Love of a Wild Rose

Next up in the clean romance I am sharing with you this month: Love of a Wild Rose by Natalie Dean!  Look at this gorgeous cover!

 

519TuQSYFyL1845, Oregon Trail, Independence Rock to Fort Hall

As the Macintosh family continues their journey along the Oregon Trail, the scouts come across a wagon accident. OR could it be another murder?

Two survivors are left . . . a beautiful and frightened Lakota woman, with a tiny baby in her arms.

She will only let one man help her . . . Joel Macintosh. 

There are many questions to be answered. One of which is . . . should they bring her back to camp?

Joel has enough of his own to deal with . . . as a pregnant family member is hovering between life and death. 

As it turns out, Ojinjintka is far more than the helpless woman Joel thought her to be. What she does for his dying pregnant family member makes the Macintosh family feel forever indebted to her.

BUT, Joel’s been warned. Don’t fall in love with the Lakota woman.

That’s a major problem. He’s sworn he will protect her. And . . . she trusts him.

Will he heed the warnings he’s been given? OR will he let love and honor lead the way?

Come along on the wagon train journey of a lifetime that promises everything – big dreams of love, green crops, horses, sheep and cows, large ranches – a new world at their fingertips!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This 25,000 word story is book three in the Love on the Trails series. Though it could be enjoyed as a standalone, it’s better if you have already read books one and two of this series.
A Love Beyond Suspicion, Love on the Trails Book One
Picture Perfect Love, Love on the Trails Book Two

TO BUY ON AMAZON, CLICK HERE!

 

 

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Priceless!

Janeen Ippolito’s side story to Lawless is almost here!

I participated in her last blog tour for Lawless, and really enjoyed the dragonshifter book, giving it five stars.

This is a side story with two new characters – and more dragons!

Note: These books are definitely more adult and PG-13, with implied sex between married couples, although no explicit descriptions.  Everything, in my opinion, is appropriate for an adult.

PricelessPricless book blurb: A little ambition can turn into a lot of trouble, even for the city’s wiliest double agent.
After years of rebel spywork in the dragon-human war, Nula Thredsing is ready to claim her legacy. As the Scepter of Commerce’s new liaison to dragons, she’s one step away from the old family seat on the city council. But during her first meeting with dragon diplomat Tiers Sunscaler, they are attacked by rogue dragons—one of them Sunscaler’s former tactical partner, who is bitterly determined to keep the sham war in action and turn the diplomat to his side.

 

At the same time, Nula and Tiers discover a startling connection: an embermate bond. While a political marriage suits Nula, the bond’s side effects are obnoxious—and potentially deadly. Aided by an unexpected cat-dragon and a mysterious unicorn, Nula and Tiers must track down the rogue dragons before their dangerous bond tears them apart.

Fortunately, Nula is used to impossible odds—and this time, she has a dragon on her side.

TO BUY: Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CMG669P/
Other Online Distributors: https://uncommonuniverses.com/books/priceless-an-ironfire-legacy-novella/
Autographed print preorder: https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/priceless-preorder/

Janeen Ippolito believes words can (and should) transform worlds. She writes Author Picurban fantasy and steampunk, and creates writing resources, including the reference book World Building From the Inside Out and the creative writing guide Irresistible World Building For Unforgettable Stories. She’s an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and is the leader of Uncommon Universes Press, a small science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaneenIppolito
Website: https://janeenippolito.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitocreative/
Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168444147251310/
Instagram: janeen_ippolito

I get to share an excerpt of the sequel, Priceless, below!

Nula and Tiers are working together to find the rogue dragons who attacked at their first diplomatic meeting on the wharf. In this scene, Nula and Tiers are caring for an injured cat-dragon who ran in the way of their groundcar. They hope the cat-dragon is a clue to locating an enemy laboratory where the rogue dragons could be encamped.   
However, at this moment, Nula Thredsing has other things in mind. Such as finding out about the embermate bond that Tiers has been so careful to hide…

 

“Always giving orders, hmm?” Tiers opened the kit and pulled out a clean cloth and disinfectant liquid. He began wiping the gash on the cat-dragon’s head, drawing a hiss and a yowl from its fanged mouth.

“Only when I have the best ideas. If you’d like, I could wait until we stare at each other awkwardly and decide who gets to go first.” Countess Thredsing rolled her eyes. “So, since we’re here, why did you refuse the diplomat quarters? And why do I hear your voice in my mind sometimes?”

Fewmets. Still determined to get answers before he had any satisfactory ones to give her.

“Since you have the best ideas, why don’t you tell me what you think?” Tiers focused on applying the ointment. Fortunately, the cat-dragon didn’t require stitches. Dragon tech used scale-screen to seal wounds. With the cat-dragon having both fur and scales, Tiers wouldn’t have been sure where to start if the beast’s wound had been serious.

She huffed. “Is giving a straight answer a foreign concept to you? I know this vagueness isn’t a dragon trait.”

“Yes, it is.” Dragon traditions for careful words and cleverness were well-known among all cultures. In Tiers’s case, he still didn’t have a solution. Countess Thredsing must be diverted. Perhaps silence would work.

Tiers wrapped a thin bandage around the creature’s head, securing it with a dab of hold spray, and eyed the cat-dragon’s injured foot. A foot with barbed scales and sharp claws, possibly sharp enough to pierce his slatesheen-coated skin. “Hold it tightly.”

“I have him.” Countess Thredsing paused. “And you aren’t leaving this house without giving me an answer.”

Another yowl escaped the cat-dragon. Tiers allowed his hands to shift to scale form and began treating the cut. “I have no interest in leaving this house unless I am in your company. Your threats are hardly effective.”

“Yes, you’ve mentioned remaining in my company.” He looked up to see Countess Thredsing purse her full lips. “And you protected me at the wharf. Protected me, specifically, to the exclusion of everyone else.”

Alarms rang in his mind, causing his fingers to shake as he began wrapping the bandage around the cut. Would she discover the answer? Part of him hoped she would; her intelligence only increased her allure.

The other part dreaded how she would take the knowledge.

“You can speak in my mind, sometimes. I can hear what you think, sometimes. That can only be one thing, which is…impossible.” She focused on him with knife-sharp fierceness. “Isn’t it?”

Tiers’s heart sank. It seemed they would be having this conversation after all. “You of all people, Countess Thredsing, should know the value of withholding information until the opportune moment.”

She glared at him. “Indeed I do, but not when it’s withheld from me.”

Frustration heated his throat. “I don’t know enough! This shouldn’t be possible, not unless you have a significant amount of dragon blood. I was going to tell you when I had more information and a cohesive strategy.”  

“But if you had shared, we could have strategized together. Tell me plainly: are we embermates?”

He nodded. “We appear to have all the signs.”

“Yes or no?”

Tiers sighed through clenched teeth. “As much as I can tell, yes.”

“Very well.” She released the cat-dragon from her grip and walked over to a wall. Her fingers pressed a pattern into a keypad, and a high-pitched screech filled the room. The cat-dragon wrinkled its nose against the sound and yanked its foot away from Tiers. He couldn’t blame the beast.

“D— gadgets,” Countess Thredsing muttered.

A second later, a crackly voice echoed through the room. “How can I help you, my lady?”

“I’ll be having a guest to dinner tonight. Make the usual preparations. He’ll be spending the night as well.”

“Shall I ready the guest quarters?”

Countess Thredsing shot Tiers another glare before answering. “Unknown. Since I appear to be his biologically-bound wife, I suppose I should ask him that question.”

“His wife? My lady…”

She rolled her eyes. “Ignore that. I misspoke. Set the table and don’t worry about a room. That is all.”

“Right away, my lady.”

Countess Thredsing pressed another series of buttons, and the screech stopped. “I have no idea how dragon mates will hold up in a human court.” She turned to Tiers, her hands on her hips. “Do you know?”

He shook his head. “How should I know? This isn’t common. In dragon law, we are bound by life and death already, even though our hearts haven’t been united. I was going to research human customs on my own.”

“Well, now we get to work together.” If she let him get a word in edgewise. She continued, “I thought I was fully human with a trace of dragon blood. Tell me how this is physically possible.”

He returned her stare, flames burning within him. He spoke very slowly and clearly, in hopes that she would finally understand and leave him alone to think for a moment. It was difficult enough to endure his own ignorance without having to answer her persistent, annoying questions. “I don’t know, Countess. Human-dragon biochemistry isn’t my field of study.”

“Nor is it mine. But I know that a strong dragon bloodline is needed, and I am not aware of any blood of that strength in my family tree.” She gritted her teeth. “But considering my parents’ history of deception, I shouldn’t be surprised. We need answers. Now.”

Finally, they were in accord about something.

Priceless will be launched as a part of the “Random Book Party of Fun” Facebook event featuring Janeen and author H.L. Burke.  Check out the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/events/133950730798239/

 

 

The Popcorn Prince

Hello, readers!

If you’re looking for no-sex-scenes romances that are safe for your summer, look no further!  I’m going to be posting a couple on my blog in the next 2 weeks.  I have not personally read any of these books I’ll be sharing, but I look forward to hopefully picking a few up myself.  They all come from my Clean Romance Facebook group, so they come with a no-sex-scenes promise.  ❤

Today, I’d like to share with you The Popcorn Prince.

The Popcorn Prince is a loosely based Cinderella story—If Cinderella accidentally leaves behind a bottle of half-eaten Buffalo Bills hot sauce for the prince to find.

Amy has officially put dating on the back burner after a string of noncommittal relationships. But when she accidentally brushes her hand against a handsome stranger’s one night at a movie theater, her heart decides it has other plans—until she realizes her handsome prince brings a new girl to the theater almost every weekend. This doesn’t stop her from admiring him from afar, while she and her twin brother make up outlandish stories about him every time he comes to the theater. But when their worlds collide, she needs to decide if she will open her heart and take another chance on a man, or push him away after she’s done with his services.

Steven has waited months to ask out a girl he’s only had a few brief interactions with. But every time he tries, she runs away from him. His coworkers step in with a plan to put his bachelor days behind him. But the fun and games come with a price tag, as his Cinderella stands to lose something much more valuable than a glass slipper.

BUY HERE ON AMAZON

 

Author Bio:

Johanna Evelyn graduated from the school of hard knocks with a degree in “I Survived My Twenties.” She loves all things rocks, the ocean, singing, reading, service, gardening, food, finding cures for rare incurable diseases (through raising awareness, Go PSC!), and writing. She gets most of her book ideas from dreams then adds a little of herself to every story.

She is afraid to admit she doesn’t like dogs, but tolerates cats, and watches more I shouldn’t be alive, and untold stories of the ER, than is probably good for her dramatic sensibilities.

She is the mother of six children who keep her on her toes most of the time. And the wife to a man who doesn’t understand why she’s always trying to change the endings of the movies she doesn’t like, or reading the last page of the book before deciding to read it.

You can learn more about her and her newest stories at johannaevelyn.com.

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I receive your email addresses or blog names when you subscribe to me, and have begun sending everyone a link to Lucent Sylph to check out a free short story of mine.

Otherwise, all of your data and email addresses are protected.  I never give them out to anyone, I never sell them, I never share them, and you should only ever receive articles from me here at BlondeRJ.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at dashwoodavenue@gmail.com

Thank you, friends!

Host Cleo or Me on Your Blog!

Want the quirky Cleo to come visit your blog?  Or just want to spread the word about the new book?  Want to share an excerpt from “My Fault”?

If so, I’m putting together a blog tour, and would love to come visit your blog.  🙂  

Here’s the Google form to sign-up

Also, I’m going to be hosting a live reading of the first section of “My Fault” on my Facebook page here tomorrow evening at 6 PM PST/8 PM EST.  Check it out!

Cleo thanks you with a quirky, goofy smile and a wink!

Cleo

 

My Fault

That’s what depression was like for me. I can’t speak for all of humanity, but mine was like this:

You’re sitting down, can of Monster next to you – backups in the fridge – and a brand, spanking new movie sitting in your DVD player waiting to seduce you with its pretty visuals and hunkalicious characters. Just when you’re about to begin, the doorbell rings and quality pizza arrives. Your favorite, of course – anchovies and pineapples and all. Whatever floats your boat. Add a guy next to you on the couch who’s just started straddling that fence from Favorite-Bestie to Yeah-We-Could-Make-Out-And-Be-Awesome-Together – not that I’ve had one of those, but you know how that’s every girl’s dream. So we’ll stick him next to you – totally close enough to accidentally cuddle up to in all the scenes you can fake being scared to watch.

So you’ve got it all, right? Like, it’s just perfect. Magnifique. Life is beautiful. C’est la vie.

You’ve got your pizza, soda, movie, and dream guy. But you also have a baby crying in the other room.

Johnny Depp does something outrageously hilarious. You want to laugh. But the baby’s still crying. Who can laugh over the sound of an infant in pain?

You bite into the warm deliciousness that is extra creamy tomato sauce with cheese so stringy you could turn it into a working jump rope. You pop that mess of calories into your waiting mouth… and the baby’s wailing. Sobbing. The thing’s in pain. It’s hungry. I don’t know. But it won’t shut up.

There’s a moment when you’ve done the girly thing of pretending to squeal and scoot into not-best-friend-not-boyfriend’s extended arm. He’s got you close and you look at each other. Your locking eyes are like magnets for your lips and you pull close…

But the baby’s weeping. Demanding. Crying. And who can enjoy a good snog when an infant’s in freaking pain?

That’s what Depression’s like for me. No matter how good I have it. No matter what great things happen. No matter what’s going on. The baby’s still crying in the background. And I vacillate from anger to empathetic sorrow to dull misery to outright panic.

Can someone make the baby shut up?

Except there’s no baby. Not for real. But there’s Depression. And it can’t be tuned out. Can’t let you really feel anything.

Doesn’t ever shut up.

– MY FAULT – available now for pre-order here on Amazon!!

2D

The Good-Embarrassing of My Mom

My mom will be embarrassed by this post.

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But the good kind of embarrassed, I hope.  And it’s all well and right to good-embarrass a godly person once in a while.

We just finished studying Romans in BSF this year, and Paul good-embarrassed a boatload of people at the end of Romans 16 – Paul knew how to give praise and affirmation, and how to be thankful.

And that’s what I want to do today, on Mothers’ Day Eve.

2011_01_11_KES-1449_2When I first became a mother back in 2011, Mothers’ Day quickly had all sorts of significance.  I had been cut open and stitched back together to bring my husband’s and my DNA into the world, and so I deserved to be celebrated, dagnabbit!  With my three-month-old daughter in tow, on my first official Mothers’ Day, we revisited the arboretum where we got engaged and had pictures taken.  My mom was there too, probably taking the pictures, but the day was suddenly about me.

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I was twenty-four years old and thought I was the best mom in the world. The doc had diagnosed a serious dairy allergy in my infant and I was totally off dairy to nurse her.  She was three months old, and I knew everything.

Right.

Here I am now, seven years later, three little girls later, and all I’m thinking is Heeeeeeeelp.   I know nothing.  I never knew anything.  I’m going to fail them.  I’m already failing them.  How did my Mom do it, and what made her so gloriously wonderful?

But now she lives across the U.S. and I can’t hit the arboretum with her, or stop by on a bad day and cry, or throw myself into her arms and say thank you about two hundred times.

Now, in 2018, this day is all about her to me.

My mom was the golden middle child of five.  And I don’t mean she was perfect.  I mean she was literally golden.  The only blondie in a household of brunettes.  The only one that really looked like her own mom.

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She was friendly and outgoing, a bit of a follower, and super cute.  She wanted to be well-liked, and she tried to please everyone.

One day at the end of high school, she was invited to Young Life, and there she confessed her sins and embraced Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross.

While she got her teaching degree, she worked all over doing numerous fun and temporary jobs during the summers, including a stint at the Von Trapp family lodge in Vermont.  She was an evangelist, a people-person, and cheerful.  She sparkled and enjoyed life.  All of the pictures I’ve ever seen of her show her smiling broadly, happy, purposeful.  She’s the perfect picture of a healthy ENFJ.

One time, in Boston, she took a teaching job that involved kids on parole.  By the start of the year, numerous teachers had already quit, but my mom hung on.  On the outside, she doesn’t look tough – the woman cries at practically every touching movie we watch, and numerous books as well – but she has guts on the inside that people always underestimate about her.  And mostly she has a gigantic, whale-sized heart.  She loved those difficult kids when no one else would.

Wait, I’m talking about my siblings and me.  Did you think I meant the kids on parole?  Oh yeah, she loved them too.  *wink*

She stuck that class through and won them over that year.  She also spent years teaching special needs children and adored them.

But rewind.

After moving to Colorado to live with a dear college friend who had just had a difficult miscarriage, she met my dad who was stationed nearby in the army. They met at Sunday School, because my mom was always at church, rain or shine.  She was also planning on heading to Japan for short-term ministry when they met, and she planned her wedding in a short space and time before leaving for overseas.

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Six years later, after my dad got out of the army and graduated from Harvard, my mom had me.  After that, the rest of us came quickly, four children in five years.

38809_140824595948509_806722_nMom stayed home and became the world’s best housewife.  She had a schedule for everything on her multiple whiteboards, and she was as predictable as the sun rising in the mornings.  Everything had a place, everything was secure, everything was safe.  She made us feel like our world was all right.

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Mom got excited about homeschooling pretty early on, and started with me right away in kindergarten.  As each younger sibling began school with us, she added to her own workload without a blink of the eye.  Every once in a while, she’d beg for her fifteen minute nap in the middle of the day, but that’s only because she got up at five thirty in the morning to meet with God one-on-one for hours.  And could she nap!  She could go out like a light at 199852_195007213863580_1038841_na moment’s notice, in a public place even, without pausing a second.  I’ll never forget the time the piano teacher found her asleep on a chair in the other room, mouth wide open.  Mom is a queen napper.  She has no ability to stay up late.  She’ll get this fuzzy delirious look and won’t listen to a word you are saying.  As a teen, I should’ve asked her for big bad things at that time of night.  She wouldn’t have remembered saying yes. *wink*

Faithfully taking us to the very best of Bible studies, to all of our sports, to all of our friends’ houses, and laying down her lives for ours, Mom didn’t have much time for herself outside of her home, her children, and her Lord.  But she led Bible studies and 1914825_186167651414203_7180005_n (2)neighborhood groups, started get-togethers and women’s meet-and-greets.  She could get to know anyone.  Meeting new people is her favorite pleasure in life. We used to groan and joke every time someone randomly started telling Mom their life story.  She knows the grocery checkers by name, will pray for their children by name, and starts conversations with all the other moms at the sports games and doctors’ offices.  No one is off-limits to Mom when it comes to a conversation, and she knows how to slip Jesus in when you aren’t expecting it.

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Mom can disarm anyone.  I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t like her.  People walk away warmed from the inside out because she’s the least intimidating, most caring person you’ll ever come across.  And when she says she’ll pray for you, she means it, in her numerous organized prayer journals, and on down on her well-used knees.

Mom used to randomly say, “I love you, Rachael Lynn,” using our full names, just because she felt gushy inside.

The only conflict I can really remember us having is when I would blitz through my chores like a madwoman, wanting to get to my entertainment and play, and Mom would go back over the dust with her finger, calling out my lack of thoroughness.  Or the times I’d get far too creative and not really do the work she wanted me to do.  Or the time she’d use her razor sharp discernment and call me out on something spiritually that I’d delusionally insist wasn’t true.  Or the times she’d try to correct my early writing and I was too arrogant to submit to it.  Sometimes we’d call her Scrooge, which she hated, because she suggested doing away with Christmas presents and just focusing on Christ.  *wink*

She is in my top two favorite people to be around, including my husband.

And then I got to my late teens and early twenties, and I wanted my friends, wanted to my freedom, wanted my husband.  And I was moving too fast and being too foolish and getting too obsessed.  And Mom was frightened about the technology and “Inter-web” and “intelligent phones” and things that might take me away from the Lord and their home.  I kept silent, expecting her to handle things badly, lying to her and being rebellious deep in my heart.  But when my sin came out, she was nothing but forgiving and gracious, adapting in ways I had not thought possible, embracing the future God had for me, counseling and guiding me, and I slowly began to repent and grow.

No matter what interests take my fancy, Mom is interested too.  Mom listens, researches, studies, and embraces.  No matter how weird.  No matter how odd.

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All the granddaughters

She insisted on doing all of the gardening and mowing herself, and taught us how to run a home independently by age twelve.  She took us on hikes and sang us the bear song and the skinny-dipping song.  She gave us St. Patrick’s Day treasure hunts and folding-laundry-movie nights.  She took us on all-expenses-paid vacations with her inheritance money and put little gifts on our car dashboards.  She held hour of prayer days and taught us hymns.  She let us sleep in her bed when Dad was away on business trips, even when we kicked her in the middle of the night.  She taught us about the human skeletal system, even when it made her feel like passing out and she had to sit with her head between her knees.  We made meals for church members, hosted strangers, and prayed for persecuted nations.  She taught us to see outside ourselves.

She does everything well.  She would insist I’m lying when I say that, so I have to admit she’s never had a great relationship with technology.  She’d gush and gush about how patiently I taught her how to use a computer, but to me, she was easy.  I’m pretty sure I first realized that I loved teaching from all of the pleasant hours spent showing her how to minimize a window.  *wink*

11700878_1115777958439547_6278047765549556863_nMom reads every single one of my novels as I write it, giving few critiques, but all excitement, loving and rooting on my characters, lecturing me for writing something that keeps her up too late at night unable to put it down.

When I got married and moved away, Mom still visits and simply cleans my house, attending my children’s sports and activities, even grocery shopping together.  When she visits, we do life together, and she’s like my second set of hands.  We work together, talking until my throat hurts, best friends sharing our souls.  We can talk Christ for days on end.  I never tire of being in her presence.

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I, as her child, rise up and call her blessed.  Many women have done virtuously, but she excels them all. I truly strain in my head to find faults with my mom.  They simply don’t exist. She walks more humbly and closely with God than another human being I’ve ever met – and I would know!  She loves Jesus with a realness and dearness that I long to emulate, and she loves people in complete purity.  She is gracious, giving, non-judgmental, flexible, loyal, and pleasant.  She laughs easily, she serves continually, and she is wise.  She is over and beyond humble, and she has suffered long.  Her faith does not waver.

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If I could be half of who my mom is, I would be satisfied.  Thank You, Lord, for putting a spiritual giant so closely in my life as my very best friend.

I love you, Mom.  Happy Mothers’ Day.