Tag: Donna Alward

Blog Tour: Somebody Like You by Donna Alward

Posted February 8, 2017 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 2 Comments

Somebody Like You by Donna Alward
Series: Darling, VT #1
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

A kiss to last a lifetime

Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.

Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?

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Excerpt

By the time they were through, it was nine o’clock and time to open. Being a Saturday, business was brisk. Her dad dropped off the supplies and offered to stay to help cover the tagging, but with the heavy shopping traffic, Laurel decided to wait until things died down. For now the tarps covered the tags, and she’d focus on her customers. Otherwise her anger would get the best of her and that was bad for business. By six p.m., things had slowed considerably.

Laurel had been going flat out for ten hours, stopping for only fifteen minutes to run to The Purple Pig for a sandwich. Her stomach growled, her feet hurt, there was dirt beneath her nails and she really, really wanted a shower and a glass of wine—in that order. Laurel had just dragged out the hose to water the fruit trees when a half- ton truck drove into the lot and parked in an empty space.

The driver hopped out, and her heart slammed against her ribs as she immediately realized how she must look. Dirty jeans, mannish golf shirt that did nothing for her figure, scrubby ponytail through a Ladybug Garden Center ball cap, and probably smudges of dirt on her face and arms. Not that she was trying to look nice for Aiden or anything, but it was him getting out of the truck, looking sexy as hell in faded jeans and a T- shirt that stretched across his chest and shoulders.

She could pretend she hadn’t seen him. Resolutely she turned on the hose and started watering the apple trees.

“Hey, Laurel,” he called out, and that erased any hope of avoiding him.

She turned off the hose and faced him. “Aiden. What brings you by? Looking for a shrub or tree or something?”

Keep it businesslike, she reminded herself. The last thing she needed was for him to know that he had the ability to fluster her.

“I heard about what happened.”

Of course he had.

“Don’t even. I’m still pissed.”

“I know it’s not what you needed. Did Crystal tell you that you weren’t the only one hit?”

Crystal must be the offi cer from this morning. “She did.”

“Well, that must make you feel better.”

She stared at him. “Better? Seriously? Since I opened a month ago, I’ve had to have the driveway re- graded, I’ve had to replace shrubs that were stolen from out front, deal with a break-in and vandalism, and now tagging. Trust me, Aiden, the only thing that would feel better is if you actually did your job and found out who was doing this.”

She turned the hose back on.

He waited. He waited a long time. Several seconds, maybe thirty. Which was really not that long at all but definitely felt that way. She was watering the third tree when he sighed. “ You’re upset.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

He met her gaze, and his eyes were soft, even though she’d basically just accused him of not doing his job. The understanding she saw there made her stomach churn. She didn’t want to lash out, but that was what she did when she was hurt. Angry.

Stopping by was kind and thoughtful. She kept trying to make him out to be a bad guy, and he kept being nice. It definitely made it difficult for her to hate him. Particularly since her biochemistry betrayed her at every turn. Even now, when she was utterly preoccupied with the day’s events, she seemed to notice everything. His hair, his eyes, the breadth of his chest, the armband tattoo that looked like some sort of Celtic braid, peeking just below the hem of his T- shirt sleeve. The shape of his lips . . .
He muttered something that was as creative a curse as she’d ever heard, and sounded suspiciously Irish. She couldn’t help but laugh, and tried to clamp her lips shut again. But not before he saw and heard, and his eyes took on an impish gleam.

“You’re not fine. You’re tired and upset and rightfully so. You’re also just as stubborn as you always were.” He put his hands on his hips. “I take it you’re not adverse to help, just help from me in particular.”

Her face heated. Dammit.

“Maybe this could be my penance,” he suggested, giving her a quick grin. And she wished she could take him seriously, but he always seemed to be teasing. It was one of the things she’d really liked about him and hated at the same time. Particularly now, when she wanted to be, if not mad, completely unaffected. And she wasn’t. He was trying to cajole her out of her mood and it was working.

“It’s Saturday night. Don’t you have a hot date or something?” She turned on the hose again. Focused on the large plastic pot holding a cherry tree.

“Nope. Free as a bird.”

Dammit again.

“Come on, Laurel. Peace offering. Manual labor for you to stop hating me.”

She glanced over at him. “Why do you care so much?”

He was quiet for a moment, and to her surprise the teasing expression left his face. After a while he answered, his voice a little lower. “I don’t know why I care what people think so much. I always have. I don’t like anyone to be mad at me. Maybe it has something with being one of the younger siblings in the family. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t like it that you’re still so angry.” His intense blue gaze locked with hers. “It’s starting to become a personal mission to win you over. To atone for past sins.”

“Good luck,” she said dryly, more touched than she wanted to admit.

His boyish grin was back. “Come on, Laurel. You know you can’t hold out forever. You think I’m hot.” He had the audacity to wink at her.

She rolled her eyes.

“You do. You have a thing for gingers. And you have to admit, I grew up kinda good.” His hands were still on his hips and he tensed his muscles so that his shoulders and chest tightened beneath the thin T- shirt.

“I think you’re a bit taken with yourself, to be honest,” she replied. And tried not to smile. She didn’t want to be charmed, but he was incorrigible.

“Laurel.”

Damn, his voice was all silky- smooth now. “Yes, Mr. Narcissist?”

“You know damn well you want to hate me and you can’t. Besides, I saw your face just now. Maybe if I took off my shirt . . .”

“Would you like to go somewhere private to be with yourself?” she asked, biting the inside of her lip. She shouldn’t be enjoying this so much. And she wouldn’t be, if she thought he was serious. But he was teasing her.

Like he used to do when they were friends. And today . . . she swallowed against a ball of emotion. Today she needed a friend, and all she’d had were well- meaning customers.

She looked over at him. “Jeez, Aiden. You’re looking a little flushed. I think you could stand to cool off.” And before he could reply, she flicked her wrist and aimed the spray of the hose right at the center of his chest.

The abrupt shock on his face was gratifi cation enough, but then he grinned and reached to take away the hose. She danced away, still spraying him, admiring how the shirt now clung to his skin and the little droplets lit up his face and hair. A laugh bubbled up through her chest and out her mouth as she darted around the trees, dragging the hose with her. But there were too many pots and not enough room to maneuver and within seconds he caught her, wrapped one strong arm around her and wrenched the hose away with the other, spraying her in the process.

Cold water dripped from her nose, down her neck, over her bare arms. Aiden held her close against his body, close enough she could feel the hardness of his muscles, and thrilled at it. Their breaths came fast, their chests rising and falling with both laughter and the exertion of the struggle over the hose. But it was the way he was looking down at her right now that made her feel as if the lack of air was strangling her lungs. All it would take was the tiniest move and he’d be kissing her. Her gaze dropped to his lips— he’d always had fine lips— and she swallowed, nervous and scared at her reaction and turned on as hell.

She looked up, which was a mistake. Because he was staring at her lips. And his arm tightened just a little bit at the hollow of her back. Oh God . . .

A car horn honked and Laurel jumped back. He let her go, but the gravity of the moment remained.

Copyright © 2017 by Donna Alward and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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About the Author

Donna Alward

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While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.

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DFRAT: Going Digital First with Donna Alward + a Giveaway

Posted June 9, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 7 Comments

I sold my very first book to Samhain back in 2006, and sold a second shortly after. It was a whole new experience for me, and sort of for Samhain too as they were just getting off the ground. A few months later I sold to Harlequin, and with kids and deadlines being what they were, I was kept quite busy for a few years. I adjusted to dealing with “the biz”, worked on building my readership and establishing my brand.
A few years ago I found myself with a manuscript that I wasn’t sure what to do with. It didn’t fit into my normal publishing schedule, yet I really liked it and had enjoyed writing it. When I considered what to do with it, I contacted Samhain again and asked if they’d be interested. They were. They published it, and another work, and right now we’re putting the finishing touches on the last 2 novellas in my First Responders series.
So why did I choose to go digital first?
A good part of it was wanting a chance to expand my readership to perhaps a new demographic. With Samhain, I could write something slightly different than I normally do, and yet still deliver the same kind of warm, emotional read upon which I’ve built my brand. I had FUN – the editing process is quite different from my other house and I learn a lot from both methods. I also had some freedom with word count – I’ve really enjoyed writing the slightly shorter novellas in the First Responders series! 
With the growing e-book market, I knew it would give me visibility to digital first READERS. New readers who might just go looking for whatever else I’ve published. It gives me that little bit of diversification that hopefully lets me reach new people.
And I do love that Samhain also has a print program, because that way my books are still available for readers who still prefer paper over reading electronically.
I’m giving away a copy of the first book in my FIRST RESPONDERS series today – OFF THE CLOCK. Look for IN THE LINE OF DUTY coming in August, and INTO THE FIRE in November!

Giveaway: 1 lucky winner will get a digital copy of Off the Clock.  Leave a comment along with your email address on this post no later than 7:00pm on June 14th to enter to win.

The last thing she needs is a hero…
Paramedic Gabe Brennan’s job is saving lives. When he witnesses an accident and rushes in to help, the victim brings back memories of the night that marked him forever. The night he almost couldn’t save his best friend, Brandon. Brandon’s sister is in the car. She’s pregnant. And his longing for her is just as sharp as ever.

Carly’s never been so glad to see a friendly face. Gabe’s gallant rescue—and the gentle kiss he bestows upon her at the hospital—resurrect feelings she buried long ago. Having just closed the book on a crumbling marriage, she’s not too keen on opening herself up to hurt again. Not even for the one man who’s always seemed to be there when she needed him most. 
Gabe knows he shouldn’t be falling for Carly, especially since she insists she’s off the market. But the chemistry still simmering between them after all these years is no accident. Now all he has to do is convince her she belongs in the empty space he’s always held open for her. The one next to his heart…
Caution: Contents—and paramedic hero—may be too hot to handle! 

Click here to learn more about Donna.

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Review: How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward

Posted October 21, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly‘s review of How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward.

Clay Gregory’s known Megan Briggs her whole life, and he’s been plenty worried about her while she’s been getting medical treatment. Now she’s back home and hiding away on the family ranch.
Knowing the stubborn cowgirl won’t accept his help willingly, he invites her to a family wedding to help him avoid his aunt’s matchmaking!
He plans to remind Meg she’s still the girl who can beat him in a horse race! But as she steps out in her curve-hugging red dress, her skills on a horse are suddenly the furthest thing from his mind….

Don’t let the title and cover fool you, this isn’t a light piece of fluff. There’s quite a bit of emotional depth in these pages.

Megan and Clay have been friends for a long time. Meg has been away going through chemo and radiation for breast cancer. Before she left, she and Clay said some harsh words to each other. Now that she’s back and in remission, she wants to mend fences but isn’t sure how.

Clay lost his father to cancer, and in a way, his mother as well (she abandoned them because she couldn’t handle his father’s illness). When Meg tells him she has cancer Clay knows he isn’t strong enough to be there for her. He says some harsh things that he can’t take back..but he wants to make it up to her.

Surprisingly, while they’re trying to mend their friendship they realize there’s more between them. But they’re both afraid to move forward with their relationship. Meg doesn’t trust that Clay will stick around for the long haul..and frankly neither does Clay. He doesn’t want to lose another person he cares about.

Meg and Clay are just two big balls of issues. Meg is dealing with the scars from her fight with cancer – both the physical and emotional ones. She’s determined to live her life to the fullest, and yet at the same time she’s scared. Scared that next time she might not make it. She’s also scared that Clay won’t be the man she needs him to be. She needs someone she can rely on. Someone she can count on to be there in case the worst happens and her cancer comes back.

Clay has lost enough people in his life. He doesn’t want to take the chance that he’ll end up having his heart broken. Instead, he pushes Meg away, thinking they’ll both be better off. But as time goes on he comes to realize he wants Meg in his life – even if that means risking his a broken heart. The problem will be convincing Meg he’s the man for her.

Although there were some very touching scenes in this book and many emotional pitfalls, I had frustrations with both Meg and Clay. They kept saying harsh things to each other and pulling back at the slightest hint of deeper feelings. While I understood this in the beginning, as the novel progressed I found myself losing patience with them.

3 out of 5.

This book is available from Harlequin Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Her Lone Cowboy by Donna Alward

Posted April 8, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments


Holly‘s review of Her Lone Cowboy (Larch Valley, Book 2) by Donna Alward

“Grouchy Noah was a challenge, but a Noah who started to trust Lily was far more difficult to handle…”

Noah Laramie has come back home to run Lazy L Ranch. Injured and now out of the army, he wants to shut himself off from the world.

Lily Germaine is just there to help him, but loner Noah is the most stubborn-as-a-mule man she’s ever met. Losing an arm doesn’t mean he has to lose sight of who he is. His courage, strength and loyalty make him one in a million. She just needs to convince him of that….

This is the second book in Alward’s Larch Valley duet. I enjoyed the first one, though the end did leave me feeling a little unsettled, and I have to say it was the same for this one.

Noah was injured while at war – he’s a Captain in the Army – and Lily, who is best friend to Noah’s sister-in-law – agrees to help him out a bit until he gets more settled. Noah is frustrated by his new circumstances and not sure how to deal with them. Having Lily around isn’t helping much either. She only serves to remind him that he isn’t whole and therefore not fit for someone like her. Lily was hurt in the past and is terrified of commitment. She’s willing to help Noah only because she knows he won’t be around permanently.

I really liked both Noah and Lily. Lily was practical and fun loving, the perfect antithesis for Noah’s dark broodiness. He’s having trouble adjusting to life after his injury and Lily is really good at pulling him out of his shell. Noah really gave Lily something to focus on, and I loved that they formed a friendship. As they came to trust each other their relationship really blossomed.

I really enjoyed this story, right up until the end. Then I was frustrated with Lily for pushing Noah away. But at the end of it, I couldn’t really blame her for having done so. Neither of them really gave all they could to the relationship, and therefore neither was solely responsible for the way things turned out. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’m still trying to decide my overall feelings.

I also think Noah’s injury and the emotional trauma he suffered could have been explored farther. It was hinted at that he had unresolved issues, but they were never full addressed.

For the most part this was a sweet story with strong emotional pull on both sides.

3.75 out of 5

The series:

Book CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Harlequin Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: One Dance with the Cowboy by Donna Alward

Posted March 23, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly’s review of One Dance with the Cowboy by Donna Alward

“Care to take those boots for a spin, Miss O’Keefe?”

Jen O’Keefe will agree to just one dance with coolheaded cowboy Drew Laramie. But only for old times’ sake. She can’t risk losing her heart to him again.

Drew left Larch Valley, promising Jen he’d return. When he didn’t, she moved on…. Now the childhood sweetheart Jen had stopped waiting for is back!

I really enjoyed this story. I’m kind of a sucker for the “lovers reunited” plot anyway, but Alward did a good job of bringing these two back together.

Drew and Jen were high school sweethearts. Jen thought for sure they’d end up married and living happily ever after, but Drew had other ideas. He wanted to make a career for himself and get out of Larch Valley, which meant leaving Jen behind. But now he’s grown up and moved back home and can’t deny Jen still heats him up.

Jen was crushed when Drew broke up with her all those years ago. She knows she can’t deal with that kind of heartbreak again, so she’s determined to avoid him at all costs. Unfortunately, she’s an adult with responsibilities, so when Drew needs to hire to cater an event for him, she can’t say no. She can’t deny the chemistry between them, but she isn’t willing to give up her heart. Of course, she may not have a choice…

I’ve read Alward in the past and have yet to be disappointed. Jen and Drew were both strong characters.I did wonder at the way Jen was constantly rushing after Drew, despite swearing she wouldn’t get sucked in by him again. It was obvious she still had feelings for him. Drew wasn’t as easy to figure out. He was attracted to Jen, but I’m not sure he had leftover feelings for her. It seemed to me that his feelings were newly developed as he got to know the grown-up version of his high school sweetheart.

I did feel like the end was a bit abrupt. Throughout Jen is the one who constantly puts herself out there. I would have liked to see Drew go to her and grovel a bit more. Otherwise it was good.

If you’re looking for a light, heart-warming read, I’d say this it.

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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