Christmas On the Strand by Loretta Wheeler

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CHRISTMAS ON THE STRAND

part of the Southern Breezes series

by Loretta Wheeler

Genre: Cozy Paranormal Romance

Winter on Galveston Island is a bevy of all types of weather imaginable. From gusty winds, Savanna Burke refers to as Male Gales, to a mixture of sleet, ice and once in a great while, snow. This winter, Savanna’s found the island winds are bringing change, for her, and for Terence Whittaker, Galveston Island’s well-known clairvoyant.
Come visit Galveston Island with Savanna during Christmas and find the wonder of Christmas on the Strand.
Christmas on the Strand is the prequel to a series of cozy stories titled Southern Breezes. All the stories are set on Galveston Island, sharing the lives of a group of people who visited the island when they were young and have returned to claim it as their permanent home.

 

Savanna was only half-listening to the couple in front of her and Roth. She was trying to find a polite way to excuse herself. She wanted to find Terence before the ladies dressed in red took the floor. She definitely didn’t want to dance with anyone but him when the song played.
An unnerving feeling washed across her and a slow tingle slid its way down her spine. She felt as though someone was watching her—intently. Turning around slowly, Savanna felt as though she was being pulled by a magnet, everything inside her quivering in response.
When she faced the opposite direction, she breathed out a soft laugh and her lips parted in the beginning of a smile.
Terence was walking toward her, smiling at her in return. His smile broadened and he did a little Samba move at her.
Savanna laughed, loving that he wanted to play, tease her. She stepped forward, her hips swaying, matching Terence’s moves.
Terence held out his hand as he reached her, capturing hers in his own. Slowly, he raised her hand to his lips, kissing the backside, then turning it over, he kissed the inside of her palm, his mouth lingering.
Savanna’s heart raced, and her breath caught in her throat. Terence drew her close, his body molding against hers, the Samba moves slowing. Whispering against the shell of her ear, his breath teased at her. “Savanna, I presume?”
She nodded. Her breath so tight she couldn’t speak.
“Then, may I have the next dance, when the pale white circling the floor gives way to the passion of red?”
Savanna leaned back and looked up at him. Where on the face of God’s earth had this man come from? What man spoke this way and looked like Gable? This only happened in the movies. And Gable, only happened once in a lifetime.
Terence lowered his arm to her waist, his fingers resting at the base of her spine, stroking her in a light up and down movement. He brushed his lips across hers and murmured in between the caress of his mouth. “Follow me…we’re going to the center of the ballroom to dance. We’re going to give the photographer his heart’s desire, something that’ll light up tomorrow morning’s papers.”
As Terence took her hand, he leaned around her, signaling behind her. Roth, Savanna thought. She’d forgotten all about Roth. She glanced back and saw a wide grin on Roth’s face and knew everything was fine.
She wasn’t allowed to linger as Terence guided her through the throng of people. Some spoke to him as they passed, quickly giving her the once over. She took a deep breath, knowing everyone was wondering who she was. And for the first time since she’d arrived on the island, she was aware of how many eyes were going to be on her.
The necklace tickled at her back, as she twined through the crowd, reminding her of how striking the dress was. Relieved, she hoped the dress would work the magic Terence and she were looking for.
They rounded the balcony staircase and Terence slowed, releasing her hand and slipping his arm around her, once again placing his hand against her bare back, his thumb caressing her. He smiled down at her. “White Christmas” is ending, so whatever they’re playing for those in red will begin soon.”
Couples waltzed past them, reminding Savanna of scenes from movies. It was the South, in full splendor, carrying forward the tradition of balls and galas. She closed her eyes and shook her head lightly. It was like a dream, something out of a postcard.
A tall blonde danced by in the arms of a handsome man. She smiled in their direction, blew Terence a kiss and waggled her fingers at Savanna.
“That’s Dusty. She’s dancing with Boone, Roth’s brother.”
“Oh…I thought he looked liked Roth. Roth told me about his brother.” She smiled up at Terence. “I feel like I’ve stepped into a movie, it’s all so perfect. Everyone knows each other and they’re all so gorgeous, it’s like they were cast for the parts they’re playing, especially Dusty.”
Terence laughed. “Funny you should say that, Dusty owns a decorating business, but she frequently performs in plays at The Grand. She’ll be delighted to know you think she looks like an actress.”
The orchestra’s strains lowered, signaling the end of “White Christmas” and the dancers slowed, winding down, drifting to the perimeter of the dance floor.
The emcee’s voice carried above the dulcet tones of the music as he announced the changing of the colors.
“Ladies and gentlemen…will those who wear the warmth of Christmas, please take the floor.”
Terence still had his arm around her waist and he smiled down at her as the music began. The harp led first, the sweeping sound of the strings like something from heaven as it called to the dancers.
“The Lady in Red” had never been played with such a haunting quality.
Terence stepped forward, his hand leaving Savanna’s back as he turned, facing her, leading her onto the floor. He kept just enough distance between them to allow everyone to see her, as he slid into a slower version of the Samba he’d danced with her earlier.
Savanna looked at this man, guiding her, enticing her, smiling at her as if only she was in the room. Her lips parted in delight once more as she watched the dance of seduction Terence was tempting her with, and suddenly, she decided to meet the challenge, give the man an answer.
Matching his rhythm, Savanna’s hips moved provocatively, and she felt the necklace at her back swaying with the movement. Terence’s eyes lit behind his mask and he drew her closer, one step at a time, their hips moving in sync until the distance between them closed. Completely.
Savanna could feel Terence’s hips against hers, his thighs so tight against her own, it was as though there was no fabric between them. And they danced, around and around, in their own version of a Samba, as they circled the floor. With a change in rhythm, Terence eased her from the Samba moves into a slow waltz, his hand finding its familiar place on her lower back.
And the cameras flashed. Again and again.
Other dancers slid past them, but Savanna barely noticed, there was only Terence and the feel of his hand on her back. And the flashes of light.
Terence placed his mouth against her ear once more, murmuring the words to the song, sending a new thrill down her back.
“The Lady in Red”—is dancing with me…”
Savanna curled her arm around his neck, whispering a reply—“Always…”
Terence kissed her ear. “And the Lady in Red”—will be leaving with me?”
Savanna stroked his neck with her fingertips, and closed her eyes—

 

Loretta Wheeler lives in the south along with her Australian husband, their cat Lil’ Dickens, and their dog, Jack. Both pets are rescued fur-persons who are very much loved.
Most of Loretta’s writing is set in southern locales, whether in the thriller or romance genre. She says she writes of southern things because most of her stories speak to her in a southern accent. Something she recognizes easily since her own is so strong.
If you’d like to hear Loretta’s accent, you can find examples of her voice over work here: Voiceovers
To follow her on Facebook: Click Here
Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Website ✯ Google+

 

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Book Release: Chasing the Runaway Bride by Michelle Jo Quinn

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Chasing the Runaway Bride

Book 3 of the Bliss Series

by Michelle Jo Quinn

Finding love again is just the beginning…

Even undisputed queens of dark scowls have their secrets, and for event planner, Chase, her biggest one yet is about to be revealed: She’s in love.

Too bad it’s not the first time.

In one afternoon, when her past collides with her present, old secrets she’s kept hidden for so long are revealed, and Chase has to make a decision—
Return to the life she’s left behind, or stay where she has built a life on her own.

And when the heart she’s protected for so long threatens to break, who will step in to repair the damage? Daniel—the knight in shining armor from her past, or Alex—the surprise sweetheart from her present?

Or will running away again be the easiest way out of it all?

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Buy Links

AMAZON US:
http://amzn.to/2giqc6W

AMAZON UK:
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AMAZON CA:
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B&N/NOOK
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125138505

KOBO
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/chasing-the-runaway-bride

iBOOKS
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/chasing-the-runaway-bride/id1175685921

The Bliss Series

Confessions of A Wedding Planner

He may be the best man,

 but he’s the worst man for her… 

Wedding planner, Veronica Soto-Stewart believes everyone deserves a fairy tale wedding–even her ex-boyfriend and his new fiancée. Unable to refuse his request, she finds herself creating the most magical event for the perfect couple.

But nothing is ever perfect…

Especially when Levi Laurent, the best man, is doing everything to get into her pants. Veronica wants nothing to do with the rich, sexy, irresistible playboy.

Can Levi convince Veronica that her own fairy tale is closer than she thinks and not all happily ever afters can be planned?

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2giuWt0

13245291_1548047832168189_2208498778452713917_nThe Bachelor’s Perfect Proposal

All he wants is a perfect proposal.
But all she wants is the truth…

The sexy and former playboy, Levi Laurent is ready to marry sweet, romantic wedding planner, Veronica Soto-Stewart. After a crazy and rocky start, Levi knows they can withstand anything–as long as he keeps his past buried deep… But when Levi and Veronica travel overseas to meet his ailing grandmother, Levi’s past comes barreling forth, nearly suffocating both of them.

Now, it’s time for Levi to open up to the one woman he can’t bear to lose. But will Veronica agree to “for better or worse” once the Laurent secrets are revealed?

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2fnTNwQ

Author Bio

Michelle is addicted to romance. She believes in happily ever afters and loves writing about couples who get there.

When not writing, she props her feet up on her favorite lounger and binges on Netflix shows or reads one or two books at the same time. She enjoys red wine, dark chocolate, cake, and can talk your ears off about delicious food. Travelling is high on her list, whether alone, with friends or family.

Michelle lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two amazing children and a cuddly Maltese-Yorkie dog named Scarlet.

Join Michelle’s Monthly Newsletter: http://bit.ly/MJQUINNNEWSLETTER

Tangled in Tinsel by Stacy Eaton

TANGLED IN TINSEL

by Stacy Eaton

GENRE: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Welcome to Celebration Township.

Casey Lowe is new in town and hiding from her past. Her next-door neighbor, Thad Wagner, is a sexy police officer, who is good with his hands, and his lips, but Casey refuses to get involved with a married man, and Thad can’t seem to understand why she keeps pushing him away. No matter how they try to stay apart, something keeps drawing them together. When an unexpected visitor shows up at Casey’s house the week before Christmas, her future is on the line. Will Thad figure it out in time to save her, or will Casey become a conspirator to a murderer?

Tangled in Tinsel is the first book in the thirteen-story novella series that takes place in quaint Celebration Township, Pennsylvania. The rest of the series will begin to release in the fall of 2016.

Ten minutes down the road, a siren caught my attention, and I saw the telltale red and blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror.
“Shit. How fast was I going?” I glanced at the speedometer. “Only sixty-five. What’s the speed limit here?”
“I don’t know,” Brandy said as she glanced over her shoulder. “Maybe it’s your neighbor.”
“Crap, let’s hope it’s not.” I slowed and pulled over to the shoulder, hoping he was only trying to get around me. No such luck as he stopped behind me. “Damn, I think it is him,” I said as I stared harder into the mirror.
“That’s good. I’m sure you can get out of this then,” Brandy said as she put mascara on. “Actually, I’m glad you got pulled over, now I can put my mascara on without getting it all over the place.”
“Figures you would find something good in me being pulled over by the police,” I retorted as I dug through my purse for my wallet. A tap on my window brought my head up fast, and I lowered the window as I glanced up.
Lord, have mercy on my soul! This man was incredible looking. His short hair was light brown and parted on the side. His blue eyes were striking as they stared down at me.
“Morning, ma’am. I’m Officer Wagner of the Celebration Police Department. Do you happen to know how fast you were going?”
I opened my mouth to speak and found words escaped me as I watched his lips to see if they would continue to move. He had the most incredible lips I had ever seen, and I wondered how they would feel.

He tipped his head to the side and studied me. “Ma’am, are you alright?”

“Casey,” I stuttered out.
“Excuse me?”
“My name is Casey, not ma’am.”
Brandy snickered beside me, and I almost elbowed her.
A smirk raised one side of his mouth and displayed the cutest damned dimple I had ever seen. “Okay, Casey, do you know how fast you were going?”
“Um,” I cleared my throat. Did I tell the truth? Of course I tell the truth! Jesus, I knew what happened with the police when you didn’t. “Sorry, I was going about sixty-five, but I don’t know what the speed limit is.”
“Actually, you were going sixty-nine when you were clocked, and the speed limit is thirty-five.”
I cringed, “I’m so sorry. We woke up late, and I’m rushing my friend to the airport. She has a flight out at eleven. I honestly didn’t know the speed limit.”
“Well, Casey, now you do, and I hope that in the future you will obey it.” He grinned down at me and held out his hand. “I’m Thad, by the way, I believe we’re neighbors.”
I looked at his long elegant fingers as they came my way. Why was my heart beating like it was trying to get out of my chest? I placed my hand into his and we both stared at one another. “Casey,” I said again lamely.
“It’s nice to meet you, Casey. Do me a favor and slow down. Get your friend to the airport safely.”
“Yes, sir,” I stated automatically while I realized I was still holding his hand. I yanked mine back, embarrassed at my reaction to him.
He laughed a deep laugh and put a smile on his face that made his eyes seem brighter than they had been just moments before. “I’m letting you off with a warning today, not because you are my neighbor, but because you did me a favor last night. Thank you for dropping the food off at home for me.”
“You’re welcome, and thank you for not giving me a ticket. I promise I’ll pay better attention.”
“Drive safely, Casey,” he leaned down and peered past me to Brandy, “and have a safe flight.” Thad’s subtle cologne reached my nose with his movement. Thank god I was seated, or my knees might have buckled.
“Thank you,” Brandy replied.
Thad stared at me for another moment before he stood up, “I’ll see you around, Casey. It was nice meeting you, and welcome to Celebration.”
“Thank you.” My voice came out huskier than it should have, and I cleared my throat as he walked away. I used the side mirror to watch him; his back was as nice as his front. When he reached his driver’s-side door, he turned and our gazes locked in the reflection. He winked and climbed into his truck.
“Talk about a hottie,” Brandy said as she fanned her face. I put the window up and checked my mirror again to make sure it was safe to get back onto the road.
I’d learned two things just then: One, Officer Thad Wagner was an extreme hottie; second, he was also a very dangerous man, if only to my starving hormones.

 

 

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Tears to CheersHeathens to Hearts

 

Stacy Eaton began her writing career in October of 2010 and as each year goes by, she releases more and more novels. Stacy recently took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service, with her last three in investigations and crime scene investigation.
Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter who is working toward her second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and on the choral and cheerleading squads at school. She also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy.
Stacy is very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years. She continues to volunteer with them when she has time.

 

 

 

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Measure for Measure by E.M. Denning

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

by E.M. Denning

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Millicent Hughes—Millie—is an author on the brink success. As a former foster child, her past wasn’t a bed of roses, making her current success even sweeter. But despite her skyrocketing career, she knows something is missing: him.
When her best friend is killed and she’s attacked by what police believe is an obsessed fan, her life is thrown into turmoil. Even her publisher comes under scrutiny. Can her former foster brothers keep her safe or will they have to take drastic measures to catch a killer?

 

The footsteps in the hallway meant one thing.
She was here.
I’d pictured this moment a million times. Everything was perfect for her. Candles. Flower petals. The atmosphere was perfect. Today was the first day of my happy ending. I was supposed to have that before, but Rachel took everything. Millie will give it all back. My one regret about today was that I had to come here straight from work to get everything set up in time. I wanted to look nice for her, to have a chance to shower and clean up. But we could also do that after.
I smoothed my shirt as her key scraped in the lock. I checked my breath. My watch. She was early, but only by a few minutes. I grabbed a long stemmed rose in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other. I heard her relock the front door and start down the hallway.
I waited for her to come into her room, but I heard the guest bedroom open and close instead. Slightly irritated, I exhaled and then squared my shoulders. I couldn’t wait anymore. I had to go to her. My skin tingled with anticipation. I’d waited so long for this moment that even one more minute felt like torture.
I crept down the hallway and opened the guest bedroom.
“Surprise!” A female voice called when I opened the door. She jumped out from around the corner. Her black ponytail swung behind her.
“You’re not Millie.” I said, instantly angry. This couldn’t be happening. Not now. Not today. This intruder was going to ruin everything.
The smile on the woman’s face quickly faded. “Neither are you?” She took a step back. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to surprise Millie on her big day.” I took a step toward her. I had to try and convince her that this was not a good night for company. “Well, I’m her boyfriend actually. I had sort of a special evening planned for us. What are you doing here?” She wasn’t supposed to be here. She didn’t even live here.
The woman frowned. “Millie doesn’t have a boyfriend, and if she did, she would have told me.” She pulled a phone out of her back pocket. “So I’m going to give you one more chance to tell me what you’re doing here, or I’m calling her.”
“That’s really not necessary. I promise.” I smiled at her.
The woman arched an eyebrow at me. “How’d you get in?”
“I had the superintendent let me in so I could surprise Millie. Her big signing was today and I thought we could celebrate after.”
“People don’t just let themselves into other people’s houses. That’s creepy as fuck.”
I felt my smile fade. This woman was going to be a problem. That was unfortunate. Usually women weren’t a problem for me at all. “You let yourself in.”
“That’s different. I’m her sister.”
“Then you know how important today is for her. I want to help her celebrate. I’ve made everything special for her.”
The woman’s eyebrows slammed down and her face twisted in disbelief and confusion. “I don’t think so.” She said as she started to dial.
I didn’t think. My arm swung and the wine bottle met the side of her head with a sickening thud. The phone clattered against the floor as crumpled into a heap.
I checked the phone. She never got a chance to dial.
The heap of girl on the floor moaned.
Adrenaline surged through me. This bitch. This bitch ruined everything. Time was ticking. I had to get rid of her. I hovered over the woman and as she started to stir I brought the wine bottle down against the back of her head again. And again. When the bottle struck a third time, bones crunched. When the bottle struck a fourth it came back bloody. When it struck a fifth time, she stopped breathing.
I stood up. My entire body shook as I stared down at the corpse on the floor. I’d killed people before, that wasn’t new to me. But never like this. Never with my bare hands. Never before had a death been so personal, or satisfying.
But I didn’t have time to dwell on this new development. I had a body to dispose of.
I washed the wine bottle off in the bathroom sink—why waste perfectly good wine? Millie and I could drink it after I took care of this small inconvenience.
I eyed the corpse and gave it a little kick with my foot. Idiot bitch. She ruined everything. I heard the door open. Keys clattered on the counter. A cork popped. Then she started down the hallway.
Shit. I put the wine bottle down on the bed and listened at the door. Keys clattered on the counter. A cork popped. She walked down the hallway and into her room. I couldn’t breathe as I listened for her reaction.
Something hit the floor, then a moment later I heard her yelp. It sounded as if she hit the floor too.
Shit. No. She was scared. She wasn’t supposed to be scared.
Everything was falling apart.
I heard her race for the door. I had to stop her.
I ran after her. Too overcome with desperation to speak. I grabbed her arm as she reached for the door. An elbow flew back and caught me in the stomach right under the ribcage. My breath rushed out of me and she shook my grip and vanished into the hallway.
I grabbed her keys and cellphone off the counter on impulse and shoved them in my pocket. They might come in handy later. I didn’t run after her.
I’d get her later.
I already had a new plan.

 

 

E. M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and her animals and anything cute and fuzzy. She was born a hopeless romantic and when she’s not writing romance, she’s probably reading it. She loves love.

 

 

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Trying Sophie- – A Dublin Rugby Romance by Rebecca Norinne

Trying Sophie by Rebecca Norinne

Trying Sophie

A Dublin Rugby Romance

by Rebecca Norinne

Genre: Contemporary Romance

She doesn’t date players…

Sophie Newport loves her life: she’s traveled the world and lived by her own rules. But when her grandfather has a heart attack, she drops everything and boards a plane to Ireland. Two weeks, that’s the plan. Until one look at her childhood nemesis has her rethinking everything. She’s sworn off athletes, but she might just give him a try.

He’s the biggest player of all.

Sex and rugby were the only things Declan O’Shaughnessy cared about, right up until his first love waltzed back into his life. Even as he slept his way through Dublin, he never stopped thinking about her. Never stopped wondering if she thought about him, too. So even though he’s never gone after a woman the way he chases down opponents on the field, this time, he won’t let her get away.

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Pre-Order links

iBooks: http://bit.ly/TryingSophie-iBooks
Nook: http://bit.ly/TryingSophie-Nook
Kobo: http://bit.ly/TryingSophie-Kobo
Amazon: Coming December 1

About Rebecca

Rebecca Norinne writes steamy contemporary and paranormal romance. A native Californian, she currently resides in Dublin, Ireland, with her husband. For more information, visit www.rebeccanorinne.com or @rebecca_norinne.

All Jazzed Up by Tracy Ellen

ALL JAZZED UP

Book One: Love, Lies & Ninja Missions

by Tracy Ellen

Genre: contemporary romance

A pretend marriage.

A real desire.

Being friends with no benefits has never been hotter!

Jazy Axelrod’s in love with the hunky man-whore Max Byrd, who also happens to be her best guyfriend! Even worse, Jazy soon gets Max isn’t into her that way.

But Max has problems, too. A woman is trying to trap him into marriage. Max begs for Jazy’s help. Jazy decides to give Max more than he ever bargained for.

Can Jazy seduce the cynical player in just a few short weeks to believe in her, and happily-ever-after? Or does Jazy learn real love needs no convincing?

A stand-alone HEA romance.

 

With his black good looks oozing animalistic charisma and his strong, muscular body, Max is the sort of large man who instantly makes a girl feel femininely sexy and protected, yet turned on at the same time by his aura of underlying power.
As a member of the female species, I’m rather disillusioned by how easily women fall for Max. They’re always miscasting him in the hero role, as well. However, girls seem to love their heroes, and like any intelligent man, Max loves giving women what they want to eventually get what he wants.
Sure Max is big and strong and would never mistreat a woman, but at his core, he isn’t hero material. Max is an aggressive, tough man with a huge appetite for all things in life.
Besides, I’ve always thought being protected by Max would be akin to having the Big Bad Wolf as your bodyguard. Only imagine thinking a man’s tame, yet deep down, you suspect he could eat you at any time.
Oh, man. I pressed my thighs together at this latest tingle, and I couldn’t blame my cursing or the cold wind for my shivery goose bumps. It was totally the fault of the hot idea of rolling around and wrestling with a powerful, untamed wolf man.

 

Specially priced till release date
(December 15, 2016)
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Tracy Ellen was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. She’s lived in the Midwest her whole life–in a small town, on a farm, and in the big city. Currently, she resides in the suburbs of St Paul, Minnesota with her incredibly tolerant, awesome husband and family. Always an avid reader of all genres, her writing career began in 2012 with the debut of A Date with Fate, a blend of contemporary-romance/ romantic suspense / and romantic comedy. Tracy’s goal as a writer will always be to create worlds readers can’t wait to dive into for a few hours of fun and excitement. She thrives on trying to come up with the witty banter, steamy love scenes, pulse-throbbing action, and belly-laughing humor her reader fans have come to love and expect in her novels. Please let Tracy know how she’s doing!

 

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A Rock Star’s Christmas Reunion by Heather Hiestand

A Rock Star’s Christmas Reunion

by Heather Hiestand

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Twelve years ago, Bax Connolly left his small town behind to find fame and fortune with his guitar. Now the legendary, tattooed rock star is back and has purchased a home. The bad boy of the music industry wants to reconnect with his estranged family by throwing a huge Christmas party. But his tough, working class relatives have no clue how to deal with their ultra-wealthy and famous prodigal son and want nothing to do with him.

Yakima Wannassay’s catering company needs a Christmas miracle to keep from going under, but she never expected Santa to deliver her the perfect holiday client—her former next door neighbor Bax. A recommendation from him could take her business to a whole new level. And when she steps under the mistletoe with the irresistible Bax, she finds herself wanting to mix business with pleasure. Too bad a long ago told little white lie could blow up in her face and ruin both Christmas and her future.

The Rock Star’s Christmas Reunion reunites a couple who were never together except in rumor, adds some music industry edge, and mixes in the joy of the holidays!

The front door opened. Framed in the doorway was Bax Connolly, first a boy band star, then a guitar hero. But before all that, he’d been the oldest of the Connolly boys. Her brother’s friends, her tormentors, her champions, her first crushes.

“Bax,” Yakima whispered. An obsessed fan couldn’t have checked him out more thoroughly. His feet were bare, despite the chilly December wind. He wore black jeans, cupping every part of him in just the right places, and a navy Henley, which hid any and all tats. His tousled brown hair blew around his head. He needed a haircut. And a good night’s sleep. He’d never had those circles under his eyes as a kid.

She blinked, cleared her throat. This was a job prospect, not a date. She needed to act like an old friend, not a stalker. Her slight, lifelong acquaintance of Bax and his family had moved into high gear when he was thirteen and his family had moved into a larger house, next door to her family’s home, to accommodate his four cousins who’d been orphaned. She’d been eleven and he’d been her perfect dream.

His eyes went from dazed to focused. “How did you get my address?”

“You left it on my voicemail,” she said, confused. “Bax?” Didn’t he recognize her?

He crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Look, this is a private home. I applaud you for craftiness, but I don’t sign autographs at my front door.”

She knew she was to blame with her fan stalker-ish once-over of him, but she held her ground. She needed this job. “Baxter Connolly, I’m not a super-stalker. You. Called. Me.” She pointed to her van, just visible in the drive, and then to her face.

“Yakima? That really you?” He peered out of the doorway, his hand shading his perfect almond-shaped eyes, hiding their famous brownish green spirals.

“Yes, Bax.” She pulled off her white leather newsboy cap in case it was hiding her face.

“Wow, you cut your hair.”

“Just about three inches.” She touched her long ponytail self-consciously. “It’s not down to my ass anymore.”

He grinned, his posture relaxing. “It’s you, all right. You never used to put your hair back. I remember that gorgeous black hair more than your face.” He held out his arms.

She stared at him, a bit concerned about how quickly he switched gears but willing to go with it, and set down her purse and clipboard. “Oh.” Moving forward, she tucked her arms around his lean waist. She didn’t remember him being so thin, but he’d whittled down to Mick Jagger-in-1967-Morocco proportions, all muscle and sinew. He smelled of mint.

She pulled back and grinned at him, delighted. “You’re still obsessed with mint M&Ms!”

“Much easier to get these days.” He winked at her and dropped his arms. “So you’re a caterer now?”

“Just starting out.”

“I should have known. How many Yakimas could there be around here? Come on in and let’s talk about my party.”

Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return to historical fiction as well as other subgenres. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

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Tru Blue by Melissa Foster

TRU BLUE

a sexy stand-alone romance

by Melissa Foster

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imagine falling in love with a man, then finding out he was a killer…TRU BLUE is a sexy, dark stand-alone novel written in the same loving, raw, and emotional voice romance readers have come to love, and the deeply emotional literary prose women’s fiction readers have come to expect, from New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.

He wore the skin of a killer, and bore the heart of a lover…

There’s nothing Truman Gritt won’t do to protect his family–Including spending years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. When he’s finally released, the life he knew is turned upside down by his mother’s overdose, and Truman steps in to raise the children she’s left behind. Truman’s hard, he’s secretive, and he’s trying to save a brother who’s even more broken than he is. He’s never needed help in his life, and when beautiful Gemma Wright tries to step in, he’s less than accepting. But Gemma has a way of slithering into people’s lives and eventually she pierces through his ironclad heart. When Truman’s dark past collides with his future, his loyalties will be tested, and he’ll be faced with his toughest decision yet.

“Several emotional topics — such as drug addiction, abandonment, infertility and unexpectedly becoming a parent — are easily woven together without making the story feel crowded or overdone. Foster writes exceptional characters that keep readers thinking long after the book is finished… The dynamic members of the Whiskey family are the foundation that holds the group together and they are exactly the reason we’re taught not to judge. Let’s hope we hear more from all of them!” RT Book Reviews

“Sexy and Heartbreaking….I simply adored this beautifully written romance.” Tasty Book PR

“Ms. Foster, went for the gut with Truman and Gemma. Tru Blue is more than a romance, it is a story of love, a story of hope and a story of courage. 10 + stars.” Night Owl Reviews

“With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!” New York Times Bestseller Julie Kenner

“Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!” New York Times Bestseller Lauren Blakely

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” NYT Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

TRUMAN GRITT LOCKED the door to Whiskey Automotive and stepped into the stormy September night. Sheets of rain blurred his vision, instantly drenching his jeans and T-shirt. A slow smile crept across his face as he tipped his chin up, soaking in the shower of freedom. He made his way around the dark building and climbed the wooden stairs to the deck outside his apartment. He could have used the interior door, but after being behind bars for six long years, Truman took advantage of the small pleasures he’d missed out on, like determining his own schedule, deciding when to eat and drink, and standing in the f**king rain if he wanted to. He leaned on the rough wooden railing, ignoring the splinters of wood piercing his tattooed forearms, squinted against the wetness, and scanned the cars in the junkyard they used for parts—and he used to rid himself of frustrations. He rested his leather boot on the metal box where he kept his painting supplies. Truman didn’t have much—his old extended-cab truck, which his friend Bear Whiskey had held on to for him while he was in prison, this apartment, and a solid job, both of which were compliments of the Whiskey family. The only family he had anymore.

Emotions he didn’t want to deal with burned in his gut, causing his chest to constrict. He turned to go inside, hoping to outrun thoughts of his own f**ked-up family, whom he’d tried—and failed—to save. His cell phone rang with his brother’s ringtone, “A Beautiful Lie” by 30 Seconds to Mars.

“F**k,” he muttered, debating letting the call go to voicemail, but six months of silence from his brother was a long time. Rain pelleted his back as he pressed his palm to the door to steady himself. The ringing stopped, and he blew out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d trapped inside. The phone rang again, and he froze.

He’d just freed himself from the dredges of hell that he’d been thrown into in an effort to save his brother. He didn’t need to get wrapped up in whatever mess the drug-addicted fool had gotten himself into. The call went to voicemail, and Truman eyed the metal box containing his painting supplies. Breathing like he’d been in a fight, he wished he could paint the frustration out of his head. When the phone rang for the third time in as many minutes, the third time since he was released from prison six months ago, he reluctantly answered.

“Quincy.” He hated the way his brother’s name came out sounding like the enemy. Quincy had been just a kid when Truman went to prison. Heavy breathing filled the airwaves. The hairs on Truman’s forearms and neck stood on end. He knew fear when he heard it. He could practically taste it as he ground his teeth together.

“I need you,” his brother’s tortured voice implored.

Need me? Truman had hunted down his brother after he was released from prison, and when he’d finally found him, Quincy was so high on crack he was nearly incoherent—but it didn’t take much for f**k off to come through loud and clear. What Quincy needed was rehab, but Truman knew from his tone that wasn’t the point of the call.

Before he could respond, his brother croaked out, “It’s Mom. She’s really bad.”

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

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