Friday, December 29, 2017

First Chapter of My New Novel Love's Journey Home

I am so excited to share the first chapter of my new novel, Love's Journey Home, that will be released on February 1st! This book is dear to my heart and it has been a long time coming. Thank you to all my fans who have asked about it. I can't wait to hear what you think of Mick's story!

Here's the back copy:

Olivia Dalton has a reputation in the DA’s office---tough, thorough, and fierce when she’s closing a case. Those skills are essential in the courtroom, but not in the relationship department---until Mick Donovan crosses her path. Everyone thinks he’s a player, but when an unexpected situation arises, she glimpses an honorable man instead. Olivia is drawn to him, but he pushes her away, unable to shake the past that still haunts him.

Mick Donovan learned at a young age never to let anyone close because those you love never stay. Keeping people at arms-length has never been hard for him---until he meets Olivia Dalton. Mick is caught up in a case she’s prosecuting, and he can’t deny his attraction to her, but when she uncovers the past he’s kept carefully hidden, he’s sure she’ll turn away. Yet, even with all his secrets in the open, Olivia reaches out. Can he let his guard down long enough to let her in and take a chance on love?

Love's Journey Home
by Julie Coulter Bellon

Copyrighted Material
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

 Sometimes helping out a friend didn’t give the warm fuzzy feelings everyone talked about. 
Mick Donovan stood behind the new waitress from Rosie’s restaurant, holding her hair back while she vomited on a bush out back. It was late, and Mick could only see shadows cast from the weak flickers of a lone streetlight. If they’d been out front, there would have been plenty of light from the lampposts strategically placed on Lincoln’s Main Street, but there would also be a crowd of witnesses waiting to be seated for dinner.
After a few seconds of silence, when the worst of it was over, he quietly asked, “You okay? Your name’s Adrienne, right?”
She straightened and wiped her mouth on the back of her hand. Peering up at him, she blinked a few times, as if he weren’t in focus. “Yeah. Thanks.” Giving him a drunken smile, she took a step and wobbled. Mick grabbed her elbow to steady her. She held on tight, as if he were a lifeline, her nails digging into his arm. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
“Mick Donovan. I’m friends with Taunya, remember?” He guided her toward his car, hoping she’d emptied her stomach enough that he wouldn’t have to clean his seats later. “She asked me to take you home.”
“I shouldn’t have come into work, but I was so hungry. I just needed a little pick me up.” She looked up at him owlishly. Her mascara had run, leaving black smudges on her cheeks, giving her the appearance of a child who’d been in her mother’s makeup. “You understand that, right? I mean, Tim can’t fire me for asking for food, can he?”
Tim was the manager of Rosie’s, the only non-fast food restaurant in Lincoln, and he ran a tight ship with his staff. She very well could get fired, but Mick didn’t want to mention that to her right now. “That’s why Taunya asked me to take you home. So Tim didn’t see you.” He held up the paper bag in his hand. “She even sent you with some takeout. For later. When you feel better.”
“Taunya’s the best,” Adrienne said, glancing back at the employee entrance. Mick silently agreed. She was the kind of person anyone would be lucky to know.
He’d met Taunya at the diner six months ago and he’d started to come in when he knew she’d be waitressing. She had a great smile to go along with her long legs and sunshine-blonde hair. But after they’d gone out a few times, he did what he always had and broke it off. She was looking to settle down and have a family, but Mick knew he would never be that guy, so he’d backed away. 
They’d remained friends, though, and he was glad about that. A man couldn’t have too many friends, especially ones with good hearts― except when that good-hearted person involved him with someone throwing up. He’d never had a particularly strong stomach, and with fresh vomit on his shoes, he was starting to feel nauseated. Hopefully he wouldn’t regret being a good friend and doing Taunya a favor tonight.
“I’m going to put you in my car. Tell me if you feel sick so I can pull over, okay?” He helped her in and sighed as he shut the door to his Mustang. Luckily, they didn’t have far to go to get to her apartment building.
Mick went around to the other side of the car and got in, immediately cracking all the windows so he could breathe in some of the crisp October air. Adrienne’s eyes were closed, and her head was against the window. “You good?” he asked, wanting to double-check the state of her stomach.
She nodded briefly, as if it was too much effort to do more than that. “Just need to go home.”
Mick started the car and the engine purred to life.  “If I didn’t know the Lincoln police had a speed trap on the street that goes up to your house, I’d get you there in two minutes flat.”
“This is a Mustang, isn’t it?” She opened one eye and looked at him. “Zero to sixty in seven seconds.”
Mick gave a low chuckle. He’d worked hard to get his Mustang and was proud of it. “Yeah. Which doesn’t do me much good in Lincoln. But get me out on the salt flats, and I can practically fly in this baby.” He patted the dash, feeling the purr of the engine under his fingers. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you home in no time, though.”
He pulled out onto the street and headed toward the row of duplexes on the south side of town. Lincoln wasn’t big, and Adrienne lived with a few other waitresses at Blue Gables Townhomes. Each duplex had a bright blue roof, so while it was a bit on the ugly side, at least it was easy to find.
When he pulled up outside the duplex at the end of the street, a soft snore came out of Adrienne’s mouth, and he realized she was sleeping. Better than throwing up.
“Hey.” He lightly touched her shoulder, noticing how threadbare her t-shirt was. “You’re home.”
She lifted her head and blinked a few times, looking around to get her bearings. “What?”
“You’re home.” He smiled, and she moved away from him, her brow furrowed as if she was trying to remember who he was. “I’m Taunya’s friend, Mick. She was worried Tim would see you at the restaurant when you weren’t . . . at your best.” Drunk and disorderly was more like it. Taunya had escorted her out of the kitchen while Adrienne had still been demanding two steaks and some shrimp.
She stared at him, then rubbed her temples. “I wash-sh hungry.”
“How much did you have to drink?” Her speech sounded slurred more than sleepy.
“What are you, my mother?” Adrienne straightened and glared at him, fumbling for the door handle. “I’m fine. I just need to get to bed.”
“Okay.” He wasn’t going to argue with her. He opened his door and quickly came around to help her out.
She stumbled a bit and grabbed his arm, but as soon as she was steady, backed away. “Thanks for bringing me home,” she said grudgingly, looking up at the ugly blue roof, as if to make sure she really was home.
Mick cupped her elbow, not willing to leave her on the sidewalk when it looked like she was having a hard time taking a few steps. “Taunya wouldn’t forgive me if I left you out here. Let me be a gentleman and take you to the door.”
“Ooh, a gentleman.” Her expression changed from an angry pout to a grin. She leaned in. “I haven’t had a gentleman around in a while. Tell me the truth, do you think I’m pretty, Mr. Gentleman?”
Mick groaned inwardly. At the moment, her hair was matted, with a little bit of greenery from the bush tangled in it. Her clothes were disheveled and her makeup smeared. He’d seen her sober, however, and put together. She was a pretty woman when at her best, that that probably wasn’t a good thought to share right now. “I think you’ve had a little too much to drink and you need to sleep it off.”
Adrienne pressed against his side. “Do you and Taunya have something going on? Because I won’t tell if you won’t.” She looked up at him and batted her lashes, but whatever effect she was going for got spoiled by the smell of vomit on her breath.
He turned his face slightly away. “There’s nothing to tell, and Taunya’s a good friend to both of us.” He motioned toward her purse. “Can I help you find your keys?”
“All the good guys are taken or not interested,” she grumbled as she handed over her purse. “There aren’t any gentlemen left.”
He rummaged through a pile of receipts until he got to the bottom and felt a key ring. He pulled it out and slid the key into the lock. “I’m sure things will look better when you’re sober.”
She looked at the open door for a minute, as if she wasn’t quite sure what to do. “I’m a little dizzy,” she finally admitted. “Can you help me in?”
He took her arm and walked in, discreetly pushing away a duffel bag and piles of clothes and shoes strewn about, to clear a path to the living room. She was leaning heavily on him, but when they got near enough, she promptly lay down on the couch and closed her eyes. “I’ll just rest here for a minute. You don’t have to stay.”
Mick stood over her, debating what to do. Should he leave her here in this condition? “Are you sure?”
She kicked off her shoes without opening her eyes, then turned on her side to get comfortable. With as lumpy and worn as the old couch looked, that seemed a feat in itself. “Yeah. Thanks for the ride.”
Well, as she’d pointed out, he wasn’t her mother, and she seemed to be doing okay now that she was home. Mick turned to leave, but Adrienne sat up straight. “Wait. You didn’t bring in my food.”
Oh yeah. The food she’d ventured out of the house for that had started this whole mess. He held up a hand. “Don’t worry. I’ll go get it and put it in your fridge.”
She lay back, satisfied, and closed her eyes again. “Thanks.”
He jogged back to his car and grabbed the takeout bag. He knew he’d never be able to eat Rosie’s famous beef kebabs again. He grimaced and took another deep breath before going back into the apartment. Adrienne was passed out, her bottle-blonde hair sticking out at all angles, the brightness of the bleached yellow standing out against the worn brown fabric. It was obvious nothing would wake her up, not even food, so Mick decided to make his way to the kitchen.
It was small, the linoleum worn in a few places. She obviously hadn’t done dishes for a couple of days. The garbage was overflowing and needed taken out. Mick put the takeout bag in the fridge and decided to at least take care of her garbage before he left. If nothing else, that might improve the odor in her apartment. Mick opened some cupboards and drawers before he found where she kept the bags, and when he looked up, a small boy was in the doorway, his dark hair tousled from sleep.
“Hey,” Mick said, covering his surprise. “I’m Mick. What’s your name?”
The boy stared at him for an uncomfortably long moment, his brown eyes taking him in, as if Mick was being weighed and evaluated. “I’m Will,” he said finally. “Where’s my mom?”
“She’s in the living room, um, resting.” He changed the garbage bag and tied it shut. “She brought some beef kebabs home from Rosie’s. Are you hungry?”
Interest lit his eyes, and he nodded. Mick got the takeout bag from the fridge, and when he didn’t find any clean plates, he laid a napkin on the table with a kebab in the middle. “Here you go.”
The boy eyed him warily, but sat down. He bit into the meat and barely stopped to chew before he put another piece in.
“Whoa, slow down,” Mick said, as he sat down next to the boy. “You don’t want to choke.”
Will wiped his mouth on his pajama sleeve, but didn’t say anything.
“How old are you?” Mick asked, trying to start a conversation and give himself an excuse to stay longer. Should he leave the boy with his passed-out mother in the other room?
“Seven.” He took another bite, but slowly chewed it this time.
“Do you go to Central Elementary?” It was the only elementary school in town, so chances were he went there, but Mick was having a hard time thinking of topics he could talk about with a seven-year-old who was definitely more interested in eating than talking.
Will finished the kebab in record time and Mick considered offering him the other one, but knew Adrienne would want that for herself.
“You like it there?” Mick asked, trying to draw the boy out.
“It’s okay. I like soccer at recess.”
That little bit of information felt like a victory of sorts, since Mick had gotten little more than one word answers out of him. “I like soccer, too.”
Will started to smile, but caught himself and frowned. “Mrs. Howard said we can’t play when it snows, so I hope it never snows.”
“Me, too. I have a convertible and like driving with the top down. You can’t do that when it’s snowing.” He balled up the napkin and put it with the empty kebab stick. “Your mom isn’t feeling well tonight. She might sleep for a while.” How much did the boy know about his mom’s condition?
“She sleeps there a lot.” Will turned away and headed for the hall. “Night.”
He didn’t seem upset or scared, as if his mother passing out on the couch was a normal occurrence. It made Mick’s heart hurt. Maybe when Adrienne was sober, he could talk to her about getting a babysitter for the boy when she was at work, at least. He shouldn’t be here alone.
Mick let himself out and took the garbage to the bin in the back before he got into his car. Debating on whether to leave the boy or stay, he sat staring at the apartment. Will had taken the news of his mother’s condition in stride, as if he was used to taking care of himself. Mick decided he’d done what he could for tonight, but his mind couldn’t shut down the part of him that remembered himself as a hungry little boy sneaking food whenever his foster mother wasn’t looking. No one had cared about him then. Did Will have anyone who truly cared about him?
Mick pulled into his driveway and turned the car off. The little boy in the kitchen dominated his thoughts, but if he mixed them with his own childhood memories, he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight no matter how hard he tried. Wanting to push it all to the back of his mind, he bypassed the house and went directly to the woodshop he’d built in his garage.
After crossing the large room, he got out his latest project, cradling the piece of wood he’d been working on for months. He’d carved animals and flowers, but this was the first detailed bird he’d attempted. The intricacy of the feathers had been difficult at first, and he’d had to give it all of his focus. Tonight, he knew he didn’t have the patience for that kind of detailed work. He’d have to switch to the face.
Once he had his tools in hand and got his rhythm going, his emotions began to calm down. Wood always had that effect on him, which was part of the reason he loved being a woodshop teacher at the high school. He needed that calm to teach teenagers to see the beauty in crafting something with your own hands into a masterpiece.
He lost all track of time until early morning sunlight started to slant through the windows. Mick yawned and looked down at the owl’s face, but he didn’t see wise eyes. Instead, he saw the eyes of a hungry little boy alone in a house where his mother was passed out on the couch. No matter how many wood pieces he carved, circumstances like last night brought out the feeling of helplessness he’d experienced as a child.
And he knew he needed to have a conversation with Adrienne. Today. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Free Contemporary Romance!

Today's freebie was recommended to me as a cute contemporary romance. It's called Attractive Nuisance by Jennifer Griffith. (I love all the free books being offered right now!)

Here's the back copy:

A pink frosted doughnut with sprinkles should not make an attorney shriek in fear.

When prosecutor Camilla Sweeten sees newly hired Zane Holyoak slide a pastry from a bakery bag, her reaction is nothing close to rational. It’s the exact pink doughnut from her dream where she kissed a handsome stranger! Now she’s daydreaming about kissing Zane, even though he poses her fiercest competition for the Chief Deputy promotion she desperately needs.

Attorney Zane Holyoak has always gone with his gut. He’s even followed it back to Yucca County, after swearing never to return. Maybe it’s leading him back to fill the vacancy for Chief Deputy. If so, Zane can finally prove to his parents he’s not just a disappointing kid anymore. However, one attractive obstacle stands in his way: the uber-capable Camilla.

Both are gunning for the job. So when their boss forces them to tag-team a prosecution of a known criminal, it throws them a curveball, especially as the chemistry between them rises. However, as the case unfolds, not everything about the crime, or their assumptions about each other, is what it seemed at first glance.

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Historical Romance Freebie!

Historical romance fans won't want to miss this cute clean story, The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson. It's being offered for free today! I really enjoyed this one.

Here's the back copy:

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow.

The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

You can get your free Kindle copy here

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Free Romance!

Today I have a free romance for you by Jennifer Griffith. It looks cute!

Here's the back copy:

Being too pretty could sink her business—and her shot at love.

Lisette speaks five languages fluently. With her mad skills, she teaches business travelers new languages rocket-fast. But, when too many students treat her like a personal escort, she’s forced to make a policy: never date a client. To clinch it, she hides her beauty—under bulky orange sweaters and fake warts.

Enter: Erik. Erik is fascinating, gorgeous, wealthy, and a totally nice guy. Sparks ignite in Lisette, and she aches for him to fall for her. But she’s warty—and he’s a client.

Worse, if she lets him see the real Lisette, her career could fall apart. But if she doesn’t, she might lose the best guy she’s ever met.

Immersed is book 1 in the Millionaire Makeover Romance collection by best-selling romantic comedy author Jennifer Griffith. All her books are hilarious, STANDALONE clean romances with a guaranteed HEA and laugh-out-loud moments. Fans of Jennifer Peel and Victorine Lieske will love this contemporary rom-com filled with sweet romance and swoony kisses.

Download your free Kindle copy here

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas! With my little ones still believing in the magic of it all, it just made today extra special (even when we were up early this morning!)

The best part, though, was that I got to have all my kids and grandkids over so we could be here to Skype with my son who is in Spain today. It was the highlight of my Christmas to be able to talk and laugh with my family. My husband made a yummy breakfast for us all and we played games, watched movies, and helped my little ones put together the gifts that Santa brought. It was an amazing day! I love this time of year.

To all of my friends who celebrate, I hope you had an amazing Christmas today filled with the love of family and friends! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Freebie Friday---A Cute Christmas Novella!

Today's Freebie Friday is a cute Christmas novella called Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks. Just the thing for me to snuggle up with this Christmas weekend!

Download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block--until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman's body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Book Review & Interview with Author Emily Debenham

Author Emily Debenham has two cute Christmas short stories out that are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

The first one is On Thin Ice. Holly Opland is a pro on Skating with the Stars, when her knee injury is aggravated and the show lets her go. Her entire life has been skating, so what should she do now? 

With the paparazzi hot on her trail, she leaves L.A. and ends up in Ranchette Station, a small town where her former skating partner Colden Holt is from. When she meets up with Colden again, the feelings she had for him resurface. But is she truly ready for a romance when her life is so up in the air?

I thought the author did a good job of setting the scene and really bringing Ranchette Station and its residents to life. The romance was sweet and my only complaint is the same one I have with all short stories---I wish it was longer! A very cute read.

You can get your Kindle copy here for only $1.99

Here's the back copy:

Professional ice skater, Holly Opland is cut from a popular reality TV show Skating with the Stars, due to an old knee injury. When the media gets wind of her career-ending medical issues, Holly decides she needs to disappear. She flees to the small town of Ranchette Station, which also happens to be the hometown of Colden Holt--her skating partner from season one. When their old chemistry returns Holly has to decide whether an entire lifestyle change is worth the price of love.

The second short story is Double-Booked. Eve Matthews is in charge of the Christmas Ball at Ranchette Station. The traditional ball has been held on the third Saturday of December for seventy years, but this year, her ball gets double-booked with her boyfriend Janus's tradeshow. When Janus refuses to give her the date, she breaks up with him. He probably wasn't that serious about her anyway, right? But that decision starts a chain of events that may need a Christmas miracle to put right. This one was another cute read, full of angst, but I still wished it was longer. I just really enjoyed this little town with all its quirky characters!

You can get your Kindle copy here for $2.99

Here's the back copy:

Eve Matthews is in charge of the biggest event of the holiday season—a charity Christmas Ball. Her planning committee is charging full steam ahead to throw the most romantic party of the decade until she discovers that her boyfriend Janus Clairbourne, head of Ranchette Station's Woodworkers Association, has double booked his tradeshow with her Christmas Ball. This misunderstanding could destroy a century-old charity organization and Eve's hopes for a romantic Christmas proposal.

Interview with the Author!

Tell us about your publishing journey. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Emily: I have always liked writing stories. I wrote a story in elementary school and gave it to my teacher and she wrote a sweet note on it saying I’d be a wonderful writer one day. So, during my school years, I took all the creative writing electives I could. I went to community enrichment classes and both major and minor writing conferences. I was a member of a writing group for five years in college, the members of which are some of my dearest friends to this day. When the independent publishing craze came around at first I felt like I wasn’t good enough to publish anything. Then I had one of these mental epiphanies where you realize how crazy you’re thinking. I’d been actively reading and critiquing fiction as a hobby for ten years at that point. I finally gave myself credit for all the time and effort and study I’d put in. I realized I knew what I was doing well enough to judge when I had something worth sharing with an audience. When I finished On Thin Ice I knew it was an idea that had potential and that it was worth putting out into the world.

Where did you get the inspiration for your stories?

Emily: I find inspiration in different places for each story. I had a vague idea of writing something western and rural for my novelette series. I decided I needed a place name and so I searched a list of towns on the internet. I came across the town Ranchette Estates in Texas and was struck. What was a ranchette? I read some news articles about a new trend of cutting big ranches into little acreages called ranchettes and the setting for my story was born. It was perfect for what I was trying to do.

If you could time travel, what era would you go to?

Emily: The answer to this question could change depending on my mood for the day. I’m a history major so there are lots of things I’d love to see in the past. Right now, I’d love to go to ancient Rome. I’d want to meet Cornelia Africana or maybe Octavia the sister of Augustus.

What does your family think about your writing?

Emily: My husband Kindal was actually really excited about the Ranchette novelettes. He thought it was an awesome idea. He is also a writer so we talk about our creative projects a lot. Kindal and I met in the college writing group I mentioned earlier. We don’t always love all the projects the other person works on but we value the fact that we’re both creative. It makes our lives interesting and joyful. When I struggled with the plot for Double Booked Kindal helped me figure out how to convey my original vision for the story when it had gotten lost in a bunch of rewrites.

Do you listen to music when you write? Have a snack you always have near you when you're writing? Any writing quirks?

Emily: Sometimes I listen to music when I write but more often I listen to music as a way to recharge after I write. It’s more a way to refill my creative well. So, while I get lots of story ideas when I listen to music, I don’t often listen to music while I write. That might be because I write when my kids are distracted or asleep. So, I have to be really quiet so they either don’t notice me or won't wake up. Lol! I don’t snack when I write. Eating would distract my focus from the story. In fact, if I’m on a diet I’ll write in order to ignore food.

What book are you reading right now?

Emily: I am reading Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock

What was your favorite childhood book?

Emily: Probably the Harry Potter series.

If you were stranded on a desert island, besides food, water, and shelter, what would you have to have?

Emily: Kindal.

What project are you working on now? 

Emily: I am in the awkward bouncing around stage where I haven’t settled into a project yet. But I’m working on a historical romance and a couple more Ranchette novelettes here and there.

Tell us one unique thing about you that not many people know.

Emily: I weighed 3 lbs. 4 oz when I was born.

Find Emily on social media:

Twitter: @EmilyDebenham

Her blog

Amazon Profile

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Angels and Armies

My little boy was quietly playing in the living room, and when I went in later, I noticed that he had arranged his army men around our nativity. I looked closer. They were facing out, as if they were protecting the baby lying in a manger.

I've been thinking about it ever since and the symbolism I see in it. Am I one of those willing to stand up for that special baby? To protect my faith in Him and strengthen my knowledge of His mission on earth? I hope so.

"And a little child shall lead them . . ."

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hawaii Five-0 Recap & Review: Where Danny Gets Shot

Well, after the awesomeness of last episode, it only seems fitting that we get an afterthought episode, I guess. Sort of like a little featurette of, hey, what happened after the team saves Hawaii from a horrific bioweapon virus and gets stuck together in quarantine with nothing to do?

We start out with a packed restaurant. (It's the Ridiculous Restaurant of Dreams!) Pictures of the Five-O team are on the wall, (I miss some of the people they showed.) Steve is schmoozing and chatting people up. Danny is in the kitchen tasting dishes and "supervising." (I felt sorry for the chef after a while). There is a TV in the kitchen that is showing a reporter talking about a veteran detective shot and killed at the King's Medical Center. Danny asks if Steve knows him and Steve says, "What do you mean, Danny, it's you." And then we find out that the Ridiculous Restaurant of Dreams was IN A DREAM!) When we cut to reality, Steve has a large mask over Danny's face and is saying stay with me. Uh oh. That can't be good.

When we come back it's twenty-nine minutes earlier and Steve is so bored that he's SHAVING HIS HEAD. (There might be a bit of shouting in this recap.) (Also, can we have a moment of silence for this style choice? I'm sorry, but he does not look good buzzed. Why? Why would he do that? Sigh.) The rest of the team is playing Fish (which is odd. Why not play a game that's not boring. Then maybe Steve wouldn't have shaved his head!) and they're complaining about being quarantined. Luckily, they get out in about six hours. A guy in a hazmat suit comes in and they all think it's the doctor until he takes out a gun. (Nope, not the doc) He orders them to put their phones on the table and zip tie their hands in front of them with their teeth. (Which actually looks kind of hard to do.) Steve is trying to talk to him and calm him down, but the guy is focused. He makes them get on their knees while he destroys their phones and the intercom. Then he takes off his mask. He doesn't care if he's exposed to the virus and isn't paying much attention to Steve at all. He just wants to know if Danny recognizes him. Danny is all

and the guy isn't having that and just shoots him. In the chest. But that's not all. Then he kills himself. Wow. I guess he's really upset Danny had no clue who he was. (My question is how did he know Danny was in there? Also, how did he get a gun into a hospital? So many questions.)

They break dishes to get glass so they can cut off their zip ties. (What quarantine place would have real glass dishes?) Steve is looking at the chest wound with Junior, assessing the entry and exit points, while Danny starts to dream/hallucinate Grace on her wedding day. She has cold feet and is scared that love won't be enough. He tells her it's hard work and she knows that. (It was actually a sweet scene, I thought.) Lou is waiting downstairs, yapping about how she has to come down because he spent so much money on the booze at the rehearsal dinner. He's on a fixed income now, you know. (I rolled my eyes at this. That's what he's worried about? Really? On his son's wedding day?)

We go back to reality where Tani has found an explosive on the door. That guy REALLY wanted Danny to recognize him.

The bomb looks sophisticated, so they're not going to touch the door in case it blows. Steve is trying to do triage on Danny and tells Tani to figure out how to get someone up here. She snaps back, "How can I do that?" And Steve lets his composure slip a bit and just yells, "Figure. It. Out!" (Seriously. Does she have to have someone holding her hand with everything?) She throws a minor tantrum and starts pitching chairs AT THE DOOR WITH THE BOMB. (Good thinking there.) Steve and Junior are trying to take care of Danny. They think he punctured a lung and move him to the table. (Hopefully they cleared the glass shards and all) Tani is finally thinking things through and finds an extinguisher that she uses to break out the drywall in the bathroom so she can pull out a pipe and get a water leak going. (I hope no one had to go!) Steve gets Danny on some monitors and they cover his entry wound with tape and gauze while they use the dead guy's respirator for Danny's oxygen levels. (For some reason the fact that that was the last thing the dead guy breathed into grosses me out.)

A nurse downstairs notices water dripping from the ceiling and brings a repairman. She sees that something is wrong and calls a code blue. Steve apprises her of the situation and says to get the bomb squad. SWAT must have been on standby (or they are located next door) because they get there in minutes with HPD and Lou, and they start clearing the building. Tani makes herself useful and holds up a mirror so they can see the bomb while a doctor is walking Steve through the procedure for relieving the air pressure in Danny's chest. Bad news, though. The bomb is motion sensitive and they need an x-ray. That yields more bad news: it has mercury switches which are hard to defuse, but the good news is, it won't go off until it's triggered. Lou tries to explain they need a plan or McG will make his own insane plan. (Hey, those insane plans almost always work!) The bomb squad guy doesn't seem to really get it. He just sort of stares at Lou a lot.

Danny is now dreaming/hallucinating Charlie's graduation from the Police Academy. Duke is delivering a motivational speech and everyone is there and looking older. Tani and Junior are married and kissing in the audience. Everyone has cool futuristic phones to take pictures with and hey, Kame owns two luxury resorts now! Tani takes off for a case (seriously? She runs Five-O in Danny's mind? Oy) She wants Charlie on Five-O though. We come back to reality and Danny is crashing with a tension pneumo. (My son had that once. So scary!) He then dream/hallucinates about seeing Adam after his baby girl is born. Lots of welcome to parenthood, don't forget to learn how to swaddle. Adam wants Danny to teach him, but he's dealing with his gunshot wound which bleeds on his shirt in the hallucination/dream. In reality, Steve cuts open his chest, cutting through flesh and tissue (ew.) Air escapes and his vitals stabilize so they gauze it up. Danny needs surgery, though. Steve feels like they are even on the liver donation, with cutting open his chest. (I totally agree.)

Lou says they'll get them out. Their plan is to blast through a back wall, but after everyone hunkers down with mattresses, the blast only makes a little hole. Haha. All that buildup for nothing! That poor bomb guy looks dejected and tells Lou he can do another one! A bigger one! But it will take fifteen minutes. (Why? Do they have to run to Home Depot for blast caps or something? They blew their wad on that one little shot?) Lou goes a little crazy and just hacks through the wall with an axe to get them out. (That seemed like the simplest solution anyway. Why wasn't that the original plan?) Steve has to stay behind as they wheel Danny away until he gets tested for traces of virus. (He couldn't do anything anyway, but hopefully someone gets him a new phone or regular updates or something.) (Also, do they have to stay in the flooded quarantine place with the dead guy?)

They get Danny into surgery. Out in the waiting room Eric calls his mom and Rachel (she's on the mainland with the kids already. Wasn't Jerry just babysitting them in the last episode?) Everyone is rallying around Eric, who is really upset, telling him Danny will make it. Steve, Tani, and Junior have no trace of the virus so they come and wait, too. Steve pulls Lou aside, nothing on the gunman or the gun. Weird. He just appeared out of thin air with nothing to live for after Danny didn't recognize him.

Danny is now hallucinating/dreaming that him and Steve are old, sitting in beach chairs, drowsing and arguing. Steve is talking about Clara (who's Clara?) going to the academy in the fall. He's also smoking a disgusting pipe. Danny says he told Clara that he wouldn't change anything in his life, except who his partner was. (The makeup for them as old men was actually pretty good, but they didn't age well, if that's what they're going to look like. And pipe smoking is a terrible, smelly habit.)

Back to the waiting room where everyone comments on Steve's haircut. Jerry is the only one who likes it. It's really not a good look on him at all, and Kame tells him he doesn't have the head shape to pull it off. Definitely not rocking the dome. (I wholeheartedly agree!) The surgeon comes in and says Danny will be okay. Hugs all around! Then we see Danny in the hospital, smiling as they all recount Steve saving his life by putting his finger in his chest to stop his heart from getting crushed. Danny wants to know if he washed his hands. Steve says he's a baby. (*nods head*) Steve gets a call because Jerry has info on the gunman. He used Joshua Hollister as an alias and someone with same name went to hotel room two days ago. We get a backwards foot breach (yay!) to that hotel room and they find a pic of Danny on the table with "He Deserved to Die" written on it." And that's all we get. No answers as to who the guy was. No reaction on Danny's part to his dreams/hallucination.

Yeah, the episode just felt like filler to me. Oh well. It was interesting filler on where Danny sees the future going. I hope he's not a fortune teller, I'll tell you that much!

The Christmas episode aired right after and I'll recap that one in a few days. What did you think of the Danny gets shot episode? Did you watch? 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Review & Author Interview with Laura Beers!

I'm excited to tell you about a new author I found named Laura Beers. Her debut novel, Saving Shadow, is a regency spy novel with a heart and I got an interview with her as well that you won't want to miss!

Lady Elizabeth Beckett, the Duke of Remington's daughter, has a photographic memory. When her Uncle Charles, a spymaster, becomes aware of this, he makes Lady Elizabeth into a spy: code name Shadow. But when a mission in France goes awry, Lady Elizabeth begins to question her future. Her goal in life has been to capture and bring to justice a man who cruelly abducts and sells women into slavery. But is the price too high?

I love historical romance and adding a spy theme into it really ramped up the tension. The plot was unique as the villain, who is a sex trafficker, and slowly being caught in the web that Eliza draws around him, yet he still has some tricks up his sleeve. The author did a nice job with details from the time period, and showcased many societal restrictions on both women and the poor. The social issue of enslavement is tastefully done and there were several surprising twists and turns to the plot that kept me turning pages to see the fallout.

The book also has a romance when our heroine is partnered with Benedict, a fellow agent who has lost his brother. Benedict was a hero with a great backstory and while the romance between Elizabeth and Benedict will draw readers in, it was a little rushed and missing some emotional beats. Readers will still feel for both Benedict and Eliza as they work through their issues, though, and want them to get their happily-ever-after! The secondary characters of Eliza's brother and butler were nicely fleshed out and I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in the series which features her brother, Jonathan. For a debut novelist, Laura Beers has won a spot on my Authors to Watch list.

Since I enjoyed her book so much, I asked Ms. Beers for an interview and she was gracious enough to grant me one! Read on to find out all her secrets!

Tell us about your publishing journey. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Laura: When I was younger, I would dream about becoming a writer, and would sit at our word processer and type out stories. I also dreamed about being a lawyer, President of the United States, a princess, an astronaut, an FBI agent, and a spy.

About two years ago, I decided to start writing the story that had been playing in my head for over a year. It was a rocky journey as I started writing my book because I had no technical writing skill or experience. Luckily, I had smart friends that patiently taught me the nuances of the English language, while treating them to “In and Out.”

Where did you get the inspiration for your novel?

Laura: I started daydreaming about being a spy during the Regency period. After all, who hasn’t thought about being a spy, especially a spy that can throw daggers, decipher enemy codes, and outwit an evil villain?

If you could live in the Regency period, would you? Why or why not?

Laura: I would love to live in the Regency period, assuming I was nobility and an heiress.

What does your family think about your writing?

Laura: My husband is very supportive and has thoroughly enjoyed my first two books (his words). However, my kids are far more interested in Minecraft than they are about my books.

Do you listen to music when you write? Have a snack you always have near you when you're writing? Any writing quirks?

Laura: I don’t listen to music while I write because I am easily distracted. As for a snack, I love pink Starburst, not red, not yellow, but pink. I never get tired of those delicious, pink, chewy treats!

What book are you reading right now?

Laura: I just finished Christmas Confection, by Shanna Hatfield. I am a huge fan of regency period and early western romances.

What was your favorite childhood book?

Laura: My favorite books growing up was Nancy Drew. She was everything I aspired to be when I was younger: talented, kind, popular, and she could solve mysteries after school. Whenever she teamed up with the Hardy Boys, I would curl up on the couch and read the book in one sitting.

What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Kissing? Action?

Laura: I find that action scenes are fun but challenging to write. Luckily, my books revolve around a spy family so I get a lot of practice writing action scenes.

What project are you working on now?

Laura: I am continuing to work on the Beckett Files. I am currently writing the 4th book, the 3rd book is with the editor, and the 2nd book, A Peculiar Courtship, was released on December 1st.

Lord Jonathon Beckett’s mission is simple: retrieve Lady Hannah and place her under the protection of the Crown. But he isn’t prepared for the havoc she inflicts on his world, making him question whether his duty as an agent of the Crown should always come before his heart.

Lady Hannah's father has uncovered evidence exposing a French traitor to the Crown. Willing to do anything to silence him, the traitor's primary target has become Lady Hannah. Keeping her safe means locking her away from Society, but she refuses to stand idly by, letting others put their lives on the line to protect her. Instead, she will stop at nothing to learn to defend herself, even at the risk of losing Lord Jonathon’s protection, or his affections.

With a sinister scheme in play to collapse the English government from within, Lord Jonathon must protect Lady Hannah from the French spies intending to use her as a pawn in their game of treachery. But can he protect her from herself?

Tell us one unique thing about you that not many people know.

Laura: I have sweet dances moves that I love to demonstrate when my kids have friends over.

You can find Laura on Social Media!

You can get your Kindle copy here for only $1.99!

Here's the back copy:

Born with a perfect memory, Lady Elizabeth Beckett has become one of the world’s most notorious spies, despite being the daughter of a duke. She is shielded only by her code name: Shadow. When young ladies of High Society begin disappearing from London, Eliza has no doubt who is orchestrating these crimes; a heinous man she has been investigating for years. Vowing to save them before they are sold to the highest bidder, she must risk everything to stop him.

Lord Sinclair was perfectly content being the second son of a marquess, but when his brother is murdered, he is thrust into a position he has not been prepared for and does not desire. As an agent for the Crown, he is expected to retire now that he is the heir, but he’s been granted special permission for one more mission... to obtain justice for his murdered brother.

Used to keeping secrets, Lady Eliza and Lord Sinclair must learn to open up to each other when they are assigned as partners to bring down the same ruthless man and his brutal empire of abduction and slavery. As Eliza’s tainted past becomes too much for her to bear alone, can she learn to trust her new partner with her secrets, her life, and possibly her heart?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Twelve Days of Clean Romance Giveaways With Author Cami Checketts!


How to Kiss a Billionaire by Cami Checketts Sassy meets swoon-worthy in this fast-paced contemporary romance. Miriam Salisbury escapes to Oregon to avoid a boyfriend who won't take no for an answer, killing her beloved cat to prove it. When her father sends Clay Browning to protect her, she's certain he's lost his mind. As far as she's concerned Clay's experience is limited to posing for the camera, charming women, and making fun of her. He's been teasing her since they were children and she's never gotten over the way he threw crawdads at her at church picnics. Clay retired from the military and entered the world of private security. When he gets the call to protect Miriam he's excited to be around his lifelong crush. As expected, he teases her nonstop and the only thing he takes seriously is her security. He knows she'd never give him a chance and he can't help but give her a hard time. After Miriam is dumped in the freezing ocean on a crabbing expedition and Clay saves her from drowning and freezing to death, she takes a second look at her hired gun. But opening up to him is more terrifying than facing her stalker. As events escalate to a frenzied climax, Miriam and Clay must put aside past grudges in the hope of finding a lasting love for their future.

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Praise for series: "Cami Checketts is an expert at sending a flurry of butterflies straight to the heart! If you love the beach, a dash of suspense, and some toe-curling, swoony romance, then the Billionaire Beach Romance series is definitely for you.” Katie Watkins, Book Reviewer, Katie’s Clean Book Collection "I LOVE these sweet romances! I love that each of them is a mini escape. You almost feel as though you've traveled to a warm destination even though it's cold and snowy where you live. I love that I can pass them to either my daughter or my grandma and never have any concern about the content. And the characters in these are amazing! I love them all!” Cathy Jeppsen, Book Reviewer, My Book a Day

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Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.  

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Also by Cami Checketts

Don't miss the rest of the Billionaire Beach Romances: Shadows in the Curtain Caribbean Rescue Cozumel Escape Cancun Getaway Trusting the Billionaire Onboard for Love

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 12/31/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Twelve Days of Clean Romance Giveaways With Author Lucy McConnell!

Marrying Miss Kringle: Lux by Lucy McConnell Christmas Magic is changing and the Kringle Family scrambles to keep up in this fun and entertaining, sweet Christmas romance from Author Lucy McConnell. A normal electrical substation takes two years to build; but, Lux has 365 days to install one at the North Pole or Christmas Magic will overload the factory and send them back to the Dark Ages. The one man on the planet with the know-how, the education, and the time to help Lux finish the substation before her Noel deadline, is also the one man who sends sparks through her heart and surges through the power system. If Lux kisses Matthew Quik—again!—she could blow up Santa’s workshop before she has a chance to save it. If she doesn't kiss him, she may lose him forever.      

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  Praise for the book: "For getting me in the mood for Christmas, and the romantic aspect of this holiday even before Thanksgiving, I’m happy to give Ms. McConnell the 5 STARS I’ve given her book." "Marrying Miss Kringle: Lux is a funny, tender, magical adventure into the sparkles of Christmas Magic and the sparks of human love."  

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  Lux’s cheeks dusted pink. With her red hair and fair skin, she should have flushed bright red, but only this sprinkling of pink appeared, like she’d been dusted with pink powdered sugar. Why did this woman bring to mind sweet things like powdered sugar and chocolate and kisses at sunset? He gave his head a mighty shake. “You fell in the water.”

“I know.” At least, he thought he knew. Everything had happened so fast. He’d fallen asleep and woken up when the ice cracked. He plopped his feet to the floor only to have them land in several inches of water. His stove had tipped over and the hot metal had melted clear through the ice. There must have been a crack in the ice nearby.

“We pulled you out.”

“We?” Quik adjusted the blankets over his arms. He could only imagine Lux and Ginger and Frost tearing his clothes off. Lux made to adjust her glasses, but they weren’t there. She looked around like they’d fallen off and she didn’t know how. So he wasn’t the only one thrown off by all this. Quik’s eyes traveled lower to find her bare shoulders and her skintight tank top. He jerked his eyes back up to her face, hoping she hadn’t caught his wandering eye.

“Me and Dunder.” She chewed her lip. “My reindeer.”

“Of course.” The situation was going up in weirdness. Having used up all his ability to care about propriety, Quik leaned back against the seat. He was in the bottom of a fancy velvet-lined sled. Yep. Weird. His eyes dropped shut. “You cut my pants?” he asked.

“I’ll get you new ones,” offered Lux.

“Did you cut my shirt too?”

“No!” She was offended. That was kind of cute.

“Too bad. I needed a new shirt.” He half smiled.  

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Author Lucy McConnell Award-winning author, Lucy McConnell, loves Christmas, romance, chocolate and Elvis. She started out as an editor at an advertising agency before moving on to teach in the marketing department of the local community college. She loved teaching and often misses the academic environment. Lucy retired from teaching and began to write articles and sweet romance novels. She has been published in national magazines, newspapers, short story compilations, and she writes cookbooks under the name Christina Dymock. If she's not at the computer, you can find her trying to keep up with her husband and four kids on the ski slopes, in a boat, in the kitchen, or on a horse.

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Also by Lucy McConnell

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 12/30/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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.