Saturday, October 22, 2016

Breaking Hearts -- Simon's Story-- is AVAILABLE NOW!

Nothing in the world mattered to Danielle Ranier quite as much as Simon Hunter. Until he dumped her, that is. Then all she had on her mind was REVENGE!

But even the best laid plans go off the rails, and coming back to Storybook Lake was never in her plans. But there she was...home, with a crazy husband stalking her every move and a whole town wondering who fathered her baby.

Some secrets are better left kept, but in Storybook Lake, there's no such thing as secrets.


When normal people ran into an old boyfriend, they did it in a grocery store or a shopping mall or even at work. When I ran into my ex-boyfriend—this time, at least—I did it with a car. I plowed my mom’s front end into the back of Simon’s patrol car as he waited for a stop light to turn to green. I couldn’t claim distraction by the new window embellishments at Marry Me Now Weddings. I hadn’t taken my eyes off the light bar on top since he turned out in front of me. I’d continued to stare at it rather than his tail lights then smacked into the trunk as he’d stopped and mom’s car kept rolling. He stepped out of his squad car, which I’d pushed out into the intersection, and strolled back to my mother’s Buick.
Mrs. Ranier?” I wanted to crawl into the trunk before he had a chance to reach the window. When he got closer, a smile lit up his face. “Dani?”
Jeepers. His uniform was one of those hot fantasy bonuses that I mentally filed away for later. Black cargo pants highlighted his long legs and emphasized every toned muscle—front and back—before tucking into shiny black boots. A T-shirt with the word “Police” emblazoned across the back stretched tightly over his mile-wide chest and shoulders before tapering to a slender waist. He had a gun on one side of his belt and a badge on the other. If I was going to be arrested, he was the guy I wanted to pat me down.
Hi, Simon.” Heat flooded my pores. I tried to open the door and get out, but the hood and front fenders of the car crinkled towards the back end prying the door shut.
Are you okay?”
Yeah, but I think I’m stuck.” I pulled the handle twice more to prove my problem.
He leaned in the window, held onto my shoulder for a second until I wriggled from beneath his electric touch. “Can you climb out?” His radio crackled as he called for a tow truck and an ambulance.
I think so.” Holding the back of short my dress with one hand and grasping the passenger headrest with the other as I twisted my body, I slithered over the window ledge onto the street. His bulging eyes said my attempt at modesty had been much more attempt than success. I tugged at the skirt.
He licked his lips then brought his gaze back to my face. “Oh, shit, Dani.” He strolled to his car. Jogging back to me, he stepped closer—close enough I closed my eyes and inhaled the citrus-y scent of his cologne. He leaned in and investigated the gash on my head. “You’re probably gonna need a couple stitches.” With a gentle touch, he pressed the patch of fabric over the cut. “That hurt?”
No.” The tingling in the lower half of my body overpowered any pain further north.
I didn’t care that we were standing in the middle of the street or that he belonged to someone else. His soul-melting gaze held mine and one hand cradled my face as he used the other to stop the trickle of blood coming from my hairline. Another police cruiser pulled up and Simon stepped away, giving orders to divert traffic and then made way for the ambulance he’d called to check me out. All business Simon was hot. After about an hour, the cars had been towed off, a deputy retrieved Simon’s personal Jeep and I sent the ambulance on its way.
We stood on the sidewalk facing each other, grinning like a couple of goofy teenagers waiting for that first big kiss. He reached out a hand to once again touch my face and I closed my eyes, savoring the whisper of his hands on my skin. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
I nodded, still under the power of his special brand of magic. Any words I might have spoken stuck in my throat. Breaking the spell, he cleared his throat and pulled his hand away.
I swallowed hard and stepped back from his car. “Well, thanks for not writing me a ticket. I should go.” I turned and hurried away, past the jewelry store and the wedding shop. As I neared the beauty parlor his mother once owned, I slowed. Through the window reflection, I watched Simon’s gaze following me.
Probably thinking I was some sort of beauty parlor stalker, Gatlin waved from inside. The sight of Gatlin brought a small smile to my lips. Aside from Keaton, he’d been the one member of their little group I’d always gotten along with.
Hey, Dani, wait a second.” Simon’s voice held a mixture of curiosity and urgency.
I stopped as he jogged around his car toward me. “Wanna get together? Have some lunch? Maybe catch up?”
Don’t you have a girlfriend?” My heart pounded at the idea of “catching up” with Simon, but I’d turned over a new leaf and boyfriend stealing had a big red line through the list of acceptable behaviors I kept on a post-it in my mind.
I asked if you wanted to catch up.” A smile tipped the corner of his lips heavenward. “Not have an orgy.”
I wasn’t thinking orgy. I was more the one on one kind. “Well, you gotta clarify. Catching up with you could mean a lot of things and it puts pictures in a girl’s mind.” He chuckled. “Pretty pictures.” I over-exaggerated my sigh. Okay. Baby steps on the reformation.
He ducked his head and chuckled while I chewed my lip for a split second. “Catching up sounds good.” He put a hand in the middle of my lower back and guided me to his SUV.
Almost before I knew it, we arrived at Hood’s Hideaway, a new restaurant on the outskirts of town that bordered on the resort property where Keaton had worked after college. The building, a glorified tree house with a thatched roof over top of steel beams, had fake vines and plants “growing” inside. The “trunk” grew up through the middle of the floor dividing the room into fours.
After our waitress served frothy coffee concoctions with whipped cream and sprinkles, she strolled away leaving us alone, shielded by artfully designed foliage. I took a sip of the hot brew and swallowed quickly. My chest burned as the scalding liquid made its way down to my stomach. I sucked in a breath and blew it out. “So what happened with you and Hollywood?” As far as I knew, Kelly Devlin never came home from Los Angeles after she graduated college. 
He smiled just a little and my heart hammered in my chest. “She decided to stay out in California, and I decided to stay here.” She wasn’t willing to give up a crappy magazine job for Simon? The fool.
He took a big drink of coffee, pulled his lower lip between his teeth and smiled. “That’s hot.”
I nodded. “I could have told you to drink slow.” I dialed the conversation back to his relationship status. It was the only information I really wanted anyway. “And now you are consoling yourself with a sweet from the bakery?” I was proud of the way I had said it—witty, without a single hint of jealousy or malice. I held my breath, though, hoping he would deny it.
Such a way with words.” He grinned. “And I’m not consoling myself with Lizette. I really like her.” He narrowed his eyes and glared at me for a moment before his face relaxed.
I held up my hands in surrender. “Okay. You made a love connection. I’m happy for you.” But my stomach turned at the thought of Simon—my Simon—with the only woman I’d ever met in person who matched his six feet four inch height.
Eager to change the subject, he said, “And what about you? Anybody lighting your fire these days?”
I shook my head and ran my finger around the rim of my cup. Keaton and I never discussed what or how we would tell Simon about all that happened while we were away, but he and Simon had been best friends for years. I wasn’t going to be the one to destroy that.
So, you and Keats are finished?”
What? I, um, I, what?” I knocked my coffee over in surprise then quickly snatched my white linen napkin off the table and began sopping up the cooling brown liquid.
Simon says you can’t keep secrets from a guy like me, Dani.” He chuckled and shook his head. “I’m his go-to guy for everything. Plus, Joss is my sister and I don’t want to see her get hurt, so I asked him.”
Oh.” My hands stilled as the waitress wiped our table clean then left to get me another drink. She’d probably put it in a sippy cup. “I should have figured Keaton would have already told you.” These weren’t guys who kept secrets from each other. “Well, then yes, we’re over. He still loves her too much to be with anybody else.”
Is your little boy his?”
I’d never outright lied to Simon. Ever. And to keep from doing so, I had to stop this now before it went any further. “I don’t talk about Kieran’s daddy.”
I just don’t.” Well, this was awkward. “So, sheriff, huh?”
He chuckled. That ended all serious points of conversation. Instead, we chatted about Arizona’s dry air, his Mom’s rekindling of her marriage to Alex Rogers, his move into Gatlin’s apartment, my dad’s new horses—everything except the one thing I was dying to discuss—us. After a few hours, he drove me back to my mom’s and pulled up in front of the house. “This reminds me of the old days.”

Me, too. How many nights had he brought me home then sat out in front of the house steaming up the windows to his car? Just the thought of steaming up windows had my blood pressure climbing. “Yeah.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Since I first wrote Here He Comes Again, I knew Simon would be getting his own story. He's big and fun, lovable in a way only a small town sheriff can be, and he has a girl he just never got over--even though he has a couple memory problems.

And NOW... here he is. Or actually, here he will be on August 2nd.

So, I'm giving a sneak peek inside with some of my favorite Simon lines past and present from Here He Comes Again and Breaking Hearts! AS a bonus, you can pick up an ARC at Netgalley!

1.  “She’ll never believe you. I’m the good son. You’re the evil twin, divorced and destined to become a slutty old maid.” 

2. “Yeah? I doubt that. She thinks I’m a god.” He grinned. “Plus, it makes her hot that I get to carry a gun.”

3. “I got shot in the brain, doofus. I’m sure they know I have headaches.”


                                   4. “I never even got a donut.”

5. “I asked if you wanted to catch up.” A smile tipped the corner of his lips heavenward. “Not have an orgy.”

6. “I was going for romance points. Thanks for screwing with my mojo, dude.” 

“Those girls are not good people. You are kind and good, Dani, and even if you killed Sean, even if you did it in cold blooded anger, I would love you every minute until I die.” 

8. “I remember being with you, loving you, holding you. I remember thinking I would never be able to live without you. I don’t remember much, but I remember you.” 

9. “Nothing you can say will drive me away or push me back. I’m here because I can’t be without you.” 

10. “I want to grow old with you. I want to watch our kids grow up and I want to live with you, and wake up with you and know that no matter what happens in our lives, we’ll face it together. We’ll make new memories.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

20 lines from Falling Grace


dancing friends chandler bing chandler friends tv

Falling Grace is ready and Simon's Story (Breaking Hearts) is coming in August!!!

To celebrate... I'm sharing my 20 favorite lines from Grace and her pals!

20.   I couldn’t decide if that fell in the good or creepy category of potential boyfriends. --Grace


19. I didn’t spend thousands of hours studying and working my ass off to sit behind a desk when I should be in a courtroom. I couldn’t care less if old Billy Ray gets Granddad Bobby Joe’s farmland.--Grace

18.  As I stood there half ignoring their conversation, it became clear to me the only thing that would ever make my skin glow was a good facial scrub.--Grace

17.  “You don’t think he’ll respect my legal skills more than my fake boobs?”--Grace
jessica rabbit disney dancing roger rabbit

16.  Oh, who was I kidding? He could have planned to take me to a state execution. As long as he wore that cologne and nuzzled into my body, I would be there.--Grace

15.  Aside from being as handsome as he was in need of a little blue pill, the town seemed to love him.--Grace

“He’s rather like a dog marking his territory, isn’t he?”...“Lucky you’re not a fire hydrant.” --Jamie

13.  He’d been in cowpoke country a little too long if he honestly believed what he said, but I wasn’t about to play that card until we were in front of a jury of Gabrielle’s peers. --Grace

12.  “It’s not a dead body, Blane. It’s just a car.” -- Grace

11.  "You will have to explain my cold dead body and how it ended up on the side of the road in this Podunk, weed-infested town to seven angry Wade girls and one over-protective father with a collection of shotguns that have never missed anything he aimed at." -- Grace  

10.  “Tonight, the man I was when I was with you is the man I really am. This thing with Blane was wrong, and I’m sorry. I wanted to be… I guess I wanted to be him. To have you look at me the way you looked at him at the lake.” -- Jamie

9.   Sorry. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Burberry model with a heart as big as the moon and eyes I could drown in, I’m not the chick who’s going to be making you breakfast in the morning. -- Grace

8.  “Well, Miss Big-time-I-never-lose-a-case lawyer, I would have to write and print it for it to be plagiarism. Where’d you go to school again?”--Jamie

7.  “I want to be man enough to give you the choice to walk away, but I’m afraid if I do you’ll take it and it will break me.”-- Jamie

6.  “No pressure. No hidden agenda except not letting such a perfect night end. I don’t want to share you with a bar full of people. I want to talk to you and get to know all the things inside that beautiful mind…learn what makes you happy and sad, and what song makes you get up and dance because you can’t stop yourself. I want to know your dreams and the secret wishes you make when you blow out your birthday candles. I want to know you.” -- Blane

5.  “I’m guessing it was the low budget version of the welcome wagon.” --Grace 

4.  “I drink too much to have secrets. I’m chatty.”-- Grace

3.  “Nothing halfway about you. You’re actually a full-blown drunk.” -- Blane

2.  “Unless you have a weapon and a shovel, I’m pretty sure the only place I’m going is home tonight.” -- Grace

1. "That’s not exactly country music kind of love. It’s sick. The holy-crap-you-need-therapy-and-a-bedroom-that-has-padding-on-the-walls kind.” -- Grace


Friday, March 18, 2016

So, it's been a while...

Okay. I'm a slacker when it comes to promo. A bum when it comes to marketing, but alas, no more. I have some new books out (and coming out) and today, lucky reader, I'm gonna share.

You can buy it here!
First, before we go any further... there are some things you should know about our heroine, Grace. She isn't a typical romance novel heroine (due in part or in whole because this is not a typical romance novel). She is flawed. She goes through things and handles them without the grace (see what I did there?) of your average well-put-together romance novel main character. She drinks. She swears. She makes bad decisions (of the semi-slutty-but-only-cuz-as-I-mentioned-she's-a-drunk kind). She has a bunch of sisters who make appearances here and there...AND... this heroine's story is NOT set in Storybook Lake although that is her home town. Okay. So now that we are all on the same page, I have one other thing to say... This book is a prelude to Simon's story because, let's face it, After Here He Comes Again, he was always going to have a story. In fairness, Simon was supposed to come first because it made sense to go that way, but issues arose and Grace was a rewrite to make her fit in the middle.

Spoiler Alert!
All that said...warning_1.gif - (7K)

“My wife killed our daughter.”
First day of work in a place as foreign as she's ever been, this is the line that starts it all for Grace. She is busy minding her own business when a client comes in and speaks that very line. As a lawyer, she gets tingly--not the ooh, this guy is hot kind of tingly, but the ooh, this is a case I can sink my lawyerly teeth into kind of tingly.
And hence we have the first BAD decision she makes. From there, the kind of effect of throwing a rock at the precariously balanced cap of snow a top a mountain begins. An avalanche of circumstances. And yet, she deals without the benefit of her friends Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. So far, but wait for it. The boys arrive in a mad rush of airplane travel and twin hotties who both think Grace is kind of amazing. 
Bottle_of_whiskey.gif - (7K)
She's thirsty. Cut her some slack!

No she isn't just drunk and seeing double. Blane and Jamie are twins. Brothers (reiterating that seems silly, but, you know, effect and all). Super hero crime fighters (not like Thor or anything. One's a lawyer, the other's a cop). 
Well, if there was a way to get a Thor picture into this blog, I was absolutely going to find it!
And with twins (spoiler alert: good seed bad seed trope coming right at ya) Grace's descent into further bad behavior is full-steam ahead. Let's be honest. In the face of identical twins, a heroine like Grace only has a one-percent chance of making a right decision. Let me say it again...ONE PERCENT. 
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Grace is not a smoker, but she does roll her eyes.. A lot.
Her conscience is not her best friend. Her business partner stopped giving out love-life advice and she has to rely on her own good sense (she's a lawyer, not a fortune teller--although that would have been fun to write) and she fails a lot. 
Of course her head is turned by the bad boy. Even though he is quite content to be a s$@t most of the time. Isn't that what bad boys do? And girls fall for it even though we, as readers, know it's S-T-U-P-I-D. 

It would be the conventional uncomplicated romance whereby we see the bad boy hero redeemed by the love of the flawless heroine, though if not for his brother, who, also not an angel...
Not the other kind, either
... has decided he wants some Grace for himself. In an act inspired by childhood hijinks, he slips into his bro's clothes and whirls Grace around the dance floor a time or two. Maybe he is just enough bad boy to turn Grace's head after all. 
Aside from her love life, her case is spinning its way around the big toilet that has become her career and the entire town has prejudged Grace's client and found the woman guilty. Enter Jack Daniels. And just keep the shots coming!
There's a trip to my favorite place in the whole world (Duh, I named my blog after Storybook Lake, so I must like it a little, anyway) and we get in touch with some old friends (I missed Keaton and Jocelyn so they get a scene). It doesn't drive the story in any way except to show that bad boys stay bad no matter what part of the country they travel to (oh, and it happens in a bar).
So, I can't go a lot further without making it unnecessary to buy the book, and let's face facts... I WANT YOU TO BUY THE BOOK or BORROW IT or READ IT.

And worry not... Simon's story will be here soon! Right here (with another picture of Thor thrown in just because, why not!)
Ready for pre-order!!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A cupcake Queen with a sketchy past makes for 4 star reading!

Lie In Plain Sight by Maggie Barbiei

She’s the cupcake queen with a sketchy past, a dramatic present and a future it’s quite ossible she’ll never see…Yep. That is Maeve Conlon’s life.

Lie in Plain Sight is the suspenseful mystery disappearance of Taylor Dvorak – a sketchy kid in her own right, abused by her peers, and obvious product of her environment.

And oh, what a tangled web she weaves. This author wound three mysterious story lines into points of connection that made me want a road map and scorecard. And that is NOT a bad thing.

I do feel as though I might have missed a few things by not reading the previous books in the series—I have a few questions—but nothing so pressing it detracted from this book and if anything, made me intrigued enough to add those to my TBR list.

As for the characters…

Maeve is complex and fearless—the hard-ass who finds her way into trouble. She navigates crime solving with analytical ease, but in her personal relationships she can’t seem to figure out how to stay afloat and not push away everyone she loves. She is the over-protective mother of two daughters (one an angel, the other difficult), the ex-wife of the town womanizer/cheat, and girlfriend of the too-sweet-for-his-job town sheriff…like I said, complex.

Trish Dvorak is the mother of the missing girl. She has her own complexities and secrets which scandalize her daughter and make college the ultimate get-away—if only they could afford it.

Chris is the aforementioned boyfriend and town detective. He has a big heart, but is in way over his head dealing with missing persons, dead bodies and all the things he’d never thought he would see in such a small town. He isn’t completely aware of the secrets and fibs Maeve is piling up, but he is willing to hang into a point.

Cal is Maeve’s ex-husband who simmers on the petulant child side of life as a retired lawyer who left Maeve for a former friend and proceeded to have a child – at his age! He loves Maeve in the passive aggressive way he knows how, and he continues to be an active (if active means check-writing) parent, but is quite happy to use the kids against Maeve at every turn of the screw.

Heather is the sixteen year-old daughter Maeve and Cal produced during their marriage. Sullen, moody, typical, she gets her spunk from her mom and that makes for a rocky relationship.

Poole is Maeve’s old friend /cop who knows her secrets and has first-hand knowledge of the danger she willingly steps into. He is quite happy to whisper pertinent info in her ear as she investigates the missing girl and most of her neighbors, quite to Poole’s amusement, behind her BFs back.

Each character (except for Trish, these are the main and probably recurring characters in the series) has a special role in Maeve’s life and in her super-sleuthing. This series is reminiscent of Stephanie Plum or Amanda Pepper (without the slap stick quirks and comedic tryings) and is one I will continue to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's HERE!!!! Forever Eve is available NOW!

I could not be more excited. This is a book that will make you wish you could see into the past and live another life in another time and place!

Level-headed Izabel is a soon to be Psychiatrist who lives in Chicago with the love of her life and now husband Bo Carmichael. Her straight-as-an-arrow path in life was simple, or so she thought—school, then career, then the nuclear family. What could possibly happen to divert that plan? 

The burden she has chosen to keep a secret from her best friend eats away at her psyche daily. 

Natalie Spencer, the best friend, is a non-conformist artist/gallery owner and a loud and proud bisexual; the complete antithesis of Izabel. Natalie has always lived outside the box and is determined to get Izabel to color outside of her neatly drawn lines for once in her life. After a few glasses of wine, a convincing argument and a lot of badgering Natalie persuades Izabel to visit a Past Life Regression therapist with her. Izabel didn’t plan to travel back to a world that would irrevocably change the rest of her life forever.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Behind Her Smile by Olivia Luck -- 3 Stars

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was enthralled by this book to the 75% point, but after, I felt like it lost some of its luster.  Let me explain...

Karolina is a smart character. She knows where she came from and she has a plan for where she's going until she meets the charming, enchanting, beautiful David Morgan. Then, suddenly, the reader is to believe that all the choices are taken out of her hands, that she is no longer capable of making decisions on her own because the longing for a family is so great that she can't see past it to see that her new man is pulling her puppet strings. And still... I couldn't put it down. Hey. I'm smart enough to know that I don't have to agree with every decision a character makes and I don't have to love every idea in their heads for them to be real people. I don't always agree with my sister, but I still love her, so I continued to read. I rooted for her through a troubled marriage, through a husband who all but abandoned her and through a friendship it didn't take Einstein to know was going to get her in trouble. Yep. Continued reading. I wanted her husband to get what he had coming to him.

When circumstances took a turn and the absolute blackness in his soul came to light and Karolina had no choice but to face the truth, I was still all in. And that is where I got lost a little bit. The climax of the book came 75% in and even though there were still many loose ends to be tied up, by 80% in, it was clear they would be.

It wasn't that I didn't care anymore. I just didn't care as much.  The saving grace in this book was the charismatic bad-boy Alec Christos (The aforementioned friend who you knew would cause some issues in the doomed marriage). Charm and hotness not withstanding, I would have preferred if he had a more active role in the big GOTCHA scene, but...sigh, his other scenes were pretty perfect and I was happy with the way his friendship brought Karolina back to life.

Overall, I'm giving this one three stars.

Just BETWEEN you and me...This is a good Book!!!!

Review: Between by Dora Hilburn

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh to have a ghost of my own...not really, but this book sure made it sound dreamy. Wyatt has haunted HIS house for more than a hundred years when Anna inherits it from an uncle. She isn't one to be run off by fear of the unknown. Instead, she invites her ghost to sit with her in the study and chat. And he does. OK. I'll admit. It's more complicated than that, but the gist is... this is a beautifully written love story about a girl and her ghost and the lengths he will go to keep her safe.

Not to be a downer, but I had really high hopes for this book--all the way through, but the ending fell a little flat for me. I liked it and would read it again because the beauty of the romance was almost perfectly poetic, but I will always long for a change in the dynamic at the end.

Not to say that the book was bad or disappointing, it was just that my romantic soul for something more for Anna. The beauty of this character was that while I didn't like her and knew in life we would never be besties, the story is written in such a way I wanted to be her friend. I wanted her to have what she wanted and I wanted a happy ending, even when she made me angry for the way she treated Eric. I didn't like that she fell back on her self-imposed isolation as a way to excuse how she treated others, but I did understand it and it made me feel something about her. I think feeling something about a character, like or dislike, is a sign that the character is well rounded enough to elicit an emotion and that is good stuff.

Four shining stars for a wonderful book.