Book Blitz: How to Catch Crabs by Demelza Carlton @bookenthupromo

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Book Title: How to Catch Crabs
Author: Demelza Carlton
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: June 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Love and babies: two things Lucy doesn’t have time for in her life. It’s 1926 and this young West Australian woman is happy as an accountant. And she intends to stay that way.

Until Giorgio, an Italian migrant fisherman sent to Australia in disgrace. The moment their eyes meet across the fish market, he knows Lucy’s the girl for him. If it weren’t for his reputation as a rake, he’s certain he could catch more than just her eye – perhaps even

her heart, too.

A tale of crabs, cricket bats and catching your heart’s desire in Jazz Age Western Australia.


How To Catch Crabs Excerpt 1

Motion through a shop window caught my eye and I focussed on the source – Mr Paino, peering over a pile of potatoes. When my eyes met his, his waving turned to beckoning as he enticed me inside.

“What are you doing up from the farm?” he asked as a gust of wind slammed the door shut behind me.

“Buying fish. Mum’s got another bun in the oven and she’s insisting on fish for dinner.”

Mr Paino laughed. “Sounds like my Maria was with little Sam. She wanted fish every day. Good thing our shop is only a few streets from the fish markets – she’d walk there in the morning with the children while I worked.” He eyed me. “So when are you settling

down and having children, Lucy?”

“Doesn’t that usually require a suitable husband?”

His smile died. “For a respectable girl like you, yes.” Without lightening his dark tone, he continued, “My brother has arrived from Italy. He’s just started working at the fish markets for Merlino, though I don’t know how long he’ll last. Last night he came home

swearing that crabs and sardines were the spawn of the devil.”

He wasn’t far wrong, but even if they were, I’d have the devil to pay if I didn’t bring that spawn home. “So your brother and Mr Merlino have crabs and sardines today?”

Mr Paino choked. “I don’t know about Merlino, but I wouldn’t be surprised about my brother. He was quite the troublemaker back home in Sicily, which is why Mama sent him to Australia. She seemed to think that sending him over to the other side of the world

might make him turn over a new rock.”

“Leaf,” I corrected without thinking. “Turn over a new leaf.”

His smile turned rueful. “Whatever the expression is, I doubt my brother is capable of changing. The girls all loved him back home and he loved them right back.”

“So you’re warning me that your brother is a rake, Mr Paino?”

He chuckled. “I don’t think you need warning, Lucy. You’re not silly.”

No, but there were plenty of girls who were. I glanced outside and was surprised to see a lance of light pierce the cloud, reflecting off the footpath in blinding white. “Looks like the rain’s let up. See you later, Mr Paino.”

I slipped out of his shop and hurried toward the fishing boat harbour. The market hall was so busy, no one noticed an extra body – least of all one as skinny as mine.

“No, my boys don’t have crabs. With weather like this, they’re off catching big fish and not messing about in the shallows!” a laughing voice cut across the hubbub and all sound seemed to quieten. Maria’s unmistakeable voice was music to my ears and everyone

else’s, too, it seemed.

I’d never envied a woman so much in my life. She was the same age as me – but that’s where the similarities ended. Blonde and curvy like some sort of Italian painting of an angel, Maria Speranza was a young widow who could do as she pleased. She worked for the

Basile family, but you’d never guess that she was anyone’s subordinate. As Merry D’Angelo’s niece, she had no parents to answer to, and as long as Merry approved of her, she had all the respectability any woman in Western Australia could muster. She’d arrived

three years before and showed no sign of taking a second husband, nor needing one…though every man who saw her seemed to think otherwise. She was the uncrowned queen of the fish market.

In the dim recesses of my mind, I registered what she’d said: the Basiles didn’t have crabs. But Mr Paino had said that Mr Merlino did, so I headed for the cramped corner of the market where his counter stood. Like everywhere, there were hierarchies and as Mr

Merlino was new here, with no relatives to vouch for him, he had to build his own reputation. Much like my parents had – and many of the other migrants here.

As I approached the counter, he rose from beneath it, unfolding to a height several inches taller than me. And my eyes met…a pair that were much darker than Paolo Merlino’s. Then one of them winked.

I blinked furiously, backing up to put some distance between me and this…rake, I realised, as I took him in. Well-muscled arms strained at his shirt sleeves as he folded them across his chest, making his knitted jumper tighten just enough to show the outline of

more muscles beneath. He said something in Italian, his voice rich and deep, though he looked much younger than his brother.

His voice felt like it rumbled through my chest as much as his and his second wink said he knew it, too.

Don’t be silly, I told myself. Rakes are good for gardening and that’s it.

“I don’t understand Italian,” I told him. “Where’s Mr Merlino? I need crabs and I understand he can help me.”

His eyes seemed to widen as he heard my broad Australian accent. Had the fool thought I was Italian? “If it is crabs you want, streghetta, I will give you those and much more besides.”

“English,” I insisted. “If you’re going to insult me, then I’ll go elsewhere.” I turned to go, but I had no idea if anyone else stocked crabs. If Maria didn’t have them, I’d be lucky if anyone did.

“I called you a little witch, miss, because you have enchanted my senses. I am at your service.”

Meet the Author

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Book Blitz: Body Checked by Kathrine Stark @bookenthupromo #Giveaway

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Book Title: Body Checked
Author: Katherine Stark
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

SERGEI DRAKONOV. The newest left wing for the Washington Eagles hockey team is a triple threat: muscle, roughed-up good looks, and a dangerous tabloid reputation. Not the kind of guy who fits into Jael Pereira’s five-year plan. Jael doesn’t have time for a

relationship, between her challenging senior-year course load and her stiflingly dull internship at the FBI. But for one steamy night, she gives in to Sergei and his smooth-talking ways.

Sergei wants more than just another one-night stand. But his brother—a high-ranking member of the Russian mob—wants him to help the family business. He can use Sergei as an easy way to launder money, or to smuggle drugs on the Eagles team plane. And if

Sergei doesn’t agree, he can kiss his skating career goodbye.

The FBI’s been watching Sergei. When they learn about Jael’s fling, they want her to persuade him to inform on his brother. But the more Jael sees the real Sergei, beyond the role he plays on the ice and in front of the cameras, the more she wants him in her life.

How can she win his trust, though, when she’s playing a role of her own? And how can she protect him from his mobster brother when she can’t even protect her own heart?

Body Checked is a standalone HEA sports romance in the Center Ice series of interconnected hockey athlete stories. It contains explicit language and sexual content between consenting adults.


“Hey. Brazil.”

I glance toward the corridor’s entrance. Sergei ducks through the red velvet curtains and lopes toward me, his eyes glittering in the darkened corridor.

“It’s Jael.” S***. Why did I tell him that? But it doesn’t matter. He won’t remember anyway.

“Jael.” He says it slowly, teasing, testing out the way it shapes on his tongue. I know this because I’m staring at his mouth as he says it, that ripe, boyish mouth, his lips just a little pink from drinking. His tongue grazes along the edge of his teeth as he speaks. And

then I’m imagining how that tongue might feel on my earlobe and running between my legs and—oh, god. I have got to stop.

“I promise you,” Sergei says in Russian, “I’m not what you think.” He props one hand against the wall behind me and leans in close. He’s got half a foot on me, and at least a hundred pounds of muscle, but he’s left me an escape if I want it.


I tilt my head up toward him and keep the scowl firmly fixed on my face. “And how do you know what I think?”

“It’s what everyone with half a brain thinks about me. That I’m some overly talented, privileged asshole with no discipline and no concern for anyone but myself. That I’ll screw over my teammates, cheat on my partners, and burn through all my money.”

His voice is so low. It hums inside of me, steady as a drumbeat, igniting my every nerve ending.

“They think I’m just skating through on raw talent alone, and sooner or later, all my mistakes and all my callousness are going to catch up with me.” He sighs. His breath is so warm against my throat. “Is that what you think?”

“You really think I care enough about you to think all of that?” I ask. “That anyone does?”

Sergei’s hand curls into a fist and he closes his eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Well, that’s how it sounds. That none of us have our own lives, our own problems, and all your adoring masses live and die by the attention bestowed on them by Saint Sergei.” I’m whipping out Russian vocabulary I didn’t even know I knew, but it’s flowing

effortlessly. Maybe I am still a little drunk. “That all those women over there fawning over you only exist in whatever moment you choose to acknowledge their existence. That other teams only exist for you to defeat them. That your teammates only exist to make

you look good.”

He runs his tongue across his upper teeth, quick enough that I don’t think it’s intentional, but oh, god, does it turn me on. Only the white fury of anger is keeping me from grabbing him by his belt buckle right now. Like I so badly want to do, despite how much I

hate him right now. Despite how much I hate self-centered boys like him.

But I hate boys like ex-boyfriend, too, trying to dress up their baser instincts in their elaborate plans and career goals and trust funds. In the end, all it took was a pair of good legs attached to an MBA candidate to lure him away from me. At least Sergei is honest

about what he’s after.

“So that’s what you think of me.” Sergei straightens up, his face no longer looming before mine. “I guess it’s fair.”

“It’s not what I was thinking right now,” I admit.


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Meet the Author

Katherine Stark is the pseudonym for an author of novels in a variety of genres for children and adults. She can nearly always be found buried underneath a pile of story notes. If she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, playing video games with her husband,

watching hockey, or eating her way across the East Coast.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: Ryan’s Love by C.A. Harms @bookenthupromo

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Ryan's Love

Book Title: Ryan’s Love
Author: CA Harms
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was bury my wife.

The second hardest thing would be watching my 12 year old daughter fall to her knees as they lowered her mother into the ground to rest.

A heart wrenching vision that will forever be etched in my mind.

Claire was my best friend, she had been since we were barely old enough to talk. I always knew, one day, I would marry her. I think I may have even told her that a few times while we were growing up.

Never did I think I would lose her so suddenly.

I knew at that moment…

Our life would never be the same again.


One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was bury my wife.

The second-hardest thing would be watching my twelve-year-old daughter fall to her knees as the preacher uttered his final words of comfort before her mother’s casket was slowly lowered into the grave. It finalized the fact that the woman we loved dearly was no longer within our reach. We would no longer be blessed by her smile or warmed by her words.

It was the most heart-wrenching sight, one that will forever be etched in my mind and which left a void in me I was positive would never be filled. It changed the man I thought I was and made me realize that loving someone with your entire heart didn’t ensure they would always be with you. There was no way to predict your fate.

Claire was my best friend; she had been since we were barely old enough to talk. I always knew I would one day marry her. I may have even told her so a few times while we were growing up. Even my brother, Noah, who is nearly a year younger than me, thought he would marry her. She was the perfect girl and had every man in Livingston, Montana, mesmerized by her looks and her personality. But she and I were meant to be.

I never thought I would lose her so suddenly. Now I was left struggling to find the strength I needed to push forward without her in my life. I couldn’t remember a day she wasn’t by my side, and now she was gone forever.

I sat in the chair looking at the deep, freshly dug grave before me, consumed by a feeling of emptiness. The air felt thick as it filtered into my lungs, making me feel like I was being suffocated. The anxiety of my loss was slowly overtaking me as I tried hard to fight the urge to break down and just give up.


Olivia’s sweet whisper pulled me from my daze, and I looked deep into her red, swollen eyes. I felt as if I had just been punched in the gut. There stood my little girl, looking broken and lost.

“I miss her already,” she said, her soft voice cracking.






Meet the Author

Author C.A. Harms is like any other addicted reader.

I enjoy happy endings in my love stories. Loving those scenes that give it the needed angst and heat to keep you hooked and wanting more. Just enough drama

to make her heart race and your stomach flutter. I haven’t always been a lover of Romance and had once been addicted to a good Mystery. Just recently I have

taken on a new liking and now I am addicted to Romance Novel.

I am a Limitless Publishing Author and love sharing my stories with my great fans. Feedback is great and I really enjoy interacting with my readers.

I live in Illinois and enjoy spending time with my husband and two children.

You will always find me with my kindle or paperback in hand as it is my favorite pass time.

And I never leave home without a small notebook. You never know when an idea for a new story will strike.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Book Blitz: The CEO by Shealy James #Giveaway @bookenthupromo

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Book Title: The CEO (The Game Changer)
Author: Shealy James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Eve Bryant finds herself moving across the country with only one goal—to rediscover herself and get her life back on track…

Leaving a disastrous marriage, she swears off men and relationships, but when she meets sexy, charismatic Grant Mitchell, her new rules fly right out the window.

Grant is a born and bred businessman, and he always gets what he wants…

The moment he lays eyes on Eve, Grant is determined she will be his. She’s different from other women he knows—too stiff, too prim—but her smile pierces his heart and he longs to see what she’s like when she lets her hair down. They discover a powerful and undeniable connection, leading to a fast moving relationship that leaves Eve whirling in its wake.

The odds are stacked against them, and trust is hard to come by.

A woman scorned, a troubled ex-husband, and a mother bent on orchestrating her son’s future to suit her own agenda make for a very rocky road. The new couple may not last, no matter how strong their feelings for each other are. Grant is willing to fight to keep Eve in his life, but after recent events, Eve isn’t sure she has any fight left to give.

Will outside forces drive Eve and Grant apart? Or will they learn there’s no love greater than the one you fight the hardest to keep?


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“With Eve’s fire and Grant’s cocky determination, this was a fast, fun, believable read. I don’t generally go for the alpha males even if saying so does place me in a significant minority, but, in this book, Grant was perfect. I wouldn’t mind meeting or dating an alpha male like him any day!”

Written by Amelia for Summer’s Book Blog.

“This story made remember why I love to read romance!”

-Jennifer Jura, Reader

“I just spent all day reading this book for the second time. I loved it even more the second time around. The characters are well developed and pull you right in. Eve and Grant’s story sizzles and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!”

-Ryan Ringbloom, Author of Fake Boobs and Books, Blogs, and Reality

Meet the Author

Shealy James is a Georgia native who teaches math by day and writes romance at night. As an avid reader, expert on romantic comedy films, and lover of realistic characters who could be her best friends if only they really existed, Shealy appreciates when humor mixes with drama to guide her imaginary friends to their happy endings. And there must always be a happy ending. Shealy openly eats enough candy to feed a small nation, drinks sweet tea by the gallon, and hopes to hit 10,000 steps each day.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Cover Reveal: I Had Him (A Daughter’s Story) by RC Woods @bookenthupromo #Giveaway

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Book Title: I Had Him (A Daughter’s Story)
Author: RC Woods
Genre: Werewolf Suspense/Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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A stand-alone sequel based on “What Lies Beneath -The Brothers Series.”

I never knew my mother.

Only a baby when she died, I grew up in the Edgewoods Pack, surrounded by a loving family, and raised by the man they called Jeremy. He wasn’t my real father, but I was told he loved my mother so much that when she died, it nearly destroyed him. He said I was

the only reason he didn’t die too.

The man who I called Daddy was my hero, my playmate, my confidant, and my protector. He was my entire world. My love for him surpassed the number of stars in the universe and exceeded the billions of raindrops in a thousand thunderstorms. I couldn’t

imagine my life being any different. I never needed a mother…I had him.

I thought there was nothing in the world he would ever allow to separate us.

I was wrong.


A child’s brain is a sponge, absorbing every small detail crossing their vision and falling onto small innocent ears. Most memories recalled by a healthy, happy child include those of a protective mother with warm comforting arms, a mother who can take away the

pain of a scraped knee or bee sting with a magical kiss. A mother who sits beside them in the dirt, creating the most fantastic concoctions of mud pies with pebbles and weed seeds for toppings. A warm and caring mother who would read bedtime fairy tales… you

know, the ones in which the handsome prince saves the beautiful princess and they live happily ever after?

But not me.

One of my earliest childhood memories consists of a black granite stone beneath a lone oak, the picture of a howling wolf carved deeply into the smooth face of the monument. Kneeling in front, I would trail my fingers across the letters etched into its smooth cool

surface, and although I couldn’t yet read, I knew what the letters spelled.

He told me.

I have no memories of my mother, but he sometimes tells me I look like her. I’ve seen pictures in our house and often wondered how he could think so. Her hair was brown while mine is coal black. She had the most startling green eyes I’ve ever seen. Mine are


But to say my childhood without a mother wasn’t happy would be a far cry from the truth. My days were filled playing dress up and having tea parties with my dolls just like any other little girl. I caught fireflies at dusk, keeping them in a jar beside my bed at night

and then setting them free at daybreak. I played hide-and- seek in the dark shadows beneath the dusk to dawn light and searched for earthworms beneath rocks and logs for fishing. I had snowball fights and built forts in the woods, never realizing for a moment

that I was missing a mother.

I had him.

He took care of me, spending every moment doing anything my young child’s brain could create and imagine. From a young age, I knew he wasn’t my father, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter our closeness wasn’t forged from the ties of blood, there was no one I

could have loved more. The Alpha of our pack, he was strong and intimidating, but I rarely saw that side of him. He was caring and fatherly, disciplining me when I needed it, but never failing to remind me how much he loved me.

The pack called him Jeremy.

I called him Dad.

Meet the Author

RC Woods is a freelance writer who lives in central Missouri. Author of her first full length novel series, What Lies Beneath-The Brothers Series, she has also written various unpublished memoirs and poems. Together, her love of the natural world, individualistic

outlook on life, and passion for writing, lend a hand in creating unique stories and true to life reflections.

From a young age, RC Woods was blessed with the love of reading. Able to immerse her imagination within the pages of a book for hours, this same love prompted her to begin the journey of writing her own novels.

“I love the supernatural and paranormal romance/suspense genres. There are no limitations to the possibilities of the imagination.”

Self-published author of three books in the set, What Lies Beneath-The Brothers Series, Book 1- Shane’s Story, Book 2 – Wrong Side of Heaven, and Book 3 -Ties That Bind, she is currently working on a stand-alone story based on one of the characters in the final

book of the series, “I Had Him – A Daughter’s Story”.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

King Stud An O’Connor Family Novel by Liv Rancourt @bookenthupromo #Giveaway

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Book Title: King Stud An O’Connor Family Novel
Author: Liv Rancourt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions


Book Blurb

Danielle’s got three months to make her Grandmother’s rundown Craftsman house livable. Her game plan is to get in, get grubby, and get back home to L.A. She needs a carpenter, and her best friend’s younger brother is a good one. It’s hard to ignore the buffed

body under Ryan’s paint-splattered sweatshirts, but her friend declares he’s off-limits so Danielle reluctantly agrees.

Ryan doesn’t have the cleanest record, anyway. His recently ex-ed girlfriend wants him back, and he has a reputation for brawling. He’s also had a crush on Danielle since he was a kid. Despite their nine-year age difference, he knows she’s worth pursuing.

Soon the paint under Danielle’s fingernails starts feeling more natural than the L.A. sunshine. She’ll have to navigate plumbing disasters, money problems, and one seriously cranky best friend to find something she hasn’t had before: a real home, and a man who loves her.


Faced with the drafty interior of a big box store on a Sunday evening, Danielle did what any other single woman would do. She whipped out her cell phone, scrolled through her contacts, and sent up a prayer to whichever god was listening. She’d been back in Seattle exactly three days, just long enough to have figured out things at her grandmother’s house were a lot worse than she’d anticipated.

Maeve picked up on the third ring. “Why aren’t you here?”

Relief trailed out on a sigh, and Danielle eyed the rack of lumber, each six foot piece as wide as her hand. Those boards wouldn’t fit in her Mini Cooper, which might not matter since she wasn’t sure they’d fix the problem. “Because I’m here.”

“Where?” The brew-fueled babbling on Maeve’s end of the call made her location obvious: her favorite hang-out, the Pig N’ Whistle.

“Home Depot.”

“You nerd,” Maeve said, then hollered ‘Home Depot’ to the crowd around her. A surge in the general hubbub gave Danielle’s location a big thumbs-down.

“Do I want to know what you’re up to?” Maeve’s voice dampened, as if she’d cupped the phone to cut out the background noise.

“Well, the kitchen floor’s kind of a problem.” It topped the list of challenges at Danielle’s late grandmother’s house, right ahead of ‘no heat’ and ‘intermittent electricity’.

“That whole house is a disaster.”

“Shut up. There’s nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix.”

“Wishful thinking,” Maeve said over a swell of crowd noise. “You don’t believe that any more than I do.”

Danielle scratched the hairline at the back of her neck, wanting nothing more than a long, hot shower. “Guess I got a couple months to prove us both wrong, then.” Maeve had been her best friend since high school, her go-to phone call when things turned to shit in L.A. In the three days Danielle had been back in Seattle, Maeve had been her rock.

She rested against one of the orange metal stepladders employees used to reach the top shelves. The whole thing shifted, zapping her with fear the top boxes would come tumbling down on her. Why not? The oversized store, the oversized project, hell, the oversized change in her life could very well squash her flat.

If Maeve had been at home, painting her toenails or paying bills, Danielle would have invited her down to the ol’ Home Depot right off. But now? No way could she interrupt Happy Hour.

To her right, a man pushed one of the store’s big dollies up the wide aisle. He wore a black knit cap pulled down almost to his brows, allowing just a fringe of dark curls and long sideburns to show.

“Just come have a pint with the rest of us,” Maeve said. “The floor will be there when you get home. Tomorrow’s Veteran’s Day and the place is packed.”

“Honey, it’s the kitchen floor.” Danielle gave Mr. Sideburns a ‘privacy please’ grimace, then almost made a fool of herself double-taking his return smile. His dimples and blue eyes had a familiar feel.

“Don’t ‘honey’ me,” Maeve said. “You can’t cook there anyway. Nothing works. Did you call my brother yet?”

“Not yet.” Danielle rubbed her forehead, pushing back the headache that wanted to take over. Focus. She was in no shape to play with Mr. Sideburns, no matter how sexy he looked in his paint-splattered UW sweatshirt. “Last time I saw Ryan O’Connor he was a ten-year-old with a dirty face and holes in the knees of his jeans.”

“Call him. He knows his stuff.” Maeve said. “And you’re family, babe. There’s nothing more important than family.”

Danielle had to smile. Maeve’s family – her rowdy brothers and generous, loving parents – had been Danielle’s ideal since she was a kid. In comparison, her own mother had relied upon a principle of benign neglect when it came to raising Danielle, her carelessness contradicted by a perverse inability to approve of any of Danielle’s life choices.

“You’re a good sport to help me out like this,” Danielle said.

“I figure if I’m nice enough, you’ll stick around.”

“Yeah, my boss’d love that.” Right now, her job was the best part of life in L.A.

Mr. Sideburns pulled a couple sticks of lumber from the rack, angling them across the top of the bags of concrete and box of tiles already in his cart. He lifted them with no more effort than if he was pulling a box of cereal off the shelf in the grocery store.

Danielle dragged her eyes down to the floor. No more ogling the other shopper. The buffed and gorgeous other shopper. Who probably had all kinds of women admiring his dimples and sideburns and whatever was hiding under his worn-out jeans.

Danielle convinced Maeve this wasn’t a good night for drinks with the gang and tucked her phone away. Like any L.A. woman worth her yoga studio membership, her usual approach to home improvement meant calling a local contractor. She could have done the same thing this time, except she’d given in to the impulse to get her hands dirty. She refused to look too deeply at that decision, because it probably meant something significant. Why else would someone with a great job, a gorgeous condo, and a busy life drop out for a three-month leave of absence?

When the project was done, she ought to take a long vacation and figure out why she’d chosen to come home to Seattle, why she wanted to do the work herself. Until then, she needed to leave off the introspection and go ask one of the orange-vested employees for some help.

“Must be bad to get you into Home Depot on a Sunday evening.” Mr. Sideburns leaned on his cart and gave her an appreciative once-over, his almost-cocky baritone mellowed by a hint of laughter.

Hitting on me? Not until I’ve had a shower, dude. Danielle jumped up from the ladder, ready to run. “I’m good, thanks.”

“Got that right,” he said, mostly to himself. “Sounds like you need a carpenter.” A wry grin tweaked the corner of his mouth, just enough to show a dimple. “Ryan O’Connor.”

“Ryan?” The wheels in her head burned rubber tracking back through the conversation with Maeve. How much did he hear? “It’s been what? Fifteen years?” She raked a strand of hair out of her face, torn between embarrassment over her woefully unwashed state and stupidity for blushing like a teenager. “Danielle Jacobsen.”

“Figured.” He smiled wide enough to show both dimples. Yep. Definitely related to Maeve. As a kid he’d had freckles and a snub nose. His nose was still rounded at the end and it looked like he’d broken it at least once, and his jeans had the kind of shredded wear at the knees that L.A. hipsters paid big dollars to copy. Her reserve melted until it warmed parts of her anatomy that had no business heating up in a Home Depot store.

“So … um … you’re Maeve’s little brother.” Danielle offered her hand, covering her momentary fluster with a glossy SoCal smile.

He wrapped her in a grip so sure and strong she didn’t want to let go. “Yep. I heard you were back from L.A.”

Danielle loosened her grasp to keep from giving him the wrong idea. Or to keep from giving herself the wrong idea. “Got here Thursday.”

“Shouldn’t you be at the Pig with Maeve?”

“Well, my grandmother’s house is kind of run down, and there’s this hole in my kitchen floor.” She gave a weak laugh, the banks of glaring fluorescent lights turning their conversation into a stage play.

Ryan stuffed his hands in his pockets and shrugged like he’d already seen worse than anything she could show him. “Before you spend any money, let’s go take a look.”

“Not tonight. I mean, it’s a holiday weekend.” If he was anything like Maeve, there was a bar stool with his name on it somewhere. “I’ll call you and get on your schedule.”

He gestured to his cart. “I just gotta pay for this stuff and we can go. Don’t buy anything ’til we know what you need.”

“But you must have plans.”

“Yep. I’m going to help out a pretty woman.” He lifted his eyebrows in a clear gesture of approval.

It’s like that, is it? She pinched her lips to stifle a grin, aiming for stern with a helping of skeptical. “Pretty older woman.”

“What do you expect from a kid with holes in his jeans?” He gave his cart a shove in the direction of a checkout line.

It would have been rude not to follow.


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Meet the Author

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon, and I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home

or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl