Friday, June 15, 2018

Wedding Weekend: First Chapter


CHAPTER ONE



Eden Brooks exited the plane and walked across Valley International Airport with her rolling suitcase trailing behind her. Stepping outside into the warm afternoon Texas air was a stark contrast to the cooler temperatures she’d left behind in Oregon. At the curb, she located the shuttle to South Padre Island.

“I’m going to the Diamond Resort,” she said to the driver, who wore his dark hair in a single ponytail.

“First time to the island?” he said over his shoulder.

“No, I came here once for spring break back in college. My old roommate, and best friend, is getting married Saturday on the beach. At sunset.” As the words left her mouth, she couldn’t help but envy the romance of it. Exchanging vows with the ocean and the setting sun in the background, how much more romantic could it get? Sophie was beyond lucky, especially because finding a good man was nearly impossible. But Sophie had found a great one in Antonio.

The drive took over an hour, which gave her plenty of time to catch her breath and relax. She hadn’t seen Sophie in a year, but they’d kept in touch on social media and through phone calls and texts. Sophie had met Antonio during their junior year at UT in Austin, and six years later, they were finally tying the knot near Sophie’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas.

“I forgot about that huge bridge,” Eden said as they approached the island with the massive structure ahead of them.

“The resort is the tallest building over there.” He pointed across the bridge.

“Oh, I see it.” The white building was easy to spot against the deep blue sky.

“It’s a popular destination. Right on the beach. Large pool with a restaurant and bar next to the water,” he said. “You’ll like it.”

“We’re all coming in today for a long weekend.” She was excited to spend time with Sophie, then witness her marriage.

“You should check out the dolphin trips or the snorkeling. There’s also a dinner cruise and a pirate ship.”

“Pirate ship?” They hadn’t seen that during spring break. Eden hoped they’d have some time to explore the island.

“Appeals to the kids.” He laughed. “Took my son there a few weeks ago.”

“Sounds interesting.” She tried to imagine what it might look like inside a pirate ship.

“We also have concerts.” He gestured with his hand. “I think the Goo Goo Dolls are here Friday Night at Fisherman Jack’s Outdoor Bar.”

“There’s a lot to do here.” Eden was sure Sophie had everything already planned out.

The shuttle bus pulled up to the hotel. “Here we are,” the driver said.

“Thank you. And thanks for the information about things to do here. I’m hoping to have some down time and relax.” Relaxing would be a welcome change to her hectic, stressful schedule back in Oregon.

“I hope you enjoy it here. Maybe you will find some romance at the wedding?” He winked.

“Uh, I don’t think so.” Eden wasn’t here to meet a man.

He handed her the suitcase. “Never discount what can happen at a weekend wedding, especially here on the island.” He said it in such a mystical way Eden had to do a double take. Was he serious? This weekend was all about Sophie. Her wedding. Her weekend.

Eden checked into her room. It was spacious and looked out over the Gulf. The salty sea air floated around her room. She kicked off her wedges and collapsed onto the bed.

A knock sounded, so she got up and opened the door.

“Sophie,” she screamed. The two friends hugged each other and took turns squealing.

“You look fabulous,” Sophie said. “What did you do to your hair?”

“It’s called bronde. Do you like it?”

“Oh, I love it. The blonde ends are so beautiful.” Sophie said, her dark brown eyes wide. “And you look like Blake Lively’s twin.”

Eden laughed. She could only wish she looked like a glamorous celebrity. “Enough about me.” She waved her hand. “You are going to be a gorgeous bride. You look so fit.”

Sophie flexed her bicep. “I’ve faithfully gone to the gym every day for a year.”

“Every day? That’s impressive. I’m happy if I ever make to the gym.” She wanted to go, but the kids she placed in homes had to take precedence over trips to the gym.

“Okay, not every single day, but close. My dress is strapless and I want to look good.” Sophie smoothed her long dark hair.

“You definitely will.” Eden gave Sophie another hug. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too. I’m so happy you’re here.” Sophie squeezed Eden.

Eden stepped back and peered at her best friend since college. “I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. You’ve been planning it forever.”

“I know, right?” Sophie chuckled. “It’s about time we finally got married.”

Feeling exhausted, Eden sat on the edge of the bed. “Did Antonio’s grandparents make it?”

“Yes.” Sophie sat in the gray upholstered chair by the window.

“I remember him talking about them. I bet he’s glad they’re here.” Dozens of memories shot through Eden’s mind.

“He is. I think his dad might show up, but who knows? I’m not going to let him ruin the weekend.” Sophie slung her legs over the arm of the chair.

“What are the plans?” Eden pulled her hair up into a messy bun on the top of her head. It felt good to relax with Sophie. It had been too long since they’d been together.

Sophie’s eyes lit up and she clasped her hands together. “Tonight, the bridal party is having dinner.”

“The rehearsal dinner?” Eden leaned back on her elbows. If she had her way, she and Sophie would stay in her room and talk all night like they used to back in school.

“Not the rehearsal dinner. It’s a casual one with the groomsmen and the bridesmaids.” Sophie gave a sly smile.

“No.” Eden shook her head.

“What? I didn’t even say anything,” Sophie said, feigning innocence, but Eden could see right through her.

“I know what’s going on in that head of yours.” Eden sat up.

With mocked indignation, Sophie said, “You do?”

“Remember, I told you—” Eden held her hand up “—I don’t want you to try to fix me up.”

“Why not?” Sophie blinked a few times.

“Because I’m not into flings.” That kind of thing wasn’t at all enticing to Eden.

Sophie pointed at her. “I know that. I’m not talking about a fling.”

“Your relationship with Antonio is awesome, but it’s rare. Definitely not the norm. After what I’ve seen with my job, I’m a little . . .”

“Cynical?” Sophie said with a tilt of her head.

“That sounds pretty harsh.” Eden paused for a moment. “Maybe doubtful. Extremely doubtful.”

“But Antonio and I have something amazing.”

“You do, but I’ve seen so many broken women and destroyed relationships, I think—”

“I get that. But you can’t give up on love.” Sophie smiled. “And Jeremy is so great. He’s sweet and fun. And so handsome. Not as handsome as Antonio, of course.” She laughed. “I just want you to find someone and be as happy as I am.”

“I think the two of you sucked all the happiness out of the atmosphere for the next several years.” 
Eden stood and walked over to her suitcase.

“Antonio is so wonderful.” Sophie gave a dramatic sigh.

Eden hefted her suitcase onto the bed and unzipped it. “Who knew the guy in your anatomy class would end up being your husband.”

“I did.” Sophie giggled. “The moment I saw him I knew. Remember?”

Eden smiled at the memory of that day when Sophie was so sure she’d found her Mr. Right. “Yeah, But I didn’t think you would really marry him.”

“It was love at first sight for me.” Sophie fanned herself.

Eden shook her head. She believed in attraction at first sight, but love was something you developed over time and through experiences. “That’s not a thing.”

“But it is. I’m proof of it.” Sophie patted her chest.

Eden wasn’t going to argue. “Well, I’m very happy for you. And I’m glad you’re getting married.”

“Me, too.” Sophie jumped to her feet. “Now let’s go to dinner.”

“Can I change my clothes? I’m not used to warmer temperatures. It was cold and drizzly when I left Portland.”

“Sure.” Sophie glanced at her phone. “Meet us down in the lobby in thirty minutes?”

“Yep,” Eden said as she opened the door for Sophie.

After Sophie left, Eden decided to take a quick shower. She put on a light floral dress and found her strappy sandals—a perfect combination for dinner on South Padre Island. She brushed through her hair, put on some lip gloss, and dabbed some perfume on her neck.

Eden took the elevator down to the lobby. When the doors opened she saw Sophie surrounded by a group of people. She walked over to the group. Sophie spotted her and slung her arm around her. 

“You look beautiful, as usual.”

Eden smiled. Sophie always made her feel good.

A man with his back to her turned around and it made Eden take a sudden breath. His bronzed skin, thick dark hair, and chocolate brown eyes made her pulse quicken. He. Was. Gorgeous.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Who's Ready for Summer?

Just like that, another school year has come and gone. I can't believe it. Time flies by so, so fast. It seems like I was just putting my first child in school and now, 26 years later, I have finished up with elementary school. Yep, that's right. 26 years of elementary school and now it's over.

I love summer break. I love to hang out with my kids, Swim. Go to the beach (I can say that now that I live in Texas). Go to splash pads. Eat ice cream and popsicles. Have BBQs. It's a great time to just have fun with the kids. This week, two of my kids and my hubby have been at camps.

Summer is full of fun. And this summer I hope to get my kids to the newly reopened (flooded after Hurricane Harvey) Barbara Bush Library regularly so we can read books. I also want to take them to the community pool so my youngest can meet kids he'll attend school with in the fall when he goes to middle school. And I want to take them to splash pads or other water activities (because everything is bigger in Texas, including the hot temperatures and the humidity).

Are you ready for summer?


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Looking for Princely Summer Reads?

Do you love to read romances that include royalty? Here are two new books, both only $.99 right now. They're both clean and wholesome sweet romances.


The Captivating Prince by Julie Keanini

A prince who won't commit, the woman who has always evaded him, and the city of love--what could go wrong?

Prince Tristan Kane has a good life. Awesome friends, supportive family, a career that keeps him on his toes, and a new woman on his arm every weekend. But when he finally secures a date with the one who has always kept him at bay, Tristan begins to question if he's been wrong about love all along.

Jewel Huber is the only woman in the world to say no to Tristan Kane. And she isn't keeping him at arm's length because she dislikes him; in fact, it's the opposite. She knows as soon as she gives in to one date, he'll be gone in the wind and she'll be nursing a broken heart.

But when their paths collide in the city of love, Jewel is swept off her feet and Tristan is left wondering what he should do--continue the way he always has or treasure the heart he's been gifted?

The second book in the sweet and wholesome Princes of Valdoria series.
 
 

Dancing with the Prince by Kennedy Larsen

The only thing Lindy wanted on her Mediterranean cruise was to enjoy the sights and get away from the memories of her ex. She brought her cousin along as a deterrent for all the men, but when he ends up sea sick and stays in the cabin, Lindy is left to her own devices. 
 
When a handsome stranger with a sexy Spanish accent runs into her one night, she’s surprised he’s not as overbearing as some of the other men she’s met so far. He asks to see her the next day she actually agrees. 
 
Carlos is on the cruise for one purpose, to convince the spoiled son of a rich investor to bring his business to Carlos’s home country of Aragonia. As the second son of the royal family, Carlos doesn’t have much time to play around, and meeting the beautiful American tourist is just a fun diversion. Yet the more time he spends with her, the more he wants to push his princely duties aside and just enjoy the fascinating woman’s company. 
 
After the news leaks out that Prince Carlos is seeing an American commoner, Lindy is shocked to learn that she’s the subject of tabloid gossip around the world. 
 
Lindy knows Prince Carlos is too far out of her league and Carlos knows he should follow the rules of his title, but are either of them brave enough to see where things could lead if they just give it a chance?

 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wedding Weekend

Here's my newest release:






Eden Brooks, a cynical social worker who’s seen far too many broken relationships, flies to South Padre Island, Texas for her best friend’s weekend wedding. Content to be the dutiful maid of honor, the last thing she expects is to meet a man—especially a good one.

Jeremy Rivera, the best man, is a cowboy-turned-software-developer from Dallas who’s been too busy building his career to worry about a relationship.

When Eden and Jeremy meet, they’re instantly drawn to each other. Unfortunately, one of the bridesmaids—who happens to be the bride’s cousin—has set her sights on Jeremy and is determined to maneuver Eden out of the way any way she can. And Jeremy doesn’t seem to mind.

Will the weekend end in a love connection between Eden and Jeremy or will it simply prove to Eden that there are no decent men out there?

You can purchase it here.

 


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring into Romance

If you enjoy reading clean romance, you might want to check into this:

Lots of great books and even a chance to win a $50 gift card. You can go here to see all the books.

This is a fantastic way to find new authors and books. Authors are always trying to find new readers who will enjoy their books.

Monday, March 19, 2018

54 Clean Romances ONLY $.99

Super, awesome SALE right now on clean romances, including my book, Grounded for Love.

After being burned by her college boyfriend, Graham, book editor Serena Johnson believes the only dependable men are the ones found between the pages of a book. Her life in San Francisco is thrown into chaos when her father suffers a heart attack, and she books a flight to her small hometown in Colorado.

Graham McAllister, now a civil engineer in Phoenix, is dating a woman who has it all—except his heart. As the best man for his brother’s wedding, Graham must fly back to Grand Junction in time for all the festivities.

When a massive snowstorm grounds all the planes in Denver, both Serena and Graham are stranded overnight. Will this storm lead to love or will it simply prove that there are no second chances?


You can purchase Grounded for Love for ONLY $.99 here.

Click Here
You can find 53 other clean, fantastic romances here. Each books is only $.99 so you can try new authors.


I hope you enjoy this sale!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Speak to My Heart is ONLY $.99

For a limited time, my sweet romance novel, Speak to My Heart, is on sale for only $.99. You can go here to purchase it or you can read it for free in Kindle Unlimited or borrow it from the Kindle Lending Library. You can also read the first chapter here.

Here's a synopsis:

Will she risk her heart again?

Since her painful break-up, Hailey Baker spends her free time hiding from her creepy neighbor and binge-watching shows on Netflix. When she receives the call that her beloved Gramps has suffered a debilitating stroke that's left him unable to speak, she's determined to help. Putting her budding career as an accountant at risk, she flies cross country from Colorado to Florida.

Peter Stafford has focused solely on his career as a speech therapist since his divorce. He loves working with his patients and finds satisfaction in helping them regain their speech. He plans to open his own practice, so he doesn't have time for a relationship. 

Once in Daytona Beach, Hailey discovers that her grandmother is neck-deep in matchmaking schemes at the retirement community, and Gran's next victim is Hailey. When Gran meets Peter, neither he nor Hailey stand a chance.  

Speak to My Heart is a sweet romantic comedy for readers who crave heart flutters, spontaneous smiles, and not-so-simple happily-ever-afters.