Tag: Small Town Romance

Sunday Spotlight: Coming Home by KB Alan

Posted October 11, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Coming Home by KB AlanComing Home by KB Alan
Series: Fully Invested #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 25, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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Rose never expected to return to Wildlife Ridge after she graduated high school, but here she is, sixteen years later. She wants to spend some time focusing on her new life as an entrepreneur, away from the big city rat race, and her quiet hometown in the mountains seems like the perfect place to do that. She’s excited to spend some time with her parents and has barely given a passing thought to seeing Ethan again. Really. Hardly at all.
Ethan hasn’t seen Rose on her infrequent visits home. He’s never forgiven himself for cancelling out on taking her to prom at the last minute. His life hasn’t panned out the way he expected, but he loves his town, and he’s hopeful she’ll love it enough to stick around for awhile, give Wildlife Ridge a second chance. And maybe give him a chance to make it up to her after all this time.


Ethan paused at the entrance to apartment 212. The door was wide open, likely for the cool blast of late-winter air. Music played, loudly but not too loudly, and the charming voice singing along had him pausing before he knocked on the doorjamb.

He’d wondered if he’d feel anything when he saw Rose again. High school was a lifetime ago, and he’d started to think some serious thoughts about her back in the day. But they’d been children, really. And he’d disappointed her, let her down. Story of his life. She’d grown up, he saw now. In all the right ways.

She did a little wiggle as she unwrapped some kind of figurine and placed it on the shelves in front of her, and he tried not to watch her ass. But he didn’t try very hard. Even though her back was to him, he knew it was Rose. They’d known each other since kindergarten, after all. In a small town like Wildlife Ridge, it was impossible not to know someone your own age. They’d played together as children, but they’d never been especially close. Not until those last couple of months.

She was not sporting a California-girl tan, might even be paler than he remembered her. Apparently she hadn’t turned into a beach bum during her life out in LA. Her previously long hair had been cut and shaped into a wavy brown mass that bounced on her shoulders and invited him to tug. He wanted her to turn around so he could see it framing her face.

Another voice joined hers in song, and he watched a long-legged Black woman dance her way down the hall to join Rose. They grabbed hands and circled around the room for a moment before Rose’s eyes landed on him and she came to an abrupt halt.

He let his hand, knuckles still pointed towards the doorjamb, fall as she blinked at him from behind her glasses. That was another change. She’d almost always worn her contacts, once they got to junior high school.

“Hey,” he said, sounding lame to his own ears. “Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to bring you this, and make sure you have everything you need.” He held up a spider plant. “Welcome to Salmon Springs apartment building.”

She dusted her hands along her thighs and came to him, reaching for the plant. “Wow, that’s so sweet, thanks. It’s good to see you, Ethan.”

“Rose. It’s been a long time.”

“This is one of my best friends, Naomi Washington. Naomi, Ethan Woodford.”

The woman who approached him was all city. At least, that’s what he chose to attribute the air of no-nonsense confidence to. He supposed she’d heard about him and was prepared to be unimpressed.

“Ma’am,” he said, as he offered his hand.

She blinked at him, apparently astonished. Then she looked to Rose. “Did he just insult me to my face?”

Rose’s lips twitched and she adjusted her glasses higher up her nose. “No. He was being sincerely polite.”

Naomi stared at her friend for a moment, then returned her attention to him. “It’s nice to meet you.”

He shook her hand, forcing back a grin. Yeah, she was all city.

“Naomi’s helping me move. She took a little vacation to drive out with me.”

“How was the drive?” he asked, leaning back against the doorjamb.

“We broke it up into two days, but with the big push yesterday. Spent the night just inside Colorado. It wasn’t too bad.”

He nodded. “Be sure and let me know if I can help out with anything. I’ve got my toolbox, in case you haven’t unpacked that yet.” He nearly shook his head at how stupid that sounded. Her parents owned a hardware store, for crying out loud, surely she’d have access to whatever she needed.

She raised her eyebrows. “Thanks, will do.”

He nodded, backed up. “You have my cell, just call or text if you need anything. It was nice to meet you, Naomi.”

They said their goodbyes and he retreated, shaking his head in disgust at himself as he walked down the hallway. It wasn’t like he didn’t interact with women all the time, but somehow seeing Rose had set him back about a decade and a half. No, that wasn’t true. When he was in high school, he hadn’t had any trouble talking to girls. As the quarterback, he’d been one of the most popular guys around.

A lifetime ago.

Fully Invested

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About KB Alan

KB Alan Headshot

KB Alan lives the single life in Southern California. She acknowledges that she should probably turn off the computer and leave the house once in a while in order to find her own happily ever after, but for now she’s content to delude herself with the theory that Mr. Right is bound to come knocking on her door through no real effort of her own. Please refrain from pointing out the many flaws in this system. Other comments, however, are happily received.

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Lightning Review: Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Posted March 21, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Serendipity by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Serendipity by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity #1
Also in this series: Serendipity
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: September 6th 2011
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 304
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Series Rating: four-stars

Faith Harrington is a classic girl of privilege-until her father is convicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Now she's back in her hometown, where she runs into her teenage crush-dark, brooding Ethan Barron, who's no stranger to scandal himself.

This was a sweet contemporary romance. Ethan was a bad boy in high school. When his family needed him most he disappeared. Now he’s back and looking to make amends. Faith was the golden girl growing up but the mighty have fallen..hard. She’s looking to rebuild her life after her father was arrested for his part in a ponzi scheme that affected a lot of the town. Together they have enough issues to fill a warehouse, but they just might be what the other needs…

I really liked how well Ethan and Faith fit. I also liked that they didn’t gloss over or make light of their issues. Both were willing to accept responsibility for their own actions, both past and present. I really love it when characters own their mistakes and work to atone for them.

I did think Faith took things a little too far in the end, but overall I enjoyed the story and the romance.

3.5 out of 5


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Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford

Posted September 24, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri FordReviewer: Holly
Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford
Series: Chester Farms #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 243
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Series Rating: two-stars

At eighteen, Kara Duncan had already made her fair share of mistakes, choosing the wrong boy and earning herself a bad reputation in the process. Hurt and humiliated, she'd packed up and moved on, sure that everyone in Bella Warren, Arkansas, would be better off without her. She'd planned never to return, but when crisis strikes, she has nowhere else to turn.
After seven years, Wade Chester thought his feelings for Kara were finally ancient history. Until he sees her again, standing on his front porch just as she'd done a million times before. She needs his help—and his family's crops—if her canning business is going to survive. The rest of his family has let bygones be bygones, so why is it so hard for him to let go of the past?
While Kara claims to be interested only in putting things right, the old heat flaring between them is undeniable. But Wade will need to risk his heart—and the reputation of his farm—to prove that they're meant to be together.

Kara comes back home in order start up her canning business with the help of her childhood best friend. The produce from Chester Farms is just what she needs to get her business off the ground. She didn’t really think she’d be welcomed back with open arms after they way she acted in high school, but she didn’t expect the anger and contempt so many had for her. She figures if she keeps her head down and her nose clean, people will start to forgive her and let things go. She’s surprised to feel such a deep attraction to Wade, even after all this time, but he’s a distraction she doesn’t need.

The last person Wade ever expected to see on his doorstep is Kara. He hasn’t forgotten her, or forgiven her for hieing out of town the way she did. But his sister is determined to help Kara get her business off the ground, and he reluctantly agrees. Before he knows it she’s working in his kitchen and spending the majority of her time at his house. He can’t seem to get away from her. The real problem is, he isn’t sure he wants to.

I loved the small southern setting, the farm and the business. I really struggled with everything else. And by struggled I mean WTF’d my way through the book. The way the people in town treated Kara was unbelievable, but I set that aside since I know how small towns can be. But when Wade didn’t step up to defend her, but in fact joined in with everyone else, I’m afraid I lost all respect for him. Sure, he felt betrayed by her, but to accuse of her being nothing but a slut because of things that happened in high school? I expected better of him.

The tip of his finger slipped under the thin strap of her dress. “No more of this kind of stuff.”
“What?” His nail lingered against her skin and she was powerless but to shudder under the soft and gentle touch.
He ripped his hand away as if he’d been burned and gestured at her. “These sexy clothes. No more. We’re a family farm.”
She glanced down at the orange sundress Whitney had instructed her to wear. The cotton skirt reached to just above her knees. It fit across her breasts, but fell loose around her curves below that. The top of the dress didn’t even cut low enough to show any cleavage. “I’ll be sure to pick up some oversized sweats next time I’m in the store. Will that do?”
He didn’t smile. Not that the moment was funny. “You were hell on my life last time you were here, darlin’. It won’t be the same this time around.”

If Kara had acted like a mature, independent woman who wanted to make a good impression but was fine if she didn’t, I may have been able to cope. Throughout the book Kara apologizes and berates herself, rather than telling Wade, and the whole town, to shove it. She also needed to stop running from her problems and start communicating. Verbally. With other people.

Maybe if the book had been a hundred pages shorter I wouldn’t have felt so stabby at the end of it. As it is, the conflict was drawn out way too long. Kara’s back-and-forthing and Wade’s head-in-the-sand way of dealing with it really grated on me.

I liked the end but felt it came a little too late.

1.5 out of 5


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Excerpt (+ Giveaway): The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

Posted August 25, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 14 Comments

Today we have an excerpt of The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Boys, Book 1) by Lauren Dane , which releases tomorrow. This is a spin-off of her Brown Siblings and Delicious series’, about four rocker brothers who make up the band Sweet Hollow Ranch.

the best kind of trouble

She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!




Read an excerpt:


Copyright 2014, Lauren Dane

All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Enterprises

Releasing August 26!


She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him until she’d walked out of the library and saw him standing there. A phone call meant she’d have some distance from him. But Paddy Hurley in the flesh? That smile?

As they cleaned the kitchen up, she was glad, so glad, she brought him home. Glad she shared with him. Glad he was there with her. Tuesday probably would say I told you so for that.

“So. I have a proposal.”

She looked back over her shoulder as she tucked the hand towel on the ring. “That so? What is this proposal then?”

“I have doughnuts. I think we should go to your room and eat them naked in your bed.”

She paused. “As proposals go, that’s a pretty good one.

She walked past him, swatting his behind on the way. “Let’s be sure that sex is on that menu too.”

“That goes without saying when you’re alone with me and there’s naked involved.”

She left Tuesday a note saying things were okay between her and Paddy and that they were busy for a bit. She figured Tuesday would know when she got home if Natalie wasn’t around and her door was closed, but it never hurt to be extra sure. The last thing she wanted was Tuesday barging in and catching her and Paddy in bed.

Paddy kicked her door closed and backed her to the bed. “Maybe you can eat that doughnut while I eat you. It’s been like a week since I’ve tasted you.”

She swallowed hard. “I might choke. Maybe we can eat them afterward.”

“Damn, you’re putting doughnuts aside for me? You really are trying.”

She laughed as she pulled his sweater off, tossing it in a nearby chair. He undid her blouse and slid it from her arms, kissing her shoulder and across her collarbone. He paused at the hollow of her throat and breathed in deep. “I’ve missed you like crazy.”

It had only been a few days rather than his exaggerated week, but she’d missed him too. Missed the way he’d been part of her life.

“I missed you too.” She petted his beard.

She realized she’d started doing that recently. Petting it and soothing herself. It made her laugh and he paused.

“Um. Should I be concerned you’re laughing?”

“I just realized your beard is my comfort object. I pet it like a blankie and it soothes me.”

He kissed her fingertips. “Whatever gets you hot. Feel free to pet me wherever and whenever you please.”

Giveaway: We have a copy of The Best Kind of Trouble to giveaway! Print or digital, winner’s choice. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

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LaurenDane_highresAbout Lauren:

The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.


Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels and novellas across several genres. For more information visit her website at www.laurendane.com

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Review: Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton

Posted August 4, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hope Ignites by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope #2
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 304
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Hope Flames and the hot new Play-by-Play novel, Melting the Ice, comes an all-new novel of small-town romance, second chances, and hope…
When a movie crew asks to film on his cattle ranch, Logan McCormack doesn’t expect Desiree Jenkins, the young, sought-after star, to be so open, so down-to-earth, or so intimately interested in him. But the last thing a loner like Logan needs is a distraction like Des, who wouldn’t understand what it’s like to live peacefully off the land. 
But it’s Logan who doesn’t understand. What Des wants is an escape from paparazzi and gossip columns, and she’s found it at Logan’s ranch. Now it’s up to her to prove that she’s like any other girl looking to be accepted for who she is. And she’s hoping that it’s by this real-life cowboy who has everything it takes—and more—to give her the kind of happily ever after that can’t be found in the movies.
“Jaci Burton’s books are always sexy, romantic, and charming! A hot hero, a lovable heroine, and an adorable dog—prepare to fall in love with Jaci Burton’s amazing new small-town romance series.”—Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

Logan’s dad married a woman who hated ranching.  Since she was miserable she did her best to make her husband and sons miserable, too (why she didn’t just divorce his dad and leave is beyond me). As a result, Logan has trust issues when it comes to women. Especially “City Girls” like Desiree Jenkins,  lead actress in the movie being filmed on Logan’s ranch. They might be attracted to each other, but he knows better than to get tangled up in a woman who won’t be sticking around. Except Des surprises him at every turn. She’s honest and open, with a forthright way of speaking that gets him every time. Since she isn’t looking for more than a good time while she’s on location, he figures there’s no harm in scratching the itch.

Des realizes pretty early on that Logan has serious mommy issues, but he’s hot as hell and great in the sack. Plus, he’s surprisingly easy to talk to. She loves his ranch and the privacy it offers her. Not to mention the town of Hope, most especially his friends and family. She figures the relationship is of the “go – nowhere” variety, but that works for her since she’ll be headed back to L.A. before long. If only Logan didn’t act so sweet and send out so many mixed signals…

It isn’t long before both of their emotions are engaged. But Logan’s trust issues and Des’s career are standing between them, and Logan isn’t willing to try to climb those particular hurdles.

I have a small girl crush on Des. She was awesome. She was upfront and honest. She wasn’t afraid to put herself out there. She didn’t play games or cause drama. Even when Logan was acting the ass she called him on it then walked away, no hysterics,  no drama. She felt a bit unsettled about what she wanted for her future, but she was confident in herself and not afraid to work for what she wanted.

Logan acted the ass for most of the book. He wanted Des, but didn’t want to want her. He let his mother’s actions dictate how he lived his life,  which didn’t make a lot of sense considering the strong, confident man he was. His saving grace was how quick he was to apologize once he was called on his behavior. He might have needed a cooling down period, but when he said sorry he meant it. It was too bad he spent so much time needing to apologize.

Their chemistry was great both in the bedroom and out of it. They connected on more than one level, which made their romance believable.

I really enjoyed the snippets of ranching life and life on the set of the movie. Both were well done. The town of Hope really came alive for me. I loved visiting with the residents and watching Des form relationships with the women in town.

Hope is a town I want to return to again again.

4.25 out of 5

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

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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