Posts Tagged ‘Montana Born Books’

FIRST KISS TUESDAY: MONTANA SECRET SANTA, Love at the Chocolate Shop Book III, by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016



Snippet © Debra Salonen:

With the entire table pressed into taste-testing service, Jonah stood and motioned for Krista to follow him across the room to an open space near a gorgeous holiday display. “Mom assured me this Santa thing won’t take every hour of every day. She said it’s gotten a lot easier since your partner set up an online presence.”

Krista tried not to inhale too deeply because his scent–a combination of winter fresh air, chocolate, and hint of pine–was too distracting. “We might consider creating a private Facebook group and doing the initial critique process for wishes there.”

He held up a hand for a high-five. “Great idea. Then, a few of us can meet here each morning to brainstorm ways to fill the agreed upon wishes and set a budget.”

The touch of his palm connected in a weird way that made her close her fingers in a fist as she dropped her hand to her side. “I may not be able to make every…” She pictured the check. “I’ll be here.”

“Me, too. It’ll be the incentive I need to walk the dogs early. Tonight, I’ll set up an overall plan and flowchart so we can track when and how our requests come in. We’ll need to do the same for the income side of things. I’m curious as to why the donation well suddenly went dry. The sooner we get our account set up online, the sooner we can track things in real time.”

Krista found his analytical approach reassuring. His grand gesture with the check might have had a bit of the theater behind it, but his approach to business was a lot like her own.

“Simple and transparent works for me. As I said earlier, my family is in show business. Nothing is ever straightforward when you’re surrounded by thespians.”

He moved a smidgen closer. “Simplicity of design is key to both my inventions and my business strategy. When I start overthinking something, I step back for a new perspective. I usually hop on my bike. Exercise is a great distraction for an overactive mind.”

“Well, this is Montana. Your bike riding is going to be limited to cycling in the gym for the next few months.”

She chewed on her bottom lip debating about how frank to be. He’d given her ten thousand reasons to say yes to this partnership, but what exactly would that involve? Her inner bullshit reader said he had to have another agenda. And she sure as heck never considered herself a spokesperson for Christmas.

“Blue Sky is my baby. Christmas is a one-off. Four weeks. Blow and go. It’s over and done and I’m looking at a new month, a new intern and no jobs lined up.”

“What about your partner? Is she out of the picture completely?”

Krista didn’t know and the not knowing kept her awake at night. She hated ambiguity. Black and white. Bottom line. Profit and loss. Those were her touchstones.

“Amanda should be able to provide backup by phone. But I want you to know that Blue Sky will always be my first priority.”

He held out his hand. “Understood.”

She shook it twice, intending to let go and return to their table, but as Sage passed by on her way to the counter, she said, “Mistletoe.”



Sage pointed up. “House rules. A kiss is mandatory.”

Krista groaned. She’d witnessed this bit of holiday mischief several times when she’d been in the shop. “But–“

Before she could express her protest, Jonah wrapped his arms around her–not unlike the way he had when he broke her fall. Only this time, he was in front of her. And his lips hovered an inch from hers, waiting for permission.

She closed her eyes and leaned in to get the silly kiss over.

The instant his lips touched hers, the magnitude of her mistake hit. Not only had Jonah Andrews been drinking her favorite cocoa, but the sweetness mixed with his natural chemistry created a potent combination that made her knees turn rubbery and her heart begin to pound. She kissed him back because she was powerless to do otherwise.

Luckily, a smattering of applause brought her back to her senses.

Cheeks burning, she turned and bowed. Being the daughter of an actor had to be good for something, right?



MONTANA SECRET SANTA is available now!









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Happy December, my friends! See you next week.










Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

First Kiss= TUESDAY

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

Breast Cancer Awareness! 


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. 




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.


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.


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…


iBooks      KOBO       AMAZON       BN       GooglePLAY

Happy reading,


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

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from Cherish Me, Cowboy by Alissa Callen & Kiss Me, Cowboy by Melissa McClone

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


Available for a limited time ONLY at  BN

 Last week I shared a snippet from my book, MONTANA COWGIRL. Today, you’ll be happy to see snippets from my co-authors, Melissa McClone and Alissa Callen. If you’re a NOOK reader, here’s your chance to grab three heart-warming stories for under a buck apiece! If you don’t have a Nook, you can still buy these books individually from the vendor of your choice (just not in a bundle). See below.


“Come on, who says I don’t ever have any fun?”

Payton’s eyes shone with such golden life, her smile contained such uninhibited joy, all Cordell could do was nod and follow. Getting wet was a small price to pay for stealing a few brief minutes with the cowgirl in a swirling and surreal world. When the clouds parted and the rain stopped, reality would return. He’d have a promise to keep and a city existence to return to.

Within seconds, he was saturated. Water seeped through his cotton T-shirt and ran down the back of his neck. But as cold as the water was, the feel of Patyon’s fingers entwined with his, heated his blood. Thunder boomed followed by an almost instantaneous lightning flash. The storm was almost directly overhead. Knowing the wind would steal his words, he tugged her toward the porch. Again, she shook her head. Baxter, his tail between his legs, fled to the safety of his dry kennel.

Thunder again roared. Cordell snagged Payton’s slender waist and slung her over his shoulder. He reached the porch just before a jagged bolt splintered the sky.

Chest heaving, he firmed his hold on the back of her knees as he readied himself to return her to the ground. Cool air brushed his lower back and stomach. Payton must have gripped the bottom of his T-shirt to balance herself and had pulled it midway up his torso. He carefully took her weight and lowered her to the porch floorboards. But as he did so her full breasts pressed against his chest and her bare skin slid against his. He bit back a groan. The wet friction between the cotton of his shirt and her tank top had caused her own shirt hem to ride upward. There was now nothing between their naked midriffs but the wet lick of water.

His hands moved to her waist to steady her as her feet touched the ground. Beneath the pads of his fingers, he could feel the jut of her hips and the ripple of goosebumps over her soft skin. He fought for control. She’d be mad at being slung over his shoulder like a sack of grain. It would be okay. She’d tell him off and step away before he did something they’d both regret.

She didn’t move.

The soundtrack of the storm’s fury dulled to a whisper.

Every breath she took pushed her chest closer to his. Every breath he took threatened to shatter his self-control. When had she laced her hands around his neck? Another three seconds, and he’d be finishing what they’d started in his parked truck.

He didn’t even make it to two.

His mouth covered hers. She tasted of rain and sweetness and smelt of summer and mountain wildflowers. As she stood on tip-toe to match his hunger, the sky could have caved in over him and he wouldn’t have cared.

As much as she took, he gave. And as much as he asked for, she granted.

Her hands unclasped from behind his neck and slid over his water-slicked abs and under his T-shirt. He shuddered, knowing he was exposed but powerless to hide how she moved him and what she made him feel.

“Payton,” he groaned as they came up for air. “I can’t hurt you. I can’t stay.”

“I know,” she said, before again fusing her mouth with his.

His hands found the neat curve of her butt and pulled her even closer. This time she was the one who spoke as they drew apart to breathe.

“Please, tell me you’re feeling.”

“Oh, I’m feeling all right,” he growled as he plundered the delicate line of her soft throat.

“Good, because if you’re feeling, as per our talk the other night, that means I need to learn to accept help.” He’d never seen her eyes so luminous or heard her voice so breathless. She jumped and he caught her as she wrapped her slim legs around his waist. “And I think I’ll start by you helping me get out of these wet clothes.”



The sun disappeared beneath the horizon. Darkness surrounded them. Zack didn’t care. Charlie didn’t seem to either.

A good thing. She was his lifeline, his way back to the civilian world, a place he felt disconnected from at the moment. He talked, and she held his hand. He cried, and she comforted him.

She wiped away his tears with her fingertips.

Embarrassed, he looked away.

“It’s okay,” she whispered.

No, it wasn’t, but if she could pretend, so could he.

Charlie sighed. “I wish…”

Her compassionate tone made Zack look up. The lantern glowed softly, giving off enough light so he could see her face.

She leaned forward, toward him. The connection between them intensified. He came closer, driven by an urge he shouldn’t be feeling. Not with Charlie.

Zack stared into blue eyes filled with empathy, wanted to know what she wished and was about to ask…

She kissed him.

A kiss so tender and sweet, Zack knew she’d been heaven-sent to get him through this night. He didn’t plan on kissing her back—that would be against his rule—but she wasn’t stopping.

 Why not kiss her? It was only one kiss…


Happy reading, my friends. My next BLACK HILLS RENDEZVOUS book will be featured next week…




Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016



Available for a limited time ONLY at  BN

 I’m so excited to be part of this great Mother’s Day Bundle from Tule Publishing.  If you–or MOM–is a NOOK reader, here’s your chance to grab three heart-warming stories for under a buck apiece!

I’m a big fan of forgiveness and second chances. Most people would give Paul and Bailey ZERO chance of making up for past hurts and heartbreak, but, sometimes, love can beat the odds.


She opened the door and carefully lowered her good foot to the ground. The ache in her ankle was back, but she’d be damned if she’d play the cripple in front of Paul.

“I can take one of those,” she said, meeting him at the tailgate of the truck.

He pulled the bigger of the two out first, setting it on the sidewalk. His muscles really were quite impressive, she realized. Wishing she had some reason to touch him.

The idea unnerved her. When he suggested she let him make two trips, she didn’t argue. She needed some distance, a little down time. Right now.

“Do you have the key?” Paul called out as he dashed up the ramp, the first of her giant suitcases in tow.

“I don’t think Mom’s ever locked the door in my entire life.”

He tested the handle. Sure enough, it swung inward. He wrestled the ungainly, soft-sided suitcase across the threshold then dashed past her for its mate.

She’d barely stepped inside when her phone rang. Mom.

“Hi. We just got here.”

“Wonderful. I have more good news. Oscar’s doctor is letting him go home today. The discharge papers will probably take an hour or two, we’ll be there in time to have dinner together.”



“You should invite Paul to join us. To thank him for picking you up.”

“Really, Mom? Do you think that’s a good idea? Dad’s first night out of the hospital? He and I haven’t seen each other in a couple of years. Maybe we should keep it family for awhile.”

“Oh, of course. You’re right. What was I thinking? We’ll do something nice for Paul later on. I have to go. The nurse wants Oscar to shower before he leaves since we don’t have that kind of equipment at home yet. See you soon, honey. I’m so glad you’re here.”

A few seconds later, Paul lugged her other ridiculously over-weight bag across the threshold.

“We have rocks in Montana, Bailey. You didn’t have to bring your own from California.”

She tried to smile, but the erratic thudding of her heart interfered with normal reactions.

Paul cocked his head. “What’s up?”

She shoved her phone in her bag. “OC is being released today. They’ll be here soon.”

She took a step, planning to make some effort to appear the gracious hostess. Unfortunately, her ankle locked and she lunged off balance, grazing her hip on the side of her father’s worn leather recliner.

Paul pivoted as precisely as Daz “heeling” in the arena. He caught her elbow and stepped in to help her regain her balance.

Close enough to smell his cologne and see the tiny strips of facial hair his razor missed. Close enough to kiss the lips that looked more familiar than they should have.

What the hell was wrong with her? This man hated her, cursed her, and she dropped into his arms like some stupid damsel in distress?

No. Good grief, no.






Tuesday, March 1st, 2016



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.”


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,


Try clicking the Twitter bird to see what Tweets! 🙂

Tweet: Paul could honestly say he hadn’t seen ‘sex with Bailey’ as even a remote option when he fired up the Cessna.

First Kiss Tuesday: A Christmas Homecoming by Melissa McClone

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

First Kiss= TUESDAY

McClone cover

I’m thrilled to be part of Debra’s First Kiss Tuesday! My new Christmas release, A Christmas Homecoming, is an “opposites attract story.” The heroine, Ellie, is a Christmas-loving housekeeper at the Bar V5. The hero, Josiah, is a Christmas hating billionaire who’s back in his hometown to recover from a blood infection. The two don’t seem to have anything in common, but both are hard-working and caring. The two make a deal to help each other out. Ellie has agreed to take walks with a recovering Josiah, who will help her with a group she runs at a local hospital. That’s how this scene comes about…

She kissed the horse’s nose. “Enjoyed visiting with you, handsome boy, but we need to keep walking. Next time, I’ll bring you an apple.”

“What about me?” Josiah asked.

“I can bring you an apple, too.”

He was thinking of a kiss. Though he didn’t want one on his nose or forehead or cheek. Now the lips…

This would be the perfect setting, the two of them surrounded by cool, crisp air and clear skies. Sunshine, smiles, and smooches. He grinned.

“Ready to head back to the house or keep going?” she asked.

Stopping to visit the horse had given him a break. He wasn’t out of breath, and his legs didn’t ache. “Let’s keep walking.”

She pointed at Josiah’s feet. “Your pant legs are wet. Let’s get back on the path where the snow isn’t as deep.”

She took a step, jerked backwards. Her scarf had caught on the fence post and pulled against her. Her arms flew out.

Her feet slipped. Down, she was going down.

He reached out, but his hand found only air.

She hit the snow with a thud. “Ouch.”

Josiah kneeled at her side, touched her arm. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. Okay.” Her voice sounded shaky, quiet as if she was trying to catch her breath.

“Your head?” he asked.

“Fine. I landed on my butt where there’s extra padding. My ego’s a little bruised, but that won’t leave a mark.” She pointed to where a piece of her scarf hung off a nail. “Could have been worse.”

Josiah liked how she made the best out of a situation. He held out his arm. “Here.”

She clasped his hand.

As he pulled her up, his muscles trembled. Shook.

Crap. He wasn’t going to be able to hold on, but he couldn’t let go. As she fell back, he tumbled forward. He hit the ground.

“Ugh.” Josiah was on top of Ellie, his hands on either side of her. He stared into her blue eyes, only inches from his. Her lips seemed closer. “So much for chivalry. I’m sorry.”

“I appreciate the help, but we both forgot you’re recovering.”

That was no excuse. He didn’t know what to say.

She pulled her other hand from her pocket. Something green flashed against her mitten, but he couldn’t focus on anything except how useless he was.

Less than a man. A weak, worthless…

“Oh, look. Mistletoe is stuck on my mitten,” she said. “We shouldn’t let this go to waste.”

Holding her hand over his head, she kissed him on the lips.


Elle continued pressing her mouth against his with an eagerness that surprised him.

She was kissing him. And he wasn’t kissing her. He’d fix that.

He kissed her back.

Heat pulsed through his veins. He liked the way Ellie moved her lips over his. She tasted warm and sweet and a little like coffee.

Hell, this was awesome.

He hadn’t been kissed since he’d gotten sick, but his memory wasn’t that bad. He’d never been kissed like this. She made him feel strong and healthy and desirable.

Desire surged, spreading throughout him.

Being with her like this felt natural and right and…

She arched toward him.

Josiah leaned into her, wanting to be closer. His body sprang to life as it had with her hug, but soon she’d see how turned on he was. He didn’t want to stop, but he’d embarrassed himself enough. He stopped kissing her.

Wide, blue eyes stared up at him. Surprise and curiosity filled her gaze. Her flushed cheeks, once pink, burned red. Her ragged breathing matched his.

But his wasn’t from being winded, talking, walking or falling on top of her. His heavy breathing was a result of her kiss. Make that kisses.

All his parts were in working order. He was grateful to know that. He wanted to kiss her again. “Never thought about carrying mistletoe wherever I go. Brilliant idea.”

“I-I…” she moistened her lips.

The horse neighed.

Josiah kept his gaze on Ellie. “Tracer wants another kiss or the apple you promised him. I’d take either myself. Though I know which I’d prefer.”


Purchase at these fine retailers:

Kindle US


Kindle UK



USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

I hang out at my Facebook page during the week. I do giveaways, share recipes and videos that appeal to me, and on occasion pics of my dogs and cats!

Also, A Christmas Homecoming is book #5 in my Bar V5 Ranch series.

Book #1 – Home For Christmas –

Book #2 – Mistletoe Magic – Free short story –

Book #3 – Kiss Me, Cowboy –

Book #4 – Mistletoe Wedding –

Merry Christmas,



First Kiss Tuesday: Montana Miracle by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

First Kiss= TUESDAY


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.”


“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.

PREORDER your copy for the lowest market price: Amazon  KOBO  AMAZON UK

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.


To learn more, click here:  TULE PUBLISHING






Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

First Kiss= TUESDAY


There really is something about first kisses, isn’t there?  That rush of excitement, that never-to-be-repeated beginning of something? Then again, second kisses are nice, too.  Or the ones shared after long-term togetherness.

Then there are reunion kisses, make-up kisses and (gasp!) stolen kisses. The one I’m here to talk about falls into that category and it happens between my hero and heroine, a once meant-to-be forever couple who lost their way years ago. Now, fate has thrown Marietta kindergarten teacher, Kate Canaday, and Pro-bull rider, Finn Scott, into each other’s sphere again and things quickly get…well, complicated.  It seems Finn might need her help making his crazy life look stable in a custody battle with his ne’er-do-well ex for his five-year-old twins. The same ex, by the way, who was responsible for breaking them up years ago. What’s a self-respecting, serial-dating, never-got-over-him kind of girl to do?  

“Wait a minute,” Finn said.

Her hand on the door knob, she turned on him. “No, you wait, you…you…” She gave a frustrated growl for lack of a more descriptive word. “That is just low. Telling me your sad story. Playing on my sympathies like that, so I’d feel sorry for you. I could just…just—”

“Just what? Punch me?” he asked, moving between her and the doorway. “Kiss me?”

Kiss you? As if!” But her eyes had dilated to black splotches and a tremor ran down her as she backed up against the opened door. Her nostrils flared with anger, and her scent washed over him afresh.

“Punch me then. Or kiss me. Whatever makes you feel better.”

Hands splayed against the door behind her, she narrowed a look at him. “As I am not a violent person, I choose C. None of the above.” But with the door wide open beside her, she wasn’t choosing to exit either.

He braced a hand on the doorjamb beside her and loomed over her. “When was the last time someone kissed you ’til your knees stopped workin’? Huh? I used to be able to do that to you, remember?”

Oh, she was remembering. He could see the memory in her eyes.

“I—no, I don’t recall that…and—” she flicked that red hair out of her eyes with a jerk of her head—“I’m leaving now.” But her effort to go was merely a twitch in the direction of the car.

“Wow. That long, huh?”

She opened her mouth in silent outrage, but no words came to mind. No denial anyway.

In fact, right now, she looked as if a windstorm had just blown through all of her carefully nurtured self-righteousness. Finally, she stammered, “I’ve had plenty of kisses from plenty of men and I—”

“—men like Cree Malone, for instance? Is he a good kisser?”

She probably thought he didn’t catch the wince, but he did.

“Plenty of men,” she repeated. “Not that it’s any of your business. At all. And the last thing I need is a kiss from you.”

“Really?” He took a step closer until their mouths were only inches apart. Until he could feel the pebbled nubs of her nipples brush against his shirt. “The last thing?”

She swallowed hard and moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. “The very last thing,” she reiterated, as he bracketed his hands beside her head there on the doorway and lowered his nose to her hair to inhale her scent. “Stop doing that.”

“You smell really good,” he murmured against her hair. “What is that?”

Clutching the wooden door behind her, she tipped her face away from him. “I’m warning you.”

“Is that the same perfume you used to wear? Right here, wasn’t it?” He dropped his mouth down to a spot below her ear, that place he remembered used to make her lose it. He nipped at that spot gently with his teeth and a quake rolled through her.

“Chanel,” she breathed so quietly he almost missed it, and she tipped her head back against the door giving him access to more.

And not being a fool, he took the opportunity to slide his mouth along the ridge of her throat and up her jaw.

“I like it,” he murmured, but in truth, he’d been hard all night for her and the close-up scent of her skin was like a drug. “You remember this, Kate? I do.” He exhaled against her throat. “God, I do.”

He took her face in his hands and pulled her to him, kissing her as if this would be the last time. His mouth slid against hers, taking, tasting what he’d wanted to taste all these years. She made a small sound of protest as she pushed against his chest, but a moment later, her fingers clutched his shirt and she relented, kissing him back. Her soft lips—oh, yeah, he’d never forgotten them—opened to his with unexpected hunger, and the door banged against the wall behind it. He tasted wine on her tongue and anger in the way hers did battle with his. But she flattened herself against him, wanting more.

He forgot the risks of touching her this way again, the years it had taken him to pull himself back from the loss of her last time. Because all he could think about now was how right they felt together after all these years. How perfectly right.



Google play



 In celebration of the release of CHOOSE ME, COWBOY, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card. Just leave a comment here and tell me if you’ve ever had a kiss that changed your mind! Please feel free to share Deb’s blog link with your friends.

BarbaraAnkrum headshotBarbara Ankrum has a thing for the West and has written both historical and contemporary romances, all set in that magical place. Twice nominated for RWA’s RITA Award, her bestselling books are emotional, sexy rides with a touch of humor. Barbara’s married and raised two children in Southern California, which, in her mind, makes her a native Westerner.

website link:


Happy reading…and XOXO,


EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Terri Reed’s “Home For Good” Persimmon Cookies

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014


Food=love in my books. Today’s recipe belongs to Montana Born Homecoming author, Terri Reed. Welcome, Terri. I’m so glad you’re part of Tule’s great line-up. And I’m excited that we’re both part of the awesome A FALL LOVE AFFAIR contest. Who wouldn’t love to win a $500 VISA gift card, right? (Contest link at the bottom of this page.)

group 11 023 (3)Terri says:

HI Deb, thanks for the opportunity.

This book was born when I was preparing for a workshop on Layering that I did for Rose City Romance Writers, my local RWA chapter.  The project started out with nine lines of dialogue that I then began layering, as I layered Joelle and Matt came to life and stuck with me. When I was asked if I’d like to be a part of the Montana Born Homecoming series I knew I had to write their story. Home for Good is about coming home and following your dream. Sometimes they are one and the same.

There are five books in the Montana Born Homecoming series. 

Book1: Sing me Back Home by Eve Gaddy 

Book 2: Finding Home by Roxanne Snopek 

Book 3: Hometown Hero by Dani Collins 

Book 4: The Long Way Home by Kathleen O’Brien 

Book 5: Home for Good by Terri Reed 

(All five books are now available, including Terri’s which released yesterday, so if you hurry you can grab it for the release day price of 99¢.)

Buy link.

persimmon cookies

Grandma's Persimmon Cookies
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Delicious and healthy for you!
  • 1c sugar
  • ½c butter
  • 1c persimmon pulp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1c rasins
  • 2c flour
  • 1c nuts (we always had walnuts)
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp nutmeg
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp cloves
  1. Mix in order given.
  2. Drop by tablespoons on to greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 375 for 10-15 mins depending if you want them soft or more crisp.


Excerpt from HOME FOR GOOD, a Homecoming novella from Montana Born Books:

Coming home to say goodbye.

Joelle Winslow halted inside the big red barn that housed her late father’s prized thoroughbred horses and let her eyes adjust to the dim interior.  High wood beams stretched the length of a football field.  Bridles hung from hooks at each metal stall door where thousands of dollars of horseflesh munched away oblivious to the turmoil about to be thrust into their lives.  Her life. 

A frosty breeze coming in from the pasture brought the hint of winter.  In a few short weeks, the crisp, dry fall Montana air would give way to piles of snow and drive the inhabitants of Marietta inside.  But not today.  

On this late September morning, Joelle intended to spend a few moments alone with her horse and her memories one last time before returning to the life she’d made for herself in New York City.  If the day went as she planned, she’d be heading back to her apartment on the Upper Westside by nightfall.

Awareness shimmied up her spine.  She wasn’t alone.  She spun around, her gaze landing on the man emerging from the shadows.  Matthew Locke.

Her heart hiccupped. She hadn’t seen him since the funeral last spring.  Even through her fog of grief, she’d noticed how handsome he’d become over the years, from cute teenager to grown man. That day he’d worn a tailored navy suit that had emphasized the width of his shoulders.  She’d been surprised by his attire since she’d never seen him wear anything but ranch clothes, like he had on today. 

His jeans fit snuggly on his long, lean legs and his wide shoulders filled out the navy flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal muscled forearms, liberally covered with dark hair. Her gaze lifted, bypassing his eyes, not ready to see his disapproval, to the well-worn cowboy hat on his head and the tuffs of dark hair peeking out from beneath.  She’d always thought he had great hair. 

The corner of his mouth twitched, drawing her attention to the hard set of his jaw, emphasizing the unyielding angles and planes of his face. Her heart thumped in her chest, but she ignored the jolt of attraction.  This was not the time or the place.  Never would be.  Not with him.

Her father’s pet project. 

Her childhood nemesis. 


 Now available! Buy link:  amazon

Happy reading! And here’s a link to sign up for A Fall Love Affair–12 authors and 2 Tule Publishing imprints: Rafflecopter.


EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Roxanne Snopek’s “Logan’s Favorite Meatloaf”

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


Food=love in my books. Today’s recipe belongs to a new-to-me Tule Publishing author, Roxanne Snopek. Isn’t she a doll? And wait till you read her snippet–truly a girl after my own heart. I love it!!

Roxanne MBB-small

Roxanne says:

Debra, I’m totally with you on the food=love idea! We connect with loved ones over meals; we have dinner with new friends who might become lovers; and sharing food, especially feeding each other, can be an incredibly intimate and sensual experience. In FINDING HOME, my hero first cares for my very wounded and guarded heroine by feeding her, and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite scenes! This meatloaf was a household favorite when our kids were small and since my Real Life hero loves it, I figured my story hero would too. Enjoy!



Oh, we will, Roxanne! We definitely will! Meatloaf! Yum! And your hero sounds yummy, too!

Logan’s Favorite Meatloaf
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • Old-fashioned oatmeal 1 cup
  • Onion soup mix 1 package, dry
  • Grated carrots or zucchini 1 cup
  • Ketchup ¾ cup
  • Water ½ cup
  • Eggs 2
  • Salt 2 tsp
  • Pepper ½ tsp
  • Lean ground beef 2 lbs
  • Grated cheddar cheese (optional) 1 cup
  1. Stir oatmeal and onion soup mix together. (You can grind the oatmeal in a food processor first, if you want.) Add the grated carrots or zucchini, ketchup, water, eggs, salt and pepper and mix well. Add beef and mix until thoroughly combined. Pack into 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 1 - 1 ½ hours. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven just long enough to melt, if desired. Serves 6-8.


Excerpt from FINDING HOME, a Homecoming novella from Montana Born Books:

Samara watched with amazement as Mardie set a heaping plate of chicken pot pie in front of her, the gravy still bubbling through the top of the pastry. The aroma, rich and comforting, hit her nose and instantly, her stomach growled so loudly that she pressed her hand into it, certain that the whole room must have heard it.

The waitress wasn’t done. She set down a second plate with salad, then a basket of bread for them to share, then pickles and finally, Logan’s plate.

“Make sure he gives you a taste of his meatloaf,” said Mardie. “It’s to die for.” She winked at Logan and left before Sam could even respond.

“Eat up, honey,” he said, gesturing to her plate. “We’ll talk more once your plate’s clean.”

Honey? Warmth stole over her, completely unrelated to the oven-hot food in front of her.

“This is far too much,” she said.

He looked at her thoughtfully, then speared a small piece of meatloaf and held it out to her across the table.

“Try this.”

She shook her head. “No, no, I’ll have enough trouble eating my own.”

His eyes dropped to her neck, then lower, ranging over everything visible above the table top. Again, like a fiery finger, his gaze scorched every cold part of her.


She opened her mouth and he put the bite of meat onto her tongue, then sat back and watched, his eyes hooded and dusky, as if anticipating her pleasure gave him even greater pleasure.

Flavor burst onto her tongue. She moaned as the tiny tease of satisfaction made her hunger roar to life. She wanted more, much more.

“Oh my God,” she said when she could speak. “We should trade.”

“I knew you’d like it.” He grinned. “Now try your pot pie. If you still want to trade, fine. Otherwise, we’ll switch orders next time.”

Next time?

“You seem pretty sure of yourself, Logan Stafford.”

He enjoyed another forkful of meatloaf, a satisfied smile on his face.

Samara gaped at the mouth-watering abundance before her, then pierced the flaky crust with her fork and took her first small bite.

And moaned again.

“Don’t tell the meatloaf,” she said, speaking through her food and not caring, “but this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.”


 Now available! Buy link:  amazon

Happy reading!