including reads by Jael Gates
(my occasional alter ego)
Six years as a divorce lawyer have convinced Sam Knight that wedded bliss and happily ever after are merely myths he wants no part in perpetuating. So when he discovers his Arkansas mountain fishing resort has been converted to a honeymoon hideaway, he storms into Wildwood, demanding an explanation from manager Libby Turner. Libby knows exactly how to show Sam the value of his remodeled investment. She will prove to this marriage Scrooge that love isn't a one-way ticket to divorce court. But with his rugged good looks and stubbornness, Sam is intimidating and more man than she's ever encountered. Can a hopeless romantic persuade a determined realist that sometimes fairy tales really do come true?
Kat Tremaine is cursed. After crushing a phoenix egg on expedition to Egypt, she now goes up in flames each equinox and solstice, only to rise from the ashes in a new body. This limits her relationships to one-night stands since no guy could ever explain her if the two of them accidentally fell in love. Along comes Jase Cooper, a doctor with the schedule from Hades. Their chemistry is undeniable, but she keeps her secret. As the seasons--and her appearance--change, she is drawn to him again and again even though she knows better. Is it love? For her, yes. As for Jase...how can it be, when he thinks he's with a different woman every time?
Raised by an elderly grandmother and spinster aunts after the death of her mom, Aimee Kendall has lived a sheltered existence. Now that everyone she loves has died, she is on her own and trying to get on with her life. Step one of that process is detaching herself emotionally so that she'll never again experience the pain of losing a loved one. Step two is resisting the efforts of her widowed landlady to annihilate step one. Senior citizen Rose Reinhardt is as lonely as her renter and can't understand why Aimee resists all her offers of friendship and keeps to herself. Enter Mick Doonan, Rose's in-your-face great-nephew, there for Rose's birthday. From the moment Aimee and Mick clash, she is drawn to him and can't understand why. He's loud; he's nosy; he's bossy. He's also gorgeous in a rough edges sort of way, and, she quickly realizes, totally irresistible. Does she dare lower the emotional barriers that protect her heart? Or should she simply wait for Mick to barge right through them?
Libby has devoted her life to Mia ever since their parents died. Now Mia's marriage to Rob threatens all Libby's big plans for little sis, making it very hard to be happy for the couple. So far, Jake, big brother of the groom, has ignored Libby's pleas for help derailing the wedding train. In fact, he's actually footing the bill for their siblings' last-minute Christmas nuptials. And though Jake is good looking, smart, and funny, Libby is determined not to like him. When a winter whiteout results in a lodging crunch, Jake volunteers to share a room with Libby, who can't say no without making a scene. It's only when they're alone that she learns he has an ulterior motive for choosing this particular Ozark Mountain hotel for the honeymoon. Jake, host of a paranormal television show, hopes they'll be visited by the ghost supposedly haunting the old building. He's even focusing his video camera toward the bed he has graciously turned over to Libby.
Katy has finally broken free from her activist parents and the infamous Chandler name. Determined to excel at her first real job, she has pitched an idea to her editor at Single Ladies magazine and is now in the Colorado Rockies camping alone. It's nature meets technology, the truly modern way to vacation without the help of a man. YouTube, camping blogs, "Survivor," "Naked and Afraid"--she's studied them all and can not only pitch a tent all by herself, but make fire out of practically nothing. Katy intends to document everything with photos and videos and then write the best article her editor has ever read. But her notorious dad has other plans, the reason she's greeted by a bodyguard the moment she sets foot in the mountains. Tall, dark, and dedicated, Tyler is also a member of the supernatural community--a shapeshifter as determined to be her second skin as she is determined to shed him.
Ellie Boone bakes novelty cakes for a living. Kit Macchiano is the handsome photographer who lives down the hall. They occasionally have lunch together, but never without her best friend and other neighbor, Hanna. Both women are fascinated with Kit, whose bachelor lifestyle contrasts sharply with their where-are-all-the-good-men desperation. Ellie never tells Kit that her parents hunt mythical monsters for a living and host their own cable television series. But they do, and they're in a jam, with the threat of cancellation hanging over their heads. For that reason, Ellie's mom begs her to accompany them on a hunt for the Cherufe, a legendary Chilean cave monster. Ellie, who hasn't traveled with them getting lost in a cave at age six, reluctantly agrees, but only if Hanna can tag along. But a last-minute emergency sidetracks her friend. And though Kit volunteers to step in for Hanna, Ellie isn't thrilled and only agrees out of desperation.
Ivy Warren, owner of pagan supply shop Something's Brewing, is a white witch with a secret power—the ability to read a soul by gazing into someone's eyes. Sometimes her power is wonderful; sometimes it's not. When Ember, a witch with nominal powers, tries to buy a love potion, Ivy won't sell it to her and not because she has seen Ember's soul. No man should be tricked into loving a woman. A glimpse of Ember and an unknown male on the sidewalk later that day pokes Ivy's conscience. Should she warn the handsome stranger that Ember is after him? Amos "Hutch" Hutchinson is the new pharmacist in town. He and Ivy meet when she picks up a prescription for her aunt. They wind up flirting with each other and making a coffee date, but she never shows up. He decides she didn't like him as much as he liked her. What Hutch doesn't know is that Ivy missed their date because she was drugged. Even worse, her love potions were stolen. Now she has no ethical choice but to knock on his door, apologize for being a no show, and ask if Ember has offered him a drink.
Natalie Dane is struggling. Against the advice of friends and family, she embraced selling real estate, a career that's gone nowhere fast. In fact, the owners of her agency have issued an ultimatum: sell the McAdoo House or clear out your office. The problem? The structure in question is over one-hundred-years old, seriously run down, and, according to potential buyers, has an odd feel to it. Enter Simon Grayson, a man with questionable experience in haunted houses and talents no sensible person should trust. Worse, he's clearly oblivious to Nat's figure flaws, an attitude that flatters as much as alarms her. Focused on saving her career and struggling with low self-esteem, she has used her busy days as an excuse to avoid men. Simon, with his easy smile and blatant compliments, could easily break down her emotional barriers. She knows she'd be smart to avoid him. But times are hard, and Natalie is desperate--so desperate that she hires the guy in spite of his charm and good looks. Can Simon work his magic not only on the house, but on the woman trying to sell it?
Karlie Nilsen, owner of a coffee shop in Blue Harbor, SC, isn’t who everyone thinks she is. Almost three years ago, she did "the right thing," and then had to change her name, her location, and her profession to hide from some bad men seeking revenge. If she told anyone her real story, she'd be in danger and so would her elderly dad, who has Alzheimers and now resides in a nursing home miles away. Safely harbored, Karlie keeps her secrets until a sweet Muslim friend is accosted by a racist outside her shop. She rushes outside to stand up to him, unaware that witnesses are videoing the whole incident on their phones. Seeing herself on Facebook that night is quite a shock. The video goes viral. There’s no hiding anymore. So it's no real surprise when a DOJ marshal she has never met shows up to explain safety options. It is, however, a surprise when Ty Delaney, the high school crush who once broke her heart arrives. He says he's been looking for her for years to apologize for the way he acted, but his timing stinks, and neither man likes the other. Does she dare trust either of them?