Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#Excerpt on @PrismBookTours for Sweet Mountain Rancher by Loree Lough

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Sweet Mountain Rancher (Those Marshall Boys, #2)Sweet Mountain Rancher
(Those Marshal Boys, #2)
by Loree Lough
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 385 pages (large print)
September 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming


Nate Marshall used to be a yes-man... until being so agreeable cost him dearly. But Eden Quinn has a way of getting him to reconsider his "just say no" policy. Which is how a bunch of troubled teens end up at his ranch for the weekend. Nate can't help but be attracted to the woman who keeps them in line.

This cowboy knows Eden's no damsel in distress, yet hers isn't a one-woman job. If she must do everything on her own, how can he help her... let alone get her to fall for him?

Excerpt #2:
The doorbell pealed, and she stepped quietly from the classroom to get rid of whatever salesman had come calling. But instead of a college student selling magazine subscriptions, she found Brett Michaels on the porch. Every nerve prickled with dread as he swaggered into the foyer, but she forced a cheery smile. 
“Hey, Brett. What brings you here so early on a Tuesday morning?” 
As usual, he didn’t answer her question. “You look lovely, as always.” He nodded toward the classrooms. “Which is amazing, considering what you do for a living.” 
Eden ignored his snide reference to the boys’ backgrounds. “There’s fresh coffee in the kitchen….” 
“If that’s an invitation, I’d love a cup. But only if you’ll join me.” 
Something about his tone heightened her tension. Back in November, the purpose of a similar early-morning visit had been to raise the rent a hundred dollars a month. She’d managed—barely—by trading her new car for the big clunker of a van, and directing a portion of her county-paid salary toward the bill. Thanks to minuscule funds raised by local churches and a few kind-hearted donors, she’d made every payment, on time and in full. Kept the lights on and the fridge and pantry filled, too. If he’d stopped by today to raise the fee yet again, it would take some serious belt-tightening. 
Eden peeled back the plastic wrap from a chipped ceramic plate. “I baked these early this morning,” she told him. 
“Chocolate chip, my favorite. But you knew that, didn’t you.” He sat at the Formica and chrome table donated by Kirk’s parents. Winking, Brett added, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were sweet on me.” 
Not if you were the last man standing. Eden couldn’t afford to offend him by admitting it, so she grabbed a mug from the drainboard. “Now, now,” she said, filling it, “we both know I’m not your type.” 
For the first time since they’d met, Brett looked genuinely surprised. “And what, exactly, do you think my type is?” 
Eden sat across from him. “Tall, lithe, blonde, wealthy” She stared at the ceiling, searching her mind for a polite way to say ‘stuck up’, and noticed a crack in the ceiling. How long had it been thereshe wondered, zig-zagging from the light fixture to the corner above the back door? 
Brett sipped his coffee, and she completed her thought. She’d have a degree from Barnard or Brown, memberships at Valverde Yacht Club and Castle Pines golf course.” 
Is that really how you see me? As someone who’s only interested in social networking?” 
To be honest, Eden thought, yes. 
He blanketed her hand with his. “I’ll have you know that my type is sitting right here.” He leaned a little closer. “I’ve always thought we’d make a great team.” 
Her brain said How is that possible, when we have zero in common! She shoved the plate of cookies closer to him. “So tell me, Brett, what have you been up to these days?” 
He helped himself to a cookie. “Funny you should ask.” 
Something told her she wouldn’t find what he was about to say the least bit funny. 
Got an interesting offer late last week,” he said around a bite. “A very interesting offer that could prove profitable.” 
She sensed an if coming, and put her hands in her lap so he couldn’t see them shaking. 
“How’s your mom?” she asked, buying time to get hold of herself. 
“Never better. Talked to her yesterday. She sends her love. 
His mother had blatantly refused to update her old flip phone. “Wait, you talked about me during a ship-to-shore phone call?” 
“Sort of.” 
Brett had mastered the art of evading straight answers. It might have made sense if she’d asked about his annual salary, or cheated on his taxes—or his latest girlfriend. But it seemed he preferred to dance around the truth, even when discussing routine, mundane things. 
“When Mom asked what I was doing today, I told her I needed to pay you a visit. That’s when she said to tell you she’s looking forward to lunch at Tables.” 
His mom had long been one of Latimer’s most generous donors, and she loved meeting at the quaint restaurant on Kearney Street almost as much as she loved the white picket fence out front and the eclectic collection of mismatched tables and chairs inside. On more than one occasion, Cora Michaels told Eden that if not for the firm hand of her second husband—who’d adopted Brett—her only son might have ended up in a place like Latimer House…or worse. But wait. Had Brett just said he needed to visit her today? 
“Last time I saw her,” Eden said, “she was buying up every mini hygiene product at the pharmacy. Is she home from her world tour yet?” 
Late next week.” He took another sip of coffee and met her eyes over the mug’s rim. “As usual, this is delicious. Someday maybe you’ll tell me your secret.” 
Eden blinked. Swallowed. Because his brown eyes had narrowed exactly the same way when he raised the rent. 
“I don’t follow instructions,” she said. 
Both eyebrows rose high on his forehead. “Beg pardon?” 
“On the coffee can. The instructions say to use a rounded scoop. For every cup you’re making. In my opinion? That’s so you’ll use it up faster.” Nervousness and fear tended to make her speak in phrases instead of full sentences, and it usually preceded stuttering. Eden took a deep breath and hoped it would calm her. Because knowing Brett, he’d read stuttering as a sign of weakness. It is, she admitted, but he doesn’t need to know that. 
So anyway, I don’t follow directions. I use half as much, er, many. Coffee grounds, that is. 
Ah-ha. Makes sense,” he said, dusting crumbs from his fingers. 
He sounded uninterested, at best, and who could blame him? Unfortunately, she knew it meant that any second now, he’d hit her with the real reason for his visit. 
So about this proposal I came to tell you about. I thought it only fair to give you a chance to make a counter offer before I sign anything.” 
Eden wondered if Brett could hear her hard-beating heart from his side of the table. “Proposal?” 
“Someone wants to buy Latimer House.” 
“You’re joking.” 
He shook his head. 
“And you’re here to see if I’m interested in presenting you with a counter offer? 
“Yeah, that was the general idea.” 
“You must be joking,” she repeated, “because my savings account balance doesn’t even have a comma in it anymore! 
Brett chuckled. “Always the kidder.” His expression went stony and professional as he leaned back in the chair. “Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.” 
In truth, her bank statement did show a comma—and a few digits preceding it—thanks to the small estate she’d inherited from her grandparents. Their house on the other side of town wasn’t as big as this one, but it would do…if Brett forced her hand. Unfortunately, the last tenants hadn’t left the place in the same condition they’d found it, and Denver officials would no doubt demand an inspection before issuing a permit to house the boys there. Eden had no idea what it might cost to bring it up to code. Could she afford to make the necessary repairs, or would she have to sell the home where she’d spent so many happy years? The very thought took her breath away. 
“You look a little green around the gills, Eden. Are you all right?” 
No, I most certainly am not. 
“How much were you offered for Latimer House?” 
When Brett named his price, it was all she could do to keep from spewing coffee across the table. 
Oh my,” she whispered. Then, “How soon do you need an answer?” 
He shrugged one shoulder. “How much time do you need?” 
Oh, why this game of cat and mouse! Couldn’t he just answer one question, straight-out? 
“How long do I have?” 
Brett’s look hardened still more. “For anyone else, I’d say sixty days. But because I’m so fond of you, I’ll stretch it to ninety. Tops.” 
Her gaze darted to the calendar on the wall behind him. He might as well have said sixty-to-ninety minutes. And his timing couldn’t have been worse. Her boys were making steady forward strides, changing from angry, mistrustful teens into productive, hopeful young men. This place, and the steadfast hard work of Kirk and the handful of others who helped her run it, allowed the kids to believe that some adults, at least, can be trusted to make decisions in the boys’ best interests. If Brett sold the place right out from under them now…. 
Brett leaned across the table and grasped both of her hands. “Wouldn’t need to worry about how you’ll come up with the money if you and I were….” He shrugged again. “Y’know…..” 
They’d never been to dinner, or a movie. Hadn’t taken a walk in the park or toured a museum together. Surely Brett wasn’t suggesting that the solution to her problem was— 
He stacked half a dozen cookies on a paper napkin, palmed them, and made his way back to the foyer. “Thanks for the coffee,” he said, “and these.” His bulk filled the open door. “Don’t wait too long to let me know what you decide. About the sale, and about the other thing, too.” 
Eden stood in stunned silence, watching him drive away, and the instant he was out of sight, she added an item to the top of her To Do list—in big bold capitol letters: “Visit Gran’s house.” Maybe things weren’t all that bad over there after all. She added “Call Everett Shipley” to her list. With any luck, the lawyer who’d handled Gran’s estate could provide a few legal stall tactics that would give her time to get the house—and the paperwork—in order. 
Both would have to wait until tomorrow, because this afternoon she had two classes to teach, lesson plans to prepare, papers to grade. A mountain of laundry waited in the basement, where she’d jury-rigged a clothesline to aid the limping dryer. She’d always found innovative ways to stretch a few measly dollars a long way. With Brett’s threat hanging overhead, she’d have to stretch them farther still. But how long before they snapped? 
Eden tucked her notepad and pen into her shirt pocket, exhaling a worried sigh as she headed for the classrooms. She’d never understood Scarlet O’Hara’s famous “I’ll worry about it tomorrow” quote… 
…until today.

The First Book in the Series

Once a Marine

Yes, it's true: Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for the "grandorables," but mostly, she just writes. (And writes.) Over the years, her stories have earned nearly 100 industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 7 movie options, and over 80 4- and 5-star reviews.

There are more than 5,000,000 (yes, that's FIVE MILLION) copies of Loree's books in circulation, and in September of 2015, she'll have 108 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults) 72 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print. To date, she has received 50,000+ letters from fans (a carton of books goes to Meredith P. in Joliet, IL -- which she has elected to donate to her local library --for writing the 50,000th letter)!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and "wolf stuff."

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