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Archive for 'second chance romance'

Krysten Lindsay Hager: Second Chance Sports Romance Playlist: Stars in the City (Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Monday, March 11th, 2024

When I was writing my drama-comedy second chance sports romance, Stars in the City, I was both caught between that longing of a soap actress named Valeria Joseph, who wanted her ex back, and the adorable swoony moments when they reconnected. So, I needed a playlist that took me into both mentalities and acted like a soundtrack to dreaming about getting back with the guy who you never got over, the swoony moments where you fall back in love, and everything else that goes on when you have a second chance with the guy you’ve never stopped loving.

I loved writing this sweet romance that reunites a young soap star dealing with her own insecurities who never got over her ex, Davis, who she runs into on the streets of New York City. She finds out he’s now playing basketball at a college in the city, and they start to fall back in love. However, Valeria’s celebrity life brings drama, and it doesn’t help when the gossip sites link her with other stars. Can these two get it together this time around?

First, here’s an excerpt from Stars in the City:

“Valeria, you don’t have to be that girl on the TV screen right now with me. I just want the girl from River Grove back,” Davis said.

Except I hadn’t been that girl since I started the show. I reached over and took another sip of water.

He leaned across the table and put his hand over mine. “I hope you didn’t think I was judging you. Your celebrity life is so foreign to me. That’s all. I just want you to know you don’t have to be on twenty-four seven. You can just be yourself because you’re amazing.”

I met his eyes, and he squeezed my hand.

“It’s not quite the same thing with me playing basketball, but I do know what it’s like to have huge expectations other people have put on you. Not to mention, the high and impossible expectations you put on yourself. You and I have always had that in common.” He winced.

“I guess it’s worse for you now playing at the college level, huh?”

He nodded.

I squeezed his hand back. “I hope I didn’t freak you out with the photo thing.”

“You’re in a whole new world. Not going to lie—I’m not crazy about how that’s impacting you, but I get it.”

“Yeah, but then I dropped a therapy session on you. Ugh. I am a lot.” I shut my eyes and sighed. He was probably eyeballing the exits as we spoke.

He was smiling when I opened my eyes. “I believe I’m the one who started that session. Actually, the fact we’ve always been able to be open and vulnerable with each another is one of the things I loved most about us. That’s why it hit like a truck when you suddenly wanted to split up. I understand it now. Sweetie, I’m just relieved we got it all out in the open.”

My shoulders dropped in relief as I exhaled. “Even though it was a messy therapy session?”

He laughed. “Those are the best conversations to clear the air. Do you know how rare it is to find someone you can do that with? I hope you don’t ever feel you have to hold back from me.”

The waitress came over with the bill. He reached into his pocket and handed her his credit card before I could get my purse open. She placed two to-go boxes on the table for us.

“Ready to go?” He helped me put my coat on, and we walked back to my place.

“I have exactly fourteen minutes until I need to get the bus,” he said as I unlocked the door.

I frowned. Saying goodbye was going to be so hard after we had finally cleared the air. He came in and put his hand over mine.

“Val, I don’t know how to say this, but this is the first time in months I’ve felt relaxed and happy. Like my entire nervous system just regulated itself.”

We both smiled. “Mine, too. I missed you.”

How many times did I think to myself that talking to him felt like sliding into a warm bath? No one could calm my mind down like he could.

“I’m still worried I dropped too much on you tonight.”

He chewed on the inside of his lip. “I’m glad you told me all of that. You have a tendency to hold back, and I know it wasn’t easy for you.” He brushed a strand of hair away from my face. “Not going to lie—I’ve been holding back with you, too. I was afraid of getting hurt again. But I think if we want to make a go of it then we’re going to have to be open about everything. After all, things could have been different if we had talked it all out last summer.”

He looked down at the floor, and I knew there was something he needed to get out. I touched his arm, and he met my eyes.

“After we broke up, I spent a lot of time going over stuff in my head, and I didn’t know if you were afraid to get too close to me because of what happened with your mom and dad or if you wanted someone more exciting.” He sighed. “I guess I always wondered if you loved me … anywhere as much as I loved you.”

My eyes widened as I realized how much my parents’ divorce had closed me off. I told myself I held back from my other ex, Lance, because he seemed like a player, but the truth was I had been doing it for a long time.

“Last year, the idea of losing what we had was terrifying because it was the first time I’d ever felt anything like that in my life. I was scared of getting my heart broken and losing the one person who meant the most to me in the whole world.” My stomach fluttered as I knew I had to expose my true feelings for him if he was going to trust me again. “I was so in love with you.”

He exhaled and put his hands on my waist. “So you left because you were afraid that I’d leave first?”

I nodded.

He brushed my cheek. “I wish you had told me even half of this.”

I swallowed hard. “But that’s a lot to put on a teenage boy. I didn’t want you to be overwhelmed. I was so in love with you, and I was scared I was going to overload you and you’d run.”

Davis sucked in his breath. “I can understand why you’d be afraid to even bring that up to me. But you should know that that was exactly how I felt about you. And it utterly destroyed me when you walked out on us.”

My eyes began to water.

“Hey, not trying to make you cry. I just want you to know how I felt about you.”

I didn’t trust myself to talk for fear a flood of emotions and tears would come out. He cupped my face.

“Is there any chance we could get back together and maybe I could call you my girlfriend again?”

***Pick up the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:
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The One by Amy Swift: It has that late night reminiscing over lost love feeling. I can see Valeria listening to this late at night and thinking about Davis.

Nobody knows me like you do (Made For Me) by Muni Long: This one just fits Davis and Valeria’s relationship. Davis says no one has ever understood him so well and Valeria feels the same way. You see them as each other’s biggest supporter through the good and, more importantly, the bad times.

Back to December by Taylor Swift: The perfect song that embodies what it’s like to reminisce about a relationship you screwed up and want back. This feels like a song that Valeria would play on repeat about regrets with Davis.

Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves: The calming, sweet song that would fit Valeria and Davis as she says talking to him is like sliding into a warm bath.

Maroon by Taylor Swift: This song is set in New York (like the book) and the song deals with a past relationship. It reminded me more of Valeria and her co-star (and ex) Lance.

Back to You by Selena Gomez: The kind of song you sing along to in the car about the ex you’re missing. I picture Valeria singing this with her friends Cecily and Paige.

What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts: I played this over and over because I was basically trying to hurt my own feelings to get the emotion right for Valeria’s voice in the story. Also Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts: For the moment where you realize the past will make them appreciate each other more and it’ll be different this time. (I write happily ever afters, so you can relax! It’s a happy ending.)

Almost Over You by Sheena Easton (There’s also a version by Lila McCann I listened to as well): If you’ve ever been sad over your ex this is your national anthem. Note: playing this at 3 am is not in your best interest unless you like crying!

Can’t Let Go by Mariah Carey: If you follow my work then you already know this song is my go-to song to hurt my own feelings to get that heartbreak feeling just right in a story. I put it on repeat and it just brings those feelings to the surface.

You can find the playlist here if you want to listen to any of the songs yourself. Plus, I have the ambiance videos Valeria sends to Davis to calm his anxiety in the book. There’s a few more videos that inspired me on the playlist as well. Happy listening and reading!

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. She writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments and hope-filled happily ever afters. She writes about falling in love, fame, fitting in, frenemies, first loves, and finding your way in the world. She loves reading, watching movies, and lipstick.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Second Chance Romance, Soap Stars, and Sports Romance—Free in Kindle Unlimited
Monday, March 4th, 2024

When I started writing my latest romance novel, my first thought was to take all the things I loved best about my favorite books and put them into one story. I love stories about couples that find their way back to one another, celebrity romance, swoony moments, and watching sports. These all made their way into my new contemporary romance about a young adult soap star named Valeria Joseph who is trying to navigate the world while dealing with a breakup with her co-star.

Then, on the busy streets of New York City, she runs into her first love, Davis St. James, who she never got over. Davis is a college basketball player who is dealing with high pressure stressors of his own and they find themselves supporting one another and falling back in love. But, just like being on a daytime soap is full of drama—so is the publicity that surrounds Valeria. Throw in a pop star who’s crazy about her, an award show event that trends on social media for all the wrong reasons, and tons of swoony moments. Can Valeria find true love in the big city?

Stars in the City

Here’s an excerpt from Stars in the City to give you a taste:

“I’m scheduled to do an interview with Soap Opera Hotties,” I said.

“Me, too. Can’t wait.” Cecily clapped her hands together.

I raised my eyebrows. This was all fun and new to her. Me, I was already jaded seeing as I had once done an interview where they took a quote out of context making it look like Hayley and I were fighting on set over Lance. Meanwhile, I had gone to great lengths to stuff all my feelings down so I wouldn’t get a bad reputation and get fired. Did I yell and scream on set? No. Did I push my emotions down until I started getting random stomach issues and could no longer tolerate certain foods that I used to be able to eat with reckless abandon? Yes.

Cecily hugged herself. “I can’t believe people care about our lives enough to want to interview us. This has got to be the best job ever.”

Yeah, if strangers reading all the intimate details of your personal life and then coming over to your social media to troll you over those very details was exciting to you, then I couldn’t recommend this enough. But promotion was a part of this business, and the studio was in charge, so I went along with it. I loved acting, and growing up I thought it’d be amazing to have my name and face everywhere … until it wasn’t, and all I wanted to do was hide and turn my socials private.

The driver sighed. “Think we’re going to be here for a while. No one’s moving.”

I leaned forward and made a face. “It’s not that far. Might be faster if we walked.”

Cecily nodded, and we thanked the driver and got out of the car. It was windier than either of us expected, and I pulled my winter coat tighter around me. We hurried over to the sidewalk and ducked under the awning of an apartment building to get our bearings.

“Did not expect that wind tunnel and—whoa, there’s a guy who has zeroed in on you walking this way.” Cecily grabbed my arm. “And he is cute. Light brown hair, tall … and he can’t take his eyes off you.”

I glanced around to see who she was talking about when my eyes fixed on him. There, staring at me like there was no one else in the world was my ex-boyfriend. My mouth dropped open as he gave me a hesitant smile. What was Davis doing in New York City?

Cecily nudged me. “Hey, that cute guy is walking over—ooh, incoming.”

“Hey, Valeria. It’s been a long time,” Davis said as he and his friend came over.

I gulped. How to act? Mysterious? Or like my life was going so awesome since our breakup that I couldn’t be happier?

However, my mouth betrayed me, and I blurted out, “What are you doing here?” What were the chances we’d run into each other on the busy streets of Manhattan?

He stepped under the awning as people bustled past us on the sidewalk. A lady’s bag bumped me as she walked past, so I moved closer to the building.

Davis shrugged. “My team’s playing tomorrow, and my parents came into town to watch and decided to stay in the city so they could sightsee.”

“Oh, so you’re all just in town for the game this week?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’m at Hepburn University now.” As he shared the name of his new school, I tried to mentally calculate the distance.

“It’s about thirty minutes away.”

What? My first love had been living less than an hour from me and I didn’t have a clue?

***Pick up the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:
Amazon US:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AUS:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. She writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments and hope-filled happily ever afters. She writes about falling in love, fame, fitting in, frenemies, first loves, and finding your way in the world. She loves reading, watching movies, and lipstick.


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.