New Release Review and Giveaway! WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Annie Rains (A Hero’s Welcome novel)

Their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.

WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
A Hero’s Welcome #4
Annie Rains
Releasing Nov 8th, 2016
The bestselling Hero’s Welcomes series continues with a juicy Christmas romance set in Seaside, North Carolina, where a bustling military base keeps this small town stocked with dedicated, lovable heroes.
 
Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, Allison Carmichael doesn’t mind being single. It sure beats dating another loser, and it keeps her heart safe. Then there’s that three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth day: Christmas Eve, the traditional time her entire family gathers together—and gangs up on her, demanding to know when she’s going to get married. This year, she swears, is going be different. And that’s why, at a charity auction she’s throwing on-base, she buys herself a man.
Sergeant Troy Matthews insists that he’s not for sale. His time is, though, and he’s happy to donate it. Happier still when he learns the identity of the winning bidder: the redhead with the killer good looks and smart mouth who runs the veteran’s center. Allison needs Troy’s help to fool her family into believing they’re an item, and he’s all too happy to indulge her. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.

tastytoursexcerpt

 “So there’s one thing I now know about you. You’re a good liar.” Allison folded her arms at her chest.

“Good, maybe. But I value honesty. Sometimes lying to someone is for their own good, though. A little white lie never really hurt anyone. Here’s one for you,” he leaned in closer and lowered his voice, “I have absolutely no interest in dating you, either.”

Her cheeks flushed.

“And I don’t think you’re the most beautiful woman in this room, and the thought of taking you out does not appeal to me whatsoever.” He shook his head. “Nope, not one little bit.”

She smiled. “Now I know two things about you. You lie well and you’re a smooth talker. So, do you agree to my proposal?”

Troy could just say yes, but he was enjoying engaging her in a conversation. “You know, when I was kid, Christmas was always magical. I’d sit with the toy catalog and create this huge, mile-long list of the things I wanted. I never got so excited about a pencil and paper.”

“Did you get everything on the list?” she asked.

“Usually.”

“So your family had money?”

He nodded. His family practically owned the town he’d grown up in. He didn’t know what it felt like to want for something until his cousin Dale had died in 9-11, the deciding factor in him joining the military. “I figure the more money raised for those kids, the better their Christmas will be.”

“That’s my goal. I want this to be the best Christmas Mercy’s kids have ever had.”

“So, if I have to take you out . . .” He trailed off, smiling at her.

“We’re just going to talk. Have a meal or something together. No kissing, no handholding.”

Troy held up his hands. “I’m an honorable guy. I don’t force myself on women. Truth is, I usually have to fight them off.” He winked again.

“And you can’t act like that when you meet my mother.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“All flirty and charming. She’ll never believe that I’d fall for someone like that.”

He tried not to take offense because no matter what she was saying, she was attracted to him. He could see it in her dilated pupils and the way her chest rose just slightly under her racing pulse. “No? What kind of guy exactly would you fall for?”

Allison looked around the room. There was still a nice-sized crowd laughing and mingling. Christmas music filled the merry air. “I wouldn’t fall for any kind of guy right now. That’s why I’m pretending with you.”

tastytoursreview
A sweet holiday story with a fake romance with an expiration date, Welcome Home for Christmas made a nice addition to the Hero’s Welcome series. It would work fine as a standalone, though, if you’re just looking for a holiday-themed story; characters from the other series books make an appearance, but there’s nothing from their stories that you have to have read to enjoy this one.

I really liked Allison and Troy together; the whole buying-a-guy-to-be-your-fake-date-for-a-family-gathering is becoming a bit of a troupe, but it still works for me. Plenty of room for chemistry and denying feelings and all that good stuff that just works when it’s done well. Throw in the fact that an anti-Christmas Marine manages to get his Christmas mojo back and yeah, it’s going to be a win all around. Throw in orphans, and I’m a goner.

I was a little bummed that we didn’t really see Troy working with his K-9 partner much (or at all, really–he spends time with him towards the end, and that was about it) but we don’t really see either of them at work all that much throughout. All the more couple time, then, which it’s hard to argue with 😉

The one aspect of the story that made me a little nuts, though, was Allison’s tendency to overreact to…things. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there’s two times where something happens and she goes completely around the bend over them. Like, her brand-new-relationship’s-finished kind of over the bend. That part had me gripping my ereader a bit more firmly than usual and giving her a squinty-eyed glare, but since it’s a romance I knew she’d come to her senses…eventually.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 
USA Today
Bestselling Author, Annie Rains, is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.
 

 

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New Release and Giveaway! WELCOMING THE BAD BOY by Annie Rains (Hero’s Welcome #3)

 Griffin is going to need all his old tricks to unleash her wild side.
WELCOMING THE BAD BOY
Hero’s Welcome #3
Annie Rains
Releasing August 2nd, 2016
Loveswept
 
From the bestselling author of Welcome to Forever (“Full of heart and emotion!”—Lori Wilde) comes a sweet, sexy novel about breaking all the rules. In Seaside, North Carolina, the boys on the base are heroes—but that doesn’t mean they’re always well-behaved.
 
As a preacher’s daughter, Valerie Hunt only dates the very respectable, very boring men who meet her father’s strict standards. In private, however, she leads a double life as a romance writer of steamy stories about the least respectable sorts of men. Valerie has always kept her hottest fantasies separate from her real life, but when she nearly runs a hot-blooded biker off the road, the lines begin to blur.
Even though Valerie almost killed him, Griffin Black can’t be angry after he learns the reason for her distracted driving: an unruly puppy belonging to her ailing friend. As a member of the military police K-9 unit, Griffin insists on training the dog himself. But he soon wonders how he’s ever going to stay disciplined around the most alluring, down-to-earth, and totally unattainable woman he’s ever met. Valerie is the ultimate good girl. And Griffin is going to need all his old tricks to unleash her wild side.

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Excerpt-Banner

“Damn.” He tipped her chin up with his index, looking at her with his dark molasses eyes. “I’m serious. I want to go out on a date tomorrow. No sex.”

“No sex?” she asked.

“Just flowers and chocolates. And lots of kissing. Say yes to me,” he said, kissing her mouth again, making it impossible for her to tell him no.

“But there is more sex tonight, right?” she asked, moaning as he lowered his mouth to cover one breast.

“Say yes, Val,” he said, as the rough, unshaven edge of his jaw scraped against her skin, feeding her arousal.

“Yes,” she said through shortened breaths. “I say yes.”

He emitted a low laugh that tickled against her skin. Then he thrust himself inside her again, making up for the arrangement they’d just made for tomorrow. Making up for all the lonely nights she’d endured until this one. Making up for all the lonely nights she would endure after he was gone.


Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.
Looking for more heroes?


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99-Cent Sale Blitz! WELCOME HOME, COWBOY by Annie Rains (A Hero’s Welcome #2)

 I reviewed this here when it first came out 🙂
It takes a cowboy to rescue the town’s newest resident from heartache.
 
WELCOME HOME, COWBOY
A Hero’s Welcome Book Two
Annie Rains
Released April 26th, 2016
Loveswept
With its thriving military base, Seaside, North Carolina, is teeming with heroes of all stripes. But, as the Hero’s Welcome series from Annie Rains continues, it takes a cowboy to rescue the town’s newest resident from heartache.
After a bad breakup leaves Julie Chandler completely devastated, she comes to Seaside seeking a fresh start. A talented, compassionate yoga teacher, she has developed a program to help alleviate the effects of PTSD, but getting a bunch of bullheaded Marines into downward facing dog might be impossible. So Julie’s shocked when one of her first students dives in headfirst—and almost tempts her to take down her walls with his easy smile and electrifying touch.
Ever since Texas cowboy turned Marine pilot Lawson Phillips lost a crew member in a helicopter accident, he hasn’t been able to fly. When a psychologist orders him to attend, of all things, a yoga class, Lawson’s outraged—until he finds out Julie is the instructor. She’s beautiful, graceful, and completely guarded when it comes to his advances, but he’s determined to find out what makes her tick. Because underneath Julie’s hard shell is a woman Lawson knows he could fall for—and he’s not ready for the ride to end.
ONLY .99 CENTS
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“Come ride with me anytime,” he said, helping her dismount from the horse when they were back at the barn. He didn’t place his hands on her ass this time, which was both regrettable and a relief. Instead, he steadied her waist with his hands. She turned to face him after he helped her to the ground, and was surprised to find how close they were standing. Close enough that the brim of his hat on her head nearly touched his chin.

“This belongs to you.” She took off the hat and went up on her tiptoes to put it back where it belonged. Their eyes locked as the movement brought them even closer together. Her heart bucked again, like a wild horse ready to bolt.

Returning to flat feet, she started to step away. Needed to step away. Too bad Bon-Bon was still behind her, blocking her escape.

“Julie?” he said, making her feet pause and her heart stutter. She liked the sound of her name on his lips. Low, deep.

“Yes?” she asked breathlessly.

He reached out his hand to tame a strand of her hair brushing against her cheek. “You have what I call hat-hair.” He took his time smoothing the hair around her ear, awakening every nerve in her body. Then he slowly dipped, keeping his blue-as-the-ocean eyes on hers, and kissed her.

She melted into him instead of stepping away. The side of his cheek on hers was warm and inviting, intoxicating. His tongue tapped softly against hers, just once, as he swept his hand behind her neck, pulling her gently toward him.

A soft moan escaped her throat, betraying her. She parted her lips for him, inviting him in, begging him to stay, which he did for just a moment longer. Then he broke it off, keeping it sweet. The kiss had threatened to be more, though. It had threatened to take her inside that barn, lay her down on a blanket of hay, and be a whole hell of a lot more.

“See you later, Lawson,” she said, forcing herself to step away from him, away from the horse and the barn. She turned toward her car and didn’t look back. Otherwise, her hormones were going to win and drag this cowboy into the barn and slam the stall doors behind them.

“See you later, Julie,” he called after her.

 

Don’t Miss any of the Hero’s Welcome Series!
WELCOME TO FOREVER (Available Now)


WELCOMING THE BAD BOY (Releasing 8/2)

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).

Annie Rains, Author of WELCOME HOME, COWBOY Gives Her Top Reasons Why Reading Romance is Better Than…you know :) (with a New Release Review and Giveaway)

Enter to Win a $25.00 Amazon eGift Card

Annie’s Top Reasons Why Reading Romance is Better Than Sex:

1) Any fantasy, any time.

2) On the subway? No problem. Doctor’s office? Why not?

3) Mess? What mess?

4) Reading is very safe! (Unless you’re reading and walking. Don’t try that.)

5) It’s perfectly okay to fall asleep in the middle of reading. And resume where you left off when you wake up.

6) Leaving reviews afterwards is welcome. Write them all over the bathroom walls and Amazon. Tell the world how many stars you saw while reading.

7) Reading multiple times in one night isn’t unheard of.

8) Read alone. Read with someone. Read with a whole group of strangers. Perfectly acceptable!

9) And last, but certainly not least: there’s ALWAYS a happy ending in romance, for both the hero and the heroine.

 

 
Annie Rains bio picture
Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
WELCOME HOME, COWBOY
A Hero’s Welcome Book Two
Annie Rains
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Loveswept
With its thriving military base, Seaside, North Carolina, is teeming with heroes of all stripes. But, as the Hero’s Welcome series from Annie Rains continues, it takes a cowboy to rescue the town’s newest resident from heartache.
After a bad breakup leaves Julie Chandler completely devastated, she comes to Seaside seeking a fresh start. A talented, compassionate yoga teacher, she has developed a program to help alleviate the effects of PTSD, but getting a bunch of bullheaded Marines into downward facing dog might be impossible. So Julie’s shocked when one of her first students dives in headfirst—and almost tempts her to take down her walls with his easy smile and electrifying touch.
Ever since Texas cowboy turned Marine pilot Lawson Phillips lost a crew member in a helicopter accident, he hasn’t been able to fly. When a psychologist orders him to attend, of all things, a yoga class, Lawson’s outraged—until he finds out Julie is the instructor. She’s beautiful, graceful, and completely guarded when it comes to his advances, but he’s determined to find out what makes her tick. Because underneath Julie’s hard shell is a woman Lawson knows he could fall for—and he’s not ready for the ride to end.

BUY NOW
Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
Excerpt-Banner

“Come ride with me anytime,” he said, helping her dismount from the horse when they were back at the barn. He didn’t place his hands on her ass this time, which was both regrettable and a relief. Instead, he steadied her waist with his hands. She turned to face him after he helped her to the ground, and was surprised to find how close they were standing. Close enough that the brim of his hat on her head nearly touched his chin.

“This belongs to you.” She took off the hat and went up on her tiptoes to put it back where it belonged. Their eyes locked as the movement brought them even closer together. Her heart bucked again, like a wild horse ready to bolt.

Returning to flat feet, she started to step away. Needed to step away. Too bad Bon-Bon was still behind her, blocking her escape.

“Julie?” he said, making her feet pause and her heart stutter. She liked the sound of her name on his lips. Low, deep.

“Yes?” she asked breathlessly.

He reached out his hand to tame a strand of her hair brushing against her cheek. “You have what I call hat-hair.” He took his time smoothing the hair around her ear, awakening every nerve in her body. Then he slowly dipped, keeping his blue-as-the-ocean eyes on hers, and kissed her.

She melted into him instead of stepping away. The side of his cheek on hers was warm and inviting, intoxicating. His tongue tapped softly against hers, just once, as he swept his hand behind her neck, pulling her gently toward him.

A soft moan escaped her throat, betraying her. She parted her lips for him, inviting him in, begging him to stay, which he did for just a moment longer. Then he broke it off, keeping it sweet. The kiss had threatened to be more, though. It had threatened to take her inside that barn, lay her down on a blanket of hay, and be a whole hell of a lot more.

“See you later, Lawson,” she said, forcing herself to step away from him, away from the horse and the barn. She turned toward her car and didn’t look back. Otherwise, her hormones were going to win and drag this cowboy into the barn and slam the stall doors behind them.

“See you later, Julie,” he called after her.

Review-Banner

A sweet romance!

I really enjoyed Julie and Lawson’s story. They both had a lot of pain in their past to get over before they could get to their HEAs, and it wasn’t always an easy journey, especially with Lawson’s tendency to not talk about anything important. Argh. A frustrating quality, but unfortunately also totally believable, as I know all too well. He definitely gets bonus points for creative use of yoga in a grand gesture, at least 😉

(Plus, now I’m more determined than ever to break out my yoga mat again–Julie’s got me convinced, right along with Lawson and the entire town of Seaside! )

Welcome Home, Cowboy is the second in the series, but it worked well as a standalone. You see just enough of the hero and heroine of Welcome to Forever (Julie’s sister Kat and Lawson’s best friend Micah) to whet your appetite–seeing them here, you’ll most likely want to find out how they got together in the first place. And since book three in the series ( Welcoming the Bad Boy ) isn’t out yet, you’ve got plenty of time to find out 😉

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for and honest review.


Don’t Miss any of the Hero’s Welcome Series

A Conversation and Giveaway with Annie Rains, Author of WELCOME TO FOREVER (A Hero’s Welcome #1)

Enter to Win a $50.00 Amazon eGift Card and a Select Print Romance Book Bundle

Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Annie!

Thank you for having me! I’m excited to be here!

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

Hmm. 1) I’m a working mother of three 2) I am a hopeless romantic and love all things romance, including novels, chick flicks, soap operas, etc. 3) I love the rain. The fact that my husband’s last name is Rains is one of the first things that got me to notice him 4) I still live in the small town that I grew up in, and 5) I love to hear other people’s stories. The stories of others fascinates me. I’m a watcher and a listener.

Nice list!

 

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

My heroine is Kat Chandler. She’s faced huge heartache in her past, but she’s tough. She’s not afraid to meet challenges head on. She’s the local elementary school’s principal and she’s got a huge heart for others. She’s an optimist until the end. If stranded on a desert isle the one thing she’d need would be some kind of connection to her friends. A phone? Her best friend Val and sister Julie are definitely her life lines.

Sergeant Micah Peterson is a single father Marine, whose number 1 priority is his son, Ben. Micah carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. It’s tough for him to share that weight with anyone because he’s been burned by others one too many times. Micah relaxes by dabbling in landscape design. On a desert isle, Micah would need his gardening tools.

LOL!

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

It started in my mind as the story of a woman who was reluctant to remove her engagement ring. That started me wondering what happened to her fiancé. As I delved deeper, the story evolved. I realized that Kat Chandler had been through a lot and deserved a happily ever after. So I gave her one.

Wow—nice story!

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. The earliest story I remember writing was at age six. It was about monsters under my bed. I’m not sure who inspired me to become a writer. I think I realized early on how much I loved writing. When I realized that the books on my shelves were written by real people, I decided I wanted my stories to be on shelves, too.

I like it 🙂

 

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

I like the end product. There’s a sense of huge accomplishment when you’ve finished writing a book. I can’t describe the wonderful feeling, but you immediately want to set forth and do it again. Doing it again is the challenging part! It’s not easy to get from page 1 to page 300!

I hear you! 🙂

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m finishing up edits for book 3 in this series, Welcoming the Bad Boy, which is my personal favorite so far. After that, I’m not sure. I have several other stories competing for attention in my mind. I usually let those ideas marinate and decide which one interests me the most. Or, like in Welcome to Forever, I decide which hero or heroine deserves to find their happily ever after the most.

Love the title!

 

What authors and/or books have inspired you?

Kristan Higgins. Lori Wilde. Jill Shalvis. Nora Roberts. The list goes on and on. I love so many authors out there. Danielle Steele was a big influence for me when I first started writing romance. I couldn’t read her books fast enough in college! I still love to read Danielle Steele books.

Great list!

 

What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I’m juggling my attention between Lori Wilde’s latest Christmas book,iIll be Home for Christmas, and a parenting book. I’m loving both for different reasons!

 

 

If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

He represents a past she swore she’d never repeat. And a future she desperately wants. –WELCOME TO FOREVER.

Nice work!

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

WELCOME TO FOREVER
A Hero’s Welcome Book One
Annie Rains
Releasing Dec 1st, 2015
Loveswept
If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.
In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.
As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her,
sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.
BUY NOW
Excerpt-Banner

“Have you thought about that kiss?” she asked, as he leaned in close to fasten her seatbelt. She couldn’t control what was coming out of her mouth. “Because I have. A little.” She started laughing again. Val had warned her that she was a horrible drunk, and evidently, it was true.

“What have you thought about it?” he asked, his voice low and bristly. Her buckle snapped into place with a loud click. He could step back now, but he didn’t.

And she didn’t want him to. What was the point of being drunk if you couldn’t say and do what you wanted, and then apologize for it in the morning? No one blamed a drunk, they blamed the drink. “I thought that I liked it. The kiss. It was amazing.” She held her breath as he lingered in front of her, his hand still resting on the seat’s buckle.

“I thought the same thing.”

“You did?” She swallowed thickly, as her heart rode up her throat.

His brow lifted. “You sound surprised.”

“I’m out of practice.” She nibbled on her lower lip, drawing his gaze there. Then his gaze flicked back to her ring. Just the thought squashed the flutterings in her chest, leaving a deep ache that vibrated with the alcohol. “He’s been gone for two years,” she said.

Micah’s brows pinched together softly.

Explaining about John in her state wasn’t a good idea, though. She might start crying, which she didn’t do in front of others anymore, and right now all she wanted to do was forget everything but their kiss. That she wanted to remember. “You could kiss me again,” she said softly.

His smile deepened and, damn, he smelled good.

Leaning in closer to her ear, his hot breath melted her as he whispered, “Kat, you’ve had too much to drink. I’m taking you home now.”

Before she could process what he’d said, he stepped back and shut the Jeep’s door, the sound as offensive as if someone had crashed cymbals in her ears. A moment later, he reappeared on the driver’s side and cranked the engine, another sound that made her wince.

She closed her eyes, unsure of what to do with her drunken emotions.

“If I kiss you again, I want to be one hundred percent sure it’s what you want. Not because my almost ex is walking up and you want to help me out. Not because you’ve had too much to drink and want to escape.”

She suddenly felt very tired, as the Jeep Cherokee headed out of the parking lot. “So, you are going to kiss me again?” she asked. Before she could hear his answer, though, her eyes closed and the sounds of the road and his voice, and the blood thundering in her head, blurred together. She remembered their kiss, the feel of his stubble roughly brushing against her cheek, and the way he had smelled like pine and fudge brownies.

No, wait. His eyes reminded her of fudge brownies. He didn’t smell like them.

Her eyes fluttered open. Yeah, she was definitely going to regret tonight in the morning.