BOUNTIFUL (iBooks FRiDAY 4)

 

There are some authors who are an auto-one click, buy the book IMMEDIATELY for me. Sarina Bowen is one of those. Her stories are smart, wryly funny and real, not to mention smoking hot–and although her Ivy Years books were definitely how I found her, I think her True North books are my new favorites.

So I had really mixed feelings this week: I am now back to writing under deadline after my hiatus, and I have to hunker down and get serious about hitting word counts. But the newest True North BOUNTIFUL released last week, and there is was on my iBooks app, just taunting me. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time!

BOUNTIFUL became my reward at the end of each day of writing. I didn’t let myself open the iBooks app before bedtime, and I was (mostly) disciplined about that.

Mostly.

The good news is that I managed to stretch out the book and really savor it all week. The bad news is that I finished the book this morning (yes, I cheated and read the end before I got out of bed today. Sue me.).

I also have to send an iBooks shout-out about the reading comfort. This was something that’s been going on for a while, but I hadn’t really noticed it. When I read in the dark, the screen automatically goes to black background with white print–and then it flips back to white background with black print when the light in the room is bright. I like this. So do my aging eyes!

Now, let’s talk about BOUNTIFUL. I’m not usually a fan of surprise baby books. While there are a few in my own backlist (THE FIRST ONE, TEMPORARY DUTY and just a side character in THE POSSE), it’s not a trope I seek out to write or to read. But I’d been reading Zara’s story as a side dish to the other characters’ books in the True North series, so I couldn’t wait to find out about the father of her baby.

And what made this even better? There’s a sweet crossover from Sarina’s Brooklyn Bruisers series in this book. Hockey and Vermont? It just doesn’t get any better.

If you haven’t discovered Sarina’s books, stop what you’re doing and go get them . . . now. I promise you won’t be sorry.

And buy them on iBooks!

Start to SCORE–for Free!

Thanks to a Featured Deal from the awesome BookBub, WHEN WE WERE US is FREE right now for a very limited time.

If you haven’t begun this friends-to-lovers, love-triangle, coming-of-age football romance yet, now is the perfect time to grab it up.

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo, Quinn and Nate . . . They’ve been best friends forever, but life is about to take them in different directions. Decisions about love and friendship could change their paths forever.

Nate: He’s been in love with Quinn since junior high. She’s always been his fierce protector, the one person who looks beyond his physical challenges to see who he really is. But Nate knows the hard truth. Leo holds Quinn’s heart. He’s the one she loves.

Quinn: She’s tired of waiting for Leo to realize that he loves her. But when he finally admits his feelings for her, can they be together without destroying their friendship–and each other?

Leo: He’s the football star, the guy all the girls in school want. But the one girl he secretly needs–Quinn–is the one he’s afraid to want. He knows she’s too good for him, but he can’t seem to resist loving her anyway. 

Amid the joys and heartache of first love, crushing loss and unthinkable decisions, Leo, Quinn and Nate struggle to find their way forward without losing each other.

All three books are now available everywhere,

singly or in a beautiful box set with an exclusive short!

Buy It Here!
Buy It Here!
Buy It Here!

 

 

 

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! 

***~~~***

“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.

At the beach with Meghan and Sam (Love in a Small Town)

At the beach with Meghan and Sam

{This short originally appeared on Literary Escapism as part of the Coastal Magic At the Beach series.}

“See? I told you. September is the best time to visit the Cove.” I kicked off my flip-flops and dropped the bag of food from the Rip Tide that my mom had packed for us onto the stripped blanket Sam had just spread. “Weather is perfect, crowds are virtually non-existent and the water is still pretty warm.”

My husband squinted toward the ocean. “It’s pretty, that’s for sure.” He reached over his head and pulled his T-shirt off in one fluid movement, and I smiled at his white chest and stomach. My man was a farmer, and he had the tan to prove it . . . on his arms and neck.

Sitting down on the blanket, I opened the bag and pulled out two burgers. “One medium-rare Ripper burger for you, one very well-done Ripper for me, with extra . . . crap.”

Sam stretched out next to me, taking his sandwich, as his mouth curled into a half-smile and one eyebrow rose. “Extra crap? I thought you asked Sadie to make it with extra blue cheese.”

“Yeah, I did.” I folded the wrapper back around my burger. “I’m not really hungry at the moment. I think I’ll just stick to the fries for a bit.”

“Okay.” Sam took a bite and moaned a little. “Oh, baby. Now this is heaven.”

I grinned. “Because of the burger or because of me?”

“Hmm.” He pretended to consider, and I elbowed him in the ribs.

“Babe, you know it’s all about you. It’s always all about you.” He wiped off his lips with a napkin. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been over four years since I stopped alongside that highway to help out two drunk college girls with a broken-down car. When I think of how everything in my life has changed since that night . . . it’s crazy.”

“To be fair, Laura wasn’t at all drunk. It was only me.” I shrugged. “But four years—wow. So if you had to do it all over again, knowing what you do now, would you still stop?”

“Every time.” He slipped his around my back, pulling me against his side. “I know things have been a little hard lately, with all the fertility issues, but we’re still good, right? We’re okay?”

“Of course we are.” I kissed his cheek, feeling my heart began to thud in anticipation. “No matter what, it’s you and me. I love you, Sam Reynolds. You’re my one.”

Sam touched the tip of my nose with his finger. “My first, my last, my only. Always.”

Running the tip of my tongue over my lips, I made my voice as casual as possible. “Hey, can you grab my sunglasses from the bag? They’re in the case.”

“Uh, sure.” He rummaged for a minute before finding the hard black case. “Here you go, babe. So did you—” He paused as a thin white piece of paper flutter out with the glasses. “What’s this?”

I pretended ignorance, but it was impossible to hide my smile. “I don’t know. Look at it and see.”

Sam held the paper in front of his eyes, frowning. I watched his face closely, waiting for the moment when realization dawned.

And when it did, I’d never seen anything so beautiful. He glanced at me, back at the paper, and then at me again.

“Meghan, is this—it’s—is it what I think it is?”

I nodded. “That, Sam Reynolds, is the very first picture of your babies.” I lifted his hand and laid on my still-flat stomach. “I know it doesn’t look like much, but come early next summer, the next generation of the Reynolds’ family will be ready to meet you.”

Sam stare leaned forward to kiss me, that simple touch conveying everything I knew he was feeling. Releasing me, he bent down to press his lips to my stomach, glancing up as he did.

“Meghan Reynolds, I love you.”

I combed my fingers through his short hair and smiled.

“I know.”

{Want to read about how Sam and Meghan met? Check out THE LAST ONE right here!}

{And if you want another short about these two–go here to read more!}