FIRST KISS: TUESDAY – Her Forever Cowboy

Do you have a one-that-got-away story in your past?

For Anne and Will, living in the same house in High School proved both a blessing and a curse. They were too different–an aspiring bull rider and a city girl with college in sight–to have crossed paths under normal circumstances, but when his widower grandfather married her widowed mother life became…interesting. Things didn’t work out between them the first time around and neither would put money on their mutual attraction leading to anything permanent when they agree to run his grandfather’s bed-and-breakfast for the summer. But they weren’t counting on Anne’s determined young daughter and Will’s sweet granddad joining forces to play matchmaker.

HER FOREVER COWBOY

West Coast Happily-Ever-After, Book 1

 

FIRST KISS © Loner Llama Press

“Why is it so important to be number one?”

He shrugged. “No doubt Dr. Freud would say it’s wrapped up in my dad dying. People have told me he might have won Best All-Around Cowboy the year he died. My folks were on their way home from a rodeo when their truck rolled and went into a ditch.”

In an effort to brush away the sadness in her eyes, he said, “Or, as your mother liked to say, it could be cussed orneriness. She said I inherited that from my grandfather. Bull riding is what I do.”

“Even if it kills you?”

Will startled. Did she know about his doctor’s report? He knew rumors had been circulating when he left, but surely Anne couldn’t have heard anything. “What’s that mean?”

“You’re getting older. Your body isn’t as malleable as a young kid’s. You could land wrong and break your neck.”

He released the breath he’d been holding. “Actually, I may not look it, but I’m in better shape today than I was fifteen years ago. I lift weights and run. And my timing is sharper.”

She took a deep breath. “I wasn’t casting any aspersions on your body.” The compliment seemed to loom between them and she quickly added, “So, you’re planning on going back to the circuit this fall.” It wasn’t a question.

“Definitely.”

She rose to her knees and started to gather up their mess. “And, I’m taking a new job, too–a promotion that’s long overdue. It sounds like we have our futures all lined up and ready to go. To get involved on an emotional level would be terribly foolish, don’t you agree?”

“When you put it like that…but–”

She didn’t let him finish. “We’re adults, Will, not kids. Proximity and unresolved lust just aren’t good enough reasons to risk involvement.”

Will agreed on an intellectual level, but the shimmer on her lips was speaking to him at a different level altogether. “So, we won’t get involved, but one kiss every fifteen years isn’t going to kill us.”

She started to disagree, but Will knew a proven way to distract a woman. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

Anne gave a token resistance–a mumbled uh-uh that almost immediately turned to uh-huh. There was a small clattering sound as the colored pens scattered on the floor. Her arms encircled his shoulders, her body flattened against his as her mouth opened.

She tasted salty and sweet. Popcorn and soda, plus an intangible quality that made him groan. And as their tongues met, Will knew he’d made a serious mistake. Fifteen years hadn’t been enough to make him forget, and now, he had nowhere to run.

HER FOREVER COWBOY is available at these vendors:

AMAZON  Kobo   iBooks   BN

All vendors: BOOKS2READ

 

Happy reading, my friends!

Deb

FIRST KISS TUESDAY- MERRY CHRISTMAS! 50% off Caleb’s Christmas Wish

Today is December 25th. Since it’s also a Tuesday, here’s a blog from a sweet, heartbreaking love story about going the extra mile for someone you love–and finding your destiny in the process. If you haven’t downloaded this book, I’d like to offer it to you through my online bookstore for 50% off the retail price using this code: SK2U5DPZPY

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.

~~~

I’m happy to offer this sweet story to you for the bargain price of 50% off at my online bookstore: Deb’s Bookstore. Click on the link and be sure to use the 50% off coupon code: SK2U5DPZPY

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

Amazon / Nook / Kobo / iBooks / Google Play

 

Merry, merry Christmas! Thanks for reading! Your positive reviews are greatly appreciated!!

Deb

 

FINALLY FRIDAY: “Chilly Nut Balls” – my made-up recipe

“Chilly Nut Balls”

That’s what I’m calling my simple, easy-to-make, healthy, summer snack recipe.

Reviews from my family: “Chewy. Cool. I like it.” “Not bad. Pretty good, actually.” (from my hubby who spurns anything too nutritional.) “Super yummy. Can I have another?” And my personal fave: “Oh, my! Yes! Yes! Yes!”

DISCLAIMER: I’m a pantster–in writing and in cooking. I work with what I have in the cupboard. I don’t measure, and I never make any dish exactly the same way every time. Consider that my gift to you–you’re not locked into any formal recipe here. Buy yummy stuff you like, experiment with small batches until you find what works for you, and, as long you include chocolate, you can’t go wrong.

Deb’s “sorta” recipe: CHILLY NUT BALLS

In a bowl, combine (measurements are extremely approximate):

1/2 C almond butter

1/4 C Nutella

1/2 C applesauce

Then add to mixture:

1/2 C sunflower seeds (roasted & salted are best, IMO)

1/2 C raisins

3/4 C chocolate chips (you can tell where my priorities are)

Stir together before adding:

1 C oatmeal (I bought the 1-minute kind by mistake and like it best in this recipe). You may need more to give desired consistency. You don’t want them too sticky to form into balls.

Cover and chill one hour, then shape into balls.

Keep refrigerated, serve and snack to your heart’s content.

~~~

These have become my late-afternoon pick-me-up after a long day of playing publisher (second book in my BETTING ON LOVE series is almost ready for review). These little gems might be the reason I finally (after a hassle with iBooks) got both of my new WEST COAST HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER Boxed Sets up. Are you a fan boxed sets? Makes sense. You never miss a book, and, of course, save money, too.

  

Both are available at the vendor of your choice for $7.99.

Books 1-3        Books 4-7

Have a great weekend, my friends! Stay cool. Happy snacking!

Deb