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Sweet Horizons

Title: Sweet Horizons
Author: Jean C. Gordon
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Naijla Quamber
Publisher: Upstate NY Romance
Editor: Jena O’Connor
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2019
Blurb:
There’s nothing like a wedding to bring people together, but family dynamics can be complicated, especially newly blended ones. 
Sonja Cooper is thrilled that her daughter Lauren is marrying Jesse Brewster and giving her a ready-made granddaughter in the irrepressible 3-year old Shelley. The fact that Jesse is also Sonja’s business partner in the launching of the Morrison Mansion B&B is just a bonus.
Custom bike shop owner Jeff Brewster is also delighted that his son Jesse is marrying Lauren and building a new family. The one awkward aspect is the unexpected attraction he feels towards Sonja. For although Sonja feels the same spark, having been burned in her divorce from Lauren’s father, she’s determined never to be dependent on a man again.
Then the Indigo Bay Business Association pits Sonja and Jeff against each other by having their businesses compete for the coveted “New Business of the Year Award.” All’s fair in love and war, but hearts don’t always listen!
This is the 3rd novel in the Indigo Bay Second Chance Romances series, but all books can be read as standalones.
For Amazon Bestselling sweet and inspirational romance author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word “the,” she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. She and her college-sweetheart husband tried the city life in Los Angeles, but quickly returned home to their native small-town Upstate New York, where she sets many of her books.
They share a 175-year-old farmhouse just south of Albany, NY, with their daughter and son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a menagerie of pets. Their son lives nearby. While Jean creates stories, her family grows organic fruits and vegetables and tends the livestock de jour.
A founding member of the Capital Region Romance Writers (Albany, NY), Jean currently serves as membership chair. She’s also a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Faith, Hope and Love Chapter, and Novelists, Inc.
Jean is currently working on a Christmas novella for the Small Town Christmas Wishes multi-author series, releasing this fall, and looking forward to writing a second book in the Sweet Promise Press No Brides Club series.

Author Links:
Chapter ONE
“A mechanic? Seriously, Sonja?”
Jeff Brewster stopped, drinks in hand, several feet away from Sonja Cooper and the man who was questioning her. Sonja’s ex-husband, he assumed. Although they hadn’t been formally introduced, the impeccably dressed man was around the right age and had been seated in the bride’s family pew at the wedding with Sonja, little Shelley, and Sonja’s cousin.
“I thought the whole purpose behind your ridiculous move to Indigo Bay was to be independent and better your situation.”
The man’s voice should have been dimmed by the hum of voices filling the ballroom of the soon-to-be open Morrison Mansion B&B, owned by Sonja and Jeff’s son Jesse. But it came through to Jeff loud and clear.
The guy continued, “I take time out of my work schedule to fly down here … and this is what I find. You should have remembered that the national sales conference is always around this time and how much work that means for me. I get here and find out she doesn’t want me to give her away or even participate in the ceremony.”
As uncomfortable as he felt eavesdropping, Jeff stayed rooted to the spot where he’d stopped. Sonja might need him.
“Can you blame her after the way you left us with no financial support to go start a new family?” Sonja said.
“And your solution to your and Lauren’s financial needs was to spend what money you did have to move nearly 900 miles away from everyone you knew and hook up with a guy who fixes motorcycles? ”
Sonja’s back went ramrod straight, and Jeff was surprised that her ex wasn’t pushed backward by the anger radiating from her. ‘That comment doesn’t deserve a response. I have not, nor do I ever plan to, get myself into a relationship where I’m depending on a man again for anything.”
Jeff’s gut clenched. He and Sonja weren’t anything more than in-laws, grandparents who shared his son’s daughter Shelley, possibly friends. But Sonja’s lack of words in his defense and her vehemence about not depending on a man laid open buried wounds about failing his deceased wife when she’d needed him most. Sonja’s ex was right about him not having anything to offer her. Everything he’d had had gone to his wife’s medical bills.
Not that he was about to offer Sonja anything but the drink he held. He forced his seemingly weighted feet into action and finished crossing the room to Sonja.
“Here’s that drink you wanted.”
She turned around. Her eyes narrowed.
Jeff halted. Did not depending on men include him delivering the drink he’d offered to get her? He was getting one for himself after all. He hesitated, the drink between them.
In a 180 turnaround, her face came to life, making her look far too young to have a twenty-eight-eight-year-old daughter. “Thanks, Jeff.”
He released his held breath and handed her the drink, sizing up the man standing across from Sonja. The guy was shorter than him and the tailored suit he wore didn’t quite hide the paunch in what may have once been an athletic physique. Jeff tightened his stomach muscles. One thing he could say about manual labor, it was a great workout.
“I don’t think you’ve met Tom Cooper, Lauren’s father,” Sonja said.
Lauren’s father, not her ex-husband. Interesting.
“Tom, this is Jeff Brewster, Jesse’s father.”
Again with the father stuff. But what did he expect? He was Jesse’s father. And Shelley’s grandfather. Why did that make him sound so old? Being a grandfather did not change the fact that he was only forty-seven.
Jeff accepted Tom’s offered hand, gripping it a shade too hard for the handshake and noticing the softness despite the guy’s tightening grip. “Nice to meet you,” Jeff said, feeling anything but nice. The guy’s soft hands and the casual, comfortable way he wore his suit, shouted money to Jeff. As for himself, it took all of his will power not to run his finger around the constricting collar of his tuxedo shirt when Tom released his hand. In the past when he’d had to dress up, he’d had his deceased wife, Shelley, to gently stop him from fiddling with his tie or collar button. He couldn’t expect Sonja to do the same. So why was he searching her face for help?
Sonja broke their eye contact. “I need to go check with the banquet coordinator. Thanks for the drink.”
“And I have a plane to catch,” Tom said.
Seriously? The man wasn’t even staying for his daughter’s wedding reception?
Sonja headed off in one direction and her ex in another direction, leaving Jeff in the middle of the room taking a swig of his beer and trying to figure out what had just happened.
Sonja slipped into the kitchen adjacent to the ballroom, clenching her hands. She could tell herself that she wasn’t running away from Jeff and Tom. But she didn’t lie, especially to herself. Not anymore. She should have prepared herself for Tom, known that he would bail on Lauren. He always did. Why would Lauren’s marriage celebration be any different? He hadn’t even RSVPed. Even though Lauren had said his presence didn’t matter, Sonja had broken down and called him a couple of weeks ago and gotten a noncommittal “I’m trying to work it in.” She had every right to be angry with Tom.
Jeff was another story. His ruggedly handsome face and the perplexed look on it when she’d made her getaway flashed in her mind. Her anger had spread over to him for no apparent reason except he was a man.
And a friend. Yes, he was a friend who had proven a great help renovating the manor and with baby Shelley. But she couldn’t let that friendship get in the way of her self sufficiency, of the success of the B&B. She could too easily see falling into a comfortable routine of relying on him, letting their relationship take over her life. Something that after Tom’s abandonment, she’d vowed to never get into again.
“Ms. Cooper, is something wrong?” the banquet coordinator asked.
Sonja swallowed the distaste in her mouth. She was already doing it, letting a man cloud her mind. “No, everything is lovely.” She pasted a smile on her face. “I came in to tell you that and ask you to let the DJ know there won’t be a father-daughter dance. Lauren’s father had to leave.”
“Certainly.”
“Here you are, Mom.” Lauren walked into the kitchen, saving Sonja from any awkwardness about sharing that the father of the bride had left.
“Yes,” Sonja said. “You know how I am about checking all the details. This is my only child’s wedding reception.” She bustled over and adjusted the skirt of Lauren’s dress before the swinging door closed on it.
Her daughter’s eyes twinkled. “And the first event at the Morrison Mansion B&B. It’s okay. Jesse and I have a stake in the success, too.”
Sonja flushed. “Right. End of business talk for the day.”
“Except for wedding business,” Lauren said, turning to the banquet coordinator. “We’re ready for dinner to be served any time now.”
“Everything’s set. I’ll have the servers bring out the salads.”
Sonja held the door for Lauren and then stepped into the ballroom herself.
“I changed the head table seating so that Jeff is beside you, rather than him being on the being on the other side of Jesse,” Lauren said
Sonja released the door and it snapped shut. She’d be fine with Jeff on the other side of Jesse—or on the other side of the room, so she wouldn’t be tempted by her attraction to him. “That’s fine.” It wasn’t as if she couldn’t have a friendly conversation with him.
“And I moved Aunt Sari to the head table on your other side, since she’s the only relative here from our family and doesn’t know anyone she was seated with. I figured we didn’t need a seat there for Dad, so why not.”
“You know he left?”
Lauren nodded.
Sonja touched her daughter’s arm. “I’m sorry about that, hon.”
“It’s no more or less than I expected of him, and you have no reason to apologize.”
“You’re right. Old habits.” And not ones she was about to fall back into.
When they reached the head table, Sonja eyed the three empty seats and the place cards, while her new son-in-law Jesse pulled out Lauren’s chair for her.
Hmm, I could switch my card with Sari’s. Then it would be me, then Sari, then Jeff. Jeff and Sari would get along. And she could avoid any inadvertent physical contact with Jeff during dinner. Staring at the cards, Sonja asked, “Where is Sari?”
“She and Dad went to get some hors d’oeuvres,” Jesse answered.
Sonja glanced at the food table and saw Jeff and Sari heading toward her. He solicitously balanced both of their plates in one hand and gripped Sari’s left elbow while Sari maneuvered her cane with her right hand. Sari had commented this morning how glad she was that her progressing MS symptoms had stayed in remission so she only needed her cane to get around. Sonja’s chest burned and she dropped her head. What was with her? She couldn’t be jealous. She and Sari were more like sisters than cousins. Sari deserved to enjoy herself with Jeff or whoever.
Sonja rearranged the cards so that Jeff was seated between her and Sari and moved her chair to put some space between her and Jeff. During dinner, he platonically divided his attention between her and Sari. Sonja relaxed. She’d let the confrontation with her ex unsettle her. There was nothing between her and Jeff. Sonja’s heart swelled as she watched Lauren and Jesse step out onto the dance floor for the first dance. She hugged her granddaughter Shelley on her lap.
“Now, will the bride’s and groom’s parents join them?”
Sonja stiffened. Lauren hadn’t instructed the DJ to skip that? Her eyes narrowed at the smile her daughter gave her from the dance floor. Or was Lauren matchmaking?
“That’s us.” Jeff stood and reached for the back of her chair.
“I’ll take Shelley,” Sari said as if sensing her reluctance and the excuse on her lips.
Sonja rose as Jeff pulled her chair out. She placed Shelley in Sari’s outstretched hands. It was only a dance.
“Grammy and Papa are going to dance,” Sari said. “We’ll watch them.”
Sonja waited while Shelley grabbed a chocolate from the dish Jeff had moved out of her reach in front of Sari and settled in with no protest.
“Daddy Jesse and Ren dance,” the three-year-old said, pointing at her father and stepmother.
“Yep, we’ll watch them, too.”
Warmth poured through Sonja at the child’s solemn nod. The little darling had adapted surprisingly well to her mother’s death and her abrupt transition to the father she hadn’t known—a father who hadn’t even known she existed.
Jeff took Sonja’s hand to lead her onto the dance floor. The corresponding tingle up her arm had nothing to do with his slightly rough working man’s hand wrapped firmly around hers. No, Shelley leaning against her arm must have made it go to sleep.
“Here they are,” the DJ said. “Let’s have a hand for Sonja Cooper and Jeff Brewster.”
Sonja reached up and placed her left hand on Jeff’s shoulder and he folded his left hand around her right. Lauren had set them up. She snuck a glance at Jeff. A half-smile teased his lips. Or maybe they had set her up. She dismissed that thought as quickly as it came. Jeff was just better at going with the flow than she was.
As the clapping died down, the strains of the new song broke through.
“I’ll Always Love You” by Taylor Dayne. Bet this brings back memories,” the DJ yammered.
It did, and not good ones.
Jeff stiffened.
Maybe not good for him, either.
He tightened his hold on her hand and pulled her closer to him. “We … I danced to this at my wedding.”
His voice was so soft, Sonja wasn’t sure whether he was talking to her or his thoughts had simply escaped him.
Jeff’s heart appeared to still belong to his deceased wife. Sonja relaxed and allowed herself to enjoy dancing in the arms of a handsome man. Any attraction she’d imagined Jeff might have to her was just that—in her imagination. He circled her around, and she let her head rest for a moment on his warm, solid chest. Knowing that Jeff wasn’t looking for anything romantic from her would make it easy for her to keep her distance and quash the silly thoughts and fears she’d had earlier.
Easy once their dance was over, anyway.
Jeff escorted Sonja back to the table and made a beeline for the bar. What he didn’t know about women could fill Indigo Bay. The body-of-water bay. Maybe the Atlantic Ocean. Sweat trickled down his spine as if he’d just finished a marathon, rather than a slow dance. When he reached the bar, he changed directions. Fresh air would do him far more good than the shots of Jameson he’d been contemplating. He ducked out a side door into the summer evening, which wasn’t any cooler than the ballroom, but a lot quieter.
He jammed his fingers through his hair. Either he was crazy, or Sonja was sending him mixed signals that were driving him crazy. He had heard her tell her ex that she never wanted to be dependent on a man again, which had sounded like a keep-out sign to any man within hearing distance. A message that she had no interest in a relationship or dating or whatever it was consenting adults did these days. What did he know? He hadn’t been with anyone but his wife in thirty years.
But, then, he and Sonja had started dancing. He’d caught himself getting lost in the song and memories, pulling Sonja closer before he’d come to his senses. He’d checked himself and started to pull back, only to have her rest her cheek on his chest, lulling him into peaceful enjoyment. When the song had ended, she’d been out of his arms in a flash and headed back to the table. His first thought for avoiding the turmoil he was in was to keep his distance, avoid her as much as possible. Which as in-laws should be doable. Except he and Sonja were jointly caring for little Shelley while Jesse and Lauren were on their four-week honeymoon cruise.
A bolt of lightning streaked across the dusky sky followed by a clap of thunder. He’d better get back inside before the sky opened up on his rented tux.
“Papa, cake!” Shelley shouted when he got within sight of the head table.
He must have missed the cake cutting.
“I got you a piece,” Sari said.
“Thanks.” He took his seat and Shelley scrambled over from Sonja’s lap to his, but not before he caught Sonja’s glare. Was the cake cutting something the groom’s father was supposed to be present for? Or was the glare for Sari making sure he got a slice?
“Frosting.” Shelley dipped her finger in the frosting flower on his cake and stuck it in her mouth.
“Yep.” He kissed the top of his granddaughter’s head, while Sonja gently extracted Shelley’s finger and wiped it and her face with a napkin.
Their gazes connected. He smiled. Sonja frowned. What was a little frosting? Or maybe that wasn’t what had earned him the frown. Jeff concentrated on his cake and his granddaughter, glad that he only had one kid. These family weddings were murder on the nerves.
Jesse and Lauren finished making their rounds in preparation for leaving and returned to the head table. Jeff stood, hoisted Shelley to his hip, and placed his other hand on the back of Sonja’s chair to pull it out for her. Maybe he’d get a point for good manners. The five of them walked out of the ballroom into the hall.
“You guys are all set?” Jesse asked wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist.
“You have our itinerary and how to reach us if you need to?” Lauren asked.
“Yes,” Jeff assured them. “It’s not like we’re novices at this.”
“We’ll Skype when we can,” Lauren said.
“We’ll be fine,” Sonja said.
Jeff rubbed noses with Shelley. Finally, something he and Sonja agreed on.
Jesse held his arms out for his daughter. “Give Daddy and Lauren kisses and hugs. It’s time for us to go on our wedding trip. Remember, you’re going to stay with Grammy and Papa.”
Shelley nodded. “Stay with Grammy and Papa. Jesse Daddy and Ren go bye-bye.”
Jesse and Lauren enveloped the little girl in a three-way hug. When they broke apart, Jesse said, “We could stop by tomorrow morning early, before we have to be at the airport.”
“Two goodbyes may not be a good idea,” Sonja said, stepping forward to give Lauren a farewell hug while Jesse handed Shelley back to Jeff.
“You’re probably right,” Jesse said opening his arms to Sonja’s goodbye hug.
Jeff bounced Shelley and shifted his weight from foot to foot. He wasn’t a hugger. Jesse got that from his mother. “You guys have a great time. Don’t worry about anything.”
Jeff and Sonja and Shelley watched, waving until Jesse and Lauren disappeared into the front hall and out the main door.
“More cake?” Shelley asked pointing over Jeff’s shoulder toward the ballroom.
“Sure, we can go see what we can find,” he answered.
Sonja had opened her mouth at the same time as him and snapped it shut.
Jeff knew as well as Sonja did that Shelley didn’t need more cake. But the goodbyes had gone so well, he didn’t want to upset things over something as small as cake. He and Sonja could have trouble soon enough when Shelley realized that her sleepover with Grammy wasn’t the familiar one night. He was sort of prepared for that with a set of twenty-five blocks he’d made that had pictures of the places Jesse and Lauren would be visiting on the cruise. The blocks fit together into a little house. He’d figured them working on the house every day and talking about what her parents were doing might help and give her a sense of time until they got home.
Sonja had nothing to say on the short walk back to the ballroom, where Jeff wove around the tables with his granddaughter in search of cake, ending at the head table and Sonja
“No cake.” Shelley lifted her hands palms up and shook her head. “Time for stories.”
“Thank you, I see what you were doing now,” Sonja said, her praise warming him more than it should.
“Okay, we’ll go upstairs to Grammy’s and get your jammies on for stories.” Sonja held her arms out for Shelley.
Jeff stifled a sigh. He was more than ready to head down to the beach to his place, the mansion’s former caretaker’s cottage, lose the tux and unwind. The three of them retraced their steps to the stairway, where Sonja started up to her third-floor living area and he started toward the door.
“No, no, no!” Shelley said, straining to reach over the polished oak railing to Jess. “Papa, stories. Papa night-night at Grammy’s”
His gaze locked with Sonja’s and the indecision in her eyes matched his. She pressed her lips together and nodded almost unperceptively at the stairs. He took another step.
“Papa!” Shelley screamed, loud enough for the remaining guests to hear her in the ballroom.
With Jesse, he would have continued down the stairs, feeling he shouldn’t give in to a child’s demands. But this was his granddaughter, and he hadn’t had the greatest relationship with his son until the past few years, after his wife had died. Jeff looked over his shoulder to the little girl’s tear-stained face and Sonja’s weary looking one. He and Sonja were sharing the responsibility for Shelley. He shouldn’t dump it on Sonja and bolt.
“It’s okay, sweetie, Papa is just going downstairs to make sure the front door is locked.” Which he’d do so he wasn’t lying to the kid.
Shelley sniffled. “Okay. Then stories.”
“Definitely.” Jeff caught what he thought was relief in Sonja’s eyes and bounded to the door.
His ascent after locking the door was slower, his feet weighted by a churning in his gut. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t been up to Sonja’s flat on the top floor of the mansion before, just the two of them. He’d installed her dishwasher, put in the programmable thermostats, and done other home maintenance. Stayed for lunch a couple of times. But overhearing her talking to her ex at the reception had made everything weird, like he was a guest, not a friend, not family.
He could ignore that, read Shelley a couple of stories, and leave. Of course he could.
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Evie

Title: Evie (Pendleton Petticoats 10)
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Sweet, Historical, Western Romance
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2019
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Will love bloom between a spunky nanny and a distracted landscaper?
Unconventional nanny Evie Caswell views it as her duty to bring fun and laughter to the residence of her strict, aloof employers. Full of life and spirit, she is determined to teach the couple’s children how to be young and carefree. With hardly a minute to herself, she long ago surrendered her dreams of having her own home and a family. Then her employer hires Flynn Elliott, a landscape architect, to turn the yard into a spectacular garden. Enchanted with the intriguing man, Evie realizes after meeting Flynn nothing in her life will ever be the same.
Renowned for his landscape designs and ability to make anything grow, Flynn Elliott is a bit of an enigma. He spouts romantic poetry to the plants in his greenhouse and stealthily avoids social interactions, yet can charm birds right out of the trees when the need arises. While his sister handles the finer details of their business, he often loses himself in his work, forgetting the outside world exists. A chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a moonlit garden leaves him seeking opportunities to discover more about the effervescent Evie and the joy she radiates to those around her.
Will the two of them be able to set aside their doubts and fears to embrace a happily ever after?
Brimming with lighthearted moments, snippets of history, and the hope of true love, Evie is a sweet historical romance sure to warm your heart.
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.
Author Links:

In front of him a woman danced alone in the moonlight. Dark hair spilled around her like a silken cloak while the pale gossamer layers of her gown made him think of a fairy’s wings. Slim arms raised upward, fingers artfully poised. A tall, willowy body slowly spun with fluid grace, as though she balanced on her toes like a ballerina.

Perhaps his imagination had gotten the best of him, but she put him in mind of a woodland sprite come to life. Or maybe she was more like Aphrodite.
From what he could see in the moonlight, the woman was exquisite. The poem he’d recited that afternoon to his rose bushes sprang to mind as he watched her dance, uninhibited, beneath the stars.
Although he hadn’t intended to speak aloud, the words whispering through his thoughts spilled out of his mouth. “She walks in beauty, like the night. Of cloudless climes and starry skies…’” He took a quick breath and added, “and moonlight.”
“Oh!” The woman stopped dancing and whipped around, gaping at him.
“Please don’t stop on my account,” he said, offering what he hoped was a boyish smile.

Sweet Do-Over

Title: Sweet Do-Over
Author: Melissa McClone
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC
Publication Date: May 17th, 2019
Blurb:
When architect Marley Patterson goes out with Von Ryan, she never expects her practical, cautious life to be turned upside down by the handsome contractor. Von is the definition of fun until his proposal sends her into a panic. Marriage is too serious a commitment to make after dating for only six months. Even though she cares for Von, they are too different so she breaks up with him.
Being rejected hurts, but Von blames himself for not reading the signs and Marley better. He finds solace in work; however, his construction company’s success isn’t enough. He wants to share his life with a woman who’ll love him as much as he loves her. She’s out there. All he has to do is find her, and, this time, be patient for the relationship to develop on its own.
After Marley is assigned to Von’s new project in Indigo Bay, he treats her the same as everyone else—professionally and with respect—though neither can deny a strong mutual attraction still exists. Soon Marley realizes she may have been the problem with their relationship, not just Von’s proposal. She wants a second chance, but after breaking his heart once, will he give her a do-over?
USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!
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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2E9EIwi

Voices sounded from the entryway, but she couldn’t make out their words.
A door slammed. Footsteps sounded.
“Marley.”
Recognizing Von’s voice, she turned. “Hey…”
Whatever she planned on saying died on her lips as if someone had flicked off the switch controlling her brain. The rest of her organs, however, were functioning fine.
Her heart thudded, and her breath caught in her throat. Both unwelcome and unexpected responses.
Had Von always looked this hot?
She’d worked hard to push him out of her mind, blocked his number, and deleted his photos from her social media accounts and phone. Only the video of his ill-fated proposal remained, but she’d watched it only once. That had been one time too many. His pain had been brutally exposed for all to see.
Pain she’dcaused.
For the best, she’d been telling herself since then. But seeing him now…
She’d forgotten how Von’s green eyes resembled a stormy sea. He’d cut his hair. The style was attractive on him, but she missed seeing his sandy blond locks falling in waves past his shoulders. Despite the shorter length, her fingers itched to reach out and wrap around one curl.
Stop.
Thinking about him this way was bad. Wrong.
Yet she couldn’t seem to help herself.
Von Ryan had always been handsome, but breathtakingly gorgeous was the only way to describe him today. Especially with the stubble covering his normally clean-shaven face.
“You’retaking over for Rhett?” The slight crack in Von’s voice was the only sign he might not be okay seeing her again.
Marley struggled to make sense of his question, and then she remembered why she was here.
Work. The Starling project. Her future at RMF.
“Yes.” The word shot from her mouth like nails from a gun. She hadn’t expected to be so nervous around him. “I hope that’s okay.”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
His nonchalant tone bristled. She wanted to make her presence easy on him. If he didn’t have an issue that was great, but… “Cody acted surprised.”
“So am I, but it’s no big deal.”
Okay. Von was taking this well. “It’s not. We’ve worked together before.”
He nodded. “I have no problem with the two of us being on the same project.”
“Me, neither.”
Von pulled out his cell phone, a newer model from the one he’d had before. “You’re early. Mr. Starling won’t be here for thirty minutes.”
Good. That was what she planned. “I’d like to see the house and property before he arrives.”
“You have plenty of time,” Von said in the professional tone he used with subcontractors and inspectors. “If you have questions, Cody can answer them.”
In the past, Cody had never interacted with her in that way. Von had also given her personal tours of each project. But things had changed. “Thanks. I will.”
Focusing on his phone, he tapped on the screen. She watched him, waiting for him to look at her or say something else.
Von didn’t.
O-kay. Except she felt anything but okay.
Her insides short-circuited as if a conduit was twisted after being installed wrong.
What was going on?
She headed to the French doors leading to the deck.
Yes, Marley had been the one to break them up, but Von acted as if she were a stranger, not the woman he’d pledged his undying love to before asking her to marry him. She tried to understand why that bothered her.
Maybe she assumed he was still infatuated with her because he’d treated her as if she was the smartest, most important person in the world.
His world.
Not that he was being rude or mean to her now, just indifferent.
That confused her, left her feeling disconcerted and unsettled.
Stupid.
She couldn’t have it both ways.
Marley should be relieved Von was acting as professional as he’d always been. If this kept up, the project could remain hers. Which was what she wanted—needed—to get her one step closer to a promotion.
Any unease had to be from the shock at seeing Von again. The last time had been a mess of sympathetic tears for him while simultaneously struggling to hold herself together, so they’d made progress. Everything would be fine.
A glance over her shoulder showed Von still on his phone. His expression gave nothing away. “Nothing” being who he might be texting. A client, one of his crew, his sister, or…a girlfriend?
It didn’t matter—was none of her business.
Yet Marley wanted to know.
Desperately.

Never Ending Love

Title: Never Ending Love
Author: S.M. Nicholas
Genre: Sweet Romance
Release Date: May 12, 2019
Cover Design: Summer Graystone

 

 

An unexpected savior. An incredible miracle. A choice that can rip a soul to shreds.
After she finds that she is incapable of carrying children, Alexis Jackson – a child psychologist – loses her faith in God. Her husband may be a pastor, but not even he can reconcile her heartbreak and the hopelessness she feels as a result.
Caroline Woods is eighteen, living on the streets and trying to keep her and her dog, Pongo, alive. A woman finds them on the street one night and offers them a bed for the evening. Caroline can’t refuse, especially since she knows Pongo is cold. The next morning, Amanda Wills decides to partner Caroline up with her friend Alexis, who desperately wants a child of her own. The two hit it off and it isn’t long before Alexis welcomes Caroline to her family with open arms.

 

 

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Sweet Troublemaker

Title: Sweet Troublemaker
Author: Jean Oram
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber
Publisher: Oram Productions
Publication Date: May 9th, 2019
Blurb:
Newly divorced Polly Morgan is feeling jaded. She hopes that extra time in the oceanside town of Indigo Bay before her friend’s wedding will help set herself straight again. However, she doesn’t expect to have to save the entire event alongside the man she measures all kisses against—her first love, Nick Wylder.
Nick hasn’t seen Polly in almost two decades, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped thinking about her. He’s pretty sure she feels the power of their rekindled love too, and he’s ready to make a move. To his Texas ranch, to her home in Canada—anywhere as long as she’s there.
But what will he do when his fast moves send Polly running? Can these two exes overcome their past and claim their second chance at love?
This is the first book in the all-new Indigo Bay Second Chance Romance series. All books can be read as a standalone so jump on in and indulge in these small town sweet romances. (This series is a spinoff of the Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series.)
Jean Oram grew up in an old schoolhouse in a Canadian town, population 100 (cats and dogs not included). She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author of feel-good, tingle-inducing, heartwarming romances. Jean lives in Canada with her husband, two kids, cat, dog, and the pesky deer that wander into her yard to eat her rose bushes and apple trees. She can often be found outdoors or reading a book. (And of course at her laptop writing your next irresistible read!)
Author Links:

Polly gave him an impish smile that made Nick feel as though he’d been granted access to a secret club. To prevent himself from acting on the way her touch made him feel, he flagged down the bartender, Kelso. He nearly ordered Polly’s childhood favorite, an ice cold root beer, before she interrupted to order a vodka martini.
Nick winced, and she immediately snapped out a defensive, “What?”
“Why don’t you just order a can of paint thinner?”
How had she changed this much? She’d once found his love of Sprite to be boring and lacking in adventure, and he’d found her love of root beer immature. Sweetly so, although he’d never admitted it to her face. And now she was drinking high octane cocktails.
Her eyebrows were somewhere around Mars and her cheeks had pinked.
She’d forgotten their game where they’d mock each other’s drinks. Had she forgotten everything about him?
“Are you judging my martini?” she asked.
“I haven’t changed in that regard,” he said, starting to think that meeting up hadn’t been such a smart idea. Then again, he could finally discard her from the what-if thoughts that followed him across the pastures back in Texas.
Her eyes narrowed. “Judgment from the cowboy drinking his stereotypical beer. Shall we put up a memorial for creativity and spontaneity?”
He scoffed and ordered a second, trying to hide his smile. She did recall the game, after all.
Kelso passed him a new bottle and Nick held up the local craft beer, turning the label toward Polly. “For the record, this is creative.”
She was still giving him that narrow-eyed look. “I bet you buy your clothes in the same store you buy your dog food and cattle tags.” She shook her head, rolling her eyes in a way that turned up both the heat inside him and his frustration over the push-pull attraction muddling his thoughts.
“So what if I do?” he retorted. “Your drink says you’re looking to get sloppy.”
She appeared so affronted he laughed.
“My drink says I’m sophisticated,” she said haughtily.
“Okay.”
“It does,” she insisted. Her lips disappeared as she sucked them between her teeth.
“I didn’t expect you to be drinking something so strong. I expected…” That she hadn’t grown up? That she wouldn’t develop a slightly jaded, defensive edge like everyone else? “…something with an umbrella. What do you drink at home?”
“Wine. Usually.”
“But a martini today because… flights suck?” He was probing, curious to find out more about who she was currently and how much of that old Polly was still in existence.
“Nope. It was good.”
“Your boyfriend said no to the trip, and now you have all this new lingerie with nobody to model it for?” He held his breath, hoping that she was indeed fully single. Not that it mattered to him—he was just looking to make her smile again.
“Ha,” she said flatly, her martini glass paused in front of her lips.
“It’s that bad, hanging out with me, then?”
A small giggle escaped against the rim. For a moment he saw that vibrant spark of youthfulness and life he’d expected to see sooner, and it nearly took his breath away. There was no hint of that sad, uncertain glimmer he’d seen earlier, meaning it was entirely possible to chase it away.
“You’re funny.” Polly bumped his shoulder with her own and he relaxed, knowing everything was good, everything was cool. At her core, she was still the friend he knew.
“I’ve missed picking on you,” he said.
“You’re nowhere close to picking on me.”
But he was close. She wasn’t as tough as she used to be. It was as though she was a book that had been dropped too many times, the edges softened and the cover not quite as sturdy as it had once been, not quite as able to protect the vulnerable pages inside. There was also the small fact that he was a little harsher, a little more jaded than he’d once been, too.
“What are you thinking?” Polly asked.
“I’m wondering how long you’re going to stick around once that drink is done.” He swiveled on his stool to face her more fully. There was a guy one stool over who kept casting surreptitious glances at Polly’s figure. Nick could tell he wanted to chat her up if given the chance.
Without thinking, Nick found himself subtly scooting his stool closer to Polly’s.
“You have a hot date waiting for you?” she asked, pulling her small handbag into her lap as she leaned forward to take another swallow of her drink.
“Five, actually. So if you could hurry it up…”
Polly sat expressionless for a split second before whispering, “Liar.” Her eyes were twinkling with humor. She was trying to act unaffected, but he could see she wanted to laugh, to let her guard down and play.
Why didn’t she?
They sat in silence for a few beats, the ocean washing the shores and filling the air with a soundtrack that made his entire being relax.
“So you’re single?” he asked, immediately wishing he hadn’t.
She was quiet for half a breath, then pushed back her shoulders, saying, “Let’s not talk about the past.”
“Not even about what a good kisser I am?”
“I’m not in the market for a man, and if you’re offering, I’ll bet your skills have likely atrophied.” She lowered her chin, looking at him from beneath her eyelashes with a hint of primness that made his body awaken and want to join the game—any game as long as it was with her. “And if you recall…you’re just not that memorable.”
Her insult was delivered in a playful, low tone that felt far too sensual. Or maybe it was how she’d said the words slowly, her pink lips carefully forming each one in a way that hit him with a powerful twist of longing. Polly was everything he wanted in a woman.
He leaned closer. “And why do you think my abilities may have faded?”
“Your social skills are lacking, as is your charm. So chances are you’re not kissing anyone, and those abilities are similar to second-language skills—use ’em or lose ’em.”
She was sitting up now, her body language as perky as her ponytail. He wanted to reach over and give it an affectionate tug to see if she’d turn his way again. She took another sip of her drink, as though trying to fortify herself. Or maybe shield herself from something. Maybe him.
“Do you want to help me revive those old skills?” he asked, propping his arms on the bar so he could lean closer to her. “See if they can be resuscitated?”
She allowed a flicker of a wry smile, but didn’t change the direction of her gaze.
“How about this?” He leaned even closer, placing a warm kiss on her cheek that lingered a telling second too long.
She inhaled slowly, but didn’t face him, didn’t say a thing.
“Was that passable? Does it need reviving? More practice?” He lowered his voice. “Better aim?”

He was asking for trouble. And despite that knowledge, he couldn’t pull back on the reins. He didn’t want to. Not when he was with Polly.
 
 

Keeping You

 Cover Reveal 
 
Keeping You
by Jordan Bates
 
Read Chapter 1 HERE
 
Series: The Ink Well Chronicles; Book 3
Genre: Sweet Romance
 
One simple questions changed both our lives.
 
Can I keep you?
 
We were only nine then, and all that mattered to us was seeing each other again.
 
But that all changed as we grew up.
 
Years of pretending like we didn’t know each other. That nothing we felt when we were younger had ever happened.
 
As if that questions was never asked.
 
Who know that it would take so long for us to figure it all out? To stop pretending and finally realize that we had been there for each other all along.
 
It might have taken us 21 years, but it’s finally here.
 
And this is our story.
Follow the Author
 
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Easter Bride

Title: Easter Bride
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Sweet Romance, RomCom
Publication Date: March 21, 2019
Blurb:
Will meddling matchmakers make a perfect match?
Piper Peterson loves the small community of Holiday, Oregon. She resides there at a beautiful, old farm where she’s surrounded by animals she’s rescued. And she manages the feed store that’s been in her family for more than a hundred years. Despite her contentment with life, her grandfather’s plans to sell the store and farm leave her future up in the air. When a sly matchmaker works to set Grandpa up with the perfect woman, Piper jumps at the chance to lend a hand. But the last thing she expects is to fall in love while helping her grandpa find happiness.
Stuck at a crossroads in his life, Colton Ford can’t decide which direction to head. Then an invitation to stay at his brother’s ranch in Holiday provides an opportunity Colt can’t pass up. He hopes time spent at the Flying B Ranch will help him clear his head and sort out his life. Before long, he finds himself entangled in a matchmaking plot involving his widowed aunt and a charismatic old gent. When he agrees to give the budding romance a nudge, he has no idea the man’s delightful granddaughter will capture his heart.
A heartwarming story filled with country charm, laughter, and hope, Easter Bride is sure to bring readers the joys of budding spring and sweet romance.
 
Buy Links:
Valentine Bride: https://amzn.to/2ugBuja
 

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Valentine Bride: https://amzn.to/2ugBuja
A noise drew his attention from studying the buildings to behind the barn. He walked around the corner and stopped as a woman’s voice shouted from what was clearly a pen for pigs.
“Simba! I’ve had about enough of this,” she scolded. “You know better than to get into Moe’s pen.”
There were grunts and bleating sounds that had to come from a goat. Colt was far enough away, all he could see was a muddy pen with mud-colored shapes moving around inside.
He took a few steps toward the pen but stopped when a dog the size of a small pony trotted from behind a horse trailer and stared at him. Although mud-splattered, the dog’s coat was a rich shade of caramel brown. Heavy bones, thick muscles, and the biggest head he’d ever seen on a canine gave the animal a look of power. An undershot jaw, like a bulldog, and a furrowed brow couldn’t hide the dog’s intelligence even if he had paws the size of bread plates.
Expressive blue eyes sized him up. Afraid to move lest the dog decided to attack, Colt stood absolutely still. When the canine wagged his tail and offered a friendly woof, Colt released the breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding.
“Oh, shoot,” he heard the woman say. Colt glanced over to see her head pop into view before she released a startled squeal followed by a loud splat as she disappeared again. The goat bleated and the pig joined in the chorus with a series of grunts.
He started toward the woman, the big dog beside him, but before he reached the pen, she stood upright and stepped over the fence. Covered in oozing mud from the top of her head to the tips of her boots, the woman carried what looked like a half-grown goat in her arms.
Carson had assured him Piper was a beauty, but he couldn’t envision it with her wearing baggy, filthy coveralls and muck smeared all over her hair and face. At this point, he wasn’t sure he wanted to find out more about a female who appeared unfazed by the fact she dripped a trail of oozing, rank mud as she strode toward him.
“Hi, there! You must be Carson’s brother. I’m Piper.”
She walked right up to him and Colt had to battle the urge to wrinkle his nose at the smell of goat and pig that filled the air around her. Normally, that kind of stuff never bothered him, but the overpowering odor made his stomach churn. Maybe he was coming down with something.
“Let me put Simba back in his pen and then I’ll show you Charlie.” Without waiting for his response, she marched over to an enclosure that looked like a small fortress with a high fence running around it. A covered area at the back provided a place for the goat to get out of the weather. Despite the secure lodging, he had an idea Simba had mastered the art of escaping.
Dumbfounded by the woman who didn’t seem at all disturbed by the fact she’d literally been wallowing with a pig to capture a goat on the lam, he remained rooted to the ground, waiting for her to return.