Saturday, June 24, 2017

Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere




by 
Diane Vallere



Blurb

Halloween conjures up big business for Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, but this year, the holiday comes knocking with serious trouble. Venture capitalist Paul Haverford plans to rezone historic downtown into a glitzy commercial area which would push out local business. Margo is set on saving her family’s store, especially after a nasty run-in with the chain-store tycoon, but after Haverford’s body is discovered during a spooky party at the derelict Alexandria Hotel, Margo finds herself dressed as the police’s prime suspect.

Anxious to clear her name, Margo begins hunting down anyone who might have wanted Haverford dead. Between all of his malicious maneuverings, the murdered mogul had buckets of people anxious to see him gone. Now, Margo will have to use every trick in the book to find a cloaked killer—before someone else winds up wearing a death shroud...




Amazon link




My review:

4.5 out of 5 stars


Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere is part of the ‘Costume Shop Mystery’ series and follows costume shop proprietor Margo Tamblyn who is trying to prove to her father that he made a good decision entrusting her with his life’s work. Unfortunately, her love of dressing up and her creativity may not be enough to save her from the predations of someone who is determined to change their quaint and personable town to a lucrative soulless tourist trap.

This cozy mystery is a great view of the challenges of running a costume shop around Halloween. I loved the puns sprinkled throughout the story as well as the imaginative costumes, and found myself chuckling at the name “Disguise Delimit” every time I read it. The descriptions in the story would be easy to follow to make your own version even without the nice instructions at the end of the book. This is a great example of a cozy mystery that keeps the icky murder aspect from being overwhelming while taking the reader on a madcap ride that provides plenty of red herrings and eccentric characters. There are some books that are just fun to read, and this is definitely one of them.

I haven’t read the previous story in the series, but the recap was sufficient to set the stage for some of the events in this tale while piquing my curiosity about previous events. The almost-romance is a little strange for me as I never did figure out if it was a cultural issue or just another eccentricity but I definitely enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and the wholehearted embrace of the creativity and entertainment of dressing up and Halloween in particular.



A copy of this title was iven to e for review

Friday, June 23, 2017

Flood by Elaine Cantrell (VET, spotlight, and GIVEAWAY) GFT





by Elaine Cantrell

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GENRE: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

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BLURB:

Drawn together by their love of animals, Aria DeLuca and Caleb Hawkins burn for each other. They never suspected that malignant forces were successfully plotting Caleb’s ruin from the moment he entered her life.

When the flood of a century strikes Aria’s hometown, an alienated Caleb is all that stands between her and catastrophic loss.



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Exclusive Exceprt:


As the waiter left, both he and Aria reached for a fry at the same time. Their fingers brushed together. An arc of fire shot through his entire body and set him to burning. He had to remind himself to breathe. Frozen by the fire, he couldn’t move his hand. Aria didn’t try to move her hand either. Had the fire burned her too? Her face had flushed, and her eyes glittered like two brown stars.



With a sharp intake of breath, she pulled away and shoved the fries toward him. “You take them.” 



He forced himself to move. Taking a couple of fries, he dropped them on his waxed paper and fumbled for some ketchup. Chancing a peek at Aria who was doing everything she could not to look at him, he lost his breath again. His heart hammered in his throat. “Uh, I’ll…I’ll take them home if you don’t wa…want them.”



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AUTHOR Bio and Links:




Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. 




Find Elaine at the following locations.

Blog 




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GIVEAWAY




a Rafflecopter giveaway




The tour dates can be found here








Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Second Time's the Charm: A Romance Summer Box Set by Holly Cortelyou, Ja’Nese Dixon, Khardine Gray, Robyn Rychards and T. S. Sharp (VBB, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT





Second Time’s the Charm
by Holly Cortelyou, Ja’Nese Dixon, Khardine Gray, Robyn Rychards
and T. S. Sharp

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GENRE: Romance

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BLURB:

What happens when a summer getawayoffers a second chance at love?

Five unforgettable romances. Five delicious heroes. Summer lovin’ doesn’t get any better than this. Escape with these brand new, sweet and sensual second chances at love.

Dive into these lush beachy reads and feel the temptation of lost love rekindled…and lose yourself in captivating, heart-melting happy-ever-afters!


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EXCERPT



I Love You Again 

by Khardine Gray

"Let's do the bets before the guys get here." Jennifer smiled. Neil and his groomsmen were meeting them for dinner. It was the chance for everyone to meet properly. "Neil's best man is single and a complete hottie." Jennifer giggled.

"Hottie?" Trina asked with narrowed eyes. "Can you even say that anymore?"

"Yes, because my Neil knows I think he's the hottest of them all. Anyway, I've known his friend for years, and I always thought he'd be nice for one of you two. I don't know the other guys that well but this guy has the full package."

Trina rolled her eyes. "Mandy can have him. I bet twenty she'll be the wedding hook up."

"Me?" Mandy pointed to herself. "I bet thirty it's you." "Okay. I'll go with Mandy and Jennifer, Trina," Lizzie said. "I'm going in big for a hundred." Jennifer smiled.

Trina shook her head. Jennifer always went in big. It was sad that this time she would lose a hundred bucks. That was a decent pair of shoes or a nice top in Nordstrom. It was so silly to waste so much on a bet.

"Oh you would wouldn't you," Lizzie grumbled. "I bet one fifty on Mandy then."

"Oh look. They're here, and there he is." Jennifer beamed. They looked across the restaurant, over the crowded tables to the entrance where more people were coming in to start their evening.

Trina saw Neil first. He'd had his black hair cut into a neat style that allowed him to keep his locks. Dressed in a white cotton shirt and dark trousers he looked elegant and carried his tall, muscular stature with grace. Trina thought he moved as if he were floating towards them. No, not them.

He floated towards Jennifer and had the look of love all over him. Jennifer smiled at him and blew a kiss which he made a show of catching and placing on his heart. Mandy and Lizzie both awed and cooed. Trina looked back to Neil and saw two dark haired guys next to him that she didn't recognize.

"It's the guy behind Neil. The really tall gorgeous one with all the muscles." Jennifer giggled. "There."

Trina followed Jennifer's gaze and looked behind Neil. When her eyes landed on the man Jennifer was referring to, her whole body froze.

Completely froze. She was sure her heart had stopped too because she couldn't feel it anymore. Trina drew in a sharp breath and choked back a cry as spasms of shock erupted within her.

She felt faint and feverish both at the same time as she continued to look at him in an attempt to work out if her mind was playing tricks on her. Prolonging her stare confirmed it was not. She'd recognize him anywhere. Yes, he was tall - six feet four to be exact - and still gorgeous with his Hollywood good looks, muscular physique and shiny blonde hair. But this guy was deadly.


BUY LINKS: 




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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

About Holly Cortelyou


Holly Cortelyou is a romance author who pens sweet and spicy small town, contemporary romances as wells as supernatural and paranormal historical romances.

On any given day, Holly can be found sipping coffee and surfing Facebook for gossip on royals, college football (Go Ducks!), knitting, and ghosts!

After trying on many hats as a meeting planner, political scientist, long-haul trucker, and financial services specialist, she’s finally found the perfect fit as a romance writer!

Holly’s living her own Happily Ever After with an uber-handy and sexily broad-shouldered husband, and a fluffball kitty in sun-kissed Southern Oregon…and an exuberant lab puppy who rules our hearts!

She has hazel eyes and a goofy sense of humor…all the rest is subject to change without notice.

You can always find her at her website and via e-mail.

Happy Reading!!!


Stay in Touch




About Ja’Nese Dixon


Ja’Nese Dixon pens tales of romance in several sub-genres. But her favorites are the ones that manage to keep readers sitting on the edge of their seats lying to themselves about reading “just one more chapter”.

Ja’Nese is an avid reader and coffee drinker, who also loves to run, cook, and craft. Her ultimate goal as a writer is to give you a little “staycation” with every story. And she aims to make this present story no exception. Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy.

Ja’Nese calls Houston home with her husband, three kiddos and a four-legged diva dog.

Visit her website if you enjoy romance, suspense and good stories.


Stay in Touch




About Khardine Gray


Khardine Gray is a contemporary romance author who lives in England with her husband, two kids, and three crazy ferrets.

She is well traveled, cultured, and a woman with a passion for dancing and ice skating.

When not writing you can catch her shopping, indulging on pizza and hot chocolate, or hanging out with her family and friends.

No need to spend money on an airline ticket. Simply pick up one of Khardine's books to become immersed in the fascinating stories and characters she creates.

Stay in Touch




About Robyn Rychards
  

Robyn Rychards grew up in the granola bowl of the United States, Boulder Colorado, a town filled with fruits, flakes and nuts. She considers herself a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none and has taught herself to sew, paint, play the piano, garden, cook, the list goes on. But now that her books are published, she’s thrilled to finally be considered a master of one. At least as much as a person can be, for the learning never really stops.

She feels her active imagination is a blessing and a curse, with the blessing far outweighing the curse since it has led her to fulfill her dream of writing for Harlequin. Robyn started writing stories when she was a teenager because she didn’t have enough books to read. Sometimes she finds it hard to believe that people are willing to pay her to do something she enjoys so much, but mostly she’s happy to have such a wonderful excuse not to cook and clean. And a job that means you can stay in your jammies as long as you want? Priceless.

She also loves to hear from her readers, so send her an email. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, @robynrychards. She loves meeting new people on Facebook too and can be found under her name, Robyn Rychards. Check out her web page for details about her books and upcoming releases.

Stay in Touch




About T. S. Sharp


T. S. Sharp, AKA Tierra, is a driven, passionate and charismatic author hailing from Mobile, Alabama.

A self-described “twenty-something introvert”, T. S. Sharp is truly passionate about anything that concerns words and reading, and she would often spend her time reading even beyond her school obligations, often resting in her bed with her trusty kindle and a wealth of amazing literature at her disposal.

Although she is debuting with her first work, Tierra is a very flexible and eclectic writer with a very kaleidoscopic taste: she loves to read different genres and therefore, she creates very diverse stories in her head, unleashing the full potential of her creativity and sharing her ideas with the readers in a unique and refreshing ways.

Tierra’s passion can only be accurately described with her own words and specifically, with one of her most sincere wishes:

“I hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy creating them.” – T. S. Sharp

Stay in Touch

Twitter


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GIVEAWAYS


Summer Lovin’ Giveaway

Enter for a Chance to Win

Five unforgettable romances. Five delicious heroes. Summer lovin’ doesn’t get any better than this. Escape with these brand new, sweet and sensual second chances at love.

Grand Prize Winner

$25 Gift Card and five (5) bundle from us.

All Entrants

All entrants receive five stories for your eReader.









a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here 


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An Unwilling Suspect by Jo Hiestand (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT








by Jo A. Hiestand

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GENRE: British mystery

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BLURB:

McLaren’s fiancée tragically died one month ago. Trying to heal emotionally from her death, McLaren settles into a rented farmhouse in the woods near picturesque Lake Windermere, in Cumbria. But he’s barely had a chance to rest when Helen, the woman in the neighboring cottage, is killed…and is discovered near his front door.

Because McLaren had spent much of the previous day with her, and his snowy footprints lead to and from her house, he becomes the prime murder suspect in what the police label a frustrated romantic advance.

Motives for Helen’s murder are as chilling as the outdoor temperature. There’s the hands-on garage mechanic who’d like to put his hands all over her, the affluent fishing guide, and Helen’s former boyfriend who wanted to renew the relationship.

Can McLaren find the killer before the police jail him for murder?

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EXCERPT


The acrid smell of smoke woke him. He lay in bed, trying to understand what was happening. As the significance of the odor occurred to him, he threw back the duvet and got up quickly.

He forgot that he’d looked up a few things last night. He must have fallen asleep without putting away the laptop, for it flipped off the top of the bed and crashed onto the floor. “Damn.” He bent over and picked it up. The top dangled, gripping the keyboard by its left edge. McLaren punched the power button but nothing happened. The screen stayed black. He tossed the laptop onto the bed and quickly slipped into his jeans and shoes as the odor intensified.

He ran into the front room. Fingers of light gray smoke threaded through the air and he coughed, but he saw no other sign of fire. He checked the back room, kitchen and second bedroom, but encountered nothing more than smoke. As he dashed back into the front, he glanced outside. The land was on fire.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folk singing stint.  This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of both the Taylor & Graham mysteries and the McLaren cold case mystery series.

 Jo’s insistence for accuracy, from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area, has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her cat Tennyson shares her St. Louis home.


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GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here


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My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

An Unwilling Suspect by Jo A. Hiestand is a mystery set in England that is part of the ‘McLaren Mysteries’ series. Michael McLaren has availed himself of a countryside retreat in Windemere offered him to use while he tries to recover from his recent tragedy. A neighborly act somehow enmeshes him in a murder investigation with him as the number one suspect. The more he tries to discover the true murderer, the more complicated the case becomes, even when he calls in a former colleague. Danger mounts until it is possible he may not live to uncover the true murderer.

There are beautifully emotional elements in this story and some vividly described scenes that evoke a countryside retreat. The story starts on a gentle mournful note and gains momentum as McLaren interacts with various denizens while battling grief and ultimately, while conducting his own investigation of the murder he is accused of. Clues and red herrings abound until the final exciting twists, and there is a mystical element that adds another layer of mystery to the story.

There are a few elements that were uncomfortable for me, including the shifting and numerous points of view that don’t quite sync with the third person omniscient, as well as the apparent preponderance of characters who seem amazingly bloodthirsty and amoral. Not everything is tied up in a tidy bow, so I still have plenty of questions. Although this is part of a series, there is enough detail that one is not completely lost, but the allusions to previous events definitely encourage one’s curiosity about what would have brought McLaren to this point. I think that those who like mysteries with a somewhat sobering British flair will enjoy this tale.

A copy of this title was given to me for review






Monday, June 19, 2017

A Convenient Risk by Sara R. Turnquist (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT



I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Sara R. Turnquist, who shares...

Can My Writing Be TOO Tight?
by Sara R. Turnquist


As writers, we're frequently told to tighten our writing. It's a common thing. I mean, how many of you have sat in a critique group and not heard that mentioned at least once? 

Believe me, tightening our sentences and paragraphs in general is a good thing. But can we do that to the point where it becomes a negative? Let me tell you about my first experience pitching to an agent.

Too tight? What does that mean?

I attended my first conference. I was so excited (and nervous). Despite the fact I didn't know to sign up for an agent appointment ahead of time, I snagged the last appointment on one of the agent's agendas. Whew! One barrier crossed. Now cue the nerves. But I had been practicing my pitch; I'm really ready to go. And you know what? He liked my story. Truly. He was rather intrigued by my characters, their arcs, and the history I had pulled in. So he asked me to send in the first however many chapters.

And I took the next day and poured over those chapters, making sure everything was how it should be. Hit "send", breathe again. When he responded later that day, I got the most curious feedback I could have ever imagined: "Your writing is too tight." What? Is that possible?

So, I called my writing mentor. Have you ever heard of this? Too tight? Nope. She's got nothing. Never heard of that. I search the Internet. Nothing. All I can find is "How to Make Your Writing Tighter". What am I supposed to do with this feedback? How can I take this and improve if I don't know what this could mean?

Maybe there is no such thing…

Fast forward to my next conference. I schedule appointments ahead of time (learned my lesson). Only this time, I scheduled a Mentor session first and an Agent session second. The Mentor read the same first page the agent at the previous conference had looked at. Her response? "I wouldn't call it 'tight', I'd call it concise...and that's not a bad thing. But as I went through it, I didn't get a picture of what your main character looked like."

Oh. So, I've tightened it to the point, I've left out some necessary description. Maybe that's what that first agent meant. So, I take the manuscript, add in some description. Now I'm golden, right?

Now I get it!

Well...that's not where this story ends. At some point along the way, I decide to do a 10K day. That means a lot of writing, right? At some point in the day, you get to a point where you let loose your internal editor and just write.

And something clicked. As I'm writing that day, I found a rhythm to my writing that had not existed. I discovered something else. In my striving for tight writing, I had lost flow. 

There wasn't the smoothness to the manuscript that should be there.

So for me, I would say that yes, there is such a thing as writing that is too tight. As a general rule, I would say newbie writers need to strive for more tight, concise writing. But the "sophomore" level writers out there need to make sure they aren't sacrificing a nice flow for the sake of tightness.

There's my two cents, for whatever that's worth.


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A Convenient Risk
by Sara R. Turnquist

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.

Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle ranch and life insurance policy. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.

Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, adding to her frustration and grief at her loss. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang. What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?


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EXCERPT


A strong arm grasped Amanda, catching her upper arm and dragging her onto the horse. As soon as she was solidly on the animal, she grabbed ahold of Brandon as tightly as she could.

They took off. The bull pawed at the ground, making all manner of grunting noises, but as if by some miracle, he ran off to the left. All of this happened as if time had slowed.

The horse continued to push forward. And as they neared the edge of the fence, Brandon urged the horse to go even faster. Were they going to break through? What would happen to the cattle with the fence destroyed?

But as they approached the fence, the horse leapt. Amanda gripped Brandon impossibly tighter. Jolted when the horse landed, her teeth chattered.

Only then did Brandon slow the horse. He then placed a hand on her upper arm and pushed.

She released him.

He sucked in a deep breath and expelled it.

Had she been holding him too tightly? Her face warmed.

He took hold of her shoulders. “Are you all right?”

She nodded, and though their faces were but a breath apart, she was not quite able to meet his eyes, fighting tears in her own. Only then she found herself staring at his bare chest. Jerking her head away, she averted her gaze.

“Do you realize what could have happened?” His voice rose.

She nodded, still not able to meet his eyes. The force of his emotion hit her. Was he so concerned after her?

“I would have had to shoot that bull.”

What? Eyes wide, she tilted her face up to look at him.

“That bull is worth half my herd.”

So he was only worried about the cattle. Not her. His precious cattle.


Amazon

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Middle Tennessee where they currently reside. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. She enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write clean Historical Romance. Sara has made several trips to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also the author of The General’s Wife, Off to War, Hope in Cripple Creek, and A Convenient Risk and a member of ACFW.


Twitter: @sarat1701
Facebook: AuthorSaraRTurnquist
Pinterest: SaraVTurnquis







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GIVEAWAY




a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nathan's Big Sky by M.L. Buchman (review)




Nathan's Big Sky
by M.L. Buchman



Blurb:
-a Henderson’s Ranch romance-

When Emily Beale and Mark Henderson retire to the family ranch in Montana, they enter a whole new world. Meeting all new people.

Chef Nathan Gallagher’s escape from New York City lands him in the most unlikely of places: Montana. With his past dumped and his future unknown, he seeks something new. If only he knew what.

Julie Larson, former rodeo star and born-and-bred cattle rancher, loves the prairie and the horses. The cattle ranch work with her three brothers? Not so much. The local cowboys labeling her as a Grade-A Prime catch? Even less. When she rescues Nathan from a near-death experience, her future and her heart alter past all imagining.
The only place a New York chef’s future and a Montana cowgirl’s heart can thrive? Under Nathan’s Big Sky.



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My review:



4.75 out of 5 stars

Nathan's Big Sky by M.L. Buchman is part of the “Henderson’s Ranch” series and details the challenges of Cordon Bleu chef Nathan Gallagher, who has made a radical change in his life and fled from his prestigious job in New York and retreated to rural Montana, ostensibly to visit his brother. His determination to find a niche for himself is complicated by his attraction to the heroine who ‘saves’ him from a longhorn cow named Lucy. Can this city boy make a home for himself in the wilds of Montana?

I loved the contrasts in this story, and the way perception is so deftly portrayed by the author. The opening scene is priceless, with the juxtaposition of Nathan’s desperate attempt to defend himself with a tire jack against the ‘vicious’ animal, let alone deal with the unfamiliar weather and confusing geography, and the ‘heroic’ rescue by a beautiful and capable but disdainful cowgirl. As with most of M.L.’s stories, the action starts immediately with characters who catch one’s attention and the more the tale unfolds, the more fascinating it becomes.

Nathan’s first encounter with Ama, whose striking appearance is…enhanced…by her bunny slippers, Lucy’s sometimes dangerous propensity to be somewhere she doesn’t belong (causing Mark’s showoff piloting to be extra exciting), and, best of all, Mark’s version of fly fishing as complicated by the eoose/melk/mook family unit kept me enthralled (and laughing maniacally) throughout the story. The beautiful romance that slowly flourishes is icing on the cake and of course, it was delightful as always to get glimpses of Mark and Emily and their remarkable capacity to excel and enjoy life. This was another excellent story from an impressively prolific author who never fails to entertain, and I look forward to reading other stories in this series!
 
I received a copy of this story for review

(and yes, I DID ask why it was Henderson's Ranch rather than Hendersons' Ranch, lol)