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.”

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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

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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.)

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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?”

Want to read more? Preorder now at: http://amzn.to/2ysU8b2

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.
http://amzn.to/2ysU8b2

 

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I am thrilled to announce that CALLING IT won the “Contemporary Romance, Published” category of the Mid-Michigan RWA’s 2017 Best Banter Contest. A huge THANK YOU to MMRWA, and congratulations to all of the other winners.

Want to read the passage I submitted? Please read on (spoilers ahead)…

THE SET UP: Nate Hawkins is the superstar catcher for the Major League Baseball expansion team, the Chicago Watchmen. He’s been at the Derek Jeter level of stardom for almost half his life—and he’s been librarian Dorie Donelli’s celebrity crush for pretty much that entire time. When he returns to his small town of Inspiration, Iowa, and circumstances bring them together, Nate falls almost immediately. Lust at first sight turns dangerously close to love in no time at all. Since Dorie’s been in love with him since the age of 14, however, it is unbelievable to her that he could truly feel that way after a mere matter of days. And although she’s entirely on board with a short-term fling, under no circumstances will she allow herself to go any further.

Having agreed to a weekend in Chicago with him, she’s been fully thrown into his world after an all-night poker game with some of his fellow superstar cohorts followed by an unexpected encounter with Nate’s ex-fiancee. As far as she’s concerned, that all just goes to prove her point. Nate, on the other hand, sees it in a different way entirely.

 

FROM CHAPTER 17

Was there anything the man wasn’t good at? Dorie honestly didn’t know how she could walk, much less run nine miles, yet here they were on mile two and she was on such a high from all that amazing sex she’d been having that she felt like she could go ten times that without breaking a sweat.

“Are we going to talk about this?”

She glanced up as he ran next to her, which was something she’d been trying very hard not to do. She still wasn’t entirely sure what she was doing here.

He misunderstood her silence. Rolling his eyes, he said, “Are you going to tell me I think like a girl again?”

She wasn’t, but that would be as good an excuse as any. She shrugged. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

And there wasn’t. That was doubly clear after last night as the men in his world had closed ranks around him—supporting him, reclaiming him. And then Courtney, of course, pulling him back to the land of Nate Hawkins, and reminding Dorie that the Nate of this fantasy didn’t truly exist. That even if it did, guys like him did not get all hot and bothered for women who meant what they said when they threw out things like, I don’t want to be the queen of your world; I want to be the king of mine.

But that didn’t mean she wasn’t determined to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

“How about we start with Courtney?” he asked, as if putting small-town librarian Dorie in the same category as a trust fund heiress slash morning news anchorwoman made sense—which it didn’t. She knew that, Courtney knew that, everyone in the hemisphere knew that; it was only Nate who didn’t seem to.

Though she felt his glance she didn’t look up to meet it.

“So it didn’t bother you that she basically had her hand down my pants when you walked in.”

Dorie’s cheeks flushed and she found herself running faster. Of course it had bothered her. It had been a slap in the face. But Dorie wasn’t going to tell him that. “If I were her and I’d done what she did to you and was trying to get you back, then I’d probably be putting my hands down your pants, too.”

“Jesus,” he said, obviously irritated. “Do you even want to try to make this work?”

She stopped running. Hadn’t they already had this conversation? “Make what work?” For heaven’s sake. “We’ve known each other for four days. There isn’t a real this to talk about.”

“Five,” he corrected, coming to a stop and glaring down at her.

“Okay. Fine. Five.” Whatever. She’d give him the half hour from Tuesday night even though it was technically Wednesday morning by the time they’d actually begun talking. “Do you have this conversation with all the women you sleep with before you’ve known them for a week?”

His eyes flashed with anger. “I’ve never had this conversation with any woman before. I’ve never wanted to have this conversation. Why do you refuse to believe that?”

He truly needed her to spell this out for him?

She jabbed at his chest. “Because you get paid millions of dollars in a year and I can barely scrape together my car payment. Because you go to benefits for a thousand dollars a plate, but the best dress I own is from the Anthropologie clearance rack. Because…” Oh, hell, no tears. Please, no tears. “Because your ex-fiancée is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and she wants you back.”

And when he was bored with this little interlude into normal life—which he would no doubt be the second he was on his way to spring training—it would just be Dorie all by her lonesome, watching House Hunters marathons and bingeing on ice cream again. After blowing her chance to finally do something with her life because she’d spent all her free time following him from place to place rather than stay and do the job that she’d left her whole family behind for.

But she wasn’t going there with him. She wasn’t going there, period, because this was only a short-term thing. Only sex.

Goddamn. The tears won. She angrily brushed them away.

As he started to protest, she cut him off. “And even if you don’t want her back, too, there’s another hundred women just like her waiting to beat down your door.” Wrapping her arms around herself, Dorie took a step back. “And I don’t want to always be in a competition for the man I lo—”

When he looked up sharply, she realized what she’d almost just said.

Oh, double Goddamn. “You know,” she mumbled, wanting to kick at the ground but settling for rubbing her toe in the dirt instead. “If it ever became more than sex.”

“At the risk of getting my balls chopped off…”

Kneed,” she corrected, glaring up at him only to see his eyes practically dancing with laughter.

Undeterred, he carried on, “Kings are always fighting off someone.” He raised his hands in surrender as her jaw dropped. “Just saying.”

But then he got serious, wrapping his arms around himself as well—they were like the poster children for the Body Language of a Tense Conversation. The gaze he directed toward her was an appraising one. Assessing. He swallowed hard, then looked down at the ground.

“Okay,” he finally said, raising his eyes and giving her a look so piercing that she took another step back. Then he turned away from her and started running again.

Um, well, good. Glad he was on board.

They were practically back to his building when he finally spoke again. “You need to know something. I’ve lived half my life like this, and sometimes I can’t even believe it. And you’re right—the women…” His voice trailed off as he shook his head. “That part has been beyond surreal.”

He slowly came to a stop, waiting for her to draw up next to him. “But it’s been fifteen years, and in that whole time…” He shook his head as he looked down at her. “You say I’m going to get tired of this. I say maybe I’ve waited my whole life for whatever this is. And if you think that you scared me off by saying you want to go all alpha on my ass?” He grabbed her by the elbows and hauled her close. “Then you’d better start coming up with a better excuse. Because you are so off base you aren’t even on the field.”

Then he leaned down and owned her with a kiss so searing it left her breathless. When he pulled away, he smiled. “I also think that the reason you’re resisting is because you’re afraid I’m right and you’re wrong. So maybe you’d better man up and get over it so that we can get on with our lives.”

Still thrown by the kiss, it took Dorie a few seconds to realize what he’d just said. She sputtered, “Did you just… Did you just call me chicken? Is that your idea of romance?”

That made him laugh. He gave a shrug and then reached down for her hand, looking both ways as he stepped forward to cross the street. “Maybe I’ve been taking the wrong approach. Maybe the only way for me to convince you that—”

He stopped suddenly, his eyes on a cluster of people in front of his building. “Shit.” He let go of her hand and dropped down to one knee to tie his shoe. “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I have to pretend that I don’t know you. If I thought it would do anything other than make your life a living hell, I’d take you with me. But right now, I have to go.”

Then he was off and running down the street, leaving her standing there. Bewildered. Breathless. She opened her mouth to call his name, but realized someone else had just done that for her. And suddenly the small group of people turned into a frenzied mob, swallowing him up into a sea of flashing cameras and shouted questions. Their intensity was frightening, even from here. With a deep breath, she sank back against the wall behind her and closed her eyes.

He’d just torn the rug out from underneath her, shaken it out and then laid it back down in front of her, daring her to take that step.

She squeezed her eyes shut and brought the heels of her hands up to them. It was a one-night stand. A weekend, at most. This was too much, too soon. She didn’t want something with complications and concessions and compromise.

So rather than attempt to make sense of any of it, she pushed off the building and started running again.

 

Like what you read? You can order CALLING IT now at: http://amzn.to/2yfxanw 

 

#99cents sale baseball romance Calling It

Guess who made it to the Top 16 round of the Harlequin Hero of the Year contest for 2017. Jack Oxford (i.e., my hero in CALLED OUT), that’s who.

So many of you have told me how much you loved him–especially after you were prepared to hate him instead. So please come on over to https://www.harlequin.com/shop/pages/harlequin-hero-of-the-year.html and vote him forward!

THANK YOU!

 

Putting a new book out is always a bit of a mixed blessing. After months of writing and editing–and sometimes years of knowing this story is coming–it is both awesome and terrifying to release it into the world, especially when it’s near and dear to your heart.

Although Nate and Dorie will always be special to me because they were my first, and Deke and Fitz worked their way into my soul, Lola and Jack have always been something special to me. Jack was actually one of the first characters I ever conceived of. (I know, I know–‘of whom I ever conceived.’ Sigh. As a friend just said to me in an email, this is the curse of being an English teacher’s daughter.) The original opening scene of Calling It (book #1 in the series) actually had Nate, Jack and Courtney coming face to face on a red carpet in front of a whole lineup of photographers; that interaction is still incredibly vivid to me (even though in the evolution of the story, it has been relegated to scenes that got cut from both the book itself and the storyline).

Lola, although a very minimal character in book #1, was as defined to me then as she is now. The single (widowed) mother of four, she is confident and unafraid to cut her losses no matter how painful they may be. She loves her four young boys, but, oh yes, is quite tired, which only adds to her reluctance to open herself up to anything even remotely verging on serious relationship territory.

But for as much as I love them, I am always worried that no one else will. So it was with great relief that so many early reviews showed Jack & Lola some major love.

Not all of them did, of course, and I know that you might have a very different feeling for this book than I do. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I hope you love it, but if you don’t, I will still be grateful for your taking the time to read it. There are so many incredible stories out there and we are all so limited in time. I appreciate any time you have devoted to my books. And if you’ve written a review–good or bad–I am even more grateful.

With that said, however, as Lola’s and Jack’s book birthday rapidly approaches, I am going to list here some of the words that have meant so much to me from the advance reviews on GoodReads.

Drum roll please… Here are some of my favorite quotes from these early reviews (you can read the full text of these reviews [and more] at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34372440-called-out):

“Okay, I am in love! Great lead characters, wonderful secondary characters, melting hearts, believable conflict, and a happy ending. What more could you want?” – NovelMomma

“Jack and Lola’s story is a sensual and playful delight that took my breath away…” – Becky

“It’s a story of love, of healing, of atonement and redemption. It’s a story of friendship and family. It made me laugh, tear up, and swoon, and most of all, I really enjoyed it. I am absolutely looking forward to more stories from Inspiration.” – Sam

“The rest, as they say, is history; but in the most unexpectedly intense, sincere and super hot ways. These two have the most delicious conversations, passionate encounters, and every day moments. … I managed to laugh out loud and then within minutes, also shed some tears. Always a sign of a really good book I think. Thank you Ms Doyle, and I am looking forward to the next installment.” – Ruthie

“Ms. Doyle mixes moments of insight with humorous delivery and emotional storytelling as she creates a masterful story of maturity and romance. – Isha

This is probably the ultimate fantasy read for every single mum everywhere. … Only Jen Doyle could write such a domestic romance without it ever feeling domestic and I am once again surprised by how much I enjoy this series. The blurbs make me want to run – I don’t do charming, sweet or white picket fences. I usually hate cute kids and their fictional parents. But there is a layer of honest and slightly dark humour in these stories that really strikes a chord with me. I love this series and I can’t wait for the next book.” – Sarah

This is a great story with an original plotline, a fast pace and amazing characters. I loved every page! – LeeAnn

Overall, I ADORED this book. It was so sweet and heartfelt and heartbreaking and heart-mending. – Nadwa

“This was a sexy, romantic read with great characters, a wee dose of angst and hefty dose of adorable courtesy of Lola’s sons.” – Nicola

Again, the full reviews are available at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34372440-called-out — and if you happen to head over there, please be sure to read *all* the reviews, not just the good ones, so you can get the full sense of what people are thinking. And please do “like” those reviews, too, so that the reviewers know their work is appreciated.

So we’re down to an hour and a half now, and I must go find something to do other than be nervous about what everyone else will think when Called Out hits their e-readers at midnight. (What that something is, I have no idea.) But thank you once again for your support, thank you for reading this post, and a big, fat, messy-kiss thank you (in advance) for reading Called Out. Happy reading!

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