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Carol Burnside: It’s Still Autumn…In December (Excerpt)
Monday, December 5th, 2022

I think I’m backwards girl when it comes to these blog posts. LOL

In October, I posted here on DD’s blog about a new release, Fake Fiancé For Christmas.  Now, it’s December, and I’m posting about an autumn release, Second Chances, that centers around Thanksgiving.

Technically, Fall/Autumn doesn’t end until December 20th. Here in south Texas, the leaves on my peach tree are still turning, so I’m good, right? Okay, then. I’m here to give you a taste of my upcoming release, Second Chances, the fourth book in my Sweetwater Springs series of small-town romances set in a fictitious central Arkansas town.

It’s so much fun creating new characters, growing the community, and revisiting some of the characters occasionally in later books. Do you like to read small-town romances with sexual tension and a good dose sexy-time between the characters? Are you a fan of a series where each book is a standalone? If you answered yes, then you’ll like Second Chances and the whole series.

Second Chances

Mayor Jake Fletcher’s small town of Sweetwater Springs is in jeopardy. Their coffers are drying up, thanks to mother nature destroying the major access to the town. Confessing as much to his constituents brings surprises his way:

—Ideas to fix the crisis flooding in

—Two women willing to spearhead the resulting Holiday Extravaganza. One of them, Dixie Jo DeLuca, is an attractive, outgoing real estate agent with a smile that delivers a gut punch.

There’s no time to waste. Jake and Dixie work together, friendly but cautious around each other, flirting a little, but recognizing they’re divorcees with baggage…and three daughters between them. They need to work closely together over the next two months. Any attempt at a relationship could put a strain on their endeavors and their work is too important to the town to jeopardize.

Despite those concerns, their attraction grows. Soon, they agree to a secret affair. They’re two reasonable adults, right?

But a bigger picture has each of them dealing with family concerns as well. Dixie faces an MIA ex, a teen daughter, and a mom pushing her toward an affair. Jake’s sister is divorcing and he’s her attorney, his unpredictable and self-centered ex is coming for Thanksgiving, and he’s harboring a long-kept family secret that he’ll eventually have to reveal to Dixie, even if his honesty means he might lose her.

Amid the festival whirlwind, their day jobs, and daily life with extended family and three children, can Jake and Dixie carve out enough time to build a relationship? And even if that’s possible, are they open to risking their hearts — and those of their children — again?

Warning: The author is not responsible if pizza and cake (as a meal) give you cravings. Contains two reasonably sane adults feeling out of control, sometimes precocious children, and some hot/sweet loving. It also has a not-quite-normal Thanksgiving dinner. Brace yourself. The folks in Sweetwater Springs are a force to be reckoned with.


They were both uncharacteristically quiet on the way back to Jake’s office. He couldn’t say what was on Dixie’s mind, but he was more nervous now that they’d agreed to… whatever they’d agreed to. Were they going to date? What would that look like when they had three children between them?

Wait. What was it she’d said… that there was the possibility of a second date? Then afterward, she’d done that pouty lip-lick thing that had made his jeans uncomfortable. Had the pout meant indecision? “So, are you not sure?”

He glanced over in time to see her startled gaze.

“Excuse me?”

“I thought you… Never mind. I don’t know what I’m saying.” He pulled into his parking space and killed the engine.

“You’re freaking out,” she accused with a tinge of awe.

“Am not.” A smile bent the edges of his lips, and she backhanded his bicep. “Ow! Okay, okay. Maybe a little. Aren’t you?”

“Damn straight. I mean other than a quick lunch or possibly breakfast, what would dating look like? I was just sitting here thinking that we have kids we barely see now between work and school. I’m assuming your situation is the same.”

“It is. Lunch. Maybe the occasional breakfast. That’s not a very exciting dating relationship, though I guess we’d get fat together.” He rubbed his arm, though it felt more tingly than hurt. “I think you broke me.”

She laughed. “I barely tapped you.”

“That’s what hurts.” He said, the quietness of his voice filling the interior because he hadn’t been referring to his arm. “I want so much more from you.”

Dixie’s chest moved with more force now, as if she struggled to breathe in and out. In and out. “Could we finish this conversation in your office? I’ve got about a half-hour before my afternoon showing. We could set some ground rules or something. Maybe see if logistically it’s even feasible?”

If the tension hadn’t already been thick, he’d have laughed the comment off.

She shaded her face from his view. “Oh, God. That sounded like we’re negotiating a contract or whatever. I guess I don’t know what I’m saying either.”

“Maybe we should stop talking altogether. Come inside where it’s more private.”

Dixie dropped her hand and met his gaze, her dark eyes smoldering. Still holding his gaze, she opened her door.

He hitched his chin as he opened his door. “Stay there.”

Jake exited the truck and crossed to her side, took her hand, and assisted her down, closing the door with the hand that didn’t hold hers.

She looked at him, her gaze soft and luminous, and gestured to the truck. “I could’ve—”

“I know. I just didn’t want any more time to go by without touching you.”


“Is that okay?”


They didn’t speak again, though Jake took every opportunity to touch her. He released her hand to place it at the small of her back, ushering her into his law offices. A sign sat on the small front stand.




Good. Louise would have her door closed.

Jake ushered Dixie into his office, closed the door behind him, and leaned against it. She stood by the first guest chair, barely two feet away. “I want to kiss you. Is that moving too fast?”

Her chin rose. She stepped toward him, her eyes still exuding that smoldering look that made his pulse race. Damn, she was beautiful.

He moved toward her, could hear her increased breathing, like his own. His forward motion was stopped by a sudden palm planted on his chest.

“Jake, I don’t know what this is or what you want from this. Maybe you don’t know. But I’ve not felt this way in a long time. If this is just physical, drop it now. We’ll—”

“It’s not.”

“Oh.” Her palm relaxed over his heart, where he was sure she could feel it racing.

He rested his hands at her waist and tugged her even closer, a thrill shimmering over him at being able to touch her and be touched.

She slid hers to his shoulders as he leaned in and touch his lips to hers.

It took effort not to crush her to him.

He flicked the tip of his tongue over her lips and Dixie opened to him, her fingers tightening above his collarbone. It was the signal he’d been wishing for.

He let go, pouring all he’d been feeling into the kiss, and Dixie responded. Her fingers speared into his hair, lightly scoring his scalp, tightening his groin as if she’d touched him there. The thought of that happening in the future made his jeans quite uncomfortable.

Jake could scarcely breathe through the desire surging over him. Had he ever wanted a woman this much? It was crazy-wonderful. He slid one hand to the small of her back and exerted a slight pressure.

She molded against him, a tiny noise escaping from the back of her throat, possibly the sexiest sound he’d ever heard.

A knock at his door had them springing apart like teenagers caught necking by the police.

I hope you’ll remember to look Second Chances up and snag yourself a copy on Dec. 10th.

About the Author

“Sizzling romance with heart and humor”

Carol is an award-winning author of Sweetwater Springs, a series of contemporary, small-town romances with serious sizzle and a generous dose of southern charm. Her personal second-chance-at-love story resulted in marriage to her high school sweetheart.

Carol has also written several standalone books not connected to any series. Her Tropical Heat novella characters find love and passion on islands and beaches. Writing as Annie Rayburn, she produces Crainesian mashup romances that are sci-fi, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, and alternate history.

Find Carol on the web:

Once again, my sincere thanks to Delilah Devlin for hosting me on her blog today.

One comment to “Carol Burnside: It’s Still Autumn…In December (Excerpt)”

  1. Delilah
    · December 14th, 2022 at 10:10 am · Link

    Thanks for a lovely post! Here’s hoping for more success in the new year!

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