Posted in christmas, excerpt, romance on November 14, 2017

Synopsis

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

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Excerpt

At the empathetic tone in Sean’s voice, Lotti’s heart and stomach and head all clenched in unison. “What do you mean you can’t give me what I want?” she asked. “All you have to do is walk away.”

“Tried that already,” he said. “And it was the biggest mistake of my life.” He brought her hand up to his mouth and met her gaze over their entwined hands.

He was looking at her like . . . well, she wasn’t sure what was going on in his head, but her thoughts were racing along with her pulse.

“You’re incredible, Lotti. I hope you know that.” Very slowly, clearly giving her time to object, he pulled her into him.

Her breath caught at the connection and his eyes heated in response as he slid a hand up her spine and then back down again, pressing her in tight to him from chest to thighs and everywhere in between. His nose was cold at the crook of her neck, but his breath was warm against her skin. She felt his lips press against the sensitive spot just behind her ear and she shivered. “You’re trembling,” he said, his voice low. “Are you cold?”

“No,” she whispered. Try the opposite of cold . . .

“Nervous?”

“No.” Not even close. The way his mouth moved across her skin was making her warm all over. Not that she could articulate that with his body pressed to hers and his fingers dancing over her skin. She was literally quivering as the memories of what it felt like to be touched by him washed over her, as if no time at all had gone by.

Yes, she’d let him think that their time together had sucked for her. But it hadn’t. Not even close. That long-ago night he’d evoked feelings and a hunger in her that she’d never forgotten. “I’ve just had a long day,” she said.

“I know. I’m going to make it better.” He pressed a kiss at the juncture of her jaw and ear before he made his way to her lips for a slow, hot kiss, his mouth both familiar and yet somehow brand-new. She was so far gone that when he pulled back she protested with a moan, but he held her tight, staring down at her with heated eyes. “Just checking,” he murmured.

“Checking what?”

“That you want this as badly as I do.”

 

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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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 christmas, excerpt, Giveaway, romance on November 1, 2017

Title: A Very Cowboy Christmas

Author: Kim Redford

Series: Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, #3

Pub Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis

Third in a spicy contemporary cowboy series from acclaimed author Kim Redford. Sydney Steele needs to wrangle cowboy firefighters to model for her charity Christmas calendar, and Dune Barrett—who she has in mind for Mr. December—is just the man for the job.

There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas…

Christmas is coming up, and single mom Sydney Steele is determined to make this a holiday to remember for Wildcat Bluff County. She still has to get those pesky, reluctant—and deliciously attractive—firefighting cowboys to pose for her charity calendar. They claim they’re too busy pursuing an unknown arsonist to take a break.

Dune Barrett has been flirting with Sydney for months, so he jumps at the chance to give her a hand. And when he agrees to pose as Mr. December, she couldn’t be happier. But to really win her over, Dune will have to convince eleven other guys from his crew to exploit their good looks for charity…a task much easier said than done.

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A note from Kim Redford

As a holiday tradition, imagine a big, roaring bonfire with red and orange flames leaping upward along with spirals of pale smoke. I’ll be in my chair beside the fire, along with family and friends, in an open meadow surrounded by the sight and scent of evergreen trees. Bright stars twinkle in the canopy of dark sky above us. Dogs and cats lounge here and there. Guitar and flute and voice serenade us with favorite Christmas carols and old-time country songs that stir fond memories of our close community of loved ones, as well as those who are no longer with us or who are too far away to be there. We drink hot apple cider, roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and make s’mores as we sing and visit while making plans for another wonderful year.

And just so you know, there’s always room for one more at our bonfire.

Excerpt

Sydney felt the heat of Dune’s gaze and glanced up at him. He’d moved closer. She inched toward Celeste, her 1959 pink Cadillac, but if she backed up any farther, she’d be impaled on the tinsel-wrapped longhorns. Drat that gleam in his blue eyes. He had it whenever he was around her, and it had a tendency to strike sparks in her.

“You want me to look under the hood?” He leaned forward with a little quirk of his sensual lips.

So kissable. She squashed that thought and immediately was swamped with another one that had him looking under her skirt instead of the hood. What was wrong with her? She definitely did not want him looking anywhere but at her convertible. She had to get her mind back on business.

“Are you in a hurry?”

“Yes!” She was in a hurry to get away from him, or she’d be wearing tank tops instead of sweaters this Christmas.

“You want to step away from Celeste?”

How could she when he was right in front of her? If she made a single move, she’d be right up against his body. If she could’ve, she would’ve looked into the distance to try to clear her mind of unacceptable thoughts, but she couldn’t see over his broad shoulders. He totally filled her world with his presence.

“Guess you’ve got a lot on your mind.”

She rolled her eyes. He didn’t know the half of it. She caught her lower lip with her upper teeth in frustration.

He reached out, tugged her lip free with the pad of his thumb, and gently rubbed back and forth as if to soothe a hurt. “No need to worry. I’m here to help you now.”

She felt chills run up her spine at his gentleness and concern. She didn’t mean to do it—and wouldn’t have been so bold if he hadn’t short-circuited her brain—but she flicked the tip of her tongue over the edge of his thumb and tasted the essence of him. All male.

“Now, why’d you go and do something I can’t resist?” He eased his thumb across her lower lip, down her jaw, and captured the back of her neck with his fingers to hold her head in place as he lowered his face toward her.

She knew a kiss was coming—right on the side of Wildcat Road in front of the whole county—and she knew she should say something or do something to stop him, but she wanted his kiss more than anything else she could imagine at that moment. It’d been so long since a man had held her or kissed her that she wasn’t sure she even knew how to respond anymore.

When his lips finally touched hers—just a gentle brush really, as if he was gauging her response—she felt swept up in a blazing wildfire.

And yet she sought to keep her wits about her. She should focus on business, not her own sudden need. She put her hands flat against his broad chest to push him back, but she quickly realized she couldn’t budge him because he was so much bigger and stronger. She felt a little shock. She was five ten—although she’d claimed to be six feet tall since her high school basketball days when height was critical—and sported enough muscle to work a ranch, but he made her feel almost petite.

She intended to push him away—absolutely, no doubt about it. Instead, she found her hands slowly sliding up his chest, making her hyperaware of the soft cotton of his shirt as his muscles hardened under her touch. All her senses came shockingly alive. She heard a mockingbird’s song, caught the tangy scent of cedar trees, and Dune’s taste still lingered on her tongue. He didn’t move a millimeter, as if he’d waited a lifetime for her to touch him.

When she reached his shoulders, he gave her another feather-light kiss that promised more than it gave. Not nearly enough, not now that her mind had given way to her body. She sighed against his soft lips and clasped his shoulders to pull him closer. He groaned—as if the ragged sound was torn from his gut—at her response to him. She returned his kiss, teasing his lips with the tip of her tongue until she tore another groan from him, and he plunged inside while he crushed her against him, holding her head in one hand and her waist in the other as if he’d never let her go.

She moaned as she thrust her fingers into his thick hair, shivering with heat as he plundered her mouth and made her weak in the knees. She quickly realized that she had an answer to her question. No, indeed, she hadn’t forgotten how to give or receive a kiss, particularly one of this magnitude.

Finally, when she was putty in his hands, he raised his head and looked at her with eyes the color of midnight. She simply blinked in response, unable to articulate a single word.

“If you let me into your life—even a little bit—I promise not to disappoint you.”

About the Author

KIM REDFORD is an acclaimed author of Western romance. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard.

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Giveaway

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Posted in animals, christmas, excerpt, Holiday, romance on October 18, 2017

Synopsis

Sit! Stay! Speak! author Annie England Noblin’s novel takes one woman starting over, adds an aging pug named Teddy Roosevelt, and proves the power of a well-baked dog treat.

All she wants is a settled-down life.

What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

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Excerpt

After dinner, Nathan refilled their wineglasses and led her into the living room. Sasha and Teddy had settled there as well, and when Nathan built a fire in the fireplace, Teddy dropped right in front of it and started to snore. Sasha wasn’t far behind him.

“The living room at Mrs. Neumann’s house has a fireplace, too,” Brydie said. “I thought about lighting it the other night, but it hasn’t been lit in ages.”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate it if you burned her house down trying to light the fireplace,” Nathan replied.

“No, I can’t imagine that would make her too happy.”

“Listen,” Nathan said, scooting closer to her on the couch. “I’m sorry if I asked too many intrusive questions earlier. I’m hopeless at small talk, and when I get nervous, I tend to fall back into doctor mode. I swear I didn’t mean to interrogate you over chicken.”

“That’s okay,” Brydie replied. “It was actually kind of nice to talk about it with someone who doesn’t know anything about my life before I moved here.”

“How do you like Memphis so far?”

“It’s getting better,” Brydie said with a sly grin. Between the wine and the fire, she felt deliciously warm.

“I’m glad to hear it.”

Brydie watched him watching her. She liked the way his curly black hair fell in his eyes when he was concentrating. She liked the way his T-shirt fit, not too loose or too tight. She liked the way he asked her questions—soft, curious, but not intrusive. It made her want to tell him everything, anything, just to keep him looking at her. Paying attention to her.

But more than that, she realized, there was something familiar about him, comfortable. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but despite the constant butterflies in her stomach, he made her feel calmer somehow. She could understand why people would be drawn to him as a doctor. She could even understand why a woman might visit her elderly aunt in order to be near him.

Nathan moved a hand up to Brydie’s face, tucking a wandering strand of damp hair behind her ear. It sent a bolt of electricity through her, and when he moved his hand away, Brydie felt herself grabbing a fistful of his T-shirt and pulling him closer to her until her mouth was on his, and she could taste the wine on his lips.

Brydie fell back into the couch and pulled Nathan down on top of her. She could feel his hands exploring her body underneath her T-shirt, and she burned with a need she hadn’t known existed until that very moment.

“Do you want—” Nathan began in between frenzied kisses, but before he could finish, the ringing of his phone in his pocket cut him off.

“Ignore it,” Brydie murmured.

“I can’t,” Nathan said, pulling himself away from her with a groan. “I’m on call at the nursing home tonight.”

About the Author

Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the Red Booth Review and the Moon City Review. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

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Posted in 4 paws, Christian, christmas, Giveaway, Review, romance on November 17, 2016

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SLEIGH BELLS RING 

Four Contemporary Romance Novellas

by

Sandra D. Bricker, Lynette Sowell,

Barbara J. Scott, & Lenora Worth

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Gilead Publishing

Date of Publication: October 14, 2016

Number of Pages: 320

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synopsis

cover-sleigh-bells

Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters.

Never mind a pony. The Tucker girls have inherited their father’s horse farm for Christmas. Make that . . . a run-down horse farm. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they’re at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again?

One thing’s for sure—nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it’s not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart.

Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas?

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Review
4 novellas about the Tucker sisters that come home to KY for Christmas after receiving letters from their father that passed away shortly before that. Each sister has their own issues with their father, but with faith and each other they are able to overcome and forgive him. And of course each sister finds love, so that doesn’t hurt either!

I don’t know if anyone stands out more than the other but I do like how the authors worked together so even though these are 4 stories they run together seamlessly. I wondered how that would work, if they all collaborated on the town and certain points or if one author set up the background and they all used it to create their stories.

When it comes to the romance side, two sisters reunite with past loves/crushes, one sister deepens her relationship with her boyfriend and the last sister finds love again after being widowed. I do think in Amy’s case (the widow) that the love happened awfully fast, but it is a novella and sometimes love does strike that quickly.

This book will lift your spirits and leave you with a good feeling.

We give it 4 paws up!

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AboutTheAuthors

Writing is usually a solitary act, but reader-favorite authors (and friends) Sandra D Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth got a happy Christmas miracle when invited to work together on Sleigh Bells Ring.

Watch for Author Spotlights to learn more about each of the Sleigh Bells Rings authors!

Sandra Bricker * Lynette Sowell * Barbara Scott * Lenora Worth

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5 COPIES OF SLEIGH BELLS RING SIGNED BY ONE OF THE AUTHORS!

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November 14 – November 23, 2016

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

 

11/14 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
11/15 Author Spotlight Books and Broomsticks
11/16 Promo Reading By Moonlight
11/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
11/18 Author Spotlight Margie’s Must Reads
11/19 Author Spotlight Country Girl Bookaholic
11/20 Review Momma On The Rocks
11/21 Promo Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
11/22 Author Spotlight The Page Unbound
11/23 Review Kara The Redhead

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Posted in christmas, excerpt, Giveaway, romance on November 17, 2016

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Synopsis

Two gorgeous stories about the most romantic time of the year…

The holidays don’t have to be fraught with tension, as lifelong friends Lily Cavanaugh and Cameron Greene discover in Mistletoe Between Friends when they cook up a scheme to fool their family and friends.

The Snowflake Inn shows rivals Grace Brodie and Riley Walsh that Christmas is a time when dreams come true—even if you’ve given up on those dreams long ago.

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Excerpts

Mistletoe Between Friends

Monday morning came way too soon for Lily. She’d given herself multiple pep talks and reminded herself how important it was to do the right thing for Cam.

It just sucked that the right thing for Cam was going to be torture for her.

Ever on time, Cameron arrived to pick Lily up at exactly 7:00 a.m. Knowing he was a stickler about time, she’d made sure that she was ready and waiting for him. But she could tell by the look on his face when she opened the door that he was surprised she was ready.

“What?” she asked.

Cam looked her up and down and then at the suitcase beside her. “You’re ready,” he said with just a hint of disbelief.

A shy smile crept across Lily’s face. “You told me you’d be here at seven, so I was ready for seven. Actually, I was ready at six forty-five. Impressive, right?”

His eyes narrowed slightly. “You’re never ready when I tell you what time I’m coming to pick you up. I build a cushion for Lily time.”

The smile shifted to playful annoyance as Lily cocked a hip and crossed her arms over her chest. “If it would make you feel better, I can change clothes and decide that I want a bowl of cereal before we leave.”

“No, no,” he said with a slight chuckle. “I’m sorry. I guess I should have just said thank you, right?”

“No,” she corrected. “You should have offered to put my suitcase in the car because all this chitchat will make us late.” Without another word, Cameron reached beyond Lily and grabbed her case while she locked up her condo. “I watched the Weather Channel last night while I was packing, and they said it’s going to snow while we’re up there. Won’t that be beautiful? We can see snow in Central Park!”

Cam shrugged; he’d never given much thought to snow in Manhattan and didn’t care about it now. They lived just outside of Raleigh, so it wasn’t as if they’d never seen snow before. But that was just one of the things about Lily he adored—that the little things in life made her happy.

Lily had a bigger heart than anyone he’d ever known. He knew that even though she made light of it, she was easily hurt by her family. It didn’t help that her parents always made her feel like she wasn’t living up to her full potential, or that she had an older sister everyone seemed to think walked on water. Cam knew the real Lily. If anyone took the time to get to know her and saw beyond her inability to find a career, they’d see a person who’d give them the world.

For as far back as Cameron could remember, he’d been in love with Lily Cavanaugh. While everyone else around them treated him like a freak because of his intelligence, Lily always considered him Cam, her friend. He’d never once thought about telling her how he felt because the last thing he wanted was to lose Lily as his friend. Most days, she was the only one who kept him sane.

And now he was going to have her to himself for nearly a week.

Once they were on the road, Cam glanced over at Lily and saw the serene smile on her face. “What are you thinking about right now?” he asked.

“Actually, I was wondering if we were going to play the part of boyfriend and girlfriend during your conference or if we were waiting to kick it into gear when we got back.”

He nodded and then pondered the situation. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try out the act around my colleagues before we return home.” His tone was rather cut and dried, like he was talking about a root canal.

“How about a little enthusiasm, champ?” she asked sarcastically. “This was your idea, remember? And if we’re going to pull this off and get four months of freedom from our parents, you can’t talk about our relationship like it’s a chore.”

Cam turned to look at her as if she were crazy. “Talk about our relationship? It’s seven fifteen in the morning, Lil. We haven’t been around anybody except each other. What do you want me to do?”

She sighed. “You’ll need to show a little more excitement if you’re going to be believable as my boyfriend.”

What had he gotten himself into? “Why, exactly, do I have to do that?”

“Cam, everyone who knows me knows that I’m a fairly happy-go-lucky person. You and I are complete opposites. I’m going to have to tone it down a little, but on the flip side, you’re going to have to kick it up a notch. You know, crack a smile or a joke once in a while. Laugh.” She looked at him quizzically. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

Honestly, he didn’t. When he had devised the plan to have a make-believe romance with Lily to survive the holidays, Cam had simply thought that by saying they were involved, people would get off their backs. But as Lily explained the complexities of the situation, he realized he was greatly unprepared.

And that was simply unacceptable.

Taking a fortifying breath, he said, “Okay. It’s not like we have to play twenty questions to know each other better. We already know everything about each other. What do you suggest?”

“Well,” she said, “it would probably help if we held hands when out in public.”

Cameron considered her suggestions and—without reacting in any way, shape, or form—decided that this wasn’t going to be such a bad thing after all. He’d finally have the opportunity to touch Lily, to kiss Lily, and it was all her idea. He really was brilliant.

“Seems simple enough,” Cam said. “Done.” He reached for her hand and held it while he focused on the road and drove one-handed. He wouldn’t normally do that because safety dictated that he drive with his hands in the ten-and-two position. It took all of thirty seconds for him to start to squirm.

“This is physically painful for you, isn’t it?”

“What? No,” he denied although he was lying through his teeth. He wanted to concentrate on the feel of her hand in his, but couldn’t when they were on the road.

Lily pulled her hand away and almost burst out laughing at how quickly Cam’s hand went back to the steering wheel. “Okay, baby steps. We’ll only hold hands when we’re walking. How does that sound?” She smiled at the annoyance on Cam’s face.

“Safety isn’t something to take lightly, Lily.”

“Of course it isn’t,” she agreed. “I mean, driving twenty miles under the speed limit and one-handed? What was I thinking?”

“It’s a little early for all of this sarcasm,” he said dryly. “So other than hand-holding, what am I supposed to do?”

Was he kidding? At this rate, she could probably convince him to act out every one of her fantasies that she’d ever had about him. But that would be wrong.

Wouldn’t it?

Yes, yes, yes. Bad Lily! What were you thinking?

“Kissing,” she said before she could stop herself. “We’ll probably have to kiss in front of people from time to time. And none of that buddy-buddy, on-the-cheek stuff. Like…real kissing.”

Bad, bad Lily!

She saw him considering the idea from all sides as usual. He never agreed to anything without thinking it through. “I guess I can,” he said, seeming bored with the idea.

“That’s the spirit,” she said and was relieved to see them turning onto the exit ramp for the airport. If all went well, within a matter of hours she would be walking around Manhattan with Cam and presenting the image of a happy couple.

Project Girlfriend had begun!

The Snowflake Inn

She was feeling the burn and could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel—or in this case, the clearing in the trees that meant the parking lot was close—when it happened. Her knee buckled. A cry of dismay escaped before she could help it, and next thing she knew, she was on the ground.

“Dammit,” she cried, pulling her knee to her chest as she rocked. “Why now?” Tears threatened to fall, and all she could think about was the walk to the car and how painful it was going to be. As much as her physical therapist had told her recovery would take time, Grace felt like her body had betrayed her.

“Are you all right?” a deep male voice said from behind her.

Uh-oh… Cute Angry Guy is here, and he’s talking to me! Looking up…and up…and up, her eyes finally met his. Holy cow.

“Miss?”

Oh, right. He asked you a question. “What? Oh, sorry… Um… Yes, I’m fine,” she stammered and tried again to stand. But her darn knee wasn’t quite onboard with the rest of her, and she went down again. She muttered a curse and felt a blush creep up her cheeks in embarrassment.

He quirked a brow as he looked at her. “You don’t look like you’re fine,” he said seriously and crouched beside her. “Did you hurt your knee?”

Grace nodded. “About six months ago in a skiing accident. I was in rehab and physical therapy for months. I just decided to try to go back to my jogging routine—at a slower pace, of course—and I thought I was doing okay. Until about five minutes ago.”

Cute Angry Guy nodded. “You probably just pushed yourself a little too hard.”

She shook her head. “In therapy, I can run twice as long without any issues.”

“That’s on a treadmill. This is an uneven jogging path. It’s completely different.”

Now she glared at him. “Thanks for pointing out the obvious,” she snapped. If she had better luck, she’d be able to jump to her feet and walk away with a sassy sway to her hips.

Clearly, she had no luck. On her third attempt at standing, Cute Angry Guy wrapped a strong arm around her back and helped her to her feet. “Thank you,” she said quietly and did her best to disengage from his embrace. But he didn’t let her go. Looking up, Grace found herself trapped by the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Her breath seemed to catch, and she couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe. The only thing saving her from complete and total embarrassment was the fact that he seemed just as mesmerized by her as she was by him.

“Can you walk?” he finally asked, his voice sounding rough to her ears. Nodding weakly, unwilling to break their eye contact, she tried once again to move away, but his arm seemed to tighten around her. “I’ll walk you to your car.”

He clearly wasn’t big on conversation. At the moment, that suited Grace just fine because she was having a hard time remembering how to form words. Cute Angry Guy was big and a feast for all of her senses, but she had to be careful to remember that he was a stranger. She knew nothing about him, and as much as she wanted to ask him at least a dozen questions, there was something to be said for companionable silence.

And walking really close together.

Deciding to just enjoy the moment, Grace pressed herself more firmly against his warm, solid frame and began to walk slowly with him toward her car. With the way they had been seeing each other all around town for the past couple of days, she figured he’d know which car was hers without her saying anything.

Sure enough, he did.

As they approached her little white sedan, they stopped and Grace pulled her keys out of her jacket pocket. It was then that she realized what a complete mess she must look like: black leggings, white jacket, and a green wool scarf to match her green socks…ugh. And then there was the hair.

She was so not going to think about the hair.

Normally after her jog, Grace would take a few minutes in the car to relax and apply some lip gloss and fix her hair before going anyplace else. That was why she hadn’t been worried about approaching him the other day in Starbucks. But now that he’d seen her in this—well, in all her ill-fated glory—she was certain her current appearance had killed any attraction (real or imagined).

Quickly and painfully.

Awesome.

“So, um…thanks for the help,” she said, feeling awkward. She fidgeted with her hair, doing her best to tame it, and cursed herself for refusing to wear a hat. At least a hat could have camouflaged the flyaway mess.

His lips twitched with an almost-smile as he watched her fidget around. “Are you going to be okay to drive?”

Grace ran her hand through her hair and cursed when it got stuck. With a wince, she pulled it out and forced herself to play with her keys and try to remain calm. “Yes,” she said, wishing that the parking lot would just open up beneath her and take her away. “I’ll be fine. I’ll go home and do the whole ice-and-heat thing, take some ibuprofen, and call it a day.”

“You should probably call your therapist and let him take a look at it.”

She shook her head. “I don’t have one here.”

“Then you should set up an appointment for when you get home.”

Grace gave him an odd look. “Get home? I am home. I live here.”

Now it was Cute Angry Guy’s turn to give her an odd look. “You live here?”

She nodded. “I just moved here about six weeks ago. I thought I was done with therapy, so I haven’t bothered to look up a therapist. But I guess I’ll have to now.” She shrugged and turned to unlock her car. Once the door was open, she turned and forced a smile on her face. “Anyway,” she said and did her best to relax, “thank you for the help.”

“My pleasure.” His voice was deep and a little rough, and Grace almost wanted to purr. Hearing the word pleasure come from that mouth—which was pretty spectacular too—had her heart rate going into overdrive.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you around,” she said brightly and sat in the car, wincing slightly as she bent her leg.

“Don’t wait to find a therapist. Call the one you know and see if you can get a referral.”

“Thanks, I will.” She was just about to ask his name, but he turned and walked away. And the rear view was as enticing as the front one. Grace almost had to fan herself. Her first instinct was to call out to him, but really, it was probably better not to. If he had been following her these past couple of days, wouldn’t he have asked for her name or phone number? The fact he hadn’t just proved Grace was imagining things. Bad hair and wardrobe aside, the man couldn’t seem to get away from her fast enough.

With a depressed sigh, Grace pulled the car door shut and decided to cut her losses and go. The drive through the small downtown area didn’t take long, and when she saw Starbucks coming up, she decided she could deal with the pain for a little bit longer. A white-chocolate peppermint mocha would go a long way in helping her deal with it, of that she was certain.

It didn’t take long to park, and then she was surrounded by people she was coming to know. She smiled and made small talk while she waited her turn in line at the coffee shop. When one person was left in front of her, Grace felt an odd tingle go down her spine. Turning her head, she had to suppress a grin. There in the doorway stood Cute Angry Guy, and if her eyes weren’t deceiving her, he was doing his best to suppress his own smile.

She wished he’d stop trying to hide it. With a face like that, he had to have a smile that was positively breathtaking. Certain she’d never really know, Grace turned her attention back to the counter and placed her order as she made her way to the register to pay. She was mentally congratulating herself on the fact she hadn’t turned around again. Self-control—she’d known she had it in her somewhere.

“Thank you,” Grace said with a smile as she took the hot beverage from the young barista. Turning slowly in the crowd, she made her way carefully to the door, still doing her best to not look around and see if cute-angry-smirking-guy was still there. I guess I’ll never know, she sighed inwardly and headed back out to her car.

If her knee hadn’t been in so much pain, Grace was certain she’d have a little pep in her step. Being rescued by a sexy stranger was certainly a great way to start her day. A quick glance at her watch showed she needed to get moving or she’d be late for work. And with so much on the line, the last thing she wanted to do was mess that up.

Although she doubted anyone would blame her if they had seen the sexy reason for her delay.

Abut the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Teaching creative writing to students from elementary through high school motivated Samantha to take that step as well. Since then, she has become a NYT and USA today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of 24 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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Posted in christmas, excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on November 16, 2016

true-blue-coverTitle: True-Blue Cowboy Christmas

Series: Big Sky Cowboys, #3

Author: Nicole Helm

Pub Date: October 4, 2016

ISBN: 9781492641537

Synopsis

BIG SKY CHRISTMAS

Thack Lane has his hands full. For the past seven years, he’s been struggling to move on from his wife’s tragic death and raise a daughter all by his lonesome. He doesn’t have time for himself, much less a cheerful new neighbor with a smile that can light up the ranch.

Christmas spirit? Bah, humbug.

With Christmas right around the corner, Summer Shaw is searching for somewhere to belong. When her neighbor’s young daughter takes a shine to her, she is thrilled. But Thack is something else altogether. He’s got walls around his heart that no amount of holiday wishes can scale. Yet as joy comes creeping back to the lonely homestead, Summer and Thack may just find their happily ever after before the last of the Christmas miracles are through…

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Excerpt

Summer started walking, but Thack took the guitar case from her. “Here, let me help.”

It wasn’t necessary, but it was awfully nice. Especially when his free hand took hers, their fingers intertwining. It was like the culmination of so much desperate belief—that not all men were like the men Summer had met through her mother. That something sweet and easy and normal could exist, and that it could be something she might earn. She swallowed at the lump in her throat. How silly she was to be emotional over something so…little.

The frigid, dark air helped her get her bearings. She led him to where her car was parked, and he helped her load the guitar in the back. When she shut the door, she turned to look at him and managed her best flirtatious-if-nervous smile. “So. Walk?” Though she didn’t know how long they’d last in the freezing temperatures, she thought she might tempt frostbite if it meant spending time with him.

“Yeah. Just…one thing first.”

Before she could even ask what, his mouth was on hers and she sighed into the kiss, leaning into him. She loved the way his hands tangled in her hair, that even though they weren’t exactly at ease around each other one hundred percent of the time, this was easy.

No, easy wasn’t the right word. It just worked. Their bodies fit and somehow his mouth always knew exactly how to move against hers, like they had been built to match in all of the right places—two puzzle pieces that on the surface hadn’t looked like they would fit together.

But the surface was never the whole story, and while for the past two years she’d desperately tried to make the layers fit, she couldn’t erase those first twenty years of her life.

Somehow, kissing Thack in the middle of a dark Montana town, she found she no longer wanted to erase the experience of those years. It was a part of her, a part of how she’d gotten here, to this place where his kiss, his hands, he felt like magic.

She wanted more. He wanted more. They wanted each other. She didn’t want to freeze her butt off on a walk down Main Street. Not when, for the first time, their time together was truly just the two of them. No matter where this took them, that was something to grab with both hands and not waste.

“We could skip the walk,” she said, holding on to his coat, ignoring the press of the car door handle in her back.

His eyes narrowed as if he wasn’t quite certain she was suggesting what he thought she was suggesting. “Um. What exactly would we do instead?”

“You could take me home.” She sounded breathless and probably ridiculous, but she didn’t care. This was something she’d dreamed about. Over the years, she had put a great deal of thought into the details—when and how, and what type of person would be the one she would want to give those last pieces of herself to.

Thack wasn’t exactly what she’d pictured, but at the same time, he was more. Strong, steady, dedicated. Everything about him awed her. He had her pressed against a car door, and she was deliriously excited with it. How could she not want to jump in feet first?

“But we have two cars and… I’m taking this too literally, aren’t I?”

She couldn’t stifle the laugh, both happy and nervous. “You are. I mean, if you have to get back to Kate, I understand. But you could escort me home. If you have the time. If you want.”

“Dad said he’d call if he and Mrs. Bart needed me, so I could take you home. You know, I…I’m kind of curious about what the inside of that thing you live in looks like.”

“I’ll give you a tour.”

“Thank you for being ten times better at this whole flirting thing than I am.” He brushed a kiss against her mouth.

She smiled up at him. “Luckily, you make up for the bad flirting in the kissing department.”

He gave a short laugh. “Not a bad trade.”

She took a deep breath and mustered all of her courage and all of her determination. She set goals, and she reached them. Thack didn’t have to be any different. “So, follow me home?”

He gave a short nod and held the driver’s side door open for her as she slid in. She started the old clunker, only partially sad when it actually started. It would have been kind of nice if he’d been able to drive her home.

Oh well. “Parked around front?”

“Ah, yes. Meet me there?”

“Yup.”

He hesitated again, then smiled. “I’ll see you soon.” Carefully, he closed her door. In the rearview mirror, she watched him walk away, her heart pounding wildly. She’d invited him to her place. She’d offered a tour, which she hoped was obviously more euphemism than reality.

Well, it didn’t matter. Because tonight…tonight she was going to go after exactly what she wanted.

 

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Guest Post

Top Five Holiday Traditions

I admit it, I’m a Christmas junkie. I used to take boxes of Christmas decorations to my college dorm/apartment every year. I have three trees in my basement and a plethora of tubs of ornaments, books, sparkly things, decorative plates and the like. December is all Christmas music all the time. I love Christmas.

Which was why it was fun to mix the magic of Christmas and the magic of romance in True-Blue Cowboy Christmas. My favorite part of Christmas is family, which is why I brought the whole crazy Shaw clan together for this final book in my Big Sky Cowboys series.

To me, the holidays are all about love, so my favorite holiday traditions are either done with family or because they remind me of family.

  1. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life. When I was growing up, this was something we always did on Christmas Eve (much to the complaints of my younger sisters). But It’s A Wonderful Life is by far my favorite Christmas movie, and in my adulthood no one will watch it with me, so I usually watch it late Christmas Eve night when I’m wrapping up the kids’ presents, and that’s actually become one of my favorite traditions in it of itself. Though I love the holiday season because I get to see family and spend time with loved ones, it’s nice to have a few hours of quiet in the midst of all the visiting to enjoy a movie about finding hope and peace while I’m creating magic for my guys.
  1. Christmas Lights Looking. Every year, at least once, we go to one of the parks in our area completely decorated in Christmas lights. It’s always fun to see what people can do and the cute displays different parks come up with. My kids ooh and ahh over the blinking, giant lights, the radio plays soft Christmas music, and we all get to be together experiencing something beautiful.
  1. Go to Iowa. This probably isn’t on everyone’s favorite traditions list (but if it is, Iowa fist bump), but my extended family is mostly in Iowa, which means every year since my family moved away we make the trek up the Avenue of Saints to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. This was always my favorite part of Christmas as a kid, and now as an adult I love sending my kids down to the basement with my cousins’ kids to play, because that’s what my cousins and sisters and I all did as kids. Eating cookies my grandma gets from her church cookie swap, or letting them run out into the yard to play in the snow with my grandpa’s dogs—just like I did as a kid.
  1. Making Sugar Cookies. I can vividly remember standing on a chair in my grandma’s kitchen and decorating sugar cookies cut out into different Christmas shapes, and it just isn’t Christmas without spending a day making edible snowmen, snowflakes, santa hates and the like. These days, it’s usually my own kitchen with my mom and boys, or my mother-in-law’s kitchen with my sisters-in-law. Either way, there’s something special about making and decorating things together, and I hope my kids remember it as adults.
  1. Eating! I’m sorry, it’s true, I love eating through the holidays! There are a lot of one-time treats that come out at my house, or in the houses we visit. I love to make Kringla, but it’s a pain, so I only make it at Christmas time. My grandma always has gingerbread cake, which feels especially like Christmas to me, plus the afore-mentioned sugar cookies. My mom or I make Swedish Rye Bread. My tastebuds are always very happy the week of Christmas. And all these eating usually happens with some of my favorite people in the world, which makes it that much more fun.

There are a million other things I love to do around Christmas time as well, but I’ll spare you my never-ending list. True-Blue Cowboy Christmas features a few (Rudolph, tree trimming, etc), and if you’re looking for a heart-warming Christmas read, I hope you’ll check it out.

About the Author

NICOLE HELM writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in neighbors who don’t live close enough to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time day dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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Posted in 4 paws, christmas, DVD, Giveaway, Review on November 5, 2016

the-christmas-project-blog-tour-banner

christmas-project-cover
The Christmas Project (releasing November 3rd on DVD)
Staring: JACOB BUSTER (The Christmas Dragon, Storm Rider, Christmas for a Dollar)
Run Time: 1h 32m

Synopsis

Christmastime is full of traditions, especially in the Buckley family. With their home perfectly trimmed for the Christmas season it is now time to choose a family the four Buckley brothers along with mom and dad will secretly “Elve”. This year Mom has decided on the Hagbarts, and according to the Buckley boys they are the meanest bullies at their school. Eleven-year-old Matthew can hardly stand it. By day the Hagbarts torture the Buckley brothers into submission, and by night the Buckleys drop of thoughtful Christmas gifts and treats to their sworn enemies. What will happen when Matthew is faced with a choice of ultimate revenge or doing good to others? The Christmas Project is a heartwarming comedy the whole family will enjoy.

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Review

This movie has a message you would expect to hear in a Christmas movie – love and tolerance – told from the eyes of Matthew, a 6th grader in 1986.  You may or may not remember those days, but if you do you will appreciate the lack of cell phones, video games, computers and such.  In fact, the big excitement for the Buckley Brothers is waiting on the Christmas Catalog so they can decide what they want to put on their Christmas wish lists.

The movie was good – it made me laugh, cry a little and reminded me what Christmas really means.  I liked the Buckley family and how close they were with each other (and yes the brothers did fight some).  The  mom was a crack up because she was pregnant and desperately wants a little girl after having 4 boys first.  In fact, she wears all pink in hopes that would influence the gender of the baby.

But what would a movie be without a little conflict – in this case it is Finn, the school bully.  But even he isn’t all that he appears to be, perhaps there is just a scared kid putting on a front for everyone else around him?  And of course there is young love between Matthew and the new girl across the street.

The movie moves along at a steady pace, not too fast and not too slow and many great lessons are imparted by dad and even the school bus driver.  Definitely worth the watch and we give it 4 paws up.

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Posted in christmas, excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, romance on December 9, 2015

On the seventh day of Christmas StoreyBook Reviews gave to me…three excerpts from holiday novels and an Amazon giftcard giveaway.

Read on for some Christmas cheer with romantic snippets from authors Cindy Kirk, Tracy Brogan and Jamie Beck. Happy Holidays!

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Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk

Amaryllis “Ami” Bloom’s cheerful smile greets everyone in Good Hope, Wisconsin. But her merry facade hides a dark secret she won’t ever forget. Still, she throws herself into celebrating Christmas—and convinces her handsome, and stubborn, new neighbor to join her.

Beckett Cross, however, is determined not to celebrate the holidays. He moved to Good Hope to leave behind reminders of how he’d had it all…and lost everything. But it’s hard to resist adorable Ami, the designated keeper of the small town’s holiday traditions, when she asks for help with the Twelve Nights celebrations. And Ami has a hard time resisting Beck’s soft Southern drawl and gentle eyes. Will a Christmas miracle give them a second chance at love and the hope to heal both of their hearts for good?

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Excerpt

“You’re an amazing woman, Ami Bloom.”

“You’re right.” Her bright smile flashed. “I am.”

He laughed.

Her laughter soon mingled with his.

Then their eyes met. The laughter died in his throat and his heart became a swift, hard beat.

He reached out for her and felt her arms encircle his neck. She was so lovely. Did she have any idea the power she had over him?

The feel of her soft curves had Beck forgetting his resolve to keep it all business between them. Just this once he would stop thinking and open himself to the moment, to her. He shifted, gathered her closer still, and kissed her temple.

When she gave a pleasure-filled sigh and lifted her face, he lowered his mouth to hers and found it as soft and sweet as he’d imagined.

The kiss started out gentle and tender but quickly morphed into something more, something that felt … life altering. When her fingers slid into his hair and she began to kiss him back with equal enthusiasm, Beck knew he was in over his head.

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Jingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan

As assistant buyer for the world’s second-largest Christmas store, Kelsey Parker feels like a holiday harlot. She’s contractually obligated to promote the yuletide season. All. Year. Long. And it’s taking a toll on her spirit. But when her clueless, self-absorbed boyfriend goes on their long-anticipated romantic vacation—without her!—Kelsey is beyond disappointed to find herself tromping through the Bell Harbor snow instead of lounging on a tropical beach.

Drew Hampton is considered quite a catch among the Bell Harbor bachelorettes, but when his high school dream girl, Kelsey Parker, shows up at his grandfather’s Christmas tree lot complaining about her love life, he decides it’s long past time to get her under the mistletoe himself.

As things heat up between the two, a surprise visitor arrives, making Kelsey an offer she can’t quite believe. Now she must decide what matters most, and she just may discover the key to her happiness.

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Excerpt

He cupped my face with both hands and traced one thumb over my bottom lip, a soft, slow motion as he stared at my mouth for an eternity. And then, at last, he leaned in and kissed me. Warm, delicious perfection.

Pressure and insistence in just the right measure. I’d told Drew he’d been my first real kiss at fourteen. Now I realized I hadn’t truly had my first real kiss, because this was it. I felt it from my lips all the way down to my toes and past every detour in between.

I wound my hand around the back of his neck, needing him closer, and closer still. I hadn’t underestimated just how soft that hair of his was, but I had, remarkably, underestimated my body’s instantaneous reaction to his touch. It was electric. I gave myself up to the moment. I’d earned it, this indulgence. Because I was on vacation, and Drew Hampton just might have superpowers after all.

Arms tangling, heads tilting, pressure building. The kiss ended far too soon, but we stayed close, forehead to forehead. Breathy. Sizzling. Anticipating.

“I’ve waited a very long time for a chance to do that again,” he said, his breath a caress against my cheek.

I tugged off my scarf in a hasty motion. “In that case, we should make up for lost time,” I said. And then I kissed him again. And again, and again.

AccidentallyHers

Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

When ruggedly sexy backcountry guide Grey Lowell moves to Sterling Canyon, Colorado, after buying the ski-expedition company Backtrax, his plans don’t include romance. Still, it’s fun to look—especially across a crowded restaurant at a beauty he dubs “Bambi.” But all his plans change later that night when he’s injured by a drunk driver.

Physical therapist Avery Randall is shocked to learn that Grey’s the man her brother struck with his car, and even more stunned when he arrives at the clinic expecting her help. Despite her reservations and Grey’s silly new nickname for her, Avery agrees to work with him, and passion begins to simmer. Yet with his livelihood at stake, Grey must make tough decisions that could hurt Avery and her family. Before long, Avery’s loyalties are tested, and the choices she and Grey each make may cost them their chance at lasting love.

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Excerpt

“I like you. I like you a lot.”

Heat shot up her arm and spread throughout her chest as his thumb brushed against the back of her hand. When she panicked and tried to pull away, he gripped her hand tighter. “Grey?”

He was staring at her as his other hand brushed back her hair. His touch set off a spark ofenergy that pulsed throughout the room. They both held their breath for a second, eyes locked on each other.

“Screw it,” he muttered before pulling her into a powerful kiss—one she felt down to her toes the instant his hot mouth claimed hers. A low rumble resonated in his chest as he tried to get closer to her despite their awkward positions in the chairs.

For several exhilarating seconds, she allowed herself to be swept away by the taste and smell of him. By the commanding way his tongue tangoed with hers. By the rising temperature in the room and shivery sensations overwhelming her entire body as he buried his hands in her hair.

Kissing Grey was every bit as hot as she’d imagined, and that heat shot straight through her abdomen and in between her legs.

One of his hands ran down her neck and back, pulling her closer. His chest heaved. Low sounds rumbled deep in the back of his throat as he got carried away and took her right along for the ride, crushing her to him.

Weeks and weeks of pent-up desire burst forth, causing her resolve to falter. She dug her hands into his thick, wavy hair, kissing him as she’d done so many times in her dreams. Then danger signs flashed in her mind, causing her to exert gentle pressure against his chest. “Wait.”

He kept his forehead pressed to hers, allowing his breathing to slow down. He held her there, cupping her neck, his thumbs gently rubbing her jaw. “Sorry. That wasn’t planned . . . or particularly gentle.”

 

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Posted in 5 paws, christmas, Review on December 6, 2015

A Rare Nativity_Cover

A Rare Nativity

by Sam Beeson, Photographs by Terral Cochran, Nina Cochran

On Sale Date: September 8, 2015
9781629720623/HC/All Ages $17.99

Synopsis

A visual artist’s unforgettable twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas” using photographs of ordinary objects of trash — rusty rough-hewn nails, shards of glass, broken tools —sent along with messages of revenge against an enemy which are all sent back from the enemy assembled into a traditional Nativity crèche and an unexpected request from the enemy: Forgiveness. Author Sam Beeson asks us to completely change the paradigm of spending and gift-giving during the holidays and invites us to grant open-hearted forgiveness as the greatest gift we can offer during Christmas.

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Review

This is a different twist on the 12 Days of Christmas. It starts off with someone giving their “enemy” bits and pieces of broken items. But what the narrator doesn’t know is that their “enemy” is going to turn those bits and pieces into beautiful works of art. But there is more to the story, it is also about forgiveness and acceptance and remembering the true meaning of Christmas.

On top of the short but poignant story are amazing images illustrating what was given in anger and what was given back in humility.

This book would make a great gift for anyone that enjoys beautiful photography and the story is a reminder to all that no one is perfect.

We give this 5 paws up

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Trailer

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