Book Three of the Butterfly Memoirs is Here, but I Have Moved!!!

Yes, once again I have moved to a new website with a new URL….and man am I loving it! But don’t worry, all the blog posts have come with me, so have the characters of The Butterfly Memoirs. Join is as we celebrate the release of Kaitlyn’s story, Lonely Heart. See you there!!!!

MJKaneMedia.com

MJ

My Valentine’s Day Gift to You!

Once again, I’m bringing my readers a gift, by popular demand…a Mini Memoir of a day in the life of Yasmine and Zachariah!

If you’ve read Jaded, you’re familiar with the ups and downs of their relationship, and know that it was work for these two characters to find their happily ever after. But now it’s Valentine’s Day. How do they handle it? Check out this short story to find out!

And don’t forget to mark your calendars! Kaitlyn’s story, Lonely Heart will be here in 21 Days!!!! 

Autumn landscape

Valentine’s Day

Yasmine

 

“Yasmine, I looooovvvee it! As always, you know exactly what looks best on me!”

“Just doing my job.” I smiled as Mrs. Hill continued to model the strapless black dress, with the simple short sleeved jacket, I selected for her.

“Harold is going to be blown away,” she chuckled as her cheeks turned pink.

I laughed, too. Mrs. Hill was in her fifties and had been married for nearly thirty years. One of my most loyal customers, she’d been with me since I decided to start my own fashion consultant business a year ago.

“But, we both know the dress is not what’s going to blow him away. It’s what hidden beneath,” I teased.

Mrs. Hill’s attention turned to the sexy red lingerie hanging on the dressing room door. A mixture of excitement and trepidation appeared on her face. “Are you sure about that? I don’t have the body of a twenty-year old anymore.”

I inclined my head, putting one hand on my hip. “When have I steered you wrong?”

She wrung her hands. “Never…it’s just…it’s been a while since I’ve worn something sexy to bed.”

“Who said you had to wear it to bed? You and Mr. Hill are empty nesters. With Melody gone to college, there are no more kids in the house. You can christen your home all over again. Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time.”

A girlish laugh emerged as she covered her mouth with both hands. “I don’t know…”

“Look at it this way…at least you won’t get pregnant.” I slid to the end of the chair, gripped the armrest, and pulled my pregnant body out of the chair.  Sitting next to the dressing room made it easier to see my clients as they went through each wardrobe change. My hand went to the small of my back.

Carrying twins was kicking my butt. Six months into my pregnancy and I was twice as big as I had ever been. My breasts were swollen and feet aching. How in the world was I supposed to make it for three more months?

“You know, you’re right.” She eyed my belly and smiled. “I remember those days…aches and pains. After four kids, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have two inside at one time.”

I rubbed my belly as my son and daughter took turns kicking, and smiled. “Never a dull moment and I’m never alone.”

“So true. Okay, I’m going to take this off now. Do I need accessories to go with it?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll select a few pieces while you change.”

Mrs. Hill nodded, then slipped into the dressing room.

I made my way to the jewelry department of the store to select pieces to compliment her outfit.

Valentine’s Day. The one day of the year when couples were expected to declare their love for the world to see.

I lost my love for the holiday years ago.

After dealing with men on friends-with-benefits bases, for years my February 14th routine involved soaking in the bathtub with a glass of wine, followed by a double date with my two favorite men, Ben and Jerry. A pint of Karamel Sutra ice cream, and watching my DVD collection of Criminal Minds, filled my evening, taking my mind off of romance completely.

Well, except for imagining what it would be like to be with Shamar Moore.

But this year was different. I was no longer alone. Besides being pregnant, I was married to my best friend and the love of my life. Zachariah was everything I’d secretly wanted in a husband and more. What would I do without him?

I knew the answer too well. After our brief separation, it was obvious; being apart from him would devastate me.

Now that we were together again, why didn’t I feel the same way he did about the holiday?

For the past week he’d walked around the house humming; alluding to some secret surprise. I had no idea what it was, but knew it involved leaving the house for the night and having dinner at some romantic restaurant. After that, I’m sure coming home and making love was the next thing on his list.

I forced my attention back to my job and selected a platinum choker and matching earrings. Mrs. Hill would love it.

My client was set, but what was I going to wear tonight?

Over the past few months, my collection of maternity clothes had grown. Being a fashion consultant meant I had to look just as good, or better, than what I did for my clients. Even with a hurt back and swollen ankles.

I had several outfits to choose from, but honestly, I was too exhausted to be in the mood for anything else other putting on my comfortable night shirt and cuddling with my husband in bed.

“Oh that is perfect!”

Forced out of my thoughts, I turned to find Mrs. Hill standing next to me. I held the jewelry next to her dress. “Do you like it?”

“Absolutely!”

“Good, let’s go find a pair of shoes.”

****

“I’ll be leaving work soon. I can’t wait to see you. Our dinner reservations are for eight,” Zack said, his voice full of excitement.

I kept my sigh hidden, sat on the edge of the bed, and kicked off my fashionable flats. “You’re not going to tell me where we’re going, are you?”

He chuckled. “No, then it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

I smiled and shook his head. His enthusiasm was infectious. “Well, I’m going to take a shower and freshen up a bit. I’ll see you soon. I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

My husband’s picture stayed on the screen for a few moments before the cell phone shut down to conserve power. I walked to the closet and searched through my wardrobe. Zack would be expecting something sexy…

I chuckled. With the thirty added pounds to my breasts, butt, and hips, sexy was the last thing I felt. Zack, on the other hand, loved every inch of my swollen body. He constantly wore the expression of a man proud of the fact that he’d been virile.

We were on our honeymoon when I suggested we not waste time starting a family. Zack had been eager to become a father. It wasn’t long before I got pregnant.

I selected a hot, red number guaranteed to make my husband happy. The maternity dress was a short crossover knit that featured a V-neck drop, allowing my bosom visibility.  I searched the closet floor for the perfect pair of shoes to go with it, deciding to put on a pair of pumps that accentuated my long legs. Those shoes would only be worn from the car and into the restaurant. In-between I’d wear my flats.

In the bathroom, I stepped into the shower, making use of the fragrant body wash that made me feel sexy. By the time I got out, my muscles were so relaxed, I needed to lie down. According to the clock beside the bed, I had at least forty-five minutes to take a nap before getting ready for our date. That would be enough time to rejuvenate for the evening my husband had in store.

 

 ##########

 

Valentine’s Day

Zachariah

 

“I need two dozen calla lilies.”

“Lucky lady,” the florist said, dollar signs in her eyes. “And this is for Valentine’s Day?”

“Yes, for my wife.” I would never get tired of saying that.

“Ahh…how long have you been married?”

“Eight months.”

“Congratulations. Is this is your first Valentine’s Day as a married couple?”

“It’s our first, ever.” The florist eyebrows rose in surprise. “It’s a long story,” I added.

She nodded, then walked to the refrigerated portion of the shop where a variety of fresh flowers were on display. “Your wife obviously likes calla lilies since you’re not asking for roses.”

“Yes, she does.”

“Since this is your first Valentine’s Day gift, I suggest you do something a bit more unique. Remember, this will set the standard for the next celebrations to come. Tell me about her. What else does she like? Is there something significant going on in your lives? Any accomplishments she’s proud of or that you are proud of?”

This was a no brainer. “She started her own business a few months ago, one she’s been working hard for since the day we met.”

“That’s good. What does she do?”

“She’s a fashion consultant and works with women who need help building their wardrobe and self-esteem.”

Her eyebrow went up. “Hmm…I could use help freshening up my wardrobe.”

I smiled. “I’ll be sure to give you her number.”

The florist perused the flowers, reaching in to select a few stems. “Anything else?”

“She’s pregnant with twins. A son and a daughter.” My chest poked out with pride.

“Oh, now that is something to celebrate. Congratulations, papa!”

“Thank you.” Even though the pregnancy was planned, I felt as though we’d hit the lottery. Twins ran on her side of the family, though, according to my mother-in-law, it had been years since a set were born.

“The perfect floral arrangement should represent her dreams, your children, your marriage… and your future.” She studied the flowers. “How about this, instead of calla lilies, we use Stargazer lilies. The full, vibrant blooms and rich pink color will represent your wife’s ambitions. We’ll accent it with traditional red and soft pink roses for friendship and passion, and…,” she searched around some more, then pulled out a few more flowers. “White Gerbera daisies for the innocence of your unborn children.”

I studied the assortment of flowers she held in her hand. “Wow, I’m impressed. That’s perfect.”

“Good. I’ll put these together for you. It should be ready in say…twenty minutes?”

“Enough time for me to go next door and look for a card to go with it.”

I left the flower shop and went to the grocery store next door. This evening was going to be perfect. I secured reservations for a dinner in advance of the holiday. The restaurant we were going to was special. It was the Italian restaurant where we had our first date.

I chuckled at the memory.

In truth, it was anything but a date. Instead, it was a last minute decision to go out for dinner to thank her for putting a smile on my mother’s face for her birthdate. At the time we were acquaintances; neither of us had any intention of getting involved in a romantic relationship.

Who know a candlelit dinner would lead to friendship, then love and marriage. And now, a family.

I checked my watch, then searched until I found the card bearing the perfect sentiment and imagining Yasmine’s reaction. Tonight was going to be perfect.

****

 “Yasmine, baby, I’m home!”

There was no answer.

I balanced the large vase of flowers in the crook of my arm, then closed and locked the door behind me. The house was dark and silent. Not the greeting I expected. She was usually in the kitchen or sitting in the living room watching TV or reading a book.

On instinct, I walked through the house, my heart racing, checking every room, forcing myself to ignore the flashback of the night we found my mother nearly unconscious.

The moment I reached the bedroom and turned on the light, I took a deep breath.

Yasmine laid on the bed, clothed in her bathrobe, slippers on her feet…and fast asleep. I sat the vase of flowers on the dresser and walked over to the bed, easing down beside her so as not to wake her.

Her hair was damp; her clothes for the evening lay at the foot of the bed. Apparently she decided to rest after getting out of the shower and instead fell into a deep slumber. I checked the time. There was no way we’d be able to make our reservation. A part of me felt disappointment; the other half understood my wife needed time to rest.

After all, she was carrying our babies.

I reached out to run a hand over her belly and was rewarded with a slight kick. I wished there was a way to tell which one of our children had attempted to say hello.

After a moment, I turned out the light and went into the kitchen to scrounge something up for dinner. When Yasmine woke, she would be hungry. Ravenous was the correct statement.

There was a Bertolli frozen meal for two in the freezer. Homemade Italian would work. I went into the living room and turned on a CD, letting the smooth sounds of Kem fill the house while I put together a salad and chilled a bottle of apple juice.

Once dinner was ready, I checked on Yasmine again; she was still asleep. Instead of waking her, I slid into bed behind her, slipping my hand around her belly, cradling her and our unborn babies once again.

Yasmine stirred when I nuzzled her neck. “Zack, baby, what time is it?”

“After eight,” I said, and then kissed her shoulder.

Her hand went to her forehead. “Oh man, I’m so sorry. I ruined everything.” She turned her head in an attempt to see me over her shoulder.

I kissed her lips. “You were asleep when I came home. I didn’t want to wake you, so I decided to make dinner instead.” I massaged her belly. “How are my babies?”

She smiled and placed her hand over mine. “Fine, and starving. It smells good. What did you make?”

“Shrimp Scampi and Linguine, salad, and garlic and cheese bread sticks.”

Her stomach growled, making me smile. “Dinner is simmering, so there’s no need for you to rush to get up.”

“Thank you,” she said, resting her head against the pillow and settling her back against me. “Oh wow, Zack, are those for me?”

I followed her line of site to the vase of fragrant flowers sitting on the bedroom dresser. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Oh, they are beautiful. Now I really feel awful. I didn’t get you anything. Between work and being tired…trying to figure out what you would want got pushed to the side. Then I come home and go to sleep…”

Yasmine had a lot on her plate. Managing her business, running our household, and managing her health while carrying our children. I could only imagine how worn out she would be once they were born.

“It’s okay, really.” I brushed the sting of disappointment aside.

Yasmine turned in my arms to face me, her expression pained. “No, there’s no excuse. I’ve already failed you once as a wife. I promised never to do it again, and yet…here we are.”

“We were both wrong then, and the past is the past.” I kissed her lips. “There’s no looking back, remember?”

“I know.” She sighed heavily, then looked down at her hand resting on my chest. “To be honest, Zack, I didn’t know how to handle Valentine’s Day. I’ve always spent it alone. Besides, spending money to tell someone you love them is overrated. If you love someone, you show them every day. There’s no need to go out and spend ridiculous amounts of money. Do you know how many relationships are ruined over the type of gift someone did or didn’t buy?”

“True, but that’s not us.” I ran a hand over her check, brushing her short locks away from her face.

“I know, I’m just saying, that’s how I feel. I guess since we’re married, there’s no need to feel like that anymore.”

I chuckled. “It’s funny, you’re anti-Valentine’s Day, and I’m willing to go all in.”

“And that’s what I love about you, Zack. You wear your heart on your sleeve, even when you think you don’t.”

“Only when it comes to you. You and our children are my future. I’m nothing without you.”

“I know what you mean. I can’t imagine being without you, either.”

I sat up and kissed my wife. The soft feel of her lips and fragrant smell of her skin was all I needed to know my wife loved me. “You know, there’s only one gift you can give that will forever mean the most to me.”

She studied my eyes as if getting the answer meant the difference between life and death. “What’s that?”

I rubbed her belly again. “Our children. Speaking of which, we need to decide on some names.”

“We already have two names. Belinda and Charles. I promised your mother her granddaughter would be named after her.”

“True, and I thank you for it. But don’t you think those names are a bit out dated?”

Yasmine smiled. “You sound just like your mother. She said the same thing.”

“I am my mother’s son. Why don’t we use them as middle names?”

She inclined her head in thought. “I can do that. I’ve been thinking…do you want to have a junior?”

“I thought about it, but since I’m not a junior and want my son to have my father’s name, I’m willing to wait until the next time I get you pregnant.”

Yasmine laughed. “Who said there would be a next time? I’m knocked up with twins. Our hand will be full for a while.”

“True, but I’m willing to bet after a year or two, I can convince you to try again.” I grinned and wagged my eyebrows.

“Yeah, well, I guess you could, especially since you know exactly how to turn me on.” I groaned as my wife ran a hand over my chest.

She had no idea how sexy she was. Full breasts, wide hips, and just the right amount of flesh on her already sexy behind…I loved my wife’s pregnant body. While I would love to have her back at her pre-pregnancy physic, a part of me was going to miss this.

“So, if we don’t name him Junior, and Charles will be his middle name, what do you think about Jayden?” she asked.

“Jayden? I like that.”

“So our son’s name will be Jayden Charles Givens. What about our daughter?”

“Well, I imagine her being as strong-willed as you, so she needs a strong name. I like Mackenzie.”

“Wow, that’s different. Mackenzie Belinda Givens?” Yasmine mulled over my suggestion.

“You don’t like it?”

“Actually, I do. Zack, do you realize in three months we will officially be a family? Your mother would be proud.”

I felt tightness in my chest. “I know, my father, too.” I kissed my wife, grateful yet again for the blessing bestowed upon me and for listening to my mother’s advice. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Yasmine.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too.”

 

The End

####

I hope you enjoyed this brief peek back into the life of Yasmine and Zachariah. For their full story, read Jaded (Book 2 of The Butterfly Memoirs). Be sure to check out the character bios, and diary post! Look out for book 3, Lonely Heart, which will be available from 5 Prince Publishing on March 6, 2014! Follow this link to learn more about The Butterfly Memoirs. Happy Reading!

 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this story, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow my blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

 #####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#NewRelease- The Library by Carmen DeSousa

If you’ve read the Prequel to today’s new release, The Depot, then you are ready for:

cover

When Mark Waters decided to be a detective, he didn’t plan to investigate ghosts.

 But as he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.

 Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there’s another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won’t rest until the murderer checks out too.

 Amazon      5 Prince Publishing 

Excerpt: 

Wade inserted the key into the deadbolt the same time he did every night. Only this time, the door glided open as though some unseen force had invited him inside. The house was quiet. Too quiet. Usually he’d hear the sound of the TV, a kitchen timer alerting that dinner was ready, or the constant boom from the stereo upstairs. But this evening, tomblike silence greeted him.

She’d threatened to leave; he just hadn’t believed her. After all, she’d been grumbling that same nonsense for twenty-two years. A romantic getaway for two would straighten her out.

Their only child was going off to grad school in a few weeks. So for the first time in their marriage, they’d be childless. His life had changed the night she told him she was pregnant two weeks away from high school graduation, but it hadn’t stopped him from working his butt off to accomplish his dreams. Yeah, he had to work two jobs, go to night school, and function without sleep, but they’d made it. They had a beautiful house in Edenbury, Pennsylvania, two stylish vehicles in the driveway, and their daughter was heading off to Harvard.

And as soon as he finalized the contract he’d been working on for the last year, Wade could take Vanessa on as many getaways as she wanted. He’d cashed the first check on his way home. Just the first installment was more than they’d made their first ten years of marriage. That’d get her eyes twinkling again.

Burnt meatloaf singed his nostrils as he ventured into the kitchen in search of his wife. She killed their dinner again. His wife would get so busy typing she’d forget everything around her.

He turned off the oven, but left the charcoaled mess inside. Last thing he needed was the new smoke detector he’d installed to go off, once again alerting the neighbors how often his wife nearly burned down their house.

Wade emptied his pockets of his money clip, keys, and receipts onto the credenza by the stairway, as his wife had always requested, then started upstairs. “Vanessa honey,” he called as he trudged up the wooden steps, knowing she wouldn’t hear him, but he tried anyway. He gripped onto the banister, pulling himself forward. He was too tired to climb stairs before eating. But since she always wore her headphones when she worked, she wouldn’t hear if he screamed at the top of his range.

Tugging at his tie, he pushed open their bedroom door. Maybe they could have a quick romp before dinner, get a taste of what it’ll be like to be empty nesters.

Not believing his eyes, he launched headfirst toward his wife. “No!” he screamed.

Out of his peripherals, he saw the long black rod, but it was too late to react. The light extinguished the moment the object made contact with his skull, leaving him in a pit of blackness, a nightmare he’d never escape.

####

Interview with Carmen DeSousa!

About the Author: 

A romantic-suspense writer, Carmen writes novels that overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, a hint of paranormal sometimes, and of course–tragedy. After all, what would a great story be without a heartrending event setting the stage? Her sensual and gripping stories have earned bestseller status on three continents because of her ability to make readers love, laugh, cry, gasp, and hope.

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#CoverRevel: The Library by Carmen DeSousa

cover

When Mark Waters decided to be a detective, he didn’t plan to investigate ghosts.

But as he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.

Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there’s another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won’t rest until the murderer checks out too.

 Available December 12, 2013!

****Download a FREE COPY of the prequel,  THE DEPOT,  and register for a chance to win a copy of THE LIBRARY!****

Interview with Carmen DeSousa! About the Author: 

A romantic-suspense writer, Carmen writes novels that overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, a hint of paranormal sometimes, and of course–tragedy. After all, what would a great story be without a heartrending event setting the stage? Her sensual and gripping stories have earned bestseller status on three continents because of her ability to make readers love, laugh, cry, gasp, and hope.

 Website     Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#Guest Post- Get to Know Carlos Ortiz from Playing for Love by Tia Kelly

Several weeks ago, M.J. Kane was sweet enough to let Yasmine Phillips of Jaded babysit my blog for a day. Yasmine was polite enough to answer a few questions during her visit, so when M.J. invited me here I thought I’d bring someone with me to do the same.

There are a quite few characters in my book, but I immediately thought of Carlos Ortiz (even though he tends to be a man of few words). Here’s a brief interview I did with him and a scene where you can learn more about Carlos since he tends to open up around Paige… and thanks again M.J. Kane and all of her readers for taking time to get to know some of the characters from Playing for Love.

Have a safe week!

Tia

***Tia is giving a way an eBook copy of Playing with Love to one lucky visitor! Meet Carlos, enjoy the blurb, and comment and leave your email to win! *** (Winner will be notified 11/29/13) 

 

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Carlos Ortiz.

What is your role in Playing for Love?

I’m just me. I don’t know what you mean by this question. If you’re asking if I am a hero or bad guy, that would also depend on who you ask as well.

What can you tell us about Playing for Love?

It’s a book. *shrug*

You’re not a fan of revealing much, are you?

Again, that all depends on who you talk to.

 Did you ever think you would end up in a novel?

*shrug* Anything is possible as a ball player these days. I’ve been approached for reality shows, posing without clothes on, and even running for office once… so a novel is par for the course. I just never expected it to reveal what it did. A lot of this book shares secrets that weren’t meant to be uncovered.

What do people usually think of you when they first meet you?

They probably see me as dark and mysterious, possibly even intimidating. It’s easier to let them think what they want than prove otherwise. But around my family I’m just Los or Papi (he reveals with a hint of a smile) and those are the only people whose impression of me matters.

What was your life like growing up?

*shrugs* It was just life, y’know.

Before your story began, what were your hopes for the future?

I’d rather not say.

You really don’t like to reveal much.

I have my moments.

So… perhaps talking about something neutral will help. What is your typical day like?

Year round I get up at five for my workout. The type of workout depends on the day and if it’s the offseason or not. I handle any business I need to take care of and then head to the ballpark. Nothing special.

What’s your greatest accomplishment?

Winning the World Series two years ago. It took a lot for Philadelphia to accept me on the team. The fans finally did that season and we all came together as a team, thanks to Ken Wilkerson bringing us together, and we won. We brought Philly the championship it deserved.

Name three items that you carry at all times and why.

An extra hair band, my cell phone and a picture of my girl.

Tell us about your relationship with me. How was it to work with me on this novel?

You were cool, Tia, but you also loved to get on my nerves. I’ve had a million reporters ask me questions, but none did it like you. Then I got to know you and it was a lot easier to talk to you and share what I usually keep hidden. Not many people know what I told you and if you ever write another book with me in it, none of it better pop up in it either.

Did I portray you accurately?

*shrug* It is what it is.

Was there a scene I cut, but you wish I left it in? Why?

*wink* No comment.

Read more in this excerpt from Playing for Love

Paige leaned forward placing her hand on Carlos’s forearm, but then quickly pulled away. She knew how to manipulate body language to play on a man’s senses, but that was not what Paige had intended to do and she didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.

Carlos stole her from the crowded club below and had taken her to the rooftop deck upstairs. The area was deserted, as no one ventured there this late in the season. The weak minded preferred to only be seen upstairs on the cushioned chaises and lounging behind ivory curtained cabanas while wearing summer whites when sultry, humid nights called for it. Carlos was not follower.

He just preferred being alone.

Quite a bit of time had passed since they ventured up for privacy. Any other man hoping to get her alone would have had to work harder. Carlos was different. He had her open in ways that scared and intrigued her so she followed, trusting without knowing what was ahead. Now they talked about things she would never expect to discuss on a Saturday night at one in the morning. Topics reserved for people that wanted to know each other, discussions that categorized adversaries and friends.

After plugging in one of the steel palm trees hovering nearby that was really a heat lamp in disguise, he pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. Then their conversation resumed.

Paige had laughed and Carlos smiled. And Paige loved his smile, now realizing why he hid it from the field. Emotions made a person predictable.

She didn’t follow baseball, but Paige watched it enough to know who the players were. Her friends teased her, complaining that watching a game was the equivalent of bad sex with a little penis hardened by Viagra. Paige would just smirk at their complaints and preference for Sex in the City marathons.

Paige learned three things by watching the game.

The competition was slim if one wanted to catch the eye of a baseball player. Females were too caught up in being the next Shaunie O’neal project to even notice the regular Joes of sports.

Baseball players had some of the best bodies in pro sports. Basketball players were sometimes too tall and lanky, and didn’t always carry the equipment that matched their endorsed sneaker size – a stupid assumption on the part of most women.

Football players were sometimes just too big and bulky. Paige didn’t find straddling a refrigerator thrilling. She also avoided them because concussion prone occupations scared her.

Soccer players wanted to bend it like Beckham in the bedroom. Tennis, golf and ski pros had egos that stretched longer than their stamina. Paige was just not into bedroom therapy.

But ball players were perfect in many ways. Broad shoulders, ripped abs, firm thighs and a tight ass made for sliding into home had a way of making up for other imperfections. Her friends had no clue.

Paige let her eyes roam the length of the man beside her and smiled. Yeah, Carlos definitely fit the criteria as he filled out washed jeans, a black tailored sport shirt, Italian loafers and that dark, sexy glint in his eye. Paige clinched her thighs together hoping it was not obvious that he was turning her body on just like he was working her mind.

Above all else, in the criteria her friends lived for, baseball’s money was longer. Her girls were missing out, downstairs perusing what equated the clearance racks at Target when in front of her was Saks.

Instead, the circle she kicked it with these days had been partying it up and wasting their time on has been Rockets and Texans that didn’t even have a mass market jersey for sale. Meanwhile, the Astros franchise player snuck her up to the rooftop to talk and they probably didn’t even notice.

And if she wanted to be that girl Carlos Ortiz lost his head and wallet over, she could be her, but that’s not what kept her leaning in and listening to his every word. Carlos was friend material and she didn’t have a lot of them, at least not genuine ones. Paige wanted to bask in it, savoring the moment, making it last as long as their forever would allow.

“Why Houston?” he asked.

She smiled. “I could ask you the same thing.”

Carlos shrugged. He leaned back against a pillow and crossed his legs at the ankles. “I play ball here, so I go where my contract sends me. You on the other hand don’t need an agreement to live here and something tells me Houston is small potatoes for a girl like you.”

It was, which is why she liked it. “Not everyone wants to be a little fish in a big pond.”

“So you’re in Houston to be the big one swimming through the bayou?”

She smiled with him. “I don’t want to be anyone’s anything. I just want to be me. Houston has just enough, but not too much to feel competitive y’know.”

He nodded. “Like in L.A.”

“Plastic people and empty souls.”

“New York?”

“New Yorkers work too hard to prove they don’t need you. Counterproductive if you ask me and the rent is too high.”

“Atlanta.”

“Oh hell no.”

“What’s wrong with Atlanta?” he asked. She saw the hint of a grin, the one she noticed he only showed when he out slicked his opponent after stealing a base.

“Nothing wrong with it, just not my thing.”

“Dallas?”

Paige sighed and tucked her legs beneath her. Her shoes were somewhere on the area rug beneath them. This man let her be casual and free. She liked that.

“Dallas is old money. Boston is their money. Philly is trying to remember where they parked their neo soul. Chi-town was cute for Love Jones, but way too cold for my taste. Miami is,” she paused to shrug. “Miami. Shall I go on? Because for every city you mention, you will not find one that matches where you think I belong.”

“And where do you belong Paige?”

This was where Paige did not expect to go and felt pissed she absently invited him to visit a place she kept off limits.

“What about you, Carlos? Where would you rather be if you had the choice?”

“I only go where I choose to be.”

And that’s when she knew they were kindred.

####

 

Kenneth Wilkerson, baseball’s MVP of breaking hearts isn’t in Craymont looking for complications. With an injury that has him sidelined from the game he loves, and the latest scandal in his wake involving a woman who is very much engaged to someone else, the last thing he needs is to get mixed up with Paige Scott.

Paige Scott, a former party-girl, has a very murky past and even murkier relationship with Kenneth’s best friend Carlos Ortiz. Paige knows Carlos watched her go from it girl to broken and when she finally healed, he made it clear to her that he would not step aside to let another man in just to do it again.

But Kenneth lets nothing stand between him and what he loves.

Love for the game… his family… and her.

Playing for Love 400x600

PLAYING FOR LOVE is the first novel from the Wilkersons in Love series. Tia Kelly invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love.

 Kindle     Nook

To find Tia Kelly online:

Website & Blog     Facebook     Twitter

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#NewRelease- Rebekah’s Quilt by Sara Barnard


cover

Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?

 An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.

Rebekah’s mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. It’s not until the arrival of a mysterious English stranger that a lifetime of questions are answered and Rebekah, her special friend Joseph Graber, and the entire settlement of Gasthof Village learn the true meaning of what it truly means to be Amish.

 Amazon     5Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

The Pike, Indiana Territory, 1868

            “Look Elnora!” Samuel’s German accent thickened the English words, giving them a musical feel. He pointed to the vast expanse that spread out before them. “That’s what the English call The Pike. Many are traveling west on this very road.”

            Elnora peeked out from the wagon, her eyes searching the desolate vastness. “So this is Indiana Territory.” She giggled. “I see, Samuel. Many are traveling this road.” The lack of fellow wagons was sadly apparent.

            Grinning, Samuel swiveled on the driver’s seat to look at his wife. “Perhaps they have already passed for the day.”

            “I already miss Canada,” Heloise Graber whispered when Elnora turned back toward her. “But not as much as I miss Germany.” Heloise patted the back of her boy, Joseph, who was snuggled down in the cornflower blue quilt Elnora had stitched just for him.

            Heloise looked lovingly at her son. “At only two years of age he has already crossed an ocean and three countries.”

            Elnora’s face fell as her hand fluttered to her still-flat stomach.

            Heloise, the older of the two friends, smiled. “Your time to become a mother is coming. God has a special plan for you and Samuel, I can feel it.”

            Elnora’s lips pulled back in a genuine smile. “I must say, the weather is more agreeable in Indiana Territory than Canada. I may pack the extra quilts when we stop to rest.” She swiped at a trickle of sweat as it slid down her nose.

            “You’ll do no such thing!” Heloise placed one long, thin hand on an especially fluffy blue quilt. “It may be a trifle warm, but pass those blankets over here. I’ll sit on them, they ease the rickety ride.” The women dissolved into a sea of girlish giggles. “Yours are the softest quilts of anyone else’s in the village.”

            “Take them with you when we swap wagons,” Elnora offered her fiery-tressed friend.

            Heloise shook her head, the straps on her black head covering flailing about her shoulders. “It’s not the same,” she insisted. “Part of what makes Elnora Stoll’s quilts so soft is the wonderful company that comes along with them.”

            Samuel’s quick yank on the horse reins interrupted Heloise’s compliment.

“Lucas, is that what I think it is?” he called to Heloise’s husband in the next wagon.

The two women stared at each other, eyes wide.

Ja!” Lucas called.  “Ja, it is!”

Before Elnora could pull herself up to see the cause of the commotion, Samuel was off the driver’s seat. She peeked out to see the menfolk piling out of all the wagons. Lucas was even with Samuel, holding his hat on with one hand, and pumping the air with the other. Simon Wagler stumbled as he ran, fumbling with the black braces that looped over his shoulders and held up his britches. His wife, Sarah, nuzzled their infant Elijah, who’d let out a shriek with the sudden stop. Isaac Raber pulled on his broad-brimmed hat as Jeremiah Knepp, Simeon Odon, and Abraham Yoder pulled their wagons to a halt in a haphazard line. In an instant, all of the men of families who’d come so far together were running toward the remnants of an English wagon.

Pieces of the torn canvas fluttered in a passing breeze and the box itself lay on its side, looking as though it had rolled off The Pike. Blood spatters dotted the ground around the silvery dust that refused to settle around the scene. Splintered wheels hung broken and unmoving from the axels. Beyond Samuel, she could make out the remains of a horse just over a small rise. Automatically, Elnora searched for any sign of the tell-tale arrows she’d heard so much talk of during their journey to Indian Territory. Trembling, she drew a fist to her mouth as a prayer of forgiveness for judging those she didn’t even know filled her mind.

Heloise’s voice was solemn, as if in prayer. “God be with them.”

The men’s chatter, broken by the shifting breezes, allowed her only fragments of their hurried conversation. Lucas’s voice was the loudest. “No survivors.” Slowly, the large German-born man trudged back to his wagon without so much as a glance toward Elnora and Heloise. Without expression, Lucas rummaged only a moment before pulling the hand-hewn spade from the wagon bed and started back toward Samuel.

Careful not to snag her handmade purple dress on the rough wood, Elnora climbed down and made her way to the crash. She didn’t speak until she reached her husband, who took the spade from Lucas as he passed. Not a word passed between the two men, but it was as though they were of a single mind. Without hesitation, Samuel dug the sharp end of the spade into the earth, oblivious to his wife’s presence. Spadeful by spadeful, the grave dirt he turned became a small mound at his feet.

Samuel swiped at the trails of sweat that leaked from under his broad-brimmed hat, down his neck. Beneath his arms, circles of moisture had long-stained his favorite blue shirt. Elnora’s lips tilted into a smile at the memory of their first anniversary, when she’d given him the shirt she’d made for him that matched his eyes. He had pretended not to notice that one sleeve was just a bit shorter than the other. Two years have passed since that day, and we’re still without child…

Finally, Elnora spoke, her voice but a meek whisper. “May I tidy them before their burials?”

Samuel turned, revealing more fully the scene of death they’d encountered.

Elnora’s stomach wound up in knots at the sight of the mangled, crimson-streaked arm that reached lifelessly from behind the overturned wagon, the blackness of death already visible on the fingers. A crumpled bag, obviously store bought, lay near the bloodied arm which eerily pointed at a rainbow of quilting squares that trailed the barren earth. Dipping, Elnora retrieved a bright blue square that would never become a quilt to warm a babe.

Samuel rested Lucas’ spade against his leg and offered a downcast smile to his wife.

Before he could speak, a shrill cry broke the solemn silence.

As out of place as the cry was among the sea of death, Elnora recognized the sound in an instant. An infant’s cry. Eyes searching the terrain, her gaze fixed on a lone, scrubby bush. A wail pierced the air again. Tucking the English square deep into her dress pocket, Elnora reached the bush in a moment, her hands clawing and searching through the summer leaf litter. Finally, something warm brushed her fingertips.

Cradling the English baby in her arms, Elnora rose to face the throng of women who had gathered to witness the unfolding miracle. “It’s a girl,” she proclaimed.

Sarah Wagler’s mouth hung agape as she bounced Elijah absently on her hip, and  the other Amish wives and mothers from the wagon train allowed tiny smiles to creep onto their solemn lips. Even the men folk paused.

Elnora’s awestruck voice was uncharacteristically robust. “Not a scratch on her! Not a bruise, not a drop of blood!”

Heloise, toting wide-eyed Joseph in her arms, stepped forward to get a better look.

Elnora’s voice took on the soft shushing of a new mother as she rocked the squirming infant. “Hush now, sweet one. You’re safe now.”

“You’re a natural,” Heloise observed, a twinkle in her eyes. “Look how she’s already calming. She feels safe.”

She is safe, Elnora thought, unable to tear her gaze from the tiny girl. Safe with me. Safe with us.           “Come,” Heloise whispered. “Get her to the wagon and out of this sun.”

Sarah fell in step beside her friend, her blue eyes also transfixed on the English baby. “It’s a miracle she wasn’t injured … or worse.”

“I have extra goat’s milk that I boiled for Katie and Annie,” Katherine Knepp cooed as she and the other women joined them. “This little one must eat.”

Esther Odon nodded. “I have some girl clothes she can have.” Dinah Yoder placed her arm around Esther’s shoulders. The memory of Esther’s hard labor on the trail that had resulted in a stillborn baby girl was a raw one in all the women’s minds.

Tears pricked Elnora’s eyes. “Thank you. Thank you all.”

Day turned quickly to night as the Amish women fawned over the tiny infant that seemed to have come straight from heaven, leaving the men to finish the burials by moonlight.

**** 

“I understand you wanting to keep her, Elnora,” Samuel’s patient voice was gentle when he finally returned to the wagon. Gentle and firm. “Especially since the Lord has yet to bless us with children of our own.”

Elnora fixed her eyes on the baby who lay asleep in the nest of pillowy quilts in the wagon bed. Usually, Elnora was unable to tear her gaze from the stars in the night sky. They seemed to wink at each other in the blackness, making her think they were simply bright young children, playing gotcha-games in Heaven. Tonight though, Elnora couldn’t force herself to look away from the tiny miracle of a girl. “Gelassenheit,” she whispered. “We must trust His divine reasons and timing.”

Samuel exhaled, swiping his gritty hands on his britches. “We simply can’t keep her. She is not one of us.” Exhaustion weighted his words.

Ja Samuel, but those she belonged to are now with Our Lord.” Elnora sucked in a breath. “Aren’t we all children of God?” Her gentle voice wafted with the night breezes.

Samuel rubbed the bridge of his nose. The other men had returned to their families and were already fast asleep in their wagons, evident by several different tones of snoring. “Ah, Elnora. I love you and your compassionate heart. I want so to make you a happy wife.” He stifled a yawn.

“You do, Samuel.” The baby stirred and began to squeak.

Elnora’s voice was tender as she plucked the rooting babe from the nest of blankets. “Come here, Rebekah.”

Oh mein! You’ve given her a name?”

She smiled, rocking Rebekah to and fro.

Sarah Wagler’s shy voice came from somewhere in the near darkness. “Elnora? Samuel? Are you awake?”

“Yes Sarah, we are.” Elnora bounced Rebekah in her arms as the infants squeaks grew into angry coughs and sputters.

“I heard the baby fussing.”

Crimson colored Elnora’s cheeks. “I’m sorry to have woken you Sarah–”

Waving a hand, Sarah cut her off. “Oh no, you see, the baby sounds hungry.” The flickering firelight from the Wagler’s dying fire illuminated her timidity. “And Elijah is only six months old. So I thought I might feed her until…”

The worried creases melted from Elnora’s face. “Thank you for your kind offer, Sarah. We call her Rebekah. Danke.”

Sarah accepted Rebekah and turned back to her wagon, picking her way carefully amid the carefully stacked wares and items. “Ah, sweet Rebekah,” she cooed. “I will share with you the story of your namesake.”

“Wake me when you bring her back,” Elnora whispered loud enough for Sarah to hear.

As Sarah and Rebekah retreated to the Wagler wagon, Samuel turned back to his wife. His hazel eyes shined with the tender light of a father.  Squatting, he scooped both her hands into his. “Elnora, would it be agreeable to you if we keep the child-”

She nodded emphatically, the straps to her covering bouncing against her shoulders.

Samuel’s face clouded over. “Dear Wife, if we keep her safe only until another English wagon happens by?”

With pain cramping her heart, Elnora managed a compliant smile. “That is agreeable, Husband.” Her words hung in the air as the song of a night bird laced the momentary silence with hope. “But what should become of Rebekah should we not meet another English traveler?”

Samuel’s gleaming white teeth were visible above his inky beard. He stood and ran his thumbs along the inside of his black braces. “Elnora, the English are moving west in droves.” He extended his hand and helped Elnora to her feet. “The Pike is rumored to be the most traveled route in The United States now. We will meet more English, you’ll see.”

Unable to meet his warm and weary gaze, Elnora nodded at the ground.

“Come Wife, let’s go to bed.”

With a heavy heart, Elnora closed her eyes. Though whether it was to hasten sleep or hold in the tears, she couldn’t be sure.

 

Over the remaining two days of their trip, the wagon train of Amish families, moving south from Canada, only saw each other.

Elnora whispered to Heloise as they approached their final stop. “Not a single wagon filled with English people has passed.”

Heloise, however, was much too charmed with Rebekah to be bothered with watching for English wagons. “Such a good-natured baby!” Her voice was awestruck. “At this age, Joseph did nothing but cry.”

Turning her attention back to the baby, Elnora cupped Rebekah’s silken head in her palm and stroked the blonde wisps above her tiny ears. “And she has so much hair!” Elnora’s voice was equally awestruck.

Heloise narrowed her wise, blue eyes. “That means she will be healthy.”

“We’re home!” Samuel announced. “Wilkommen to Daviess County, Indiana Territory!”

Elnora plopped Rebekah into a quilt-lined basket. Her eyes welled as Samuel helped her from the wagon. “Oh Samuel, it looks just like Germany!”

He beamed. “So you are happy then?”

“I am so happy! Danke! What a beautiful place to raise a family. And there is ample wood for your woodworking -” Shifting, Elnora gestured wide with one arm toward the thick woods that ringed the clearing. Oak trees that seemed to scratch the floor of heaven stood tall and majestic, their leaves waving in the tender breeze. Shorter, wider trees blooming in varying shades of snowy white and blush pinks punctuated the deep greens and browns of the oaks, giving the entire area a magical feel.        Samuel’s large hand came to rest on her shoulder, disrupting her gracious spiel.

“Dear Wife, I will go in to Montgomery tomorrow to find an English family to take the child. It will be best for everyone if she is with her own kind.”

Elnora sucked in a hard breath, and willed the sudden fringe of tears not to spill onto her cheeks. She held Samuel’s gaze. There she saw the same dull ache she felt beneath her ribs.

With a calming breath, the threat of tears subsided and Elnora’s face softened. She patted her husband’s hand. “If it is best for Rebekah, then you must do as you will,” she agreed. The tugging on the tender ends of her shattered heart, however, didn’t concur.

 

****

            “What do you suppose Samuel found out in Montgomery?” Sarah’s whisper of a voice was edged in curiosity as she rocked both Rebekah and Elijah. The chair, which had been a wedding present to the Waglers from Samuel and Elnora, had held up well as a testament to Samuel’s craftsmanship, despite the numerous long-distance moves. Not a squeak sounded from the rockers.

“He has been gone since before dawn,” Elnora said, glancing at the midday sun. “I expect him back any time.”

No sooner had the words passed her lips than the sound of horse hooves called their attention to the horizon. Samuel was back.

“Here, take Rebekah,” Sarah offered knowingly.

When she was situated in the crook of her arm, Rebekah snuggled against Elnora and sighed a tiny baby sigh.

Oh my, she sounds content.

Samuel dismounted in one easy motion. “Elnora, I’m back.” Without any tell-tale sign on his tanned face, he strode to where she sat with Rebekah. His black felt hat seemed to loom over her, threatening to unleash its gloomy news all over both of them. Samuel squatted down beside her.

Never one to mince words, he spoke plainly. “I met the Englishman who owns the livery in Montgomery. He gave me good news and bad news.”

Resisting the urge to look down at the angelic girl, Elnora focused on Samuel. “Let us have the good news first.”

“I took a wooden wheel and the owner agreed to buy my woodwork.”

The sides of her eyes crinkled as her lips thinned into a smile of the most genuine sort. “Ja that is wonderful Samuel!”

“After business was discussed, I asked if he knew of any suitable English families looking to take in a baby.”

The comfortable sounds of home that had been humming about them faded to silence with Samuel’s words. Elnora’s voice came out in a squeak. “What did the shopkeeper say?”

Samuel glanced down at the child in his wife’s arms. With one large finger, he reached to stroke her tiny cheek. At his touch, Rebekah cooed and began sucking in her sleep. Samuel smiled.

“He said that there are no families willing to take in a child, and that they are all pulling up stakes and heading west. Gold fever, he called it.”

Elnora’s eyes widened and she began to sway ever so slightly, dancing with the idea of this perfect baby becoming theirs. Forever.

Samuel’s eyes never wavered from Rebekah. “He said if we happened upon an unwanted child, there are places called orphanages where these children are kept.”

Elnora stopped swaying.

“These orphanages are filled with unwanted children that the English throw away or whose parents have died. Those children have no one.”

Rebekah let out a sweet baby noise and opened her eyes.

“When they get too full of children, as they are now, they put them on orphan trains. They send them from city to city, hoping they will find a home on their own.”

Elnora gasped and instinctively clutched the child closer to her breast.

Samuel sighed and stood, turning to look at his wife. “Wife, you know what we have to do.”

Elnora shook her head infinitesimally. “Oh, Samuel.”

Face widening into a gleaming grin, Samuel cupped his hands round his mouth. “Families, please come here! I have an announcement!” Leaning over, he plucked the baby from Elnora’s arms.

When everyone had gathered around the Stoll’s, Samuel spoke again.

“I would like to introduce you all to our daughter, Rebekah Elnora Stoll.” The fatherly glimmer shining again in Samuel’s eyes.

            Sarah’s husband, Simon, clapped Samuel on the back. With a teasing note in his voice, he chimed, “If we keep acquiring family members, we will have to call this settlement the Stoll Inn!”

            Samuel guffawed, his infant daughter proudly displayed on his arm. “You’re right, Simon. This place may become a regular village inn!”

            Elnora’s meek voice whispered so that only Samuel could hear. “Then perhaps we should call our settlement Gasthof.”

            Samuel’s free hand found hers and gave it a squeeze. “How clever, dear wife. The German word for inn. I believe that fits our new home

####

Interview with Sara Barnard!About the Author: 

Sara Barnard is a mother of four beautiful children and author of the children’s nonfiction book THE ABC’S OF OKLAHOMA PLANTS and the historical romance series AN EVERLASTING HEART. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, hiking with her family, or tackling the ever-growing pile of laundry produced by her family of six! Sara holds her B.A. in history and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Fish and Wildlife Management. Along with their four children, Sara’s family consists of a plethora of rescue animals, each with a story of their own. Sara and her family currently make their home in the beautiful, historic hills of Oklahoma.

 Website     Facebook     Twitter     Email

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Cover Reveal- Sullivan’s Way by Wilhelmina Stolen

Cover

Historical Romance

A single day shattered her life and set in motion, events that would change the Sullivan family for generations.

 Marnie Joe Sullivan had the perfect life as the daughter of a wealthy Virginia businessman, but perfection wouldn’t last. As the War Between the States ends, she is struggling to keep her family together. After a botched robbery, fleeing rebels leave her mother dead and Marnie at the mercy of a killer. The year is 1867 and Virginia is still home to Confederate conspirators and a killer that must be stopped. Loyalty and love run deep in the Sullivan family and Marnie is no exception. As the eldest Sullivan, she feels obligated to rescue her father from the hangman’s noose. But a jailbreak at midnight lands her in the arms of Marshal Mason Kane.

 Death is never fair. Mason Kane is proof of that. The horror of war and the death of his brother made him a drunk. Consumed by guilt and grief, he finds himself occupying Richmond saloons and starting fights. But a forgotten promise to his brother forces him to put down the bottle and accept a friend’s plea for help. Mason has no idea that the scrawny, mud covered boy he just hit is Sullivan’s daughter and he has no idea just how tempting she is until he tries to mend her wounds. Bound by honor and promise, Mason sets out to find a killer. What he finds is the outlaw Marnie Sullivan. A woman he can’t live without and secrets that lie in the way.

Available January 9, 2014 from 5 Prince Publishing! 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

5 Prince Publishing #New Release! On Thin Ice (Book 3 of the Aspen Creek Series) by Bernedette Marie

Check out the latest release in the Aspen Creek Series!

cover

Malory (Wil) Wilson needed to recover from her divorce. A nice transition from West Coast life back to Aspen Creek, the small Colorado mountain town she grew up in would put things straight. The plan was foolproof until she discovered that the first man to break her heart, retired NHL player Christopher Douglas, also returned to Aspen Creek.

 Christopher had taken enough hits in his career. He didn’t know his heart would take one when Wil returned to Aspen Creek. Hell bent on winning her over after having broken her heart years earlier, he will risk everything to get her back—including his life.

 When the ice rink Malory’s father built faces being shut down the couple find themselves working together to save the business. However, forgiveness and newfound love just might come to a crashing end when Christopher’s archenemy skates into town bent on revenge.

 Skating on thin ice, without a guardian angel looking out for Christopher, Malory could lose him forever.

 Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt: 

The tires of Malory’s old red Jeep crunched the frozen snow over loose gravel. The sound curled her mouth into a smile. That was how winter was supposed to sound.

The sky filled with the orange and blue hues of a rising sun as the chill of the air stirred together with the heat from the vehicle’s heater. All of it brought back a flood of memories from her childhood. All of them warm and welcome.

She pulled her Jeep into a parking space in front of the large metal building that housed the ice arena. A huge banner above the front doors read, “Home to NHL Player Christopher Douglas.”

She shook her head. Well, she thought, at least someone claimed him. If memory was correct, he’d played for multiple NHL teams in his very short professional career. So he’d never called anywhere home for long, except Aspen Creek.

But everyone had started somewhere, including her.

Above the banner announcing the fame of Christopher Douglas was the name of the building. Aspen Creek Ice Center.

It was good to be home.

And home was where she planned to stay.

She didn’t see her father’s pickup parked on the side of the building. She’d told him she’d meet him there at seven. It was already seven-ten. He wouldn’t have headed off to breakfast without her. After all, he’d awakened her at four forty-five in the morning just to invite her.

She turned off the engine and pulled the keys from the column, placing them in the pocket of her coat. She might have been born and raised in the small Colorado town where people left their doors unlocked and the keys in their cars, but she’d been in California long enough to have picked up some less trusting habits. Sadly, those new habits had her locking part of herself away too.

She stepped out into the cold and quickly slid on her gloves. It was the kind of cold that took your breath away. It froze the inside of your nose, and when the wind blew through the valley, it burned your skin. She pulled the stocking cap from her pocket and pulled it over her head, making sure to cover her ears. She hit the lock on the door and slammed it shut. Then as fast as she could, without falling on her butt, she headed across the slick parking lot for the front door of the arena, which had been the love child of her mother and father years before she’d been born.

The heater above the door did its job. It took that pins-and-needles chill from her skin just enough to comfort her.

White concrete walls, which held bleachers on the other side, blocked the view of the ice rink from the door. There were no spectators at seven fifteen on a Wednesday morning, but the ice wasn’t empty.

Malory had been there enough times in the early morning to know that at least a dozen figure skaters and a few hockey players had already etched their presence into the glossy finish of the ice before they went about their day.

Malory stood there for a moment. She closed her eyes and just let the building surround her. When she opened them, the smiling faces of the hundreds that had graced the ice over the past forty years greeted her. Early photographs in black-and-white and later ones in color lined the corridor that lead toward the ice. The first set of eyes to catch her matched her own. They were her mother’s.

Malory stood and stared at the picture of her mother, then only twenty-two. She wore an Olympic medal around her neck and had a bouquet of roses tucked in the crevice of her arm. Hadn’t that been the very picture her father had hoped to recreate with her? Oh, he’d tried, but she was never the skater her mother had been.

She blew out a breath. Her parents had opened the skating rink with money her mother had won from competitions and endorsements after her Olympic win. People had laughed at them. The hockey player wanna-be and the washed-up Olympian. What good was it going to do to build an ice rink in a town of three thousand? But the gamble had paid off.

Young girls wanted to skate under Ginger Bromell-Wilson. Boys wanted to learn to play hockey from Harvey Wilson, the man who had almost made it to the NHL. Neighboring towns embraced the opportunity, and the Aspen Creek Ice Center was born.

Only four short years later Malory entered the picture. Another two and her mother was gone.

Malory had lived thirty-one years without her mother, but it still tore her apart. She didn’t know her. She didn’t have one memory of her except for the pictures that hung on the walls of the building her father had put up twenty years ago to replace the original structure. What Malory had was the sadness that her father had always carried in his heart.

He’d tried to replace Ginger, Malory now understood, with her. He’d tried to raise her to be an Olympian figure skater. But she was no Ginger Bromell-Wilson. She was only a look-alike with some of the skill.

Malory let her mother’s eyes follow her as she walked down the corridor toward the ice. There were no figure skaters on the ice as she’d first thought. She didn’t have to see it to know that. The sound was of a single skater. The short stops that tore up the ice and the sound of wood hitting the cold hard surface said hockey player. There was the sound of the puck sliding on the ice. The ping as the puck ricocheted off of the pole and the crack of the stick against the ice in a fit of anger resonated through the arena. Curses that flew from the mouth of the player confirmed that the player was an adult and had missed the mark of the net. A low laugh escaped her throat. You were never too old to enjoy indoor ice.

She turned down the short hall that led to the ice. The smell of adrenaline and sweat had permeated every crevice of the building over the years. It was a nasty smell, but it too made her feel at home.

Breathing deeply, she lifted her head to watch the hockey player she’d heard when she walked in. She saw him and gasped. He skated down the ice, around the other net, keeping the puck on the edge of his stick and then as he hit the blue line, he smacked the puck into the net. He turned back around, caught the puck with the stick, and then caught her eye.

The crooked grin that erupted on his face made her heart rate kick up. It raced so fast that she wasn’t sure her chest would hold it inside any longer. Fifteen years had passed since they’d last spoken, but not a day had gone by that she hadn’t thought of him.

Malory tried to will her feet to walk closer to the door he skated toward. She found the task hard to do. His hair was long and peeked out of the sides and back of his helmet. His dark eyes sparkled as he neared her.

By the time he’d unlatched the door, she realized she’d walked toward him and now he towered above her only inches away. At six foot three, he was an enormous sight in front of her. The skates added at least three more inches to his height. He wore no pads, but his shoulders were square and muscular under his loose jersey.

####

5 Prince Publishing Launch Day for Bernadette Marie!

About the Author: 

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007—after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children—Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books. In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born. In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released her own contemporary titles. She also quickly began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

In 2012 Bernadette Marie began to find herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. An avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever afters.

 Website     Blog     Facebook     Twitter      Email

 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#8Sunday- First Impressions

The fun part of writing a book is describing how characters see each other, especially if it’s for the first time. In A Heart Not Easily Broken, Ebony and Brian’s first encounter was in a night club beneath strobe lights, the ‘masks’ were on, and first impressions hard to see. A few days later they meet again and she gets to see the real him, no night lights, no masks….all real….And man, is she impressed!

Excerpt: 

His long torso, free of body fat, sported a light sprinkling of blond hair between his pecs.  His abdomen showed every cut of muscle I’d seen in high school biology textbooks. His abs were tight, his belly button nearly nonexistent.

Brian’s bronzed skin reminded me of a Greek statue, a testament of many hours spent working outside. His backward baseball cap hid the thick blond curls I’d seen at the club. The damp ringlets hung below its rim, accentuating his square facial structure and the shape of his nose. His blue eyes seemed to glow from deep within his skin.

Brian was unbelievably sexy.

####

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

 A Heart Not Easily Broken Release Party!!!

M.J.Kane- Women’s Fiction/Interracial Romance/Contemporary Romance

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jaded, visit this link! 

Looking for more #8Sunday Samples? Visit this link! 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Related articles

The Butterfly Memoirs: Life, Love, Tragedy, and Triumph…The Realities of Real Romance

Those are the type of stories I write.

When I decided to become an author, the first thing I did was read…a lot. I read books by authors I idolized. I read books by authors I’d never heard of. I read books that were bestsellers, and books that weren’t getting the best reviews. Contemporary Romances, Erotic Romances, Military Romance, and Romantic Comedies…anything that got my attention, I read it.

Then, I decided to write my story.

I wanted to do something different from what I read and focus on the unique voices of each character. I wanted each character  to tell the story in their voice, share their private thoughts, their diaries. If you like emotional reads that grip you and have you rooting for the hero and heroine and want to truly get to know these individuals…this series is for you.

The Butterfly Memoirs are stories that follow a group of characters as they deal with the trials of real life. Each book follows a different character who’s life has it’s own path to travel. The characters are everyday people struggling to reach their dreams. They could be you, me, or the neighbor next door. They are imperfect, make mistakes, struggle with family and friendships. They argue, they disagree, they hurt the one they love, then fight to get them back. Somewhere in-between it all, they fall in love and discover happiness.

And at the end of their journey, like a butterfly who goes into a cocoon and emerges changed, so do my characters.

Life. Love. Tragedy. Triumph.

Try a sample of these bestsellers today! 

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY! 

  Prologue and Chapter One     Character Bio’s   Yasmine’s Diary      From the Desktop of Zachariah Givens    Book Reviews