31 December 2015

Twelve Days in December (A Hearthfire Romance) by Michele Paige Holmes

Twelve Days in December (A Hearthfire Romance)
by Michele Paige Holmes.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Regency, Novella, Clean Read.
Publication: December 9th 2015 by Mirror Press.
A Christmas Novella from the bestselling Hearthfire Romance series by Michele Paige Holmes:

Five months isn’t enough time to grieve the death of her husband and marry again, but when the unexpected opportunity to take her sister’s place as the bride of wealthy New York businessman, William Vancer, presents itself, twenty-four year-old Charlotte Holbrook agrees. Their marriage of convenience will provide a secure future for her son, while William will be able to claim the inheritance he needs to expand his company westward.

To begin their perfect and perfectly safe arrangement, William allots the last twelve days in December to become acquainted with his new family—a task more easily accomplished than he had imagined. For in Charlotte he finds a tender heart and companion, while stepping into the role of father to her son, brings William a great measure of joy as well. Before the twelve days have passed, he finds himself wishing their marriage of convenience could be something much more.

For Charlotte, every day with William is one of overwhelming gratitude, as he anticipates and provides for her needs, as well as the fondest desires of her heart. More than material comforts, William offers friendship as well, and a loving concern that Charlotte has gone too long without. Guilt ridden, she struggles with her growing attraction and wonders how she can ever remain loyal to her first husband, while allowing herself to love William as he deserves.

Reviewed by Kelly.

12 days of December was really a sweet and quick read. The blurb of the book pretty much sums it up nicely.

William has been jilted four times before getting to the altar. This last time with Charlotte’s sister. At the last minute, Charlotte takes her sister’s place. William worries that before the wedding can take place in the two hours that this switch occurred, Charlotte will run and leave him. But Charlotte marries him to provide for her son.

Charlotte also has a tender heart and so does William which makes for the perfect match. Charlotte feels guilty at marrying so soon after her husband died but fears there might never be another chance.

So as this marriage of convenience starts, they both learn of the other with their 12 days after their marriage of his vacation for their honeymoon at home with Charlotte’s son. They both learn more of the other and both have big hearts so it is easy to see how they would form a bond and find that they care deeply for the other.

The words go swiftly in this book leaving me wanting more and feeling a sigh of contentment coming from me when I finished.

Michele Paige Holmes spent her childhood and youth in Arizona and northern California, often curled up with a good book instead of out enjoying the sunshine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education, and found it an excellent major in which to indulge her love of children’s literature.
Her first novel, Counting Stars (Covenant Communications 2007), won the 2007 Whitney Award for best romance. Her companion novel, a romantic suspense titled, All the Stars in Heaven (Covenant 2009), was a Whitney finalist, as was her first historical romance, Captive Heart (Covenant 2011). My Lucky Stars (Covenant 2012) completed the Stars series.
After having a novella published in A Timeless Romance Anthology European Collection (Mirror Press, 2013), Michele decided to focus on historical romance and began Hearthfire Historicals, with the debut novel Saving Grace. A companion novella, Loving Helen will be released February 2015.
Michele has been a member of the same critique group for over fourteen years and feels privileged to meet with fellow authors Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, LuAnn Staheli, Sarah M. Eden, J. Scott Savage, and Robison Wells. She has been a member of RWA and URWA, LDStorymakers, and The League of Utah Writers. Michele enjoys both attending and teaching at conferences.
When not reading or writing romance, Michele is busy with her full time job as a wife and mother. She and her husband live in Utah with their five high maintenance children and a Shitzu that resembles a teddy bear, in a house with a wonderful view of the mountains. You can find Michele on the web at michelepaigeholmes.com and on Facebook and twitter .

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

30 December 2015

Hey! We are still here!

We are still here but just spending more time with the family during the holiday then posting. We will be back to posting at warp speed next week! There are still some posts this week and giveaways going on and coming this weekend.


29 December 2015

Release Day & Giveaway: The Undoing by Averil Dean

The Undoing
by Averil Dean.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller, Contemporary, Mystery.
Publication: December 29th 2015 by Mira .
On a bitter January evening, three people are found murdered in the isolated Blackbird hotel.

Best friends since childhood, Eric, Rory and Celia have always been inseparable. Together they've coped with broken homes and damaged families, clinging to each other as they've navigated their tenuous lives. Their bond is potent and passionate—and its intensity can be volatile.

When the trio decides to follow Celia's dream of buying and renovating the Blackbird, a dilapidated hotel that sits on the perilous cliffs of Jawbone Ridge, new jealousies arise and long-held suspicions start to unravel their relationship. Soon they find themselves pushed to the breaking point, where trust becomes doubt, longing becomes obsession, and someone will commit the ultimate betrayal.

An unflinching story of ambition, desire and envy, The Undoing traces the events leading to that fateful night, revealing the intimate connections, dark secrets and terrible lies that wove them together—and tore them apart.

"Beautifully imagined and beautifully written, hypnotically suspenseful and truly chilling ... this is a very superior thriller."
–#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

"Smart, gripping, and thoroughly absorbing. Dean's The Undoing had my brain twisted for hours."
–New York Times bestselling author Chelsea Cain

"Averil Dean's The Undoing is a tense, suspenseful tale that pulls the reader down a twisted path to the spine-tingling conclusion."
– New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

“Dark and haunting…a beautifully disturbing character study. And the writing itself – this isn’t simply good prose. The words are poetic and painful and unforgettable. The Undoing is a superb novel. Dean’s career as a suspense writer is going to be great fun to watch.”
– New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Averil Dean was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She left school at sixteen and went on to sell donuts, goldfish, and power tools before answering the call of the cubicle, where she spent the next twenty years building up her tolerance for burnt coffee and the dot-matrix printer. She left this dream life in 2012 when she moved with her husband and the youngest of their three kids to Lacey, Washington, and now devotes her time to writing, photography, and long walks in the forest with her little dog, Izzy.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

28 December 2015

Blog Tour: Sweet Talkin' Cowboy (Montana Hearts #2) by Darlene Panzera

Sweet Talkin' Cowboy (Montana Hearts #2)
by Darlene Panzera.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Western Romance.
Publication: November 15 2015 by Avon Impulse.
Darlene Panzera continues her heartwarming Western series with a roughed-up cowboy, the feisty girl next door, and the deal that brings them together

If it wasn’t for an injury to his leg, Luke Collins would be riding rodeo broncos all day, every day. Until he heals, he’s determined to help his family’s guest ranch bring in money any way he can. But when a cranky neighbor gets in the way of his goal, Luke turns to the only person he knows can help: the gorgeous, rodeo-barrel-racing spitfire next door.

It’s no secret: Sammy Jo’s father is a pain in the neck. But if anyone can persuade him, it’s her. So when Luke asks for help, Sammy Jo is more than willing to make a deal with the handsome cowboy. The cost? He’s gotta get back up on that horse—with Sammy Jo’s help, of course.

As teamwork reveals a deeper connection, Luke finds himself falling for the beautiful girl next door. But to win her heart? He’ll just have to do whatever it takes.

Reviewed by Kelly.

This is the second book in the Montana Hearts series. I loved the first book and looked forward to the second. This book is about Luke. He was injured while in the military. We don’t know what happened to him at first and slowly things are revealed throughout the book.

Sammy Jo is Luke’s next door neighbor. She has her eyes set on Luke and wants him to love her in return. But Luke has his pride and wants his leg to get better before he thinks about any girl. Sammy Jo has a way of changing his mind though. I like that girl. She is all sassy and business and no slacker. She gives back to others and helps her neighbors. Her dad is another story. As in the last book, her dad is a mean dude and doesn’t like the neighbors, the Collins’.

Meanwhile, someone is trying to sabotage the Collins ranch and the Collins’ ranch is getting close to having to sell their land if they can’t find those responsible. Luke feels less than adequate because he requires a cane to get around and doesn’t move as fast. Sammy Jo works with kids and horses and has access to a horse that bows down for people to easily get down. She teaches Luke’s horse to do the same. Luke again lets his pride get in the way of working with it.

The story has a lot of action and a lot of who dun nit. It seems everyone is suspect. And things always somehow point back to Sammy Jo’s dad. He also is doing his best to keep Sammy Jo and Luke apart from a relationship.

I enjoyed how family was big in this series. They all help out and kids are adored. Everyone knows just about everyone too! There are always the few crabby ones in town that you want to avoid.

Chapter 1
A loud scuffle sounded from within the cabin, followed by a thud, as if something had bumped against the interior wall. Luke Collins stopped his trek down the dirt path in front to listen and wondered who or what was inside. The two unfinished cabins at the end of the row on his family's guest ranch were supposed to be empty.
He glanced down at his two-and-a-half-year-old niece and tightened his hold on her small hand.
"Onkle Uke, what's that?"
"What's what?" Luke asked, keeping his tone light to hide his alarm.
Another thud creaked the woodwork beside them.
"That," Meghan said, her blue eyes wide.
Luke's gut tightened as he noticed the front door had been left ajar. "Could be a squirrel," he told her. Then he remembered the other creature they'd found in a cabin the month before and forced a smile. "Or a skunk."
"Pee-yew!" Meghan said, scrunching up her nose.
Luke nodded. "Yes, skunks smell pee-yew. Stand back while I check and see."
The first of the two unfinished cabins had been framed, roofed, and sheeted with plywood; nearly complete. He stepped onto the wooden porch and adjusting his weight to his good foot, pushed the door in with the tip of his cane. Although he'd never dreamed he'd be using an old-man stick while still in his twenties, the cane did come in handy from time to time and provided him with a ready weapon—if ever he should need one.
The hinges on the door were new and didn't screech like some of the older cabins when opened. Luke waited a second to see if anything would run out. Nothing did, but another bump sounded on the inside wall, letting him know something was in there.
Something a whole lot larger than the creatures he'd mentioned to his niece.
A shot of adrenaline coursed through his veins and glancing over his shoulder, he told Meghan, "Go over to the garden and stay with your great-grandma for a moment."
He watched until the toddler had joined the eighty-year-old white haired woman a safe distance away. The day before, a few of the guests at Collins Country Cabins had reported seeing two men in black ski masks looking through their window while they were undressing. What if the peeping toms were holing up in this unfinished cabin?
Luke pressed himself against the outside wall and strained his ears to listen, but all was silent. Then, despite the limp from his left leg, he used the stealth he'd maintained from his past military training to move inside.
His first glance around the rough interior revealed a man's jacket lying on the floor. The savory scent of pepperoni pizza permeated the air. He heard a soft murmur of voices and spun toward his right, his cane raised high, ready to strike. And standing not ten feet away from him there was indeed a man...with his arms around his older sister.
Bree jumped away from her fiancé, Ryan Tanner, with a start. "Luke! What are you doing here?"
"My job," he said, shooting them each a grin as he lowered the cane. "Which is more than I can say for the two of you, unless you've added kissing to your list of ranch duties."
Ryan chuckled and wrapped an arm around Bree's shoulders. "Absolutely. No cowboy can work at peak performance without a few stolen kisses."
"If you say so," Luke said, unconvinced.
"I worked all morning on the finances and future bookings," Bree informed him. "And Ryan doesn't have to lead the mini round-up until tonight."
Meghan peeked her blond, double-pony-tailed head through the doorway. "No pee-yew?"
"No skunk," Luke assured her. "Just Aunt Bree and Cowboy Ryan."
"Looks like Delaney has you working hard," Bree teased, referring to their younger sister. "She's got you baby-sitting?"
Luke picked Meghan up with one arm and lifted her onto his shoulders. "Del's getting ready to take a few guests on a trail ride, and Ma, Dad, and Grandma plan to take a trip into town, so Meghan's gonna watch me work. I need to finish siding this cabin and continue framing the next."
Bree gave him an earnest look. "We need the cabins finished before the Hamilton wedding in August."
"Don't I know it." His family was depending on his carpentry skills to get the job done and reminded him at every turn.
Luke couldn't blame them. As co-owners of Collins Country Cabins, they each needed the large amount of money the wedding with its 100-person guest list would bring in. Especially after their previous ranch managers fled at the beginning of the summer season with most of their cash. Their father had trusted Sue and Wade Randall, but when a fall from his horse landed him in the hospital, the couple used the opportunity to embezzle as much as they could.
"When are you going to start planning your own wedding?" Luke asked, trying to take the focus off himself.
Bree glanced at Ryan and smiled. "Sammy Jo agreed to help me plan an engagement party set for the end of next month, but the actual wedding won't be for another year."
Ryan nodded. "I tried to convince her to marry me now, but she says she needs time to plan out all the details."
"I just want it to be perfect," Bree said, her cheeks coloring. "And I'm hoping the Hamilton wedding will give me some good ideas. You know, I thought we could decorate all the guest cabins with white garlands and..." Bree's voice trailed off and Luke watched her gaze drift toward his cane. "Of course I'll do all the decorating. I don't expect you to have to get up on a ladder, Luke. In fact, why don't you let Ryan and I help you right now?"
Luke stiffened. "Nope. I've got this. No offense, Bree, but you don't know the first thing about construction."
"Well, then, why don't you let me watch Meghan," she persisted, "so she doesn't get in your way and—"
"Trip me?" Luke frowned. "No, I promised little Meggie that she and I would spend the afternoon together."
Bree pursed her lips and her gaze drifted toward his cane again. "But it would be easier if—"
He shook his head. "The days are longer now that it's the tail-end of June. I'll get it done," he promised.
Without anyone taking pity on me.
He knew his sister didn't mean to look at him like that, but he and his siblings hadn't seen each other for close to a year before they returned to Fox Creek to help out on their family's Montana guest ranch six weeks before. And up till then, he'd kept his injury to himself.
They still weren't used to the idea he needed a cane to get around, but then again, neither was he. The sooner he got the money for the knee surgery, the better, except...he cringed every time he thought of being knocked out for the procedure.
Greg Quinn, one of his friends in the army, survived a horrendous helicopter crash only to die twenty-four hours later due to complications from the meds used to put him to sleep prior to surgery to remove a damaged kidney.
Luke swung Meghan off his shoulders and in one swift move, set her back on her feet. "Like I said, I've got it handled."
"Okay, then," Bree said, her voice still hesitant. A second later she smiled. "If you do need help, you know where you can find us."
"Yes, I do." Luke glanced down at his niece. "We'll leave them be and work on the other cabin," he told the blond-haired cutie. "The other one's more fun anyway."
Back outside, Meghan giggled as she ran toward the open slatted two-by-fours framing up the walls of the cabin next door. "You can't catch me!"
Luke hobbled along with the help of his cane to chase after the child, but his mind remained back with Ryan and Bree.
He was happy for them. He was. They'd all grown up together and Ryan Tanner was a good man. With money. His family owned the Triple T cattle ranch, largest in Fox Creek, maybe largest in all of Gallatin County.
But only six weeks had passed since their father had been injured in a fall from his horse and Luke, Bree, and Delaney had come home. Only six weeks since their grandmother offered them each part of the ranch profits if they agreed to stay. Six weeks since Bree and Ryan had reunited after years of being apart—long enough for Ryan to have a seven-year-old son.
And now, as of last night, they were engaged. How crazy was that?
There was no way he'd ever get engaged to someone after so little time together. At least they were planning to wait a year before going through with the actual wedding. Bree said she needed time to plan but he hoped it also gave her enough time to make sure she was doing the right thing.
Of course, he had to admit she and Ryan seemed meant for each other. He glanced down at his leg. Maybe after he saved enough money and had the surgery he needed to carry his weight, he'd consider dating again. But not before then. Not until he was whole. The last thing he needed was for a country cowgirl to remind him with every soulful glance that he was damaged goods.
And not the hair-raising, high-flying, bronco-bustin' cowboy he used to be.

DARLENE PANZERA writes sweet, fun-loving romance and is a member of the Romance Writers of America’s Greater Seattle chapter. Her career launched when her novella “The Bet” was picked by Avon Books and New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber to be published within Debbie’s own novel, Family Affair. Darlene says, “I love writing stories that help inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams.”

Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene is now a resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her family and her two horses, and loves camping, hiking, photography, and lazy days at the lake.

Join her on Facebook or at www.darlenepanzera.com

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

25 December 2015

24 December 2015

Heir to Edenbrooke (A Proper Romance) by Julianne Donaldson

Heir to Edenbrooke (A Proper Romance)
by Julianne Donaldson.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Proper Romance, Novella.
Source: Purchased.
Publication: November 17th 2015 by Shadow Mountain.
Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.

Reviewed by Kelly.

This is a really really quick read and just made me fall more in love with the characters of the story. It is Philip’s Point of View up to his first encounter with Marianne.

I really really want more from this author!!!

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing. She writes historical romance when she is not busy with her four young children and husband. Edenbrooke is her first novel.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

23 December 2015

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Noel: A Blue Collar Christmas (Blue Collar #1.5) by J.C. Valentine

Noel: A Blue Collar Christmas (Blue Collar #1.5)
by J.C. Valentine.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Novella.
Publication: December 23, 2015.
E.R. nurse Noel Walker knows a thing or two about trauma, but when Officer Hunter Davis ends up as one of her patients, she might be the one in need of a gurney. Despite her attraction, Noel maintains a firm ‘no patients’ policy when it comes to dating, but as a man of the law, Hunter lives by a policy of his own: When he sets his sights on a target, he doesn’t give up until he slaps the cuffs on good and tight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn't sorry.

J.C. earned her own happily ever after when she married her high school sweetheart. Living in the Northwest, they have three amazing children and far too many pets and spend much of their free time together enjoying movies or the outdoors. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor's in English and when she isn't writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.

Sign up for J.C.'s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

22 December 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Roman's Holiday by Susan Aylworth

Follow the Whole Tour HERE

Roman's Holiday
by Susan Aylworth.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance.
Publication: November 16th 2015 by Smashwords Edition.
Four years after Roman Kincaid was catapulted into stardom as a country-western singer and A-list movie star, he is burned out: exhausted by a grueling schedule, drained by the ceaseless demands of producers and managers, weary of meeting the needs of others at the expense of his own. Leaving a sold-out show in Phoenix, he rents a car and drives north and east, landing in the Painted Desert town of Rainbow Rock.
Nearly three years after leaving her old life behind, Lottie Beale is feeding people and baking pies, managing the Kachina Café and tending secrets of her own. When circumstances conspire to give two attractive people some time alone together amid the world-class vistas of the Four Corners, they discover more than either had bargained for.

Lottie broke in. “So? What now? You know my secret identity and I know yours. Shall we just go our own ways—no harm, no foul?”
He considered that. “I’m not sure. I mean, what did Batman and Catwoman do when they discovered each other’s secret identities?”
Lottie wrinkled her nose. “Try to kill each other?”
“Um, you’re right. Bad example. So whaddya think we should do?” A few interesting ideas had already occurred to Roman, but, for the moment at least, he chose to keep those to himself. “Are you thinking of mutually assured destruction? You tell my secret, I tell yours?”
“I don’t know,” Lottie said, “I think we can do better than that.”
“What then?”
“Hmmm…” She was giving him a different look now—speculative, perhaps, even conspiratorial. “It depends.”

Blog Tour Giveaway - $25 Amazon Gift Card or $25 in Paypal Cash

Ends 1/21/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Susan Aylworth started her first book when she was nine. “It was called Buff, The Proud Stallion. I wrote eight whole pages.” For her fifth grade career day, she stated her ambition to become “a rich and famous author.” Decades later, she is pleased to have achieved the ‘author’ part of that goal. A former university professor, she enjoys researching backgrounds and careers for her novels. “It’s one way to live many lives at once.” She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and two spoiled cats.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Book Blitz & Giveaway: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light
by Estelle Laure.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult.
Publication: December 22nd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers.
"A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.”—Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight Can the best thing happen at the worst time? Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

When Wrenny and I roll up the hill to Eden’s house in Mom’s ancient Corolla, Digby and his dad, John, are outside playing basketball, and I want to get in the house as fast as possible,
because otherwise I might be trapped here all day, staring. I get a little twinge of something seeing a dad and his kid playing ball like dads and kids are supposed to. That’s a real
thing, and my hand wants to cover Wren’s face so she can’t see all that she is missing.
Which reminds me. “Wren.”
“Yeah?” She’s wiping at her shirt, reading a book on her lap, and she’s a little bit filthy, her hair greasy and knotty in spite of my efforts this morning. At some point the braids came out, and she’s reverted to wild.
“You know how Mom hasn’t been around lately?”
She stops. Tightens. “Yeah,” she says.
“Well, we don’t want anyone to know about that, okay?
Even Janie and Eden and Digby and John.”
“But Mom’s on vacation. She’s getting her head together. She’s coming back.”
“Okay, yes,” I say, “but still. We don’t want to tell anyone, because they might not understand that. They might get the wrong idea.”
“Like that she left us permanently?” There is so much more going on inside that Wrenny-head than I can ever know.
“Maybe, or at least for longer than she was supposed to.” I reach for the handle to the door because I can’t look at her. “Someone might think that.”
“She didn’t, though,” she says. “She’s Mom.”
“Of course she didn’t.” Lie.
“So who cares what anyone thinks?”
“Wren, just don’t, okay?”
“Some things are private.” I open the door, then lean back across and wipe uselessly at her shirt with my thumb. “Like Mom being on vacation. So, okay?”
“I said okay, okay?” She gets out and waits, stares at me like I’m the most aggravating person on earth. “Hey, Lu?”
“Yeah?” I say, bracing myself for what’s next.
“Your mama’s so fat, she left the house in high heels and came back in flip-flops.”
I would tell her that I hate her new obsession with fat jokes, but I’m not in the mood for any dawdling, so I half laugh and get moving. I want to get inside and quick because there’s also the other thing. And by “other” I mean what makes me sweat just standing here. And by “thing” I mean Digby, who I have known since I was seven but who lately makes a fumbling moronic moron out of me, a full-on halfwit. Ask me my name when I’m in his presence and I’m not likely to be able to tell you. I’d probably just say, “Lllll . . . lllllllu . . .” and you’d have to catch the drool running down my chin.
I know. It’s not at all attractive.
But really. Tall, sweaty, and not wearing a shirt, so the muscles are all right there for the watching. He doesn’t exactly glisten, on account of the fact that he’s whiter than white, that he tans by getting freckles so he’s covered in them now after a whole summer outside. But seeing his hair all plastered to his forehead, his body so long and lean, looping around his dad to get the ball into the hoop, I want to fall out of the car and onto my knees in the driveway, say Lord have mercy, hallelujah, write sonnets and paint him, and worship that one little curve where his neck meets his shoulder that is just so, so perfect.
He is beautiful.
Which is why when he says hi as I pass him, I barely raise a pinky in response. There are two main problems here, aside from the fact that he is Eden’s twin and that’s all kinds of weird.
One, he’s had the same girlfriend since the dawn of time. They’re pinned, she wears his jacket, their marriage certificate is practically already signed. Angels bless their freakin’ union. And two, if I ever did get a chance with him, like if he ever kissed me or something, I would die of implosion. I know I sound like a twelve-year-old mooning over some celebrity, and not the extremely self-possessed woman-tobe that I actually am, but something about him makes me lose my mind. Something about the way he moves, about his himness — it shatters me all the way down. So I hope he never does kiss me. That would be nothing but a disaster. No one needs to see me fall apart like that. Least of all him.
Actually, maybe least of all me.

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a hardcover of THIS RAGING LIGHT and a bottle of Essie Nail Polish that matched the book cover. US Only.
Ends on December 31st at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook