwood

“If you’re going to shoot me, get on your feet first.  I’d hate to have it known I was killed by a woman so weak she couldn’t stand up.”

“I can stand up,” Mary insisted.  To prove her point, she threw back the covers and started to get to her feet.  Immediately she felt faint.

Joe caught her before she fell.

“I never met such a foolish woman in my life.  Stay in that bed, or I’ll tie you down.  You can shoot me when you feel better.  Meantime, you’d better give me this.”  He took the pistol from her slackened grasp.  “Next thing you know, you’ll drop it and put a hole through the chicken pot.  I’m not chasing down another rooster.”

Mary started to laugh.  The whole situation was too absurd.  Nothing like this happened to ordinary people.  She was ordinary, so it shouldn’t be happening to her.

She certainly shouldn’t be experiencing this odd feeling.  It almost felt as if she wanted to cry.  But she didn’t feel sad.  She felt bemused and bewildered.  Her brain was numb.  Here she was, completely helpless, and she had tried to shoot the only human who had come along to help her.

She must be losing her mind.

From “A Chick-a-Dee Christmas” by Rosanne Bittner

“Sadie Mae!”  Jake screamed her name as he made it around the other side of the small hill.  He couldn’t see or hear her.  All he saw was Tommy curled up on his knees against one of the boulders, a cougar clawing at his shoulder.

Jesus, where is Sadie Mae!  Jake had to kill the cougar, but the bullet could go right through into Tommy or even into Sadie Mae.  He could kill both of them!

“Grampa!  Grampa!” he heard someone screaming behind him.

The boys must be watching.  “Don’t shoot!” Jake ordered them.

It all happened in a matter of perhaps three seconds.  Jake knew he had no choice.  He cocked and raised his 30-30 Winchester.  A six-gun might not do the job … but the risk!  The risk!  The big cat was moving violently over Tommy.  Sadie Mae must be under him!  One of the other kids could be next!  He aimed … and prayed … and fired … cocked the rifle again … fired again.

 

From “The Christmas Stranger” by Linda Broday

Hank slowly tugged the long silk ribbon from around her neck, trailing the red fabric down one arm. He leaned closer. “There’s some mistletoe right over your head. I hope I’m not pressing my luck, but do you mind if I kiss you again?”

A happy, warm glow swept over her. “I don’t see anyone trying to fight you,” she whispered.

He pulled her up into his arms and drew the ribbon around her, tethering her to him. Sidalee had never felt more alive, more breathless, more…hot.

She tilted her face to him, feeling the wild beat of his heart that matched hers. He gently anchored her against the hard wall of his chest. The moment his lips touched hers, an aching hunger swept through her, turning her knees to pudding.

The yearning for him was so strong she clutched him to keep from falling in a puddle at his feet. One arm curled around his neck just under his hair. The strands brushed her skin like tiny feathers.

That’s when she knew she was falling in love with Hank Destry.

 

From “A Texas Ranger for Christmas” by Margaret Brownley

“Sadie, I care for you. I really do. I care for Adam, too. Is there a chance you and I can—?”

The question hung between them, the air taut with tension. At least he didn’t say love. Had he said he loved her, she would have been a goner for sure.

“No. No chance,” she said. Bad news was best delivered quickly and with as few words as possible.

He looked like she had hit him. “After last night I thought…”

“You thought wrong,” she snapped. Afraid of losing control, she curled her hands tight by her side. “All that fancy talk about retirin’ is just that—talk. You’ll always be a Texas Ranger. You won’t be able to help yourself. Rangers don’t make very good husbands. Don’t make good fathers, either.”

“I told you I planned on quitting and I meant it.”

She heaved a sigh. “Richard told me the same thing, and he’d lasted here at the farm three months. Three lousy months!”

“I’m not Richard.”

“No, but you’re one of them. Just like Richard and my pa. Pa promised to quit, too. But there was always another outlaw to chase. Another call to adventure.”

As a child she couldn’t compete with the lure of the rangers. But neither had she been able to compete as a grown woman.

Cole’s burning eyes held hers. “I’ll always be there for you,” he said, “And that’s a promise.”

She scoffed. “Those are mighty pretty words. They were pretty when Papa said them. They were pretty when Richard said them, too. But you know what? They don’t mean beans.”

For several moments the only sound was Adam banging on the table with his spoon.

“Sadie,” he said at last, his voice thick with emotion. “How can I prove that I mean what I say? What will it take?” His tender eyes met hers. “How can I make you believe that I will never leave you?”

“You can’t,” she whispered. It near broke her heart to say it, but it was better to lose him before the first stirrings of love turned into something deeper. As hard as it was now, it would be so much harder, later. “You can’t.”

From “A Christmas Baby” by Anna Schmidt

Louisa Johnson was late slipping out of the house, but she knew Rico would be there waiting. She had come to a decision and she would not be denied, not even by her father—a man she had adored her entire life, but one who now stood in the way of her being with Rico. She had no idea how to make things right with her father. What she knew with more certainty than she had ever known anything in her nineteen years was that she loved Rico Mendez and he was devoted to her. If her father couldn’t accept that—couldn’t look past their differences and see Rico for the kind, hard-working man he was—then she would have to force his hand.

From “A Christmas Reunion” by Amy Sandas

Her voice hit him like a blow straight to his sternum. Warren took an instinctive step back. Old memories sliced through him like the sharp edge of a scalpel against raw flesh.

It couldn’t be.

They were hundreds of miles from where he had last seen Honey Prentice in Montana. That distance was the only thing that had made it possible for him to come back out West. He had assured himself there was no chance he’d accidentally run into the woman who had torn his heart from his chest all those years ago.

But her gasp as she stepped out into the room told him he’d been wrong.

She was as beautiful as she had been as a girl of seventeen.

And she was not happy to see him.

She crossed the room with long, swift strides that had her cotton skirts whipping about her legs. In an easy movement, she pulled the bearded outlaw’s gun from his belt before he knew what she was about and then turned the weapon on Warren.

Fire flashed in her brown eyes as she held the gun steady with two hands. “What the hell are you doing here, Warren Reed?”

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Posted in 5 paws, Anthology, Cozy, Giveaway, Review on October 28, 2017

Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas
Cozy Mysteries
Self Published
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Print Length: 675 pages
ASIN: B074TVL3HG

Synopsis

Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas is a collection of ten mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novella is a tie-in to an established multi-book series—a total of over 800 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, cozy, and female P.I. mysteries.

Frosted, A Moreno & Hart Novella by Allison Brennan & Laura Griffin—Three years ago LAPD Detective Scarlet Moreno and rookie cop Krista Hart were nearly killed during a botched sting operation. Now, they’re best friends and partners in the Orange County private investigation firm of Moreno & Hart. But their routine assignments are anything but safe.

Crewel Intentions, An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Novella by Lois Winston—Craft editor Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate call for help from former fashion editor Erica Milano, now in Witness Protection. Erica is being stalked and is afraid to notify the authorities. She once saved Anastasia’s life. Will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?

No Quarter, A Cleopatra Jones Novella by Maggie Toussaint—Amnesia, the doctor says when accountant Cleopatra Jones wakes in a distant hospital. Hours later most of her memory returns. Detective Jack Martinez visits Cleo’s nearby wealthy client, only she’s dead and broke. To Cleo’s horror, she’s a murder suspect. Will she totally recover her memory before the killer returns?

What the Widow Knew, A Kali-O’Brien Novella by Jonnie Jacobs—Attorney Kali O’Brien takes on the case of a young woman accused of murdering her much older, very rich husband. As evidence mounts and other possible suspects are eliminated, Kali’s doubts about her client’s innocence grow. Meanwhile, Kali is also grappling with her feelings for longtime boyfriend Detective Bryce Keating.

The Magnesium Murder, A Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—While freelance embalmer Anastasia Brent prepares the body of a young bride-to-be, she learns the girl’s mother suspects foul play. Once again Anastasia is pressed into service as a sleuth, following a trail of clues in search of a murderer and justice.

Honeymoons Can Be Murder, A Lee Alvarez Novella by Heather Haven— When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Smoked Meat, A Carol Sabala Novella by Vinnie Hansen—Baker and wannabe sleuth Carol Sabala visits her mother for a family Christmas get-together. It’s murder, in more ways than one.

A Deadly Fundraiser, A Talk Radio Novella by Mary Kennedy—When radio talk show host Dr. Maggie Walsh and her pals start digging up clues in a scavenger hunt at a glitzy fundraiser, the game suddenly turns deadly. Will Maggie and her team be able to crack the case and solve the crime?

The Color of Fear. A Kelly O’Connell Novella by Judy Alter—Kelly receives a written kidnap threat targeting her infant daughter, Gracie. Kelly’s assistant Keisha narrates as Kelly and her family plot their precautions, but as time passes and the threat still looms, fear takes a toll on the family…and on Keisha.

Papa’s Ghost, A Gladdy Gold Mystery Novella by Rita Lakin—Gladdy and her girls accept an assignment iat a famous resort in Key West, thinking it will combine business with pleasure. Once they arrive, Gladdy suspects something is strange. Not only is their client an unexpected shock, but so is the case of murder they are expected to solve. Can they succeed when a whole city is against them?

Some explicit language in a few of the stories.

Review

I decided to read a few of the stories by authors that were new to me.  I think one of them I had read one of their short stories in the other Sleuthing Women, but not the full series.  I read Frosted, Honeymoons Can Be Murder, What the Widow Knew and Smoked Meat.

All were great shorter stories (some shorter than others!) and I was led around all the characters until the killer was revealed and it was usually someone I didn’t suspect!  All authors are ones that I plan to check out whenever I can whittle down my TBR pile.  I think they all have something great to offer and I can’t wait to read the other stories.

We give this 5 paws up.

 

About Lois Winston

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Website * Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog * Twitter * Pinterest * Newsletter signup

 

 

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Posted in Anthology, Giveaway, romance on March 1, 2016

Spring in Snow Valley

 

Spring in Snow Valley: A Snow Valley Anthology

Operation—Kiss the Girl, Cindy Roland Anderson

Ivy Baker is doomed to marry a man she only pretends to be in love with to save the family ranch. Since she isn’t marrying for love, Ivy secretly creates a kissing wish list composed of scenes from the romance books she loves to read. She hopes to experience at least one kiss from her list before she becomes officially engaged and seals her fate. When she travels to Snow Valley to help her aunt recover from knee surgery, Ivy finds herself falling for Kellen Thomas, an irresistible cowboy she should avoid. By chance Kellen finds Ivy’s list, and decides to make it his mission to help her fulfill her bucket list, turning her world upside down and making Ivy want to choose her heart over duty.

Love Coming Late, Jeanette Lewis

Cynthia Eddington never thought she’d return to Snow Valley after a string of bad luck forced the sale of her beloved farm there. But here she is, about to start a new life with her children, Jackson and Anoria. Cynthia plans to focus on her career and her family; she’s not looking for romance and she’s definitely not looking for sexy cowboy, Colby Schroder.

Running from the Cowboy, Cami Checketts

Missy Horman escaped an abusive marriage and returns to Snow Valley to help her father deal with her emotionally disturbed mother. Volunteering to teach a youth Sunday school class seems like a good way to get out of her comfort zone—until she ends up kissing Porter Wilson in front of a bunch of teenagers. Embarrassed, and secretly thrilled, by the kiss, she writes Porter off as a playboy. But, Missy wasn’t the only one affected and Porter’s new mission in life is to prove that there’s more to him than flirting and world-tilting kisses. He wants to show her that a true cowboy knows how to treat a lady and, if Missy can’t keep her wits about her, she might just let him.

The Bet, Taylor Hart

When Destiny Morningstar gets blackmailed into spending her spring break in Snow Valley, the last thing she’s looking for is a date, especially not with Adam and Chase Moon—two attractive and athletic brothers. But soon she finds herself tangled up in a dating spree that includes a flag football game, swinging around the barn dance, and hiking to Snow Valley’s romantic hot springs with the town’s most eligible bachelors. At every turn she’s within kissing distance of one of the delectable Moon men. When she discovers she’s been part of some bet fueled by sibling rivalry and overactive egos she has to make a decision—forgive them both or miss out on the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

Sealed with a Kiss, Kimberley Montpetit

Jessica Mason and Pastor James are struggling to make their long-distance relationship work between Snow Valley and New Orleans where Jessica dances with the local ballet company. When April Murphy, a war widow with a child, shows up in Snow Valley, James reluctantly begins to wonder if he and Jessica are really meant to be. April would make the perfect pastor’s wife and he’d have an instant family and the stability he craves. But he can’t get the spitfire Jessica out of his mind and when she returns to Snow Valley to accept an inheritance, her male ballet partner in tow, the love triangle takes on a new edge. Can Jessica and James figure out how to create a family while living in two different states—or do they allow their hearts to move on and forget the passion they once shared?

Romancing a Husband, Lucy McConnell

Natalie Lawson is at a crossroads. Her husband is down on his luck and some days he’s just plain down while Natalie is moving forward, gaining promotions and starting new adventures. In some ways, they’ve grown apart and Natalie can’t help but wonder if her path through life will always include Eli. When tragedy throws them together, Natalie learns a profound lesson that may save her marriage and provide the key to romancing a husband.

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