Welcome to my New Website!
I absolutely love it and hope you do too! Mega thanks to my sweet hubby for a great banner above and mega kudos to Savanna Kaiser, who did a fabulous job designing the rest of the website and updating this old gal’s digs!
LOTS going on — a big contest, Christmas sales, Holiday Gift Guides, AND a sneak peek at my new mystery/suspense romance called THE SECRET OF EMERALD COTTAGE, so be sure to read all the way down to the end of this blog, okay?
🎄 DEC. 6-12 — CHRISTMAS ROUND-ROBIN! Interested in winning a $350, $250, or $150 Amazon gift card? Plus lots of chances to win my books? Then mark your calendars to come back here to my Journal Jots blog on December 6 -12 to enter a fun scavenger hunt that I am privileged to be a part of!
🎄 CHRISTMAS SALES! To help celebrate one of my favorite months, I am running a 50% sale on two of my most recent e-books, A Wing and a Prayer AND Love’s Silver Bullet, so I hope you take advantage. The sales will coincide with the Christmas Round-Robin above, so look for the reduction in price beginning Dec. 6th (if not before at the following links:
🎄 CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDES! Looking to add to your romance library this Christmas? Share this gift guide with all the gift-givers in your life! Or support one of your favorite romance authors by choosing one of these gifts from this list!
Plus, if you share this post or a picture of your gift on social media, you’ll have a chance to win your pick of pairings! Just tag @amoststoriedromance and use #thegiftofromance2020 on Instagram or Facebook to be entered.
🎄 ATTENTION AUTHORS: Authors need all the help we can get, so whenever I find a supplier who provides me with excellent services, I plan to pass it on to you.
Today, I wanted to tell you about a new service that my friend, Casey Apodaca is starting up, especially for authors wanting to reach more readers. If you have a freebie or sale book coming up, that you have either scheduled or your publisher has told you they are doing for you, Casey has a solution to help you maximize your sale to reach as many readers as possible.
I have used Casey’s services a number of times, and not only has she been an absolute lifesaver, but a time-saver too, and reasonable to boot! Be sure to check out her website for all the information at the link below, but don’t delay if you are interested! She is having a GRAND OPENING SALE through the end of 2020 and good for any promotion scheduled before April 2021. You will be SO very glad you did!
🎄 SNEAK PEEK AT MY NEW MYSTERY/SUSPENSE ROMANCE: OH. MY. GOODNESS!! Who would have thought I would have had this much fun writing a suspense. Not me, for sure, because I don’t even like reading suspense.
But that is about to change! My latest work in progress, THE SECRET OF EMERALD COTTAGE, has won me over, and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.
So I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at the first chapter. It’s pretty rough because it’s unedited, but I hope it whets your appetite for what I think may be one of my best books yet. So, here it is, and HAPPY PEEKING!!
SNEAK PEEK AT THE SECRET OF EMERALD COTTAGE
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.
Savannah, Georgia, Early June
“I was a fool, Bree. Forgive me? Please?”
Forgive him? Body numb, Breanna Stewart stood rooted at Miss Lilly’s front door, staring at the man who had broken both her heart and her trust, and wondered if she actually could.
Today was to have been their wedding day at a pretty little church in Charleston. Instead here Tyler stood on the wraparound front porch of Miss Lilly’s rustic log home on Lake Loon, more handsome than a louse had a right be.
Those piercing gray eyes were as repentant—and deadly—as she’d ever seen. Hands plunged deep in the pockets of his favorite Rock Revival jeans, he offered an awkward shrug and sheepish smile, his rolled-sleeved, buttoned-down shirt emphasizing broad shoulders and a well-defined torso. “These last six months without you have been awful, babe, convincing me I made the biggest and most brainless mistake of my life.”
Yeah, me too. Cocking her hip, Bree slapped her arms into an impatient fold, not about to let Tyler Madison disarm her again. “Well, I certainly concur with brainless”—her eyes narrowed to slits, as thin as her patience. “What do you want, Tyler?”
That hard-sculpted jaw tensed as he threaded a hand through wheat-colored hair shorn on the sides. His Adam’s apple ducked twice. “I rather hoped it would be obvious,” he whispered, catching her off-guard when he reached to caress her face with tender fingers. “I want us back.”
She jerked away, arms glued to her waist in self-defense as she took a step back, warning bells going off in her head over the warm shiver he’d produced. She’d been head over heels for two solid years, ready to spend the rest of her life with him, so naturally his touch still affected her. Her mouth compressed in resolve. But she was also ready to spend the rest of her life forgetting him, too, and had a six-month head start, thank God. “There is no ‘us,’ Tyler. I wonder if there ever was.”
“There was and you know it, Bree,” he said quietly, gently tugging one of her hands free to draw her close. “Because despite my asinine mistake, we still love each other.”
“Loved!” she hissed, breaking free to thump him hard on a chest that felt like rock. “Past tense, buster, so you can just take your seductive song and dance and—”
Her gasp was silenced when his mouth took hers, melting her to the door with a kiss that reminded her of all she had lost.
A love for a lifetime.
“Forgive me, Bree—please?” He gently touched his forehead to hers. “Give me another chance, and I swear I will do everything in my power to make it up to you.”
“Ty …” She felt herself weakening, memories of their last two years resurrecting the faintest glimmers of love and hope that she’d worked so hard to bury beneath a mountain of hurt. “I don’t think—”
Her resistance was swallowed up in another dangerous kiss so possessive, all her walls came tumbling down when he pulled away. Suddenly, his handsome face dissolved into a haze, disappearing into the same nightmare she’d lived for the last half year. A groan trailed from her lips as her head thrashed back and forth on her pillow. “No, don’t leave again, please,” she murmured in her sleep, “just kiss me again …”
She felt her body finally relax when he did—gently, softly—vaguely aware it had to be a dream because suddenly it wasn’t Ty she was kissing, but someone else.
Lost somewhere between consciousness and slumber, she burrowed deeper into the downy softness of her bed, never wanting the kiss to end. Definitely a dream because Ty was her past, and yet the brush of lips against hers had felt so real!
Breathing in the heady scent of pine trees that surrounded both Miss Lilly’s “Emerald Cottage” and the glimmering glacial lake outside her open window, she allowed her subconscious to fade back into sleep, desperate to return to Prince Charming.
“Wake up, Princess.” A husky voice with a hint of a brogue breathed into her ear, accompanied by a delicious hint of musk, and she literally groaned out loud, unwilling for the magic to end. Rolling on her side, she yanked the cover over her head, longing to slip away once again …
“Uh … excuse me, Goldilocks, but I think you’re sleeping in my bed.”
Her eyes snapped open beneath the sheet as she gasped, frozen for a split second before she jerked her Glock 36 from under her pillow. Vaulting up from the bed, her limbs shook like Jell-O as she stood there in her ratty tank top and penguin shorts, arms extended. “Who are y-you?” she rasped, heart pummeling her rib cage as she trembled, taking shaky aim at a man in a sculpted T-shirt and jeans who made Prince Charming look like a frog.
Light blue eyes flared in surprise as he slowly raised massive palms in the air, a lazy smile easing across the most perfect lips she’d ever seen on a man. “Whoa, take it easy, lass. I’m Miss Lilly’s great nephew, Brec McGill, but you can call me Papa Bear if you like.”
“How did you get in?” she demanded, snatching her cell phone from the nightstand before backing toward the door. She punched in 9-1-1 just in case. Hands quivering, she tucked it into her shorts, pretty darn rattled that a Greek god had entered her room and she’d never even heard him come in.
With an impressive bulge of a bicep, he casually scratched the back of his head, his smile patient as he tossed a set of keys in the air before slipping them into the pocket of jeans so snug, they bordered on indecent. “A key. From Aunt Lilly. A long time ago.”
“Wait a minute.” She swallowed hard as she wiped her lips, eyes narrowing to slits when the memory of her dream came back. “Did you … kiss me?”
“Depends.” His lip quirked as he tipped his head, flashing the deepest, most dangerous dimples she’d ever seen. “Did you like it?”
Stance stiff, she jerked the gun higher, satisfied when it wiped the smile right off his face.
Taking a quick step back, he thumped a taut chest with a blunt thumb while he stared her down. “Look, lass, this is my room, and you were sleeping in my bed, so suppose you tell me who you are, aye?”
Her chin jutted up. “I am Miss Lilly’s temporary caretaker and companion, Nurse Breanna Stewart, and the one who left umpteen voicemail messages and telegram that you never bothered to answer, I might add.”
He actually winced, which gave some small comfort that there may be a shred of concern somewhere deep down in this great nephew who hadn’t visited his aunt in years. He cuffed the back of his neck. “Yeah, about that,” he said with a sheepish look, “I’ve had a bit of bother lately with the press, so I’ve been off the grid so to speak.” He gave an awkward shrug. “New cell phone, new apartment, dodged voicemail, you know?”
Expelling a silent sigh, Breanna slowly lowered her gun. Yes, she knew. Miss Lilly had already filled her in on her notorious nephew, the infamous Irish soccer star embroiled in a nasty scandal. The same nephew Miss Lilly’d been praying for since he went astray after college—both from her and from the faith she’d tried so hard to instill.
“But I finally got the telegram,” he continued in a rush, a definite apology lacing his tone as he buried his hands deep in the pockets of his jeans. Those broad shoulders lifted briefly. “So, here I am.” Thick brows tented in concern as he pinned Bree with a pointed gaze that held a hint of vulnerability. “How is she?” he whispered.
“Better.” Rolling her neck, Bree felt the tension slowly seep from her body. “She’s out of the coma and resting comfortably—”
“Coma?” His voice cracked as his golden tan bleached to pale. “She was in a coma? The telegram just said she’d fallen and was in the hospital, for criminy’s sake.”
Bree arched a brow, her manner cool. “She did fall, Mr. McGill—into the lake, as a matter of fact. Which resulted in a coma when she almost drowned. But she came out of it before I sent the telegram—which was a last resort, mind you, after all the phone calls.”
A groan rattled from his throat as he gouged thick fingers through short curly hair—almost blue black—appearing as if he actually cared or jut putting on a pretty good act. He glanced at his watch. “Where is she? I want to see her right now. And I want to know everything.”
“All in good time, Striker Boy,” Bree said as she waved the gun toward the door, adding her own twist to his team nickname of “Striker Man” since he was his team’s primary scoring threat. “It’s barely six a.m., and I’m not going anywhere till I’ve had a shower and a cup of coffee, so don’t be in such a hurry.”
She suddenly remembered the brazen pass he’d made by kissing her while she was sleeping, and both her ire—and her gun—rose to new heights. “Oh, wait—you weren’t in a hurry, were you, since you’ve just gotten here almost a week after the fact.”
Those blue eyes thinned to slits of sapphire. “It’s ‘Striker Man,’ for your information, Goldilocks,” he said in a gravelly voice as tight as hers, “and I detest guns, so stop waving that bloomin’ thing at me. I took the redeye as soon as I got the blinkin’ telegram, so don’t act like I don’t care about my aunt.”
Eyes wide, Bree feigned surprise as she placed a hand to her face. “Oh, forgive me, please, but I didn’t realize seeing your aunt once every ten years qualified as ‘caring.’”
Too late she saw the flicker of pain in his eyes, pools of regret and guilt that shamed her before he quickly looked away, shoulders slumping while he gouged the bridge of his nose. “You’re right, of course,” he said quietly, the weariness of his manner reminding her he’d just flown twelve hours on a cramped plane in the middle of the night. “But I’m here now, Miss Stewart, and I would very much like to see my aunt.”
Oh, way to welcome the prodigal home, Breanna, she thought with a pinch in her chest, heat warming her cheeks over kicking a man when he’s down. She was the Christian here, after all, and he was not, a point that caused Aunt Lilly great pain whenever they’d discussed her wayward nephew.
The same wayward nephew who’d just kissed me while I was sleep, for pity’s sake!
For pity’s sake, indeed. And Breck McGill’s, apparently. Because if Breanna knew one thing for sure about Miss Lilly, it was that no matter her nephew’s indifference to her, she longed to see him healthy and whole, both spiritually and emotionally. “Deep down he’s a good boy,” she’d often say with that faraway look that told Breanna he was her number-one priority before she went home to her Savior—that Breck would return to his. And that sure wouldn’t happen if Breanna didn’t reflect the love of the merciful God she also espoused, forgiving this lost soul for abandoning the aunt who loved him all of these years.
Unleashing a heavy sigh of regret that mirrored that in his eyes, Bree placed her gun on the nightstand and gave a side nod toward the door. “Visiting hours are at ten, so you can either catch a few winks in one of the guest rooms down the hall before we leave, or you can wait for me in the kitchen. Where,” she said with a quirk of her brow, “I will happily whip up breakfast—something fast, hardy, and nutritious, plus coffee while I fill you in on the state of Miss Lilly and her affairs.”
A sense of peace settled over his features like a truce, making him appear all the more fatigued as he slowly moved toward the door. Hand on the knob, he turned, his weariness belied by a twitch of a smile that reminded her all over again just how handsome he was.
And dangerous, too, according to tabloids, to a woman’s emotional health. “That would be absolutely grand, lass,” he said in a husky tone that held more than a hint of tease. “And if you’re willing to forgive me for both my abominable lack of attention to Miss Lilly and stealing a kiss?”—he had the audacity to give her a wink—“I’ll forgive you for stealing my room.”
“Forgiven,” she said with a pert lift of her chin, matching his trace of a smile with one of her own. “The lack of attention to Miss Lilly, that is, Strike-Out Boy. But the sheer annoyance from the other?” She wrinkled her nose as she crossed her arms in a taut fold, dismissing him with a nod of her head to close the door. “Something tells me I’ll need that for self-defense.”