Posts Tagged ‘Tule Publishing’

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from SWEET SUMMER’S KISS by Debra Salonen #NEWRELEASE

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

SWEET SUMMER’S KISS

Love at the Chocolate Shop, Book 10

 Salonen2-ChocolateShop-Debra-Salonen

A storybook kiss on New Year’s Eve at the Big Sky Mavericks Masked Ball in Marietta, Montana should have been the beginning of a grand romance for Gretchen Zabrinski and Daniel Andrews. But when Gretchen overhears a phone call from Daniel to his brother about what he really wants from a woman, she takes off…without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.

Daniel wants a family. Gretchen will never be able to give him that. So why does fate keep throwing them together so cruelly? First, at a Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop Speed Dating event, then when he’s hired to open a new division at her PR firm. But competing, shoulder-to-shoulder, to sell the most exotic chocolate kisses for charity really is the last straw.

Is love a cosmic connection or a karmic joke? Sometimes, the answer reveals itself in a kiss—a sweet kiss shared beneath a warm Montana summer sky. 

~~~

FIRST KISS snippet © Tule Publishing

“How did you become such a wonderful dancer?”

“Lessons. My parents are both teachers. They don’t believe in leaving anything to chance—and given my father’s terrible lack of rhythm, Mom refused to inflict that on any woman in case two left feet was a dominant gene.”

“Please tell her I owe her a debt of gratitude.”

“You can tell her yourself. Dad called this morning. They’re starting home in the morning. My sister is ready to deal with her new reality alone. She might move back to Montana at some point, but for now, she doesn’t want to uproot the kids on top of adjusting to losing their dad.”

He’d alluded to a sad mystery surrounding his late brother-in-law’s death, but there were too many getting-to-know-each-other topics to get into any one conversation too deeply. Including her reason for dropping out of college and moving to Montana.

That would come out later. After the music ended. After the countdown began. After their kiss. After a night of unimaginable bliss in each other’s arms.

She crossed her fingers and stopped thinking. Tonight was about feeling. About taking risks and experiencing life to the fullest.

Moments later, the DJ played an Ed Sheeran song Makayla had shared with her earlier that week. Perfect. A shiver ran down the length of her spine.

She’d immediately downloaded the song and added the video to her playlist. She imagined the love story he sang about was her love story—the one that never happened. She squeezed her eyes tight, wishing she still wore a mask.

Daniel’s hold tightened a tiny bit, then he kissed a bare spot where her neck and shoulder met. “Nice song. I’ve never heard it before, but you truly do look perfect tonight.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Thank you. I love my Cinderella dress. Krista’s sister has great taste.” He pulled back, a questioning look in his eyes. Did he think she was pretending to show false modesty or fishing for compliments? She blurted out a question she’d meant to ask earlier. “So, do you always take a tux with you when you travel to a dog-sitting gig?”

“My best friend has a key to my condo. He took it to a shipper I use all the time.” He looked down. “Luckily, he remembered my Ferragamos. Dancing wouldn’t be quite the same in snow boots.”

She recognized the designer’s name even if she hadn’t recognized the brand on his feet. My first time is going to be with a guy who can afford designer shoes.

In what felt like a blink, Austen returned to the stage, carrying a large digital clock and a microphone. “We are fast approaching the bewitching hour, my friends. A new year is about to begin. On behalf of the Big Sky Mavericks Charitable Group, thank you all for coming. We promise to put your generosity to beneficial use locally, and we’ll see you next year.”

On cue, people started shouting, “Ten…nine…eight…”

Gretchen turned in Daniel’s arms so their fronts were pressed together. Reaching up, she slipped her fingers under the rim of his mask and pulled it free. They looked into each other’s eyes as what she hoped was an unspoken understanding passed between them.

She looped her arms across his shoulders and brought her face closer to his. “Two…one…Happy New Year!”

His lips were warmer than she’d expected. And softer. And when she gave a little “Oh,” his tongue slipped inside her mouth. Curious, friendly, interested. His taste was hers. His smell? Completely his own and something she’d forever identify as Daniel Andrews.

She melted against him, needing to touch as much of her body to his as possible. Gretchen wanted him to be the one. Her first. From what she’d learned about him on social media, he was a fun-loving go-getter who didn’t seem the least bit interested in settling down.

Perfect.

When it came to women, he was…um…experienced. Perhaps a bit of a player.

Works for me.

She wanted to be with someone who would treat her with gentle finesse…or maybe not-so-gentle finesse. How would she know what she liked until she tried it?

An unnatural buzzing sensation near her breast made her startle.

Daniel groaned and pulled his phone from his inside jacket pocket. “My brother. Do you mind? He and Krista are in California. Different time zone.”

“Not at all. We wouldn’t be here if not for them. Please.”

“They’re on FaceTime. With all the noise, we won’t be able to hear a thing. Oh, well.”

He touched a button. A second later, two faces appeared on the screen. Krista let out a squeal of glee. “Oh, Gretchen, you look fabulous. Show me the dress, Daniel. Show me the dress.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, but he took one step back. He lowered and raised the phone as Gretchen did a spin. Then, he pulled her in close again.

Krista blinked as if to keep away tears. “I absolutely love it. You look like a fairy-tale princess. Are you having fun?”

“It’s been magical. Daniel hired a limo, and he dances like a dream. He’s been a perfect gentleman.” Until later, I hope. She bumped her nose against his cheek. “Thank you so, so much for making this happen.”

“No thanks necessary. Jonah and I are having a wonderful time, too. We only called to wish you Happy New Year.”

Jonah squeezed in. “We’re an hour behind you, so we get to make out in public twice. But hey, Daniel, quickly, did you leave the TV on for the dogs? In case someone starts shooting off guns? You are in Marietta, Montana, after all.”

Gretchen missed Daniel’s reply when Sarah Zabrinski walked up to them. “Aunt” Sarah was Gretchen’s father’s first cousin by marriage, but because of their age difference, people forgot they were part of the same generation.

She gave Gretchen a quick hug. “You two are just the cutest couple. We really enjoyed meeting Daniel. I hope you bring him tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. Since she’d never spent the night with a man, she didn’t know what to expect from the morning after.

Gretchen made what she hoped was a noncommittal reply and waved goodbye as the crowd swept Sarah away.

She turned back to Daniel. She reached out to touch his shoulder but stopped when she heard him say in a low, confidential tone, “I never thought I’d say this, brother, but I think I just kissed the mother of my future children.”

She sucked in an involuntary gasp when a pain as sharp and gut wrenching as the one she’d felt in her doctor’s office the day he’d explained the ramifications of her diagnosis made her knees wobble. Panic hit a second later.

No. No. It’s not supposed to be like this. Tonight is mutual fun, no commitment. No future. Period. Anything else wouldn’t be fair.

Especially to Daniel.

But she couldn’t speak those words aloud because then he’d ask why…and she hadn’t said those words to anyone. Not yet.

Intent on disappearing, she turned and melted into the crowd exiting the party. She grabbed her jacket from the coatroom, grateful her tiny purse held her cell phone. Her Uber app showed one driver in her area. Three minutes later, she was on the road back to Paradise. Her sister and niece might not be expecting her, but Sam would understand. And that was all Gretchen wanted. Someone who wouldn’t ask for something she couldn’t give.

~~~

SWEET SUMMER’S KISS is available at these vendors:

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Happy reading!

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from SWEET HOME COWBOY by Marin Thomas #NEWRELEASE

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

SWEET HOME COWBOY

Love at the Chocolate Shop, Book 9

 Sweet Home Cowboy cover

When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed-dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

Still recovering from a broken engagement, the first-grade teacher from Las Vegas isn’t looking for romance. She’s in Montana to get to know the great-grandfather she never knew existed until she found some hidden family letters. Judge Kingsley is a grouchy recluse and he’s far from welcoming, but Elena is determined to stay in town long enough to give his neglected estate on Bramble Lane a facelift.

Elena’s resolve to avoid romance is tested when she discovers Wesley is the caretaker of her grandfather’s rural property. Soon, she and the cowboy are attending more speed-dating events at the chocolate shop and she’s seeking his advice on how to deal with his ornery boss. Local gossips wager the old Judge will run Elena out of town before anything serious develops between her and Wesley. But Wesley’s a determined man, too, and he’s betting Elena belongs in Marietta forever…with him.

FIRST KISS Excerpt © Marin Thomas:

             Wes pointed to the river where Elena’s bobber went under the water. “You caught a fish.” He set his pole aside. Wrapping his arms around her, he placed his hands over hers before turning the reel slowly—very slowly, savoring the feel of Elena against him.

            “Where’s the fish?” she asked. “I can’t see it.”
“Shh… It’s there.” He could stay right here in this moment with Elena all day and never tire of touching her. When he turned the reel twice more, a small trout rose out of the water.

            “I caught one!” She jerked the pole too hard, and the fish plopped into the water. “What happened?”

            “Your excitement scared him off the hook.” Wes loved staring into her eyes—blue as a clear Montana sky. Her gaze lured him closer but right when her mouth was within reach, the judge’s voice rang out. They jumped apart and Elena dropped the pole, which fell into the water and was swept away by the current.

            Elena climbed to her feet. “Hello, Gramps.”

            Gramps?

            The judge’s mouth twitched as if he found the endearment amusing.

            “I thought you were spending all day in court?” She left Wes at the end of the dock and walked over to her grandfather.

            “Two of my cases were rescheduled.” The judge eyed Wes as he approached. “Are you going to finish mowing the yard or sit out here and fish all day?”

            Wes opened his mouth to respond, but his boss turned on his heel and disappeared through the gate in the hedge.

            Elena retrieved the tackle box and surviving pole, then stopped at his side. “I’ll take a rain check on that kiss.”

            He grasped her wrist. “I don’t give out rain checks.”

            “Then maybe you should pay up now.” The pupils in her eyes dilated, leaving only a sliver of blue visible.

            “Gladys Simons is still on her porch.”

            “Then we’ll give her something to watch,” she whispered.

            Wes brushed his mouth against Elena’s not once but twice before he pulled away.

            “Is that all you’ve got?” she teased.

            He cupped her face, tilted her head to the side then he swooped in and kissed her again—not a flirty peck, but a long, soft exploration of her mouth that left them breathing hard. “How was that?”

            “Much better.”

            Wes watched her fanny twitch back and forth as he followed her through the gate.

~~~

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Happy reading!

Deb

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.”

 ~~~

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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

 

BEST WORST VALENTINE’S DAY ADVICE from Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

 

Be our Valentine

Judy Banger’s Best “Worst Valentine’s Day Advice”

A couple of years ago, I decided to ask one of my characters–Judy Banger from my dark, naughty comedy Judy Uncensored–to share her advice on how to survive a less-than-romantic Valentine’s Day.

Did you miss it? Click here: BUY

1. Don’t believe everything you read on a Hallmark card.

1960s valentine

JUDY: “Two months before I filed for divorce, my hubby bought me a dozen red roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolate and a beautiful card that said some smarmy sentiment like: “Honey, I’m so lucky to have you in my life. I love you. Yadda, yadda.” Pretty words that lost their meaning when I got the credit card bill the next month and discovered the charge was double what it should have been. Yep. You guessed it. He sent the exact same thing to his girlfriend, too.”

 

2. Snails, duck liver and fish eggs are even less sexy than they sound when they come back up after swallowing them.

images-1

Judy: “My first Valentine’s Day date after my divorce was with a really terrific guy who considered himself a gourmet cook and possessed strong convictions about what constituted a romantic meal. I’m the kind of girl who will try anything once. His pate de foie gras was rather tasty. In hindsight, I may have let my need to impress him with my worldliness get the better of me. I’m pretty sure I ate too much of the rich delicacy because my tummy was already tad…unsettled…when I tried the next course: a tiny shriveled object (day-old chewed gum, perhaps?) swimming in butter and garlic. Or maybe it was the disconcerting visual of fishing said object out of a shell that looked very much like the ones I stomped on in my garden. Either way, I stopped at two and drank an extra flute of champagne hoping the carbonation would work like Alka-Seltzer. It didn’t. A bead of sweat broke out on my upper lip when he delivered the piece de resistance: Smoked Salmon and Caviar pizza.

Did I mention he had white carpet?

Such a shame. I really liked him, too.”

 

3. Good hair does not a good guy (or Valentine) make.

barbra-streisand-robert-redford-the-way-we-were-zoom-c5f555ad-a13d-4efe-8932-7d35e4cdea4e

 

Judy: “Remember Barbra’s leather gloved hand lovingly touching Robert Redford’s gorgeous locks in The Way We Were? Of course, you do. You’re a woman. Unrequited love gets us every time…because we all have that one-who-wasn’t-meant-to-be.

Mine was Richie Mason. Sixth-grade heartthrob. The guy I wasted my hard-earned babysitting money on buying my first-ever special friend Valentine. I had such a crush on Richie. His sandy brown hair was forever falling in his eyes. I probably lost a thousand hours daydreaming about brushing that dog-tongue of bangs off his charmingly freckled forehead…until that fateful V-day when he opened his cache of cards and discovered one that was not your standard-issue type. His brows arched under his shaggy curtain of locks as he ripped open the well-glued V (maybe I included a dozen or so stickers for affect).

As I waited for his reaction, my cheeks burned, palms dripped and heart thumped so loud I was certain it could be heard outside our classroom walls. His gaze bounced over the sentiment too quickly to have read the words and went straight for the signature. Mine. His chin angled a tiny bit to the left so he could sorta see me at my desk two rows over. Our gaze met–for a millisecond. Then he shoved the card to the bottom of his decorated shoebox and opened the next card. Not a smile. No acknowledgement of any kind. Not so much as a bleeping hesitation. I was crushed.

A week later, during a group art project–the last time our class ever did collages, I believe–my scissors slipped. Somehow a hunk of Richie’s hair wound up in my collage. I got an F on the project, but I learned something interesting: Richie wasn’t all that cute bald.

4. A heart-shaped pizza is flour, oil, tomato sauce and toppings–it’s not a sign he’ll love you forever.

heart shape pizza

Judy: “Some relationships are meant to last. Others…not so much. Figuring out the difference between the two is tricky. Don’t let pizza get in the way of those tough decisions. I’m pretty sure my ex extracted two additional years of marital servitude from me simply by showing up on February 14th with a heart-shaped pizza, a six-pack of beer and the aforementioned sappy greeting card. Listen to your head, Peeps, not your heartburn.”

~~~

Deb here: Hopefully, none of you have V-Day memories as bleak as Judy Banger’s. Luckily, Judy finally met Mr. Right. In fact, I asked her for an update, and here’s what she said:

Age is a matter of opinion, and in my opinion, age doesn’t matter. If you find someone who makes you laugh when the world expects you to cry, then grab hold with both hands and have fun.” 

A sentiment I totally agree with since I’ve been celebrating Valentine’s Day with my Mr. Right for 4+ decades:

Deb's favorite Valentine from her sweetheart of 40+ years.

Deb’s favorite Valentine from her sweetheart of 40+ years.

HAVE A GREAT ONE, MY FRIENDS!

And don’t forget, we have a wonderful new Valentine’s Day book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series now available. Sit back with a little chocolate and enjoy THE VALENTINE QUEST!

VDay Quest Melissa McClone

For the special price of just $2.99 this month only: AMAZON      IBOOKs    BN    KOBO

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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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 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.”

“Huh?”

“What?”

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?

~~~

salonen-chocolateshop-300dpi

MONTANA SECRET SANTA is available now!

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Happy December, my friends! See you next week.

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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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