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Posts Tagged ‘Hardman Holidays’

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The Christmas Quandary, book five in the Hardman Holidays series will release this Thursday, November 10!

(And I’m so excited it’s almost time to share it with you!)

 Holiday surprises await two lonely hearts in Hardman…

christmas-quandary-coverTom Grove just needs to survive a month at home while he recovers from a work injury. How bad can it be to return to Hardman for the holiday season?  He arrives to discover his middle-aged parents acting like newlyweds, the school in need of a teacher, and the girl of his dreams already engaged.

After the loss of her parents and her fiancé abandoning her to spend a year abroad, Lila Granger needs a change of scenery. She leaves her home in New York to spend a few months with relatives in Hardman, Oregon. The idea of stepping off the train into a place that gives her a true sense of coming home never entered her mind. Neither did the notion of falling in love with a man who clearly can’t wait to get away from the small town.

The Christmas Quandary is a sweet Victorian romance, full of laughter and heartwarming moments.

And you can pre-order it now on Amazon!

christmas-quandary

Lila giggled as he pulled the sled down the street. Before either of them gave a conscious thought to their destination, he took her out to a small hill at the edge of town. At the top, he stopped and moved the sled into position. With a dramatic bow, he placed the leather strap in her hand then gave the sled a mighty shove.

Amid much excited squealing, she sailed down the hill. When the sled upended in a snowbank at the bottom, she threw herself back in the snow and stared up at the winter sky, full of contentment.

The sound of crunching snow and Tom calling her name drew her attention to him as he raced down the hill.

“Are you well, Lila? Did you break anything?” Worry laced his tone as he hurried toward her.

Rather than shout that she was fine, she closed her eyes and remained unmoving, wondering what he would do.

His warmth encircled her as he dropped to his knees next to her and bent down, gently tapping her cheek with his left hand. “Lila, honey? Can you hear me? Lila?”

The endearment he used made a sweet, oozy warmth settle in her stomach while heat flooded through her entire body. Strange feelings, ones she’d never experienced, filled her until every part of her seemed keenly attuned to Tom.

“Lila? Please be okay? Please?” He bent close and pressed his cheek to hers, slipping his arm beneath her and lifting her head and shoulders from the snow.

As his scent tickled her nose with a pleasing aroma, she delighted in the experience of being wrapped in his arms. Even with his heavy cast pressed against her back, she couldn’t think of anywhere she’d ever been that seemed more like home.

“Lila?” His voice sounded more concerned as though he bordered on panic.

Unable to continue her ruse, she popped open her eyes and grinned at him.

“I’m fine, Tom. I was just teasing you.”

“You shouldn’t… that’s not…” He pulled back long enough to look deep in her eyes. Whatever he searched for, he must have found because he wasted no time in pressing his lips to hers, plundering her mouth with barely restrained passion.

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christmas-quandary-cover

The fifth book in the Hardman Holidays series will release November 10! (Woohoo.)

The story is about Tom Grove (whom we met in The Christmas Calamity as one of the students in Alex Guthry’s class), and Lila Granger, a cousin to the Granger family who has come to Hardman for a visit.

 Holiday surprises await two lonely hearts in Hardman…

Tom Grove just needs to survive a month at home while he recovers from a work injury. How bad can it be to return to Hardman for the holiday season?  He arrives to discover his middle-aged parents acting like newlyweds, the school in need of a teacher, and the girl of his dreams already engaged.

After the loss of her parents and her fiancé abandoning her to spend a year abroad, Lila Granger needs a change of scenery. She leaves her home in New York to spend a few months with relatives in Hardman, Oregon. The idea of stepping off the train into a place that gives her a true sense of coming home never entered her mind. Neither did the notion of falling in love with a man who clearly can’t wait to get away from the small town.

The Christmas Quandary is a sweet Victorian romance, full of laughter and heartwarming moments, perfect for a holiday read.

And you can pre-order it now on Amazon!

If you’d like a little teaser, here’s an excerpt from the story:

As they stepped inside, Tom looked around the sea of young faces. His gaze rested on the beautiful dark-haired woman at the front of the room, gray eyes sparking with mischief and fun as she smiled at them.

Pain blazed across his chest with an unexpected force. He took a staggering step back, attempting to catch his breath.

Oblivious to his current inability to think straight, Arlan and Luke greeted the class.

“Good morning, students,” Luke said, his voice carrying friendly authority. “We’d like you to meet your temporary teacher. Mr. Grove will take over classes starting tomorrow until Miss Alex is well enough to return.” Luke waved his hand toward the front of the room.

Tom tried not to gape at the glorious creature standing near the blackboard smiling at them.

Luke grinned. “Tom Grove, this is my cousin, Miss Lila Granger. If you think my sister and wife can cause trouble, they don’t hold a candle to the tomfoolery this one makes without even trying.”

Tom watched as the young woman marched toward them, the train of an expensive gown the same color as her eyes swishing in the wake of her steps.

“Hello, Mr. Grove. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She stuck her hand out to him.

Awed and thoroughly addled, Tom yanked the glove off his left hand with his teeth and let it fall to the floor as he took her hand in his. Although she meant it to be a handshake, the connection of their palms felt more like a caress as he held her delicate hand in his.

Fearful of what words might spill out of his mouth if he opened it, he was surprised when he spoke in a clear voice. “The pleasure is mine, Miss Granger.”

Whoever named this womanly sprite had chosen her name well. Lila put him in mind of springtime and an array of brilliant flowers. The scent of lilacs wafted around him as she pulled back her hand and smiled at Luke. “How wonderful you’ve coerced someone else into teaching these little hooligans.”

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Guest Author SignToday is the day!

You’re Invited to PARTY!

You’re invited to join in the online Cowboys & Christmas Facebook Party, today, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST). Drop in anytime during those four hours to enter to win great prizes, chat with guest authors, and more (many of the giveaways will stay open until the following morning, so don’t worry if you can’t be there during the party.)!

Here’s the link to the party: http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasparty2

The talented guest authors joining in the celebration include:
10 a.m. – Carmen Peone
10:30 – Kayla Dawn Thomas
11 a.m. – Melanie D. Snitker, Author
11:30 – Julie Cerniglia Lence
Noon – Author CJ Samuels
12:30 – Rachel Rossano
1 p.m. – Author Kristin Holt
1:30 – Dani Harper

Grand Prize Photo

Enter to Win Prizes!

In addition to all the cool party prizes, you can also enter the drawing for an Amazon gift card, autographed books, chocolates, and more fun goodies. Just fill out this form. Winners will be randomly drawn and notified Nov. 16. http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasprizes2

Today is also the release day for Capturing Christmas and The Christmas Vow!

Woohoo!

christmas Vow 3

The Christmas Vow CoverThe Christmas Vow is the fourth book in the Hardman Holidays sweet Victorian romance series.

Columbia River Pilot Adam Guthry returns to his hometown of Hardman, Oregon, after the sudden death of his best friend. Emotions he can’t contain bubble to the surface the moment he sees the girl who shattered his heart eleven years ago.

Widow Tia Devereux escapes her restrictive life in Portland, returning to the home she knew and adored as a girl in Hardman. She and her four-year-old son, Toby, settle into the small Eastern Oregon community, eager for the holiday season. Unfortunately, the only man she’s ever loved shows up, stirring the embers of a long-dead romance into a blazing flame. When her former father-in-law, a corrupt judge, decides he wants to raise Toby, Adam may be the only hope she has of keeping her son.

Order your copy today for only $2.99! http://amzn.to/1KQHhvI

 

Capturing Christmas 1

Capturing Christmas is the third installment in the sweet holiday western Rodeo Romance series.

Life is hectic on a good day for rodeo stock contractor Kash Kressley. Between dodging flying hooves and babying cranky bulls, he barely has time to sleep.Capturing Christmas Cover The last thing Kash needs is the entanglement of a sweet romance, especially with a woman as full of fire and sass as the redheaded photographer he rescues at a rodeo.

Determined to capture the best images possible, rodeo photographer Celia McGraw is fearless and feisty. Not one to back down from a challenge, her biggest risk isn’t in her work. Danger lurks in the way her heart responds to one incredibly handsome stock contractor. Will Kash and Celia capture the spirit of the season?

Order your copy today! http://amzn.to/1FC8ZQj

Happy Release and Party Day!

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Christmas Vow 4

It’s probably no secret I get a little bonkers over vintage fashions. That’s one of the reasons I don’t mind doing research for my historical romances.

The Christmas Vow was no exception.

Here are some of the images that “spoke” to me as I crafted the story.

vow 9Tia is an extremely fashionable woman. Her husband came from a wealthy family and left her well-off upon his death.

vow 6I could envision Tia wearing these – and may have drooled on my keyboard for a few minutes after seeing them.

vow 5Other than the fur collar, I am so in love with this coat. Isn’t it gorgeous?

vow 8

And you must have winter boots to go with the coat, right?

vow 7Adam is a sailor, so his wardrobe is fairly simple. He does look quite dashing in his navy blue pea coat, though.

vow 2

When wedding scenes are included in the story, I have such fun looking at dresses and rings and flowers and… you get the idea. Anyway, this gown gave me the idea for Tia’s dress in the story. I think you’ll like the description.

vow 4Of course, Adam had to look handsome on his wedding day. Thanks to his brother’s help, even his tie is knotted perfectly.

vow 3And I chose this opal ring for Tia’s wedding ring.

Here’s a little excerpt about the ring. It starts out with Tia recalling a conversation she had with Adam when they were in school (italicized text):

~*~

As they waited for Aleta Bruner to help the customers already in line, they studied all the jewels sparkling in the case.

“That one’s the prettiest,” Tia said, pointing to an opal brooch.

Adam bent down and studied it. “Why do you like that one best?”

Tia shrugged. “I read somewhere opals symbolize hope. Wouldn’t it be something to wear a little piece of hope every day?”

“It sure would, Queenie.” Adam kissed her cheek and handed her a licorice whip before paying Aleta for the candy and walking her home.

 

Tia held out the ring on her finger and studied it.

Milky white, the opal almost looked like the polished surface of a tooth until she moved it into the light from the lamp on her bedside table. A rainbow of colors glistened in the shadows of her room.

Iridescent flecks reflected and refracted the light like a magical stone. Tears began anew as she thought about telling Adam an opal held hope all those years ago.

Now that she owned such a dazzling gem, she was utterly bereft of hope.

~*~

Find more of the visuals that inspired me while I wrote this story on The Christmas Vow Pinterest Board.

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Christmas Vow 2

Earlier this week, I introduced Crabby – Toby’s cat from The Christmas Vow.

Crabby is… well… Crabby. Opinionated. Obstinate.

And just like our cat, Drooley.

In fact, our finicky feline inspired Crabby’s cantankerous character.

Drooley operates under the slight misconception that he is in charge around here and the humans (also known as his minions) are here to serve his every whim. He gets a little miffed (okay, a lot) when the minions don’t follow his commands.  For example, no matter how many times he informs this minion he’d like to be a house cat, I insist he stay outside. He isn’t sympathetic to the fact I’m allergic to cats and tells me with some regularity to get over it and let him inside.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that we feed him in the garage which means he traipses through the family room and kitchen twice a day to get to his food bowl. He used to hustle right in and back out but the past few months, the trips from garage to back door take longer and longer. The rug by the back door has become his personal space and if you try to rush him outside, he digs in with all four paws and refuses to budge.

In a rush one evening, I hurried into the garage to grab something out of our freezer, forgetting the cat was in there. He sneaked into the house when I wasn’t looking and half an hour later, I found him smugly perched on my favorite chair in the living room.

He and I had a long discussion about his unacceptable behavior, but I’m pretty sure he ignored every word I said.

A few months back, as I tried to hurry him out the door, he stopped and stretched, licked one paw and gave me a look that said, “I dare you to throw me out, just go on and try.” That’s when Crabby was born.

I love writing animals into stories. They have such unique personalities and are so fun to weave into my romances. One of my favorite animal characters is Baby the dog from Learnin’ The Ropes.

Crabby was a great little character to create, too.

Although Crabby loves kids, he only tolerates Tia… until Adam comes along. Adam is the only adult who has not only picked him up without getting scratched, but made the cat purr.

Crabby is extremely protective of Toby and Tia. When a stranger shows up at the door, Crabby wasn’t impressed with him.

Here’s a little teaser of what happened:

~*~

A blur of white fur launched across the room and latched onto Mr. Nivens’ leg. He howled in pain as Crabby dug in his claws and rapidly climbed upward. Screeches rang through the house as Mr. Nivens attempted to shake off the enraged feline while the cat snarled and spat, furiously inching toward the man’s head.

Bits of white fur floated like fluffy snowflakes in the air as the man tried to grab the writhing feline. Sharp teeth sunk into his palm, drawing blood. Mr. Nivens waved his bleeding hand in the air as he gaped in utter disbelief at Crabby.

“Get this demented beast off me!” he shouted, panicked as the cat continued his ascent.

~*~

Only a week until release day!

Is anyone else excited?

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The Christmas Vow Cover

I thought you might like another teaser today from The Christmas Vow.

Before I started writing this story, I posted a photo of David Nail (as Adam Guthry) in my Hopeless Romantics group and asked for descriptions. I was blown away by all the great descriptions.

One of them inspired the last sentence in this teaser, which just happens to be one of my favorite lines in the book. (Mostly because I’m a die hard sappy girl.)

I hope you enjoy it, too!

~*~

That edge of wildness and rebellion was one of the things she’d admired most about him.

He never worried about conforming to what others thought was proper. He tended to march to his own tune, whether anyone else liked it or not.

Yet, with his good looks and a dimpled smile guaranteed to melt female hearts, rarely did anyone take offense to his actions.

In truth, Adam Guthry was one of the most attractive men Tia had ever encountered. Rough and rugged, tall and commanding, Adam owned a tender spirit and a healthy dose of humility.

Bright blue eyes that sparkled with mischief or softened as they glimpsed into the depths of her soul coupled with that lopsided, playful smile made her wonder, again, why she’d ever left Hardman.

Tia breathed deeply and her traitorous nose conjured up Adam’s scent. No matter how hard she tried to remove it from her mind, every whiff of him smelled like a precious memory of her past she didn’t want to forget.

~*~

If you have any questions about the book, characters, or the story, ask away! I’ll answer ’em if I can!

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The Christmas Vow Cover

I just realized I’ve failed to share much of The Christmas Vow with you all.  How about you meet the main characters today?

Anyone up for that?

First, here’s what the story is about:

He returns home to bury his best friend and his past,

never expecting to fall in love with the woman who destroyed his heart.

Columbia River Pilot Adam Guthry reluctantly returns to his hometown of Hardman, Oregon, to pay his last respects after the sudden death of his life-long best friend. Emotions he can’t contain bubble to the surface the moment he sees the girl who shattered his heart eleven years ago.

Widow Tia Devereux escapes her restrictive life in Portland, returning to the home she knew and loved as a girl in Hardman. She and her four-year-old son, Toby, settle into the small Eastern Oregon community, eager for the holiday season. Unfortunately, the only man she’s ever loved shows up, stirring the embers of a long-dead romance into a blazing flame.

When her former father-in-law, a corrupt judge, decides he wants to raise Toby, Adam may be the only hope she has of keeping her son.

~*~

What do you think? Want to find out more?

From the other books in the Hardman Holiday series, we already knew Arlan Guthry had a brother, Adam, who moved to Portland after their mother passed away.

We also knew he worked as a pilot on the river.

Beyond that, Adam was a bit of a mystery… which gave me plenty of room to work with when I developed his character for this story.

With the assumption he and Arlan would share some characteristics, he had to be tall with dark hair and blue eyes. Since Adam is the older brother, I decided to make him bigger, brawnier, and dimple-cheeked. (Who can resist dimples? Not me, but I digress.)

David Nail 1David Nail looks exactly as I pictured Adam. Tousled hair, boyish appeal…

David Nail 3and dimples. (Swooning!)

David Nail 4Hello, Adam.

David Nail 2He can also come across as wounded or stern. After all, the woman he loved since he was six ripped out his heart and left it in shreds before marrying someone else. Eleven years later, he’s still hurt and angry. Even though he refuses to admit it… he’s still in love with her.

Devin Kelley 2Devin Kelley is a perfect Tia. From those incredible cheekbones to her smile – she is how I envisioned Tia.

Devin Kelley 1Convinced Adam Guthry was never, ever going to ask her to marry him, Tia went to visit her aunt in Portland for a few weeks the summer she turned eighteen. Instead of coming home (as Adam expected her to do), she married an attorney, who leaves her a widow.

Devin Kelley 3Despite the heartbreak, she’s endured, Tia still has a strong sense of humor. And she needs it with her active little boy and his crazy feline.

Thomas KapanowskiMeet Toby (Thomas Kapanowski). Isn’t he adorable! I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had writing his character.

Thomas Kapanowski 2Toby is full of mischief and giggles, with a sweet little spirit that melts his mama’s heart on a regular basis. He’s in love with the pastor’s charming daughter, and has big plans for their future.

And last but certainly not least to the cast of characters is Crabby -Toby’s cat that operates under the misguided notion he is a watch dog.

Christmas Vow 2I couldn’t leave you without a teaser, so here you go…

~*~

Full of eager anticipation, Tia screamed when a weight dropped onto her shoulder and bounced off her lap, using Adam’s head for a springboard before speeding off in a blur of white.

Startled, Adam jumped to his feet, dumping Tia onto the floor as he frantically reached for the pistol he’d left on the other end of the table. Sudden realization that their attacker was only Crabby forced a growl out of his throat. He set the pistol back down and ran a hand through his hair.

“I swear, Tia, I’m going to find that cat and turn it into a pair of fuzzy mittens!” Adam’s chest heaved as he glanced around, frustrated and angry the cat had disturbed their amorous interlude.

Tia sat on the floor, watching the impressive form of Adam’s chest rise and fall as the situation went from frightening to entirely humorous.

The hand she clapped over her mouth did nothing to stifle her giggles…

~*~

The Christmas Vow releases Nov. 12! I can’t wait to share Adam and Tia’s story with you!

For more fun insight into the book, check back tomorrow.

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