Tag Archives: @stacey_wilk

Christmas Countdown: Raising Winter – A Candlewood Falls Novel: Hometown Series Book 2 by Stacey Wilk


Raising Winter
Hometown Series Book 2
A Candlewood Falls Novel
By
Stacey Wilk

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

The last thing the man who has it all needs is to become the custodian of a ten-year-old girl. But Brad Wilde has, and he doesn’t know how to handle this new role. Because his plans never included revealing his secret.

The prom queen has fallen off her throne and returns to Candlewood Falls with her tail between her legs. When Lyra Ryan starts a cleaning business because she doesn’t want to be a therapist anymore, the only person willing to hire her is the arrogant and sexy Brad Wilde.

Thrown together by chance, or maybe fate, Lyra and Brad must help each other follow their hearts and learn that love—in all its forms—shows up when you’re least prepared to handle it.

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogo

If you’ve been reading these books from all the authors, you will remember Brad Wilde saying he doesn’t need a doctor to Riesling at Malbec and Eliza’s engagement party.

Well as karma often strikes after a statement like that, Brad falls off an old ladder and breaks his wrist, his dominant wrist. He’s getting a bit antsy not being able to do anything but the paperwork stuff for the Orchard, but that’s all about to change.

Lyra Ryan’s husband has been arrested by the FBI for fraud and other things. With the charges filed she lost her therapy practice, because who wants a therapist married to a fraud. Fortunately, the FBI couldn’t touch her practice, or the bank account attached to it since was solely hers. She and their children are moving to her hometown, Candlewood Falls. She’s rented a small house outside of town to give them some privacy.

I’m not sure who was more surprised to find they are neighbors, Lyra or Brad. She really didn’t acknowledge his recognizing her other than a head nod.

Not long after that Brad gets a phone call from someone he never expected to hear from, Nora Reis. She’s giving him the news her sister Maggie had died, and she needs him to take his daughter Winter for a few weeks while she returns to work. He’s more than a little startled since Maggie had kept him away from Winter from the moment she was born. He never told anyone about her existence, his best kept secret.

With Winter on her way, Brad has to tell his family. Well at least his twin Brooklyn and his father. He didn’t expect them to join him at the train station. Later that day Winter overhears a conversation Brad is having with his dad, running away when she hears he didn’t want a family.

The way Winter meets Lyra and he sons Lucas and Theo, is rather interesting especially when Brad shows up.

This is a favorite scene.

Oh, crap. She was hurt. “What’s your name, honey?” She needed to call her parents or her guardian or whoever was responsible for this girl. Too much time had already gone by.

“Winter!” a male voice called from the tree line. “Where are you?”

“Is your name Winter?” she said.

The girl nodded.

“Is that your dad looking for you?”

“No. I don’t have a dad.” She blinked away the tears.

The hairs on Lyra’s arms stood up. “Were you running from this man?”

“Yes. He’s mean.”

“Lucas, run and get my phone. It’s in my bedroom.” Lucas didn’t move. “Now,” she said with as much conviction as she could muster without totally scaring Winter. They needed to get Winter inside before this man found her. Lucas ran and Theo followed.

“Let me help you up.” She took Winter’s hand and pulled her to her feet. “We’ll go inside and call for help.”

A rustling came from the trees as if a strong wind had picked up. Her feet froze in their spot. The man was coming through the trees. She was a trained therapist. She could handle an escalating situation, as long as the man didn’t have a gun.

A large male body rippling in muscles pushed through the brush. A branch smacked him in the face, knocking him backward a few steps. His head whipped back, and he cursed. His long hair tangled in the branch. She laughed. She couldn’t help it. This wasn’t a mass murderer. It was Brad Wilde. She was pretty sure he wasn’t a kidnapper either, but he was looking for the little girl next to her.

She stole a glance at Winter. She had crossed her arms over her small chest and set her jaw. Her blue eyes had chilled over, and she tapped her foot. This little girl was anything but afraid.

“There you are.” Brad wiped at the blood on his face from the fight with the branch. He stopped short when he saw her next to Winter. “Oh, hi. I’m Brad. I live next door.”

“You’re Brad Wilde.” They grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. It stung a little that he could think she wouldn’t know who he was even if she couldn’t remember the last time she saw him. Maybe high school graduation and that was twenty years ago.

She must look like a mess in her work clothes covered in bleach spots, the sweatshirt with the tear at the hem, and the hole at the knee of her sweatpants. She hadn’t showered, and it was almost dinnertime. Even she could smell the sweat and cleaning chemicals coming off her in waves. She smoothed her hair down in some lame attempt to pull her appearance together.

He narrowed his eyes. “You know who I am?”

“Sure. Your family owns the orchard in town.” She wondered if he knew anything about the scandal. He would have to. Unless someone lived under a rock, they would know what happened with her husband even if he didn’t know the culprit had been her husband. And she wasn’t about to tell him. It would be nice not to be judged for five minutes by her husband’s bad choices. Though Brad might be judging her soiled clothing.

“I thought that was you the other day. I saw you moving in. Sorry about the interruption. Winter, we need to get back to the house.” He waved Winter over, but she didn’t move.

She glanced between the two and wondered what the showdown was all about. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t her business.

Lucas came up beside her with her phone. “Here.” He shoved it at her and went back inside. She put the phone in her pocket, not needing it now. She had overreacted. Too many crime shows and too many years as a therapist. It really was time to move on.

“Winter, we need to go back now. Grandpa came over to see you.”

A gasp of relief almost fell off her lips. Winter had a grandfather. That must mean a parent was nearby. She still couldn’t fathom why Winter didn’t like Brad, but he was a little rough-looking with those tattoos, along with that hair. Though she found them insanely attractive. A rugged man had always made her lady parts sing.

But why would Winter’s grandfather be next door? Unless… She squatted down beside Winter to be eye level with her. “Winter, I need a little truth at the moment. Do you think you can be completely honest with me?”

“Yes. I never lie.”

“Good girl.” She stole a glance at Brad. He had fisted his hands on his hip, the one with the brace was at an awkward angle. He was expertly scowling.

“Who were you running from?”

“Me. She was running from me,” Brad said before Winter could answer. “Winter, can we please go back to the house so I can explain?”

Winter shook her head.

“Why was she running from you?” She stood to her full height which only made her come up to about Brad’s chest. Even though he hadn’t moved from the brush line, she could tell she would have to stand on her tiptoes to meet his smoldering gaze.

“I said something that she misunderstood. I didn’t mean what I said, Winter.”

“But you said it.”

“I did. I shouldn’t have said it like that. Can we go now? I’m sure Ms. Chambers would like to get back to whatever it is she was doing before you showed up at her house.”

The idea of the bath and the glass of wine seemed far away at this point. She hadn’t expected to get dragged into the middle of a family squabble, but she didn’t mind helping out.

“You should know, so you can tell her grandfather or her parent, that she bumped into my son while running and went down pretty hard. She hit the back of her head and got the wind knocked out of her.”

“Does she need a doctor?”

“I don’t think so. But I’m sure her parents will keep an eye on her for any signs of a concussion.”

“Concussion?” His eyes bulged from their sockets. “What do I do if she has a concussion?”

“I don’t know for sure that she does. Wait a second. Are you watching her?” Where was this grandfather? And who was this grandfather Brad mentioned?

“Until her aunt comes back.” His face turned the color of ash. He rubbed at his bad hand.

“What if she doesn’t?” Winter said.

Brad cleared the space between them and dropped down on his haunches to look Winter in the eye. “She’s going to come back for you. You’ll see. Then you can live with her just the way you and she want. Okay?” He lowered his voice into something more soothing than before. “I’m sorry about earlier.”

“What if Aunt Nora doesn’t come back?” Winter’s bottom lip quivered.

She seemed more concerned about this Aunt Nora returning than what Brad may have said. Everyone has said things they’ve regretted. She certainly had, even to the boys. But it couldn’t have been too bad. At least she hoped it wasn’t.

“She will.” Brad placed his good hand on Winter’s head. “Does this hurt?”

“A little. Do you promise she’ll come get me?”

“I promise.” A sadness passed over his blue eyes. Blues that resembled Winter’s…

“My shoe is untied.” Winter stuck out her foot. “I think I tripped on it when I bumped into that boy.”

“Can I tie it for you?” he said.

She should slip away and allow this conversation to happen without an audience, but she stayed put as Brad softened into a teddy bear. She wanted to ask them questions, to learn more about their dynamic, but she wasn’t a therapist anymore. She had no right to pry.

“I can tie my own shoe.”

She stifled a laugh. A future independent woman. Lyra liked Winter more and more.

“I bet you can. I bet you’re good at it too. You’re probably better than me.”

Winter scrunched up her nose and kept her gaze on Brad. Brad just squatted there with an adoring grin on his face. “Okay. You can do it.” She lifted her leg to bring her foot closer to him.

He looked downright endearing while he propped Winter’s foot up on his knee and tied her sneaker. Winter pushed Brad’s hair behind his shoulder and smoothed it down. His head snapped up and that small smile burst wide open, igniting the lines around his eyes.

“Thanks, my hair was in my face,” he said.

“We can go home now.” Winter held out her hand for him to take, then turned to her. “Thank you for helping me.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” Brad stood, taking Winter’s hand.

“No problem. Winter, if you want to come back over to play with Theo, he would like that. Or maybe you two could ride the bus to school together.”

“I’m being homeschooled.”

“She’s only here through the new year. Her aunt arranged for online classes while she stays with me.” The light in his eyes went out.

Winter tugged Brad’s hand. “Can I come back to play?”

“If it’s okay with Ms. Chambers.”

“You can call me Miss Lyra or just Lyra. Whatever you’re more comfortable with. And yes, you can come over anytime. Theo loves company.” She debated on saying something for a minute, but her curiosity got the best of her. “I should probably mind my own business, but may I ask a personal question?”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

“How are you two related?” The words blurted out before she could stop them. She should know better than to pry; she never forced her clients to answer anything they weren’t comfortable with, but she had been enamored with their dynamic. She needed more information like a flower needing the sun.

“She’s my daughter.” He squared his broad shoulders and set his jaw, his gaze never wavering.

“I don’t understand. You said she’s only here for a short time.”

“Like you said, it’s none of your business.”
Wilk, Stacey; Falls, Candlewood. Raising Winter : A Candlewood Falls Novel (Hometown Series Book 2) (Kindle Locations 659-735). Stacey Wilk . Kindle Edition.

While this first meeting wasn’t the best, Brad does make the effort to be neighborly.

Winter gets along well with the boys and starts warming up to Brad as he takes her around different places. She really likes the alpacas at Brooklyn’s. While Winter was trying not to like Brad, she’s finding he really isn’t the bad guy her mother and aunt made him out to be.

There’s much going on in this story, and a lot of it surrounds Brad and Winter. However, there is also quite the attraction between Brad and Lyra.

With ups and downs, laughter and tears, I could put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Stacey!

Click the Cover for Buy Links

Coming Soon!

Stacey Wilk

From an early age, Stacey Wilk told tales as a way to escape. At six she wrote short stories in composition notebooks, at twelve she wrote a novel on a typewriter, in high school biology she wrote rock star romances in her binder instead of paying attention.

But it wasn’t until many years later, inspired by her children and a looming birthday, that she finally took her story-telling seriously. And published her first novel in 2013. Since then, she’s gone on to publish fourteen more so women everywhere could fall in love and find an escape of their own.

She isn’t done telling stories. Not by a long shot. If you want to read her emotional and honest books about family, romance, and second chances.

newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Taking Root – A Candlewood Falls Novel: Hometown Series Book 1 by Stacey Wilk


Taking Root
Hometown Series Book 1
A Candlewood Falls Novel
By
Stacey Wilk

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Winter Blog Blurb

After her assault one year ago, Brooklyn Wilde left her husband and her nursing career to return to her family circle in Candlewood Falls and heal her broken soul. A stranger arriving at her door in the middle of the night turns her world upside down, because he isn’t any stranger. He’s the man who went to prison for killing her uncle.

Caleb Ransom accepted his life sentence to wander from town to town without a family or a home. Even though he was wrongly accused of murder and released, suspicion hangs over him like a bank of rain clouds. Only Brooklyn sees the man he truly is, and he falls hard for her.

But someone in Candlewood Falls has different plans for these two and will stop at nothing until Caleb disappears. As long as they are together, lives are at stake. They will have to find the person determined to destroy them before it’s too late or lose the thing they have wanted all along – deep rooted love.

Winter Blog BuyLinks

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogogoogle_play_logo_002_002

Winter Blog Review

The last person Brooklyn Wilde expected to see pounding on her door at midnight was Caleb Ransom. Battered and bruised from being run off the road on his motorcycle, Brooklyn helps him clean up and puts him to bed.

He had been charged with her uncle’s murder and sent to prison. He spent two years there before he was released on a technicality. The thing is he didn’t kill anyone, he found the body and the circumstantial evidence put him away. Brooklyn never believed he did it but unfortunately most people in town did.

When her brother Brad shows up in the morning, he isn’t pleased that Caleb is in town let alone in his sister’s home.

This is a favorite scene.

She had done his laundry and retrieved his bike from the road too. He couldn’t remember the last time someone did so many nice things for him in the same twelve hours. “Thanks for helping me out. I think I was more exhausted than injured at that point. It had been a very long day.”

He had been driving for hours and hadn’t eaten most of the day. He had needed to get to Candlewood Falls before the day ended. He never missed the anniversary of his mother’s death. He would drive from wherever he was holed up to bring flowers to her grave and sit with her awhile, talking. She had always made time for him, listening to anything he wanted to talk about even when he was in jail. Working on no sleep to get to her gravesite was the least he could do for his mother.

“Well, if nothing else eat something before you go. I mean, you’re still going, right?” She moved to the stove and scooped eggs onto a plate. The tea kettle whistled through the room and rattled his head.

“I think that’s what your brother wants.”

She placed the plate on the table. “Eat. I don’t care what my brother wants. I am tired of caring about what other people want.” She leaned against the counter and crossed her arms over her chest.

She could stop time with her long hair, high cheekbones, and petite frame. She had always been pretty, but her beauty had matured since he saw her last. Her eyes were no longer wide with innocence. He could suspect the dark circles were from her being up all night taking care of him, but something told him, maybe the mature knowing that had settled in her gaze, or better yet the shotgun she had come to the door with, that even Brooklyn had seen the tougher side of life.

“I can agree with not caring about what other people want, but I don’t remember you being that way.” The smell of the eggs in front of him and the bread in the toaster taunted his empty stomach.

He sat at the table, wanting to prolong this visit after all. Finding Brooklyn here was a nice surprise and with a motorcycle in no condition to drive, his hurry to leave could wait until after breakfast.

“Yeah, well, things have changed.”

He was right then. She had been through some tough times. The idea of her struggling made his heart hurt. He never would’ve wanted that for her and hoped he didn’t hold much of the blame.

“When did you come back to Candlewood Falls?” He stabbed at the food with a fork and kept his gaze on the plate. The eggs were warm and buttery with a hint of salt. She had added mushrooms and spinach. The best damn eggs he’d had in a long time.

She poured tea into one mug and coffee into another for him. She took the seat opposite his, holding holding the mug in front of her like a shield. “About six months ago. My husband and I split up.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” He mopped the egg up with his bread. He tried to control himself from licking the plate. He wondered what had happened that would have her husband leaving. Brooklyn had a lot to offer. Or least she had when he knew her well. She was kind when others were cruel. She always wanted to save a stray cat or let a spider back out into nature. She could pull laughter out of him at times when it seemed like he might never laugh again. Maybe the husband hadn’t appreciated her honesty. “Your ex-husband is pretty stupid if he let you go.”

Her hand fluttered by her neck. “Thank you. That’s nice of you to say. But believe me, I’m not sorry the marriage ended. It was time. Why are you in town? You don’t live here. I would’ve seen you, if you did.”

Candlewood Falls was a small town, but not so small you bumped into everyone every day. Did that mean that she had been checking for him? That idea filled his chest with something pleasing. Don’t go getting sentimental. It causes trouble. He rubbed his fist into his sternum until the sensation went away.

“I was passing through.” He had foolishly thought it would be okay to stop at Murphy’s just one time. He had been exhausted like he had said. He had only wanted an hour before he had to begin the ride to the next town with no name where he would check in to another nameless motel and begin the search for a job. He should never have stopped no matter how tired or lonely he might have been. If he had left the cemetery and drove out of town unnoticed, whoever had followed him and nearly killed him would never have seen him.

He was certain he had been followed, but he hadn’t noticed anyone in Murphy’s who would still want him dead. Sure, there were plenty of people in this town who still hated him, Brad Wilde being one of them. He had chosen a table in the dark corner, corner, and he sat with his back to the wall so he could watch the door. And still had missed an emissary.

“Passing through to where? Is it someplace far from here?” Her voice dragged him back to her bright kitchen and away from the dark interior of his thoughts.

“Why? Are you looking for a new place to live?” He smirked at his own stupid joke, but Brooklyn’s face stayed impassive.

She pushed out of the chair and went to the window. “Maybe. I don’t know where I belong anymore. I’m trying to figure it out, anyway.”

He hadn’t expected such an honest answer, but he should from her. He could relate. He had lost everything, including his freedom for two years. Since his time in prison, he didn’t belong anywhere. He couldn’t put down roots because eventually people wanted to know about his past. That was not a story he ever shared.

“Thank you for breakfast and for a place to sleep. I need to get out of here and see if my bike can be fixed.” He needed some air too. Being near Brooklyn and getting dangerously close to the feelings that have choked him for years was more than he could take in two days. He just wanted to get on his bike and drive until the place and the woman that haunted him were miles behind him.

She flinched at his sudden movement from the table. “Oh. Are you sure? Do you want to call a tow truck or something?”

“No, thanks. I can probably get it to work.” He sure as hell hoped he could. At least work well enough to get him to the next town. Then he could find a mechanic who knew more than he did.

“Take care of yourself, Caleb.” She smoothed her hands over her legs.

“You too.” He averted his gaze and grabbed his duffel. The eggs sat like

lead in his stomach. He forced himself not to look back when the screen door slapped shut behind him.
Wilk, Stacey; Falls, Candlewood . Taking Root (Hometown Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 250-285). Stacey Wilk. Kindle Edition.

A closer look at his motorcycle tells him he’s not going anywhere for a while. There’s a lot more damage than he thought.

At the garage he gets the bad news it will be a couple of weeks to get the parts and fix it. Caleb is about to call an uber and get a motel room, but he’s stopped by Brooklyn, who insists that he should stay with her. Although it’s her grandmother Cordy’s home, Brooklyn is living there and helping take care of the alpacas. She’s certain Cordy wouldn’t have any objections, she always believed Caleb was innocent. She would call Cordy, who’s away on a vacation, just to let her know about their unexpected guest.

Things start heating up from the moment that decision is made. Caleb is attacked in a parking lot and threatened, then someone ransacks the alpaca’s barn.
Cordy also makes a decision to sell the farm but doesn’t offer it to Brooklyn, but to Brad. Brad will tear everything down and plant more apple trees, Brooklyn wants the farm to stay as it is.

I really loved this story, there’s a lot going on, with plenty of suspense, romance and a bit of sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Stacey!

Winter Blog More Books

Click the Cover for Buy Links

Coming Soon!

Winter Blog About Author

Stacey Wilk

From an early age, Stacey Wilk told tales as a way to escape. At six she wrote short stories in composition notebooks, at twelve she wrote a novel on a typewriter, in high school biology she wrote rock star romances in her binder instead of paying attention.

But it wasn’t until many years later, inspired by her children and a looming birthday, that she finally took her story-telling seriously. And published her first novel in 2013. Since then, she’s gone on to publish fourteen more so women everywhere could fall in love and find an escape of their own.

She isn’t done telling stories. Not by a long shot. If you want to read her emotional and honest books about family, romance, and second chances.

newsletter - for blog

Winter Blog Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page