New Release and Giveaway! DEFENDING HAYDEN by L.P. Dover (A Second Chances novel)

DefendingHayden_Blitz

Defending Hayden
by L.P. Dover
A Second Chances Novel
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Random House
Cover Design: Regina Wamba with Mae I Design and Photography

The Carolina Cougars keep fighting for love as the Second Chances series from bestselling author L. P. Dover continues! In Defending Hayden, a damaged football star teams up with the only woman who can take the pain away.

No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his façade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.

When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.

Defending Hayden_Dover

Purchase:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

 

Advance praise for L. P. Dover’s Catching Summer:

“L. P. Dover knows how to create the men who make us swoon, the book boyfriends we all want.”New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
goodreads-badge-add-38px

About the author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written countless novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed and Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IndieSageBlogger

New Release Review and Giveaway! TURN UP THE HEAT by Serena Bell (Second Chances #1)

TURN UP THE HEAT? Turn up the A/C!

turnuptheheat-banner_edited-2

Turn up the Heat
Second Chances # 1
By: Serena Bell
Releasing July 14, 2015
Loveswept

 

Blurb:

For readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell teases all five senses in this poignant, tantalizing novel of fantasies long hidden . . . and finally indulged.

Aspiring chef Lily McKee noticed Kincaid Graves the first time he walked into the dingy diner where she waits tables. With his ice-blue eyes and primal tattoos, his presence puts Lily on edge—and reminds her of all the unfulfilled longings she isn’t pursuing while she’s stuck in this dead-end job. Without a doubt, the man is dangerous to her long-term plans of leaving town and hiring on at a real kitchen—and yet, she hungers for him, if even for just a taste.

Kincaid didn’t come back to his coastal Oregon hometown looking for a good time or a good meal. The ex-con has a score to settle, old wrongs to set right. But Lily, equal parts innocence and insight, brings out an impulsive side of him he thought he’d left behind in the past. And it only takes one intense moment of weakness between them to make him consider the possibility of an entirely new future—and the promise of passion beyond either of their wildest dreams.

Review:

This book was AMAZING. I absolutely loved Lily and Kincaid, and had a hard time putting their story down to do…well, pretty much anything. If you like intense reads with a whole lot going on below the surface of things for the characters and you’re not afraid of your reading getting a little…warm, then this one is for you.

Honestly, I have no idea how Ms. Bell managed to pack so much into such a relatively short read (180 pages, by my ereader count). It just shouldn’t be possible.

There’s crazy chemistry here with absolutely amazingly intense sex, a good dose of angst and a dash of despair, and then two minutes later I’m practically snorting my iced tea out of my nose as I read a line like this:

“My heart is aching for you. That must have been just terrible, not being able to speak to the girl because you were too busy getting laid.”

Seriously, this book has it all. I’ve already added most of Serena’s backlist to my TBR–no idea why it’s taken me so long to get started, but I’m a fan now!

Since Turn Up the Heat is the first book in a new series, at least it’s the prefect place to get started 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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

TUTH_cover

Link to Follow Tour

Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link

 

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N iTunes | Kobo Publisher

 

Author Info:SERENA

USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people sometimes do stupid things, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two school-aged children.

 

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

One Loveswept Mug

One Flirt Mug

Ebook copies of:

  • CLAIMED by Stacey Kennedy
  • MY OBSESSION by Cassie Ryan
  • DEEP AUTUMN HEAT by Elisabeth Barrett
  • TAKE THE FALL by Marquita Valentine
  • YOUR TO KEEP by Serena Bell
  • SWEET THE SIN by Claire Kent

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Review and Giveaway: AGAIN by Lisa Burstein

 It’s new and on sale! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway too…

Again Banner BT

Again Synopsis:

How far would you go for a second chance?

Eleven years after flunking out of college, Kate has finally hit rock-bottom. Losing her job and boyfriend in one drunken night, she’s determined to fix her life by going back to the moment when she let partying and sex take over. And do things right this time. At twenty-nine, she heads back to freshman year of college, with a catch.

Pretending she’s nineteen with a new roommate and full class schedule is easy. When she meets her shy, sexy and seven-years-younger RA, Carter, following her self-imposed sobriety and celibacy rules is proving to be anything but.

A senior enduring years of regret, Carter is more than ready to graduate. He’s anxious to move on from the party his freshman year where he witnessed his frat brothers about to commit a sexual assault. Instead of doing the right thing and stepping in, he looked the other way and left. His guilt has made for a lonely four years.

When he meets the new freshman on his floor, spunky and confident Kate, he wonders if his time as an outcast has finally come to an end.

Kate and Carter’s growing friendship and undeniable attraction make it harder to hide the demons from their respective pasts. But when their secrets are finally revealed, will their chance at starting over together still be there?

 

Review:

Again requires a pretty big leap of faith–can someone in this age of modern technology, where all of our records are computerized and your social security number is your ID, really falsify documentation and be accepted into college as herself, but ten years younger? (A computer hacker? Probably. But Kate isn’t. At. All.)

So it helps not to think too long and hard on the plausibility of that part. Just accept it, and read on to immerse yourself in the story.

As for me, I went back and forth. There were aspects of the story that I really enjoyed–both Carter and Kate are likable characters, as are Tristan (Carter’s best friend) and Dawn (Kate’s roomie) and it was easy to root for them. I loved the fact that Carter volunteered at an SPCA–cute detail. Kate and Carter’s “meet cute” was adorable. Carter’s “rescue” of Kate from the frat house was fantastic. I liked the idea of starting over, and that Kate was taking charge of her life after hitting rock bottom.

What didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, though, is how she choose to go about it. Okay, yes, start over. Going back to and finishing college is a fantastic idea, definitely. But how could someone with an alcohol dependency problem really think that immersing herself into the whole “college scene”, living on campus and all, is a good idea? Temptation is going to be everywhere! I spent a lot of the book shaking my head at her choices, not understanding why she didn’t just go back to school as her true self–student loans, grants, financial aid–I’m sure she could have figured out financing once her grandmother’s money ran out. She could finish her degree, go on to law school as planned, get a counselor to help with her addiction problems–starting over, but without the same degree of temptation.

Also without Carter, though. Which would have been a definite shame, so…

I kept reading, even through the head-shaking times.

Everything ends well, fortunately, and the aspects that I had the biggest issues with were resolved. I still liked the characters and wanted the best for them, so win-win. People grew and changed and the all lying came to an end, and I was ultimately happy even though Kate does get out of it all just a teensy bit too easily. (Though that could be my Carter bias showing. Did I mention he volunteers at the SPCA? ;)) All in all, it was an enjoyable, though problematic at times, read.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

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

Again.cover

Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Again on Goodreads

 

Lisa Burstein Bio:Lisa Burstein Headshot

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie, Sneaking Candy and The Possibility of Us. As well as a contributor to the essay collection, Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors On Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. Again is her self-publishing debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

 

Links:

Like Lisa on FB: https://www.facebook.com/LisaBursteinAuthor
Follow Lisa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaBurstein
Website: www.lisaburstein.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5430977.Lisa_Burstein

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal! LITTLE BEGINNINGS by Madison Street (Second Chances #1.5)

We are happy to reveal the new and gorgeous cover of Little Beginnings, a Second Chances novella by Madison Street. Little Beginnings is the continuation of Duke & Raya’s story.

LB Cover_Final

Little Beginnings (Second Chances #1.5)
Madison Street

Cover designed by Lindee Robinson Photography

Goodreads

Expected Release: Fall 2014

 

Synopsis

After you took her from me, everything changed. I knew my life would never be the same, and it wasn’t. But just because I was isolated, trapped, and afraid, I never gave up. I kept on fighting. You thought you could control me, but you were wrong.

There’s one thing that you could never take from me; HOPE. And with that, I overcame the struggles and the despair. I battled against my inner demons and confronted the tortures that surrounded me. And here I am today; free.

And now, it’s you that’s confined. You cannot escape; you cannot win. There’s no one to help you now. Everyone sees you for what you truly are; a monster.

I’m not afraid of you anymore. I will start a new life; one that you cannot control. And as I take steps toward a new beginning, I won’t ever look back.
****WARNING: Suited for 18+ years of age. This book contains some disturbing situations, strong language and sexual content.****

LB Spread_Final

 

Little Things (Second Chances #1)

Goodreads

Everything in Duke Grayson’s life was all he could ever ask for: A loving family, loyal friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and a scholarship to his top choice college. It’s his senior year of high school, and all he needs is to focus on his grades, lacrosse, and keeping his girlfriend happy. That is until Raya walks into his life.

From the moment they meet, Duke is drawn to her, not only for her natural beauty and her stunning crystal blue eyes, but because he’s aware there’s more to this girl than just his alluring pull to her. He senses secrecy and fear.

Throughout the year, their bond grows stronger, and his feelings for her become undeniable. Just when he is about to express his love, tragedy strikes and Raya disappears.

For six years, Duke is tortured by his struggles, as he’s unable to find her and blames himself for failing to protect her. Until the day, she’s found, and he’s given a second chance. Will Duke become her beacon of hope and make her see that it’s the little things that make life worthwhile? Can Raya overcome her fears and fight against the terrors that haunt her? Or will her dark and torturous past be too much for her to battle against?

*Warning: This book contains some disturbing situations, strong language and sexual content. Suited for 18 years and over.

Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

 

About Madison Street

Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After 9/11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country.

During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she’s on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.

Besides writing, her second passion is music and dance. Even though she’s a terrible singer, she’ll still belt it out in the shower, especially if the song is her jam! She currently resides in Virginia with her husband of 8 years, 2 children, a dog, and a cat. She is so excited to start this amazing journey and is honored to be part of such a compassionate and loving community.

Contact Madison

Website Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Google +

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Authors Read…L.P. Dover (Fighting For Love, Second Chances #4) Shares Her TBR List–and a Giveaway!

 What’s on L.P. Dover’s TBR list? Check it out!

FightingForLoveBlitzBanner3

What is on my TBR List?

I have so many books that I want to read, but here is a list of what’s at the top!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

Independence by Shelly Crane

Remy by Katy Evans

Fate and Fury, Sacrifice of Love by Quinn Loftis

Until I Die and If I Should Die by Amy Plum

The Indigo Spell and The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Highlander Series by Karen Marie Moning

The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Coveted and Embracing the Wolf by Stephanie Nelson

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

The Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner

This Man Trilogy by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard

Conquer Your Love by J.C. Reed

FightingforLove_high
Fighting for Love by L.P. Dover
(Second Chances #4)
Publication date: March 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:

Fighting for someone’s heart is more challenging than fighting for a title.

For a time, many years ago, love had grown, love was made, and in the end … love was lost. The decision to leave had been the worst mistake Shelby Dawson could have ever made. However, at the time—ten years ago—she felt her secret needed to stay hidden, even if it broke her heart and the heart of the man she loved. Back then, he was all hers and she was all his, but now things have changed and he isn’t the same guy she knew.

He happens to be the well-known MMA Heavyweight champion and famous bad boy, Matt ‘The Destroyer’ Reynolds, who once before struggled to help his family pay the bills. Now, he has money flowing with each undefeated win and an insurmountable number of women filling his bed. Everything is perfect for the illustrious fighter, until one day it all changes. In walks the girl from his past, the same girl who promised to stick by him but left and never looked back.

Their second chance to make things right will not come easy, for when one mistake is made an unwelcome consequence soon follows. Someone out there wants to rip them apart and they won’t stop until Matt and Shelby pay the ultimate price … their love.

—-
 
AUTHOR BIO:LPDoverpic

USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Where you can find L.P. Dover:
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/lpdover
Website- http://www.authorlpdoverbooks.com/
Blog – http://www.lpdover.blogspot.com/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/LPDover
Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6526309.L_P_Dover
Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/L.P.-Dover/e/B00AFVV8TG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1380503353&sr=8-2-ent
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/LPDover/

GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway
Prizes – open INTL
A Fighting for Love paperback, a MEGA signed swag pack, and a custom made necklace.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XpressoBannerTours

This or That? and Giveaway with L.P. Dover (Author of Fighting for Love–Second Chances #4)

 Tattoo or not? Tattoo, of course!

FightingForLoveBlitzBanner3

Author L.P. Dover Answers This or That? Questions

Paperback or Ebook? Both, I don’t like to bend the paperbacks, but I love to have them. I’ll just buy the ebook and read them so I can have the paperbacks perfectly crisp on my shelf.

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla

Laptop or Desktop? Laptop

Liquor or Wine? Wine

Summer or Winter? Winter, however, this winter was kind of brutal so I might need to switch that to summer.

Day or Night? Day

Cash or Debit Card? Debit card

Birthday or Christmas? Christmas, definitely.

Talk or Text? Talk

Gum or Candy? Gum

Coffee or Tea? Tea

Dog or Cat? Cat

Long hair or Short? Long hair

Sing or Dance? Both!!

Fruit or Vegetable? Vegetable

AUTHOR BIO:LPDoverpic

USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

FightingforLove_high
Fighting for Love by L.P. Dover
(Second Chances #4)
Publication date: March 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:

Fighting for someone’s heart is more challenging than fighting for a title.

For a time, many years ago, love had grown, love was made, and in the end … love was lost. The decision to leave had been the worst mistake Shelby Dawson could have ever made. However, at the time—ten years ago—she felt her secret needed to stay hidden, even if it broke her heart and the heart of the man she loved. Back then, he was all hers and she was all his, but now things have changed and he isn’t the same guy she knew.

He happens to be the well-known MMA Heavyweight champion and famous bad boy, Matt ‘The Destroyer’ Reynolds, who once before struggled to help his family pay the bills. Now, he has money flowing with each undefeated win and an insurmountable number of women filling his bed. Everything is perfect for the illustrious fighter, until one day it all changes. In walks the girl from his past, the same girl who promised to stick by him but left and never looked back.

Their second chance to make things right will not come easy, for when one mistake is made an unwelcome consequence soon follows. Someone out there wants to rip them apart and they won’t stop until Matt and Shelby pay the ultimate price … their love.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XpressoBannerTours

Love Gone to the Dogs Blog Tour! An Interview with Author Margaret Daley and an Excerpt!

Love Gone to the Dogs - Margaret Daley - Banner

Today I’m excited to have author Margaret Daley here, talking about the first book in her new Second Chances series: Love Gone to the Dogs!

Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb.”

Love Gone to the Dogs is about Arnold and Princess playing matchmaker between their masters, Leah, a single mother, and Shane, a widower, who is a doctor and town mayor. The two dogs have their work cut out for them. Their owners don’t always cooperate with Arnold and Princess. They sometimes have to resort to desperate measures.

 

Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?

Leah is a single mother who has her hands full raising two active boys and a grandfather who doesn’t understand what the word danger means. Shane is a doctor who loved his deceased wife and didn’t think he would have a second chance at love.

 

What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?

When Leah and Shane were caught “parking” by the police, because of the consequences of this little escapade.

 

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

I’ve been writing for over thirty years. What inspired me to write was being an avid reader of romances.

 

What do you like best about being a writer?

Being my own boss and getting to make up stories and not get into trouble.

 

What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

Being my own boss and having to wait all the time on another.

 

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

I have another book in the Second Chances series (Love Gone to the Dogs is first in that series) planned as well as the second book in The Protectors series. I just recently put out the first book, a romantic suspense called Dangerous Pursuit, last month.

 

What authors have inspired you?

My favorite author is James Rollins. He writes action and adventure stories.

 

What are you currently reading?

Rollins latest book—The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel.

 

Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.

Inside Shane’s car, Leah started to buckle her seatbelt when he stopped her. He leaned toward her, his expression unreadable in the dark.

“Now for the ‘that’ I promised you earlier,” he murmured, his breath tickling her ear.

She shivered, the flesh on her neck hypersensitive. Turning her head to face him, she opened her mouth to protest, and his crushed hers, his tongue sliding between her teeth to explore the deep recesses within. She was lost from that moment forward.

Melting into the seat she wound her arms around his neck, pressing him against her. He satisfied a need in her that she hadn’t even realized she had until his lips had touched hers the first time. He ignited a fire deep in her that burned hot and fierce for him alone.

Answering his exploration with her own, she delved into his mouth, tasting him, seeking to match him bold move for bold move. He grasped fistfuls of her hair, tilting her head back to allow him free access to the soft column of her throat while he pushed her down and covered her body with his. He nibbled a path downward until he reached the scoop of her neckline.

Releasing his hold on her hair, he slipped one thin strap down her arm and was turning his attention to the other. A glaring light flooded the car’s interior, illuminating everything inside.

Shane shot up and peered out his side window. “It’s the police!”

“The police!” Leah dragged the strap of her sundress up her arm with shaking fingers.

“Let me handle this,” Shane whispered, then rolled down the window. “Hello, Tom. It’s good to see you.”

Good to see a policeman while caught necking? Leah closed her eyes and prayed she would be in her bed and this would all be just a nightmare, that it would go away once she was awake.

“Shane? I didn’t realize that was you. Thought you two were some teenagers. They like to use this place.”

“We were just out for a drive after dinner.”

“Ned wanted us to keep an eye out for intruders. He said someone has been vandalizing his property.” Tom shone the light on Leah. “Ma’am, sorry to disturb you.”

“That’s fine,” she murmured in a choked voice. Leah wished she had the ability to disappear in a blink of the eye. Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. What a great impression to make with the police force of Shady Oaks. She was getting really good at making lasting first impressions. She and her family had managed to acquaint themselves with all the emergency services—fire, ambulance, and now police.

“Well, I’ll leave you two alone, then.” The officer dropped the flashlight to his side and walked back toward his squad car.

“I suppose this has dampened the mood,” Shane said after he put up his window.

“Your grasp of the obvious amazes me.” She could still feel the slow burn on her face as the police car pulled away. “I know it’s not possible to die of embarrassment, but I think I’ve come close to it tonight. We were caught necking!  I have two sons. I’m supposed to be a role model for them.”

“We didn’t do anything.”

“Try telling that to the Neds of this world.”

“No one will hear about this. Certainly not from me.”

“You’re not who I’m worried about.”

<3     <3     <3     <3     <3     <3     <3     <3     <3     <3

Sound tempting? Love Gone to the Dogs is available now at Amazon.

Love Gone to the Dogs

Single mom Leah Taylor has her hands full with her grandfather, an inventor who is a bit risky when it comes to his job, and two sons, one of whom is also a rambunctious genius. But it is her free spirited beagle who gets her into trouble with her new neighbor, Dr. Shane O’Grady, when her dog makes a move on his champion Bichon that he wants to breed.

Leah and Shane clash over their dogs that clearly like each other. Leah is determined to ignore her neighbor, but when her youngest son tries to defy gravity and ends up hurt, it is her neighbor the doctor who takes care of her son. Can Leah and Shane find love, or has love gone to the dogs?

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

 

Author Margaret Daley

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-four books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret, visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com

You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want more? How about another excerpt?

When Leah Taylor heard the pounding on her front door at seven o’clock in the morning, she jumped, nearly sloshing her coffee all over her hand. Did burglars now announce themselves before stealing a person blind? No one else in his right mind would be out visiting at this time. Carefully, so as not to spill the hot brew, she placed the mug on the kitchen counter and made her way toward the insistent pounding that she was sure was waking up the whole neighborhood.

She peered out a narrow slit in her mini blind and saw an enraged, huge man standing on her front porch with a shredded newspaper in one hand. The other was clenched at his side. He wore practically nothing except a pair of jean shorts. He stepped back and glanced around, clearly not happy that no one had answered his summons.

Backing away from the window next to her door, Leah nervously chewed the end of one of her acrylic nails. The man looked familiar. She was sure she had seen him in the yard across the street. He had to be a neighbor. But why was he welcoming her to the neighborhood at such an early hour, and with an angry expression on his face? She had been here only a few days, and her family hadn’t done anything yet to upset the delicate balance of this small town. Or had they?  She thought back over the past few days of almost nonstop unpacking. She had been too tired to even venture from the house much, and the same went for the rest of her family—she hoped.

When the pounding started again, she was so surprised by the sound that she bit through the end of her new acrylic nail. Well, now he was making her mad. Without thinking, she yanked open the front door and prepared to confront the man who had the nerve to pay her a call at seven o’clock in the morning.

“Look what you made me do!” Leah held up her hand. “I’ve tried everything to grow my own nails long, and nothing’s worked. I finally decide to get fake ones—that I might, by the way, tell you cost me forty dollars—and look what your pounding has done. They haven’t even lasted one week.” She blew out a deep breath, then brushed her bangs away from her face in frustration.

His dark eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open. He started to say something, but decided instead to allow his gaze to trek downward slowly—way too slowly for Leah’s peace of mind. A blush leaped into her cheeks as she remembered her skimpy attire. She controlled the strong urge to try to stretch her large, white T-shirt until it covered more than the tops of her thighs. When his survey stopped at her bare feet, her toes wiggled as if they had a will of their own.

She felt practically naked under his intense look. While he was staring at her, she began at his bare feet, which were braced apart in a stance that conveyed his anger, not one toe wiggling. Her gaze traveled upward over long legs that probably belonged to a runner, to narrow hips that the jean material hugged nicely. She paused ever so slightly at the washboard ripples in his flat stomach and came to the decision that the man worked out religiously, something she religiously tried to avoid. Her impression of his being an exercise freak was confirmed when her gaze skimmed over a broad chest, wide shoulders, and arms with taut muscles bulging as he held them rigid at his sides. Bod of steel, she thought, realizing her impulsive inspection had done nothing to cool the heat in her cheeks.

That realization was utmost in her mind until her gaze came to rest on his face—not poster boy handsome, but rugged and very masculine. Then she noticed his eyes, dark as chocolate, growing rounder as he took in her features. Oh, no! All traces of the heat from her blush left her cheeks. Why hadn’t she remembered that she had forgotten to remove yesterday’s makeup, when she had fallen exhausted into bed, and that her short hair lay at odd angles all over her head as it did every morning? Realizing she looked like Rocky the Raccoon having a bad hair day, Leah stepped behind the front door, gripped its edge, and peered around it to carry on the rest of the conversation, trying to hide as much as possible from view. Too bad she didn’t have a sack to put over her head.

Her actions snapped the stunned expression from the man’s face. He held up the newspaper, which appeared to have gone through a shredder. “This is what your dog did to my paper—for the third morning in a row, I might add. Makes it a little hard to read.”

His tightly clipped words blasted her. Who still read an actual newspaper? Her grasp on the door strengthened. “That’s not possible. He’s in the backyard—which is fenced, I might add.”

The man’s scowl deepened. “Your dog’s a beagle, right? I saw him this morning. Medium size, brown, black, and white.”

“Must have been someone else’s beagle. Arnold is as secure as a baby in a playpen.” Then, without really thinking again, Leah swung her shield wide open, leaving her visible to his full view once more, and motioned her less-than-friendly neighbor inside. “I’ll show you you’re wrong about Arnold.”

“Lady, I’m not wrong,” he said, as he stomped into her house, his large presence in her small entryway dwarfing everything, including her.

“Leah Taylor.” She held out her hand for him to shake. After all, they were going to be neighbors, and he would realize his mistake when he saw Arnold in the backyard. She believed in making a good first impression—which in this case had been blown. At least she could shoot for a good second impression.

“Shane O’Grady.” He nodded his head slightly, but didn’t take her hand in his. He still clenched the newspaper with torn bits hanging like black and white streamers.

Her blush came back to haunt her cheeks. Leah gritted her teeth and proceeded to the kitchen, intending to show the man her dog and then, with a relish, the door. Forget that second impression. “One of the reasons I rented this house was the chain-link fence. It’s four feet, and Arnold isn’t even two feet tall. I don’t think he’s learned to pole vault yet, even though he did enjoy watching it on the Olympics telecast.”

Shane O’Grady shot her a skeptical look. “I know I saw him. He was running back toward your yard.”

Leah waved her hand toward the window that afforded them a view of the yard behind her house. There lay Arnold by his doghouse, sprawled on his back with his legs stuck in the air as if he were dead. She pointed to the closed gate. “Did you see him open the gate and run back into the yard?” It was hard to keep the smug tone out of her voice. In fact, she didn’t succeed.

“It was him, lady.”

“Are you the type of man who doesn’t like to admit he’s wrong, Mr. O’Grady?”

The flint in his eyes could have set her on fire. “Ms. Taylor, if you don’t take care of the problem, I will.”

“What do you mean?” Her voice rose with panic.

“We have leash laws in Shady Oaks.”

The threat hung suspended between them. The only sounds in the kitchen were the clock ticking over the stove and Leah’s increased breathing.

“I’m not without some pull, since I am, the mayor.” He stalked toward the door, turned back to rake her with a sharp look, and added, “Keep that hound in your yard. We’ve had problems with wild dogs biting people.”

“You must be a dog hater,” she shouted at his retreating back as she followed him to her front door.

Shane halted on the bottom step. “Far from it. I have two dogs of my own, but you won’t see them running wild in the neighborhood. I keep them where they belong.”

She came out onto her porch. “Yeah, well, Arnold is innocent. In America even a dog is innocent until proven guilty. Where’s your proof, Mr. Mayor?”

He said nothing to that last remark, probably because he was jogging across the street and up the flight of steps in front of his house. But several people had heard her words—the woman next door, who was coming out to get her newspaper, and two men power walking. They all stopped what they were doing and stared at Leah as if she were an alien who had just landed in the middle of their peaceful town.

Leah did the only thing she could think of. Smiling, she waved to each one. “Just exercising my voice. It’s such a beautiful day to exercise, don’t you think?”

One man shook his head as though he couldn’t quite believe his eyes, and the other laughed. They resumed their power walk while the woman grabbed her paper and rushed back inside, probably heading straight for the telephone to tell everyone that the newcomer was obviously crazy.

“Welcome to Shady Oaks,” Leah muttered to herself as she made her way back inside her house.

When she caught sight of herself in the mirror in the entrance hallway, she groaned. She looked worse than she had thought She had dark mascara circles under her blue eyes and her orange lipstick was smeared across her right cheek. And her hair was just awful—a brash, coppery shade of red that shone in the sunlight. Well, she couldn’t help it if her home tinting had gone awry. Red was normal—usually.

Shrugging away her less than desirable reflection, Leah headed straight for the back door. “Arnold. Breakfast,” she called out, and watched her beagle roll his head into a position to see her. He stared at her for a good minute before getting up and slowly walking toward her as if he hadn’t had twenty hours of sleep, and barely had enough energy to make it to the door.

“For being falsely accused you get an extra portion this morning,” she murmured, and bent to pat Arnold. Her hand stopped on the fur by his neck. She spied a strip of newspaper tangled in his collar, and closed her eyes.

When she opened them a second later, Arnold was butting her hand to get her to scratch him behind the ears. Instead, she took the scrap of newspaper off the collar and saw the evidence against her dog mount—the piece of paper had the day’s date written across it in bold, black letters.

“Oh, no, Arnold, you couldn’t do this to us. We’ve just moved here. This was supposed to be a fresh start. Now look what’s happened. I’ve antagonized the town mayor.” Leah balled the shredded piece up in her hand and marched to the trashcan. No one was going to know about this.

Looking out the window at the securely shut gate, she wondered how Arnold had gotten out. He couldn’t open it, then close it, could he? Well, however he had gotten out, she would make sure that Arnold didn’t escape again, even if she had to chain him outside the next morning.

She had wanted to make a good first impression. She plopped down on a stool at the kitchen counter and buried her face in her hands. She knew how important that was in a small town, where everyone knew everyone. She wanted her family to belong, to finally have a place they could call home. She had researched Shady Oaks, and the town had everything she wanted, especially an excellent school system.

The sound of feet running upstairs drew her attention. Her exchange with Shane O’Grady awakened the neighbors, and her family as well. She turned her accusatory glare on her dog that sat at her feet wagging his tail while he patiently waited for his breakfast. “I should give you half rations, you Benedict Arnold.”

 

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]