Tag Archives: contemporary

The Other Shore by Tracy A. Ball (Book Showcase)


Sometimes two wrongs are the only way to make it right.

Power-couple Angela and Mitchell Point wanted to build a family. Instead, they got torn apart and pieced together separately. Without warning, their old and new lives collide in a Castaway meets Hope Floats tale of love lost and life recovered.

When every choice breaks a heart, doing the right thing is impossible.

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He gave her a tour of his brother’s estate. They raided the refrigerator and hung out in his game room playing table football. 

“You’re good at this,” Nolan said after her second straight win.

“Every single group home Deidra and I lived in had at least one.”

From the interviews after the rescue, Nolan knew she had no other relatives, but she hadn’t spoken about it before now. “How many homes did you live in?”

“Six or seven. I don’t remember.” She moved over to Rob’s ping pong table. 

He followed her over and served first. “May I ask about your family?”

“You may.” She slammed the ball hard enough to make him stretch. “No clue about our dad, or dads. One day, our mother took us to social service. She sat us in a chair and said she was going to the restroom.” The ball bounced back and forth between them. “Or so we’ve been told. I wasn’t quite a year yet and Deidra was two. We were lucky. They kept us together. We don’t have any hard feelings or psychopathic tendencies I’m aware of. Just one of those unpleasant happenings in life.”

“You seem healthy. Not a psychopathic tendency in sight.” His serve whooshed past her.

She gave a girlish squeal that made him chuckle. “Healthy lungs too.”

“I’ll get you for that!”

The game ended when the last ping pong ball rolled under the sofa. “Do you want to move the couch, or move on to the next game?”

It was a three-piece reclining sectional. “No, thanks.” She laid her paddle down and pointed to the pool table. I have no clue how to play this game, but I’m going to brutalize you.”

“Brutalize me?” The idea wasn’t at all unpleasant to him.

“Oh yeah. I’m dangerous.”

It wasn’t long before he discovered how dangerous. She repeatedly knocked the balls off the table and once lost her grip on the pool stick.

“You’re not dangerous. You’re a menace.”

She laughed, agreeing with his assessment. “Mitch tried to teach me once. You can see how that turned out. That was before we stopped having fun.” She paused. Her wood-brown eyes, glossed over with unshed tears, took on a smoky hue. “I’m sorry. That was ungracious of me.” She laid her pool stick down and turned her back to him. “I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”

Likewise, Nolan set his stick aside. He joined Angela on her side of the table, leaning against the rail. “You’re not ungracious. It’s all right to speak the truth.” He touched her shoulder. “Even about the dead.”

Angela glanced at him and then away.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

 She sighed. “I shouldn’t think negatively about him.”

“You can’t feel guilty about that. He was human and so are you.”

His compelling tone drew her in. “I had a great marriage. That can’t be denied but… but sometimes, it wasn’t good. I don’t remember precisely how I felt at the time, but I…I recall not liking some of it. We had money and jobs and freedom. We bought stuff and did stuff and people were always envious. Mitch loved that. People envying the illusion we created. When I let myself dwell on it, I can see that’s what it was: an illusion. He never forgot my birthday, but he couldn’t remember to stop at the dry cleaners. The big deal things that everyone talked about—no problem. The little things… hanging out in the kitchen while I put away the dishes, teaching me to shoot pool or keeping a dumb promise—that was always missing. Part of me feels stupid and selfish. He did so many great things, why should I care about doing the dishes together? If I wanted one, he’d have gotten me a housekeeper.” She shut up then. 

Her rigid stance, the way she hugged herself, and her too-tight control told him she needed to talk. He let her.

“We wanted a baby. I’m not sure why Mitchell did—probably because it fit our success story image. No. I’m being petty. Sorry.”

“Why did you want a baby?”

“Because I love children.”

Nolan sensed there was more. He waited.

“Because a baby would need me and love me for all the little reasons nobody can see. But I’m out of luck there too.” Now, the tears came. A soft trickle, rolling across her cheek. “I have what they call unexplained infertility. There’s no medical reason why I can’t conceive. No one can tell me how to fix it.” She hunched her shoulders. “Mitchell tried to fix it. We redecorated our condo. We bought a new Mercedes. He took me to Cancun. He booked the cruise home to extend our vacation because he was fixing it. But he couldn’t fix me. Half of the time he didn’t recognize me. And now, I can’t recall the few precious moments I did have.” She turned around again, agitated and sad. Very sad.

Nolan digested the information. She was as complicated as she was beautiful. He didn’t have any words of comfort to give her. She wouldn’t receive them anyway. He picked up the pool stick and offered it to her.

She took it on reflex. 

Positioning himself behind her, Nolan adjusted the stick properly in her hands. “You put your fingers like this…  Hold the back a little higher.”

“Like this?”

“Yes. You want to slide it through easy. Like this…” 

His arms were around her, their fingers entwined as he guided her movements. Her tension ebbed away as she relaxed into him. 

This was the comfort she needed.  

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Made entirely of rum and snacks—International Bestselling Author, Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and veteran West Virginian, whose family is a mashup of cultures. She writes real and raw interracial romance with an intensity that burns because she has been busting stereotypes while teaching interracial/generational healing for more than a quarter of a century.

Tracy engages with folks from every twist of fate and all manner of experience. She has hung out with murderers and dined with people who have dined with the Pope, which is why she needs the rum…and a nap.

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Their Christmas Baby Contract by Shannon Stacey (Book Showcase)


Striking the deal was the easy part.

He’ll help her make a beautiful baby.

Brady Nash is handsome and anti-marriage. And with IVF completely out of her financial reach, Reyna Bishop is running out of time to have the child she so very much wants. Theirs is a practical baby-making deal: no emotion, no expectation, no ever-after. They’ll even “date” through Christmas to silence their hometown gossips. It’s foolproof…till the time she spends with Brady and his warm, loving family leaves Reyna wanting more than a baby…

 

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Chapter One

 

“Nice day for a hockey game.”

Reyna Bishop would know that smooth, deep voice anywhere and, after tucking her debit card into her back pocket and accepting two steamed hot dogs from the vendor, she turned to face Brady Nash.

A ball cap with the minor league hockey team’s logo was covering his thick, dark hair, but the brim didn’t hide the blue eyes Reyna wished she didn’t find so attractive. They’d probably been in middle school when she discovered she had a thing for blue eyes and a hint of dimples, thanks to him. “Hi, Brady. I didn’t know you’d be here.”

“No reason you would,” he responded, a not-so-subtle reference to the fact they hadn’t spoken beyond polite greetings in a few years, despite having been friends since childhood.

“But half the town’s here, at least, so I probably could have guessed.”

The game tickets had been sold as a fundraiser by the eighth-grade class, which was hoping to take a trip to Washington, DC, in the spring, so she’d seen quite a few residents of Blackberry Bay in the stands. It was a long drive, but everybody loved a school fundraiser.

“A soft pretzel and a lemonade, please,” Brady told the vendor, and Reyna was about to take the opportunity to make her escape, but he looked at her again. “Who did you come with?”

Her face warmed, which was ridiculous since nothing she did was any of his business. “Lucas. My boyfriend.”

“Right. The guy you brought to the Fourth of July fireworks?”

“Yeah.” That had been their first date, but Brady probably knew that since they had a lot of mutual acquaintances. It was hard not to when you’d gone to school with a guy since kindergarten.

“He looked…stable.”

She leveled him a seriously? look because she knew that was his way of saying Lucas looked boring. Maybe Lucas didn’t ooze charm and sex appeal, but she was looking for a life partner, not a fling. “I’m surprised you’d recognize stability, since it’s not something you’re familiar with when it comes to dating.”

He chuckled and put his hand over his heart as if she’d wounded him, but before he could say anything else, she turned and walked away. Lucas was waiting for her, and their hot dogs were getting cold for a conversation that was only going to keep going south.

It was always awkward when she ran into Brady, but she wasn’t sure how to fix it. About four years ago—a year before Reyna’s dad passed away from cancer—she’d run into him at a bar. She’d been out with friends, and so had he. Years of chemistry and flirtation had escalated pretty quickly, and they’d both ditched their companions and left together.

Falling into bed with him had been an utter disaster and they’d avoided each other whenever possible since. Blackberry Bay, New Hampshire, was too small a town to allow for much of that, though, and somehow they’d gone from awkward avoidance to straight up not speaking to each other unless they had to.

She couldn’t really do anything to fix it since she wasn’t sure she even understood it. So he’d been too quick on the draw, she’d been unsatisfied and they’d both been embarrassed. So what? They’d known each other their entire lives and it should have been the sort of thing they could laugh off and move past. Unless he couldn’t stand the fact she knew he wasn’t the ladies’ man everybody in town believed him to be.

“No mustard?” Lucas asked when she reached the empty seat next to him and handed him his hot dog.

“Sorry, I got distracted.” She didn’t really want to tell him what—or rather, who—had made her forget condiments, so she changed the subject. “Anything interesting happen while I was gone?”

“Some raffles and then some sort of competition for little kids.” She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination, but she thought she heard a hint of irritation in his voice and she wondered again why he’d bothered coming with her to an event that clearly wasn’t his thing. “I was beginning to wonder if you were coming back.”

If he was that worried about how long it took to get his hot dog or not getting his mustard, he could go with her next time, instead of letting her go alone. “The line was long.”

 

“The game’s starting again,” he said with about as much enthusiasm as he’d announce he was making an appointment for a dental cleaning.

Reyna and Lucas had been dating for several months, so when he’d heard about the hockey fundraiser, he’d assumed they’d go together. That had surprised her, since he didn’t care about sports, but maybe he was trying to support her interests, which was nice. She’d originally planned to take her friend’s daughter, Sophie, to her first hockey game, but she’d caved and invited her boyfriend instead.

Boyfriend. She was still having some trouble wrapping her head around the word, though she supposed that’s exactly what Lucas was. She’d met his sister and she was supposed to go with him to see his parents for Thanksgiving. It was a lot for so early in their relationship, but she’d had a run of bad luck with men before she met him, so she was going with it.

He lived twenty minutes away, which worked for her. They could get together easily, but not so easily she felt suffocated by him. He was a tax accountant she’d met through a recommendation when she and her mom needed advice after her dad passed away, and he dressed nicely. His sandy-blond hair was always perfectly cut, and he had great manners. He was stable and nice and would probably be a solid family man.

That made him a strong contender for being Mr. Right. That stability that Brady mocked was one of the things she found most attractive about him because that’s what she was looking for in the father of the children she was more than ready to have. He’d be patient and help with homework—especially the math. He was the kind of man who’d make pancakes on the weekend and show up to parent-teacher conferences. He’d be the rock of their family, and when it came to men, that was a priority for her.

He was pretty much the opposite of Brady Nash, she thought as she took the last bite of her hot dog, and then she was annoyed she’d allowed him to creep into her thoughts again.

Click HERE to read chapter one in its entirety! 

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Billionaire’s Secret & Doctor’s Secret by Lyz Kelley (Author Showcase)

A compelling novel filled with everyday hero stories from Lyz Kelley, the award-winning author of Blinded.

 

Billionaire Weston Carver gets what he wants.

And he wants the savvy Courtney Kramer to run his newly acquired business. 

Courtney wants nothing to do with the sexy and powerful New York influencer. His domineering nature drives her crazy, but if she’s going to avoid losing the women’s shelter building lease, she needs a financial backer to secure a loan.

Weston has the money and means to support a half dozen charities, and co-signing a loan? No problem. But what will he want in return?

Time is running out. If she wants to continue helping women in need, she must make a deal with the uber hot CEO—a deal that doesn’t include her in his bed.

 

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An emotional novel filled with everyday hero stories from Lyz Kelley, the award-winning author of Blinded.

McKenzie Carver is not a miracle worker.

How is she supposed to deal with the obnoxious, self-important, sexy surgeon that won’t listen to reason? 

 

The obstinate doctor is putting her family name at risk with his over-the-top demands and bullish nature. But he’s her responsibility, her family says, and she must find a way to keep him in line. If she doesn’t, he won’t get the hospital operating room—the robotic suite her family has funded—functional.

Garrett Branston is a workaholic with a sharp wit and irresistible charm—but his charm isn’t working on gorgeous McKenzie Carver. She might be suggesting he chill, but the attraction between them is anything but cold.

When she tells him he needs some serious PR intervention and suggests a fake engagement to redeem his reputation, he agrees, as long as she’s the one to pose as his fiancee.

But Garrett is still hiding something, and McKenzie fears his secrets will ruin everything her family has built.

 

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Award-winning author Lyz Kelley mixes a little bit of heart, healing, humanity, happiness, hope, and honor in all her books that are written especially for you. 

She’s a total disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, a tea snob, and adores writing about and falling in love with everyday heroes.  
You can also find Lyz on Facebook and Instagram for news, contests, giveaways, and more exciting stuff!

If you want to interact with Lyz, connect with her in her Facebook reader group, Everyday Heroes Unite.

 
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Lottie Loser by Dana L. Brown (Book Review)

It’s been twelve years since Lottie Luce ran away to Indiana, three weeks before her classes were to begin at IU, to avoid a confrontation with her best friend, and secret love, Nick Greyson. On the night she’d believed he was going to tell her he wanted her for more than a friend, Lottie caught Nick in a compromising position with her long-time nemesis, Ashley Marshall. The hurt and humiliation were more than she could bear.

Now a product of personal reinvention, Charlotte Luce is the youngest, and first female market president of Olde Florida Bank, and her life is nearly perfect. That is until Nick comes home to Anna Maria Island, hoping to save his father from financial ruin, and Charlotte’s carefully created world stands still.

Lottie Loser vacillates between the present, and the memories of the young girl who thought she had found love, lost it, and is now forced to examine the decisions she made, as well as the chemistry she and Nick still share.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

For the most part, Lottie Loser was a story about two people forgetting their troubled past and starting anew. This book was charming, like Nick Greyson, until it wasn’t. I don’t mean that negatively. An out of the blue banking mystery unfolded and everything changed. Charlotte’s life was affected the most. Twelve years ago, Charlotte was hurt by Nick’s actions. Present-day, she’s smack dab in the middle of those same feelings.

When Lottie’s life could be more complicated, someone makes a confession that shocks the hell out of her. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, wait until you read the cliffhanging ender. The entire story was fabulous, BUT chapter 73 was off the charts good. (Being sort of vague to avoid spoilers)

I did knock a point off for the frequency in which she time jumped from Then to Now. At times, it messed up the flow of the story. Other than that, there weren’t any major storyline issues. I think romance readers will enjoy this story. I sure did.

Story continues in Call Me Charlotte (already available for purchase)!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Award Winning author, Dana L. Brown, went from Bank to Books with her debut novel, Lottie LoserA long-time banker and graduate of the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management, where she earned the distinction of Certified Financial Marketing Professional. She attended Ball State University, and majored in business.

The mother of three daughters, she lives with her husband in Indiana, but loves traveling to the laid-back lifestyles on the beaches of Florida. Lottie Loser is her debut novel.

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Trudy’s Diary: A Libraries of the World Mystery by Amy M. Reade (Book Review)

Daisy Carruthers moved to Washington, DC, from New York City following an emotionally draining murder investigation, little knowing she would soon be involved in two more. But when her boss and her best friend come under suspicion for killing two adulterous lovers, Daisy has no choice but to help when they ask. 

And when she comes across a diary and an old dime novel with suspiciously similar stories and unknown origins, she knows all the mysteries are somehow connected.

Can she figure out the identity of the killer–or killers–before it’s too late?

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Trudy’s Diary was actually a multi-layered mystery novel. Daisy was investigating two murder mysteries in present day and the disappearance of Trudy from the 1800’s. As I was reading Trudy’s secret thoughts, I wondered how her story played into the events of the present. I didn’t see the connection. However, when all the pieces clicked into place, I was impressed on how Amy connected all the dots.

Whether I was stepping into the past or attempting to unmask today’s killer, I was thoroughly engrossed with the happenings in Trudy’s Diary.

You don’t have to be a history enthusiast to read this story. You just have to like mystery novels with a touch of love and romance.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.

She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress), The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.

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