12 Days of Clean Romance: Author Taylor Hart (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

 

The Christmas Groom
written by Taylor Hart
published by ArchStone Ink, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

About the book: Nathan Pennington, aka billionaire attorney, had only one idea on his mind the week before Christmas…forget about the past year and enjoy the beautiful Park City ski slopes. His plan was working, until some annoying ski bunny sprayed snow in his face. Her rudeness wasn’t something he could let slide. Nathan chases the woman down the hill intent on chewing her out, but when face-to-face, he’s struck by the vulnerability and anger in her eyes.

Storm Goodman has heard every weather joke in the book—and she’s not in the mood for another. Lately her life has lived up to her name. After a year of personal setbacks in her skiing career and her grandfather passing, she thought the worst of it was over until Four days before Christmas her lawyer tells her she can’t inherit the ranch her grandfather left her—unless she’s married by noon on Christmas day. Good thing she has a guy to marry—too bad he’s also the same guy who cheated on her last year. She’ll have to put up with him if she wants to keep the land from being turned over to the BLM.

When a mysterious guy shows up, chewing her out for spraying snow on him, she never would have imagined she’d end up on a date with him. Or kiss him! Why does her life have such rotten timing? After night skiing, soaking in the hot tub, and dancing at an old folk’s home, Storm begins to wonder if she can really go through with the marriage to her ex.

Now she and Nathan are faced with a choice—walk away or let the timing of love sync up once and for all.

 

I’m a big fan of the Bachelor Billionaire Romance Series. I read it all in one day and loved every word! Park City is one of my favorite places, and I loved the spunky interaction between Nathan and Storm. I highly recommend. It’s the perfect book to read this Christmas!—Jennifer Youngblood

This was another Billionaire success! The characters were fun, the location was awesome and I loved that it was a clean romance.—Donna C.

 

2

“So don’t stand here and give me life lessons, okay? When people like you already have their millions, they can say anything they want.”

He decided not to correct her statement by informing her he was a billionaire. Instead, he turned for the tent opening.

She sighed. “I’m sorry. Look, it’s just been one of those days, okay?”

He turned back.

She shook her head and reached for another coat, letting out a derisive laugh. “It’s kinda been one of those years to tell you the truth.”

He paused and then moved back, offering his hand. “Let’s start over. I’m Nathan.”

Letting out a puff of air, she looked at his hand, but shook her head.

“Really, let’s start over. I’m Nathan.” He insisted.

“You’re not going to leave until I give you my name, are you?”

He had to smile at her brashness, her sarcasm with a bit of pissed off sprinkled in. Every woman he’d dated for the past few years had been the political type—polished, schooled in the right topics, dressed in the right clothes, and they always said the right things. This woman was refreshing. “Nope, not gonna leave without a name.”

Shaking his hand, she gave him a little smile. “I’m Storm.”

Oh yeah, that fit her.

She pulled back. “And I’m not in the mood for weather jokes, okay? My mother grew up here and was fascinated by the storms that blew through.”

The information interested him, but he didn’t push her. “Nice to meet you.”

She studied him for a moment before grinning. “Man, that’s a practiced smile.” Cocking her head to the side, she lifted an eyebrow. “Completely fake.”

Finding all thoughts of aches and pains and hunger gone, he realized he wanted to know more about her. “Really?”

“Completely.”

“How do you know?”

She gestured to him. “’Cause I’ve been talking to you, and I’ve seen the real one.” She stuck her chin out. “When you were teasing me. Now it looks like you’re running for president.”

Thoughts of his father flashed through his mind. His gut twisted, and he felt himself wincing.

“I’m sorry.” She was giving him an intense look.

He quickly changed the subject. “Tell me about this bad day or year.”

A derisive laugh escaped her as she opened another bin and loaded more merchandise into it. “Ah, no. It’s … complicated.”

Taking a chance, he put his bag of stuff down and moved next to her, folding one of the coats the way she was doing.

She shook her head, but kept packing. “Now you’re helping me?”

“Why not?” He leaned over the table and put it neatly in her bin. Then he reached for another. “It’s the Christmas spirit, right?”

Lifting her eyebrows, she put another coat in the bin and closed it. “So you’re a Mr. Do-Gooder, are you?”

He was the completely opposite kind of guy, and he knew it, but he just grinned and said, “Yep, that’s me.”

 

About the author: Taylor Hart has always been drawn to a good love triangle, hot chocolate and long conversations with new friends. Writing has always been a passion that has consumed her dreams and forced her to sit in a trance for long hours, completely obsessed with people that don’t really exist. Taylor would have been a country star if she could have carried a tune—maybe in the next life.

 

 

Also by Author Taylor Hart

Nathan’s story’s is a stand alone book. But, there’s more other fun bachelor billionaires who have already fallen in love.
If you wanted to read Bachelor Billionaire Romances in order it would go like this:
The Football Groom
The Country Groom
The Unfinished Groom
The Barefoot Groom
The Masquerading Groom
The Christmas Groom
The Lost Groom
The Undercover Groom
The Lone Star Groom



 

Last Play Romances
Last Play
The Rookie
Just Play
A Player for Christmas
End Zone
Hail Mary


 

 

 

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/18/17 – Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

12 Days of Clean Romance: Author Jennifer Peel (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

 

 

Trouble in Loveland
written by Jennifer Peel
published by Jennifer Peel, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksWalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

About the book: What does dating the boss + meddling ex-wife + most adorable three-year-old ever equal? Trouble in Loveland.

At seventeen, Charlee Jensen packed her bags and left her beloved hometown of Loveland, swearing she would never have anything to do with the men that left her heartbroken: her father, the man that taught her heroes can fall; and Ryan Carter, her much older neighbor and teenage crush.

Now eight years later, Charlee has two degrees she never wanted and no job prospects, forcing her to swallow her pride and come home to work for her father’s accounting firm—the same firm where newly divorced Ryan Carter is now a partner.

But trouble starts to stir when Ryan realizes the girl next door is all grown up and completely smitten with his adorable three-year-old. Ryan finds it hard to resist his beautiful, yet annoyingly charming neighbor and coworker, but is torn between his feelings and trying to keep the peace with his ex-wife, the mother of his child. It’s a recipe for trouble. Will Charlee and Ryan find the formula for success?

 

 

“Jennifer Peel’s writing captures you from the start and pulls you in. Trouble in Loveland is a fantastic book and was the perfect escape that I look for when I read. It has it all! Drama, humor, and romance. Highly recommend!” – Becky Monson, Author of The Spinster Series ★★★★★

“I absolutely loved this book! I just discovered Jennifer Peel, and I’m so glad I did. Her writing is fun, the dialogue witty, and her character development brilliant. Trouble in Loveland is the third book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last. I am definitely a new fan!!” Cindy Roland Anderson,Author of Under a Georgia Moon ★★★★★

 

 

 

2

My heart pounded erratically as Ryan looked up at me and smiled. The butterflies were beyond excited and swearing like sailors. I bit my lip nervously and watched Ryan walk my way. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I knew it didn’t mean anything to him, but not to sound cheesy, it was like a dream come true for me. All I needed was some fog behind him as he sauntered over to me.

He held out his hand as soon as he approached me. “Will you give me the pleasure of dancing with me?” I think that was the sexiest thing I’d ever heard in my life.

I couldn’t talk very well, which was saying something. I always had something to say. I nodded my head and held out my hand, that I prayed wasn’t sweaty. Before he led me away, I tossed the bouquet to Amy, who wore a sly grin.

As we made it to the middle of the floor, I heard the DJ say, “Now don’t they make a lovely couple? Maybe there will be another love connection tonight.” I think I turned about ten shades of red. Ryan didn’t seem fazed by it as he pulled me to him and held me firmly, but gently. His hand rested on my mid-back. With his other hand he took my hand, and instead of holding it out, he brought it in, more intimately, against our bodies. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” began to play. Ryan was obviously an experienced dancer as his steps kept in time with the rhythm of my new favorite song.

Ryan’s eyes seared into mine. “I was hoping I would get to dance with you tonight.”

“You were?”

“Yes, but you’ve been quite popular.” He pulled back a tad and looked down at my dress. “You look very …”

“Please don’t say grown up.”

He smiled and shook his head. “I wasn’t going to say that, I was going to say …” he tried to think of something.

“You were going to say it, weren’t you?”

He sighed. “Charlee, you really know how to make a guy feel inadequate, don’t you?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I find I like it.”

“You do?”

He nodded his head. “I also find you to be very …” he hesitated.

“Very what?”

“Beautiful and annoyingly charming.”

“How can somebody be annoying and charming at the same time?”

“See what I mean?” He held me close.

 

More Trouble in Loveland
written by Jennifer Peel
published by

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, Walmart, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: Another Timeless Single Romance! Join Jennifer Peel for MORE TROUBLE IN LOVELAND, a companion story to the beloved romance TROUBLE IN LOVELAND.

Charlee Jensen-Carter has been looking forward to her first Christmas with her new husband, Ryan, and her adorable stepson for weeks. Not only is her dad tying the knot, but she’s looking forward to two weeks of no exes, no drama, and especially no trouble. At least that’s what she thinks.

First, she gets talked into wearing red hooker heels again. Next, she finds herself trying to save her dad’s wedding. And if that isn’t bad enough, more than one ex shows up, and she’s suddenly in the middle of more trouble than she ever bargained for.

Will she ever find the right moment to give Ryan the best Christmas present ever? Or will her Christmas hopes and dreams die a fiery death in this comical holiday tale?

 

“Are you in the mood for a Christmassy book full of love, laughter and swoon worthy moments? Then look no further than More Trouble in Loveland! It’s the perfect afternoon read!” – Kathy Jo, KJ’s Book Nook ★★★★★

“Jennifer Peel’s holiday-themed contemporary romantic comedy novel, More Trouble in Loveland, is a humorous and enjoyable tale . . . highly recommended.” Jack Magnus, Readers Favorite ★★★★★

“I’ve been eagerly awaiting a return trip to Loveland with some of my favorite characters. Oh how I’ve missed Charlee and her very active, sighing and swearing butterflies! Even in the midst of heaping family drama, Charlee and Ryan’s love is the stuff happy sighs are made of.” – Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On ★★★★★

 

2

Excerpt One

Buried beneath more of my mementos were those dang, strappy high heels. Why was I unearthing these? If Krissy thought I was wearing them again, she was crazy. I didn’t care what the boots looked like that came with the costume; they had to be better than the hooker heels. I was only bringing them so Krissy wouldn’t whine.

Ryan grinned at the shoes when I emerged from the basement door in our kitchen. “One of my favorite memories is of you wearing those in your cutoffs. I wouldn’t remind a repeat.”

I remembered that day too. I had been so embarrassed Ryan caught me while I practiced walking in them for Krissy’s wedding. “If memory serves me correctly, you laughed at me.”

He pulled me to him, and, thankfully, his breath was clean and smelled normal, like honey. “I only laughed to keep away thoughts of wanting to ravishmy partner’s daughter.”

“Uh-huh.”

He brushed my lips. “You have no idea how hard it was to resist you.”

“You seemed to manage.” I loved teasing him.

He groaned against my mouth. “You’ve obliterated all my defenses.”

“Is that so?” I let the heels drop so I could use my hands for better things. And I was just about to until—

“MOM!”

Being a newlywed with a child was tricky business. Ryan sighed but smiled. “I’ll take a rain check.” He had plenty to cash in.

Excerpt Two

Before I finished up the case and psychotherapy notes, I pulled out my phone and called my favorite number. “I love you.” I didn’t even let him say hello.

“Rough sessions today?”

“How did you know?”

“Because I know you.”

The butterflies in my stomach still erupted when he talked to me like that. Some of them had been on a 24/7 bender ever since we were married six months ago.

“I could move some meetings around and come have lunch with you,” Ryan offered.

“Sounds perfect, but I have my last study group in an hour. I can’t wait until finals are over at the end of this week. And then we get Josh all to ourselves for two weeks. It’s going to be perfect.”

“Even with all the wedding chaos?”

“Thanks for reminding me.” My dad and Felicity were finally getting married on Christmas Eve. Their love affair had been a series of ups and downs. They had planned on getting married in May, but they broke up in April, only to rekindle in June at my surprise wedding. Summer was mostly good for them. The beginning of fall was iffy, but supposedly this was a done deal. I wasn’t so sure, but I was trying to keep my personal and semi-professional feelings out of it. I loved Felicity. I loved my dad. But they had more trouble in Loveland than most couples, as my dad liked to say. Not unlike Danica and Jake, my dad and Felicity had insecurities too. Unfortunately, a lot of them were fueled by Felicity’s mom. That dear needed to get a new hobby and stop bashing my dad. But I couldn’t think about it right now. I had finals, a husband who adored me, and a stepson I loved to pieces.

“I’m sorry. Take a breath, Charlee. I love you. And if you aren’t too tired tonight after Josh’s Christmas concert, I’ll show you exactly how much.”

The butterflies were now swearing. “I’ll do my best. Sorry I’ve been so exhausted lately, you know it’s not you, right?”

“I’ve been wondering,” he teased. “I know you’ve had a lot on your plate lately.”

My schedule had been insane. Between school, practicum, wedding, Ryan, Josh, Victoria (Ryan’s ex-wife), my best friend Krissy and her baby Taylar Ann (Krissy reneged on naming the baby after me. She went with her mom instead. What could I say to that?), I was wiped out. I fell asleep every night as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was being a pitiful newlywed, which was a shame because I loved every part of Ryan, and he was a rock star in the bedroom. “You’re always my main course.”

“I love it when you talk dirty to me like that.”

I laughed. “I love you. I’ll see you tonight.”

“You have no idea how much I look forward to it.”

Believe me, I did.

 

About the author: Jennifer Peel is the award-winning bestselling author of the Dating by Design and Women of Merryton series, as well as several other contemporary romances. Though she lives and breathes writing, her first love is her family. She is the mother of three amazing kiddos and has recently added the title of mother-in-law, with the addition of two terrific sons-in-law. She’s been married to her best friend and partner in crime for a lot longer than seems possible. Some of her favorite things are late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and Southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

 

 

Also by Author Jennifer Peel

 


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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Spotlight: Falling For Mr. Wright by Robyn Neeley (excerpt, giveaway)

 

Falling For Mr. Wright
written by Robyn Neeley
published by Entangled Publishing LLC, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from the author: After being dumped two weeks before his wedding, civil engineer Ryan Wright’s not interested in love. Been there, done that, had the wedding deposits to prove it. Still, he can’t help lusting after the fiery redheaded executive assistant who’s stirring up feelings that aren’t exactly appropriate for the office.

Sarah Leonard is determined to make the CEO fall in love with her. To execute her plan, she’s going to need a little help in the form of her lunch buddy, the 6’2” office hottie who just so happens to be their boss’s best friend. Who better to tell Sarah everything she needs to know to win the other man’s heart?

Ryan agrees to help Sarah put her plan in motion, but he has no intention of helping her win anything. In fact, it’s time to show his office crush that he’s the guy she should be falling for…

2

In this scene, Sarah accompanies Ryan home to Connecticut to attend an awards gala at his former high school. They wind up alone on the football field where Sarah suggest Ryan show her his quarterback moves.

Ryan cocked an eyebrow. “You want me to tackle you?”

“Yes.”

“In that dress?”

Sarah looked down at herself. Whoops. “Okay, maybe just don’t let me win so easily.”

“Okay.” He motioned her to get back into position down the field. “Get ready.”

“I should warn you,” she called to him. “Before I fed the chickens in high school, I ran two miles each morning.”

“Noted.” Once again, he lobbed the ball in her direction. Knowing he’d follow, she grabbed the ball out of the air and ran as fast as she physically could in her dress. Ryan caught up a little too quickly for her liking, so she dodged right and then quickly faked a left, throwing him off just long enough to dash straight for the end zone.

Before she could celebrate victory, Ryan grabbed her waist and lifted her off the ground. “I win, I win!” she shrieked between laughs. Ryan gently put her down and she turned around, standing inches from him. “See? I wouldn’t have lost you a game,” she said, hugging the football.

“Nope,” he said, not moving from his spot. Maybe it was the champagne, or maybe it was her pesky new football-player fantasy, but she stepped closer into his space.

“Are you going to show me how you celebrated touchdowns? I’d love to see you do one of those funny dances players do.” “I could do that.” He touched her cheek with his knuckle, letting it linger. “But I’d rather do this.” He leaned down and brushed her lips with his.

Just a simple touch of warm, soft skin that left her drifting forward. And then it was over. Ryan pulled back, his eyes hooded, his gaze hypnotizing. She clutched the football and blinked up at him, her mind swirling with a thousand thoughts.

At the top of the list? Holy crap. Ryan Wright just kissed me. Followed quickly by, I want him to do it again. No. Bad idea. Ryan was her colleague. Her friend. Kissing him would ruin everything. She’d have to quit her job because no way could she pretend like nothing happened, and it would hurt too much to see him, knowing a momentary lapse of judgment cost her their relationship.

She willed herself to step back…and failed. What are you doing? You’re supposed to want Logan. You’re here, at this gala, for Logan.

But was she? When Ryan invited her, Sarah had been prepared to say yes before he even mentioned Logan. She’d never had as much fun with a guy in her life as she’d had with Ryan the past year. He was incredibly hot, apparently thought she was hot, and was by far one of the most thoughtful and charming men she’d ever met. He’d rescued a kitten at the expense of his arm, for God’s sake.

Did she mention he was hot?

Screw it. One more kiss—just a little one—wouldn’t hurt anything. “Sarah, I’m sor—”

She spiked the ball and tugged Ryan back down. His immediate groan sent thrills skittering across her chest, and lower. His mouth fit over hers perfectly and, oh God, that only added to her desperation. She parted her lips, inviting him in, needing to taste him. She might die if she didn’t.

So much for a little kiss.

 

About the author: Robyn Neeley is an east coast gal who loves to explore super cute small towns; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee; and has never met a Christmas cookie she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance with humor and heart. Sign up for her e-newsletter at www.robynneeley.com.

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Release Week Blitz: Three & Out by Laura Chapman (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

New from Laura Chapman, the third installment of her fantasy football romantic comedy Queen of the League series . . .

 

 

Find it on

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?

 

Buy it Now



Read an Excerpt from Three & Out

Brook waits for J.J. to take his turn drafting before turning his eyes back to me. He taps his chin three times but says nothing. His blue eyes pierce mine.

I cave in ten seconds flat.

“Okay, J.J. is right. I’m drafting a team of dicks. I’m sure this seems juvenile. Or crazy. It’s probably both, but I’m doing it this way. For fun.”

I gulp and finally raise my gaze to his. Sheesh. Our future kids are in for some serious trouble. If I ever suspect them of lying or sneaking around, I’ll just have Brook stare them straight.

“Why dicks?” J.J. asks.

“Between the names and personality types, I figured the NFL would have more than enough to give my team a full roster.”

“Not all football players are dicks.” J.J.’s tone takes on a sharp edge.

“I agree. Just the ones I’m drafting.”

Brook’s eyes crease around the edges, and his shoulders shake. My stomach instantly settles. Good. I’m glad he found his sense of humor.

“Whatever.” J.J. sighs. “I’m not going to stop you. It’s in my best interest for you to draft a crappy team. But as league commissioner, I needed to make sure you were cleared of any wrongdoing. For all I know, you’re helping your husband secure a playoff spot.”

“I assure you, my intentions are entirely pure.”

For some reason, this sets Brook off, and I disconnect the call before J.J. can take offense to Brook’s laughter.

“I’ve got to hand it to you, babe,” he says, once he finally regains some control. “When you decide to throw the game in the pre-season, you don’t mess around.”

My jaw drops, but I pause to draft my next player—Arney Walker, a known jerk who is constantly in trouble for attitude problems—before addressing his comment.

“Why would you think I’m throwing the game?”

He gives me his “let’s be serious” look, before pointing out the lack of consistency with most of the players I’ve already drafted. I again tap my fingers on the desk impatiently while he rattles off every reason my team won’t succeed until I’ve had enough.

“I have complete faith in my team. In fact, I’m guessing my pack of boners will outperform your so-called talent.”

“Want to place a side bet?”

“What are the terms?” I have to know what’s at stake because I don’t actually think my team will come close to beating his. This is probably the finest roster I’ve seen him draft, and he’s right about my team. They suck.

“That’s up for negotiation.”

Brook rips a Post-it off of a pad and hands it to me along with a pen. He grabs a second one and scribbles on it, motioning for me to do the same. I write “get a dog” above “wins head-to-head.” We fold our pieces of paper. I hand mine over and reach for Brook’s, but he pulls it out of reach.

“Do you actually want to know what’s at stake or just discuss the terms?”

Pursing my lips, I consider the possibilities. Knowing Brook, he probably wrote something like “try my world-famous steak,” which he still hasn’t convinced me to do in the two years we’ve known each other. He respects my pescetarianism, but he still talks about the steak ad nauseam. Plus, I’d rather he not see my terms. He’s told me we can’t get a dog. Several times. He claims our apartment is too small and that our cat, Blitz, would probably traumatize any poor pup.

With steaks and dogs on the line, maybe it’s better if we don’t know what’s at risk until the last possible moment.

“Let’s go for the surprise. You hold on to your terms, I’ll hold on to mine, and we’ll reveal the prize later.”

He nods and tucks his piece of paper into his wallet. “Want to go for most wins or something else?”

“How about whoever wins when we play against each other in week six?”

“I like it. So we have a wager?”

I thrust my hand across the desk. “We have a deal.”

To his credit, Brook doesn’t gloat over his inevitable victory. He doesn’t even smirk. Instead, we shake hands and withdraw into our respective rosters as our league goes round after round in the draft.


*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. EBooks First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***

 

In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

First & Goal

 

Going for Two
 
About the Author : Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type.  Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.
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Book Blast: See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

 

See You Soon Broadway

See You Soon Broadway
written by Melissa Baldwin
published by 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Maris Forrester has a wonderful life with an amazing boyfriend and a fulfilling job. She’s happy and content . . . or so she thinks. Maris has always had huge dreams of being on Broadway. Ever since her very first performance as a child, she has envisioned herself on the stage under the shining lights. Now she has to decide whether she should to give up her wonderful life to chase those dreams.

When her parents announce they are moving, she comes across a long-lost family treasure. She doesn’t realize that this treasure may hold the key to her future and to all her dreams coming true.

And if that wasn’t sign enough, a mysterious stranger throws another wrench in the mix at a dazzling rooftop party benefiting the Arts. These could be signs of things to come.

But will she remain content in her perfect world, or will she step into the unknown world she has always dreamed of?efcexcerpt
“What are you guys up to?” I ask. My mom and Cassie are busily looking through some boxes.

“Hi, hon. Dad was cleaning out the garage and found these boxes,” Mom replies. She continues to empty some junk from a box onto the table.

“Mom and Dad are finally cleaning out their stuff. I told them that they need to feng shui,” Cassie says softly.

Cassie just opened her own yoga studio; she’s probably the most calm and mentally sound person I have ever met in my life. I have thought about talking to her about the possibility of me moving to New York, but I’m a little nervous about what she’s going to say.

“Maris, do you remember this? We used to play restaurant with this old menu.” Cassie holds up a menu that we stole from IHOP in the 80s. We used to play restaurant in Mom’s Tupperware closet for hours.

“I can’t believe we still have that thing,” I exclaim. Although, I’m not surprised since Mom and Dad never throw anything away.

“I’m keeping this for my kids,” Cassie adds. Ugh, typical Cassie—she may be calm and patient but she will always be the bossy older sister. She thinks she knows everything just because she’s a whopping three years older than me.

“Um, why do you get to keep it and you don’t even have kids yet?” I demand. She doesn’t say anything; no doubt she is chanting some kind of yoga stuff in her mind to ease the tension that’s building.

“You’re right,” she replies calmly. “We should share this once we both have kids, of course.”

I guess I can’t really argue with her considering she’s definitely closer to having kids than I am.

I start looking through a box that’s on the floor. It looks like a bunch of old stuff that belonged to my grandmother. Grandma passed away two years ago and my parents got the remainder of her things. I sort through the box of romance novels, crossword puzzles, and National Geographics from thirty years ago. As I’m sorting through the stuff, I find a red leather-bound notebook at the bottom of the box. My curiosity is building as I run my fingers over the gorgeous worn leather. I open it to the first page and immediately recognize my grandmother’s handwriting.

The first page is dated March 10, 1948 . . .
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I also look forward to any other books that Melissa has to offer. This is my second one by her and I have liked them both a lot.

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This is a very entertaining book about pursuing your dreams. I really enjoyed reading the book and am actually looking forward to a possible sequel.

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I enjoyed reading See You Soon Broadway. In fact, I finished it in two days; I could hardly put it down.

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This is the first book that I have read by this author, but it will not be the last.

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If you enjoy reading sweet romance, then definitely pick this up!

 

MelissaAuthor Melissa BaldwinAbout the author:Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published two more novels, Wedding Haters and See You Soon Broadway.

Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Find Ms. Baldwin here: Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Blog Tour: Death in A Major by Sarah Fox (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

Death in A MajorDeath in A Major
written by Sarah Fox
published by Witness Impulse, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (print), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: The new season for the Point Grey Philharmonic starts off on a sour note when one of the symphony’s wealthy benefactors drops dead in the second Music Lover’s Mystery from author Sarah Fox.

When Archibald Major, local big wig and nasty tyrant, drops dead at a post-concert reception, violinist Midori Bishop soon suspects foul play. Although Midori has no intention of getting involved in another murder investigation, that all changes when Jordan – her violin student and the victim’s grandson – seeks her help convincing the police that the real killer is his uncle, a low-level criminal.

As Midori digs into the victim’s life, she discovers that he was a man who created discord at every turn, even within his own family, and there is no shortage of potential suspects. When someone close to Midori unexpectedly confesses to the crime, Midori must race to discover the identity of the true killer before an innocent person goes to jail for a crime they didn’t commit… and before Midori herself becomes a victim in the killer’s deadly encore.

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“I’m going to speak to Ernest. He looks lonely.”

I escaped from the questions I knew Mikayla wanted to ask and approached Ernest, a short and rotund French horn player in his late fifties. His normally pale face was flushed and he stood by himself at the edge of the room, one hand fiddling with the lapel of his tuxedo jacket as he stared through his thick glasses at the crowd of mingling people.

“Hi, Ernest.”

He started when I addressed him.

“Oh. Hello, Midori.” He cleared his throat and continued to tug at his lapel. “The concert went well, don’t you think?”

“Very.”

His gaze drifted back to the crowd in the middle of the room. I followed his line of sight. Mrs. Duffy—Mr. Major’s daughter and the mother of one of my violin students—was helping her father into a wheelchair. He sat down heavily and Mrs. Duffy hooked his cane over one of the handles.

A middle-aged woman with glasses and dull, frizzy brown hair hovered behind the wheelchair and patted Major on the shoulder once he was seated. The elderly man must have grown tired of standing, but I doubted that he’d ever grow tired of creeping out women less than half his age.

I returned my attention to Ernest. His eyes were still fixed on Mr. Major and his expression had transformed in the past few seconds from bland to darkly angry.

The drastic, unexpected change startled and puzzled me. “Do you know Mr. Major?”

“What?” Ernest swiveled his head toward me, his thick glasses drawing my attention to his gray eyes and their staccato blinking. “No. I’ve never met the man.”

“Oh.” How odd. Why would he have such an intense dislike for a man he’d never met? Unless I was mistaken about whom he’d been focused on.

Ernest pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and patted his perspiring forehead. “Excuse me.”

He made a direct line to the nearest waitress and snagged a flute of champagne off her tray. My eyebrows shot up as he gulped down the entire contents in no more than a second. He abandoned the empty glass on a nearby table and moved through the crowd, patting his damp forehead again.

Weird.

Or was it? I’d never seen Ernest act like that before, but then again, I barely knew him and had never spent time with him outside of the orchestra. For all I knew he was odd on a regular basis.

Shrugging off Ernest’s behavior, I decided to join some of my fellow second violinists who had gathered near one of the grand arched windows, the view nothing but darkness at this time of night. I threaded my way through the clusters of people, making sure to stay behind Mr. Major so he wouldn’t see me and have a chance to run his sleazy eyes over me again.

As I passed within a few feet of his wheelchair, Mrs. Duffy spread a small blanket over his knees.

“Are you warm enough, Dad?”

Major swatted her hand away. “Stop fussing. I don’t need your incompetent brand of help.”

My eyes widened at the rancor in his voice. So did Mrs. Duffy’s. She choked back a sob and turned away from her father, quickly squeezing her way through the crowd.

I glared at the back of Major’s head. What a mean old bastard.

He continued to grumble under his breath. The frizzy-haired woman patted his shoulder again and spoke to him in quiet, soothing tones.

I set my empty champagne glass down on a nearby table and searched the room for Mrs. Duffy. I spotted her just as she slipped out through a door at the far end of the room. Abandoning my plan to join my fellow violinists, I worked my way through the crowded room until I reached the far door. I pushed it open and slipped out into a corridor lined with the same red carpeting as the reception room.

There was no one in sight. I knew there was an exit around the corner, so it was possible that Mrs. Duffy had stepped outside to collect herself. I wasn’t sure if I should continue to look for her to make sure she was okay. Maybe she’d prefer to be left alone. After all, I didn’t know her particularly well. I’d taught her son, Jordan, violin for seven years, but had never talked to her for more than a few minutes at a time, and the topics of our conversations had always stayed confined to her son’s progress or lesson schedules. Certainly we’d never discussed anything personal or established any sort of friendship.

I turned back to the door, intending to return to the reception room.

“What are you doing here?” a female voice asked.

I spun around, thinking the question had been aimed at me, but I was still alone.

“I need some cash,” a man said.

“And you think I have extra lying around?” I recognized the female voice as belonging to Mrs. Duffy. “You know I’m having my own financial troubles since I left Gregory.”

I paused with my hand on the doorknob. I knew this was a conversation that wasn’t meant for my ears, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to go back into the reception room. I’d always been too curious for my own good.

Two quiet steps took me farther along the corridor, closer to the branch that led to the exit.

“Of course I know,” the male voice said. “I need you to get some money off Dad for me.”

“Kevin, you know I can’t do that. If I even mention your name these days he goes through the roof.”

The man let out a string of colorful swearwords, most of them unsavory descriptors aimed at Mr. Major Senior. “Can’t you pretend it’s for you? I’m desperate here, sis.”

“I can’t.” Mrs. Duffy sounded close to tears. “He’s not much happier with me than he is with you lately. He thinks I’m a failure since my marriage fell apart.”

“Has he been bullying you again?”

Mrs. Duffy sniffled.

I jumped as a loud bang reverberated along the corridor.

“Kevin! Be careful!” Mrs. Duffy admonished in a hushed voice. “You almost put a hole in the wall.”

“That damn bastard,” Kevin spat. “Always trying to make everyone else miserable.”

A door opened nearby and a draft of chilly air wafted along the corridor toward me.

“Where are you going?” Mrs. Duffy asked, her voice tight with worry.

“I’ve had enough of the old miser,” Kevin said. “And I’m going to make sure we never have to deal with him ever again.”

A door slammed shut, the noise jolting me into motion. Not wanting Mrs. Duffy to know I’d overheard the conversation, I slipped back into the reception room and pulled the door closed behind me.

 

Sarah FoxAbout the author: Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

 

Find Ms. Fox here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

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“Readers are kept in suspense as each spinetingling event moves them towards an unforgettable ending. Sarah Fox delivers murder mystery with believable characters and earns a thumbs up.”  — Authors on the Air Global Radio Network on DEAD RINGER

“While Midori may be clueless in love, she is good at asking questions. It is easy to understand how difficult it is for her to leave the investigating to the police, particularly once she has begun. Her actions are believable, if at times rash. Dead Ringer is an entertaining cozy with just the right amount of suspense. It is a great choice for reading on a lazy summer afternoon.”  — Mutt Cafe on DEAD RINGER

“Readers are in for a treat with Sarah Fox’s new cozy…out of love, Midori sticks her nose in every place she can, which makes her a perfect heroine for lovers of mysteries. Readers will be pleased with the sheer entertainment of Fox’s plot.”  — Suspense Magazine on DEAD RINGER

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Blog Tour: Calm Like Home by Kaisa Clark (spotlight, excerpt)

Calm Like Home - Kaisa ClarkCalm Like Home
written by Kaisa Clark
published by Kaisa Clark, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Alexa Clausen has never fallen. She’s never soared. She’s lived her entire life floating midway between passion and despondency, never experiencing those extremes. But all it takes is one evening with Adam Westbrook to draw her out of her shell, to leave her feeling bold for the first time ever. He is fiery and magnetic. He is gravitational, that inescapable pull no one can avoid. After a few chance encounters, Alexa accepts that she can’t stay away, can’t deny the electricity she feels every time he comes around.

But as the intensity between them deepens, she also can’t avoid the subtle hints that Adam is hiding something. His wide smile and radiant eyes obscure some burning secret, some detail of his past that resurfaces to steal his joy. The farther Alexa falls, the more she realizes just how little she really knows about Adam and how far he is willing to go to cover up the truth.
Calm Like Home is a story about love and longing, growth and stagnation, discovering one’s counterpart but losing oneself, and ultimately finding that one person truly has the power to change everything.

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You can read an excerpt here.

 

 

 

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Blog Tour: Robin’s Reward by June McCrary Jacobs (spotlight, excerpt)

Robin's Reward (Bonita Creek Trilogy, #1)

Robin’s Reward
written by June McCrary Jacobs
published by June McCrary Jacobs, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

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At the front gate, Jeff froze. He’d offended her. His body felt as if he’d just finished running five miles at a training pace, as it had been since he’d first happened upon the woman. His heart thundered in his ears when he’d first seen her, his vision honed in on a lovely brunette. She was hard at work in her garden on such an oppressive afternoon. He’d never seen anyone so focused on one task. She appeared to be in a frenzy, trying to free the roots of a bush from the sun-dried, hardened soil.

He had to admit, she looked as if she were accustomed to hard work. Strong, fit arms and legs peeked out from her short-sleeved blouse and khaki shorts. She sported a wide-brimmed hat and appeared unafraid of hard work if the sweaty sheen covering her neck and face were any kind of evidence. Smudges of dirt adorned her elbows, knees, and—he couldn’t help but notice—shapely calves.

He’d been walking through the streets surrounding his rental home. Historical architecture was one of his hobbies, and he was checking out the architectural styles located on the streets in this older section of Bonita Creek, California. He’d already identified Craftsman, Victorian, Italianate, Tudor, cottage, ranch, and bungalow style homes. His mind, locked on his thoughts, was jarred when he heard a frustrated voice asking why she was trying to renovate her garden on this hot afternoon. The voice held such conviction he stopped to see if the speaker was seeking his personal opinion. When he realized the sun-kissed gardener was alone in the garden, he became enthralled by her movements and the timbre of her voice.

Unsure of how long he’d been staring, Jeff was jerked out of his trance when the woman turned around and challenged him to come into the garden to help her dig up the bush. Embarrassed he’d been caught staring, his natural reaction was to laugh. Now the woman rushed away from him toward the door of the cottage dominating the center of the property.

This scenario was not unfolding as he wanted. He blamed his complete lack of understanding of women and their mysterious ways for this latest gaffe. Now you’ve done it. You are clueless, Clarke. He needed to come up with something witty and wise to redeem himself. Otherwise, he’d lose a chance to meet this fascinating gardener who had his curiosity.

 

junemccraryjacobs_author1[1]About the author: Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom. Robin’s Reward is her first full-length novel and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the Bonita Creek Trilogy.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

Find Ms. Jacobs here: web, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads

 

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Blog Tour: Treasured Secrets by Kendall Talbot (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

The Demons Deadline

Treasured SecretsTreasured Secrets
written by Kendall Talbot
published by Escape Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series introducing sassy sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.

Some secrets should remain hidden forever…

The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead her was back into the arms of Archer, the man who broke her heart. When neither can solve the puzzle without the  other, they set off on a new adventure. They’re forced to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them as their search for the golden riches weaves from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands.

Archer desperately wants to salvage his shattered relationship with Rosalina but fighting for her love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. Ruthless competition is hot on their heels and will do anything to get his hands on the treasure. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if some secrets were never meant to be revealed.

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Rosalina dusted her flour-caked hands onto her apron and then turned to check on the Murazzano cheese rolls already baking in the oven. The scents of aromatic spices, melting cheese and fresh-baked pastry wafted from the open door. She lifted the tray from the oven and placed it onto the cork placemat.

‘Smells magnifica.’ Alessandro ran his tongue over his lips and she had this sudden desire to kiss him. The urge came from nowhere. Maybe she’d had too much wine. Maybe she was falling for him, despite all her determination not to. Maybe, just maybe, she was finally over Archer.

She smiled as Alessandro practically drooled over her cooking. He’d always been a dependable part of her life, and that was something she needed right now. And he was the perfect willing guinea pig for her culinary experiments. He reached for a still steaming pastry and she snapped his hand away. ‘Wait,’ she said. ‘You want the whole experience don’t you?’

His eyes lit up. ‘Sì, mio dolce.’

Rosalina liked the way he called her ‘my sweet’, especially given her love of cooking all things sugary. He was patient with her and seemed to understand her need to take everything slow.

Rosalina sliced the now cooled poached pear and placed a sliver upon the savoury cheese pastry. ‘Open up.’

Alessandro obliged and she popped the nibble into his mouth. His eyes did that heavenly eye roll before he closed them and savoured the treat. A low moan of approval teased from his throat and she knew she had him. He was a delight to watch.

First he would taste the sweetness of the pear, delicately poached with cinnamon and Chinese five spice. Next would come the multifaceted Murazzano cheese, smooth and rich in flavour. Finally, the buttery pastry would round it off. She liked to think of it as a smorgasbord in a bite.

After he swallowed, he sighed his approval.

‘Now, keep your eyes closed.’

He simply nodded as a smile of pure bliss curled at his lips.

‘This second sample is the same cheese pastry, but this one I’ve topped with a touch of my homemade fig jam and a sprinkling of crispy prosciutto.’

A fresh moan tumbled from his lips and he hadn’t even tasted it yet. His eyelids fluttered as she placed the second sample into his mouth.

‘Take your time. I need to know which one is better.’

His eyes opened but it was as if he’d slipped into another world. He began to shake his head slowly.

‘You don’t like that one.’

He shook his head faster as he continued to chew. ‘You can’t make me choose one.’

Rosalina put her hands on her hips. ‘Come on, Alessandro, you know the game.’

‘But I can’t decide. They’re both delizioso.’ He kissed the tips of his fingers.

‘This is serious.’ She giggled. ‘There can only be one clear winner. So which is it, pear or prosciutto?’

‘Rosa, you torture me.’

She giggled. ‘I tantalise you.’

He flashed a devious smile and fluttered his long lashes. ‘Yes you do, il mio dolce.’

 

Kendall Talbot About the author: Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and a hopeless romantic. She has travelled extensively, some 36 countries, and counting and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream…white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her long running love affair with her very own hero.

Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown boys and her little dog, Josie McLuvin.

Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has received a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive Romantic Book of the Year.

Find Ms. Talbot here: webFacebook, Twitter, GoodreadsGoogle+

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Spotlight: The Cave by Michela Montgomery (excerpt, giveaway)

The Cave The Cave (The Wind Cave book 1)
written by Michela Montgomery
published by Post Hill Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Most students wouldn’t want to spend part of their summer break in a claustrophobic cave deep below the earth’s surface, but for six Stanford students spelunking in one of the longest and deepest caves in North America, may just save their lives. Michela Montgomery’s first book in a trilogy, The Cave (Post Hill Press, April 2015) takes readers on an exhilarating ride of adventure and suspense.

Kate Moore, orphaned at sixteen, has experienced her fair share of loss and loneliness. She left her small town, and the sad memories, behind for bigger and better things when she got early acceptance into Stanford. Now armed with her best friend Ano and her mentor (and crush) Percy, she feels a million miles away from the life she left behind. When summer break comes Kate plans a four-day excursion into The Wind Cave so Percy can do research for his senior thesis.

When the climbers are deep within the cave, a nuclear war rains down outside and the climbers become trapped. The geography of the cave starts to shift and the only way out is to navigate the dark tunnels of the cave to survive. When their leader is injured and things start to get bleak, each member of the group reveals the real reason why they made their descent into the Cave. What started out as a four-day excursion turns into a life-and-death battle for survival.

With the popularity of apocalyptic fiction like Emily St. john Mandel’s Station Eleven, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea and Lauren van den Berg’s Find Me, The Cave is a gripping and heart-pounding thrill ride of novel.

efcexcerptPreface

A sharp black point on the sheer face of the cavern pierced my shoulder. I felt the first drop of dark blood squeeze out and drip down my arm. I bit my lip against the pain and concentrated on clinging to the handholds above my head. After another half hour, my arms became numb from the strain and cold. I began to tremble.

I swallowed hard, trying to force my voice into something strong enough for someone to hear. Anyone. I tipped my face upward, the weight of my wet pack pulling me back toward the blackness. My heart skipped several beats. I adjusted my fingers on the handholds and gripped as tightly as I could.

“Ano! Percy! Anyone!”

Mist turned to droplets of water. I wiped my hand across my forehead and succeeded only in covering my hand with more blood from the cut on my head. I could smell the blood trickling down the sides of my face. Heavy droplets dripped down my legs, soaking my calves and shoes, resting on slick moss that covered the foot-wide ledge. I looked around, suffocated by opaque blackness. Reality sank in, and I allowed fear to take over. I pressed my cheek to the rough cavern wall, tears squeezing from between my eyelids. I leaned against the cold face of the cavern. Carefully, I slipped one hand from the handhold above me.

Cradling my numb arm against my body, I shook my hand to allow blood to flow back through it. I dropped it to my side, hoping that gravity would work to pull the blood back through my hand and fingers. Pain seared through my fingers when I tried to make a fist.

My other arm throbbed, heavy from the burden of clinging to the ledge. I leaned in closer to the rough face of the wall. Resignation filled me. My left arm had given out. Releasing my grip from above, my arm slid down the wall to rest against my hip. Without my hands to anchor me, my feet slid closer to the edge. Shooting pain from my shoulder to my wrist forced the first sob from my chest.

“Ano!” I screamed, even though my head was no longer tipped up, and the only sound that returned was the echo of my own desperation. “Help me,” I whispered, “please don’t let me die this way.”

 

Michela MontgomeryAbout the author: Michela Montgomery graduated with her B.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. She lives in Northern California with her two children, a feisty Yorkie and a teacup Chihuahua named Killer. The Cave is her first novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Find Ms. Montgomery here: web, Twitter, Goodreads

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