Look Who Dropped By Today: Nancy Weeks

Good morning! Today, Living the Dream would like to welcome my old friend and fellow Crimson author, Nancy Weeks. Nancy’s here to tell us about her latest release, In the Shadow of Vengeance, and she’s brought along Jennie, one of the book’s characters.

Susanne: Good morning, Nancy, Jennie. Nice to have you here this morning.

Nancy:  Hi Susanne. Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog today. I’m so thrilled to be here to tell your readers about my new release, In the Shadow of Vengeance.

In the Shadow of Vengeance 9781440580352Susanne: It’s a pleasure to have you. So, In the Shadow of Vengeance is the last book in the series. That story must have been bitter sweet to write.

Nancy: I have spent the last four years working on my In the Shadow series. With each book, I fell deeper in love with my five McNeil brothers and the women who turned their world upside down.  It was a tearful moment when I typed THE END to In the Shadow of Vengeance.  Of course, now that it’s out so the world can read, I can’t remove the silly grin from my face. I loved writing Noah McNeil and Elizabeth Merlot’s story. And since this was the last book in the series, I brought back the amazing characters from the first four books. Today, I invited Jennie McKenzie McNeil along with me so we can hear her impression of her brother-in-law, Noah.

Susanne: Wow, it is a pleasure to meet you, Jennie. You are now happily married to Noah’s twin brother, Jared. If I remember correctly, you and Noah didn’t always get along.

Jennie: Susanne, it’s wonderful meet you too. And no, my brother-in-law didn’t like me very much in the beginning. Who could blame the guy?  Noah is very protective of his family and I was a serious threat to Jared. Thankfully, that’s all in the past. He’s now one of my best friends and a great brother.

Susanne: Tell me about your relationship with Elizabeth Merlot. You knew her before Elizabeth and Noah ever met, right?

Jennie: I had both her children, Erin and Danny in my class and we formed a friendship—before the unthinkable happened. The man obsessed with me used Danny as leverage against me. I’ll never forgive myself for placing Danny in the path of Elías Mendoza. And Noah… he was almost killed. After Danny was returned home, he and Noah seemed to bond for a few months.

Susanne: Did Noah and Elizabeth start a relationship because of his connection to Danny?

Jennie: Sadly no! My BIL can be a real idiot sometimes.

Susanne: Well, if he wasn’t interested then…

Jennie: Oh, he was interested. Noah use to date a different woman every week. After meeting Elizabeth, the spinning door of one-night-stands stopped completely. No, he cared about Elizabeth Merlot, but he was just too pigheaded for his own good.

Susanne: In what way is he pigheaded?

Jennie: Noah has this thing about secrets and he hates lies. He can be the most stubborn, opinionated—he sees everything in black and white. Elizabeth is reserved and doesn’t share much about her past for good reason. If he would have given her a chance to get to know him, then maybe she would have opened up to him sooner.  Noah is definitely attracted to Elizabeth but he doesn’t trust her.

Susanne: What does Elizabeth think about Noah?

Nancy: I can answer this one with the excerpt I posted below. Elizabeth doesn’t want Noah in Danny’s life and she has good reason to keep Noah at arm’s length. But sorry, can’t say more about that without spilling the plot.

Jennie: Noah and Elizabeth’s journey toward each other ends up changing how they view the world and their beliefs. I felt so helpless watching it unfold from the sidelines. They really went through some difficult situations. But I said too much…

Susanne: No, you have left us hanging. There is going to be a happy ending, right?

Nancy: It’s a romantic suspense so…of course! I write novels filled with a balance of gripping excitement, intrigue and heartwarming romances that will take your emotions on an incredible roller coaster ride. Sometimes you may even find a hint of the paranormal, but what you can always count on is a happy-ever-after.

Susanne: Since In the Shadow of Vengeance is the last book in your series, should my readers read the 5 books in order?

In the Shadow of Evil Cover 9781440571275Nancy: Each book in the series is a stand-alone novel and they don’t have to be read in order. With that said, I think readers will get a much richer understanding of Vengeance if they read In the Shadow of Evil first. That book is where the series began. And wonderful news!! In the Shadow of Evil has been placed on sale for only 99 cents from 12/22 to 12/29!!

I hope your readers enjoy my brief blurb of In the Shadow of Vengeance. I have also brought along an excerpt. My nasty villains were not the only obstacle in my hero and heroine’s path. OH… and watch my WEBSITE for a free read of the beginning chapters of In the Shadow of Vengeance.

 Blurb of In the Shadow of Vengeance

Detective Noah McNeil has his cases under control, but the same can’t be said for his personal life in Fells Point, Maryland. Elizabeth Merlot, the mother of a troubled teen Noah is mentoring, is freezing him out of the family’s lives – especially criminal given how hot this single mom is.

Elizabeth Merlot can’t afford to let the handsome detective close to her son lest he discover she’s in the witness protection program. Until the day, that is, when the teen tries to fend off a gang attack and her entire world of secrets begins to crumble – and Noah may be the only one who can save their lives. Don’t miss this exciting conclusion to the McNeil family saga!

In the Shadow of Vengeance 9781440580352Excerpt of In the Shadow of Vengeance

Elizabeth’s emotions of gratitude flip-flopped. She could almost feel the blood boiling in her veins. “No, I expect you to let the cops do their job.”

“I’m a cop, Elizabeth. Danny means something to me. I’m not going to sit on my fucking hands and wait until the BPD finds the manpower to look for this bastard.”

The fury she had been holding in all evening erupted. She dashed from behind the chair and rammed a finger into his chest. “I don’t know who you thought you were speaking to just now, Noah McNeil, but I don’t allow that language in this house.”

“Cops cuss.”

“Not in my face, they don’t. And definitely not that word.”

He slammed his hands to his hips. “What word?”

“You know what I’m talking about. It’s offensive and distasteful. Find another way to express yourself in my home or get out.”

A hint of laughter appeared in his eyes. The jerk was laughing at her. She never considered herself a violent person, but it took every ounce of control to keep from slapping that grin right off his stupid face.

The damn man was thick as a brick. If those men beat up a harmless kid like Danny, what would they do to a smartass cop?

“You think your badge makes you invincible? This guy is in a gang, you hardheaded buffoon. He has mean friends, and his friends have meaner friends.”

This time he let out a loud laugh. “Oh, that’s adorable.”

Before she could react, he curled his hand around the nape of her neck and lowered his head, his lips barely touching hers. The laughter was gone, and for some reason, she didn’t yank out of his hold but stood completely still. Her mind screamed to back off, but her curiosity got the best of her. His lips brushed over hers, sending an electric jolt to her toes. The hand at her waist tugged her against him while his lips went back for another taste and then a third. “Damn sweet. You’re worried about me.”

Elizabeth lost all common sense. She yanked him closer and they molded into each other. For such a big man, his lips were surprisingly soft and so gentle. The taste of mint combined with his spicy herbal scent overpowered her senses. A primal need she had forgotten existed took over, and she kissed him back as she clung to him, his shirt fisted in both hands. Her body came alive. He shifted then broke their connection. Reality returned and common sense slammed back into her, taking her breath away.

What was she doing kissing Noah McNeil? She wanted to kick herself all the way back to Nebraska.

“I’m so touched you care, Elizabeth.”

“You kissed me,” she choked out and shoved at his chest. “Why?”

“You kissed me back. It was real sweet, but way too short.” He shifted his weight and bit back a grin. “Is that not allowed in this house either? I think I’m going to need a list.”

“You don’t just go around kissing people, detective.”

Thank you so much for dropping  by. Good luck with the entire In The Shadows Series.

Nancy C Weeks profile pictureMore information about Nancy C. Weeks:

Nancy lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

Buy links:

AMAZON | B&N | ITUNES | GOOGLE PLAY

Find Nancy at:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

 

Holiday Blog Hop

Hol;iday B;og HopAs Christmas quickly approaches, let me welcome you to Living the Dream and this the third of my Christmas blog hops. To say this year has been memorable is an understatement. I’m actually looking forward to the end of 2014 and hoping 2015 will be bigger and better for everyone.

Now let me be clear. It’s not the Christmas season that has brought me to the end of my rope, but all of the everyday happenings that have raised my stress level to Defcon 1 or anything, but I’ve been hovering around ;plevel 2 all month. Last night, I finally got a chance to relax and participate in one of my favorite Christmas activities. We went to Upper Canada Village for the Alight at Night event.

This year, for my Happy Holiday Blog Hop, I’d like to share the beauty of the experience with you. In Holiday Magic, my Christmas release, Georgia loved everything there was about Christmas. She’d have adored this.

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The Church is outlined in white lights with peach colored floodlights making the structure appear magical. If you’re so inclined, you can step inside the structure and sing or listen to professional and amateur singers blend their voices in traditional and a few modern Christmas carols. If the night is chilly, the heat of the sanctuary will warm your numb fingers and toes.

Don’t feIMG_0562el like going inside just yet? You can take a horse wagon ride to admire the lights.  The Woolen mill and the flour mill sit side by side welcoming you into the park. You can get wine and spirits at Cooke’s Tavern, The Harvest Barn or Willard’s’ Hotel. Feeling adventurous? You could take a ride on the Toy Train and explore the grounds, or ride the Ferris Wheel and check out the village from 50 feet above ground.  If you’re like me, you just want to walk around and take in the sights and sounds. Every half hour, the lights sing and dance at Chrysler Hall. There’s the general store and the tavern beside it and of course The Masonic Hall and the farmer’s house too.

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Upper Canada Village is a sight to behold. Even the trees are dressed up for the occasions. IMG_0578IMG_0564

Holiday Magic (2)This is just some of the magic of the season

Seeing is believing, or is it?

Georgia Baxter loved everything about Christmas until she walked in on her fiancé in bed with another woman. Wounded and heart sore, she canceled her Christmas Eve fantasy wedding and fled to New York City, leaving everything and everyone, including her twin sister, Eleni, behind.

Three years later, still hurting but knowing it’s time to move on, she agrees to come home to help her sister, despite the fact she’ll be doing so at a time of year she now associates only with pain and betrayal. Discovering she’ll have to work closely with the man who shattered her dreams only makes things harder, especially when her body craves his touch.

Mark Anderson has no memory of his bachelor party other than waking up naked in the wrong woman’s bed. He clings to the hope someday he can convince Georgia to give him a second chance, but until she’s ready to listen, it won’t happen. Discovering she’s coming home to manage Holiday Magic for three months may be his lucky break.

Is there enough magic left in Christmas to help them overcome the past?

Amazon.com

Comment on this post for your chance to win a PDF copy of Holiday Magic and its companion piece, The Perfect Choice.

Now, check out the other bloggers in this hop. Blog Hoppers

Mistletoe Blog Hop: A Time for Forgiving

badge Mistletoe Hop 2014Welcome to Living the Dream. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of the holiday blog hop this year. It’s snowing outside, and we’ll definitely have a white Christmas this year. My granddaughters have completed their gingerbread houses and the tree has been decorated once more. The presents have been purchased and wrapped, and are waiting to be opened Christmas morning. Even my eldest son is home for the holidays, and this weekend, we’ll go up to Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village, something that has been part of our holiday tradition since the program started. Each year, more lights and Christmas surprises are added. This year, the children can visit with St. Nick, take a ride on the ferris wheel, and hop on the toy train for a ride through Chrysler Park. The music and light show is one of my favorite aspects of the event as is sitting down to dinner with friends and family afterwards. If you live in the area, it’s well worth the trip to see.

This morning, as I sit here contemplating all of the traditions my family has always associated with this season, I can’t help but think of others who don’t have the peace and joy of Christmas in their hearts. Christmas is a time to reflect on the good things in life, not dwell on perceived injustices and plotting revenge, hoping to hurt others while glorifying themselves. Sadly, there are far too many people like that in this world.

Its-a-Wonderful-Life-1946-Wallpapers-300x230In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey thinks he’s hit rock bottom when money goes missing, but thanks to Clarence, his guardian angel and Divine Intervention, George comes to realize that his life is worth living, that he’s made a difference in his world, and that’s all any of us want to do. For years, I thought the saddest part of that movie was that Mr. Potter, the crotchety old slumlord who actually took the missing money, is never brought to justice. It used to bother me that this issue remained unresolved. As an author, I make it a point of wrapping up all the lose ends in a story, and I considered this a huge loose end.

Like many Hollywood movies, It’s a Wonderful Life was loosely based on a short story “The Greatest Gift“, written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939 and self-published in 1945. There were several people involved in bringing the story to life and in the screenwriting they changed several aspects of the story to make the movie the Christmas fantasy epic it became. In doing so, the character Potter took on a more sinister role, one left unresolved at the end.

As I said earlier, I struggled with this until this year when it finally came clear to me because of the actions of others. If one believes in guardian angels and Divine Intervention, then one has to believe the rest of it. Jesus teaches us to forgive our enemies. From the King James Bible, Romans 12:19, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Potter isn’t dealt with in the movie because it isn’t George’s or anyone else’s place to deal with him. Potter will get his just deserts when the time is right.

Recently, I’ve seen what hatred and pettiness can do to people. It can make them small-minded and hurtful. They think only of their anger and desire for revenge and overlook the truly important things in life. Christmas is a time to put into practice what I as Christians believe. It’s a time of celebration and forgiveness. It’s a time to open my heart to all people, those I like and those I dislike. It’s a time to set aside differences and let the peace goodness within me shine forth.

In Holiday Magic, Georgia is hurt and angry, She believes she’s been betrayed by someone she loves. Will she find the Christmas spirit within her to forgive and move on?

Holiday Magic (2)Holiday Magic, Book Blurb:

Seeing is believing, or is it?

Georgia Baxter loved everything about Christmas until she walked in on her fiancé in bed with another woman. Wounded and heart sore, she canceled her Christmas Eve fantasy wedding and fled to New York City, leaving everything and everyone, including her twin sister, Eleni, behind.

Three years later, still hurting but knowing it’s time to move on, she agrees to come home to help her sister, despite the fact she’ll be doing so at a time of year she now associates only with pain and betrayal. Discovering she’ll have to work closely with the man who shattered her dreams only makes things harder, especially when her body craves his touch.

Mark Anderson has no memory of his bachelor party other than waking up naked in the wrong woman’s bed. He clings to the hope someday he can convince Georgia to give him a second chance, but until she’s ready to listen, it won’t happen. Discovering she’s coming home to manage Holiday Magic for three months may be his lucky break.

Is there enough magic left in Christmas to help them overcome the past?

Buy link: Amazon

Comment on my blog and receive a Christmas Cookbook. Make sure you leave your email address.

Now, follow the Mistletoe blog hop and don’t miss your chance to win a great prize Rafflecopter

Mid Week Tease: The Perfect Choice

midweekteaseGood morning fellow teasers. It’s so hard to imagine that we’re only 7 days away from Christmas and 14 days away from the end of the year. This year has been a very difficult one for me, and my emotions have been on a roller coaster all year. When I write, so much of the way I feel ends up blended into my characters and the things that happen to them. When I wrote The Perfect Choice in 2013, everything was great. I’d published my first book and I was on top of the world. much like Eleni is in this morning’s tease.

Since it’s been a while since I posted from The Perfect Choice, here’s the blurb;

All’s fair in love and war…or is it?

Eleni Baxter has always been the impulsive twin requiring rescue from one scheme or another. Avoiding relationships because of trust issues, Eleni throws herself into her wedding and party fantasy firm, Holiday Magic. When her designs for a Halloween decorating scheme win her a shot at being the exclusive special events coordinator for the Ocean Front Casino Resort, she jumps at it, without reading the fine print. As always, twin sister Georgia comes to the rescue.

Reclusive millionaire casino owner Garth Joseph Smits Simmons has shunned publicity and gold-diggers for as long as he can remember, hiding behind a series of disguises to protect his identity. When beautiful, talented special events coordinator Eleni Baxter walks into his life, he’s determined to find a way to make her fall in love with him without revealing his true identity. Designing a contract to hire her and keep her in close proximity for three months seems like a stroke of genius, but having a double life becomes more complicated than ever.

With the holiday season in full swing, Joe decides it’s time to come clean, but will the magic of the holiday season be enough for Eleni to forgive him his deception, or will he lose it all on one throw of the dice?

Here’s your tease for the day: 

The perfect choice (2)Eleni stepped out into the glorious sunshine and smiled. One thing about working for yourself was that you could take a few hours off when you really wanted them, not when someone else decided it was your down-time. Yesterday, she’d arranged for Allie to come in for the whole morning, so she’d been able to see the Dean, visit with old teachers, run the sketches for the wedding by Meredith, and of course, see Clyde, her favorite dinosaur.

She looked at her watch. She had time to walk over to the fountain. On a day like this, probably one of the last ones before the weather changed, Lionel would be playing in the park. He’d been playing the blues around lunch hour in Logan Circle, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, for as long as she could remember. Her grandmother used to love listening to him play. With the amount of money Grandma had put in his guitar case over the years, he should be able to retire. Last fall, she’d asked him why he didn’t, and he’d smiled at her shaking his head. “Lordy child, why would I do that? The folks come to listen to the blues. I’ll retire when the Good Lord calls me home, not a moment sooner.”

Taking her designer sunglasses out of her purse, she put them on. The lenses might not be very dark, but they were UV protected. From here, she could see a number of kids enjoying a romp in the fountain—she and her twin sister, Georgia, had done it often enough as kids and a couple of times as teenagers. If she weren’t wearing her good clothes, she’d probably go wading right this minute. She looked toward her favorite bench and saw it was occupied.

Damn. Just my luck. I get one lunch hour to enjoy the day, and I have to do it standing up.

She scrutinized the poacher. He was a little unkempt and reminded her of a student. She’d relished those carefree days when there were no responsibilities to way you down and keep you running. Now that she was a woman of business, she rarely got to relax, let alone loll on a bench on a hot, sunny, summer day. Being the sole active partner in a business certainly had its perks, but there were drawbacks too.

It won’t hurt to stand and listen to Lionel for a few minutes. Maybe that guy would be willing to share his bench.

She walked across the sidewalk to where the elderly man played for the enjoyment of others. As soon as he saw her, he smiled, finished the song he’d been singing in his silky, gravelly voice, and began to play her favorite, Georgia on my Mind.

She stood there wrapped in the music and memories until the song ended.

“Lionel, you haven’t lost your touch,” she said, tossing money into the open guitar case.

“Thank ya, darlin’. How’s that sweet sister of yours? Comin’ home soon?”

“I wish. New York City seems to have her in its thrall. Have a great day.”

“You too.”

Waving goodbye, she continued toward the street where she’d hail a cab. As much as she’d like to sit on the bench and enjoy the day, she had to get back. Allie had an appointment later this afternoon. She could probably walk to Holiday Magic and enjoy the day that way, but while she loved her new designer sandals, she’d have a blister if she strolled that far in this heat.

As she passed by her bench, she noticed that the man sitting there was older than she’d expected, and he looked sad and lonely.

Probably down on his luck, poor guy. With the economy as it was, lots of people were finding things tough.

As she neared him, she recognized the T-shirt he wore. She’d seen him earlier in the museum admiring Clyde. Approaching the bench, she sensed he was staring at her, and while it should have bothered her, it didn’t. He’d probably seen her at the museum too. Any friend of Clyde’s was a friend of hers. She smiled.

The Perfect Choice is available in ebook or paperback from Amazon

Thanks for checking out my tease, now stop by and visit the other great teases available to you this morning.

Look Who Dropped By Today: Paula Rose

It’s my pleasure to welcome Paula back on the release date of her new novel Revenge,  an Anaiah Romance.

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Blurb:

As a job coach, it’s up to Olivia Foster to ensure her clients work in a safe environment, understand their positions, and serve their employer’s mission. The death of her brother drives her career choice, and she loves her job. It remains her only focus until one of her autistic clients goes missing. Then Olivia’s employer` ends her position and adds her to the suspect list, but she makes plans to bring the missing young man home.

Meanwhile, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon is deep into second-guessing his career choice, but his well-honed instincts see major flaws inside this missing person’s case. Surprising contacts, mysterious happenings, and threats can turn deadly. Can he keep Olivia safe, protect his heart, remove the job coach from someone’s target list, and adopt a faith he never knew all while adjusting to the new lives of his old family?

Release Date:Revenge cover 1600x2400

December 16, 2014

Buy Links: Amazon   B&N

Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22735988-revenge

Want a peek at this awesome new romance? Check out the Trailer: 

 

Author Bio:

PaulaRosePaula Rose provides inspiration through Christian romantic suspense stories where “average” families come into extraordinary situations, brushed with life-size strokes of reality and a touch of humor. Born in Philadelphia, she lives in Southern New Jersey with her husband and rescue kitty but often plays amateur photographer in both states.

Author Links:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Anaiah Press | Bookfun.org |

Rafflecopter: US residents only have a chance to win one of five posters. 

Look Who Dropped by Today: Winter Dreams

Good morning. A few months ago, one of my publishers, Crimson Romance, began releasing bundles of similarly themed books aimed at introducing readers to its authors. These bundles have been archived to make it easier for readers to find them all in one spot. At 99 cents US or less, they’re an incredible reading bargain. Crimson Bundles available now: include Winter Dreams. 

WinterDreams_CoverSo, what do you get in this wonderful bundle?

Winter’s crisp cold is the perfect backdrop for holiday lights, snowball fights, and starry nights by the fire, curled up with hunky heroes. Let these seven couples show you how to find the warmth of red-hot romance.

  • Christmas Dinner by Robyn Neeley Amanda dreads returning home single for Christmas, but the only available man is her rival for the TV anchor spot. Can the holiday spirit turn animosity into love?
  • The Winter Fairy by Lola Karns: Recuperating ballerina Penelope Glazier can enchant the young girls in her class, but will her magic work on Carson Langley, the sexy but straight-laced single father of her most talented student?
  • Holiday Hoopla by Dana Volney: Halle is about to lose her gift shop, until banker Blake walks into her life, dangling an offer that could save it all, or cost her everything.
  • Wynter’s Journey by Jennifer De Cuir: Twelve years after tragedy tore Wynter and Sam apart, can another predicament bring them back together?
  • The Winter Promise by Jenny Jacobs: War throws Lady Emma and Lord Robert together, where they must decide if they can listen to their hearts – or if they would be wiser never to trust each other.
  • Winter Storms by Lucy Oliver:: Daniel’s sailing accident cost Carly her shot at Olympic dreams, while his own athletic success was unhindered. Now he’s returned and they’re stuck in the Cornish village where storms lash them from outside – and within.
  • Old Christmas by Kathryn Brocato: Casey needs help from the magic that walks on Old Christmas Eve to find her way back home, and to the love she left behind.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Here are excerpts from each of these great books. 

Christmas Dinner by Robyn Neeley

“Arrive at destination on left.” The familiar voice of Tate’s GPS echoed throughout his Jeep, interrupting the soft sounds of Christmas music. This couldn’t be right. Could it? He pulled onto the side of the road. His navigation system had taken him down a dark and twisty path for the last fifteen minutes. There were few homes on either side. He shook Amanda’s shoulder gently. His eyes focused on the spectacle in front of him.

“What time is it?” She yawned and sat up. “Are we here already?”

“That’s what I would like to know. Amanda, is this your parents’ house?” He leaned over his steering wheel and peered out the window. In front of him, thousands of decorative red and green lights flickered on rows of Christmas trees at the bottom of a hill, showcasing what he could only describe as a cross between Santa’s Village and the middle of Times Square. A blanket of snow stretched at least a quarter of a mile up the hill. At the top was a beautiful two-story mountain log cabin. Glistening white Christmas lights outlined the house.

Amanda sighed. “Yep. We’re here.”

“This is amazing. Amanda, is your dad Santa Claus?” he asked, half joking.

“Not quite.”

“They could land 747 jets on your front yard. That tree in the middle has to be over thirty feet tall.” He pointed to the west side of the lawn. “Is that a horse and sleigh over there?”

“The horse is fake. I’d rather not talk about the sleigh.”

“Then we won’t.” He suspected she might have some unpleasant memories of it involving the infamous ex. Perhaps it was the scene of the aborted proposal.

Amanda sighed. “Good. Did your parents decorate their lawn for the holidays?” She reached behind her for her bags.

“No. Well, yeah, I guess. But this, well, this . . . wow . . . It’s just really something.”

RobynAbout Robyn

Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places, watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit, can’t live without Recess Peanut Butter Cups and has never met a Christmas cookie she didn’t like. (Her favorite cookie made it into Holiday Wedding!) She writes romantic comedy, sometimes with a hint of magic, but always with a happy ending. Visit her at http://www.robynneeley.com.

Winter Fairy  by Lola Karns

The sight of Penelope sitting on his sofa with her long legs tucked up beside her drew his attention as soon as he stepped inside. Her blue eyes blinked at him, giving her an expression that managed to be both innocent and alluring at the same time. He set down the cups he held in his hand, and after a long minute remembered to take off his coat and boots.

“Hi.”

“Hi, yourself.” She smiled. “How did your shopping go?” She skeptically eyed the one bag and the cups resting on the entry table.

He approached the couch, carrying the bag and coffees with him, the same time as she stood. “Very good. I’ll have to empty the trunk later. I brought you something.” He waved the coffee cups. “I didn’t know what you like. I got a peppermint mocha and a gingerbread latte. Which would you prefer?” She bit her lip and furled her brow. “Stay for a bit. I can’t drink all this coffee by myself.”

Her gaze slid to the cups, the left side of her mouth raised slightly as she glanced back to him. “I’m such a typical girl. I can’t say no to chocolate.”

He offered her the mocha before sitting beside her. He couldn’t agree with her – she was no typical girl in his book. She unsettled him. “Then I know which piece of cheesecake you’ll want.” He reached into the bag and handed her a box and a fork. “I could get plates if you want.”

She opened the box, revealing chocolate cheesecake decorated with chocolate ganache and white chocolate drizzle. “This is great. Thank you.”

Her fluttering eyelashes distracted him, but the moan she let out when she took her first bite went straight to his groin. Now he was second-guessing his decision to bring dessert. He’d wanted his grown up company to stay longer – he hadn’t anticipated being reminded of the more carnal pleasures he missed with his self-imposed solitude. Or had he? As he tried to resolve his true motive, she interrupted his thoughts.

“If it’s not too rude, what prompted this delicious treat?”

“I was by the shop and cheesecake sounded good. It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in dessert after Eloise has gone to bed. Dessert always tastes better when…”

He hesitated. Calling her a friend didn’t seem quite right. She seemed more than that, even though he barely knew her.

She looked up,“When it’s shared.”

LolaAbout Lola

Having worked as a wide variety of jobs as she moved through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, and Virginia, Lola decided she needed a more portable career. Writing fit the bill.

Lola currently resides in Minnesota with her husband, two children, two hairless cats, and a fluffy ex-stray cat. When not writing, she enjoys baking, reading and drinking coffee.

She is the author of Bad Traveler and Winter Fairy. Visit Lola at lolakarns.com

Holiday Hoopla by Dana Volney

Blake Ellison continued to watch the woman. Can’t I have a moment of peace? I can’t even Christmas shop without . . . This gal has the right idea, drinking in the afternoon. That’s my kind of day. He wished it was just because of the holidays, but lately his life was complicated with unfair obligations that made him want to drink—a lot . . . a whole lot.

Blake assessed the friendly sales gal. Her blonde hair was tied back in a messy pony tail that was weirdly sensual. Her fresh face was a welcome relief from the overly made up women he usually encountered.

“I’m Blake by the way.” He offered his hand.

“Halle, nice to meet you.” She slipped her hand in his firmly. Strong. Good. Limp fish handshakes were the worst.

“You don’t happen to have another glass or bottle of beer hiding back there, do ya?” He raised an eyebrow again.

Halle laughed and her green eyes danced. He grinned, getting swept up in the moment.

“Tsk, tsk.” She crinkled her nose. “Isn’t it a little early?”

“Well, you made it look so fun.” He cocked his head toward the counter where she’d spilled what smelled like a Zinfandel.

“You, my new friend, are in luck. I happen to have a glass and, better yet, a new bottle.”

She knelt down to fish under the counter and Blake leaned over to check out the view his higher perch now afforded him. Sexy. Halle popped back up and his startled eyes found hers. She fetched a decorated glass off the shelf and waggled it in her hand.

“Convenient.” He nodded toward the spot she’d just made vacant.

“Perk of being the owner.” She winked and headed to the back of her store.

Blake wasn’t sure what do to, but he followed because she had wine. She owns this place? Huh. He couldn’t keep his eyes from roaming. Nice ass.

Halle motioned to a couple of high backed, brightly patterned green and pink chairs. A sitting area had been set up in the middle of the store, complete with an end table between the chairs and a rug. They sat and she poured.

“Cheers.”

They clinked glasses.

“So, Blake, what drives you to drink in the middle of the day?”

 

DanaAbout Dana

Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company. Surrounding herself with good friends, family, and boating on the lake whenever she can, she thrives on moments and memories created with loved ones, especially on sun filled days. That’s when Wyoming’s charm really sinks in. Dana is bold, adventurous and–by her own admission–good with plants, having kept a coral cactus alive for more than one year. Visit Dana at http://www.DanaVolney.com.

Wynter’s Journey by Jennifer DeCuir

Okay, it was go time. What was the first thing they were supposed to do? Sam looked wildly around the room. He kept his voice calm, and hid the tremors that threatened to rattle his teeth loose. Wynter was counting on him.

He got her into bed and rushed to his desk in the corner. Jerking at the mouse to wake up the screen, Sam brought up the website he’d been studying just a few short hours ago. He thought he’d had more time.

Yeah, he’d been anticipating this. It was Vermont–in the dead of winter. Chances were pretty damned good that a snowstorm would make a routine hospital delivery less and less likely. And he’d been right to assume that Wynter wouldn’t take the contractions seriously until it was too late. She was too stubborn for her own good.

So they were doing this. Another scream from the bed had him yanking the power cord from the laptop and carrying it with him back to the other side of the room. The website hadn’t bothered to explain that hearing his best friend’s gut-wrenching cries of pain would push his own stress levels beyond human endurance.

“Amazing what you can learn from the internet.” That ridiculous statement earned him a glare. Yeah, probably best to keep the chatter to a minimum.

“Sam. Call 9-1-1,” she panted.

He was going to do that. It was next on his list. Really. He reached for the cell phone that he kept on the nightstand charger next to his bed. It wasn’t there. He stared frantically at the empty charger.

Wynter watched him closely, her eyes pleading with him.

“Sam, please!” She clutched at the sheets with a white-knuckled grip, her entire body going rigid. Crap.

“I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.” Sam spun on his heel and raced for the stairs, taking them two at a time, falling on his butt and sliding down the last few. Not letting it stop his momentum, he ran to his office.

JenniferAbout Jennifer

Jennifer DeCuir grew up in a small town in Maine, which provides the basis for Scallop Shores, the fictional town in Drawn to Jonah. She’s busy raising two kids and a husband. She loves including children and babies in her stories, as her own provide endless story ideas. Currently residing in rain-soaked Washington, she can usually be found working on her latest book in a local Starbucks. Visit Jennifer at http://www.jenniferdecuir.com/home.html.

 

 

 The Winter Promise by Jenny Jacobs

The painful stirrings of a headache began to throb behind Robert’s temples. He knew he was about to hear a story. He hoped it would at least be entertaining. He very much doubted it would be true.

The foreigner stared at his face with wide violet eyes. He narrowed his own gray eyes at her. He knew he was not the most attractive man to women, but she needn’t gawp at him in such a rude way.

He acknowledged her with a curt nod and seated himself on his chair, rough-hewn from one of the alders that flourished on Athelney, as sturdy and as solid – and as undecorative – as he.

Nettled by her stare, he responded in kind with a thorough and thoroughly offensive inventory of his own. She looked young but must have reached her majority or she would have a guardian to look after her and would not require his generosity. For he had no doubt that was what she was here to obtain. She must be a widow, or at least unmarried, or there would be a husband. Unless – he hoped she didn’t expect him to intervene in a marital dispute. He would never let a wife like this run away, not one with such delicate features and soft unmarred skin, masses of dark hair demurely covered with fine linen, the spark in her eye hinting that her spirits had not been entirely quelled by whatever misfortune had befallen her. Her wide violet eyes were compelling, and he found himself looking into them for a long timeless moment.

He made himself shift his gaze, cataloging all of her failings: the borrowed dress she wore, which could only mean she had arrived at Athelney without personal possessions of any kind; the lack of companions to accompany her, where any lady of quality would have at least one or two trailing after her, annoying his servants; the awkwardness of the curtsy she’d given him, which meant she didn’t care about her manner, and he already had enough of those in his household; the boots on her feet, which meant she would not be the quiet, retiring type who stayed indoors and consoled him with gentle murmurs and warm compresses; the outline of a dagger in her sleeve. He sighed again.

About Jenny

Jenny Jacobs, a writer living in the Midwest, is still kissing frogs, but likes to write about people finding their happily ever after—even if they have to go through some difficulties to get there. She is the author of Sadie’s Story and The Winter Promise. Visit her at http://www.jennyjacobbooks.com

 

Winter Storms by Lucy Oliver

Slinging a rucksack over his shoulder, he stepped across the floating jetty to the sea wall. A rank odour of dead fish, salt water, and rust hit him; scents he remembered from his childhood. Boats creaked at their moorings and faint music drifted over from a pub.

Brick steps led up the harbour wall, slippery with rubbery, rotting seaweed and when he reached the top, he froze, waiting for the bright flash of a camera. It never came and he smiled. Of course in winter, the harbour lay deserted. It was during the summer months that scores of flip-flops struck across the warm cobbled streets, sticky with dropped Cornish ice cream. But he always preferred winter when the pavements were empty and waves hit the harbour walls in powerful green swells.

He strode across the cobbles. A new shop had been set up in his absence, a neat, modern place with a window display lit up by bright fairy lights and filled with sugar mice. Tomorrow he’d come back to buy Christmas presents, since he brought none with him, but now it was time to go home, time to surprise his family, to explain about Imogen and the cancelled wedding. He stepped back into the full force of the wind, striding along the harbour to the main town. Here the buildings caught the worst of the gusts and he moved faster.

A few shops were still open, filling the air with the scent of fresh bread and spicy minced pies, making his stomach rumble. A large fir tree dotted with white lights stood in the central town square surrounded by a band who clutched brass instruments and rattled collection buckets, sleet beading on their blue uniforms. Two younger members grinned at him and he smiled back, dropping a few coins into their pot.

“I know you,” the teenager said. “Your photo’s on the hall of the sailing club, you’re Daniel Edwards.”

  About Lucy

Lucy Oliver grew up by the sea and particularly loved walking along the harbor in winter, when the streets were deserted and waves crashed against the seawalls. Now living inshore, she likes to return to those memories by writing passionate romances set against the backdrop of the English countryside. Lucy enjoys writing about characters that like all of us, have flaws, mixed in with her trademark touch of spice.

She also writes under the name Lucy Hartbury for higher heat level works, including an exciting and saucy version of Dracula. Join her on Twitter at Writingoliver or check out her blog at http://lucyoliverwrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Old Christmas by Kathryn Brocato

Casey blinked and shook her head. “Now I know what’s wrong here. This is a dream. All of you except Granny are dead. I knew there was something weird about this.”

Cynthia tilted one hip forward in imitation of a model’s stance. “You’re the one who believes in all Mom’s nonsense about Old Christmas. And they do say spirits walk on Old Christmas Eve.”

“I’m getting out of here.” Casey felt her hair attempting to lift off her scalp. “Come on, Granny.”

Alice chuckled. “No one here means you any harm, Casey. We all want the same thing–your happiness.”

Casey reached out tentatively to touch Alice. Alice’s skin was warm and solid, not cool and fragile as it had been in the hospital.

Casey swallowed and regarded her grandmother in shock.

Alice smiled. “Don’t try to hold me, Casey. I’m more than ready to go. It’s Old Christmas Eve, you know. I only came to apologize for teaching you to be ashamed of your mother’s actions. I simply didn’t realize how it would affect you.”

Casey squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them again, and forked her hair back to stare wildly around the barn. She couldn’t see two inches in front of her face.

She was alone.

download About Kathryn

Kathryn Brocato writes contemporary romance with a small-town touch. She is a scientist and business owner who lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, dogs, and chickens. Her first published romance was a Kismet Romance, Storm Warning. She also wrote The Cartwright Heritage, writing as Katy King for White Rose Press. Currently, she writes contemporary romance for the Crimson Romance line. Visit Kathryn at http://kathrynbrocato.com/.

 I hope you enjoyed this peek at Winter Dreams. 

 

Look Who Dropped By Today: Karen King

Good morning! It’s so beautiful outside with everything covered in snow. Things look clean and pure. This morning, I’d like to welcome a new guest to Living the Dream. Karen is here to talk about her new book, Sapphire Blue.

Welcome, Karen. What can you tell us about Sapphire  Blue?

I first started writing Sapphire Blue seven years ago. I wrote a brief synopsis and sample pages and sent them to a publisher I worked with who I knew were planning on expanding their children’s fiction list. The editor loved the idea right away and told me they wanted it when they brought out their YA list. A couple of years passed during which I wrote several other books and added to Sapphire Blue now and again. Then the publisher told me they’d had to shelve their fiction list so I put it away. A friend who’d seen the original chapters persuaded me to keep writing it up. I got about half way through and shelved it again.  Then another writer friend read it and persuaded me to finish it. So finally I did.

sapphire blue  coverSapphire Blue is set in the afterlife and is based on the concept of true love being eternal.  Sapphire and her boyfriend Will are killed in the first chapter but love each other so much they search for each other. They find that the afterworld is split into seven zones, each named after the colour of the rainbow. They both believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but it’s a mix of romance and horror – the first time I’ve ever written horror, actually. It’s not my usual sort of story but it’s the one that I’ve carried in my head for seven years so I hope the readers enjoy it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417793348&sr=8-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+by+karen+king#_

http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417779552&sr=1-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+karen+king

Blurb

Can love survive death?

“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.

Excerpt from Sapphire Blue: 

Our first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.

Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.

I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.

“I love you,” I say.

“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.

“Sapphire Blue,

I do love you,

Forever me,

Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.

Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.

Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.

But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.

“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”

Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.

“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.

“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.

I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.

We’re going to die.

Craaaaaash!

An explosion shatters in my head.

HeadshotAuthor Bio

Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction.  Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Links

Website: www.karenking.net

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/74448.Karen_King

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kryski/

Thankjs for joining me today, Karen.

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