hockey

A Final Sneak Peek: Worth the Risk

Chapter Three

Raelynn

Bree stays home with Elias and his mom while I take Jackson to school. I may shed a few tears on the way home because for the first time, my baby wanted to walk by himself to class. I walked him to the entrance of the school, and then he left me without a backward glance. It was almost like the first day of school all over again. I had to go inside anyway to update his files with a new home address.

When I return, Elias goes straight into showing me every nook and cranny of the house practically before having another round of discussion in the kitchen with his mother nearby with Bree.

“I won’t be home until kinda late because we have a game tonight,” he continues. “Lock the doors if you go to bed before I get home, but if you set the alarm, make sure you do the silent alarm. That way it won’t go off when I come in and wake the kids. I have to run out and get a key made for you before I head to the rink. Is there anything you or Jackson need me to pick up? Do you want me to go ahead and set up her carseat in your car, so you don’t have to do it later?”

“I don’t think so, and if you want. It doesn’t matter.”

“I’ll do it.” He nods to himself. “And here’s a credit card you can use in case you decide there is something you need or would like to have here.”

He holds out the card, but I stare at it, flicking my gaze to see a disapproving look from his mother. “Um, that’s okay. We’ll be fine.” It doesn’t feel right to basically have my employer’s credit card to use at my disposal for things for Bree or Jackson and me. It’s worse that his mother watches my every move, waiting for me to mess up so she can convince him to fire me. It feels that way, at least.

“Raelynn, take it. I said I’d provide groceries for y’all. There’s a road trip coming up around Thanksgiving. You’ll need this. I’m not always going to be here or have time to go shopping.” Reluctantly, I take it, and he adds, “You don’t need to ask before you use it either, but Mom will show you where to put the receipts. Need anything else before I go?”

I think about my car, which is low on gas. I think about my phone bill, which is due today and will likely wipe my account of what money I have left. “Could I get this week’s pay already?”

“Yeah, sure.” He disappears upstairs and returns a minute later with a check.

I’ve never made so much money in one week before. I almost feel like I should argue about the amount since I’m living here rent free, utilities free, and grocery free, but I’m not. This was the amount he offered and I could definitely use the money.

“Thank you,” I say softly.

“Just don’t let me down.” He walks over to his mother, kisses her cheek, and then leans down to kiss Bree’s forehead, causing her to have that goofy baby smile. “Love you, princess.” It’s so sweet to watch Elias interact with his daughter. It also makes me wonder how he ended up with custody; he’s yet to mention her mother. I’ll have to ask about that later. I don’t want to be unprepared in case someone shows up. “I’ll be back shortly, Raelynn,” Elias tells me before heading out the door.

With her son gone, Alice interviews me with far more questions than her son did. I answer them completely. What harm is there in telling her that Jackson and I have struggled and the only reason I’m here is because I needed a job and Elias was offering? She asks me if I’m trying to take advantage of him, but when it becomes clear that I’m not because I had no clue I could take advantage of him, she accepts that. When she asks of my past, I politely shut her down. My past is my own and has no relevance.

~ ~ ~

Alice hugs Bree in her arms. “Take good care of my granddaughter, okay? I have complete faith that you will, but I have to say it anyway.”

“I will take care of her as if she’s my own,” I promise. Today is a big day for a couple of reasons, one of which is Alice leaves to go home.

I’m also here to take care of my daughter, Ma,” Elias tells her. “She’ll be fine. Unless you don’t trust us?”

“I trust you. That’s how I’m able to leave.”

It’s been nice to have Alice around. She’s helped me adjust to things here, learn my way around, and feel comfortable, somewhat. It’s nice to know she’s giving me her official stamp of approval.

Alice kisses Bree’s cheeks until Elias takes matters into his own hands and takes Bree away, giving her to me.

“It’s time to go, Ma. We don’t want you to miss your flight.”

“Fine. Fine.” Alice hugs me, kisses Bree one last time, and says, “Tell Jackson I said goodbye.”

“I will.” He’s already at school, so he’s missing the goodbye session. Alice did say goodbye to him this morning, but I’ll be sure to pass along the second goodbye.

Elias leaves to take his mother to the airport and I focus on a new milestone I must cross. Elias is about to leave for his first road trip with me as his nanny. I’m slightly terrified, especially since his mother is gone. To stay calm, I’ve been doing what I’m doing right now: sitting on the floor, playing with Bree, so I don’t have to think about it.

“Hey,” Elias says as he comes into the living room. “Feeling good about being on your own?”

“Yeah,” I lie. I mean, I can take care of my own baby, no problem, but it’s giving me serious anxiety to be left alone in someone else’s house with someone else’s baby and with someone else’s credit card to use as I see fit. What if I mess up? What if I do something that’s not up to his standards? I don’t feel like I know Elias well enough to know boundaries yet.

“Good. I, uh...”

At the sound of Elias sounding nervous, I glance up. “Is something wrong? Did I do something?”

“No,” he quickly says. “I feel like a jackass, but I’m not sure what’s the polite way to tell my nanny to give me my baby and sort of leave me alone until I have to leave.”

I laugh. “You say, ‘Raelynn, I’m about to leave for a few days and I’d really like to spend some time with my daughter before I go. Shoo, please.’” I stand, picking Bree up as I go, and hand her to him. “There you go. I’ll be in my room.”

Elias’s smile slowly disappears. “You don’t have to hole up in your room.”

“I don’t mind,” I say, meaning it. “Pretend I’m not even here.” I walk away before he can say anything else.

This is another thing I haven’t figured out yet. When and how to give him space. I live here, but I’m also an employee. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I don’t want him to feel like I’m constantly intruding on his space or on his time with his daughter, like I almost accidentally did just now. That’s one reason why the other night, when he texted me after a game, mentioning how the guys were going to a bar and he was debating going with them, I told him he should go. The kids were asleep. Why should he rush home? To keep me company? Ha.

I need to figure out a game plan to combat this. This, as in, a way to make sure he’s free to do as he wishes in his own home, and even out of it. I guess Jackson and I could always hang out in our rooms or outside when he’s home. We’d always be out of his way if we did that.

Despite my nerves and uncertainties, this job has been such a blessing. I’ve been able to do some schoolwork when I manage to snag some free time. Thankfully, Elias has internet, so I don’t have to go to the library to get my work done. I’ve been slowly working through earning a degree online. I’ve been lucky to receive grants through financial aid to pay for the expenses. I normally do my work when Elias has a game or once everyone has gone to bed.

I’ve been getting my baby fill, too. Every now and then, I’d wish I could find someone only to give Jackson a little brother or sister. He’s such a shy kid who sticks to himself. Maybe a sibling would help. I was an only child and I hope that one day I can give Jackson siblings. One day when I’m better off financially, which means it’ll be a long time before I can entertain the idea. Well, I’d need a man, too, but that’s not the point.

This is the only drawback to a job like this. I love babies. Jackson was a good baby. Then again, I was so in love with him, he could’ve cried twenty hours out of the day and I would have thought he was a good baby. Bree is also a good baby. She loves to interact and play. She naps during the day. She cries and makes a fuss when she wants something. She’s crawling up a storm and loves for us to walk around the house together. She’s adorable.

After awhile, Elias calls my name because it’s time for him to leave. He’s been great, too. It’s been sweet to watch him with Bree, but also because my second day here? When he was out getting a spare key made for me, he bought Jackson a nightlight. He refused to let me pay him back for it, but it was sweet that he decided to do that for Jackson.

As he hands Bree to me and I say, “Say bye bye to DaDa,” I see the nerves on his face for the first time. That’s not reassuring in the least, especially when Bree hiccups and whines a little, reaching for him. She knows what bye bye means. She also knows who DaDa is.

“Take care of my princess, please,” he says softly with his eyes on her.

“I promise I will.”

“If she says a coherent word that’s not DaDa, don’t tell me.” At that, I laugh and Elias looks at me. “Okay, tell me anyway.” He smiles easily and kisses her forehead once again. “I’ll see you soon. Call me if you need me.”

“Go,” I whisper. He’s wasting time unnecessarily. Elias nods and then he’s gone.

Bree and I play the day away until it’s time for her afternoon nap. She wakes up just in time for us to leave to pick Jackson up for school. Jackson has settled in okay; he’s taken a great interest in hockey all of a sudden. We watched a game on TV last night for the first time, but saw a player get hurt. Not so much fun. However, I’ve never seen Jackson take so much interest in something before. He keeps asking me about things, but I don’t know anything about the game.

“Momma, Bree is looking at me,” he says from the backseat on the way home. He hasn’t quite gotten used to her yet.

“She’s curious about you. Why don’t you talk to her? Or sing to her?”

Jackson decides to talk. He does so for a few minutes, but then asks, “Is Bree really a princess? She doesn’t look like a princess and Mr. EJ calls her princess.”

I smile and say, “She’s his princess. Like how you’re my baby.”

“So, she’s not really a princess?” he asks, not letting it go as I pull into the driveway.

“It doesn’t really matter.”

“Definitely not a princess,” he mutters. “Where’s Mr. EJ?” he asks once we’re inside and it’s clear we’re home alone.

“Mr. EJ is on a road trip. The team goes to other cities to play games.”

“Can we watch the games?” he asks hopefully.

“Maybe.”

Later that night, my phone vibrates with a video call from Elias. Before I answer, I pick Bree up from where she’s playing on the floor and say, “Want to talk to DaDa?” Her face lights up with a smile, and I’m pretty sure it’s only because I said DaDa. I swipe across on my phone and hold it away from us.

Bree is looking at me with her smile, patting my chest, until she hears Elias say, “There’s my princess.” Her head swivels toward the phone and she squeals.

Jackson leans over from next to me, his eyes filling the screen. “Hey, Mr. EJ.”

Elias laughs. “Hey, J-man. Did you have a good day at school?” My heart warms a little at him entertaining Jackson, even though he only called to see his little girl. It’s already sweet that he has a nickname for my son, too.

A foul smell tickles my nose as Jackson answers him. “Jackson, hold my phone for a second, and you don’t have to hold it so close to your face.” I peek into Bree’s diaper and find the source. “Talk to Mr. EJ. Elias, I’m changing her diaper real quick and then she’s all yours, I promise.”

“No rush,” he says.

Bree is pretty easy to change. She likes to play with her feet. As long as you talk or sing to her, she’s happy and lets me clean her up and change diapers rather quickly. Jackson has gone quiet on Elias by the time I return, leaving him to do all the talking. Sometimes, he talks to him just fine. Others? He reverts to being shy.

“Thanks, baby,” I say, kissing the top of his head. Jackson doesn’t waste a second saying goodbye to Elias and handing the phone back to me. “No coherent words so far,” I tell him, causing him to smile.

“Good. How’d today go?”

“Just like every other day,” I speak over Bree who wants to talk just as much in her gibberish. Elias doesn’t seem to know who to focus on: me or her. I decide to be quiet and let her talk, making sure I smile and laugh when she seems to want a reaction.

“She really likes you,” he says quietly, bringing my gaze back to my phone. “She cried a little when you left the room today; that was when I knew. She doesn’t do that for just anyone.”

I can’t tell if he’s happy about this or not, so I’m not sure what I should say. “I really like her, too,” is what I settle on.

He talks to her for a little bit before it’s time for me to lay her down for the night. He doesn’t hang up, though. Oh, no. I have to take her upstairs, place her in her crib, and then let Elias say goodnight. She cries as I walk out of the room and Elias frowns.

“I always hate when she does that, even though I know she’ll stop within a minute or so. It took my mom a long time to convince me not to stay by her side all night.”

“It’s nice that you had a good support system to help you learn the ropes.” It took forever to become semi-confident in my actions as Jackson’s parent because I was so young and didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. A question seems to be on the tip of Elias’s tongue, but I don’t want to talk about me or my past. “I’ll let you go. I need to get Jackson ready to wind down for the night as well and tidy up the house.”

Elias nods and says goodnight, hanging up a moment later. I take a deep breath and peer into Bree’s room. She’s still lying down. I’ve caught her standing up a few times after I’ve walked out. I’ll check on her later to see if she’s asleep.

~ ~ ~

The next day, Jackson watches cartoons while Bree sits on my hip. She’s been a bit fussy, so I’ve been dancing around the house with her, singing, much to Jackson’s annoyance. Bree has loved it, though. There’s a knock on the door and I freeze, mid-step. I should have no guests with Elias gone. What if it’s her mother? I still don’t know if she may pop up at some point. Damn it, I should’ve asked Elias!

With a deep breath, I slowly walk over to the door and open it. My eyes nearly pop out of my head. Never thought it would be this guy. “Brayden, right?” The man from the quilt shop. Elias told me his name is Brayden. He’s one of his teammates and Deanna is his girlfriend.

“Yeah. Sorry to drop by like this, but I needed to get out of the house. Can I hang here for a while?”

“Um.” Why on earth would he want to do that? Why is he even here? Then, it hits me. He was the guy who was injured in the game Jackson and I watched. I glance over my shoulder at Jackson, who watches with interest with his chin resting on the top of the back of the couch. This guy was nice to me. He’s friends with Elias. “Sure,” I say, not totally confident in this answer.

“You can say no, you know. I just wanted to see Bree, but if you’re not comfortable or whatever...”

“No, that’s okay. Come in.” I won’t take it back now. I step aside and Brayden doesn’t give me a chance to change my mind again.

“Hey, Jackson,” he says as I close the door.

He knows my son’s name? Jackson looks as surprised as I feel. Elias probably told him.

“This is Mr. Brayden, Jackson. He’s friends with Mr. EJ.” Jackson, my shy, shy boy. He turns around and focuses on the TV. “Sorry. He’s shy around new people.” That’s what I always say. “Did you want to hold her?”

“Yes, please.” He holds his hands out for Bree and I let him take her, watching as he walks into the living room as if he’s been here before.

For a moment, I worry if this is the right decision. Would Elias want him over here while he’s not here? Would he want him to play with Bree? Does Elias know he’s here? But then, I remind myself that this guy helped me get this job, so Elias has to trust him.

“Do you mind if I catch up on some chores?” Might as well take advantage of the unexpected babysitter.

“No, go ahead,” he says. “I’ll find you if we need anything.”

“Thanks.” I glance down at Jackson. “I’ll be in the kitchen, baby.” He doesn’t look up at me. “Mr. Brayden plays hockey with Mr. EJ, so you’ll be fine,” I add, hoping that relaxes him. He finally glances at Brayden when I say that.

Feeling better about things, I leave the three of them to clean up the house. I scrub and clean the kitchen until it’s sparkling before I return the living room to check on my guest.

“How is it going in here?” I ask.

“Is there a place I can lie down for a minute?”

He wants to lie down? I nod, hoping I didn’t look too surprised. Brayden and Bree are behind me as we walk upstairs. “You can lie in here if you want,” I say as he lays Bree down in her crib. “But if you’d rather have a bigger bed, you can have your pick of Elias’s or Jackson’s, I guess.” I’m certainly not offering mine, even if he does seem nice enough.

Brayden seems confused for a moment, which worries me, but then he says, “I’ll lie in here. I’ll be out of here soon.”

“Let me know if you need anything.”

The moment he nods, I leave the room, pulling the door until it’s almost closed. I could use a break for a while, so I go sit with Jackson. He and Brayden apparently talked about hockey. Jackson shows me what he’s learned, which is mostly what the referee’s signals mean.

He, of course, wants to watch the hockey game tonight and I don’t think I can deny him. He won’t be able to stay up for all of it, but he can watch some of it. The game comes on and I keep glancing at the clock. Where is Brayden? It’s getting kind of late. I wait and I wait, but when eight thirty rolls around, I walk upstairs.

He’s lying on the bed with a pillow over his head. Oh, man. I have to wake him up. He probably wants to go home. With a deep breath, I shake his shoulder. “Brayden? Brayden?” He lifts the pillow and winces immediately. “I’m sorry to wake you, but it’s getting kind of late and I thought you might want to wake up.”

“What time is it?” he grumbles.

“Eight thirty.”

“I’m sorry.”

He rubs his forehead before standing and sighing. When he has to blindly reach out for the wall to steady himself, I worry about what happens if I have to support him. This is a big, tall man. I am not even average height for a woman. He’d probably crush me if I had to help him down the stairs. He’d lose his footing and then we’d fall and I’d die either from the fall or him landing on me.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

“Yeah.” He pats his pockets and then pulls out a phone. “I’m going to make a phone call.”

He seems to be fine. Bree stands in her crib, so I pick her up to take her with me downstairs. She’s not used to people in and out of her room and talking, or to going to sleep as early as she did. Tonight will be a long one with her; I just have a feeling.

I reclaim my seat next to Jackson on the couch and Bree pulls on my hair. It’s her favorite thing to do. She doesn’t really pull too hard. She likes to tug while her fingers try to make knots form in my hair.

Brayden’s footsteps are heavy down the stairs. “Someone’s coming to pick me up,” he says. I nod as he takes a seat in the chair, looking absolutely miserable. He leaves with a quick thanks and a see you later once he sees his ride is here.

With him gone, I focus on getting Bree back to bed. With Elias gone for a few days and Jackson out of school until next Monday due to Thanksgiving, my plan is to take him shopping. He’s in desperate need of new clothes and now, I have some money to buy him some. It’ll be interesting to shop with both him and Bree, but I’m sure I’ll manage just fine.

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Back to Me is FREE!

Back to Me Free.jpg

Hey, y'all! Guess what?! You can now start the Carolina Rebels series for free! That's because Back to Me doesn't cost even one penny right now! So, go, go, go and download your copy!

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Noah Ramsey has a great hockey career, a wonderful family, and a good best friend, but what he wants most is to be with the love of his life who walked away from him years ago. When he finds her at the airport, he realizes she's changed, and she's struggling with things she doesn't want to tell him about. Noah also realizes just how much she scarred him when she left.

Meredith Quick always plans everything out. She chose her tennis career over love in order to better succeed, but her plan dissolves when an injury threatens her career and her fiancé leaves her. Struggling through pain and the uncertainty of her future, she realizes her first misstep was walking away from Noah. She impulsively decides to go back to him while she attempts to put her life back together.

Reacquainting isn't easy when Noah doesn't quite trust Meredith to stay and Meredith struggles with overcoming the pain she's endured without him. Can they work through their issues and move forward, or will their past ruin things between them forever?

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

WIP Progress Report

WIP Progress Report.jpg

- Title: Untitled
- Genre: Hockey Romance
- Word Count/Goal: 49,409/80,000
- Release Date: Spring 2018
- Series? Carolina Rebels 

It's been a LONG time since I posted my last WIP progress report, which was back in mid-June. I've been slacking, and I apologize.

There is a lot to catch up on, but I'll start with my current WIP. 

So, Scott & Sylvia's An Unexpected Life released last month. Brayden's book, Attached to You, releases next month. We've already met Rebels Noah, Marc, and Ian as well.

Up next and the Rebel starring in this WIP?

EJ!

His story has been flowing so smoothly! I can't wait to get this first draft done. I've had his story in my head for a very long time and it feels so good to finally write it. I can't wait to share it with you next year!

Now that you're all caught up on my current project, let me catch you up on my others.

Other Projects:
The first book in my New Adult Romance series, Hearts in Carolina, goes to edits and gets a cover soon! More details to come. (If you liked Logan from It's Our Time, then you'll be excited about this book!)

- As soon as my secret project (a newsletter exclusive) is ready, it'll be shared with my newsletter subscribers

- As I mentioned above, the next Carolina Rebels book, Attached to You, releases October 19, 2017.

Angels & Sirens Author Event Recap!

Wow. This past weekend was awesome! I'm going to start from the beginning. 

Friday, Mom and I headed to Raleigh because we were flying out of there this time. Our plane was smaller. There were two seats on one side and one seat on the other. The bad part comes when our seats were located on the very last aisle! It seemed bumpier, my ears popped more, it was louder, and I had a touch of motion sickness by the time we landed. I'm hoping I don't have to sit there again. It wasn't that fun.

We had a little time to relax once we checked into the hotel and then we were meeting up with authors Lisa B. Kamps, Samantha Wayland, Stephanie Kay, V.L. Locey, Melody Heck Gatto, Jaymee Jacobs, and a few readers to attend the Penguins/Lightning game. That was an absolute blast! Plus, it was a PengWIN! A get-together like that is something I definitely want to do again.

Saturday was the signing. It was great and it's always nice to meet readers! Thanks to everyone who came!! I also received a really cool bottle from the event organizers and on it is the first page of Back to Me. I love it so much! (There's a picture of it below.) The signing was held in a room at a casino, which was next to a racetrack for horses. We were able to see some horses running around when we took our group photo, so that was really cool since it was a first for me.

Afterward, there was a dinner and a mix and mingle. I got to hang out with the group from the game again and that was a blast. I haven't laughed so much in a long time! I really hope we can all get together again. It was too fun not to!

Friday, we flew home. I have to share one photo from that (it's the last one), which I took from the plane. We actually flew over our hotel. You can see the racetrack in the photo and the skinny white building on the left side is the hotel! How cool?! 

That's my recap! It was a fun event, made better by great readers and fellow authors. I can't wait until the next signing I attend (which is in Raleigh in August)!

WIP Progress Report (#13)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my current WIP, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

- Title: Untitled
- Genre: Hockey Romance
- Word Count/Goal: 7,710/?
- Release Date: Tentatively sometime in 2017
- Series? #3 in the Carolina Rebels series, but it's a novella.

It's been forever (since August) since I've done a progress report! It's about time y'all get the news on the latest WIP, right?! Well, I've set aside Because It's You for the moment while my betas have it and I've started on the next leg of the Carolina Rebels series. After Marc comes Ian Rhett. 

Ian Rhett will be getting a prequel novella, which is what I'm working on now. His story starts long before where his novel will start, hence the reason he's getting a prequel. You can see that I also put a question mark for my word count goal because I'm not too sure how long I want it to be yet, so I'm just going to see where it ends up.

It's fun so far! I'm in love with this series; I was initially going to break to work on a standalone, but the words are flowing, so I'm going to keep going! That's really all I have for this go round. I just wanted to give a quick update. Plus, I have to go study for a test I have to take later today.

Other Projects:
- I'll start planning a secret mini project this week or next week as well.
- As I said earlier, Because It's You is currently with my betas.

Carolina Rebels News!

First of all, thank y'all for a fantastic release of Back to Me! I've said it before, and I'll said it again: I didn't think it was possible for me to be even more excited for a series than I already was, but I am! All thanks to seeing your excitement match mine! So, thank you!

Now, let's move on to the news! If you're a member of my Facebook group, Lindsay's League, then you've already seen the beautiful cover for the next Carolina Rebels book, but that's not only one thing I'm sharing today. 

The second book is Because It's You and it will release February 20, 2017 (my birthday)! If you've read Back to Me, then you know it's about Marc Polinski. If you haven't read Back to Me, then get a glance at the cover and don't read any further as the blurb can be a bit spoiler-y, I think. So, you've been warned.

Marc Polinski is known for having fun, always smiling, and being a third wheel for his friends, Noah and Meredith. A rare one night stand at a Halloween party and running into the woman again sets Marc on a path of no return. He can’t walk away from her, even if he wanted to, and he absolutely doesn’t want to do that.

Elizabeth Boyd hasn’t dated in a long time and if it wasn’t for her sister-in-law, she wouldn’t have been pushed toward the seemingly bad idea of Marc Polinski. She’s not sure she wants to date, but she can’t seem to turn Marc down either. Little by little, she lets Marc wiggle past all of her defenses.

Their relationship is rocky from the start, and with both of them having demons and secrets, things between them are a struggle. Will they be able to overcome their pasts, let each other in, and start building a life together or will they find they were doomed from the start?

Get it on iBooks | Nook | Kobo

(Amazon link will be available in late November or so.)

WIP Progress Report (#12)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my current WIP, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

- Title: Untitled
- Genre: Hockey Romance
- Word Count/Goal: 34,971/80,000
- Release Date: Tentatively, early 2017
- Series? Book 2 in the Carolina Rebels series.

This is sort of a double update. First, let's tackle the first book in the Carolina Rebels series, which will release October 4th, has a cover, and is currently available for preorder. Back to Me is officially D-O-N-E with revisions. It's about to lace up its skates and head off to the editor. :D I finished just in time since school starts Monday. I also recently finished picking out the teasers for the book, so next, I'll be putting those together as well as ordering bookmarks for the series.

Second, I've been working on the next book in the series, and I'm in LOVE. There's just something special about this book and these characters. I've laughed, I've cried, I've wanted to hug them both. It's been fun to write so far. I'm cruising right along and right on schedule, which is a relief! 

I'm so excited about this series and I can't wait for y'all to be introduced to the team in October. This new series is going to be so much fun!

Other Projects:

Making Me Sane is gearing up for release on September 7th! Don't miss out on the anticipated sequel to Driving Me Mad. Sign up for my newsletter so you'll be able to read the first five chapters on September 1st!

WIP Progress Report (#10)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my current WIP, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

 

Title: 

Making Me Sane (Sanity, #2)

- Genre:

 New Adult Romance w/ Anxiety/Depression 

- Release Date:

 Tentatively, the summer of 2016

- Series? 

Will be book 2 of 2.

Y'all. This book is DONE. Well, the first draft is complete. I've been working so hard this past week to finish this book on time, and I've finished a few days early! I'm so excited about all the things that happen to Brittany and Trace in this book. I can't wait to share this couple with you. I just love them so much!

I've updated the word count box on the left and noted my new primary WIP! My next WIP is Noah and Meredith's book, the first in my upcoming hockey romance series featuring players on the Carolina Rebels team. I'm super excited about that series. I'll be start it as soon as I get back from my Alaskan cruise. It's going to be so nice to have a break before more work starts. I'm leaving my computer at home. I'll be without my phone and internet and it should be great! The only electronic device I'll be using is my Kindle, which is really for the traveling to and from Seattle, where we're actually leaving from.

I just had to make a post about finishing this book. Next step is to send it to my betas before revisions, edits, and formatting. I'm hoping to release it shortly after 

Driving Me Mad

 releases on July 6th, so y'all don't have to wait too long to see what happens next. :)

Other Projects:

Mary and I will be spending the next few months getting the final three books in

The Ninth Inning series

ready for release.

That's all for now. Happy reading!

2015 Recap

Well, today is the last day of the year, and what a year it's been! I'm going to jump right in and start with a breakdown of the year.

Books Released: 9 (2 solos; 7 coauthored)

Places I Went: Pittsburgh, Charlotte, St. Louis, Las Vegas, & Huntington.

Personal Highlights: Turned 21; saw my Penguins play in Pittsburgh for the first time; Upgraded my car; saw Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett in concert; went to a few hockey games in Raleigh; made plans to see all the NHL teams play a home game and marked two off the list (Pittsburgh and Carolina); & celebrated four years writing, Bartley's fourth birthday, and one year of living on my own!

Bookish Highlights: I read 112 books, and my goal was 100. I should probably deem 2015 the Year of Catherine Gayle and biker books, as I read all of the books in Catherine Gayle's Portland Storm series and got hooked on books with bikers. Also, I did 7 Paperback Picks out of 11 months. Hopefully, I'll do better next year.

It's been a really great year. December made it tough and pushed all my buttons, so I'm thankful it's over. I have a feeling 2016 will be amazing, and I can't wait to see what the new year brings. Tomorrow, I'll share some plans and goals for 2016!

WIP Progress Report (#5)

To recap, these "progress reports" are basically a way for y'all to know a little more about what I'm working on and to be able to follow along with the process. The main update will be on my solos, but at the end, there will be quick updates on other projects. 

Before I get started, you should take a quick look to your left! I've added WIP Word Count section. It's just a little way to get a quick strictly numerical update on WIPs. It's updated every chapter pretty much.

So, based on that, you see that I have two WIPs listed: Brittany & Trace's and Noah & Meredith's. I ended up having to set Noah and Meredith aside while I figured some things out and ended up reshuffling my WIP To-Do list. 

Therefore, my main priority is now to write Brittany and Trace's books and then Noah & Meredith's. I'll work on them here and there, of course, but they aren't #1 right now. Let's talk about who is!

- Untitled.
- Genre: New Adult Romance 
- Word Count/Goal: 17,772/80,000
- Release Date: Tentatively, the summer of 2016
- Series? Will be book 1 of 2.
- First Sentence: My stomach heaves, the retched sound of vomit falling into the toilet echoes in the air as my hands grip the seat.

Nice start, huh? What better way to start a book than with the main character throwing up? Haha!

Anyway, I think this WIP will excite fans of Nepenthe. Not because of any characters are crossing over, but because of topic. These two characters both deal with anxiety and/or depression. With Nepenthe, only one person suffered. I wanted to have both of them in the same boat.

I want to write about how they'll deal with it differently. This book, in comparison to Nepenthe, shows more of the physical affects, hence how the book starts. These are the kinds of books that I love to write more than anything, so I'm really happy to bring Brittany and Trace to you for two books.

Another thing that has me excited is the dynamic of the two. Trace is older, divorced, and more settled in life than she is. Brittany is trying to survive her last semester of college. And Trace was Brittany's therapist before she left for college.

A lot of different little and big things are going on in this book. That's all I have for now though! Just wanted to give an update.

Other projects:
Mary and I are cracking down on the rest of The Ninth Inning series and making beautiful progress!

Without a Doubt releases this month on the 18th! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

Bending Under Pressure, Haley & Keelan's book, will release February 20, 2016. Check out the details here.

Four Year Anniversary & a Giveaway!

October is a huge month for me and I have a lot to be excited about. So why is October so great?

Well, there's hockey season. Enough said, right?

October marks my one year anniversary of moving into a place of my own. That's exciting and I'm so proud of myself for doing great this past year and growing up just a bit more.

However, there are two more big things about October.

While I didn't get Bartley until January of 2012, he was born October 15, 2011. My adorable little dog will turn four this year. It's such an awesome coincidence that October 15, 2011 is also when my very first book, Sweetness, released. So, not only is Bartley turning four, but my four year anniversary of this amazing adventure happens at the same time.

21 books later and I still can't believe I've been doing this for four years. Like how? This is insane. Four years seems like such a long time, but times has flown by, so it doesn't feel likes it's been a whopping four years since I started.

It's mind boggling, but amazing. I feel like I've come a long way and have made some great friends along the way.

Everything I have, everything I'm able to do, is all because I have wonderful readers who support me.  Thank you so, so, so, so much from the bottom of my heart. I hope y'all will stick with me for another four years.

I could go on and on about how grateful I am, but instead, I'll end things here. Here's a giveaway to celebrate, so be sure to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

All about the Penalty Kill!

 

This week is all about the Penalty Kill trilogy I wrote with Mary Smith. It was our first series together and we had a blast writing them. It's hard to believe that with our anniversary this year, we've only been writing together for two years. Two years and eight books. It's crazy talk!

Anyway, we loved these characters and still think about them from time to time. I'll be posting more this week (either here or on Facebook) about this trilogy, so stay tuned!

Levi Carr is captain of the Roxboro University Lions hockey team. His rival is James Wayne University and their captain, Trevor McCarthy. After an incident in high school and his mother’s death, Levi does whatever he can to make McCarthy’s life a little harder. When leaving the rivaling campus one night, Levi meets one person who can unknowingly help him mess with McCarthy. 
My one job in this is to mess with McCarthy’s head and all it has done is mess with mine.  
Presley McCarthy lives in the shadow of her twin brother, Trevor. After being separated when their parents divorced, all Presley heard about was Levi Carr being a bully to Trevor. Now in college, Presley is trying to be her own person, but when she meets Levi Carr, it all changes. But will the changes be good or bad? 
He is nothing like my brother described. Maybe I’ve been wrong all along.

You can follow this link to learn more about each individual book. Be sure to add the trilogy on Goodreads, too. Plus, Breakaway is free! If you haven't snagged it, I have no clue what you're waiting for! You can check out the series on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, or Smashwords.

And, here's a giveaway! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another Hockey-Related Commercial

The first commercial I posted on the blog when I decided to post a funny one every week was a hockey commercial. It's my all time favorite, but I've found another. I shared it on Facebook last month, but I had to share again.

I've been watching most of the Carolina Hurricanes games on TV with the BFF. That's her team and pretty much all of their games are aired here. So I watch them with her. Plus, I like saying Khudobin. (He's one of their goalies.)

Anyway, this is an adorable little commercial that all hockey fans can appreciate.



My favorite line is, "We will try not to fight." What are some hockey commercials that you love? They don't have to be funny, just a good one! Share in the comments.

Commercials at Their Best

If you follow me on social media, then you know that I love some funny commercials. I have even shared some that I don't like. Anyway, I thought I would share a commercial every week, usually a funny one, and hopefully, everyone can laugh at least once every Friday.

This one is a little old, but makes me laugh every time I see it or think about it. My favorite part is when the guy goes, "Loser! Loser! Best baby in the world!" Enjoy!



Do you like this new feature? Too soon to tell yet? Tell me your thoughts!

Updates All Around!

The past few weeks, I've only posted Monday's Book Spotlight. It's about time to give an update post. There are lots of things to talk about! Let's get this show on the road, shall we?

Writing-wise, things are up and down. I've been bouncing between four solo projects and my co-authored projects as well. You can see the update for the latter here. (Psst. My co-author, Mary Smith, just had her first solo book released. Go check out Melting Away the Ice on Amazon!) Either I'm writing like crazy in one or I'm switching from one to another, or I'm not writing at all. For the most part, progress is being made.

A good chunk of book five has been written and if I pick up my pace, just a little, I can release it in the month I have planned. It's still my top priority and hopefully, I can share some snippets of it with you soon.

As of yesterday, I hit the one month mark since school started. I survived the first month and I plan on making it through the next month. Things with school have been going really well. I have my schedule set up in a way that taking seven classes isn't too overwhelming. My schedule will soon be tweaked again because I now have a job. I'm feeling really good about things though. To have had only one panic attack so far is a feat in itself and I'm certain that things are only going to get better.

The last update isn't really an update, but who cares? Hockey season will be starting soon and I will be going to two games next month. One to see the Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes and then to see my Penguins vs. Hurricanes. I am so excited about this! It's going to be awesome, as always.

Okay. There you have it. Have an amazing weekend, y'all!

Go Penguins! My favorite photos from last night's game

What a great game! I can't wait for the next opportunity to go. The atmosphere is one that just sticks with you and makes you crave it. By the looks of it, there were just as many, if not a bit more, Penguins fans than Canes fans. That's a great sight! I'm thrilled that I was there to support them. :) Here are a couple of photos from last night's game. Enjoy! 
Just stretching ;)



I love to watch them stretch! 

A little pre-game picture!

Fleury

Canes fan with a pretty neat shirt!


A fight

2 Canes and 3 Pens in time out!