Category Archives for Book Release

Now Live!! Love Around The Table

Title: Love Around the Table
Genre: Literature, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Cover Design: EJR Digital Art
Editor: Cheryl Walt
Blurb:
Second chance at love, second chance at life.
Six Southern authors share six great short stories of friendship, family, and romance, and six special recipes of love.
A life-threatening diagnosis triggers forgiveness and healing between two estranged sisters.
A Sister’s Quandary by Rachel Jones
Life shoves an award-winning pastry chef into a big career change where she discovers the depths of true friendship and love.
Layers of Love by Linda Joyce
In rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old black girl and white boy bond over fishing as they navigate the racial waters of the 1930s.
Mississippi Catfish by Constance Gillam
A caregiver son and an activities director at a senior living facility discover the magic powers of love.
No More Lonely Hearts by Marilyn Baron
A harried widower with four young mischievous daughters proves to a wounded woman there’s always room for one more around the table.
Table for Six by Melissa Klein
An unexpected Lazy Susan disaster splatters the news of a famous baseball player reuniting with his small-town sweetheart.
Rachel Jones—Labor & Delivery RN by night and writer by day—is an award-winning author who began her first novel at age fifty-seven. She composes stories of strong heroines, heroes with heart, and sweet romance. Her writing reflects her passion for performing arts, and a twenty-eight-year career in healthcare has influenced the threads of medical drama woven into her storylines.


Amazon Best-Selling author and multiple RONE Award Finalist Linda Joyce writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction featuring assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. She lives with her very patient husband in a house in metro Atlanta run by a fifteen-year-old canine named General Beauregard who believes they are his pets. Linda’s a closet artist who paints with a brush, yet longs to finger paint…but hates getting her hands messy. She’s addicted to Cajun food and sushi. Linda will deny she only leaves the house once a week and only then to get criticism from two other authors.
Learn more about Linda at her website: www.linda-joyce.com.

Constance Gillam—Books and music have always been my life. Some of my earliest memories were of walking to the library on my own at age seven or eight. (Those were the days when children weren't snatched off the streets.) I read every chance I got.
In a quest to find myself, I've worked as genetic counselor, health underwriter, bank proof operator, phlebotomist, real estate agent, and medical technologist. In the end, I've come back to the profession I've revisited most often, being a writer.
I write contemporary thrillers, historical fiction, and dabble in young adult.
My husband and I live in the Atlanta area with our three children and grandchildren.
Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from humorous coming-of-middle-age women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. THE VAMPIRE NEXT DOOR is her twelfth novel published with The Wild Rose Press. Her novel, THE ALIBI, will be released later this year. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel With Strong Romantic Elements, and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, and was a Finalist for the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards in the Romance category for her book, Stumble Stones: A Novel. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, she graduated with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. She loves to travel and sets many of her books in places she’s visited.
Read more about Marilyn’s books at www.marilynbaron.com.

Melissa Klein writes contemporary romance about everyday heroes fighting extraordinary battles. Whether facing the demands of caring for a child with special needs or the struggles of a soldier returning home, her characters take on the challenges life throws at them with perseverance, courage, and humor. She won Georgia Romance Writers Unpublished Maggie award in 2013 and Rose City Romance Writers Golden Rose award in 2012. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, travel, and spending time with her family. She lives with her incredibly supportive husband outside of Atlanta.
You can find Melissa at www.MelissaKleinRomance.com.

Ciara Knight is a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author who ‘Fights for Love One Book at a Time' that spans the heat scales. Her popular sweet romance stories take readers into small-town romance full of family trials, friendly competition, and community love.



Return to Christmas Falls

Title: Return to Christmas Falls
Genre: Holiday Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Homecoming in Christmas Falls by Ciara Knight
Eight years after fleeing Christmas Falls because of a high school prank gone wrong, Ashley Brooks receives a mysterious letter from her mentor asking her to come home. She arrives to face all she left behind—her family, her friends, and the rich boy she’d loved who would never date the girl from the wrong side of town.
Brent Donnelly, high school jock, brainiac, and dutiful son did everything right until the day Ashley returns to Christmas Falls. With one look at the girl who got away he questions all his life choices, including following in his father’s footsteps in the family business.
Faced with a potentially devastating decline of tourism in their hometown, Brent and Ashley must work together to save the magic of their town, but when Ashley discovers he still has feelings for her best friend she must finally face the real reason she left Christmas Falls—to try to heal her broken heart.

Blurb:
Honeymoon for One in Christmas Falls by Jennifer Peel
Is there room for two on this honeymoon for one?
Piper Wyatt’s Christmas wish is to get promoted to manager at Blackstock Hotel and Resort. Not only does the promotion mean more money, but it means more time with her son and proof that she’s not such a disappointment after all.
Jace Petersen, successful owner of a national chain of sporting goods stores, finds himself alone and miserable on what should have been his honeymoon. That is until he literally falls onto the lovely Piper Wyatt. He’s intrigued with this woman who can fix a car in high heels. Too bad for him, he makes a horrible first impression, and Piper’s not allowed to mingle with the guests.
While Piper tries her best to steer clear of Jace during his stay, he does everything he can to convince her he’s not the jerk from their first meeting. But is he worth risking her promotion? Or is Jace right, Piper deserves more than she ever thought possible for herself?
Find out in this charming Christmas tale about finding love in the most unexpected place, a honeymoon.

Blurb:
Once Again in Christmas Falls by Becky Monson
In one day, London Walsh finds out her ex is going to be her boss and that her parents are getting a divorce—and they want her to referee the situation. So when she’s offered the chance to spend the holidays in her old hometown of Christmas Falls, far away from all the drama, she jumps on it.
But the quaint town doesn’t feel quite like the home it once was. London shed the goth image that defined her in high school long ago, but no one recognizes the woman she's become.
Except for Andy Broll, London’s childhood next door neighbor. He recognizes her immediately, which sends London’s heart fluttering as she starts to see Andy in a whole different light. But when her time in Christmas Falls doesn’t go as planned, will London face it head on? Or will she find a reason to run?

Blurb:
Rumor Has It in Christmas Falls by Melinda Curtis
As a political strategist at Dunlop Bennet & Associates, Lexi Townsend's career is going nowhere. She's a cubical dweller writing speeches for freshmen senators in DC. But if she can hitch her career wagon to a rising political star, she’ll be on her way to a corner office in no time. When she’s offered a plum holiday assignment–an ideal candidate with deep pockets, someone who could make the leap from local to national politics–she starts to dream about that corner office.
Until she realizes her candidate is Kevin O’Malley, aka Kevin the Hottie, Kevin the Snob, Kevin the Liar, the same guy who shattered her high school reputation back home in Christmas Falls with a rumor. Assignment in hand, Lexi braces herself for the most difficult political race of her career--because this time it’s personal.

Blurb:
Forever Yours in Christmas Falls by Susan Hatler
Morgan Reed is excited to return to her hometown of Christmas Falls and open her beauty salon, but when she arrives to her rented business space she’s shocked to find it already occupied by Dallas Parker—her brother’s best friend, the guy she had a childhood crush on, and the one her mom blames for their family’s greatest tragedy.
With their landlord out of the country and unreachable, Morgan and Dallas must open their businesses together. But, no worries, all small towns need a combo furniture store/beauty salon, right? Ugh. As they work together, Morgan tries to keep her emotional distance but time and off-the-charts chemistry soon turn a childhood friendship into a blossoming romance.
Unfortunately, just when their relationship develops into something deeper, an unexpected crisis re-opens her family’s old wounds and the blame is on Dallas once again. Will Morgan’s sadness and fear pull them apart, or make her realize Dallas has always been her heart’s true safe harbor?

Blurb:
Love Notes in Christmas Falls by Beth Labonte
When Caitlin Cook left the small town of Christmas Falls, Tennessee to attend Harvard University, she left behind the burden of her parents’ slowly increasing hoard of antiques, a much younger brother, and Shane Mitchell—the boy who blindsided her with the news that he loved her on the night before she left.  
Shane Mitchell spent his high school years fascinated by Caitlin Cook.  The quiet flute player with her nose always in a book, he wanted desperately to find out what made her tick.
Eight years later, Caitlin returns to Christmas Falls—unemployed and newly single—after receiving a devastating letter from her beloved high school mentor.  Caitlin is shocked to find her childhood home in disarray, and her little brother in desperate need of his sister.  With Shane’s help—now a pillar of the community rather than the carefree teenager Caitlin once knew—she begins to rediscover her love for music, antiques, and possibly even Shane.  When faced with the choice of rebuilding her life in Boston, or giving love a second chance in Christmas Falls, will Caitlin be able to decide on the true meaning of home?

Blurb:
Finding The Truth in Christmas Falls by Danielle Stewart
Olivia Mackey spent her whole life hearing how she was destined for bigger and better places than Christmas Falls, Tennessee. A regular on the beauty queen scene from a very young age, she learned from her stage mom, that appearances mean everything. Having spent the years after high school traveling the world and failing at the dream everyone told her she should have, she's back home and wondering what she's to do next.
Nothing is where she left it. Friends have scattered, her mentor is ill, and Olivia is fumbling her way through a big life in a small town.
Tim Avondale and his young daughter showed up in Christmas Falls one evening looking for a fresh start. Buying the Sleepy Hound Bookstore seemed the perfect opportunity. Life had gone so wrong and now here in this quiet town he could keep anything bad from happening to his daughter again.
When the two cross paths Olivia and Tim find an instant connection. A tug toward each other they don't want to ignore. The problem is, in the process they are being tugged away from all the things they thought were important in their lives. He can't hide out from real life forever. She is more than just what people see on the surface. But when they're forced to decide will they choose to be better together or safer apart?

Participating Authors:
Ciara Knight
Jennifer Peel
Becky Monson
Melinda Curtis
Susan Hatler
Beth Labonte
Danielle Stewart
Buy Links:
Homecoming in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2z3DV9w
Honeymoon for One in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2yjwNsq
Once Again in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2ygKPZU
Rumor Has It: In Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2kIPb97
Forever Yours in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2xCiTmw
Love Notes in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2gAqx6l
Finding the Truth in Christmas Falls: http://amzn.to/2z66kfx

New Release – Lily

Title: Lily

Author: Ciara Knight
Genre: Sweet Romance
Blurb:
BEACH BRIDES SERIES (Lily)
Twelve friends from the online group, Romantic Hearts Book Club, decide to finally meet in person during a destination Caribbean vacation to beautiful Enchanted Island. While of different ages and stages in life, these ladies have two things in common: 1) they are diehard romantics, and 2) they’ve been let down by love. As a wildly silly dare during her last night on the island, each heroine decides to stuff a note in a bottle addressed to her “dream hero” and cast it out to sea!
Lily Holt once believed in dreams until her fiancé and business manager abandoned her art career and marriage proposal for another woman. Public shame drove her to hide in the remote beach town of Cape Bliss, Florida. She believes she’s free of the art world until Josh Raymond appears at her front door with a picture she’d sketched on a dare years ago. Josh needs her to recreate the hope and love in the original image for a contract that will save his advertising firm. But Lily lost her muse and there is no way she can sketch the emotional depth needed for this piece. The only hope is if Josh can convince her that happily-ever-after still exists, but the price might be too high to pay—his heart.
Ciara Knight writes with a ‘Little Edge and a Lot of Heart’ with her contemporary and paranormal romance books. Her most recent #1 Amazon bestselling series, Sweetwater County, has topped the charts and received acclaimed reviews. Her international best-seller, Pendulum scored 4 stars from RT Book Reviews, accolades from InD’Tale Magazine and Night Owl Top Pick. Her young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, received 5 stars from Paranormal Romance Guild and Night Owl’s Top Pick, among other praises.
Author Links:

Buy Link:

The man turned, and Lily caught a glimpse of the most brilliant blue eyes, the kind that leapt out and capture your heart.
She raced to retrieve her colored pencils and sketchbook, then started blending shades of blue on a fresh sheet. It was somewhere between the brightness of electric blue and the depth of cobalt. Unique and mesmerizing. She tried to capture that feeling on paper.
“Lily, we have a guest.”
Lily’s head shot up, only just realizing they had been watching her.
Josh offered his hand. “Ms. Holt. I’m Josh Raymond—”
“Yes, from the advertising agency. I heard you.” Ignoring his hand, she turned her attention back to her sketchbook. She wanted to find that color before it was gone.
“When you were spying on us from behind that column?” Josh asked with a smile. His expression was all business, yet a hint of playfulness slipped through. It distracted her enough that she lost the snapshot in her mind. As she stared at him, trying to recapture it, a shadow darkened his face. She shuffled close and angled her head so she could get a good look at him, and he quirked a brow at her. Then she remembered her sister’s chastisement after things fell apart with Stephon. “You’ll never catch a decent man if you keep acting like a crazy art fool.” Embarrassed, Lily abruptly stepped back. “Sorry. It was your eyes.”
His other brow joined its partner high on his forehead. “My eyes?”
“Yes, um, the color. It’s unique, and I wanted to capture it.”
Connie shook her head. “My sister isn’t as strange as she seems, I promise.”


Love in the Rockies

Title: Love in the Rockies
Author: Ciara Knight
Genre: Historical, American Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:
Josephine McKinnie wants to escape. Escape the aftermath of General Sherman’s march through Atlanta where he burned her land, her home, and her honor. In the hope for a new life far away from her memories and shame, Josephine travels to Colorado to marry a man that will never know the truth of her past. Hope is restored in her life, until she reaches the small town where she faces the disapproving mother-in-law, a man who threatens to reveal her secret, and her marriage bed.
Nathaniel Branson needs a wife if he’s to be mayor of Silver Ridge, Colorado, but his mother’s choice will never work. Not if he wants to keep his secret that he’s half a man. With the wounds of war leaving deeper scars than mere physical wounds, he hopes that the sweet woman-his soon to be -will appreciate the finery he can give her, even if he can’t give her the ultimate gift. Children.
Ciara Knight writes with a ‘Little Edge and a Lot of Heart’ with her contemporary and paranormal romance books. Her most recent #1 Amazon bestselling series, Sweetwater County, has topped the charts and received acclaimed reviews. Her international best-seller, Pendulum scored 4 stars from RT Book Reviews, accolades from InD’Tale Magazine and Night Owl Top Pick. Her young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, received 5 stars from Paranormal Romance Guild and Night Owl’s Top Pick, among other praises.
Author Links:

Buy Link:
Love on the Prairie: http://amzn.to/2lTVLbv 
Love on the Rockies: http://amzn.to/2qsLPZ2

25th Book Release Celebration!

Today is the day! The release of my 25th full-length book. 🙂 I wanted to thank everyone for all of their kind words, support, reviews, and e-mails over the years, so I thought I’d offer a crazy sale. For 48 hours you can snag one of my backlist books for ONLY $0.99!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lgUA7h
iBooks: http://apple.co/2mcIEml

Also, we will be celebrating on FB at 7:00-9:00PM tonight at https://www.facebook.com/events/1467796619920190
Stop in to chat with authors, win amazing prizes, or hang out and meet some new friends.

And now, for book #25! It is a historical western and the start of a brand new seven book series.

Love on the Praire
http://amzn.to/2mcOy75

Abigail McKinnie refuses to allow her sisters to be dispersed across the nation as mail order brides. Despite the fact the union soldiers took everything from them during their march through Atlanta-their lands scorched, house burned, food stolen-she won’t give up. With a plan in place, she sets out for Kansas to her second cousin under the guise of marriage. But instead, she plans to convince him that the seven of them can help run the homestead for him. Her plan is full proof, until she makes the arduous journey to discover he’s dead.

Owen Baker vows to never have a woman in his life again after the death of so many in his life, but when Abigail McKinnie struts onto his land claiming ownership on behalf of her dead cousin, he’s dumbfounded by her drive and beauty. Despite her abilities and their attraction, he vows to throw her over his horse to deliver her to the first train home the minute she recuperates from her trip.

List of books in reading order:

SWEET CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Sweetwater County Series

Winter in Sweetwater County

Spring in Sweetwater County

Fall in Sweetwater County

Christmas in Sweetwater County

Valentines in Sweetwater County

Fourth of July in Sweetwater County

Thanksgiving in Sweetwater County

Grace in Sweetwater County

Riverbend Series

In All My Wishes

In All My Years

In All My Dreams

In All My Life

Seasonal Stories:

A Christmas Spark

A Miracle Mountain Christmas

YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL

Battle for Souls Series

Rise From Darkness

Fall From Grace

Ascension of Evil

The Neumarian Chronicles

Weighted

Escapement

Pendulum

Balance

HIGH FANTASY ADULT

The Shrouded Kingdoms

The Curse of Gremdon

The Secrets of Dargon

The Runes of Bramon (Coming Soon)

HISTORICAL WESTERN

A Prospectors Novel

Fools Rush

Adelaide: Bride of Maryland

McKinnie Mail Order Brides

Love on the Prairie

Love in the Rockies (Coming June 2017)

Love on the Plains (Coming September 2017)

Silver Edge Release Day!

All I’ve ever wanted is to fit in. But no one can ever see past how weird I am. Bright lights? Can’t stand them. Loud noises? Definitely sends me over the edge. And touching? Forget about it. At least, until I met Drake. From the moment I walked into that nightclub, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. And when Drake touched me, it didn’t send me into a tailspin of sensations that I couldn’t stand. It actually felt…nice. Like something I could get used to. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s probably the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.  But now someone wants to close the club down. And since I promised Drake that I’d help him keep it open, I’m going to have to find a way to tap into whatever that inner strength thing is that everyone always talks about. And fast. But what happens if I can’t?   AVAILABLE NOW!   All I’ve ever wanted is to fit in. But no one can ever see past how weird I am. Bright lights? Can’t stand them. Loud noises? Definitely sends me over the edge. And touching? Forget about it. At least, until I met Drake. From the moment I walked into that nightclub, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. And when Drake touched me, it didn’t send me into a tailspin of sensations that I couldn’t stand. It actually felt…nice. Like something I could get used to. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s probably the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.  But now someone wants to close the club down. And since I promised Drake that I’d help him keep it open, I’m going to have to find a way to tap into whatever that inner strength thing is that everyone always talks about. And fast. But what happens if I can’t?   AVAILABLE NOW!


Chapter One

I knew I’d end up in a psych ward. A building with white walls, lumpy beds, harsh lights, and the smell of Clorox. But I hadn’t predicted the psych ward would be abandoned, sold off to the Community, a family of misfits.

The front doors opened, and a bitter New York wind swept through the lobby, bringing two Straight Edge Community Brothers with it. One in a Yankees cap, the other in a tight black T-shirt.

I didn’t know their names.

I didn’t want to know their names.

I never bothered with names. It made things easier that way.

“Hey, Scarlet.” Black T-shirt Guy waved.

I glanced over them but avoided connecting, as always. I stared at the Straight Edge poster. The large XXX provided an eye-contact safe zone, one that didn’t make me jittery.

The poster was mocking me. No drugs. No alcohol. No promiscuous sex. They forgot one line. No life. Only an existence of rules, rules, rules. But that wasn’t life, it was safety.

Yankee plopped down on the yellow couch. His forty-eight-hour-strength cologne surged over me like a noxious tsunami. “Did you land a job yet, Autistic One? You gonna crunch crazy numbers in your head like Rain Man?”

I swallowed my snark. “No. I’m waiting for our mighty ruler to return.” Okay, a little seeped out.

Yankee rubbed his pitiful attempt at a beard. It looked like long bug antennae dangling from his chin. “Cut Ton some slack. He saved you. He saved all of us. Who else would take on druggies? You would’ve been dead before your fifteenth birthday.”

Grateful. Yes, Ton gave me life and a roof over my head. A priceless gift for an orphaned, abused teen who didn’t like to be touched without a heavy dose of street drugs. No one had ever cared until Ton. “I’m nineteen.”

“Your skinny ass don’t look over fifteen,” Yankee said.

Black T-shirt walked over, getting too close, invading my well known no-intruding zone. “Don’t listen to him. You’re clean. And with your mad math skills, Ton’ll have you working some high-paying finance job, or have you do his books for his electrician company.”

Yankee shifted to the edge of the couch, his knee against my chair, threatening to touch my thigh. “She won’t last a day in a job outside the Community. Those numbers done rattled her brain.”

“Stop being an ass. Leave her alone,” Black T-shirt said, his voice taking on an I’m-going-to-protect-this-crazy-runt tone.

I’d been protected, isolated, confused, and imprisoned long enough to choke the life out of an orca. Still thankful, but still choking on rules.

How would I ever know if I could deal if I lived in an overprotective, structured, decisions-made-for-me home. Was I better, or just controlled?

His knee grazed mine, causing my crazy to awaken. A lice-infested, tiny-legs-crawling sensation claimed my scalp. With my anxiety reaching critical levels, I bolted from the common area to wait for Ton’s return in the safety of my room. A haven with no stench of bad cologne, mocking posters, or people. People expected things, like interaction. I wasn’t good with interaction.

I wanted to be better. I tried to be better. But I worried I’d never be more than a recovering street rat.

My fingers ached to pound piano keys, to lose myself in music, but the only thing available was my iPod. I slid my earphones in and cranked Mozart’s Symphony Number Four in D Major. The notes carried me to another world. A world of color, mystery, promises, love, loss… My world.

I tossed my sweatshirt on my bed and crawled onto the mattress. The stiff springs groaned from age. Closing my eyes, I listened to the music and lost myself in it.

Two songs later, a nudge to my forearm ripped me from my happy place. I opened my eyes and found Ton hovering over me, the bald, barge-sized, tattooed dictator with heart. A young girl stood in the doorway.

I stared at her, confused. She had the same dark hair— minus the purple streak—same willowy frame, and large eyes. The same strung-out druggy blank stare.

I tore the earphones out and pushed past him, but the stench of sweat and vomit halted me. I lifted my arm over my nose to shield from stench and sensory overload. “What’s she doing here? Why’s she in my room?”

Ton moved between us, the thick skin on his forehead crinkling. The movement brought the lion tattooed on the top of his head to life. Two fangs slid down from his hairline, as if feasting on his anger…on my fear. That was why he was nicknamed Ton. A ton of tattoos, a ton of attitude, a ton of terror. “This is…”

Ta-ton, Ta-ton, Ta-ton. My heart sprinted and I shrunk into myself like cornered prey. Mozart’s symphony played over in my head, each note taming my thrashing heart, dimming my fear.

“Did you hear me?” Ton blew out a large sigh, his cheeks collapsing.

Oh, shit. I did it again, faded out before the most important words could reach my brain. “Sure,” I said, my voice
recoiling faster than my body.

Ton rubbed his scalp as if taming his inner lion. His eyes softened, and he leaned against my desk. “She’ll be rooming here with you.”

My lungs tightened and my stomach clenched. My adrenaline revved, heating my skin to habanero hot. “Are you insane? I can’t room with anyone. I don’t want to smell her. I don’t want to hear her. I don’t want to know her. I want a job. I want a place of my own. I want out of here.” Guilt threatened to shove me back into submission, but I needed this. I needed to know if I could survive beyond the great white walls of protection.

“How do you think you’ll do at a job when you can’t even share a room? It’s time for you to take the next step in the process. I know you’re…sensitive. You admitted to me from day one that you needed drugs to handle sounds, lights, touch. I’ve talked to a professional, and he offered—”

“No. No shrinks. I’m ready. I know you want to protect me. You want to protect everyone, but I’m ready to stand on my own.”

He lowered his head as if to find the answers on his work boots. “I tell you what. You make it a month sharing this room with her and I’ll find a job for you.” He stuck his face inches from mine.

I chewed the inside of my cheek and curled my toes but resisted the urge to shrink away from him. He was playing dirty now. I’d be damned if I’d let him win. “Prove it.”

“Prove what?”

“That there’s really a job. I told you I wanted out of New York and you agreed. There’re too many bad memories for me here. I’m ready to start over.”

He flinched but recovered quickly. His entire six-foot four-inch frame of solid muscle froze. All his tattoos―the dragons, vipers, and scorpions―froze.

I froze.

All I heard in the silence of the building was my pounding heart.

“I have a friend in Atlanta,” Ton said finally. “He’ll hire you.”

“Call him. Call him now.” I rose onto my tiptoes and forced my gaze to meet his. The second hand on the wall clock behind me ticked twice, the longest I’d managed to hold eye contact.

His authoritative stare ordered me into submission and my gaze dropped to his forearm. That damn clock ticked ten more times. Ton’s hand fisted, the scorpion’s tail arching to strike me. Dizziness took hold, as if its poison had already entered my system, but I stood my ground.

“If I call the guy, will you chill? No more outbursts, no more attacks that would send you back under the bridge I pulled you from?”

I cringed. Ton would do anything for anyone, but he’d never soften the truth. Every word hit like a punch to the gut.
What gave me the right to disrespect him? Yankee was right about one thing. Ton had saved me. He’d picked me up out of the gutter, sat by my side while I detoxed, held my head when I was married to the toilet for days, clothed me, fed me, talked to me, but did that mean I had to remain a slave to the Community for the rest of my life?

I swallowed the dryness of regrets and nodded.

Ton slid his cell from his pocket and dialed a number before turning his back to me and holding up one finger to the girl still trembling in the doorway. It was time to stand on my own and stop mooching off Ton and the Community he’d created. This girl, and others, needed food and shelter.

“Hey, man. It’s Ton.” He rubbed the back of his neck, as if to rub away his fears of letting me go. The large X on the back of his neck rippled.

I nudged closer.

“I’ve got a girl here, Scarlet. She needs a job. You think you can find something for her at your place, the Midtown Diner?”

I held my breath, listening, hoping, willing the man on the other end of the line to say yes, but I could only make out muffles.

“No worries about stealing. She’s more the artistic type than criminal.”

Mumbling.

“Yep, I’d consider it a favor.”

More mumbling.

“Great. I’ll drive her down when I can. I’ll see you then.” Ton lowered the phone and faced me. “You’ve got a job. Give back to the Community and help this girl detox, be her clean buddy for a month, and I’ll drive you to Atlanta myself. Show me you can handle dealing with another person before I send you out into the world on your own.”

“Ton, I’m not ready to help anyone, especially a girl on the brink of destruction. You’re asking too much from me.”

“You can and you will,” Ton commanded, using his addiction-police voice. “If you want me to call in favors and get you set up in the outside world, you show me you can handle life.”

“It’s different. I’ll serve food, wipe tables, not rehab my former self.”

Ton pushed from the desk, but instead of calling his inner warrior that made people obey, he leaned close, without touching me. “You can do this. I believe in you.”

Believe in me? No one ever believed in me. I didn’t believe in me, but I had to try. “Fine.” To hell it was fine. One look at my doppelganger and I knew I’d never make it. I would never survive playing the sober sister role. It was asking too much. I wanted to help. To pay back the community and all they’d done for me. To help the former me. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t be the soft, sensitive, strong support person she needed.

“Great. Find her some clean clothes and get her bathed. I’ll be back to check on you both before dinner.” Ton gently placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “You’re safe here.” Then he left. Left me to repay the debt I owed the Community, one I had hoped he’d never collect on.

Unable to look directly at her, I kept her in my peripheral vision. “Come on. I’ll heat up the shower. The handle labels are backward.” I headed for the bathroom down the hall, but I wanted to go farther, beyond the restrictive walls of the psych ward, to a new life.

But if I ran away, I’d be shunned by the Community. I’d be blacklisted, never allowed to come back. I’d be alone.

Alone?

Perfect. I’d leave tonight, a few hours after Ton called lights out.

I eyed the girl trailing behind me. The world of pain and debilitating emotions she faced required strength and understanding, not a mess of a person who would resort to hiding in the corner with her hands over her ears. If only I wasn’t…me. I would help and be a functioning member of the community. Paying back the love and support they’d given me. Save the next soul that stumbled through the double doors into a white-walled welcome wagon of support.

Ton had a new project now. Hopefully she wouldn’t be a disappointment.

A Generous Gift

Most people know Sherrilyn Kenyon as an amazing author of fantastical stories that provide hours and hours of entertainment, but there is another side to her. Ms. Kenyon is also a giving person. That’s why I was not surprised when she agreed to write a foreword for the fundraiser box set, Love & Grace. As previously posted,  all proceeds of this box set will be donated to Gracepoint School – A School for the Dyslexic Learner. What I wasn’t expecting was such a heartfelt, emotional, and honest story of the trials and tribulations of her life. Yes, I cried and was inspired by every word. I cannot explain how excited and proud I am to produce Love & Grace with Ms. Kenyon’s foreword in it. I know everyone will find it truly inspiring!

If you have not heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon, you need to check out her amazing books at  http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com now! You will NOT be disappointed. Also, I highly suggest you read her ‘road to publication‘ on her website. It is a story that will capture your attention and heart.

The authors who have donated their stories to Love & Grace, Gracepoint, and all the Gracepoint students humbly thank you for your genorous gift, Ms. Kenyon. You are truly an inspiration to all of us.

FUNDRAISER – GRACEPOINT – A School for the Dyslexic Learner

Romance for the soul, a gift from the heart.

This collection of sweet and inspirational novellas has an uplifting love story for everyone. These stories bring a touch of grace to romance, and a touch of romance to your heart.

Our twelve authors have collaborated to bring together this collection. Each story relates to dyslexia in some way, and the full proceeds from all the stories benefit Gracepoint – A School for Dyslexia. This box set is our collective gift of love and support to you and the children Gracepoint serves.

Can a town save a marriage? Will a high school reunion offer a second chance at love? Can a man with a secret and a woman afraid of being hurt learn to trust? Can a girl running from her past escape her heart? Will a woman trapped in the past discover the true importance of family? Can unexpected love become the best present ever?

You’ll find hours of enjoyment as well as a satisfying ending to each story. No cliffhangers and no partial novels are offered here, just an escape into worlds of love, families, and grace.

I’d like to give a heart felt thank you to Gracepoint staff for all their hard work behind the scenes. Susan, Joy and Karla, this wouldn’t be possible without all your input, guidance, and team work. Sherrilyn Kenyon for her generous gift of words for the foreword. Airicka Pheonix, thank you for saving us at the eleventh hour! Also, Lady Amber, thank you for holding my hand, and donating so much time and amazing marketing skills to this project.

A special thank you to all the authors who donated stories; Lindi Peterson, Hildie McQueen, Sally Kilpatrick, Linda Joyce, Airicka Phoenix, M. K. Smith, Lori Freehand, Alexandrea Weis, Nicole Zoltack, Kirsten Fay, and Walt Mussell. Your generosity is beyond words. With out you, this fundraiser would not be possible. I thank you. The school thanks you. The children thank you.

Thanksgiving in Sweetwater County Release!

Blurb:

Jenna Mitchell Grayson returns to her hometown to run a center for children with autism. Divorced and raising a child diagnosed with special needs, she tries to put her life back together in the one place she’d sworn never to return.

Confirmed bachelor, Deputy Walker, has a reputation for being a playboy, but he’s never found the right girl to capture his heart. Not since the girl-next-store, Jenna Grayson, moved away. Now the woman who stole his heart has returned, and he is determined to discover why she left without an explanation or even a goodbye.

ADD THANKSGIVING IN SWEETWATER COUNTY TO YOUR READING LIST AT GOODREADS.

YOU’RE INVITED TO THE FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17 AT 6:00PM EST. CLICK HERE TO ATTEND.

CLICK BELOW TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW. 🙂

KINDLE

IBOOKS

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