Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lyn Cote Asks: Can a Grandmother be a Heroine?

 In my next romantic suspense in my Northern Shore Intrigue series, UNCERTAIN SPRING, my heroine is an early fifty-something widowed grandmother. 

That’s why I asked my question in the subject line. Here’s the first page of the book. Does it grab your interest? Do you mind that Lois is not in her twenties?

The Beginning of Uncertain Spring

Driving north late at night, Lois blinked to keep herself awake. Just a few more miles. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the snow. But she’d never returned to the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior in March. This winter Florida had been…different, odd-feeling. All her usual activities, even golf and  teaching her self-defense classes for women at the Y, had palled. Evie’s twelve year old voice played in her mind, “Grandma, I wish you were here.” That phone call had instantly made everything clear—at last. She’d closed up her house and started north. Now drawing so near her destination prompted the familiar ache to clutch her heart.

A sudden blast of wind and snow caught her car and her attention. She slowed and kept her focus on the yellow line in her headlights. The wind batted her car as if it were a rowboat in a storm, not a Lexus SUV. She drew a deep breath as she glimpsed landmarks that said her lake home waited just ahead. From the county highway, she turned down the long lane to her house, her headlights illuminating the triple garage doors ahead. Her goal in sight, she sighed and slowed to a crawl, aiming her door remote. The door rose. 

Something leaped up against her driver’s side window. She shrieked in shock. Slammed on the brakes.

A dog barked with panic, not aggression. He wasn’t growling The large golden retriever braced his snow-clogged front paws against the edge below the window, and continued barking. She couldn’t ignore the panic and the frenzy in his tone. Something clicked in her memory. Her own childhood dog had barked just like this, summoning help when her little sister had fallen out of the tree and had been knocked unconscious. He needs help. Something’s happened.

Lois turned off the car and cautiously opened the door. “Hey, fella, what’s up?” she said, automatically slipping into her speak-to-dog voice, one she hadn’t used in years. 

The dog sprang away and then halted. And then looked back and with his body language alone  beckoned her to follow. 

She took a step and then halted. “Just a minute, fella.” She hurried around the car and opened the back hatch and pulled out her winter emergency pack. The dog leaped around her still urging her to come—come now. From the ample pouch, she pulled out a flashlight and an old navy blue wool blanket. She checked that she had her cell phone in her pocket. The wind hit her. She zipped up the jacket and pulled up her hood. “Okay, boy. Let’s go!” 

So what do you think? Does a grandmother deserve a second chance at love? Perhaps a ruggedly handsome veterinarian? :-)—Lyn Cote
Click here to pre-order at 25% off till March 26th.

Do you read short stories? @MagdalenaScott

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I'm reading a full-length novel (about 400 pages) for the library book club, but my nighttime book is a short story collection. These little romances average around twenty paperback pages each.

They are the perfect length for me to relax and be ready to fall asleep.

My question to you: Do you ever read short stories?

If not, what is your favorite length of romance story? Two hundred pages? Three? Four?

Today (February 28th) is the last day for the 99 cent deal on my novella, WHERE HER HEART IS. This is book three in the McClains of Legend, Tennessee series.

Betsy McClain left Legend, Tennessee two years ago, with a broken heart, a baby to care for, and precious little else. She’s done well in the city, and so has daughter LizBeth Ann. A heartfelt request from Dorothy McClain is the only thing that could bring them back to Legend, even temporarily.

Mike McClain wants to get to know his only child, but Betsy isn’t cutting him any slack. Good looks and the old McClain charm seem to be failing him. Betsy is not the same love-struck girl he married, nor the girl who left Legend in a flurry of anger and tears. But he’s changed too. Can’t she see that?

Mike is renovating the house where Betsy and LizBeth Ann are staying. Everyone in Legend would like to see them get back together. The only thing standing in the way is Betsy’s stubbornness…or is it Mike’s?

Or go to the book page at your favorite online vendor: Buy ebook

Friday, February 26, 2021

How characters are named

What's in a name? Shakespeare put those words into Juliet's mouth half a millennium ago, and people have been asking each other that question ever since. We laugh at "funny" names and grimace at others. I went to college with the daughter of William Lear, of Lear Jet. Her name was Crystal. Nice, huh? Until you hear her full name: Crystal Shanda Lear. Really. I've always wondered why he made his child the butt of a joke. Maybe he didn't see it that way?

Also in our college was a basketball star named Kresimir Cosic He was a handsome kid, a good student, and a collegiate All-American. His name sounded odd to me then because I was a sheltered teenager who had never heard Croatian names. I'm sure my very English name sounded peculiar to him.

For authors, who are sticking names on characters virtually every time we sit down to work, naming becomes an interesting sort of game. Hmmm. My heroine in this story needs a pair of good friends she can confide in and trust. What shall I call them? I spend a moment deciding  whether I may want to write other books in the same series with the friends as the main characters. If so, I'll need names that work for a long time. 

Years ago, well after I'd stopped naming children, I bought baby name books. Later, I turned to the Internet. The whole process became simpler when I realized names are generational. (I know; it took me a while.) Names like Mary, Betty, Norma, and Margaret were popular in the 1930s. So was Dorothy, which is now coming back among the under-10 set. Girls in the 50s and 60s were named Karen, Linda, Sharon, Susan, and Patricia. I was one of five Susans in my high school drum corps.

Biblical names were in when we named our kids, and ours have names right out of the scriptures. For today's new parents, the idea seems either to go back to older names like Adelaide, Emma, and Sadie, three of my granddaughters, or something new and unusual. I have grandsons whose first names are Tanis and Corbridge. My new great-grandson is named Arden.

Once I realized names go in cycles, naming characters became even easier. I decide how old my character is and count back to that year. I look up the most popular names for that time, usually ignoring the first five and choosing something from the next five or ten. It works!

Sometimes an author needs to give her characters unusual names. In my novella, A Monumental Love, the main character is Roxelle. This comes in useful when she starts to make fun of an unusual name she hears and her friend reminds her she shouldn't talk. 

In my newest release, Over the Rainbow (free for a limited time, but only to those who subscribe to my newsletter), I deliberately gave older names to Joan and Bob. Having each of them named for an older relative is one of the things they have in common. As they become acquainted, they find others, many others!

Choosing names is more of the more interesting parts of the work authors, but I'm always grateful that I don't actually have to live with the names I pick. Some of them are doozies.

Susan Aylworth loves travel, most music, words in virtually all polite forms, and really good raspberry jam. Find her at, or write her with your ideas for naming characters at her website or at She's also on Twitter @Susan Aylworth and Facebook ( She loves to hear from readers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Birthday Celebration COVID-Style by Pat Simmons

 I like parades. I always have as a little girl, but what do you do in eight inches of snow?

When I told a friend, who lives in Atlanta, I planned to postpone getting my favorite birthday cake and going out to dinner until the following week. Since the pandemic, carryout or delivery have been the norm when no one is cooking.

The COVID restrictions have crippled our local restaurants in St. Louis. Part of my birthday celebration is dining out, especially when I have incentives. I usually receive birthday coupons from Bristol’s (voted the best place for brunch by me) and Tucanos Brazilian Grill.  However, that restaurant is  located in St. Charles County, only ten minutes over the Missouri River, but they don’t have a mandatory mask mandate. I was willing to venture out if the restaurant practiced social distancing.

Two days before my birthday, my husband decided to brave the snow on the ground and more on its way, so I would have my cake—yay.

My friend in Atlanta would not hear of me NOT having a cake on my birthday, so she had a beautiful one delivered, along with roses, fun candles and sparkles via Instacart. Wow.  I couldn’t help but celebrate.

As far as a gift—well, my February release, HERE FOR YOU, is featured in the March 1, 2021, issue of Woman’s World Magazine, available this week at your store’s checkout. Grab a copy. I’m on page eight.

To purchase HERE FOR YOU:

All that was left was the birthday song, so I serenaded myself live on Facebook.

It was the best COVID-restricted birthday ever! If the video doesn't play, here's the link on Facebook:

For all those February birthday girls, Happy Birthday! Did you do anything exciting?


Pat Simmons is a multi-published Christian romance author with more than thirty-five titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She is a three-time recipient of the Romance Slam Jam Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Pat’s first inspirational women’s fiction, Lean On Me, with Sourcebooks, was the February/March Together We Read Digital Book Club pick for the national library system. Here for You and Stand by Me is also part of the Family is Forever series. Her holiday indie release, Christmas Dinner, and Here for You were featured in Woman’s World, a national magazine. She contributed an article, “I’m Listening” in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now (2021).

Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a life-altering experience. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country. Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatical husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter. Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. She oversaw the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions for fourteen years. Visit her at

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Warming up on a cold, winter day - Laura Ashwood

February has been a ridiculously cold month in nearly every state this year. I'm in northern Minnesota and we are no stranger to cold winters, but it was below zero for nearly two weeks and that get miserable after awhile. One morning it actually got down to -47ºF (without wind). I know that is nothing compared to the states south of us that aren't used to the cold and my heart and prayers are with those that lost power and suffered through the cold snap. 

When it's cold like it was, I tend to hunker down and stay put in the house. My husband, on the other hand, took a day off work to go and cut down trees for our wood furnace, since we'd gone through considerably more wood than usual. (Have I mentioned how grateful and blessed I am to have him lately?) One of my favorite things to do when I am in "hunker down" mode is catch up on my movies and snuggle with my dogs. 

Gus is by far our most cuddly dog. He wants a lap at all times and is perfectly content to spent his day laying with me and letting me mess with his mustache and beard. I know that weighted blankets are popular these days, but I have my own little 10 lb weight that is guaranteed to make me feel more calm and less stressed.

The other thing I love to do when it's cold is make soup. One of my favorites is Chicken Wild Rice Soup. This uses one of Minnesota's native grasses, wild rice, which gives the soup the distinctive, nutty flavor that only wild rice has. (It's truly a grass, not a rice, but it can be found where the rest of the rices are sold). Everyone that has tried this soup loves it, and I hope you do too.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

4 T. butter (1/2 stick)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
4 Carrots, diced 
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
3 quarts chicken broth
2 cups water
4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/4 c. wild rice (uncooked)
1 c heavy whipping cream
Salt & pepper  

In a stock pot, melt butter and add onion, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until vegetables start to soften and onions are translucent. Add garlic, thyme and flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly for about 3 more minutes. Slowly add water, stirring until well incorporated. Add chicken broth, chicken, wild rice and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for an hour. Just before serving, remove from heat and add cream. Stir until mixed. 

Until next month....

xo, Laura


A limited time edition box set of 12 full length-women's fiction novels for only 99¢.

Family and friends you can depend on, close-knit communities who embrace you, and the special animal companions that have a knack for changing lives and bringing us purpose…

A PLACE TO BELONG has them all, ready and waiting for you. Immerse yourself in this 12-book collection of stories about women who rose to the challenges life threw their way and emerged stronger because of it.

Because home isn’t a place. It’s the people (and the animal friends) who give life its purpose.

My story, Summer at Bluefin Bay, is one of the novels included in this great collection.

One man. Two lives. A summer that changes everything.

Abby is devastated when her husband of nearly fifteen years dies in a car accident. Then she’s shocked to discover he’s been living a secret life.

Determined to make the best of an impossible situation, she begins the painful process of moving on. But Michael’s secret life brings further problems, and Abby feels more lost than ever before, leaving her to wonder…

Who was the man she was married to? Can she handle everything on her own? Is she strong enough to branch out and find the woman she wants to be? 

Now on pre-order at your favorite e-book retailer. Click Here for more information.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

Free Books and A Few Bargains!

From Lyn Cote


Amy’s Forever Love

Heartwarming Faith-Filled Romance

New Neighbor Lane series

Can a basset hound, two kittens and twin girls succeed as matchmakers?

Click here.



 My 1920's historical, Meant for Me, is free on Kindle for everyone and the complete four book series is free to Kindle Unlimited Subscribers for the first time! 


I would recommend this book to anyone! Not only is it well written, the characters are wonderful......some simply horrible personalities and others nearly flawless although very human. 

The setting is WWI times and the Depression. Many emotional struggles among the characters who are most involved in the story. I simply loved it,”

“Lyn Cote hooked me from the very beginning, then expertly reeled me across the pages full of romance, suspense, heartbreak, forgiveness, acceptance.”

Click here to learn more!

From Susan Aylworth

For a limited time,
is FREE!

Just sign up for my newsletter
on my website:

OVER THE RAINBOW is a prequel to the Rainbow Rock Romances, now being updated and reissued. It tells the story of Joan McAllister, older sister to Jim, Kurt, and Chris (the McAllister Men) who never imagined she'd lose her larger-than-life Daddy at such a young age. She certainly never expected to be attracted to someone she meets at her father's funeral. But sparks don't happen on a schedule.

Joan and Bob Riley seem made for each other. Then Joan learns of her father's dying wish, one that robs her of personal choices and causes her to break off their growing relationship. Find out what happens when love conflicts with duty in the picturesque Four Corners town of Rainbow Rock, the romance capital of Arizona.

"It's my favorite of your books so far!" - Joanna D'Angelo

"What a tender and touching story. I love it!"  - Gail Tavis


Josie Riviera checking in!

My newest release, Chocolate-Box Hearts Volume Two, is on sale for only 99¢!

Grab this collection of three sweet romances at 1 low price. The collection includes:

A Chocolate-Box Summer Breeze

A Chocolate-Box Christmas Wish

A Chocolate-Box Irish Wedding

Readers are saying:

"Beautifully written."

"Refreshing and sweet."

FREE on Kindle Unlimited.


From Laura Scott -

 Sweet and Inspirational romance and romantic suspense

Healing Her Heart - Free Novella

Dr. Gabe Allen has a rule about dating colleagues but when he meets ER nurse Larissa Brockman he's tempted to break his vow. Larissa's faith draws him back to the church he'd left behind, but when their lives are on the line Gabe discovers that Larissa is the one who needs to learn about the true meaning of forgiveness. And only Gabe can help heal her heart.


From Jean C. Gordon

Trusting His Kiss kicks off Jean C. Gordon's new Paradox Lake Sweet Romance Series.

Life is complicated for nurse and widowed mother of three, Kari Hazard. Her 15-year-old son Myles is rebelling and she is not sure how to handle it. Still, Kari is not immediately thrilled with the actions Myles’s handsome new school guidance counselor is taking. 
Eli Evans is a former Air Force officer and can relate to Myles’s feelings regarding his father who was killed in Afghanistan. Eli also finds Kari extremely attractive, but an issue from his past could pose a problem for any prospective relationship.  However, an even larger obstacle is Kari’s residual anger and complicated emotions toward the military and her late husband. 
In the small town of Paradox Lake, fate (with a little help from Eli’s mother), keeps pushing them together. Can Kari and Eli leave the past behind them and find a way forward to new love?

FREE on Kobo and Amazon

Back to the Beginning by Merri Maywether

A long time ago I watched a program. I cannot remember the name of the program or the story. However, one scene stuck with me. There was an older couple who were secondary characters.  They were rich and stuffy. The woman walked into the kitchen and sampled some food in the pot. The food turned out to be beef stroganoff. She said in passing that it lacked a seasoning and immediately questioned how she knew the detail. For as long as she could remember, a chef had prepared her food.

Her husband reminded her of the beginnings of their relationship. They were poor, and she cooked all their meals. His favorite was her beef stroganoff. He then told her that he missed the woman he married. They had a heart to heart and decided to return to the way things were before they were rich. 

That scene stuck with me. On top of that, I’ve attended many a marriage seminar. There is always one speaker who says, “Keep doing what you did to impress your spouse when you were dating them.” 

I took that message to heart this Valentine’s Day. When my husband and I dated, money was tight. But that didn't matter. I had the gift of turning everyday activities into an event. So we didn’t play board games. We were participants in a board game extravaganza. The loser had to wash dishes. 

 If you go back to my post from September, you’ll see the gift is still with me.

So this Valentine’s Day,  we went back to our beginning. We cooked dinner together. Afterward, I pulled out the N64, and we played Tetris. The years had passed, but the competitive spirit remained. 

Translation: I washed the dishes. 

But twenty-plus years of marriage had taught my husband a thing or two. He dried the dishes and put them away.  And when the kitchen was cleaned, we had round two of a Tetris championship. I lost again. 

But I wasn’t mad. 

For a pocket of time, we were in our twenties again. 

💖   💖    💖 

Merri Maywether lives with her husband in rural Montana. You can find her in the town's only coffee house listening to three generations of Montanans share their stories. Otherwise, she's in the classroom or the school library, inspiring the next generation's writers. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 Enjoy two new releases this month from
Sweet Romance Reads authors.

Wild at Heart
Vickie McDonough

Mariah is a woman in a man’s world.

Under the pen name Drew Dixon, Chicago native Mariah Lansing writes dime novels detailing hair-raising adventures of heroines in the Wild West. But then she receives a letter from a rancher in the Badlands of North Dakota who takes exception to her meticulous research. When Mariah finds her fiancé in the arms of another woman, she accepts the rancher’s invitation to visit his ranch and flees Chicago.

Adam McFarland has a dream—to travel the West and document its people and beautiful landscape with his drawings. If only he weren’t tied down to the family ranch in North Dakota. When dime novelist Drew Dixon makes repeated mistakes about his beloved West, he invites the author to visit his ranch. But the author who shows up isn’t exactly who he was expecting. Will Mariah and Adam be willing to share the secrets they are keeping? Or will they allow false perceptions to continue to hinder the plans God has for them?

Available on Amazon

Chocolate-Box Hearts Volume Two
Josie Riviera

February 17, 2021

Find out why fans are falling in love with Chocolate-Box Hearts Volume Two & staying up all night reading!

A heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic read. Savor the magic of the seasons with this collection of three clean, sweet and wholesome romances.
These three stories in 1 boxed set will warm your heart.

Purchase on Amazon for just 99 cents.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

My Top Can't Live Without Favorite Things by Kimberly Rose Johnson

 Okay, maybe I can live without these things, but I don't want to. For quite some time I've thought about writing a post about my favorite things. I'm sure you have a list of things you wouldn't want to live without too. Here's my list.

1. Hot Tools curling iron:  

I have thick wavy hair that is unruly and the Hot Tools iron is the only one I've found that not only takes away the frizz but has a lasting curl.

2. Face Sunblock: 

I have three favorites that I use during different times of the year. They are in the picture.

3. Kindle Paperwhite: 

I love my Kindle Paperwhite because I can adjust the font size, it's lightweight, and the ink is like reading a books so it doesn't bother my eyes. I received a new waterproof Paperwhite for Christmas but since it's a little heavier than my old one so I most often read on my old one. 

4. Big chunky sweater: 

I am often cold so having a thick sweater handy is a must.

5. A stationary bike: 

I like to ride my stationary bike three to five days a week. it's a nice break from sitting at a desk and once I get into a rhythm it's relaxing.

6. Ergonomic desk chair:

I bought my chair years ago, and I still love it. I experience much less pain while using this chair than I do when using other chairs.

7. Yearly Bible: 

I like to start my day reading my bible. I love that the yearly bible lays out what I need to read each day in order to finish reading the bible in a year.

8. Norwex cleaning cloths:

I recently discovered Norwex cleaning products. This discovery has changed how I clean and it's a change for the better. They clean without the use of harsh cleaners. You literally only need water. If you ever get the opportunity to watch a demonstration do so and you will see why I'm so excited about these products. I have the face cloth in the picture. It removes all my makeup, including waterproof mascara that no other product has been able to get off. 

Now it's your turn. What are some of your favorite things you use in your day to day life you wouldn't want to be without?

Before I go I wanted to let you know about a Kindle Countdown Deal I decided to do last minute for Valentine's Day. My Valentine's Day book A Love Song for Kayla is included in the collection. Right now the collection is only 99¢ until February 19, 2021. Available at Amazon.

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance and romantic mystery and suspense with a heart.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day by Merrillee Whren

For those of you who have been reading the Sweet Romance blog through the years, you know that besides being Valentine's Day, it is also my wedding anniversary. We have a pretty low key celebration most years. For a number of years we went with good friends on a cruise in February, and that's where we celebrated. Early on, we decided not to buy gifts for each other, but we would buy something for our home. For our twenty-fifth anniversary, we took an Alaskan cruise with these friends, my mother-in-law, and her sister, but we didn't take it in February. We went in late June and early July. The weather is much better then but still not warm. Here are some photos from that fun time. 
Here is the gang all dressed up for our evening meal.

Here's a photo of our friends and us getting ready for a white-water raft ride. It was cold.

Hubby and I took a helicopter ride to a glacier where we mushed with sled dogs.

Now twenty years later, we are celebrating number forty-five. No cruises, no parties, no going out to eat. We're just happy to be healthy and able to laugh together.
Last year I shared a Valentine scene from the first book in my Kellersburg series. I'm almost finished with my next book, Hometown Cowboy, which is the fourth book in that series. It also has a Valentine scene. Here is an excerpt from that scene. 

Wyatt hobbled to keep up with Caroline as she charged toward their assigned table. He had done it again. Said way too much. What was there about her that made him second guess himself right and left? 

Ever since he’d joined the rodeo circuit women had trailed after him. They tried to impress him. Now he was trying to impress Caroline Keller without much success. She tolerated his presence because Nathan and Melanie had pushed Caroline and him together. He would have to make the best of the evening, despite her resistance.

But hadn’t she just invited him to help her at the nursing home? He should take that as a good sign, but maybe her missionary instincts just kicked in as she tried to involve people in her do-good work. Actually she had already succeeded in getting him to do good. Nathan had mentioned how excited Katy was when she’d learned about the scholarship. That knowledge warmed Wyatt’s heart. He wanted to do good. Maybe it would make up for all the bad he’d done.

When Wyatt reached the table, he pulled out Caroline’s chair, and she looked at him with surprise.

“Thanks.” Her surprise morphed into a smile as she settled on her chair. “George and Denise, I hear you’re going to be part of the couples’ game along with Melanie and Nathan.”

Denise laughed as she patted George’s arm. “I don’t know how we got roped into this, but we’re going to give it our best shot. I hear there’s a trophy that goes to the winners.”

Caroline grinned. “It’s a doozy of a trophy, not one you’d want to display on your mantel. I’m not sure who made it, but it’s pretty cheesy.”

A lively discussion about the couple’s game ensued, and Wyatt quietly observed Caroline as she joined in the conversation. She had a natural way with people that he envied. While he watched, his mind buzzed with his attraction to the banker’s daughter, the woman who was definitely too good for the likes of him. So why did she fascinate him so much?

How did she view him? Did she think he’d never grown beyond that rotten kid who had taunted her on the way home from school? He had to show her he was different, but he’d gotten off to a dreadful start with his behavior in the nursing home.

He wanted to let her see the new and improved Wyatt Bayer. He wanted her to know the man behind the rodeo star, but he wasn’t sure that was possible. How could he show her when he wasn’t sure who he was. His identity had been all tied up in being a rodeo cowboy, and that had been taken away from him. So who was he now? Where was he headed? If he didn’t know the answer, there was little chance he could make Caroline see him differently.

As Wyatt pondered his plan of action, Ray Keller hopped onto the stage.

“Good evening, everyone.” Ray waved the microphone in the air. “It’s good to see everyone here tonight. Let’s get the evening started with a prayer of thanks for our food.”

Wyatt bowed his head along with those around him as Ray said a short prayer. After Ray finished praying, he punched a button on a nearby machine. Soft background music floated through the air. Teenagers dressed in white shirts and black pants hurried through the room as they delivered salads to each table.

While Wyatt ate his salad, his thoughts took him back to his first year on the circuit. He’d fallen hard for Shelby Pollard. He didn’t know why he was thinking about her tonight, or maybe he did. The last time he’d worn a suit coat and tie was the last time he’d taken Shelby out to dinner. He’d been in love, but he’d been fooled. Maybe he was just a fool for love. He wasn’t in love with Caroline, but here he was entertaining romantic thoughts about her.

Foolish thinking for sure!

“You look lost in thought.” Nathan’s voice made Wyatt look in the other man’s direction.

Wyatt shook his head. “Just thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve worn this suit jacket. I didn’t have much use for it when I was on the circuit.”

“I guess you’d look pretty silly wearing a suit coat while riding a bucking horse.” Caroline smiled at him. “Your tie would be flying.”

With a chuckle, Wyatt glanced at Caroline, the image of a flying red tie tickling his thoughts. That image was better than the dreams he had about flying through the air himself and waking just before he hit the ground. He didn’t want to think about the bad dreams that haunted his sleep. He was here with Caroline Keller so he should be thinking happy thoughts, not remembering all the things that had brought him pain.

I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. The book will be available for preorder in March. 

Do you have plans for Valentine's Day?

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.