Meghan and Sam . . . The Last One (Six Years Later!)

{Sam and Meghan’s story begins in The Last One, where they find their happily-ever-after. It continues through The First One, The Only One, The Always One, The Hard One and The Forever One  . . . and the pair are even mentioned a few times in some Crystal Cove Romances, too! But wait, there’s more! I have two previously shared extra epilogues . . . and now a new update on the pair right here.You might want to read the other two first. Enjoy!}

–Meghan and Sam at the Beach

–Fourth of July . . . Small Town Style

The peaceful quiet of my late-afternoon was pierced by a wail coming through the baby monitor that perched on the kitchen table, next to the bowl of green beans I was in the middle of popping for dinner. I grimaced, waiting for the inevitable, and I wasn’t disappointed: a second voice joined the first complaints.

I groaned and rested my forehead against my hand. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my sweet babies–I did, so much. But this time of day was tough for all of us. My mother had sympathetically called it the witching hour when I’d described how between the end of their last nap and the beginning of dinner,  nothing seemed to make the little ones happy.

The misery was compounded this time of year, too, because Sam was so busy, he didn’t get in from the fields until much later. During the winter, I loved that he was at the house so much. I’d gotten positively spoiled by having a second parent around to help me corral the kidlets. But right now, he was up to his neck in onions, tomatoes, and peaches.

The noise level from upstairs rose another decibel, and I pushed back my chair to comfort the twins before things got worse.

***

Twenty minutes later, we were all back in the kitchen. Daniella, my chestnut-haired daughter, was busy on the floor with a metal pot and a wooden spoon, while her red-haired brother Justin was in the high chair finishing his second banana. I’d learned from hard experience that not letting their hunger get ahead of me was key to survival.

I’d just settled back at the table with my beans when I heard a knock on the kitchen door, which was followed in short order by the knob turning as my sister-in-law’s face appeared.

“Yoohoo! Anyone home?”

Both of the twins stopped what they were doing, their attention arrested, and then in unison, they broke into squeals of delight. Aunt Ali was a favorite among my little brood. Happily for all of us, she and her husband, Flynn, along with their two children, had just moved back to Burton to live here full-time after years of dividing their time between New York City and the little house they’d built here on the farm. Ali had told me privately that she was sick of big-city living, but their official reason for making the move was that they were expecting their third baby and wanted to be closer to family.

I watched with a smile as Ali scooped up Daniella and loved on her before turning to Justin to blow raspberries in his neck. When she’d pulled out a chair and plunked down with Dani in her lap, I cocked an eyebrow.

“Were you in the neighborhood, or are you just here to check on my sanity?”

Ali laughed. “Both. I just left the stand in the capable hands of Matt Westin. He’s doing a terrific job over there, which is awesome because I don’t feel like waddling around this fall when I’m huge.” She patted the tiny bump behind my daughter. “But I’m here for a reason. I’m kidnapping your babies.”

I frowned. “What? Why?”

“Because I know what it’s like to have a toddler, and I can only imagine that two is double the . . . fun.” She winked.

“Did your brother put you up to this?” I narrowed my eyes.

“He told me that you’ve been worn out, and he was worried because he feels like he can’t be in two places at once. So . . . I offered to come take these little cherubs home with me for the night.”

“Are you sure?” I was dubious. “It’s not like you don’t have your own hands full.”

“Ah, but the difference is that I have Bridget. Never underestimate the value of a fourteeen-year-old girl who loves babies.”

That was true. My niece was wonderful with the twins.

“So go get the kids’ stuff . . . and then take a nap before my brother gets home.”

I suddenly had a burst of energy at the prospect of an evening alone with my sexy husband. “Just give me five minutes!”

I heard Ali giggling, but I was too busy taking the steps two at a time to care.

***

An hour and a half later, I was a new woman. I’d taken a long and leisurely bath, taking the time to shave all the interesting parts of my body that had been recently neglected. Over my smooth and sleek skin, I’d pulled on a floaty sundress . . . and nothing else.

Back down in the kitchen, I cleaned up Dani’s pots and spoons and Justin’s messy high chair. I was just rinsing my hands when I glanced out the window at a very arresting sight.

My husband stood in his usual position at the outside sink in the shed. He’d shucked off his T-shirt and was letting the water run over his hands, splashing it onto his sculpted chest.

With a wide grin, I dashed out the kitchen door and danced across the grass, slipping behind him to wrap my arms around his middle and press my cheek into his muscled back.

I was fairly certain that he hadn’t heard me, but he wasn’t surprised by my touch. His hands, still wet, covered mine.

“Who could this be?” His voice, teasing and low, rumbled against my ear. “Careful, my wife might be around somewhere.”

“Ah, don’t worry about your wife. She’s a mess. I’m much more fun. I’m the hot college student who’s just here for the summer. The one who’s been teasing you and flirting with you for weeks. The one who keeps you up at night, making you wonder what she’s wearing under her dresses.”

“Oh, really?” Sam turned in my arms, drawing me against him. His eyes, hot and wanting, bore into mine. “And have you been watching me out here?”

“Every. Single. Day.” I punctuated the words with open-mouthed kisses to his chest.

“Hmmmm.” He threaded his fingers into my hair. “You smell damn good, too. Good enough for me to scoop up and carry upstairs to my bedroom . . . where I fully intend to do dirty things to you all night long.”

I shivered in delight and hooked my arms around his neck. “I hope that’s a promise.”

“It is.” Angling his head, Sam lowered his mouth to mine, his lips and tongues giving me a tantalizing preview of exactly what to expect.

When he came up for air, he pressed his forehead to mine. “By the way . . . even though it was that sexy, teasing college girl I fell in love with, it’s my much sexier and even hotter wife who keeps me in love.” His hand framed my face.

I sighed, kissing his jaw. “Sometimes I forget that.”

Sam’s lips curved into a smile that was brimming with love and promise. “Then let me spend tonight reminding you, darlin’.”

And let me tell you . . . he did.

Right in my own backyard

 

I’ve written a lot of books. They’ve been set in small Florida towns with mystical histories, in South Jersey college towns, in senior citizen communities in central Florida, in New Orleans, in a small farming community west of Savannah, Georgia, and even in San Francisco circa 1967.

But when Fifty Frogs came to me, it clearly took place much closer to home . . . in my own backyard, as a matter of fact. Quite literally.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This story happens in other areas of the small central Florida town of Summer Meadows as well, but some of the key scenes take place just outside my back door.

What’s odd is that usually, when I’m deep in a story, I live in that setting. I can tell you details about it, how it’s laid out, all the subtle nuances. But this time, I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz; I didn’t have to go any further than my own backyard.

I love living on a lake, and so does Vivian. I’m blessed to spend many evenings sitting by the water, enjoying a pre-dinner drink or post-dinner coffee with my husband. It’s peaceful and lovely and very romantic.

Of course, there are a few little drawbacks . . . and some of them come in the form of critters. Vivian runs into one in particular. Oddly, we hadn’t seen any of this particular creature around our yard in reality until after I wrote Vivian’s scene–but we have since. Perhaps fiction informed real life!

But I do know one thing for sure: I’ll always think of Vivian and Charlie when I glance over to the bench in the adjacent yard . . .

One Week Until Hanging By A Moment Releases!

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One week!

Seven days!

168 hours!

Yes, I’m literally

HANGING BY A MOMENT

waiting for this release.

Book 2 of the Keeping Score Trilogy

comes out May 24th,

and I can’t wait.

 Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

So since it’s #TeaserTuesday, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek.

Young sensual couple during romantic evening

“Babe, you awake?” Leo’s voice was low and husky, murmuring against my ear.

I snuggled a little closer to him. “Mmmmm. Kind of.” My bedroom was dark except for the faint glow of the streetlight just outside. Tonight, for the first time all week, I hadn’t dropped right off to sleep after I’d laid my head on Leo’s broad chest.

“I talked to my mom a little bit tonight before they all left.” His fingers moved in small circles on my upper arm. “She didn’t push, but she suggested I give you and your mother some space tomorrow.   She said you two need to talk about some stuff and make decisions.”

Panic welled up inside me, and it was on the tip of my tongue to argue. But I knew deep down that Leo couldn’t stay glued to my side forever. We both had to figure out what was going to come next for us, just like my mom and I had to do the same.

“Yeah.” I swallowed hard. “She’s probably right.” I turned a little, resting my chin on Leo’s sternum, staring up into his face. “But don’t go far, okay? I’m not sure I’m ready to go cold turkey on my Leo addiction.”

He brushed his hand over my hair. “If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll sit in the car outside, just in case you need me.”

I sniffed. “You don’t have to do that. Maybe after breakfast, you could just go home for a little bit.”

“That works.” He crunched up, bending so that his lips could reach the top of my head. “Hey, Mia? We haven’t really talked about anything serious yet. I mean, about us. But I wanted to say this now, before anything goes any further.”

Trepidation gripped my gut. “I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with this.”

“Babe, no.” Leo slid me off him, rolling to lay on his side so that our faces were close together. “Nothing bad. I just wanted to say . . . I love you, Mia. I didn’t say it to you last week. I hoped you understood it, but I thought I better be clear. I love you. I loved you before, and I never stopped.”

I traced his jaw with one finger. “I love you, too, Leo. Still. Always. Forever.”

He released a breath as though he’d been holding it. “Okay. Good.”

I frowned. “Did you doubt that I did? That I do?”

“No, not really.” He nuzzled my neck. “But I wasn’t sure if you were ready to deal with me again. I know you needed me this week, but I was afraid once things started to settle down, you’d think that maybe I wasn’t worth the effort.”

Following my finger with my lips, I kissed his chin. “You’re worth everything, Leo. And I hate that it took my dad—what happened, I mean, to get us back together, but I’m not going to have any regrets anymore. Loving you is part of me, and so are you. I wouldn’t have made it through this week without you.” I paused, enjoying the feel of the late-night scruff on his neck. “That first day, before you got here, I wanted to die, too. It hurt so bad, and I felt like nothing was ever going to be right again. But then you came to me, and I’ll never forget that you were here for me.”

“I always will be.” He tipped up my chin and kissed my lips, softly. “Nothing in my life works without you.”

Want MORE? You can read a sample chapter here . . .

And if you preorder, the full book will show up magically in your ereader next week!

Amazon/iBooks/Google/Nook/Kobo

If you haven’t read WHEN WE WERE US yet, grab it now so you’re ready for next week!

iBooks/Amazon/Nook/Kobo/Google Play/Goodreads

When We Were Us

New Adult Scavenger Hunt and Giveaway 2016

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Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the TEAM PURPLE–but there is also a red team and a blue team for a chance to win two different sets of books!

 

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If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.

***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my lucky book number. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors on Team Purple, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by May 1st, at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

LET THE HUNT BEGIN!

I’m happy to be hosting author Jessica Ruddick.

Jessica Ruddick lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart–their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard,Jessica-cropped she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. LETTING GO and WANTING MORE are Entangled Embrace releases, and she has a forthcoming romantic suspense release with St. Martin’s Swerve under her pen name, Jessica Linden. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her websites atwww.jessicaruddick.com and www.jessicalinden.net.

 

Today she’s sharing some exclusive content from her book WANTING MORE (A Love on Campus novel).

 

WM_500Bri Welch likes to play it safe. I don’t. She’s wound tight, and I’m all about a good party. But there’s something about her that makes me want to pull those uptight layers away one-by-delicious-one. But the worst thing is she makes me want more… I can’t stop wanting her…

 

 

 

In Wanting More, Josh plays guitar. Below are some of the songs he plays in the book.

“Little Lion Man,” by Mumford and Sons

“Dust in the Wind,” Kansas

“Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac

In the end of the book, Josh composes his own song. (I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so you’ll have to read the book to find out the context of the song.) These two songs are sort of what I had in mind, though.

“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran

“In Your Eyes,” Jeffrey Gaines

 

I LOVE this music–and can’t wait to read the book! Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by Jessica Ruddick, me and many others!

To enter, you need to know that my lucky book number is 9 .

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Purple and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

And for a chance to win even more, enter the rafflecopter below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

***CONTINUE THE HUNT***

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Tellulah Darling.

GOOD LUCK!!