Tough, driven Kit Kendall has replaced her frills and dresses with no nonsense haircuts and wranglers, years ago. As owner of Sage Brush, the once thriving west Texas bed and breakfast ranch, she now struggles daily to keep her business afloat. Since McCabe Resort Lodge reopened next door as a multi-million dollar hotel, her financial difficulties compound, as she suffers one cancellation after another.
Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, Kit’s childhood sweetheart turned nemesis returns as the new owner of the resort that’s now putting her out of business, resurrecting memories she thought she’d buried long ago.
Cowboy, entrepreneur Sam Dawson has returned to Sugar Creek, Texas after six years of exile with a secret that could destroy Kit’s happiness. He left town because of it and for the past two years has secretly tried to make it right. Having failed, he now returns to make one last attempt to undo the tangled web created by his father.
Set in motion by his father’s Last Will and Testament and with the clock ticking, Sam has only weeks to convince Kit to sell him her ranch or reveal the truth that will break her heart.
Sam could tell she was spitting mad. He watched her jerk the seatbelt over her chest several times before he reached over to click it into place.
He straightened up and glanced at her as he turned into the street. “Is that steam I see coming from your ears?”
Kit responded by snapping her arms across her chest.
He heaved a sigh and shook his head. “She told you, didn’t she?”
Kit didn’t say a word she just stared out the window.
“I’m sorry you had to find out that way. I was going to stop by tonight and tell you myself.”
“How thoughtful of you. So. What do you want?”
“For access to the land. Otherwise my guests have no place to hunt or fish.”
“Sell me the road frontage I need.” He’d deliberately forced her hand and hated himself for it. But far better for her to part with a few measly acres than lose everything. And if she ended up hating him in the process then so be it. He cursed both their fathers under his breath.
Kit’s mouth fell open and she slowly turned to face him, hoarse laughter tumbling from her lips.
“You’ve got to be kidding. After this stunt, do you really think I’d sell an inch of my property to you? One Kendall made the mistake of caving to a Dawson’s blackmail, but let me assure you, this one won’t.”
He hated what he was about to do. Hated to force her hand, but she gave him no choice. When did she become so stubborn? Gritting his teeth, he continued.
“Then I won’t allow you to use the Lowman property for access. You’ll be forced to shut down. Sage Brush will close. You’ll be through. You’ll lose your property to the bank when they foreclose. Then it’ll only be a matter of time before I have it all anyway. Is that really what you want?”
“Why you no good, conniving, lowlife.”
“Look at it this way, if I get the road frontage I need, then you get to stay in business. It’s a win-win.”
They slowed to a stop outside of her house.
Kit opened the truck door then turned to face him.
“You would actually do that? You’d put Trip and Jake out of work? And what about Maggie? Have you even thought of her?”
Stones is a humorous coming-of-middle-age women’s fiction
New Adult fiction seems to be all the rage these days. Well,
I’m starting a trend of my own—Old Adult Fiction. Or more accurately, Coming-of-Middle-Age-Fiction. Stones
features women of a certain age. Before being published by The Wild Rose Press,
the manuscript, which finaled in the Georgia Romance Writers Unpublished Maggie
Award for Excellence, was called The Colonoscopy Club. So you have an idea of
what age I’m talking about.
In Stones, readers are introduced to the concept of closure
in the very first paragraph.
“Thank God for LINT. It’s the one area in my life where I’ve
been able to achieve closure. I can wash a load of towels, toss them into the
dryer, fold them, and, after opening the lint filter, peel back a glorious,
thick, colorful strip of lint, admire it, and throw it into the wastebasket.
Then I can cross that task off my to-do list. Now, THAT is closure! And, by the
way, I have a new dryer that gives really good lint.”
Back of the Book blurb:
When Julie Paver’s husband Matt moves his business to
Atlanta, she is forced to leave behind her thriving jewelry boutique, Stones.
The move threatens their twenty-five-year marriage, because now if Matt isn’t
out of town negotiating a merger, he’s spending late hours on overseas phone
calls with his sexy-sounding second-in-command. Feeling neglected and unloved,
Julie seeks closure by reconnecting with her first love, Manny, when he pursues
her with his Internet innuendos. Manny is unaware he’s the father of Julie’s
son, and Julie contemplates revealing the secret to him on the eve of their
son’s wedding. But would such a walk down memory lane be worth the cost? Julie
and Manny finally meet at her oceanfront condo — in the midst of a hurricane —
and elements collide to create the perfect storm in a coming-of-middle-age
To go or not to go to Palm Coast is no longer the question. The
question is what will I do once I get there? Will I really have the nerve to
reconnect, or as my daughter Natalie likes to say, “hook up,” again with Manny
Gellar? How will I feel tomorrow when I see him alone for the first time after
twenty-five years? Will I finally reveal what I feel compelled—no, what
I’m busting a gut—to tell him? That he has a beautiful son,
that our son Josh is getting married in just three months? I’m probably
rationalizing, but I think he finally has a right to know.
If I could, I’d fix what is wrong with my marriage and put
it back the way it was before, as easily as Ricardo fixed my washing machine. Before
Matt yanked me out of Miami by my roots as if I were a noxious weed he was
tossing out of a flower garden and carelessly transplanted us to Atlanta.
Before we moved a state away from my family and my best
friend and a business I’d worked a lifetime to create. Before Matt sold his
freight-expediting business to a German conglomerate for mega-millions and
agreed to run the company for them from Atlanta for the next two years, barely
consulting me. Before the German occupation, or rather before he became preoccupied
with his sexy-sounding German second-in-command, Gretchen. Before
he stopped sleeping with me in the biblical sense. Before I turned fifty.
All I really want is closure. I’m convinced that meeting
Manny Gellar again is the only way I will ever come full circle and reconnect
with my life.
Romancing the “STONES” Novelist Interview:
What draws you as a ‘reader’ to the romance genre? Reliving that
feeling of “first love” and attraction, reading about how the couple overcomes
obstacles and gets their happy ending.
What is the most difficult part of writing a love story?
tension in the relationship. I
always want things to happen too quickly.
Is creating a book title easy for you? Tell us about the
Coming up with the title is the first thing I do before I can even
start writing the book. Anything can inspire me. I may overhear a word or a
phrase and it triggers an idea. When a title pops into my head and I know it’s
the right one, then I can begin. My background is Marketing and Public
Relations so for me, writing a creative title is the easy part. That said, in
my eighth book with The Wild Rose Press, which is under contract, the original
title was “Murder on the Repositioning Cruise,” and I had to shorten it to Killer
Cruise, because it was consistent with the other two-word titles in my psychic
mystery series: Sixth Sense and Homecoming Homicides. And not everyone knew
what a repositioning cruise was. But by the time I renamed it, I had already
written the book. Other than that, all of my books retained their original names.
One of my favorite titles is Murder at the Outlet Mall, a shopping suspense tale
I co-wrote with my sister, a Florida artist in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Do your characters love the direction you take for them or
do they have other ideas?
The characters always have other ideas. And I usually
go along with them. The characters will have complete conversations in my head
and when that happens, I just listen and write it down.
Any tips for writers that you’d love to share?
Many people have said this, but it’s great advice: Finish
the book. The best way to promote your book is to write another one. Hang in there. Don’t give up on your
dream to publish. You may be the last one standing, but eventually you will get
published if you are persistent. Stones was some ten years in the making. And
these days authors have so many paths to publication.
Marilyn will give away a PDF copy of Stones to one
Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta,
Georgia, and the author of humorous women’s fiction, historical romantic
thrillers, a psychic suspense series, supernatural short stories and a musical.
She has won or finaled in writing awards for Single Title, Suspense Romance,
and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance and just finaled in the Georgia Romance Writers
2014 Published Maggie Award for Excellence in the Novel With Strong Romantic
Marilyn has published six books with The Wild Rose Press
When twenty-year-old Ashby Overton travels to Overhome
Estate for the summer, she hopes to unearth her ancestral roots and the cause
of a mysterious family rift surrounding the horseback riding death of her
Grandmother Lenore many years ago.
From the moment she enters her room in the oldest wing,
Ashby feels an invisible, enfolding presence. She learns the room
belonged to a woman named Rosabelle, but no one is willing to talk about
Rosabelle—no one except Luke, the stable boy who captures her heart. As Ashby
and Luke become closer, she realizes he can be the confidant she
needs to share the terrifying, unfolding secrets.
Ever present is a force Ashby never sees, only
feels. Candles light themselves, notes from an old lullaby fall from the
ceiling, the radio tunes itself each day. And roses, always meant for
Ashby, appear in the unlikeliest places. Are the roses a symbol of love,
or do they represent something dark, something deep and evil?
Great to have you as a guest today, Susan. I always ask the question "What draws you as a reader to the romance genre?"
Actually, I do not read “pure” romance by choice. I love
romance in other guises—Gothic -romance, for example or mystery-romance. To me
as a reader a little romance goes a long way. So it needs to be GOOD!
As a writer, I tend to lean in the same direction—subtle
romance to enhance the mystery or the adventure or action. For my cozy
mystery/Southern Gothic A Red, Red Rose, I leave much of the gore and sex to
the reader’s imagination; Shakespeare might call it “off-stage.” I feel this
technique leads the reader on, titillating and encouraging mental images
Something I always wonder is "What is the most difficult part of writing a love story?"
Well, let me begin by telling you the easiest part:
conflict. In life, isn’t all romance made up of multiple conflicts? Will my
parents approve? Is he right for me? Is it love or simply fascination?As a mystery writer, I find plotting
conflict is paramount and thus easily extended to the romantic elements
involved. For example, in A Red, Red Rose, for her first serious tryst with
Luke, Ashby, my protagonist, arrives late—having overslept in a nap. She had
wanted to look perfect—but she’s a mess—hair tousled and no makeup—rain-soaked
and mud-splattered. Luke could not care less. He wants romance! But when they
finally settle in the hayloft, a swarm of wasps threatens to completely thwart
any love-making on the horizon. Conflict! It’s the root of all romance. What’s
hard is writing realistically about the physical details without sounding
melodramatic , awkward or unnatural.
Is creating a book title easy for you? Tell us about the
It seems my books entitle themselves! I usually look for a
recurring theme or symbol rather than plot or character for my titles.Thus, I am generally well along with
the writing before the title emerges. The sequel to A Red, Red Rose is entitled
Beneath the Stones (The Wild Rose Press, publication date TBA). Stones are
symbolic throughout the novel, so the reader is always looking for the
connection with the title.
Do your characters love the direction you take for them or
do they have other ideas?
Now, that’s an interesting question. I know authors who say
their characters talk to them—guiding the story. Alice Walker, author of The
Color Purple, for example, lived with her characters—moving from location to
location, sometimes at their whim. My characters don’t converse with me—sometimes
I wish they would! But they often do seem to take matters into their own hands
as I am writing about them. It’s like an idea is suddenly transmitted from
their mind to mine! And I admit that often I take a character down one road,
only to realize it’s the wrong path for him or her. That’s when the delete key
comes in handy.
Any tips for writers that you’d love to share?
Writing is such a personal journey that every writer must
chart her own path. Life experiences, values, preferences, loves and losses,
inspiration, role models—unique for every writer— will guide and mold and
refine the individual’s craft.That said, I would add that every writer must also be an avid reader and
a close observer of life, in general, and of people, places
and events specifically.Who knows
when that bubbling mountain stream might flow its way into a setting? Smell it,
hear it, feel it, look closely at its depths and shallows for sensory details
and jot it all down in a journal or relegate it to your writer’s memory bank.
The quirky, brilliant professor whose classes generate mental lightning could
be a character in your next novel. Store his mannerisms, his speech patterns,
his retro clothes in your data base and bring it all out when the time comes. No
detail is too small for the observant writer’s sensory antennae. Do you
remember your very first extended trip away from home? The excitement of the
unknown—the hopes for adventure and stimulating discoveries? Dredge up those
impressions and infuse your journeying character with hopes and fears and
expectations akin to your own.Every reader can relate to the human experience.
Excerpt from A Red, Red Rose:
As suddenly as it began, the music stopped.Bewildered, I held out the candle as though it might
illuminate the harmony I had heard so clearly only moments ago.Except for the dying sputter of the
storm, all was quiet again.My
ears strained, listening.Faintly
this time, but distinctly, I heard the melody again, this time in the hall
outside my closed bedroom door.Barefoot, holding the candlestick in front of me, I moved slowly to the
door, drew the latch, and, without thinking, only feeling the music, I followed
the mellow strains, like a child of Hamlin behind the Pied Piper.Descending the steep steps, on the
first floor, now, I continued to follow the path of the music, through the
dining room, to the old keeping room and out a door I had never used or even
I halted, shook my head, trying to clear out the hypnotic tones that
crowded out all thought and plugged my senses.Once again, the music abated.It was like a game of musical chairs.Where was I?No longer in the house, I felt the damp night air on my bare
arms, and rough floorboards beneath my bare feet.Holding the candle at arm’s length, I crept forward, a step
at a time, my other hand grasping at the air in front.I felt like a blind person without a
My reaching fingers brushed
across a grainy surface, and crumbling powder dusted my fingertips.Instantly, I recognized the metallic
smell of old, rusting screens.I
knew then I must be on the ancient screened porch tucked between the wings of
the house, the crumbling porch with the antique rocking chairs.The old part of the house, reached only
by the door in the keeping room.The music had led me here.Again the strains wafted over and around me, holding me captive as I
stood, shivering, gazing at the dim light of my flickering candle.
The music stopped as abruptly as it had begun.Struggling to clear the cobwebs of sound spinning in my
brain, I took a deep breath and looked around.I sensed, rather than saw a movement in my
periphery.When I turned, I became
aware of one of the old rocking chairs.Gently, so as to be barely perceptible, the chair rocked itself back and
forth as though someone invisible sat in it, enjoying the languorous, rhythmic
motion.Rocking, rocking, rocking,
without any sound at all.
Not conscious of moving, I found myself standing beside the ancient
rocker, now motionless, dusty, the seat sagging within inches of the floor, as
though it had not moved in a hundred years. I had not dreamed it.The chair had rocked itself, and
someone or something had led me here to witness it.Led me with the music.I had the evidence.On the
decaying cane seat lay a single fresh rose just out of bud.
When globe-trotting photographer Allison
Cain comes home to her family ranch in Montana it’s to get to know her nephew
and to make amends with the widowed brother-in-law she’s left alone to raise
his young son.
Evan Carver could never deny his late
wife’s younger sister anything, despite the fact she’s been conspicuously
absent over the past three years since her sister’s death. Now she’s home again
on what she’s called an extended vacation. Evan’s first concern is for his son,
Cody, and how his aunt’s visit will affect the five year old when she decides
to return to her high profile career.
Allison has no intention of going back to
work. In addition to getting to know Cody, she needs to confess her biggest
secret to Evan. How do you tell the man you’ve always loved that you’re not
just his son’s aunt, but also his mother?
Slowly she raised her head. Unshed tears
filled her eyes, making them glisten like liquid stars. Evan felt a lump form
in his own throat. She blinked rapidly in what Evan suspected was a conscious
effort to hide her emotions. A knot tightened his gut. He had the sudden urge
to take Ali in his arms, as he’d done the day she arrived, and bury her face
against his chest, preferably without the argument that followed.
In the very back of his over-used
imagination, he could see her coming willingly into his arms. He could feel the
heat of her tears against his chest. His reaction surprised and frightened him
in equal measure. He didn’t want to feel this way about her, especially when he
knew she wouldn’t stay.
“Me, too,” she admitted softly, drawing
Evan’s attention from her teary eyes to her soft, pink lips. The tears she’d
been fighting back so tenaciously now pearled on her lashes, threatening to
spill forth at any second.
Evan moved away from the tree, inching his
way around Cody and close to Allison’s side. Cautiously, he lifted his hand and
caught the first tear on his thumb, uncertain of exactly what had made her cry,
yet knowing he selfishly welcomed the chance to offer her comfort.
“When I left South America, the only thing
I could think of was coming here. I wanted desperately to feel the lush grass
beneath my bare feet and to smell the fresh, clean air.”
“I don’t care what made you decide to come
home. You’re here now and welcome to stay as long as you like.” Drawing her
into his arms, he held her close and tilted her chin up with his fingertips
until their gazes met.
At the first touch of his lips to hers,
Evan tasted the cinnamon and apple of the dessert they’d just consumed. He
pressed his lips more firmly to hers. She hesitated only briefly before returning
his kiss with one of her own. He barely had time to consider what they’d done
when Ali’s trembling voice broke through his consciousness.
“Evan,” she whispered. “Don’t, please.”
Pressing her hands to his chest, she pushed lightly. Yet, when he would have
backed away, she clenched the front of his shirt tightly in her fists. “We
can’t . . .” she warned, still seemingly unwilling to let him go.
“Ali, it was only a kiss.”
She looked up at him with tear-filled eyes
and Evan knew if he didn’t let her go he’d likely do something they’d both
regret. Gently, he grasped her hands in his and pulled them from the death grip
she’d taken on his shirt. With his thumb he wiped away a final spent tear then
released her completely. A moment later he was on his feet and walking back
toward the damaged fence. It would take every ounce of strength he possessed,
he realized, to keep from turning around and taking her into his arms again.
Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began
writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven
forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English
teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it
was worth it.
When not writing (which is almost never),
Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling
and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys
the relaxed pace and colorful people. She invites you to visit her website (www.nancyfraser.ca) and follow her on
Twitter (@nfraserauthor). Or, more importantly, just enjoy what she writes.
When a woman finds herself in the middle of a
war between a police force and the Mob,
30 SECONDS is a long time.
When Officer Blake Herro
agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But
he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's
determined to protect her at all costs.
The Mob's death threat
turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t
anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With
danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or
will the Mob make good on their threat?
She panted with fear. What if they
see the chest? What if we get caught? What if my breath stinks and I’m
breathing right into Officer Hottie’s face? She shut her mouth and let
oxygen flow through her nose.
Her eyesight slowly adjusted to the darkness and she could see Officer
Herro’s silhouette. His head was turned and he was listening to the thuds of
heavy boots getting louder; the intruders were coming their way.
Then the thunder of footsteps sounded right next to them. “There’s no
one here, Red,” someone announced.
“Look for documents,” a man ordered, who Dani could only assume was Red.
“I want the name of the person I’m going to kill.”
A moment later, there was a reply. “All the mail is addressed to a Dr.
Hearing her name said aloud by one of the men who had ransacked her
place made her want to gasp. Her mouth fell open and her breath was reversing
into her lungs, but before she could make a sound, Officer Herro lowered his
lips to hers, silencing her. Stunned, she could only lie beneath him with her
eyes wide and her body tense. She couldn’t believe he was kissing her. She wanted
to push him back, but knew if she did he might hit the inside of the chest,
giving away their hiding place. That was when she realized he was kissing her
so she wouldn’t gasp.
She let her body relax. After her initial shock faded, she was able to
feel his lips. They were comforting and caused a reaction deep inside her. She
couldn’t stop her lips from reacting to his. It was an innocent connection, a
soft touch of lips. Until his hand slid from her shoulder to her neck and the
kiss deepened into something else.
Bonus:5 facts about Dani:
1. She can
speak fluent Spanish.
2. She’s a
3. She has two
4. She was
born at a Kiss concert.
5. She likes
to read comic books.
Chrys Fey is a lover of
rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her
desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses
-especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration
behind the title.
30 Seconds is her second
eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available
Discover her writing tips
on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her