Monday, February 6, 2017

My New Book Hearts on Fire (Destination Billionaire Romance) is now Available

I'm thrilled to announce that my newest book Heart on Fire, a Destination Billionaire Romance is now Available! 

Get Your Copy HERE


This novel is set in beautiful Sonoma Valley, California. I first fell in love with the beautiful rolling vineyards and majestic countryside when my family and I went there on vacation. We've since been back many times. It's a little slice of Italy--a place to relax and savor the moment. I love the culture, food, and architecture. The irony is that I don't even drink alcohol, and I'm enamored with wine country because of all the other aspects of the area! 

I jumped at the chance to write a story about a bed and breakfast in the Sonoma Valley. Of course, considering my love for interior design, I had to also incorporate that. The characters came alive, lighting a fire in me that had me furiously pounding the keyboard until the wee hours of the morning to get the story from my head to the computer screen. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Here's the description:

Rising star Peyton Kelly has her own remodeling show on HGTV. But when her mother dies suddenly, Peyton becomes a partial owner of the rundown bed and breakfast that’s been in the Kelly family for three generations. Located in the center of breath-taking wine country, the bed and breakfast could be a jewel. In a cruel twist of fate, Carter Webster her former fianc√© purchases the other half. Peyton wants to revitalize the bed and breakfast, but Carter’s determined to tear it down and build an exclusive resort in its place. 

Sparks fly as Peyton and Carter square off. It doesn’t take long for the flame between them to reignite, and their hearts are drawn together, but their heads have other ideas. Can Peyton and Carter put aside old grudges and yield to the desires of their hearts, or will the secrets of the past consume them?

Here's an excerpt:

Prologue:
Peyton couldn’t help but feel like Cinderella as her gaze took in the opulent surroundings of the courtyard at the Webster Mansion. Twinkling white lights and thin strips of gauzy fabric adorned the gazebo and trellis, adding a dreamlike quality to the warm evening. A live orchestra played soft music in the background, and the tender scent of fresh flowers filled the night air. Stars shimmered brilliantly above, applauding the happy occasion of her upcoming wedding.
Peyton looked down at her exquisite mango-colored dress and couldn’t resist swishing discreetly from side to side, loving how the wind whooshed underneath the silk fabric. She felt as buoyant as a balloon, soaring high and free, where nothing bad could touch her. It was still hard to believe she was marrying Carter tomorrow.
His mother, Kathryn, had been vehemently opposed to the union, but was starting to come around. This party at Kathryn’s sprawling mansion was her gift to Carter and Peyton. It meant the world to Peyton that Kathryn was finally accepting her.
Peyton straightened her shoulders as she nodded and smiled at the mayor and his high-society wife. She straightened her back. A part of her wondered if she’d ever feel completely at home in Carter’s glitzy world of mansions, expensive cars, and spontaneous trips to Europe. It boggled Peyton’s mind that Carter could just up and go anywhere he wanted when it had taken six months of planning, scrimping, and saving for her family to drive nine hours to Disneyland.
Peyton was sure there would be battles to fight when it came to the differences in their upbringing, but she was confident her and Carter’s love was strong enough to see them through the rough spots. They’d weathered their fair share of storms already. She scanned the sea of faces, relieved when her eyes found  a familiar face, Mr. Labrum. Her high school English teacher smiled and waved as he walked over and gave her a one-armed hug.
“Good evening,” he said stiffly. “You look lovely as always.” He pushed his inch-thick glasses back up on his nose and cleared his throat like he was about to deliver an important speech.

“Beauty, sweet Love, is like the morning dew,

Whose short refresh upon the tender green

Cheers for a time, but till the sun doth show,

And straight ’tis gone as it had never been.”


Peyton laughed. “Thanks … I think.”
“A sonnet by Samuel Daniel, born in 1562.”
“Oh, I haven’t heard that one,” said Payton. A self-confirmed, lifelong bachelor, Art Labrum spent his life buried in a book. Socially awkward, with a ruler-straight part in his oiled hair, he reminded Peyton of George McFly from the movie Back to the Future. Mr. Labrum’s eccentricities made him an easy target for the meaner kids in high school, but Peyton had always liked him. She found his quirks endearing, and he was kind and helpful to his students.
 “You know, Peyton, I had a feeling you and Carter would end up together the first time I caught you locking lips in the supply cabinet.” He wagged a finger, a smile creeping over his lips.
Peyton chuckled. “Yeah, you weren’t too happy about that. Made us do two rounds of detention, if I remember correctly.”
He snorted. “Oh, the foibles of youth. To be—” He stopped mid-sentence, looking thoughtful. “You know, the two of you remind me a little of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. You have my sincerest congratulations. It’s not often that people have the fortitude to defy convention and follow their hearts.”
“There she is … the lady of the hour,” a female voice squealed.
Peyton turned to see two girls about her age approaching.
“How sweet you look tonight,” the pretty blonde bubbled. Her dress was poured on—so tight Peyton doubted she could sit down.
“I’m sorry. Do we know each other?”
The girl touched Peyton’s arm. “I’m Claire and this is Mindy.”
Mr. Labrum shrank into himself. “Well, I must be going,” he said in a formal tone. He gave Peyton a slight bow before shuffling away.
Peyton turned her attention to the two girls, her mood dampening slightly. She’d rather endure Mr. Labrum’s long quotes a hundred times over than be forced into making small talk with strangers. Then again, maybe she was missing out on a friendship. They were part of Carter’s world, and she was about to marry into it. She’d better start developing her own contacts. “It’s nice to meet you,” she said, in a voice that sounded falsely cheerful to her own ears. “Are you friends of Carter’s?”
Claire smirked. “You could say that. Carter and I used to date.”
Peyton tensed. “Really? He never mentioned you.”
An easy laugh escaped Claire’s lips. “You know how Carter is. He probably didn’t want to upset you.” She waved a hand. “Anyway, it was a thousand years ago. Water under the bridge.”
Peyton lifted an eyebrow. And yet she chose to mention it now. Interesting.
“You’re so lucky,” Claire chirped, turning to Mindy. “Doesn’t she look darling?” She zeroed in on Peyton. “I’ll bet you look good in any old thing. I saw your same dress on the clearance rack at Dillard’s last season. Only a short girl like you could pull off wearing it. I had to have something specially made by my designer to fit my tiny waist.”
Mindy sniggered while Claire fluffed her curls, her lips forming a sultry pout. “I always wondered what kind of girl had enough torque to lasso Carter Webster.” She looked Peyton up and down. “Huh,” she mused softly. “Just goes to show, you never can tell what’s going to make love click.”
Mindy giggled and lurched forward. “Funny!” she gasped, wiping at her eyes.
Peyton’s cheeks warmed. All right—I’m done playing nice. She looked Claire in the eye and smiled brightly as if she were in a toothpaste commercial. “And sometimes, dresses are like clunker cars—no matter how much money you pour into them, they’ll never be a classic.”
Claire’s face turned scarlet like she might have a heat stroke.
Peyton was about to excuse herself when strong arms encircled her waist from behind. She looked back as Carter leaned in, tickling her ear with his warm breath.
“Hey, I’ve been looking for you. We’re about ready to do the toast.”
“Oh, I’ve just been getting acquainted with your old girlfriend.”
He jerked. “My what?”
Peyton motioned. “Claire. According to her, the two of you were thick as thieves.”
Carter’s eyes went large, and Claire suddenly took interest in someone across the way as she caught hold of Mindy’s arm. “Oh, look, there’s Steven.” With a sniff, she cut her eyes at Peyton and Carter. “Well, it was great to see you both. Congratulations again,” she quipped, as she and Mindy scattered.
Peyton chuckled dryly. “Yeah, just as I thought.”
Carter shook his head, amusement twinkling in his gray eyes. “Peyton,” he hummed in a low tone, “what’ve you been up to?”
She laughed. “She started it.”
He pulled her close, gazing into her eyes. “I have no doubt. Poor Claire got more than she bargained for when she tangled with you.”
The corners of her lips turned down. “Poor Claire, my eye!” She spiked an eyebrow. “So you did date her?”
“We might’ve gone out once or twice.” A devilish glint lit his eyes. “Not jealous, are you?”
She scowled. “Hardly.”
“Don’t worry. I only have eyes for you.” He leaned in, his voice going husky. “You are so beautiful. I can’t wait to get you to myself.”
She laughed, a tingle of anticipation circling down her spine. “The minute we say I do, I’m all yours.”
“I’m counting on it.” Carter pulled her closer, swaying to the beat of the music, his eyes locking with hers. “I love you, Peyton Kelly. I always have, and I always will.”
“I love you too.” Peyton felt her heart swell to the point of exploding. She’d never been this happy. He was so handsome she could hardly breathe when running her fingers through his thick mane of dark blond hair. She loved his strong jaw, with just enough stubble to give him a rough-and-tumble charm, and his kind eyes lit up and flowed warmth when he smiled. He was smart, attentive, witty, and—miracle of miracles—he loved her!
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to make a toast.”
Peyton and Carter looked toward the portable stage where Carter’s mother, Kathryn, stood, looking regal in a sleek black dress, hair twisted in a chignon. She held a glass of wine in one hand and a microphone in the other.
A waiter offered Peyton and Carter a glass. Peyton was about to decline when Carter whispered in her ear, “It’s sparkling water.” He winked. “I got your back.” Carter knew how much Peyton detested alcohol on account of her alcoholic stepfather.
“Thank you,” she mouthed.
“I so appreciate all of you joining us this evening to celebrate the union of my son Carter and the lovely Peyton Kelly.” Kathryn paused as if collecting her thoughts. “I’m not ashamed to admit that at first I wasn’t sure how Carter and Peyton’s relationship would work.”
Peyton stiffened, not sure where this was going. She saw Carter’s jaw clench and his arm tightened protectively around her waist.
A magnanimous smile stretched over Kathryn’s lips. “But seeing them together, it’s obvious the two of you love each other very much.” Her eyes went misty. “And I suppose that’s what it’s all about—true love.” She lifted her glass. “May you have a lifetime of happiness and joy.”
Applause broke out around them. “Speech!” a man bellowed from behind.
“Speech!” another man repeated, and then the crowd started chanting it.
Carter held up a hand to quiet the crowd. “Okay, a speech it is.” He clasped Peyton’s hand and pulled her to the stage, where Kathryn handed him the microphone.
Carter peered over the crowd. “Is someone here getting married?” he asked dubiously, eliciting ripples of laughter.
Peyton gave him a playful shove.
“Seriously, I’m the luckiest man alive. Tomorrow, I’m marrying the woman of my dreams.” His voice caught as he turned to Peyton, sincerity shining in his gray eyes. “Thank you for taking a chance on me. I promise I won’t let you down.”
Peyton’s eyes teared up as she nodded.
Carter handed Peyton the microphone. “Your turn.”
A commotion went through the crowd. Peyton looked toward the back to see what was happening. Her heart lurched when she saw Harold, her stepfather, staggering through the guests. He mumbled incoherently and pointed toward the stage.
For a second, Peyton was paralyzed with humiliation. Her fairy-tale evening had suddenly turned into a nightmare as she thrust the microphone at Carter and rushed down the steps of the stage to Harold’s side. The crowd parted, equal looks of horror and disgust carpeting her way.
“What’re you doing?” she seethed. “You need to leave!”
Check and courtyard were the only two words Peyton could make out of his garbled speech. She tried to take his arm, but he jerked out of her grasp. Pushing her away, he sent her sprawling backwards, where she landed on her rear end, her beautiful mango dress bunched around her legs.
“Hey!” Carter jumped off the stage and put Harold in a chokehold. Harold tried to resist, but his efforts were futile. Two security guards ran in, took Harold from Carter, and dragged him off the grounds.
“Are you all right?” Carter asked, helping Peyton to her feet.
Tears stung her eyes as she nodded. The twinkling lights, so romantic earlier, now blared. The place was spinning, menacing faces closing in around her. She caught sight of Claire and Mindy’s triumphant sneers. Peyton could only imagine what they must be thinking. “I need to go to the bathroom,” she hiccupped.
Carter took her arm. “Okay, I’ll go with you.”
The overseer of the wineries, a silver-haired man with hard eyes, stepped up to Carter. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but can I talk to you for a moment …” He lowered his voice. “About the incident.”
Carter looked like he might protest until Peyton put a hand on his arm. “It’s okay,” she said quickly. “I’ll be right back.” She needed a little space to pull herself together.
Carter searched her face. “You sure?”
She offered a tight smile. “Yeah.”
“Okay,” Carter said reluctantly. “I’ll be right here.”
***
Peyton attempted to go to the guest bathroom off the foyer, but it was occupied. A maid directed her to another, more private bathroom in the back section of the mansion.
After Peyton composed herself, she had to fight the temptation to head home. Instinctively, she knew if she didn’t go back out and show her face tonight, she’d never be able to look these people in the eye again. There’d never been any love lost between Peyton and Harold, even though she’d never outright hated him. But at this moment, she did.
And she was super ticked at her mother. Her mom refused to come to tonight’s party because she detested Kathryn Webster. The last Peyton heard, Harold was staying home, too. Why did he have to pick tonight, of all nights, to show up here? Had Peyton’s mother come to the party, she might’ve been able to keep Harold in check before he made a buffoon of himself.
When Peyton left the bathroom, she heard voices coming from the nearby study. She almost walked on by when she heard her name. She halted in her tracks, easing toward the door.
Carter was sitting in the overstuffed chair, his back towards Peyton. Kathryn was standing over him, her expression livid. A catering cart was parked just outside the double French doors, preventing Peyton from getting closer. She attempted to push it aside, but it wouldn’t budge. Peyton craned her neck to see inside, without being seen.
Kathryn’s voice was harsh, her face pinched. “I’ve never been so humiliated in my entire life. I told you, it’s never going to work with Peyton. She’s not like us. You come from two different worlds. I know you feel obligated to her.” She held up a finger. “Don’t try to deny it, because I can see it in your eyes. That’s the problem with you, Carter: you’re too good-hearted. You feel sorry for Peyton, but this can’t continue. Otherwise, you’ll end up resenting her in the end.”
Heat stung Peyton’s face as she waited for Carter to respond.
What Peyton saw and heard next would be branded in her mind forever as her world shattered to pieces. A tremor started in her hands and rippled through her body. Tears sprang to her eyes as she gulped down a sob and ran the other direction. Her only thought was to get as far away from Carter Webster as possible.

Get Your Copy HERE



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