There is no such thing as luck.
Roxy Kincaid isn’t a biker chick anymore. She’s made herself more than Jethro Winston’s castoff, and she’s never going back to her old life with the Iron Wraiths. But one summer night, a charming stranger threatens to sweep Roxy off her feet. Ignoring fate and their instant attraction, she has to get back to her real life in Green Valley. He couldn’t be the one that she wants when he’s exactly the thing that could ruin everything. If only she could stop thinking about him.
Luck is everything.
Sanders Olsson is going to fix his mistakes. He’s determined to show his best friend he’s a reliable business partner not the distracted flake he’s been lately. But he has to listen when the universe brings him a sign in the form of a guarded beauty he can’t keep his eyes off. Their instant connection is almost magical but she leaves without giving him even a last name. When fate gives Sanders a second chance in life and love, he sets out for Green Valley without a backward glance.
Their summer lovin’ happened so fast but what will it take to make it last?
‘The One That I Want’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Scorned Women’s Society series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/339IpgD
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3oaDh4m
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2J4TW9O
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/35VCMUQ
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/35YaZn2
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2Hzal60
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/3p3KmDb
Piper Sheldon writes Contemporary Romance and Paranormal Romance. Her books are a little funny, a lotta romantic, and with just a little twist of something more. She lives with her husband, toddler, and two needy dogs at home in the desert Southwest. She finds writing bios in the third person an extreme sport of awkwardness.
“Steal My Magnolia is more than a love story. It’s a beautifully crafted journey of life full of obstacles but a journey worth the travel with the right person.” –Author Andrea Johnston
Life lesson from Grady Buchanan: If you’re going to fall in love with the untouchable girl in town, don’t hire her as your only employee.
Even after he bungled the interview with Magnolia MacIntyre, he knew better than to hire her. The list of why it’s a bad idea is a long one.
Her father could ruin his fledgling business.
She is completely overqualified.
And he’s attracted to her.
What does Grady do? He offers her the job.
Magnolia knew better than to take it. Normally, she’d make the safe choice, and working for Grady is anything but.
He’s new in town–and entirely too charming.
Her dad will be furious.
She hates the outdoors and working for an outdoor adventure company is not exactly the right fit.
What does she do? She says yes on the spot.
Grady and Magnolia will have to prove to everyone in their life that they’re not crazy. And prove to each other that the list of why it’s a bad idea should be tossed out the window.
For these two opposites, sometimes doing the wrong thing is exactly right.
‘Steal My Magnolia’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Love At First Sight series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3jvE6l3
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3kzJYec
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3oouvjH
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3owyhrl
Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/34sBlMZ
Baking Me Crazy
Batter of Wits
Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.
“What are you doing out here at midnight? And what are those?”
“Oh!” she said, seeming to remember the wriggly blonde puppies in her arms. “Oh my God, Jake. Listen to this—Presley was driving me home from Joe’s because I might have maybe had a little to much to drink, and we were just outside of town when we came up on this cardboard box on the side of the road that somebody wrote PUPPIES on the side of. Can you believe somebody would do that? This world is so fucked up.”
I started to laugh at her untethered use of the word fuck, but cleared my throat. “Okay, but what are they doing here?”
“Well, they were so cute, and Presley wanted one and was gonna take the rest to town to”—a hiccup—“’Scuse me. To town tomorrow to see if anyone wanted them or she’d drive them to the animal shelter. And I was sitting there with that box in my lap and was looking at those little babies, with no mama to take care of them, and I … well, I …” Her voice wavered, and tears welled in her eyes so high, they touched her pupil. “They’re all alone. And so am I. And so are you. So I brought us puppies. This one’s yours.”
She shoved a puppy into my chest.
“No, wait. This one’s yours.”
She shoved the other puppy into my chest, clutching the first one to hers.
I looked down at the furry little squiggly thing, taking it with no small amount of reluctance. “I don’t want a dog.”
“Well, that’s too bad, isn’t it?” she said to the puppy in her arms in a schmoopy voice. “Jake, aren’t they just so sweet? I could just eat him up.”
“That one’s a girl.”
She glanced for confirmation. “Well, I guess I’ll have to pick a new name. Kevin isn’t exactly neutral, is it?” When she looked up, her nose was a little red but her eyes were clear. Until she got a good look at me and her face melted into that doe-eyed expression girls got when they looked at a baby.“Awww, Jake! You’re holding a puppy.” She giggled, but her eyes were shiny again like she was going to cry. “And your shirt’s all unbuttoned. And you don’t have shoes on! I can’t handle it.” Her face lit up. “Let me take a picture of you.” She was already fumbling for her phone.
“Pass.” I dumped the puppy back in her arms with its sibling. “I don’t want a dog, and I don’t want to be all over your stupid social media.”
She made a dramatic grump face and said in a doofy mocking male voice, “I don’t wanna be on the interwebs with the TikTockers and InstantGrammar. You are such a fuddy duddy. And you can’t say no to the puppy.”
The puppy was back in my arms. “Trust me, I can.”
I tried to give it back, but she pushed it in my direction, her face screwing up in anger.
“Listen, you asshole—you need this puppy and she needs you. You won’t let me be your friend, so please, take the dog. She doesn’t have anybody else to take care of her and you don’t have anyone to take care of you. We don’t have Pop anymore, Jake. And I don’t have you and you don’t have me because you’re such a stupid jerk and you never have a shirt on when you know it makes me all …” She crossed her eyes and circled her ear with her pointer finger. “So take the goddamn dog! And I’ll take mine. And then we won’t be alone anymore.”
A slice of white-hot pain cut through me at the despair in her words. At the knowledge on their heels. At the look on her sad, angry face and those shiny tears still in her eyes. How she’d gone through so many forms of tears in such a short period of time astounded me. But that was Olivia. She felt everything. And she always tried to find a way to be happy, despite her circumstance. Which, at the moment, was pretty shitty.
And all I’d done was make it worse, simply because I was scared of losing anything else that meant something to me. I’d lost enough.
She was right. We were alone. And we both needed a friend, canine and human both.
5 out of 5 spectacularly seasonal stars
I never read blubs, especially from authors that I love, because I trust them to tell me a good story. In the case of Christina Lauren, I trust them to give me an excellent story, and this is exactly what I got with In a Holidaze.
Here’s the official description: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favourite place in the world – the snowy cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born. Mentally melting down as she drives away for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, everything goes black . . . When Mae gasps awake, she’s back on an airplane, beginning the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop – and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark hilarious hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.“
Since I don’t read blurbs, I had no idea what I was getting into with In a Holidaze, but it ended up being precisely my cup of tea. It starts off with a normal holiday gathering, and all of a sudden, there’s time travel involved! This is also the story of two people who have known each other as friends their entire lives, and I love a couple with a complicated history! There is a big, wonderful cast of characters in addition to Maelyn and Andrew. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep track of who’s who in books like this, but these characters were so delightful. It was so fun getting to know them, and they were very easy to distinguish from one another.
Since the main character, Maelyn, bounces back in time and repeats the Christmas holidays over and over again, there is an element of suspense throughout the last half of the book, as you wait to find out if she’s going to lose everything she’s gained in the current go-round by ending back on the plane. I kept thinking “Don’t go back! Don’t go back!” and I will definitely not spoil it for you. But if you’ve read a Christina Lauren book before, you know that they can put you through a lot of heartache and drama and angst, but they don’t leave you there! I loved this book so much that I’m going to buy it on audio. I don’t always have time to reread a book, but there’s always time to listen to one!
Thanks to the Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Is there a sweeter spot in his life for the woman who’s always had his back–and possibly even his heart?
Gimme S’more, an all-new sweet and sexy opposites-attract standalone romantic comedy in the Hot Cakes Series by New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas is available now!
REVIEW: We’ve been waiting for Ollie and Piper’s story, and this was worth waiting for. I missed a couple of books in the series, so I’m going to have to go back and read those. When you get to the later books in a series, there are always a ton of characters to keep track of. That makes it a little difficult if you haven’t read the other books, even though these can technically be read as a standalone. It was a fun book, but occasionally a little silly, and the sexy times were not quite the steamy level I’m used to with Erin Nicholas.
A friends-to-lovers romance that will make you melt.
Oliver’s a dreamer who is always ready for the next big adventure.
Piper’s the steady one who keeps his feet on the ground.
He’s wildly successful, thanks to her always being there to catch him when he leaps before he looks. But she wants more. While he’s as clueless as ever.
So she just gave her two weeks notice.
Ollie doesn’t know how he’ll survive without Piper. So for the next two weeks, he’ll be sticking to her like the marshmallows on the s’mores she loves so much.
But does he want her as his assistant… or is there a sweeter spot in his life for the woman who’s always had his back–and possibly even his heart?
Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/gimmesmore
Apple Books: http://apple.co/3nnhSnT
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Wg2SMS
Add GIMME S’MORE to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3mnJrfE
The guys were going to kill him.
Ollie scrubbed a hand over his face.
They wouldn’t be surprised, of course. But they were going to be pissed.
They’d all known that Piper quitting was a risk and that one day she’d probably wise-up and lose her patience and that would be it.
They’d also all known that when it happened there was a 90 percent chance it would be because of Ollie.
The other 10 percent chance was that it would be because of Ollie and Dax together.
And now it had finally happened.
If it came down to choosing between him and Piper, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know how that debate would end up. Or how short the discussion would be before they decided they wanted and needed her more.
That was only one of the reasons he hadn’t told them yet.
The other was because he was still processing the part where she’d said she loved him.
What was he supposed to do with that?
She wasn’t just supposed to say that out loud right to him, was she? He had not been expecting that. The guys and their girlfriends had insinuated for a while now that Piper might have a crush on him but no, he hadn’t expected her to ever say anything herself.
It was a might have. A crush. Okay, they were adults and maybe adults didn’t have crushes exactly, but everything anyone had said suggested that it was just that Piper thought he was interesting at times and that she didn’t hate spending time with him.
But a crush wasn’t love. For fuck’s sake.
And it had to be Piper?
Piper Barry was amazing. She was gorgeous. She was smart. She was capable. She could do anything. She was funny and sweet and sassy and tough.
She was intimidating as hell.
What was he supposed to do with her now?
What was he supposed to do without her now?
Well, the solution seemed pretty obvious. She’d basically given him the answer herself—I can’t be in love with you and work for you. And the only one of those two things I can change is the working for you part.
So he needed to get her to not be in love with him anymore. Then she’d come back to work and all would be fine.
Now he just had to get her to realize she could do a hell of a lot better than him.
Of course, he’d been a pain in her ass for five years now. If that didn’t do it, he wasn’t sure what would.
About Erin Nicholas
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.
Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).
Connect with Erin
Stay up to date with Erin Nicholas by joining her mailing list:
★ ★ SPRING LAUNCH 2021 ★ ★
In case you missed it, Smartypants Romance announced their participating author line-up for Spring 2021. The following authors will be contributing new canon titles in the Penny Reid Universe to be released in February and March 2021. We are thrilled to announce some new friends and returning familiar faces. Blurbs, release dates, and cover announcements are coming soon!
Emma Lee Jayne
And Karla Sorensen kicks off the spring launch with STEAL MY MAGNOLIA on February 9th, 2021
Title: TAKE A NUMBER
Author: Amy Daws
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Cover Designer: Amy Daws
Cover Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Cover Model: Philippe Belanger
Fake dating the cute owner of a bakery Dean is an investor in sounds kind of messy…but messy can be fun.
Norah Donahue wants bakeries not babies, but her matchmaking mother won’t stop trying to play Cupid.
Dean Moser is a cocky stock market savant whose friends are all settling down, leaving Boulder’s infamous ladies’ man all alone.
When Norah needs a fake date for her parents’ anniversary party, her new silent investor is the perfect guy for the job. It seems like a foolproof plan…
That is until Norah decides to break her biggest rule and lock lips with Dean in the middle of the party to spite her meddling mother.
Turns out that Dean and Norah’s chemistry is sizzling hot, and mixing business with pleasure could turn out to be a recipe for disaster.
Or maybe they can have their cake and eat it too
“OH MY GOSH, AMY! Take A Number has honestly been your BEST, FUNNIEST, and SEXIEST romantic comedy to date, and I absolutely LOVED Dean and Norah’s story! And I truly mean that wholeheartedly! I laughed, smiled, and swooned my romance-loving heart out from start to finish, and absolutely loved every moment of Dean and Norah’s funny, sexy, and swoon-worthy fake-dating story. I know readers are going to lose their minds when they get their hands on this MUST READ romcom.” -Julia Griffis
“This is a disaster,” I groan and turn to prop my elbows on the bar. “Can I get another champagne, please?”
Dean sidles up next to me as the bartender fills my glass. “What’s up, sugar? I think your dad likes me.”
I pin him with a warning look. “If you add tits to the end of that sugar, your balls must have a death wish.”
“Why so cheery?” Dean asks, hunching over the bar to sip his brown liquor out of a rocks glass. “Did your mother give you a puppy again? That Elaine.”
“My mother invited Nathaniel here tonight,” I state flatly.
“The perfect teeth guy?”
“So, what’s the big deal?”
I pin him with an accusing look. “She gave him the impression I was here for him. Like I was some lonely sack who couldn’t get a date even if I wanted to. Jesus, this is embarrassing.”
“Relax.” Dean turns to face the party and rests his elbows behind him like he doesn’t have a care in the world. “We’ll just have to break some of your rules.”
“What do you mean?” I grab a nut from the bowl on the bar and chew on it nervously.
“Well, if you want this guy to steer clear, then a little PDA might be in order.”
“What kind of PDA?” If he says kissing, I’ll spontaneously combust.
Dean seems to read my mind and rolls his eyes. “Relax, sugar cake, I mean a little…affection. Maybe we dance. Maybe I put my arms around your waist or play with your hair a little. Or maybe we get practically pornographic, and I waffle your fingers.” He laughs casually. “Something to show your mother this Nate guy doesn’t have a chance.”
I nod thoughtfully as I process what Dean’s just said. He mentioned touching me so casually like it’s no big deal. I suppose it isn’t since he seems to flirt with anything that walks. But I’ve been out of the game for a while now, and I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve been affectionate with, and even those were years ago. Is this really something I can pull off?
“Norah, drink the rest of that champagne. It’s going to be fine.”
I close my eyes, letting his words sink in while feeling anything but fine. “Okay, just promise you won’t try to kiss me. I’m barely holding it together as it is, and if I have to worry about you breaking the ultimate rule, I won’t survive this night.” I tip the rest of the champagne into my mouth.
“Relax, I won’t tongue thrust you in front of all your parents’ friends. I’m a mountain manwhore, but I draw the line at lip raping.”
Check out Amy’s Facebook page for an awesome giveaway!
Amy Daws is an Amazon Top 13 bestselling author of sexy, contemporary romance novels. She enjoys writing love stories that take place in America, as well as across the pond in England. When Amy is not writing in a tire shop waiting room, she’s watching Gilmore Girls, or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter while Daddy smiles awkwardly from a distance. For more of Amy’s work, visit: http://www.amydawsauthor.com
This is the final release in the Smartypants Romance Spring 2020 launch, and I’ve read every one. Only a few of them have gotten five stars from me, and Stranger Ranger is one of them. I also loved the first book in this series, Happy Trail, which is the story of Olive and Jay, a ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stranger Ranger is about Odin and Daphne, who is a co-worker of Jay’s.
There is so much to love about this story. Daphne and Odin are two self-professed weirdos, and I can totally relate. I saw a lot of myself in Daphne (she’s even a Hufflepuff, like me!) She can be awkward, she is a rule-follower, she’s trying to overcome a lifetime of expectations and become who she wants to be, she loves to learn and travel and have new experiences. Also, “loopy” Daphne is just adorable. I feel like we just scratched the surface of who she is, and where she came from, and I would have loved to know even more about her. That is the sign of a great character.
I liked Odin a lot, and would have liked to know more of his backstory, as well. It was touched on, but I definitely would have read a few more chapters about how he became who he is, and questionable choices in his past that he is trying to overcome. We meet his family briefly, and find out a bit about why he’s returned to his home in the mountains after being away for several years. I love a good origin story, and I wanted more of Odin’s!
There wasn’t a lot of steam to this story, which is absolutely fine. It was sweet, with a bit of a slow burn that I wouldn’t have minded being even slower. 🙂 They got to know each other as we all do, in little bits and pieces, as they spent more time together. There wasn’t a big conflict or a huge reveal of secrets, or a giant misunderstanding that they had to struggle to overcome. I’ve read a few books lately where there was a conflict that seemed manufactured just for the angst factor, and it was wonderful to not have that here.
I didn’t want this book to end. I could have stayed up late to finish it, but I wanted to save the last few chapters for the next day so I could extend my time with it just a little bit. I hope there are many more Park Ranger books to come!
New park ranger Daphne Baum is a reformed good girl. Breaking free from her overbearing family as soon as she turned eighteen, she’s been on her own ever since. The life of a park ranger, moving from park to park, suits her just fine. Though still a rule follower, she’s okay with a little sin in her life.
Every generation of Hill men has its black sheep. The general consensus among the family is that Odin Hill is the lucky bastard this go around. At seventeen, he blew out of town like an angry tornado only to return fifteen years later withdrawn and secretive. Living like a recluse in the hollows in the Smoky Mountains, he’s happy to keep to himself and is content to let locals believe he’s the town weirdo. Odin prefers the company of his pet pig to the nosy citizens of Green Valley.
When Daphne discovers Odin might be committing nefarious deeds on park land, she vows to find out the truth behind the handsome, yet chaotic, loner. Will the stranger help the ranger discover the difference between being good and doing the right thing? Or will they find themselves on opposite sides of love?
‘Stranger Ranger’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Park Ranger series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/368n8SR
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/38fDgUf
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2RdgqHi
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2G9DccG
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/30Po5yN
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2pN2x77
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/32EWbWa
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2qxnUK8
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2o8XOwd
By early afternoon, the crowd at the farmers’ market fades, leaving only stragglers, bargainers, and tourists sampling the charms of small town life.
I’ve had enough people for the week I’m looking forward to the quiet of my own company. All the talking and friendly chatter exhaust me. You’d think vegetables would sell themselves given they’re pretty self-explanatory. Yet folks wanna hear a story about a carrot being grown from the guy who pulled it out of the dirt himself. So I play my part of the happy farmer at the stand. It’s my bad luck I’ve always been charming. Part of my DNA.
My family has lived in the mountains surrounding Green Valley longer than anyone around here can remember. Before there was a National Park or even a Cades Cove, the Hills had established a homestead in the Smokies straddling Tennessee and North Carolina.
Because our last name is Hill, some people like to joke we put the hill in hillbilly. Jethro Winston for example. He’s hysterical. Some people think they have a sense of humor when they’re just being mean-spirited. As my Nannie Ida always says, glass houses provide good views, but then again, so do mirrors.
This is why I prefer the company of Patsy over most folks. She’s smart, a good listener, tidy, and doesn’t give a damn about my family and reputation. She has more class than a lot of the gossips and Sunday church-goers around here.
After I consolidate the remaining produce into crates and load up the van, I fold the tables and collapse my tent. While I work, the face of the brunette ranger floats through my mind.
She looked familiar but I didn’t recognize her name. It isn’t likely our paths have crossed. I don’t get out much and I’m not hanging around the bars or the visitor center in Cades Cove. Normally, one of my cousins covers the stand at the weekly farmers’ market and I can avoid the crowds. This is what happens when I let my guard down and am forced to engage with the public. I get iceberg and Bible quotes. I’ve never been a fan of either.
Bothered I’m still thinking about her, I close and lock up the van.
“Come on Patsy, let’s go for a walk.”
She gives a happy snort and steps closer to where her leash hangs on the top rail of her pen.
When the two of us stroll through town, folks stare. It’s worse when they insist on sharing a comment, tell the same old joke, and, in general, make a fuss. Honestly, I assume at this point people seeing the two of us together would be old news around here.
Guess some folks don’t have enough going on in their lives that they need to make commentary about people minding their own damn business.
I don’t understand what the big deal is about a man walking his pig.
Patsy’s excellent on a leash. Doesn’t pull. Has never instigated fights with dogs. Hasn’t bit anyone. Doesn’t do her business in the middle of the sidewalk. In my mind, she’s much better mannered than any old hound dog.
She’s pretty darn perfect in every conceivable way.
Except the one time she trampled Mrs. MacClure’s flower bed.
Even that was my fault for not paying closer attention to where we were walking.
If I had to find fault with her, Patsy thinks she’s in charge. And she’s a little more than spoiled. I only have myself to blame.
“Clarice, please tell me you see that man walking his pig.” A woman shouts to her friend and points from about three feet away.
“I’m not invisible,” I tell her with a flat smile.
“Oh dear.” Her companion rolls her eyes. “You’re a tall drink of cool water, aren’t you?”
The question is rhetorical. Being compared to a refreshing beverage doesn’t require a response, so I remain quiet. Patsy tugs on her leash and releases a frustrated snort that we’ve stopped walking.
“You two have a nice day, m‘kay.” I step off the sidewalk to pass them.
I’d like to say their behavior is atypical. If I hear “You’re like the Jolly Green Giant. Only less green” one more time …
For the record, I am not jolly.
There must be something in the well water around here. We grow ‘em tall in Green Valley.
Does a pig need to be walked on leash for health and exercise? No.
I’m the only weirdo in all of Green Valley who likes to take my daily constitutional accompanied by a sow. Not even Cletus Winston is as much of an oddball as I am. And that’s saying something.
He’s only interested in pigs and boar in terms of sausage. In my opinion, he’s missing out. If we were friends, or even friendly acquaintances, I might suggest we partner up. Truffle salami can be incredible. Or so I remember. I don’t eat pork anymore. Not since I’ve had Patsy. I’d be offended if she ate human body parts around me.
Hogs will eat pretty much anything you give them. A few years ago a pig farmer went missing. Wife said he ran off with his mistress. Everyone believed her until his gold tooth turned up in the muck and mud of their hog pens. Macabre, but true.
I don’t eat pork and Patsy doesn’t eat me. It’s an unspoken pact between us.
Not that she’s some sort of demon pig crazed with bloodlust. Not at all. She’s the best pig in eastern Tennessee. Don’t need a blue ribbon from the state fair to make it true.
This leisurely stroll around town is all part of my ruse.
If someone sees us ambling someplace we don’t belong, they’ll leave us alone, which is the entire point.
There’s freedom in being a weirdo. Folks keep their distance. Sure, there are the asinine comments, but for the most part they assume I’m dim-witted or crazy. Fine by me. With or without my porcine sidekick, I’ve always been different. I learned early on that people like to form and hold onto their own opinions. Pointless to try to change someone’s mind. What they think of me is their problem, not mine.
Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, Mulder, and an imaginary house goat. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.
Daisy Payton has everything.
But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.
Trevor Boone has nothing.
Abandoned as a child.
Raised by distant relatives.
Constantly reminded he’s a burden.
Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.
When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?
‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2G2FwlO
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2syOT9y
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/38ov97L
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/30Dm34u
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2RyfwUJ
My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.
I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.
She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.
“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.
I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.
Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”
I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”
She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”
There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”
I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”
“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.
Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.
“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”
“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.
“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”
How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.
And that was the problem.
I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not style=”font-weight: 400;”>Daisy Payton.
Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.
But Daisy Payton?
Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)
Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)
She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)
Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)
Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.
And she hated it.
She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.
She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.
She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?
And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.
No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.
She barely remembered her senior year.
She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.
She hated that they were right.
Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.
For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.
But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.
Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch. Her debut novella is scheduled to be released Spring 2020 on Smartypants Romance and will chronicle Daisy and Trevor’s journey.