Space Opera versus Soap Opera ~**~ Toni V. Sweeney

Space Opera versus Soap Opera

Posted for Toni V. Sweeney by Linda Nightingale

When I wrote the series Star Smuggler, I didn’t think of it as a “space opera.”  I considered it a “romantic adventure.”  Studying it now, I realize that’s exactly what it is…just one gigantic soap opera set in the future on a planet far, far away. The publisher calls it Star Wars Meets Firefly, and fans of those two entertainments know what that means: Emphasis on fun and adventure rather than technology and rocket ships.

The introduction to this sudsy space saga might go something like this;

Welcome, dear reader, to Star Smuggler, Book 1: The Last Voyage. This may prompt someone to ask, “If this is the last voyage, how can it be the first book?”

A better question would be: Can a half-breed human-hating smuggler find happiness with an adopted Navajo in spite of threats from the United Terran Federation and many of his nefarious criminal cohorts?

This novel introduces Sinbad and Andi, the most mismatched pair in the universe, and is set partly in the remains of lower California after a gigantic quake sends much of the state into the Pacific, leaving only Angel City (a remnant of the late, great, Los Angeles) and Baja California, and partly on other planets of the galaxy.

Andrea Talltrees is a member of the Naturals, a group who don’t utilize anything that wasn’t around in the early to mid-twentieth century, and they definitely don’t go flying off into space in rocketships.

Sinbad is a half-Felidan smuggler resembling a man-sized feline.  He’s big, he’s beautiful, he’s sexy, and he hates humans with a passion because they framed his father, a Terran soldier, and killed him.

Sin’s way of life naturally clashes with Andi’s beliefs, and when she isn’t preaching to him about the immorality of his ways, and he isn’t laughing at her attempts to reform him, they reach a rapport that gradually blossoms into something that might be love, though neither will admit it.

They spend most of the novel arguing while visited various dens of iniquity trying to find Andi’s husband, Tran,  who is accused of being a spy and has lit out for parts unknown…and then a secret is discovered that threatens the Earth and the Federation and demands a sacrifice neither wants to make.


He’s a criminal. She’s far from it.

Together, they’re Earth’s last hope… they just don’t know it yet.

Sinbad sh’en Singh had everything. A thriving smuggling career, his hologram on wanted posters on eleven planets, and plenty of women. Then she walked into his life.

Andrea Talltrees, member of a backwards cult not believing in space travel or anything else invented after the Twentieth Century.

She wants him to find her husband, a fugitive accused of being an Albegensian spy, the planet currently at war with Earth.

He doesn’t want anything to do with an Earther, but a massive culture clash and a heavy dose of instant attraction get in the way, sending good sense flying out the viewport.

They’ll brave some very unsavory characters, maybe even prevent a second interplanetary war…if they can stop arguing.


Andi’s food arrived, a huge dish of something. She took one look at her plate and swallowed rapidly to keep from gagging, struggling to quell nausea as the heap of very large, very red worms continued squirming. One actually wiggled from the plate onto the table.

“I’m not as hungry as I thought.” Andi took one of the bright yellow apples from the centerpiece. “I’ll just eat this.”

Nodding, Jaafra removed her plate from the table and took it away.

“I’m sorry,” she told Sinbad. “I just don’t like to chase my food all over the table.”

She waited for him to make some caustic remark. Just then, Jaafra returned with Sinbad’s order. With an amused grunt, he picked up his fork and began to eat.

Andi took one look at what the plate held, gulped and looked away.

“Talltrees…” He chewed a moment, swallowed, then said, “There’s something we need to get settled. Now.”

Frowning, she looked at him. He sounded like her father when he was about to deliver a lecture.

“Look, you have to eat, I have to eat…it’s more convenient if we do it at the same time, but if you’re going to go sick every time you see me eat a piece of meat…” He stabbed another morsel and held up the fork, gesturing with it.  A single drop of blood dripped from it, spattering the edge of his plate.

Andi swallowed loudly.

“That’s what I’m talking about. I don’t particularly like watching you eat food that’s been inundated with microwaves ’til it’s the consistency of a charcoal briquette, but I don’t turn green when you bite into it.”

Andi hadn’t realized her eating habits might as easily disgust him, and that made her ashamed of her behavior. Naturals taught the equality of all species, a fact once getting them on the Fed’s Suspect List, and here she was…

“You’re right, Mr. sh’en Singh, and I’m sorry.”

He didn’t answer, just ate with great relish as she bit into her apple and discovered it tasted like a banana. Sinbad dipped his knife into a bowl of red sauce and smeared it on what looked like a slice of raw potato.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t ask,” came a mouth-filled mumble. There was sauce on his fingers. He licked it off. “That apple isn’t going to go far. Would you like a couple of these beetles? I’ve enough to share.”


He gestured at what she thought were green peas. “Antillan fig beetles…high sugar content, full of Vitamin C. They’ve been dehydrated. Not alive, I promise.”

“No thanks.” She shuddered.

He scooped four off the plate and tossed them into his mouth, crunching loudly.

“Well, maybe one.” She selected a beetle and bit cautiously into it. It had a blackberry flavor.


STAR SMUGGLER: The Last Voyage is available in Kindle and paperback and will soon be available in audio book.



Toni V. Sweeney was born in Georgia after the War between the States but before the Gulf War. She has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.

Toni has several pseudonyms and writes in various genres, and now is adding “TS Snow” to the list with the publishing of the Star Smuggler series.

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Ready for My Interview, Almost!

Thursday I’ll have my first live interview on Facebook!

My best ideas for blogs come to me when I’m washing dishes, cooking, or editing, or even when I’m driving. Years ago my best book ideas and scenes came to me at those odd times. Then I used them in my books. Today, I forget them. With age and crazy lives comes idea loss or hiding. I know those ideas are somewhere, just not when I need them.

When I’m working on editing projects, they take over my thoughts.

About the interview! I plan to talk about Haunting Refrain, of course!

The interviewer suggested I bring my kids(my stuffed animals). Should I?

And what about a hat? Everyone loves my hats!

Well, now I can’t find the images! Back later to add some!


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It’s a sweet romance Kindle Countdown sale!

Last day for this awesome Kindle Countdown sale!

Celebrate my new Chocolate-Box book, A Chocolate-Box Summer Breeze, now on pre-order, and snag your copy of A Chocolate-Box Valentine for only 99¢.

Last day for the sale so grab your ebook copy today.

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Cars and More Cars – Confessions of a Car Nut

Years ago, when I was 18 years old, I owned a 1964 candy-apple red Jaguar XKE. I  was my dad’s princess, and he was a car nut, too.

This sleek cat ran like a scalded kitty–when it was running. It’s particular haunt was the service bay at a local garage. Looking back, that might have been that they didn’t know how to work on this English sports car…or it could have been blamed on poor engineering. The distributor cap was very near the ground, getting splashed when there were puddles. Sputter. Stop. And it had 3 deuce carburetors–not easy to keep in sync, I guess. Once, some mechanic routed them wrong, and a stream of gas was pouring out beneath the car!

I had 4 Miatas, then fell in love with the BMW Z3 (my favorite of all time).  Z3PO was my best buddy.  We went on rallies into the wilds of Houston, and when I bought him, had an idyllic trip from Mechanicsburg, PA to Houston, TX, along the Shenendoah Valley, through the mountains (around the curves), drove the Tail of the Dragon (a stretch of 11 miles with something like 311 curves), stopped at a historic little white church in a preserve.  When I totalled my blue SUV, named aptly enough Blue, I did a particular search listing color, engine, etc. on Google, and a Sterling Gray, 3.0i Z3, with an automatic transmission (the only difference from Z3PO, which was a straight-drive), popped up in Macon, GA.

My aunt and I drove to Macon (a 4 hour journey if you get lost a lot) and I bought my new/old Z3.  I named him Zippy Z, and simply love him. He’s exactly the car I wanted-an exact replica of Z3PO. Now, Zs are a true roadster (convertible)–noisy, rough to ride, but handle like a dream). The Z3 was produced at the BMW plant in Greenville, SC, and the last year it was made? 2002. In 2003, the Z4 was introduced. My 17-year-old Land Shark looks like a new car though. Zippy had been someone’s garage baby. They earned the name Land Shark when they first came out because they have such a long, elegant hood and look as fast as a shark appears to be.  Zippy has an in-line 6-cylinder engine that produces 225 horsepower.

So, even at my age I’m still the same old girl I used to be–a sports car nut.

May the Muse be with you this Friday, August 7th, 2020! All hose  years ago, I got the jag on August 6th.


Today, I have two announcements.  Love for Sale, fhe first book in the series, is on sale for only $.99, and the sequel, Life for Sale, is now on preorder!

Tomorrow’s Angels: Series Blurb

Mayfair Electronics has created life.

In Love for Sale, the high-tech electronics company, in black and white, offers “love for sale”. Mayfair has engineered sentient androids indistinguishable from humans. March Morgan flies to England and meets the man she has been searching for her entire life. Christian requires no programming to love March at first sight, but her past and his future soon threaten their happiness—and their lives.

In the sequel, Life for Sale, four of the Special Editions have escaped. Rebel, Christian and  March  are on the run, but they have a bigger problem than his creator’s plan to destroy him. They’ve discovered that one of the renegades has suffered a dangerous malfunction, threatening them with more than just exposure. March and Christian must stop the insane robot before someone else dies. All the evidence points to March being the killer’s next victim.



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New Release Sneak Peek

⭐ NEW RELEASE Sneak Peek! ⭐
A Chocolate-Box Summer Breeze

A disillusioned widow longing for change. A hard-working truck driver looking for love. Will Emily and Joe find happily-ever-after in a forgotten summer breeze? 

Only 99¢ for this sweet contemporary second-chance romance. Pre-order your ebook copy today.

Also available in Paperback and Large Print Paperback.


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Posted for Tony-Paul Vissage by Linda Nightingale.

Romania—specifically that section of it called Transylvania—isn’t the only place having vampires.  It’s just the one people think of, thanks to Bram Stoker’s little epic.  In fact, the first vampire novel to gain attention in the literary world was set in England.  Oui—that’s right.  The Vampyre by Dr. John Polidori, was an English creation, but how many, other than we vamp-aficionados, are aware of that?  And if asked to named the world’s first vampire, how many would say the name of its villain, Lord Ruthven?

Dracula wins that title, fangs down!

Like a thousand other countries, Ireland has its own vampire.  The dearg-due (also spelled dearg-due, and pronounced dah rag-du ah).  Though the vampire in Forever, My Vampire is male but called a dearg-due, the true one is female, a cross between the succubus and the vampires…the red bloodsucker. Her story is typically romantic and tragic. A young woman forced by her father to marry a cruel man, she kills herself, then rises to exact revenge upon husband and parent.  After that, she carries her vengeance far afield as she attacks any man she meets, draining him dry of his life…and his blood. The only way to prevent a dearg-due from rising and creating its own special havoc is to pile the grave high with stones. Their weight holds the evil spirit inside.

As to my vampire…

When I wrote Forever, My Vampire, I decided to be different, ignoring Transylvania in lieu of Ireland, which has its own special vampire. Oh, my hero/villain hails from Hungary but that’s only mentioned briefly. And the city he says he comes from actually does exist.  It’s called Lugos, and is the town from which Bela Lugosi took his stage name.  Appropriate, non?  The Irish town is made up, however. Balleywalegh’s a place knowing what to do with vampires and it doesn’t involve giving them the key to the city, unless it’s presented on the end of a well-sharpened stake.

I also chose to set my story in a slightly inappropriate era…the Twenties. 1929 to be exact, when the movies were just becoming the rage, the automobiles were still fairly rare, and any woman showing more than an ankle was considered “fast”…or worse…a flapper. The perceived vampire is also different…he can dance the Charleston and drives a Stutz Bearcat…and that fact drives the lasses wild.

The time is just enough of a blend of the old century and the new to make it different.

Don’t think my tale of a vampire descending on a little Irish village is a tragic one, though.  Nor is it bloody.  It’s more whimsical, filled with Irish lilts and brash Gaelic characters…though it does have its shivery moments.  It also pokes fun at all the clichés with which the movies have filled the vampire tale…the villagers descending on the manor house, the vampire being fended off with garlic and stakes, the cornered vampire cursing his attackers…  It’s all there, as tongue…uh, fang…in cheek as you can get without being a cruel burlesque.  If anything, it’s a gentle bit of fun at the genre’s expense.


In 1821, the good men of Balleywalegh drove a monster from their midst…or so they thought.

Now, it’s 1926 and a light again shines in the deserted manor house window. The vampire has returned…or so they think.

Karel Novotny has the same name as the fiend, but he can’t be a vampire…can he?

The girls of Balleywalegh adore Karel, especially Seamus Flannery’s daughter Brigid, but when the lasses come down with a mysterious ailment, and their fathers start sharpening their stakes, Seamus has to discover the truth fast, or Karel may not survive to become his son-in-law.

Will the real vampire please stand up?


“Gentlemen,” Conor instructed, “ask th’ lady o’ your  choice for th’ first dance.”

“Do you dance, Mr. Novotny Karel?” Brigid’s eyes held a teasing look.

“Dance? I…” He appeared uncertain what to answer. “Well… ”

“Oh, come on. This first dance is a waltz. Everyone knows how to waltz.” Before he could protest, she caught his hand, dragging him to the dance floor, a cleared space at the end of the room where tables and chairs had been pushed out of the way.

To one side, Conor and his two eldest drew their bows across their fiddles, while Paddy Shea blew into his clarinet, and his wife did an arpeggio on the keys of the old upright rolled into a space near the kitchen door. The first notes of the Blue Danube Waltz floated over the heads of those now crowding onto the dance floor.

Seamus, not being much of a dancer, didn’t participate, thankful Maeve, knowing how those two left feet of his could hurt when trampling on her little toes, didn’t insist. Instead, they stood on the sidelines, watching as the young people milled about, some keeping good time to the music, some woefully inept.

Novotny, definitely wasn’t one of the latter.

Th’ lad’s damned graceful, Seamus thought as he watched the young man guide Brigid about the floor.

She smiled up at him, obviously pleased by his performance. Seamus felt his heart sink. His mother had always told him young woman liked a man who could dance. He was certain Novotny was about to prove her correct.

He didn’t finish the dance with Brigid, however. Several of her friends, obviously not considering it bold, cut in, taking him away from her for a few moments, while a couple of the lads swept Brigid into an embrace one after the other. Too quickly in Seamus’ opinion, the two reclaimed each other through a second waltz, then a third. When the music slid into a two-step, Brigid didn’t let Novotny leave the floor, but held his hand and simply stood there with the others milling around them until he once more put his arm about her and continued to dance.

The next dance was the Charleston, and Seamus was subjected to the sight of his daughter and the young foreigner bouncing all over the dance floor. There were a few other couples knowledgeable enough to know the steps to that scandalous American dance but they were soon stepping aside, giving the two more room. When Seamus looked away from the waving arms, shimmying hips, and flying legs, he was startled to see Maeve, still standing next to him, bouncing slightly and snapping her fingers.

“Well, it does have a lively beat,” she defended herself in answer to his stare.

Shaking his head, Seamus glanced back at the dancers as the music once more changed, to a foxtrot, this time. Apparently Novotny was acquainted with that one as well.

He stayed on the floor until the musicians called it quits by playing a fanfare, and Conor announced loudly, “An’ now, let’s bring on th’ vittles.”

Panting slightly, Novotny offered Brigid his arm and led her from the floor.

Seamus hadn’t realized until that moment he’d been holding his breath. Just a little.


Forever, My Vampire is available from wordwooze Publishing through Amazon in Kindle and paperback and will soon be released in audio book, also:

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It’s a July Clean Romance Promotion

It’s a July Clean Romance promotion!

Be sure to snag your free ebook, A Snowy White Christmas, and celebrate Christmas in July.


Sweet and Sassy Summertime 2 is now on pre-order!

SEVEN SWEET AND SASSY STORIES of SUMMER From International USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.
Grab your ebook copy today!


And, Donna Fasano’s sweet romance holiday book, HER MR. MIRACLE, is only 99¢!


Veronica “Ronnie” Clark has had it up to here with her family. So she shoves her suitcase into the trunk of her car along with that billowy, lacy, monstrosity of a bridal gown and hits the road. Unfortunately, her old Volvo gives out, leaving her stranded on Christmas Eve in the nearly deserted seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland. Oh, boy, does she ever need a miracle!

And like Christmas magic, her Mr. Miracle appears. Adam Rone stops to offer her assistance, and once the tow truck drives away with the Volvo, he suggests she stay at Ocean Dreams, the hotel he owns and operates in the tourist town.

Ronnie is drawn to the compassionate single dad, and the attraction they feel is undeniable. But when she learns all he’s going through to keep his family together, she can’t bring herself to reveal to him that she’s running from hers. All she wants is for him to take her in his arms and kiss her, but he keeps asking about that stupid wedding dress!n

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Life for Sale – My 8/24 Release – An Excerpt

Life for Sale is the sequel to Love For Sale in a series I’ve called Tomorrow’s Angels. One of the main characters, Daniel, is demanding his own book, so there might eventually be three books in the series.  It is now on preorder–the link is below.

Here’s the series blurb:

Mayfair Electronics has created life.

In Love for Sale, the high-tech electronics company, in black and white, offers “love for sale”. Mayfair has engineered sentient androids indistinguishable from humans. March Morgan flies to England and meets the man she has been searching for her entire life. Christian requires no programming to love March at first sight, but her past and his future soon threaten their happiness—and their lives.

In the sequel, Life for Sale, four of the Special Editions have escaped. Rebel, Christian and  March  are on the run, but they have a bigger problem than his creator’s plan to destroy him. They’ve discovered that one of the renegades has suffered a dangerous malfunction, threatening them with more than just exposure. March and Christian must stop the insane robot before someone else dies. All the evidence points to March being the killer’s next victim.


Excerpt from Life for Sale:

March shivered again, rested her face on his chest. “Hold me until I stop trembling.” Tears she didn’t want him to see welled in her eyes. The whole ghastly business had to be hard on a man encoded to protect not harm humans.

Her AI angel stroked her hair, and a sob broke through her control. She squeezed her eyes shut, battling tears.

“Shush, dear. It’s over now,” but he didn’t sound confident. The thing buried in the backyard could tear them apart or worse.  Any slight misstep, and they both faced Death in all his chilling glory.

“I love you,” she whispered.

He brushed a kiss to her lips and pulled held her closer.

For some time, they stood. taking comfort from holding each other and simply being, then, hand-in-hand, they walked, when they wanted to run, to the house. Christian had switched on the overhead light in the anteroom. In the brilliance, it was possible to pretend the past few minutes hadn’t occurred. Again the tears threatened, and he held her until she’d regained control. She straightened, gazing into his eyes. Battered emotions stained them darker blue. Mayfair hadn’t missed even that small detail. He cradled her face between his hands and kissed her tenderly, his lips soft and his body close. In a lifetime of searching, she’d never have found anyone like him. If she were to lose him…she couldn’t imagine living without him.

Once, Mayfair had taken him away.  They could do it again—and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. The golden ring on the third finger of his left hand should protect Christian from Mayfair, but who’d investigate a missing robot, or even believe her in the first place?

With almost religious fervor, she and Christian had adhered to Mayfair’s first commandment. Above all, the company demanded secrecy. The Special Editions passed for human, and no one was ever to know that Mayfair had engendered life, but at any moment Aguillard, the wild card for whom the Christian line was named, might renege on the freedom he’d grudgingly bestowed.

Her cell rang, ending their moment of respite.


To celebrate the release, I’m giving away an eBook copy of Love For Sale to a person who comments on this blog today. Leave your contact information, i.e., an email addy.







Life for Sale –

Love For Sale


In other news on the scene, voting in the finals for the Raven Awards, hosted by Uncaged Book Reviews, begins next week. Again, it’s by popular vote, and I’d really appreciate your vote in the last round in the Paranormal/Paranormal Romance category.

I’ll post the link next week when I have it.  Thanks for your support!!

Be careful, be healthy, and be happy.  Have a super weekend!


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More Building Tension

Margo’s Choice, Women’s Fiction, builds tension based on character flaws.

Margo worries when she learns Jay, her EX, is coming back for their oldest daughter’s birthday. She doesn’t know Jay is retiring from the Marines and coming home to stay. Jay was her first love and her only love. Neither has remarried, and they still share a strong attraction to each other, but Margo is determined she will never fall for his charms again. He leaves her hurt and disappointed each time. Will she never learn?


“He sends cards and gifts for both,” Carol said. “The girls show me everything their daddy sends them.”

Margo’s response. “At first he sent cards and gifts for Rose. His mama sent cards and gifts for Dee, then she finally shamed him into doing it, since she was only a kid.“

Rose(Electra) and Dee (Deidre) have a lot at stake, too!

Electra is 20 and in college.

Electra couldn’t wait to see her dad again. He had always been so big and strong. He’d made her feel safe. Even last year he’d been able to hoist her over his shoulder, practically bench press her hundred and twenty pounds. That was after they’d run three miles. He’d carried her the last half mile and she’d nearly tossed her breakfast. At five feet five, she was no lightweight.

He’d be around all the time now, since he was retiring. At least he wouldn’t try to make rules and treat her like a kid the way Mama and her grandparents did. She’d soon be a college graduate and she’d be on her own. Sweet! Mama didn’t know Daddy sent her money every month. With that and her part time job, she’d paid for a car. Both sets of grandparents had given money toward her down payment. If he kept up the extra money, she could move into her own apartment soon.

She missed having her dad around. She loved the way her friends reacted to him and even pictures of him. The girls called him so-o-o hot and the guys said he looked cut. His muscles looked like they had muscles. For an old guy and a dad, he looked great, better than any football player or weight lifter she’d ever seen.

Why did Dad seem so strange about Dee? Everyone loved Dee. How could anyone not love her? She made good grades, didn’t get into trouble, and had no idea she was special. Dee never ratted her out, like about hidden piercings or tattoos or nights spent with a certain boyfriend who played in a band. Mama and the grandparents would shit a brick if they knew about him and the things she’d done with him.

Deidre is in high school and vulnerable.

Hell, her mom had married at twenty, and look how that ended up. No way am I getting tied down at twenty, even for Shark.

Deidre re-read her letters from her dad. Then she re-read each card. She’d printed her emails from him. They were all great letters but something made them different from the letters and cards he’d sent to Electra. Not once could she find the word love in any of them. Electra and Grandma M said men weren’t good at using that word, but she’d seen it in her sister’s letters from their dad. Now that he was coming home for good, she’d make him proud of her. She’d make him love her like he loved Electra.

She’d show him the manila envelope with her report cards and academic awards. This year she’d run track and done well, winning the last three races. Maybe he’d get her a car, too. She’d saved most of the money he’d sent for birthdays and Christmas and monthly allowance checks. Electra had guilted him into sending them extra allowances and laughed about it. Mama had no clue they had extra money

So much potential for growth and so much for pain!

Contact Mary Marvella Author/121044561311561

Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab

Books by Mary Marvella

Haunting Refrain, The Gift, Margo’s Choice

Protecting Melissa, Protective Instincts, Cost of Deception

Forever Love, Write Dirty to Me, Her Deception. Cheerleader Dad

Weeding the Garden of your Manuscript: What Editors Wish You Knew.

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New Release! Holiday Hearts Volume 3 and Donna Fasano Christmas book–both 99¢

Celebrate Christmas in July with my newest release,

Holiday Hearts Volume Three

Savor the magic of Josie Riviera’s holiday romances—exclusively in one boxed set.

A heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic holiday season. Savor the magic in Holiday Hearts Volume 3 with three sweet holiday contemporary romances.

Cozy up and lose yourself in this wonderful season of love.

Sweet Peppermint Kisses

There’s no place like home. Until the heart gallops off in an unexpected direction…

After Chiara passes her RN license exam, she plans to leave Virginia and return to her beloved Kansas hometown for good. Except her home health client’s handsome brother makes her consider changing her plans.

Between his job, his sister’s injury, and his horse ranch, Vance has no time for Christmas. But Chiara’s delight in the season makes him willing to do anything to keep the enchanting smile on her face.

When it comes down to asking her to stay, can he let go of his painful past, throw his heart over the fence, and follow it toward a future together?

Sometimes the best gifts are hiding right under your heart.

A Chocolate-Box Christmas

Love is sweeter with a touch of mischief.

A short book for a quick and sweet holiday read.

Judging a chocolate-making competition for the women’s shelter’s annual fundraiser should be an easy, even pleasurable, assignment for Maise, new food critic for the Bloomingfield Daily Dispatch. Too bad just the smell of chocolate makes her stomach roil.

By the time she reaches the last table, she hopes her face isn’t as green as her holiday sweater. But the tall, square-jawed man behind piles of fudge makes her want to linger, even savor the moment along with his chocolate-coffee-flavored confection.

Except there’s something Ben Elliot is hiding behind his piercing blue eyes and lazy grin, and her reporter’s nose senses a story worth exploring. She finds herself longing to discover the secret ingredient sweetening their mutual attraction.

Holly’s Gift

Miracles don’t always come easy. Sometimes it takes a secret wish to light an angel’s way.

When Holly steps into a homeless shelter looking for an MIA piano student, she notices a distinct lack of Christmas cheer—because a handsome building inspector is forcing the shelter to temporarily close down.

Holly knows bad guys—she was married to one. Yet when the man asks her out, she finds absolutely not warring with absolutely yes.

Tim Stewart doesn’t hold his breath waiting for God to answer prayers. He went from homeless desperation to television stardom to relative obscurity while God stayed silent. But when Holly barrels into his life, her steady faith sparks hope for a dream of his own. Even if it means praying for a Christmas miracle—one last time.

Remembered sadness is the stepping stone to tomorrow’s joy.

Want more? Read Holiday Hearts Volume 1, which includes A Snowy White Christmas, Candleglow and Mistletoe, and A Portuguese Christmas.

And Holiday Hearts Volume 2, which includes Aloha to Love, A Christmas To Cherish, and 1-800-CHRISTMAS.

Continue the Christmas in July celebration with Donna Fasano’s:

AN ALMOST PERFECT CHRISTMAS (reg $3.99) on sale for 99c

For fans of ‘Me Before You’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’—An Almost Perfect Christmas brings together two people in need of the kind of love that can overcome tragedy. A heartbreakingly romantic novel that challenges each of us to live—and love—to the fullest… even when life is less than perfect.

When it comes to business, Aaron Chase knows how to succeed. But when his daughter, Izzie, asks him for the perfect family Christmas, the handsome widower feels at a loss about how to make his little girl’s dream come true.

Pediatric Nurse Christy Cooper has dedicated her life to taking care of children. She agrees to act as Izzie’s stand-in mom for this special holiday and throws herself into making the child’s Christmas wish a reality. Maybe this selfless act will somehow alleviate her secret regrets and failures of the past.

The holiday is filled with fun and laughter, and it’s amazing how three short days can be so life-changing. When the impish eight-year-old talks the adults into acting out a silly, make-believe wedding, young Izzie is certain the magic of the season will turn the pretend vows into the real thing. The little girl wants her daddy to have Christmas in his life—every single day.

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