Heart of ATX Romance Reading Salon

Y’all, I had the best dang time last night!

Granted, I always have a good time when I get to hang with fellow authors and with readers and friends, and that’s exactly what I got to do Friday night in Buda, TX.

Cathy Maxwell (not enough raves can I give this woman) organizes these fantastic reading salons, and I was lucky enough to be one of the authors invited this year. Located at the beautiful Assmemblage, this fantastic gallery in Buda, 50+ folks who preordered tickets came out to enjoy wine, cookies, and hear readings from the authors!

Donations and all book sales went to benefit the local YMCA and, in particular, Camp Goody, a new 85 acre location for YMCA camps, local swim meets, and more.

I joined authors Kharma Kelley, Teri Wilson, and Tessa Dare (oh what fabulous, aspirational company to keep) in reading short excerpts from our most recent books, and then spent time signing copies for folks and getting to say hello.

I apologize now for attendees about my ultra-fast, nervous reading style, and hoped you enjoyed the excerpt from The Rogue King. I was definitely the straight man in the group of ladies who had the room rolling with laughs (in a good way).

And if you’ve interacted on social media with me and I didn’t recognize you, I am sending you extra hugs. I’ve realized that most of us post book covers and memes and not images of ourselves. Lol. Mental note to go look at the tiny personal photo on Instagram before these events. 🙂

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After the readings, I now have 3 more books (and a whole backlist) that I have to read, because I have to know what happens next. I also now know what I want to be when I grow up in romancelandia–any one of the authors part of this event.

What a night!

Thank you so much to Cathy and the ladies who own the Assemblage for such a fantastic event!

xoxo

Which Hero is the Best Kisser?

Can you judge a man by the way he kisses?

A kiss is a personal thing, made even more so by how a man feels about the person he is kissing. As a reader looking for the next great book boyfriend, what kind of kisses peak your interest? Soft and slow? Hard an demanding? Tension filled and fierce? Tender and loving?

With my newest cowboy romance—Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas—out now, I thought I’d let you vote for which of the heroes in my Hills of Texas series you would want most for a book boyfriend…based on the way he kisses.

Here are the first kisses between each hero and heroine in each book. Vote below. Which is your fav?

Cash & Holly – Saving the Sheriff

As if compelled, he brushed the pad of his thumb over her high cheekbone and registered the silky-smooth texture of her skin, the warmth. He dropped his gaze to the lush curves of her lips, which were slightly parted. Needing to see her eyes, he moved his hand and tipped her chin up. 

“You can talk to me, Holly. If you ever need anything. Okay?” 

Silently, she nodded. 

Cash should have pulled his hand away. Should have led her back inside. But he didn’t. Couldn’t. 

The feelings that’d been building all night, hell since she’d come back to town, demanded action. As if compelled, he brushed the pad of his thumb over her high cheekbone and registered the silky-smooth texture of her skin, the warmth. He dropped his gaze to the lush curves of her lips, which were slightly parted. Needing to see her eyes, he moved his hand and tipped her chin up. 

Slowly, giving her enough time to pull away or say no, he lowered his head toward her. So softly it was barely a whisper of a touch, he brushed his lips over hers. 

Her small intake of breath made him shudder. “Cash,” she sighed. 

Satisfaction burned through him. He liked the sound of his name on her lips. He took the kiss deeper, knowing she was right there with him. Still soft and slow, but now he opened his mouth, his tongue asking for and receiving entry to her mouth. Their tongues tangled, igniting fire in his veins, a slow burn of need that was stoked by every touch. 

God she felt good. 

A loud burst of laughter coming from the open door to the hall brought Cash to his senses. He gave her one last lingering kiss then pulled back. She still had her eyes closed. Gently, he brushed a loose tendril of hair back from her face, and she opened them, her green eyes sparkling at him in the dim lighting. 

“We should go back inside,” he murmured. 

She blinked slowly, then her gaze cleared. “What was that for?” she asked in a husky voice that had his already raging libido sitting up and taking even more notice. 

But Cash couldn’t answer her. He’d sound like an idiot or a hormone-ridden teenager if he told her that he just couldn’t stop himself. 

He gave her a lopsided smile. “Ask me again sometime.” 


Will & Rusty – Resisting the Rancher

“Sorry I’m late, baby,” the newcomer murmured. 

Rusty only had time to register the new player in the scene was that Will guy with the blue, blue eyes before he leaned forward and kissed her. 

She gave a little squeak of protest and he released her lips immediately. The sudden absence of warmth left her feeling slightly bereft, which was crazy since he’d barley brushed his lips across hers. 

Before she could process what just happened, he leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Follow along and we’ll get rid of this guy.” 

Realizing he was now standing between her legs, she hid the shiver sliding down her spine by giving him a tiny nod. He pulled back and smiled down into her eyes. The blue of his eyes, up close like this, was nothing short of startling. The irises were rimmed in black which somehow made the blue even bluer. She could drown in those depths, like falling into the sky, or the deepest of oceans. She had the strangest urge to trace the cleft in his chin. 

“Miss me?” he asked, loud enough for the ass on the other stool to hear. 

“Of course,” she purred. 

Some small part of her brain registered that wasn’t exactly a lie. She’d spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking about him given their two extremely brief shared moments. They hadn’t even been properly introduced or exchanged more than a handful of words. 

“Me too,” he said as he lowered his lips to hers again. 

The moment their lips touched, she was a goner. Sensation rushed through her body, fizzing through her blood with little sparks. She was so attuned to him, she felt every shift, every breath. With a sigh, she lifted her arms, wrapping them around his neck and drawing him in closer. His lips moved over hers in a lazy exploration that left her breathless, and suddenly she was wishing he’d meant it—that he really had missed her. 

His tongue darted out, asking for and receiving entrance to her mouth. The second she granted it, he deepened the kiss, swirling his tongue with hers, nipping at her lips. Rusty gave a little moan. She vaguely registered the jerk behind her swear at them before he sloped off, but she was too wrapped up in Will and didn’t give a damn. 

She held on to enough of her wits to keep herself from wrapping her legs around him or rubbing against him like a cat in heat. They were in a very public place. The kiss alone was likely to get back to her father—especially with her watch dogs right there. And, although her sense of self-preservation seemed to have abandoned her for the moment, it was still engrained enough to keep her from making a complete fool of herself. 


Autry & Beth – Taming the Troublemaker

But then the dimples that had teased him as a youth came out to play, her eyes lighting with mischief. “I didn’t figure you for someone who gave up so easily. Guess I won this one.” 

With a wiggle that had certain parts of him perking back up, she turned to her truck. 

Autry stared at her back for all of two seconds, assimilating her words. Oh, hell no. This slip of a woman was not winning anything… whatever that meant. 

He was around the truck to her driver’s side in a few quick strides. Beth squealed when he spun her around by the waist. 

“I always win,” Autry said. 

He took her lips not harshly, but firmly and chastely, the scent of something light and alluring swirling around him as she gasped.  

He was tempted as sin to dip his tongue inside the warm recess of her mouth to tease hers, but he wouldn’t push it that far. With more effort than it should’ve taken, he forced himself to stop at the one peck, pulling back to gaze down into wide, bemused eyes. God, he wouldn’t mind continuing though, his body vibrating like a tuning fork. 

With Beth Cooper of all people. 

Then he went rigid with shock as Beth went up on tiptoe, wrapping her arms around his neck and putting the first kiss to shame as she showed him what kissing should always be like—her lips pliant and soft against his. He hardened in an instant, pushing painfully against the zipper of his jeans as she pressed her petite body to his, her tongue tangling boldly with his. She nipped at his lower lip, then soothed it with her tongue. With a sexy hum, she dropped back, her dimples in evidence yet again. “See. You may always win, Autry Hill, but I never lose.” 

Autry stared down at her, his chest tight. Hell, his entire body was tight, and everything primal inside of him took over. 

Scooping her up by the ass, he pinned her against her truck and tangled one hand in her silky hair so he could show her sassy mouth what kissing could really be. Beth moaned against him, wrapping her legs around his waist and giving as good as she got. Autry broke the kiss, dragging his mouth over her jaw and to her ear sucking the lobe into his mouth and enjoying how she shuddered against him, a satisfying hitch in her breathing. 

A wolf whistle split the air and Autry froze. 


Jennings & Ashley – Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas

“Oh, honey.” He’d yanked her close, wrapping her in those big, strong arms, the heat of his body warming her chilled skin. The warmth of his caring had thawed her equally frozen insides. 

He’d kissed the top of her head, and her heart had kicked up in an erratic rhythm. “I didn’t want to be right, you know. For your sake. If he made you happy.” 

Rather than push him away, Ashley had laid her cheek against his chest and absorbed the comfort he offered. In a weird twist of fate, Jennings Hill happened to be the only person on the planet who understood. 

With a gentle hand under her chin, he’d tipped her face up to his. “You’re going to be okay, Ashley Hughes. This is the start of the best years of your life, not the end. Do you hear me?” 

The tears that had been threatening had spilled over, steaking down her cheeks in cold, wet rivulets, and her lips had wobbled as she tried to hold her reaction in. 

Alarm had lit those shadowed blue eyes. “Don’t cry.” 

If a hullabaloo of emotions hadn’t overwhelmed her, she might’ve laughed at the panic in his gaze. She’d cried in front of him only once before, when they were thirteen and she’d fallen out of a tree and broken her arm, and he’d reacted the same way, like a printer with a paper jam that brought it to a screeching halt. It had been funny to think of a big, capable man like Jennings being brought to his knees at the sight of a woman’s tears. 

“Please, honey,” he’d begged. 

Need—for comfort, for connection—had pulsed through her, and she’d quieted, her tears slowing as she’d stared at Jennings, taking in the strong line of his jaw shadowed with bristle, and firm but eminently kissable lips. When had Jennings Hill gotten so stinking sexy? With a hitch to her breath, she’d gone up on tiptoe and laid her lips over his. A quick peck, but her need had burned hotter even as she pulled back. Rather than release her, Jennings had wrapped his arms around her, holding her body against the lean power of his. After a long, unreadable stare, he’d groaned low and took her lips in the most profoundly gentle kiss she’d ever experienced. 

Surprise had parted her lips, which he’d taken as an invitation—and maybe it had been unconsciously given—and he’d deepened the kiss. The man could seriously kiss too. In an instant, she’d moved from black despair to white fire in his arms. Every stroke of his tongue against hers, every sweet movement of his lips as they’d clung to her own, the spicy scent of his aftershave, the heat of his body. She hadn’t been able to get enough, wanting to climb into his lap and stay there forever as deep-seated longing bloomed in her chest. 

A gasp of awareness and realization had hissed out of her, and Ashley had jerked back, startling Jennings enough to break his hold. She’d raised a trembling hand to her mouth, which still tingled from his kisses. What had she done? 

New Release | Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas

THE HILLS OF TEXAS

Her thermostat was set to frosty, until her Christmas cowboy cranks up the heat.
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Ashley Hughes would love to cancel Christmas this year. Instead of holiday plans, she’s back in her Texas hometown planning her twin sister’s wedding — to her ex! Nothing like small town speculation to make her life cheery and bright. No one believes that she’s over the groom, until a certain cowboy secret crush steps in to be her plus one. Ashley’s tried to friend zone Jennings since high school, because she’s always known kissing the casual charmer would lead to a love she’d never forget.

Jennings Hill would be the first to admit that his feelings for his ex-best friend are more likely to land him on the naughty list. When he sees Ashley again, he only wants to help but then a rumor links them romantically and that’s when their lives get complicated.

The more time they spend together, the more Jennings worries she’s not over her ex, but Ashley starts wishing Jennings was her present wrapped under the Christmas tree.

AMAZON | B&N | APPLE | KOBO | GOOGLE

Tule Publishing | 10.8.19

* All books in this series can be read as stand alone and out of order.


EXCERPT

In short order, they downed their shots and men appeared and took each girl away for a dance. After pretending to enjoy a turn around the floor with one of them, Ashley checked their booth, which stood empty, their shot glasses littering the tabletop. Rather than sit there by herself as cowboy bait, she headed to the bar. “Hey, Bud. Can I have an IPA?”

“You got it.”

“Ashley Hughes?” a female voice squealed from her right.

Here it comes. “Mandy Walker!” Ashley could do the bubbly girl thing when required. “It’s been ages. How are you?”

The blonde valedictorian of their senior class held up her left hand sporting an obnoxiously large diamond. “Married.”

“Let me guess? Jason Hubbard?” The two had been high school sweethearts, so figuring that one out didn’t exactly require a PhD.

Mandy laughed. “Who else?”

“You look fantastic. Marriage must agree with you.”

“You look great, too.” Mandy sobered and Ashley braced herself for what she suspected was coming. “Although I expected this to be your bachelorette party.” A concerned light dulled Mandy’s green eyes and her pouty pink lips turned down. “How are you handling Taylor marrying Eric?”

I’m fine with the marriage thing. It’s the rest of my life thing that’s still a mystery.

Ashley pretended not to notice the downshift in mood, holding on to her bubbly facade. “I’m thrilled for them. They make each other so happy.” Both were true statements. The problem was no one seemed inclined to believe her about the first bit, likely made worse by her conspicuous absence all this time. Her own fault. That and a nasty bout of bronchitis.

Mandy, sweet but not the brightest bulb in the box with social cues, didn’t take the hint. “But you must be disappointed. Everyone expected you and Eric to marry. When they announced their engagement last summer, it was such a shock.”

To everyone except Ashley.

“Things were over between me and Eric long before then.” A glance across the room revealed a glowing Taylor. She’d never seen her sister so incandescently happy.

Mandy patted her arm. “Of course, honey. Way to stay strong.”

Ashley idly wondered if a bullhorn might get the message through. But, while the mental image of blowing back Mandy’s over-teased hairdo with the sound filled Ashley with wicked satisfaction, she decided against it.

Where would she find a bullhorn in a bar anyway?

Besides, a long time ago, she’d come to the conclusion that the louder one defended themselves against small-town gossip, the more people talked. Luckily, Bud chose that moment to hand her an ice-cold glass of beer. She tipped it toward the other woman. “See you around, Mandy.”

Seeking a quick escape, she spun away only to smack into a wall of muscle, her beer sloshing all over her hand.

“Sorry.” Ashley stumbled back into the bar. Muttering, she shook off her hand, and checked her outfit hadn’t suffered any damage. Satisfied she’d survived, she directed her gaze up, way up, into amused instantly recognizable blue eyes bracketed by laugh lines. Familiar eyes. The Hill family were practically identified by their eyes.

“Oh, no. Not you.” She groaned. Apparently, Lady Luck had completely abandoned her tonight.

She could deal with the stares, the pretend sympathy, and the unavoidable small-town speculation from nearly everyone else, but not from Jennings Hill. He saw too much and pushed too hard, and she wasn’t ready for that.

If anything, his teasing grin grew, casting her a careless kind of challenge she’d always found irresistible, even when they were kids. “Nice to see you too, Hughes.”

Cover Reveal + Preorder | Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas

You guys, check out this GORGEOUS new cover for my upcoming release, Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas!!!! I love this like chocolate and hope you will too.

COMING OCTOBER 8TH!!!

Her thermostat was set to frosty, until her Christmas cowboy cranks up the heat.

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Ashley Hughes would love to cancel Christmas this year. Instead of holiday plans, she’s back in her Texas hometown planning her twin sister’s wedding — to her ex! Nothing like small town speculation to make her life cheery and bright. No one believes that she’s over the groom, until a certain cowboy secret crush steps in to be her plus one. Ashley’s tried to friend zone Jennings since high school, because she’s always known kissing the casual charmer would lead to a love she’d never forget.

Jennings Hill would be the first to admit that his feelings for his ex-best friend are more likely to land him on the naughty list. When he sees Ashley again, he only wants to help but then a rumor links them romantically and that’s when their lives get complicated.

The more time they spend together, the more Jennings worries she’s not over her ex, but Ashley starts wishing Jennings was her present wrapped under the Christmas tree.

PREORDER NOW!

AMAZON | B&N | APPLE | KOBO | GOOGLE

* All books in this series can be read as stand alone and out of order.


FREE | Saving the Sheriff

THE HILLS OF TEXAS #1

FREE for a limited time only. To celebrate the upcoming next book in the series (October 9th y’all!), get started on the Hills of Texas series now!
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The day his wife died, Sheriff Cash Hill discovered she was leaving him for another man, one she’d loved since before their marriage. How could the single dad ever trust another woman again? But when Georgia’s best friend, Holly, comes back to town, something about Holly’s sweet, sassy vulnerability has his protective instincts kicking in hard.

Holly Jensen left La Colina, Texas with regrets. She’s returned home to work as the new large animal vet and to watch over her best friend’s daughter. But Holly’s knowledge of Georgia’s past could rip a family apart. And she’s reluctant to go to the sexy…and single…sheriff, as he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with her.

Both are faced with a choice…stay locked in the past or allow their reservations to be silenced by a passion hotter than Texas summer nights. Can they learn to trust their own hearts and each other?

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Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

I find that between interviews, podcasts, and conversations with people who find out I’m a romance writer, that there are several common questions that invariably pop up in every one of these moments. Here are my top 10 most frequently asked questions (and answers). 

What do you like to read?

First and foremost I’m a romance junky. I can read books without romance, but usually, I need a good love story to really lock me in. My favorites, of course, are the ones I write–contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and paranormal romance. However, I also get lost in just about every other genre of romance–historical, new adult, young adult, scifi, even erotic if done well. I also love books with history to them. I love learning about other cultures and/or other times. In the non-romance space, I also love science fiction, action/adventure, biographies, women’s fiction, mysteries, and some classics.

What is your typical day like?  

All over the map. Hah! I work from home as a full-time author and mom, as well as running my own business, Authors On A Dime, to help other self-pub’d authors.

After I get the kids up, ready, and out the door, it’s walk the dog and then time to pick up the house, start laundry, etc. Then I spend several hours working on the latest book(s). I spend some time on social media for marketing purposes. Most days have Authors On A Dime stuff to do (run the business or work on projects–mostly book covers). I’m a VPA for Alyssa Day, so if she has anything for me, I also work on that. Kids get home and it’s activities for them (depending on the day) and homework. Then the night time stuff (dinner, downtime, bet time, etc.). My evenings are usually spent with my hubby in front of the TV binge watching shows, usually with my computer in my lap. While watching I work more on whatever didn’t get done that day, be it books, social media, or work. Phew!

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Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I’m not sure there was any one point of inspiration. I’ve always been a writer. In 4th grade, I place second in a school essay contest. Maybe that gave me the bug to keep going. But there have always been stories in my head that wanted to come out.

When did you consider yourself to be a writer?

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Ive always considered myself a writer. I feel like I became an author the day a total stranger purchased a copy of Blue Violet, my first self-published novel.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I was 90% pantser / 10% plotter. These days it’s more a 50/50 split. I’m a plantser.

Its an evolving process for me. My first completed book, Blue Violet, was 100% pantser. In fact, I didn’t even write the scenes in order, but skipped around. I do a lot more preparing ahead of time these days, using bits and pieces from various workshops and theories I’ve tried over time. After some amount of preparation, I write the first draft, and my characters take that opportunity to tell me how to get from A to B (and sometimes B becomes C). The end book never looks exactly like what I plotted to start with.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I write a very fast first draft in 4-6 weeks depending on the length of the book.  The first draft for me is my least favorite part of the process so I try to get it over with as quickly as possible. The first draft lays out the bare bones of the book and is usually about 80% of the story. Depending on deadlines and how I feel about the quality of the first draft, I spend another 2-6 weeks on subsequent drafts where I fill the blanks, adjust any issues, and add the spit and polish. I LOVE the drafting and editing phases where I really get to tweak and then perfect.

How do you come up with your ideas?

All over the place. Sometimes its dreams. I have very vivid dreams. Sometimes it’s being inspired by one particular aspect of a book or movie and taking that detail and making it into my own world. Mostly I think in scenes. I’ll picture a moment between two characters, or a situation my heroine might be stuck in, and I build from there. I find the more I write, the more ideas pop into my head. I keep a list now for when I’m between books (though that’s rare since I write series).

Is there anything based on real-life experiences? Or is it all imagination?

Most of it is pure imagination. There are little things I take from real life. Funny moments from one of my kids or my husband. Quirks of my own. Most often it’s my personal goofiness that ends up in stories. Ellie, my heroine in Blue Violet, especially. I’m told by friends that reading her is like reading me on the page.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I would LOVE to write historical romance, but I have very little patience for all the research involved (despite the fact that I minored in history in college). And I like multiple eras – Regency England, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Vikings, Wild West, WWII.

What is your favorite book(s) that you’ve written so far?

Lol. It’s always the one I just finished or just released. This is partly because I learn more with each book written, and so feel like each new one is better than the last. It’s not always true, because some books are harder and some easier than the others to write. So I do have a favorite just for me. I love Taming the Troublemaker because of the dynamic between Beth and Autry. Writing that was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time.

By the way, my answer on this is a little different for my other pen names. Check out the answers for Abigail Owen and Kristen McKanagh

Top 5 On My Bucket List

We all have one (or we should). A bucket list. That list of things we want to do/experience/accomplish before we kick the bucket.

I love the idea of a bucket list because it means that, right up to the end, you never stop trying new things or looking for new experiences. I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who loved to travel, to experience other cultures, to try new things, and encouraged us to do so as well. I’ve continued that practice into my adult life. As you can imagine, my bucket list is a long one. 

I don’t number them or have them in any particular order though. And I should mention that travel is a huge part of my list. I’ve mentioned one below, but there’s also Australia/New Zealand, Austria, Holland, Iceland, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, the Galapagos, more time in Japan, Russia, and many many other places. Still, for fun, I tried to figure out my top 5.

TOP 5 BUCKET LIST

5. Photo Safari in Kenya

I’ve wanted to go to Africa and see those amazing animals and the beautiful (and varied) topography for ages. I’d love to experience some of the (safer) cultures and try the food and be out in the quiet of the plains or see the jungles. But especially those animals. I’ve seen them in zoos, but no way is that the same.

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4. Find the Best Dessert Ever

Okay, so this is a weird one. But I LOVE dessert. I find the best one at every restaurant I visit. I figure, with all the traveling, I have many more to try, right? So far, the one to beat is the Triple Pot de Crème at Back Bistro in Folsom, CA. I’m actually not a creme brulee person, but this isn’t exactly creme brulee. It’s the creme part of vanilla custard then covered by a layer of caramel, and then dark chocolate ganache and sea salt. It is incredible.

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3. Support Myself as an Author

I love my dream of being an author, I’ve crossed so many accomplishments and goals off my bucket list over the last 10 years. More than that, I am so, so lucky that I get to pursue it full time. For now. But I won’t be able to keep this up if I can’t make it contribute to my family. It doesn’t have to be huge. I’m not looking to be the next Nora Roberts or multi-million earning writer. But an income that contributes… it’s the only way I get to keep doing this. To me, this means continuing to work on my craft and keep publishing the best works I can, and pray that the luck side of this business comes my way.

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2. Live in Estes Park, CO

I’ve wanted this as long as I can remember. Convincing my husband to retire there might take some work. Leaving friends to move would also be hard. It would be awesome if the lottery could strike and, boom, vacation home where we can stay a lot!

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1. Meet My Great Grandkids

I want to live long enough to see my kids live through major life moments–prom, high school graduation, going to college, getting married, and having children. But I’m selfish. I want to see this for my grandkids too. And to meet my great grandkids. I got to know my great grandmother until I was 12. Hearing about and imagining her life, and knowing she touched mine, is one of my favorite life experiences. I’d love to have it again, on the other side.

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Those are my top 5 (for now). What about you? What’s one your bucket list?

Will He Get Shut Down?

What happens when a practiced flirt and bad boy thinks the town good girl is hitting on him?

Here’s an excerpt from Taming the Troublemaker!

“I see,” he said without thinking. Then shook his head, having trouble focusing. All he could think about was the fact that Beth Cooper—the most prim and proper schoolmarm in town, an angel as far as most of the people in town were concerned—was hitting on him.

He ran his gaze over petite features and creamy skin, perfect even under the dim parking lot lights. Her pale blonde hair was ruffled in a way that gave her a little-girl-lost vibe he had to admit he was sort of into.

Autry’s body stirred in a reaction that neither Stella nor any other woman in that bar had engendered. Except Beth was off-limits and he had a bet to win. “Beth… I’m flattered that you’re interested—”

Her eyebrows scrunched down over those amazing eyes. “Oh, my God. I’m not hitting on you.”

He ignored the protest. She was getting shut down after all, of course pride would make her protest. “It’s definitely the most creative approach I’ve seen. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I would have taken you up on whatever it is you’re offering.”

Hands plonked down on slim hips. “Autry Aaron Hill, you’d be the last person I’d be interested in.”

“Oh, really?” He cocked his head, his customary flirtatious grin slipping into place with practiced ease. “You’ve never wondered even a tiny bit?”
Because he sure as hell had.

Her pink lips parted in a gasp. “Of course not. Listen, if you’ll just give me my purse, then we can both get going.”

Autry crossed his arms, a spark of mischief prompting him to not let that go. She might have been in the “off-limits” box but he’d also caught glances. If most any other woman had looked at him with that mix of curiosity and need, he would’ve walked over and whispered something naughty in her ear before dragging her off for fun. But Beth was too innocent, too much of a good girl to try those kinds of moves with her.

“I tell you what, Elizabeth Ann Cooper…” He deliberately mimicked her use of full name. “I will give you your purse back on one condition.”

Narrowed eyes greeted his statement. “What condition?”

READ TO FIND OUT!

Stands alone with its own HEA,  but feel free to buy all 3 in the series and get started on Saving the Sheriff and Resisting the Rancher!

Crested Butte | Spring Break 2019

Keeping up our spring break skiing vacation tradition, this year we tried out a new spot. Crested Butte, Colorado (or, as my kids like to call it… crusty butt), might be my new favorite Colorado spot. Or 2nd behind Estes Park, at least.

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This spring break as an adventure, given that five feet of snow had dumped on Crested Butte over the 2 weeks leading up to us getting there. So there was snow everywhere. Even with our easy access to mountains in California for 10 years, I’ve never seen so much snow. 

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We rented a gorgeous house that offered ski in/ski out (though that ended up being more for the advanced skiers). It took some getting used to skiing in powder conditions, especially for the kids. With spring skiing, we’re usually on super groomed, icy runs. Not this year!

Oh! ANd I got to break in my new ski boots (which I lurv, but breaking them in was a process. Lol. Yes, I did wear them all around the house for weeks leading up to it, to help. Unfortunately, I still have a nice knot where that horse kicked me in the shin last July. That happens to be right at boot height. So, not comfortable, but I was able to ski fine, so yay.

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It snowed our first three days of skiing. 3-5 inches a day, but surprisingly not super cold with it. While there the cyclone bomb hit the northeastern plains of Colorado (more up Denver way). We lucked out and just got the little bit of extra snow. And we really lucked out when our last day was beautiful blue skies and perfect weather, which also cleared the roads up nicely to drive back home to Texas (which we did in one long, long, long 16-hour haul). 

In addition to great skiing on the mountain for all levels of skiers, we also LOVED the town of Crested Butte. Lots of adorable shops and fantastic restaurants. Make sure to go into Montanayas and get the Lavender Blitz cocktail. You’ll thank me for it. 

For you family skiers out there, we really recommend Crested Butte. You’ll love it!

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New Release: Taming the Troublemaker

TAMING THE TROUBLEMAKER

THE HILLS OF TEXAS #3
One daring kiss with the playboy tempts the good girl, but can she tame him?

Autry Hill may be a cowboy to his boots, but he’s also gained quite the reputation as a charmer and playboy. His parents aren’t sure he’s ready to take the reins of the family’s prosperous Texas ranch, so they set up a challenge: No women or scandal for the next six months and the ranch house he grew up in is his. Easy peasy, Autry thinks. He’s already tired of late nights and romancing, until elementary school teacher Beth Cooper happens to cross his path. Suddenly Autry is losing his heart, his mind, and what’s left of his reputation.

Good girl teacher Beth Cooper is far too practical to fall for Autry Hill, even if she had a crush on him way back when. The man’s been breaking hearts since middle school. But when he becomes her unexpected champion and then they work together to help one of Beth’s troubled students who’s about to lose everything, she sees a different side of Autry – serious, compassionate, determined and dedicated. And that Autry is nearly impossible to resist. Does she need to?

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EXCERPT

“I tell you what, Elizabeth Ann Cooper…” He deliberately mimicked her use of full name. “I will give you your purse back on one condition.”

Narrowed eyes greeted his statement. “What condition?”

“A kiss.”

“What?” she squawked, arms flailing. “No way. It’s my purse.”

But even as she protested he could see the flush rising in her cheeks, despite such low lighting. She was definitely interested. One itty-bitty taste to satisfy his curiosity, then back to becoming the straitlaced, stand-up citizen he was determined to prove he could be.

“It’s my truck,” he shot back. “And you’ve insulted my manhood implying I’m not worthy of you.”

Her lips flattened and she shook her head. “Some things never change.”

Autry paused, though he didn’t allow his smile to slip. “What does that mean?”

“It means you had a one-track mind in high school, and years later, you obviously haven’t grown out of it.”

Damn. He’d forgotten Beth’s tendency to call him on his bullshit. Plus, he had that damn bet to consider. Regardless, he would never have made her do it. He might have a thing about teasing her, and he had to admit to kind of hoping she’d take the dare, but he’d never forced himself on a woman. Ever.

He dropped the smile entirely and turned to his truck to unlock it. “I’m just teasing you, Beth. Of course, you can have your purse.”

He grabbed a gray sack the size of a backpack, and just as heavy, from the passenger seat and handed it over to her.

“Thank you,” she said primly as she backed away from him.

Like he was a leper or his flirting might be contagious.

But then the dimples that had teased him as a youth came out to play, her eyes lighting with mischief. “I didn’t figure you for someone who gave up so easily. Guess I won this one.”

With a wiggle that had certain parts of him perking back up, she turned to her truck.

Autry stared at her back for all of two seconds, assimilating her words. Oh, hell no. This slip of a woman was not winning anything… whatever that meant.

He was around the truck to her driver’s side in a few quick strides. Beth squealed when he spun her around by the waist.

“I always win,” Autry said.

He took her lips not harshly, but firmly and chastely, the scent of something light and alluring swirling around him as she gasped.

He was tempted as sin to dip his tongue inside the warm recess of her mouth to tease hers, but he wouldn’t push it that far. With more effort than it should’ve taken, he forced himself to stop at the one peck, pulling back to gaze down into wide, bemused eyes. God, he wouldn’t mind continuing though, his body vibrating like a tuning fork.

With Beth Cooper of all people.

Then he went rigid with shock as Beth went up on tiptoe, wrapping her arms around his neck and putting the first kiss to shame as she showed him what kissing should always be like.