I love all my books. They are all truly works of my heart. But this new series is one that I’ve been anticipating for a really long time. I had the idea for these books the same time I started writing Big & Beautiful. A good friend suggested writing Big & Beautiful first, and I’m thrilled that I did. These new books are going to take on a life of their own and they’re a bigger challenge for me. Much bigger.
So, wanna know about them?
My new series is Raise A Glass! It follows nine cousins who are given control of their family’s vineyard. For the first time ever, there will be a prequel. The prequel, Love The Wine You’re With, will be available February 6 as part of an anthology. As soon as I get the final details, I will share them with you. Right now, I know the anthology will be $0.99 and all proceeds will go to March of Dimes. I’m really excited to be a part of it and to help such an awesome organization.
The anthology will only be available for three months and then I will release Love The Wine You’re With on my own, again with proceeds going to a charitable organization – likely changing which one every few months.
The second book, Never A Bridesmaid, Always A Bride, will be available March 7. Both stories follow the same couple. Alyssa and Jake first meet on her eighteenth birthday. They fall in love over the summer and promise to be together, but things don’t always go as planned. When she returns, fifteen years later, they have to decide if they want to try again.
Each story, with the exception of Love The Wine You’re With, will also have a secondary love story. Another couple that is falling in love also. I’ve always wanted to write a series like that. A series that follows more people. They are longer stories with both storylines, but I think you’ll love this family, and the people who surround them, as much as I do.
So, come visit me in Bereton, New York, where the wine is sweet, the vines are ripe, and the people are loving, even if they are a little crazy, too.
Welcome to Bereton!
When she went back into the room, there was a man standing in the middle of it. Alyssa dropped the cleaning bin she was holding and screamed. “Ah! Holy shit! Who the fuck are you?”
He held up his hands and immediately backed up. “Whoa! Sorry! They said this was my room, ma’am. I’m sorry. There’s been some kind of a mistake. Just calm down.”
Alyssa’s hands went to her hips as her attitude snuck back in. She raised an eyebrow at him. “Did you just call me ‘ma’am?’ How old do you think I am?”
Her response threw him. His dark eyebrows knitted together. Alyssa took a second to appraise the man in front of her. He was big, at least six inches taller than her own 5’7”. His dark hair was cut short, giving him a dangerous edge. His face was covered in stubble just long enough that it would scrape her skin if she kissed him.
Which she was suddenly desperate to do.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said. “I don’t mean any disrespect, honest. I’ll go back downstairs and see what’s going on with the room.”
Alyssa shook her head. “What’s your name?”
“Jake Monroe, ma’am.”
She sighed. “You’re in the right room. I work here. My name is Alyssa. I was just cleaning the bathroom. I didn’t know you’d be here when I came out. I was trying to finish up before you got here. I apologize for being in your way.” She bent to pick up the supplies she’d dropped. When she stood again, she forced herself to look in his hazel eyes when she added, “And for swearing at you.”
Tears sprang free from Alyssa’s eyes and emotion clogged her throat. She’d never been so hurt, even under Brent’s hands, as she felt at that moment. Understanding how her cousins all felt about her was painful. She had no intention of letting them down, but Alicia was right, she did have her own agenda. She was there to hide and she didn’t want any of them to know it.
With her heart in her throat she turned to run from the house and ran straight into someone.
Alyssa knew it was Jake. She knew his scent, a mix of fresh grapes and something else that was unique to him. His arms closed around her and she froze when she realized she wanted nothing more than to lean into him and take comfort from him.
“Please let me go,” she whispered, not wanting her cousins to find her there.
Jake eased back from her, his hands sliding down her arms and holding her firmly in place. He ducked down to look in her eyes, but she refused to meet his. She looked toward the kitchen where her cousins were, then quickly looked away, and right into his face.
“Are you okay?” he asked softly with a glance to the kitchen.
“Just let me go, Jake. I need to get out of here.”
He finally stepped to the side and she blew past him heading straight for the front door. She heard him blow out a breath behind her but she didn’t care what he was thinking, she just needed to get the fuck out of there.
Alyssa ran down the front steps of the porch and darted out to the open space toward the fields beyond. The party was still in full swing but no one was paying attention to her. Her tears started to fall freely as the words of her cousins ran around in her head. She heard heavy footsteps behind her and knew Jake was coming with her.
The last thing she needed was to have him see her that way. She already felt vulnerable enough, and she wasn’t prepared to have him watch her fall apart. Their earlier conversation proved he didn’t think much of her, but she could put him out of her mind. She’d had plenty of practice with that.
Alyssa ducked into the shadows and picked up her pace. She had to get away from him, to hide, if need be, so she could avoid him.
The big tree was ahead of her. It had been her tree growing up, but she’d shared the spot with Jake when they’d known each other before. It was under that tree that she’d given her eighteen year old self to him, told him she loved him, and promised she’d come back to him after her first year of college.
Except she didn’t return to Bereton, to Jake. She ran.
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