Monday, April 27, 2015

Kissing Carly: First Chapter Reveal

Hi all,

Now Available! See sidebar for links.

I'm getting closer to finishing up the edits for KISSING CARLY and hope to have it published on Amazon and B&N by the second week in May if all goes well. Until then, here's a little teaser - the first chapter. Enjoy!

Kissing Carly
Cover created by Tugboat Design

(Kiss a Cowboy Series, Book Three)

Book Description:

She never expected to fall in love…

Carly Stevens loves to have fun but her carefree lifestyle has finally caught up with her. Broke and in debt, she heads to Montana to spend the summer with her sister, Andi Brennan, at the Brennan ranch. Her sister agrees she can stay on two conditions—she works to pay down her debt and changes her wild-girl ways. Reluctantly, Carly agrees, but it isn’t long before she breaks her promise and finds herself in a bind and Randy comes to her rescue. Carly begins to see the ‘crusty old cowboy’ in a different light and soon finds herself falling for the one man she’d never thought it was possible to fall in love with.

Randy Olson’s life has never been easy—growing up with an alcoholic mother and an absent father— but he considers himself lucky to work for the Brennans and to be considered a part of their family. When Carly shows up to stay for the summer, he does his best to ignore the spoiled city girl, as he has done over the past two years when she’s visited. Then, one night, everything changes and he realizes there may be more to Carly than he ever imagined. As their relationship grows, old doubts plague Randy—could a city girl like Carly ever truly love a simple ranch hand?

 


First Chapter:


Chapter One


Carly Stevens slowly drove up the long driveway leading to the ranch house. With every crunch of gravel under her tires, her heart beat faster. As she came to a stop near the familiar home, she brushed back her long, blond hair and bit her pretty, full bottom lip.

Well. Here I go.

Carly put the car in park and turned off the ignition as her blue eyes scanned the windows of the house. It was just after one o’clock on a sunny June afternoon, but she didn’t see any movement inside the house. She looked over at the barn a short distance away and the pasture dotted with grazing horses and cattle. There were four trucks parked in the driveway and a midsized SUV, so she knew people were here. She was surprised no one was walking around or working.

Carly stepped out of her car and stretched. The day was warm and the sun felt good on her back. She’d driven to the Montana ranch from Seattle in two days, even though she could have easily made it in one. She hadn’t been in a rush to arrive. No one was expecting her, and the longer she put off talking to her sister, Andi, the better. But now, here she was. She could no longer postpone the inevitable.

Carly slowly spun around, taking in the beauty of the Brennan ranch. To her right was the classic red barn and fenced-in pastures. To the left of that was the trail that headed up into the hills where the summer pasture lay and from where there was an amazing view of the ranch. As she continued turning left, she saw the house, then the highway, and across from that, the Clark Fork River sparkled just under the hill of pine trees that rose to the sky. Carly sighed. She was definitely a city girl, but she couldn’t deny how beautiful it was here.

The creak of a door opening caught her attention and Carly looked up at the house in time to lock eyes with her handsome brother-in-law, Luke Brennan, as he stepped down the back stairs. Behind him was Randy Olson, Luke’s longtime friend who also worked on the ranch.

Luke’s dark blue eyes stared at her in surprise. “Carly?”

Carly took a deep breath and pasted a sweet smile on her face. “Luke!” She sauntered over to wrap her arms around his broad shoulders. “Aren’t you looking as handsome as ever?” From the corner of her eye, she saw Randy behind them, rolling his eyes. She ignored the crabby ranch hand and kept the smile on her face as she moved away from Luke.

“Where is everyone?” Carly asked. “It’s like a ghost town around here.”

“We were all inside eating lunch,” Luke said, still looking dazed by the fact that Carly had shown up out of nowhere. “Did Andi know you were coming?”

Carly shook her head. “No, but won’t she be surprised?” she asked sweetly. Carly turned to Randy. “Hello, Randy. How have you been?”

Randy nodded. “Hello, Carly.” He tapped Luke on the arm. “I’m heading off to the pasture. See you in a bit.” Then he strode off toward the barn.

Carly frowned as she watched Randy walk away. He wasn’t a bad looking man. Some might even call him ruggedly handsome. His dark brown hair was a bit shaggy, and he always looked like he’d forgotten to shave. But in the past she’d seen his brown eyes sparkle when he joked with family and friends and she knew he could be nice when he wanted to. He never paid a bit of attention to her, though, and that irked her. Men fawned over Carly wherever she went. Everyone, except Randy.

The back door opened again and Carly’s frown turned into a warm smile. “Colt, my hunky cowboy!” Carly ran over to give Colt Brennan a hug. Colt stood there, stunned, but wrapped his arms around Carly and gave her a squeeze.

“Carly? I didn’t know you were coming here.” He glanced over at his brother, but Luke just shrugged.

Carly pulled away and beamed up at him. “I’m surprising everyone,” she said, running her hand down Colt’s muscular arm. “You look gorgeous, as always,” Carly told him. “Married life is treating you well.” Carly sighed as she gazed up at Colt. A year ago, Colt had left the ranch to live with Carly in Seattle, but their relationship hadn’t worked out. Carly hadn’t been ready to settle down with one man. However, Carly’s roommate, Beth, fell for the sweet, hunky cowboy and she and Colt were married just two months before here at the ranch. As Carly looked up into Colt’s baby blue eyes, she couldn’t help but regret not wanting to marry him when he’d asked. Deep down, though, she knew it would never have worked.

“Thanks,” Colt said, grinning. “You look just as beautiful as ever, Carly.”

“You’re such a sweetheart,” Carly told him with a smile.

“What’s all the commotion out here?” Virginia ‘Ginny’ Brennan asked from the top of the steps. Her eyes grew wide when she saw Carly. “Carly! My goodness, but what a wonderful surprise.” Ginny hurried down the steps to hug Carly, with Bree, their black and white Australian Shepherd cattle dog, bounding at her heels.

Carly hugged Ginny tight. She adored the older woman who always welcomed her at the ranch with open arms and never judged her no matter what awful stunts she pulled. Since her own parents had died in a car accident when she was only fourteen and Andi was eighteen, Carly had been missing a mother figure. Ginny filled that role with ease, and Carly appreciated her for it.

Ginny stood back and looked Carly up and down with a smile. “You are still just the cutest thing ever. Why, I’m surprised Andi didn’t tell us you were coming.”

Carly tried looking contrite. “I didn’t tell her. I hope you don’t mind my showing up like this.”

“Oh, darling,” Ginny said, pulling her close again. “You’re family. You can come here whenever your heart desires.”

Carly looked into Ginny’s kind hazel eyes. With her dark blond hair pulled back into a ponytail, and only a few wisps of gray running through it, she barely looked old enough to be Luke and Colt’s mother. She was a tad taller than Carly and stayed slender from working hard around the ranch. It was her kind heart, however, that won over everyone who came to the ranch. “Thanks, Ginny. You’re too good to me.”

Ginny swiped her hand through the air to brush away her words. “It’s easy being kind to you, sweetie.” She turned and called out toward the house. “Andi, come on out. There’s a surprise waiting for you in the driveway.”

A moment later, a young woman with long, dark red hair and brilliant green eyes came to the door, holding a small baby on her hip. The little girl in her arms was a tiny replica of her mother. Andi stood there, surprise clearly marked on her face. “Carly? What are you doing here?”

“Andi!” Carly cried with delight. She ran over and met her sister at the bottom of the steps, pulling her and the baby into a hug. “I’m so happy to see you. And Jessi. She’s grown so much. She’s so adorable.”

The baby backed away from Carly, her eyes as big as saucers. Tears began to well in her little green eyes.

Carly pulled away. “Oh, no. I’m making her cry,” she said, truly distressed. “My own little niece doesn’t even know me.”

“She’s fine,” Andi said as she bounced little Jessi on her hip. “She’s only six months old, so of course she doesn’t remember you. But she’ll get to know you, if you stay a few days.”

Carly looked at her big sister, her eyes questioning. “Are you mad that I just showed up?”

Andi shook her head. “Of course not, but I am surprised. Whatever made you drive all this way without letting us know?”

Carly set her pretty, pink lips into a pout. “I missed you. All of you. And my baby niece too. Isn’t that enough to make me want to come here for a visit?”

Andi looked at her in a way that made Carly think she didn’t completely believe her. Andi knew her too well.

“Well, boys,” Ginny said, turning to Luke and Colt. “Why don’t you two carry Carly’s things up to the guest room? Carly, come on in and have some lunch. You must be starving.” Ginny headed back into the house.

Carly turned to Luke and Colt and hit the unlock button on her car key. Luke opened up the back of her Honda CR-V and looked inside. A crease touched his brow when he saw the luggage in the back. “You want all of this in the house?”

“Yes, please,” Carly said sweetly. She walked over to the car, retrieved her purse and a large handbag, and then slung them over her shoulder. “Thanks, guys,” she said, walking back over to Andi.

Andi watched as Luke and Colt unloaded four large suitcases. “Why so many bags?” she asked her sister.

Carly shrugged. “A girl can never have enough clothes along with her.”

Andi shook her head and headed back inside the house with Carly on her heels.

 

***

 

Randy strode out into the pasture beside the barn and retrieved his gelding, Black Jack. The horse came to him immediately, and Randy stroked his silky neck a moment before leading him into the barn to saddle him. Black Jack was a tall Tennessee Walker, seventeen hands high, and had a sleek black coat with an even darker mane and tail. He’d broke Black Jack himself, ten years ago, and trained him, and they’d been constant companions ever since.

As Randy saddled his horse, his thoughts turned to Carly and he rolled his eyes again. What is that girl up to now? Randy had a soft spot for Luke’s wife, Andi, and he also liked Colt’s wife, Beth, very much. Both women were genuine, honest, and hardworking, and neither one had a phony bone in their bodies. But Carly was different. That girl put on a show wherever she went. Just because she had a curvy body, long, silky blond hair, and those big blue eyes, she thought she had every man wrapped around her perfectly manicured little finger. Every man, that is, except Randy.

He chuckled when he thought of the many times she’d tried to win him over these past two years with her pouty lips or hip-swaying walk. He just ignored her as if she weren’t even there. He knew it drove her crazy, and that made it even more fun for him. Randy wasn’t generally a mean spirited person, but he wasn’t going to be had by a five-foot, five-inch tall spoiled brat. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand how Carly and Andi could be sisters. Andi was so sweet, smart, and reliable, and Carly, well, she wasn’t any of those things. He supposed losing her parents at such a young age hadn’t been easy for her, but she’d had Andi to take care of her, so she had no excuse for her behavior. A lot of people lose a parent when they’re young, and they turn out fine. He did. So what was up with her?

Of course, Randy had been lucky enough to have the Brennans take him under their wing when he was eight years old. He’d lived with his mom in town, but he’d spent most weekends on the ranch learning everything he knew today under the tutelage of Luke’s father, Jack. Jack had been a hard-working man who cared deeply for his family, and between him and Ginny, there had been enough love to spread around, even to a little boy whose own father hadn’t cared enough about him to stick around. Every day of his life, Randy was thankful for the Brennans and all they’d done for him, because God only knew what would have happened to him without them.

Randy finished saddling Black Jack and then slipped on the bridle. The afternoon was heating up and the barn was sweltering. He lifted his black cowboy hat off his head, ran his hand through his hair, then replaced the hat. He knew he needed a haircut, but he hadn’t gotten around to it. He’d try to get one Saturday so he’d look respectable on Sunday, not that it mattered. His mother probably wouldn’t notice anyway.

Randy led Black Jack out of the barn and then slid up into the saddle and took off toward the trail that led to the back of the property. A few of the cows and calves had been left in the lower pasture instead of being brought up to the higher summer pasture, and he was going to check on them. The calves had been born later than some of the others and two of them weren’t growing as fast as they should. If it was necessary to supplement their diet, then they would. He’d go see how they were faring first, and tomorrow he’d drive his truck up and bring the barrel of grain up there to feed them if he felt it was necessary.

Before he hit the trail, Randy turned back a moment and saw Luke and Colt walking into the barn. He waved and they waved back. Randy knew that Colt was heading back over to Ray’s place to help with the haying. The Brennans and their neighbor, Ray, shared the haying fifty/fifty. Ray had the equipment and the Brennans had the fields, so it worked out well for both of them. Luke was going to work on the riding lawn mower because it was acting up again. There was always work to be done on a spread as big as this.

Randy turned Black Jack back toward the trail, clicked his tongue, and off they galloped.

 ###
 
 
Cheers,

Deanna

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kissing Carly Cover Reveal

Hi all,

The third and final book in the Kiss a Cowboy Series is almost ready so I thought it would be fun to reveal the cover and description. I'm afraid I don't have an exact date for you on its publication, but I am working hard to get it out to you by mid-May. So here it is...Kissing Carly!

Kissing Carly
(Kiss a Cowboy Series, Book 3)



Book Description:


She never expected to fall in love...

Carly Stevens loves to have fun but her carefree lifestyle has finally caught up with her. Broke and in debt, she heads to Montana to spend the summer with her sister, Andi Brennan, at the Brennan ranch. Her sister agrees she can stay on two conditions—she works to pay down her debt and changes her wild-girl ways. Reluctantly, Carly agrees, but it isn’t long before she breaks her promise and finds herself in a bind and Randy comes to her rescue. Carly begins to see the ‘crusty old cowboy’ in a different light and soon finds herself falling for the one man she’d never thought it was possible to fall in love with.

Randy Olson’s life has never been easy—growing up with an alcoholic mother and an absent father— but he considers himself lucky to work for the Brennans and to be considered a part of their family. When Carly shows up to stay for the summer, he does his best to ignore the spoiled city girl, as he has done over the past two years when she’s visited. Then, one night, everything changes and he realizes there may be more to Carly than he ever imagined. As their relationship grows, old doubts plague Randy—could a city girl like Carly ever truly love a simple ranch hand?
 
###
 
Kissing Carly will be available on:
 
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook (limited time)
Paperback
 
 
The beautiful cover was designed (of course!) by Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design. When I first decided on continuing book one as a series, I asked Deborah to come up with all three cover designs at once so they would look consistent - and she did an amazing job. Deborah creates all of my book covers - and I love them all!
 
If you haven't had a chance to read this series, I hope you will grab book one, Kiss a Cowboy, and give it a try. I'm been so pleased with reader's responses to this series and if you love a fun romance novel - you should enjoy this series.
 
Buying information:
 
Kiss a Cowboy, Book One
 
 
 
Available for free on KindleUnlimited
 
 
 
 
A Kiss for Colt, Book Two
 
 
 
Available for free on KindleUnlimited





Be on the lookout for the Chapter One Reveal for Kissing Carly - coming soon!

Cheers!

Deanna

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Visit the Island from Destination Wedding

Hi all,

This month we were lucky enough to revisit the beautiful little island in the Bahamas that inspired my novel, Destination Wedding. It's an island that is about five miles long and has beautiful ocean and bay views as well as lovely little cottage style homes that make you feel as if you've stepped back in time. The people who work there and live there are the friendliest people you could ever meet. And the sugar-sand beaches are amazing. These beaches aren't wall-to-wall people who you have to step over in order to get to the water. You can walk along the shore for a mile and maybe run into one or two people. It is paradise!

I thought you might like to see some of the places in Destination Wedding that Claire visits while she is on the island for her daughter's wedding. In the novel, I changed the names of the people and places, but here is what they look like in real life. Enjoy!


The Beach in front of the lodge where they stay and walk several times during the story.


The lodge where they stay at and the porch where they have the wedding reception. Claire and Jim's room is on the third floor.


The lighthouse they visit and the harbor in front of the lodge.


The coffeehouse they go to in the mornings with the porch where they sit and drink their coffee.


The beach on the other side of the island where they can walk out on the sandbars.

 
These are just a few - I will share more pictures on Facebook during the month. Be sure to LIKE my page so you can enjoy more pictures. Click here to Like.

DESTINATION WEDDING ~ A Novel will be on sale for only $0.99 now through March 27th. If you haven't had a chance to read this beautiful romance novel yet, be sure to pick it up while it's on sale at:

Amazon and B&N Nook


Cheers,

Deanna



Monday, February 16, 2015

New Release: If Only by Norma Budden

Here is an exciting new release by author Norma Budden.


If Only

Norma Budden
 
 
Book Description:

While still in high school, Demi gave birth to a baby girl and, feeling she had no other options, put her up for adoption. Having moved on with her life – gotten married and having had two other children – 16 years later, Demi Glenn suddenly cannot get her firstborn daughter out of her mind.

After hiring two private detectives but getting no solid information to go on, Demi turns to the one man who will not come back empty-handed, who will not give up until he finds the answers – David Alexander, a married father of two daughters – the father of the baby she had given up so long ago who had no idea he had sired a child as a teen.

Together, will they be able to find their daughter without their families being torn apart or will fate intervene, upsetting their lives in a way they'd never dreamed in the pursuit of finding the daughter they can no longer live without? 

 

Excerpt:

David didn't leave his office as he had planned nor did he immediately call his wife to inform her he would be late getting home. Instead he sat down in his chair in a daze. Dem gave birth to my baby. We share a daughter.

He picked up the photo of his family, his wife and daughters smiling brilliantly beside him.

If Dem had told me, I would've married her; I loved her with every part of my being. We would've been happy together, too, even if we struggled in the early years trying to raise a baby. I always wondered why she broke things off, why she refused my calls – but, eventually, I met Krista and moved on.

Looking at the family photo, tracing his index finger over the smiling faces of the three beautiful women in his life, David inhaled deeply.

There's no way I can imagine not having Krista and our girls in my life. Decisions made in the past were meant to be. I could never give up, or ruin, the life Krista and I share, not even for Dem.

Setting the photo back on his desk, he closed his eyes and frowned. Where is my oldest daughter? What's her name? Does she have brown hair and green eyes like me or does she look like her mother, or both of us? Is she okay or do we have reason to be concerned?

Taking one more look at the family photo on his desk, he made a decision he hoped he would not regret.

I can't tell Krista about this, not yet. She'll have questions I can't answer. It would tear me up not being able to answer even the simplest questions about my own child, even if I had never known about her.

David rose from his chair and walked to the window, pinching the bridge of his nose. There was no question his soul was, now, tormented.

 

E-book price: $2.99

 
Buy If Only at these retailers:

Nook 




 
 
 
About the Author:

 
Norma Budden currently makes her home in Arctic Canada where she has lived for more than two decades. Administration Manager by day and writer/mother/grandmother by night, Norma knows what it's like to be busy and appreciates moments of solitude, perhaps, more than the average person.
Though Norma's first serious attempts at writing involved poetry and song, she later went on to write non-fiction titles. However, over recent years, her truest passion seems to be in writing stories to appeal to readers' emotions, with a touch of mystery and romance built into the stories.
Norma is the proud author of the Freedom in Love Series which, currently, has three titles published: An Affair to Remember, When Love Abides and Soul Confessions. Divided Loyalties and The Promise, the fourth and fifth titles of the series, will be released in 2015.
Norma has also written other novels and short stories and is in the process of promoting her newest release, If Only – a full-length stand-alone novel which readers claim can easily be turned into another series. However, at this time, Norma's intention is to write other stand-alone titles to draw in readers who rarely read books published as part of a series.
Back to If Only, this story is different because, though Norma has written inspirational fiction titles in the past, this was her first venture into the paranormal. If Only introduces us to Demi and David, both married to other people, each with two small children. However, Demi and David had a past – a past which involved the birth of a baby girl, whom David didn't know existed.
As the story progresses, David learns about his oldest daughter and the connection the two share is so powerful that it has been said the story wouldn't be the same without it. The story is affecting readers in ways the author never dreamed.
 
Connect with Norma:

 
Twitter    @NormaBudden     

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews