Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beneath The Texas Sky by Jodi Thomas


Bethanie's mother died so she was invited to live with her aunt and uncle in San Antonio. Little did she know that she would be doing all of the work at her uncle's hotel. And her creepy uncle wanted more from her. He had some dealings with some men and wanted her aunt and cousin out of the way. He asked Josh Weston to take them out of town. Bethanie knew what would happen if she stayed. She convinced Josh to take her too.  The next day the traveling party was attacked by Indians. Josh and Bethanie escaped only to get caught later. Her red hair saved them from death. The result of that is that they fell in love.  They managed to get to his family ranch. then Josh leaves her with his wheelchair bound brother, Ben and goes off to collect cattle. He is lost in the river and presumed dead. Bethanie's uncle comes to get his daughter and wants to take her too. Ben marries her to save her from his uncle. She goes along with it because Josh is dead. It's her only chance to have a decent life. A month or so later she realizes she is pregnant. What will happen to her and the baby?

I enjoyed this story. Bethanie is a strong and adaptable woman.

From amazon:
Texas Ranger Josh Weston is a complete stranger to Bethanie Lane, and her only chance to escape from her uncle's grasp. Without hesitating, she strikes a deal with the rugged lawman to take her with him when he leaves San Antonio. And on the journey to his family's ranch near Fort Worth, they forge a bond as powerful as it is unexpected. When Bethanie's dream of a future with Josh falls apart, she's forced to make a harrowing choice. Yet through every danger and revelation, one thing remains - a love worth living and dying for.

Read an excerpt here.

Pages: 382
Published: 1988

Cut and Thrust (Stone Barrington #30) by Stuart Woods

This is the 30th outing for Barrington. This book features characters from other series' by Woods. Stone goes out to California for the Democratic Convention. He is backing Katherine Lee for president. His friend Ed Eagle is a delegate from New Mexico. Ed and his wife stay with Stone at his home at The Arrington. Ed's ex-wife is up to her old tricks again and makes the trip exciting for them. Will Kate get the nomination? Will Barbara Eagle get caught this time?

From the author:
Stone Barrington enters the cutthroat fray of politics in the exceptional new thriller from New York Times–bestselling author Stuart Woods.
When Stone Barrington travels to Los Angeles for the biggest political convention of the year, he finds the scene quite shaken up: a dazzling newcomer—and close friend of Stone’s—has given the delegates an unexpected choice, crucial alliances are made and broken behind closed doors, and it seems that more than one seat may be up for grabs.  And amid the ambitious schemers and hangers-on are a few people who may use the chaotic events as cover for more sinister plans. . . .
In this milieu of glad-handing and backroom deals, only the canniest player can come out on top . . . and it will take all of Stone’s discretion and powers of persuasion to arrange a desirable outcome.
Excerpt:
1
Stone Barrington was about to leave his house for Los Angeles and the Democratic Convention when the phone rang. “Just put the bags in the car, and I’ll be right down,” Stone said to Fred Flicker,
his factotum.
“Righto, Sir,” Fred replied, and started moving cases.
Stone answered the phone on the third ring. “Hello?”
“It’s Ann.” He had been seeing a lot of Ann Keaton. She was also deputy campaign manager for the presidential effort of Katharine Lee.
“Hi, I’m just leaving the house to pick you up.”
“Something has come up.”
Stone hated those words; he didn’t like changes in his plans, especially when they involved a transcontinental flight. “What is it?”
“Kate needs a lift.”
Katharine Rule Lee, in addition to being a candidate for president, was also the First Lady of the United States, running to succeed her husband, William Jefferson Lee, and she never needed a lift anywhere.
“What, to the airport? Has the Secret Service run out of black SUVs?”
“No, to Los Angeles.”
“Whatever happened to Air Force One?”
“It’s just fine, thank you, but the Marine Helicopter sent to take her to Dulles, where she was to meet Air Force One, is down with a broken wing or something, and it would be much more convenient for her if she could fly with us. Is there room?”
“How big a party are we talking about?”
“Her secretary and two Secret Service Agents.”
“No further entourage?”
“Just me, and I was going with you, anyway.”
“Hold the phone, and I’ll call Mike.”
“Right.”
Stone pressed the hold button, chose another line and called the cell phone of Michael Freeman, chairman and CEO of Strategic Services.
“Mike Freeman.”
“It’s Stone. I have a request; feel free to say no, but you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”

To read more, click here.

Ebook320 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Putnam Adult

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Carnal Curiosity by Stuart Woods



This is Stone Barrington #29. If you think Stone had a hard time in the last outing, just wait for this one!! He meets an insurance adjustor, Crane Hart.  He likes her immediately. She stays the night.  And things go downhill after that! It seems she has a husband. Then Stone meets another woman and he takes her to a party. The party is robbed. Stone and Dino are determined to find out who were the robbers.

From the author:
Stone Barrington seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When Manhattan’s elite are beset by a series of clever crimes-and Stone is a material witness-he and his former partner Dino Bacchetti find themselves drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud, where insider knowledge and access are limited to a privileged few, and the wealthy are made vulnerable by the very systems meant to keep them safe. As Stone and Dino delve deeper into their investigation, they learn that the mastermind behind the incidents may have some intimate ties to Stone . . . and that the biggest heist is still to come.

Excerpt:
1
Stone Barrington sat at his desk in the downstairs office of his Turtle Bay town house, poring over documents related to the finances of his new clients, Jack and Hillary Coulter.
Or, perhaps, Hillary and Jack Coulter, since she was the one with all the money, and there was a great deal of it. He added a couple of paragraphs to the memo he was sending to the tax and finance department of his law firm, Woodman & Weld, where his suggestions would be reviewed to keep him out of trouble. His phone buzzed.
“Your five-thirty appointment is here,” his secretary, Joan, said.
“I have a five-thirty?” Stone asked, momentarily baffled.
“The insurance adjuster, Crane Hart, from the Steele company?”
“Oh, of course. Give me three minutes, then send him in.” He clicked off before she could respond. He tidied the document on his computer, then e-mailed it, then he shuffled the papers on his desk into a fairly neat stack.
"Much better," a female voice said from the doorway.
''Ah, Mr. Hart," Stone said, not looking up. Then he looked up. "I perceive that you are not a mister," he said.
She was tall, wrapped in a suit too tight and with a skirt too short to be businesslike, and her bright, blonde hair was pulled tightly into something at the back of her head. He won¬dered how she could blink, but she did, and slowly.
Before he could speak a moment of carnal curiosity flashed between them. ''Ah," he said, otherwise speechless. He finally managed speech. "I was expecting an insurance adjuster of the male persuasion."
''Ah," she replied. "A natural assumption, but Steele sends out tall, blonde, female adjusters when the loss is great enough." "I must remember to be robbed at gunpoint more often," he said, waving her toward the sofa, instead of the chair before his desk.
She took a seat and crossed her legs without undue expo- sure, an artful act, given the mininess of her skirt.
Stone came and sat at the other end of the sofa. "Now, about your loss," she said.
"Must we discuss that? I was beginning to think of this meeting as more of a gain."
She placed a briefcase on the sofa between them, unsnapped it, and extracted a file. "You're very kind," she said, "but first, your loss."
"If we must."
"We must." She consulted the file. "It says here that you were robbed of five hundred thousand dollars."
"Five million dollars," he corrected.
Her eyes opened perceptibly wider. "Then you require a taller, blonder adjuster."
"I recovered four and a half million dollars before filing my claim," he replied. "The present adjuster will do nicely."
"Do you have any evidence of this robbery?" she asked.
"I still have a bump on the back of my head," he said, gin¬gerly touching the spot. "Anything on paper?"
"I have a bank statement showing a five-million-dollar with¬drawal, and a redeposit of four and a half million a few days later."
"What happened to the other half million?"
"After I had been relieved of the five million-at gunpoint, I should add-the person who had taken it exchanged it for four and a half million."
"That seems an extremely unwise transaction," she pointed out.
"Not when you consider that the five million was in tens and twenties, and the exchange sum was in hundreds."
"You mean the villain paid half a million dollars to make it easier to count?"
"Count, transport, carry by hand, I believe it's called money laundering."
"Is there a police report covering any of this? Anything at all?"
Stone went to a desk drawer and came back with his bank statement and two documents, one a receipt from the Connecticut State Police and the other a police report on the theft from the NYPD.
"You seem well documented," she said admiringly, "and on this basis I will recommend that your claim be paid ¬ immediately."
"Thank you."
"I expect we at Steele were fortunate to get off so light." "I expect you were."
"Now that we have concluded this matter, do you think you could tell me all of this story, just to satisfy my curiosity?"
"I can certainly do that," Stone said, "but not without induc¬ing a terrible thirst. Would you like a drink?"
"A Belvedere martini, please," she replied without hesitation. "Very dry, straight up, olives."
"For anything more boisterous than brown whiskey over ice, we will have to adjourn to my study upstairs, where the materi¬als for constructing your libation are readily available."
"You talked me into it," she said.
He led her upstairs and into his study, a small but comfort¬ ably furnished room with a bar concealed behind the paneling and an ice machine humming discreetly. She sat on the sofa, crossing her legs again, and waited while he assembled her drink, then poured himself a bourbon on the rocks. He handed her the martini glass.
She took a sip. "Perfect," she said. "I missed lunch. Do you have anything to snack on?"
Stone picked up the phone on the coffee table and pressed a button. "Fred," he said, "you have five minutes to put together some canap├ęs for two." He hung up.
"Who's Fred?"
"Frederick Flicker, an English butler who was a gift from a French friend."
"A gift?"
"A year of his services. After that, we negotiate."
"Is he concealed behind the paneling?"
"He's in the kitchen at this time of the day, no doubt canoodling with my cook and housekeeper, Helene."
To read more, click here.
ebook320 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Penguin Group USA, Inc (first published April 4th 2014)

Standup Guy by Stuart Woods


This is Stone Barrington #28. Stone gets a new client named John Fratelli. This man has "inherited" some money that was stolen in a robbery over 25 years ago. He needs some advice on how to proceed. Stone helps him out and ends up in a violent and deadly battle for the millions of dollars. He meets a woman, who unknown to him, wants the money too. His intuition was not working on this woman and pays for it dearly.

I enjoyed this story. Stone really gets jammed up! But Dino comes to the rescue, by accident!

From the author:
Stone Barrington seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Manhattan's elite are beset by a series of clever crimes-and Stone is a material witness-he and his former partner Dino Bacchetti find themselves drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud, where insider knowledge and access are limited to a privileged few, and the wealthy are made vulnerable by the very systems meant to keep them safe. As Stone and Dino delve deeper into their investigation, they learn that the mastermind behind the incidents may have some intimate ties to Stone . . . and that the biggest heist is still to come.

Excerpt:
1
Stone Barrington made it from his bed to his desk by ten AM, after something of a struggle with jet lag. Granted, the three-hour time change between Los Angeles and New York was not a killer, but it mattered. As soon as he sat down his intercom buzzed.
“Yes?” he said to his secretary, Joan Robertson.
“You have a visitor,” she said, “name of John Fratelli. Says he’s a friend of Eduardo.”
“Send him in,” Stone said. Any friend of Eduardo Bianci’s was a friend of his.
A vision of the mid-to-late twentieth century appeared in the doorway.
“Mr. Barrington? May I come in?”
“Of course,” Stone said, rising to greet his visitor, who was wearing a boxy, light gray flannel suit, a starched white shirt, and what appeared to be a clip-on bow tie. He was carrying a salesman’s suitcase and a porkpie hat and had a haircut that had probably been accomplished entirely with electric clippers—short sides and a Brylcreemed top. “Come in and have a seat, Mr. Fratelli.”
“Thank you,” the man replied. “It’s nice of you to see me.” This was delivered in what appeared to be an old-fashioned Brooklyn accent, the likes of which had not been heard for many years from a man as young as Fratelli, who appeared to be no older than fifty. He came in and took the proffered chair across the desk and set down the suitcase.
“How may I help you?” Stone said, hoping the man was not a salesman.
Fratelli stood again, reached into a pocket, and pulled out a wad of bills; he peeled off five hundreds and placed them carefully on Stone’s desk.
“All right,” Stone said, “you’ve paid for a consultation and bought yourself some attorney-client confidentiality.”
“Good,” Fratelli said, sitting down again.
“I should inform you, though, that if you confess to a crime and I end up representing you in court, I will not be able to call you to the stand to testify on your own behalf.”
“Why not?” Fratelli inquired.
“Because I cannot call a witness to the stand who I know will lie under oath.”
“I understand,” Fratelli said. “That’s reasonable, I guess.”
“How is Mr. Bianci?” Stone asked, by way of getting the man to relax.
“Who?”
“Did you not tell my secretary that Eduardo had sent you to me?”
“Oh, I meant Eduardo Buono.”
“Not Bianci?”
“No, Buono.”
“I don’t know anyone by that name,” Stone said.
“Well, he knows you.”
“How does he know me?”
“He read an article about you in a magazine—Vanity Fair.”
That magazine had published an excerpt from a book about Stone’s late wife, Arrington. “I’m afraid I—”
“Eduardo says you’re a standup guy.”
“Well, as kind a characterization as that may be—”
“Eduardo and I shared a living space for twenty-two years.”
“I’m happy for you both, but that still doesn’t—”
“Eduardo was a very smart man, even if he did get caught.”
To read more, click here.
ebook320 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Putnam Adult

Friday, August 29, 2014

September Monthly Scavenger Challenge: Simply September

From Crazy Challenge Connections on goodreads
September Monthly Scavenger Challenge: Simply September
September 1 - 25, 2014


I never gave much thought to the month of September. It just seemed like a chunk of time between summer and autumn when school resumed. But, play along to learn some nifty things about this month!

CHALLENGE RULES

♣ When you sign up for the challenge, please post a challenge template so we have a post to which to link your name; post #2 will list participant links which can then be used for making challenge updates.

♣ For each book you read, please indicate the title, the author and the date you finished reading it. If a challenge task gives several options, please make it clear which option you’ve chosen. If the task calls for an item on the cover, include a link to the book cover.* If it’s not obvious from the book title or cover, be sure to explain how your book fits the task. If you don’t, you won’t get credit for completing that task. 

♣ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long.

♣ Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged!

♣ If you want the challenge moderator to check your progress as you make updates, please copy/paste your update into a new message . We don't have time to scroll back through the entire thread looking for "message #15," or to follow links back to an original post. 

♣ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you've read. If you don't repost your list, you won't be included in the list of those who have completed the challenge.

*If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title or cover, see the instructions here: Link Instructions

1. September (from Latin septem, "seven") was originally the seventh of ten months on the oldest known Roman calendar. After the calendar reform that added January and February to the beginning of the year, September became the ninth month, but retained its name.
Read  a book which contains a 7 or 9 in its total page count 299 pages Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway

2. Several cultures called September the “harvest month” – i.e. The Anglo-Saxons called the month
Gerstmonath (barley month) since that is when barley crops were harvested. The Swiss name for September is Herbstmonat which translates literally to harvest month.

Read a book that takes place on a farm, vineyard, or orchard OR read a book whose title begins with a letter in HARVEST  Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

3. The Chinese and Vietnamese celebrate Moon Festival during September. The festival is a celebration of Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops,Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions and Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future.

Read a book that fits any of the festival themes (Gathering, Thanksgiving, Praying). Remember to tell us how your book fits a particular theme.
Bring Me Home For Christmas by Robyn Carr Book starts before Thanksgiving and ends after Christmas

4. September is the sixth month of the astrological calendar and its zodiac signs are Virgo (until September 21) and Libra (from September 22 onwards). 
Read a brand new-to-you author Taken by Kelli Maine

5. September's birthstone is the sapphire and September’s birth flowers are the forget-me-not, morning glory and aster.
Read  a book that takes place in a flower store Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

6. September 6th is “Fight Procrastination Day." Read a book you’ve been putting off
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

7. While you’re procrastinating on the task above, have something to eat. There are MANY food celebration days in September: September is National Honey Month; 9/5 – Cheese pizza day; 
9/8 – National Date Nut bread day; 9/12 – Chocolate Milkshake Day; 9/13 – Fortune Cookie Day
and National Peanut Day; 9/14 – National Cream-Filled Donut Day; 9/17 – National Apple Dumpling Day; 18 – National Cheeseburger Day; 9/19 – National Butterscotch Pudding Day; and 9/24 – National Cherries Jubilee Day.
Read a book with any type of food on the cover Apples Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

September 2014 Word Search

From Wacky Reading Challenges on goodreads.
September 2014 Word Search
Date: 09/01/14 - 09/30/14
15/15

Below is a list of words to find, and can only be found in the book. No covers or titles, please. For each word you find, provide the book title, page or location, and the sentence containing the word. You can use one book to find all the words, or as many as you like.

**If you don't find all the words this month, you are welcome to carry them over to next month's word search challenge.**

Challenge Rules:
Books should be at least 125 pages. All formats are acceptable. Re-reads are fine--just be sure to re-read the entire book. When updating your challenge with books you've read, please include a link to the book title, include the author's name, and the date you finished reading the book

To add a book title link: Clik the "add book/author" link located above the message box. Type in the name of your book, click 'search', then click 'add' next to your book title.

1. September Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr p. 223 Late September was a perfect time of year - most of the garden was harvested and the leaves on the trees were changing, but the branches were not yet bare.

2. FallJust For Now by Abbi Glines p. 250 :You let me fall in love with you, "Amanda said as a sob escaped her.

3. Leaves Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr p. 19 The leaves on the trees are changing as we watch.

4. Orange Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr p. 64 She stopped walking through the big beautiful orange pumpkins and said, "I'm a great chef."

5. WorkJust For Now by Abbi Glines p. 61 Anyway, Low's gone to get Larissa, and I'm at work
.
6. Football Just For Now by Abbi Glines p. 17 I wanna play football this year, but Momma says it costs too much and I'd be bad 'cause I'm scrawny.

7. GameJust For Now by Abbi Glines p. 89 I listened to him tell me about football practice and how his first game was coming up.

8. Tailgate|Tail Gate Morning Light by Catherine Anderson He lowered the tailgate of the Ford, vaulted up onto the bed.....

9. PlayerJust For Now by Abbi Glines  p. 118 Those kinds of things coming from a player like Preston Drake would make any female melt.

10. Labor Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines p. 249 "Low's in labor!" she squealed.

11. PartyJust For Now by Abbi Glines  p. 22 When I'd agreed to help with this party for Marcus and Low....

12. DayJust For Now by Abbi Glines  p. 127 I shouldn't do what others want me to do on my wedding day.

13. SeasonJust For Now by Abbi Glines p. 80 It was off-season for me.

14. Worker - Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr  p. 41 Maybe the best thing in the world would be a temporary construction worker.

15. Goodbye  Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr p. 221 "This isn't goodbye," Kelly said.

The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis


This is the second in the Lucky Harbor series. In the first book, Simply Irresistible, we learned that Tara had a child at 17. But who is the father of that child? Tara has feelings for Ford. He is a hot, sexy bartender/sailor. Ford wants her but for how long. Just when they get together, her ex-husband shows up. Logan wants her back, he says. The town is getting votes on Facebook on who they think Tara should pick. All this is going on as the women are getting the Inn ready to open.

I loved this one. Tara's yearning for love just broke my heart. She had so much guilt and no one to say it was not necessary to feel that way.

From the author:
Two Men Are One Too Many…
Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.
But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered . . . and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can’t control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she’s lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor.

Excerpt:
Ford raised a brow in Tara’s direction. She pretended not to notice as she walked her date out. When she came back into the kitchen, Ford was waiting for her, clearly amused. “You used me to dump your date.”
“Dumped is … harsh.”
“It’s accurate.”
“It’s accurate,” she agreed, and sighed. “He had bad breath.”
“Well then.”
“This isn’t funny, Ford. I needed a damn date.”
“That’s not what I would have guessed.”
She narrowed her eyes. “What does that mean?”
“It means,” he said with a faint smile. “That I remember how you get when you’re uptight and anxious. I also remember the only that would relax you.”
She had a flash to a long ago night, on the docks after a fight with her mother that had left her shaky and alone. Ford had found her, and in shocking little time had her forgetting both her troubles.
Naked therapy, Ford style.
It’d worked, and at the memory, she felt heat flood her face. “Yes, well, sex isn’t on the table at the moment.”
Now he flashed her his bad boy grin. “I was talking about how we used to lie on the marina dock and count stars, but your idea has merits too. Come here, Tara.”
Said the spider to the fly. “I don’t think so.”
He smiled again and poured her some wine, looking comfortable in his own skin as he leaned back against the counter, his own glass dwarfed in his big hand.

Pages: 348
Published: 2011

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Maddie and her two half sisters inherited an inn in Lucky Harbor, Washington when their mother died. Maddie did not know her mother well or her sisters either. She was raised on movie sets with her father. She was working in the movie business too until she threw hot coffee in a lawyer's lap - the book will explain the significance. She lost her job, boyfriend and everything. So it was great that she had a place to go.
On her first day in Lucky harbor she meets Jax. He oozes sex. Just not what she needs but she cannot resist him and he cannot resist her. Can Maddie get over the past and be with jax?

I loved this one! Maddie and Jax are a great couple.

From the author:
In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.
Starting over won’t be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.
The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she’s sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie’s struggles to overcome the past, though she’s about to discover that there’s no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
“I chose the path less traveled, but only because I was lost. Carry a map.” Phoebe Traeger
Maddie drove the narrow, curvy highway with her past still nipping at her heels after fourteen hundred miles. Not even her dependable Honda had been able to outrun her demons.
Or her own failings.
Good thing then that she was done with failing. Please, be done with failing, she thought.
“Come on, listeners,” the disk jockey said jovially on the radio. “Call in with your Christmas hopes and dreams. We’ll be picking a random winner and making a wish come true.”
“You’re kidding me.” Maddie briefly took her eyes off the mountainous road and flicked a glance at the dash. “It’s one day after Thanksgiving. It’s not time for Christmas.”
“Any wish,” the DJ said. “Name it, and it could be yours.”
As if. But she let out a breath and tried for whimsy. Once upon a time, she’d been good at such things. “Fine. I’ll wish for …” What? That she could’ve had a do-over with her mother before Phoebe Traeger had gone to the ultimate Grateful Dead concert in the sky? That Maddie had dumped her ex before he’d dumped her? That her boss — may he choke on his leftover turkey — had waited until after year-end bonuses to fire her?
“The lines are lit up,” the DJ announced. “Best of luck to all of you out there waiting.”
Hey, maybe that’s what she’d wish for — luck. She’d wish for better luck than she’d had: with family, with a job, with men—
Well, maybe not men. Men, she was giving up entirely. Pausing from that thought, she squinted through the fog to read the first road sign she’d seen in awhile.
Welcome to Lucky Harbor!
Home to 2,100 lucky people
And 10,100 shellfish.
About time. Exercising muscles she hadn’t utilized in too long, she smiled, and in celebration of arriving at her designated destination, she dug into the bag of salt and vinegar potato chips at her side. Chips cured just about everything, from the I-lost-my-job blues to the my-boyfriend-was-a-jerk regrets to the tentatively hopeful celebration of a new beginning.
“A new beginning done right,” she said out loud, because everyone knew that saying it out loud made it true. “You hear that, Karma?” She glanced upward through her slightly leaky sunroof into a dark sky, storm clouds tumbling together like a dryer of gray wool blankets. “This time, I’m going to be strong.” Like Katharine Hepburn. Like Ingrid Bergman. “So go torture someone else and leave me alone.”
A bolt of lightning blinded her, followed by a boom of thunder that nearly had her jerking out of her skin. “Okay, so I meant pretty please leave me alone.”
The highway in front of her wound its way alongside a cliff on her right. Far below the road on her left, the Pacific Ocean pitched and rolled, fog lingering in long, silvery fingers on the frothy water.
Gorgeous, all of it, but what registered more than anything was the silence. No horns blaring while jockeying for position in the clogged fast lane, no tension-filled offices where producers and directors shouted at each other. No ex-boyfriends who yelled to release steam. Or worse.
No anger at all, in fact.
Just the sound of the radio and her own breathing. Delicious, glorious silence.
As unbelievable as it seemed, she’d never driven through the mountains before. She was only here now because, shockingly, her mother’s will had listed property in Washington State. More shockingly, Maddie had been left one third of that property, a place called Lucky Harbor Resort.
Raised by her set-designer dad in Los Angeles, Maddie hadn’t seen her mother but a handful of times since he’d taken custody of her at age five, so the will had been a huge surprise. Her dad had been just as shocked as she, and so had her two half-sisters, Tara and Chloe. Since there hadn’t been a memorial service — Phoebe had specifically not wanted one — the three sisters had agreed to meet at the resort.
It would be the first time they’d seen each other in five years.
Defying probability, the road narrowed yet again. Maddie steered into the sharp left curve, and then immediately whipped the wheel the other way for the unexpected right. A sign warned her to keep a look out for river otters, osprey – what the heck were osprey? – and bald eagles. Autumn had come extremely late this year for the entire west coast, and the fallen leaves were strewn across the roads like gold coins. It was beautiful and taking it all in might have caused her to slide a little bit into the next hairpin, where she– oh crap—
Barely missed a guy on a motorcycle.
“Oh my God.” Heart in her throat, she craned her neck, watching as the bike ran off the road and skidded to a stop. With a horrified grimace, she started to drive past, then hesitated.
Hurrying past a cringe-worthy moment, hoping to avoid a scene, was the old Maddie. “Dammit.” The new Maddie stopped the car, though she did allow herself a beat to draw a quick, shuddery breath. What was she supposed to say — Sorry I almost killed you, here’s my license, insurance and last twenty-seven dollars? No, that was too pathetic. Motorcycles are death machines, you idiot, you nearly got yourself killed! Hmm, probably a tad too defensive. Which meant that a simple, heartfelt apology would have to do.
Bolstering her courage, she got out of the car clutching her Blackberry, ready to call 9-1-1 if it got ugly. Shivering in the unexpectedly damp ocean air, she moved toward him, her arms wrapped around herself as she faced the music.
Please don’t be a raging asshole …
He was still straddling the motorcycle, one long leg stretched out, balancing on a battered work boot, and if he was pissed, she couldn’t tell yet past his reflective sunglasses. He was leanly muscled and broad shouldered and his jeans and leather jacket were made for a hard body just like his. It was a safe bet that he hadn’t just inhaled an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips. “Are you okay?” she asked, annoyed that she sounded breathless and nervous.
Pulling off his helmet, he revealed wavy, dark brown hair and a day’s worth of stubble on a strong jaw. “I’m good. You?” His voice was low and calm, his hair whipping around in the wind.
Irritated, most definitely. But not pissed.
Relieved, she dragged in some air. “I’m fine, but I’m not the one who nearly got run off the road by the crazy L.A. driver. I’m sorry, I was driving too fast.”
“You probably shouldn’t admit that.”
True. But she was thrown by his gravelly voice, by the fact that he was big, and for all she knew, bad to boot, and that she was alone with him on a deserted, foggy highway.
It had all the makings of a horror flick.

To read more, click here.

Pages: 315
Published: 2010

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wild West

From Crazy Challenge Connections on goodreads
Wild West
Duration: September 01, 2014 - November 30, 2014
15/15

As a fan of Louis L'Amour's books and Sergio Leone movies, I had to write a challenge based on the colorful characters that peopled America's Old West. Railroad made these gunslingers, guides and outlaws obsolete, but not before they left their mark! To finish read a book that fits an option in each task. 

1. Annie Oakley: was born as Phoebe Ann Moses in Darke County, Ohio, On August 13, 1860. She started using a gun when she was just nine years old, while hunting game for her siblings and widowed mother. She married the side-show sharpshooter she defeated, and then joined Buffallo Bill's show. 

Read a book where a husband and wife are partners in a business. The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

2. Billy the Kid: was born William Henry McCarty Jr., and was also known as William H. Bonney, aka Henry Antrim aka Billy the Kid. He was a gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War between rival factions in New Mexico and went on to become an outlaw. According to legend, he killed 21 men, but in reality it was somewhere between 4 and 9. 

Read a book where the main character goes by several names (at least 3) How to Run With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

3. Buffalo Bill Cody: was born William Frederick Cody in Iowa and was a soldier, a bison hunter and a showman. He lived several years in Canada before moving to Kansas. He became famous for the shows he organized with cowboy (and braves) themes, which he toured in Europe and the US. 

Read a book where a character is involved in the show business (movies/theater/burlesque)
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

4. Butch Cassidy: was born Robert Leroy Parker in Beaver, Utah. Leader of the gang Wild Bunch, he was a notorious train and bank robber along with his partner, Sundance Kid. Butch and Sundance Kid looted and pillaged enough to earn the evil eye of the Pinkerton detectives forcing the two to flee the country, first to Argentina and then to Bolivia where they where killed in a shootout.

Read  a book which focuses on two main characters of the same sex. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

5. Calamity Jane: was born as Martha Jane Canary in Princeton, Missouri. She worked as a scout and a nurse and earned her spurs (and her name) fighting Native Americans in Wyoming. All her claims come from an autobiographical account she published, which has been since claimed to be fabricated.

Read a book with the first name of a person in the title Emily: Sex & Sensibility by Sandra Marton 

6. Crazy Horse: was an Oglala Lakota warrior who fought against the US government to fight against encroachments of Lakota land and their way of life. Crazy Horse's fighting abilities gave him the title Shirt Wearer (or War Leader) which he was then stripped of because of having committed adultery. He surrendered to the US at Red Cloud Agency Nebraska, but was later arrested and killed.

Read  a book where a character commits adultery.  Because of Low by Abbi Glines

7. Doc Holliday: was born in Georgia and moved to the American Southwest in hopes of the weather curing his tuberculosis. He was a gambler, gunfighter and a dentist in Arizona and a good friend of Wyatt Earp. Holliday was embroiled in several shootouts and killings, but he died peacefully in bed at the age of 36 in Colorado.

Read a book featuring a character in the medical profession The Promise by Robyn Carr

8. Jesse James: was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Jesse and his brother Frank James were Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War. They were accused of participating in atrocities committed against Union soldiers. On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford, who was a member of the gang living in the James house and who was hoping to collect a state reward on James' head.

Read a book about brothers Misbehaving by Abbi Glines

9. Kit Carson: was an American frontiersman and Indian fighter. Carson explored the west to California, and north through the Rocky Mountains. He lived among and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes. He was hired by John C. Fremont as a guide, and led 'the Pathfinder' through much of California, Oregon and the Great Basin area. He achieved national fame through Fremont's accounts of his expeditions. He became the hero of many dime novels.

Read a book set in  California Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr


10. Robert Ford: was an American outlaw best known for killing his gang leader, Jesse James. Ford was himself shot to death by Edward Capehart O'Kelley. He was first interred in Creede, Colorado where he was killed, but he was later reburied at Richmond Cemetery in Richmond in Ray County, Missouri, with "The man who shot Jesse James" inscribed on his grave marker.

Read a book where a character is assassinated  Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

11. Sam Walker: born Samuel Hamilton Walker was a Texas Ranger captain and military officer of the Republic of Texas and the United States armies. Walker served in several armed conflicts, including the American Indian Wars and the Mexican-American wars.Walker is best known as the co-inventor of the famous Walker Colt revolver, along with arms manufacturer Samuel Colt. 

Read a book with a gun on the cover Naked In Death by JD Robb

12. Sitting Bull: was a Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people's resistance to the US government policies. During the Battle of Little Bighorn, his vision of defeating General Custer motivated his people to a great victory. He moved to Saskatchewan with his people for a time and later moved to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota. He was executed attempting to resist arrest for fears that he would join the Ghost Dance Movement.

Read a book set in South Dakota Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber

13. Sundance Kid: born Harry Alonzo Longabaugh was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. After pursuing a career in crime for several years in the United States, the pressures of being pursued, notably by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, forced Longbaugh, his girlfriend Etta Place and accomplice Robert Leroy Parker (a.k.a. Butch Cassidy) to abandon the United States. Robert Redford played him in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Redford named the Sundance Film Festival after the Sundance Kid.

Read  a book where the author's first and last initials appear in the word "WILDBUNCH" After Dead by Charlaine Harris

14. Wild Bill Hickok: was born James Butler Hickok in Troy Grove, Illinois. He went west at the age of 18 running from the law, working as a stagecoach driver. He then became a lawman in Kansas and Nebraska. He was also a professional gambler who was shot and killed while playing poker holding a dead man's hand. 

Read a book where a character is on the run from the law Elusive by Sara Rosett

15. Wyatt Earp: was a gambler, Pima County Deputy Sheriff, and Deputy Town Marshal in Tombstone, Arizona, and took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral during which lawmen killed three outlaw Cowboys. To Wyatt's displeasure, the 30-second gunfight defined the rest of his life. Earp was at different times in his life a city policeman, county sheriff, a teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon-keeper, gambler, brothel owner, pimp, miner, and a boxing referee.

Read  a book where a character has multiple jobs  Breathe by Abbi Glines

CHALLENGE RULES - PLEASE READ!

❖ If you want to participate in a challenge, sign up by posting at least a partial list of the challenge requirements. This gives us a post to link you to, which you can use to update your books as the challenge progresses.

❖ Books must be at least 150 pages long (unless otherwise noted) and may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged.

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❖ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you’ve read :) If you don’t repost your list, your name will not be added to the list of those who have completed the challenge.

❖ Rereads are allowed, as long as you read the entire book and not just skim the best portions! :)

* If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title, cover or author, see the instructions HERE.