Tuesday, November 15, 2022

SUGAR AND SPICE (PINE MOUNTAIN SERIES #1)


 Ingredients: 

One by-the-book cake caterer 

One rule-breaking hotshot pastry chef 

One prize in a Christmas cookie competition that will skyrocket both of their careers


Mix well and add a whole lot of heat that doesn't stay in the kitchen.


Serve with a side of opposites attract, holiday cheer, and a hard-fought happily ever after.



*****

Sugar and Spice is a sexy and sweet opposites attract/adversaries to lovers holiday romance. It kicks off the Pine Mountain series, and is an updated, spicy-sweet version of a novella that was originally published as part of The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap anthology in 2013.


Release Date: November 15, 2022

Pine Mountain Series #1

Contemporary Romance

Kimberly Kincaid Romance

Review copy provided by publisher


Liza’s Review:


I somehow missed the Pine Mountain series of books when they were originally published by Kimberly Kincaid, but am her for the updated version of the books. Sugar and Spice is a wonderful start to the series, and this novella was a fun and fast read that contemporary romance fans will absolutely adore.


Lily Callahan and Pete Mancuso both enter and want to win the Pine Mountain Resort’s Christmas Cookie Competition for different reasons. Lily wants to win so she will have the $10,000 prize money to help secure a storefront location for her bakery The Sweet Life, that she is currently running out of her apartment. Pete wants to win so he can secure a position as the head pasty chef in a better restaurant. Lily and Pete have to team up for the first challenge, and they are total opposites, as Lily is a total recipe follower, and Pete likes to fly by the seat of his pants when it comes to baking. I absolutely adored their banter through out the entire book, and felt like they had a connection from the moment they first bumped into one another before the competition even started.


Lily and Pete had pretty amazing chemistry, and I fell every bit in love with them along the way as they fell in love with one another. I loved they kept being put together because their on screen chemistry was so strong, that they became the best advertisement for the competition. I felt like all the extra time together in such a short amount of time moved their relationship forward faster. I felt like they each learned from one another along the way, and with each new stage of the competition, I felt like Lily and Pete became better versions of themselves thanks to the other.


Sugar and Spice was such a fun, fast, sweet, and sexy read. I read it on a flight in one sitting. I really loved Pete and Lily as a couple. I will say the only thing about the book that threw me was the last chapter/epilogue being about another character who appeared earlier in the book, rather than where Pete and Lily were at that time. I’m excited to get time with them in this series in the future, and can’t wait to see what happens with  Shane Griffin in the next book. 



Rating: 4 Stars (B+)


You can grab your copy here and curl up with this holiday cheer right on release day https://kimberlykincaid.com/books/sugar-and-spice/ This book will only be available wide for a short time before it goes into KU for the holiday season, so please (REALLY, PLEASE) order it ASAP if you read with iBooks, Kobo, or Nook.

Friday, November 04, 2022

SILVER IN THE MIST


Silver in the Mist  

Emily Victoria

On Sale Date: November 1, 2022

9781335406705

Hardcover

$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

368 pages


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria is a YA fantasy featuring asexual representation that follows a palace spy sent to infiltrate a neighboring kingdom in hopes of returning magic to her dying land.


Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed. And her mother became the Whisperer of Aris, the head of the spies, retreating into her position away from everyone… even her daughter.

 

Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. The malevolent magic force of The Mists is swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out.


Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.



BUY LINKS: 

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/silver-in-the-mist/9781335406705

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335406705

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/silver-in-the-mist-emily-victoria/1140845012?ean=9781335406705

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Mist-Emily-Victoria-ebook/dp/B09PVHZ3T8/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=silver+in+the+mist&qid=1644596472&sprefix=silver+inthe+mist%2Caps%2C122&sr=8-1





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not wordsmithing, she likes walking her overexcitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. Her librarian degree has allowed her to work at a library and take home far too many books.


SOCIAL LINKS: 

Author Website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale





Excerpt


Chapter One


The camp around me is shadowy and asleep—vulnerable—just the way I like it. At my back, metal poles hold lanterns that let out an erratic flicker of a glow. But it doesn’t reach as far in as I am, and even the patrolling soldiers barely stray from their circles of firelight. It’s sloppy, this whole camp.

I feel, rather than see, someone slip into the shadow of the tent behind me.

“Devlin.”

Lochlan’s jesting voice is that low tone that barely carries as far as my ears. I shift closer to the canvas of the tent so they can crouch beside me. “Fancy seeing you here,” they say.

Even though this is serious, my own lips twitch in response. Like me, Lochlan is dressed in tight-fitting clothes with their hood up, dark and practical and perfect for getting up to no good. They tug the strip of cloth covering their face down as they let out a huff. “This thing gets so itchy.”


I raise a brow. “That’s not regulation.”

They give me a look, but it’s edged with that sharp excitement neither of us can hide in the field. It tingles in my own fingertips. I want to get on with it, but as always, the Whisperer’s voice echoes in my head, tempering the impulse.

Take the time to observe. Know the lay of the land.

No matter how many missions I do, how much experience I think I’ve gained, it’s always my mother’s voice that sounds in my head out here in the field.

I scan the tents in front of us. There are three of them in the inner circle, five in the outer. If this camp has the usual layout, then the barracks, the mess, and the supplies will be in the outer tents. The scribes and those in command—in other words, everyone important—will be in this inner ring.

The tent on the far left is larger than the two beside it. All are in that deep navy color that is dyed even darker by the night, which only serves to offset the fabric’s silver lining. The canvas is thick enough that even if there was light inside the tents, we wouldn’t be able to see any silhouettes. It doesn’t give us much to go on, but at least it means once we’re inside, no one will be able to see us either.

“What did you find out?” I ask.

“Captain’s quarters are in the middle. The large one on the left is for the scribes. The last one houses the captain’s two pages.”

“So are the captain’s office and his sleeping quarters the same?”

“Guess.”

I stifle my sigh. That will be a pain to deal with, but it’s not like we haven’t done it before. Multiple times. “The scribes?” 


“They sleep with the soldiers as far as I can tell.”

That’s promising. I scan the area. The captain’s tent is the only one with a guard. The man is bored, idly fiddling with his sword’s sheath. He wears a tunic of soft blue lined with white, so neat it looks as if it’d get dirty if the guard glanced at the ground wrong.

“We can take him,” Lochlan says.

I elbow them. “No evidence outside of the theft, remember?” The scribes’ tent isn’t guarded, and there’s barely a foot of space between it and the captain’s tent beside it. That’s our best chance. “This way.”

We track down the row we’re sheltered by, moving from shadow to shadow, aware of the guards and the torchlight hovering just around the corners. At the end of the lane, I wait for the guard’s attention to shift and then we’re just two shadows slipping over the grassy gap. The canvas of the scribes’ tent is secured with thick ties, and I undo the row to let us in.

The space is shadowy in the dark and I take a moment to let my eyes adjust. Rows of portable desks fill the tent so tightly I have to step carefully as I ghost between them, Lochlan behind me.

The desks are littered with papers and worn writing implements, and among them lie pieces of filigree. The delicate swirls of the silvery patterns shine in the darkness, like fallen pieces of moonglow. My fingers hover over them. We aren’t supposed to leave any evidence, but I can’t resist swiping a couple of the shards into my pocket. This is a Cerenian camp. They won’t notice one or two missing pieces of filigree, while we need all the stolen magic we can get.

Behind me, Lochlan pauses as they look at the filigree.


Even though I can’t make out the expression on their face from this angle, I know what will be there. Loss.

I nudge them. “Bet you a week’s worth of chores I can find what we need first.”

Lochlan’s eyes glint in the dark as they grin. “You’re going to regret that.”

“You wish.”

A couple more ties get us out the far wall, and I give a quick glance to make sure the guard can’t see us before slipping into the captain’s tent.

He’s a snorer. That much is obvious as we step in and a grinding noise like rocks being smashed together echoes over to us. Lochlan’s face contorts in laughter and I grab their face cloth and yank it back over their mouth.

There’s not much in here. Besides the bed, the only things are a camp desk and a chest. Well, that and the clothes scattered all over the place. There’s even a discarded sword not a foot away from where I stand. He’s not a strict captain then. I’m betting he’s the type to leave his papers lying out rather than filing them away at the end of the day.

I take the desk and sure enough, it’s cluttered with writing instruments and parchment. The Whisperer ordered us to bring back the original orders from the Cerenian monarch that sent these soldiers here. I don’t know exactly what they will say, but I can guess. There are a number of patrolling camps that work their way up and down the Cerenian border, making sure it’s secure. Normally they follow the exact same route. This camp, though, is well into the neutral territory of the Peaks.


The last true attack from Cerena was decades ago, long before I was born, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t planning another. I can’t see why else they would have strayed so far into the Peaks, when it’s such difficult territory to cover. We can’t face the Mists and an army.

My fingers shift through the papers, careful to disturb them as little as possible. Then in the dark, I catch the image of a songbird sitting on a branch: Cerena’s royal seal. The orders themselves are written in code but that seal means this is what we’ve come for.

I lift the paper high, so Lochlan can see it.

I win.

The snoring cuts off. I drop to a crouch behind the desk. As I peer around its edge I see the captain blinking sleepy eyes open.

I look at where Lochlan is hiding behind the chest. They’re closer to where we entered than I am. They should be able to get out if they move right now, before the captain is fully awake.

I wave my hand at them. They hesitate, but I give them a glare. Moving as silent as a shadow, they’re gone.

There’s a creak from the bed as the captain gets up, muttering beneath his breath. His footsteps come closer, padding over the canvas floor. My hand finds the knife at my hip. As soon as he’s close enough, I’ll jab the knife in his leg. Then I’ll run.

Fast.

His feet come into view and I’m tensing to move when there’s a panicked shout from outside. It’s taken up, the sound multiplying.


What did Lochlan do?

The captain grabs his boots and races outside. As soon as he’s gone, I slip out the side of the tent. I smell the smoke the moment I’m free, the ring of light at the eastern outskirts of the camp now shining decidedly angrier.

“A lantern has fallen!” someone shouts. “Bring water!”

The camp is a flurry of activity. All of the soldiers, most only half-dressed and with mussed hair, are heading one way. I catch a clear moment and dash in the opposite direction.

I dart between the tents, breaking out of the last line and plunging into the forest at the base of the mountain. It’s darker beneath the trees, the branches scratching at my clothes, and even though I’m risking a broken ankle, I don’t slow. Better a broken ankle than an arrow in my back.

The ground beneath my feet turns from moss to dirt to stone, and the forest fades as I track up the path.

I turn the corner, and there it is.

A wall of white clings to the mountain like a shroud. It’s so thick I can’t even make out the rocks in it. All I can see are the flashes of lightning deep in its depths, bright and fierce.

The Mists.

Lochlan sits on a rock just outside the border of white, idly swinging one of their legs. Their hood is already down, showing their auburn hair with the single streak of gray, currently tied back into a ponytail. The filigree lantern we’d hidden on our way down shines at their feet, sparking off their bright green eyes.

I tug the cloth away from my face. “What did you set on fire?”

They grin at me. “You’re welcome.”

There’s a shout behind us from the direction of the camp and we plunge into the Mists.

Excerpted from Silver in the Mist. Copyright © 2022 by Emily Victoria. Published by Inkyard Press.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

THE EMPRESS OF TIME BLOG TOUR

 


The Empress of Time 

Kylie Lee Baker

On Sale Date: October 4, 2022

9781335915856

Hardcover

Inkyard Press

$18.99 USD

Ages 13 And Up

416 pages

Series: The Keeper of Night duology (#2)

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this riveting sequel to The Keeper of Night, a half Reaper, half Shinigami soul collector must defend her title as Japan’s Death Goddess from those who would see her—and all of Japan—destroyed.

 

Death is her dynasty.

 

Ren Scarborough is no longer the girl who was chased out of England—she is the Goddess of Death ruling Japan’s underworld. But Reapers have recently been spotted in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time before Ivy, now Britain’s Death Goddess, comes to claim her revenge.

 

Ren’s last hope is to appeal to the god of storms and seas, who can turn the tides to send Ivy’s ship away from Japan’s shores. But he’ll only help Ren if she finds a sword lost thousands of years ago—an impossible demand.

 

Together with the moon god Tsukuyomi, Ren ventures across the country in a race against time. As her journey thrusts her in the middle of scheming gods and dangerous Yokai demons, Ren will have to learn who she can truly trust—and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kylie Lee Baker is the author of The Keeper of Night. She grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies.

 

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kylieleebaker.com/

Twitter: @KylieYamashiro

Instagram: @kylieleebaker


 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-empress-of-time/9781335915856

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335915856

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-empress-of-time-kylie-lee-baker/1140845005?ean=9781335915856

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Empress-Time-Keeper-Night-duology/dp/1335915850/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2WAARQESV0K7P&keywords=the+empress+of+time&qid=1644287068&sprefix=the+empress+of+,aps,251&sr=8-1

 

Saturday, October 08, 2022

HOME SWEET CHRISTMAS BLOG TOUR


HOME SWEET CHRISTMAS

Author: Susan Mallery

ISBN: 9781335934000

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Publisher: HQN

 Book Summary:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's second book set in the small town of Wishing Tree, Washington is the witty and heartfelt story of two friends who expectedly find the person--and the place in which--they belong this Christmas, for fans of Elin Hildebrand, Robyn Carr, and Susan Wiggs.

This small-town life wasn’t supposed to be for Camryn Neff. But after her mother died, Camryn moved home to Wishing Tree, Washington to care for her teenaged twin sisters and run the family wrapping paper business, Wrap Around the Clock. She loves her sisters and would do anything for them but, when they head off to college, she’s excited to move back to Chicago and restart her real life, completely attachment-free. So when a prospective client schedules a meeting and announces Project: Jake’s Bride, a plot to find a wife for her son, Camryn is completely disinterested. And when this client announces that Camryn is a candidate, she’s horrified. Being tied down is the last thing Camryn needs right now. She has no choice but to tell Jake what his mom is planning. But Camryn never expected to genuinely like him so much…

River Best knows all about the danger of keeping secrets. After all, she’s had her heart broken and her world rocked by secrets a few times now and she won’t ever let it happen again. New to Wishing Tree and a little shy, River is looking to get involved in the community so she lets her friends talk her into running for Snow Queen, one of the town's honorary hosts of all Christmas events. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Tucker, her Snow King. As the season progresses, River starts to trust him more and more and wonders if he's the one. But little does River know that Dylan is keeping a secret from her, one that threatens everything between them.


Buy Links:

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/books/home-sweet-christmas-9781335449986/9781335449986 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335934000_home-sweet-christmas.html    

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/home-sweet-christmas-susan-mallery/1140803095?ean=9781335934000 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Home-Sweet-Christmas-Susan-Mallery/dp/1335934006/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2OROAW8YH5DNX&keywords=home+sweet+christmas&qid=1664471578&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIxLjM5IiwicXNhIjoiMS4yMSIsInFzcCI6IjEuMTUifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=home+sweet+christmas%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-1 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Home-Sweet-Christmas/Susan-Mallery/9781335934000?id=8292090795540 

 


Author Website:
https://www.susanmallery.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMallery

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanmallery 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/susanmallery 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/susanmallery 

 

Author Bio:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the ragdoll cat and adorable poodle who think of her as mom. Visit Susan online at www.susanmallery.com.




EXERPT


One

“Your teeth are lovely, Camryn. Did you wear braces as a child?”

Camryn Neff reminded herself that not only was the woman sitting across from her a very wealthy potential client, but also that her mother had raised her to be polite to her elders. Still, it took serious effort to keep from falling out of her chair at the weirdness of the question.

“No. This is how they grew.”

Hmm, that didn’t sound right, although to be honest, she didn’t have a lot of experience when a conversation turned dental.

She refocused her mind to the meeting at hand. Not that she knew for sure why Helen Crane, leader of Wishing Tree society, such as it was, and sole owner of the very impressive Crane hotel empire, wanted to meet with her. The summons had come in the form of a handwritten note, inviting her to the large, sprawling estate on Grey Wolf Lake. Today at two.

So here Camryn was, wearing a business suit that had been hanging in her closet for over a year. The dress code for Wishing Tree retail and the dress code for the job in finance she’d left back in Chicago were very different. While it had been fun to dust off her gorgeous boots and a silk blouse, and discover her skirts still fit, she was ready to get to the point of the invitation.

“How can I help you, Mrs. Crane?” she asked.

“Helen, please.”

Camryn smiled. “Helen. I’m happy to host a wrapping party, either here or at the store. Or if you’d prefer, I can simply collect all your holiday gifts and wrap them for you.”

She casually glanced around at the high ceilings of the sitting room. There was a massive fireplace, intricate molding and a view of the lake that, even with two feet of snow on the ground, was spectacular. And while there were lovely fall floral displays on several surfaces, there wasn’t a hint of Christmas to be found. Not in Wishing Tree, eight days before Thanksgiving. Those decorations didn’t appear until the Friday after.

“I have some samples for custom wrapping paper,” she said, pulling out several sheets of paper from her leather briefcase. “The designs can be adjusted and the colors coordinated with what you have planned for this holiday season. Wrapped presents under a tree are such an elegant touch.”

“You’re very thorough,” Helen murmured. “Impressive.” She made a note on a pad. “Are you married, dear?”

“What?” Camryn clutched the wrapping paper samples. “No.”

Helen nodded. “Your mother passed away last year, didn’t she?”

A fist wrapped around Camryn’s heart. “Yes. In late October.”

“I remember her. She was a lovely woman. You and your sisters must have been devastated.”

That was one word for it, Camryn thought grimly, remembering how her life had been shattered by the loss. In the space of a few weeks, she’d gone from being a relatively carefree, engaged, happy junior executive in Chicago to the sole guardian for her twin sisters, all the while dealing with trying to keep Wrap Around the Clock, the family business, afloat. The first few months after her mother’s death were still a blur. She barely remembered anything about the holidays last year, save an unrelenting sadness.

“This year the season will be so much happier,” Helen said firmly. “Victoria and Lily are thriving at school. Of course they still miss their mother, but they’re happy, healthy young adults.” The older woman smiled. “I know the teen years can be trying but I confess I quite enjoyed them with Jake.”

Camryn frowned slightly. “How do you know about the twins?” she asked.

Helen’s smile never faded. “It’s Wishing Tree, my dear. Everyone knows more than everyone else thinks. Now, you’re probably wondering why I invited you over today.”

“To discuss wrapping paper?” Although even as Camryn voiced the question, she knew instinctively that was not the real reason.

Helen Crane was close to sixty, with perfect posture and short, dark hair. Her gaze was direct, her clothes stylish. She looked as if she’d never wanted for anything and was very used to getting her way.

“Of course you’ll take care of all my wrapping needs,” Helen said easily. “And I do like your idea of custom paper for faux presents under the tree. I’ll have my holiday decorator get in touch with you so you two can coordinate the design. But the real reason I asked you here is to talk about Jake.”

Camryn was having a little trouble keeping up. The order for wrapping and the custom paper was great news, but why would Helen want to discuss her son?

She knew who Jake was—everyone in town did. He was the handsome, successful heir to the Crane hotel fortune. He’d been the football captain in high school, had gone to Stanford. After learning the hotel business at the smaller Crane hotels, he was back in Wishing Tree, promoted to general manager of the largest, most luxurious of the properties.

They’d never run in the same circles back when they’d been kids, in part because she was a few years younger. She’d been a lowly freshman while he’d been a popular senior. Her only real connection with Jake was the fact that he’d once been engaged to her friend Reggie.

Helen sighed. “I’ve come to the conclusion that left to his own devices, Jake is never going to give me grandchildren. I lost my husband eighteen months ago, which has been very hard for me. It’s time for my son to get on with finding someone, getting married and having the grandchildren I deserve.”

Well, that put the whole “did you wear braces” conversational gambit in perspective, Camryn thought, not sure if she should laugh or just plain feel sorry for Jake. His mother was a powerful woman. Camryn sure wouldn’t want to cross her.

“I’m not sure what that has to do with me,” she admitted.

Helen tapped her pad of paper. “I’ve come up with a plan. I’m calling it Project: Jake’s Bride. I’m going to find my son a wife and you’re a potential candidate.”

Camryn heard all the words. Taken individually, she knew what Helen was saying. But when put together, in that exact way, the meaning completely escaped her.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“You’re pretty, you’re smart. You’ve done well at Wrap Around the Clock. You’re nurturing—look how you’ve cared for your baby sisters.” Helen smiled again. “I confess I do like the idea of instant grandchildren, so that’s a plus for you. There are other candidates, of course, but you’re definitely near the top of the list. All I need is confirmation from your gynecologist that you’re likely to be fertile and then we can get on with the business of you and Jake falling in love.”

“You want to know if I’m fertile?”

Camryn shoved the samples back in her briefcase and stood. “Mrs. Crane, I don’t know what century you think we’re living in, but this isn’t a conversation I’m going to have with you. My fertility is none of your business. Nor is my love life. If your plan is genuine, you need to rethink it. And while you’re doing that, you might want to make an appointment with your own doctor, because there’s absolutely something wrong with you.”

Helen looked surprisingly unconcerned. “You’re right, Camryn. I apologize. Mentioning fertility was going a bit too far. You’re the first candidate I’ve spoken to, so I’m still finding my way through all this.” She wrote on her pad. “I won’t bring that up again. But as to the rest of it, seriously, what are your thoughts?”

Camryn sank back on her chair. “Don’t do it. Meddling is one thing, but you’re talking about an actual campaign to find your son a bride. No. Just no. It’s likely to annoy him, and any woman who would participate in something like this isn’t anyone you want in your family.”

Helen nodded slowly. “An interesting point. It’s just they make it look so easy on those reality shows.”

“Nothing is real on those shows. The relationships don’t last. Jake’s going to find someone. Give him time.”

“I’ve given him two years. I’m not getting younger, you know.” Her expression turned wistful. “And I do want grandchildren.”

“Ask me on the right day and you can have the twins.”

Helen laughed. “I wish that were true.” Her humor faded. “Do you know my son?”

“Not really.”

“We could start with a coffee date.”

Camryn sighed. “Helen, seriously. This isn’t going to work. Let him get his own girl.”

“He’s not. That’s the problem. All right, I can see I’m not going to convince you to be a willing participant. I appreciate your time.” She rose. “I meant what I said about the wrapping. I’ll arrange to have all my gifts taken to your store. And my holiday decorator will be in touch about the custom paper.”

“Is the holiday decorator different from the regular decorator?” Camryn asked before she could stop herself.

Helen chuckled. “Yes, she is. My regular decorator is temperamental and shudders at the thought of all that cheer and tradition. He came over close to Christmas a few years ago and nearly fainted when he saw the tree in the family room.”

She leaned close and her voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “It’s devoted to all the ornaments Jake made for me when he was little. There are plaster handprints and little stars made out of Popsicle sticks. My favorite is a tuna can with a tiny baby Jesus in the manger tucked inside. There’s bits of straw and a star.” She pressed both hands to her heart. “I tear up thinking about it.”

Baby Jesus in a tuna can? Helen was one strange woman.

Camryn collected her briefcase and followed Helen to the front door. Helen opened it, then looked at her.

“You’re sure about not being a part of Project: Jake’s Bride?”

“Yes. Very.” Camryn kept her tone firm, so there would be no misunderstanding.

“A pity, but I respect your honesty.”

Camryn walked to her SUV and put her briefcase in the backseat. Once she was behind the wheel, she glanced at the three-story house rising tall and proud against the snow and gray sky.

The rich really were different, she told herself as she circled the driveway and headed for the main road. Different in a cray-cray kind of way.

She turned left on North Ribbon Road. When she reached Cypress Highway, she started to turn right—the shortest way back to town. At the last minute, she went straight. Even as she drove north, she told herself it wasn’t her business. Maybe Jake knew about his mother’s plans. Maybe he supported them.

Okay, not that, she thought, passing the outlet mall, then turning on Red Cedar Highway and heading up the mountain. She might not know Jake very well, but Reggie had dated him for months. Reggie was a sweetie who would never go out with a jerk. So Jake had to be a regular kind of guy, and regular guys didn’t approve of their mothers finding them wives.

Besides, she doubted Jake needed any help in that department. He was tall, good-looking and really fit. She’d caught sight of him jogging past her store more than once and was willing to admit she’d stopped what she was doing to admire the view. He was also wealthy. Men like that didn’t need help getting dates.

The sign for the resort came into view. She slowed for a second, then groaned as she drove up to the valet. Maybe she was making a mistake, but there was no way she couldn’t tell Jake what had just happened. It felt too much like not mentioning toilet paper stuck to someone’s shoe.

If he already knew, then it would be a short conversation. If he didn’t care, then she would quietly think less of him and leave. If he was as horrified as she thought he might be, then she’d done her good deed for the week and yay her. Whatever the outcome, she would have done the right thing, which meant she would be able to sleep that night. Some days that was as good as it was going to get.

Excerpted from Home Sweet Christmas by Susan Mallery. Copyright © 2022 by Susan Mallery. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.


MISS DEL RIO BLOG TOUR


MISS DEL RIO: A NOVEL OF DELORES DEL RIO, THE FIRST MAJOR LATINA STAR IN HOLLYWOOD

Author: Bárbara Mujica

ISBN: 9781525899935

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House

 Book Summary:

In the tradition of Marie Benedict's The Only Woman in the Room and Adriana Trigiani's All The Stars in the Heavens, a stunning biographical historical novel set over five decades about Mexican actress Dolores del Río—the first major Latina star in Hollywood, member of Tinseltown's glamorous inner circle with notables such as Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich, and proud Mexican woman who helped pioneer Mexican cinema's Golden Age.

She was known as the most beautiful woman in the world, but Dolores del Río was more than a pretty face.

1910, Mexico: As the country’s revolution spreads, Dolores, the daughter of a wealthy banker, must flee her comfortable life in Durango or risk death. Her family settles in Mexico City, where, at 16, she marries the worldly Jaime del Río. But in a twist of fate, at a party she meets an influential American director who recognizes in her a natural performer. He invites her to Hollywood, and practically overnight, the famous Miss del Río is born.

In California, Dolores’s star quickly rises, and her days become a whirlwind of movie-making and glamorous events. Swept up in Tinseltown’s glitzy inner circle, she takes her place among film royalty such as Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles. But as her career soars to new heights, her personal life becomes increasingly complicated, with family tragedy, painful divorce, and real heartache. And when she’s labeled box office poison amid growing prejudice before WWII, Dolores must decide what price she’s willing to pay to achieve her dreams, and if her heart and future instead lie where it all began... in Mexico.

Spanning half a century and narrated by Dolores’s fictional hairdresser and longtime friend, Miss del Río traces the life of a trailblazing woman whose legacy in Hollywood and in Mexico still shines bright today.




Buy Links:

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/books/miss-del-rio-a-novel-of-dolores-del-rio-the-first-major-latina-star-in-hollywood/9781525804991 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781525899935_miss-del-ro.html 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/miss%20del%20rio 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Miss-del-R%C3%ADo-Dolores-Hollywood-ebook/dp/B09P1NH1WQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2BZO8TK7X65UR&keywords=miss+del+rio&qid=1662666853&sprefix=miss+del+rio%2Caps%2C60&sr=8-1 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Miss-Ro/Brbara-Mujica/9781525899935?id=8292090795540  

Powell’s: https://www.powells.com/book/miss-del-ro-9781525899935 

 


Author Website: http://www.barbaramujica.com/contact-1.html 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-Mujica-Author-340343149394891/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blmujica?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Eembeddedtimeline%7Ctwterm%5Escreen-name%3Ablmujica%7Ctwcon%5Es2 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/284429.B_rbara_Mujica 

 

Author Bio:


Bárbara Mujica is the bestselling author of four novels, including Frida, which was translated into 17 languages. She is also an award-winning short story writer and essayist whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Miami Herald, among others. A professor emerita of Spanish at Georgetown University, she grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in Bethesda, Maryland.