Tag Archives: opposites attract

New release–A Match for Althia

 

This novella is book 7 in Marianne’s Mail-Order Brides, which is an offshoot of the wildly popular Pinkerton Matchmaker series.

Chicago socialite Althia Heathley feels pushed out of her life by her father’s new wife. Convinced all she needs to write a great novel are a few more life experiences, she agrees to become a mail-order bride. But once she arrives in Denver, she’s not so sure she’s cut out to live in such a wild and less-than-civilized city.

Leather worker Diego Roldan needs a bit more culture in his life to help attract new business clients. But his first sight of his prospective bride clues him that maybe he asked for more than he can handle. She’s so refined and proper that he wonders how he can provide her with what she needs.

One of the men Diego put in jail during his years as a bounty hunter comes seeking revenge. Will Althia fall to pieces in a panic, or will the pair work together to save their fragile relationship?

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Release day for Sweet Inspiration

Dependable Cadence Wills yearns for excitement. The owner of a yarn business, she is pulled in every direction by her demanding family. Haunting dulcimer notes draw her to a practice session where she spies an intriguing stranger.

Musician Rafe Frasco is a rover, bouncing between musical competitions. Interest ignites at his first glance at a woman enthralled by his music, who he learns has a heart big enough to encompass everyone within her reach.

A fantastic opportunity for Rafe presents Cadence with a dilemma—is she strong enough to negotiate the business deal that will take him away…maybe forever?

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EXCERPT

Unmarried and approaching thirty in a small town branded her as ready and willing to meet every unattached man who set foot inside the city limits. A sigh escaped. Like last week when Espe called Trent Sullivan over to their table at El Tres Amigos and then suddenly remembered an important errand, leaving them together. What Espe hadn’t known was Cadence and Trent already had been set up on blind dates—twice—by other well-meaning friends.

Nothing had clicked on those occasions either. Cadence craved someone with a mysterious past like in her beloved romantic suspense novels. A dark, shadowy figure who knew how to excite a woman with a molten look or a lingering touch. A man who fought to hide his pain and almost succeeded. Not someone like Trent—a guy whose high-school accomplishments she could probably recite.

Sweet plaintive notes of a stringed instrument floated on the breeze. Cadence stopped, straining to recognize the tune. A person didn’t grow up surrounded by folk music without knowing just about every ballad that could be plucked.

But this one eluded her. The twanging strings cried with a soulful sadness that grabbed her by the throat. Her thoughts were washed in loneliness, and she turned toward the sound, past the Heritage Herb Garden. A part of Cadence that couldn’t resist helping others had to see who was expressing such need.

She lifted the hem of her long skirt and hurried toward the haunting sound, as if the notes pulled her feet along the path. The compulsion to know who played added speed to her steps. Abreast of the groundhog pottery kiln, she slowed and peered toward the outdoor stage.

On the platform, several musicians were gathered—some unpacking instruments, others adjusting microphones. Off to one side, a dark-haired man sat in a straight-backed chair, one foot braced on a scratched case. He leaned forward and strummed a dulcimer, the light wood instrument cradled on denim-covered thighs.

Cadence stood a dozen feet away and studied the talented player. His too-long hair was tied back, his shoulders were broad inside his western-cut shirt, and his legs were long and lean. Scuffed boots, faded jeans and a worn Harley-Davidson tee-shirt composed his attire. Definitely more attractive than her own outfit. Even from this distance, she spotted a posture that meant the man had an attitude…or was mysterious. A thrill ran over her skin.

Who was this guy? He’d definitely swagger when he walked. Yummy. At the thought, she stepped closer, wanting nothing between her and the performance.

Long fingers picked the strings in a heated crescendo—note on teasing note, twang on shivery twang, strum on driving strum. He ended the song with a flourish, right hand arcing upward as the last note hung on the early morning air.

How did he know exactly how she felt on nights when everyone in Mountain View either had a date or was home curled next to a spouse? The isolation of being solo at the drive-in or enduring the knowing smile of a sympathetic waitress. His song wrapped all those feelings tight around her heart and squeezed. She inhaled, and the backs of her eyes stung.

Hadn’t she learned her lesson about musicians from the way Dale deserted her when his band got the chance to go on the road? Three years running, and he hadn’t yet steered the tour bus through his hometown.

The stranger laid a hand over the strings, rolled his shoulders, and lifted his head. Piercing brown eyes scanned the area, surveying the other musicians, and his gaze locked with hers. For a suspended moment, his gaze roved along her length, widened, and then returned to her face.

Under his scrutiny, she shifted her feet and tugged at the sides of her skirt. Her period costume didn’t exactly show off her figure to its best. Not that the fact should matter, but she couldn’t look away and chose to ignore the warning bells ringing in her head.

Release of Amata

Grayson’s adopted daughter is all grown up and not following Papa’s directives.

After completion of her studies at a teacher’s college, Amata Wainwright returns to her Cheyenne, Wyoming, hometown. Her worry is she must inform her state senator father that she didn’t earn the expected diploma. Determined to help a younger brother who suffers with dyslexia, she starts tutoring him and his friend using unorthodox methods.

Rancher Harlan Thorpe has his hands full and needs no more distractions. He’s establishing a breeding program on his ranch, keeping an eye on his stubborn son who keeps ditching school, and riding herd on his younger brother who would rather drink and gamble than put in an honest day’s work.

The mischievous young boys contrive situations to get Dario’s sister and Liam’s dad together. Each time, the adults don’t know what has hit them, but the growing feelings are definitely not in either one’s plans.

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EXCERPT

A familiar surrey with a matched team of roans stood near the holding corral where transported animals were off-loaded. A group of saddled horses stood tied to the railing.

A shaft of sunlight reflecting off a depot window blinded her. She averted her face then lifted a hand to shade her eyes. Several men gathered near the corral with a couple of them sitting atop the corral railing. The broad-shouldered one with the wide-brimmed hat looked like Chester. Why was the family’s man-of-all-work waiting there instead of on the platform to greet her?

The ground beneath her shoes shook. She glanced down but saw nothing amiss.

Pounding hooves beat the dirt, followed by masculine hollers and whoops.

An echoing set of hard footfalls thrummed from the opposite direction.

“Get out of the way!”

What’s going on? Amata looked between a tall man bearing down on her from the left and a beast of a cow thundering her way from the right. Her pulse kicked up.

The stranger waved an arm. “Move back, lady!”

Two hands grabbed her upper arms and jerked her off her feet. A muscular body slammed her back against the railroad car, pressing close. He tucked her head under his chin and clamped her to his chest. Grasping handfuls of soft cloth, she gasped and inhaled warm cotton and male sweat overlaying the scent of fresh soap.

Seconds later, the cow barreled past followed by a galloping horse, both kicking up clods of dirt.

Amata squirmed, which only dragged her fists across hard-as-granite muscles. Such awareness was scandalous. Heat invaded her cheeks, and she stiffened. “Sir, unhand me.”

Another horse charged past.

“Not yet.”

“I beg your pardon.” She lifted her head but only moved an inch under his strong hold.

“My men need to get that steer controlled.”

The metal car at her back kept her upright and as far away as possible from the rampaging cow. Unfortunately, her feet dangled several inches above the ground, hardly a position from where she could issue directives. “At least allow me to stand on my own two feet.”

His stance eased away. “Sure enough, miss.”

Even with her feet under her, Amata was adrift. Their bodies no longer touched, but the skin on her arms tingled where his grip held her safe. Her breathing was too fast. Blood pounded in her ears, and yet again, her hat hung askew. Except at a few dances as a youth, she’d never been held in a male’s embrace.

Freed from his iron grip, she shook herself and glanced up into eyes of the bluest blue. A lock of sandy brown hair hung over one eyebrow. The stranger was quite a handsome man…as long as she didn’t factor in his brutish manners.

“Cupids and Cowboys” is a multi-author series. Previous titles are:

Harriet by Pam Crooks

Lainie by Cynthia Woolf

Vella by Charlene Raddon

Alice by Margaret

To find these and upcoming titles, go to the series page on Amazon.

Snowflake Cottage release

After receiving a life-altering health diagnosis, Jada Beldane heads to a holiday cottage in Sprucewood, Colorado. Armed with a handbook titled Ten Days to Find Joy, she vows to use every exercise to fight her way out of this funk and face a new year with a positive attitude. All she needs is a little time to herself and to stay away from children.

Following a disastrous marriage, single dad Graham Seaver does his best to avoid the tourists in his hometown. He’s determined to give his young daughter the best Christmas ever. Hopefully, keeping her busy will distract her from asking questions about getting a new mother.

On paper, Jada and Graham are a horrible match. But when the town’s scheduled events throw them together, will they succumb to the holiday magic?

Behind the book secret: When I took the outline to my plot group, I said I want this story to be as close to a Hallmark Christmas movie as I can get. We brainstormed about the elements that make those many holiday movies memorable. Then I needed to insert the inherent conflicts that drive the story. As I started writing the contemporary novella, I almost couldn’t believe the way the characters just came alive and challenged and completed each other in ways that surpassed my hopes. I made myself tear up and cry at a couple points, and my editor pointed out where her emotions were jerked, too. I’m proud of all my stories, but this one is super-special.

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Series page on Amazon

Holiday Cottage (11 book series) Kindle Edition (amazon.com)