Love Christmas Excerpt: Sleigh Ride by Katy Walters

Welcome to another excerpt from the LOVE CHRISTMAS 2016 Romance Collection.

This week's Chapter 1 excerpt is Sleigh Ride by Katy Walters.

Chapter 1

Shafts of light shone through the delicate leaves of the silver birch tree, tracing lacy patterns across the dusty path.

Sophia Vale lifted her head to the sweet trebles of birds high in the branches above her. It was an idyllic morning, and more so as she came upon a patch of medicinal herbs.  Lungwort was the most beneficial for her mother’s congestion.

Relieved, she plucked them from the vibrant green grass placing them with the plants of elderberry and wild rosemary. Now she could make tisanes to alleviate the crackling congestion on her mama’s chest, and ease the cackling cough. She wished she could afford the services of a physicker, but his fees were well above their modest means. In fact the stipend they did have, covered only their food and shelter of a dilapidated but well-loved cottage.

The scent of the wild herbs wafted through the verdant bushes to a silent watcher. Hiding behind the thick trunk of  horse chestnut tree, Lord Jude Hawley gritted his teeth, as he peered through the thick leaves. She was indeed a picture, in her simple gown and villager straw hat framing her pale olive face, the dark eyes glittering amber in the light. The white muslin contrasted with her ebony hair flowing in waves to her tiny waist. She often wore it down thinking she was unobserved in her woodland habitat.

As she neared, he stepped from his hiding place, his heart rippling at her nearness. "Miss Vale, you should not walk unescorted through these lonely paths. Some scoundrel could be waiting behind the bushes ready to ravish you."

"Such talk sir, how indiscreet. Have you no sense of propriety?" she asked with asperity.

"Hmm, I think only for your safety, my sweet girl."

"Truly, my lord." She smiled lifting those beautiful eyes to his. "I am quite safe here with only the birds and the fawns as my companions. You should repair to your own place my lord; you will begrime those exquisite clothes."

Not picking up her veiled sarcasm, he preened, struggling to lift his treble chin above the immaculately folded cravat. Hurriedly, he smoothed down the blue superfine frock coat, as he endeavoured to tug down the high cut of the cloth over his barrel of a belly. Simpering, he squawked, "I am fit to swoon with your sweet praise. Praise from an angel alighted on my unworthy path."

Foppishly, he flourished a silk handkerchief dangerously near her face; as he posed pointing his foot, the ugly knotted veins pushing through the fine silk stockings. "So my apparel pleases you?"

Sophia took a deep breath. He reminded her of a fat old wood pigeon bending his tail feathers to his intended victim. Well he would not be jumping on her back. "T'is clear your valet spent hours fixing your cravat."

"Hmm, I follow Gronow and Beau Brummel to the tee y'know."

"Hmm yes, it looks like it. But those satin shoes are not fitted for such rough terrain my lord. You should turn back before you ruin them."

"Be that as it may my angel, I risk all for one sweet word from that delectable mouth. Now I am here, pray let me escort you to your door."

"My Lord, I am not in hurry to repair to my home, and had bethought to search for more herbs."

"Hmm, then let me aid you in your endeavour."

Sophia tried to hide her irritation; he just would not desist from following her. Wherever she went these days; it seemed he was there. Seeing him proffer his arm, it would have been rude to ignore the gesture, yet she had an excuse. "Sir I can hardly carry this basket and take you arm."

Smirking, he bellowed, taking them from her, "Hah, my little dove. I am ever at your service."

She wanted to tug them back, but that would be foolish and paltry. Sighing she took his arm, at least his hands were now engaged, so he could not slink one around her waist.

Feeling more in control now, he looked down at her head just below his shoulder. She was so petite, with such a slender figure and the palest of skin. He never stopped admiring her dainty hands and feet. How would she react if she knew his innermost desire was to feel her long slim legs crossed over his back. Smiling at the thought, he said quietly, "Have you considered my offer?"

"Ah. I would prefer to talk on other subjects my lord."

"Surely you cannot refuse. See now, you have need of a physicker, but you have to make do with these wild concoctions." He looked disparagingly at the fresh herbs in her basket.

"I think they are far more beneficial than cutting, or leeches, my lord. A tisane of these herbs will loosen my mother’s cough. By nightfall, she should rest easy."

"Pon rep, I just don’t understand you Sophia."

She stiffened at his use of her familiar name. "Miss Vale if you please, my lord."

Stopping, he gripped her upper arms with his pudgy hands, turning her gently to face him. "Pray, give me an answer, put me out of my misery. I would go down on bended knee, but these silk stockings are costly. I offer you anything you desire, a beautiful house, garden and a gardener to grow all the herbs you wish.  Why, you could have an orangery, grow pineapples, oranges and the most exotic of vegetables. You need not dirty those dainty hands. Why, I will even house your mother and little sister in a cottage on the estate. I will see they both have the finest care. As my mistress you will have the world at your feet. I would bow to your every command."

"Except for your silk stockings I daresay."

He ignored her quip, "As my mistress you would live in luxury, with a fine settlement bestowed upon you."

"My lord you insult me. How can you even think I would succumb to your offer. You blatantly abuse me with your sordid words."

"Abuse? Why I would not lay a finger upon that most delicate of skin, the skin born in heaven, nor would I utter one word to offend those most delicate shell like ears."

‘Really, you threaten to debauch me sir, and for that I cannot forgive you.’

"Debauch you? How so, I offer you my love, my heart; when I offer you a house, carriage, jewels?"

"I have a cottage my lord, which I love. I am quite happy with my mother and my sister. The only thing that mars my idyll is you."

Stooping he kicked a tuft of grass on the side of the earthen path. "Well I have news for you, m'dear."

Without another word he took out a roll of parchment, waving it impatiently beneath her nose. "Read it."

Takeaway Truth

Love Christmas containing Sleigh Ride and 19 other novellas will be available for pre-order in October.

Small Town Saturday with Tracey Lyons

My guest for Small town Saturday is best selling historical romance author Tracey Lyons. You can find Tracey Online at: Website * Facebook * Pinterest * Amazon Author Page * Twitter.

To the delight of historical romance readers, Tracey has a new release. A Changed Agent, a sweet historical romance with a Small Town setting, was published last month by Waterfall Press.

A Changed Agent by Tracey Lyons

When schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell meets rugged William Benton on a train platform in Albany, it appears they have nothing in common. He isn’t the sort of fellow a proper young woman of the 1890s would ever speak to, much less become involved with. But when she arrives at her small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Elsie is offered a job as caregiver for this mysterious out-of-towner’s niece and nephew, who’ve been tragically orphaned. Heartbroken for them, she accepts.

Unknown to her, William is an undercover Pinkerton agent posing as a lumber-company foreman. He’s never wanted family—his work is too dangerous. Yet as Elsie transforms his house into a home and he spends time with the children, he feels drawn to family life—and to Elsie.

As a good Christian, Elsie is troubled by William’s secrets…though she does find him intriguing. And when a sinister figure from her past arrives, Elsie and William will have to trust in faith and newfound love to protect their unlikely family from danger.

Tracey Lyons and Small Town Setting for A Changed Agent

Reeves: Why did you use a small town as the setting for A Changed Agent?

Lyons: This book was a perfect fit for the fictional town of Heartston, New York. I love the Adirondacks and the small town local feel you get no matter where you go.

Reeves: What was the inspiration for A Changed Agent?

Lyons: I knew that I wanted to write a book with a Pinkerton hero. The inspiration came from a lot of reading historical romances with a suspense element.

Reeves: Do you have an ideal small town in mind when you write?

Lyons: I do. It clearly is one that has a close knit community. There is always a main street where you know everyone that passes by. And there is always a place be it a church or something like a bake shop where my characters all meet up to talk about their lives or discuss the day’s events.

Reeves: What in your opinion are the best and worst aspects of small town life?

Lyons: The best part is you know most people. I adore the sense of community and friendship. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York and most of my family was from the area. I knew a lot of people. But my kids used to tell me they couldn’t get into any trouble without my finding out! So the worst part of small town life is you know most people and there are few secrets! LOL!

Reeves: What's next up for you, i.e. new book, special promotion, box set, audiobook, etc.?

Lyons: Right now I’m preparing for the release of A Changed Agent. My first book with my new publisher Waterfall Press. I’m busy doing a lot of promotion both with social media and appearing a reader events and conferences.

I’ll be at the American Christian Fiction writers conference in Nashville in August. And I’ll be signing at the first Christian Fiction Readers Retreat on August 14th. Scarritt Bennett Center, 1008 19th Avenue South, Nashville, TN.

Takeaway Truth

A Changed Agent promises to be something special. It's available at Amazon so grab a copy today for your weekend reading.

Romance Box Set: Letterbox Love Stories, Volume I

The spotlight shines on a romance box set today: Letterbox Love Stories, Volume I.

What if a life-changing letter arrived in today’s mail? Now imagine it leads to love and adventure.

From the northern British Isles, across the mainland of Europe, and on to Turkey, 9 international romance authors share spellbinding love stories told across time. And each begins with a letter…

Letterbox Love Stories, Volume 1, Authors and Titles

Plain Harry by Lindsay Townsend Historical Romance

Recovering from a brutal marriage, Esther is living quietly as a widow when a letter from her brother Sir Stephen destroys her contented life. Stephen orders her to marry Sir Henry—but who is this “Plain Harry” and how will he treat her? Set in medieval England in a time when women had few rights, this story shows how love can flourish in the unlikeliest of places and between the unlikeliest of people.

Lindsay Townsend has always been intrigued by history and the past. Writing stories about heroes and heroines overcoming massive problems and finding love as they do so is a wonderful way to earn a living!

Lindsay Online: Website * Blog * Amazon Author Page.


Come Date Me in Paris by Helena Fairfax ~ Happy endings and romance with heart

When Alice receives a letter telling her she’s won a place on a TV blind date show, she should be excited - only trouble is, the show involves cooking for your date…and Alice can’t cook. Forced to throw herself on the mercy of her chef neighbour, Edmond, Alice asks him for lessons. But will she be cooking up a romance…or cooking up disaster?

Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She lives in an old Victorian mill town on the edge of the Yorkshire moors and walks this landscape every day with her dog, dreaming up her heroes and her happy endings. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award, the Exeter Novel Prize, and the Global eBook Awards.

Helena Online: Website * Amazon Author Page


All or Nothing by Denyse Bridger ~ Romance and Fantasy for the discerning reader...

Casino Coranthos is a playground for the wealthy and bored, but for some it’s also a place where dreams and promises change lives forever. When a letter becomes part of an unexpected inheritance for Ryann Thomson, her aunt’s past brings her face to face with Ariston Katsaros, a man haunted by loss and driven by anger. As attraction between them sizzles, can Ryann convince Ari she won’t rob him or his father of anything? Or will she become a casualty of his vengeance? In this dangerous game of all or nothing, her heart and future happiness are at stake.

Denyse Bridger, a lifelong dreamer, is Canadian born and bred. She began writing at an early age and can’t recall a time when she wasn’t creating in some artistic form. Her life has had several on-going love affairs that shape much of what she writes.

Denyse Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Newsletter.


Abandoned Treasures by Gemma Juliana ~ Love Endures Throughout the Ages, Intrigue Unfolds Across the Pages

What do a reality TV star and a billionaire from Sardinia have in common? Sophie Hayes is jaded from years of buying and selling the contents of abandoned storage units. After she dumps her cheating fiancé, a letter arrives from a man in Sardinia inviting her to personally deliver a rare antique desk. What better way to spend what would have been her honeymoon? Rico di Carlo is a reclusive widower with a secret—he’s been falling in love with Sophie Hayes for almost a year. Now she’s in his world and he has one week to make sure she never wants to leave.

An eternal matchmaker, Gemma gets great joy from creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world and enjoys adding the extra spice of international settings to her stories.

Gemma Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook


More than Wishes by Rose Anderson writing as Madeline Archer ~ Love Waits in Unexpected Places

Raised on a sailor’s tales of adventure and eager for her own, Stella Cunningham answers an advertisement for a traveling companion to the Orient. There she purchases an ancient bronze lamp with a secret. In the land of flying carpets and genies, Stella is about to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Rose Anderson, known for crafting characters that stay with you long after the last page has turned, Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes across genres under the pen name Madeline Archer.

Rose Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook


Sons of the Wind by Marie Laval ~ Global Ebook Awards 2014 Gold Medal Winner

Provence 1826. Ten years after her brother disappeared in the marshes of the Camargue, Venetia Rigby receives a letter suggesting he is still alive. Will Philippe Dantès, half-gipsy master of Terres Mortes, help her find him when he has his own demons to fight?

Marie Laval is originally from Lyon in France. She  has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years. She loves nothing more than dreaming up romantic stories. She writes contemporary and historical romance, and her novels, including the award-winning The Lion's Embrace, are all published by Accent Press.

Marie Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook.


The Minstrel Boy by Jenny Twist ~ Stories to Capture the Imagination

In 1936 a band of students went off to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Only one came home…and he was haunted by the girl he left behind.

Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford. In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.

Jenny Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook.


Sealed With A Kiss by Lynn Crain ~ Experience the Magic

In 2084, time traveling detective, Tandi Reynolds, tipped off by a letter, needs to stop an assassin before he kills a newly elected leader. When she finds him in 1874, Vienna, it’s clear a cold blooded killer is only one of her problems. Time is fleeting, so falling in love with her contact, the charismatic Count Leopold Radetzky von Radetz, is a bad idea, but keeping her feelings in check is not easy when she relies on him for her every need.

Lynn Crain is an award-winning author who has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers.

Lynn Online: Website * Amazon Author Page.


Curating Love by Cara Marsi ~ Treat yourself to a taste of romance.

A letter inviting Chloe Decker to curate the art collection of the wealthy DiMarco family of Ravello, Italy, lets Chloe begin to picture a new beginning for herself after a tragic loss. But she’d never included her employer’s sexy grandson, Matteo DiMarco, in that portrait. Chloe’s not ready for a relationship, even with a fine Italian masterpiece of a man like Matteo, but can he convince her to paint a new life that includes him?

Cara Marsi is an award-winning and eclectic author published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance, loves a good love story and believes everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love.

Cara Online: Website * Amazon Author Page * Facebook.


Add To Your Library Today

Add Letterbox Love Stories, Volume 1, to your To Be Read list today. Available at Amazon Kindle.

Takeaway Truth

Summer is an amazing book shopping experience. Load up your ereaders today.

Love Christmas Excerpt: Hark the Herald Angel Falls by Michele Hauf

From Michele Hauf

Hey! It’s a Christmas story! And…it’s May, and 80 degrees outside.

It never ceases to make me laugh at how my writing tends to have me working on winter stories in the summer and vice versa.

Today I’ve got an excerpt from HARK THE HERALD ANGEL FALLS, a paranormal novella featured in the Love, Christmas anthology due out in October for the 2016 Holiday Season.

This story is set in my world of Beautiful Creatures. I added a bit more than Chapter One because well, you’ll see why.

Chapter One

Then…

Crisp snowflakes dusted their faces and stirred up laughter as Merit and Luke Dawson swished their arms up and down across the packed snow. They lay side by side beneath the quiet glow of a streetlight in a corner of a Paris city park. Luke stood and clasped his wife’s hand to pull her up beside him as they looked over their handiwork.

“Not bad,” he decided.

“Not bad? We rock at snow angels.” Merit’s bright blue eyes danced as she landed his embrace and gave him a cold, wet kiss laced with snowflakes. “I love you so much.”

“I love you more than the world,” he replied.

“I know you do. Sometimes when I’m home alone, I can feel you thinking about me.”

“Really?”

She nodded effusively and snowflakes sifted from her thick, wavy black hair. “When the loft is quiet, I can feel your love for me as if it’s something I can reach out and grasp. Don’t ever leave me, Luke.”

“I swear I won’t. You’ll always feel my love, wherever you are. Now, are you sure you want to go with that image?” he teased as they looked over their impromptu snow angels. “Really? You? An angel?”

Mocking outrage with a pout of her snow-kissed pink lips, Merit nudged him with an elbow. “You love my devilish side.”

“No halo for Merit Dawson, and that’s the way I like it. Especially when you get that wicked, sexy glint in your eyes—like now—and I know what’s coming next.”

She plunged against him, wrapping her legs about his waist and kissing him hard and sloppy. Her attack kisses always ended in their laughter, and, if they were anywhere near a bed, long and lingering sex.

“Happy first anniversary, lover,” Luke said against her mouth.

“And Merry Christmas,” she added.

“Only you could have convinced me to get married on Christmas Eve.”

“I love Christmas. It’s the one day that bursts with love. Can you feel it?”

He did, and the feeling radiated from deep in his soul. “I almost forgot. I have a surprise for you. It’s in the car. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

Merit dropped from their embrace and then lunged to grab a stray branch from the snow. “I’m going to draw a halo on your angel.”

“Don’t forget the horns and tail for yours!” Luke called as he strode toward the Renault parked around a hornbeam hedge and at the curb.

Running, he performed a slide across the slick, packed snow and landed the car door with a slap of his gloved palms and a chuckle. Merit did that to him. Lifted his heart and made him feel like a kid who’d just been gifted a sleigh full of Christmas toys. A year of marriage had felt like a mere day. His job as a traveling jewelry salesman allowed him to set his own schedule, and sometimes take Merit along. The next year promised great and wondrous things standing alongside his gorgeous wife and seeing the world through her optimistic eyes.

He opened the door and popped open the glove compartment. From inside, he drew out the heart-shaped diamond necklace. He tapped the five-carat diamond. “Adamant, like my love for you.”

Merit’s scream shattered Luke’s happiness. Dread curdled in his throat. He took off toward the park, leaving the car door open, and the necklace dangling from his clasped fist.

* * *

Frost etched the hospital window. The glow of a star topping the Christmas tree in the neighboring churchyard winked defiantly at Luke. The ambulance had delivered he and his wife to Hôtel Dieu half an hour earlier. They’d rolled Merit into another room, a creased white sheet covering her face. A young male doctor stood at his side now, talking, saying…something.

Luke wasn’t listening. He couldn’t hear. He didn’t want to hear.

She was gone. And he remained.

Something wrong with that. It should have been him.

The church bells clanged roughly, marking the eve of a great savior’s birth. Luke swallowed and the air pressure adjusted, siphoning into his brain the doctor’s voice on quiet but cutting words.

“…we did all we could.”

Sitting on a plastic chair outside the room where his wife had been treated, Luke gritted his jaw, wincing at the pain from the wounds on his neck. A nurse had bandaged him and asked if he’d like something for the pain. The pain? What drug could take away the pain he felt from the indelible wound to his heart where Merit had been viciously cut away?

“I can tell you she didn’t feel a thing,” the doctor continued. “When she hit the back of her head, it knocked her out. She wasn’t conscious to experience any pain.”

Luke tilted his head back against the wall and bit his lower lip. “You’re lying. I saw her while three of them held me back. There were two of them on her. She screamed. She didn’t stop screaming.” He met the doctor’s bloodshot eyes. “She felt it all.”

“I, uh…”

“Just leave,” Luke said. “Get away from me.”

The doctor receded, as did the blurry haze of the Christmas star. Snowflakes fell over the world. Including Luke’s heart.

Clasping the diamond heart necklace he hadn’t a chance to give his wife before the vampires had attacked, he strode out of the hospital.

Chapter Two

Paris, almost a year later…

Snowflakes sifted across the Seine and floated a few seconds before melting into the icy waters. Luke leaned against the river wall, watching the last bateaux mouche pack up for the night. Even in this chilly weather crazy tourists hopped onto the boat ride that would sail them by the famous monuments and buildings. Christmas landed in a week. Shouldn’t those mortals be home, snuggled next to the ones they loved?

At least they had loved ones.

Sighing heavily, he tilted his head and his skull hit the limestone wall hard as he stared into the charcoal sky. Difficult to find a star standing here in the center of the City of Light. A bright and beautiful star reigned up there in the heavens somewhere.

“Merit,” he whispered his dead wife’s name. “I miss you.” His throat closing up, his heart muscles clenched.

“They’re lighting the tree tomorrow night at the Galeries Lafayette,” said the bum standing beside him.

Francois was a riverside regular. He knew Luke would hand him a few euros if he was quiet while Luke muddled in his usual late-night pondering before he went out to scam for a thief to provide the sustaining blood he required.

Luke hated drinking blood. Not so much the taste of it, but the whole living off another’s life to survive thing did not sit well with his morals. Did he need to survive? He’d lost everything that meant anything to him that night the vampires had attacked he and his wife. He could still hear Merit’s screams. Until that moment, he’d not heard terror touch her voice. She’d always been happy, fun and sexy, and a bit of a smart ass.

He’d give anything for that sassy little tongue to slip out the corner of her mouth right now, followed by a twinkle in her bright blue eyes. Just to see her one last time. Not screaming. To kiss her. To hold her so tightly nothing could ever rip her away from him.

“You’ve never been in the Galeries Lafayette,” he said to the bum.

“Right, but I can look in the windows. Pretty things in there.”

There was but one pretty thing Luke wished for, and he could never have it now.

“I was going to make an early night of it,” Francois said.

Luke got the hint. A roll of ten euro notes were coiled in his pocket. He shoved a hand in to forage for a few bills—and decided to hand Francois the whole roll. Francois hooted.

And a burst of brilliant light flashed across the river.

Something hit the water with a crack. Impact landed in the center, yet it spread out in waves of shimmering light in a definite shape.

“Did you see that?” Francois hooted again. “It was a bloody angel!”

It had looked like a person. With wings? That had been the shape he’d seen shimmer in the water. Impossible. Yet if it was a person, they’d never survive the freezing water.

Luke shrugged off his leather jacket. “I have to save her.”

Takeaway Truth

I'm hooked! Can't wait for the rest of Hark the Herald Angel Falls.

For more info on Michele’s books visit Michele Hauf Online.

Romance Box Set: Be Witched

Hurray! I have another romance box set for you, and this time it's paranormal romance: Be Witched: A Paranormal Romance Boxed Set of Witches and Magic.

For only $2.99--or free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited--you get 22 novels of magical and mysterious Paranormal Romance.


All one million words of this witchy romance boxed set will leave you spellbound, but this collection won't last long. This limited edition omnibus is available for a limited time and packed with today's NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors, bringing you nothing but the best of the best in the witch romance genre.

Be Witched Titles and Authors

Moonlit Feathers by Sarah Mäkelä - After faced with crippling loss, a heartbroken raven must find her wings again...

Moon Coven by Kressley Hamilton - Julia's coven has been at war with Roman's for generations. Now their love for each other may be the death of them both.

The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton - A witch gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust a shifter.

The Deepest Black by Rainy Kaye - Ember has a little problem...fairies want her dead.

Charmed and Dangerous by Debbie Herbert - A witch returns years after a traumatic Ouija board incident. She falls for a classmate and struggles to keep her magic secret.

Witch's Fate by Linsey Hall - When warlock Malcolm Brent chose power over Sofia and cast her aside, she vowed to forget him. For four hundred years, it worked. Until he forced her to return to him...

The Witches of Dark Root by April Aasheim - Seven years ago Maggie left her enchanted but stifling town and her mother's magick shop. Now she's returned to find both the town and her family in peril, and she might be the only one who can save them.

The Blackburn Legacy by Apryl Baker - Fearing for her sanity, Alexandria must face her nightmares. Aided by new friends, who have dark secrets themselves, can she survive long enough to discover the secret behind the secret?

Sand Witch by Poppet - A sexy, witchy, good time tale. Falling in love is magickal, despite the bullets and near death experiences.

We're All Mad Here by Angel Lawson - Conner had a life before he figured out how to hide his secret. Before the hospital and the events that will follow him, from this life to the next.

The Pandora Principle by Noree Cosper - As a descendant of Pandora, Cassi must discover if her lover is one of the evil spirits she hunts before all of her friends die.

Magic Born by Caethes Faron - A college student discovers she's the daughter of a powerful mage when a panther shifter delivers the news of her mother's murder...and now the killer is after her.

Black Magick by J.E. Taylor - When a banishing spell goes awry, Paige Turner must defeat a vengeful spirit before he destroys everything she loves.

The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks - Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead...just like the prom queen did.

The Caster's Canticle by L.V. Lewis - When hopelessness and lust collides, how does one give life to a heart that sings to you like no other?

Kissing the Devil by Shannon Eckrich - A witch, a devil, and a curse. A romantic twist on the legend of the New Jersey Devil.

The Devil's Fool by Rachel McClellan - Eve spends most of her life avoiding people like her power-hungry witch parents, but when she meets a seductive vampire, she finds it increasingly difficult to spot the true devils of the world, especially when she becomes one herself.

The Sexy & the Undead by Charity Parkerson - Single, unemployed, and in charge of her very own pet zombie, Ella Perry is cooking up trouble, and it's raining men.

Witchy by Susan Stec - Skylar is a white witch full of good intentions, bad habits, and poor relationship choices.

The Night by N.R. Larry - Kinsley will do anything to forget that she killed a guy.

Good as Dead by C.P. Mandara - Everyone wants her dead. One vampire has been ordered to keep her alive, and he's hungry... for much more than blood.

Wicked by Diana Bocco - One night. One ritual. Passion will change everything.

Add this limited edition paranormal romance collection to your summer reading stack. Be Witched: A Paranormal Romance Boxed Set of Witches and Magic available from Amazon Kindle now.

Takeaway Truth

I'm loving these summer bargains. Aren't you?

Review: Limitless (Netflix Should "Longmire" This Series)

I didn't watch Limitless until I binge watched it on Netflix this past weekend. I cannot believe CBS did not renew this compelling series for a second season.

Maybe that's because it's a mixed drama that can be muddled unless the show runner has a focused vision. You see, Limitless is a science fiction dramedy, or comedy drama. Maybe their marketing department just didn't get it before the right audience.

Limitless has a focused concept and contains the best elements of its 3 genres. Compelling story lines with appealing characters, a mind-blowing *wink, wink* concept, believable conflict, and large doses of humor make Limitless must-see TV indeed.

Premise

Brian Finch, played by Jake McDorman, is a 28-year-old slacker of the struggling musician type. A former band mate and old friend who became an uber successful banker gives him a pill--NZT48--to help him focus. That little pill allows him to access every neuron in his brain. For the 12 hours the pill is effective, Brian is the smartest person on the planet, able to perfectly recall every detail of his past and stunningly use every aspect of that, intuition, and reasoning to solve problems. Of course, there is the downside. The pill has alarming side effects.

If this sounds familiar, it's because there was a movie of the same name starring Bradley Cooper as a user of the miracle drug. Cooper is one of the Executive Producers of this series and makes guest appearances as U.S. Senator Eddie Morra who has created a drug to counteract the side effects. There's a catch. He will only give the drug to Brian Finch if Finch plays ball with him and therein lies the rub.

Main Characters

Jake McDorman is Brian Finch.
Jennifer Carpenter is FBI Special Agent Rebecca Harris.
Hill Harper is FBI Special Agent Spelman Boyle.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is FBI Special Agent in Charge Nasreen "Naz" Pouran.
Bradley Cooper is U.S. Senator Edward Morra.
Ron Rifkin is Dennis Finch, Brian's father, and Blair Brown is Marie Finch, Brian's mother.

My 2 Cents

With the good guy hero, who discovers how moral and good he really is, caught in an untenable situation, the show just got better and better with every episode as Brian struggles to not do evil yet keep his handlers pacified.

Netflix, grab this gem and give it the Longmire treatment, i.e., purchase rights to the series and keep it going.

Takeaway Truth

I'm not the only one who has had this thought. Fans are hoping Netflix will take this on and make it the success that Longmire has become. (By the way, Longmire returns in September for its second season as a Netflix Original.)

Love Christmas Romance Collection Excerpt by Rebecca York

I'm pleased to present another Chapter 1 sneak peak of a novella from the 2016 Romance Collection LOVE CHRISTMAS.

This collection of Christmas novellas, written by 20 bestselling authors and inspired by your favorite Christmas songs, will be available in early October for the holiday season.

I'll post the pre-order date and links as soon as they are available so subscribe to the blog so you don't miss an excerpt or the latest news about what promises to be an amazing holiday romance box set.

The Chapter 1 excerpt this time is from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York. Her bio appears after the excerpt so be sure and read it. The spotlight is yours, Rebecca!

White Christmas
by Rebecca York


Sneak Peek Unedited Draft originally published on The Authors Billboard

Nothing is more fun than writing a holiday story, and here’s the first chapter of White Christmas, the Christmas novella I’m contributing to the Love, Christmas boxed set.

Craft shop owner, Amelia Parsons, is too upset to be paying attention to her surroundings. When she’s hit by a car, she wakes up far from home. Here’s the first chapter of the story.

Chapter One

Amelia Parsons was too upset to see the car speeding toward her through the swirling snow. One moment she was crossing the ice-rutted street in St. Stephens, Maryland, and worrying about a call from the police—plus a missing shipment of Christmas ornaments for the hospital tree. In the next she was flying into the air. She heard someone scream. Maybe it was her. Then she sank into thick blackness that lasted for minutes—or maybe it was years.

When her eyes blinked open, she was standing in the cold again, wavering on unsteady legs as big flakes came down around her like she was the star attraction in a giant snow globe. Main Street was gone. Instead, in her blurry vision, she saw pine trees, their branches weighted down with a layer of ice.

Her head hurt and her mind felt muzzy. She thought she heard holiday music drifting toward her on the wind—White Christmas, she thought. Or was it only ringing in her ears? And were the warm lights in the distance real? Through the falling snow and the trees, she could just make them out.

She’d been downtown, half a block from The Wild Side, her arts and crafts shop, which sold the work of local artisans as well as native crafts from around the world.  Now somehow she was out in the woods, but the lights must mean she wasn’t far from civilization.

The snow on the ground was almost to the top of her boots. As she struggled toward the vague outline of several oversized Swiss chalets, she tripped against a root, going down on her hands and knees.

For a few moments, she fought a pitched battle to keep from blacking out again. When her vision cleared, she pushed herself up and had to grab the trunk of a tree for support.

“Get it together, Amelia,” she muttered as she started struggling toward the lights again.

Before she had gotten more than a few yards, she heard an ominous rumbling that seemed to be coming from high up and to her left. It thundered closer, and the image of an avalanche hurtling down the side of a mountain leaped into her fogged mind.

All she could do was scramble for safety, floundering through the drifts like a seal out of water, trying to reach the building ahead. A torrent of white enveloped her, and she knew she wasn’t going to make it. Just before she went under, a running figure grabbed her, swooping her up in strong arms. She had a quick impression of dark hair under a fur trimmed hood, fierce eyes, and a clenched jaw as he ran with her, lumps of ice pelting down on both of them. He must have zoomed out of the main mass of the avalanche because she sensed it rumbling behind them as he kept going, heading for the closest building.

When he crossed the threshold and carried her inside, she realized they were in a barn where animals were making snorting and chattering sounds. But when she peered into a couple of stalls, there were no cows or horses.  Instead she saw beige- and brown-colored beasts with antlers. They looked like some kind of deer?  But who kept deer in a stable?

Strange as it seemed, she would have sworn they were talking excitedly to each other, or was that just the ringing in her ears? At any rate, she couldn’t understand what they were saying.  And before she could figure it out, her rescuer took her to an unused stall and set her down while he threw back his hood and brushed snow off his shoulders.

Unsteady on her feet, she backed up and landed in a large pile of hay.

Now that they were out of danger, she could get a better look at the guy towering over her.  He was a hunk wearing jeans, a dark coat and heavy gloves.  Under other circumstances, she might have tried to get friendly, but his icy eyes stopped her.

“Thank you for saving me,” she tried as a kind of, um, icebreaker. When he didn’t reply she kept talking. "I mean, I know I put you in jeopardy. I’m sorry.”

His answer wasn’t what she’d expected. “What are you doing here?”

Her fogged brain struggled to process the question. “I don’t know. I mean I don’t even know where I am.”

He glared down at her. "I think you know all right. Who sent you?”

“Nobody.”

As she spoke, she heard footsteps in the corridor between the stalls.  A short man dressed in jeans and a red coat over a red flannel shirt stepped into the stall. His thick white hair was mussed, and his bushy white beard hid the bottom half of his face.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I found her out in the snow.  I think she’s a spy.”

Amelia stared at him in disbelief. “A spy? I don’t even know where I am,” she repeated what she’d said earlier, then added, “My name is Amelia Parsons. I own a craft shop in St. Stephens, Maryland. I was minding my own business when . . .” She stopped and pressed her fingers to her mouth. “Oh Lord, I think I was hit by a car.  I was so upset about that call from the police—plus the Santa’s Workshop shipping delay.”

They both stared at her. “What do you know about the problems at Santa’s Workshop?” the hunk demanded.

Again she struggled for coherent thoughts. “Nothing. I was supposed to get a discount order of ornaments, for the hospital tree, but the distributor can’t get anything from them.”

The men exchanged glances.

When the older one started to speak, the younger guy shook his head.  “Need to know basis.”

Amelia blinked. “Huh?”

The bearded man turned back to Amelia. “We’ve had some problems lately. I guess I should be more cautious, but it’s hard not to expect the best from people.”

“Would you mind telling me your names?” she asked, her gaze swinging from one of them to the other and back again.

The hunk opened his mouth, then closed it again.

The older man supplied, “He’s Daniel.”

“Okay,” the hunk agreed.

Was she still too out of it to hear that right? “You just gave him a name?” Amelia asked.
The older man flushed. “Well, a code name, you know.”

“Why?”

Daniel jumped back into the conversation. “We’ve had sabotage here lately. And an innocent looking woman like you could be a decoy, sent to make us let down our guard.”

End of Excerpt

The title of each story in the collection is a holiday song. And our readers selected the songs. I’m so excited that Sharon L. Gage gave me my title. Thanks so much, Sharon.

About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue.

Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.

Takeaway Truth

Wasn't this a fun chapter? I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait to read the rest of this novella and all the others that make up the LOVE CHRISTMAS Romance Collection.