I’ve been diligently reading all the books in the Deerbourne Inn series put out by The Wild Rose Press and my, oh my…I’m happily sucked into this fictional town of Willow Springs, Vermont! The stories, the people, the romance…ahhh!
Novellas (stories 40,000 words or less, and typically 75-150 pages long) are a great escape from the grind. I write full-time but also love to read, and I’m limited by my reading speed. I do enjoy full-length novels, but I have to say that novellas are my new secret passion! I can finish in one or two sittings and feel a lovely sense of accomplishment (and enjoyment).
What’s interesting about this series is the stories span genres…mystery, suspense, paranormal, romance…and time (historical and contemporary). Since many, but not all, have romantic elements, the heat level is a spectrum from sweet to spicy to hot.
Willow Springs is in the Mad River Glen of Vermont. All the stories revolve around the townsfolk and visitors. Each story has at least one character staying as a guest at the Deerbourne Inn, a rustic, renovated B&B in the middle of town. There is no need to read them all in order. I’ve jumped around. Each story is its own. But as you read more, you may have little moments like me where you go “Ah! I remember him/her from the other book.” Each story adds flavors and layers and depth to this town.
P.S. I enjoyed researching for my own book in the series. For a few pictures from the Mad River Glen hop over here.
I’ll keep updating this page as more books are released. Without further ado, may I present the Deerbourne Inn:
Note: My own sexy scale is indicated: [sweet, sexy, or hot]
By Reservation Only (Barbara Edwards): [Mystery, Sweet]
The first book in the series sets us up with the Inn, and we learn about its owner, Nate, a former NYC chef. Along comes a mysterious woman searching for clues to her past. And…there is a mysterious arsonist among the townsfolk! HIGHLIGHTS: Lovely set-up, and mouth-watering meals! A wee bit of mystery tossed in.
Hope’s Dream (Peggy Jaeger): [Romance, Sweet]
A delightful winter cozy! Hope lives in town and works the ski slopes and at a bar to take care of her ill mother, though medical bills prevent Hope from pursing her career dreams. Along comes lawyer Tyler, who needs to get her to sign some estate papers that would be a windfall of income to Hope. Love strikes, and the more he is with her, the more muddled his situation gets (he hasn’t exactly told her the reason why he is in town). Well, you guessed it! Love. HIGHLIGHTS: I enjoyed Ms. Jaeger’s writing style and the sweet, slow burning romance that built up between Hope and Tyler. The imagery made me envision the crisp, powdery slopes of Vermont and warm cozy firesides.
Freedom’s Path (Linda Carroll-Bradd): [Historical Romance, Sweet]
This is the first (I hope of many) historicals in the series. 1855. Freedom-fighter Sidonie works as a maid at the Inn. An Army Corporal, Colin, comes to town under the guise of salesman to root out abolitionists. The cause is personal to Sidonie, as her grandmother escaped bondage years ago. Love builds between these two, opposites, but Colin has an empathetic heart. Then another slave-hunter comes town. Will Sidonie be caught? Will Colin turn her in if he learns of her involvement? HIGHLIGHTS: I enjoyed the suspense, Sidonie’s bravery (she hangs special quilts as “code” to other abolitionists), and the spark between her and Colin. This book was a pleasure to read and I liked the ending.
Spirited Quest (Julie Howard): [Paranormal, Sweet]
Paige runs the town newspaper, a dying art, and she is still figuring out what to do with her life in the wake of a divorce. In her early-50’s, she has spunk and a strong personality. Her niece, an acclaimed blogger and “ghost whisperer” comes to town to visit with the Inn’s local ghost. This story is paranormal meets suspenseful mystery (is the ghost real? Is somebody stalking her niece? Is she in danger?). HIGHLIGHTS: I loved the perspective of Paige and that she never really believed in this ghost nonsense. Well-polished writing kept me turning the pages.
Lyrical Embrace (Amber Daulton): [Romance, Sexy/Hot]
Erica is on the run from an abusive ex in NYC, with a load of his cash in her bag, and her violin at her side. The last thing she wants is a romance. Enter Dylan, former rockstar and player. But Dylan wants a quiet life back home in Vermont, teaching kids music. Sparks fly fast with these two. Enter trouble: has her ex found her? Is Erica ever going to be safe and find a happy ending? HIGHLIGHTS: I liked that Dylan was not your typical bad-boy. This story is hot and heavy, but well-written and believable. I liked the secondary character development as well.
Soul of the Storm (Jean M. Grant): [Romance, Sexy]
Not sure I feel justified to review my own work! A quick summary: Charlotte is haunted by a past: a sister lost on a hiking adventure but her friend persuades her for a week away in VT to rest, not dwell on a mistake. She blames herself and her lying/cheating ex-husband. Matiu is aching to return his restless spirit back home to New Zealand, and works many jobs in town to pinch pennies. Neither are looking for love but both can’t deny their attraction and shared love of the outdoors. When the Search & Rescue team falls ill and a snow storm blows in, can Charlotte help Matiu on a rescue? Will love help her summit one last peak? HIGHLIGHTS: Flavors of Matiu’s Maori upbringing and a fun story for outdoor enthusiasts (hiking, kayaking).
Lion Dancing for Love (Laura Boon): [Romance, Sexy/Hot]
Caitlyn is in town visiting her friend, while on a year-long “holiday” trying to find herself and avoid going home to California in the wake of a bad break-up. Corey is a wholesome (adorable!) young widower. The two have an instant (well, they try to deny it) connection. Their romance is believable and enjoyable. Is Corey ready to move on, and can love keep Caitlyn in town? HIGHLIGHTS: I enjoyed both characters’ backstories (Caitlyn is Chinese-American and let’s just say she gets this widower to dust off his dancing shoes to help her in a special Lion Dance). I learned a bit about this important ceremonial dance and I adored Corey. This is another hotter romance when it comes to love scenes.
Forever in a Moment (Charlotte O’Shay): [Romance, Sexy]
Sam’s fiancé dumped her days before their wedding and she’s looking for an escape from her too-serious, too-predictable life in NYC as a lawyer. Enter her “honeymoon” for one in Vermont at Christmas, a broken down car in the snow, and a ruggedly reclusive dairy farmer named Jed. These two can’t fight their attraction, but with Jed’s painful past and her own secret, can these two get their act together for a HEA? Can Sam say goodbye to the routine and start anew in small-town VT? HIGHLIGHTS: The fresh, first person/present tense style by the author really highlights the voice of the characters, brings them to life on the page. I loved Sam’s candidness and Jed’s sincerity (Ah, a hot, sensitive farmer!). The love scenes are sexy but not too hot. A fresh, keep you in your seat read!
Witches’ Cliff (Peggy Chambers): [Paranormal, Sweet]
Penny’s returned to town after leaving with her mother after her birth and the stigma of being witches. She descends from a family of witches and lives in Salem, MA. On the heels of a marriage proposal she is uncertain about (he’s a bit slimy), she comes to town to seek guidance of a different kind…from an ancestor. This requires climbing the Witches’ Cliff (where witches were tried and tossed off) on Halloween and summoning her great-many times over-grandmother. Oh, there’s also a handsome electrician who has eyes for her and another local witch she is skeptical about: is she friend or foe? HIGHLIGHTS: I enjoyed the paranormal elements, Penny’s down-to earth attitude, and the overall story line.
Mystic Maples (Tena Stetler): [Paranormal, Sexy]
I enjoyed digging deeper into the mystical history of Willow Springs. Mercy is a modern day witch with unique ties to the land and flowers (I love flowers!), who travels to Willow Springs to get away from some bad stuff life threw at her in Colorado. Sil is a local maple harvester in Willow Springs who has a tarnished family tree filled with treachery, witches, gypsies, and fae/faeries. Toss in time travel, and it's a sexy story of romance, family, and maple syrup. If you enjoy small town romance, paranormal elements, and fun reads, this is a great book for you
Love Calls You Home (Donna Simonetta): [Contemporary, Sexy]
I liked the concept of this book right off the bat...a gal who left her sleepy, cold New England town for a bigger sunny career and life in Miami...but work calls her back home. Stephanie and Donald hit the ground running with sparks: from former childhood buddies to a blooming adult romance. And Donald's a charming librarian to boot! This is a great summer read to load into your Kindle. Bring it poolside!
Love Proof (Luanna Stewart): [Contemporary, Sexy]
Fiona is a bakery shop owner (oh so many sweets in this one!). In comes Raynor, her former high school classmate/crush/and oh, yeah, she did something awful back in the day that tarnished his rep. And he doesn’t know SHE Is the one behind it all. The sweetness piles up when these two get closer while he is in town, he garners a new job as a photojournalist, and has to highlight her bakery. Engaging, great voice, and kept me turning the pages. Delicious baked goods (and sexy scenes) made me want to go home and bake something!
A Bean, a Pea, and a Mammoth (Eve Dew Cook): [Contemporary, rating TBD - sweet?]
Rekindling an old Flame (Samantha Gentry): [Contemporary, Hot]
Another sweet little book is coming out March 20th! Below you’ll see my blog tour schedule (plus some visits to fellow The Wild Rose Press authors’ blogs). Hope you can stop by at one or two. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You’ll learn more about me, my writing process, and Soul of the Storm.
March 20: Long and Short Reviews
March 27: BooksChatter
April 3: It's Raining Books
April 10: Romance Novel Giveaways
April 17: All the Ups and Downs
April 24: Edgar's Books
April 24: Our Town Book Reviews - review
May 1: Rogue's Angels
May 1: Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books! - review
May 8: Fabulous and Brunette
May 8: Locks, Hooks and Books - review
Now for a teaser:
Charlotte sat on the top porch step instead of in a rocker. Her breath puffed in a misty cloud before her as she waited. Again, the scent of a fire from the back pit infused the air. She traced the knots in the planks of the porch with the toe of her shoe, ignoring her thudding pulse. Matiu shuffled through the side door. She rose to help him with the cups.
“Kia ora,” he said, smile deep and teeth bright beneath the lamps. “It’s colder tonight.”
“You need a jacket,” she said with a nod to his thinner long-sleeved top that clung nicely to his muscles.
“I’ll sit closer to you. Nice quilt.”
“I’m always cold. I won’t have much heat to share.”
“Logging in my assessment file.” He tapped his temple.
She shivered from nerves as he settled beside her on the top step.
“Ya know, we could have tea inside,” he suggested.
“What about consorting? Besides, I like the clear sky and fresh air. Night is my time.”
He nodded. “Ah, clear skies are amazing. I prefer morning. Not sure about tomorrow. Neil’s sick with the flu, and so is Kelly. They work on the search and rescue team, and Kelly also does mucking with us for the US Forest Service. Seems like the germs haven’t left for the season.”
“Nor the cold temps. Both tend to bite us in the ass in April.”
“I was serious. You going to share that quilt with me?” He inched closer.
“Nope. Get your own.”
He pressed a hand to his heart. “Shot down!” Tea splashed as his laugh vibrated.
Her pulse quickened with the idea of sharing warmth with him.
He said, “I’m knackered. That paddle got me sore. Bit more wind today than I’d expected.”
“You’re not the only one.”
He was so close. She subtly inhaled his natural scent. She couldn’t place it. Probably his shampoo… combined with sweat and cooking oils. They sat quietly, unsure what to say next. His nearness upset her equilibrium. She drank the tea.
Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she's surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.
Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He's never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.
Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay ~ Walmart
Wow, wow, wow, my baby is coming to readers’ hands on April 17th. It’s been a whirlwind spring with three books coming out, each a month apart (no, I did not plan this, but I grabbed the reins and I’m enjoying the ride!). This book put my perseverance and patience to the test: countless rewrites, critique partners’ (and agents’) feedback, ping-pong edits with my editors…and sweat and tears. At the end, I was rewarded with the layered, gripping, and heartbreaking journey of AJ Sinclair and her son Will.
I’m filled with gratitude that my editor took a chance on this book (Women’s Fiction and a shift from my usual romance stories). I’m also forever grateful to my writer’s group and beta and critique partners that guided me to the end. Thank you, all!
Now for the cover art! Debbie Taylor did an amazing job capturing my vision:
And the blurb:
Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.
Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.
A few photos from a trip a few years ago to the Pacific Northwest that was inspiration for my backdrop. We went on a volcanic tour so to speak, culminating at Yellowstone, naturally. What an adventure! This trip was followed by one last year to Colorado/Utah that also fed my creative muse. I have 1000’s of photos but this handful gives you a sprinkle. :)
Now for an excerpt:
Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.
“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”
I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.
“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.
“We already tried that, Mom.”
“Not for that, Will.”
He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.
“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”
“Wizards have wands.”
The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”
I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?
I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.
“Hello, again,” he said.
Much more to come. Stay tuned!
WINNER OF AMAZON/B&N GIFT CARD ANNOUNCED:
~~~~ Congratulations, Christina L.R.! ~~~~
Come with me on my Goddess Fish Blog Tour adventure! Each stop will have an opportunity to enter an Amazon/Barnes and Noble giveaway, you’ll read excerpts from A Hundred Breaths, and learn more about me, my writing process, and facts about the book!
Vikings ~ Mystical Isles Folk ~ Enchanting Abbey and Castle ~ A Vengeful Scotsman ~ An Incredible Journey
Healing his heart…with her last breath.
Simon MacCoinneach’s vengeance runs deep. The blade is the only way to end the blood-thirsty Nordmen’s reign upon Scottish soil. His soul might be lost, but the mystical Healer he kidnaps from the isles could be the answer for his ailing mother…and his heart.
Isles-born Gwyn reluctantly agrees to a marriage alliance with this heathen Scot in return for the sanctuary of her younger brother from her abusive Norse father. Her brother’s condition is beyond the scope of her Ancient power, for larger healings steal breaths of life from her own body.
As Simon and Gwyn fight to outwit her madman father and a resentful Norse betrothed, Gwyn softens Simon’s heart with each merciful touch. Gwyn’s Seer sister foresees a bloody battle—and an end to the Nordmen—but Simon will also die. Will Gwyn save Simon on the battlefield even if it means losing her last breath?
February 18: BooksChatter
February 18: Our Town Book Reviews
February 25: Edgar's Books
March 4: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
March 4: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
March 11: Romance Novel Giveaways
March 11: Hearts and Scribbles
March 11: Christine Young
March 18: Mythical Books
March 18: So Many Books
March 25: Fabulous and Brunette
March 25: Readeropolis
April 1: Kit 'N Kabookle
April 8: The Reading Addict
Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter along the tour to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble giftcard!
Find A Hundred Breaths:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Google Play
A whirlwind tour of Scotland: isles, castles, abbeys, lochs, moors, oh my!, and a visit to the Draken Harald Hårfagre while it was harbored in Connecticut.