WYNTER’S JOURNEY

Chapter 1

She was in Hell—and it had well and truly frozen over. Already exhausted from her cross-country flight, Wynter slumped from the weight of her misery as she stared at the two-story farmhouse. White clapboard and white wraparound front porch with tall white columns acted as sentries guarding the gates of Hell. And all of it blending in quite hideously with the snow that blanketed every blessed surface of the postage-stamp sized dot on the map that was Braeden, VT. 

The only color breaking up the monotonous white was the bright stain of red that served as the front door. Under other circumstances, it might have been considered cheerful, bright even. But Wynter was tired and more than a little nervous. In her current state, all she could think of was blood. She shivered, thinking to herself that she should not have come.

A cough alerted her to the cab driver, waiting to be paid. Wynter closed her eyes, her trembling fingers reaching for the small fold of bills in her coat pocket—the last of her money. By stiffing the man his tip, she could keep the last precious twenty-dollar bill. Quickly, she handed the entire amount across the front seat to the driver, unable to meet his eyes for that uncharitable thought.

Cold air sucked away what little warmth the old car’s heater had generated when the driver opened his door. He whistled an off-key tune, pulling her meager possessions from the trunk before he came back into view, setting her bags beside the neatly plowed walkway. He disappeared again, slammed the trunk closed and came around to help her exit the vehicle.

“Careful, it’s slipperier than it looks.” The older man gripped her gloved hands, steadying her when her travel weary knees and top-heavy frame made her pinwheel first toward the snowbank on her left and then toward the one on her right.

“You sure you ought to be travelin’ by yourself at this point?” He looked down at her very round belly.

 “Got the all-clear from the doctor just yesterday.” Wynter smiled brightly through the bald-faced lie.

 The airline had tried to give her a hard time. However, they didn’t have an actual rule that she couldn’t fly at 36 weeks. When Wynter had pointed out that it was a one-way flight and she promised to check in with her OB (another lie, as she didn’t have a doctor lined up in Vermont), they let her on her flight.

“Well, good luck then. You go on in and sit down. Tell them to fix you up something warm to drink.” He tipped his hat, sparing a final glance at her protruding middle and got back into the cab.

He’d driven away before Wynter could remember to ask if he’d carry her bags up to the front door. Gritting her teeth and cursing her own brash decision-making, she slung her duffle bag over her shoulder and picked the other two up by their handles. The driveway wasn’t long, but in her current condition, she was panting by the time she reached the covered porch.

Now came the hard part. Sam wasn’t expecting her. More to the point, he’d been avoiding her for the last twelve years. She knew the reception she’d get wouldn’t be a welcome one. But that was okay. She had her trump card—a promise Sam had made years ago. Her baby’s future depended on him honoring that promise. Her means of escape having driven away, Wynter took a deep breath and knocked at the big red door. 

She shuffled her feet, wishing she’d had enough money to purchase a thick pair of winter boots for her impromptu cross-country adventure. Okay, to be fair, there really hadn’t been much time. One minute she held a one-way ticket to Florida, purchased by her parents, the next she had changed her destination, and hopefully, the overall direction of her life.

At one time, too long ago for her taste, Sam had been her rock, one of her closest friends and someone she could go to in a moment of crisis. Now Wynter was newly widowed, about to raise a baby on her own. She could no longer afford the apartment she had shared with her husband in California. And, at thirty years old, she was forced to consider moving back in with her parents—an option she’d desperately like to avoid. If ever there was a moment of crisis, this was it.

Why wasn’t Sam answering the door? Wynter’s eyes flew to the curtain-covered window beside the door, looking for movement. Did he know who was out there? Had he seen the ugly green and orange cab pull up and dump out the last person on Earth that he expected to see? Was he hiding on the other side of the door, willing her to turn around and walk the five miles or so to town?  Well, it wasn’t going to happen. Wynter swallowed hard, past the lump forming in her throat. Her Sam wouldn’t leave her out on his doorstep to freeze. His mom had raised him right. Even if he didn’t want her there, he’d invite her in to warm up and rest. She rubbed her arms and stamped her sneakered feet. He wasn’t here. She hadn’t even considered that option.

A little bit wildly now, she paid closer attention to her surroundings. The next house over was barely visible through the spindly winter-bare trees on the other side of the road. Sam’s covered porch offered little in the way of protection from the wind. Fear clawing at her throat, Wynter eyed the glass windows and pondered how she might break in. But any rocks were buried beneath at least a foot of snow, and the only furniture on the porch was a swing, attached to the shingled roof with thick chains. 

She crumpled onto the swing, defeat sapping the rest of her strength. Making herself as small as possible, she huddled against the cold wood, tears stinging the backs of her eyelids. Her idea had been to ask Sam for a place to stay, temporarily. She knew, through his sister, that he lived alone. She’d intended to look for a job, something she could walk to until she saved up enough for a beater car. Choking on a sob, Wynter realized the futility of her hastily made plans. 

She hadn’t counted on Sam living in the boonies. She wasn’t sure where the actual town was, or if there was even the possibility of a job. Wynter was so desperate to stay independent, to keep her domineering parents from taking over her life and the raising of her child that she’d run to the one person she could think of.

“Where are you, Sam? I need you.” And the tears that had threatened from the moment the cab started to creep deeper and deeper into no-man’s land finally caught up with her.

Hunching into her thick parka and pulling her knees up as best she could, Wynter tucked herself into the swing and gave in to the hopelessness that she could no longer hold at bay. Wrapping her arms protectively around the life that grew inside her, she started to cry.

TRAPPED IN TOURIST TOWN

Chapter 1

“I’ll tell ya what’s worse than them stupid geese dressed up in people clothes—” Old Man Feeney jabbed a gnarled finger in the air, waggling it around for effect. “Those plywood cutouts Margie Nixon stuck in her yard of the ladies bent over showing off their bloomers. Downright scandalous!” 

Gritting her teeth and glancing around the bakery, Cady did a quick inventory to make sure her customers didn’t need an immediate refill of their coffee. She reached under the counter and withdrew an empty jar, setting it on the Formica with a thunk. That garnered a couple of bored looks from several of her elderly customers but they quickly went back to their discussion. 

She rummaged through a basket under the cash register and came up with a marker and some Scotch tape. Smiling, she neatly wrote: Cady’s NY Dream Fund. Taping the label to the jar, she slid the container toward her regulars sitting at the counter. “There you go, boys. Tip jar. Fill ’er up.” She winked at Old Man Feeney.

“Ayuh. Good luck with that, Little Miss Fancy-Britches. I think all your tippers are already in New York City.” Feeney and his cronies chortled.

Cady blew out a sigh and rolled her eyes. They were probably right. The people of Scallop Shores were stuck in their ways. They were stubborn. They didn’t like change. They didn’t do fancy. They cringed at exciting.

She’d been trying to get the morning regulars at Logan’s Bakery to try something besides regular drip coffee for almost a year. Mr. Logan had refused to approve the expense of a new espresso machine so she’d gone out and bought one with her own money. Needless to say, it had not been the wisest investment.

Earl Duffy tossed back the last of his caffeine and held the ceramic mug out for more. Like an assembly line, empty coffee mugs were pushed out toward her side of the counter. Dutifully, Cady filled them all and then headed for the display case of pastries. They’d be asking for their second helping of morning sugar now.

“Cady, be a doll and get me another bear claw?”

“I could do with another cheese Danish while you’re at it.”

Down the line she went, refilling coffee and topping off bellies. It was the same thing every day. Nothing ever changed in this town. So dull. So predictable. Crouching, Cady opened a new box of sweetener packets so she could refill the containers on the counter. The tinkling of the bell over the door signaled a new customer. Deciding to have a little fun with her theory that the town was indeed predictable, Cady called out from her spot on the floor to the woman who came in at this time every morning.

“Good morning, Gladys. Be right with you. How’s that hip this morning? I made your favorite today, raisin bran muffins.”

The long pause was enough to wipe the smug smile from her face. The snickers from the old men lining the counter had her cringing. Then the deliciously deep voice that told her “I love raisin bran muffins” made Cady want to sink beneath the surface of the old cracked linoleum. Her cheeks hot with embarrassment, she rose on shaky legs and faced her unexpected customer.

“I’m so sorry. I thought you were someone else.” 

“Clearly.”

Once she got a good look at the source of her mortification, she decided it had been well worth it. This man had city written all over him. In a room full of flannel and denim, his gray slacks, wool blazer, and perfectly crisp white shirt were a welcome sight. His neatly clipped dark hair and baby-smooth cheeks were a direct contrast to all the buzzards turned to him, their own visages long due for a trim and a shave.

“What can I get you?” Cady asked breathlessly.

“I’d like a soy latte—and one of those raisin bran muffins.” He winked. Her heart skipped a beat.

“Look at that, would ya, boys? Someone who’s willing to try one of my fancy coffee drinks.” Cady smirked at the men who made no effort to hide their curious stares.

“Enjoy it while you can. Who knows when you’ll make another?” said one of the regulars. 

“Actually,” the stranger interrupted, “if it’s good, I’ll order one every day.” He spoke to the men at the counter but kept his eyes on Cady. Mesmerizing green eyes.

Shaking her head to get herself back on task, Cady rushed to fill his order. Her fingers lightly caressed the espresso machine as she poured, packed, and pushed buttons. Working this fancy coffeemaker, inhaling the heady scent of the beans, and listening to the loud whirs and chuffs as it transformed raw ingredients into a delicious hot treat made her happier than she thought possible. Would it kill the rest of the town to give something different a try? Just once in a while?

Her hand trembled slightly as she set the paper cup on the counter. She shook open a tiny paper bag, snagged a muffin out of the case with a pair of plastic tongs, and slipped it into the bag. Folding the top over, she handed it to the gentleman. He reached out, covering Cady’s fingers with his own. Truth be told, she’d been expecting the touch, but not the jolt that traveled all the way up to tickle her behind the ears. He held her gaze even after he released her hand. Flustered, she broke eye contact.

“Cady’s NY Dream Fund,” he read aloud, gesturing toward the pathetically empty tip jar.

She nodded, irritated with the way her body was reacting as she felt her cheeks signaling a second blush-fest. Stop acting like a ninny. He’s just a man. A gorgeous man who looked like he’d just stepped from the pages of a fashion magazine—or straight out of her fantasies.

Cady’s eyes widened as he stuffed the change she’d handed him into the tip jar. He’d just bought a twenty-dollar muffin and latte! A smile crinkling the corners of his eyes, he gave her another wink and turned to go.

“Gentlemen.” He called the farewell over his shoulder, the bell tinkling overhead once more.

“Them tourists sure are getting here earlier and earlier every year.” Old Man Feeney slowly shook his head.

“No.” Cady narrowed her eyes and tapped her finger to her lips, her gaze focused outside on the man stepping into his fancy foreign car. “This one’s not a tourist. I’m not sure what his story is, but I’ll find out.”

FIVE OF HEARTS

CHAPTER ONE

“Running away” was such a cowardly term. Dean preferred to think of it as “permanently relocating.” Lying back, he breathed in a gulp of fresh Maine air, laced with pine and beach roses and the sharp tang of the Atlantic Ocean. He felt his muscles relax, really relax, as he sank deeper into the hammock. He’d waited almost half his life for this.

At fourteen years old, Dean had willingly forfeited his anonymity—and the peace and quiet that went with it—for the chance to become an internationally revered pop star. He’d become Dino Valentine, lead singer of the boy band Five of Hearts. For the next six years, Dean’s life had been a whirlwind of recording sessions, hours of choreography, concert dates, and appearances. 

Fame. Fortune. The perks that came with being a household name. It all sounded great in the beginning, but no one ever told him about the downside of being under the microscope. All the people that wanted their share of the pie, their moment in the spotlight, their chance to spend someone else’s hard earned money. And the devious ways they plotted to get it.

In the six years since the band had broken up, Dean had kept to himself as much as possible, and tried to stay out of the public eye. He didn’t leave his Malibu mansion except to go visit his band mates. He was content to spend his days writing music, swimming laps in the pool, and chasing off opportunistic photogs looking for the chance to catch Dean in a compromising position—the money shot that would set them up for life.

Now, in the midst of yet another groundless paternity suit, Dean knew he needed to go where the money-grubbing vultures couldn’t find him. He was done with the life of a celebrity. He was done with Southern California. 

He swung from the hammock in his new backyard, a plate of cookies and an ice cold beer within reach. His baseball cap was pulled low over his eyes to block out the glare of the sun. A group of tall arborvitae bushes hid the next house from view, giving Dean the illusion that he was truly alone, something he’d been craving for so long. He opened the book in his lap but stared at the words, unseeing. He hoped all these changes, the cross-country move, and buying a new house, would bring him the sense of peace that had been missing.

Several years ago, Dean had had a tutor who came from Maine. He’d listen for hours while the man talked about what a beautiful state it was. He’d hailed from the coast and spent summers helping on his dad’s lobster boat. He had told Dean all about the snowmobiling, the ice fishing, bonfires, and parties in the woods. He’d described the crisp tang of autumn in the air and the riot of color from the trees, almost the entire month of October. There was something to do all year round.

Dean closed his eyes and breathed deeply of the fresh mown grass, ocean breezes, and a flowering shrub he couldn’t put a name to. He dug a toe into the lawn and set his hammock gently swinging. Smacking his lips, he grinned in drowsy happiness. He was falling asleep in the middle of the day. What a foreign concept that had become. Dean pillowed his head on his arm and snuggled into the hammock for some rest. Just as he was drifting off he thought he heard giggling.   

Cracking one eye open, Dean scanned the yard. There, over by the blueberry bushes, was a carrot-topped little pixie. He shook his head, opening his other eye, and looked again. This time the tiny child was over by the willow tree, crouched down and grinning. Dean rubbed his eyes and leaned out of the hammock for a better look. Wait. Now the little thief was right beside him—stealing his cookies! How could he be everywhere at once? 

Dean reached out to grab him by the collar but forgot he was in the hammock and lost his balance. The miniature con artist screeched as Dean nearly fell on top of him. He took off, a cookie in each hand. Dean landed with a thud on the lawn.

“Hey, get back here with my cookies!” Dean tried to get up to run after the child but tripped over his own feet and landed face first in the turf, knocking his ball cap off his head.

“Problems?” A soft, feminine voice, thickly laced with humor, called from the edge of the lawn. Dean stood, brushing his clothes off. He was starting to think chasing off paparazzi was preferable to chasing after … was it only a child? So much for peace and quiet.

“That kid made off with my cookies.” He scanned the perimeter of the yard, unable to locate the cookie thief.

“That team works fast. I imagine your cookies have been gobbled up by now.” He could actually hear the amused smile in her voice.

That team? There was more than one? Dean was starting to get a headache.

“How’d you all get into my yard anyway?” Rubbing his temples, he tried to work out how he’d thought there was one kid darting through his shrubs only to find there were more. How many more? This was confusing.

“There is a break in the hedge. I have a finely tuned radar when it comes to this bunch. I had a feeling they were up to no good.”

Frowning, Dean snatched up the empty plate. He turned, finally prepared to square off with this latest intruder. His words stuck to his tongue. His gaze was drawn to a pair of startlingly blue eyes. A light breeze picked up a strand of her long red hair, tossing it around playfully. Red hair and freckles. Suddenly, he was back in grade school remembering his first crush. Oh, he was a goner. 

She smiled, shrugging her shoulders in apology. The twinkle in her eyes called the sincerity of the apology into question, yet somehow Dean didn’t mind.

“My name is Shannon. I live next door with those … cookie thieves.”

“I, um, I’m Dean.” His brain was working overtime, trying to catch up. “Just how many kids are running around here?”

“Brady, Brenna, and Brian, you march those little butts out here right this second!”  Dean watched in horror as not one, but three little children peered out from behind the tall hedge and proceeded to line up in front of Shannon for inspection. He didn’t know much about kids, but he’d guess them to be about four or five years old. Their heads were bowed but Dean could tell they weren’t the least bit repentant. There were cookie crumbs on their cheeks and they looked to be trying very hard not to giggle.  Grudgingly, he had to admit they were cute—for thieving little cookie heathens. The little girl, Brenna, looked him right in the eye and winked. Dean focused on his sneakers, trying not to let the munchkin charm him.  

“What do you have to say for yourselves?” Shannon eyed them all, her face stern, and her features grim.

“We’re sorry, mister,” they offered in unison. Dean doubted that was the first time they’d had to apologize for something like this.

“It’s okay, I guess. You owe me some new cookies, though.” He folded his arms across his chest and cast a forlorn glance at the empty plate. He really had been looking forward to those cookies.

“That’s right, kiddos. You are going to spend tomorrow afternoon in the kitchen with me. No outdoors time until we get a nice batch of … ” She offered him an opening.

“Chocolate chip—no nuts.”

“Right. You all will be baking chocolate chip cookies, with no nuts, for Mr. Dean. You will not cut through the gap in the bushes to deliver them, but will instead use the walkway, like civilized neighbors.” 

Shannon silenced the groans of disappointment with a single look. Dean was impressed. She sent the children on their way back to their own yard and turned to him. He stood still while she gave him the once over, his nerves on edge as he waited to see if she’d recognize him. He panicked, reaching up to his bare head, when he realized he wasn’t wearing his hat. He always wore a hat. 

Shannon looked like she was in her mid-twenties, just the right age to have been a fan when Five of Hearts was at the top of their fame. If she recognized him, it would blow any chance of his hiding out in blessed anonymity in this quaint seaside town. Instead, she merely ducked her head shyly and played with the hem of her shirt. Whew. Maybe he was in the clear.

“Sorry about that heathen crack. They’re cute kids. Are they triplets? You must be the older sister, then.”

“Thank you … to the cute kids and to the older sister bit. That wasn’t necessary. Totally welcome, mind you, but not necessary. Nope, they’re all mine.” She blushed.

“Wow. I can’t even imagine one kid, but three at once? What did your husband say when you guys found out you were having triplets?”

“In a word? Goodbye.” Shannon shrugged, feigning indifference. “Let’s just say he didn’t find himself up to the challenge.”

“What a slimeball!” Dean clapped a hand over his mouth, embarrassed that he’d let that judgment be voiced aloud.

What kind of man would abandon his children? It was something Dean had been accused of many times—but something he would never do, if a child were actually his. 

Dean hadn’t been quite seventeen years old when he was named in his first paternity suit. He hadn’t been an angel, but he’d been careful. His manager had drilled it into all of them just how important it was to use protection. Dean had known the girl was lying. And yet he’d been advised to settle out of court, pay the girl what she wanted, and keep it out of the news.

But when this latest paternity suit surfaced, he knew he couldn’t keep paying off these women and hoping the problem would just go away. He needed to take a stand, and stop the madness once and for all. 

Shannon’s trill of laughter was music to his ears.

“Eh, I like to look at it as him doing us a favor.” Shannon turned toward the opening in the hedge. “Listen, I’m really sorry the kids invaded your space like this. It’s just that they were used to playing over here. The house has been on the market for years. This just kind of became an extension of our backyard. I’ll try to keep them out of here in the future.”

“Yeah, okay.” Dean watched her duck her head and pass through the tight space in the bushes.

This new life was not shaping up to be the tranquil escape he’d been looking for. He’d sworn off women—especially women that showed up on his doorstep with a child. Triplets! Screw the Arborvitae. He was going to have to build a fence. A really tall one.

Dean went back to his hammock and tried again to take that nap. If he heard sweet harp music in the background, he paid it no heed. He dreamed of tiny pixies with crumbs on their cheeks surrounding a beautiful fairy queen with gossamer wings and long, bright red hair.

DRAWN TO JONAH

CHAPTER ONE

Scene 1

If bad things really did come in threes, then a flat tire in a chilly October rainstorm rounded out the trifecta. Though a failed marriage and the death of her beloved grandmother certainly put this particular crimp in perspective. Quinn eased her BMW to the shoulder and prayed that she wasn’t inviting more trouble by getting the wheels stuck in gooey, back roads mud. She leaned her head against the backrest and closed her eyes.

The engine was idling, the wipers barely able to keep up with the sheet of rain pouring steadily from the sky. Daylight was giving up its last gasp and Quinn was stranded on a road that didn’t see much traffic at the best of times. This move back to Scallop Shores, Maine, was not starting off well.

She rooted through the usual plethora of junk in her purse, searching for her elusive cell phone. Of course it hid at the very bottom. Quinn grimaced when her fingers came in contact with something sticky—she didn’t want to know. Seconds later, she fished the phone out of her bag. “Yes!”

The battery was dead. “No, no, no!” She threw the phone to the floor, startling the cat in the kennel beside her, still sleepy from kitty-downers. “I just charged this last night.” The day officially could not get any worse.

Distracted, she didn’t realize she was no longer alone on the quiet rural road until a tall silhouette suddenly loomed at the driver’s side window. Grizzabella, the cat, hissed. Quinn screamed. Her heart thudded in time with the thumping on her window as the larger-than-life man tried to get her attention. How had he snuck up on her like that?

She twisted in her seat to look behind her. Sure enough, a large white pickup truck had pulled to the edge of the road, its light color still discernable against the bright autumn wardrobe that dressed the trees lining the road. Squinting, Quinn could make out someone else in the truck.

The city girl in her balked at the idea of opening her window, even an inch, to talk to this man. But the small-town girl, the one raised right here, remembered that folks in Scallop Shores helped each other out. Even if it meant getting a thorough dousing while waiting to do a good deed. She lowered the window.

“Got yourself into a bind, huh? Pop the trunk, I’ll get the spare out.” He grinned, showing dazzling teeth, and Quinn thought it unfair that one man could have been gifted with so many gorgeous features.

“I can get out. Do you want me to get out? Maybe I could help.” Quinn shoved a knuckle into her mouth to stop the blathering.

Raking a large hand through his soggy dark hair, the stranger tossed her an amused stare and shook his head. When she just sat there, he nodded toward the button that would release the trunk. Oh yeah.

Quinn sunk low in her seat, embarrassed that she’d gotten so flustered over a good looking stranger. He was just a man. She scooted back up and checked out what was going on through the rearview mirror. He hefted out the spare tire and jack and slammed the trunk closed. He really was big. Tall, broad-shouldered, pec muscles clearly defined by the soaked-through T-shirt that clung like a second skin.

Sure her assessment through the rearview mirror had been covert, Quinn nearly squealed when the stranger stopped to stare back at her. Even in the fading twilight, she could see just how icy blue his eyes were. There was nothing icy about the slow heat that spread through her veins when their eyes met.

She squirmed in her seat, trying to ignore this physical reaction that she had no time or use for. Relief flooded through her as she spied her sketchpad on the passenger seat. She snatched it like a lifeline. Switching on the overhead light and flipping to an empty sheet, she braced the little notebook against the bouncing of the car as it was jacked up. Quinn started to draw. She always started with the eyes. What would hers say right now?

 Relief. Things hadn’t worked out. Marriage wasn’t for everyone. Coming back to the small New England town where she was raised was the perfect place to start over. She was better off alone. Her thoughts wandered until a tap on her window made her jump again. She lowered it just a crack.

“Making sure you’ll have a positive ID for the police?” He lowered his gaze to the drawing in her lap. Quinn looked down in horror to see the stranger’s face staring back at her.

“I, uh, sketch when I’m bored.” She’d meant to say nervous but didn’t want him to know how much he’d affected her. She ripped the page out of the book and passed it through the space in the window. “Here, take it.”

He took the picture, staring at it curiously.

“I’d really like to give you something for your time.” Oh good lord, could that have come out any more suggestive? Quinn felt her cheeks grow warm again.

“I was raised not to expect anything for helping someone in need.”

“Then I hope to return the favor someday.” He raised an eyebrow. “You’re going to change a flat on my truck?” Chuckling, he headed back to his own vehicle.

That wasn’t what she’d meant! He had deliberately misunderstood her. Quinn turned around in her seat, but he was already getting into his truck. He pulled up alongside her car and rolled down the passenger side window.

“Have a nice trip.”

He’d noticed the New York plates then. Well, she was done with New York City. She was done with broken dreams. And she was especially done with men. Quinn Baker was starting over—and she was in Scallop Shores to stay.

Visit Scallop Shores

WELCOME TO SCALLOP SHORES, MAINE:

You’ll find most everything you need on Maine Street. Just hang a right at the Civil War monument and you’ll hit the main drag. Cady would love a chance to brew you one of her ‘froo froo’ drinks in her espresso maker. Just don’t take Old Man Feeney’s spot at the counter. He may be the biggest gossip in town, but he tends to be a cranky old cuss!

If it’s books you’re after, you’ve got a choice: Bree can help you out at the library. Be sure and check out their annual book sale. Or if you prefer a cozier atmosphere, The Book Nook is just the place. Lots of overstuffed armchairs for you to curl up and give that new bestseller a test run before you buy. Wynter won’t mind.

Mansions dot the bluff overlooking the Atlantic. New developments are going in right on the pond (Jonah’s the sexiest guy to sport a tool belt in Scallop Shores!).

Town gossips need some fodder, right? How about local celebrities? We’ve got several. Dean may live in Scallop Shores now, but he spent his teen years in the spotlight as the lead singer for boyband Five of Hearts. And Quinn (Baker) Goodwin has seen her illustrated children’s books hit the bestseller lists. Of course there is also Ryan Pettridge, whose notoriety as the best football quarterback Scallop Shores high has probably ever seen, is a tad less-known to those outside of our little community.

Did I mention the sexy calendar you can pick up in almost any local business? (It’s currently on its third reprint and we’re only into the middle of May.) Must be something in the water, because Scallop Shores seems to have a surplus of studly men in residence.

You’re packing your bags now, huh? There are lots of adorable bed and breakfasts down by the water. If you don’t mind local wildlife for neighbors, Burke recommends a lovely rental cottage not too far from the shore. Can’t wait to see you. Don’t be surprised if you end up wanting to move in permanently. Tends to happen a lot here.

Excerpts

 

Try before you buy:

Here is the first scene to each of the books in my Scallop Shores series. Enjoy!

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DRAWN TO JONAH IS GETTING A MAKEOVER:

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LOVE UNDER THE SUN:

True love comes rolling in with the tide in these ten oceanside tales. From the crystal waters of the Caribbean to the sunny shores of Hawaii, the historic coast of Melbourne or a fishing village in Maine, these beachfront books will deliver the joys of summer loving any time of year! (Five of Hearts gets more love in this fun collection.)

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SECOND TIME AROUND:

There’s nothing secondhand about a second chance at love, as these ten couples prove when their paths cross again. Come along for the ride as they learn just how powerful and sexy destiny can be. (Remember Sam and Wynter? Wynter’s Journey is part of this heartfelt bundle.)

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WANT THE BOX SET?

SCALLOP SHORES BUNDLE:

At the time of printing, Drawn to Jonah was under contract elsewhere, but this box set contains four of the five books in the Scallop Shores series. At 99 cents, this is the cheapest way to catch up on the series.

 

NEWSLETTER PERKS:

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter (top of the sidebar) if you’d like to be added to my mailing list. If I were a good little author, I’d send out one per month. But I’m a lazy author, so your chances of being inundated with newsletter emails is quite low. 😉 Newsletter subscribers will be the first to know about new releases, new cover reveals and bundle sales. We need some exclusive content too, right? How about giveaways? I love to collect swag at the different conferences and reader events I attend, so I can pass the goodies along to you. What else would you like to see in a newsletter? Featured character interviews? Short stories? Recipes? Cut scenes? Shoot me some ideas and I’d be happy to comply.

 

 

 

 

My Books

Each book in my Scallop Shores series is a stand-alone and can be read in any order, but if you want to catch it from the very beginning (or you have a raging case of OCD and absolutely cannot fathom reading out of order), then they go like this:

   DRAWN TO JONAH:

Quinn finds new purpose in life caring for the local handyman’s daughter and teaching the sexy single dad how to read.  He knows he owes her a huge debt, but he’ll start by giving her his heart.

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FIVE OF HEARTS:

Shannon is a single mom to triplets.  Dean is a former boyband member hiding from the latest fake paternity scam.  They couldn’t be more wrong for each other.  But falling in love isn’t always by choice. 

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WYNTER’S JOURNEY: 

A childhood promise brings Wynter and Sam together again after tragedy ripped them apart over ten years earlier.  Fate has given him a second chance to tell her how he feels. This time he’s not going to run.

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9781440588686TRAPPED IN TOURIST TOWN:
Cady wants out of Dodge in a big way.Burke just wants to finish this writing assignment and move on to the next locale. But a case of mistaken identity leads them both to question what they want out of life. They only have the summer to figure it out.

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ALWAYS MY HERO:

After watching yet another of her friends get married, shy librarian Bree is determined to step out of her shell and grab her own happy-ever-after. Until the reason she’d walled herself in crashes back into her life. Ryan let her go once and has always regretted it. Can he convince this new and improved Bree that he’s still the one for her?

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MODERN MAGIC-A Quartet of Fractured Fairy Tales:

A collection of twisted fairy tales, based on classics Beauty and the Beast, Goldilocks, Cinderella and Aladdin. What you fell in love with as a child, but written for adults. 😉

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About Me

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Which came first, the writer or the mom? The writer… by a long shot. I was writing when I was supposed to be doing school work, back in sixth grade. I filled up notebooks and my sister was kind enough to edit in the margins, “This is stupid!” Thanks, Jill. 😉 But it was my passion and I stuck with it. (And, Jill, you’ll be happy to know that I have never again written about a teacher who wore fishnet stockings to school.)

Today I have a whole team of editors at Crimson Romance – now part of Simon & Shuster and, thankfully, they’re pretty happy with the books I turn out. Or at least no one has said “This is stupid” to my face…yet. lol

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When I’m not writing, I’m mom-ing. Yeah, totally made that up. But you know what it means. Chauffeuring back and forth to school, art class and basketball. Playing referee during the fights – and there are a lot of them. Helping out with homework (except for Math – that is hubby’s territory and I don’t touch it.) And generally just trying to capture every moment on camera or in my brain – because they grow up way too fast.

rainheartWe live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and I add that beautiful part to remind myself…because it rains A LOT and it’s very easy to get the blahs when it’s dreary and gray out. But if we can slog through the crappy stuff, we are really rewarded with a piece of Heaven.

Social media links are at the bottom of each page. You’ll find me updating the most at Facebook. But as I am a very visual person, I LOVE my Pinterest boards! Here’s that one too:

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