Book Blitz & Giveaway – Hearts, Homes and Holidays: A Sweet Romance Charity Anthology…

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Hearts, Homes and Holidays

A Sweet Romance Charity Anthology Filled with Family, Friends & Faith

Sweet Romance

Date Published: October 19, 2021

 

 

Family Ever After

Longing hearts, loving homes, and lively holidays combine in this Romantique Treasury. This warm-hearted anthology combines friends, families, and faith as hope blossoms in the lives of orphaned children.

 

ADOPTED IN ARKANSAS

Socialite Emily Simpson feels out of place. So, when Emily consults her aunt, Lachele suggests she use Matchrimony to find a husband. For farmer Derrick Bobo, he hopes an arranged marriage will give him a better chance of gaining custody of his autistic nephew, Zach. Can Emily adjust to a farm wife’s lifestyle? And more importantly, how will she deal with a boy on the spectrum?

 

A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

Madeline Collier finds solace in charity work and fundraising for a local children’s home. Peter Townsend moves west from Philadelphia to escape his past and begin a new life. When an idea is planted for an orphan’s possible future, Madeline realizes she needs help. Can Maddie persuade Peter to commit to a marriage of convenience and, in so doing, help her give a child a forever home?

 

A NEW FAMILY

Eliot Graveney fought his entire life to be seen as the equal of those around him, but a flash of fire enters his world in the shape of heiress Marianne Daltrey. And Eliot’s life will never be the same. Can Eliot outsmart a wealthy man to help Marianne get her inheritance? Will he lose his heart in the process?

 

FOREVER FAMILY

Susan Vuichard is committed to making sure no child is forgotten in the foster system, which means opening her family farm to three sisters that have nowhere else to go. Richard Petra still suffers from a tragic loss, but sparks fly when he finds his high school sweetheart. Can this group somehow become a forever family?

 

JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS MORNING

Anna Beckett has a soulless job at Gallagher Industries. When she becomes a volunteer cuddler, holding the sickest babies in the neonatal unit, Anna begins to realize there’s more to life than work. Thrust into a Santa Claus suit at the children’s hospital, Jack Gallagher is surprised to recognize the accountant from work. Can they overcome their misguided perceptions to form a lasting bond?

 

KANDIE KISSES

Frazzled by a hectic lifestyle, Rachel Boulton has no choice but to rearrange her priorities when a surprise gift is left for her at work. With the help of her secret crush, Mick Polenz, can Rachel meet the overwhelming needs of this special delivery, or will she lose the greatest joy she’s ever known to the demands of unfulfilled ambitions?

 

LONG TO BELONG

Mark Diamond has never had a family of his own, but being on the spectrum makes relationships extra complicated – until Katie Reed, owner of the Bountiful Blueberry Coffee Shop, stole his heart faster than an underpriced IPO offering. For Katie, her shy beau has been as yummy as a dandelion-cocoa latte, but can they handle each other’s situation, or will their dreams be thrown out like yesterday’s brew?

 

MACY’S GIFT

Macy Williams loves her career as a photojournalist, but when her brother and sister-in-law die, Macy is drawn back to her small hometown to handle their estate. Cord Adams is surprised by his deceased friend’s choice of guardian. He only met Macy once, and the meeting was anything but cordial. Can two strong-willed individuals set aside their differences for the good of two young girls?

 

NOT PART OF OUR EVENING PLANS

As one of the couples who found love at River’s End Ranch, Jace and Dinky Cunningham struggle with the loss of their dreams for a family; but, circumstances can shift in a split second. Dare they hope this change of plans will bring them everything their hearts desire?

Proceeds from this collection of inspiring stories will benefit special-needs adoption grants through Reece’s Rainbow.

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Michele Pollock Dalton

Michele Brouder

Nancy Fraser

T.C. Hester

Jean Jacobsen

Caroline Lee

Kirsten Osbourne

Rose Pearson

Christine Sterling


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Spotlight, Author Interview, & Excerpt: Oranges for Miranda + Giveaway

Oranges for Miranda

oranges for miranda

Oranges for Miranda
by Annette Bower
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Miranda Porter, a newly retired award-winning businesswoman, leaves home to transition into her new life stage. Always in control, this is her time to have fun without plans and responsibilities. Enter Renato Monteiro, a considerate tour guide with secrets. Miranda isn’t looking for long-term. She wants a purpose in her retirement. Could her purpose in retirement be finding love in this unlikely place? Could her aim be domesticity and caring for and be cared for by a newly found friend? Will a vacation romance end because of miles?

Renato Monteiro has decisions to make. Stay in his birth country where his female relatives want him to marry a woman young enough to give him children. Or does he return to his second home, where he has a purpose and has built a life without children? The day Miranda and he bumped heads changed his life and his pursuit. Now he must decide which is most important the family he was born into or the family he chooses.

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Excerpt:

A blue and white tiled stairway leading up to the second floor of a house caught Miranda’s eye. She positioned her phone and snapped photos as she thought about the amenities she would prefer in her perhaps forever home or home for a while.

Orange trees in yards were stunning. Back home in Regina, residents planted fast-growing poplar trees in front of a row of fir trees, which would be mature when the Poplars had reached their life span. Her mind leapt. Stacy and Nathan were her fir trees. Her parents started the business and expanded it for her, and she, in turn, developed it for her children. She shook her head, no more thoughts of her Canadian life to ruin this beautiful day with the azure blue sky, the white stucco buildings and the red tile roofs.

Miranda stepped onto the corner café’s patio and sat on the blue-tiled bench attached to the blue-tiled table. A young woman, dressed in black, appeared from a dark interior and gave her a menu with different flags denoting the various translations of the food items. She ordered black coffee and a glass of brandy as a treat she had read that many locals enjoyed during the day. While she waited, she searched in her guide book to discover the tiled pavement in the area was called calcada.


Author interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book?
I was interested in exploring what the third act of a young retired woman would be like. She was driven to succeed in business and chose to be a single mother while she was young and healthy. Her adult children are now running the successful real estate company, and she knows she has to leave or she will interfere. She needs to allow them to fly. So she leaves the country with thoughts of establishing a new home away from home.

I learned that men also grieve being childless. My fifty-five-year-old hero, because of circumstances, didn’t establish a long-term relationship with a woman, and therefore he hasn’t become a father. There are groups to assist women who have not chosen to remain childless, but there is very little support for men.

3. What surprised me the most in writing it?
I have frequently traveled to the Portuguese Algarve, and I was surprised when writing and recalling my adventures and how much I long to go back.

I was also surprised how many women and men chose to be single parents. More and more, we read about single adults who foster or adopt because they want to be part of a family.

4. What does the title mean?
Oranges for Miranda was my working title, and my publisher liked it enough to suggest we keep it. An older Portuguese woman gifts Miranda some freshly picked clementine oranges in an early scene and calls Miranda bela beautiful. During this time of indecision for her, the gift from a stranger represented women’s understanding. It also means a life cycle. The orange tree blossoms and then bears fruit. The fruit is the product that changes, either when eaten or turned into something else, but the orange lives on if the seeds are planted. Similar to Miranda’s succession plan with her children growing the business.

5. Did real people inspire any of the characters? If so, do they know?
Renato was inspired by a man I saw on a bus when I vacationed in Waikiki. This man was with an older gentleman, who I think was his father and a child, who I believe was his son. I watched this man interact with the man and the child with gentleness and love, and I felt the vibes. I surreptitiously took photos of him on the bus and when the party got off. No, he will never know, and I can’t share his picture because he doesn’t know and hasn’t given permission.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
There is a surprise in the novel. One of my editors suggested I change it because she didn’t believe it. I ran the situation by my hairstylist, and she asked me if I was describing her neighbor. I decided that if she knew of an example, then there would be others. I won’t tell your readers; it would be a spoiler for Miranda’s character and Renato’s acceptance.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
I like to create the growing attraction and love between Miranda and Renato. Although these are older characters who have experienced life, their goals for a relationship are the same yet different from a younger couple.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Even though Miranda is indecisive at this part of her life, she has a lifetime of experience of being in charge. Renato has made changes in his life, and now he is back in the country of his birth. It was a challenge to have him indecisive about his choices.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
My immediate plans are to help many readers join Miranda and Renato on their journey to love. Our province is opening up, and I am planning reading events at libraries around the province. I enjoy reading to an audience.

I am also working on a new story. Unfortunately, I always start with too many themes and have to lose one or two gradually.


Author Info:

Annette believes home is where her stories percolate. And her home is a condo where she watches the urban life below, airplanes arrive and depart at the international airport, and the seasons change on farmland near the horizon. Annette travels extensively but always returns home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Whether at home or away, and even though directions are always a challenge, she wanders the streets, parks, and lanes observing how people live, love, and care for one another. Your way of sitting, holding hands, the way you tilt your head, or a t-shirt you wear may end up in one of her stories.

On her first trip to Olhos de Água, a fishing village in Portugal, she stopped at a café where the proprietors were a mother and daughter. Annette sat at the outdoor blue and white tiled table and ordered an espresso and brandy. While the sun warmed her back, she opened her new notebook. The older woman walked by carrying a basket, tipped her head toward Annette’s blank page, and shrugged. When black-laced heeled shoes struck the tile, and the scent of just-picked clementine oranges interrupted Annette’s writing, the woman plunked three oranges at the edge of her page. Annette cherishes this gift from one woman to another. Recently, Annette travels with an accompanying Orange and shares pictures on Social media as her way of honoring those Portugues women. A version of this event appears in her new novel, Oranges for Miranda.

During another trip, while searching for an address in Malaga, Spain, she asked a well-dressed man carrying a floral paper-wrapped bouquet if he spoke English? Would he direct her to the address? With impeccable English, he suggested she walk with him. They chatted, and she discovered he was a lawyer in his final days of retiring. Finally, she asked to whom he was giving the flowers. He lifted the cover to reveal a large crucifix. This detail has not appeared in a story yet.

In a coffee shop, looking south between glass tower office buildings, she could be anywhere in the world. However, she is home watching people on Eleventh Avenue run for buses, bring tea to a panhandler, and holding mittened hands while bending into the wind.

Annette uses experiences she gathered as a nurse, town administrator, elected official, traveller, and member of a large extended family to inform her stories because writing is her joy.

Annette Bower is a Soul Mate Publishing author of five contemporary romance novels. Her novel Fearless Destiny was first runner-up in the 2017 Sweet Contemporary RONE awards and winner of the Raven Award. Her novel Ponytails and Promises was a finalist in the 2020 RONE Awards and is the 2020 winner of the Raven Award.

Annette Bower

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Furrever Friends + Giveaway

furrever friends


0 furrever friends series teaser 1

 


Coffee and Crushes at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 1
by Kris Bock
Genre: Sweet Romance


What do you do when you meet the guy of your dreams? Set him up with your sister, of course.

Kari doesn’t have time for love when she’s opening her new cat café. Renovating an old restaurant, hiring employees, fighting with the health inspector – oh, and welcoming 16 shelter cats – keeps her plenty busy. She’s doing this for the cats, the community, and most of all her family. The café will give her sister, Marley, a job worthy of her baking skills.


Then a tattooed military vet wanders in claiming to be a master baker himself. The café doesn’t need another baker, but maybe Marley needs a man. Surely she’ll fall for a guy this sweet, this sexy, this tasty.


Colin has other ideas. It’s Kari who makes him want to pour on the sugar and turn up the heat. But he’s spent the last two years recovering from physical and psychological wounds. Is he really ready for a relationship? He’s not even sure he should commit to Samson, the fluffy marshmallow of a cat who steals his heart.


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at a small-town cat café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple (and maybe more than one rescued cat). These sweet romances will leave you with the warm, fuzzy feeling of cuddling a purring cat.


If you enjoy friends to lovers tropes, work romances, military heroes, and strong heroines completely failing at playing the matchmaker, check out Coffee and Crushes at the Cat Café. You’ll also find rescue cats with plenty of personality and their own desire for love.


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excerpt

Kari smiled warmly. “So now you think making coffee sounds good? Or is it the cats that appeal to you?”

He returned her smile, and her knees went weak. He was not her type. She liked intellectual, career-focused men. She had never understood women who raved over a man in uniform. Not that he was in uniform now. She glanced down at his faded jeans and tried not to let her gaze linger on the snug black T-shirt as she looked up again. Now he looked like he should be jumping on a motorcycle without a helmet, not looking for work in a café that featured adoptable cats. Soldier or biker, he wasn’t her type – but she could see the appeal.

A clatter came from the kitchen, where her sister was organizing the supplies. On the other hand, this man might be Marley’s type. After all, Marley had gotten pregnant at eighteen from a tattooed soldier on leave. She’d hardly dated since, but if her ex hadn’t turned her off of the type permanently, she might find this one appealing. But was he a nice guy or a jerk?

“Both, actually.”

It took Kari a moment to realize he was responding to her question about coffee or cats.





Kittens and Kisses at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 2


He’s loved her forever. She still sees him as the neighbor kid. Can five desperate kittens bring them together?


Marley is a baker at the new Furrever Friends Cat Café, which is still trying to find its footing. Her nine-year-old son, Brian, desperately wants a kitten, but they can’t have pets where they live. Who has the time to date? Just as well that she’s protected her heart since the father of her child disappeared.


Adam has loved Marley since he was 13, and she was his best friend’s free-spirited older sister. Back then, he fantasized about rescuing her from bandits or dragons. Now he’s 24, and the five-year age gap isn’t so serious. He wants nothing more than to become a family with Marley and her son. But will she ever see him as a man?


When someone leaves a box of week-old kittens at the café, Adam jumps at the chance to be a hero. But herding kittens might be tougher than fighting dragons, especially when two of them fail to thrive. Can Adam, Marley, and Brian save the kittens and find a future together?


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at a small-town cat café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple (and maybe more than one rescued cat). These sweet romances will leave you with the warm, fuzzy feeling of cuddling a purring cat.


If you enjoy tropes such as best friend’s sibling / sibling’s best friend, friends to lovers, first love, unrequited love, and older women with younger men, check out Kittens and Kisses at the Cat Café. You’ll also find rescue cats with plenty of personality and their own ideas about what love is.


Goodreads * Amazon


 
Tea and Temptation at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 3


Can two lonely people get a second chance at finding love?

Zach may be a best-selling novelist, but it’s been a long time since he’s felt truly alive. In the last six months, he moved to the country, his wife left him, and he was diagnosed with cancer. Now he lives in a haze of treatments, writer’s block, and simply trying to survive each week. But when a pretty woman comes into his favorite café and throws herself down on a padded bench with a groan of despair, he feels something he thought he’d lost long ago: curiosity.


As a veterinarian, Jenna knows both joy and heartbreak. The former she can share with her clients. The latter she keeps to herself. She learned one lesson from her ex-husband: Men don’t want to deal with your emotions. It’s odd to have a stranger ask about her problems. It’s even more of a shock when he offers to solve one of them by fostering the sick kitten abandoned by its owners.


Zach and Jenna bond over kitten care and build a close friendship. Could they have more? Zach is finally starting to hope for a future, ideally one that includes Jenna, but he can’t move forward until he’s dealt with his past. Meanwhile, Jenna is afraid to risk her heart on someone who might not survive the next few months.


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at the Furrever Friends Cat Café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple. These sweet romances will leave you with the warm, fuzzy feeling of cuddling a purring cat.


If you enjoy friends to lovers tropes, or seasoned romance/mature romance, check out Tea and Temptation at the Cat Café. You’ll also find rescue cats with plenty of personality and their own ideas about love. This book contains no cheating, no people die, and no animal deaths are shown, although the vet mentions a few sad cases.


Goodreads * Amazon




Romance and Rescues at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 4


Can getting stranded in a creepy house full of abandoned cats turn these enemies into friends – or even something more?

After a rotten week, Holly jumps at the chance to go on a rescue mission. Dozens of cats are stranded in a remote house where the owner has died. They’ve been abandoned, and she can sympathize. But she did not agree to make the road trip with Dustin, her rival and biggest headache at the cat café where they both work.


Dustin has given up trying to get Holly to like him. Still, a long drive through a snowstorm and an overnight in a house full of cats might bring them together – or result in his violent demise. But what they find is worse than they ever imagined – no lights, no heat, the snow still coming down, and over twenty hungry, skittish cats. They’ll have to work as a team to survive and save the animals.


One thing is certain – if they make it back alive, their relationship won’t be the same.


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at a small-town cat café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple (and maybe more than one rescued cat). These sweet romances will leave you with the warm, cozy feeling of cuddling a purring cat.


This title stars Merlin, the Maine coon cat readers adore, and many more cats to fall in love with. It includes the tropes two against the world, antagonist to lovers or enemies to lovers, and forced proximity.


Goodreads * Amazon




Christmas Cookies at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 5


Christmas isn’t the same since Diane’s kids grew up and her husband died – so when her high school sweetheart comes back to town, maybe it’s time for some cozy new holiday traditions.

Old traditions or a new life?

Diane had a great marriage and a wonderful life raising two daughters and a grandson. That ended when her husband died too young. Now she’s 53 and her grown children are encouraging her to slow down and do less – but she wants more. She starts planning for a new career by arranging a photo shoot at the cat café her daughters run. Unfortunately, the cats don’t want to cooperate.


Rick loved Diane in high school, but he chose to travel the world while she settled down with another man. Now he’s back for a visit, but he’s not planning to stay – even if Diane still tugs at him. He’ll help her figure out how to photograph animals, he’ll even help her get what she wants from life, and then he’ll say goodbye.


Rick temps Diane to quit her job, sell her house, and travel. But she can’t leave the people she loves so dearly, the family that might still need her just a little bit. Diane tempts Rick to quit his wandering ways, but he can’t simply step into the hole left by her husband’s death. As the weeks pass from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the holiday season brings out complicated emotions.


Can Diane and Rick find a way to make a new life together while holding onto the best parts of the past? They’ll need more than attraction and affection. They might even need a Christmas miracle.


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at a small-town cat café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple (and maybe more than one rescued cat). These sweet romances will leave you with the warm feeling of cuddling a purring cat.


Goodreads * Amazon




Cupcakes and Confessions at the Cat Café
Furrever Friends Book 6


A chance meeting changes three lives …  


Two years ago, computer genius Sean Gorsuch had a health crisis and sold the tech company he built. Now he works at a cat café, dishing out hot drinks and sweet treats to customers, and lavishing attention on cats. At fifty-two and never married, he might be a little lonely, but how can he find someone who gets his quirky way of seeing the world?  


Twenty-three years ago, Fiona Jones gave up her baby for adoption when her teen fiancé abandoned her. Since then, she has spent most of her life alone. A chance meeting with Sean on a plane leads to a startling revelation: his coworker, Holly, looks like a younger version of Fiona. Could Fiona have a second chance with her daughter, now grown up?  


Sean helps steady Fiona through the emotional roller coaster of getting to know Holly. Fiona’s life is too complicated for romance, and Sean doesn’t want to get between mother and daughter. Still, something sparks between them. Should they stay just friends or risk their hearts?  


The Furrever Friends Cat Café helps people find furry forever friends – and just might lead to romantic true love too. If you enjoy friends to lovers, geeky beta heroes, and mature romance, check out Cupcakes and Confessions at the Cat Café. You’ll also find rescue cats with plenty of personality and their own ideas about what love is.  


The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at the Furrever Friends Cat Café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Some characters appear throughout the series, but each book stands alone.


Goodreads * Amazon





Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues.


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