Weekend Excerpt–COVER REVEAL!

They say desperate times call for desperate measures.
Charley Weatherly is about to realize that it’s true.

Life isn’t working out exactly the way Charley Weatherly imagined it might when she walked away from her steady paycheck as a copywriter to start her own business. But as it turns out, not everyone in town is knocking down the door of her tiny independent bookshop. She has lost money every quarter since she opened.

Now, with her grandmother in need of more care than Charley can provide, some difficult decisions have to be made. The rest of her 401k plus the proceeds from selling the bookstore might keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for about a year. That would give Charley time to figure out her next move.

But when that money is irretrievably lost, Charley is faced with an impossible decision. Being a gestational surrogate for a couple who can’t have a baby on their own will bring in the kind of cash she needs. Can she really follow through?

Between trying to keep her small business afloat and caring for her grandmother, Charley’s personal life has been nonexistent. But when she moves to the city for a few months, she finds she enjoys the freedom of her part-time gig at Bravo Java. She especially enjoys chatting up the handsome local artist who spends his mornings there. Now that her life is taking an unexpected turn, has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Artist Ben Campbell has had his fair share of romantic disasters. For the time being, he’s content to follow his self-imposed schedule: gym, coffee, work, repeat.

But the new barista at his favorite coffee shop piques his interest. In fact, if he’s honest with himself, she looks a lot like the elusive redhead who haunts his dreams.

She seems to be attracted to him, too. So why does Charley insist on keeping him at arm’s length?

Prefer your romance with plenty of heat and tons of heart?
You’ll love The Girl in the Guesthouse!

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE comes out December 14, but for a limited time, you can take advantage of the special 99¢ pre-order.

Here’s a teaser…

Seated across from Drew and Alex Shepherd-Wang at the center of a long conference table, Charley struggled to focus as her head swam. Voices came to her as if she were underwater. In front of her was a stack of paper that constituted the agreement between herself and the couple on the other side of the table.

“What do you think about Item 15, Charley?” Jacqueline asked, bringing her out of her fog. “If the implantation of multiple embryos results in more than one fetus, are you willing to carry multiples?”

Charley blinked hard. “Multiples?” A glance across the table showed Alex and Drew watching her anxiously.

Jacqueline’s smile was kind. “Twins or triplets? On the off-chance, you realize. It’s not actually all that common. It’s just that implanting more than one embryo increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.”

Exhaling slowly, Charley nodded. “I understand. Yes, that’s fine.”

“Excellent.” The lawyer gave a satisfied nod. “Okay, everyone, initial Item 15. Obviously, Charley, in the unlikely event of multiple fetuses, your fee increases per baby.”

Charley nodded again and swallowed hard. Holy shit!

“Now if everyone can turn to page 5,” Jacqueline continued over the shuffling of paper. “Charley, the Shepherd-Wangs have a rather unusual offer. You can peruse it, but maybe it would be best to let them explain their thoughts.”

Frowning, Charley skimmed the item in question. …San Francisco…guest house… When Drew quietly cleared his throat, she put the paper back on the table and looked up at him.

“Charley, we’d like to ask you to move to the city. I mean, once you’re pregnant, of course.”

Frown deepening, she tilted her head. “What?”

Alex slipped his hand through the crook of Drew’s elbow. “We’re just a little concerned, that’s all,” he said. “There you are, living all alone in Modesto, at least an hour and a half away, having to schlep all the way here every time you have a doctor’s appointment. Plus, what if something happened? Or there was some kind of emergency?”

“We have a guest house out back,” Drew offered earnestly. “It’s not huge but it’s very comfortable.”

Alex leaned forward. “And I’ve been itching to redecorate it for ages. What’s your favorite color?”

Head spinning, Charley leaned back in her seat. “I’m always drawn to purples and blues, I guess,” she murmured. “But I can’t just move to San Francisco.”

“Why not?” asked Alex bluntly.

“Well,” Charley spluttered, “because.”

With amused expressions, the pair watched her expectantly.

She gestured in front of herself. “For one thing, there’s the house. I can’t just…board up the house for months on end.”

“So rent it out,” Alex suggested reasonably. “I’m guessing your grandmother paid it off a long time ago, right? So that income would be profit. Which helps with your goal of keeping her in quality care.”

Charley blinked, picturing the vintage white bungalow. It was a good idea, she had to admit to herself. She considered what she might be able to charge and figured it would go a long way toward adding to the Pacifico Manor account.

Then she thought about the marketing firm she’d left to take a chance on her own business.

“Plus, I was just about to see if I can get my old job back,” she said with a sigh.

Alex leaned forward on his elbows. “Is that your dream? Going back to a job you walked away from?”

“Of course not,” Charley frowned. “But what choice do I have?”

Drew’s smile was soft. “Rent out your place. We have a really comfortable life in Pacific Heights. Come stay with us in the guest house. Take the time to figure out your next move.”

“Besides owning your own bookstore, what is your wildest dream?” Alex gently prodded.

Charley blinked hard, attempting to slam shut the window on her most secret aspiration.

“It was right there,” Alex observed softly.

Charley rolled her eyes and shrugged softly. “It’s ridiculous, really.” She blew out a breath. “I’ve sometimes puttered around with writing a gothic romance novel, you know, like Jane Eyre or something. I know, it’s beyond–“

“Brilliant,” Alex finished for her. “You’re Charlotte, as in Brontë.”

She nodded as her face reddened. “My mom was a big fan, and she passed that passion on to me, I guess.”

“So come to our guesthouse and write your book.”

Sighing deeply, she shook her head slowly. “I don’t know. I mean, even if I did, I’d need to have a job. I can’t just…” she waved her hands again, “not work.”

“I own five companies. We can find you a job, if you insist. We want you to be happy. And we’d feel more comfortable if you were close by.” Drew watched her curiously.

Charley pushed back from the table and stood, walking over to the window where she looked out over the busy city. She was afraid to admit to herself that their offer sounded like the dream vacation she hadn’t had the luxury to take since she’d quit her full-time job. To not have to worry about the house other than to collect the rent payment, maybe occasionally see to some minor repair or other? To not worry about paying any bills other than her phone and the insurance on her ancient Honda?

But what about Nana?

She sighed. That was an issue.

Why, though? She could still drive out to see her grandmother anytime she pleased. She’d probably have more time to do it than she did now, certainly more time than she’d have if she worked full-time.

Doing a job she hated. At a place where everyone would know that she’d risked chasing her dream and gone down in flames.

Maybe this was her second chance. Inhaling deeply, she turned back to the table.

“I’ll do it,” she nodded.

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE
comes out December 14.
Reserve your copy now for just 99¢!
books2read.com/TheGirlInTheGuesthouse

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

She’s a rancher with a heartbreaking secret.
He’s Hollywood royalty,
poised to take a chance that risks
his reputation and his career.
Now that they’ve found each other, can he win her heart?

Anna Graves works hard helping to run her family’s Wyoming dude ranch. Still reeling from the tragic loss of her smokejumper fiancé in a horrific wildfire, she is content to hide from the world as she teaches horseback riding lessons to tourists by day and reads smutty romance novels by night.

When world-famous Scottish actor Angus McGregor needs to brush up his cowboy skills in preparation for his starring role in a new Western, he heads to Sweetwater Ranch in the boondocks of Wyoming. He is immediately fascinated by Anna, who won’t give him the time of day. Can he break down the self-protective wall she has built?

If you like hot cowboys, Scottish accents, and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love ANNA’S HEART, the third book in the Redheads & Ranchers series!

Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation? In this scene from ANNA’S HEART, rancher Anna Graves finds herself wishing she could melt through the floor.

As the last of the stragglers left the dining room, Anna left her mother and Simone to finish breakfast cleanup. A huge stockpot of hearty beef stew simmering on the stove would be ready for lunch in a few hours. Simone and Mrs. Graves would eventually make their way upstairs to join Lana in freshening up the handful of guestrooms located in the main lodge.

Anna would see to the cabins by herself, a job she’d insisted on as Simone and her baby bump had grown more and more unwieldy. Sweetwater Ranch wasn’t a hotel, really, so the day-to-day housekeeping was fairly light. While fresh sheets were available upon request, staff didn’t make beds or change the sheets on a daily basis.

On the other hand, between riding horses, working with cattle, and practicing outdoors skills, guests tended to get grubby as they participated in ranch activities, so daily fresh towels were a must. Anna also preferred to spot-clean the bathrooms and kitchens, straighten anything out of place, and remove the trash each day.

It was definitely easier when she split the duties with Simone, but over the past few months, Anna had worked out a routine that allowed her to finish her housekeeping duties in about an hour. And that left her plenty of time to make sure she was ready for her afternoon riding session before she headed back to the kitchen to help with lunch.

As usual, she started with Cabin 1 and worked her way back. The first five cabins, the newest of the bunch, were nearly always occupied for every session, summer and winter alike. When they had a larger-than-normal group of guests, the older cabins were used, beginning with number 6.

She herself occupied number 7, then numbers 8 and 9 were available to guests. Ross lived alone in Cabin 10. Andy and Simone had an apartment on the top floor of the main lodge, while Anna’s parents remained in the family quarters just off the lodge kitchen. It was where Anna and her brothers had grown up, and their father before them.

The newer cabins had been built when Anna was in high school. They were nicer than the older ones, but they were smaller. As she drove the golf cart from Cabin 5 to Cabin 6, she wondered what movie star Angus McGregor thought of his rustic accommodations. On the one hand, his cabin was larger than the others. But on the other hand, it was older. The amenities weren’t as new and the bathroom and kitchen hadn’t been updated.

Fresh towels folded over her arm, Anna snorted as she walked up the front steps of Cabin 6. Angus McGregor, cooking for himself in the little cabin kitchen!

Right! I’m still surprised he deigns to show up at mealtime, she thought to herself. Figured he’d call the front desk expecting room service.

Pausing at the door, she knocked lightly. “Housekeeping!” She knew that at that time of the morning, he was in Andy’s riding group. It was why she did these chores right after breakfast. Everyone had someplace to be, and it was a rare instance when someone was actually in their cabin.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. She knocked again, then unlocked the door and let herself in. A quick scan showed the open living room/kitchen combination to be neat and tidy, save for a bunch of index cards spread all over the kitchen table.

She craned her neck to look at them briefly as she made her way to the kitchen trash can. Quickly, she removed the bag and replaced it with a fresh one, placing the old bag beside the front door. Everything else in the kitchen looked in order so she carried the fresh towels down the short hallway to the bathroom. Still envisioning the famous actor trying to cook something on the older-model gas stove, she smirked as she opened the bathroom door.

Clouds of steam rolled over her as a very naked Angus McGregor, towel in hand, froze stock-still.

“Anna?” Eyes wide, he moved the towel down to his waist, but not before Anna got an eyeful of a most impressive cock.

“Holy shit!” she gasped, stumbling backward into the hallway wall.

As she turned and rushed down the hallway, she heard his bare feet padding along behind her.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered without bothering to turn around. “You’re supposed to be riding right now.”

“Aye, about that,” he answered, “I switched to a different session.”

“I knocked, I swear I did.” Clutching the towels, she still faced the door. “I didn’t mean to just barge in on you.”

“I’m just back from a run. I didn’t hear ye over the shower. Anna?” His tone was soft.

Slowly, she turned around, willing her eyes to stay away from the bulge beneath the towel around his waist. She allowed her gaze to skim up his rippled abs to his muscular chest and wide shoulders. Water still dripped from his hair and he swiped a hand across his face.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely better than staring at his package.

“It’s okay, really. Just a miscommunication is all. No worries.”

Utterly humiliated, Anna nodded mutely and turned back toward the door.

“Anna? Can I have the fresh towels?”

She rolled her eyes and turned back, handing over the towels. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just…well, I usually exchange them for the old towels.”

“Do ye want this one?” His grin was wry.

“No! Holy shit, no keep that on,” she squeezed her eyes shut and waved her hand. “I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She opened the door and let herself out onto the cabin’s covered porch, then stopped.

“Wait a second! You switched to what different riding session?” Turning back around, she placed her hands on her hips.

Lips pursed as though he were suppressing another grin, he leaned his shoulder on the doorway. “I’ve never ridden a horse before. I requested tae be placed in the Beginners’ group.”

“But that’s my group.”

“So I was told. I didn’t think ye’d mind.”

Anna worked her mouth, unable to come up with the proper words.

Blue eyes sparkling, he watched as though to see what she’d come up with.

Finally, her articulation skills gained traction. “But it’s a kids’ group. They’re all kids.”

He nodded. “Aye, I was told that, too. And they’re beginners, just like me.” He tilted his head thoughtfully. “If ye don’t want me in the group, just say so.”

“No, it’s not that, it’s just…” Anna’s heart pounded and she felt her head spinning. She willed herself to be anywhere except where she was. “Fine. It’s just fine. If you don’t mind riding with the kids, I’m sure they won’t mind.”

She hurried down the steps and got into the golf cart. “Well, again, sorry for…” She trailed off, feeling sheepish. The amusement sparkling in his eyes didn’t help at all.

“I’ll see ye at lunch,” Angus said, chuckling.

“See you,” Anna nodded, pressing the accelerator and speeding off down the trail.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/AnnasHeart

Weekend Excerpt–MIDNIGHT COVE

They say still waters run deep.
In the tiny lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

Writer Bree Blaylock just wants a chance to catch her breath.  Having finally escaped an abusive relationship, she’s relieved to have found a quiet place to finish writing her new book.  

From the moment she arrives, she realizes that she’s not alone in her rented cottage on the lake.  But she’s okay with that. In her experience, the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

Meeting handsome local lawman Jake Hanson wasn’t even remotely on her radar.  Now that she has, maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.  

But can he keep her safe when the past comes calling?

If you love your romance with a little bit of spooky, MIDNIGHT COVE is for you!

Read a little teaser.

A flash of lightning lit up the downstairs of the lake house like an overexposed photograph. The crack of thunder was instantaneous, and Bree ducked her head reflexively. Murphy, never a fan of a thunderstorm, cowered beside her on the sofa.

The power had blinked off nearly half an hour earlier, and now the den was lit only by the fire in the fireplace along with a few scattered candles Bree had brought down from upstairs. She’d had a productive day of writing, and now she was content to watch the storm and read her Kindle for as long as the battery held out.

She patted the dog affectionately. “You’re fine, don’t be such a baby,” she murmured. “It’s nice and cozy in here, and I’m sure they’ll get the power back soon.”

The tiny digital clock in the corner of her tablet read 10:04, and Bree wondered if the power might be off until morning. Certainly, no one would be climbing up any power poles until the storm was over.

Briefly, she considered heading upstairs to bed, but her phone rang before she could definitively decide.

“Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi yourself,” Jake said. “How are you holding up in this crazy storm?”

She glanced at Murphy and shook her head. “Oh, we’re fine. Some of us are better than others.”

“Murphy’s not digging the thunder?”

“You guessed it. I, however, am enjoying the light show over the lake. I wish the power were on, though. It feels very 19th century. I’m so spoiled,” she laughed.

There was a slight pause. “We don’t have any reports of power outages. How long has it been out?”

Bree raised her eyebrows. “Maybe half an hour?”

“Can you see if mine’s out, too? I left my dock light on.”

“Okay, hang on.” Bree slipped off the sofa and padded to the back door. Through heavy rain, she could just make out a dot of light several houses down. “Yeah, I think I can see your light. The rain is so heavy, it’s hard to tell.”

Lightning flashed again, for a microsecond illuminating a dark figure standing directly in front of Bree, mere inches away on the other side of the glass. She shrieked, scrambling backward so fast, she tripped on the rug and ended up on her behind. Her phone landed beside her.

“Bree! What’s wrong?” Jake’s tone was urgent.

She snatched up the phone. “Holy shit! I thought I saw someone on the deck.” Bree’s heart pounded.

“Is someone out there?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s crazy, nobody would be out there.” Another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the darkness, and she saw it again. Someone in a dark hood was peering in at her from the deck. She gasped and crab-crawled backward to the end of the sofa, hiding herself from view. Murphy leaped off the sofa and charged the back door, barking for all he was worth.

“Bree? Bree!”

“He’s…he’s there! Somebody’s out there! I thought maybe it was just my own reflection, but he’s out there!” Bree felt hysteria rising.

“Bree, where are you right now?”

“I’m hiding behind the sofa,” she whispered.

“Is there someplace you can go, a closet or something close by?”

With Murphy still barking, she looked wildly around the room. From her vantage point behind the sofa, she could see the hallway that led to the foyer. She knew there was a closet about halfway down.

“Yes, yes,” she hissed. “The coat closet.”

“Stay low and get there. I’m on my way. Don’t come out of the closet. I’ll call you once I know it’s safe, okay?”

Phone pressed to her ear, Bree nodded.

“Bree, did you hear me? Hide in the closet and don’t come out for anything.”

Her teeth chattered, and she nodded again. “In the closet. You’ll call me.”

“I will. Everything’s going to be alright. I’ll be there as soon as I can get there.”

*******

Jake doubted he’d ever made the trek from town as quickly as he did that night. Dan Roebuck, also on duty that rainy night, followed Jake in his own patrol car. Blue lights flashing as the storm’s fury began to subside, Jake skidded to a stop in the gravel driveway and jumped out into the steady rain that still fell.

Heavy black Maglight in one hand and service revolver in the other, he nodded to Dan. They split up, cautiously searching around opposite ends of the house and meeting at the back deck.

Jake glanced down the lake toward his house and saw the light illuminating the end of his dock, just like Bree had said.

“Hanson.”

He turned to Dan, who aimed his flashlight on the wooden steps leading up to the deck. “Muddy footprints. Somebody was out here.”

Stepping carefully to avoid ruining the tracks, the men followed the trail up the steps and all the way to the back door, where they ended. Inside the house, Murphy continued to bark.

“It’s okay, Murphy, good boy,” Jake called to him.

As soon as the dog heard Jake’s voice, the barking was replaced by tail-wagging.

The two men crouched to examine the muddy prints. Jake’s lips pressed into a grim line. “The guy stood here for a while.”

He looked up, past the yellow lab who was now whining at him, into the den where the fire still burned in the fireplace. A half-glass of wine sat on the end table beside the place Bree would have been sitting on the sofa.

Jake felt a ripple of rage. Someone had stood out here watching Bree. He shook his head abruptly. “Hey, Roebuck, want to keep looking around? I need to let her know we’re here.”

Dan nodded and moved further down the deck, shining his light as he did. Jake took out his phone and carefully headed back down the stairs.

She picked up on the first ring. “Where are you?” she whispered.

“I’m here,” he answered as he rounded the end of the house. “I’m heading to your front door now. Come let me in.”

At the front door, he tapped lightly, exhaling deliberately as he tried to tamp down his anger. That someone had been prowling around the house, had been peering in at Bree, was more than he could stand. As she tentatively opened the door, he pasted on what he hoped was a reassuring smile. When she saw him, she threw herself into his arms.

“Hey, it’s okay, everything’s okay.” She shook uncontrollably as he held her. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Come on, let’s go inside. I’m getting you all wet.”

“I-I don’t c-care,” she told him. “I was so scared.”

“I know, babe, but you’re safe. I promise you’re safe now.” He walked her to the sofa where she sat. He took a seat on the coffee table across from her. “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Her eyes were wide, and she still shook. He took her icy hands between his own. “Bree, describe what you saw.”

“A-a man was just standing there. It was so dark. I only saw him for a second, when the lightning flashed. At first, I thought I had scared myself, that it was just my own reflection. Or maybe–“

She looked up at him like she was surprised to see him, and she shook her head again. “But when the lightning flashed again, he was still there. I was so scared,” she squeaked as tears began to fall.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/MidnightCove