Babies and More Babies!

There isn’t anything any sweeter than the scent of a baby, any baby, anywhere. Snuggling a baby creates a joy and a peace in your spirit.

And speaking of babies…

Christmas Babies on Main Street released October 12, 2017.

004 website

This baby themed anthology was a delight to bring together for our readers and we’re thrilled to share fabulous stories with you again this Christmas season.

Take a peek inside our small towns, their families, and nine stories of baby love to warm your heart. Though these stories are written with Christmas in mind they’re excellent reading any time of the year.

My contribution story is The Christmas Stocking, book two of Apple Lake series.

Excerpt

Ellie had never wanted to settle for less than a happy home and the sound of pitter-patter dancing across her floors…but she had. Ryan Newsome had married her only to give him babies. One week after her second miscarriage, Ryan took the cowards way out and walked away.
Little did Ellie know, God was about to intervene.

The Christmas Stocking Final (small)

Chapter 14

“I’d really like an actual shower. Those bed baths kept me fresh, but there’s not much that feels better than warm water running over your body.” Luke glanced over at Ellie. “If that’s okay.”

Oh, my! Do not even think about it. No way am I giving you a shower.

From his reaction, she must have had an expression of shock on her face.

“I’m sorry,” he said, then laughed. “It doesn’t pay to think out loud. I meant nothing by that statement.”

“Well…I’m happy to hear that. And no. No, it isn’t a problem. I’ll call and have an aide come by to help you.”

“That won’t be necessary. If you’ll help me gather everything, I can take care of myself.” Luke held up both hands, palm side out. “I’d prefer to hold off on the aide.”

“I don’t know. You’re still weak. What if you should fall?” She sent him a stern look. “You can’t expect me to barge into the bathroom and help you up from the floor. Didn’t they assist you with showers the last few days? Normally they do before releasing patients.”

“Yes, they did. My leg was too weak to stand though. Extended therapy will improve the muscles. Trust me. It may take a while to get back to normal, but after this week’s therapy, I can handle a shower now.” He grinned over at her. “I promised not to be a burden on you, remember?”

Whatever he was, he wasn’t a burden. In fact, she rather enjoyed his company, so far anyway. More than that, her heart had done several flips when he’d smiled at her. Embarrassed at her reaction to the stranger who’d recently lost his wife, Ellie scolded herself for being so taken in by his dreamy blue eyes and easy smile. Not going there. I’m not ready for a relationship. Certainly he isn’t.

“I remember.” Ellie let her gaze linger over Luke. “This decision is entirely up to you. I refuse to be held responsible if you get hurt.”

“I realize you don’t know me well, but what kind of person do you think I am?” Luke tensed. “I wouldn’t dream of holding you responsible for something I did to myself.”

“Okay then. Hold on a minute,” Ellie said. In a few minutes, she was back with several pairs of slacks, shirts, unopened underclothing, new socks and a pair of house shoes. “Try these. You’re about the same size as Ryan, except taller. They may not be a perfect fit, but since you don’t have your clothes yet, they’ll have to work.”

“Hey, thanks. Real clothes will be a welcome change from the hospital gowns. I’ll get Mrs. King to pick up some of my clothes tomorrow.” Luke grabbed his cane and hobbled behind Ellie and into the downstairs bathroom. He exhaled deeply and blew into the air.

“Are you okay?” Ellie asked, as she laid out his clothes.

“Yes. I think so. Reminiscing, that’s all.”

“Would you like to talk?” Ellie’s heart went out to Luke and his children. Their lives were changed in an instant, because of the car accident.

Luke raised his eyes, which were filled with grief. “No. But thanks for offering.”

“I’m sorry about your wife, Luke. Truly sorry.”

____________________________________________________________

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your story!

We’re excited the book set has been received so well. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Christmas Babies on Main Street yet, please consider checking it out!  http://amzn.to/2xQ5Lsj

Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love

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Small Town Christmas Baby – An Excerpt

Small Town Christmas Baby Cover Twins Bow-2I’m very excited for the upcoming Authors of Main Street Christmas box set! It’s scheduled to be released in October and we’ll keep you posted. We’ll have over ten novellas about the warmth of Christmas, romance and BABIES!

My story in the anthology is set in the small (quasi) fictional town of Hamlin, New Hampshire. This is the fourth book in my Small Town Romance series.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s an excerpt from Small Town Christmas Baby:

Chapter 1

Lumberjacks adore New Hampshire. Trees grow faster here than Usain Bolt runs the 40-meter sprint. Julie, not being a lumberjack, had little appreciation for the giant trees with their enormous branches overhanging the Stillwater Inn. They’d need to call the tree chopper guy in again and it would cost thousands. Again.

She turned away from the window and vowed there was no way she would ask her husband for the money this time. She’d find it in the Inn’s budget if she had to make beds herself to save money.

Running her hand over her disappointingly small rounded belly, she turned her attention back to the cupcake frosting. One way to get a bunch of cash quick would be to win the Bake-off in Boston next month. She shoved aside the thought of rumblings from Jack about her needing to take care of herself and concentrate on the arrival of their first baby in a few months. Surely she could do two—maybe three or four—things at once. Lots of women did.

But as of today, Julie officially hated cupcakes. It was a shame because she was starving and she was staring at racks filled with all kinds of gems. But even the smell of her fresh-baked specials didn’t tempt her any more. These days she craved chocolate covered potato chips and hot dogs.

As she squeezed the bursts of frosting on the hundred and twelfth cupcake, the back door slammed and she looked up. It had to be Tammy. Only her oldest and best friend slammed the door open like that. It had always been Tam’s way to announce her arrival.

“You’re in time to help me.”

“You must be desperate. You know how I am with cake and icing—“

Julie waved her tube of icing.

“Not with that. I wouldn’t want your drool to contaminate the cake-lets. I need help with something far more important.”

“What the heck could that possibly be?”

Shoving aside the issue of tree-chopping money—because she knew deep down Jack would talk Uncle Billy into letting him pay on the grounds that Jack was part owner of the family Inn now since he was part of the family—she lasered in on the real gut-twister.

“I need to come up with a show-stopper of a Christmas gift for Jack.” She paused a beat while Tammy predictably rolled her eyes.

“Something I can afford on my own.”

* * * *

More to come when the entire set of Christmas Babies on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street will be available in a few short weeks.

In the meantime, look for the cover reveal soon!

Christmas in July – Chapter two

Happy September!  Since I published the first chapter of CHRISTMAS IN JULY last month I thought I’d add the cover and the second chapter this month. I hope this gets you ready for my contribution to the 2017 Christmas box – all of the entries look fantastic.

Leigh

Christmas in July-1

CHAPTER TWO

“Come on, General. How about I lead today, and you walk beside me for a change?” Madelyn stopped.

General kept on walking, stretching his leash taut. It was a bungie leash and he knew exactly how far he could stretch it before it tugged him back. This had become habit too—the General leading until Madelyn wore the little guy out. “Just thought we’d try it the normal way for once, buddy. Silly me.”

“You were many things, Maddy, including silly when the occasion called for it. I doubt you’re silly now.”

Madelyn whirled around, bringing the little General with her. Her free hand moved to her chest reflexively, right over her heart. Her quick inhalation of breath drew a smile from Drew.

“Good to know I can still take your breath away, Maddy.”

“Don’t call me that,” Madelyn said more sharply than she intended. Drew had that effect on her. She saw those bright-blue eyes and her mind filled with images of skinny-dipping in Old Man Johnson’s pond. It was those memories and what came after that had gotten her trouble in the first place. Self-preservation made Madelyn drop her hand, straighten her spine, and repeat yesterday’s mantra: You are a strong independent woman. Your life is your own. You do not need a man to complete you. You are a strong independent woman …

By the third time, Madelyn almost convinced herself she believed it. She was strong. She was independent. She didn’t need a man, but sure as the sun rises in the east, she still wanted Drew. Apparently, time and distance hadn’t muted that ache. The problem was Drew wouldn’t want her when he found out the truth. Then she’d watch that kind, gentle teasing leave his eye.

Oh, why had I risked coming home?

Because Julie’s here, she scolded herself, and you crave a relationship with your adult daughter. So, suck it up, buttercup, and don’t get distracted by an older set of blue eyes with engaging crinkles at the corners. Who cares if he’s even more handsome than he’d been at eighteen?

It took Drew asking, “What would you like me to call you?” to get Madelyn to follow their first conversation in over twenty-five years. She wasn’t seventeen and so in love she couldn’t think of anything or anyone but Drew anymore. She was a grown professional woman with a grown-up professional name. “Madelyn. It’s been Madelyn for two decades now,” she said.

General chose that moment to approach Drew and lay down at his feet. Drew bent to scratch behind the Westie’s ears. As soon as Drew hit a full crouch, Madelyn’s little traitor rolled over for a belly rub. Her best friend who was generally indifferent with strangers bonded with the one man Madelyn needed to be estranged from.

She wasn’t sure why she did it. Especially seeing the joy that man and dog were sharing. But Drew wanted to pretend there was no distance between them that couldn’t be bridged with a smile and polite conversation. All she could think of was the need to get away before she said something intimate.

“Madeline Nelson was my married name,” she said,  although why she said it she didn’t know, since she’d been using Madelyn Grace professionally for years.

Drew stopped petting General. He stood slowly, no longer smiling. Madelyn could read his expression, and she sensed his anger and his sympathy. The anger she expected. The sympathy she did not. But that was Drew, honest with his emotions and not afraid to share them.

“I knew you married. Ruby told me.”

Count on Aunt Ruby to share the news. At that moment, Madelyn wanted to strangle her well-meaning aunt.

Drew took a step closer as General came back to her side, cocking his head at each one of them in turn, sensing his newfound friend’s tension, as well as hers. “I was sorry to hear of your husband’s death.”

The sincerity in Drew’s eyes made Madelyn feel small for having used her dead husband to put distance between herself and the first man who owned her heart. “Thank you,” is all she could manage to say.

“Don’t thank me, Maddy,” Drew said harshly. “And don’t expect me to call you by another man’s name. Even a dead one. You are Maddy Grace to me. Then and now. Forever.”

His words shook her to her core. Drew as a boy would never have spoken to her like that. In fact, the only time she could remember him being serious with her was the first time he told her he loved her.

Drew looked at her for seconds that lasted far longer than they should have.

Then he tipped his hat and turned to walk away.

Madelyn stopped him. “Drew, I—”

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean, Maddy.” He laughed harshly, and the sound hurt her ears. “In fact, don’t say anything at all.” He looked at her over his shoulder and said so quietly that she almost missed it, “I won’t let you disappear on me again. I’ll see you every day until you finally admit you don’t want to let me go again.”

This time when he walked away, Madelyn let him go. Drew Selleck had rendered her speechless, embarrassed by her behavior, and eager to see him again. It was the last one that frightened her most.

Drew had managed to speak with Maddy, call me Madelyn, without arresting her. A monumental feat after she threw her dead husband’s name at him. He’d call her by that name only after he was dead. Not even then, he silently amended. He planned to be holding Maddy close throughout eternity, after she took his name. Maddy Selleck. It had a nice ring to it.

The memory of her face when he told her he’d be seeing her every day brought a smile back to his face. She’d been afraid, appalled, and just for a moment after her eyes flared, excited. That flash of the old Maddy had him whistling all the way back to the office.

Love Christmas Release

14469659_10153950269706616_8363947040020809228_nPurchase:

release-party-invite

Facebook Event

Facebook events that celebrate new book releases are multiplying every day. In addition to being fun, these events allow direct interaction between authors and readers. The visiting readers receive prizes. The participating authors broaden their readership and garner reviews.

On Tuesday I will participate in a Facebook event in honor of a new box release, SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 3.

Sweet Christmas Kisses 3: A Bundle of 17 Wholesome Holiday Romances – Kindle edition by Mona Risk, Christine Bush, Lyn Cote, Denise Devine, Raine English, Shanna Hatfield, Ciara Knight, Milou Koenings, Magdalena Scott, Roxanne Rustand, Alicia Street, Kristin Wallace, Merrillee Whren, Cindy Flores Martinez, Victoria Pinder, Josie Riviera, Pat Simmons.

Amazon https://amzn.com/B01JV3L154
Barnes&Noble http://tinyurl.com/z6nr25q
Apple http://tinyurl.com/jvc9n76
Kobo Books http://tinyurl.com/hhwm2c5
Google Play http://tinyurl.com/z5qzshr

In the two previous years, SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 2 and SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES remained USA Today bestsellers for five weeks.

My contribution to Sweet Christmas Kisses 3, ON CHRISTMAS EVE, is a sweet Christmas story, and book 6 in the Holiday Babies Series.

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Tiffany broke their engagement five years ago when she thought Matthew cheated on her. But fate keeps throwing him in her path. His tender gaze erases years of loneliness and her heart squeezes with longing. And then, she notices the two little girls in his arms. His daughters? Where is their mother?
Can Tiffany and Matthew forgive each other, live in the present, and create a new future?

 

 

A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mona Risk writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visits— or in Florida, her paradise on earth.

Hurricane Season

In Florida, we are facing our yearly hurricane season. The weather channel forecasts worrisome news about hurricanes and tropical storms, and warns residents to be prepared.

For the last month, we had typical summer weather–hot, sunny or hazy in the morning. Sometimes we were lucky to enjoy a slight breeze. Around noon the wind picked up, the clouds threatened and the surf heightened. Before we knew it, we were drenched with pouring rain while lightning and thunder competed in the darkened sky.

From my desk, I could see the change in weather– squalls of heavy rain pelleting the window while my office turned dark. It was time to switch on the light and switch off the computer.

After facing this warning on a daily base, one can’t help worrying about nasty weather, especially when we remember the mess caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It’s difficult to decide how to prepare and behave when the forecast predicts a hurricane. To panic and evacuate as we did during our first summer in Fort Lauderdale? Or stay and weather the storm hoping it would bypass us?

Writers from my local chapter are exchanging advice on how to protect their precious files. Some use an online ‘storage’. Others send a disk/flash drive with their current work in process to out-of-state family members or friends. Many email themselves with their own files as attachment.

My husband has networked my computer, his laptop and an external back-up hard disc, a small box that is easy to carry if we have to evacuate. Still, I prefer to save my own files on a flash drive every night.

While we hope that Mother Nature will spare us this year and Wilma will remain a memory, how do you protect your work during hurricane season in the South, tornadoes in the Midwest (years ago, I faced a memorable tornado,  in Cincinnati) or blizzard and disaster time if you live in the North?

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published more than twenty books, some translated in German and French.
She received an Outstanding Achiever Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine and is a
Best Romance Novel winner at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll;
Two-Time winner of Best Contemporary Romance Novel at Readers Favorite;
EPIC’s Ebook Award Finalist; and a Kindle Top 100 Bestselling Author

ON CHRISTMAS EVE is Book 6 of Holiday Babies Series, and my contribution to a coming Christmas anthology titled:

SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 3 on pre-order now:

Amazon http://tinyurl.com/jf8jjha
iTune /Apple http://tinyurl.com/jvc9n76
Kobo Books http://tinyurl.com/hhwm2c5
Google http://tinyurl.com/z5qzshr

The two previous boxes SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 1 and SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES 2 reached the USA Today bestselling lists several times.

CoverFinalMD-OnChristmasEve-

Blue Background With Snowflake

 

 

Tiffany broke their engagement five years ago when she thought Matthew cheated on her. But fate keeps throwing him in her path. His tender gaze erases years of loneliness and her heart squeezes with longing. Until she notices the two little girls in his arms. His daughters? Where is their mother?
Can Tiffany and Matthew forgive each other, live in the present, and create a new future?