Raise A Glass

Everything She Never Wanted, meet Cynthia

Everything She Never WantedWhen I first thought about creating this series, Everything She Never Wanted was one of the books I was so excited to write. That sounds bad since the book deals with loss, but I knew it was going to be emotional and powerful. And I knew I was going to love Cynthia.

Cynthia is scared. She’s been scared her whole life. She’s been hurt and she’s dealt with pain forever. She’s the perfect person to help Henry through the loss his family suffered (no, I’m still not telling who they lose).

If you read the other books in the series, you might not like Cynthia. I get that. You’ll find out who she really is, and hopefully by the end you’ll be cheering for her to get Everything She Never Wanted!

Excerpt from Everything She Never Wanted

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey,” he answered, stepping closer to her.

“Do you feel any better?”

It took him a minute to realize she was talking about his panic attack, or whatever it was, when she got there. He nodded and pulled her in for a hug, resisting the desire to kiss her again. She was there for him the entire night. She didn’t shy away like so many others did. She let him be angry. She let him be irritated. She let him be whatever he needed to be.

Hell, she even let him kiss her and then not talk about it.

“That was one heck of a kiss earlier,” she whispered against his chest.

So much for not talking about it.

Henry sucked in a breath. “I thought so, too.”

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the best kiss of my life.”

He pulled back from her and spun away. He could take kindness. He could handle sympathy. He could even swallow pity. But lying was not on the menu for the evening.

“You don’t have to bullshit me, Cynthia. I’m almost thirty-four years old. I’ve kissed enough women to have picked up a few things. This isn’t high school where you have to lie to me about how much I mean to you.”

Hurt flashed in her brown eyes, bringing out the green. She nodded once, then leveled him with a look that said exactly what she thought of his accusation.

“First of all, I never lied to you in high school. You were my best friend. I adored you. I had no idea you liked me the way you did, or I wouldn’t have turned to you. I was never close to any of the girls I knew, but with you, I could be myself. So screw you for saying I lied about what you meant to me. Second, that was the best kiss of my life. Maybe you didn’t feel the same, or maybe you did, but don’t ever tell me that what I’m feeling isn’t true.”

Henry didn’t know whether to be shocked or impressed by what she said. He’d never known her to have such a quick temper, but things had changed about both of them over the years.

One thing that didn’t change was how much he wanted her. And damn if he could stop himself from kissing her again after seeing that spark in her eyes and hearing his was the best kiss of her life.

Henry didn’t give her a chance to back away. He didn’t go slow. He didn’t ask first. He just took, again, what he wanted, but this time, he wasn’t holding back.

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Introducing Everything She Never Wanted

Everything She Never WantedHenry was the fat kid in high school. He spent his years feeling like he was in the background, never getting the girl and never making the team. All he had was his best friend in the world, until he told her he loved her.

Cynthia felt like a fool for not realizing Henry was in love with her in high school. She lost her best friend when she walked away, but she felt the loss for years after she left Bereton. After losing her job, Cynthia moved back home and reconnects with Henry.

Amidst loss and heartbreak, Henry and Cynthia have to decide if they can cure each other or if some pain can only be healed alone.

Mary’s warning… This book is emotional. Painfully so. It’s been hard for me to write, but it was a story that had to be told. I know you’re going to hate me. You’re going to hate this book. But grab some tissues and dive in. It will make you cry, but there’s always love, even in pain.

Available August 22!

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Excerpt from Everything She Never Wanted

“Should I be worried?” he asked, striving for levity in light of what she’d seen inside.

Her eyes betrayed her grin. She was worried about him. She shook her head and stood, brushing the snow from her jeans. She scooped up half the snowballs and carried them to the picnic table.

“This looked like a pretty sturdy wall,” she said, nodding to the side of the house.

“Uh, I think so. Why?”

She shrugged. “I thought you could use it.”

“For what?”

She looked at him and grinned. She grabbed one snowball and tossed it up gently before catching it. Then she turned and threw it at the side of the house. The snow exploded over the dark stone, leaving a beautiful white imprint.

Oh, hell, yeah.

“Seriously? You didn’t lure me out here for a snowball fight?”

She shook her head, that sad look in her eyes again. “You looked like you needed this.”

Henry pulled in a breath, unsure if he was happy she remembered his need to throw things when he was mad, or sad that they were basically strangers who knew each other.

She grabbed another snowball and chucked it at the wall, the packed snow bursting a foot from the first one, and Henry couldn’t resist any longer. He walked over to the pile she’d amassed and tested one. He packed it again, out of instinct, then threw it as hard as he could at the wall.

The blast eased something inside him, ever so slightly. He stood for a moment, enjoying the sight of the snow scattered across the side of his house.

Then threw another one.

And another.

And another.

Cynthia packed snowballs and Henry launched them at the wall. He had no idea how long they were out there. Long enough that the tips of his fingers started to get cold, his gloves soaked through, and he regretted wearing only jeans outside. Cynthia’s nose was red, as were her cheeks, but she didn’t complain. She just kept packing snowballs, not saying a word as Henry threw one after the other at the side of his house.

He finally stopped and looked at her. Really looked at her. She packed another snowball, oblivious to him staring. She looked beautiful with her red face, jeans hugging her lower half. Her white jacket nearly blended in with the snow around them. She finally looked up at him and grinned.

“Feel better?”

He nodded. “Thanks.”

“Any time.”

Love At First Fight, reviews

Love At First FightLove At First Fight was such a fun book to write. Andie was complicated, but I wanted her to be. She never did what was expected and she made things a lot harder on herself, but trust me when I tell you I’ve known a lot of people like her! People who unintentionally sabotage themselves. Who you love, but really just want to slap and tell them to knock it off! It looks like readers saw the same thing!

Lynn said…

There was so much more to Andi then I thought. I loved Cody, what a sweet man. To wait that long for someone and to finally have a chance. Made my heart melt.
I love this series, the characters and the vineyard. It draws you in and makes you feel a part of the story.

Next week I’ll introduce you to the next book in the series, Everything She Never Wanted. You’ll get to know Henry, but tragedy comes to Amavita Estates. Grab your tissues before you read the next one, trust me.

Love At First Fight, picking the right fight

Love At First FightIn relationships, there are always fights. Arguments. Disagreements. Sometimes small, sometimes not. But the most important thing is knowing which fights to go into swinging and which ones to take the hit so you can end it quickly.

Through Love At First Fight, Andie and Cody don’t fight. They get along well, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fights. Cody’s a smart man, and he knows which fights to pick, and which ones to let go.

Excerpt from Love At First Fight

Pauline shot her daughter an icy glare. “You’re making a mistake, Andrea. You know it, and I know it. Cody hasn’t said anything so we know he agrees as well.”

Andie shot him a pleading look, but he didn’t have a chance to argue before Pauline pressed on.

“Our guests like the inn as it is. Our guests have not complained. They aren’t going elsewhere. We are busy. And you’re spending money needlessly to ruin the inn.”

“I’m not trying to ruin it, Mom.”

“Well, that’s not what I see. This is our family’s legacy.”

Andie sighed. “I know. And I’m trying to ensure it will be around for the next generation.”

Pauline’s eyebrows dove into her hair. She huffed indignantly then stormed out of the room, slamming the door when she left the house.

Andie’s shoulders slumped and her breath left her on a shaky exhale.

“Are you alright?”

Andie jumped at his question, as though she’d forgotten he was in the room. She pasted on a smile that Cody knew was fake. He knew what Andie looked like when she smiled. A real smile. One that turned the blue pools of her eyes into the darkest of night skies. Instead, her eyes were overflowing with sadness. Sadness that kicked him in the chest and demanded he do something about it.

“Andie-”

“I’m sorry, Cody. I need to pack this stuff back up and get some dinner. Everything is fine. Thanks for showing us what you have for the kitchen. I’ll, um, I’ll see you later. Do you mind seeing your self out?”

Cody nodded, wishing he could pull her into his arms and kiss away everything that upset her.

But he couldn’t. He had no right.

She turned away from him, her shoulders slumping as she studied the items that covered her bed. Cody turned and left the room, feeling defeated as he walked down the stairs.

He landed in her kitchen and looked around the room. He knew he couldn’t give her the kitchen Pauline ordered. The cabinets would be nearly impossible to change, but he could do more. He could make it better. Make it right. Make it Andie.

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Love At First Fight, release day

Release days are always my favorite days. Seeing my baby out there in the world. Being able to share it with you. And moving on to the next project. I love it. It’s always hard to say goodbye to characters I love, but that’s one of the reasons I love writing series. Those characters keep coming back. I get the chance to see how they’re doing and watch their lives change with each new book.

And answer some old questions.

I think that’s one of the big things with Love At First Fight. We knew Andie in both Love The Wine You’re With and Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride. She was inconsistent at times. And she and Alyssa had a lot of competition and jealousy. Getting into Andie’s head, we finally understand that a bit more.

But of course, she has to have a guy who gets her. One who sees past the person she lets everyone see. One who wants her for who she really is. I love Cody for that!

Excerpt from Love At First Fight

Andie had always hated women who played the scared child card. Pretending to be afraid, or unsure of themselves, to get the attention of a man. As she sat in Cody’s lap, after burying her face in him during most of The Shining, she wanted to hate herself.

But she couldn’t.

For the first time, she understood the power of letting a man have control. Of turning him into the aggressor instead of having to do it herself. She’d allowed many men to chase her over the years, but she always kept the reins of control firmly in her grasp. She was the one who decided if there was going to be a relationship, even though the men pursued her, and she was always the first to want out. But it had never given her the satisfaction she felt when Cody’s raw desire slapped her in the chest.

He liked being the big, bad guy who protected her from the scary movie. He liked her being a little timid about kissing again.

And she liked that.

The timidity was new for her. She knew she liked Cody. A lot. More than she’d ever liked another man, just like Kristen guessed. It was powerful and invigorating, but also terrifying and borderline nauseating. She was careful to leave her other relationships first before things got more serious than she was interested in. With Cody, she could see it getting serious. Very serious. Serious enough that she would have to tell him all the things she never told anyone.

But she didn’t want to worry about that with him nestled between her thighs. He felt a-fucking-mazing against her core. He was holding her back from getting the full impact of him, but she knew his resistance would fall away just like hers had.

He tilted her head to the side with one rough palm and pulled her gently toward him. When their lips met, it wasn’t a fast and powerful kiss, but a soft and sweet one. One that made her feel wanted, cherished, desired. She knew he wanted her, but she was grateful he wasn’t pushing for more. His hands remained on top of her clothes, not under. Hell, she’d practically had to force him to touch her in the first place.

Damn. She wished he wasn’t such a gentleman.

Available Now!

Ebook on Gumroad | AmazonKobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

Print on CreateSpace | Amazon