Men of New York, Book 1
by L.J. Harris
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Cover Designer: The Graphics Shed
Editor: R.E. Hargrave
At the tender age of twenty-one, Kade Hutchins is at a crossroads, having endured enough hardship to last a thousand lifetimes. With money tight and career at a standstill, he's running out of time and options. The day he applies for a job that isn't exactly in his field of expertise and meets his new boss, Mr. Preston, is the day his fate is changed irrecoverably.
Luke Preston is the kind of man others envy. Rich, successful and unattached, his no-nonsense, ‘take no prisoners attitude’ has made him one of the highest profile litigators in Manhattan. He’s also a man with secrets. Secrets he wants kept under wraps since tragedy rocked his privileged existence to the core. When Kade, a man some fifteen years his junior steps foot inside his office, Luke wonders if his heart will survive.
Brushing an errant piece of fluff off my shoulder, I straightened the hem of my shirt and took a deep breath. Not that it did much good. By the time the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor, my nerves were beyond frazzled. With less than a minute to spare, I stepped inside the plush, modern offices.
A striking woman sitting behind a large reception desk greeted me, looking most business-like. What didn’t make sense was the way she seemed ready to pounce the second she saw me. I was surprised she didn’t fall flat on her face, considering she wore a pencil-thin black skirt and high-heeled shoes and was on her feet and running toward me like a crazy person.
“Thank God you’re here!”
“Um, what?” I took a wary step backward. She was kinda scary.
“Please tell me you’re Kade Hutchins.”
“Oh. Yes, I am.”
She held out her hand and when I took it in mine, I was impressed by her firm, assured grip. “You have no idea how relieved I am to see you.”
“Uh, thanks?” The warm smile she gave in response made her round, hazel eyes sparkle. Her hospitable attitude made me feel at ease in an instant, and I couldn’t help but grin back.
“The name’s Kimberly O'Connell. I’m the paralegal around here.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. O’Connell.”
“Oh, please, I insist you call me Kimberly.”
Releasing her hold on me, she pointed a manicured finger at the closed office door located behind the desk. “Come on, Kade. Let’s get you in to see His Highness.” Covering her mouth, she giggled.
“Who?” I stopped myself from joining in, but it wasn’t easy. She had an infectious laugh.
“Luke Preston. The ass you spoke to on the phone.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to agree with her or not, but decided it would be best to err on the side of caution.
“Sorry about him, by the way.” Kimberly knocked, before lowering her voice to a faint whisper, and adding, “I had no idea he was going to answer the phone when I went to make his coffee. He usually lets the machine pick up, but I didn’t think to switch it on since I was only going to be gone a few minutes.”
The moment I let out a nervous chuckle, the door to Luke Preston’s office flew open.
Tall and broad-shouldered, the strong jaw, high cheekbones, and dark brown hair slicked back so not a lock was out of place, coupled with the way his body filled out that navy suit, made Luke Preston look more like a model than a lawyer. My guess was that he was in his mid-thirties, but holy shit, did he wear it well. Startling emerald eyes fringed by long, dark lashes stared at me with such intensity that, for a split second, I forgot to breathe. His sharp features were softened by flawless, pale skin and full lips so plush, I wondered what they would feel like pressed against my own. In that briefest of moments, I knew I was in trouble as my head began waging a war with my heart so fierce, I didn’t know whether to pull him in for a kiss or run for my life.
All I could do was wait for him to say something… anything to break the tension.
L. J. HARRIS is a mother, wife, an introvert and author. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second is her writing.
She discovered a passion for putting pen to paper in her later years, jotting down poems in birthday cards for family members.
It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she's been unable to switch off the urge to share her stories.
L.J. Harris discovered that as much as experiencing pain, loss and betrayal can be devastating, capturing the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure without firsthand knowledge would have proved difficult.
L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work. She can be found at:
The Juniper Court Series
by Jennifer Theriot
Meet Phillip & Jayne Miller, original homeowners on Juniper Court. He's a successful attorney; she's a flourishing blogger. Head over heels in love and approaching 50, their relationship needs a little jump start. With the Miller's twin girls married and moved away from Sunview, Phillip and Jayne decide it's time to focus on resuscitating their relationship, complete with spicing up their neglected sex life. When competition between the two sets in, it becomes a full out game to see who can one-up the other trying new things. Ah, yes. Life on Juniper Court gets interesting... and sometimes embarrassing. Be careful what you wish for and where you stick your nose. Sometimes keeping up with the Joneses--or in this case, the Sullivans can have consequences.
Armed with a box of our favorite cheese danishes, I arrived on my neighbor’s doorstep at precisely seven-thirtyin the morning for our ritual Hump Day Hangout, and rang the doorbell. Nina Sullivan peered through the leaded glass door and smiled, but when she opened it, Max, her mammoth German shepherd, charged out, all but knocking me down. His nose went to my nether regions, and it was all Nina could do to yank his collar and get him to step back while admonishing him.“Max! Stop that.” Her belly gushing laugh did little to get Max to obey. “What the hell is wrong with him? I thought you took him to obedience school? Geez.”
Nina chuckled. “Maybe he smells something he likes down there.”
“Any normal dog would have gone straight for the danish.”
“I never said Max was normal, did I?”
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Welcome to Juniper Court!
7 homes from 7 authors on 1 cul-de-sac with dozens of secrets!
USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Theriot (pronounced Terrio) hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas based real estate investment firm. She felt something was missing and discovered her passion for writing--mostly at night and on weekends. In her limited spare time Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. Jennifer has three grown children and is also 'MiMi' to four beautiful grandkids - all of whom she adores.
Her best-selling Out of the Box Series, OUT OF THE BOX AWAKENING, OUT OF THE BOX REGIFTED, OUT OF THE BOX EVERLASTING and TOCCATA OBBLIGATO~SERENADING KYRA are currently available on Amazon.com.Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Amazon ✯ Facebook ✯ Authorgraph ✯ Blog ✯ Google+ ✯ YouTube
The Extraordinary Life of Amy Winston, Book 1
by Liza O'Connor
For some, Amy is an angel incarnate; for others, she is the child of Satan. In her early years, Amy learns the skills of a soldier and discovers she can heal with the touch of her hand. Upon the death of her beloved Uncle John, he stays as a protective ghost to assist the soldiers in their vigilant efforts to keep her safe. Never has a girl arrived at Madam Cousec’s School for Young Ladies with more charm, more friends, or greater protection. She’ll need them all to survive the head girl and set her future in motion.
John sat down upon the ground, so he would look less threatening. “I mean you no harm.” He spoke in the soft voice he used to calm war-panicked horses. His words came slow, in gentle tones, letting them sink in through her fear.
She hugged her child harder and rocked faster, but she did not try to run away.
“I want to help you. I can see you are hurt and afraid. You are probably hungry as well. I can give you shelter and food, see your wounds are tended and provide clean clothes for the baby and you.”
Upon comprehending his words, she burst into a torrid of tears and sobs that shook her body so hard he feared she would trigger the collapse of the entire cliff.
“Please don’t cry,” he begged. “The ground you are upon is unstable. I need you to be very, very still until my man returns with the ropes, so that I may rescue you. Will you do that for me? Will you be very still?”
She stopped crying and stared at him. “Why do you want to help me?”
“Because you need my assistance. I can see you are all alone and desperately in need of help.”
“I am, but you will not help me—not once you have learned what I have done.”
“I know that you’ve had a child and were tossed from your home because you would not name the father.”
“I could not name him. There is no father. I have lain with no man. There was only a dream, a wonderful dream of a handsome prince on a white stallion. He declared me the most beautiful lady he had ever seen, and he kissed me and made my body burn with fire. Then I woke up from my shady spot on the banks and I was alone as always. It was the devil, you see. He came to me in my dreams.”
She began to rock again as she held her baby tight against her chest. “That is why you will not help me—because of the dream. I am the whore of Satan and this child is his spawn.”
He feared he’d soon lose her to madness.
“Amy, I don’t think that is true. You are too sweet to be the whore of Satan. Your child is too good-natured to be his seed.”
She looked up at him in shock and stopped rocking. “She is very good-natured and so very beautiful. But what other reason might there be?”
“Amy, I believe the man in your dreams was real. He must have come to you while you slept and lay with you while he distracted you with kisses and sweet words. Can you remember more about his features? For example, what was the color of his hair?”
“The color of yours,” she said. “When I first saw you, I thought you were the man in my dream and you had come to rescue me. But you are not him.”
“No, I am not. But I do want to rescue you.”
She studied him. “His face was smoother than yours and his eyes sparkled blue. And there was a tiny mole on the edge of his mouth.”
Her words stopped his heart. Dear God, she was describing his younger brother, Alexander. Yet, that was impossible. Alexander had died in battle eight months ago and before that, he had remained in London.
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
JENNIFER’S HOMEMADE KAHLUA
6 cups water
6 cups sugar
2/3 cup Folger’s instant coffee (I only use Folgers)
6 TBSP PURE Vanilla extract
1.75 litre (1/2 gallon) Vodka (doesn’t have to be a top shelf brand. I’ve always used Taaka)
Combine water, sugar and coffee. Bring to a full boil, then simmer uncovered for a FULL 6 hours.
After 6 hours, remove from heat. Cover and let stand untouched for 48 hours.
After 48 hours, add vanilla and vodka. Stir well and decant in bottles. I ladle some of the Kahlua into a 6 cup Pyrex measuring cup and pour through a little stainless funnel into the bottles. It’s a lot less messy than trying to pour from the measuring cup directly into the bottles.
**NOTE** Decanted, these make wonderful and inexpensive holiday gifts. I use 4-oz Boston round glass bottles which I buy on Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H71B6UM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
OR, I’ve also used 5-oz hot sauce bottles, also found on Amazon. They come with red or black caps:
Personalize your batch with custom stickers to put on the bottles. I found a gal who does them for me on Etsy. For the 4-oz bottles, you’ll want 2” round or square labels. Here is the shop I order from: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1205328754
So make, decant, label and gift! Be sure and save some for yourself. It’s great in coffee and over ice cream....
Recipes Abound for the Holidays!
With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I'd share with you my recipe for yummy chicken salad.
After all, who doesn't love chicken salad? After trying many recipes for the stuff, I finally came up with my own concoction. I've been asked for the recipe many times and it's a favorite of guests at my annual ornament exchange.
I hope you'll try it. Be sure and let me know what you think!
I call it Jennifer's Super Duper Chicken Salad, because I'm partial to it ;)
JENNIFER’S SUPER-DUPER CHICKEN SALAD
6 Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Mrs. Dash, Table Blend seasoning (Use only the Table Blend!)
Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
Sour Cream (can be regular or low fat)
Sliced Green onion tops
Decorative lettuce (Like beet greens - see picture)
Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Place chicken breasts in water and add 7 hearty shakes of Mrs. Dash table blend to the water
Once chicken breasts are cooked, drain and finely chop or tear into shreds.
Add 1 TBSP Mrs. Dash Table blend and mix well.
Add equal parts mayo and sour cream to desired consistency
Stir in dried cranberries
Add green onion tops (I use a lot)
**Note** I don’t use salt or pepper because the flavoring from the Mrs. Dash is perfect!
Mix and put in a bowl, then refrigerate.
When ready to serve, line a decorative bowl with greens (I use beet greens at Christmas because they’re pretty in red and green)
Scoop the chicken salad in a round mound and serve with sliced mini croissants or sliced baguette bread.
Proud Texas native & USA Today Bestselling Author