Jocktoberfest 2014 – Rain, Red Kites and Ray Bans… An author’s weekend off!

 

 

 

 

Blue skies

My Facebook author page is here.

This was our THIRD visit to Jocktoberfest since relocating to Scotland in 2012 and we were rather giddy in the weeks leading up to the event. I say giddy…that could possibly be an understatement! I’ve spent the last few months editing several books and publishing my fourth contemporary romance novel Bridge of Hope and so this was going to be a escape for a wee while before the whole process started again! All of my books take place in the Highlands and it was so good to be back there!

After spending a rather romantic Thursday at a superb B & B in Inverness we set off to the Black Isle with great excitement. You see, this festival has led us to the discovery of some amazing music. Every year we find a new favourite band! Our first Jocktoberfest back in 2012 was where we discovered The Lafontaines, Washington Irving, Toby Michaels and the Rolling Damned and the magnificently talented mind blowing Esperi. Knowing that Esperi was going to be performing again was simply the cherry on top of the chocolate frosting on top of the worlds best cake…EVER!

The inclement weather of the few days prior to the event made us a tad nervous. No one like to put up a tent in the pouring rain after all! But thankfully we arrived to bright sunshine and erected our little blue tent with big smiles. And who could complain at the setting?

View from our tent

The thing that never ceases to amaze me about Jocktoberfest is how friendly everyone is. Within five minutes of sitting down when the venue opened on Friday – me in my Sons’s of Anarchy T-shirt and hubby in his Washington Irving one – a lovely young woman began chatting to us about our taste in TV and music! And she even said “Hi” and chatted again when we saw her later in the weekend. I love the fact that the event brings people of all ages and musical tastes together and that the atmosphere is buzzing from the get go. We have never encountered trouble and come away each year looking forward to the next time.

It was great to see Dr. Wook of The Whiskeys performing on Friday evening and we hope all is well with his wife as she was about to give birth at any second! The evening was lively and Tweed had us jigging around with silly grins on our faces.

The weather overnight on Friday was sooo cold! But we still woke with determination to make the most of the festivities on Saturday. We donned our checked shirts and cowboy hats and went down to the Wild West themed venue wondering what other crazy costumes we would encounter! We were NOT disappointed! Surrounded by horses, cowboys, Mexicans and even cacti – yes you read it right – we wandered around clutching our favourite beer – a Blonde for the blonde and a Red Kite for the Hombre ;-) And we sat to enjoy our first act of the day.

Yeeeeehaw!

I’m not going to review each individual band as I’m no reviewer and I know little about music other than what I like but all I will say is that we hardly stood still the whole time. There was a lot of smiling and joining in when the bands requested audience participation. But one of the highlights for me was a band called Gabbro.  I honestly never thought I would see the day when a spontaneous Ceilidh would break out at four in the afternoon when I was surrounded by cowboys/girls! You couldn’t help but tap your feet and clap along to this lively bunch of talented people. Absolutely loved them and I’m sure we will be hearing much more from them in the future.

Afternoon Ceilidh

The other thing we love about Jocktoberfest is the way that the bands seem to be like a family! You will spot a bass player from one band standing in for another…a drummer will pop up somewhere you didn’t expect and so on. It’s fantastic that there is a willingness to support each other. Just how it should be.

Now I will have to wax lyrical about one particular artist. I may be his number one fan ;-) Esperi was back at Jocktoberfest! Woohooo! AND I got to have my photo taken with him! I may have fangirled a little. We met Chris at our very first Jocktoberfest and were completely wowed by his unique way of producing music. Add that to his multifaceted talent and you have a recipe for amazing music. I was so excited when he finished his set with my all time fave Esperi song ‘Silo the Fire’. I absolutely LOVE the way the song builds and builds until the crescendo of Chris drumming live to a track of sounds he has looped from all manner of items – kids toys to a Melodica (if that’s what you call the thingy with the keys and the long tube!) This guy is lovely and after chatting to him he may just be making an appearance in one of my upcoming books. His new CD became the soundtrack to our journey home :-)

eSPERI

At lunch time on Saturday we went back to the tent to chill for a while and let some of the yummy beer soak in. We sat outside the tent eating our noodles and listening to ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley being played a couple of tents away on someones portable MP3. See we even had music at the camp site!

Now I will briefly chat about our new favourite bands for this year. It happens every year like I said before. This year was no different. We discovered the fabulous Verona. Wow! Heart meltingly good tunes. Great stage presence. A band to watch for sure.

This year we were also BLOWN AWAY by Red Kites and I don’t just mean the delicious Black Isle beer – oh my word! The guitarist was AMAZING! Such a massive amount of talent and enthusiasm. His grin was infectious. The band were all VERY talented and musically – wow – like I said, I’m no reviewer but I will most definitely be buying some of this bands music without a doubt. My phone battery had died by this time so I will update with pics when hubs gets home as I think he took some. 

Now you may be wondering why Ray Bans are mentioned in the title of this blog? Well… During Saturday evening we went to sit on one the straw bales in the Dutch barn and were approached by the people who had been sitting there before. They asked if we had seen a pair of sunglasses when we had sat down. Unfortunately we hadn’t. We had a good search of the area but the glasses were nowhere to be seen. The friends walked away looking very dejected. In a bid not to give up, hubs and I began rummaging through the piles of straw and my foot caught something. Hubs bent to see what it was and it turned out to be the lost glasses! He went running after the friends and handed over them over to their rightful owner. The reaction he got almost knocked him off his feet! To say they were happy would be an understatement!  He was enveloped in a bear hug and thanked over and over. The woman kissed him and then rushed over to apologise to me :-D I got hugs too. We realised why the poor guy had been so gutted about losing them when it turned out what brand they were. So we made a couple of new friends too!

The weather wasn’t the best we had experienced at the festival but sadly no one can book the good stuff where that’s concerned. And in any case the weather didn’t spoil our fun! The beer was scrummy the staff were fantastic (as they always are) and the only thing that we were sad about was the lack of the Churros cart!

If you haven’t been to Jocktoberfest then you really should give it a go next year. It is well worth sleeping in a tent for!

It's all about the beer 

Simply CAN NOT WAIT for next year! Well done Black Isle Brewery and Jocktoberfest!

My facebook page can be found here.

 

 

Release Day! Penelope – The Three Mrs Monroes Book Two – Bernadette Marie

HUGE congratulations to my lovely friend and fellow 5 Prince Publishing author Bernadette Marie on the release of her latest novel Penelope!

Some men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept
three.
 
Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre Contemporary Romance:
Penelope Book two of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120409 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-040-4
Print ISBN-10: 1631120417 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-041-1
 
 
 
 
From loss breeds new life.
Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies.
Pregnant she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.
Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he
makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.
On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her
heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.
 
 
About the Author:
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its
release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The
married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says
she can write it, because she lives it.
When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly
hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from
her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do.
A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011,
5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to
write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.
 
 
How to reach Bernadette Marie
@writesromance on Twitter
 
 
Excerpt of Penelope:

Chapter One

 
God she was miserable.
Heat waves rose off the pavement and the air was thick and
still. Penelope Monroe sat on the front porch in one kitchen chair with her
feet up on another. With gentle strokes, she rubbed her pregnant belly. She
simply couldn’t believe how uncomfortable she was.
The smell of paint from inside the house wafted out and she
tried not to let it make her stomach churn. She’d been appointed to oversee the
two men putting in the new front window. That wasn’t much fun at all.
Both of their butt cracks stuck out of their pants and every
time they talked they cursed then looked at her and apologized. She wasn’t a
prude—well not really. She’d heard those words before, even if she didn’t use
them.
Penelope closed her eyes and wished for a slight breeze. Her
head was buzzing with paint fumes, curse words, and the events of the past few
months.
It had all started when she’d married Adam Monroe.
His image formed in her head and she let out a small sigh.
Those blue eyes and that blonde hair, he was like a god, she
thought. One she’d read about in books. He was a Marine, so his body was
chiseled hard and he carried himself—well, like a god.
He’d been a player. She’d known that. The night she’d first
laid eyes on him, he’d taken her friend home from the bar. At least he’d had
the sense to offer her a ride home before he drove off with Christina—her ex-friend. There were explicit details
from Christina she could do with forgetting.
That should have been her clue to never even talk to the man
again. Easy sex from women you picked up in bars wasn’t her style. She’d been a
virgin, after all. She’d been saving herself for her husband. It had been
Christina who thought differently of that. Christina liked the loud music, the
dancing, the beer, and the men. Usually she was considerate of Penelope’s
feelings when they went out. But that night Christina had gotten caught up in
Adam’s blue eyes, his hair, his body, and his voice delivering all the right
lines.
Penelope figured she was most mad about the evening because
she’d been having feelings she’d never had before. She thought, briefly, that
had she been given the chance to go home with Adam she’d have done it. She knew
she’d have chickened out, but he’d had a way with turning her heart to mush.
But it had been Christina he’d taken back to his place
and—well, again, she’d just like to forget that she knew every detail of that
night.
She couldn’t have imagined that a few nights later, when
Christina had abandoned her at the bar for another one night stand, that Adam
would walk in and change her life.
The words he used were different than the ones he’d used on
Christina. His moves were gentle and that hadn’t been a word Christina had used
when she’d given Penelope all of her details.
He was a gentleman.
They talked, walked, and dated a few nights. He was sweet
when she told him she was a virgin and she was saving herself for her husband.
Not once did he make a move or cross a line. Then he said he loved her and that
had changed everything.
When he’d asked her to marry him, there had been no
hesitation. They’d gotten married and, that night, she gave herself to him.
Penelope let out a breath and opened her eyes. Everything
changed in that one night.
She ran her hand over her growing stomach. A small part of
Adam grew inside of her, even though he was gone.
The day she’d come to Parson’s Gulch was the day they’d
buried Adam—the day she’d met one of his other wives and seen the other with
his children. She was only one of three Mrs. Monroes. One of three Adam had
lied to. One of three who now fought to move past him.
The very thought of Adam’s lies still made her sick.
But just because she now detested her husband of only a few
months, she couldn’t hate the life that grew inside of her. This child was hers
and in a few days she’d see the baby for the first time. Adam’s other wives
would be there too.
She let out a small chuckle which had the window installers
looking over at her. Kindly, she gave them a smile and closed her eyes again.
Amelia Monroe, Adam’s second wife, had taken her in. She was
kind though Penelope was sure she wasn’t used to being so kind But she’d given
her a place to stay and had just friended her when she’d needed someone to
care.
Vivian, on the other hand, had taken a little longer to warm
up to. But when she had, they’d bonded. Though Vivian wasn’t more than ten
years older than Penelope, she thought of her as a mother figure, where Amelia
was more of a big sister.
Adam’s lies had entangled them.
Adam’s death had brought them together.
Adam’s life grew inside of her.
Penelope opened her eyes and rubbed her aching side.
In just the past week, her stomach had grown so much bigger.
It stretched and Vivian was relentless with the cocoa butter routine. She had
stretch marks from Adam’s other two children and she was going to make sure
Penelope didn’t suffer the same fate.
More than just her stomach had changed though. A week ago,
the entire town changed in fifteen seconds when a tornado ripped through the
sky. There had only been a few injuries and no one had died—thank God!
Vivian’s home had been totaled and the front window of the
century-old house on Main and Pine had blown in. Penelope’s car had also been
totaled, but she thought she’d faired pretty well in that deal. Her beat up old
car, which didn’t always run well, had been replaced by her late husband’s
vintage Mustang.
Penelope had never been one for flashy, vintage cars, but
she couldn’t help herself—she loved this one. It sat against the curb within
view. Oh, she might look sexy in it now, from the neck up. But no one would
ever give her a second look when they saw a baby seat in the back in a few
months.
Sam Jackson, Adam’s lawyer, her boss, and now Amelia’s
fiancé, pulled tree branches around the side of the house and stacked them near
the porch.
“I have the misting fan set up in the kitchen. Maybe you
should go inside,” he called to her.
“Too much paint.”
He nodded as he took his cellphone out of his pocket. He
looked at it, smiled, and walked toward her giving the front window a glance
first. “Why don’t you go in, get yourself a cold bottle of water, and walk
upstairs.”
Penelope frowned. She knew it was much hotter upstairs.
Sam climbed the steps of the porch and held his hand out to
her. “C’mon. Amelia is up there. She just texted me. She has something to show
you.”
Penelope planted her feet on the floor, took Sam’s hand, and
stood with an umph.
“You start up,” he said placing his hand on her back and
walking her toward the door. “I’ll get you a bottle of water and meet you up
there.”
Penelope shifted him a glance and walked inside the house.
The heat was nearly unbearable, but she walked toward the
stairs and started up them.
Sam had redone every tread and in time, when she wasn’t
around, they would stain them and the rest of the floors in the century-old
house, which they were turning into a daycare center.
Adam’s father had donated the house to them. It was a kind
gesture, she thought as she neared the top step. He’d been gracious when they’d
needed it.
Amelia had come up with the great idea that they take what
Adam had and turn it into a business to take care of his children. Amelia
hadn’t asked for anything in return. But when pushed, she’d mentioned she’d
like a gym in the basement.
So far she hadn’t stumbled across the secret project
Penelope and Vivian had been working on. She seemed to be preoccupied with what
she was calling her office upstairs.
Penelope hadn’t been upstairs in weeks. It wasn’t worth the
climb. And now that she was at the top of the stairs and the air was thick and
horribly hot, she knew she’d been right to stay downstairs.
Sam was right behind her with a cold bottle of water. He
handed it to her.
“C’mon, go in,” he said.
“She’s been behind those doors for a week. I don’t want to
be the one who goes in unannounced.”
“You’re chicken.”
“Yeah. You go first. She loves you.”
Sam scowled and stepped forward. “Yeah, and I’m the one she
punched in the gut when I startled her too. I’m walking with heavy footsteps.”
He twisted the knob of one of the closed bedroom doors and
pushed it open. Sticking his head around the corner, he pushed it open just a
bit more.
“She’s afraid to come in. You’re not going to throw anything
are you?”
Penelope heard Amelia grunt and then the door swung open
hard. “Get in here.”
Penelope walked through the thick air toward the room and
gasped when she walked in.
Amelia, Vivian, and Vivian’s daughters were standing in the
room with enormous grins on their faces. “Well, what do you think?”
Penelope looked around at the transformed area. They had
taken the two bedrooms, which shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, and completely
renovated them.
The room she stood in was painted a very soothing shade of
pale green. There was a wrought iron bed with a lacy white spread. Over the
bed, was a painting that she knew Vivian had found in the basement. An antique
dresser and mirror sat against the wall and they’d also added a beautiful
armoire.
“This is magnificent,” she said with her breath wheezing
out. “This is what you’ve been working on?”
“Yes. You needed a place to stay,” Vivian said. “Amelia did
almost all of it.”
“For me?”
“You and the baby. This is your home now—when the fumes are
all gone.”
She felt the tears sting, but she tried to hold them back.
“I did that.” Emma, Vivian’s four year old daughter said as
she pointed to the rocking chair. “The Teddy bear. I made it at Build-a-Bear.”
Penelope covered her mouth and tears quickly rolled down her
cheeks.
“You’re such a girl,” Amelia teased as she put her arm
around Penelope’s shoulders. “C’mon, there’s more. Try not to cry too much or
you won’t be able to see anything.”
She walked her to the bathroom that joined the two rooms. It
was painted a soft brown and all the fixtures had been replaced with modern
replicas of older ones.
“This is gorgeous. I can’t believe I didn’t know you were
doing this.”
“That would have ruined the surprise. Okay, now you can cry
your eyes out,” Amelia said as she opened the door that led into the next
bedroom.”
When Penelope saw it, she did cry harder. The pastel yellow
room with handmade curtains depicting tumbling teddy bears hung from the
window. Matching bumpers adorned a crib against the wall. There was a matching
rocking chair in this room with a teddy bear on the seat.
Ava, Vivian’s two-year-old, tugged on Penelope’s shirt. “I
made that.”
Penelope batted her eyes and ran her hand over Ava’s braids
and smiled. Never in her life could she have expected such love. And to think,
these women and children had been jaded by Adam’s lies too. But they were there
for her and her baby. They embraced her. They loved her.
“I can’t…I don’t…Oh…” she sobbed.
Vivian moved to Penelope and wrapped her arms around her.
“Quit crying. You’re going to make me cry.”
“I don’t deserve this,” Penelope said.
“Sure you do,” Amelia added.
Penelope looked up to see her standing with her arms crossed
over her chest and Sam next to her with his arm around her shoulders. They made
a beautiful picture, she thought. Amelia was very lucky to have fallen in love
with him.
“You’ve all been so nice to me…”
“And we’re going to keep being nice.” Amelia walked toward
her and whispered, “Adam brought us together. We are all family now.” She took
Penelope’s hands in hers. “This is the least he could do to take care of you
and your baby.”
Again, Amelia was being sweet and that nearly made Penelope
want to laugh. But she’d learned this side of Amelia was as genuine as the side
that liked to kick men’s butts.
As Ava and Emma showed Penelope all the parts to their baby’s room, the doorbell rang.
They all exchanged glances and Vivian shook her head. “I’ll
get it. It’s probably those boobs putting in the window.”
Penelope watched her walk out of the room and then, hand in
hand, Sam and Amelia walked out too. She looked down at the sisters of her baby
and smiled. She’d be okay without Adam there or any other man for that matter.
She and her baby were loved. That’s all that mattered.
 
 

It’s here!! Bridge of Hope by me – Lisa J Hobman is released! Yay!

 
Well the day of book number four is finally here! This book means such a lot to me seeing as I wrote it on the request of the people who read and loved Bridge Over the Atlantic. Greg struck a chord with them (pardon the pun ;-) ) and they wanted more. I was happy to oblige. This is a companion novel which tells Greg’s own story from his POV. You will find out how he became the man he is in Bridge Over the Atlantic and you will see everything through his eyes whilst experiencing his emotions. I sincerely hope you enjoy it <3
 
NB: This book is for ages 18+ only
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…
I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon;
my guitar.
 
But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could
melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I
took my anger out on her.
 
On Mallory.
 
But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.
 
Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?
 
 
About Lisa J Hobman
Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy
dogs.  Originally from Yorkshire, England, Lisa now resides in Scotland – her favourite place in the world.
Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although
in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel had been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border to Scotland has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published.
 
How to contact Lisa J Hobman:
 
 
Excerpt of Bridge of Hope:

Chapter One

January 2011
It had been the same damned nightmare again.
I’d been experiencing what the doctor called night terrors ever since receiving the news that Mairi had been
declared dead. The love of my fucking life… dead.
There were no words to describe the physical pain knotting my insides every
time I realised it was true and not just a cruel dream.
There had been no body to bury. But apparently that’s not uncommon when
people are lost up the side of a mountain like K2. People can lie undiscovered
for years up there, so I’m told.
Sobering thought.
The stupid thing was that I wasn’t even there when it happened, but for
some bizarre reason my psyche had built up its own series of events and
insisted on torturing me with the movie of Mairi’s death every time I closed my
eyes.
What I wouldn’t give
for a peaceful night’s sleep.
I’d taken on extra work whenever I wasn’t on the water. The boat was
only a seasonal thing anyway. And although tourists loved the area surrounding
the bridge over the Atlantic, taking a trip out on Little Blue on choppy water wasn’t for fainthearted, unseasoned
sailors. So I’d taken on work as a handyman. I was fixing taps, sealing sinks,
unblocking drains. Oddly, all the jobs seemed to be water related. Maybe that
was because I had a combination of water and single malt running through ma veins.
Who knows?
Keeping busy was my intention. Being occupied was the only thing
stopping me from slipping into a deep depression, and I knew all too well how
easy it would’ve been just to let go and fall into the abyss like Mairi did in
my nightmares.
I’d met her when I was out walking. I’d pretty much given up hope of
ever falling in love for real. I’d had a shot at it before—Alice was her name,
but the less said about her right now the better. But life likes to throw in
curveballs every so often. And so there I was up by the Buckle, taking in the
scenery and fresh air, when this fiery-haired girl tripped over her laces and
into my arms. She had the most stunning smile I’d ever seen. And her eyes…
Let’s just say when she gazed up at me she melted my heart. We chatted for ages
and it was just… so natural.
I was never going to be the same again.
Our relationship progressed quickly and was very physical. I was a fair few years older than her but I had no
trouble keeping up, if you know what I mean. I loved every inch of her body
with a passion I’d never experienced before. It was raw and real. I’d sit
watching her as she studied maps and reference books about climbing. Every so
often she’d glance up and catch me staring and she’d just smile, climb into my
lap, and kiss me.
After Alice and I split—I won’t bore you with the details just yet,
let’s just say that she was a nasty piece of work who messed with my head and
broke my heart, more than once—I swore off love and all it entailed. I didn’t need a woman in my life. Or so I
thought. But when I lost Mairi, it was like someone had ripped out ma heart and
stamped on it whilst I watched. The pain was excruciating.
Physical, gut-twisting pain.
I felt sure they’d gotten it wrong. She went to K2 with experienced
climbers. She was an experienced mountaineer too. It’d been her dream for so long. I wasn’t about to stand in
her way, and the thought that she may not come back never even entered my head.
Not being able to say goodbye was the worst thing. The small memorial
service we held was devoid of emotion. It was as if her friends and family were
in some kind of denial.
I think I was too.
Thinking back to the morning she left for the trip broke my heart, but I
couldn’t stop myself.
June 2010
Her long, titian curls fanned out on the pillow beside me and she smiled
as she slept. She was exposed to me from the waist up and I lay there on my
side, willing her to awaken. I wasn’t going to see her for months and I wanted
to get my fill whilst I still could. I gently stroked her chin, down between
her creamy bare breasts to her navel. It was cruel but I wanted her to open her
eyes. Instead she whacked my hand away and muttered expletives. I burst out
laughing, trying my best to do it quietly but failing miserably.
She picked up one of the spare pillows and hit me on the head with it,
making me chuckle again. “Gregory McBradden, you’re a total shit. I was having
a really sexy dream,” she whined, eyes still closed.
I leaned in. With my mouth next to her ear, I whispered, “Open your eyes
and let’s make your dream come true, love.” That got her every time. Goose
bumps pricked her skin and she moaned. Her eyes sprang open and she pounced on
me, pushing me onto my back and straddling my waist.
God, she was so beautiful.
I gazed up at her. Her pert breasts begging for my touch. I was already
hard, but seeing her like this did something to my insides and brought out the
animalistic side of me. I gripped her hips as I inhaled a deep breath, trying
my best to calm the furnace raging beneath my skin. As she bent to take my
mouth in a deep, sensual kiss, her hair cascaded to my chest. Our tongues
slipped and slid together in an erotic dance, and every nerve in my body sprang
to life just for her. Every fibre of my being was drawn to her; needed her.
I swept the hair back from her face and fixed my eyes on hers.
“Do you know how much I love you, Mairi? Do you know how much I’m going
to miss you when you’re gone? It doesn’t matter how far apart we are. You’re
still in here,” I said, touching my head. “And in here.” I touched my chest
over my heart. She stared silently at me for a moment and then closed her eyes.
A tear slipped down her cheek and I caught it with my thumb. “Hey, what’s
wrong?”
She inhaled deeply. “Nothing. I’m just… really nervous about the whole
trip. K2 has been my dream for so long, but now… I’m terrified. What if I’m not
fit enough? What if I can’t do it, Greg?”
I slid my calloused hands up her smooth, taut thighs where they gripped
me, to the dip between her hip and waist as my eyes followed the journey of my
fingers. I swallowed hard at the feel of her muscles tightening under my
caress, and my breath caught in my throat as I replied, “Come on, love, you are fit enough and strong enough. You’ve
been working towards this for so long, how could you not be? You’re bound to be
nervous. But you’re fulfilling a dream, and there’s not many folk can say
they’ve done that. You’ll be fine. Absolutely fine. But I might not be.” I
stuck out my bottom lip, trying to lighten the mood. “My heart might break into
a million pieces when I’m left here by mysel’. What will I do?”
She bent and kissed my nose. And then with a sexy smile, she smoothed
her hands down my chest and it was my turn to shiver.
“You’ll have to dream of me naked on top of you like this, and that’ll
cheer you up.” She rolled her hips, making me bite my lip.
I inhaled deeply. “Aye, I suppose it will. But having you back here
again so I can do this again…” In one sweep of my arms I had her beneath me, my
body between her silky thighs. I sank into her, pleasure radiating from where
we were joined. “… is what I’ll be looking forward to.”
A breathy moan escaped through her full lips. She closed her eyes as she
welcomed me in and slipped her arms around my neck. I kissed her everywhere I
could reach, taking each nipple into my mouth slowly and nibbling on the little
buds as they tightened. Gasping, she fixed her eyes on mine as I moved deep
within her.
Overwhelming emotions ripped through me as I made love to her. My Mairi.
I took in every sensation and every look; my heart aching at the thought of
being apart from her for so long. As she pulsed around me and her orgasm took
her soaring off into the stratosphere, I kept my gaze locked on hers, hoping I
was conveying everything through my eyes that I couldn’t put into words, and I
followed soon after.
Afterwards, we lay there in each other’s arms for what felt like hours.
I was unwilling to let her go, telling myself I’d hold her for a few minutes
more. When she eventually withdrew from my embrace, I lay back and fought the
fears niggling deep within me.
Stupid fears.
What if she meets someone who’s more her age? What if she meets someone
who loves climbing the way she does? What if she doesn’t miss me as much as I
miss her? What if she loves it so much out there that she decides to stay? What
if? What if? What fucking if?
A couple of hours later we set off to the airport, and for the first
part of the journey we both sat in silent contemplation. There were so many
things I wanted to say, but the words never came and I cursed myself for being
so fucking useless at expressing myself.
Luckily, she knew what I was like. I’d spent the day before looking for
songs to express how I felt and I’d made a CD. The silence in the car was
deafening and so I reached over and hit play. I made eye contact with her for a
few moments as the opening chords to “I Will Remember You” by Ryan Cabrera
filled the small space between us. Turning my eyes back to the road, I saw her
in my peripheral vision, wiping her eyes as her lip trembled.
At the airport I pulled her into my arms and held her against my chest.
I knew she must have felt the rapid pounding of my heart as we stood inside the
terminal. Tears threatened. My eyes were desperate to give them up, but I tried
so hard not to make the situation more difficult than it already was.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I pulled away and gazed into her emerald eyes
one last time.
My voice wavered as I told her, “I’m not going to say goodbye because I
hate that word and we’ll be back together before you know it anyway. So I’m
going to say have a great time and stay safe. And know that I’ll be thinking of
you every moment whilst you’re gone.”
Pulling me toward her, she kissed me with a ferocity that took my breath
away. I fisted my hands in her hair and returned the kiss with equal passion.
When I eventually pulled away, I cupped her face in my hands and stroked the
apples of her cheeks with my thumbs. “It’s just a few months, love. Go and show
’em what you’re made of, eh?”
She nodded and gripped my hands where they lay on her skin. Relentless
tears spilled from her eyes as she let go and turned to walk away. All my fears
bubbled to the surface once again and I couldn’t hold back. “I love you, Mairi.
And one day I want to marry you!” I shouted.
As soon as the words left my mouth I clamped it shut.
Fuckfuckfuckfuck!
We’d never discussed marriage before. But I have a tendency to say
what’s on my mind without thinking about the consequences, and this was one of
those times. I was filled with dread. Had I just given her a ticket to
Get-Out-Ville? Again, fuck! My heart hammered like it was trying to do a
fucking runner and my mouth went dry.
The people around us stopped and stared.
Mairi halted in her tracks and I froze. She turned to face me, her mouth
open in what I can only describe as utter, mind-frying shock. I swallowed hard,
my mind racing to find something to say to take the words back. But a beautiful
smile appeared on her face. She ran toward me and flung her arms around my
neck, her legs around my waist. Everyone around us applauded as I hugged her
into my body before letting her go and setting her down again. With one last
heart-melting smile she stroked my cheek, turned, and walked away.
 

Cover Reveal! A Gift For Chloe – Susan Lohrer

I am so excited to share the cover of my lovely friend’s upcoming release!

 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120662 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-066-4
 
A Gift for Chloe
 
Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…
Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.
Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.
Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

Cover Reveal! Vivian (Book 3 of The Three Mrs Monroes) by Bernadette Marie

Another stunning cover from the new series by my lovely author friend Bernadette Marie!

 
Genre Contemporary Romance
Vivian Book three of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: September 18, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120425 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-042-8
Print ISBN-10: 1631120433 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-043-5
 
From loss breeds new beginnings
Vivian Monroe had been jaded. Her husband’s death only compounded the lies she’d only
come to learn about.
Clayton North knows a thing or two about loss. He figured it was fate for him to meet
Vivian Monroe. He’ll take on the challenge of helping her mend her heart.
Midst new friendships and new romance, Vivian must let go of her pain and face the
woman who helped Adam Monroe weave his deceptive web.

New Release! Pete Abela – A Painted Room

Yet another new release from the wonderful 5 Prince Publishing! I am delighted to share news of Pete Abela’s book A Painted Room!

 

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Family Life
Release Date: August 7, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-055-8 ISBN 10: 1631120557
Print ISBN 13:978-1-63112-056-5 ISBN 10: 1631120565
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Painted Room
The best day in a
parent’s life turns into the worst.
For expectant parents, the origins of a
new life are usually accompanied by excitement, anticipation and just a touch
of anxiety about the future. There are classes to attend, prams to buy, and of
course, the baby’s room has to be painted.
This description fits Gary and Melinda quite nicely – except
Gary hasn’t painted the baby’s room yet. He finally gets around to starting the
job, but Melinda’s water breaks before he finishes the first coat.
From there, the situation rapidly deteriorates. Their baby,
Justin, is born via caesarean. Shortly after the birth Justin experiences
breathing difficulties and is transferred to intensive care a few hours later.
The story follows Gary over a tumultuous few days as Justin
undergoes emergency treatment. Gary and Melinda quickly discover that when a
baby’s life is on the line, it doesn’t really matter whether or not you have a
painted room.
About Pete Abela
Pete heralds from the city of Wollongong, just south of
Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia, where he lives with his wife
and four kids. His love of reading eventually led him to take up writing, a
difficult task which presents rewards and challenges in equal measure. A Painted Room is Pete’s second book,
and follows his debut novel, Wings
(2012).
When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the
company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either
tennis, golf or a refreshing swim.
You can find more about Pete at his website and blog
(http://peteabela.com). The blog contains a number of bad jokes and puns. You
have been warned.
How to contact the author:
Twitter: @PeteAbela

 

CHAPTER ONE

Melinda waddled into
the bedroom, looked at the display on the luminous alarm clock and frowned.
Shaking her head, she trudged across the room and pulled herself slowly onto
the bed, wincing as her back registered its habitual protest.
She looked down at her
body, an expression of displeasure crossing her pretty face. A couple of
varicose veins featured prominently on her once smooth and unblemished legs.
She removed the chain from around her neck and unthreaded the wedding band.
Holding the ring in one hand, she tried to place it on her swollen ring finger first
then her pinkie, but could not get past the first knuckle with either of them.
Shaking her head, she replaced the ring on the chain. Her pajama top stretched
tightly over her eight-month belly. She tried to pull the top down to cover the
exposed band of skin at the bottom of her tummy, and snorted in disgust when it
sprang back, once again revealing her stretch marks.
Melinda picked up a
piece of paper from the bedside table and examined it closely. It did not give
her any more joy than the sight of her pregnant body had. In fact, she scowled
as she perused the paper.
It was a list of jobs.
A long list of jobs and
only a few of them had been crossed out. The spare bedroom still needed to be
cleaned out and painted. The cot required assembly and the plastic bags full of
nappies, bibs, clothes and toys still remained unsorted.
A leather bound diary
lay on the bed. Melinda turned to the yearly planner page and placed her finger
on a prominently circled date. She counted backwards, a week at a time on her
fingers, stopping at four. She looked from the list to her fingers and back
again with pursed lips. Reaching across to the alarm clock, she fiddled with
the settings.
The jangle of keys at
the front door interrupted her. She looked up expectantly, and then composed
her features to remove any trace of welcome. The keys were dropped, and a male
voice swore. The jangling resumed and the front door opened. Melinda sat back
on the bed with her arms crossed and looked down at her watch. “It’s about
time,” she greeted him icily.
“Hello to you too,”
replied Gary.
“Don’t give me hello.
Where have you been?”
“I just had a few boys
with the drinks,” slurred Gary. “It’s not even midnight. Why are you upset?”
“Where do I begin?”
asked Melinda. “For starters, you said you’d come straight home after soccer
and empty the spare room.” She picked up the list and waved it at Gary, before
throwing it in the air in disgust. Gary’s vacant eyes followed the list,
struggling to keep up with it as it floated gently to the floor. “You never
called and told me where you were. I’ve been stuck at home, resting under
doctor’s orders, not able to have a drink, not supposed to do anything, bored
and uncomfortable. All the while, you’re gallivanting around the country side,
getting drunk with your mates.”
Gary threw his arms
into the air. “I’ve been going out with the boys for years. I don’t know why
it’s a problem all of a sudden.”
“Were you even
listening to me?” pleaded Melinda, a solitary tear trickling down her cheek. “I
can’t go out. I can’t occupy myself. I’m stuck at home alone. I need you here with
me.” She flicked the switch on the bedside lamp, sending the room into
darkness. “I’m going to sleep.”
#
Gary groaned.
He fumbled and bashed
the alarm clock which had jolted him out of an unsettled sleep. He half-opened
one eye. The luminescent dials glowed brightly, searing into his glassy eyeball
like a hot poker. His befuddled brain struggled to make sense of his
surroundings. Was it Monday already? Surely not. It must be Sunday. But what
could cause the alarm to go off at quarter to six?
Melinda looked across
at him. “Morning dear,” she said in a loud and cheerful tone. “We’ve got a big
day today.”
“A what?” Gary shook
his head. “What on earth is going on? What are you talking about?”
“It’s Sunday. We’ve got
a heap of jobs to do. You promised me we’d finish the painting today. And since
we didn’t clear out the room yesterday afternoon, we’re going to have to get up
early in order to finish.”
“Hold on a minute. Take
it back to the start,” commanded Gary. “Are you trying to tell me that you’ve woken
me up at sparrow’s fart on a Sunday morning so I can empty the spare bedroom?
You must be crazy. I’m going back to sleep.” He rolled over, pulling the pillow
over his head and digging into the quilt. However, his pounding head and
cardboard tongue prevented him from relaxing.
Another bout of beeping
broke out, this time from across the room.
“I think that’s your
phone dear,” suggested Melinda with just the hint of a smile. “Why don’t you
get it?”
Gary groaned. “I can
see I’m not going to get any more sleep this morning,” he grumbled as he
stumbled out of bed.
Everything hurt. His
legs and lower back were sore from the after-effects of the previous day’s
soccer match, his right foot throbbed, and his head pounded as a result of his
night on the town. “But I don’t think I’m going to be much good to anyone in
this state.”
“It might be good for
you,” suggested Melinda. “You’ll need some practice operating in a
sleep-deprived state for when the baby comes.”
“I’d rather put off the
practice and just cope with it when the time comes.”
“How about this for a
deal?” asked Melinda. “It’s the best offer you’re likely to get all day. If you
go and get started on the bedroom, I’ll whip up some bacon and eggs for
breakfast. I’ll chuck in a couple of Beroccas as well. That’ll get you into the
day, and hopefully we’ll get the things done we need to.”
“I might need to take
something before I start,” admitted Gary. “However, I did promise to do the
painting, so I’ll take you up on your offer.” He paused. “I’m sorry for last
night as well. I did mean to come home straight after soccer. But I scored the
winning goal and now we’re in the Grand Final. The boys pestered me to come
out. I was just going to have one drink but once I got there, I couldn’t say
no. I drank one, and then someone else put another drink in front of me.” He
walked to Melinda’s side of the bed, knelt down and took her hand. “I’m sorry I
didn’t come home on time. I’m sorry I didn’t call you to let you know where I
was, and I’m sorry I didn’t clean the baby’s room last night. I’ll try to make
up for it today, even if it kills me.”
“By the look of you, it
might actually do that,” laughed Melinda.
#
Gary looked at the
results of his work with pride. Despite feeling sore and lethargic, he had
worked diligently and made large inroads into his task of cleaning the spare
room in preparation for painting. Most of the cleared debris stemmed from the
numerous holidays taken over their nine years together. A pile of suitcases,
photo albums and souvenirs from all corners of the globe stood in a neat pile
in the hallway, ready to be placed in the attic.
He smiled at Melinda as
he entered the kitchen. “Brekkie smells good. The room’s looking good too.
Another half hour and I think we’ll be ready for painting, so there’s no reason
I shouldn’t get this done today.”
Melinda returned his
smile warmly as she carried his steaming plate to the table. “That sounds
great. It’ll be a big load off my mind.”
Gary picked up his
knife and fork. “Nothing but the best for you, my dear.” He tucked ravenously
into the food on his plate. “This is good. It really hits the spot. Even though
I’ve made some good progress this morning, I think I was running on empty.”
“Eat up then,” said
Melinda. “You’ve got a busy day in front of you.”
He looked at her
curiously. “I know it’s an important job, although I’m not sure I understand
why you’re so keen to get it done today. We’ve still got a few weeks to go.”
“There are no
guarantees about the timing – the baby could come tomorrow.” She patted her
bulging belly. “Looking at the size of me, it’s hard to imagine I could get
much bigger. And besides, there are lots of other jobs that are waiting on this
one. Now that I’ve finished work, I can potter around during the week in my own
time and apply the finishing touches.”
Gary looked at her with
concern. “Don’t forget that Dr. Downing said you have to take it easy. After
all, that’s the reason you’ve finished work. You’re meant to be putting your
feet up to ensure your blood pressure doesn’t rise any further.”
“The biggest thing
that’s likely to have an impact on my blood pressure is if you don’t finish the
painting.” Melinda smiled to show that she joked, although Gary could tell
there was a degree of truth in the statement. “If I wait for you, the jobs will
never get done. I won’t push myself. Even if I only spend an hour or two a day,
I’ll be able to keep myself occupied plus continue to get ready.”
“Not long to go now,”
said Gary. “Your blood pressure will drop, your belly will disappear and things
will go back to normal.”
Melinda raised an
eyebrow. “Back to normal? Are you joking?” She circled until she was opposite
Gary and leaned forward with both hands on the table. “The changes are just
about to start. Life as we know it will never be the same once this little
bundle pops out.”
“How hard can it be?”
Gary dipped the last piece of toast into the remains of his egg yolk and
scoffed it down. “Sure, we might be sleep-deprived for a while, but that never
hurt anyone.” He yawned. “Well, not much anyway. People have been having babies
for thousands of years, and doing it without any of the modern conveniences we
have. I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
“That’s not what my
girlfriends tell me,” commented Melinda. “They divide their lives into two -
Before Baby and After Baby – and if they are to be believed, there is no
comparison between the two.”
Gary stood, wiping his
mouth. “I’m sure we’ll be able to cope,” he said as he turned and walked back
to the bedroom.
#
Melinda dragged the
sheet across the floor in an attempt to cover the carpet before Gary could
spill any paint on it. He looked at her. “Sit down, love. You need to rest and
leave me to paint.”
Melinda looked up. “I’m
happy for you to do the painting. Just make sure you keep the floor covered.”
“No problem, Melinda.
I’m going fine. Just relax. You can sit there and watch if you like.”
Melinda smiled at Gary.
A surge of affection rose unbidden within her. Gary looked like a big kid,
dressed in his daggiest tracksuit pants and a faded Billy Joel t-shirt. Blobs
of paint were in evidence everywhere – on his shirt, on his pants and even one
large smear across his left cheek. His thinning black hair was dishevelled and
his paint-smudged face managed to simultaneously convey expressions of impish
mischievousness and gentle concern.
Melinda sank into the
large, padded armchair purchased for night feeds. She rested her feet on a
convenient paint tin and eased her neck and head into the back of the chair.
The long, slow strokes of the roller travelling up and down the wall possessed
a strangely hypnotic quality. She sat in silence, her eyes following the
roller’s progress as it transformed the wall from a dull peach to a light and
airy green.
“You look like you’re
falling asleep,” observed Gary.
Melinda sat up with a
start. “Sorry – just day-dreaming, remembering how long it took to get
pregnant.”
“I kind of miss those
days,” said Gary. “Too much was never enough.”
Melinda laughed. “As I
recall, you were doing it pretty tough. In fact -”
Melinda paused
mid-sentence. She touched her thighs with her hands and sat up straight in her
chair. She looked down at the ground.
“In fact what?” A look
of concern crossed Gary’s face. “Are you all right?”
“I’m all wet. I
think my waters have broken.”

Release Day! Bernadette Marie – Amelia #1 in The Three Mrs Monroes Series

I am over the moon to be sharing this latest release with you all! Bernadette is a good friend of mine and a talented bestselling author too. This is the first release in a new series and I’m sure you will join me in wishing Bernadette every success with this new set of wonderful stories!

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Amelia Book one of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120387 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-038-1
Print ISBN-10: 1631120395 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-039-8
From loss breeds new opportunity.
Amelia Monroe had felt the sharp pain from the loss of a soldier before—Adam Monroe’s death didn’t have that same effect.
Sam Jackson had one job—deliver Adam Monroe’s revised will. Even he couldn’t have anticipated that he’d be entangled in the web of lies his client had woven.
Doing what is right had been inbred in Amelia. She’d planned to say her goodbyes and start fresh. Staying in Adam’s small town with his other lies, that wasn’t part of her plan.
About the Author:
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part
of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.
When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from
her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do.
A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to
write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.
How to reach Bernadette Marie
@writesromance on Twitter
Excerpt of Amelia:
Chapter One
God she was miserable Amelia Monroe rolled up the window on her Ford
Blazer as she turned down the dirt road which led to the small church. She’d
only been to Parson’s Gulch, Oklahoma once, and she certainly hadn’t been privy
to its back roads.
No, her husband Adam didn’t want anything to do with the small town—and now she knew why.
She pulled into the lot of the small church and her heart began to race and a pain in her chest forced her to suck in a deep breath. She’d filed for divorce three months ago. Adam Monroe had lied to her for two years. There had been so much more to him and she’d failed to see it.
Now she sat in her truck, the heat suffocating
her, as she watched his other wife and their two children climb from the black
limousine and walk into the church.
The bastard had been married, with a family,
long before he and Amelia had met. That was the end of her marriage. In that
moment, she’d even contemplated killing him, but that wasn’t how she did
things—she was just angry.
Amelia Monroe had been raised to think calmly
and use her words to fight, not her hands—though she could. She was plenty
capable of killing the man. She was a trained martial artist. There were
hundreds of ways she could have taken him down.
There had been no need to do that though. A land
mine in Iraq had ended his life.
She sucked back tears as she thought about it.
Damn it, he might have been a bastard, but she’d loved him. His death wasn’t
what she’d wanted—not really anyway.
She’d just wanted him to suffer for
his lies and his deceptions. She didn’t want him to be taken from his
children—now that she knew he had them.
But here she was at the funeral of her husband and she’d opted to not be singled out. There would be no front pew in the church. She didn’t want a flag or a limo. It would be better off if no one knew she was here.
She’d made the trek for peace of mind and, well, he was her husband. The fact that the attorney wanted to meet with her and Adam’s other wife after the funeral also had pushed her to attend.
After all, there was a lot to sort out.
Well, Amelia wasn’t one to run. She’d hold her chin high and she’d face the woman Adam had lied to first. The children were only four and two. She wouldn’t do anything to upset them. There wasn’t a need for it. Besides, she knew one thing that the other woman didn’t.
The day was only going to get worse.
In the front pew of the church sat Adam’s first wife, her children and what Amelia would assume were her parents. On the other side were his parents.
She’d never met them, but she recognized them from pictures. In fact, only until five months ago she was under the impression they were both dead.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she sat down in the back pew of the church.
A man in a gray tailored suit stood at the end of the pew. “Are you Amelia?”
She held her breath. This wasn’t what she wanted. She didn’t want anyone to know who she was. With a slow nod she acknowledged that she was indeed Amelia.
“Sam Jackson, Adam’s attorney.” The man extended his hand and she
shook it. The tension in her shoulders began to slide away. At least this man carried as many secrets with him as she did.
“Do you mind if I sit with you? I don’t know anyone else.”
Amelia moved over and Sam sat down next to her. “You don’t know Vivian?” she whispered and nodded toward Adam’s
other wife.
“No. My business with Adam was
mostly done in Oklahoma City. I never met his wife. Wives.” He gritted his teeth.
“Sorry.”
Amelia clasped her hands in her lap.
“Not as sorry as I am.”
The small church had filled. The
mourners were obviously from the community and had probably known Adam since he
was a child. Many had gone to the front and hugged his mother and Vivian. The children, one on each side, stayed close to her.
As the pastor spoke to the congregation, Amelia’s eyes were glued to the casket draped with an American flag. She hadn’t seen Adam in months. The last time they’d spoken, they’d fought. She’d told him she’d wanted a divorce and he argued with her over it.
He said it had all been a big mistake, but she knew that was a lie.
Oh, she’d hoped he’d pay for what he did. This, however, wasn’t what she’d had in mind.
She lowered her head and wiped her hand across her forehead.
Sam bent his head down. “Are you alright?”
She nodded. “I’m fine. It’s just a bit warm in here.”
The funeral was almost over when another woman
walked through the door. She looked frazzled as if she’d taken that first dirt
road and not the second, which Amelia had been warned about.
She’d been crying—a lot. Sam nodded to Amelia to scoot down and then signaled to the woman to sit next to him. She finally did so.
Amelia looked over at the woman who now was sobbing uncontrollably. She’d like to have cried over him like that too. Wasn’t the widow of a man supposed to be in the front row of the church?
Wasn’t the widow of a U.S. solider supposed to know that she’d married an
honorable man? Wasn’t…
She let out a long breath as the pastor walked toward Adam’s other wife and gave her a hug.
There was no reason to cause a scene. Sam was Adam’s attorney. He was the only reason Amelia had made the trip. Obviously, Adam thought enough to have left her something and that’s why she was here.
She wasn’t one to point fingers and make others mad, that was why she’d asked for a divorce. She wasn’t the kind of woman to show up on Vivian Monroe’s doorstep and tell her that her husband of ten years had been married to her for two years. What good would that have done
for his children?
Amelia watched as Vivian’s daughter clung to her and her other daughter was held by her grandfather. Anger was quickly creeping into the areas that mourning hadn’t filled. How could Adam have done this to his children
The pall bearers stood as the pastor began to walk down the aisle. They carried the casket in a procession and his wife, children, and family followed.
As Vivian reached the back of the church she turned her head and gave Amelia a very knowing glance. One that said
you don’t belong here.
Sam touched her arm. “Are you sure
you’re okay?”
“I wish you wouldn’t have asked me to be here.”
“I appreciate it,” he said as the
woman next to him began to sob even harder.
Sam turned to her. “Ma’am, are you
going to be okay?”
The woman, with her blonde curls
bouncing every time she tried to suck in a breath, shook her head. “Was that
his wife? His other wife?”
Amelia felt a pain shoot through her
chest. She leaned across, in front of Sam as the other mourners left the
church, and looked the woman in her bloodshot eyes.
“Are you Penelope?” she asked
through gritted teeth and the woman slowly nodded.
Amelia sat back against the pew as
the church emptied out and crossed her arms over her chest.
The first Mrs. Monroe had escorted
her husband out of the church.
The second Mrs. Monroe was hidden in
the back, as if she hadn’t existed.
And the third Mrs. Monroe had walked in late.

Cover Reveal! Bernadette Marie Book 2 in her new series The Three Mrs Monroes! Penelope

Some
men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept three.
Genre Contemporary Romance:
Penelope Book two of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120409 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-040-4
Print ISBN-10: 1631120417 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-041-1
From loss breeds new life.
Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies.
Pregnant she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.
Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.

On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.

 

Release Day – Lilac Lane – Ann Swann

 

Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-060-2   ISBN 10: 1631120603
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-061-9      ISBN 10: 1631120611

 

Lilac Lane
Ella and her son survived her ex-husband’s drunken wrath.
They are starting a new life in a new town, Stutter Creek. She’s even met a
real man. A gentle wild life biologist named Chet Boone. But now, her ex has
been released from prison early. Is that him driving past their new house late
at night? Is he the one causing the strange sounds and flickering lights? Can
they survive a second round with a madman?
About the Author:
Ann lives in Texas with her handsome hubby and several
rescue pets.  Return to Stutter Creek is the second book in this Romantic
Suspense series, the first being the aptly named, Stutter Creek. Ann’s first book with 5 Prince Publishing was All For Love, a heartbreaking story of
ill-fated romance. She is also the author of The Phantom Series.  Book One
is Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, Book Two is Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student, and Book Three is Stevie-girl and the Phantom of Crybaby Bridge.  Ann has also published short fiction in the
anthologies Timeless (paranormal love
stories) and Tales of Terror (horror)
as well as a speculative short story, Chems.
Her current work-in-progress is a full-length horror novel.  When she isn’t writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.
Public contact information
Twitter: @ann_swann
Excerpt of Lilac Lane:
Chapter One
“I really like it, don’t you?” Ella asked.
Nick, her ten-year-old son, looked up at her. “It’s okay, I guess.” His expression said more than his words.
Ella hugged him to her side. “It will be all right,” she said. “Stutter Creek isn’t that far from Albuquerque. It’s just a little resort town. Skiing in the winter, camping and fishing in the summer. It backs right up to the National Park, you know. That’s why it’s such a
tourist town.”
Nick didn’t say anything.
“Don’t worry,” she rattled on. “We’ll be
going to visit Nana all the time, and I’m hoping she’ll come to visit us a lot,
too. We’ll even fix up the spare bedroom just for her.”
She ruffled his dark hair and climbed
the porch steps of their new rental. It was a quaint old house that had seen
better days, but the realtor assured her that all the important stuff, like
plumbing and wiring, had been recently updated. It was only the exterior that
needed a little TLC. “Well, that we
can do,” Ella had replied. “I’ve painted a few houses in my time. My dad was a
carpenter. One of my greatest joys was helping him finish out the houses he
built.” Maybe if we paint it we can get a break on the rent, she thought. But
she didn’t say anything. They had more than enough to worry about at the
moment.
“I don’t see why we had to move anyway,”
Nick pouted, interrupting her reverie. He trudged up the steps behind his mom.
He’d been very brave the whole time they
were packing and moving, but now that they were here, it had suddenly become
real.
Ella felt her spirits slump. “I know,
sweetie, I wish we could have stayed put, too. But this little diner—they call
it The Drugstore—just beckoned me.” She glanced down and smoothed the hair
she’d just tousled. She never came right out and told him they moved specifically
to hide from his stepfather. She just tried to make it sound like one big
adventure. “We could never have bought anything like this back home. The prices
here are half what they are in the city. And there is only one other eating
establishment in the whole town—if you don’t count the convenience store—and I
don’t.” She squeezed his shoulder. “I hope you understand. I just didn’t want
to keep waiting tables forever. I want more, for me and for you.”
Nick shrugged and plopped the box he was
carrying on the sofa. Fortunately it held only books.
He’s just a child, she thought. Am I doing the right thing? She
remembered the bright red handprint on his cheek the day she’d left him in Anson’s
care. It was the day she’d been called into work unexpectedly. Up until then,
her mom had always kept Nick. When Anson tried to tell her Nick had been
disrespectful, thus giving him cause
for a face-slap, she’d become so distraught he wound up shoving her across the
kitchen. When she told him to leave, he’d simply laughed and shoved her again. This
time, her face hit the doorframe. Then he went back to the bedroom and packed her suitcase. But Ella was no one’s
victim. She called the police and had him arrested. She never slapped her
child, she certainly wasn’t going to stand idly by and let someone else do it. When
the officers arrived, Anson was convinced he could talk his way out of going to
jail.
“The boy’s just worthless,” he’d told
the senior officer. “He ain’t mine, you know. Takes after his mother. Or maybe
his old man; who knows? That worthless piece never even claimed him. Now I see
why. Too bad I didn’t know this before I took them in and gave them a home.” He
was talking to the gray-haired cop as if they were sharing confidences over
coffee. He seemed to think every man felt the way he did. Ella assumed it was
the beer talking. Once he got started drinking, things usually got ugly. But
this was the first time they’d gotten physical.
She remembered standing in the doorway
with Nick safely ensconced behind her. “Does he need to see a doctor?” the
younger officer asked.
Glancing back at Nick, the red handprint
standing out on his face like day-glo under black light, Ella shook her head. “No,
he’ll be okay as long as we get away from that madman.” Her eyes were crusty where
she’d accidentally wiped blood from her cheek into her lashes.
“I’ll need you to come to the station
and file an official report. But first, the hospital for an x-ray.” The officer
nodded toward her swelling cheek. “I’m no doctor, but I think you’ve got a
fracture there.”
Tears spilled from her eyes when he said
that. They mixed with the smear of blood and left red trails down her face. “I
feel so stupid,” she said. “How could I have let this happen?”
The officer was kind. “You didn’t let it
happen, and you didn’t cause it. You’re going to follow through and get him put
away.” He hesitated as if gauging his next words carefully. “And you won’t back
out when it comes time to testify. You won’t go back to him and make all this
night’s work be for nothing, right?”
Ella looked at him as if he were crazy. “Of
course I won’t go back to him. I’m not that
stupid.”
“You’d be surprised how often it
happens,” the officer replied. “You would be surprised.”
The paramedics came, but Ella insisted
she could drive herself to the hospital. She didn’t want to start off her
single life with a huge ambulance bill hanging over her head.
As she took her keys from her purse, she
saw the senior officer snap the cuffs on Anson.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he yelled
in between curse words. “I’ll sue the whole department. I’ll have your fucking
job! What’s your badge number? It ain’t no crime to swat a smart mouth kid. Especially
not one as worthless as that punk.” When he said that, he turned and looked
right at her and Nick.
They’d been trying to get out of the
house without having to confront him.
“Worthless,” he bellowed, struggling
against the cuffs. His face turned the exact shade of an overripe plum, eyes
bugging out as if they would leap on Nick and Ella and finish the beating. “Both
of ‘em. Not worth shit!” He lunged forward, catching the officer off balance.
“Hey!” The gray-haired cop leapt on
Anson’s back and took him to the floor.
“I’ll kill ‘em,” Anson was screeching. “They’ll
be sorry they did this to me!”
The younger officer shielded Ella and
Nick and hurried them outside. “A woman from Children’s Services will meet you
at the hospital to look after him and take your story.”
That terrified Ella. “Let me call my
mother. She’ll meet us there, too. She’ll help us. I know she will. Please,
don’t let anyone take my boy.”
The paramedic patted her hand. “Settle
down,” he’d said. “No one’s going to take your boy.”
But Ella wasn’t listening.
She was pressing her mother’s picture
icon on her cell phone.
Ella swept the painful memories to the
back of her mind and crossed into the kitchen where she deposited her own box
full of dishes and various utensils. “As soon as we get the rest of these boxes
unloaded, we’ll go to The Drugstore, then explore a bit.”
The movers had done all the heavy work,
but Ella hadn’t trusted them with her grandmother’s china. She also had several
more boxes in the Jeep that contained photos and artwork taken from the walls
of their old house. It had been a cramped ride to their new home, but now that
they were here, in the mountains, Ella was thankful they had the Wrangler. The
roads were beautiful but steep. Even the driveway leading up to the house was
narrow and uneven.
We’ll rent for a while, she thought. And
if it doesn’t work out, we can always go back to Nana’s house. The thought stuck
in her craw, though. Not only did she hate the thought of going back to mama,
but Anson had made such ugly threats when she had him arrested, she was afraid
to be anywhere near him, even if he was in the county jail. It was obvious how
much he had grown to despise both her and Nick. He blamed her for every bad thing
that had happened—even though he was the one who hurt them.
Her hand went to her cheekbone. There
was a permanent indentation there; small, hardly noticeable, but what would it
have looked like the next time she did something that displeased him? And what
would Nick look like the next time he “swatted” him? How long before it
escalated to closed fist rather than open-handed slap?
She couldn’t believe she’d fallen for
someone so mean and hateful. Of course, he hadn’t been either of those things
in the beginning. She recalled all the news stories of wives who had married men
who turned out to be psychopaths in disguise. When the wife disappeared, the
authorities almost always looked at the husband first. One woman disappeared
right off the cruise ship while they were on their honeymoon. Another
disappeared when she discovered her husband had been lying about being a med
student. Her body was later found in the local landfill. And what about that
poor pregnant woman whose husband sunk her body in the ocean? She had been
eight months pregnant.
It’s hard to really know someone, Ella
thought. Especially when they seek to deceive.
Bing-bong.
“Is that the doorbell?” It was the first
time she’d heard it from inside the house. Her first inclination was to call
out, “Come on in!” but her second thought was to yell at Nick not to answer it.
She compromised by hurrying toward the door. “Just a minute, I’m coming!”
When she rounded the corner between the
kitchen and the living room, she could see a woman standing outside the door.
She opened the screen. “Hello?”
The woman held out her hand. “Norma,”
she said. “From next door, well, you know, down the road.” She grinned and
indicated the direction with a wave of her hand. All the houses in this area
were set back from the road at the end of their own stumpy, humpy driveways. Each
one occupied several acres separated from each other by tall pines and junipers.
“Nice to meet you.” Ella took the
proffered hand.
Norma swept streaky gray hair off her
forehead and smiled. “Saw you two unloading boxes and thought I’d stop by and offer
to help. My husband is a long-haul trucker, hardly ever home. So I know how
welcome an extra pair of hands can be.”
Ella returned the woman’s grin even
though she wondered how Norma could possibly know it was just the two of them. How does she know I don’t have a husband lurking
around somewhere?
“Hope you don’t think I’m too forward,”
Norma said, as if she’d read Ella’s thoughts. “Your realtor is my second cousin.
She told me to check in on you guys and make sure you were getting settled.” She
held up a small brown bag that Ella hadn’t even noticed hanging from her arm. “Brownies,”
she said.
Ella laughed and stepped aside so she could
come in. “Nick will love those. Thank you so much. And trust me, we’d welcome
another set of hands if you’re sure you don’t mind.”
Norma passed the bag to Ella and patted
her arm. “Just point me in the right direction.”
Ella called Nick to come in and meet
their new neighbor, and then she showed him the brownies.
“Pleased to meet you,” Nick said
politely. “Do you have any kids?”
Norma shook her head. “Sorry, buddy. My
only daughter is grown and gone. She hasn’t even blessed me with grandchildren
yet.”
Nick’s face fell.
“But don’t you worry.” Her voice was
sympathetic. “We’ve got a wonderful little school here in Stutter Creek. You’ll
make lots of friends. Besides,” her face grew thoughtful. “I’ve got a godson
who is just a bit younger than you. His name is Danny and he just turned
eight.” She glanced at Ella. “I’ll be glad to introduce the two of them—well,
all of you, of course, when you’re ready. Beth and John are excellent parents. In
fact, Beth is a teacher at Stutter Creek Elementary.”
Ella shot her a look of thanks, then led
the way to the kitchen. “Nick is in fifth grade,” she said. “What grade does
Beth teach?”
Norma clucked her tongue. “Can you
believe she teaches fifth grade? Will wonders never cease?”
“That is wonderful,” Ella replied. “I
can’t wait to meet her.”
She waved a hand toward the kitchen. “We
haven’t bought any groceries yet.” She opened the bag containing the homemade
brownies. “But as soon as we finish unloading the Jeep, I’ll run to town and
get some milk to go with these.”
“Couldn’t I have just one,” Nick
wheedled, obviously won over by the cook. “I don’t have to have milk.”
Ella smiled. She’d thought that would be
his response. He was just like her when it came to chocolate. “Of course you
may.” She handed him a still-warm square and pinched off a little taste for
herself. “Sit at the table, kiddo,” she instructed. “I have no idea where the
napkins are. Hmmm, these are delicious.”
Nick sat at the table and sunk his teeth
into the first moist bite.
Together, the two women backtracked to
the Jeep and began carrying in the rest of the boxes.
It was easy to put the cartons in the
appropriate rooms. Ella’s mom had insisted on labeling each one with a giant
Sharpie while helping them pack up the house back in Albuquerque. “Half the
work is done in the preparation,” she’d said. Ella hated to admit it, but it
had made unloading things a lot easier. Even the movers had commented on it.
When the boxes were stowed away, just
waiting to be unpacked, Norma insisted it was time for her to go. But she
invited them to come over for a visit. “Just stop by anytime,” she said. “It’s
the first one on your right when you head back toward town.”
“Can we drop you there on our way to the
grocery store?” Ella glanced out the front window. “I don’t see your car.”
Norma shook her head, gray-streaked
curls bouncing. “I walked. It’s my greatest pleasure, walking these hilly roads.
Good for my heart and my hips.” She winked at Ella. “Besides, it’s only a mile.”
Ella gave her a brief hug. “I’m in awe,”
she said. “Once we get things all figured out, maybe I’ll just join you sometime.”
“I’d love that,” Norma replied. “And
Nicky, too. We’ve got lots of wildlife in these old woods. And I know a trail
that goes straight from my house to yours.”
Nick’s eyes lit up. “I’d like to see
that. We lived in town before.”
“Well, that’s a date then. The first
chance you get, you two stop by and we’ll go exploring.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Ella said.
Norma walked down the porch steps then
turned and gave a little wave. Just past the edge of the drive, she headed into
the woods. Ella could see the beginning of the trail—in another moment, Norma
was invisible.
Wow.
Guess the woods are thicker than I thought.
That gave her a moment’s pause. Finding such a bargain for
rent seemed ideal yesterday, but now she wasn’t so sure. Yep. We definitely have to explore that trail. Face the unknown. Otherwise,
I’ll be imagining all sorts of things lurking there.
Anson’s face popped
into her head. But not him, she thought. He’s in jail. And when he does get
out, he has no way of finding us.
Grabbing her purse and keys, she swept
away tendrils of brunette hair that had escaped her ponytail.
“Remind me to pick up the ingredients
for a caramel pie,” she told Nick as they drove into town. “I’ll make one for
Norma to thank her for coming over and helping us get settled.”
“And for the brownies,” Nick added,
patting his midsection comically. “I liked her. I can’t wait to check out that
trail. You think we could camp out in the woods behind the house? Please?”
Ella laughed. “I’ll bet we can before it
gets too cold. But I guess we’d need a tent, right?”
Nick laughed, too. “And sleeping bags,
and a lantern, you know to see by, and—”
Ella rolled her eyes. “And more money to
buy all this stuff!”
She pointed to a neat white house with
butter colored trim on the right side of the road. The house sat back behind a
lush garden of fall mums, bright purple kale, and shiny green holly bushes
graced with tiny red berries. “Must be Norma’s house,” Ella said. “Wonder how
long it takes her to walk a mile anyhow?”
Nick shrugged. “I’ll bet I could run to
her house and back in no time!”
“I’ll bet you could,” Ella replied. “I’ll
bet you could.”

COVER REVEAL – LISA J HOBMAN – BRIDGE OF HOPE :-D

Oh my WORD!!! I am sooooo excited to share this with you all!!

Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…
I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon; my guitar.
But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I took my anger out on her.
On Mallory.
But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.

Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?