Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Maria Thompson from “The Santa Bargain” by Robin Michaela

Santa’s gifts can be both naughty…and nice.

Coffeehouse entrepreneur, Maria Thompson, has sworn off men ever since her young son’s father walked out of their lives. But, when she literally runs into sexy carpenter, Joe Sinclair, she wonders if it’s time to rethink her plan.

Joe Sinclair doesn’t need or want romance or a family. He was raised in the foster care system and learned long ago not to get attached to anyone. Now, if he could just remember that, he could put the sensual owner of Copper River, Colorado’s new coffee shop out of his mind.

After Maria and Joe volunteer to work together on the town’s first Christmas festival, their attraction lights up brighter than a new a string of holiday lights. When Santa comes to town, will they finally find everything they’ve ever wished for under the tree?

Today we’re talking to Maria Thompson, from “The Santa Bargain,” a Contemporary Romance by Robin Michaela. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.

What is your relationship status?
Single mom. Really, that’s an actual relationship status, because being a mother turns some guys off. Their loss.

Name three of your favorite things.
My five year old son, Zach. The entire holiday season, starting with the insanity of stores putting holiday decorations up for sale on September 1. And, Joe Sinclair, now that he’s agreed to be Santa in the Copper River holiday parade. Who knows? He might even work his way up the list into second position once he holds up his end of our bargain. Not that I’m looking for a relationship, but still. Being friends with benefits could have its…benefits.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
World’s Best Mom. Successful Business Owner.

Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
I love margaritas – frozen, no salt. I’m not opposed to making them grande, either, although someone would probably have to carry me out of the restaurant. I’m a lightweight.

What is your favorite food?
Maybe you figured it out from the drink question, but I love Mexican food. Give me a plate of nachos (hold the jalapenos) and a margarita and I’m in heaven. Oh, and sopapillas with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. Never forget the sopapillas.

What was your first impression of Joe Sinclair?
I was both horrified and turned on at the same time. See, I ran into him. Literally. Things got up close and personal real fast because I collided with him and nearly knocked him off a ladder. The collision part told me exactly how sculpted and buff he is, but then he looked at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and…let’s just say that I understand why some women throw themselves at men. Happily, I’m pretty sure I can resist him. Maybe.

Are you close to family?
No, not really. I’m an only child and my parents aren’t exactly warm and fuzzy. I think that’s why I try to be the best mom I can be to Zach.

If someone from your past showed up, who would you most NOT want it to be, and why?
I wouldn’t want to see my ex. He’s Zach’s father. I’m happy we were together because I got a great kid from the relationship, but the loser abandoned us! I swore off men after that. I don’t want my son to get attached and then have the new guy bail on us, too.

What is your most prized possession?
My son’s baby clothes. I’m super sentimental so I saved all of them, just in case I have another child someday.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m one of those chipper morning people that everyone else hates. See, I own a coffee shop – Cuppa Java – which means I always have plenty of caffeine around. And I take advantage of that.

What kinds of things do you always carry (in pockets or purse)?
I’m mom to a five year old, so I haul around bandages, snacks, tissues, an extra pair of Zach’s mittens because we live in the Colorado mountains, and my cell phone. Always my cell phone.

What is your biggest need?
Well, until Joe agreed to be Santa in the holiday parade, filling that slot was my most pressing need. Now that he and I have struck our bargain, though, I really need him in ...umm… other ways. I also need Cuppa Java to succeed, but right now I’m sorta obsessed with Joe, dang it, so that’s the first place my head went when I heard your question.

The holidays are almost here. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Ha, you’re going to be sorry you asked. Like I said before, I love all things holiday-related. Zach and I make popcorn and string it for the tree, we roast chestnuts, and I make mulled cider. We also bake gingerbread people and spend an afternoon decorating them.
I’m in charge of the First Annual Christmas Festival that Copper River has ever had, so I made sure to include all of our traditions into the event. We’re even having sleigh rides and caroling, plus Santa/Joe will ride in the parade and hear the kid’s gift requests afterward. The town was destroyed by wildfires last year, so the money we raise will go to the rebuilding efforts. You should definitely visit Copper River during the festival.

“The Santa Bargain” is available through:

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

New Release - "Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire" by Kayelle Allen

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire 
The Sempervian Saga (Book 2) by Kayelle Allen

Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas, must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he's fought for centuries--his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn't all it's cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Genre: Science Fiction with romantic elements
Rating: PG13 for violence, no profanity or explicit content
A Thunderclap campaign has been set up, we sure would appreciate your support. Please click here to add your support.

In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have stopped their upward mountain trek for a short break. Prior to their reunion the previous day, Pietas had spent a year in confinement, hands bound behind him. He'd been starved to the point of death, but because he's immortal, he could not die. Although he's healed since, the brutality left a lasting toll on his once robust physical body. As they prepare to get underway, he unwittingly reveals the impairment.

Wincing, Pietas stretched to ease cramps in his back.

His sister stood. "Tas!" she called up to him. She'd started using her childhood name for him since they'd reconnected the day before. "Are you hurt?"

A quick telepathic scan from Joss swept over him before he realized it was there. Pietas had still been a teenager when she'd trained him to shield his mind from those with her gift. Not that he'd ever been able to block her. She was far too powerful, but today, she'd read him with no more difficulty than a hunter spying trail signs. He'd been near no Ultra telepaths for over a year.

His affinity with Six had made him careless and he'd neglected the basic lessons Joss had taught him.

It wasn't a lack of trust. Trust had never been an issue with Joss.

He treasured her, but he ought not to have been so unguarded and open. Vulnerable.

"Pietas." Joss stood. The waves of emotion he picked up from her held love and concern in equal measure. And a bit of disappointment. "You're injured."

He ducked his head like a schoolboy who'd forgotten his lessons. Admit mortals had damaged him? Never. Neither would he lie about it. He'd take better care to hide the pain.

"Don't worry about me." Whistling, he circled a finger in the air. "Let's go! Long climb ahead." He leaped down from the rocks. "Joss, you lead." Last thing he wanted was her behind him, using him as an object of focus.

What telepaths focused upon, they controlled.

Bringer of Chaos: The Origin of Pietas 
The Sempervian Saga (Book 1)

Why should Pietas end the war with humans?
His people are winning, yet they insist on peace talks. The Ultra people want to grant humans a seat on the Council. Pietas ap Lorectic, Chancellor of the High Council, War Leader and First Conqueror, disagrees. What's best for mortals is oppression, control, and if necessary, elimination.
Pietas seethes with rage at the idea of human equality. Humans might have created Ultras, but the creation has far surpassed the creator. Humans die. Ultras are reborn, no matter how grievous the injury. They have no equals.
His people permit him no choice. He must attend these insipid peace talks on Enderium Six and what's worse, be polite. To humans.
When a human special ops warrior is killed in battle, he's resurrected in a secret process and inducted into the Ghost Corps. He's given enough strength to perma-kill immortal Ultras. Ghosts are the most hated and feared of warriors.
When the ghost entraps and captures Pietas at the peace talks, the two begin a long journey toward Sempervia, an isolated and forgotten world. Once there, Pietas is marooned and the ghost abandoned alongside him. The two must either fight to perma-death, or join forces to survive.

As Pietas comes to trust the human, an unlikely and awkward friendship begins. Until he discovers how ghosts are resurrected...

Giveaway - Free Download

Free -- download Endure, Illustrated Quotes by Pietas (as told to Kayelle Allen). Enjoy an exclusive collection of quotes on the concept of endurance by the man known to other immortals as the Bringer of Chaos.
Download a free adult coloring book you can print and share. Relax and color with friends. It's fun!

Mythic Heroes and Misbehaving Robots:

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with mythic heroes, misbehaving robots, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.

Website: Twitter Facebook

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Friday, November 24, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Daring Sarah” by Kayla Drake

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Kayla Drake, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Daring Sarah – Windy City Weddings Book 2.”

Sarah Williams can’t face the one-year anniversary of her husband’s tragic death, so she flees from Chicago to take the Scottish golf tour her husband had dreamed of doing someday. She has to live for both of them now, after all. While she’s there, she agrees to deliver a few small gifts to her friend Helen’s Scottish family. This puts her face to face with the grumpy, withdrawn, but incredibly handsome Duncan Mackenzie, a man haunted by a few ghosts of his own.

When Duncan promised his sister that he would welcome the American widow to Scotland, he’d expected to meet an elderly woman. Instead, he discovers a beautiful, willowy blonde who’s far too young to have faced such a tragedy. Suddenly, his own difficult past seems moderate in comparison. At least he survived. And now he wants to live again, really live, and it’s all because of Sarah.

First Kiss Excerpt

 “I’m a little scared, too.” His voice, a scratchy whisper, was mere inches from her ear. The sound sent a hot shiver down her skin. “I don’t want to do anything to hurt us. Either one of us.”

“I know you don’t. I trust you.” It was true, too. She trusted him. She didn’t quite know why—she didn’t really know him that well, and his moods were mercurial, but she knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.

Now both of his hands were at her waist. Light and gentle. Oh, but she wanted him to wrap his arms around her and crush her to his chest. This careful caressing would drive her mad with desire until she was too on fire for him to be cautious anymore. Daring Sarah, that was who she would become in truth if he kept this up. Or maybe reckless Sarah. Bold, wild, and willing Sarah.

He moved closer, but remained behind her and slightly to her right. She could feel the heat of his big body and wanted to lean back and melt into him. His breath was warm on her bare throat, the softest caress. He bent his head down and nuzzled the sweet spot below her ear. Not a kiss, not the kiss he’d asked for but still hadn’t claimed. His cheeks and chin brushed her skin, the stubble on his jaw a maddening combination of soft and strong. His hands at her waist, his nuzzling at her throat, so light and teasing and full of promise, sent shivers rippling through her body. Her skin came alive with yearning.

One arm wrapped around her waist and turned her ever so gently toward him. The muscles in his arm were taut with tension, and she knew then how he held himself back despite the wild energy pulsing between them. Still his face was tucked against her throat, one moment breathing hot and urgent against her collarbone, then brushing against the sensitive spot just below her ear. At last, his lips, so soft and maddeningly tender, caressed her skin with a touch as light as a kitten’s fur.

She wanted to soften into his embrace and know the strength of his arms around her. She lifted both hands to his shoulders and slid her palms along fabric of his shirt, feeling only the solid muscles beneath the cloth. At her touch, his breath became ragged.

She wanted that kiss. His mouth on hers, his arms like solid bands crushing her against the length of his body, this was all she wanted now.

Why wouldn’t he take the kiss he’d asked for? She could have said no. Maybe she should have said no. But she’d told him the truth instead—it was fear holding her back, plain and simple. What was holding him back? His powerful body was tight with leashed passion. She could feel it under her hands and in the heat now radiating from his flesh.

Wait. Something really was holding him back. This wasn’t her imagination.

She tilted her face to look at him. His arms remained loose around her waist, but not so loose that she could break the embrace. When at last she was able to see his brown eyes, she saw passion, yes, but something else. Patience.

“Something is making you hesitate.” She moved her fingers in the curls at the back of his collar. She wanted to encourage him, but she suddenly felt awash in shyness.


He didn’t say more than that. One of his hands came up to trace the line of her jaw. His gaze flickered over her face and settled on her lips. But even though he didn’t seem inclined to explain why he was hesitating, she felt close to him, closer than ever before. He seemed so vulnerable, such an improbable mix of hard masculine strength and tentative tenderness, that she couldn’t help but respond to him.

Still, no kiss.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me?” The whispered words surprised her. What a bold thing to say.

“Yes. You’ll let me know when you’re not so scared anymore. Then I’ll kiss you.”

“How can you be so patient with me?” It was all too much, the way he held back and reached for her all at the same time.

“Sarah, I’m watching you bloom right before my eyes. You’re changing almost hour by hour. I know how hard this all must be for you, after everything you’ve been through this past year. When you’re not so scared anymore, when you’re feeling a little more settled and safe, you’ll find me right here, aching to hold you, waiting to kiss you.”

But that wasn’t quite true. Soon she would be back in Chicago, and he would be drifting on the water without so much as a cell phone signal to link him to her. “You can’t wait too long. I’m only here until next week.”

He brushed his thumb over her lip. She melted a little under his touch, but her hands clung to his strong shoulders and helped her stay upright.

“I don’t want you to do anything that frightens you.” His lips were closer to hers now, and his arm tightened around her waist.

“Everything frightens me. I have to do it anyway. Kiss me, Duncan.”

He groaned. “Ah, Sarah, what you do to me.”

His lips drew closer. She felt the light tickle of his breath before his lips brushed hers. What a rush. This powerful, strong, tall man was being so tender with her. It made her feel like the most cherished, feminine woman, someone to adore and protect, even when her feet were covered in blisters and her hair was scrambled from the highland wind. He made her feel beautiful. Desired. And aching for more.

His lips eased away from hers, and it was all she could do not to grab his head and pull him closer. She wanted to feel his arms crush her to his chest and his lips savaging hers. She wanted that passion unleashed.

“Daring Sarah” is available through:


First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Lead Me Into Temptation” by Devon McKay

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Devon McKay, and an excerpt from her Historical Romance novel, “Lead Me Into Temptation: Gold Dust Brides Book 1.”

Violet Webster is a bride on the run. The last thing she wants is to get married, especially to a stranger twice her age. However, agreeing to be a mail-order bride had been her only option and it paid the steep passage to San Francisco so she could locate her father. She’d find him too, if only her betrothed’s son would stay out of her way. 

Garrett Sutherlin is on a mission. Delivering the striking, ebony haired beauty to his father’s doorstep not only paid off his debt, the effort would grant him freedom from the man’s condescending hold. As far as he’s concerned, Miss Webster made her own bed. 

Unfortunately, his father will be the one to lie beside her. 

First Kiss Excerpt
“When I asked how you planned to repay me, I meant returning my gold and coins plus interest. However, a kiss, sounds much more rewarding,” he countered, stunned by her response.
So much for keeping his hands to himself. Violet Webster was going to be his demise. Perhaps the fox was more cunning than he cared to admit, using femininity to her advantage, or maybe there was a small chance the words spoken from those lush lips were the truth.
At this point it hardly mattered. He was obviously the fool she believed him to be. The swift acceleration of his heartbeat the second she mentioned a kiss only cemented the fact.
He was a goner. The witch had cast a spell on him. Disarmed by a mere suggestion. Already his mind spun with the reasons why her plan might work. Except for one tiny problem. The thought of anyone touching her enraged him. Especially his father.
She belongs to me.
He pulled her into his arms, rendering a soft sigh into the crook of his neck. The warm whisper of her breath prompted an urgent need to taste the sweetness of her lips. He lowered his head and found her mouth, claiming ownership.
She responded, parting her lips in eager anticipation and locking her arms around his neck, fusing her body into his. And for a moment, nothing else mattered, as the world outside this woman in his arms slipped away.
He embraced the concept before the thought sank in, rendering a stronger hold than he was comfortable with. Drawing back, he gazed down at her in an attempt to gain some kind of control of his feelings. How could the mere slip of girl have so much power over him and not even know it?
The need to protect her overcame him. What the hell was wrong with him? Risking their lives for a kiss as if he were a love-sick fool? “You’re going to get us both killed. Go sit by the fire.” He thrust his finger in the air. “And quit being so damn kissable,” Garrett grumbled, cursing under his breath.
In the flickering light, he witnessed the furrow of her perfectly arched brow. She opened her mouth as if to object, but firmly pursed her lips closed instead. Without a word, she unwound her arms from his neck and briskly marched away.

“Lead Me Into Temptation” is available through: 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Meet The Characters – An interview with Julia Marlowe from “Julia’s Star” by Bonnie Phelps

Julia Marlowe – a sweet, small-town widow with three active children and best-selling romance novelist – has decided it’s time to step outside her comfort zone and sells the rights to one of her books to a major movie producer. “Julia’s Star” throws our heroine into the love ‘em and leave ‘em world of Hollywood and directly into the path of action hero, Jason MacKenzie. Totally out of her element, Julia is pushed to become the tough, independent woman she needs to be to support her family.

Today we’re talking to Julia Marlowe, from “Julia’s Star,” a Contemporary Romance by Bonnie Phelps. It’s part of the box set, “Sultry Nights.” Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.

How old are you?
36 though sometimes I feel like 60. With 3 active children and a busy career as a romance novelist, the responsibility of keeping everything on track is draining.

What is your relationship status?
I’m a widow. My husband, Brian, was killed by a drunk driver 3 years ago. My life is so full, I’ve never really thought about getting serious about anyone else – until recently.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
A harried mom. A plain Jane. Someone who isn’t interested in designer clothes, the latest hairstyle, or hot makeup tips. I don’t have time to worry about things like that. I also see someone who has her head in the clouds which is why people may think I need a keeper – but really, I don’t. I am competent and capable.

Name three of your favorite things.
That’s easy. My kids, Beth – my best friend and sister-in-law who’s always there for me, and writing my books.

Name three things that tick you off.
Characters with minds of their own who head off in directions I hadn’t planned. That’s also a good thing because in the end I’m supposed to be telling their stories and need to get out of their way. People who carry on private conversations on their phones in waiting rooms and lines. People who are full of themselves and walk all over others.

What are you most afraid of?
All my life, people have been there to take care of me. My parents hovered like helicopters. My husband was the typical protector male who wanted to shield me from life’s harsh realities. When he died, Beth and her husband, moved in with me at the ranch to help out. They got me through the dark times when life was a blur. Now that they are moving out and getting their own place, I’m afraid I’ll fail the test of standing on my own and being independent. I can’t let that happen. My kids depend upon me.

Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
I live in one of California’s premier wine regions so a nice wine with dinner is a must. I also couldn’t live without my coffee. Don’t you just love the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and the warmth of the cup between your palms?

What is your favorite food?
Anything someone else cooks. I do know how to cook, but it’s something I do out of necessity not for the joy of it. I love comfort foods and would never turn down homemade mac and cheese. Oh, and I have a weakness for sweets. I almost never turn down dessert.

What was your first impression of Jason MacKenzie?
First impression? Hollywood all the way. Egotistical, a playboy with a woman on each arm and one in his bedroom, ruthless, too handsome for his own good. Not my kind of guy at all. Turns out Jason is a man of many layers – sex appeal by the boat load, money, and fame galore sure – but he also has a surprisingly sensitive side. He’s kind and thoughtful, makes me laugh, and even though he is definitely an alpha male, he doesn’t crowd me.

If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change in your life?
I always thought it would be the day my husband died. I’d have made sure he never got into that car. Now that time has passed, I realize I would not be the person I am today if he’d lived. Losing him, even though it broke my heart, made me stretch my wings. Maybe I would have changed anyway, but he made my life so easy. I will forever miss him, but I’ve discovered an inner strength I had no idea I possessed. I’m not at the soaring stage yet, but I’m not afraid to hop off the limb anymore.

Are you close to family?
Yes and no. My folks retired to Florida so visits are few and far between. I think we all realized that they needed to back off and give me space and a chance to stub my toe if I messed up. We talk regularly and I know they’d be here in a heartbeat if I needed help.

Describe a typical Friday night.
Would you believe board games or movie night? We all gather in the great room and enjoy being together. I know this won’t last forever. The kids are growing up so fast, so I plan to enjoy every second I can while they still want to be around mom.

What would make you completely happy?
I’m already doing it. I love taking care of my kids and I love telling stories. If Jason, is added to our family mix, then that would make life perfect.

“Julia’s Star” is one of 22 hot romances in the Sultry Nights Boxed Set. It’s available now for only 99 cents.

“Julia’s Star” as part of the Sultry Nights Romance Collection is available through:

Friday, November 17, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Teaching Trey” by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Tracey Cramer-Kelly, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Teaching Trey: Lady Biker Series #2.”

Amber Morell is in over her head.

When her father dies and leaves her the only thing he had left – four ramshackle apartment buildings – Amber has no idea what a burden she's just inherited. With debts mounting and her brother overseas, Amber will do whatever it takes to sell the apartments and save her family from financial ruin.

But she can't possibly handle it alone...

When real estate mogul Trey Jordan comes face-to-face with the feisty biker chick who also happens to be his friend’s little sister, more than his curiosity is piqued. So what if the deal he proposes is a little… unorthodox? After all, he loves pissing off his high-society parents, and they'd hate the street-loving biker chick.

Neither expects the sleezy building manager to be a problem.

As events grow from suspicious to violent, Trey realizes too late that Amber is in danger—and that there’s more between them than the freedom of the open road.

Now, Trey must put it all on the line to save Amber before it’s too late. With the odds stacked against this unlikely pair, can Amber teach Trey the true meaning of freedom, faith, and love?

First Kiss Excerpt

She heard her name from across the parking lot and looked up from where she stood talking to Gina and Zac. Trey was moving toward her swiftly, and for a moment the sight of his trim hips encased in leather chaps made her want to break into Robert Plant’s song Tall Cool One.
“I need a word with you.” His voice was stern, and he took her elbow in his hand.
She allowed him to steer her away from Gina and Zac. He dropped her elbow when they’d reached the trees at the far edge of the lot.
“Did you go to the apartment buildings?” he said.
Oops. Now she knew what that fire in his eyes was. She swallowed. “Yes.”
She watched as emotions moved across his features. Surprise. Disappointment. Worry? She felt a strange gratification to see his carefully cultivated ‘even keel’ fraying.
“Why did you do that?” he demanded. “I specifically told you not to go there alone!”
“I wasn’t alone,” she said. “I had a meeting with Home Front First—”
“Damn it, Amber!” he interrupted. “Why can’t you just listen to me? Why do you insist on doing something just because I told you not to?”
“Maybe because I’m a grown woman and I don’t take well to being ordered around—”
“Did it not occur to you that I told you that for your own good?” he fairly growled. “Your own safety?” He paced. “That I might know what I’m talking about?”
“I didn’t think….” She stopped; he was really worked up. What was this really about? Was it possible he felt more for her than he let on?
There was only one thing she could think of to say. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
He stopped pacing. The look in his eyes went from angry to something she couldn’t define.
But instead of another scathing comment, he took her chin in his hand, tilting her head toward his as he stepped into her.
His mouth came down on hers. Rough. Possessive. An assault on all her senses. Her lips parted of their own accord, an immediate response to his invitation, and she grasped at his shirt as her knees went weak.
Abruptly he released her. He stepped back, his expression revealing that he was as shocked and surprised as she.
After a long moment of silence, he spoke again, this voice scratchy. “Don’t let it happen again.”
He turned on his heel and strode toward the lodge entrance. She watched him go, her head reeling. What had just happened?

“Teaching Trey” is available through:

BOOKS2READ (includes links to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble)

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Fresh Beginnings” by Iris Blobel

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Iris Blobel, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Fresh Beginnings.”

Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.

Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.

But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.

First Kiss Excerpt
Her cheeks coloured a soft pink, and he watched her trying to hide it by looking away. There was no denying he was attracted to her, but wanting her was taboo.
They walked back to the motorhome and prepared a couple of simple sandwiches. With a beautiful day, Jared retrieved some chairs, and they ate outside. In silence.
He couldn’t believe he was sitting in America having lunch with this gorgeous girl who he’d met only a day earlier.
“A penny for your thoughts.”
Ivy’s question hauled him back into the moment.
He winked. “Sittin’ in America with a nice girl.”
Her laugh was music to his ears. “Do you have a girl at home?”
“Would I be sittin’ here with you?”
She tugged a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
“Nah, no girl. Haven’t got time for that.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Jared choked back a chuckle as he stood. “Ya think you know me?”
“I think deep inside this Aussie bloke wants a girl.”
He spun around to answer, finding her right in front of him. She’d followed him inside with her dishes. Her cheeks were slightly pink from the sun, and her chocolate brown eyes were staring up at him. There was hardly any space between them, and it would have taken only the slightest move for his lips to be on hers. The idea played in his mind for a moment and, the way her breath came out in shallow gasps, he could tell she was having the same thought.
“Once burnt, twice shy,” he said faintly.
“She left you?”
Ivy was still close, and her posture told him she wasn’t uncomfortable at all with the situation.
As he leaned in a little bit more, he replied, “Yup.”
“Why?” Her voice was so quiet he nearly missed the question.
“I snore.”
Ivy snorted and burst into laughter, and his mouth curved upwards. He’d averted the situation nicely. There was no way he was going to kiss her. No way to start a little flirt and hurt her even more. Or even hurt himself. He could see himself falling for her. To him she was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. Her brown eyes drew him in, made him wish there could be so much more between them. He imagined his fingers entangled in her wild, curly blond hair. And he would have loved to taste her skin with his tongue.
Letting out a small sigh, he stepped back and grabbed a soft drink.
“Thanks,” she said.
He met her gaze, not knowing what the thanks had been for.
“For being a gentleman and not taking advantage of the situation.”
Her comment made him pause. And, quite to his surprise, she stepped closer and touched his lips with hers. Damn, she tasted even better than he’d imagined. Sweet. Sexy.
“What are you doin’?” he asked against her lips.
She blinked a couple of times and increased the distance between them. “I… I’m—” A heavy sigh escaped her.
He stepped closer, gently cupped her face, and studied her through a haze of desire. “Never ever apologise for a kiss, mate.”
Her eyes were like an open book, telling him she worried about being stuck in a National Park far away from the nearest town.
“I… I don’t—”
He leaned in and kissed her. Slow and easy. Her warm lips against his own and a soft moan as he parted for her and took the kiss deeper. He savoured the moment, especially as it’d been years since a kiss had stirred so many emotions in him. Emotions that had lain dormant somewhere so far inside and hidden away he had often contemplated whether he’d ever find them again.
Yet, Ivy didn’t have any problems locating the direct route.

Fresh Beginnings” is available through: