FIRST KISS=TUESDAY – MONTANA MAVERICK by Debra Salonen

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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. 

Amazon

iTunes

KOBO

BN NOOK

Google Play

Smashwords

BOOKS2READ

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 – (FREE) – MONTANA MAVERICK by Debra Salonen

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.”

 ~~~

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. 

Amazon

iTunes

KOBO

BN NOOK

Google Play

Smashwords

BOOKS2READ

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 SOME GIRLS DO by AMY ANDREWS

 

SOMEGIRLSDOcover

SOME GIRLS DO

BY

AMY ANDREWS

“So what’s a guy like you doing in a place like this?” she asked.

He raised his gaze to her face and laughed. “I think that’s my line.”

Lacey shrugged. “Told you I was forward. And besides, if you don’t mind me saying, you’re kind of sucking at the pick-up lines.”

“You want a line?” His mouth quirked up at one side. “How about this? You have impressive ball skills.”

Lacey hadn’t been expecting something so blatant and she was stunned for a moment before she laughed. “Play your cards right and I’ll give you a personal demonstration.”

He laughed too and it vibrated through her belly with all the subtlety, finesse and potency of a jackhammer. Lacey squirmed against the stool as heat flooded her abdomen.

She’d never been this hot for a guy.

“Seriously,” he said, sobering and his intense blue gaze caught and held hers. “Where’d you learn to shoot a combo?”

The laughter from earlier dried up from the inside out. She shrugged. “A girl with brothers learns a lot of useless things. How to hook a worm and gut a fish … how to make cricket stumps out of just about anything … how to skip stones … light a fire …”

How to never ever cry lest they get that stricken helpless look and send you away.

“I imagine a girl with brothers would also learn not to let some guy pick her up in a bar,” he murmured.

Hell yeah, she’d learned that one too. It’d been drummed into her — by Ethan particularly — just before he’d driven her two hundred kilometres from the only home she’d ever known to the college they’d insisted she still attend, despite her overwhelming grief.

But they couldn’t have it both ways. They couldn’t send her away and expect her to still live by their rules.

“Hey,” he said as he pushed a stray lock of hair off her forehead with his index finger. “Where’d you go?”

Lacey blinked as his blue eyes searched hers, frightened he could see everything — her hurt, her pain, the nagging homesickness that never seemed to go away.

No. She would not think about home tonight.

Quickly, she tipped her head back and drained her beer in three swallows. “You want to get out of here?”

Lacey could tell Coop was deciding whether or not to push her further on the subject. When he, too, drained his beer she almost sagged in relief. “My place is three blocks away.”

She smiled at him. “Perfect.”

He was ushering her through the entrance doors to his apartment complex ten minutes later. Lacey had no recollection of the trip. Not with his hand in the small of her back, his thumb stroking a lazy pattern through her shirt and streaking heat like a fork of lightning up her spine.

He pushed the lift button and Lacey glanced at him. The urge to kiss him pulsed inside her.

“If you keep looking at me like that,” he said, his voice full of gravel, his gaze firmly fixed on her mouth, “we’re not going to make to the apartment.”

Lacey’s gut clenched as the rumble in his tone abraded the hairs at the back of her neck, rubbed like sandpaper against her nipples and tingled between her thighs. It was only the ding of the lift that saved them from making out on the parquetry floor.

But the second the doors closed and they were alone, he was pushing her against the wall and she was grabbing his shirt and nothing could have stopped her from accepting the full-frontal assault of his mouth as it slammed hot and hard onto hers.

Lacey moaned as his fingers tangled in her hair and his tongue tangoed with hers. He groaned against her mouth and her belly tightened.

Crap. If the man screwed like he kissed she was a goner.

The lift dinged again and Lacey whimpered as Coop dragged his lips away and pressed his forehead to hers. Their heavy breathing filled the lift as the door slid open. “Don’t plan on getting any sleep tonight.”

freeSomeGirlsDO

 

AMZ US http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015GEUFCW

AMZ UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015GEUFCW

AMZ OZ http://www.amazon.com.au/Some-Girls-Outback-Heat-Book-ebook/dp/B015GEUFCW

AMZ CANADA  http://www.amazon.ca/Some-Girls-Outback-Heat-Book-ebook/dp/B015GEUFCW

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/some-girls-do/id1062128064?mt=11

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/some-girls-do-9

Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/some-girls-do-amy-andrews/1123200760


 Amy Andrews is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling Aussie author who has written over fifty steamy contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She loves good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.

Happy reading, my friends,

Deb

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Deb Salonen’s Christmas Trifle + HER FOREVER GIFT!

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Food=love in my books.

To celebrate HER FOREVER GIFT, my Montana Mavericks’ holiday novella, going FREE on all platforms, I’m sharing a recipe–and excerpt–from the book.

Deb_Gift72dpi600x900

 Louise’s trifle isn’t something to be trifled with…and, as you’ll see, your options for fruit is varied, to say the least. Pick what your family likes and run with it, as Louise did.

trifle recipe

 

Christmas Trifle
Recipe Type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Debra Salonen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This dessert if light and refreshing and easy to prepare. Plus, you can pick your family’s favorite fruits. Be creative! These are the fruits my family likes best, my heroine, Louise Jenkins, chose other variations. Nuts and dried fruits might be interesting, as well.
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • 1 packaged Angel Food cake or 2 packaged sponge cakes, broken into pieces
  • 1 package fresh blueberries
  • 1 package fresh blackberries
  • 4 cups frozen strawberries (fresh are okay, too, but frozen are easier to come by at Christmastime)
  • 4 C whipping cream prepared to taste (I like mine not overly sweet with a couple of drops of vanilla)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • optional: 1/4 C liquor (I use Cointreau for the hint of orange.)
  • optional: 1/4 C chocolate syrup
Instructions
  1. Wash fruit and drain completely. Reserve 1/4 cup of raspberries for decoration.
  2. Break cakes into bite-size pieces, set aside.
  3. Prepare whipping cream to stiff set, sweeten as you desire.
  4. Slice strawberries and mix with sugar and liquor, as desired.
  5. Layer cake on the bottom, fresh fruit, strawberry mixture, then whipped cream.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Arrange reserved raspberries on top, then drizzle with chocolate, if desired.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer it sits the more the flavors mingle.

 

Excerpt:

“The soup is fabulous, Louise,” her new son-in-law said.

“Really great, Grandma, can I have more?” Chloe asked.

“Of course. Eat up.” Louise stood to reach the ladle. “What about you, Mark?”

The youngest of them shook his head. “No, thanks. I’m leaving room for dessert.”

Everyone’s gaze followed Mark’s to the tall-sided glass bowl that held Louise’s trifle. She’d removed it from the refrigerator moments earlier so it could come to room temperature before serving. Three distinct strata were visible: coarsely torn bits of white cake topped by marinated cherries, blueberries, mandarin orange slices and pineapple, and lastly whipped cream. Each portion would be topped with warm Copper Mountain Chocolate Company’s decadent and nearly immoral dark chocolate syrup.

Mark wasn’t the only one to lick his lips.

“Where’d you learn to make that, Mom?” Bailey asked. “We’ve had it on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.”

Louise looked at OC. The intensity of his stare made her blush. “I made it up. Our first Christmas after we were married, we were too poor to make anything fancy and I remembered reading that in olden days, people served stale cake with fruit that they marinated in rum or brandy then poured over the cake to make it palatable. So, that’s what I did.”

OC let out a laugh that made everyone look his way. “First time I ever saw your mother drunk.”

“Mom doesn’t drink.”

“She didn’t have to–every bite was like taking a shot.” OC slapped his knee. “It was funnier than heck. Unlike some people–” He tapped both thumbs to his chest.” –Luly was a happy drunk. But, boy, did she have a headache in the morning.”

Markie sat forward, rubbing his hands together. “Am I going to get drunk eating it?”

Paul elbowed him. “No.”

Paul looked at Louise for confirmation. “That was the last time I used whiskey to make my trifle, Mark. Sorry to disappoint you, but the brandy flavor comes from the little bit of natural fermentation produced by the fruit.” She leaned over and squeezed his thin little arm. “It still tastes yummy and you won’t have a terrible, horrible headache in the morning. Like I did.”

And my husband won’t have fallen off the wagon when he’s been doing so well, she didn’t add.

 

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Have a wonderful Christmas, my friends! And may the New Year bring you many wonderful books!

Deb