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Get to know Catherine Bybee as she talks about her new book and the snippets of her life personified in her latest…a heartwarming and emotional story that every reader can connect with, heart and soul.

About the Title

Title: When It Falls Apart

Author: Catherine Bybee

Release Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Montlake 

Summary

Brooke Turner has always had a complicated relationship with her father. But when his health takes a turn for the worse, she drops everything to care for him. He’s her dad, after all, and he needs her. What Brooke doesn’t anticipate is the unraveling of her long-term relationship and a cross-country move to San Diego’s Little Italy.

Luca D’Angelo is the oldest of three children and a single father to a young daughter. When his mother rents the top floor of their house to Brooke, he’s angry. Who is this beautiful stranger with no ties to the neighborhood? Can she be trusted in such close proximity to his family?

As Luca learns of Brooke’s difficult journey with her ailing father, his heart softens. And Brooke, who witnesses Luca’s struggle as a single parent, develops feelings for him, too. But when it all falls apart, will love heal their wounded hearts?

Interview with Catherine Bybee

For anyone wondering the plot of your newest release, you give a great sneak peek with the title—When it Falls Apart. What is “falling apart” in this novel?

All the threads that hold my heroine, Brooke, together are crumbling down around her. When it Falls Apart begins with Brooke’s romantic relationship crashing and burning. At the same time, in a different state, her father is circling the drain in the ICU. And for the cherry on the top of her “falling apart life”, Brooke has found herself demoted at work. In short, everything in Brooke’s life is dissolving around her.

Like all of your books, When it Falls Apart has a beautiful romance, however, there is a rawness about Brooke’s story. How was writing this novel different from your others?

If you read my notes both in the front and the back of this novel, you’ll soon realize that the story was very personal to me. Rawness comes from experience. The relationship Brooke has with her father is hauntingly familiar to me and my dad. The emotions that the heroine experienced when taking care of him were easy for me to grasp onto and write about. Sadly, the love story with Luca was completely made up and I didn’t have the support of a strong Italian family to help deal with the struggles, but I digress. 

Relationships with a parent who wasn’t there for you growing up are messy. When that parent ages and needs their child, sometimes that help comes with a bucketload of resentment, even if the child wishes they could stop those ugly feelings from creeping up on them. And THAT is the rawness you speak of.

Books, TV shows, and movies oftentimes glamorize what it means to care for a loved one. However, in When it Falls Apart you don’t sugar-coat anything about caregiving and the toll it takes on a person. How do you think readers who have been in similar situations will be affected by this story?

Justified. Validated. Accepted.

It’s a hard job taking care of an elderly family member. And if there aren’t other siblings to help, or won’t help, it’s made even more difficult. It’s difficult, gritty, dirty work that only has a bad ending…eventually. What I do hope my readers take away is that they’re not alone. That the struggle is very real and that if they don’t find balance (which is almost impossible at times) they will burn out completely and not be fit to help at all. I hope my readers are empowered to set boundaries and balance, so they come out on the other side of caring for an elderly loved one whole themselves.

Brooke gets virtually no support from her significant other, which has her reevaluating their relationship. She realizes she has settled and has to make some hard decisions. Do you think this happens too many times to women in real life?

100% Yes! There is a song by Taylor Swift with a line that says, and I’m paraphrasing here, I can be what you want for the weekend. But often that weekend ends up being a relationship that women hold on to or are convinced they can’t live without. Often it takes a huge shake-up to remove yourself from that situation. But once you’re away from the day to day dysfunctional relationship, the easier it is to see the dysfunction.

After her breakup and move, Brooke is not looking for a relationship. In fact, she tells her best friend: “I haven’t wiped off my smeared mascara from Marshall yet, the last thing I want is to jump into anything else.” Her crying over a man lasts all about two minutes when she meets Luca. Tell us about him.

Hmmm, Luca… he is the kind of man who doesn’t want a place on Brooke’s dance card…he wants to rip it up.

Luca is wired to help the people in his life. Brooke becomes a part of his inner circle simply by moving into the family building where he sees her every day.

Now, if Luca had flat out asked Brooke on a date, she would have run the other way…so no, he doesn’t go about it that way. He simply shows up and does not leave. Not when things get tough, or messy…or when his own past peeks its head in. Luca is a man who is right there at Brooke’s side without question or censor on why she does the things she does. His support and validation of her feelings is the part she was missing. Add in the hunky Italian single father and “Mamma Mia!”

At first, Luca is not thrilled that Brooke is renting a room in his family’s building. What changes his mind about her?

Her strength and vulnerability. I know that sounds contradicting, but some of the strongest women I know have a big vulnerable spot in their life that if you know them well enough, you see. The biggest smiles often hide the deepest pain. Luca sees her struggle and dedication to helping her elderly father and since family is first on Luca’s list, she passes his unconscious test.

Luca’s family, the D’Angelo’s, are incredibly close and share everything from ownership of the family restaurant to helping care for Luca’s daughter Franny. How is this different from Brooke’s relationship with her family?

Brooke doesn’t have that family. She has a father who abandoned her as a little girl that she carved out a relationship as an adult, and now she’s charged with caring for. Even her previous romantic relationship didn’t support her unconditionally the way the D’Angelo’s do for each other. She’s rather dumbfounded when they start treating her like family. It’s a wonderful thing to watch happen.

San Diego’s Little Italy plays a huge part in the story. The community, language, and food are in full display. Tell us about your own experiences in your adopted city.

I love Little Italy, the food, the pace… the people. There are many places in San Diego that are overrun with the college scene, San Diego is a college town. But Little Italy is more family friendly. Very touristy, but there isn’t a day you don’t see locals hanging out. I go to the farmer’s market often. Pick up authentic Italian ingredients for my own home cooking. I try new restaurants and take all my friends there when they are visiting from out of town. Not to mention it was the closest thing to the “real Italy” that I could go during the travel restrictions. So why not write about it and tell the world of this small island within San Diego that shouldn’t be missed?

There are two more siblings in the D’Angelo family. Where will you be taking readers next with the series?

Chloe is a yogi. Think Bali!

And Giovanni loves wine… think Tuscany, Italy.

I cannot wait to show you what I have in store for these two!

******

About the Author

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than five million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite Series, the Weekday Brides Series, the Most Likely To Series, and the First Wives Series.

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.catherinebybee.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBybee 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherinebybee 

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@catherinebybee1 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905789.Catherine_Bybee  

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******

Excerpt

“Oh my God, Carmen. He was standing at his car first thing this morning. Like ‘hop in, bella, let’s get stuff done today.’ Who does that?” 

Brooke had picked up the phone as soon as Luca was off in search of a dump guy. 

“We’re talking about the single, hot, Italian dad, right?” 

Brooke rolled her eyes. “Yes. Luca.” 

“Oy, oy, oy.” 

“Stop it. I need advice. And I need it before he gets back.” 

Carmen stopped teasing. “You don’t need advice. You need to relax. He sounds like one of the good ones. Let it happen.” 

“Let it happen,” she mocked. “I don’t ‘let’ things happen. It happens to me and it’s never good.” 

“You didn’t used to be such a pessimist.” 

“Once upon a time the glass was half full. Not these days.” 

“Okay, Debbie Downer. You want my advice . . . here it is. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.” 

“I’m not doing anything. Zero effort.” 

“Really?” Carmen didn’t sound convinced. “Makeup . . . a nice dress?” 

Brooke hesitated. “Maybe . . . a little last night, but that was it.” 

Carmen chuckled. 

“Carmen!”

“Sorry. Okay . . . any red flags?” 

Brooke thought about that. “He loved his ex-wife.” 

“That’s a red flag?” 

“I guess not.” 

“Is he good to his mom?” 

Brooke looked back on the dinner the night before. “To the whole family. He takes being the oldest brother quite seriously.” 

“And his daughter?” 

All Brooke could do was smile. “Great dad. We should all be so lucky.” 

“He’s Italian, does he smoke?” 

“No.” 

“A lot of Italians smoke,” Carmen pointed out. 

“In Italy. The San Diego variety are less in that wheelhouse.” 

“That’s good.” Carmen sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you, Brooke. How does he kiss?” 

“He hasn’t kissed me,” Brooke nearly yelled. 

“Now then . . . we have a problem.” 

“There hasn’t been . . . I don’t even know if—” 

“Stop right there. He did not drive your sorry ass all the way to Upland to do grunt work all day if he wasn’t interested in kissing you, bellllaaa. More than that, you want him to.” 

Brooke closed her eyes, and even in her own head she couldn’t convince herself that Carmen was wrong. 

“Let it happen. You deserve some happiness, Brooke.” 

The van with the air conditioning repair guy pulled into the driveway. 

“I gotta go.” 

“I want a kissing update the next time we talk,” Carmen teased. 

“Love you,” Brooke said with a laugh.

“Back at ya, boo.” 

She hung up. 

Her best friend was such a dork.

********

 

About the Book:

Title: Enamored

Author: J.S. Scott

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Montlake

EnamoredGraphic

Summary:

Like his brothers and sisters, Seth Sinclair went from blue-collar to billionaire overnight, and he’s decided to invest in what he knows best: construction. There’s only one thing in his way—the endangered birds nesting on a piece of prime beachfront real estate. And fighting for the birds is Riley Montgomery, a stubborn, pain-in-the-ass, drop-dead-gorgeous environmental lawyer. The worst part? Seth will do anything to keep her around—even if it means hiring her to be his fake girlfriend.

With a cause to fight for, Riley agrees to Seth’s scheme. If she keeps the superficial women away from Seth, then he’ll leave the wildlife sanctuary alone. But pretending to be his girlfriend comes with ground rules: No ass grabbing. And absolutely no sex. Ever. The problem? The sexual tension sizzles when they’re together.

Seth isn’t so keen on Riley’s rules, but he’ll keep his word, at least until she decides otherwise. But bringing Riley into his circle has brought her past back to haunt her in ways that neither of them expected. Now it’s less about broken rules and more about broken hearts, and Seth will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves.

Author Biography:

JSScott

J.S. “Jan” Scott is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous contemporary and paranormal romances, including the Sinclairs and the Accidental Billionaires series. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature, but romance has always been her genre of choice—so she writes what she loves to read: stories that are almost always steamy, generally feature an alpha male, and have a happily ever after, because she just can’t seem to write them any other way! Jan loves to connect with readers. Visit her website at www.authorjsscott.com.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://authorjsscott.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjsscott

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJSScott

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2777016.J_S_Scott

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Excerpt:

“You said you’d trade for my services,” I prompted. “But I don’t have much to offer to a man like you.” 

He studied me for a moment, which made me uncomfortable. 

I didn’t want anyone to know me better. 

A man like Seth would never understand me. 

“You have a hell of a lot to offer any guy,” he considered. 

“Not exactly true,” I disagreed. “I was engaged once, but I was never enough for Nolan Easton,” I muttered, instantly wishing the name hadn’t left my mouth. 

For some odd reason, Seth was easy to talk to, but I needed to guard my words better. 

He whistled softly. “Nolan Easton? Head of Easton Investment Firms? The very wealthy Nolan Easton?” 

“Yes,” I said tightly. 

“Even so, I can’t believe he dumped you,” Seth answered. 

“He didn’t,” I admitted. “I finally broke it off. He didn’t know how to keep it in his pants, and I didn’t want to spend my entire life being who he wanted me to be.” I coughed nervously. “Now can we get back to the business at hand?” 

“Not yet,” he insisted. “I’m still trying to get why any guy would want to change a single thing about you. Not that I exactly love your line of work right now, but you’re passionate about it. You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You seem to know exactly what you want. Considering our circumstances, I can’t say I’ve seen your sense of humor, but I’m assuming you have one of those, too. What the hell else did he want?” 

I ignored his question. “I have three older brothers,” I shared. “I have to have a sense of humor or they’d drive me crazy.” 

He rested his arms on the table and leaned forward. “You didn’t answer my question, Riley. What else did he want?” His voice was low and persuasive. 

“It’s not important. My engagement has been over for a while, and I’m happy. I finally found my own home here in Citrus Beach, and I’m pretty content with being alone. It’s a lot nicer here than San Diego. Quieter.” 

It was a hell of a lot better than being with a man who made me feel like I was less than nothing. 

“When exactly did you move here? And where are you living now?” 

“Almost two years ago,” I ground out, growing impatient to get back to business. It wasn’t wise to dump a lot about my personal life to a defendant—no matter how good a listener he might be. “I had a condo, but I recently purchased your sister’s cottage. I’ve settled there now. She and Eli have the bigger home next door, so I already knew I’d have good neighbors.” 

“I’m right down the beach from there,” Seth said, sounding surprised. “I’ve never seen you.” 

“Like I said. It’s recent. I just moved in.” 

I was squirming in my chair. I didn’t care for the feeling of being interrogated. I was usually the one asking the questions. 

He shot me a playful grin that made my heart trip. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said jokingly. 

“Thanks,” I said uncomfortably. “Now tell me what you want from me to leave that piece of property alone.” 

He took his time answering, and the silence seemed to stretch out forever. 

I gulped down the last of my tea while I waited for him to answer. 

Was he playing with me? 

Or did he actually have some kind of proposition? 

Probably the former—since I really didn’t have much to offer him in the way of services. I could guarantee that Eli Stone had set Seth up with his gaggle of business attorneys. Why in the hell would he need an environmental attorney? 

“If you’re playing with me, this encounter ends right now,” I said tersely. 

“I’m not,” he said emphatically. “I’m just wondering how to explain what I want.” 

“If it’s acceptable, I’ll write up the contract today,” I offered. 

“It’s not exactly the contract I’m thinking about,” he said thoughtfully. 

God, I was jittery, and I wasn’t used to feeling that way. I was pretty certain that it wasn’t the extra-large chai I’d just consumed, either. 

It was him. 

Maybe it was the way he studied me. 

Or the way his steely gray eyes never left my face. 

I couldn’t read him, and that completely pissed me off. As an attorney, I’d gotten very good at judging exactly where a defendant’s mind might be, and what their motives were. 

“Just name your terms,” I said irritably. “I’ll work out the details.” 

I forced myself to meet his eyes in what I thought would be a battle of wills, and then was sorry that I had even glanced his direction. 

My breath hitched as I fell into a stormy gaze that wouldn’t let me go. 

I was stunned at the possessive way he eyed me. 

I was confused about the emotions I saw there. 

And I was mesmerized by the carnal desire that flared up in his steely irises like a bolt of lightning as he held me still with a single look, unable to rip myself away from his fixed stare that was holding me in place. 

I knew I was blushing like a damn teenage girl with her first major crush. My brain was begging my body not to react, but my stupid body wasn’t listening. 

His voice was hoarse and beguiling when he finally said, “I need a woman, Riley. And that woman has to be you.”

***

 

Courtesy: St.Martin’s Press

TheOnesWhoGotAwaySeries

St.Martin’s Press is running a series ebook sale for Roni Loren’s The Ones Who Got Away and wanted to let you know about it! Readers can catch up on the series for only $2.99, just in time for the fourth and final installment, The One for You coming on December 31st! We’re also running a giveaway that includes an advance reader copy of The One For You, plus some other goodies! Will you share with your followers? The sale ends on 10/8.

https://www.romancereads.com/books-by-roni-loren.html

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Enter to win an advance reader’s copy of The One For You (on sale December 31st) and other goodies to provide a cozy reading experience! Enter here
TheOneForYou-RoniLoren

More about The One For You
The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren’s unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.
Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn’t supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn’t know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn’t let anybody stand in her way

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn’t know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he’ll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he’s ever loved

Click here for more information on The One For You

Courtesy: St. Martin’s Press

 

 

If you are an avid reader following Kendra Elliot, you don’t want to miss her latest release; the relationship between Truman and Mercy fascinates me and Kendra’ prowess at developing their relationship through the series is a piece of mastery!

amercifulfate

About the Book

Title: A Merciful Fate

Author: Kendra Elliot

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Raised by preppers, survivalist and FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick has a deep-rooted need for a safe place. Her getaway in the Cascade Foothills is her secret. But when skeletal remains are unearthed—those of a murdered man linked to a notorious heist—Mercy realizes she isn’t the only one with something to hide.

Thirty years ago, an armored-car robbery turned deadly. The mastermind was captured. Four conspirators vanished with a fortune. One of them, it appears, never made it out of the woods alive. For Mercy and her fiancé, Police Chief Truman Daly, their investigation opens old wounds in Eagle’s Nest that cut deeper than they imagined. Especially when a reckless tabloid reporter draws fresh blood. It’s clear to Mercy that somebody in this close-knit community is not who they seem to be.

Some are still shattered by the heist. Some still have reason to be afraid. But which one will kill again and again to hide three decades of secrets? To land this case, it’s up to Mercy to unmask a familiar stranger before someone else dies.

Author Biography

Kendra Elliot

Kendra Elliot has landed on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list multiple times and is the award-winning author of the Bone Secrets and Callahan & McLane series, as well as the Mercy Kilpatrick novels: A Merciful Death, A Merciful Truth, and A Merciful Secret. Kendra is a three-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award, an International Thriller Writers finalist, and an RT Award finalist. She has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on classic female heroines such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Laura Ingalls. She was born, raised, and still lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband and three daughters, but she looks forward to the day she can live in flip-flops. Visit her at www.kendraelliot.com.

Social Media Links

Website: https://www.kendraelliot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKendraElliot

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KendraElliot

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150778.Kendra_Elliot

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*************************************************************************************

Excerpt

“Sit.”

Mercy sat on a stool that was too high for the makeshift table. She didn’t care. They could sit on the ground and she’d be happy with Truman. Currently the home had plywood subfloors and open framing, but part of Mercy loved the empty, bare look; it promised that something fabulous was coming.

Fabulous and practical.

Truman leaned over and poured red wine in the plastic cup by her paper plate. She sighed and buried her nose in her cup. The fragrance was deep and bold, with hints of plum and smoke.

“Italy,” she mumbled into the wine.

“What?” asked Truman.

“I want to visit Italy. How does a honeymoon in Italy sound?”

A grin filled his face, and the sensation of butterflies fluttered up her spine.

Or maybe it’s the wine.

She took a sip of her wine as she studied his face. So familiar and dear to her.

A smile to stop traffic. Eyes that crinkled in happiness. Several scars that testified to his love of law enforcement. Her attraction to him was more than skin deep. She was in love with the person he was. He was a natural leader and easily commanded respect. His people turned to him, followed him, admired him. His natural sense of honor was a magnet for her.

No. It’s not the wine.

He gets me.

He understood how her mind worked, and they fit together like a couple of complicated puzzle pieces. She’d been painfully aware of her missing puzzle piece when he’d been taken away, chained by men planning to kill him, and then rescued thanks to Ollie. The two weeks when no one knew his fate had been the worst of her life. When he’d been returned to her, she’d known she couldn’t waste any more time.

He’d been of the same mind-set and had proposed.

“I’ll try Italy.” He dished spaghetti carbonara onto their plates.

“And what’s on your agenda for tomorrow?” he asked over the rim of his plastic cup. She perked up. “The bank confirmed the money bags are from the Gamble-Helmet Heist. And I have the go-ahead to visit Shane Gamble at the Two Rivers prison tomorrow.”

“What are your thoughts on the remains?” Truman asked. “Did the medical examiner get to them yet?”

“Yes. They spent the afternoon removing the remains, and Dr. Lockhart was going to start an examination tonight. The woman never takes time off.”

“Same could be said for you.”

“Only when I’m deep in a case.”

“I guess this means your weekends are booked for a while?”

Mercy sighed. “I know. The two of us are supposed to be working on the interior of this place … We’ll get it done at some point. It’ll have to wait awhile.”

A grin filled his face.

“What?” she asked.

“You’re not the same person I met last fall. Back then, if the cabin had been in the half-completed state it is now, you’d be climbing the walls with anxiety because your safety net wasn’t perfect.”

“You’re right,” she agreed. “I had a similar thought earlier, but nearly all my supplies are still intact, so it’d be rough living but doable. I can temporarily live with that for now. Especially with this case to distract me.”

His lips twisted.

“Jealous?” she asked with a grin. “It’s an amazing case, isn’t it?”

“It is. Considering there have been no leads for decades, and the robbery is practically modern folklore. It’s like a buried treasure hunt, and Ollie found the first clue.”

“Is Ollie okay after his morning?” she asked with a small wince. She’d nearly forgotten the teen had made the grisly discovery.

“He’s okay. I spent some time with him and he was very quiet, but I could tell he was processing it. He’s dealt with death before.”

“He’s been through a lot,” sympathized Mercy.

They silently ate for a few moments until he glanced up and caught her staring at him. Longing shone in his eyes, an appetite and craving that had nothing to do with food, and she struggled to find her breath.

How does he do that to me?

“You know,” he said, his voice low and tempting, “this place hasn’t been christened yet.”

Mercy blinked. “People do that to homes?”

Patience filled his features. “That’s not what I meant.” His brown gaze held hers.

“Ohhh,” she breathed as heat flashed through her.

“Dessert.” His smile was sinful, and energy pulsed between them.

She melted. “Yes. Dessert.”

******************

 

About the Book

Title: The Start of Something Good

Author: Jennifer Probst

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Stay, #1

TheStartofSomethingGood

Summary

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters’ B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn’t easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life…

It’s business—not pleasure—that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating—from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

Meet Mia Thrush

Greetings! My name is Mia and I’m the head of Strategy Solutions PR and my current client is the prospective mayor of New York. I adore everything about New York City and I have a passion for designer shoes and clothes.

I decided to go into public relations after my father was ruined in his political career by untruths. If he just had the right PR representative, I think the election would have turned out differently. I’m extremely selective about my clients, and dedicate myself to helping them reach their potential without being smeared by social media. My work is my passion and I dedicate my all.

But my newest assignment… Sigh.

My client’s daughter has been mandated to community service this summer at an upstate B&B and horse rescue farm. Of course, she needs supervision, and I’ve been selected to be her full-time babysitter so my client doesn’t lose the election. I’m terrified I’m going to be bored out of my mind and trapped in country hell.

But it’s not all bad. The food is outstanding—fresh, local produce and tempting desserts that I must avoid at all costs in order to get into my new Gucci dress. The Robin’s Nest B&B is also quite charming, and Ophelia is a lovely hostess. Surprisingly, I’m beginning to enjoy the townspeople too. Especially Ethan, aka Horse Man.

At first I thought he was rude and mean and his personality sucked. I didn’t even care if he was a bit hot with that scruffy beard and piercing baby blues and a drool worthy muscled body. But, eventually, I realized there was so much more beneath the surface. He’s a man of honor and integrity. He’s kind. He takes care of what belongs to him, and you can trust him completely. To be honest, I’ve never met a man like him before…

***

Excerpt:

After more driving through uniformed country roads and passing the same hills and cows, Mia spotted a crooked sign that read Goosey Drive.

That sounded right! Yes, that was the funny-sounding name. She was on the right path.

Puffing up with pride over her memory skills, she followed the road, noticing a single unpaved lane winding toward the left. It was heavily wooded but definitely a road. As she got closer, she saw a tiny sign that said Inn Horse Trail.

Yes. The inn was part of a rescue farm, so this must be it.

The Kia bumped along potholes, mud, and scattered brush blocking the lane. Her temper grew as she drove. How was a guest able to find this place? Why on earth wasn’t it paved and well marked? Had she been dropped into one of those horrid Wrong Turn movies to find herself being chased by deformed country bumpkins?

Finally, the car jerked to a halt at the end of the path. She stared openmouthed at the tiny bungalow in front of her.

This was the place she was staying at?

Horror unfolded. It wasn’t even Victorian. It had no sprawling front porch that served tea and cookies. It was just a basic mud-brown house with standard-issue windows, a basic concrete stoop, and a plain-beige door. No cheery potted geraniums or herbal gardens or quirky antiques like she’d imagined a B & B to have. Instead, there was a bunch of chickens roaming around, squawking and pecking at the unpaved ground. No real parking lot. Just a battered black truck parked in front. Was she the only guest?

And if so, now she knew why.

She was going to have a panic attack.

Clutching the door handle in a merciless grip, she dragged in deep breaths and tried to calm herself. Maybe the inside was amazing. Maybe it was a lesson so she’d learn the motto “Don’t be fooled by the surface, because great things lie beneath.” Or in this case, inside.

She grit her teeth and got out of the car, giving the chickens a wary glance. Her Prada shoes were open toed. Could chickens draw blood if they pecked at her toes? She stilled, watching them carefully, but they didn’t seem interested in a stranger, so she began to walk toward the house. Her heels sank into the mud, aggravating her even more. Why wasn’t anyone here to take her luggage or greet her?

Worst. B & B. Ever.

“Hello?” she called out. “Anyone around?”

The answer was not what she expected.

From behind the dirty, red coop thing, a massive chicken monster appeared in response to her call. She froze, mouth opening in horror, staring at the thing that seemed like a scary crossover of animal-genetic madness.

He had a giant head covered in crazy white feathers, sticking out from every angle like in one of those memes on her Facebook newsfeed. Beady eyes focused on her with sheer fowl suspicion. Fat, red jowls hung down beside his massive beak. His body was a mottled, inky black that ended with tremendous clawed feet.

“Umm, nice chicken?”

A pissed-off sound emitted from the creature’s beak, and he began lurching forward in a drunken walk of doom. She backed up, hands out, terrified she would die of a chicken attack in the backwoods, where no one would find her.

“Stay away from me!” she warned. “I mean it. I’ll make you the main course of my Thanksgiving, you freak!”

The thing clucked harder, beginning to flap his wings in crazed motions, his long, curly clawed toes moving faster toward her, beak open, ready for the kill.

She screamed.

“Hei Hei!” The masculine voice snapped through the air in command. The chicken monster stopped midcharge, cranking its feathery head toward the house. “Leave her alone.”

The chicken let out a murderous shriek.

“Wanna be left out this winter so your feathers freeze? I mean it, Hei Hei, I won’t save you like Harper. Go back and finish your lunch.”

Feathers shook. With one last glance at her that promised retribution, the chicken monster disappeared back behind the house. The man who saved her propped his hands on his hips and didn’t budge. “Sorry, he’s a bit temperamental. Can I help you?”

The long howl of a dog made her jump back. What now? Was this place a zoo? A black Lab came racing out with one intention: to take her down. She squared her shoulders, stood her ground, and prayed he or she was friendly.

He or she was. The dog bounded around her without jumping up, seeming thrilled to have some company. She reached down and pet the dog. At least one animal made sense out here. She’d always loved dogs. Not cats. Not chickens. Not horses or squirrels or chipmunks or snakes. Just dogs.

The man whistled. “Wheezy, come here. She’s had enough of the animal-crew welcome.” The dog obeyed, trotting back to his or her master and settling down near his feet. “Let’s try this again. Can I help you?”

Her words seemed to drift away. She stared at him in total fascination, her mind short circuiting the endless possibilities of this man. She’d just met a hot Grizzly Adams.

***

About the Author

JenniferProbst

Jennifer Probst is the New York Times bestselling author of The Billionaire Builders series, The Searching for . . . series, The Marriage series, and The Steele Brothers series, among others. The Start of Something Good is the first book in her new Stay series. Like some of her characters, Probst, along with her husband and two sons, calls New York’s Hudson Valley home. There, she enjoys reading, watching “shameful reality television,” and visiting an animal shelter, when she isn’t traveling to meet readers.

Follow her at

http://www.jenniferprobst.com,

Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jenniferprobst.authorpage

Twitter at https://twitter.com/jenniferprobst.

Social Media Links

Website: https://www.jenniferprobst.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferprobst.authorpage/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenniferprobst

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2965489.Jennifer_Probst

***

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