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!

Amazon:
B&N:
iBooks:
Kobo:

Out on Monday, May 29. Preorder your copy NOW:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pf0Yui
B&N: http://bit.ly/BN-CO
iBooks: http://apple.co/2ntKpcS
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oZFX9t

Enter the preorder giveaway: https://goo.gl/forms/sVLClSf1eMIhup9U2

 

“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

“LOVED this one!! I’ve enjoyed each book in this series but I think this might be my favorite.” ~~ Bette

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

You can read the full reviews at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34372440-called-out

To enter for the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, pre-order your copy and then head on over to https://goo.gl/forms/sVLClSf1eMIhup9U2 and fill out the (very short!) form there.

Want a taste? Here’s a short excerpt. As you may notice, this is immediately after some shenanigans in the laundry room:

At what point she finally collapsed she had no idea; just that she could feel Jack bring her pants back up over her legs, pull her tank top back down, and wrap the sweater around her again. Then he pulled her into his arms and tucked her head into his chest and held her as, still shaking, she came down.

She was mentally present enough to realize he was still hard—even to register that she not just needed to return the favor, but that she desperately wanted to. Except, oh, for Heaven’s sake, she was crying.

“I’m not sad,” she said into his chest.

He chuckled. “No, babe. I got that.”

“And I’m not about to go all crazy clingy,” she added, despite the fact that she couldn’t physically remove herself from his arms yet. “I’ll let go as soon as I can walk again.”

“No rush.” The smile was still in his voice. “We can stay just like this for as long as you like.”

Using the principle of gravity, it was actually possible for her to let her hand drop down between them and at least get a little bit of a feel. Despite his appearing cool and calm, he sucked in a breath as her hand tightened around him.

“Maybe not quite as long as originally thought,” he said, his voice cracking a little.

To the contrary. “Longer.” And thicker, come to think of it.

Or not, because it suddenly occurred to her that she could hear the boys clamoring around upstairs and she had no idea how long they’d been up there.

Thank God they were still up there and not down here, however. “I, um, I think that’s my call to go.”

“Yeah.” He loosened his arms a little, but didn’t release her. Almost as if he wanted to stay here with her just as much as she wanted to stay with him. “I think maybe I’ll just stay down here to finish up.”

She snorted. She couldn’t help it.

“The laundry,” he emphasized, grinning down at her.

“Right,” she answered. “Well, there are some clean towels in that basket over there. You know, if you needed something to fold.” She gave him one more squeeze. “Or whatever.”

He laughed as he grabbed her wrist and pulled her close again.

 

Here are those links again. Thank you for reading!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pf0Yui
B&N: http://bit.ly/BN-CO
iBooks: http://apple.co/2ntKpcS
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oZFX9t

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway! https://goo.gl/forms/sVLClSf1eMIhup9U2

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You know what’s awesome? Being on this list of Carina Press sports romances with my friends Michele Mannon, Elizabeth Harmon, Allison Parr, Kate Willoughby, Kat Latham, and Lynda Aicher:

This Spring’s Must Read Sports Romances
http://carinapress.com/blog/2017/04/this-springs-must-read-sports-romances/

 

You know what else is awesome? CALLING IT is on sale for 99¢ through August 24.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o60zxh
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/CallingItBN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/CallingItDoyle
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/calling-it-1

#99cents sale baseball romance 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.

 

Read more about CALLING IT (including the unpublished epilogue) on my Books page.

My latest novella, BREATHE, released on Wednesday of this week. It’s only $1.99 and is available now at amzn.to/2o7Krdw.

Want a sneak peek?

In this scene: Heroine Beth Walker has sprained her ankle at the top of a not-unsubstantial hill, and hero Drew Hanson, gentleman that he is, offers to carry her–via piggyback ride–because it’s the only way he can think to get her downhill fast. Their conversation goes something like this:

¸.•*(¸.•*´♥ BREATHE ♥`*•.¸)`*•.

“Just another hundred yards. We can reevaluate then.”

She looked at him for a minute, and then her own gaze drifted to the darkening sky. “You have flash floods around here, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yep,” he said. No need to pull any punches.

And yet she still seemed mostly undecided–at least right up to the moment she forgot she’d hurt her ankle, began to put weight on it again, and then went totally white as she fell into him. Since this was neither the time nor the place, he tried not to think too much about how nicely she fit in his arms. She fit really nicely, however, so it wasn’t the most successful endeavor.

Still pale, she straightened up, leaving one hand on his arm in order to steady herself. “Are you sure I’m not too heavy?” she asked.

She didn’t seem at all heavy to him. He’d put her at maybe 120, 130 pounds and probably 5’5” or 5’6”. And anyway, he wasn’t a well-sought-out Pick Till You Punt teammate for nothing. “Entirely sure.”

Crouching down on a narrow, slippery trail on the side of a hill did take some concentration, and there was a moment there when she tightened her arm around his neck, nearly cutting off all his air, where it was a bit touch and go.

“So this is oddly awkward,” she said a couple of minutes later, once they were settled in and on their way.

Still working at not concentrating on the this-is-not-the-time-or-the-place aspect of things—especially now that they were even more intimately aligned—Drew responded, “How so?”

“Because I’m riding you?” she answered, not helping the situation one bit.

He couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, no. You misunderstood. It was the use of the word ‘oddly’ I was questioning. I’m in total agreement with the awkward part.” Hell, he had his hands around the woman’s thighs and was having a very difficult time trying to ignore the fullness of her breasts pressed up against his back. Plus, her coconut-ish shampoo was infinitely distracting. He’d had lovers with whom he’d never been this close, the exception being the act itself. “I feel like I should be smoking a cigarette right now.”

Unlike most of those lovers, however, she got his joke. Her laughter was like music that hit the perfect combination of notes. “Well, I suppose if we’re at the cigarette stage,” she said, “I should introduce myself. I’m Beth. Novice hiker, horrendous about checking weather reports, and petrified of snakes and spiders.”

As she spoke, her body relaxed against him and he was beginning to understand the appeal of owning a motorcycle. Of course, since his brother-in-law-to-be took Maggie, Drew’s sister, on motorcycle rides all the time, that wasn’t a thought upon which Drew particularly wanted to dwell.

“Nice to meet you,” he replied. “I’m Drew. Long time hiker, a bit too much of a believer in weather reports, and I could care less about snakes or spiders. But I do have an irrational fear of trombones.”

¸.•*(¸.•*´♥ You can pick up your copy NOW at http://amzn.to/2o7Krdw ♥`*•.¸)`*•.

 

You know that saying, “It never rains, it pours?” Well, this week is kind of like a monsoon.

It’s a *good* monsoon–don’t get me wrong! (If monsoons can be good, of course. And I should probably stop the analogy right there.) But, well, let me list what’s going on…

1) This week’s HUGE news is that my novella, CRUSH, which is part of the launch for Marina Adair’s St. Helena’s Vineyard Kindle World is going live on Wednesday. I just now finished up my cover reveal over in the FB Group (you can see my Cover Reveal/Giveaway 1 and Excerpt/Giveaway 2 posts by clicking on the links in this post–they should be live at least until the end of the day on Monday, 10/3). The novella itself–as well as the 17 other novellas launching the world–will go live on WEDNESDAY 10/5. And then we’re all joining in to watch the airing of Autumn in the Vineyard, Marina’s book-turned-into-a-movie, on Saturday night. Join us at the What’cha Watching Live party here: https://www.facebook.com/events/878387495627610/).

2) The ALSO HUGE second item of news is that CALLING IT is on sale for 99¢ through Monday 10/10. Isn’t that awesome???? You can go directly to this link to buy it on Amazon, or head on over to the Carina Press website for a full list of retailers offering the deal price.

3) Another big thing going on is that I’m part of a Baseball Romance Giveaway. You can enter to win 30–yes, you read that number right–baseball romances plus a Kindle Fire. Crazy, right? Good luck!

4) I am also happy to be one of the donating authors with the Send A Little Love campaign in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Check it out at: http://www.romancehasaheart.org/

5) And finally (for this week at least), LAST CALL, my free short story, is one of 21 romances that are all being offered for free. Can I say that one more time? Sure — FREE! That’s actually being hosted right here on my website, so all you need to do is pop on over to the Fall In Love page.

Oh, fine, should we have a bonus what’s-going-on post? In two weeks, I’ll be part of the Hearts & Sparks Blogger/Reader Appreciation Brunch at the NJ RWA chapter’s meeting in a couple of weeks. On Sunday, 10/16, in fact. Want to join us? We would love to have you! Head on over to http://www.njromancewriters.org/hearts–sparks.html to sign up.

Phew! Thanks for reading — I hope you’ll be clicking on some of these links, too! And then maybe we can all go find a hammock somewhere to collapse into. Although that’s probably as bad of an idea as the monsoon analogy. But, hey, it’s pouring right now so I can’t think straight. Luckily, I enjoy the rain.

I’m so happy to be hosting this week’s Instafreebie group giveaway for romance! My freebie, LAST CALL, is a short story that introduces you to the town of Inspiration, Iowa, the setting for my CALLING IT series. The story is sweet, but the series certainly is definitely on the steamier side!

Including LAST CALL, there are 21 FREE romances here for you to download and enjoy. Happy reading!

 

Last Call (by Jen Doyle) – Contemporary/Sweet Intro to a Steamy Series

Romancing the Null (by Tina Gower) – Paranormal/Steamy

Strictly Unprofessional (by Maggie Way) – Contemporary/Steamy

White Magic Woman (by Ju Ephraime) – Paranormal/Steamy

The Trouble With Flying (by Rochelle Morgan) – Contemporary/Sweet

Opening Hearts (by Iona Findley) – Contemporary/Steamy

Trust My Love (by Iona Findley) – Contemporary/Steamy

You’re the One (by Alix Nicholas) – Romantic Comedy/Steamy

Second Chance Ranch (by Liz Isaacson) – Western Romance/Sweet

Cunning Linguist (by Rachel Shane) – New Adult/Steamy

Tell Me A Story (by Tamara Lush) – Contemporary/Hot

Tempting Isabel (by Rissa Brahm) – Contemporary/Hot

Returning for Valentine’s (by Victoria Pinder) – Contemporary/Sweet

The Year We Fell Down (by Sarina Bowen) – New Adult Contemporary/Steamy

Finding You At Christmas (by Kristin Wallace) – Contemporary/Sweet

A Winter Wedding (by Gemma Brocato) – Holiday/Hot

A Promise To My Stepbrother (by Anne Burroughs) – Contemporary/Sweet

Tales of the Valkyries – ANTHOLOGY (Asa Maria Bradley/Gina Conkle/Lisa Hendrix/Anna Markland/Emma Prince/Harper St. George) – Historical and Paranormal/Steamy

How the Duke Stole Christmas (by Anna Harrington) – Historical/Sweet

Crazy, Sexy, Ghoulish (by G.G. Andrew) – Romantic Comedy/Sweet

A Moment Of Bliss (by Michelle Jo Quinn) – Romantic Comedy/Sweet

 

 

 

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Ten stops for the CALLED UP blog tour, Day Five:

(Stop 1) – Hearts & Scribbles

(Stop 2) – Jenn Avery Romance Lover (REVIEW)

(Stop 3) – Nicole’s Book Musings (REVIEW)

(Stop 4) – Two Girls with Books (REVIEW)

(Stop 5) – Mysterious Romance Reviews

(Stop 6) – Polished Bookworm (REVIEW)

(Stop 7) – I’m A Book Shark

(Stop 8) – MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It Book Reviews

(Stop 9) – Christine’s Words

(Stop 10) – Eating Between the Lines Inc

And don’t forget to check out the Tasty Book Tours website for the full blog tour schedule.