Monday Mentions – Running from Christmas by E.A. West

Monday Mentions graphic

In today’s spotlight is Running from Christmas, my newly re-released Christmas romance.

Book Description

Running from Christmas cover artShe’s frozen by fear.

He wants to warm her heart.

Can he succeed before Christmas?

Army veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.

Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest — or they would have before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from Brad and avoid anything resembling a relationship.

Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?

Excerpt

Boxes in their arms, they headed for the entrance to the small church. She had been there only a handful of times since her brother moved to Prairie Heights a few years ago, but each time she came a sense of peace permeated her soul. Perhaps if she stayed in town long enough, that peace would stick with her when she left…assuming she could ever get a job to replace the one she’d lost at the beginning of November when the factory downsized two months after they hired her.

Shrugging off the thought, she stepped through the glass-and-wood door her brother held open. She had plenty of time to worry about finding a new job later. She’d only moved in with Tony three days ago—barely enough time to unpack and get settled into his guest room. Since he had been encouraging her to come stay with him since she left the army last spring, she figured she had until at least February or March before he started hinting that she might want to find her own place. She planned to be out of his house long before then, but finding a job hadn’t proven as easy as she’d hoped.

Her pondering crashed to a halt when a man in his late twenties or early thirties stepped into the hall. Several inches taller than her, broad shoulders, trim waist… As much as she had protested her brother’s attempts to introduce her to people, this was one man she wouldn’t mind meeting. Her heart thumped in anticipation as she took in his light brown hair and friendly green eyes.

Slow down, girl. You don’t want a relationship, remember?

Alessandra inhaled deeply, hoping oxygen would encourage her to think clearly. So what if this guy was gorgeous? She didn’t need a boyfriend for Christmas—or at all. Not when she had enough other stuff to keep her occupied. Although she had to admit a boyfriend would probably be much more pleasant than her annual visit to her best friend’s grave. But a boyfriend meant obligatory time alone with a guy…

“Hey, man! It’s about time you got here.” A warm male voice broke into the memories threatening to drag her down, and she looked up to see the gorgeous guy greeting her brother with a slap on the back. “The natives are getting restless.”

Tony laughed. “We’re early, so any restless natives aren’t our problem yet.”

“And there’s the operative word—yet.” He turned to Alessandra and reached for the box of craft supplies. “Let me take that for you.”

“It’s all yours,” she said, relinquishing the box.

Tony set his burden on the floor and put his arm around her shoulders. “Alessandra, meet Brad Kovac, youth pastor and your cohort in crime tonight.”

Brad’s eyes lit up and sent a little shiver down Alessandra’s spine as he gave her a once-over. “Ah, so you’re Tony’s sister. I’m glad to finally meet you.”

She studied him, suspicion taking the place of some of her interest. “Finally?”

“Yes, your brother’s been telling me about you for quite some time.” Brad winked and leaned closer. “Is it true that you went to Afghanistan to play in the snow?”

~~

Running from Christmas is available from Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

~~

About the Author

Photo of author E.A. WestE.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Connect with E.A. West online

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Monday Mentions – Redeeming Honor by E.A. West

Monday Mentions graphic

That’s right! I’m sharing about my inspirational romance Redeeming Honor today. Read on for an excerpt and some exciting news!

Book Description

RedeemingHonor_w12418_300Meghan Carpenter loves God, her yarn business, and her twin brother Ryan — a former marine who currently lives with her. When she agrees to let his wounded buddy live with them on her small Indiana alpaca farm, she expects an American marine. What she gets is a former Afghan interpreter who’s painfully shy around women.

Scarred from the war, both physically and emotionally, Basir Hamidi is grateful for a place to live. But his attraction to Meghan is a problem. With his honor destroyed by events in his homeland, and nothing to offer her but his broken, scarred self, he vows to avoid her and protect her reputation. Yet he is drawn to her with a strength that can only be God’s leading. For a man who has lost everything, letting go of the past is a difficult process. When he must also redeem his honor, his only chance of success is to rely on God.

Excerpt

The oven timer dinged, and Meghan grabbed a hot pad. Golden-brown cookies filled the air with the delicious scents of vanilla and chocolate. She set the tray on the granite counter, shut off the oven, and then turned to the task of transferring chocolate chip cookies to the cooling rack.

As she set the baking sheet in the sink, the front door opened. Meghan’s heart jumped, and she hurried from the kitchen, eager to see which of Ryan’s friends would be living in her house. She stepped into the hall and spotted her brother and a swarthy-skinned, black-haired man wearing huge dark sunglasses. Each of them carried a black suitcase.

Ryan grinned as his friend closed the door. “Hey, Meghan, this is my buddy Basir Hamidi. Basir, meet my sister, Meghan.”

The black-haired man removed his sunglasses to reveal a pair of wire-rimmed glasses and scar tissue around his tawny-brown eyes. “Thank you for letting me stay in your home.”

Meghan swallowed her surprise at his heavy accent and pushed aside her sorrow that he had endured something terrible to cause the scars. Regardless of what he had been through, the only thing that should matter to her was helping him to feel comfortable in her home. She offered a warm smile and clasped her hands at her waist. “I’m glad I had an empty guestroom for you. I’ll let Ryan give you the grand tour of the place while I put the finishing touches on lunch, but remember that this is your home, too, for however long you need it.”

“Thank you.” He inclined his head, his right hand over his heart. Then, he lowered his hand and glanced at Ryan.

Her brother slung an arm around Basir’s shoulders and guided him to the stairs. “Your room’s up here.”

Meghan returned to the kitchen and struggled to wrap her mind around her new houseguest. She’d expected an American marine, but her brother had brought home an Afghan man. Had Basir somehow become a marine? Had he been part of the Afghan army? Questions flowed in a steady stream as she chopped hardboiled eggs for the chef’s salads she’d planned.

~~

Redeeming Honor is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Pelican Book Group.

Exciting News: Redeeming Honor is available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers!

~~

About the Author

Photo of author E.A. WestAward-winning author E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Connect with E.A. West online

Website
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Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
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Cover Reveal – Pressure by E.A. West

It’s so exciting to finally share the cover of my newest sweet romance with you! Pressure is scheduled to release February 17 from Astraea Press. Check out this lovely cover created by Cora Graphics!

Pressure cover art

Blurb

Ravi Singh is a homeless veteran haunted by memories of his time in the Marine Corps. Thanks to his attempts to get a group of teenaged gang members to leave the life of crime they’ve chosen, he got shot. Now the wound is infected, and he’s too sick to move. When the teens bring his favorite nurse practitioner to him, he’s torn between anger that they kidnapped her and gratitude that they cared enough to get him help.

As Emma Johnston works to treat Ravi, searches for a way to escape, and attempts to figure out just what his relationship to the gang is, she meets the young orphan boy dubbed Twitch. The child brings out the best in Ravi and helps Emma see a side of the gang members she never expected. The more she learns about Ravi’s unconventional life, the better she understands him and the more she wishes he would quit stubbornly refusing to seek psychiatric treatment. Falling for him was never part of the plan, but neither was getting kidnapped.

Can their budding relationship survive such challenging circumstances, or will it end in devastation?

~~

Pressure will be available February 17, 2015 everywhere ebooks are sold.

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Long December…

In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I occasionally get songs stuck in my head. While thinking about the fact that today is December 1 and the month ahead promises to be busy with writing, holiday preparations, and various other busyness, the Counting Crows song “A Long December” popped into my head and hasn’t left yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, or you just enjoy it, here’s the music video for it.

Boy, that song brings back some memories. Feel free to share your memories in the comments, if you’re so inclined. If not… Well, read on for some fun book recommendations (aka Shameless Self-Promotion *wink*).

I’ve been remiss in keeping you all up to date on my book news. Please don’t hate me! *ducks rotten tomatoes* In all fairness and honesty, I spend much more time on Facebook and share all my book news, updates, and general randomness on my author page. If you haven’t already liked it, hop on over and check it out! Actually, considering Facebook only allows my posts to reach a small percentage of followers, you might want to hop over and check out what’s been happening lately even if you liked the page a while ago. Remember, the more you interact with Facebook pages (liking posts, sharing, commenting), the more likely you are to see posts from those pages in your news feed.

Now, for the book news that prompted the previous paragraph. Running from Christmas, my newest inspirational romance, released from Astraea Press in time for the holiday season. I hope you’ll give it a read and leave an honest review on your favorite retail site, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever. Hearing what readers think of my writing is a great encouragement to keep writing and improve my craft! Plus, glowing reviews are always a great source for the warm fuzzy feeling that can brighten even the coldest, dreariest winter day.

**Shameless Self-promotion Alert**

You know what else brightens a cold, dreary winter day? A heart-warming holiday romance. I happen to have three such books in my writing credits (hint, hint). Just to keep things orderly, here they are in chronological order, starting with the most recent release. The first chapters of these books and many more are available on my website.

Running from Christmas

Running from Christmas cover artArmy veteran Alessandra Castillo just wants to be left alone. Life has been tough since her deployment in Afghanistan, and the holiday season makes it even more difficult. Unemployed and homeless, she’s currently living with her brother, who refuses to let her avoid all things social.

Enter Brad Kovac, youth pastor and good friend of Alessandra’s brother. He’s tall, gorgeous, and outgoing, three things guaranteed to catch Alessandra’s interest. At least they would have caught her interest before she survived an assault by a fellow soldier. Now all she wants to do is run from him and avoid anything resembling a relationship.

Will God provide a miracle in time for Christmas, or will Alessandra lose her chance for romance?

~~

Running from Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Trust of the Heart (Veteran Hearts, Book 2)

Trust of the Heart cover artJosh Teague has dark memories from his time in Iraq. While he longs to share the burden of those memories with someone, he is afraid they will scare his girlfriend. Unwilling to risk losing her, he keeps the memories to himself and tries to keep a cheerful attitude despite the holiday season threatening to bring his mood down.

Leann Robak has her own set of memories causing trouble. Abandoned by her father when she was ten, she is devastated when her mother announces she’s taking a month-long trip to Europe over Christmas. Although Josh’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at his parents’ house holds exciting prospects, Leann can tell he’s hiding something from her. That knowledge leaves her wondering how well she truly knows him and whether he even wants to be in a relationship with her.

Can Josh and Leann learn to trust each other fully, or will their insecurities drive them apart?

~~

Trust of the Heart is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Breath of Christmas

Breath of Christmas cover artWhen Esther Beauchamp agrees to drive a snowmobile during the Santa Snow Challenge, she expects a weekend of transporting snowboarders with no complications. What she gets, however, is the task of transporting a single snowboarder and babysitting his service dog while he’s on the slope.

Robbie Kendrick is instantly attracted to the pretty staffer volunteered to help him out during the competition. While she’s clueless about asthma, he appreciates her efforts to understand how it affects him and his snowboarding. Best of all, she treats him like a man who isn’t disabled and gets along great with his medical alert dog.

Then Robbie’s ability to compete is called into question due to his health. Is it in God’s plan for him to give up the career he loves, or will his competitive spirit cause him to lose his chance at a future with Esther?

~~

Breath of Christmas is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other online retailers.

~~

Happy reading!

Embrace Your Geekness Day

Everyone loves a geek, especially when your computer is on the fritz. But have you embraced your own geeky side? That love of all things technological, your vast knowledge of workarounds and cool internet tricks, the way you always seem to know how to help those less fortunate in computer knowledge should all be celebrated! So today, own your geekiness and let it shine! After all, today is Embrace Your Geekness Day.

If you’re in the mood for a little geek love, check out my sweet romance Jordan’s Battle. It doesn’t get much geekier than a programmer and a web developer falling for each other.

Jordan's Battle cover artBlurb:

Computer programmer Alaina Howard has a new office mate, and she couldn’t be happier that he’s handsome and unattached. Although initially uncertain of his position in the company, she quickly realizes that he’s good at his job and a valuable asset. If only she knew why the seemingly non-disabled man needed a service dog, things would be perfect.

Army veteran Jordan Blake is thrilled to get a job that allows him to pursue his dream of learning web development. The position is even sweeter thanks to the beautiful woman he shares an office with. The only drawback is that she seems suspicious of his need for a service dog to assist with an invisible disability.

Will Alaina’s suspicion and Jordan’s reluctance to talk about his disability keep them from developing the relationship they both desire?

~~

Jordan’s Battle is available from Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Celebrate Independence Day with a good book!

It’s Independence Day here in the United States, the anniversary of our country’s birth. For most of us, it’s also a day to take some time off and relax while enjoying the summer weather. One thing to remember is that our nation’s independence and the freedom we enjoy today came at a price. Many men and women have served in our country’s military, and many are still serving today. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated today and every day.

As part of your Independence Day celebration, why not pick up a good book featuring a veteran or active duty military member? If you don’t live in the U.S., you’ll still enjoy these clean reads.

An American Love Story cover artAn American Love Story by C.S. Moore

Who says no to a soldier on the fourth of July?

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CTE7BLG/

Dog Tags cover artDog Tags by Heidi Glick

A former Marine determines to protect the woman he loves at all costs, and yet his own secrets might turn her against him forever.

Buy link: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/dog-tags

Days of Vines and Roses cover artDays of Vines and Roses by Linda Wood Rondeau

A romance writer and her estranged publisher husband, a Vietnam War Veteran are besieged by malignant forces in their Connecticut home as well as the ghosts of their pasts.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Vines-Roses-ebook/dp/B00BYHPRTM

Called to Arms Again cover artCalled to Arms Again by J.L. Salter

Grit doesn’t fade away … it just becomes crusty.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Called-to-Arms-Again-ebook/dp/B00D3D3O8G/

Echo Taps cover artEcho Taps by J.L. Salter

They rarely discussed their own war heroism.  Her beloved elderly uncle died before he could explain why.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Taps-ebook/dp/B00DLW4UTG

Brigadier cover artBrigadier by Sara V. Olds

Top graduate of an experimental program to train women as pilots in Britain, Captain Kimberly Thomson struggles to prove her worth in the man’s world of the U.S. Army Air Corps of 1942 while battling her heart.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Brigadier-Sara-V-Olds/dp/159088910X

Deadly Additive cover artDeadly Additive by Donn Taylor

A routine Colombian kidnapping conceals a threat to the global balance of power.

Buy link: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/deadly-additive

The Lazarus File cover artThe Lazarus File by Donn Taylor

How often must an undercover agent die in order to survive?

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lazarus-File-Espionage-ebook/dp/B0064FJQLY

Love in Lone Creek cover artLove in Lone Creek by Mary Manners

Tanner Merrill returns home from Afghanistan bearing scars, both inside and out. If only the people of Lone Creek, who hail him as a hometown hero, knew his secret…

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Lone-Creek-Ranch-ebook/dp/B0087W8UTG

Battlefield of the Heart cover artBattlefield of the Heart by E.A. West

What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-of-the-Heart-ebook/dp/B00C555ZGC

National PTSD Awareness Month

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common yet often misunderstood mental health issue. Many people mistakenly believe that only people who have served in the military can develop PTSD. While it is true that an estimated one out of every four or five men and women who served in Iraq or Afghanistan will develop PTSD, it can affect anyone of any age: men, women, children, adults.

A few facts about PTSD

  • You cannot tell by looking at a person if he or she has PTSD. It is an invisible disorder.
  • PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It is only a sign that the person has experienced trauma.
  • A diagnosis of PTSD does not mean you are crazy or insane. It merely recognizes that you have experienced trauma that your mind is unable to move past.
  • There is no cure for PTSD. There are many treatments available and you can show vast improvement with the right treatment for you, but the disorder will always be there.
  • PTSD symptoms can be triggered by anything: sound, smell, sight, touch, taste. Even everyday stress can trigger or make symptoms worse.

So, what are PTSD symptoms?

According to the National Center for PTSD, there are four types of symptoms.

1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms)

2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event

3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings

4. Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)

“Symptoms of PTSD” – the National Center for PTSD

Some of the most well-known and common symptoms are:

  • nightmares
  • flashbacks
  • avoiding thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • difficulty maintaining relationships
  • difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • getting startled easily
  • suddenly becoming angry or irritable over minor incidents or seemingly nothing

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a person with PTSD may be completely disabled and unable to work. Others with the disorder are able to maintain full-time employment, although it may be much more difficult for them than for people without PTSD.

One accommodation that many with PTSD have found beneficial in living as normal a life as possible is a service dog. While service dogs for PTSD and other psychiatric disorders are still relatively new, they can help a person struggling with daily life get their lives back, so to speak. PSTD dogs do a variety of tasks, and each dog is trained to meet the specific needs of their human partner.

Some of those tasks may include:

  • distracting the handler from upsetting or disturbing thoughts
  • turning on lights
  • checking a room for intruders
  • providing a buffer in crowds
  • waking the handler from nightmares
  • getting the handler to play in order to disrupt depression

Something these special service dogs do that isn’t considered a task is offer unconditional love. While that may not seem like much, to a person who is suffering it can mean everything. It could even be the difference between life and death, since a people with PTSD are prone to depression and may need to be reminded they have a reason to live and fight through their symptoms. The unconditional love of a canine companion and knowing that dog is counting on them for food, shelter, and care can offer that reason to live.

For more information on PTSD, I recommend visiting the National Center for PTSD website. They offer loads of information geared toward the public as well as professionals. If you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD symptoms, I encourage you to seek help. Although it may not feel like it, there is hope and you can get better with treatment.

Please share this post on your social networking sites, with your friends, family, etc. and help raise awareness of PTSD!

Memorial Day

Here in the United States, today marks the observance of Memorial Day. This is a day many view as a vacation from work, a day to enjoy cookouts. But today is so much more than that. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have served their country.

So today, I say thank you to everyone who is currently serving in the military.

Thank you to everyone who has served in the past.

Thank you to the families who make great sacrifices for their loved ones in uniform.

And thank you to those who have made the greatest sacrifice of all for their country.

You will not be forgotten.

Sweet Saturday Sample – Jordan’s Battle

In light of Jordan’s Battle being nominated for Best Novella/Short Story Work for the RONE Awards, I thought this would be a good day to share a taste of the book. (I’d love to have your vote in the RONE Awards poll if you think my book is deserving.)

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Jordan's Battle cover artJordan spotted Alaina approaching from the opposite direction with three other people.

She lifted a shapely eyebrow when they met by the closed metal doors. “Have you all met each other?”

Jordan scanned the unfamiliar faces and shook his head. “Not yet.”

“In that case, Jordan Blake, meet Greg Parker, Devon Marshall, and Jana Stevens. They’re all programmers, like me.”

Alaina glanced at her friends. “Jordan is the new IT guy who’s going to become our webmaster at some point.”

“Rock on!” Greg pumped his fist with a grin. “Dude, you have saved my life.”

“What?” Jordan shifted his questioning gaze to Alaina as Abe brushed against his leg.

She laughed. “Greg hates working on the website, but he’s good at it, so he gets volunteered regularly. Since you’re going to take over the work on the site, he won’t have to deal with it anymore.”

“Ah.” Abe nosed Jordan’s leg again, and he reached down to reassure the dog he was okay with a quick pat to the head. Yes, Greg’s reaction had sped up his heart rate, but he felt as calm as he could, considering he was going to lunch with his brand new coworkers.

Devon pressed the call button for the elevator as Jana stepped closer to Jordan. “Cute dog,” she said with a friendly tone. “What’s his name?”

“Abe.” He looked at the dog, who now sat beside him. “Greet.”

The dog glanced at him, then lifted his right front paw and held it out toward Jana. She laughed and leaned down to shake the large paw, earning a wag of his tail. When she straightened, she met Jordan’s gaze with a sparkling smile. “He certainly is polite, isn’t he?”

“Absolutely.” He scratched behind Abe’s ears. “I wouldn’t have my boy be any other way.”

~~

You can purchase a copy of Jordan’s Battle from Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Be sure to stop by Sweet Saturday Samples for links to more tasty excerpts!

Sweet Saturday Sample – Battlefield of the Heart

Here’s an excerpt from my new inspirational romance from Astraea Press, Battlefield of the Heart.

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Battlefield of the Heart cover art“Your roommate’s worried about you.”

Danny’s eyebrows shot up. “He is?”

“Yeah.” Hopefully, she wasn’t causing trouble between the two of them with her honesty. “When you told me you were fine, he let me know he didn’t believe you.”

“Doesn’t surprise me.” He sighed, his gaze on the empty quad. “I figured out why they stuck me in with Greg. He’s a psychology major with a focus on counseling. I guess they figured someone like that would be the only one who could stand to live with me.”

“Are you that hard to get along with?”

“No, it’s just because of the PTSD. Not everyone can handle it.” He sent her a faint smile. “You’re one of the few who handles it well and doesn’t treat me like a freak.”

Cindy laid her hand on his shoulder. “I know how weird people can be. I mean, look at me. I’m twenty-one years old and sleep with a stuffed duck.”

“You do?” Danny looked skeptical.

She grinned and nodded. “If you ever come up to my room, you’ll see it. It’s all floppy and fluffy and yellow. Leann threatens to steal it from me on a regular basis.”

“Leann’s your roommate?”

“Right. She was the girl sitting next to Greg.” She’d had a feeling he hadn’t heard the introductions.

“I wondered where she came from. She’s kind of cute.”

A pang of jealousy surprised Cindy, and she lowered her hand. “Yeah, I guess she is. I’ve never really thought about it.”

Danny laughed. “You wouldn’t, would you? Though for all I know, you might go for that kind of thing.”

“Oh, please.” She rolled her eyes. “Girls are so not my type. You and Greg are much more my speed.”

A twinkle lit his eyes. “Oh, really? I’ll keep that in mind.”

~~

You can purchase a copy of Battlefield of the Heart from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Astraea Press, and other online retailers.

Be sure to visit Sweet Saturday Samples for links to more excerpts!