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Blurb: Once the gangly boy next door, Mike Redmond grew into a six-foot, six-inch man. His former occupation as a guitarist in a Christian Rock Band necessitated a certain look including waist-length blond hair, goatee and hoop earrings. Forced into a major career change, Mike gave the situation over to God and follows what the Lord put on his heart. Opening a music store in Clearview and winning Audra's love.
Audra Pope runs a successful insurance agency but shies away from relationships, including one with God. Men want a perfect "magazine ad" woman and, due to her spine deformity, Audra doesn't meet that standard. Although Mike's outward appearance bothers an influential business owner, Audra begins to fall in love with him. Can she learn to see people, including herself, the way God does from the inside out?
“What?” Mike looked behind him before he realized this was the first time Audra had seen his hair loose.
Mike moved around to face Audra. “Sorry, maybe I should have warned you.”
Audra reached toward his hair but pulled her hand back. “I knew your hair was long but seeing it frame your face and hang down to your chest, well it caught me off guard.”
“I can put in back in a ponytail.”
“You don’t have to do that, it’s just well you look different.”
Again she reached but before she could pull her hand back Mike closed his around it.
“It’s okay you can touch my hair if you want to.” Mike brought Audra’s hand to his cheek.
Audra slid her hand up his face until she locked some strands between her two fingers. She smoothed down and out until the breeze caught it. She duplicated the movement on the other side.
Mike had to close his eyes and focus on keeping his emotions in check. His heart drummed in his chest causing his breaths to be rapid and unevenly paced.
Audra tucked hair behind his left ear. Her fingers traced the outside of his ear resting on his earring. She lingered there rolling the hoop between her thumb and forefinger.
Her fingers left his ear lobe and trailed down his strong jaw line to his goatee.
Mike opened his eyes. Audra had leaned in close. Her concentration showed on her face. Did she know that her light touch caused intense vibrations through his body?
Her eyes searched his eyes. They were filled with emotion. She stroked the hair on his chin with the back of her fingers. “All this shocked me a little at first.” Her voice was gentle. “But I like it. I really do.”
Mike reached up and moved her hand to his lips. He kissed the back of her hand then moved it to his cheek and held it there. “Thank you.” His voice husky. His breathing erratic. He slanted his body toward her. Kissing her hand wasn’t enough. He wanted to feel the warmth of her body in his arms, the softness of her lips on his.
Available at The Wild Rose Press and Fictionwise.
Santa’s Kiss Blurb:
Actress Dawn Smith’s world is crumbling. She’s always lived on the edge, seeking thrills, making herself into someone different. That’s why her success in Hollywood came so easily for a small town girl from Legend, Tennessee. But now things have changed. Dawn needs to get away from the bright lights, but it’s Christmastime and that has always meant going home to family. She can’t face family this year.
Clint Roberts, former high school football hero and current car dealership owner, is a popular fixture in Legend. Affable, fun-loving, the bachelor is everyone’s best buddy. Most people know about his infatuation for one-time Legend girl, now superstar Dawn Smith.
Dawn needs someone to turn to, but she’s avoiding her family. When Clint shows up on her doorstep in a snowstorm dressed as Santa bearing gifts and food, she welcomes him. Will their night of lovemaking bring Dawn more heartache or can Clint convince the lonely actress that it’s time for her to come home for good?
Dawn blinked once more to clear her vision and when she blinked again, she drove past the last downtown shop. Legend was busy, but it hadn't expanded far from the original, old business district built in the 1920's.
Glad for the diversion, wishing for anything to take her mind off her troubles, Dawn stopped at the traffic sign at Main and Jacobs and then turned down the street and around the corner to Oak, driving past her family home where Jane and Graham lived. Bless, Graham. If it weren't for her brother-in-law, she wouldn't be here right now, away from the limelight, given a little breathing space to conjure up a resolution to her problems.
She was staying at Aunt Harriet's house. Harriet Winchester, Graham's aunt, was gone again on one of her many whirlwind jaunts, this time to view the Christmas lights at Williamsburg. The seventy-two year old former teacher never went on these trips without one of her gentlemen admirers. It amazed Dawn that Aunt Harriet had so much spunk and life left in her.
Somewhere along the line, life had ebbed out of Dawn, leaving her tired and physically drained, just like she was going through the paces. She knew when her troubles began. The divorce. Randy Matthews, her producer husband, running off with Candice Price, a former television teen star who was hardly above the age of consent when it happened. The two were married now. They almost had to marry after Candice ended up pregnant, flaunting her protruding belly to the media as if it were some sort of sport's trophy.
Candice's pregnancy was a slap to Dawn's face. Not only did the woman-child steal her husband, but she gave him something Dawn had failed to give him in their ten-year long marriage--a baby, and more importantly, a son and heir.
Anger replaced her earlier sadness. Dawn set her jaw and drove down the alley behind the row of houses, stopping at a white, clapboard, one-car garage. She climbed out, stretching the small of her back, and then unlocked the door with the key Graham had sent via FedEx. After lifting the heavy, wooden door, Dawn scrambled back into the Highlander and drove into the dark enclosure.
Sighing with relief, she sat a minute with her hands on the wheel. Harriet's place was perfect. A tall white fence surrounded its backyard so the neighbors couldn't see her. Harriet often had guests stay at her house when she was gone, so another visitor during Christmas wouldn't raise suspicions. And Dawn was a long way from the bright lights of Hollywood.
She didn't necessarily want to be with family or friends, but she sure as hell wanted nothing to do with Southern California. Legend, Tennessee was home. She didn't have any where else to go.
Dawn climbed out once more and pulled down the garage door, shutting out the world. Then she released the Pembroke Welsh Corgi from his crate. Little Bits loved the freedom of the backyard, scampering happily through the remnants of the last snow, flushing squirrels and doing his business. Dawn watched him a while, reluctant to go inside. She had been cooped up as well and the sharp, blue sky and the whiff of fresh mountain air stilled her soul.
Finally Dawn dragged her one suitcase from the backseat. Heck, she had brought more stuff for Little Bits than she brought for herself. For once in her life, she didn't need to please anyone. Only Graham knew she was here and she planned not to need more than jeans, some comfortable turtlenecks and sweaters. She had left Dawn Smith, the movie and soap star, far, far behind.
For the moment, at least.
After settling the dog paraphernalia in the kitchen, Dawn fed Little Bits. Graham had stocked the refrigerator for her, as she had asked, because he knew she didn't want to go out of the house. She was holding up, hunkering down, hoping to collect her thoughts so she could get on with her life.
Harriet Winchester's small living room was comfortable and familiar. Lace dollies draped over the back and arms of a blue print sofa. Colorful throw rugs softened hardwood floors, and a polished antique cabinet displayed fine porcelain and crystal. A faint aroma of mothballs clung to the curtains.
With the Corgi exploring the downstairs, Dawn flicked on the cable television just to have some company. She stretched out on the sofa and pulled one of Harriet's handmade afghans over her legs. It wasn't long before Little Bits was back, poking her with his nose, begging for attention. Dawn lifted him on top of her legs where he stretched out and promptly fell asleep.
For some reason, the weight of the little dog comforted her. The blaring noise from the television reassured her. She was alone for the first time in years. She had never been alone, really. Twins were never alone. Neither were movie stars.
Dawn's vision blurred as she tried to watch the early news on the flickering screen, and she wondered, sadly, if she could manage to live with her loneliness.
Available at Resplendence Publishing or Fictionwise.
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