What do you do when the characters that live inside your head stop talking to you? They were there yesterday, whispering their stories, their hopes, and dreams, having conversations with each other—and then poof! They’re gone. Where did they go? The silence was deafening.
Back at the start of the pandemic, I had big plans. The second book in my new series, Coven Moon, had just come back from the editor, and I was ready to dive into writing book one. (The voices don’t always proceed in an orderly fashion). Then quarantine—and silence.
I tried everything to coax those shy personalities back out, but those were the dark days of food delivery and ordering masks online. No matter what I did to persuade my voices to give me a hint, a laugh, a word, they remained mute. It wasn’t until Delilah’s open submission for Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology—well over a year of silence—that my friends began to return, and I got busy.
First up, Penelope’s Heart. Sam and Nell had waited patiently and are residents of the old west, after all. They felt their time was at hand. Although you won’t find them in Delilah’s anthology, for a limited time, you can download the beginning of Sam and Nell’s tale right here with The Kid in Black for free!
FREE! The Kid in Black
Nell Grant lost everything and watched her life burn to the ground. A fiery-hot need for revenge keeps her moving during the day. But at night, dreams of a passionate stranger fill her empty heart. Passions collide as Nell and Sam struggle to balance the scales between her thirst for vengeance and his sense of duty.
These offers are only good for the first 50 recipients. Get your copy today!
Soul of the Witch
Next, I finished the first and second books in the new Coven Moon series, and both are available for preorder. These full-length novels tie into my Soul of the Witch original trilogy, with books 1 and 2 serving as prequels, and book 3, when completed, wrapping up both series. I’ll fill you in on the details about these two historical paranormal novels on my next visit. In the meantime, if you’re interested, check out my Soul of the Witch trilogy on Amazon.
Lastly, if you would be interested in receiving an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review for both new Coven Moon novels, the ARCs are going out in a couple of weeks. Send me an email via my website and let me know you want in, and I’ll add you to my ARC team. Add me now!
About Author C. Marie Bowen
Discover nail-biting suspense with paranormal romance author C. Marie Bowen. She weaves her supernatural characters into a collection of tales linked to her first award-winning novel, Passage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mr. B, and their two rescue pets, Abby and Rue.
Romance stories usually focus on fairly young characters. A younger woman can be somewhat inexperienced in sex, so it’s believable that the man she meets has a few things to teach her. He, on the other hand, is vulnerable in hidden ways to her joie de vivre and innocence, and so the standard trope unfolds.
But what if the characters aren’t young?
I admit that when I first considered that idea for this book, I immediately dismissed it. Yet the idea kept coming back, and I ended up compromising between a twenty-something female and a woman so deep into her fifties that readers (sadly) might find her romantic possibilities somewhat unbelievable.
It’s not that many readers aren’t over fifty. It’s just that romance novels are supposed to take us to a fantasy world where men are so powerful their shoulders fill a doorway and women are so lovely they utterly captivate the man at first glance. There must be room for magic.
In this story set thirty years into the future, the magic has been left hanging too long, a love affair put on hold while the hero turns his attention to a family emergency. Taken for granted a little too long, the heroine tries to cut her losses and forget him.
Martin Bernard has spent his life becoming one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men. But that’s not helping him now that his criminal son-in-law Ned Argenta has gone rogue, putting Martin’s empire on the block in order for Martin to ensure his daughter Marie’s safety. Weeks, months fly by as Martin tries to control this nightmare, leaving his lover Mohana in the sidelines. He just wants to get control of things and then he’ll make it up to her.
Mohana James isn’t waiting any longer. At her friend Giselle’s urging, she visits the Paris House of Rae to find some pleasure. The pleasure partner there doesn’t disappoint, but the entire experience stirs up her grief about Martin. Is he ever going to call? Should she forget him? If she does hear from him, is she going to slap him and walk away? She’s pretty sure that’s all he deserves. But her heart is breaking and she’s not sure she can forget him.
“It’s what I have to do,” Mohana said, stabbing her omelet. “I have to.”
“Yes,” Giselle said. “I totally agree. I’m excited for you.” She dumped another spoonful of sugar into her tea and stirred. “But you don’t have to do it all at once, do you?”
Blinking against the bright hazy sky, Mo leaned back to watch people strolling past their table. Parsley sat patiently by her chair, his attention riveted on the regular appearance of other dogs. This sidewalk café had been a favorite since, well… She wasn’t going to think about the passage of time. It hurt too much. A slight breeze ruffled the tablecloth and sent tiny ripples across the surface of her tea. Traffic was light for a Saturday morning.
She’d worn a new dress today, one she’d bought only recently in one of Giselle’s on-demand shopping trips. It had almost been a dare to herself, selecting something in a soft cotton print with a low V-neck in a fitted bodice over a flowing calf-length skirt. The wind teased her cleavage, an insanely erotic sensation that left her uneasy. But whereas before she would have been reminded of Martin with such a sensation, now she also thought of Henri and the possibility that she might again darken the door at the House of Rae to see what other scrumptious men might be on order.
“I’m not doing it all at once,” she said, savoring the flavor of the mild cheese, garlic-sautéed chard, and green onions inside their comfortable warm envelope of tender egg. “I made a list. Disentangling myself from Martin means I have to stop accepting his money. I don’t think he even knows he’s still sending it.”
“Why stop?” Giselle said. “Take it, save it if you don’t want to spend it. He owes you.”
“Yes, well, I need to stand on my own two feet. And that means earning a living.” She ripped a chunk off the flakey croissant and popped it in her mouth, relishing its delicate texture. “If I can get this position at the national library, it will make me very happy to go to work every day. Can you imagine?”
Giselle brandished her butter knife. “I can’t think of a job better suited for you, but…”
Parsley whined, his tail whipping side to side. A shadow loomed over the table, and the two women looked up. Mo’s breath caught in her chest. She literally could not breathe.
“Martin!” she gasped.
“I thought that was you,” he said, his gaze roaming down her cleavage before returning to her face. “And Parsley, too. What a good boy!” He leaned down to pat the dog’s head before standing to devote his full attention to Mo. Deep laugh wrinkles creased in his cheeks as he smiled. “It’s wonderful to see you. How have you been?”
Of all the… Mo bit back outraged profanities and tried to calm her racing pulse. He looked so damn fine. Despite the months, years of tears and torment, she instantly wanted him.
“Lovely, and you?” she managed.
He laughed, that same warm baritone that had rumbled in his chest so many times before. “I’m in the middle of a crisis, but what else is new, right? Look, I really don’t have time to talk right now, but I saw you and couldn’t stop myself from saying hello. I promise to be in touch soon. We’ll get caught up.”
Giselle looked at her and lifted an eyebrow. Damn it, he was tan and healthy looking, as well built as she remembered, broad shoulders straining the seams of his tailored light blue sports shirt, sculpted biceps emerging from the short sleeves. The sinews of his forearms rippled underneath the soft furring of hair, reminding her of the times he lifted her to sit astride him.
So much for the idea that he hadn’t been in touch because he was sick or injured in some way. She bit back the litany of cutting remarks hovering on the tip of her tongue. Most men his age had developed a paunch, but Martin’s belly remained flat inside the waistband of his slacks. She ripped her gaze away before her eyes dropped further. But she knew.
She could always feel the force of his virility from across a crowded room.
A bit more gray than she remembered peppered his hair and beard, but the same chiseled features – strong jawline and square chin under that neatly trimmed beard, sensuous mouth and those eyes – made her pulse race madly in her neck. She could taste him, smell him, feel the heat of his skin under her palms as if no time had passed, as if she wasn’t three years older, still hopelessly in love.
“No rush,” she said, straightening in the chair and smoothing her napkin against her lap. “I know how busy you must be.”
He seemed startled by her remark, opened his mouth then closed it. She lifted her teacup, proud that her hand didn’t shake, and sipped calmly as if he were a mere acquaintance.
“Well, I – uh, soon, I promise.”
“Yes, of course,” she said. She broke eye contact and waited for him to move. Moments clicked past, each instant a torment of unsaid words and mounting fury. Then his shadow moved away. Parsley stretched and lay down, head resting disconsolately on his front paws.
“Christ,” Giselle said. “That was intense.”
“I thought you handled it perfectly.”
“Good. I was dying inside.”
“And screaming, too, right?”
Mo nodded, waiting for her heart to stop pounding against her ribs. “Why does he have to look so damn good? It’s not fair.”
“Well, you’re looking pretty great yourself this morning,” Giselle said with a huge smile. “I thought he was going to eat you up.”
“Couldn’t you see it? Hell, I shouldn’t tell you.”
Giselle leaned forward and lowered her voice. “All the signs – his face flushed, his nostrils flared. His er, um, was pressing his pants, like full on. Dear me, what a specimen. Didn’t you see? Honestly, I think he fought not to touch you, and that’s just a sign of how desirable you are. It’s no wonder Henri outdid himself. There are plenty of men out there who will want you, Mo. You don’t have to waste your life on Martin Bernard.”
Belatedly, Mohana wished Giselle had kept that bit about Martin’s arousal to herself.
Still later, Mo studied herself in her bathroom mirror. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes seemed overly bright. Her pulse still hadn’t calmed and she felt alternatively hot and cold. How could she still react this way after all he’d done? Or, actually, not done. She couldn’t get him out of her mind, how his body had inclined toward her, how tiny lines crinkled at the corners of his intense green eyes. So charming, so damn handsome.
She’d never been able to define it, what he had, what seemed to be at the heart of Martin Bernard more than any man she’d ever met. Maleness. Potency. Energy radiated from him like a kind of gravity, pulling her in, wrapping her in his strength. For years, she had fallen deeper and deeper into that force, enchanted in the joy of their love.
Yet, somehow, she had failed. She’d agonized over it, night after night, month after month after he’d disappeared from her life. He had said she was beautiful, but what if he wanted someone younger, prettier? He had said he loved her, but that must have been a lie. He had said he wanted to marry her, spend the rest of his life with her. She’d even indulged in fantasies of their future together, maybe a child…
She gripped the sink. In the long days and nights of waiting, she had deluded herself, thinking he might be ill or disabled somehow, too proud to let her know. Alternately, she imagined he’d been trapped in some foreign country in one of his far-flung business deals. But here he was, walking the streets of Paris looking like a million dollars, full of himself.
And dismissive. He’d call soon. Ha!
BONUS: Nab another book in the House of Rae series also FREE at the same time!
Reprieve, Book II, is the first part of Martin’s story about his daughter Marie.
House of Rae franchisee Marie Argenta is on the run after her estranged husband Ned inflicts unimaginable tortures. Leaving her Paris House to hide out in the U.S., she ends up at the San Francisco House to serve as temporary manager. The very first day, her gaze lands on the most arrogant man she has ever seen, Adrian Velasquez. He’s also the most compelling devastatingly attractive, over-the-top pleasure partner the universe could ever conjure, which makes her think twice about the rules forbidding employee relationships.
Adrian knows what he likes and this new House manager Marie ranks above and beyond anything he’s ever imagined. Too bad his life is already crammed too full of family troubles, work overload, and finishing his law degree to even consider stretching the rules with this irritating woman. But a touch here, a kiss there, might be too delicious to refuse and she’s, well, she wants him. He knows it.
What Marie and Adrian are soon to discover is that Ned knows where Marie has fled and plans to take her back no matter what.
A corn maze on one of the spookiest nights of the year sounds like fun, right?
But once you get inside those tall stalks there’s no breeze. The air gets thick and heavy, despite the fall weather. And be sure to watch your footing. Those big fat rain drops might turn that path your on into a slick mud slide. But that’s all okay, too, right? One hour to get out of this maze, and the last one out buys the beer for the rest of the night. All you have to do is NOT be the last one out.
But what if you don’t come out at all?
Hidden deep within this corn maze is a magical portal, and on the other side…? A realm full of creatures of myth and legend and campfire stories. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it through the forest and into the city.
Let me be the first to welcome you to Clayridge, with this informative, albeit, unnerving guide.
A mortal’s guide to surviving in Clayridge:
Clayridge: Generally a safe place, protected by a large stone wall, enchantments, and the Guard. Wander outside of this city and you could find yourself in peril quite quickly.
Witches: Generally helpful, good for purchasing spells and enchantments to keep you safe. They can also read your fortune via cards, runes, tea leaves or a palm reading, though they tend to think that sort of thing is for the tourists.
Werewolves: Don’t be in the forest after nightfall or these beasts will surly find you. They walk on two legs, transform at will (so long as the moon is in the sky), and enjoy hunting.
Vampires: Beware of these seductive creatures, they can lure you in with a Blood Lust spell and spend days, months, or even years keeping you as their pet and pleasure snack. Dangerous creatures. Be wary.
Sirens: Okay, so you may want to keep a safe distance from the fountain in the center of town. Those half-fish, half-woman creatures that live inside it will lull you in with their song. They’ve been known to break up marriages, ruin relationships, and cause all kinds of trouble. If you value your relationships heed the warning signs and avoid these hormone driven creatures. You’ll likely just become addicted.
Dwarfs: Small in stature, great skill at building weapons, toys, and pretty much anything. They make great drinking buddies too.
Harpies: If you see one of these half-bird, half-woman creatures, well, you’re likely already dead.
Demons: Their appearance depends on their sub-species. Winged, horned, black mist. Does it look dark, dangerous and deadly? Then it probably is. Also, they generally work for vamps, and are often up to no good.
Gargoyles: These guys are cool AF. Stone through the day, flesh and blood after dusk. Generally work as nighttime labourers around the town, particularly at the theater, but don’t be fooled, they possess wicked warrior skills.
Fairies: Cute. Helpful. Playful. Strong work ethic.
Pixies: About as fun as a nest full of hornets. You don’t want these pests in your home. They’re difficult to get rid of without the aid of Pixie Repellant. You can pick up a bottle at The Broomstick.
The Divide: A nasty town full of undesirable creatures. Vamps, demons and werewolves are commonly found here. For a steep price you can purchase your very own mortal, for whatever wicked purposes you might devise.
The Guard: Hellhounds make up the guard, serving as peacekeepers and law enforcers. They’ll protect the people of Clayridge with any means necessary. Huge hounds with matted black fur, ghostly tails and glowing eyes, they look scary AF, but that’s only because they are. Dangerous? Only if you’ve don’t something wrong.
Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets
Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets is available for pre-order. I hope you enjoy the following excerpt. I’ve also included a link to my newsletter. Subscribe now and you’ll be gifted a FREE short story, Arrested Valentine, which has an exclusive sneak peek for Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets, that’s currently only available at the end of Arrested Valentine.
What the story is about…
What do you do when your ex’s werewolf boss wants to feast on the mortal you’ve sworn to protect?
Quinn was unaware of the love potion her meddling cat dumped into her tea, so when Ian Hannigan ends up injured on her property, she thinks she’s dealing with another mortal, not the man who can help mend her heart. Her life becomes a balancing act as she attempts to keep him safe, while hiding secrets better left buried with the dead.
In a realm filled with things that go bump in the night, Ian didn’t expect to find security and happiness in the arms of a green skinned witch, yet for the first time since his parents tragic car crash, he’s found some measure of peace. The rumors he hears in Clayridge aren’t pleasant, but Ian knows there’s more to Quinn than what people would have him believe. If he’s placed his trust in the wrong hands he’ll be paying with more than just his heart. He’ll pay with his life.
Contest: comment on this post for your chance to win a super cute tea cup bookmark!
Read an excerpt…
“You didn’t have to send your….” Alec paused, a grin in place as he seem to search for the right word, “…pet away. Is that what the mortal is, Quinn? A pet?” Before Quinn could jump to Ian’s defense, Alec kept going, every word stoking a fire in her. “You’ve never kept a mortal before. That’s not like you. Getting a little bored and lonely way out here by yourself?” He used his hands to brace himself on one of her Adirondack chairs, leaned closer, and whispered suggestively, “I could have helped you with that.”
Quinn blinked, then narrowed her eyes. He was baiting her. “Cut the bullshit. What do you want Alec?”
His shoulders slumped and he released an exaggerated sigh. “You Quinn. I’m here for you.”
“Aww,” she said with as much mockery as she could muster. “Let me just kick Ian out and you can come on in.”
“Your sarcasm is noted. Give me a chance Quinn. We could be great.”
“Could have been great. Past tense, Alec.” Turning to her fire, she dismissed his offer. “You’re the one who walked away.”
He was stealthy when he moved. His hands came to rest on her shoulders as his lips caressed her ear. “I still remember the way you feel, the look on your face when you come.”
The creaking of her front door told her that Alec’s overfamiliarity hadn’t gone unnoticed by their audience. Quinn spun away from him. “Well, you should forget it. What happened between us is over and there’s no going back.”
He was silent for a long moment. Behind him the door to the cabin closed again. Inside the curtain fluttered. She hoped they couldn’t hear the conversation. Maybe Lucifer had directed Ian to a different activity to keep him occupied.
Finally, Alec met her gaze. “I never stopped loving you.”
Seventy-five years ago a confession like that would have made her weak in the knees. Even in the height of their passion he’d never told her he loved her. She’d been the only one to utter those words, and then he’d crushed her silly infatuation. Grandma had warned her. The pack always came first.
With her grandmother’s voice in her ear, she straightened her spine and took a deep breath. “What do you want, Alec?”
She saw his jaw clench, in that same way it had whenever he had to do something he didn’t want to. But like a good little beta he followed orders. “Draven wants the mortal.”
Hands on her hips, she stood immobile. “No.”
“He’s willing to trade.”
Quinn huffed. “Oh, this ought to be good.”
“You give up your pet and I promise you’ll never be alone again.”
“Because you’ll stay with me?” She laughed. “Is that it? That’s Draven’s big trade? You for the mortal?”
That jaw, the one she’d once kissed and fawned over, clenched even harder. “Come on, Quinn! Think this through. You get what? One year with your mortal. Then he’s going back through that portal. Okay, maybe he stays. Best case scenario you get what? Sixty years before he’s worm food.”
Quinn swallowed. She didn’t want to think about that. Of course she’d out live him, but what about all the time they’d have together. They could both enjoy that.
“How long afterwards would you renege on your bargain? How long before Draven calls you back to the fold?” She crossed her arms over her chest, and stepped closer to the fire. “I’d rather die alone in this cabin than spend eternity with you.”
His jaw tightened so much that Quinn worried he’d break his teeth. Baring those pearly whites, he snarled, “Careful, Quinn, or you’ll end up a bitter old hag just like your grandma.”
“Get off my property!” She waved her hands, shooing him off the platform. “Get lost or the next time you transform you might just find yourself turning into a toad. A great big fat one with warts.”
Alec snickered, and stopped his backward momentum. “You always were a spitfire, Quinn.”
She was unprepared for his next move. With wolf-like reflexes he grabbed her arms and pulled her to him. Her chest hit his with such force her breath flew from her. His lips crashed against hers. In an instant she pushed him, shoving him with all her strength.
If not for his animal agility, he would have fallen on his ass, but instead he landed stealthy on his feet. “Think it over, Quinn. We were amazing once. We could be again.”
“I’m not turning him over to be slaughtered like some lamb.”
All traces of humor and anger fled his features. With severe sobriety, Alec’s gaze drilled into hers. “Seriously, Quinn, watch out. Draven is relentless in this. He will get your mortal. I don’t want to see you get hurt in the process.”
His concern was worrying, and as Quinn watched his retreating back she had to wonder just how far Draven would go in his attempts to get Ian. Her land was protected, and when he was with her she’d keep him safe. The town was secure enough, but still Alec’s visit was alarming.
Quinn doused the fire with a few shovelfuls of snow, before marching to her cabin.
Once inside she ripped off her boots and tossed her cloak on a peg. She stalked across the floor, tossed the rug aside and using a chant, unlocked the safe hidden in a compartment beneath the floorboards. She lifted out an old six shot, double barrel revolver, two pistols with double-stack magazines, and a sack filled with gold coins, setting it all on the floor before closing and securing the safe. Next she went to the cabinet near the door that housed her rifles. Unlocking it she pulled out a long barreled rifle. She set each one down on the counter top next to the mug of coffee that Ian had been sipping from when she’d walked in the door.
“You know how to shoot?”
Ian frowned. “You’re scaring me, Quinn.”
Lucifer leapt onto the counter. “Me too. What’s going on? I didn’t think that kiss was shotgun worthy.”
Straightening, Ian glared. “He kissed you?”
Quinn checked the chamber of the revolver, stalling as she thought through her answer. “He’s my ex, and he’s not the one I’m worried about. The kiss was not welcomed.” Her gaze was hard when she repeated. “Do you know how to shoot?”
“No.” He looked down at the guns. “Who are you worried about?”
She snorted. “Draven.”
Ian’s face paled. “The one who slashed me?”
Nodding, Quinn looked away. “He’s going to come after you, and we need to be ready.” She glanced at Luce. “Can you apologize to any customers that might come by today? Ian and I need to make a shopping trip.”
“We went to town last week,” Ian objected, with visible confusion.
“We’re not going to town.” She pocketed the sack of gold. “We’re going to see a dwarf about some silver bullets.”
Pre-order Love Spells, Full Moons, and Silver Bullets by clicking here
Romance author Cameron Allie grew up in a small town north of Toronto. As a child she loved stories, and after reading her first romance novel at age fifteen, her dreams of writing became singularly focused on the love story. She is currently living in Ontario with her husband, their young daughters and with their cat, who is constantly trying to interrupt the writing process.
Maybe it stems from the early childhood years of going back to school each year, but I find September a time of new beginnings, even more than January.
I love summer. Anyone who follows me knows that summers are very, very short where I live, and not all that hot. I always wish it was longer. That being said, I love this time of year—the crisp days, the turning of the leaves, and the return of favorite shows to television. Then there are the holidays—Thanksgiving first (I live in Canada), followed by Halloween, and then Christmas. It’s the beginning of a very busy time of year.
For now, I’ll milk the last of the longer days and warmth and start stocking up on hot chocolate and warm socks for the chillier days ahead. The longer evenings mean more time to kick back and read.
If you enjoy paranormal romance and are looking for a new series to try, why not check out my drakon shifters. DRAKON’S PROMISE, the first book is FREE on most e-book retailers.
What is a drakon?
Well about 4000 years ago, dragons came to our world and mated with human woman. When their sons were born, their sires abandoned them, returning to their own world. Feared and shunned, they have existed among us all this time.
They have the cunning, strength, preternatural abilities, and instincts of their dragon sires, along with the intellect and emotions of their human mothers. A deadly combination. And unlike their sires, their base form is that of a human, allowing them to inhabit either human or dragon form indefinitely.
Few know of their existence, but a secret group of men and women are working to capture and cage them. For drakons have not only amassed fortunes, but their blood can offer healing and immortality to humans who drink it.
They mostly live lonely, solitary lives. But every now and then a drakon crosses paths with a very special woman, one who might change his lonely life forever.
Blood of the Drakon, Book 1
Darius Varkas is a drakon. He’s neither human nor dragon.
He’s also the target of an ancient order who want to capture all drakons for their blood. When fresh, a drakon’s blood can cure any illness and prolong a human’s life, and the Knights will stop at nothing to get it.
When librarian Sarah Anderson stumbles across a rare book belonging to the Knights of the Dragon, she’s quickly thrust into a dangerous world of secrets and shifters and things she never would have believed possible. When the Knights realize Sarah has a secret of her own, she becomes just as much a target as Darius. Her scary dragon shifter just might be her best chance at survival.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
This is just a reminder in case you missed it! Book #4 in the Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series it out! And so far, readers are embracing it! I think you’ll get a kick out if it, but don’t listen to me, read what other readers are saying…
“Chase and Rhonda’s story is as close to the fairy tale as you can get.”
“This book was absolutely fantastic and I was absolutely hooked from the beginning until the end.”
“It’s fast-moving with takedowns, babysitting, break-ins, and a film crew shadowing the bounty hunters. The action is also hot and sexy between the sheets when Chase and Rhonda finally get together…”
“…fast-paced love that will last a lifetime with a passel of kids, hopefully…”
“Chase: He was the perfect addition to the team. He levels them all.”
You’ll love Rhonda and Chase, but you’ll also get a glimpse of a new bounty hunter hero—Cowboy!
What happens at a fertility clinic stays at a fertility clinic…unless there’s an accidental switch-a-roo…
Successful author Melanie Jane decided after a very public divorce that she would prove to the world, especially her critiques, that she didn’t need a man to make her dreams come true. So, she wrote a best seller and used a fertility clinic to get pregnant. An accidental switch-a-roo left Melanie curious…who was the father of her baby?
Coop Dawson was still grieving the loss of his twin brother when some lady showed up at the family ranch and announced that she was pregnant by Cade, impossible since he’d been gone for over a year. Coop didn’t have the patience for scam artists. He told her exactly how he felt then made her hit the road. Yet, after reading a letter from a fertility clinic, he realized she’d been telling the truth. Now he needed to turn things around fast before he lost the chance at knowing Cade’s child.
Sometimes tragedy can bring a family closer…and bring unexpected gifts.
Coop needed to step up for the first time in his life and do the right thing for everyone. He promised his brother in a late-night prayer that he’d take care of the child—but what Coop didn’t realize he was already falling for Melanie and he couldn’t imagine life without her. Will she learn to trust him? Or will he screw up every chance he’d been given?
Forbidden love with an ex-fiancé’s brother will have townsfolk of Dove Grey talking. But she either went rogue or lost her heart again.
It had been two years since Cade Dawson passed away from leukemia, but his presence remained strong in small town Dove Grey, Texas. Coming home was probably too soon for many folks, but Annika Tinder hoped people could put the rumors and assumptions aside so that she could open her dream spa in her childhood home. She’d grown a lot since she first left—had a thicker skin now, and she’d need it. So what if people thought she had a sex-capade with the sexiest Dawson brother? She was willing to face the fire to get what she wanted.
Cross Dawson had a plan.
He’d steer clear of Annika so that townsfolk wouldn’t target her with their harsh speculations, and he wouldn’t be tempted by those old feelings he thought he’d buried. The task proved harder than he anticipated. He’d lost himself once—twice, three times—with her, but he couldn’t do it again, not when he had to honor his late brother’s memory. That was the respectable thing to do, right? So then why did every path and sign lead back to her?
Will Annika’s desire for an old flame, and new start, keep her in town? Or will she be chased off a second time? The sexy Dawson brothers and their wild romances keep the townsfolk of Dove Grey, Texas talking. From secret babies, forbidden love, to broken hearts…they’ll keep readers talking too.
She smiled. “I can’t decide if the sour face is because I make you nervous or my food gave you indigestion.”
He dug his spoon into dessert but didn’t feel much up to eating anything more. “The food was delicious.”
“Ah, so I’m making you nervous?” She rolled her tongue along the plump center of her bottom lip.
Yeah, that didn’t help matters in the southern region of his belt. “No. Yes. Hell, I don’t know.”
Her eyes widened and again he couldn’t get past how bright her eyes were. She ran her finger through the condensation on her bottle. “It’s me and I get it.” The higher octave in her tone told him she enjoyed teasing him.
“I just have a lot on my mind I suppose,” he admitted. He couldn’t admit that she was nine-tenths of the trouble occupying his mind. He watched her slender fingers pick up a berry and pop it into her mouth, not taking her eyes off him for one second.
“It’s because I made it clear how I feel. I thought men liked when women were aggressive and made it clear what they wanted.”
“You know, earlier. I feel like we’re denying the truth blasting like a neon sign. We’re sexually attracted to each other.”
Good thing he was sitting because she’d have knocked him right off his boots. He needed to tread carefully down the path where this conversation was headed. He didn’t want to lie to her but telling her the truth could land them both smack dab in a world of distress.
Truth was, they were sexually attracted to each other. But it was more than just a need for sex. He liked her company. He found himself searching for her while he worked, which meant he was behind. Cross didn’t like being behind.
It was mostly her fault. She’d done nothing but flirt with him since he’d started work that morning. He wasn’t the smartest when it came to women and their feminine, magical ways, but there was nothing subtle in the way she looked at him like she wanted to suck the sin right out of his bone marrow. Sucking was always a good thing.
It was a big problem while he was having to keep up with renovations though.
“Yes, Cross?” She batted her lashes. She wasn’t about to make this easy.
“I didn’t come in here expecting…shit.” He blew out a long, agonizing breath.
“You didn’t come in here expecting shit?” She lifted a brow quizzically.
He’d never had a woman turn him inside out so easily. “Annika—”
“Yes, we’ve established that my name is Annika.” Her wicked smile hit him in his gut.
“My communication stinks, so don’t make this harder than it is already.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Look—”
“Oh no. Any sentence that starts with ‘look’ never ends well.” She plucked a strawberry from her bowl and bit into it.
“I think you’re enjoying this,” he said with meaning.
“You just seem…well, hot. Do you need a fan?”
She stood and sashayed over to him, crawling into his lap and wrapping her arms around his neck. “Let’s not fight this any longer. I’m all in. How about you?”
God, what was wrong with him? His dick was hard and he was having trouble swallowing. He’d never been this affected by any woman.
“You’re sweating profusely,” she said with a smile.
“I need to say something,” he croaked.
“Sure. Go ahead.”
“Things are a bit…hard.”
“Oh? Am I too close?”
“I’m burning up.” He tugged at the neckline of his shirt.
“Fine. Say what you have to say and I’ll listen.” She stood and a frown developed over her sweet mouth.
He stood too, mainly because sitting became too unbearable. Cross wanted to say “screw it”, grab her up into his arms, and whisk her upstairs. Unfortunately, why did he feel like he’d be betraying his family? Betraying Cade? Could he trust Annika? What if he gave in to his feelings and she left again?
Cross stopped near the edge of the flower bed, debating his next words. When he finally had his head in order, he turned and snapped his mouth shut. How the hell had she managed to get near him so fast? She was now only a few feet from him.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Are you okay?” She pressed her hand against his forehead. “You’re sweating even more and you feel a little warm.”
“You look a little swollen.” Concern covered her expression.
Why did his throat feel sore and his lips tingle?
He was beginning to believe that maybe he wasn’t okay.
“Cross, are you having an allergic reaction?”
“I’m not having an allergic reaction.” His stomach ached and his skin itched.
“I know a reaction when I see one.”
“I’m okay. I just want to talk to you about…” Then he felt a tingle in his tongue that quickly spread. He saw her squint and then her eyes rounded in shock.
“Are you feeling prickly and flushed?”
“Yes, but we need to talk. I have something I need to get off my chest.” Ah hell. “Why is it so damn hot?”
Small Town Romance
For those who don’t know me, I’m Rhonda Lee Carver. I’m a bestselling author of contemporary western and romantic suspense, but love to write other genres too. I enjoy stories that keep readers laughing, crying, gripping the edge of their seats, and screaming all in one book…like riding a virtual roller coaster. Whether creating sexy cowboys or tough guys, or sassy, independent heroines, readers are sure to find strong, powerful, memorable characters that are relatable.
By day, I tap into my creative, fictional world but at some point, I transition back into reality where I’m a volleyball-stands cheerleader, homework virtuoso (at least, I think so), amateur nurse to skinned knees, a mediocre chef with some awesome microwave skills, pet-guru (all the strays show up at our house), and a Jackie of all trades for my kids who are the loves of my life. Yoga and chocolate keep me sane. Hallmark movies require cuddling up with tissues because I can be emotional. I add a sprinkle of my own real-life adventures in each story I spin because a little truth never hurt anyone. I wouldn’t give up one thing in my crazy, chaotic, ever-amusing life, except, except I might do magic tricks for the bungalow on the beach I’ve had my eye on (GOALS).
Writing for me is like falling in love and finding a new best friend over and over again. My characters will find a place inside your heart too.
I’m asked a lot where I get the ideas for stories. Finding ideas has never been a problem. I have a storage bank inside of my head overflowing with storylines. I do, however, find hurdles when I’m creating unique characters. After writing one hundred books, I seem to gravitate toward clone characters. They have similar physical and behavioral traits. So, I’ve had to work to make each one exceptional and relatable. I like to create characters from real-life people. Those who triumph when they could easily give up. Like the man with a disability who walks each day on the highway. I’ll see him pushing his cart or carrying a bag of groceries. Sometimes in the rain. Other times in the sweltering heat. He refuses any help. Also, the homeless man and his dog who I see frequently wandering the streets of a nearby town. He has a story to tell—a tragic story of drug abuse and a childhood marked with neglect. A friend of a friend had passed away from Leukemia. He didn’t have children because of chemotherapy. His wife says that her one regret was not having a child with him while he was well. I have intermingled their true stories with the fictional lives of my characters in The Brothers of Dove Grey, and another story I’m currently working on. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll check out my books. With love, Rhonda Lee.