19 May 2022

Finding Light in a Lost Year by Carin Fahr Shulusky Book Tour and Giveaway!

 

Finding Light in a Lost Year

by Carin Fahr Shulusky

May 16 – June 10, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:


Roni Wright thought she had everything; huge home, successful husband, kids, and a brilliant career. That is until the worse pandemic in 100 years swept away the shallow fa├žade of her life and she nearly lost it all.   This is the story of how a broken family navigated the most difficult year of their lives and found hope in the middle of so much loss. You will recognize many of the things that nearly broke us all as we struggled with pandemic restrictions and the new normal. But you will cheer as they work their way out of darkness into a better world.
 

Book Details

Genre: Family & Relationship, Biographical Fiction 
Published by: Fossil Creek Press 
Publication Date: May 2022 
Number of Pages: 170 
ISBN: 978-1-7362417-2-1 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 

Read an excerpt:

April 2020 – When It Rains, It Pours

On April 1, I picked up my calendar, as I did at the beginning of every month—usually to see what we had coming up and to schedule more—and started crossing off everything. I had already crossed off the March trip to Paris. Now I crossed off this month’s planned trip to the banking conference in San Francisco. I slashed through the conference in New York. And with a little more pain, I crossed off the two Broadway shows to which I had tickets. An old college girlfriend was going to go with me to one and Dan the other. Broadway closed. New York closed. All crossed off, as was the St. Louis Symphony concert to which we had tickets. Canceled. Hockey, canceled. Three birthday parties, canceled. My appointment at the nail salon, canceled. Hairdresser, canceled. Canceled, canceled, canceled. April was looking so gloomy. The only exercise I was getting was walking through one of our beautiful parks with the kids. Sometimes, we took bikes and rode a trail. But with April came gloom and rain and even that little bit of escape became impossible. Then the St. Louis County Executive closed all county parks. We were now required to wear a mask if we were out in public, especially indoors, and to stay six feet apart wherever we were. The gloom was growing daily. My life had no order. We were in free fall. On April 9, we got a big shot in the arm, as it were, when $2,400 appeared in our checking account—a gift from the U.S. government. Officially the money was part of the Economic Impact Payment, but the payments were more often called stimulus checks. We just called it salvation. Like many families, we weren’t sure how we would make ends meet. This money was a gift from heaven—or the government, depending on your point of view. By the second week of April, our school district was making an effort at learning. They asked parents to pick up “home learning packets” from the school. When I drove up to the school, someone handed me the packet for our kids’ grade levels. But when I got home, there was little explanation about the work. It was terribly disorganized and made little sense to me. Katlin wanted to learn more, and Oliver wanted to learn less. I just wanted more alcohol. Lots more. I decided hard times called for hard alcohol. Wine was OK now with lunch, but by dinner time, I needed a cocktail. I set up a place in the basement family room for the kids to study. I tried hard to make Oliver work on letters and sight words. He would work with me for maybe thirty minutes, then he’d start disrupting everything I did. He’d rip papers and run away. Meanwhile, Katlin was trying to figure out her lessons with great frustration. She didn’t know what was wanted of her, and I couldn’t figure it out either. Oliver did everything in his considerable ability to disrupt our efforts. Most sessions ended with all three of us crying. Not only was I failing at trying to teach my kids, I was failing at keeping them out of Nathan’s living room office. Every time Oliver ran away from me, he ran right into one of Nathan’s meetings. No order. No peace. No joy. --- Excerpt from Finding Light in a Lost Year by Carin Fahr Shulusky. Copyright 2022 by Carin Fahr Shulusky. Reproduced with permission from Carin Fahr Shulusky. All rights reserved.
  
Carin Fahr Shulusky
Carin Fahr Shulusky was born and raised in west St. Louis County. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she received a B.J (Bachelor of Journalism). After college she worked in advertising for GE and Monsanto. She was the first professional woman in her division of each. After 25 years in Marketing, she created her own firm, Marketing Alliance. She was president of Marketing Alliance, from 2002 – 2014. She is a past-president of the Business Marketing Association of St. Louis. Carin Fahr is married to Richard Shulusky. They have two grown children and one marvelous granddaughter. Grandma Carin has a life long love of cooking, even writing her own cookbook. In 2014 Carin retired to devote full time to writing. Her first book, In the Middle was inspired by her own battle to care for her beloved mother, Dorothy Fahr. Many of the stories Carrie Young’s mother tells her in In the Middle came from Carin’s mother. Carin is a lifelong member of Pathfinder Church in Ellisville, Missouri, where she volunteers in early childhood.

Find Carin Online:

carinshulusky.com Goodreads Instagram - @cshulusky Twitter - @shulusky Facebook
 

Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!        
This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Finding Light in a Lost Year by Carin Fahr Shulusky. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

Love You Again by Julia Kent Book Reveal! #JuliaKent #LoveYouAgain #XpressoTours @XpressoTours

 

Love You Again
Julia Kent


(Love You, Maine, #2)
Publication date: July 19th 2022
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Set in the woodsy small town of Luview, “Love You,” Maine – a tourist favorite where every day is Valentine’s Day – local police officer and single dad Luke Luview has spent the last two years making his young daughter his priority after his wife’s death. When first-love Kylie Hood comes back into town under bizarre circumstances, he learns that nothing’s a coincidence – and maybe second chances are possible after all.

If you’re looking for a fun read about first kisses, second chances, featuring a hot single dad small town police officer and his accidental nanny, set in a small town in New England, with a golden retriever named Jester, a heroine whose dream in life is to run a fairy camp, and a hero who wants to build a place where everyone belongs – then this is your book.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea, and maybe some edible glitter, and get your happy meter ready as you read the second book in the Love You, Maine series – where love isn’t just a feeling – it’s a way of life.

✓Single Dad
✓Second chance
✓Small town romance
✓Local police officer and his last-minute nanny
…and a Golden Retriever named Jester

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

She loves to hear from her readers by email at julia@jkentauthor.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, on Facebook at @jkentauthor, and on Instagram @jkentauthor. Visit her at http://jkentauthor.com

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Once Upon a Mistake by Shilpa Suraj Book Release Blitz!

 

 


There are no second chances, only missed ones...


Five years ago, an accident changed Maya's life forever. From an engaged, MBA graduate with her entire life in front of her, she'd ended up dumped, bedridden, and in enough debt to drown her and her family.
Five years ago, Yash had been looking forward to marrying the woman of his dreams. Then his father died, he lost his job and his fiancee dumped him over a text.
Neither have forgiven each other and neither has forgotten the other. When their paths cross at Il Couer, a vineyard owned by common friends, sparks fly, past hurts are stoked and present dreams are destroyed.
And that is just the beginning. As their lives get entangled, both professionally and personally, they find themselves fighting familial disapproval, professional jealousy, and a mutual attraction that threatens to burn them down.
Can Maya and Yash ever unravel their tangled past? And will the truth of their past define or destroy them? Can you build a future on a poisoned past? They're about to find out...




Read an Excerpt from Once Upon A Mistake


The door slammed behind her and he heaved a sigh of relief. Peace and quiet at last. He put on his reading glasses, opened up the book and started to read.

And then he heard her laugh. He shouldn’t, he told himself. He really shouldn’t stand up and try to see where she was or what she was doing. Maya Patgaonkar was not someone he should be looking at or looking for or any other type of looking. 

He got to his feet and walked to the balcony railing, peering out through the dusky light of early evening. He was definitely looking.

She was walking down the endlessly sloping green lawn with the guy she’d arrived with and another guy and girl. All four of them seemed to be talking at the same time, practically talking over each other. 

Her hair was loose and hung in waves down her back. She wore a loose, floral skirt with a billowing white shirt that gave her a distinctly free, bohemian look. And she still limped. 

Not a temporary thing then, this limp. Had she gotten it in the accident that had killed Vikram? Aakash’s bitter recounting of their wild night of debauchery that had ended in his brother’s death had been both sordid and distasteful. 

It had also been deeply disturbing. That had not been the girl he’d thought he was marrying. Maybe her dumping him for being a penniless loser had been a true blessing in disguise. And yet, Yash continued to stand and watch her and her friends meander along in what was clearly an aimless walk. 

Maya. The name resonated in his head. Almost as if she heard him, she turned, her gaze drawn to the house. He saw her scanning the side of the house facing them and was about to step back and out of sight when her gaze snagged on him. 

The guy who’d arrived with her, Ved, said something to her and she responded but she didn’t look away. 

The moment between them stretched into an eternity that should never have existed. His heart was thudding, a drumbeat that he didn’t want to hear but one that thrummed through his veins nevertheless. 

She took a step toward him, a miniscule movement that nobody caught but him. It broke the spell. Yash stepped back and away from the railing, consciously turning away from her. 

The few months they’d known each other had been a lasting lesson. Maya wouldn’t get another chance to play him for a fool again. 



Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.


Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter






Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran Book Tour and Giveaway!

Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran

About MSW: Killer on the Court

 

Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court 

Cozy Mystery 55th in Series Berkley (May 17, 2022) 

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages 

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593333659 

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593333655 

Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09CYHPQ54

Jessica Fletcher’s sunny beach vacation with her nephew’s family takes a dark turn in this new installment in the USA Today bestselling series.

 

Jessica is delighted when her nephew Grady invites her to spend a few days with his family in an oceanside New York bungalow. She packs her bags and heads down to the city, ready to spend some quality time with Grady, his wife, Donna, and their young son, Frank.

 

But the morning after Jessica’s arrival, Donna finds her boss dead on a tennis court, and Jessica’s dreams of a relaxing visit are quashed. Everyone in the small beachside community is a suspect, and the local authorities—headed by an old colleague of Cabot Cove sheriff Mort Metzger—have asked that no one leave town. Will Jessica be able find a killer and salvage the rest of her trip?

About the Authors

Along with Jessica Fletcher, Terrie Farley Moran co-writes the Murder She Wrote mystery series including Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court. She is the author of the Read 'Em and Eat cozy mystery series and also co-writes the Scrapbooking Mysteries with Laura Childs. Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer Awards, Moran has published numerous mystery short stories. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren.

Author Links 

Purchase Links 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

May 16 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

May 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

May 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

May 20 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

May 20 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 21 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

May 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 23 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 24 – Books Blog – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

May 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 27 – Just Another Teen Reading Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 27 – Books to the Ceiling – REVIEW

May 28 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW


Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Pura Vida by Jim Utsler Book Blitz and Giveaway! #XpressoTours⁣⁣ @XpressoTours⁣⁣ #PuraVida #JimUtsler

 

Pura Vida
Jim Utsler


Publication date: April 26th 2022
Genres: Adult, Mystery

Detroit homicide detective Jacob Miller has been accused of many things, but being smart isn’t one of them. The murder of drug dealer Willy is proof enough, but not covering it up is even worse. So why would he think that stealing a fellow inmate’s hidden fortune is any wiser, especially when an ex-mafia family head is after the same thing?

But even the stupidest people have occasional flashes of brilliance, and Jacob is no exception. After being released from prison and moving to sunny Costa Rica, he solves an international murder mystery involving the usual suspects: love, lust, and murder.

Despite that mildly brainiac feather in his cap, he still has to deal with the beef between him, his fellow inmate, and the mob boss…and the violent fallout that ensues.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

We sat around a rec room table playing gin rummy as if we were in the country club after hitting a round of eighteen. Of course, there were no beers or whiskeys or fat cigars—and we had only shot nine holes—but the feeling was much the same as when I had once gone to my sister’s club.

Pusser was at the table, and everyone—excluding me—was ribbing one another and telling off-color jokes. We drank Cokes and Sprites and ate from tiny bags of chips from the vending machine. We bet nickels instead of dollars, mainly for my benefit. When I wasn’t there, hundreds of dollars were sometimes on the table.

“So your sister,” Pusser said to me, “she’s watching out for my wife, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said, trying to count the cards as they were played, but with little success. My mind wasn’t big enough to hold that type of voluminous information: too many cards, too many colors, too many numbers. I played by the seat of my pants—and it showed. My partner—whoever would have me—and I almost always lost. That’s why I was passed around, so everybody could feel the sting.

“She better,” Pusser, who today was my card-playing partner, said. “I’ll kill her and her little dog, too.” He was joking, of course, but he felt it necessary to tell me anyway: “No, no, no. I’m just kidding. I’ll just break her legs.”

Everyone at the table—except for me—laughed. Frank Miller, former Minnesota state senator, not guilty of taking bribes from a local window manufacturer, slapped me on the back. “As long as it ain’t the kneecaps,” he said.

“Those are the worst,” Miller’s card partner, Bobby Francone, former CIO of the window company Miller hadn’t taken bribes from, said. “I was jogging one day, tripped on a curb, and—wham!— down I went, right on my fucking knee. Not even a fracture, but it hurt like hell. Still gets stiff in the cold.”

“The end of your basketball career, huh?” Miller said.

“Yeah. Tell me about it. Fuck Michael Jordan, you know. I was known as ‘Bobby the Bomber.’ I could dunk it right over that black motherfucker’s head.” The racism wasn’t all that uncommon, and of course, they all laughed again. I just played my cards, a polite smile on my face.

“Anyone ever tell you you talk too much?” Pusser asked me.

“All the time,” I said.

“That’s good, though, right? You’re the kind of guy I’d want on my side. Don’t know nothin’, don’t say nothin’. Nowadays, everyone talks too much. Whistleblowers and such. Hell, your own employees. Your staff. They all turn on you.” Miller nodded and grunted. “Ain’t that the truth.”

And he should have known because it had been one of his staff members who had blown the whistle on him, with the state attorney general and the FBI eventually getting involved. But to my surprise, neither Miller nor Francone had turned on each other. Instead, they both stood trial, hoping their respective juries would be generous. They hadn’t.

“Of course, you did talk a little bit, didn’t you?” Pusser said.

“I suppose,” I responded.

“Not that I blame you. A lifetime in a maximum-security prison might make me sing a little tune too.”

Looking down at their cards, they all nodded. “Got that right,” one of them said.

“You know, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. You only get one shot at it, right? One life to live,” Pusser said. “You gotta look out for yourself. Dog eat dog and all that, you know what I mean?”

“You got that,” Francone said.

“Yeah,” Miller echoed.

Hence why they were here—why all of us were here. We had all been looking out for ourselves. Every last one of us. Everyone in the rec room, everyone in their bunks, reading books, or watching TV, playing two-on-two on the basketball court, hitting a long ball on the golf course, whiling away time in solitary cells, taking college courses at the educational center, or enjoying conjugal visits.

We had all been looking out for ourselves.

The only thing that mattered now was how big our stashes were.


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18 May 2022

Darling Girl by Liz Michalski Review!

DARLING GIRL (Dutton; 352 pages; $26.00 Hardcover; ISBN 978-0593185636) by Liz Michalski

In this beautiful, grounded, and darkly magical modern-day reimagining of J. M. Barrie's classic, to save her daughter's life one woman must take on the infamous Peter Pan--who is not the innocent adventurer the fairy tales make him out to be . . .

Life is looking up for Holly Darling, granddaughter of Wendy--yes, that Wendy. She's running a successful skincare company; her son, Jack, is happy and healthy; and the tragedy of her past is well behind her . . . until she gets a call that her daughter, Eden, who has been in a coma for nearly a decade, has gone missing from the estate where she's been long tucked away. And, worst of all, Holly knows who must be responsible: Peter Pan, who is not only very real but more dangerous than anyone could imagine.

Eden's disappearance is a disaster for more reasons than one. She has a rare condition that causes her to age rapidly--ironic, considering her father is the boy who will never grow up--which also makes her blood incredibly valuable. It's a secret that Holly is desperate to protect, especially from Eden's half-brother, Jack, who knows nothing about his sister or the crucial role she plays in his life. Holly has no one to turn to--her mother is the only other person in the world who knows that Peter is more than a story, but she refuses to accept that he is not the hero she's always imagined. Desperate, Holly enlists the help of Christopher Cooke, a notorious ex-soldier, in the hopes of rescuing Eden before it's too late . . . or she may lose both her children.

Darling Girl brings all the magic of the classic Peter Pan story to the present, while also exploring the dark underpinnings of fairy tales, grief, aging, sacrifice, motherhood, and just how far we will go to protect those we love.


DARLING GIRL is the first novel to take Peter Pan’s story into the realm of woman’s fiction, exploring the dark underpinnings of fairy tales, grief, aging, sacrifice, motherhood, and just how far we will go to protect those we love.
This beautiful, grounded, and magical modern-day reimagining of J. M. Barrie’s classic is sure to appeal to readers of Circe by Madeline Miller, Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, and   Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

My Thoughts

Holly Darling is the granddaughter of Wendy Darling, yes that Darling as in Peter Pan. She is successful in her own right but has had a devasting past. She was happily married to Robert, but an accident takes the happiness away along with their son, twin to Jack. In another freak accident, or was it? Both her son Jack and daughter Eden fall out of a tree trying to fly. Jack is severely injured and Eden is in a coma. After 10 years, Eden disappears. How is that possible? No one knows but Holly is desperate to find her. 
In her search, she hires Christopher Cooke, an ex-soldier with his own baggage. 

When Jack goes missing also, Holly along with her mother Jane must do what they can to find the missing children. Eden is 13 but has a condition that makes her age prematurely and Jack has his own health issues. As Holly tries to find her children, she comes to the realization that Peter Pan is not who she thought he was, the stories handed down from her grandmother do not describe the Peter she has come to know. Did he take Eden and Jack? For what purpose? The ending will surprise you.

I knew of the story of Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Bell, and Neverland but this reimagination of the story is interesting, to say the least. You can't always believe what you are told as a child. Full of suspense, believable characters, and a storyline that can only be imagined. Can it?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and read it in a few sittings. A truly magical story!
I received a copy for review purposes only.





About Liz Michalski

Liz Michalski is the author of  Evenfall and a contributor to Writer Unboxed, dubbed a “best of the best” website for writers by Writer’s Digest.  DARLING GIRL is her second novel. Liz also contributed to Author in Progress, a manual for aspiring writers. A former reporter and editor, Liz now crafts articles on human interest, living, and health as a freelance writer. She lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she loves reading fairy tales and sometimes, writing them.

Visit Liz on her website and socials! 
Website:     lizmichalski.com 
Twitter:      @MichalskiLiz 
Instagram:    @lizmichalskiauthor 
Facebook:      @author.LizMichalski

Advance Praise for DARLING GIRL

“A fascinating contemporary drama which dives deeply into themes of aging, generational trauma, and the things parents are willing to do for—or to—their children...This dark, magical tale is sure to win fans.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A compelling and richly imagined twist on an old story, Liz Michalski’s     Darling Girl captured me on page one and hasn’t released me yet. An emotionally gripping demonstration that a mother’s love, when tested, can become a force of nature. I will never look at Neverland and its inhabitants the same way again.” 
—Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader

"A dark and elegant look at a story we all know well. Liz Michalski takes Peter Pan where all the old stories go, where magic is never without a cost, and pixie dust might be more powerful than you imagine.  Fantastic!" 
—Barbara O’Neal, When We Believed in Mermaids 

"A captivating question quivers at the center of the engrossing novel,     Darling Girl: What if     Peter Pan isn't just a story? While meeting the Peter Pan you never knew, reading     Darling Girl is like falling under the enchanting spell of Liz Michalski's prose. As with all true magic, there must be both the seductive darkness and the illuminating light: Michalski masterfully gives us both.     Darling Girl introduces us to the Darling family decades away from Wendy and Peter, descendants who are grappling with secrets that protect family mythology, and a boy who will never grow up. With a young girl and her fiercely protective mother at the center of a spellbinding story,     Darling Girl is powerful and captivating. Neverland and the reader will never be the same again."  
— Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author

"A dark and dazzling tale. Liz Michalski has used her own magic wand to shed light on the lengths we go to in order to preserve the myth of beauty, the myth of youth, and even the myth of fairytales themselves.” 
—    Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author

"Darling Girl is a richly written story of what it means to live in the wake of a fairy tale, and the strength and courage it takes to step out of that shadow and find your own story. Full of heartache, sacrifice, and bravery, this is a book that will linger in a reader's thoughts." 
—   Kat Howard, Alex Award-winning author of An Unkindness of Magicians

The Irish Wanders by @ogoreads Book Blitz and Giveaway! #XpressoTours⁣⁣ @XpressoTours⁣ #ShannonOGorman #TheIrishWanders


The Irish Wanders
Shannon O’Gorman


(Rose Hawthorne, #2)
Publication date: March 16th 2022
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Rose Hawthorne is a celebrity author in her early seventies, who dislikes the spotlight but has a penchant for Hermes scarfs, round violet sunglasses, and old colonial hotels.

One day, she receives a strange letter asking her to visit Newgrange, Ireland and look for something that has been hidden there for a thousand years.

She asks her granddaughter to accompany her, but she hadn’t expected Samantha to continually be posting photos of their progress on her Instagram account. An encounter with an old love and an unexpected discovery leads Rose further and further into the past, and she finds must make a hard decision about her future.

Don’t miss this second book in the Rose Hawthorne series!

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

She linked her arm around his as they walked, a natural move. She was allowed to do it. It felt right. Rose was drawn towards Bill. He was like a giant magnet pulling her and she couldn’t help but move closer to him.

They walked together, drunk and happy. She didn’t engage him in conversation. She knew the flow was right. He talked and she listened.

When they got to the next pub, he bought her another pint, and they sat down to listen to a lone fiddler. She sipped the Guinness. It was dark and warm, different from any other beer.

He’d leaned over her, and then—the kiss. The kiss came as a surprise to her. His soft lips were on hers. She could smell the beer on his breath.

After the kiss, he put his forehead against hers. They sat together, joined like that for a long time, letting the music wash over them, throbbing in time with their heartbeats.

At first, the music the fiddler played was lively, his fingers deftly danced across the strings, and a few couples got up to spin around the floor. Towards the end of his set, he played exquisite notes that washed over the pub, making the dust dance, and it rose in the air like magic. The cheering and conversation quieted down for his last song. It was a slow piece that most of them recognised. The fiddler hit the final note with such poignancy that it echoed throughout the pub. When the music stopped, the whole pub went quiet.They cleared their throats and blinked back tears, and then took a few last swallows from their pints.

“Nothing like a bit of Irish music to bring out the tears,” Bill admitted wiping an eye.

“It’s something so special,” Rose agreed with a small sniff.

And all around the pub, they raised their glasses to the fiddler and his music.

As people began to leave the pub, Rose realized that it was getting late and neither of them had eaten yet.

“Shall we eat something? Maybe grab some fish and chips?” Bill said, reading her mind.

“Perfect,” she replied in a low, quiet voice.

They bought some greasy fish and chips at a nearby takeaway. It was wrapped in brown paper and covered with the Dublin news.

Then, they walked the streets until they found a bench under the stars away from the shouts, laughter and the lights. Beside the river, they were alone. They unwrapped the greasy paper and ate the cod hungrily, stuffing the vinegar smeared fries quickly into their mouths.

“Do you want the last chip?” Bill had said softly, holding it up in his greasy fingers.

Rose raised her eyebrows and smiled. “I certainly do.”

Bill placed it gently in her mouth, looking deeply into her eyes. She kissed his fingers slowly.

Then he kissed her again. She’d clung to him and let him kiss her.

They were both tired. Bill took her hand and led her up a narrow laneway not far away.


Shannon is originally from Winnipeg, Canada but has had the great fortune to have traveled and lived in several countries. After graduating with a degree in English literature she focused on travelling for a few years and eventually found herself teaching English in Japan. After more than a decade in Japan, she returned to teach ESL in Canada and convinced her husband and daughter to join her. These days she lives in San Jose, California, and enjoys coaxing her dog to train for a Camino.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram




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The Love List @authorelanajohnson Book Blitz and Giveaway! #XpressoTours⁣ @XpressoTours⁣⁣ #elanajohnson #TheLoveList

 

The Love List
Elana Johnson


Publication date: May 17th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Beatrice Callahan loves lists. Sometimes she even makes a to-do list of things she’s already done, just to go check, check, check and feel accomplished. So it’s easy to understand why, when her divorce is finally final and her ex is all moved out, Bea takes a cool, close look at her life…and makes a list.

It’s not exactly a bucket list.

It’s a love list.

Bea loves the outdoors, so she puts visit 10 National Parks on the list.

She loves animals, and on goes get a puppy.

She loves the beach, and she adds take a dream vacation to the list, and decides to do that one first. After all she’s been through and all she’s lost, she needs time to relax, rest, and reset.

On the first day she arrives in Hilton Head Island, she meets Grant Turner, the man whose house she’s renting for her fabulous beach vacation. He’s just there to make sure she settles in properly and has enough towels.

But when Bea asks for recommendations around the island, Grant quickly becomes her tour guide and then a friend and then…more than friends.

Bea turns to her lists when things get confusing and her love list morphs once again… Can she add fall in love at age 45 to the list and check it off?

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EXCERPT:

Grant’s stomach rumbled as the line didn’t seem to dwindle at all. When he glanced at the clock, he dang near fell over. “I have to go,” he said, twisting to look at Cara like she was the boss and could dismiss him.

“No,” a woman said in a near-bark from the other side of the counter. “I need to put in my order.”

He turned and met a pair of dark blue eyes that reminded him of deeper waters off the shores of Hilton Head. The kind he’d fish in when he went out trawling with one of his friends who owed him for letting his mother stay in the best condo on the island for a weekend girls’ trip.

“Excuse me?”

“Did I hear you say I can’t get anything without a banana?” she asked, those eyes flying across the wall behind him. “They’re a really strong flavor profile.”

She wore her hair in a pixie cut, with fashionable bangs that hung in shaggy layers across the very tops of her eyebrows. In any other situation, Grant would classify her as beautiful, and if he held a drink in his hand instead of a blasted blue ballpoint pen, and if the music pumped through a tiki bar instead of wafted along the air conditioning currents in a smoothie shop, he might try to get her number.

“They’re what makes your smoothie smooth,” he said, irritation blipping through him.

“Fine,” the woman said with a sigh. She hitched her rustic, spotted-cow-purse higher on her shoulder. He did smile at that bag, wiping the gesture away quickly when she lifted her eyebrows and asked, “Are you ready to take my order?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said in true Southern-gentleman style.

“I’d like the Beach Sunrise, with half the banana.”

“No more raspberries,” Cara called just as Grant started writing. He froze and looked up at the woman.

“Uh,” he said.

“Let me guess,” she said. “I can’t have the Beach Sunrise.”

“It does have raspberries in it,” he said, and he congratulated himself that he didn’t even have to turn to look at the menu to know that. He’d enjoyed a fair few Beach Sunrises over the years, and he happened to like the raspberry, mango, and banana combination.

She emitted the sigh of the century, and Grant’s phone started buzzing at him. “Oliver,” he called down the line. “I have to go.”

Oliver burst out laughing with a customer down at the register, and Grant rolled his eyes.

“I’ll get him,” Cara said. She stopped making the smoothies and went down to Oliver. She said a couple of things, to which he leaned his head toward her, and then he looked down to Grant.

“I’ll have the Fake Sunset,” the woman with the cute hair and pretty eyes said.

Grant scratched out her order, flung the paper onto the slider, and dropped the pen. “I have to go,” he said to an approaching Oliver. “And I still don’t have my smoothie.”

“Ten minutes,” Oliver said. “I’ve got raspberries in the freezer. Can you do the register while I grab them?”

“The freezer” meant the grocery store half a mile away. Grant wasn’t stupid, nor was this the first time he’d helped Oliver in a pinch.

“How about I run and get the raspberries?” Grant asked. “Then when I get back, Cara will have my smoothie ready, and I can go.” He held his ground with the sandy-haired owner. Just because Oliver could charm scorpions didn’t mean Grant had to do his bidding. In fact, he had half a mind to leave for “the freezer” and never come back to The Mad Mango. It had certainly inspired some anger in him that afternoon—and he was in danger of being seriously late to meet his four o’clock check-in.

His phone hadn’t alerted him to her proximity, however, so he might be okay. Oliver didn’t need to know that, and Grant glared at his friend.

The woman who’d stood a foot or two down the counter listening stepped back toward them. She clearly wasn’t super happy. “Are you telling me I can have the Beach Sunrise?” she asked. “You just have to grab the raspberries out of the freezer?”

“Yes,” Oliver said at the same time Grant said, “No.”

Grant made an executive decision. “I’ll go grab the raspberries,” he said, walking in the wrong direction to get them from the freezer. “I can’t ring these people up.” He didn’t look back as he stepped away.

“If you can get raspberries,” the pixied woman said. “I want the Beach Sunrise.”

“Lady,” Grant said, cutting her a glare out of the corner of her eye. “I don’t work here. Let it go.”

A blender started making a horrible chugging noise, then metal on metal, all within a single second.

“Watch out,” Cara called from down where she’d just scooped frozen peaches into a blender cup.

“Watch out?” Grant swung his attention from the blonde woman with the stormy eyes to the counter that ran along the length of the back wall. The lid blew off the top of the blender in that moment, and all Grant had time to do was throw his hands up in front of his face and pray.

He entered some weird place where noise and feeling didn’t exist. He sensed them happening around him, but for some reason, they didn’t affect him. The weird sensation didn’t last long, and then everything came rushing at him at double-speed.

Cold seeped through his shirt and made his skin ripple with gooseflesh. More than one person shouted, and he could pick out Oliver’s voice saying to get some napkins and then for Cara to kill the power to the blenders.

The soul-wrenching sound of that metal on metal that said the blender bottle wasn’t seated with the motor rotor grated against his nerves, and then it blissfully ended.

“I’m so sorry,” Oliver said, but he wasn’t talking to Grant. He’d somehow gotten on the other side of the counter, and Grant wouldn’t put it past him to have vaulted the stupid thing, because the person he’d just apologized to?

The beautiful blonde…who now had Fake Sunrise dripping down the side of her neck.

USA Today bestseller Elana Johnson writes adult contemporary beach romance. She is the author of over 130 books across two names, and there's nothing better than sun, sand, and swoon-worthy kisses! Unless it's a sweet-and-sexy cowboy - read those under her pen name of Liz Isaacson. Learn more about her sweet beach romances at www.elanajohnson.com. Join her texting group by sending the word SAND to 474747 and get exclusive sales, freebies, and more.

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