Friday, August 21, 2015

Excerpt #3 on the Guardians of the Heart by Loree Lough @PrismBookTours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Guardians of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #2)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 272 pages
August 3rd 2015 by Whitaker House

Nell Holstrom wanted no part of her grandfather's barren gold mine that had taken the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother; even if there may still be hidden wealth inside. Instead, she went to Denver and took a job as housekeeper at the old Stone Hill Inn.

Asa Stone was barely more than a boy when his father dragged him and his brothers to fight with Colonel John Chivington. But Asa refused to participate in the raid on the peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe; and when the smoke cleared, his father and brother lay among the slaughtered. Besieged by guilt, Asa wandered the West for years before returning to Denver to rebuild the old inn he'd inherited. 

Together, Nell and Asa work hard to restore Stone Hill. But when disaster hits the inn, Asa retreats into despair and Nell is forced to return to her family's mine. Asa faces the hard fact: He'll never be the man Nell deserves. Can he overcome the dark secrets of his past? And will Nell still love him when she learns the truth?

Excerpt #3:

They carried their bowls to a nearby bench and sat down to enjoy the treat, and Asa realized immediately that they were facing the wrong direction. Fifty yards due north, he had a direct line of sight to where Gus and Nell sat, munching fried chicken, corn bread, and apple slices. Oughta be you sitting there, he thought. Distracted by the scene, he took a too-big bite of ice cream, and sudden pain shot across his forehead.

“Why don’t you like Mr. Anderson?”

“What makes you think I don’t like him?”

“You look angry, that’s why.”

Asa pressed a fingertip to the space between his eyebrows. “Took too big a bite of ice cream,” he said, “and ‘bout froze my brain.”

She nodded, but it was clear by the look on her face that his explanation hadn’t satisfied her.

“You know what I think?”

He took another bite, a smaller one this time.

“I think you’re sweet on Nell.” She shrugged. “That could be you over there, if you hadn’t quit bidding.”

She couldn’t be more than six or seven years old. From the mouths of babes? Asa thought.

“I like Gus just fine. I like Nell, too, because she’s a hard worker and earns every dollar I pay her, same as you and your brothers.”

Sophia tilted her head and studied his face, and Asa braced himself for the next line of her inquisition.

“It’s very good ice cream, don’t you think?”

As she scraped the last of the treat from her bowl, Asa decided this girl would go far, because she’d already learned one of life’s hardest lessons: Knowing when to change the subject.

“Oh look,” she said, pointing with her flat, wooden spoon. “Nell and Mr. Anderson are cleaning up.” She got to her feet and held out one hand. “Will you join us for Nell’s story?”

“I ought to get back, unlock the inn, in case one of the guests wants to get in.” One look at her disappointed face was all it took for him to change his mind. “But I don’t suppose it’ll hurt ‘em to wait a few minutes more.”

He let her lead him toward the bench where Nell and Gus had shared the box lunch.

“Asa,” Nell said, “it’s good to see you.”

As she left the house earlier, Nell had asked if he planned to attend any of the festivities. He’d given a noncommittal answer, so no wonder she seemed surprised to see him.

“Having a good day?” he asked.

“A wonderful day. And you?”

He tousled Sophia’s hair. “Better now that my little friend is with me.”

“Don’t tell Joey and Dom,” the girl whispered, “but Mr. Stone just bought me some ice cream.”

Nell met his eyes. “Oh, he did, did he?”

“Chocolate and vanilla, but if the boys find out, they’ll want some, too.”

Nell’s lips parted, no doubt to gently take the girl to task for the comment, but the boys’ approach prevented it.

“Listen to you,” Nell said, laughing. “You’re so out of breath, you can barely talk!”

“Did we miss the story?” Dom asked as Joe Jr. said “We’re not too late, are we?”

“You’re right on time,” Nell said, sitting in the middle of the bench.

The boys sat to her right, Sophia to her left.

“Where will Mr. Stone sit?” the girl asked.

Nell looked up at him. “You want to hear the story?”

Asa scooped Sophia into his arms and sat down with her in his lap. “We’re ready when you are.”

“All right then,” she said, and cleared her throat. “This story is called ‘The Astrologer,’ and it goes like this. There was an old man who believed he could read the future, written on the stars, and one night as he walked along, he saw that the whole village had gathered, and everyone was looking up at the sky. ’Oh my,’ he said, ‘it must be the end of the world!’”

The kids laughed at her rendition of the man’s voice.

“He was so busy looking up that he didn’t see the big hole in the road, and he fell right in. When he got to his feet, he saw that he was covered in mud, all the way up to his ears!”

“Was he hurt?” Sophia asked, snuggling closer to Asa.

“No,” Nell said, “but he was frightened, because the hole was slippery, and he couldn’t climb out.”

“What did he do?” Dom wanted to know.

Joe Jr. did his best to put on a brave face. “Bet he started caterwaulin’ like a bull moose. ‘Help! Help!’”

“You’re a funny boy, Joey,” Nell said, laughing softly, “and you’re also perceptive.”

“Perceptive,” Sophia echoed. “What does that mean?”

“It means your big brother understood what was going on, and had a pretty good hunch what might happen next.”

“Hush, little brat,” Joey said, “and let her finish, so we can find out if the old man got out of the hole or not.”

“I’m not a—”

“Pay him no mind,” Asa whispered near her hear. “I had big brothers, too, and learned the value of ignoring them.”

Sophia cuddled closer still.

“So as Joey pointed out,” Nell continued, “the old man called and called, and finally, the people in the town heard him. They went to the edge of the hole and looked in. ‘You pretend that you can predict the future,’ one man said. ‘Because I can!’ the old man argued. ‘Then why didn’t you know this hole was here, so you could avoid falling in to it!’”

“Those people were very perspective!” Sophia observed.

“Perceptive,” Joey corrected.

“Remember what I told you,” Asa said before the girl had a chance to retort.

Nell smiled at him, and he felt his pulse quicken as she went back to telling the story.

“’Maybe you’ll learn to pay attention to what’s right in front of you,’” the people said, “’instead of looking to the sky to predict the future!’”

Asa found himself nodding in agreement, just as the children were.

Nell reached into her apron pocket and withdrew a napkin-wrapped treat. “Sugar cookies,” she said, “for anyone who can tell me the moral of the story.”

One by one, the children licked their lips, then made their guesses.

“Watch where you’re going,” Sophia said, “and you won’t fall down!”

Dom blurted out, “Don’t expect to find answers written on the sky!”

And Joe Jr. piped up with “If you take care of the things that are important, and the things that aren’t important will take care of themselves.”

“I’m impressed!” Nell said, handing out sugar cookies.

They gathered close, accepting their treats, giggling and chattering like monkeys as they basked in the glow of her fondness for them.

Asa was impressed, too, and not just with the perceptive DiMaggio children. It seemed a shame that a woman with as much love to give as Nell hadn’t married, that she didn’t have half a dozen of her own young’uns. Seemed to him that what Denver needed was a whole mess of mothers like Nell, who’d raise children that grew into productive, respectful citizens with open hearts…and perceptive minds.

He was so engrossed in their playful banter that he didn’t notice the stranger, watching them from behind the shaggy trunk of a Buckley oak.

The First Book in the Series

Currency of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #1)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 pages
January 1st 2015 by Whitaker House

Young widow Shaina Sterling hates living a lie. Desperate to keep bill collectors from the door, she secretly sells valuable possessions piece by piece, and hopes Denver’s elite never discover that his lavish lifestyle left her a near pauper.

She’s unaware that as her husband lay dying, successful rancher Sloan Remington made him a promise. And Sloan guards her secrets
as carefully as he looks after her safety.

When fire devours Sterling Hall, leaving her homeless and penniless, he brings her to Remington Ranch to manage his household. His kindness makes Shaina beholden to him … and threatens to expose the secret that could destroy him.

Will trials and tragedies bring Sloan and Shaina together?
Or will secrets—and the cost of exposing them—drive them apart forever?

With 105 books (5,000,000+ copies in circulation!), best-selling author Loree Lough's stories have been compared to those by Nicholas Sparks, and she has been dubbed by readers and reviewers as “a gifted writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives.”

With a long list of industry awards, it isn't likely this prolific author will ever retire...not even to her cozy li'l cabin in the Allegheny Mountains. She loves to hear from her readers and personally answers every letter sent to

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