Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Goodwill for the Gentleman,” Historical British Fiction from Martha Keyes

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day Four, Book Four

Goodwill for the GentlemanHe jilted her sister. She will never forgive him for it. Can her anger survive a snowing in and a Christmas truce?

Emma Caldwell doesn’t hate anyone—except for Hugh Warrilow, the man who jilted her older sister and left like a coward to join the army. Men are clearly not to be trusted, and Emma is determined not to give her heart to one. No, a marriage of convenience is the very thing to suit her.

Hugh Warrilow has been secretly in love with Emma Caldwell for years, so when the time comes to live up to both families’ expectations and marry her sister, he can’t find it in himself to do it. Disgraced and misunderstood, he joins to fight Napoleon on the Continent, hoping he will forget Emma and be forgotten by everyone he has disappointed.

An injury brings Hugh home—just in time for Christmas and the snowstorm that leaves him trapped under the same roof as Emma. How will he explain that his unforgivable act was motivated by how desperately he loved her? Her icy reception doesn’t leave him the chance, nor does it offer much hope for the season’s expectation of peace on earth and goodwill to men.”

Excerpt

Melted snow trickled down her forehead, her cheeks, and her chin.

He bit his lip and then searched in his great coat.

She couldn’t resist a smile. “Is this how you treat your allies, Lieutenant?”

He pulled out a handkerchief, wiping at the small streams of thawing snow on her face. His forehead was wrinkled in concentration, but he grinned. “No, certainly not. But we are only temporary allies, after all.” He met her eyes, and his hand slowed.

Her skin tingled, and her stomach flipped erratically. Her eyes flitted to his mouth, and she forced them back up.
Was this temporary, what she was feeling? It felt like much more than the civil terms of the truce she had suggested. She swallowed. Surely it was simply the combination of their physical proximity, the mystical landscape, the rush of the snowball fight, and the stark contrast between her recent animosity and current friendliness toward him. It couldn’t be anything more. It simply couldn’t.

“Yes,” she said, turning away. “Temporary allies.”

Purchase Goodwill for the Gentleman Now  Universal Amazon Link  

About the Author

Martha Keyes was born, raised, and educated in Utah–a home she loves dearly but also dearly loves to escape whenever she can by traveling the world. She received a BA in French Studies and a Master of Public Health, both from Brigham Young University.

Word crafting has always fascinated and motivated her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she considered writing her own stories. When she isn’t writing, she is honing her photography skills, looking for travel deals, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Vineyard, Utah.

Connect with Martha Keyes

Amazon ~ Goodreads

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our

Official Event page Part 1  Official Event page Part 2

Note: I am an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a small commission from sales of this book.

 

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Special Delivery: A Fake Fiance,” Contemporary Christian Romance from Didi Lawson

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit. That’s 37 books!  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day Three, Book Three

Special DeliveryErin O’Neal loves Christmas, except not this year because she’ll be all alone for the holidays. To make matters worse, she receives a dog as an early Christmas present, but cannot keep it. The man who delivers the dog is the snob who has embarrassed her in public a few days ago.

When the snob, a handsome veterinarian, injures his ankle and needs someone to drive him home to Prescott for the holidays, Erin is available. Getting to know him better, she falls in love with him. There are only two obstacles: his girlfriend and her own dog phobia.

Excerpt

 While she still pondered the question of the elusive gift giver, she heard tires screeching out in the parking lot. “Crazy driver,” she mumbled as she turned her attention back to the Christmas tree. She might as well put on the lights. If someone should come by to claim it, he or she would have a ready-made tree. In the meantime, she could enjoy it.

A short time later, her doorbell rang. Hmm. She didn’t expect anyone, except perhaps the owner of the tree.

The light string dropped to the floor as Erin hurried to open the door. “P—P–Pierre,” she stuttered, but stopped short when she saw a small dog cradled in his arms and blood on his hands. She gasped.

“I need your help,” he said as he made his way to the kitchen. “Could you clear the table, please? Quick.”

“What do you need to do?” she asked.

“Laceration,” he said. “I need your help. Wash your hands with soap and hot water and bring some towels.” As an afterthought, he said, pointing to a box of latex gloves. “Put on the gloves when you come back.”

“W-what happened?”

“I’ll tell you later. Now hurry.”

Another look at the poor animal laying on her kitchen table with blood oozing out of an ugly tear in its side, Erin’s stomach revolted. With her hand pressed over her mouth, she turned on her heels and made it to the bathroom in time. Her insides felt like mush, and she wanted nothing more than to run away and forget the scene from her kitchen. Yet, Pierre had said he needed her.

After a few deep breaths, her stomach settled somewhat. She washed her hands thoroughly and grabbed a few towels from the linen closet before venturing back to the kitchen. As she approached, she heard the little dog whimper in pain. Her heart lurched and pounded against her chest. Poor little fellow.

Pierre held the animal in place with one hand while trying to open his bag. When he saw her, he motioned for her to come closer. “Gloves,” he commanded. That done, he said, “Hold the animal steady while I prepare the anesthesia.”

Erin took a few hesitant steps.

“You can talk to him to keep him calm,” said Pierre.

She laid a hand on the dog’s head. “You’re such a sweet dog. I’m sorry, you’re hurt but the doctor will help you feel better soon.”

As soon as Erin glanced at the open wound, her stomach churned.

“Don’t look if the sight of blood makes you feel queasy.”

She nodded and looked away.

“Take a deep breath. Alright, now hold him still while I give him the shot. It’ll only take a split second.”

Erin looked at the syringe, saw Pierre spritz a tiny amount of liquid into the air before lowering it to apply the anesthesia to the dog’s neck. She squeezed her eyes shut and held on to the dog.

“You can open your eyes now,” said Pierre with a chuckle in his voice. “The deed is done.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“First, I need to shave around the wound.”

“Won’t that hurt?”

“He won’t feel anything.”

Pierre shaved the area around the wound before he debrided the skin. Several times, Erin turned her head to avoid looking at the exposed flesh. When her stomach tried to revolt, she took a few deep breaths to suppress the urge. Once or twice, Pierre looked up but didn’t say anything.

With the area around the wound clean, he took a tweezer-like instrument out of his bag to work on the fleshy part.

He pointed to a stack of gauze pads. “While I clean the wound, I need you to gently dab away any blood or fluid that may ooze out. Once the wound is clean, I’ll pull the skin together and suture the laceration shut.”

Pierre bent over the wound when his hand accidentally brushed her arm. Immediately, a tingling sensation like an electric current raced down her arm, creating a warm feeling throughout her whole body. Her heart skipped a beat only to hammer against her chest with renewed force.

When she closed her eyes for a split second to gain control over her feelings, Pierre’s command, “Dab,” pulled her out of her emotional confusion. With tweezers in hand, he removed small particles of skin and dirt, and Erin watched closely to be ready with the gauze before he even had a chance to call her to action again.

Before long, the wound looked clean. He put the instruments aside and pulled a vacuum-sealed pouch out of his bag containing the items for the suture.

Erin watched his confident movements, his concentration, but also his gentle touch. She admired his athletic physique, his muscular arms and lithe figure, but even more his expertise as a vet. Jess was right. He is quite a handsome specimen.

When he was almost done, Erin heard voices outside her front door. She looked up, puzzled.

“The boy and his mother,” explained Pierre.

“What boy?”

“The owner of the dog.”

“Why didn’t you have them wait in here?”

“The boy is only about six years old and I didn’t want him to see all the blood and gore. He was devastated when he watched his pet being hit by a car. I told them to wait in the stairwell.”

“Do you want them to come in now?”

“Let’s give the dog a few minutes to wake up. In the meantime, I’ll clean up here.”

While Erin took the towels to the clothes hamper, Pierre stuffed his tools back into his bag.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a box big enough to make a carrying case for the dog?”

Her gaze went to the Christmas tree in the living room and the boxes underneath it. The bigger one would make a perfect bed for the animal. She pointed to it. “Would that one work?” she asked.

“Perfect.” He went to retrieve it. With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “I’m glad to see you finally invited Christmas into your apartment.”

She laughed. “My secret Santa brought the tree and the decorations.”

Purchase Special Delivery Now  Universal Amazon Link 

About the Author

Didi Lawson exchanged her town car for a pick-up truck and learned to operate a tractor when she and her husband moved from Arizona to a farm in  Missouri where she now weaves her tales. Her love for writing started early in  life when  she entertained her friends with her stories, won prizes for he essays in high school and wrote road shows and poems for the youth group in her church. She enjoys the outdoors, her children and ten grandchildren, and keeps an active social calendar.

Connect with Didi Lawson

Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page Part 1 and   Official Event page Part 2 

Note: I am an Amazon associate and  may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! “The Dog I Loved,” Heartwarming Canine Fiction from Susan Wilson

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New York Times bestselling author Susan Wilson is back with another signature heartwarming novel—one that begs the question: Can a dog lead the way to finding one’s humanity?

Dog I LovedAfter spending years in prison for a crime she didn’t intend to commit, Rose Collins is suddenly free. Someone who knows about the good work she has done—training therapy dogs while serving time—has arranged for her early release. This mysterious benefactor has even set her up with a job in the coastal Massachusetts community of Gloucester, on the edge of Dogtown, a place of legend and, for the first time since Rosie’s whole world came crashing down, hope. There she works to rebuild her life with the help of Shadow, a stray dog who appears one rainy night and refuses to leave Rose’s side.

Meghan Custer is a wheelchair-bound war veteran who used to be hopeless, too. Living at home with her devoted but stifling parents felt a lot like being in prison, in fact. But ever since she was matched with a service dog named Shark, who was trained in a puppy-to-prisoner rehabilitation program, Meghan has a brand new outlook. Finally, she can live on her own. Go to work. And maybe, with Shark by her side, even find love again.

Two strong women on a journey toward independence whose paths collide in extraordinary ways. Two dogs who somehow manage to save them both. A tale of survival and a testament to the human spirit, The Dog I Loved is an emotional and inspiring novel that no reader will soon forget.

Purchase The Dog I Loved

About the Author

Susan Wilson2Susan is the author of ten well-received novels including her 2010 novel, One Good Dog, which enjoyed six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and The Dog Who Danced received the coveted Maxwell Medal for Fiction from the Dog Writer’s Association of America in 2012. Her 1996 novel Beauty was made into a CBS Sunday Night Movie starring Jamey Sheridan and Janine Turner and can still be seen occasionally on the Lifetime network. She is working on her next novel, another work featuring the complicated relationship between humans and the dogs they love.  She lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband and has two grown daughters and three grandchildren.  Susan is also a horse lover with a Quarter horse mare, Maggie Rose.

 

New Release Spotlight: “Because of You,” Riveting Second Hand Romance By Allie Boniface

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Today I’m happy to feature a new book from my friend Allie Boniface. I met Allie when I was an aspiring author and she’d published her first book. She shared a lot of hard-won wisdom with me and served as a beta reader when I needed guidance. Now she’s a USA Today Bestselling Author. It’s been a thrill to watch her success. Here’s her new book, a romance.

 

Because of YouAbout the Book

Ten years ago, Piper Townsend fell to her death from the top of a fraternity house, and no one on Drake Isle has ever been the same. Blake Carter’s fraternity was scandalized. Misterion College closed down altogether. And Blake’s girlfriend, Emerson Doyle, fled the island after her best friend died and never looked behind her.

Now they’re back.

Blake’s the CEO of a multi-million dollar tech firm looking to relocate to the island. Emerson owns a yoga studio in the building he wants to buy. They haven’t spoken in ten years. They’re on opposite sides of the bargaining table.

But old flames die hard.

And the more Blake and Emerson fight both the past and each other, the more they realize that coming to terms with tragedy is their only chance of finding love again…

What reviewers are saying

“The chemistry between Emerson and Blake blazes throughout the book.”

“Wow, what a great start for this new series by this very talented author…This is a story that is at times heartbreaking and at others heartwarming.”

“I’ll start by saying I read this novel in one day. One day!…The relationship was so tangible to me, the shared history, all that was left unsaid, I just couldn’t stop reading. I just needed to unravel everything!”

“This was a moving story – so many emotions involved.”

Purchase Because of You  Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble  ~  Kobo  ~ iBooks

About the Author

AllieAllie Boniface is the USA Today best-selling author of over a dozen novels, including the Cocktail Cruise, Hometown Heroes, and Pine Point series. Her books are most often set in small towns and feature emotional, thought-provoking, sensual romance with relatable characters you’ll know and love. A graduate of the University of Rochester and Case Western Reserve University, Allie currently lives in a small town in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and their two furry felines. When she isn’t teaching high school English, she likes to travel, lose herself in great music, or go for a long run and think about her next small town story.

Connect with Allie Boniface

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New Release Spotlight: “A Flair for Flip-Flops (The Sadie Kramer Flair Mysteries Book 5)” By Deborah Garner

A fun in the sun mystery sure to delight!

img_4170A vacation on the Southern California coast promises rest and relaxation for flamboyant senior sleuth Sadie Kramer and her mischievous Yorkie, Coco. But when the body of a heartthrob celebrity washes up on the beach outside her luxury hotel suite, Sadie’s fun-in-the-sun soon turns into sleuthing-with-the-stars.

The resort’s wine and appetizer gatherings, suspicious guest behavior, and casual strolls along the beach boardwalk may provide clues, but will they be enough to discover who the killer is? Or will mystery and mayhem leave a Hollywood scandal unsolved?

Start reading now!

Available on Amazon. A Kindle Unlimited Selection.

 

About the Author

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Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Connect with Deborah Garner

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New Release Spotlight: The Trouble with Paradise (a Madeline Dawkins Mystery), Action and Suspense from Cynthia Hamilton

img_4048-3Two dead husbands. Accident, suicide or murder?

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Life in beautiful Santa Barbara County will never be the same for two grieving widows. One is serving a lengthy sentence for the bizarre tractor death of her much older, land-rich husband. The other is convinced her husband’s death was no suicide.

During Madeline’s four-month convalescence, Steven Ridley—her jailbird ex—manages to get parole on the pretext of retraining inmates for their reentry into society. He has the audacity to enlist Mike’s help to find out if inmate Lindsay Bartholomew had been set up to take the fall for her husband’s death.

Santa Barbara D.A. Conrad Adams makes a personal appeal to MDPI on behalf of Natalie Sheckle, hoping Madeline and Mike can prove whether her husband took his own life, or if someone stitched him up for his own murder.

Never ones to shy away from long shots or lost causes, the duo dives into both cases. But now they must figure out what secrets these two men took to their graves.

The Trouble with Paradise is the fourth book in the Madeline Dawkins Series

Start reading now! Purchase on Amazon. A Kindle Unlimited book.

About the Author

Cynthia HamiltonA lifelong reader and lover of the written word, I turned to writing as a means of coping with a debilitating illness in 2000. Since then, I’ve written eleven books and have published nine of them. In addition to contemporary fiction, I write detective mysteries–THE MADELINE DAWKINS MYSTERY SERIES–and some memoir– FINDING RUTH and ONCE UPON A LYME…A TALE OF TWO JOURNEYS.

My Madeline series has really captured my mind and heart, allowing me to expand on one woman’s nightmare by giving her dual careers and a supporting cast of characters, with special emphasis on Mike Delaney, her partner in love and crime. THE TROUBLE WITH PARADISE is the fourth installment in the series and is set for release in the summer of 2019. As with the rest of the books, it is centered around Santa Barbara, California, Madeline’s hometown as well as mine.

Being a voracious reader, I’ve always got my Kindle with me, taking advantage of any spare moment to read, even while eating. In addition to reading and writing, I love nothing more than being outside, preferably taking hours-long walks with my husband.

I share my reading experiences through my reviews, though I only review books that I have truly enjoyed. I would take no pleasure in criticizing another author’s work. The reading experience is so subjective; if I’m not enjoying what I’m reading, I will move on to something else, but that is no reflection on the author or the book.

Connect with Cynthia Hamilton

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New Release Spotlight Liwen Ho “A Single Spark: A Christian Contemporary Romance (The Spark Brothers Book 4)”

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AtFIrst SparkHe’s a tender-hearted firefighter who’s been burned by love.

She’s an optimistic bookstore owner determined to heal his heart.

Little do they know how much sacrifice it will take for them to be together.

Firefighter Darren Spark doesn’t think twice about risking it all when it comes to his job, but he’s not about to put his heart on the line for love. He’s accepted the fact that no woman will want him when he can’t promise them a future …until he meets the one who challenges that belief.

Abandoned as a baby, Danica Reed longs to fill in the missing pieces of her past with a family of her own. She’s more than ready to get married and have kids, but she wonders why the perfect man—who’s just as into her and wants the same things—keeps taking one step forward in their relationship, then two steps back.

Darren won’t let himself hope for more; Danica won’t settle for less. But there’s one obstacle they can’t seem to overcome. Will the spark that drew them to each other be enough to keep their love burning or will their short-lived romance go down in flames

Please note this book deals sensitively with the topic of male infertility.

Purchase At First Spark Now!

About the Author

Liwen HoLiwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and an author by night. She writes sweet and inspirational contemporary romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots). In her pre-author life, she received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at www.2square2behip.com.

Sign up for Liwen’s newsletter for an exclusive free book, news about her upcoming releases, giveaways, sneak peeks and more at: http://eepurl.com/bt2nELFeel free to contact her at mamaho@2square2behip.com. She would love to hear from you!