FIRST KISS=TUESDAY: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone #whatlovetasteslike

When is a first kiss not a first kiss?

I call this cute scene from A THANKFUL HEART — my friend Melissa McClone’s new Love at the Chocolate Shop a “near miss.” I think you’ll agree it’s just too charming to miss on a technicality.

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Snippet © Tule Publishing:

“I should let you get back to your father.”

“I’ll walk you to the door.” Bryce didn’t want to say goodnight. Not yet.

“This isn’t Seattle.”

“I know.” He got out of his truck and met her on the sidewalk. “But if Marietta didn’t have any crime, there wouldn’t be a police department.”

She narrowed her gaze. “Is everyone who lives in a big city this paranoid?”

“Not paranoid. Cautious.”

Bryce followed her up the steps. The wood creaked beneath his feet. Paint was peeling, but the structure looked solid. He’d love to see the inside, but his father was waiting at home.

The porch light bathed Dakota in a soft glow. Beautiful.

She looked up at him. “Thanks again for the ride.”

“Anytime.” And surprisingly, he meant it. “Though I doubt you’ll take me up on it again.”

Dakota raised her chin. “You never know.”

No, you don’t.

What Bryce knew was he wanted to do was kiss her. He didn’t know Dakota, but something about her appealed to him in a way he’d never felt. She captivated him.

Maybe it was the way she nurtured those around her. Or maybe it was her sense of humor that kept him off guard at unexpected times. Or maybe it was the easy way she’d forgiven him and accepted his apology.

His gaze traveled from her eyes to her lips.

Soft lips. The kind made for long, hot kisses.

His temperature shot up. His collar tightened.

Bryce wanted to kiss her, but that wasn’t why he was here. He straightened. “Keep us posted on what Lori says.”

Dakota stuck the key in the door. “Will do. Thanks again for the ride.”

She opened the door.

Something covered in fur bounded out and landed against him. He cringed, but this time the fight or flight response didn’t kick in. His muscles, however, tensed into hard knots. He hadn’t been prepared for another greeting from the beast, he managed not to be knocked backwards, but licking ensued.

More this time.

Bryce cringed. He really didn’t like big dogs. A good thing his dad kept hand sanitizer in the glove box.

~~~~~~

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A Thankful Heart is available now!

Amazon KindleB&N Nook / Kobo / iBooks / Google Play / Amazon Kindle UK

Happy reading, my friends,

Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY: Caleb’s Christmas Wish by Debra Salonen #WestCoastHEA

CALEB’S CHRISTMAS WISH – West Coast Happily-Ever-After,  Book III

How far would you go for the sake of a child?

Black Friday. Black ice. Lives changed in a blink.

The lines in Miami financier Jake Westin’s world are crisp and easy to delineate: black and red, profit and loss. On paper. Until the day after Thanksgiving when Allison Jeffries—a woman he’s heard about for four and a half years but never met—calls to tell him the world they’ve shared from opposite sides of the country will never be the same. Pam and Kenny Rydell—Jake’s best friend and only link to the “bad ol’ days” of his youth—died in a car accident on the way to a Sierra ski resort, leaving their son, Caleb, with his grandmother, who upon hearing the news of her only daughter’s death went into cardiac arrest. In an instant, Caleb’s godparents—two grieving strangers who never imagined the worst-case scenario becoming a reality—must decide how to best care for the little boy they both love.

Jake is determined to do the right thing for Caleb—even if that means facing demons from his own loss-filled childhood and dealing with the woman Kenny called “a sweetheart but wound too tight for her own good.” Allison suffers no illusion that she’d make a good mother. After all, hasn’t she let her computer business fill the gap left by a failed marriage and aborted pregnancy? But she’ll do anything in her power to give her godson the life Pam intended for her son—even if that means sharing a house with the charismatic stranger Pam teasingly called “Jake the Rake–a broken heart waiting to happen.”


 

FIRST KISS Excerpt © Debra Salonen:

 

“I’m home. And I have pizza.”

Allison’s cheerful greeting made Jake want to crawl under the table. She’d been working in Fresno all day while he and Caleb had delivered canned goods, done a little Christmas shopping and taken a nap. Now, instead of giving his partner some much-needed down time, he was leaving her alone to care for a rowdy little rascal who refused to bathe.

“Ummm, pizza,” Caleb cheered, racing past Jake to meet her at the back door. “I want pizza. I want pizza.”

Jake hurried after him. Even though he felt guilty about leaving, Jake rationalized that this outing wasn’t entirely his fault. He’d been coerced by Richard, who wanted to introduce Jake to the volunteer firemen. The group planned to honor Kenny at a memorial next month and needed Jake’s input.

“Let me help,” Jake said, hurrying to relieve Allison of a plastic bag obviously filled with a six-pack of cans.

“Thanks,” she said. “The handle was cutting off circulation to my fingers.” She shook her hand then walked to the kitchen counter where she placed a large cardboard box and a paper sack.

“So how did we do today?” she asked, stealing a piece of pepperoni off the pie. “Cans galore?”

“We topped last year’s total by how much, Caleb?”

“Six million,” the little boy said, taking the paper plates and napkins out of the sack.

“Six hundred,” Jake corrected, trying not to laugh.

“Wow,” Allison exclaimed. She hung up her coat and washed her hands. “That’s impressive. How ’bout money-wise?”

“Eight trillion dollars,” Caleb said his eyes aglitter.

Jake loved to see his godson joke. This was the child he remembered from summer. Jake extended his arms in an impression of Frankenstein and ambled toward the little boy. “How much?” he roared.

“Eight thousand,” Caleb squealed, dodging left when Jake lurched right. Napkins flew into the air. Allison tried to catch them and wound up tripping over Jake’s foot. His only recourse to prevent her from falling was to snatch her into his outstretched arms, which curled backwards without conscious thought.

“Oh,” Allison said, with a small exhale. Her face was close to Jake’s. Her breath carried the tangy scent of pepperoni.

“Eiou,” Caleb cried, ducking behind the paper plates he still held. “Kissing. Just like Mommy and Daddy.”

Allison righted herself almost immediately and stepped back. “Sorry.”

“No apology needed. It was my fault.”

Caleb yanked on Jake’s pocket. “You didn’t kiss her.”

“Well, no…I…um.” Jake felt his face heat up. He was rarely speechless, but this was definitely one of those times.

“Shall we eat?” Allison asked, her voice wobbly. “I’m starved.”

Caleb tugged again and motioned Jake to bend down for a private chat. In a loud whisper, the child said, “You have to kiss her. Girls like kisses. We can’t lose another mom, Jake.”

Jake’s breath left him. He put his hand to his face and squeezed the bridge of his nose to keep his tears at bay.

Suddenly, he sensed Allison’s presence. She picked up Caleb and put her free arm around Jake’s back to pull him into a hug. “Everybody likes kisses,” she said softly. She pressed her lips to his cheek, and then did the same to Caleb.

The child hugged her fiercely then wiggled free. “Can I have chocolate milk with my pizza?”

Allison smiled. “Sure. There’s a carton in the door of the fridge.”

Her arm was still touching him. Her warmth enveloped him. Her scent made his mouth water. Girls weren’t the only ones who liked kisses. He lowered his head and touched his lips to hers. She gave a startled peep but didn’t move away. He kissed her again, his tongue teasing her lips that parted hesitantly.

The whooshing sound of the refrigerator door closing made her jump back. Her expression was unreadable, but her blush told him she was embarrassed and regretted the kiss. Jake wished he did, but in all honesty, he wanted more.

~~~

Caleb’s Christmas Wish is available from these fine vendors!

Amazon / Nook / Kobo / iBooks / Google Play

 

Thanks for reading! Your positive reviews are greatly appreciated!!

Deb

 

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from One Night in Reno by Rogenna Brewer

First Kiss= TUESDAY

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Life is full of unexpected turns…

Jenny Albright’s gas tank runs as dry as her luck in the Nevada desert. Until Chief Petty Officer Garrett “Itch” Erickson swoops in to rescue her, her young son and their beagle pup. Accepting help from the Navy SEAL might be the best decision Jenny’s made in a long time.

Garrett sees his past in the single mom’s not-so-bright future.  But does his offer to marry Jenny—until she lands on her feet—come from a sense of duty or the need to be rescued himself? When Jenny’s past catches up to them—for better or for worse—their marriage of convenience is put to the test.


“Mom,” Josh said from the backseat of the parked SUV. “I gotta go pee.”

“Can you hold it just a few more minutes, hon?”

“I gotta go bad. Buster has to go, too.” He leaned over the seat. “Why is that lady kissing Garrett?”

Jenny almost sprained her neck trying to get a clear view around the U-Haul truck at the woman kissing her husband. A husband she’d never kissed. And wasn’t likely to. So why should his kissing another woman bother her?

“Let’s go find a bathroom,” she said, unloading Josh and Buster from the back. “I’m sorry,” Jenny apologized to Garrett as they approached his front door. “We need to use your facilities.”

“Of course,” he said, nodding toward the house. “It’s unlocked.”

“Another damsel in distress, Itch?” The other woman raised a sculpted brow.

“Tess, this is Jenny…my wife. And her son Josh.”

“Jenny, Tess. My—”

“Roommate.” Tess stressed.  “Ex-roommate.  As you can see I’m moving out.”

Garrett took a deep breath. This was not how he wanted their relationship to end. He’d been trying to salvage what they had, not destroy it. Although, he had to admit getting married to another woman was probably not the best way to go about it. The women exchanged tight smiles as Jenny ushered Josh and the dog inside.

One Night in Reno will be FREE, starting Friday: AMAZON

~~~

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Celebrating more than half a million books in print!
In my life I’ve been a rebel, a sailor, a petty officer and an author. Served in the United States Navy in such exotic locals as Midway Island and The Pentagon. Married a Nuke. Kaboom! And have three sons as a result.
I write happily ever afters about men and women in uniform.

Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/author/RogennaBrewer

 

 

 

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Now, that’s not your normal First Kiss, is it? Well, that’s the cool thing about Rogenna Brewer. Her Navy SEALs do things their way and that’s what makes Ro’s books so compelling. I’m super excited that you’ll be able to catch up on Rogenna’s digital releases in the coming year. I can’t wait to bring you the First Kiss from this one:

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Happy reading, my friends!

Deb

Cool Friends/Hot August Snippets – LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT

COOL FRIENDS/HOT AUGUST READS!

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My August CONTEST opens up a whole lot more choices of great books to pick from, PLUS, you’ll still receive a $25 gift card from #Amazon, #BN or #iTunes.

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To introduce you to these authors and their awesome books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories. ENJOY!

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Today’s awesome choice: Karen Sandler’s sweet romance LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT. This book is one of the three books bundled in On Fire Fiction’s UNSUITABLY PERFECT.  So, if you pick that choice, you’ll get to read Karen’s book PLUS two other fab reads!

Live, Love, Laugh

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Chapter 1

STEVE WALKER PLUNGED his hand into the murky depths of his daughter’s backpack. As Corazón regarded him with her coffee-colored eyes, Steve probed past fruit snack wrappers and pencil stubs, fingers encountering a soft, sticky lump.

He dislodged the gooey mess and held it out to his almost seven-year-old daughter. “What might this be?”

“Might be peanut butter an’ jelly.” She leaned closer and sniffed delicately. “Starbaby jelly.”

How many days ago had that particular sandwich taken up residence in the bottom of her backpack? With trepidation, he reached again into the black hole. His imagination displayed Technicolor fantasies of first his arm, then his entire body being sucked into the bottomless pit.

His mouth widened into a slow grin. Real potential here for his next smart phone app. Backpack Abyss. Hapless parents battling globs of bread and peanut butter, skewered by pencil stubs.

Finally, he struck pay dirt. He pinched the edge of the crumpled piece of paper and pulled it free. He held it out to Corazón’s earnest face.

“When did Mr. Harper give you this note?” He tried to be stern, but he wanted to hug her, and feel her thin caramel-colored arms wrap trustingly around his shoulders.

She shrugged, the gesture an imitation of his own. He brimmed with parental pride, marveling at how quickly she’d adapted in the eighteen months she’d been his.

With an effort, he returned to the matter at hand. “The message is from the principal and your teacher wanted you to give me this right away.”

She nodded solemnly. “Yes, Daddy.”

He lay the jelly-smeared sheet on the kitchen counter and picked up a damp rag. “I bet Principal Tipton thinks I ignored this note. She’s probably angry at Daddy. ”

“Ms. Tipton is always mad anyway.”

As Steve wiped the note clean, he had to agree. He’d never met the woman, only spoken with her on the phone after each of Corazón’s spirited antics. The Jell-O in the water fountain, the corn snake in the teacher’s desk drawer… Okay, the haircut she’d given her friend Jenny would take a while to grow out, especially the spot Cora had colored with permanent marker….

But where he saw high spirits and harmless experimentation Ms. Tipton saw signs of budding juvenile delinquency. The woman had no sense of humor. Her tone was judgmental, her attitude unforgiving. Talking to her, he felt the urge to pull on a sweater to keep warm. After a half-dozen rancorous phone calls with her, he was convinced she had snakes instead of hair.

Now there was an idea—Gorgon Schoolmistress. He could program each writhing snake on the Gorgon’s head with different venoms, and the hero would have to find the right shields to protect himself. Maybe Ms. Gor—Ms. Tipton would agree to model for the graphic artist.

When he’d swiped enough strawberry jelly off the paper, he read the appointment time penned neatly on the note. She’d expected him at the school at three o’clock. An hour-and-a-half ago. Principal Tipton would be furious.

“Daddy!” Corazón gasped. He looked up and saw her staring in fascinated horror out the front window. “She’s here!”

Steve moved behind his daughter, settling his hands on her shoulders. “Who’s here?” He squinted through the cut glass of the window, glimpsing the lines of a severe navy suit. The face above the suit shifted and fractured Picasso-like through the ornate glass.

Corazón craned her neck up at him, excitement bursting in her dark eyes. “Ms. Tipton!”

He heard the sharp tip-tap of steps on the porch then the doorbell rang.

“Daddy, what’re we gonna do?”

Even the doorbell sounded angry as it trilled a second time. “We let her in, mija,” he answered, using the Spanish endearment like a talisman. As he sidled to the door, Cora wrapped her arms around his legs.

“Tell her our dog ate the note, Daddy.”

“But we don’t have a dog, mija. Cousin Denny is allergic.”

She gripped him tighter. “Then a time-morpher took it. Came out of the ‘puter and gobbled it up.”

“I don’t think Ms. Tipton believes in time-morphers.”

“What’re we gonna do?” Corazón said again as her tight grip cut off the circulation in his legs.

“I’ll think of something, mija,” he soothed as he gripped the doorknob.

By the time he opened the door, he’d come up with several creative excuses, each sillier than the last. But it turned out not to have mattered. Because when he saw her on his doorstep, her slim ankles in navy spiked heels, the dangerous curves at hip and waist, the milk chocolate brown hair framing a delicate heart-shaped face—all coherent thought fled.

As a tantalizing scrap of red—red!—lace peeked from the edge of her skirt, he realized he was wrong about one thing. Ms. Tipton was no Gorgon. But he was absolutely right about another. She was blazing, spitting mad.

 Ah, yes, a wonderful start. Love the hero already. Poor Ms. Tipton doesn’t stand a chance, does she? Check all of Karen’s eclectic list of books here!

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this CONTEST. I hope your friends are as COOL as mine, and your hot August nights are filled with fun and good books! Look for more Snippets all month long.

Deb