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.
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Finally, the books . . .























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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


©©©
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

56 comments:

  1. This is such a fun giveaway! Good luck everyone and thanks, K, for putting it together :) I'm thrilled to share a Heartwarming book birthday with you, Catherine and Amy in July <3

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    1. We've been having a lot of fun, Karen, and I hope our readers have been, too. And to think, this is just the beginning!!

      I'm also thrilled to be sharing a book birthday with you, Catherine and Amy!

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    2. Yippe! Hooray for all of us to share our book birthdays. I'm thinking a really big cake...lots of different flavored layers. Hmmm. Whipped cream icing. No. Buttercream. No cream cheese. No....

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    3. Mmmm... Sounds delicious. I'm in!

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  2. Well now this is pretty neat and a whole lot of fun

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    1. Thanks, Diana. Are you going to take a shot at matching the heroes to our books?! :-D

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  3. Since I can't enter anyway, I just looked at the pictures...oh, there was stuff to read? Just a minute! Lol. Great pictures and great excerpts, too. A great giveaway.

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    1. :-D It's probably a good thing we're not asking readers to pick which hero pic they prefer! Thanks for stopping by, Liz!

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    2. I just looked at my own comment here--I troll blogs in the morning--and noticed I used the word "great" three times in eight words. Do we happen to have an elementary writing class I could take? :-)

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    3. Aren't we lucky to have terrific editors who catch those things, if we don't! I've been so conditioned to watch for it in my own writing, I pick up on reps when I am reading for leisure. Even so, it didn't jump out at me when I read your comment! :-)

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    4. Liz, thanks for stopping by. Honestly, isn't THIS the way to start out a new week? Yowser!

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  4. Good luck! I think this is a tough one except for maybe mine ...

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    1. And I thought mine was the easy one!

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  5. Ex 1 - hero 4
    Ex 2 - hero 3
    Ex 3 - hero 1
    Ex 4 - hero 2

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    1. Yay! We have our first entry...but can you match the heroes to the name of the books, too, please? (Hopefully that's very easy because we use names in the excerpts!) Thank you for playing along, Fiona!

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    2. You do know it's after midnight here?

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    3. Oh, no....than extra special thanks for playing along! :-D

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  6. Ex 1 - hero 4 - The Girl He Used to Love
    Ex 2 - hero 3 - When I Found You
    Ex 3 - hero 1 - Under an Adirondack Sky
    Ex 4 - hero 2 - Sophie's Path

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    1. Thanks again, Fiona! Have a good night's sleep! :-)

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  7. What a fun contest! I love all these heroes!! Here are my answers:

    Hero 1- Aiden Walsh, Excerpt 3, Under an Adirondack Sky
    Hero 2- Jack Carter, Excerpt 4, Sophie's Path
    Hero 3- Logan O'Connor, Excerpt 2, When I Found You
    Hero 4- Dean Presley, Excerpt 1, The Girl He Used to Love

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you for playing along with us, Britney. Please check back Wednesday morning for the announcement of the winner(s)!

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    2. Hi, Britney! Thanks for playing. WHAT a bunch of cool guys, huh?

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  8. What a great game!! I love how you put this together, Kate! All these guys have swoon quotient !!! Keep playing everybody!

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. We work well together as a team!

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  9. What fun! I keep looking at their pictures and not thinking "Which is best looking?" but "Who would I find easiest to be myself around?" Makes it even harder.

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    1. I can answer that very easily, Pamela, but I won't right now as it might influence people's answers...and not necessarily to the correct ones! :-D

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    2. Pam, you are so bad. I want them all. But not in a single day. How's that? LOL.

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  10. What a great contest! Here are my guesses:
    Excerpt 1 - Hero 4 - The Girl He Used To Love
    Excerpt 2 - Hero 2 - When I Found You
    Excerpt 3 - Hero 3 - Under An Adirondack Sky
    Excerpt 4 - Hero 1 - Sophie's Path

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    1. Thank you for joining us for this giveaway, Stephanie. Please check back Wednesday morning for the announcement of the winner(s)!

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    2. Hi, Stephanie! Thanks for joining our fun.

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  11. Fun!

    When I Found You- Excerpt 2- Hero 3
    The Girl He Used to Love - Excerpt 1- Hero 4
    Under an Adirondack Sky- Excerpt 3- Hero 2
    Sophie’s Path- Excerpt 4 - Hero 1

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    1. Thank you for taking a shot at it, Beth. Please check back Wednesday morning for the announcement of the winner(s)!

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    2. Glad to have you here, joining the fun, Beth :)

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  12. Now that's the way to start the week. Such pretty pretty faces. :)

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    1. We're glad we could get your week off to a good start, Anna! ;-)

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  13. What fun! And I love all the stories.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Patricia, and for your positive comment about our stories!

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  14. All I can say is...love, love, LOVE this!

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  15. Wow, this is hard. I am going to go with:

    Ex 1 - 4
    Ex 2 - 2
    Ex 3 - 1
    Ex 4 - 3

    Thanks for the chance!

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    1. Thanks for taking a shot, Jen . . . please add the books, too.

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    2. . . . the book part is easy, since we used names in the excerpts! ;-)

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    3. So glad you could stop by, Jen!

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    4. The Girl He Used to Love - Ex 1 - 4 (Dean)
      When I Found Your - Ex 2 - 2 (Max)
      Under an Adirondack Sky - Ex 3 - 1 (Aiden)
      Sophie's Path - Ex 4 - 3 (Jack)

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    5. Thank you, Jen! Please check back here tomorrow morning for the announcement of the winners.

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  16. Oooh all those excerpts sound so good!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Rula! I love having a book release month along with such talented authors :)

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  17. This books sound awesome!
    Excerpt 1 Hero 4 The Girl He Used to Love
    Excerpt 2 Hero 1 When I Found You
    Excerpt 3 Hero 3 Under an Adirondack Sky
    Excerpt 4 Hero 2 Sophie's Path

    Well I'm not sure if I get those heroes right though :)

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    1. Aww...thank you, Evelyn! We're glad you decided to take a shot at matching our heroes. Check back tomorrow morning for the winner(s)!

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  18. This is pretty fun!
    Excerpt 1, The Girl He Used to Love, Hero 4
    Excerpt 2, When I Found You, Hero 2
    Excerpt 3, Under An Adirondak Sky, Hero 3
    Excerpt 4, Sophie's Path, Hero 1
    Thanks for letting us play!

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    1. We appreciate you playing along with us!

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  19. Sincere thanks to everyone who participated in our match-the-hero giveaway. Please check the bottom of the post to see if you are a winner.

    Happy reading!

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  20. YAY! I'm so excited! Thank you for hosting such a wonderful contest!

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    1. Congratulations, Stephanie! Thank you for e-mailing me your address. Amy should have her book in the mail to you, soon.

      Thanks again for participating, and happy reading!

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