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The Brass Ring by Lisa Jackson
It's a beautiful June day, perfect for a wedding--until Shawna learns that her fiancé, Parker, has been involved in a car crash. Though his injuries heal, his memories of her are gone. Yet Shawna won't stop ...
The Brass Ring by Lisa Jackson
It's a beautiful June day, perfect for a wedding--until Shawna learns that her fiancé, Parker, has been involved in a car crash. Though his injuries heal, his memories of her are gone. Yet Shawna won't stop reaching to reclaim the love they once shared . . .
June's Lace by Cathy Lamb
June MacKenna is done--with her high-pressure legal career, her cheating soon-to-be-ex, and the stress of city living. In her studio on the Oregon coast, she creates beautiful lace wedding dresses, with no intention of ever wearing one again herself. Then songwriter Reece rents the house next door, and sets out to change her mind . . .
Second Chance Sweethearts by Holly Chamberlin
Thea Foss is putting a bad marriage behind her in the pretty vacation town of Ogunquit, Maine. What's past is past . . . .Until her first love wanders into the local diner, reminding Thea of the person she once was, and the life it's not too late to claim . . .
Carolina Summer by Rosalind Noonan
Jane Doyle needs to get out of New York--the farther the better. She's headed toward Florida, but thanks to a storm along North Carolina's Outer Banks, she finds herself stranded in a beautiful, remote town that soon feels a lot like home. And thanks to the local sheriff, she finds herself staying longer than she planned--and feeling less lost at sea than ever . . .
1. Too many wedding dresses
2. Not enough wedding dresses
4. Going broke
5. Losing my home
6. Never finding an unbroken, black butterfly shell
7. The upcoming interview with the fashion writer
8. Not having peppermint sticks in my life
9. Turning back into the person I used to be
10. Always being worried
"Ha. I knew you wouldn't accept those unacceptable terms, June," Cherie Poitras, my divorce attorney, cackled. "Your soon-to-be-ex-husband has a monstrous addiction to being a jerk but don't worry, we're not quitting. Quitting causes my hot flashes to flare."
"I don't want your hot flashes to flare, Cherie. And I'm not quitting, either. I can't." I yanked opened the French doors to my second-story deck as lightning zigged and zagged across the night sky through the bubbling, black clouds, the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing down the hill from my blue cottage. "If I could catch a lightning strike, I'd pitch it at him."
"It would be thrilling to see that," Cherie declared. "So vengefully Mother Nature-ish."
"What a rat." I shut the doors with a bang, then thought of my other life, the life before this one, and shuddered. I could not go back to it, and I was working as hard as I could to ensure that that wouldn't happen. There wasn't enough silk and satin in that other life. There wasn't any kindness, either. Or softness. "I so want this to end."
"He's sadistically stubborn. I have been buried in motions, requests for mediation, time for him to recover from his fake illness, his counseling appointments, attempts to reconcile ... he's tried everything. The paperwork alone could reach from Oregon to Arkansas and flip over two bulls and a tractor."
"That's what we're dealing with, Cherie, bull." I ran a hand through my long, blond, messy hair. It became stuck in a tangle.
"Sure are, sweets."
"He's doing this so I'll come back to him."
"That's true. He's a tenacious, rabid possum."
"I don't ever want anything to do with the rabid possum again." I was so mad, even my bones seemed to ache. Cherie wished me a "happy wedding dress sewing evening," and I wished her the best of luck being a ferocious attorney who scares the pants off all the male attorneys in Portland and went back to stomping around my studio.
My studio is filled with odd and found things. I need the color and creativity for inspiration for the nontraditional wedding dresses I sew. Weathered, light blue shutters from a demolished house are nailed to a wall. Two-foot-tall pink letters spell out my first name. On a huge canvas, I painted six-foot-tall purple tulips with eyes, smiles, and pink tutus. I propped that painting against a wall next to a collection of mailboxes in the shapes of a pig, elephant, dragon, dog, and monkey. The monkey mailbox scares me.
I dipped a strawberry into melted chocolate and kept stomping about. I eat when I get upset or stressed, and this had not proved to be good for the size of my bottom. Fifteen extra pounds in two years. After only four more strawberries, okay seven, and more pacing, I took a deep breath and tried to wrestle myself away from my past and back into who I am now, who I am trying most desperately to become.
"Remember, June," I said aloud as my anger and worry surged like the waves of the Oregon coast below me. "You are in your sky-lighted studio. Not a cold, beige home in the city. You are living amidst stacks of colorful and slinky fabrics, buttons, flowers, faux pearls and gems, and lace. You are not living amidst legal briefs and crammed courtrooms working as an attorney with other stressed-out, maniac attorneys hyped up on their massive egos."
My tired eyes rested, as they so often did, on my Scottish tartan, our ancestors' tartan, which I'd hung vertically on my wall. When I'd hung it in our modern home in Portland, he'd ripped it down and hid it from me for a month. "Tacky, June, it's tacky. We're not kilt-wearing heathens."
I am a wedding dress designer in the middle of a soul-crushing divorce. I am a wedding dress designer who will never again marry. I am a wedding dress designer who has about as much faith in marriage as I do that the Oregon coast will never see another drop of rain.
A blast of wind, then a hail of rain pummeled my French doors.
I ate yet another chocolate-covered strawberry. I have been told my eyes are the color of dark chocolate. Not a bad analogy. I washed the strawberry down with lemonade, then ate a carrot.
No, I have no faith in marriage.
It was a bad day. A very bad day. And I knew there were more bad days to come with my ex.
I did not see the wave erupting from the ocean like a sneaky, amphibious water assault. The Oregon coast, stunning and breathtaking, can, infrequently, whip out dangerous waves that arch and stretch and cover anyone in their path with freezing cold water, a bit of foam, and a mouthful of long seaweed. If you are lucky, it will not pull you out to swim with the whales.
But I had committed the cardinal Oregon beach sin: I put my back to the ocean. Never do that.
An hour before, I'd pulled on a raincoat and rain pants and headed out for my usual five-mile "Sanity Walk," which I do each day to settle my worries. I need to get away from work and my sticky workaholic tendencies, and an overload of him, whom I try not to think about because he contaminates my brain synapses and makes them explode.
Between the raindrops, off in the distance, I could see rays of sun slanting through the clouds, a promise of a reprieve from an early summer rain. To my right, near the rocks and tide pools, I saw a black butterfly shell and turned to pick it up, to see if it was whole, unbroken. I am always searching for whole butterfly shells. I have never found one. The left wing of this shell was halfway broken off ...
I was soaked and choking as a wave poured down on my head. Another wave knocked me off my feet, then covered me in salt water. I struggled to find my footing, to figure out which way was up, as I fought vainly against the pull of the waves and the freezing cold. My face at one point was planted straight into the sand.
I tried to pinwheel my arms, but that didn't work. I tried to hit the ocean floor with my feet, but they were tossed up and over my head. I was under a wall of water, heading out into the ocean, a rock scraping my back. The water sucked and spun me out and around, as if I was a black butterfly shell and it was trying to crack me in half.
I tried to breathe and choked, inhaling water, the cold claws of panic paralyzing my mind as I fought against drowning, seawater pouring over me, my head bopping through to air, then churning waves covering it again. I struggled and fought against the undertow, still not sure which way was up.
I felt a hand grab mine.
Within a millisecond, I was hauled up as if I weighed no more than a seagull. An arm curled around my waist, and I was thrust up against a wall of steel, the freezing water pouring off my body. A hand pounded my back as I doubled over and indelicately wretched out sea water and, I think, part of a shell, maybe a seahorse or a shark, and sand. I made another gagging sound, more water poured out, that strong arm still linked around my waist as body-freezing water swirled around us. I wretched again.
I spit out sand, my whole body going into semishock as I shook and shook. Sucking in air with a gurgly, gasping sound, my lungs totally depleted, my legs shaking, my hair glued to my head, I held on tight to the wall of steel as another wave rolled in. The wave receded, as fast as it came, the chilly water circling our thighs.
"It's okay," the wall of steel soothed, both arms tight around me. "I got ya. You're okay." He hit me on the back again, and once more I released part of the Pacific Ocean. I inhaled again with a jagged breath, vaguely thinking I sounded like a hyperventilating octopus, however that would be.
Seconds, that was what it took. Seconds before my life was suddenly in danger. Seconds after that and I'm being pounded on the back.
"Sorry about that," the man drawled. "I've never hit a woman, but this seems to be an occasion where it might be beneficial."
I leaned against his chest, arms around his waist, my whole body trembling, and between long strands of sandy, soaked hair, I eyed my rescuer.
He was a giant. I was being rescued by a green giant with blondish wavy hair.
"How ya doing?" he asked, his emerald eyes concerned, brow furrowed. "Can you get enough air?"
I studied those eyes for a minute. Honestly, they were hard to look away from, bright and intense, steady on. "Yes," I gurgled out, "I have air." I then leaned over, coughed in a particularly disgusting fashion, and this time spit up seaweed. I dragged one end of it out of my mouth until I had about six inches hanging from my fingers.
"Better now." My voice was still hoarse, sand crunching between my teeth. "I had not planned on seaweed for lunch."
"Good." He still held on to me so I wouldn't collapse. "I personally prefer clam chowder. Garlic bread. Less green, more flavor."
Ah. A man with dry humor. If I wasn't busy spewing out more sand, I would enjoy the verbal sparring. Leaning over again, his arms supporting me, I choked out yet another piece of seaweed and a mouthful of water. "Tastes terrible."
"Some people eat it with a dash of salt. Me, personally, it has never held appeal at all. At least you didn't swallow a fish."
"For that, I am grateful." I wiped my mouth. I was stunned. Overwhelmed. Two seagulls squawked above. "Thank you very much."
"You are quite welcome. Any time."
"Thank you," I said once again, my teeth now chattering, as he guided me out of the water and onto the sand, an arm still slinked around my waist. He took off his green rain jacket. "Here, take off your jacket, we'll put this one around you instead."
"That's chivalrous, but I'm soaked. You take it. It'll get wet." My body jerked as if it was being electrocuted.
"Please. Wear it. Let me help you. You're shaking too much to do it yourself."
That was true.
He unzipped my jacket and took one of my arms, then the other, both rattling around from cold and shock, and pulled my rain jacket off. He threw his jacket around me, stuck my arms back in, and zipped it up. I was instantly dwarfed by the giant's jacket. He pulled the hood over my head.
"But you'll get wet now," I gasped.
"I am not going to get anywhere near as wet as you already are. Please. Wear it."
He was wearing a blue sweater and I noticed that his chest was flat and the type you could sleep on, not that I would sleep on a man's chest ever again. No way.
"Thank you. I'm so, so glad you were here." A sense of utter relief, utter gratefulness flooded over me. Had he not been here, not taken action ... I could have died. That had not been on my agenda for today. I bit my frozen lip and tried not to cry.
"Happy to be here. I did have to run faster than I've ever run in my life, but I've got my exercise in. I'm renting a place up the hill, just arrived today, came out for a walk, and saw that huge wave hit you. It came out of nowhere, didn't it?"
"As if it dropped out of the sky." I pushed my dripping hair out of my eyes and stared at him, the wind lifting that blondish hair around a supertough and strong-looking jaw and prominent cheekbones. "Good of you to make a run to rescue me."
He bowed. "My pleasure."
Those green eyes stared right into mine, as if the drowned rat in front of him was interesting and appealing. I could not look away. The rain sprinkled down, and there we stood, staring at each other. My, how his eyes were a light and wondrous color, bold and sure, as if he wasn't afraid to look away from life ... the trustworthy, strong, I have a deeper side to me and I want to know the deeper side of you sort of gaze.
He shook his head, blinked a couple of times, and smiled again, his eyes crinkling in the corners.
Wow. Rough and tough and manly. Wow.
"Take off your shirt."
What? I felt myself prickle under his jacket, a blast of fear shooting through me.
"No, no, no." He put his hands up. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. But you're all zipped up under my jacket. Can you take off the wet clothing on your upper half so you don't get colder on our walk back?"
"Oh, okay." That made sense, since I was shivering so spasmodically.
"I'll turn around to give you some privacy and keep an eye on the ocean while you wriggle out of whatever you can."
I thought of taking my clothes off in front of this macho heman. One graphic picture jumped into my mind after another, and my breath quickened. Honestly, June. You almost drowned and you're thinking about getting naked? You haven't thought about a naked man in over two years.
"Are your hands too cold to do it?" His face creased into worry lines.
"No. Yes. No and yes to you." I coughed. Please, June, don't embarrass yourself. "I'll be fine."
The water off the Oregon coast is so absolutely freezing it hurts your brain, even in summer, but as we stared at each other from inches away, my head tilted back; I felt a blush climbing up my neck.
He blinked again, as if he was somewhat rattled, too, then turned around. I started to strip while sneaking peeks at his backside. Huuuuge shoulders. A solid man, not skinny. Tall, rangy.
I wriggled underneath the jacket, still warm from his manly man heat, and managed to pull my sweater and T-shirt off. I hesitated on my bra, then thought, what the heck. I was going to freeze to death if I didn't. The rain coming down wasn't helping. I dropped everything in the sand, stuck my arms through the jacket's sleeves, then rolled my soaking, sandy clothes into a ball.
"Okay, I'm undressed," I said, then stopped. Come on, June! Think! Don't say it that way! "I'm undressed but dressed. I'm dressed in your coat. Not naked undressed."
He turned around and I could tell he was chuckling on the inside.
"I mean, I'm ready. Ready to walk."
"All righty, off we go." He pulled the hood over my head again. "We've probably got a couple of miles to the steps. I'm worried about you getting cold. Walking will keep you warm."
He was worried about me? Worried about me? That was so darn sweet. I smiled at him, even though I felt my frozen lips wiggle.
"I'll hold that." He held out his hands for my clothes. "Wrap your arms around yourself to keep warm."
As a river of ice ran through me from head to foot, I handed him my clothes, and of course, my bra had to drop to the sand.
I bent to snatch it up but because I was a frozen popsicle, I didn't move real quick. He moved quicker, and my brassiere was soon in his huge hands.
"Oh no," I groaned. It was my black-and-white–spotted cow bra. There was a pink cow across each cup, surrounded by polka dots. It was a funny gift from my sister September, because she said I was an "udderly" wonderful sister. "Put your girls in these two cows!" she'd giggled.
"I'll take that back." I put my trembling hand out for the bra.
"Polka dots?" He raised an eyebrow. "And two cows." He held the bra up with both hands.
"I am so embarrassed. Please blame my sister. She sent it to me."
"It's original!" he declared, smiling at me. "It's a cow bra."
"Yes, oh me, oh my."
"Me, oh my, too," he said softly, and oh me, oh my, I could tell that man was struggling hard not to laugh.
Who was this man? And why, after almost drowning, was I all aflutter?
He held the pink cows up again. "I don't think I'm going to forget today."
"Me, neither. And not only because of the cow bra."
Soaked, freezing, a summer rain drenching us, we laughed.
And that was the beginning. The laughter was the beginning.
The beginning of Reece and me.
He tucked the wet cows into the wad of clothes. I took a deep breath. "It's a long walk; you don't have to come back with me. I can return your jacket."
Excerpted from Beach Season by Lisa Jackson Cathy Lamb Holly Chamberlin Rosalind Noonan Copyright © 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 16, 2012
Be sure to tote this volume along on your vacation.In “June’s Lace”,Cathy Lamb introduces us to former attorney/wedding dress designer;June MacKenzie, who,after continually battling with her slime-ball of a husband;Grayson for a divorce, swears she will never get involved with any male again—that is,until a blond, hunky giant of a songwriter named Reece rescues her from drowning. He seems kind & understanding, but June has her doubts about him as well as herself. Meanwhile, her talented staff; Estelle & Leoni & Leoni’s Daughter; Morgan, encourage her to follow her heart. But will Grayson ever give up & agree to the divorce? Or will she lose everything, including the creative, loving woman she is? Within the pages of Holly Chamberlin’s “Second Chance Sweethearts”, you’ll meet Thea Foss, who, escapes her familiar surroundings & her abusive former Husband; Mark Marais,& takes up residence in Ogunquit, Maine. Thea rents from the intuitive but lonely, Alice Moore & secures a job as a waitress in Maggie’s Diner. Despite ever-present fears, her life begins to take some order—that is, until the “Love of her Life” from years past; Hugh Landry, arrives on the scene. Will he remember all that they once shared? Will he be disappointed by the woman she has become? Or she with him? With “Carolina Summer”, Rosalind Noonan transports you to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We accompany Realtor,Jane Doyle,as she hurriedly leaves Manhattan w/ a plan to stay with her Brother; T.J. in Florida. With her thoughts distracted while trying to drive in a torrential downpour, Jane is involved in a collision near Avon. Thoroughly shaken but unhurt, she thinks that someone has tried to kill her. Confronted by handsome Sheriff Cooper Locklear & assisted to safety with Quickstop Market owners;Leah and Rusty Mallory, she regains her composure, only to find out her SUV is in need of repair & she must find lodging.Jane and Cooper keep meeting & getting better acquainted. But he must not find out the real reason for her hasty Southern trip. When a phone call persuades Jane to discontinue her travel plans, she fears for her safety & works her way into a rental cleaning job for a Realtor,keeping a low profile. What or who is she running from? Will Jane find sanctuary in Avon? You will enjoy reading Lisa Jackson’s pre-released tale; “The Brass Ring”.. Dr. Shawna McGuire & former tennis great; Parker Harrison, after a whirlwind courtship, are to be married. Prior to the rehearsal dinner the two lovebirds relax & go to a local fair complete w/ a carousel & Parker grabs the brass ring. They find a fortune teller’s tent & Shawna has her palm read. She is told she will lose the love of her life. Shaken but not deterred, they revel in their love & enjoy the evening’s celebration. Parker’s protégé; Brad Lomax, overindulges & Parker offers to drive him home in a raging storm. The party breaks up & everyone prepares for the wedding. When Parker doesn’t arrive on time,his Bride imagines he has changed his mind. Authorities arrive w/the news that there has been an accident & Parker has been taken to Mercy Hospital. Shawna races to his side,hoping she’s not too late, only to discover he does not remember her or their love. Could the fortune teller be right? Will she lose her her beloved Parker and also a piece of herself? And what about the young stranger;Melinda James? Enjoy! Nancy Narma
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Posted May 23, 2012
Beach Season by Lisa Jackson and 3 others
June's Lace by Cathy Lamb
June is going through a divorce but he wants half of her new wedding dress business. She is so distraught she heads down to the beach and she turns her back on a wave. It's raining and she falls under and an arm stretches to reach her. Reece is only renting a house for 8 weeks and he sees to it that she goes to get checked out at the hospital.
They have a survivors lunch for a few dates and she finds out he is staying right next door to her house. She has to sell that and give half to Grayson or he wants 1/2 of the business.
June concentrates on her sisters: August and September, they each keep a journal of things to worry about and compare them with each other.
Love reading about her design work and the process she uses. She is taken aback of what Reece does for a living and he's very sensitive when she tells him about her life, marriage and now the divorce and he feels like she's been let down for too long.
He just uses simple things to get to her: flowers, french toast on the deck one night for dinner, finding her the perfect unbroken butterfly shell.
Love also that this is located in Oregon as we have visited there a few times on our trek out west, so beautiful.
Such devotion to family, traditions and legends and what they symbolize.
Second Chance Sweethearts by Holly Chamberlin
Thea Foss, divorced has left and traveled to a resort town near Wells, Maine, rents an apartment for several months and loses herself in the town activities.
As a waitress to keep busy she's run into her old college boyfriend, Hugh Landry and they share several meals together and have other dates and just remember their whole lives together.
She talks to her landlady Alice when she shows up with fresh baked goodies.
After their long talks they figure out why they had split up before-who had caused it and each is forgiving and they fell they still have enough time in their lives to try it again.
What's to say the people who split them up before just won't do it again... but something else stands in their way.
Love the locale of the lighthouses, blueberry picking, beaches, just walking around parks
Carolina Summer by Rosamind Noonan
Jane Doyle has left the city on her way south to visit with her brother in FL. She's made it past Virginia and he's talked her into heading to the outer banks in NC where he has a friend that runs the hotel.
She's within an hour there and the rain downpour starts and she gets rear ended. The local sheriff is able to talk her out of the jeep that she's rented. She finds out her brother, TJ, his friend has relocated to Myrtle Beach.
The doctor and others talk her into staying at the local motel for the night, she walks around a bit and in the morning will say goodbye to them all on her way further south.
Problem is somebody is looking for her and has contacted her brother so she has to go into hiding. She rents a place and the sheriff is her landlord and she's happy that she will have protection so close by.
She opens up to Cooper and he tells her of his past.
Love this book because of the location, never been and have always wanted to after reading Nights in Rodanthe.
New thing for me is the windsurfing lessons.
The Brass Ring by Lisa Jackson
Parker Harrison is about to be married to the girl of his dreams. Night before they are at a carnival and he gets the brass ring while on the ride, also a fortune teller states that Shawna will lose him.
The day of the wedding and it's just about time when her brother, Jake comes in stating there had been an accident the night before. Parker had left to drive Brad home. Parker was the tennis coach for Brad.
Shawna McGuire has everything planned. Not only medical problems but other people.
Love this story for the location of Portland, Oregon.
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Posted December 8, 2012
Posted December 8, 2012
Posted October 25, 2012
Life is a Beach!
Slip into a “beach frame of mind” anytime, with Beach Season an omnibus grouping of short stories with a beach flavor. This collaboration contains short stories written by Cathy Lamb, Holly Chamberlain and Rosalind Noonan and contains an extra treat! Also contains to readers delight is a previously published Bantam Loveswept edition from Lisa Jackson, (back in the days of her writing as Susan Crose). As you will read in her “note” to readers is one of her favorite stories! So sit back in your comfortable chair, (alongside the murmur of the waves, optional), and you will find yourself transported to the seaside settings and thoughts of romance these stories inspire. Find yourself swept away by the strong arms of a mysterious stranger along the crashing waves. On the other hand, find yourself caught up in the chance meeting of a so long ago “lost” love. You will also hope to escape the danger and pray to stay hidden from someone whose business it is to find you and will go to any lengths to do so. Finally, the test of true love under unforeseen circumstances will put in perspective what is important against all odds.
Posted July 21, 2012
Posted July 12, 2012
Reviewed by Lynn F. for Readers Favorite
"Beach Season" is a novella written by 4 different authors. They will take you on a journey of old flames renewed, new romances found, suspense, and a better outlook for the future. Three of the stories are new while the last one, 'The Brass Ring' is a reprint. From the Oregon coast to Maine, New York, and the outer banks of North Carolina, we meet 4 women who in all respect are carrying excess baggage that they need to let go of. June is trying to finalize a divorce while her ex husband will not let go. He doesn’t want her, but he sure wants her money in 'Junes Lace' while Thea is trying to leave her old life behind and escape from her ex while meeting up with her old high school flame in 'Second Chance Sweethearts'. In 'Carolina Summer' Jane leaves New York for the summer trying to get away from a killer but she soon finds herself being stalked. 'The Brass Ring' shows us that all the plans in the world can soon be interrupted by a single car accident as Shawna soon learns on her wedding day.
I feel all the authors, Lisa Jackson, Holly Chamberlain, Cathy Lamb and Rosalind Noonan, have brought a wonderful assortment of characters to this novella. They are all excellent reading and so short that one could finish a story in an evening. They are all good but I think, as far as suspense goes, my favorite was 'Carolina Summer' while 'Second Chance' comes a close second. There are sexual encounters mentioned in each story but there is nothing erotic and nothing more than other romance books of this nature seem to have. One finds that there is always a new beginning just around the corner if one looks close enough. I feel that all of you will find this an enjoyable read.
Posted July 3, 2012
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Posted August 13, 2012
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