Release Promotion–Holle

In Holle Berthold’s experience, love is a curse. She’s been engaged twice and a mail-order bride once but remains unmarried. Her first fiancé died, and the second one jilted her two days before the wedding. Then the man who paid for her train ticket to bring her to Montana as a mail-order bride rejected her because of her partial deafness. Abandoned, she must find a job and settles in a working-class neighborhood just like the one she hoped to escape.

Widower Eduard Lambrecht never thought he’d love again. He discovers his late wife’s Christmas quilt suffered in storage since the last season. He takes it to a seamstress shop, where he learns the woman with the skills to repair it is also the mail-order bride his cousin rejected. Unaccustomed to facing open hostility, he works to gain the woman’s trust and establish her in the town’s German community. A near tragedy draws them close, but is it enough to base a future on?

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What could he be apologizing for? The longer he paced, the tighter the air in her chest caught.

He dug a hand into his front pocket. “Here’s five dollars. That’s all I’m carrying. I’m so sorry.” After setting the coins on the bench beside her, he straightened. “I wish you the best, Miss Berthold.” Following his statement, he turned, settled the hat on his head, and walked out the depot door. Within seconds, he stepped into the street and disappeared in the wagon and horse traffic.

Sounds wavered. What am I to do? Her vision narrowed to the space right in front of her with blackness circling the edges. I have no money to go elsewhere. She collected the coins into her hands and held tight, hunching her shoulders. Rejected again. The tick-tock of the regulator clock on the wall provided a steady rhythm that she tried to follow and put order to her wild thoughts. Her belongings wouldn’t arrive for several days on the freight wagon. Until that time, she had to secure lodgings. But then what?

Holle’s breaths came too fast, and a trickle of perspiration inched down her spine. She rolled her shoulders and released her gripped fingers, one at a time, and assessed her situation. Abandoned in a strange town hundreds of miles away from anyone she knew.

How had she put herself in this vulnerable position…again?

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Guest Promotion–Finders, Keepers by Chloe Holiday

Hurt and humiliated by her boyfriend’s cheating, Farrah ducks into a bar—and goes home with Caleb for a round of incendiary revenge sex. Horrified when she later finds out she was mistaken, Farrah sneaks out. When Caleb wakes up alone, he has to see her again, but all he has is a single mitten…

Finders, Keepers is a fast, fun novella: a sexy modern Cinderella story with a dash of humor, plenty of spice, and NO CLIFFHANGERS!

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EXCERPT

Just three more hours to go. Softly humming “Frosty the Snowman” to herself, Farrah made the rounds with her mail cart, already excited about Global Marketing’s party tonight. Or rather, Justin’s reaction to her killer new dress.

Farrah stepped into the copy editor’s cubicle, her short red skirt trimmed with white marabou feathers swinging. She dropped a couple of manila envelopes onto his desk and resumed her circuit through the quiet maze of workstations.

The cart took a sudden lurch to the left — the darned wheel stuck again. The detour triggered the motion-activated Rudolph on the new guy’s desk — and the glares of coworkers — as a tinny version of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” blared.

The new guy smiled, his eyes on her short skirt.

Maybe not her best choice—he probably thought she did it on purpose, just to meet him. Farrah rotated the offending wheel and shuddered: a gummy chunk of red candied fruit clung to the rubber. Who really eats fruitcake?

The guy turned from his computer. “Hey. I’m Brad. Need a hand? ”

She smiled at his eagerness. ” Can I get a tissue?”

“Absolutely.” He yanked two out of a box and handed them to her, grinning.

“Thanks. I’m Farrah. Nice decorations — I love the holidays.” She extracted the nasty wad of gunk from the wheel.

“Will you be at the party tonight?” he asked.

“Yes, with my boyfriend, Justin.” Farrah pretended not to notice the way his face fell. “Nice to meet you, Brad.” She tossed the crumpled tissue in his trash bin.

It would take more than fruitcake to dent her mood, her usual holiday cheer sparked higher by anticipation. Still humming, she finished her rounds and wrestled the mail cart back into place. Her stomach growled at the smell of cinnamon from the plug-in air freshener. It’s a break from Pumpkin Spice, anyway. A few festive cubicles were decorated in bright tinsel garlands or Hanukkah dreidels, but this year most employees had refrained after Shelby, the new department manager, made known her distaste for such “vulgarity.”

Someday I’ll be free of Shelby and the corporate world, too.

At least the witch hadn’t extended her disapproval to attire yet. In addition to her red skirt, Farrah wore small holly earrings and her pine-green nails glittered with tiny candy cane decals. Her late grandmother always told her, “Have fun while you’re young, honey—it gets beat out of you soon enough.” Farrah had taken those words to heart.

No one was going to ruin her holidays, not even her dragon lady boss. Tonight’s party was destined to be wonderful. She smiled, imagining the look on Justin’s face when he saw her in that glamorous new dress, and slipped back to her cubicle. Her “in” box brimmed with more documents to photocopy. One eye on the clock, Farrah raced through her drudge work.

The moment five o’ clock arrived, she hurried to gather her bag and coat and rushed outside, humming “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

BIO

I write the things I love to read: steamy, fun stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, smart women and men who aren’t jerks. I like to read about friendships, either close women or a good bromance. I want all the feels: the thrill of a smoldering gaze or the barest brush of fingertips, the shocked gasp at the underhanded villain, the angst of heartbreak, the joy of reunion, and of course, happily ever after!

 

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Guest Promotion–Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For by Wendy Kendall

Irresistible December magic. Desiree and Leo tangle in mystery and romance. Desiree wanted to believe in magic again. An enthusiastic teacher, she’s created a fun game of secret Santa for her first grade class. A mysterious stocking with her name and a creepy message appears. This creepy secret Santa is stalking Desiree. Who is it? Could it be devastating news that it’s Leo, her new romantic love interest? What can be learned from the legend of the snow kiss cookies? Will this secret Santa be stopped before Desiree is harmed? Cookie recipe included.

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EXCERPT

On Sunday Dez luxuriated in reflections of the night before. She tenderly placed the heart wreath on her kitchen table as a centerpiece.

She texted Katherine. What a night. Do you believe in Christmas miracles and true love? I do now.

            When her cell beeped later, it was a response from Katherine and thankfully not the anonymous sender. Sounds like a good time. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

            Dez took Katherine literally and called her right away to fill her in.

On the drive to work Monday morning, Dez noticed all black sedans, wondering if one of those is the one that aimed to run them down last night. There had been no threatening texts since Friday. In fact, other than Katherine’s text, the only others had been the most romantic treasures from Leo. She’d relished and responded to those.

She drove into the parking lot and focused on her morning ahead. Her students would be excited before the break, plus the tantalizing secret Santa fun would need to be managed. She walked down the hallway conscious of the click of her pumps on the linoleum and the swish of her tan khaki pants Her colorful winter sweater offset the bland slacks.

Dez hoped to run into Leo first thing, to say good morning. It was just as well she hadn’t since she was late. She opened her class door and got right to work setting up for the day.

The shared classroom door with Madeline’s room stood ajar. On the wall, there was an extra stocking. It had glitter all over it, sparkling stars, and her name, Dez. She took it off the hook. There was something inside. John swung the adjoining door wide open and walked in carrying a box.

Madeline followed. “Oh wait, here’s one more.” She slipped a smaller box on top of what he was carrying. She looked at Desiree. “Good morning. John, let me know if I can help with anything else. Glad I was in early for you.”

said good morning to Dez. “I’m getting ready for the reading group lesson for Thursday.” He thanked Madeline and walked over to his desk.

Voices and laughter echoed as students came in from the hallway. Peter and Jack rushed up to Dez and said together, “Cool stocking.”

She put the stocking back on it hook. “Bood morning. Please put your secret Santa cards on your desk, and then take your seats.”

Madeline said, “An admirer? Is that really appropriate at school?” She walked through to her room, closing the door behind her.

Dez reminded herself to get with Principal Milner today about how she’d caught Madeline. She considered what Madeline had said. An admirer? Maybe the stocking was from Leo. How nice of him. How fun.

It was a very busy morning. Dez was happy that John’s mood had improved, and as her Teaching Assistant he was trying to engage with the kids. She’d still have to ask him about his actions after school in the parking lot Friday. She shuddered remembering that stare he’d given her.

With the class out to recess, Dez made a beeline for her secret Santa stocking. Her excitement matched her students’ as she took down her stocking and reached inside. Would she find a sweet gift from Leo? She pulled out the cardboard, and her heartbeat sped up. One look and her heartbeat pounded.       The card was a picture of Santa in his sleigh with reindeer. Her smile faded seeing a cut out photo of her face pasted on the drawn figure next to Santa. Where did that picture come from? The caption read: Secret Santa may sleigh you if you’re not a good girl

No signature. A secret and creepy Santa. Would Leo give her this? There was a bump in the toe of the stocking. She shook it upside down over the counter and a sprig of holly with berries fell out. From Saturday night’s heart wreath?

Dez looked around, including out the windows. Was anyone watching? The idea of someone putting up a stocking with her name was odd enough, but with this inside?…her phone vibrated… It was from that hideous anonymous sender.

Her hand shook as she clicked on it and read. How did you like your card?

Dez turned her cell phone off. Her hand shook as she secured it in her desk. John brought the students back from recess and she focused on her job. During lunch she attempted to meet with the principal about Madeline. No luck, he had a busy schedule today too.

Dez walked back to her room. Leo came to mind. It would be nice to bump into him now. How nice to see him sometime today, or at least hear from him. Or had she heard from him already? Was that stocking from him? The text?

From designer bags to body bags. Kat Out of the Bag – Katherine Watson purse designer/sleuth. Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash – cozy cold case. Finalist, 2022 Best Suspense, Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For. Cherry Shakes In The Park blends danger, divas, and frothy delights. Ribbons of love run through Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. Wendy enjoys Pacific Northwest life, as blogger, podcaster, syndicated columnist.

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Website – WendyWritesBooks.com

Website url – https://sites.google.com/site/wendywriteshere/

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Guest Promotion–Going Home, At Your Age? by Jacqueline Diamond

Her hidden past is about to explode! Sara, an artist who’s turning 50, returns to her hometown for Christmas to face her estranged sisters—and the man she left behind—with a stunning secret. A compulsively readable tale of love and redemption packed with heartwarming surprises, Going Home, At Your Age? is a standalone book in the “Sisters, Lovers & Second Chances” series by USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond.

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EXCERPT

In her life, Sara Matchett had committed three huge, earth-thumping, wildly stupid mistakes. She planned to confront them, wrestle them to the ground and, in the process, probably commit a whole swarm of new and even more idiotic screwups.

Then leave her hometown for the last time.

Why not? At nearly fifty, she’d reached the perfect age to turn her world, and everyone else’s, upside down.

“I think that’s a worthwhile goal, regardless of which secrets you plan to unload,” said seventy-one-year-old Aunt Jewell, clear-wrapping a plate of cookies in her kitchen. “In fact, I’m dying to hear about them. What would Christmas be without a soap opera?”

“And I have a lot of experience in the field,” Sara conceded as she snapped a lid atop the cranberry-orange stuffing casserole she’d prepared.

She wished the kitchen had a mirror so she could check whether her green velvet dress was too fussy. Were the stars she’d embroidered ridiculous on a grown woman? “If I ever write my memoirs, I’ll call them, I Was a Teenage Drama Queen.”

“Why limit yourself to the past when you have such talent?” deadpanned her aunt, who sported her own original outfit, red with sparkles cascading along the bodice and skirt. She’d tucked a glittery comb into the dyed jet-black hair. Sara hoped that, in another twenty years, she’d have as much panache as her aunt.

“I’m not sure I’m as gifted as that.” Hearing the quaver in her voice, Sara swept into the living room, ready to head out the door. Might as well get it over with.

Until this moment, she hadn’t allowed herself to dwell on exactly what might happen when she arrived at the family celebration and set the record straight with her sisters. Not that Sara wished to dampen anyone’s holiday, but they deserved to learn why she hadn’t been part of their little world in Rancho Allegro, California, for thirty years…

Also, she didn’t plan to miss Jewell’s upcoming marriage, which was the main reason for her extended visit. After a decade of widowhood, her aunt was remarrying and had requested that Sara, the only one of her three nieces to share her artistic talents, help prepare for the event in late January….

Sara yanked her thoughts back to today’s planned gathering. This would involve people new to her, including her sisters’ bridegrooms and their offspring from previous marriages. Well, she could tolerate having an audience. Just as long as she didn’t have to see the one person who knew too much, and had hurt her more than almost all the others put together.

Although Dr. Nate Patton shared a medical practice with her sister, Cody, there was no reason for Sara to run into him. Not today, at least. He’d no doubt be celebrating the holiday with his relatives.

USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond has sold medical romances, romantic comedies, mysteries and Regency romances—more than one hundred titles! A former Associated Press reporter and TV columnist, Jackie has been honored with a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her popular series include Safe Harbor Medical Romances and Downhome Doctors.

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Backlist holiday promotion–Silent Signals

Will the valley’s feud between cattlemen and shepherds keep Konrad and Anora apart?

After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discovers common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals?

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EXCERPT

Mikel returned, dropping two rolls of wire onto the counter. “I have a new shipment of barbed wire too. Perhaps that works better for your needs?”

Konrad turned and laid a hand on the smooth wire. “The fence to pen in my cattle has several components, so this is what I need. But thanks, Toussaint.”

The shopkeeper shrugged. “Some ranchers prefer the barbed.”

“I do too, and I may have to resort to that when the winter weather sets in. But I’ll wait on that purchase.” He leaned his other hand on the counter. “This year, I’m building a brush fence. I’ll use what I can from downed branches and rocks cleared from the field that will be planted in the spring.” He shrugged and straightened.

“Makes sense.” Mikel nodded as he pulled the pencil from his ear. “I remember those types of fences in old country. Uncle had them around his vineyard.”

Konrad was sure his wasn’t the only sad story the store owner had heard over the last year. “Gotta come up with the cheapest solution for protecting my cattle.” He shook his head. “The ranch can’t withstand any more losses like last year.”

“Excuse me, sir.” A female voice floated in the air.

The tone was pitched low, almost intimate. Konrad shifted and raised an eyebrow at the tall woman dressed in an ill-fitting coat and a split skirt that showed several inches of boot-encased legs. “Are you speaking to me?”

“Have you considered using herding dogs to contain your cattle?” The blonde woman took one step closer, her gaze intent.

“No.” This stranger had an opinion about how he ran his ranch? His body stiffened.

“I train the dogs that work the sheep at Green Meadows Ranch, and I don’t see why the dogs couldn’t be used with cattle.” She glanced over her shoulder and then back to connect with his gaze. “The principles are the same, as long as the person uses the right cues.”

He squinted at the green-eyed woman who stood only a few inches shorter than his six-foot height. Wisps of blonde hair had escaped the edges of her plain black bonnet and straggled along her cheeks. Her face was pleasant enough—probably would be more so without the frown creasing her forehead. “Have we met?”

“I apologize, Mr. Werner. I’m Anora Huxley.” A blush reddened her cheeks. “I am acquainted with Gaelle.”

His younger sister by five years. Which explained why he didn’t know this woman from his schooling years. Huxley did sound familiar, though. But he didn’t have time to contemplate why because the woman now stood by his side. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a thick-set scowling man hovering two feet away who looked madder than a newly branded steer. The second member of the arguing duo.

“My dogs are exceedingly smart. A special breed with strong herding instincts. They respond to hand signs and whistles, and from a distance of more than ten rods.”

He held up a hand lest he be stuck here listening to her run down every detail. “I do not wish to be lectured on how to run my ranch. My brush fence will suffice.” Regretting the stiffness of his tone, he lifted a finger to tap the brim of his hat. “Good day, Mrs. Huxley.” He spotted the brief widening of her gaze before scooping up the roll of wire and headed toward the storeroom. Irritation at the outspoken women and her high-handed advice put an extra punch into each footfall.

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Guest Promotion–Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams by Kimberly Baer

BLURB: When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s both stunned and elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.

Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, she says she hasn’t seen him.

That lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer who’s determined to silence the boy for good.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Snowdrop-Thumbprint-Screams-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GXM27PR/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams-kimberly-baer/1140571423?ean=2940160736143

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59356973-snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams-by-kimberly-baer

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams/id1587077202

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kimberly_Baer_Snowdrop_Dreams_Cherry_Thumbprint_Sc?id=g1FPEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams

EXCERPT: She was startled by a thump from above, followed by the muffled slide of the attic window, first up, then down. The groan of floorboards beneath traipsing feet.

Goosebumps prickled across her scalp. Why hadn’t she thought to grab something to use for self-defense? A knife or a fork or Gram’s old cast-iron baking pan, which maybe, just maybe, would deflect bullets. There might be a metal nail file in her purse, except she had no time to hunt for it, because the trap door was creaking open, and—oh, God!—someone was coming down the stairs.

Footfalls thudded across the floor, mere feet from where she was hunkered behind the island. Squinting through the grainy dimness, she peeked around the corner in time to glimpse a slight, dark figure creeping into the room out front. She got to her feet and followed.

She came to a halt just beyond the doorway. The big neon clock on the rear wall glowed blue, giving the room a bar-like ambience. The cookie burglar was standing behind the counter to her left, cramming snowdrop cookies into his mouth.

God in heaven, it was a boy. The cookie burglar was a boy. And he was eleven. She was sure of that, even though the light was dim and she was seeing him only in profile. Something about him seemed familiar—his slouched shoulders, perhaps, or the long, straight slope of his nose. He was slender like her, though a few inches shorter. His hair was matted and dark but with a good shampooing would probably be the same tawny shade as her own.

An eleven-year-old brown-haired boy, come down from above to burgle her cookie shop…

She stepped forward with a gasp. “Jonah?”

Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Sadly, she never managed to get that story published. Nowadays she writes in a variety of genres.

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Website: www.kimberlybaer.com

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Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448

Guest Promotion: Gingerbread Dead by Lori L. Robinett

Jessica Barker blogs about true crime for an online magazine and dreams of being a true crime blogger.

While working one night, Jess witnesses her next-door neighbor in distress and Jess is the only one who seems to care. When the cops dismiss her as a bothersome true crime reporter with an overactive imagination, Jess must delve into the life of her mysterious neighbors, Rory and John Regan – with hints at embezzlement and gambling – before Rory ends up dead.

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The officers finished their interrogations and huddled together on the front porch, comparing notes. Jess studied her neighbor, who had black streaks down her face where her mascara had run. The woman stared at nothing, her lower lip pooched out a bit and the corners of her mouth turned down.

The two officers motioned for the husband to join them, and they helped the woman to her feet. She still swayed slightly and her head bobbled. Though she resisted weakly, her husband took her arm and led her inside, thanking the officers before closing the door.

Jess couldn’t believe her eyes. Stunned, she rushed forward. “Wait! You’re just going to leave her there?” She stood in their way, feet planted wide.

The older cop studied her for a beat, then sighed heavily. “Seems they had a bit of an argument earlier this evening and the missus had a bit too much to drink.” He spoke slowly, like he was explaining something to a child. He held out his arms and moved forward, herding Jess and Mrs. Miller away from the front porch.

Taking a step back, Jess settled her fists on her hips. “Listen, this is serious.”

The younger officer elbowed his partner, leaned in close and whispered something. He hooked his thumb toward Jess.

Snodgrass leaned forward, eyes narrowed as he examined her face as if just meeting her. “You’re that true crime reporter, aren’t you?”

BIO:  Lori L. Robinett writes mysteries and contemporary western romance. She lives in central Missouri with her husband of 25+ years. Their home is maintained for the comfort and enjoyment of their Beagle and Snorkie and two rescue cats.

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Guest promotion: Keri’s Christmas Wish By Pamela S Thibodeaux

Blurb: Controversy and Inconsistencies are thieves of holiday joy for Keri…is there any hope for a happy holiday season?

For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas—especially with the controversy over the time of Jesus’s birth. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

Jeremy Hinton thinks Keri is a highly intelligent, deeply emotional, and intensely complex woman and he’s as fascinated by her aversion to Christmas as he is of the woman herself. A devout Christian at heart, he’s studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens her life, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

Fans of near death experiences will enjoy this woman’s mystical journey into spiritual Truth.

Available in Ebook, Paperback and Audio at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MTLBWSR

And other Online Retailers (Kobo, Apple, B&N, etc) : https://books2read.com/KerisChristmasWish

Excerpt: She awoke in another dimension. Keri had no idea if she was in Heaven, but neither did she fear Hell. Her surroundings were reminiscent of a dense forest at dusk. Shadows danced against a sunset where brilliant colors bled from the sky. A light shone in the distance but as she moved toward it, Keri felt as though she plowed through molasses. Unease pricked her skin. The sound of water drew her deeper into the woods until she stood at the base of a vast waterfall and rapids so swift she dared not attempt to cross the river.

The light grew stronger, brighter. Beckoning.

I need to get to the light.

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.”

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

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

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Guest Promotion: Christmas in the Air by Josie Riviera

What if you told your innermost secrets to a guy you assumed you’d never see again?

Penelope Reid meets an elusive, handsome stranger on a plane trip. Along the way, she confesses her problems and fears, her unrealized goals, while she believes the man is only half-listening. She is a single mother, readjusting after a difficult divorce, and raising a challenging twelve-year-old son.

Months later, she comes into direct contact with Jacob Williams, the new pediatrician in town, and the man she met on the plane.

Will he use his knowledge of her life to embarrass her, or pursue her?

Note: on sale for 99cents through the end of December

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EXCERPT

Prologue:

Penelope Reid sat glued to her seat.

Breathe in. There’s nothing to be nervous about. Flying in an airplane is routine for many businesspeople.

And she, unfortunately, was a businessperson.

She attempted to smile at the flight attendant who walked past, before resuming her pep talk to herself.

Virginia to Hilton Head Island is a short flight.

She considered texting her brother, Lincoln, with a ‘mission accomplished’ message, though he wouldn’t get the message until she had cell service again. He’d encouraged her to take the flight to secure a toy shop location. She’d complied, albeit reluctantly, though she’d been successful with the negotiations and closed on the deal. Nonetheless, when she finally arrived home, she intended to wring his neck. He knew how much she dreaded flying.

She cut a glance at her handsome seatmate’s profile. She’d admired the angle of his face—his sharp jawline and straight nose—throughout most of the flight. Framed by the afternoon sunlight streaming in the window, he seemed relaxed. Of course, he seemed relaxed because he was sleeping. In fact, he’d slept almost non-stop.

She coughed and nudged him. She needed someone to talk to and take her mind off the flight. She’d already breezed through every magazine in the seat pocket.

“Hmm?” He took off his aviator sunglasses and turned toward her. His eyes were a deep shade of brown, warm and mesmerizing, rimmed with black eyelashes. “Have we arrived?”

“Hardly.”

He peered out the window. “Cloudy day.”

“The weather forecaster called for rain.”

“He was probably right.”

She was probably right,” Penelope corrected.

He grinned. “Touché.”

Penelope sat up straighter. “Before you fell asleep, we were discussing our jobs.”

“Were we?”

“We were about to.” Her seatbelt tightened as she leaned toward him. “I’ve managed a toy shop business ever since I was a teenager.”

“Sounds fun.”

“I hate it.”

His dark eyebrows curved upward. “Why?”

“Do you want the truth?”

“By all means.” He flashed her a positively magnetic smile.

Her heart stilled. Here sat a good-looking man who had listened to her rattle on about her life whenever he opened his eyes. At least, she assumed he listened. She’d held him captive because he couldn’t escape. They were seated next to each other in first class. Still, she’d begun to assume they were friends, and he was an attentive guy.

At his assessing gaze, a flush warmed her cheeks. “I’m bored with my job. I want to create, not manage.”

“Create what?”

“Let’s call it a midlife crisis.”

“Let’s.” Another smile. “Do you have another job lined up?”

“No.”

“Is your job difficult?” His tone lowered. Thick, wavy hair fell across his forehead, and he pushed back the strands with his hand. His features were a bit weathered, his jawline and cheekbones prominent. A rugged man who apparently spent time outdoors if appearances were any indication.

The thump of attraction in her chest surprised her. She hadn’t felt an interest in any guy since her divorce.

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable shih tzu, who constantly needs grooming, and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

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Thanksgiving-themed story-On With The Show

 

Every Thanksgiving, Franzi Mueller returns to her hometown, Freedom Valley, to help with the musical show at the veteran’s hospital. After a decade of living in Houston, Franzi is feeling nostalgic for the sense of community in her small Texas town. Moving home wouldn’t be a problem if she could stop her matchmaking mother’s plans to reunite her with her ex-high school beau, Dietz Reinhardt.

Hardware store owner Dietz can see Franzi needs a break from her big city clothing designer job and plans to do whatever he can to help her relax. He figures a little help from her mama is a good thing.

Circumstances throw them together at every turn, each glance and touch igniting old sparks. Can Franzi find what her creative spirit needs in Freedom Valley or is time running out on this second chance for Dietz to win over her heart?

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd