Genres: Contemporary Romance/Sweet Contemporary Romance
New Year’s Eve: Love Was a Resolution They Didn’t Plan on Making
Eve Larson arranged a solitary New Year’s celebration at her mother’s beach house to give herself the space to evaluate her recent hurts—the death of her mother and a broken engagement. She wants nothing more than to put them behind her and make a fresh start on January 1. When her ex-fiance’s brother, Spencer Canley, shows up with one final demand from her past, Eve worries her plans are sinking like a ship off her beloved Texas coast. Circumstances keep Spencer at the beach longer than either of them initially want, but the delay gives each of them the opportunity to see the other in a different light. As Spencer makes a decision that changes everything about his upcoming year, he realizes he doesn’t want to repeat his brother’s mistake of pushing Eve away. A year ago, the changing of the calendar brought news that changed Eve’s whole life. Could this new year bring love back?
(New Year’s Eve is a novella)
The Cupid Caper: Sometimes you’ve got to take Cupid’s bow and arrow into your own hands
Amanda Marsh is in love with love. She knows she’ll never find anything as romantic as the stories she teaches that have stood the test of time, so she’s settled on having a crush on chemistry teacher Luke Baker from afar. Luke Baker left his career as a research chemist behind to share a love of science with students. When a poem shows up on his desk drawing him into The Cupid Caper, the Valentine’s Day-themed dance and fundraiser for Skyview High School’s Student Council, Luke dismisses the whole thing as a silly game. But when he realizes that winning the grand prize in The Cupid Caper is the one way he can help a star student attend the new STEM Academy, he decides to play along. When an education in happily ever after is on the line, will a man whose life has been ruled by the scientific method and a woman who quotes sonnets miss the mark, or will Cupid’s arrow finally ring true?
(The Cupid Caper is a novella)
Lucky in Love: What happens on this vacation may not stay in Vegas
Being whisked off to Las Vegas for Spring Break was not in drama teacher Lisa Fleming’s plans. Especially when she discovers her eighty-nine year old grandmother has secret plans to marry her retirement home-bound first love. Ryan McBride has spent his adult life calling everyone else’s bluff from a seat behind a poker table, but now he’s ready to do something different—he just doesn’t know what. When his grandfather brings his online bride-to-be to Las Vegas, along with her granddaughter, and announces a wedding the same week of Ryan’s last tournament, Ryan may just find that his luckiest break ever was the one he never saw coming.
(Lucky in Love is a full-length book.)
New Year’s Eve
Spencer took three steps, the sand giving a nearly soundless crunch under the soles of his expensive shoes. “I’m not trying to bait you.”
“So what are you doing here?” Her patience was wearing thin. Spencer had intruded on her few days of hoped-for solitude, the days she’d planned to spend with a quiet focus on her future.
Not a focus on the white dress she should have been wearing.
Not a focus on the aisle she should have been walking down.
Not a focus on Spencer’s brother, Mark, who should have been waiting there for her.
“It’s not really a vacation, Eve, but you already knew that.”
She nodded. “So what is it?”
“I’m still Mark’s attorney.” He paused. “I’ve got some paperwork for you.”
“Paperwork?” Eve turned, her disbelief overriding her resolve to stay still as a statue. “Mark and I are through. We’ve been through for a year. What more is there to do?”
Spencer reached in his back pocket and pulled out an envelope. A scowl pushed his brow into a furrow. He handed the paperwork to her slowly.
Eve reached her hand out, then hesitated. But there wasn’t really any point. Mark Canley got what he wanted, when he wanted it. There weren’t many people who would stand in his way. Not a brother. And certainly not the former love of his life.
Emphasis on former.
The paper felt cool and slightly damp to the touch. With a deep breath, she slid her finger in the gap on the envelope flap and tugged it open.
The letter was short and to the point, as most demand letters written by lawyers were. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for Eve’s eyes to scan the terse sentences filled with Latin derivatives.
A lump like wet sand began to fill her throat. She tried to swallow it away, but her mouth had gone dry.
“He wants my ring back?” She almost didn’t recognize the scratchy whisper as her own voice.
Spencer nodded. “He does.”
“But…why?” She struggled a bit for the words.
Spencer pushed his hands into his pocket, then squared his own shoulders in much the same way Eve herself had only moments before when she first heard the voice from her past. “He’s getting engaged. That’s a one-of-a-kind stone, and he decided he wanted to reset it.”
“But my mother helped him pick it out.” Memories of the mother she lost to breast cancer too soon flooded into a mind already jumbled with too many thoughts.
“It’s a stone that used to belong to the Russian imperial family. He doesn’t care about the rest of it.”
“He doesn’t care about anything,” Eve said into the wind. “Except himself.”
Spencer didn’t change position, just stood alongside Eve, as a brief gust kicked a wintry spray back on them both.
“I’ve known him my whole life, Eve. He never has.”
The Cupid Caper
Oh no. He’d been YOLOed. “Um, thanks, Kinley.”
“You’re welcome, Dr. B. I’ve gotta go deliver the rest of these. Later.”
She ducked out of the room as quietly as she’d entered, leaving Luke alone with a closet full of chemicals and an envelope full of haiku.
He didn’t know which would kill him the fastest.
He flicked the offensive envelope a bit with his finger. He didn’t really want to find out what lurked inside.
“Five-seven-five. YOLO.” Luke pushed his hand through his hair again. “No-LO.”
Determined not to open the small red rectangle, he pushed it even further to the side. It dangled precariously over the wastebasket.
One more little nudge and he’d be hai-through with this haiku business.
“Wait. You got a Cupid Caper poem?” Amanda Marsh’s jaw dropped a little as she took in the scene before her.
“Is that impossible for you to imagine?” Luke thought he should be insulted by the insinuation, but he wasn’t sure why he cared. It bothered him a little, like a shirt tag that wouldn’t lay flat.
Amanda lifted her hand and waved an identical red envelope. “The Student Council Postmaster made it by my room too.”
“It’s a haiku, I hear.” Luke felt a little better about the skeptical look on her face. They both seemed to share the same opinion of the mail.
Amanda rolled her eyes, the gentle green in the middle edging out the duskier shades around the edges. “You didn’t send this to me, did you?”
Luke opened his mouth to say the first thing that came to mind, then stopped himself. No sense finding out if the rumors about red-headed tempers were true. He stopped himself, eyes locked on the woman in front of him. She wore a cotton knit shirt with a neckline that grazed the collarbone. Trim and tailored, the shirt fit and flared along every curve.
The fact that it was the same Valentine red as the envelope in question sent off his own internal siren. He needed to get a grip before the English teacher—or anyone else who might walk in the room—realized he was checking her out.
“Well, did you send this to me?” He averted his eyes downward and flicked at the envelope again. It fell into the wastebasket, landing atop the pile of crumpled papers with a satisfying slap.
“Of course not,” she bit out with lightning speed.
“Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
“You know, Hamlet,” the English teacher aimed the Danish prince’s name squarely at the man behind the modern chemistry desk. “In Shakespeare’s day, a protest was not what we think of now—it wasn’t a complaint. The Elizabethans used protest to mean a vow. So when Queen Gertrude says ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks,’ she’s actually saying the woman looks like she’s over-promising, not necessarily over-denying. Of course, Hamlet turns that back on his insincere mother.”
Lucky in Love
Luke and Amanda. Nana and this Bill McBride guy. It gave Lisa some hope that true love was still out there.
Even if it never seemed to be out there for her.
All these years after leaving New York behind, Lisa still harbored Broadway dreams in her heart. But those happily ever after dreams? She’d given up on them a long time ago.
But in her defense, all the nice guys gave up on her first.
Lisa looked over Nana’s shoulder and above the white-haired man’s softly bent head.
Midnight blue eyes, black hair, chiseled chin locked in a light dusting of yesterday’s beard. Of all the people in this busy airport, the man behind the couple of the moment had caught her attention. But it made Lisa uncomfortable, the way he was staring at Nana and Mr. McBride.
“Are you waiting on something?” Lisa could hear the shortness in her own voice. “You can just get your suitcase and move on, you know.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Can’t.”
“Didn’t your mother teach you staring was rude?”
Did the man know how to put two syllables together?
“Well, she should have. I can correct that right now, if you’d like.” Lisa could feel her blood begin to boil, like hundreds of tiny bubbles just waiting for their cue to float off the bottom of a pot on the stove.
Well, at least he used more than one syllable.
But still. He was rude for staring. And now he was annoying. He might have been nice to look at, but his manners didn’t match his looks. Time to move on, buddy. “There are plenty of taxis outside just waiting to take you wherever you need to go. This is a private moment.”
Before Mr. Midnight Eyes could reply, Bill McBride pulled two steps back out of the embrace with Nana.
“He can’t go get a taxi. He is the taxi,” Bill said. “Gina Mae, this is my grandson, Ryan McBride.”
About the Author:
The writing bug bit Kristen Ethridge around the time she first held a pencil. A 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award Finalist, Kristen was discovered by Harlequin through their 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest.
She writes contemporary inspirational romance for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line, as well as sweet contemporary romance. Her favorite stories are filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after–and her favorite happily ever after is the story of God’s love. Although she has fun creating characters, Kristen’s favorite people are her family. She lives in Texas with her husband, children and a self-important poodle. Visit her online at www.kristenethridge.com.
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