Friday, November 24, 2017

Echo Book Blitz #Giveaway!

Gemma Weir
(Archer’s Creek #1)
Publication date: November 24th 2017
Genres: Erotica, Romance
I’m a Doomsday Sinner. A biker to my very soul. Women have always been the same—interchangeable. Until her. She loves my control and craves my touch. Now she’s mine. I’ve claimed her in every way possible and I won’t let anything, least of all her, tear us apart.
I was on the holiday of a lifetime, until I ended up stranded in Archer’s Creek. Then I met a badass, Harley riding biker boy who laughed at me. He’s a bloody pain in the arse. Bossy and controlling, he’s the unexpectedly perfect guy at the worst moment—because even the strongest love can falter when a crazed psycho decides I need to die.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck! I fucking hate Texas.” I sling my backpack down, and it lands on my toe. Shooting pain bursts from my foot. “Bollocks.” Kicking the stupid thing, I mutter angrily, “Stupid fucking bag. Stupid fucking bus.”
A raspy chuckle makes me freeze.
I brush down my shirt, straighten, and spin. My eyes start at the tarmac under my feet and slowly track upwards, devouring the biker god in front of me. Jesus, he’s huge. His tight white T-shirt stretches taut over his bulging chest. Tattoos cover his arms down to his knuckles and peak tantalizingly out of the neck of his shirt. His strong, thick thighs are spread astride a badass Harley motorcycle, the polished chrome sparkling in the morning sunlight.
His hair is dark, almost black. Short at the sides but longer, shaggy and tousled on the top. God, I’m tempted to run my fingers through it. I force my hands into my pockets to stop myself from reaching out.
I finally focus on his face. Wow, he’s beautiful. Perfectly chiseled cheekbones and full lips showcase his amused grin.
“Can I help you?” I ask.
He pulls a long drag from his cigarette and lazily blows the smoke into the air. “No thanks, darlin’, I’m happy watching.” His gaze glides up and down my body, and my skin heats under his appraisal.

Author Bio:
Gemma Weir is a half crazed stay at home mom to three kids, one man child and a hell hound. She has lived in the midlands, in the UK her whole life and has wanted to write a book since she was a child. Gemma has a ridiculously dirty mind and loves her book boyfriends to be big, tattooed alpha males. She's a reader first and foremost and she loves her romance to come with a happy ending and lots of sexy sex.


Right Gift. Wrong Day Book Blitz #Giveaway!

Right Gift. Wrong Day
Natalie Decker
(Offsides, #1.5)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Tyler Richardson is freaking out! Not only did he invite his new girlfriend to meet his entire family, this is also the day they will exchange gifts. But what do you get a girl after dating for only two weeks? Should he listen to his friends and just give her a card, or should he ask for a second opinion?
Layla can’t believe she agreed to have dinner with Tyler and his family. What if they don’t like her? To make matter’s worse, they agreed to exchange Christmas gifts. The boy already has everything. And what if she gets him something that’s nicer than what he gets her? That would be really awkward. Asking him what he would like is completely out of the question. Maybe she should ask his friends for help.
After a rocky start, Tyler and Layla’s relationship is everybody’s relationship goals. But can Tyler and Layla survive the holidays without losing their cool?
RIGHT GIFT WRONG DAY is a hilarious companion novella to RIGHT TEXT WRONG NUMBER from Natalie Decker.

Author Bio:
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
Find out more visit:


Tainted Rose Book Blitz #Giveaway!

Tainted Rose
Yumoyori Wilson
(Starlight Gods #2)
Publication date: November 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
I failed…
My name is Ryder Carter, future heir of Realm Five, Minato.
I was destined to do great things, to walk alongside my fellow star knights, as we desperately searched for the woman who would lead our galaxy to salvation.
My spirit and I had failed her once, unable to prevent the chain of events and challenges she’d faced for sixteen cycles. Then, we finally found her – alive.
Within two rotations, she’d blossomed into a beautiful rose – such delicate petals, filled with purity and life. My mission was to guide her home, to where she truly belonged, as our Princess and saviour from the approaching darkness. She was more than just our Princess; I loved her with all my heart.
But…I failed. My once perfect rose, damaged by my failures. Would she ever forgive me, her star knight who’d sworn to protect her? Will I ever get the chance to tell her how much she means to me…to us?
Only the Starlight gods can tell. Please…bring my Firefly home.
~In Stars We Trust~
Tainted Rose is Book Two in the new, paranormal reverse harem series.
Recommended for 18+ audience, containing mature sexual content and strong language.
“Mako? Are you sleep walking again?” Ryder’s voice made me relax as I rubbed at my eyes.
“Ryder, why did you guys put a wall in the middle of the hall? It’s blocking me from food.” I whined.
“There’s our Firefly.” Marcus praised, chuckling.
“I can’t believe she actually called Kai a wall.” Daniel mused, his voice sounded thick with sleep.
“Kai?” I asked, opening my eyes just as the apparent wall, turned around, brilliant amber eyes locking on me. I gawked at the sight; my heart raced at the new shifter before me.
He was six feet for sure, maybe only an inch away from Marcus’ height. His wind-blown, coiffed hair was a stunning orange. Holy Starlight, a GINGER!! Like those hot guys in the fashion magazines.
He smiled, his perfectly straight, white teeth making an appearance, only adding to his forbidden sexiness. I wonder if Adam in the bible was this good looking. Maybe that’s why that Eve shifter went and took that apple.
“Princess, that’s not how it went in the bible, but I’m pleased with your admission of liking my ginger hair.” He approved; his calm voice enough to soothe any shifter.

Author Bio:
Yumoyori Wilson is from Toronto, Ontario. She loves to sleep and write her days away. She works at night as a registered nurse. She has a little addiction to bubble tea and coffee but loves to workout. She has big plans for the writing world and can't wait to share them with everyone.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Everson The Kindred Release Blitz!

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant “skillfully melds history and legend” (RT Book Reviews) in a brand new series – The Kindred.

Grab your copy Today!

✦ Barnes and Noble Paperback→
✦Add to Goodreads→

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant “skillfully melds history and legend” (RT Book Reviews) in a brand new series – The Kindred.

To live in the light, they hunt in the dark…

Unparalleled in beauty and daring, Leoma has been raised with a single-minded focus—to wipe out corrupt witches. But when her new target leads her to a discovery that unveils a graver plan from the Coven, she doesn’t hesitate to follow. Yet, she’s not the only one on the hunt. And the sexy, infuriating man who crosses her path could prove to be a distraction—something she’s never encountered before.

Honor and family mean everything to Braith. When his life is turned upside down by the murder of his ward and heir without cause or reason, he has no choice but to turn to vengeance. Until a stunning, dangerous woman continues to thwart his efforts at every turn. Now, he must battle not only his need for revenge but his desire for the female, as well.


Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae. She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding. Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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Embracing Magick New Release Blitz!

Something is here. Something otherworldly, something alien, and its intentions are far from amicable.
Families are going missing in the city, and investigative operative Carmella Hunter has been tasked to find them. With the public eye on her every move, Carmella must work against a ticking clock to locate the missing humans. When the evidence begins to point to an entirely alien and sinister plot, the government agency Carmella works for is forced to change strategy. Now Carmella and her friends must go undercover in the hopes of becoming the next victims. But will the kidnapper take the bait? And if he does, will Carmella and her friends make it out alive?
Escape into an urban fantasy world filled with adrenaline pumping action, pulse pounding romance, super hot djinn, and sexy dragon demi-gods.

About the Book

Embracing Magick
by Debbie Cassidy
Witch Blood Chronicles #3
New Adult
Urban Fantasy
Publication Date
November 16, 2017
Also Available On

About the Series


About Debbie Cassidy

Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Debbie also writes dark, diverse Urban Fantasy fiction, under the pen name Amos Cassidy, with her best friend Richard Amos.

Debbie’s Links

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The DAFNI go Ceramic Straightening Brush Giveaway (The First & Original) @DAFNI_hair @SMGurusNetwork

Welcome to the DAFNI go Ceramic Straightening Brush Giveaway (The First & Original)!

1 winner
This giveaway is part of our Holiday Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Host that put together this giveaway is Deliciously Savvy
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.


Now let’s get to the sponsor!

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive a DAFNI go Ceramic Straightening Brush! $100 TRV

Check Out My Review HERE.


This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only (not valid in Hawaii and Alaska) and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 12/22/17. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsor is responsible for shipping of the above prize. No blog associated with this contest are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Melissa Cushing at mcushing7 (at)hotmail(dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

His Sugar Baby Release Blitz #Giveaway! @givemebooksblog and @fionaainamurphy

Title: His Sugar Baby
Author: Fiona Murphy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2017



I made my first million at sixteen, my first billion before I was thirty. I get what I want how I want it, and I have no problem paying for it, that includes women. Hell, I’ve already been doing it with the women I’ve been dating. They enjoy my credit cards during the day and I’m supposed to be able to enjoy them at night but as the weeks go on the excuses pile up but they still spend my money. So I’m done with dating. It’s time for a woman who knows the deal and signs on the dotted line. I’m looking for a sugar baby, it's instant lust when I find Anne and see her curves that should come with a warning sign. Until I find out she hasn't just been a sugar baby before; she's sold herself by the hour in Las Vegas. It's one step too far for me, only I can't stop thinking about her. I find out she had her reasons for what she did, like I have mine. Her past is her past; I want her for what she is now. Besides, this is just sex, a simple exchange for time and money. Except, little by little, it becomes far from simple as I find out money doesn't buy everything.


I thought I was done with being a sugar baby, of selling myself for security and a better life than the one I grew up in. Even though I’m a plus size, not a size two, men were more than willing to buy what I was selling. I tried to go white collar, to be normal. For four years I worked my ass off to get a degree in accounting; only, things don’t always go as planned. The instant attraction to Grant is a cherry on top; he's gorgeous and very generous. Is that why all my rules begin to blur, blend, and break to please him? I'm not ashamed of my past and all I’ve experienced, but it doesn't prepare me for Grant and all the things he wants and needs from me. I don't believe in forever, in happily ever after. What happens when he wants more than I give?

Purchase Links

99c for a limited time!



“Fifty thousand a month for a year, whether we make it the entire twelve months or not. You’ll also get a credit card for personal use, whatever you want to use it on, no limit.”
Her reaction isn’t what I expect. Taking a step back, she shakes her head. “What are you expecting from me?”
I follow her. “You, all of you. I’m not into kinky shit or anything. You make the rules. I’ll accept what you are willing to give or not give. You don’t do blow jobs, fine, but I’ll need to taste you, that preview in the car wasn’t enough.”
“If you want to.” The words come out of her in a rush. Her grey eyes begin to glow as my hands catch her hips to keep her where I want her, close to me.
“You’ll spread your pussy wide for me to feast when I want.” It’s not a question. I can smell her wet for me; I need to taste her again. Sliding my hands down over her beautiful round ass, I squeeze what has been tempting me.
“Yes, yes.” Her hips rock against my straining cock.
Fuck, her breathing flutters as she rocks against me again. Needing to know before I tear her clothes off and fuck her where we stand; I almost groan as I ask. “Any other no-gos for the bedroom?”
“You mentioned it already, I’ll live without it. Tell me more, any other limits?” Her hand comes up to my arm to steady herself. Her breathing does that thing again, then her other hand is at my waist. Her eyes are hypnotic pools of silver.  
Her voice is trembling. “I agree to sex at least three times a week, but I have the right to say no to more than five. The right to my own space and to sleep in it instead of with you. No pimping me out or trying to share me with other men or women. No fondling me in front of people. No discussing our arrangement publicly, if you talk to your friends about it privately I’m fine, but just not putting it on blast to just anyone.”
“When you say three times, is that each time I fuck you or every time I take you.” Fuck, she’s panting for me to be inside her. Her hands go around my neck then pull me down to her mouth.
“Take me.” She groans into my mouth.
Clinging to my last shred of sanity I ask the last question that matters, “Are you protected? I fuck bare and I want to come inside you.”
“Yes, yes.” She moans as she presses her breasts against my chest. 
“You’re mine.” It’s not a question. Question time is over. 

Author Bio

Due to commitment issues I have lived in many different cities and my favorite is Chicago but I have managed to settle into Austin and perhaps my commitment issues are behind me.

I have enjoyed reading from a very young age and it wasn't long before the children books bored me and I read the books my mother enjoyed Stephen King and Dean Koontz and I didn't sleep without the light on until I was about ten.

I came across my first Harlequin by accident and it was love at first read, no one died and happy endings? It was a whole new world and I loved it.

I wrote my first story at eight and everyone died, of course. Since then I would like to think I've gotten better and now I'm writing the happily ever afters I first fell in love with, with some hot sex thrown in along the way.

Author Links

CHAPTER REVEAL - Love's Wall by Karen Deen #Giveaway!

Title: Love's Wall
A Time for Love Series Standalone
Author: Karen Deen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 4, 2017


Falling in love can be so easy - but is it always the right thing to happen in your life? Everyone has a history but, for some, that history makes them believe they aren’t worthy of love.


Life sends us the right person at the right time. You just have to be ready to accept them.
When his last relationship ended and shattered his dreams for the future, Zach moved forward carving out a life on his farm. He built a wall around his heart so he’d never be hurt again.
Family is everything for him. Working in the family-owned building company, life was simple and happy. Yet something - or someone - was missing from that life. Zach didn’t know it, but things were about to change. His wall was about to be tested and love was going to challenge everything he has strived to protect. Will it crumble enough for him to accept his one?


Just when you least expect it, there is that one moment that changes everything.
Being a single Mom, every day is a challenge for Emily. Her life has become a series of relentless hurdles. She decided a long time ago that love was on hold until her children were old enough to support themselves.
Life has toughened Emily. She’s created a wall around her little family to protect them - and her heart. Never again would she allow it to be taken and abused by someone else. Pushing hard to survive the latest blow, Zach walks into her life and turns it upside down. Seeing Emily at her lowest, Zach wants to rescue her. Can she let her pride slip enough to allow her wall to crumble and open up to him? If she finally shares her world, will Zach still look at her the same? Should she put it all aside so she doesn’t miss her one?

Can love erase the history that has made their walls so thick and high? Even if they both know they’ve found the one, can they demolish their walls enough to make the leap? 

Chapter One

Heading across the bedroom, steam still swirling around from the shower, I paused. The view of the mountains brought a smile to my face as I stood naked at the window, enjoying the morning in all its glory. The breeze carried the birds morning song and the sounds of the cattle in the paddocks through the open window. Nature was busy getting ready for the day. I pulled my clothes on for the office. Part of me wished that I could just jump back into my farm jeans, shirt and boots and head out to the barn to saddle up for a ride. I could use one more day to relax in this tranquil place like I had been for the last two days.
Thinking back on the weekend I could see that, although I loved my life, it was missing something. Or perhaps someone. My life was full. I had an amazing family and a business that made me happy to get up and go to work every morning. My home was my safe-haven, it gave me a place to just be myself with no expectations. It also gave me a place to hide. With all of the things that were right in my life, there was still a part of me that was empty. After letting my mind drift, I knew I needed to get my head around the start of a new week. Jumping in the car, I placed the same call that I made every Monday morning as I drove out of the gate. 
Good morning, Zoe, how was your weekend?I smiled, waiting for the usual answer.
“Morning, Zach. Let’s just say that several words can describe it. My weekend was fun, crazy, drinking, partying - all of which have led to my head paying the consequences this morning!Zoe then launched into stories of the weekend and we spent time laughing about her nights out.
As I turned down the entrance to the highway and felt my foot press down on the pedal, my body pushed back into the leather seat that wrapped around my body so well. The buzz of driving a nice car at speed brought a smile that inched up my face.
So the big question is, Zoe - did you spot your Mr Right out there somewhere?I let out a little chuckle, hearing Zoe sigh and then laugh. She got ready to joke it off, but I knew deep down under the party girl exterior it was no joke. She was a young lady who would give anything to have a man to love and protect her, to plant her feet on the ground. My gut feeling was that man would be my brother, Luke, but the two of them just hadn’t worked it out yet. The sexual tension between them could light up Times Square, yet they both fought so hard to keep that friend wallup. One day something was going to flick that switch and the explosion would be more impressive than the Fourth of July fireworks. Id just sit back, watch, wait and then say I told you sobecause I knew all along.
Now Zach, you know as good as I do that there is no good man out there who will pin me down. Living the dream, Zach, living the dream. I burst out laughing at Zoes comment, knowing she was trying to convince herself of that. Tell your head that this morning, Zoe. Anyway, as much as I hate to hurt that little brain of yours, whats on the agenda for today? Also, did you get that email I sent you re the plans for Branch Street that need to be at council by 10.00am?
Yes, yes,she sighed.Already done, you know I am always one step ahead of you!
Zoe joined our building development company five years ago straight out of secretarial college and had been my assistant from day one. It was a match that could have spelled disaster. She walked in on a day that had me dragging myself up off the couch in my office. I was trying to make the bathroom to throw up the bottle of bourbon I had consumed the night before. Tragically, I stumbled and managed to throw up on her shoes and then lay moaning at her feet.
Our relationship could have gone either way. She could have turned around and walked straight back out, cursing me as she left, never to return. Instead, Zoe just looked down at me and burst out laughing. She proceeded to tell me to take my hungover ass and grovel back to the couch while she changed and cleaned up my mess. She walked over and threw her shoes in the bin, mumbling that she expected two new pairs of shoes to replace the ones which were now laying sadly in the bottom of the bin. It hurt my head to laugh, but I couldnt help but let out a quiet chuckle. We would get on just fine.
Zoe spent our first day of working together in her gym clothes. Luckily, they were in her car and clean. Me? I was in the singlet and jeans I had on from the night before, minus the shirt. It had a new home in the bin with her shoes!
Zoe had cleaned me up, poured coffee that was as thick as tar down my throat, along with bottle after bottle of water and plenty of pain relief. We managed to get to the end of the day and she never asked what happened. And I never told her. From that day forward, we had been great friends, as well as work colleagues. She knew I would be there to stand up and protect her, no matter what.  Zoe would jump in front of anyone trying to take advantage of my soft caring heart. If I was the builder of the wall in front of my heart, Zoe was the guard at the gate. We just clicked that way. Although I already had two sisters, Alesha and Lilly, Zoe had become like my third and I was just as protective of her.
Ok, so if you are one step ahead of me, what am I doing today, Miss Smarty Pants?I heard the tapping of her long painted nails on the keyboard as she called up my calendar.
You will be in the office in approximately thirty minutes. Oh wait - what are you in today, the SUV or the BMW?
Waiting for the smart answer that would come back, I replied, The BMW, so you better adjust the time frame.” I pushed the speedo up and got into the fast lane. One of my weaknesses was the love of a fast fancy car. Although I had not indulged myself in the last few years, I still loved my BMW. It may not be the highest priced or the fastest model, but it appealed to me with its style and lines. That was me, I was always looking at how something spoke to me before I acquired it. I had to feel it was meant to be part of my world before I proceeded.
Ok, you will be in the office in twenty minutes so we can have a coffee and run through this weeks planning. Then you have the family meeting at 12pm for lunch. You will need all your files for that. I’ve put the updates and proposal for the Branch Street property on your desk. Bob Walter is meeting you at 4pm with the legal papers for the eviction notices for Branch Street. Then you have dinner booked at 6pm with your Grandmother at Waters Edge. Your older control-freak brother, Grant, is picking her up at 5.40pm from home. I have the birthday present wrapped and on your desk as you asked. How am I doing so far?”
Wow! What would I do without you, Wonder Woman?” I grinned as I looked out the window, trying to hold my laughter inside.
Screwed, Id say. Now, can I get off the phone so I can get a coffee, otherwise that morning smile you are wishing for will be non-existent.
As much as I loved Zoe like a sister, you never crossed her before the first coffee in the morning. Just quickly before you start having a meltdown, I am going past Branch Street before I come to the office. I want to take a few more photos, so dont worry about my coffee. I will grab one on my travels
Ha, like I was getting you one anyway. Bye.I hung up with a smile, knowing she would have had one on my desk when I walked in the same as she did every other morning. I was such a creature of habit. I also knew I never got to say goodbye because she always liked to have the last say. Typical woman.
Zoe always believed she was one step ahead of me. I loved to humour her, but the truth was, I knew everything she told me this morning because I was a fine-details person. She was my back up and was damn good at it. Her job was very important to her. It kept her out of the mess of a life she’d worked so hard to rise above.
I put my head back on the headrest and searched through music playlists to get my Monday morning going. I loved all sorts of music, but when you are cruising down the freeway with the sun shining, there was nothing better than good ol’ solid eighties rock to sing along to.
The Monday morning drive into the office of our family owned-property development and building company always gave me time to prepare mentally for the week ahead. I loved the challenge of my role - sourcing properties in need of development to increase their value. Or finding those sitting on the market needing to be demolished. My true passion, though, was to restore homes and buildings to their former glory whilst modernising them with the comforts of the twenty-first century. These properties were hard to find and I was very selective of the ones I purchased, due to the cost of restoration in relation to what they would sell for.
Sometimes, though, there was that special property that came along that spoke to me. The costings became less important and the project became about me. That was the case for my home, which I purchased two years ago. It was situated on fifty acres of land, thirty minutes outside of the city. The day I saw the listing pop up in my real estate watchlist, I knew I had to have it.
The first photo I saw was of a two-storey farm house with wide verandas all the way around the house. The front of the house had a beautiful set of stairs that opened out like welcoming arms, just like that first warm embrace of a loved one. The stairs led straight up to solid double doors at the entrance. When opened, they gave the first glimpse of a home full of love and laughter. The problem was that the love and laughter had been sucked out of this home. The previous family had spent ten years battling over the proceeds of the deceased estate of an elderly couple.
I had later found out the previous owners were Tom and Nellie Smithton. They had built this home after marrying seventy-five years ago. The two souls had spent a lifetime devoted to each other and their home. Tom and Nellie were never able to have children, but it never changed the amount of love they’d had to share. Many friends from church had taken their children to spend time on the farm. Nellie enjoyed baking for the children and fussing over them. They became known as Poppy Tom and Nanna Nellie to generations of children who’d loved them dearly.
They passed away within a week of each other, Nellie from a stroke in her sleep and Tom from a broken heart six days later. The farm was left to the church in their will. But, as it happens so often these days, the will was challenged by two great-nieces and a nephew. The nephew challenged to try and stop his greedy twin daughters. They were spoilt little rich girls and never felt that generous wealth was enough. The nephew had always said he would gift back to the church if he was successful. He had disowned his daughters for their terrible behaviour. Needless to say, it dragged on to become a lengthy court battle where the only winners were the lawyers. In the end, the decision was that each would receive part of the estate. The property needed to be sold. That became my lucky day. In my heart, I hoped to bring their property back to being a place that was a treasured home.
When I saw the home listed, I rang the agent straight away. I offered the asking price without any haggling, on the condition that it be pulled from the market immediately and a quick settlement negotiated. I wanted this house more than I had wanted anything in my life. Well, except for the one thing that I would never allow myself to have again. My heart could not take that.
I didnt tell my family I had even put in an offer on the property until I had already settled the purchase. Grant was pissed, to say the least, because he had not been consulted whether he thought it was a good investment. Ever since my parents had retired, Grant had become the self-appointed head of the family, whether we wanted it or not.
Luke had complained, but only because he had to put up with Grants grunting. The silent treatment always happened in the office when Grant believed one of us had stuffed up. Of course, the girls both questioned why I had bought a house so far out of the city - it would be like going to the end of the earth to have to travel that distance every day to civilisation. Apparently, life ceases to exist past the Central Business District of Cashmore! Nobody sold coffee or shoes that were up to the standard of my fashion conscious, latte-sipping sisters. Zoe just raised her eyebrows and gave three reasons why it was a dumb idea - no night clubs, no girls and no life!
I remember the feeling of the grey cloud my family had painted getting heavier over my heart. For once, I felt like I had finally found a place to just be me and make my mark on the world, but they were raining on my parade. It hurt, but I would never let them know that. I did what I had always done for many years - painted a smile on my face. I loved my family with every part of my being and would never hurt them. I had kept a part of me hidden from them, as well as from the rest of the world. I would never again be vulnerable to having my world shattered. Love is amazing and the most comforting emotion, but it could also rip you to shreds. After being on both sides of the wall, I had chosen my side. The side which was comfortable and safe. I had built my wall just that little bit higher, thicker and stronger so it kept me safe and stopped any future intruders from crossing over it.
It hurt to think of my life before then. I had never completely shared with anyone what truly happened, nor would I ever. No matter how much you moved on, pushed it down, stepped on top of it and tried to climb above it, there’d always be a part of it that would pull you down.
Regardless of what my siblings and Zoe had thought, the house was right for me and I would make it my home by bringing back its dignity. Maybe that was what I’d needed to do to help me see value in my own life. To feel like I had dignity again. That was a thought I kept to myself.
When my Mom and Dad came home for a few weeks, in between travelling the country in their motorhome, it was their opinions that mattered the most. My father was the typical all-American, hardworking, self-made, protective alpha male who valued his wife and children above money and power.
My grandfather had died from a heart attack when Dad was ten years old. Dad took on the responsibility of becoming the man of the house and looking after my grandmother. He took it very seriously and, as an only child, Grandmother had no one else to lean on. Dad grew up faster than most kids his age. He was a great man and worked hard to be the best father he could, providing us with all that we needed. He always loved us. We knew we were loved unconditionally. While the love for his children was big, the love in his heart for our Mom was huge. They had that connection of love that made their souls melt into one, their lives intertwined around each others hearts to keep them safe.
My mother was the opposite to Dad. Dad was the foundation of our family tree. He was strong and solid and lifted us all up to the sun. My Mom was the softness of the leaves, the beauty of the flowers and the memorable moments of their scent. She was the branches that twisted, curled, intertwined and reached out to protect her family tree. They were the perfect couple that you always heard about. The ones women swooned over in those trashy romance novels, like the ones Zoe read when she thought I wasn’t watching.
I grew up with the perfect family around me. Id forever be grateful for the love we had and the feeling of always being safe. Many arent so lucky to have grown up in such a home. My parent’s life, although it was perfect for them, was one that I had decided was not going to happen for me. While thinking my siblings would all at some stage find that special person to love, cherish and share a life with, it was no longer in my life map. I was resigned to be the uncle who was always there to be fun, protect, guide and love any nieces or nephews that came along. I hoped there’d be plenty, but being a father was no longer an option for me. I always imagined I would make a good dad. I’d visualize it and see a little boy with brown hair and brown eyes like me. Or perhaps a little girl with ringlet curls like my sisters, with big eyes that would suck her Dad in every time.
My family would never know why, but the uncle life was the path for me. They would be the ones to benefit from the love I had to give, without the pain that could come in return when giving out that love. Family was your safe place. Well, it was for me.
When Mom and Dad arrived at the property for the first time, I held my breath. Although I knew I had made the right decision for me, their opinions were so important.
As their truck came slowly down the gravel drive from the front gate, I wondered what they thought of the house at first sight. Did they see it the same way I did? Was I the only one whose heart had skipped a beat on their first trip down the same strip of gravel that they now travelled?
The drive to my home was lined with maple trees that were bare at the time the property became mine. They stood tall, solid and strong, yet sparse as I’d crawled slowly towards the house that memorable day. They looked like they were reaching out to find someone to love the property and, in turn, them.
The truck crawled to a stop in front of the staircase where I stood at the top, looking down. Mom jumped out and raced around the front of Dads truck, which was his pride and joy. He always told us, every man needs a truck so they can work hard and provide for their family. Mom always giggled at that statement, but all of the boys in our family owned trucks, even if we had other vehicles. It was in our blood that every man needed a truck to be as big a man as our Dad. He was our hero.
Mom took the steps at a jog and jumped into my arms with a big tight hug. I wrapped my arms around her and buried my head into the crook of her neck. I took a deep breath and with it, the scent that was my Mom. My safe place. It was the scent that took you back in time to when you scraped your knee and she kissed it better. Or the time you were sick in bed and she sat all night holding your hand while you battled the fever. Mom was always home, no matter what.
I lifted my head up and looked down at her face which, now aged a little with many laugh lines (as she called them), had the loving smile she saved just for her kids. Although she was having a ball travelling with Dad, she missed her kids terribly. And although Dad would never admit it, I think he did too. Mom always said they were travelling now so that by the time grandkids were arriving, they would have that bug out of their system. There was no way in hell she was missing one moment of being a grandparent. God help her grandkids, they were going to be smothered with love! Then again, what more could any child want but to feel the love of a whole family?
Mom was not a short woman, standing at 5’7”. To my 6’2” height, her head sat perfectly under my chin and leant against my heart, taking it all in. When she looked up at me finally, her eyes were damp. There was warmth shining out of them and her smile lit up her whole face. It told me her heart had skipped that beat on the trip down the gravel driveway too.
So, what do you think, Mom? Does it give a good first impression?I asked, thinking I already knew the answer. Oh Zach, it is wonderful! What a precious looking home. It looks just perfect. I cant wait to see what you do with it. I would love to hear all your ideas for it. Take us on the grand tour and share what your dreams are!Mom bounced with excitement and talked quickly as she dragged me towards the front door.
Hang on a minute, woman! Can I get a word in, or at least a hug from my son?boomed Dads deep voice as he climbed from his truck.
Hey Dad, thanks for coming to check the place out and give me your thoughts”.
Zach, my boy, good to see you,he said, giving me the typical Dad man-hug with the compulsory man-slaps on the back. Always three slaps. When we were little, I asked Dad why he always did three slaps on our backs. He laughed and hugged me, his arm around me with his hand on my shoulder blade. He slowly slapped me and said, This first slap is to let you know I am glad to see you. The second is to let you know that I am always there for you. The last is the most important. It is to remind you that, no matter what happens in your life and no matter where you are, I will always love you.
I have carried that memory with me every day since. For a man who always appeared to the outside world as the strong alpha male, he also had a soft spot that he only showed to his family. Even now, as grown adults that were out living their lives in the world, we immediately got the hug and three slaps from Dad. Only after Mom had hugged the air out of us first, though!
Dad pulled back from the hug and looked up, casting his eyes over the house. He went quiet and started to wander off around the outside of the veranda, lifting his eyes up and down and taking in the structural elements. As I stood and watched him with anticipation, Mom tapped me on the arm and grabbed my attention. Come on, Zach. Let him go. You take me inside and show me around this gorgeous new home of yours.I looked down at the excitement in her eyes and took her by the hand. We turned towards the front door and I lead her into my new world. The one I was creating to live in.
I have so many ideas, Mom, that I feel like my head is going to explode with the amount of activity that is going on in there. It’s hard to concentrate on work when my mind keeps coming back to here. I want to bring life back to it and show the house as it once was. There is so much beauty in the original architecture and building materials, but it has been left to rot. Its been neglected for the last ten years, some of the house is past just a paint job. Some of the timber will need to be repaired or replaced to return it to its original state.
Mom started to run her hand along the walls as we stood in the entry and fell silent while she assessed the sight that played out in front of her. What was she doing rubbing the walls, I wondered? Its not like she was testing for wood rot or structural soundness, because Mom would never make a builder. After she stood for a minute, she turned to me with a serious look on her face. As she contemplated whatever she was thinking about, the wrinkles on her forehead relaxed and the corners of her mouth began to curve up towards her eyes, bringing out the warm smile.
Um, Mom - what are you thinking?She let out a nervous giggle, sighed and looked me straight in the eye. This house has a great vibe to it. It will make a perfect home for you, Zach, you can feel the love in its walls. It was built to be filled with the love of a family. It will be a special place for you to bring home a bride one day. The two of you will fill it with love and a family of your own. It will be magical for this house to be the home it was built to be by the old couple. There is magic here, Zach, I can feel it.
My heart stopped beating and my brain froze. How do I break my mothers heart and tell her that would never happen? There would be laughter and smiles here, but the love of a family would only be here when they came to visit. I stared at her while she continued to talk ten-to-the-dozen, but I didn't hear a word. Doubts began to creep into my mind. Did I do the right thing buying this property? Was it meant to be a home for some lucky family who would have kids running around screaming, laughing and climbing the trees? A dog chasing at their heels as they rode their push bikes from the house to the front gate and back?
“Zach…..Zach………ZACH!Mom started waving her arms madly in front of my face. Where did you zone out to, Zach, this isnt like you? Are you okay, honey? Did I scare you with all the talk of a bride and kids?She sniggered to herself. Dont worry, plenty of time for that. Lets get the house fixed up first and then you can go looking for your bride to make it a home.
Just paint on that smile again, Zach, and it will be okay. Take a breath and just relax. Breath in, then out, in, then out. Every breath in is helping put another layer of bricks between the safe side of the love wall and the other side that I cant go to.
Zach, are you okay? You look pale and have lost that excited look you had when we first walked in.
Sorry Mom, just got lost in a daydream about the renovationsMore like a nightmare, I thought to myself. How about I show you through the downstairs living areas, then we can take a look upstairs at the bedrooms and bathrooms. What do you say?
I held my arm out for her to take, and the moment she linked her arm in mine, the calmness of a mothers love warmed my body. I relaxed into her side as we stepped together down the hallway through to the formal lounge room. This was the room where I had visions of me after a long day at work, sitting back in my leather recliner in front of the open fire. Id watch the flames dance over the wood as it burned. The warmth would spread through the room, enveloping me and seeping into my body, relaxing my muscles. My body would sag back into the cosiness of the chair and I could lose my thoughts gazing out the large bay window facing the front of the property. I would look towards the surrounding open space of the farm, with the beautiful trees that line the drive and the mountains in the distance. A great way to unwind with a glass of red wine and just contemplate the world.
As we studied the room, I explained my visions in broad terms to Mom. I wanted to keep part of my dream as mine for a while until such time as it was completed or I was ready to share it. Mom loved the room and all that I was going to do to bring it to life. The rest of the tour went much the same as I lead her from room to room until we ventured upstairs.
Wow, look at the size of this master bedroom, its huge! Especially for the era the house was built in. And the views from this window to the river and mountains are spectacular! I can imagine what it would look like at night lying in bed looking out to the stars over the mountains. Zach, you could not have found a more perfect home!
Thanks Mom, it means a lot to hear you say that. You know, Grant didnt talk to me for a week when I told him and Luke that I had bought it.
I jumped a little as Dads voice came from behind us unexpectedly. Your mother is right, Zach. This is a great buy with plenty of potential to bring it back to its prime. Dont worry about your brother. He is just sulking because he had to realise you dont need him to hold your hand. I swear he thinks he is the father of this family, frickincontrol freak!
Mom nearly choked as she burst out laughing at my Dad. Gee, Mitch, I wonder where he gets that character trait from?
Bite that cute little tongue of yours, Sophia,he said as he strode across the room and wrapped her up in those big manly arms of his. He leant down and placed a very tender kiss on her lips and whispered, Or will I have to shut that cheeky little mouth for you?” He winked, making her blush. As much as I love my parents, there were times when I thought, I do not need the vision of you both doing anything else other than kissing and cuddling.
Mom stretched up on her toes to whisper in Dads ear as I turned to stare out the window. I didnt need to share in that private moment.
Like I said, Zach, the house is structurally sound and I look forward to seeing what you do with it. As we stood staring out to the farm sprawling before us, Dad asked me what I planned to do with the workers cottage.
I am going to fix it up first to a neat liveable standard, then move in there to live while I work on the house. That way, I can take my time on the house and continue on it at night after work. I won’t have a thirty minute drive home each night after I finish.
Sounds like you have it all thought out, son. I am proud of you and know youll do a good job.
He had a good teacher, Mitch.My Mom’s pride showed in her eyes as she looked up into my Dads.
Shes right, Dad, you taught us all so well. Not only about building, but how to be a man. I hope I have lived up to that for you.In my heart, I didnt think I had. But it didnt stop me from desperately wanting to hear it from my father.
As I said, Zach, I am proud of you and who you are. Just as I am of your brothers and sisters. You have all grown into great people. Your mother and I are excited everyday watching you all embrace life.
Thanks Dad, it means a lot,I whispered as I stood trying to process the emotions created by what he’d said.
Now enough of this mushy crap. Whats a man got to do around here to get a feed and a cold beer?Laughter echoed off the bare walls and the moment was gone. Another rare glimpse of Dad’s soft side to store in my memory bank.
The day ended with us in the local steakhouse. We chatted over the house plans and heard about their last trip. Dad wanted to get up to speed on where work projects were up to. He might be retired, but always liked to keep his finger in the pie. The day ended with Mom probing me for gossip on my siblings.
We’d made a pact years ago. Mom got the everyday gossip, but anything serious we kept to ourselves so the person involved could share it when they were ready. It worked most of the time until Mom hunted for confirmation that one of us was in need of her help. The thing was, she was usually spot on the money. I guess it was part of a mothers sixth sense, like when you were younger and she already knew what you’d done wrong.
I would always look back on that day with a smile and the memory of my parents love, feeling so at home and safe. As I floated back into the present, I saw the edge of the city and heard the sound of horns above the tail end of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.

Author Bio

Karen Deen has been a lover of romance novels and happily-ever-after stories for as long as she can remember. Reaching a point in her life where she wanted to explore her own dreams, Karen decided now was the time to finally write some of her own stories. For years, all of her characters have been forming story lines in her head, just waiting for the right time to bust free.

In 2016, Karen put pen to paper for the first time, with Zach and Emily being the first characters fighting to have their story written.  From that first word, she hasnt been able to stop. Publishing Loves Wall (her first novel in the Time to Love Series) in 2017 has ignited her passion to continue writing and bring more of her characters to life.

Karen is married to her loving husband and high school sweetheart. Together, they live the crazy life of parents to three children. She is balancing her life between a career as an accountant by day and writer of romance novels by night. Living in the beautiful coastal town of Kiama, Australia, Karen loves to enjoy time with her family and friends in her beautiful surroundings.

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