Bachelors & Babies 99¢ Sale Comin’ Up! ~ Pam Crooks

Howdy!  I’m stepping in for Winnie Griggs today since she’s having Internet issues and couldn’t get a blog done.

But it’s actually a great day to share with y’all a new sale coming up, and it just so happens both Winnie and I have a book in this series.

 

I would say TRACE has been my bestselling book ever.  There’s just something about a bachelor and a baby and all the different scenarios that can happen when we pull a man out of his comfort zone, isn’t there?  Every book in the series has the same premise – a baby unexpectedly shows up in our hero’s life and turns his world upside down.

Of course, he always needs a woman’s help, and you can bet there will be a little falling in love happenin’ when he does.

 

Trace McQuade has lost everything–his ranch, his brother, the woman he wanted to marry. When his quest for justice fails, he leaves Texas to head north, but he never expects an outlaw’s baby along the way.

Morgana Goldwater needs to be needed. After she endured a terrible tragedy, she lives in a narrow, protected world. When Trace needs help caring for the baby girl, she is quick to take them both into her heart and into her life.

But their troubles return, and Trace and Morgana must face their past to keep loving the little girl–and each other–in their future.

#kindleunlimited

Here’s Winnie’s book, SAWYER:

Sawyer Flynn vows to see that the man who murdered his brother pays for his crimes, but becoming the sole caretaker of an orphaned infant sidetracks him from the mission. Sawyer can’t do it all—run his mercantile, care for the baby, and find justice for his brother. He needs help. But not from Emma Jean Gilley.

When her father flees town after killing a man, Emma Jean is left alone to care for her kid brother, but her father’s crime has made her a pariah and no one will give her a job. Learning of Sawyer’s need, Emma Jean makes her case to step in as nanny.

Sawyer is outraged by Emma Jean’s offer, but he’s also desperate and he reluctantly agrees to a temporary trial. Working together brings understanding, and maybe something more. But just when things heat up between Sawyer and Emma Jean, the specter of her father’s crimes threatens to drive them apart forever.

#kindleunlimited

Every book in the series will be reduced to 99¢ starting this Friday through Sunday, Father’s Day!  Three days isn’t very long, so you’ll have to hurry to take advantage of our sale! 

To see every book in our series, click the Bachelors & Babies Series Link on Amazon

Would you say you pay full price for most of your book purchases?  Or a sale price for most of your book purchases?

Are you willing to pay full price for your favorite author’s books as soon as it comes out?  Does price matter?  Or are you a bargain hunter?  Do you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited?

Musical Inspiration

Today I’m giving you an insight on how music occasionally influences my writing. But it’s not how you might expect. I don’t write with music on because if I like a song, then I start singing along. Then my train of thought is shattered. Like now. I’m sitting in Starbucks writing and “Defy Gravity” from the musical Wicked has come on. Excuse me while I sing under my breath…

Okay, I’m back. However, occasionally songs play a big part in my stories. In To Marry A Texas Cowboy, George Strait’s “Here For A Good Time” became my hero’s theme song. Despite knowing Zane’s backstory and him almost taking over a couple books in the series, when I started his story, I couldn’t grasp him. He put up a good front, even from me. But when I heard “Here For A Good Time” Zane’s personality and fears fell into place.

Zane had a rough past. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read To Marry A Texas Cowboy, but Zane’s dad was a piece of work and his mom wasn’t a winner either. To cope or survive really, he lived in the moment. Everything was about having a good time. That drove his actions and his life.

Here For A Good Time

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Bubba Straight / Dillon Dean / George H Strait

I’m not gonna lay around
And whine and moan for somebody that done me wrong
Don’t think for a minute
That I’m gonna sit around and sing some old sad song
I believe it’s half-full not a half-empty glass
Every day I wake up knowing it could be my last

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time

Folks are always dreaming about what they like to do
But I like to do just what I like
I’ll take the chance, dance the dance
It might be wrong but then again it might be right
There’s no way of knowing what tomorrow brings
Life’s too short to waste it, I say bring on anything

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time

 

And speaking of Wicked, when attending that musical, the solution to the same problem with my heroine, Maggie in Bet On A Cowboy hit me. When Elphaba sang “I’m Not That Girl” I instantly knew everything about Maggie. I even whispered, “she’s Elphaba” right there in my Broadway seat.

Maggie believed love wasn’t in her future. She was just too plain, too average in every way to attract a man’s notice. As the director of a Bachelor type reality show, she’s surrounded by beautiful, outgoing, extraordinary women and is constantly reminded she doesn’t measure up. The mindset Elphaba shows in “I’m Not That Girl” guided Maggie’s actions and interactions in life.

 

I’m Not That Girl

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Schwartz Stephen Laurence / Sandford Steve

Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy whirl
He could be that boy
But I’m not that girl

Don’t dream too far
Don’t lose sight of who you are
Don’t remember that rush of joy
He could be that boy
I’m not that girl

Every so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn’t soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in

Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who’s winsome, she wins him
Gold hair with a gentle curl
That’s the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I’m not that girl

Don’t wish, don’t start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn’t born for the rose and the pearl
There’s a girl I know
He loves her so
I’m not that girl

I shouldn’t be surprised songs have helped me grasp my characters and their relationships. Songs have always spoken to me and helped me make sense out of life. Why shouldn’t they do the same with my writing?

To be entered in today’s random giveaway for the car coasters, air freshener, and signed copy of Family Ties leave a comment on what song has or could serve as a theme for you?

My Latest Release is Out!

It’s an exciting week for me – the release of my first Love Inspired Suspense – WILDFIRE THREAT was the 24th. Whoo, hoo! I loved every moment of writing this book, and I realized why when I recently gave an interview. So many things about Wildfire Threat are very personal and special for me, and not just because it’s my first Love Inspired Suspense.

I’ve been writing for Harlequin a long time. I admit it, I sometimes don’t have to work as hard as other authors to land a new contract. My editor knows me and can depend on me to deliver a book in good shape and on time. But when this opportunity came around, I had to work hard for it and go up against a lot of other authors. There was no golden ticket or cutting to the head of the line. When I got the call, I felt really good. My hard work paid off.

Purchase Wildfire Threat

As you can guess from the title, the story is about a wildfire. In this case, it’s headed straight for the fictional Arizona small town of Happenstance. For many, many years, we owned a small vacation home in Young, Arizona, a place that’s considered the most remote town in the state. One year, a wildfire came close enough we could watch it from our front porch. That inspired the book that became my first Harlequin sale about a Hotshot. About ten years ago, the Young fire came “this” close to destroying the town. Yes, it was the inspiration for Wildfire Threat.

My son, an avid outdoor enthusiast, helped me brainstorm the book. We had several long sessions where we tossed ideas back and forth. Okay, I tossed ideas out there, and he told me why they wouldn’t work. He is the source for much of my information about herding cattle and driving trucks and ATV through the burning wilderness.

Lastly, the heroine’s grandfather suffers from dementia. My own sweet mother, who I lost last year, suffered greatly from this terrible disease. It did my heart good to write about the love and devotion my heroine has for her grandfather, the tender, kind and respectful way my hero treats the older man, and how the family copes — which isn’t always easily. Writing the grandfather allowed me to honor my mother in a small but meaningful way.

To celebrate the release, I’m having a giveaway — one of my coffee mugs, a Starbucks gift card, some author bling and couple of previous books. To enter, you just have to make a comment. That’s all.

For anyone interested joining my newsletter, you can email me at: cathymcdavid@yahoo.com It’s not necessary for entering this giveaway. Just if you’d like to keep up on the latest news about me.

Thank you for letting me share my good news with you and tell you about my newest book.

Hugs,

Cathy McDavid

The Snowman’s Sweetheart

 

I can’t speak for other authors, but one of my favorite things about starting a new book series is developing the setting, especially if it involves a quirky small town.

When I began working on ideas for my new Winter Wishes series, I used inspiration from two very different towns, and combined them into one fictional place called Pinehill, Oregon. If Pinehill did exist, it would be high up in the mountains, just a few miles from Mount Hood and a winter playground of skiing, sledding, and the like.

 

Way back, when Captain Cavedweller and I were in the first weeks of dating, he asked me if I’d like to go to the Winter Carnival in McCall, Idaho. I’d never attended the event, and it sounded like fun. Even if it hadn’t, I would have gladly gone because it meant I got to spend the day with the very cute boy who had already captured my interest.

The event features, among many things, incredible carvings created from snow. We made the hours-long drive and arrived in McCall mid-morning to discover the temperatures hovering just above the zero mark. Not only that, but we couldn’t find anywhere to park. We drove around for almost an hour trying to find anywhere to park. Finally giving up, CC drove back out of town, and we parked on the side of the road (like hundreds of other crazy people), then had to hike back into town.  It seemed like we’d parked ten miles away, although it was probably closer to a half-mile, as we trudged through the frigid temps. We finally got back into town and had such a great time looking at the snow carvings. If you’ve never seen a snow carving, Google it. They are incredible works of art!

I can’t image the talent and patience it would take to create something like this.

Or this!

The detail just boggles my mind! The use blocks of compressed snow to make the carvings and the tools are as varied as the artists.

Anyway, that freezing, fun day with CC has stayed with me all these years.

A few years ago, he came up with the idea to attend another winter festival in a town about six hours away where they would have ice carvings, sleigh rides, and a variety of winter festivities.

In theory, it sounded like a fabulous weekend getaway. In reality… boy did it get off to a rough start!

The roads were horrible getting there, the hotels were packed, and the one where we’d made a reservation somehow overbooked and didn’t have a room for us. We thought about going elsewhere, but there wasn’t a room to be had anywhere in town. The hotel finally found a room for us, next to the noisiest elevator in the northern hemisphere. From the window, we watched an inexperienced driver almost take out our pickup in the slick parking lot, and the craziness escalated from there.

That morning, it had warmed up enough to rain (pouring buckets it seemed) on top of inches of snow, creating an ankle deep mess that was akin to walking through a lake of slushies. It was impossible to take more than a few steps and not have your pants soaked, even if you had arrived with adequate boots. Every step anyone else took splattered the frigid goop everywhere. After sloshing through the slush (and watching crazy people in shorts and flip-flops make their way through the mess) for a mediocre yet overpriced dinner where we sat a rickety table by the drafty door, near enough to the restroom that it made me lose my appetite, and an accordion playing octogenarian made conversation impossible.

Once we made it back to our room where I sat shivering with my feet propped on top of the wall heater, wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into, we decided we had to figure out a way to salvage the weekend or go home.

Thankfully, that night, it froze and then snowed, creating a beautiful world of white the next morning. It made it much easier to get around, and we ended up having a lot of fun, even if the town was packed to the gills.

So that experience gave me even more inspiration for Pinehill, as well as the heroine in the first book in the series, The Snowman’s Sweetheart. It releases January 27!

Due to a bad breakup right before Christmas, Sierra Goodwin detests everything to do with the holidays and winter. Then her best friend talks her into coming to Pinehill for a girls’ weekend getaway. They have reservations at a luxury hotel, and spa appointments. Sierra intends to stay inside where it’s cozy and do nothing but relax.

What could go wrong?

Among the many things that make her wonder if she’s lost her mind agreeing to come on the trip, she runs into Kylan Snow, better known around the community of Pinehill as Mr. Snowman. He owns the local Christmas tree farm, has been in charge of the community snowman building contest for years, and is the chair of the Winter Fest.

Talk about opposites attract!

Just for fun, here’s a little excerpt from the story:

As they reached the parking garage, Sierra followed Jenn over to her parking space, only to find Rob Kohl, Jenn’s boyfriend, waiting for them in his SUV.

“Hey, Sierra!” he said, hopping out and opening the back of the vehicle. “Isn’t this great?”

Sierra scowled at Jenn, furious she’d invited her boyfriend to join them for a weekend they’d been planning for months. “What, exactly, is going on?”

“Rob got time off from work, too, and is joining us,” Jenn said, practically squealing with joy.

Sierra had visions of spending the entire trip watching Jenn and Rob making lovey-dovey eyes and kissy-faces to each other. Although they were always good to include her in activities, she often felt like an unwanted third wheel when she was around them. She certainly didn’t need to feel that way on a vacation that was supposed to be a time for her and Jenn to relax and have fun.

She tossed the interloper a blistering scowl. “I’ll stay home. You two go.” She started backing away from the vehicle.

“No! You’re going!”

 

Will a whirlwind winter romance result in a forever love?

After a Christmas Eve catastrophe that left her heart encased in ice, Sierra Goodwin detests anything to do with winter and the holiday season. To take her mind off her troubles, her best friend talks her into a weekend spa getaway to a town she’s never heard of. Her bestie’s boyfriend tags along like a bumpy third wheel, and things go from bad to worse when they arrive in town to find a winter fest in full swing. Then Sierra runs into a handsome stranger, a man everyone calls Mr. Snowman, and discovers her heart might not be a frozen fortress after all.

Kylan Snow loves his life, his Christmas tree farm, and the town of Pinehill where he was raised. There’s nothing he enjoys more than a beautiful winter afternoon spent outside in the crisp, fresh air, or time spent with friends and family. When he unexpectedly encounters a dimple-cheeked woman in need of a little hope, he has no idea one weekend with her with completely alter his world.

Will their winter wishes for a forever sweetheart come true? Find out in this sweet romance brimming with laughter, snowmen, small-town charm, and love.

Don’t miss out on this sweet winter romance full of wintery fun! Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon |  Apple |  Barnes & NobleKobo

What about you?

Have you ever attended a winter festival?

Are you a fan of winter and cold weather? Or do you prefer sunshine and warmer temperatures? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a mystery prize!

Giveaway open until 5 p.m. Pacific Time January 19, 2022

 

 

 

Why are Barns Red? by Pam Crooks

 

Who hasn’t seen a red barn before? They’re traditional, they stand out, and the color is practical.

But there’s history as to how the red evolved on barns. Back in the 1700s, in the northeast part of the country, farmers covered them with thick vertical boards, allowing them to weather gray over time.

Later, in the mid-1800s, farmers went horizontal with the boards to close up drafts and improve warmth and efficiency for their animals. These horizontal boards, clapboards as we know them, were sawed thin. Because of their thinness, they needed paint for protection to lengthen their longevity, in addition to improving their appearance.

During that time, people mixed their own paint with a pigment combination of linseed oil, flax seeds, and other ingredients. Pigment, of course, adds color, and the favorite of the time was called “Venetian Red,” so called because the pigment was made from natural clays found near Venice, Italy, and contained an iron oxide compound that made the red color.

This red pigment penetrated well into barn boards, resisted fading in the sun, and aged well for generations. Although later in the 1800s, farmers turned to other colors of paint like yellows, greens, browns, and of course white, red remained popular, mainly because it was so affordable.

In my copy of the 1927 Sears Roebuck catalogue, a 5 gallon can of red barn paint was $1.30/gallon.

They offered 35 other colors of paint in 5 gallon cans for $2.20/gallon.

You can see the savings, and who could blame a farmer? He’d save almost twice as much going with the traditional barn red.

Fast forward to today, barns have gotten quite large. Large enough to hold hundreds of cows, chickens, or pigs, in fact. That large, they can come pre-fabricated, built out of metal and resemble warehouses or even an airplane hangar, and thank goodness, no one would have to paint one of those, right?

Still, the traditional red barn endures for smaller structures and remain so beloved the US Postal Service celebrated them on postage stamps.

Driving down the interstate or highway, you might see a big American flag on a barn’s roof. Or a political candidate’s name.  These quilt barns are especially popular!

What is the most unusually painted barn you’ve seen?

Starting TODAY, Tule Publishing has set the first book in my Blackstone Ranch series, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, to Free!

I’m fortunate to land a BookBub deal that will arrive in email boxes on Thursday. My book will remain FREE for a limited time, so if you haven’t read the series yet, now is the time to grab the book that started it all!

Tule Bookstore

Series Link at Tule Bookstore

A Whole New Year of Western Romance

 

Over the last week, I took a good long look at my schedule for 2022. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that’s an undertaking. I publish about 20 titles per year from 350 page novels to 100 page novellas. I like to keep as many readers happy as I can.

However, that kind of pace is not sustainable (there’s a reason the Pony Express doesn’t run anymore, it’s not healthy to keep up that kind of pace). Louis L’Amour, I am not. I know that the majority of my readers are happy with western novels, though. Those you can look forward to in 2022.

I’m currently working with my cover designer on a four book series set in Belle Fourche, SD. The premise of the series is two families feuding over one fertile valley. While the Douglas and Johlman families do exist in Belle Fourche, my stories are not based on actual history or people.

Both cattle and sheep were and are big business in Belle Fourche and land is arguably the most precious resource. It is finite and both sheep and cattle need great quantities of land for proper grazing. I’ve never written a family feud before, but it’s been interesting, fun, and very educational.

In 2018, I wrote my first series set in Belle Fourche. That series is to this day one of my most popular. This new series, The Belle Fourche Chronicles, will feature appearances from some of my other Belle Fourche characters and they can be read congruently.

I was hoping to have a cover reveal for you this month, but alas, I don’t have one quite yet. In the meantime, if you’d like to catch up with the old series so you’re ready to go when the new books come out (the first will be released at the end of February).

When I return next month, I’ll have a new cover reveal for you and more to share with you (perhaps even an exclusive snippet). These books are novellas, but the new series will be novel length.

 

Belle Fourche is a fairly unique location for western romance. What are some fun, unique locations for western romance that you really enjoy? I’ll send a free copy of Teach Me to Love to one lucky commenter.

Lessons From My Grandmothers

My Grandma Walter holding me with my Uncle Wayne sitting beside us.

The older I get the more grateful I am for what my grandmothers taught me. I wish I could spend one more day with each of them to ask all the life, history, and family questions I was too young to know would be important later.

Most of the recipes I’ve shared with you were my Grandma Walter’s. I wish I’d made time to write down more of them while she cooked. As my birthday approaches, I remember the times I was on the farm in July. She would ask what I wanted for a birthday cake, and my response was always the same. I wanted her angel food cake with fresh strawberries mashed so they were all syrupy. She also gave me a love of gardening, though my thumb is more brown than green like hers was. I took a sewing class in high school (and still use those skills) because she sewed. From her I learned how women could be quiet, patient, and still possess an indominable strength.

My Grandma Ryan’s grocery store in Ohio, Illinois.

My father’s mother, my Grandma Ryan, possessed a more obvious strength. Widowed young, she raised four sons. With three grown sons, I can’t begin to imagine how daunting and scary that must have been. I wish now I’d asked her how she managed. She remarried, but her second husband died when I was a toddler, leaving her with a general store to run in a town of less than five hundred people. She had breast cancer before I was born and bone cancer as long as I can remember. Through all that, she never complained or thought God was punishing her with these trials. She loved to play cards and would sit with my brother and I playing her current favorite card game. From her I learned to laugh and that a woman could make a life for herself. But the best gift my Grandma Ryan gave me was, making me feel special. As one of only two granddaughters, she made no secret she loved us just a bit more.

A picture of me and my Grandma Ryan when I was two.

No wonder grandparents play such guiding, supportive roles in many of my books. In my most recent release, To Marry a Texas Cowboy, Zane carries a plane full of family baggage. After divorcing, his parents concentrated on their new lives and families. Zane became collateral damage and part of a past they wanted to forget. Who stepped in to fill the void and create the hero I fell in love with the minute he walked on the page as a friend in To Love A Texas Cowboy? His grandparents.

My Grandma Ryan spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas with us, but rarely cooked. Today I’m sharing a recipe she gave me. This one, referred to as “frozen salad,” is easy and great for these hot summer days. Two notes about it. First, while we called it a salad, it could be served as dessert, and second, watch out for brain freeze eating it straight out of the freezer! I prefer to give it a minute or two to thaw some before eating.

Frozen Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 lg. can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ C lemon juice
  • 1 12 oz container Cool Whip (thawed)

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Place in 8 x 8 freezer safe container overnight.

 

Giveaway: To be entered in today’s random drawing for the USA y’all T-shirt and a signed copy of To Marry a Texas Cowboy, leave a comment about something you learned from a grandparent or significant older person in your life.

 

Wedding Disasters

My new sweet contemporary romance, Lilac Bride, releases next week. 

It’s the story of a couple who gets engaged on Christmas Eve, plan the perfect wedding, then face one disaster after another when it comes to their upcoming nuptials.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about wedding plans gone awry. In-laws wreaking havoc. Grooms so nervous they drink too much the night before and can barely stand up at the wedding. Brides turning into crazed maniacs in the quest to have a picture-perfect wedding.

Cakes falling to the floor. 

Florists accidentally delivering sympathy flowers instead of the wedding bouquet. 

Torn dresses, lost dresses, dresses that don’t fit. 

If you can imagine it, some poor bride or groom has endured it. 

Writing the story made me think of my own glitch-plagued wedding. 

The first hitch in the plans happened when my mom came down with the flu two weeks before my wedding. There were approximately a gazillion tiny buttons that still needed to be sewn on my dress, along with dozens of details that weren’t quite finished. She and I had planned to make the wedding cake together. Only she was sick, and I was up to my eyeballs with work, wedding plans, and the holidays (not my best idea to get married a week before Christmas but it seemed soooooo romantic at the time). My mother-in-law called me at work and informed me her friend was going to make the cake and that’s all there was to it then hung up. Although her take-charge attitude bothered me at the time, I was so glad her friend made the cake for us. It turned out beautifully, and was tasty, too. 

Captain Cavedweller, and several members of both of our families, caught the same bug that Mom had and began dropping like flies. Helping hands were limited as we neared the big day. The friend I’d asked to play the piano for us backed out two days before the wedding. Fortunately, a lovely girl I worked with at the time offered to step in. 

My maid of honor had sent measurements for her dress, since she lived almost eight hours away at the time. Mom made it, and when my dear friend tried it on, it didn’t fit. At all. So Mom stayed up late frantically ripping seams and making adjustments. 

Somehow, we made it to the wedding rehearsal where my soon-to-be sister-in-law jokingly announced I was pregnant (which I wasn’t). CC was angry. I was livid. My parents were simultaneously shocked and appalled.  I remember standing in the foyer of the church and discussing if eloping was still on the table. For months after the wedding whenever we encountered someone from CC’s side of the attendees who didn’t know me well they would give me a strange look, since I obviously wasn’t pregnant, and inquire about the arrival of the baby.

The day of the wedding, things went along fairly smoothly until the ceremony. My uncle was a county judge and we’d asked him to perform the ceremony. Except he got so nervous, he kept calling me by my sister’s name, and he bungled CC’s last name. When he announced the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony, instead of Shanna Hatfield, it came out Shelley Hathaway. Everyone in the crowd gasped in disbelief, which is evident on the video of our wedding. With all the air that was sucked in at that moment, it was lucky some of the decorations weren’t caught up in the vacuum. 

The wedding was held upstairs in an old church. The reception took place in the basement. On the way down the stairs, the heel broke off my never-before-worn satin wedding heels, leaving me to clomp the rest of the way down the stairs to our waiting guests like a peg-legged pirate. 

By the time we left for our honeymoon hours later, it was evident the flu I’d so carefully avoided catching caught up to me. 

I laugh about all the disasters now. When people ask if there is anything I would do differently about my wedding, I always answer the same: “I’d change everything but the groom!” 

 

In Lilac Bride, Kaden and Katherine endure any number of trials and tribulations when it comes to their wedding plans.  One of the many issues that popped up included their invitations. 

I thought you might enjoy reading a little snippet:

Thoughts of her kisses left him so distracted, he almost ran the drone into a tree. He guided it back toward the barn, then noticed Colt riding one of the horses he was training down the driveway. His brother rode out to the mailbox, gathered the mail, then started back. He was halfway to the house when he kicked the horse into a run and raced toward the barn, waving something over his head.

“Kade! Get down here! Hurry!” He could hear the alarm in Colt’s voice, even from his perch on the barn’s widow’s walk.

Kaden landed the drone, gathered his things, then rushed down the narrow staircase. He’d just reached the bottom when Colt burst into the barn.

“It’s so bad, Kade. She’s going to freak.” Colt waved an envelope and what appeared to be an invitation in his face.

“Who’s going to freak?” Kaden asked, setting his things on a workbench. He brushed his hands on his jeans before taking the pristine piece of creamy cardstock in his fingers and looking at a wedding invitation. His and Katherine’s wedding invitation. He knew she’d been able to get the reception address changed at the last minute and paid extra to have the invitations shipped to the guests from the print shop.

Watercolor lilacs swept across the upper left and lower right corners of the invitation, accented with sage-colored leaves and delicate gold edging. An elegant font announced the wedding and invited guests to attend the ceremony and reception. He glanced at the date to make sure it was correct, then looked at his brother. “It looks good.”

Colt appeared shocked. He tapped the card in Kaden’s hand, pointing to the first line of type. “Did you read it, you idiot?”

Kaden’s gaze dropped back to the invitation, and he quickly read each word. His eyes widened as his jaw dropped open.

He glanced up at Colt as trepidation seeped into every fiber of his being. “She is so going to freak.”

~*~

Lilac Bride releases February 25, but you can pre-order your copy today!

~*~

What about you?

Do you have any wedding disaster stories to share?

Post your comment for a chance to win an eBook copy of Lilac Bride!

A Home for the Holidays and a Give Away!

Hi Everyone!

I’m excited to announce that I have a new sweet holiday release.

A Home for the Holidays is the story of a world-traveling engineer who has never had a place to call home, except for during the four years he spent in Holly, Idaho, living with his aunt while attending high school. Jason Regan has no time to celebrate holidays, and no reason to settle down…until a Holly, Idaho judge sentences him to 100 hours of community service at the local animal shelter for a decade-old unpaid parking ticket. Jason is, in effect, sentenced to Christmas. 

Tess Evans is a recovering lawyer who now runs Forever Home animal shelter. She is thrilled to have a new volunteer, even after discovering that it’s the guy she’d crushed on in high school; a guy who had no clue that she was alive until a blabby friend told the world. But Tess will do her best to put her embarrassment behind her to join forces with Jason to empty the shelter by Christmas.

 

 

AMAZON

This series introduces my new small town series Holly, Idaho, so I’m giving away a Holly Jolly Christmas mug to one lucky commentor. 

Here’s an excerpt from my story:

“Hold on!” Tess Evans hung up the phone as her dad attempted to open the door to Forever Home while balancing two cinnamon lattes and carrying his toolbox. Pete Evans had a proclivity for doing things on his own, be it raising three motherless daughters or opening a door with his hands full. He was usually successful, but in this case, he was about to lose a latte.

“Really, Dad?” Tess said as she rescued the top cup of steaming coffee just before it toppled.

“I almost made it.”

Tess took the other cup from him and set it on her desk. Pete set down the other, then jerked his head toward the door leading to the dog kennel area. “Will Lisa be done feeding before her coffee gets cold?”

“Judging from the decibel level, I think she’s almost done.” Morning feeding was always a loud and happy time as the food trolley rolled along the concrete aisle between rows of kennels. But once the dogs had their meals, barking stopped as eating commenced, and the sound level dropped accordingly.

“Why the big smile?” Pete asked as he set down his toolbox.

“I don’t need you today.” Tess was still feeling slightly dazed from the phone call she’d just received from justice court.

“You don’t need me?” Her dad sounded shocked, but Tess read the relief in his gaze. Despite having a very tight schedule on his latest project, he stopped by the shelter every Tuesday morning to spend an hour nailing things back together. The problem with retrofitting an old garage into a new animal shelter was that there were a lot of hidden issues that poked their heads up at the most inopportune times. She and Lisa had painted the place cheerful colors—yellow and aqua—and kept it sparkling clean, but they didn’t have the time or the skillset to deal with loose concrete bolts and flapping siding—the latest ills.

“I have a new warm body.” Which was nothing short of a miracle this time of year when everyone was so busy. There was just one teensy part of that good news that kept Tess from doing a full-on happy dance.

“Cat? Dog? Iguana? No, wait. You said warm body, not cold. Scratch the iguana.”

Tess smiled. “No, Dad. A human. One with building skills. Judge Nelson sentenced a guy to community service and decided that I needed the most help right now. I get him for one hundred hours.”

“One hundred hours?” Pete tipped his chin toward the ceiling as he did a quick mental calculation. “Twelve days? That seems like a healthy sentence.” His eyes narrowed. “What, exactly, did this guy do to earn that much community service?”

“Parking ticket. And it’s twelve and a half days.” Judge Nelson’s assistant had emphasized that the entire sentence was to be served, down to the last hour. No early outs due to holiday bon homie.

Her dad’s eyebrows lifted. “Did he park in the mayor’s reserved space?”

“The ticket is years old. I think Judge Nelson gave him ten hours for each year it wasn’t paid.”

Pete gave a short laugh. “That sounds like something the judge would do. Who is it?”

“Jason Regan.” The instant the name left her mouth, Tess felt her cheeks go warm, and gave herself a mental kick.

You are not the same geeky girl who crushed on the man long ago.

Law school had changed her, given her confidence, leadership abilities…migraines. But if she hadn’t gone, hadn’t buried herself in research and paperwork for eighty hours a week, she wouldn’t have known how happy she was not doing that, or that her true calling was managing the animal shelter her late grandmother had started five years ago to take the pressure off the regional shelter that Holly shared with the nearby town of Everly.

Her dad’s forehead creased. “Must be an out-of-towner.”

“No,” she said in a casual voice. Too casual? “He was a senior during my sophomore year. He left right after high school. Mae Regan is his aunt.” It seemed best to leave out the part about him being her unrequited crush and utterly oblivious to her existence, except for one small incident in the school cafeteria. Oblivious, that is, until gossipy Melissa Braddock had read the signs, guessed the truth, and ratted Tess out to the general school population.

“Just doing you a favor,” Melissa had said when Tess had confronted her in horror after word had gotten back to her. “How else will you get his attention?” The amazing thing was that Melissa really believed she had done Tess a favor.

But Tess would give Jason this—he never treated her differently. Meaning, of course, that he hadn’t given her so much as a side-eye. Her hope was that the news had never reached him, or if it had, he’d brushed it off as so much gossip.

“Jason Regan…” Her dad’s eyebrows drew together. “Oh, yeah. He was the kid with the mean three-pointer.”

“That’s the one.” Tess shooed away her embarrassed teenage self as she confronted her new reality. “He’s mine for one hundred hours, and I intend to get every bit of work out of him that I possibly can.”

Mr. Regan was going to be a terribly busy man, and she was close to betting money that he wasn’t as amazing as she remembered him. Backyards got smaller and all that stuff. She’d probably take one look at him and wonder what the big deal had been.

To enter to win the holiday mug, tell me the place where you most enjoy spending the holidays. Please note that I’ll be on the road tomorrow, but will answer comments when I get back home. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 30.

Cheers!

Jeannie