Monday, September 30, 2013

Start Your Week with Romance! 'Cameo Appearance'

Imagine you're like a modern-day Cinderella, with the prince asking you to marry him.  Instead of a carriage, he drives a big truck with monster wheels, and lives on a wonderful island...with an overbearing mother, the queen.

Enjoy 'Cameo Appearance.'  It's a fun one to read!



Blurb:

While being blackmailed by her ex-boyfriend who wants to turn her in as the witness to a murder some five years before, Cameo Dreyden has done her best to put the incident behind her. When she finds out the creep is going public anyway, Cameo has no choice but to disappear to places unknown, with a Prince who wants to make her his bride.

The South Pacific is as far away from the Unites States as she can find. Prince Reginald of Charmania whisks Cameo off her feet with a gentle but electrifying kiss, while battling demons of his own. The island nation needs a stable monarchy, because the threat of a takeover to get the newly discovered riches is imminent. Under the island's rules, since the king's ill, Prince Reginald has to marry to save his country, and Cameo's been chosen as future queen.

Surrounded in this idealistic fairy tale setting with castles, frolicking dolphins and the promise of a life of luxury in exchange for her hand in marriage, Cameo couldn't possibly turn it down. However, she's torn between staying to save the monarchy and fleeing to save her life while sacrificing her heart.

~~~~~

Excerpt:

Cameo Dreyden raised the bat in her hand and faced the stranger who she was certain had been sent to kill her. No murderer's thug would kill her without a fight, especially not so early in the morning. "Out," she said with a determined voice. "Or you'll regret it. This is your last warning."

The stranger backed up, lifting his hands into the air as if to deflect a blow. "Don't kill me. I mean you no harm." His soft British accent filled the room.

She paused. She was such a sucker for British accents, but couldn't afford to back down. Her fingers tightened on the handle. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"I'm with—"

"Hey!" Cameo's roommate, Jane, rushed into the apartment carrying a bag, her eyes widened. "What's going on? Cameo, why do you have a bat?"

The blond man turned toward Jane, his hands still lifted. "She thinks I'm a masher. Tell her who I am."

"He's—"

"Wait. Why are you home so early?" Cameo asked, facing her roommate. "You shouldn't be here until tonight."

Jane put her hand on her hip. "I wanted to bring Reggie home to meet you." She pointed toward the stranger, who still looked horrified.

"Oh." Cameo lowered the bat and returned it to the corner. "Sorry. I didn't know. I wasn't expecting anyone so early in the morning." She reached out and shook the man's hand, but he still looked a little shaken. "So I take it you're Reggie and are dating Jane now? I thought—"

"Wrong," Jane said. "I'm still with Benson. I just wanted you to meet Reggie. He's a friend of mine…" She glanced at him. "From work. Yeah, that's it. He works with me."

The very handsome blond-haired, blue-eyed man turned toward Jane. "No, I don't. I'm not even from the United States, but I am here on a mission."

"A mission?" Cameo walked back into the kitchen, grabbed a bowl, a spoon, and a cereal box. She put those things on the table, and then opened the refrigerator door, pulled out the milk and placed it on the table as well. "What's your mission in the States? Are you a spy or something?" She chuckled to herself while dumping cereal into the bowl. "I scared a spy with a bat. Hilarious."

"No, I'm a prince."

She spun toward him. "I scared a prince with a bat? Even funnier." She chuckled and put the spoon into the bowl.

Dressed in light-colored khaki pants, a dark blue polo shirt and a black jacket, the man bowed slightly with a grin, his gaze on her face. "Prince Reginald at your service. But you can call me Reggie."

She watched him, stunned, and poured the milk into her bowl. "A prince? A real live prince in my apartment. That doesn't happen every day."

He had strong masculine features and slight dimples. She was a pushover for dimples, blue eyes, and a British accent. Since he was a prince, he really was someone to watch. Adorable. That was the only word for Prince Reginald. He had the whole package, from what she saw.

He pointed down at her bowl. "I think you have enough milk on your cereal."

Cameo glanced downward and yanked the milk container upward, the milk dripping all over the table, off the side and onto the floor. "Oh no." She put the milk on the table, ran to the sink, grabbed a few paper towels, and started mopping up the milk. "How stupid am I?"

Reggie lifted the paper towel roll off the dispenser and walked to the table, helping her with the milk as it dripped onto the floor. "Not stupid at all," he said. "There's no use crying over spilled milk."

"Very funny."

"I thought so. Now why did you carry a bat to the door? Are you afraid?"

He didn't need to know anything. He was a stranger, and for all she knew, someone who might hurt her. She darted her eyes to him, while continuing to wipe up the milk. "It's nothing to worry about."

"I do worry about you." He touched her arm, making her turn while she felt her stomach fall. The heat from his fingertips burned her skin, making her swallow hard.

"I see I have a mission here, even if it's just to make you unafraid." He smiled, taking away all her fears. "My primary mission, though, is very important, and it involves you."

She couldn't let him into her life, chiding herself for falling for his looks.

Did he say something involved her? He must be mistaken. "Me?" She turned toward Jane, standing in the kitchen doorway, checking her phone. "Jane. What's this about?"

Jane lifted her eyes. "Sorry. I wasn't listening."

Reggie finished wiping the table and took the paper towel from Cameo, throwing it into the trashcan. As he stood at the sink and washed his hands, he spoke to the side. "I need you, Cameo. But I have to explain it, so give me a minute."

"I don't even know you and you think you need me? Are you some crazed lunatic who was sent here to hurt me?"

He grabbed a paper towel and turned toward her in confusion while drying his hands. "No, I'm not here to hurt you. Why would you think that?"

Considering the nightmare of her life, it would make sense. "Don't worry about it. So why are you here, really?"

He studied her face for a moment. "I'm here to present you with a legal contract that you might want to consider."

"Look, buddy." She crossed her arms. "If you want to sue me for something, I have nothing, so you're out of luck. I have to get to work and I don't have time for legal contracts. If you have any ideas about making me late, forget it. My boss already hates me."

Reggie appeared to be frustrated, but he took the big bag from Jane and put it on the counter, while Jane ignored him, still working with her phone. After opening the bag, he removed a box containing three cups of coffee from Cameo's favorite coffee shop and a box of what looked like donuts. "I knew you'd be like this, so I brought a peace offering." He read the side of each of the cups, finally handing her one. "Large latte with four sugars, just like you like it."

She studied the cup, finally lifting her eyes. "How did you know that?"

"I told him," Jane said. She grabbed a cup and turned toward the door. "I'll be back. I have to email the people at work."

She walked out of the kitchen while Reggie took the box of donuts and the third cup of coffee to the table. "Have a seat," he said, and sipped the coffee. "This won't take long and I don't think you'll be late for work. You take the bus, right?"

"Yes." She checked her watch as she sat down, wondering how he knew that. "It gets here in about seven minutes."

"Plenty of time," he said, opening the donut box. He shoved it toward her, got two plates out of the cabinet, and handed her one. "Your favorites are in there."

She stared inside, realizing he knew more about her than he should, considering he really was a stranger to her. He and Jane must've had a few conversations about her. But why?

She decided to start with the obvious. "Who are you and why are you here? You're too nice to be a burglar or a masher."

He smiled, took one of the cream-filled chocolate-covered donuts and put it on a plate, moving it closer to himself. "I'm not a burglar or a masher. Cameo, I came the whole way from my country to see you." Reaching into his jacket pocket, he produced a thick document and laid it on the table in front of her. "This is a legal contract for marriage."

She felt her mouth drop. "Marriage? For whom? Jane and you? But she's dating Benson. What do you need me for?"

"You're beautiful, with your blonde hair and blue eyes. I want you to be my wife." He lifted the donut to his lips, his eyes on hers as she stared.

Cameo stopped breathing, trying to understand his words while playing them over and over again in her head. Did he say wife? Maybe she heard him wrong? She glanced down at the papers lying in front of her. Yes, it was a contract of marriage and her name was at the top.

She stared at him, suspended for an extra moment in disbelief. "Your wife? Are you insane? I don't even know you, much less be in love with you." She leaned closer. "I don't believe in marriages of convenience, loveless marriages, or marriages based on looks. You have the wrong girl." She grabbed her spoon and shoved a few spoonfuls of soggy cereal into her mouth. "Besides," she said, the milk seeping out from between her lips. "Wait a minute." She took a drink of the coffee and swallowed, while Reggie grinned at her. "Besides, you're not even from this country, right?"

"No, I'm not."

"Why are you doing this? For your green card or something? Do you want to use me to get your citizenship?"

He shook his head. "No. I want to marry you and take you back to my country with me. You'd be a princess, and all my people would worship you."

"I don't want to be worshipped." She stuffed more cereal into her mouth and swallowed. "I want a normal life, here in the States. You've definitely got the wrong girl."

"I don't think so. Look at it from my side. I know more about you than you realize. You're exactly what I'm looking for—someone who's independent, strong, and beautiful. Why wouldn't I want to marry someone like you?"

She leaned up, shaking her head so he'd get the message. "Because it takes two to want to marry, and I'm not what you think. I don't know where you got your information, but you're sadly mistaken. I'm not for you, but I wish you the best." With a quick glance at her watch, she blew out a breath, jumped up, and ran toward the door. "Now I'm late for work!"

"Just wait," Reggie said. "Don't forget your purse."

He grabbed it from the couch and threw it to her. She caught it on the first try, but stopped with her hand on the doorknob and stared at him. "What a nice man."

He approached her. "See? I'm marriage material."

She slapped his arm. "Nope. The diamond tiara doesn't fit this girl." She opened the door, ran down the stairs, and outside. The bus was just pulling away, heading down the street.

"Wait! I have to get on that bus!" Cameo yelled, her hand waving violently. She ran after it until she realized there was no way she'd get it to stop. The thing was two blocks down the street before it even slowed to run through a red light.

"Taxi!" She whistled and raised her hand to hail a cab, but there were none in sight while other cars whizzed by. Why did morning rush hour in San Francisco have to be so busy?

With no bus or cab, she was doomed and would probably be fired. Typical for her luck for the day. What was next?

~~~~~

Buy links:
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 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
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Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Christian Snippets: 'Teach Me To Love'

This is the third of the Three Cross Faith stories.  In this book, Mac's sister and Eric's brother are featured, both feeling like outcasts in the town.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt!


Blurb:

When single mother, Shannon Lucas, comes home drunk, her good-looking single neighbor, Greg Somerset, lets her have it because of her two loud teenage children. After comparing notes, they both find out that Shannon's brother, Mac, and Greg's brother, Eric, are both in the Three Cross Faith band. Since both Greg and Shannon have musical talent, they're invited to join the band.

With the help of the entire community, Shannon learns how to deal with her faith, her family and career, and even her ex-husband who wants revenge.

~~~~~
Excerpt:

Shannon Lucas stumbled from her car, a beer bottle in her hand. With a glance upward, a stray thought made her double over in laughter. A cow jumping over that moon was more than her drunken mind could handle on a Friday night in Three Cross, Texas.

The neighbor's outdoor light went on. "Where have you been?" a man asked.

Shannon stared up at the man standing on the porch beside her part of the duplex. "Who are you?"

"I'm your neighbor. Where have you been?"

"Out." She took a long pull on her bottle and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "What's it to you, anyway?'

"Your kids are loud. I'm half-tempted to call the cops with their loud music."

She staggered closer, smoothing back her hair. "Well, Mr. Neighbor-without-a-name, I was out celebrating my twenty-ninth birthday."

His expression remained rather angry. "Is this the first time you celebrated that birthday?"

"No, but I've lost count." She stepped up onto her porch, watching the man. He was very handsome, with light brown wavy hair and soft brown eyes. "I just can't believe I didn't notice you before. You're very handsome."

She reached up to touch his hair, just to see if it was soft, but he grabbed her hand with a stern look on his face and lowered it to her side. "You're drunk. Were you out driving like that? You could've killed someone. You're nothing more than a typical blonde."

"Ah, but I'm a natural blonde with blue eyes. That's different. Besides, it wouldn't upset me that much if I died. My kids hate me, my ex-husband wants me to drop off the planet, and even my family thinks I'm a misfit."

The man dropped her hand and crossed his arms. "It sounds to me like you need help."

"Naaah. Now tell me what my monster children did."

"Their rap music was too loud. I hate rap music."

She leaned against the siding on the porch and finished her beer. "Kids. What can you do?"

He clenched his jaw, looking very angry. "You could stay home and take care of them. How old are they, anyway?"

"Didn't you meet them yet?"

"No. They wouldn't answer the door. Where's their father, anyway?"

She sighed, feeling the sadness in her soul. "I messed up. I never should've had kids or gotten married, in that order, by the way."

"I'm not surprised," he muttered.

"Anyway, their father, the idiot, is in Oregon. He grows organic things, which probably means exactly what you think it means, along with all his mistresses and girlfriends."

His hands flew to his hips. "Illegal drugs?"

"I don't know or care. My parents wanted me here, convincing me when Harmonie started dating up there in Oregon without my permission."

He crossed his arms again. "How old is she?"

"Thirteen. Eighth grade. It's a horrible year to have to relive." Shannon tilted her bottle to her mouth again, but nothing came out. With a sigh, she stared into the empty bottle. "All gone, again. That's been happening to me all night long."

"Is Harmonie the oldest?"

"No. Willough is 14 and a freshman, but they're at the same school because of lack of funding or students or something." Tears clouded her eyes. "My babies are almost grown up and I'm going to be alone again."

As he stared, she wondered what was going on behind those soft brown eyes of his.

"You think I'm a loser," she said. "All I need are a few cats and my reputation will be set, huh?"

"Not at all. I think you're lost and need someone to guide you and take you to church. You said your parents wanted you here. Do they live around Three Cross?"

"Yeah. They live a few blocks away, and my brother and his new wife live out on a ranch." She moved her head back to the wall. "I'm the older sister and I'm supposed to be the one who teaches him things, but I can't do anything right. Not even on my birthday." She turned. "Good night. I'll have a chat with Willough and Harmonie and make sure they're beaten for not being respectful."

"No!" he said. "Don't beat them. I never should've mentioned it. Good night." He turned and walked back into his house, locking the door behind him.

What a weird man.

~~~~~


Buy links:
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 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
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God bless you!
Eryn

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Mystery Mentions: 'Diplomats'

Today, I'm featuring the second of the Natalie Mysteries.  This one's a fun one, because Natalie, once again, is thrust into a situation she can't handle.

Enjoy!


Blurb:
When Natalie DeLeon witnesses a young girl kidnapped in a park, she can’t sit idly by. The mother, however, denies having a child, then jumps into the nearby river. The case takes a turn when someone wants to kidnap Natalie, getting the FBI involved. They find indications that the group is in Las Vegas, and the case is taken there, quickly becoming not only a mission to find the young girl, but a place for sweet nuptials.

~~~~~

Excerpt:

"Don't take her! That's my daughter!" The woman screamed at the top of her lungs, trying to pull a young blonde-haired girl from a tall, dark-haired man with olive skin. She had hold of the girl's arm, but didn't have the strength to get the girl back.

I'd been studying for my finals at a park, watching the scene unfold with the little girl. However, I was also in total shock, not knowing what to do.

I had to act. I couldn't sit by and watch. I finally pulled my legs out from under the picnic table where I sat, and ran for all I was worth. The man yanked the child away from her mother and took off. The child screamed and her pink dress blew in the wind as he held her at the side like a football.

I chased him, even though I was almost too far away. Just as he was ready to put her into a car, she dropped her tiny doll. I tried to get to her in time, but the man hopped into the driver's seat and left, his car tires squealing down the street. I just happened to have a pen with me, and jotted down the license plate number on the palm of my hand.

As I watched the old dark car drive off, I whipped the cell phone out of my pocket and called my handsome fiancé, Peter.

"Hey, Natalie," he said. "Where are you, sweetheart?"

I caught my breath and spoke as fast as I could. "Peter, this is an emergency. I'm at Voyageur Park and a young girl was just kidnapped. I saw the whole thing and have the license plate number of the getaway car."

"I'm ready to take it." His tone turned professional. Peter was a Green Bay Police detective with a Ph.D. in psychology.

"It wasn't a Wisconsin plate with America's Dairyland on it, but was red, white, and blue." I read the blue-inked number off my hand. "The plate was KV5644, and the car was a 4-door dark blue sedan with no identifying features on it. It looked like the make and model had been removed."

"Red, white, and blue?" he asked. "Was it a veteran's license plate?"

"I don't know." I closed my eyes to think about what it looked like. "There was some sort of license plate cover on it, so I didn't see where it was from, but there was a blue stripe that went up and down on the left side, then across the top, and a red stripe across the bottom and a small partial red stripe on the right. I think there was a letter on the stripe on the left edge too."

I sighed, looking out over the Fox River, dividing the Green Bay area of Wisconsin. I was in De Pere, on the east side, which was a small town south of Green Bay.

"That's not a vet's plate," he said. "Do you happen to know what letter was on the stripe?"

"I'm not sure because I was focused on the main letters, but I know it was there."

"Is anyone from the child's family in the area?" Peter asked.

I turned back to look at the woman. "Yes. I think it's her mother, because she was yelling to let her daughter go and trying to save her."

"I'll get there as soon as I can," Peter said. "Don't go anywhere."

"Yes, sir." I ended the call.

It was so horrible to watch someone get kidnapped. I headed toward the woman and saw some man walk past the playground where the woman was sitting. Her hands covered her face and she seemed extremely distraught. I know I would be. As I got closer, I saw my class notes blowing all over the ground, close to the picnic table where I'd been working. I ran to get what I could, following the trail of papers closer to the Fox River. Maybe I'd be able to get them all before they floated up the river.

~~~~~

Buy links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Kobo
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Have a great week!
Andie

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Book Out! 'Sweet Love of Texas'

This is the fourth book in the Three Cross Faith series.

Here is a list of all the books, so far:

Book 1: 'A Heapin' Helping of Three Cross Faith'
Book 2: 'Touching the Love of a Texas Sunset'
Book 3: 'Teach Me to Love'
Book 4: 'Sweet Love of Texas'

Enjoy!



Blurb: Callie Williams is on a paid mission to destroy Three Cross Faith. She doesn't want to get the dirt on the group and damage their reputation, but if she doesn't deliver the goods, her boss, Jason, has threatened to kill her, probably before she dies of terminal brain cancer. But once she meets Eric Somerset and realizes the town is full of wonderful people, she's up against the clock in more than one way to set things straight.

~~~~~


Chapter 1:


Callie Oliver searched the other side of the bleachers at the Three Cross High School gymnasium. The basketball game was halfway over, and she was certain some of the Three Cross Faith members would be in the crowd.

"Will Lucas…I mean Somerset has the ball," the announcer said.

Lucas, but changed to Somerset. Jerome's kid. Callie knew the background all too well.

She grabbed the latest album of the Christian band, entitled 'Sweet Love of Texas,' and studied the picture on the front. Their newest members, Shannon and Greg Somerset, had been added to the CD that had just come out that week. She studied the cover and looked over to the home team side, scanning the crowd. When she saw Shannon, she smiled. Sitting around Shannon were Greg, Mac, his wife, Jaimee, and even Greg's unmarried brother, Eric. All of them were members of the band.

"Will's up…and he scores!" the announcer said.

The group of Christian band members stood up and cheered, clapping with smiles all around. Unfortunately, those smiles wouldn't last after she did her exposé on the group. Her boss, Jason, wanted the facts and she had a month to get everything she could, or else. Her life was on the line from various angles, her boss' threats included. Once she satisfied his assignment, she had to face her own problems, vowing to quit before those problems sidelined her for good.

She put the CD back into her purse and grabbed her pills, popping a few to make it through the night. Her headaches were getting more frequent, but she had to ignore the pain. There wasn't anything she could afford to do about it, anyway. Brain tumors were usually fatal and she was reminded of that with each new ache.

Will scored another basket, and even though he wasn't very tall, the junior varsity player had a bright future. Callie watched the game and then studied the cheerleaders. One girl in particular looked a lot like Will. From Callie's research, he had a younger sister named Harmonie. Both children were adopted by Greg Somerset after their real father, the notorious criminal Jerome Lucas, gave up his parental rights.

Callie had grown up with Jerome near Atlantic City, New Jersey, so she knew what kind of person he was…evil. Jerome's mother was clueless about the things her own son had done. If Callie's research turned up nothing for Jason, her boss, she'd still have that ace in the hole about Shannon's ex-husband so she could escape Jason's threats. But she'd have to be careful how she worded it because Will and Harmonie had paid enough in the past. She didn't want anyone to suffer or the band to be really hurt, so she was walking a fine line of satisfying her boss and protecting the innocent.

She decided to use her real name of Callie Williams from Ohio for this mission. She'd worked hard to lose her childhood New Jersey accent so she could fit in. But if need be, she'd just say she moved to Ohio when she went to college. Her current stage name, Callie Oliver, was the name she used for her job as a DJ in Princeton, New Jersey.

With the nursing degrees she'd earned years ago, she could fit in anywhere. But for this place, she had to remember the story she'd fabricated. Her aunt lived in Midland. Callie just wanted to take a trip south to Three Cross to meet the band before she returned to Midland to be her aunt's personal nurse. However, it was all a lie—the lie Jason made her tell.

Even though she wanted to run away, Callie needed to get closer to the group if she was to make contact. She stood up from her seat at the bottom of the bleachers and walked around the gym's perimeter to the other side. As she stood beside the bleachers, she eyed a spot in the crowded front, where she always sat. She couldn't climb the bleachers or she might fall from the headaches.

When the home team called a timeout, she scooted to the seat and sat down. The Three Cross Faith members were only two rows behind her, with one or two people in between. She could even hear their conversation. Since Shannon was the one directly behind her, she could hear her the best.

"So did you like the pie I sent over?" Shannon said. Callie couldn't turn to see who she was talking to.

"Yeah." It sounded like a woman's voice, probably Jaimee. "I'd like that recipe." Jaimee didn't have a southern accent at all, which would fit Callie's research.

Shannon continued. "I'm teaching how to make that pie over at the art warehouse. Come on over and I'll show you."

"Mac would love that. I know the baby does."

Baby? Callie had to look back, acting as if she was searching for someone else. But neither woman looked pregnant. From the way Jaimee talked, it was her baby. She was pregnant?

That's one thing Callie had never done…gotten married and had any children. And now, with the current diagnosis, she never would. These women looked so happy. How could that be possible? They were Christians. Christians weren't happy. That's why Callie had decided to become an atheist. She wanted to be happy in her life and not be judged. Besides, with her past, God didn't know her at all, so religion was probably a myth.

"Mine too," Shannon said in a low tone. Callie watched her lean closer to Jaimee.

"You're pregnant?" Jaimee asked.

"Yep. Just found out. I'm due at the end of October."

"That's great!" Jaimee hugged Shannon. "Can I tell Mac?"

Callie hated staring, but they were so excited, it was magnetic. No, she should watch the game, so she turned around. Now she felt even worse about being in Three Cross for the mission she really didn't want to do.

"Greg was going to tell him after the game," Shannon said. "He didn't want Mac cheering for no reason."

"Excuse me," a male voice said.

Callie looked up to see a good-looking man wanting to get past her. She knew exactly who he was, too. His wide grin covering the entire bottom of his face was a dead giveaway, exactly like the cover of the CD in her purse.

"I didn't see you there when I went out for…my phone call," he said.

"Oh." Callie felt her cheeks heat up. "I moved so I could see better." She stood up and took a step down the row. "I can move."

"No." He touched her arm. "I'm all alone up here, with my brother and his wife and her family. Why don't you join me?" He pointed to the empty seats near his family with a grin.

Callie definitely knew that smile. He was none other than Eric Somerset, the drummer for Three Cross Faith. He also had brown hair and brown eyes, appearing a lot like his older brother, Greg. The man must've worked out, because he was very muscular and attractive, just like his picture on the cover of the CD.

She looked up the two rows to where the family sat. "Um…I'm not a fan of heights. I'll just stay down here."

"May I join you, then?"

As much as she hated it, she had to do her job, or Jason's threats would be carried out. And this was her way in. "Sure." She sat back down in her seat, and Eric sat beside her, the others around them moving to accommodate Eric and Callie.

He shook her hand. "I'm Eric Somerset."

"I know." She pulled the CD out of her purse. "I just love your music."

He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes a bit. "You do? I'm surprised you ever heard of us."

"Why?"

"You have no southern accent. You're not from around here, are ya?"

She chuckled. It was time to live the lie because she had no choice. "No. I'm from Ohio. I'm here to be my aunt's nursemaid in Midland next month, after she comes home from the hospital." She hoped the lie didn't sound too rehearsed.

"Nursemaid? You do realize you're south of Midland a ways."

"Yes. I told her I wanted to come down here to see if I could meet any members of the band. She told me to stay a month and return to her side when she came home. I have a nursing degree, so it works. I even get a vacation out of it."

He nodded. "Where are you staying?"

"I have a place north of Three Cross. It's a month-to-month furnished rental, so I'm going to find a job for a month while I wait for my aunt."

"There are probably jobs down in Timber Cross. I think they need nurses, now that the hospital is open."

She could do that. It would certainly help her fit in more. Granted, she hadn't had a nursing job for three months, but her license was current as a family nurse practitioner in Ohio. She'd even kept up the certification since she'd worked in the emergency room. However, if they looked at her former or current employment record, they'd find out she quit a lucrative career as an E.R. nurse practitioner working on her M.D. to become a disc jockey in Princeton, New Jersey. They'd probably want to know why.

She had to keep to the topic at hand. "How far away is Timber Cross?"

"Not far. It's south of here." He grinned again. "What's your name?"

"Callie Williams."

He shook her hand again. "Welcome, Callie. I'd like to introduce you to the band some day. Would you like that?"

"Sure. That'd be really neat."

Neat? People in her social circles didn't use the word 'neat.' They were too highbrow and uppity for that. But she had to fit in.

Eric leaned closer. "Do you even care about this game?"

"Sure. The Three Cross junior varsity team is doing well."

He pointed toward the scoreboard. "They're down by twelve and there's a minute left in the game. I see you like basketball a lot."

She had to laugh. "You caught me. No, I just wanted to get out of the apartment."

"You probably thought we'd be here." He paused, watching her. "Are you targeting the Somerset clan or me?"

"No!" She backed away, holding up her hands in front of her. "Not at all. I just heard this was the center of all social functions in this town. I figured it might be fun. I didn't know you'd be here at all." She was really good at lying, after calling the school and acting like an old friend of the Somersets.

Eric chuckled and put his hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry. I'm not accusing you of anything." He turned slightly and looked behind him. "I'd introduce you to Greg, Mac, Shannon, and Jaimee, but it looks like they're excited about something else."

She bit her lips. This wasn't the time to tell Eric he was going to be an uncle, and a blood uncle at that.

He turned and looked at Callie again. "So what are you doing after the game? I'd hate for you to miss out on other exciting social functions in this town."

She almost laughed at him. This place was nothing like New Jersey. "What else is there? This was pretty exciting." She hoped he didn't hear her sarcasm, berating herself for even letting it slip out.

"Well, we could go out for a drink."

"Alcohol?" She hated alcohol since her father had been drunk most of the time.

"No." He laughed. "There's this place in Three Cross that has the best root beer floats. Are you game?"

"Is this a date?" she whispered.

"No. I don't know ya well enough for that." He grinned. "Yet."

"Then sure. My aunt always warned me about forward men." She chuckled, because she'd dated many men back home. She'd been labeled 'love 'em and leave 'em Callie' by various men. As soon as they wanted to get close to her, she'd dump them, because she knew she had no future with any of them. It broke her heart, but she couldn't let anyone in on her secret illness or she'd be kicked out of the industry and people would pity her. No, she just wanted to die alone and let her name fade into the sunset.

The final bell rang for the game and people began descending the stands. Callie stood up, and Eric turned to see the rest of his family.

Shannon and Jaimee were having a conversation as Shannon stepped down one level on the bleacher. Callie kept an eye out, because the woman wasn't watching where she was going. Shannon suddenly slid and was off balance. Before Callie could catch her, Shannon fell onto the hard wooden floor on her side. The sound was loud and Callie knew she'd hit her head. Welcome to Callie's world of head pain.

But with a baby? Callie's heart cried out for the unborn, hoping it was okay.

~~~~~

Buy links:

 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble


God bless you!
Eryn

Monday, September 23, 2013

Start Your Week With Romance: 'A Dream to Share'

I was thinking about this book yesterday, as I made up pictures with excerpts for facebook and twitter.  I have two more of these books started for the cupid series, but haven't finished them yet.  They're just so much fun to write, I need to get back to them. LOL!

Here's the blurb and an excerpt of 'A Dream to Share.'  Enjoy!



Blurb:
When lawyer Merry Woods meets the man who is literally in her dreams, Detective Alex McKay, she realizes her current fiancé isn’t someone she wants to marry. But to date Alex means they can’t talk about work, since some things have to stay confidential. However, other people keep trying to date both of them, pulling them apart at every turn.

Two cupids are on the job to guarantee Merry and Alex make it in their relationship, even though other cupids also have both of their client names on their contracts for other mates. Can they get Alex and Merry together against the odds, and prove the couple is truly the magical ‘Couple for the Ages’?

~~~~~

Excerpt:

Meredith Woods stretched, feeling the satin sheets under her back. As she opened her eyes, she looked up from the bed to a vaulted light yellow ceiling with a ceiling fan hanging from it. "Where am I? What's going on? This isn't my bed." She grabbed the sheets, but they were too nice for what she was used to.

As she sat up, a hand touched her arm. "Sweetheart, you were in a deep sleep. Don't you remember? We're on our honeymoon. Can't you hear the waves?"

She turned, seeing a man she didn't know sitting beside her on the bed wearing nothing but dark blue boxer briefs. He was very handsome—dark brown slightly curly hair and the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. But she didn't know him.

She reached out, seeing her naked arm. Yikes. Was she naked all over? She had to look. Once she lowered her eyes, she saw her naked chest covered only in a sheet. "Who are you?" She pulled the sheets from the bed, and hopped up, wrapping herself in the silky cream-colored material. "What am I doing here?"

The man chuckled, the waves crashing in the distance. "Dear, come back to bed. You're just having a dream."

"I am?" Her hand flew to her forehead, covering her eyes while she closed them. "Right now? I'm asleep?" She moved her hand to see him, but the room suddenly darkened.

Merry sat straight up in her bed—her childhood bed in her parent's home. She must've been dreaming. Reality set in and she remembered. She was staying at the house with her fiancé, Billy, for Christmas.

What a dream she had, and that man was really good looking. She was married to him? She wanted to go back to the dream world, to see his face again and to find out who he was. But it was only a dream and she knew she had to come back to reality. That dream seemed so wonderful, the light filling the room. And the man—she'd never seen a man so gorgeous and naked in her life.

Yes, she was engaged to Billy, but she wanted to wait for marriage to get to know a man in that way. Otherwise, the honeymoon would just be a vacation and nothing special. From the look of that man in her dreams, special was an understatement.

She wondered if Billy would look that good to her on their honeymoon. Considering he was six-feet tall and weighed well over 250 pounds, he was nothing like the man in her dreams.

Was she having second thoughts? Was it because she couldn't talk to Billy about current events or her job? He just didn't understand anything that made him think. He'd be okay as a father, she guessed, but she worried because all education and common sense would be up to her.

After throwing back the blue blankets and pink sheets, she got out of her childhood bed and tiptoed to the bedroom door, so as not to wake her sister. They were forced to share a room once again, even though they'd both grown and moved away.

Her brother was in his old room with his wife, and their three children slept on blow-up mattresses in one guest bedroom, beside her parent's bedroom. Her sister's boyfriend and Billy were in the other guest bedroom.

The house was large, because her dad owned a toy company and was rather wealthy. This year, her mom forced everyone to come home for the holidays, since Merry's and Billy's wedding was to take place on New Year's Eve.

The thought of her wedding gave her a chill as she walked down the stairs to the huge home. Was she doing the right thing? Billy said he loved her—but did he, really? Did he even know what love was? Yes, he gave her the obligatory kiss when appropriate, but she didn't feel that excitement or rush when his lips touched hers. Why was she marrying him again? Was it because his last name was Christmas and she'd become Meredith—or Merry Christmas? No, it was because he kept her car in good condition since he worked at his dad's garage.

Was that the best she could do and the real reason she was marrying him? Did she even love him?

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she noticed a light on in the kitchen and the smell of coffee in the air. She walked through the doorway, seeing her brother, Brad, pouring half-and-half into a mug.

"Good morning," she said.

He turned slightly. "Hey, squirt. Whatcha doin' up at five in the morning? You do know you don't have to go to work today."

"I know. I took off a few weeks from the firm, but wanted to get a few things done anyway. I have a case coming due at the end of January and it's bugging me." Lies got her everywhere.

He poured her a mug of coffee and put it down on the bar, and then pointed to a stool. "Are you sure that's it?" He moved the half-and-half toward her, along with the sugar.

She fixed her coffee, taking her time to answer.

"I asked you a question," he said. "What really woke you up?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me. I'm not a psychiatrist for fun. I like hearing about dreams."

"Psycho." She chuckled and lifted the coffee to her lips, taking a sip before returning it to the counter. "I had a dream that I'd married a different man and he was hot," she whispered. "What does that mean?"

"That you're making a mistake marrying the brute who snores up there." He pointed toward the stairs. "We could hear him snoring and mumbling all night, even through the walls." He leaned closer to her. "Why are you marrying him? Do you have to marry him?"

"No. You know I don't sleep around. I'm marrying him because…" She stopped talking and met Brad's face with her gaze. "You're going to think I'm nuts."

"Yep. I'll probably stick you in a mental ward for two years, keeping you strung out on medications." He chuckled and shook his head. "Don't be an idiot. Of course you're not nuts. You think this is your last chance because you're pushing thirty. Because you're a criminal lawyer, the clientele you meet isn't what you want to marry. You want stability and someone boring, and man, is Billy boring. You know you can do better. So why are you marrying him? It's not too late to stop the wedding."

"Yes, it is. The invitations went out and everything. Aunt Vicki is even planning to come and you know that's not easy."

He took a sip of his coffee. "So call the nursing home out west and tell her not to come. It's easy and she might even appreciate it."

Merry sighed. "She wanted to see everyone before she died. She grew up around here and misses the Midwest."

"She misses the family, not Iowa. And she definitely doesn't miss Cupid City. We're an hour and a half away from anything fun. Besides, fun is in the eye of the beholder. If Dad hadn't built his dream company northwest of Des Moines, we'd never have gotten to where we are. Think about it, because this is a dream town in the summertime. Someday soon, I want to retire up here and take over the company."

"Why don't you do it now?"

He glanced toward the stairs. "I'm thinking about it, but you know Mrs. Socialite up there has to have her diamonds and superficial friends to feel 'whole.' She'll never listen to me, unless I offer her a wonderful package of what life could be like. That's my goal on this trip."

"Why did you marry her?" Merry whispered.

"For the same reason you're marrying the snoring brute—she could give me something I wanted. You do realize your name will be Merry Christmas when you marry him, right?"

"Yeah. I'll definitely go by Meredith then."

"So what do you want from him, anyway?"

Merry lowered her eyes. "My car runs really well."

Brad laughed so hard, she thought he'd wake the rest of the household. "You're marrying him for car maintenance?"

She put her finger to her lips. "Shhh! He doesn't need to hear this and neither does Abby."

He waved her off. "Abby won't care. She'll always be the middle child and in a world of her own. Have you talked to her about this? I thought sisters stuck together."

"Abby? The wrestler with her head in the clouds while going braless? Are you nuts?"

"Probably or I wouldn't have gone into psychiatry." He chuckled. "Want to talk to my socialite wife? She'll know what to tell you."

"Rachel's a witch and you know I think that. I'm just glad you've taken over raising your kids. They're more normal than I ever thought they'd be."

He sipped his coffee. "She's not a witch. She needs to be stuck out in the woods to bond with nature. That would be the best thing for her—no electricity for her hair dryer or anything for her manicures." He glanced toward the stairs. "If we didn't have kids, I'd be out of our marriage."

Merry rubbed the smiley face on the side of her coffee cup. "You're a good man for sticking it out with her. When the kids are older, maybe she'll figure it out."

He chuckled. "Yeah. When I'm broke because she put me in the poor house." He sipped his coffee. "What do you want for breakfast today?"

"Something nostalgic. Whatcha making?"

He laughed at her. "I'm no cook and you know that. But you're right. Nostalgic. Twinkletoes pudding?"

She chuckled. "You do know that's nothing more than spiced up oatmeal with sprinkles, right?"

"Yeah, but the kids would love it. We'll tell them it's magical fairy dust that's only used at Christmas."

"If you say that, Billy will think you're talking about him. His ears really perk up at the word Christmas."

"Are you sure you want to marry him?" Brad whispered. "Your kids wouldn't be that bright."

"But they'd be loved."

"By you." Brad kept his tone to a whisper. "I don't think he knows what love is. You'd also end up with your children plus one big child. He's not an adult. You have to consider that. Do you want to be a mommy to your husband?"

She lowered her eyes slightly, staring into her half-empty mug. "No. Children throw temper tantrums. You're very right about that. But what am I to do now?"

He reached out and touched her arm. "Let it up to your big brother." He winked. "I have a few things up my sleeve and you'll even be the victim, which makes him the bad guy."

"No one would believe it."

"Trust me."

The footsteps on the stairs sounded like Brad's kids running toward them. "And so the day begins," she said. "Ready for the twinkletoes pudding?"

"Only if you'll help me."

"You bet."

She chugged the rest of her coffee, stood up, and straightened her sweatpants as she walked around the island and into the kitchen.

*~*~*


Candy Cupid sat in the corner, staring down at the children sitting at the kitchen table eating their twinkletoes pudding. Beside her sat her partner in crime, Chester, looking like he was asleep.

They were both part of the race of cupids, invisible beings to humans, whose sole purpose was to make people do things in the name of romance and love. They worked year-round with a wand, bows and arrows, and even fairy dust—but only in extreme circumstances.

Quite a few hundred years before, one cupid was only allowed to work on Valentine's day. But he was overworked and on that day, decided everyone should be in love with everyone else, casting a wide net over the entire population. When the couples found out their true loves had other romances, fights broke out and the powers that be decided to give the work to more than one cupid. The incident was called the Valentine's Day Catastrophe, and it was horrible. Therefore, cupids were forced to work year round, creating dreams for couples one at a time, while working in pairs to make sure none took catastrophic liberties.

Candy shook her head. "I can't believe she didn't run out and find that man in her dreams we planted in her head. He's perfect for her. We have to do something." She grabbed Chester's collar with both hands and shook him. "Think of something."

Chester grunted. "Woman, leave me alone. I'm too old for this stuff."

"Too old for romance? Are you dead? You're never too old for romance as long as you're breathing. Now help me. What can we do to get her with the man of her dreams?"

Chester yawned. "I was up all night giving them the mutual dream. I'm tired. You figure it out." He disappeared in a flash, leaving Candy sighing.

Why did she have to do all the work? She needed a new partner—maybe a good-looking cupid. A chat with the boss would help, but before she left the Woods' home, she waved her wand toward the refrigerator, using her magic. That would keep Merry busy for a while and might even help their cause.


~~~~~

Buy Links (99 cents):

 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Sony e-book Store
 Kobo
 Apple Store
 Diesel E-books


Have a great week!
Markee