Shades of Love – #SOL #NewRelease #99cents

It’s an exciting day! The box set, Shades of Love, with ten different authors and ten different novels, releases today. Many of the books have never been released before and you can download the whole set for only 99 cents on Amazon or read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Enjoy!

Title: Shades of Love Box Set
Authors: Reana Malori, Suzette Riddick, J.L. Campbell, Annamaria Bazzi, Janae Keyes, Toye Lawson-Brown, P.C. Zick, Hebby Roman, Caroline Bell Foster, Stacy-Deanne
Genre: Multicultural Romance
Release Date: Novmeber 7, 2017

Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe. Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.
In the melting pot of cultures, love knows no boundaries. Immerse yourself in ten breathtaking stories.

Claiming Lana – Reana Malori 
Jake Bradford and Lana Miller are two strong-willed people who seem to be sworn enemies. That all changes in the blink of an eye when they’re thrown together for an important project. When passion simmers just under the surface, the outcome is not what either of them could have expected, but exactly what they needed.

Caliente Nights – Suzette Riddick 
Nursery school teacher Jeanette Adams and athlete Alonzo Castro are immediately attracted to each other. He is aware of his Cuban mother’s disapproval, but it’s not enough to keep him from pursuing the African American beauty.

The Blind Shot – J.L. Campbell
Kofi Danquah and Regina Chu are from different sides of the globe, but find each other in a foreign land. As their relationship goes from platonic to passionate, their families’ opposition also increases … but Kofi and Regina want what comes naturally and they won’t be denied.

When East Meets West – Annamaria Bazzi
Winter Portobello, a coed from a faith-based Italian family, falls in love with a fellow student, Samir Chamas, a Lebanese immigrant. Together, Samir and Winter must prove their love to be as strong as the hearts that bind them, despite the cultural and religious differences that threaten to destroy the Chamas family.

Would Smell As Sweet – Janae Keyes
Sick of feeling like a prisoner in her own home, Shayna moves to the small town of Cotton Springs, Texas. She puts the pieces of her life back together and finds romance, but Happily Ever After only lasts until Shayna’s stalker finds her hiding place and turns her dream into a nightmare.

Postcards from Havana – Toye-Lawson Brown
Arlene Joy never expected to win a five-day trip to Havana, Cuba. After meeting Arlene at a fiesta, Vincenté Martinez is happy he came home.

Third Base – P.C. Zick
Baseball star Tomas Vegas loses focus on his game when he meets Adriana Moretti from a tight-knit Italian family. When she falls for the handsome Puerto Rican, their families attempt to pull them apart, which only brings them closer together.

The Best Game – Hebby Roman
After years apart, Liana De Leon and Damian Escobedo meet again in their San Antonio hometown. Liana wants to escape her high-profile life, but coming home isn’t working out the way she planned. Instead of the quiet life she envisions, the city’s most eligible bachelor is set on winning her heart and making all her dreams come true. 

Small Town Boy – Caroline Bell-Foster
They were first loves, but tragedy struck before Kerry and Noah could explore where the future would take them. Years later, can the British politician and the American County singer ever re-connect?

Sometimes Money Ain’t Enough – Stacey-Deanne 
Raquel Hood has everything a woman could want; money, beauty, and an entire town under her command. But after meeting Tobias, Raquel realizes that sometimes money ain’t enough.

    
    
“Good morning, Arlene. Vince kindly invited me to tag along. It’ll only take a minute,” Josie says as she gets off the couch and scampers into the bedroom.

I sit on the couch and cross my legs, folding my hands over my knee. “How are you, Vince?”

“Good, now that I see you again.” He moves over to the couch and takes my hand in his. “Last night was not long enough for me to get to know you.”

His deep, piercing stare is doing weird things to my stomach. It’s so dark, almost as dark as his hair. The man is a walking poster of fineness. I snap back to reality. “I enjoyed myself. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for me today.”

“After we eat, the whole day is open to do whatever you want. If you like beaches, I would love to take you to the stunning coast of Playas del Este. There are beautiful beaches that I think you’ll love.”

I feel that same smile from last night returning to curl my lips. “I’d love to go exploring with you.”

Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She hopes to weave stories that pull the reader into her world and helps them to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hangout with and men who love them with everything they have. Sign up Reana’s newsletter or visit her website.
Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013 she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After. To learn more about Suzette and her books visit her website.
J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction. Visit her on the web at www.joylcampbell.com or lrd.to/JLCampbell
Annamaria Bazzi – Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories. Visit her website.
Janae Keyes – Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others. To learn more about Janae, visit her website.
Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.
P.C. Zick – Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels. Visit her website.
Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories. Visit her website or Facebook.
Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England. To learn more about Caroline please visit her website.
Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy’s books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can’t get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work. Sign up for Stacy’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/2h5Uqei

HOSTED BY:

SHADES OF LOVE – #NEW RELEASE #ROMANCE

I’m happy to announce the release of a new box set in collaboration with nine other authors. The box set may be pre-ordered now for $0.99. Release date is November 7. It is also in Kindle Unlimited so KU members can read for free!

newsletter header

Shades of Love

Love knows no boundaries and bridges the gap between creed and culture.

Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe.

Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of ten award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.

Synopsis of

CoverImage.png

1

CLAIMING LANA, Reana Malori. Sworn enemies or passionate lovers? When forced to work together, Jake and Lana find just what they need.

CALIENTE NIGHTS, Suzette Riddick. One Cuban. One African American. Will attraction win out?

THE BLIND SHOT, J.L. Campbell. Strangers in a strange land can’t help what happens naturally despite opposition to their love.

WHEN EAST MEETS WEST, Annamaria Bazzi. Italian and Lebanese cultures clash into love.

WOULD SMELL AS SWEET, Janae Keyes. A passionate thrillercan one stalker end the perfect romance?

POSTCARDS FROM HAVANA, Toye-Lawson Brown. A trip to Cuba and a return to home bring a couple to their destiny.

THIRD BASE, P.C. Zick. Puerto Rican and Italian cultures collide but can’t stop the passion.

THE BEST GAME, Hebby Roman. A return home starts the chase to make romantic dreams come true.

SMALL TOWN BOY, Caroline Bell-Foster. First loves reunite despite conflicting careers.

SOMETIMES MONEY AIN’T ENOUGH, Stacy-Deanne. A powerful woman finds out money can’t buy love.

2

Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She weaves stories that pull the reader into her world and to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hang out with and men who love them with everything they have.

WebsiteNewsletter

Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013, she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After.

Website

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.

NewsletterFacebook

Annamaria Bazzi – Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories.

Facebook

Janae Keyes – Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others.

Website

Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.

Website

P.C. Zick – Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels.

WebsiteNewsletter

Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories.

WebsiteFacebook

Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England.

Website

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy’s books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can’t get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work.

WebsiteNewsletter

Synopsis of

MARCH FORTH – A SHORT STORY

250390_2220456627215_2678058_n

With two of my big brothers – March Forth found its seed in my relationship with brother on the left.

Today is March Fourth – a date I have always adored. But in 2008, the date became marked the date when my brother died by his own hands. This short story is based on that event. However, the beauty of being an author means I can create a better world (or worse, if I choose) than reality in hopes of presenting alternate ways of viewing the world and our place in it. This short story appears in the box set Unshod along with other short stories set in the West. The box set is perma-free.

March Forth

By P.C. Zick

Eve woke from the first sound sleep she’d had in months. Silence greeted her, along with an empty spot next to her on the king-size bed.

Throwing on the robe she’d laid at the foot of the bed the night before, she walked over to the sliding doors and pulled aside the thick deep purple curtains. She viewed a snow-globe world as snow fell in large white drips obscuring the view of the mountainside she so dearly loved to see each morning. Yesterday, she spied the new green growth of tulips and crocuses—planted by the previous owners—poking through the soil in the beds surrounding the patio off her bedroom, but now snow lay an inch thick, with larger, wet flakes following one after the other. Rocky Mountain weather changed as quickly as the mood of a mercurial menopausal woman.

Despite hiding the flowers, the snow held its own beauty, which pleased her. Peace surrounded her and held her tight in its arms. She’d finally slept last night after weeks of restlessness. Or maybe it had been a year of restlessness. She had hoped that by moving away from Chicago and heading west into the mountains outside Boulder her life would improve. It did for moments that shot through her with the sheer enormity and beauty of the terrain enveloping her in a safe cocoon. But then came the nights, and the memories flooded her. She analyzed every sentence, paragraph, and action she had made through her entire life. In Eve’s analysis, she always came up short, and then somewhere between dark of night and dawn, she declared herself a failure.

As she watched the snow fall, she felt gratitude that last night she had slept, and no such declarations of a botched life assaulted her.

The day had finally arrived—March 4—and she greeted it calmly despite the ramifications of what it might reveal. Her bones told her that whatever transpired today would change her life forever, but she felt no judgement on the change. It would happen, and there was nothing to do about it.

Fifty years old, divorced, and living alone for the first time in her life, she was learning about loneliness. But this morning, Eve felt renewed with confidence that she hadn’t felt since Dan came home and made his announcement. “I’ve met someone,” he said in a clichéd regurgitation of events leading up to the moment of his confession. How unoriginal she thought now, although at the time it cut through the bone to her heart.

Wrapped in her serenity after a full night’s sleep, she walked to the antique walnut secretary in the corner of her bedroom. She knew what she needed to do before she left for the biopsy.

Eve pulled out a white sheet of stationary, a yellow sunflower imprinted on the top of the page. She frowned when she gazed at it. Her twin sister, Allie, had given it to her on their last birthday, right before the terrible fight that had cast a shadow on their relationship and from which they’d yet to recover. She always thought she and Allie had the twin connection stronger than any other twins did, but that had changed when Allie’s daughter died. Eve didn’t blame her sister for how she reacted. If anything ever happened to Carli, her daughter, she’d probably want to die. Allie lashed out at others after the accident, but Eve never dreamed the lashing would reach to her. She knew Allie resented her for being the one to deliver the news. But that’s the way it had played out, and it was just another of those memories that ran repeatedly in Eve’s head on the nights of her worst discontent.

It was a primal scream that erupted from Allie when Eve said, “Susie is dead.” Allie never forgave her for being the one to utter the words.

Pushing aside the negative thoughts, particularly on this day, she put her pen on the paper and began writing straight through to the final words. She folded the sheet in half and shoved it in the envelope before sealing it. She wrote, “Carli” across the front, and then placed the envelope in the drawer under the pull down desktop.

When she walked out to the great room of her cabin, she found her friend Sarah sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and reading a novel.

“No paper today?” Eve asked.

“The snow delayed everything this morning,” her friend said without looking up from her book. “I was about to come in there and wake you up so we could get an early start. Did you finally sleep?” Sarah raised her eyes to look at Eve.

“I did. I feel at peace this morning. I don’t know what’s going to happen today, but I have a feeling it will be something significant. It’s March Fourth after all.”

Sarah smirked. “All right, Miss Soothsayer. I thought it was March 15, the Ides of March, that held significance.”

“Nope, it’s today. Besides, what happened on the Ides of March? A murder at the hands of best friends. With friends like those …”

Sarah held up her hands to stop her. “Don’t say it, Julius Caesar. So we shall march forth into the day with our shields and swords at the ready.”

Eve laughed at her friend. They’d only known each other a few months, but they’d quickly developed a strong bond when Eve took a job as a copy editor at The Rocky Mountain News. Sarah wrote a column on gardening and landscaping in a mountain terrain, which Eve appreciated especially now that spring soon would be here, and she’d have to learn all about the flowers and plants of her new home.

Sarah had spent the night with her so she could drive her to and from the biopsy in Boulder about a half an hour from Eve’s cabin.

Allie popped into her head again, and the pain seared through her. How could her sister be her enemy? Again, she brushed those feelings into the dustpan and mentally tossed them in the trash. Visualization worked for Eve on most days. She woke at peace with herself and her life, and she wanted to go forward in harmony with whatever the day might bring.

“Now don’t freak out,” Eve began, sitting down at the table with her friend, “but I have something to tell you. You promise not to freak out?”

“I don’t make it a habit to ‘freak out’ as you so quaintly put it. So, yes, I promise if it makes you feel better. What’s going on?”

“Something beyond my control is happening today that will change my life forever,” Eve said. “I don’t know what it is, and I don’t feel good or bad about it. It just is the way it is. But things will change after the day ends.”

Sarah stared at Eve before speaking. “You’re scaring me a little, but go on. I’m listening.”

“I woke this morning after the best sleep I’ve had in weeks. I woke feeling calm and with a sense of peace that I haven’t had since first Dan and then Allie left me.”

“That’s huge. It makes me happy, so why would I freak out?”

“There’s more.” Now Eve hesitated. What she had to say sounded so final. “When I woke up, I wrote a letter to Carli. I wrote out my last wishes.”

Sarah didn’t move or speak. She simply nodded her head.

“I didn’t do it because I think I’m going to die, I did it because I realized how very alone I am in the world. It doesn’t make me as sad as it did once. But I realized Carli is it as far as my survivors go, and she has no idea what my wishes might be after I’m gone.”

“So you wrote it all down?”

“Yes, I did. I wrote it down, and I put it in a sealed envelope with her name on the front. I put it in the drawer in my secretary, and you’re the only person I’m telling about it.”

“That’s good. Carli might not understand, especially with the biopsy and all.”

Eve smiled. Carli had wanted to be the one to take her today, but Eve insisted that Carli stay in Ann Arbor where she was in her first year of college. If she needed her, she’d bring Carli home at the right time. If the test came back with bad results, then they would figure it out. She only had six weeks left in the semester, so she’d be back in Colorado soon enough.

“She doesn’t need to know about it. Only you.”

“You’re probably just spooked with finding the lump and then the doctor rushing the biopsy.”

“Maybe, but it feels like something outside of myself. I’ve been through so much this past year that cancer is the least of my problems.” She stopped talking as tears threatened. When would that stop? She felt like she’d been crying for months, and she probably had. How Sarah put up with her, she didn’t know.

“Let’s get going,” Eve said. “If I can’t drink coffee or eat anything this morning, I might as well be on the move.”

The neighbor, a retired gentleman who kept a watch out for Eve, had already plowed the driveway, but the sidewalk leading to the house was nearly a foot high. They trudged to Sarah’s SUV. Mr. Carson was out on the road with his tractor. He waved to them as he passed.

“Nice man,” Sarah said. “You lucked out with him and his wife. Some neighbors aren’t so helpful. Or if they are, they’re too helpful.”

“No, Mr. and Mrs. Carson are just right. I don’t know what I’d do without the two of them here.”

The new life she’d chosen contained hours of loneliness. There was no way she wanted the house in Evanston, Illinois, where they’d raised Carli. It was a house of deceit now, filled with memories of a husband who came home every night pretending to love her and to care about the family. All the while he’d been spending his days at work with the “someone he’d met,” another CPA who’d taken the office next to his last year. He waited to tell her until Carli had started college at the University of Michigan last fall. Talk about the empty nest. Hers had been vacated, excavated, and exhumed. There was nothing left. So she took her share of the house from Dan and bought the cabin where she’d been ever since.

Eve sent a quick text to Carli, who she knew was already at work at the coffee shop near campus, telling her she was on her way to the hospital and that Sarah would keep her posted.

“I’ll give you my phone and wallet to keep,” Eve said. “The rest of my purse can stay in the car.”

“Sounds good. It’s going to be fine today. I know it. I’m starting to think like you. Something big is going to happen today, but what it is who knows?”

Eve woke in the recovery room. The doctor had told her the size of the lump required them to do general anesthesia, and she hadn’t protested. The less she knew about how they were invading her body the better as far as she was concerned.

“There she is.” A nurse stood next to her bed fiddling with the IV stand. “The doctor should be in here in a few minutes to tell you how it went. Do you want your friend to come in now?”

“Yes, and can I have some water?” Her lips felt parched and dry as if they might crack. The nurse held up a Styrofoam cup with a straw, and she sipped.

“There’s our sleeping beauty,” Sarah said as she came into the small cubicle where Eve lay trying to wake up. “You were in surgery for quite awhile. Have you talked to the doctor?”

“Good afternoon, young lady,” Dr. Gershom said as he came around the curtain. “How are you feeling?’

“Like I slept forever.” Eve tried to sit up but didn’t get very far.

“You did fine today,” the doctor said. “But the mass was deeper than we anticipated, and it took longer.”

“Is that bad?” Eve felt as if she was swimming underwater, trying desperately to reach the top for air.

“We won’t know anything for a week or so, but we took more tissue than planned. We want to know everything we can about it before we make any decisions. My office will call you when we have the results, and then we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in and discuss the next steps.”

After the doctor left, Sarah pulled a chair up to the bed. “I called Carli when they told me you were out of surgery, but I’m sure she’ll want to hear from you as soon as you can.”

“Did you bring my phone?” Eve asked.

Sarah dug around in her purse and pulled out the cell phone, handing it to Eve.

“There’s something else, Eve.” Sarah paused. “I need to tell you something else.”

“What?”

“Allie called a few hours ago.”

“Allie? Did you talk to her?”

“No. I heard your phone ring and looked at the screen. She left a message. I didn’t think it was my place to answer the phone.”

Eve’s head swam. Why would Allie be calling her on this day, of all days, after so many months of silence?

“I’ll call Carlie first, and then I’ll listen to the message.”

After Eve assured her daughter that everything was fine and that she’d be released soon, Eve handed the phone back to Sarah.

“Go ahead and play the voice mail on speaker. I have a feeling I’m going to need you.” Eve lay her head back on the pillow and shut her eyes. She rose this morning knowing that the day would bring some type of movement to her life. She hoped the date would live up to its name, no matter what Allie had to say to her. At least, she had called.

Sarah fiddled with Eve’s phone for a minute, and then she looked at her friend. “Ready?” Eve nodded.

The voice, so similar to hers, startled Eve into opening her eyes.

Eve, it’s Allie. I woke this morning with one thought in mind. I decided today would be the day I would end it all. What do I have to live for repeats over and over in my head, keeping me from sleeping most nights. I rose and went directly to my secretary in my bedroom—you know the one, it’s just like yours—and wrote out my last wishes. When I finished, I paused wondering whose name to write on the front of the envelope. Only one name came to mind, so I wrote “Carli,” but just as I dotted the “i” on her name, my phone rang. I wouldn’t have answered except that I glanced at the screen lying next to my stationary and saw “Carli.” I knew then it was a sign from Susie—one I’ve been asking for ever since she died.

Her voice cracked at the end, and then she stopped talking. Eve’s heart did a flip flop, not knowing what was coming next. Was Allie going to kill herself? Finally, the voice started again.

So I answered. Carli was calling to tell me about your biopsy today. She said she couldn’t stand that we weren’t speaking and that it made Susie’s death even harder for her. Funny, I’ve been so lost in my own misery, I never thought that others might miss Susie, too. Carli said she thought I should know. Now I know, and it feels as if she threw a rope down into the abyss of my despair. I threw away the pills a few minutes ago.

Again, silence, but Eve felt relief course through her knowing the pills were gone. She didn’t know if Allie had hung up or not. Sarah whispered, “She’s still there.”

I’m driving west in a few minutes and should be at the cabin by tomorrow night. I hope you’ll welcome me. You are my way back.

“She’s coming.” Eve shut her eyes, and tears fell on her cheeks.

“It’s happening just like you said.” Sarah wiped the tears on her checks with the coarse tissue provided by the hospital. “Are you okay with her coming? I can always call her and tell her to wait a few days.”

“She’s already on the road. I want her to come. Besides Carli, she’s all I have.”

“And she’s your twin. You must have felt like you had an amputation after the fight.”

“I haven’t felt whole since that day she told me she hated me. It was worse than the divorce.”

“All right,” Sarah said, pulling Eve’s clothes out of the plastic bag provided by the hospital. “Let’s get you out of here. You need to get some rest so you’re ready for tomorrow night.”

Sarah spent the night with her again, just to make sure she was all right, but in the morning while they drank coffee, Eve assured her friend she was fine.

“I can stay and help you get ready, maybe make something for dinner?”

“No. I’m fine. I’ve got some soup frozen, and I always have the stuff to make our favorite dessert.”

“What’s that?”

“Chocolate sundaes with French vanilla ice cream. It’s what we always had as kids on Saturday nights.”

Sarah hugged her as she prepared to go. “You were right. Your life changed yesterday, didn’t it?”

“We’ll see.” Eve wasn’t sure how they’d ever make things right again. Too much had passed between them during those dark months of death and divorce.

“When did her daughter die? Was it before the divorce?”

Eve shook her head. “It was the week after Dan told me. Susie was coming over to the house to take me out for lunch when it happened. I was the last person she’d called before the other car crossed the median and hit her head on. They called me, and when I said I was her aunt, they told me, and I said I’d let her mother know.”

“I am so sorry, Eve. I had no idea that’s how it happened.” Sarah came to her then and held her tightly, while Eve let loose with the tears that had been her constant companion since last September. “And so you told Allie?”

“Yes, I went over to her house. Susie and she had been fighting over the past few months because Susie didn’t want to go to Northwestern. In fact, Susie didn’t want to go to college at all, and the two had been fighting over it.”

“Were Carli and Susie the same age?”

“Yes, we liked to do everything together, even have our kids. Except marriage. That’s one thing Allie never did. She didn’t marry Susie’s father. In fact, she never even told him she was pregnant. Another sore spot with Susie. Allie resented that Susie could talk to me, but she kept it concealed mostly until after the death. Allie said I’d kept them apart.”

“She was in horrible pain. I can’t imagine how she must have felt, and you were an easy scapegoat. If she had been married her husband might have taken the brunt of it.”

“Maybe.”

Eve’s mind went back to that day when Allie screamed, “I hate you.” It was the day she’d decided to move west, even though she’d only been to Colorado once. But there was something about the Rockies that drew her, and the idea of leaving Chicago and burying herself in the immense landscapes gave her hope that she could escape the pain of the divorce and of Susie’s death. She needed to mourn both. Allie felt abandoned when Eve told her she was moving. She begged her to come with her, but Allie instead lashed out at Eve. And they hadn’t spoken since. She didn’t know how they could ever get beyond all of that grief and anger.

She heard a car door slam late the next day as she stirred the soup simmering on the stove. Heart pounding and hands sweating, Eve managed to open the front door just as Allie walked up on the front porch. They stared at one another for a long time, neither one moving. And then Eve moved toward her sister as Allie also moved forward. They fell into one another’s arms, crying and laughing.

“Let’s get inside before we freeze,” Eve said, even though she didn’t want to let go of Allie ever again.

“This is lovely, Eve.” Allie stood in the middle of the great room with its vaulted ceiling and cathedral windows and knotty pine walls. “The perfect mountain retreat. That’s what you did, isn’t it? You retreated from it all.”

Eve looked at Allie, wondering if she heard resentment in her voice. She decided if it was there, she would ignore it.

“You can hang your coat on the rack in the corner. How about a glass of wine?”

Allie nodded and followed her into the kitchen area. “Smells good. What’s cooking?”

“Minestrone—just like Mom used to make.”

“Perfect.”

They took their wine to the leather couch facing the stone fireplace, sitting side by side as if the past months had never happened. Eve marveled that it all seemed so natural and right.

“Do you know when you’ll have the results back?” Allie asked.

“Maybe a week. They’ll call me and schedule an appointment.”

“I’d like to stay at least until then.”

“Good. I’d like that. Carli will be pleased, too.” Eve paused. “There’s something I want to tell you. Your message was disturbing, but it also let me know we never lost one another. Yesterday morning, I woke very clear headed but certain something was going to happen that would change my life forever. I was thinking about the date—my favorite date—March Fourth.”

“I know you’ve always said that. Why did you think yesterday would be different from every other year when you’ve said the same thing?”

“I don’t know, but it was clear to me that I needed to do something. So I rose and went to the secretary that’s just like yours, and I wrote out my last wishes.” Allie gasped. “I addressed the envelope to Carli.”

“Just as I did yesterday morning.”

They turned to one another. Eve rose and went to her bedroom. When she came back holding the envelope, Allie was unfolding an identical piece of stationary with the yellow sunflower. She placed it on the coffee table in front of the couch. Eve did the same thing with her letter.

They’d written nearly the same thing, except Eve wrote about how proud she was to be Carli’s mother. Allie wrote about Susie. But they both ended it the same way.

Tell my sister I always loved her.

“I guess we really have that twin thing down,” Allie said. “To the letter.” They both chuckled.

“Move here, Allie,” Eve pleaded with her sister. “We’ll get help for both of us so we can move beyond the grief. And we’ll work through it all together.”

“Do you mean we’ll march forth hand in hand?”

“That’s exactly what I mean. Just you and me.”

“You mean you want me to leave Chicago?”

Eve laughed. “Yes, come west, young woman. There’s something fresh here in the Rockies. It’s the place for new starts while we still remember our shared past.”

Allie nodded, and then smiled.

In one movement, as if with one body, they raised their glasses and clinked them together to seal the pact they’d reached together.

THE END

 

unshod-facebook

Click on image

 

 

WRITING ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN THE SUMMER AND BEGINNING ANEW

A Merry Mountain Christmas web low resI wrote a novel and a novella this summer. A Merry Mountain Christmas was created as the temperatures soared to near nineties every day and humidity nearly has high. I had to close my eyes and imagine what it looked like in the mountains with a soft coating of snow. It wasn’t as difficult as you might imagine.

Mountain Miracles (release date: September 13) and A Merry Mountain Christmas, Books 3 and 4 in my Smoky Mountain Romance series, gave me a unique opportunity as a writer. The Christmas book was written for the new Christmas Pets and Kisses 2 box set (release date:  October 11)CPK2-3D-transparent and had a hard deadline. Mountain Miracles was written to provide the gap between the last one, Misty Mountain, and the new one for the set. The deadline was all my own.

mountainmiraclesnewSo I began Mountain Miracles with an idea of where I wanted it to end up for A Merry Mountain Christmas. Except it didn’t go as quickly as I had anticipated. I had written three-quarters of the novel when I looked at the calendar and realized I had only a month to write the Christmas novella. So I left the work in progress and moved forward and wrote A Merry Mountain Christmas. The plots depend on one another so it was actually easier than I thought and helped me write a richer storyline for both of the books. At least I hope I accomplished that for the reader. It feels that way as the writer.

I’ll be posting more about both of these books and the box set in the coming weeks. Usually, I like to take a break between projects, but that’s not possible this year. I’m working on another Christmas novella, but I’m having trouble getting into it. I can’t say much about it because it’s for another group project and still a secret, but it’s due December 1 so I better get inspired. The first chapters are written and characters established. It will come.

Then just when I thought I’d be fine, I did something really crazy. I accepted an offer to write a new Valentine story featuring a pet for the Valentine’s Pets and Kisses box set. Due date? December 1.

I’m blessed to have so many projects. Let’s just hope my muse agrees.

Smoky Mountain Romances

Minty's Kiss draft 1_edited-1Minty’s Kiss – Kindle, B&N, Apple, Kobo, Paperback

Misty Mountain – Kindle, B&N, Apple, Kobo, PaperbackMISTY_MOUNTAIN_small

Mountain Miracles – Kindle Unlimited (Preorder, Release: September 13), Paperback

A Merry Mountain Christmas – Paperback only

Christmas Pets & Kisses (2015) – Kindle, B&N, Apple, Kobo

Christmas Pets & Kisses 2 (Release date: October 11, 2016) – Kindle, B&N, Apple, Kobo

 

FIRST GLANCE – THIRTEEN FIRSTS

NEW RELEASE – FIRST GLANCE

I’m very excited to announce the release of this box set filled with thirteen novels from thirteen different authors. Each steamy romance is the first book in a series from the individual author. It’s exciting because you might discover a new bestselling author in this set, knowing that there are more books to read by your new discovery!

Love your romance with variety? Love the joy of knowing you’re finding a brand new series with more fab books to follow?

FIRST GLANCE gives you THIRTEEN, very different, exciting series for you to fall in love with! There’s something for every taste in these THIRTEEN romances from USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors. From light paranormal, to Motorcycle Club romantic suspense, to New Adult, reunited first loves and sports and even a taste of forbidden love. First Glance has it all: sexy heroes and smart heroines in love stories to make you cheer, sigh, and beg for more.

And the best part? The whole set is only $0.99 for a limited time.

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Apple

Here’s a peek at what you’ll find in this set.

First Glance - Kimmie EasleyX Marks the Spot – Kimmie Easley – When her family comes under fire, Jolene rushes home to save the MC, only to find that her ex, Ronin, is wanted for murder. Can Jolene let go of their tortured past in order to save their future?

First Glance - Diane RinellaIt’s a Marshmallow World – Diane Rinella – Once upon a time, Darla was given a mystical gift, along with an ominous message. Now, meeting Chris puts her head in a spin. Could it be that gift from long ago holds the key to their happiness?

First Glance - Marcia JamesRacing Hearts – Marcia James  – Stock car legend, Tom “Torque” Tyler, faces a bleak future following a traumatic head injury and seizures. Determined to drag her high-school crush from his self-imposed solitude, service dog trainer, Meg Klein, and a tiny but talented seizure response dog bring Tom hope and love.

First Glance - Kelly Colllins_edited-1Just Dessert – Kelly Collins – A chance meeting, a book club, and a penchant for dessert will change everything.

 

First Glance - Abbie St. Claire - ConflictedConflicted On 5th Avenue – Abbie St. Claire – Chance made them neighbors. Chemistry made them lovers. Will fate make them a family?

 

First Glance - Michele Shriver (1)Playing for Keeps – Michele Shriver – Hockey star Colton Tremblay’s bad-boy reputation got him traded from Montreal to the expansion San Antoio Generals. As a female reporter, Maya Dominguez can’t afford distractions from the players she’s assigned to report on, but Colton is used to getting what he wants. Can he persuade Maya that this time, he is playing for keeps?

First Glance - PerfectionPerfection – J.L. Campbell – A girl, a guy, a toddler, a pesky ex. Will love triumph over adversity? Natasha and Karim have been burned a time or two, and are giving relationships a break, but their fascination with each other is stronger than their willpower. Natasha must put aside her mistrust of the opposite sex and Karim has to spill his secrets, before they explode and kill his chances with Natasha, who makes him want things he’s sworn to give up.

First Glance - Aubrey WynneA Medieval Encounter – Aubrey Wynne – Without the use of magic, court wizard Rolf must convince Melissa their love is genuine in order to lift a centuries old enchantment before time runs out.

First Glance - P.C. ZickBehind the Altar – P.C. Zick – All seems perfect in Leah’s life until tattoo artist Dean rides his Harley into her heart. Dean is drawn to Leah’s natural beauty and genuine goodness, but Leah’s engagement to Dean’s brother stands in the way. The more they fight the attraction, the harder it is to stay apart.

First Glance - Casey ClipperSilent Love – Casey Clipper – Navy SEAL vet Sean is finally ready to trade in his playboy lifestyle for a serious relationship. He thinks he’s found the perfect woman in Beth—but will her painful past cut their blossoming love short?

First Glance - Rachelle AyalaTaming Romeo – Rachelle Ayala – Evie Sanchez is recovering from heartbreak when she runs into Romeo Garcia, the boy she left behind. Now a movie star, Romeo never understood why Evie stood him up. He whisks her away on his motorcycle and reignites her love with romance and adventure. Is the fantasy real or revenge? Evie and Romeo are about to discover if their buried feelings will explode in pure delight or utter disaster.

First Glance - Susan Ann WallThe Sound of Consequence – Susan Ann Wall – When Stacie Nightingale starts her new life in Seattle, she doesn’t expect one unexpected night of passion with her new neighbor Owen Landry to change her life forever. She’ll face her own trauma and accept Owen’s sordid past to finally find happiness – and love.

First Glance - Bonnie EdwardsBody Work – Bonnie Edwards – Lisa Brady Delaney left Tyce Branton in her rearview mirror. Years later, she needs his help. But is she the girl he remembers or an independent beauty who’ll never need him again?

 

 

 

SPRING INTO ROMANCE #ROMANCEHOP

FB for hop#ROMANCEHOP GIVEAWAY!!!

Yes, you can get eight deliciously sweet romances for just 99 cents, but why stop there? Visit each of us on our Facebook pages to get even more goodies, this time for FREE!

Start by heading over to my Facebook page by clicking here to find out about my giveaways, and then join the Facebook #ROMANCEHOP to see the other fabulous gifts being offered up by the other seven authors in this set.

I’m giving away a 100% cotton tote bag (made in America) featuring a picture of a mountain home in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains because my sweet romance Misty Mountain is set in a spot just like the one this reusable bag. It’s a beautiful setting for love to bloom and grow!

TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY, share my Facebook post, then leave a comment on that post telling me where you’d like to go for a romantic getaway with your sweetie because, of course, every one of these novels stars a sweet romance.
#ROMANCEHOP GIVEAWAY!!!

You’ll want to make sure you enter the giveaway on EACH AND EVERY page (you’ll see the link to the next one on my Facebook page)–each author will tell you what you need to do to score an entry in their page’s giveaway. And don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter for your chance at the grand prize of a $50 gift card! You can also follow along with the hop by using #RomanceHop on your favorite social networks and see all the info at a glance at www.MelStorm.com/hop.

Now go get our awesome eBook deal–8 sweet romances for 99 cents. You can’t beat that!

Get it on Kindle ~ http://amzn.to/1Sc7Fse
Get it on iBooks ~ http://apple.co/1PjZqYy
Get it on Nook ~ http://bit.ly/1noPK49
Get it on Kobo ~ http://bit.ly/1nz8Wg6

This giveaway will run from March 15 to March 20. Winners will be announced on each individual page as well as on www.MelStorm.com/hop the morning of the 21st.

DISCLAIMER: Facebook giveaways are in NO way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. Information collected is NOT collected by Facebook. In signing up for this promotion, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability.

MISTY_MOUNTAIN_small

Misty Mountain  Spring in Romance

 

springintoromanceboxset copy

Author Wednesday – Uvi Poznansky

cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpg

Welcome to another edition of Author Wednesday. There are so many things to say about today’s author. She’s multi-talented, writing across genres and never letting one type define her. No wonder she came up with the idea of creating a box set of Indie Authors who also defy definitions, as do their characters. So I’ll start there, with the introduction of the At Odds with Destiny box set, which is Uvi Poznansky’s brain child from conception to birth.

Click cover to pre-order

Click cover to pre-order

She created, produced, and designed the product, all with the hopes of sharing the talents of other like-minded authors under the umbrella of one set. Full disclosure: I’m honored to have been asked by Uvi personally to join the set with my contribution of Native Lands

As impressive as that is, Uvi Poznansky, the writer is even more so. She writes historical and literary fiction, poetry, dark fantasy, and children’s books.

Poetry Collection

Poetry Collection

I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but I’m tired just thinking about all she does. So without any further introduction, I present to you the talented and gracious Uvi.

Welcome, Uvi. I know you’re doing so much right now with getting out At Odds with Destiny. What knowledge have you acquired recently that might assist other writers?

I am acquiring new knowledge every single day, doing the best I possibly can to keep up with the changing landscape of book publishing. Beyond the nitty-gritty details, the most important piece of wisdom is this: Promoting literary work is a huge undertaking, best achieved by forming alliances with other strong, talented authors. I explore different ways to do it, creating multi-author events and producing multi-author boxed sets, to reach out to a shared audience eager to hear our stories.

You’re very wise. I’m learning so many things from you. What type of research do you conduct before writing your series, The David Chronicles?DavidChronicles

I go through meticulous research, like every author worth his salt, and collect every detail about the time and the setting. But then, I choose where to take my departure from the reference material. In this series, I chose to let the character speak in modern language. This is a design decision, meant to bring the reader into the realization that this is a universal story, happening here and now, rather than an old fairy tale.

It is essential to anchor fiction in the real setting of the plot. You can do it in a myriad  of ways: visit the place, read about it, and look at art and photographs that depict it.

RisetoPowerhistoricalFor example, in my novel Rise to Power, David describes the Valley of Elah, where he will soon face his enemy. I visited this place when I was a child, and at the time it surprised me that the valley was so shallow and well, boring. I imagined that perhaps it used to have dramatically sloped walls, as befits the scene of an iconic battle. I told myself that perhaps over the generations dust has settled over it and covered the rocky slopes, hiding the drama.

Before writing the scene, I also looked at a lot of paintings in the history of art. Then I set it all aside, and wrote the scene from imagination:

“There, with their backs to me, they are: three silhouettes, drawn sharply against the gray, gloomy landscape. The horsemen in the center is the one I am watching with keen interest. He is tall, formidable, and cloaked. A ray of morning light reaches hesitantly for his crown, sets it afire, and then pulls back.

Ahead of him, the valley opens like a fresh cut. Thin, muddy streams are washing over its rocks, oozing in and out of its cracks, and bleeding into its soil. Layers upon layers of moist, fleshy earth are pouring from one end to another, then halting on a slant, about to slip off. And from down below, somewhere under the heavy mist that hides the bottom of the valley from sight, stir some unexpected sounds. 

I wish I could ignore them. For a moment I am tempted to stick my fingers in my ears—but to do so I would have to let go of my lyre. Let go I cannot, because its strings may tremble in the air. My music may betray me, I mean, it may betray the place of my hideout. 

So I go on cowering, trying to imagine silence—only to be startled once more: in place of the first birdsongs of the day, there rise the shrieks of vultures.”

Being an artist, I find my inspiration also by artwork depicting the story. In each era, the artists did not shy away from staging David in garments that belongs to their time, and surrounding him with a contemporary scene. I take my cues from them. Here, for example, is a modern painting by Shaggal, depicting David and Bathsheba. Compare it to this excerpt from the book:

And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.”

Beautiful. I know you write in a variety of styles, but is there one message you always try to convey to your readers? 

As an artist and writer, my mission is to let the characters speak to you through me. The story is happening here and now. I invite you to step into their skin, and look yourself in the mirror.

This mission has come to its height with my trilogy, The David Chronicles, because it is here that you will find yourself inhabiting a character from youth to old age. I find this amazing, and I hope you will too.

That sounds amazing and inspiring. It seems silly to ask you, but do you plan to continue writing in this particular genre? 

The classification to genres is only one method available to you to discern the subject of a book. This method can be rigid. I trust that you use it in combination with reading the book description, and taking a peek at the first few pages, which gives you a true taste of the writing style.

I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In writing all of my books, I often break the confines of the particular genre, because life as we know it–and my art, which mirrors it– constantly changes from one genre to the next. One moment is is humorous; the next, it is erotic; then, it might be a tragedy.

In art, I use different mediums, which enriches my designs: I sculpt (in bronze, clay, and paper, draw in charcoal, ink, and pencils, paint in watercolor and oils, and create animations. I love to be lured outside of my comfort zone, and I hope you do too.

Certainly I do. That’s what makes the artist grow and without that growth, there is no challenge. To me, that means nothing important can be achieved. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. You’ve given us all something to think about.

UviAbout Uvi: Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Uvi writes across a variety of genres: Apart From Love (literary fiction), Rise to Power (historical fiction), A Peek at Bathsheba (historical romance), The Edge of Revolt (historical fiction), A Favorite Son (biblical fiction), Home (poetry), Twisted (dark fantasy), and Now I Am Paper (children’s book.)

Author Links:

Blog

Art site

Twitter

Google+

Amazon page

Goodreads page

Pinterest

Book Links:

The David Chronicles ebook

The Edge of Revolt ebook

A Peek at Bathsheba  ebook print audio

Rise to Power  ebook print audio

Apart From Love  ebook print audio

Twisted ebook print audio

A Favorite Son ebook print audio

Home ebook print audio

Now I am paper print