Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sons of Charlotte: Torn by Annamarie Cantrell, Dr. Matthew Chavis, Dana Lynn with Giveaway

Welcome to the book blast for Sons of Charlotte: Torn by Annamarie Cantrell, Dr. Matthew Chavis, and Dana Lynn. I know how hard it is to write a book on your own. I can't imagine trying to share the responsibility with two other people! I am always super impressed by collaborative efforts such as this one. Although, there is something to be said for being able to feed off of each other's creativity. So please, enjoy an excerpt from this crime thriller and then download your own copy. Leave questions and comments for the authors, as they will be stopping by. And then be sure to follow the tour and enter the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me to support my websites, at no additional cost to you.

Sons of Charlotte: Torn

How many secrets can the Queen City conceal?

Charlotte, NC - 1966

After a head injury on the basketball court, Tony Malone, a firefighter, confides in his best friend and captain, Steve, about a strange dream he had while unconscious. It was as if he were living a different life. Steve brushes it off as related to his injury, but Tony begins to experience more phenomena with these new memories, unbeknownst to his wife, Lana. Tony struggles to live with his secret until a fire opens up a whole new world.

Charlotte, NC - 1996

Chuck Thomas began his ascent to greatness at a graphic design firm headed by Elizabeth Wheaton, the battle-ax of the Queen City corporate scene. A series of Chuck’s immoral decisions leaves the very powerful Wheaton with a raging vendetta. The playboy eventually meets Valerie Meyers, a shy girl with a complicated past, and the two marry. Their idyllic life is halted by a suspicious brush with death leaving Valerie once again picking up the pieces.

Two Souls, Too Many Questions

Literally torn between two worlds, Valerie must once again deal with the loss of her husband and come to terms with what happened to Chuck Thomas and who Tony Malone really was.

About the authors:

Along with being a successful writer and editor, AnnaMarie Cantrell is a self-made entrepreneur, starting her first consultation firm at the age of 18. She is Co-Founder and Vice President of Captive Ink Media, a literary consulting firm offering expertise to authors at all stages in their careers, and providing clients national exposure in media outlets such as The Chicago Times, Reader’s Digest, and Bustle. Her work with veterans was recently featured on the CW.

Dr. Matthew Chavis is an accomplished author and speaker. His works have been featured through a plethora of avenues. His inaugural book Old Highway 316 offers readers a glimpse into his life, as he loosely based this fiction novel on his testimony and was recently featured on the 700 Club. Many of his stories encompass the best aspects of romance, drama, paranormal and suspense/thrillers.

Through her own unique marketing plan, Dana Lynn transformed a self-published book into a serious work garnering national attention and bestseller status (under the pen name Katharine DeBrecht). She has appeared on every national cable news network numerous times and on over 500 radio shows across the country, repeatedly requested for additional appearances. As a self-syndicated writer, her opinion-editorials have appeared in major newspapers throughout the United States and across the globe.



The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review of Mischief and Mayhem by L.E. Rico with Giveaway

Welcome to the blurb blitz tour for Mischief and Mayhem, the second book in the Whiskey Sisters romance series by L.E. Rico. I have an excerpt for you to check out before you download your own copy. And I also have my review of this book, which I greatly enjoyed reading. In fact, I have also now purchased the first book in the series. So please read my thoughts, and then leave your own comments and questions for the author. Follow the tour to see even more excerpts and reviews, and for more chances to win the giveaway.

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites, at no additional cost to you. I also received  a complimentary ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Mischief and Mayhem

Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, home of the Knitty Kitty, The Little Slice of Heaven Pie Shop, and O’Halloran’s Pub—owned by the four young women known as The Whiskey Sisters.

In the wake of her divorce, Jameson O’Halloran has gone man-vegan. And this is one diet she’s determined to stick with. Even when her long-lost ex-brother-in-law shows up looking like two scoops of double dutch dipped in chocolate… She’s not giving in. Been there and still wearing the messy T-shirt.

It’s been a decade since Scott Clarke left his family and his hometown, never to return. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself dragged back to the land of gossip, judgment, and the one woman he absolutely, positively, without a doubt can never have. His brother’s ex is off-limits. He just needs to keep repeating that to himself until it sinks in.

Read an excerpt:
The shelf is a little too high for my short self, and I’m only able to brush the dishes with my fingertips.

“Oh, here, let me help you with that…”

Before I can object, he’s standing behind me, reaching over me to get the dishes. For a brief second, his front is pressed against my back. His broad, muscled, perfectly sculpted front. I feel a wave of unwelcome warmth beginning under my collar and creeping up my neck.

“Thanks…” I murmur awkwardly, keeping my back to him for a moment longer in an attempt to quash my blush.

“Okay. I’m just going to grab a shower before my brother gets here, if you don’t mind.”

“Nope. Not at all,” I say quickly. “You go right ahead.”

Once he disappears around the corner, I silently smack my palm to my forehead.
What was that, Jameson? Why the blush? He’s just your ex-husband’s brother, that’s all. This is insane. I’ve got to stop this childish behavior. No. More. Men. Remember? No thinking about men. No looking at men. No fantasizing about men.

Especially not that man!

I’m still shaking my head and silently berating myself when I hear him behind me.

“Hey, Jameson, do you happen to know if my dad keeps an extra toothbrush around? I dropped mine in the toilet and…”

I don’t hear the end of his sentence because, when I turn to face him, I suddenly can’t hear anything. I’m too entranced by the sight of him wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

Oh, crap, oh crap, oh crap… I am in so much trouble here. No men. No men. No men… I repeat the mantra over and over again in my head, but clearly the rest of my body isn’t getting the memo.

**My thoughts**
This is my first Whiskey Sisters novel, though I discovered that it is the second book in the series. I love the idea behind their names: Jameson, Hennessy, Walker, and Bailey. I also love the close relationship that the sisters have. I only have one sister and admit that sometimes I am envious of people who have more than one. This foursome seems like they had a lot of fun growing up and continue to do so as adults.

And then there are the men in Jameson's life: Win and Scott, who happen to be brothers. Win makes you want to smack him half the time for being a butthead. There's also that huge disappointment of a childhood romance gone bad. I know that often happens, but you usually want to root for them to work out, right? Then again, Scott is definitely more desirable than Win. He's better looking, based on the descriptions. He's got an exotic quality about him, as he travels the world helping people. And he has a vulnerability about him thanks to his estrangement from his family these past 10 years. There's a mystery to be solved here.

Dealing with a father in a coma is traumatic enough. I can't imagine fighting with my only sibling the entire time on top of it. Add to it that Scott is trying to figure out some missing pieces from his life story and reconcile with his father, and you can't help but feel sorry for the guy. And you completely understand why Jameson has called off men and relationships for a while. Yet the spark between these two is undeniable. It's weird, as they were just technically related. But they also make sense, and you can't help but root for them.

This is a sweet love story with plenty of amusing moments that just make it feel real. I feel like this book also works well as a standalone, though it is the second book in the series. I have already downloaded the first one and plan to read it this summer. I already can't get enough of the Whiskey Sisters and look forward to more installments in the series!

About L.E. Rico

L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. And, while she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, she spends even more time composing her own great stories.

L.E. Rico will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The King's Favorite by Tanya Anne Crosby Book Blast with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to the book blast tour for The King's Favorite, the latest book in the Daughters of Avalon series by Tanya Anne Crosby. Please enjoy an excerpt from this historical fantasy romance, and then download your own copy! Be sure to visit the rest of the tour for even more excerpts. You'll also have the chance to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card in the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me support my websites, at no additional cost to you.

The King's Favorite

Daughters of Avalon Series

Fearing her “gifts” will be used to defeat her sister Matilda, Elspeth escapes the Black Mountain priory that has sheltered them since their father's death, only to find herself indebted to, of all men, a Scotsman, whose loyalties are in question...

Read an excerpt:
Bolting in a direction he would never have led her—into a thick cloud of fog—Merry Bells hurled over a low-lying bush, and even before Malcom could think to ask how she could possibly know such a thing, they stepped outside the curtain of fog, under a bright spring sky. Stunned though he might be, he knew they hadn’t time to waste. The barking grew frenzied as he urged Merry Bells into a full canter.

“Thank you,” she said, and Malcom felt her shiver.

Feeling strangely protective over the lass, he slid an arm about her waist.

By damn, like his Da, he must be a bloody fool for a lady in distress because he knew beyond a shadow of doubt, as they flew over brush and bracken, that he wouldn’t give the girl up, no matter how many Welshmen’s arrows were trained at his back. They could riddle him with holes and he would take his last breath defending her. He wasn’t about to leave her to whatever fate those men intended to deliver. Leaving the barking and chorus of shouts in their wake, Merry Bells swallowed the ground that rose to greet them, and soon enough, the woodlands gave way to moorlands, the Welsh countryside vanished before England. All the prideful words that had been spoken between them were cast aside like dust in their wake.

About Tanya Anne Crosby

Tanya Anne Crosby is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty novels. She has been featured in magazines, such as People, Romantic Times and Publisher's Weekly, and her books have been translated into eight languages. Her first novel was published in 1992 by Avon Books, where Tanya was hailed as "one of Avon's fastest rising stars." Her fourth book was chosen to launch the company's Avon Romantic Treasure imprint.

Known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters Tanya is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor, and her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She and her writer husband split their time between Charleston, SC, where she was raised, and northern Michigan, where the couple make their home.

Join Tanya on Facebook at or visit her Web site at

Tanya will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Read an excerpt from Curse of the Ancients by Hawk MacKinney with Giveaway

Welcome to the book blast tour of Curse of the Ancients by Hawk MacKinney. If the name is familiar, he has been featured here before. Earlier this year, he released the third book in his Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Today I have an excerpt from it to share with you. If you want to read more, purchase your own copy, or you can also follow the tour for more excerpts and more chances to win the giveaway. Don't forget to leave him a question or a comment!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me support my websites, at no additional cost to you.

Curse of the Ancients

As Craige Ingram climbed the stairs of the derelict building, that peculiar stench of a dead body hit him. It was the same smell no matter where—SpecOps SEAL encounter gone sour, or in a vacant, roach-infested apartment. Inside, his SEAL buddy-turned head of Buckingham Parish Homicide’s Investigative Support Division, Grayson MacGerald, was huddled with the coroner next to a swollen decaying corpse that was days old and hardly more than oozing dead meat. The PI inside Craige had a gut feeling that there was more to this than a dead body, and Craige’s Grannie always told him, “Trust your feelin’s.” But that was before Mihály Keaulescu set down two of his Black Falcon choppers on Craige’s Moccasin Hollow private airstrip in an uninvited stopover. It got worse. From his airstrip to Israel, to Turkey and a nightmare-dream of one-of-a-kind ancient artifacts that not only threatened the serene life Craige knew and loved at Moccasin Hollow, it would destroy the world.

Read an excerpt:
With a twist of one strap he hoisted his heavy canvas field pack of fence-fixin’ tools over his shoulder. Cut across the hayfield behind the house toward the new section. At the fence he looped the strap over the corner gatepost he’d set and cemented two days earlier. He slipped on heavy-leather gloves, and grabbed the post-hole digger. Humidity already thick, it was gonna be another one of those early sweat-and-lots-of-water days. As he jammed deeper into the rusty red sticky sandy-kaolin hole, his handset gave an interrupted buzz. Not many people had access to any of his numbers; even fewer had the code to his scrambled satellite uplink. He leaned the posthole digger against the stump, shucked his gloves and knocked them together to get rid of the gritty clods. His tattered sweat-soaked straw hat pushed to the back of his head, he brushed back the wet brown curls plastered across his forehead. He needed a haircut.

He reached inside his pack and grabbed the handset, “Ingram.”

Gray said, “You tied up with anything you can’t turn loose?”

The tone of Gray’s usual studied voice was a bit more hurried than let’s-grab-an-early-lunch. “You sound full-awake even after River Disco.”

Gray said, “Getting around to breakfast this morning was a bit slow.”

Craige could tell this was business. “Stringing new fences and burying posts has waited this long. No reason it can’t wait longer.” He gave his caked gloves a final whack against his snake boots and brushed a shirtsleeve across his eyes, smudging the sweat off his forehead. Gray was not one for beating around the bush when it came to homicide business. It was one of the things about Gray that Commanding Officer Craige Ingram relied on.

About Hawk MacKinney

With postgraduate degrees and faculty positions at several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to his work in classrooms and laboratories, he has written numerous professional articles on chordate neuroembryology and authored several novels that reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for both the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his protagonist in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Hidden Vault of Secrets and Westobou Gold, Books 1 and 2 in the series, have received national and international attention. Hawk is also writing a science fiction series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie.



Hawk will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Wandering Land by Jamie Killen with Giveaway

Welcome to the excerpt tour for The Wandering Land by Jamie Killen. This means that you have the opportunity to read an exclusive excerpt from the book right here at Andi's Book Reviews. It also means that if you follow the tour, you will find even more exclusive excerpts to read. And then of course you simply must purchase your own copy of the book to read in its entirety. As a bonus, you can even leave a comment or a question for the author, and find multiple chances to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. Enjoy!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you choose to make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me support my websites, at no additional cost to you. 

The Wandering Land

On a summer night in a sunbaked desert city, the wandering land appears. A fairytale village nestled in dense forest, it is a place of ruined castles, abandoned treasures, and strange creatures living in the shadows. Brought together by this impossible place are five visitors: failed painter Eli; art professor Amal; young lovers Darcy and Wes; and mysterious, haunted Coyote. Together they explore their own secret village, an entire world hidden in plain sight.

But there is darkness beneath the magic, a force pulling the visitors deeper and deeper into the place’s mysteries. As the boundaries between the secret land and the outside world begin to collapse, each of the visitors is confronted with visions of an otherworldly child, a child whose existence holds the key to understanding everything about the place that has drawn them together.

Who is this child? Why did she choose them? And will she ever let them go?

Read an exclusive excerpt:
“So anyway,” Eli continued. “Contents of the houses. A lot to talk about there.” The others laughed and shook their heads at the understatement. They could talk all day about the things they’d seen in the houses, could keep coming up with details for weeks or months after. But, for today, they stuck to the highlights. The house so full of gems and gold it poured out the front door. A room empty except for a writing desk stuffed with letters. A half-finished piece of cloth dangling from an abandoned loom before a cold hearth. The old, dry pile of bones in the corner of a one-room hut.

And, most of all, they talked about how there were no people anywhere. Unless you counted the house with statues arranged to look like a family going about their day. But even those were clearly lifeless. “I don’t get what this queen is Queen of,” Darcy said at one point. “Like, can you still be a queen if you don’t have any subjects?” No one had an answer for her.

About Jamie Killen

Jamie Killen’s short stories have appeared in numerous speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. She is also the writer and producer of the acclaimed audio drama SPINES. She is currently developing a new supernatural audio drama called The Six Disappearances of Ella McCray.

Social Media Links




Jamie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Read an excerpt from The Battle is O'er (Blue Bells Chronicles #5) by Laura Vosika

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for The Battle is O'er, the fifth and final book in the Blue Bells Chronicles by Laura Vosika. Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to check out before you download it on your favorite reading platform. Be sure to check out the other books in the series and enter the giveaway at the end!

Please note that there are affiliate links present in this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites, at no extra cost to you.

The Battle is O'er
(The Blue Bells Chronicles #5)
By Laura Vosika
Historical Time Travel, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 470 pages
March 23rd 2018 by Gabriel's Horn Press

In the gripping conclusion to The Blue Bells Chronicles, just as Shawn is steadily regaining all he feared he had lost forever—his career, his son, and even Amy’s heart—he learns of MacDougall’s vengeance against Niall, for the act Shawn himself committed. He wrestles with a prophecy and an ancient letter that never changes, a letter that details the fate of his own son, if he cannot stop it—and possibly the fate of the world itself, as he learns of Simon Beaumont’s plan to use his knowledge of the future to destroy it.

Shawn’s selfishness once cost him everything. His newfound selflessness may do the same.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooks!ndigoAngus & Robertson

Read an excerpt:
Niall and Company Meet Christina Coming Home
Scottish Highlands, December 1317
They were two days into the ride, when a scout came racing back to them, spurring his garron. “Lochmaben ahead!” he shouted joyfully. “Milady Christina rides with them!”
Cheers rose from the men of Glenmirril. Relief washed through Niall. Their ruse with James Angus had not entirely silenced the whispers, though Margaret had been stalwart in looking down her nose at those who did so, reprimanding them and silencing them. He was grateful the rumors had not diminished the love of the people of Glenmirril for Christina.
“I see them!”
Hugh’s roar smashed through Niall’s thoughts, yanking him back to—the present. The past.
There, rising up over the hill, he saw Lochmaben’s banner fluttering.
“Unfurl our colors!” the Laird shouted. The words were barely out of his mouth before Glenmirril’s pennant snapped in the cold breeze.
A call sounded from the troops on the hill, and suddenly, a rider broke from their ranks, her blue cloak billowing behind her as her mare cantered down the hill. Hugh and Niall slid from their mounts as Christina’s horse pranced to a stop before them. She threw herself from the animal, dropping to her knees before the Laird, still astride his garron.
She glanced at Hugh, and back to MacDonald, before bowing her head. “My lord,” she said in a rush, “I have been ungrateful.”
“Christina.” Hugh laid his hand on her shoulder.
She looked up to him, and back to MacDonald. “My lord, I’d no right, ever, to tell you no.” She turned her eyes back to Hugh and again to the Laird. “I am honored and blessed you have seen fit to give me such a good man as husband. Please, my lord, if I have not displeased you too much, I beg your forgiveness and wish to marry Hugh.”
Hugh pulled her to her feet. Their eyes met. “Will this make you happy, Christina?” he asked softly. “I wish only your happiness.”
Niall’s horse pranced a step backwards, stayed only by his hand on its reins. No. He heard the voice almost as clearly as he’d heard the words It’s a trap so many times. It wasn’t only Shawn he was thinking of, he knew. Like Christina herself, if he watched her marry Hugh, he would have to accept that Shawn was gone forever.
Christina bowed her head, but she spoke clearly. “You are a good man, Hugh. I am humbled, I am honored that you would have me.”
The Laird spoke. “Christina, my men will take you home. Hugh and Niall have work to do. When they return, you and Hugh shall wed.”
Niall wanted to speak; to shout, No, it’s wrong. He held his tongue.
Hugh wrapped his arms around Christina, around her blue cloak and flowing black hair. She laid her head on his chest, whispering, Thank you.”
Niall’s heart sank. It was right. He knew it was right. It would silence the whispers. James Angus would have a father. They would be good for one another. But his insides screamed that it was all wrong. She didn’t belong with Hugh. It wasn’t the way the story was supposed to end.
“Lachlan, Owen, Hugh, Niall, Conal,” MacDonald said. “You’ve much to do.”
Hugh pulled away from Christina. “I’ll see you anon.” His voice was husky with emotion.
Her hand lay on his chest another moment, and she said, “God go with you,” before she took the reins of her mare.
Hugh mounted his horse and they turned for Creagsmalan. Niall glanced back as they rode past Lochmaben’s men. Christina, beside her mare, watched them go. He realized with a shock that even now, in some part of his heart, he had expected Shawn to return.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Laura Vosika is the author of the beloved series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, a tale of time travel, action and adventure, romance and redemption, ranging across modern and medieval Scotland. She runs Gabriel’s Horn Press, and is active in poetry as a member of the League of Minnesota Poets, routinely performing at local open mics. She has appeared in The Star Tribune, and on WCCO and Channel 12, and hosted Books and Brews with Laura Vosika on AM 950.

Tour Schedule

- l winner will receive a print copy of Blue Bells of Scotland (book one in the series) and a Team Shawn or Team Angus t-shirt (US only)
- 1 winner will receive an ebook of Blue Bells of Scotland (open internationally)
- Ends June 27th

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Review of Make Me a Match (The Soul Mate Tree Series) with Giveaway by Mackenzie Lucas

Welcome to the review tour for Make Me a Match by Mackenzie Lucas. This book is the fifth in this series revolving around the Soul Mate Tree. I stumbled upon one of these some months ago and found the premise intriguing. An added bonus is that the publishing company is actually local to me. So I am proud to support the works that they publish. Keep on reading for an excerpt, as well as my review of this title. Leave questions and comments for the author. And of course, follow along the tour for even more reviews and more chances to win the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me support my websites, at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Make Me a Match (Soul Mate Tree Series)

Widower Mark Cage is rusty at relationships. He owns the micro-brewery that supplies the restaurant and bar at St. Augustine's premiere spa resort, Essence, with its award-winning local craft beer. And he’s been focused on building his business and raising his teenage daughter ever since his wife died ten years ago. Nothing else.

When he runs into a sweet kindergarten teacher who is vacationing in St. Augustine and staying at Essence everything changes. A sudden, inexplicable encounter with a mystical tree known for its legend of bringing lovers together, convinces Mark the schoolteacher is his destined match. However, his encounters are disastrous.

His only hope of persuading the woman he wants to even consider a date with him is working with Essence’s on-site relationship guru, Athena Sullivan. A reknowned relationship coach, Athena is the opposite of everything Mark wants in a woman. She’s feisty, independent, and challenges him at every turn. Sparks fly between the two from their first meeting and flare into a blazing inferno as Athena helps him navigate the dating scene.

After a series of too-perfect, mis-queued dates, Mark realizes maybe the woman of his dreams is not a sweet schoolteacher after all. Maybe she’s a feisty, independent, sexy relationship coach who stands up to him and is everything he’s always wanted or needed in a woman.

If he opens himself up to true love, he might just find second chances at love are possible and that his perfect soul mate is closer than he thinks.

Read an excerpt:

Two days later Jamie came bounding into his office at Ancient City Brewery. “Hey, Daddy-o.”

Uh oh. She wants something,” Mark commented to no one in particular as he pushed away the stack of invoices in front of him. Running a brewery was work he didn’t usually mind. Today, though, his focus was shot. “What do you need now, dollface?”

Nope. I don’t want anything. I’ve got something for you. It’s a surprise.” She waved a folder in his face.

He went to grab for it and she snatched it back. “Hold on. Not so fast.”

Mark settled back into his chair and laced his hands behind his head, prepared to wait for the reveal. “Okay, so what’s this all about?”

Weeeeeeeell. It’s good for you, but you’re not gonna like it.”

Sounds like what I used to tell you about eating your Brussel sprouts and broccoli.”

Eww.” Her face comically contorted. “You don’t need to get nasty.”

Amazing. The girl still hated broccoli and Brussel sprouts to this day.

It’s in no way as bad as Brussel sprouts.” She blessed him with one of her brightest smiles. He was in so much trouble.

This is going to be bad.” He groaned. “Out with it. What is it? College is ten grand more? You want to go to school in the Grand Caymans?”

Can I? Is that a possibility?”

Ah, no, not even a chance. You’ve been accepted into the University of Virginia. That’s where you’re going.”

She pretended to pout for a few moments, then smiled. “Okay. Charlottesville it is, then. Sooooo. Ready for your surprise?”

Girl, you better share before you burst.”

She studied him warily. “All right. So. Here’s the deal. I bought something . . .”

This never ends well for a man.” Mark sighed and pulled at his ear. “How much did you spend?” 

For me, what is a mini-fortune.”

Mark groaned. “How much?”

A thousand dollars.”

His front chair legs slammed to the concrete floor. “You what?”

Now, listen. It’s a good cause.” Her face started to get red. “And, well, I spent my own money.”

Jamie, what money?”

I work part-time.”

Yes, and you were saving your money for school. Books and such.”

Right.” Her gaze skittered away. “I’ll get by. Most of the books are online anyway these days.”

What did you spend the money on?”

I told you, I spent it on you.”

This was like pulling teeth. “How?”

Aight. Remember the part I said would be good for you, but you wouldn’t like?”


That’s this part . . . I purchased a three-session package for you to meet with a relationship coach to help you with your dating skills.” The words rushed out in a tumble, then she held her breath.

He didn’t like it. Not one bit.

When he didn’t say anything after a few seconds, she blew the breath out.

What the hell is a relationship coach? And why do I need one?”

Come on, seriously, Dad? I don’t see women beating down your door.” She cleared her throat. “And it’s important to me to know you’re settled before I move away to school.”

What the fuck?”

Language,” she reprimanded.

Who’s the daughter here? And who’s the parent?”

Not my fault if you act so immature and cuss all the time.”

I’m an adult. I’m allowed.” He frowned. “You didn’t answer my question, what is a relationship coach? And why did you waste a grand on one?”

Someone who helps you navigate dates and meet new women. Kind of like a matchmaker in the old days.”

I’ve already met the woman I want to date. Daphne.”

Yes, but she ran away.”

She did not. Why is everyone saying she ran? I did not scare her away. She was whisked away by Jezebel.”

Jezebel who? I don’t know a Jezebel.”

The sexy blonde at the bar with the big boobs who’d been hanging on Jason, propositioning him while his fiancé chatted out in the lobby with Daphne. That Jezebel, that’s who. But Mark wasn’t about to say those words to his daughter. “Never mind.”

So, you’ll have to meet with her. She’s agreed to help you through three dates, and the aftermath.”

Aftermath? You make it sound like PTSD.”

Well, might be a little shell-shock on her part. You’re not the easiest man to deal with these days.” Jamie crossed her arms over her chest. “Just saying.”

He growled, “Why does everyone say I’m not easy? I’m the pleasantest man in St. Augustine.” It was not lost on Mark that he was glaring at his daughter while he asserted his amiability. Damn.

Because you growl a lot?” She contemplated him, an expression etched on her face that declared him deranged. Or stupid. “And you scowl.” She came around the desk to place the folder in front of him. Then she smoothed his forehead, her thumbs manually flattening his brows. “There, that’s better. You need to practice. You seem a little scary to outsiders. Only those of us who love you know differently.”

He hugged her around the waist, burying his cheek in her belly for a second before he let her go. “You’re all that counts.”

No, you need to get a woman to love you. Not your family, who must love you no matter what.”

He gave her the stink-eye.

There you go again. Stop it.” She swatted him. “Meanie. You need help to lighten up and I have just the person.” She tapped the folder. “She’ll be great for you.”

He opened the folder to find a brochure describing the services provided, the mission of the counselor or coach, and a checklist of what to bring to the first session. Shit. He couldn’t do this. He tossed the brochure onto the desk. “I’ll get your money back.”

Nope. No can do. It’s non-refundable.” She crossed her arms defiantly.

You’re under eighteen. It’s not legal for them to take your money. They have to give it back.” He grabbed his keys. “I’ll go now.” He picked up the brochure to find the address. “Where did you say they’re located?”

She’s based at Essence. But Dad, you’re not getting my money back. Gabby signed for me. Besides, you need to do this. Please. I can’t leave for college in the fall if you’re not settled, or at least on your way to making better inroads with the female population.”

Wait a second. What do you mean?”

Her mouth firmed. “I mean I won’t go. Period. I see how lonely you are. Once I’m gone, it will only be worse. I can’t leave you all alone, knowing how handicapped you are in the relationship department.” She shoved the brochure he held toward him. “It’s only three sessions. It will be good for you and it’ll give your daughter peace of mind. Please do it. For me.” Her eyes filled with tears.

Dammit. He didn’t do tears.

Mark sucked in a deep breath through his nose, slumping in defeat. “All right. Whatever. I’ll do it.” He shook his finger at her. “But you are leaving for school come August twenty-fifth.”

Jamie squealed and launched herself at him, arms tight around his neck. She kissed him on the cheek and let him go. “Thank you. Your first session is tomorrow. You won’t be sorry, I promise.” 

She waved as she departed.

Mark sat back down in his chair and flipped through the brochure. On the back page, the picture of the relationship coach jumped out at him.


He was already sorry for his promise.

**My thoughts**
The concept of this series, a Soul Mate Tree that helps people find their true loves, is an intriguing one to me. And what's fun is along this whole series, each author definitely puts their own spin on it. In this one, you have a widower who simply has not been able to find love since losing his wife 10 years ago to cancer. Mark is a very angry man, angry that his wife has left him, and frustrated with not being able to figure out how to move on with his life. His daughter is about to go away to college and he will then be alone again. He has decided that what he needs in his life is a reliable, practical, down-to-earth woman who can keep his life predictable. And he has found her in a kindergarten teacher named Daphne.

I have a tongue-in-cheek aversion to Daphne being a stereotypical timid kindergarten teacher. I taught ages 3-6 for 20 years, and believe me, I never fell into this stereotype. Then again, I never followed any of those conventional rules. ;-)

Regardless of Daphne's profession, she has to be this kind of a person, or the entire premise wouldn't work. I understand why he thinks this is what he wants or needs in his life. But everyone tells him from the get-go that it just isn't going to work. He needs someone a little more fiery. And Athena is definitely the kind of woman who is going to help him find what he really needs in a woman. She's quite fiery and stands her ground, while turning his world upside down.

I have to admit that Mark is very difficult to like at the beginning. He is abrasive and curt and likes to growl a lot. As I said before, his anger really shines through. I warmed up to him a bit more by the end of the story. 

Other minor characters in the story are interesting. Jamie, Mark's daughter, is sweet. You can tell that she really loves her dad and just wants him to be happy. Sarah is Mark's dead wife, who makes a spiritual appearance and also seems like she was quite sweet. I liked Sarah's grandmother, who is pushing Mark to move on with his life, though I don't understand how she can be as young as she is made out to be in the novel, and still have this grown-up great-granddaughter heading to college. Sally, who is engaged to one of Mark's friends and helps push this entire romance coaching thing along was fun and amusing. I think it would have been interesting to have had these characters play a larger role in the story, or else have fewer of them making quick appearances.

This is a short story, easily read on the porch on a summery afternoon. While this is the weather that is perfect for these quick reads, I almost wish it would have been longer, to really allow Mark to explore his new relationship and transformation.

And I have to point out that this story is a lot spicier than I originally thought it would be from the blurb. It caught me a little off-guard, though I don't have a problem with those kinds of stories. I just probably would have toured it on my other blog instead. But trust me, there is a lot of heat in this one. And one scene that reminded me a lot of a movie I saw once with Gerard Butler, that is quite naughty and intriguing all at the same time.

About Mackenzie Lucas

Mackenzie Lucas is an avid reader of genre fiction. She writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and listens to an eclectic mix of music. She loves a good story, whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension. She enjoys smart-mouthed, sexy heroines, hunky alpha heroes who know how to take care of their women, and plot twists that surprise her, but most of all, she just wants to experience the satisfying emotional arc of a character falling in love and finding what he or she needs most in life.

Mac is a small-town country girl with a world-traveler’s heart. She grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and she’s lived in Dublin, Ireland, within spitting distance of New York City in Long Island, and now in the Washington, D.C. area. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dickinson College and received her M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s currently an author for Soul Mate Publishing and is represented by Otis and Mackintosh Literary Agency.

With Mackenzie Lucas—whether you’re reading her light paranormal romance or her small-town-based contemporary romance—you’ll always find a heart-warming love story about connectedness, community, and emotional authenticity. And, no, it doesn’t hurt that all her heroes are panty-melting gorgeous alphas and all their sexy, sensually aware heroines know how to stand up to them, give no quarter, and love them just as they are.

Watch for new titles by Mackenzie Lucas.

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