Who Is Isabella Kole?

Accepting-His-Terms-CoverWelcome back to Anna’s World! Today I have a surprise for you. I’m going to introduce you to someone very near and dear to me. Her name is Isabella Kole, or as I affectionately call her, IzzyB. Just who is Isabella Kole? Well, to be quite honest, she’s me…or the spicier side of me…

A few months ago, a group of writer friends who write erotic romance and spanking stories asked me why I didn’t try one. As most of you know, if you’ve followed me at all, Anna writes mainstream romance, some dramatic, some light, but all just a little sweet and sexy. I mentioned this to one of my publishers in passing one day and she wasn’t opposed to the idea, so I wrote a rough draft. Then one night, Sable Hunter invited me to chat with her street team and promote my books in her group. She encouraged me to come forward and tell them about IzzyB. Up until that time, I was keeping the fact that IzzyB and Anna were the same person a secret. So I told them a little about the story, Accepting His Terms, and was met with such enthusiasm I couldn’t believe it. In fact, several of the people I met that night, came to me a few weeks later and asked if they could start a street team for me. And that’s how Anna’s Fab Friends began.

The writer friends who had first encouraged me came together and helped me too. One helped me kick around different ideas for a title until together we came up with the perfect one, another read the story and offered suggestions, another one did the same. All were supportive and encouraging. Members of the street team beta read for me as the story progressed. As I began to tell people about the new book, other author friends offered to host Isabella on their blogs. Everyone, including my readers, were very receptive to the idea.

My street team and I decided to market Isabella as the spicier side of Anna…because that’s exactly who she is. Isabella’s debut erotic romance is an Anna love story with Isabella spice. There is no better way to describe it. So if you like Anna’s romances but would like it spicier…Isabella’s your gal. If you prefer Anna’s sweet and sexy stories, there are plenty of them around and more to come.

Accepting His Terms by Isabella Kole debuts October 9th from LazyDay Publishing, the same publisher who released Anna’s Fab Five series. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an ebook, it’s one you won’t want to miss. Not your ordinary spanking story…I wanted to do something just a little different…I did it my way…and I hope you’ll give it a chance. Branching out is never easy but I was determined to see this through because of all the support I was given from author friends, readers, friends, family, and my publisher. Will there be another Isabella Kole book in the near future? That remains to be seen as Anna is very busy at the moment, but if you like it, please let me know by leaving a review. If I know you like it, Isabella might be persuaded to do an encore.

Now here’s the blurb for Accepting His Terms:

Jill Lincoln has the hots for her stern, hunk of a boss, Jarrod Baine. With his piercing steel-gray-blue eyes, hair as black as coal, and a body to be enjoyed, she wonders what it would be like to be his woman. But she’s only one of many who would give her eye teeth to be in his bed.

 The day Jarrod rescues her from a would-be assault by a young mail clerk; she finds that he is as attracted to her as she is to him.  As the two begin a relationship, it becomes very apparent to Jarrod that Jill is a nervous, high-strung lady and he searches for the best way to ease her tensions. Together they begin to form a strong bond as they experiment with discipline.

 As the couple realizes their feelings run much deeper than an office affair, Jarrod asks her to be his wife. As they enter into a hot, passionate marriage, complete with the discipline, by mutual consent, a deeper emotional bond is formed that continues to grow much stronger over time.

But when Jill suffers a heartbreaking miscarriage and Jarrod is not by her side, she retreats into a deep, dark depression, turning away from the one man who can save her.

Will their bond be severed forever?

Did that whet your appetite at all? Just in case, let’s throw in a small excerpt:

On Saturday morning, Jarrod kept his word and phoned Jill to tell her he would pick her up at noon.

She flew around her apartment, straightening, fluffing pillows, and making sure everything was in place. Then she treated herself to a long soak in a cherry-blossom scented bubble bath before getting dressed for their date. She chose a green floral sundress and a pair of sandals. It was spring in Tennessee and the weather had turned warm. After her makeup and hair were near perfect, she sat on the couch waiting for him to arrive.

At eleven-forty-five, her doorbell rang, she sprang from the couch and let him in.

“I’m early, I know, these are for you,” he said as he entered the room and handed her a bouquet of flowers.

“Flowers?” she asked, “Thank you.”

“Have you eaten?”

“No, I had a late breakfast,” she replied.

“Good, there’s a nice little Italian restaurant in the winery. I thought we could have lunch there before we do our wine tasting.”

“Oh, that sounds fantastic. I love Italian food.”

He grinned. “Are you ready to go?”

As he drove to the winery, she said, “I thought it would seem odd to be out with you, but it doesn’t. The other night at dinner was the only time we’ve been together outside the office.”

“It feels perfectly natural to me, Jill,” he replied as he cast a sideways glance in her direction.

She smiled and asked him about the music playing in his CD player.

When they reached the winery, he walked around and opened her car door, helped her out, and took her hand as they walked inside.

They sat at a corner table and as Jill looked around, she said, “This is nice. I like the atmosphere.”

“Romantic?” he teased.

She blushed and took a sip of her water.

“So after we finish touring the winery, what would you like to do?” he asked.

“You mean there’s more?” she asked with a smile.

“If you’d like; we can extend this afternoon date into an evening date. Do you dance?”

“I love it,” she replied.

As his hand reached across the table to caress hers gently, she shivered. As her gaze met his, she saw amusement in his eyes.

“Are you cold, sweetheart?” he asked with a sexy grin.

“Uh… no…” she stammered.

Their lunch arrived and the moment passed. As they made pleasant small talk and enjoyed their food, Jill found herself becoming aroused. The sound of his voice, the look in his eyes, and the touch of his hand made her nipples harden and heat to flow through her veins. She caught him watching her and she was sure he’d looked down at her breasts. She shivered again.

“Are you sure you’re not cold?” he asked again, the amused look back in his eyes.

“I’m really quite… warm,” she answered with her sweetest smile.

“I can see that,” he said in a low voice as he leaned across the table. “I think we should get started on our tour before you get any… warmer.”

She stood up and took the hand he offered. As they made their way to the winery, he leaned over and whispered in her ear, “You’re cute when you’re… bothered.”

“Bothered? What makes you think I’m bothered?” she asked.

“Your body betrays you, my dear,” he teased as he leaned over to kiss her.

They began their tour, tasting many of the different wines offered and finally Jill chose her favorite, a sweet red.

“We’ll save it for a special occasion,” he said as they walked to his car.

“Where are we going dancing?” she asked.

“Well, this is Tennessee. Where else but a good old country dance hall?” he asked.

“You… like country?” she asked in surprise.

“I’m an old-fashioned southern country boy at heart.”

“I never would have guessed that,” she said as he pulled out of the parking lot.

They arrived at one of the well-known bars in town and as they sat waiting for the band to begin playing, he asked if she was hungry.

“A little, how about you?” she replied.

“They have great wings here, how about it?”

“Sure, that sounds good.”

They talked some more about movies they’d like to see, books they’d read, and when their wings arrived, they ate, laughed, and talked some more. It was becoming more and more natural for her to be in his company. He really was quite different away from the office. There was still a commanding presence, but there was also a softer, more romantic side to Jarrod Baine.

“Oh, look, the band is ready to play,” she said as she looked up at the stage.

“And they’re starting with a slow song. Let’s go,” he said as he stood and took her hand.

As she was whisked into the arms of the man she’d spent months dreaming about, Jill melted. The moment he pulled her close to his chest, she knew there was nothing she wouldn’t do for this man. She was his. Whether he knew it yet or not, she would surrender to him, and she would love him for as long as he wanted her in his life.

She looked up at him and caught sight of the corners of his mouth turned slightly upward. His eyes danced as they gazed at her. She put her head on his shoulder and as he pulled her closer, he whispered, “I could stay like this all night.”

She nestled closer, letting her right hand tease the hair at the nape of his neck. Her body was on fire, as a warm wetness flowed from within. Her nipples were aching, begging for attention. Her left hand moved down his back.

“If you don’t stop that, I’m going to take you to the parking lot and have my way with you in the car,” he warned as he nibbled at her ear.

“In that case, I won’t stop,” she teased.

“Oh, you’ve got such sass… you know I owe you a spanking for putting yourself at risk, for staying late that night, and now with all the sass and teasing you’ve been throwing around, I think you’ve had your three strikes. You’re out, baby.” He spoke in a low, husky voice.

“Three strikes? I’m out?” she asked as she raised her face his.

 Hmmm…what’s gonna happen next? You can find out by downloading Accepting His Terms at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Accepting-His-Terms-ebook/dp/B00FPWB1QK

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1117061855?ean=2940148463177

 

 

You can find Isabella on Facebook. Please swing by and give her a “Like”…she’ll appreciate it.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Kole-Author/580591041984962

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have my good friend, Ginger Ring, here on the twelfth talking about her first release which comes out on October 10th!!!! So excited for her!!!! And on the 22nd, I’ll be telling ghost stories…as part of Sable Hunter’s Halloween Blog Hop so you’re not going to want to miss that…contests and prizes too!!!

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A Rocky Road To Romance

A-Rocky-Road-To-Romance-Final (2)Hey, welcome back! I’m excited this week because Book #5 in my Fab Five series is coming out in just a few days, on the 22nd! This is the book that will stay with you long  after you turn that last page. It was difficult for me to write, and several times I had to get up and walk away and return to it later. It will literally rock you to the core.

The story is about a girl in an abusive relationship. Having never lived it, I had to find a way to put myself into the victim’s head. And when I did, I became emotionally attached. I cried a lot while writing and editing this story. My heart went out to my heroine. I know women who have been in similar situations and it made me appreciate them even more after finishing this book.

The Advanced Review copies went out Friday night to a few people and I’ve heard back from some of them already. The general consensus was that it was well portrayed and a book that will long be remembered. I hope they are right because this book tells a story…one of survival…and one of the power of love…and of course, the most important quality in the Fab Five books…friendship.

Here is the blurb for A Rocky Road To Romance:

More Fab Five drama and this time it’s the O’Gradys facing turmoil at every turn.

 Chloe’s high-risk pregnancy has her homebound as she and Shane anxiously await the arrival of twins. Shane is busy between home and the office, so when Katy’s son, Alex, moves to Dallas, taking a job in the offices of O’Grady Enterprises, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

 Alex is attracted to the hostess at Chloe’s Place, Chelsea Wyatt. But Chelsea has a boyfriend…and a secret. When it becomes apparent to all around her she is in an abusive relationship, Alex is more determined than ever to convince her that he is the guy for her.

 As Chelsea comes to the realization she is falling in love with Alex, he gives her a small glimpse of what life with him could be like. But a bombshell is dropped on Alex when he is told someone is stealing from the restaurant and Chelsea is one of the prime suspects. Determined to prove her innocence, Alex discovers just how devious Chelsea’s boyfriend, Dante, is. And when Chelsea learns the truth and attempts to break free of Dante’s hold on her, he viciously attacks her, leaving her for dead.

As Chelsea attempts to recover from the physical and emotional trauma, Alex is by her side. The Fab Five rally around her and Alex, offering help and support. Can the young couple get back to the plans they made for a life together or is Chelsea too emotionally damaged after the attack to even consider it?

And here’s a little snippet for you:

Chelsea Wyatt parked her car in the employee parking lot of the upscale Dallas restaurant, Chloe’s Place, and looked in the mirror. As she brushed her hand gently across the bruise on her cheek, she decided it was hidden as well as it could be with the makeup she had carefully applied before leaving her apartment. Dante didn’t mean to do it, I know he didn’t, she told herself for the twentieth time. She sighed, picked up her purse and got out of the car. Walking in the back door of the restaurant to begin her shift as hostess for the evening, she hoped no one would notice. She wished she could confide in Alex, her friend at work, but he was the boss’s son. It was probably better not to go there.

Marcos, the restaurant’s head waiter, greeted her, “Hi, Chelsea, how are you this afternoon?”

“I’m good. How’s everything here?”

“Busy night ahead of us, lots of reservations,” Marcos replied, smiling.

“Business is good. The O’Gradys must be happy.”

Chloe O’Grady walked into the employee area to the right of the kitchen and laughed. “Yes, Chelsea, we are very happy.”

“Chloe, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be taking it easy?” Chelsea asked. Chloe was in the beginning stages of a high-risk pregnancy. She was expecting twins and had been told to rest by her doctor.

“I’m feeling better and the doctor said I can stop in from time to time to say hello, but I’m still supposed to do the bulk of my work from home.”

“I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. When Katy told all of us what was going on, we didn’t know whether to be happy for you or concerned.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet, but it’s a happy thing. Shane and I’ve wanted a baby for a long time. And now we’re getting two, so all’s good! Now that the morning sickness is better, hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out,” Chloe replied with a smile.

Chloe’s husband, Shane, walked in. “Honey, are you ready to go yet? I thought you were picking up work and going back home.”

“I’m just chatting. I’ll be ready soon.”

“Okay, let me know when you’re finished, and I’ll drive you home.” Shane leaned down and kissed his young wife on the forehead. Turning to Chelsea he said, “Hi, Chelsea. How are you tonight?”

“I’m good, Shane, thanks for asking. Congrats on the twins. I haven’t had a chance to tell you yet.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you later. I’m working tonight. I think Alex is going to stay and help out, too, since it’s going to be so busy. Ryan gave him the afternoon off in exchange for helping out in here tonight.”

“I guess I’ll see you later.” Chelsea smiled at the younger O’Grady brother as he left the room.

“I’d better leave. He’s not going to stand for me hanging around here for long. It’s going to be a long seven months.” Chloe laughed as she left for the corporate office to retrieve her work.

“Bye, Chloe, take care of yourself.”

Chelsea prepared to take her station at the desk in the lobby. Whew, made it through so far without anyone noticing my cheek. Maybe it’ll be okay.

But what Chelsea didn’t realize was that it had been noticed, by both Chloe and Shane. And when Chloe entered her husband’s office, which was in the corporate building next door to the restaurant, she sat down with tears in her eyes.

“You saw the bruise didn’t you, honey?” Shane asked, kneeling beside her. He put his strong arms around her. “Don’t cry, baby.”

“Why does she stay with that monster?”

“I don’t know, Chloe. I only hope Alex doesn’t go berserk when he sees her tonight. He really cares for her. I don’t know how much more of this he’s going to stand for before he says something to her. Or worse yet, says something to Dante.”

“Why can’t she see that the sweetest, most loving guy around is right in front of her? Alex would do anything for her. Why would she subject herself to the physical and mental abuse she puts up with Dante?”

“Some girls like the bad guys. And maybe she cares enough about Dante that she can’t pull away. I don’t know. I do know the guy is bad news. At the first sign of him causing trouble here, his ass will be grass.”

“I wish I could talk to her about it, but I don’t want to embarrass her,” Chloe said, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“Maybe in time, she’ll open up to someone here,” Shane replied. “Come on, babe, let’s get you home. Isn’t Marianne coming over to visit a while this afternoon?”

“Yes, she is pampering me like crazy. And, of course, I love every minute of it.”

Chloe’s sister-in-law, Katy, walked in. When she saw Chloe’s red, swollen eyes and splotchy cheeks, she became concerned. “Chloe, is everything all right?”

“I’m fine, just getting ready to grab some work and go back home.”

Katy glanced at Shane and he nodded. “She’s okay, Katy. I’ll fill you in when I get back to the office. It’s nothing to do with the babies.”

“Thank God. Get yourself home where you belong. Marianne will be by to keep you company later, won’t she?”

“Yes, Momma Katy, she will. I swear all of you are like Momma’s to me now.”

Katy grinned. “We all love you like a little sister, Chloe. We wouldn’t have made you a ‘Fab,’ if we didn’t.”

“And I thank my lucky stars every day that the ‘Fab Four’ walked into my restaurant that autumn night a few years ago. My life is so much richer with all of you in it.”

“Chloe, you know we all owe you and Shane a great deal. Without the two of you, where would we all be now? Still in Iowa, Ohio, and Chicago, instead of in Dallas having the time of our lives, I’d imagine.”

“Oh, you would have eventually ended up here, Katy. You and my hot brother-in-law were meant to be, even without my help. Y’all are a match made in heaven. ”

“Okay, girls, enough about my hot, older brother, you’re gonna give me a complex.” Shane chuckled.

“Aw… baby… you’re hot too,” Chloe teased.

“Well, your ‘hot’ hubby is ready to take you home, so get your stuff together and let’s go.”

“He’s right, Chloe. Go home and get some rest. I’ll see you later. I’ll bring dinner on my way home, so no cooking.”

“Yes, Momma Katy,” Chloe replied humbly.

Ryan O’Grady walked in the room. “Shane, may I see you for a minute?”

“Sure, bro. I’m just getting ready to drive Chloe home, will it take long?”

“Katy, honey, would you mind driving her home? I really need to speak to Shane about an urgent matter.”

“Of course I can. Chloe, let’s get you settled and comfy on your couch.” Smiling at her handsome husband, she replied, “I’ll be back soon.”

“Love you, see you later,” Ryan replied.

“Love you, too.” Katy walked out to her car with Chloe, curious about the urgent matter.

On the way to Chloe’s house she asked, “What is going on? I find you crying in Shane’s office. Shane says he’ll fill me in, now Ryan has an urgent matter to discuss with Shane. I feel like I’m in the dark here.”

“I’m not sure what Ryan was talking about, but I’ll tell you why I was crying.”

“What is it, Chloe?”

“When I first got to the office, I went to the employee lounge and the kitchen to say hello to everyone. Chelsea had just come in to start her shift. Oh, Katy, she had another bruise and this time it’s on her face. I think Dante is abusing her.”

“We all know he verbally abuses her, he stands her up, is late for dates, and generally treats her badly. But I had no idea he was physically hurting her, as well. You’ve noticed bruises before?”

“Yes, but on her arms, never on her face. The poor girl tried to disguise it with makeup, but it’s there.”

“Alex will be livid. I think his attraction to her is more than just friendly. I honestly believe my son is in love with the girl.”

“You may be right about that. I wish she’d wise up and see that Alex is a much better choice than Dante. I don’t think she has a clue he’s that gone on her. And I think she’s afraid to break up with Dante.”

“This is bad. I feel sorry for Chelsea, but I worry about Alex getting involved in this mess, if Dante is violent.”

“He’s got all of us behind him. Shane has already said if Dante causes any trouble at the restaurant, he’s in for a rude awakening.”

“Shane will be there tonight, so if Alex is very upset, he’ll know how to handle it.” Katy pulled into Chloe’s driveway, so the conversation came to a halt. She made sure Chloe was safely settled on her sofa with a cup of tea and her work before she left.

“Thanks, Katy.”

“No problem. Marianne should be here soon and I’ll drop by with dinner later. Love you.”

“Love you too, sis.”

I hope you’ll take the time to download and read this story. I believe it will touch your heart and your soul.

It will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.com

Book # 6 The Road To Forever will be released by LazyDay Publishing on September 25th. I am currently at work on Book # 7 and it should be released sometime in 2014.

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Until next time…

Love,

Anna

Anna Speaks…

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Welcome back to Anna’s World.  Sorry, ladies, but Cougar Bait can’t stay front and center forever, I had to let him go home…you can still read about him and look at his pics in my archives. It’s time to move forward and fill you in on all the latest things going on…and believe me…there have been a lot in the past few weeks.

First of all, there was some sadness in my world, as a dear friend, neighbor, and co-worker passed away suddenly. I have taken a few weeks off from my writing as I remembered her and paid my respects. I appreciate all the words of kindness from my friends as I dealt with this tragic loss.

In good news, things have really taken off and I’ve been really busy promoting my work. I was introduced to a lovely group of readers by my friend, author Sable Hunter. I’ve made some dear new friends and have gained some new readers. Thanks, Sable, for giving me the opportunity to meet your friends and for sharing your readers with me. A few of these new friends approached me about starting a Street Team for me. What this means is that they are helping me promote my books, sharing the news about them with other readers. We’ve had a lot of fun putting this together and are planning lots of fun things for the months to come. My team is called Anna’s Fab Friends, in honor of the Fab Five.

Look at what one of my team created for me…I absolutely love it…

Anna logo

Another good thing is the fact that I was pleasantly surprised to see the shiny Silver Star on the AllRomance site for The Road To His Soul…what a fabulous feeling to know that the readers made that happen by buying my book.

I also had my first public appearance this past week. I was asked to speak at a local women’s club about my books and my writing. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. I sold and signed my paperback books afterward and hopefully this will be the first of many such events.

I received the cover and blurb for my August Rebel release, Remember Our Promise. I’ll share that in a few weeks.

Book #4 in the Fab Five series will be released on July 10 from LazyDay Publishing. I’ll share a little of that with you today…Love’s Winding Road.

This is the unedited blurb…

The ‘Fab Five’ are back with even more drama in their lives. Marianne’s family is in turmoil, as both of her sons deal with life-altering decisions.

 Young Dr.Jackson Jacobi is reeling from the sudden break-up with his long time girlfriend, Alexis, and her move to Paris to pursue a career in the fashion industry.

He is splitting his time between finishing his residency at a local hospital, preparing to open an orthopedic practice with another doctor, and helping his younger brother, Jordan, recover from a horrific automobile accident that left him unable to walk. Jordan’s dreams of becoming a pro-football player have been abruptly ended and Jackson tries to help him find a new direction for his future. Sworn off women after the break-up with Alexis, Jackson is pleasantly surprised to find he is attracted to his brother’s new physical therapist. Fiery redhead, Stacie Abbott, may be just what the doctor ordered for both Jackson and Jordan.

 As Stacie and Jackson work together to ensure that Jordan walks again, they develop a playful, friendly relationship. The couple decides to take it to the next level, and enter into a passionate affair. But Jackson soon discovers that Stacie has trust issues. She was in love once before and it had ended badly. Her college boyfriend had left her to go back to his ex. As Alexis begins to cause problems for the new lovers, Stacie wonders if history is about to repeat itself. Will Jackson be able to convince her he is not like her former lover? Or will Alexis succeed in her quest to tear them apart?

            Was that enough of a teaser to get you ready for it??? Or do you need a little excerpt too?

Stacie Abbott twirled a strand of her long, curly red hair as she studied the chart of her newest patient. Reading about what had happened to the young boy just about broke her tender heart.

“What’s wrong, Stacie?” her friend and co-worker, Ginger, asked as she walked into the office the two girls shared and sat down at her desk.

“I’m reading the chart notes for my new case. This poor kid has really had a rough time. He was on a football scholarship, with hopes of going pro someday. Now, that’s never going to happen.”

“Oh, that’s the doctor’s son who was in that horrible car accident back in May, isn’t it?” Ginger asked as she glanced at the chart on Stacie’s desk.

“Yes, it is. He’s home now. I’m to start going to the house for his therapy. He had some therapy while he was in the hospital. They want to start him off with sessions at home. He’ll come to the rehab center eventually as he progresses.”

“What’s his prognosis for walking again?” Ginger asked.

“At first they weren’t sure. Apparently he’s been making some progress. It’ll be slow going, but with a lot of therapy and some determination on his part, he should walk again. I just don’t know about his part of it, though. He has to be terribly down about all this.”

“Didn’t he see a counselor?”

“Yes, he did. I haven’t met him face to face yet. I start tomorrow.”

“From what I hear, the dad and brother are both docs and the mom is a nurse, so I’d think there’d be plenty of support there.”

“The brother is finishing his residency at Baylor. He’s planning to open an orthopedics practice. He should be very helpful.”

“Oh, that would be Jackson Jacobi. I met him once at a party. He’s really hot. At the time I met him he had a girlfriend, though.”

Stacie looked at her friend and rolled her eyes. “Of course you’d notice he was hot. I’ll let you know if I agree after I meet him. I’m sure I will meet him at some point.”

“Just saying, girlfriend, you might want to check him out.”

“I’m there to work, don’t forget.”

“But it doesn’t hurt to look, now, does it?”

Stacie shook her head and went on with her reading. When she finally put the chart into her bag and prepared to leave for the day, she looked over at Ginger.

“Dinner with me?” she invited.

“Sure, it’s not like I have a big date or anything,” Ginger said. “Where do you want to go?”

“I’d like Mexican, how about you?”

“Sure, let’s get out of here. Maybe we’ll find some cuties to buy margaritas for us,” Ginger teased.

“Do you ever stop?” Stacie grinned as she herded her friend to the parking lot. “Chuy’s okay with you?” she asked as they reached their cars.

“Fine, I’ll meet you there.” Ginger got into her car and started the engine.

Stacie pulled into the restaurant parking lot five seconds after Ginger did. The two friends went inside and chose to sit at the bar, rather than wait for a table.

As she perused the menu, Stacie looked up just in time to see the most gorgeous man she had ever seen in all of her twenty-six years. Well-groomed, well-dressed, with dark hair and perfect features, he was absolutely heart-stopping.  He was seated at the bar with a friend and the two were drinking tequilas. A plate of appetizers had been placed in front of them by the bartender, and the two men were talking as they ate. When the man happened to glance her way, he smiled briefly, then went back to the conversation he was having with his pal.

“Did you see that guy, Ginger?” she asked her friend breathlessly.

“Which one are you talking about?” Ginger asked as she looked around the bar.

“Directly across from us, the two guys drinking tequila,” Stacie replied, nodding toward them.

“Oh my God, Stacie, that’s him.”

“Him? Who? What are you talking about?” Stacie asked, in a confused whisper.

“That’s Dr. Jackson Jacobi, in the flesh.”

“You’ve got to freaking be kidding me. He really is hot. For once you and I agree. Oh my. This new assignment could get interesting.”

“Slow down, Stace, breathe deeply. Let the pro here give you some pointers on how to approach this situation.” Ginger giggled as she looked over at the two men again.

“Oh, this ought to be good.” Stacie teased her friend, rolling her eyes.

“The guy with him isn’t bad, either. I wonder if he’s a doctor too.” Ginger smiled in the direction of the two men.

“Quit looking at them and let’s order. I’m starved,” Stacie hissed.

The girls ordered their food. As they continued with their meal and conversation, the two men stood up to leave. Dr. Jackson Jacobi stood at least six feet tall, his build a perfect match for his height, as Stacie noticed immediately. When they walked past Stacie and Ginger, the men told them to have a good evening.

“Thank you,” Ginger gushed.

“Thanks, you do the same,” Stacie replied, smiling at Jackson.

After they’d gone, Stacie looked at her friend. “Do you think they caught on to the fact that we were discussing them?”

“I don’t know. For all we know, they were discussing us.”

“They didn’t stop to get acquainted, though, so that may mean they both are taken. That would be a damn shame, wouldn’t it?” Stacie asked thoughtfully.

“You really are looking forward to meeting him, aren’t you? I wonder if he’ll remember seeing you here.”

“I don’t know. If he’s at the house tomorrow, when I show up for Jordan’s appointment, I guess I’ll find out.”

When she had gone home to her apartment later in the evening, Stacie couldn’t help but wonder about the gorgeous brother of her patient. Finally giving in to sleep, she dreamed about Dr. Jackson Jacobi most of the night. Waking to the blast of her alarm clock, she sat up, rubbing her eyes. I’ve really got to quit thinking about that guy if I’m going to do my job. I’ve always been a professional, and I can’t let anything get in the way of that.

She was due at the Jacobi house at ten. After a leisurely breakfast, she hopped into the shower and, after toweling herself dry briskly with a fluffy towel, she dressed in her scrubs. Taking extra care with her hair and makeup, Stacie was finally ready to meet her patient and whatever family members might be present for that first meeting.


Book Signing

That’s all for now…have a happy and safe 4th of July and I’ll see you all back here after the holiday. I’ll be spending it with my family.

Love,

Anna

THE ROAD TO HIS SOUL…The drama and romance continues…

copy-of-theroadtohissoul-largest.jpg

Oh…my…gosh…this has been one crazy week in Anna’s World! I don’t even know where to begin…

I received edits for three different books and…

I completed all of them, believe it or not.

I worked on blog interviews, the lovely Ginger Ring hosted me on her blog Thursday. We chatted about cougar worthy men, chocolate, writing, and my upcoming release, The Road To His Soul. You can check it out at http://www.gingerring.com. I did an interview with another friend of mine, Erica Bayne, who is a fellow Rebel author. I have the distinct honor of being her very first interview and I am so excited about that! Her blog link is http://imitationsoflove1.blogspot.com/ and my interview with her is now live.

Let’s see, what else did I do? Oh, yes, I did a review for another author friend of mine, Penelope Jones. I finished the final read-through on Book #6 in my Fab Five series, The Road To Forever, and submitted it. I’m also working on the latest addition to Anna’s collection.

And last, but certainly not least, I signed THREE new contracts!!! On Monday, I signed two contracts with Rebel Ink Press, one for a novella, A Woman Like Her, which is the sequel to the novella, If You Love Me, and the other for A Holiday Hideaway, a Christmas novella. On Wednesday, I signed the contract for The Road To Forever with LazyDay Publishing! The most exciting thing about these three contracts is that in signing them, I completed a personal goal I had set for myself the day I signed my first contract. My goal was to have twelve signed contracts in twelve months. Guess what? I now have twelve signed contracts and it’s only been nine months!!! Yes, I’ve been very busy, and loving every crazy minute of it!

The first ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) review is in for The Road To His Soul and it’s a 5 star! ***** You can read the review on Goodreads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17790529-the-road-to-his-soul and while you’re there, be sure and add the book to your TBR list! This is the 3rd book in my Fab Five series. In this book, I mention the name of a friend of mine, a country singer, John Adam Murph, and one of his love ballads, Don’t Forget Me, becomes the love song for the main couple in the book. For more about JAM, go to his website, http://www.johnadammurph.com/ where you can listen to his songs and buy a CD if you’d like.

On Wednesday, May 22, LazyDay will release, The Road To His Soul. I promised a teaser and a teaser you’ll get. The book will be available on Amazon, B&N, and AllRomance.com, as well as http://www.lazydaypub.com.

I’ll post the links on my buy links page here on this blog, as well as on my website,  http://www.annakristellromance.com/140839533 and on my Facebook and Twitter pages as soon as they become available.

Without further ado, here’s the blurb and an excerpt from The Road To His Soul.

Blurb:

Another ‘Fab Five’ drama and Lizzie’s family isn’t out of the woods yet. This time her son is causing the problems.

 Colt Hart and Kendyl Durant have been dancing around a relationship for years. When Colt decides he is ready to give up his days as a player for a serious girlfriend, he finally makes his move, knowing that once he begins a relationship with his sister’s gorgeous blonde friend, there will be no turning back. Also deciding it’s time to think about his future career plans, he leaves his carefree job to accept his dad’s offer to join the family’s advertising agency.

 But the night before his first date with Kendyl he arrives at Rex’s office to tell him of his career decision, only to find his dad being put into the back of an ambulance after suffering what appears to be a heart attack.

 Blaming himself because his dad has been burning the candle at both ends, Colt believes that if he had accepted his dad’s offer sooner, the heart attack might not have happened. He asks Kendyl to be patient with him. He wants her, but the business has to come first right now. He has to make it up to his family and keep the business going while his dad recuperates. But how long will Kendyl wait?

 When they finally get together, the two lovers immediately enter into a sensual relationship. But Colt is called to Texas on business time and time again, and temptations await him there. Kendyl begins to doubt that he will ever be able to commit to her completely, heart and soul. When she decides to give him a wake up call by calling it quits, she hopes to turn things around.

 Will it backfire on her and end things for good, as Colt is pursued by other women? Or will he stop dragging his feet and put the ring on Kendyl’s finger?

Excerpt:

Colt took the stairs rather than the elevator, hoping to blow off some steam before he faced Kendyl. Finding a chair near the door, he watched for her as he thought about everything that had taken place that evening. He had been so happy as he drove to his dad’s office earlier. He had anticipated the joy on his parents’ faces when he told them his news. He had also looked forward to the romantic evening he had planned for Kendyl. Believing she might be the girl for him, Colt had carefully seen to each detail. Now he had to tell her the plans had changed, drastically, and he had no idea when he would be able to reschedule their date.
He looked up in time to see Kendyl rushing in the front door of the building. Rising from his chair, he went to greet her. On impulse, Colt pulled her into his arms hugging her tightly. She responded, speaking gently to him. “I’m so sorry, Colt. I’m here, for you and your family, whatever you need.”
“You’re so good in a crisis, baby. I remember how you took charge in the kitchen the day Caleb was killed. Thank you so much for being here for us.”
“I’d do anything for your family, you know that.” Looking up at him, she smiled. “I’d do anything for you.”
Colt smiled down at her gratefully, gazing into her deep blue eyes.
“Colt, I’ll understand if you want to postpone our date tomorrow night. You all have a lot to deal with right now.”
Looking at her pretty, angelic face, he replied, “I think that’s what we’re going to have to do. I’ll take a rain check, though. Problem is, I just don’t know how soon. I’m going to have my hands full, taking a crash course in advertising for the next few months.”
Kendyl laughed and when she did, her blue eyes sparkled. “I’ve waited for you to ask me out for a long time, Colt Hart. I think I can wait a little longer.”
“Let’s go outside.” He took her hand and led her to a secluded corner outside the building. Leaning down, he kissed her gently. As his hazel eyes met her shining blue ones, he saw something he had never noticed before. He kissed her again, more deeply. 
The beautiful blonde girl in his arms responded, melting against him. When he released her, she looked up at him, unable to speak. Kendyl had longed for Colt’s kiss for a very long time. But the feelings it awakened in her were like nothing she could ever have imagined. Finally, she found her voice and shakily said, “We’d better get upstairs.”
“Yes, you’re right.” He took her hand. Together they walked silently to the elevator.

Don’t forget to grab your e-Book copy of the book on Wednesday!!!! Until next time, thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Love,

Anna 🙂

John Adam Murph…The Man and His Music

Jam

Hello and welcome back to Anna’s World. I’d like to take a moment and wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers and especially to my own Mom, Patty Kalb, in Plano, TX.

This week it is an honor for me to welcome my friend, John Adam Murph, also known as JAM to his friends and fans, to Anna’s World. If you’ve been following this blog or my Facebook page, you know that John and one of his love ballads, Don’t Forget Me, are mentioned in my upcoming release, The Road To His Soul. This is the third book in my Fab Five series from LazyDay Publishing and will be available in e-Book format on May 22nd at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and AllRomance.com

In the story, the hero Colt and heroine Kendyl have been attracted to each other for some time, but have only recently begun to do something about it. As they enter into a relationship, Colt must spend time away from his new love, time and time again, as he travels on business for this family’s business while his dad is recovering from a heart attack. On one of his trips, he is introduced to the music of John Adam Murph, and immediately takes a liking to the song, Don’t Forget Me, as the words portray the relationship he has with Kendyl. He plays the song for her when he returns home and they decide from that day forward, this is “their” song.

I met JAM about five years ago, on a social media site for country songwriters, musicians, and fans. At that time, I was dabbling a little with lyrics and thought it might be a good place to make contacts. When JAM told me he would be performing at the Linton Music Festival in Linton, IN that Labor Day weekend, I made plans to attend, since it wasn’t far from where I lived. My husband was ill, so my daughter accompanied me. We spent some time that day with John and his band members, and he gave us both an autographed CD. We fell in love with his music. When I got home and played the CD for my husband, he also became a fan. Over the years, we kept in contact through the social media, and when I got my first publishing contract, JAM was one of the people I contacted to let him know my good news. He was happy for me, and while writing The Road To His Soul, I was listening to John’s CD, when it hit me how perfect Don’t Forget Me would be as the love song for the couple in the book. I contacted him to ask if I could mention him and his song in the book, and immediately he replied, “Of course you can. Anything I can do to help.” That’s John. Simply stated. Always willing to help. He told me he had a new CD out and he mailed me a copy. Before long, I became friends with his marketing manager, Kurt Liebetrau, another just super nice guy, who has helped me with some book marketing along the way.

Who is John Adam Murph? I’m going to post his BIO, so you can see for yourself who this man is and learn a little about his music.

Listen to the love song of Colt and Kendyl:

Don’t Forget Me

another JAM

BIO:

John Adam Murph (JAM) is no stranger to the stage. At age 5 he caught the ear of kindergarten music teacher Mike Davis in a small town in south Alabama. Davis took JAM under his wing, pulling him out of class and staying after school to rehearse song after song – all different styles ranging from Vegas show tunes to Hank Williams Sr. At age 6, with permission from JAM’s parents, Davis entered JAM in his first talent competition. At the ripe old age of 6 JAM had his first victory under his belt. That was it, the passion for song and stage was in his blood. Continuing to perform and work with Davis for the next 2 years, JAM was about to endure one of the many things that shaped him as a songwriter and a vocalist. Pain.

It was early one spring morning. JAM was listening to music and singing away in his room when his mother asked him to come out she needed to talk to him. He came out and sat down on the fireplace. JAM’s mother informed him that Mike Davis, his beloved music teacher, had been shot in the head and killed in a hunting accident. Devastated, JAM gave up singing. Despite the support of his family and the community rallying around him, he was done singing. Still with the love of music pumping through his veins, he picked up a pair of drum sticks and buried himself in percussion.

JAM’s family relocated to Georgia. During this time, JAM was becoming quite a drummer, winning several drumming competitions in trap set etc… At 12 years old JAM could not resist the urge to sing again. He continued drumming, playing in several different bands. Then JAM picked up a guitar and the song was on. Listening and playing several different styles of music, JAM realized that country music told real life stories. Stories that were told by good and bad and singers like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and others. Their ability to deliver these lyrics was astonishing to JAM. JAM started writing, playing, singing and laying the foundation for his future.

At the age of 14, he started playing honkytonks and nightclubs around Atlanta. Because he was not yet old enough to be on the bar scene, the club owners would make JAM go and sit in the kitchen between sets. Growing up so fast, JAM decided to take a break from music to pursue a business opportunity in Montgomery, Alabama.

After a while JAM could not ignore his passion for the song and stage. JAM put a band together in Montgomery immediately breeding success playing clubs everywhere, festivals, fairs etc…JAM won several “battle of the band” competitions earning opening spots for artists such as Jo Dee Messina, David Allan Coe, Steve Azar, Nashville String Machine and so many more. JAM was also the only unsigned artist to ever headline Zoo Fest. JAM was making noise down in ‘Bama and Nashville started to take notice.  A prominent producer in Nashville contacted JAM and asked him to meet. After the meeting JAM pulled up roots and moved to Nashville.

Immediately after getting to town, JAM was in the studio making music, and damn good music. JAM’s songs started turning the heads of Nashville’s most successful songwriters. JAM started writing with many of them. JAM was selected for CRS (Country Radio Seminar) “Nashville’s Next Big Thing” category. JAM inked a management deal with Nashville veteran Judy Seale of JSI Inc. JAM entertained the 911 first responders at the Brooklyn, NY fire department, literally singing for his supper. Playing shows all over the globe, JAM has sold out concerts in Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland. JAM’s patriotism and support for the military has taken him to Iraq seven times with artist such as Charlie Daniels, Darryl Worley, Lonestar, Mark Chestnut, Cheley Wright, Filter, etc.. The new record is done!

JAM is jerking country music up by the roots and shaking the pop off!


You can find out more about John and listen to his music, or order a CD on his website: http://www.johnadammurph.com/
“Like” his Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/fansofJAM?fref=ts
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnadammurph
I’d like to thank John and Kurt for their help in this venture of mine and thank both of them for being guests on my blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about JAM. Check out his website. Next week, I’ll give you a sneak peek into The Road To His Soul, so stop back by. Until then, stay safe and have a great week.               Love, Anna

Marketing Tips from Kurt Liebetrau

Kurt professional

Welcome back to Anna’s World. This week, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a friend of mine, Kurt Liebetrau. Kurt is the Marketing Director for John Adam Murph, rising country star. I’ve talked about JAM in the past, both here and on my Facebook page. He’s mentioned in my soon-to-be-released, The Road To His Soul, which is Book #3 in my Fab Five series. May 22 is the big day! John has allowed me to use his name and one of his love ballads, Don’t Forget Me, as the theme song for the lovers in the book, Kendyl and Colt. Perfect song for their storyline, and when you read the book, you’ll understand why.

 

Today, Kurt’s going to give us some marketing tips geared towards authors. Since meeting Kurt through John, he’s often helped me out and when I asked him if he’d take time out of his busy schedule to do an interview for my blog, he immediately said yes. I found his suggestions to be very helpful and I hope you will too. Let’s see what he has to say!

 

 

Anna: Wow, welcome to my blog, Kurt. I finally cornered you long enough to get you to spill some marketing secrets for all my author friends and me. First of all, why don’t you tell my readers a little about yourself, what you do, what type of experience you have?

Kurt: I grew up in a small town in Michigan and have lived on or near the water most of my life. I lived in Daytona Beach for 21 years and moved to Huntsville, Alabama and am living on the TN River.  Needless to say, I love anything outdoors; fishing, hunting, four wheeling, scuba diving, surfing, skiing, cliff diving, caving, etc.  If I’m outside; I’m happy, if I’m on the water; I’m in love.  I started in the direct mail and marketing business in 1984. I have owned several direct marketing firms over the years and have seen quite a shift in marketing efforts over the years but most significantly within the last five years with the rise of social media.

Anna: Lots of marketing background, just what we need around here. As you know, we Indie authors have to do a lot of our own marketing. Our publishers market for us, but in order to be successful, that’s not enough. We have to really dig in and find new and exciting ways to bring the readers to us. I use the social media, along with blogging to spread the word about my books. I, along with other people, tell everyone we know, I pass out bookmarks, I’ve planned some book signings for later this year, but I’m sure there are ideas we haven’t even thought of. Do you, as a marketing expert, have any suggestions for us?

Kurt: Social media is an excellent tool to spread the word.  Being in front of your readers as much as possible is very important, especially using different mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Email, Website, etc.  Make sure your website is mobile friendly.  Here are ten musts for social media marketing:

1. Respond to every comment — Seems simple enough. Someone’s taken the time to engage with you; they deserve your attention. But when you get busy it’s easy to let those things pile up and go unanswered. If you don’t have time to personally reply to every Facebook comment or tweet, at least like/favorite them.

2. Make sure your website is social-friendly — Does your website make social sharing easy? If not, download one of the plug-ins that enables share buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, etc.). Don’t make someone have to do extra work to share your latest book release or blog post.

3. Customize your social profiles — No one wants to follow THE EGG on Twitter. And a big, bland Facebook header image isn’t doing you any favors either. So really take the time to add compelling profile images, background images, bios, etc. Oh, and don’t forget to put something in the “About” section on your Facebook Author page.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in the real world — Your family, friends, and existing readers are the ones who can help you spread the word early on. Don’t be shy about asking for some sharing, engagement, and retweet love.

5. Don’t confuse your personal profiles with your author profiles — When you’ve got a personal Facebook profile, an author page, multiple Twitter accounts, and everything else — it’s easy to get confused about where you’re posting new content. Make sure to double check that your latest Instagram photo of your new book cover is going to your author page and author Twitter feed. It’s not rocket science to fix a mistake, but it’s a bit of a pain — and kind of embarrassing too.

6. Reward frequent interaction — Offer prizes or have a “reader of the week” title for people who regularly interact with you through social media and share your content.

7. Post consistently — Don’t disappear for months at a time. You don’t necessarily have to tweet or post something on Facebook every day (though it never hurts!) — but avoid long dormant stretches. It conditions your readers to forget you.

8. Remind people to follow you via social media — Use your book covers, bookmarks, your book signing,  and your email newsletter to tell folks where they can find you on social media.

9. Have a conversation —

Don’t just promote your latest release non-stop. Engage with other folks you admire. Ask for your fans’ opinions. Show them your goofy side. Tell them a secret.

10. Don’t autopost everything —

There are tools you can use to post a single update to multiple channels — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — with the push of a button. But people who follow you on each platform want to get a unique experience in each place. So while it’s ok to use the autopost method occasionally, try to make an effort to give each of your social media audiences a little something different.

Anna: These days, you’re the marketing director for country artist, John Adam Murph, also known as JAM. Tell us a little about what you do for JAM as far as marketing.

Kurt:  It’s been a pleasure to be the marketing director for John Adam  Murph. The first thing we did is to completely redo his website: johnadammurph.com  then we created a new Facebook band page.  Having JAM in front of his fans as much as possible through social media is extremely important to us.  With every new release or live show we create an event and hype it up as much as possible. Although keeping fans updated is important, getting new fans is even more important.  With likes, sharings and retweets, we are able to accomplish this.

Anna: Since John so graciously allowed me to use his name and his love ballad, Don’t Forget Me, in my upcoming release, The Road To His Soul, I’ve probably driven you crazy posting on your facebook wall and sending you PM’s. I have to say, you’ve been very sweet and patient with me. Now’s your chance to talk about JAM on my turf. Tell us all about this guy, who is not only a great singer, but a wonderful person, as well. I’ll be dedicating a post to him soon on this blog, just before the book releases, but I want you to tell us a little “backstage” info that we won’t hear from him.

Kurt:  JAM is a father of four beautiful children, three boys and a beautiful girl. His oldest, Caleb “CAM” who is 15, is becoming quite the phenomenal guitarist, following in his Daddy’s footsteps!  JAM has a heart of gold and would be the first person to give you the shirt off his back!  Most girls dream of that…he’s quite the “eye candy” as my friend Kim says!  He truly is the entire package, from his songwriting, to his vocals, to his heart for the troops.  He’s been over to Iraq seven times to play for the troops through the Stars for Stripes foundation.  He has a memory that I’ve never seen in anyone and is borderline genius.  His music speaks for itself and will stand up to anyone out there!

Anna: Yes, he’s one-in-a-million, that’s for sure. I’ve know JAM for about five years and he’s just a super guy! Thank you so much for taking time out to chat with me today, Kurt. I’m looking forward to having you stop by the release event on Facebook for The Road To His Soul to help me out like you did the day my first book, Crossroad to Love, was released. It’s been a pleasure to sit down and pick your brain about marketing. (Not like I haven’t done it before, but this time I’m sharing your insight with my blog readers.) Now, I’ll let you go so you can finish your day’s work and hit that favorite fishing spot, like I know you want to. You’ve found the perfect balance between work and play, something many authors have yet to find.

Kurt: It’s my pleasure Anna, and best of luck to you and your fellow authors as well as your readers. I hope I have given someone some insight to this world of social media.  Fish On!!!  JAM On!!!

Thanks for visiting Anna’s World today. Feel free to leave a comment or a question for us. Next week, I’ll be doing a feature on JAM and his music, so you’re not going to want to miss that!!!!! Until then, have a fabulous week!

Love,

Anna

Kurt having fun!!!Kurt's pic

It’s Almost Here!! Book Two in the Fab Five series!

the road to her heart cover

Welcome back to Anna’s crazy world! The second book in my Fab Five series is almost here. LazyDay Publishing will release The Road to Her Heart on March 20, 2013! For all of you who read the one that started it all, Crossroad to Love, you’ll be happy to know the second story begins right where the first one left off. I know many of you have told me you’ve fallen in love with the Fab Five and can’t wait to follow their lives. I’ll warn you…drama and romance follow them where ever they go.

Crossroad to Love has gotten several 5 star and 4 star reviews on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. It earned Silver Star status on ARe within four days of release. I’ve been told guys are reading it…and liking it. In fact, guys and gals of all ages are reading it. I’ve been told by people who rarely read romance that they were pleasantly surprised to find they enjoyed it and they are looking forward to the rest of the series.

If you haven’t read it yet, there’s still time to get caught up in the drama before March 20th. Crossroad to Love is available on Amazon, B&N, and ARe as well as http://www.lazydaypub.com, in fact, the buy links are listed on my “Buy Links” page on this blog. All you have to do is copy and paste the link of your choice into your browser and it should take you right to the book.

Without further ado, here’s a glimpse of The Road to Her Heart.

Blurb:

The ‘Fab Five’ are back, but this time, it’s Lizzie’s daughter who is causing all the drama.

Cara Hart is getting married. But there’s a slight problem with the upcoming nuptials. Cara is in love with two men. She loves her fiancé, Caleb, but can’t get over Nick, the one who broke her heart. To make things even more complicated, Caleb and Nick are best friends. Deciding not to waste her life pining for what might have been, Cara goes ahead with the wedding to Caleb. Determined to make the marriage work, she hides her feelings for Nick in the deepest corner of her heart, and moves forward. Finding love and contentment in Caleb’s arms, Cara is certain she has made the right decision. The newlyweds settle into married life, planning to start a family right away. But days after learning she is pregnant, Caleb is killed in a plane crash, leaving a devastated widow behind.

 

Nick steps up to the plate, comforting Cara during her grief, even asking her to marry him. He offers to help her raise Caleb’s baby. Angry, Cara declines Nick’s offer, believing it to be a pity proposal.

 

Is she right? Did Nick propose because he felt it was his duty to take care of his dead friend’s wife and child? Or, is it possible that Nick wants a second chance, with the girl he once loved and left? As he travels the road to her heart, will Nick be able to convince Cara to open it and let him back in? 

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Katy rolled over and saw the man lying next to her. She looked around the room, spying the trail of clothes on the floor leading from the door to the bed. She smiled, remembering. Am I dreaming again, or did last night really happen? Katy pinched herself, realizing this was no fantasy. Ryan was here, in her bed, in her apartment. Last night really happened… finally.

Katy Barron thought back to the past eight months. She had met Ryan O’Grady last fall, while on a vacation in Dallas, with her three best friends, Angie, Marianne, and Lizzie. The four had been friends since childhood, but had all scattered to different states over the years. The trip had been planned as a reunion and could not have come at a better time. Each of the four women had found herself at a crossroad, needing to make a decision that would affect the rest of her life.

Angie had recently come face-to-face with the man she had divorced fifteen years earlier. He had shown up the day before the trip, the architect assigned to work with her on a renovation project she was spearheading for the QuadCity casino-hotel resort she worked in. She had never gotten over him, but a secret she’d kept had threatened to keep them apart forever. When Angie told Michael the real reason she had set him free was so that he could have a family with someone else, it had looked like they were over for good.  Years ago, she had miscarried while he was out of town, and having been told by the doctor that she would never carry a child to term, she had decided not to tell him, divorcing him, instead. The reason she had given him at the time, was that she wanted to pursue her career. Marriage, and a family, did not fit her plans. Luckily, he was able to forgive her and they were reconciled now.

Lizzie had been suffering from empty nest syndrome. She thought she wanted to work in her husband, Rex’s, ad agency in Columbus, Ohio. She did not know how to broach the subject, when a solution landed in her lap. During that fateful trip to Texas, she had met Chloe O’Grady, co-owner of a restaurant, who needed a new ad campaign. Lizzie had offered to come up with some slogans and had landed the account.

Marianne had believed her husband, handsome Dallas surgeon, Jon Jacobi, was having an affair. She was using the week away from him to decide what to do about it, when it all had come to a head, halfway through the vacation. Jon had shown up at the hotel where she and her friends were staying, followed by the supposed mistress. During the heated arguments that followed, it was discovered that Jon had never betrayed his wife. He was being stalked by the young lady in question.

All of Katy’s friends had gone home from the trip with a happy ending and a bright future, except Katy. She had met, and fallen head over heels for, playboy Ryan O’Grady. She had also secured his restaurant, as a client, for her new interior design business. The job had later led to a permanent position with O’Grady Enterprises, with Katy relocating from Chicago to Dallas. But one night, after professing their mutual feelings for one other, Ryan and Katy discovered that they had a connection from the past. Ryan’s wife and her lover had been in the car that had hit Katy’s husband and little girl head on, killing all four of them. Ryan felt they could never have a relationship after that. Katy had spent the past eight months working with him, and trying to put her feelings for him to rest.

Last night, after the restaurant closed, they had both been working late. Ryan had finally admitted that he still loved her. And he had asked her to marry him. They had made love for the first time, in the private dining room of the restaurant. Afterward, he had come home with her, where they had spent the better part of the night making up for lost time.

“Well, hello there.” Ryan was awake now.

“I just pinched myself, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming,” Katy replied with a smile.

“If you are, then I’m having the same dream and I don’t want to wake up.” He pulled her to him, kissing her, to prove that he was real, this time, and not a dream.

“I love you,” she said, gazing into his brown eyes. The gold fleck in each of his eyes sparkled.

“And I love you, my yellow rose. But right now, I need to make a call.” Putting his finger to his lips, indicating he wished her to stay quiet, he picked up his cell and dialed.

“Hello, Shane. I’m not going to be in today. I have some personal things to take care of… Yes, that’s right. And by the way, Katy won’t be at work today, either. She worked pretty late last night, so I gave her day off… Gotta go, Bro. Bye.”

Katy stifled a giggle. “What did he say?” Shane was Ryan’s younger brother. Ryan, Shane, and Shane’s wife, Chloe, co-owned a restaurant named Chloe’s Place. They recently had expanded the original restaurant. They were in the process of building a corporate office, as well as several chain restaurants, across the country. Shane handled the finances, Chloe was in charge of menus and chefs, and Ryan was handling the openings of the new restaurants. Katy was their decorator.

“He said okay, and I said goodbye before he had a chance to ask any questions. We’ll surprise them with the news, later, but first we need to go shopping.” He lifted her left hand, adding, “I want the whole world to know you’re mine, so we’re buying a ring today.”

“I only need you. I don’t have to have an engagement ring.”

“But you’re getting me and a ring, so don’t complain.” He laughed as the gold flecks in his beautiful brown eyes flickered once more.

“Okay, Boss, whatever you say.”

“You’ll find that being Mrs. Ryan O’Grady comes with a few privileges.”

“There’s only one privilege I’m interested in. I think you know what that is, after last night.”

“Don’t tempt me, baby, or we’ll never get out of this bed today. You get in the shower, while I make breakfast. Now scoot.” He pretended to push her out of bed, as she forced herself to get up.

A short while later, when Katy walked into the dining room of her Frisco, Texas apartment, breakfast was already on the table. Ryan had prepared ham and cheese omelets and toast. He was pouring coffee into mugs as she sat down.

 “I could get used to this real fast.”

“Well, I do own a restaurant, you know,” he teased. “And I intend to pamper you, my yellow rose. I’ve wasted too much time, holding you at arm’s length.”

He had given her the nickname of his yellow rose because that is what she had reminded him of, the day they’d met. She had walked into the restaurant for a meeting, wearing a pale yellow dress. That had been the day she had bowled him over, with her decorating ideas, and her charm.

As they dove into the scrumptious omelets he had prepared, they discussed how they would tell their families and friends, about their engagement and upcoming marriage. They came up with a plan and finished their meal. She made phone calls, while he loaded the dishwasher.

Katy called her son, Alex, first, and then her parents. They were all, of course, elated for her.

Next, she dialed the number of her friend, Lizzie, in Ohio. As she waited for Lizzie to answer, she blew a kiss to Ryan. Damn, he looks good, working in my kitchen.

“Hello.” Lizzie’s voice came on the line.

“Lizzie, it’s Katy. How are you?”

“I’m fine, just going crazy helping Cara with this wedding of hers.” Lizzie laughed. Her only daughter was getting married soon, a source of concern, as she was marrying a virtual stranger, and not the boy everyone had expected her to spend her life with.

“How’s that situation going?”

“We’re going to meet his parents this weekend. I guess we’re just going to have to accept the fact, once and for all, that Nick isn’t going to be our son-in-law.” Lizzie and Rex had both been disappointed that their daughter was not marrying her long time boyfriend, Nick. Instead, she was planning a wedding with his college roommate and good friend, Caleb Walters.

“I’m so sorry this has been so confusing for you. But I have some news that may cheer you up.”

“What’s that?”

“Ryan and I got engaged, last night.” Katy waited for the scream and was not disappointed.

“Finally, I had begun to think it wasn’t going to happen. How did it all take place?”

Katy gave her a quick description of the proposal, adding, “Mum’s the word, if you talk to Mari. We’re going to tell her at dinner.”

“Okay. I wish I could be there.”

“I do, too. I have to go now, I need to call Angie. Give my love to the family.”

“Okay, bye, Katy.”

Next, Katy called Angie, in Iowa. Her reaction was similar to Lizzie’s.

Now, it was time to call Marianne and Jon. Marianne answered on the third ring. “Hello.”

“Mari, hi, it’s Katy. I was wondering if you and Jon could join me for dinner, at the restaurant tonight.”

“Let me check with Jon, he hasn’t left for the hospital yet.” She came back on the phone and said, “We can be there about seven-thirty. Will that work for you?”

“That’s perfect. I’ll see you both then. I have to run now.”

As Marianne hung up the phone, she said to her husband, “I wonder what that was all about.”

“Katy probably needs some friend time. It has to be hard for her to work with Ryan, every day, with nothing happening in the romance department. She really has it bad for the guy. And he’s about as stupid as they come, for not latching on to her.”

“I agree, but you know, there’s a lot of baggage there. I thought when she moved out here, though, things might change.”

“Got to run, Babe, I’ll see you tonight.” Jon kissed Marianne goodbye, leaving her to the rest of her day.

That’s all I’m going to share with you for now…

Don’t forget to grab your copy of Crossroad to Love if you haven’t yet, so you can see how it all started.

On the 17th, I’ll be featuring fellow Rebel author, Helen Ogrodnick as she celebrates the release of her debut romance. 

And on the 21st, fellow LazyDay author, Anastasia Vitsky, will be stopping by to tell us about her new bestseller!

Fellow Rebel author, Jane Wakely, will be here on the 25th, so it’s a full month in Anna’s world and you won’t want to miss any of it.

I’ll also be sharing some teasers about my April release from Rebel Ink Press, Sunny’s Love.

Until then, happy reading and see you soon.

Love, Anna 🙂    

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