Friday, October 10, 2014

Autumn Kiss, Romancing Wisconsin #6

To everything there is a season...

Love finds a way during the four seasons in the Romancing Wisconsin Series. Starting with the Christmas holiday/Winter, then moving on to Autumn, check out the first six books in this bestselling, heartwarming series set in small town Wisconsin. Meet the Rileys, the Walshes, and best of all, Butch...a.k.a. Santa Butch. The mischievous matchmaker makes a cameo in each story—adding a touch of magic to the lives of everyone he loves, and even those he's just met.


AUTUMN KISS
RELEASE DATE OCTOBER 21, 2014

Pre-order available now

For eight years, Josie Sullivan has managed to keep memories of Nash Riley buried in the past. When he moves into the apartment above her bakery, she doesn’t know how the hell she can keep her distance when she runs into him every time she turns around. Especially when she realizes her traitorous heart never let him go.

Nash made the mistake of leaving Josie behind, and now she won’t give him the time of day. Buying the building that houses her business seemed like a good plan to win her back, but Josie refuses to believe he’ll stick around. Seeing her every day becomes pure torture as she stubbornly maintains the defensive walls she built when he left. Somehow he must find a way to make her believe this time is forever.

EXCERPT:

Ignoring the surprise in the older sister’s eyes, he moved around to the side entrance so he could speak more privately with Josie.

Tessa moved with him and blocked his way into the booth. “Leave her alone.”

Nash spoke around her. “Can we talk?”

“No,” Tessa snapped.

Josie laughed without facing him. “Oh, now you want to talk?”

She picked up a knife and slit a pumpkin pie in half with one sure stroke. Probably wished it was his gut. Or lower. Judging by Tessa’s glare, she wouldn’t stop her, either. Lora had returned her attention to their paying customers after depositing his hundred in the cash box.

Tessa crossed her arms over her chest. “You need to leave.”

His stubborn streak took a defensive stand. “I’m waiting on my pie.”

“I got this,” Josie tossed over her shoulder.

“But I thought you were going to—”

Tessa broke off when Josie whipped her head around to meet her gaze. With obvious reluctance, the second oldest Sullivan moved back to the counter to help take orders.

He stepped inside the booth as Josie’s attention returned to the table in front of her. She spun the pie a quarter turn and sliced again as she accused, “You’re only eight years too late, Nash.”

“You’re right.”

Her hand wavered, then continued its motion with a swift jerk. He heard the cringe-inducing screech of aluminum on steel as the knife powered straight through the pie tin.

“Well, good for me. You’re one hell of a selfish sonofabitch, you know that?”

He didn’t deny it. Even though he knew he’d made the right decision back then, he’d screwed up the execution. “I was hoping we could sort this out like adults.”

She finished cutting the pie, then turned toward him, knife raised between them. Her smile was cold and nasty as she stepped closer. He took an involuntary step back and felt the side wall of the booth against his shoulder blades.

“As opposed to the coward you used to be?”

She was right about that, too, but that six inch knife in her hand was making him more nervous than the conversation they needed to have. “I, ah, had my reasons.”

“Too bad you couldn’t explain them in person back when it actually mattered. Or even over the phone the one time you bothered to call.”

She shortened the distance between them to less than a foot, putting the tip of that knife about three inches from the underside of his chin.

Sonofabitch, she’d changed all right. Feisty. Unforgiving.

A deep inhale slammed his senses with the sweet scent of her that he’d never quite forgotten.
He swallowed hard and flicked his glance past her, to the wide eyes of an older woman watching from the other side of the booth. Others were starting to pay attention, too—even though Lora and Tessa seemed to have no problem ignoring the very credible threat to his life.

Then he noticed Shane Parker headed their way. In his police officer’s uniform. Shit.

In one swift motion, Nash lifted his hand to encircle Josie’s wrist. His firm grip forced her arm down to their sides while his other arm wrapped around her and pulled her against his body.

She stiffened, outrage flashing in her blue eyes a second before he dipped his head, whispered a heartfelt, “Sorry,” for more than what was to come, and covered her mouth with his.

~~~



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Thank you and Happy Reading!

~ Stacey

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn Bliss, Romancing Wisconsin #5

To everything there is a season...

Love finds a way during the four seasons in the Romancing Wisconsin Series. Starting with Christmas/Winter, then moving on to Autumn, check out the first six books in this bestselling, heartwarming series set in small town Wisconsin. Meet the Rileys, the Walshes, and best of all, Butch...a.k.a. Santa Butch. The mischievous matchmaker makes a cameo in each story—adding a touch of magic to the lives of everyone he loves, and even those he's just met.

 AUTUMN BLISS

BN  iBooks  ARe  Kobo

After a string of bad luck, Mallory Parker is convinced her future lies way beyond the streets of the small home town that stole her mother’s hopes and dreams. As soon as she saves enough money at her new job, she’s going to get out and get a life, and no one can tempt her to stay—until she meets the man who does.

Army veteran Levi Jenkins is still dealing with the aftermath of his last tour of duty. Working in the background as a maintenance man at Whispering Pines Lodge gives him the peace his soul craves. The last thing he wants is the distraction of a woman who charms his heart while teaching him to smile again. Or maybe, that’s exactly what he needs.

Levi fears loving her and losing her would be too much to endure—and yet, asking Mallory to stay could destroy the very essence that makes her so special. If either of them are to be happy, he must find the courage to set her free.

EXCERPT:

Splintered pieces of her favorite mug lay drowning in the mess. Might as well be her life. The weight of the past couple months pressed down. Years wasted with Doug. Losing her job. People looking at her as if she’d done something wrong. Her car. Her pathetic savings account.

So far, she’d managed to hold it all together with a smile. But now that smile was becoming too brittle to contain her swelling fury.

She spun around as the walls of the little cabin closed in on her. The emotions were too immense to be contained and if she didn’t get out, she would explode.

Outside, she turned the opposite direction of the lodge, and instead, marched along the trail that led toward Levi’s cabin. She’d never been this far before. The twin grooved tire tracks didn’t end at his place, but veered off, up into the woods, and she didn’t hesitate to follow them.

By the time she came across a small clearing that was clearly where Levi cut and chopped a lot of the lodge’s wood supply, she was one hundred percent officially pissed off.

There was a large ax propped up against a wide, flat stump. It looked like a sledge hammer with one end tapered to a sharpened point. Nearby lay a pile of larger chunks of wood that needed splitting. She walked over and grabbed the ax handle. It was heavy, but she didn’t care as she lifted it and swung it at the stump.

It missed by a couple inches and the weight of it threw her off balance. The side of the steel head banged into her ankle. She gasped as pain radiated up her leg, bringing instant tears.

“Mallory!”

She jumped about a foot, then spun around to see Levi striding up the trail toward her. Shit. She couldn’t deal with him right now. Didn’t want him to see her cry. Besides, the way he made her feel only added to her current frustrations.

“Go away,” she called out.

Adjusting her hands on the wooden handle, she turned back to the stump and swung again. This time she hit it, but the weight had rotated the handle in her hand mid-swing. Instead of the sharpened edge hitting the wood, the flat side of the ax bounced off the stump.

The force jarred her arms and shoulders, making her grit her teeth at the sting.

A moment later, Levi was beside her, his large hand reaching for the handle when she would’ve raised it again.

“Stop.”

She shook her head. “I said leave me alone.”

“No.” His tone brooked no argument. “You’re going to hurt yourself.”

Despite the fact her ankle still throbbed where the steel had hit, she ground out, “I’m fine.”

He pulled on the handle, but she grabbed and hung on with both hands. Right now, it was about the only thing keeping her grounded. His hands snugged up against hers as they faced off with the ax held horizontally between them. The warmth of his skin registered through the seething emotions whirling inside her.

“I talked to Mark,” he said quietly, concern and understanding clear in his eyes.

“Good for you,” she snapped.

His gaze narrowed. A small part of her felt bad for taking her anger out on him. The rest of her was humiliated to know that he knew she was the reason for Holden’s withdrawal of support for the veterans.

She needed to hit something. Hard.

Holding his gaze without backing down, she silently dared him to take the ax away by force. He could do it easy, and she actually wanted him to force the physical confrontation.

Instead, he gave a brief nod. “Okay. You want to work off some steam, I get it. I don’t want to have to rush you to the emergency room, so let me show you the right way to do it and it’s all yours.”

“Fine.” She shoved the handle toward him and let go at the same time.

Arms crossed over her chest, all her weight on one leg, she waited. He transferred the ax to one hand and let it swing down alongside his leg. Then he walked over for a hunk of wood and returned to set it on the stump, cut side up. Once he moved into position, he glanced back to where she stood.

“Hands like this, then swing back, and around, and bring it down so the sharp edge hits the wood in the center.”

In one fluid motion, he did exactly as he described and split the piece of wood clean in half. Facing her, he asked, “Got it?”

“Yeah. I got it.”

His eyebrow arched at her sarcasm, but she didn’t care. It felt good to not care for once. To not pretend like she was okay with the raw deal life had handed her lately. Felt great actually.

He extended the ax and she wrenched it from his grasp. Only he let go at the same time and she stumbled at the unexpected lack of resistance. His lightning fast steadying grip only annoyed her more.

She stepped into position as he placed a log on the stump for her, then stood back slightly, off to her left.

“No. Put your hands like I showed you.”

She’d seen his swing, and the subsequent play of muscles beneath his T-shirt, but prior to that, she’d been focused on him, not the instructions. She moved her hands closer together.

“This isn’t baseball.”

She moved them farther apart.

“I thought you said you got it?” he huffed as he stepped up behind her.

His arms closed around her, his hands sliding down to adjust her grip on the handle as the front of his body came into full contact with her back. She sucked in a surprised breath and smelled nothing but Levi.

From one heartbeat to the next, all her anger and frustration morphed into intense awareness that literally had her trembling in her boots.

He’d gone completely still. His heat seeped through her clothes. After a moment, he cleared his throat and moved her left hand up one inch. “There, try that.”

His rough voice in her ear sent all kinds of delicious tingles tripping along her nerve endings. Yet he didn’t let go or step away.

Heart pounding, she turned her head far enough to see his face. His gaze locked on hers, a gorgeous green full of the desire she’d desperately been trying to ignore.

She twisted in his arms at the same time his head lowered. His mouth took hers in a wild, possessive kiss that weakened her knees and made her grab on for dear life. His head tilted, his tongue stroking deep, setting off tremors inside her body that begged for release.

It’d been so long since she’d been with a man, and even longer still since she’d felt such unleashed passion. As if he were as desperate for her as she was for him.

As she pulled him closer, the handle of the forgotten ax between them bit into her rib-cage. The painful jab made her gasp against his mouth. It also reminded her of what had brought her to this point.

Kissing Levi didn’t change her situation—in fact, it made it worse. He was just the kind of man she’d stay in Pulaski for.

No.”

A hard shove made him stumble back a step. Confusion and surprise and something else she couldn’t identify dulled the vibrant color of his eyes. She ignored the rush of guilt, and grabbed the ax handle with both hands.

~~~

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Thanks and Happy Reading!

~ Stacey

Monday, October 6, 2014

Final Canning total for 2014

Here are my final totals for the year. The only way this would change is if Wayne gets a deer hunting, then I'll add canned venison to this list.
  1. Dill pickles            60 quarts
  2. Green beans           70 pints
  3. Salsa                      72 pints
  4. Diced Tomatoes    15 pints
  5. Spaghetti sauce     48 quarts
  6. Sloppy Joe sauce   26 pints
  7. Pizza sauce              8 pints (new for me this year)
  8. Apple pie filling    24 quarts
  9. Applesauce            38 pints  13 quarts  (also new this year--but now a staple)
Yep, I went a little crazy canning this year, but my shelves look AWESOME! *grin*




In addition to all this, I also wrote another book. Autumn Kiss, book #6 of the Romancing Wisconsin series. I'll tell you all about it in an upcoming post this week because it releases Oct. 21st.

Did you do any canning? If so, let me know what's different from my list - I might want to try it next year.

Oh, and I did grow the cucamelons I talked about in a previous post--my son liked them okay, but I wasn't too impressed, so I didn't really do anything with them. The taste was fine, but they reminded me of a cherry tomato-all squishy and seedy inside and that doesn't do it for me.

Also, last year I did 8 pints of pears off our tree, but this year the pears ripened much faster than I expected with the cooler weather we had, so the kids ate some fresh off the tree, but unfortunately, the rest rotted.

That's it from me. Have a wonderful day!

~ Stacey