Monday, May 25, 2020

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish by Bethany Turner

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/hadley-beckett-s-next-dish/392770


Get ready for a heaping helping of humor, romance, and second chances

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show, To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum and is sent packing, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love.

In the meantime, hide the knives.


What an exciting read Ms. Turner has written.  A page turner that is hard to put down.  It's hard to know if Max and Hadley are on or off in their relationship.  One page it is good and the next it is off.  I haven't gotten all the way through the book I have about 5 more chapters to go and I'm wondering how it will end that is for sure. How many second chances can a person get?  Will they be able to pull it off right now it isn't looking to hopeful.  It has been a delightful read.  Stick it in your summer to-be-read pile for sure.  I haven't read any of Ms Turner's books before, but will be on the look out for more that is for sure.  

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/revell/revell-reads



Friday, May 8, 2020

HOME by Author: Alison Neuman



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2020/04/21/%f0%9f%93%9a-pump-up-your-book-presents-home-virtual-book-publicity-tour-children/




BOOK BLURB:
Fluffy, the cat, knew the minute she met Levi that he would become fast friends with the friendly mouse using a special wheelchair. In the third installment of their adventures, join Fluffy, Levi, and his family on their final leg of adventure to find their forever homes together.



Meet The Author

Alison Neuman is a writer, author, choreographer, and dance artist, who is passionate about sharing underrepresented voices. She holds a Bachelor’s of Applied Communications Degree, a diploma in Professional Writing, and a Master of Arts degree with a focus on Educational Studies.

Ms. Neuman has given us a good book about friendship, kindness, and good deeds.  As Fluffy the cat helps transport his friend Levi the mouse and his family to a new home, his home.  There are some obstacles along the way as they head to their new home. Charlie the sparrow helps with lookout and Oscar the friendly bus driver also helps with a kindly deed.  When Fluffy finally, gets his friends home will the human accept them?  Guess you'll have to read the book to find out. 

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2Va96Ox

Smashwords → https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1015552

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: www.alisonneuman.ca
Blog: http://www.alisonneuman.ca/blog/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Alison_Neuman
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alisonneuman.ca
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4375290.Alison_Neuman


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas In Newfoundland by: Mike Martin

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2019/09/11/%f0%9f%93%9a-pump-up-your-book-presents-christmas-in-newfoundland-memories-mysteries-virtual-book-publicity-blog-tour-mysterymemoir/

inside the book

Title: CHRISTMAS IN NEWFOUNDLAND: MEMORIES AND MYSTERIES
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing
Pages: 113
Genre: Mystery/Memoir
From the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries comes “Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries,” a welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.
Christmas in Newfoundland is a special time. In the depths of long winter nights memories are made and stories are told. Of Christmas by candlelight and horse and buggy rides to church. Of shopping on Water Street in St. John’s before malls and the Internet.
In later years, Sgt. Windflower came to work and then to stay in the quiet town of Grand Bank by the Atlantic Ocean where the salt air froze in the wind and the Mounties were welcomed to warm themselves by every fire.
Come and warm yourself by the fire and hear their stories. Some memories and some mysteries. Enjoy some holiday time with Sgt. Windflower and all the familiar characters that you’d come to know and love. Good food, good friends and always another chair at the table.

order your copy below

Amazon → https://amzn.to/32hC9zY

____________

My Review:
I loved the Christmas feeling that was given by the author and his words and stories that he included in this memoir.  It was a very nostalgic.  I love Christmas time and reading about it.  Each chapter is a story so it was a fairly easy read.  Read a short chapter when you had a few minutes to read and then come back to the book and not have to remember where you left the characters.  The stories held my attention.  

meet the author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn which won the Bony Blithe Award in 2019. A new book in the series, Fire, Fog and Water is being released in October.
Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.

website & social links

Website → www.sgtwindflowermysteries.com

Twitter Link: → http://ww.twitter.com/mike54martin

Facebook→https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore/

____________________________________________

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
 

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Sept. 17- Oct. 8



Krista Galloway didn’t usually second- guess herself, but as she slowed down the U- Haul truck on the out-skirts of Winter Hill, she was assaulted with some serious doubts. Was this new job a mistake? Should she have researched this move more carefully? Had she agreed to the contract too easily? Too hastily? Being hired as a city manager would definitely improve her résumé, but the small- town salary was a let down. And what about her daughter’s new school? With less than two hundred students, what if its academic standards were disappointing? Why hadn’t Krista given this whole thing more consideration?

 “Look, Mama!” Emily pointed to the Welcome to Winter Hill billboard. “That sign says Home of Christmasvillewhat does that mean? Does Santa Claus live here?” Emily giggled like she knew better.

 “What do you think?” Krista grimaced at the plywood Christmas tree alongside the welcome sign. It could use a new coat of paint.

 “I know, Santa isn’t really real. But are we near the North Pole now? You said it snowed a lot here.” Emily peered eagerly out the window, almost as if she expected to see snowflakes flying. 

“It does snow here,” Krista confirmed. “But it’s still late autumn, Emily.” She pointed to where some orange and gold leaves still clung to a large tree, vibrating in the afternoon breeze.

 “But why did that sign say Home of Christmasville?” Emily persisted.

 “I’m not sure.” Krista vaguely remembered someone mentioning a Christmas festival during her second Skype interview with the hiring committee, but she’d been so caught up in impressing them that she’d barely registered the information. And, naturally, she didn’t admit that she had a general aversion to Christmas. What did that have to do with managing a small town anyway?

 “Where is Christmasville? What is it?

Krista felt a mixture of amusement and aggravation at her eight-year-old’s dogged determination. Her little apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree when it came to questioning things.

 “I’m not completely sure what Christmasville is,” Krista admitted as she drove past a suburb on the edge of town. “But I do know that Winter Hill has an annual Christmas festival. That must be what Christmasville is. I suppose it could be related to the town’s name.”

 “Winter Hill,” Emily said dreamily. “That does sound like a Christmassy place. I’m so glad we’re moving here.

Krista turned the bulky truck onto a quiet side street, pausing to check the little hand-drawn map that Pauline Harris, a city assistant, had mailed her last week, along with a brass key. “It looks like our house is only a few blocks from here,” she told Emily. “We’re almost home.” 

 “We get to live in a real house,” Emily happily declared. “With a real backyard. And when it snows—because you said it’ll snow—I can go outside and make a real s n o w m a n .”

 “This is going to be very different from Arizona.” Krista hadn’t been sorry to leave Phoenix or their high-rise apart-ment behind. Really, she was ready for a change. And although Winter Hill was very small, Krista was glad that Emily could walk to school from their house. Pauline had assured Krista that it was only three blocks away—with crossing guards. Not only that, but Krista could walk to work too. Perfect since she hadn’t owned a car for the last five years.

 Like Emily, Krista was looking forward to a new life in the quaint eastern Washington town. She’d never lived anywhere but Phoenix, and the idea of snow and seasons was rather exciting. Krista slowed down the truck, looking for the right address. But seeing the numerals on a small sign in front of what appeared to be an apartment complex was not encouraging. Krista pulled over with a disappointed sigh.

 “What’s wrong, Mama?”

 She pointed at the dismal concrete building. “I think that’s our new home.

Emily leaned over to see it better. “It’s not a house?”

 “Looks like it’s an apartment.” Krista surveyed the concrete one- story complex, trying to insert some hopefulness into her voice. “But it’s not very big. It looks like only about a dozen units. That’s sort of like a house.” She picked up the map that Pauline had mailed, noticing that next to the address was an-other number. “I think we must be in unit eight.”

 “Eight?” Emily’s mouth twisted to one side. “Well, that’s a good number. I’m eight too. Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

 “Maybe not.” Krista eased the big truck into the parking spot in front of unit eight, relieved to be finally done with this grueling journey. “At least we won’t have to lug our stuff up a bunch of stairs.” She turned off the engine. “Hopefully we can get the truck unloaded before dark and sleep in our own beds tonight.” She stepped outside the truck and stretched. After two nights in cheap roadside motels, she would welcome her own bed and nice sheets tonight.

 “It’s cold.” Emily shivered with wide eyes. “Do you think it’s going to snow?”

 “I don’t know. Why don’t you put on your new parka?” Krista reached for her phone, searching for the number Pauline had told her to text upon arrival. Apparently Pauline’s son had promised to be available to help unload the U-Haul. Krista shot off a text then held up the brass key. “Ready to see our new home?” She tried to sound more enthused than she felt as she led the way to the apartment.

 Pauline Harris had told Krista that available housing was an issue in Winter Hill. “That’s because people keep moving here from California,” she’d explained, promising to find something within Krista’s budget and near the grade school. But for some reason, when Pauline had sent the key and brief description of the small two-bedroom abode, Krista had assumed it was a house. She slid the key into the lock then opened the door.

 “Welcome home,” she said brightly, trying not to frown at the stark white walls and dingy beige carpet. “I’m sure it’ll look better when we get our things in here.” She went through the living room into the compact kitchen and flipped on the overhead light to see shabby wood cabinets, mismatched appliances, and plastic countertops. Nothing like their sleek, modern Phoenix apartment with granite and stainless. Well, hopefully they wouldn’t be stuck here for too long. Although she regretted the six-month lease she’d signed.

 “Which is my room?” Emily called from down the hallway. 

Krista joined her to discover two identical bedrooms with a clean but dull-looking bathroom between them. “I don’t know.” She pursed her lips, trying to disguise her dismay. “You choose, honey.” 

Emily ran from room to room, finally deciding. “I can see big trees from this window,” she declared. “Do you think they’re in our backyard?”

 Krista wondered if they even had a backyard but then remembered a door in the kitchen. “Let’s go find out.” She was disappointed to find the door opened to a windowless laundry room. Although appliances were in place, they were probably older than she was. Hopefully they worked. 

Krista wrapped an arm around Emily. “Well, we’ll just have to consider this a big adventure.” She gave her a squeeze. “We will make the best of it.”

 “Hello?” a male voice called out. “Help has arrived.”

 “That must be Pauline’s boy.” Krista returned to the living room, expecting to find a teenager. But there was a man standing in the open doorway. Tall and sturdy looking, he wore jeans and a flannel shirt and was smiling. “Who are you?” she asked cautiously.

 “I’m Conner Harris.” His dark eyes brightened as he stuck out his hand. “My mom is Pauline Harris. You just texted me that—”

 “Yes, yes.” Krista shook his hand. “I’m Krista Galloway. For some reason I thought you’d be a kid. I mean Pauline said her boy would help me and I just assumed you’d—” 

“Yes, I’ll always be my mom’s little boy.” He chuckled, then smiled at Emily. “And who is this young lady?”

 “I’m Emily Galloway.” She politely extended her hand. 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Emily Galloway.” He nodded toward the front door. “My daughter, Anna, is out there.”

 “Is she my size?” Emily’s eyes lit up. She’d been obsessed with the idea of making new friends these past few days.

 “Not anymore.” Conner sighed. “Anna’s fourteen now, but it seems like just yesterday she was your size.”

 “Fourteen?” Emily’s eyes grew wide. “That’s old.”

 “Anyway, we’re here to help.” He smiled at Krista. “Ready to get started?”

 “Yes, I’m hoping to get it all unloaded before dark. We don’t have a lot of stuff. But some of it is bulky.”

 As they went outside, a slender girl with thick dark hair and brown eyes climbed out of a big white pickup. “This is Anna.” Conner introduced the rest of them. Anna shyly greeted them, staying close to her father. “She might look delicate, but believe me, she’s strong as a horse.”

 “You’re pretty.” Emily took Anna’s hand. “I like your tennis shoes.”

 Anna glanced down at her red high-topped Converse shoes then smiled. “Thanks. They’re kind of old and beat up, but I like them too.” 

“Do you wanna see my room?” Emily asked hopefully.

 “Sure.” Anna nodded.

 “Good idea,” Conner told Anna. “You go check out the lay of the land, and we’ll put together a plan for unloading.”

 Before long, with Conner directing, all four of them were busily carrying furnishings, boxes, and bags into the apartment, trying to get the larger pieces into the right rooms. “It’s a good thing we don’t have too much stuff,” Krista told him as the last load came in. “We wouldn’t have room for it in this place.” 

“My mom was sorry she couldn’t find you guys better accommodations,” Conner said. “But good housing is scarce these days.”

 “Yes, I understand the town is growing.” Krista pushed a strand of golden hair away from her eyes. She could hear the girls chattering in Emily’s bedroom. It sounded like Anna was helping Emily make her bed. “That’s probably why they decided to hire a city manager.”

 “I must admit that I’m surprised they hired such a young one.” Conner studied her. “Have you had much experience?

Krista stood up straighter, looking him directly in the eyes and realizing he was nearly a foot taller than her. Just one challenge of being petite. The biggest challenge was being treated like a child by some people. But she was used to it. “Apparently the hiring committee felt my experience was adequate. I went to work for the City of Phoenix straight out of college. After seven years, I was appointed to assist the city manager. I held the assistant position these past three years. And, in case you haven’t heard, Phoenix has a population of more than one and a half million. It was a fairly demanding job, but I learned a lot.”

 “Well, that does sound impressive. I guess Winter Hill was lucky to get you.” He looked amused. “And I hope you and Emily are happy here in our little town.”

 “Dad?” Anna called from Emily’s room. “Can they come to the house moving with us?” 

“House moving?” Krista frowned. “What’s that?” 

“We’re relocating an old house to a new location,” he explained. “It has to be done on a Sunday evening because there’s less traffic.” He checked his watch. “We’re scheduled to start the move in about half an hour. And I need to be there.” 

“You’re moving a house?” she asked. “A whole house?” 

“I’m not actually moving it myself,” he told her. “A moving crew is handling it. I just need to supervise.”

 Emily came out, tugging on Krista’s arm. “Can we go see it? Anna said it’s a Christmas House.” Emily looked up with wide-eyed enthusiasm. “Please, Mama. I’ve never seen a Christmas House before.”

 “And I’ve never seen anyone move a house before,” Krista admitted. “It sounds like fun.”

 “Then let’s go.” Conner pulled out his keys. “I promised Anna we’d swing by Comet’s Drive-In to grab something to eat while we watch. You ladies care to join us for dinner and a show?” 

As Emily jumped up and down, squealing with delight, Krista turned to Conner. “It does sound like fun, but I need to turn in the U-Haul truck before they close—”

 “That’s right down the street from Comet’s,” he told her. “We can meet up with you there.” He explained that the U-Haul place would already be closed, but that she could park the truck and put the keys into a drop box by the door. “Just follow me and we’ll pick you up there.” 

It took less than ten minutes to drop off the truck. Then Krista and Emily climbed into Conner’s big white pickup. “Emily can sit with me.” Anna helped Emily into the back.

 “Your truck is awesome,” Emily declared sweetly. “Lots nicer than our moving truck. And it even has a backseat. Your family is lucky.” 

As Krista fastened her seat belt, she wondered about Anna’s mother . . . Conner’s wife. She’d discreetly observed the plain gold band on Conner’s left hand. What would Mrs. Harris think of him taking a divorcée and her daughter to “dinner and a show”? Not that this was a date—it certainly was not— but some wives could get rather irate over something like this. Krista had been upset when her husband had stepped out with another woman several years ago. Of course, that was different. This was perfectly innocent. It was silly to even think like that. 

As Conner pulled into a brightly lit drive-in restaurant that looked straight out of an old fifties movie, Krista bristled at being reminded of her ex just now. Why give him a second thought? Garth Galloway, currently living a carefree life with his new wife on the other side of the country, didn’t deserve that kind of attention.

My Review:  
I was so totally taken by Melody Carlson's Christmas in Winter Hill. It is a page turner and one you don't want to put down.  It is also a fairly quick read. I loved the good clean Christian read.  They are so hard to come by to find an author that doesn't use cursing in their writing. Nice job to Carlson for no curse words in the book.  Not to give any spoilers, but it didn't end as I thought it would. 




Friday, October 25, 2019

PATRICK TURNS HIS PLAY INTO PAY by: Patrick & Shani Muhammad



PATRICK TURNS HIS PLAY INTO PAY
Shani & Patrick Muhammad
* Children *



Title: PATRICK TURNS HIS PLAY INTO PAY
Author: Patrick Muhammad & Shani Muhammad
Publisher: 5 Star Publishing
Pages: 40
Genre: Children’s Book



Once great and powerful sorcerers, the Amasiti were hunted to the brink of extinction by the Hir and his followers. For four hundred years, their legacy faded from memory waiting for the hope of Aferi to be renewed…

In the Land of Yet

At the edge of the Forbidden Forest

A young woman lives alone.

Forced to fend for herself after the brutal murder of her family, Ameenah Yemini has made a life for herself as a master tanner and farmer, only venturing into the world to earn her living then return to the safety and seclusion of her home.

Until a chance encounter brings her work to the attention of the powerful Hir and her careful life begins to unravel.

Drawn to the hidden magic that lingers in everything she touches, the new Hir insists on having her for himself, using the people around her to force Ameenah into his grasp.

When she realizes that her greatest enemy may hold the key to a secret she thought lost to her forever, Ameenah is determined to reclaim her stolen past.  But, at what cost? As an ancient power waits to be unleashed, Ameenah’s choices will make the difference between awakening a new magic or delivering it into the hands of evil.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

 
Patrick Turns His Play into Pay is a cute picture book.  It is written in rhyme meter.  A little boy who is in need of money and solves his problem buy baking something yummy to sell and get some money.  His Madea teaches him the basics and Dad and Mom help when they don't have the money to give him right on hand.  If you have a young budding entrepreneur be sure to get this book to help motivate them to keep their dream alive at all cost, even when they get told no with the first few customers.  The illustrations in this book look as though they are done in chalk or pencil.  Can't wait to read other books in this series. 

______________________








South Florida based janitor turned serial entrepreneur, Patrick Muhammad took what some would call an unconventional route to his newest venture.  “What I do now has evolved.  It truly took my passion and has turned it into a profession for me. I can see myself mentoring and sharing my story with young people easily for the next 20 years.  I love talking to young people and showing them, what entrepreneurship looks like. I love sharing my stories of how I came to be.  I didn’t just wake up one day and have all the answers.  My wife and I bumped our head A LOT.  I just want to say to them, look…here’s the blueprint.  Start now, don’t wait until you’re 30.  Passion has no age requirement, and has no limit on how many you can have. I started out as a janitor, then became a baker now I am into motivational speaking. They just have to have the passion and guidance. Anything is possible.”

“Patrick Turns His Play Into Pay” is the 1st book in a series of children’s books authored by husband and wife writing partners, Shani and Patrick Muhammad. The idea for the book was created one night while trying to explain the reason there was a gigantic, neon, pink and orange food-truck, now sitting in their front yard to their then 4 year-old Qadeer.   Patrick and his wife came up with the idea that they would write a keepsake item for all their children, detailing the road they took to becoming entrepreneurs.  The primary message is simple. By tapping into your passion early in life you can turn your playdays into paydays.  Once the book was published they both realized that the story could not only inspire their own children to entrepreneurship, but others as well. Shani figured out how to self-publish it and Patrick would take it to different youth groups in his community.   “I began shopping the book around to childcare centers and non-profits that served young people in the projects and the adults loved it.  “They really loved the idea that it was based on a true story and that the message was coming from a black male perspective. A story their children could relate to.  The images were brown like them and I just always got a positive response.  We took that book everywhere with us, and the response was this is a message that’s needed.  Children can’t be what they can’t see.”

Patrick currently lives in South Florida with his wife and three of his youngest five children.  He has a passion for planting the seed of entrepreneurship and carving out wealth building opportunities for his children’s generation. When he’s not writing books he’s on tour, speaking to groups of young people about basic principles of financial literacy and the benefits of early investing using cryptocurrency as a vehicle to establish future financial goals. When he’s not doing that…he’s on a creek with a fishing pole in his hand.

Shani Muhammad has been married to Patrick for 17 years now.  Together they have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.   Shani has spent the past 15 years in a classroom as a teacher. She too is a serial entrepreneur and has in the past owned a one-price shoe store, group homes and several online businesses. When she’s not working on the next children’s book in their series, she too enjoys researching and investing in crypto currencies and planning her family’s next “staycation.”

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
 




Tuesday, October 8, 2019

CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART by: Sheila Roberts



CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART
Sheila Roberts
* Women's Fiction *


Title: CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 304
Genre: Women’s Fiction



Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

★★★★★ORDER YOUR COPY★★★★★

Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/y2tcsaog

 Barnes & Noble → https://tinyurl.com/yyod48yz

AudioBooks → https://tinyurl.com/y42jfzfs

Audiblehttps://tinyurl.com/y3z72gwn

iTuneshttps://tinyurl.com/y65o3rzz

______________________
Author Sheila Roberts put together a beautiful modern day scrooge story with a touch of romance that you won't be able to put down.  Christmas is always thought of as family and romance time so Roberts adds that into the mix.  You travel to Olivia Berg's little known town, Pine River, WA and see how they celebrate as a community even when big enterprises fail to meet holiday giving expectations.  My copy of the book has unfortunately seen it's better days as it has traveled with me as I've read it.  It has seen a can of pop explode on it's pages as well as been water logged as my water bottle spilled in my bag I was carrying it in. But none the less I had a hard time putting the book down.  In the back of the book there are some special Christmas tips and recipes.  It's a good book to curl up and read getting yourself into the holiday spirit.   However, if you are one that prefers no slang/cursing there are some words mingled thought out.  
______________________


The scenery on Highway 2 was travel magazine worthy. Guy had seen enough of the world to know heaven when he saw it, and Western Washington with its lush trees, sparkling waters and mountains was, indeed, heaven. Not a bad detour if you had to take one.
Guy roared through Monroe, then Sultan and Skyway, racing past forests and rivers, pastures, and barns. The snow was really starting to come down. He’d have to stop and chain up once he reached the pass.
Three miles past Gold Bar his steering lost power, turning the car from a smooth driving, purring tiger to a rhino. He checked the dash and saw his alternator light was on. What was this? He pulled over, got out and opened the hood and looked under it to discover that his serpentine belt had broken. No notice, sudden as a heart attack.
Except for that squeal. He’d heard it earlier, too, but hadn’t paid attention.
He had no choice but to pay attention now. Guy may not have been an expert on cars but he did know that without that belt, he was going nowhere.
Frowning, he pulled his cell phone out of his North Face jacket. He hoped he wouldn’t have to wait long for his towing service to get to him. Who knew where they could tow him. Would he find a garage anywhere that would have a belt for an Italian sports car?
No cell reception. Oh, yeah, it just got better and better.
“Great,” he muttered. He’d just had this baby tuned up a couple months back. He shouldn’t be stuck here in the middle of nowhere. Why had he paid extra at the foreign car dealership for all those maintenance checks if they weren’t going to check and maintain everything?
There was nothing for it. He’d have to walk back to town and find a phone.
He slammed the hood shut, pulled his boots out of the trunk and put them on, still frowning. He liked snow, he was fit enough to walk ten miles if he had to. He just didn’t want to. He wanted to reach his destination. Thanks to whatever Gremlins had hopped in his engine along the way that probably wasn’t happening today.
He was just starting his trudge to town when an older model Honda Civic passed him and then stopped. It backed up and the passenger side window slid down. “Looks like you’ve got car troubles. Would you like a lift?” offered the driver.
Hadn’t this woman’s dad ever told her never to pick up strangers? If she was his sister he’d sure rip her a new one for stopping to let some man in her car, even in a blizzard. She had green eyes, curly hair the color of honey and plump, little kiss-me lips. Any crazy would climb right in and do who knew what to her.
Guy wasn’t crazy, but he was pissed, and in no mood to make polite conversation.
 “That’s okay, I’m fine,” he said, and continued to trudge on.
Freezing his ass off. Okay, maybe he was crazy.
Except, pissed as he was, he’d generate more than enough steam to keep warm.
She sure was cute though.
She coasted along beside him, backwards. “Not that you don’t look fit enough to walk, but it’s a ways in either direction. Cell phone reception can be spotty.”
He’d already discovered that.
“Maybe you’re afraid of girls?” she teased.
Not this girl. She had a smile like a magnet. Did he really want to walk back to Gold Bar?
He got in. “Thanks. I appreciate the lift.”
“Where are you headed?”
Idaho. Christmas with the family.” Step-family.
“Oh, my. You took the long way.”
“I had to stop in Arlington and pick up something for my mom.”
She nodded and smiled, obviously impressed by what a good son he was. Was this woman always so trusting?
He felt compelled to ask, “You don’t always go around picking up strangers, do you?”
“Oh, no.” She smiled. Man, those lips.
“That’s good. Cause you never know what kind of crazies are out there.”
“You didn’t look like one.”
“Ted Bundy probably didn’t either. Ever hear of him?” Okay, that sounded creepy.
Her smile faltered momentarily.
“I promise I’m not a serial killer,” he said in an effort to uncreep himself.
The smile returned full force. “I didn’t think so. I’m a good judge of character.”
“Yeah?” Suddenly he was feeling a little less pissed.
“Oh, yes,” she said with a nod that made the curls bounce.
He was a sucker for curly hair. You hardly ever saw women with real curly hair anymore. Why was that?
“And what makes you such a good judge of character?” he teased. She smelled like peppermint. He wondered if this little cutie was taken. Hard to tell since she was wearing gloves. There had to be a ring on that left hand. She looked about thirty, and by their thirties hotties like this one were never single. Or if they were they came with baggage.
“I deal with a lot of people. You get so you know.”
“Yeah? What do you do?” Coffee shop waitress, perhaps? Judging by the car she was driving, nothing that paid much.
“I run a non-profit.”
Oh, no. One of those. A person out to help others … using someone else’s money, of course. The memory of his unpleasant encounter with Olivia Berg arrived on the scene, irritating as jock itch. He could feel his jaw tightening.
This woman isn’t Olivia Berg. Don’t take your irritation out on her. “What’s the name of your organization?” he asked, the very image of diplomatic courtesy.
“Christmas from the Heart.”
“Christmas from…?” Oh, no. This wasn’t happening. This was some sick dream.
“Have you heard of it?”
“Uh, yeah.” The last thing he wanted was to be captive in a car with this woman. “Hey, any place you can drop me where there’s a phone will be great.” In fact, let me get out of this car right here, right now.
“I can do better than that. We’re not far from Pine River where I live,” she said. “We’ve got a garage there and Morris Bentley is an excellent mechanic. They can tow your car and have it fixed in no time.”
The sooner the better.
“My name’s Olivia Berg. My friends call me Livi.”
He would not qualify for friendship once she learned who he was. As far as this woman was concerned he was the devil incarnate.
She gave him an encouraging glance. And your name is?
Oh, boy. He could feel the sweat sneaking out of his pores. He’d been perfectly justified in cutting loose her little charity. He had no cause to feel guilty. None. But there she was smiling at him like they were on the road to friendship. Little Olivia Berg, the great judge of character. And here he was, feeling like Scrooge in front of a firing squad. With no blindfold.
Even though he had nothing to be ashamed of he couldn’t seem to spit out his name. Lie.
“Joe.” Yeah, Joe. Good, old everyman Joe.
Her expression asked, “Joe What?”
Joe…Joe… Why was this woman so pushy?
A truck rolled past, sending up a rooster tail of snow. “Ford,” he added. “Joe Ford.”
“Nice to meet you, Joe.”
She wouldn’t be saying that if she knew who he was.




 

______________________







Best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books published in a dozen different languages and made into movies for both the Hallmark and Lifetime channels. She’s happily married and lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not hanging out with girlfriends, speaking to women’s groups or going dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

★WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS★





http://www.pumpupyourbook.com