All Of Us-Chapter One #mgtab

All of Us

If you haven’t checked out the Prologue you can do that now. Here is Chapter One

Vats of Jealousy

“How are you feeling today?” Kristen asked her boss Olivia Hartman-Abraham.

“Better than I felt earlier this morning,” Olivia said. “I really hope it’s only the first trimester this goes on. Though I’ve heard horror stories of women who are sick the whole pregnancy.”

“I doubt you’d get that unlucky,” Kristen said. As lucky women went, Olivia seemed to have it all. Wealth, looks, a hot new husband, and a baby on the way.

“You never know,” Olivia said, rubbing her flat belly. If Kristen didn’t love her boss of almost a year so much, she’d be the Hulk filled with big green vats of jealousy.

If there was one thing Kristen knew in life, it was that not much went her way.

She didn’t have wealth now any more than she had it growing up with a single mother. She was just average in her eyes in terms of looks. There was no husband, hot or otherwise in her future, and a baby wasn’t anything she was thinking of until she got a ring on her finger. If that ever happened.

“For your sake—and mine since I’ve got to listen to you heaving in the back—it will end soon.”

“Thanks for the concern,” Olivia said, laughing.

“You know I am. Since we’re a bit slow, how about I walk over and get you a large decaf green tea? I could use a shot of caffeine myself this morning.”

“Sounds like a good idea. Maybe you wouldn’t mind picking up a breakfast sandwich for me?”

“And that sounds yummy. I think I’ll get one for myself too.”

Kristen walked out of the front door of Hartman’s and down to the corner coffee shop. She was waiting in line when she noticed an officer walk in. Her pulse picked up a few paces and her fingers started to sizzle every time she saw a tall man in uniform with dark brown hair.

Would it be him? Would she get another glimpse of the guy who taught her how to defend herself in a class one night when Olivia’s husband asked them to attend so that he wouldn’t be worried about them alone at night? Imagine that? Having a guy put you first and be worried about your well-being.

It’d been months since she’d seen Landon. Months that she kept thinking of him resulting in some pretty body-gushing dreams.

The officer turned and it wasn’t Landon. She was disappointed, but since she was often disappointed in life, it was nothing new to her.

With her order in her hand, she turned to leave and in walked another officer. This time it was the man of her dreams.

***

Landon couldn’t get a shot of caffeine fast enough.

He’d had a lot of stress and upheaval in his life growing up but nothing like the past few weeks.

He went from bachelorhood, where his biggest concern was if there was enough bread in the house for a sandwich, to a single father in a heartbeat.

This was his first day back to work on top of it. After bringing Chloe home and realizing that he didn’t even have a spare bed for her, he knew right away he had to take time off of work.

In the past two weeks, he’d turned his spare room into a little princess room. Not that she offered much say in it. She barely spoke at all and he couldn’t really blame her. He wasn’t sure what to say to her half the time…being in her shoes had to be much worse.

But her room was set up. They’d had two counseling appointments and he’d secured daycare for her while he worked. The next thing on his list to do was getting her registered for school. At least he had time for that yet.

Sleepless nights for him as an adult normally consisted of cases he was working on or scheduling classes at his studio.

Now it was nutrition, clothing sizes, babysitters, schedule changes, and watching his language.

“Landon?”

He looked at the woman in front of him. He knew that face, but couldn’t recall from where. He came into contact with a lot of people in his line of work.

“Yes,” he said.

“Kristen Reid. I took your self-defense class several months ago with Olivia Abraham.”

“Oh yeah. With Finn’s wife.” He remembered her now. He’d seen her at Finn and Olivia’s wedding over the winter too. He couldn’t remember who his date was for that night or who this woman was with, but he was decent at putting faces with names…once he was reminded.

She was standing there grinning at him now. A pretty blush on her face. She was a cute girl. Woman, not girl. Nothing about her really stood out, but nothing made him look away either.

Her long brown hair was pulled back at the base of her neck. She had more makeup on than most, but it wasn’t offensive. Her long black pants had to be warm in the August heat, but she had a pretty little flower sweater on with it.

Since when did he notice pretty flowers or floral anything?

Since he had a little girl living in his house and he was trying everything he could to communicate with her. That even meant spending more time than he ever wanted to do in his life looking at clothes online or in the mall and trying to find anything Chloe liked or wanted.

Kristen held her bag up. “I’m picking up breakfast for us. Did you know Olivia was expecting?”

“Expecting what?” he asked.

“A baby?” Kristen said, her eyes dancing a little. Yeah, he put his foot in his mouth there. It seemed he was so out of touch with reality lately.

“No. I hadn’t heard. That’s great. Tell her congrats,” he said, moving forward. He didn’t want to be rude, but small talk wasn’t his thing. Or at least not when he was working. If he was out on the town looking for a woman, he could talk all night long to get a woman in his bed.

“It was nice seeing you again,” she said, sending him a hopeful smile. He caught the sign she was flashing, but the thought of dating was out of reach. Too bad, as he could use a distraction for the moment.

***

“Guess who I just ran into at the coffee shop?” Kristen said as she rushed into the jewelry store.

“Who?” Olivia said. “And hand over the loot. Junior is hungry.”

“Just don’t toss that sandwich up in the bathroom, please. I’d like to keep mine down. I never realized I was a sympathy puker before.”

“Sorry, but I can’t control it. Anyway,” Olivia said, reaching into the bag, “who did you see?”

“Landon Barber.”

“Ohhhhh,” Olivia said, unwrapping her sandwich and taking a monster bite out of it. “Did he talk to you? He’s kind of that broody quiet type. The one with deep thoughts to go with those big hands of his.”

“What are you doing looking at his big hands? You’ve got your own man at home,” she said with her hands on her hips.

“I do. I love my hubby, but I’m not blind either.”

“True. And yes, he sort of talked to me.”

“Sort of? Did he grunt? I bet you he’s a grunter.”

“I don’t even want to know what that means,” she said.

Olivia had dated a lot before she gave up that life and decided she needed to mature. Not that Kristen had ever seen anything like the Olivia she’d often talked about. She’d only known Olivia while she was with Finn, but she’d heard stories that Olivia had told her herself about her wilder younger days.

“It means that some men only grunt when they first get up in the morning before they have their coffee. Or if they don’t want to be bothered to talk, they grunt an answer and look away.”

“Oh. No, he talked, but not a lot. I said hi to him first and then reminded him who I was. I doubt he remembered me and there was no use putting him on the spot and making us both feel bad.”

“Why would you feel bad?” Olivia asked.

“I’m nothing memorable, I know that. Not like you.” She ignored Olivia’s snort while she inhaled her breakfast. “I just said I took his self-defense class with you. Then he said, ‘Finn’s wife.’ So yeah, he remembered you.”

“He’s friends with Finn,” Olivia argued. “And how many men named Finn do you know? It’s pretty easy for him to remember me.”

“I guess. He was looking at my drinks and bag and I just held it up and blurted out you were expecting.” She started to giggle. “He asked me what you were expecting.”

Laughing, Olivia started to cough as she sipped her tea. “Typical man response.”

“Yeah. I could see he was uncomfortable then, so I just said it was nice to see him and left.”

“There is always next time,” Olivia said.

“Please. I sent him a flirting smile that most men would pick up and he just shrugged. Trust me, I’m not his type.”

All Of Us…Prologue #mgtab @Natalieann121

All of Us

Prologue

“Barber,” Landon said, looking down at his phone. He didn’t recognize the number, but that wasn’t unheard of.

“Is this Landon Barber?”

“It is,” he said.

“My name is Lynn Collar. I’m calling about your sister, Jennifer.”

The hair rose on the back of his neck. He hadn’t talked to Jennifer in years. Not since she left home at eighteen. Shit, now that he thought about it, might be ten years since he’d talked to her. “What about her?”

“I’m sorry to say she died in a car accident two weeks ago,” Lynn said, her voice cracking on the other end. This person was obviously a friend, but not one that thought to contact family sooner. He kept that opinion to himself. Who was he to judge since he and Jennifer weren’t close?

He looked around for a chair to sit. He was in the squad room and realized maybe he didn’t want this conversation where others could overhear. Where a few were looking at him now.

“What happened?” he asked, walking to an interrogation room he knew was empty. That’s how he felt right now. Empty. It’d been so long since he’d said her name, let alone heard it.

Sure she was his baby sister—half sister—but with the eight years between them and the constant fighting going on in their house, he just kept to himself more often than not.

When it was time for college, he left and rarely went home after. Not to stay permanently if he could avoid it.

“A tractor trailer went off the road on the thruway causing a massive pile up. Jennifer was one of four people to die.”

“Where?” he asked, realizing he had no clue where his sister had been living.

“Just outside of Buffalo.”

He hadn’t even realized she was in New York State. Last he knew she was down south somewhere. Or at least that was what his mother had told him at one point when Jennifer had called looking for money those first few years she’d left home after high school.

“How did you know my sister?” he asked.

There was silence on the other end, then almost a whisper. “She was my girlfriend.”

His sister was gay? He never saw that coming. Then he wondered if his mother knew and that was the cause of so many fights between the two of them. His mother was pretty prejudiced. Another reason he didn’t go home after college. He was sick of hearing about everyone she couldn’t stand.

“I’m glad you called and told me. Is she buried there?” he asked, just thinking of that.

“She wanted to be cremated. I’ve got her remains here.”

“And that is why you’re calling? For me to come get them?”

“No. I mean, yes, they should go to her family. But it’s about your niece. Jennifer’s daughter.”

His sister had a daughter? No way his mother knew that. “What?”

“Chloe. Your niece. It took me so long to call because I’ve been going through Jennifer’s paperwork and finally found her will. She listed you as Chloe’s guardian.”

“Her daughter doesn’t even know me. Does she know of me?” Talk about being knocked on his ass.

“I really don’t know. I haven’t been with Jennifer long. Just six months. I can’t keep her. Chloe. I’ve got no right to her and, like I said, Jennifer had a will. But not only that, I’m just not…mother material.”

Like he was father material? “Who has her now?”

“She’s been with me for a few weeks. I don’t really want to disrupt her life, but I can’t keep her. If you don’t want her, then I’ll have to turn her over to social services. I’ve been in contact with them, because I just didn’t know what to do if I couldn’t locate you.”

He couldn’t do that. He didn’t know this child, but she was his flesh and blood. He’d never let her be a ward of the state. “No, no. I’ll come get her.”

“I’d call your mother, but Jennifer never had anything nice to say about her.”

“No. They had a strained relationship.”

“Your mother didn’t think Jennifer was gay. Told her it was a phase.”

Landon snorted. He could totally see his mother saying that. “What about Chloe’s father?” he asked.

“There is no father listed on Chloe’s birth certificate. I honestly don’t know if Jennifer knew who he was. It was a dark time in her life, she’d said, while she was trying to find her identity.”

“How old is Chloe?” he asked. He was starting to get his wits about him…somewhat.

“She’s eight. She’s a good kid. Really shy. Timid even. But her mother’s death has been hard. I think she’s going to need counseling too. I don’t know. Like I said, I just can’t handle her. I can barely take care of myself,” Lynn said, sobbing on the other end.

“Okay. Yeah,” he said, stumbling over his words. He never stumbled over anything. “I’m at work. And it’s like four to five hours away.” He looked at his watch and saw it was only ten in the morning. “I’ll be there within six hours tops. Can you just text me an address?”

“Sure. Thanks. And I’m sorry I had to make this call and dump this on you.”

“You aren’t dumping anything on me,” he said, only he didn’t believe it.

How the hell was he supposed to raise some eight-year-old girl he’d never met and didn’t even know existed?

All Of Us #mgtab @Natalieann1212

All of Us

Landon Barber thought he had a fairly normal life. Captain at the police department. Owner of his own martial arts studio. A woman when he wanted or needed one. Yeah, life was going the way he wanted it. Until he got an unexpected call informing him he was now the guardian of his eight-year-old niece. A niece he didn’t even know existed.

Kristen Reid always wanted more than she had. It seemed she never learned either. Men… all she attracted were those with complications, commitment issues, or just plain losers. One of these days she’d find someone normal. She set her sights on Landon and realized that normal just didn’t exist anywhere but in her own mind. And now she has to figure out if she can accept that.

A Chance at a $15 Amazon CG #mgtab

I want to know what books you’d like to read next! I just finished the draft of Fierce-Cade (the 4th book in the Fierce Five Series) and will start the draft of Fierce-Ella soon. Fierce-Aiden was released and you can purchase it on Amazon.

But in the meantime, I’m trying to plan out where to go next. Many of you have sent me emails, comments, and reviews that you’d like to see more of the All Series and the Lake Placid Series along with the Fierce Five. Don’t worry, I do plan on adding to those other series as well.

So where does the Amazon gift card come into play? Hop over to my FB page by clicking on the picture below. Just comment : All Series, Lake Placid, or Fierce Five. On Friday the 18th, I’ll randomly draw and name for the gift card. Pretty easy and then I can get an idea of what you, as my readers, would like to see more of.

All Series

Fun and Pre-orders! @NatalieAnn121 #mgtab

As many of you know I entered Fierce-Brody into the Kindle Scout program last month. Although I got a lot of great and complimentary feedback, it wasn’t selected for a publishing contract. It is however, up for pre-order right now!!

Brody_2

A little over 3 years ago I published my first book. Road to Recovery. It was the start of a 4 book series, called the Road Series centered around the Mathews’ Clan. By the way it’s a permafree book so download a copy and check it out!

By time I got to the 4th book, Road to Reason, I started to love my supporting characters so much, that I formulated a spin off series called the All Series that would focus on the Harper Clan.

The best way to blend these two series was to have one Mathews and one Harper…fall in love. So in Road to Reason, playboy Ryan Mathews meets his match with Kaitlin Harper. Not only does she give him a run for his money, but he has to deal with her 3 older brothers! Fast forward 3 years and I decided to put together a novella on how the Mathews’ and the Harper’s actually met way back in the day…starting with their parents.

All for Love- Road to Romance is just 99 cents.

All for Love is in included in a new Sweet and Sassy Valentine boxed set that is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Just 99 cents! 12 authors! 12 stories of love and romance!

SSVboxLGtransparent (1)

Also, Road to Redemption will be included in another boxed set called A Valentine She’ll Remember that is available for pre-order too. Just 99 cents!

Valentine Collection

It still amazes me that in 3 years’ time I’ve published 3 series, totaling 16 books. And I’ve got 2 other series that will be published in 2018.

So that old saying of ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ can definitely ring true for me. Because right now, I’m having a blast! Bring on 2018!

You can follow along with what I’m doing here:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Bookbub

All for Love- Chapter 1

All for Love

Just like I normally do before a release, I tease you with a few chapters. Since All for Love- Road to Romance is a novella I’m just going to post the prologue and Chapter 1.

Don’t worry, because All for Love will be live next week on January 16!!! And it’s just 99 cents!

Teamwork

Thirty-four years ago

The snow was coming down hard outside, the bar empty inside. It’d been hopping like a normal Friday night early on, but dwindled down about two hours ago. The last of the stragglers left about ten minutes ago.

The minute they were out the door, he’d locked up and started to put chairs on the tables he’d already wiped down, preparing to mop the floor and get it cleaned up for the owners to open tomorrow afternoon.

Four years of college, working ten hours a day and another several at this bar on the weekends, and he still had little to show for it other than a ton of debt, a sore body, and a cold bed to go home to.

He turned the radio on behind the bar so he didn’t feel so lonely. Loneliness was something he felt too much of in his life lately, it seemed.

He was almost done, hurrying more than normal, just wanting to get home and put his feet up on the coffee table in his little apartment. Nights like this, he was too lazy to even open up the sofa bed, falling asleep where he stopped for the night.

When he picked one of the last chairs up to turn it over, a purse fell on the floor. Just a tiny one, and he knew exactly who it belonged to. The petite brunette that was sitting at this corner table with two of her friends.

White wine. Two glasses of it. Her friends were drinking red. But it wasn’t the choice of her wine that stood out to him in a bar where everyone was drinking beer. No, it was the way she looked. Too nice and too classy to be frequenting this bar.

Her dark hair was long and parted in the center, raining over her shoulders, looking like silk. Straight as a board, swishing side to side when she moved her head. A curtain of sorts, and he wondered how it’d feel in his hands if he lifted it away and placed his lips to the pulse at her neck.

But he pushed those thoughts away because he was working in a bar, barely able to keep his head above water in his studio apartment in the wrong section of town, waiting for his break to come. Waiting for someone to believe in him enough to give him a chance.

He placed the purse behind the counter, pushing the lovely lady from his mind, and went back to his manual labor. He was wiping the table down when he heard a knock on the glass.

Looking toward the window, he didn’t see anything but white beyond, wind and swirling snowflakes. He put his head down to finish up fast and get home, thinking it was his imagination until it sounded again.

This time he walked to the door, pushed the old paisley curtain aside, and thought he was dreaming.

Only he wasn’t, because there she was. The beautiful brunette he was fantasizing about all night long, standing there shivering, her arms wrapped around her waist, smiling at him and nodding her head impatiently for him to let her in.

***

Good grief, Isabel thought, what more did she have to do to get the bartender to open the door? Strip naked and do a dance for him? She’d been standing there knocking for over a minute.

“Sorry to bother you,” she said, stepping in and shaking the snow from her hair. “I think I left my purse here. When I got back to my place, I couldn’t find it, so the cab driver brought me back.”

“Yeah, you did. It’s behind the bar. I’ll get it for you.” He left his rag on the table, then rubbed his hands on his jeans. He was taller than she’d thought he was, towering over her by at least a foot. She realized now that the bar wasn’t raised as high as she’d thought, that it was him.

“Thanks so much. I’ve never done that before. I’m not sure what I was thinking.”

“No problem. I didn’t go through it or anything. I just figured you’d come back for it.”

She waved her hand. “No worries. Not much in there really.”

“Your ID,” he said, cracking just a tiny grin.

He was even handsomer up close. Dark hair, not quite as dark as hers. His eyes, though, they were almost black. A little dangerous and definitely probing, with him not looking real friendly at the interruption. It should’ve unnerved her but instead excited her. She’d decided she needed a little excitement in her life lately.

“Well, if I hadn’t come back for it, then you’d know where to find me,” she said, teasing a little.

Not much reaction from him. “True. The owners take care of lost items. It would have made its way back to you at some point.”

She looked around the now empty bar. It was more dismal than it looked earlier when it was half full. Her roommate, Dawn, had wanted to go out for the night, but she would have rather stayed home. Now she was glad she didn’t.

“So you have to close all by yourself?” she asked.

He shrugged. Guess he wasn’t much of a talker. “Not a big deal. Quiet night, so not much to do.” He hadn’t made an attempt to pick up his cleaning rag and continue. Instead, he was just standing there watching her hold her clutch in front of her.

“Looks like you’re almost done.” Chairs were on all the tables but the one next to her, where it looked like he was working when she knocked.

“Just need to sweep and mop, then I can call it a night.”

“Do you need some help?” she asked. “It’s coming down pretty hard out there, so I’m sure you’d like to leave.”

He eyed her funny, looking over her long jacket and knee-high boots. “I’m good. You probably should go grab your cab before he leaves.”

“Oh,” she said, turning quickly. She’d completely forgotten about that. She’d told Dawn she’d just be a minute. “I guess I’ll let you get back to it.” But when she turned to leave and opened the door, she saw the cab was nowhere to be found. “I think they left me here.”

“I can call you another one,” he said.

“Or you can bring me home. I mean, if you live in the city. I’m just a few blocks from here,” she said before she lost her nerve.

He hesitated and then said, “I can do that. I’m in the city, too. I’ll probably be done before someone could make their way here anyway. Why don’t you have a seat at the bar while I finish up. Can I get you another wine or a water or something?”

He was pretty cute, looking flustered at the moment and not at all dangerous like she first thought with those dark looks of his. “I’m good. And I’ll help you. It’s the least I can do. I’m Isabel, by the way. Isabel Carmichael.” She walked up and held her hand out to him.

When his hand touched hers, she almost had to leap back from the spark. “William Harper. Nice to meet you.”

“My pleasure,” she said, and she meant it. He walked over and cleaned the last table off, then turned the chairs over. She removed her jacket and hung it on the back of a bar stool. When he walked out of the room and came back with a broom and dust pan, she took them out of his hands. “Let me do that. You can mop behind me. Teamwork.”

He nodded, almost bashful-like, but handed over the broom, and she got to work while she heard water running out back. They worked in silence for all of five minutes before it started to get on her nerves.

“So, William, how long have you worked here?”

He looked up sharply, as if he’d completely forgotten she was in the room with him. Talk about a blow to her self-confidence. “Just a few months.”

“Do you work every night?”

“Friday night. Saturday and Sunday afternoons until close.”

“You’ve got the weekdays to yourself then. That’s nice.” She started to sweep faster now. He appeared to be a complete dud. Guess she was wrong about him, if he couldn’t say more than a few words.

“What?” he asked. “No. I work during the week, too.” Then he went back to moving his mop around.

She rolled her eyes but slowed down her sweeping. Maybe they could get somewhere now. “What do you do during the week?” she asked. It was like pulling teeth. She did that all day with her students; she wasn’t sure she wanted to with a man.

“I work at Weber Investments.”

“Really?” she asked, leaning on the broom. That surprised her. “What do you do there?”

“Not much,” he said, then laughed. “Sorry. I’d like to do more, but right now it doesn’t seem to be working out the way I envisioned it.”

“Why’s that?” He didn’t look like the suit and tie type to her. He wore his faded Levis well and the cotton shirt pushed up at his elbows even better.

“It’s not easy drumming up clients. My boss doesn’t get the need to hustle. He’d rather sit around and wait for people to come to him. I guess he figures it’s his due now.” At her odd look, he finally added, “I’m an investment broker.”

She was right about him. Not a dud, but a go-getter. Maybe a little shy about it. “How long have you worked there?”

“Just a few months. Right out of college,” he said, slowing the motion of his mopping too. They were barely doing anything other than talking at this point. More looking at each other than anything, and things were picking up in her mind.

“Why are you working here then?”

“I’ve got to pay the bills somehow. The bulk of my income is commission and right now, it’s not very high.”

“But it’s got to be exciting, right? Going out and meeting new people, taking some risks and gambling a little.”

“It is. It’s just trying to talk others into taking that risk with me. My day will come, I’m sure. A little hard work never hurt anyone,” he said. “What about you? What do you do?”

Finally, he was asking her something. She didn’t miss his glance at her left hand for a ring. “I just started working myself. I’m a math teacher.”

“Where?” he asked.

“Emma Willard.”

“The college prep school for girls, right?” he asked.

“That’s the one,” she said. Most people were surprised when they heard she taught there. Then when they found out her father was the head of the school, they figured that was how she’d gotten the job.

Deep down she knew it was, but she was out to show she could do it on her own. She wanted to prove she didn’t need her father to get her a job. What she wanted to do was give back to the girls in the school that she’d attended. She wanted to show them that there was a whole wide world out there, and that they should work hard and try to achieve their goals. Not to rely on their fathers or future husbands…even though they all thought that was what she was doing.

That was why she came here drinking tonight. It was also why she moved out of her parents’ house months ago and found a roommate.

She was sick of her father controlling every move she made. Sick of him telling her what her place was in life and where she should work, let alone live. It was more of the same today at work and enough to decide a drink was what she needed.

She originally only agreed to take the job at Emma Willard in September so that she could start earning money to move out. But the longer she was there and the more she heard all the girls talking about their futures, the more she realized she could help. She could get them to see the big wide world and help them grab hold of it.

And that’s what she was going to do. Starting tonight. She was going to start taking risks and she was going to start living a little recklessly out from under her father’s watchful eye. She was going to practice what she preached.

 

 

All for Love – Prologue

For those of you that have read the Road and the All Series, you know all about William and Isabel Harper. Wouldn’t you love to know how they met?

Well now you can in All for Love-Road to Romance.

All for Love

I loved writing this book after I already wrote about their kids. I hope you enjoy it too!

Prologue

William Harper looked up at his wife of more years than he could count when she walked into the room. If she’d asked him the number, he could tell her—just like he could tell her anything about their lives—but he liked to pretend he couldn’t and watch the fire leap into her eyes.

She handed him a beer, then set her wine glass down and crawled into his lap, leaning against his chest while he pushed back the bottom of his recliner. It was a nighttime ritual for them. Relaxing together at the end of their day.

To this day, he still loved to feel her in his arms—to hold her tight and think back to the time when he thought he wouldn’t be able to have her. That he’d never be good enough.

“What are you thinking?” she asked, lying her head against his chest and snuggling in some more. It was a move that touched him just as much today as it did so long ago.

“Just thinking about the beautiful woman on my lap right now. That fills my head so that nothing else can occupy it.”

“You always were a smooth one,” she said, kissing his neck. “Well, maybe not in the beginning, but then you got your confidence.”

He laughed, loving how she picked on him. “And you fell for it all. Hook, line, and sinker. I tossed the line and reeled you in good and strong.”

“You keep trying to tell yourself that.” She ran her hand lovingly up and down his thigh, then sighed.

“What’s wrong?” He knew her better than he knew himself at times. She’d been a little sad lately, and that was completely unlike her.

“I spent the day with Michele and we were talking about the kids.” Michele Mathews was Isabel’s best friend and when they weren’t actually together in their free time, they were still chatting some way or another.

“Thomas mentioned something about Lucas dating a new girl that just moved to the area. Has him all twisted around.” Thomas Mathews was more than William’s best friend. He was the man who helped him build his life. The life he’d always wanted and the life that he’d been able to provide for his wife and four children. The life he’d thought he needed to win Isabel over. Turned out all he needed was to love her.

Isabel heaved a big sigh again and he had a feeling where this was going. “She thinks there might be a wedding around the corner.”

“I heard that, too. They’ve got to be thrilled.”

“She is. When are our kids going to settle down? The boys are in their thirties. Kaitlin close behind. Someone should be married by now, don’t you think?”

It would be unwise to laugh at his wife, so he didn’t. He wanted to, but knew better. “Plenty of time yet. Don’t be pushing them into something they aren’t ready for.”

“Ready? Aside from Phil, not one of them is even dating someone. And if Phil thinks of marrying that girl, I’ll put my foot down.”

“I don’t think Phil is even considering it, no matter how much people are talking about it. What’s this really about?” he asked. There had to be more.

“I want grandkids. At Alec and Phil’s age, we were married and had all four of them.”

“Times are different now and you know that. Ben just got home and he is nowhere near ready to settle down. Alec is out having too much fun. Phil is searching for something he can’t seem to find, and no one can help him. And Kaitlin is too busy building her career. Relax. It will happen when it does.”

“You’re right. I know you are. I just want it to happen now.”

“You’ve always been impatient,” he said, his hand roaming under her shirt. Her skin was still as soft and smooth as it was all those years ago.

She turned and put her lips on his. “And you’ve always loved it. Do you remember the first night we met?”

“Luckiest night of my life. I’ll never forget it.”

“That’s sweet. Guess it was luck for me too that no one stole my purse.”

“You’ve never lost it again, either. Or left it anywhere. Guess you learned your lesson that night.”

“Oh, I learned it, all right,” she said, turning around and straddling his hips. “I learned that sexy bartenders have their eyes on everything going on in the bar at all times.”

“How else would I have known where you left it? Or who it belonged to?” She was doing a good job distracting him.

She pulled the beer out of his hand, the one he hadn’t even taken a sip of, and put it next to her untouched wine. “Why don’t you show me what you wanted to do to me that night but were too afraid to? No one’s watching now. Just like no one was back then.”

He didn’t need to be told twice, and slid her off his lap, standing up next to her. “Let’s go upstairs.”

She laughed, the same sexy laugh she had that night, and all his brain matter settled into his pants. “We aren’t some old couple that needs to go to our room. We’ve got a whole empty house to ourselves. Where do you want to start?”

That woman he fell in love with all those years ago had only gotten better with age. She was still sweet and soft, rebellious and adventurous, and she was all his, thanks to a lost purse on a cold winter night.

All for Love

All for Love

Have you ever wondered how William and Isabel met? Or how the Mathews and the Harpers got to be such close friends?

Well now you can. Here it is. Where it all started. Introducing William and Isabel Harper!

A lost purse. A forbidden love. A bond forged through the test of time.

On a cold lonely winter night, William Harper hurried to close the bar he was working at when he heard a tap on the window. Pushing the curtain aside, he gazed into the eyes of his future. It was a dream he desperately wanted, only he knew it was just out of reach.

Isabel Carmichael had been under her father’s thumb for way too long. As an adult, it was time to take control and go after what she wanted. Roadblocks, obstacles, and a stubborn man who thought he wasn’t good enough were not going to stand in her way of happiness.

Available for Pre-order now! Release date January 16, 2018.

Blogging Elsewhere

So I told you all that I’m part of the Authors’ Billboard,right? A group of wonderfully talented authors that I’m learning so much from.

Well one of the tasks that I’m enjoying is blogging there once a month. But I realized I speak more of myself there than I do here. I don’t know why that is. Once in awhile I’ll post something personal, but not often.

I decided to share my two blog posts from there, here, you can read them too.

The first one was Taking A Chance.

With risk comes great reward. We’ve all heard this before, correct? Maybe we’ve said, “That’s right, I’m going to take a risk and I’m going to win.” Then you get all excited, you dive head first into the freezing cold water, come up for air and you wait. And wait. And wait.  “Where’s my reward?” you ask yourself.

That was me twenty plus years ago. I wanted to be a writer. An author. That was my goal. That was my dream. I’d started and stopped writing too many times to count, getting frustrated and giving up.

Then four years ago I told myself, it’s now or never and I made a plan. I’m good at making plans. And lists. Lots and lots of lists. My lists have lists and I’m proud of that fact!

My plan was to write one book. Start and keep going until it was done. Just to say I could do it. The finished product didn’t have to leave my computer, no one had to see it but me, but darn it all, I was going to finish that book.

Not only did I finish that book, Road to Recovery, but I wrote Road to Redemption and Road to Reality. Three books in draft form and I had no clue what to do next. So I started to search out editors, and since I’m a firm believer in fate, I kept coming back to this one editor.  Something pulled at me and said, “Reach out and see what she says.”

That risk I talked about before… well that’s what I did. My finger hovered over the mouse after I reread my email fifty times. The last thing I wanted to do was have a typo in the introduction email!

I didn’t have a long wait. I wasn’t floating in the cold water wondering when I could get out and grab a fluffy towel.  Now I’m not going to say my reward was instantaneous, because it wasn’t. I had a lot of work ahead of me, and I got right to it. Pulled out another ream of paper and made another list of where to start and how to approach it.

Here I am—not even three years after Road to Recovery was published—my fourteenth book, Take A Chance, was released this month.

Rene Buchanan did what I did. She’d had a life she lived for twenty-nine years and when it wasn’t working out the way she always envisioned. When she knew there was more out there and she just had to find it, she dove into that ice cold water and took her chance. Luckily for her, Cole McGuire was there to hand her a nice warm towel, wrap her up tight and show her that her risk was both their reward.

You can read Take A Chance now. Available on Amazon.

The second blog post was Fall…Finally

It’s my favorite time of year!

Here in New York, Fall is running a little late to the party, but it’s in route…finally!

Fall symbolizes a lot of different things for different people.

—Back to school—Happy dance for all those parents out there.

—Football—Unless your team isn’t setting the red zone on fire…yes, I mean you Eli.

—Apple picking—Sad to say, this is the first time in sixteen years I haven’t gone apple picking with my son. He’s a freshman in college and too cool to do that.

—The changing of the leaves—The perfect time to take a scenic drive to Vermont. Unfortunately, thanks to motion sickness, scenic drives and me don’t play nice.

—The first frost—Still waiting for this to happen.

—Planting my tulips for spring—Again, still waiting.

You might wonder why I put planting of tulips on my list. To me, fall symbolizes the ending of summer, the beginning of my favorite season, and a kickoff to spring. The time when I tenderly plant those bulbs, spread the soil on top and wait months and months for them to make their first appearance.

Fall also makes me think of love and new beginnings. Jordyn Montgomery got her new beginning in All My Love. She picked up the only life she’d ever known in Florida and moved to Upstate New York on a hunch and with a purpose. While experiencing loss, loneliness, mystery, and love, she met Drew Palmer who stood by her through it all, and helped her find the new beginning she’d been dreaming of.

Each month I’ll try to remember to share my post on my site here, but please, take a trip to Authors’ Billboard and read what everyone else is writing about. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Time For More All Series

Trying something new is always fun, exciting, and a little distressing for me.

The ‘new and exciting’ thing that I decided to try my hand at is a novella. What’s that, you ask? Well it’s a story that is less than 40K words long. The bulk of my books are over 80K words, so that gives you an idea of how fast of a read this may be.

Since so many people have asked me if I’d write more books in the All Series, I figured my first novella could be…drum roll… All For Love. The story of William and Isabel Harper and how it all started.

By writing about a family I’m so attached to, it took away a bulk of the ‘distressing’ for me. I’m halfway through and though I’ve found it challenging to write a book set in the ‘past’, it starts out in the present time. Sort of. It’s right before Kaitlin and Ryan’s story, Road to Reason, to be exact.

I think it’s going to be a nice bridge to bring the Road Series and the All Series together more than they already are. Didn’t you ever wonder how the Harper’s and Mathews’ came to be such good friends? Or what Isabel was like in her twenties? You’re soon going to find out!

So keep your eyes open. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have the book ready for publication before Valentine’s Day. Because you know…hearts and flowers and…love. All For Love!