Code Redhead

CODE REDHEAD

Genre: Multiple Genres

Content Warning: Sweet Contemporary to Erotica

Thirteen authors have come together to be part of a fundraising project called Code Redhead – A Serial Novel. Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Chris Karlsen, Angela Ford, Tammy Tate, Carol Ann Kauffman, Ella Medler, N.D. Jones, Laura Strickland, Kim Knight, Tina Donahue, JR Wirth, Sibelle Stone

Each writer has their own interpretation of the title ‘Code Redhead’. There’s a story to satisfy and entertain most every reader in Code Redhead. Genres ranging from; Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance, Mystery, Romantic Time Travel, Suspense/Thriller, Victorian Romance, Science Fiction Romance, Erotic Romance, Time Travel Romance, and Dystopian.

Books To Go Now will donate the proceeds from the sale of the Novel to The Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

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REDHEADS HAVE MORE FUN by Sharon Kleve

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ambrosine Dubreauil owns Who Do Voodoo, a voodoo shop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans that her grandmother left to her.

Her life is quite, calm, and relaxing until the sexy Remy LaCroix charms himself into her life and heart.

REDHEAD DEAD by Jennifer Conner

Genre: Romantic Suspense

As a plant chemical biologist, Aiven, always has her mind buried in her work. When her co-worker talks her into going out for a night of fun Aiven reluctantly agrees.

Coleman just wants to spend the night with a pretty girl and forget about the brutal underworld where he’s an undercover cop.

Neither expects death to be waiting around the corner when Coleman and Aiven get pulled deeper into danger and life on the run.

MOONLIGHT SERENADE by Chris Karlsen

Genre: Historical Romance

It’s 1945 and the world is at war. An American Marine on leave in Melbourne, Australia, a pretty red-haired big band singer, and one of Glenn Miller’s greatest songs come together for a weekend. In their brief time, they find love in the chaos of war.

REVEALED by Angela Ford

Genre: Mystery

The tears came. Some days in waves. She realized it was okay to cry, not to cry, and that time doesn’t heal all wounds. Grief changed Maya Delcort.

After her sister’s death, she disconnected from the world she knew, and the man she loved. Maya’s new world became the CIA, as a covert operations agent.

An assignment takes her to Ireland with only one contact; a man she never met. Maya only knows him as Blue; he only knows her as Red. When her identity gets jeopardized, and Blue isn’t answering; she fears the worst. Emotions run high, danger lurks, and she realizes she’s ready to love again.

Will Maya escape death and find love?

STARLIGHT KISSES by Sibelle Stone

Genre: A Victorian Love Story

Tatiana Langdon is an heiress, which makes her a target for many bachelors in Gilded age New York. The fact that she’s beautiful, educated and from one of the oldest families in the city isn’t as important to many of the men as the millions she’ll inherit when she marries. When she meets Merritt Barclay, she knows he’s different from the other men who are pursuing her but her Aunt Olivia is doing everything in her power to prevent Tatiana from getting to know the handsome man.

Merritt Barclay loves a mystery and something happened years ago to cause a rift between his family and Tatiana’s. It involves her Aunt Lorelei and his father, but no one in either family will divulge the secret. Merritt joins forces with Tatiana, a young woman who has bewitched him with her beauty and intelligence, to discover what happened.

But Tatiana’s aunt will do everything in her power to keep the couple apart, and as their attraction grows stronger, the danger rises. What lengths will some people go to in order to keep a family secret?

REUNITED by Tammy Tale

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Ten years after a nasty breakup, Tara and Ryder surface for a class reunion and when Tara gets struck by lightning, all memory of Ryder vanishes. Will Ryder use it to his advantage to win her back.

DAY OF THE DEAD by JR Wirth

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Two adolescents find themselves on a hunt for their friend, Cali, after she is abducted, on Halloween, by a psychopath who kills on “Dia De Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead).

RITUALS by ND Jones

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Jackson Glory introduces his Serenitarian wife, Nevaeh, to an old Earth custom—hot and sexy for some, not enough for others.

Red-HOT by Tina Donahue

Genre: Erotic Romance

A chance meeting between strangers, a steamy hook-up that burns the sheets, now if only he can find her again…

ONE NIGHT IN LONDON by Kim Knight

Genre: Contemporary Romance

When the lights shine bright, and the city is lit up, Rita Lane will show you a good time.

THE CLUE OF THE RED TRESSES by Laura Strickland

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Chasing a beautiful thief through time, Stephen Longstreet never imagines the peril he faces—Nazis, ancient Britons and courageous Bridie Maguire, who might just steal his heart.

THE FREEDOM GENE by Ella Medler

Genre: Dystopian

In a dysfunctional society where ‘bottle’ redheads are the height of fashion, real redheads host a gene that protects them from brainwashing. Two men fight to rescue a redheaded girl, for different reasons. The guard because he loves her. The scientist because he wants to give the human race a way to rebuild and take itself out of its brain-dead slavery.

RED SARAH by Carol Ann Kauffman

Genre: Time Travel Romance

Sarah works for an organization that fixes broken timelines in history. She has a very special skill set involving time travel. Her mission is to save the life of Lucas, a young man who will be pivotal in the progress and advancement of his planet.

Links will take you to the authors’ websites or Facebook pages

Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.

Sharon is a multi-published author of contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other’s arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Jennifer Conner is a best-selling Northwest author who has over eighty short stories and books in eBook, print, foreign language editions, and audiobooks. She writes in Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, and Erotica. She has hit Amazon’s top fifty authors ranking, and her books have been #1 in sales.

Chris Karlsen I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

Bestselling Romantic Suspense & Contemporary Romance Author, Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground! Her love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her Cyber Crime series. In between mysteries, Ms. Ford writes short contemporary romance…sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy…and sometimes with a dash of suspense!

Sibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award winning historical romance author Deborah Schneider. Sibelle writes sexy steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with mad scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and fantastical creatures. Between them Deborah and Sibelle have published six books and two novellas. In her spare time Sibelle enjoys dressing up in Victorian ensembles, modding play guns into something that looks a bit more sinister and wearing hats. She owns some very nice hats!

Tammy Tate was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida but has lived most of her adult life in Texas. Her passion to write began in high school. It follows her everywhere she goes…creating a world where anything is possible. She’s been married to the same wonderful man for over thirty years. Her secret to a long marriage? It’s easy when you marry your best friend. In her world, Friday night is still date night.

Since she believes reading is the next best thing to writing, she enjoys romance, fantasy, science fiction and thrillers. In December of 2013, she signed her first book contract with a traditional publisher. Her books have made Amazon’s Best Seller list.

JR Wirth is a practicing psychotherapist, which helps provide insight into the human mind and condition, and gives him a strong understanding of the emotions of a moment in time, as well as the inner workings of his characters. JR has several pieces published—including a poem and several short stories in online venues.

In all of his works, J.R. combines ordinary people with extraordinary circumstances, to create characters that jump off the page and straight into the readers’ heart and psyche. He remains dedicated to the craft of writing, highlighting the conflict, frailty, and hero in all of us.

N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, eBook, and paperback company. Kuumba Publishing is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works of authors and artists of African descent.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

Kim Knight is 34, and from London in the UK. She’s a qualified teacher and mother to a beautiful toddler. As a reader, she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. A Stranger in France (republished January 2017) is her first romantic suspense novel. Her second romance novella Not Just for Christmas was published November 2016. At present Kim is writing her third thriller novel, to be published in 2017. As a writer, Kim enjoys creating stories within the romance, romantic suspense and general thriller genres. Kim also writes beauty and book related articles for Love Life, Live Magazine. When she’s not reading, or writing stories of her own, her other passions include practising her French, fashion and spending time at her sewing machine dress making. Watching make –up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum.

Award winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she’s pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though she’s made pilgrimages to both Newfoundland and Scotland, she’s usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog.

Ella Medler is a U.K. author and editor. She writes fiction in many genres in a seemingly vain attempt to slow down her overactive brain enough to write non-fiction on subjects she knows a thing or two about. She also does not believe in the starchy use of English and ignores the type of rule that doesn’t allow for a sentence to be finished in a preposition. Her books are action-driven, and well-developed characters are her forte. Loves: freedom. Hates: her inner censor.

Carol Ann Kauffman is the author of eighteen books to date, from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels, classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher from a local school district in Ohio, where she taught for thirty-five years. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and worked in the hardware and automotive departments of a large store. She was a Red Cross volunteer. Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy and Aruba, which show up in her novels quite a bit. She loves to play Bridge and to garden. She grows African violets and orchids. Carol loves dachshunds and trains.

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New Release – Desert Rose

DESERT ROSE

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I was seventeen when my father gave my hand to the Devil…
I was married to him on my eighteenth birthday.

Married to a man who was ruthless, cruel and heartless. I had been taken away from the man I loved, the life we had planned together, but I was ever the dutiful daughter, until one day, I witnessed the true nature of my husband, Emmanuel Rivas.

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***New Release***

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Jan Turnbull’s life takes a sharp turn towards chaos the instant her eldest son, Simon takes a tumble in the surf and loses his life.

Blame competes with grief and Jan’s husband turns against her. She finds herself ousted from the family home and separated from their remaining son, Andy.

As Jan tries to cope with her grief and prepares to build a new life, it soon becomes known that Simon has left behind a bombshell, and her younger son seeks ways of compensating for his loss, leading to further issues for her to deal with.

Can Jan hold it all together and save her marriage and her family?

A story of loss, grief and the struggle to survive against adversity.

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

Prologue

The strident ring of a mobile breaks into the soft music playing in the background of the family kitchen. The bread knife slides from Anna’s fingers onto the wooden board. She dusts breadcrumbs from her hands and snatches up her phone. Marcus pauses in putting down his Scrabble letters and frowns. She mouths a silent sorry to her husband and her stepson Jon, the noisy distraction coming at a crucial point in their game.
Anna sees her sister’s face on the screen. ‘Hi Jan. ‘Her greeting falls into a void.
‘Jan, are you there?’ A familiar wrench in her gut tells her this is bad news. She reaches out to grasp Marcus’ hand, knowing instinctively all is not well.
‘Is it Dad?’ Her first thought is of her father whose health has caused them to worry in the previous year.
‘It’s Simon,’ Jan’s voice breaks on the name of her eldest son.
‘Simon? What’s he been up to now?’
‘He’s… he’s…’ A torrent of sobs comes through the line. ‘I can’t…’
‘Jan! What is it?’ Anna’s voice trembles with alarm. Jon looks up, surprise etched on his young face. ‘What’s happened…?’
‘He’s gone, Anna. Simon’s dead.’ Her voice dies away, and the sobbing resumes.
‘Simon?’ Anna feels the blood drain from her face. Her knees sag, and she throws a quick glance towards Jon. Her stepson idolises his older cousin. How will he cope with this news? She squeezes Marcus’s hand. From a distance she hears Marcus telling Jon to go wash his hands.
Jan speaks again, so quietly Anna can barely hear the words, almost drowned out by the sounds of wheels rumbling and quick footsteps.
‘We were at the beach. Graham was playing golf. He always does on a Saturday. The boys could have gone on their own, but it was a great day, so we all went to Manly. We planned to take in a movie later.’
Anna realises her sister is babbling out of grief and nerves, so allows her to talk without interruption. Marcus has his arm around Anna’s shoulders and is leading her to sit down in the family room. She sinks onto a sofa and presses speaker so Marcus can hear too.
Jan’s breaking voice continues, ‘Simon…’ she gulps, ‘he was lying there. I wanted to tell him to get up, to stop fooling around, but he was still. He was surrounded by surf lifesavers. One was kneeling beside him, trying …’ her voice breaks again, then Anna hears her sister take a deep breath. ‘Andy was there too. He was kneeling beside Simon crying and yelling at him to wake up. I ran. When I reached them, I could hear the sirens coming closer. My beautiful boy was lying there – so still. Now he’s gone. Oh, Anna, what am I going to do? I…’ Jan breaks down in a flood of tears.
‘Royal North Shore?’ Anna doesn’t wait for a reply. ‘I’m on my way.’

 

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BIO

After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them.

From her native Glasgow, Scotland, Maggie was lured by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ to Australia, where she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!

She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she chairs meetings, helps organise author talks and selects and delivers books to the housebound.

A member of Queensland Writer’s Centre, RWA, ALLi, and a local critique group, Maggie enjoys meeting her readers at book signings and library talks. In 2014 she self-published Band of Gold and The Sand Dollar, Book One in the Oregon Coast Series and in 2015, The Dreamcatcher, Book Two in the Oregon Coast Series. and Broken Threads.

Maggie can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads or on her Website.

 

 

**My Heart is Yours**

Title: My Heart is Yours

Author: Amanda Leigh

Genre: YA/NA Crossover Contemporary Romance

 Release Date: May 20, 2015

 

Blurb

Samantha Marie Ramsden has three brothers. Craig, John and Matt. When tragedy strikes their family, Craig takes on the task of becoming his siblings legal guardian. It’s hard enough being someone’s guardian, but when you’ve only recently entered adulthood yourself it’s almost impossible to know where to draw the line between sibling and ‘parent’.

This is made even harder on him when Sam starts to get close to a long time friend, Jason. It looks like their friendship could turn into something more. An idea that Craig has never been too happy with. Spanning six years, My Heart is Yours explores family, friendship, love and much more. As well as asking the question: Would you defy family for love?

Purchase Links

 

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Prologue

Five and a half year old Samantha slept in her white threadbare sheets. Tonight the wind was coming through particularly strong from the cracks in the wooden boards on her window. Her small body shivered.

                The door creaked open and her mother entered. Sam had the same blonde hair as her mother. Her eyes were her own though. Changing from blue, to grey, to blue-grey, to green or any combination of these colors seemingly simultaneously. Sandras hand approached her daughters shoulder and she shook her roughly awake. The clock on the wall read three oclock in the morning. Sam rubbed her eyes. “Come on!” Her mother said as she looked over her shoulder. “Get out of bed, now!” She grabbed a hammer from the toolbox they kept in Sams room, went to the boarded up window and started tearing the boards to the floor. Wood splintered through the air. “Go on.” She gestured to the window. “Get out. Go.”

                Sam hesitated for half a second then climbed through. She knew she couldnt ask questions. She got into trouble when she asked questions.

                Sandra wiggled through the window; she cursed aloud as the glass cut her shoulder.

                “Dont try to run away from me!” The hoarse shout came from behind them. Sams father. Sam knew what it meant when he was like this.

Sandra pushed Sam into the car, ran to the other side and jumped in. “Mommy.” Sam said as they went speeding past houses. “Whats wrong?”

                “If you must know, your fathers more drunk than usual. He has a gun and he says hes gonna kill us. Satisfied?” Sams eyes widened as she looked in the rearview mirror. There was a car right on their tail. Sam stretched in the front seat to see who it was; she recognized the face of her father. “Mommy!” She yelled. Her mother ignored her. “The only reason Im taking you with me is cuz as a single parent with no job I might get some money from the government.” “Mommy!” She yelled again. “Otherwise Id just let him kill you.” The car stopped, jolted forward and stopped again. “Damn it. Were out of gas.” Sams mom muttered. Sirens wailed in the background.

                Beside them, Sam heard the screech of tires. Blonder hair hit Sams face as she turned her head toward the noise. In the car beside them her father scooted across the front seats; his eyes wild with rage.  A flash of black came from behind him. Sandra frantically tried to get the car started. Too late. An arm shot out around her neck; holding her fast. Her husband held the shiny black gun to her head and before Sam could scream from the sound, the trigger boomed and her mothers body slumped over on the steering wheel. Deep red blood gushed out of her head forming a pool on the floor.

                Before Sam climbed out of the car window, her fathers eyes met hers. There was nothing there. No sorrow, no fear, no pain, no love. Nothing.

                The source of the sirens came to their side. Two police cars with their lights flashing and sirens wailing. Sam clasped her little hand around the handle on the car door; the door opened easily and she fell out onto the cold asphalt. Her eyes took in a small bush about a yard away. She scurried to it and hid within its hard branches, lush with dark green leaves.

                A young policeman shot out of his squad car and saw Sam scurry out of the corner of his eye. This was one of his first times being called – he had only recently graduated from the police academy. He had never seen such devastation. Sure, he thought, compared to a war zone this is nothing. But Ive never seen a husband murder his wife before. With a little girl hiding in the bushes. He shook his head. All of this went through his mind before he crossed to the bush where Sam was hiding.       

She tried to run but he gently caught her arm. “Its okay, sweetie.” He said. “Were here to help.” Her big, sad eyes stared up at him. He tried to offer her a reassuring smile, but he was rather sure that it came out more like a grimace. He picked her up and walked her over to the other policemen.

Sam was taken to an orphanage about an hour and a half away. Six months later she was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Ramsden. They had three sons. Craig was ten, John was seven and Matt was four.

                Craig, John and Matt were good friends with three other boys in town. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsden were friends with one or both of these boys’ parents and they had all grown up together. Chris, Shawn and Jason. It was new to have a little girl introduced into the mix.

Their town wasnt the best town to be living in. Nearly everyone between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five either carried a gun or a blade. With the thought that it was for protection; though it didnt always turn out that way.  The town wasnt exactly poor; they had enough money for their bills and groceries. Although there was little to no disposable income.

                Sam grew up with these boys and they all kept an eye on her. Besides Matt, she and Jason were the youngest, so everyone looked out for them, even more so than Matt. They felt that Matt could more or less take care of himself. They looked out for Jason more because he was very shy and as he got older could be a nervous wreck. They looked out for Sam more because shes a girl. Simple as that; thats what they all said.

                In February 1964 tragedy hit the Ramsden family. Four months before Sam turned sixteen her adoptive parents were killed in a car wreck by a drunk driver. Craig refused to have their family split up. He became John, Sam and Matts legal guardian.

                By 1964 Sam had lost two sets of parents. She hoped with all of her heart to not lose anyone else.

Author Bio

Amanda Leigh graduated with a BA in English and Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. During college, she worked on the literary magazine and loved every minute of it. She adores cats and has one named Sawyer – named after one of her favorite characters on Lost. Amanda enjoys reading, writing avidly in a journal, writing poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking, listening to music, singing, swimming and art – particularly photography. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her.

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***Can’t You See? – Written Fireside Part 7***

Those of you who have followed this blog from way back will be familiar with Written Fireside. These are stories written as a serial with a new part published each week, by a group of authors taking it in turn to write.

Written Fireside is the brainchild of the fabulous Lori Connelly. This story will eventually be published with all proceeds going to the charity Pets for Vets. This is a US charity dedicated to providing a second chance to shelter dogs by rescuing, training and matching them with American veterans who need a companion pet.

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Noah Hale is an author suffering from PTSD related insomnia, needing peace and sleep. All he wants is to be left alone. A certain little dog has other ideas.

Amanda Bell, a teacher, is grieving the loss of her sister, Rachel. Caring for her sister’s dog is comforting until a new neighbor moves in the other half of her duplex. Suddenly, the dog starts escaping her yard, running off to the man on the other side of the fence.

 

Parts 1-6 are complete and can be found at the links below:

Written Fireside: Schedule:

PART 1 – Tuesday June  23rd – Lori Connelly 

PART 2 – Tuesday June  30th – Elsa Winckler

PART 3 – Tuesday July   7th – Angela Campbell

PART 4 – Tuesday July  14th – Jane Hunt

PART 5 – Tuesday July  21st – Charlotte Phillips

PART 6 – Tuesday July  28th – Mandy Baggot

PART 7 – Tuesday Aug.   4th – Susan Horsnell

PART 8 – Tuesday Aug.  11th – Paty Jager

PART 9 – Tuesday Aug.  18th – Zara Stoneley

PART 10 – Tuesday Aug.  25th – Summerita Rhayne

PART SEVEN:

Noah cradled the mug in his shaking hands. His neighbor watched him carefully. “You’re wondering what I’m going to do next, aren’t you? Stay and talk or tear off back to the sanctity of my own place.” He sighed deeply. What did he have to lose? “Tell me about your sister.”

‘Rachel was two years younger than me but we were more like twins. Joined at the hip. We did almost everything together.” Tears filled her eyes. “I’d refused to go with her the night she had her accident. I was cranky, tired from a bad day. Normally she would have stayed with me but there was a band playing at the club that she loved so, she went alone.’ She quieted, reached for a tissue and wiped her eyes.

‘You don’t have to tell me. It’s obviously painful.’ Noah moved to sit at her feet, Gertie scrambled onto his knees. He lifted her hand into his, a calm washed over him.

Amanda felt at ease with her hand in Noah’s. It gave her the strength to continue. “About two minutes from the club a semi ran a red light and caused a massive pile up. Rachel didn’t stand a chance. When the police came and told me, I felt like I’d lost half of myself. I spiralled into a darkness I hadn’t known existed. I couldn’t sleep, I had nightmares about the accident. I saw everything as though I’d been in the car with her. It played over and over in my mind. My mom couldn’t stand to watch me following my sister to the grave so she arrived one day, forced me into her car and drove me to a therapist. She diagnosed PTSD. That’s why I can recognize it in you.”

The sadness in Amanda’s eyes tore at Noah’s heart. Here was a woman who could understand what he was going through. A woman who wouldn’t pity him, tell him to man up and get over it. He could risk telling her about what had happened without fear of ridicule.

‘Noah, I understand if you don’t want to talk about what happened. I just wanted you to know I’m here if you decide to.’

Gertie licked at their hands. The little mutt switched her look from one to the other.

“I swear this mutt was trying to get us together. I know it sounds stupid but, I think she knew we were both suffering.” Noah said.

‘Maybe dogs are a lot more intuitive than we give them credit for. I know she’s helped me a lot. She gives me a reason to keep going. Rachel loved her so much and I think if I let Gertie down, I’m letting my sister down. As much as she’s been a pain in the ass for the last day or so, she soothes me.’

‘She’s sweet. Any time you’d like her looked after, I’d be happy to have her.’

‘So, what do you do?’

‘I’m an author.’ He paused. ‘I was in the Army.’

‘I thought your place was military tidy.’

‘Yep, hard habit to break.’

‘Where was your tour overseas?’

‘Afghanistan. Almost a year.’ Can I open up to this stranger? Sure, therapy’s good but Amanda understands PTSD so much better. She knows how I feel. The nightmares, reliving the events. Maybe we can help each other. ‘How about you make coffee while I take Gertie out to relieve herself? Then, I’ll tell you my whole sordid story.’

Amanda unwound herself from the chair and padded through to the kitchen while Noah headed for the back porch. Gertie trotted beside him, glancing up every now and again.

‘Feeling smug, huh?’ Noah said to Gertie as he opened the sliding door and stepped into the early morning air.

And, please meet “Gertie”

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32348684/

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Dances of the Heart – Andrea Downing

Please welcome Author Andrea Downing who talks about her New release –Dances of the Heart. I asked how she was feeling?

┬®nathandehartphotography-andreadowningI’m excited and shaking at the same time.  Two days ago, Feb. 4th, my 4th book came out:  Dances of the Heart—but it’s my first contemporary novel.  Like my previous historical romances, it does take place predominantly out west, this time in Texas, but it’s very different from anything I’ve ever written before.

I was brought up on Long Island, New York, on a diet of television westerns.  I constantly envisioned myself as riding across the plains with The Virginian, being a sidekick to Smith and Jones, or ranching out on The High Chaparral or in Nevada  at The Ponderosa.  In my head, I put myself in various stories, which eventually translated into my writing.  For some reason, all that went out the window when, carried on the winds of Beatlemania, I moved to Britain to do my M.A.  But I’m back now, and I know the west is my true love…even if I can’t live there year round.

So how, after three historical western romances, did I get to write women’s fiction with a strong romance element that moves between my home state of New York and Texas?  Basically, it evolved from wanting to learn the Texas Two-Step.  Two-Step translated in my brain into two couples, and, as a mother with a close relationship to her then-twenty-something daughter, the what-ifs began.  What if we each fell for a father and son?  What about Texas?  I’ve never been to Hill Country…isn’t that where Luckenbach is? (That from a country song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson)  Then there was the military aspect, brought on by so much talk about Iraq and Afghanistan, the men lost there, the families affected and so on.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch—er, apartment—my ‘mother’character had to be a strong foil against a hard-drinking Texas rancher, but also had to work at something she could basically do anywhere, to give her mobility.  The answer was in front of my nose, though I make no aspirations or claims to be anywhere near as successful as Carrie Bennett in my book.  I do know the areas in which she lives, however.  As for her daughter, Paige, my own daughter went to University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad so, knowing the university area of Philly fairly well, that was a good choice.  And so it went…and Dances of the Heart came out of all that.  I just hope I got it right!

Thanks, Susan, for letting me share these thoughts with y’all.  I think the themes of Dances of the Heart will connect with people wherever they live.

DANCES OF THE HEART

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AuthorAndrea Downing

Genre:  contemporary women’s fiction/romance

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.

Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.

On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.

Excerpt: Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.

“You must be joking.”

He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.

She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query.  “What year is this thing?”

He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”

“Which was, what? Last year?”

Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.

“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight–”

“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines…and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.

She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.

Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl…” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.

“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.

“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”

“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.

“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”

“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”

Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”

The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.

“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”

Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.

“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”

Links to Social Media:

WEBSITE AND BLOG:  http://andreadowning.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writerAndreaDowning

Twitter:  @andidowning  https://twitter.com/AndiDowning

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6446229.Andrea_Downing

Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=124888740&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Buy Links:  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heart

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepub: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heartlishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6060

Tags:  Andrea Downing, Texas, New York City, East Hampton, Hill Country, writers, ranchers, military, loss