Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet Patricia Johns

by Patricia Bradley & Patricia Johns

WHUMP!

The dark-haired girl landed on the ground and looked up. “Where am I?”

“You just came through the portal to the Heartwarming blog. You know, the place where readers and authors can have a little heart to heart. I’ve been expecting you.”

Patricia Johns
“I’m where? And who are you? And why were you expecting me?”

“You’re the new Heartwarming author, Patricia Johns, right?”

“Well, yes…” a frown crossed Patricia’s face. “But what does that have to do with anything?”

“This is where you come to write your blog posts. I’m Patricia Bradley, and if you’ll look up above at that button that says Authors, you’ll see the others. Your picture and bio will be there soon.”

“But…what about my son and my husband?”

“They’ll be fine. You’ll go back as soon as your post is finished. Say, what do they think of you being this awesome romance writer?”

“My husband loves it. I get to work from home, which means I can keep the family running and be there for him when his schedule changes. It works for us! For a long time, my son didn’t think that Mommy’s books on the bookstore shelves were anything special, but then he told some school friends about it, they called him a liar, and he now thinks what I do is moderately more interesting.” Patricia laughed. “He’s eight. So I get it.”

Patricia Bradley
“By the way, I hopped over to your blog and see that you were interviewed by a television reporter about romance. I bet that was fun! Tell us what that was like.”

“That was both fun and crazy stressful. It takes a certain level of introversion to be a writer. You sit alone for eight hours a day spinning stories. So talking to a reporter on camera left me terrified that I’d make a fool of myself. I think it turned out pretty well, though.”

"It was a great interview. Readers can see it here.
I understand you write other books for Harlequin. Are they family-friendly, too?”

“All of my books—Love Inspired, Heartwarming and Western—are family friendly. I focus on the emotional build in a relationship, and while the couple will experience some very conflicting and intense emotions, there is no hanky-panky.”

“Good. What made you want to write for Heartwarming?”

“The lack of hanky-panky.” Patricia grinned. “Seriously. As I said, I have an eight-year-old son, and one of these days he’s going to pick up one of Mom’s books and flip through. I’d rather not have to provide therapy afterward. It takes skill to write a romance that tugs the reader by the heartstrings and leaves all clothing intact. I love that challenge.”

“I guarantee you’ll love it here. I think Heartwarming has some of the best romance books around, and the other authors…they are the best! Can you tell us a little about your new Heartwarming book and when it will be out?

“A BAXTER’S REDEMPTION comes out January 2017, and I love this story so much. It’s about a woman named Isabel Baxter whose wealthy father remarries a woman younger than she is. When Isabel returns home to Haggerston, Montana after an accident, she finds herself at odds with her newly married father and his newly pregnant wife. 

When the wealthy father asks the family lawyer, James Hunter, to give his daughter some financial advice, she’s furious… except he’s the only one who seems capable of negotiating some sort of relationship in this dysfunctional family. But James knew Isabel back when she was a spoiled beauty queen, and he knows better than to get caught up in this influential family’s drama… I can give you one spoiler: they get married in the end.”

“We always have to have a Happy Ever After! Patricia, it was great to learn more about you. I can’t wait to share fourth Mondays with you. Do you have any questions?”

“Will I have to fall down that rabbit hole every time I come here?”

“No. That was a one-time deal so I could interview you." :-)

Join us next month on the fourth Monday for no telling what...




Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sit-Down Saturday

Lynn Patrick (Patricia Rosemoor and Linda Sweeney) talk about writing Home for Keeps together

How do two authors write one book?

Patricia: It helps if you have like-thinking minds. Or if you have a psychic connection. :) It seems that way sometimes when we plot together. And if I’m writing and hit a wall, I tell Linda about it and she comes up with just the right solution to what I’m missing. We figure out the book together and then one of us writes the first half, the other the second, but of course we exchange chapters and add or revise as we see fit.
Linda: It seems that the story exists outside of ourselves and we are just transcribing it, at least that’s how it works for me. I would say being able to firm up a plot is most important. Two people could never write a scene from time to time willy-nilly and have it end up cohesive.



Where did you get the idea for Home for Keeps?

Patricia: This is the fourth book we set in the fictional town of Sparrow Lake, WI. Grace Huber appeared in The Long Road Home and introduced the idea of a green community. So we created Caleb Blackthorne, a hero that would be a natural fit for her, a professor at the community college who teaches conservation.
Linda: We try to use topics in which one of us has some expertise or special interest.  Patricia is a gardener, which inspired a heroine who is a “green” landscape designer in The Forever Home, as well as the hero conservationist in Home for Keeps.  I contributed to the art interest in the hero’s daughter in the latter book and to Aunt Margaret’s profession, an art professor, in all four books.

            

What’s your favorite scene?

Patricia: My personal favorite is Caleb’s daughter Angela building the sweat lodge with her friend Kiki. Because Angela was getting out of hand, Caleb confined her to home during Spring break. Building the sweat lodge on the property next to the house qualified in her mind if not her father’s. I loved the camaraderie between the girls and Angela’s sympathy for her friend. Kiki’s father is dead, her mother is in jail and she’s in a bad situation in a foster home. Angela draws Kiki out to learn that she has a grandmother in Chicago. The scene shows a different facet of both girls from what the adults see.
Linda:  I like the camping out scenes best – we used many incidents from an actual camping trip we took years ago.  Patricia, her husband, her stepson, and I set up tents and built a fire at a campground in Wisconsin.  Late at night, we were invaded by raccoons that screamed as they fought over foodstuffs and jumped on a car, setting off the alarm.  I liked writing those scenes because they were humorous and had a lot of people in them, some quite silly like Jimmy the college student who is always hungry.


What kind of research did you do?

Patricia: Linda really did the research on green communities, so I’ll let her take this one.
Linda: I read about green communities online. I had heard of such already when I saw a house hunting episode on HGTV wherein a house hunter considered living in a green community in Oregon as one of her three options. For the hero’s background in Home for Keeps, I looked up syllabi on environmental science (available online) and read a small book on useful medicinal plants that grow in the Midwest.


Who is your favorite character?

Patricia: I identify with our heroine Grace Huber’s wanting to do what she can to make her part of the world a better place by using green technology and creating a development that includes the outdoors. I’m also a city person who recycles, composts, gardens, and works with a community garden as a Master Gardener; when I was younger, I used to camp, boat and ride horses, as well.
Linda: My favorite character is Nellie, the older woman who lives in the green community with her cat Olive and who steadfastly doesn’t believe in ghosts. I always want to create older characters who are vibrant and interesting, not stock “old people” characters. I also had fun with the ghost hunter guy in the book. Years ago, Patricia and I went on a Chicago Ghost Tour with someone similar to him, all dressed in black and full of stories.


What do you appreciate most about your Heartwarming stories?

Patricia: The ability to build a community of characters of all ages that are threaded through the stories, making seniors as interesting and as fun as the kids we create.
Linda: I agree with Patricia. I also appreciate visiting a small town, at least in a story.  I’ve lived in the big city most of my life but, in my childhood, I grew up on a farm three miles from a small Iowa town. I also love the humor we can blend into our stories.

See more about our books here...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Who Moved My House? by Sophia Sasson

Spring is the time when people buy and sell houses. For my family, it was time to move into a better school district, even if it meant selling the house my children were born in, and the one we still loved. Plus we wanted a big backyard for my now five year old twins to expend their unlimited physical energy.

So we started with Spring cleaning and called the realtor to see what our house was worth.  A few days before he was supposed to come out, I got an email from someone asking if my house is for sale.  I saw the message on my iphone while waiting in line to pick up a prescription and glibly replied, it will be in a few weeks. The response was instant. Can I come see it, we are looking to buy now. Not for a second did I think they were serious but I ultimately had them come the day I was meeting the realtor anyway. We had done a lot of painting and sprucing up but the realtor had a laundry list of things that still remained. Powerwash the exterior, move out some furniture, carpets, more paint. We were exhausted just looking at the list.

The couple that showed up on our front door to see the house were truly adorable. She was pregnant and he was desperate to fulfill a promise to buy her a house before the baby came in two months. They fell in love with our house and made an offer that same day, agreeing to take the house “as is” so they could paint it the way they wanted. They were willing to give us asking price. Before you ask, things like that never happen to me. I have never won a raffle in my life. This was almost as good as winning the lotto.

Indeed, no one can believe our luck. The couple had emailed a number of owners in our neighborhood asking if people wanted to sell. The catch of course was that we had to be out in 30 days. They needed to get the house ready for their baby.



 So we went about packing up our house, constantly questioning whether we were making the right decision. The kids asked “do we get to take the paining in our room?”I had painted murals in the kids room. A farm for one boy and a fire station for the other. “No honey, the next family will enjoy those.”









I try not to think about the fact that they planned to paint over these murals.

It also didn’t help that we had no house to move into, we were going into a rental not wanting to rush the decision to buy. So we packed and moved. The kids still miss their old house but we’ve found another. With a big backyard. Still, we keep comparing everything to the old house.

So I got to thinking, what’s troubling us all? Is it giving up a house we loved, is it just change, or is it the notion that we sold our home. We’ve tried to tell the kids that home is where the family is. Whether we are living in a small apartment or a big house. They’re starting to understand it. Perhaps even better than yours truly who looks longingly at pictures of those murals and wondering if I will ever love another house like we loved our last one.

Lucky for me, I happened to be editing the first book in my “State of the Union” series coming from Harlequin heartwarming and writing the second book in the same series. In both books, the characters struggle with what feels like “home” and quest to find that sense of belonging.   I wish I could show you a sneak peek of the cover to “The Senator’s Daughter” but that will have to wait for my July post.

Until then, don’t forget to check out the amazing May lineup by  Rula Sinara, Lee Mckenzie, Loree Lough, and Lynn Patrick.

ThenComesLove-frontIf you haven’t grabbed your free copy of Then Comes Love, the prequel to First Comes Marriage please visit my website, www.SophiaSasson.com

Now, tell me, have you ever bought or sold a house? What was your experience like?


--Sophia

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Take this job and...write about it by Liz Flaherty and Helen DePrima

by Liz Flaherty


I have my dream job now, there’s just no getting around it. Writing books and spending too much time on Facebook is the most fun I’ve ever had . But I’ve only been writing full time for five years. Before that, in addition to writing, I worked what we euphemistically call the day job. I say euphemistically both because I like the word and because for me the day job was important. It was more than just the money I made at it—although that certainly counted—but had a lot to do with who I was and who I am.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For a few years after high school, I worked in factories. I was terrible at that. Too slow. I was fired twice, which made me think I was probably never going to be good at anything. I mean, really, if I couldn’t even fit parts together, what could I do? Then I worked at a dry-cleaning store, which was both very hard work and a lot of fun. I spent six years or so working in an office, a job that took me from being a marginal typist to a mediocre one--something I was grateful for later on. I quit to spend a summer just being Mom—which is when I found out I was better at being working Mom; the kids couldn’t wait for me to get out of their hair in the morning—then sewed in a men’s clothing factory (Hart, Schaffner & Marks, anyone?) before getting a letter from the U. S. Postal Service inviting me to an interview. They interviewed six people for the position, so I went home knowing I wouldn’t get it—after all, if I couldn’t fit Part A into Part B even semi-well, how could I work with mail?

But I did get it, and for 30 years I made the 56-mile round trip to the post office. I carried mail and loved it, but ended up as a clerk and loved it, too. It was in this job that I think I learned who I was apart from the wife and mother segments. It was where I learned you can survive on five hours sleep a night, you can survive if a disgruntled customer calls you a b****, people did have to have their tax returns postmarked by April 15th (and if you refused to backdate them, sometimes they called you that b-word),  and that growing my own fingernails was overrated.

It was also where I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Customers and people I worked with and truck-drivers and mail carriers gave me pieces and parts that found their way into stories. A letter carrier I worked with, Austin Brown, wrote a book called Walking with the Mailman. We exchanged agent and publisher stories and, ultimately, finished products.

The post office is the best “day job” I ever had. One of the factory jobs, where women were treated poorly and encouraged to not support each other, was the worst. I can’t wait to see what Helen has to say about her jobs, and then we want to hear about yours. Best? Worst? Favorite?

by Helen DePrima


My grandmother taught me to read before I ever started school; my first employment was as a page at the Louisville Free Public Library after school and on Saturdays. The perfume of pages and the feel of bindings scarred me for life – I can’t see a book lying in the road without wanting to pick it up like a wounded bird.

I worked as an OR nurse fresh out of nursing school – satisfying because surgeons go in and fix things, most of the time. Lutheran Medical Center west of Denver got all the mishaps from the mountains, car crashes, ski and climbing accidents, broken bones from unbroken horses, but I never saw daylight while stuck in the operating room.

My next job suited me better, a Visiting Nurse in Larimer County covering fifty thousand square miles stretching north to the Wyoming border. I visited patients in Fort Collins and smaller towns, ranches and vacation homes and migrant camps. Although I covered a lot of miles, traffic hazards were confined to pronghorn antelope, free-range cattle, and sudden snowstorms in the high country.



After moving to New Hampshire, I worked part-time in nursing as well rehabbing wildlife in my husband’s vet practice. My kids grew up sharing their home with baby bats and beavers, opossums and ospreys, squirrels and snakes, phoebes and porcupines. The work was fascinating, demanding, mostly rewarding but often heartbreaking when euthanasia was the kindest treatment. 


After twenty-five years of crawling under buses and up trees to rescue misplaced critters, of easing skunks out of buildings without getting sprayed, of 2 AM feedings and popping formula into baby birds every twenty minutes, my husband’s retirement came as a distinct relief to me. I finally had time to follow my life-long dream to write, harking my first love, Colorado ranch life.  My dad took this photo in 1957 – that’s me on the bay.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

U Turns and Plan Qs by Syndi Powell

 
Ever been in a situation with plan in hand only to find that you're now going down a different path than the one you had in mind? Ever follow a road map to discover that you're going down the wrong road and need to turn around and head back? I'm here to tell you that being diagnosed with cancer has a way of throwing your life into a spin.

I'm currently working on a three book series about women facing breast cancer and the way it changes the plans for their lives. What they thought was supposed to happen is suddenly gone, and they have to make a plan B. Or in some cases, a plan Q. Because cancer doesn't care about your carefully laid out plans. It doesn't listen to your protests that you were doing just fine on your own and don't have time for cancer.

I've been pondering about those U turns. My life changed with the diagnosis. Some ways for the worse, but more for the better. It weeded out people who weren't true friends. It changed my priorities and gave me perspective on what I wanted for me. It challenged my people pleasing tendencies by forcing me to say no because I really couldn't do what I was being asked. It showed me what was important and what was trivial.

My challenge now is that I'm starting to forget how it changed me, and bad habits are creeping back in to my life. The U turn I was forced to make 18 months ago seems so far away now as if it happened to someone else. I don't want to forget the lessons that cancer taught me. I need to embrace my plan Q and remind myself that I'm a warrior and survivor ready for the next turn in the road.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bad things can bring good -- by Cynthia Reese

A few years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening food allergy to, of all things, corn. Corn is in everything -- and I remember standing in my kitchen that day, having no clue what I could safely feed my child.

I'm a champion Googler, and so off I went, in search of some website that could help. I found that help at www.kidswithfoodallergies.org. It's an online community that's part of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the largest and oldest advocacy group for asthma and allergy patients and their caregivers. 

Fast forward to this March, when the dayjob I'd had for five years was eliminated due to budget cuts. I thought it was a catastrophe. I moaned and groaned to my Heartwarming sisters and to my fellow "POFAKs" (that's parents with food allergy kids) on the Kids With Food Allergy community. 

But then something wonderful happened: AAFA came to me and told me about some job openings ... job openings that were perfect for me. It was a job I could do, with an organization and a cause I believed in. So I've accepted a position as a community outreach specialist with AAFA. 

Part of the reason I was offered the position was my experience being a "POFAK." If my daughter had not had a food allergy, I would have never known about AAFA, never developed the skill set needed for this job. Whodathunkit?

Sometimes bad things happen -- and sometimes out of those bad things come wonderful opportunities. In my novel SWEET JUSTICE available this month, my heroine faces just this sort of situation. Out of the worst possible disaster comes her chance at love ... If only she will open her eyes to the possibilities. 

I want to be able to see those silver linings. I want to be a Positive Polly and not a Negative Nellie. Maybe the next time disaster strikes, I'll remember this and remember the story I crafted in SWEET JUSTICE ... bad things can bring good, just like sunshine after the rain. 

PS: If you have asthma, share a photo of how you #tackleasthma at www.tackleasthma.org and you'll get a chance at winning an autographed football by NY Giants running back Rashad Jennings!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Holding Out for a Hero . . . by Kate James

If you visited our blog on April 2nd, you might have joined in on the fun with Catherine Lanigan, Karen Rock, Amy Vastine and I by trying to match our baby pictures to us and/or matching excerpts from our books to the books.

Well, we had so much fun that we decided to try something similar. Of course, there's another giveaway involved.

Today, we are asking you to match:
  • the picture of the hero,
  • the excerpt, and
  • the book
Easy, right? Here we go!

Let's start with the pictures of our heroes . . .












All four are easy on the eyes, correct? Here are the excerpts . . .

Excerpt 1

Faith couldn’t blame her for staring at the newcomer. His red shirt clung to his chest and when he stepped further in, she could see his dirty-blond hair looked a little darker from being wet than the short, close-cropped beard he was sporting. With great effort, he shoved his hand in his jeans’ pocket and pulled out his phone. The only way that thing was going to work was if its case was waterproof.
His frustration showed as he pressed the same button over and over without a positive result. Giving up, he headed in their direction. Josie readied herself for the big introduction by primping her hair with one hand and putting the other on her hip.
“You don’t happen to have a pay phone I could use or maybe a cell phone I could borrow?” His voice was deep and husky. Now that he was close, his intensely green eyes made Faith’s heart stop. She hadn’t recognized him from afar, but those eyes…she would never forget those eyes.
“You can use my phone, stranger,” Josie said, completely unaware of who she was talking to. She hadn’t lived in Grass Lake long enough to know the man was no stranger.

Excerpt 2
The crowd was eclectic as always, a mixture of traveling business executives on layover, airport workers, law enforcement types assigned to the airport, construction tradesmen, and women either there to mingle with the men or—Ariana knew plenty about the seedier side of executive travel—those working and hoping to meet a john. She was relieved when they made it through the worst of the congestion and incredibly loud noise, and she spotted the table that their group had commandeered.
Max rose and waved to them from across the room. It warmed Ariana to see the genuine pleasure on the faces of her team members when they saw her. She smiled and waved back. As they wound their way between the tables, Ariana’s attention was drawn by loud cheers from a group to the left.

She recognized a couple of faces and frowned. Logan’s coal-black hair and brilliant blue eyes were unmistakable. Also at the table was the other cop . . . Sergeant Rick Vasquez. The one she’d met at Buster’s Beach House Bar. There was another man with them. Judging by the haircut and demeanor, she assumed he was a cop, too, but one she’d not seen at the airport. The three cops were surrounded by a bevy of attractive women. The two on either side of Logan were the most striking of the group. A slender, elegant blonde sat on his right, and the most stunning redhead Ariana had ever seen was on his left.

Just as she and Cyn reached their table, out of the corner of her eye, Ariana noticed Logan push out of his chair, nearly toppling it, and draw the redhead out of hers and into his arms. The redhead wasn’t petite by any means, but Logan lifted her off her feet as if she weighed no more than a feather. He spun her around before giving her a smacking kiss on the lips.

“Now, why can’t I have luck like that with women?” Max murmured into Ariana’s ear as he pulled a chair out for her, thankfully not giving her direct view of the table where Logan was. “That guy earns the right to his nickname.”

Excerpt 3

When the door clicked shut, she glanced out the window to see Aiden still pacing with his cell phone. Did the man ever quit? Since Connor was her last student she gave in to impulse and clattered down the small back staircase and outside.

She marched through a grove of lofty beeches and past a thicket of scrub oak and bunchberry dogwoods that lined the edge of the back field. The ground was soft and level here and the air smelled of earth and moldering bark. Among the grasses or from under bushes, the metallic, throaty cackling of pheasants sounded at intervals, followed by the rat-a-tat of a woodpecker hard at work on a leafless maple.
It killed her that so much depended on Connor making a breakthrough here, and Aiden didn’t seem to care. She’d vowed not to seek the man out, or think about him—both promises she apparently couldn’t seem to keep.
But this was for Connor. Aiden needed to do more with his brother. Make some friendship bread, for goodness’ sake. She wouldn’t let Connor be last on Aiden’s to-do list. At least, not while she was around.
Before she could call out to Aiden, his voice stopped her, his tone lighter, almost crooning. What?
“Hi, Ella.” He leaned against a tree trunk, his broad back to Rebecca. “Nope. I didn’t buy you anything, yet.” A pause and then, “Well. There aren’t many stores around here. I’ll see if the wood fairies will leave me something for you.”
When he turned, Rebecca ducked behind a tree. She shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but hearing this unguarded side of Aiden fascinated her. Perhaps she could consider this research?
Oh. Who was she fooling? Her curiosity was aroused, her interest piqued.
“What?” asked Aiden, and his long body and dark hair flashed by as he paced among the trees. “Of course there are wood fairies. No, I haven’t seen one, but there are lots of toadstools to use as umbrellas and yesterday we walked on water covered in the purple flowers they make hats with. You know, like the ones in your book.”
Rebecca heard his sigh. “Yes. I’ll get one of them, too. Can Mary Ann come to the phone now?”
Rebecca caught a glimpse of his hand as it lifted to rake through his thick waves. “Thank you, Ella. I love you.”
At his soft words, Rebecca’s throat swelled and her heart beat a strange rhythm. Why was she letting this affect her? So the guy got stuck talking to his little sister before he could discuss work with his other sister. It didn’t make him man of the year.
“Mary Ann,” he said after a lengthy pause. His voice woke a pair of doves when he passed their perch and they fled from their roost with loud wing beats. “How’s Daniel?”
Daniel? Rebecca marveled. She’d have bet anything Aiden was going to ask about the White Horse.
“Any more nightmares?” His blue shirt appeared through the trees. “Good. Yes. Keep him out of Connor’s room. None of those shooter games with zombies or monsters. So how’s Mom? Is the new dosage helping?”
Rebecca spied him perch on a fallen log, and couldn’t resist studying his strong profile, the cut of his firm jaw.
“Oh. Okay. Well, you know best. Call another specialist. If he isn’t in our provider system then I’ll pay out of pocket.”
His head drooped and his chin touched his breastbone. Despite all she knew, her heart went out to him. He looked...defeated. But wouldn’t an established business like the White Horse be making money hand over fist? He should have plenty, enough to pay for health care and hire a full-time caregiver to look after his mother and the kids, in fact. One of the suggestions she’d planned to make him.
“No. I’ll find a way to cover it,” she heard him grumble. “Okay. Make sure you take out Mom’s wedding album tomorrow. She always goes through it on Wednesdays. If you have time, tell her who’s who. She likes that. Baby pictures are on Friday.”
An odd sensation washed through Rebecca. A sense of injustice or unfairness. She couldn’t put her finger on it. Just that somewhere along the way, she’d judged Aiden a little too harshly, perhaps.
“So, did you order the Guinness?” he asked, his voice brusque again. Recognizable. The guardian she’d met.
Not the man she’d just listened to.
Who was Aiden Walsh, really?

Excerpt 4
     Jack reached down and pulled Sophie to her feet with his hands on both her arms. He took the hair dryer from her and turned it off. Suddenly, the room seemed quiet as a church at midnight.
     “You can’t help it, can you?”
     “What?”
     “It’s just in you to always help. It’s like you have some ever-expanding bleeding heart that takes in the broken, the wounded, dogs, anyone in pain. Me, included. Do you ever put yourself first?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I don’t think so, because I haven’t seen it.”
     He put the palm of his hand on her cheek and with his thumb he caressed her temple. His eyes roamed her face slowly as if memorizing every plane and hollow. “You didn’t stop to dry your hair, which is quite wet. Still beautiful. But wet. You didn’t towel off your dress which probably needs to go to the cleaners just as much as my tux. Maybe more. My tux is a decade old. And that’s new, isn’t it?”
     “Uh, huh,” she muttered with only a tip of her head. She didn’t want to take her eyes from his. Something monumental was happening to her and for the first time in her life she didn’t want to stop it, slow it down or change course. She wanted to meet it head on. Fling herself over the waterfall and see if she survived.
     Her eyes dropped to his lips. She felt hers trembling. She wasn’t afraid of the thunder like Frenchie, but the storm inside her heart was enough to terrify even the angels.
     She’d kissed him before.
     This was different. What if he didn’t kiss her? What if she’d been right that Jack wasn’t feeling the spark she felt? What if he kept her at arms-length because he chose his own guilt, his prejudices over her?
     And if he did, could she live with that? What would she do? Her grandmother always told that once she’d tasted paradise, she’d never be satisfied with life on earth. Sophie knew exactly what she’d meant. Jack held the key to heaven for her. She felt it. Knew it in her heart and soul.
     She put her hand over his. “Jack, we should go downstairs.”
     “We should do a lot of things. But we won’t.”
     The press of his lips on hers this time was more explosive than the thunder outside. Sophie had felt safety and gentleness from Jack’s earlier kiss, but this, was powerful and meant to be shattering. He slipped his hand to the back of her head and held her nape, not allowing her to escape. His other hand clung to the back of her dress, clutching the waist and pressing her closer to him.
     Sophie allowed the kiss to kidnap her to another world where there was no party downstairs, no obligations to anyone and the only thing of importance was the sea of longing and desire she floated away on. This universe had been built solely for Jack and Sophie. She knew she’d never explored it before. She sensed, but didn’t know for certain, that he hadn’t either.
     By some miracle of science, Sophie’s muscles had dissolved to molten lava and her bones barely held her upright. She sagged against Jack and when she did, his strong arms reeled her to his hard chest. She clung to his arms for the longest time, but now as the kiss awakened a new world of being for her, she curled her arms around his neck and surrendered to his embrace.
     Sophie, who had spent her life cherishing her family’s home; who had only been comfortable living in her hometown of Indian Lake; realized she’d never experienced a real home before.
     Kissing Jack and feeling his arms around her, showed her that there were many places and spaces where the heart could dwell. Jack was offering her a new home.
©©©

Finally, the books . . .























©©©
Piece of cake, right?! <grin>

Here's the best part. You don't have to get all four books correct! We will each give away a signed book to a person drawn at random from those who match our hero and excerpt to our July release correctly. (Books to be given away are shown below; US and Canadian residents only; e-book if international.) Please leave your answers in the comments section below and check back here on Wednesday morning, for the announcement of the winners. The winners will be announced at the bottom of this post.




Thank you, once again, for playing along with us! Watch for our announcement right here on May 31st about a very exciting giveaway. As a teaser, here's the prize pack . . .
Happy reading, everyone!

Kate


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And the Winners are …. Drumroll please!
Sincere thanks to everyone who played along with us. The correct answers are:

~        Excerpt 1, Hero 4, The Girl He Used to Love

~        Excerpt 2, Hero 3, When I Found You

~        Excerpt 3, Hero 1, Under an Adirondack Sky

~        Excerpt 4, Hero 2, Sophie’s Path

The winners are:

~       Stephanie wins Amy Vastine’s The Hardest Fight

~       Jen wins Karen Rock’s His Kind of Cowgirl

~       Evelyn wins Catherine Lanigan’s Fear of Falling

~       Beth wins my The Truth About Hope.

And because Fiona and Britney both matched all four heroes to our books correctly, we decided to award a special prize to each of them consisting of Catherine Lanigan’s Fear of Falling and my book, The Truth About Hope.

Winners, please e-mail me your address to readers (at) kate-james (dot) com

Congratulations to all our winners, and happy reading!


Kate