Category Archives: Release Promotion

Release Day–Cowboys, Creatures and Calico anthology

CowboysCreaturesCalico_blog

 

COWBOYS, CREATURES AND CALICO, Vol 1–Six haunting and romantic tales from the Old West releases TODAY from Prairie Rose Productions.

My story is Wanderer, Come Home.

A recent widow on an 1874 Texas ranch, Vevina Bernhard lives with her 4-year-old son and a few hands. In charge for the first time in her life, she is frustrated she can’t get anyone to believe her land is haunted. The sight of mysterious lights at night arouses her Irish superstitious nature and she wants to learn the truth.

Kell Hawksen is a wandering cowboy just released from the Texas Rangers who is tracking a stage robber. They meet in town after her failed attempt to get the sheriff to investigate, and Vevina hires him. Over the week before Halloween, they grow close. During the Samhain celebration, fire breaks out on the ranch, and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their true feelings. Will a justice-seeking wanderer find solace on a ranch with a widow determined to protect her land?

BUY LINKS

Amazon ebook

Amazon print

The other stories are:

The Sheriff of Hel’n Gone by Lorrie Farrelly
The Bridesmaid by Tanya Hanson
The Legend of Venture Canyon by Shayna Matthews
The Beast of Hazard by Sarah McNeal
Wild Injuns, Wicked Trail and Cerulean Blue by Cher’ley Grogg

Release Promotion–Without Mercy by Alicia Dean

Without Mercy  Large

BLURB:

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare. A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but that might not be enough.

With time running out and no one to turn to, China fears the worst for her daughter. But then, a startling truth is revealed, and she discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.

EXCERPT:

China gasped. “Are you insinuating I had something to do with Sophie’s murder?”

Detective Boyle turned an innocent look her way. “I’m insinuating nothing of the kind. Why would you think that?”

“I just thought…you sounded like…” She blew out a breath. “Never mind. Please, let’s just hurry and get this over with.”

“As I was saying, you were spared. The robbers called you by name. They seemed to almost defer to you in a way.”

“Defer to me?” Her laugh was short and devoid of humor. “I was nearly killed. They murdered my boss in front of my eyes. Pointed a gun at my best friend—”

“And didn’t shoot her when you told them not to,” he cut in.

“Dear God! You think they were following my orders?” She shot to her feet. “Do you think I’m glad they shot my boss? This is bullshit. Are you charging me with something? Do I need a lawyer?”

“Do you?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Take it easy, Miss Beckett. Please sit. I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m simply trying to solve a crime. Trying to catch some bad guys. You want to help me with that, right?”

More than you could possibly know. She now wished she’d let Vanessa come with her, although the detective probably wouldn’t have let her sit in on the interview.

He stood and held a hand out toward the door. “Come with me. I’d like to show you something.”

China followed him into a large room that held a long table with chairs on either side. At one end of the table was a small television. Detective Boyle walked over to the television and pointed at the chair nearest it. “Sit, please.”

She did and he turned the power on the TV, then pushed a button on a remote. A grainy, black and white image appeared on the screen. The quality wasn’t state-of-the-art, but she recognized the scene. The bank. The robbery.

This time, she was able to see the shooting taking place, not just the end results. The guy who’d pointed the gun at Vanessa—and not the one who’d been China’s escort—had pulled the trigger. Had killed Sophie. Marcel, she was certain. She watched the glass shatter. Jerked when Sophie’s body jerked and blood blossomed on her blouse—dark gray now, not the vivid red she knew it to be.

There seemed to be no way the gunman could have missed her. She was standing there. Right there in front of Sophie’s desk, nearly blocking Sophie from the robber’s view, yet the bullets had gone straight past her and into Sophie’s body.

Her insides trembled with remembered terror. She stuck the knuckle of her index finger between her teeth and bit down. Tears filled her eyes, spilling down her cheeks, over her fingers. “Oh, God, Oh God, Oh God,” she whimpered over and over.

“You really should take it up,” Detective Boyle said.

“Huh?” She dropped her hand from her mouth and turned to him, seeing his face through a fog of horror and disbelief. This couldn’t be happening. The robbery, the men, the hell that her life had become. It couldn’t be happening. “Take it up?”

“Gambling. You should take it up. I mean, with your luck and all, you’d make a killing.” He studied her, his brows reaching for his hairline. “No pun intended.”

BUY LINK at AMAZON

Alicia Dean Tin Man Color

BIO:

Alicia Dean is the mother of three grown children, and she lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She writes mostly suspense and paranormal, but has written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL, and watching her favorite TV shows.

WEB CONTACTS:

Website: http://aliciadean.com/

Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

Release promotion–Stones

Here is information about Marilyn Baron’s latest release, Stones, from The Wild Rose Press.

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Blurb:

Books with Bling: A Coming-of-Middle-Age Novel

When Julie Paver’s husband Matt moves his business to Atlanta, she is forced to leave behind her thriving jewelry boutique, Stones. The move threatens their twenty-five year marriage, because now if Matt isn’t out of town negotiating a merger, he’s spending late hours on overseas phone calls with his sexy-sounding second-in-command.

Feeling neglected and unloved, Julie seeks closure by reconnecting with her first love, Manny, when he pursues her with his Internet innuendos. Manny is unaware he is the father of Julie’s son, and Julie contemplates revealing the secret to him on the eve of their son’s wedding. But would such a walk down memory lane be worth the cost?

Julie and Manny finally meet at her oceanfront condo—in the midst of a hurricane—and elements collide to create the perfect storm in this coming-of-middle-age crisis.

 Excerpt:

To go or not to go to Palm Coast is no longer the question. The question is what will I do once I get there? Will I really have the nerve to reconnect, or as my daughter Natalie likes to say, “hook up,” again with Manny Gellar? How will I feel tomorrow when I see him alone for the first time after 25 years? Will I finally reveal what I feel compelled—no, what I’m busting a gut—to tell him? That he has a beautiful son, that our son Josh is getting married in just three months? I’m probably rationalizing, but I think he finally has a right to know.

If I could, I’d fix what is wrong with my marriage and put it back the way it was before. Before Matt yanked me out of Miami by my roots as if I were a noxious weed he was tossing out of a flower garden and carelessly transplanted us to Atlanta. Before we moved a state away from my family and my best friend and a business I’d worked a lifetime to create. Before Matt sold his freight expediting business to a German conglomerate for mega-millions and agreed to run the company for them from Atlanta for the next two years, barely consulting me. Before the German occupation, or rather before he became preoccupied with his sexy-sounding German second-in-command, Gretchen. Before he stopped sleeping with me in the biblical sense. Before I turned fifty.

All I really want is closure. I’m convinced that meeting Manny Gellar again is the only way I will ever come full circle and reconnect with my life.

BUY LINKS:

TWRP Digital

TWRP Print

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

Marilyn Baron

BIO:

Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and the recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. Marilyn writes humorous women’s fiction, romantic thrillers, historicals, and paranormal suspense for The Wild Rose Press. Today is the release date for her new humorous women’s fiction, novel, Stones. She has won writing awards in the Single Title, Suspense Romance, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance and Fiction With Strong Romantic Elements categories.

Web Contacts:

Website www.marilynbaron.com

Blog www.petitfoursandhottamales.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/MarilynBaron.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marilyn-Baron/286807714666748

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/marilynbaron5/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4722647.Marilyn_Baron

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Baron/e/B008PJFQPC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Linked-In http://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=nav_responsive_tab_home

 

Release Promotion–The Scarlet Cord

Here is a peek at The Scarlet Cord by Carlene Havel and Sharon Faucheux, a Prism Book Group release.

The Scarlet Cord

Blurb:  Rahab, a resourceful beauty, struggles to survive in the pagan culture of ancient Jericho. As years of harsh labor begin to lift her and her family from poverty, a foreign army threatens the well-fortified city. Stories of how the slaves escaped from Egypt have circulated for years, but few believe they are true. Rahab is forced to make an immediate decision. Will she put her faith in the fabled walls of Jericho or the powerful God of the Hebrews? Either choice may cost her life.

Excerpt:

“When Mother came with us we started for home much sooner,” Rondar murmured.

Yassib continued to scan the horizon. “Well she is not here and we did not do so. Now move along quickly, or I will tell Father you gave me trouble.”

“The rocks hurt my feet,” Sanda complained.

“Stop whining and I will let you hold the new baby while we prepare the evening meal,” Rondar said. “The faster you walk, the sooner we will be safe at home.”

Though the sun had not set, its light began to fade beneath gathering clouds. While Jericho’s walls rose higher and higher into the darkening sky, three women dressed in bright clothing walked past the family. Their ankle beads tinkled with every step. “They are going in the wrong direction,” Sanda said. Tugging at Rondar’s tunic, she persisted, “Do they not know the gate will close at sundown?”

“They are zonahs,” Kemil said.

“What does that mean?” Sanda turned to watch the women gliding away.

Rondar jerked her little sister forward by the hand. “May you never know.”

“Quiet!” Yassib hissed. “Your voices will attract attention.”

Rahab had taken only a few more steps when a hand clapped roughly over her mouth. She felt herself being dragged away, helpless even to cry out. Nearby, Sanda’s piercing scream split the evening air. The sounds of a struggle surrounded her, but clouds of dust obscured what little visibility remained. Managing to get her teeth around a finger, Rahab bit as hard as she could. When the arm’s grasp loosened slightly, she felt herself falling. She scratched and kicked wildly. With her teeth still sunk into the finger, she flung her head left and right until she tasted blood. Everything was a swirl of confusion, noise, and grit.

It seemed the fight went on forever yet lasted only an instant. Chaos melted into the sight of two men running away.

“Are you all right, little brave one?” One of the zonahs leaned over Rahab. Beneath the thick makeup, the woman’s face was lined with age.

“Yes,” Rahab said. She looked around to clear her head and also to account for her siblings. Yassib lay in the road, moaning and holding his arm. Nearby, Kemil held Sanda while Rondar clung to his torn tunic.

Rohat ran to her twin. “Oh, Rahab,” she said, “the takers almost got you.”

“And would certainly have done so but for these women,” Rondar added.

“Why did you help us?” Rahab asked.

The woman extended a braceleted arm to caress Rahab’s face. “Believe it or not, we too were once young and innocent.” With those words she rose, motioned to her companions, and disappeared into the deepening dusk.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Carlene Havel

BIO:

I had no interest in writing until 2005, when I became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.  Along with everything else that changed, I developed a passion for writing.  My home is now in Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family.

Web Contacts:

https://twitter.com/carlenehavel

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarleneHavel

Release Promotion–The Heart Of The Phoenix

THOP COVER

Blurb:

Memories

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can Be Cruel

Sir  Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And Deadly

When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

Excerpt(Sir Stephen has pounded on Lady Evie’s door in the middle of the night, and she’s fallen trying to open it in the darkness.)

“Oh, for the love of heaven. Stop plaguing me. Why are you here?”

“I thought you’d like to know the identity of our fellow passenger.”

“At this hour? Could you not have waited until morning?” Sweet Mary, preserve her patience. He was the most maddening man alive. Light flared in the cabin’s shuttered lantern, throwing a shadow across his face, reminding Evie of another reason he should not be here. Her body instantly throbbed to life.

She pressed her palms against her stomach and inhaled. Calm. She needed calm. He was not the most beautiful man she’d ever beheld. He did not possess the power to heat her blood to boiling. He did not care that she thought of him night and day.

That much was true, for certain.

“I have news that will make the rest of your trip joyful.”

His words centered her whirling mind, and Evie eyed him warily. What news could possible make her happy right now?

She ventured a guess. “You are leaving? Your second in command, the delightful Sir Macsen, will accompany me the rest of the way home?”

“Much better.”

Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.

“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.

“What? What about him?”

“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”

“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”

“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”

“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”

Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.

“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”

His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled his words.

Betrothed.Her betrothed was on board?

Dear Lord, just let me die.

                                                ~~~~~~

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Barb Bettis

BIO:

A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism teacher, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a former author. Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a college near her home in Missouri.

 

Release Promotion–Lord of Sherwood

Lord of Sherwood: the Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, Book Three by Laura Strickland

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BLURB:

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …

EXCERPT:

Curlew bowed again. When the man reached Nottingham and inquired after an under-forester called Champion, he would know this meeting for a farce. But Curlew would be well away by then.

A small, wicked smile tugged at one corner of his mouth. He straightened from his bow just as the young woman’s cart reached him. Any well-behaved Saxon underling, as Curlew well knew, would avert his eyes respectfully as she passed. Instead, he lifted them to hers.

And, shockingly, she returned his stare, bold and unswerving as any lad. Nay, not like a lad though—for she was all woman, this one, her face brimming with character, interest, and mischief. A smile twitched her lips as their eyes met and held—it said many things: that she knew he had just spun a fabrication, that she applauded him for it, and that she found him just as fascinating to look upon as he found her.

His blood leaped at that look and he condemned himself silently. This, a well-bred Norman miss, was surely no proper object for his admiration. Only, she did not appear particularly well-bred nor well-disciplined. Who was she?

And would he ever see her again?

Curlew stood there with the blood drying on his hands as the small train lumbered past, grateful for his escape, and utterly scorched by her gaze.

Not until they were well past did he draw a deep breath and strive to shake off the spell that held him.

BUY LINKS:

The Wild Rose Press

KOBO

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Google Play

Laura Strickland

Author bio:

Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland is the author of Scottish romance Devil Black as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood. She is currently working on the second book of a new Steampunk romance series.

Author contacts:

Author web page: www.laurastricklandbooks.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408276940&sr=1-2-ent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317

Book Trailer for The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZvJC__mD5s

Release promotion–Postmarked Ever After

Postmarked_Ever_After-cover-001

 

BLURB

A delayed letter and a message from afar unite two hearts.

Recently widowed, Serena Gray battles the daily drama of the Emergency Room, as well as her grief. When a mysterious letter arrives, it raises questions about a past she’d only heard her beloved husband speak about.

While on hospital rounds, she sees a child’s brush with death and recounts a vivid dream that bears a message.

Will she risk happiness for the truth or keep a secret from the past?

EXCERPT

Serena unplugged her curling iron and finished her hair. The doorbell rang and she walked from the bedroom to the living room to let Adam inside. “Hi, come on in. I need to get my shoes and I’ll be ready.”

“Okay, I’ll wait right here.”

Adam kissed her and watched her bare feet take brisk steps to the hall. He ambled over to the fish tank and peeked in the glass at the Neon’s swimming, then sat down on the sofa. Adam glanced at the typed forms lying on the coffee table and remembered Serena mentioned trashing records. As he waited, his attention went to the handwritten letter resting on the sofa beside him. He looked away, not wanting to be nosy. Why does that writing seem familiar? Once more, his vision focused on the note. The signature that read “Katie” caught his eyes. Katie, Serena must have a friend with the same name.

Adam heard Serena make a noise and started to stand. He noticed the worn message again. The name Nicky seemed to jump off the page. It has to be a coincidence, can’t be my family. Before Adam considered his actions, he picked the letter up and began to read.

Serena tossed a pair of low heels in the closet and then tried on three pairs before deciding on wedge sandals. She walked into the living room and saw Adam standing rigid. She looked at his pasty white face. In an instant, she noticed his eyes narrowed to a slit. As Serena wondered what was wrong her gaze fell to his hand. He gripped the letter and ogled at her.

“Serena, what is this?” Adam’s words came out slow and controlled.

“Adam, let me explain.” Serena touched her throat and swallowed hard as she stared at Adam’s hand clenched to the letter.

“Really, this ought to be good!” Adam’s words echoed in the room. His nostril flared. “This is Katie’s writing, and she’s talking about our daughter.” Adam gritted his teeth “Where did you get this?  Was Jason your husband?”

Serena wanted to cry, but she held her emotions back. “Adam, please set down and let me explain.”

“No, I’ll stand… you talk.” He nodded toward the note in his hand.

“Jason was my husband and Nicky’s real father. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you, but I fell in love with you, and then I didn’t want to hurt you or Nicky. I was planning to tear the letter to shreds.” Serena’s voice was low and flat. She hugged her arms as she responded.

“So you’ve had this all along and didn’t bother to mention it,” he hissed.

“I didn’t know what to do. There was no reason to say anything” Serena slumped on the corner of the couch. “Both Jason and Katie are gone. You’re all that Nicky has left.”

Adam glared at Serena. “Am I to believe that this letter, you and I, our love…. It’s all coincidence.”

“Yes,” Serena shook her head. “I didn’t plan to meet you and I assure you my love is real.”

“Hah, I don’t know what’s true anymore.”  Adam stepped back and put more distances between them. “You owe me a better explanation.”

Serena held her head up and looked at Adam. “The letter arrived months after Jason’s accident” She turned her head from Adam, and the stone-cold gawk she saw. “I put the envelope away and decided to forget about it.” Serena stepped closer to the sofa. “I moved to Greensboro because my mother has Alzheimer’s.”

She rubbed her forehead. “I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was the day I met Nicky at school, and then you.” She twisted her hands as she talked. “I wasn’t sure if you knew you weren’t Nicky’s biological father, and I saw how much she loves you. I didn’t want to stand in the way of the relationship you two have.”

Adam’s mind teetered with indecision, “sounds farfetched and doesn’t set well, if this is innocent you should have told me from the beginning.”

In one fast movement, Adam tossed the letter down and opened the front door, “Serena if you care anything for Nicky, you’ll keep this information to yourself. One day, I’m going to tell her everything, but I figure she’s entitled to grow up with a happy childhood. ”

Adam eyed Serena. “As for us, “I’ll not have a life with a woman who keeps things from me, never again.”

The door slammed. She squeezed her eyes tight in an effort to hold back the tears that flowed. Serena was sure she understood the way a wounded animal hurt as the sound of sobbing carried throughout the room.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Amazon

Mary Ball

BIO:

Mary L. Ball is an inspirational author and lives in North Carolina.

In her books, Mary hopes to encourage people to see the wonder of love and a divine guidance.

When Mary isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at functions.

Web contacts

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/-behind-every-story-blog

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5934448.Mary_L_Balll

Release promotion for The Wish List Addiction

Wish List Addiction

Blurb for The Wish List Addiction

 

Rebecca Mathews is a Listoholic—you name it, she has a ‘To Do’ list for it. Coupled with her daily ‘Must Achieve’ List, she possesses a mid-term, creatively drawn ‘Wish List’ and an exhaustively-researched ‘Bucket List’. But so far, they have delivered nothing but spectacular failure. 

With her much-loved career exploded in her face, her marriage terminated in an acrimonious divorce and her frail father’s pleas to return to her native Northumberland ignored, Rebecca concludes that if it wasn’t for her beloved four-year-old son, Max, she would be adding a trip to a Swiss clinic to her list. 

A sparkle of light appears in Rebecca’s life wrapped in the guise of ‘The Little Green Book of Wishes’, which challenges the reader to ‘ditch the list’ and instead to use its gems of wisdom as a ‘dip in/dip out’ lucky bag of challenges from all areas of life. 

Persuaded by her colleagues to relinquish her obsessive reliance on her multiple lists, cast adrift from their reassuring structure, she agrees to complete random tasks selected for her from the ‘little emerald book of miracles’. 

Will it deliver the desired result and cure Rebecca of her Wish List Addiction?

 

Excerpt from ‘The Wish List Addiction’

EXCERPT

Copyright 2014 © Lindsey Paley

“Right! Where’s that wishes book then?” Deb demanded first thing Monday morning. “Hand it over! I’m holding you to your promise.”

Before Rebecca handed the little green book to Deb, Nathan glanced at their team manager, Georgina, still engrossed in a complicated call, then scootered his chair to Deb’s desk as if keen to get involved.

“The Little Green Book of Wishes.” Deb rotated the book in her hand, stroking its emerald cover as though wedding dress silk, parting its pages at the contents page. “‘Wishes with your Partner’, ‘Wishes with Children’, or ‘Wishes for the World’ section? Hey, there’s one of your wishes here, Nath, from the ‘Wishes with Friends’ section—‘Real Ale tasting’! Oh, and ‘Swishing’! Now that’s one I would include on my wish list!”

I don’t understand why you are both so excited.” Nathan rolled his eyes. “It’s a complete waste of time and energy, if you ask me. Wishes never come true. I’d love to get the supervisor’s job when Georgina is promoted to associate next month, but I know I won’t, so what’s the point applying? Why put myself through all that anxiety and stress?

Anyway, it’s Becky we’re selecting random wishes for, not me. And why put poor Becky through the hassle and potential humiliation of performing challenges from a randomly purchased book extolling the unachievable virtues of fulfilling our deepest desires? Crazy, if you ask me.”

He flicked his Baringer & Co pen between his fingers until it became a blur. However, despite his pessimistic forecast, he continued to pour eagerly over the contents section of the little green book with Deb and Rebecca.

“Well, I think it’s an excellent idea and so does Fergus. Hey, look, there’s even a section on marrying. Thank goodness, ’cos I could do with some seriously helpful tips, we’ve still got so much to do. I’m up for ‘Becoming the Perfect Bride’ and ‘Maintaining a Successful Marriage’. Might even try ‘Co-existing With Your In-laws’.” She sniggered.

“Oh, I’m so excited. Look, Becky, ‘Amassing a Prestigious Shoe Collection.’ Let’s study that one and slip off one lunchtime soon to Jimmy Choo’s wedding shoe emporium! Come on, what’ll be your first challenge from the little green book? You chose the category, but me and Nath are choosing the challenge.” She held the book up to Rebecca’s face and flicked the pages from back to front, her perfectly plucked, honey-blonde eyebrows disappearing into her fringe.

“Well, I really don’t want to go on a date, and my career is rock bottom, so it’ll have to be some sort of an activity.” Rebecca fervently hoped the selection would be ‘Making Maracas’ or ‘An Afternoon Kite Flying’, which she and Max had discovered, but somehow she doubted Deb would let her off so easily.

“Right, now me and Nathan will confer. It’ll be a great way of meeting new guys, anyway.” She giggled. As she was in love, she expected the whole world to want to be, too. “Mmm, what do you think, Nath?” They huddled together in her cubicle, her blonde mane meeting his dark spikes. “Where will there be lots of hot, single men? Oh, and let’s find something she can do with Max, too, this being the first challenge.

“What about ‘Taking a Dance Class’? Must be on everyone’s wish list that, surely? It suggests the waltz or the tango. Here, did you know the tango is said to have been born in the brothels of Argentina, the dancers connecting chest-to-chest or hip-to-thigh displaying strong and determined passion? What could be better? Only two stars, Becky, must be an easy challenge, right?”

“You’re joking. I’m not taking Max to a tango class! Anyway, look what it says at the end. A dance class such as the tango or the jive is not for the faint-hearted when wishing to meet new people. No, Deb.”

“Well, okay, but I might persuade Fergus to take some lessons with me.

We could perform a passionate tango as our first dance at the wedding reception—spice up the night and shock the grannies!”

Her infectious giggle rang around the office, causing Georgina to lift her eyes and throw them a puzzled look. Shaking her short, black curls, she returned to her phone call. It was their lunch break after all.

“Right, ‘Exercising Section,’ then. What sport have you always had a hankering to try? Yoga? Crossbow shooting? Oh, what about Morris dancing? Is that really a sport?”

“Be serious. I’ve not done any real exercise since giving birth to Max. Anything too energetic would be the first and last challenge to be attempted from the book and I’d end up in the A&E.”

“I suppose that also means ‘Climbing Mount Everest’ is not going to make Rebecca’s wonderful wish list, then?” Deb smirked.

Rebecca’s glare said, “Do you think I’m stupid?”

“Right, got it.” She held the book up in front of her and Nathan’s faces. He glanced at the page and then peered around the cover at Rebecca.

“Sure,” Nathan agreed. “As good as any. And Max can join in with that, too, which is what the book is suggesting, I think. There’s a great club near us which runs a junior academy and welcomes kids from the age of three.”

“What? What are you talking about?” Rebecca’s heart hammered against her ribcage, particularly at Nathan’s suggestion that Max join her.

She had not agreed to involving him in this crazy folly. But her new friends ignored her protestations.

“Yes, I’ve been to that club with Fergus’ nephew. It’s great fun. Right, decided.” Deb turned the chosen page toward Rebecca. “There you are, Becky, ‘Learning to Play Golf’. You can take Max along and have some fun just hitting the balls from the driving range, or there’s an American mini golf course to try out. You can enquire about the junior academy whilst you’re there for Max. It’s an activity you can do together and there’ll be lots of men wandering around in that delightful golf gear. You could kill two birds with one golf ball!”

She handed the book to Rebecca, who grabbed it and read out loud, “Learning to play golf is fun. Hitting a golf ball is easy, but hitting the ball in the direction you want it to go takes an enormous amount of practice. Mmm. Look at the warning at the end. Be sure never to stand in close proximity to a golfer’s swinging club. I foresee disaster.”

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