Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: May 20, 2016
Praise for Finding Rose Rocks
About Karen Ginther Graham
by Stacey Keith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Deep in the heart of Texas is a small town where secret wishes have a funny way of coming true . . .
With a nine-year-old daughter, an overdue light bill, and a job slinging burgers while zooming around on roller skates, Cassidy Roby is not living the glamorous life. But Cuervo, Texas, has its charms: quiet streets, loving family, and the down-home familiarity of knowing which of your neighbors are mean as snakes. With Cassidy’s reputation, she knows what will happen if she steps a foot out of line. But how can she help it now that Mason Hannigan’s back in town?
As Cuervo’s high school quarterback ten years ago, Mason was all rock-hard abs and yes-ma’am manners. Now that he’s living the glitz and glory of the NFL, he’s all that plus a couple million bucks. The desire blazing between them is too hot to hide. Cassidy has some experience getting her heart broken by the hometown hero—and having the whole world watch her try to pick up the pieces. Will adding fame, fortune, and paparazzi be a playbook for disaster—or lead to the biggest adventure of her life?
She slid off her ten-speed and walked it across the street where the awnings created deep shadow. He couldn’t see her now, but through the window she could see him perfectly. He and his friends were shooting pool. For a moment she just stood there taking it in, the lazy dangerous strength of his body as he lined up a shot, his easy smile, the way his forearms rippled beneath the rolled-up shirt sleeves. And despite her earlier contentment, a wave of desire crashed over her so fiercely, her knees went weak.
Stacey Keith is the award-winning author of the Dreams Come True series (Kensington Books), DREAM ON, SWEET DREAMS and DREAM LOVER, in addition to A WEDDING ON BLUEBIRD WAY with New York Times Bestseller authors Janet Dailey, Lori Wilde and the talented Allyson Charles.
Twice a Golden Heart finalist, Stacey has won a Maggie, two Silver Quills, a Jasmine, a Heart of the Rockies, and over fifteen other first-place finishes in Romance Writers of America contests.
An avid writer of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and short stories, Stacey doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, which are crammed into all corners of the house. She now lives in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church.
The two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla genovese without burning down the kitchen and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.
The Sweetheart Mystery
Brash & Brazen #4
by Cheryl Ann Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Harper Jane Evans is so over pro cheerleading but she’s not quite ready for prison. Good thing she’s got a badass ex-boyfriend ready to go to bat for her . . .
Sure, Harper made a few unsavory threats against her team’s manager—she’d had a few drinks and she despised the skimpy uniform he expected her to wear. That didn’t mean she wanted him dead. But when the sleazy dude is found murdered in his tighty whiteys, Harper is the number one suspect—and former FBI agent Noah Slade is the one man who can help. Too bad she once told Noah she never wanted to see him again . . .
Noah may have done a number on Harper’s heart all those years ago, but he’s determined to do right by her now. Yet the fiery beauty isn’t the only demon from his past, which makes hunting down a murderer by her side . . . complicated—never mind the powerful attraction still pulsing between them. Good thing he’s willing to do just about anything to keep from losing Harper again. And an old love just might bring her a new career—assuming she can stay out of jail . . .
Harper dug through her closet and pulled out a little red dress that she’d been saving for a special occasion. A charity event with Noah was the perfect place to dust it off. Small crystals edged the hem and bodice, giving the dress sparkle and she needed sparkle. After his comment in the car, she wanted to knock Noah’s feet out from under him.
Since his confession, she’d been feeling warm and fuzzy. Despite locking down her heart with a chain Noah couldn’t break, she just couldn’t completely shake him off.
Yes, she agreed to sex, no frills, all fun, sex. But she couldn’t quite fully give him her trust.
What if they dated, got married, and had kids? Then something crappy happened. Would Noah run for refuge with another woman? He had before. Could she take that risk?
Equal parts of her were worried, and ready, to take the next step. She so wanted to test his lovemaking skills.
With the tide turning away from her as his best suspect, Mignon was unlikely to interrupt her and Noah again. By the end of the evening, she hoped to be knee deep in the sheets with a warm and naked Noah.
After showering and flat ironing her hair for a different look, she put on makeup and a barely-there red bra and matching tiny panties. Next, she slipped into the dress and loved the feel of the satin against her bare skin.
Shoes with sparkles on the straps completed the picture. She’d just found her dress clutch when Noah arrived. She’d left the door unlocked. “You ready?” he called out.
Taking a deep breath with her hand on her chest, she walked into the living room on high heels.
Noah went still. “Wow.”
Dressed in a tux with a white shirt and bowtie, he was heart-stoppingly handsome. Not only had he shaved, but he’d had his hair trimmed. “Yeah, wow back.”
She joined him. He took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist, sending tingles up her arm. Up close, he smelled spicy and male. If not for the chance to speak to Betty Anne, and having spent too much time on her hair, she would’ve chucked their plans and taken him right to the bedroom.
Noah offered her his arm. “Is it appropriate to be very aroused right now?”
Laughing, she linked her arm through his. “I hear you.” She steered him to the door before she lost her resolve to behave. Going with an attempted baseball analogy, she said, “You’re pitching pheromones that I’m catching.”
National bestselling author Cheryl Ann Smith became hooked on romance at age fourteen when she stayed up all night to read The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her own writing journey happened much later, when one afternoon she ran out of books and decided to write her own. Previously, she has published five sexy Regency novels and one novella with Berkley in her School for Brides series.
Ben “Midas” Gates is the leader of his Delta Force team and is leading a mission to shut down a known terrorist working out of Panama and rescue hostages. When he arrives he discovers the mission is anything but easy and becomes even more complicated because he knows one of the hostages. It was a woman he had been in love with growing up and ran away from thirteen years ago.
The mission isn’t a complete failure but the team discovers someone set them up to fail and they don’t take failure as an option. With the aid of Hannah who has inside information on their terrorist and who may know who set them up, Ben does all in his power not to fall for the only woman he has ever loved.
I grew up with a love of reading and writing. I wrote my first story at the age of 12 and my first book at 16. I love reading anything romance and I have a deep love for history. All my stories are about people who come from all different walks of life but all want to love and be loved.
Ranch owner, Trevor Wild, loves nothing more than spending his day in the saddle riding in the Texas sun. He’s passionate about being the latest generation of Wild man to breed quarter horses on Wildhorse Ranch. But in the aftermath of inheriting a bad business deal the Ranch is in serious financial trouble, and this serious cowboy needs to look outside the box to save his family’s pride and joy.
Glamping guru, Sabrina Hearthstone, is the best of the best at what she does, and she could very well be Trevor’s saving grace. The blonde beauty arrives at Wildhorse Ranch ready to get the job done. She’s all business when it comes to bringing a little luxury to the leather and dirt clad Ranch. But soon she’ll realize that to renovate the Ranch for Glamping she may have to renovate it’s cowboy too.
Sabrina is tempting on a whole lot of levels for Trevor—when he gives into both her touch, and the 1,000 thread count bed sheets, he finds that she soothes his soul. However, Sabrina’s world is a difficult thing for the hardened cowboy to accept. Trevor will have to learn to accept Sabrina and her changes to his world, not only to save Wildhorse Ranch, but to save a love he never expected to find.
“Huh?” Sabrina glanced up to take him in again, and dropped the side of the log she was holding. Trevor grimaced and set his end down, also. The way his mouth tended to frown naturally—and only deepen when he was annoyed or working—distinguished him from his more approachable twin brother.
“No…I mean, wow. You really aren’t, are you?” Now that Sabrina had halted operations, Trevor straightened to regard her in turn. The way she looked him over, with eyes as wide and summer-blue as the Texas sky, made him acutely aware of just how closely they stood.
“No. I really am not,” he agreed. He wondered how much Trent let her get away with while he was gone. Sabrina Hearthstone had a face as pretty as an angel’s—pair that with her ridiculously tight, stone-washed designer jeans, and he doubted his brother had been willing to deny her much. She was the living, breathing lyric of a country song standing before him—the worshipped, vaunted city girl—and for the first time, Trevor contemplated how much trouble he might be in having her on his property.
At least they had managed to agree on one important detail so far: he wasn’t his brother Trent. While the Sheriff of Lockhart Bend might be willing to let certain behaviors slide, Trevor expected a rigid adherence to his rules. If she already found him more serious, more commanding, than his twin brother, then it might make his job a hell of a lot easier.
“So, you must be Trevor,” Sabrina deduced. “The owner. Unless you’re triplets I wasn’t aware of,” she appeared to mutter to herself. She extended a slender hand to him, and Trevor removed one of his gloves before taking it in his own. He wondered what his callouses must feel like rubbing against her soft skin. She didn’t draw back immediately, which he also found curious. They held the handshake a few seconds longer than strictly necessary before Sabrina withdrew and flushed a little.
“Sorry I mistook you for your brother,” she apologized. “I guess I didn’t realize you’d be back today.”
“I keep to a schedule,” Trevor stated. “Which is something you’re throwing off already, Miss Hearthstone.” He nodded toward the scraps she had accumulated on the porch. “I’m tossing that wood out in the quarterly clear-out.” She stared at him blankly. “That’s tomorrow. You want to keep any of it for arts and crafts, I expect you to go through it all today.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Wild, but this isn’t for arts and crafts,” Sabrina protested. She gestured toward her woodpile selections. “This is upcycling! I’m going to make good use of this stuff. If we want to attract customers and garner favorable reviews, then we’re going to need to liven up the living spaces with a few rustic decorations.”
Upcycling. Great. Another made-up word. Trevor hooked his thumbs in his belt and didn’t budge an inch, predicting his silence would be enough to settle the matter. Generally speaking, it was. Today, however, his natural powers of intimidation appeared to be diminished after the long drive. Sabrina had her hands on her hips, her dark pink lips pursed in challenge. For the life of him he couldn’t decide if her expression was meant to convey a fight or invite a kiss.
“And it’s going to take me longer than a day to figure out what I can and can’t use here,” she clarified.
“You signed a contract,” he said. “And part of that contract clearly states you agree to adhere to the ranch’s schedule.” And my rules, he was going to add, before Sabrina interrupted him unexpectedly.
“How about time for coffee?” she said. She turned away from him to start up the front steps to the porch, before throwing offhand over her shoulder: “I assume there’s room in the ranch’s schedule for that?”
The offer sounded like a tactical maneuver rather than a true invitation, but he followed her up the steps to the bunkhouse despite his suspicion. He couldn’t help noticing the sequins studded around the back pockets of her jeans. The detail—and only that detail—drew his attention to Sabrina’s pert hindquarters. She sure could fill a pair of impractical pants. The denim might as well have been painted onto those shapely, athletic legs of hers. He doubted she could fully bend over in them but would have been willing to be proved wrong.
“You were at a conference, right? How did it go?” Sabrina smiled perkily as she took the bunkhouse pot off the burner and poured them each a mug of coffee. Trevor hovered in the doorway, studying her change in expression and still wondering if he was being taken for a ride. He would have thought then that she certainly had the cheerful demeanor to be successful in her chosen profession…if he didn’t still have doubts that her chosen profession actually existed.
“It went fine.” The impromptu conference had given him a lot to chew on, and he felt cautiously optimistic about the future of Wildhorse’s breeding program for the first time since he had taken a chance and hired an adventure coordinator. If he was being honest with himself, he didn’t like the fact that he had to call on Trent to help Sabrina move in. Trevor was the ranch owner, and he would have rather seen to the matter himself—but his meeting with the other breeders in the area couldn’t be put on hold.
He accepted the mug of coffee Sabrina handed him and settled back against the porch railing. The blonde leaned against the outside of the bunkhouse, crossing her legs and folding her arms, pursing her kissable lips and blowing steam off her own mug.
“I got in touch with your company originally because the ranch needs another source of income,” he began.
“Obviously.” She flexed a grin to let him know she was on the same page.
“But I’m not giving up the quarter horse breeding program. It’s what we’ve done here for three generations, since my grandad’s day. It’s the heart and soul of this ranch, and it’s what Wildhorse is known for.” Trevor scowled, hoping to stamp his next point home. “So, I don’t want our programs intersecting, Miss Hearthstone. You see to coordinating the campers and keep them out of my hair, and I go about my business as usual, including paying your company’s fee.”
“Fine, Mr. Wild. Just so long as you understand what I most certainly won’t be doing is keeping our campers out of the stables,” Sabrina fired back. “You can’t expect anyone to have even a half-baked glamping experience—nor can you expect them to spread positive word-of-mouth and leave us glowing reviews—if our customers aren’t even allowed to experience the horses. You tell me what barns to stay out of, and I will—but judging by the tour Trent gave me, there’s plenty of stable space for all of us. Besides,” Sabrina continued as she smiled once more, “contrary to what you may think, I’ve been around horses before. I happen to know that most ranch animals enjoy the extra attention and go on to live happy, more fulfilled lives as a result. You wouldn’t deny your horses that, would you?”
Trevor didn’t like that she was pushing for such a huge compromise already, but now seemed like the perfect time to segue into what he really wanted to talk about: rules. He withdrew a folded set of documents from the inner pocket of his jacket and passed them to her.
“Then you stick to the schedule I’ve laid out for you,” he said. He allowed himself a moment to privately relish the look of horror that crossed her face. He had guessed from the start that she was the type of woman to flout the rules, but he intended to put an end to that behavior before it had even begun. He sipped his coffee and watched as Sabrina riffled through the multi-page document.
“This is…why are there checklists?” she asked incredulously. She rattled the pages at him. “Do you actually expect me to fill these out and turn them back in to you?”
Leslie North is the USA Today Bestselling pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.
The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.
Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.
She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don’t hesitate to contact her!
A military police officer on the verge of a new beginning. A beautiful woman devoted to her career and her dream of putting down roots. The hardest thing they’ll ever do is to take a chance on love . . .
Navy Chief Master at Arms Jackson “Jax” Faraday is at a crossroads. He has to decide whether to reenlist or get out while he’s young enough to make a difference in the civilian world. Either choice could mean leaving behind his girl: his K-9 partner, Bella. But when she’s injured during a training session, Jax’s only concern is making sure she’s okay.
As the Navy base veterinarian, town local Risa Reynolds is right where she belongs: close to her parents in a farmhouse full of animals—with room to grow. She’s seen enough to put military men are on her “not happening” list, because they always leave.
But when a tall, hazel-eyed sailor arrives in her clinic with his dog in his arms, Risa finds herself falling hard. And all kinds of rules will get broken when Jax, a man who sticks to the straight and narrow, learns that there’s no predicting the twists and turns of the heart . . .
He should have been worried about his future. Time was running out for him to make a decision—stay in the Navy or get out—and the detailer was breathing down his neck. But the decision to throw away the past twelve years wasn’t easy.
He wanted more.
If NCIS—Naval Criminal Investigative Service—would make a decision on his application, that would be great. But what if they turned him down? Did he stay in for twenty years and retire? Then what? Start over at the bottom? Go home to a one-stoplight town with a police force that spent all its time dealing with bored teens wreaking havoc or frustrated couples fighting? Work security for one of the nearby casinos? All viable options, just not what he wanted.
He wanted to make a difference.
He shoved away the nagging questions. He had more pressing concerns. Like what was wrong with Bella, which was why he was at the base training center, even though his shift was officially over.
“Come on, Bella. Give me your best for an hour, and then I’ve got a treat for you.” He wagged the Frisbee to get her attention. Instead, Bella whined and flicked her ear.
“Hey, Jax. Heard we had a win in the courtroom today.” Chief Casey Thomas drove his Jeep up next to the chain-link fence.
“Stone? Yeah, he’s going away for a good couple of years for that little video stunt of his. Not that it makes up for what he put Lieutenant Riley through, but it’s a start.”
“Me and a couple of the guys are going to grab some grub and head out to the beach. Enjoy what’s left of summer. Come join us.” Casey drummed his fingers on the outside of the driver’s door, giving away he had more on his mind than a night’s celebration.
“What’s up with you, man? You seem agitated.” He and Casey went back a ways; spent some time in the sandbox together. Normally the guy was as easygoing as cool beer slipping down your throat on a summer day. “Got my orders in today.” Casey slid out of the vehicle and walked
through the gate. “I’m heading to Pensacola.” “Isn’t your ex-wife there?”
“Near enough.” Casey squatted down and scratched Bella’s ears. “Did you hear back on your application yet?”
“You know what they say: No news is good news.” At least he hoped that’s what it meant.
“You know what you need? To find a nice lady who can take some of your stress away and make you forget your worries.”
“The only lady I need in my life is Belladonna.” “She’s a little hairy and full of attitude.”
“Aw, but you forget. She loves me unconditionally and always has my six.” “Not lately.” Casey stood and looked out at the obstacle course. “The new handler had her out this morning, running her through basic commands, and she ignored them all. I know you two have a tight bond, especially after two tours, but you’re leaving soon. She’s got to get used to new people.” Bella had been more than his partner while deployed; she’d been his anchor, his pillar of strength, his confidant, and his hope when all seemed lost. She wasn’t just his K-9 partner. She was his family, and the idea of leaving her was ripping him apart inside. Chances were she could sense
his mood and the turmoil going on inside.
“Which is why I’m passing on your offer.” Jax released the German shepherd’s leash. “Thought I’d do some special one-on-one training with her and see how it goes. Find out if it’s the new guy or her.”
“She wouldn’t be the first dog to burn out.” Casey looked down at the dog, who hadn’t moved. “Of course, if she’s declared unfit for duty, you could adopt her. But then, what would you do with her while you’re in Glynco for NCIS training?”
Jax dropped the leash and Frisbee on top of his backpack and looked into the brilliant blue sky. He’d been playing the “what if” game for two months now with no answers in sight.
“Let’s deal with one problem at a time.”
“If you change your mind about tonight, you know where to find us.” Casey waved as he hopped back into his Jeep and drove off.
Jax squatted down and ran his hand down Bella’s back. “Okay girl, let’s get the work over so we can play.” Truthfully, everything they did was work. The game of Frisbee honed the dog’s speed, agility, and tracking ability just as much as anything else they did. She simply liked it better than the obstacle course. Not that Jax blamed her.
Jax stood up and gave the hand signal for sit.
The dog looked at him, then closed her eyes with a deep sigh. “Bella, sit,” he commanded.
She rolled over onto her side and laid her paw across her nose. Casey really nailed it with his description. The dog was full of attitude—bad attitude—and a military working dog that didn’t follow orders was of no use to the service.
Jax went through the commands again and again, getting no response. The two of them had worked together for almost six years, since Bella’s first assignment, and she’d transferred with him from the Middle East to the Sub base. In all that time, she’d never ignored an order from him. He bent back down and gave her a cursory inspection, but he didn’t find any obvious reason for the dog to balk. Concerned, Jax sat down on the ground next to his partner.
“Bella girl, talk to me. What’s going on in that brain of yours? Is it the heat? Don’t you like the new guy? Tired of the same old routine? Trust me, I’d understand if that was the problem. Maybe we should call it a night, and tomorrow go see Doc and make sure you’re okay.”
Bella scooted closer and laid her head on Jax’s lap, her tail thumping in the grass.
“You gotta be okay, girl.” Absently, he scratched behind her ears as he thought of the past six years. “I don’t think I could handle it if we’d come this far and something happened to you.”
Jax leaned forward and picked up the Frisbee. As he talked about nothing to the dog, he tossed the toy up and caught it, making no demands on Bella. Pretty soon she was sitting, her gaze following the disc.
“Ah ha. Okay, I get it. There are times when I don’t feel like working either. I’ll make a deal with you. Five minutes of play and then a lap around the course. Deal?”
Bella barked in response.
Jax laughed and jumped to his feet, relieved to see her respond like her old self. He threw the Frisbee, and Bella took off at the speed of light. She caught the disc and returned it.
They repeated it again and again.
“Okay, last one and then we work.” Jax threw it with all his strength. The disc flew up. Bella chased, but instead of running straight across the lawn, she ran up the stairs of the dog walk. When she got to the top, she jumped and caught the disc in her mouth. But as she came down, she twisted. The scene before him unfolded in slow motion. He ran, reaching for Bella. Almost there. He dove to catch her but it was too late. Bella crashed to the ground a couple of feet in front of him, letting out a yelp that made
Jax’s stomach cramp. He crawled to her side.
Thank God she was breathing. He ran his hands over her body. Nothing protruded and there was no blood, but she was crying.
Carefully, Jax scooped her up and ran for his truck. “Hang on, baby.
Everything’s going to be okay.”
And he prayed like he hadn’t done since his last night in the desert. Just like now, Bella had been at his side and they’d been pinned down by enemy fire. He’d prayed that night that they’d make it home alive and in one piece. He prayed now that his dog would live, because even though she technically belonged to the U.S. Navy, she was the love of his life.
Gail Chianese’s love of reading began at the tender age of three, when she’d make her grandpa read Fourteen Country Rabbits over and over and over again (and correct him when he skipped parts). While she’s branched out over the years by reading mystery, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy, she always circles back to romance in the end. That’s probably because she’s married to her real life hero. Her wonderful hubby has served in the US Navy for the past twenty two years and he’s done things he can’t tell her about. But it doesn’t stop her from being extremely proud of him and the sacrifices he makes for her, his family, and his country. He’s also uber-supportive of her dreams and of their three children. Living in Mystic, CT and a member of Connecticut Romance Writers of America, Gail loves to hear from readers.
Is it more important to have roots, or wings?
Garrett Oliver has just settled into his job as heir apparent to one of the most renowned master gardeners in the country. After a difficult few years, he’s found a home and a renewed purpose at a famed resort in the secluded Smoky Mountains. The stars seem to be aligning for Garrett as he plans a future with his college sweetheart and envisions a simple life with her in the mountains of East Tennessee.
Willow Armstrong, fresh off a painful breakup, is coming home to Knoxville to care for her ailing father. She finds herself in the right place at the right time, landing a dream job alongside Garrett—as his boss. As they are thrown together by their work, an undeniable magnetism grows between them, despite the fact that Garrett is ready to start a future with someone else.
Circumstances persist in drawing them closer, and an unexpected opportunity in Colorado prompts Willow and Garrett to wonder if a life together out west might be beyond anything either of them had dared to imagine.
This seemed like the perfect time in my life to jump back into doing something I love; writing and telling stories. No one was more surprised than me when I ended up with 65,000 words in my lap last spring! I called it Walland, and it was published in August of 2016. My second book, Seeds of Intention will be published on September 5, 2017, and as we speak, I’ve started to write a new book, the third in the Hesse Creek Series.
In my spare time, I love photography and travel, preferably at the same time. My novels are inspired by favorite places I’ve traveled, each of which have left vivid footprints on my imagination. I believe a book can be steamy and sexy, while still keeping it classy. I also love to infuse my characters with great senses of humor.