The Songs That Brought Me Back by Mylissa Demeyere

 

Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.

Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.

Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew.

They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.

Always together.

Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.

ETHAN
“FILL THESE OUT, PLEASE.” The nurse at the ER admin desk
shoved a clipboard holding a stack of insurance forms into
my hands. “Once we get your partner stabilized, I’ll go find
out about sending you in to see her.” She gave me a curt nod
and disappeared behind the desk.
What had I been thinking? I hadn’t been thinking. Not
much beyond getting my neighbor here in time. I had been
living next door to Ainsley for the last six months, ever since
the construction on my house was completed. And I had
noticed her from day one. Who wouldn’t, with her striking
blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a body every man dreams of?
But there was more. She had this frailty about her, if you
looked close enough. And it drew me in, right from the start.
But she never let me get further than a few pleasantries. Still,
it didn’t stop me from trying. And I had tried to be her
friend.
When I found her earlier today… I shuddered as the
memory washed over me.

I clutched the letter in my hand, secretly happy I had an excuse to
ring Ainsley’s doorbell. The mailman had messed up and I
couldn’t let the opportunity slide, noting her car in the driveway.
Walking up to the door, I rolled my shoulders and took a deep
breath, aiming for cool and suave, not flustered and eager like she
had me feeling each time I caught a glimpse of her.
I rang the bell and turned to soak up the bright rays of sun,
feeling my stomach knot as the anticipation rose. A few seconds
passed, but no one came to open the door.
I turned to ring the bell again, sure she was home, when I
stopped dead in my tracks, my hand still suspended in the air. My
heart started pounding in my chest as the ground beneath me felt
like it was moving.
“Ainsley! Ainsley!” I pounded on the door, her lifeless body
sprawled on the floor in the hallway just visible through the
sidelights. My palms felt moist as I fought against the rising
panic.
“Ainsley!!” My voice was hoarse as I belted out her name over
and over.
Instinct took over. I ran to the back door and found it
unlocked. I hadn’t ever let myself in, but now wasn’t the time to
worry about that.
“Ainsley!” I fell on my knees next to her, taking in the full
scene. Her chest was barely moving, her lips a faint shade of blue.
An empty pill bottle lay on the floor beside her. I picked it up,
already sure of what was going on but needing to confirm it.
Time seemed to stand still as I pieced it all together, but the loud,
ringing sound in my ears forced me to move and get help.
“Ainsley, what have you done?” I cried as I slipped my phone
out of my back pocket and called 911. I hoped I wasn’t too late,
that we still had time.
“What happened?” One of the paramedics loaded her on a
gurney while the other got to work checking her vitals. I rehashed
all I knew, which wasn’t very much.
They loaded her in the ambulance, and after getting the right
info about where they were taking her, I sped over to the hospital
in record time.
“What’s your relationship to the patient?” The ER clerk typed
in Ainsley’s name without making eye contact.
“I don’t see how that’s important now,” I growled.
“Only the next of kin can see the patient.” She looked up for
the first time and took in my panicked state.
“I’m her…boyfriend.” Where did that come from? I didn’t even
know her that well, but I couldn’t take it back now.
“I see.” The woman stared up at me over her wide-rimmed
glasses, pausing as she studied me. Did she pick up on my
hesitation? Did she detect the lie?
“Please take a seat. I’ll have her paperwork ready in just
a sec.”
I released the breath I held and dropped down in the vinyl
seat, overcome by the events of the past hour.

I’d been waiting for over two hours, and I was frantic. I
didn’t do so well in a hospital setting.
“Mr. Van Der Beek?” A doctor dressed in light blue scrubs
walked into the waiting area. I stood up.
“Yes?” My heart beat double time, waiting for him to give
me news on Ainsley.
“We were able to stabilize your girlfriend.” The word
made me wince. The doctor luckily mistook it for the info he
was delivering, and his expression softened, his eyes full of
sympathy. “Ainsley experienced respiratory depression, and
we needed to intubate her to ensure she was getting enough
oxygen.”
I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and nodded my
understanding.
“We’ll keep her in the ICU until she gains consciousness.”
“But she’s going to be okay?” I pleaded.
“We’ll know for sure tomorrow. I think you got to her in
time.” He patted me on the shoulder and turned to leave but
reconsidered.
“Mr. Van Der Beek.” He stared into my eyes.
“Yes?” I felt the weight of the day settle on my shoulders.
“Your girlfriend is very sick. Even if she makes a full
physical recovery, you have a long road ahead of you.”
I nodded, my eyes stinging. “Thank you, Doctor.” I sank
onto one of the chairs lining the side of the waiting area. If
anyone knew how long that road was, it was me.

 

A heartfelt romance with a powerful message about the sanctity of human life. If you’ve ever simply needed a friend, The Songs That Brought Me Back will resonate–and leave you thankful for the people in your life. -Taylor Dean, author of I’m With You and Chasing Fireflies.

Another remarkable read by Mylissa Demeyere. Ethan and Ainsley had me laughing and crying as they face their own demons and fall in love while doing it. This book adds even more depth as it confronts suicide head on. Suicide has become an epidemic that some are afraid to address; Demeyere brings it to light from both the victims and the survivors giving us insight on the struggles of so many. It does not disappoint and I, again, am excited to see what comes next from this talented writer. – Amazon Reviewer

A beautiful sequel to The Songs of You and Me that cleverly illustrates that there are always two sides to every story and that it is never too late for love to overcome any challenge. – Amazon Reviewer

“This poignant redemption story about second chances and forgiveness yanked my emotions all over the place. I cried, I yearned, I hoped. A beautiful story about what true love is and does.” – Charissa Stastny, author of Between Hope and the Highway and The Ruled Out Romance Series

 

 

 

Author Mylissa Demeyere

Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.

The Songs That Brought Me Back is her second novel in The Songs Series, with a third book releasing in the middle of 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash

Ends 1/10/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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About Until We Kissed

until we kissedLivvy knows Dr. Slade McKinney is the perfect man for her, but when she keeps running into Mason, Livvy discovers fate has a different plan.

USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore welcomes you to Pine Valley!

Pine Valley librarian Livvy Harmon has big dreams, which include marrying Dr. Slade McKinney. Trouble is, he’s only kissed her once in their four months of dating, and it wasn’t all that great. But Livvy isn’t ready to give up yet on hooking such an amazing man, even though Slade seems to have time for everyone but her.

When Livvy keeps running into writer Mason Rowe, who seems to be camping out in her library to finish his book under strict orders from his agent, Livvy at first keeps him at arm’s length. But the more their friendship grows, the more she finds that her dream relationship with her doctor boyfriend isn’t so dreamy after all.

My review

I love reading books where the town almost becomes a character all on it’s own. Pine Valley is one of those towns. I love that there are so many books set there. And you don’t have to read them in any specific order.

This one features Livvy, she’s the librarian in Pine Valley. One thing about her that bugged me just a little bit was her boyfriend situation. Livvy decided at a young age that she wanted to marry a doctor. So she’s dating Slade McKinney, a doctor in Pine Valley. What really annoyed me was the way she calls him her boyfriend when he really does nothing for her. He only takes her out every few weeks and he just isn’t very nice to her.

In fact, when she meets Mason in this one, Slade has taken her on a hike. They left at 5:30 am and when Livvy got hurt, he leaves her to make her way to a lodge and heads off on his own. Wow! He’s a doctor, he should have taken care of her. Instead, Mason takes her to the lodge and fixes her up the best he knows how. 

I kind of loved Mason. He’s a best selling author. He’s in Pine Valley writing his next book in a rented house. But he ends up in Livvy’s library working on his book most days. He was a true gentleman, always bringing Livvy breakfast or a treat. I loved the way their romance evolved. I didn’t like that it made Slade jealous, so he actually tried. Annoying man!

Anyway…make sure to pick this one up. You’ll love it as much as I did!

I was sent a copy of Until We Kissed as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

Amazon

What to read after Until We Kissed

 

I grew up in a very small town in Idaho. We didn’t have a lot of things near us. And I can’t say that Christmas wasn’t great there. But I have noticed that the magic of Christmas in Salt Lake City is just amazing!

I love heading downtown and being able to see all the lights, the Christmas windows made of candy or just whimsical decorations. There are many places in Salt Lake City that you can find decorations and lights. And bonus…they’re mostly free to view.

I love being able to go to Temple Square several times in the Christmas season. The magic of Christmas in Salt Lake City reflects in our children’s eyes as we do this and all of our other traditions.

The Magic of Christmas in Salt Lake City

I’m not going to tell you all of our Christmas traditions here. If you’re interested to see what our family enjoys doing at Christmas time, click over to my article on Tips For Family Trips that posted this week and you can see them. I also wrote a blog post last year about some of our favorite traditions.

There doesn’t seem to be anything that brings family bonding quite like family traditions. I find other people’s family Christmas traditions interesting. Would you be willing to tell me some of your family’s favorite traditions? You could leave a comment on this post, or on my Instagram or Facebook pages (links at the top of the page). And if you live in the same general area that I do and have suggestions for new traditions for our family, please let me know! I’d love new suggestions!

A Snow Globe Christmas by Hayley Wescott

Kelsey Patrick is homesick for the snow and family Christmas tree from her childhood in Connecticut. The holidays are coming and South Florida weather is lovely, but it’s not what she wants for Christmas. She’s making the best of it, but she expects her Christmas to be un-snowy and lonely.

When she receives a lovely and thoughtful last minute Secret Santa gift from Mrs. Claus, Kelsey’s Christmas spirit is revived. When she tries to find the one who gave her the gift under the guise of Mrs. Claus, she makes an assumption that leads her down the wrong path. Brett Taylor is firmly seated in the friend zone and knows Kelsey is making a mistake, but he’s in no position to try to change her mind.

Just when both Brett and Kelsey are set to spend their holidays working and alone, a chain of events just might change all that. And maybe Mrs. Claus will see her sweet work behind the scenes bring two love birds together at last.

“Oh, you are still going to be able to make it to my supper party after the gift giving, aren’t you?” Kelsey asked. “I mean, it’s nothing special, just a big tray of lasagna and some appetizers and dessert, of course. And being cramped into my tiny apartment will be an adventure. But, it’s Christmas, and you guys are my Florida family. We’re all working over the festive period, so we need to let our hair down a little, don’t you think?”
“Hey, I’m coming back with you after the gifts to help you get ready. Wouldn’t miss the Patrick festive Christmas lasagna,” Annie said giggling. “Tell me what you need me to bring and I’ll get it while I’m out now. It was the best night of the year, last year.”
“Thank you, that means a lot, Kelsey said, touched at Annie’s compliment. “I think I’m good, though.” She paused. “No, hang on a minute. They didn’t have any heavy cream when I went to the store earlier. Could you see if Nielsen’s has any, if you’re going to be next door at Caspar’s.”
“I can do that. Ooh, I do hope you’re gonna use that cream in your famous cherry trifle. I just love that stuff,” Annie said, not disguising the desire in her voice. Kelsey couldn’t help wondering if she was actually drooling. It made her smile to think her food was so appreciated.
“I might, I might not. It’ll all depend on whether you get me the cream,” she teased.
“Oh, I’ll get you that cream,” Annie vowed. The two women laughed and made their good byes, assuring each other that they’d meet up at work the next day.
Hanging up, Kelsey wondered what it must be like, to be one of those people who left everything to the very last minute. To not have even thought about what you were going to buy someone, the night before that gift was to be given, that would never sit well with Kelsey. Normally her tree would have been up on the very first day of December, and her presents and cards wrapped and delivered across the country a week ago. She absolutely hated that her tree had only gone up today when it was just a week and a half from Christmas. But, because of all the shifts she’d taken at work she didn’t really have much of a choice if she wanted to sleep any. It was done now and her living room sparkled from all the fairy lights as they flashed their bright hues over the glittering tinsel and shiny metallic baubles.
Feeling weary, Kelsey stretched and yawned loudly. Winston looked at her with wide eyes. “Bed time?” she asked him. He ran straight through to the bedroom and began to stake his claim at the end of the bed. He kneaded the mattress with his paws, then settled down, curling his body up into a tight ball, though he left his legs out in front of him, making him look a bit like a furry shrimp.
Kelsey slipped off her shorts and tee shirt and slipped on an old night shirt. It had a very faded Mickey Mouse on it and was so misshapen from all the years of washings that it was barely holding itself together. But it was comfortable on the warm nights here in Florida, and so Kelsey would never part with it.
The sheets were cool as she slipped between them, and it wasn’t long before she had fallen fast asleep. She dreamed of snow falling all around her with fat, heavy flakes landing on her hair and her eyelashes. Wrapped up in a thick coat, with woolen mittens and a hand-knitted scarf and hat she was toasty warm. She twirled around and around, as though she were a ballerina in a music box, turning her face up to the sky and opening her mouth so the snow could land on her tongue, all icy and fresh. It was like Heaven on Earth, and when the alarm sounded Kelsey didn’t want to wake up and face the bright sunshine, or the palm trees, or the sea because there would be no snow again today in Florida.

Wonderful story! The characters are engaging and I love the emphasis on family.

Christmas away from home filled with memories takes the reader on a sweet Christmas adventure with friends and surprises to make for a nice evening read.

The end is such a sweet surprise, I never saw it coming! Very good clean romance.

 

 

 

 

Author Hayley Wescott

Hayley Wescott loves a sweet love story with the emphasis on the sweet. As a Christian author, she’s happy and fulfilled to write stories about real life that don’t include cringe-worthy moments or details a reader doesn’t really want.

Some of Hayley’s stories are about real life. Contemporary stories about flawed people and people that have issues. But each of these stories is resolved in a positive way and the guy always gets the girl.

As part of the Hero Hearts group, Hayley loves writing about heroes who will save the day in big ways and small ones. With Annie Boone, who writes historical romance, and Kate Cambridge who writes both historical and contemporary romance, these three will deliver sweet stories that will capture your heart. Handsome men with big hearts and big jobs and the women who end up falling for them.

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash

Ends 1/6/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch

A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless.

A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together…or divide them forever.

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.

This scene takes place when everyone on Christmas Day takes a turn kissing their spouse or sweetheart underneath the mistletoe ball. Now the group turn to Will and Holly, who have only known each other a few days, and start goading them into sharing a mistletoe kiss…

“Come now, don’t be shy,” her sister called. “It’s tradition.”

The others called out encouragements.

Apology edged into Will’s uncertain expression. “Do you mind?”

Holly’s palms grew sweaty inside her gloves, and her smile probably came out wobbly. “Who are we to go against tradition?” Did she sound desperate in her desire to kiss him?

Will held out a hand. She placed hers in it and walked at his side to the kissing ball. They stood, hand in hand, facing each other. His neck cloth shifted as he swallowed. He leaned in. Her heart stumbled and her knees shook. She closed her eyes. Aching, she lifted her face. His cinnamon-spiced breath warmed her mouth.

He kissed her cheek.

Stunned, she opened her eyes. The watching guests groaned and some chuckled.

“No, no, that won’t do at all,” Joseph’s voice rang out. “Give her a proper kiss.”

Will froze. That intensity she occasionally saw in him returned. “Holly.” He swallowed again but instead of nervousness, a hunger that sent a flurry of shivers through her overtook his expression. “May I?”

She nodded. It didn’t matter if he saw how much she wanted this, wanted him. Let him know. Let the whole world know.

He touched her chin, lifted it, and leaned in. Again, she closed her eyes. This time his lips touched hers, pliant and unbelievably gentle. Heat exploded at the contact and shot through her all the way down to her tingling toes. Different from her mystery kiss, this one sang of affection and respect and a deep longing to be accepted. Sweeter, more chaste, more filled with caring, Will’s kiss brought her a level of joy she’d never known. All the world faded away leaving Will and the power of his affection, his touch, his kiss. Every moment of her life seemed to have been designed to bring her to this single, perfect moment of bliss and wholeness.

“Ahem.” Father cleared his throat conspicuously.

Will pulled away all too quickly. A tiny sound of distress caught in Holly’s throat. It was over too soon. But oh, what a glorious kiss!

“I can always count on Donna Hatch to weave a delightful tale with vivid characters and swoony kisses. Christmas Secrets does not disappoint.”
~Reading is my Super Power

“Filled with delightful holiday traditions, growing attraction between Holly and one of the guests, a mother set on a desirable match for her daughter, and a few heart-melting kisses, this novella is the perfect book to cuddle up with this holiday season.”
~Remembrancy Book Reviews

“It’s been some time since an author made me believe their characters like this, but Donna Hatch writes it so beautifully I was quickly drawn into the idyllic past.”
Silver Wood Sketches Book Reviews

It looks like this book won’t actually be free until Saturday the 15th!

Author Donna Hatch

Donna Hatch is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series” and is published in sweet Regency romance and fantasy. Her professional memberships include Romance Writers of America (RWA)and American Night Writers Association (ANWA). A sought-after workshop presenter, she juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, not to mention her six children (seven, counting her husband), and still manages to make time to write. A native of Arizona who recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash

Ends 1/6/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Yours by Christmas by Jennifer Youngblood

A recovering alcoholic turned firefighter, a mysterious woman with a secret, and the Christmas miracle that just might save them both.

Beckett Bradshaw knows what it’s like to be on top of the world and then to come crashing down to the lowest form of human existence, living on the streets. It has taken a huge amount of hard work and self control to get where he is today. He’s content with his job as a firefighter and so incredibly grateful for the miraculous recovery of his young daughter.

When a mysterious old lady shows up at the fire station and makes a prophecy that Beckett will find love by Christmas, he doesn’t believe it. Beckett doesn’t dare pray for the desires of his heart for fear that he’s used up all of his miracles.

Then, Beckett meets the beautiful and vivacious Ava Lawrence and starts to hope that maybe he really can find love. Beckett is hesitant to tell Ava about his checkered past for fear that she won’t want him. However, Ava has a few secrets of her own that could destroy everything Beckett has built.

Will a Christmas miracle be enough to bind two lonely hearts together or will the scars of the past prevent Beckett and Ava from finding the lasting love they most desire?

 

Excerpt:

 

It was the kind of cold that would freeze a person’s toes and fingers off. In another time and place, Beckett wouldn’t have spent more than thirty minutes outside. Tonight, however, he was grateful for the cold. It sank through the holes of his worn shoes, moving up his legs and torso like morphine, numbing his aching heart. The cold snuffed out the fire raging in his head—the voice that screamed of his failures and how any path to redemption was forever barred. He trudged through the snow, oblivious to the trash littering the sidewalk or the bars covering the windows of the aging buildings. The sights and stench of the streets would’ve horrified him before, when he was donning two-thousand-dollar suits and driving a Lexus to his high-rise office in the center of downtown Salt Lake City. Now, it was as commonplace as breathing. The frigid wind picked up. He pulled his thin coat tighter around him as he tucked his chin into his neck and plodded forward.
Normally, Beckett’s senses were dulled to the point where he hardly remembered the life he lived before. Alcohol was the great cure-all. If he drank enough of it, he could hardly remember his own name. Today, however, was different. Today was Jasmine’s birthday. She was turning seven today. Beckett didn’t want to think about Jasmine with her happy, rosy cheeks and cocoa-colored ringlets. The trusting look in her deep brown eyes. The lilt in her voice when she called him daddy. Jasmine wanted a pink Barbie cake with sparkles. Tears pressed against his eyes as he swallowed. Unbidden scenes from the accident flashed before his eyes, the guilt knotting his gut.
It had been a normal day. Pressures at the office were increasing. Beckett was always behind. Nothing he did was enough to satisfy his bulldog boss. Before darting out of his office to pick up Jasmine from her dance class, he’d taken a few swigs out of the flask he kept hidden beneath a stack of files in his bottom desk drawer. One minute he was driving, the road a blur, Jasmine chattering about a new dance she’d learned. The next minute, everything changed. Beckett felt the blunt force of the crash the same instant he heard the sickening sound of crunching metal. Then came the worst—Jasmine’s terrified screams that gave way to intermittent whimpers. He’d called 911, screaming into the phone. It seemed to take forever before the wail of the sirens pierced the night air.
A few hours later, in a sterile hospital waiting room, a grim-faced doctor would deliver the blow. Jasmine’s ankle had been crushed. It would require multiple surgeries, and there was a chance she’d never walk again. Melinda’s face had crumpled, tears streaming down her cheeks. As Beckett went to hug her, she pushed him away, condemnation burning in her eyes. “This is all your fault!” she spat.
“Please, Melinda.” His voice had cracked with desperation. “I—I’m sorry. I never meant—” He reached for her again.
She got up in his face. “I can smell the alcohol on your breath.” For an instant, Beckett saw something in her eyes—a sliver of the love they’d once shared. Before he could blink, however, her eyes went flatter than dull pennies as she turned her back to him and walked away.
It was then that he’d known, he was dead to her. He loosened his silk tie and threw it into the garbage on his way out of the hospital.
That was six months ago.
He wet his dry lips, the thirst for a drink rising in him like a greedy vulture demanding to be satisfied. He paused and leaned against the side of a building, removing the bottle from inside his coat. Beckett took a long swig, appreciating how the liquid burned down his throat. Another couple of drinks helped ease the pain. The snow was falling harder, large blobs coating everything in white. Cars moved along the streets like cautious snails, trying to avoid contact. The world felt still, like he was in one of those snow globes Jasmine loved. Beckett’s breath pushed out a warm mist against the air as he continued to his destination.
Fifteen minutes later, he went in through the backdoor of a shelter. A middle-aged, portly man with a tapered salt and pepper beard was sitting behind a metal desk, chewing on a pencil as he stared at the screen of his laptop. When he saw Beckett, he waved in recognition as he stood, pulling his pants over his belly. “Hey, Blanket Man. I wondered what time you’d show up here.” He went to a nearby counter and picked up a stack of blankets, depositing them in Beckett’s arms. “It’s a cold one tonight. The temperature’s falling into the single digits.”
“Yes.”
“I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people who can use these blankets. Some ladies from a local church dropped them off today. It’s mighty kind of you to deliver them. After you get done passing these out, there are plenty more.”
Beckett nodded. This was how the conversation always went, with Scotty making small talk and Beckett throwing in a few short answers and nods. Scotty didn’t seem to mind that Beckett didn’t want to talk. He was always pleasant, and he looked Beckett in the eye when he spoke to him. Most people didn’t. The homeless moved through the city like faceless ghosts, scavenging what they could to survive.
“Oh, by the way, I reserved you a spot at the shelter tonight. It’s too cold to be outside.”
“Thank you.” Beckett’s hands ached from the cold. He’d had a pair of gloves once, but they were long gone.
“Tell everyone you see that they need to get indoors.” Scotty’s mouth turned down in a frown as he pulled at his beard. “This is the kind of weather that kills people.”
If only Beckett could be so lucky. Death was preferable to his miserable existence. Several times, he’d looked up at the tops of the buildings, thinking how easy it would be to just jump and end it all. He didn’t know what was keeping him here. Maybe it was cowardice. Even now, he craved life and the bottle. Maybe it was Jasmine. His heart clutched as he pushed the thoughts away. He no longer had a wife or daughter. He was a nobody.
With the blankets in hand, Beckett went out the door. After the warmth of the shelter, the night felt colder. He suppressed a shiver, forcing himself to embrace the cold as his feet worked through the snow. His first stop was a group of four men at a nearby park. They were sitting on the ground, huddled close together, their backs resting against a waist-high concrete wall.
“It’s Blanket Man,” an older man named Beaker exclaimed in a hoarse voice. No one went by their real names on the streets. They used names that fit the person’s personality or features. Beaker had a large, pitted nose. He held up a gnarly hand. “Join the party,” he said glibly. “It’s a little cold, but what can ya do?” He laughed at his own joke.
Slim Jim, sitting next to him, barked out a raspy smoker laugh, his thin shoulders shaking. “Yep, we’re having us a party.” He raised a hopeful eye to Beckett. “Got anything to drink?”
“Or a cigarette?” a young man with greasy hair and glassy eyes asked.
A pang shot through Beckett. The kid was a newcomer. He couldn’t be more than eighteen or nineteen years old. His face was gaunt, his eyes ringed in hollow circles. It seemed such a shame for him to be here, strung out on drugs. Even as the thought ran through his mind, Beckett laughed inwardly. He, of all people, had no room to judge. No one on the streets would ever imagine that he used to be an executive at one of the most prestigious financial advisory firms in Salt Lake. Out here, he was a scruffy drunk who delivered blankets to those who didn’t have the presence of mind to seek shelter when the temperatures plummeted. He didn’t really know why he felt compelled to go out night after night, delivering blankets. Maybe it was a form of atonement for his past sins. All he knew was that he couldn’t seem to rest until the blankets were handed out.
“Nope, sorry. I’m all out of both,” Beckett lied, “but I do come bearing gifts.” No way was he sharing his booze. He’d spent a full day cleaning trash out of a yard to earn the money to buy this bottle. He handed them each a blanket. “It’s supposed to be down in the single digits tonight,” he said, repeating Scotty’s words. “It might be wise to get to a shelter.” The cold seeped into his bones, making him feel sluggish.
Beaker waved a hand. “Nah, too crowded. We’ll be all right.”
The young man started singing a song about them being all right.
“Suit yourselves.” Beckett moved on to the next stop, passing out more blankets. He suspected that a few of the people were so far gone in their minds that they didn’t even realize they were cold. One man was holding an animated conversation with an imaginary person, laughing one second and shouting curses the next. Maybe Beckett would end up that way—not having a clue who he even was. When the blankets were gone he returned to the shelter, intent on making one more round before hunkering down for the night.
“Hey,” Scotty said, “you’re back.”
Beckett gave a curt nod of acknowledgment and went to the counter, picking up an armful of blankets.
Scotty touched his beard. “Uh, Beckett, before you head back out, there’s someone here to see you.”
Beckett frowned, hearing his own name. Not once, in all the times he’d come to this shelter to pick up blankets, had Scotty called him by his real name. Up until now, Beckett hadn’t even realized that Scotty knew his name. Suspicion stirred inside him. “Who is it?” he demanded. It had better not be his former boss! Jack Bisson had come lurking around once, about a month after Beckett had thrown in the towel. He urged Beckett to check himself into a rehab center, saying he’d even pay for the treatment. “Think of your wife and daughter,” Jack had said. “With Jasmine’s ankle in such bad shape, she needs you now more than ever.” Beckett laughed in his face, telling the pompous man in no uncertain terms exactly what he thought of him. Had Jack shown him an ounce of compassion when Beckett was working, instead of riding his case 24/7, Beckett might not have turned to alcohol. Then, he never would’ve been drinking the night he picked Jasmine up from her dance class, and he wouldn’t have had the car accident that shattered her ankle. Beckett balled his fist, squeezing the blankets. He’d refrained from punching Jack Bisson in the face the last time he showed up. This time, Bisson wouldn’t be so lucky. “Where’s Bisson?” he growled.
Scotty frowned. “I’m not sure who that is.” He scooted back his chair and stood, his eyes resting on the blankets in Beckett’s arms. “Maybe you should put those down and follow me.”
Reluctantly, Beckett complied. When they entered the large common room, Beckett scanned the crowd of people, packed like sardines into every available inch of floor space. When he saw them across the room, his breath froze in his throat. He couldn’t do it! His eyes narrowed as he spun around to Scotty. “What is this?”
Scotty held up a hand. “Your wife and daughter have gone to great lengths to find you. The least you can do is hear them out.” He lowered his voice. “I know your history, Beckett. That you’re a good man. You had a career, a wonderful family. That man is still in there. You just have to find him.”
Beckett let out a harsh laugh. “If I were a good man, my daughter wouldn’t be in a wheelchair.” Tears rose in his eyes as he cleared his throat and swallowed. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d dreamed of seeing Jasmine over the past few months. A hot anger coursed through his veins. Melinda had no right to bring Jasmine here. Maybe she wanted Jasmine to see firsthand how far her dad had fallen. Everything in him wanted to turn around and flee as far from here as he could get.
“Daddy!” Jasmine’s face lit up as she waved.
Too late to run. Beckett sighed in resignation as he forced his feet to move forward. When he reached them, he stood there awkwardly, at a loss for words. Melinda’s pinched face said it all—that he was an embarrassment. Melinda had always been concerned about social status and the image they portrayed to the world. He could only imagine what she must think of his ragged clothes, scraggly beard, grimy fingernails, his unwashed stench. He was a walking skeleton, a shadow of his former self.
Jasmine was beaming. She seemed oblivious to the change in him. “I’ve missed you so much.” She held out her hands for him to hug her. Beckett’s feet stayed rooted to the floor. He wanted to hug her, but life on the streets had hardened him to the point where personal contact seemed foreign. Finally, he patted her hand instead. She was soft, untouched by the ugliness of the streets.
“Good to see you, pretty girl.” His eyes settled on the cast, visible beneath her sweat pants. He hated himself in that moment, wished he could disappear into nothing. How dare Melinda bring Jasmine here! He wanted Jasmine to remember him as he was before. Not now, consumed by his vice. He glared at Melinda. “What’re you doing here?” Melinda looked thinner than he remembered, her face drawn and pale. It seemed like it had been another life when he’d loved her.
Melinda lifted her chin, a protective hand going over Jasmine’s shoulder. “I came here because of Jazzie,” she said stiffly. “It was her birthday wish.”
Jasmine gave him a searching look. “Come home with us, Daddy.” Her voice cracked. “Please.”
“For her sake,” Melinda added. “You need help.” Her jaw tightened. “It’s bad enough that Jasmine’s going through all the pain and suffering of her ankle. Must she lose her father too?” The words came out in short, angry bursts. She gave him a hard, resentful look. “You’re being selfish.”
Tears bubbled in Jasmine’s eyes, her lower lip trembling. “Please, Daddy, come home. We miss you.”
Selfish! Loser! Drunk! Beckett’s head felt like it was splitting in two. Oh, how he wished he could relive that dreadful night of the accident, that he could go back and nip the drinking in the bud before it turned into a hideous monster. He thought of the bottle beneath his coat, the need for a drink overwhelming. He hated this—loathed his weakness. Tears pooled in his eyes. Beckett Bradshaw was an illusion. There was nothing left of that man except pain and regret. “I’m sorry,” he uttered as he fled.
The last thing he heard before he darted out the door into the cold was Jazzie’s anguished cry. “Daddy!”

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About The Christmas Girlfriend

the Christmas girlfriendHe needs a date for Christmas. She needs money for a dream. Maybe they’ll both get a Christmas miracle!


The handsome and kind, Mike Hamilton, doesn’t want to go back to his hometown, Snow Valley, to attend his sister’s wedding and spend Christmas, especially since he didn’t tell anyone he got dumped two weeks ago. So when he discovers a girl standing on a roof praying, running to the top to join her doesn’t feel thatdesperate. Too bad they both fall and she accuses him of trying to kill her.
 
Aspiring singer and songwriter, Zoey Harper, doesn’t know who this guy is — but she doesn’t need his help. When he offers to pay her to be his FAKE girlfriend to get him out of a little situation, she immediately says no. But when she finds herself without a job, without a car, and with no money to go try out for The Voice and fulfill a life-long dream, she agrees! But ONLY kissing. And only pecks on the cheek!
 
She doesn’t know how she finds herself making out with him to keep his ex girlfriend at bay, then cannon balling into the hot springs on his property and spilling all of her secrets. And who would have guessed that her favorite person would be his grumpy grandpa? Her lonely heart doesn’t know when things started to change between she and Mike–when he ran up on the roof to save her or when she finds herself singing a song for him in front of his whole family.
 
When their lies fall apart, they are left with a choice–forget the past five days or get the Christmas miracle that could change their lives forever.
 

My review

This is the perfect time of year to read one of the Snow Valley romance stories! Snow Valley is the perfect little Christmas town. It just seems like they make a special Christmas magic of their own in the books about this little place. 

This one starts with Mike. He’s just landed in the Billings airport ready to make the trek to Snow Valley. He’s a bit embarrassed because he’s broken up with his girlfriend and his family was planning for him to bring her to his sister’s wedding. His dad asks him to check on something in their storage unit. That’s when he meets and “saves” Zoey for the first time. I really loved the way these two meet. It’s just so sweet and crazy.

Zoey is a widow. She’s not quite sure how things are going to work out for her. She’s used all her money on school and rent, leaving nothing to make her dream of being a singer work out. That’s when the two hatch a plan…Zoey will pretend to be Ann for Mike’s sister’s wedding and he will pay her in return. 

I had to laugh as their plan unfolded. Zoey and Ann were nothing at all alike. A fact that Mike’s family was sure to pick up on. Sure enough, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments as Zoey is herself versus the stuffy Ann. 

I loved the way the story in The Christmas Girlfriend played out! The love story was sweet and the wedding of Mike’s sister was just…magical. Make sure to get yourself a copy! 

I was sent an e-copy of The Christmas Girlfriend as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

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What to read after The Christmas Girlfriend

 

 

once I was a Beehive

About Once I Was a Beehive

Charming, clever, and heart-warming. Carol Lynch Williams’ novelization of the motion picture Once I Was a Beehive is sure to be a family favorite.

Sixteen-year-old Lane Speer spends her family vacations camping in the mountains, taking the memories for granted until she loses her father to an unexpected bout with cancer. One year later, as Lane is still reeling from her father’s death, her mother remarries a guy who Lane hardly knows. To top it off, he’s a Mormon. Worst of all, while her mom and new stepdad are on their honeymoon, they arrange to have her stay with her Mormon step-aunt who takes her to a bible-themed girls camp with a bunch of Mormon girls. Confronted with memories of camping with her family, Lane tries to find peace with her new surroundings as she deals with the death of her father.

My review

Once I Was a Beehive is one of my very favorite movies! I was really excited to see that there was a book adaptation of it.

I don’t feel like book adaptations are always the best. But this one was so great! I loved the way the reader gets to know Lane as a character really well through this book. I loved the way the chapters were. They were really short, expressing Lane’s sadness and misery at the things that were happening to her.

Lane is the only character that you see this story through. She’s a great character and she seems to be really observant. She see most everything.

The plot is the same as the plot of the movie. It’s just fleshed out. I loved that all the characters I know and love from the movie were there.

Anyone who loves Once I Was a Beehive will love this book adaptation!

I was sent an e-copy of Once I Was a Beehive as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase link

Amazon

Carol Lynch Williams, who grew up in Florida and now lives in Utah, is an award-winning novelist with seven children of her own, including six daughters. She has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College, and won the prestigious PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. The Chosen One was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adult Readers; it won the Whitney and the Association of Mormon Letters awards for the best young adult novel of the year; and was featured on numerous lists of recommended YA fiction. Carol’s other novels include Glimpse, Miles From Ordinary, The Haven, Waiting, Signed, Skye Harper, and the Just in Time series.

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What to read after Once I Was a Beehive

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The Spinster and I by Rebecca Connolly

Poor, unfortunate Spinster…

Prudence Westfall, spinster, has unexpectedly had the greatest misfortune of all: she has inherited a fortune, and is now an heiress. But as a Spinster, and a stammering shy one, nothing could be worse than having a bevy of suitors pay her attention. Opportunity strikes at a house party when the most unlikely person offers the perfect solution.

Camden Vale is no gentleman, and he’s not prone to saving anyone, but something about Prue changes all that. When his offer to befriend her extends beyond the house party, and his feelings extend beyond expectation, no one is more surprised than he. Except, perhaps, for the other Spinsters, and they have much to say on the subject.

 

“Didn’t you hear how they flattered me? You said yourself, men lie through their teeth.”

He hissed, and she looked over at him only to see him shaking his head. “Prue, I didn’t mean… Sometimes we are sincere. Sometimes we do mean everything we say. And you should like it and take it as a compliment.”

Prue smiled a very tight, thin smile. “They never have before, so I have no taste for it.” She exhaled and looked back into the ballroom, clasping her hands before her. “I just wish to be left alone.”

“Well,” he sighed, “then we have another problem.”

She looked up at him wryly. “And that is?”
He shrugged, something new in his dark eyes. “I don’t think I can leave you alone.” He stared at her for a long moment, his hand stilled on her back, and added, “I know I can’t.”

Her head tilted in a question. “Why not?”

“Because I see you,” he admitted with a rawness she did not anticipate. “And I like what I see.”

 

 

You know we say “a good clean book” to indicate, yes there is no sex, no obscenities and very little kissing but a good read nonetheless? There is no “nonetheless” here. It is a good book without qualification. Nothing was missing. Prue was a character who faced serious debilitating problems communicating with others and villainous family members and Cam, who fought his own demons, helped her as she helped him. Her blossoming was realistic and touching. The writing was good and the treatment of characters and flaws sensitive and well developed. A good read.

Rebecca Connolly creates vivid characters who want to fight for, to laugh and cry with. Sweet and breathtakingly romantic. I read this book in kindle unlimited, but now I’m going back to purchase it. I really like Ms. Connolly’s books!

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Prue and Cam. They appear to be complete opposites but they truly are wonderful for each other.
I especially love how they helped each other heal without even trying or realizing.
And of course, I love both Prue and Cam’s friends. So much loyalty.
A wonderful clean read for a hopeless romantic like myself. The next book can’t come soon enough! Thank you for another enjoyable read Rebecca Connolly, I needed this escape!

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash

Ends 1/6/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Her TV Bachelor Fake Fiancé by Kimberly Krey

Cambria gave this year’s TV Bachelor the face-slap seen & heard across America.
Can she offer him redemption too?

Canyon Byer, pharmaceutical rep turned famous model, is the new eligible bachelor on Find My Fiancé. Weeks into filming the reality TV show, Canyon earns the title of America’s Shallow Bachelor, as he seems to eliminate women with substance. As the finale draws near, he needs a shot at redemption, but in order to get it, America’s favorite bachelorette—the same woman Canyon wishes he hadn’t wronged—will have to give him a second chance.

While Cambria Wilson sits among family and friends during finale night, mixed feelings fight for a place in her heart. Sure, she and Canyon shared a very memorable kiss and she’d even been falling for him until she realized what a jerk he was, but that doesn’t explain the strange sadness that looms as she waits to see which of the finalists he’ll propose to.
In an unexpected twist during the final episode, Cambria learns that Canyon’s not going to propose to either of the bachelorettes left on the show. In fact, he’s about to appear on the doorstep of a woman he hopes to win back—all on live TV.

The bachelorette will be asked to join Canyon on a two-week winter wonderland getaway. Cambria would bet her Soap and Body Shop that she’s the last woman he’d choose; that is, until the chime of her doorbell proves her wrong.

 

Her Crazy Rich Fake Fiancé by Jennifer Youngblood

Haven Lockwood’s Christmas takes a nosedive when she discovers that her mother and identical twin sister, Brynn, ditched her, leaving her to spend Christmas alone in their New York City apartment. To make matters worse, Brynn’s boyfriend Wyatt shows up, ready to take Brynn on a road trip to Atlanta to meet his family.

Haven is fully prepared to tell Wyatt the hard news—that her flighty twin sister jetted off to Ireland with a movie star, leaving him high and dry—however, when she finds herself staring into his mesmerizing blue eyes, all explanations fly out the window. Not only is Wyatt devastatingly handsome, but also charming and witty with an adorable Southern accent that rolls like a ballad off his tongue.

Haven knows that when Wyatt looks at her with adoring eyes it’s only because he has mistaken her for her glamorous clothing designer sister. She wants to tell Wyatt the truth, but she can’t stand the thought of spending Christmas alone. As one thing leads to another and Haven and Wyatt share a near-kiss, Haven makes a split-second decision to accompany Wyatt to Atlanta—as Brynn!

When the sizzling attraction deepens to something real, Haven faces an internal dilemma—should she come clean now, before Christmas, or wait until afterwards? Will the truth destroy Haven’s chance for happiness … or will it be the very thing that brings two searching hearts together?

 

 

Her Hollywood Fake Fiancé by Taylor Hart

A famous movie star and the drama teacher who calls him a hack! Will they get their Christmas Miracle?

Grant Kent, movie star extraordinaire, doesn’t like the fact he has to have a fake ‘media’ relationship with his co-star to keep his movie producer’s happy. And he really doesn’t like the fact his brothers’ give him grief about it. So when he’s asked to help out at an acting camp for inner city kids, he jumps at the chance to do something real. Too bad the woman in charge tells him outright she thinks he’s a hack.

The talented Jewel Olympia only wants to help inner city kids by giving them an opportunity to learn acting skills. When she’s notified the week before Christmas that the P.I. she’s hired to track down her birth mother has a solid lead on her whereabouts, she decides it’s time to finally meet the woman that abandoned her in a hospital emergency room twenty-five years ago. Too bad an amazing looking movie star keeps bugging her to go on a date–bug off, she’s unavailable.

But when her parents show up on her doorstep asking where she’s going, she tries to distract them with Grant’s star power to avoid hurting their feelings. When he blurts out he’s her fiance, everything gets derailed and she finds herself on a jet to Jackson–this is not her life!

When a simple trip turns into a media frenzy, they’re left with a choice–trust in Christmas angels or lose everything.

 

Her Billionaire Boss Fake Fiancé by Cami Checketts

Farm girl sass takes on America’s Most Eligible Bachelor in this fun fake fiance romance.

Callum Hawk has it all—fame, money, and a family that loves him. He doesn’t have time for romance but that’s all right, his head of marketing does a great job scheduling dates with models and actresses for the necessary social events. When he almost hits Alexia Hall with his motorcycle, he’s intrigued by the feisty blonde and offers to hire her to be his fake fiancé for his brother’s wedding. When she not only turns him down but tells him to never come near her again, he has no clue what went wrong.

Lexi Hall almost kills her billionaire boss–ripping his Brioni suit, and scarring his motorcycle. Her errant tongue offends him and she storms away from the job opportunity of a lifetime. Hours later, she finds out her mom has finally been matched to a kidney donor, if Lexi can help pay for the surgery and medications. Her options are to swallow her pride and beg Callum Hawk to take her back as his fake fiancé or jeopardize her mother’s health and let her entire family down.

 

 

Christmas Cash Giveaway Details

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/16/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

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