I’m jumping around over here and it’s not to keep warm as this blasted snow storm comes into Oklahoma, (though that would be a good reason to jump too). No, I have the darling Vonnie Davis back on the ranch whooping it up with me! Actually, she’s taking over the round pen, but don’t worry. I have heaters out to keep her toasty and cider heating with the li’l smokies and wine. 😀
Take it away, V!
I’m thrilled to be back at the ranch with you, Calisa, and all your readers. We’re knee-deep into the holiday season, baking cookies and making candy. I’m still trying to work off the weight I gained over Thanksgiving. You know, I heard a male newscaster say we really only gain a pound over Thanksgiving. I’d like to hunt that rascal down! I ask you, have you ever only gained one pound? Not I. Make it three, and you’re talking.
Holidays revolve around the traditions of food. For my family, it’s homemade coconut cracker pudding, an old German recipe passed down through generations. My grown children, who live in other states, sulk if they don’t get their boxes of peanut butter fudge, buck-eyes and corn-flake candy in the mail. I spend so many hours standing in the kitchen my feet swell. I suppose that comes from not cooking as much as I once did…my legs and feet protest at the sudden abuse.
Our grandchildren are teenagers now and appreciate gift cards and money so they can pick out their own gifts. Grandma’s tastes are a little too “odd” for their liking. Imagine that? To compensate not having little ones to shop for, Calvin and I pick several names off the Angel Tree at our local shopping mall. We buy those children sneakers and coats and toys. These gifts are our Christmas to each other. There’s really nothing we need, so we focus on others.
I tried to carry this spirit over to my Christmas novella, Santa Wore Leathers. Wolf and his family visit two senior homes every year to sing Christmas carols and hand out gifts. His squad at the fire station also rides in the bike ride for children’s toys—Harleys, hunks and heroines riding for a good cause.
But it was quite a while before my heroine, Becca, looked on her new neighbor as doing anything hero-worthy. With a steady stream of women in and out of his townhouse, she referred to him as man-whore on her blog, “The Things Men Do.” Up close, though, she seriously had to fight the attraction.
Becca finished her post and closed her laptop. “Einstein, are you ready for your walk?” Her German shepherd barked once in response and circled her twice. “Get your leash while I put on my shoes.”
Einstein slipped his rope off the doorknob and carried it to her, his head held proudly and his backside wiggling in anticipation of their morning run. Becca tied her sneakers and did a few quick stretches before snapping the leash onto the dog’s collar.
Two miles later they returned to Seashell Lane, jogging toward home in her gulf-side community on the northern fringes of Clearwater, Florida. She loved her neighborhood, a comfortable blend of retirees and small families. Her gaze swept to the town house next to hers. At least, until two weeks ago, when her new neighbor with his constant stream of female visitors moved in. The man went through women quicker than her ex-husband.
Just then his door opened, and man-whore stepped out on his small front porch. In a purely feminine reaction, she reached to smooth back her hair. Suddenly, Einstein wrenched his leash from her grip and took off.
“Einstein! Einstein, stop!” She sprinted after her errant dog.
Her neighbor pivoted. Einstein leaped, knocking him back against the door. “Whoa, there big guy!” He accepted the canine kisses and aimed dark eyes at her. “Is he yours? He’s some dog.” His large hands ruffled Einstein’s fur. Firm biceps flexed under her neighbor’s black Harley T-shirt, and the bottom of a wicked tribal tattoo peeked from beneath his right sleeve.
“Yes. I’m sorry he jumped on you. He never takes off like that.” No doubt one dog recognized another.
“Man, I’d love a dog like him. A man’s dog, you know? I’ve got a cat. Not by choice, though. When my sister went off to college, she left Fluffy with me.”
Man-whore aimed a wide smile at her, his perfectly straight teeth a contrast to his tan. A dimple winked. The fact he only had one dimple was the singular flaw on his flawlessly handsome face. Now that she was within five feet of him, she could clearly examine his features. Having watched him through her window from time-to-time, she knew he was tall and muscular. But up close, she realized he had the body of a serious weight lifter. His long, dark brown hair was brushed straight back. The skin crinkled at the corners of espresso-colored eyes when he smiled, which he seemed to do easily and frequently. Yet, it was the vision of him holding a cat named Fluffy that nearly made her smile. Muscle man and putty cat.
“You live next door, don’t you?” He jerked his head toward her home.
She bent to grasp the end of her dog’s leash. “Yes, I do.”
He extended his hand when she straightened. “Dan Wolford.” His dimple flashed again and his smile did all kinds of twitchy things to her insides. “Most people simply call me Wolf.”
I’ll just bet they do.
She glanced at his hand for a second. No need to be rude, even if she didn’t care for his cavalier attitude toward women. She did the polite thing. “Welcome to the neighborhood, Dan.”
“Wolf, please.” His large paw enveloped hers, and warmth spread upwards from her stomach, did a backflip and then dove downwards. Meanwhile, his dark gaze assessed her entire body and face, as if she were the most dazzling woman in sweaty running clothes he’d ever seen. His solitary dimple winked along with his thousand-watt smile. One dark eyebrow rose as if he were waiting for her to share her name. She wasn’t sure why she hesitated. She was reluctant. Fueled by his cocksure attitude, no doubt. Now there was a cliché, if ever she’d heard one.
His thumb rubbed slow, lazy circles over her knuckles detonating sensual signals straight to her core. Oh, he was good at this magnetism stuff.
Wolf glanced at her prancing, panting dog. “Einstein, does your owner have a name? It looks like she’s not sharing today.”
Oh, for Pete’s sake.
There’s only one thing on Becca Sinclair’s Christmas list this holiday season – her very own column in the local paper. And if she can build a huge blog following, her wish just might come true.
Enter Dan “Wolf” Wolford aka the man-whore next door and the new star of Becca’s popular, post-divorce blog about men. A Navy SEAL turned commander of the Florida Marine Rescue Unit, Wolf’s the very definition of the word alpha – and with an endless rotation of women on his doorstep, this hunk on a Harley has Becca and her female followers all hot and bothered!
All Becca wants for Christmas is her newspaper column, right? But when she finds herself the target of Wolf’s irresistible attentions, her snarky comebacks become less and less convincing and, suddenly, she’s not so sure anymore…
AMAZON ~ http://bit.ly/SantaLeathers
BARNES & NOBLE ~ http://bit.ly/1846Aau
Please visit me at my blog: http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com
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I tweet under VonnieWrites, if you care to follow me in the twitterverse.
Thank you for visiting and brightening the day here on the ranch, Vonnie! Best of luck with your Santa in Leather. Not that you need it. 😆
I’m honored to have Babara Edwards take over the round pen today with her new Christmas story! Find a chill-chair and get comfortable as Barbara tells us about this book. 🙂 The floor is yours, Barbara.
Thanks, Calisa, for hosting me. Journey of the Magi is #free on #kindle today. http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ
The idea for this Holiday romance came while I was setting up the manger for Christmas. Over the years I’ve collected more than the basic Holy Family, shepherds and wise-men. There are several cows and a calf, a dozen sheep, the sheep dog, ducks, chickens, deer, rabbits, I could go on but the list is too long. I have two sets of Magi and use them both. One is fairly new the other belonged to my Mother and her Mother before her. They are plaster of paris, the paint is chipped and they look like they had a long hard, journey. I love them because they remind me of my childhood. Somehow the ideas connected in my imagination.
My heroine is a loving mother who dearly wants to give her children the happy home she remembers from her childhood. My hero is a nice guy with a soft streak for those down on their luck. Journey of the Magi is for everyone who longs for a happy holiday.
I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.
When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.
My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.
I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.
Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk.
Journey of the Magi blurb
Widow Noel Martin never breaks promises, and she promised her kids they’d have Christmas at her childhood home in Connecticut. But driving across country takes money. Noel is broke when a snowstorm blows them into a tiny Minnesota café owned by a man who can change her mind. She accepts his offer of a job. Despite her attraction to him, she makes it clear she is only temporary help.
Dan Longstreet isn’t adopting any more strays, but he needs a waitress. Dan works so hard to make his café a success, he doesn’t have time for love. Though Noel’s slender blonde beauty stuns him and her two adorable children tug at his heart, he denies how they threaten to change his life.
When tragedy strikes, their new-found love is the first victim. Noel can’t stay and Dan can’t leave. Will their journey be the gift that reunites them?
Journey of the Magi excerpt:
“Is that job still open?”
“I need a waitress.” His rich voice woke tingles of awareness that she’d forgotten, or maybe never knew.
“Is that a yes or a no?” she asked impatiently. These unfamiliar feelings were scary and unwelcome. She was too tired to be diplomatic and this job was too important.
“What are you going to do with them?” He jutted his chin toward her children.
“I, I d-d-don’t know,” Noel stammered before she slumped onto the nearest stool. Leaning forward onto her elbows, she looked at her clasped hands. “I didn’t plan that far.”
Noel watched his long, strong fingers dexterously polish another glass. His wide palms held the heavy restaurant-ware like fine china. He had nice hands, a gentle touch. Instinct murmured he’d be as careful with a woman.
“I guess I should move on. I…”
“Could keep the kids next to the kitchen, there’s a place there. Then if they needed you, you’d be right close.” His deep voice was like an angel’s song.
Journey of the Magi is FREE Oct. 8-12 here: http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ
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Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A
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Thanks for sharing your new book with us, Barbara! I’ll be checking this one out. 🙂
I was inspired today to get into the holiday spirit. Next week we might even have snow to up that inspiration.
The tree is up and decked, the nativity arranged on the coffee table and Christmas shows are on the Hallmark channel. I love this time of year! Not only because it’s my birthday month and all the presents, but because of the spirit it seems to bring out in people.
A lot of people grumble that Christmas is too commercialized to enjoy anymore. Maybe that’s true. I am one of those people who refuse to let that commercialism dampen my spirit. I am a true believer in Santa Claus and the reindeer and all Christmas stands for!
So…I thought I’d spread a little cheer by decorating my website some too. Now for the presents…
I’ll give away a copy of Home, my vintage historical to someone who shares their favorite Christmas story! It can be funny, sad, poignant–whatever you want to share. I’ll even begin.
Some of you may know my birthday is three days after Christmas– also the anniversary of my first book, Home coincidentally– so I often got birthdays ON Christmas. Not fair! Not fun, either since I felt cheated each year. But on my fifteenth birthday I felt cheated worse than any other year. My parents were divorced when I was eleven so Mom would send my gift from Washington state and I looked forward to that package (even if she did send it C.O.D. a few years later). My dad had remarried and it was our first Christmas with a new family, lots of presents for Christmas and Mom’s gift was late, which meant I’d get a gift AFTER Christmas! WOO HOO!!
Oh- sure, let that be the year I finally got a tape recorder from her I’d wanted for-EVER! I would have been so much more excited had I not come down with what my dad called the Russian flu. I don’t know why he called it that, but I suspect it was because it just sort of rushed in on me. 🙂 He had a weird sense of humor like that. So there I was all wrapped up in a fever and my cozy blanket holding my shiny new recorder and…no voice. Yup. I had laryngitis with my flu and couldn’t speak for the better part of a week after getting my prize. Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter. It was the best birthday ever because I got what I wanted and it wasn’t on Christmas! 😆
Would you believe all these years later I still have that tape recorder? Oh, and since marrying Mitch 29 years ago, I haven’t had a birthday on Christmas! It’s a win-win. 😀
Okay, your turn! And Happy Holidays!!!!