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Sweet Noel – Sneak Peek

Sweet Noel – Sneak Peek

Hi Bookworms,

I love Indigo Bay and I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into my newest release, Sweet Noel, book two in the Indigo Bay Christmas Romances series.

Neither is looking for love, but is love looking for them?

Gina Andrews never imagined she’d be a single mother forced to move back to Indigo Bay and live with her parents. But she’s managing, all the while holding on to hope that her ex-husband will wake up to what he’s missing and agree to try again.

Noel Hamilton is a professional drifter and artist, in that order. He’s happy going wherever the wind takes him. He seeks freedom, art, and serenity.

When Noel meets the business end of Gina’s car and ends up in the hospital, he realizes he’s going nowhere fast. And when Gina’s mother steps in to help him, Gina and Noel are thrown together to stew in their mutual dislike.

But slowly, things change and as Indigo Bay prepares for the Christmas season, Gina begins to wonder if this year could be her sweetest Noel ever.

***

Chapter 1

Gina pulled into the familiar driveway in Cinnamon Hills, South Carolina, and killed the engine. Janice Millstead, her former mother-in-law, always went all-out for holidays. The two-story Victorian-style house was fully decorated for Thanksgiving, with pumpkins lining the porch and a garland of curly willow and autumn leaves woven through the gingerbread detailing. Gina knew that tomorrow, Janice would begin swapping out the autumn decorations for Christmas, and the entire house would sparkle like a piece of glass in the sand.

Janice was one thing Gina missed about her marriage. She’d been close to her former mother-in-law, but in the nine months since the divorce, Janice had made it clear that her loyalty was with her son, Lee, and not a cast-off daughter-in-law.

Lee and the boys, to be fair. Janice and Reid Millstead doted on their grandsons, and who was Gina to deny them the opportunity? Especially when the visitation schedule had been ordered by the court. Lee got Thanksgiving this year. She got Christmas.

Gina plucked her phone from the center console of her car and pulled up Lee’s number. She typed out a quick text.

I’m here.

An ache pounded in her chest. Thanksgiving was yet another bullet point in a long series of firsts this year, and she’d dreaded each one. She and Lee had divorced last February, deliberately timing it so the boys would have almost a year to adjust to their new situation before they faced the holidays. It seemed like a decade since she’d signed the divorce papers, and back then, it’d been easy to believe this time would never come. But it had, and each day in the calendar took her away from the comfortable life she’d known with Lee and onward toward a boatload of milestones she’d never wanted to reach.

First night moving back in with her parents in Indigo Bay. First time using her maiden name again. First birthday alone. First time at a parent/teacher conference as a single mom. And now, first Thanksgiving alone.

Well, not alone. She’d been with her family. But her boys were with Lee, so she might as well have been alone. The sting of missing them had been constant, a hovering sadness that hung low like the fog on a misty morning. But that was the deal. At least she could look forward to Christmas.

Her phone buzzed, and she picked it up. It was Lee.

They’ll be out in a minute.

Gina sent a simple thumbs-up emoji back. She leaned into the headrest and closed her eyes. In her long experience with Lee, “a minute” could mean two minutes or two hours. He’d keep them inside until he was ready to let them go and not a moment before.

That was how it had always been. They played by Lee’s rules. Even the divorce had been his idea. Funny how you needed two people to agree to a marriage, but only one to decide on a divorce. But then, you couldn’t force someone to stay married when they clearly wanted out. How could that be fair?

Gina’s attention drifted in the wash of the lights coming from Janice’s autumn décor. Orange and gold wound with warm white lights and gold-wired bows tied among the leaves, vivid against the ashy gray of the curly willow. Last year, she’d helped her mother-in-law hang this same garland along this same porch the day after Halloween. The sight was weirdly normal, like the past year hadn’t brought so much turmoil and sorrow.

It felt like everything from that life should have been destroyed with the divorce. But life went on, even though it seemed to have left her behind.

The front door finally flew open, and her boys barreled out. Gina pulled her attention back and watched as they exchanged hugs with Lee and then Janice on the porch. Jordan was eight now and showing signs of entering a growth spurt. Arthur, at age five, was still chubby cheeked, with wide blue eyes that were at once full of childlike innocence and dashed with pain someone so young should not endure. The boys were holding bags of something, most likely treats from Grandma’s pantry. Janice loved to spoil her grandchildren, just like she’d spoiled her children. Maybe that was part of the problem with Lee.

Gina’s smile was genuine as the boys threw open the doors of the car and climbed in, one on each side. Arthur’s cowlick was back with a vengeance. No matter how much water or gel she used on it, the hair refused to be tamed, and Arthur finished every day looking like he’d just tumbled out of bed.

“How was it?” she asked.

“Great!” Jordan blurted. “I ate almost an entire pumpkin pie by myself. And Grandma gave me these.” He held up a plastic bag full of homemade rolls.

Gina’s mouth watered. Her own mother was a terrific cook, but no one could match Janice’s homemade dinner rolls. How many times had she sat at a family dinner in this house and eaten the same rolls drenched in butter? A pang hit her heart. She was not welcome there anymore, and she knew it.

“An entire pumpkin pie?” she asked, pushing away the sadness. Her therapist had told her to focus on the positive, and she was gradually getting better at steering her thoughts in an optimistic direction—at least around the boys. “Impressive,” she told Jordan. “Are we talking slice after slice, or did you just belly up to the entire pie and go for it?”

He giggled. “Slice after slice. But next time I’ll ask Grandma to make me one of my own. I’ll bet I could eat it all.”

“Next time” would be Thanksgiving with Gina, probably at her parents’ house in Indigo Bay, but she wasn’t about to burst his bubble. “I’m sure Grandma would be happy to make your own special pie,” she told her son. “Both buckled?”

She twisted in her seat to check the road and their seat belts, then looked back to the house. Her throat went tight. Lee still stood on the porch, lifting one hand in farewell.

“Wave to your dad,” Gina instructed.

Lee was wearing a pair of khakis she’d bought him at the mall in Charleston and hemmed by hand. Lee had short legs, so she’d always had to hem his pants. She’d tried to act like it was no big deal, but he was sensitive about his height. Gina never wore heels around him, since that would make her taller than he was. Even on their wedding day, she’d worn flats.

Paired with the khakis, Lee wore a red plaid button-up and a tie the boys had given him for Father’s Day last year. That could be a good sign. If he was still wearing the clothes from their marriage, maybe he wasn’t entirely ready to move on. Maybe he was having second thoughts—remembering how good they’d been together. They’d been happy once; maybe they could be again. It was the idea she’d been secretly clinging to since the divorce.

She forced a smile and waved quickly at her ex-husband, then backed out of the driveway. Lee returned the wave halfheartedly, but it was enough to lift Gina’s spirits. She wouldn’t push. Lee never reacted well to pressure. He’d have to come back around on his own, and in the meantime, she would do her best to be patient.

The boys chattered about the day, filling her head with memories of other Thanksgivings as she made the series of the slow turns to take them out of the neighborhood and to the highway. It was a two-hour drive from Cinnamon Hills to Indigo Bay on a normal day, but with Thanksgiving traffic, Gina expected it would take much longer.

“Can we listen to Christmas carols?” Arthur asked from his seat directly behind her.

“Sure.” Gina jabbed at the buttons on the radio, searching through the stations.

“It’s too early for Christmas carols,” Jordan moaned loudly. He sprawled across his side of the car, straining his seat belt to its limits. “Besides, they’re lame. Let’s listen to something good, like OneRepublic.”

“Christmas carols are good,” Gina said evenly. She pressed a few more buttons and finally found a station. “Frosty the Snowman” burst from the speakers.

“No!” Jordan let out a frustrated howl. “This is so dumb.”

“I like it,” Arthur shot back.

“It’s a baby song,” Jordan insisted.

“Stop it, both of you,” Gina ordered, turning the radio down. “You just got in the car and you’re already fighting.”

“But Mom, he likes stupid stuff,” Jordan said.

“Do not,” Arthur said. “You’re a bully.”

“Stop!” Gina took the next turn a little faster than normal, and the boys went quiet. At least she had their attention. “We’ll do a Christmas carol and then a OneRepublic song. Deal?”

“Why does he always get his way just because he’s the baby?” Jordan mumbled.

“No more complaining,” Gina said. “Tell me something good about today.”

“Dad has a girlfriend,” Arthur said after a moment of silence.

Gina gasped, the air rushing into her lungs so fast it hurt. Her eyes pinned Arthur’s in the rearview mirror. “What did you say?”

“Dad has a girlfriend.”

“How do you know that?”

“She was there today,” Jordan said, with all the carelessness of a young child who doesn’t consider parents could have feelings. “She’s nice.”

Gina felt her cheeks flush with heat. “He brought her to Thanksgiving dinner?”

“Yeah,” Arthur said casually, as if those words didn’t have the power to cut straight through to Gina’s heart. “Her name is Kim. She’s pretty.”

“Pretty how?”

“Mom, look out!” Jordan screamed.

Gina whipped her attention back to the road, but it was too late. A man had appeared out of nowhere, stumbling from between two parked cars. Gina stomped on the brakes, and there was a squeal of the tires and then a muffled thump as the bumper of the car struck the man’s legs. She met his shocked gaze through the windshield for a split second; then he was gone, crumpling to the asphalt in front of the car.

Continue reading Sweet Noel

 

Indigo Bay Christmas Romances are Here!

Indigo Bay Christmas Romances are Here!

It’s time – the Indigo Bay Christmas Romances series launched today! I put the final touches on Sweet Noel this morning and uploaded the final version. I’m still working on my paperback proof, but it should be up and ready to go on launch day, one week from today.

Eeeee!!

I love Indigo Bay. I love the people, the places, the very idea of it. It’s always a treat to come back and write another book for this town and I have especially loved this Christmas series.

Jean C. Gordon’s is the first book and you can start reading it now:

Sweet Tidings

Amanda Strickland wants her first Christmas as mayor of Indigo Bay to be a civic success from the animal shelter fundraiser to benefit gala to the traditional tree lighting. And movie-star acquaintance Eric Slade may be just the ingredient she needs to pull it all off.

Eric wants to put the paparazzi off him and the young co-star of his last film—and protect his fragile relationship with the grown son he never spent much time with when his son was growing up. When he proposes a pretend holiday romance between him and Amanda, it seems like a win-win for them both.

But what will happen when the pretend romance turns real and snafus on both sides threaten to crush their Christmas plans and hearts?

Get it here: Amazon | Kobo | Nook | Apple

Sweet Kisses Box Set w/Kissing the Mountain Man

Sweet Kisses Box Set w/Kissing the Mountain Man

I’m so excited to be part of this fantastic box set by some of my favorite authors. Get 21 sweet romance novellas for only $0.99! And if you pre-order, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Pets for Vets, a wonderful charity that helps unite pets with our service men and women.

The set is available now for preorder at your favorite ebook retailer.

Preorder the Sweet Kisses box set here

Once the sweet kisses box set is out, Kissing the Mountain Man will become Book Four of my existing Tamarack Ridge Romances. I’ve had so much fun going back to Tamarack Ridge to write this one. I even learned how to use a chainsaw as part of my research!

Kissing the Mountain Man

After a very public humiliation, Kennedy Jones flees Seattle for the solitude of Tamarack Ridge. But a navigation error leads her to the cabin of Clay Dresden, a recluse who is not looking for company. Kennedy stakes her claim on the cabin, but will she stake a claim on Clay’s heart?

Love in Honor Given Trailer

Love in Honor Given Trailer

I had so much fun making this video for Love in Honor Given! Get gold fever and join us as we search for Lincoln’s Lost Gold.

Treasure hunting is loaded with danger and charged with love.

Love in Honor Given – Release Glitch

Love in Honor Given – Release Glitch

So, there may be a problem.

There’s been a glitch in my upcoming release – Love in Honor Given. I’ve been on the phone with Amazon and long story short … I had to cancel the preorder and re-upload the file, which was NOT part of the plan. The links in Book One and on my social media and website go to an error screen. If you preordered Love in Honor Given, you should have received an email that it was canceled. 🤦‍♀️

The replacement upload is in review now and I’m praying, praying, PRAYING, there are no delays and things go smoothly. I’ll post the new link when I get it. Release date is still 8/13 unless … well, let’s not even think about that right now.

Much love, everyone. I’m sorry for the issues!

Edit – here’s the working link. Yay!

Sweet Whispers Trailer

Sweet Whispers Trailer

I don’t normally make book trailers, but I found an awesome sight for video and the perfect mood, so I couldn’t resist. This took me much longer than you’d think, because I’m still learning the software, but I love how it turned out. Take a look!

https://youtu.be/fAoCrpo1PRg

Sweet Whispers is available now

Sweet Whispers is available now

Indigo Bay is the kind of place I’d love to live. Friendly neighbors, plenty of charm, and most importantly — on the beach! I’m a landlocked girl who has always loved the ocean, and writing about it is the next best thing to being there.

Sweet Whispers is my second Indigo Bay book and part of a larger series that includes several very talented authors. The books are designed to be read in any order without missing any of the story, so jump in any time! You might have fun spotting crossover characters.

A thousand dreams sparked through her, memories of late nights and sweet whispers when they’d dreamed of their future together. A family where he was Dad, and she would be Mom. But it hadn’t happened.

As the executor of her grandfather’s estate, Melanie Bowers is returning to Indigo Bay for the first time in years. Her goal is to be in and out before anyone in town knows she’s there – especially Penn, the high school sweetheart who broke her heart by joining the military and leaving her alone, with no promise for their future together.

Penn Westover was anxious to complete his tour of duty, then spend the rest of his life with Melanie. But his dream shattered when she married someone else. He reluctantly moved on with his life, but he never forgot.

When Melanie and Penn reconnect in Indigo Bay and realize they’re both single again, their chemistry comes roaring back. The sparks are still there, but can they move beyond their painful memories and forgive, or are they better off leaving the past alone?

Available in ebook and paperback:

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Kobo

The Passionate One – now in paperback!

The Passionate One – now in paperback!

The Passionate One is now in paperback! Check it out …

Wahoo! It’s so exciting when that proof copy shows up in the mail! I don’t have many of my books formatted for print yet, but I’m working on it. The Rebellious One will be next and so on until I get the whole Billionaire Bride Pact done. Cami Checketts already has all six of her BBP books in paperback and mine will be the same size and formatting as hers, so if you are collecting the series, they should all match.

Should. The operative word there unless I mess something up.

The glass disc next to the book is important. I took glass blowing lessons when I was researching this story and the disc was the result of a bit of molten glass dripping onto the concrete. It’s perfectly smooth and SO cool! My own personal worry stone.

Click here to get The Passionate One in paperback. Yours won’t have the obnoxious gray stripe across the front, of course.

The Hopeful One is available now!

The Hopeful One is available now!

Nikki thought she’d found her happily ever after. But her story isn’t over.

Nikki Pendleton fulfilled the Billionaire Bride Pact she made as a teenager by marrying a wealthy man. But the Pact wasn’t why she accepted Darrin’s proposal. Darrin is Nikki’s handsome prince in every way and they are the poster couple for a happily ever after as they eagerly plan their future. But when life takes a tragic turn, their love will face the refiner’s fire. Can they come out gleaming or will Nikki’s hope be turned to ash?

Get The Hopeful One on Amazon, Free for KU users