I am so happy to be part of this amazing blog hop with some of my favorite fellow baseball romance authors. We’re all celebrating Opening Day by putting our books on sale for 99¢ for the whole week!

My name is Jen Doyle. My CALLING IT series starts off when professional baseball player Nate Hawkins, escapes to his hometown of Inspiration, Iowa, after a car accident nearly ends his career. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Check out the rest of the other blogs (links below) and then scroll on down to see more about CALLING IT.


Lyssa Kay Adams
Books, booze, and the long ball

Jennifer Bernard
Double the romance, double the fun

Debra Elise
Love Always Finds A Way

Jean Joachim
Stories to warm your heart and soul.

Kate Kisset
A second chance to play for keeps

Mindy Klasky
Fun. Passion. Fantasy. More.


CALLING IT is available at:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pNkxeP
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/CallingItBN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/CallingItDoyle
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/calling-it-1

About CALLING IT:

Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person–much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even befalling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

An excerpt:

They were crucifying him on sports radio. Again. Tonight’s theme was NateGate: Is Baseball’s Hawkins Out For Good? and, considering that he was the Nate Hawkins they were talking about, he was an idiot for listening in the first place.

So the team’s doctors have just come out and said he’ll be fine to play in the spring, but I have to be honest, Jim. We’re supposed to believe that he’ll be good to go when pitchers and catchers report in less than a month? He’s not a twenty-two-year-old kid anymore. Bones that old don’t heal the way they used to.”

That old? He was thirty-three, for fuck’s sake.

“Marco, I’m not too worried about his knee

Exactly. His knee was freaking fine.

“What’s bothering me are the rumors I’m starting to hear about the Breathalyzer test results being faked.”

“Are you shitting me?”

And now he was yelling at the radio.

Perfect. Good thing it was practically the middle of the night and his was the only car on the highway. It would be just his luck to have someone snap a picture of him as he was yelling at his dashboard.

“I mean, the guy’s SUV rolled, what, seven times? That doesn’t just happen. And we’re getting nothing from team management despite the fact that they’ve invested a bucketload of money in him, plus nothing from the man himself… Things are not adding up. Let’s go to the phones.”

Listening to guys who were paid to stir up shit was bad enough. But the callers? Hell, no. He had to shut it off.

And yet he let it go on for another fifteen minutes. It was like driving by a wreck on the highway: nearly impossible to turn your head away.

So much for his adoring public. Christ. He was actually grateful to see the red-and-blue lights of a police car flashing behind him. He’d clearly sunk to a new low.

 

Do you like spoilers? Then take a look at the FREE bonus epilogue for CALLING IT.

Play ball!

What better way to celebrate Opening Day than with CALLING IT, the “crazy, funny, emotional, heart-warming” baseball romance by Jen Doyle. On sale for 99¢ for a limited time!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pNkxeP
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/CallingItBN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/CallingItDoyle
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/calling-it-1

About CALLING IT:

Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person–much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even befalling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

An excerpt:

They were crucifying him on sports radio. Again. Tonight’s theme was NateGate: Is Baseball’s Hawkins Out For Good? and, considering that he was the Nate Hawkins they were talking about, he was an idiot for listening in the first place.

So the team’s doctors have just come out and said he’ll be fine to play in the spring, but I have to be honest, Jim. We’re supposed to believe that he’ll be good to go when pitchers and catchers report in less than a month? He’s not a twenty-two-year-old kid anymore. Bones that old don’t heal the way they used to.”

That old? He was thirty-three, for fuck’s sake.

“Marco, I’m not too worried about his knee

Exactly. His knee was freaking fine.

“What’s bothering me are the rumors I’m starting to hear about the Breathalyzer test results being faked.”

“Are you shitting me?”

And now he was yelling at the radio.

Perfect. Good thing it was practically the middle of the night and his was the only car on the highway. It would be just his luck to have someone snap a picture of him as he was yelling at his dashboard.

“I mean, the guy’s SUV rolled, what, seven times? That doesn’t just happen. And we’re getting nothing from team management despite the fact that they’ve invested a bucketload of money in him, plus nothing from the man himself… Things are not adding up. Let’s go to the phones.”

Listening to guys who were paid to stir up shit was bad enough. But the callers? Hell, no. He had to shut it off.

And yet he let it go on for another fifteen minutes. It was like driving by a wreck on the highway: nearly impossible to turn your head away.

So much for his adoring public. Christ. He was actually grateful to see the red-and-blue lights of a police car flashing behind him. He’d clearly sunk to a new low.

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pNkxeP
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/CallingItBN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/CallingItDoyle
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/calling-it-1

Dear Walker Hayes,

On Friday night, I get to see you perform in Boston and I am beyond excited. I’m hoping I might get to share this story in person, but in the event I don’t, I’m putting it here for the world to see. As an artist myself, I know how much it means to me when someone tells me the impact my books have had on them, so I figured you might feel the same.

Last year was really rough. My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor right before Thanksgiving 2016, which happened to be a few weeks after I signed a contract to produce both book 3 in my Calling It series of romance novels and a holiday novella. He passed away in March–six weeks before the first draft of the novella was due–and, let me tell you, writing the happily-ever-after ending that all good romance novels require was pretty freaking hard. It was damn near impossible, in fact, and for the first time in my life, I was afraid I was going to miss a deadline I had committed to. (Given the circumstances, that would have been understandable, I think. But since my dad is the man who drilled things into my head like responsibility and sticking-to-your-word, well, it felt like I’d be letting him down. And I just couldn’t do that.)

When I’m writing, I find it very difficult to write without having a picture of my hero and heroine in my head. And Tuck, the hero of Holiday House Call, wasn’t clear enough to work through the murkiness of my head space given what was going on in the life of my family. But then I happened upon the video for “You Broke Up With Me.”

I had already heard the song and loved it–I liked the play of the words, the bounciness of the melody, and although being a happily-ever-after girl myself I wasn’t sure I could get behind the sentiment (I did a complete turnaround when I heard what the song was actually about, but that’s another story), I couldn’t stop listening to it. But the video provided the inspiration I desperately needed–that whole chiseled jaw thing you have going on, arms to swoon over, and a real life love for your wife and family that comes across in your music and interviews. Not only was I able to find a guy for my heroine to swoon over, but one who personifies some of the things that make Tuck who he is: someone who goes after his dreams while at the same time staying grounded by the friends and family who make up his world. The words began to flow.

Thank you so much for not only creating some wonderful music–“You Broke Up With Me” being my favorite, of course, along with “Craig,” “Beautiful,” and “Shut Up, Kenny” but I’m pretty much loving all of boom. (not to mention “Reason to Rhyme” and “Pants” [because, really, what’s a strong hero without a kickass heroine?])–but also for helping this romance author come up with Holiday House Call, a happily-ever-after I am intensely proud of.

Yours truly,

Jen Doyle

 

Once upon a time I wrote a story. A long, epic story about second chances and ancient warrior princess and the power of true love.

And it’s now posting exclusively on Radish on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. To check it out, all you need to do is download the Radish app and search for “Butterfly Ops.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If pushed, she could pick up an SUV, lob it across a football field, and still beat it to the other side. But being that close to him for the next several weeks and having to watch him and Miss Desk Job hit it off?

Nope. Not strong enough at all.

#UrbanFantasy #Romance #Paranormal #SecondChance #WarriorPrincess

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want to chat more about it? Join the Butterfly Ops Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ButterflyOps/

With the holidays upon us (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???), we know that the next six weeks will be anything but peaceful. How better to reward yourself than stocking up on some holiday HEAs, all listed here for those easy one-clicks.

One lucky winner will receive 10 books–one from each of the participating authors PLUS a $25 Amazon gift certificate. To enter, go to: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c00761f51/?

And in the meantime, you can shop for ALL of these novellas right here on this page. We hope you enjoy them–and happy holidays!


By author:
Kelly Bowen | Jen Doyle | Bronwen Evans | Anna Harrington | Carolyn Hector | Sheryl Lister | Farrah Rochon | Reese Ryan | Shannon Stacey | Tara Wyatt

By title:
A Match Made in Heather | A Tiara Under the Tree | Christmas In Quilts | His Holiday Gift | Hold Her Again | Holiday House Call | Holiday Spice | Holiday Temptation | It’s You That I Need | The Lady in Red | Never Christmas Without You | When Snowflakes Fall

 


Kelly Bowen’s The Lady in Red: Amazon US ~ Amazon CDN ~ B&N ~ Chapters/Indigo ~ iBooks

Jen Doyle’s Holiday House Call: Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

Bronwen Evans’s Christmas in Quilts: Amazon US ~ Amazon CDN ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ Google Play

Anna Harrington’s A Match Made in Heather: Google Play ~ BAM! ~ eBooks ~ Kindle ~ Kobo ~ Nook

Carolyn Hector’s A Tiara Under the Tree: Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM! ~ Kobo ~ Harlequin ~ Google Play ~ iTunes ~ Walmart ~ IndieBound ~ Target

Sheryl Lister’s It’s You That I Need: Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

Farrah Rochon’s Holiday Spice in Holiday Temptation: Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks

Reese Ryan’s His Holiday Gift in Never Christmas Without You: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ iTunes ~ BAM! ~ Google Play

Shannon Stacey’s Hold Her Again: Kindle ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Nook ~ Google ~ Carina Press ~ Audible

Tara Wyatt’s When Snowflakes Fall: Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Google Play ~ BAM!

When what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas…

BLUSH – the third in the Hansons of St. Helena Vineyard series (part of Marina Adair’s best selling St. Helena Vineyard world) – is now available for #FREE on #KU or for $1.99 in Amazon. Available at: http://amzn.to/2A33n3G

The blurb…

Former Las Vegas showgirl Nicki Hollister has a new job, a new home, and a new life. What she doesn’t have is a new man—good thing she has no interest in finding one. After a whirlwind affair turned disastrous ten years before, she left happily-ever-afters in the desert dust and never looked back. But when the man who left her high and dry in Sin City suddenly appears in St. Helena, she finds herself remembering the ways he touched her heart before he broke it, and she can’t turn him away.

Billionaire mogul Simon Grenville has an almost royal pedigree and the sexy British accent to match. When his future is threatened by a quickie marriage that should have been over a decade ago, he’s determined to confront the woman who betrayed him. Except he soon finds out everything wasn’t quite as it seemed. And now the only person who can put his life back on track is the one woman he was never supposed to have.

With each remembering past wrongs—and past oh-so-rights—can they grab the second chance they never expected?

 

This is not your typical love story, and it isn’t your typical second chance romance, but it is a beautiful, original example of both of those things. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into this story – a Vegas showgirl and an uber rich British guy falling in love? To be honest, it was really hard for me to picture at first. Yeah, that was until they get on a page together sparks and cartoon hearts start flying like crazy. Those two were perfect for each other in a way that I never expected. ~~ Amazon review

And here is my last #WorldSeries Trivia post for 2017. (As I write this, it’s the bottom of the 8th, and the Dodgers are giving the Astros a run for their money. If there is a 7th game, you’ll be able to check out one more night of Trivia on Jean Joachim’s blog.)

First, my final few questions. My answers to the questions from the other night will appear below.

Tonight’s trivia questions stem from a line CALLED UP, book #2 of my Calling It series:

“So, with all the theatrics of a coach whose Little League team consisted of seventeen overly enthusiastic six- and seven-year-olds, Deke Babe Ruthed it, raising his hand and pointing up the third base line. “Coming at you, Portia!”

1) Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” (hmmm… could have used that as one of my book titles, although it might have been a little too James Patterson, and not in a good way 🙂 ) occurred during the World Series. In what year and in what game?

2) Who broke Babe Ruth’s World Series scoreless innings streak? In what year and what team did he play for?

3) And in deference to Deke’s little league players, who was the youngest player to appear in the world series? How old was he? And as long as we’re at it, who was the oldest?

While you’re pondering those questions, here are the answers to my previous set of questions:

Question: The Dodgers weren’t originally based in L.A. What year were they established and where? When did they move to L.A.?

As my entire family is well aware (it’s a thing), the Dodgers were originally based in Brooklyn. (A big thing.) According to the timeline on the L.A. Dodgers website, they were established in 1890 and moved to California in 1958. Or, to be more specific:

On October 8, 1957, O’Malley announced that after 68 seasons in Brooklyn, the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles. In a move to bring baseball to all parts of the country, the Giants also decided to relocate from New York to San Francisco. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, defeating the Giants, 6-5, before 78,672 fans at the Coliseum.  (See http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/history/timeline.jsp)

 

Question: Did Vin Scully actually throw out the first pitch before Game 2 of the 2017 World Series? Who caught the first pitch?

Nope. Vin Scully conducted the ceremony, but he brought in a couple of famous Dodgers — Steve Yeager, who caught for 14 years for the Dodgers, and Fernando Valenzuela, the 1981 NL Cy Young winner and Rookie of the Year. (You can see the full clip at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOCNjaxYCIw)

Question: In CALLED OUT, book #3 in my Calling It series, Vin Scully is mentioned along with Harry Caray, Red Barber, and Bob Uecker. Of those three, who was famous for saying: “It could be, it might be… It is—a home run!”

Sorry. that was way too easy, I know. That would be one of Harry Caray’s signature phrases. I can’t find a recording of him saying it, but the Bleacher Report did a really cool collection of what they consider the 25 greatest home run catch phrases of all time. Something to listen to in those long baseball-less months from November – February. (And, yes, I meant February. Please refer to the picture if you don’t know why.)

Listen up: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/795866-mlb-power-rankings-the-25-greatest-home-run-catch-phrases-of-all-time

As long as we’re talking about that baseball feeling, here’s a bit more from the scene in CALLED OUT that I mention above.

“Okay,” Nate said, once the kids had all been settled down. “Everyone ready?” He nodded to Deke, who, with a smile, raised his arm and pointed a remote at a spot toward right field, as Nate said, “Welcome to The Show.”

There was the sound of jets flying overhead—just like on Opening Day. And then, as lights began to come on one spotlight at a time, Harry Caray’s voice could be heard, shouting, “It could be, it might be… It is—a home run!” That faded into recordings of Red Barber, Vin Scully and Bob Uecker, just to name a few, as more lights came on, highlighting that it wasn’t just your typical indoor practice facility, but instead a mini stadium, bleachers included.

No, not just an indoor stadium. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jack muttered as banks of lights came up first in center field, and its reproduction of the scoreboard at the old Comiskey Park, then in right field…

“Is that real ivy?” Wash asked.

“Gifted by the Wrigley grounds crew,” Nate answered, his smile so wide it could be heard in his voice.

But it wasn’t just Chicago that was represented, as was evident when the lights came on in left field. “Oh, my God,” Dorie gasped as a smaller version of Fenway’s Green Monster, complete with a reproduction Coke bottle towering over it, got top billing.

Whether you were a baseball fan or not, standing here amidst these iconic sights and listening to the familiar sounds, it was such a visceral thing that—

“It’s not just me, right?” Lola said from next to him, briskly wiping a tear from her eye. “This is pretty freaking amazing.”

He wanted desperately to hold her. To put his arms around her and settle his chin on her shoulder and just let the magic overwhelm them. He settled for a quick duck of his head and an even quicker brush of his lips against her hair while he briefly took hold of her hand. His eyes caught hers. “Yeah,” he said, gruffly. “It kind of is.”

CALLED OUT is available at Amazon as well as all other major e-retailers.

Whether there’s a Game 7 or not, I’ll be posting the final set of answers here on this page in a few days. Don’t forget to check back in! (And if there is a Game 7, you’ll get one more night’s worth of trivia, check out Jean Joachim’s blog for a few more trivia questions.)

Save

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And we’re back!

If you’ve been following along, my fellow baseball romance author Jean Jochim and I have been posting World Series trivia each of the last few nights. If you’d like to check out our previous posts, please go to:

1) Jean’s blog
2) My previous post

Before I post the answers to the questions in my previous post, let’s add a couple more questions.

1) The Dodgers weren’t originally based in L.A. What year were they established and where? When did they move to L.A.?

2) Did Vin Scully actually throw out the first pitch before Game 2 of the 2017 World Series? Who caught the first pitch?

And, 3) In CALLED OUT, book #3 in my Calling It series, Vin Scully is mentioned along with Harry Caray, Red Barber, and Bob Uecker. Of those three, who was famous for saying: “It could be, it might be… It is—a home run!”

Now that you have those questions to ponder, here are the answers to the questions I posted the other night.

Question: How many teams have come back to win the World Series after being down 0-3 in the League Championship Series?

Answer: 34

Question: How many times has the winner of the World Series been decided in the 7th game?

Answer: Just once. As they said on SB Nation: “It’s the 2004 Red Sox, and then it’s everyone else.”

See https://www.sbnation.com/2016/10/17/13313812/baseball-teams-down-0-3-in-a-postseason-series-history for the full rundown.

QUESTION: The trivia question that seals Dorie’s fate in CALLING IT — “This player led the Yankees in RBIs in every season from 1949-1955. Name the player and, as a bonus, name his claim to fame from the 1956 World Series.”

And here is the complete passage from CALLING IT, with the answer included:

But it was the last question that was a knife to Nate’s gut. The one that he knew was coming, but hoped against hope would prove his doubts wrong. His heart came to a slow, painful stop as the words came out of Lola’s mouth. “This player led the Yankees in RBIs in every season from 1949-1955. Name the player and, as a bonus, name his claim to fame from the 1956 World Series.”

He wanted her to bungle it. To give an answer just about anyone else in the world would give hearing those words. Mickey Mantle. Joe DiMaggio, hell, even Babe Ruth, although the timing was off by about twenty years. So many famous Yankees that even a Red Sox fan knew them all; so many names that someone could throw out and think they had a shot of getting it right. But what most people didn’t realize was that the man whose quotes provided laughs on a regular basis was also one of—if not the—greatest catchers of all time.

“Yogi Berra,” Dorie answered quietly. “He caught Don Larsen’s perfect game.”

Once again cheers erupted around her, but all Nate could do was close his eyes and breathe.

If you’re interested in finding out why this was such a turning point for Dorie and Nate, well, you’ll need to read the book. 😉 You can get it and the rest of the CALLING IT series on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

I’ll post the answers to the next set of questions in a few days. In the meantime, check out Jean’s posts at http://jeanjoachim.blogspot.com.

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So Jean Joachim and I were recently chatting–us both being baseball romance authors, as you know–about the World Series coming up and doing some posts to go along with it. Since one of the key scenes in CALLING IT (book #1 in my Calling It series) takes place during an epic Trivia Night bout at the local bar and grille, I am happy to follow up Jean’s post last night with some Trivia of my own.

This happens to be a personal favorite of mine, for reasons that I’ll elaborate on in my Friday night post. But for now, here goes: how many teams have come back to win the World Series after being down 0-3 in the League Championship Series?

And as long as we’re at it: how many times has the winner of the World Series been decided in the 7th game?

Let’s do one more, this one being the trivia question that seals Dorie’s fate in CALLING IT:

“This player led the Yankees in RBIs in every season from 1949-1955. Name the player and, as a bonus, name his claim to fame from the 1956 World Series.”

I’ll post the answers on Friday. In the meantime, check out Jean’s post from last night at http://jeanjoachim.blogspot.com. And she’ll be posting round 3 of trivia tomorrow night.

To learn more about CALLING IT, see http://www.jendoyleink.com/books/calling-it-calling-it-1/.

Holiday House Call is releasing next week. Holy holiday novella, is what I say. It feels like just yesterday when I was turning it in.

But since it’s almost here, I thought maybe you might be interested in a preview? The opening scene perhaps?

Well, consider that wish granted. Here goes:

 

Thirty-two miles per hour in a sixty-five zone. Someone was getting a ticket tonight.

Eventually someone was getting a ticket, at least, because if they didn’t get up over forty, Tuck would be sitting here forever. May as well put his feet up and take a nap; rest up for his overnight shift.

And now they were stopping in the middle of the road.

Jesus.

John Tucker put down the radar gun and rolled up the window. Rather than wait for the driver to get to him, he pulled out of his spot and headed toward her, catching a glimpse of blonde hair as he passed. He pulled a U-turn at the wider part of the road and flashed his lights as he came up behind her so she would…

No. No freaking way he was seeing what he thought he was seeing.

He knew that bumper sticker. 5280 Denver.

He knew that GMC—intimately.

He knew exactly how soft all the driver’s long blonde hair felt as he threaded his hands through it.

Because once upon a time—six years back, when he’d been living in Denver—he’d been in that car. Been in the backseat of it, in fact, clothes every which way, watching her throw her head back, her hair cascading over her shoulders as she rode him.

It was one of his favorite memories from his Denver days. Possibly one of his favorite memories, period. And it majorly sucked that he was going to have to slap her with a drunk driving charge.

Now they were both stopped in the middle of the road. This was about to get awkward.

But it was his job, and as the newly promoted Chief of the Inspiration, Iowa, Police Department, Tuck had absolutely no excuse not to do it. He sounded the siren and hoped she got the hint to pull to the side of the road. When she did, he pulled over behind her. A blast of wind hit him as he got out of his patrol car. She rolled down the window as he approached, her bloodshot eyes widening in what he assumed was recognition.

“I need your license and registration, ma’am.”

He caught himself just before he winced. Had he seriously just called her ma’am?

She apparently felt the same way. Her eyes narrowed. “Did you really just…? You made me come four times in three hours and you call me ma’am?

He, uh… Well, yeah. He was quite proud of that, in fact.

The making her come four times part, just to be clear. The ma’am thing, not so much.

“If you’re going to pull me over,” she was saying, “you could at least call me by my first name.”

Yes. That would absolutely be preferred. Except…

“You don’t remember my name, do you?” Rather than wait for him to confirm or deny, she bonked her head against the steering wheel. “So done,” she mumbled. “I am so done with this day.”

He cleared his throat. Because, no, he didn’t remember her name. Or maybe she’d never given it to him. He’d been too captivated by her mouth and the things she’d said she wanted to do with it for anything else to truly register.

She straightened up and glared at him—as if he were the problem here—before handing over her license and reaching for her registration. She’d also turned on the interior car lights, which was a bit of a surprise since it indicated a basic knowledge of getting-pulled-over SOP. Tuck didn’t think that was a good thing.

Nor was it a good thing when her lips settled into a grim line before she far-too-perkily asked, “Could you tell me what the problem is, Officer?”

Yes, he supposed he deserved that sneer at the end. He hadn’t told her he was a police officer that night. Some women liked the uniform; he generally tried to stay away from them. The problem was that a lot of women didn’t like it, and that was an issue, too.

He looked down at her license. Karen Carmichael. Ames address, thirty-seven years old. Huh. He would have pegged her for younger. She had a bright-eyed, innocent look about her. It was part of what had drawn his attention—not to mention the attention of more than a few other men in the bar that night. She’d come up to talk to him, though. Asked him to dance. Which, incidentally, had been an entirely new thing for him, as he generally did the asking. He was also generally more of a first-kiss-after-the-third-date kind of person. Always that kind of person, in fact, except for that night.

Nope, still didn’t regret it.

Handing the license back, he said, “Could you step out of the car?”

He ignored the glare she gave him as she shut off the car’s light, opened the car door, and stepped out.

“I’m pretty sure you need probable cause to pull me over,” she added, crossing her arms over her chest as she leaned against the door.

He very specifically did not let his eyes drift down past her neck. It was hard enough to concentrate on what he was doing at the moment; remembering how perfectly her breasts fit in his hands wasn’t going to do anything to help matters. “You drifted between lanes, drove well beneath the speed limit, and then came to a stop in the middle of the road. I had every right to pull you over.”

Her glare went nuclear. Took him straight from roasted marshmallow to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. But instead of lighting into him, she let her head fall back, dropped her arms to her sides, and breathed in deeply through her nose a few times. When she straightened up and met his gaze, she was cool and collected. “I’m not drunk.”

No, he’d realized that as soon as she’d opened her window to him, her bloodshot eyes notwithstanding. Something was going on, though; even a rookie cop would have figured that one out. Before he could decide on what approach to take, she snatched the penlight out of his chest pocket and held it out to him.

She wasn’t supposed to do that. No one did that. And if anyone else had, he probably would have…

Well, he had no clue because no one did that. Yet all he could do was watch the way her lips formed the words— “Here. Feel free to check.” —and flash back to the way those same lips had felt on his about-to-burst-into-flame skin.

He pushed the thought back as he took the penlight from her, careful not to make actual contact.

“You want me to do the walk and turn thing?” she was saying. “Stand on one leg? Say the alphabet backward?”

Yeah. Something was definitely going on. Her attitude was still up around DefCon 1 and she hadn’t backed down one bit. So he ran the tests, enough to confirm she was sober—which she was. But as he stepped back so she could get back into her car, he saw her eyes change. And something changed inside him as well. Enough of a something for him to step in closer. He only barely managed not to reach out to her. “Are you okay?”

She stared up at him, no less shocked than he was. Then her lips trembled. Tears spilled over and ran down her cheeks. She shook her head slowly, her voice no more than a whisper. “I had a really bad day.”

Tuck had had some pretty bad days himself. They haunted him regularly, pushed away only by thoughts of much better nights. Thoughts of her, in fact, from time to time. He wanted to draw her to him, fold her into his arms. But he was already dangerously close to crossing that hard line called, oh, professionalism so he resisted, instead asking, “Is there anything I can do?”

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Dr. Karen Carmichael prides herself on being capable, optimistic and always in control. But even neurosurgeons have breaking points, especially as the holidays approach. When Karen finds herself on the side of the road, explaining to a cop that her less-than-stellar driving was due to stress and tears rather than too much booze, it’s humiliating. When that cop turns out to be a one-night stand from her past, it’s icing on the bad-day cake.

Officer John “Tuck” Tucker didn’t expect to see Karen again after their night together. The circumstances may not be ideal, but convincing this beautiful, stubborn woman to get to know him with his clothes on is more fun than he could have imagined.

Karen swore she’d never fall for someone who risks his life for his job. She sees enough heartbreak at work without inviting it into her personal life, and she has no interest in becoming involved in the small town Tuck calls home. But despite valiant efforts to keep her walls up, her affection for Tuck is growing into something much stronger. With a life built around work alone looking less appealing by the day, Karen will have to take a leap of faith—and trust that Tuck will leap with her.

HOLIDAY HOUSE CALL will be available on October 23, 2017.
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