Bring on the cookies–It’s Release Day

Gingerbread, shortbread, frosted sugar, chocolate chip…what do these have in common? Sure, they’re cookies, but they’re also one of the main ingredients in a new collection of holiday stories from The Wild Rose Press!

square release day

Get in the holiday spirit this year by curling up with your favorite beverage and a Christmas story–and don’t forget the cookies! The novellas cover a range of genres including everything from contemporary romance to cozy mysteries and werewolves.

Today is release day for my novella “Cookie Collision!” Here’s a peek at it and a few others from the contemporary romance collection.

Happy reading! Let the merry season begin!
Darlene

–Justin moved into the room, set the things on a side table, and perched on a chair. Watching her, he could practically see the pain fade from her face. Her brow smoothed, and the tension he’d noticed around her lips disappeared. He fought the urge to brush a kiss across her forehead. She looked way too peaceful to disturb. But now what? Sit here and watch her sleep? Sneak out the door? He couldn’t leave it unlocked, and he had no idea whether she’d be down for the night or if she did power naps.

Finally, he took off his shoes and quietly padded to the kitchen to deal with supper. For now, everything could go in the fridge. Feeling like an intruder, he moved stealthily around her kitchen. With that task completed, he grabbed a newsmagazine from a basket and settled into a chair across from his patient…and/or dinner date.

Twenty minutes later, Alana stirred. She pulled up her arm and adjusted her position. Then her eyes opened.

“Hey,” he whispered.

She bolted upright. “Oh, my gosh. Justin. Did I fall asleep? I’m so sor—”

He held up a hand. “Shhh. No worries.” He handed her the glass of water and tablets. “Why don’t you take a couple of these then I’ll wrap your ankle.”

For him, the biggest issue was not the condition of her ankle but trying to stay in professional mode and ignore the feel of her smooth leg under his hands. Seated on the table in front of the sofa, he forced his eyes to focus on the strip of fabric as he wound it around both foot and ankle and secured it firmly. “How’s that feel?”

Alana nodded. “That’s amazing. It’s better already.” Luminous eyes met his. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Keeping it tight is the key.” He couldn’t help himself. He reached out and touched her hair. “Sorry you had a bad day.”

A light sparked in her eyes, and she sat straighter. “I didn’t have a bad day.”

Frowning, he cocked his head. “You didn’t? Looks like the ankle was, well, a big pain.”

She grinned. “It was. Except for this stupid ankle, I had a great day. I got two offers on the house, and another couple that’s interested is supposed to let me know tomorrow. That means we could have a bidding war and get more than our asking price. And that is a good thing.”

Justin couldn’t help laughing. He held up his hand for a high-five. “Very nice.” He loved her triumph-over-adversity attitude.

“Hey, food’s in the fridge. Easy to heat up whenever you’re ready.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” She glanced toward the kitchen then met his eyes again. “Are you— Can you stay?”

He felt a pull deep inside as those questioning blue eyes leveled on him. Yeah, he wanted to stay.–

Get your copy today!

https://www.amazon.com/Cookie-Collision-Christmas-Cookies-Darlene-ebook/dp/B09FXHKZDH/

https://books.apple.com/us/book/cookie-collision/id1585465393

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cookie-collision-darlene-deluca/1140147032?ean=2940162321422

The entire cookie collection

includes about 50 books.

Here’s a peek at a few other contemporary romances. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles by Maria Imbalzano

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Favorite quote from author:

“Dean’s gaze zeroed in on her, and her thoughts fuzzed. No way was she going to get out of this chair, sporting flannel pajamas and bunny slippers.”

Book Description:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella’s parents. But he’s a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents’ gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean’s generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

https://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Crinkles-Christmas-Sprinkles-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09FYVGDWR/

Tinsel and Tea Cakes by Jill Piscitello 5117yDXeTHL

Step back in time for an unforgettable winter wedding. 

Book Description:

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

https://www.amazon.com/Tinsel-Tea-Cakes-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09J3FHCP8/

Let it Snowball by Margot Johnson perf5.000x8.000.indd

Christmas tours brim with cookies, lights, and…unexpected romance?

Book Description:

Divorced, empty nester Merilee is on a roll. Filled with scrumptious cookies and old-fashioned fun, her Christmas bus tours aim to add festive spirit to her hometown and new meaning to her lackluster life. Too bad her reserved driver slams the brakes on fun.

Widowed farmer Ross needs a little joy to combat his December blues. Behind the wheel, he wears a Santa suit but can’t muster a convincing ho-ho-ho. Too many memories block his road to happiness…until irrepressible Merilee sparks a snowstorm of unexpected feelings.

In two weeks of holiday tours, Ross might drive Merilee crazy…or will romance snowball inside their lonely hearts?

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09FX386MR/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

The Gingerbread Cookie Code by Ann M. Trader 51zGTWNKSaL

Computer geeks write code… and sometimes they bake them in gingerbread.

Book Description:

Clay Blackstone, avowed bachelor, is an ambitious computer design engineer at a prestigious firm. When an accident puts his dad on crutches, he returns home to help with his family’s Christmas tree farm, never expecting to find romantic entanglement with an alluring woman he remembers as a tomboy in braids.

As a single mother launching a bakery business, Shelby Turner has experience with measuring cups and watercolor paints, but not handsome, intriguing men—especially one who is her secret schoolgirl crush.

Between her sweet treats, his tech savvy, and their combined chemistry, will they risk their hearts and discover the code to their happily ever after?

https://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Cookie-Code-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GNNRW1M/

Are you a seasoned holiday book aficionado? Just browsing some holiday reads? 

Hope you’ll find a new favorite in the cookie collection!

Comments or questions for the authors? Leave them here!

Cheers to all!

House calls and Christmas cookies …

I know, I know, it’s still Halloween season. But I’m excited about the upcoming release of my newest story and helping to get YOU in the Christmas spirit!

“Cookie Collision” releases November 3, and is now available to pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online and Apple. See? By the time it drops onto your reading device, it’ll be the perfect time to snuggle up with a holiday read!

“Cookie Collision” is a heartwarming novella set at Christmastime in Kansas City. It’s part of a collection of holiday stories offered this year by The Wild Rose Press.

Here’s a peek:

House calls and Christmas cookies . . . a sweet combination or recipe for disaster?

Before she can let up and enjoy some holiday cheer, real estate agent Alana Drake has work to do. With Christmas moving in fast, she has clients to meet with, houses to show, and cookies to bake. Every open house deserves her special touch—homemade and hand-decorated sugar cookies for a warm welcome. And she needs several dozen for upcoming holiday events and open houses.

But a poorly timed stop at the grocery store could upend more than her bag of groceries. Running into Doctor Justin Teague—literally—shakes up Alana’s tidy world. The chance encounter leaves her with a bum ankle, forces her to reconsider some dating ideals, and reveals new information about a longtime nemesis.

When all she wanted was to bake some cookies…

A few words from an early reviewer:

In relatively few pages, Darlene Deluca again works her magic with realistic, relatable characters and a story that draws you in and leaves you smiling. The story starts with a bang … almost literally. It features an unexpected twist that I won’t reveal here, but let’s just say I made peace with the woman I vehemently disliked. It’s such a fun holiday story and I highly recommend it!

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Apple

Buy on BarnesandNoble

Whether you’re not ready for the holidays to begin, already shopping or anxious to get started, I hope you get some time to yourself to relax and enjoy the season — and maybe a book or two!

Happy reading to all!

Darlene

Watching happy-ever-after unfold

Word by Word

From the day they are born, we spend a lot of time watching our kids. And delighting in that activity. Who didn’t watch their kids sleep when they looked so peaceful and angelic?

Like most parents, when our daughter was young, we hovered constantly, watching her roll over, crawl, take that first step, etc. During the school days, we watched countless soccer games, band concerts, piano recitals and horseback riding lessons. We had so much fun watching our daughter discover nature – taking her to Sea World, aquariums and zoos all over the country. There were parties and dances and awards ceremonies where her fun, her accomplishments, were our entertainment and pleasure.

Those years whiz by, and then come the big events: Watching her receive her high school diploma and her college degrees. A couple of weeks ago we had the joy of watching her get married! Wow! What an…

View original post 326 more words

Last Blast of Summer

Here it is, almost the end of August. Sigh. Summer is my season, so I’m always a little bit sad as it inches closer to the end of the month. For me, September signals the end of the best time of year and hints at cooler — colder — days ahead.

But I’m not giving in just yet! I’m clinging to the sunny days as long as I can — lunches with friends, a few hours at the pool as I can get them, and a book sale! In honor of the one-year anniversary of my sweet romance “The Story Between Us,” my publisher has put the ebook on sale for just $1.99. Grab it now, then settle in with a cold beverage in your favorite reading spot and enjoy another summer read!

The book is available on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo and the Barnes & Noble online store.

https://www.amazon.com/Story-Between-Us-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B08DCVKMWV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Darlene+Deluca&qid=1629826405&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-story-between-us-darlene-deluca/1137387092?ean=2940162985785

https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-story-between-us/id1525107147

Happy reading to all! Enjoy the final couple of weeks of the sunshine season!

Darlene

Can’t wait to get on the road again!

Word by Word

Hi, everyone! Darlene here. A couple of weeks ago, I flew for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed our lives.

It wasn’t too bad! Yes, I had to wear a mask for eight hours as I navigated three airports and two flights to get where I was going. And again to get home. But the flights were mostly on time, I managed to avoid screaming children, and my bags arrived with me coming and going!

P1070588But it definitely had me comparing air travel to a road trip. Have to say, I almost always prefer to drive. Of course, sometimes you just have to get from point A to point B, and flying is a must. But other times, it’s nice to relax and meander a bit—to stop and see what’s along the way.

Some of the best reasons for a road trip:

First, you can take…

View original post 704 more words

That time I didn’t win Mom of the Year

Sometime you just have to laugh.

Ever have one of those brain cramp/senior moments? You know what I’m talking about, right? Now think about those in terms of Mom moments. Here’s one for youIMG_9869—It was kind of a silly sad incident, but it’s also provided a lot of laughter over the years.

One morning in all the rush to get everyone to work or school on time, I breezed into the kitchen to help manage the chaos. Every day we packed a lunch for my son, who happened to be the World’s Pickiest Eater. This kid ate peanut butter and jelly, or honey, every day of his life for YEARS. Even when we went out to eat, which was often, we’d pack a sandwich and take a little bag with us.

Anyway, on this particular morning, I saw the day’s sandwich sitting on the counter, so I grabbed a plastic bag, shoved the sandwich inside and completed the lunch bag with a juice box and whatever else went in that day. Done. Move along. Chop, chop.

Well, later that day…my son opens the bag at lunchtime only to discover his “sandwich” is actually two slices of bread. No peanut butter. No jelly or honey. You can imagine his surprise! Yum!

In my defense, it looked like a sandwich! This little incident, while trivial, has become an example of my (not too many) failures in the Mom department. He survived. And I can handle being laughed at a little. We’re not perfect. Things happen. And it’s little shared memories like this that bond us and keep us real. 🙂

Is there a little incident that kept you from winning Mom Of The Year? Happy MD

Enjoy the day!

Darlene

Petals, posies and blooms, oh my!

Happy May Day! It’s been a gorgeous (but slightly cool) spring. The flowering trees have been stunning, and the perennials are bursting with color. And all I can say is Yay, Spring! It’s such a relief when the cold is behind us and we can get outside again. My husband and I took our first walk of the season the other day. It’s fun to get out see people and peek at everyone else’s yards. There’s something about the warmer temps and sunny skies that just makes me feel better! Hope you are enjoying the blossoming of spring. Here are a few snapshots that capture the color and mood!

Might be a great day for a book and a glass of iced tea on the patio!

Darlene

Book birthday: scoring a second chance

Today, please welcome authors Liz Crowe and Desiree Holt! These two romance authors have teamed up for a joint project that is hot off the press. Take a peek at Numbers Game!

Former pro football player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Former pro football player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Olivia Grant’s ex-husband almost wrecked her journalism career while he definitely did a number on her self-esteem. The documentary on Duncan Hatcher is the perfect way to rebuild both. As a freshman in college, she’d had a crush on the senior football hero, but he hadn’t known she existed. She never expects the sparks that fly between them as they work on the project nor the struggles they must face if they both want to win.

The book, a contemporary romance with a sports theme, is available in a number of retail outlets. Pick up your copy here: UNIVERSAL BUY LINK

Excerpt:

Excerpt:

Hatch winced at the memory of how goofy he must have sounded to the lovely woman he was going to be having a fair bit of contact with this season. Olivia Grant was, without a doubt, beautiful, not to mention sexy as hell. She was a natural reporter, putting him at ease, even in the face of his high-school-ish reaction to her at first. But dear Lord, the crap he’d said? That shit about her being “better than she thought” at the race? And “looking for a foot in the door”? He’d sounded about as slick as the grandpas he’d been named for.

He groaned and pressed his forehead to the leather blotter on his new desk. After his divorce, he’d made a point not to notice women, something that was a bit of a self-imposed penalty. But there was no not noticing Olivia. Her soft, dark blonde hair that kept dropping over one of her deep green eyes as she’d look down at her notes, then back up at him. That smile, and those full, barely lip-sticked lips. And there was no denying she had a body that would be hard to shake out of his brain. Scott had told him she used to play soccer here, a few years behind him as an undergrad. How he’d not known her… Granted, he hadn’t been a big partier then, kept mostly to himself and his close group of friends and, as always, focused on the game.

But damn. He’d missed out on something then, without a doubt. He felt his face flush red and his entire body begin to react in ways that didn’t really serve him well as a fully grown man, with plenty of experience under his belt, so to speak.

Thankfully, she’d left before he could embarrass himself any more.

Home. Shower. Beer. Stare at a string of old movies on the giant television screen. Anything to get the lovely Olivia Grant and all her many attributes out of his head. She was, after all, the media. And everyone knew how he felt about the media.

It was get-a-grip time—on all parts of himself.

This was his chance at redemption. The opportunity was a godsend, considering the sorry state he’d left his life in on the west coast, and he didn’t intend to do anything to screw it up. He couldn’t afford to get distracted by a single thing. But how the hell was he going to do that when Olivia Grant might prove to be the biggest distraction of all?

Introducing Desiree:

USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and contemporary on a variety of heat levels up to erotic, a genre in which she is the oldest living author. She has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications. 

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor 

FACEBOOK PROFILE

http://www.facebook.com/desiree01holt 

TWITTER

 @desireeholt

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor 

FACEBOOK PROFILE

http://www.facebook.com/desiree01holt 

TWITTER

 @desireeholt

Pinterest: desiree02holt

Signup for my newsletter and receive a free book:
https://desireeholt.com/newsletter/

Introducing Liz:

Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She’s spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

TWITTER

http://www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/etlizcrowe/

http://www.lizcrowe.com

WEBSITE

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/r2a2q5

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Happy book birthday to Liz, Desiree and Numbers Game, and happy reading to all of you!

Darlene

A Little Shot; A Very Big Deal!

A year ago today the Covid-19 crisis cut short my spring break trip to see my sister in Dallas. I’m so happy to report that I marked the anniversary of that date by getting my first Covid vaccine!

While inklings of disaster were just beginning this time last year, I stuck to my plan and drove from Kansas City to DSC_1045Dallas. Spent a beautiful day at the Dallas Arboretum, where there was plenty of room to spread out and avoid others. But the next day, we attempted to do some shopping, and everything felt weird. So, after only two days, I packed my bags, turned around, and drove nine hours back home.

By then, the Big 12 basketball tournament and the NCAA tournament—the big dance—had been cancelled. For a KU grad and Jayhawk basketball fan, this was huge. News reports were bad, and things were not looking good.

It was a terrible year. The pandemic messed up milestone birthday celebrations for me, my mom, and my daughter. No book signings or author events. Restaurants shutting down. People out of work. Vacations cancelled. Holidays without family. People dying without loved ones at their side. One of my brothers died in 2020. No family was present, and we were unable to have a memorial service.

It’s heartbreaking that so many people were lost. I’m so grateful for the scientists and medical professionals who worked tirelessly to save lives and bring us an effective vaccine.

It’s such a relief to see light at the end of the tunnel. I was a little apprehensive to get the shot today. I’ve been known to pass out during a blood draw. Turned out it was just a little prick. No big deal. But, actually, it’s a very big IMG_9475deal. It’s a shot of hope. I feel as if I’m getting my life back. Five more weeks—and I’m counting down the days.

All of a sudden my blank calendar is filling up! So far, yesterday and today I’ve made several long overdue appointments— hair cut and color (Yikes! It’s been a full year!), teeth cleaning, and a mammogram. Most exciting of all, I booked flights for an author/reader event in Connecticut in July. That just happens to coincide with a bridal shower for my daughter. Her engagement was the one bright spot in this tedious, awful year. We now have so much to look forward to. Let the fun begin!

Happy spring to all. Hopeful that you, too, are seeing light in the days ahead.

Darlene