Monday, November 16, 2015

BLOG TOUR w REVIEW A Montana Born Christmas Box Set

A Montana Born Christmas
Box Set
Jane Porter, Megan Crane, CJ Carmichael,
Katherine Garbera, Melissa McClone, Roxanne Snopek,
Dani Collins, Alissa Callen
Genre: Contemporary Western Holiday Romance

Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter 
Life has been tough at Copper Mountain Ranch and widower Brock Sheenan's kids have never had a proper Christmas. His new housekeeper, Harley Diekerhoff, is determined to change that--but she doesn't count on falling in love with her taciturn boss. 

Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy by Megan Crane 
Christina Grey Cooper has finally given up on her marriage and returned home to Marietta to lick her wounds. But Dare can’t let the love of his life go, even if what’s standing in the way of a true holiday miracle is himself… Can the magic of a White Christmas in Montana help him save what he’s nearly lost forever? 

A Cowgirl's Christmas by CJ Carmichael 
Betrayed by her father, Callan Carrigan has to decide what matters most to her. Fighting Court McAllister to get back the family ranch, or giving Court what he really wants—her heart. 

A Cowboy for Christmas by Katherine Garbera 
Back in Marietta, disgraced, the last person Annie Pruhomme wants to see is hunky Carson Scott. Does he hold a grudge, and why does he still look so hot? 

Mistletoe Wedding by Melissa McClone 
An instant family isn't on ranch foreman Tyler Murphy's Christmas list, but event planner Meg Redstone's kisses are. Getting her under the mistletoe, however, is going to take a miracle...or help from Santa. 

A Sweet Montana Christmas by Roxanne Snopek 
A marriage in jeopardy, a decrepit honey farm and an unexpected birth on a dark, snowy night. All they need to rediscover their love is a Christmas miracle. 

Blame the Mistletoe by Dani Collins 
Commiseration over being alone for the holidays turns to a holiday fling, making Liz Flowers think Blake Canon is giving her the Best Christmas Ever. But when family secrets are revealed and their children arrive home early, will they be able to keep the season bright? 

Her Mistletoe Cowboy by Alissa Callen 
Ivy Bishop plans to spend Christmas holed up on an isolated Montana ranch far from the city and her ex-fiancĂ©. But the more time she spends with the workaholic cowboy next door the more she realizes her heart isn’t actually broken – yet. 

Jane Porter: Jane Porter, the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of 50 romance and women's fiction titles, is a five time RITA nominee, which Jane won in 2014 for her novella, Take Me, Cowboy.  Jane, her surfer husband and 3 sons call San Clemente, CA home.

Megan Crane: USA Today bestselling, critically-acclaimed, and RITA-nominated author Megan Crane has written more than 50 books from women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels to Harlequin Presents as Caitlin Crews. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.

CJ Carmichael: RITA nominated and bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has published over 50 books of romance, family drama and a touch of mystery. An avid hiker, C. J. lives near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary with her partner Mike.

Katherine Garbera: USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 75 books since making her first sale to Harlequin (Silhouette) Desire.  Katherine is known for her sexy heroes, feisty heroines and sensual stories.

Melissa McClone has published over thirty-five contemporary romances and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, and lots of dogs, cats and fish.

Roxanne Snopek: USA Today bestselling Author Roxanne Snopek writes sweet, steamy, satisfying romance with cowboys, billionaires, babies and various four-legged creatures. She lives in British Columbia with her hero of nearly 30 years and three dogs who follow her from room to room wondering who she’s talking to.

Dani Collins: Winner of RT Book Review’s 2013 Best First In Series, Dani Collins writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule’s Montana Born, and herself. She lives in rural BC, Canada with her high school sweetheart husband and her two mostly grown children.

Alissa Callen: Alissa Callen lives on a small slice of rural Australia. She writes rural and small town fiction for Random House Australia and Tule Publishing.

Some Excerpts:

Excerpt for Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

“You okay, Miss Diekerhoff?”

Turning quickly, potato skins still dripping, Harley blinked back tears as she spotted Brock Sheenan standing by the fireplace, warming his hands.

Brock was a big man.  He was tall–six one or two—with broad shoulders, a wide muscular chest, and shaggy black hair.

Harley’s late husband, David, was Portuguese and darkly handsome, but David was always groomed and polished while the Montana rancher seemed disinclined to comb his hair, or bother with a morning shave.

The truth was, Brock Sheenan looked like a pirate, and never more so than now, with tiny snow flakes clinging to his wild hair and shadowed jaw.

“I’m fine,” she said breathlessly, embarrassed.  “I didn’t hear you come in.”

 “The faucet was on.” He rubbed his hands together, the skin red and raw.  “You’re not….crying…are you?”

She heard the uncomfortable note in his voice and cringed a little.  “No,” she said quickly, straightening and squaring her shoulders as she dumped the potato peels into the garbage.  “Everything’s wonderful.”

“So you’re not crying?”

“No,” she repeated crisply, drying her hands.  “Just peeling potatoes for dinner.”

Her gaze swept his big frame, seeing the powdered snow still clinging to the hem of his wrangler jeans peeking beneath his leather chaps and white glitter dusting his black brows.  His supple leather chaps weren’t for show.  It was frigid outside and he’d spent the week in the saddle driving the last herds of cattle from the back country to the valley down below so the cows could take shelter beneath trees.  “Can I get you something?”

“You don’t happen to have any coffee left from this morning that you could heat up?”

“I can make a fresh pot,” she said, grabbing the glass carafe to fill it with water.  “Want regular or decaf?”

He glanced at the clock mounted on the wall above the door and then out the window where the snow flurries were thickening, making it almost impossible to see the tall pine trees marking one corner of the yard. “Leaded,” he said.  “Make it strong, too.  It’s going to be a late night for me.”

She added the coffee grounds, and then hit the brew button.  “You’re heading back out?”

“I’m going to ride back up as soon as I get something warm in me.  Thought I’d take some of the breakfast coffee cake with me.  If there was anything left.”

“There is.”  She’d already wrapped the remaining slices in foil.  He wasn’t one to linger over meals, and he didn’t like asking for snacks between meals, either.   If he wanted something now, it meant he wouldn’t be back anytime soon.   But it was already after four.  It’d be dark within the hour.  “It’s snowing hard.”

“I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I don’t do a last check. The boys said we’ve got them all but I keep thinking we’re missing one or two of the young ones.  Have to be sure before I call it a night.”

Harley reached into a cupboard for one of the thermoses she sent with Brick on his early mornings.  “What time will you want dinner?”

“Don’t know when I’ll be back.  Could be fairly late, so just leave a plate in the oven for me.  No need for you to stay up.”  He bundled his big arms across his even bigger chest, a lock of thick black hair falling down over his forehead to shadow an equally dark eye.

There was nothing friendly or approachable about Brock when he stood like that.  His wild black hair, square jaw, and dark piercing gaze that gave him a slightly threatening air, but Harley knew better.  Men, even the most dangerous men, were still mortal.  They had goals, dreams, needs.  They tried, they failed.  They made mistakes.  Fatal mistakes.

 “Any of the boys going with you?” she asked, trying to sound casual as she wrapped a generous wedge of cheddar cheese in foil, and a hunk of the summer sausage he liked, so he’d have something more substantial than coffee cake for his ride.

He shook his head, then dragged a large calloused hand through the glossy black strands in a half-hearted attempt to comb the tangled strands smooth.  “No.”

 She gave him a swift, troubled look.

He shrugged.  “No point in putting the others in harm’s way.”

Her frown deepened. “What if you get into trouble?”

“I won’t.”

She arched her brows.

She ought to be intimidated by this shaggy beast of a man, but she wasn’t.  She’d had a husband—a daring, risk taking husband of her own—and his lapse in judgment had cost them all.  Dearly.

 “It’s dangerous out there,” she said quietly.  “You shouldn’t go alone.”

Excerpt for A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS by Katherine Garbera:
 Marietta, Montana did Christmas in a big way with all the storefronts on Main Street draped in garland and twinkle lights.  The Main Street Diner wasn’t any different with its rustic wreath made with layers of old ropes and decked with red poinsettia leaves and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree playing merrily on the jukebox as Carson Scott opened the door.
No one was exactly sure how the Wednesday night tradition had started,﷯ not even Carson, but he knew that his brothers had done it for him.  It had been in the dark time right after Rainey had been killed in a head-on collision out on highway 89 on her way back from Livingston.  He’d sat at home every night with baby Evan drinking too much Red Bull.  His oldest brother Alec had insisted that they all meet in Marietta at the diner for dinner.
Alec had thick blond hair like their momma and piercing blue-gray eyes that Carson had heard more than one girl describe as colder than the glaciers in Glacier Park.  But Sienna, Alec’s wife, had said that she knew how to warm him up.  Which had led to a lot of ribbing by Carson and his other brothers.  Alec needed to be taken down a peg or two at times.
But not on Wednesday nights.  Carson showed up here after he dropped Evan off at his maternal grandparents’ house and ate chili and cornbread with his brothers.  There were five of them all together and sometimes Flo, who ran the grill, gave them a hard time about being carbon copies of their dad, but that didn’t bother any of them.  Their old man cast a long shadow and had a reputation for being honest and hard-working.  There were worse things a man could be known for.
 There were only five weeks left until Christmas and Evan was being cagey about what he wanted from Santa this year.  He’d hinted he wanted a mommy that wasn’t in heaven.  And the last thing that Carson was interested in was dating any woman, much less one to become Evan’s new mommy.
 “Isn't that Annie waiting tables?” Alec said as they entered the diner.  The walls were heavy red brick and the floor solid wood.  There was a counter with red leather-covered stools bolted to the floor in front of it, and for as long as Carson could remember beehive-haired Flo was standing at the grill cooking delicious food, trading gossip, and flirting with any man who entered.
“Annie who?” he asked.  He was holding the door open for his younger brother Hudson who had a shopping bag from The Mercantile in one hand and his Stetson in the other.
“Prudhomme.  Is there another Annie you’d care about?” Alec asked.
“I thought she'd left town for good,” Hudson said.
Annie.  Here.  Wow.
 It didn’t make sense.  He ate here every Wednesday with his brothers.  She hadn’t been here last week.  Why was she here now?
Carson craned his neck around his brothers’ shoulders to look at the﷯ waitress.  Goddamn it.  She hadn’t changed.  She was still the same slim pretty girl he remembered.  She wasn't tall but had long legs and dark brown hair that hung to her shoulders and curled slightly at the ends.  He stared at her until she turned and he met those pretty gray eyes that he had thought he’d never see again.
He hardened his heart.  If there was one thing he knew without even talking to her it was that this was a temporary move.  He doubted she was back to stay.  That wasn’t her style and Marietta wasn’t her town.
At eighteen it had felt like he'd never love again when she'd left Marietta – and him – all in the same cloud of dust. But at thirty-three he knew that was a lie.  He had loved again and married and had a chance for real happiness.  But now he wondered –was that another lie he’d told himself to make Annie’s leaving him okay?
“Yup,” he said, answering his brothers as he turned back to the laminated menu, trying to be blasĂ© when inside he wanted to go and talk to her.  Go and find out why she was back and what it meant.  Had life turned that ballsy, sassy girl he’d loved into a bitch or tamed her?
But he kept his head down studying the laminated menu like his sanity depended on it.  It wasn't as if he didn't know what he was going to order. 
He always got the same thing when he and his brothers came into town to eat on Wednesday nights.  His son was visiting his maternal grandparents at their home on the modest section of Bramble Lane.  Rhett and Lily had moved out to Marietta after Rainey had died to be closer to Evan and they said having Carson around made it hard for them to bond with Evan.
The thing Carson was proudest of was his son and how well he and the six-year-old had grown up together after Rainey died. 
“Yup?” Alec asked.
“That girl—” Hudson said.
“I know.  I'm surprised she's here too,” Carson said trying to play it cool.  But the thing with brothers was they always knew when he was bullshitting them.  “But let’s face it... everyone ends up back here eventually.  You said Pop wanted some help with something?”
Alec’s brother nodded.  “He's determined we need to get that old red barn renovation finished by the New Year.  I could use some extra help to finish the work.”
 “I'll send my hands over tomorrow.  Is he still planning to sell it?”
 “You know Pop, if you can't ranch it then it's a bad investment.  And he bought it for Trey to live on with his wife but they aren't interested in﷯ settling down here.”
“What’s his hurry then?”
“Lane has a friend who is looking for a place out this way.”
 “You do?” Carson asked Lane.  “I thought all your buddies were career military.”
 “He's retired,” Lane said.  “Like me.”
 “Is he like you?” Carson asked.  Lane had lost the bottom half of his left leg in an IED explosion in Iraq and now had prosthetic leg.
 “Why?” Lane asked.
 “Just wanted to know if we should make the halls and bath a little bigger in the house,” Carson said.  “Maybe we should anyway”
 “Nah, he’s still got both his legs,” Lane said.
 “How old is he?” Alec asked.
 “Barely thirty but all that fighting has taken it out of him,” Lane said.
 “We were lucky to get you back when we did,” Carson said.
 “Thanks, boys.  Good to know you care,” Lane said.
 “Ah, they all care about youngest Scott boy,” Annie said coming over to their table.
 She walked toward them wearing the traditional Main Street Diner white apron over her own clothing.  There was something almost defiant in her manner.  It had to stick in her craw that she’d left here to make it big and now she was waiting on all of Marietta. 
 Her brown hair swung around her high cheekbones with each step she took.  A pair of faded denim jeans hugged her legs and the tips of her worn brown boots were scuffed.  Her smile didn’t reach her eyes and she’d managed to chew off most of her lipstick. 
 Hellfire.  It had been fifteen years and one look at Annie was all it took to get him hot and bothered.  It wasn’t that she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.  She had an attitude bigger than the Montana sky, but she’d always just had something that made him stand at attention.
“We care about all the Scott boys,” Alec said pointedly.  “Even Carson here when he was dumb enough to fall in love with a girl intent on leaving.”
 “Sorry,” she said.
 There was something her eyes that made her seem… more than sorry, almost sad and he cautioned himself about feeling anything for her, even pity. 
 “Really?” Carson asked.
 “More than you can know,” she admitted.  “But you boys didn’t come here to hear about my mistakes.  You want dinner, right?”
 “We sure do.  Did Flo make her jalapeno cornbread today?” Hudson asked.
 “Yes she did,” Annie said, taking a pen from the pocket of her apron and holding up her notepad.
 “Chili and cornbread for me and root beer,” Alec said.
 “Same,” Hudson said.
 “Same again,” Lane said.
 She looked at Carson and for a moment he remembered the last time he'd held her in his arms, but he'd known then she was leaving.  She was always on her way out of Marietta.
 “I'll have a Sprite instead, but otherwise the same,” Carson said.
 “Still don't like caffeine?” she asked.
 “Nope,” he said.
 She nodded and walked away and all he could do was watch her.  And admire the way those faded jeans hugged her butt.  Maybe it was just physical… his reaction to her had always been strong.  He realized his brothers were watching him watch her and he cursed under his breath.  The last thing he needed was Annie back in Marietta this close to Christmas.  Christmas always made him wish for things that couldn’t be. 
 Annie Prudhomme was definitely something that wasn’t meant to be.  She’d proven that the day she drove out of town and left him the dust.
 “Wednesday dinners just got a little more interesting,” Hudson said.
He punched his brother in the arm, but he felt it as well.  There was something about that woman that always made the world seem a little brighter when she'd been in the vicinity.  And he knew he couldn't be stupid again. Couldn't let himself get involved with a woman who clearly wasn't long for Montana.
The front door opened, bringing a burst of cold air and the jingling of the sleigh bell wreath on the door.  They all smiled and waved as Paige Joffe walked in with her two little ones, six-year-old Addison and five-year-old Lewis.  For a while the town matchmakers had tried pairing the two of them up but both Paige and Carson had resisted.  She was nice enough and pretty, but just not the woman for him.
He didn't know her story except she'd come to Marietta from somewhere in﷯ California and had the misfortune to move in during a bad snow storm last February.  But she seemed to be adjusting to it.  Addison was in the same class as Evan at school.
 “Evening Scotts,” she said with a friendly wave.  Her shoulder-length straight dark blonde hair was pulled back in a low ponytail.  She had a strong chin and dimples when she smiled, which she didn’t do that often.  He’d really only seen her smile when her kids made her laugh.
 “How's my new waitress treating you?” she asked.
 “She'll do,” Carson said, but he didn’t want to talk about Annie.  And it was obvious she didn’t want to talk to him either.  She’d pretty much avoided their table after she’d dropped off their food.  “Don't forget to come out to my place this weekend to pick out your tree.  The best ones are going fast.”
 “Can I come by Saturday morning, first thing?”
 “Yes, ma'am,” he said.  “We're going to have sleigh rides for the little ones too.”
 “I spoke to Nate.  He’s got his foreman’s sister staying with him for the holidays.  She’s trying to get a baking operation off the ground.  I hate to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong, but I wondered if she might come out to the tree lot.  Maybe sell some gingerbread house kits?”
 Carson was all for helping out a neighbor and he knew Ty Murphy and respected him.  “Sure.  Give her my number and we’ll get it all set up.  I’ve asked Sage to send Rose Linn out to sell hot chocolate.”
 “You just didn’t want to have to drive to town to get some for yourself,” Hudson said.
 “You got me,” Carson said with a grin.
 Paige’s phone vibrated and she glanced at it before smiling at their table.  “Sounds delightful.”
 Paige waved goodbye and moved toward her office at the back of the diner.  The evening dinner crowd was thick but not too bad and a few times Carson glanced at Annie as she carried dishes to the tables.  When she caught him looking she stood straight and gave him a cheery smile.  But when she didn’t notice, he saw fatigue in her every move.  Whatever she’d come to Marietta for, she hadn’t planned on waiting tables.
 “Hard to believe Mama's little tree farm has grown so big,” Hudson said, pulling his attention from Annie.  “Remember when she used to make us water them?”
 “Yes.  She loved her trees,” Carson said.  Their mother had been Montana﷯ born and bred but instead of ranching she'd always had her mind set on growing trees and preserving wildlife.  Their father had given her all of his support and turned fifty acres into a forest where she started her no-cut Christmas tree program in the nineteen-seventies and it was still thriving forty years later.  They had to move some of the trees by pallet truck and forklift now, but the families that owned them wouldn’t have it any other way.
 Carson did a traditional cut-tree service for the town as well and he was happy to be the caretaker of his mother's trees. 
 After they ate their dinner and his brothers left, Carson sat there nursing his Sprite and pretending he was waiting until it was time to pick up Evan.  A smart man would be on his feet and down at Grey’s Saloon instead of sitting in a corner booth watching the one who got away.

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