At the beach with Leo and Quinn

Every year, as part of the build-up to Coastal Magic, I participate in a blog series on Literary Escapism called At the Beach. I write a short scene set (where else?) at the beach, featuring two or more of my existing characters. 

I asked the Temptresses for input about who should have the starring roles this year. The response was varied . . . but I did choose one couple. I’ll share that when the post goes live on Literary Escapism. 

But there was so much interest in some of the others . . . and because this year I have time for this kind of writing . . . so I decided to share some other At the Beach posts here, featuring different couples. 

Today it’s Leo and Quinn, from the Keeping Score series. Enjoy! 

PS: The photo above was taken at the beach where I’m writing this, during a family vacation. 🙂 Talk about the perfect inspiration! 

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“How many weekends out of the year are not in football season?”

On the blanket next to me, Leo turned his head and blinked. “What?”

I pushed to sit up, wrapping my arms around my bent legs. “How many weekends are you not playing football, or on a bye week, or in pre-season or post-season?”

My husband—and didn’t it still give me a thrill to think of Leo as my husband, a year after our wedding—sat up, too, sliding his dark sunglasses into place over those gray eyes that could make me melt or smolder at any given moment. “Uhhhh . . . I don’t know that number off the top of my head, babe.”

I lifted my shoulder. “Take a guess.”

“Okay. Four weeks of preseason, seventeen weeks of regular games . . . then you’ve got wild card, divisional

My husband and kids playing football in the surf

round if you’re lucky, conference championship if you’re really lucky . . . Pro Bowl if your team isn’t playing in the big game . . . and then the big one. The super one. I guess that’s . . . what, about 25 weeks if your team is having the kind of year we all want it to have?” He reached over to tuck a strand of my hair behind my ear. “Why do you ask? Are you thinking of renegotiating our contract?”

Leo’s voice was light, but I felt the undercurrent of worry beneath his words. In our past, football and the demands of the game had taken a toll on our relationship. But not now.

“Of course not.” I rose onto my knees, framed his face with my hands and kissed his lips. Instantly, his arms were around my waist, pulling me hard against his body, and I felt my pulse skitter into overdrive.

But now wasn’t the time—or more importantly, the place. This Florida beach was mostly private, but there were still more than a few curious onlookers, and I knew from experience that it would be all too easy for someone to capture a few frames of Leo Taylor, rising star of the Richmond Rebels, and his wife getting busy on the beach. We didn’t want or need those kinds of headlines.

So with great reluctance, I dropped back to our blanket, lacing my fingers through Leo’s as I did. “I was just thinking. We have potentially twenty-five weeks out of the year when you’ll be committed to football. Add in organized team activities, mini-camp and training camp, and we’re talking another ten weeks. More than half of our year.”

“Uh huh.” Leo nodded. “That’s true.”

“It seems to me, then, that the other weekends out of the year should be spent on the beach. I think it’s only fair.”

It took Leo a minute to process what I’d said. “Oh, really? That’s what you think? Hate to break it to you, babe, but some of those weekends could be pretty damn frigid. A good part of my off-season is in February, March and April . . . not exactly peak season for beach weather.”

“It doesn’t have to be this beach.” I grinned at him. “There are plenty of others we can explore. Think . . . Hawaii. Think the Caribbean. The Mediterranean. Go big, baby.”

“Hmmmm.” He frowned, but I knew that he was just playing with me. “Let’s think about this. If I agree to spend all my non-football time on a beach with you, does that mean you’ll wear sexy little bathing suits like this one all the time?” One of his talented fingers skimmed the edge of my bikini top, making my nipples pucker. Leo noticed that, of course, and one eyebrow quirked with interest.

“I think that can be arranged,” I whispered, linking my hands together behind his neck and pressing myself into his solid warmth. “Just imagine the savings in my clothing budget, if I only have to worry about beachwear during the off-season.”

“I’m thinking about it right now.” His lips were next to my ear. “I’m also thinking about that project we’ve been talking about starting . . . project Taylor, the next generation? How do you feel about telling our daughter or son that she or he was conceived on the beach?”

I giggled. “I believe having a story that embarrasses your offspring is a requirement for parents. Our parents have that one down, for sure.”

“True.” Leo’s hands inched lower until they covered my ass, griping me tight. “Mia? All this talk about the offseason has made me . . . uhhh, intrigued. Let’s go inside and talk about it some more. You know . . . in private?”

I kissed my husband’s neck. “I’m all over that plan, baby. Let’s go inside and . . . explore all the possibilities . . . deeply. Again and again and again . . .”

Leo groaned. “Killing me, babe.”

“But you love me.” I didn’t have any doubts on that front.

“Even more every single day.” His kiss was full of promise, full of the future. “Let me show you how much.”

And he did.

You can read all of Leo and Quinn’s story right here in the Keeping Score series, available at all retailers.

Score! Football Romance Has Never Been Hotter!

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Coming just in time for the biggest game of the year: one box set that includes SEVEN full-length football romances!

Whether or not your team makes the playoffs, you’ll have the perfect accompaniment to your hot wings and potato skins.

Preorder NOW exclusively at iBooks for only 99 cents. This is a special preorder price only good until January 30th.

Preorder at iBooks

~~~****~~~***~~~

Some Enchanted Season Patricia Burroughs
The Sport of Seduction, The Art of Love

Blindsided Jami Davenport

A temporary marriage knocked him off his game, but love blindsided him.

The Rookie Ann Jacobs

Rookie quarterback sets his sights on Marauders cheerleader…

When We Were Us Tawdra Kandle

Three friends, two loves, one choice: Football hottie Leo is the guy Quinn’s always loved. But will he choose the game over the girl?

Bold Nicola Marsh

Aussie Rules? There are no rules in the game of love.

Guarding the Quarterback Liz Matis

Miss Congeniality meets the The Bodyguard.

Play Holly S. Roberts

Love scores when you least expect it and winning is everything.

Tell Me Your Love Story: My Love Story

I’ve been waiting for a special day to share this one, and today is that day. This is my very own story of true love and happily-ever-after.

In 1984, I found myself at one of those cross-roads in life. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, which may seem as though it should have been a carefree time of fun, but I was always old for my age, and at that point, I was tired of high school. Tired of the needless drama, tired of the games and ready for my life to really begin. After years of straight living and toeing the line of good-girldom, in my junior year I’d gone a little wild. Now, trust me, ‘a little wild’ in my vernacular and in the mid-80’s was not today’s wild. It involved a little bit of alcohol, a little bit of dating–but ONLY dating–a series of boys, but I never did anything that would negatively impact the rest of my life.

Still, in early August before senior year, I was restless. I was done with high school guys, I knew that. I didn’t want to party away my senior year. Craving something more solid and real, I returned two stalwarts that had never failed me: books and my relationship with God.

Yes, I still have it!
Yes, I still have it!

I remember very clearly standing in the local Christian bookstore, looking for something to read, when a small wooden plaque caught my eye. It was Psalm 37:5: “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” That verse resonated with me that day, and I bought the little wall hanging. I remember clearly the odd sense of rightness I felt. As I drove home, I also realized I needed a hook for the plaque, so I stopped at a store I’d never visited before, even though it had been around forever in our town. Kandle Lumber and Hardware just had never been on my radar, but it was on the way to my house, so I ran inside to find what I needed.

The man who helped me was the owner of the store, and I’d met him before. Actually, I knew the whole family vaguely: their son had begun West Point the year before, and he’d come to our house a number of times to chat with my dad, both before he’d started at USMA and then after, to share experiences. But up until then, Clint had been just one of many cadets coming in and out of my house. My father mentored quite a few.

I don’t remember exactly what Pete Kandle said to me that day, but it was something about his son, hinting that I should consider seeing him the next time he was home for a visit. Did I say I would? I don’t know, but that day stuck in my memory as a turning point in my life. I thought about it over the next few months.

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The Army-Navy game had long been a huge deal in my family, and we were pumped in early December of my senior year. For the first time in a long time, Army had a real shot at winning. My family had been invited to a post-game party at the Kandles’ home, and I brought along some of my friends, at Mrs. Kandle’s request. But what I remember most clearly was the hour I spent talking to Clint, leaning up against his dad’s desk in their den. The house was filled with people, and there was no place else to sit. Clint saw me on the floor and ran to grab a down-filled blanket to make me more comfortable. I didn’t know it then, but that was totally who Clint is: serving others, reaching out and giving of himself is at the core of his character.

I didn’t hear from Clint after that celebration, at least not immediately. But about a week before Christmas, he called and asked if I wanted to go Christmas shopping with him. He’d just gotten home on leave, and he needed to buy his mother a gift. What I remember about that day is that I’d never laughed more or felt immediately comfortable with any boy ever.

We went out a few more times over his Christmas break, but I wasn’t sure if we were just friends or . . . more. That is, until New Years Eve, when we went to a party at his friends house. As the clock struck midnight, ending 1984 and ushering in 1985, he kissed me for the first time.

Over the next months, we exchanged hundreds of letters, shared long phone calls (to the chagrin of Clint’s parents, who were footing his phone bill!) and I visited West Point as often as I could. He gave me an A-pin on March 1st that year. I was thrilled, and we were both deep in the throes of young love.

I started college that fall at the University of Richmond, but my heart was up in the mountains along the Hudson. Every Friday, I’d get on a train north, get off in Philadelphia, spend the night at my parents’ house, set my hair . . . and the next day, I’d drive three hours up to West Point, going to football games, dances or other social events, or just sitting with him in the lobby at the Hotel Thayer, doing homework and talking. The rules at West Point were very strict: no PDA, and no cadets were allowed above the mezzanine level at the hotel. Most weekends, Clint couldn’t leave post. But we always enjoyed just being together.

On Sundays, after chapel, I’d drive back home to New Jersey, repack and get on the train south, usually back in my dorm about midnight. It’s no wonder I failed calculus that semester, is it? I was miserable at college most of the time I was there. We knew once Clint finished at West Point, he’d be stationed somewhere in the world, and I’d still have two years of college left. At that time, this future seemed impossible.

And so we did what any two kids in love might: on Christmas Eve of my freshman year, after we’d been dating just about a year, Clint proposed and I said yes.

13391372_10153898748049145_8377456114474310888_oWe were married in June of 1987, ten days after his graduation. We spent our first six months together in Richmond as he attended Officer Basic and I got in another semester at Richmond, and then we moved to Hawaii for his first duty assignment.

That was four children, one son-in-law, many cats, dogs, homes and almost 30 years ago. We’ve lived in Virginia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida. We’ve lost all of our grandparents and all but one parent between the two of us. We’ve weathered parenting, illness, homeschooling, many different churches, changes in career, moves and so many challenges . . . but 1610095_10152032355924145_1033576462_nthere is no one in the world I can imagine sharing my life. Clint has always been the first one to support me, the first one to tell me I can do anything I want. I know without a doubt that he would–and does–move mountains to make me happy. He’s still the same boy who will do anything to make me a little more comfortable.

312560_10150295218589145_1551940_nAnd almost 32 years after that very first date, he still makes me laugh more than anyone in the world.

I’m more in love with my husband today than I was when we got married. Then, I had no idea what love really was. Now, I think I’m beginning to catch glimpses of it. I think we need at least another thirty years to really get it down. I pray that we have those years together. When you’ve lost parents relatively young, you realize that nothing is guaranteed, and so I am grateful for every day we have together, and I am also greedy for even more.

This is a real happily-ever-after. It’s not all sunshine and cloudless skies; as my grandmother told me 12920242_10153768715739145_5181692080328787979_nonce upon a time, you must have just enough clouds to make a beautiful sunset. There must be rain to enjoy a rainbow.  But we’re living out our happy ending, day by day. That’s the very best kind of story in my book.

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DAYS OF YOU AND ME Release Day

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DAYS OF YOU AND ME

The final book in the Keeping Score Trilogy

is available now.

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iBooks UK/Amazon UK

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I had just about everything I ever wanted. I was a star football player at one of the best colleges in the country, and I had the girl I’d always loved by my side. The promise of a future most guys can only dream about was close enough to touch.

13509802_807323562701103_153972270_o (1)But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life is unpredictable. One twist can change it all, and suddenly, I’m alone. Even football, the one constant in all the insanity, somehow isn’t enough anymore, because without her, everything else is empty. Meaningless.

I’ve got one shot left. One more chance to win her heart. We’re not kids now, and I know that being good enough for Quinn isn’t some game I can fake my way through. She’s more than the prize; she’s my reason for living. The world only makes sense when we’re together.

And this time, I’m going to do whatever it takes to give us our happy ending.

 

Buy your copy today!

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iBooks UK/Amazon UK

And after you buy your book, join us Wednesday, September 28th as we celebrate the release! Some of the giveaway questions will require you to know the story~or at least to have the book!~but don’t worry: this is an open book test.

Join here.

 

Don’t forget that WHEN WE WERE US is free for a very limited time. keeping-score-12-graphic

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And HANGING BY A MOMENT is available at all retailers!

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2015AuthorPhoto (1539x1800)Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include YA paranormal romance,  NA paranormal and contemporary romance, and adult contemporary and paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

Follow Tawdra:

Newsletter/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram/Website

Amazon/BookBub

And if you love her books, join the Naughty Temptresses!

Score Big With Football Romance!

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I’ve got the best news: this week is the official kick-off of football season in the US–and with college football back, too, we’ve all got lots of chances to catch our favorite teams playing our favorite game.

So what makes this even better? We have EIGHT football romances for you to huddle with right here, each of which is a touchdown (and the extra point, too!).

Check out each one–and as a bonus, each author is giving you her own favorite sports romance recommendation.

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Some Enchanted Season by Patricia Burroughs ON SALE for .99 at Amazon

Find Patricia on Facebook, Twitter and her website. And sign up for her newsletter!

Patricia recommends . . . Sosie Frost‘s Happily Ever All-Star, A Secret Daddy Romance. She hooked me with the sizzlin’ guy on the cover, reeled me in with “Secret Daddy,” and totally delivered with laugh-out-loud funny and heart-tugging sweetness.

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A Tempting Dare by Cathryn Fox only $1.99 at Amazon

You can find Cathryn on Facebook, Twitter . . . follow her on Amazon and BookBub, check out her website (for a free book!)

And sign up for her newsletter

If you’re interested in joining Cathryn’s Street Team, they’d LOVE to have you. They have a lot of fun over there, and lots of special prizes and contests for her lovely FOXY ladies!

Cathryn recommends . . .Dare to Love by Carly Phillips: A hot, heartwarming story about family, love and trust. Oh, and did I mention it’s HOT and FREE right now??

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Game Changer by Ann Jacobs

Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo/ARe/Smashwords

Ann is on Facebook and Twitter . . . visit her website and sign up for her newsletter

Ann recommends . . .  Jaci Burton’s Play-by-Play series won’t disappoint you, no matter which pro sport you fancy! As a football fan and steamy romance lover, I have The Perfect Play high up on my keeper shelves—but there’s not a loser in the 12 hot novels and novellas. Check out Jaci’s website and get in the game!

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When We Were Us by Tawdra Kandle is FREE on iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Google (and maybe on Amazon, if they get their act together.)

Visit Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/website, and follow her on Amazon and BookBub.

Sign up for her newsletter!

Tawdra recommends . . . Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen. She’s my favorite hockey writer, and this book has it all: sizzling romance, hunky guy, sassy chick and all the right moves!

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Bold by Nicola Marsh 

Amazon/Barnes and Noble/iBooks/Kobo/SMASHWORDS

Hang out with Nicola on Facebook and Twitter, and visit her website, where you can sign up for her newsletter!

Nicola recommends . . .  Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, part of her Chicago Stars series. Cal Bonner is a seriously hot hero and this book got me hooked on SEP. It’s on my keeper shelf!

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Playing for Keeps by Liz Matis FREE on Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo

Get to know Liz on Facebook, Twitter and on her website. Sign up for her newsletter!

Liz recommends . . . Blindsided by Jami Davenport, the first book in Jami’s Seattle Steelheads subseries. So much hot fun with these hunky football players . . . and some old favorites from the hockey books, too!

 ~~~***~~~

Play by Holly S. Roberts is FREE on Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo

Meet Holly on FacebookTwitter and her website

Sign up for her newsletter!

Holly recommends . . . Diva in the Dugout by Arlene Hittle. Arlene is a riot to be around, and her stories are romantic comedy. Add baseball to the mix, and you’ll understand why I love this woman and her books.

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Under the Autumn Sky by Liz Talley is available on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Kobo

 Get to know Liz on Facebook, Twitter and her website

Liz recommends . . . The Deal by Elle Kennedy, the first book in Elle’s sizzling and wickedly funny Off-Campus series: football players, snarky women and the bumpy road that leads to true love . . . eventually.  

 

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