A Sexy Daddy, A Determined Nanny, A Precocious 3 Year Old…And A Goat

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“Do you like golf?” I ask.

“Yep. Daddy says I’m a natural.” She’s distracted by something over my shoulder, and I turn my head in time to watch as Garrett makes contact with another golf ball, sending it soaring past the 250-yard sign again. Abby jumps to her feet, clapping enthusiastically, and I follow her as she runs up to once again bump fists with him.

“Hey,” he says to her. “Erin here doesn’t know anything about golf. I bet she can’t even swing a club. Want to show her how it’s done?”

Abby nods and rushes to the nearby golf bag while Garrett follows behind and plucks a miniature club from the depths. He then places a ball on the tee and hands the iron to Abby, briefly suggesting she modify her stance before letting her take a swing. The ball flies through the air, landing near the 50-yard sign.

“Is that good?” I ask dubiously.

“Considering she’s three, I’d say yes,” Garrett replies. She rushes up to him and he enthusiastically tells her how great she was, and my heart pitter-patters uncomfortably. Despite my discomfort, I want this job more and more with each passing moment. I’m already half in love with the kid, and the dad isn’t so bad either.

“Your turn,” he says, pulling another club from the bag and offering it to me.

“I’m good,” I say, waving it off.

“Hit the ball,” Abby says.

“Yeah, why don’t you play with my ball?” Garrett taunts, holding one with his thumb and forefinger and twisting it to and fro.

I take back my almost-positive thought about Frost. “Fine,” I say, shrugging out of my coat and snatching the club from his hand. “What do I need to do?”

I know he intends to stand behind me, snuggle up close, and wrap his arms around me, all under the pretence of giving me a golf lesson. And I don’t want him to because really, I want him to. I want to know what that hard body feels like pressed against mine. Will he develop a hard-on? Will he rub himself against me while he whispers in my ear? Will I be turned on?

What a silly question.

“Stand over there,” he says, pointing at the area between two plastic triangles that separate each practice area from the others. “Now grab a ball from the bucket and place it on the tee. Okay, spread your legs, about a shoulder’s width apart. Good. Now hold the club like this.” I copy what he’s doing and place the head of the club on the ground. “Now…” He goes on for a solid five minutes while he continually tells me to adjust my stance and then explains which foot I want to put my weight on and how to swing my hips and a whole bunch of other instructions that pretty much go in one ear and out the other until I’m itching to just swing the damn club already. And he does it all from ten feet away, so I literally get no pleasure from this interaction.

None. Nada. Not even—

“Swing.”

Automatically, I do as he says. The club connects with the ball and sends it soaring … And it plops down a few feet from Abby’s ball.

“Wow,” the little girl says. “That didn’t go very far.”

“You should probably keep your day job,” her dad says.

“First I have to secure one,” I snap back. Shit, I’ve just made a fool of myself and now he probably won’t give me the job.

“What do you think, Abby?” Garrett says. “Should we keep her?”

“I’d rather have a goat.”

My gaze flies to Garrett’s face, and he’s laughing so hard he has to swipe away a tear. When he finally manages to regain his demeanor, he winks at me and says to his daughter, “You and a goat, alone together, would cause more trouble than a barrelful of monkeys.” She giggles. God, she’s cute. I suppose it helps that she looks just like her dad.

“All right,” Garrett says, this time focusing on me. “Trial run. Today. I’ve got about two more hours of this. I’ll break for lunch, and then I need to play a round. I spoke to the agency this morning and they swear you’re trustworthy—with kids.”

Oh shit. They didn’t tell him about the incident, did they? They’re supposed to be bound by law not to tell.

“So why don’t you let Abby show you around the club? You keep her entertained and then meet me for lunch in the clubhouse, say, 12:30. After that, if everybody’s still happy, I’ll give you the keys and you can take her back to my place to hang out until I’m done here. Deal?”

“Deal.” I automatically thrust out my hand, and he glances at it for a moment before grasping it and shaking. It’s an odd sensation since he’s wearing a golf glove, but who cares? I got the job! “You won’t regret this,” I promise him, and then I grab Abby’s hand and ask her to give me the tour.

I can feel his gaze on me as we walk away, but I understand. He’s nervous about leaving his daughter in the care of a stranger, even if said stranger was sent to him from a reputable nanny-placement agency. He’ll learn soon enough that he has nothing to worry about.

His daughter is in good hands.

And these hands are going to stay away from him.

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SEXY BAD DADDY

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund drinks wine, wins awards, and writes sexy bad books. Check out her website here: http://tamilund.com

Celebrating Fathers in Romance with @SSaraDaniel

Since Sunday was Father’s Day, I thought it was appropriate to celebrate secret baby romances where the father comes into the picture a little late, a lot clueless, but with all hands on deck ready to make up for lost time.

He followed Olivia through the foyer, summoning a herculean effort to not run past her in his impatience. Turning the corner, she proceeded up a set of stairs so far from the fireplace room the child could have been wailing his head off and they wouldn’t have heard a peep. He’d been right to insist. From this moment on, the baby would be well cared for.

Pictures cluttered the walls, and folded clothes lay stacked on furniture at the top of the stairs. While she stepped around a Lego tower on the carpet, he stumbled over the scattered interlocking pieces. God help her if she’d done the same thing with a baby in her arms. Clearly, he had arrived just in time.

Olivia paused at a half-open bedroom door. “This is Liam,” she whispered. “You can see he’s safe and sleeping peacefully.”

Nice try keeping him from the child, but he didn’t bite. Instead he stepped toward the white crib filling half of the small bedroom. Leaning over the edge, he bumped his head on a plastic rod with a miniature monkey, giraffe, and hippopotamus attached by little strings.

In the bed, camouflaged by the monkey sheets, matching padding along all four sides, and monkey-patterned clothing lay the tiniest human he’d ever seen. Eyes closed and mouth slack open, his head turned toward Caleb, exposing the tiny pulse on his neck.

The innocent, precious child was completely at the mercy of the adults in his life.

Caleb’s chest constricted to the point of physical pain. “I won’t let you down, Liam,” he whispered.

Bending over the crib rail, he placed his hands on either side of the child. How did one lift someone so small and delicate? The baby’s entire head would fit in his palm. In news reports and in public places, people tended to lift children around the torso under the shoulders, but most of those kids raised their arms in cooperation.

“Support his head,” Olivia whispered. He hadn’t heard her approach, but she covered his hands with hers, guiding one under the baby’s head and the other under his spine as she leaned over the crib rail next to him.

On one level, her guidance bordered on intrusive. He didn’t need her instructions to care for his child. On a completely different plane, her innocent, impersonal caress shook him to the core. He understood sexual, and he understood friendship, but neither category fit. With one touch, they’d forged a connection, something he’d never addressed in his doctrine because he didn’t believe such a thing existed.

Her blue eyes widened, and she withdrew. “You have to always support Liam’s head. Otherwise, you could hurt his neck.” Her voice shook as she stepped away from the crib.

The anticipation zinging through his body stilled into disappointment. They didn’t have a connection. How could they when he didn’t know the first thing about her? They’d experienced a mutual moment of attraction—inconvenient and potentially complicated if they were stupid enough to act on it. He couldn’t afford any more stupid mistakes.

Liam sighed and shifted his tiny body. Caleb lifted him, keeping the weight of the head and neck supported by his hand. The baby wiggled and whimpered. By shifting the tiny bundle closer to him, he could create a more comfortable position for both of them, but fear of hurting the child’s delicate body prevented him from adjusting his arms.

The baby squirmed, his milky white skin flushing deep red, and he emitted an ear-piercing howl.

Oh no. He must be in pain. Maybe he wasn’t in physical pain though. Perhaps the trauma of being left alone had finally caught up with him now that he was safe in Caleb’s arms. Caleb could talk to and reason with children, but he didn’t have any experience with someone this small.

“What do I do now?” he asked Olivia.

 “You’re the one who insisted on waking him up. You’re on your own.”

Tempting Mr Forever-200x300Tempting Mr. Forever

Love is his enemy…and her answer.

A nationally televised bombshell revealing a secret son turns marriage therapist Caleb Paden’s life upside down. While others focus on the public relations disaster for his company, he can only think of rescuing his baby and providing the stable home dictated by his marriage theories—one devoid of love and emotions.

Olivia Wells might not be the baby’s biological mother, but she loves him as much as any parent could. Letting him go will break her heart. Letting him go to a man who doesn’t believe in love will tear her apart.

As she helps Caleb bond with his child, Olivia finds herself falling for the man behind the stuffy therapist persona. However, he wants nothing to do with her love and emotions, and those are the only things she has to give. If she can’t convince him love is the answer, not the enemy, she will lose both the baby she loves and her heart.

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Special Guest HL Carpenter

by HL Carpenter

We like to bake here in Carpenter Country, and we love to eat what we bake. So the fact that baking is a subplot in our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder, is no surprise. While our septuagenarian sleuth Emma is searching for a killer, her friend Arnie has made baking his new hobby. Emma isn’t sure what converted a seventy-three-year-old one-hundred-eighty-pound six-foot accountant into a budding pastry chef. But she has learned to be wary of the results of his efforts.

Emma’s wise to be cautious when sampling Arnie’s homemade Hungarian sweets because he specializes in spicing them with secret ingredients.

Fortunately, you can try our 3-2-1 Pear-Up dessert without worry. The recipe contains no mysterious ingredients…unless you choose to add them.

Photo by rakratchada torsap

3-2-1 Pear-Up
3 pears, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. oatmeal
2 tbsp. pecan pieces
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, if you prefer)
1 tbsp. butter
1 spritz nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F

Spritz the bottom of a 9″ round pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Toss the pear slices in the lemon juice and add them to the pie pan.

Measure the sugar, oatmeal, pecan pieces, flour, and spice into a plastic baggie. Shake to mix. Add the butter and knead the bag with your fingers until the mixture resembles soft crumbs.

Empty the bag of topping mixture into the pie pan on top of the pears.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pears are soft.

Tips and tricks
Add a tablespoon of butter on top of the pears if you like a syrupy juice.
Experiment with different types of nuts for different flavors.
Raisins or dates add a sweet touch.
Top each serving with sweetened whipped cream for extra yum.

To stop you from eating this delicious dessert in one sitting, we invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder.

Septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs thinks her neighbor’s death was an accident – until her friend Arnie says he suspects murder.
Arnie is convinced he knows the killer’s identity. He wants Emma to prove it.

Is Arnie right? And is he right in his belief that Emma’s best friend is the killer’s next target?

As Emma navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives, she discovers more than one person is hiding deadly secrets.

The question is, who has a cause for murder?

EXCERPT
It wasn’t the food. Happy Haven Retirement Community’s chef prepared delicious, artistically plated roast beef and mashed potatoes every Sunday evening.

Emma Twiggs set down her fork. No, the food wasn’t the problem.

It wasn’t the chatter or the whispers in the dining room, or the sidelong glances of other Happy Haven residents. Happy Haven was a hotbed of gossip and rumors. Being the topic du jour was familiar territory.

It certainly wasn’t her dinner companion. Arnie Bracken was always charming, kind, and intelligent, no matter what her best friend Olli thought.

No, food, chatter, and Arnie, combined or singular, were not the cause of her uneasiness.

The problem –

“I know what you’re thinking, Em,” Arnie said.

“Do you?” She picked up a glass of lemon-spritzed water and tried to swallow past the tightness in her throat. She could only hope he had no idea of what she was thinking.

“Sure.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “You’re wondering how someone as fit as Jo accidentally drowned in the swimming pool.”

Emma froze. Her fingers tightened on the glass. The chatter in the room faded into muted background noise. She had deliberately not been thinking about Jo. She would not think about Jo. How did Arnie know she’d been thinking about Jo?

“I’ll tell you how,” he said. “Jo was murdered, and Cahan murdered her.”

“I am not thinking about – Murdered?” The lump in her throat expanded to the size of the Brussels sprouts on her plate. “By Todd?”

“Murdered. By Cahan. And we need to prove he did the deed.”

“Arnie.” Emma set the glass on the table and uncurled her fingers from it. She coughed to clear the non-existent Brussels sprout from her throat. “The paramedics told us Jo’s death was accidental. An accidental drowning.”

“Yeah, I know all the euphemisms they used.”

Emma did too. The headline in Harmony Notes, the local daily, had read TRAGIC ACCIDENT AT HAPPY HAVEN. Unfortunate was the word murmured most frequently at the funeral service, followed closely by regrettable.

She said, “Harmony’s police department and the district medical examiner agreed with the paramedics.”

“They’re wrong.”

A trickle of condensation wept down the side of the glass and puddled into a teardrop on the table. All the words used to describe Jo’s death were wrong. Wrong and inadequate. Words were inadequate now too.

Because this was the problem she had been avoiding.

Her role in Jo’s death.

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and their Amazon Author Page.

Glimpse of Research

Joanna Palani

Joanna Palani Claims 100+ ISIS Kills

Authors are often asked where they get their ideas. In the case of Snow SEAL, the idea came from a news post I saw on the Internet. Whether it’s believable or not, it triggered my imagination.

Although I often write about the conflict in the Middle East, I was quickly made aware of the fact I knew little about Syria. I spent hours learning about the wars that have torn apart that country for hundreds of years.

YPG women

The British 60 Minutes did a special on these women

I also discovered the real women who fight that battle daily. Now, you all know how much I absolutely love kick ass heroines. These are women who fight every day with the weapons of war so they are not forced to abide by radical rules and fundamentalist interpretations. They truly fight for their freedom.

Cold weather training 1My research also took me into military winter training. SEALs train a lot! Part of that training includes learning survival skills in the snow and below freezing weather. Not only is the camouflage different, but weapons react differently.

Big Sky Mtns

The lifts go all the way to the top of the mountain. 

It’s been several years since I skied at Big Sky, Montana, but after thoroughly researching the area, I believe I would like to return someday. It is an absolutely gorgeous area of the United States.

Avalanche

Click on the picture for avalanche video and life-saving airbag

I grew up skiing; waterskiing during the summer on the lake, snow skiing all winter, and even cross country skiing, but I never went backcountry skiing. This created a minor problem, solved by more research. It also led to the study of avalanches. When I saw this video, I knew I had to include this technology in Snow SEAL.

 

Snow SEAL72dpiI hope I have given you a glimpse of my writing process.

I also hope I have teased you enough to want to read the first chapter of Snow seal. Click on the cover to read immediately.

Click HERE to BUY now!

Ghosts & Graduation

The era of family graduations has begun. My oldest niece graduated from high school last weekend.

I have eight nieces and nephews; four in my husband’s family, four in mine. Next year will be another niece, then a nephew the year after, then two more nephews the next year. After that, we’ll have a small break in high school graduations, which is perfect, as we’ll start to celebrate the college grads at that point. Then, over the next few years, there’ll be three more nieces and my daughter.

It’s pretty cool how little has changed about the ceremony itself. Although the one thing I found fascinating about this graduation that I don’t recall from my own was the trend of decorating the tops of the caps. Many proclaimed the logo of the college they would be attending in the fall; some wrote funny or sentimental sayings, while a few simply pasted sparkling gems to add a bit of bling.

Everything else was pretty much the same. Including how looooooooong the ceremony was. How hot it became with so many people packed into the facility for all those hours. By the time it was over, it felt like the air hadn’t even been on, yet when we arrived it had been almost cold in the building.

The pics with family were the same as they had been back in the day, too. And we managed to capture one of all the grandkids; a rare occurrence, actually.

Well, almost all the grandkids.

While we sat at dinner afterward, my father-in-law said, “Five more to go.” And then he paused. “Well, four. Should be five, though.”

Yeah, it should be. And if I could pinpoint one aspect of this grieving process that sucks beyond all others, it’s that my son’s ghost now puts a damper on every event in our lives. Moments that should be full of joy are tampered by the fact that there will be no more memories with him in them.

This was the second event recently where I noticed that sensation, that frustration because I couldn’t simply enjoy the moment. Where he hovered in the background, reminding me of what I lost, and not allowing me to simply revel, live my life.

A couple weeks ago, there was an awards ceremony at my daughter’s school. She’s at a new school this year, her first year of middle school. And she managed to make First Honor Roll, as well as was one of only two kids in the whole school with perfect attendance. We were so freaking proud.

And the next day, as I drove to the day job, I started crying. It was one of those moments where it hit with no forewarning. Because two years prior, we’d attended a similar awards ceremony for my son. The one and only one we’d ever attend for him, because he was gone before the end of his seventh grade year.

Now, the school year is almost over, and my daughter will be a seventh grader. I’ll live the entire year in fear, no doubt. His ghost hovering in the shadows, eclipsing everything that happens. It makes me so angry because I don’t want to detract from her successes, from the fact that she’s still here with us, living, moving forward every single day. Growing. Flourishing. Being happy.

That’s what my husband said the other day. “The biggest difference between him and her is she’s always happy.”

Just like I want to be.

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Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, and award winner. Despite the sometimes depressing blog posts she writes, her books all have happy endings. Because that’s how it should be. Check out her website at: http://tamilund.com

One Night With the Bridal Party Series #audiobooks Part 1 @SSaraDaniel

sara-daniel-one-night-banner-large
Friends, I am super-excited to announce that all six books in the One Night With the Bridal Party series are coming out as audio editions. Books 1-3 are out now with books 4-6 coming soon.

One Night With Bride — Audio Version

Narrated by Hollie Jackson

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One Night With Bridesmaid — Audio Version

Narrated by Hollie Jackson

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Narrated by Hollie Jackson
Buy Links:
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iTunes

New Release from Vonnie Hughes

The talented and ever reigning Queen of Regency, Vonnie Hughes, just released her new Historical Romance novel that definitely isn’t sweet. This unique book begins in Portugal as the Peninsular Wars rage on, and moves to England where the hero and heroine expect to find peace. They’re in for a surprise.

Both of them are scarred by war; she because of the shattered men she nurses; he because of the loss of friends and the horrors he must endure daily.

Colwyn Hetherington has a chance to put it all behind him and return to England. Juliana Colebrook desperately wants to go to England to seek out her relatives. They take an almighty chance and travel together, setting in train a series of events that neither could have anticipated.

With only their love to sustain them, they clash head-on with the reality of England, 1813.

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Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.