About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Dreams - Delia Latham - Giveaway

Starting today, May 24, and continuing on through June 21, we're celebrating the release of SUMMER DREAMS (Paradise Pines, Book 2) by giving things away! There'll be four weekly winners and a grand prize winner at the end.

Weekly winners will receive the following:
  • An electronic copy of SPRING RAINE (Paradise Pines, Book 1)
  • A lovely purse-sized mirror set, along with a printed excerpt from SUMMER DREAMS, which will convey the importance of the mirror.
  • A 20% discount on SUMMER DREAMS, courtesy of Pelican Book Group.
The grand prize winner will receive all of the above, plus:
  • A lovely bracelet, designed with ocean-themed colors by Maureen Medina Corell, owner/operator of The Lost Gypsy Wagon
  • A gorgeous ink pen with a Summer Dreams charm, designed by Swagmaster Designs
Follow this link to get your entries in. Will you be the first week's winner?


The Getaway Of A Lifetime...Kinda.
Summer Callihan isn't in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She's there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah--with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.

A Real-life Hero Who Rivals a Romance Novel...Really!
But never in Summer's wildest writer's imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart--especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.

A Cupid to pull it all together...?
But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what's meant to be has a way of happening...at the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love--who may or may not own the place--has an "in" with Heaven's own "department of romance." And she's determined to see Summer and Logan together.

SUMMER DREAMS is Book 2 in the Paradise Series, which is set in lovely Cambria, California, on the Central Coast. There's a different romance for each season of the year. You're going to love romping through the sand with the Paradise Pines characters. Just don't forget to dash up to the lodge to meet Miss Angie while you're there...

Pick up a copy HERE

Friday, 12 May 2017

Suburban Dangers - Megan Whitson Lee

Suburban Dangers

Sixteen-year-old Kaki Jones lives a normal life in suburbia. She makes good grades, runs on the cross-country team, and helps care for her younger brothers and sisters. Her younger brother, Brandon is the troubled child. He parties, fights at school, keeps photos of girls on his cell phone, and runs into trouble with the police.
But Kaki harbors a secret. After meeting cool girl Sydney Diaz, Kaki’s life is forever changed.  Now, she’s a sophomore by day and a commodity sold at the hands of gang members by night. Living a double life and controlled by threats of violence against her family, Kaki sees no chance of escape.

When parents look the other way and strangers offer more affection than a father, God’s deliverance is the only answer.

E-book available May 12. In print June 1.

my review. also on goodreads.

Wow. I'm lost for words having read this one. Although a YA read, the book is written from both child and parent's POV. A gritty, thrilling story about drugs, sex-trafficking and the dangers of porn. It's definitely one I will suggest my teenage daughter read. It'll appeal to both teenagers and adults alike.

Tuesday, September 15

Kaki was sixteen when she met Sydney Diaz.
The school year had just started, and Sydney was new to Runnymede Secondary. With her long, straight, black hair that hung down to her waist and a lot of piercings, Sydney was one of those girls who stood out. She was in Kaki’s algebra and gym class, but right away Kaki could tell Sydney didn’t want to be in school. Her face was tight and hard, and she put her feet up on the desk until the teacher told her to take them off.
In gym, Kaki was flattered when Sydney started talking to her. They stood out by the track, waiting their turn to run. Kaki stretched, pulling her ankles behind her. She liked running. She was thin and willowy with long legs that carried her along with speed and agility. “Granddaddy-Long-Legs” her father used to call her. She’d hated that. It made her feel as if her legs were too long, too thin. Weird-looking, somehow.
Sydney looked as if she could be pretty fast, too, but she was just leaning up against the chain-link fence with a slack-faced and bored expression. Kaki could almost envision her with a cigarette in hand, blowing smoke into the autumn haze—if they’d been allowed to do that.
“So like, what do people do around here?” Sydney stared off at the other runners circling the track.
Because Kaki was surprised that this interesting, probably super-cool girl was talking to her, she did a double-take to make sure she was the one being addressed. She didn’t really have a lot of friends. On those ridiculous surveys that the school made them take every year—the ones that asked questions like: How would you describe yourself?—she always answered the same. Shy. I like to read, run track, and sometimes hang out with the girls on the track team. But she couldn’t really say she was great friends with any of those kids. Kaki looked at Sydney and shrugged. She couldn’t think of how to answer her. “Um…I don’t know.”
“I mean, like, what’s fun to do around here? It seems like this school’s pretty lame.”
Kaki laughed out of politeness. “I guess it depends on what you think is fun. Everyone around here does the normal kind of stuff.”
Sydney yawned, bending her leg back to brace herself against the chain-link. “What do you like to do?”
Kaki’s face warmed. People didn’t usually ask her that. “I don’t know. I’m kind of boring, I guess. I run track, and, well, that’s about it, really.”
“Girls, you’re up!” At the sound of Coach Plant’s voice, they moved toward the starting line.
Sydney pushed herself off the fence as though it took an enormous amount of effort and stood beside her at the line.
“Go!” the coach called as he clicked his stopwatch. They began to jog. Sydney was much slower, and she kept motioning with her hand for Kaki to hang back. Finally, Kaki slowed her pace as much as she could.
“You got a job?” she asked, already starting to pant a little, even though she was barely running.
“No,” Kaki said. “I just turned sixteen.” She didn’t know anyone who had a job.
“So? I know a lot of sixteen-year-olds who make a lot of money.”
“Really? Doing what?”
Sydney pointed her thumb at herself. “Like me—I mean, I’m sixteen, but with what I’m doing now, I’m making so much money, I’ll be able to retire by the age of twenty-two.”
Kaki wondered if she was lying. Sometimes kids just said stuff to seem cool. She focused on the finish line ahead. “Wow. That’s amazing. What are you doing to make so much money?”
Sydney looked over, and Kaki got the feeling Sydney was trying to read her—trying to see if she could trust her.
“I don’t know if I should tell you right now.”
“OK.” It didn’t really matter to her whether Sydney told her or not. If she was selling drugs or something, Kaki didn’t want to know anyway.
“Maybe later.”
As they crossed the finish line, Coach Plant said, “That’s the slowest I’ve ever seen you run, Kaki. What’s going on with you today? Let’s pick up the pace!”

At home that night while Kaki checked her social media sites, she was surprised to see that Sydney had followed her. @HotSydGirl was Sydney’s handle, but Kaki immediately recognized Sydney’s picture—a close-up shot of her posing for the camera with puckered lips. Later, Sydney’s picture and name popped up on another one of Kaki’s accounts. Sydney Diaz has just followed you.
Kaki was excited. She’d figured Sydney would think she was a total loser after their conversation on the track. “Maybe I’m just one of the only people she knows at school,” she said out loud as she clicked to confirm. She scanned Sydney’s page for her statuses, pictures, and people she knew. Sydney had over 2,000 followers on one account and over a thousand on her other accounts. 
Inferiority crept over Kaki. She only had around 160 followers, and most of those were family members, distant cousins, and a few friends. Her other social networking accounts were just as pathetic, and she wondered how it felt to be someone like Sydney Diaz—obviously popular, especially with the guys. Most of the posts to her page were messages from them:
hey syd. where u been girl?
heard you moved schools. Ill still c u this weekend rite?
got some peeps for u to meet.
There were a lot of posted selfies from guys and a few girls dressed up in short-short skirts, high-high heels, and tight-tight tops. Sydney definitely moved in different social circles.
Pictures on Kaki’s page were of friends making faces in the camera, a few family photos, and a lot of shared dorky sayings: Only you can make it happen and Just because someone doesn’t like you doesn’t mean you’re not likeable. Kaki felt too intimated to even send Sydney a private message. And she resolved not to be clingy at school either. The quickest way to drive a cool girl away from you was to be too needy.
But over the next few weeks, Sydney hung out with her as though they’d been friends forever. That was when she was in school. Sydney was absent a lot, and Kaki could tell she had a lot of boyfriends, both inside and outside of school.


"This book is a page-turner that defies a reader’s ability to stop once the book is begun. Lee is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for a good read."

—Edie Melson, author and blogger

Author Megan Whitson Lee has crafted yet another spine-tingling, page-turning contemporary novel in her latest release, Suburban Dangers. This author has the ability to present believable, three-dimensional characters, dealing with real-life issues, compounded with danger. If you want a gripping, engaging read, Suburban Dangers is the book for you!

–Kathi Macias, award-winning author of more than fifty books

Suburban Dangers by Megan Whitson Lee is a must read for anyone who loves children, whether parents, extended family members, or caring friends. Think the evils of pornography and teen sex trafficking only happens in other countries or neighborhoods far from your front doorstep? Ms. Lee’s carefully researched story of teen Kaki and her family’s plunge into disintegration is a fast-paced, riveting read. You will not want to put this book down because there seems as if there is no hope for this family to come together, let alone survive and thrive… yet, the very realistic characters make you root for them and you want to know what happens. Fortunately, the story’s powerful, moving ending will encourage the reader to set one’s eyes on the only One who can straighten out the biggest of troubles.

--Elaine Stock, author of Always With You, Winner of the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year

Suburban Dangers is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the last page is read. I was page turning almost faster than I could read as Megan Whitson Lee wove the tale of a family that was cracking to pieces behind the facade of their perfect suburban image. Its gritty truth with seeds of hope will appeal to both youth and adult readers. This is a beautifully written novel you aren't going to want to miss!   

--Julie Hall
Author of award-winning book Huntress (Life After, Book 1)

“Shocking, dismaying, hard-to-put down not a good bedtime read but a decidedly thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching MUST READ.”

–Jennifer, Goodreads Review

Author Bio

Megan Whitson Lee is a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, an editor for Pelican Book Group, and a high school English teacher. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director's Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women's contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Megan writes inspirational women's contemporary and historical fiction featuring characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions, crises of faith, and moral dilemmas. Her novels depict real-life problems, address universal spiritual and moral struggles, and offer messages of hope, recovery, and redemption through God’s saving grace.

Twitter: @MeganWhitsonLee

Thursday, 4 May 2017

That doggone baby - Hearts Haven - Tanya Stowe

Tanya Stowe

Everyone thinks they can push Jaci Meadows around: her family, her boss, even her full-grown Malamute, Baby. The dog reaches Jaci’s shoulders, weighs more than the petite event planner, and has decided Jaci’s designer shoes are a favorite toy. Justin Blakely understands dogs better than most people. It’s clear to him Jaci Meadows can’t handle her own life, let alone a two-hundred-pound Malamute ready to take on the world. Can one oversized Malamute and one very discerning dog whisperer help guide Jaci back to her true path? Can she learn to say no or is she just too addicted to the need to be needed?

Justin Blakely fell in love the minute he saw her. She had a spectacular shape—lean and curvy in all the right places. That distinctive coloring…the sassy bounce to her step. Absolutely stunning.
The magnificent malamute’s owner wasn’t too bad either…but Justin was trying not to notice. The last time he’d gotten involved with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed fashionista like Jaci Meadows, he’d almost lost his kennel. He’d been so busy trying to find ways to please his ex fiancé Gina, he allowed himself to fall deeply into debt. By the time he realized she was mostly interested in his status as Angel Falls’ pre-eminent dog whisperer, creditors were hounding his steps. He called off their engagement and spent the next two years focused on his business and what he knew best…dogs.
Petite, curvy blondes with big blue eyes were definitely not on his radar range. Especially ones like Jaci Meadows. He’d seen her kind of owner too many times. Folks with a designer bent who opted for the high-end purebreds. Owners who cared more about how their specialty animal looked beside them than what was best for the dog or even what the animal needed.
Ms. Meadows fit into that category like a designer purse in a protective bag—perfectly. She was so concerned about her looks, she wasn’t willing to part with her haute couture long enough to wear the proper flat shoes for the lessons. Here she was at their second class, once again having donned fancy boots with a two-inch heel to march around his uneven, soft dirt corral with Baby leading all the way.
The first class had covered all the points on teaching the dog to follow on the leash, not lead. But Baby still tugged her petite owner around the corral, almost toppling her over in her two-inch heels. Justin might have found it comical if he hadn’t been concerned about the prima donna falling and suing his business. That would be just his luck.
Maybe he should consider having all of his attendees sign release forms, or an agreement stipulating they would at least try to implement his techniques. He doubted Ms. Meadows heard even one word of his carefully constructed insights into a dog’s psyche. She’d been on her phone for most of both classes.
Baby’s owner was a lost cause. But the malamute…she had potential. Baby had all the looks, poise, control and intelligence needed to be a great show dog. A first-class winner.
Too bad he couldn’t say the same about Ms. Meadows.
Usually, Justin made it his business to separate that particular breed of humans—the kind that didn’t care—from their dogs. But given his soft spot for blondes, he’d already decided to give Baby and her human a wide berth. Still, there was something about Ms. Meadows blue eyes…a softness, an innocence…
OK. Make that a soft spot for blondes with big, naïve-looking blue eyes. Shaking his head, Justin purposely turned away to focus his gaze on Mrs. Jones and her Great Dane. Bertie was doing a great job of leading his owner. But Mrs. Jones was deftly, if somewhat timidly, applying Justin’s technique on the leash.
Good to know someone’s paying attention.
A yelp caught his attention. He turned around just in time to see Baby circle his owner. The leash wrapped around the blonde’s ankles.
“Baby, stop!”
“No. Don’t say that!” Justin saw the accident in the making but spoke too late.
Baby immediately obeyed Ms. Meadows’ command. She stopped, turned, raised on her hind legs and placed two huge front paws on her owner’s immaculate white, ruffled top. With the leash still tangled around her ankles, the lovely Ms. Meadows’ arms flailed as she sailed backwards and landed flat on her back in a puff of dust.

My Review - also on goodreads
I certainly wasn't expecting this. Any of it actually. I'd imagined Baby to be a child or a baby - instead it's a dog you can't help loving, despite the fact it's in need of training. And according to Justin, so does it's owner. And then you can't help loving Justin and Jaci either. I would have liked it a little longer, to see the event they'd been planning. But the ending we got.... never saw that coming. At all.

About Tanya:
TANYA STOWE is a Christian Fiction writer with an unexpected edge.
This Pelican Book Group author fills her romances with the unusual…gifts of the spirit in TENDER TOUCH and spiritual warfare in HAUNTED HEARTS. In NEVER-ENDING NIGHT she explores the horrors of a Civil War battle and unravels a mystery. TENDER TRUST treks to the Old West. LEAP OF FAITH brushes wings with an angel and WHITE CHRISTMAS wraps romance in the traditions of a small town holiday. No matter where Tanya goes…on a journey through the past or contemporary adventures in new lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

O Baby - Hearts Haven - Delia Latham

Delia Latham

Dawni Manors is happy to see San Antonio in her rearview mirror. In search of peace, she rents a unit at Heart’s Haven, a quaint cottage-rental complex in East Texas. The place is said to be a hangout for angels—and for love. Dawni's not looking for love, and she's not convinced angels exist. What she yearns for, after a chaotic childhood as an orphan, is tranquility and hope. Maybe she'll find those things at Heart’s Haven.
Instead, she finds Pro Cowboy Gavin Sampson, an abandoned infant, and a whole lot of emotional chaos. If the Heart's Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking?


Soggy. That described the world as far as Dawni Manors could see at the moment.
She peered through the steadily increasing rainfall, straining to make out the cottages lining the graveled path. Rain pelted the roof of her car, its thunderous uproar all but drowning out the frantic slip-slap of the windshield wipers. At least she’d been able to see the big, hand-carved Heart’s Haven sign that marked the complex entrance.
A vivid lightning flash revealed the number nine on a plain silver mailbox, and she blew out a breath. As if in response, her car gave an unexpected sputter, jerked once, and then died—right beside the front gate.
An arched trellis over the white picket entrance supported thick green foliage loaded with vivid red roses. Most days, Dawni made a point of enjoying the simple beauty of that gate. But not on this wet, dreary day.
She gave the ignition a single turn, hoping the shuddering dance the engine had delivered a moment ago had been no more than a warning…like a physical “check engine” light. But her effort was rewarded by no more than an empty click.
With a huff, she tucked the keys into her coat pocket. Where were the so-called Heart’s Haven angels when she needed them?
Another burst of lightning zipped across the sky, and she cringed. OK, OK, angelic realm. I guess I should be grateful I got home before the whole sky opened up.
She grabbed an umbrella from the back seat and hooked her arm through the handle of her purse. Hesitant to get out of the car, she squinted through the windshield once more, hoping for a reprieve, but the rain showed no sign of letting up any time soon. With a frustrated sigh, she stepped out into the downpour, umbrella first.
Despite her hurry to get inside, she cast a quick glance overhead, to a beautifully carved wooden sign hanging on a chain across the top of the arch: May love find all who enter here. A smile teased at her lips as it did every time she passed beneath that optimistic quote. Corny or not, the place oozed charm.
She couldn’t say she hadn’t been warned beforehand.
The day she arrived in Angel Falls, three weeks ago, she’d stopped at the Law Firm of Hilliard and Beckett to clear up some legal questions about running a business from her home. The nice paralegal—Layne Beckett, obviously related in some way to one of the partners—seemed almost overly excited when Dawni told her she’d found a place at Heart’s Haven. Layne described the popular complex of cottage rentals as over-the-top homey.
The woman had lived there herself until a few months back, when she married a local horseman and moved to his family’s ranch. Then again, Layne had also mentioned some weird legend about folks who lived in these cottages falling helplessly in love—just as the wooden sign over the gate indicated. Well, love would not “find” Dawni…she had no intention of letting a thing like sappy emotion get in the way of all her plans. She’d worked too hard to make them happen.
The wet chill sent a shiver up her spine, and she hurried up the walk. This was not the time to be basking in Heart’s Haven’s atmosphere. Between a brisk wind and the driving rain, the air held a nippy little bite.
She rushed to the door and tugged the key from her pocket. A grin played at her lips as she inserted it into the lock. Even now, all settled in and unpacked, she found it hard to believe the adorable little cabin “belonged” to her. This place represented not only the home of her own that she’d longed for, but a whole new life.
The key refused to turn. Frowning, she pulled it out, turned it over, and tried it the other way, but then it wouldn’t even slide in. Dawni reversed it and gave the stubborn thing a firm jiggle. Not happening. Just her luck.
“Grrr!” She pounded a frustrated fist on the door and turned to face the wet world…again. She’d have to drive back to the big house up front—if her car would start, that is—and see if Miss Viv had another key. Or maybe a whole new lock, whatever worked.
Behind her, the door swung open. She swung back and her startled gaze landed on a taut midriff, all hard planes and muscular ripples. A simple white t-shirt revealed biceps that…oh, dear. She forced her fascinated gaze ever upward, denying herself the right to linger on broad shoulders and going past a strong, clefted chin to a set of full lips that twitched into a playful smile.
No way! She recognized this man. He’d walked past Layne Beckett’s office that day when she’d first arrived in Angel Falls. Layne had waved and smiled as he passed by.
And—with typical bad timing—Dawni’s tongue won the race against her normal reserve. “Now that’s one handsome Texas cowboy.”
A few steps past Layne’s door, he’d stopped, turned, and tipped his hat. “Why, thank you, ma’am.” He gave her a slow wink and then he was gone, while heat crawled up Dawni’s neck and into her face.
Layne laughed softly. “Gavin works for my husband, and yes, he’s very handsome—and he knows it, but I’m sure you picked up on that.” She shook her head and gave an expressive eye roll. “Still, the guy’s a sweetheart. Dex considers him a brother, and my daughter, Chloe, is absolutely crazy about him.”
Staring at the man now—standing in her doorway as if he belonged there—Dawni steeled her expression. Sweetheart or not, what was this over-confident cowboy doing in her cottage? She ignored those perfect lips and an impossibly straight nose as her gaze traveled to a pair of eyes that sparkled like rich emeralds under slightly longish hair the exact shade of his thick, black eyebrows.
Before she could speak, he did—in a deep, slow Texas drawl. “Well. Hello. Look what the storm brought me!”

My review: also on goodreads

When Dawni arrives in Hearts Haven, it's not exactly a great start. Esp when she tries to get into the wrong house. She finds way more than she was expecting - and not just in the form of a hunky cowboy either. An abandoned baby, angels and a path she never expected to follow. Toss in the aforementioned hunk and you have a story that touches your heart.

About Delia:

Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She has a thing for Dr. Pepper and loves to hear from readers. Contact her through her website, send an e-mail, "like" her on Facebook or follow her Amazon Author Page.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Nobody's Baby but mine - Hearts Haven - Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans

Noah Talbert just lost his twin sister—his closest living relative—to a horrific automobile accident. Her death brings him straight to Angel Falls where he claims guardianship of his five-year-old nephew, Dylan.Elementary school counselor Charlotte Latherson is focused on Dylan’s case for reasons both personal and professional. His mother was Charlotte’s best friend, and the loss has transformed the once joyful and engaging little boy into a reticent, downtrodden kindergartner.Charlotte is well aware of Noah’s history. Other than a close relationship with his sister, Noah’s life has been solitary; he keeps to himself and builds strong walls of protection around a heart. Can he provide what’s best for Dylan? At times they butt heads over the youngster’s life, but as they struggle, God opens a loving pathway in their hearts. While Noah fights for a child he feels is nobody’s baby but his, Charlotte wonders if the feelings they share can’t create the bridge to a miracle.

Noah Talbert sat frozen, trapped in the confines of a plush, wood-paneled lawyer’s office. He stared at Stuart Gavinson, the portly, middle-aged man who had been left in charge of the few but vital legal components of the estate of Jennifer Sommerville.
Jen. Noah’s heart twisted. Emotions swelled and rose from his heart straight to his throat forming a tight clog that prompted him to bite the inside of his cheek. His only sibling…and his twin. A sense of loss swamped him, like it had ever since he received the phone call notifying him of her death. Even after two weeks—two frantic and desperate weeks spent closing up his apartment, packing his few possessions, job shuffling—pain hadn’t decreased by even the smallest degree.
“Where is the boy now?”
For some reason—fresh grief most likely—the lawyer’s generic referral to Noah’s nephew scratched against Noah’s nerves. “Ever since the funeral, Dylan has been with my sister’s best friend at the apartment complex where Jennifer lived. That kept him in familiar surroundings and gave him a sense of comfort. It also gave me enough time to make arrangements to move to Angel Falls.”
Noah hoped Stuart registered the subtle emphasis he had placed on Dylan’s name. Owlish eyes peered from behind a pair of black-framed glasses. A slow blink punctuated that visual. “You were able to accomplish a job change, and a move, in only two weeks? Pretty amazing if you ask me.”
“There wasn’t much holding me to Shreveport. The move was necessary, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” Noah breathed, eased back the tension level. This guy was only doing his job. “I’m a bit of an itinerant-type guy anyhow.”
Meanwhile, Noah thought, thank God for Charlotte Latherson. The image of a brunette with wavy hair that tumbled against slim but strong shoulders came to mind. She was lovely, warm as toast for the most part, but even after only a few meetings, Noah sensed she was fierce and protective about the children she worked with each day. Charlotte was a counselor at Angel Falls Elementary School, and that equation spread some peace through Noah’s soul. Her influence would undoubtedly help Dylan on the path to recovery. That mission was priority one.
Noah had last seen his sister and nephew together a few months ago. They maintained a tradition of getting together whenever possible, especially during holidays and at milestone events like Dylan’s graduation from preschool last spring. Despite a propensity toward wanderlust, Noah remained firmly attached to his sister and nephew. Tough not to, much as he loved them. Dylan was growing tall, and he had such a feisty spirit. He possessed the dark hair and angular facial features of the Talbert family combined with the challenging spark and charm of Robert Somerville. Robby.
Several non-Christian names and judgments came to life at the thought of the smooth-talking non-starter who, once upon a time, had swept Jen off her feet—literally and figuratively—only to leave her pregnant and alone, but determined to do right by her son.
So, Noah couldn’t be too harsh. From the two of them, from God’s will and plan, had come Dylan. There were times when Noah felt alone in the world; Jen and Dylan had always provided a needed counter-balance to that belief. They had always made it clear he was part of a family. Now, he was the sole viable link for Dylan to blood relations and the mother Dylan had always adored.
“It’s him and me against the world.”
Jen’s oft-repeated mantra played against the strings of Noah’s heart. The words were truth, despite the fact that their parents lived in Marietta, Georgia. Their brand of family support had ended abruptly upon discovery of Jennifer’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Noah steeled himself against another pulsating barrage of anger, refusing delivery on the emotion. No sense rehashing old nightmares at this point. Nothing to be gained.
What he needed right now was to see to Dylan.
“I know you and Dylan still need time to process everything that’s happened.” The lawyer’s smooth, deep voice cut into Noah’s thoughts. “You’ll need to get your feet under you, and you’ll need to help Jennifer’s son with that process as well.”
“I’ll be reachable at my sister’s address. I’ve already made arrangements to sublease her place.”
Stuart jotted notes. Nodded. “I’ll make that your contact address. There are court-governed processes to be followed that we’ll need to discuss, but that’ll come in time. Now that you’re ready to assume custody, I’ll guide you through the legal framework and any bumps in the road. At the end of it all, though, Jennifer’s expressed wish was for you to assume guardianship.”
Stuart’s words returned Noah to the realization that a tempest of details remained to be sorted and embraced. Commitments and life-changing circumstances would continue to alter his pathway. Roots. He was putting down roots. Really, there was no choice now; maybe it was time.

My review: (also on goodreads)
I don't know about Charlotte falling for Noah, but I've totally fallen for Dylan. He's so cute... This one again tugs at the heart strings. It shows how a sudden bereavement affects the child as well as the adult left behind. Really would have liked another 40 pages or so, but that's just me. :)

About Marianne:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.
Her Christian fiction debut, Devotion, earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Forgiveness earned a covered 4.5-Star, Top Pick review from Romantic Times Magazine. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home.
Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.
Connect with Marianne at: http://www.marianneevans.com

Monday, 1 May 2017

Babycakes - Hearts Haven by Mary Manners

Mary Manners

Sometimes letting go is the best way to hang on.


Crime-beat reporter Cade Magnusen never imagined a tragic accident would leave four-year-old niece Gracie in his care. Bitter over the loss of loved ones and nursing his wounded heart, Cade can no longer stomach chasing the true crime stories that elevated him to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. He grabs the chance to relocate to the quiet community of Heart’s Haven to raise precocious Gracie and reassemble his life.
Emmy Lassiter loves ice cream and children. She spends her days managing Babycakes, an ice cream and sweet shop whose vibrant atmosphere delights all who enter. The only mystery in Emmy’s life—beside the uncertainty over her ability to have children of her own—is what brought new Heart’s Haven neighbor Cade Magnusen and curly-haired, blue-eyed cherub Gracie to Angel Falls.
When Cade drops by Babycakes in search of a feature story for the Angel Falls Trumpet, he and Emmy feel a quick and powerful connection. The two soon begin to realize they must trust God if they are ever to move from the past into a sweet and fulfilling future.

            Cade Magnuson dumped a pair of duffel bags on the sofa and rounded the coffee table. Thank God the cottage here at Heart’s Haven had come furnished. The fact took a bit of the sting out of the whole cross-country move he and Gracie had just endured. It wasn’t as if he’d amassed a ton of furniture over the past few years of living alone in his bachelor loft in downtown Manhattan. The only pieces he’d had shipped from there were Gracie’s twin bed and matching dresser. He figured his niece would fare better if she had at least a handful of things that were familiar.
The bed and dresser must have been delivered to the cottage earlier in the day because a quick stroll through the rooms proved Gracie would have a soft and at least somewhat familiar place to sleep tonight. Vivian Hart had even taken the time to cover the pillow-top twin mattress set in the castle-themed bed frame in bubblegum-pink sheets and had added a matching comforter. The kindhearted matron of the Heart’s Haven complex was surely an angel; Gracie’s squeals of delight at her first glimpse of the bed as she and Cade explored that area of their new home together told the story. It may very well take Cade’s eardrums the better part of the next decade to recover.
            The rest of Gracie’s stuff—picture books and toys and a few boxes of clothing—stood stacked along the wall of the living room along with several crates of Cade’s books and essentials. He’d tackle the task of unpacking and organizing it all tomorrow. This evening, he desired only to coax the ache from his back, compliments of hours plastered to the driver’s seat of his SUV while he battled interstate traffic, and drink it all in.
            He was a dad now, if not by blood or in name then certainly by a matter of recent circumstances. Gracie had become his sole responsibility, like it or not. The fact that he’d adapted so well to the sudden, life-changing event of receiving full guardianship of his niece proved a blessing. The added fact that Gracie also seemed to have adjusted to the new living arrangement went far beyond that…to a true-and-true miracle.
            Cade had no doubt that God was at work in their lives. What—or who—else could account for this crazy leap of faith as he dragged Gracie clear across the country from the concrete jungle of New York City to lush, open landscapes skirting the Angelina Forest of Texas? The unexpected yet welcomed call from his long-time friend, Dylan Jones, about a job opening here in Angel Falls had set things into motion and now, like a Concorde jet boosted through take-off, the rest quickly shifted into play.
            Cade would officially step into his new position at the Angel Falls Trumpet in only a matter of days and Gracie was already pre-enrolled at a part-time Mother’s Day Out program at Angel Falls Community Church that Dylan’s wife, Traci, suggested with a huge stamp of approval.
            “Gracie will love it there, Cade,” she’d gushed. “Kaci Calvert volunteers there during her summer vacation from teaching English at Angel Falls High School, which is only a month or so away, and she takes all three of her kids along with her. Gracie will have plenty of new playmates. It’s a winner.”
            Cade sure hoped Traci was right. He felt a slight stab of guilt at the thought of leaving Gracie in the hands of virtual strangers after all the recent changes in her young life. He eased his conscience by reminding himself that they still had nearly a week of explore-time here in Angel Falls until she’d begin the program, and then she’d attend merely three days a week and for only a handful of hours each day while he scouted stories for the Community Events column of the Trumpet. The bulk of his work could be completed at home on his laptop and if all went as planned, Gracie would have at least a few new friends before she began kindergarten here in the fall.
The scent of lemon drifted as Cade turned his attention to the next room of the cozy yet spacious cottage. Someone—most likely Vivian Hart herself—had taken care to make the place shine. The polished wood floor whispered beneath Cade’s tennis shoes as he moved toward the kitchen. The space was light and inviting with its polished stainless steel appliances and warm-oak cabinets. He tugged on the door of a cabinet to the right of the sink and groaned as an empty, cavernous mouth gaped back at him. A peek into the fridge proved it to be much the same—empty save for a carton of stick butter, a package of American cheese slices, and half-a-gallon of milk. The items had most likely been left by the former occupant. Odd that Miss Vivian would have overlooked them. Cade snatched up the milk carton and checked the date. No, it was fresh—and unopened. So were the cheese and the butter. Someone had taken the time to stock a few groceries for him and Gracie, but who was the kind-hearted soul?
As he turned, his gaze shifted to an oblong, wooden dining table tucked to one side of the room, complete with four high-backed chairs. A jumbo-sized wicker basket adorned with a cheerful summer-green bow sat like a smile at its center. A small card dangled from the bow by a slight length of string. Cade snatched up the card and read the inscription, written in a series of flowery, blue-inked strokes.
Dearest Cade and Gracie,
Welcome to Heart’s Haven. Here, may you both find a measure of happiness along with a generous sprinkle of love. Enjoy these goodies until you make your way to the grocery store to properly stock the cabinets. I’ll be out-of-town for the next week or so, but if you need anything, Emmy Lassiter is one of your closest neighbors, at cabin four just across the way. You can see her front porch from yours. She put this basket together for you, since I have been called away unexpectedly, and I’m certain she’d be happy to answer any questions you or Gracie may have. So, don’t hesitate to call on her. I’ve left her number tacked to the bulletin board beside the phone…just in case.
Vivian Hart
Cade’s throat tightened with gratefulness as he scanned the heartwarming words a second time. What a sweet, thoughtful gesture to help make the cottage feel like home. Mrs. Hart’s kindness seemed to have no bounds, and who, exactly, was this Emmy Lassiter she spoke of? Cade crossed to the cordless wall phone mounted near the doorway and sure enough, the mysterious woman’s number stared back at him.
Don’t hesitate to call on her.

My Review: (also on goodreads)
The book is named after the shop run by the heroine and boy, do I wish it really existed. I'd move in there. What I really loved about this one, is the honest way both Emmy and Cade struggle with the day to day problems all of us face. Only complaint is it ended way too soon :) Which just shows how much I enjoyed it.

About Mary:
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She has two sons and a daughter, as well as three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades teaching math and English to students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago and as a student at the University of Illinois, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, figure skating instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that may be found between the pages of her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs—she’s completed three marathons—ocean sunsets and flavored coffee.

Find out more about Mary on her website: http://www.MaryMannersRomance.com. Like her on Facebook, and follow her on her Amazon Author page.