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FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT
Romance Stories from Small Towns and Big Cities
By C.K. O’Connor, Heather Silvio, Cricket Rohman, Susanne Ash, Ginger Ring, Jade Royal & Amy Cecil, J.L. Campbell, Carmen Cook, Mel Walker, CA Miconi, J.C. Layne, Toni Denise, Lorah Jaiyn & Tiffany Carby, Jewel Walters, Macie Collins
This collection of small town and big city romances and romantic comedies will keep you glued to the page, with stories including…
* A Rockstar who broke his promise to resurrect his fiancée’s languishing ranch, but took five years to return. Will she grant him a second chance, or has their love played its last tune?
* A young woman who fled the big city to escape her politician father’s cheating scandal…only to fall for a struggling small town bike builder waiting for his big break. Is he a cheat like her father, or could the sexy single dad be custom made for her?
* A rundown single mom looking for a break and a kind-hearted entrepreneur in love with the wrong woman. Will their chemistry bring them love…or will the ghosts of her past come back to haunt them?
* A divorced, big time city baker forced to return to her family’s ranch. Falling for the younger and all too charming ranch hand was never part of the plan…
* A scandal that made Mitch and Olivia enemies. Can they now claim their joint inheritance without starting World War III?
* A haunted vet with nowhere else to go and a determined woman with no place to call home. Can they heal the hurricane-ravaged town of Patriot Bay…or with their broken hearts get in the way?
* And many more stories full of surprise, heartache, humor, and ALL the feels!
Fans of small town romances, romantic comedies, friends to lovers, second chances, military veterans, and happily ever afters will devour this boxed set of more than 15 standalone romances.
Authors included in the box set are C.K. O’Connor, Heather Silvio, Cricket Rohman, Susanne Ash, Ginger Ring, Jade Royal & Amy Cecil, J.L. Campbell, Carmen Cook, Mel Walker, CA Miconi, J.C. Layne, Toni Denise, Lorah Jaiyn & Tiffany Carby, Jewel Walters, Macie Collins
“Bear With Me”
By Lorah Jaiyn & Tiffany Carby
Gracie is just a small-town girl living a big life. After getting her heart broken by the only man she has ever loved, Gracie focuses on her career and is now a Game Warden for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Protecting the natural habitat and all the wildlife that lives within is her number one priority. Around her hometown of Bruin Pines, Gracie has a law and order all her own.
Following a disastrous breakup with a woman who, unbeknownst to him, is engaged to his boss, Andrew is sent packing back to his hometown of Bruin Pines. Seeing his one true love for the first time after shattering her heart is almost as bad as his breakup. After picking up the reins to his father’s struggling construction company, Andrew thinks he’s found the answer when he accepts a local job from a big-name developer. Except he’ll have to destroy a good chunk of Gracie’s wilderness.
Can they work together to find a solution that makes them both happy? Or will they just face another heartbreak when their second chance becomes the second round in a bigger fight?
Gracie held her breath as the black bear staggered. It circled the tree, but then caught itself and continued forward.
“Come on, come on. Work.” Her hiding place in the boulders wouldn’t last forever if the big male caught a whiff of her.
Unfortunately, the bear had stumbled just as she shot the tranquilizer dart so her aim had been off and she hadn’t hit the intended target area. She just hoped enough of it had been injected to bring the beast down.
Her radio crackled. “Gracie, you okay up there?”
“I’m fine—” she growled back, “—but if you keep making noise, I’ll be bear chow.”
Her back-up team, Mark St. John and Eric Neeson, waited at the truck for the signal to move in. She had to make sure it was safe first. No one was getting hurt on her watch, especially since any injuries would be blamed on the magnificent animal in front of her.
After what seemed like an eternity, the bear huffed one final time and fell over. When it stilled, she called for reinforcements. “Come on, guys. We don’t have long.”
Dr. Sara Soko was with the men when they came over the ridge. With quick and efficient moves, she went to work on the bear’s lame paw. “A piece of rebar is embedded in his pad,” Sara advised with a tone of disgust. “Nobody picks up their trash anymore. This poor fellow has been suffering for a while considering the amount of infection.” She glanced at Gracie. “He’s lucky you spotted him.”
Mark monitored the bear’s vitals while Eric helped the wildlife veterinarian with her supplies. Sara cleaned the wound after extracting the sharp shard of metal, while Gracie held the paw. She rubbed her thumb across the fur. “Now these are some murder mittens.”
Sara chuckled. “His paw is bigger than both of our hands put together.” She pulled a syringe out of her bag and injected the bear. “These antibiotics should heal him pretty quick. He’s going to be fine.”
“I hate that he was suffering,” Gracie murmured as she stroked the unconscious bear’s shoulder. “But I’m glad he’ll be good as new. I’m going to name him Ben, because he’s a big softy. I think he meant for me to see him the other day so I could get him help.”
Sara put her hand on Gracie’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t be surprised. You and these woods have a pretty special bond. The critters know they can trust you, but I still wouldn’t consider Ben a big softy.” They both laughed.
Gracie examined the piece of rebar. “If these construction people don’t start cleaning up after themselves, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening when I get ahold of them.”
“Something like that could have really hurt a cub,” Mark commented. “The way they roll around when they’re playing.”
“Let’s just hope it’s a one-time issue.” Sara packed up her supplies, while Eric added the tracking device to Ben’s back leg. The silicone ring wouldn’t even faze the big guy, and Eric’s class would be able to watch Ben’s movements over the course of the semester.
Ben suddenly kicked his leg, and Eric grabbed his medical bag and moved away. “We best be getting, or we’re going to get it.”
They moved toward the truck and watched from a safe distance in the trees. Ben growled as he came back to life and sniffed his foot before he stretched and shook his head. Slowly he got back to his feet and gingerly took a step. He still limped as he lumbered away, but it wasn’t as pronounced as it had been.
“See—” Sara sighed happily, “—he’s going to be just fine.”
They all walked back to the parking area, and Sara stowed her bag. “You going to the concert tonight, Gracie?”
Eric perked up. “Yeah, I invited you, but you never accepted. It’s the band’s big night.”
She sighed. “It’s at the school, right?”
“Yep, seven o’clock,” Eric confirmed. “It’s only for an hour, and you’ll get to see B-Pines’ finest. You can suffer through it.”
“It’s not suffering, silly, and yes, I’ll be there.”
Eric was not only the school’s environmental science teacher, he also was the band director for the school system. Since Bruin Pines, affectionately called B-Pines, was such a small town, a central school held all of the middle and high school grades, while the elementary school was right next door. Each grade level had its own performance in the annual concert.
“See you at the school,” Sara grinned. “Home of the Mighty Bears. It’s right up your alley… err forest.”
“You guys crack me up. I’ll see you two back at the station.” She headed back to her Dodge Ram. “And if you decide to get lunch, be sure to call me. Dr. Sara, thank you once again for your help with one of my babies.”
She drove back to town with one eye on the road and one eye in the fields and trees. She had worked hard to rank up as a Game Warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and she took her new position as supervisor of wildlife protection very seriously. Mark was a senior officer under her, and Eric was around to help almost as much as Mark. She had worked with each of them for several years. They had all worked their butts off to earn their stripes, and mutual respect went a long way between them.
When her phone rang, she answered without glancing at the display. “If you’re at the diner already, I’ll take the special and a slice of the apple pie. Don’t judge.”
She heard a soft chuckle. “I won’t judge you. Never have.”
“Oh, sorry, Wes. I just left the guys and thought they were stopping for lunch.”
Wesley David was Bruin Pine’s only attorney and her current love interest, although love wasn’t really a part of the equation yet. “Did you get the bear?”
“We did. He’s all fixed up and back on his feet. What’s up? Did you just call to check on him?”
“No, I was just being polite.” Wes had no great love for bears after cleaning up his garbage one too many times. “I was actually calling to confirm a time for dinner tonight.”
Gracie gritted her teeth. She had forgotten their dinner plans in Scranton, the next town over. “I am so sorry. The school has their big concert tonight, and I literally just told Eric I’d be there. Maybe you can go with me, and then we can go eat afterward?”
His sigh echoed over the phone. “In other words, you forgot we had plans.”
She wrinkled her face. Not like I’m going to admit that. “No, not at all. But the concert is a big deal here in B-Pines. You know that. I just thought we could do both.”
“Gracie, when you’ve seen one amateur concert, you’ve seen them all. I’ve gone twice. I don’t need a third episode.” He had only lived in Bruin Pines for three years.
“Episode? You make it sound like a medical condition.”
“You know what?” She could hear his aggravation. “Let’s just reschedule. No biggie. I’ll call you early next week.”
She snorted when he ended the call. She watched the trees fly by. “He still talks like a big-city lawyer. He can call me early next week, but I’ll run into him twenty times between now and then. It’s impossible not to.”
Bruin Pines consisted of a hardware store, a diner, a couple of boutique-type shops, a bank, and a small Mom-and-Pop grocery store. Add in the school, the conservation office, a mechanic, a church, and a used bookstore, and the entire town was covered. Wes’ office was on the second floor of the bank building, and a hair and nail salon was in one of the boutique stores. The bookstore also sold home-crafted goods such as jams, jellies, canned goods, crafts, and candles made by residents in the area. All in all, the entire town was self-sufficient from any big-city needs.
She reached her office and was finishing the paperwork when Eric and Mark came in carrying lunch. After years of experience, they had even remembered her pie. “Thank you, guys. I was about to get hangry.”
Mark nodded. “We have to beware of that sweet tooth of yours.” He glanced at Eric, who took a sudden interest in his food.
Gracie noticed the exchange and felt the sudden tension in the room. “What?”
Mark tried to appear innocent. “What, what?”
“Tell me. Something’s up. Did Sara tell you something was wrong with Ben?”
“No, nothing like that,” Eric answered. “It’s something… else.”
She looked from one to the other. “Hello? Are you going to tell me or not?”
Mark took a deep breath. “Well, you know how Francine over at the hair salon hears all the gossip?”
“And you know how she’s usually right?” Eric added.
“For crying out loud. Just spit it out.”
Mark sat his drink on the desk. “She told us that Mary Tate is having a huge surprise party next weekend, and wanted us all to spread the news.”
“Surprise party for who? Craig?”
“Nope… uh… Andrew is coming home and it’s his thirtieth birthday.”
“Andrew Tate?” Gracie was glad she didn’t have anything in her mouth, because she would have spat it across the room.
“Who else would she be throwing a surprise thirtieth birthday party for?” Mark chuckled.
Gracie shoved the sandwich aside, and decided she needed dessert first…
Find more fun with #BruinPines prior to the release of Bear With Me at www.tiffanycarby.com/bp
Bear With Me Bear Claws
Lorah Jaiyn & Tiffany Carby
1-8 oz. can crescent
1/3 – 1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons of whole milk
1 cup of plain bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons water
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Filling Instructions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In medium bowl, beat egg lightly with wire whisk. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons in custard cup, whisk in milk until blended. Set aside to use later. To remaining egg in bowl, stir in remaining filling ingredients until well blended.
Glaze Instructions: In heavy 1-quart saucepan, mix glaze ingredients. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat, set aside.
Rolls Instructions: On lightly floured work surface, unroll dough and press into 12×8-inch rectangle, pressing perforations together to seal. Using a pizza cutter, slice solid dough sheet into thee equal long sections. Spoon filling into a strip lengthwise down center of each section. Fold the dough over filling, leaving the filling topped section at the fold. Gently flatten each strip of dough along open fold. Cut across into 6 pastries about 2 inches each. Along flattened edge of each pastry, cut 1-inch-long cuts about 1/2 inch apart, make the claws.
Lightly brush egg-milk mixture over each pastry. Place almonds on tops of claws to add the “nail.”
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to cooling rack; cool 5 minutes. Drizzle cooled glaze over each pastry.
Icing Instructions: In a small bowl, mix icing ingredients until smooth (if icing is too thick, add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until drizzling consistency). Drizzle icing over cooled pastries and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury Crescent Roll Claws
About Author Tiffany Carby…
Author Tiffany Carby is a Kentucky native skilled in the art of storytelling. A journalist, columnist, and blogger who works in communications, she has a knack for narrative that keeps her story flowing.
Not all of her storytelling skills came from the classroom. Being born in Louisville and spending time in central and southeastern areas of the commonwealth, Carby developed a sharp ear for dialogue and an appreciation for the tales spun by friends and family from the South and Appalachia. As a Southerner, yes, she says “y’all,” drinks sweet tea, and shares a love of college basketball with most of her fellow residents of the Bluegrass state.
Writing wasn’t just a goal; it was a destiny for Carby. She wrote her first book while in the fifth grade—a story about an alien with a one-of-a-kind name, Orangepeachrumple. Though it didn’t circulate farther than her parents, she was hooked. Though publishing many non-fiction works over the years, She’s a Tiger Lily was the debut of her fiction work and beginning of her Company of Griffins series. Since then she has added another growing series called Mint Condition.
Carby resides near Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, curly-headed moppet of a daughter, and bull-headed tabby cat.
Links to Tiffany’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Site and Newsletter Signup: www.tiffanycarby.com
Girls Gone Writing:
Cocky Hero Club Group: www.facebook.com/groups/CockyHeroClub
Cocky Hero Club Page:
Whisker’s Book Stop:
Whiskers & Whimsy Designs: facebook.com/groups/whiskersandwhimsydesigns
The Shop Series Reader’s Group: facebook.com/groups/theshopbookseries
The Shop Series Page: facebook.com/theshopbookseries
Special Giveaway: Tiffany will give away three direct-to-kindle ebooks to one lucky winner who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. All who purchase the collection can take advantage of giveaways here: https://www.cassidykoconnor.com/fgirfreebies
Thanks, Tiffany ETAL, for sharing your stories with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read these books!