Monday, August 10, 2020

The Roomate Problem

To Moira “Mo” Rossi, the world is full of sunshine, goodness, and happily ever afters—so of course she figures finding the perfect roomie will be easy. But after four creepos who ask if benefits come with the room and one woman who claims she’s a vampire, Mo is officially desperate. So what if the guy she agrees to on paper ends up being the Derrick Downer to her Sally Sunshine in person? She’s the queen of making lemonade.

August Porter expected his new roommate Mo to be like him—neat, practical, and oh yeah: male. Not the outrageous hippie with more stars in her eyes than there are in the sky. She’s infuriating, exasperating, his exact opposite in every possible way...and the bright ray of sunshine he didn’t even realize his gray world was missing. Suddenly, falling into bed with his roommate isn’t the worst idea he’s ever heard. Just falling in love with her is.

But one of them is keeping a secret that could turn their opposite attraction into utter disaster.


“Hey, you’re up.”

He turned at the unbelievably chipper voice and sucked in a sharp breath. Mo bounced—yes, bounced—into the room in a long blue skirt that swished around her legs with her energetic movement, a bright yellow halter top that hurt his eyes to look at but left a lot of soft-looking skin on display, and her damp hair twisted up in some sort of intricate knot on the top of her head. Her cheeks had honest to god sparkles on them, and her lips and eyelids were highlighted with a warm rose color.

He was going to blame the rise in his body temperature on his recent workout and not the vision his new roommate presented.

“I’ve been up for the past hour and a half. Went down to the gym.”

Mo’s eyes widened with shock. “We have a gym? Huh. Learn something new every day.”

He rolled his eyes but couldn’t help but grin a little. There was something uniquely charming about Mo. Even if they were as different as night and day, he had to admit she charmed him. A little.

Didn’t matter, he had things to do today before checking on Gran at the shop.

“Where’s the nearest grocery store? I need to stock up.”

“Ooooh, me, too. We can go together.”

Great. Just what he wanted. Maybe they could also find a pothole big enough to break the suspension on his car. Fun day all around.

Ten minutes later, they were in Mo’s car—because according to her, she knew her way around town better—and August was praying to every deity in the known universe to survive the trip.

“You know there’s a brake pedal to your left? Some people use it before they’re five inches away from the car in front of them.”

She laughed, ignoring his advice and slamming on the brakes just in time to avoid crashing into the truck stopped in front of them at the red light.

“Lighten up, August.”

Hard to lighten up when you were staring death in the face. How had the woman gotten her license driving like this? Though, judging by the cars around them, everyone in Denver was a terrible driver. Yet another reason to get out of the city. Life expectancy went up when everyone wasn’t driving like they were in Mad Max.

They parked at the grocery store and headed inside. August grabbed a cart and pulled out his phone to bring up his grocery list app. Mo grabbed a basket and started to toss things in at random.

“Don’t you have a list?”

She shrugged, grabbing a box of granola bars that were so covered in chocolate they should be in the candy aisle and dropping it in her basket.

“Not really. I kinda just grab what I’m in the mood for.”

Under “chaos” in the dictionary was a picture of Mo. He was sure of it.

Half an hour later, they had made it through the entire store. Mo’s basket was overflowing, and his cart was sorely lacking. Unfortunately, the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables in this store left something to be desired. Meanwhile, Mo had all manner of processed crap that companies tried to pass off as food.

He’d read a lot about whole food eating because he liked the idea of living off the land. Not saying he wanted to go 100 percent off grid, but the notion of relying on no one but himself held some appeal. Hell, he did it enough as a kid, being shuffled back and forth between his parents’ homes, keeping all his belongings in a backpack and duffle so he wouldn’t miss a homework assignment or gym class clothes.

He’d learned early on not to rely on anyone but himself. That way when people let him down, it didn’t matter as much.

“Here,” he said after hearing Mo grunt for the fifth time trying to heave the basket around. He grabbed the handles from her and placed it in his cart. “My hero.”

She gave a dramatic sigh, batting her eyelashes at him. August rolled his eyes at her antics, but he was smiling as he wheeled the cart to a check-out line.

Friday, August 7, 2020


Meet the boys of Just Short of Chaos! They’re the stars of my LOVE AND CHAOS SERIES, the first book of which was just released, ROCKED BY GRACE! It’s Zane, the lead singer’s story and will be followed by ROCKED BY LOVE, the lead guitarist’s romance. I like playing with names in my stories. Zane’s love interest is Grace, thus ROCKED BY GRACE. Rafe, up next, falls for a girl named Mia Love. Now, before you say nobody has a last name of Love, let me tell you that I knew a Joe and Kathy Love in college. In book three, the drummer has a thing for Zane’s sister. Ooh. That could be trouble. I’m not planning on playing with any names on that one. It’s titled ROCK IT TO THE MOON. The last in the series is about Jericho Tyler, the bassist. He is seduced by Salvation Jones, a preacher’s daughter who is trying hard to be a bad girl, but failing miserably. Her sad attempts touch Jericho’s heart, even though he has the worst reputation in the band. After meeting Salvation, though, he wants to make some changes. The title? ROCK OF SALVATION.
I also played around with names in other books. ABANDON ALL HOPE is about Hope and rock star Chase Hatton. In TAKE A CHANCE ON ME a cop ends up protecting a card dealer at a casino. Before he knows her name he thinks of her as Five-Foot-Two. Here’s a brief excerpt, I edited out some parts.

He glanced at her name tag.
Harper from St. Louis, Missouri. Well, Harper from St. Louis, I’d love to find out more about you than just your name and state of origin.
Cash’s gaze drifted to the boss, then back to her.
“So, Harper from St. Louis, how long have you worked here?”
“A couple of months.” She smiled. “Does it show?”
“No, no. You’re doing a great job. A real pro.”
She won again.
He sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Maybe too good.” 
Harper cleared her throat. “So you know my name. What’s yours?”
She looked at the cards.
“Cash,” she sputtered, stopping mid-shuffle. “If you were giving me a fake name, at least you could come up with something more original than that.” She shook her head. “Cash. The Card Player.”
He laughed. “No. I swear. My mama was a huge Johnny Cash fan. Sang me “Folsom Prison Blues” as a lullaby.”
“Nothing like shooting a man to watch him die to put a baby to sleep.”
He laughed. He liked her quick wit and the twinkle of fun that never seemed to leave her eye.
“Your mama had good taste though. That’s an awesome song.”
“It is. One of my favorites. Behind “Sweet Child of Mine.
She looked him straight in the eye. “I love that song.” She had a habit of engaging with him, then glancing away. Perhaps to avoid “fraternizing.” “And you know, I shouldn’t tease about the name. My mom was a huge reader. Guess what my last name is.”
Harper…what was the name of that chick who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?
“Nope. Good guess, though. Mine’s worse. Harper Collins.”
It took him a second. “Like the publisher?”
She nodded.
She laughed. “I told you.”

In my chick lit series all the women have names with nicknames that are traditionally male. Max (Maxine), Sam (Samantha), Dani (Danielle) and Alex (Alexis). There are more, too. Cooper the copper (police officer) in THE HEART TEACHES BEST. I don’t know. There’s just something about the freedom of choosing a character’s name that makes me want to have fun.
So, names…do you like yours? My first name is Mary, which is kind of plain, but I like it because I’m named after my grandmother, Mary Regina (Queen Mary). Only I’m Mary Jean, or M.J. Have you ever met anyone with an interesting name? I heard of a woman named Therese Stump. That’s awful! Play the name game with us. Comment on one of these questions below, or anything else you want to add, and we will choose at random two people to win e-copies of TAKE A CHANCE ON ME.
I’ll leave you with a blurb for my newest release. Pick it up and get to know the boys of Just Short of Chaos. Only 99¢ for a limited time!
When videos hit the Internet of rock star Zane Sanders and a random fan performing what he says is a spontaneous dance, no one believes it’s unrehearsed in this sizzling romance from bestselling author M.J. Schiller.
Zane Sanders, lead singer of Just Short of Chaos, surprised everyone, including himself, when he plucked a fan out of the audience at one of his concerts.
I don’t know what possessed me to do it. I’d never done anything like that before. But something about Grace drew me to her. And within minutes of pulling her on stage, I knew I’d made one of the best decisions of my life. Since our drummer Devin’s overdose, I’d felt dead inside. Perhaps for even longer than that. But Grace was fun, sexy—and as I would discover later—good and selfless. And an irresistible magic surrounded us that made me feel alive again.
That is, until I blew it. In classic Zane style. Funny thing is, when I first got Grace up on stage, I had no idea what to do with her. Now I have no idea what I’ll do without her.
Grace Prescott was living out every girl’s fantasy.
Only thing is, fantasies ended, and I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want this one to stop. Zane had a magnetism about him that was more than mere charisma. That was evident the moment I—the girl who normally had to be dragged out onto the dance floor—practically became a pole dancer in his arms.  Then it happened. The moment everyone kept referring to as “The Kiss.” But it was all part of the show, right? It didn’t matter that Zane made more than my feet move. He stirred up feelings that scared the crap out of me. The depth of his sadness called out to me even more than his unbelievable sex appeal, and that was saying something.
But it could never work between us. He may have come from a small town like me, but he was all rock star now and totally out of my league. I was a flower shop owner, not his saving Grace.
Are some actions beyond forgiveness or will he be rocked by Grace?
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Thanks for reading! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Congratulations to "Kim", the winner in Evelyn's giveaway. Please contact JUST CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE to claim your prize!

I’m so excited to bring you Crash, the third and (possibly) last book in the Clark Family Series. If you read Crave and Cherish, you’re already familiar with Luke Clark and Vivienne Chateau. Luke is the youngest Clark sibling, and Vivienne is the young cousin of Sandy. It’s been hate at first sight for these young people.
Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes in the romance world. This is my first attempt of writing one, and what a journey it was. I know you will love these two as much as I do.
Most of the characters you to know in the first two books are back, but no one will steal the show from our hero and his lady love.
Vivi holds a special place in my heart. Her story is uplifting with a dose of sadness. She will pull at your heartstrings. I also had the opportunity to delve deep into the character of Luke Clark, and he’s so much more than what you might expect.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but it will be so worth it! 


For the first time in my life, I’m with the family I choose.

Living with my cousin, who happens to be a newlywed, is the best thing ever.

There is one pesky downside, and his name is Lucas Clark.

He’s a spoiled rich boy who was put on this Earth to torture me.

He thinks he can intimidate me, keep me in my place, but I have news for him. No way is he man enough.

And it’s annoying. Like, why do his eyes follow me everywhere? Why do I lose all self-control, seeking him out whenever we share the same space?

I should be running in the opposite direction, right?

His words are harsh, hostile. Until one night, the hostility is replaced by a kiss that almost set us on fire.


She’s a tiny ball of energy. Every bitter and combative word out of her mouth is aimed at me.

My family thinks I walk on water, so I could use any excuse to stay away from her.

She’s nothing more than a man-hating shrew wrapped up in a beautiful package.

Those dark eyes of hers? I see them everywhere.

Her red lips? They beg to be kissed.

And one night, I do. I finally get a taste, but it’s not enough. I want more.

She says she hates me.

I’m used to getting what I want, and what I want is to prove to Vivi that hate is the last thing on her mind when it comes to me.

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Evelyn will be giving away a $10 Amazon Giftcard + Crave eBook to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry.

Read the first two books in The Clark Family series today!
CRAVE - Sandra & Jacob’s story

CHERISH - Alexandra & Jason’s story

About the author
A Boston native, wife, mother, and wine enthusiast. If she’s not writing, thinking about writing, you will find her with a book in her hands. While a new publisher, she’s been writing for years, and she will continue to write for many years to come. 

Evelyn is obsessed with assertive and confident men who will stop at nothing to get their woman. Her stories are filled with love, passion, and humor.

She currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two daughters.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Wild Cowboy Country

With: Erin Marsh

Giveaway Alert!

Who has more right to the land?

Park ranger Lacey Montgomery and rancher Clay Stevens are on opposite sides of a thorny issue. Lacey has spent her career reintroducing wolves to Rocky Ridge National Park and now oversees the welfare of the pack. Clay has struggled for years to make a success of the historic ranch he inherited and is tired of losing his calves to predators.

When Clay’s teenage nephew and his friends carelessly endanger a wild wolf and her pups, Clay and Lacey’s lives collide. They shouldn’t be so attracted to each other—she’s a hometown girl beloved in the community, while he’s still regarded as a city-slicker interloper. But Clay’s piercing blue eyes make Lacey’s pulse race, and her sweet face and kissable lips are drawing him under her spell, much as he tries to resist…

Opposites attract, but the terrain between them is awfully rough…

Two-time Golden Heart® Finalist Erin Marsh credits her childhood family road trips in her grandparents’ Grand Marquis with opening her imagination and exposing her to the wonders of the United States. The lessons she learned then still impact her writing today. She lives with her husband and daughter near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Wiping his hands on a towel, Clay turned to her, his smile both hesitant and undeniably charming. “I’d offer an after-dinner walk along the river, but…”
The words hung uncompleted, neither wanting to finish the sentence and admit to the difficulties surrounding their new relationship. Instead, Lacey reached for Clay’s hand, wrapping her fingers around his. “I don’t need moonlit strolls.”
His blue eyes softened into warm pools as he lifted their intertwined hands and kissed the back of her knuckles. He released her fingers, only to gently cup her face instead. “I’d still like to take you on them though.”
A burst of joy ricocheted through Lacey, settling in her heart. She ran her fingers through his hair, and his expression turned so intense that she swore she felt a tug deep in her soul.
“Then why don’t you tell me about it.” She paused a beat before adding, “In your bedroom.”
He kissed her, his lips hot and demanding. She met his hunger with her own. His hands slipped from her face, skimming lightly down her sides until they settled at her waist. He pulled her close, and her body, already liquid from the warm heat spreading through her, molded against his. The kiss deepened. The more they indulged, the more they craved.
Clay lifted his lips from hers. They stood under the overhead kitchen light, each breathing hard. This time, it was Clay who extended his hand. Lacey immediately took it and allowed him to lead her.
“First, we’d walk through the scrub to get to the river,” Clay said, his voice low and soft. It seemed to have a current all its own, both peaceful and raging at the same time. “We’d hold hands just like this, and I’d rub my thumb over your skin.”
A shiver ran through Lacey at the gentle brush of flesh against flesh. “I like this stroll.”
He laughed, the sound a deep, rolling rumble. “So do I.”
They reached the first landing, and he paused by a window. Moonlight bathed them, and his blond hair almost appeared silver. He drew her close, his lips mere inches from hers. She could feel the puff of his breath, but he didn’t dip his head. Instead, he spoke in a husky whisper, this time using the present tense instead of what-ifs. “The water is below us now. It’s like a glowing ribbon cutting through the land.”
“I can hear it,” Lacey said. “A rushing babble breaking the night’s stillness.”
Clay’s mouth pressed against hers. A butterfly kiss. Then another. The next one landed on the corner of her mouth as he slowly worked his way across her cheek and jaw. When he reached her ear, he told her quietly, “We stop for a bit, enchanted by the beauty. But we don’t stay. We head for the grove of cottonwoods. Normally, we’d hear Steller’s jays scolding us, but they’re asleep at this hour.”
Clay stepped back and led her up the steps and down a hallway. They moved swiftly now, their breathing labored as if they’d actually taken a long hike. He paused at the end of the corridor. When he pushed open the door, Lacey said, “We startle a mountain cottontail.”
Clay chuckled. “I can just make out a faint rustle as he hops away.”
They entered his bedroom. He’d pulled the curtain nearly shut, but he’d left a big enough gap to allow bright moonlight to seep into the room. They walked inside, still hand in hand. The old wooden floorboards creaked beneath their feet.
“There’s the splash of an otter fishing in the creek,” Lacey said.
Clay stopped at the foot of the bed. “I lay out one of the old family quilts for us.”
This time, their narration wasn’t completely make-believe. A coverlet with a log-cabin design adorned the massive, mission-style bed. The room itself was bigger than most bedrooms for the time period of the house, but it had been designed after an English manor. It made for a cavernous space. Aside from a rope rug and basic furniture, Clay hadn’t done much decorating. Nothing hung on the walls, except for a single, unembellished mirror and a couple of photos of the ranch, which she assumed he’d taken. The emptiness momentarily sucked away some of Lacey’s joy, but she hid it. Clay hadn’t brought her into his private space for sympathy, and offering any would do more harm than good.
Instead, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him long and deep. He groaned against her mouth, the sound guttural. He picked her up, and she wrapped her legs around his torso. Without breaking their embrace, he carried her over to the bed. They tumbled onto the mattress, their lips locked, their limbs tangled. A desperate, urgent edge now drove their lovemaking. Lacey’s blood thundered through her like a galloping mustang, wild and unfettered. She reached for Clay’s Western shirt, her fingers fumbling at the buttons. His mouth moved from hers, trailing across her chin and then down her throat. When he hit a sensitive spot, she gasped. He paused, applying a gentle suction before his tongue darted out. Intense pleasure shot through her. She arched, yanking on the button still between her fingers. It ripped loose, and she felt his lips curve against her flesh.
“Why, Miss Montgomery, are you tearing off my clothes?”
“I’ll sew it back on,” she promised.
“I have more shirts. Feel free to continue. I want your hands on me. All of me.”
A landslide of need collided in her. Without taking time to think, Lacey bunched the fabric in both hands and pulled sharply. The buttons flew off with satisfying pops.
Clay lifted his head to stare down at her. The moonlight glinted off the golden strands in his arched brow. “You are surprisingly good at that.”
She smiled and ran her fingers over his defined pecs. “Beginner’s luck and plenty of motivation. I’ve been wanting to touch you for weeks.”
Clay responded with a long, hard kiss. “You’re making it very hard to take it slow.”
“Sorry,” she said with a surprising giggle. Even as a teenager, she’d rarely tittered. If she was going to laugh, it was going to be a full one. But now. In this moment. The lighthearted sound seemed right, a delightful echo of the buoyancy Clay made her feel.
His fingers grazed the bottom of her T-shirt. “May I?”
She nodded. “I’ve been fantasizing about that too.”
He chuckled, the sound a little raw. “Not nearly as much as I have.”
Excerpted from Wild Cowboy Country by Erin Marsh. © 2020 by Erin Marsh. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020


Giveaway Alert!

He’s got one last chance
To make things right

Billy King may be smiling under his black Stetson, but the plain truth is this cowboy-turned-racer is hurting: for his horse back in Memphis, for his girl with one boot out the door, and for his faltering career thanks to an injury that’s not getting any better. The moment he’s free from the press circuit, Billy bolts home—resolved to heal, and ready to win Taryn’s heart a second time.

Hopefully, before the love of his life is gone for good.

Taryn Ledell never wanted to fall for sweet blue eyes and a deep southern drawl. As a World Superbike racer, she had plans, and none of them involved playing second fiddle to any man. But now he’s back, and she’s forced to make some hard choices. With her sponsors eager for a decision, Taryn finds herself tangled in all the lines they’ve drawn in the sand. But broken bones and broken hearts don’t heal overnight, and the cost of forgiveness can be sky high: unless Billy can prove that his heart never left the ranch…or her.

Katie Golding writes high-octane romance about complicated people always searching for the next thrill ride. She lives in Austin, Texas with her beloved husband and son.

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My whole heart was thumping strong in my chest while everything in me begged to kiss him. But I couldn’t bring myself to make the first move—I wanted Billy to go for it. To step up and take the risk and feel all the elation of me rewarding it with full-on acceptance because for once, what a guy wanted was exactly what I wanted, too.
He let out a deep sigh that was almost more of a groan, sinking my hopes. “You’re not making this easy on me at all, are you?”
“Making what easy?”
He looked away, unable to hide his smile. “Nothing.”
It was too much fun; I couldn’t resist. The way he was, the way he made me feel. “You want to kiss me, Billy?”
He grinned at the ground. Probably, I was pushing too hard, too fast, but I didn’t really know any other way to go. Not when I wanted him to kiss me that damn bad.
When he lifted his head, there was no fear in his blue eyes. Just a pure kind of acceptance that he wasn’t going to be happy until he got what he wanted. “Yes, ma’am. I do.”
My heartbeat took off as Billy stepped closer, his hat hiding both of us from the February moon. The rich scent of him was too tempting: I pulled it deep into my lungs, drowning in the masculinity rippling off him. But he still wasn’t touching me, no matter how much I wanted him to.
“Would that be all right?” he whispered.
I don’t remember nodding or breathing, just beaming at him and praying my self-restraint could hold on a little bit longer. “I’ll answer that in a minute.”
Billy smiled, and then I finally got everything I’d been craving. He brushed his fingertips over my cheek with a touch softer than the wishing petals of a dandelion, hooking a knuckle under my chin and tilting my lips up to his. My eyelashes fluttered closed, my pulse thundering through my veins as I waited and waited, desperate for the first crash of his mouth against mine.
All I felt was space between us, growing longer and wider until it just wasn’t anymore—the first brush of his lips so soft, I wasn’t even sure that I’d felt him. But Billy was there, his kiss as slow as his drawl, careful and gentle, and little more than a sip of an ocean I was eager to disappear into.
I took his jaw between my palms, prickly with stubble but sculptured and strong. Drawing him down to me, I quickly melted into the shocking plumpness of what I’d considered to be thin lips but now felt rich and deep, and a whole new shade of delicious. Then he moaned, his hands squeezing my waist and pressing me up into him. It was like embracing iron, rippled and smooth, the bite of his buckle scraping my belly, and my hips pressing hungrily toward the long, thick swell growing behind his zipper.
He took a needy gasp for air, and I hugged him closer, slipping my tongue into his mouth. A growl churned from low in his throat as the kiss turned dirtier, the strike of his tongue and bite of his lips getting wonderfully sharp. But not sharp enough for what I wanted when my body was catching fire everywhere he touched me: his wide palm secure on my lower back, his other hand buried in my hair and massaging my scalp.
He felt so good, too good. And he hadn’t grabbed my ass once.
“You know”—I leaned back, my hand on his chest and Billy breathing hard, blinking at me with his hands suspended in place—“you don’t kiss like a bull rider.”
His brow furrowed, the slightest spark of suspicion in his eyes. “How many bull riders you kissing?”
“Hopefully none.”
He half rolled his eyes, but he was smiling again as he settled his hands on my waist, his thumbs petting the space leading to my hips. All trace of jealousy totally and completely gone, thank God. “All right, what do you got against bull riders?”
I did my best to calm my libido—which wasn’t helped by tapping his rock-solid chest with a single finger. But I wanted to set the record straight before we stumbled into a problem. I was never going back to that life, not when I had waited nine hours for Travis to wake up and not when I had been more terrified than I knew a person could be when Jace was airlifted. “You put your bull above everything else. And I’m telling you right now, Billy King, no eight-second bull ride is ever going to come before me.”
Billy didn’t groan, didn’t flinch, didn’t blink. He just nodded. “Okay.”
“I’m serious.”
Serious as Bonnie Landry’s black funeral dress and the poem she brokenly read over Beau’s glistening coffin.
“Yeah?” Billy drawled, but his smile was clearly teasing as his hands slid from my waist to lock somewhere over my lower back. He pulled me closer until I was nearly gasping from the tease of his erection against my hip, straining his zipper and parching my mouth. His eyebrow arched in the picture of confidence, then he leaned down close enough to kiss me again, whispering against my lips, “Good thing I’m not a bull rider no more…”
Good thing indeed.

Excerpted from Fearless by Katie Golding. © 2020 by Katie Golding. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Come Home To Deep River

Giveaway Alert!

Coming home was the easy part. Facing her will take everything he’s got…

Silas Quinn hasn’t been back to Deep River, Alaska, in years, not since he joined the army. He left behind the best friend he’d ever had. But he knew Hope Dawson was meant for bigger things than Deep River—and he—had to offer. What he didn’t know was that when he left, he took Hope’s dreams right along with him…

Then tragedy strikes and sends Silas home, and the entire town is thrown into chaos when they learn what brought him back—he’s inherited ownership of the town and the newly discovered oil reserves under it!

Hope gave up on ever getting out of Deep River. Her mom needed her, then her grandfather died and left her the local hangout to run. Now Si is back in town, stirring up old feelings—including her anger at being left behind. His return brings Hope an offer that can change her life. Love, or adventure, are almost within reach—but she can’t have both…

Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. She used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Flying into Deep River, Alaska, took a special kind of grit. The airstrip was a narrow bit of gravel to the side of soaring mountains, with a river running along one edge, and there was always some kind of crosswind happening that would challenge even the most experienced pilot.
It wasn’t a forgiving landing, and there was no room for error.
Luckily, Silas Quinn hadn’t made an error in all the time he’d spent flying around the wilds of the Alaskan backcountry, and he wasn’t about to make one now.
Particularly not when he was flying into the hometown he’d left thirteen years earlier and hadn’t been back to since.
Especially not when he was coming back to what would probably turn out to be the most hostile reception since Mike Flint had once said at a town meeting that he thought the idea of a luxury motel on the side of the Deep River would be good and why didn’t they build one.
Considering the reason Si was here was fifty million times worse than the idea of a luxury motel, the response he was likely to get once he’d broken the news would probably be more than the one month of cold-shouldering that Mike had gotten.
Si would be lucky if the town didn’t kill him.
That was if this damn airstrip didn’t kill him first.
The clouds were lowering, and the rain was coming down hard, and the wind was a problem, but with his friend Caleb’s death still fresh, Si was in no mood to let the elements have their way with him.
He’d survived three tours in Afghanistan.
He’d survive this, even if it killed him.
He kept his nerve and brought the tiny plane down, the wheels bouncing on the gravel as he rolled up just shy of the lone hangar that housed Deep River’s entire aviation industry.
As the spin of the Cessna’s propellers began to wind down, Si sat in the cockpit trying to handle the rush of emotions that he had known would grip him the second he touched down. The usual mixture of grief, anger, and longing that Deep River always instilled whenever he thought of his hometown.
There was a special poignancy to it today though. Because Caleb was only a few weeks dead and the shock of the will was still ringing through Si’s entire being like a hammer strike.
Deep River was an anomaly. The entire town was privately owned and had been since the gold rush days, when town founder Jacob West had bought up all the land around the Deep River and declared it a haven for the misfits and rogues who didn’t fit in anywhere in normal society. He’d leased out the land to anyone who wanted to join him, getting them to pay him whatever they could afford in terms of a nominal rent, and in return, they could have a plot of land to call their own and do whatever they wanted with it.
The People’s Republic of Deep River, some called it.
Most just called it home.
Even over a hundred years later, the town was still owned by the Wests.
And that was the difficulty. Caleb was the oldest West and had inherited the town after his father, Jared West, had died five years earlier. And he’d ran the place since then—or at least he had until his unexpected death in a plane crash while running supplies up to a remote settlement in the north.
But that hadn’t been the end to the shocks that Si and his two other friends, Damon and Zeke, had had to endure in the past few weeks.
First, there had been finding out that Caleb had left the entire town to them in his will. And second, oil had been discovered within Deep River’s city limits—oil that the town had no idea was underneath their land.
Oil that, once they knew about it, was going to turn the entire place upside down.
Heavy stuff for three ex-military guys who had nothing to their names but a small company doing adventure tours for tourists, transport runs for hunters, and supply runs for everyone else in the Alaskan bush.
Si stared out at the rain beyond the windshield of the plane.
It hid everything from view, which was probably just as well. He hadn’t wanted to come back here, not considering what he’d been trying to leave behind, but it hadn’t made any sense for either Damon or Zeke to be the advance party.
This was his hometown. He was the one who knew Deep River and the people in it. And he was the one who’d been closest to Caleb.
Therefore, it made sense for him to be the one to break the happy news that firstly, the fact that he, Damon, and Zeke were the new owners. And secondly, there was oil in them thar hills.
Some men might have kept the oil a secret and kept all the riches for themselves too, but Si wasn’t that kind of man, and neither were his friends.
He’d been brought up in Deep River, an extreme environment where everyone learned to rely on each other since that could be all that stood between you and a very uncomfortable death. There was no time for petty grievances—though to be fair, there were a lot of those as well. But when push came to shove, the town pulled together. Because fundamentally, they were all the same. They’d all come here because they didn’t fit anywhere else, because they were escaping something, because they liked the quiet and the isolation and the return to nature.
Because they just plain old liked it.
Si let out a breath.
And now he was going to give them news that was going to blow it all apart.
Excerpted from Come Home to Deep River by Jackie Ashenden. © 2020 by Jackie Ashenden. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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