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

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

Salvaging a Milestone Birthday

So today is a big day for me. It’s a milestone birthday — one that I had planned to celebrate with travel and festivities. I was going to bask on the beaches of Kauai. I was going to indulge myself and get out of town for a few weeks during the long, cold, snowy, miserable winter. But, alas, there’s an international health crisis, and I’m not going anywhere.

pretty cover picI was feeling bummed about this, of course, as are a lot of people who had to cancel cruises, weddings and other fun events. I’m not really complaining. I know it’s the right thing to do, and I want us to kick Covid-19 to the curb. Still, it’s hard to not feel a little sad.

What salvaged this birthday? My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, by chance scheduled release day for my new novel on my birthday! Another occasion to celebrate! While I can’t hold an actual release party or book signing, I can throw a virtual book bash! So that’s what I’m doing. I hope you’ll join the festivities on my Facebook Author Page (join the party). We’ll have virtual champagne and chocolate. I’ll introduce you to Kristen, Reed and Dylan, and “The Story Between Us,” and I’ll give away a few books! Hope to see you there!

Darlene

The Moments We Wait For!

Well, finally, here it is! “The Story Between Us,” my new contemporary romance, is scheduled for release this month! Woot! So excited to launch the book into the world, and happy to announce the ebook is now available for pre-order at a discount price at Amazon, Apple Books and BarnesandNoble.com. Pre-orders will automatically download to your reading device on release day – Aug. 26th.

pre-order square

Here’s what advance reviewers have to say:

“Kristen Hanover is a winsome heroine and THE STORY BETWEEN US is a satisfying romance that will warm your heart and renew your belief in the hope of happy endings.” –Marie Bostwick, NYT and USAToday bestselling author of Hope on the Inside

“An utterly charming tale of life, loss, and finding love in unexpected places. A heartwarming and delightful read from start to finish!”  ~~InD’tale Magazine

I couldn’t put this sweet story down. The characters are so life-like. I found myself pulling for this couple to make it. Darlene’s stories never disappoint! – Toni A.

“The Story Between Us” is a sweet, poignant story about loss, love, and finding sparks that last. I recommend this 5 Sparkler book to anyone looking for a romance that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. – Sparkling Book Reviews

Introducing Kristen, Reed and Dylan . . .

Her agent warned her not to get attached to a fan. But children’s book author Kristen Hanover is about to break the rules. Kristen meets a young boy who is a victim of a tragic accident and is drawn into the heartbreaking situation.

Six years ago, Reed Armstrong never imagined he’d actually become guardian of his sister’s boy. Now he is, and most days he’s not sure he’s up to the task.

When he and Dylan meet Kristen, Reed downplays his nephew’s crush on the author. But as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, he finds himself captivated as well. Trouble is, she sells stories for a living. Does she truly care about Dylan…and Reed, or is she using them for her own career advancement?

The book is part of The Wild Rose Press Sweetheart Line and will also be for sale in paperback. Order yours today, and be prepared to complete your summer reading with a smile! 🙂

Until then, happy reading to all!

Darlene

Order at Amazon

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Order at Apple Books

Ta-dah! A shiny new cover!

After a couple of years of writing, revising, editing, querying, and editing some more, my contemporary romance The Story Between Us is inching its way into the world! Today, I’m excited to release the cover. The book will be published later this summer or early fall by The Wild Rose Press for its Sweetheart line.

SBU_reveal2

 
When a children’s book author gets a story idea from a young fan who’s lost his parents in a tragic accident, she knows she’s hit gold. She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake. But the boy’s guardian sees exploitation.
Stay tuned for release date!
Happy reading to all!
Darlene

Trip down Memory Lane salutes Teachers

I could never be a teacher. I don’t have the stamina or the patience — and I don’t have enough control over my facial expressions. (It’s probably the eye-roll.) So I have a high regard for good teachers.

Having gone to public schools and sent two kids to school, I’ve seen a thing or two go down in the classroom. I’ve been a room parent and school volunteer. I’ve witnessed classrooms in total disarray and classrooms that function like clockwork thanks to a special kind of person who can only be described as a rock star, or maybe a saint!

I’m delighted to pay tribute to one such teacher in a new anthology that features me and 38 other authors from around the world sharing everything from heartwarming to hilarious essays about teachers and teaching. It’s called Will Work for Apples, and it released today in ebook and paperback formats.

My piece is about a favorite memory from third grade and the fabulous teacher who cheered me to one of my greatest childhood achievements! It’s called A Wagon and A Wink. It’s about jump-roping, persevering, and a little encouragement!

apples for website

Are you a teacher? An education advocate? Need a year-end teacher gift or simply enjoy true stories? You might need a copy of Will Work for Apples! 🙂

Happy Reading!

Darlene

Amazon: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESamazon
Kindle: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESkindle
iTunes: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESitunes
B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESnook
Kobo: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESkobo

Cover Reveal! Take a peek!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]Ahhhh . . . doesn’t that image make you want to curl your toes in the grass? I’m so excited to share the cover of Barefoot Days, the final novel in my Women of Whitfield small town trilogy! Book three takes readers back to Whitfield and the lives of three women who share a special I’ve-got-your-back friendship.

Barefoot Days is Mary’s story.

Mary Logan believes in the goodness of people. She believes in grace under pressure. But when the ugliness of human nature touches her family, and a series of seismic events shake up her world, she’s put to the test again and again.

She and her husband are supposed to be enjoying the benefits of early retirement. Their nest is empty. It’s time to travel and re-focus. It’s their time. Then an alarming diagnosis and an unexpected announcement from their daughter change everything. Facing the possibility of heart-wrenching loss, Mary finds herself breaking commitments, forcing smiles, and keeping secrets.

Until now, her cup has always been half full. Will a positive outlook be enough to withstand the challenges ahead?

Though final edits are still under way, you can pre-order your digital copy of Barefoot Days now! Release date for both ebook and paperback is April 21, 2017.

Happy reading!

It’s a Book Birthday sale!

Hard to believe it’s been a year since my newest contemporary romance novel hit the shelves (or cyber shelves)!

risk-anniversary

Her Greatest Risk has all the elements you’d expect in a romance novel — interesting characters, (including the hunky hero, Michael), conflict and tension, and a healthy dose of attraction. It’s almost love at first sight, but . . .

Her Greatest Risk

Clashing over the fate of a historic building, Jennifer Aukland and Michael Reynolds are on course to become adversaries. She’s an architect devoted to green building and restoration. He’s a developer hell-bent on ripping down the old hotel she’s racing to save to make way for a new casino.

Chemistry leads to compromise, and for a time, they’re on the same team. Jennifer adds Michael – and marriage – to her safe and steady plan for the future. But when Michael throws caution aside and lands in a life-threatening situation, Jennifer’s world comes crashing down. In her family, she’s learned that recklessness leads to tragedy. She must decide if she can commit her life to someone who takes unnecessary risks with his. Will she take control of her own destiny, even if it means leaving Michael behind? Or will she risk everything for love?

Reviewer comments

— “This one will definitely keep you turning the pages. I adored Michael, he was hot, sweet and had an awesome job.”

— “For me, Her Greatest Risk, by Darlene Deluca was a five star read! I really got into the story to the point where I got emotional at times.”

— “Love is a daily work in progress with ups and downs you have to be prepared to weather and Darlene Deluca writes with clarity how much the heart can handle.”

Excerpt

On wobbly legs, she made her way back to the stairs. Looking past Michael, Jennifer smiled. She stopped shy of his reach, but he moved toward her, hand extended. He took her hand in his, then leaned down to sear her cheek with a kiss.

“Hello, Jen,” he whispered.

Her face burned as if she’d been branded. Ignoring Michael as best she could, she moved past him when Sam turned and greeted her. Jennifer graciously shook hands with the entire team, nodded at the audience, and stepped back to the end of the line. Somehow she managed to stay there and endure the long-winded comments – and Michael’s arm brushing against her shoulder.

Say thank-you, she screamed inside, willing the lead architect to finish. Just say thank you. Had it been the Academy Awards, the music would’ve started ten minutes ago.

Get your copy of Her Greatest Risk

A Valentine for you!

free Risk

Ah, love is in the air! It’s Valentine’s Day weekend — and I have a gift for you! Like romance? Hunky book boyfriends? Stories that feel real? Here’s your chance to try a Darlene Deluca contemporary romance for free (digital edition) on Amazon.

Clashing over the fate of a historic building, Jennifer Aukland and Michael Reynolds are on course to become adversaries. She’s an architect devoted to green building and restoration. He’s a developer hell-bent on ripping down the old hotel she’s racing to save to make way for a new casino.

Chemistry leads to compromise, and for a time, they’re on the same team. Jennifer adds Michael – and marriage – to her safe and steady plan for the future. But when Michael throws caution aside and lands in a life-threatening situation, Jennifer’s world comes crashing down. In her family, she’s learned that recklessness leads to tragedy. She must decide if she can commit her life to someone who takes unnecessary risks with his. Will she take control of her own destiny, even if it means leaving Michael behind? Or will she risk everything for love?

Whether you’re enjoying a night on the town or a cozy evening at home, happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Get your copy of Her Greatest Risk here!