Winter Wonderland Romance

When I was thinking about the third book in my Winter Wishes series, I knew who the heroine would be. She was the former love of the hero in the second book, Sleigh Bell Serenade. Olivia Burton left town quite suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving Bo with a broken heart. Thankfully, he’s moved on and is ready to find his happily ever after – eventually.

Anyway, I knew Olivia needed her own sweet romance and the opportunity to fall in love. The only questions was what hero would be perfect for her.

I happened to see a cover Covers and Cupcakes had for sale one day and it just screamed “buy me for Olivia’s story!” so I did. Who was I to argue with a screaming book cover?

It was perfect for the title of Winter Wonderland Romance.

So, after studying the guy on the cover, the story for our hero, Alex Adams started to take shape in my thoughts.

Turns out, Alex is a veteran, dealing with PTSD,  and in desperate need of peace and quiet away from his well-meaning but suffocating family. Alex heads to the wintery mountain town of Pinehill with his dog, Dude. (Yes, the dog’s name is Dude and every time I type it, I might smile.)

Olivia has returned to Pinehill to take over the medical practice there when the old doctor who was her mentor wants to retire. Although her teenage self had vowed to never return to her hometown, she finds she doesn’t detest living there as much as she anticipated.

When Dude eats something he shouldn’t, Alex races to the clinic and begs Olivia to help his dog (there isn’t a veterinarian in town). She does, swears him to secrecy, and the two of them begin to form a tenuous bond.

She never wanted to return to her hometown.
He needed an escape from his family.
When a chance meeting brings them together, will their attraction keep them from drifting apart?

Doctor Olivia Burton never intended to return to her hometown of Pinehill. After graduating high school, she set off on a new path, eager to leave her past behind. However, years later, an unexpected phone call from her mentor pulls her back to Pinehill to take over a thriving medical practice as the town’s primary physician. Determined to avoid the local gossip mill, Olivia attempts to keep a low profile as she settles back into the community.

Alex Adams is desperate for an escape from his well-meaning but suffocating family. After a life-altering explosion ended his military career, he finds himself plagued with post-traumatic stress disorder. Surrounded by his loud and overbearing family only intensifies his struggles. Seeking respite, he retreats to his aunt’s mountain cabin in Pinehill, desperate for peace and quiet.

When a chance encounter brings Alex and Olivia together, the sparks begin to fly. Olivia, cautious and hesitant to let anyone into her guarded heart, begins to question if it’s time to leave her past behind and embrace the possibility of a winter wonderland romance. Alex, yearning for connection and understanding, finds himself drawn to Olivia’s warmth and kindness.

As they spend more time together, will Olivia and Alex discover that love, much like freshly fallen snow, has a way of blanketing everything in a layer of beauty?

Uncover the joys that come with new beginnings, the transformative power of love, and the magic that can be found in the simplest moments in this sweet, wholesome, and tender romance.

If you could stroll through a Winter Wonderland,

where would it be and who would be with you?

Share your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of all three books

in the Winter Wishes series!

The Christmas Letters series

Back in 2022, I bought a pre-made book cover from Covers & Cupcakes LLC.

I had no idea what I’d do with it. but the image of a snowy mailbox with mountains behind it just spoke to me.

I started thinking about that cover, and a storyline about a woman who was a Santa expert came to mind.

Then I started thinking about letters. Actual, in-the-mail, hold-in-my-hand letters. Hardly anyone takes takes the time to write a pen to paper letter these days. In fact, I’ve had several friends mention how much they miss receiving letters.

So, that got me thinking about how special and meaningful a hand written letter can be.

And I started thinking about a series of stories that begin with a letter.

The cover I originally bought became the cover for the first book in my new Christmas Letters sweet and wholesome contemporary romance series.

And the idea for the Santa expert story became the third book, which I wrote last, because the second book and fourth books are about cousins, so I wrote those together in an effort to keep as much consistency between the books. (And that wasn’t confusing at all!)

Christmas Letters is a series about four friends, all experts on something related to Christmas, and their journeys to finding love.

He can’t save Christmas, but he can save her tree farm.

Dr. Jaxon Frost, a highly regarded authority on Christmas trees, is known nationwide for his expertise in the field. Preferring solitude, he dedicates his life to his work. However, his routine is interrupted when he receives an unexpected letter from Holly Crest Tree Farms, seeking his assistance in identifying a disease affecting their Christmas trees. Jaxon heads to the farm and is caught completely by surprise to find the owner isn’t a crusty old farmer, but a beautiful woman who captures his interest and admiration. He will do anything to help Jaylyn save her trees, even at the risk of losing his heart.

Jaylyn Smith carries the weight of immense responsibility as the owner and manager for Holly Crest Tree Farm, a family-owned business passed down through four generations. The fate of their cherished legacy, symbolized by their beautiful Christmas trees, rests solely on her shoulders. When she can’t identify a disease attacking a section of trees, she reaches out to an expert for help. Jaxon Frost is nothing like she expected, but everything her heart has been longing for.

Will their collective efforts salvage the valued heritage of her family?

Discover the answer in Dear Mister Frost, a heartwarming and sweet holiday romance that exudes warmth, laughter, and the joy of the festive Christmas season.

He can’t create a miracle,  but he can give the gift of love

 When heirloom ornament maker Sam Silver receives Erika Esposito’s heartfelt letter, he is deeply moved by her plea for a special ornament for her dying son, Joey. Despite having shut himself off from the world due to his own personal trauma, Sam feels compelled to step out of his shell to help Erika and Joey.

Erika, who has already experienced a profound loss with the unexpected death of her husband, is desperate to bring some joy into Joey’s life as he battles cancer. She reaches out to Sam, unaware that her plea will bring not only hope but also the possibility of finding love again.

Rich in Christmas spirit, Dear Mister Silver offers a tender and heartwarming holiday romance. Sam’s journey as Ornament Guy, crafting heirloom ornaments as a way to rebuild his life, takes on a whole new meaning as he pours his heart into creating a special ornament for Joey. Through his efforts, Sam not only brings joy to a little boy but also discovers the wonder of opening his heart to love.

Filled with warmth and touching moments, this story reminds readers of the magic that shimmers in acts of kindness, and how love and hope can be the greatest gifts of the holiday season.

 

She’s striving for success, not searching for romance

 Lyra Nicholas is a renowned expert on all things related to jolly old Saint Nick. When she receives a letter from Tucker Lee, a rancher in a small Oregon town, she hesitates to consider his request to help his sister with a museum exhibit. But something in the note intrigues her, and she soon finds herself in The Dalles, preparing for a grand Santa installation. Then she meets Tucker and finds herself falling love.

Tucker Lee will do anything for his sister even if it means groveling to a snooty Santa expert to set up an exhibit at the museum Remi manages. Expecting an old, dowdy female, Tucker is taken aback when he meets Lyra, a beautiful young woman who makes him realize there may be more to life than running his ranch.

As they work together to make the exhibit a success, sparks dance between them like twinkling tree lights.

The essence of Christmas, the joy of family, delightful humor, and heartfelt emotions take center stage in Dear Miss Nicholas, a wholesome and uplifting holiday romance.

 

She’s not about to give him a second chance, even when it comes to love

Halston Baker’s career took a nosedive when she crossed paths with Kutter Hayes five years ago. Now, Halston has rebuilt her life and found success as a gingerbread house designer. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase her skills at a Las Vegas resort with a life-size gingerbread village. Little does she know that Kutter, the man who turned her life upside down, is also in town for the finals rodeo. Despite her head shouting at her to stay far away from the troublesome cowboy, her heart has other plans.

Kutter has his own plans and ambitions for his career as a stock contractor and not a single one of them involve fiery, feisty Halston. She blames him for ruining her dreams, and is as prickly as his grandmother’s pin cushion. But as Kutter spends more time with Halston, he realizes there is far more to the fascinating woman than her ability to create amazing gingerbread houses.

As the magic of the holiday season wraps around them, Halston and Kutter must decide whether to follow their hearts and pursue love or step away from what might be their chance at a happily ever after.

Dear Miss Baker is a treat for the senses, combing the flavors of the season with the joys only Christmas and first love can bring in a wholesome holiday romance.

What about you?

Do you like to receive or write letters?

What’s the most meaningful letter or note you’ve ever received?

Or who would you like to receive a letter from?

Share your answer in the comments for a chance to win a digital set of all four books!

Love on Target – Pink Pistol Sisterhood Book 2

Years ago, when I first inquired about being a guest author on the Petticoats & Pistols blog, I had a fan-girl moment when Karen Witemeyer replied to me. I’ve been a fan of her books since I first discovered them!

She was so gracious and welcomed me with kindness. I admired the women who were part of this group and wished I could be one of their “Fillies” too.

Sometimes wishes do come true! In 2017, I was invited to join them as a regular author, and I’ve loved being one of the Fillies in their corral of western authors. So, when Pam and Karen started kicking around the idea of a legacy project for Petticoats & Pistols, something we could all participate in, I was excited at the prospect. Then the decision was made to tie the stories in our series to Annie Oakley, which made it even better.

In case you’ve missed all the announcements, our joint endeavor is called the Pink Pistol Sisterhood. Eleven of us have written sweet western romances, all tied to the journey of a pink-handled pistol that Annie passes on to the heroine in the first book, which just happens to be written by Karen. Make sure you read In Her Sights! It releases March 30!

Captain Cavedweller happened to be in an antique shop last fall and found a book about Annie Oakley that he knew I needed to have. Written in 1981 by Isabelle S. Sayers, Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West from Dover Publications features more than a hundred photos, illustrations, posters and advertisements. Being able to see so many visuals of Annie really helped not only clarify in my mind the hero she would be to Rena (my heroine), but also how her influence would help shape Rena’s character in my book (#2 in the series), Love on Target.

When I was thinking about my story and the characters, I knew I wanted it to be set in the town of Holiday, a place that exists only in my imagination, but it’s at the heart of several of my books, both historical and contemporary. (You can read the beginning of the town in Holiday Hope. )

My hero in Love on Target, Josh Gatlin, was a character who had a brief mention in my book Henley. I thought he’d be wonderful for the hero in this story. Since nine years had passed from then, though, I wanted him to have experienced love and loss, and it provided a perfect way to include the character of his five-year-old daughter, Gabi.

Rena is strong and courageous, but she’s also soft-hearted, and whether she admitted it or not, she really, really just wanted someone to accept her for who she was, scars and all, and love her.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the book!

~*~

“Laura has lost her mind if she believes all this romantic nonsense,” Rena groused as she returned the letter to the pocket in the case and set Laura’s letter aside to tuck into the packet of letters she’d kept from both of her cousins over the years.

“Of all the silly, pretentious …” A snort rolled out of her. “True love my foot. I’m more likely to lasso the moon than I am to fall in love because I held this gun. Although, it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.”

She started to close the case, but changed her mind and lifted out the pistol. The thought that the gun had been in the possession of her hero, Annie Oakley, made her long to shoot it. Just once.

With a plan in mind, Rena set aside the case, tugged on her boots, and rushed down the ladder. She gathered a pocket full of cartridges and her pistol in the gun belt, which was the same caliber as the pink-handled weapon, and headed outside. She stopped by the woodpile and selected a large slab of bark that had fallen off a chunk of wood, then went to the barn where she painted a red heart on the bark, then added a white circle in the center of it.

She experienced an almost giddy sensation as she carried the bark and the pistols to what had once served as a corral. The whole thing needed to be rebuilt, which was on Theo’s long list of tasks he wanted to finish before summer arrived.

Rena knew he wouldn’t care if she practiced her shooting there since there was nothing behind the fence she could damage.

She used a nail to hang the bark on the fence, then retreated to the burn pile by the outhouse where she retrieved half a dozen tin cans that had once held peaches. It had been a while since she’d practiced shooting targets.

To make sure she hadn’t lost the skill, she lined up the cans on fence posts on either side of the heart she’d painted on the bark, took out her pistol, moved back several yards, and loaded rounds into the cylinder.

After widening her stance, she lined up her first shot, released a breath, and pulled the trigger.

The sound of the bullet pinging the target rang out as the can flew backward off the post. Rena shot the remaining cans, then smiled with satisfaction as she climbed over the fence to retrieve them. She set them back up on the posts, rested for a minute on the top pole of the fence, face turned to the sunshine as she soaked up the warmth. Then she hopped down and riddled the cans full of more holes before she stowed her gun in the gun belt and draped it over a fence post, then took the pistol with the delicate pink handle from where she’d set it on a stump.

“Promise of true love,” she whispered, rubbing her thumb over the handle before she loaded five shots in the revolver and took aim at the target she’d painted. “True love. What an absurd notion. Laura really should mind her own business and cease meddling in mine. If she thinks this gun will lead me to romance, she needs to have her thinker checked for defects. Instead of dreaming of true love, setting love on target seems like a much better idea.”

She blasted five holes in the middle of the white circle she’d painted inside the heart on the slab of bark, taking a great deal of satisfaction in blasting holes into something that represented romance and love, at least in her mind.

“Now that’s some fine shooting, Miss Burke.”

Rena yelped in surprise and spun around, pistol still in her hand as she pointed it at the intruder who dared to interrupt her target practice.

 

 

Will romance hit its mark when true love is the target?

Desperate for a fresh start, Rena Burke journeys from Texas to Oregon with only her father’s pistol and a plodding old mule for company. She takes a job working with explosives at a mine, spends her free time emulating her hero Annie Oakley, and secretly longs to be loved.

Saddle maker Josh Gatlin has one purpose in life and that is his daughter. Gabi is his joy and the sunshine in his days. Then he meets a trouser-wearing woman living life on her own terms. Rena is nothing like his perception of what he wants in a wife and mother for his child, but she might just prove to be everything he needs.

When tragedy strikes, will the two of them be able to release past wounds and embrace the possibilities tomorrow may bring? Find out in this sweet historical romance full of hope, humor, and love.

If you were in Rena’s shoes (or boots), what would you do? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Holiday Hope and Henley –

to get you ready to read Love on Target when it releases April 10!

Scotch Tape to the Rescue

When I was researching information for Holiday Home (book 3 in the Holiday Express series), I was looking up details from World War II during the holidays. The story takes place during 1944.

I happened upon a neat advertisement for Scotch™ Tape.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to try to wrap a pile of Christmas gifts without Scotch tape? It almost makes me want to cry, because I love to wrap gifts and Scotch’s satin tape is my sticky substance of choice when it comes to holding the wrapping paper in place.

I had no idea  Scotch™tape was a thing way back then, and even less of a clue that it was used during the war.

Apparently,  Scotch™ tape was used in a myriad of ways during the war, from sealing boxes with blood plasma to “patching” equipment.

In the 1920s, Richard Drew, a young research assistant at 3M’s Minnesota headquarters, was working to develop an adhesive tape that would allow a precise two-tone paint job without mixing or bleeding colors. His prototype didn’t have enough stickiness to it, and he was told he was being “Scotch,” or stingy, with the adhesive. The name stuck.

By 1929, DuPont had developed transparent cellophane, and it was being used in all sorts of packaging. Producers wanted a tape that could match the vitreous appearance. After more trial and error, Drew and his team developed Scotch™ Brand Cellulose tape. I’m so glad they did!

I thought you might enjoy a little excerpt from the story:

 

Bryce could hear the woman and David speaking, but they sounded far away. His vision grew cloudy and he felt like he was being sucked underwater as the world around him began to darken and waver.

David grabbed his good arm and kept him from falling over. “Please, miss, my friend here is in bad shape. May we please have shelter for the night? I promise we’ll not cause any trouble.”

“How do I know you aren’t pretending to be injured?”

David frowned and pointed to the blood caked on Bryce’s leg. “Does this look fake to you?”

The woman sighed a second time and set the gun inside the door of her house. She motioned to them, flapping her hand forward. “Come on, but just so you know, I don’t have much to offer.”

“As long as you have clean water and a spot on the floor where we can rest, that’s all we ask,” Bryce said, aware his words sounded slurred.

“You better hurry before he faints,” she said, reaching out to help Bryce over the threshold and into her home. He drew in a breath, inhaling a faint fragrance that smelled soft and feminine. Something about it reminded him of his grandmother, Cora Lee.

Three steps inside the door, his leg gave out on him and pain swept over him with such force, he crumpled to the floor. The last thing he remembered was looking into a pair of bright blue eyes framed with a halo of golden curls.

Perhaps the woman in the farmhouse was really an angel in disguise.

In case you missed it, Holiday Hope released November 30 and is on sale for 99 cents! Holiday Heart released December 7. Holiday Home just released yesterday, and Holiday Love will release December 21!

As a special Christmas gift, download your digital copy of Scent of Cedar FREE today!

A matchmaking camel and her meddling friends are determined to help their humans find love this holiday season.

Cedar Haynes has a choice: change her high-pressure lifestyle, or end up dead by the time she’s thirty. Not one to do things by half measures, she quits her demanding corporate job, swaps her sports car for an SUV, and moves to the peaceful mountain community of Faraday. She envisions a quiet, peaceful Christmas, surrounding by silence and sparkling snow. When a camel takes up residence on her porch, she realizes small-town life may be more quirky and complicated than she imagined. Thankfully, the local mechanic seems to have all the answers – plus good looks, bad-boy charm, and a mysterious aura that leaves her wanting to know more.

Rhett Riggs left big city life behind the moment his small-town uncle needed his help. To make ends meet, he takes over Faraday’s one and only garage and gas station. He gets more than he bargained for, though, when Uncle Will passes away, leaving Rhett a run-down farmhouse, a wacky camel named Lolly, and a deep-rooted love for the community he considers his home. With the holidays approaching, he watches with interest as a new neighbor moves in next door. He waits for Lolly to send the woman running, like she has the last handful of residents. Only this time, if his beautiful neighbor leaves, she’ll take his heart with her.

Between spilled secrets, mistaken identities, and a camel determined to spread a little love, it will take more than mistletoe and holiday magic to help Rhett and Cedar find their happy ending.

Come along on a sweet Christmas romance adventure sure to uplift the spirit, touch the heart, and imbue the warmth of the holiday season.

What about you?

Do you love to wrap gifts? Hate it? Use gift bags? Paper sacks?

How would you approach wrapping gifts if there wasn’t such a thing as tape available? 

 

Don’t forget to join us for a fun celebration of our favorite holiday traditions!

Holiday Express

One questions authors are frequently asked is “where do you get your inspiration?”

My typical answer is “EVERYWHERE!”

It’s true. I find ideas for stories while flipping through magazine ads, standing in line at the grocery store, wandering through the mall (when we used to wander through the mall), even when I’m doing super exciting things like folding laundry.

But my favorite place to dream up new story ideas is when I’m on vacation with Captain Cavedweller. Ideas for some of my favorite stories have popped into my head while we were driving, exploring, or at a museum.

Such was the case two years ago when Captain Cavedweller and I were making the long, long drive all the way through Nevada.

On a whim, we decided to stop at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely, Nevada.

The museum is a national historic landmark, but it’s also an operating historical railroad. The brochure you’re given when you pay your admission says: “It’s gritty. It’s dirty. It smells of coal smoke, creosote, and sweat…” It is not an exaggeration.

But the museum complex consists of a full-service rail yard encompassing 56 acres with 63 buildings, shops, and structures that served the historic copper mining region of Central Nevada for more than a century. Original railway locomotives, rolling stock, track, a passenger station includes three steam locomotives (two that are operational), six diesel locomotives, and more than 60 pieces of historic equipment.

I loved it! You can walk into the engine house and watch the mechanics working on train repairs. Right after I snapped this photo, a guy popped up in the smokestack. It’s was fascinating to wander around and see everything up close. It really put everything into perspective.

Several trains on display. Some of them were open for guests to climb on and look around.

I loved this train. It made me think of the Polar Express.

In 1910, the railroad needed a new locomotive to pull the passenger train on a daily round-trip from Ely to Cobre, hauling passengers, mail, and express shipments. Number 40 was purchased from the Baldwin Locomotive Works for a cost of $13,139. The train entered scheduled service with a speed of 40 miles per hour pulling a railway post office/baggage car and a first-class coach, both of which are still in service at the museum. When the locomotive was no longer needed after World War II, #40 was put on the list to be scrapped. Because the crews loved the engine, it mysteriously disappeared whenever someone in authority came looking for it. Because of the ghost-like movements of the engine, it became known as “The Ghost Train.”  Thanks to the efforts of the crews, the train survived and still operates today, pulling passengers along the track.

And this train became the inspiration for Hope, a steam engine that travels though a whole new holiday series I’m releasing soon!

 

 

Another fun thing to see was this rotary snow plow. After a massive snow storm halted operations in 1907, the railway purchase a snow plow. The rotary blade could slice through drifts of snow and keep the track operation. A steam boiler resides inside a wooden body, but instead of turning the wheels on tracks like a regular locomotive, this one turns the massive blade. It could take up to three engines to push the plow through the snow.

 

In addition to seeing the locomotives, there were several displays with interesting historical items and information. The velocipede was invented by George S. Scheffield in 1877. This particular one was used to inspect the track from Ely to Kimberly and McGill daily. It is operated by pushing and pulling the handles while pushing on the pedals. Weighing only 140 pounds, it could be moved off the track by one person. This velocipede was rebuilt by Rick’s Restoration and featured on the History Channel program American Restoration. There were several pieces of equipment Rick’s Restoration had restored.

There’s also a great gift shop at the museum. They had dirty cat ornaments. I wish I’d taken a photo of the cat, but somehow failed to snag one. When we were in the engine house looking at the trains, a cat that was absolutely filthy wandered up to us and started rubbing on CC’s legs and purring. He kept the cat happy and purring for a while with some good scratches behind the ears then we went back to exploring. When we went to the gift shop and saw the ornaments, we mentioned meeting the cat. The volunteer working in the gift shop gave us a surprised look, then explained that most people don’t see the cat because it usually hides from visitors. We felt pretty special to have received personalized attention from their resident star feline.

Back to the inspiration: Within moments of arriving at the depot, I started thinking about an idea for a mail-order bride story. The more we saw at the museum, the more ideas that popped around in my head. By the time we left, I knew it wasn’t going to be just one book, but an entire series. One that involved a steam engine named Hope, a family tied to the railroad, and a series that spanned many generations. As we drove onward on our trip, we spent the next several hours brainstorming and jotting down pages and pages of notes which have turned into four full-length sweet romances that start in 1884 and conclude with a modern day romance.

The first book in my Holiday Express series will release November 30! I can’t wait for you to read it! And right now, I have it on sale for a special pre-order price of just 99 cents!

 

Holiday Express

Four generations discover the wonder of the season and the magic of one very special train in these sweet holiday romances.

Available on Amazon

Aren’t the covers glorious? The amazing Josephine Blake from Covers and Cupcakes waved her magic wand and created them for me.

 

Holiday Hope

Release Date: November 30

Pre-order Price: 99 cents

 Infuse your holidays with hope and humor in this sweet western romance 

Left alone in the world after losing her parents, Cora Lee Schuster travels across the country to the newly-established town of Holiday, Oregon, to become a mail-order bride. She arrives in town to be greeted by her future father-in-law with her betrothed nowhere to be found. When it becomes obvious her reluctant groom-to-be has no intention of showing up at the family ranch where she’s staying, Cora Lee must decide if she’ll follow her head or heart.

Jace Coleman has loved trains since the first time he rode on one as a boy. Now, he spends his days as an engineer driving the Holiday Express line on a new engine named Hope. When a mail-order bride turns up at his father’s ranch to wed his brother, Jace has an idea his meddling father has tried his hand at matchmaking. The longer Cora Lee stays at the ranch, the harder Jace works to keep from falling for his brother’s intended bride.

Will Jace and Cora Lee discover the gift of hope? Find out in this sweet holiday romance full of memorable characters, warmth, and Christmas cheer.

Holiday Hope is the first book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Heart

Release Date: December 7

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 Hearts and humor collide in this sweet holiday romance

Zach Coleman spent his childhood dreaming about trains, and now he’s one of the repairmen at the Holiday engine house who keeps them chugging down the tracks. Life couldn’t get any sweeter, or so he convinces himself, until he’s on his way home from work and saves a woman from getting hit by a wagon. How was he to know that one, brief encounter would upend his world?

Lorna Lennox grew up with the best of everything in life. Her father, a railroad tycoon, has made sure of it. Now that he’s moved her into a new house in a remote Oregon location, Lorna wonders if she’ll fit into the small community. She’s barely arrived in the town of Holiday when an adventure leaves her at the mercy of a handsome stranger. One she finds impossible to forget.

Will the holidays present a chance for hearts to entwine? Find out in this sweet holiday romance rich with history, humor, and the joys of Christmas

Holiday Heart is the second book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Home

Release Date: December 14

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 A winning combination of romance, humor, and history

 Widow Britta Webster can hardly remember life before her village was overrun with German soldiers during World War II. All she wants is to live a peaceful existence and raise her child. But she will do anything to protect Joshua, even if it means begging a stranger to take her to America where her son will have a safe place to call home.

Honor, grace, and duty are the driving forces behind Bryce Coleman’s approach to life, even as he strives to survive in war-torn France. Severely wounded, he’s left by his comrade in the cellar of a woman who clearly wants nothing to do with him. When she pleads with him for her son’s future, Bryce feels bound by an obligation to the widow for saving his life.

Will a burdensome agreement turn to love when hearts come home to Holiday? Find out in his sweet historical romance packed with vintage charm, nostalgia, and the wonder of Christmas.

Holiday Home is the third book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Love

Release Date: December 21

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 Will delving into the past kindle a forever love?

Kali Hoyt loves old things. Old books. Old dishes. Old cars. Old love stories. Hired as the director of the newly-formed preservation society for the town of Holiday, she can’t wait to begin digging into the history of a place she enjoyed visiting during her childhood summers. When her cousin introduces her to his best friend, Kali has no idea the grease-covered redneck will have such a monumental influence on her future.

Trace Coleman has spent his life being groomed to take over his family’s vast Lennox Enterprises empire. Astute at running the company, he much prefers to spend his days tinkering with the old steam engine that his great-great-grandfather worked on as a mechanic in the Holiday engine house. When he encounters the newly hired director for the preservation society he founded, he knows her presence in Holiday is going to change his life in ways he can’t begin to imagine.

Will two reluctant hearts succumb to the magic of the holidays? Find out in this sweet holiday romance filled with humor, heart, and love.

Holiday Love is the fourth book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

I am so excited about sharing these books with you and hope my readers will fall in love with the Coleman family like I have. There’s even a man named Nick who suspiciously looks a lot like a Victorian Santa making an appearance in all four stories!

 

What inspires you? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a mystery gift from me! 

 

 

Remembering Christmas

In my soon to release sweet holiday romance Remembering Christmas, part of the Rodeo Romance series, I had such a grand time digging through images of vintage and retro western fashions.

The stories include a company that has their own western clothing line. Two books ago, the company added a line of apparel for curvy girls.

And in Remembering Christmas, the company was decided to add a line based on vintage attire.

The hero in this story, Trevor, has a kooky, eccentric aunt (Aunt Marv) who has never gotten rid of a piece of clothing in her adult life. And she often wears the clothes that were stylish decades ago.

But because she is such a clothes hoarder, the company used some of the original western fashions she still had in her closet from the 1940s-1960s.

I truly had a marvelous time browsing through images as I imagined the new styles Aunt Marv’s retro collection might inspire.

Some of my favorite photos are old Levi’s advertisements.

Like this one.

Check out these duds! I actually love the jeans with the buttons and high waist on the right hand side.

 

This outfit is exactly something Marv would wear.

And this one!

I’m kind of glad these outfits are no longer in style. LOL!

At any rate, Lasso Eight, the clothing company in the story, finds plenty to inspire their new line from Marv. In fact, there’s even a scene where Mykah, the heroine, gets talked into modeling at a photoshoot at the hero’s ranch.

 

 

When Mykah finally walked out with Brylee and Kenzie Morgan, Trevor gulped so hard he swallowed the piece of gum he’d just set in his mouth.

Paige and Ashley had mentioned vintage fashions, but he certainly hadn’t expected Mykah to stroll out of the house looking like a cowgirl from the 1940s. She wore a burgundy and blue plaid shirt tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans with two rows of buttons down the front like the shorts she’d worn the day at the boat show. Wide cuffs at the bottom of the jeans drew his attention to a pair of dark burgundy boots before his gaze traveled back up to her face. Her hair was loosely pulled away from her face and fell in thick curls to her shoulders in a style reminiscent of the past. The deep red lipstick she wore made his mouth water for want of her kiss.

He had no idea when Tally had moved beside him, but when she bumped him with her elbow and held out Carter’s burp rag, Trevor almost took it to mop his feverish brow.

“Thought you might need the rag to wipe away the drool, Trev,” Tally whispered as she held Carter, rocking the baby back and forth in her arms.

He watched as Paige, Ashley, and Celia worked to pose Mykah, Brylee, and Kenzie on the corral fence, using the barn as a backdrop. “How’d they talk Mykah into modeling?”

Tally shrugged. “You know how persuasive Paige and Ashley can be. One minute, Mykah was listing all the reasons she’d make a terrible model, and the next, she was choosing an outfit and getting her hair done.”

 

 

Romance swirls like December snowflakes in this sweet holiday romance.

Trevor King runs King Penny Ranch like a well-oiled machine while attempting to keep his spritely octogenarian aunt out of trouble. His personal life is filled with evasive tactics worthy of a military mission in order to avoid the matchmaking efforts of meddling friends. Until Trevor experiences a chance encounter with a beautiful stranger that leaves him reeling. Almost two years pass before they unexpectedly meet again. He feels blindsided by an emotional avalanche . . . and her name is Mykah.

Mykah Wagner has spent years building her career with Creekdale Enterprises while burying memories better forgotten. When the company’s owner sends her to oversee an expansion project at a retirement home in Eastern Washington, Mykah envisions a charming urban location. Instead, she discovers an area teeming with farms, ranches, vineyards, and sagebrush. Desperate to return to her idea of civilization as quickly as possible, Mykah soon finds herself falling in love with the residents, the region, and a rancher who helps her remember all the best things from her past.

Brimming with hope, laughter, and second chances, Remembering Christmas is a captivating and wholesome romance celebrating the joy of falling in love and the wonder of the season.

You can also see more of the visuals that inspired scenes in the story on Pinterest.

 

If you could create your own clothing line, what fashions would inspire you?

Post your answer for a chance to win an autographed copy of Roping Christmas (last year’s Rodeo Romance release) and some swag!

 

The Christmas Wish and a Giveaway

I can’t speak for all authors, but I think many of us get attached to our characters like they were members of our family.

For me, that is certainly the case with my Hardman Holidays series. 

Back in 2012 when I wrote The Christmas Bargain, the first book in the series, I had no intention of making it into a series. But I fell in love with the characters. I really did. Book nine, The Christmas Wish, will release in a few weeks! 

If you are unfamiliar with the series, the first book is about Luke (the town banker) and Filly (a woman he marries in lieu of payment on a loan). Readers have called it an Old West Cinderella story with a holiday twist. The second book is about Luke’s sister, Ginny, and Blake, the boy she once loved who is now a man who thinks she is frustrating, ridiculous, and entirely captivating. Book three is about Alex, a purveyor of prestidigitation, and Arlan, Luke’s straight-laced assistant at the bank. The fourth book is about Arlan’s brother, Adam, and Tia, the girl he planned to wed before she married an older man with deep pockets. The fifth book is about Tom Grove, a newspaper man, and Lila, Luke’s lovely cousin. Book six features Fred Drecker (once the town bad boy) and Elsa, a sweet woman who runs the town bakery. A recluse, Gray, and his adorable daughter, Maddie Mae, encounter a lively socialite, Claire (Fred’s aunt) in book seven while book eight features Trace, a telephone lineman and a Victoria, Gray’s sister. 

The Christmas Wish is about Percy Bruner. He’s made an appearance in every single book in the series. In The Christmas Bargain, we meet him as a six-year-old rascal who helps out in his parents’ mercantile. I knew the first time I envisioned his character, I wanted to write more about him. By the time I finished the second book in the series, I planned to one day tell Percy’s story. We get to watch him grow through each book and now he’s a man with a broken heart who hates the thought of returning to Hardman. But an urgent telegram from his mother beckons him to return to Hardman, a place he once loved, but hasn’t set foot in for almost five years. 

Percy discovers something when he returns to Hardman he never expected to find. I won’t give you any spoilers, but it involves a pretty girl who runs the bookstore, writes anonymous “wishes” letters to the people in town, adores a cat named Teddy, and has a grandfather in need of his own romance. 

Here’s a little excerpt from the book:

~*~

“Did you know Brynn Rutherford was helping with the children’s program?” Percy asked, tossing his mother an accusatory glare.

“I had no idea. Pastor Dodd just said he had one volunteer and needed a second.” Despite her nonchalant demeanor, Percy noticed the hint of a smug smile forming at the corners of her mouth. “Isn’t that nice of her to help?”

“Nice,” he muttered, convinced his mother wasn’t nearly as innocent as she pretended to be.

“That Brynn is such a nice girl,” Aleta said, glancing at Percy, then her husband.

His father nodded in agreement. “She’s got plenty of gumption, that’s a fact.”

“Not only that, but she’s thoughtful and fun, and so well-liked in the community.” Aleta blew on a bite of the hot stew. “I’m not sure Mr. Howland is a good match for our girl.”

There was that “our” business again. Percy wondered when his mother had decided to claim Brynn as part of the family but decided it best not to voice his question. By sheer determination, he ignored her comment about Christopher Howland. Percy had seen the strange man leaving the bookstore late one evening and could only assume he was there after hours to visit Brynn.

The thought of him, or any man, coming to call on her left Percy with a bad taste in his mouth. He took a long drink from the glass of milk sitting by his plate and then glanced down at his bowl of stew.

“This is good, Pop. Thanks for cooking for us.”

“I won’t say it was a pleasure, but it did feel good to do something productive,” George said, cutting a slice of cornbread and slathering it with butter and honey.

Later that evening, as Percy prepared to turn in for the night, he glanced across the street and saw a light burning in the room he was sure belonged to Brynn. He smiled, picturing her lost in a romance, growing swoony over a swashbuckling hero.

He climbed into bed and closed his eyes, wondering if any of her heroes ever had red hair.

~*~

 

The Christmas Wish releases December 3 but you can pre-order your copy today. 

Also, you can discover the visuals that have inspired the series on my Pinterest boards here.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to make a wish for someone else, what would it be? 

Post your comment for a chance to win the Hardman Holidays ebook boxed set which includes the first three books in the series!

 

Gifts of Christmas

The holidays are just around the corner and many of us are already starting to plan our Christmas gifts for family and friends. It’s the season of giving, and what better way to show your love and appreciation than with a thoughtful and unique gift? From traditional presents like sweaters and scarves to quirky items like unterhose mit gesicht (underwear with a face), there are so many options to choose from. Whether you’re shopping for a picky friend or a loved one who seems to have everything, there’s bound to be a special gift that will put a smile on their face. So, get ready to spread some holiday cheer and make this season unforgettable for those you hold dear.

You can also go for custom photo socks as they stand out as a delightful and unique choice. Imagine the joy on your loved one’s face as they unwrap a pair of socks adorned with a cherished photo or a meaningful image. These personalized gifts are not only practical but also serve as a constant reminder of the special moments you’ve shared. So, this holiday season, step away from the ordinary and opt for the extraordinary with custom photo socks that will leave a lasting impression on your cherished ones.

While there are countless options for heartwarming holiday gifts, jewelry always holds a special place in our hearts. The glimmer of precious metals, the sparkle of gemstones—it’s a timeless way to express love and appreciation. This season, consider going the extra mile with a personalized touch by gifting a stunning photo necklace. Imagine the delight on your loved one’s face as they unwrap a necklace showcasing a cherished photo or a significant image close to their heart. It’s a heartfelt gesture that combines the beauty of jewelry with the sentimental value of a captured moment. So, as you embark on your holiday gift shopping, remember the power of a photo necklace to create a lasting connection and make this season truly unforgettable.

The scents, the sounds, the twinkling lights, glistening snow, the yummy treats. Truly, I love it all.

But I also love the halloween gift baskets that don’t come from the store, but from the heart. The gifts that lift our spirits, warm our hearts, and wrap us up in a cozy blanket of love.

It was thoughts of those gifts that inspired my newest series and collection of sweet holiday romances.

There are three books in the series: Gift of Grace, Gift of Hope, Gift of Faith.

Although each book can be read as a stand-alone, a fun little detail is that each story ties to one of my other series, too!

Tomorrow is the release day for Gift of Grace, book one in the series. Today, you can pre-order the book for just 99 cents!

Sometimes the best gifts

Are those freely given from the heart . . .

Ready to begin a new life far away from the sad memories of the Civil War, J.B. and Nora Nash head west on the Oregon Trail. They settle into the small community of Pendleton, Oregon, on a piece of land where they’re excited to build a future and their dreams together.

A devastating tragedy leaves them both reeling as they draw further and further apart. Nora blames J.B. for her unhappiness while he struggles through his own challenges. Only a miracle can bring them through their trials and reunite them for Christmas.

Together, will they discover the gift of grace in this sweet holiday romance brimming with hope, history, and abiding love?

Gift of Grace is the first book in the Gifts of Christmas series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome romances, featuring precious gifts given straight from the heart.

Much to her dismay and surprise, J.B. stepped onto the bed with his damp boots and picked her up, holding her tight against his chest. Without missing a step, he walked off the other side and toward the bedroom door.

Nora clenched her hands into fists and pounded on his shoulders as he carried her into the kitchen.

The big galvanized tub they used for taking baths sat near the stove and she could see steam rising from the water. She had no idea what J.B. intended to do, but whatever it was she would fight him until her last breath.

“Put me down, you brute!” she demanded, shoving against his solid chest.

“Whatever you say, Nora,” J.B. said, dropping her into the tub.

Water splashed over the sides onto the floor and stung Nora’s eyes. She spluttered, pushing hair out of her face then rubbed her eyes.

Before she could stand and step out of the tub, J.B. reached down and ripped off her nightgown, sending buttons flying into the air. Appalled, she watched in horror as he wadded the ruined cloth into a ball and tossed it into a basket with dirty clothing sitting on the floor near the stove.

He glowered at her, pinning her in place with an unrelenting gaze. “You stink and your hair looks like you rubbed bear grease over your head. Take a bath and wash your hair. Maybe by the time you finish, you’ll feel better. At the very least, you’ll smell better than something left to rot on the side of the road.”

Shocked speechless by his actions, she remained as still as stone as he went into the bedroom and returned with the tray of tea and toast he’d prepared.

“When you get out of there, you eat that toast and drink the tea,” he ordered. “If you don’t, I swear I’ll force-feed you.”

Defiantly, Nora lifted her chin. “I’ll eat when I feel like it.”

J.B. picked up a bar of perfumed soap and a wash cloth then bent down until his nose nearly touched hers. “Either you start scrubbing or I’ll do it for you.”

Nora grabbed the soap and cloth from him. If looks could have killed, James Benjamin Nash would have inhaled his very last breath in that moment.


What about you? What is your favorite gift of the season?

Bareback Riders and Rodeo Romance

I love a good rodeo. It’s true.

In fact, I love rodeos so much, I have a whole series of books that’s about… you guessed it – Rodeo! 

In my latest release, the hero in the story is a bareback rider. 

If you aren’t familiar with the sport, bareback riding is much like it sounds. There’s no saddle. No pad. 

 

The cowboy is basically trying to stay on the back of thousand-pound wildly bucking horse holding onto his leather rigging. The rigging greatly resembles a suitcase handle attached to a strap, which is placed on top of the horse’s withers and secured with a cinch.

Some say bareback riding is equivalent to attempting to ride a jackhammer with one hand. Bareback riders endure more physical abuse, suffer more injuries, and sustain more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys.

 

To compete, when the horse and rider bust out of the chute, the cowboy’s spurs must be touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s feet hit the ground after the initial move out of the chute. This is called “marking out.” If a cowboy fails to keep his spurs in position, he is disqualified.  The bronc bucks and the rider pulls his knees up, rolling his spurs up the horse’s shoulders. As the horse comes back down, he straightens his legs, returning his spurs over the point of the horse’s shoulders, anticipating the next move.

 

A qualified ride requires more than just strength. The cowboy is judged on his spurring technique, the degree his toes remain turned out while he’s spurring, and his willingness to take whatever comes along during the ride. 

 

In Keeping Christmas, Gage Taggart is a bareback rider on his way to making the national finals. He rides a motorcycle, has the world on a string, and is sure of his future… until a freak accident leaves him at the mercy of his best friend’s sister who just happens to be a nurse. 

Here is an excerpt from their first encounter in the story: 

There was no way on earth or beyond she was going behind the chutes. The last time she’d done that had cured her on rodeos and rodeo cowboys for life. She had no intention of repeating the experience. The very thought of going back there left her thoroughly disturbed.

She sent a text to Gage, telling him to meet her near the ticket booth. It was only after she hit send that she realized she should have mentioned she was the one there, not Trevor.

Gage would figure it out soon enough, she supposed.

She leaned against the corner of the ticket booth, out of the way, and watched the faces of those coming and going. Through the crowd, she caught a glimpse of a face that looked familiar as a cowboy jogged her way.

Tally sucked in a gulp of air, unprepared for how much Gage had changed since she’d last seen him in person. The boy she’d had a crush on had morphed into a very handsome man. His dark brown hair was shorter, his shoulders broader, his body a finely-tuned machine of muscle. She noticed a scar on his right cheek that hadn’t been there before, yet it only added to his rugged appeal.

But his eyes were the same magnificent shade of blue, and his lips still appeared incredibly kissable. When he looked at a little girl wearing a pink tutu over her denim overalls, his grin kicked up the left side of his mouth just as she remembered.

He didn’t appear to have gotten taller than his already six-foot height, but he looked stronger and more capable than he had all those years ago.

Tally noticed several women eyeing him as he made his way through the crowd. He didn’t even seem to notice them as he scanned the faces, no doubt searching for her brother. She stepped away from the ticket booth and headed toward him.

She tried to catch his eye, but he looked right past her, as though she didn’t exist. Not that it surprised her. Guys like Gage weren’t interested in girls like her — girls who would never be mistaken for a model, had brains in their heads, and held to an unyielding set of morals.

Nope. There was nothing about her that would be of the slightest interest to a cowboy like Gage.

Tally waited until she was standing directly behind him to tap him on the shoulder.

“Gage Taggart,” she said in a voice she used to subdue unruly patients. He jerked and turned around to stare at her.

She could see him struggling to pull her identity from his memories. Insulted he hadn’t yet figured out who she was, someone jostled into her and she bumped against Gage. Something electric and completely unexpected arced between the two of them. Tally wanted no part of whatever it was and moved back.

Eager to get the torturous errand over with, she held the gear bag out to him. “Trevor sent me with this.”

“Where’s Trev?” Gage asked, taking the bag and looking around like her brother might suddenly materialize. “Who was I texting a minute ago if it wasn’t him?”

“That would be me. I’m sure you don’t remember, but I’m Trevor’s sister.”

“Tally? You’re little Tally?” He held his hand down near his waist, indicating the height he thought she should be.

She nodded and Gage broke into a wide grin.

“You were always such a cute kid with those big gray eyes, sturdy little legs, and chubby cheeks.” He reached out and playfully pinched her cheek. “You haven’t changed a bit. Aren’t you like, fifteen, maybe sixteen?”

 

For a chance to win a digital copy of Keeping Christmas, please share one thing that is bringing you joy today. 

Cowboys and Christmas

When I was thinking about a title for today’s blog post, of course my brain went right to Cowboys and Christmas. But from there, it tripped along over a fun old Christmas song. Emmylou Harris’ version is my favorite and the one playing on the soundtrack in my head this morning.

a

Truthfully, I’ve had Christmas on the brain for months and months (okay, maybe it’s been there since last Christmas!). But I have a good reason. Well, several good reasons, but I’m excited to share three of them with you today. 

The first reason I’m so excited for the holiday season is my newly released non-fiction book – A Cowboy Christmas.

 

The book features interviews with rodeo and ranch families who share their favorite holiday traditions. Readers will find holiday how-tos, gift ideas, decorating tips and recipes (more than 70 of them). Some of the recipes are my family favorites and others come from the ranch and rodeo families. I tested (and tasted!) them all. I also had fun taking all the photographs of the food and how-tos. It was a great learning experience and one I’m so happy I had the opportunity to explore. 

Several of the families mentioned in the book have had their lives touched by a special organization called the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF steps in when a rodeo athlete sustains a catastrophic injury and is unable to work for an extended time. They’ve provided $8 million in funds to more than 1,100 athletes, giving the cowboys a hand up when they need it most. And every dollar donated goes directly into the fund without any administrative fees removed. 

Back in 2013, I was working on the first book in a new series and reached out to the Justin Sportsmedicine Team with some questions. They kindly helped me and that’s when I first learned about the JCCF. 

This is the sixth year I’ll donate ten percent of my book proceeds to the fund. 

Any Shanna Hatfield book purchased between now and Christmas counts and will help benefit a great cause. 

To find out more about the JCCF and my Read a Book, Help a Cowboy campaign, visit my website

 

Another reason I’m all excited about Christmas is the release of my first sweet romantic comedy written in first person.

Oh, my gracious! 

I had so much fun writing this story and I hope you’ll have fun reading it!

Between Christmas and Romance  is part of the sweet and wholesome Christmas Mountain series, set in the fictional town of Christmas Mountain, Montana. My story is book seven in the series.

Here’s a little about Between Christmas and Romance: 

There’s nothing like a little Christmas glow to light up a holiday romance. . .

When the bright lights and big city lost its luster, Carol Bennett returns to her Montana hometown disillusioned and ready to embrace a simple, quiet existence. After she takes over the Christmas Mountain bookstore, she is determined to forget the glitzy world that left her with broken dreams. The store provides the perfect place to hide from her past while indulging her secret joy of reading sappy romances.

Then she encounters a cowboy too handsome for his own good and too insightful for hers. Although she adores his grandmother, rancher Tim Burke is stubborn, bold, and opinionated. He refuses to let her hide when he sees her all too clearly and does his best to draw her out of her protective shell.

In spite of her determination to detest the man, the sparks sizzling between them could light up the town’s Christmas tree. Carol has to decide if she’ll choose being brave and latching onto happiness or staying safely tucked away in her store.

Will two such opposite people be able to find love somewhere between romance and Christmas?

You can find more details about the book on my website, including buy links.

 

Also in its sixth year, I’m thrilled to invite you all to join me for the annual Cowboys and Christmas party taking place on Facebook November 7! There will be guest authors, game, giveaways, and so much fun!  Hope to see you all there!

What about you?

What is one thing you are looking forward to about the holidays? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Between Christmas and Romance!