Posts Tagged ‘Big Sky Mavericks’

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY – (FREE) – MONTANA MAVERICK by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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 Montana Maverick

Sparks have always smoldered between Meg Zabrinski and Henry Firestone, but falling in love with Hank and his ready-made family would mean giving up her dream. Something lone wolf Meg isn’t ready to do until…well, you know. Sometimes one kiss can change everything.

Excerpt © Tule Publishing

She shoved the phone in her pocket and took a deep breath of air. “Smells like snow.”

Her exhale created a puffy white cloud that looped around her head like a halo. “Ken ordered me not to go looking for you last night,” she told him.

“That bastard.” Hank drove his fist into the palm of his other hand. The cracking sound made Rook spin about and race up the steps. He planted himself at Hank’s feet, eyeing Meg suspiciously. “How’d he justify that?”

“Said he didn’t want to have to recover my body, too.”

Rook’s growl matched Hank’s.

Hank leaned down and stroked the dog’s wide flat head. The snow and ice felt like shards of glass against his palm. Slowly, his tension eased. “Thank God you didn’t listen to him.”

She made a sound of pure disgust. “I stopped listening to Ken Morrison a long time ago.”

He could tell there was more to the story. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a memory raised its hand, but he ignored it. Anybody who traveled the backcountry probably had a run-in with SAR’s resident megalomaniac.

“How soon is the next wave supposed to hit?”

She shrugged then stepped closer and put out her hand for Rook to sniff. “A couple of hours. Why?”

“I left a bunch of stuff in Betsy. Dog food, for one. Tools. My log.”

She nodded. “You should take a video of the crash site. Maybe you’ll be able to see what brought her down.”

They were close enough to touch each other, and it took every ounce of willpower Hank had not to pull her into his arms and kiss her. “Wow,” he said, curling his icy fingers tight. “People have always called you brilliant. Now, I see why.”

Her sardonic grin made his heart rate speed up. Had she always been this beautiful? Yes. But business dress and heels were fake beauty. No makeup, messy hair dancing in the cold breeze, a blush of chafed skin from last night’s rescue made her the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Their gazes met and held for one heartbeat…or ten. Something passed between them. A sigh. A hint of possibility. An open-ended question.

Meg was the first to look away. “Just being practical,” she said, taking a step back.

Her voice sounded different, throaty. She reached for the handle of the storm door. “I know Ken Morrison. He’ll try to turn this recovery into a photo op and pin the blame on you. I have a video camera you can use. I’ll make sure the battery is charged while you get ready.”

Video. The GoPro. “We need to finish opening gifts, first. The one I got JJ might be just the ticket.”

He followed her inside. “Are you sure you’re okay with all this? I mean, damn. I drop out of the sky into your nice peaceful life, and suddenly you’re stuck babysitting? That seems messed up.”

She hung her heavy jacket on a hook then spun around to open the cupboard above the washer and dryer. “Yeah, well, normally, I’d volunteer to hike back with you, but hauling all four kids up the mountain sounds like a really bad idea. So, you take this–” She pulled a small black camera-type case from a shelf and turned to face him. “And I’ll bake cookies with Annie and Bravo.”

She reached out and touched his upper arm. “Henry, nobody planned this. We have to roll with the situation. You should hurry.”

She turned to go but he stopped her. He couldn’t help himself. His life was upside down and in the toilet with vultures circling, but Meg made him feel as if everything was manageable. He pulled her into a hug.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

She stiffened at first, but gradually hugged him back. “You’re welcome.”

He had no idea how long they stood there. Meg in her pink and gray camoflage-print pajamas, him in sweats and a pair of men’s slippers he’d found in the guest room closet. They were virtual strangers, yet they fit together like they’d done this a million times over the years.

When she lifted her chin to look at him, he kissed her. He couldn’t not.

Her lips were sweet…and minty. The flavor surprised him at first but captivated him, too. He wanted more of this spicy wonderment. As sweet as it was, he wanted to find the flavor of Meg.

When he closed his eyes to take the kiss deeper, Meg stiffened a tiny bit. A badly needed reality check.

He let her go. “Peppermint.”

She nodded. “Annie shared her candy cane with me.”

“Annie’s the most generous soul I’ve ever known, next to her mother.” He stepped back. “I should go.”

“Yes. Quickly. You don’t want to get caught in another storm.”

“I’ll take JJ.”

“Good idea. His feet look about my size. He can use my snowshoes.”

She reached for the doorknob but paused. “What was that kiss for?”

“You…impress me. Most people would be overwhelmed by this situation. Four kids. A virtual stranger. You take charge and get things done. I respect the hell out of that.”

“Oh. Okay.” She slowly turned the knob. “But, for the record, you’re not a stranger. I feel like we have twenty years of history between us. Not easy history, but I always felt like we held each other in mutual respect. Didn’t you?”

“Yes. Definitely. And if I’d known you tasted like candy canes, I wouldn’t have waited twenty years to kiss you.”

 ~~~

FREE FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY! 

Your kind shares are most appreciated. Especially if you’re a reader–or know a reader–who enjoys older heroes and heroines. 

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And, did you know you can read more about Henry and Meg’s journey in MONTANA MIRACLE? It’s true. Don’ t you love connected series?)

Happy reading,

Deb

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY: MONTANA COWBOY (FREE) by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

FREE 1 WEEK ONLY

 Montana COWBOY

Austen Zabrinski looks the part —

He’s got the ranch, the boots, the hat and even a few head of cattle, but everybody in Marietta, Montana, knows the former golden boy of Marietta High is a wealthy politician, not a cowboy. And even though that nasty scandal in Helena might have knocked him down a notch or two in the polls, what kind of a fool would trade access to the halls of power in Helena and a Harvard law degree for a ranch in western Montana? Possibly one whose new neighbor, Serena James–the woman the guys at Grey’s Saloon call “…the Red Hot Llama Mama”–makes him start to think about what he wants out of life, instead of what’s expected of him.

Serena James knows trouble when it hops her fence–

Moving to Montana and deleting her blog seemed like the perfect solution to her online stalker problem. Serena’s ready for a fresh start, but when her escrow on her ranch falls through, she has to scramble to find an immediate but temporary safe haven to rent for her herd of 50 alpacas, two llamas and one giant dog. Serena’s barely moved in when Austen Zabrinski–the man her landlord called “my absentee ranch owner brother who lives and works in Helena”–hops the fence in need of a lift. Even at first glance, Serena can tell he’s nobody cowboy, but who’s to say that isn’t a good thing? A little tryst with her gorgeous, sexy, here-today-gone-to-Helena-tomorrow neighbor might be the perfect welcome to Montana.


Excerpt © Tule Publishing

What’s his story?

Since they’d practically had sex–in her mind–she decided to ask.

Once he was seated with his safety belt snug across his flat belly, she turned the key in the ignition and put the truck in gear.

“So, fill me in. You own a ranch your brother called a tax write-off. You’ve as much as admitted you’re nobody’s cowboy. You wear three-hundred-dollar jeans. I don’t see a wedding ring. Your nose is sunburned. So I take that to mean you don’t have a wife or live-in girlfriend to remind you to put on sunscreen.”

He let out a gruff cough. “Very observant. The jeans are two years old.”

“But look brand new.”

“I don’t–didn’t–come to the ranch very often in the past.”

She waited.

“No wife. Never married. My last…friend-with-benefits wanted more than I’m in a position to give at the moment. I’m not sure we’re still friends. But I’m positive the benefits have been canceled.”

She’d always been a sucker for smart men with a sense of humor. The leftover dewy feeling in her crotch–and the fact she was a stranger in a strange land–made her bold. “So, if someone new to the area was interested in that sort of position–friends-with-benefits-no-strings-attached–how would one apply? Online? Or in person?”

He tossed back his head and gave a deep, masculine laugh that sent a stream of shivers down her spine, pooling conveniently in her already primed lady parts. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel.

Since they’d reached the end of her driveway and had no traffic behind her, she threw the shifter into park and turned to face him.

Before she could offer any slightly embarrassed disclaimer for such an obvious come on, he released the latch on his safety belt and moved closer.

“In person. I go with my gut. Usually one kiss will do. Either there’s chemistry or there’s not.”

“Chemistry. Crap. My least favorite subject in school. But I do like kissing.”

She leaned in, too.

#

Austen could have come up with a dozen–make that a trillion–reasons not to kiss this beautiful stranger. But, for all his reputed logic and claims he was a rule maker, not a rule breaker, he was lonely. And…as much as it killed him to admit the fact, he’d had reached a point where he was unsure of what to do next. Him. Rudderless. Now, living in the moment seemed like the only rational choice he had.

Besides…she offered. It wouldn’t be neighborly to turn her down. Right?

He caught her lips, which were softer than he’d imagined. A perfect match to his. Her eyes remained opened…for their initial contact, then her lids lowered in a sultry, utterly into it way that made him give a low, unplanned growl. What was it about that moment of surrender that brought out the beast in him?

When her perfect lips parted to invite him in, he closed his eyes, too. She tasted good. Mint gum? Maybe just leftover toothpaste. But there was sweetness, as well. A hint of honey. And he wanted more.

While his mouth plundered, his hands moved down her back to pull her closer.

“Um, oh…no. Seatbelt,” she murmured.

He pulled back and looked down. “Oh. Duh.”

He stabbed the release button so she could slip free of it.

They stalled…for half a second before she grinned and plastered herself against him. “Um. You’re a good kisser. Very good. But I want you to be sure. No doubts.”

She wasn’t aggressive, just methodical. As if she were hitting all the bullet points in a textbook called Rules of Kissing. Austen could have stopped her at any point and said, “You’re hired.” But a part of him couldn’t wait to be taken to school.

She nibbled and teased. Her tongue engaged his in a clever, nonverbal debate. A first for him. Kissing had always been a mere step on the road to the big show. With Serena, a stranger, the playful exploration was fun.

What would sex be like with her?

Would? Hell, no. Will. What will sex with Serena be like?

He wrapped his arms around her possessively. He had to find out. Now. Right now.

Honk. Honk.

 🙂

 ~~~

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Happy reading,

Deb

montana-cowboy-free

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from MONTANA REBEL by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

 Montana Rebel, Big Sky Mavericks IX

MontanaRebel-MEDIUM

A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight. Who says Fate doesn’t have a sense of humor?

 

 

It’s that time of year again, my friends. How did New Year’s Eve get here so fast? Hopefully, we’ll all enjoy a fabulous 2017 and, perhaps, a special kiss at midnight. Maybe even one like the kiss my hero and heroine share: “Theirs was a reunion of souls kissing across eons, remembering.” Swoon. We should be so lucky, no?

rebel-mask-1

Excerpt MONTANA REBEL © Tule Publishing:

“It’s that time, my friends. Grab a glass of champagne and that special person. Here we go. Ten…nine…”

Bailey’s voice got drowned out by the crowd.

“Eight…seven…”

He closed his arms around Nicole to keep her safe as more people flooded onto the dance floor.

“Six,” she said, looking directly into his eyes. The lights had come up so he could study the subtle hues mixed in the blue of her irises.

Beautiful eyes.Familiar, somehow.

“Five,” a voice boomed to his left.

Tucker, who was holding Amanda the same way Justin held Nicole, gave Justin a guy-nod that seemed to say, “Way to go, bro!”

Justin liked to think he didn’t need his friends’ validation to feel good about his choices, but this time he was navigating new waters. Dangerous waters. This woman was about to become his boss. That couldn’t be good.

But Nicole didn’t feel dangerous or threatening.

“Four…”

She felt as though she’d been made to dance with him. They fit together perfectly. He liked every thing about her, except her job.

“Three…” If he and Nicole were going to do this, he had to make sure they had an end game in place.

New Year’s Eve. Maybe the weekend. They’d play that part by ear, but after Monday nothing could happen between them.

“Two,” he said softly.

“One,” she whispered, looking into his eyes with a question he was ready to answer.

“Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year,” he said before lowering his head to press his lips to hers.

He expected the usual few minutes of testing the waters, feeling each other out, but that didn’t happen. From the moment their lips met, he felt as if he’d crossed the Rubicon. This wasn’t a one-time deal. They’d done this a million times. Together. Theirs was a reunion of souls kissing across eons, remembering.

Her lips parted, her tongue seeking his without hesitation. He hadn’t expected such frankness, but her greedy pleasure made him need more, too.

He closed his eyes and immersed himself in her sweetness, a combination of honey and spice. He would have gone on exploring this newfound fascination forever if not for the sensation of something touching his head. He pulled back and look around.

“The balloons,” Nicole cried, letting go of him to tap at the large white, gold and silver balloons cascading around them.

Confetti shot from somewhere nearby added to the glitter and excitement. Nicole was pulled from his arms to exchange air kisses and hugs with perfect strangers. Justin found himself in a bear hug, too.

“Helluva thing, huh? Beats the crap out of last year,” Tucker said.

Justin clapped Tucker on the back. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“I mean starting the year off with someone you care about. There’s a first time for everything, Ona always says.”

Ona, Tucker’s Cajun grandmother, was a font of truisms. Justin had met her twice and loved the dear woman as the grandmother he’d never had. I wonder what Ona would say about me kissing my future boss? Probably something arcane about not defecating where you eat, damn it.

He caught up with Nicole before anyone else could dance her away. He grabbed her hand and spun her slightly off-balance back into his arms. “Unfinished business,” he mumbled against her lips.

She may have started to protest but her reaction changed the minute she realized this kiss meant business. His tongue wasn’t polite or inquisitive. Justin knew what he wanted, and it started now. They were both breathless when he broke off the kiss before embarrassing himself too badly. His body reacted to her in a way he didn’t remember happening with any of his previous lovers.

“You’re coming with me, right?”

“That depends on which of our rooms is closer.”

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Happy reading, my friends! And HAPPY NEW YEARS!

DEB

First Kiss Tuesday: MONTANA ROGUE by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

 

Two Christmas ornaments in front of a glittering golden background.

I’m so excited to tell you one of my favorite Big Sky Maverick books is now FREE for a short time. If you haven’t met Tucker Montgomery, here’s your chance. Yes, he’s rogue, but a lovable one with a giant heart–just ask his Louisiana grandma.

MONTANA ROGUE

Big Sky Mavericks, Book VI

Roommates with benefits. A temporary arrangement between two people with time on their hands. Who could possibly get hurt?

“Get your Zip On” – That’s Tucker Montgomery‘s slogan for the new zip line he’s building near Marietta, Montana. But before Tucker can get the first pole in the ground, he suffers an injury that could cost him everything, until help arrives in a surprising–but gorgeous–package: Amanda Heller. They’ll share her grandmother’s guesthouse while he supervises the old Victorian’s restoration… all with the added benefit of exploring a sizzling mutual attraction.

Amanda Heller knows her exile to Montana is her family’s excuse to spare them the embarrassing fallout from her very public break-up with her ex-boss’s son that left her jobless and living in her parent’s Manhattan home. But then Amanda strikes a bargain with injured, sexy businessman Tucker Montgomery, who needs a place to stay while recovering. A hot summer fling seems just the thing for Amanda and Tucker, something to enjoy for a month or two tops. Most certainly not long enough to fall in love….

 ~~~~~

         FIRST KISS ©DEBRA SALONEN:

He let out a sigh of relief when saw Justin catch up to Amanda. He could see them arguing but couldn’t hear a word over the rumble of a second cement truck idling in line. The concrete guys all huddled in readiness to shovel the wet cement into the hole and spread it around the four-foot square base as soon as the wet concoction started down the chute.

At the last possible second, Justin snatched the box from Amanda’s hands and dove for the hole. Luckily, the plan called for six inches of cement to go into the hole as a base for the pole that would then be raised in place using winches and pulleys.

Tucker held his breath as he saw Justin check the box then reach into the hole as far as he could. A second later, with the help of two concrete guys, he popped back to his feet.

Justin spun around to give Tucker a thumbs-up gesture at the same moment Amanda kicked him in the shins and stormed off.

Tucker was still laughing when Amanda reached him. “Your friend’s a glory hog. That was my job.”

“He didn’t want you to get dirty.”

“You didn’t trust me to do it right.”

It struck him that he and Justin accidentally had hurt her feelings. Did society girls suffer from wounded pride the way normal people did? “I was afraid you were going to break your neck or get run over by the cement truck.”

She crossed her arms and glared at him. “I’m tougher than I look. You have to be to survive in a family like mine. Next time you ask for my help, forget it.”

He moved closer and did something he knew he’d regret later. He grabbed her firmly by the shoulders, letting his crutches fall. Balancing all his weight on his good leg, he pulled her to him and kissed her. Hard, but not fast. The opposite of fast. He took his time to experience every damn nuance, like how she resisted him for three and a half seconds. And how, when she gave in, her mouth softened and her lips parted to invite him in.

The thought crossed his mind that this was one of those I’ll-remember-this-moment-forever sort of thing. Was it? Would he never forget the first time he kissed Amanda Heller?

Of course not. She was just a pretty girl who kissed like a damn siren luring him to the wicked rocks where he’d crash and burn. There was nothing special about her. Other than her taste, maybe. Honey sweet but with some intangible something all her own.

But even if Amanda was different from all the other girls he’d kissed–and enjoyed–over the years, she most definitely wasn’t a long-term prospect. God, no. Not that he was looking for a forever love–something he knew existed because Ona and Twig had been inseparable right up till the day he died.

But even if Tucker bought into that happily-ever-after fantasy, he had way too much on his plate to get involved with Amanda Heller–even for the short term.

Too bad he had a feeling that decision was completely out of his hands. Her kiss told him she might be up for a little tryst he decided to call: “Roommates with benefits.”

1

 


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  ~~~~

Have a delicious, delightful THANKSGIVING, my friends.

In case you’re wondering what I’m thankful for, a BOOKBUB ad tomorrow, which I hope will introduce these characters to a whole lot of readers! I’m also thankful for all of my wonderful and supportive readers and blog followers! If you message me or email, I will happily send you a bookmark and a recipe card from my December 1 Love at the Chocolate Shop release.

May your Thanksgiving be a delicious memory-making day!

May your Thanksgiving be a delicious memory-making day!

Deb

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from MONTANA DARLING by Debra Salonen)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

First Kiss= TUESDAY

It’s October, Book Girls. We all know what that means:

Breast Cancer Awareness! 

untitled-design

I’ve only written one book with a breast cancer surviver heroine, but Mia Zabrinski is one of my favorites. Heroic, stoic, determined to do the right for her children and herself–alone, if she must. And she certainly doesn’t expect to find someone who thinks she’s perfect. But a real hero loves with his whole heart–even if it’s battered and bruised from losses of his own. 

darling-hanging-by-a-thread

 

EXCERPT ©DEBRA SALONEN:

He handed her one of the paper cups. “These should be cooled just enough. I come here once a week with my cocoa.”

 She snapped off the lid and lifted the rim to her lips. The lush warm smell made her taste buds gush. Her hand trembled a bit. Cocoa was made with sugar. Sugar fed cancer cells… Stop, a voice in her mind ordered. Her mother’s voice. Just enjoy for once.

 She took a sip. “Mmm,” she murmured, the cup’s rim still touching her bottom lip.

 She closed her eyes and drank more–a long, satisfying gulp of warm joy.

 She heard a clicking sound and looked at Ryker, who had his camera to his eye. “Sorry,” he said, still clicking. “The purity of satisfaction on your face was too perfect to pass up. Sage would pay me big bucks to let her use this image in her advertising.”

 His grin was so self-satisfied and unapologetic she wanted to yank the camera out of his hands, but in a way he reminded her of Hunter, who used to be that confident of his gifts, that happy when something he drew or made from a tub of Legos turned out. That was before he escaped into video games to avoid having to deal with his imploding family. She missed that look so much she could cry.

 Ryker distracted her, though, with a throaty, masculine chortle. “I almost forgot your test.”

 “What kind of test?”

 “You’ll see.” He stretched out his arms, fingers linked, like some kind of warm-up. The sunlight created something freakishly like glitter highlights in his mop of curls. The guy was handsome enough to be in a freakin’ TV commercial, she thought. He had the kind of face you couldn’t help liking and trusting. Hello, Ma’am. Might I interest you in something delicious but so bad for your body you may as well just throw in the towel? Trust me, you’ll love it.

 He set his camera aside and scooted forward. His butt must barely be touching the iron rail, she thought, resisting the urge to look. She hadn’t had sex–or even thought about sex–for so long she’d begun to wonder if her surgeon removed her libido along with all her other body parts. Most days she felt like a neutered cat, but, suddenly, seeing a handsome younger man balancing on the balls of his feet in a full squat while tempting her with some special, sinful treat, resonated with her inner cougar.

He unrolled the crimped bag, then reached inside with his long, beautiful fingers.

Who notices a man’s fingers, for God’s sake? she thought.

Horny, hormonal women with no social life.

“Close your eyes.”

“Again? I don’t think so. Standing on Main Street with people around was one thing, but you could have an ax in your backpack for all I know.”

His roar of laughter triggered a funny lightening inside her. She hadn’t laughed in too long. At what point had she turned hard and dry and humorless? No wonder her kids hated her.

Tears pricked behind her lids. She set her cup on one of the rails and leaned forward, too. Motioning for him to get on with what he had planned. “Just do it.”

He didn’t respond right away.

Nervous, she licked her lips. “Come on. I don’t have all day.”

“Open up.”

She swallowed first, the noise loud in her ears. Could he read her nervousness? She felt a blush creep into her cheeks.

Something small and soft was deposited carefully on her tongue. She closed her mouth and tasted. Flavors exploded so vividly she couldn’t quite register every aspect. The contrast of savory and sweet, smooth and chunky confused her brain’s identification centers. “Am I supposed to tell you what this is?” she said as well as she could manage without her saliva glands tripping her up.

“Yes.”

She kept her eyes closed so she could concentrate. “Caramel.”

It wasn’t a question.

“Uh-huh. Easy.”

“Dark chocolate. My favorite.”

For some reason, he groaned and muttered, “Really?”

“I’m pretty sure the tiny bit of crunch was sea salt.”

“Correct.” His tone was that of a teacher who expected her to fail.

Mia Zabrinski didn’t fail. She’d passed every test she’d ever taken…except for one–a mammogram.

She swished her tongue around, testing for the missing flavor. “Chili. Habanero, to be exact.”

She opened her eyes and looked at him. His wicked grin told her she’d gotten it wrong. “Close. Well, technically, I’d have given it to you if you’d left it at pepper. But Sage calls these Kick Starters. She’s been beta testing them for a week and finally settled on chipotle.”

The instant he said the word she tasted the lingering hint of smoke that had been masked by the rich warmth of the chocolate.

“Damn. You’re right.”

Their gazes met and held.

His eyes intrigued her, challenged her to go deeper and find out more about him. A foolish waste of time. The guy lived in a stupid tent. Winter was coming. He wouldn’t be sticking around for long. He was leaving. Not soon enough for her to get her basement dug, but soon.

A fact, which, a voice in her head reasoned, made him perfect for a rebound fling.

Once the word “fling” lodged in her brain she couldn’t unthink it. She’d been with two men in her life. First, her high school boyfriend who moved away their senior year and lasted about three letters and half a dozen phone calls before he broke up with her, and then she’d made the mistake of falling head over heels for her twin brother’s college roommate and best friend, Edward. Her college lover. Her husband. The narcissistic dilettante who abandoned her when she needed him most.

 Mia didn’t like it when people–especially strangers–invaded her space. Ryker’s face was closer than she normally tolerated, but she didn’t pull back. She couldn’t. His gaze seemed to look past the superficial aspects of her hair, her face, her features, to see into the depths of her soul to the damaged, brittle woman terrified to re-engage with life.

The last thing she needed was a man. A man who wanted something from her.

He wants my land, the lawyer in her thought.

He wants my body, the woman in her thought.

No. He only thinks he does.

“I have–had–.” She never knew how to put it. “Um…breast cancer.”

“That must have sucked.”

“It wasn’t the high point of my life. But I’m on the road to recovery. All my tests have come back clear. I caught it early and wiped it out at the source.”

She shifted her shoulders unconsciously feeling the dull reminder of the implants.

“You’ll feel more like yourself if you don’t have to lug around prosthetics,” Mom had coaxed.

“I don’t plan to wear falsies, Mom. I’ll be flat chested for the rest of my life. Lots of women are.”

“You won’t be happy with that, Mia,” Doctor Sharsmith had insisted. “Your clothes won’t fit right. Your femininity will take a serious hit. I’ve had patients who chose that route, but within six months they changed their minds. Breasts are a part of your body image, Mia. Let me give you back your natural curves.”

 So, she’d agreed to more surgeries. More risks. More fear that she might not wake up from the anesthesia, and her poor children would be left in the care of their irresponsible and morally challenged father.

Now, she was outwardly normal–or some vague semblance of normal. She was skinny. Weak. Vulnerable to germs. Terrified of carcinogens, sugar, processed foods, and artificial dyes. She hated looking at herself in the mirror, and the question had crossed her mind lately whether or not any man would ever desire her?

 If she wasn’t totally mistaken, this man found her attractive. Or thought he did.

Maybe this is a distraction to game me into giving up my land.

Like that would happen.

Members of the Big Sky Mavericks never gave up.

Period.

Suddenly feeling more like her old self than she had in months, she leaned in and kissed him. Three…four…seconds of heart-stopping strangeness. His lips solidly touching hers. No tongue or heavy breathing, just a tingling caused no doubt by the “mones,” as her future sister-in-law called the little buggers.

Bailey. Cake tasting.

She jerked back. “Cake.”

“No, thanks. But I wouldn’t mind another kiss.”

~~~

Mia’s a fighter, a survivor and a mom. If you need a bit of inspiration before you head to your annual mammogram…

MontanaDarling-MEDIUM

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Happy reading,

Deb

PS: you can get more insights into this couple’s HEA in MONTANA MAVERICK and MONTANA MIRACLE

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY – (FREE) – MONTANA MAVERICK by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

FREE for a short time.
MAVERICK review FREE

 Montana Maverick

Sparks have always smoldered between Meg Zabrinski and Henry Firestone, but falling in love with Hank and his ready-made family would mean giving up her dream. Something lone wolf Meg isn’t ready to do until…well, you know. Sometimes one kiss can change everything.

Excerpt © Tule Publishing

She shoved the phone in her pocket and took a deep breath of air. “Smells like snow.”

Her exhale created a puffy white cloud that looped around her head like a halo. “Ken ordered me not to go looking for you last night,” she told him.

“That bastard.” Hank drove his fist into the palm of his other hand. The cracking sound made Rook spin about and race up the steps. He planted himself at Hank’s feet, eyeing Meg suspiciously. “How’d he justify that?”

“Said he didn’t want to have to recover my body, too.”

Rook’s growl matched Hank’s.

Hank leaned down and stroked the dog’s wide flat head. The snow and ice felt like shards of glass against his palm. Slowly, his tension eased. “Thank God you didn’t listen to him.”

She made a sound of pure disgust. “I stopped listening to Ken Morrison a long time ago.”

He could tell there was more to the story. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a memory raised its hand, but he ignored it. Anybody who traveled the backcountry probably had a run-in with SAR’s resident megalomaniac.

“How soon is the next wave supposed to hit?”

She shrugged then stepped closer and put out her hand for Rook to sniff. “A couple of hours. Why?”

“I left a bunch of stuff in Betsy. Dog food, for one. Tools. My log.”

She nodded. “You should take a video of the crash site. Maybe you’ll be able to see what brought her down.”

They were close enough to touch each other, and it took every ounce of willpower Hank had not to pull her into his arms and kiss her. “Wow,” he said, curling his icy fingers tight. “People have always called you brilliant. Now, I see why.”

Her sardonic grin made his heart rate speed up. Had she always been this beautiful? Yes. But business dress and heels were fake beauty. No makeup, messy hair dancing in the cold breeze, a blush of chafed skin from last night’s rescue made her the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Their gazes met and held for one heartbeat…or ten. Something passed between them. A sigh. A hint of possibility. An open-ended question.

Meg was the first to look away. “Just being practical,” she said, taking a step back.

Her voice sounded different, throaty. She reached for the handle of the storm door. “I know Ken Morrison. He’ll try to turn this recovery into a photo op and pin the blame on you. I have a video camera you can use. I’ll make sure the battery is charged while you get ready.”

Video. The GoPro. “We need to finish opening gifts, first. The one I got JJ might be just the ticket.”

He followed her inside. “Are you sure you’re okay with all this? I mean, damn. I drop out of the sky into your nice peaceful life, and suddenly you’re stuck babysitting? That seems messed up.”

She hung her heavy jacket on a hook then spun around to open the cupboard above the washer and dryer. “Yeah, well, normally, I’d volunteer to hike back with you, but hauling all four kids up the mountain sounds like a really bad idea. So, you take this–” She pulled a small black camera-type case from a shelf and turned to face him. “And I’ll bake cookies with Annie and Bravo.”

She reached out and touched his upper arm. “Henry, nobody planned this. We have to roll with the situation. You should hurry.”

She turned to go but he stopped her. He couldn’t help himself. His life was upside down and in the toilet with vultures circling, but Meg made him feel as if everything was manageable. He pulled her into a hug.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

She stiffened at first, but gradually hugged him back. “You’re welcome.”

He had no idea how long they stood there. Meg in her pink and gray camoflage-print pajamas, him in sweats and a pair of men’s slippers he’d found in the guest room closet. They were virtual strangers, yet they fit together like they’d done this a million times over the years.

When she lifted her chin to look at him, he kissed her. He couldn’t not.

Her lips were sweet…and minty. The flavor surprised him at first but captivated him, too. He wanted more of this spicy wonderment. As sweet as it was, he wanted to find the flavor of Meg.

When he closed his eyes to take the kiss deeper, Meg stiffened a tiny bit. A badly needed reality check.

He let her go. “Peppermint.”

She nodded. “Annie shared her candy cane with me.”

“Annie’s the most generous soul I’ve ever known, next to her mother.” He stepped back. “I should go.”

“Yes. Quickly. You don’t want to get caught in another storm.”

“I’ll take JJ.”

“Good idea. His feet look about my size. He can use my snowshoes.”

She reached for the doorknob but paused. “What was that kiss for?”

“You…impress me. Most people would be overwhelmed by this situation. Four kids. A virtual stranger. You take charge and get things done. I respect the hell out of that.”

“Oh. Okay.” She slowly turned the knob. “But, for the record, you’re not a stranger. I feel like we have twenty years of history between us. Not easy history, but I always felt like we held each other in mutual respect. Didn’t you?”

“Yes. Definitely. And if I’d known you tasted like candy canes, I wouldn’t have waited twenty years to kiss you.”

 ~~~

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And, did you know you can read more about Henry and Meg’s journey in MONTANA MIRACLE? It’s true. Don’ t you love connected series?)

Happy reading,

Deb

 

FREE KISS=TUESDAY from MONTANA COWGIRL by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

4

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I downloaded a new copy just to see if it worked and wound up reading–and sniffling over–the first chapter. I’d forgotten how much I loved Paul and Bailey.

Since I’m pretty sure I’ve shared their first kiss before, here’s a later scene I hope you’ll like:

Paul could honestly say he hadn’t seen ‘sex with Bailey’ as even a remote option when he fired up the Cessna. He’d figured the trip would involve a lot of pacing in hospital waiting rooms and ferrying OC back and forth from the hotel.

To wind up sharing a room with Bailey…a pleasant surprise. To be invited back into her life as a confidant of her worst fear, to hold her, kiss her…damn, he couldn’t quite get his head around the bounty.

“I want you worse than when we were in high school,” she’d said.

He knew exactly what she meant. He’d gone hard the moment she’d pulled off her T-shirt.

Every inch of her skin smelled like honey and roses. He wanted to go slow, remember every sensation, but Bailey had never been patient. Once she made up her mind to do something, it got done.

“Do you remember our first time?” he asked unbuttoning his shirt.

She brushed his fingers aside and took over. One, two, three, pull out shirt tails, four, five… “We came close so many times, but I think it was in my barn, right? The hayloft. Your Boy Scout sleeping bag.”

He unbuckled his belt and unzipped while she pulled the belt through the loops. “The hay smelled good but the sleeping bag wasn’t thick enough to keep the poking parts from poking you.”

His belt joined her shirt on the floor. By wordless agreement, they both wiggled out of their jeans. Her panties didn’t match her bra. Lime green bikinis with black polka dots. “Cute.”

She touched the raised fabric of his navy blue stretch boxer briefs. “No more tighty whities.”

His breath caught in his throat as her hand cupped his erection. “Not since college.” Not since Jen started shopping for him.

She turned her attention to his bare chest. “Your muscles are so filled out. Chiseled, even. From swinging a hammer, I suppose. You’re so manly, now.” Her tone held a hint of teasing, but he thought he detected a bit of wistfulness, too. He felt the same.

“You’re thinner and more voluptuous. How is that possible?”

She flexed her bare arm to show her well-defined biceps. “Exercise. For a while after the accident, I couldn’t do anything. I felt like my body was melting into the sheets. As soon as I started physical therapy, I went gung-ho. One of my trainers, who also became my friend, called me Bailing Wired.”

He squeezed the muscle. “Hey, that was my nickname for you.”

“That’s what I told her. Although I was never sure it was a compliment.”

He locked fingers with her and leaned in close enough to nibble her neck. “It was. I admired your drive and fearlessness. Scared the bejesus out of me at times, but, man, you were something to watch.”

She moved her head and shoulder in a way that told him she was enjoying his touch. He trailed his tongue to a pronounced bump on her clavicle. A broken collarbone from falling off a horse when she was ten. A scare like that might have stopped other kids, but not Bailey Jenkins. From what her mother told him, she was back in the saddle while her arm was in a sling.

She dropped back on her elbows. “This,” she said, shifting to her right side to touch her collarbone, “was the first of many. Two cracked ribs. My kneecap is all screwed up. I broke my elbow, but it’s stronger since I started lifting weights. A couple of toes. And fingers. And that’s not even counting my ankle.”

He slid off the bed so he could start at her feet. “Which toes?”

She wiggled her left foot. He kissed them all, which made her laugh.

“And your right ankle.”

“Obviously.”

The scar wasn’t as furious a red as when she first arrived in Marietta. He nuzzled his cheek against her wound, their gaze locked. “I’m sorry you were injured, but I’ve got a few war wounds of my own, you know.”

He licked the inside of both her knees.

“You do?”

“Viral paper cuts. I give myself a yearly bonus to make up for the grievance.”

~~~

Hey, what’s lovemaking without a little humor? 😉

If you’ve already downloaded MONTANA COWGIRL, I hope you’ll share this blog with your reader friends. WHO DOESN’T LOVE FREE?

Happy reading,

Deb

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FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from MONTANA REBEL by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

 Montana Rebel, Big Sky Mavericks IX

MontanaRebel-MEDIUM

A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight. Who says Fate doesn’t have a sense of humor?

A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year's Eve kiss at midnight. Who says Fate doesn't have a sense of humor-

“It’s that time, my friends. Grab a glass of champagne and that special person. Here we go. Ten…nine…”

Bailey’s voice got drowned out by the crowd.

“Eight…seven…”

He closed his arms around Nicole to keep her safe as more people flooded onto the dance floor.

“Six,” she said, looking directly into his eyes. The lights had come up so he could study the subtle hues mixed in the blue of her irises.

Beautiful eyes.Familiar, somehow.

“Five,” a voice boomed to his left.

Tucker, who was holding Amanda the same way Justin held Nicole, gave Justin a guy-nod that seemed to say, “Way to go, bro!”

Justin liked to think he didn’t need his friends’ validation to feel good about his choices, but this time he was navigating new waters. Dangerous waters. This woman was about to become his boss. That couldn’t be good.

But Nicole didn’t feel dangerous or threatening.

“Four…”

She felt as though she’d been made to dance with him. They fit together perfectly. He liked every thing about her, except her job.

“Three…” If he and Nicole were going to do this, he had to make sure they had an end game in place.

New Year’s Eve. Maybe the weekend. They’d play that part by ear, but after Monday nothing could happen between them.

“Two,” he said softly.

“One,” she whispered, looking into his eyes with a question he was ready to answer.

“Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year,” he said before lowering his head to press his lips to hers.

He expected the usual few minutes of testing the waters, feeling each other out, but that didn’t happen. From the moment their lips met, he felt as if he’d crossed the Rubicon. This wasn’t a one-time deal. They’d done this a million times. Together. Theirs was a reunion of souls kissing across eons, remembering.

Her lips parted, her tongue seeking his without hesitation. He hadn’t expected such frankness, but her greedy pleasure made him need more, too.

He closed his eyes and immersed himself in her sweetness, a combination of honey and spice. He would have gone on exploring this newfound fascination forever if not for the sensation of something touching his head. He pulled back and look around.

“The balloons,” Nicole cried, letting go of him to tap at the large white, gold and silver balloons cascading around them.

Confetti shot from somewhere nearby added to the glitter and excitement. Nicole was pulled from his arms to exchange air kisses and hugs with perfect strangers. Justin found himself in a bear hug, too.

“Helluva thing, huh? Beats the crap out of last year,” Tucker said.

Justin clapped Tucker on the back. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“I mean starting the year off with someone you care about. There’s a first time for everything, Ona always says.”

Ona, Tucker’s Cajun grandmother, was a font of truisms. Justin had met her twice and loved the dear woman as the grandmother he’d never had. I wonder what Ona would say about me kissing my future boss? Probably something arcane about not defecating where you eat, damn it.

He caught up with Nicole before anyone else could dance her away. He grabbed her hand and spun her slightly off-balance back into his arms. “Unfinished business,” he mumbled against her lips.

She may have started to protest but her reaction changed the minute she realized this kiss meant business. His tongue wasn’t polite or inquisitive. Justin knew what he wanted, and it started now. They were both breathless when he broke off the kiss before embarrassing himself too badly. His body reacted to her in a way he didn’t remember happening with any of his previous lovers.

“You’re coming with me, right?”

“That depends on which of our rooms is closer.”

Available here: AMAZON    iBOOKS    KOBO    GOOGLE PLAY


 

Happy reading, my friends! I hope you enjoy my last — for now–Big Sky Mavericks story. 

DEB

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from MONTANA REBEL by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

 Montana Rebel, Big Sky Mavericks IX

MontanaRebel-MEDIUM

A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight. Who says Fate doesn’t have a sense of humor?

A masked ball. Two star-crossed lovers. A New Year's Eve kiss at midnight. Who says Fate doesn't have a sense of humor-

“It’s that time, my friends. Grab a glass of champagne and that special person. Here we go. Ten…nine…”

Bailey’s voice got drowned out by the crowd.

“Eight…seven…”

He closed his arms around Nicole to keep her safe as more people flooded onto the dance floor.

“Six,” she said, looking directly into his eyes. The lights had come up so he could study the subtle hues mixed in the blue of her irises.

Beautiful eyes.Familiar, somehow.

“Five,” a voice boomed to his left.

Tucker, who was holding Amanda the same way Justin held Nicole, gave Justin a guy-nod that seemed to say, “Way to go, bro!”

Justin liked to think he didn’t need his friends’ validation to feel good about his choices, but this time he was navigating new waters. Dangerous waters. This woman was about to become his boss. That couldn’t be good.

But Nicole didn’t feel dangerous or threatening.

“Four…”

She felt as though she’d been made to dance with him. They fit together perfectly. He liked every thing about her, except her job.

“Three…” If he and Nicole were going to do this, he had to make sure they had an end game in place.

New Year’s Eve. Maybe the weekend. They’d play that part by ear, but after Monday nothing could happen between them.

“Two,” he said softly.

“One,” she whispered, looking into his eyes with a question he was ready to answer.

“Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year,” he said before lowering his head to press his lips to hers.

He expected the usual few minutes of testing the waters, feeling each other out, but that didn’t happen. From the moment their lips met, he felt as if he’d crossed the Rubicon. This wasn’t a one-time deal. They’d done this a million times. Together. Theirs was a reunion of souls kissing across eons, remembering.

Her lips parted, her tongue seeking his without hesitation. He hadn’t expected such frankness, but her greedy pleasure made him need more, too.

He closed his eyes and immersed himself in her sweetness, a combination of honey and spice. He would have gone on exploring this newfound fascination forever if not for the sensation of something touching his head. He pulled back and look around.

“The balloons,” Nicole cried, letting go of him to tap at the large white, gold and silver balloons cascading around them.

Confetti shot from somewhere nearby added to the glitter and excitement. Nicole was pulled from his arms to exchange air kisses and hugs with perfect strangers. Justin found himself in a bear hug, too.

“Helluva thing, huh? Beats the crap out of last year,” Tucker said.

Justin clapped Tucker on the back. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“I mean starting the year off with someone you care about. There’s a first time for everything, Ona always says.”

Ona, Tucker’s Cajun grandmother, was a font of truisms. Justin had met her twice and loved the dear woman as the grandmother he’d never had. I wonder what Ona would say about me kissing my future boss? Probably something arcane about not defecating where you eat, damn it.

He caught up with Nicole before anyone else could dance her away. He grabbed her hand and spun her slightly off-balance back into his arms. “Unfinished business,” he mumbled against her lips.

She may have started to protest but her reaction changed the minute she realized this kiss meant business. His tongue wasn’t polite or inquisitive. Justin knew what he wanted, and it started now. They were both breathless when he broke off the kiss before embarrassing himself too badly. His body reacted to her in a way he didn’t remember happening with any of his previous lovers.

“You’re coming with me, right?”

“That depends on which of our rooms is closer.”

Available here: AMAZON    iBOOKS    KOBO    GOOGLE PLAY


 

Happy reading, my friends! I hope you enjoy my last — for now–Big Sky Mavericks story. 

DEB

First Kiss Tuesday: Montana Miracle by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

First Kiss= TUESDAY

MontanaMiraclecover

Sometimes, it takes a village to create a Montana miracle.

Gage Monroe has given himself until Christmas Day to wrap up the unpleasant bits and pieces of his old life in Paradise, Montana, before starting fresh in much warmer climes. And the last thing a loner like Gage needs is a beautiful, passionate pastor’s misguided attempt to draw him into her flock. The people of Paradise exiled Gage a long time ago…with good reason.

Pastor Samantha “Sam” Zabrinski didn’t move halfway across the country to accept a position in the little town of Paradise because she lacked gumption. She has no intention of giving up on Gage Monroe–a man with depth and heart he hides from the world. Besides, Gage just may be the Christmas miracle Sam’s been praying for…


“Have dinner with me.”

Sam heard the words, but they sounded so much like an invitation to go out with him on a date, she was certain her brain had something mixed up. Men like Gage Monroe–heartthrob handsome, intense, introverted loner types–didn’t date single moms who were also members of the clergy.

She looked at her watch. “Isn’t it too early to eat?”

He stepped closer. “I didn’t mean this minute. Are you being coy or intentionally obtuse?”

“Neither. I don’t get asked on dates very often. That is what you asked, right? Me. On a date? With you? Alone? Not me and my daughter or a double-date with Jody and Rob Barnes?”

The get-real look he gave her made her cheeks burn. “I haven’t double-dated since tenth grade.”

“How’d that go for you?”

“I got to second base.”

“You touched her boob?”

His grin made her knees wobble. “Lightly grazed.” He ran the backs of his fingers across her jaw, barely touching her skin. Still, the sensation shot straight to the heart of her womanly self. “But it felt like a big deal at the time.”

“Did you brag about it to your friends?”

He looked offended. “I asked her to the school dance. She spent the whole time dancing with a junior. We never talked again.”

“Interesting.”

“Clever stall.”

“Yes. Well. The thing is I haven’t been on a date since Makayla was eight. My sister, Gretchen, agreed to babysit. She was fifteen. Very capable. They were watching a movie and decided to try throwing popcorn in the air to catch it. Makayla got a piece lodged in her throat and started choking. Gretch called Dad and Liz, my step-mom, and they took her to the ER to be safe.” She walked to the window to check on Makayla. She hadn’t moved from the passenger seat where she sat with headphones on, eyes on the screen of her phone, and her feet on the dash. “I’d just made up my mind to have sex when I got the call.”

He pointed upward. “You took that as a sign from Heaven.”

“Actually, I chickened out. The one time I let my base desires take control, I wound up a single mom with a mixed race baby and a lot of people questioning whether or not I had the moral caliber to be a minister. This episode reinforced my belief that I wasn’t meant to have a sex life.”

His nearly perfect features screwed up in a look of mystified bafflement. “An accidental pregnancy and one near-miss date? That’s it? Wow. You really do have strong faith. But it’s totally misplaced, in my opinion.”

She crossed her arms defensively. “Oh, really. Who are you to judge?”

He framed her shoulders between his big, powerful hands and walked her backwards into the bathroom. He flicked on the switch and closed the door. Grinning, he said, “This is the cleanest–and most private–room in the house.”

Then he closed the gap between them, forcing her to tilt her head back to look up. “Where were we?”

I was panicking because the man I’ve been secretly lusting over suddenly asked me out on a date.

He held up one finger, smiled and touched it to the tip of her nose. “I remember. You asked who am I to judge? And I was about to tell you that I’m just a guy who thinks you’re cute. And sexy. I’ve wanted to kiss you since…about the first minute I saw your incredibly kissable lips.”

Her heart stalled and a prickle of panic formed under her armpits. “I have incredibly kissable lips? Really? No way. They’re just lips.”

“I disagree.”

He put one arm around her back to draw her snug against his body, then proved his point. So matter-of-factly, her mouth parted in surprise. He took that as an invitation and deepened the kiss. His tongue touched hers. And, damn, if her treacherous body didn’t react the way a woman’s body was supposed to react when a handsome man kissed her. Her arms looped around his shoulders and she kissed him back.

Good Lord.

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Debra Salonen-4358-Color-SmHello, my friends and first kiss lovers,

I’m so excited about my new release, MONTANA MIRACLE. This book was a gift. Seriously, there’s a thing that sometimes–rarely–happens when a writer sits down to create a story and, suddenly, the whole book appears with vivid, dynamic characters who are excited to channel thought into words.

That’s how this book felt to me. Gage and Samantha! I can’t wait for you to meet them…and catch up on what is happening with the rest of the Zabrinski family. (Meg is breaking my heart here. In a good way.)

My wonderful publishing team at TULE has a special incentive that will allow you read Chapter One before its official publication date of November 16th if you tweet about the Big Sky Mavericks with the hashtag #BigSkyMavericks.

image-1

To learn more, click here:  TULE PUBLISHING

XOXO,

Deb

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