Today is Launch Day for Jana Richard's latest, Unexpected. Don't miss the stunning excerpt!
A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.
Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife's parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.
Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She's intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They're determined to show the world, and the girls' grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie's efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.
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Excerpt from Unexpected, by Jana Richards
He wrapped his arms around both girls. Jamie watched, uncomfortable to be intruding on such a private moment. Something about the tender way this big man held these two tiny girls hit her square in the solar plexus.
Not every man behaved like her ex.
She cleared her throat. “I should get Rex and Sammy home. It was nice meeting you, Bella and Sophie. I’ll see you around.”
Her neighbor rose quickly and extended his hand. “Thank you for helping me find the girls. I’m Ben Greyson, by the way.”
“Jamie Garven.” She accepted his handshake. Again, she had the sensation she’d seen him before. In the lights illuminating the playground she could see his eyes were a mixture of green and brown and were framed by long, thick lashes. This close to him, she noticed the dimple in his cheek for the first time and caught the scent of a delectable men’s cologne. For a moment, Jamie’s heart wobbled like a washing machine with an uneven load.
Or a hormonal teenager with her first crush.
The embarrassing thought made Jamie tug on her hand. He released it immediately and she forced herself to smile politely.
“It was nice meeting all of you. Goodnight.”
Once she and the dogs rounded the school and were out of sight, Jamie urged them into a run. They raced all the way home. As if the hounds of Hell were on their tails.
Or perhaps her own unsettling thoughts were chasing her. Jamie stifled a groan. She was being ridiculous. She’d been momentarily dazzled by a pretty face. Any red-blooded woman with a pulse would have reacted the same way.
Anyway, there was likely a Mrs. Ben Greyson somewhere in the picture. Men who looked like him generally weren’t single.
And men who looked like her hot new neighbor didn’t give plain women like her a second glance.
About the Author
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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New Orleans, hot sultry nights, and an ancient evil who makes the French Quarter home.
Cassanne Thomas returns to New Orleans to start her life over and becomes the target of a supernatural serial killer. Escaping her close call with death, Casi is the only witness to the crime and finds herself placed in protective custody by a handsome Cajun detective. But with her dark, troubled past, trusting the police is the last thing she wants to do.
Detective Lucas Avery, the top homicide detective in NOLA, is unaware of the supernatural world surrounding him. With the killer stalking the streets, he vows to shield the beautiful, enigmatic, Casi with his life while fighting his growing attraction to her. He's been burned before.
Danger chases Lucas and Casi from the streets of the French Quarter to the wilds of the bayou. Will they be able to stop a monster, straight out of a nightmare or become victims themselves?
Casi screamed and covered her ears, though too late. The loud boom made her ears ring. Who was shooting at them? She tried to see, but Luc’s weight had her effectively pinned. Squealing tires along with a string of Cajun curses from Luc, had Casi guessing the shooter had fled.
Luc holstered his weapon when Casi spotted the blood dripping off his arm.
“Oh my God!” She pushed at him. “Let me up. You’re hurt. You’re bleeding!”
Luc rolled off her and did as she asked, while gripping his thigh with both hands. Her gaze left his arm drawn to the blood oozing out between his fingers. The thigh wound appeared much more serious. She tugged her phone out and quickly dialed 911. But before it connected, Luc’s bloody fingers grabbed her phone and disconnected the call.
“We can’t call this in.” Luc exhaled harshly and gritted his teeth as once again, he applied pressure to his leg.
“You’re shot. You’re bleeding from multiple places. We need an ambulance!”
He shook his head. “Can’t. We need to leave. Now.”
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About the Author
First published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Sword & Sorceress" anthology, C J was bitten by the writer's bug and hasn't stopped since. The Wild Rose Press published her award-winning first novel, "Walking Through Fire"— a Scottish ghost romance. She is currently working on the fourth book in the interconnected standalone series, The Fire Chronicles, as well as a new Urban Fantasy starring a kick-ass Time Enforcer.
When her pen isn't scribing, you can find her busily cutting and tracking music for film and television. With over thirty years of music editing experience, her credits range from "Northern Exposure" and "The Muppets Christmas Carol", to "The Kill Point", "The Following", and ABC’s hit comedy, "The Middle".
In her downtime, you’ll find her curled up with a cup of tea, her cats and a great book in Tarzana, California.
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I'm pleased to welcome Wendy Rich Stetson, author of Homeward. Enjoy her post and don't miss the sweet excerpt at the end!
In the stifling heat of a Manhattan summer, a fresh-faced woman huddled in a garret, awaiting the opportunity that would change her life. The air was rank, rife with the scents of summer in the city. Brushing a mop of red curls from her eyes, she stared through the grime-streaked window, longing for more than a sliver of sky. She’d fled the tiny town where she grew up, leaving lush fields and rolling green ridges for dirty sidewalks and towering skyscrapers. As the days dragged on, she grew restless, nagged by a feeling that instead of chasing her dreams, she was treading water, barely keeping afloat as a murky eddy of shattered hopes threatened to drag her under…
If my journey to writing a romance novel was, indeed, a romance novel, it might begin something like that. The time was the early 2000’s, and the place was a sixth-floor studio apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I’d just finished my Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and I was ready to make my Broadway debut. Little did I know…that momentous event wouldn’t take place for another ten years. Every student actor is told repeatedly that the odds of making a living in the theater are slim at best. Nonetheless, thousands follow their dreams, believing surely, they will be the exception. And with lots of hard work and tenacity, many actors do carve out a career in The Biz. But progress is slow and hard won, and for lots of young artists, the urge to keep creating—to keep telling stories even during dry spells—tugs at our insides until we branch out into other disciplines.
I remember lounging on the blue and green plaid sofa that sat a mere six inches from my bed and a foot or so from the dining table, watching Oprah Winfrey interview successful romance writers who found purpose and joy weaving heartwarming tales of love. “I could do that,” I thought, every bit as naïve as I was to think a starring role on Broadway would arrive on my doorstep all wrapped up in shiny paper and tied with a satin bow. Still, I cracked open a notebook and gave writing a whirl.
I never set out to write “Amish Romance.” Indeed, in the early oughts, the genre was nowhere near as large and popular as it is today. Encouraged by those Oprah guests with the often-heard truism to “write what I know,” I came up with a simple premise: what if a girl went back to her hometown in central Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy? I dove into my story with the pent-up fervor of a frustrated actress, holing up in coffee shops and teaching myself the art of writing as I went. Over the course of many months, I researched, brainstormed, and revised, until my heroine finally achieved her happily ever after.
Hometown sat on my hard drive for decades as my acting career took off. I performed at theaters around the country and in New York City. I dipped a toe in commercial acting, film, and television. I narrated over twenty audiobooks and taught Shakespeare workshops to high school students. I had a child. I started running. I twiddled my thumbs.
Then one day I thought…hey, what about that book I wrote? Could now be its time to shine? As nervous and hopeful as that young performer who first acted on the crazy whim to write, I approached small, romance publishers, hoping the story of a red-haired girl trying to find her place in the world, would, in fact, find its place in the world.
Much to my delight, it did. “Hometown” is coming August 11, 2021, from The Wild Rose Press.
Oh, and, Oprah? Thanks.
When all roads lead home, choosing one is far from simple…
When Tessa's big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania's Amish Country.
Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel's tie to the land and his family's Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she'd glimpse from the inside?
The girl entwined her fingers in her skirt and tugged the fabric tight. “Your hair is the same color as my cat, and she’s the best cat in the world.” In [w1] a heartbeat, she fled and buried her face in the man’s lap.
“My goodness. What a compliment. Thank you.” She fumbled with the clasp of her wallet, discovering only then she smooshed her thumb deep into the whoopie pie.
The elfin child giggled and bounced on bare toes.
Standing, the man swept her into his arms and smiled down at Tessa. “Rebecca has not seen many women with ginger hair.”
Ginger hair. For years, she was tormented by boneheaded boys shouting, “Carrot Top” and “Flame.” No one ever called her mane ginger. Beneath his candid gaze, her curls heated like embers, warming her from top to toe. Who was this man?
The girl wriggled, knocking askew his straw hat.
He tossed her under one arm like a sack of flour and righted it, loosening a tawny curl that escaped the wide brim and fell over one brow. His gaze passed over Tessa’s face.
Her unruly hair and short shorts tweaked at her consciousness. What did the Amish call outsiders? English? She was definitely dressed like an English woman. And not one from a Jane Austen novel.
He deposited the giggling girl right-side up on the floor and approached the table. “I’ve rarely seen hair that color myself. Like a copper penny.”
She stared at the mangled whoopie pie and blushed even deeper. For a brief moment, she felt his gaze trail down her body like a caress. Or did she?
About the Author
Wendy Rich Stetson is a New York City girl who still considers the Central Pennsylvania countryside to be her home. She grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast. Now an author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling. She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s books with her teenage artist daughter. Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty. Follow Wendy’s journey at www.wendyrichstetson.com
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