ebook (at Amazon and aRe too) and paperback!!
In the next few days, it will become available at other online places like Barnes and Noble. I'll post those on my website, and probably Facebook as soon as there is a link to keep you updated, you know, just in case anyone is curious!
Oh, yeah, I'm excited. This makes book number 12 for me! An even dozen. Wow. Just wow.
If anyone wants to try to win a free paperback copy, there's still a contest open at Goodreads. You can enter over there on the sidebar.
This one is a sweet adult romance about :
Through all the years that passed,
the memory of their love never faded.
Motivational speaker and drug rehab counselor Ward Gemmell can hold an audience in the palm of his hand—because he knows what it’s like to have everything he loved slip through his fingers. When a particularly heartfelt speech reunites him with the daughter he never knew he had, suddenly the love of his life is back within his grasp. What could a guy like him do to earn a second chance?
Good girl Ansley Marlow was heartbroken the day Ward revealed his hidden life—the kind of secret that would tear anyone apart. But so many years have passed and so much has changed that it isn’t as hard now for her to believe in fate and redemption, even when those around her are unforgiving. All she needs is the strength to reach out and reclaim the beautiful life she should have had so long ago.
And here is a quick, exclusive peek at a little scene for your reading pleasure:
(Scene Set Up: Ward has just given a motivational anti-drug speech at a high school, when a female student approaches him asking if she can volunteer at the rehabilitation clinic where he works. He's just given into her heartfelt plea, and says...)
“We just need permission from a parent and you’ll be good to go.” I hope.
Brooklyn’s grin didn’t merely falter this time; it fell flat. “A parent?”
Now he was the one to lift his eyebrows and ask, “Is that a problem?”
She bit her lip. Just a little nibble, right at the corner. He’d only seen one other person do that in his lifetime.
“Umm.” She cringed. “I don’t think my mom would be too …”
When her voice trailed off, Ward grinned and finished the sentiment. “Thrilled to let her daughter work at a center where drug addicts hang out? Yeah.” He nodded his understanding. “I don’t blame her either.”
He certainly wouldn’t have let his daughter—especially a sweet, too-innocent-looking girl like Brooklyn—anywhere near Danny’s Haven. The place might be a refuge for troubled teens but honestly, very few clients who came to their center actually stayed rehabilitated. Some of those flunkies would take one look at Brooklyn and pounce.
“Maybe you could talk to her,” she said, her blue eyes alive with her begging plea. “Tell her I won’t be near anyone dangerous.You’re such a persuasive speaker, I know you could convince her.”
He flushed. “Well, thank you, but—”
“I could be safe inside your office the entire time, right?”
“Yeah, sure. But—”
“And someone could walk me to my car when I leave every night.”
“Of course. Except—”
“Please, Ward. Please.”
I’m already sticking my neck out for you as it is, kid, he wanted to growl. But she kept looking at him with those eyes, and her words continued to echo through his head.
Maybe I wouldn’t feel so empty inside where my dad’s concerned.
She wanted to do this because of a father she’d never met. He couldn’t ignore that. Besides, this wouldn’t be the first time he’d made a special case for someone. Probably wouldn’t be the last either.
He closed his lashes briefly before giving in. “Okay, fine.” He rolled his eyes. “And you say I’m a persuasive speaker.” When she grinned triumphantly, he frowned harder. “I’ll shoot your mom an email about Danny’s Haven, send her a couple of links with information, then explain what I’d like you to do. But if she doesn’t agree to it after that, then it’s a no-go. All right?”
Nearly vibrating from beaming so brightly, Brooklyn breathed out a rush of oxygen. “All right. Thank you. Thank you so much, Ward. You won’t regret it. I promise.”
He kind of felt like he already regretted it. But she looked so enthusiastic and happy he let her contagious energy consume him, and he grinned back. “Just, uh, jot down your mom’s name and email here.” He whipped a pen and piece of scrap paper from his pocket. “And I’ll see what I can do.”
“Okay.” She accepted the sheet and lifted her jean-clad knee to use it as a backstop while she scribbled out his request.
When she handed him her mother’s information, he deliberately wrapped his fingers around the note to show her he’d keep it safe.
“I’ll get in contact with her within the next couple of days.”
Brooklyn nodded. “And I’ll work on her from my end.”
He chuckled. “Sounds good. I hope to see you soon, Brooklyn.”
Strangely enough, he meant his words. The girl exuded an infectious, affectionate attitude. It’d do him good to see her smiling face every few days, keep him optimistic and thinking he could actually save lives.
When she spun away and hurried off, he took a moment to stare after her, feeling achy inside at her departure. There had been something so honest, and pure, and sweet about her. Merely standing in her presence made him feel cleaner. Better. She reminded him of another young female he’d known from a longago time.
His smile slipped as nostalgia filled him. Then he shook his head free of bittersweet memories.
Realizing he shouldn’t be ogling a teenage girl—he’d probably creep out the teachers and stir up a whole hornets’ nest—he cleared his throat and dropped his gaze to the note she’d handed him, his fingers naturally uncurling so he could study the crinkled page.
At first, he barely glanced at the words. His gaze skimmed over what Brooklyn had written until something somewhere in his brain processed her mother’s name and gonged with awareness. A split second later, he froze and his attention sharpened.
His mouth went dry. He hadn’t seen that name in writing for, what—he did a quick calculation in his head—seventeen years, not since the day he’d received the restraining order to stay away from her.
Dear God, had it been that long?
Seeing those letters arranged in that order sent an electric jolt through him. Seventeen years …
Brooklyn’s voice echoed through his brain. I’ll be seventeen in three months.
The air vacated his lungs in a whoosh. He jerked his head up, and his frantic gaze skipped around the courtyard, searching. But the girl, Brooklyn—Ansley Marlow’s sixteen-year-old daughter—was gone.
For the second time in the past two minutes, emotion overwhelmed him. He felt like wailing.
“Oh, God,” he uttered, beginning to panic. She’d stood right in front of him, smiled at him with Ansley’s perfectly formed lips, and he hadn’t known who she was.
He couldn’t believe it. He’d always thought Ansley’s baby would resemble her with her pale hair and stunning brown eyes. But Brooklyn Marlow had his dark locks and his baby blues.
The organ inside his chest expanded, nearly bursting through his ribcage.
He had a daughter.