It’s been a while since I’ve had the joy and fun of coming to you with a new release. I’m so excited to share the birth of this story—it’s a saga in and of itself.
Betting on Paradise is the fourth book in my series “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys.” For a little while I wasn’t sure it would see its way to life much less pave the way for the three books I planned to follow it. The three books that started this series (The Bride Wore Denim, The Bride Wore Red Boots, and The Bride Wore Starlight) have done well but, to be blunt, not well enough for the bean counters at HarperCollins. Since indie-publishing was NEVER on my bucket list, I nearly gave up on my seven book plan and went on to a different kind of novel completely.
But I LOVE this series. Plus, I actually had people who were not my mother begging for the next book – and if you want to know a big truth about authors it’s that one of the things that swells our heads the most is readers asking when the next installment in a series is coming.
So I took up the story and started attaching myself to very smart friends who know a lot about the self-publishing world. Thank Heaven for them. I would have no book without their help.
I did all the things that needed to be done: hired an editor, secured a copy editor, and found a cover designer. All went well, and I had a lovely cover I adored, until just after I revealed said cover, we discovered a nearly identical, duplicate cover already on a book for sale on Amazon. NO WAY! The books are the same genre and would have shown up at the same place. I had to change it.
Serendipity! My glorious cover artist changed background colors, changed font colors, and changed my heroine’s dress color—and the vote was unanimous. The new cover was better than the first. Here’s the original photo we used. It’s stands out. It pops. But it’s not nearly as pretty as the final product. It makes me happy every time I see it. And it’s perfect for this spring release, for Easter, and for standing out in a crowd!
Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the story between the covers – come back for an interview with my hero, Ty, and my heroine, Grace. Until then, here’s a little more about Betting on Paradise. Welcome back to Paradise Ranch, everyone!!
From birth Grace Crockett has been part of an unbroken set: one-in a million identical triplets. Twenty-six years later, however, feeling unappreciated in her role as part owner of a successful Denver restaurant, Grace longs to break away and fulfill her own dreams. But to do so she must learn to trust in her own judgment.
Small-time poker player Ty Garraway is determined to break his family’s legacy of abuse and abandonment, and give his young daughter a hope for the future he’s never had. But that means taking on the Crocketts—one of the most powerful ranching families in Wyoming—and taking back a part of Paradise Ranch stolen from his family eighty years ago in a poker game he believes was rigged.
Grace’s relentless honesty and devotion to family—not to mention the way she turns him on—has Ty thinking too much with his heart. Ty’s passionate love for his daughter and his encouragement of Grace’s half-baked ideas—not to mention his knee-weakening kisses—has Grace wondering if she’s found her unlikely match in a rough-around-the-edges cowboy. But when Ty’s plans are exposed, can Grace forgive the liar who manipulated her and her family and forgive herself for being duped?
Love has raised the stakes, requiring Ty to bet everything he has to win Grace and his future, but will it be enough?
BUY BETTING ON PARADISE
Ty gave the corner of the sheetrock a pull and a chunk three feet square broke off like limestone and powdered the floor. The space behind the hole was empty.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Grace.
“Yeah. What do you think, Alice, do you want to see what’s behind here? A portal to Wonderland? Maybe a doorway to Narnia?”
“You know about Narnia?”
He scowled. “I have a kid, remember? Who reads already and likes to listen to books above her age level. I’ve probably read more children’s stories than you have.”
She nodded in concession. “That’s pretty likely true. But I have read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Alice in Wonderland, so at least I got the references.”
He smiled, warmed by the easy camaraderie they suddenly shared. It shouldn’t be that surprising, he supposed. They were searching for treasure together after all. “Well, we’re more like the Goonies than like Peter and Susan,” he said, turning back to the wall and grasping another edge of sheet rock.
“Or Alice, for that matter,” she replied. “Because I’m telling you, if we find something with a tag on it that reads ‘Drink Me,’ it isn’t going to be me who tries it.”
“Why does that not surprise me in the least?” He swiveled his head slightly to glance back and wrinkle his nose. “Grace Crockett, try an unknown substance?”
“Unless it’s a good Scotch.”
A grunting laugh burst from him as he won the battle with another chunk of wallboard. “I think I like you, Miss Grace. You don’t take yourself too seriously.”
This time the snorting laughter came from her. “You’ll never ever convince my sisters of that. And, I admit, one of the reasons I’m okay with pulling this down is that I could never leave that hole in the wall. It would bother me in my sleep.”
Another piece of sheetrock hit the floor.
“Think Big Bang Theory.”
“You’re telling me you’re that OCD?”
“I like no mess.”
“Aha. That totally explains why you want to clean this place before you get bids on remodeling.”
She used her good hand to join him in the demolition. After fifteen minutes, they’d cleared a section of wall about ten feet square. Ty held up his hand to stop them and stepped back.
“Look at that,” he said.
“A second fireplace!” Grace bent and craned her neck to look into the brick firebox. “Somebody covered it up, and really quickly, too.”
“A quick guess is that it was old and drafty, and this was a stopgap to warm up the room.”
They both rocked forward at the same time and stuck their heads into the fireplace. As if they’d choreographed it, Ty turned his head right and Grace turned hers left so they could look up the flue. It was black as a well.
A gentle waft of flowery scent filled his nostrils. Without warning his heartbeat accelerated and he turned slowly back, shocked to meet her eyes just inches from his. Her nose nearly brushed his cheek. He could have kissed her. She didn’t move.
“I think it’s blocked.” Her breath feathered his lips. He couldn’t take his eyes off the action of her mouth as she swallowed.
“What’s this, some kind of new voodoo ceremony?”
The bright, southern-accented voice from behind them made Ty flinch as if he’d been stun gunned. When his forehead crashed into Grace’s she collapsed onto her side, hit her elbow and let out a yelp that ended in a choked sob.
“Grace!” Ty was out of the fireplace and had Grace in his arms before he could even rub the sore spot on his own head. “I’m sorry. So sorry. Your bad elbow—”
“I only bumped it. I’m fine, Ty.” Her forced half smile couldn’t hide the pain in her eyes.
He didn’t look toward the door; he’d recognized the voice. Instead, he bent his head closer to Grace. “We should go have it checked again.”
“Oh for crying out loud. No we should not.”
Grace was first to look at their guests. Ty continued to hold her, unwilling to trust her balance, not wanting to let her go. She felt right and safe in his embrace.
But before he could ask once more if she really was okay, she gasped and wrenched free of his arms.
“Lil!” she said.
In full-fledged annoyance, Ty turned, too, and met a pair of sparkling brown eyes.
“That looked like it hurt, baby,” Lil said.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Ty shot back.
Grace popped him on the shoulder with a deep scowl and gave the slightest incline of her head toward the door. He looked more carefully. Lucky stepped away from Lil’s side and gave a suspicious little wave.
“You gave Miss Grace a bad bump. I think you should kiss her owie.” She crossed her five-year-old arms and waited.
In this scene, Ty’s daughter, Lucky, an extremely precocious five-year-old, ends up being the smartest person in the room – or at least the most honest. I love including kids and animals in my stories. Just as they say in the movies—they’re usually the ones who steal the limelight. I want to know what baby, child, or animal steals the scenes in your life. Tell me all about your favorite kids and/or pets. I have an e-copy of your choice of any one book from my backlist for a commenter today.
Remember to come back tomorrow for more fun (Ty and Grace answer GLIAS questions) and another giveaway!
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See you tomorrow!