Monday, December 23, 2019

DEEP FREEZE (STORMWATCH Book 2) by Vicki Hinze

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The storm sweeps in like a thief in the night...

Winter storm Holly is the worst in eighty years bringing high winds, subzero temperatures and snowfall better measured in feet than in inches. The weather paralyzes everything in its path, but, in this storm, weather isn't the only threat.

Emma Miller, a probationary security consultant posing as a reporter, is stranded at Portal International Airport in the worst storm in eighty years. She’s reassigned to protect a top-secret High Containment Lab in the international airport that houses the deadliest bio-contaminate diseases on the planet. A lab under attack by international terrorists who want those pathogens to sell on the black-market.

Dr. Gregory Mason Martin is a bio-containment specialist who runs the top-secret lab, and he knows Emma well. They grew up together, went to school together, and she’s always fascinated him, but she has a long-standing habit of going through men like water, so he’s kept his distance. He doesn’t dare to trust her or her abilities.

Now, all these years later, they must work together to protect the lab and stop the terrorists from obtaining the pathogens. And they must protect the pathogens from Holly, the deadly storm barreling mercilessly toward them. If those pathogens are stolen, the world will be held hostage, and worse, if mishandled, the country could be facing the worst pandemic in history. A pandemic that in short order could wipe out not just cities and states, but the entire nation.

Both are willing to risk their lives. Both are reluctant to risk their hearts. Yet events prove neither of them is who they were thought to be. And a fierce battle against terrorists and the storm proves challenging but no match for the challenges chambered in their human hearts.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Mistletoe Magic by Linda Wisdom

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For lovers of Brigadoon here's a Christmas version. Warm-hearted and wonderful.

Quinn was more than ready for a getaway. To avoid her family, friends
and would-be fiancé she sought refuge in the Vermont mountains.

Then the blizzard hit like a freight train.

Santee wasn’t sure what drew him to the snowy east at Christmastime.
And he sure didn’t expect to find the lovely Quinn or a room at the
picturesque Mistletoe Inn.

The charming town of Mistletoe keeps the holiday cheer all year round.
And a glow that envelopes Quinn and Santee gives them something
magical neither expected to find.

The question is, is this merely a wish for the holiday season only or
something that will last forever?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

BRINGING HOME CHRISTMAS by Vicki Hinze

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On the eve of their wedding, Lauren Holt receives a text message from her fiancé David Decker saying their marriage would be a mistake. He is out of the country and will not be returning to Holt Ridge. Lauren is devastated and the pity and questions from friends in the community drive her to leave her home and move away. Time passes, a couple of years, and now she’s summoned home due to her ill widowed mother. Lauren returns and finds David, who had no ties to Holt Ridge, has moved his business there and he's living in what should have been her home and her life! Now they must work together to plan and execute the community’s Christmas celebrations. In doing so, can she finally discover why David called off their wedding? Can they find their way back to each other?

Saturday, December 14, 2019

November and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt


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“Captain, I am not playing nursemaid to a hayseed from Podunk, Montana.”

Icy veteran police officer, Alicia “Novy’ November was coping just fine until a rookie transplant from Montana was paired with her. Now Novy must straddle the line between the modern world and her Coos Indian roots, while a taciturn “Hayseed” from Montana struggles to adapt to big city life and to understand his new partner.
As Novy tries to wash him out, the rookie proves resilient and he joins those who worry about Novy. She bravely faces daily combat on the police beat while only a very few know she also battles an age-old Coos curse brought on by the coming blood moon. In a world gone wrong, Novy aims to find the right path as the calendar moves closer to the day of the blood moon and her foretold rendezvous with certain death.

* A stand-alone story - the eleventh in the Single Heart Series portraying the travels of the Coin of Luck in LIfe and Love and the impact it has on each recipient. 

EXCERPT FROM NOVEMBER AND THE SINGLE HEART:

“Alright, Nina, I’m ready. I want to hear everything about you and Jason.”
They had just settled down into their seats at Shari’s on Highway 99, and Novy could not wait to hear the news. The menus lay unopened and Novy gave Nina the attention she needed.
“I’m just bursting to tell someone. I really can’t tell Mom. She’s old school and, well, you know.”
“”I know. I could hear it in your voice when you called earlier. Tell me everything and don’t leave any details out. Remember, I live vicariously through your exploits, so don’t short change me.” Novy winked.
“Well, like I told you before, we were supposed to go out on a Saturday night, right after we last met for eats. But his job sent him out of town and he canceled. He promised he would call me the day he got back but I just figured, you know, that he had second thoughts and was trying to get off the hook. But two weeks later, he calls me up and asks me out again. We went out the next Saturday and he took me to a very nice dinner. Guess where.”
Novy shook her head. “I have no idea. Canlis? Some fancy-schmanzy place?”
“The Space Needle. It was the most romantic evening ever. My gosh, I couldn’t believe it when he pulled up and handed his keys to the valet. He didn’t tell me we were going there. I have no idea what the evening cost him but I have to tell you, no one has ever spent that kind of money on me. I mean, he was the perfect date—showed up with a gift of one rose, held my door open for me, kept me entertained all night with amusing stories and treated me to the best view in Seattle. We polished off a bottle of wine together and sat there as long as we could, just talking all night. I felt like a princess. Have you ever had one like that?”
Novy smiled softly. “Not exactly, but Manny and I had a few for the memory book. But I know that’s not the end of the story. What happened then?”
Nina could hardly contain the smile on her face. “He asked me to join him for a drink at a pub near work and he introduced me to some of his friends and co-workers. That was nice. I mean, being introduced and meeting people. Some of them made fun of him, in a good-natured way, saying he shocked them that he actually dated and stuff like that. I guess he doesn’t go out much.”
The waitress came by, and they paused long enough to peruse the menu and order an entrée.
The moment she was gone, needing no encouragement, Nina continued, “So he asks me out again. This time to his place for dinner. He can cook. Pretty well too. We had chicken cooked in a wine sauce with penne and beans. And, of course, a nice white wine.” She stopped and smiled.
“Let me guess, dessert was Nina à la mode?” Novy giggled.
“Wow, you’re like psychic or something. Of course I was. And, it was fantastic. I keep, you know, waiting for the other shoe to drop but being with him just gets better and better. It’s like winning lotto or something.”
The waitress returned with their salads and Nina continued to beam. When the waitress left, Novy said, “OK, seems to me you were awfully sparse with the details. You promised not to short change me, remember.”
“You want the play-by-play?” Nina asked, a bit incredulously.
Novy cocked her head and looked at her. “You got someone else you can tell this stuff to?”
“You know I don’t.”
“You want to tell, don’t you?”
“You really are psychic!” Nina laughed. “OK, well, after dinner, he took my hand and without a word led me to the bedroom. Feel free to imagine how big a fight I was putting up.”
“Like a lamb to the slaughter?”
“Exactly!” Nina laughed. Then, in a quieter voice, she went on for the next ten minutes with more detail than Novy expected as she recounted their mattress dance. Novy listened attentively and even had her repeat some of the more amazing parts. She finished just as their entrées were being delivered to them.
Nina, almost out of breath, finally came to the end. “Enough detail for you?”
Novy shook her head. “Well, you didn’t short change me. I have heard of some wild rides on the baloney pony, before but I think that one takes the cake.”
Nina howled and then, self-consciously, toned it down. She looked around the room. Most everyone, thankfully, was minding their own business. “You cops know the best descriptive phrases. OK, enough about me, What about you? Any news on the Kevin front?”
“Funny you should mention that. He called me yesterday. There’s a work party he wants me to go to with him. Being held at the meeting room at the top of the Smith Tower. That should be interesting.”
“Well, cool. I want to hear all about that later. What about your new partner, what’s his name, the cowboy?”
“Oh, you mean Hayseed? He’s still with me. For a few more days anyway. Then his probation is up and he’ll be moving on.”
“Not sticking around, huh?”
“I don’t think so. I just don’t feel good about recommending him. He’s green and just, I don’t know, missing an edge or something. Nice guy but I’m going to recommend reassignment.”
Nina considered that for a moment, and added, “Probably not as sharp as you were in your first thirty days, huh?”
Novy frowned. “I know. I wasn’t a dream partner either to begin with. But this guy is hesitant to draw his gun and that scares me. What’ll happen when someone’s life is on the line? No, it’s better if he moves on.”
“Who will they pair you up with, then?”
“I don’t know. Any veteran has to be better. It’ll work out.”

Friday, December 13, 2019

'Twas The Night by Linda Wisdom

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Nothing could send Ukiah Jones running except something shocking. Two of his best buddies got hitched and eternal Ki was determined not to be number three. Now he was holed up at the friends’ jointly owned Lake Tahoe cabin until he felt it was safe to come out.

There was only one, make that three, problems.

The cabin was taken over by a lady on the lam and two young kids. His masculine safe haven was quickly cluttered with toys and filled with the noise of kids singing Christmas carols. What didn’t help was Ki’s response to their beautiful and very mysterious protector.

But it wasn’t about to stop there. Not when Sydney and the kids wanted him to play not only Santa, but daddy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

FREEBIE ALERT! Drakenfall Christmas by Geralyn Corcillo

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In this Christmas novel, Mark and Maisy, ahem, that is, Lord and Lady Shiley, get ready to make the holidays warm and bright for everyone. Along with their madcap staff, they navigate secret crushes, secret presents, and just plain secrets as the Yuletide Ball approaches.

In an uncharacteristic turn, unflappable house manager Glynis Ferry seems to be getting her duster ruffled every time she catches sight of Shaun Fletcher, the new head groom. Pippa Taylor, a whirling dervish of a domestic, works below stairs to make the magic of Drakenfall happen for everyone else. But will there ever be enough magic left over for her? There will if most worthy valet Kafi Diop has anything to say about it, as he tries to spin holiday enchantment every which way. But his clever plans always seem to go cataclysmically awry, even with Maisy helping out as his faithful sidekick.

​And what about Kafi's grandest of schemes, set to take flight at the Drakenfall Christmas Ball? He's depending on guest Jamie Tovell, who's depending on his secret crush Lea Sinclair. ​But​ even if everything goes off without a hitch, will the secret Maisy's been hiding from Mark all season pop up at the most inopportune moment to set everything asunder? It's a Drakenfall Christmas ... topsy-turvy and heart-warming, generously sprinkled with laughter and lavishly frosted with romance​!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Bells, Rings, and Angels' Wings by Linda Wisdom

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Holiday Homecoming? Humbug!

Libby Banes wished Christmas would go away--along with her husband, Tyler. But would Santa answer a wish from Willow Hills, Indiana, population 400? Suddenly darkness fell, snow swirled, and Libby could barely find her way home. But strangers answered her doorbell...and elsewhere family hung stockings without her. Then she saw Tyler under the mistletoe with another woman! How could Libby make them believe who she was, and get her life--and her husband--back in time for Christmas?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Stormwatch Series Begins!

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From Book 1: The storm sweeps in like a thief in the night...Winter storm Holly is the worst in eighty years bringing high winds, subzero temperatures and snowfall better measured in feet than in inches. The weather paralyzes everything in its path, but in this storm, weather isn't the only threat.
 
Abbey Gray, a NYT bestselling thriller author, needs time away from the madness of deadlines and personal appearances as well as her big city life in Manhattan. The timing seems perfect for her to return to her small hometown in Montana to finally put the family home on the market. Except the storm of the century is descending on Montana, sweeping in with more than just bad weather--her closest neighbor is murdered. The murder stirs painful memories from the past of another murder--Abbey's mother. Can the eerily similar details of her neighbor's murder be proof that she was wrong all those years ago? Did the older brother she worshipped actually kill their mother? Now that his prison sentence has been served, is he back for revenge? Abbey must find the truth about the past before she becomes the next victim!    Sheriff Garrett Gilmore has known Abbey and her family his entire life. In truth, he has been in love with her since they were kids. All those years he hoped that one day she would come back, knowing it likely wouldn't happen. But he can't worry about that at the moment, he has a homicide to solve and a murderer to catch, all with the storm of the century bearing down on his county. Keeping Abbey safe will test the boundaries of his defenses.   
A new installment of STORMWATCH releases each Thursday starting December 5 through January 9. Each thrilling full length novel is a standalone story with no cliffhangers. Don't miss a single one from half a dozen of the genre's bestselling storytellers!

December 5 - Frozen Ground by Debra Webb
December 12 - Deep Freeze by Vicki Hinze
December 19 - Wind Chill by Rita Herron
December 26 - Black Ice by Regan Black
January 2 - Snow Brides by Peggy Webb
January 9 - Snow Blind by Cindy Gerard

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Specters in the Storm by Pauline Baird Jones

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Specters, Automatons & Evil, oh my!

Dr. Ernest Warren is done with love. Losing his wife in the Great Storm of 1901 left him with questions only science and interstellar travel can answer. When disturbing storms begin to brew again, he to reluctantly turns his airship back to where he lost his love in hopes of finding answers.

Prudence Pinkerton has been following Ernest's multi-dimensional career from the future and knows she has to meet him.

When he reluctantly accepts her help, Prudence doesn't waste time. She knows time is running out and the world is on the cusp of life-altering change.

Prudence must overcome his distrust of her if they are to save Earth from the evil hiding in the heart of the storm.

Pauline Baird Jones’ is known for writing smart, quirky, funny fiction. Check out her venture into a time-bending paranormal detective story with Specters in the Storm.

Monday, December 2, 2019

April and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

April McKenzie has a serious problem: she needs to be needed. She needs to be needed so badly that she’s becoming a regular attraction at all the bars within stumbling distance—everybody knows April and her short skirts and easy demeanor. Sadly, the men she’s been going home with seem to only need her for one thing—and after that, they don’t need her at all.

With the help of her best friend Gail, April sets out to find the answer: what will finally fulfill that never-ending need to be needed? In perhaps the naughtiest book in the Single Heart series, our daytime nurse and nighttime bar-hopper, April sets out on her own course, trying to find answers. Along the way, she comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love and she adjusts her plans. Will good fortune smile upon her or will she be forever doomed to futilely wander the Seattle bar scene?

This fourth romantic novella in Vi Zetterwall’s Single Heart series explores the very nature of a woman and a man’s relationship. Each book is a stand-alone story—a short novel that pays homage to the verbal foreplay that goes on early in a relationship. Vi’s novels feature unique characters facing everyday problems—and sometimes, not-so-everyday. Although the characters and plotlines are all different, there is a connecting thread: In each book, the leading lady comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. In ways, sometimes small, sometimes great, the coin affects her actions and all subsequent events.

In your life, you have probably experienced an event that seemed inconsequential at the time but had far-reaching results. Vi’s books explore the magic that occurs when serendipity strikes and some chance meeting, a misunderstanding, an unexpected job offer or missing a bus leads to two people finding each other and falling in love. Vi writes about relationships and the drama that comes from every conversation. The steam that rises from her books is not due to an abundance of love scenes. You don’t normally see many phrases discussing the male anatomy or torrid moments in the bedroom, however the April book is a bit of an exception. And, as always you will feel your blood pressure rise during the dialogue-heavy scenes between potential lovers. Your heart will ache when the leading lady’s does and you will gain the same insights about life and love as she has.

Follow the travels of one coin and the lives it touches. As each book concludes, the protagonist passes on the Coin of Luck to another random woman—sort of a sneak preview to the next tale in the series. And everything seems to change after that. Is the coin magic or is it merely a catalyst that pushes love in the right direction? Every reader will have to decide for themselves. Vi Zetterwall weaves feel-good stories of love, suspense, mystery, and always a twist or two at the end. She loves a happy ending and never fails to deliver.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Read an Excerpt From March and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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LIFE AT THE INTERSECTION OF LUCK AND LOVE

In a downtrodden and forgotten section of Seattle, Marci Ramirez labors daily toward her secret goal. She has a burden and a pain she carries inside her but she promised herself that nothing will get in the way of achieving her dream; not her crippled leg, not the local gang who threatens her, not the unrequited love she holds for the boy she grew up beside. But promises are sometimes broken and just as a bloody end looms as inescapable, a stranger passes the Coin of Luck her way. Too bad she doesn’t really believe in luck …

This is the third book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

A flashback that Marci Ramirez, the lead character, has about a day seven years ago:

They left the park and walked south back to Rose Street, taking a left when they got there. As they walked, they talked about school and had some good laughs about some of the crazy things they had done or seen there. When they reached halfway past Tenth, Marci pointed out her house. “We live there. The white house with the cyclone fence around it.” They both stopped at the gate. Something special was happening between them. She had never had a one-on-one conversation with a boy this long before. There was something deliciously exciting about it.
Kyle fidgeted a bit. It didn’t seem like there was much more to say. But then he said those simple words that filled her heart with a joy she had never experienced before. Looking back at it, they really weren’t that special, but at that moment, they were a wonderment. “Hey, I didn’t show you my house. C’mon, you got time? I live just over on Elmgrove.”
Yes, yes! I have time. I’d like to know where the future cancer specialist grew up.” She elbowed him playfully in the side. “Then I can tell people I knew you when you were just fourteen like me.”
Kyle laughed. “Actually I’m fifteen. So I am way, way, way older than you.”
Right! She elbowed him again.
Doesn’t matter,” Kyle said, “you’re probably the coolest fourteen year old girl I know.”
Marci laughed, “Just because I can swing the bat, right?” She accepted the additional compliment greedily. Her failure on the diamond was already a distant memory. Now this was the new moment she wanted to live in forever.
Elmgrove was only two blocks north and they were there in no time. They walked half way up the street and there, on the north side, was his home. A very fine two story house, painted yellow, with a wrought iron fence in the front encompassing a small but finely groomed yard with a tree for shade. On the roof were solar panels. Compared to Marci’s house, it looked beautiful. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were run down a bit, but Kyle’s stood out. She complimented him on his abode and tried to suppress the envy she felt. She loved the feelings she had and nothing was going to ruin it for her.
They took the opportunity to sit on a bench on the front porch and talk some more. The fact that he wanted to talk to her more was what excited her the most. She was not a popular person at school. She had no real friends, just acquaintances that were better at tolerating her than others. They talked for forty more minutes about the neighborhood, school and the future. She had never talked to anyone about her own future before and it was exhilarating.
Finally, they both grew a bit quiet and Marci knew the moment was all but over. She stood up and said, “Well, I’d better get back. It must be late and I’m supposed to fix dinner tonight.” Barrio
Kyle, with all his manners, stood as well and said, “Well, it’s been really nice talking to you. You can play on my team anytime. You really can hit the ball!”
Marci beamed. Is that a metaphor? Play on my team anytime? I don’t know, but I like the sound of it.
Thanks, Kyle. I enjoyed talking to you too. Maybe I’ll see you at the park tomorrow…or sometime.”
OK. Or maybe I’ll just come by your house and see if you want to go walking around again.”
Did he just say that? Like a date? Are you kidding me?
Her stomach was churning but she composed herself and simply replied, “Cool. That’d be fun.”
As she turned to leave his porch, he asked one more question. “Marci, you never told me. What happened to your leg?”
No one had ever asked her that before. It seemed most kids pretended not to notice. Usually they pretended so hard that she became uncomfortable around them. But Kyle seemed very different. She liked that he put it right out there.
Oh, I had a bad fall when I was a kid. About four. It didn’t heal right and I had to start wearing a brace to give my leg enough strength to help hold me up. “
Wow. Does it hurt?”
Every minute of every day.
She shook her head. “Nah. I’ve gotten used to it. My mom bought me a new brace last year and it fits better and doesn’t hurt as much as the other two did. I guess I’ll have to get maybe one more and then I probably won’t outgrow the next one. It’s no big deal, really.”
Kyle smiled that great smile of his. “That’s good. I mean, it wouldn’t be good to go walking if every step hurt.”
Marci smiled back. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” she lied again.
I’ll go anywhere with you.




Friday, November 29, 2019

The Countess and the Cowboy by Linda Wisdom

$3.99

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Cowboys and Indians never fought like this!

When Letitia DeMarco took the deed, by gunpoint no less, to her
ex-fiance's Montana cattle ranch, she didn't know it came with a
negative cash flow -- and Tyler Barnes, a foreman with a state-size chip
on his shoulder. Before she could even unpack her designer boots, they
locked spurs and made the ranch the wildest honky-tonk in town.

Letitia was sultry, high society and Italian in every way but heritage.
Tyler was the soul of Montana's wide-open spaces. He had been born and
bred on a ranch: his easy chair was a horse's back. When they locked
horns, it was winner take all. And, come high noon, there would be only
one winner in this showdown.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Star Crossed: 7 Novels of Space Exploration, Alien Races, Adventure, and Romance

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Sci-fi to fall in love with…

7 full-length novels that explore the future without forgetting that the most dangerous battles will always be within the human heart. Aliens, AI, cyborgs, galactic empires, space battles, and romance...you’ll find them all here, along with heroines and heroes you’ll cheer for.

Space doesn’t have to be cold! Download Star Crossed today.

About the Books:

Blood Will Tell - Christine Pope
When hacker Miala Fels makes a deal to split the hoard of a dead crime lord with the notorious mercenary Eryk Thorn, events take an unexpected turn....

Archangel Down - C. Gockel
Commander Noa Sato is arrested and interrogated for her part in the Archangel Project. A project she knows nothing about. Professor James Sinclair awakes in the snow knowing only one he must find Noa, a woman he’s never met. In the face of genocide they must hatch a daring plan with a ragtag crew to save the lives of millions—and their own. Every step of the way they are haunted by the final words of a secret transmission: The archangel is down.

Overload Flux - Carol Van Natta
Someone is stealing the vaccine for a galaxy-wide pandemic. Investigator Luka Foxe’s hidden mental talent is out of control, and security specialist Mairwen Morganthur hides a dark past. On a convoluted trail of corrupt pharma corporations, murderous mercenaries, sabotage, and deadly space battles, their only hope for survival lies in trusting one another.

Star Nomad - Lindsay Buroker
The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she's stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy - Greta van der Rol
Thrust together in a race against time, ex-Admiral Chaka Saahren and Systems Engineer Allysha Marten, must resolve their personal differences to prevent an inter-species war.

Hurricane Moon - Alexis Glynn Latner
With Earth wracked by climate change, an ambitious private foundation launches a starship to discover a new world. The astronauts and scientists of Aeon are prepared to cope with every known outcome and every foreseeable unknown. But what they encounter on the other side of the stars is the unknown unknown.

The Key - Pauline Baird Jones
The key will unlock more than an unknown civilization; it will define who one woman will become…Elite pilot, Sara Donovan and resistance fighter, Kiernan Fyn must stop those that would use the key for their own agenda. Don't miss out on this Independent Book Bronze Medal and Dream Realm Awards Winner!

Monday, November 25, 2019

February and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt


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HOW MUCH LUCK CAN ONE COIN HAVE?

Heiress and teen genius, Mary Jo Miller, is kidnapped at fifteen and rescued by a reluctant hero. But after her father’s death and a series of calamitous events, Mary Jo is on the streets and must use her brains and savvy just to survive. Eight years later, she finds herself as the primary suspect in an ingenious art theft and, once again, her hero from before must save her. Holding on to her lucky coin and hoping for another happy ending, she soon realizes that all things change and the young man she is falling for may not be her rescuer after all.

A stand-alone novella, this story, the second in the Single Heart series, follows events that occur as a new owner of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love comes into its possession.

Excerpt:

Mary Jo Miller has just been rescued from captivity by a young man she doesn’t know.

They weaved their way through the debris, took a few turns and as they did, a sliver of moonlight illuminated part of the floor before them. They picked up their speed a bit and headed for the door. About then, they could hear the voices getting louder and closer.
Oh God, Pugface and Tall Dude are coming for me!
They passed a doorway into a smaller room and then straight out into the outdoors. The cold air and the outdoor scents almost overcame her.
Oh God, we’re out!” Mary Jo breathed a short-lived sigh of relief as they left the building.
C’mon, double time it. We’ve got to get out of sight in the forest before they get out. How many are there?”
As they ran, Mary Jo called out “Two—I think. I’m not sure.”
OK, just hurry. He led the way to a copse of trees about forty yards from the front of the old power relay station. As they reached it, the young man looked back and could hear the sounds of men running along the side of the deserted building, but he could not see them yet. He grabbed Mary Jo and pulled her down behind a string of bushes. There, sat his backpack and a case of some kind. He motioned for her to keep her head down and gave her the shush signal with his finger up to his lips. Through the bushes he could see two men, standing in the clearing, trying to decide which way to go. Any movement now would attract them. Junior and Mary Jo stayed still and waited. Thirty seconds and three forevers, passed by, then the two men headed into the forest together about sixty yards east from where he and Mary Jo hid.
Mary Jo could see them and which direction they took. For the first time since she regained consciousness, she smiled.
The young man smiled too. “We got lucky. They’re heading in another direction.”
Still smiling, Mary Jo stared back at the young hero and said, “That’s a start.”
As soon as the two men were out of sight and hearing range, the young man stood straight up and helped Mary Jo to her feet as well. “Grab that case and I’ll take the backpack. We need to make some good time heading west. Right now.” He pulled the backpack onto his shoulders and started to leave.
Not so fast, buddy boy. I don’t even know who you are. You got a name?”
Everybody has a name. I told you I am with the Dunn Detective Agency and we don’t have time for this. We need to get out of here now.”
Mary Jo shook her head. “Not good enough. I want to see some ID. I wanna make sure I am not jumping from the frying pan into the fire here. You could be some fucking pervert or wack-job or something.”
The young man rolled his eyes. He reached into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet and handed her a card. Mary Jo looked it over. Then she looked him over. By her best guess, he was close to 5 foot 10, probably 160 pounds. A bit of a skinny rail, she thought. He had tussled brown hair and was unshaven but his facial hair was light in color and there wasn’t much of it. He had a clear complexion and decent features but he looked like a teenager.
Are you kidding me? What kind of name is this? I need real ID. Something I’ll recognize. You could’ve made this private detective ID card with a computer and a laminating machine. You got a driver’s license?”
Jo Jo, we don’t have time for this. We’ve got to go.” When she didn’t budge, he pulled out his wallet again and handed her his driver’s license.
Damn, is this for real? That’s really your name?”
It’s my dad’s name too. Now can we quit critiquing my parent’s name selection and get the heck out of here?”
Yeah, sure. I just expected, you know, to get rescued by someone normal, not some weirdo misnamed private dick.”
Sorry to disappoint you. Can we go now? And, for the record, I hate being called a private dick.”
OK, sorry. Didn’t know you were so sensitive. I’ll just call you Junior, how’s that?”
Can we go now?” Junior didn’t wait for an answer. He turned and headed out with Mary Jo in close pursuit.
They walked for about ten minutes when Mary Jo offered an observation, “I don’t think this is west.”
It’s not. Just be quiet and keep going.”
Uh, uh. We’re going south. Why? West gets us out of here, right?”
Junior turned around to face her. “Look, those two guys are going west too. They are likely running a parallel path to where we would be if we were going west right now. Sooner or later, they will get closer to us or they will change directions when they realize we aren’t where they are. We need to put some more space between us and them before we head west. Does that meet with your approval?”
You’re scared of them.”
Of course, I’m scared of them! They probably have guns. They are the criminals here. We do not want to run into them again. What part of ‘they want to kill you’ do you not understand?”
I thought you were trained and…well, capable. You’ve got a gun, don’t you?”
I have a flare gun that I was supposed to use when I found you. And if I had a real gun I would not be itching to use it. I am trained. In solving cases. Not in hand-to-hand combat with Mutt and Jeff.”
Pugface and Tall Dude.”
What?”
I call them Pugface and Tall Dude. Anyway I get it. You’re scared and now I’m more scared too. We’re in deep shit, aren’t we?”

Saturday, November 23, 2019

January and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

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A STORY FOR ANYONE WHO NEEDS A LITTLE LUCK IN THEIR LOVE LIFE!

Thirty year old Jan Falkenberg hasn’t been kissed for nearly three years. On a serendipitous day she finds a peculiar gold coin that promises to bring luck in life and love. Just in time ... if you believe in that kind of thing! Jan has some burdensome promises to keep and a looming deadline. After making her find, she gains a new sense of confidence ... but nine more months pass and her lips are still waiting for a tender touch. Self-doubt fills her single heart and a hint of panic sets in.
As time runs short, her risky promises are in jeopardy. With her deadline approaching, she faces painful options yet none of her candidates seem to be Mr. Right. Time and the coin will tell and Jan’s choice may solve her crisis ... or just break what's left of her heart.
.

This story is the first in the Single Heart series of feel-good Contemporary Romance novellas by Vi Zetterwall.

Excerpt:

Glen followed up with Jan and took a shot. “Say, I, um, I know this is a longshot but I was just wondering. I really enjoyed our walk the other day and I thought maybe, um, you might let me take you out to dinner this weekend…or next?”

With all that she had going this week leading up to the party, Jan was really on edge.

And now this! Just one more male I can add to the list of guys who have disappointed me. Just when I thought maybe the others have judged him too harshly, he goes and tries again to involve me in his sleazy ways.

For a brief moment, she flashed back to the image of Dustin spewing lies right to her face. With her rage building, she let him have it with both barrels. “I don’t believe you. What is it with you guys? Can’t you keep it in your pants for fifteen minutes? You’ve got a girlfriend you’ve been living with for five years. Why don’t you take her out instead? The answer is NO! NO! NO! I won’t help you cheat on your live-in girlfriend. Can I be any clearer than that?”

Glen raised his hand and tried to jump in. “Jan, honestly, you don’t understand. I made a—”

Jan interrupted him immediately. “I do understand! And that’s what makes me so mad. If I had a nickel for every guy who claimed I didn’t understand, I could pay off the national debt. Everyone knows about Vicky and how you treat her. You are disgusting to me. I don’t want to go out with you and I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Just leave me alone.”

“Jan, really, Vicky is an alley cat. I made a mistake back when—”

“Shut up! Just shut up! You use that kind of language about her as though she has lower morals than you. You’re the one cheating on her. I don’t want to go out with someone who cheats. Please, leave me alone. If you see me coming, you better walk the other way or so help me, I will deck you.” With that, she brushed past him and left the room. As she walked out into the office, two dozen pairs of eyes were on her. It hadn’t really occurred to her that there were so many people in the office still working. They heard it all and it just didn’t matter to Jan.

I’m tired of taking everything lying down. From now on, I’m fighting back and no two-timing cheater is going to make me back off.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sam's Story: Book Three (Skylar Trilogy) by Amy D. Crusan-Kramer Excerpt


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In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book Three opens with Sam struggling to adjust to a new life in a new city. She is grieving the loss of her friends, while tentatively exploring a new relationship with the Vice President of the United States. Not quite a year into this new life, Sam finds herself back in Atlanta, once again trying to heal. Complications arise as she works to repair relationships with the people she loves most.

After her successful reentry into her life in Atlanta, Sam discovers a love stronger than any romantic love she'd ever experienced: the love of a mother for her child. But after one more devastating loss, she ponders the wisdom of ever letting herself love or be loved again.

Excerpt:

Samantha
Washington, DC
Friday, February 12, 1993

You seem like you’re a million miles away this evening, Sam.” Nancy’s familiar comforting voice penetrated my thoughts.
I’d been staring blindly out the window of her tiny office at the women’s shelter. “God, it looks like it’s going to snow again,” I groaned. She was quiet; she was amazing at being quiet, and never seemed to feel uncomfortable. I’d always felt as though I should fill the silences. Nancy was the only person I was comfortable with in silence … well, not the only person, but I didn’t want to think about that other person. I looked over at her desk; it faced the wall to make more room in the tiny office. I sought out the pictures that always calmed me during my therapy sessions. There were two: one of her and her four children. They all looked so happy, and why wouldn’t they be with a mom like her? The other picture was of Nancy and her cocker spaniel, Baxter. He was brown and white with freckles across his nose. “How’s Baxter?”
She smiled at me. “He’s fine. He’s getting old and a little hard of hearing, but he’s fine.” I nodded. “How are you?”
I looked at her and felt my eyes well with tears. “Sad … and terrified all the time.” She nodded. “It’s been over three months,” I spat in exasperation.
She nodded again. “You’re grieving … it’s a process.”
Grieving? Oh, for Bastian?” There was that ‘other person.’
Well, yes, for Bastian. But you lost more than Bastian. Joe took things from you…” I shook my head. I didn’t want to talk about Joe. “Why are you shaking your head, Sam?”
I can’t talk about that,” I whispered. My hand went to my chest that felt as though it were constricting. I couldn’t breathe.
Take some deep breaths. You’re fine.” I did as she instructed. “How’s work?” I could have kissed her for changing the subject.
I relaxed and smiled. “I like it. There’s security everywhere…”
She laughed quietly. “Yes, it is the White House.” I smiled and nodded.
I’m busy from the moment I arrive until I leave, sometimes I work a twelve or fourteen-hour day. I like it … it keeps me from thinking.” I idly picked at some cat hair on my pants. “I usually go in on the weekends. But…” I sighed miserably. “Daniel’s going out of town this weekend for his mother-in-law’s birthday, so I have the entire weekend to myself. No Daniel, no Chris…” My voice trailed off and I went back to looking out the window.
Well, back to grieving … it happens in stages. Everyone does it their own way and in their own time. You lost a part of yourself, emotionally and physically, when Joe raped you.”
I hate that word.”
Mm-hmm, it’s an ugly word for an ugly act. But that’s what he did to you. How long was he there that night, Sam?”
I shook my head. “I-I don’t know … ten, eleven hours?”
Okay, let’s say it was ten hours. It was ten hours, Sam. Don’t let those ten hours and that horrible person dictate the rest of your life.”
I don’t know how not to,” I answered honestly.
I know. That’s why you’re here … so we can come up with ways for you to move on from it.” We were quiet again. I looked down at my hands in my lap, twisting Phil’s ring around on my left ring finger.
Don’t you usually wear that on your thumb?” I looked down and smiled as I touched the plain gold band. “It’s the ring Phil gave you, right?”
Mm-hmm. I finally took it in and got it resized. It feels good to have it back where it belongs.”
Why does it ‘belong’ there, Sam?” I looked up at her, confused. Where else would I wear it? “Well, what I mean is … you have an engagement ring from Bastian, too, right?” I nodded, not liking the direction this conversation was taking. She shrugged and asked, “Well, why wouldn’t you wear that one? Why doesn’t that one ‘belong’ on your ring finger? What was wrong with wearing Phil’s ring on your thumb like you had been doing?”
I sighed. “Well … there’s a security officer at work. He’s very nice … he always makes an effort to chat a little in the morning when I check in.”
Nancy smiled at me and nodded. “You can never have too many friends, Sam.”
I s’pose. Last Friday I worked pretty late. He walked me out to my car … and then…” I could feel my heart pounding, just like it did last Friday. I stood up and walked over to the window, staring out as the first few flakes began falling. “Then he asked me to go out to dinner with him … maybe a movie.”
What did you say?”
I turned and looked at her incredulously. “No, of course!” We were both quiet. I turned slowly and walked back to my chair. I sat and picked at a hangnail on my thumb until it bled. “Well, I didn’t exactly say no. I, uh, well… I pretended that I hadn’t heard him. I thanked him for getting me safely to my car, got in and drove home. The next day, I took the ring in and got it resized. He’s off on Mondays. I picked the ring up Monday night and when I signed in on Tuesday, I made a point of moving my left hand around a lot so he would see it.” I was suddenly horribly embarrassed. I looked up at Nancy and relaxed. She never looked or acted shocked by anything I told her … I loved that about her. “Hmm, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but telling the story now … it seems kind of silly.”
She smiled at me. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just be honest with him? Wouldn’t you like to be able to thank him for the invitation, but tell him that you’re just not interested in dating right now?” I looked down and nodded. “That’s what I meant earlier, Sam. That Joe has taken a part of you emotionally. He took that independent woman who didn’t need a ruse to avoid people. Our job is to get her back.”

Monday, November 18, 2019

December and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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The 12th and final installment of the Single Heart Series -

AJ, a rehab nurse, finds a true love and loses him on the same day. She goes to great lengths to find him again in the concluding novel of Vi Zetterwall’s feel-good Single Heart Series. December ties up all the loose ends and solves the mystery of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. If you have not already read all or some of the Single Heart series books, this one will be a spoiler and take away the suspense of the others. Reading the entire series in order will make 'December' a more satisfying read.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

It Happened One Christmas by Kathy Carmichael

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Billionaire CEO Nat Danvers has good looks, money, power, prestige—everything—except the one thing he really needs. But only in the loneliest corners of his frozen heart is he aware something is missing. Christmas Eve arrives to find Nat alone in his penthouse office, filling out layoff notices while his employees unknowingly celebrate at the office holiday party. In breezes the most incredibly beautiful woman he's ever seen. Daphne, part angel, part human, has been sent by the Angelic Council to teach Nat some tough lessons in the hope his hardened heart will melt. She has only one night in which to help him. With the clock ticking before he must go, can love find a way to touch them both? This is the new sweet & clean version of Angel Be Good.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sam's Story: Book Two (Skylar Trilogy) by Amy D. Crusan-Kramer Excerpt

$3.99

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In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book Two opens in 1987, eight years after the events of Book One. Sam is living the life she had only dreamed of as a young girl in poverty-stricken West Virginia. She has a best friend, her own apartment and a good job. Sam fancies herself the epitome of the modern independent woman. Due to the debilitating losses Sam suffered as a young girl, she is understandably hesitant to make herself vulnerable to another person, and struggles with emotional intimacy. When she finally allows herself to love again, she suffers a heartbreak that takes years to heal.

1992 is a pivotal year for Sam. She spends two months on the campaign trail as the personal assistant to the Democratic candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States. During her time away from Georgia, Sam realizes what, and who, is important in her life and she is confident of the direction the rest of her life will take. But the fates can be cruel … and a visitor from her past changes everything.

Excerpt:

Samantha
I was at my desk at 7:15 Monday morning and couldn’t sit still. I’d straightened up the outer office … several times. Finally at 8:05, Bastian came in. I looked up at him … and did a double take. It looked like he may have done some shopping too. He looked so handsome. He was wearing a dark charcoal grey suit that I’d never seen before. I smiled and blushed … his tie was pink, matching the color of my camisole perfectly. His eyes were taking in my new outfit. He chuckled, “Well, I see you got the memo about grey and pink today.”
“You look handsome, Sebastian.”
“And you, pretty girl, are beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I whispered, blushing like a twelve-year-old.
I heard Chelsea before I saw her. “Hey, how come we didn’t see you this weekend… oh my, look at the two of you! Get up, missy, let’s see the new duds!” I stood and walked out from behind my desk. “Turn around…” Bastian rolled his eyes at Jake and went into his office. “I approve.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” I laughed and returned to my seat.
“Don’t even think of telling me you got that at a thrift store! Which means that you did the unthinkable: you went shopping, at a regular store by the way, without me! What’s wrong with you?”
Jake walked by and whispered, “Thank you.” I giggled. Chelsea did love to shop!
“I don’t know … it was a spur of the moment thing. I just ran up to the mall after I left the animals on Saturday.” I walked over to her desk and looked to make sure both Jake and Bastian were in their offices and whispered, “Does the cami make me look slutty? I’m going for professional.”
Chelsea laughed out loud. “You know what Sam? I would like to see you, just once, looking slutty! No, you look very senatorial!” I walked back to my desk, satisfied. “So, really, what’d you do this weekend? Didn’t you get the message I left on your phone? We wanted you to go to a movie with us yesterday.”
“I got your message. I’m so keyed up about this lunch … look at me, my palms are all sweaty. I’ll bet that’ll impress the heck out of him. I’m going to have to shake his hand, right?”
“Good Christ! He’s a Senator. Yes, that’s impressive, but you’re just going to have lunch, talk about his event and then he walks out of your life. It’s not like you’re going on a blind date or something.”
I laughed, “You’re right and I keep telling myself all that, but I just keep thinking about me and where I came from. What’ll we talk about? We won’t have anything in common and he’ll think I’m a moron.”
“That dumbass Joe! That’s where all this is coming from isn’t it? You are funny … you’re well read … you love animals … you love baseball and you stay up-to-date on politics and current issues. You’ll be fine! Besides, Bastian will be there … stop being silly!”
“All right. Leave me alone. I’ve got work to do!”
“What time is he coming?”
“We’re meeting here at 11:15 and then going to lunch.” I stood up and walked over to her desk, whispering again. “Does this skirt make my ass look huge? I feel like it does.”
“Stop it, crazy! Get back to work!” I turned my back to her and returned to my desk. “No, it doesn’t! It makes it look good though.”
“Chels,” I whined, “that’s not what I’m going for…” She stuck her tongue out at me and we settled in to work.

“Shit!” I looked up; Chelsea was looking under her desk, holding her ear. “Get over here, Sam, I need your help!”
I got up and walked over to her desk. “What is wrong with you? What’d you lose now?”
“Shh, come here closer. The back of my earring … I think it’s back there, under the desk.”
I laughed at her. “Well, crawl under and get it.”
“Would you?”
“No! Have Jake get it … he has pants on. I can’t crawl under there in this skirt!” I started to walk back to my desk and she grabbed my wrist, pulling me back. “Chelsea!” I giggled. “Stop it!”
“Listen, I can’t have Jake do it. These are the earrings he got me for Christmas … that I practically begged on bended knee for. He told me it was a waste to buy me nice things, because I’m always losing them! C’mon, Sam, crawl under and look.”
I rolled my eyes, and leaned on her shoulder while I stepped out of my heels. “Why am I doing this for you? Why can’t you crawl under and get it?”
She grinned wickedly, “Because, my little munchkin, you can practically walk under the desk. Just duck your head a little…” her thought trailed off into laughter.
I got down on my hands and knees, not amused. “Okay, where do you think it went?”
“It’s way toward the back, I think.”
“Of course it is,” I muttered and crawled under her desk … seeing nothing. “I don’t see anything. Get down here and show me where you mean.”
She got down under the desk with me. “Good Christ, Sam!” We looked around and she suddenly collapsed in laughter, lying down on her side. “Um, you’d better hope Jake stays in his office. That skirt? A little short and even shorter when you’re on your hands and knees!”
I reached back and pulled the skirt down as far as it would go and continued looking, ignoring her nonsense. “Is this it?” I held up the small gold back.
She took it and crawled out from under the desk. “That is it! You’re the best friend ever. Thanks, Sam. Come on out.”
“Oh, can I come out now? Chels, how do I stand up ladylike in this? I’m going to need some help.”
“I’ll help you … back up! God, if you didn’t have to get all gussied up for your Senator…”
“Stop! If I run these nylons because of you…”
“Senator Carrington. I’m sorry, I don’t know where our assistants are.” I groaned as I heard Bastian’s voice.
“Dammit, Chelsea,” I hissed quietly at her. Her eyes were big as saucers and full of mischief. We both slowly backed out and looked up.
“Oh, god, you two,” Bastian groaned. “How long have you been standing out here, Daniel?”
I looked over at the Senator and breathed a sigh of relief when he looked at me and winked. His eyes were almost as full of mischief as Chelsea’s. “Just walked in, Sebastian,” he said as he shook Bastian’s hand. He then turned back to us. “You two find what you were looking for?”
Chelsea popped right up and shook his hand, “We did. I’m so sorry about this. I’m Chelsea Murphy.” I sat there staring at her with my mouth wide open. I couldn’t believe she left me down on the floor.
“Sam, you okay?” Bastian asked.
“Um, yes, just…”
“It’s so good to see you, Sebastian,” the Senator interrupted. “Why don’t you show me your office?” Bastian shot me another look before turning to lead the Senator to his office. Senator Carrington looked at me and smiled warmly. “Glad you found the back of her earring, I’ll keep the boss busy while you get up,” he laughed. It was a nice laugh. “Nice to meet you, Chelsea. Now, since Samantha was so kind to find the back of your earring, you should help her up.” He disappeared into Bastian’s office.
Chelsea just stood there watching the Senator leave. I reached over and tapped her on the foot. “Um, excuse me, can I get a little help down here?”
She looked down at me and burst out laughing. “Well, Sam, at least the ice is broken! Get up, silly.” I grabbed her hands and got up … probably baring everything in the process. She laughed and pulled my skirt back down to its desired length. “Besides, he went all Prince Charming on you, giving you privacy. Instead of Bastian who just looked at us like we’d lost our minds!”
“Well?” I shoved my feet back into my shoes and stalked over to my desk.
“Okay, be in a snit. You can’t stay angry with me for long. You’ll see the humor in this eventually.”
I stopped mid-way across the office and returned to Chelsea’s desk and whispered, “Would you do a nylon check for me?”
“Wow, you got over that quicker than I thought you would. Turn around.” I turned slowly while she checked the state of my nylons. “You look good … fantastic even.” With that, she gave my behind a smack.
I started to laugh until I heard Bastian groan again. “God, you two. Can you pretend to be adults when we have visitors in the office?”
“I-I’m sorry, Senator, we’re usually much better behaved.” I walked over and extended my hand. He took it with a smirk. “I’m Samantha Skylar. I may not have inspired a lot of confidence in you…”
“Oh, no, you’re the one that found the earring, right? Let’s go to lunch, I’m starved.”

Monday, November 11, 2019

October and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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LOVE VERSUS THE IMMOVABLE FORCE

“It’s none of your business.” That was the answer neighbors heard when a mysterious man bought a parcel of land in a run-down neighborhood. Every indication was that he was up to no good. Sarah Lowell, a widow with two young children wasn’t the type to timidly accept that. She may have been searching for love but she was up for a war. The taciturn developer goes head to head with a diligent mother and odds are, only one of them will win.

This is the tenth romantic novella in the series and it tells a story of inter-racial relationships. Sarah is an African American widow with a strong sense of right and wrong while Mr. October is an enigmatic, uncommunicative white male. He seems to be working overtime to be disliked and untrusted. October and the Single Heart takes a look at this urban story that is much like real world events that are happening every day. It is a story of heartbreak, tears and reversals as colliding wills fight on.

Like all of the romantic novellas in the Single Heart series, this is a stand-alone story which follows events that occur as a new female lead character comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. Vi Zetterwall’s Single Heart series explores the very nature of a woman and a man’s relationship. Each book is a distinctive story—a short novel that pays homage to the verbal foreplay that goes on early in a relationship. Vi’s novels feature unique characters facing everyday problems—and sometimes, not-so-everyday. Although the characters and plotlines are all different, there is a connecting thread: In each book, the leading lady comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. In ways, sometimes small, sometimes great, the coin affects her actions and all subsequent events.

In your life, you have probably experienced an event that seemed inconsequential at the time but had far-reaching results. Vi’s books explore the magic that occurs when serendipity strikes and some chance meeting, a misunderstanding, an unexpected job offer or a misread clue leads to two people finding each other and falling in love. Vi writes about relationships and the drama that comes from every conversation. The steam that rises from her books is not due to an abundance of love scenes. You won’t see many phrases discussing the male anatomy or torrid moments in the bedroom. But you will feel your blood pressure rise during the dialogue-heavy scenes between potential lovers. Your heart will ache when the leading lady’s does and you will gain the same insights about life and love as she has.

Follow the travels of one coin and the lives it touches. As each book concludes, the protagonist passes on the Coin of Luck to another random woman—sort of a sneak preview to the next tale in the series. And everything seems to change after that. Is the coin magic or is it merely a catalyst that pushes love in the right direction? Every reader will have to decide for themselves. Vi Zetterwall weaves feel-good stories of love, suspense, mystery, and always a twist or two at the end. She loves a happy ending and never fails to deliver.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

September and the Single Heart (Single Heart Series Book 9) by Vi Zetterwall


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CAN ENEMIES FALL IN LOVE?
Anne Giamatti Is more than just a rich and powerful man’s daughter. She is a smart, beautiful, insightful woman of thirty-four with a heart full of passion for the right man. But her protected life dramatically minimized her chances of ever finding him. On a sunny day in January, she is given the Coin of Luck and after that, her life spirals out of control. The man she meets, James Hale, is deliberate, cold, calculating and capable of terrible deeds. A superior planner just like her father, James kidnaps her and holds her for a ransom she can't imagine. Caught in the battle between her father and James, Anne finds herself in the middle of something she does not yet understand…with only her wits to survive.

Excerpt:

On day thirty-nine, she heard the door unlock at two fifteen in the afternoon. James knocked and called through the door, “You decent? Can I come in?”
“Suit yourself.”
He opened the door and stepped inside. “I see the kitty still has her claws out. I really wish you would relax. You’re not going to be harmed.”
“So you say. I’m sure I should believe you since you’re such a stand up kind of guy.”
He turned to leave the room. As he did, he said, “Well, I was just here to announce congratulations. You’ve been paroled—thirty minutes early, for good behavior.” Then he walked away.
Anne put on her shoes and strolled out of her room. She went downstairs to the kitchen and checked the fridge. A voice from the living room called out to her, “Boss made a run to the market this morning. We’re all stocked up on everything, including those little itsy bitsy Corona beers you like.”
She peered out into the living room. Joey sat on the couch, downing a raspberry seltzer. The front door was open with just the screen door shut. She walked out into the living room, eyes focused on the door.
Noticing that, Joey said, “The boss said you could go outside and sit with him at the pond. He wants to talk to you.”
Eyeing him with suspicion, she nevertheless went outside. For the briefest of seconds she judged the distance to the highway and wondered if she could make it and flag down a car before they caught her. It seemed like a losing proposition, so she walked over to the bow of the hill and sat down next to James. She said nothing.
They both sat there, side by side, making no comment for ninety seconds. Finally, James pointed to the far side of the pond and said, “I’ve been watching that little frog over on the far side. Now and then he moves and every time he does, that bird up in the tree turns its head toward him, like he is checking out the lunch menu or something.”
“I know this lowlife who once told me that for every action there’s a reaction.”
“Yeah. How low is he?”
“As low as you can get. He plays handball off the curb. He steals people from their lives and then locks them in their room when they’ve only done what any normal person would do. I think he’s just mean that way.”
Again there was an extended pause in the conversation. Being outside was like a gift from heaven for Anne. She closed her eyes and let the soft wind tickle her face as the afternoon’s last rays of sun beat down on her.
She glanced over at him. Again, she caught a trace of an odd smile as he stared at her.
“I’ve seen that smile before. My mom used to call those ‘secret smiles.’ You know what that is?”
James shook his head. “Tell me.”
“A secret smile is the kind you smile just for yourself. And it has a special meaning. It’s a smile that means something unique to you and to no one else.”
James pondered that. “Your mom teach you anything else?”
Anne looked off into the distance. “Plenty. She taught me good manners. And, by the way, kidnapping people is not good manners. And she also taught me to always do three things when I conversed with people.”
Now she had James’s attention. “Don’t be a tease. What three things?”
Anne gave herself a secret smile. “She said always say something nice, say something true, and say something that causes them to reflect. She said it was a surefire way to build a good relationship.”
“Hmmm, an interesting philosophy. So…do you have three things for me?”
Anne eyed him carefully. “Hmm, let me think. Yeah, I guess I do.” She paused for effect.
“Well, what are they?” asked an impatient James.
“All right, here are your three things: my father hasn’t killed you yet, my father hasn’t killed you yet, and my father hasn’t killed you yet. How’s that work for you?”
Playing along, James nodded. “Well, let’s see. Something nice, something true, and something to reflect on. You’re right. That works. Not sure if it helps build a strong relationship, though.”
“Yeah, well, I guess my mom wasn’t always right.”
“Remind me not to verbally joust with you too often. I’m getting my butt kicked.”
Anne chuckled quietly to herself. Just then an orange-colored butterfly descended from higher up and flew within a few feet of Anne and James. It fluttered its wings and hovered for a few moments. Anne reached her hand out toward it and it quickly flew away.
“Well, at least she can escape from here.” Anne flashed a look at James.
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