Gifts come in many shapes and sizes, but I believe the most precious ones are those delivered from the heart. It’s easy to get caught up in the mayhem of life, particularly during the Holidays, but every day, there are people amidst the chaos who help you, who take time out of their busy lives to make a difference in yours. This year, why not return that gift?
This holiday season, as wrapped gifts exchange hands, I ask you to pause, reflect on those who’ve truly made a difference in your life, and if possible, find a special way to say thank you. This can be a simple gesture—something like a greeting card, a bouquet of flowers, or a heartfelt poem. Maybe you could bake their favorite cookies? Or, present them a coupon book filled with everyday chores, which they can tear out and give you to do on those days when they really need a helping hand. The absolute best gift you can offer another person is one given from the heart. And when special-delivered, without any strings attached, it touches their own.
This Christmas, I’m making gift baskets filled with my favorite homemade things, such as macadamia-butterscotch chip cookies, shortbread, double chocolate-orange-pecan biscotti, Vermont maple syrup, and more. With each one, I’m sharing a part of myself with the other person.
What ideas can you think of? Remember—the more original and inventive, the more fun! 🙂 I can’t wait to hear your ideas! ONE person will be drawn from all who post, and the winner will receive one of my totes and a mug. (*Contest ends the 23rd of December, 2017.)
My gift to you, one of my favorite recipes: Butterfinger Ice-cream Pie!
Apple Pie Ice-cream Pie
Chocolate cookie pie shell
1 Quart Apple Pie ice cream
1/3 Cup of brown sugar
1/2 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
1/16th Tsp. cloves
Place 1 quart of softened Apple Pie ice cream into chocolate cookie pie shell and smooth out flat. Layer with ½ inch or slightly more of whipped cream. Sift on brown sugar/chopped nuts/cinnamon/cloves mixture. Drizzle on top lines of chocolate syrup and caramel syrup. Cover, freeze and enjoy!!!
I wish everyone a fabulous holiday season filled with friendship, laughter, and blessings!
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and books #1 & 2 of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #3, Forbidden Vow which will be released in May 2018.
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.
Just having fun this morning. I’ll be at my desk most of the morning and early afternoon. I have an online chat happening at 2 PM CST—in case you want to come and win something! And you have to know EVERYONE gets something. 🙂
In the meantime, here’s a little contest. Watch this video by P!nk. Tell me what your fave Channing Tatum look is in the video, and you’ll be entered to win a free download of any of my recent releases!
Still have to see Bad Mom’s Christmas and Justice League.
Can’t wait to see Downsizing AND I’M DYING TO SEE THE NEW JUMANJI!!!
A set of movies I just bought to watch over the holidays is Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie. Haven’t seen them in forever, but not too long ago I wrote a story about it! “Her Heart’s Tomb” was featured in the Rogues anthology put together by the ever lovely Delilah Devlin! Here’s the AWESOME cover designed by Elle James! And a little tease from “Her Heart’s Tomb”.
When an international tomb raider finds herself trapped with the enemy, she unearths her most precious discovery in the only man she’s ever loved.
The tomb raider, Sonya, needed nothing but the pack on her back and the next treasure drawing her forward. She certainly didn’t need a man to help her. Absolutely not the one man she ever cared about. Jack.
Jack couldn’t let his heart get involved with any woman. Especially not a raider after the same jobs as him. He certainly couldn’t let his guard down around the one woman he wanted more than his next prize. Sonya.
Falling for each other was the last thing either of them wanted, until they’re trapped in a tomb together with no place to go but into each other’s arms.
In honor of the above sexiness I’m having a giveaway for one lucky commenter!!
**GIVEAWAY – US ONLY** – Just look at all the awesomeness you could win!! Including a full print copy of the Rogues Anthology! So tell me a movie you can’t WAIT to see right now!!
I’ll pick a winner on Monday the 18th!! Good Luck!! PS –It’s always great to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you! Hate not being able to give winners their goodies!!
Jennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living with her miniman in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.
Today is a rare chance for me to sit at my desk. All day. Well, after I have my first morning coffee with my dd across the street as we sit together and watch all the kids, other than the 4-year-old, climb into their bus for school. Then, it’s back to my place. Maybe I’ll start my day by clearing off my desk. I’ve let things pile up for a week. I can still see the monitor, so it’s all good, but since I have time…
I’m editing today. All day. Not my favorite thing to do, but I am enjoying the author’s story. I get the privilege of reading her words first. There’s not time for new words of my own, because I’m pushing up against the deadline to be finished with her work. Hopefully, this weekend I’ll be lost in my own writing.
All my Christmas presents are bought. All but my dd’s presents and a few things for the older ladies are wrapped (because my dd did the wrapping). I still have to make a few things—bracelets, a little sewing project. I’m feeling a little antsy about getting to those now.
I didn’t want any stress surrounding this holiday, but I’m beginning to feel the pinch in my neck. And I’m going to bed later and getting up feeling not so well-rested.
So, my question to you is:
How do you cope with the stress of the holidays?
Have fun with it. I’d love some nice nuggets of genius, but I’ll enjoy some silliness, too! 🙂
Thank you for letting me come over today and share a book with you. A Romance for Christmas is a sweet, feel-good holiday romance that reaffirms all you love about Christmas.
When the story opens, it’s Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves was lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.
“Mommy?” Christine’s young voice broke in on her thoughts.
Dara put down the romance she’d been re-reading, the favorite she’d had since she was sixteen. She’d sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. “What is it, sweetie?”
“Why don’t we has a real tree for Chribmas?”
“Why don’t we ‘have’,” she corrected. “Come sit by me.” Dara patted the couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.
One arm around Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up beside her mother and cuddled.
Matilda’s going to need stuffing before long. Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the doll’s dress. “Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas last year?”
Christine knuckled her eyes and yawned. “I ‘member.”
“And then Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn’t go to work?”
Dara took a deep breath. “Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But I’m sure Santa will still bring you presents.” Gifts Dara bought by selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend Sherilyn’s house. “And we drew a tree, right?” She pointed at the crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated each branch.
“But it doesn’t smell like a Chribmas tree.”
Dara hugged her. “I know, baby. I know.”
“How will Santa leave his presents?” Christine pulled away and got on her knees. “He can’t put them under the tree, Mommy.”
“Oh, honey!” She ruffled her daughter’s hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Santa will find a way.” She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. “We should get you in bed so he can come. He can’t leave presents while you’re awake.”
Two ways to get this book free!
First, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get this book free.Second, if you buy the paperback for a friend, you get the Kindle version for yourself at no cost. Now that’s a bargain. Merry Christmas!
Author Kayelle Allen is a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured. Come check out her site and learn about her books. She writes contemporary, plus Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr.
Popping in just to say—Woot! WMR is out! I’m on to the next project before I can circle back and think about what happens next in the series. I kinda know now, but I’m letting it stew. There will be fairies!
I hope you love this story! One reader has already said: “It is full of surprises. Very sweet, very sexy and very mysterious.”
Wolf Moon Rising
In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives.
Five witches…Too many demons to count…
Aoife is the flightiest of the sister witches, and she has a secret, one her mother warned her to keep close to her heart. Her father was a fairy—which explains her quirkiness and her affinity for flowers. She lives in a cabin on stilts that juts into the bayou, and one of her demon guardians is a werewolf. She’s attracted, but how would he feel if he married her, fathered a child, and that child disappeared into the land of the fae? Desperate to find a solution to her dilemma, she flees her guardian’s protection. Her last hope is to enlist her father’s help. Plead her case. Her happiness, and that of her one true love, Sigurd, depends on whether she can escape this fairy curse.
For Sigurd, acting as guardian to the witch, Aoife, was both a blessing and curse. A blessing, because he’d never known anyone as innocent and pure, and a woman who truly didn’t know her own allure. A curse, because he had to guard her against his own lustful nature.
And again, he was thankful two other demons were assigned the protection detail, because more than anything, he wanted her kept safe. However, he was equally annoyed at having two competitors for her affection.
Of course, many more among the demons living around Bonne Nuit aspired to hear the “echo” of their bonding with a witch. Such a bonding brought power to the lucky demon—and demons were greedy about that sort of thing. They frequented Aoife’s small cabin poised on long stilts above the bayou on the flimsiest of excuses. One needed a fragrant oil to help him sleep. Another needed a healing balm to soothe a bruise. And they were constantly underfoot in her garden and her workshop, interfering more than helping—at least, to his mind.
However, Aoife appeared blissfully unaware of the males’ attempts at garnering her exclusive attention. Her radiant smile flashed indiscriminately upon her pursuers, never mind their unsuitability as possible mates. And despite the fact they’d done nothing to earn the right to call her wife.
Unlike Sigurd, who suffered her proximity and who stood ready to serve her in any way she pleased. Who quietly stood guard over her while she slept, losing his sleep and his pride because she slumbered so soundly, completely unaware of his constant state of arousal.
Sigurd wasn’t naturally a patient man, but he had withstood the torture of being close day in and out for seven months. He was nearing his breaking point. If something didn’t happen soon, he would press their leader, Ethan, to ask his pretty wife for help. Bryn liked him well enough, always turning to give him a wink when “family” dinners took place, and one of Aoife’s admirers fought for the privilege of sitting at her side. Sigurd preferred to sit across from her at the table anyway—the better to glower at his competition. And perhaps raise a lip in a menacing snarl.
Bryn seemed to be in his corner. Perhaps she would be eager to see her sister witch settled. If something didn’t change soon, he’d speak with her.
On this evening, Sigurd wore his wolfskin and lay curled on the wooden floor beside Aoife’s bed. Just before she’d begun softly snoring, she’d reached down and scratched behind his ears. Probably not an act she was even aware of doing. She was kind to all creatures and seemed especially fond of his wolf form, sometimes taking a brush to his fur or giving him a bath in the large metal tub on the porch. He lived for those moments.
He shook his head in disgust. What a sorry excuse for a wolf he was. Wolves weren’t pets. They were pack animals who needed to belong to a family and a mate. A male needed to dominate his bitch, but he didn’t think Aoife would ever agree to be his bitch.
However, the thought did stretch his wolf’s mouth into a feral grin. He laid his head atop his paws and settled with a disgruntled whine.
Minutes passed, and he was nearly drifting off to sleep when the bed creaked and feet softly lowered to the floor. He perked his ears and pushed up to peer over the mattress, just in time to see Aoife slip through her bedroom door.
He followed, freezing when her steps paused, ducking behind corners when she glanced around. Something was afoot, and his hackles rose when she reached for her cloak and a small bag from the hook beside the front door.
Was she meeting a lover? Or were the witches gathering in secret? Somehow, he doubted the latter because Bryn was very pregnant and couldn’t slide gracefully from Ethan’s bed. And Miren would have to escape three mates, and that could never happen. Which reminded him, where the hell were the other two guards?
When Aoife opened the door and crept outside, closing it behind her, he drew up short. He hadn’t considered how he would exit the house, so he quickly shook free of his wolfskin and strode onto the porch. His glance went to the steps at the side of the porch, but then a sound, a soft splash, pulled his gaze to the canal flowing past her porch. She’d taken a boat. The fact she was already on the water meant she’d been in a hurry.
What the fuck?
Footsteps sounded from inside the house. A door creaked open then slammed shut. So much for stealth. Hamdir, also a wolf, walked to his side, scratching his chest. “Where’s the witch? I was sleeping on the couch. Thought you were watching her.”
“I was.” I watched her escape. “Go back to bed. I have this handled.”
“Sure about that?” Hamdir yawned. “Don’t know how you aren’t dead on your feet. You really ought to let us have turns inside her bedroom.” His large hand patted Sigurd’s shoulder. “Driving to New Orleans in the mornin’, or I’d join you on this hunt,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
His gaze followed Hamdir as he stepped back inside. Their group had grown complacent since Ethan defeated the council’s champion in battle and no retribution had been settled upon their unbanded group. Most presumed the mere presence of so many demons, concentrated in their small town, was deterrent enough to rogue demons seeking to steal a witch for a mate.
Sigurd was reminded he’d have to enlist another guard from among the bachelor demons during Hamdir’s absence.
A cool wind wafted against his skin, raising chill bumps. Early Winter in the bayou was mild, but he couldn’t easily follow Aoife on foot.
Instead, Sigurd shifted again and fell to his paws. With a single quick yelp, he leapt past the stairs to the bank. Lifting his nose to the breeze, he followed Aoife’s delicious witch’s scent through the murky, shadowed bayou. If he startled a gator, the bastard better move out of his way.
Wrangling a leatherneck takes skill . . . and patience.
Subject: Mateo Lopez, USMC retired
Current Status: Medical discharge, recovering
Mission: Rebuild his life following medical discharge from the Marines after suffering a spinal injury. Care for and train his beloved horses once again.
Obstacle: Claire Windsor. The London-born trainer comes to the ranch, keen on beginning a training program designed to turn its horses into therapy animals. The last thing Mateo wants is a change in routine or a beautiful, talented woman with a sexy accent telling him what to do. But avoiding her may prove impossible, especially when she stands between him and the work he loves.
Find excerpt for Heather Long’s As You Were, Cowboy below.
Series Reading Order: Semper Fi Cowboy
As You Were, Cowboy
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family.
She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Heather is best known for her 18-book paranormal romance series Wolves of Willow Bend, which begins:
Prequel: Wolf at Law
1: Wolf Bite
2: Caged Wolf
3: Wolf Claim
3.5: Wolf Next Door
4: Rogue Wolf
5: Bayou Wolf
6: Untamed Wolf
Heather’s other fantasy romance series include the paranormal westerns Fevered Hearts starting with Marshal of Hel Dorado, Black Hill Wolves which start with What a Wolf Wants, Witches of Mane Street, Mongrels, and the forthcoming Bravo Team WOLF series.
Her contemporary romance series include: Always a Marine, Going Royal, Elite Warriors, The Love Thieves, beginning with Catch Me and Lone Star Leathernecks, beginning with Semper Fi Cowboy.
Heather is well-represented in fantasy with her superhero series Boomers, a sci-fi western called Space Cowboy Survival Guide, an urban fantasy series called the Chance Monroe Adventures, and a stand-alone ghost novel titled Haunt Me.
Anger filled Mateo Lopez like hot shrapnel bursting with every word the gorgeous blonde issued in her cultured British accent. White-hot lances of pain radiated along his spine. All he’d done was move a few damn bales of hay, and it had left him sweating and gasping for breath. Accepting his limitations and giving in to weakness were not in his wheelhouse, although he’d elected to make the walk to his truck for the prescription the doctor insisted he fill. If he could avoid taking the pain pills he would. Now her.
“I beg your pardon,” she said, and he could practically feel the stiffness of her tone, as though a riding crop were delivering a fresh welt of pain across his back. “Mr. Wilks?”
“I’m not Tanner,” Mateo admitted. As grating as her pronouncement had been, his mother would tear a strip off his hide if he didn’t dispel the misunderstanding. “I’m Mateo Lopez, ranch manager.” Technically, he was the assistant ranch manager to his father. They split the ranch tasks between them. “I handle the trainers as well.”
He was the trainer.
The horses were his.
This . . . woman was not going to just walk in and take over like she owned the place.
“Please accept my apologies, Mr. Lopez. I thought you were Mr. Wilks.” Unease left her manner stilted, and a tiny frown line appeared between her cornflower-blue eyes, which gleamed with intensity even in the barn’s shade. Sugar nickered again and stomped her feet, disturbed by their nearness and likely offended by the lack of attention. The filly was lovely, and a diva in her awareness of it.
With a light cough to clear her throat, she recaptured his attention and continued, “If you could point me in Tanner’s direction, then I’ll excuse myself.”
“I have no problems excusing you, but the ranch is private property and, as I already stated, I oversee all the horses here. We don’t need a new trainer.” It went against the grain on every level. A spasm worked its way along his spine, and he gritted his teeth. Yes, Tanner had mentioned the potential plan—keyword potential. He hadn’t mentioned actually hiring anyone. Mateo attributed it to keeping the Colonel focused on his recovery. That was why, right?
“Mr. Lopez, I’m not sure what I’ve done to offend you, but my contract is with Mr. Wilks.” The stress of the word contract couldn’t be missed, nor could the way her chin lifted and her shoulders went back. Even her nose seemed a little higher, as though she physically held herself back from fighting with him.
“Lady, I don’t know what you think is going to happen, but no trainers touch these horses without my approval.” The horses were everything to him. There was no way Tanner was going to usurp his work to bring a Brit.
“I know exactly what is going to happen. I left a very lucrative and successful training program in Stafford to travel several thousand miles to make a dream come true. I apologize if I’ve offended you, but until Mr. Wilks decides to buy out my contract, I’m not going anywhere.”
Stubborn defiance flashed in those willful eyes. Red flushed her cream complexion, which drew his attention to the scatter of freckles across her nose and upper cheeks. They contrasted against her sharp look, and he couldn’t look away.
“What you left or didn’t leave is not my concern,” he said through his teeth. The spasm in his back was continuing to lash at his spine like blazing hot barbed wire. The need to collapse weighed on him, but he refused to give in. Not when he faced an opponent in better physical condition than he. Even if she was overdressed for the heat. To give in to weakness in front of her would be to concede that he couldn’t do his job.
Despite the rigidity of her posture, she couldn’t disguise the concern flickering in her eyes. The last thing he wanted was her sympathy. Not when she stood there with clenched fists. “I’ll leave you to whatever it is you’re doing and seek Tanner out myself.”
Though she turned on her heel and began walking away, Mateo couldn’t just let Claire leave.
“You have no business wandering around the ranch by yourself.” Not dressed like she was—she’d get heatstroke. “The ranch covers several hundred acres, and that doesn’t include the outer pastures.”
Halting, she still held her hands clenched tight as she turned to face him. “Mr. Lopez, was it?”
A shiver of humor evaded the pain storming his system. There was something about the way she framed his name in her perfectly sensible, clipped accent. Melodic and insulting all at once.
“You can call me Mateo.” He managed a smile, though it required him to clench his teeth.
“I’d prefer to keep the address formal in order to stay professional.” The brilliant blue of her eyes turned positively frosty. “That being said, Mr. Lopez, I spoke to a Maria. She directed me to the house, and I chose to stop at the barn on my way there. My mistake. I won’t continue to trouble you.”
The fingers of agony digging into his spine began to twist, and Mateo braced a hand against the door to the stall. White-knuckling, he managed to stay on his feet. A man appeared in the entry to the barn, backlit by the late-day sun, the hat on his head giving away his identity.
“Miss Windsor,” Tanner called as he strode down the aisle. “Maria told me you were here. Was on the way to the house when I saw the car outside.”
Shit. Mateo wanted to curse. Bad enough the foreigner was here. His best friend confirming her story, though—that made it all the worse.