Thursday, June 30, 2016

LET'S HEAR IT FOR OUR HEROINES!

If you visited our blog on May 16th, you might have joined in on the fun with Catherine Lanigan, Karen Rock, Amy Vastine and me by trying to match pictures of our heroes with excerpts from our books and our July releases.

We had such positive response to that post that we decided to do the same thing with our heroines. Of course, what would a contest be without a giveaway!

Today, we are asking you to match:

·    the picture of the heroine,

·    the excerpt, and

·    the book.


We had a number of correct answers when we tried this with our heroes, so it shouldn't be too difficult!

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


If the cover has a clear image of the heroine, we went with an alternate image, or it would have been too easy! Now, here are the excerpts (and please note we changed names to pronouns in some cases, otherwise that would have been too easy, as well!) . . .

Excerpt 1
    Although it was an unusually foggy evening, she pulled on her running shoes, determined to fit in a run around the three-mile running trail that circled the lake. It had been a rainy and cold early June, and before that, she’d felt as if winter would never end after a record four-foot snow pack that stayed until late March. Still, she hadn’t missed a single day’s run since she’d taken up the sport two years ago to keep her weight under control and her mind off Louise Railton’s extra creamy homemade ice creams. The city had installed LED street lights all along the trail that allowed fanatics like SHE to run in just about any kind of weather.

She had invested in the best running shoes, clothing and gadgets to track her fitness, and she’d downloaded moti­vational podcasts to listen to while she ran. There was noth­ing like starting her workdays or evenings with inspiring mantras to help her reinvent her life.

And these days, she was all about reinventing, restructur­ing, realigning and rebooting herself.

Ever since she’d kissed a very reluctant Scott Abbot in first grade, she’d been labeled the town flirt. For most of her life, she hadn’t minded the moniker at all. She liked boys. A lot. She liked flirting and dating and being around men. She liked living in a man’s world and she liked being as good as any man in her job. She thought that men were more interesting than women, or at least she’d been telling herself that since high school because she’d never had many girlfriends. She was too busy dating two, three, four different guys in a single week. SHE always took it upon herself to explore whatever world it was that her newest guy was into. Baseball, football, track, cars, boating, weight lifting. She didn’t care. They liked her because she was “interested” and she loved their attention. The truth was that SHE learned to be good friends—and often more—with all the guys she knew. They liked holding her hand and stealing kisses on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair.

However, the moment anything started to get serious, she moved on. It had been the only way to handle her life when she was in school. She’d been dead set on obtaining her degree, and nothing and no one could stand in her way.

When she graduated, she’d spent a year at a hospital in Grand Rapids then moved back in with her parents to help them with her aging grandmother. What she thought was going to be a single summer at home while she applied to top hospitals in Chicago and Indianapolis had evolved into an entire year. One year had turned into five. Her biggest surprise had been landing her dream job with Dr. Caldwell and Nate Barzonni.

In all that time, her modus operandi for dealing with men never changed. She was an expert at getting a man’s attention, but once she’d landed him, she threw him back. Catch and release.

She had come to realize that her commitment pho­bia and the lighthearted, devil-may-care persona she put on for the world to see, was just flat boring. Like a hamster in a cage, she was spinning her wheels and getting nowhere with her life.

The problem was that in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s business and had very long memories, her flirtatious ways had caused her to lose many people’s respect. And that was unacceptable to her.

Sticking her earbuds in her ears, She smiled to herself. She bent down to press her nose to her knees as she clasped the backs of her thighs. She’d made some real changes over the past year.

Excerpt 2
     The only thing that could pull his attention from these tempting cookies was the woman who’d made them. Faith slipped another cookie sheet into the oven. Her hot-pink apron was tied around her slim waist. Again, he was struck by how grown-up she looked. Where had the time gone? What would Addison have looked like at thirty years old?
     He shook off thoughts of his baby sister. He couldn’t go there. Not when they threatened to unleash feelings he had successfully boxed up and put away years ago.
     “Do I smell whiskey?” he asked, finally putting his finger on the mystery scent.
     Faith jumped, clutching her chest and shrieking loud enough to be heard for miles. Before he had the opportunity to apologize, she whacked him with her spatula.
     Dean tried to protect himself. “I’m sorry! Stop. Stop!” he pleaded.
     She gathered her wits and appeared remorseful. “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry.” Then quickly added, “But you really shouldn’t sneak up on people like that.”
     Keeping a safe distance, Dean tried to explain. “I wasn’t sneaking up on you. You didn’t even give me a chance to say good morning before you went postal on me.”
     She pushed some stray strands of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail behind her ear. “I’m not used to people walking around the house like mice. Sawyer whistles everywhere he goes, so I always know when he’s coming.”
     “Well, I apologize for not being a noisier guest. I’ll be sure to stomp through the house so you hear me coming from now on.” He reached for a cookie, figuring she owed him that much for attacking him. He was so hungry and the smell was so mouthwatering…
     Faith smacked his hand with the spatula before he could grab one.
     “Ow!”
     “Sorry,” she said, her cheeks turning red. “Just don’t touch my cookies.


Excerpt 3
     He placed the steaks on the barbecue and checked the potatoes again. He swirled the asparagus spears in their marinade and set them aside. He had a few minutes before they needed to go on the grill. When he finished his preparations and turned around, his gaze was immediately drawn to her.

     He liked the way she was dressed. White jeans that weren’t too tight, a royal blue short-sleeved blouse and espadrilles. Her dark hair was straight and loose, and cascaded down her back.

     She was wandering along the perimeter of his yard, her back to him. She paused here and there to lower her nose to a blossom or trail a finger along a velvet-smooth petal. She stopped by a large sycamore tree where he’d hung a wind chime. With a fingertip, she set it tinkling.

     As he watched her, she tucked a strand of it behind her ear. When she spun around and her gaze met his, there was a smile on her lips and in the depth of her deep blue eyes.


Excerpt 4
     “Excuse me,” a young woman’s voice called from the open door. “Are you still open?”
With a suppressed sigh, Aiden glanced up and spied an unsteady woman bracing herself in his doorway. He tried not to stare, but she looked like she’d face-planted in a puddle then fallen asleep in it. With her eyes at half-mast, her nose and cheeks red, and the ends of her blond hair dripping, she reminded him of his cat, Grinch, when he got caught in the rain: woeful and bedraggled in a way that made Aiden chuckle and then scold himself…and want to make it better.
“Come in.” He strode forward, his pace quickening as she swayed. No one passed out in his bar. Especially not a lady. His hand snaked around her waist and held fast as her exotic scent washed over him.
There was no other way to describe it: she looked and smelled expensive, from the satiny feel of her coat to her leather purse. In fact, noticing the designer plate plastered across the top of the bag, he remembered seeing the same kind in a Fifth Avenue window, a purse his sister had pointed out. Three thousand bucks. Enough to pay for Connor’s braces, Ella’s much begged for dance classes, or remodeling the bathroom with safety gear for his Alzheimer’s- afflicted mother.
Pick a bill, any bill, he’d often thought, after his father had died ten years ago and Aiden started struggling to keep the family and their business afloat as the eldest of seven children. Sometimes it seemed like he was the one drowning; his feverish, crazy work schedule was all that kept him and his family above water.
The woman blinked up at him with wet-spiked lashes and the sudden flash of blue eyes knocked the wind out of him. “I need to dry off.” Or at least he thought that was what she said. She slurred slightly, enough to make him wonder how many bars she’d visited before wandering into his. Uptown girls didn’t usually venture into a small operation like the White Horse.
“This is the place for it.” He helped her to a wooden bar stool, the dampness of her coat seeping through his shirt and slacks.
She blew her nose and swiped at the water dripping down her cheeks. “I look like a drowned rat.” Was it his imagination, or were there tears in her eyes? He’d seen plenty of people weep into their cups at his tavern, one of the many reasons he never imbibed himself. Yet her sorrow looked deeper than that.
“Here.” He handed over a bar towel and squinted at her. “And you don’t resemble a rat. A cat maybe,” he mumbled to himself, then clamped his lips shut. What an idiot. “I’m Aiden.” He flicked his eyes her way, but she seemed lost in her own world, running the cloth over her hair and face. In her state, she’d never remember what he said.
“I’m Rebecca. So how do I look then?” She shoved back her hair and peered at him with questioning eyes.
Under the soft glow of the antique light fixtures, her skin gleamed, her heart-shaped face prettier than he’d first thought. Her small nose flared above a mobile mouth with a generous upper lip. And those eyes. He couldn’t look away from them. “Fine,” he blurted, then hustled behind the bar.
“Loose lips sink ships,” his grandmother had always said. And his life was already the Titanic. He needed distance from his new customer. She was short-circuiting his brain, one already over-taxed with handling his chaotic family and hectic business.
He had no room in his life, or thoughts, for romance. Letting himself imagine otherwise was a fool’s path he’d gotten lost on once before. He’d never risk it again. But a lost girl caught in the rain had a way of making a lonely man dream.
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Finally, the books . . .







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It’s just as easy as it was when we asked you to match the heroes, isn’t it?! <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 heroine 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 Saturday morning, for the announcement of the winners at the bottom of this post.



Thank you, once again, for playing along with us!

And don’t forget, you have until 11:59 PM ET today, June 30, 2016 to enter our Summer Lovin’ sweepstakes by preordering/purchasing anyone of our July releases and registering your purchase here for a chance to win a fabulous prize pack valued at US $250!


Good luck with the matching and happy reading!

Amy, Catherine, Karen & Kate

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hey, it's a cool sneak peak, isn't it? Love these games.

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  2. I think it's your stellar plotting and characterization, Ladies, that keeps Heartwarming warming the hearts of our readers. Those readers who didn't buy us off the shelf, don't know what they're missing! Congratulations, all of you, on a powerful month!

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    1. Thank you, Muriel. I can say the same about your writing, and that of the other Heartwarming authors!

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    2. I'm with you, Muriel! I hope in the future we find some other shelves, say at a Barnes and Noble? Yeah, man.

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  3. You ladies are so clever and talented. I can't wait to get my books so I can read all about your heroes and heroines. You all just get better and better.

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    1. Thank you, Roz. I can't wait to read your July Western release, A Maverick's Heart!

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    2. Hi, Roz! I'll bet with summer beating down hot sun on you, sitting in the AC or by a fan with a fun book is a stellar idea, huh?
      We're having a blast!

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  4. Excerpt 1
    Sophie's Path
    Heroine 2
    Excerpt 2
    The Girl He Used to Love
    Heroine 4
    Excerpt 3
    When I Found You
    Heroine 1
    Excerpt 4
    Under the Andinorack Sky
    Heroine 3

    I'm so late in posting the answers. Just for fun though.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations, Evelyn! You got all four correct!

      Please e-mail me at readers @ kate-james . com (without spaces), with your mailing address.

      Thank you for playing along, and happy Fourth of July!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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