Monday Mayhem – Tell Me Something Good

There are days when I consciously make the decision to wear blinders. This doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to what’s happening around me or uncaring. It simply means I choose not to focus on things I cannot control. Just one of my particular coping mechanisms.

Like everyone with a feeling heart, I am horrified by the events that took place in Orlando this weekend.

As a woman, I’m angry about the flaws in our judicial system and the misogyny we allow to permeate our society.

I’m fearful for our country’s political future, and frankly, giving a good number of my fellow Americans the side eye.

And, as ever, I’m worried about my husband / children / siblings / nieces / nephews / greats / grands / dog / and even the baby birds in my hanging baskets (which, is amazing in itself if you know how I feel about birds).

In other words, this:

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All of the above are reasons why I choose fiction. The very essence of why I choose to read and write romantic fiction. I need stories with happy endings. Otherwise, I’d be a quivering mass of fear and worry and hopelessness.

This weekend, I hid out in my imaginary world quite a bit. You know what happened there? This:

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So, I’m going to focus on this piece of positivity for the next week or two, then I will send it off into the loving embrace of my extraordinary editor.

How about you? Did anything good happen in your little corner of the world this weekend?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Catch up, but not ketchup

Because I don’t do condiments…

Hi, friends! It seems a while since we caught up. As Ferris says:

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It seems things have been on some kind of special effects warp speed around here. Life is flying by, but in that weird slo-mo sort of way. I’m on deadline again. The ink isn’t dry, so I can’t say too much, but I think you’ll find it Worth The Wait. (BTW – That was a crazy big hint if you’ve been following my series titles.)

I’m in head-down writing mode, but also trying to deal with some heads-up life stuff. Which means I’m a bit scattered. So before I forget – GOING DEEP and FLIP THIS LOVE are both an SALE for $0.99 each this month. Please, please, please tell your book loving friends.

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I’ll be signing copies of FLIP THIS LOVE at the Diamond State Romance Authors 10th Anniversary book signing on Saturday, June 18, 2016. We’ll be at the Hastings bookstore in Benton Arkansas, so if you are in the neighborhood, come and see me!

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You can read more about DSRA and see pictures of me and my pals in this Only In Arkansas article!

Remember, book #3 – LOVE & ROCKETS is coming in November so this is a great time to catch up. I’ll have some gorgeous cover art for L&R to share soon!

Oh, and book #2 in my *ahem* Worth the Wait Romance series, A WILL AND A WAY will release on July 5, 2016, so be sure to mark your calendar. Better yet, you can preorder a copy at your favorite retailer!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

A WILL AND A WAY

So yeah, busy-busy!

In the meantime, Fodder and I took Ferris’ advice and headed out of town for a night. We went to Hot Springs, and poked around a bit. My boyfriend even bought me presents:

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Does he know me well, or what? He should. At the end of this month, we’ll have been hitched 15 years.

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The pool a water behind us is one of the hot springs. It’s hot tub (or bathwater for me) warm to the touch and you can see the steam rising from it. It has been a rainy week off and on. The system finally cleared out yesterday evening, but it left us a parting gift.

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When we got home, we decided we ought to re-bond with our dog and our patio before going about the business of laundry, grocery shopping, and other unsavory tasks.

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I said life moves pretty fast, I never claimed we did.

So there you have it, friends. I think we are up to date. See you next week!

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Monday Mayhem – More more more!

Another whirlwind week on deck! Wanna play a game of where’s Margaret?

    1. In case you missed it, I was at Fiction University last week talking about writing mojo and the tricks we writers play on ourselves to make things happen.
    2. I’m at Just Contemporary Romance today and tomorrow talking about the differences between a house and a home.
    3. I have a GoodReads giveaway starting this week! Be sure to enter and to tell all of your friends!
    4. Less than 2 weeks until I terrorize the Northwest Suburbs! I’ll be signing copies of FLIP THIS LOVE at the Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference book signing Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 3-5pm at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg. Mark your calendars!

 

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Okay, now that we have that mess out of the way… Hi! How are you? I’m happy to report that things are finally looking up around here. I can’t give any specifics about good things in progress, but let me say I’ll be cranking out plenty of reading material for 2017 and beyond!

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Ahem. Thank you, Buzz.

I’ve started a new novel this week. It’s called A BOLT FROM THE BLUE and I’m having a lot of fun writing it. In this book, I’m reimagining the first original character I’d ever developed. Our heroine is a free-spirited former debutante named Hope, and she’s about to give an ultra-grounded electrician named Mick one hell of a jolt.

Oh, and in case you missed it, FLIP THIS LOVE is available and readers are really falling for Harley Cade, rough edges and all! Have you read FLIP THIS LOVE? Please, please, please consider leaving a review at Amazon, GoodRead, iBooks, B&N, or wherever you buy books. Reviews not only give an author feedback, but they provide an excellent marketing tool (See below).

“Before I say anything else, I need to confess that I’m hopelessly in love with Harley Cade. There. I said it.” 

“Harley, Harley, Harley how to describe him well he’s sweet, but at the same time he could be a smarta**”

“Furthermore, the story itself features my favorite kind of hero—a self-made entrepreneur who works with his hands and who treats his mother like a queen.”

“I liked that Harley never gave up on Laney. It’s a true testament to how much she matters to him.”

And my friend Karen made this pretty graphic for me

Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia...

If you blog or use social media, please feel free to grab it (right click and save photo as…) and use it to help share the love!

xoxo

Mags

 

 

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It’s my book birthday!!!!!

At last!!!

Flip This Love is now available!

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Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia…

Harley Cade is back in town—and the former bad boy is downright irresistible now that he’s donned a hard hat and set to work restoring the South’s finest homes to their former grandeur. While wealth may have gained Harley entry into high society, it’s going to take a lot more than a fat bank account to win the lovely Laney Tarrington.

Laney isn’t open to giving the self-made magnate a second chance—no matter how much she needs him. With her family fortune gone, Laney finally has to stand on her own two feet. The last person she’d ever lean on is Harley, the man who left her behind with nothing more than memories of the passion they once shared….

With the attraction still burning hot between them, Harley isn’t above seduction—or secretly buying Laney’s bankrupted family’s estate. After all, he no longer has to prove himself to anyone, least of all the daughter of Mobile, Alabama’s most prestigious family. But will pride keep Harley from gaining the biggest prize of all—a place in Laney’s heart?

Buy now and please share this with all your romance loving friends!

Kensington ~ Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

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Monday Mayhem – Welcome March!

So glad March is here. Not only did we have a beautiful weekend, but the daffodils are blooming and a young woman’s thoughts are turning to romance. Writing romance.

I’m proud to say I managed to keep up with my 100 words/100 days through all the trauma of February. There were some days when I eked by with just over 100, but I made my goal each day. If I can make it through to the 19th, I’ll hit the 100 day mark. I’ll share my total word count when all is said and done.

I’m working on the second book in the Warrior series. I’ve also got a few proposals for future work out there, so cross your fingers. Writers are like sharks, we just have to keep moving forward.

One of the fun things I’ve been doing is participating in the Seasoned Romance group on Facebook. This group is for readers and writers who want to see more couples with a little more life experience behind them. If your’e on Facebook and want to talk about book you love, join us!

In other news: GOING DEEP is on sale this month for only $0.99!

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Why, you ask? Because FLIP THIS LOVE is going to be released next month!!

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I can’t wait for you to meet Harley and Laney! I think you’ll really like them!

That’s what I have going so far. What’s new with you?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Nothing but good things

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to focus more on the good things in life than the things that get me down. I think it’s working. Last year, I started doing the notes in a jar. In 2016, I plan to continue that, but I’m also adding the Happier app to my repertoire. It allows me to take pictures and note the happy as it’s happening.

Still, I love my pretty post-its, so I can’t abandon the good old mason jar. I opened my 2015 good things jar on NYE.

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That sucker was stuffed!

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Wanna see what went down this year? Here’s the scoop:

January

1/1/15 – Pan fried praline french toast in butter. We are rebels!

1/1/15 – 1017 words to kick off the new year!

1/2/15 – The best days are royalty check days!

1/2/15 – Print copies of The Last First Date for RITA have arrived!

1/4/15 – Cracker Barrel with Kathy, Monica, and my man!

1/6/15 – Facebook harassed Kay Fairchild with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

1/6/15 – Spring Chickens re-release!

1/7/15 – Hug therapy and Pillsbury ready-to-bake sugar cookies.

1/23/15 – I got a raise!

1/24/15 – Snuggle nap.

February

2/3/15 – Switched RT enrollment for RWA in NYC with Karen B!

2/4/15 – Colin James Kidwell is born!

2/11/15 – Popeye’s Pandora, and the perfect truffle from my love.

2/12/15- Viva Las Vegas with my Super Cool Party People!

2/14/15 – Spring Chickens will be in the Unforgettable Heroes II boxed set!

2/15/15 – Stranded in Las Vegas with my girls.

2/16/15 – Spa day with Iwanna. There are worse places to be stuck than Las Vegas. J

2/23/15 – Signed up for NOLA Stars conference in Shreveport.

2/26/15 – Finished draft on Full Court Press.

2/28/15 – Request for a full on Full Court Press – agent J.A.

March

3/1/15 – Submitted Bossy Pants (retitled A Will and A Way) to Kensington.

3/1/15 – Tulips, pretty tulips!

3/7/15 – NOLA Stars – request for full on FCP – editor P.B.

3/7/15 – NOLA Stars – request for partial and synopsis – agent L.B.

3/7/15 – NOLA Stars – submitted full and synopsis FCP – agent D.K.

3/7/15 – NOLA Stars – Won 1st chapter critique from Molly O’Keefe in auction.

3/18/15 – Query S.M. on FCP.

3/24/15 – Partial request from S.M.

3/29/15 – 3.5 miles in 44 minutes watching Rory’s Birthday Parties on Netflix.

April

4/4/15 – Flying Fish, grass sledding, Riverwalk, salted caramel ice cream, and Outlander. The perfect day!

4/9/15 – Kensington wants Bossy Pants (to be renamed) and two more to follow Going Deep!

4/12/15 – Sara Megibow offered representation!

4/20/15 – Accepted representation with Sara Megibow, KT Literary. Officially a part of Team Megibow!

May

5/4/15 – Charlotte Castle Kolleng is born!

5/6/15 – Boaz Joshua Kiewiet is born!

5/20/15 – Full Court Press going out on submission.

June

6/2/15 – Jewels booked her flight to Little Rock!

6/10/15 – Chicago! Got to smooch Kat, Becky, Johnny, Katie, baby Lottie, and el Jeffe!

6/11/15 – Chicago part II – visit with Strokie at State Farm, Garrett’s Popcorn, and Lou Malnati’s pizza!

6/12/15 – RUSH at the United Center with Wild Bill, Jazzy Jeff, Dazed Dan, Kat and Carol!

6/17/15 – Terms with Kensington at good. Three book deal is a go!

6/21/15 – Father’s Day Italian beef, sugar cookies, and hoops with my boys.

6/24/15 – Kidneys and bladder passed their tests with flying colors.

July

7/4/15 – Annual viewing of The Music Man.

7/18/15 – DSRA, Café Cinco De Mayo, and pre-RWA mani/pedi.

7/21/15 – Surprise bonus at the day job just in time for my trip. 🙂

7/22/15 – RWA in NYC – I touched Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Such a lovely lady.

7/22/15 – RWA Literacy Signing.

7/22/15 – RWA with Karen B. – Up late girl talking. 🙂

7/23/15 – Kensington party – Cab ride with Sharon Struth, Terri-Lynne DeFino, and Sonali Dev.

7/24/15 – Harlequin party at the Waldorf Astoria – Nine authors, one limo. Danced the night away with Karen B!

7/25/15 – Ate a delicious Steakburger in NYC. You can take the girl out of Bloomington…

7/25/15 – RITA awards – two wins for Team Megibow authors!

7/26/15 – Sad news about my BeBe to start the day, but smooth travel with Renee N Kelly. Now home to my pillow.

7/31/15 – Turned in Flip This Love – 64k in 31 days!

August

8/8/15 – Amazeum in Bentonville to meet Sara Megibow.

8/13/15 – Jewels hits Little Rock. 3 Sams BBQ for PB pie. Shooting hoops in the back yard.

8/14/15 – Burgers, shoe shopping, Flying Fish, cardboard sledding and Willy D’s piano bar with Jewels, Joe and Deb!

8/15/15 – Took Jewels to DSRA for show and tell. Mexican food, Trainwreck, and bopper sundaes.

8/16/15 – Jewels, Kayson, and juggling.

8/29/15 – 1st round edits on Flip This Love.

September

9/15/15 – Going Deep release day!

9/27/15 – 12331 words at the DSRA writing retreat 2015!

October

10/13/15 – Flip This Love cover is FABULOUS!

10/13/15 – An offer on Full Court Press!

10/17/15 – I had a bunny. He made me very happy for a very long time.

10/28/15 – Entered Going Deep in 2016 ROTA awards.

10/28/15 – Signed 3 book deal with Samhain Publishing for Warrior (Full Court Press) series.

10/31/15 – Batman returns for trick or treating!

November

11/1/15 – 1st round edits on A Will and A Way.

11/4/15 – Samhain deal announced.

11/9/15 – Lulu bought a house in Missouri just to be closer to me!

11/12/15 – Watched WKRP turkey drop. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

11/14/15 – Loblolly ice cream sundaes for lunch.

11/14/15 – Hogs beat LSU – always a good time.

11/15/15 – Dinner at Marketplace with the kiddos – chocolate mess sundae with my favorite little boy.

11/16/15 – 47th bday – New Kindle and Snoopy book on writing.

11/21/15 – Shared a teeny-tiny birthday cake with Mr. Bill.

11/22/15 – Playtime Pizza with the family for Bill’s double-nickel birthday.

11/26/15 – Thankful for a fun Thanksgiving.

11/27/15 – Finished 1st draft on Love and Rockets…finally!

11/28/15 – Joe and Deb’s wedding!

December

12/1/15 – More good publishing news (announcement to come in January).

12/2/15 – DSRA lunch and PHC party. Eat, eat, and eat some more!

12/6/15 – Christmas lights are finally up.

12/13/15 – I am a turkey roasting goddess. Who knew?

12/18/15 – Sally finally learned to play tug.

12/20/15 – My man bought me cookies after a long day of inventory.

12/25/15 – Family, little smokies, monkey bread, and I left The Isle up $5!

12/26/15 – Kidwell Christmas = Babies, babies, babies, and euchre.

12/27/15 – Bill became the fool who ripped his pants!

12/28/15 – Free bonus charm at Pandora.

12/29/15 – Brinda Berry proved that she is magic, like a unicorn.

12/31/15 – Dinner with my man, puppy play, yoga pants, West Wing on Netflix, football and Little Debbie Nutty Bar.

Whew! What a year! Thank you all for being a part of it!

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The jar is empty again and ready to go. My goal for 2016 is to top 100+ notes. How about you? Are you doing anything to tap into your happy?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – My year in numbers

I’m one of those crazies who likes to quantify things. so I thought I’d throw some random stats for the year out there this week, and next week, we’ll get to open the Good Things jar!

29 – Number of novella length or longer works published (Going Deep).

3 fabulous vacations – Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York. 🙂

1 agent acquired!

52 Weekend Writing Warrior posts.

2 beloved pets lost, 1 fairly goofy pet gained.

6 – number of books contracted for 2016-2017.

76 episodes of Friday Night Lights watched in the month of August.

1 visitor from abroad. Literally, a broad. Her name is Julie and I fed her every chance I had.

23 – number of strands of Christmas lights purchased to replace old strands.

47 – the number of candles that would have been on my birthday cake if I’d had a birthday cake. We ate ice cream sundaes instead.

175,000+ words written on drafts. This doesn’t include proposals, edits, material that was cut, blog posts or other peripheral writing.

4 grueling days of physical inventory at the day job.

Whew! So that’s what I’ve been doing. I need to rest now.

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Monday Mayhem – NoMoWriMo!

Well, this is it. The last day of NaNoWriMo for 2015. I’m happy to announce that I verified my word count yesterday and have completed my seventh challenge!

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Also, in the course of NaNoing, I FINALLY typed ‘The End’ on the first draft of LOVE AND ROCKETS!

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Every year, I tell myself I won’t do it again. Who needs the worry? The stress? The sore wrists and fingers? Then, every year, I sign in, sign up, and get going again. Unlike the first time I did it, I know now that what I have at the end of NaNoWriMo is far from being ready to go out into the world. Thirty days and nights of literary abandon is great for writing, but doesn’t make for good reading.

Trust me on this.

For this reason, I have deemed December has become EditThisCrapMo. There are three stages to this process.

1) Distance. I can’t look at this book anymore. I can’t think about it. I just need to put it out of my mind and play with some other idea for a while. Believe me, it’s for the best that these characters and I go to our separate corners for a while.

2) Clarity. There are two parts to this one. The first part is acknowledging that a good portion of what I churned out in November is crap. But, even better, is coming to the realization that the majority of it is not-quite-crap. Crap gets cut, but I can work with not quite crap.

3) Reading like a reader. I think this is the most important step for any author. I read through the entire steaming pile before I make any drastic decisions. What might look like a dangling plot line at first glance, might be transformed into an additional layer of conflict, or a set up for future series installments. Reading like a reader means I have to look at the hot mess of a novel a whole before I tear it to shreds.

This is what I’ll be doing this month.

And shopping. Picking out a tree, decorating, and going to holiday parties. I’m also hoping to catch a few of my holiday favorites, now that I’m not in full-on writing frenzy. I always look for Holiday Inn, Going My Way, and the original Miracle on 34th Street when I’m cruising the listings.

Oh! The Grinch. Boris Karloff, not Jim Carrey. And, I love the one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Of course, it’s not Christmas until Lucy and I extort a few nickels from the mister.

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Oh, and the baking! My 17 year-old stand mixer is moaning and groaning. The knobs have all cracked and been super glued. The plastic coating on my flat beater is worn through. I think I need this sexy beast as an early Christmas gift, don’t you?

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Looking for a quick and easy recipe for the office party? Try these Magic Cookie Bars. Even my coconut-hating hubby eats these tasty tidbits.

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What’s your plan of attack for the holiday season? Got any yummy recipes you want to share?

 

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Monday Mayhem – The thick of it

Got a slow start to my NaNoWriMo projects due to last week’s migraine and general lethargy, but I made up my words over the weekend. Thanks the Julie’s whip cracking, I cranked out almost 4800 words Saturday and managed to stay caught up on Sunday. Going to have to be more diligent this week so I can get ahead. You can keep tabs on me by watching the graphic in the sidebar. If you see me slipping off pace, be sure to yell at me in a public forum. 😉

In case anyone in the Mags-o-sphere missed it, my big news finally went public last week. FULL COURT PRESS (and two more in the Wolcott Warrior series) will be coming from Samhain Publishing in 2016-2017! You can read more about it here if you want. 🙂

If you aren’t already on my newsletter list, be sure to add your email address in the sidebar. I’ll be sending a newsletter on Friday with all sorts of news and giveaways! –> –> –>

And last, a call to action! Are you a member of my street team, The Margaritas? Well, if you’re reading this, you ought to be!

The Margaritas are a special group of readers who help me promote my books. Word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing tool an author can use, and with SIX releases in 2016 and 2017 (so far!), I need your help! In exchange for help in spreading the word, my street team gets good news first, special giveaways, some swag to hand out to friends and fellow readers, and advanced read copies of my upcoming releases!

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If you’d like to join my merry band of Margaritas, click here and give me a little info (for my eyes only) on how I can contact you!

That’s all I have for this week. Happy Monday, everyone!

 

 

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 11/1/15

Hey, gang! Thanks for coming by again!

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. October was totally overwhelming, but mostly in a good way. I’ll get to that in a bit. Now, here’s another taste of LOVE AND ROCKETS (Coastal Heat #3 – October 2016).

This is the story of a rocket scientist who falls in love with a hardworking single mom and her brainy daughter. Here, his conversation with young Grace is interrupted by her mother.

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“What’s going on here?”

The question sliced through the middle of their conversation like a light saber. Jake jerked upright as Grace scrambled out of her chair. He looked up to find a woman with short dark hair glaring down at him. It took a full thirty seconds for his brain to compute that the woman breaking up the party was none other than Darla Kennet, one of the regular waitresses at The Pit barbecue joint and a former St. Pat’s Academy student.

“Oh. Hey, Darla,” he said, coming to his feet like the well-brought-up man that he was, “I didn’t know you worked here too.”

“She moonlights for catering companies at night,” Grace supplied helpfully.

But the tiny woman across from him was obviously not in the mood for friendly conversation. She crossed her arms over her chest and sneered at him. “Perhaps I can get a discount for your wedding.”

****

That’s it for this week. I hope you’re liking the story so far. I received a couple bits of good news in the last couple of weeks. The first is…look at the gorgeous cover they gave me for FLIP THIS LOVE (Coastal Heat #2~April 2016)!!!! I think it captures Harley and Laney’s cat-and-mouse relationship perfectly.

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Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia…
 
Harley Cade is back in town—and the former bad boy is downright irresistible now that he’s donned a hard hat and set to work restoring the South’s finest homes to their former grandeur. While wealth may have gained Harley entry into high society, it’s going to take a lot more than a fat bank account to win the lovely Laney Tarrington. 
 
Laney isn’t open to giving the self-made magnate a second chance—no matter how much she needs him. With her family fortune gone, Laney finally has to stand on her own two feet. The last person she’d ever lean on is Harley, the man who left her behind with nothing more than memories of the passion they once shared….
 
With the attraction still burning hot between them, Harley isn’t above seduction—or secretly buying Laney’s bankrupted family’s estate. After all, he no longer has to prove himself to anyone, least of all the daughter of Mobile, Alabama’s most prestigious family. But will pride keep Harley from gaining the biggest prize of all—a place in Laney’s heart?

The second, I can’t share with you just yet, but hopefully next week. Let’s just say I’m super-excited about it!!!

That’s all from me this week. Be sure to check out all of this weekend’s Weekend Writing Warrior posts!

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