Weekend Excerpt–The Girl in the Guesthouse

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. It turns out that 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 business 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 choice. 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? And has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Here’s a little (unedited) teaser from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

Outside, Ben sat lost in thought. A glance down at the table showed that he’d taken his pencils and sketchbook out of his bag, but he had no recollection of having done so. His mind was still back on the redhead inside.

She’d appeared out of nowhere, just like the woman in his dreams, only this time, she’d turned around. He’d immediately found himself lost in her deep brown eyes. She’d seemed a bit surprised, but then he’d been staring right at her. How could he not? She was the girl he’d seen countless times, only now in the flesh.

Every once in a while, he risked a glance over his shoulder back into the coffee shop, as though she’d disappear like she always did in his dreams. But this was no dream. This was real life. And his last glance showed that she was on her way with a tray.

A new customer arrived at the door at the same time she did, holding open the door for her as she came out. “Thanks,” Ben heard her say. Then she was at his table.

“Your usual,” she said pleasantly. “Sorry it took so long. I’m new here.”

The huge blue mug she placed in front of him reeked of pumpkin and featured a mountain of whipped cream that doubled its size. Ben frowned at the drink and looked back up at the redhead. Then he glanced over his shoulder and saw Gina doubled over with laughter behind the counter.Smiling softly, he nodded at the latte. “I think they played a joke on you.”

Her red eyebrows were knit in confusion. “This isn’t your usual?”

“My usual is just plain black coffee.”

Plump pink lips pressed together tightly as she shot a look inside. “I’m sorry. I’ll take care of it right away.

”A wicked idea crept into his mind. “Thanks. Be sure and tell Gina that I’m highly allergic to pumpkin.”

The woman’s eyes widened with alarm. “Holy shit, I am so sorry!” She immediately snatched up the mug. “I’ll be right back with your coffee.”

Suppressing the urge to laugh, Ben watched her scurry back into the shop and gesture animatedly as she spoke to her co-workers. Gina’s face shifted from amusement to stark terror as she looked his way.

For his part, Ben shifted a judgmental eyebrow her way before turning around and laughing to himself. A moment later, the redhead came back out, this time with a regular-sized cup of coffee on her tray.

“I am so sorry about that,” she gushed. “My new friend in there apparently thought she was being hilarious. It’s all fun and games until someone gets rushed to the hospital with anaphylactic shock, right?”

“Confession…” Ben’s lips twisted sheepishly. “I’m not actually allergic to pumpkin. I’m just not a fan.”

The redhead crossed her arms and her lips formed a large O.

“But,” Ben hurriedly added, “we don’t have to tell Gina that, do we?”

After a beat, a huge smile spread across her face and she chuckled. “I love it! She’s in there feeling terrible. I think I’ll let her swing in the breeze for a while.”

Her smile outshone the sun that inched its way overhead, and Ben felt bathed in warmth. He reached out his right hand. “I’m Ben.”

Still smiling, she took his large hand in her own petite one. “I’m Charley. It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE, coming soon from Pandora Spocks

Stay tuned for the official cover reveal and a release date for THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

Weekend Excerpt–Coming Soon…

What if you met the right man…
at the wrong time?

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. It turns out that 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 business 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 choice. 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? And has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Here’s a brand-new (and unedited) teaser from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

Outside, Ben sat lost in thought. A glance down at the table showed that he’d taken his pencils and sketchbook out of his bag, but he had no recollection of having done so. His mind was still back on the redhead inside. 

She’d appeared out of nowhere, just like the woman in his dreams, only this time, she’d turned around. He’d immediately found himself lost in her deep brown eyes. She’d seemed a bit surprised, but then he’d been staring right at her. How could he not? She was the girl he’d seen countless times, only now in the flesh.

Every once in a while, he risked a glance over his shoulder back into the coffee shop, as though she’d disappear like she always did in his dreams. But this was no dream. This was real life. And his last glance showed that she was on her way with a tray.

A new customer arrived at the door at the same time she did, holding open the door for her as she came out. “Thanks,” Ben heard her say. Then she was at his table.

“Your usual,” she said pleasantly. “Sorry it took so long. I’m new here.”

The huge blue mug she placed in front of him reeked of pumpkin and featured a mountain of whipped cream that doubled its size. Ben frowned at the drink and looked back up at the redhead. Then he glanced over his shoulder and saw Gina doubled over with laughter behind the counter.

Smiling softly, he nodded at the latte. “I think they played a joke on you.”

Her red eyebrows were knit in confusion. “This isn’t your usual?”

“My usual is just plain black coffee.”

The plump pink lips pressed together tightly as she shot a look inside. “I’m sorry. I’ll take care of it right away.”

A wicked idea crept into his mind. “Thanks. Be sure and tell Gina that I’m highly allergic to pumpkin.”

The woman’s eyes widened with alarm. “Holy shit, I am so sorry!” She immediately snatched up the mug. “I’ll be right back with your coffee.”

Suppressing the urge to laugh, Ben watched her scurry back into the shop and gesture animatedly as she spoke to her co-workers. Gina’s face shifted from amusement to stark terror as she looked his way. 

For his part, Ben shifted a judgmental eyebrow her way before turning around and laughing to himself. A moment later, the redhead came back out, this time with a regular-sized cup of coffee on her tray.

“I am so sorry about that,” she gushed. “My new friend in there apparently thought she was being hilarious. It’s all fun and games until someone gets rushed to the hospital with anaphylactic shock, right?”

“Confession…” Ben’s lips twisted sheepishly. “I’m not actually allergic to pumpkin. I’m just not a fan.”

The redhead crossed her arms and her lips formed a large O.

“But,” Ben hurriedly added, “we don’t have to tell Gina that, do we?”

After a beat, a huge smile spread across her face and she chuckled. “I love it! She’s in there feeling terrible. I think I’ll let her swing in the breeze for a while.”

Her smile outshone the sun that inched its way overhead, and Ben felt bathed in warmth. He reached out his right hand.

“I’m Ben.”

Still smiling, she took his large hand in her own petite one. “I’m Charley. It’s nice to meet you, Ben.”

He nodded, still feeling as though he were in a dream, as though at any moment, his alarm would sound and she would disappear. Belatedly, he realized he was still holding her hand and he released it quickly.

“Charley,” he repeated softly.

She rolled her eyes. “It’s a nickname for Charlotte, which no one has ever called me in my entire life.”

Ben sat absorbing her words, absorbing the shape of her face, the tilt of her head, the smattering of freckles across her nose.

“Well,” she said into the silence, “I’d better get back to it. But I think I’ll keep our little secret for a while. It amuses me,” she laughed. “Let me know if I can get you anything else.”

“Will do,” he managed. “See you later, Charley.” 

From the door, she wiggled her fingers in a little wave, then she was gone.

Blowing out a slow breath, Ben blinked mechanically as his mind replayed the last ten minutes of his life. 

She’s real. It was a ridiculous thought. Charley was, well, Charley, not some dream lover who sometimes haunted him in his sleep. He glanced over his shoulder and saw her wiping down a table in the far corner of the shop.

Reaching for his pencil, he turned to a new page. Whatever he’d been about to sketch was forgotten. He now had something completely different in mind.

Unedited excerpt from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE is coming soon.
Keep watching for the official cover reveal.

Meanwhile, check out BROKEN HARTS
at your favorite online bookseller.

Weekend Excerpt–Coming Attractions: THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE

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. It turns out that 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 business 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 choice. 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? And has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Here’s a snippet from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

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 reasonably.

“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

Keep watching for the official cover reveal for
THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.


Until then, why not read
RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION?
Three books, one epic law romance.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–BROKEN HARTS

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.

But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink chiffon bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

Read a snippet from BROKEN HARTS.

The elevator deposited Ali on the 4th floor of the 12-story 1920s brick apartment building. She made her way down the hallway to the door of 4D, the place she had always considered her home.

Using her old brass key, she let herself inside and headed through the foyer toward the living room. “Dad? I’m home,” she called softly, hoping not to disturb her father in case he happened to be napping.

His live-in housekeeper met her in the living room. “Good afternoon, Miss Alison. Your father is in his study. He’s been a bit…unfocused today,” Mrs. Smith related in her crisp British accent. 

Mrs. Smith had been a fixture in the Hart home since Ali could recall. When Jackson and Michelle had divorced during Ali’s junior year in high school, Mrs. Smith had been a steadying presence.

Ali frowned, trying to decipher the woman’s polite description. The sound of papers shuffling and a deep unintelligible muttering drew Ali’s attention toward Jackson’s office down the hallway.

She smiled reassuringly at Mrs. Smith. “Thanks! I’ll go see what’s going on.” She was positive she saw relief in the older woman’s eyes.

“Dad?” she called as she walked down the hall. She popped her head in the doorway of her father’s small office. 

Backlit by the window behind him, he stood in the center of the room clutching a sheaf of papers in each hand. His shaggy gun-metal grey hair stuck out wildly in all directions, giving him the air of a deranged madman. He was also naked from the waist down.

“Aw, geez, Dad, you have to wear pants. Seriously, now, Mrs. Smith is going to quit if you keep doing this.”

“I can’t find it,” he said urgently. “I can’t find it anywhere. Someone broke in and stole my manuscript.”

“Let’s go get you dressed and I’ll help you find what you’re looking for,” Ali said patiently.

**

“I’m really sorry about Dad,” Ali apologized. “I had no idea things had gotten so bad.”

Following a dinner of Mrs. Smith’s famous pot roast and roasted green beans, Jackson had wandered into the den to watch the news on cable. Ali insisted on helping the housekeeper clean up in the kitchen.

“You know I consider you and your father family,” Mrs. Smith smiled kindly. “It’s just that I’m not as young as I used to be. I worry that I won’t be able to keep Mr. Hart safe.”

Ali shook her head. “It wasn’t your fault that he got lost that time.” She raised a knowing eyebrow. “I know Brendan and Megan probably told you that it was.”

The elderly housekeeper gave something of a Mona Lisa smile and said nothing.

“It’s not your job to keep him from leaving the apartment.” Ali sighed deeply. “I looked at that care home today. It was really awful.”

She frowned sharply. “Well, it wasn’t awful, exactly, it just…wasn’t for Dad. He’s so independent. I’m thinking of seeing if we can’t hire a full-time nurse-slash-companion for him, someone who’ll stick with him and keep an eye on him. That way he can keep his independence and still be safe.”

Mrs. Smith’s eyes twinkled with kindness. “You’re a good daughter,” she said simply. “I know you’ll make the right decision.”

When they’d finished with the kitchen, Ali bid the housekeeper goodnight and joined her father in the den. Together they watched a documentary until the old man began to nod off in his chair.

“Come on, Dad, let’s get you to bed,” Ali said softly.

She helped him change into a pair of plaid flannel pajamas and waited while he performed his bathroom tasks. Then she tucked him into bed.

“Goodnight, Dad,” she murmured, kissing his scruffy cheek.

“Goodnight, Ali-gally,” he returned, invoking his favorite nickname for her. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Me, too,” she smiled, giving him another kiss. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

After a quick shower, Ali found herself comfortably ensconced in her own bed, staring up at the ceiling of her childhood bedroom as light and shadows from the city street outside formed familiar shapes. The day had been so hectic that she hadn’t had time to consider the man she’d met when she’d gotten off at the wrong subway stop. 

Well, met? That might be a strong word, she decided. They hadn’t exactly exchanged names. They had barely exchanged words. And yet…

She linked her fingers together and cradled her head as she sighed deeply. And yet, the man’s image was burned into her brain. In her imagination, she watched him materialize. First were those sea-blue eyes, alight with life and soul and passion. Or did she just imbue him with those qualities in the absence of actual knowledge?

Next came those utterly kissable lips, quirked in a lopsided sort of way as though he were privy to a joke no one else had yet heard.

In her mind’s eye, his square jaw formed, defined by dark stubble that made her want to cup his cheek. The stubble matched his dark wavy hair that seemed slightly mussed on purpose, as though he might be due a haircut any day now.

In her bed on Park Avenue, Ali closed her eyes and heard his voice in her imagination. 

“Can we…”

Ali’s eyes popped open. Can we what? She pursed her lips in thought. 

Can we share a cab downtown? Run off together to Rome? Drop right here and do it doggy style?

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered, feeling herself blush. Again, she cursed herself for being in such an all-fired hurry to leave. 

It had been on impulse that she’d flattened her palm on the inside of the subway window. And he’d followed suit on the outside. He’d been as intrigued as she’d been.

She mulled the idea for a moment, then shook her head. Because ultimately, what difference did that make? She didn’t know his name, where he lived, whether he was single or married…

There was one thing she did know. She wanted to know more about him.

Sighing again, she shifted onto her side and willed herself to meet him in her dreams.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is a part of the Forever Yours Valentine’s Day Collection.
Also included in this collection:
* Bella’s Wish by International Bestselling Author Linzi Basset
* All’s Fair in Love and Spells by Victoria Escobar
*My Italian Valentine by the USA Today & International Bestselling Author Diana Nixon

Reserve your copy of BROKEN HARTS for just 99¢!
books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Weekend Excerpt–One Final Christmas Scene

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

BROKEN HARTS is my new Valentine’s Day novella, and it’s coming out Februry 12, 2021. Until then, it’s on Pre-Order for only 99¢. books2read.com/BrokenHarts

Here’s the official blurb:

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink chiffon bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

How about an exclusive first look at this (unedited) Christmas snippet?

“What do you think, Dad?” Stepping back, Ali surveyed their handiwork and smiled. The woodsy scent of pine hung in the air as the ten-foot-tall Frasier fir towered over the pair of them. For the last two hours, they’d unboxed cartons of ornaments from Ali’s childhood and lovingly placed them on the dark green boughs, all while being serenaded with classic holiday vinyl courtesy of Jackson’s ancient turntable.

“It’s beautiful, Ali-gally,” her father grinned. “It looks like Christmas in here.”

“I think so, too,” Ali smiled. “In fact, I think we picked the best tree on the lot.” She hugged her father tenderly. “Let’s get a photo.”

Standing in front of the tree, she removed her phone from the back pocket of her jeans, cued up the camera, and held it out at arm’s length. She wrapped her other arm around her father’s waist. “Smile, Dad!”

Heads pressed together, the pair smiled into the camera lens and Ali snapped several shots. 

“Dinner in ten minutes,” Mrs. Smith commented from the doorway. “Oh, my, what a lovely tree!”

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ali grinned. “Dad, why don’t you go get washed up? I’ll take care of all these boxes and meet you at the table.”

While Jackson shuffled off in the direction of the bathroom, Ali skimmed through the photos she’d just snapped and sent the best one to Logan. 

Throughout the day, she’d kept him up to date with a photographic journal of their adventures, from brunch at a nearby deli, to their foray into the tree lot, to their struggle in getting the tree up to the apartment. The doorman had been invaluable in that effort. 

Then once the tree was up, she’d snapped a few pictures along the way, ending with the final result, Ali and her father smiling with the tree sparkling behind them.

Beautiful, Logan texted in response. And the tree is nice, too.

LOL! she texted back.

Holy shit! Your dad is Jackson Hart!

At this, Ali laughed heartily. Unable to resist, she pressed the video chat icon.

“Hi, Ali,” he answered, grinning into the camera. “Your tree turned out great.”

“I know, right? We haven’t had a fresh-cut tree in ages. When we got back with it, we dug out the old ornaments from when I was a kid.” She sighed happily. “I just love it.”

“Judging from the pictures, it looks like you had a good day,” he observed with that lop-sided grin she was beginning to adore.

“We really did. Dad is doing so well today. You know, maybe he’s not as bad as we were thinking. Maybe if we just get someone to cover the night shift so his housekeeper doesn’t have to sleep with one eye open,” she ventured, “he might be alright.”

“That would be great,” Logan agreed.

The sight of her father shuffling to the dining table jogged Ali’s memory. “Oh, crap, I forgot that we’re about to sit down to eat. From the smell of it, I’m guessing Mrs. Smith has made chicken curry.”

His eyes widened. “Wow, I’d better let you go, then.” He frowned slightly. “So Ali, I’m checking my schedule for next week and it looks like I’ll be in New York on Friday, but only for the day. Is there any way you’d be free to have a late lunch-slash-early dinner with me?”

“A week from today,” Ali said thoughtfully. “Yes, I’ll make sure I leave Friday afternoon open. That sounds great! I can’t wait.”

Eyes shining, Logan nodded. “Me, too. I’ll see you then, but we’ll probably chat before Friday.”

“We will definitely chat before then,” she agreed. “Alright, Logan, I’ll talk to you soon. Have a great night!”

“You, too, Ali.” He held up his hand in a wave and they signed off.

**

After he hung up with Ali, Logan scrolled back through the photos she’d sent throughout the day, a thoughtful smile playing across his lips. He loved each picture documenting her outing with her father and their Christmas tree adventure. Something that felt a lot like envy lurked at the edges of his consciousness and he willed it away. 

In his favorite photo, Ali smiled up at him with those sparkling cognac-colored eyes. Behind her was a sea of evergreen, with Jackson Hart himself off to her right, appearing to inspect one of the trees just as she snapped the frame. 

God, she’s pretty

And she was, but not just physically. Something about Ali was vital and authentic, as though she hadn’t a care in the world about how other people viewed her. She knew who she was and what she wanted out of life. 

What Logan would have given to have accompanied her on that outing today. That. That was what he envisioned in a relationship with a lover, a wife, a partner. Leaning back in his chair, he exhaled slowly. He’d tried to capture that aesthetic with Catherine by suggesting that they, too, go out Christmas tree shopping. And he’d been resoundingly shot down. 

Asking Ali to meet him on Friday had been impulsive. Although he had business to attend to in New York, Friday night was Catherine’s big charity gala, and he absolutely had to be back in time to attend. Which meant that he’d fly in early Friday morning, then leave by mid-afternoon.

Originally, when he’d realized that he’d only be in the city for a few hours, he’d decided not to even mention it to Ali. The only other time they’d gotten together, they’d chatted for hours over coffee. It seemed cruel, and maybe a little unrealistic, to plan to get together for what would be such a very brief time.

But as they were saying their goodbyes, the invitation had just popped out of his mouth before he could pull it back in. And if he was honest with himself, he was happy it had. He couldn’t wait to spend time with her, even if it was only a little while.

At the nagging sense of guilt pulling at him, he rolled his eyes. 

It’s just lunch. Lighten up.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

THIS STORY IS A PART OF THE FOREVER YOURS HOLIDAY COLLECTION.
ALSO IN THIS COLLECTION:
* Bella’s Wish by International Bestselling Author Linzi Basset
* All’s Fair in Love and Spells by Victoria Escobar
*My Italian Valentine by the USA Today & International Bestselling Author Diana Nixon

Until February 12,
each book is on Pre-Order for just 99¢.
So hurry! You’ll want the whole collection.

Weekend Excerpt–Sneak Preview of BROKEN HARTS

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché.
But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink chiffon bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?

***
A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect.
Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

If you love your romance with a little heat and plenty of heart, you’re going to love Broken Harts!

Here’s a new, exclusive sneak peek at BROKEN HARTS.

Frowning, Ali swiped off her phone and resisted leaning into the woman beside her as the subway lurched around a bend. At least this time she’d gotten a seat, she consoled herself.

But Megan was on her last nerve with this wedding business.

Yes, she’d replied to her sister’s text. I’ll be at the bridal shop at 2:00. I told you I’d be there.

Moments later, her phone vibrated with another text. It was Shannon this time.

Sorry about Mom. She’s kinda freaking out right now. Thanks for putting up with her. My wedding wouldn’t be the same without you.

Ali had to smile. While she’d never had what she would call a close relationship with either her sister or her brother, she loved Megan’s daughter Shannon and her younger brother Kyle dearly. They’d all practically grown up together since Ali was merely two years older than her niece and three years older than her nephew. 

And she would. She’d make it to the fitting appointment on W. 69th, the day before Thanksgiving or not. Because it was important to Shannon, not because Megan insisted.

But first…

Ali absently twisted the strap of the shoulder bag resting on her lap and stared into space. Before the fitting appointment, she was making a little side trip on the upper east side. It hadn’t even been a conscious decision, really. 

After a restless night, she’d gotten up early, showered, and dressed in her least-faded skinny jeans, a black turtleneck sweater, her long camel-colored blazer, and black ankle boots. Her normal year-round Florida wardrobe consisted of lots of shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops, so wearing cold-weather clothes was a welcome change of pace.

At breakfast, her father had seemed very lucid. He’d announced plans to spend the morning writing, which Ali took to be a good thing. Again, she’d wondered whether Megan and Brendan were merely being alarmist. 

She spent an hour or so organizing her notes for the new book series she wanted to pitch to her publisher when they met the week after Thanksgiving. Then she popped into Jackson’s office where she found him tapping away at the old blue Remington manual typewriter, and she had to shake her head. No matter how hard she tried to convince her father to move into the 21st century, the old man remained defiant.

“This baby has never let me down. She’s never lost my blood, sweat, and tears into some goddamn black hole in space.”

“How’s it going, Dad?” she asked, placing her hands on his shoulders and kissing the top of his head.

He reached up and placed his left hand on top of hers. “Going fantastic, Ali-gally,” he grinned. “This may be the best one yet.”

“Good,” she nodded. “Listen, I’m heading out for a while. How about we order Chinese for dinner tonight? My treat?”

The old man nodded. “Sounds about right. I plan to keep plunking away right here while the muse is with me.”

Ali kissed the top of his head again. “Love you, Dad. I’ll see you later!”

Now, Ali watched as commuters hustled off and on the stopped subway car in an arrhythmic folk dance. Her heart began to pound noticeably. The next stop was hers, the wrong stop from the previous day. Now, she was headed to the 86th Street station on purpose.

This is ridiculous, she chided herself. He won’t be there. Why would he be there? Like he lives there at 86th Street or something. This is a colossal waste of time

She glanced at the time on her phone. It was 11:47, the same time she’d been on her way to the Golden Years center yesterday.

Hugging her purse to herself, she jiggled her right foot nervously. 

What, exactly, was the plan? She’d get off at 86th Street, look around the platform, not find him, the man from yesterday. Then what? Her appointment at the bridal shop wasn’t for another two hours. The trip to the upper west side would take half an hour, tops. What was she going to do in the meantime? 

This is such a dumb idea, she thought as the train slowed down to approach the next stop.

**

Shortly after 11:30, Logan hefted his tan leather messenger bag higher on his shoulder and stepped onto the down escalator at the 86th Street station. This felt increasingly like a fool’s errand, and more than once, he’d had to stop himself from turning around and heading home. But with the laser measuring tool tucked away in his bag, he figured he could at least do a few re-measurements to firm up the dimensions of the retail space.

Entering the platform, he glanced around and as expected, there was no pretty redhead in sight. He saw only a few commuters milling around waiting for the next train to arrive. 

Logan sighed heavily, swallowing his disappointment. 

It was too much to hope for, he supposed. Besides, you have a beautiful fiancee back in Chicago. Why in the world are you chasing some mystery woman?

Shaking his head, he dug the laser measurer out of his bag and headed toward the intended construction zone just as the next train rumbled into the station. Unable to help himself, he turned to watch the doors open and riders spill out onto the platform.

People of every shape and size and color and age moved with purpose toward the same escalator he’d descended only minutes before.

He almost turned back to his measurements when the crowd thinned and he saw her. The redhead from the previous day. She moved to the center of the space and stopped, her back to him as she stared in the direction of the wall where he’d waited for his clients twenty-four hours earlier.

He was moving toward her before he realized it. 

“Hey,” he offered softly when he was closer.

She whirled around, her cognac-brown eyes wide with surprise. “You’re here,” she breathed.

Logan felt himself smile. “You’re here, too.” 

She gave an uncertain laugh. “I’m, uh, Ali.” She offered a petite hand.

“I’m Logan,” he returned, gently accepting her handshake. “Listen, can we go for coffee or something?”

While he watched her rosy lips shift slightly as if she weighed his question, he relished the smattering of copper freckles across her nose and the apples of her cheeks. How had he not noticed them yesterday?

She finally nodded. “Yeah, that sounds good.”

“Good! Great! Let’s…” He motioned toward the escalator.

Her chuckle was musical. “Yes, lets!”

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

BROKEN HARTS is one of four romance novellas in the FOREVER YOURS collection, coming this Valentine’s Day. And right now, each book is on pre-order for just 99¢ apiece!
Check them out!

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND SPELLS by Victoria Escobar
BELLA’S WISH by Linzi Basset
MY ITALIAN VALENTINE by Diana Nixon

Reserve your copies today!

Weekend Excerpt–So I Did a Thing…

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

So I did a thing…

I’ve been hard at work on my newest project, THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE, but I’m setting that aside for a bit while I work on something else.

I was recently offered a spot in a group project, a special Valentine’s Day anthology collection and I just couldn’t say no. I can’t give you a lot of details at this point, but I can share a little about my contribution to the effort, a steamy little contemporary romance called BROKEN HARTS.

It that sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote the first chapter a few years ago, and it’s been sitting in the Teasers tab of this blog ever since. This new project is giving me the opportunity to flesh out this mysterious little snippet.

Here’s the blurb:

Two weddings.
One Valentine’s Day.
And hearts will be broken.

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s beyond cliché. 

But it’s what Ali Hart’s niece Shannon wants. So Ali will wear the pink chiffon bridesmaid’s dress, carry the rose and eucalyptus bouquet down the aisle, and keep her opinion to herself.

Ali is back in New York to get ready for the wedding, but her older sister and brother seize on her visit as the perfect time for Ali to make arrangements for their elderly father, who can no longer independently care for himself.

A navigational error puts Ali on a collision course with destiny. Now what?  

***

A wedding on Valentine’s Day? It’s perfect. 

Unless you’re not positive that she’s the one for you.

In the dark recesses of his heart, Logan Pryce knows that Catherine von Hollen isn’t the love of his life. The daughter of his father’s business partner, they’ve known each other for years. She’s blonde, gorgeous, and everyone loves her. On paper, it’s perfect. On paper.

A chance encounter with a nameless redhead on a crowded subway platform causes Logan to question everything he thought his life was going to be. Will he stay with the safe bet, or will he take a chance on something more?

Here’s that first chapter of BROKEN HARTS.

Ali Hart tightly gripped the pole as the subway jostled along the tracks.  She grimaced as she caught her reflection in the window, her red hair hanging in loose waves around her shoulders, her brown eyes looking tired from the strain of the past week.  The car was surprisingly packed for this time of day and she shifted in an attempt to move away from the man who’d stepped on her toes for the third time.  I hate the city.

“But Alison, it’s not like you have a real job.  You can’t possibly expect Brendan and I to just drop everything and run to New York to deal with Dad.”

Ali replayed the conversation in her head.  “I do have a real job.  I just happen to do it from my home.  In Florida, I might add.”

Her sister Megan had rolled her eyes.  “You write kids’ books.  Big woo!  Anybody can do that.  And you don’t have a family like we do.”

It was true.  Ali lived a solitary life in her condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Juno Beach.  It wasn’t as though she never dated, she’d simply never found anyone she could see spending forever with.  It could be that she’d never met anyone who matched up to her idea of the perfect man.

Ali had always been her Daddy’s girl.  Jackson Hart, Pulitzer prize-winning author, had never been an easy man to live with but by the time Alison was born, age had mellowed him a bit.  The fact that she’d turned out to be a writer had pleased him endlessly, much to the disdain of her older brother and sister, Brendan and Megan.

So when the old man had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Hart sibling consensus was that Ali was the natural choice to deal with the fallout.

As the train pulled into the station, Clumsy Feet stepped on her toes for the fourth time and  Ali glared at him.  “Oh, thank God,” she muttered to herself, allowing the sea of commuters exiting the train to wash her out onto the platform.

Ali was pushed along as everyone hurried on their way until the crowd thinned enough for her to see the 86 on the wall.  “Eighty-sixth? Shit!”  The Alzheimer’s care center she’d been headed to was on 96th.  She turned just as the doors closed and the train moved out of the station.

“Great!  Just fabulous.”  Walking ten blocks wouldn’t normally be a problem.  But the temperature was an unpleasant thirty-eight degrees and there was a nasty sleet coming down. There was nothing to do except wait for the next train and hope she’d still be on time for her appointment.   I hate the city.

***

“My God, Logan, the wedding’s in six months!  We have to make these decisions!”

Logan Pryce rolled his eyes as he juggled his phone, his brown leather messenger bag, and the rolls of plans while he walked down the stairs into the 86th Street subway station.  “I know, Catherine, but honestly, I trust your taste.  Pick what you like.”

“Sometimes I’m not sure you really want to get married,” she pouted into the phone.

Sometimes I’m not sure myself.  He rolled his eyes again.  “Catherine, I’m working.  My client wants to build some retail space in the subway station.  That’s where I am right now.”  He aimed for patient and reasonable.  “Listen, pick the flowers you like or wait until I get back to Chicago tonight.  Either way will be fine.  I promise.  But I’ve got to go.”

He disconnected with Catherine and looked around for the clients he was meeting.  Winning the bid for the subway retail space was a big coup for his architectural firm.  Pryce Designs was highly successful in Chicago but this job would open the doors to the lucrative Manhattan market.

As he scanned the crowded station, his gaze was drawn to a woman who’d just gotten off the train.  The first thing he noticed was her brilliant red hair.  Even in the dim white light of the platform, her hair gave off a golden glow and he had the sudden urge to see it in the bright sunlight.

She reversed direction as if to re-enter the train but the doors closed and the train left.  Even from his distance he could see her annoyance.  He wondered what was wrong.  Perhaps she’d forgotten something.  Or she’d gotten off at the wrong stop.  Goodness knows, he’d gotten off at the wrong stop a time or two.  He grinned at the memory.

Then, as if she felt him watching her, she looked up straight into his eyes and he felt a jolt of electricity.  He watched her brown eyes widen as she looked back at him.  It felt as though everything in the busy station stopped as they gazed at each other across the heads of hundreds of passersby.  Logan felt his breath leave his body.

Suddenly, a large man barreled into the woman and she went down.  Logan was by her side in an instant.  “Are you alright?”

“I think so,” she answered shakily.  She was sitting on the filthy floor of the platform.

“Let me help you up.”  He took her hand and gently helped her stand.  “Are you sure you aren’t hurt?”

Again, those deep brown eyes bore into his.  “No, I think I’m alright.”

They stood that way, lost in each other’s eyes.  “Can we…” Logan began as the next train arrived.

The woman moved her gaze to the train.  “I have to go.  I’m late for an appointment.  This wasn’t my stop.”  She seemed apologetic.

Logan stepped back to allow her past him and onto the train.  She stood just inside the doorway and as it closed, she placed her palm on the glass.  Logan pressed his palm to the outside of the glass and they stared at each other until the train left the station.

BROKEN HARTS by Pandora Spocks

The Valentine’s Day anthology collection will be out this February. Stay tuned for more details, including the amazing cover reveal!

Weekend Excerpt–Summer is Coming!

Because you know you’re hot for teacher…

Here’s your first peek at this summer’s hottest anthology, SUMMER SESSIONS! It comes out June 1, and best of all, it’s going to be available FREE at your favorite online bookseller.
Check out the blurb:

School is out!
But the lessons are just getting started.
This summer, five of your favorite steamy romance writers,
who also happen to be current and former classroom teachers,
are bringing you SUMMER SESSIONS,
an anthology of HOT reads for those endless summer nights.
This anthology includes sexy summer break books by JC Winchester, Linzi Basset, Maggie Jane Schuler, Patient Lee, and Pandora Spocks.
SUMMER SESSIONS, from Bratty Ginger Books, who brought you last summer’s International bestselling anthology, A TASTE OF SUBMISSION,
is available only through the end of August 2020.
So, hurry and grab your copy before it’s gone.

My own contribution to this project is JUST ONE NIGHT, my naughty little summer novella. Here’s a little snippet.

     The pair parked themselves at a tiny table at the edge of the piano bar, the first place they’d come to in their search for a cocktail.  Katie watched him as he approached the bar and ordered for them.  She couldn’t get over how handsome he was, how he’d come outside looking for her.  This was precisely what she needed to take her mind off of her man problems back home. 

   She smiled up at him as he returned to their table, carrying a margarita for her and a Scotch for himself.  “Cheers,” he said, raising his glass to hers.

     “Cheers,” she murmured in return, and she sipped gratefully, counting on the liquid courage her glass offered.

     “You know, we’ve gone about this all backward.”  He rested his drink on the table and offered his right hand.  “My name is—“

     “No!  No names,” Katie quickly interrupted.

     Mac blinked in surprise.  “No names.  Why no names?”

     “Just…because,” she stammered.  “No names, no personal information, we’ll just…keep it casual.”

     “Keep it casual.”  Mac frowned.  “Okay.”  He gave her a curious look.  “Do you want me to leave?”

     She shook her head, red curls swinging.  “No, I’d like you to stay.”

     He gave a relieved smile.  “Good because I’d like to stay.  So…no personal information.  Do you want to talk about work?”

     “Oh, hell, no!”

     “Um, how about that weather?  That’s some pretty great weather out there tonight.”

     Katie laughed lightly.  “I don’t mean to be a pain.”

     Mac smiled back.  “You’re not a pain, exactly.  I just have to figure out the rules.  And you’re here with three other women?”

     “You could see that in the dining room.  Where you were staring,” Katie observed.

     “You know that because you were staring back,” he countered.

     “And you’re here with two other men.”

     Mac nodded.  “My brothers.  Oops!  Was that personal?”

     “Now you’re making fun.”

     He smiled ruefully.  “Maybe just a little bit.  This is kind of a bachelor party.  My kid brother is getting married.”

     “A bachelor party?”  Katie laughed lightly.  “Shouldn’t you be getting back to the debauchery?”

     Mac laughed.  “Not much debauchery with those two.  My older brother’s been married for years, and Tommy’s head over heels for his fiancée.”  He glanced up at Katie.  “Oops!  More personal information.”

     Katie sighed and sipped her drink.  “My friends and I get together for a week every summer.  We’ve known each other since high school.”

     “There now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

     Katie nodded firmly.  “We’re even, that’s all.”  She rested her forearm on the table and toyed with her glass.  Mac did the same, and as he did, his arm brushed against hers.  She made no effort to move away from him.  He intentionally rested his arm against hers, noting the electric charge he felt, wondering if she felt it, too.

     Glancing up, he saw that she was watching him intently.  “So…you don’t want any personal information.  You don’t want to talk about work.  You don’t want me to leave.”

     Katie shook her head.

     “Okay, well, we’ve got that settled.  What do you want?”  He watched her expectantly.

     She stared at her glass as she swirled the remainder of her margarita.  Her buzz from the dinner wine combined with the icy cocktail made her feel bold.  She looked back up at Mac. 

                    “Do you really want to know what I want?  I want just one night.  Just one night of anonymous, no-holds-barred, red-hot, no-strings-attached sex.  That’s what I want.”  She fixed him with a challenging stare.

     “Whoa,” he breathed, eyes wide.

     Katie looked down at her glass again.  “Too blunt?”

     Mac leaned back in his chair, lips forming an O.  “That was blunt, all right, but I can respect that.  I’ve gotta ask, though.”  He sought out her eyes.  “Is there some guy at home waiting for you to come back?”

     Katie shook her head.  “I’m not cheating on anybody.  You?”

     He shook his head, too, and laughed humorlessly.  “What was it you said earlier?  Oh, hell, no.”

     She lightly stroked his arm as it rested on the table, delighting in the goosebumps that appeared there.  Her gaze traveled from there to his lap, which seemed to be taking an interest in the proceedings, if the growing mound there was any indication.  She shifted her focus, taking in his torso to those lips she’d noticed earlier.  God, I just want to suck on that lower lip.

     She met his eyes again, saw the fire there, and knew it matched her own.  “So, what do you say?”

     “I say, have another margarita.  I just need to run to the little shop and pick up some…  Well, I didn’t actually expect that I’d need…”  He smiled apologetically.

     Her voice was soft.  “I’ll wait right here.”

     He took her hand and gently brushed his lips across her knuckles, gave her a wink, and left the bar. 

JUST ONE NIGHT by Pandora Spocks

SUMMER SESSIONS goes live June 1!
Be sure to add it to your TBR list at Goodreads.

Weekend Excerpt–ANNA’S HEART

Coming soon!
The third and final Redheads & Ranchers book!

In ANNA’S HEART, Anna graves is content working on her family’s Wyoming guest ranch. She teaches horseback riding by day and reads steamy romance novels by night.

The day world-famous Scottish actor Angus McGregor arrives at the ranch, Anna’s world is turned upside down. The man is tall, red-haired, and beyond handsome. Her attraction to him is completely ridiculous. He’ll spend a month learning the rudiments of horsemanship and go his way, directing and acting in a new western film.

But could it be that Angus is as attracted to her as she is to him?

Here’s a teaser from ANNA’S HEART.

When he’d finished singing, there was a breathless silence before Vanessa Graves broke into applause. “That was beautiful,” she said. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Everyone else clapped as well, including Anna, and Angus seemed a bit embarrassed. “It’s a very old song,” he said almost apologetically. “An old folk song I learned as a boy.”

“Well, it’s lovely,” Vanessa smiled. “Thank you for sharing it with us tonight.”

Conversation around the campfire ventured on to other topics but Anna didn’t hear any of it. Angus’ song echoed through her mind. Her mother had been right–it was hauntingly beautiful. And not simply the tune or the words, but his voice, or maybe all those things combined. It had been a magical moment in time and she couldn’t help stealing glances at him across the dying fire. He happily joined in the conversation with the other guests, laughing and joking when it was appropriate, all the time expressing interest in whomever might be speaking at the time.

And then there were those moments when he looked directly at her, when his eyes seemed to bore into her very soul, and his lips curled at the corners in an almost knowing way. Although what he knew about her, or what he thought he knew about her, she couldn’t say. What she did know was that in those moments, her pulse raced just a bit faster.

Gradually, moms and dads began to gather children and make their way back to their own cabins. Anna’s parents bid everyone goodnight as did Andy and Simone before they headed to the main lodge. Angus helped Ross extinguish the fire as Anna sat lost in thought.

“See you guys in the morning,” Ross said, then he moved off down the path toward the cabins.

Anna continued to stare at the smoldering fire pit. She knew she needed to think about turning in for the night but she couldn’t seem to make herself move.

Hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, Angus walked around the circle and sat in the chair beside her. “It’s a beautiful night,” Angus observed softly.

She glanced up at the black velvet sky dotted with a jumble of constellations, the names of which she’d long ago forgotten. “I’ve never seen the ocean,” she commented matter-of-factly.

“Och, that can’t be true,” he murmured.

Anna shrugged. “We’ve always been busy here. Not much time for traveling. I mean, we might go to Oklahoma or Colorado to buy livestock, but they don’t have an ocean.”

She chuckled lightly to dislodge the discontentment she always tried to ignore. “I’ve thought about moving to Florida. There’s a horseback program for special-needs kids. And I could go to the beach on my time off. But I don’t know. The ocean is probably not all
that, anyway.”

Angus was quiet and Anna risked a glance his way. He was watching her closely, his gaze uncomfortably intimate. “Do you want to leave the family business?”

“I don’t know,” she shrugged again, crossing her arms. “I was going to a while back, but then things got busy here, and now with Simone, and the new baby coming, it’s just…” She trailed off wishing she hadn’t said so much.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him sit back in his chair and tilt his head back to look at the sky. “The ocean is beautiful,” he said reverently. “But this sky rivals it.”

Anna looked up too, just in time to see a small blaze streak across the sky. Her gasp was involuntary.

“A shooting star,” Angus whispered, turning to her with a grin. “Ye have tae make a wish.”

Anna smiled, too. “So do you.”

He nodded in mock-seriousness. “Aye. We both have tae make a wish. It’s the only proper thing.”

She looked back to the stars and sighed. Since Sawyer had died, she’d only had one wish–to be able to take back the angry words that were the last ones she’d spoken to him. When she looked back at Angus, he was watching her carefully.

“Yer wish makes ye sad.”

Scowling, she stood abruptly. “No it doesn’t. Did you make your wish?”

Angus stood, too. “I did. Are ye going back to yer cabin?”

She nodded. “I’m beat. I had this new riding student today who kept insisting on going the wrong way.”

He laughed good-naturedly. “Och, he’s a hot mess. Probably needs private lessons.”

“Hah, he wishes.”

Angus looked down at her, his eyes sparkling in the half-light. “Aye, he might at that.”

Feeling flustered, Anna headed down the path that would take them to their cabins. Angus walked beside her, his hands in his pockets.

As they passed his cabin, she wasn’t surprised when he continued on to hers. At the base of her front steps, she turned to face him. “Thanks for…I mean, you realize you don’t have to walk me…But I do appreciate it. But you don’t have to, so…anyway…”

“Ye keep reminding me that I’m a guest. But as such, am I no’ entitled tae do as I please? I want tae help out.” His voice was soft and deep.

She looked up into his mesmerizing blue eyes and felt her heart stop as he reached to tuck a few stray locks of her hair behind her ear.
His eyes were locked on her lips.

He’s going to kiss me.

She was surprised to realize it was exactly what she wanted. Then he looked down and sighed deeply. He stepped back with a soft smile. “I suppose we should call it a night.”

Anna nodded shakily and reached for the porch railing to steady herself.

He started to walk away, then turned around. “Do ye have yer mobile with ye?”

She frowned. “My mobile? Oh, my phone!” She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and held up the device.

Angus returned and took her phone. He opened it and keyed in a number before pressing ‘Call’. At her puzzled expression, he laughed. “I called meself. Now ye have my number. And I have yers. Just in case we need to get in touch.”

Anna frowned down at her phone, trying to wrap her head around the fact that world-famous movie star Angus McGregor had just given her his number.

“Goodnight, then,” he said as he walked away.

“Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” She made her way to her front door.

“And Anna?”

She turned to look at him.

“I’ll try to be fully clothed when ye pop by tomorrow,” he grinned mischievously.

“Oh, God!” she muttered as he laughed all the way to his cabin.

–Unedited bite from ANNA’S HEART, coming soon!

Until ANNA’S VOICE is released,
why not catch up on the first two
Redheads & Ranchers books,
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE?

Weekend Excerpt–WIP Sneak Peek of ANNA’S HEART

Coming Soon!
ANNA’S HEART
Redheads & Ranchers Book 3

The first two books in my Redheads & Ranchers series, JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE are currently available at your favorite online bookseller. These days, I’m busy working on the third and final book of this collection of stand-alone contemporary steamy romance novels.

In ANNA’S 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’s 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’s immediately fascinated by Anna, who won’t give him the time of day.  Can he break down the self-protective wall she’s built?

In this brand-new (and unedited) teaser, you can meet Angus McGregor before Anna does.

“What the everloving fuck is this?”  Alanna’s shrill query sliced through the tranquil morning.  The aroma of Ethiopian arabica hung in the air as a sharp slapping sound against the marble countertop punctuated her question.

Standing at the kitchen sink and keeping his gaze on the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean lapping at his own private stretch of sand below the house, Angus McGregor groaned inwardly, mentally counting to ten.  

“It’s an eviction notice,” replied calmly in his deep Scottish brogue.  “Says it at the top.”

“I see that,” Alanna hissed.  “But seriously, Angus, you’re throwing me out?”

Mug of coffee in hand, he turned slowly.  “Alanna, we broke up two months ago. I’ve let you stay here this long.  It’s time to move on.”  

She picked up the legal notice and waved it at him.  “Where am I supposed to go? Have you thought of that?”

“Have you thought of it?  You’ve had two months.  I don’t mean to be a hard-arse, seriously I don’t.  But I’m selling the house. You’ll have to find somewhere else to live.”

Alanna used her right hand to flip her long blonde hair over her shoulder.  “Can’t I stay until the house sells?”

“No, you can’t.  I’m leaving today for Wyoming.  I’ll be away for a month. You can stay here until the end of the week, but then you need to be out.  Douglas will change the locks at that time, and if you’re here after that, he’ll report you as a trespasser.”  

Angus pictured his Samoan head of personal security.  Douglas Matua was nicest person in the world, but at six-foot-nine and 300 pounds, he was a force to be reckoned with.  He’d definitely spared Angus from serious injury once or twice when overzealous fans tried to get too close.

Alanna rolled her huge blue eyes.  “You’re going to Wyoming for that stupid cowboy movie!”

How was it that he hadn’t noticed her annoyingly nasal New England accent when they’d first met?  He supposed he’d been dazzled by her beauty and by her fame. Say what you will about Alanna Powell, she was gorgeous and her filmography was impressive.  The pair had met on the set of a movie and had been tabloid gossip darlings ever since.  

But eventually, Angus had grown tired of her constant need to be the center of attention.  For Alanna, the term high maintenance was merely a starting point.  Beneath her highly polished exterior, she was selfish and demanding.  Angus soon found her exhausting.  

He thought back to they’d first met.  While he’d been a successful actor for several years, in the back of his mind, he still felt like that grubby boy who’d grown up on the streets of Glasgow.  Winning the attention of a beautiful starlet like Alanna Powell had felt like winning the lottery, but he’d always had the nagging thought that one day, he’d be discovered as a pretender, a fake and a fraud.  She cast a big shadow, too. Often, he felt more like Alanna’s accessory than a serious actor in his own right.

When Alanna had insisted that they become engaged six months earlier, Angus had gone along with the idea, maybe more to pacify her than for reasons of romantic love.  He’d dutifully purchased the ring she’d demanded, shelling out more than a million dollars for the huge diamond solitaire. Price wasn’t an issue, really. His last role in a blockbuster superhero movie had earned him fifteen million, and there were many more films in the offing.

But as Alanna morphed from annoying girlfriend to bridezilla fiancee, Angus realized he couldn’t see spending the rest of his life with her.  As gently as possible, he’d broken off the engagement four months later, agreeing to allow her to stay in his Malibu beach house until she found a place of her own.  

In the kitchen overlooking the beach, Angus drew a deep breath against the barb she’d known would hit its mark.  After ten years in Hollywood, he finally had the opportunity to advance his career with the chance to direct a western he’d optioned from a novel he’d fallen in love with.  

This was his chance to be either highly successful or to fail in a most spectacular way.  And now more than ever, he was determined to make the best film he possibly could.

“Yes, Alanna, the western.  I’m spending the month at a ranch in Wyoming to learn the basics of riding and that.”

Alanna snorted derisively.  “You’re kicking me out of the house and running off to play cowboy.  Directing is harder than you think, you know.” She arched a knowing eyebrow.

“I won’t discuss it any further, Alanna.  You have until the end of the week.”

Carrying his cup of coffee, he headed out of the kitchen.

“You can’t have the engagement ring back,” she called after him.

He turned to see her waving her left hand mockingly.

“I don’t want it,” he shrugged.  “Wear it in good health.” With that, he headed upstairs to pack.

ANNA’S HEART by Pandora Spocks

ANNA’S HEART is due out this spring.
In the meantime,
JENNY’S VOICE and HUNTER’S PRIDE
are available now!