New Release: Women of Washington Avenue by Linda Apple

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On Washington Avenue in Moonlight, Mississippi, four friends, single and fifty-something, find themselves in the age-old conundrum—They’re too old to be young, but way too young to be old. All of them are ready for another chance at love. But when that chance comes to each of them, it brings startling surprises and secrets that threaten their hopes. Thank goodness they have each other!

 

 

 

IMG_0786-2Linda Apple is the author of Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, and Boots ~ Promises Kept, a memoir of a WWII POW. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Women of Washington Avenue is her debut novel. She is also a motivational speaker who teaches writing and speaking workshops.

Linda lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.

New Release: Heart Shifter by Charlotte Copper

perf5.000x8.000.inddMitch Mingan has chosen to remain a bachelor; he doesn’t want anyone else to suffer his destiny. But when his cousin Ken dies leaving behind twin boys, it is up to Mitch to ensure his nephews are ready for what lies ahead. Inviting Ken’s widow Sarah and the boys up for the summer seems like a perfect start.

For Sarah, a summer up north is the perfect opportunity for her sons to get to know their father’s family. It’s also a chance for Sarah to learn the truth behind why her husband left his childhood home at such an early age. What she doesn’t count on is falling for their handsome host. She also doesn’t count on finding out the family legacy: Mingan means wolf!

Excerpt:
Sarah had observed Mitch with hooded eyes for much of the afternoon, and could see the restlessness grow within him like a trapped animal. She sprung from her chair like a jack-in-the-box, and grabbed the crutch first. “Mitch Mingan, you are supposed to be resting. You’re injured.”
Instead of sitting back down, he planted his hands on his hips and…laughed. A deep, tingle-causing, nipple-erecting laugh.

“You are not getting this crutch.” Sarah tried to hide the crutch behind her back. Sure, childish, but sometimes dealing with a man was like talking to a child.

“Oh, yeah,” Mitch said as he stepped over the narrow coffee table that separated them.

He moved fast for an injured man. He moved fast, period. Before she knew it, he had the crutch in one hand, and her in the other; his arm wrapped around her waist, her chest pressed against his. The smile melted from his face as the expression in his eyes grew warm and serious.

His arm fell away, and he took a step back. She wished for the crutch back. She needed to support the weakness in her knees.

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press http://bit.ly/XgytwB

Email: charlottecopper.author@gmail.com
Website: http://charlottecopperauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlotte.copper.52
Twitter: @CharlotteCopper

Author Bio: Author picture
Charlotte Copper lives in Stouffville, Ontario – that is in Canada, eh – with her husband, daughter, and two part-time step-daughters. When she isn’t working at her full-time job or driving her daughter around for volleyball, Charlotte likes to craft, read, go to the movies, and, of course, write. Charlotte admittedly tries to juggle far too many balls at once while working on a series of (mostly paranormal) romance stories. Charlotte hopes to have all of the stories published some day because, as a romance writer, she believes in happy endings!

 

Researching the Book–What’s Your Funniest Story?

SomeOtherChild_w7615_750_LargeOne of the running jokes we authors have is that if we ever get arrested, our computer browsers will get us in a lot of trouble. Some of us even say, “If I die before you, delete my browser history!”

For me, I think this curiosity and need to find more information dates back to my nerd girl days. When I was a kid, I often acted out my favorite characters exploits. One time, in a Nancy Drew inspired moment, I decided to tie myself up and see if I could get out of the knots. I did. Finally. After a LOT of wriggling and praying my siblings didn’t catch me trussed up like a turkey! That urge for verisimilitude in reading and writing drives me to this day.

Twenty-four/seven, you will find me browsing the Internet for facts, reading library shelves of books for background information that may or may not make it into the story, but that I need to know as the author, or, lately, listening to non-fiction books on my iPhone as I walk the dogs, do housework, or drive to and from work.Yes, my name is Sharon and I AM a research junkie.

Occasionally this obsession with details can lead to odd behaviors in adults, too. One time, I had to determine if you really could fall into a body of water in a blow up bra, a foam cervical collar, a swimsuit, and a robe and still float. Yup, I enacted a scene from my romantic suspense, Some Other Child by placing blown up plastic bags in the bra of my swimsuit and wrapping a foam cervical collar around my neck. As I fell forward in feigned unconsciousness into a pool, my husband, family, and friends laughed until tears rolled down their faces. I had the last laugh, however, as the experiment was a success and the scene (a critical plot point) stayed in the manuscript.

Now, what’s the funniest thing you’ve done while researching or reading a book? You can be honest. You’re among friends!

~~~~~

Sharon August 2014_CroppedAfter working in health care delivery for years, Sharon Buchbinder became an association executive, a health care researcher, and an academic in higher education. She had it all–a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it an obsession) kept beckoning her to “come on back” to writing fiction. Thanks to the kindness of family, friends, critique partners, and beta readers, she is published in contemporary, erotic, paranormal ,and romantic suspense. When not attempting to make students, colleagues, and babies laugh, she can be found herding cats, waiting on a large gray dog, fishing, dining with good friends, or writing. You can find her doing “research” on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Review: Behind Japanese Lines with the OSS in Burma by Richard Dunlop

Behind Japanese Lines: With the OSS in BurmaBehind Japanese Lines: With the OSS in Burma by Richard Dunlop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A first hand account of a war we don’t often hear about, the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater. While many of us have relatively good knowledge of the European theater, as well as many movies and books in popular culture, the CBI is one we only recently have come to appreciate thanks to declassification of many OSS documents. Simultaneously helped and hindered by the British SOE, which felt the fledgling OSS was too green to have a major role in Europe, the CBI was open to the OSS by virtue of Eisenhower’s support and need for better intelligence and behind the scene support from the people living in the countryside. This detailed account of the grueling work and sacrifices of the men of the 101 will live on in your heart. Highly recommend to any serious student of WWII and the OSS.



View all my reviews

New Release! A Woman of Honour by Marlow Kelly

AWomanofHonour_w8721_750Duncan Campbell wakes to discover he is imprisoned with a woman in his enemy’s dungeon in the Highlands of Scotland. The disenchanted warrior hopes his last few moments on earth will be spent in the arms of the sweet-voiced Isabel. If only she will cooperate.

Isabel Douglas has no intention of obliging the crude captive. The penniless noblewoman considers herself too tall and thin to be desirable. She intends to become a nun. But first, disguised as a boy, she must deliver an important letter to Scotland’s hero in hiding, King Robert the Bruce.

Together, the pair make a daring escape that plunges them into the bleak countryside in the middle of winter. In the struggle to survive, they learn the true strength of their feelings for each other. But when Duncan’s animosity towards the king becomes evident, Isabel must decide between her heart and her country.

Excerpt
Duncan Campbell drifted into consciousness and opened his eyes to absolute blackness. He lay perfectly still on the cold, dirt floor listening. A small rustle of fabric echoed in the darkness. He cocked his head, getting a sense of the sound’s location, then rose to his feet.

“Tell me who you are before I tear you apart,” he roared, seizing his opponent. Whoever it was didn’t answer, just silence. A fist punched him on the nose. Pain ricocheted through him, and he grabbed his face. In the dark, he lost his balance and fell in the dirt, cradling his head in his hands.

“Oh my, are you all right?” asked a small voice.

“No, I’m not.”

“You threatened me, and I wanted to give you fair warning I will fight back if you touch me.”

The lyrical voice stunned him. A woman? She spoke Gaelic with a strong, lowland accent. He shook off the pain and asked,“Where am I?”

“Dunstaffnage Castle. Don’t you remember your capture? I’ve heard of people getting a bump on the head and not remembering their own name. Is that what happened to you? Did you bump your head?”

Lord, she was talkative.

“Is it?”

“I remember I was hit from behind scouting the bast….Are we in the dungeon?” He rose to his feet.

“Yes.”

He grunted. On the bright side he hadn’t gone blind. On the other hand they were in a dank, windowless cell with no hope of escape. There wasn’t even a sliver of light coming through the door.

Buy links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW6UIHK/ref=cm_sw_su_dp
TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5769
All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-awomanofhonour-1601990-161.html

Marlow Kelly BioMarlow -head shot colour
After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home, and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children, and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories and her curiosity regarding the lives and loves of historical figures are the inspiration for her characters. You can visit Marlow at www.marlowkelly.com, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest

 

Character Interview: Danny Anderson from Elyse Salpeter’s Flying Series

?????????????????????????????????????????????Danny Anderson from FLYING TO THE FIRE Book #2 in the FLYING series

Age: 13 years old
1. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?

Danny writes something on a piece of paper and hands it to you. “Do you know sign language or do you need my brother to translate for you?” (you don’t know it, so his 24 year old hearing brother Michael is going to be your interpreter for this interview)

“I’m originally from Rockland County but after that incident with Samuel Herrington seven years ago…” (you look confused) and Danny says, “You know, that evil biophysicist that’s now in Sing Sing? The one who kidnapped my parents and tried to kill me and my brother? We were all over the news, don’t you remember?” (you sort of nod yes). “Yeah, well, before that things were pretty great – totally normal childhood. Then for a few weeks things were crazy but then they calmed down. The problem was, things didn’t go back to normal. We were getting recognized everywhere. My parents moved us to upstate NY to a smaller town so we wouldn’t be recognized as much and could have some privacy.

Things were pretty cool for me growing up. I mean, how could they not be? I know what happens to people when they die and because of that my entire life has been unique. I’ve got this cool relationship with birds and I can travel to…” (Michael nudges Danny in the ribs and gives him a face and Danny stops signing. With a sheepish grin, he shrugs). Well, let’s just say my life is different than other kids. (you ask how? But he refuses to say anything else on the matter)

2. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?

“Right now I’m a student in eighth grade. I go half day to a school for the deaf and the other half of the day I go to a regular mainstream school. Since I’m deaf, at the mainstream school I have an interpreter that shadows me all day, but she’s really nice and backs off when I’m with my friends and stuff. My teachers are pretty cool. Two of them even learned some ASL when they knew I was going to eventually be in their classes. Well, enough to say hello to me and to ask me if I have any questions about the assignments.”

3. What’s going on in your life right now?

“Right now things aren’t going so well. I’m having a lot of nightmares and I keep feeling like something or someone is watching me. The scary part is no one else in my family believes me.” (he casts a glare on Michael, who rolls his eyes). “But I think maybe my little sister knows something is going on. She’s only seven but I think she’s been having nightmares, too. I’m going to have to talk to her about it.”

4. Is there someone special in your life?

No, but there is in my brother’s life. <He makes a gagging imitation> Now I have to watch him making out with his girlfriend and drooling over every word she says whenever she comes to visit. It’s annoying. I never get any time to talk to him anymore.

8. Any last comments?

Danny eyes her suspiciously. “You don’t by any chance like bugs, do you?” (you shake your head no.”) Danny exhales loudly and says aloud, “Good.”

headshot2Elyse Salpeter is the author of seven novels and a host of short stories. What she loves doing is mixing “the real with the fantastic” in her books. She loves taking different scenarios and suddenly creating worlds where things just aren’t what they appear to be. Her Dark Fantasy Series, THE WORLD OF KAROV and THE RUBY AMULET take us to other realms filled with magic and evil… THE HUNT FOR XANADU is an adult contemporary thriller about a young girl on a mission to avenge her parents, murdered in their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. It is steeped in Buddhist spiritual mysteries.

FLYING TO THE LIGHT and now FLYING TO THE FIRE are her YA thriller series about a deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him for the answer.

Coming Soon from the PUBLISHER AND BUY LINK

FLYING TO THE LIGHT US: http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Light-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00J8ZPKWGflying to the light

FLYING TO THE LIGHT UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flying-Light-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00J8ZPKWG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407251186&sr=8-2&keywords=flying+to+the+light

FLYING TO THE FIRE US: http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Fire-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00MDKZAG4/

FLYING TO THE FIRE UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flying-Fire-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00MDKZAG4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407161825&sr=8-1&keywords=flying+to+the+fire+by+elyse+salpeter

Book blurbs:

Flying to the Light: Book #1 in the Flying Series
Seventeen year old Michael Anderson and his deaf kid brother, Danny, find themselves in mortal danger after their parents are kidnapped. Michael discovers Danny has a special gift—he knows what happens after a person dies—and now others want to know too. The brothers must outwit and outrun Samuel Herrington, a lethal biophysicist, the FBI, and even fellow Americans in a harrowing cross-country chase, because whoever gets to Danny first will have the power to rule the world.

Flying to the Fire: Book #2 in the Flying Series
An evil black mass has burst through Danny Anderson’s nightmares to attack him in broad daylight. If it weren’t for his birds, he would have died. Danny soon realizes that this monster is not coming for him, but for his little sister, Katie…because while he looks up to a place of light and peace, Katie looks down into realms of darkness and cruelty. Time is running out. The monster grows stronger with each attempt to steal Katie away to these dark dimensions, forcing Danny into the fight of his life to save his sister–before she is lost to him forever.

Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor
Twitter:https://twitter.com/elysesalpeter
Blog:http://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/
Website:http://www.elysesalpeter.com/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elysesalpeter/elyse-salpeter-author/

 

New Release! Undiscovered Angel by Sharon Saracino

UndiscoveredAngel_w7443_coverTormented by guilt, consumed with vengeance…will the arms of an angel be enough to save him?

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: August 22, 2014

Blurb:
Empath Katrina Shepard spends most of her time alone, preferring solitude to the constant press of the pain and emotion of others. When she meets publishing tycoon Kassian McAllister at a party she finds herself intrigued. He is the first man she can’t read. Maybe she isn’t the only one with strange psychic powers.

An Earthbound Angel, Kassian has spent the better part of a century hunting Jack the Ripper. His personal quest for vengeance has locked his heart and emotions behind a tightly guarded door. But Kat reawakens the emotions he thought long dead. As they grow closer they both learn truths about themselves and see a chance for love.

But Jack the Ripper still roams the Earth and Kat has become the ideal target. Will Kassian finally have his revenge or will he lose yet another woman he loves.

EXCERPT:

“Look, I’ll make a deal with you.” He knew they were attracting more attention than he’d intended, but Kassian found it inordinately refreshing to have a woman up in his face instead of falling at his feet. “You stop trying to get into my head and I’ll stop trying to get into yours and we’ll just agree to have a nice, normal conversation.”

“Why?” She regarded him with narrowed eyes.

“Why? What do you mean, why?” Had she looked in a mirror recently? Why would she think he was any different than the next poor schmuck? Not to mention the telepathy thing and the fact that she’d actually tried to read him; that would have guaranteed his interest even if she looked like Janet Reno. She was obviously uncomfortable with her abilities. He found himself not only moderately entertained, but unwillingly curious.

“I mean, why would you want to have a nice, normal conversation with me? There are plenty of people here tripping all over themselves to get your attention. You don’t even know me. I’m sorry if I’m being rude, but honestly, I was getting ready to leave when you came over. Did you want something?”

His eyes did a quick once-over, missing nothing. Hell, yeah, he wanted something, but he knew instinctively that she wasn’t the anonymous-quickie-in-a-bathroom-stall type. He could have any woman in the room. That wasn’t conceit talking, it was just a fact, a fact about as impressive to him as dry toast. And the only woman in the room he found remotely interesting was wishing she was anywhere but here with him. She wasn’t flirting or making any effort to impress him. He suspected she would be more relieved than disappointed if he walked away right now. It was a completely new experience for him. And given his extensive experience that was saying something. She rubbed her forehead as though she was in pain. He wondered if trying to hold her shields securely while engaging in verbal repartee with him in a crowd was causing her discomfort. Maybe he should tell her to relax? She really wasn’t blocking him very well anyway.

“Why were you leaving? Do you have to be somewhere?”

He surreptitiously glanced at her left hand. Katrina Shephard had piqued more than his physical interest, although she certainly was no slouch in that area. He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had done that. He wasn’t quite ready to relinquish her company to whoever might be waiting for her at home. After all, they were simply conversing in a public place; it should be harmless enough.

“No,” she replied levelly, “and please don’t take it personally, I don’t really care for crowds. I only came for Elle’s sake, and only planned to stay for a short time.”
Kat rubbed her forehead again. He hadn’t intended to make her uncomfortable; well, not physically at any rate. He was about to withdraw when he hesitated. Her mind suddenly descended into turmoil, her thoughts becoming increasingly scattered and disjointed. He realized it was more than trading banter with him, more than the crowd.

Something was wrong.

 

About Sharon Sharon
Sharon Saracino resides in the anthracite coal country of Pennsylvania with her long suffering husband, funny and talented son, and two insane dogs. When she is not reading, writing, or enjoying photography and genealogy, she brews limoncello, dreams of living in Italy and works as a Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse.
All roads lead to happily ever after, some just have a few unexpected turns!

 

Where to find Sharon Saracino

WEBSITE FACEBOOK GOODREADS TWITTER

New Release: Owl Light by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Maybe6 owl light cover“In Owl Light, mystery and magic are close at hand. A deer hunter encounters the Daughter of Winter. Ghosts join a holiday celebration. A clockwork owl is the key to preventing murder. A gravedigger unearths a vengeful trow. To save the woman he loves, a dwarf strikes a bargain with faeryfolk. A sideshow attraction wishes to be normal with unexpected results. And an anthropologist must choose between her modern world and an ancient culture.

These stories and more dare the reader to step into Owl Light, where early stars flicker, owls wake from slumber, and shadows appear where shadows ought not be. But be warned, Owl Light dims to darkness, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.”

Owl Light is my second collection of science fiction, dark fantasy, and ghost stories (with a few poems and illustrations tossed in for good measure) published by Cold Moon Press. My first collection, The Greener Forest, featured tales where the world of Faerie collided with our everyday world. Besides giants, goblins, spriggans, mermaids, and other magical folks, each story was about love. When I went to put together another book of my short fiction, I found many of my tales had 3 things in common: “owls, darkness, and love.” So the title, Owl Light, was a “no-brainer.”

The first story, “The Clockwork Owl,” is a steampunk, time-travel tale about what a man does for the love of his sister and her children. “Bad Moon Rising” and “Bells” are paranormal romance ghost stories with very different conclusions. “Gabeta,” based on a folklore belief that having an orange cat will protect a home from fire, demonstrates the love a a sister for her younger brother and a cat for her human family. In another paranormal romance, “The Burryman,” an old man regains his youth and finds a new partner. And love, of one sort or the other, is central to each of the other tales in Owl Light.

For those who’d like to read an excerpt from “Feathers,” one of my favorite stories in the collection, here’s the link: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/stories__more/happy_tell_a_fairy_tale_day And, yes, it is a quirky take on the traditional Rumplestiltskin fairy tale.

As I mentioned earlier, I included a few poems and illustrations. Here’s the intro poem to the book along with an owl illo:

Owl Light

Be daring:

push wide the door

when sun vanishes in a puddle of pink,

temperatures chill,

and twilight creatures emerge

from cracks, crevises, caves, and hidey holes.

 

Be audacious:

step onto the porch

when skies darken to indigo,

frogs serenade,

and beings of Faerie slip

from beneath tree roots, rocks, and bridges.

 

Be fearless:

descend to the yard

when moon raises her ghostly face,

dogs howl,

and phantoms venture

from swamp, sea, and cemetery.

 

Be courageous:

walk towards the forest

when early stars flicker,

owls wake from their slumber,

and shadows appear

where shadows ought not be.

 

But be cautious, dear ones,

for dusk dims to darkness

as surely

as dreams change to nightmares,

and dawn

is more distant than you know.

Thank you to Sharon Buchbinder for inviting me to stop by. And dear readers, may all your journeys be filled with mystery and magic.

Vonnie Winslow ChristAbout the Author:

Vonnie Winslow Crist, BS Art-Ed, MS Professional Writing, Towson University, is author of The Enchanted Skean (YA fantasy novel), The Greener Forest and Owl Light (YA-friendly speculative story collections), River of Stars and Essential Fables (myth-based poetry collections), Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales (children’s book), and several sf/f eBooks. A Pushcart Nominee and Compton Crook Award Finalist, she’s received awards from Maryland State Arts Council, Pen Women, L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future, and elsewhere.

Her paintings have recently appeared on the covers of FrostFire Worlds, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Aoife2 Pawprints large art‘s Kiss, Spaceports & Spidersilk, Illumen, Scifaikuest, Harford’s Heart Magazine, and elsewhere. This year, a calendar featuring her art was issued by Alban Lake Publishing.

A cloverhand who’s found so many four-leafed clovers she keeps them in jars, Vonnie believes the world is full of mystery, miracles, and magic. She enjoys celebrating the power of myth in her writing and art.

Contact links:

Website: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com

Blog: http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/WriterVonnieWinslowCrist

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/vonnie_winslow_crist

Amazon Authors Page: http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon

Twitter: http://twitter.com/VonnieWCrist

New Release! Smolder on a Slow Burn by Lynda Cox

SmolderonaSlowBurn_w8473_300 (2)Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.

Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy.

Excerpt from Smolder on a Slow Burn

“And, as it appears I’ve thrown my lot in with you perhaps we should be using first names, although I prefer ‘A.J.’” A flash of white, slightly uneven teeth in a conspiratorial smile rocked Allison to the core.

“If A.J. isn’t your first name, what is?” She struggled to put sense to this sudden, decidedly protective attitude from him.

“Adrean. My full name is Adrean James Adams, Junior. I was named for my father. He was Adrean, so I was Adrean Junior and that was later shortened to A.J.” He quickly moved to the bench seat opposite her. He ran his hands through his hair again. Because she was facing him this time and, for the first time since she had met him he wasn’t wearing that battered cavalry hat, she noticed that the silvering at his temples wasn’t even. The silver among the black at his right temple traced nearly to the back of his head about two inches above his ear and followed a direct line with the thin scar along the slope of his cheek bone.

“May I ask what caused that scar? A deflected saber blow?”

He shook his head and plopped his hat on, tugging it into place. “Nothing so romantic. It was a rifle butt to the side of my head. As I recall, I said something the other man didn’t appreciate.”

Allison felt her stomach turn. “Why?”

“Why? Why was what I said unappreciated—?”

“Why were you struck in the head with a rifle butt?”

“Because even though I could say something that man didn’t appreciate, he still had the authority and the power to knock me senseless.” He lifted a shoulder in a negligent shrug. “Train’s slowing, which means the porter will be here shortly to let us know which town we’re coming to. Let’s not damage your reputation beyond repair, shall we?”

Allison wiped the tears from her face, aiming for some semblance of normalcy when the porter arrived. “Even if I’m mistaken, I want to thank you for not doubting me, Mr…A.J.”

He quirked a brow even as he stretched his legs out, crossing one ankle over the other. “I learned a long time ago that a woman’s intuition is often the best source of information available. A lot of men are complete fools for not giving it more credence.”

Allison glanced at the revolver tied down low on his thigh, visible where his greatcoat had slipped open. She lifted her face to his. “I don’t think many people would dare accuse you of being a fool.”

“You’d be surprised how often I have been accused of that.” He leaned back, another smile tracing new lines across his features. “And I do believe, Allison Webster, you’re flirting with me.”

Heat seared her cheeks, but she managed to keep her gaze steady on his face. “I suppose I am.”

Buy Links

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Smolder-Slow-Burn-Lynda-Cox/dp/162830443X

About the Author:

another author photoOnce upon a time there was little girl who fell in love with the wide open spaces of the American West, cowboys, horses, and collies. She blames a steady diet of syndicated Western programs and John Wayne movies as well as Lassie for these loves. That girl grew up but never outgrew her first loves. Lynda J Cox writes predominantly western historical romance. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show to exhibit her award winning collies. She loves to talk about books, writing, the lure of the vastness of the American West landscape, the mythos of the cowboy, and the insanity which is the sport of showing dogs. She can be reached at www.facebook.com/LyndaJCox or via e-mail at lynda.cox@aol.com.

Meg’s Secret by Kelly Abell

Saving Shenanigans Meg medMeg O’Banyon makes a mistake during her senior year in high school. She gets mixed up with football star Rowdy Rod Owens, and after one night of foolish passion, Rod, on his way to serve Uncle Sam, leaves her with a gift…one she knows her father will never approve of. Fearing his drunken rage, Meg flees on a Greyhound Bus with only twenty dollars in her pocket and a baby in her belly. Meg has struggled for ten years to keep food on the table for her and her daughter, Emma, and up until now has done okay. A visit to the doctor is about to change all that.

When she gets the news of her father’s death, Meg uses it as an opportunity to secure a future for Emma in case things don’t turn out as she hopes. As if dealing with her current burden isn’t enough, the sudden return of Rod Owens from Afghanistan sends Meg into a panic. She’s never told him about Emma.

Rod Owens is a jock with a passion for his country. Wanting to serve from the time he could carry a toy rifle, he dreams of an Army career. After being injured and released from the only career he’s ever known, Rod returns home to more than one surprise. The woman who’s haunted his dreams for years suddenly confronts him with two heart wrenching secrets. Rod must now determine if he can overcome the hurt and betrayal and fight for what he loves most.

Book two of the Saving Shenanigans series allows you to witness the strength and determination of the second O’Banyon sister, Meg, as she comes to terms with the secrets of her past, battles to survive a difficult present, and struggles to secure a hopeful future. Meg’s story is also an empowering one as she gains control of the “silent killer” Ovarian Cancer. All she needs now is the support of her family and the love of a good man…her man.

Part of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition to raise awareness of this Silent Killer and how important early testing is. Visit this site for more information on Ovarian Cancer http://www.ovarian.org/

Excerpt

Chapter One

Meg rocked on the front porch swing late in the evening, the cool end of summer air swirling around her. She shivered, but not because of the breeze.

Mara, her sister, stepped outside carrying two wine glasses.

“Emma’s asleep, finally.” She handed Meg a glass of Merlot.
“Thanks. I’m bushed.”

“It’s been a long day. How you holding up?”

She nodded. “The pain’s tolerable.” Since contracting ovarian cancer, Meg struggled with daily abdominal pain. For a long while she didn’t even know what was wrong, attributing it to indigestion, or maybe even her gall bladder.

One of the reasons why this damn disease is called the silent killer.

She sighed. Now was not the time to dwell on her own problems. She had enough of that facing her in the immediate future. Her family needed her full attention right now. “I’m worried about Mabe,” she said, suddenly changing the subject.

Mara smiled. “Our sister’s tough. It’ll take more than a concussion to keep her down. Aaron took care of Toreni, so that’s done. Now we can keep Shenanigans, such that it is.”

“True. Boy, Aaron sure turned out to be a true blessing. I’m glad that mobster’s paid off, but Mabe won’t be happy once she finds out what Aaron’s done.”

Mara raised her wine glass in a mock toast. “From the lip lock I saw between them tonight? I think she’ll be okay.”

Meg raised an eyebrow. “Really? That’s awesome. She deserves some happiness.”

“I tried not to eavesdrop, but I was standing outside the door. I think I heard him ask her to marry him,” Mara remarked, raising her goblet again.

Meg clinked her glass to her sister’s, grinning. “Nuh uh…really? I’m so happy for her. I guess I was wrong about him.”

“Ya think?”

Meg nodded and glanced out into the night. She sensed her sister’s gaze. “What are you staring at?”

“You’ve not been yourself all day. What’s up?”
She frowned, pinching her nose with her fingers. What’s up, she asks? What’s up is I’m a liar. How do I tell my daughter Rod is her father? How do I tell him he has a daughter?

What a mess.

“Meg?”

She sighed. “I saw Rod a few days ago.”

“What?” Mara twisted in her chair to face her sister. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“Uh, because we’ve been a little pre-occupied.”
Mara shoved her over and squeezed in next to her on the swing. “Okay, spill it.”

Meg’s eyes moistened. She swiped fiercely at her cheeks. There’d been too many tears lately. She explained how she’d seen Rod at Shenanigans when she’d stopped there with Emma.

“Oh, wow. I bet you nearly crapped your pants.”

She faced her sister. “Ya think?” She echoed Mara’s earlier statement, then laughed bitterly.

“What’s he doing back?”

“War injury. Wounded leg.” Meg shifted on the swing. “I felt so bad for him. The Army was all he ever dreamed of. I guess that’s over now.”

“Did he say what happened?”

She nodded. “He said he took some shrapnel from a car bomb. I didn’t know what to say, Mara. I was completely dumbfounded.”

“I’m sure. Did he see Emma in the car?” Mara wrapped an arm around her sister.

Emotion overwhelmed her again. “Of course,” she choked out, dragging a tissue from her skirt pocket. “What am I going to do? I know I was wrong not to tell him about Emma, but I thought it wouldn’t matter. I never expected to see him again.”

Mara sighed and sipped her wine, pushing the swing with her foot. Meg rested her head on her sister’s shoulder.

“Do you think he suspected?”

She rolled her head side to side. “Nah…I doubt it. We were only with him a few minutes. He looked into the car, spoke to her. I introduced him as my friend, Mr. Owens.”

Mara rested her head on the back of the swing, gazed up at the ceiling. “You’re going to have to tell him.”

Meg cried into her tissue. “I know.”

“Tell who what?” The man’s voice came out of the dark.

Meg jerked so suddenly her head collided with her sister’s chin.

“Ow,” Mara exclaimed, rubbing her injured jaw. She twisted to see Rod standing on the sidewalk.

“Is this a bad time? Not too late is it?”

“You just scared the shit out of Meg,” Mara grumbled.

“I’m sorry.” He chuckled. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I was so surprised to see you in town the other day, Meg. I’ve been meaning to stop by before now, but I figured y’all might be a little busy.” He glanced at his watch. “I was out walking and heard you ladies talking so I thought I’d drop by. I guess I really should’ve considered the time.”

“Nonsense,” Mara told him. “Come on up.”

He hobbled over, parking his hip on the edge of the porch.

Meg gripped her sister’s hand. Her heart warmed at the reassuring squeeze she received in return. How in the hell did I ever get myself into this mess? Who’d have believed he would have come home to Monticello? What are the odds?
She glanced at her sister, who got the signal.

“I’m going to go put some ice on my jaw. You kids have fun catching up.”

“Good to see you again, Mara,” he said. “Hope to see you around town.”

She nodded and gave him a finger wave before going inside. The screen door slapped shut behind her.

Meg couldn’t remember feeling more awkward. With her sister gone, she was left on her own to face this man she’d once loved. A man she’d have given her heart and soul to. A man she had a daughter with. Oh, God. She thought back to their high school prom night and smiled.

“You just drifted back to our high school days, didn’t you? I saw it in your eyes.”

She glanced at the handsome man in front of her. He wore jeans and an avocado green T-shirt with the words Go Army in white letters. His blond hair was longer than she remembered. He’d always worn a buzz cut for football season, but even after that, he’d never let it curl over his collar. She liked it. His eyes were the kind of blue that changed hue depending on what he wore. Tonight they were a deep blue-green, like the ocean.

“I must have been the only girl home by midnight on prom night,” she commented, still smiling.

Rod whistled. “Yeah, boy. Your father put the fear of God in me. I’m sorry for your loss, by the way.”

She glanced away from his handsome face out into the yard. “Thanks.”

“Can you come down here, sit by me?”

She swiveled her head back to face him, her heart racing. Getting close to a man she’d once loved so openly was not a good idea—especially when she had news that would rock his world.

He patted the thigh of his right leg. “I’m still having a hard time negotiating steps.”

Guilt swept through her. Jeez, how selfish can I be? This wonderful man was injured doing God knows what in Afghanistan. The least I can do is sit with him for a minute.
She joined him on the edge of the porch. “Does your leg hurt much?”

“Only when I move,” he quipped, the edges of his mouth curving into the sexy half-smile she remembered so well.
“I’m so sorry you were hurt. You think you’ll make a full recovery?”

He sighed, tapping his cane on the ground. “This is as good as it gets, I’m afraid. I may get a little more mobility back if I keep exercising, but I’m stuck with my metal buddy here.
Her glance swept from his cane to his strong rugged face.

“That sucks.”

He reached for her hand. It was like grasping a bear paw, large and warm. “Where did you disappear to, Meg?” He leaned the cane against the wooden decking to grab her other hand, twisting to face her. “Your father came storming into my house just before I left for boot camp, demanding to know where you were. I was as shocked as anyone to learn you’d run away. I had to leave worried sick something had happened to you.”

She sucked in a breath. He really cared about me. The shock of that revelation set her back. She knew how she felt about him, but never realized the depth of his feelings for her. She was pregnant, so she ran. She was afraid of her father’s reaction, sure, but she also loved Rod enough not to ruin his future. Was that fair? Now she didn’t think so, but at the time she was a scared young girl.

He surprised her when he touched her face. “After Mom wrote and told me Mabe knew you were safe, I stopped worrying as much, but Meg…” He slipped his hand behind her neck, edging her closer.

Her pulse raced, her palms beaded with sweat. Oh God. I should stop this.

“I can’t tell you how glad I was when you said you weren’t married that day I saw you at Shenanigans. You had a daughter, so I automatically thought…”

Oh shit…Don’t go there…please.

“You were all I thought about.”
Meg blinked. The conversation took a completely different direction than she was expecting. She held her breath, listening to this man whom she’d once loved so passionately.

“It was your face I dreamed of at night. You were the reason I fought so hard to live after the bombing. I told myself if I could get back to the states, I’d do whatever it took to find you. And here you are.”

She exhaled, her heart warming to his words, but her brain set off wild warning bells in her head. In the past she’d wanted to hear those words, to know how he’d felt about her. But now…things were so different.

Rod held her gaze, his soft blue eyes staring straight into her soul. He leaned in, capturing her lips in a soft gentle kiss.

IMG_2193_pp8x10Kelly is an international bestselling author with novels with two different publishers. She writes romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Her aim is to write about gripping characters in tense situations that keep a reader turning the pages. She also spends a great deal of time helping other writers through her Writing Tips on her website and as a member of the Florida Writer’s Association.
When not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband of 30 years and her two college age children, when they find the time. She lives in Florida and enjoys all that living in the sunshine state brings, boating, fishing, beaches, theme parks, and more. Her favorite pastime is reading (what a surprise!) She likes Thrillers, Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Comedy.

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