About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Frosting and Flurries - Christmas in July

As it's summer and my mind as always is on Christmas.... I figured I'd do a Christmas in July book focus.

So here is Frosting and Flurries. 5 delicious romances with a very Christmassy feel. Still only 99p or 99c depending whether you're Amazon UK or Amazon US. It's still available as a box set. So if you haven't got your copy yet, what are you waiting for?




THE HECTOR CLAUSE—CLARE REVELL
The last thing Brie Dalgleish expected her boss to do was ask her to play an elf in the toy store grotto. She's even less enthusiastic when she discovers Santa is the same bloke who drove his car through a puddle the previous evening, completely soaking her.

Hector Clause is playing Santa in the family owned toy store under sufferance as a favor to his grandfather. He'd rather be in a nice safe office, using his law degree, than playing Santa in a shop full of squealing kids. Even if the chief elf is on the cute side.

With the store's centenary fast approaching, the anniversary party is abruptly cancelled. Hector resolves to celebrate anyway, but isn't prepared for the curveball he finds headed his way.


MOOSTLETOE —JAN ELDER
Rev. Samantha Evans lands in Moose Creek, Maine, where parishioners chew up new ministers for breakfast. Happily, she also reunites with forest ranger Eric Palmer, her best friend from her teenage years. With Samantha’s career on the line, Eric must save her job and rescue his own shattered heart in the process. But how does Matilda the moose factor into the mix?


GINGER & BRAD’S HOUSE—MARION UECKERMANN
When Brad O’Sullivan is unfaithful to Ginger Murphy, she escapes to Australia for five long years. During this time, Brad’s shotgun marriage fails. Besides his little boy, Jamie, one other thing in his life has turned out sweet and successful—his pastry business.

Ginger returns to Ireland, when her mother’s diagnosed with heart failure. She loves being a wedding flautist but fears bumping into the wedding cake chef she tries to avoid. 

A gingerbread house contest fundraiser at church has them competing, both determined to win—Ginger the contest, Brad her heart. But a dear old saint challenges Ginger, and she has to decide whether to embrace the true meaning of Christmas—peace on earth, good will to all men. Even the Irishman she’d love to hate.




SUGAR AND SPICE—CECELIA DOWDY
Sheila Parks is stunned when Mason Smith, the identical twin brother of her ex-boyfriend Reese, moves to Blue Spring and opens a bakery. Reese’s cruel breakup still bothers her and seeing somebody who looks just like him is a painful reminder of her predicament. Unemployed, Sheila needs financial help and it appears that Mason can assist her with her problem. Can she learn to trust a man who looks just like her ex?

Mason is stunned when Sheila storms into his bakery, mistakenly thinking that he’s Reese. Mason is used to comforting his womanizing brother’s ex-girlfriends. A stutterer, Mason has always had a hard time socializing with others. However, he finds himself smitten with beautiful Sheila. Can he control his stutter so that he can ask Sheila to be his date to his grandmother’s Christmas birthday party?

Both Sheila and Mason deal with past pains as they work together during the Christmas season.




THE SWEETNESS OF HER LOVE—KIMBERLY RAE JORDAN
James Dawson may have looked like the hero of one of the romances Erin Kirkland loves to read, but she quickly discovers that he is not the hero for her. After all, how can she have a happily-ever-after with a man who doesn’t believe in love or marriage?

Who would have thought that a visit to his grandmother’s favorite bakery to order a cake for her ninetieth birthday would end up causing James to re-evaluate his whole life? Certainly not James Dawson. But following their rather disastrous first meeting, James is determined to show Erin that he is a better man than she’s first judged him to be.

Erin doesn’t want to friend-zone James, but she’s not sure she can trust that the changes he’s making will be permanent. Can someone really go from totally dismissing love and marriage to embracing it so quickly?

Thursday, 1 June 2017

An Improper Proposal - Davalynn Spencer



Blurb:
Love hadn’t brought her to Colorado. But it might be the one thing that keeps here there.

Widowed before she says “I do,” mail order bride Mae Ann Remington does the only thing she can in a new town with no family and no means—she proposes.

Rancher Cade Parker is at the bank to withdraw cash for his wayward sister, not find himself a wife. But that’s exactly what happens after a robbery leaves a man dead and his headstrong bride with nothing but a bold business proposition. Convinced he’s gone locoCade accepts Mae Ann’s offer, and is soon teaching the city gal to ride, shoot, and do what he tells her. She manages the first two fairly well, but gets her back up at the third.  

A greedy neighbor’s land-lust challenges Mae Ann’s inheritance of her former intended’s run-down farm and sends Cade and Mae Ann to court and into the jaws of a deadly storm. Not only must Cade fight to keep his new bride safe, he’s got to keep his emotions from stampeding out of control. Taking on snakes, scoundrels, and second chances is one thing, but falling in love wasn’t part of the deal.

Extract:
The stranger’s head and shoulders popped into view from the doorway, and he motioned her inside.
She hurried to the threshold, but halted at the sight of Henry lying on a table inside. A spectacled man in a barber’s apron stretched a measuring tape alongside him, then scribbled something on a small paper and applied the measure to Henry’s shoulders.
Mae Ann gripped the door frame, afraid she might lose what little breakfast she’d had before boarding the train in Denver that morning. The stranger came to her, took her elbow, and pointed to a settee, a small table, and an old ladder-back chair across the room—the undertaker’s efforts to dress up his sorrowful establishment.
Mumbling her thanks, she chose the hard chair. Comfort seemed inappropriate for such a time and place.
He took a knee before her, a most unexpected gesture regardless of her situation. His warm eyes posed no threat, nor did his strong jaw, and he removed his hat to reveal dark hair dented from its constant presence. A man accustomed to hard work, she presumed, consistent with the calloused hand that had helped her earlier.
He did not smile, but sympathy tinged his expression. “Can I help you in any other way, ma’am?”
The thought came suddenly and clear, as if it were the most logical and well-suited idea. She weighed her options—which were nonexistent—squared her shoulders and met his unwavering regard. “Do you have a wife?”
He glanced away and his mouth worked as if sorting through possible replies. “No, ma’am, I do not.”
She schooled her features as best she could, feigning confidence. “Would you like one?”

My Review: (also on goodreads)
Reading this book was a sheer delight. Cade and Mae Ann have very little in common, apart from both being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A marriage in name only, of convenience seems the way to go, but neither of them reckon on how things will turn out. I loved the descriptions that not just set the scene but immerse the reader in the story itself.
A real page turner, this one kept me reading and reading. Definitely one to read again.


You can pick up a copy at Amazon US    Amazon UK


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Dreams - Delia Latham - Giveaway

Starting today, May 24, and continuing on through June 21, we're celebrating the release of SUMMER DREAMS (Paradise Pines, Book 2) by giving things away! There'll be four weekly winners and a grand prize winner at the end.

Weekly winners will receive the following:
  • An electronic copy of SPRING RAINE (Paradise Pines, Book 1)
  • A lovely purse-sized mirror set, along with a printed excerpt from SUMMER DREAMS, which will convey the importance of the mirror.
  • A 20% discount on SUMMER DREAMS, courtesy of Pelican Book Group.
The grand prize winner will receive all of the above, plus:
  • A lovely bracelet, designed with ocean-themed colors by Maureen Medina Corell, owner/operator of The Lost Gypsy Wagon
  • A gorgeous ink pen with a Summer Dreams charm, designed by Swagmaster Designs
Follow this link to get your entries in. Will you be the first week's winner?

Blurb:

The Getaway Of A Lifetime...Kinda.
Summer Callihan isn't in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She's there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah--with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.

A Real-life Hero Who Rivals a Romance Novel...Really!
But never in Summer's wildest writer's imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart--especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.

A Cupid to pull it all together...?
But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what's meant to be has a way of happening...at the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love--who may or may not own the place--has an "in" with Heaven's own "department of romance." And she's determined to see Summer and Logan together.


SUMMER DREAMS is Book 2 in the Paradise Series, which is set in lovely Cambria, California, on the Central Coast. There's a different romance for each season of the year. You're going to love romping through the sand with the Paradise Pines characters. Just don't forget to dash up to the lodge to meet Miss Angie while you're there...

Pick up a copy HERE

Friday, 12 May 2017

Suburban Dangers - Megan Whitson Lee


Suburban Dangers

Sixteen-year-old Kaki Jones lives a normal life in suburbia. She makes good grades, runs on the cross-country team, and helps care for her younger brothers and sisters. Her younger brother, Brandon is the troubled child. He parties, fights at school, keeps photos of girls on his cell phone, and runs into trouble with the police.
But Kaki harbors a secret. After meeting cool girl Sydney Diaz, Kaki’s life is forever changed.  Now, she’s a sophomore by day and a commodity sold at the hands of gang members by night. Living a double life and controlled by threats of violence against her family, Kaki sees no chance of escape.

When parents look the other way and strangers offer more affection than a father, God’s deliverance is the only answer.


E-book available May 12. In print June 1.

my review. also on goodreads.

Wow. I'm lost for words having read this one. Although a YA read, the book is written from both child and parent's POV. A gritty, thrilling story about drugs, sex-trafficking and the dangers of porn. It's definitely one I will suggest my teenage daughter read. It'll appeal to both teenagers and adults alike.


Kaki
Tuesday, September 15

Kaki was sixteen when she met Sydney Diaz.
The school year had just started, and Sydney was new to Runnymede Secondary. With her long, straight, black hair that hung down to her waist and a lot of piercings, Sydney was one of those girls who stood out. She was in Kaki’s algebra and gym class, but right away Kaki could tell Sydney didn’t want to be in school. Her face was tight and hard, and she put her feet up on the desk until the teacher told her to take them off.
In gym, Kaki was flattered when Sydney started talking to her. They stood out by the track, waiting their turn to run. Kaki stretched, pulling her ankles behind her. She liked running. She was thin and willowy with long legs that carried her along with speed and agility. “Granddaddy-Long-Legs” her father used to call her. She’d hated that. It made her feel as if her legs were too long, too thin. Weird-looking, somehow.
Sydney looked as if she could be pretty fast, too, but she was just leaning up against the chain-link fence with a slack-faced and bored expression. Kaki could almost envision her with a cigarette in hand, blowing smoke into the autumn haze—if they’d been allowed to do that.
“So like, what do people do around here?” Sydney stared off at the other runners circling the track.
Because Kaki was surprised that this interesting, probably super-cool girl was talking to her, she did a double-take to make sure she was the one being addressed. She didn’t really have a lot of friends. On those ridiculous surveys that the school made them take every year—the ones that asked questions like: How would you describe yourself?—she always answered the same. Shy. I like to read, run track, and sometimes hang out with the girls on the track team. But she couldn’t really say she was great friends with any of those kids. Kaki looked at Sydney and shrugged. She couldn’t think of how to answer her. “Um…I don’t know.”
“I mean, like, what’s fun to do around here? It seems like this school’s pretty lame.”
Kaki laughed out of politeness. “I guess it depends on what you think is fun. Everyone around here does the normal kind of stuff.”
Sydney yawned, bending her leg back to brace herself against the chain-link. “What do you like to do?”
Kaki’s face warmed. People didn’t usually ask her that. “I don’t know. I’m kind of boring, I guess. I run track, and, well, that’s about it, really.”
“Girls, you’re up!” At the sound of Coach Plant’s voice, they moved toward the starting line.
Sydney pushed herself off the fence as though it took an enormous amount of effort and stood beside her at the line.
“Go!” the coach called as he clicked his stopwatch. They began to jog. Sydney was much slower, and she kept motioning with her hand for Kaki to hang back. Finally, Kaki slowed her pace as much as she could.
“You got a job?” she asked, already starting to pant a little, even though she was barely running.
“No,” Kaki said. “I just turned sixteen.” She didn’t know anyone who had a job.
“So? I know a lot of sixteen-year-olds who make a lot of money.”
“Really? Doing what?”
Sydney pointed her thumb at herself. “Like me—I mean, I’m sixteen, but with what I’m doing now, I’m making so much money, I’ll be able to retire by the age of twenty-two.”
Kaki wondered if she was lying. Sometimes kids just said stuff to seem cool. She focused on the finish line ahead. “Wow. That’s amazing. What are you doing to make so much money?”
Sydney looked over, and Kaki got the feeling Sydney was trying to read her—trying to see if she could trust her.
“I don’t know if I should tell you right now.”
“OK.” It didn’t really matter to her whether Sydney told her or not. If she was selling drugs or something, Kaki didn’t want to know anyway.
“Maybe later.”
As they crossed the finish line, Coach Plant said, “That’s the slowest I’ve ever seen you run, Kaki. What’s going on with you today? Let’s pick up the pace!”
~*~

At home that night while Kaki checked her social media sites, she was surprised to see that Sydney had followed her. @HotSydGirl was Sydney’s handle, but Kaki immediately recognized Sydney’s picture—a close-up shot of her posing for the camera with puckered lips. Later, Sydney’s picture and name popped up on another one of Kaki’s accounts. Sydney Diaz has just followed you.
Kaki was excited. She’d figured Sydney would think she was a total loser after their conversation on the track. “Maybe I’m just one of the only people she knows at school,” she said out loud as she clicked to confirm. She scanned Sydney’s page for her statuses, pictures, and people she knew. Sydney had over 2,000 followers on one account and over a thousand on her other accounts. 
Inferiority crept over Kaki. She only had around 160 followers, and most of those were family members, distant cousins, and a few friends. Her other social networking accounts were just as pathetic, and she wondered how it felt to be someone like Sydney Diaz—obviously popular, especially with the guys. Most of the posts to her page were messages from them:
hey syd. where u been girl?
heard you moved schools. Ill still c u this weekend rite?
got some peeps for u to meet.
There were a lot of posted selfies from guys and a few girls dressed up in short-short skirts, high-high heels, and tight-tight tops. Sydney definitely moved in different social circles.
Pictures on Kaki’s page were of friends making faces in the camera, a few family photos, and a lot of shared dorky sayings: Only you can make it happen and Just because someone doesn’t like you doesn’t mean you’re not likeable. Kaki felt too intimated to even send Sydney a private message. And she resolved not to be clingy at school either. The quickest way to drive a cool girl away from you was to be too needy.
But over the next few weeks, Sydney hung out with her as though they’d been friends forever. That was when she was in school. Sydney was absent a lot, and Kaki could tell she had a lot of boyfriends, both inside and outside of school.


Reviews


"This book is a page-turner that defies a reader’s ability to stop once the book is begun. Lee is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for a good read."

—Edie Melson, author and blogger



Author Megan Whitson Lee has crafted yet another spine-tingling, page-turning contemporary novel in her latest release, Suburban Dangers. This author has the ability to present believable, three-dimensional characters, dealing with real-life issues, compounded with danger. If you want a gripping, engaging read, Suburban Dangers is the book for you!

–Kathi Macias, award-winning author of more than fifty books



Suburban Dangers by Megan Whitson Lee is a must read for anyone who loves children, whether parents, extended family members, or caring friends. Think the evils of pornography and teen sex trafficking only happens in other countries or neighborhoods far from your front doorstep? Ms. Lee’s carefully researched story of teen Kaki and her family’s plunge into disintegration is a fast-paced, riveting read. You will not want to put this book down because there seems as if there is no hope for this family to come together, let alone survive and thrive… yet, the very realistic characters make you root for them and you want to know what happens. Fortunately, the story’s powerful, moving ending will encourage the reader to set one’s eyes on the only One who can straighten out the biggest of troubles.

--Elaine Stock, author of Always With You, Winner of the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year


Suburban Dangers is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the last page is read. I was page turning almost faster than I could read as Megan Whitson Lee wove the tale of a family that was cracking to pieces behind the facade of their perfect suburban image. Its gritty truth with seeds of hope will appeal to both youth and adult readers. This is a beautifully written novel you aren't going to want to miss!   

--Julie Hall
Author of award-winning book Huntress (Life After, Book 1)



“Shocking, dismaying, hard-to-put down not a good bedtime read but a decidedly thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching MUST READ.”

–Jennifer, Goodreads Review


Author Bio


Megan Whitson Lee is a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, an editor for Pelican Book Group, and a high school English teacher. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director's Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women's contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Megan writes inspirational women's contemporary and historical fiction featuring characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions, crises of faith, and moral dilemmas. Her novels depict real-life problems, address universal spiritual and moral struggles, and offer messages of hope, recovery, and redemption through God’s saving grace.



Twitter: @MeganWhitsonLee



Thursday, 4 May 2017

That doggone baby - Hearts Haven - Tanya Stowe

THAT DOGGONE BABY
Tanya Stowe

Everyone thinks they can push Jaci Meadows around: her family, her boss, even her full-grown Malamute, Baby. The dog reaches Jaci’s shoulders, weighs more than the petite event planner, and has decided Jaci’s designer shoes are a favorite toy. Justin Blakely understands dogs better than most people. It’s clear to him Jaci Meadows can’t handle her own life, let alone a two-hundred-pound Malamute ready to take on the world. Can one oversized Malamute and one very discerning dog whisperer help guide Jaci back to her true path? Can she learn to say no or is she just too addicted to the need to be needed?

Extract:
Justin Blakely fell in love the minute he saw her. She had a spectacular shape—lean and curvy in all the right places. That distinctive coloring…the sassy bounce to her step. Absolutely stunning.
The magnificent malamute’s owner wasn’t too bad either…but Justin was trying not to notice. The last time he’d gotten involved with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed fashionista like Jaci Meadows, he’d almost lost his kennel. He’d been so busy trying to find ways to please his ex fiancé Gina, he allowed himself to fall deeply into debt. By the time he realized she was mostly interested in his status as Angel Falls’ pre-eminent dog whisperer, creditors were hounding his steps. He called off their engagement and spent the next two years focused on his business and what he knew best…dogs.
Petite, curvy blondes with big blue eyes were definitely not on his radar range. Especially ones like Jaci Meadows. He’d seen her kind of owner too many times. Folks with a designer bent who opted for the high-end purebreds. Owners who cared more about how their specialty animal looked beside them than what was best for the dog or even what the animal needed.
Ms. Meadows fit into that category like a designer purse in a protective bag—perfectly. She was so concerned about her looks, she wasn’t willing to part with her haute couture long enough to wear the proper flat shoes for the lessons. Here she was at their second class, once again having donned fancy boots with a two-inch heel to march around his uneven, soft dirt corral with Baby leading all the way.
The first class had covered all the points on teaching the dog to follow on the leash, not lead. But Baby still tugged her petite owner around the corral, almost toppling her over in her two-inch heels. Justin might have found it comical if he hadn’t been concerned about the prima donna falling and suing his business. That would be just his luck.
Maybe he should consider having all of his attendees sign release forms, or an agreement stipulating they would at least try to implement his techniques. He doubted Ms. Meadows heard even one word of his carefully constructed insights into a dog’s psyche. She’d been on her phone for most of both classes.
Baby’s owner was a lost cause. But the malamute…she had potential. Baby had all the looks, poise, control and intelligence needed to be a great show dog. A first-class winner.
Too bad he couldn’t say the same about Ms. Meadows.
Usually, Justin made it his business to separate that particular breed of humans—the kind that didn’t care—from their dogs. But given his soft spot for blondes, he’d already decided to give Baby and her human a wide berth. Still, there was something about Ms. Meadows blue eyes…a softness, an innocence…
OK. Make that a soft spot for blondes with big, naïve-looking blue eyes. Shaking his head, Justin purposely turned away to focus his gaze on Mrs. Jones and her Great Dane. Bertie was doing a great job of leading his owner. But Mrs. Jones was deftly, if somewhat timidly, applying Justin’s technique on the leash.
Good to know someone’s paying attention.
A yelp caught his attention. He turned around just in time to see Baby circle his owner. The leash wrapped around the blonde’s ankles.
“Baby, stop!”
“No. Don’t say that!” Justin saw the accident in the making but spoke too late.
Baby immediately obeyed Ms. Meadows’ command. She stopped, turned, raised on her hind legs and placed two huge front paws on her owner’s immaculate white, ruffled top. With the leash still tangled around her ankles, the lovely Ms. Meadows’ arms flailed as she sailed backwards and landed flat on her back in a puff of dust.


My Review - also on goodreads
I certainly wasn't expecting this. Any of it actually. I'd imagined Baby to be a child or a baby - instead it's a dog you can't help loving, despite the fact it's in need of training. And according to Justin, so does it's owner. And then you can't help loving Justin and Jaci either. I would have liked it a little longer, to see the event they'd been planning. But the ending we got.... never saw that coming. At all.

About Tanya:
TANYA STOWE is a Christian Fiction writer with an unexpected edge.
This Pelican Book Group author fills her romances with the unusual…gifts of the spirit in TENDER TOUCH and spiritual warfare in HAUNTED HEARTS. In NEVER-ENDING NIGHT she explores the horrors of a Civil War battle and unravels a mystery. TENDER TRUST treks to the Old West. LEAP OF FAITH brushes wings with an angel and WHITE CHRISTMAS wraps romance in the traditions of a small town holiday. No matter where Tanya goes…on a journey through the past or contemporary adventures in new lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

O Baby - Hearts Haven - Delia Latham


OH BABY
Delia Latham

Dawni Manors is happy to see San Antonio in her rearview mirror. In search of peace, she rents a unit at Heart’s Haven, a quaint cottage-rental complex in East Texas. The place is said to be a hangout for angels—and for love. Dawni's not looking for love, and she's not convinced angels exist. What she yearns for, after a chaotic childhood as an orphan, is tranquility and hope. Maybe she'll find those things at Heart’s Haven.
Instead, she finds Pro Cowboy Gavin Sampson, an abandoned infant, and a whole lot of emotional chaos. If the Heart's Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking?

Extract:

Soggy. That described the world as far as Dawni Manors could see at the moment.
She peered through the steadily increasing rainfall, straining to make out the cottages lining the graveled path. Rain pelted the roof of her car, its thunderous uproar all but drowning out the frantic slip-slap of the windshield wipers. At least she’d been able to see the big, hand-carved Heart’s Haven sign that marked the complex entrance.
A vivid lightning flash revealed the number nine on a plain silver mailbox, and she blew out a breath. As if in response, her car gave an unexpected sputter, jerked once, and then died—right beside the front gate.
An arched trellis over the white picket entrance supported thick green foliage loaded with vivid red roses. Most days, Dawni made a point of enjoying the simple beauty of that gate. But not on this wet, dreary day.
She gave the ignition a single turn, hoping the shuddering dance the engine had delivered a moment ago had been no more than a warning…like a physical “check engine” light. But her effort was rewarded by no more than an empty click.
With a huff, she tucked the keys into her coat pocket. Where were the so-called Heart’s Haven angels when she needed them?
Another burst of lightning zipped across the sky, and she cringed. OK, OK, angelic realm. I guess I should be grateful I got home before the whole sky opened up.
She grabbed an umbrella from the back seat and hooked her arm through the handle of her purse. Hesitant to get out of the car, she squinted through the windshield once more, hoping for a reprieve, but the rain showed no sign of letting up any time soon. With a frustrated sigh, she stepped out into the downpour, umbrella first.
Despite her hurry to get inside, she cast a quick glance overhead, to a beautifully carved wooden sign hanging on a chain across the top of the arch: May love find all who enter here. A smile teased at her lips as it did every time she passed beneath that optimistic quote. Corny or not, the place oozed charm.
She couldn’t say she hadn’t been warned beforehand.
The day she arrived in Angel Falls, three weeks ago, she’d stopped at the Law Firm of Hilliard and Beckett to clear up some legal questions about running a business from her home. The nice paralegal—Layne Beckett, obviously related in some way to one of the partners—seemed almost overly excited when Dawni told her she’d found a place at Heart’s Haven. Layne described the popular complex of cottage rentals as over-the-top homey.
The woman had lived there herself until a few months back, when she married a local horseman and moved to his family’s ranch. Then again, Layne had also mentioned some weird legend about folks who lived in these cottages falling helplessly in love—just as the wooden sign over the gate indicated. Well, love would not “find” Dawni…she had no intention of letting a thing like sappy emotion get in the way of all her plans. She’d worked too hard to make them happen.
The wet chill sent a shiver up her spine, and she hurried up the walk. This was not the time to be basking in Heart’s Haven’s atmosphere. Between a brisk wind and the driving rain, the air held a nippy little bite.
She rushed to the door and tugged the key from her pocket. A grin played at her lips as she inserted it into the lock. Even now, all settled in and unpacked, she found it hard to believe the adorable little cabin “belonged” to her. This place represented not only the home of her own that she’d longed for, but a whole new life.
The key refused to turn. Frowning, she pulled it out, turned it over, and tried it the other way, but then it wouldn’t even slide in. Dawni reversed it and gave the stubborn thing a firm jiggle. Not happening. Just her luck.
“Grrr!” She pounded a frustrated fist on the door and turned to face the wet world…again. She’d have to drive back to the big house up front—if her car would start, that is—and see if Miss Viv had another key. Or maybe a whole new lock, whatever worked.
Behind her, the door swung open. She swung back and her startled gaze landed on a taut midriff, all hard planes and muscular ripples. A simple white t-shirt revealed biceps that…oh, dear. She forced her fascinated gaze ever upward, denying herself the right to linger on broad shoulders and going past a strong, clefted chin to a set of full lips that twitched into a playful smile.
No way! She recognized this man. He’d walked past Layne Beckett’s office that day when she’d first arrived in Angel Falls. Layne had waved and smiled as he passed by.
And—with typical bad timing—Dawni’s tongue won the race against her normal reserve. “Now that’s one handsome Texas cowboy.”
A few steps past Layne’s door, he’d stopped, turned, and tipped his hat. “Why, thank you, ma’am.” He gave her a slow wink and then he was gone, while heat crawled up Dawni’s neck and into her face.
Layne laughed softly. “Gavin works for my husband, and yes, he’s very handsome—and he knows it, but I’m sure you picked up on that.” She shook her head and gave an expressive eye roll. “Still, the guy’s a sweetheart. Dex considers him a brother, and my daughter, Chloe, is absolutely crazy about him.”
Staring at the man now—standing in her doorway as if he belonged there—Dawni steeled her expression. Sweetheart or not, what was this over-confident cowboy doing in her cottage? She ignored those perfect lips and an impossibly straight nose as her gaze traveled to a pair of eyes that sparkled like rich emeralds under slightly longish hair the exact shade of his thick, black eyebrows.
Before she could speak, he did—in a deep, slow Texas drawl. “Well. Hello. Look what the storm brought me!”

My review: also on goodreads

When Dawni arrives in Hearts Haven, it's not exactly a great start. Esp when she tries to get into the wrong house. She finds way more than she was expecting - and not just in the form of a hunky cowboy either. An abandoned baby, angels and a path she never expected to follow. Toss in the aforementioned hunk and you have a story that touches your heart.

About Delia:

Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She has a thing for Dr. Pepper and loves to hear from readers. Contact her through her website, send an e-mail, "like" her on Facebook or follow her Amazon Author Page.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Nobody's Baby but mine - Hearts Haven - Marianne Evans

NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE
Marianne Evans

Noah Talbert just lost his twin sister—his closest living relative—to a horrific automobile accident. Her death brings him straight to Angel Falls where he claims guardianship of his five-year-old nephew, Dylan.Elementary school counselor Charlotte Latherson is focused on Dylan’s case for reasons both personal and professional. His mother was Charlotte’s best friend, and the loss has transformed the once joyful and engaging little boy into a reticent, downtrodden kindergartner.Charlotte is well aware of Noah’s history. Other than a close relationship with his sister, Noah’s life has been solitary; he keeps to himself and builds strong walls of protection around a heart. Can he provide what’s best for Dylan? At times they butt heads over the youngster’s life, but as they struggle, God opens a loving pathway in their hearts. While Noah fights for a child he feels is nobody’s baby but his, Charlotte wonders if the feelings they share can’t create the bridge to a miracle.

Extract:
Noah Talbert sat frozen, trapped in the confines of a plush, wood-paneled lawyer’s office. He stared at Stuart Gavinson, the portly, middle-aged man who had been left in charge of the few but vital legal components of the estate of Jennifer Sommerville.
Jen. Noah’s heart twisted. Emotions swelled and rose from his heart straight to his throat forming a tight clog that prompted him to bite the inside of his cheek. His only sibling…and his twin. A sense of loss swamped him, like it had ever since he received the phone call notifying him of her death. Even after two weeks—two frantic and desperate weeks spent closing up his apartment, packing his few possessions, job shuffling—pain hadn’t decreased by even the smallest degree.
“Where is the boy now?”
For some reason—fresh grief most likely—the lawyer’s generic referral to Noah’s nephew scratched against Noah’s nerves. “Ever since the funeral, Dylan has been with my sister’s best friend at the apartment complex where Jennifer lived. That kept him in familiar surroundings and gave him a sense of comfort. It also gave me enough time to make arrangements to move to Angel Falls.”
Noah hoped Stuart registered the subtle emphasis he had placed on Dylan’s name. Owlish eyes peered from behind a pair of black-framed glasses. A slow blink punctuated that visual. “You were able to accomplish a job change, and a move, in only two weeks? Pretty amazing if you ask me.”
“There wasn’t much holding me to Shreveport. The move was necessary, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” Noah breathed, eased back the tension level. This guy was only doing his job. “I’m a bit of an itinerant-type guy anyhow.”
Meanwhile, Noah thought, thank God for Charlotte Latherson. The image of a brunette with wavy hair that tumbled against slim but strong shoulders came to mind. She was lovely, warm as toast for the most part, but even after only a few meetings, Noah sensed she was fierce and protective about the children she worked with each day. Charlotte was a counselor at Angel Falls Elementary School, and that equation spread some peace through Noah’s soul. Her influence would undoubtedly help Dylan on the path to recovery. That mission was priority one.
Noah had last seen his sister and nephew together a few months ago. They maintained a tradition of getting together whenever possible, especially during holidays and at milestone events like Dylan’s graduation from preschool last spring. Despite a propensity toward wanderlust, Noah remained firmly attached to his sister and nephew. Tough not to, much as he loved them. Dylan was growing tall, and he had such a feisty spirit. He possessed the dark hair and angular facial features of the Talbert family combined with the challenging spark and charm of Robert Somerville. Robby.
Several non-Christian names and judgments came to life at the thought of the smooth-talking non-starter who, once upon a time, had swept Jen off her feet—literally and figuratively—only to leave her pregnant and alone, but determined to do right by her son.
So, Noah couldn’t be too harsh. From the two of them, from God’s will and plan, had come Dylan. There were times when Noah felt alone in the world; Jen and Dylan had always provided a needed counter-balance to that belief. They had always made it clear he was part of a family. Now, he was the sole viable link for Dylan to blood relations and the mother Dylan had always adored.
“It’s him and me against the world.”
Jen’s oft-repeated mantra played against the strings of Noah’s heart. The words were truth, despite the fact that their parents lived in Marietta, Georgia. Their brand of family support had ended abruptly upon discovery of Jennifer’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Noah steeled himself against another pulsating barrage of anger, refusing delivery on the emotion. No sense rehashing old nightmares at this point. Nothing to be gained.
What he needed right now was to see to Dylan.
“I know you and Dylan still need time to process everything that’s happened.” The lawyer’s smooth, deep voice cut into Noah’s thoughts. “You’ll need to get your feet under you, and you’ll need to help Jennifer’s son with that process as well.”
“I’ll be reachable at my sister’s address. I’ve already made arrangements to sublease her place.”
Stuart jotted notes. Nodded. “I’ll make that your contact address. There are court-governed processes to be followed that we’ll need to discuss, but that’ll come in time. Now that you’re ready to assume custody, I’ll guide you through the legal framework and any bumps in the road. At the end of it all, though, Jennifer’s expressed wish was for you to assume guardianship.”
Stuart’s words returned Noah to the realization that a tempest of details remained to be sorted and embraced. Commitments and life-changing circumstances would continue to alter his pathway. Roots. He was putting down roots. Really, there was no choice now; maybe it was time.

My review: (also on goodreads)
I don't know about Charlotte falling for Noah, but I've totally fallen for Dylan. He's so cute... This one again tugs at the heart strings. It shows how a sudden bereavement affects the child as well as the adult left behind. Really would have liked another 40 pages or so, but that's just me. :)


About Marianne:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.
Her Christian fiction debut, Devotion, earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Forgiveness earned a covered 4.5-Star, Top Pick review from Romantic Times Magazine. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home.
Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.
Connect with Marianne at: http://www.marianneevans.com