Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#SpotLight #ChristmasBook ~ CHRISTMAS AT WHISPER BEACH by Shelley Noble

by Shelley Noble

The holidays always seem brighter at Whisper Beach

Van Moran is ready for happily ever after, even if she’s not quite convinced she can get it. After finally opening a second branch of her company in Whisper Beach, she’s enjoying her new romance with Joe Enthorpe, the local vineyard owner. She may never have a traditional family, but she won’t let that stop her from having a joyful Christmas.

Joe is ready to spend a very merry Christmas with Van and his always rambunctious family. But when the mother of a local boy becomes tragically ill, Joe invites him and his sisters to stay at the vineyard. Everything soon begins to unravel as Joe fears the complications will drive Van away and he’s desperate to keep their relationship from crumbling.

But with every Christmas comes a miracle and soon, Van and Joe learn that it isn’t always about the family you make, but the one that lives in your heart.

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Chapter One
Vanessa Moran pressed her hands into the small of her back and stretched. Five huge boxes were left to unpack and it was already after three. She dragged another box into the storeroom and reached for the utility knife.
Someone knocked on the front door. “Yo, Van, are you in there?”
“Back here, Suze,” Van called back.
The front door closed, footsteps sounded across the wooden floors and Suze Turner appeared in the doorway to the storeroom. She shrugged out of a fire engine red cargo coat and tossed it on the floor. Her hat and gloves followed the coat, leaving her tall, large-boned figure clad in harem pants and a “Nevertheless, She Persisteth” sweatshirt.
Van held up her utility knife. “You know, when they let you intellectual types out of their ivy-covered towers you never know what to expect. ‘Yo?’ Really? Is that what a PhD. in English gets you?”
“I’m practicing my vernacular. And stop waving that weapon around. I came to help.”
Van frowned. “Really?”
“Really. Chaucer was getting me down and it’s too early to declare happy hour, so I came to see what’s up.”
“Drag that box in here and I’ll tell you.”
Suze looked behind her and hoisted the box. “Heck, what’s in here?”
“Either pine cleaner or wood floor oil.”
“Hmm,” Suze said and took the utility knife. “I have to say, the old homestead is looking better than I ever thought it could.”
“It does. Thanks for convincing me to use it for headquarters instead of renting that over priced, chic hole in the wall on Main Street.”
“See, us intellectual types are good for the occasional pragmatic morsel.” Suze lugged two large containers out of the box.
“Second shelf on the far right.”
“You mean where all the other ones just like these are?” Suze put the bottles next to the others and reached for two more.
“Sorry, I’m in micromanage mode and I didn’t have a victim until you came in.”
“Thank heaven for ivory towers, imaginary people, and the past.” Suze lifted out two more bottles.
Van laughed. Suze never ceased to amaze her. They’d been best friends since they’d both had summer jobs working at Dorie Lister’s Blue Crab restaurant down on the boardwalk. Van, still in high school, worked out of necessity. Suze, already in college, was willing to wash dishes, waitress, scrub floors—anything to avoid commuting to the city for an internship in the financial district.
When Van’s future unraveled, Suze had literally saved Van’s life. They’d lost touch until the past summer when they both returned to Whisper Beach for a funeral. It was meant to be a several hour trip, it had turned into something much longer for both of them.
Van was still doing manual labor but now for her own business. Suze was on sabbatical from Princeton, working on a paper entitled “Misogyny in the Works of Chaucer.”
Give Van manual labor any day.
A few minutes later, the cleaning supplies were shelved, the boxes were broken down and Van and Suze were sitting in the newly painted kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil.
Suze got down two newly purchased mugs from the refaced cabinets. “You know it’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished in a few short months.”
“Between my Whisper Beach peeps and the crew from Manhattan it was a piece of cake. Now I just have to hire an office manager, a receptionist, and cleaning and maintenance staff.”
At first Van had been skeptical. She’d planned to expand Elite Lifestyle Managers—Organization for Families on the Go—from Manhattan to Boston or Philly. But her life had taken an unexpected detour and so had her business. Now her first branch office would soon be opening in Whisper Beach.
“You have time,” Suze said.
“At least I decided to wait until after Christmas to open.”
Suze grinned. “Capitalize on all those New Year’s resolutions.”
“Exactly,” Van agreed.
The kettle whistled and Van poured water into the mugs. “I’ve only got generic tea. I was waiting for the new fridge to arrive before I stocked the kitchen, then I just got too busy and forgot. I do have milk and sugar.”
“And nary a biscuit in sight,” Suze intoned.
“Nope, but Joe’s mom insisted I have this so I don’t succumb to hunger while I work.” Van took out a plate covered in foil and placed it on the table.
Suze pulled off the foil. “Mom Enthorpe’s date nut bread. I’m in heaven.”
“She said I was too skinny.”
“It’s just your metabolism. Now me on the other hand . . .” Suze’s sentence trailed off as she cut into the date nut bread. She pushed the plate toward Van. “I shouldn’t be eating this.” She took a bit. “Hmmmm. This would be even better with cream cheese.”
“So how are you doing living at the farm?” Suze shuddered. “With Joe’s parents.”
“Actually It’s kind of great. They’re wonderful and we live at the back of the house. They made up a little suite of rooms for us, a bedroom, sitting room and our own bath.”
“Nice, still can’t believe you moved out of Dorie’s. Is this going to be permanent?”
Van cut herself a slab of bread. “I don’t know. Yes. Maybe.”
“Oh goodie, more vacillation on a same old theme. You know, you worry more about stuff that hasn’t happened than anybody I know. If it doesn’t work out you do what thousands of other divorcees do . . .” Suze grinned. “You start all over again.”
Van rolled her eyes. “That isn’t Chaucer.”
“Jerome Kern. Very smart man.”
“I couldn’t marry Joe knowing that I might bring him unhappiness.”
“Pick yourself up, brush your . . .” Suze sang under her breath. “Just because you can’t have kids doesn’t mean you both can’t be happy.”
“I know. I just don’t trust that it will turn out that way.”
“You also never thought you’d come back to Whisper beach. Much less actually using the house you grew up. As I recall you were waffling between selling it and burning it to the ground. And now voila, you’ve transformed it into a dyn-o-mite, upscale, cutting-edge business office.”
“Dana helped.”
“Dana? What did I miss while I was hunkered over my laptop?”
“She made me burn sage in all the corners and doorways.”
“Ah, to ward off evil spirits. Well, it worked. I don’t feel anything but good times ahead.”
Suze reached over to squeeze Van’s wrist. “Seriously, the past is done. Only people like me dwell on it, and I get paid to do it. Look to your future, girl, and take the plunge.”
Suze was right, except one part of Van’s past had changed her future forever.
“Or we can talk about my future.”
Van frowned. “Is something up?”
“Another dead horse. We need to beat. I think I’ll have another little sliver.” She reached for the plate. “Dorie’s feeding me like I was the prodigal daughter. Every time my mother sees me, she reminds me that her annual holiday—please-marry-my-daughter—party is coming up and she certainly hopes I’ll be able to fit in my new holiday dress. Which by the way, I haven’t bought yet.”
“Oh,” Van said. ”I thought maybe it was Chaucer that was getting you down.”
“Nah, Medieval misogyny is a walk in the park compared to my mother’s cocktail parties. I’d rather publish and perish than face her without a date.”
“What happened to Jerry? He’s always been willing to go with you.”
“Alas he has to work. Being a cop at Christmas is not for the feint-hearted. Besides I’m beginning to feel a little guilty about always taking advantage of his altruistic spirit.”
“You guys have a fight or something?” Van asked.
“Not at all. But we’re just friends. That’s all it’s ever been. We make each other laugh. But there’s no future there. I’m going back to Princeton when my sabbatical is up.
“Besides, outside of laughing, we have nothing in common. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great friend, but he’s a beer and football kind of guy which I totally get, only I’m a white wine spritzer and British drama kind of girl.”
“And ne'er the twain, huh?”
“Hey you used to yell at me for saying that.”
Van shrugged. “Just saying.”
“Anyway,” Suze continued. “I’m afraid hanging with me is—and I use the phrase loosely— ‘cramping his style.’ I’ve noticed he’s been hanging around Dana lately.”
“Dana Mulvanney?”
“Do you know any others?”
“No. One is enough.”
“True, but while you’ve been busy reconnecting with Joe, starting a new business and overhauling the Enthorpe winery, Dana has been attacking her new life with a vengeance and turning the restaurant around. I swear she’s a born again, efficient, business type, who doesn’t take shit and doesn’t even give it out too much anymore. You’ve been crazy busy lately. You wouldn’t recognize her.”
“I’ve been meaning to come over but it’s just been so hectic between the office, the vineyard, and commuting to the city every few days . . . Not to mention trying to build some kind of relationship with Joe while living with his parents.”
“Yeah I could see where that last part might be challenging for a long time loner, like you.”
Van made a face at her. “Tell her I promise to come over right after the holidays. You’re all still coming to the party?”
“With bells on. If I survive the madre.”
“So who are you going to take? Do you want me to ask Joe?”
“Thanks, but I would never put him through that. Plus it would never fool my mother. Maybe I’ll just tough it out this year. Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet the accountant-dentist-financial advisor-podiatrist of my dreams there.”
“Well, you don’t have to have a date for the Enthorpe’s party.”
“Excellent. Still planning to hold it in the vineyard’s new gift shop?”
“Absolutely. It’s perfect. Once we gutted it and pulled down all the ‘improvements’ and stop-gap fixes that had been made over the years, it was all original stone and rustic wood. I couldn’t ask for a better ambiance if I’d paid for it.” Van sighed. “Still a lot of work to do.”
“I have no doubt that it will be finished, organized, and looking like a million bucks. You’re a multi-tasking wonder. Just try to have a little fun while you’re at it.”
“I intend to.”
Suze her chair back. “Well, I’d better get back to Geoffrey C. Poor man. He lived in the fourteenth century. How was he to know that one day there would be feminist academics picking his Canterbury Tales apart?”
Van accompanied Suze to get her coat, waited while she bundled up and walked her to the door.
“You’d better pack it in soon,” Suze said. It’s beginning to look a lot like snow clouds up there.”
Van laughed. “I’ve never been around you at Christmas before.”
“If I could carry a tune, you’d be amazed. But no kidding. Go home.”
“I’m closing up in a few minutes. We’re decorating the Christmas tree tonight.” Van felt a familiar stab of panic.
“First family tree?” Suze sighed, then grinned. “Enjoy every minute of it, that’s an order.”
“You’re so smart,” Van quipped. Suze might have her head in the literary clouds, but she was the most insightful person she knew. At least into what made Van click. “It’s all so, I don’t know. Hallmark-y.”
“And you’re afraid the warm fuzzy bubble will burst?”
“No, well, maybe just a little. I don’t know.”
Suze laughed loud enough to shake the snow from the clouds. A couple of tiny flakes floated past them. “You’ll be fine, but maybe you better brush up your “Jingle Bells,” all the way home.”
Van watched Suze drive away in her old VW bug—an odd couple of big person and little car. But they seemed perfect together and, according to Suze, the old car gave her a certain cache on the Princeton campus.
Van she stepped back inside and closed the door. With Suze gone, without her laugh and personality that filled the corners, the old house seemed too quiet. And memoires she managed to ignore all day, began to flit in the shadows.

About the Author: 

credit goes to Gary Brown
Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links: 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#GiveAway ~ HOW TO BLOW IT WITH A BILLIONAIRE by Alexis Hall ~ @quicunquevult

by Alexis Hall

About the Book: 

Be careful what you wish for . . .

Once upon a time there was a totally ordinary boy who fell for a cold, beautiful prince. Only it's not a fairy tale, it's my life. The prince is a billionaire called Caspian Hart. And we're trying super hard to live happily ever after.

He's everything I want, need, and can't resist: a man who looks like a god and bangs like the devil. Except he's still got his rules and he's still got his secrets . . .

But if there's one thing Caspian's taught me it's that you should never settle for less than you're worth. And I'm worth his trust. I have to show him that I see him. That I'm not afraid of his passion, or his power, or his past. And that I won't settle for less than everything.

December 12, 2017
Forever Yours eBook $4.99

Buy the Book
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About the Author:
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de si├Ęcle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

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Giveaway: Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of How to Bang a Billionaire

Monday, December 11, 2017

#Review ~ Cowboy, It's Cold Outside By Lori Wilde @loriwilde

There is just nothing like a Lori Wilde Christmas story. I love all her books but her Christmas books just add that extra special feeling in your heart. Cowboy, It's Cold Outside is no exception. I was engrossed in this story from the first page all the way to end.

Paige MacGregor has not had an easy life lately. She is a strong independent lady that is trying her best to deal with life. She loves her grandmother and spends as much time with her that she can. Her Grandmother has health issues but Paige is so good with her. 

Cash Colton has made a name for himself in the country music world. All is going well until his girlfriend leaves him for his best friend, and the band breaks up. This guy's life has all the makings of a country song. It's just too bad he is living it instead of singing about it.  He's down on his luck and just needs some down-home time with some kind people to figure out life again. Cash is in town to help out his good friend Emma and put on a Christmas show for charity. 

I think one of my very favorite scenes is the first meeting between Paige and Cash. I laughed out loud at these two. There is that instant attraction that Paige is fighting for all she is worth, Cash doesn't want to reveal who he is yet, and Page is a stickler for the rules. 

I really enjoyed watching these two get to know each other. Like I said the attraction is incredibly strong. Cash thinks he just may have found the magic again to write songs. Paige is busy working all those jobs to pay the bills and spending time with her grandmother. I think Cash tips the scales in his favor when he does something very very special for Paige's grandmother. This guy has a heart of gold, is sweet as can be and hot oh so hot! Who wouldn't fall for this incredibly handsome cowboy?

Neither one is looking for a happily ever after but they just may have found it. It's not going to be easy though and they have a whole lot to get through if they are going to make it to their happily ever after. 

If you enjoy a great Christmas story, a small town romance, and just a fabulous read you need to grab up Cowboy, It's Cold Outside right now. It's the perfect story to curl up with on these cold winter nights. This is part of the Twilight, Texas series but it stands just fine on its own. Lori Wilde does a great job of writing these fabulous stories so you don't feel like you are missing anything no matter which book you pick up first. They are all great reads so maybe grab up a couple of these Christmas stories to enjoy this Christmas season. 

I was given the opportunity to read this fantabulous book and it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you. 

You may read more of my reviews on Lori Wilde's books here

Amazon Buy Link

#Review ~ Tell It Like It Is by Stanalei Fletcher ~ @StanaleiFletch

First off I have to say I LOVED the title Tell It Like It Is. Second well it's a Stanalei Fletcher story I knew I was in for a good read before I ever started reading the first page. Ms. Fletcher has a talent with romantic suspense stories. This lady can tell a story that is impossible to put down. 

Justine Shelby to protect Rosalee Kane. Rosalee is a famous author that has been around a block or two. Now she's is writing a book to tell just what all she has seen and done. It's bound to be a page-turner and it has certainly flared up interest. The problem being it's drawn the wrong interest. There have been threats and attempts on Rosalee's life. 

Justine gets an unexpected partner to assist protecting Ms. Kane.  FBI Special Agent Nelson Kane is a nephew to Rosalee Kane and he is determined now to help protect his aunt. Justine and Nelson don't start out on the best of terms and they sure do know how to irritate one and other. They have to get together on the same page to protect Rosalee. 

These three set out to find a safe place to hang out while everyone works on solving the mystery of who wants to hurt Rosalee. That's when this story turns in a roller coaster ride of drama, mystery, suspense, and action. I could not set this book down. There was no way I could set it down until I found out who these three could actually trust and who was the no good rotten person behind the attacks on this wonderful lady, her nephew, and her bodyguard posing as her friend. 

I don't want to tell you too much because you are going to want to grab up this book and read it for yourself. Trust me if you love a good Romantic Suspense story then you need this book and you need it now! If you are a fan of Stanalei Fletcher like me, then you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I have found that this talented lady has grown with each new book she puts out. I swear each book is my favorite until her next book is available. 

This is the fifth book in the Northstar Security Series but it stands just fine on its own. Each book in this series can easily be read on its own. However, if you grab one you might want to grab two because you are going to devour the first and wish you had another one to read right now. 

I was given the opportunity to read this incredible story and it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you. 

You may find more of my reviews on Stanalei Fletcher's work here

Tell It Like It Is (The Northstar Security Series Book 5) by [Fletcher, Stanalei]
Amazon Buy Link for Tell It Like It Is 

Breaking the Honor Code Amazon Buy Link

Beyond Duty (Northstar Security Series Book 3) by [Fletcher, Stanalei]
Beyond Duty Amazon Buy Link

Dead Reckoning (Northstar Security Series) by [Fletcher, Stanalei]
Dead Reckoning Amazon Buy Link

Proving Ground (The Northstar Security Series Book 1) by [Fletcher, Stanalei] 
Proving Ground Amazon Buy Link

#GiveAway ~ Back Home at Firefly Lake By Jen Gilroy ~ @JenGilroy1

 Back Home at Firefly Lake
Firefly Lake #3
By Jen Gilroy

Jen is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Back Home at Firefly Lake. Five (5) runner-up winners will receive a paperback copy of their choice from the Firefly Lake series! This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

In Jen Gilroy’s Back Home at Firefly Lake, Cat McGuire and Luc Simard find love and second chances in a heartwarming small-town romance that fans of Women’s Fiction and Susan Wiggs’ The Lakeshore Chronicles will love!

About the Book:  

She has a million reasons to leave. Can he give her the one she needs to stay?

Cat McGuire’s return to Firefly Lake is turning into much more than she bargained for. Sure, she missed the crisp pine-scented air and the comfort of having her family around her. But being home makes her feel less like the successful single mom she is–and more like the awkward teen who never fit in. It doesn’t help that hockey-pro Luc Simard is back in town, too. Luc was her childhood crush, the hometown hero who never noticed her, and yet somehow he still makes her heart skip a beat.

Luc’s homecoming has been bittersweet. He’s lost his wife and his career, but there’s no better place to start over than Firefly Lake. Coaching the local kids’ hockey team makes him feel alive again, and he thinks his life is complete–until Cat arrives. The shy girl he always wanted to protect is now the gorgeous woman who’s stealing his heart and making him believe in second chances. But how can he convince Cat that Firefly Lake is where she truly belongs?

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Series: Firefly Lake
Print ISBN: 9781455569618
Digital ISBN: 9781455566938

Now an Amazon Best Book of the Month!

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Luc’s heart squeezed. [Cat] was embarrassed to ask her family for help, like he’d have been embarrassed asking his. Except, that would never be an issue because he had more money than he could spend in one lifetime. Money to finance the creamery expansion his dad had talked about for years, and to send his folks on that cruise they’d hankered after but could never afford because of the cost of raising four kids and putting most of them through college. Money for everything except what mattered most—taking care of his wife and their child like he’d planned.
“Pay for the hockey registration when your grant comes through.” He tried to smile. “I know you’re good for it.”
“Thanks.” Cat’s voice cracked and she took one hand away from her bag to rub it across her face. “Hockey means everything to Amy. I want her to be able to play, but she’s growing so fast right now.”
“Hockey’s an expensive sport.” He slid an arm around her shoulders and gave her a little squeeze. The same kind of friendly squeeze he’d given her all those times back in high school when she’d saved his butt in chemistry. Before today, however, his fingers had never tingled when he’d touched Cat. His body had never heated, either.
Cat started and pulled away at the same instant he did. “Hockey can be a dangerous sport too, and now Amy will be playing with boys. She hasn’t played with boys since she was seven. She could get hurt.
Like he had, hurt so bad it had ended his career. “Amy’s playing minor hockey. At her age, there is a rule about no body checking.” He tried to make his tone reassuring. “I promise I’ll keep a close eye on her.” It was his job as her coach, and he’d do the same for any kid. It had nothing to do with the strange and unexpected attraction he all of a sudden had for this woman he’d known his whole life, who he’d never really looked at until today.
A woman who wasn’t Maggie. Luc’s stomach clenched in a tangled lump of guilt and grief, tied tight with a slippery ribbon of disloyalty. Maggie was never coming back, but that didn’t mean Luc could forget her. Or that he wanted to.

Copyright © Back Home at Firefly Lake 2017 by Jen Gilroy

Other Books in the Firefly Lake Series:

Some mistakes can never be fixed and some secrets never forgiven … but some loves can never be forgotten.

Charlotte Gibbs wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, once and for all. Yet now that she's back at Firefly Lake to sell her mother's cottage, the overwhelming flood of memories reminds her of what she's been missing. Sun-drenched days. Late-night kisses that still shake her to the core. The gentle breeze off the lake, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of Sean's touch on her skin…True, she got her dream job traveling the world. But at what cost?

Sean Carmichael still doesn't know why Charlie disappeared that summer, but after eighteen years, a divorce, and a teenage son he loves more than anything in the world, he's still not over her. All this time and her body still fits against his like a glove. She walked away once when he needed her the most. How can he convince her to stay now?

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Summer on Firefly Lake

Sometimes love is better the second time around.

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire—and the one kiss they’ve shared—has turned everything upside down.

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus, and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city…until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted…and the woman he can’t live without.

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

About Jen Gilroy:

Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in eastern Ontario, Canada where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She's worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write romantic women’s fiction to bring readers' hearts home.

Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

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