We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Thanks so much for joining me for the launch of The Bartolini Legacy trilogy. This family saga filled with secrets, surprises and lots of romance begins with THE PRINCE AND THE WEDDING PLANNER. . . . I hope you’ll join Bianca and Prince Leo in this royal romance as they wrestle with the past and come to terms with the present in order to have a happily ever after future.
“In her familiar style, Jennifer Faye, once again, creates a wonderful “feel good” novel which is sure to leave the reader uplifted and entertained. . . . Within this tale, is a whirlwind of fun, often unexpected events, which will keep the reader eagerly anxious for the next page. The characters are delightfully endearing. and portrayed well. The background scenes and events are well described, allowing the reader the feel he/she is there, experiencing it.”
“I… I’ll be there.” Bianca turned her back to her brother, not wanting him to see the unshed tears shimmering in her eyes. She could be strong like him. She could get through this agonizing day without crumbling into a million pieces.
She needed to think about anything but the hollow spot in her heart. She lifted her head and her gaze came to land on the old photos on the wall. It was a collage of her grandparents, her parents’ wedding and herself and her two siblings. They’d all looked so happy—
“Bianca, they loved you.” And then her brother exited the room, closing the door softly.
“I’ve become a fan of Jennifer Faye’s simplistic warm hearted stories. The Prince And The Wedding Planner did not disappoint. This story is delightfully entertaining and charming. The premise is unique and fun, and I just love a good royal romcom. . . . Bianca and Prince Leo are quite adorable in close company, and I enjoyed reading their story. This was a fast read for me. In the end, it’s the kind of story that will make you smile!”
“This was a sweet romance that took you out of everyday life and into a life of royalty. Which certainly is no picnic at times but there is [definitely] some advantages. Leo and Bianca instantly hit it off and of course there is an immediate attraction. What follows is should they or shouldn’t they follow their hearts desire and go against expectations or after his sister’s wedding go their own separate ways.”
. . . Truth be told, there was another woman that had caught his attention. Her hair was dark and her skin glowed a warm tan. He noticed that she spoke when addressed but for the most part she was quiet. And when she did speak, her voice was soft.
He caught himself staring at her more than once. Maybe it was because she didn’t make a point of walking up to him and introducing herself like so many of the other people. In fact, she acted as though she didn’t even know he was royalty. Could that be possible?
Regardless, his interest in the beautiful woman increased. It’d been a while since he’d enjoyed a woman’s company. With his pending engagement and marriage—a necessity in order to ascend to the throne—he wasn’t in a position to start anything. But for the moment, he was still a free man.
” It’s cute and fun. It is a romance that many people like to fantasize about. The characters are interesting and their story keeps the book moving at a good pace. It is easy to read and engaging. This is a book that is an escape when you need a few minutes to relax and enjoy a book.”
“Throughout the story, Faye wants you to remember to hold back judgment and to see how her characters choose to take steps to reassert their own independence in their lives. They each desire to find happiness and to catch it as long as they can whilst dealing with obligations none of them are truly ready or prepared to accept. Its a lovely story about the fortitude one needs to survive the ruts in the road life brings along whilst keeping hopeful about the future which is never quite written in stone as some would like to believe! . . . Faye writes realistic narratives for today’s Romance reader and that is exactly why I love continuing to follow her publishing journey.”
“This is a great book about love. The love between a family, a couple, and even a kingdom. . . . I can not wait to see how the rest of this series plays out.”
“This was a sweet, fun, and whirlwind read. I didn’t even know it was over until I got to the last page. The author’s vivid writing brought the scenery to life. Bianca and Leo were such a perfect couple, and it was easy to see where the novel was going.
The romance element was absolute perfection . . . The author does a terrific job of keeping the pace going for the romance. This short, but addictive little read is the perfect beach day or even rainy day read.”
“I’m confused,” he said. “Are you a guest of the bride or the groom?”
“Neither. I’m their wedding planner, Bianca Bartolini.”
He hadn’t expected that response. He must be slipping. He was usually very good at reading people. It probably had something to do with the turmoil back at the palace. By the time he turned in at day’s end, he usually had a headache that kept him up until late into the night.
He needed to do something to bring peace back to the palace. If he couldn’t do that for his family, how would he ever keep peace over the nation?
“I have read a few of Jennifer’s books and have enjoyed this one. . . . Overall, it was a quick read and I can’t wait to read the rest of the novels.”
“I loved Leo and Bianca as a couple. They are sweet together and compliment each other. . . . I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series. I will miss the Queen and how she deals with Bianca and Leo’s relationship but upward and onward. Again, Ms. Faye has written a beautiful book about two characters that you will like and want to keep in touch with.”
“Bianca Bartolini, I’d like to introduce you to His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Leopold of Patazonia.”
Once again, Bianca curtsied. She willed her face to cool down, but it only succeeded in making her warmer. Goodness. What was he going to think of her? First, she was openly staring at him. And now her face must look like a roasted beet—all red and steamy. Not good. Not good at all.
“You’ve put on a splendid wedding,” the prince said. “I’ve quite enjoyed it.”
“Th…thank you, Your Highness.”
“The prince is searching for a wedding planner,” Benito said. “And I was telling him what a great job you did with our wedding.”
“This is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Faye and it promises to be quite a wonderful series based on this book. . . . I thought this is an engaging story with charming characters and the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon or week-end getting lost in a book.”
“The author does a great job of writing this story, weaving together the many different issues going on, and giving readers a wonderful story that will stay with me for a while. Some couples I just can’t get off my mind, and this as one of them. If you enjoy romance, check this one out. It’s a pretty fast read, and will give you a few hours of enjoyment and entertainment.”
“I love Jennifer Faye’s books and The Prince and the Wedding Planner is no different. . . . I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy a quick, heartwarming and sweet romance.”
As though Bianca sensed his presence behind her, she turned. “Your Highness.” She dipped her chin. “Is there something I can do for you?”
Just then the orchestra started to play a new song. It’d been a while since he’d danced and from what he’d observed, Bianca hadn’t let up on her duties long enough to enjoy the evening. It was wrong for her to miss out on such a marvelous evening.
With the lanterns sending a warm cast over the patio area, he asked, “Would you care to dance?”
“An unexpected romance develops in Jennifer Faye’s The Prince and the Wedding Planner, the first of her Bartolini Legacy trilogy, and it is so fun. . . . I always enjoy a romance from Faye. Falling in love with a prince is a traditional childhood fantasy, and I enjoyed seeing the drama of that fantasy playing out on the pages of The Prince and the Wedding Planner.”
“A wonderful romantic read, The Prince and the Wedding Planner is sheer reading delight from beginning to end. Jennifer Faye has written an emotional and dramatic tale sprinkled with humor, warmth and heart which readers will read in a single sitting as they find themselves completely and utterly bowled over by Leo and Bianca’s love story and unable to put the book down.”
On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Book Tour Grand Finale for
Claiming the Drakos Heir
By Jennifer Faye
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Launch – Note from the Author
Hi. 🙂 Thank you for joining me with the launch for the second book in the Greek Island Brides trilogy ~ CLAIMING THE DRAKOS HEIR.
When a freak accident kills Popi’s adopted sister and brother-in-law, she is left carrying her sister’s baby. Agreeing to be a surrogate had been a big decision for Popi and one she hadn’t taken lightly. And now that her sister is gone, it is up to Popi to step up and raise the child of her heart. . .
It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt
Her life was about to change in so many ways, as the baby was due in a couple of weeks. Not long at all—
So much for ignoring them.
“Anyone home?” A male voice called out through the open window.
Who could that be?
Popi wasn’t expecting anyone. Everyone she knew was getting ready for the wedding. And then the thought of something going wrong with the wedding had her rushing out of the bathroom in her fluffy, short pink robe that barely fit over her baby bump and with a large portion of her hair pulled up in a big orange clip.
Locks, Hooks and Books – Review
“I give Claiming the Drakos Heir a well deserved five plus stars and I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy sweet and romantic books with beautiful settings. I can not wait to find out what happens next in the third addition to the Greek Island Brides series.”
Thoughts of a Blonde – Excerpt
What just happened?
Apollo Drakos stood slack-jawed as the woman sashayed down the hallway, but to be honest her sashay was more like a waddle. A cute waddle, but still a waddle all the same.
How could she still be pregnant?
His attorney had assured him the baby was born, though no one had been able to tell him if it was a boy or girl. Not that it mattered to him. Either way, he was still claiming his niece or nephew.
Two Points of Interest – Review
“. . . the novel does have a few emotional rollercoasters, especially when dealing with a custody battle of a young child. I enjoyed reading and finding out the backstory of each character especially the mysterious Apollo. A definite must-read for anyone who loves romance novels.”
E-Romance News – Excerpt
Popi was the maid of honor, or koumbara, and it was her responsibility to see that the bride was ready on time. The rest of the bridal party soon showed up, including Lea’s assistant and her soon to be sister-in-law, Stasia. Because an odd number of attendants was good luck. And three attendants were the best.
Together they worked until Lea was all done up with her long hair pulled up with just a few strategically placed curly wisps of hair softening her face. A wreath of fresh flowers was clipped into place.
Popi stepped back and took in Lea’s dress. It was truly breathtaking. White tiers of Chantilly lace, tulle and ribbons adorned her. There was a V-shaped neckline with delicate straps over her shoulders and satin ribbon wrapped around her waist. She truly looked like a Greek goddess.
Cover To Cover Cafe – Review
“I absolutely adored this novel! This is my first book by Jennifer Faye, and it most definitely will not be my last! I was hooked from page one, and taken on a whirl wind ride following these amazingly chiseled characters to the end.”
An Indie Adventure – Excerpt
He didn’t want to be here.
But on this small island, places to wait for Popi were limited. And the wedding appeared to be taking place in a common area of the village.
Apollo found himself standing off to the side. No one seemed to make a big deal of him being there. They acted as though he was just another wedding guest. Some even shook his hand and greeted him.
Up until now, Apollo had done nothing but make one mistake after the next since the day he was born. He thought he’d have time to fix things—to change his ways. After all, he was young. There was plenty of time to make up for the past, but then suddenly out of nowhere he’d been blindsided when time had run out for Nile and his wife, Andrina. And now he owed it to his brother not to mess things up where the baby was concerned.
Teatime and Books – Excerpt
It was then that Popi approached him. And by her stiff posture, he was certain she was not happy about him crashing this wedding. Maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea after all, but he was there now so he might as well stay and get this over with.
He was propped against a tall white column. He didn’t move, as Popi was headed straight for him. “What are you doing here?” Her gaze narrowed. “You aren’t part of the moving crew, are you?”
“Never said I was.”
“But you let me believe you were.”
“As I recall, you were in too much of a hurry to get the details.”
Baroness’ Book Trove – Review
“Claiming the Drakos Heir by Jennifer Faye is so much more than what I thought it was going to be and I’m so honored to be a part of this book blog tour. Ms. Faye has taken us on a journey in this book. I have always wanted to go to Greece, and now I feel like I have just by visiting Infinity Island and a little bit of Athens that we have seen in the book. Apollo, Popi, and their bundle of joy seem like they will be good together, and I hope that they do. I love a happy ending.
I am giving it a five-star rating and recommending it to all romance readers out there.”
Harlie’s Books – Excerpt & Review
“Can I cut in?” The stranger wore a serious expression.
Roberto, looking caught off guard, stopped dancing. “Um…” His gaze moved to her and she nodded. “Thank you for the dance.” Roberto turned back to the other man. “She’s all yours.”
The man took Popi in his quite capable arms, but there was no escaping their closeness with her protruding abdomen. No one had long enough arms to allow for much room between them—not even this man.
“What are you doing?” Her voice came out in a heated whisper.
“Dancing. With you.” He led her around the dance floor.
“What sets this book apart from the pack is the emotional connection that I felt for both Popi and Apollo from the start. . . . While this is on the sweet side, the romantic build up is well done. The chemistry is palpable and emotional. . . . this is a great addition to the Greek Island Brides trilogy.”
Peaceful Pastime – Review
“I loved the setting of the Greek Island and the excitement of the upcoming wedding that was about to take place. . . . I absolutely loved this sweet story and look forward to reading the next book in the series to find out who will be the next bride on the Greek Island.”
underneath the covers – Excerpt
It’d been a long time since he’d danced.
And he was surprised to find he enjoyed holding Popi close.
Realizing he was enjoying it too much, Apollo guided them off to a quiet corner of the dance floor. His intent was to have a serious conversation with her, but this close contact was detrimental to his thought process.
He drew in a deep breath, but it did nothing to cool his heated blood. There was something about this woman that got past his practiced defenses. And right now, talking was the last thing on his mind.
Jorie Loves A Story – Review
“Despite those choices where the story continues to play out between two people who are in the height of a fierce custody battle there is also a slow burning romance playing out in the background. . . . Theirs was an interesting romance and I had a feeling Faye was going to continue the legacy of how this Greek island brings unsuspecting people together at a point in their lives where they aren’t entirely ready to commit to a relationship much less consider a marriage! Sometimes life is like that though – you find yourself caught up in the tides of fate and despite your best intentions, things really do work out the way they were always meant to even if the timing of it all is not your own choosing.”
Hallie Reads – Review
“A story of grief, trust, letting go, and some good, fun romance, Claiming the Drakos Heir is definitely an enjoyable read. I loved seeing the drama between Popi and Apollo in these unique circumstances, proving perfect for any reader in need of a quick contemporary romance.”
Paulette’s Papers – Excerpt
Kissing her had been a mistake. Apollo didn’t know if he was going to be able to talk to her—to look at her—without recalling that earth-moving kiss. And he couldn’t afford to be distracted. There was too much at stake.
He stepped away. “That shouldn’t have happened.”
Popi’s gaze darkened. “The song has ended. Now I want answers. Who are you?”
“Do you really not recognize me?”
“No.” She studied his face. “Why should I know you? Are you famous?”
janicesbookreviews – Review
“I did enjoy the story of Popi and Apollo. Both were determined to care for the baby. I loved how Apollo took to Fatherhood.”
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven’t already…
Claiming the Drakos Heir
(Greek Island Brides #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
June 1st 2019 by Harlequin Romance
The rebel bachelor is back…
To claim her baby!
In this Greek Island Brides story, pregnant surrogate Popi Costas is faced with raising her late sister’s child alone, until the baby’s wealthy uncle arrives to take charge! Apollo Drakos is distractingly handsome, but Popi won’t let that stop her from fighting to keep the baby. Yet as she gets to know the man behind the wild card reputation, Popi’s reconsidering welcoming Apollo into her new little family…
Go to Jennifer’s Contact Page HERE and order your bookmark(s)!
The Greek Island Brides Series
Finding love that lasts to infinity!
All marriages that take place on renowned wedding destination Infinity Island are guaranteed to last forever!
And the picturesque Greek island is about to weave its magic for friends Lea, Popi and Stasia. They dream of finding their own happy-ever-afters… And they’re about to meet three billionaires who will sweep them off their feet—and down the aisle!
Follow Lea’s journey from surprise pregnancy to dream proposal in…
From one night…
To nine months!
In this Greek Island Brides story, for jaded tycoon Xander Marinakos, renowned wedding destination Infinity Island is just another opportunity to expand his empire. Until he’s captivated by its beautiful owner, Lea Romes… When their one night together has unexpected consequences, Xander must negotiate the deal of a lifetime, and put his guarded heart on the table to convince independent Lea they can be a family…for infinity!
And coming September 2019…
Book #3 – Wearing the Greek Millionaire’s Ring
A convenient engagement…
An inconvenient attraction!
In this Greek Island Brides story, widow Stasia Marinakos is learning to enjoy life again aboard a Mediterranean cruise. Her chemistry with gorgeous Greek tycoon Roberto Carrass is a pleasant surprise—until she’s mistaken for his fiancée! Nevertheless, the guarded bachelor asks Stasia to continue the charade to stop his family from matchmaking. As their attraction grows, their fake romance feels ever more real…but what will happen when the vacation ends?
About the Author
Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.
1 winner will receive a copy of Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby (print if US, ebook if INT) and a $25 Amazon eGift Card
Ends June 12, 2019
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hi. 🙂 I’m so glad you can join me on this blog tour for my holiday release: HEIRESS’S ROYAL BABY BOMBSHELL. It is the second book in the Catteneo’s Christmas Miracles trilogy. This is Noemi Cattaneo and Crown Prince Maximilian Steiner-Wolf’s snowy, heart-warming, Christmas romance…
She glanced around the room but didn’t see any sign of him. Disappointment assailed her. This wasn’t like her. She could take guys or leave them. She thought of asking Stephania if she knew the man’s name but shrugged off the idea. Her life had enough complications. She didn’t need more.
But just the same, her mood had dimmed. Her problems once again started to crowd in around the edges of her mind. Needing some fresh air, she stepped out onto the terrace. There was just enough of the evening sun for her to admire the distant mountain range as a gentle breeze caressed her skin.
The deep rich voice had her turning her head. And there stood the intriguing stranger with the mesmerizing eyes. His voice held a slight accent. She couldn’t place it, but it was extremely sexy—just like the rest of him.
“HEIRESS’S ROYAL BABY BOMBSHELL is a sweet story about two people who didn’t realize what they had when they had it, but by chance, are brought back together at the right time to give themselves a second chance, but with a baby on the way thrown into the mix to complicate things. The setting is at Christmastime, but doesn’t over-dominate the story, making this a read that can be read at any time of the year. There are also some nice familial and small-town aspects that added to the story. An overall enjoyable read!”
He didn’t want to be here.
Crown Prince Maximilian Steiner-Wolf, known to his friends as Max, sat in the back seat of his sports utility vehicle as one of his three bodyguards maneuvered it along the windy road in the Swiss Alps. His bodyguard and friend, Roc, sat in the passenger seat while Shaun, a bodyguard of similar stature and looks, sat next to him. He couldn’t go anywhere without at least a small security detail.
Being the crown prince came with certain nonnegotiable restrictions. One of them was his safety. He may insist on traveling but the king demanded that his safety always be taken into consideration. It was a hassle but the guards were very good at becoming invisible unless their presence was required.
“After reading this book, I am now a fan of the series and of hers. I wanted to just read a chapter before bed and wound up staying up until I was done with it! I just loved Max and Noemi’s story. It was so sweet, delightful, and romantic. . . . I highly recommend Heiress’s Royal Baby Bombshell. I am rating it a well deserved Five Plus Stars. I would rate it one hundred stars if I could.”
“It’s the Prince of Ostania!” someone shouted.
Everyone on the sidewalk turned in his direction.
Quickly Max’s security guards flanked him. None spoke. They didn’t have to. The serious look on their faces said they meant business. Being recognized didn’t happen all the time. However, it happened more than Max would like.
Security escorted him around the vehicle. He forced a smile as he passed the tourists and then dashed into the shop. He hoped the people wouldn’t follow him.
Noemi was on the edge of the group when an excited buzz rushed through the crowd. She paused and turned to a young woman who was holding up her cell phone as though to snap a picture.
“Do you know what all the fuss is about?” Noemi asked.
The young woman with dark hair pulled back in a ponytail smiled brightly. “It’s the best thing. Crown Prince Maximilian Steiner-Wolf has just arrived.”
Noemi had heard the name before, but she knew nothing of the man. It seemed as though she was in the minority as the crowd continued to grow.
“The plot moved smoothly and I finished the book in a few hours, and the characters were all very interesting to learn about. I even liked how the story ended, and the little epilogue was adorable. This was definitely a sweet Christmas romance novel! I will definitely be picking up the next book in the Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles series.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new holiday romance novel.”
Noemi had so many questions for Max, but they lodged in her throat. This wasn’t the time or the place to rehash the not-so-distant past.
“Come with me,” he said.
Not waiting for an answer, he took her hand and led her to a waiting black SUV. With the help of two men, they reached the vehicle without people stepping in their way.
She wasn’t sure it was wise being alone with him, not when he still filled her dreams, but it beat being in public where everyone was watching them and eavesdropping. Once inside, she turned to him. She needed answers. She needed to know why he’d kept his title from her. She needed to know so much.
“Heiress’s Royal Baby Bombshell by Jennifer Faye is the second book in The Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles series. I like Noemi and Max. A secret baby story that’s about to become scandal is so hard not to like. . . . This is a sweet quick read.”
Max gave himself a mental jerk. Now that he’d found Noemi again, the last thing he wanted to do was scare her off. What were the chances of them running into each other again?
Had she figured out his true identity and planned this reunion? Not possible. He hadn’t decided on coming to Mont Coeur until last night. Even then, he’d only told his trusted staff.
“This was such a fun, entertaining “Christmas romance”! . . . There were enough twists and momentous occasions, that the reader never once got bored and tempted to “skip to the end”. This will truly add highlight to the romance lover’s Holiday entertainment.”
“I honestly enjoy how Ms Faye sets up her characters to find each other – how they seemingly are not meant to be involved but then, there is a door which opens to allow it. She finds ways to let them present themselves in the muddling glow of their lives – here we have two persons who are dearly known in the public eye but their facing hurdles that no one would want for themselves. . . . Faye does a good job of setting up how this hangs on the heart of her characters.”
He is a prince?
How is that possible?
Noemi had so many conflicting emotions flooding her body that she didn’t know what to say to him. Part of her longed to fall into his arms and pick up where they’d left off before. But logic told her to tread carefully. Max was a very powerful man. There was no way she was going to blurt out that she was pregnant with his baby. Finding out that he was royalty changed everything. She needed time to think.
“Have dinner with me?” His voice stirred her from her thoughts.
She shook her head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I pre-ordered Sebastian’s story and bought Leo’s. Yes, I HAVE to know their stories, too. Yes, I loved the characters that much. . . . the ending was just so swoon-worthy. Oh and the epilogue. . . . As I said, I just fell in love with this family and I can’t wait to get my paperback copies of Leo and Sebastian’s stories. Perfect for Christmas.”
Heiress’s Royal Baby Bombshell
(The Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
November 61st 2018 by Harlequin Romance
For the Crown Prince!
In this The Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles story, rebel royal Max believes his infertility has cost him the throne — until heiress Noemi reveals she’s carrying his baby! And with his country’s future at stake, Max must claim his heir! Noemi is hesitant and fiercely protective of their unborn baby, but at his snow-covered palace can Max offer her the most precious Christmas gift ever — the chance to become a family…
Other Books in the Series
December 19th 2017 by Tule Publishing
Jaded by love, Suzanna Simms has resigned herself to focusing on her art business. But with Christmas quickly approaching, she receives word that her family is returning to Marietta. And Suzanna failed to mention that her latest relationship had ended abruptly. Now she’ll have to admit to her family that she failed at love—again.
Enter Sergeant Jake Hamilton, a new resident to Marietta and Suzanna’s next door neighbor. He’s not looking for anything permanent, he’s just passing through Marietta for the Christmas season, hoping to keep to himself. But when Suzanna’s family mistakenly assumes that Jake’s her boyfriend, he agrees to continue the charade.
Suzanna is certain she’s immune to his rugged good looks and sexy smile until they find themselves standing under the mistletoe. When Jake finds her kiss sweeter than her sugar cookies, he knows he’s in trouble. But it’s too late by then… the Christmas charade is on.
There was something in the air…
Change was coming to Marietta.
Or more than likely it was a bit of wishful thinking.
Tomorrow was the first of December, when the Christmas frenzy kicked into high gear. Suzanna Simms usually found this to be the most fabulous time of the year. But this year, she just wanted the holidays to quietly pass her by. She rushed into the kitchen. Her gaze immediately moved to the clock on the microwave. It blinked “PF.” Power failure. Apparently the power had gone off last night just long enough to reset all of the clocks in the house, including her alarm clock.
A glance at her phone let her know she only had two more minutes before she was late for work. That never happened to her. She hated to be late for anything. And today they were switching the autumn decorations for Christmas ones at her jewelry/craft shop, Tangled Charms.
Suzanna grabbed the coffeepot and poured it into her mug. She’d never make it through the morning without some strong caffeine. She glanced in the kitchen cabinet for the lid. Suddenly the hot liquid scorched her skin. She righted the coffeepot. Setting it aside, she rushed to the sink. As cold water soothed the burn, she assured herself there was definitely something amiss in the air.
She glanced down at Pixie. “Hey, girl. I didn’t forget you. Honest.”
The black-and-white six-month-old kitten rubbed affectionately over Suzanna’s legs. Suzanna bent over and scratched behind Pixie’s ear. When Pixie wasn’t testing her boundaries, she was the sweetest furbaby. And she wanted her breakfast. First, Suzanna sopped up the coffee from the countertop. And then she placed a bowl containing canned cat food on Pixie’s mat. Satisfied that her morning chores were complete, Suzanna slipped on her coat and red scarf.
With her coffee in one hand and her oversized purse slung over her shoulder, she rushed out the door of her townhouse. A gust of icy cold air rushed past her. She snuggled deeper in her coat. December had blown in with a distinct chill. And so another blustery winter was about to descend upon Marietta, Montana.
She was halfway down the sidewalk when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to find a big—make that a ginormous—brown-and-white Saint Bernard running toward her. Its ears flapped as it ran and its jowls did the same. The closer it got, the bigger it seemed. Why couldn’t it be a Chihuahua or a Yorkie?
The breath caught in Suzanna’s throat as her palms grew clammy. Please stop.
She took a step back. There was no way she was going to outrun that dog. It let out a deep bark. Woof-woof.
And then all two hundred pounds or so of the dog was standing in front of her. She stared at it and it stared back at her with big brown eyes.
She should say something—do something, but panic had her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. And her heart felt as though it were lodged in her throat. She’d been afraid of dogs since she’d been bitten when she was young.
She should look around for someone to help her, but she didn’t dare take her gaze off the dog. The dog began sniffing her shoes and her jeans. What was it thinking? The dog circled her—
“Rufus, what are you doing?” asked a male voice.
The dog glanced up. Woof!
Once the dog ran to the man, Suzanna relaxed her stiff muscles and glanced over at the man.
“Don’t worry. He won’t hurt you.” The man sent her a friendly smile as the dog sat down next to him.
It was cold out, quite literally, and here this man was strutting around outside in a short-sleeved black T-shirt. It clung to his muscled chest, broad shoulders, and bulging biceps. She swallowed hard and struggled to recall what she’d been about to say.
Her gaze lifted up and up. My he’s tall. At least six feet of muscle. His jawline was chiseled with some scruff on it. His hair was short—like military short. And his eyes were blue. Not just blue. But a sky blue, the kind that she could get lost in for hours. He was quite a sexy package.
“You must be my new neighbor.” The townhouse next to hers was up for rent. She just hadn’t realized anyone had moved in.