Category Archives: Novel Spotlight

#NewRelease A Love Song for Kayla by Kimberly Rose Johnson

In an earlier post I mentioned that I would be going indie. Well, I did it! Feb. 2nd I released A Love Song for Kayla. This book was originally published in 2015 by my then publisher, but since I have my rights back, I changed the title and put on a new cover. The story is the same.

love-song-ebook

Here is the back cover blurb.

When two strangers cross paths their lives are forever altered.

Ever since she was sixteen Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

Formerly published under the title A Valentine for Kayla.

This story was born out of my own dislike of Valentine’s Day. I literally began writing it on Valentine’s in 2014. Here is a short excerpt. I think you will see my own angst reflected in Kayla.

I hate Valentine’s Day.” Kayla Russell secured a flower arrangement in the delivery box, then moved on to the next one in a long line of vases and baskets filled with colorful flowers and greenery. Everywhere she looked there were hearts or cupids to remind her of the dreaded day.

Her best friend and business partner, Jill, shot her the look—the one that said Spare me. “I’m sure if you had a boyfriend, you’d feel differently.”

“Unlikely. Think about it—no matter how you look at it, unless your man is Prince Charming, there’s no way he can live up to the hype. The day is one big disappointment.”

“I’m glad everyone doesn’t feel that way or you and I would be out of business. Have you looked at the orders? I’m going to be working all night just to get everything finished in time for Charlie to deliver tomorrow.”
Kayla bit her bottom lip. Flowers and More depended on successful holidays to keep their doors open. Sure, they stocked gifts and music, but the big money came from days like Valentine’s. She glanced at the clock. “I wish the UPS guy would get here. He’s late, and I needed the cards for the flowers yesterday.”

“Use one of the generic cards with our logo. No one will care if there’s not a heart on the card.”

“I care. I may not like the day, but I want our customers to feel treasured and loved.” Kayla fluffed and straightened a bow around a clear vase—perfect.

“For someone who despises the most romantic day of the year, you’re quite the romantic.” A tiny smile crossed Jill’s face before her brow puckered. “This arrangement is cramping my hand.”

“Want me to take over?”

Jill’s gaze shot to her. “No way. The last time you arranged something, I had to tear it apart and start over.”

“I’m not that bad anymore. I’ve been watching you. I’m sure I’ve improved.” She crumpled a sheet of tissue paper and flung it at Jill.

“Mmm-hmm. You keep telling yourself that, but leave the floral design to me. You stick to making bows and running the store.”

The bell on the entrance jingled. “I hope that’s UPS.” Kayla rushed through the swinging door into the main part of their shop and stopped mid-step. That was not their normal UPS guy. This one hummed a familiar worship song and walked with a bounce in his step.

He stopped humming when his eyes rested on hers. “Afternoon.” He handed her a small box. “Busy day.”

She tore her gaze from his twinkling azure eyes. “Yes, here, too.” She raised the box. “Thanks—I’ve been waiting for these.”

“Welcome. Have a good one.”

“Come again soon.” The last word died on her lips as she realized how ridiculous she sounded. He’d be back only if she had something shipped UPS. It wasn’t as if he were a customer.

He winked and strode his toned body out the door, then hopped into the large brown truck and rumbled down the road.

“Come again soon?” she muttered. He probably thought she was a nutcase, and today that wouldn’t be far from the truth. But, oh, he was something, and so polite, too. Kayla mentally ticked through her must-have list of qualities for a husband. Tall, handsome, kind eyes, sings, loves the Lord—

“Earth to Dreamer. Come in, Dreamer.” Jill waved a hand in front of her face.

Kayla blinked rapidly and stepped back. “What did I miss?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing. I haven’t seen that look on your face since.. .forever. What gives?”

“The new UPS driver caught my eye, and I made a fool of myself.”

I am always looking for people to add to my private influencer group on Facebook. If you’re interested in helping me spread the word about my books, please send me an email via my contacts page.

A Love Song for Kayla is listed with Kindle Unlimited, so if you subscribe to that service you can read this book for free. 🙂

Here is the Amazon link. http://amzn.to/2kl4Urd

 

The Rich Man and the Orphan by Darlene Franklin

colorado-columbineTHE RICH MAN AND THE ORPHAN

Garnet Harvey graduates from an orphanage and lands a job as a nanny for three motherless girls. Chester Paul, a wealthy businessman, lost his wife in childbirth. After a long period of mourning, he hires a nanny to take care of his children while he works in the city. He remains involved in the girls’ daily lives, and comes to care for their new caregiver. When Garnet’s guardian discovers the situation, she insists on a trial separation. If their feelings remain strong, how can Garnet be introduced to Chester’s social circle? How will secrets from Garnet’s past affect their growing love for each other? Is it strong enough to grow as beautiful as the Colorado Columbine?

Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. This year she expects to reach fifty unique titles in print and she’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears monthly in Bookfun Magazine. Her most recent titles are Colorado Columbine and Love’s Turning Point.

garnet-from-colorado-columbineEXCERPT

Jefferson County, Colorado 1911

The back of Garnet Harvey’s neck prickled as if someone were watching her as she walked down the long circular drive to the three-story mansion. Chester Paul’s house was fancy indeed. She hoped she would make a good impression on whomever was watching.

Stray hairs from the bun on top of her head tickled her face and neck. The magazine had promised the easy-to-care style would keep her hair in place. Garnet hoped it would make her look serious enough to be a nanny to three young girls.

The door came into view. “Lord, help me a do a good job for You and for Sister Carmela.”

A broad-chested lady with white hair and matching apron greeted her. “Oh, good. You must be Miss Harvey. I’m Mrs. Griffin, the cook. Come on in. Mr. Paul is eager to meet you.”

Mr. Paul. Garnet’s heart dropped. Her opportunity to move out of the girls’ home and find meaningful employment lay in his lap. Would he remember any of the times they had met before? “I hope to meet the girls as well.”

The cook chuckled, as if she’d discerned Garnet’s nervousness. “Mr. Paul is a kind man, although he’s a lion where those girls are concerned.” She looked Garnet up and down. “You’ll do fine. Sister Carmela wouldn’t send anyone but the very best.”

Links:

Purchase Colorado Columbine.

Website and blog

Facebook

Amazon author page

Twitter: @darlenefranklin

 

#NewRelease A Second Chance by Alexis A Goring

book-coverNewly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.

Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness is of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.

Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

Chapter 1

Knee-deep in debt from wedding expenses, Traci Hightower sighed as she filed through the credit card statements. She should be married now, back from her honeymoon in Bali, and settled into her new home with her husband.

Happy.

Not single and broke.

She slapped an envelope against the desk. Five months of struggling to survive and pay off the debt. Her meager, entry-level journalist salary didn’t stretch far enough. She’d been paying her dues for seven years. She rubbed her temples. The numbers on the credit card statement blurred in front of her eyes.

The doorbell rang. A little thrill rushed through her. She stood from her cross-legged position on the floor and hopped over the mess of papers and laundry that decorated her living room. “Who is it?”

“The woman who gave you birth.”

For the first time today, Traci smiled. She opened the door and reached for a hug from the one person who never left her hanging. “Hi, Mom.”

Her mom returned her daughter’s embrace, then dragged her suitcase inside. She glanced around. “Oh, my.”

Traci locked her door, then turned and shrugged. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to this. Can’t you stay for more than two days though?”

Mom stopped picking up the bills from the floor and faced her daughter. “No, honey. I’m sorry, but I need to return to home by Wednesday morning. Dad and I have an important meeting later that day.”

Traci’s heart dipped. Mom paused and placed the bills and the stack of paper she’d picked off the floor on Traci’s kitchen counter. “Oh, sweetie.” She cocooned her daughter in another embrace.

Traci snuggled close. She inhaled the familiar scent of her mother’s favorite perfume. It smelt like coconut and lime.

“You always were a cuddler.” Mom stroked her hair. “Still up to your eyeballs in debt?”

Traci nodded.

“Why don’t you let me and your father help?”

Traci took a step back and made eye contact with her mom. “We’ve been through this. I got myself into this mess. I’ll get myself out.”

Mom smiled. “Your father and I were talking. We hate to see you struggling.”

“You don’t exactly live in a palace either. I know you want to retire soon, and I won’t have you dipping into that money.”

Mom reached into her purse. “Living in the nation’s capital area is expensive.” She rummaged through her handbag’s contents. “Have you considered moving home?”

“I can’t do that. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else. My life and career are here.”

“How’s that going for you?”

Traci picked at her fingernails. “It could be better.” Better boss, better pay, better office space. The works.

Mom nodded as she retrieved one sealed envelope from her purse. She looked toward Traci’s kitchen. “Can we make some tea? I’d like to talk with you.”

“Sure. Come with me.” Traci reached for the box of peppermint tea bags and got a bottle of honey from her refrigerator. As she put the kettle on to boil, her mom settled into a wobbly kitchen chair. She smoothed the creased edges of the envelope.

Traci poured the hot water over the tea bags in each mug and the scent of peppermint filled the air. “Everything okay?”

“Just thinking, honey.”

“About what?”

“Have a seat.”

“Sure, just let me allow the tea to steep.” After she placed a plate over each mug and set it aside, settled into the chair across from her mom. “What’s up?”

“I never did like Greg.”

Traci traced a ring stain on the table. “Do we have to talk about my ex-fiancé?”

“Yes, because your grandfather always trusted my judgment.”

“So, Grandpa didn’t like Greg either?”

“I inherited my instincts of discernment from him. Speaking of discernment, here.” She pushed the envelope within Traci’s reach.

She frowned as she picked it up and tried to flatten its wrinkles. “What’s this?”

“Open it. Read it, and I’ll bring our tea to the table.”

Traci turned over the letter-sized, manila-hued paper that was addressed to her. She drew out the paper.

 

Dear Traci,

If you’re reading this, it means I’ve passed away, and your mother kept her promise to give this to you at the right time. As you know, I like to cut to the chase first and explain later. So here it is, plain and simple: I left an inheritance for you. It’s enough for you to make a solid and secure living, for it will cover more than what you need for the rest of your life.

Traci dropped the letter, her hands shaking. This could be the answer to her financial struggles and give her what she always dreamed of. Her own bookstore. The thought stole her breath for a moment. She envisioned the words on the sign out front. Hallee’s House. Just like she promised her cousin Hallee before she passed away from cancer. Tears welled in Traci’s eyes.

Forcing herself to take a deep breath and will the emotional waterworks away, she picked the paper off the floor and continued reading.

But you cannot receive the money until after you are married, and before you are, your mother must approve of the man you want to wed. Why? Because your mother inherited my sense of judgment and discernment between right and wrong when it comes to people. She can spot someone who’s going to break your heart from a mile away. I trust that you will listen to your mother now that I’m gone and can no longer advise you. So there you have it, dear. You have an inheritance. Sounds like a movie, right? Only it’s not. It’s better, because it’s now part of the story of your life.

After you’re married, you and your husband need to visit my lawyer, Chadwick Morrison. Provide him with the original copy of your marriage certificate, and he will give you your inheritance.

Your grandmother and I loved you. We wanted nothing more than for you to find the type of love that we had during our lifetime. Now, I trust that you will allow yourself to be guided by God, your mother’s love, and your father’s protection.

With love, your grandfather,

Henry Allen Fort

P.S. Take this seriously. Don’t marry the wrong man just to get the money. Let love happen. There’s no deadline. My will said you had to be married first. It didn’t say when.

“Let love happen.” Traci snorted as she folded the letter and placed it into the envelope. “The last time I let love happen, I was left at the altar with nothing more than a pile of bills.”

Mom placed her mug on the table. “It’s time for you to move on and trust God.”

“I trusted God to bring me a husband. He brought me Greg. Remember? The man who left me on my wedding day and ran off with my best friend?”

“Honey, I know it hurts, but that was months ago. You shouldn’t allow Greg’s actions and wayward heart to tarnish your future. Be glad he showed you his true colors before tying the knot. Honestly, look at this as a blessing. God protected you from a lifetime of heartache.”

Traci focused on her I Love Maryland mug.

Mom touched her hand. “Your grandfather just wanted to see you happy in a committed romantic relationship like he and your grandma had. Like your father and I have.”

Traci sipped her tea.

“Keep the letter.” Mrs. Hightower pushed her chair back. “Do you want me to stay here or at a hotel?”

“Here, Mom, of course. You can stay in my room. I’ll sleep on the couch.”

“Alright then. I’m going to put my luggage in your room. After that, we’ll clean your apartment.”

Traci picked up the mugs while her mind ran a marathon. Forgive her ex-fiancé and move on? Trust God?

Impossible.

alexis-a-goringAlexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.