Guest Release—Navy Blues by Julie B Cosgrove

LoveIs_NavyBlues May 27

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Her fiancé cheated on her…in paradise. Broken hearted and confused, Emma flies home to Fort Worth, Texas not sure what life without him will entail.

Ryan is being discharged from the Navy to join a gastroenterology private practice in Fort Worth. New city, new life. The last thing on his mind is falling in love. Until a forlorn lady sniffles in the seat beside him on the flight.

A storm, an emergency landing and an out of control ex-fiancé thrusts Ryan and Em into a dilemma. Each must make some tough choices, but will those involve each other?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Julie’s website

EXCERPT

Just as I mouthed a thanks to God, an eardrum-stabbing wail occurred two rows back. “Why can’t Daddy sit with meeeee?”

The man huffed and twisted toward the sound. “Because the airlines said Daddy’s seat is here. You stay with Mommy.”

The child’s whining persisted as people jabbed and jostled through the claustrophobic cabin. It would be a full flight. My temples began to pulse.

One baritone voice pierced the din. “I’ll trade with you.”

I turned to see sandy hair, a chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes on the face of a military man. He held his boarding pass in one hand and a khaki duffle bag in the other. It matched his uniform. The Naval emblem on his brass belt buckle glimmered in the late afternoon light as it streamed through the airplane’s portal. Well, this was Hawaii. A bunch of the men onboard wore Navy fatigues. He was being transferred like the rest of them, no doubt.

“Really?” The father lost half of the worry lines on his forehead. “Thanks.”

The sailor hoisted his duffle and a briefcase into the compartment above us and shrugged. “No problem. A seat is a seat.” His eyes dropped to scan me. I pulled my skirt over my knees and shifted my gaze to the tarmac beyond the double-paned oval window.

From the outer edge of my vision, I saw the two exchange positions. In mid-movement, they shook hands. The Navy man smiled. “You should be with your family, man. It’s only right.”

He sat down, adjusted his position to dig the seat belt out from the cushion, and then leaned into my space to click it. The insignia on his left collar resembled a gold tree with a green stone in it. On the right, perched a silver maple leaf. Even though my father was in the Naval Reserves most of my early childhood, I never mastered deciphering rank and emblems. I did remember those two meant he was an officer of some sort and, by the khakis he wore, he’d been out to sea.

I shot him a semi-warm grin. “That was nice of you to do that, um, Lieutenant, is it?”

“Actually, it’s Doctor.”

My mouth formed a small “O.”

He whispered in my direction. “And it was a purely selfish act. Why would I want to sit next to his kid while she blubbered the whole trip?”

My mouth readied to spill my thoughts about his brash remark, until I saw his wink. Instead, I inched my lips to the right in a fake chuckle. “Very funny.”

“I had you. Admit it.” Those crystal blue pools twinkled with mirth. He extended his hand. “Name’s Ryan MacKenzie. Lieutenant in the Navy, for another 48 hours or so.”

I kept mine in my lap and nodded. “Emma West. My friends call me Em.”

“M? For mystery woman?” The sides of his mouth curled upward. His attention briefly focused on my left hand. It was bare, though it had yet to feel that way to me.

“Hardly.” The words croaked from my throat. I placed my right hand on top and blinked the tears back into my eyes. The white mark around my ring finger where the sun had not hit for four years screamed my plight—rejected for another, not good enough.  The warmth and strength of his fingers covered mine. Soft. Clean nails. Surgeon’s hands. He whispered, “Sorry. Forgive my crassness.”

I bobbed my head, and as quickly as the sensation came, it left as he released his touch. Something inside me wanted to grab it back. But that would be ridiculous. I didn’t even know the guy. I closed my eyes and shut out the cabin noises. The horrid scene, which caused my decision to board this flight, replayed in my mind. I’d tossed the two carat, blue-diamond solitaire— courtesy of my father’s checkbook so his daughter would wear a decent stone—at Trey’s head as it lay tousled on the bed pillows next to another’s, obviously not mine. She scrambled to the bathroom, wrapped in a bed sheet. He pleaded it had been a one time lapse of judgment. I seriously doubted that. Living in two different cities almost four thousand miles apart had taken its toll. How could I have been so naïve?

Above our heads, the seat belt sign dinged off. Airborne. My teeth pinched my lower lip as I observed the island chain disappear amongst the clouds. I always hated good-byes. This one had been final. I’d never be back. The vice grip around my chest crushed my heart some more. Dear God in Heaven, don’t let this naval doctor see me cry. I swallowed the saliva in my mouth in an effort to force the puddles under my eyelids back as well.

He broke the silence. “You okay? Your face seems rather blue.”

Had I put on navy liner and mascara that day? Did it streak down my face? I wiped my finger across my under-eye skin then peered at it. No, not very smudged.

He chuckled. “I meant blue as in down. You know, perturbed. If I offended you.”

I returned my gaze to the wisp of clouds. The sun’s rays infused them with gold. The delicate celestial waves shimmered like a pearl-seed edged lace veil, one I’d never wear now. “It’s not you. I just hated to leave, that’s all.” I turned to him with a forced smile. “But, Spring Break’s over. Back to the grind.”

“Are you, uh, in school?” His eyes narrowed inside his scrunched eyebrows.

“Is that so hard to believe?”

He coughed into his fist. “Well, I mean people go back all the time, I…”

His stumble-stepping over his words brought a chuckle to my lips, though a small one. “I teach at the community college.” With a tilt of my head, I parroted his previous jab. “Admit it. I got you.”

His facial muscles relaxed. “Touché.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors  while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com and her devotional blog: Where Did You Find God Today?

Character Interview–Roxie from Stepping Out Of Line

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Meet Roxie, the heroine of Stepping Out Of Line, a contemporary western romance that’s one of my backlist titles.

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

My birth name was Liberty Star Nolan but I got used to Roxie Starr, the stage name I used for a decade as a Las Vegas showgirl, and that’s what I still go by.

Where were you raised?

This small town in northern Texas named Wayback.

Family members?

Daddy lit out ages ago, chasing his rodeo dream. Mama Argie lives in the family house with my younger sister, Felicity, and my aunties Branwyn and Clarine. A whole lot of estrogen under one roof.

Did you attend college?

Nope, I couldn’t wait to see the city fade in my rearview mirror as soon as I graduated high school. I headed for Los Angeles because I knew I would be the next go-to actress.Turns out getting this Texas twang out of my voice was harder work than I’d imagined.

Are you athletic?

Being athletic became my profession when I started as a dancer in a chorus line in Vegas. Now I do yoga and love to swim in the summer.

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

I love watching ice dancing in the Olympics.

Did you always want to be a beautician?

Never had a thought about it until I’d been performing for several years. Then I realized I needed to learn skills that I could use after my body gave out. While in Vegas, I learned tips and styles from so many dancer and performer friends that opening a beauty salon seemed like a natural second career.

What do you like most about being a beautician?

Helping customers gain a style that boosts their self-confidence.

Are you a pet person?

I have a soft spot in my heart for dogs of all kinds, especially strays.

Where did you go for your most recent vacation?

Being a small-business owner doesn’t allow for many vacations but I did manage to attend the last ballroom dance championship. [shrugs] What can I say? Dancing’s in my blood.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date.

Now that I’ve seen the glitz and glamour of Vegas, I appreciate the specialness of laid-back events like the town’s Founder Day celebration, the lighting of the town square Christmas tree or the Fourth of July fireworks.

What attracts you first to a man?

His smile. And filling out a set of Wranglers just right doesn’t hurt.

Are you talking about a particular man?

[eyes gleaming] Oh, yeah.

BLURB

Two years ago Roxie Starr left behind her life as a Vegas showgirl and came home to Wayback, Texas to open a styling salon. She claims she’s there to help with her younger sister, but the truth is age was catching up to her body and the time had come to step out of the chorus line.

Fighting against a nagging injury, Dev Laredo is determined to finish one last rodeo. He won’t return to his Oklahoma ranch until he’s won enough to cover his brother’s college tuition. The sight of a sassy redhead sparks his interest, but her tender ministrations to his injury touch his lonely heart. Can two bruised souls put aside their differences and give love a fighting chance?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

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The Wild Rose Press

Guest Release–In His Sight by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

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Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

BUY LINKS

Kindle

Pelican Book Group

EXCERPT

Carson Alexander walked through his classroom and tugged desks into a semi circle around the dry eraser board. One thing he loved about teaching sixth-grade English at Stars Crossing Middle School was that the classes were so small. With no more than fifteen students at a time he could work closely with each one and give them the attention they needed and deserved. Another thing he appreciated was the lack of standard or strict curriculum. As long as the children passed the exams set forth by the Department of Education, he could teach as he pleased.

So far, his kids excelled, maintaining some of the highest scores in the entire school. Pride filled his soul and caused his heart to swell, chest to puff out.

Pride cometh before the fall.

The Voice echoed in his mind, ricocheted through his soul. He shrugged off the warning, walked to his desk and picked up the name tags for each incoming student. He thumbed through the stack, pondered each one and wondered about the child attached to the name….Jenny & Jerry Smith – twins or un-related? One name struck him hard, sent unnamed emotion curling through his system – Laurel Connor.

He hadn’t heard the name Laurel in years and then, used only as a surname or when referring to the small town in Mississippi from whence he came. He moved to Stars Crossing, Tennessee five years ago for two reasons. One, the teaching position and two, the town though smaller, reminded him of home.

Memories crashed through the floodgates he’d built around his heart…..the huge two-story house and two-hundred acre farm where he grew up. His seven siblings, parents who adored him – their eldest son, and the pain of losing everything he held near and dear to his heart.

Tears threatened. His vision blurred, hands began to shake. Carson swallowed the lump in his throat, put the stack down, and shoved his hands into the front pockets of his slacks. Adrenaline pumped through him, caused his pulse to skitter and jump. Saliva pooled in his mouth. By sheer force he willed his emotions under control. The bell rang and he turned to greet the children who rushed into the room. He watched as one-by-one they filed in and took a seat.

Pamela S Thibodeaux publicity photo Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

WEB CONTACTS

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Featured on New In Books

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I’m so proud to announce Montana Sky: Laced By Love is listed on the site, New In Books, as a recommended title for readers of historical western romance. My book is included among a grouping of titles by stellar authors in the heartwarming historical romance genre.

See the page here.

Other great news related to the Montana Sky Kindle World: for a limited time, two of the titles are on sale for only $.99 (a savings of between $1 and $3)

Mail-Order Machinations by Kirsten Osbourne

Hope On The Horizon by Cassie Hayes

Find these at the special Amazon page for Montana Sky Kindle World titles

Last Day for 99 cent sale-Libbie: Bride of Arizona

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Today is your last chance to get many of the American Mail-Order Bride books at the sale price.

The unprecedented series of a mail-order bride stories set in 1890 in every state and territory starts with a factory fire in Massachusetts displacing women from their jobs, forcing them to find new situations. That fire had rippling effects and more than only the factory workers saw the need for husbands in faraway places.

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Such was the case for the heroine in my story who soon after hearing of the fire also suffered devastating losses that altered her life. But Libbie is not a woman who dwells on the unfortunate, rather she’d make the best of a situation. In Libbie: Bride of Arizona she seeks a rancher who will understand her particular problem.

Amazon buy link

Amazon link to series page

Mother’s Day Sale on Libbie: Bride of Arizona

Arizona

Many of the authors involved with the American Mail-Order Brides series have put their titles on sale from today through Monday, May 9. Don’t miss this opportunity to read about the women who were forced to seek out husbands and ended up in every state (and territory) of the United States in 1890.

Story blurb:

On her own for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.

Can they overcome cultural clashes and unrealistic expectations to create a real marriage?

Review comments:

“Absolutely fabulous. I couldn’t put it down. The characters, the setting, and the situations are unique and fully drawn.”  ~~Jenny

“The clash of cultures is pretty hilarious to read at times.” ~~Rose

“…one amazing unlike no other mail order bride story. I absolutely loved this story from the first page to the last.” ~~Robin

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Guest Interview—Terri Wangard

Tell us a bit about you and your background

I’ve loved libraries since I was a little girl and we visited the North Branch of the Green Bay library. My favorite books included the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka stories. I earned a Master of Library Science degree and worked for a few years in libraries before joining the family business full time. We publish Classic Boating magazine.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

History that entertains and enlightens. And that’s what I hope my stories do.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

A little of both. For my first story, I had the characters. For the next two stories in the series, the plots were obvious, but not until I had the characters did the plots get fully developed.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

Since I write World War II stories, I listen to World War II music. My favorite songs include “Comin’ In On a Wing and a Prayer” and “The White Cliffs of Dover.” I also listen the soundtracks like “Pearl Harbor” and instrumentals by Jonn Serrie.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Yes, but before I knew I would be writing about those locations. I’ve spent a little time in Germany and Sweden. Now I wish I’d taken more pictures, or could go back.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

After writing Friends and Enemies, which released in January, I started writing a contemporary, but an editor at an ACFW conference suggested I would need a series to be offered a contract. The story was set aside and I’ve been doing historical ever since.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I didn’t get into Pinterest until after I’d written this series. Now I have Pinterest boards for each book. As I get ideas for my work in progress or future projects, I’ve been collecting pins in private boards. I tend to spend way too much time looking at pretty pictures!

What resources do you use for picking character names?

From my first book, I needed lots of German names, so I used my family tree. For my next books, I used names I liked and could live with during the year-long writing process. I have changed names or spellings. For No Neutral Ground, I noticed in cemeteries that “Jenny” was often spelled “Jennie” on older tombstones, so I made that change.

No Neutral Ground

 

BLURB

After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he is troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.

Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie assists the OSS at the American legation in Sweden. She thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.

How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?

BUY LINK

Amazon

EXCERPT

The wind sliced right through Jennie Lindquist’s coat. So warm in Illinois, it now felt as thin as a pillowcase. Late winter was the wrong time of year to cross the North Atlantic. The temperature hovered around ten degrees, but with the wind and the ship’s speed, it seemed far below zero.

Her gloved fingers had grown stiff from the cold. She had to keep sketching, though, or she would lose her model.

The soldier continued to stare at the spot where the Statue of Liberty had long since faded from view in their wake. The quivering of his chin was his only movement.

Jennie perched on a stowage bin. After adding several pencil strokes to shade the edge of his arm, she held up her drawing and studied it through narrowed eyes. Had she captured his forlornness?

It would have to do. She shoved her sketch pad and pencil into her tote bag. Plenty of time remained aboard the ocean liner-turned-troopship to accomplish her goal of sketching a series capturing life aboard ship.

Overhead, the last escorting U.S. Navy patrol plane dipped its wings and turned back to New York. The Queen Mary was on her own to cross the North Atlantic and elude any skulking German submarines eager to hurtle a torpedo into her. Jennie scanned the horizon. Nothing but endless waves.

Ice crystals sprinkled down, luring her gaze upward. Lifeboats hung suspended overhead. A flexing chain caused more ice to break loose. Dismal gray camouflage paint hid the Cunard Line’s signature colors of red, white, and black. Behind her, one of the ship’s funnels belched smoke as the ocean liner charged full speed ahead at thirty knots. At least the frigid wind prevented soot from drifting down on the military personnel crowding the deck.

An officer standing ten feet away didn’t seem to mind the arctic blast as he raised his face to it. Jennie avoided contact with the military men. Her father had warned her to be wary of their intentions.

This one, however, tempted her. His profile presented classic lines an artist would love to paint. Portraits weren’t her specialty, but, my, oh my, his handsome features practically begged her to try her hand at capturing his likeness. Below the edge of his cap gleamed close-cropped blond hair; his eyes, when he turned his head, shone a startling blue. His heavy coat failed to hide broad shoulders tapering to a slim waist. To her eye, he presented the epitome of male perfection. Did the inner man match the gorgeous outer appearance?

Stray snowflakes swirled about him, and he brushed them away. She set aside Dad’s advice and invaded the solitude surrounding him. “You must be a northerner to be enjoying this glacial wind.”

He straightened to his full height, at least six feet tall, and settled his gaze on her. A quick grin lit his face, and her numb fingers itched to start sketching. “With a choice between enjoying the invigorating sea air or the warm, uh, unventilated air inside the ship, the cold air won.”

“Unventilated air?” Jennie laughed. “How polite.”

His smile came easily, as though he was used to wearing it.

“Someone on the last voyage must have been quite seasick in the room I’m assigned to. The smell was bad enough to drive me into this gale.” Looking back out to sea, he hunched his shoulders and tilted his head to the right, then the left. Weak sunlight glinted off white-caps as the morning overcast broke up, but the restless waves continued to batter themselves against the ship’s hull. He maintained his grip on the railing. “The way the ocean’s churning, we may have a lot more gastronomic upheavals. And to think, I used to enjoy being in a sailing club.”

“Did you sail on the ocean?”

“Sail, no, although I’ve been on a previous ocean voyage. Rivers or the North Sea was where I mostly sailed, but” ― he glanced back at the milling crowd of servicemen ― “we weren’t packed in tight like this.”

The North Sea? Wasn’t that in Europe? Jennie grabbed the railing as the Queen Mary veered to port. Every eight minutes, the ship zigzagged to avoid a potential submarine’s crosshairs. She’d timed the turns.

His voice held an unfamiliar accent. It wasn’t English. He’d been on an ocean voyage, singular, and he’d sailed on the North Sea. He must be from Europe, maybe from a country overrun by Hitler’s army. He should have some stories to tell.

The cold and the pressing crowd of soldiers faded into the background. “Where are you from?”

She leaned forward for his reply.

“Milwaukee.”

“Milwaukee?” She stepped back. So much for hearing about foreign lands. “Really? I’m from Chicago.”

His gaze roved over her. “You’re not in uniform. What’s a civilian doing on a troopship?”

Jennie straightened to her five-foot, six-inch height. “I’m joining my parents in Sweden. My dad’s a military air attaché based at the American legation, where he works with interned American airmen. He came home on leave for the holidays and took my mom back with him in January. Now I’m going, too, to help out.”

“My grandparents came from Sweden. Do you speak the language?”

“Enough to ask for help if I get lost.” She laughed at his widened eyes. “Yes, I speak Swedish. Maybe not as fluently as a native, but I have Swedish grandparents, too. My mom’s been pen pals all her life with a cousin whom we hope to meet.” She tugged her hat down more securely and retied her scarf before the wind pulled it free. “Do you have relatives there?”

“Opa’s brother, my grandfather’s brother, lives on the west coast of Sweden.”

“The west coast. Highly unlikely I’ll be able to pay him a call and tell him I met you.” As a group of rowdy soldiers brushed past them and eyed her, Jennie stepped closer to her new acquaintance and pulled her coat’s collar tighter.

She turned back to face his puzzled perusal.

“There are twelve thousand troops onboard.” He looked around the deck. “Are civilian quarters still available?”

“Well, I heard about the accommodations used by Prime Minister Churchill when he sails, but somebody already claimed those.” She could get used to his grin. “Did you know there’s a hospital unit onboard? I’m billeted with the nurses.”

A soldier stumbled hard into the officer, who muttered something under his breath that didn’t sound like English.

She stared at him. “You said something in neither English nor Swedish.”

He looked at her for a long moment, and his relaxed posture stiffened. “I am Rafe Martell, second lieutenant and navigator in the United States Army Air Force. In a more peaceful time, I had another name and lived in Germany. But then Germany decided I wasn’t good enough to be a German, and America offered me a new home.”

A hint of challenge gleamed in his eyes.

Why would Germany not want him?

“I’m Jennie Lindquist.”

“Jennie Lindquist? Good Swedish name. Do you sing?”

“Excuse me?”

“Sing. Have you not heard of Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale? My great-grandparents heard her sing and my grandfather says they insisted they heard an angel.”

The ship lurched to starboard, causing Rafe to stagger against the rail and inhale sharply.

Jennie grinned. So he wanted to know if she could sing? Now was the time to demonstrate her ability. “Rock a bye airman, on the ship’s deck. When the ship rolls, the airman gets sick.”

A startled laugh burst from Rafe. Tears welled in his eyes ― from the wind? ―   and he used both hands to whisk them away. The childlike gesture was endearing.

“May I ask why Germany didn’t want you?”

He stared out to sea as though he wouldn’t answer. Why should he? His experiences were none of her business. Then his gaze probed her soul, and she resisted the urge to squirm.

“I’m half Jewish.”

His clipped answer was totally unexpected. Jennie had read newspaper reports about the Night of Broken Glass a few years ago, when the German people destroyed Jewish property. The pictures in the newsreels had been stunning. Hard to imagine such crime could be committed by civilized people in this modern era. Editorials speculated the destruction was inflicted by members of the Nazi Party and most Germans hadn’t approved. However it happened, Jewish lives and livelihoods had been ruined. That’s what he’d faced? She hugged herself to stop a shiver.

His look dared her to say something. What could she say? He didn’t resemble the people shown in the pictures.

“You don’t look Jewish.” She cringed at her rude reply, but a smile stretched across Rafe’s face.

“I agree. I should have been pictured on Aryan propaganda posters instead of being forced to run for my life.” He bounced his fist on the rail. “I had no idea my mother was Jewish until I was expelled from the Hitler Youth. That’s a Nazi version of the Boy Scouts. To suddenly be lumped with a social group I had no relationship to or understanding of…” He paused for a moment as he searched the horizon. He shook his head. “It was a shock.”

“How did you get away?” She might be probing an unhealed wound, but she might never have the chance to talk to someone from Germany again.

“My grandfather is a partner in a Dutch flower bulb business. I arrived in Amsterdam within two weeks of my disgrace, supposedly as an apprentice. The next week my grandparents, mother, sister, and brother arrived. The following summer, in 1937, we boarded the Statendam and never looked back.” His grin returned. “And as of last summer, I am a citizen of a country where the nationalities are mixed up and melted together.”

“What about your father?”

“He divorced us to keep his job.”

Jennie opened her mouth to ask him to repeat that, but Rafe’s flat tone hadn’t invited questions. Bitterness, anger, and hurt glittered in his eyes. His jaw shifted as though he battled his emotions.

She looked out to sea to give him time to himself, and they stood in silence.

What was it like to have a father who would turn his back on his family? And what was life like for Jews in Europe? They were so far away. Jews in America had it better, didn’t they? Did she know any? There may have been some among her colleagues at the art museum where she’d worked. How could she be so ignorant? She massaged her brow as her head began to ache.

Terri Wangard

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Connect with Terri:
www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Guest Release—Ghost In The Rain by Marie Treanor

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A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…

Arriving at remote Invershiel House in the Scottish Highlands, researcher Kate Yorke is fascinated by the reclusive and troubled owner – notorious rocker Dan Stewart. Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his ex- lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the in the rain.

Then Kate trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes. It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…

BUY LINKS

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Amazon UK

B&N

Kobo

i-Books

EXCERPT

I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.

I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.

Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.

I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.

I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.

On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.

Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.

Gone back inside if she’s got any sense whatsoever.

I could tell myself that, and believe it. I just couldn’t quite silence the tiny voice in my head that whispered I might just have seen a ghost…

And then, before I could laugh myself back to sceptical normality, another figure strode into view. Two figures. A man and a large dog. The dog was trotting along at his side, sniffing the grass. Even in darkness, the man was unmistakably Dan Stewart. He seemed to be wearing the same old khaki jacket. I could see the rain running off him in rivulets. It hadn’t seemed to touch the ghostly woman…

He stopped, gazing ahead, and slowly turned as if looking for something, or someone. Just for a moment, I was tempted. I even raised my phone hand. But it felt too wrong to take a picture of him without permission in his own home. He was facing the house now and without warning, he tipped back his head and caught me staring down at him.

I felt frozen in that distant gaze. Forcing myself, I gave a feeble wave and dragged my eyes free towards the black, wooded hills and the furiously scudding sky. Still, I was aware of him striding back towards the house. I even heard his voice calling to the dog which loped after him.

Restlessly, I abandoned the window. I needed to go to bed. My eyes, my mind, were all far too tired.

Ellie had been quite blasé about leaving the letters out of their locked cabinet. “Even if anyone knew about them, who’d steal them round here?” she’d said reasonably. I took her at her word and just stuffed my own notebook into my bag before picking it up and heading for the closed door, where I paused, because I could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs.

My heart drumming, I waited for them to pass before I left the room. They strode closer, along the hall, and I held my breath. He’d go past; he must go past…

The door flew open, and Dan Stewart stood there, scowling at me. Raindrops stood out on his wet hair and clothes.

No, he wasn’t pretty. But there was something devastatingly attractive about that rough, bony face and those big, grey eyes that seemed much darker than before.

“Did you take any pictures?” he asked abruptly.

I blinked. “Sorry?”

“Pictures,” he repeated. “With your phone.”

I lifted my chin. “No,” I said. “I’m not that rude. Or crass.”

His frown deepened for an instant, and then his whole face relaxed into a grin. “Not of me. I wouldn’t wish that on you. I mean before I went out?”

The dog, a large, hairy creature of indeterminate breed, pushed past his legs and regarded me, wagging his tail.

“I took some pictures of the storm,” I said with as much dignity as I could muster, before I gave in and held out my hand to the dog.

In much more peremptory fashion, Dan Stewart held out his hand to me. “Can I see them?”

I paused with my hand on the dog’s head, feeling my hackles rise. I straightened, no doubt glaring my outrage, but his eyes and his hand remained steady. I curled my lip, a trick I’d recently discovered was quite famous for taming unruly students, and took the phone from my bag, slapping it into his palm.

Marie_Pub

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland – in a picturesque village by the sea – with her eccentric husband, three much-too-smart children and a small puppy who rules them all. Marie is the award winning author of over forty paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.

 

Email: Marie@MarieTreanor.com.

Website: www.MarieTreanor.com.

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Guest Release–Circles of Fate by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Circles of Fate

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Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

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EXCERPT

“Todd…”

He sensed her intentions and silenced her declarations of love with a kiss. “Don’t,” he whispered and shook his head. His lips brushed hers in a tender caress with each back-and-forth movement of his head.

“I love you!” She choked out the words when he buried her face into his shoulder.

She’d said it, and Todd’s heart ached with bittersweet pain. Knowing the grief they would cause, he hadn’t wanted to hear those words. He held her and stroked her hair, but never returned the declaration with one of his own.

His orders were to report to Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington two days hence, and Todd did not want to encourage her with the fact that he loved her too—more than he’d ever thought possible. Chances were he might not see her again, at least for the next four years. Then there was the war… Knowing Shaunna, if he told her he loved her, she would spend the next four years waiting and even longer grieving if he went to war and didn‘t survive. She was too young for that.

So he didn’t tell her how he felt. He just held her. When her shoulders started to shake, he rocked her in his arms.

“Don’t cry. Oh, baby, you promised,” he groaned and fought back tears of his own.

“I’m sorry, but- but…I don’t want you to go!” she wailed. Shudders wracked her slender body.

“I have to go, sweetie…” He crushed her to him and buried his lips against her soft mouth to hush her ragged sobs.

Shaunna whimpered as he pulled her against him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed her body against his. With supreme effort, Todd moved her out of his arms, careful to be gentle.

“Shaunna, we have to stop this,” he urged, his voice thick.

“Why?” He could tell she had no idea of the precariousness of the situation.

He stroked her hair off her face. “Because if we don’t…” His words lingered and he wondered if she understood what might happen between them. Not likely. He kissed her again, but kept a tight rein on his emotions. “Because it’s time for me to get you home.”

She shook her head. “Please, not yet.”

Todd took a full moment to consider what might transpire if he honored her request. “Yes, now.” He pulled her close for one more kiss.

“Will you write to me?” She pleaded, and choked back a sob.

“I’ll try,” he said with a shrug. He didn’t want to appear uncaring or callous. God only knew how much this situation tore at his heart. But he didn’t want to tie her down either.

His heart clenched like a tight fist when hurt clouded her eyes. “I don’t know what they have in store for me,” he explained.

She nodded and bit back another sob. “I’ll never forget you.”

He smiled and caressed her face. No doubt he’d never forget her either. But four years is a long time when you’re sixteen. “Maybe not, but you will get on with your life. Be happy, Shaun, and promise you’ll take care.”

With a soft sigh, she nodded and moved away so he could start the car.

Todd didn’t take his arm from around her when he drove her home, grateful for each moment he had her by his side. He walked with her to the door and pulled her into his arms. With one last tender touch, he kissed her then turned away. His heart broke into a million pieces at her soft cries, but he did not look back. Instead he utilized every ounce of strength he possessed and walked out of her life.

Pamela S Thibodeaux publicity photo

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

Guest Interview–Rosemary Morris

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Characters in my historical fiction who are of their time and place. They are not 21st century characters dressed in costume.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I enjoy growing organic herbs, fruit and vegetables and putting them to good use in my vegetarian cuisine, reading for pleasure, knitting and other crafts.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

Before I begin a novel I fill in detailed character profiles for the main characters. By the time I begin the novel, for which I have an undeveloped plot and theme, I know my characters almost as well as members of my family.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Definitely freestyle, I put my characters in various situations, and then enjoy finding out what they will do.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

While reading non-fiction something gives me an idea for a novel.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Yes, I visit places of interest in the U.K.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I wake at 6 a.m. drink a glass of water and then turn on my laptop. I check my e-mails and then work on my current novel until 10 a.m., with a break for a healthy breakfast of porridge made with skimmed milk to which I add three portions of fruit. I then take care of domestic tasks etc., and, weather permitting, work in the garden or greenhouse until I lunch at 1 p.m.

In the afternoon, I either check my e-mails or critique a chapter submitted by a member of the online critique group which I belong to. At 2 p.m. I read either historical non-fiction for research or fiction for pleasure, and sometimes have a cat-nap. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. I participate in social media, apply critiques of my most recent chapter, answer e-mails etc., or attend the writers’ group which I belong to.

Of course, my daily routine isn’t cast in cement. On some days I have the pleasure of looking after my grandchildren. Sometimes I spend the weekend with one or the other of my children and their families, visit a place of historical interest or a museum.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

I write short stories, and recently won two flash fiction competitions which can be read on my blog. I also dabble with fantasy fiction for fun.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I’ve always wanted to stay on a houseboat in Kashmir but due to the political situation, it’s a dream that will remain unfulfilled. However, I would like to visit some holy places in India, for example, Vrndavan where Lord Krishna took birth.

In what genre do you read?

Mostly all genres of historical fiction and some cosy crime fiction.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

The Oxford Dictionary of Christian names.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope that when my readers finish my story they will sigh with satisfaction, and that by the end of the novel I have created word pictures of the past in which my characters lived.

sundays-child-200x300

 

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Georgianne Whitley’s beloved father and brothers died in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte. While she is grieving for them, she must deal with her unpredictable mother’s sorrow, and her younger sisters’ situation caused by it.

Georgianne’s problems increase when the arrogant, wealthy but elderly Earl of Pennington, proposes marriage to her for the sole purpose of being provided with an heir. At first she is tempted by his proposal, but something is not quite right about him. She rejects him not suspecting it will lead to unwelcome repercussions.

Once, Georgianne had wanted to marry an army officer. Now, she decides never to marry ‘a military man’ for fear he will be killed on the battlefield. However, Georgianne still dreams of a happy marriage before unexpected violence forces her to relinquish the chance to participate in a London Season sponsored by her aunt.

Shocked and in pain, Georgianne goes to the inn where her cousin Sarah’s step-brother, Major Tarrant, is staying, while waiting for the blacksmith to return to the village and shoe his horse. Recently, she has been reacquainted with Tarrant—whom she knew when in the nursery—at the vicarage where Sarah lives with her husband Reverend Stanton.

The war in the Iberian Peninsula is nearly at an end so, after his older brother’s death, Tarrant, who was wounded, returns to England where his father asks him to marry and produce an heir. To please his father, Tarrant agrees, but due to a personal tragedy he has decided never to father a child.

When Georgianne, arrives at the inn, quixotic Tarrant sympathises with her unhappy situation. Moreover, he is shocked by the unforgivably brutal treatment she has suffered.

Full of admiration for her beauty and courage Tarrant decides to help Georgianne.

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Review Comment

I was looking forward to another novel from Rosemary Morris and this one I couldn’t put down. The author seems to have found her voice in this story ….

This novel does not flinch from the realities of Regency times but in spite of that has a light and amusing style, with some parts that are near hilarious. Rosemary paints the more repulsive characters particularly well and is great at describing food and clothing. Her heroine is truly a character, a young woman with both passion and compassion. As for the hero, lovely – I wouldn’t send him back to war in a hurry.  By J. Pittam “Maythorn”

EXCERPT

Hertfordshire, England

November 1813

Rupert, Major Tarrant, caught his breath at the sight of seventeen year old Georgianne. Black curls gleamed and rioted over the edges of her bandeau. Georgianne’s heart-shaped face tilted down toward her embroidery frame. Her hands lay idle on her gown. It was lilac, one of the colours of half-mourning. A sympathetic sigh escaped him. She wore the colour out of respect for her father, who lost a hand and leg, during the Battle of Salamanca, and died of gangrene more than a year ago.

There had been so many deaths since he last saw Georgianne. Not only had her brothers died during the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo but his elder brother had drowned six months ago while bathing in the lake on their father’s estate.

He advanced into the room with Adrian, Viscount Langley, at his side. Georgianne looked up and smiled. He caught himself staring into her hyacinth blue eyes, fringed with long black lashes. Colour crept over her high cheekbones. Her arched eyebrows drew together across her smooth forehead. Egad, she had the sweetest countenance he had ever seen; one with the lustrous, milky white sheen of china, and bow shaped rose pink lips to catch at the heart.

Georgianne stood.

He bowed. “My condolences.”

Sarah, clad in full mourning for her older half-brother, stood to make her curtsy to Langley. “I trust you have everything you require, my lord?”

Langley bowed. “Yes, thank you.”

“My lord, allow me to introduce you to my cousin, Miss Whitley.”

Georgianne curtsied as his lordship crossed the parlour to make his bow.

Tarrant inclined his head. “Ladies, please excuse us, we must see to our horses.”

Sarah shook her head at him. “See to your horses? The grooms can do so.”

Georgianne gurgled with laughter. “Ah, Sarah, have you forgotten how cavalrymen fuss over their mounts?”

“Excuse us.”

* * * *

After the gentlemen left, Georgianne glanced at her cousin. She had seen little of her since Sarah yielded to the family’s persuasion to marry Wilfred Stanton, heir to his uncle, the Earl of Pennington.

Despite her reluctance to leave home because of her mamma’s unfortunate habit, and extravagant displays of grief over the loss of her husband and sons, Georgianne agreed to visit her cousin Sarah, who suffered from melancholy after the birth of a son.

Anxious for her mamma and two younger sisters, she reminded herself Whitley Manor—on the southern outskirts of Cousin Stanton’s Hertfordshire parish—lay a mere fifteen minutes away by carriage.

“Are you daydreaming, Cousin?”

Georgianne pretended to be busy untangling another strand of embroidery thread. “No.”

“Did I tell you Papa wants Tarrant to resign from the army now he is Papa’s heir?” Sarah’s needle flashed in and out of her work.

“Yes, several times.” Georgianne shivered, stretched her hands toward the fire, and fought a losing battle with the draughts in the old vicarage.

“Are you not interested in dear Tarrant?”

Georgianne bent her head. Once, she had wanted to marry a military man. However, after the loss of her father and brothers, she changed her mind for fear death might snatch him from her, either on the battlefield or as a result of wounds sustained in combat. She shook her head, remembering the dreams she harboured three years earlier when she last saw Major Tarrant. How her life had altered since then. Most of the time, she lived cloistered at home in reduced—yet not impoverished—circumstances. She spent her life in an endless round of mending and embroidery, both of which she detested. Her only escape from this drab existence consisted of daily walks, rides, or reading her beloved books. A yawn escaped her. Oh, the tedium of her days at home.

“You have not answered my question.”

Georgianne gathered her thoughts. “Yes, Sarah, I am interested in Major Tarrant. After all, we have known each other since we were in the nursery.”

“Good, but what are you thinking about? You are neglecting your sewing.”

Georgianne picked up her needle and thrust it in and out of the chemise, careless of the size of her stitches. Already she loathed the garment and vowed never to wear it.

“Papa wants Tarrant to marry,” Sarah rattled on.

Eyes downcast, Georgianne set aside her sewing and wrapped her arms around her waist for comfort. Before they died, her brothers and father had expressed their admiration for Major Tarrant in their letters. She shrugged. Once upon a time, she had built a castle in the air inhabited by Major Tarrant, a mere lieutenant when she last saw him.

Mamma still insisted on love not being the prime consideration for marriage, but novels and poems contradicted her opinion. Georgianne wanted to fall in love with one of the many eligible young gentlemen available: maybe a titled gentleman like Viscount Langley, provided he was not a military man. She shrugged. Certainly her mamma would regard the Viscount favourably. His lordship was wealthy, possessed good manners, and his height and broad shoulders equalled Major Tarrant’s. However, although she found no fault with him, Mamma might not approve of the Viscount’s skin—almost as dark as a gypsy from exposure to the sun while serving abroad—and his hair and eyes, sufficiently dark to rival any Spaniard’s. Her spirits lifted. The rectory would be a happier place with two fine young men in attendance. She was glad to be here, despite her acute concern for her family.

Sarah’s voice ended her musing. “Have you heard Tarrant inherited his godfather’s estate and fortune? Besides his pay, his income is thirty thousand pounds a year.”

Georgianne nodded. “Yes, I know. Major Tarrant is exceptionally fortunate.” Sarah blinked. “Why are you smiling?”

Georgianne stood and crossed the room to look out of the window. “I am happy because, so far, Major Tarrant and Viscount Langley have survived the war, which has taken so many lives and affected everyone in some way or another.”

She must force herself to remain cheerful. Papa had died eighteen months ago. It was time to set grief aside, if she could only find the means.

Thankfully, there was much to look forward to. After her presentation at court, she would be sure to meet many engaging gentlemen, one of whom she might marry. In time, she could help her sisters to escape their miserable existence.

Rosemary Morris - Small photo

Multi-published historical novelist, Rosemary Morris was born in in Sidcup Kent.  As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was ‘always in a book.’

While working in a travel agency, Rosemary met her husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College.  In 1961, Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived for twenty years. After an attempted coup d’état, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote romantic historical fiction.  She is now a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society and Cassio Writers.

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd