It’s In His Kiss – Candlewood Falls: The Winery Book 3 by Jen Talty


It’s In His Kiss
Candlewood Falls: The Winery Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Author

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Where broken dreams collide, two hearts will come together and find the love they thought they lost.

Dax Fabion had once thought he could have it all. However, Chablis River made it perfectly clear that he couldn’t have her, and have a career in the NHL. He chose the latter. A decision he’s regretted for years and it’s time to make right a wrong.

All Chablis River wants is to prove to herself, and to her mother, that she still has what it takes to be one of the best winemakers in the country. When, her ex-boyfriend, and the real reason she left Candlewood Falls in the first place, returns with the goal to win her back, Chablis will be able to forgive him for chasing his dream, but she will she ever be able to trust him with her heart again?

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NFL star Dax Fabion has come back to his hometown of Candlewood Falls. He’s also hoping to reunite with Chablis, he really owes her a big apology for the way he left things with them.

Chablis River is very nervous to see Dax. She has a really big secret that no one knows other than her brother Malbec. Once upon a time she was ready to give up going to college and be with Dax through his NFL career. She also had to make a real difficult decision, one that Dax made a lot easier at the time.

Dax is going to be the new head hockey coach at CFW Prep. When Chablis joins him for dinner, one of the parents, Selena is their waitress. Dax and Chablis talk about the past and how they both felt back then but Chablis still holds something back. Of course, Selena has to ingratiate herself and Toby by inviting Dax to dinner. Selena and Toby’s son TJ is one of the players Dax is looking at. He and Toby have a rather awkward past to get through, but his concern is only for the team he’s building.

The unveiling of an amazing outdoor portrait of him done by Axel a local artist on the side of the Brewery is an opportunity for his friends to welcome him home. Merlot, Malbec, Caleb, Brad, Axel and Raf are all there to celebrate with Dax. Then the news comes of a crash with an explosion and injured fire fighters.

Not willing to wait for additional news, Dax heads to Chablis apartment.

This is a favorite scene.

But the reality was she wanted to be alone so she could let the tears come. She’d never been so scared in her life. She’d fought some serious fires before. Dealt with some hard situations. But that explosion had been like nothing she ever witnessed before.

She could still hear it echoing between her ears. And the heat prickled her skin like a cattle prod. For the first time in her life, she thought she might die.

Curling her fingers around her father’s strong biceps, she mustered up a smile. “I love you, Daddy. But it’s one in the morning. Go home and be with Mom. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Okay. But will you promise me that you’ll call me if you need anything? I’ll leave my phone on all night. And tomorrow there isn’t anything too pressing that I can’t change my schedule to be with you.”

“I promise.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek.

“Follow the doctor’s orders.”

She looped her arm through his and guided him to the door. “Don’t worry.”

“It’s a father’s prerogative to do that.” He pulled open the door. “Oh. Hello, Dax. Isn’t it a little late for you to be showing up?”

“Hi, Carter,” Dax said, holding a bouquet of flowers in his hand. “I saw you pull in. I’ve been trying to reach Chablis since I heard what happened. I wanted to make sure she was okay.”

“She’s fine. It’s late. Time for you to go home.”

“Dad,” Chablis said with a stern tone. “I’m not fourteen. You don’t get to send him away like that.”

Her father turned and glared.

“He’s right.” Dax handed her the flowers. “I’ll call you—”

“This is ridiculous. Come in,” she said. The need for tears was suddenly replaced with the desire for human contact.

And not her father’s.

“Dad. Tell Mom thanks for the food. I’ll call you in the morning.”

“Why does this feel like déjà vu?” Her father tapped his temple. “Oh, I know why. I’m being ditched for the star hockey player. Again.”

She laughed.

“In all seriousness,” her father started. “She’s been through a lot. Don’t stay too late.”

“I won’t.” Dax nodded.

She stood in the doorway and waited for her father to get in his car and turn the engine on before turning her attention to Dax. “You didn’t have to come over. Or bring me these.” She stuck her nose in the pretty bouquet. They smelled like a meadow on a sunny day. “They’re beautiful.”

“I would have waited until morning, but I saw you pull in.” He gently took her arm and lifted it. “That’s got to hurt.”

“It’s all superficial burns. They aren’t bad. But do you mind if we go sit? My head is pounding.”

“Here. Let me help.”

He took the flowers and practically ran into the kitchen where he found a vase.

She made herself comfortable on the sofa in the small family room and watched him skillfully cut the stems of the flowers and arrange them in the vase as if he were a master florist.

“Do you want something to drink? Water? Juice?” he asked.

“Water would be nice.”

He brought her a glass and sat on the other side of the sofa, lifting her feet and resting them on his lap. Normally, she’d protest, but she didn’t have the energy.

“How was the unofficial unveiling?” When she’d heard what Axel was doing, she’d been super annoyed. The last thing she wanted was to drive into town day in and day out and see her ex-boyfriend’s face.

She still didn’t.

But the town did and she understood why.

“I have to admit, I’m not sure how I feel about seeing myself on that building all the time, but Axel is an amazing artist.”

“That he is,” Chablis agreed.

“It’s so weird to see all my old friends and listen to them talk about marriage and kids. On the one hand, being with them feels like I’ve been catapulted back to my youth. But on the other hand, it makes me feel old.”

She rested her hand on her middle. It was hard not to think about what she’d done. It wasn’t about regrets because she didn’t regret the action.

Only the silence.

Dax had the right to know, and she should have told him seventeen years ago. It wouldn’t have changed things. Not even if she’d known Traci wasn’t his girlfriend. The fact remained they weren’t ready for each other.

Or being parents.

“Neither one of us are old.”

“I feel like I’m too old to start a family.”

“Do you want one?” she asked. “I mean, Malbec is having his first kid soon and they plan on more. Caleb is your age and he and Brooklyn plan on kids.”

He placed his hand on her foot and rubbed. It was something he used to do when they were dating. Whenever they would be talking about something or mindlessly watching TV, his hands would always go to her feet. She never minded.

And she didn’t now.

“I didn’t mean to get into a deep conversation. That’s the last thing you need.”

He was right about that, and she was grateful for the opportunity to switch gears.

“I take it you’re going to have to take some time off work?” he asked.

“A few weeks from the fire station and I don’t know how long my folks are going to make me stay away from the winery.”

“I’ve got an idea.”

“Oh. That’s scary,” she said.

“This weekend and all next week I’m recruiting. How would you like to come with me? We can watch some of the games together. You can check out different ones. You can give me your perspective on the kids on the ice. You’ve always had such great insight into the game.”

“You really want my opinion?”

He nodded. “I have a list of twenty-seven kids that have applied. I have five spots open. Only one kid do I know I want to take. It’s really hard because there are so many games to watch and they’re kids and they know I’m there. Once they see me, or their parents do, they act differently.”

“So, you want me to be your eyes when you’re watching a different game.”

“Exactly,” he said.

“What about Serena and Toby? They will know I’m there and they will have something to say about it.”

“I’m allowed to have independent eyes and you’re not making decisions. Just giving me advice. Besides, they don’t have to know why you’re there.” He winked.

She cocked her head. “Don’t give those two something to talk about. This town is already buzzing about what may or may not happen between you and me.”

“I hear there’s a pool down at the brewery,” he said with a laugh.

She kicked him. “There better not be, but if there is, I’ll take one hundred to one that there isn’t.”

“Ouch. That hurt.”

“What? The kick in the thigh or the statement?” She smiled.

“Both, but back to hockey,” he said. “I’ll send you to games that TJ won’t be at so you won’t run into Serena or Toby. I’ll give you a list of things I want you to note.”

“I’m not a hockey player.”

“But you know the game,” he said. “You used to critique me after every single one of my games and you were always on point. Come on. Please. It will be fun and it will give you something to do. I know how much you hate to be idle.”

“Doc says I have to lay low tomorrow, so probably can’t do it until after the parade on Saturday.”

“No worries. I can handle tomorrow on my own and I’m not going on Saturday.”

She smiled. “Okay. But on one condition.”

“What’s that?” “You buy me a funnel cake every day.”

“Deal.” He squeezed her ankle. “On that note, I should let you get some rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if your dad is sitting out in the driveway waiting for me to leave.” He stood, placing her foot on the sofa. “Don’t get up. I’ll see myself out.” He leaned over and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear and stared into her eyes for a long moment.

She held her breath, waiting for him to say good night. But instead, he brushed his lips tenderly across her mouth in a sweet, loving kiss. It wasn’t the kind of kiss shared between friends. A spark deep in her gut tried to roar to a flame, but she squelched it. She couldn’t allow this to deepen. It was too much. Too soon. So many emotions raced through her mind. She couldn’t think straight.

“Sleep well.”

She clutched her pendant and remained breathlessly on the sofa. She heard the door open, then shut. She brought her fingers to her lips. Everything she felt for Dax in the past had been brought to the present. Nothing had changed. Her love for him was as strong as ever.

And the secret she carried still darkened her soul.
Jen Talty. It’s in His Kiss (Kindle Locations 964-1038).

Selena proves to be a bit more than just a little problem. Then there’s also Brooks, someone Dax has had issues with in the past. He wants the job Dax has accepted. Toby is the biggest surprise though.

While there are lots of ups and downs for Chablis and Dax they both rise to the occasion. This is what true love is all about!

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.


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Ridge’s Release – Wicked Winemaker’s First Label Book 2 by Heather Slade


Ridge’s Release
Wicked Winemaker’s First Label Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Slade

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A charming billionaire winemaker with a broken heart.
An assistant DA who’s sick of the men interfering in her cases.
And the WICKED WINEMAKER’S auction that changes everything…

RIDGE

My family started Ridge Winery, so I’m no stranger to getting what I want. But, I was shot down, turned down by a woman I thought was mine. That’s old news now, though. Water under the bridge. I’m not one to wallow or get discouraged, not my style, not my thing. This auction is everything I tried to avoid, and everything I needed. But, I’m determined to make the sassy DA see me in a new light. Let’s just see how WICKED it’s really going to get…

SERAPHINA

I don’t care how irresistible they are. The so-called good guys shouldn’t be butting into our cases. This isn’t a game of cops and robbers. This is real danger and real lives are on the line. But when it’s my life that hangs in the balance, there’s only one man I trust, one man who can save me. And believe me, he’d climb to the top of the RIDGE to protect me.

Seraphina Reeve is the assistant DA and her boss has assigned a task force to investigate the Los Caballeros. The thing is the task force consists of her, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the Los Caballeros even exist. Her boss also wants her to prosecute Brix Avila who is the supposed head of this secret society. Unable to reach Brix she arranges to meet Noah Ridge for breakfast. Now before she even gets there her mother informs her that her sister Louisa is missing. She wants to ask for help but makes the mistake of putting her job first and Noah just laughs and leaves.

Trying to contact Noah becomes an impossible feat, he won’t answer her calls, and no one’s talking. That is until she calls the sheriff, he tells her he’s at the winemaker’s ball. She quickly checks online for a ticket and gets ready for the ball. This could be an expensive way to get the help she needs. Ten thousand dollars later and she’s won Noah Ridge’s date. Only he’s not happy about it.

After a brief argument she agrees to go with him to talk about her sister’s disappearance.

This is a favorite scene.

It wasn’t until he took the turnoff for See Canyon Road that I asked again where we were going. “What are you going to do? Throw me off the mountainside?”

“Yep. You caught on. Rather than letting you drive away, I decided to murder you instead. Knock it off, Seraphina.”

I folded my arms and looked out at the moonlight on the ocean. I’d always loved this drive. When I was younger, before Luisa was born, my father would bring my mom and me here. Once we got to the top of the mountain, the views went as far north as Big Sur and south to Santa Barbara. I doubted there was a more beautiful place in all of California.

I was stunned when Ridge pulled off the road at the exact spot my father used to.

“I’d suggest we get out and walk, but there’s the thing about me murdering you to get past. Not to mention, it’s a little too cold for you to be out without a jacket.”

“My dad used to bring me here,” I said.

“He did? I didn’t realize you were from the area.”

“Lived here my whole life except for when I was at law school.”

“Huh.”

I wasn’t surprised he hadn’t put two and two together with my name. Noah was three years older than I and far more popular. He was probably away at college when my dad lost his birthright. It was doubtful he would’ve known his father had purchased our family’s vineyards and winery operation.

“You said your sister is missing.”

I nodded, knowing if I tried to speak now, I’d wind up in tears again.

“Can you tell me what happened?” His voice was soothing, so unlike it had been at the ball.

I took a couple of deep breaths. “My mother called me the day I met you for breakfast. Not that we ate. Anyway, she asked if I’ve talked to Luisa recently, and when I said I haven’t, she told me my sister hasn’t been home for two days.”

“That was two days ago, so now she’s been missing four.”

“That’s right.”

“It is unusual for her to be out of contact for that length of time?”

“Very. Especially with me. Also, she’s about to graduate with a master’s degree from Cal Poly. My mother said she left her computer at home.”

“I’m guessing any attempts at reaching her have failed?”

“Yes.”

“Have you been able to find anything on her computer? What about cell phone use? Bank account or social media activity? Do you know if she’s attended any of her classes?”

“None of the above. In fact, I went to the university, looking for her, and one of her professors told me she sent an email, stating she was leaving town and wouldn’t be finishing the semester.”

“Which doesn’t make sense if she’s about to graduate. How were her grades?”

“Summa cum laude.”

“So quitting with only a few weeks left isn’t be something she’d do.”

“Definitely not.”

“Friends?”

“No one has seen or heard from her since last week.”

“Does she have a boyfriend?”

I nodded. “His name is Jorge.”

“He hasn’t seen her, either?”

This was where it became difficult to explain. “She hasn’t been seeing him that long. Neither my mother nor I care much for him.”

“Have you been able to talk to him?”

“I only know his first name, and I have no idea where he lives.”

“Have you had her cell phone tracked?”

“I’d need a warrant.” He raised a brow.

“You haven’t been able to get one?”

“She’s twenty-three and has been missing four days. SLO PD is not exactly seeing this as a priority.”

“You couldn’t get one on your own?”

“The DA thinks I’m overreacting.”

The incredulous look on Noah’s face was the same one I’d had on mine yesterday when I approached my boss.

“I need to ask you something.”

I’d anticipated he would. The last time we talked, I’d threatened not just his best friend but the very people I was now seeking help from. “I swear I would not lie about my sister being missing in order to trick you into doing something that would jeopardize Los Caballeros— if it truly exists.”

He raised a brow and turned his head toward the ocean. “That wasn’t what I was going to ask.”

“I didn’t want you to think—”

“I wouldn’t have.”

“I’m sorry. What were you going to say?”

“Given your sister’s stellar academic career, this seems unlikely, but do you think there’s any chance the boyfriend could’ve talked her into going away?”

“I don’t think so, but she is twenty-three.”

“Like I said, it seems unlikely, just from the little you’ve told me about her.” He turned toward me. “You mentioned your mother hasn’t spoken with her. What about your father?”

“He died a few years ago.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you.” I waited to see if my dad’s death would job his memory. It didn’t appear to.

“Tell me about the ten grand. You said you weren’t interested in the date.”

“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision.” Something occurred to me. “Oh my God, I’m such an idiot.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The money doesn’t go to you; it goes to the charity.” So essentially, I’d bid ten thousand dollars just to have a conversation with him. I felt sick to my stomach.

“Your plan was to use it to pay me to help you.”

I looked away.

“I’m going to help you, Seraphina. And even if you’d offered it to me, I wouldn’t have taken your money.”

“Why?”

“Am I helping you?”

“Yes.”

“Because it’s what we do.”

“I don’t have much money left,” I said without looking at him.

“Again, we wouldn’t accept your money either way.” When Ridge covered my hand with his, I glanced over at him. “And I told you I’d cover the cost of your bid.”

I shook my head. “You don’t have to do that. You said you’d help me. That’s all I care about.”

“Which, if I’d returned your phone calls, wouldn’t have cost your savings.”

“I can’t let you.”

He shrugged. “I’m sure Alex will agree to it if I offer to double the contribution.”

“Why would you do that?”

He smiled. “I could let you believe I’m gallant. However, the truth is, I always donate twenty-five thousand to the foundation anyway.”

“Thank you, Noah.” My eyes filled with tears and I looked down at his hand resting on mine. I tried to move it away, but he held tighter.

“I promise we’ll find your sister.”

“How can you be so sure?” I whispered, hating to think what not finding her would mean.
Heather Slade. Ridge’s Release (Kindle Locations 390-393). Wicked Winemakers First Label Book Two.

Ridge immediately calls the available Los Caballeros; they meet and form a plan to find Luisa.

This becomes far more complicated, and along the way Ridge discovers he really likes Seraphina. They just have to figure out a few things. Well more than just a few.

There’s plenty of action, suspense and romance in this one. Including hints on the next book. I can’t wait!

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Coming Soon!

Heather Slade

USA Today and Amazon Top 15 Bestselling Author Heather Slade writes shamelessly sexy, edge-of-your seat romantic suspense.

She gave herself the gift of writing a book for her own birthday one year. Forty-plus books later (and counting), she’s having the time of her life. The women Slade writes are self-confident, strong, with wills of their own, and hearts as big as the Colorado sky. The men are sublimely sexy, seductive alphas who rise to the challenge of capturing the sweet soul of a woman whose heart they’ll hold in the palm of their hand forever. Add in a couple of neck-snapping twists and turns, a page-turning mystery, and a swoon-worthy HEA, and you’ll be holding one of her books in your hands.


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Scott’s Summit – Terkel’s Team Book 6 By Dale Mayer


Scott’s Summit
Terkel’s Team Book 6
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Everyone has the right to make a mistake, … but the one Naira made isn’t one Scott can forgive. He wakes from a coma, sure that the ex-love of his life had been at his side, but finds no sign of her. When he does see her, he can’t get past a long-ago decision she’d made that tore them apart.

Naira had hoped that Scott would protest her decision way back when, but he didn’t say anything to stop her. Heartbroken, she went ahead with the business marriage to appease her father, which ends in divorce. When Terk called, she came running to Scott’s bedside, even knowing he’d hate to see her when he woke up. But she has always loved him and can only hope he might find his way back to her.

But finding his way back to the team is on his mind, with Naira second. Except that the operatives who took down his team initially are coming around and trying to pick off everyone left alive—and all the people they hold dear, … like Naira.

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Naira and Scott’s relationship was a very long time ago. They ended when Naira made the decision to marry for a business arrangement. At the time she hoped he would protest or at least give some indication that he cared for her. Now divorced, she hadn’t hesitated when Terk called that Scott needed her. She still loves him but is certain he doesn’t feel the same, although Terk assures her that isn’t the case.

When Scott wakes from the coma, he’s hungry and when Terk arrives with Naira he’s still eating, much to his nurse’s dismay. The thing is he doesn’t seem at all pleased to see Naira and tells her so. In his mind, marriage, regardless of the reason for it should be sacred. So even though Naira is free to begin a relationship, he doesn’t feel it should be with him.

Naira is ready to pack up and leave but Terk asks her to think about it before she does anything rash. She doesn’t get a chance though as she’s shot on her way into the hotel.

Scott rushes to the hospital against his nurse’s advice. He’s there every time she wakes and finally when she’s a bit better they start to talk.

This is the beginning of that conversation and a favorite scene.

“I’m here and can rest while you sleep, so I’m staying,” he argued. “So don’t waste your strength trying to stop me.”

She frowned and didn’t say anything. Shifting ever-so-slightly and wincing at the pain, she looked around the room. “Where’s Terk?”

“He’s gone back to your hotel room.” She looked up at Scott, and he just shrugged. “He needed a place to crash. Plus he wondered if somebody would try to access your room, in case they were looking for something.”

“So, he set himself up as bait?” she asked, her tone flat.

“Well, it’s hardly bait if he goes in prepared. He’s not alone either.”

“Good. He’s special.”

Scott nodded. Terk connected with people on a deeper level than most did. If Terk were asked about what that special something was, he’d say, What are you talking about? He affected people profoundly, and he didn’t even realize it. “Terk is special,” Scott added. “I’m sure he will be fine.”

“I’m sure he will,” she murmured. “He’s just that kind of guy.”

She looked over at him. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” he asked quietly.

“You know what for,” she replied. And the moodiness to her tone had him groaning. “We should always communicate,” she said.

“Well, that went out the window when you got married.”

“When I got married at my father’s request, you mean?”

“Your father has always been a bit of a bastard and a manipulator too,” Scott murmured.

“Yet you and I both know that I owe him.”

“You don’t owe him shit,” Scott declared, with feeling. “He’s your father, so looking after you is what he should be doing, not you looking after him.”

“Well, it worked in a sense— to stabilize the company, I mean. Stocks were fine. He didn’t lose his shit, blah, blah, blah,” she stated.

“And your marriage?”

“Well, it was a mistake right from the beginning,” she admitted. “And I learned pretty quickly that my husband had no intention of honoring the vows. So, whatever.”

“Ah. … But, for you, it was a real marriage?”

“I was prepared to give it my all. We’d always been friends,” she noted. “So marriage didn’t seem like it was the worst idea in the world.”

“And now?”

“Now it seems like it was the worst idea in the world,” she admitted, “and I really don’t understand how I came to make that kind of a decision.”

“Neither do I.”

“I get that,” she said, looking over at him. “I get that you don’t understand, but it’s not as if we were a thing.”

“And here I thought we were a thing,” he muttered, surprised that she knew what he was thinking.

“Well, if we were,” she added, “you weren’t doing anything about it.”

“Let me ask you something,” he murmured, looking at her. “Did you?”

She stared at him, not comprehending for a moment. “Did I what?”

“Did you do anything to further our relationship?”

Naira flushed. “No. … I didn’t.”

“Neither of us did. We were walking this pathway, lurching along, as if somebody would do something about it, and neither of us did.”

“So why are you so angry at me then?” she murmured.

“Because I’d been planning on doing something about it,” he replied. “Just like I think, in your mind, you’d been planning on me doing something about it too.”

She sighed. “Maybe, but all you had to do was say, Don’t, and I wouldn’t have married him.”

He stopped and looked at her. “Seriously?” Scott shook his head. “Because hearing that right now sounds pretty shitty.”

“I mean it,” she said. “I was rather desperately hoping that you would stop me and would ask me to marry you instead or something. But you didn’t say anything, and I thought you looked like you were completely disinterested.”

“Well, the woman I loved had just told me that she was marrying somebody else, so what the hell did you expect me to do?” He spoke with just enough bitterness that he realized just how much he was still affected by this one fateful event. He groaned. Why didn’t she just say all this before the wedding? “This is not a discussion we should be having right now. You need to focus on healing.”

She laughed and then cried out at the pain. “God,” she said, as she gasped. “Pretty sure I told you that yesterday.”

“Pretty sure I told you the day before too,” he noted cheerfully.

She stared at him. “I’ve lost that much time?”

“Yes, but you also gained an awful lot more,” he reminded her. “You’re alive, so stay focused on what’s important.” He got up, used the washroom; when he came back, she remained in the same position. “Do you need anything?” he asked her.

“Well, a new life would be good,” she stated. “Apparently I blew up the one that I had.”

“I don’t think you’ve blown up anything,” Scott admitted, “but you made some choices that affect a lot of other people. So, if things weren’t exactly smooth, that could be why.”

“It feels like they’ll never get smooth again,” she said.

“Maybe not. No way to know.”

“You won’t make it easy on me either, will you?”

“Trust is harder,” he stated, “particularly after it’s been broken.”

“I could say the same,” she replied. “I was pretty devastated when I told you, and you didn’t have anything to say about it.”

“It’s not as if you told me that you didn’t want to marry him or that you were looking for a way to get out of your father’s manipulations,” he murmured.

“No, but it never occurred to me that I needed to do that with you.”

“And it never occurred to you that you could just stand up to your father and tell him no?” He stared at her. “You came to me. Remember?” Scott said in disbelief. “You were the one sitting in front of me, telling me that you would marry somebody else.”

“Yes, I get that,” she snapped in a harsh voice. “Believe me. I’m still not even sure how I decided that was something I needed to do. But all it would have taken was one word from you.”

“And how much did you expect me to argue?” he asked. “Did you really think I would ask you to change your mind, when it was obvious you’d already made up your mind?”

“But I hadn’t made up my mind,” she argued, “and I think I was really just using that to help push you forward.” Her voice held a bitterness he wasn’t expecting.

“What do you mean?”

“I think I was trying to make you say it should be us instead, but, when you didn’t say anything, I realized that nobody gave a shit, so I might as well marry him after all,” she murmured. “So you see? It really did backfire on me.”
Dale Mayer. Scott’s Summit (Kindle Locations 635-693). Valley Publishing Ltd..

Everything changes for them when Terk brings her back to her hotel. Before she makes it inside, she’s shot. Of course, Scott insists on going to the hospital even though he still isn’t fully recovered. He compromises by getting a cot in Naira’s room so he can rest when she does. Things are escalating on the outside though and there’s another attempt on Naira’s life.

With no other options, Terk brings both Scott and Naira to the compound. These two have much to work through and they both have to stop and listen to each other.

Plenty of tension in this one as there is more escalation from their opposition. They also need a plan to be on the offensive not strictly defensive.

Pieces are coming together slowly, and there’s both action and romance as they figure things out.

I can’t wait for the next book!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!


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Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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The Right Guy – Meet Cute Book Club Book 4 by Mel Walker


The Right Guy
Meet Cute Book Club Book 4
By
Mel Walker

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

My ex is bringing my replacement to our friend’s wedding, what do I do?
Option A: Leave the state
Option B: Find a fake boyfriend for the week

Catherine is an unparalleled success. Blessed with friends from coast to coast and a smashing successful manager of a premier event space in the state, she has overachieved in every aspect of her life except one – finding a partner. Returning to her hometown for a friend’s wedding she is confronted by her ex, the man who predicted she’ll always be alone. To make matters worse, he trots his replacement all around town. Her knee jerk reaction, find a fake boyfriend for the week. Being an overachiever has its own set of challenges, even her fake relationship appears real to everyone, including herself.

Hunter is far from home. New city, new job, new challenges. He’s looking to stand on his own without the assistance of his powerful family. It’s a brilliant plan, that is until a stranger kisses him and ropes him into a fake romance. She is a beautiful distraction and he has his reasons for agreeing but as the charade grows he realizes the danger. The fake relationship isn’t the only secret he is hiding behind and if his secret gets out everything he’s worked for may disappear.

If you love small towns, fake relationship stories, moments that will tug at your heartstrings and a swoon-worthy happy ending, then you’ll love this sweet romance.

Catherine is going home for the first time in a while, this time unlike the others there will be no avoiding her ex. Her best friend Ava is getting married, and Palmer is a friend of Carlos, the groom.

Unfortunately, Palmer has interfered and now the wedding is at what was once a premier catering venue, Legendary Hall. Catherine once worked there, but she moved out state to her current position in Indiana needing to grow and develop her skills away from her hometown and Palmer. Legendary Hall has gone downhill since the owner retired and his son Frankie took over.

Hunter recently moved to Mesa. He’s working at Legendary Hall but not for the money. He has an ulterior motive that begins with learning all that’s gone wrong with the venue.

Catherine crosses paths with Hunter as she does a favor for Ava. Checking that all is on schedule and planned properly at Legendary Hall. Her encounter with Frankie is topped only by the appearance of Palmer. Of course, he’s got plenty to say to her and none of it is nice.

This is a favorite scene.

Thirty minutes and forty items later, Frankie escorts me back to the lobby of Legendary Hall. “You do know we’ve given them a discount,” he mentions for the tenth time since I began to review the contract, line item by line item. Frankie was as useless as I feared. He didn’t have a clue on the status of most of the items and the ones he did answer were filled with half-truths and outright lies.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re giving it to them for free. You are running a business and have a reputation to uphold. When was the last time your dad came through here?” I twist the one point that I know will gnaw at him.

“He’s retired. I run this place.”

“It shows,” I spit back.

“Why do you care?” Frankie fires back but before I can respond, another voice calls out across the lobby.

“Because it’s the closest she’s ever going to get to a wedding. She’s always living life vicariously through others.” I don’t have to turn to know who it is or the look I will find on his smug face.

Palmer Easton has arrived.

“About time you showed up Palmer, I texted you twenty minutes ago. Your girl is making my life a living hell.” Frankie’s voice holds no shame. Not even the courtesy of sounding apologetic to me. I’m just an object that needs to be handled and since he can’t control me, he’s called in reinforcements.

I brace and turn. Palmer Easton in the flesh and blood. Palmer is white, golden short curls and blue eyes that at one point in time I wanted to stare into all day. These days I look right through them, unaffected.

“Yeah. That’s kind of her specialty. Hello Catherine.” His tone is different from the years we spent together. It is now filled with bile, and venom.

The boys smack hands and swap sinister grins. The bullies celebrating. Palmer should know better. He knows my history with both Frankie and Legendary Hall.

I hold up the punch list of items I’ve scribbled down and snap a picture. I step to Frankie and push the paper into his hand. “Here are the items we’ve discussed. Ava has enough on her plate, so I suggest you get to work on it immediately. I’ll be back Saturday morning for a walkthrough, and I pray that everything will be up to standard.”

“Catherine have you not learned a thing? Do you really want Frankie to tell you what to do with that list?” Palmer winks at Frankie and nods in the direction of the office. “Frankie, I got this. Thanks for the heads up.”

Frankie gives Palmer another hand smack, and he disappears down the hall without saying farewell or any pretense that he’ll address my concerns. Customer service at its best.

I make the mistake of taking my eyes off Palmer to watch Frankie walk away. I feel him before I see him, Palmer’s scrawny finger lifting the dark hair which rests on my shoulder. He sweeps it off my shoulder, his face pushing forward, lips an inch from my ear. “You lost the privilege of giving orders when you decided to ride off into the sunset and leave us behind. How is that working out for you?”

My shoulders clench and I spin away from Palmer. His baby blues, which for years held warmth and love, now filled with disgust. “Don’t you dare touch me.”

He scoffs at me and closes the distance between us again. “Someone has to. I know for a fact that you didn’t put a name on your plus one. You’re still as single as the day is long. Just as I predicted when you left here. You’ll always be alone. And lonely. Not even good enough to be a bridesmaid. You’ll never be a bride.” He spits the venomous words at me using our history to torture me. “You had your shot at the brass ring, and you messed up. And now you’ll forever be searching for the perfect man, the right guy, that only exists only in your head. I’m as close as you’ll ever get, and it wasn’t good enough because nothing is good enough for the woman who pushes everyone away.”

His words cut. We spent years together. He knows me. He knows what brings me joy as well as my biggest fears. He has decided, for some reason, to use this information to bring me pain. This is not the man I once knew.

My silence emboldens him. He closes in like a snake in the grass, looking to strike again. I’ve been in Destiny Falls, Indiana, for three years. I’ve met some amazing people; I’ve seen love blossom all around me. Both of my good friends Mia and Candice found the loves of their lives. Yet I’m still single without a decent prospect on the horizon. It shouldn’t matter, but I won’t let Palmer feeling superior to me even for an instance take root.

“Don’t touch me again Palmer.” I put steel in my voice, forcing him to halt his approach. “And you may want to check your facts. You’re wrong again.” I catch the movement over Palmer’s shoulder. Hunter, the kind observant maintenance man. He must’ve clocked out while I was on tour with Frankie. He’s paused in the hallway now clad in a nice pair of dress slacks and a polo shirt, an outfit I would have never pegged for him. I may have misread Palmer all those years ago, but my assessment abilities have improved over the years.

I pray I’m right.

“So, are you bringing someone to the wedding?” Palmer scoffs once again at me, the challenge in his voice egging me on. “I mean someone not your sister.” He enjoys his own response with a chuckle.

I should be a better person. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, let alone Palmer Easton. But I can’t let the thought of him thinking he’s right about something concerning me take a foothold in his mind. If it does, I know him. He’ll spin this into me being wrong about everything – including dumping him. I won’t let that happen.

My gaze locks on Hunter and I raise a brow, hoping he’s heard enough of this conversation. Hoping my instinct that he is a kind and understanding soul is not broken, I lift a hand in his direction as Palmer turns to see what has drawn my attention.

My breath catches for a foolish beat as I push out the words. “There he is now. My man.” I exhale and take a leap of faith.
Mel Walker. The Right Guy (Kindle Locations 373-419).

Without conversation, Hunter plays along with Catherine. He agrees to be her date for Ava’s wedding. However, there’s some legwork to be done to appear as a couple.

Neither of them expects to actually start to fall in love. There are many things they aren’t talking about, and those things could destroy the budding relationship.

I love the way this story plays out, there are ups and downs and plenty of surprises.

5 Contented Purrs for Mel!

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Mel Walker

Mel Walker has been writing fiction most of his adult life. Specializing in Short Stories and Contemporary fiction and Romance Novels. A native New Yorker and life-long frustrated NY Mets fan. He loves to write about ordinary people placed in difficult situations, especially as it relates to their closest relationships.

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About The Meet Cute Book Club Series

Escape with the Meet Cute Book Club where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.

Eight single women bound by their love of books take a monthly break from real life to lose themselves in the chapters of romantic fiction. From friends to lovers to fake relationships and more, each story features a brand new couple and their journey to find love from an amazing lineup of authors including Louise Lennox, Tracy Broemmer, A.M. Williams, Mel Walker, RJ Gray, Rebecca Wilder, Julie Archer, and Kate Stacy.

These eight standalone romances are packed with meet-cutes, heat, and of course a happily ever after!

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