Monday, June 29, 2009

Stop & Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet

Today is the 2nd Stop & Smell the Roses Blog Bouquet event brought to you by The Wild Rose Press! Today TWRP authors give readers a taste of their love stories - from every genre! There will be tons of sneak peaks and lots of giveaway goodies!

My garden varieties are listed below. To win a free download of any of these three stories, comment which one you would most like to read and why. I'll draw at name tomorrow and announce it here at The Cozy Page as well as The Wild Rose Press Yahoo group. And when you're finished here, continue your Bouquet tour at The Author's Studio! Oh, yeah, and have fun!!!

Crimson Rose: Denied Origin

Former FBI agent and bodyguard Mark Welles’s career and life are going downhill until he meets Marcisso Tuttora, the man his father died protecting years ago. Wealthy businessman Marcisso puts the life of his only child, Valentina, in Mark’s hands by asking him to return to Rio de Janeiro to guard her.

Less than a week later, Marcisso and his wife are murdered in their beds, and Valentina is running for her life for reasons she cannot begin to guess until she meets Mark Welles. A stubborn heiress to an oil fortune and the son of a highly decorated soldier, they must find a way to escape the country without getting caught and find out why they are chased by a deadly terrorist. In a matter of weeks, they are driven into a scavenger hunt across the globe laid out by Valentina’s parents and embark on a passionate, emotional journey as exhilarating and intense as the race for their lives.


Her throat still burned when she fought through the waves of unconsciousness, but she was no longer cold or choking.

She was warm, wrapped in blankets. Her hand fisted in a rough-textured spread. She smelled soap and salt. When she turned her head and opened her eyes, she saw she was lying on a pillow. In a bed.

Warm . She sighed, stretching before opening her eyes. It was still dark, but she could see vaguely around the room. A single bed, a single chest of drawers, an entertainment center, a bathroom. To the right, there was a balcony door.

The figure of a man stood before it.

Her heart bolted into her throat at the sight of the silhouette. It isn't Herve . She knew it when she ran her gaze over the strong, braced shoulders covered in a white T-shirt which he wore over jeans. He was tall, so tall. Well over six feet. His waist was trim, his build athletic, rangy. His hair was dark and long. It was just long enough to be secured in the small band at the nape of his neck. From her angle, she saw he had a strong nose and a full mouth.

He looked slightly angelic but dangerous all-the-same. She shivered and couldn't decide if it was from fear or excitement.

She sat up. The sheets rustled and the mattress groaned. She saw him stiffen, brace. The quick reaction made her pause. She saw his hand rush to his belt and then fall away. As he turned to face her, her heart pounded in her ears.

Yellow Rose: Blackest Heart

America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family's ranch.

The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.


Eight seconds. Judd had done it before. He was ready to do it again.

His black Stetson was pulled low, casting his eyes in shadow from the bright arena lights. His jaw clenched tight. He flexed his gloved hand, waiting for Jack to settle down long enough for him to hop on.

Jack gave a snort then calmed. Judd didn’t wait for Wade’s okay. He jumped onto Jack’s back. Wade worked quickly to strap his hand in place. Jack quivered underneath him and pawed the ground. He jerked forward, anticipating freedom. Judd squeezed his thighs tight around Jack’s wide flank. The animal was ready to rip loose. The bull’s ripe scent stung his nostrils.

“Here we go,” Wade slapped Judd’s arm.

Judd lifted his hand in the air.

Wade motioned the man holding the chute’s gate. He stepped back, the gate swung open, and the crowd roared as Judd and Jack came flying out of the chute.
Eight seconds seemed like forever. Jack was mad and proving it. His hind legs kicked up. Judd held on, trying to anticipate Jack’s wild movements. His arm was in the air, body bowing back and forth with Jack’s movements. The seconds stretched. As if sensing Judd’s victory, Jack began to whirl around, desperate to buck him off.

The clock buzzer went off, signaling eight seconds. The crowd came to its feet, clapping and hollering. Judd yanked his hand out of the leather strap, slid off Jack’s back, and backed away from the bull. Apparently, Jack wasn’t ready to give in to the humiliation. He charged after Judd, horns down, snorting.
The crowd screamed. Judd took off as fast as he could for the nearest wall. He heard Jack’s hooves pounding through the dirt after him. He dove for the wall, climbed up as fast as he could and grabbed the rail.

His gloved hand slipped off the rung. He felt himself falling back. A hand latched over the back of his, slim and white, but strong. He grabbed onto the rail as the rescuing hand tugged hard, helping him pull himself up just as Jack plowed into the wall below him. The crowd cheered as he came safely into view, barely escaping injury or worse. Glancing down, he saw the handlers chasing after Jack who was still in no mood to be tamed. He looked around to see who’d helped him out.

His adrenaline-pumped heart stammered to a halt. The pale face shadowed by the ball cap was a woman’s. As he stared into the familiar, muted green eyes and realization washed through him, his hand almost slipped on the rail again. His lungs seized, halting his panting breaths.

He’d seen her many times over the past fifteen years but only in movie theaters and on television.

God. She was back. Big as life. In the flesh. His mouth went dry when her lips turned up in a soft smile.

“Hey, Judd,” she said in the voice that had made her famous.

His eyes found the thin, pale scar by her mouth. It’d faded to pink since the highly-reported accident and subsequent emergency surgery. There was another scar by her eye, barely noticeable but there marking her perfect face all the same.

She must’ve seen where his eyes had gone. Smile fading, she took a half-step back and looked down. He watched her bend to pick up his Stetson. She dusted off the brim and handed it over the rail. “Lose this?” she asked.

He took it and set it on his head. Unsure of himself, he gave her a short nod then jumped back into the corral.

Walking away from her on numb legs, he looked up and saw Wade running toward him, mouth stretched wide to accommodate his eager grin. “Hell, kid, that was a sweet ride! You and Jack-boy put on a hell of a show. The crowd got their whole money’s worth out of that performance. You okay?”

Hell no.

Champagne Rose: A Summer's Hope

Briar has spent half her life upholding the family business. As another summer rolls around, it looks like her luck is running dry and she’s dangerously close to losing the only thing that matters, Hanna’s Inn, her late mother’s bed and breakfast. Amidst deep financial difficulty, a shaky relationship with her estranged father, and a non-existent social life, hope is all she has left.

Enter Cole, a new guest at Hanna’s. Fresh from the turmoil of a bitter divorce and haunted by his mistakes, he’s desperate for escape. In a matter of weeks he captures the lonely innkeeper’s heart and together they discover a passion as hot as the southern sun and as unstoppable as the bay tide.

Do they dare trust this wellspring of hope they’ve found in each other’s arms?


“These are for you.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, taking them. Her heart tugged and her lips curved as she stared down into their wide, bright faces. “They’re my favorite.”

He smiled. “I was hoping. They made me think of you.”

Awed, she lowered her nose to sniff the blooms. “You got them from Adrian?”

He shrugged. “Only the best.”

She nodded in agreement. “I’ll just set them here.” She put them on a bench in the shade of the magnolia tree, and then faced him awkwardly.

“Are you ready?”

“When you are.”

He held up the helmet. “I have to take precautions. I don’t want anything to happen to your pretty face although it’s a shame to cover it up.”

Her insides turned to dough and her heart pattered giddily as he slipped the helmet over her head. She lifted her chin when he motioned for her to do so.

It took him several seconds to secure the strap. “Feel okay?” he asked when he was done, lifting the visor so she could hear him.

She nodded, feeling nerves jump into her stomach again. “Um, Cole? There’s something you need to know.”

He chuckled as he went back to his bike. “I know.”

She stiffened. “You do?”
He nodded, grinning at her as he strapped on his own helmet. He lifted the visor to speak.

“You’ve never ridden a bike before.”

“Is it that obvious?” she asked, rubbing her damp palms on her thighs.

He shrugged, tying the strap under his chin. “Just a little. It’s okay.” He took her hand and pulled her close. She could smell fresh aftershave and the underlying spice of motor oil. It was downright seductive. “Just lean with me into the turns and hold onto me real tight.”

Her knees quaked. “I’m a little nervous.”

He put a hand on her shoulder. “You’ll do fine.” He threw a leg over the seat to straddle it. He gunned the engine and the machine roared to life, stunning her with its raw, wild power. As exhaust smoke tickled her nostrils, she didn’t know if she was really going to be able to go through with this.

He motioned for her to get on.

Now or never. She took a steadying breath, putdown her visor and stepped forward. Gripping his offered hand for balance, she crawled on behind him and put her feet on the passenger pegs.

She hesitantly put her hands on his waist and clutched his shirt as he backed out from under the magnolia.

He looked both ways down Scenic 98 then turned to look at her. “You ready?” he shouted.

She nodded and gave him the thumbs-up.

She saw his quick grin before he hit the accelerator. The force of it sent her back. Her heart pounded with terror as she grabbed him around the waist tight to keep from flying off the open seat.


Betty Hanawa said...

They all sound great. I'm working on a Wayback TX story myself. I'll have to add yours to my collection.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Amber,
I'd love a copy of "A Summer's Hope". Hope I win!

Jana Richards

Skhye said...

Great excerpts! I can't buy any books until next payday. :( I heard a grumble from the husband when I mentioned it yesterday. LOL. Life!!! I checked all day yesterday but didn't see a blog post. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amber. All of the stories sound wonderful. As I write Yellow Rose myself, I'd love to have a copy of Blackest Heart.

Hope I win!

Sandra Kay