Raise A Glass

Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride, release day!

It’s here! It’s here! I’m so excited Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride is here! I’m visiting Romance Lives Forever and Staci Troilo today, celebrating the release. Yesterday I was hanging out with Rochelle Weber and Thursday I’ll be on The Write Way Cafe! Please stop by and say hi, and learn more about where this story came from, and catch a few more sneak peeks!

I’ve been thinking about this book for years. Years and years. I’ve only been married once, and hope to stay that way, but I felt for Alyssa and her three failed marriages. Going back home was a hard decision for her, especially knowing what she would face.

Jake was kind of the opposite. Where Alyssa felt repressed by her large family, Jake loved it. He couldn’t imagine leaving, even though she wasn’t there anymore. They both decided to stay away from each other, but that’s usually easier said than done!

Excerpt from Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride

They walked through the trees to the edge of the water. She gasped when she saw what he’d done. When she spun back to look at him, tears brimmed in her eyes.

“Why are you crying?” he asked, rushing to set his dinner down. He took hers from her and wrapped her in his arms while she cried softly.

When Alyssa finally stilled and took a deep breath, she leaned back, keeping her arms around his waist. Jake rested his forehead against hers again, loving to see her so close. When she’d first left, he’d asked Marie for a picture of Alyssa. He used to stare into her eyes like she was there and tell her everything that was going on. Even though she wasn’t there, he felt better talking to her.

“I’m sorry. I don’t think anyone has ever done anything like this for me. It’s really sweet, Jake.”

He kissed her nose and then her lips, finally giving up the fight he had with himself to keep their night sex-free. Just one taste of her lips and he was hard and aching for her. She whimpered and pulled him in tighter and he knew he was a goner. He’d do anything she wanted him to do.


When they came up for air, Jake rested his forehead against hers again. “I’m sorry you didn’t have someone who treated you the way you deserved to be treated.”

She smiled. “I did. But I was too stupid to realize it.”

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Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride, second chances

I’ve never written a second chances book, or the one that got away, or anything like that. It was a challenge for me to make sure Alyssa and Jake could have a second chance that made sense. He was hurt and mad, she was ashamed and felt like she didn’t deserve him. But they couldn’t just walk away.

Excerpt from Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride

Alyssa shrugged. “I made some shitty choices. Jake got caught in the middle. It wouldn’t be fair of me to expect him to wait this long for me.”

Sean examined her closely. “He may not have remained celibate, but I do think he’s been waiting for you. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this either, but he hasn’t had a serious relationship since you left. I think a part of him still loves you, Alyssa. Even if he doesn’t want to.”

Tears stung her eyes and blurred her vision. She didn’t know if they were happy tears or sad ones. Maybe just angry tears. Angry that she’d stolen their happiness from them. If she could go back to her eighteen year old self, she’d slap herself silly. She threw away the best thing that had ever happened to her and regretted it ever since.

“I’m sorry, Sean. I need to go.”

Alyssa pushed away from the table, leaving her half-eaten lunch and her cousin behind. Sean called after her, but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t stop. She just ran. Through the vines toward the water. To the only place she ever felt like she could be herself.

She just hoped she would be alone.


Jake saw Alyssa tear across the vineyard toward the tree and had to force himself not to follow her. He didn’t want to know what was wrong.

Except he did.

It fucking gutted him to see her crying.

He looked back up toward the inn and saw Sean standing just off the deck, watching Alyssa run. Jake had to know what he said to upset her so badly. She’d had enough shit from Andie. She didn’t need it from Sean, too.

He stormed toward The Drunken Grape and was in Sean’s face before he even had a chance to sit back down.

“What the fuck did you say to her?”

Sean didn’t back down. They stood toe to toe, Sean close enough to Jake’s 6’2” that they could look each other in the eye.

“You need to back off, Jake. You have no idea what you’re accusing me of.”

Jake remembered for a second that Sean was technically one of his bosses, but he didn’t give a shit. He’d hurt Alyssa. And that was all that mattered.

“What did you say to her?”

“I told her I think you still love her. That I think you’ve been waiting for her all this time. And that you haven’t had a relationship since she left.”

All the anger in Jake deflated faster than a popped balloon. He sunk into a chair and dropped his head into his hands.

“I’m guessing I was right based on your reaction. You still love her, don’t you?”

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Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride, first kiss

It’s Teaser… Thursday? Yeah, so I forgot to put up a post Tuesday! Sorry about that! But I had to share Alyssa and Jake’s second first kiss. Neither want it to happen, but neither can resist.

Excerpt from Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride

Jake heard the pain in her voice. The regret. All the things he wished she’d felt when she left him. She wasn’t talking about Lana.

And dammit if Jake could stay on his side of the kitchen.

He moved around the table, stalking her. She watched him getting closer, her eyes widening with each deliberate step he took. When he reached her, Jake didn’t pause. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t even think.

He just took what was his.


His lips crashed down onto hers the same moment his hands dove into her hair. The short strands slipped through his fingers before he could grab hold. He reached for them again, and used his grip to tilt her head to suit him. She whimpered against him, her hands reaching up between them. He didn’t know if she was going to push him away or pull him closer, but he wasn’t waiting to find out.

He thrust his tongue between her teeth, prying her lips apart. She froze for a heartbeat, then stroked her tongue along his with a moan that alerted his dick to all the action going on.

He was consumed with consuming her. He needed her. He needed her to know he’d never stopped loving her. Never stopped waiting for her. He could convince her to stay this time. She wouldn’t leave him again.

She just told him so.

As his tongue stroked her, relearning her mouth and the way she liked to be kissed, his hand roamed her body. She was too tiny for him, too angular, but he didn’t care. She was Alyssa. His Alyssa. And he wasn’t going to let her go again.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

All over the world, people are waking up to gifts from their loved ones. Stores are flooded with roses, chocolate, and other gifts. It’s a great day. We all celebrate love. What could be better than that? 

Love matters. Love makes us do things we never thought possible. It’s an amazing emotion that drives many things for us. I’m hanging out on Contemporary Romance Writers today talking about the importance of love. Stop by and say hi and tell me what love means to you.

Over here though, let’s talk about love every day! We don’t need to wait for one day to celebrate love, to say I love you, or to give someone we care about a gift.

We don’t even need to do that. Little things mean the most.

When my husband rubs my feet, even though he had a long day.

When he cooks pancakes for the kids, because it’s our tradition.

When they say I love you.

When we go out of our way for someone.

We don’t need to wait until Valentine’s Day for any of that. Share your love every day. Start today!

Another thing you should start today is Love The Wine You’re With! (Like how I did that!) Readers are telling me they love this new series. Aliana said it’s her new favorite series. That’s high praise! I love that you guys are enjoying it. If you haven’t checked it out yet, grab it today. The second book, Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride, will be out in only three weeks!

Here’s another peek at Love The Wine You’re With. Just in case you’re still on the fence…

Alyssa was shocked to see Jake sitting at the table with her grandmother and Uncle Victor. As soon as she got up that morning, she went to find Uncle Victor and begged him to hire Jake. She didn’t explain how they met, and he didn’t ask, but she could tell by the smirk on his face he knew the whole story.


“I knew I should have fixed up that room last night. If I had, I’d have been the one this handsome man startled last night. Then maybe he’d be looking at me like I was his savior instead of you,” Nonna grumbled.

Alyssa was sure her grandmother was just trying to throw her off, but when she glanced back at Jake, his cheeks pinked and he ducked his head.

How interesting.

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Love The Wine You’re With, available now

I am so excited to have Love The Wine You’re With finally available! I’ve been anxiously waiting for this series to finally be out, and I’m loving it!

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, don’t wait! Not that it’s going anywhere, but you’re going to love Jake and Alyssa. He’s a brooding, damaged guy with a heart bigger than New York. She’s a barely legal girl who is sick of being a child. And a virgin.

Excerpt from Love The Wine You’re With

“What’s your schedule next week? Is there a day you’re off?”

Alyssa nodded. “I’m off Wednesday.”

“Wednesday night. You. Me. A date.”

She grinned. “That sounds nice.”

Jake chuckled, the sound reverberating through her. “I don’t want you to doubt how I feel about you, Alyssa. Not ever. I’ve been going crazy thinking about you. I want you so much I can barely see straight most of the time.”

“I’ve never had sex before.”

He nodded. “I know, Alyssa. And I’m not saying I want to. I mean, yeah, I want to, but I wouldn’t be able to do that to you. I just-”

“I want to, Jake. I want you to be my first. I’ve never liked a boy the way I like you. I know I’ll regret it forever if we don’t. Please, Jake.”

She felt him grow harder against her lower back, as though talking about sex turned him on even more. “Alyssa, I need to kiss you. But I want you to know one thing first.”

Alyssa turned in his arms so she could see him. “What?”

“I’d be honored to make love to you. It’s all I’ll be able to think about now,” he said with a laugh, “but we have time. Let’s take things slow.”

Alyssa nodded. “Okay. Do you think you could kiss me now?”

Jake smiled and leaned closer. “Hell yeah.”

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