Heart Surgery Romance — @SSaraDaniel Finds her Niche

Write what you know, they say. But what happens when you’re a romance author and congenital heart defects and their repair surgeries are what you know?

You end up accidentally creating your own heart surgery romance niche.

Cardiologist romance bannerTo be clear, the books I’ve written that involved heart surgery aren’t a series and don’t have much in common at first glance.

Captivating the CEO is an all-in serious look at a woman facing her own mortality, daily health struggles and—yes—open heart surgery. A Model Hero is a story of derailed dreams and post-surgery body image struggles. At the other end of the spectrum, Once Upon a Marriage is a romantic comedy based on an obscure fairy tale, where the heroine’s uncle receives a heart transplant…from a pig!

I’m not a heart expert, but when I write about heart defects and heart surgery it comes from a place of deep emotion, personal turmoil and love. No matter how many times I reread Willow’s surgery updates in Captivating the CEO, I cry because it is real and raw for me.

I don’t expect congenital heart defect romances or heart surgery romances will ever become a trending or sought-after genre, and that’s just fine with me.  I only want to read the stories that come from a place of authenticity and love.

SD_Captivating the CEO_LG.jpgCaptivating the CEO

He’s all about the future. She might not have one…

When live-for-the-moment massage therapist Willow Jeffries bursts into Colin Vanderhayden’s office, she makes it her mission to loosen up the future-focused CEO, knowing each moment of the present is too precious to waste. Despite her immediate attraction, the only future she can offer is one full of heartache.

The last thing Colin needs is a flighty woman messing up his carefully-constructed plans, but her heavenly massages and addictive personality prove hard to resist. But he has no idea how sick she is.

No longer able to ignore her life-threatening medical condition, Willow slips away to spare Colin a miserable future with her. Is Colin willing to sacrifice his well-laid future plans to get Willow back?

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Audio Version – Narrated by Nina Price
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An Outlaw for the Psychic Soul by @SSaraDaniel #freeread #prequel #shortstory

An Outlaw for the Psychic Soul
Prequel Short Story to Solace for the Psychic Soul
(Part of the Mid-Winter Healing Anthology)
By Sara Daniel
© 2017
Three years ago
The bloodline seer’s laser drilled a point of heat between Monica’s shoulder blades. Whoever the hell the seer was, he or she was going to blow Monica’s unassuming, girl-next-door cover.
Ditching her baseball cap and pulling on a jacket, she continued along the crowded sidewalk. She could lose eighty percent of her tails with those two simple changes. Most people fixated on the hat or clothing, not the actual person.
The gait and boots from her peripheral vision suggested her pursuer was male, although she’d yet to glimpse his face. He continued to trail her, proving he wasn’t a novice.  Just her luck that she’d taken her psychic suit in for cleaning, leaving her without her most-powerful weapon.
Whether he’d randomly picked her from the crowd or had intentionally targeted her, his seer power would have told him she was an unmated orgasmic psychic. No doubt he thought he’d hit the bounty hunting jackpot. Veering off the crowded sidewalk down an alley, she let him salivate over how easily he’d take her down.
The guy continued past her. If he was as good as her first impression led her to believe, he’d turn down the next alley then thread between the tight city buildings, intercepting and gagging her in less than thirty seconds.
Twenty-four seconds later, he charged at her, his palm going straight for her mouth. Monica channeled his forward momentum and flipped him over her shoulder. Laying him flat on his back on the broken pavement, she thrust her knee in his groin before the wind reentered his lungs.
He grunted.
She gouged again. From here on out, she called the shots and had no qualms about unmanning him permanently.
“Fu—” His curse faded to a moan.
Satisfied he was solely focused on the searing pain between his legs, she eased up. He rolled into a fetal position, clutching himself. She grabbed his shoulder and dragged him to the light pole at the side of the alley. Pulling her handcuffs from her vest, she snapped them around his left wrist. She yanked his right hand from his groin and pulled it behind the light pole, cuffing it with the left, so he sat with his back to the pole.
From behind, she patted him down, removing a stun gun and a knife from his person. After she messaged the police, she rounded the pole to face him head-on.
“You troublemaking asshole! You just caused me a shit ton of paperwork.” She glared at him. His face was scruffy with a two or three day beard. His striking bright blue eyes were still dilated with pain and shock from the twin hits to the pavement and the groin.
Something deep inside her clicked.
Oh no. Fuck, no. She stumbled. Not her soulmate. She was government spy, damn it. One of the good guys. She took down guys like him for a living. What she did not do was mate with them.
“I’d hate to cause you any trouble, Sweetheart. Why don’t you just unlock these cuffs and send me on my way? I won’t bother you again, and you won’t have to waste your time with unnecessary paperwork.”
“Bothering me in the first place was your mistake.” The way he truly bothered her had nothing to do with the fact that he’d tried to abduct her.
“I just tripped over my own feet, and you happened to be right there when I tried to catch myself. I apologize if you thought I was trying something inappropriate.”
“Save it for your lawyer and the judge, creep.” How dare her soul pick a criminal.
“The name’s Dex, sweetheart. Dex Seer. And I’m free on Friday if you want to go out.”
She’d dated a lot of sleazy guys in the ongoing effort to track down enemy information and make the world a safer place. But soulmate or not, she wouldn’t go out with this one. “You’re going to be in jail on Friday night.”
“Saturday then.”
Rolling her eyes, she pulled out her phone and entered his name into the government database.
“Holy shit.” She scrolled through the list of stuff he was wanted for—kidnapping, aiding and abetting the enemy, breaking and entering. If she hadn’t stopped him, he would handed her over to the government’s enemies for a price that would have matched her yearly salary. “You might want to consider using a fake name with your pickup lines. Dex Seer is wanted for a crap ton of stuff. If you’re angling to walk free from our scuffle by using a ‘he said-she said’ defense, you better start worrying about all the other charges the government can make stick.”
A flash of worry crossed his face. Then he aimed an ‘aw-shucks’ smile at her. “If you’re not ready to trust me, we can arrange a neutral meeting ground for our date on Saturday sweetheart.”
“The name’s Smic. Monica Smic. I’m your worst nightmare, not your sweetheart.”

###
“Saturday night. Neutral meeting place. I knew you couldn’t say no to me, Smic.” Despite wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, Dex grinned as he sauntered into the stark, gray booth.
Monica scowled at him through the glass. Although his seer scan would have told him she was an unmated orgasmic psychic, he didn’t know her soul had picked him as its mate. And as she didn’t intend to complete their mating, he’d never know that part. But her soul would forever crave his closeness. “Why are you involved in so much shitty, shady stuff?”
“Who says I am?”
“I’m not here to get a confession out of you or cut you a deal.” She just wanted to understand how her soul could have picked him. The guy sold his seer services to good guys and bad guys alike and offered his bounty hunting services to known criminals. But he lived with his mother and sister in a low-crime, working-class neighborhood and fixed his elderly neighbors’ leaky pipes and broken locks at no charge. Any assurance that his good side overrode his criminal background would ease her internal tug-of-war.
“Ah, so you came for a conjugal visit.” He smirked. “How do we get on the same side of this glass wall?”
Clearly, any redeeming qualities didn’t extend to his smart-ass personality. Regardless of his occasional brush with decency, he was still a criminal, and she’d dedicated her life to ridding the world of crime.
“Coming here was a mistake.” Standing, she signaled to the jail guard.
“Wait.” Dex’s smug expression disappeared, replaced by panic. “I need your help to get out of here. My sister depends on me to get the medicine she needs.”
“Maybe you should have asked for my help in the alley, instead of attacking me.”
“Look, it wasn’t anything personal against you. Her medicine’s expensive.” He shrugged away the guard’s hand.
“The government has programs for people who can’t afford their medications. Your sister should look into them.” She leaned toward the speaker imbedded in the glass separating them. “Abducting people is not an acceptable answer to any problem.” She waved at the guard to take him away.
Dex glared at her. “Those programs don’t do shit when the medication is no longer produced or available for sale.”
The guard tugged him toward the door.
“My sister will go blind without this medicine,” Dex yelled, still holding her gaze.
A second guard joined the first, and they dragged him through the doorway.
“Her name is Lucy. She’s only thirteen years old. If she goes blind, it will be on your conscience, Smic. If you won’t help me, then help Lucy. Please.” He kept yelling, his voice fading down the corridor.
Monica marched out of the jail. She wouldn’t help the asshole who’d tried to kidnap her and sell her to her government’s enemies. Dex was a manipulator, a player, and a criminal.
She slumped against the wall outside the building. His sister was an innocent child, the type of person she’d dedicate her life to protecting.
If Lucy really would go blind without the medicine, then Monica would make sure she got it. But she had no intention of letting Dex know she’d lifted a finger to help him.

 

Now read the rest of the story. Find out what happens when Dex and Monica are reunited three years later in Solace for the Psychic Soul, part of the Wiccan Haus MID-WINTER HEALING anthology.

Dex Seer has spent his life on the wrong side of the law, working for anyone who will pay him enough to afford the medicine his sister needs to keep from going blind. But the medicine no longer exists. In desperation, he books a stay at the Wiccan Haus to heal his sister. With a sexy government spy following him through the portal, he stands to lose everything he’s spent his life protecting.

After too many years reading the evil, sadistic thoughts of her government’s enemies, Monica Smic is exhausted and cynical. Worse, her soul discovered its mate in a lawless bounty hunter, and staying away from him is destroying her from the inside out. When she passes out on the job, her boss forces her to take a week off at the Wiccan Haus to get her act together.

Despite their mutual distrust, the more time Dex and Monica spend in each other’s company, the more their battered souls find solace in the other’s. But Dex’s first loyalty is to his sister, and Monica’s is to her government. On the Winter Solstice, they will either heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm.

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#Smalltown Sweet Romance from @SSaraDaniel

Hi Friends, I’m sliding in late tonight. Are you looking for a romance on the sweeter side for a change? I’ve got you covered.

Construction Beauty QueenShe’s on the job…and out of his league.

Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.

Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.

With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Sample the first chapter of Construction Beauty Queen here

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Love Him or Leave Him

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor’s back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

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Sample the first chapter of Love Him or Leave Him here

Sara Daniel Takes You on a Tour of Regret Hollow #smalltownromance

I launched The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series 11 months ago, starting with The Bad Boy’s Gift (which is currently free on all retailers), followed by The Bad Boy’s Guilt, The Bad Boy’s Guarantee, and The Bad Boy’s Goodness. The most recent title, The Bad Boy’s Commitment, came out last October.

all-5-togetherMy series is set in Regret Hollow, a fictional town in southeastern Wisconsin, a little over an hour’s drive from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, with a population of 2,631. The residents love to play off the town name. Their welcome sign professes, “Your only regret will be leaving.” You can eat breakfast and lunch at the No Regrets Café and enjoy dinner at The Hollow Leg Pizzeria. There’s also a notorious make-out destination off a dirt road and into the woods on the edge of town, and more often than not, my characters end up there engaging in an activity that one or both of them may regret.

I grew up in a small town, and if something happened with kids at the high school, my dad (who knew and talked to everyone!) usually found out about it before I was home from school. I love the small-town community where everyone knows everyone, looks out for everyone, and often sticks their nose (and opinions) into everyone else’s business. Many times, the true stories are stranger and funnier than fiction. A couple years ago, a woman I’d never met stopped her full-size van in the middle of the street. She then asked me to open the passenger door and move her boxed frozen turkey from the floor onto the passenger seat. She explained that she was 87 years old and had just had hip surgery, so she couldn’t pick the turkey up from the floor. But she was apparently cleared to drive!

welcome-to-regret-hollow-5-booksBecause my series is titled The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow, I’m naturally exploring the interlocking themes of bad boys and regrets. Both have been more nuanced than I expected. In The Bad Boy’s Gift, the hero has been labeled “bad” since he was kid and carried that label as part of his identity, even though there was never anything truly bad about him. In The Bad Boy’s Guilt, the hero is the ultimate good-guy cop who has to come to terms with the regrettable, bad actions of his past. In The Bad Boy’s Goodness, the hero truly was a “bad boy” and believes he’s unworthy of the good-girl heroine. In The Bad Boy’s Commitment, an Army vet returns home hailed as a hero, when he doesn’t believe he’s anything close to being a hero.

So, come on over and a spend the day or a week in Regret Hollow. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to move in and up the population to 2,632.

ready-for-a-new-bad-boy-commitment-redThe Bad Boy’s Commitment

He’s supposed to be the town hero. He’s not!

Haunted by comrades he was unable to save, Drake Miller walks away from his military career for the relaxed, quiet life of running his father’s bar in Regret Hollow. Too bad no one tipped him off that his father sold the bar.

While the townspeople treat him to a hero’s welcome that he doesn’t want and doesn’t deserve, he finds one person who doesn’t fall at his feet, calls him out for bad behavior, and kisses like a fantasy. Unfortunately, she also owns the bar that was supposed to be his.

As a single mom and small business owner, Mallory Marquette takes her commitments and responsibilities seriously. She can’t give away her livelihood just because Drake thinks he’s entitled to it—even if he is the town hero and the first man in a decade who gets her blood flowing. Besides, she needs a reliable bartender much more than she needs a lover.

Can this hero turned bad boy step up to a lifetime commitment, or will the freedom he sacrificed so much for cost him everything?

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Sara Daniel Takes You on a Winter Getaway to the @WiccanHaus @SSaraDaniel

Let’s get this out of the way first: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did I make you snarl? Roll your eyes? No worries. I have not one, not two, but THREE (YES, THREE!!) book boyfriends for you to cuddle up with tonight.

solace-for-the-psychic-soul-mid-winter-healingCarolyn Spear, Leigh Daley and I have teamed up to allow you to escape with your book boyfriends for some Mid-Winter Healing in our new Wiccan Haus anthology.

SOLACE FOR THE PSYCHIC SOUL by Sara Daniel
Dex Seer has spent his life on the wrong side of the law, working for anyone who will pay him enough to afford the medicine his sister needs to keep from going blind. But the medicine no longer exists. In desperation, he books a stay at the Wiccan Haus to heal his sister. With a sexy government spy following him through the portal, he stands to lose everything he’s spent his life protecting.

After too many years reading the evil, sadistic thoughts of her government’s enemies, Monica Smic is exhausted and cynical. Worse, her soul discovered its mate in a lawless bounty hunter, and staying away from him is destroying her from the inside out. When she passes out on the job, her boss forces her to take a week off at the Wiccan Haus to get her act together.

Despite their mutual distrust, the more time Dex and Monica spend in each other’s company, the more their battered souls find solace in the other’s. But Dex’s first loyalty is to his sister, and Monica’s is to her government. On the Winter Solstice, they will either heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm.

ALINA’S LIGHT by Carolyn Spear
Alina Argal hopes to mix in a little pleasure when she visits her childhood friend Sarka Rowan at Wiccan Haus. She badly needs a boost to her battered ego following a humiliating breakup of her arranged engagement to Thad Yates ,the eldest son of one of the most powerful magical families. A little R and R at the lighthouse should help her get her feet back under her. The last person she expects to find sharing the small lightkeeper’s house with is Thad’s brother Sean.

Long the black sheep of the family for being born without magic, Sean Yates has always gone his own way. A former Army infantry officer, he now suffers a slight limp and PTSD. His one desire is to win Alina’s love now that his brother is out of the picture. But is he really?

Will Alina open herself to the one brother she needs and deserves or marry for duty?

LOVE’S MAGICK by Leigh Daley
Soren Feodor has never backed down from a challenge. But when his attempt to unlock a treasure fails miserably, his sole hope lies with Emma van Pelt, the only human who ever successfully resisted him. A trip to the Wiccan Haus could heal his body, but Emma knows nothing about the dangers of the magical work that lies before them.

When a chance encounter brought Emma face to face with the mages of the paranormal world, mysterious Soren tried and failed to make her forget it ever happened. Now she’s the only chance he has at revealing the powers of a legendary magical item, provided he will even let her try to help.

Can the two learn to work together and unravel the wards of the Tears of Therin, or will love’s magick be the death of them?

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Sara Daniel’s Perfect Valentine’s Day Fudge @SSaraDaniel

Tomorrow is February, the month when romantics, conformists, and panicked spouses all converge on florists and chocolate shops. If you live in the northern two-thirds of the northern hemisphere, by all means, buy your loved one some flowers. (Nothing’s going to grow in my tundra of a front yard any time soon!) However, for a personal touch, step away from the candy aisle and pick up the kitchen spatula to make that special someone a pan of homemade fudge.

February Fudge

7 oz marshmallow creme
1½ cups sugar
⅔ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine marshmallow creme, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour in foil-lined 8X8 pan. Chill until firm, roughly 2 hours. Makes 2½ pounds.

From the basic recipe, you can add caramel, pecans, peanut butter and more, depending on your loved one’s preference. Using a cookie cookies, you can even cut the fudge into hearts or pour it into heart-shaped bread or muffin/cookie tins while it is still warm. Make your fudge as unique as you are to delight your significant other and infuse decadent sweetness into your love life.

Here’s a little from my fun release that shows how much I loved playing with the Brothers Grimm. Hope you like it.

Before Armina Keer can have the baby she dreams of, she needs her estranged husband Ian to sign their divorce papers. Putting everything on the line for a second chance, Ian must convince her their love is worth saving, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

Ian Keer might not deserve a second chance with his wife, but he’s not going to give up one either, not with the immediate flaming attraction still between them. While her uncles’ antics wreak havoc on life at The Inn, he offers her the ultimate gamble: Spend the night with him, and afterwards he’ll sign the papers if she still wants to leave.

With everything riding on one night together, Ian must convince her that their love is strong enough the second time around, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

“You hate me,” Ian whispered, feeling more nauseous than if he’d ingested a prosthetic eyeball. How could she not hate him when she believed their personal relationship had meant less to him than an employment issue?

Armina gazed beyond his left shoulder. “I don’t hate you. I’ve never hated you. When we got married, I understood you had a strong work ethic combined with an unusual drive to succeed and a consuming passion for the Inn. I knew I’d come in second to this place.”

He opened his mouth, wanting to argue, but couldn’t. If she’d made him choose, he wouldn’t have picked her.

I thought I was okay with it,” she continued. “After all, I loved the Inn, too, and wanted you to realize your vision for it. Turns out I wasn’t okay. I didn’t realize how distant second place actually was.” She shrugged her slim shoulders. “Live and learn, right?”

Not right. He wanted to take back the lesson and teach her about real love instead. “You never should have had to settle for second place. With me or with anyone else. No one has the right to ask that of you.”

“Agreed.” Her voice came out stronger, her shoulders squared, and she looked him directly in the eye. “Now you understand why I want a divorce.”

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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

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Sara Daniel cranks up the “Ice, Ice Baby!”

I’m writing this post while hunkered down in the my writing cave in the middle of an ice storm. If you live in the United States, chances are winter weather has put a dent in your plans (but hopefully not your car!) at least once recently. In honor(?) of this dubious distinction, I decided it was time to pull out my “snowed in” romance, which not only features snow and ice but a baby, as well. I’ll wait while you cue up Vanilla Ice on your iPod…

All set? Okay, here’s a look at what you DON’T want to happen when you’re driving on slippery roads, courtesy of Dr. Caleb Paden in Tempting Mr. Forever:

tempting-mr-forever-200x300As soon as he picked up his son, Caleb would stop at the nearest hotel for the night. He hadn’t seen a snowplow or a salt truck, let alone another car. Heck, he could hardly see the road through the blowing snow.

His pilot had made the right call by refusing to fly into the storm, landing near Chicago and leaving Caleb to navigate the unfamiliar rental car west in deteriorating road conditions.

The car fishtailed, and he fought the steering wheel to keep it on the road. Or at least where he thought the road was.

“Arriving at destination, on right,” the female GPS voice chirped.

Although he couldn’t discern a driveway, he pressed the brake. The car skidded and slid sideways. To his right, nothing disturbed the layers upon layers of snow, except for the vague outlines of what might have been trees.

“Make a U-turn at the next opportunity,” the GPS suggested.

Yeah sure. He squinted through the fat flakes battering his vehicle. Behind him to the right, something—possibly the top of a mailbox—protruded from the snow. Considering his sideways position on the slippery road, he didn’t like the odds of keeping the car straight while driving in reverse. He’d have to finish turning around. He twisted the wheel and pressed the gas. The tires spun. Then the car shot forward.

Too fast. Heart racing, he slammed the brakes. The car skidded toward the ditch. Oh no. Stop! By some miracle it did, inches from the drop-off. Despite wanting to turn the ignition off and not drive another inch until the weather cleared, he had to keep going for the child’s sake.

Filling his lungs with deep, confident breaths, he shifted into reverse. The tires spun again. He lifted his foot and then pushed the gas pedal. The car shot backward. He shoved on the brake, but the car continued to glide in reverse, mocking any control he tried to exercise.

He turned the wheel in a desperate attempt not to roll trunk-first into the ditch. The car spun in a circle and then slid in slow motion, nose first, down the steep embankment.

“Arriving at destination, on left,” the GPS chirped.

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