Category Archives: Spotlight

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Game On by Victoria Denault

Title: Game On by Victoria Denault
Hometown Players Series Book Six
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages

Summary:

“I don’t break hearts. I break headboards . . . “
When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it-with the hot puck bunnies. He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes . . . and the one whose Party Guy mask keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something…but so is she. She’s not just the rich, privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharged with something else – attraction. But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

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Excerpt

I look around at Alex’s sparse apartment. There’s a sectional, an ottoman, but no chairs, bookcases or pictures. The nook for his bedroom only contains one three-drawer dresser. His bedside lamp is on the floor beside the bed because it doesn’t have night tables. “You don’t seem to like things.”

He shrugs, and those deep blue eyes find mine. “I don’t have a lot of things from my past worth holding on to.”

Oh, this man… I reach up and gently cup the side of his face. He grasps my hand and I think he’s going to pull it away, but he doesn’t. He holds it to his face and pushes into it. He’s like a puppy looking for love, and I want desperately to give it to him. But he won’t let me.

“And you seem to want to throw away things now that are worth holding on to.” I force myself to step back and start walking toward the front door because if I don’t leave now I’ll let things happen that are going to mean more to me than they should. Than he wants them to. But his words stop me in my tracks.

“I don’t know how to be a boyfriend, Brie.” The look of pure confusion on his face would be comical if we were still talking about his inability to run a dishwasher. But we’re talking about feelings here. “The only thing I’ve ever committed to was hockey and even it tried to reject me. Hell, in a way every time I get traded, I feel like it still is. But it’s a thing, not a person. Hockey doesn’t have a choice, but you do.”

I start to walk back into the kitchen as he turns away from me to look out the window. “People who have had the choice to keep me in their lives never have.”

Thank God he’s turned away because I actually press my palm to my heart to keep it from cracking. Holy shit. I have no idea how anyone would walk away from him – the man and his big, broken heart –because what I want to do is run to him. “Give me that choice and I’ll change your track record.”

He grunts and turns back to face me. “You’re this amazing, stubborn, gorgeous woman who wants more than the one thing I know I can give. And as much as I suddenly, for the first time in my life, want to try and give more, I’m so fucking clueless as to how.”

I walk right up to him so we’re toe to toe. “You want to know how? You just do it. You let me in. You take the chance, like you do every time you step onto the ice. You don’t know if you’ll win or lose, but you play the game anyway and you take the shots on net even if you don’t know if you’re going to score. So tell me you want this. Take the shot.”

He nuzzles my hand and but then turns his face and kisses my palm. When he turns back to me he looks so serious it’s startling. “I want this.”

I smile. It’s not big, but I feel it inside me from my toes to the roots of my hair. “Game on?”

He smiles back, raw but darkly playful. “Game on.”


Author Bio

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filed romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French, and hockey.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * BookBub * Amazon


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Spotlight & Excerpt: Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin

Title: Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages

Summary:

Sit! Stay! Speak! author Annie England Noblin’s novel takes one woman starting over, adds an aging pug named Teddy Roosevelt, and proves the power of a well-baked dog treat.

All she wants is a settled-down life.

What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

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Excerpt

After dinner, Nathan refilled their wineglasses and led her into the living room. Sasha and Teddy had settled there as well, and when Nathan built a fire in the fireplace, Teddy dropped right in front of it and started to snore. Sasha wasn’t far behind him.

“The living room at Mrs. Neumann’s house has a fireplace, too,” Brydie said. “I thought about lighting it the other night, but it hasn’t been lit in ages.”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate it if you burned her house down trying to light the fireplace,” Nathan replied.

“No, I can’t imagine that would make her too happy.”

“Listen,” Nathan said, scooting closer to her on the couch. “I’m sorry if I asked too many intrusive questions earlier. I’m hopeless at small talk, and when I get nervous, I tend to fall back into doctor mode. I swear I didn’t mean to interrogate you over chicken.”

“That’s okay,” Brydie replied. “It was actually kind of nice to talk about it with someone who doesn’t know anything about my life before I moved here.”

“How do you like Memphis so far?”

“It’s getting better,” Brydie said with a sly grin. Between the wine and the fire, she felt deliciously warm.

“I’m glad to hear it.”

Brydie watched him watching her. She liked the way his curly black hair fell in his eyes when he was concentrating. She liked the way his T-shirt fit, not too loose or too tight. She liked the way he asked her questions—soft, curious, but not intrusive. It made her want to tell him everything, anything, just to keep him looking at her. Paying attention to her.

But more than that, she realized, there was something familiar about him, comfortable. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but despite the constant butterflies in her stomach, he made her feel calmer somehow. She could understand why people would be drawn to him as a doctor. She could even understand why a woman might visit her elderly aunt in order to be near him.

Nathan moved a hand up to Brydie’s face, tucking a wandering strand of damp hair behind her ear. It sent a bolt of electricity through her, and when he moved his hand away, Brydie felt herself grabbing a fistful of his T-shirt and pulling him closer to her until her mouth was on his, and she could taste the wine on his lips.

Brydie fell back into the couch and pulled Nathan down on top of her. She could feel his hands exploring her body underneath her T-shirt, and she burned with a need she hadn’t known existed until that very moment.

“Do you want—” Nathan began in between frenzied kisses, but before he could finish, the ringing of his phone in his pocket cut him off.

“Ignore it,” Brydie murmured.

“I can’t,” Nathan said, pulling himself away from her with a groan. “I’m on call at the nursing home tonight.”


Author Bio

Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the Red Booth Review and the Moon City Review. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Author Links: Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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Release Day Spotlight & Excerpt: The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

Title: The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne
Victorian Rebels Series Book Five
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 416 pages

Summary:

The Scot Beds His Wife is the next lush, captivating Victorian romance in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne.

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster.

Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him…more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity…

A marriage most convenient

Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…

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Excerpt

Union Pacific Railway, Wyoming Territory, Fall, 1880

Samantha Masters squeezed the trigger, planting a bullet between her husband’s beautiful brown eyes.

She whispered his name. Bennett. Then screamed it.

But it was the woman in his grasp she reached for as he fell to the ground.

Though they’d known each other all of twenty minutes, she clung to Alison Ross as though the younger woman were the most precious soul in the entire world, and they sank to their knees as their strength gave out.

Alison’s hold was just as tight around her, and their sobs burst against each other’s in a symphony of terror, shock, and abject relief.

What in the hell just happened?

Not twenty minutes ago, Samantha and Alison had been no more to each other than amiable fellow passengers on an eastbound train, chugging across the wintry landscape of the Wyoming Territory.

What were they now? Enemies? Survivors?

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Samantha repeated the words with every short, sobbing exhale. Though she couldn’t have said who the apology was to, exactly. To Alison? To Bennett? To whoever had been shot on the other railcars?

To God?

This morning she’d been the irate, disillusioned wife of a charming and dangerous man. An insignificant and unwilling member of the outlaw Masters Gang.

This afternoon, she’d been the new acquaintance and confidant to Alison Ross, commiserating over childhoods spent on secluded cattle ranches.

This evening, because of what she’d just done, of what they’d all just done . . . chances were good that she’d be hanged.


Author Bio

Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: That Thing You do by Kayti McGee

Title: That Thing You do by Kayti McGee
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 304 pages

Summary:

Friends don’t let friends marry the wrong man. But where, oh where, is Mr. Right?

In high school, Greta Steinburg and her two BFFs made a pact: none of them would get married unless they all approved the man in question. Since then, Greta has had her fair share of romantic ups and downs—but now, after her latest failed relationship, she is done. Greta announces that her days of dating are officially over, and she’s kissed the idea of happily-ever-after goodbye. . .

Of course her friends will hear none of it. Instead, they insist that Greta go out with Jon, the hottest new DJ who just happened to be at her sister’s wedding. To get her friends off her back, Greta proposes that they pretend to date. The only problem is, for every fake date they have—from feeding angry rhinos to crashing a kiddie roller-skating party—Jon wants a real one. Each time they get together, their attraction grows. . .and soon there’s no turning back. Could it be that true love requires a leap of faith—and that Jon is the one Greta’s been waiting for all along?

Kayti McGee’s That Thing You Do is a charmingly sexy novel about finding love in the least likely place.

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Excerpt

Prologue

Greta was fifteen when she made the first pact, huddled under the old gazebo with Amy and Summer. Old enough to be considering the future, and making plans accordingly. Young enough to never seriously consider the ramifications of sticking to them. Even if some passing stranger had warned her what a hassle she was setting herself up for, she would have ignored it. They were all secure in themselves, in their foresight—and certainly knew better than to trust anyone over thirty, anyway.

The Sweetheart Dance had not gone well for the three of them, and so they had retreated to the sanctu- ary behind Greta’s house. Summer had pulled a stolen wine cooler out of her sequin-encrusted bag and was passing warm, sticky sips around. Amy’s earlier sobs had quieted to hiccups, hardly audible over the cool February rain.

“We could egg Tommy’s house if you wanted,” Greta offered, but the drizzle and their lethargy over- ruled it.

“Don’t even say that guy’s name.” That from Summer, who was visibly pleased to find the attention was finally off of her lack of date for the evening’s event—again.

“How could he do this to me? We’re in love!” Amy wiped fresh tears with the hem of her pink dress. They comforted her as best they could, the rest of them hav- ing yet to suffer their first teenage heartbreak. Greta suspected that Amy was enjoying her newfound world- liness, just the tiniest bit. But dumped in front of the whole school? The sheer humiliation her friend had endured made Greta shudder.

“It wasn’t Tommy’s idea, you know that.” Greta took another swig of the sugary drink. It was their favorite flavor, margarita. Years later, when they tasted real margaritas for the first time, they made another pact— never to speak of their wine cooler days.

“He shouldn’t have gone along with it, even if it was entirely Lindsey’s plan. He doesn’t care about either one of you. He just thought he had a better chance of getting past second base with her. Tommy is a grade- A asshole.” Summer had grabbed the bottle then and handed it to Amy, having recalled that women in Victo- rian novels often required a bracing drink of ladylike booze after a shock. Amy took the bottle gratefully.

“It didn’t matter what he thought he was getting out of it. Asking Amy to Sweetheart and then showing up with Lindsey instead was a heartless move. He’s heartless,” Greta repeated, fairly pleased with her assessment.

“He isn’t heartless, though! You should see some of the notes he writes me.” Amy fumbled in her clutch for a tissue. And one of the notes. She kept her favor- ites with her at all times.

The girls assured her that they had seen all of the notes, repeatedly, and that they had long suspected he was copying down lines from his mother’s romance novels. She was not inclined to believe it. It seemed that she was already making her plans to win Tommy back, and punish Lindsey in the process.

“It’s better to have loved and lost, though, isn’t it?” Summer had retrieved a second wine cooler and was feeling rather poetic. “At least you’ve been kissed.”

“Oh, I haven’t lost him. We are going to get back together, after a long and groveling apology. On my sweet sixteen, he’ll give me a promise ring. After be- ing crowned king and queen of prom, I’ll give him my virginity in a bed of rose petals. He’ll propose during Christmas break of our senior year at Golden Gate and we’re getting married before we start law school. We are going to get married!” Amy’s face was all but glowing by the time she’d recounted the familiar plans. She hadn’t gotten around to telling Tommy about them yet, but she wouldn’t have to. He would just know what to do, she’d reassured her friends.

“Marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Greta re- minded them. During the moment they were silent, considering, they could hear her father yelling from the house, even over the pitter-pat of raindrops.

“But if you marry the right one, the one you’re meant to be with, it’s like heaven.” Greta had long since stopped rolling her eyes at Summer’s old-fashioned view of the world. She’d learn soon enough, so to tell her so in advance would have been mean. Amy agreed with Summer, of course.

“How do you even know, though? Like, doesn’t everyone think they are marrying the right one? Other- wise why would you say yes?” Greta asked. They pondered, the truth of her words settling over them like the fog they had grown so accustomed to in the Bay.

It was Amy who had the answer. She had all the answers to everything, as she loved to remind them.

“The people who know you best. They know better than you do, most of the time.” She set down the dregs of her bottle and clasped their hands. The picture was suddenly clear. Just like her friends knew her best. Her friends, who had been gently encouraging a break-up for the past whole entire month. “I’m not going to marry Tommy, am I? Because even though I’m com- pletely love-struck, you guys know it’s a bad idea to get back together with him. You tell me this stuff, even though I don’t want to hear it.” Resilience was another one of her self-described best qualities. The deep love she had felt for Tommy just moments before was al- ready starting to fade into a distant memory.

“That’s what sisters are for,” Summer reminded them. Despite no actual blood relationship, they had considered themselves sisters since meeting in Mrs. Fischer’s second grade class. That was one thing that never changed. It’s why they kept their promise, despite each of them cursing it at one time or another.

“My dad didn’t used to be like this. He used to be happy, when we were little. You really think my mom’s friends knew things would end up this way, with him throwing things and screaming and her too stupid to leave before he hits her?” Greta could feel her face set- ting so she didn’t tear up.

“I think he probably talked her out of having friends besides him a long time ago, G. Otherwise, yes, they’d be here now.” Even Summer understood the gravity of this conversation long enough to stop Austenizing. “My mom married the wrong guy too, obviously. By the time he walked out on us, he’d driven her friends off years before. Now the only friends she has are the guys she goes out with every freaking night of the week.”

“Statistically, arranged marriages are some of the most successful. If you take lust out of the equation, the people who know you best recommending a part- ner that suits you best is a pretty smart way to go.” Amy always used statistics, even though she knew her friends thought she made half of them up. She did, but they were one hundred percent too lazy to fact-check her, and that stat was real.

“That’s not very romantic, though.” Summer, of course. “What about love?”

“But I love you guys, and we aren’t romantic. Some- times just getting to know someone intimately leads to love,” Greta said, eyes cast down so no one would see her admit she still believed in love in any form, after watching her father burn things down so often.

“Seriously look at us, you guys. I got dumped in front of the whole school. Summer couldn’t find a date up to her standards, because Summer has never once found a date to be up to her standards. Greta, you’ve been going to every event we’ve been invited to since we were seven—with Michael.”

“What’s wrong with Michael?” she asked. Amy re- minded her that he was her first cousin, and certainly gay even if they lived in a state that condoned such re- lationships. Greta shrugged. It was a fair point.

“Honestly, I don’t think I would ever marry anyone you guys didn’t one hundred percent approve of.” Sum- mer met the girls’ eyes in turn. Amy, and then Greta had agreed with her, and felt secure in the decision. It was so obvious then. They were so lucky to have each other. They would never find anyone who understood them like they understood each other.

And so it came to pass that they found themselves huddling around a half bottle of cheap alcohol, spit- ting into it to make their pact both binding and dis- gusting. There, in rain-bedraggled semi-formal dresses in a backyard reading nook, they linked their pinkies and drank that hideous drink and swore the pact they would all end up regretting but never could quite take back. Because even when they thought they them- selves should be exempt, they were never really will- ing to give up veto power for their beloved best friends. So this is what they swore:

“We, the Sisterhood of the Valentine’s Day Gazebo,do solemnly swear that we’ll never get married with- out the agreement of all of us.” And as they giggled, newly pleased with themselves and passing the drink around, Greta’s dad was leaving forever.


Author Bio

Kayti McGee is a Kansas City native who now calls Colorado home. When she isn’t writing, she’s making up recipes to go with her favorite books. She is the author of Hands Off and Undercovers.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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Release Day Spotlight & Giveaway: Grand Slam by Heidi McLaughlin

**Now Available in Print for the First Time!**

Title: Grand Slam by Heidi McLaughlin
Boys of Summer Series Book Three
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages

Summary:

Win the game. Lose your heart.

Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

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THE BOYS OF SUMMER SERIES

THIRD BASE, #1
HOME RUN, #2
GRAND SLAM, #3

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Excerpt

Whenever I wake up with a hangover, I often ask myself why I drank so much and promise that I’ll never do it again. That promise is something I’ve been breaking for the past few days, and up until now, I didn’t care.

I had hoped the booze would muddy my memory of last night, but it hasn’t. Every word she said, every expression she had, every punch to my chest to get me out of her apartment is crystal clear. I fucked up, and I don’t even know how. All I know is that the sobs I heard on the other side of Saylor’s door last night were enough to sober my stupid ass up.

For hours, I sat against her door, until a resident suggested I leave or they were going to call the police. If I hadn’t been arrested ear- lier, I probably would have encouraged them to dial Boston’s Finest. Another man might understand my plight. The woman that I want to be with kicked me out of her house, and while I probably deserved it, I didn’t want to leave until she stopped crying. I didn’t want to be the one to walk away in her time of need.

But as egos go—and believe me, mine is huge—I couldn’t let it get in the way any longer, so I walked my drunk ass back home with my tail between my legs, only to stay up all night while the booze wore off, knowing that I had to live with whatever I’d done to Saylor.

She’s the last person in the world who I want to hurt, and she’s the one person who can save me. Not only from a life behind bars, but from myself. When I’m with her, I’m a different person. The cocky son of a bitch whom everyone is used to doesn’t exist when she’s near me, and frankly, that is the man I like, or at least I used to. It’s easier being a fucking douche. It’s second nature to me and comes with the territory of being named one of the city’s most eligible bachelors.

Except when I’m with Saylor, I can be the man who hides in the shadow of that Travis Kidd. I can be the kind of man who doesn’t have to have a one-liner available or wink in order to get a phone number. When I’m with her, life outside of baseball starts to have a meaning, a fucking purpose.


Author Bio

Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, a Highland West/mini schnauzer, Jill, and her brother, Racicot. When she’s isn’t writing stories, you’ll find her sitting court-side at her daughters’ basketball games.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram * Pinterest


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Tour Stop: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Title: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Women’s Fiction
Length: 320 pages

Summary:

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage–and okay, the botched divorce–was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife–still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone–including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Read my review HERE.

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Author Bio

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A December Brideand The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. You can learn more about Denise through her website DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her Facebook page at facebook.com/authordenisehunter.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Goodreads

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