Susan Sands’s Top 5 Southernisms!

Dear Readers,

We officially have a trilogy! Ben and Sabine’s story makes three. Forever, Alabama is the third installment of my Alabama series with Southern Born books. They are full-length, stand-alone romantic women’s fiction titles.

I came to Tule as an unpublished writer, thrilled to be given the opportunity by this team to publish my debut novel. It has been a pure pleasure to be on the verge of releasing my third story here. Much gratitude to then entire Tule family for helping me along with such grace and professional care.

The Alabama books are set in fictional Ministry, Alabama, somewhere between Montgomery and Birmingham. God’s country, some would say. I’ve never lived in Alabama, but I grew up in a tiny non-fiction small town in Louisiana that bears great similarity to Ministry. If you’ve never spent significant time in such a town, let me fill you in with a few Southernisms:

1) Family ties are stronger and more unbreakable than any earthly substance, manmade or otherwise. Families can fight and call each other names, but don’t mess with kin.
2) Recipes are sacred, but don’t share them outside the family. You can give out a bogus version so as not to sound stingy, but leave out Granny’s secret ingredient. A good casserole will cure what ails you.
3) Gossip isn’t really gossip if it’s true, bless your heart.
4) It’s okay to mount the head of roadkill if it’s at least an eight-pointer—ask your local taxidermist. It would be a waste not to.
5) Nothing’s cuter than a speckled puppy under a red wagon in a rainstorm.

All three Alabama books feature siblings of the Laroux family, a large, loud, and loving bunch, who hold hands in support, possibly right after wrestling one another to the ground for a noogie. These stories aim for big family love, romance, humor, and in the case of Forever, Alabama, a good shot of suspense.

Thanks to Tule for hosting me on the blog today!! It’s been such fun.

I love to hear from readers anytime! You can find me at the following places:

Email: snsands@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susannsandsauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusanNoelSands

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susansands/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susansands_/


 


Lara Van Hulzen Shares Her Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe!

Delicious recipes straight from the kitchens of your favorite Tule authors.

Credit to Ambitious Kitchen for this delicious recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • For rolling mixture:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. Over medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan until foam starts forming. During this process, keep whisking the butter. When the butter starts to brown, immediately transfer to a bowl. Let the butter cool for a few minutes.
  2. Using an electric mixer to combine the butter and 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until well blended. Gradually, beat in the egg, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. Incorporate the dry mixture gradually and beat on low until combined.
  4. Chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon into a separate bowl.
  7. Measure out 2 tablespoons of cookie dough and roll them into balls. Once finished, cover in cinnamon sugar.
  8. Drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 8-11 minutes or until the edges are slightly toasted.
  10. Enjoy!!

Lara is a published author and public speaker with a degree in journalism.

Writing stories since she was a young girl, Lara’s dream of being a novelist became a reality with her Men of Honor Series.

An avid reader, she worked as a book reviewer for 18 years with various organizations such as Crossings Doubleday, YouthWorker Journal, and www.radiantlit.com.

Lover of movies, music, art, travel, baseball, CrossFit and her dog, Lara lives in California with her husband, teenage daughter, and teenage twin boys.


RELEASE DAY! Justine Davis Takes Over the Tule Blog!

I am so excited to be working with everyone here at Tule; the energy is contagious! I’ve been at this a few years now, and it’s great to work with such enthusiastic people. I also need to thank my friends Eve Gaddy and Kathy Garbera for allowing me into the fictional world they created; I’m a Texan by heart if not by geography, the Hill Country is my favorite place in Texas, and I’m enjoying playing there. And what’s not to love about a place called Whiskey River?

It’s also been great fun to return to the roots of my genre, and utilize a tiny bit of my personal history in my first Tule release, Whiskey River Rescue. (As you’ll find in the story, the rescue in the title applies in more than one way!) As is usual for me, the idea for my hero came first, so Crazy Joe Kilcoyne, as he’s known around Whiskey River, went into the pot. Being the dark, haunted character that he is, he of course needed a heroine who is. . .his exact opposite. Sunny, outgoing Kelsey Blaine fit the bill perfectly. With her soft heart and a life already dedicated to rescuing abused horses, she of course can’t leave well enough alone when her world is upended by her mysterious neighbor.

But that bit of personal history I mentioned. . . I’ve always been a horse lover. I was that little girl who never grew out of the childhood infatuation with these magnificent creatures. My first horse was a learning experience that landed me in a hospital ER; never again, I resolved, would I fall for a pretty face with a malfunctioning brain. (Hmm, sounds like a romantic suspense. . .) That horse was way beyond my competency level at that point. But my second, my sweet Sassafras, was ever willing, tolerated the fact that my only riding time was at the crack of dawn and sunset, and developed a highly amusing relationship with my dog at the time.

I also grew up in the San Fernando Valley of southern California, a place jokingly (yet not) known for its four seasons of fire, flood, drought, and earthquake. And I got to know that first one up close and personal one year when the roulette wheel of the fire season stopped on the foothill neighborhood where my horse was boarded. My first instinct, along with several other fellow boarders at our stable, was to go make sure she was all right. The only problem was that the fire department, quite reasonably, had all the roads blocked off. But we all knew the riding trails in the area, away from the main roads. (apologies to fire fighters who were probably scared to death by kids popping up on the wrong side of those lines)

Our stable, thankfully, was still standing; the tack room was scorched, along with a couple of corrals, but the fire had moved on. But others in the area were not so lucky, and not only were their houses and stables burning, they weren’t being allowed in to rescue their animals. Some, on the other hand, were already inside the lines. . .

And so began what we later called the round up, through the streets of this spacious but definitely suburban neighborhood, where those who could get to the endangered horses did it for those who could not. Someone yelled out the plan, the closest safe place big enough and safely fenced. Those who could got to trailers waiting outside the fire lines. Of the rest, those who could trust their own horses enough rode herd on the frightened animals, while those whose own horses were too frightened or had already been rescued led others away from the smoke, chaos, and flying ash and embers. The air was barely breathable, but at least the humans knew what was going on; our horses only knew they were terrified.

It wasn’t pretty, or neat, and not all were gathered—a few were found loose in the streets at daylight—but hours later, the local high school had acquired a sizeable herd of horses on the football field. It was quite a sight.

So that’s my bit of personal history, something I hadn’t thought about in quite a while, until the day I found myself writing a story about a horse lover named Kelsey Blaine who ends up rescuing more than horses, and changing her entire life in the process.


Author of more than 70 books, (she sold her first ten in less than two years) Justine Davis is a five time winner of the coveted RWA RITA Award, including for being inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. A fifteen time nominee for RT Book Review awards, she has won four times, received three of their lifetime achievement awards, and had four titles on the magazine’s 200 Best of all Time list. Her books have appeared on national best seller lists, including USA Today. She has been featured on CNN, taught at several national and international conferences, and at the UCLA writer’s program.


RELEASE DAY POST! Lara Van Hulzen Shares Her Inspiration for A Recipe of Romance!

When I was given the opportunity to write in the Bachelor Bake-Off Series, I jumped at the chance. The concept of writing in a series with other authors was new to me and not only did I learn a lot, I was able to work with some wonderful people while having fun creating – a great combination.

This was my first time writing in Marietta, Montana as well and I can’t think of a better setting to do so. And as much as I love cowboys, I enjoyed writing a wealthy businessman who finds love, even though he believes that’s the last thing he needs in his life. The St. Claire family have a home in Marietta, their home base being in New York. However, after the matriarch of the family passes away, Daniel St. Claire decides that his wife’s favorite place – Marietta – is exactly where he wants to be.

Not understanding why his father would want to completely change his life, Wes St. Claire comes to visit with the mindset of a quick trip to see family, then get back to work and his world in New York. However, his father and young niece sucker him into baking in the Bachelor Bake-Off. Although horrified at the idea, he caves when his niece gets her beautiful dance teacher, Noelle Olsen, to help Wes learn to bake.

I have to confess, I’m not much of a baker myself, so I had to refer to my daughter throughout the process. I can bake, it’s just not my strong suit. But it made A Recipe For Romance that much more fun to write. As Noelle helps Wes learn to bake, I got to be a part of it. I got to walk right along with them on their journey to each other, as well as new beginnings in Marietta.

My favorite thing to write is families. And I love the St. Claire’s. Their wealth and status is a part of their life, but it isn’t who they are. And having spent most of their lives in New York, Marietta changes each one of them in it’s own special way. The Bake-Off is just the beginning for them wanting to be a part of the community and make a difference for the town that meant so much to their mother.

As a huge fan of cookies, I couldn’t resist a series like this. It’s impossible to turn down romance mixed with decadent desserts – a perfect combination.


Lara is a published author and public speaker with a degree in journalism. Writing stories since she was a young girl, Lara’s dream of being a novelist became a reality with her Men of Honor Series. An avid reader, she worked as a book reviewer for 18 years with various organizations such as Crossings Doubleday, YouthWorker Journal, and www.radiantlit.com. Lover of movies, music, art, travel, baseball, CrossFit and her dog, Lara lives in California with her husband, teenage daughter, and teenage twin boys.


Bachelor Bake-Off Author Jessica Gilmore Shares Her Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes Recipe!

Delicious recipes straight from the kitchens of your favorite Tule authors.

Ingredients

  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced. Any apple will do, a baking apple makes a moister cake, an eating one a crisper one.
  • 1 cup (225g) self raising flour – if using all purpose add the usual amounts of baking soda
  • 2 sticks (225g) softened butter
  • ½ cup golden castor sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • 4 eggs

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C/350 f
  • Cream the butter and sugar until smooth
  • Beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour and cinnamon smoothly. If your batter isn’t a dropping consistency, add a tablespoon of milk until it is.
  • Line the bottom of the cupcake cases with slices of apple so the bottom is covered
  • Fill each case to about ¾ full
  • Top each cake with more slices of apple
  • Mix several tablespoons of brown or golden castor sugar with a tablespoon of cinnamon
  • Sprinkle the tops of each cake
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 18 minutes. If a skewer doesn’t come away clean bake for another three-five minutes.
  • Enjoy!

An ex au-pair, bookseller, marketing manager and seafront trader, Jessica now works for an environmental charity in York. Married with one daughter, one fluffy dog and two dog-loathing cats she spends her time avoiding housework and can usually be found with her nose in a book. Jessica writes emotional romance with a hint of humour, a splash of sunshine and a great deal of delicious food – and equally delicious heroes.


Celebrate the Hotel Hookup Series with Author Annabelle Snow!

Hearing from my readers and knowing that they can connect with these women has been one of the joys of writing a series.

 

As a reader, I have always enjoyed books written as a series. Multiple stories allow me to journey with an author, and I get to fully explore fictional worlds and experiences in ways that are limited when I read a stand-alone work.

Turning the tables, I have now had the experience of writing a series, and I hope readers have enjoyed the escape of the four novellas in Hotel Hookup. While the heroine, setting, and plot of each story are unique, common threads laced throughout the series have helped readers stay connected whether they travel with me to Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, or Miami.

I’ve enjoyed hearing from readers through the release, and comments which carry special meaning are when readers tell me these characters are relatable. Amaree struggles with body image. Molly contemplates choices in her career. Hannah nurses a break-up. Katarina craves escape and takes a chance on a new hobby. Hearing from my readers and knowing that they can connect with these women has been one of the joys of writing a series.

Other joys in series writing have been to learn how erotica helps readers become more comfortable with conversations about sex. Steamy scenes and sultry dialogue are fun to read, but beneath the surface, these fictional encounters help readers safely explore sex. That exploration can lead to healthy adult conversation. Whether those conversations take place with our sisters, our friends, or our partners, having the confidence to communicate about sex and not be ashamed in doing so is empowering.

That brings me to my biggest joy in writing this series: empowerment. I hope that readers have felt as empowered as I have in exploring sexuality through this lens of fiction.

I am grateful to the readers who have joined me on this journey, and I am especially grateful for the Tule Publishing team for championing women everywhere through the books they publish. Book girls rule!


Annabelle Snow, winner of Tule Publishing’s 2016 Pillow Talk contest,  is a well-traveled author whose love of adventure (and luxury accommodations!) inspired the Hotel Hookup series. A fan of good coffee and high thread count sheets, she enjoys sharing fiction using real-life locations. Annabelle earned two undergraduate degrees before completing her Master of Arts degree in English and lives, for now, in a house. Maybe one day she’ll live in a hotel.


RELEASE DAY POST! Get to Know Baking for Keeps Author, Jessica Gilmore!

It has a beautiful setting, a town full of interesting folk and, best of all, ranches full of cowboys and other bachelors all waiting for the right girl to tame them – how could I resist?

Hi! I I’m Jessica Gilmore and I live in the beautiful city of York, England with my husband, ballet-mad teen daughter and our much-loved and much-spoiled dog. I’ve been a published author for nearly three years now but Baking for Keeps is my first book for Tule.

I blame Avonlea for my love of small towns. I have no idea how old I was when I first read Anne of Green Gables, or the first time I saw the iconic Megan Follows series, but it seems as if I have always known and loved first Avonlea. It’s the joy of returning to a place, to seeing recurring characters again, watching them grow and find happiness.  They feel like home, thanks to the people, the quirky traditions, the landmarks which define Avonlea and Ingleside, Stars Hollow, Capeside and Pawnee. Even Sunnydale has a certain charm although I prefer my small towns without a hellmouth if possible! That’s why I was so happy when Tule asked me if I wanted to be part of the Bachelor Bake Off series. Marietta is the quintessential small town. It has a beautiful setting, a town full of interesting folk and, best of all, ranches full of cowboys and other bachelors all waiting for the right girl to tame them – how could I resist? And one of the most fun parts for me was adding my own contribution to the Marietta canon.

Charm and quirkiness are two things my hero, Zac Malone, really hates. He’s also not a fan of small towns and people knowing his business so it’s a surprise to him when local radio host Lacey Hathaway persuades him to enter the Marietta Bachelor Bake-Off. But he’s no soft touch and he turns the tables on Lacey with a dare of his own – she has to learn to bake alongside him. Lacey dislikes baking almost as much as she dislikes losing but the more time she spends with Zac the more she realizes it’s not just her pride at stake – it’s her heart.

Some books are easier than others to write and Baking For Keeps was an absolute delight from the first word to the last. I adored setting a book in Marietta and had so much fun with Crooked Corner, Lacey’s home, her two delightful great- aunts, the Bake-Off scenes and, of course, with discovering Zac and Lacey’s story. I hope you love it as much as I do!


An ex au-pair, bookseller, marketing manager and seafront trader, Jessica now works for an environmental charity in York. Married with one daughter, one fluffy dog and two dog-loathing cats she spends her time avoiding housework and can usually be found with her nose in a book. Jessica writes emotional romance with a hint of humour, a splash of sunshine and a great deal of delicious food – and equally delicious heroes.


Celebrate the Release Day of Taming the Texas Cowboy with Author Charlene Sands!

* Congratulations to Lois I! You have won a free print copy of Whiskey River: The Kellys. Please email info@thetulegroup.com to claim your prize. *

1. What inspired you to pick Texas as the setting for Trey and Maddie’s story?

True Texans are a breed all their own. I have family who live in Texas and have studied the ways of the people of the lone star state, the pride and work ethic and love of the land. In my experience with Texans, I found them to be men and women of honor and intense manners. And you’ll see that come through in Taming the Texas Cowboy, the first book in my Forever Texan series. Trey is a good man, who believes the very worst about himself, and Maddie is a woman who sees him for the fine man that he is. Getting him to realize that takes a bit of doing, and at times, Maddie isn’t sure she can get through to the stubborn, prideful, protective Texan.

2. Did you have a playlist in mind while writing this story?

I find inspiration in country music for all my books! My playlist includes some of Brad Paisley’s funny songs, including, “Waitin’ on a Woman”, Lady Antebellum’s , “Need You Now”, Tim McGraw’s, “Real Good Man”, Luke Bryan’s, “You Can Crash My Party Anytime”, and Carrie Underwood’s, “Mama’s Song” and “Something’s in the Water.”

3. How would you describe your hero, Trey? Did you have any actors or models in mind while creating the character?

Ah…my secret is revealed!   In my head, most of my heroes tend to look like Chris Hemsworth, imagine that! (Ha!) But I have yet to find a picture of him in a Stetson. Now that would be glorious. Although, I have to say the cover model for this book fits my description of rancher, Trey Walker perfectly; a rugged, handsome, man of the land. Trey isn’t as immune to the wholesome, intelligent, pretty veterinarian, Maddie Brooks, as he thinks and when offers her a place to stay and treat her animals temporarily, he finds it a grueling test to his willpower.

4.  If you could switch places with any character in this book, who would it be and why?

Let’s see. It would have to be Maddie. She’s lost a lot in her life, but it doesn’t let it get her down. She’s strong of character, tenderhearted with her animals and a girl who doesn’t give up. Maddie is one of the most independent heroines I’ve ever written, in that she is basically alone in the world and has to make some pretty hard decisions in her life. And…she’s living under the same roof as Trey Walker, which makes life eye-popping and exciting!

5. Can you give a sneak preview of your favorite scene in the book in one sentence or less?

There’s so many scenes I love, but this one is full of fun–a leaky pipe in the bathroom spurs a water fight between a near naked Trey and an unsuspecting Maddie, and things heat up real fast.


Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling author writing sexy contemporary romances and stories set in the Old West. Her stories have been honored with the National Readers Choice Award, the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award and she’s a double recipient of the Booksellers’ Best Award. She was recently honored with Romantic Times Magazine’s Best Harlequin Desire of 2014. Charlene is a member of the Orange County Chapter and Los Angeles Chapter of Romance Writers of America.


Bachelor Bake-Off Author Jennifer Faye Shares Her Montana Cowboy Cookies Recipe

Delicious recipes straight from the kitchens of your favorite Tule authors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup Reese’s pieces
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely broken pretzels

Makes 30-32 cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add butter to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Lower heat to simmer. Continue to stir until the butter turns a caramel shade (approx. 7-9 mins). Cool pan in a cold water bath in the sink (approx. 15 mins).
  3. Combine eggs, baking soda, coarse salt, and vanilla. Whisk together.
  4. Whisk in cooled butter.
  5. Whisk in brown sugar.
  6. Stir in flour, ½ cup at a time. Stir pretzels, chocolate chips, and Reese’s Pieces.
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Using Tbsp take a well-rounded scoop of dough and place on tray. Space cookies an inch or two apart.
  9. Bake 12-13 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

Now living her dream, she resides with her very patient husband, amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats. When she’s not plotting out her next romance, you can find her curled up with a mug of tea and a book.


RELEASE DAY! Get to Know Knights of Passion Author Megan Ryder!

1. Sports play such a significant role in each of your books. What is your favorite part of the sports romance genre?

I love sports heroes and how sexy they are. They’re so masculine and so competitive, driven to succeed and win. I like how they’re not afraid to get dirty and how they go all out for their dreams. In my books, I have heroes who love their dreams and cling to those dreams no matter what, doing whatever it takes to succeed. Sometimes, they forget there’s another world out there and they tend to take on the weight of the team on their own shoulders.

In The Game Changer, Dylan believes he is the one upon whom the whole team’s chances rest. Even though it’s a team sport, he puts a lot of pressure of himself to win, to succeed, to help his team mates. That devotion to his team mates and to the people around him, even while keeping himself separate can’t continue and he eventually learns that through the little rescue dog, through Savannah, and through his team mates.

2. In your story, Savannah is completely dedicated to her work with animals. Do you have a favorite pet or animal story that you’d like to share?

Sadie was such a character in this book that I had to struggle to not let her take over. She completely wanted to book to be about her and she kept upstaging the main characters. She was based a little after my own dog, Josie, whom I lost a year ago almost to the day of when The Game Changer comes out. Josie was my baby and so sweet, a cocker spaniel mix. She would get so frustrated when I’d be writing but she’d lay next to me with her head on my lap while I wrote until I was ready to play with her. She was perfectly happy to be with me.

Like Sadie, she chose me. She was one of nine puppies, the runt of the rescue litter. When I went to meet the litter, she was desperately trying to push her way through the puppies to me but her siblings kept pushing her back. Finally, I picked her up and she crawled up my shirt and snuggled into my neck like she was home. She picked me. I miss her to this day.

3. Did you have a “dream cast” in mind when writing about Savannah and Dylan?

Always. For Savannah, I pictured Cindy Crawford in the old Pepsi commercials, wearing that white t-shirt and jean shorts. For Dylan, he’s Steve Lund from the SYFY TV show Bitten.

4. In five words or less, tell us why readers will love the relationship between Savannah and Dylan.

I think people will love the story of Dylan and Savannah because of the theme of rescue. They both start because of a rescue dog, then slowly they rescue each other from their own cages – Dylan from his closed off life, trapped by his past and his own fears, and Savannah from her own fears of getting to close to anyone, even a dog, which is so ironic, given her career choice.

5. Can you share a deleted scene with us?

Here is one towards the end of the book. I hope it doesn’t spoil too much!


Despite Savannah’s pregame jitters, she handled the crowd and the ceremonies like a pro. No one noticed that she gripped Dylan’s hand a little tighter than necessary or that it was a little sweaty. Her voice was clear and strong as she thanked the crowd and the Knights for their very generous donation to their rescue and how they intended to use it. She even introduced some of her rescues up for adoption as they lined up and were paraded on the field, led by the players, then directed interested adopters to their website and upcoming adoption events if they were interested in any of the dogs. Most of the players got into the show, acting as if it were a dog show, playing it up to the crowd and everyone seemed to love it, especially the dogs. Maybe they had made a few love connections today. Judging by the way a few players were loving on the dogs, there might be a few Knights requesting applications before the day was over.

Savannah headed into the dugout, her face flushed and a broad smile on her face. She looked a little stunned and overwhelmed by everything, and relieved that it was over. Fosters were coming into the dugout to greet the players and retrieve their dogs to bring them into the stands for the game.

Dylan strapped on his catcher’s gear, Sadie leaning against him, getting in his way of his leg pads. Savannah slid onto the bench next to him, almost shaking in excitement. “Dylan, I don’t know how to thank you. I mean, all of this…”

He glanced up at her. “You did all the work. I just introduced you to Stacia.” He paused for a moment. “I’m proud of you. You were awesome out there. Handled it like a pro. I’ll bet you found some new homes and new donors.”

Her eyes were bright and dancing as she just about bounced on the bench, sitting on her hands in an effort to keep still. ‘I can’t believe how much was raised! We can easily renovate that building and get a good start on the rescue. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined. All thanks to you.”

His last leg pad was finally buckled and he straighted in his seat. He turned and pulled her to him, wrapped her in the big hug he wanted to do sooner but had to be ready to get on the field. “Congratulations. Sorry I couldn’t do this sooner. I have to get on the field.”

She froze in his arms, as if surprised he would publicly hug her or show any emotion then she twined her arms around his neck awkwardly thanks to the gear and hugged him back. “This is a little uncomfortable.”

He grinned against her neck. “Maybe we’ll try this again later.”

A couple of players whooped and Cody Patterson walked over. “Hey man, we have a game to win. Give up the lady for now. You have plenty of time for romance after we kick their asses.”

Dylan grimaced but Savannah let him go. “Go kick their asses, Dylan. Show them who’s top dog in Savannah.”

Cody laughed. “I knew I liked you! Let’s do this!”

With one final glance, Dylan headed on the field slowly thanks to his gear, Cody walking next to him, a team finally. Cody glanced over his shoulder at Savannah and nudged Dylan with his shoulder.

“Things going pretty good, huh? Nice job, man.”

Dylan narrowed his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Cody held up his hands. “Nothing. Just saying, she’s a nice person and you’re not bad. Don’t fuck it up. Although you did a pretty cool thing here. She’ll be pretty damn grateful.”

“I didn’t do it for that. Her rescue could use the help.”

“I get it but it helps you with her too, right? Nice thinking.”

Dylan slapped his glove against Cody’s stomach. “Focus on the game and not on my girl.”

He slammed his mask on and squatted behind the plate, ignoring the laugh from Cody as he jogged to the mound. Stupid ass. As if he did all this to impress Savannah, to prove that he cared about her. No, he did this because her rescue needed it. And to show her that he could help her, if she would let him.


Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.