Sunday, January 31, 2016

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want





Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want Hardcover –  Available March 1, 2016



Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind?

Too many of us are doing the former--and our lives are slipping away one day at a time. But what if we treated life like the gift that it is? What if we lived each day as though it were part of a bigger picture, a plan? That's what New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy show us how to do: to design a life with the end in mind, determining in advance the outcomes we desire and path to get there. In this step-by-step guide, they share proven principles that help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that they can get from where they are now to where they really want to be--in every area of life.




The book is available for pre-order!
You can find it on

 Amazon, (look inside)
 iTunes.

Click here to download a free sample chapter.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Derailed by Renee Lee Fisher


DERAILED
BY:  Renee Lee Fisher
Suspense Romance
Published August – 2015
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Blurb
When you get hit by it, you will know. Aubrey Tanner is married to her work. With her recent separation from long-time boyfriend and the town’s most eligible bachelor, she definitely isn’t looking for love. Working in her bakery keeps her busy, feeds her the town gossip, and pays the bills, all that she needs… At least until she finds herself under attack with no way to save herself.
You can’t see it, but it takes your breath away. Tate Manning travels where the leads take him, like a tourist town with a bakery full of sugary concoctions, the sweetest of which is the owner. In the right place, he pulls her out of harm’s way, allowing him to see through the town’s sleepy veneer to the crime running beneath the surface. Worse, Aubrey is unknowingly in the center of it all, and he can’t bear another innocent to be lost on his watch.
In that moment, love changes everything. Neither Aubrey nor Tate expects the temptation the other brings nor the complications. Aubrey must choose between the man that held her heart for years or the stranger who saves her from a bad situation. Unfortunately, Tate brings with him secrets and an agenda.
How will he choose between his mission of revenge and the woman who chases away the darkness?


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PLAIN DEAD by Emma Miller (An Amish Mystery)



Plain Dead


by Emma Miller


Plain Dead
(An Amish Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2015)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758291769
E-Book ASIN: B00VQFKFT4
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When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead…
Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind.
After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might be the next to appear in print…

About The Author



Emma Miller is the author of Redeeming Grace and Anna’s Gift.  She lives with her family in Kent County, Delaware
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25310469-plain-dead
Purchase Links
Amazon
Nothing stops a good winter festival more stone cold than death!
A murder by freezing it seems. Who dunnit? 
Was it an Amish pushed too far or one of those Englishers who can't be trusted?
People on both sides had reason enough to kill wicked newspaperman Bill Billingsly, including a pack of ex-wives. 
It seems Bill had a file of dirt on everyone and wasn't afraid to use it however it would make him richer. From the way his body was discovered, this murder was personal.

Rachel Mast left the Amish community years ago but returned. 
Although she has not gone back to her Amish ways, she still has a large Amish family there and is friendly with the Amish community, as well as other creative and quirky townfolk.

This winter festival is Rachel's creation, intended to supplement the tourist income that lags in colder months. Will a murder on the first day freeze out her good intentions?
And will her newly engaged status to detective Evan Parks turn frosty when Rachel becomes a suspect? After all, she has been keeping secrets from him.

I had not yet read the first two books in this series, and there are references back to previous murders. It seems Rachel has a penchant for finding herself involved in investigations.
I am betting that will cause further problems for her romantic relationship.
This is still an excellent read as a stand alone, but I know I will be reading more by this remarkable author. I enjoyed the settings and the interactions between the characters.
It is very interesting to get the feel for the Amish community.

As Rachel follows the evidence, as Evan says he must, things are not black and white or plainly clear at all.
Danger escalates even when Rachel is not connecting all the dots.

This mystery will keep you in the dark until the end.


I was given a copy via Netgalley to review.




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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Almost Never by Britni Hill






BLURB
Starting over will be the hardest thing she's ever done ...
Five years have passed since Cora Daniels left home. She’s back and supposed to be starting over.
She left seeking freedom, the chance to find herself. It turned out she wasn’t who she thought she’d become.
One poisonous relationship, two tragic events, and what seems like a lifetime of guilt leave her jaded and unsure of how to start a new life.



She’s alone. Left behind to deal with the consequences of her actions.
Until she meets Brady Maxwell.
He’s warm, caring, and incredibly attractive. When a friendship blooms, Cora fears what will happen when the spark between them undoubtedly catches fire.





About The Author
Britni Hill is a new adult and contemporary romance. She spends her days as a hair stylist, and her nights with the characters in her head striving to write real, page turning romance. 

​Britni lives in Indiana where she was born and raised. She has a rescue pup she adores and an unhealthy love of binging on cheesy teenage dramas. If she isn’t writing, she’s reading or watching horror flicks with her boyfriend.

Contact
www.britnihillbooks.com
www.facebook.com/britnihillauthor
britnihillauthor@gmail.com

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AT Bay, Book 1 Alex Troutt Thriller Series by John Mefford


NEW SERIES....
Alex Troutt Thriller Series #1
AT Bay
Alexandra Giordano never knew she had it so good. Until it was all gone in an instant.

As she begins her daunting quest to uncover the black spots on her memory, what she finds isn’t sweet or charming or even pleasant. And that’s when she begins to question everything, including herself.

Her work as a Special Agent for the FBI is only a distraction, serving as a mental metronome…anything to crank the gears of her feeble mind.

And then it happens—a bizarre, ritualistic murder. She loses herself in her work, fully immersed in the investigation. Unable to recall even her own kids, she’s somehow able to formulate coherent theories on what type of person could pull off such a sickening act.

As her mind slowly plugs a few memory gaps, her emotions are scrambled by the reality of her worlds colliding. And the resulting explosion tears her in two.

Can she pick up all the incendiary fragments to solve the twisted crime while she clings to some semblance of sanity?

One woman can only keep so much…AT Bay.


Available to buy from.....
Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   



When one writes a review on Amazon you are prompted to tell from which point of view the story is told. This series begins with a woman waking up in a hospital bed with NO memories at all. Even when she is able to speak, her words surprise her. She continually wonders, "How did I know that" or "Why did I make that reference?"  and she is surprised when others react various ways to her words.
Eventually she learns that some of her expressions are "out of character" for the Alex they think they know.  Yes, Alex.
Alexandra Giordano. FBI agent of extreme caliber.

There are several levels happening all at once in this new series.
If you are not familiar with no punches pulled author John W. Mefford
I suggest you begin not only this series but also pick up his BOOKER series about a P.I. who tries to balance job, dysfunctional family and friend relationships and at times seems to be trying single-handedly to save the world.
(This is not an affiliate link. I really give John's series 5 stars without compensation.)
Back to Alex - Despite being advised to "take it easy" for several days or even weeks, despite not really even knowing her name, trusting these guys who inform her only the barest details of her identity, despite physical injuries,
deep inside Alex knows she is the only one who can figure out what put her in this situation.  She can not help herself even when she rediscovers her life and observes it with a fresh perspective.
To put it mildly, Alex is not pleased with what she is learning.
Finding her past and what happened to her is put on hold when a perverted murder takes precedence over her former partner Nick's job of babysitting her.
Not one to be left out of the thick of the investigation, Alex soon finds herself attempting to take over.
This is a fast paced page turner that both genders and anyone interested in suspense, action, murder, thrillers will not want to put down.
Also for readers trying to understand the human condition.
John's writing can be gritty and graphic. His characters mulidimensional.
He takes us into minds we may not really want to be so intimate with.
What an ending! It sets this series up for many possibilites.
I know I am going along for the ride.
I did receive this book to review but no other compensation.

About the Author
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.
Find the author on the following sites...

OTHER BOOKS FROM JOHN W MEFFORD
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Release Blitz for Punk Rock-A-Bye Baby by Jenna Galicki





Title: Punk Rock-A-Bye Baby
Series: Radical Rock Stars #5
Author: Jenna Galicki
Genre: Erotic Romance
 Release Date: January 27, 2016


Blurb

She rocks my world.
He sets my soul on fire.
We’ve traveled down a bumpy road, but we’ve finally found the balance.
It’s time to bring a new little rock star into our lives.
I’m Tommy Blade, the Prince of Punk Rock, and this is the next chapter in our story.

Loving two people is never easy, and Tommy Blade fights every day to ensure that his wife and his lover know that he loves them both equally. A commitment ceremony solidifies their pledge to one another and brings them closer together. Jessi Blade is a lucky girl. With animosity behind them, she and Angel share a more intimate relationship and their lives flourish. She has everything she ever wanted—except a baby.

Angel Garcia never thought he’d share his life with a woman, no less marry one in a commitment ceremony. When a baby joins their family, it makes him realize how much Jessi really means to him.

The road Tommy, Jessi and Angel travel is never an easy one. Just when they’re at their happiest, an accident may very well change the course of their lives.


Also Available


AMAZON US / UK



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AMAZON US / UK



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Author Bio


Jenna Galicki writes in multiple genres including m/m/f, m/f, and m/m. She is predominantly known for her Radical Rock Stars Series. The Prince of Punk Rock (Radical Rock Stars Book 1) was a finalist in the Best Bisexual Romance category, chosen by the Bi Writers Association.

Jenna is a strong advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality. She volunteers with God's Love We Deliver, delivering meals to people with HIV and AIDS and other life threatening illnesses. She actively raises money and participates in AIDS Walk New York and is a proud sponsor of Children International.

She lives in Long Island, NY with her husband and two dogs. She is a rottweiler enthusiast and an avid music buff. When she's not hunched over a computer, you can find her front row at a rock concert.



Author Links

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Marry Your Wife by Stella Marie Alden Book Blast


Will the treacherous journey split them asunder forever?

Genre: Medieval Romance
Publication Date: November 18, 2015

What foul devilry is this? They told her he was dead. After six long years without a word, her knight falls onto his knees and sings poetry. Then he denies their son? Heed this well. She’s no longer an innocent who’ll giggle and tarry on his every word. The sharp edge of her tongue and knife is the only welcome he’ll get. She’ll not marry him. The pain would be too much to bear should he ever leave again.

Her attitude is beyond understanding. What voice did he have? The king commanded and he obeyed. Regardless of her hatred, the Templar knight weds. This time she will travel with him and he will win back her favor. It’s a long road from London to Hadrian’s Wall. Evil deeds weave a plot laced with castles, kidnappings, and missives. Will the treacherous journey split them asunder forever? Mayhap only in heaven will he rekindle the passion they once shared.



I love Yoga, Zumba, and DIY house projects. My latest fun toy is a tile cutter. Wheee. What else can I tile?

I grew up in New England, in Vermont and have always enjoyed making up stories. When I was a kid, nothing was sacred. Crayons would fight other crayons for placement in the box. Street lamps, when they lost their bulbs, would cry. Needless to say, I still have an active imagination.

I love traveling. I'm one of those people that all other travelers hate. I lay back, when the plane takes off, and awake when the plane touches down. 

I have two grown daughters, one lives in Brooklyn and one in Rome. My husband  loves to edit my work, and my two cats jump on my keyboard when I'm not watching. Blame them if you see typos.

Cheers and thanks for reading.




Cover Reveal/Pre-Order Blitz Evelyn's Promise by Betty Bolté


Evelyn's Promise
by Betty Bolté
Series: A More Perfect Union, #4
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2015



Widow Evelyn Hamilton must overcome societal expectations as well as soaring post-war inflation in order to provide for herself and her infant son. Determined to rebuild the gutted manor as well as her life, she vows to create a safe home on her own rather than be subjected to the dictates and demands of another husband.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams is driven by a thirst for adventure and longs to make his fortune on the frontier. When he visits Charlestown and his heart becomes ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow--who would never consider leaving her family behind--he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Can Nathaniel fulfill his dream even though it would mean living without Evelyn?



“Will this day never end?” Evelyn Hamilton cast a sidelong glance at the lean man standing beside her, hoping he hadn’t heard her childish grumbling.
No, he apparently hadn’t. Her pulse throbbed in her ears at Nathaniel Williams’ proximity, a sensation she’d only experienced when in fear of her late husband’s next actions. She held still, though actively attempting to calm the alarm inside her chest. She’d learned to mask her inner strength, what she possessed, by bowing her head, studying her hands or even her feet if necessary. In her experience, men could be cruel without a second thought, and she wouldn’t give them a reason to inflict said cruelty upon her person. She surveyed the happy gathering, the friendly mood of the group working its magic. She relaxed a bit, though having the tall, powerful man standing so close caused a fine tremor in her gut. He wouldn’t harm her, not in the present situation at a minimum. Nathaniel’s attention lingered on the three happy couples as they received congratulations from the guests snaking past the newly married. She was exhausted and longed for a quiet room, but remained amidst the jocular gathering.
“Looks like the entire town turned out for the triple wedding and the festivities afterward.” He glanced at her and then returned his gaze to the room at large.
“Yes, food tends to lure people out of their homes.” She kept a smile on her face as she observed the multitude of people milling about in the candlelit and lavishly decorated home.
“I understand you are to thank for the handsome decorations?” He lifted a brow and folded his arms across his chest, shifting his weight to rest on the hip closer to her.
“Thank you.” She’d enjoyed applying her talents to making the house reflect the importance of the day’s event. In truth, the triple wedding made Twelfth Night a livelier and more joyful occasion than in previous years, especially those under British rule, from what she’d been told. “I relished the honor of dressing the house for the happy occasion.”
Nathaniel regarded her with a gentle smile. “After all the horrors of war, the opportunity to enjoy such merriments is a delight to the senses.”
She nodded slowly, shifting the bundle in her arms. “Even during the war, life has a way of pushing through to keep hope alive.”
She looked down as her baby son squirmed in her embrace. A white cap, made with her own hands from fine linen, covered his wispy red-brown hair. His eyelashes fanned on his cheeks as the little mouth pursed in his sleep. The white dress he wore had been handed down from his cousin when he’d outgrown the garment. Even Walter, her deceased husband, had expressed pride in Jim. She’d promised herself that she’d do all in her power to ensure Master James Christopher Hamilton grew up to honor his name. No matter what she must do, she’d prepare Jim for whatever opportunities life brought his way.
She and Nathaniel, a stranger to her up until the rector performed the weddings a few minutes ago, had already paid their compliments to the three pairs of smiling husbands and wives. Her new friends and her sister stood together. Each bride shone with happiness, their smiles vying with the candles for lighting the room. The happy couples made a striking and impressive group.
Candles flickered throughout the newly redecorated house, illuminating bouquets of flowers tied with long curling ribbon secured to the banister and resting on tables. In the parlor, a string quartet played softly. The feeling in the home seemed magical and dreamy, like something out of a play. Even her old gown of silk and taffeta, with its embroidered stomacher and flowing cerulean skirts, appeared revitalized and beautiful. She’d been relieved when the dress fit upon her matronly figure after birthing the baby a mere two months previous.
Nathaniel caught her attention with a tilt of his head and wave of his hand. “Do you know all of these people?”
Evelyn shrugged. “On Twelfth Night, everyone is invited. I hope we don’t run out of the rum punch and egg nog.”
“Would you care for a cup of either, before such a tragic event occurs?” He winked at her, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth. “I’m happy to oblige, if so.”
“No, but thank you. My hands are already full.” She tucked the light blanket around her son’s sleeping face.
“I imagine they will remain so until your son is grown.” He stepped closer to her as guests pushed behind him on their way to the virtually groaning table of refreshments. “It appears the party is just beginning.”
“Yes, it should last for several days as long as the food and drink hold out.”
Nathaniel towered over her petite frame, a giant dressed in fine clothes. She lifted her chin, despite her unease, and studied the stranger’s scarred yet striking features. If not for the still red lines stretching across his right cheek, he’d appear to be of adolescent age. His luxurious chestnut brown hair, shot through with gold, tempted her touch, but she resisted the urge. His earlier brief conversation with Benjamin, her sister’s new husband, revealed he had fought in the state militia. He had come to town at Benjamin’s express invitation. What kind of business could he possibly have with the major? And, more urgent, why did he need to stand so close?
He smiled, a gentle expression. His steel gray eyes searched her face, his gaze flitting from mouth to nose and finally resting upon her eyes. “Unfortunately, I don’t expect to stay for the duration.”
“You’ll miss the celebration of the end of the holidays.” She drew a slow, unsteady breath as he continued to study her with the ghost of a smile. She lowered her eyes, smoothing the baby blanket as an excuse for looking away.
“I’ll miss more than that, I imagine.” He lifted the edge of Jim’s blanket, peered at the sleeping infant before he speared her with his black-rimmed eyes. “He has your nose.”
She giggled, then sobered, annoyed with her school girl reaction to the man. What was it about him that provoked such a reflex? She pressed her lips together but a smile forced its way through. “Perhaps he should give it back to me, do you suppose?”
Nathaniel’s smile widened to reveal his teeth. “Mayhap you can share it.”
Laughter bubbled out of her mouth and she quickly stopped it. “That would prove unsatisfactory.”
He chuckled, eyes twinkling. He glanced away and then back. “Looks like we’re about to have some company.”
Evelyn followed his gaze. Her sister Amy and Benjamin led the others to where Evelyn stood with Nathaniel by the cold fireplace, its firebox laid with kindling and tinder for later in the evening. With the press of so many bodies during the middle of the day, Evelyn had decreed no additional heat necessary. She’d been right, too. The doors and windows stood open to let in the cold January air, helping to mitigate the warmth created by the crush of guests.
The ladies had chosen beautiful gowns of their own for this special day. Cousin Emily’s pale yellow gown suited her to perfection, with white roses embroidered around the scooped neck of the bodice and then reaching out in rays down the skirts. She wore her blonde curls in an smooth bun beneath a matching pale yellow hat made from lace and decorated with real white roses. Amy wore a midnight blue dress overlaid with lavender netting. Her dark locks had been tamed into an intricate hairdo, a few curls left to hang beside her rosy cheeks. Samantha, her new friend and adopted sister, had boldly chosen an emerald velvet gown, with a deep plunge of the neck and scattering of rhinestones across the bodice, which suited her coloring and green eyes. Her ebony hair had been fashioned into an elegant braid for the occasion, with wisps of curls left to dance about her face. Gold bobs hung on her earlobes and a matching chain graced her neck. A lovely trio indeed.
“Evelyn, I cannot thank you enough for your efforts to make the house so beautiful and welcoming.” Emily drew her husband Frank Thomson closer to stand with her at Evelyn’s side. “Everyone is talking about the beautiful flowers and ribbons, oh, and the array of branched candlesticks.”
“You created a beautiful and romantic setting for our special day.” Amy lightly hugged Evelyn, careful to not wake the baby. “A simple thank you cannot convey the depth of my gratitude. Especially after the terrible losses you’ve endured over the past month or so.”
Amy’s comment raised the memory of the gun shots, the violence, and the violations Evelyn had experienced. Her late husband Walter had been a difficult man to please. When she had not produced an heir within a few months of their marriage, he’d turned violent. Fortunately, she conceived a baby and his tirades abated. Until the renegades and scouts took turns scavenging the property. He held his tongue while the invaders took all they wanted, but then he had unleashed his anger upon her. She sniffed and shook off the misery threatening to dampen her spirits. She wouldn’t permit anything to interfere with her happiness on her sister’s wedding day.
“One must look to the future and move on when adversity strikes.” Evelyn joggled Jim as he began to stir. Soon he’d be wide awake and hungry. He must be her focus, not the death of her abusive husband, nor the conflagration that consumed their manor house. Looking forward meant figuring out how she’d provide for her own household.
“I’m pleased you chose to accept our parents’ offer. Since I’m moving out soon, they would be lonely without having one of us with them.” Amy clasped her hands before her as she nodded. “It’s some form of a miracle our father’s finances are sound after all of the trials he’s been through over the course of the war.”
“Indeed. I’m fortunate they do not mind my return to their house.” But Evelyn minded, more than she’d shared with any one. Her first task was to find her own place to live and raise her son. But how could she afford a house? The money Walter had set aside would last a few months with the current rate of inflation and the devaluation of paper money. Then what?
“At least you have a roof over your head.” Nathaniel shifted his weight, closing the distance between them so his hip nearly touched hers. “I’ve just arrived in town and must find lodgings until I can locate a suitable domicile.”
“I’m certain someone will open their home to you.” His nearness sent shivers through Evelyn’s midriff. He exuded a force she sensed but couldn’t define, one tempting her to touch him. What was wrong with her? She barely knew him. She took a half step away, covering her movement with a peek at Jim.
“We’re a friendly city, now that the bloody Britons have departed.” Frank slipped his arm around Emily’s waist. “What do you think of having a guest?”
Emily glanced at Evelyn and then back to Frank. “If he’d like to stay with us, I’m sure we can make him comfortable.”
Nathaniel inclined his head in thanks. “Very kind of you. However, what about your honeymoon?”
Frank shook his head, his blond hair neatly held in a queue for the occasion. “We’ve decided to remain at home and enjoy our newly refurbished abode instead of traveling at this time of year. But in a little while, we will make a journey.”
“All the more reason for me to decline your generous offer.” Nathaniel shrugged as he glanced at Emily. “I wouldn’t wish to interfere with a newly married couple.”
Trent raised both brows and shook his head. “Do not worry. We’ll help you find lodgings. Perhaps Captain Sullivan will have a place, like he did for Benjamin.”
“Nonsense, my friend. What of southern hospitality? Mr. Williams, you are welcome to stay with us. Isn’t he, dear?” Benjamin, tall, dark haired, and handsome in an elaborately embroidered waistcoat peeking out from under a bright blue coat and trousers, peered at Amy, who slowly nodded. “See? We’d be pleased for you to share our house as long as you might need.”
A host of conflicting emotions flashed across Nathaniel’s face before he shook his head. “I appreciate the offer, but I simply cannot believe the newly married would wish a stranger in their midst. I’m sure if I were in your shoes I’d be reluctant to entertain guests.”
Evelyn avoided meeting Nathaniel’s eyes as he contemplated her with his last words. She hugged Jim close, her cheeks warming under his regard, and looked anywhere but in his direction. He seemed to hint at the underlying meaning of his words to her, provoking the tumult raging in her mind. She needed to remove herself from his presence, and soon.
“That is a valid point.” Benjamin grinned at Nathaniel. “It may be hard to sleep nights.”
Amy swatted Benjamin’s arm, blushing as his meaning spread through the group. “Mind your manners.”
“Where will you stay then? If you won’t stay with any of us, I mean.” Samantha clasped her husband Trent Cunningham’s arm as her gaze shifted from one to another of the group.
Evelyn liked Dr. Trent, and rejoiced that her dear friend had found the love of her life in the sandy haired handsome man. Like the others, Trent had donned his finest suit, the dark blue setting off his crystal blue eyes and a discreetly patterned waistcoat, both of which showed his strength and elegant carriage.
The rustle of taffeta and the thump of leather shoes on the wood floor drew Evelyn’s attention to the elderly couple approaching. Her parents, Richard and Lucille Abernathy, had aged gracefully, though her mother’s ramrod straight back had bowed a little more each year. Neither head boasted any gray, and their love revealed itself through the angling of their bodies toward each other as well as the looks they shared.
If Evelyn could one day find a man who would treat her with the same respect and concern as her father shared with her mother, she’d be content. But the pickings proved slim after so many men had lost their lives securing the independence of America from British tyranny. Societal expectations weighed on her mind. She should find another husband, one to provide for her two-month old son. If she only had herself to support, she’d manage with sewing or perhaps by being a governess. Jim, her mother had reminded her, needed a father to teach the boy how to be a man, and to ensure he received the requisite care and education to grow to his full maturity. Yet part of her wished to remain unmarried, independent of the needs and demands of a husband. But even knowing of the dearth of eligible bachelors, the next time she accepted a man’s attentions, she’d be very careful and certain of his personality. She’d promised herself no one would hurt her ever again.
“I couldn’t help but overhear. We have room for you and no recently wed occupants to worry about.” Richard Abernathy slapped Nathaniel on the back. “Interested?”
Nathaniel smiled, his attention flicking her way and then back to her father. Evelyn held her breath, squeezing Jim until his murmur of protest made her relax her grip. Would this man be staying under the same roof? She desired distance between them, and suddenly the absolute opposite results hovered in the air. Definitely time for her to find another place to reside.
Nathaniel studied her for two beats of her heart before turning and stretching out his hand to shake with her father. “I’d be honored to accept, as long as it does not inconvenience any one.”
“Not at all. If you’d like, you can ride in the carriage with us back to the house.” Richard grinned and rested his large hand at the small of Lucille’s back. “We intend to leave in a little while. We tire easily as the years go by, so we’re off to say our farewells and then we can depart.”
“Very good.” Nathaniel nodded to Richard as he led his wife away, then fixed his attention on Evelyn. “Do you mind that I accepted your father’s offer? I have no wish to make you uncomfortable in your own home.”
“Why would I mind?” Evelyn kept her eyes on the handsome yet dangerous man regarding her with a serious expression. Dangerous first with regard to the scars he’d suffered during the fighting, indicating he resorted to aggressive behavior when pressed. Dangerous in that he’d also been a party to the raid on her house, a violent invasion of her home by the American militia in search of sustenance for the soldiers. Finally, dangerous to her equilibrium by his mere presence. She straightened her back, stiffening her resolve at the same time. Handsome is as handsome does, after all. “As long as you keep to yourself, we shall get along.”
He nodded slowly but his charming smile slipped back into place. “I shall endeavor to honor your request.”
“See that you do.” A flicker of humor flashed in his eyes and she drew in a breath. “I’m in mourning, so your attentions would be, if not welcome, at best inappropriate.”
The sparkle in his eyes went out. “I see.”
Amy took Benjamin’s hand in hers as she addressed Evelyn. “My dear sister, you, of all people, know how fearful it is to be without a home to live in. Now that your worries are behind you, please don’t begrudge the young man shelter from the elements for a short stay while he makes other arrangements.”
Evelyn angled her head and frowned at her sister. “What do you mean, my worries are behind me?”
“Why, you have a home and the security of our father’s fortune to provide for you and your son.” Amy waved a hand in the space between them. “You need not trouble your head about where and how you’ll live. It’s been decided.”
Surprise swept through Evelyn. “No, it has not been decided.” She espied doubt on the faces of her friends. “I have no intention of living with my parents for long.”
Nathaniel nodded at her. “Looks like we have something in common.”
Evelyn opened her mouth to contradict his claim, but Amy cut into the conversation.
“Look, Benjamin, Mr. and Mrs. Walters are preparing to leave. We must go thank them for their wedding gifts.” Amy tugged on Benjamin’s arm, drawing him away from the cluster of friends.
“Will you excuse us?” Benjamin addressed the group at large as he allowed Amy to pull him along behind her.
“Be off with you.” Evelyn waved the three couples on their way. “We’ll catch up with you later.”
“Thanks again for all your help, Evelyn,” Samantha said as Trent proffered his arm.
“My pleasure.” Evelyn shooed them with a happy chuckle. “Go. See to your guests.”
After the chattering friends had blended into the surrounding crowd, Evelyn turned back to Nathaniel. “So, Mr. Williams, will you be staying in town long?”
“I’m not sure. It depends on what Major Hanson has to say to-morrow when we meet.” He peered at her, and a gentle smile emerged on his lips. “And what a certain recent widow might have to say as well. She may wish for me to dawdle in procuring my own residence.”
Evelyn raised one brow at the provocative suggestion and then shook her head. She had absolutely no intention of beginning her husband hunt so soon after becoming widowed. “Do not depend on such an unlikely occurrence, Mr. Williams.”
“Please, my friends all call me Nat. And I shall call you Lyn.” He chuckled and folded his arms. “Since we’ll be living under the same roof for a time, we may as well be friends.”
Evelyn blinked at the man, astonished at the level of his audacity. Yes, he was definitely a dangerous man. Who did he think he was? No one had ever shortened her given name into such a ridiculous nickname. Time to straighten him out as to the proper form of address and thus erect a societal barrier to protect herself. One she desperately needed to erect. “You may call me Mrs. Hamilton, and I will call you Mr. Williams.”
He shook his head, as though sad to correct her. “I think not. Lyn suits you exquisitely better.”
Clearly, the daft man couldn’t be reasoned with, intent on having his way, much like Walter, who had cowed her into doing everything to please him. But no matter what she did or how she behaved, she had never really satisfied her husband. Except maybe in having a son. A son she’d do everything in her power to protect. Squaring her shoulders, she blinked at Nathaniel. She would not travel the path of subjugation ever again.
“I have never answered to a nickname, so if you intend to be friendly, you’ll respect my wishes.” She snugged Jim closer to her, preparing to walk away from the charged space suddenly stretching between them.
Nathaniel smiled at her, and made the beginning of a bow before straightening, glee in his eyes. “If you insist.”
“I do.” The mischievous smirk on his lips did not bode well. She’d seen his type before. She would make certain he behaved properly toward her.
Her young maid appeared out of the crowd. Dressed in her best frock, the black slave soon reached Evelyn’s side and reached out to take Jim into her arms. “Want me to carry him? Your arms must be tiring.”
“Yes, thank you, Jemma.” Evelyn gladly transferred the weight of her son to the girl. “He may need a clean napkin, as well.”
“I’ll take care of the young’un.” Jemma nodded and rearranged the blanket over the wide awake boy. “You enjoy yourself, you here?”
Evelyn huffed a laugh as she fingered her skirts. “I have been, but now it’s time we depart.”
“Yes, miss.” Jemma peered at the man beside Evelyn. “Is he coming with us?”
“It appears so. This is Nathaniel Williams.” Evelyn glanced between the maid and the man. “My father invited him to stay with us for as long as he’d enjoy visiting.”
“Pleased to meet you, Jemma.” Nathaniel offered his crooked arm to Evelyn, an invitation to his escort, but also to touch him. “Shall we join your parents?”
His mere propinquity set her heart racing. To lay her hand on his muscular arm would invite an undesired response. Well, actually a much longed for action which would yield most certainly a desired response. One she could not permit herself to experience. She must tread carefully, and see he did as well. “As long as you remember you are a guest in our house, I will treat you with respect and deference.” She had promises to keep, ones made to herself and to her son. Nothing would sway her from her mission. Not even tempting lips and an endearing smile. “I ask you to do the same.”
“You have nothing to fear from me.” He inclined his head and grinned at her when she gingerly rested the tips of her fingers on the heavy fabric of his coat sleeve.
The light yet electric touch of his arm, even through the sleeve, evoked a tiny gasp from deep inside her. Propriety kept her hand in place as they stepped off, making a path through the crowded rooms. They paused in an antechamber to don their warm cloaks and hats, avoiding further contact until he again crooked his arm. After pulling on her gloves, she reluctantly accepted.
As they approached her parents at the open front door, he glanced down at her. “I shall be on my very best behavior, Lyn.”
She gaped at him. The challenge in his expression made her snap her mouth closed as they passed through the door and out onto the street. Her parents climbed into the conveyance as Nathaniel escorted her toward the vehicle. She would refuse to speak to him if he continued to press her in such an improper manner. The corded muscles in his arm flexed beneath her fingers before he took her hand and helped her up into the waiting carriage.
She gathered her long skirts close as she sat on the cushioned bench seat, and then stifled a gasp when Nathaniel squeezed in beside her, Jemma and Jim on his other side. His leg rested against hers, hidden beneath the flap of his coat and her own voluminous skirts. With her parents sitting directly in front of her, she dared not draw attention to his impropriety. She pressed her lips together to keep from chastising him. Oh, she wished she’d been wrong, but she’d been so very right. He was indeed dangerous on all counts.




Book 1: Emily's Vow

Book 2: Amy's Choice


Book 3: Samantha's Secret



Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master of Arts in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at www.bettybolte.com.