Book Showcase: LONG PAST SUMMER by Noué Kirwan

LONG PAST SUMMER by Noue Kirwan book coverLong Past Summer by Noué Kirwan
ISBN: 9781335448828 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780369720719 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488214479 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09NB2KLFH (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09LHVZ6HN (Kindle edition)
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Women’s Fiction | Multicultural & Interracial Romance

With the Southern charm of Sweet Home Alabama and the emotional complexity of In Five Years, Long Past Summer is a sparkling second-chance romance from debut author Noué Kirwan, written from the author’s own perspective in the Black community.

“Kirwan’s excellent debut brings charm, complexity, and plenty of heat…This mature, steamy romance will have readers swooning.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Noué Kirwan’s exquisitely-written debut left me breathless.”—Farrah Rochon, USA Today bestselling author of The Dating Playbook

Long Past Summer is powerful.”—Naima Simone, USA Today bestselling author

It’s hard to move on from a broken heart—and harder to move on from a broken friendship.

Mikaela Marchand is living the polished life she always planned for: a successful New York lawyer, with a promotion in her sights and a devoted boyfriend by her side. She’s come a long way from the meek teen she was growing up in small town Georgia, but the memory of her adolescence isn’t far—in fact, it’s splashed across a massive billboard in Times Square. An old photograph of Mikaela and her former best friend, Julie, has landed on the cover of a high-profile fashion magazine advertised all over the city. And when Julie files a lawsuit, Mikaela is caught in the middle as defense lawyer for the magazine.

Not only will she have to face Julie for the first time in years, Mikaela’s forced to work closely with the photographer in question: the former love of her life—and Julie’s ex-husband—Cameron Murphy. Mikaela needs to win the case to get her promotion—and as a junior partner, she has no margin for error. But unresolved feelings still exist between Cam and Mikaela, and jealousy always made Julie play dirty…

With flashbacks to summers of first loves and fragile friendships, Long Past Summer looks at the delicate and powerful thread that binds and breaks friends and flames.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Powell’s

Read an excerpt:

one

NOW

Mikaela took a deep, cleansing breath and rolled her shoulders back.

Breathe, she chided herself. She hadn’t even darkened the doorstep yet; a heart attack in advance of that seemed premature.

One of the doors to the gallery stood open in invitation, but it was the frigid air escaping from inside that was actually more enticing. It was unseasonably hot. A freak heat wave had made it a blazing, makeup-melting, fire-hydrant-opening, egg-sizzling-out-on-the-sidewalk day in New York City, in only early May. Still, Mikaela wouldn’t reward herself with the tempting relief offered inside. Instead, she just stood on the bottom step for yet another moment, lingering as the various city dwellers went about their business. Another typical Saturday afternoon along a cobblestoned street in Soho.

Despite its swank location, this art gallery was more nondescript than any of the other storefronts that lined the street, rather anonymously tucked in between several ultra-high-end fashion boutiques. Its entrance, an open doorway like an ominous black hole, sat among a sea of gleaming white and vibrantly colored doors. In the single large plate-glass window hung a poster advertising a photographer’s retrospective and the gallery’s address. Adorning the poster was a small reproduction of a picture that even now bedeviled Mikaela from no less than a magazine cover, a thirty-foot sign in Times Square and numerous subway station advertisements across the City. But now, looking at the size of the relatively unremarkable gallery, she guessed most of the exhibit’s undoubtedly extravagant budget must have gone to the rent on this place and the marketing for that poster alone.

The gallery itself was lo-fi, unassuming and minuscule, judging from her spot well outside of it. Mikaela pushed her sunglasses up off her face and peered through the dim doorway, head angling this way and that like an owl. Her feet remained rooted in place, fear-induced moisture popping out on her brow and nose, sweating through her carefully applied war paint. The problem was the sun made it hard to make out what further surprises might lie in wait for her on the other side of the door.

“It’s okay,” a voice said, startling Mikaela from behind.

Mikaela spun around. A young woman with a bright smile and a nearly white-blonde ponytail stood on the sidewalk below. She squinted without the benefit of her sunglasses, which hung neatly tucked in between her breasts on her floral ditsy-print sundress. One open blue eye appraised Mikaela, top to bottom.

“We’re open. They’re just putting the final finishing touches on everything but it’s all in there.” She took a step up onto the old wooden stairs then paused, waiting to see if Mikaela would choose to enter.

Rather, Mikaela stepped aside to let her pass with two large iced coffees in her hands.

Indecision still gnawed at her nerves.

“Is the photographer in?” Mikaela gave a courteous smile as the young woman continued past.

“Yup, should be. This is for him.” She raised one of the coffee cups. “He tries to come in for at least a couple of hours every day—he’ll probably be coming in more often leading up to the opening.”

Mikaela nodded as they changed places, backing down the steps as the young woman ascended. They continued to regard each other: the young woman with mild curiosity, Mikaela with acute wariness.

The young woman paused again at the top, just in the threshold. “Do you want me to get him?” She turned to the photo in the window then back to Mikaela. The beginnings of a smile curving the corners of her mouth. “Or tell him you stopped by? Miss…?”

For a split second, Mikaela saw the omnipresent photo in the window the way any stranger might.

Two girls on a swimmer’s platform on a summer day.

“Oh no, that’s not necessary.” Mikaela stood on the cobblestones again, heart thumping, resolve faltering. Not only the full glare of the sun but also her own discomfort burned her up, urging her retreat. She shielded her face with a palm, partially from shame, and hurried down the street.

She was half a long block away the first time she heard her name. She hadn’t heard his voice in over fifteen years, but she recognized it, quickening her steps.

“Mikaela!” he bellowed again over the ambient noises of the street.

It was still distant but closer.

Mikaela hazarded a quick glance over her shoulder. A figure made his way toward her, dodging pedestrians as he moved. Mikaela stepped into the street, raising her arm, waving her hand.

A passing yellow cab pulled over. She yanked open the door.

“Please drive,” she commanded. “I’ll tell you where to go in a second. Just pull off, okay?”

The cabbie eyed her through the rearview mirror then glanced farther down the street before understanding her hurry and doing as she requested.

A full minute later, he spoke, turning off the small bumpy street and merging into traffic on the smoother avenue. “Where to, miss?”

“Downtown Brooklyn, please.” Mikaela sighed. She swallowed through the lump forming in her throat trying to sort why his voice had upset her.

She had always imagined she would instinctively know if Cameron was in her city. Or that maybe they could walk past each other, simply another two strangers in a city of eight million. But today proved, for her, that wasn’t possible.

He is Cameron Murphy and I am Mikaela Marchand and as long as we remain who we are, that will always be a patently ridiculous idea.

Mikaela pressed the button lowering the window nearest her, sinking into her seat. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the thick, pungent city air that blew into her face as her cab sped down the windy expressway along Manhattan’s East River.

two

THEN
November 2001

“Here.”

A female sheriff’s deputy handed Mikaela a moist towelette. Mikaela took it and wiped the black ink off her fingers.

“We’ve called your parents, who said they’d be here soon, but we haven’t finished processing you yet.” The deputy raised an arm and waved over an extremely tall young man in a dress shirt and khakis. “As soon as we’re done with this, someone’ll take you to stand in front of the judge and then your folks can spring you.”

Mikaela nodded, meticulously removing every drop of ink from her fingertips.

“Stay here. Cam’ll finish up with you,” she instructed gruffly before switching places with the young man and walking away.

Mikaela and the photographer stood staring at one another for a moment before he leaned forward and whispered, “Judge came in special to arraign y’all. Your parents must be pretty important, huh?”

“Not mine, hers.” Mikaela nodded down the hall in the direction of her best friend, Julie. Julie leaned against the high-top intake counter chatting with the desk sergeant and another deputy. “Her daddy’s a judge too, but Georgia Supreme.”

“Oh, so a real muckety-muck then?” He reached into a tub on a nearby desk and handed her several more wipes.

“I suppose.” Mikaela eyed the stack of wet wipes in her hands.

The young man mimed wiping his own face in a circular motion.

“I gotta take your mug shot,” he explained.

“You? Aren’t you a little young to be a deputy?”

“I’m not… A deputy, I mean. Just takin’ the pictures. Grade two, office support. But I can’t photograph purple-faced perps.”

“Oh.” Mikaela obediently scrubbed at her face, yet every towelette came back with more purple paint. After the fifth one, she stopped.

“Can I please just wash my face in the bathroom?”

The photographer shrugged and directed her down the hall.

Inside the restroom, Mikaela made for the sink and the large mirror above it. She had a hard time, right then, remembering why she had been so obsessed with this “senior prank” for so many years. Although Mikaela could admit, up until she’d had breakfast that morning, she’d still been so excited. Even as she and Julie applied their purple-and-gold face paint, and Mikaela’s little sister, Vanessa, affixed two glittery wigs of opposing colors onto their heads, they’d all giggled with an almost frothy enthusiasm.

“Trust me—no one will ever forget this!” Julie had promised, pulling Mikaela up the vaguely damp football tunnel to the thundering beat of the Harmon Spartans’ fight song—and also Mikaela’s heart.

“Yeah, ’cause we’ll be laughingstocks.”

“We’ll be legends!”

Arm in arm, they’d marched toward the light as the shaggy foil tips of the itchy wig tickled Mikaela’s face.

And as usually happened, Mikaela could feel Julie’s seemingly limitless enthusiasm for high jinks begin to permeate the layers of her own innate reserve.

But now, standing under the harsh fluorescents of the police station bathroom, Mikaela just ripped off the moronic gold tinsel wig and ruffled her short brown hair trapped beneath it. It sprung wild, thick and curly from her scalp, freed from the loose plaits she’d had it in earlier. She took a deep breath and regarded herself, still covered in purple greasepaint. Was it worth it?

She knew that was going to be her father’s first question for her and she didn’t have an answer. Julie had been right—no one in this town would ever look at her the same again. Especially not after the two consecutive cartwheels and back handsprings she’d done on the fifty-yard line while school security chased Julie around the end zone during halftime at their high school’s final football game of the season. At the time, more than half of the stands roared in appreciation. Mikaela stifled a little smirk remembering it.

Of course, that was probably because most of the Tri-County area now knew her better than her own gynecologist did.

But the truth was, for those two hundred and eleven seconds, it had been utterly wonderful. Mikaela let loose and was completely herself, joyful and free and brimming with the most intense hopefulness and excitement about what lay ahead after graduation. Not only for herself but every single young person there. In fact, it had been three and half of the finest minutes of her life.

That is until sheriff’s deputies tackled her to the ground and dragged her off the field in handcuffs. Now, Mikaela stood in the mirror wearing only an extra-large Spartans T-shirt, her pink Keds, the remnants of particularly noxious paint on her face and a slightly lopsided Afro. She was a mess.

“Pull it together,” Mikaela said to the grotesque, mocking face in the mirror.

She pressed the dispenser until there was a mound of soap in her palm. Then, using paper towels to scrub, she washed most of the face paint off in three cycles. Her face was tender from the effort by the time she emerged from the ladies’ room.

“I was just about to come in there lookin’ for you,” the young man said as she stepped out. He stood in front of the door, facing it like a sentry.

“Sorry, it was a lot of paint.”

“Yeah, no kidding. I had no idea what you looked like under all that stuff.” He guided her back toward the intake area.

She glared up at him with lingering suspicion. “And what, were you taking bets?”

Mikaela had always been sensitive about her looks. A month from eighteen, she was still knobby kneed and gangly, with barely a B-cup. The only sizable things on her remained her hips and an ass that kept her from being one long, unbroken straight line from the back of her head to the back of her heels.

“Takin’ bets on what? That you weren’t a Purple People Eater?” He chuckled. “No, I just wondered. Step over there.” He pointed to a plain wall notched with height markings, in front of which stood a camera tripod. “Take this.” He handed her a placard to hold.

“I didn’t know you guys really did this.” She examined the slate with her name, the date and booking ID on it.

“We do.”

Mikaela was not this person. Not a person who got arrested. She was not prepared to forever be identified as one.

“You misspelled my name. Tell me, is it like a parking ticket? You mess it up, and I get to go free?”

“I wish.” He smirked. “You’re funny. What’s misspelled?” He walked up to her looking over her shoulder for the error.

Mikaela could tell what soap he liked to use and the fact that he’d brushed his teeth or eaten something cinnamony recently. She considered that as his eyes met hers briefly. This close, there were flecks of green in the blue of his irises.

“Um, it—it’s actually k with an a before e in my first name. M-i-k-a-e-l-a.”

“Well, Mikaela with a k-a-e, I’m Cameron.” He underlined a small name tag on his crisp white shirt with a flourish of his hand before reaching for the placard.

Their fingers brushed as he took it from her, whisking it back to the booking desk as she stood waiting. She chewed on her nails, staring for a moment at the bulletin board on the far wall. A collection of real-life FBI wanted posters lined it. She paid particular attention to the mug shots and shook her head at the realization that she was about to have one of those too.

A wolf whistle pulled Mikaela’s attention to Julie, standing down the hall. She laughed, galloping around the hall on an imaginary horse until one of the officers made her stop.

Cameron came back from around the desk to hand Mikaela the placard.

“Let’s try that again,” he said.

Julie made a face, mouthing the words “He’s hot” and fanning herself while his back was turned.

Mikaela attempted to hold in a snicker. Cameron looked over his shoulder but saw nothing. “What?” He smiled, trying to read her expression.

Mikaela’s stomach tensed, the kaleidoscope of butterflies that resided in there all suddenly banking hard left as his eyes searched her face for a clue. She shook her head, looking down for somewhere to put her eyes. Her fingers ran over the placard’s velvety felt board and sharp white plastic letters.

“Are you ready?” Cameron asked.

“Seems the real question is—” she cocked her head “—are you?” The second the words were out of her mouth she wondered where they’d come from.

His eyes widened and he chuckled again.

Embarrassed, Mikaela nodded, averting her eyes and stepping back to the wall.

Excerpt from Long Past Summer by Noué Kirwan.
Copyright © 2022 by Noué Kirwan.
Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Noué Kirwan, photo credit DAmbroseBoyd.com

Noué Kirwan is a Bronx, NY native, raised between there and the Bay Area of Northern California. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she currently, and for many years, has lived in Harlem, New York. When she’s not consuming copious amounts of media—binging TV shows, devouring movies, hoarding comic books, and inhaling romance novels—she’s writing herself, dreaming up lives for formidable women and the men who love them.

Connect with the author via: Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | TikTok | Twitter | Website

This showcase and excerpt is brought to you courtesy of Harlequin Books

Book Spotlight: SHIELDING HER SON by K.D. Richards

Shielding Her Son (West Investigations)
by K.D. Richards

About Shielding Her Son


Shielding Her Son (West Investigations)
Romantic Suspense
4th in Series
Harlequin Intrigue (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN10: ‎ 1335582088 (paperback)
ISBN13: ‎ 9781335582089 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780369731753 (eBook)
ASIN‏: ‎ B09N1PY2PH (Kindle edition)


Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:    Harlequin | IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

She thought she’d escaped her past…

Has it caught up with her?

Erika Powell has lived in hiding for years to protect her son from his wealthy, tyrannical grandfather. Wary of strangers, she’s suspicious of James West, who’s renting a neighboring cabin, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when attempts are made on Erika’s life, James fears he may have endangered her—because the undercover PI’s investigation of Erika may have led someone dangerous right to her.

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Discover more action-packed stories in the West Investigations series. All books are stand-alone with uplifting endings but were published in the following order:

Book 1: Pursuit of the Truth 

Book 2: Missing at Christmas

Book 3: Christmas Data Breach

Book 4: Shielding Her Son

About K.D. Richards

K.D. Richards was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college Kia earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently splits her time between Toronto and Maryland with her husband and two sons.

Author Links

Website www.kdrichardsbooks.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/kdrichardsauthor

Instagram www.instagram.com/kdrichardsauthor

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20494862.K_D_Richards

Tour Participants

July 25 – The Mystery of Writing – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

July 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 26 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – Novels Alive – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

July 27 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 27 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 28 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

July 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

July 28 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

July 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 30 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

Giveaway

Enter to win a digital copy of Shielding Her Son by K.D. Richards. This giveaway is hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. See the Rafflecopter form for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Book Showcase: THE SUMMER GETAWAY by Susan Mallery

THE SUMMER GETAWAY by Susan Mallery book coverThe Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery
ISBN: 9781335479990 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780369703668 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488213335 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09NB4R5ZY (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B093T6319S (Kindle edition)
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Siblings

One woman takes the vacation of a lifetime in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold a family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future. She has always put her family first. Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything?

Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California.

But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Apple Books | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | Google Play | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Target | Walmart

Read an Excerpt:

ONE

“I’m going to sleep with Dimitri.”

Robyn Caldwell picked up her glass of white wine and briefly thought about swallowing the entire contents in one gulp. Mindy’s statement was certainly gulp-worthy. But she knew pacing herself through lunch was the responsible thing to do. A lesson her friend had yet to learn.

“You are not,” Robyn murmured, because shrieking wasn’t attractive. Especially at “the club,” where their friends and frenemies were also enjoying Thursday’s lobster salad. The dining room was filled with forty or so women, all dressed in Florida chic—diamonds sparkling, gold or platinum charm bracelets clinking, necklaces resting on tanned and toned skin.

“I might,” Mindy Krause said, picking up her champagne. “He’s gorgeous.”

“Of course. He’s a thirty-year-old tennis pro. What else would he be?”

Mindy, a petite brunette who was six months from turning forty, sighed. “I need a Dimitri in my life.”

“You have a great husband. Payne loves you and the kids, and never has eyes for another woman. Why would you screw that up?”

“Payne would never know.”

“There aren’t any secrets in this town. Not in our social circle.”

Something Robyn had learned the hard way herself. She’d been blissfully unaware of her ex-husband’s affairs until a “friend” had oh-so-sweetly informed her.

“Maybe just some kissing,” Mindy mused. “I want a little Dimitri action. The fantasies make me happy, so imagine what the real thing would do.”

“The fantasies are safe. The real thing could destroy everything you have. Knowing you’ve cheated would devastate Payne.”

Mindy’s mouth formed a pout. “I never see him anymore. All he does is work.”

Robyn stared at her friend-slash-boss. “You two talked about how that promotion would be more work for him but that it would be worth it. You wanted this for him.”

“I didn’t know how much he’d be gone.”

The unreasonable statement grated nearly as much as Mindy’s whine. “This isn’t a good look for you,” Robyn murmured. “You’re changing the rules without telling your husband. That never ends well.”

Mindy dismissed the warning with a quick shake of her head. “I’m not worried. Besides, if he does find out, I can just move in with you.” She laughed. “You’ll soon have that big house all to yourself.”

“You have four kids,” Robyn pointed out. “If things go south in your marriage, I’d rather have Payne move in.”

“Well, that would get people talking.” Mindy held up her empty glass to the server. “More, please.”

The server obliged.

Mindy took another sip. “My sister called, swears she found a Thomas Pister chest in a tiny shop in Wales. It’s dirt cheap, so I’m afraid it’s a fake. She’s looking for someone to prove authenticity. Wouldn’t that be a find?”

“It would. I’d love to see it.”

Thomas Pister had built beautiful chests and cabinets in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His intricate designs with stunning inlays sold quickly and for huge amounts. Depending on the condition and the materials, a good-sized chest of drawers could go for sixty or eighty thousand dollars.

Excerpt from The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery.
Copyright © 2022 by Susan Mallery.
Published by HQN Books. All rights reserved.
Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Meet The Author

Author Susan Mallery Headshot

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
This excerpt brought to you by HQN Books

Book Showcase: MY DARLING HUSBAND by Kimberly Belle

MY DARLING HUSBAND by Kimberly BelleMy Darling Husband by Kimberly Belle
ISBN: 9780778312116 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778311560 (trade paperback releasing on March 8, 2022)
ISBN: 9780369705464 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488212611 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781665105279 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B094PSTKVL (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08MXZBSVY (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Park Row Books
Release Date: December 28, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Suspense Thriller | Psychological Thriller

Bestselling author of Dear Wife and The Marriage Lie, Kimberly Belle returns with her most heart-pounding thriller to date, as a masked home invader reveals the cracks in a marriage.

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

 

Read an Excerpt:

Jade
3:18 pm

I see the black figure in the shadows, and my first thought is of the kids, an immediate, full-throttle alarm that comes on like a freight train. This is parenthood in a nutshell: utter terror for your children’s welfare, always. It’s something Cam and I never thought about back when we were trying to get pregnant—the overwhelming insecurity when the doctor settled our babies into our arms, the unrelenting worry whenever they’re not near. I spot movement and I reach for them at the same time—instant and instinctual. My brain identifies a person, a male-sized form that does not belong here, and I shove their little bodies behind mine.

A man, looming in my garage. Breathing the same air.

I don’t move. I can’t. No fight. No flight. I just stand here, transfixed, dumbstruck, stock-still.

I think of my phone, buried under the mail and trash in my bag. I think of the panic button on the alarm pad in the house, on the other end of a breezeway and tucked safely behind a locked door. I think of my keys, next to my phone. Even if I managed to get us out of this garage, where would we go? I’d never make it inside the house, and the backyard is fenced, the gates either electronic or secured with a complicated, child-safe latch. There’s nowhere to escape.

“Don’t move. Stay quiet and I won’t hurt you.”

The voice is so frighteningly close. Hoarse, rattling in air hot with my sticky fear, and I don’t believe a single word. Especially not when he steps closer, and I get a better look. The man is wearing a mask. He’s holding a gun, a stubby black thing in a fist. Head-to-toe black, every bit of him covered, even his hands. His fingertips.

Run. I scream the word in my head, urging myself on. Grab the children and run.

Now.

A chill races down my spine. The hairs soldier on my skin.

This man is here to hurt me. To hurt us.

And still I can’t move.

So this is it, then. This is how my body responds when faced with sudden fright, with this hot, sluggish horror—like when your fingers brush over a strange lump under your armpit and you realize your life has veered sideways. Some people run. Others scream. Me, I just stand here, paralyzed by the mounting terror.

The kids, too. They stare at him with big, frightened eyes. A little hand grabs my pants leg.

“Please,” I somehow manage to squeak, but I can’t finish. Please don’t touch the children. Please don’t shoot us. The words are too horrifying to say out loud.

He moves closer, his gait smooth but there’s something sinister in the way he’s walking across the concrete floor. He’s like an animal on the hunt, joints loose, ready to pounce. All dangerous, coiled energy lurking just below the surface.

“Take my car.” I hold out my bag, a stupidly expensive designer thing from a couple years ago. “The keys are in here somewhere, and so’s my wallet. I—”

“I don’t want your purse. Don’t want your car, either.” His voice is deep and scratchy, the kind that sounds filled with cigarette smoke.

My stomach spirals, and I search his face for more, but the parts of him I can see—his lips, his eyes—are closed off. I search for something recognizable, something human I can appeal to, but there’s nothing. It’s like searching for meaning on a covered canvas.

Still, I take in every detail I can see and commit them to memory. Just under six foot, medium build, broad shouldered. Caucasian. I know this from his eyes, olive green and flecked with amber, the pink patch of skin around his mouth. His teeth are white and straight, the kind of straight that comes from braces.

“Do you want money? I don’t have cash, but take my card. My pin is 4-3-0-8.”

“Jade. Shh.”

My name on his tongue tightens a knot of panic in my gut, and I scurry—finally—backwards, putting some distance between me and this man, pushing the kids behind me and towards the door.

Stay calm.

Don’t panic.

Whatever happens, do not let the gunman in the house. That’s how people get killed. That’s how entire families end up in a pool of blood. As soon as you let the gunman into the house, you’re already dead.

Excerpt from My Darling Husband by Kimberly S. Belle Books, LLC.
Copyright © 2021 by Kimberly S. Belle Books, LLC.
Published by Park Row Books.
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet The Author

Kimberly Belle photo by Brandon Wattson
Kimberly Belle photo by Brandon Wattson

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of seven novels, including her latest, My Darling Husband (December 2021). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Author Website

This excerpt brought to you by Park Row Books

Book Spotlight: CHRISTMAS DATA BREACH by K.D. Richards

Christmas Data Breach (West Investigations) by K.D. Richards

About Christmas Data Breach

Christmas Data Breach (West Investigations)
Romantic Suspense
3rd in Series
Setting – New York/New Jersey
Publisher: ‎ Harlequin Intrigue (September 28, 2021)
Digital Print length: ‎ 256 pages
ASIN: ‎ B0917K3JQN
ISBN: 9781335489180 (paperback)

A mysterious fire is set at Christmas…

Forcing a security expert to reunite with the woman he never forgot

Security specialist Gideon Wright knows Mya Rochon’s cancer research is groundbreaking. But when an arsonist destroys his ex-wife’s lab and puts her at risk, he discovers it’s dangerous, too. With Gideon’s protection, Mya’s determined to finish her project—no matter the risk to her life…or Gideon’s heart. But will their rekindled partnership face its most deadly adversary yet?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Harlequin | IndieBound.org | Amazon Kindle | Apple books | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | eBooks.com | GooglePlay | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

About K.D. Richards

K.D. Richards was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college Kia earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently splits her time between Toronto and Maryland with her husband and two sons.

Author Links
Website www.kdrichardsbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kdrichardsauthor
Twitter https://www.twitter.com/kiadwrites
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kdrichardsauthor/
GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20494862.K_D_Richards
Bookbub: https://bit.ly/2TLCA7z

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 4 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 4 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

October 5 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

October 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

October 7 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – Novels Alive – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 8 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

October 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 10 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Book Showcase: THE INHERITANCE by JoAnn Ross

The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross
ISBN: 9781335503190 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781335418562 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488077968 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488211485 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781665069540 (audiobook – CD)
ASIN: B08NGMVRL3 (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0931R1B56 (Audible audiobook)
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Romance | World War II

CoverThe Inheritance_Ross
 

With a dramatic WWII love story woven throughout, JoAnn Ross’s women’s fiction debut is a generational saga full of sisterly affection and rivalry, perfect for fans of Susan Wiggs, Mary Alice Monroe and Lisa Wingate.

When conflict photographer Jackson Swann dies, he leaves behind a conflict of his own making when his three daughters, each born to a different mother, discover that they’re now responsible for the family’s Oregon vineyard—and for a family they didn’t ask for.

After a successful career as a child TV star, Tess is, for the first time in her life, suffering from a serious identity crisis, and renewed resentment around losing her father all over again.

Charlotte, brought up to be a proper Southern wife, gave up her own career to support her husband’s political ambitions. On the worst day of her life, she discovers her beloved father has died, she has two sisters she never knew about, and her husband has fallen in love with another woman.

Natalie, daughter of Jack’s longtime mistress, has always known about her half sisters. And she can’t help feeling that when Tess and Charlotte find out, they’ll resent her for being the daughter their father kept.

As the sisters reluctantly gather at the Maison de Madeleine to deal with their father’s final wishes, they become enchanted by the legacy they’ve inherited, and by their grandmother’s rich stories of life in WWII France and the wounded American soldier who would ultimately influence all their lives.

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Aberdeen, Oregon

Conflict photographer Jackson Swann had traveled to dark and deadly places in the world most people would never see. Nor want to. Along with dodging bullets and mortars, he’d survived a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, gotten shot mere inches from his heart in Niger and been stung by a death-stalker scorpion while embedded with the French Foreign Legion in Mali.
Some of those who’d worked with him over the decades had called him reckless. Rash. Dangerous. Over late-night beers or whatever else passed as liquor in whatever country they’d all swarmed to, other photographers and foreign journalists would argue about whether that bastard Jackson Swann had a death wish or merely considered himself invincible.

He did, after all, rush into high-octane situations no sane person would ever consider, and even when the shit hit the fan, somehow, he’d come out alive and be on the move again. Chasing the next war or crisis like a drug addict chased a high. The truth was that Jack had never believed himself to be immortal. Still, as he looked out over the peaceful view of rolling hills, the cherry trees wearing their spring profusion of pink blossoms, and acres of vineyards, he found it ironic that after having evaded the Grim Reaper so many times over so many decades, it was an aggressive and rapidly spreading lung cancer that was going to kill him.

Which was why he was here, sitting on the terraced patio of Chateau de Madeleine, the towering gray stone house that his father, Robert Swann, had built for his beloved war bride, Madeleine, to ease her homesickness. Oregon’s Willamette Valley was a beautiful place. But it was not Madeleine’s child-hood home in France’s Burgundy region where much of her family still lived.

Family. Jack understood that to many, the American dream featured a cookie-cutter suburban house, a green lawn you had to mow every weekend, a white picket fence, happy, well-fed kids and a mutt who’d greet him with unrestrained canine glee whenever he returned home from work. It wasn’t a bad dream. But it wasn’t, and never would be, his dream.

How could it be with the survivor’s guilt that shadowed him like a tribe of moaning ghosts? Although he’d never been all that introspective, Jack realized that the moral dilemma he’d experienced every time he’d had to force himself to re-main emotionally removed from the bloody scenes of chaos and death he was viewing through the lens of his camera had left him too broken to feel, or even behave like a normal human being.

Ten years ago, after his strong, robust father died of a sudden heart attack while fly-fishing, Jack had inherited the winery with his mother, who’d professed no interest in the day-to-day running of the family business. After signing over control of the winery to him, and declaring the rambling house too large for one woman, Madeleine Swann had moved into the guesthouse next to the garden she’d begun her first year in Oregon. A garden that supplied the vegetables and herbs she used for cooking many of the French meals she’d grown up with.

His father’s death had left Jack in charge of two hundred and sixty acres of vineyards and twenty acres of orchards. Not wanting, nor able, to give up his wanderlust ways to settle down and become a farmer of grapes and cherries, Jack had hired Gideon Byrne, a recent widower with a five-year-old daughter, away from a Napa winery to serve as both manager and vintner.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to call them?” Gideon, walking toward him, carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses, asked not for the first time over the past weeks.

“The only reason that Tess would want to see me would be to wave me off to hell.” In the same way he’d never softened the impact of his photos, Jack never minced words nor romanticized his life. There would be no dramatic scenes with his three daughters—all now grown women with lives of their own—hovering over his deathbed.

“Have you considered that she might want to have an opportunity to talk with you? If for no other reason to ask—”

“Why I deserted her before her second birthday and never looked back? I’m sure her mother’s told her own version of the story, and the truth is that the answers are too damn complicated and the time too long past for that discussion.” It was also too late for redemption.

Jack doubted his eldest daughter would give a damn even if he could’ve tried to explain. She’d have no way of knowing that he’d kept track of her all these years, blaming himself when she’d spiraled out of control so publicly during her late teens and early twenties. Perhaps, if she’d had a father who came home every night for dinner, she would have had a more normal, stable life than the Hollywood hurricane her mother had thrown her into before her third birthday.

Bygones, he reminded himself. Anything he might say to his firstborn would be too little, too late. Tess had no reason to travel to Oregon for his sake, but hopefully, once he was gone, curiosity would get the better of her. His girls should know each other. It was long past time.

“Charlotte, then,” Gideon pressed. “You and Blanche are still technically married.”

Technically being the operative word.” The decades-long separation from his Southern socialite wife had always suited them both just fine. According to their prenuptial agreement, Blanche would continue to live her privileged life in Charleston, without being saddled with a full-time live-in husband, who’d seldom be around at any rate. Divorce, she’d informed him, was not an option. And if she had discreet affairs from time to time, who would blame her? Certainly not him.

“That’s no reason not to give Charlotte an opportunity to say goodbye. How many times have you seen her since she went to college? Maybe twice a year?”

“You’re pushing again,” Jack shot back. Hell, you’d think a guy would be allowed to die in peace without Jiminy Cricket sitting on his shoulder. Though of the three of them, Charlotte will probably be the most hurt,” he allowed.

His middle daughter had always been a sweet girl, running into his arms, hair flying behind her like a bright gold flag to give her daddy some “sugar”—big wet kisses on those rare occasions he’d wind his way back to Charleston. Or drop by Savannah to take her out to dinner while she’d been attending The Savannah School of Art and Design.

“The girl doesn’t possess Blanche’s steel magnolia strength.”

Having grown up with a mother who could find fault in the smallest of things, Charlotte was a people pleaser, and that part of her personality would kick into high gear whenever he rolled into the city. “And, call me a coward, but I’d just as soon not be around when her pretty, delusional world comes crashing down around her.” He suspected there were those in his daughter’s rarified social circle who knew the secret that the Charleston PI he’d kept on retainer hadn’t had any trouble uncovering.

“How about Natalie?” Gideon continued to press. “She doesn’t have any reason to be pissed at you. But I’ll bet she will be if you die without a word of warning. Especially after losing her mother last year.”

“Which is exactly why I don’t want to put her through this.”

He’d met Josette Seurat, the ebony-haired, dark-eyed French Jamaican mother of his youngest daughter, when she’d been singing in a club in the spirited Oberkampf district of Paris’s eleventh arrondissement. He’d fallen instantly, and by the next morning Jack knew that not only was the woman he’d spent the night having hot sex with his first true love, she was also the only woman he’d ever love. Although they’d never married, they’d become a couple, while still allowing space for each other to maintain their own individual lives, for twenty-six years. And for all those years, despite temptation from beautiful women all over the globe, Jack had remained faithful. He’d never had a single doubt that Josette had, as well.

With Josette having been so full of life, her sudden death from a brain embolism had hit hard. Although Jack had immediately flown to Paris from Syria to attend the funeral at a church built during the reign of Napoleon III, he’d been too deep in his own grief, and suffering fatigue—which, rather than jet lag, as he’d assumed, had turned out to be cancer—to provide the emotional support and comfort his third daughter had deserved.

“Josette’s death is the main reason I’m not going to drag Natalie here to watch me die. And you might as well quit playing all the guilt cards because I’m as sure of my decision as I was yesterday. And the day before that. And every other time over the past weeks you’ve brought it up. Bad enough you coerced me into making those damn videos. Like I’m some documentary maker.”

To Jack’s mind, documentary filmmakers were storytellers who hadn’t bothered to learn to edit. How hard was it to spend anywhere from two to ten hours telling a story he could capture in one single, perfectly timed photograph?

“The total length of all three of them is only twenty minutes,” Gideon said equably.

There were times when Jack considered that the man had the patience of a saint. Which was probably necessary when you’d chosen to spend your life watching grapes grow, then waiting years before the wine you’d made from those grapes was ready to drink. Without Gideon Byrne to run this place, Jack probably would have sold it off to one of the neighboring vineyards years ago, with the caveat that his mother would be free to keep the guesthouse, along with the larger, showier one that carried her name. Had he done that he would have ended up regretting not having a thriving legacy to pass on to his daughters.

“The total time works out to less than ten minutes a daughter. Which doesn’t exactly come close to a Ken Burns series,” Gideon pointed out.

“I liked Burns’s baseball one,” Jack admitted reluctantly. “And the one on country music. But hell, it should’ve been good, given that he took eight years to make it.”

Jack’s first Pulitzer had admittedly been a stroke of luck, being in the right place at the right time. More care had gone into achieving the perfect photos for other awards, but while he admired Burns’s work, he’d never have the patience to spend that much time on a project. His French mother had claimed he’d been born a pierre roulante—rolling stone—always needing to be on the move. Which wasn’t conducive to family life, which is why both his first and second marriages had failed. Because he could never be the husband either of his very different wives had expected.

“Do you believe in life after death?” he asked.

Gideon took his time to answer, looking out over the vineyards. “I like to think so. Having lost Becky too soon, it’d be nice to believe we’ll connect again, somewhere, somehow.” He shrugged. “On the other hand, there are days that I think this might be our only shot.”

“Josette came again last night.”

“You must have enjoyed that.”

“I always do.”

Excerpt from The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross.
Copyright © 2021 by JoAnn Ross. Published by Harlequin Books S.A. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

JoAnn Ross Author photo

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author JoAnn Ross has been published in twenty-seven countries. The author of over 100 novels, JoAnn lives with her husband and many rescue pets — who pretty much rule the house — in the Pacific Northwest.

Connect with the author via: 

Facebook 
Goodreads
Instagram
Twitter
Website

This excerpt and virtual book tour brought to you by Harlequin Books

Guest Post: K.D. Richards – PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH

Saturday Salutations and Greetings. I can’t believe this is the last Saturday in January of 2021! They say time flies as we get older, but this is beyond ridiculous people. I know that some of you are still trying to adjust to being homebound. Perhaps because I have no children or job and my sole responsibility is taking care of my 86-y.o. mother, I get to spend a lot of my time reading (my mom has gotten back in the habit of reading, so now we read silently together, it’s a beautiful thing). Since I’ve been doing more reading, I’m always on the lookout for new books and new-to-me authors (discovering new authors is like unwrapping a gift that keeps on giving). Having a blog means I get the opportunity to do just that, meet plenty of new-to-me authors and books. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of those new-to-me writer, Ms. K.D. Richards, author of the recently released The Pursuit of Truth. I hope you’ll follow the blog tour to read some great reviews and to learn more about this book and author. I’ll be adding this book to my TBR list and hope you will as well. Ms. Richards will be talking to us today about her take on the foundations of writing. Thank you, Ms. Richards for taking time away from writing and your family life to join us today. The blog is now yours.

Tower of Writing

Like many of you, I’m experiencing the joys and frustrations of virtual school. Having my husband and two sons at home in the house I am used to having completely to myself for six and a half hours a day has been an adjustment.

A few weeks ago my youngest son was assigned a school project where he had to build something taller than himself using anything we had in the house. Of course we used books!

As I was helping him stack, and then restack because our base wasn’t wide enough the first time, and then re-restack because our base wasn’t wide enough the second time either, it donned on me that this project was a lot like my process for writing a book.

Our first couple of tries at building something taller than my son failed because we hadn’t built a sturdy enough foundation to hold all the books that would be piled on top. This often happens to me when I’m writing my outline (I’m a plotter) and/or first draft. The idea may be sound but the problem or goal I plan to have my character pursue might not be weighty or complex enough.

Because I write suspense and thrillers the external goals tend to be ‘stay alive’ or ‘catch the killer.’ But the best protagonists have both external and internal problems and/or goals. Yes, the character may be running from a killer but the only way to stay alive is to return to her hometown and face her family’s dark secrets. When I’ve done things really well, the external goals and internal goals complement each other. I find that for most readers, it is the internal goal that makes the character dynamic and interesting enough to keep the reader engaged.

Once I have a solid base it’s time to start stacking or, in the case of writing, building in your complications – otherwise known as creating plot twists! Twists come in many forms. Secrets, unforeseen obstacles, setbacks, and devastating revelations. Really anything that sends the characters in a direction they, and hopefully the reader, did not anticipate.

I like my twists to carry the characters into the big reveal (sorry, I don’t have a book tower reference for this one!). Some writer’s refer to this as the “Ah-ha moment.” This is the point that the who, what, when, and where all come together. The hero and heroine finally figure out what they need to do to solve the problem or achieve the external goal. They also should have sufficiently dealt with their internal problem or goal.

So after two failed attempts, my son and I finally had a tower that would last long enough for me to snap a picture and prove he had achieved his goal. In writing parlance, this is the resolution point. In a suspense or thriller, the resolution can take many forms. When I’m writing or reading a book I like to at least be left with an idea of where the main character’s life is headed. I’m not a gal that appreciates ambiguity at the end of a good novel. Tell me what happens!

If you are writing a romance, or romantic suspense, the resolution is also sometimes called “the happily ever after, or the happy for right now”. Most romance readers want the couple to end up together at the end of the book. To be honest, I do too. It’s fiction, right? One of the only places everything can always work out well for the good guys.

Whatever the genre, the end of the book must not only tie up all the threads of the plot and resolve the problem, twists, and turns that carried the reader through to the end of the book, it must give the reader the psychological payoff that is promised at the beginning. I’m sure we have all read books that were fabulous but the end was just…meh. Of course, this is easier said than done.

If you’re looking for a read full of suspense and romance, pick up Pursuit of the Truth by K.D. Richards.

About The Pursuit of the Truth

Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)

Romantic Suspense 1st in Series

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (January 26, 2021)

Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages

ISBN-10: 1335401539

ISBN-13: 978-1335401533

Digital ASIN: B08CSRDVWK

His skills can keep her safe

Her secrets could get them killed…

Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Purchase Links: AmazonKoboHarlequinB&N

About K.D. Richards

K. D. Richards is the pseudonym for Kia Dennis. Kia was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently lives in the Toronto area with her husband and two sons. Sign up for her newsletter at kdrichardsbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @kiadwrites

Author Links:
Website: kdrichardsbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kdrichardsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kdrichardsauthor
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fYaI6P
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20494862.K_D_Richards

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

January 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – I Read What You Write -GUEST POST

February 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 3 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW

February 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

February 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Great Escapes Book Tours

Book Showcase: THE SECRETS OF LOVE STORY BRIDGE by Phaedra Patrick


The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra PatrickISBN: 9780778309789 (hardcover) ISBN: 9780778310211 (trade paperback) ISBN: 9781488056345 (ebook) ISBN: 9781488208188 (digital audiobook) ASIN: B082YDJ187 (Audible audiobook) ASIN: B07QZ3SLPR (Kindle edition) Publisher: Park Row BooksPublication Date: April 28, 2020


A single father gets an unexpected second chance at love in the heartwarming new novel from the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper It’s summer in the city and passions are soaring along with the temperature—for everyone but Mitchell Fisher, who hates all things romance. He relishes his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to the famous “love story” bridge. Only his young daughter, Poppy, knows that behind his prickly veneer, Mitchell still grieves the loss of her mother. Then one hot day, everything changes when Mitchell courageously rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but she disappears before he can ask her name. Desperate to find out her identity, Mitchell is shocked to learn she’s been missing for almost a year. He teams up with her spirited sister, Liza, on a quest to find her again. However, she’s left only one clue behind—a message on the padlock she hung on the bridge. Brimming with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and a sparkling cast of characters, The Secrets of Love Story Bridge follows one man’s journey to unlock his heart and discover new beginnings in the unlikeliest places.


Read an Excerpt


The Lilac Envelope

The night before


As he did often, over the past three years, Mitchell Fisher wrote a letter he would never send. 

He sat up in bed at midnight and kicked off his sheets. Even though all the internal doors in his apartment were open, the sticky July heat still felt like a shroud clinging to his body. His nine-year-old daughter Poppy thrashed restlessly in her sleep, in the bedroom opposite. 

Mitchell turned on his bedside lamp, squinting against the yellow light, and took out a pad of Basildon Bond notepaper from underneath his bed. He always used a fountain pen to write—old-fashioned he supposed, but he was a man who valued things that were well-constructed and long-lasting. 

Mitchell tapped the pen against his bottom lip. He knew what he wanted to say, but by the time his words of sorrow and regret travelled from his brain to his fingertips, they were only fragments of what he longed to express. 

As he started to write, the sound of the metal nib scratching against paper helped him block out the city street noise that hummed below his apartment.

Dearest Anita
Another letter from me. Everything here is fine, ticking along. Poppy is doing well. The school holidays start soon and I thought she’d be more excited. It’s probably because you’re not here to enjoy them with us. 
I’ve taken two weeks off work to spend with her, and have a full itinerary planned for us—badminton, tennis, library visits, cooking, walking, the park, swimming, museums, cooking, a tour of the city bridges, and more. It will keep us busy. Keep our minds off you. 
You’ll be amazed how much she’s grown, must be almost your height by now. I tell her how proud I am of her, but it always means more coming from you.


Mitchell paused, resting his hand against the pad of paper. He had to tell her how he felt.

Every time I look at our daughter, I think of you. I wish I could hold you again, and tell you I’m truly sorry.
Yours, always
Mitchell x


He read his words, always dissatisfied with them, never able to convey the magnitude of grief and guilt he felt. After folding the piece of paper once, he sealed it into a crisp, cream envelope, then squeezed it into the almost-full drawer of his nightstand, amongst all the other letters he’d written. His eyes fell upon the slim lilac envelope he kept on top, the one addressed to him from Anita, that he’d not yet been able to bring himself to open. 

Taking that envelope out, he held it under his nose and inhaled. There was still a slight scent of her on the paper, he thought, of violet soap. His finger followed the angle of the gummed flap and then stopped. He closed his eyes and willed himself to open the letter, but his fingernails dented crescents into the paper.

Once more, he placed it back into his drawer. 

Mitchell lay down and hugged himself, imagining Anita’s arms were wrapped around him. But, when he closed his eyes, the words from all the letters weighed down upon him like a bulldozer. As he turned and tried to sleep, he pulled the pillow over his head to force them away.

1. A Locked Heart

The lovers who attached their padlocks to the bridges of Upchester might see it as a fun or romantic gesture but, to Mitchell, it was an act of vandalism.

It was the hottest year on record in the city and the morning sun was already beating down on the back of his neck. His biceps flexed as he methodically opened and squeezed his bolt cutters shut, cutting the padlocks off the cast-iron filigree panels of the old Victorian bridge, one by one.  

Since local boyband Word Up filmed the video for their international smash hit “Lock Me Up with Your Love” on this bridge, thousands of people were flocking to the small city in the North West of England. They brought and attached locks marked with initials, names, messages, to demonstrate their love for the band and each other, on the city’s five bridges.  

Large red and white signs that read no padlocks studded the pavement. But as far as Mitchell could see, the locks still hung on the railings like bees swarming across frames of honeycomb. The constant reminder of love surrounding him, other people’s, made him feel like he was fighting for breath. 

As he cut off the locks, he wanted to yell, ‘Why can’t you just keep your feelings to yourselves?’ 

After several hours of hard work, Mitchell’s trail of broken locks glinted on the pavement like a metal snake. He stopped for a moment and narrowed his eyes as a young couple strolled toward him. The woman glided in a white floaty dress and tan cowboy boots. The man wore shorts and had the physique of an American football player. With his experience of carrying out maintenance across the city’s public areas, Mitchell instinctively knew they were up to something. 

After breaking away from his girlfriend, the man walked to the side of the bridge while nonchalantly pulling out a large silver padlock from his pocket.

Mitchell tightened his grip on his cutters. He was once so easy and in love with Anita, but rules were rules. ‘Excuse me,’ he called out. ‘You can’t hang that lock.’

The man frowned and crossed his bulging arms. ‘Oh yeah? And who’s going to stop me?’

Mitchell had the sinewy physique of a sprinter. He was angular all over with dark hair and eyes, and a handsome dorsal hump on his nose. ‘I am,’ he said and put his cutters down on the pavement. He held out his hand for the lock. ‘It’s my job to clear the bridges. You could get a fine.’ 

Anger flashed across the blond man’s face and he batted Mitchell’s hand away, swiping off his work glove. Mitchell watched as it tumbled down into the river below. Sometimes the water flowed prettily, but today it gushed and gurgled, a bruise-grey hue. A young man had drowned here in a strong current last summer. 

The man’s girlfriend wrapped her arms around her boyfriend’s waist and tugged him away. ‘Come on. Leave him alone.’ She cast Mitchell an apologetic smile. ‘Sorry, but we’re so in love. It took us two hours and three buses to get here. We’ll be working miles away from each other soon.  Please let us do this.’

The man looked into her eyes and softened. ‘Yeah, um, sorry, mate,’ he said sheepishly. ‘The heat got the better of me. All we want to do is fasten our lock.’

Mitchell gestured at the sign again. ‘Just think about what you’re doing, guys,’ he said with a weary sigh. ‘Padlocks are just cheap chunks of metal and they’re weighing down the bridges. Can’t you get a nice ring or tattoo instead? Or write letters to each other? There are better ways to say I lov– Well, you know. . .’

The man and the woman shared an incredulous look.

‘Whatever,’ the man glowered, and he shoved his padlock back into the pocket of his shorts. ‘We’ll go to another bridge instead.’ 
‘I work on those too . . .’ 

The couple laughed at him and sauntered away.

Mitchell rubbed his nose. He knew his job wasn’t a glamorous one. It wasn’t the one in architecture he’d studied hard and trained for. However, it meant he could pay the rent on his apartment and buy Poppy hot lunch at school each day. Whatever daily hassle he put up with, he needed the work.

His workmate Barry had watched the incident from the other side of the road. Sweat circled under his arms and his forehead shone like a mirror as he crossed over. ‘The padlocks keep multiplying,’ he groaned. 

‘We need to keep on going.’

‘But it’s too damn hot.’ Barry undid a button on his polo shirt, showing off unruly chest curls that matched the ones on his head. ‘It’s a violation of our human rights, and no one can tell if we cut off twenty or two hundred.’

Mitchell held his hand up against the glare of the sun. ‘We can tell, and Russ wants the bridges cleared in time for the city centenary celebrations.’

Barry rolled his eyes. ‘There’s only three weeks to go until then. Our boss should come down here and get his hands dirty, too. At least join me for a pint after work.’

Mitchell’s mouth felt parched, and he suddenly longed for an ice-cold beer. A vision of peeling off his polo-shirt and socks and relaxing in a beer garden appeared like a dreamy mirage in his head. 

However, he had to pick Poppy up from the after-school club to take her for a guitar lesson, an additional one to her music class in school. Her headteacher, Miss Heathcliff, was a stickler for the school closing promptly at 5.30pm, and it was a rush to get there on time. He lowered his eyes and said, ‘I’d love to, but I have to dash.’

Then he selected his next padlock to attack. 


Excerpt from The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick. 
Copyright © 2020 by Phaedra Patrick. Published by Park Row Books. 
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Meet The Author


Photo by Sam Ralph

Phaedra Patrick is the author of The Library of Lost and Found, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which has been published in over twenty countries around the world. She studied art and marketing, and has worked as a stained-glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full-time. She lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.


Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter.



This excerpt brought to you by Park Row Books

Book Showcase: HOSTILE PURSUIT by Juno Rushdan



Hostile Pursuit

A Hard Core Justice Thriller Book 1

by Juno Rushdan

Genre: Romantic Thriller




When ruthless killers target them, even a safe house isn’t safe.

Only twenty-four hours remain until marshal Nick McKenna’s informant, Lori Carpenter, will testify against a powerful drug cartel. Nick has kept her safe for an entire year, but now all hell is breaking loose. With a team of cold-blooded assassins closing in, the by-the-book lawman decides to go rogue. He’ll risk his life for duty…and put it all on the line for his irresistible witness.




Buy Links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * BooksAMillion





Nick had kept Lori safe for three hundred and eighty-six days. What could possibly go wrong in the next twenty-seven hours?

They reached the women’s clothing store. As they walked inside, a chime dinged from a motion-activated PIR sensor he spotted.

An employee behind the register, wearing a blazer and sporting a curly bob, made eye contact and gave a perky smile. One female customer perusing a row of blouses didn’t glance their way.

“Hello,” the young sales associate said, her warm voice rich with enthusiasm. “Let me know if you need help finding anything.”

“Thank you,” Lori said.

“You’ve got twenty minutes.” Nick looked at his watch while Ted swept the rest of the store. “We’re in and out, okay?”

Lori went to a rack of suits. “You don’t give a gal much time.”

“One hour away from the property,” he said, reminding her of the US Marshal Service rules that kept witnesses alive. “Not a minute more.”

Nick’s attention flickered to the other customer.

The woman was in her early forties, petite, olive complexion, coal-black hair pulled in a tight bun. No jewelry, wore slacks and a blousy top and carried a leather purse. She reached up, taking a shirt from the upper rack, and the frilly bell sleeve of her blouse dropped an inch, revealing a tattoo of a black rose on the back of her hand. The ink fit her. Beautiful. Elegant. Dark.

Reflexively, Nick pressed his arm against the Glock 22 in his shoulder rig.

“This is a big deal.” Lori checked the size on a navy suit. “Forgive me for not wanting to rush.” 

Tomorrow she was testifying in federal court against her in-laws’ financial firm for laundering millions. He could tell she was doing her best to hold it together and not let nerves derail her. If he could give her more time, he would.

The low chime at the front rang. Another woman entered the store. Bottled-bleach-blonde. Tall and thin. Jeans and a buttoned shirt. Sneakers that squelched lightly against the tile floor.

“I’m sorry. Eighteen minutes,” Nick said, telegraphing with his tone this was nonnegotiable.

Lori picked a navy two-piece from the rack. “This should work. I better go try it on. Tick-tock.”

Nick looked to Ted, where his partner stood at the entrance of the dressing rooms. Ted nodded, signaling the stalls were empty and he’d make sure no one followed Lori inside.

Blondie headed straight to some dresses hanging in the rear of the store, grabbed one almost mindlessly, or perhaps she’d been in before and knew what she was looking for, flicked a glance at a tag and made a beeline for the dressing rooms.

Ted lifted a palm, not letting the blonde in after Lori. The woman huffed and protested, raising a loud stink, but his partner held firm.

Show her your badge, Ted, and be done with it. Flashing the Eagle Top five-pointed star had a way of shutting down any complaints lickety-split.

“Who do you think you are?” Blondie asked with a fist on her hip.

“A US Deputy Marshal, ma’am,” Ted said. “Sorry for the inconvenience and the wait.”

“Listen, jerk. I need to get in there now.”

Ted laughed in his self-deprecating way. “Sorry. Not going to happen.”

The sales associate went over to the scene unfolding. “Hi,” she said brightly, her sunny disposition almost disarming. “Is there a problem?”

Nick maintained his position, monitoring the rest of the shop and the entrance.

Black Rose circled silent as a fox around to an ornate display of scarves and ran her fingers across the silk. Not once since they’d entered had she acknowledged their presence in the slightest. Until now.

Her gaze lifted, meeting his, her face an expressionless mask, but her sharp eyes were those of a merciless predator.

Prior experience as an army ranger in Afghanistan before becoming a marshal had taught him the hard way never to underestimate a woman with a slight build, or even a child for that matter, and the deep scar under his chin was a testament.

For a chilling instant they stared at one another, sizing the other up. Not from a physical perspective. It was an assessment of will. And what Nick saw in her was fathomless.

Blondie threw the dress at Ted, dividing Nick’s attention, and stormed out of the store.

The bell chimed. Black Rose’s steely eyes narrowed before she turned and strode unhurriedly toward the door—as if she had all the time in the world.

Then he saw it. Her low-heeled boots that didn’t make a sound.

His neck prickled the way it did when he was on a hunt for big game with his siblings. Nick followed. He had no reason to detain or question her, but something about that woman was wrong. From the tattoo, those rubber-soled shoes, to how she’d looked at him. As if she’d wanted to slice through him like a hot knife through butter.

None of it was evidence of anything and not cause for more than suspicion, but training and years of experience had taught him not to dismiss either.

The woman strolled away, lengthening the distance between them with each store she passed. One, two, three. But the tightening in his gut didn’t ease.

Black Rose glimpsed back at him over her shoulder, caught his fixed stare and stopped in her tracks. Pivoting, she turned and faced him, leveling her icy gaze his way. The look she sent him was full of loathing and in a blink it changed. Her lips hitched in an ominous half grin and she winked. Almost daring him to pursue.

Old ranger instincts urged him to take up the chase, confirm what his gut screamed about the woman, shake something that made sense out of her, but his training overruled recklessness.

He looked back in the quiet clothing store, checking on things.

Ted no longer stood stationed at the entrance of the dressing rooms.

Nick touched his Bluetooth earpiece. “Ted? What’s your position? Do you have eyes on Hummingbird?” he asked, using the codename for Lori.

Deafening silence.

Nick’s pulse spiked, but he remained calm—never one to succumb to panic. He stepped past displays and racks, his gaze scanning, his mind assessing.

No sign of Ted. Or the sales associate.

Drawing his gun, Nick hustled toward the dressing rooms.

Anticipation coiled in his chest, adrenaline roaring through him. The weight of his backup piece strapped to his ankle was a small comfort. Nick’s fingers tightened on his Glock. He reached the threshold, scanned left, then right.

Ted lay on the floor beyond the entrance in a corner. Blood soaked his white hair at the base of his skull.

Son of a— Ted was down.

There was no time to check if his partner was unconscious or dead. A commotion deeper in the dressing room drew him forward. Two people struggled inside the second stall.

The horror in Lori’s terrified whimper jolted his heart.


Excerpt from Hostile Pursuit by June Rushdan. Copyright © 2020 by Juno Rushdan. Published by Harlequin. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.






Juno is a veteran Air Force Intelligence Officer who writes romantic thrillers with sizzle, pulse-pounding suspense, and plenty of action. Her stories are about strong heroes and gutsy heroines fighting for their lives as well as their happily-ever-after. Expect an intense emotional journey and a thrill ride to keep you turning the pages.

A native New Yorker, she currently lives in the Washington, DC area with her patient husband, two vivacious kids, and a spoiled rescue dog. Juno loves hanging out with readers and anyone friendly over a great glass of wine.

The Final Hour series features a covert, off-the-books unit sanctioned to operate beyond the black and white constraints of other intelligence agencies. They work in the shadows safeguarding national security. When a horrifying conspiracy hits too close to home, they’re the last line of defense. They’ll do anything to keep their country safe and sacrifice everything for the ones they love.


Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads






$75  Amazon Gift Card

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Book Showcase: THE SEA GLASS COTTAGE by RaeAnne Thayne


The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
ISBN: 9781335045164 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488055874 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488207945 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781094098425 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B07XVMH6YT  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07QTL1F7Y   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: March 17, 2020


From the New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne comes a brand-new novel for fans of Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs. RaeAnne Thayne tells the story of an emotional homecoming that brings hope and healing to three generations of women.

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness. 






Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Audiobooks  |  AudiobooksNow  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  B&N Audiobook on CD  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  Google Play  |  iBooks  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Kobo eBook  |  Target  |  Walmart




Read an Excerpt


1
Olivia



Olivia shoved her hands into her pockets against the damp Seattle afternoon. Nothing would take the chill from her bones, though. She knew that. Even five days of sick leave, huddling in her bed and mindlessly bingeing on cooking shows hadn’t done anything but make her crave cake.

She couldn’t hide away in her apartment forever. Eventually she was going to have to reenter life and go back to work, which was why she stood outside this coffee shop in a typical spring drizzle with her heart pounding and her stomach in knots.

This was stupid. The odds of anything like that happening to her again were ridiculously small. She couldn’t let one man battling mental illness and drug abuse control the rest of her life.

She could do this.

She reached out to pull the door open, but before she could make contact with the metal handle, her cell phone chimed from her pocket.


She knew instantly from the ringtone it was her best friend from high school, who still lived in Cape Sanctuary with her three children.

Talking to Melody was more important than testing her resolve by going into the Kozy Kitchen right now, she told herself. She answered the call, already heading back across the street to her own apartment.

“Mel,” she answered, her voice slightly breathless from the adrenaline still pumping through her and from the stairs she was racing up two at a time. “I’m so glad you called.”

Glad didn’t come close to covering the extent of her relief. She really hadn’t wanted to go into that coffee shop. Not yet. Why should she make herself? She had coffee at home and could have groceries delivered when she needed them.

“You know why I’m calling, then?” Melody asked, a strange note in her voice.

“I know it’s amazing to hear from you. You’ve been on my mind.”

She was not only a coward but a lousy friend. She hadn’t checked in with Melody in a few weeks, despite knowing her friend was going through a life upheaval far worse than witnessing an attack on someone else.

As she unlocked her apartment, the cutest rescue dog in the world, a tiny, fluffy cross between a Chihuahua and a miniature poodle, gyrated with joy at the sight of her.

Yet another reason she didn’t have to leave. If she needed love and attention, she only had to call her dog and Otis would come running.

She scooped him up and let him lick her face, already feeling some of her anxiety calm.

“I was thinking how great it would be if you and the boys could come up and stay with me for a few days when school gets out for the summer,” she said now to Melody. “We could take the boys to the Space Needle, maybe hop the ferry up to the San Juans and go whale watching. They would love it. What do you think?”

The words seemed to be spilling out of her, too fast. She was babbling, a weird combination of relief that she hadn’t had to face that coffee shop and guilt that she had been wrapped up so tightly with her own life that she hadn’t reached out to a friend in need.

“My apartment isn’t very big,” she went on without waiting for an answer. “But I have an extra bedroom and can pick up some air beds for the boys. They’ve got some really comfortable ones these days. I’ve got a friend who says she stayed on one at her sister’s house in Tacoma and slept better than she does on her regular mattress. I’ve still got my car, though I hardly drive it in the city, and the boys would love to meet Otis. Maybe we could even drive to Olympic National Park, if you wanted.”

“Liv. Stop.” Melody cut her off. “Though that all sounds amazing and I’m sure the boys would love it, we can talk about that later. You have no idea why I called, do you?”

“I… Why did you call?”

Melody was silent for a few seconds. “I’m afraid there’s been an accident,” she finally said.

The breath ran out of Olivia like somebody had popped one of those air mattresses with a bread knife.

“Oh no. Is it one of your boys?” Oh please, she prayed. Don’t let it be one of the boys.

Melody had been through enough over the past three months, since her jerkhole husband ran off with one of his high school students.

“No, honey. It’s not my family. It’s yours.”

Her words seemed to come from far away and it took a long time for them to pierce through.

No. Impossible.

Fear rushed back in, swamping her like a fast-moving tide. She sank blindly onto the sofa.

“Is it Caitlin?”

“It’s not your niece. Stop throwing out guesses and just let me tell you. It’s your mom. Before you freak out, let me just say, first of all, she’s okay, from what I understand. I don’t have all the details but I do know she’s in the hospital, but she’s okay. It could have been much worse.”

Her mom. Olivia tried to picture Juliet lying in a hospital bed and couldn’t quite do it. Juliet Harper didn’t have time to be in a hospital bed. She was always hurrying somewhere, either next door to Sea Glass Cottage to the garden center the Harper family had run in Cape Sanctuary for generations or down the hill to town to help a friend or to one of Caitlin’s school events.

“What happened?” 

“She had a bad fall and suffered a concussion and I think some broken bones.”

Olivia’s stomach twisted. A concussion. Broken bones. Oh man. “Fell where? Off one of the cliffs near the garden center?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know all the details yet. This just happened this morning and it’s still early for the gossip to make all the rounds around town. I assumed you already knew. That Caitlin or someone would have called you. I was only checking in to see how I can help.”

This morning. She glanced at her watch. Her mother had been in an accident hours earlier and Olivia was just finding out about it now, in late afternoon.

Someone should have told her—if not Juliet herself, then, as Melody said, at least Caitlin.

Given their recent history, it wasn’t particularly surprising that her niece, raised by Olivia’s mother since she was a baby, hadn’t bothered to call. Olivia wasn’t Caitlin’s favorite person right now. These days, during Olivia’s regular video chats with her mother, Caitlin never popped in to say hi anymore. At fifteen, Caitlin was abrasive and moody and didn’t seem to like Olivia much, for reasons she didn’t quite understand.

“I’m sure someone tried to reach me but my phone has been having trouble,” she lied. Her phone never had trouble. She made sure it was always in working order, since so much of her freelance business depended on her clients being able to reach her and on her being able to Tweet or post something on the fly.

“I’m glad I checked in, then.”

“Same here. Thank you.”

Several bones broken and a long recovery. Oh dear. That would be tough on Juliet, especially this time of year when the garden center always saw peak business.

“Thank you for telling me. Is she in the hospital there in Cape Sanctuary or was she taken to one of the bigger cities?”

“I’m not sure. I can call around for you, if you want.”

“I’ll find out. You have enough to worry about.”

“Keep me posted. I’m worried about her. She’s a pretty great lady, that mom of yours.”

Olivia shifted, uncomfortable as she always was when others spoke about her mother to her. Everyone loved her, with good reason. Juliet was warm, gracious, kind to just about everyone in their beachside community of Cape Sanctuary.

Which made Olivia’s own awkward, tangled relationship with her mother even harder to comprehend.

“Will you be able to come home for a few days?”

Home. How could she go home when she couldn’t even walk into the coffee shop across the street?

“I don’t know. I’ll have to see what’s going on there.”

How could she possibly travel all the way to Northern California? A complicated mix of emotions seemed to lodge like a tangled ball of yarn in her chest whenever she thought about her hometown, which she loved and hated in equal measures.

The town held so much guilt and pain and sorrow. Her father was buried there and so was her sister. Each room in Sea Glass Cottage stirred like the swirl of dust motes with memories of happier times.

Olivia hadn’t been back in more than a year. She kept meaning to make a trip but something else always seemed to come up. She usually went for the holidays at least, but the previous year she’d backed out of even that after work obligations kept her in Seattle until Christmas Eve and a storm had made last-minute travel difficult. She had spent the holiday with friends instead of with her mother and Caitlin and had felt guilty that she had enjoyed it much more than the previous few when she had gone home.

She couldn’t avoid it now, though. A trip back to Cape Sanctuary was long overdue, especially if her mother needed her.



Excerpt from The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne. 
Copyright © 2020 by RaeAnne Thayne. Published by HQN Books. 
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.





Meet The Author


New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com. 




Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter.




This excerpt brought to you by HQN Books