I love second chance love stories. My all time favorite is Persuasion, by Jane Austen. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to them, except I love the idea of a soulmate, and that even problems and time can’t prevent that love from existing.
On September 27, 2016, my homage to second chance at love hits bookstores. It tells the story of Mitch McKenna (Lexie’s brother from Drawn to Her) and Sydney Preston, who in college thought they had their lives all planned out, but it all came apart. Ten years later, they meet again, and while the attraction and longing is there, Mitch isn’t about to let his heart be broken again.
Stay tuned for excerpts, advanced reviews, and launch day plans that will include fun and freebies!
Meant to Be: Southern Heat Book Two
Charming and sexy, detective Mitch McKenna lets women into his bed—not into his heart. When his first love left him in a lurch, crushing his soul, Mitch swore off relationships and love. After all, any woman who chooses what her parents want over what she wants is not worth fighting for.
Or is she?
Successful New York doctor, Sydney Preston left the only man she ever loved to follow the path that her parents paved for her. When a tragic incident at the hospital threatens her life, Sydney moves to Virginia to rekindle the spark with her ex-fiancé.
But Mitch isn’t interested in reigniting the flame that fizzled out long ago. Will they both allow resentments and misunderstanding spoil their chance of discovering what was meant to be?
Meant to Be is available for pre-order at all your favorite online retailers:
Haven’t read Drawn to Her: Southern Heat Book One?
You don’t have to read Drawn to Her in order to follow Meant to Be, but you’ll be introduced to all the characters, and enjoy a fun, southern romance if you do. Learn more and read an excerpt of Drawn to Her.
It’s here! Drawn to Her, book one in the Southern Heat Series is finally available.
To celebrate, there’s a ton of stuff going on including a Kindle giveaway, free ebooks with every order (and pre-order), fun activities, blog tours and much more. Check out all the fun and activities in store today:
FREE ebooks with every purchase of Drawn to Her. EVERYONE who buys a copy (or pre-ordered) of Drawn to Her can also pick up the following for free:
How to Speak Southern – A fun and informative guide to the south to compliment some of the southernisms in Drawn to Her.
Worth the Risk – Delecoeur Adventure Book One
Endangered – Delecoeur Mystery Book Two
On the Rebound – Excerpt of Jim Cangany’s wonderful romance
Win a Kindle, plus other great prizes, meet and mingle with other authors and have fun at the Drawn to Her Facebook party. From 11 am to 7 pm eastern standard time, visit the Drawn to Her release party on Facebook to join in on all the fun, and enter to win cool stuff, including a Kindle!
SweetHartes can also win a new Kindle Fire, Amazon giftcards, books and other cool stuff. If you’re not a SweetHart, you can learn about this FREEexclusive group here, and then join the SweetHarte group at Facebook. You’ll find details about contests, some cool free stuff and much more.
Advanced reviews are positive 4 and 5 Stars:
Wow. What a roller coaster ride of emotions! This book will hook you and take you for a ride. I was frustrated, angry, upset, sad, elated at various points within the story and I LOVED it! ~ Kelly’s Book Blog
This book was absolutely brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it.~ PLeslie at Goodreads
Overall, I found this North vs. South clash of cultures/wills quite entertaining. The writing style flowed, and I was so fully engaged I couldn’t put it down. ~ A Klue from Goodreads
Drawn to Her was definitely a fun read that left me in a good mood when I was done. ~ Lauren from Goodreads
Wondering what Drawn to Her is all about? Why not check out this opening chapter excerpt:
Drawn to Her Chapter One
“Rummy again.” Lexie McKenna laid her cards on the table over Oliver Carmichael’s hospital bed.
“You wouldn’t be trying to take advantage of a dying man, would you?” He grinned at her, despite the fact he was indeed dying. At least he is dying on his terms. Lexie admired his courage to abandon his life of riches in New York to live out the rest of his days in his quiet, childhood home, in Charlotte Tavern, Virginia. He was comfortable, or as comfortable as could be expected when dying of lung cancer.
“Oh, please, you’re richer than God.” She gathered the cards and prepared to shuffle them. “I couldn’t win enough dough to dent your stockpile of money.”
He laughed. “You got that right.”
“Since you can’t take it with you, I might as well pad my pockets with your loot.” She dealt them each seven cards, glad he was in good spirits today. Being his personal nurse hadn’t always been card games and banter. Oliver was the definition of cantankerous with his brusque demeanor, quick temper, and low tolerance of others. His illness hadn’t improved his attitude. Lexie understood it was difficult for a larger-than-life man such as Oliver to accept his mortality and the limitations imposed by his illness, but that didn’t mean she was going to put up with his surly behavior. Over the six weeks she’d been his private nurse, they’d come to an understanding; whatever he dished out, she gave back. As a result, Oliver’s behavior had improved, and they’d become friends.
“Double or nothing?” Oliver picked up the cards she dealt him.
“It’s your money, Warbucks.”
“What the hell?” A man stepped into the room.
Startled by the intrusion, Lexie turned to the man behind the deep, harsh voice. “Great day!” She drawled the southern expression of surprise and dismay, under her breath as a scowling, very tall, broad-shouldered man approached. In Lexie’s world, nearly everyone was taller than her, but this man was humongous, not just in size but in presence as well. He swallowed up space with each step until the room shrunk to the size of a closet. His narrowed gray eyes moved from her to Oliver. His dark foreboding stare reminded her of Oliver when he was in one of his moods.
Finally, someone has come to visit. Except that a glance toward Oliver told her neither man seemed particularly happy.
“What are you doing here?” Oliver’s scowl matched the man’s although his voice, raspy from cancer, didn’t match the dark intensity of his features.
“I’m here to see you, and I’m not leaving until we talk.” The newcomer stood at the end of the bed in a casual stance, belying the expectant look in his face. Lexie couldn’t deny there was something compelling about him. He was handsome for sure, with short, jet black hair, and dark, steely gray eyes made more attractive by the long lashes rimming them. He exuded a power that suggested he always got what he wanted without much effort, and an energy that said “keep your distance.” Typical New York businessman.
“I’m sick.” Oliver slunk down in his covers, letting his eyes drop to half-mast.
Lexie frowned. Oliver wasn’t one to take orders or be intimidated by others, and yet, instead of telling this man to take a flying leap, he hid under his blankets.
The change in Oliver’s demeanor concerned her. “Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
Lexie’s hackles rose. Who did Tall, Dark, and Brooding think he was coming into her home, well, Oliver’s home, making demands like he owned the place?
“Harrumph.” Oliver straightened in his bed. “Lexie McKenna, this is my grandson, Drake Carmichael. Drake, this is Lexie, my nurse.”
Lexie’s annoyance was lessened slightly knowing someone in Oliver’s family had finally come to visit. She’d made so many calls and sent several letters, all of which had been ignored. She stood and extended her hand. “How wonderful that you’ve finally—”
“Nurse? What the hell kind of nurse jokes about dying and taking your money?” Drake stepped close to her, towering his imposing body over hers, causing a shiver that had nothing to do with fear or intimidation. She should have been wary. Instead, she was intrigued. “Your bedside manner is lacking.”
“Now wait a minute.” Lexie ignored the crackle of electricity zapping within the narrowing gap between them. She wasn’t going to let some stranger, no matter how big, mean, and gorgeous, intimidate and insult her. Unfortunately, at five-three, she only came to his chest. Not a good vantage point to make a statement.
“Hold that thought.” She grabbed the step stool next to Oliver’s bed and gained the extra foot she needed to look Drake in the eyes. “You have some nerve.” She poked him in the chest with her index finger, ignoring the jolt of heat zapping her each time she felt the hard, firm muscle underneath his starched white shirt. “Where have you been all this time your grandfather has been sick? You never once called or sent a note.” She glared at him, pleased at the surprise in his steel gray eyes.
His surprise quickly changed to disconcertedness as his dark stormy eyes sized her up from head to toe and back again. He glared at her with such intensity, she worried she’d whither into nothing. But she wasn’t a delicate flower. She gathered her resolve and turned her stare on him, openly assessing him back. At first, his eyes remained hard and cold but, upon closer inspection, there was something smoldering and compelling hidden behind them. As quickly as it was there, it was gone, and his gray eyes turned flat and unreadable.
Lexie ignored Oliver’s attempt to get her attention because she couldn’t turn away from Drake no matter how forbidding his eyes. She wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of flinching first. At least that was what she told herself as she continued to hold his gaze. It wasn’t easy with her heart hammering and her knees turning to jelly.
“I hate to interrupt this moment, but I’d hate for someone to get hurt,” Oliver’s voice cut through the standoff.
Drake’s gaze held Lexie’s. “I’d never hurt a woman.”
“It’s not Lexie I’m worried about.”
Drake looked at Oliver, breaking the impasse.
Lexie’s lips curved in satisfaction. That’s right, buster. You don’t scare me. You might make me swoon, but you don’t scare me. With the battle of wills over for the moment, she turned on the charm southern women were famous for.
“Let’s try this again. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Carmichael.” She held out her hand.
He looked at it as if she had cooties. Finally, he grasped her hand, his long fingers wrapping fully around her hand in a firm, although not crushing grip, as she might have expected.
“Ms. McKenna.” His voice was rough, laced with annoyance. Even so, he held her hand, his gaze boring into hers as if searching for something. Her heart skipped a beat at the heat of his gaze. It was oddly thrilling, yet terrifying.
“Why don’t you sit here?” She disentangled her hand from his before she turned to mush, motioning to a chair near Oliver’s bed. “And, you.” She fixed Oliver’s covers and moved the over-table out of the way. “Be nice.” Casting Drake one last glance, she left the room.
~ End Excerpt~
You can pre-order Drawn to Her and have it on your device on release day, April 12, 2016! And don’t forget to keep your receipt and check in her for details on getting some free goodies!
It’s taken some time to get Southern Comfort, now renamed Drawn to Her, ready for publication. But all of a sudden, things have picked up. The cover is nearly finished. I just received an ARC to proof. My publisher has posted the blurb for Drawn to Her online. The release date is set for April 12. Now it’s time to get the word out!
What started out as a little story idea I jotted down nearly ten years ago, is about to enter the world!
Just for fun, I thought I’d share the history of Drawn to Her:
The idea: I can’t actually remember how the idea for this story came about, but it’s probably because it was so long ago. The original story had a scene in which Drake Carmichael (the male lead) has a phone line installed into his grandfather’s home so he can access the Internet (way back when you needed to attach the computer to the phone line to get online). Eventually it was changed to DSL and in this final release, he uses his phone as a hot-spot. But as you can see, this story started long ago. So long ago, I was a little worried it end up being a historical romance.
The completed work: When I sent the three chapters to the first publisher, the book was a very rough draft. In fact, it wasn’t even done. I finished it in about 3 weeks, hoping she’s ask for the full manuscript. My effort paid off, when she asked for the full manuscript about 4 weeks after that.
The rejection: The editor of the first publishing company was very positive, which is probably why I let it sit for two years while I waited for a response. In that two years, I published at least three, maybe even four, of the Valentine stories.
The agent: Two months before I received a rejection from the first publisher, I submitted it to an agent. I figured an agent would have an easier time getting a response from a publisher. Plus, if it didn’t sell to the current publisher, the agent could get it out to other publishers.
The fix: After the rejection, my agent sent back ideas for making the book better. New scenes were added. Old scenes were fleshed out, cleaned-up and improved.
The sale: During the summer, while on a family reunion in the Outer Banks, I got the call. Penner Publishing wanted to buy this book, as well as two others in a series. Whoop!
The fix number 2: Although I thought the book was in pretty good shape, first round edits came back in November with several suggestions to improve it. So after a few more tweaks, it went back to the publisher.
Approaching the release: I received mock up of the cover last week, and was very excited about it (you’ll need to stay tuned for the reveal). I also got the release date (April 13). This week I received a copy of the book that had a few more edits and questions, which I dealt with and sent back the next day. Today, I received the mobi ARC to proof. This is exciting because it’s the completed book, with formatting, drop caps and all the stuff that makes it look like a book, instead of a Word doc. I’ll review the ARC this weekend and send back.
Gearing up for release: What many people may not know is how much work goes into the marketing a book, particularly the release. There are reviews to get, tours to arrange, and buzz to build. The next few weeks will be busy, but I’m excited. Finally, my sassy southern belle and cool, aloof New Yorker will make it into the world.
You know that saying, “when it rains, it pours?” That seems to be my life lately. Just when I think I’ve got myself organized to get everything done, something new is added. Between that, and a struggle to pace my work, I’ve running around like a mad woman.
I just turned in a draft of Southern Persuasion, book two of the Southern Heat series for review by my agent. It’s a bad draft. I’m hoping my agent will be gentle. I’m expecting the copy edits on the first book, Southern Comfort, sometime this week. The three-book romance series will be released in 2016 by Penner Publishing.
Despite all the chaos and busyness, I fulfilled my promise to release a Valentine story by Christmas. As a thank you to everyone who has been a fan of the Valentines, Death Under the Mistletoe: A Valentine Christmas Mystery (novella) is free. It’s available in .mobi (Kindle) and .pdf over in the SweetHarte group at Facebook. If you’re not yet a member, join and you’ll find the book under the “Files” tab. There’s no cost to join the group. You’ll get some freebies, heads up on new releases, behind the scenes info about the Valentines and other books, plus I frequently ask for help and feedback.
The novella will be available shortly at Amazon.
Description of Death Under the Mistletoe
Tess is excited to spend her first Christmas with her sexy husband, Jack Valentine, that is until the mall Santa staggers in her shop and drops dead underneath the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. There’s no shortage of suspects who wanted Santa dead. Was it his jealous elves? His estranged wife? The in-laws who never thought Santa was good enough for their daughter? Or the neighbor who secretly coveted Santa’s wife? Although Tess and Jack are happy to let Detective Daniel Showalter deal with the case, somehow the newlyweds end up a target of Santa’s killer who plans to make sure Jack and Tess never celebrate Christmas.