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“God has taught me that each day is a gift, my friend.
Each breath, each step, each person to love and be loved by …”
Her voice warmed to the husky tease that Katie had come to cherish,
right before she delivered an impish wink. “And I don’t plan to miss a thing.”
— A Dream Fulfilled by Julie Lessman
Whoo-hoo … Katie & Luke are back!
Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE Katie and Luke from my Winds of Change series? They are the featured couple in book one of that series, A Hope Undaunted, which is the fourth book in my sprawling O’Connor family saga.
And now, they are the featured couple in my brand-new O’Connor Christmas novella, A Dream Fulfilled, which is available for pre-order and will release October 20! I hope you like the cover as much as I do, but if you are a Katie and Luke fan, I’m betting you’re going to LOVE what’s inside even more! Here’s the jacket blurb and pre-order link!
She’s always dreamed of a best friend.
He’s always dreamed of a large family.
Until hope intervenes with a dream fulfilled.
Picked on mercilessly in school because of an unsightly handicap, Katie O’Connor McGee soon learned not to let anyone get too close, not even three big sisters seven to fourteen years older. As far as Katie was concerned, friends were meant to be kept at arm’s length and controlled, not embraced. But when she meets Arlene Campbell and her little girl, Addie, during playtime at a park with her own children, she discovers a friendship for which she’s waited a lifetime. A dream hidden deep in her soul she didn’t even know existed until she connected with a woman who would change her life forever, teaching her the depth and sacrifice of true friendship.
Luke McGee has dreamed of having a large family since he roamed the streets of Boston as a virtual orphan, finally finding a home—and his heart—in a marriage to Katie O’Connor and their two young girls. However, once Katie’s time and affection shifts toward a new friend who needs her, it creates turmoil in Luke’s happy home. It doesn’t help that as Director for the Boston Children’s Aid Society, Luke works long hours providing homes and hope for troubled children on the streets. But when he reaches out to one hardened little boy, his hope to make a difference suddenly coincides with that of his wife’s, sowing the seeds of a dream fulfilled for them all.
To celebrate the upcoming release of A Dream Fulfilled (which is a dream fulfilled for me since I’ve had this idea for a Katie/Luke Christmas story for several years now), I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the end of this blog today (before the Rafflecopter contest box). So, happy reading … and, I hope … happy pre-ordering! 😍
📝 Attention Writers!
For all you aspiring writers out there, here is a brand-new writer’s how-to book you are NOT going to want to miss! I am part of this very unique writer’s book called WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES: Tips & Techniques From Ten Award-Winning Authors, where you literally get to pick the brains of award-winning authors about everything from writing to publishing to marketing! That way, you get ten viewpoints on what has worked best for each of us in becoming a published author. The book is available in e-book or paperback, so I hope you check it out.
⏰ Only One Week Left to Win
$50 G.C. & Character in my Next Book!
Hopefully you’ve already entered my contest to kick off WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES: Tips & Techniques from Ten Award-Winning Authors, but if not, what are you waiting for? Here’s what you can win if you do:
GRAND PRIZE: $50 Amazon gift, character named for you in my next paperback, & a signed copy.
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All it takes to enter is to promote WRITING FROM THE TRENCHES: Tips & Techniques from Ten Award-Winning Authors on Facebook, Twitter, or on your blog, indicate that in the Rafflecopter box at the end of this blog, and you are entered! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY! PLUS there are additional ways to accrue points as well, so just scroll down to the very end and GOOD LUCK!
📕 A Christmas Freebie is Coming!
In the blink of an eye, the Christmas season will be upon us, so I plan to celebrate with the new release of A Dream Fulfilled AND a freebie sale on Charity and Mitch’s Christmas novella, A Whisper of Hope.
So mark your calendars for OCTOBER 19-23, when A Whisper of Hope will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD! Here’s the jacket blurb and link, so I hope you check it out:
She’s desperate for a baby.
He’s desperate for an empty nest.
Love is desperate to surprise them both.
With a husband dead set against adoption, Charity O’Connor Dennehy has barely a whisper of hope for more children, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … will it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree? A WHISPER OF HOPE
📹 My Next Facebook Live!
Uh-oh … it’s time for another Facebook Live!
Mark your calendars for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 AT NOON CDT for my next Facebook Live, Part 3 of my video series, NOVEL INSPIRATIONS, a series of life lessons I put into my books. More info to come!
A Sneak Peek!
As promised, here is a sneak peek from Katie & Luke’s Christmas novella, A Dream Fulfilled. To se the scene up, Katie and her two girls arrive home late from the park, and Luke is worried because he didn’t know where they were.
A DREAM FULFILLED
“What on earth are you doing home so early?” Katie asked, huffing and puffing to where Luke stood in front of their apartment building holding a wiggly Kit, their five-year-old who was obviously happy to see her Daddy again. The pink glow of dusk settled on a neighborhood buzzing with cicadas and treefrogs and now Kit’s little-girl giggles, along with her excited chatter about new friends they had met. Brow pinched, Katie readjusted Ellie over her shoulder while Luke tossed Kit over his. “I thought you had a late meeting.”
“Canceled.” Bracing Kit to his side with one arm, Luke easily lifted Ellie off Katie’s shoulder with his other, pressing a kiss to the two-year-old’s downy hair before snuggling her close. “Carmichael’s sick.” His smile tilted off-center as he leaned to brush his mouth against Katie’s. “Kind of like I am of him.”
“Bad day?” Sympathy laced Katie’s tone as she scurried up the steps to open the door.
“Bad month,” he said with a scowl. “Ever since Carmichael put me behind with that boondoggle to New York. Can’t seem to get caught up.”
She raced up the stairs to their flat while he followed, Kit chattering all the way. Pushing the door open, she held it while he and the girls sailed through, nodding towards the hall. “You can put Ellie straight down, Luke, because she’s already been changed and eaten dinner.”
Frowning, he glanced at the clock as Katie absconded with a giggly Kit, tickling her all the way into his and Katie’s bedroom. Almost seven—Ellie’s bedtime. Why in the devil was Katie just waltzing in now? Carefully laying his youngest daughter in her crib, he pressed a soft kiss to her cheek and silently left the room, closing the door because Kit and Katie were making so much bloomin’ noise.
“What’s going on in here?” Luke said, the smile on his face belying the hard tenor of his tone. “It’s almost seven, Katie—where the devil have you been?”
“The devil’s bad, Daddy,” Kit said as she paused in her efforts to help Katie fold the laundry, a crinkle above her nose. “Mama doesn’t like it when we use his name.”
Giving Katie the eye, Luke strolled in and plucked his daughter off the bed, gobble-kissing her neck until giggles and shrieks bounced off the walls. “Yeah, well, Mama’s not gonna like a lot of things, sweetheart, if she doesn’t tell me why she’s so late.”
“I already told you, Daddy,” Kit said, the impatience in her voice matching Luke’s to a scowl. “We’ve been in the park with our new friends, and Arlene shared her peanut butter sandwiches with us, which is why Ellie and I already had dinner.”
Luke’s jaw fell open as he gaped at Katie. “You’ve been at the park from noon until now? Seven hours?”
“Yes …,” Katie said with a quick fold of Luke’s jockey shorts, the apology in her eyes doing nothing for his empty stomach. “But I didn’t plan to be, Luke, honest. I forgot Faith mentioned taking Brennan to the park today, so when she came over, and then Charity joined us with Baby Julia, well, off we went.” She smiled as she rolled several of his socks. “But I promise—I had every intention of coming home to clean up and fix dinner long before this.”
“But …?” He hung Kit upside down over his shoulders, her squeals coaxing his frown into a near smile.
“But, oh Luke—we met the most wonderful friends!” Katie gushed, a sparkle in her eyes as she clasped his socks to her chest. “A little girl Kit’s age named Addie—and her mother, Arlene.” Her hands flew while she folded more underwear without missing a beat, her excitement rivaling Kit’s as his daughter thrashed over his shoulder possum style. “And we all had such a good time getting to know each other!”
“We did, Daddy,” Kit managed between giggles. “Addie’s my best friend now, and we’re going to show them the library and take them to story time at Bookends. And guess what else we’re going to do?”
Luke’s smile banked to the right as he jagged a brow at Katie. “Kick me out and let them move in here?”
“No, silly,” Kit said with a wild wiggle, obviously wanting Luke to put her down. “Mama said she’d help me pick out some books to lend to Addie, isn’t that swell?”
“Yeah, swell.” Luke righted Kit before setting her on the floor, zeroing in on Katie with a bland smile. “Before or after I get to eat dinner?”
“Oh, Luke!” Katie dropped the diaper she’d been folding and rushed to give him a hug. “I just assumed you ate the extra sandwich I packed with your lunch to tide you over through your meeting. But if your meeting canceled, you must be starving!”
His mouth crooked. “Ate both sandwiches at lunch because I needed all the energy I could get. Carmichael dumped a ton of new files on me, so I’m absolutely famished, Sass.” He deposited a kiss to Katie’s head, his affectionate use of her nickname confirming his bad mood was on the thaw. The familiar scent of her rosewater teased his nostrils, spurring his appetite in a whole ’nother direction.
Talk about starving!
“Mama, come on!” Kit said in a near groan, tugging on Katie’s arm so hard, she yanked it away from Luke’s waist. “We have books to pick out.”
“Sorry, Kitty-Kat.” Katie swooped her up and handed her off to Luke with a devious grin. “You know what a grump Daddy can be when he’s hungry, so I have to feed him. But you and he can pick out some books for Addie while I go heat up his pot roast. Then Daddy can help you brush your teeth, say your prayers, and put you to bed with a story. I’ll come kiss you good night after, okay?”
“Okay,” Kit said with a tiny pout that indicated it really wasn’t. “But Daddy has to read me three books instead of one since he hasn’t read any this week, right, Daddy?”
“Sure,” Luke said blankly, barely aware of Kit’s demand. All he could do was stare at Katie, mouth dropping so much, he almost lost some drool. “You made pot roast?” he said, the crack in his voice putting a smile on her face. Along, no doubt, with the loud rumble of his stomach.
“Of course I did, silly.” She gave him a quick kiss, then brushed another to Kit’s nose before she made her way to the door. “I promised you, didn’t I? Once I remembered we were going to the park with Faith, I made the pot roast this morning, then tucked it away for dinner tonight.” She wiggled her brows. “So, go pick out books for Addie, read a few to your daughter before you put her to bed, then come let me tell you about my day over pot roast.”
Hoisting Kit up in his arms, he delivered a heated look to Katie, along with a crooked smile. “You mean, before I put you to bed?”
A pretty shade of rose dusted her cheeks as her chin nudged up with a sultry smile. “With all the hours you’ve been working, Luke McGee, we’ll just see whom puts whom to bed.”
Luke swallowed hard, suddenly craving those sassy lips way more than any stupid pot roast. “I love you, Katie Rose,” he said softly, reminded just how blessed he was to have her and the girls in his life.
Her eyes softened before that luscious mouth quirked into a dry smile. “I know, McGee, but until I can assuage that growling stomach of yours with meat and potatoes, I suspect I come in a distant second to pot roast.”
Luke’s stomach growled right on cue, and he shook his head and smiled while she sashayed down the hall, thinking she may just be right. Placing a kiss on Kit’s auburn curls, he strode to the door, his smile easing into a grin.
But not for long