Welcome Tricia! #romance #mystery #amreading #amreadingromance

Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass.  A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign lands. Safari anyone? She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction. For more information on Tricia and her titles, you can visit her WEBSITE or other social media.

Between hot  flashes and divorce papers, a middle-aged woman reconsiders her outlook on life when she butts heads with a hot detective during a murder investigation.

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime – at least, someone else’s – does pay the bills.

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Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop #sweetandspicyromance #romance #amreading #giveaway #contemporary

Welcome to my stop on the Splash into Summer Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Bookhounds!

I have no idea where June came from, but hey hey hey, it’s summer!!! Aside from enjoying the days off from school and the warmer temperatures, I don’t have any big plans for the summer. Maybe I can actually get some writing done. Wouldn’t that be a nice change.

Anyway, so what do I have for you on my stop of the hop? A FREE eBook copy of my Contemporary/Humor novel, The Parking Space se in the beautiful islands of Bora Bora!

Helen Wright is done with love. Left at the altar then stood up by a blind date, her only significant other is her real estate career and her fat, orange tabby, Charlie. When her wealthiest client fires her then bad mouths her all over the city, Helen’s professional life becomes as pathetic as her love life. Her only consolation is a much-needed vacation to Bora Bora to attend a friend’s wedding.

Single again, veterinarian Rick Stark needs only three things: a new practice, a new city, and new place to live. He’s desperate to move on from his cheating ex-fiancée. Tired of spending the night on a friend’s couch, he jumps at the opportunity to apply for the perfect job on the beautiful islands of Bora Bora. Upon meeting the shy and introverted Helen, he finds himself oddly determined to help her have fun instead of letting her hide in her overwater bungalow.

Can they both find love again? And if so, what are they supposed to do when her old flame pops back into the picture wanting to reignite the engagement he once ended?

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I watched Logan tackle the blonde and playfully push her down onto the grass. Unaware of their audience, their teasing banter changed into a heated passion as he ripped off her bikini top.

The icing on the cake to this horrible day, ladies and gentleman, another woman’s boobs.

Hearing her moans of pleasure sent heat flushing through my skin, burning it several shades of red and I fled back inside my apartment, shutting the door behind me with more force than I meant.

Seriously? He’s outside for the whole world to see.

“Um, I’ll have to check with Michael in the morning, but I really don’t think he’ll have a problem with it.”

“And none of your clients will mind?”

“No, I think they’ll be okay. I’ll give them a call in the morning, too.”

She laughed. “Are you sure about that? I mean, will all your clients be okay?”

“If anyone needs to see a listing or has any questions, I’ll have Jason handle it. He owes me a couple of favors after I helped him with some title work.”

“Yeah, but will he want to deal with Reece?”

I closed my eyes. I hated not telling Lisa about what happened, but right now, in this moment, I didn’t want to talk about it nor hash out the details of what had happened. With the disappointment so fresh in my mind, the bitterness began to sting and my eyes misted with tears.

“He’ll be fine.” I brushed off my emotions. “So Wednesday, huh?”

“Yes, for six glorious days we will bask in the sun, drink fruity, out-of-this-world cocktails and I shall walk down the beach and become Mrs. Ben Hogan.” With the last of her words, she squealed.

“Yes, yes, you will.” I laughed. “Okay. Well, wow. I guess I’ll start packing then.”

“Ah, packing. I’ve already started mine. Don’t forget, lots of shorts, tank tops, and bikinis.”

Bikinis? A shopping trip might be in order tomorrow after work, too.

“Will do.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow with more details. It’s late and I’m exhausted. Night.”

“Night.”

I hung up the phone and plopped on the couch for a third time. The whirlwind of the day fought with a range of misery and excitement all at the same time. From a horrible showing, to talking to Tom, to getting fired, to losing my future plans, and finally to watching my bare-chested hot, annoying as hell, neighbor engage in sexy foreplay that I so desperately desired . . .

I closed my eyes and sipped on my glass of wine. The burgundy and berry flavors washed over my tongue. Charlie meowed from the floor, and with one swift jump, purred as he tiptoed across the couch and forced his way onto my lap.

“And what should I do with you?” I asked him, scratching behind his left ear. “A weekend here and there is nothing, but I don’t think you’ll be okay for seven days. I guess I’ll call Bayside in the morning to see if you can stay with them for the week.”

A whole week.

A whole week while I’m on vacation.

A whole week on vacation in Bora Bora.

Every Era has it’s Slang ~ 1930’s Slang Words #sweetandspicyromance #romance #historicalromance #amreading

While it was hard to put slang in a couple of my historical romance novels, one of them it was an absolute must! One simply doesn’t write a novel set in the roaring 1920’s and not use the slang people spoke back then. It’s just not right. So, of course, I scoured several websites to find all that I could.

What did I find?

A list of words that part of me wishes we still used today. Seriously, some of these are just too perfect and utterly hilarious.

  • Apple  – “The big apple” (being New York) however the word “apple” referred to any big city in the 1930s
  • Big House – refers to a prison.
  • Blow your wig – to become very excited
  • Broad/dame/doll – the fairer sex; they simply referred to women.
  • Cadillac  – an ounce of cocaine or heroin.
  • Canary – a female singer.
  • Cats/alligators  – were fans of swing music.
  • Chicago Overcoat – a coffin
  • Chicago typewriter/chopper – the Thompson machine gun also known as “Tommy Gun.”
  • City Juice/Dog Soup – a cup of water.
  • Copper – police officer/cop
  • Dizzy with a dame – in love with a woman
  • Dough/Clams/Salad/Moolah – money
  • Gat/rod/heater/convincer – referring to a gun.
  • Hooch/Booze – alcohol
  • Hot mama/looker/dame/dish – good looking women.
  • Mitt me kid – congratulate me
  • Togged to the bricks – all dressed up
  • Trigger Men – hired gunmen.
  • Trip for biscuits – a task that will yield no results

For me personally, I think I will start using “togged to the bricks”, “trip for biscuits”, “mitt me kid”, and “blow your wig”. Those just seem to have the most charisma I think I’ve ever heard in a phrase. I have to say that 1929 was a great era to write about. I had a lot of fun not only writing the novel, but in doing the research. And of course, when you love the research, of course, it doesn’t feel like a job. I truly had a blast writing this novel and I hope that you have a blast when reading it.

Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day the stock market crashed, and the day Evelyn Ford will never forget.

With the untimely death of her parents and the mysterious disappearance of her brother, bare cupboards force Evelyn to seek employment anywhere she can get it—even if that means becoming a bootlegger and illegally running hooch. Too bad her new boss ends up being none other than Don Vincent Giovanni, a Kingpin in the city of New York. Thrown into the world of the mob, she finds herself drawn to Max Catalano, the only man she believes she can trust.

Unfortunately, the family’s Consigliere has secrets of his own. Secrets that could get him and those he’s protecting killed. The last thing he needs is a beautiful, young woman messing with his well-laid plans—especially, when her foolish choices get her entangled in the middle of the mafia crime wars.

Can he keep her safe? Or will both of their deceptions catch up with them in the end?

    

Welcome Sally! #romance #amreadingromance #amreading

Multiple award-winning author Sally Brandle writes clean, contemporary, romantic suspense stories hoping to empower her readers to connect with their inner gifts. Growing up in a tightly knit, multi-generational community, Sally’s core values reflect those of the village where she was raised.

When she gets time away from her functional engineer husband and spirited sons, Sally hunkers down in her office. Her trusty Aussie, Tallulah, waits patiently at her feet for belly rubs as adventures unfold. For a head-clearing ride in fresh air, Sally saddles her Quarter Horse, Lance, and trots along wooded trails in the Pacific Northwest.

Sally holds a BA in Special Education from MSU and a Fine Arts Minor. She left a career as an industrial baking instructor so she could bring to life her stories of courageous women supporting one another, while they discover men who deserve their love.

A member of Romance Writers of America, Greater Seattle RWA, Eastside RWA, and She Writes, Sally’s current series, Love Thrives in Emma Springs, is set in rural Montana. The first story, The Hitman’s Revenge, will be released by Soul Mate Publishing. Her newest series is Double Vision, romance with a scientific twist. Check out her website at www.sallybrandle.com

While a witness and FBI agent escape mobsters, they can’t escape falling in love.

She needs his trust, he needs the truth. After Miranda Whitley stops crooked cops from assassinating a prominent Seattle judge, she’s next on the hit list, and her survival depends on the man she’s had one awkward encounter with—buff FBI Agent, Grant Morley. But can she find him in time?

The last person Grant expects to discover on his annual horseback trip delivering supplies to a Montana mountain hermit is alluring Miranda Whitley, nearly dead from a bullet wound in her side. An accidental witness or the cold-blooded accomplice to would-be assassins?

  Miranda must convince Grant of her innocence, evade the killers intent on preventing her testimony, and fight her unwanted attraction for the agent…an attraction which seems to be mutual. Fortunately, love thrives in Emma Springs. If you love sizzling chemistry, determined assassins, and Montana scenery, then you’ll love Sally Brandle’s galloping thriller.

Frissons of apprehension raised the fine hairs on her arms. A shadow moved near the stairwell.

Stepping inside the elevator car, she hit the button for the lobby with her fist, refusing to allow the reminder of her heartbreaking mistake to take hold in her head. Must be weird evening lights playing tricks in the empty building.

The car bumped to a stop on the ground level of Seattle’s Justice Building. Taking a deep breath, she stepped from the elevator onto the slate floor. The energy that normally pulsed from harried workers and pre-jailed patrons had dissipated into an eerie void.

Hesitation inched over her skin. She’d sworn she’d never ignore that warning again. Stuffing her pruning shears in her apron pocket, she shook her head and chided herself. Serene Interiors Plant Care is yours. Be thankful, and quit moping about working late.

     She pressed her palm into the embroidered purple stalk of lavender on her apron bib and looked out front.

Hazy bulletproof windows allowed a view of the dwindling stream of pedestrians in their typical Friday night exodus to their families.

No open arms would greet her tonight. Her stomach tightened while a bleak, wintry pall settled into her heart. She tugged on her ball cap. It restrained her braided auburn hair while she worked, but more importantly, it provided a lifeline.

Time to start pruning. Her hand brushed against a branch of her oldest bonsai, a Douglas fir. The bark had cracked and split for the tree to grow in diameter. If only a shattered heart did the same.

She studied her collection of potted, six foot tall green sentries jutting out in a perpendicular row from the elevator doors. They neatly concealed the ugly wall behind them and farther down, the corner stairwell holding her storage closet.

“Live shrubs produce a calming effect on visitors” was the pitch she’d given to GSA’s building manager to get the contract. She’d repeated the phrase today at noon to the Regal Hotel’s upper management. And they’d bought it, ensuring a few more dollars each month toward owning a wooded lot of her own, where she could build a fire pit and pitch a tent on weekends.

A hollow chant of regrets beat in her chest at the thought of watching a campfire fade to dull gray, all alone. Her hand touched her brother’s Mariner’s cap. The smoky scents had faded, but images of smudged faces and starry nights stayed woven into its threads.

She plodded across sunbeams of September’s golden light, walking beside knee-high pots containing her ten foot indoor hedge. Her gaze swept heavenwards, up to the atrium ceiling. She blinked. Streaks across the glass distorted the brilliance of the setting sun.

Geeze. Wasn’t anyone proud of their work? The creepy window washer on the scaffold last week should’ve been working harder instead of staring at her.

Her breaths of still air quickened. He’d watched her working.

Big deal. Maybe he had a sicko mommy-thing for women in aprons.

A trowel and her spritzer rattled in her tote while she rounded the end flower pot and moved to the backside of her overgrown fourth plant. Dim light flickered through the leaves, casting shadows onto the brick wall, barely illuminating the narrow aisle leading to the stairwell door.

She took a swig of coffee, sat with her back to the stairwell, and set her drink on a cold slate tile. Facing the front windows did little to help. The lighting in the corner sucked. After stuffing a clean cloth for polishing leaves into a side pocket of her cargo pants, she tugged on gardening gloves.

Squeaks from her mom’s old pruning shears echoed in the large, vacant room. She pulled another uneven limb of the Chinese Elm closer to her face and squinted. While she clipped, a peppery fragrance released from the wood.

A twig grazed her cheek, making her flinch. She brushed the neckline of her purple T-shirt with the back of her hand.

The place threw off the vibes of an abandoned morgue. Chill. She released the limb, let out a long breath, and grabbed a lop-sided branch from overhead. Tonight, even a rude prosecutor’s voice rupturing the tranquility would be welcome.

Not happening this late, but Ike would be descending in the elevator any minute. Hopefully in a better mood than when she’d watered the jade plant in his judge’s chambers earlier. He’d been tense, without the fatherly banter he doled out when she visited him and his wife, Shirley.

Soft taps came from a few feet behind her. She tilted her head.

Footsteps? From the stairwell? Miranda released her grip, and the tree limb sprang free. She swung her head and watched the branch skim the fly of the trousers on the man now towering over her right shoulder.

Not Ike. She froze.

Beach Reads Giveaway Hop #sweetandspicyromance #romance #amreading #borabora #contemporary

Welcome to my stop on the Beach Reads Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Stuck in Books!

Living in Oklahoma, I don’t get to see much beach time. Unless it’s the not so white, but sometimes sandy beaches of a lake so murky you can’t see anything no matter how hard you try. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t dream about them when I’m sitting on my porch reading with my feet in the pool. Okay, so not the same thing, but hey, it could be worse! Ha!

So what do I have for you on my stop of the hop? A $10 Amazon Gift Card and an eBook copy of my Contemporary/Humor The Parking Space set in the beautiful Bora Bora!!! 

Helen Wright is done with love. Left at the altar then stood up by a blind date, her only significant other is her real estate career and her fat, orange tabby, Charlie. When her wealthiest client fires her then bad mouths her all over the city, Helen’s professional life becomes as pathetic as her love life. Her only consolation is a much-needed vacation to Bora Bora to attend a friend’s wedding.

Single again, veterinarian Rick Stark needs only three things: a new practice, a new city, and new place to live. He’s desperate to move on from his cheating ex-fiancée. Tired of spending the night on a friend’s couch, he jumps at the opportunity to apply for the perfect job on the beautiful islands of Bora Bora. Upon meeting the shy and introverted Helen, he finds himself oddly determined to help her have fun instead of letting her hide in her overwater bungalow.

Can they both find love again? And if so, what are they supposed to do when her old flame pops back into the picture wanting to reignite the engagement he once ended?

amazonbarnes-and-noblegoodreads

Pain seared through the shin of my left leg. I spit out my mouthpiece and screamed under water. Rick grabbed me, kicking his legs as he dashed to the surface, pushing me above the water.

“OUCH!” I bellowed. “What the heck was that?”

“You just got stung by a jellyfish.”

“A jellyfish?”

“Come on, we need to get you back to the boat.”

He turned me around, laying me on his chest as he swam. Waves fought against his movement, splashing on my face as I struggled to breathe. I tried to kick, but with each stroke, my leg felt like fire licked at my skin.

“It hurts.”

“I know it does. Just hold on.”

“What happened?” Hal shouted as he scurried to meet us on the back the stern.

“She got stung by a jellyfish.”

Without saying another word, Hal grabbed my arm underneath my armpit and hoisted me on the boat while Rick climbed onboard after me.

I glanced down at my leg. The blistered skin burned a bright shade of red. A scream hissed through my teeth, and I closed my eyes as I lay back against the stern.

“Holy cow, this hurts.”

“Do you have any vinegar?” Rick asked Hal.

“I did, but I ran out and forgot to restock it.”

Rick’s fingers clutched my ankle while his other hand grabbed my knee. “Helen, how bad does it hurt?”

“Bad. It stings and burns.”

“Okay, Helen, we don’t have any vinegar to pour on it, but I can still help you. There is one thing I can do, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”

I opened my eyes, locking them on his.

Not too long ago, on a restless late night, I’d caught the middle of a show on an animal discovery channel. I knew the words that sat on the tip of his tongue.

Oh, Lord. Please. Please, no. Are you kidding me? Of all the things that could go wrong today it has to be this?

A lump caught in my throat. “I know what you’re going to say.”

My body began trembling as I sat on the stern.

“Helen, you’re going into a bit of a state of shock.” He glanced up at Hal. “See if you can find Logan and Flora. We need to get her back to the hotel as soon as possible.” He glanced back at me. “While we wait, I need to help with this pain.”

“I’m not going to lay here while you pee on me.”

He frowned. “You could have a serious reaction any moment from this.”

“I’m not going to lay here while you pee on me.”

“Fine.” He scooped my shoulders in one arm and my legs in the other to carry me to the seat.

Pain shot up my leg into my hip and down through the tips of my toes. “Ouch,” I howled. “I can’t. I can’t move. Don’t move me. Set me down. I can’t. It’s too painful.”

“I’ve got to get you in the back of the boat so we can leave.”

“Okay. Okay. Move me.”

He wrapped both arms around me again, but before he could even lift me more than a few inches, I screamed in pain again.

Oh for the love of all that is holy. Why? Why? Why?

“Okay, fine, fine. Make the pain go away.” I cringed with my words and covered my face with both of my hands. My whole body flushed fire hot, the embarrassment burned through every pore of my skin.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” I shouted. “Yes, I’m sure, just hurry up, and do it.”

Thousands of miles and thousands of dollars got me to this—a man I felt completely attracted to and wished to explore a possible relationship with now stood over me as he geared up to pee on me all because of some stupid jellyfish.

Cosmic karma was out of her ever-lovin’ mind.

“Now, no peeking, okay?” he mocked.

“Oh, you can be assured I’m not going to peek.”

A slight chuckle vibrated through his chest. “I’m so sorry.”

I closed my eyes. My hands were still firmly covering my entire face. Mortification trickled through the deepest parts of my mind.

How could I ever face this man again?

Don’t forget to hop around to the other stops on this wonderful hop!

 

Historical Landmarks ~ Burkel Estate #romance #historicalromance #amreading #amreadingromance

When I took my research trip to Montgomery, I had wanted to stop by Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum in Memphis. Unfortunately, time got away from us and we couldn’t stop. I still would love to visit the place, though. Maybe one day I will.

Even though I wasn’t table to see it in person, I still combed through pictures so I could give accurate portrayal of the place in The Woman on the Painted Horse.

The Burkle Estate is a historic home at 826 North Second Street in Memphis, Tennessee. It is also known as the Slavehaven. Although disputed by some historians, the Burkle Estate is claimed by some to have been part of the Underground Railroad, a secret network of way stations to help slaves escape to freedom in the northern states. The house was constructed in 1849 by a German immigrant by the name of Jacob Burkle.

Since 1997 the estate is home to the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. *Click on the link for more information.

Alexandra Monroe is a slave smuggler, smuggling slaves north to Tennessee where they can live as free people. Her crime is sedition and her punishment, if caught, is death.

The daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Montgomery, Alexandra lives a life not by her own accord, but a life she willingly accepts for her secret quest to save the lives of slaves. Her ultimate sacrifice is to marry the town’s most eligible bachelor, Thomas Ludlow.

One afternoon, Alexandra comes face to face with handsome William Graysden. He captivates her, and her thoughts confuse her. Born a Creek Indian, not only is William forbidden because of his race, but also because Alexandra is a closely betrothed young woman.

barnes-and-nobleamazongoodreadsWilliam and Alexandra fascinate one another, finding in each other a bond they don’t wish to ignore. After a series of events; however, William is forced to face the choice to continue the dangerous pursuit of Alexandra’s affections or forget about her.

Welcome Meggan! #historicalromance #romance #amreading #amreadingromance

Meggan Connors is a wife, mother, teacher and award-winning author who writes primarily historical and steampunk romances.

As a history buff with a love of all things historical, she enjoys visiting both major and obscure museums, and reading the histories of the Old West and the British Isles.

She makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow, or with her nose in a book. Favorite vacation destinations include the sun-kissed hills of California, any place with a castle or a ghost (and both is perfect!), and the windswept Oregon coast.

For more information on Meggan and her titles you can visit her WEBSITE or other social media.

Ethan Standish, fourth Duke of Dunmoor, is a man cursed by a past that refuses to let him go. Twenty years after enduring captivity as a prisoner of war, he has withdrawn from society, living ensconced at his estate. He takes no visitors and no risks. He needs nothing and no one, finding comfort in his solitude, with only his demons to keep him company.

That all changes the day Catherine Kirkcaldy arrives on his doorstep.

The governess for the children of the late Earl MacLendon, Cat has come to the estate of the enigmatic Duke of Dunmoor to inform him of his new status as their guardian. Despite her initial misgivings, she finds herself drawn to this contradiction of a man, a man with a fearsome reputation but a kind heart no one is allowed to see.

A single letter exposes a shared connection with their pasts, setting Ethan and Cat on a path of danger and revenge. But even as Ethan pursues retribution for the past that should have never been, he finds himself falling for Cat, a woman with a ready smile and an open heart. Can he bury his long-held demons in exchange for a future with Cat? Or will he forever be the Devil of Dunmoor?

 

Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop #sweetandspicyromance #romance #historicalromance #amreading #amreadingromance #giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Love in Bloom Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Bookhounds!

So what do I have for you on this stop?

A prize gift package including $10 Amazon Gift Card and a free eBook! To enter click on “Enter Giveaway”.

Alexandra Monroe is a slave smuggler, smuggling slaves north to Tennessee where they can live as free people. Her crime is sedition and her punishment, if caught, is death.

The daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Montgomery, Alexandra lives a life not by her own accord, but a life she willingly accepts for her secret quest to save the lives of slaves. Her ultimate sacrifice is to marry the town’s most eligible bachelor, Thomas Ludlow.

One afternoon, Alexandra comes face to face with handsome William Graysden. He captivates her, and her thoughts confuse her. Born a Creek Indian, not only is William forbidden because of his race, but also because Alexandra is a closely betrothed young woman.

goodreadsbarnes-and-nobleamazonWilliam and Alexandra fascinate one another, finding in each other a bond they don’t wish to ignore. After a series of events; however, William is forced to face the choice to continue the dangerous pursuit of Alexandra’s affections or forget about her.

The mind thinks. It schemes, plots ideas for rebellion, winning a war, or committing crimes. It organizes, planning for crops, arranging parties, or entertaining guests. It speculates, questioning the reasons of why, where, who, what, and how. It comprehends answers, understands ramifications, and finds solutions. It develops through experience, and becomes intrigued with finding the answers it seeks—soaking up information like dry soil soaks up water.

The mind thinks.

But, the heart feels. It feels love, happiness, sadness, and loss. The heart does not think. It does not question or reason. It senses emotion, experiences pleasure, suffers pain, and bears heartache. It fights with the mind in a constant agonizing war endured every day between emotion and logic, a battle over what lies at one’s own feet, the unknown or the known, the chance or the risk. The heart dwells only in emotion, an emotion with unbridled motivation, and it stirs within people a vastness the mind could never grasp.

My thoughts written on the pages of my journal bordered chaotic, just mindless rambles regarding the time spent with William and Thomas. Through the chaos, though, my excitement over whom was obvious. The heart won. It spilled its wish, its desire.

The heart spoke and the mind was silent.

My trip to Montgomery, Alabama #sweetandspicyromance #romance #historicalromance #civilwar #horses

While I was writing and researching my debut novel, The Woman on the Painted Horse, I took a trip to Montgomery, Alabama.

Yes, I know the picture say Arkansas, we just didn’t stop for pictures with the Alabama sign. Why I have no idea, since it would have made sense. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Anyway, I spent four days knee deep in tourist sites like Old Town Alabama, the First White House of the Confederacy, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History Museum.

I suppose most would consider that a boring vacation, it wasn’t, and my friend and fellow author, Regina Walker and I had a blast enjoying good food, seeing the sites, and a girls road trip all without the kids! We still talk about that trip all the time.

It was March 2011, and I had been scouring the internet for book events when I happened across the announcement for the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. Having the novel set in that same city, of course, you can bet it intrigued me. My novel was far from done, so visiting as a contributing author was out of the question, but visiting as a spectator surely wasn’t. Can you say, road trip!

At the time my oldest had just turned four years old and I knew spending the days traveling with her would distract me from much-needed research while I was there. I also didn’t want to go alone, so I texted Regina.

I can still remember the text. “Do you think your husband would let you go on a trip for four days with me?” Her reply. “Sure, where are we going.” That was it, the trip was planned.

For the next course of a month, it’s all we talked about. Counting down the days for a girls road trip each day. 20 more days, 10 more days, 5 more days, 48 more hours!

Through the magic of reward points, we scored a rental car and a hotel room for about $25 each and we took a cooler of packed food to cut down on that cost. All in all I think we each spent around $50-$75. We were thrilled.

We did splurge on two of our meals, stopping by Inter-State BBQ on the trip out (I had the ribs, she had BBQ spaghetti—yes, it sounds weird, but let me just tell you it’s divine) and Gus’s World Famous Chicken on the way home.

The first day we got stuck at the rental car place for an hour due to an error, we got lost in Arkansas after missing an highway change, got stuck in traffic somewhere in Alabama, and arrived to our hotel several hours late, but did we care? Nope. And after a few hours sleep, we hit the ground running.

The first day we spent at the First White House of the Confederacy. Although, I know that the history behind this building for some could be a controversy, the house was beautiful, and it was a part of the research for my first novel, and any others I write in that time period. I’m happy that I visited it.

Our second stop for the day was the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Looking at all the old trinkets was amazing, and while I will spare you from the hundreds of pictures I took, I’ll share some.

Our second day was spent in Old Town. I knew we would go back for the book festival the next day, however, I also knew it would be crowded. And getting pictures or talking to people wouldn’t be easy. To our fortunate luck, the day we chose to go was one of their least busiest days and we were practically there by ourselves and got to see bits of the Ordeman House that they usually don’t show visitors because we were the only ones. Unfortunately, they don’t allow cameras inside that house. But I did take some shots of the outside and slaves quarters.

I have to say that looking through all the pictures again makes me want to go back. The book festival is in April every year, so . . . I guess that’s something to think about. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

    

May I Suggest Giveaway Hop #sweetandspicyromance #romance #historicalromance #bloghop #giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the May I Suggest Giveaway Hop hosed by Stuck in Books!

Not only is May by birthday month (and I’m turning the big 4-0 this year. Eeekkk!!), but May is also known as “GET CAUGHT READING MONTH”!! Isn’t that a great monthly holiday to celebrate? Woot woot!

Of course, we all know how there’s something special about getting lost in a book. I mean,how could you not want to lose yourself in another world, to go on great adventures and think deep thoughts with the greatest storytellers and thinkers of the ages?

Well fear not my fellow bookish nerds! For we shall not hide our obsession no more! Get Caught Reading Month is your chance to come out of your nook, and get caught reading!

In honor of this great month, on my stop on this blog hop, I’m giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon. Hopefully, this $10 will help fill your Kindles with a few great titles to enjoy! Along with the gift card, I will give away one FREE eBook copy of As the Liquor Flows! *Click on the “Enter Giveaway”

Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day the stock market crashed, and the day Evelyn Ford will never forget.

With the untimely death of her parents and the mysterious disappearance of her brother, bare cupboards force Evelyn to seek employment anywhere she can get it—even if that means becoming a bootlegger and illegally running hooch. Too bad her new boss ends up being none other than Don Vincent Giovanni, a Kingpin in the city of New York. Thrown into the world of the mob, she finds herself drawn to Max Catalano, the only man she believes she can trust.

amazonbarnes-and-noblegoodreadsUnfortunately, the family’s Consigliere has secrets of his own. Secrets that could get him and those he’s protecting killed. The last thing he needs is a beautiful, young woman messing with his well-laid plans—especially, when her foolish choices get her entangled in the middle of the mafia crime wars.

Can he keep her safe? Or will both of their deceptions catch up with them in the end?

Business after business, the city of New York surrounded the park in a vast sea of buildings that spread out like long elegant fingers. With each passing day, however, more buildings became vacant. Abandoned and left behind to a bankrupt city that couldn’t care for them any more than the owners could.

Men, women, and children walked in every direction along the city sidewalks with eyes full of sadness and despair. Every day an air of depression clouded the whole city more and more in a dense fog that left everyone within an inch of sanity and clawing for any escape from poverty.

The few of the stores, lucky enough to remain open, hung signs up and down the streets of New York advertising food and clothes. Five cents for a loaf of bread, seven cents for a bottle of milk, or a few dollars for the latest style of bias cut dresses in silk, chiffon, and lace.

Purchases beyond my means, and yet, ones I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash at when my parents were alive or when Frank and I had money. Often these stores also offered free cups of coffee for the unemployed. A nice change to the water they gave at the soup kitchen with the odd musty smell and sour taste.

As I strolled down the alleyway, a couple of men huddled in the corner around a fire lit in a steel barrel. Their clothes ragged and dirt stained, they rubbed their hands as they held them near the flames.

“Been out of work for about three months. Don’t know what I’m gonna do if I can’t find anythin’ soon.” One of the men grunted as his hoarse voice rasped over each syllable.

“Aye, no jobs around here, no more. Been thinkin’ I need to head out of town, go someplace else for a bit.”

“I got a cousin over in Atlantic City. He says findin’ work is just as hard there, too.”

The two men nodded as I passed then continued their conversation with words I didn’t want to hear, and yet ones I couldn’t ignore. No jobs, no work, no money, the same problems felt all over the city.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this amazing blog hop!

Welcome Iuliana! #romance #fantasy #paranormal #paranormalromance

Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, author Iuliana Foos, lives with her husband in San Antonio, Texas.

When she doesn’t daydream or write, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee and playing online multi-player games, hoping one day to have a white-sanded beach as her backyard.

Becoming a traditionally published author has been a life-long dream turned reality.

Since she visited for the first time ‘Dracula’s castle’, many years ago, a story started to take shape in the vivid imagination of a teenager. Fast forward a little over thirty years, and that story evolved into a trilogy and eventually made it on paper. For more information on Iuliana and her novels you may visit her WEBSITE or other social media.

A prestigious bloodline, alien descent and love blend and ignite war in the secret vampiric world.

Determined to turn her fantasy into reality, Ana starts her journey to become a vampire. Along the way, she learns the truth about their secret society, discovers her prestigious bloodline, and falls in love.

Not all vampires are accepting of humans and war looms in the shadows. An ancient tome reveals the vampires’ alien descent and sparks war.

An army bent on eradicating her coven’s existence threatens her new world. Survival or annihilation will be in Ana’s hands.

 

“There will be two ceremonial daggers, sharp, with our names engraved on them. You will use the one—”

“Use? Are you telling me that I have to cut you in a room—an underground room—in the presence of hundreds of vampires? Are you for real? Are you—?”

Andree laughed and held her closer to him.

She could appreciate his gesture, but it didn’t help her feel better. It was bad enough she stood in that room the other night, under the scrutinizing glares. Adding blood to the equation wasn’t something to look forward to.

“You will cut your initial in the palm of my hand, here,” he explained, indicating a spot on his palm, right under his thumb. “I will do the same, and you will not feel a thing. Daniel will be right there with his spray. It will be quick and painless.”

“But what about the blood? I mean—”

“Nobody will attack you or me, guaranteed. It is part of the ceremony.”

“I’m not sure about it. You guys in general go crazy when you see or smell blood.”

“Ana, tasting my blood is a symbol. I am giving you my life, just as you will give me yours. It is what will bind us for eternity.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her palm, sending tingles, as if a million tiny ants marched through her veins. “As I already told you, the ceremony is short, but every word we say, every gesture, symbolizes something.”

“Can’t we do all that without the blood part?” With the tingles melted away, and a nervous energy replacing them, she dared to gaze at him.

“We are vampires, Ana. Blood is life.”

 

 

 

One Contemporary in a Sea of Historicals #sweetandspicyromance #romance #contemporary #BoraBora

I’ve often been asked why I chose to break from the historical romance sub-genre for my fifth novel, The Parking Space.

Honestly, the reason is I just wanted a break. Historical romance novels take a lot of time and research and having just come off writing four of them—one of which was extremely difficult . . . cough, When the Black Roses Grow, cough . . . set during the Salem Witch Trials—I just needed a break. I needed easy.

For the most part, this book was a breeze to write. Yes, I still have to do research when it came to veterinary medicine and accurately describing the islands of Bora Bora. However, it wasn’t near what I had to do for the other novels and was a nice break.

I have to say that while I still prefer the historical sub genre of romance, writing a contemporary or chick lit every now and then would probably be fun for me. I have a few ideas for other stories in mind. Unfortunately, for them, they always seem to get pushed down the list. Perhaps after another number of historicals, I’ll find that I need easy once again and they will get their chance in the sun. I guess we shall see.

    

 

Welcome Carrie! #paranormal #romance #amreading #paranormalromance

Carrie Pulkinen is a paranormal romance author who has always been fascinated with things that go bump in the night.

Of course, when you grow up next door to a cemetery, the dead (and the undead) are hard to ignore. Pair that with her passion for writing and her love of a good happily-ever-after, and becoming a paranormal romance author seems like the only logical career choice.

Before she decided to turn her love of the written word into a career, Carrie spent the first part of her professional life as a high school journalism and yearbook teacher.

She loves red wine and chocolate, and in her free time, she likes to read, take pictures, and spend time with her family.

For more information on Carrie and her available titles, visit her WEBSITE or other social media outlets. To Catch a Spirit (Spirit Chasers Book 1), To Stop a Shadow (Spirit Chasers Book 2).

A second-chance romance where the past isn’t the only thing that’s haunting…

Paranormal investigator and IT genius Gage Dawson sucks at dating. Ten times out of ten, his relationships don’t make it past dinner. But when his childhood best friend comes back into his life, he’s determined to take her all the way to breakfast. He never told her he loved her in high school. Hopefully he won’t make that mistake again.

Psychic medium Erica Miller is struggling to make her haunted community theater a success. She’s never had a problem with ghosts before, but when black-outs, confusion, and headaches plague her rehearsals, she’ll need the help of a certain paranormal investigator to find the culprit.

Erica hasn’t seen Gage since high school, and the nerdy boy-next-door she once called her best friend has grown into a mouth-watering specimen of a man. Will sparks fly between them, or will the spirits drive them apart?

“This is me.” She pointed to a dark gray Saturn. “I better get home.” She opened the door, but hesitated to get in. Instead, she turned and pulled him into a hug. “It was good talking with you again.”

Damn, she felt good pressed against him. “Yeah, it was.”

She touched her lips to his cheek, a friendly gesture she’d done many times when they were kids. But this time, she didn’t pull away. Her mouth lingered near his jaw, her breath warming his skin. She pulled back ever-so-slowly, her nose brushing against his cheek as her lips neared his own.

His heart pounded in his chest. She glanced into his eyes and lowered her gaze to his mouth. Leaning toward him, she brushed her lips to his. Softly. Cautiously, as if she wasn’t sure kissing him was the right thing to do. She pulled back slightly to catch his gaze, and then, cupping his face in her hands, she kissed him again, this time, like she meant it.

The taste of lime on her lips made his head spin, and he fought the urge to crush his body to hers and kiss her harder. He’d let her take the lead for now. Rushing her into something she wasn’t sure she wanted was bound to backfire.

She inhaled deeply and pulled away, a smile curving her lips as she looked into his eyes. “Hmm.” She lowered her gaze and blinked up at him. “That was nice.”

“Yeah.”

She slid into the driver’s seat. “I hope I’ll see you again soon.”

“Me too.”

She closed the door and waved as she drove away.

Gage shoved his hands in his pockets and watched until her car disappeared around the corner. What had happened there? Had she really kissed him? He played the moment over in his mind. The way her breath felt against his skin. The softness of her lips brushing his. That had been way more than a friendly kiss.

“So, you and Erica hit it off.” Lindsay grinned at him from the sidewalk, pulling him from his thoughts.

He sauntered toward her. “We’re just friends from high school.”

“Just friends don’t kiss each other on the mouth.”

He chuckled. “No, I guess they don’t.”

It’s all about keeping it personal . . . #sweetandspicyromance #romance #contemporary #humor #cat #amreadingromance

I get asked a lot if I ever put personal information or stories in my novels. Well, the answer to that is “of course”! I love putting personal touches in my writing. It makes it extra fun when friends and family notice and send me messages about it too.

So what is an example of this? Well, actually here are two.

In my novel, The Parking Space, Helen shares a story about her orange tabby cat named Charlie with Rick. Not only do I own a fat, orange tabby named Charlie, but the funny story Helen shares actually happened to my late cat Tuffy.

I still remember that night like it was yesterday. My husband and I laid in bed laughing for at least 30 minutes before going to look for him. So what’s the story?

“Is there anything cuter than a kitten?”

“I don’t think there is.” He picked up a Siamese colored one and cradled it in his hand. “How old was Charlie when you got him?”

“Seven or eight weeks.” Memories of my fat cat as a rambunctious kitten stirred in my mind. Times when he’d use my furniture as trees or go running through my kitchen, his claws slipping on the linoleum so badly he actually wouldn’t move an inch no matter how hard he tried.

I couldn’t help but laugh to myself.

“What’s so funny?”

“I remember this one time I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. Everything was dark, I mean pitch black, and I couldn’t see anything. I could hear Charlie running through the apartment. Up over the couch, through the living, through the dining room, I could hear his claws in the carpet. Finally, he ran into my bedroom and through the bathroom door. I heard him on the tile and then all of a sudden there was this huge splash.” I paused, clutching my chest, barely able to speak through my laughter. “I had forgotten to put the toilet seat lid down.”

“Oh no.” Rick slapped his hand over his mouth then jerked his head back with laughter.

“I couldn’t stop laughing and must have laid there for at least ten minutes before I went looking for him.”

“That’s hilarious.”

“It was. It really was. Gross. But so funny.”

Helen Wright is done with love. Left at the altar then stood up by a blind date, her only ‘significant other’ is her real estate career and her fat, orange tabby, Charlie. When her wealthiest client fires her then bad mouths her all over the city, Helen’s professional life turns just as pathetic as her love life. Her only consolation is a much-needed vacation to Bora Bora to attend a friend’s wedding.

Single again, veterinarian Rick Stark needs only three things: a new practice, a new city, and a new place to live. He’s desperate to move on from his cheating ex-fiancée. Tired of spending the night on a friend’s couch, he jumps at the opportunity to apply for the perfect job on the beautiful islands of Bora Bora. Little does he know how boring a vacation alone can actually get, so upon meeting the shy and introverted Helen, he finds himself oddly determined to help her have fun instead of letting her hide in her overwater bungalow.

Could both of them been wrong about finding love again? And if so, what are they supposed to do when her old flame pops back into the picture wanting to reignite the engagement he once ended?

    

 

Welcome Gwen! #romance #amreading #amreadingromance #contemporary

Born and raised near the Puget Sound in Washington State, Gwen and her family now live in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Prior to that Gwen lived in Los Angeles and had careers in directing, acting, and singing while performing at the piano. After years in academia, writing one research article followed by another, Gwen turned her talents toward writing fiction and found she happily could not stop.

In addition to writing romance, Gwen also has two published non-fiction books on the work she does in conjunction with her business, Expressive Voice Dynamics: Soul of Voice and Soul of My Voice.

When she’s not reading, writing, or playing with her two black pugs, Buster Keaton and Emmett Kelly, Gwen works in the theatre, teaches college students how to muster the courage to follow their dreams, or assists psychotherapy clients in discovering more joy and meaning in their lives.

Keep up with Gwen by visiting her websites at www.gwenoverland.com and www.cunigundavalentine.com or other social media.

Bailey Anderssohn, one-time international opera star, inherits the family ranch near Salmon Run, Washington. Seeking a creative outlet, she jumps at the chance to ghost-write the autobiography of a retiring German soccer star.

It’s a difficult few months for Bailey, since the young man’s widowed father, Bastien Steinholz, is not only rude, but also refuses to divulge needed information about the family’s past. Still, the attraction between them slowly dispels their initial apprehensions about each other.

Can these two seemingly unsuited people escape their loneliness and into one another’s hearts? Will they find a way to trust each other enough to fall in love again? And if they do, how will they manage living continents away from each other?

 

As soon as the ovation had subsided, Paul leapt up onto the platform where the grand piano and his father stood.

“Thank you, father. As always, that was beautiful—one of my favorites, as you well know,” Paul said, placing his hand on his father’s shoulder. “Ladies and Gentlemen, friends,” he continued. “I have a bit of a surprise for all of you. Our dear Bailey Rogers has not always been a writer but has had a notable career in the past as a soubrette. Many of you may have known her as Bailey Anderssohn. Her sister Sonja Anderssohn is the celebrated mezzo at the New York Met. It may be an imposition, but would you be so kind, Bailey, as to favor us with an offering this evening?”

Oh shit! How do I get out of this?!

Bailey face froze into a grimace. She loved Paul and his family, but to come out of retirement on such short notice was nothing short of torture. And she would have said no thank you or something else to beg off, but then she saw a glint of joyful comeuppance surface on Bastien Steinholz’s half-smiling face. That did it! No way was she going to give that old fart a minute’s enjoyment at her discomfort.

Bailey softened her expression and stood. “I would be delighted.  Although it has been some years since I performed, I accept your request, but only if the illustrious Herr Steinholz will accompany me on the piano.” The crowd clapped in unison and sang out, “Bailey! Bailey! Bailey!” And then “Bastien! Bastien! Bastien!”

Touché!

She had Mr. Grumpy Pants right where she wanted him. And from the look on Bastien’s face, he knew it.

“It would be my pleasure, Fräulein.” He nodded and smiled. Well not exactly smiled, but allowed the corners of his mouth to rise ever so slightly as his forehead furrowed, and his feet made a strange and unfamiliar motion.

He didn’t actually just click his heels, did he?

Bailey tried not to laugh but as usual had little success at squelching her sense of humor.

Paul met Bailey at the edge of the small stage and assisted her onto it. The women that evening had all dressed in their finest ball gowns, and Bailey was no exception. She was short and muscular, but the floor length pale blue dress gave her the illusion of being much taller than she actually was. That and the neckline which did not fail to show off her best physical feature—two full round breasts. Standing between the two Steinholz men made her more aware of her figure than she’d been in several years, particularly since it was obvious to her that Herr Steinholz senior was having difficulty keeping his gaze up and forward.

“Herr Steinholz, …” she began.

“Bastien, please!” he interrupted.

“Bastien, might I trouble you to accompany me on “The Laughing Song” from Die Fledermaus? Somehow I feel the aria is most appropriate for this auspicious occasion.”

Bastien lifted his left eyebrow and took a step toward her. As he bent to place his mouth close to her ear, her body responded with a small shudder.

What the hell is this all about? I don’t even like the man, let alone feel attracted to him. Do I?

“Fraulein Rogers,” he whispered, “are you sure you want to choose that particular aria? It isn’t the easiest thing to pull off if you are no longer concertizing.”

Bailey placed her hand on his arm. The man’s body warmed hers. “I was going to ask you the same question, Bastien. And by the way, my name is Bailey. Bailey, Bastien. Bastien, Bailey.”

Bastien immediately stood up straight. It was obvious to Bailey that he was trying his damnedest not to look down her dress. And if she wasn’t mistaken, he was aware that she knew his blush had more to do with his desire to take in her womanly charms than her most recent reprimand.

“Yes, Bailey, I am quite aware of your name as well as my own. And so, Adele’s “Laughing Song”, as you wish!”

He turned and seated himself in front of the keyboard. He knew this aria backwards and forwards and so did not need the music in front of him. Bastien had trained himself over the years to watch every movement and nuance of his singers so as to support their performances as professionally and as personally as he could. Bailey would be no exception.

As Bailey internally prepared for her performance, Bastien could not help but stare at her standing alone in the curve of the piano. She was beautiful, he had to admit, in an American sort of way—independent, strong, self-assured. Except then he saw the slight twitch of her fingers—a sure sign of nerves—and his heart leapt into his throat. She was vulnerable after all, and not the nosey brassy busy-body American he had initially thought her to be. A world of discovery was held in those fragile, child-like fingers of hers. Bastien knew the woman to be in her early thirties, if not a few years older, but in that moment Bailey seemed more like a lost child in search of a loving adult to love and be loved by. He could only imagine what she would feel like curled up on his lap hidden in the strength his arms.

Bastien shook his head in an effort to dismiss whatever his brain was doing to his male parts. He wasn’t ready to fall in love again, for love meant but one thing—loss. And in his experience loss only brought self-reproach and pain. And he had had enough of that to last a lifetime. Bastien’s only recourse was to push the woman away before he had the chance to destroy the two of them.

“Bastien?”

Huh?

“Bastien?” She softly called to him a second time and nodded to let him know that she was at last to perform the aria. Which he now wished he had not challenged her to do.

Gott in Himmel, get your head out of your ass and stop embarrassing yourself!

Once he got a hold of his bearings, Bastien’s fingers flew across the keyboard as he skillfully played the introduction. Bailey came alive as she stepped into the character of the saucy maid, teasing then scolding her aristocratic master for misinterpreting her behavior.

It had been years since Bailey had performed this aria, let alone performed. For the first time in years she felt a freedom that she had not experienced since before the death of her child and her subsequent nasty divorce. It didn’t take her more than a few measures to understand why. This audience had no expectations of her, nor did they demand perfection. They merely wanted to experience yet another facet of the woman who had written about their beloved native son.  They were listening not only for their pleasure, but for hers.

As Bastien played, Bailey danced around him, pretending he was the opera’s Marquis. She teased him, provoked him, and sensually invited his attention to her womanly virtues. When she leaned in behind him allowing her breasts to push against his back, she sensed his sexual response as his breathing became more rapid.

The laughter in the aria brought Bailey around to the front of the piano once again.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

Then as the end neared, Bailey seductively leaned forward over the keys. When she took his face in her hands, he grinned at her in return.

That rare smile momentarily caught her off guard. For a moment she actually slipped out of character, oddly shaken by the Baron’s obvious attention. In that brief moment she felt as through the two of them had connected in such a way that they saw each other for the first time as who they truly were. Battered but not beaten survivors of great loss and pain. Instead of scaring her, that lightning bolt realization felt good, perfect. As if it was meant to feel when one meets the love of their life. The electricity in that nanosecond felt eternal—as if it had always been and would always remain.

I must be losing my mind. If that isn’t the corniest thing I’ve ever …

The sound of applause broke Bailey’s attention. She inhaled sharply and spun out to face her audience. As if on autopilot she executed a deep curtsy. She then motioned for Bastien to stand and take a bow. Later when he tried to recall this moment, absolutely nothing came to his mind.

And Bailey was no better off. She immediately recognized the connection between her and her host and fought against allowing herself to go there. Tomorrow she would be leaving Schloss Steinholz and Germany all together, probably never to return given her duties at the ranch. Especially now that her father had gone on to be with her mother. This whatever it was should not be happening now!

Before she knew what was happening Bastien pulled her into his arms. “You are something, Ms Bailey Rogers,” he whispered. “And not at all what I had earlier assumed. Please accept my apology for any rudeness you may have felt.”

He let her go, looking down her dress as he did. And damn, if he didn’t again smile, this time with his entire face.