Magnificent Monday

It’s an honor to spotlight fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, DeAnn Smallwood. Check out her Author Page on Amazon for more of her historical novels, as well as her suspense/thrillers under the pen name of D.W. Woods.

One Shingle to Hang by DeAnn Smallwood

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Everyone knew Lil Wentfield would never marry. What man would want her? Granted she was a real beauty.

A woman with too much knowledge was at risk for insanity. Their fragile mind couldn’t handle it. That’s what Lil had been told when she went against convention and became an attorney. The 1800’s had fewer women lawyers than women doctors. Her pride knew no bounds when she hung her shingle—L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.

Drew was a struggling cattle rancher, building a fledging Hereford empire. He was working toward that goal when he was accused of rustling and faced possible hanging. He needed a lawyer—a good one—a man. Chesterfield had one lawyer—a new one—L.M. Wentfield. He wasn’t prepared for a beautiful blonde with a sharp tongue and fiercely won independence.

Lil had no homemaking abilities. Her love was the law. And if the thoughts of the gray-eyed cowboy, who had the audacity to refuse her legal help stayed in her mind, she’d push them aside. She had nothing to offer a rancher . Even her wealth wouldn’t be considered an asset to a prideful man. And Drew Jackson was proud. So proud, he knew he couldn’t ask a woman of Lil’s stature to share his life—but he wanted to—from the moment he’d stolen that first kiss.

 

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Mrs. Smallwood will be giving away a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble to one lucky commenter. Click HERE for Rafflecopter link.

 

An Excerpt

A loud knock broke into her thoughts. “Come in,” she called out.

Nothing happened, then another knock. “Please, come in,” she called again.

Getting no response, Lil came around her desk and, with some irritation at the interruption, jerked open the door, nearly toppling the tall man who held the doorknob on the other side. He muttered something under his breath, and tried to regain his balance only to bump into Lil, throwing her off stride. She stumbled backwards and would have fallen if not for the man’s quick reaction. He grabbed Lil and, wrapping both arms around, pulled her to him. Then, in a parody of the two-step, he danced her to safety.

Lil felt herself falling, then rescued by two strong arms. Not only was she pulled up short, but she was wrapped tightly against a rock hard chest, her nose buried in the man’s damp shirt. A very pleasant smell greeted her nose. The scent of summer rain and witch hazel. She found the masculine odor intoxicating.

Neither moved. Then Lil raised her head and looked into a pair of dancing gray eyes. His arms never relaxed their grip; in fact, they seemed to tighten around her as his mouth twitched, then broke into a smile.

“Didn’t expect to end up with a beautiful woman in my arms. For a moment there, I expected to land on the rug, Ma’am. With you alongside me,” he added with a chuckle.

He loosened his grip and gently pushed her away from the warmth and safety of his chest. Lil stepped back, feeling as though she’d just had something precious taken from her. She realized her hands still gripped his arms. Like a hot potato, she dropped them and turned away from the man’s disturbing presence. Like a fox heading for her den, Lil scurried behind her desk and gratefully lowered her trembling body onto the waiting chair.

With the desk between them, she was once again in charge. “May I help you?” she asked coolly, hoping the tremble in her voice went unnoticed. “I called come in not once but twice.”

“Sorry, Ma’am. Guess I didn’t hear you. I was just fixing to open the door when you did just that. Are you okay?”

“Yes.” Lil answered with no desire to elaborate. “I—I appreciate you catching me. Now,” she hurried away from that topic, “to repeat myself, how may I help you?”

He smiled, as if knowing her thoughts. Walking over to the desk, he removed his hat and stood with it in his hands. “I apologize for dripping on your floor, but it’s raining like hel—, uh, like heck out there.”

Lil tried not to look at how the ends of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. She focused instead on his hair, black and shiny with rain drops glistening on the wavy strands not covered by his hat. She didn’t realize she was staring at him until he shifted from foot to foot.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes,” Lil answered, pulling herself back to reality.

“What I’m here for is to see L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.” He pointed at the window, in the direction of the sign.

Lil nodded. “Yes,” she said again. At this rate, he’d think she only had a one word vocabulary.

The man tilted his head to one side. “Could you direct me to L. M. Wentfield, Ma’am?”

“Of course I can. How may I help you?”

Two small furrows appeared between the man’s eyes. He peered closer at her. Perhaps he needed to try another approach.

“Ma’am, could I speak with your husband?”

“There is no husband,” Lil said with a hint of asperity.

 

About the Author

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I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My Western Historical Romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie,  Wyoming Heather and One Shingle To Hang.  Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8, 2014. I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock.  I am also working on another  Western Historical Romance, Montana Man. It features the characters readers came to know and love in Montana Star. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written.

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Red Pump Romance Reviews

NEW Red Pump Final2I’ve been a fan of Cathy Maxwell for years. In fact, she’s one of the first romance authors I purchased (The Marriage Trilogy) when I joined Audible in 2008.

Somehow, I missed this story when it published as part of The One That Got Away, so I just had to sign up for this review.

Nightingale is a quick, single-setting read and I love ‘the one that got away’ theme. Putting one’s heart on the line is difficult at best. Doing it twice with the same person, one whom you never got over, is almost impossible. But Maxwell does a fantastic job of weaving a tale that’s thought-provoking, loveable, and full of rich characters despite this being a novella. Pain and tragedy, what-if, mixed with courage and second chances, Nightingale is a wonderful story that will warm your heart and make you believe in Happily Ever After, no matter what.

Nightingale gets FOUR AND A HALF Red Pumps!

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CoverFate has brought them together – again.

At one time, Jemma had meant the world to Dane Pendleton, but then she betrayed their young love by marrying another for his title and fortune.

Now Time has turned the tables. Dane is wealthy, respected, knighted and the widowed Jemma has nothing but her pride.

His honor for hers . . .

Dane’s name is on the lips of every beauty in London. They whisper he learned “tricks” while he was in the Orient. But has he forgotten Jemma, now Lady Mosby, and what they had once meant to each other? And will he accept her devil’s bargain?

In every woman’s life, there is that one love who slipped away. The man who makes her wonder “what if?”

But is this a momentary madness or a chance to rekindle a love that could last a lifetime?

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Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Two Winners to receive a Digital Copy of Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell. Click HERE for Rafflecopter.

 

About the Author

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

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What’s New Wednesday

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts

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Can a book change your life?

Yes, when it’s Simplicity, Muriel Sterling’s guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, overcommitted life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong.

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who’s constantly texting her friends, a husband who’s more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who’s consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life.

Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they’ve taken on.

But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn’t always happen simply!

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Sheila will be awarding a $25 B&N gift card and an eCopy of The Cottage on Juniper Ridge to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

EXCERPT:

Sometimes we get so used to the status quo that we forget we can change it. ~ Muriel Sterling, author of Simplicity.

Jen Heath hurried along the downtown Seattle sidewalk, hunching her coat against a freezing rain, her holiday to-do list dogging her every step, breathing down her neck. Trees along the street twinkled with white lights and store windows boasted displays of Santas, presents, and happy elves. A steel drum band had set up in the Westlake Mall and was playing Jingle Bells. Bah, humbug, she thought grumpily as she strode past them.

Anyone peering inside her head would think she hated the holidays. She didn’t. She loved them. She just didn’t love being so darned busy.

How had she gotten stuck in charge of planning the office Christmas party? Oh, yeah, Patty Unger, her supervisor, had volunteered her. Thanks, Patty. Not that Jen minded planning a party. But having to plan one this year wasn’t fun. It was just one more thing to add to a very long to-do list.

In addition to her full-time job, she sold Soft Glow Candles on the party plan – all so she could whittle down what she owed on her credit cards, keep up her car payments, and make the mortgage on her First Hill condo that she could barely afford. The car she’d needed, but the condo? What had she been thinking when she bought it? Oh, yeah. She hadn’t been thinking. She’d taken one look at the granite countertops, the hardwood floors, and the view of the Seattle skyline out the window and condo lust had come over her like a fever. By the time the fever broke she was a homeowner. (Thanks to the bank and her parents.) And her charge cards were maxed out. (Because, of course, she had to furnish the new condo.) Now she was a stressed homeowner.

Who was never home. She had three candle parties booked this week and two more on the weekend. The following weekend she had another candle party on Saturday, and then on Sunday a cookie exchange at her sister’s followed by the church choir concert. Oh, she would be home later that evening, right along with the eighteen other people she’d invited to her place for the post-concert party. (This was the symptom of yet another fever – – new owner pride. She’d been dying to show off the condo, and hosting a party had seemed like the perfect way.) The day before she’d gone to see the gingerbread house display at the Sheraton Hotel with her mother, her sister, and her niece Jordan. She’d been pooped, but when she tried to wiggle out of going Toni had reminded her that this was a tradition and, anyway, she needed to spend time with her family. Guilt, it was the gift that kept giving. After that she’d visited her grandma, who was complaining that she’d almost forgotten what her granddaughter looked like. It seemed everyone in her family was giving guilt for Christmas this year.

Tonight she absolutely had to do laundry. But what she really wanted was to flop on the couch and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. None of her friends understood what she saw in that old movie but she’d been watching it with her family every year at Christmas since she was a kid. Well, except for the last couple of years. Between having her marriage fall apart and getting a divorce she’d been too busy for a wonderful life.

Those days were over now. No more fights about money. No more fights about how she mismanaged her time or how impetuous and irresponsible she was. No more fights about, well, you name it.

When they’d first married Serge had loved her spontaneity, her joie de vivre.  After a year he developed a vision problem and saw only her flaws. They fought about everything from money to the amount of time she spent with her friends. “I don’t know what we’re doing together,” Serge had finally stormed one night, throwing up his hands.

Neither did she. So Serge had moved out and moved on. She’d run into him at The Last Supper Club six months after the divorce was final when she was trying to enjoy a night out with the girls. He’d been with a skinny tattoo queen with maroon hair and ear gauges. And he’d complained about how impulsive Jen was?

She’d wanted to hit him and his new woman, too. Instead, she’d buried herself in the crowd and danced until both her feet and her heart were numb. Good riddance, she’d told herself, but later that night she’d cried herself to sleep.

Now it had been a year since the big D and she was so over him and so moving on.

Now she was in charge of her own destiny, her own life, and that was fine with her.

Except so far this new life wasn’t exactly playing out as she’d envisioned it would. When a girl barely had time to wash her bra she was in trouble. When was she supposed to squeeze in things like dating? And if she didn’t even have time to date, well, what was that going to do to her sex life?

She scowled. Many of her friends were now having babies and she’d love to have one of her own. She sure didn’t see a bassinette on her horizon though. At thirty-two were her eggs giving up all hope of ever meeting a sperm?

Well, girls, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re just going to have to hang in there because right now I don’t have time to find a new man. Now, there was a depressing thought.

BIOGRAPHY

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Sheila Roberts is married and has three children. She lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have appeared in Readers Digest Condensed books and have been published in several languages. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel The Nine Lives of Christmas has been optioned for film. When she’s not writing songs, hanging out with her girlfriends or trying to beat her husband at tennis, she can be found writing about those things dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Visit her website to find out more about all of Sheila’s books.

http://www.sheilasplace.com 

Also find her on      FACEBOOK     and     TWITTER