Karen’s Killer Book Bench: SWEET BEGINNINGS, Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series Book 8 by Melissa McClone

 読書KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series Book 8


A little hope changes everything…

Artist Hope Ryan dreams of seeing her artwork displayed in top galleries again, but a devastating betrayal left her unable to paint as she once did. Instead, she settles for creating unique items for tourists and wedding couples in her hometown. Although Hope longs for more, she refuses to venture outside her comfort zone, fearing the heartbreak and disappointment of failing again.

Highly paid sportscaster Josh Cooper never overcame his bitterness after an injury on the football field sidelined him for good. Finding his solace in alcohol and women only made matters worse until he finally hit rock bottom. Now, he’s looking for redemption. When he’s asked to fly a wedding gown across the country for one of the victims of his wrongs, he doesn’t hesitate.

Arriving in Indigo Bay, Josh finds himself captivated by the artist creating the wedding favors. He knows exactly what he wants—Hope—even though she deserves someone better. Can Josh prove he’s more than a broken has-been? Or will he not only lose Hope but also lose himself?

Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series Book 8


He headed outside, and then through a pair of double glass doors. Large vertical painted panels hung on the wall facing him. The landscapes with dunes, grass, and the ocean in the background made him feel as if he were standing on the sand, not inside on a hardwood floor. Incredible artwork.

To his left, a blonde stood near the top rung on a ladder. Jean shorts showed off long, lean legs. Her pink t-shirt inched up at the back, giving a glimpse of smooth, honey-colored skin. She stretched on her tiptoes to attach the top of a panel to a clip.

That looked sketchy.

The ladder shifted.

Josh ran toward her. “Be careful.”

She swayed, arms sticking out as if trying to balance herself, but the ladder tipped over. The woman fell, limbs flailing.

He stepped forward to break her fall. Somehow, she landed in his arms. The breath he’d been holding rushed out.

“I’ve got you.” He stayed upright without dropping the gift bag, folder, or keys. Then again, he’d spent over half his life making sure he held onto the football no matter who was about to tackle him.

Catching her was unexpected. Not unenjoyable. She didn’t weigh much, was soft in the right places, and smelled like strawberries.

His pulse quickened. Something that hadn’t happened with a woman in months. He wasn’t in any hurry to let go of her. At least until she shifted positions, wiggling as if she wanted down.

Yeah, this was more awkward for her than him.

Josh placed her on her feet but kept his hands on her waist to make sure she was steady. She was tall. Around five-nine to his six-three.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Her cheeks a bright pink, she nodded.

She was thin, not the healthy kind. If his mom were here, she’d make the woman eat a meal and two desserts. “You sure?”


The woman, who he assumed to be the artist, raised her chin, letting him see her hazel-colored eyes—more green than brown with gold flecks. Her pretty face was makeup free, but her clear skin, high cheekbones, and full lower lip didn’t need anything extra.

“Thanks for catching me,” she said, almost breathless.

“Glad I was around.” She was attractive in a girl-next-door kind of way. He’d always preferred women with perfect makeup and designer clothes… camera ready was the term he used. “The floor might have hurt.”

Her gaze dropped to the hardwood before returning to his. “I hope I didn’t hurt you.”

“You didn’t.” Linemen hit harder. Josh was standing too close for strangers, so he stepped back. “Are you Hope, the one making Jenny’s wedding favors?”

“I am. “Hope’s cheeks turned redder. “Are you the groom? I mean, Dare?”

“No, I’m Josh Cooper, a friend of Jenny’s from her hometown.” He felt comfortable calling himself a friend after the times they’d spent together over the past month. Holding up the gift bag, he said, “She wanted you to have this.”

“That’s so thoughtful.” Hope sounded touched, a shy smile gracing her lips as she took the gift. “Jenny sounded so sweet when we spoke on the phone.”

“She is.”

As Hope peeked inside the bag, a lock of hair fell across her face. Josh fought the urge to push the strands behind her ear to see her face better.

What was going on? He wasn’t interested in a vacation romance. Even if he were, he was in recovery. No dating for twelve months. He’d heard that during his stay in rehab, at the sober house, and in therapy.

His interest, if he wanted to call it that, had to be due to holding her so closely, intimately. He was male, and he was missing physical contact. Something he’d had plenty of before rehab. When he’d been drinking—okay, while he’d been playing football, too—there’d been a revolving door of women coming in and out of his life. For months, there’d been none.

“Thanks for delivering this.”

Hope’s words jolted him back to reality. “Did you paint the panels?”


Her satisfied smile zinged through him like a pinball, bouncing off parts and lighting up his insides. Not pretty—beautiful. He gulped.

His reaction was unexpected and unwelcome. Maybe he should call Rudy or Dr. Kettering to see what they had to say about his attraction to Hope. Granted, looking was different than touching. On purpose touching. Catching her didn’t count, but Josh didn’t want to make any mistakes. Not when he’d come so far.

Hope studied the opposite wall where more panels hung. “My boss, Zoe, wants the room to look less multipurpose-ish for social events, starting with this weekend’s wedding.”

“You succeeded.” Thankful to have something else to look at other than Hope, he took in the various panels. Each fit together as if part of a panorama. “You’ve brought the outside in.”

“That was the plan.”

“It’s perfect.” Josh was far from an art expert, but he’d been to galleries and recognized talent, even if the panels weren’t typical canvases or tapestries. “You’re good at what you do.”

She kept her gaze lowered. “Thanks.”

He waited for her to say more—the creative types he’d met might be introverts, but once their art was mentioned they lit up and wanted to talk. Hope, however, didn’t. That intrigued him. Was she shy or embarrassed about winding up in his arms?

“You’re welcome,” he said finally.

She wiped her palms over her shorts. “I better get back to work.”

No way was she hanging that panel by herself. If he hadn’t caught her, she could have broken a bone or hit her head. He didn’t mind putting off his shower.

Josh picked up the ladder. “Want help?”

About Author Melissa McClone…

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over forty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s a USA Today Bestselling author and has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!


Links to Melissa’s website, blog, books, etc.

Website: https://www.melissamcclone.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissamcclonebooks

Buy links:


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Melissa is giving away a beach-themed prize pack: Autographed copy of Jenny (hero from Sweet Beginnings is introduced in this book.), Thirty-One Gifts Keepsake Tray, Thirty-One Gifts mini journal, Thirty-One Gifts nail file, Two kitchen towels, Oven Mitt, Hot pad, Beach Sign, and Flip flop tea lights to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!




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106 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: SWEET BEGINNINGS, Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series Book 8 by Melissa McClone

  1. Thanks for having me on your book bench today, Karen! Appreciate being able to tell you about my newest release!

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Melissa, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I love your books and am happy to share them with my readers. This sweet book sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing it with us today!

  3. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    Melissa writes so well and brings her characters to life so beautifully!
    This sounds like another great read!
    Thanks Karen and Melissa!

  4. Judy Tulloch says:

    Melissa, I just read the blurb and excerpt and liked what I read. Sounds like a very enjoyable read! Thank you for the opportunity to win the giveaway. I didn’t know Thirty-One had other items other than tote bags. I know the totes are ones used by authors4veterans for the giveaways to Fisher House.

    Both you and Karen have awonderful day!

    • Hi Judy! Yes, Thirty-one has everything from totes to kitchen stuff, a variety of prizes. I do something similar to authors4veterans and have for the past five years. Mine is called #authorswithheart and we do it for the three Fisher House in WA state. I use the thermal totes for those.

  5. Judy Tulloch says:

    Melissa, I just read the blurb and excerpt and liked what I read. Sounds like a very enjoyable read! Thank you for the opportunity to win the giveaway. I didn’t know Thirty-One had other items other than tote bags. I know the totes are ones used by authors4veterans for the giveaways to Fisher House.

    Both you and Karen have awonderful day!

  6. Kimberly Bryan says:

    Sounds like an awesome read.
    Thank you for the chance!

  7. Kate Bobb says:

    Sounds awesome

  8. Pam Lowery says:

    Love Melissa’s books and look forward to reading this one!

  9. love your books cant wait to read

  10. Ronda Garnett says:

    Her books never disappoint me…sometimes I even read them again 🙂

  11. Janine says:

    I always love Melissa’s books

  12. Glenda Kuehn says:

    Definitely need to check out this book! Cute prize package.

  13. Melissa Davison says:

    Hello Melissa and Karen 😊😊
    This sounds like an absolutely wonderful read!
    Thank you for the chance in this amazing giveaway ❤️🏊‍♀️👙🕶🐚⛱🏖

  14. Catherine Maguire says:

    A lovely book excerpt.

  15. denise says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt and the book.

    No need to count me for the giveaway

  16. Kay Garrett says:

    Loved reading the blurb and excerpt from SWEET BEGINNINGS by Melissa McClone. Love Melissa’s book and can’t wait for the opportunity to read this one. I’d love to read more about Josh and Hope.

    Thank you for the amazing and oh so generous giveaway! Along with everything else, I’d be thrilled to get a copy of JENNY which I’ve not been able to read yet either.

  17. Robyn Lee says:

    always nice to see a giveaway from an author and to find out about new authors to me and new books from authors.

  18. Great book and awesome prize!

  19. Megan Rhyne says:

    I would love to read this book and I love this prize package

  20. Sue C says:

    Interesting book. Thanks for the chance.

  21. Robin in NC says:

    What a way to meet a guy…falling into his arms! 🙂 Sounds like a very interesting story. Awesome prize pack too. Thanks for sharing!

  22. amy guillaume linderman says:

    i love this cover and would love to read it in our cabin by the lake…sounds so good

  23. Jessica Whitehouse says:

    Looks like this is going to be a great beach read!

  24. Sabrina Templin says:

    I love Melissa’s writing! 😀

  25. girlfromwva says:

    haven’t read this book yet. it is on my list. the cover looks nice and blurb sounds enticing

  26. Stacey A Smith says:

    Sound like a great read I think my mom would love this book it’s like the one’s she likes.and thanks for the chance.

  27. Barbara Blanton says:

    I read the excerpt and now can’t wait to read the book

  28. Lucy says:

    I loved Sweet Beginnings and Jenny! I would love this prize pack! We love all things beach/fish themed💖🌴

  29. BethRe says:

    Awesome giveaway

  30. Steph J. says:

    Thanks for the chance to win! Such nice and fun prizes!

  31. bn100 says:

    looks interesting

  32. Lori H says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt 😊 Thanks for sharing!

  33. J Haupt says:

    This is a new to me author. Adding to my TBR.

  34. Eileen AW says:

    I love Melissa’s books and this one is no different. I can see this being a wonderful beach read. Thanks so much for the chance.

  35. michelle k says:

    Melissa, you alway have the cutest giveaways.

  36. Dorothy B says:

    Looks good

  37. Gary B says:


  38. Sharon Forrest says:

    I haven’t read this one yet! Sounds great!

  39. Gigi Hicks says:

    Hi Melissa, I have been a fan since way back. i believe the first book of your I read was one about a Mermaid. I love the excerpt. you have a gift for taking imperfect people and helping them find the perfect person for them. I am looking forward to reading Sweet Beginnings.

    • Hi Gigi! That mermaid book was In Deep Waters… I wrote that during 9/11 and kinda went over the top with it to escape what was happening around us and dedicated it to my two kids (the third wasn’t around yet!) Thank you so much for the kind words. You made my day <3

  40. Colleen C. says:

    I like the sound of this book! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  41. Angelica Dimeo says:

    awesome prize pack

  42. Nicole Ortiz says:

    Thanks for the chance

  43. Theresa Fell says:

    Love your books! Keep writing!

  44. Dawn A says:

    This book sounds great

  45. Katie Coss says:

    The book sounds great! I love finding new reads. Thanks for the chance.

  46. Marea B says:

    This book sounds very interesting, love reading your books

  47. Tricia Martin says:

    He must love strawberries.

  48. Marissa B says:

    This sounds like an excellent read, Melissa! Thank you for sharing it with us. Thanks for the sweet giveaway.

  49. Lindsey VC says:

    I really can’t wait to read this! Your books NEVER disappoint!

  50. heather hess says:

    sounds like a great read. thank you for sharing with us 🙂

  51. Theresa C. says:

    Thanks so much for the great book find, and the beach swag is so adorable!

  52. Cathy Truman says:

    The book Jenny sounds very good I can not wait to read the book
    Thanks for the chance to win such an amazing prize

  53. Anita Jude says:

    The book sounds like a wonderful read and thanks for the chance to win

  54. Kyra Tinker says:

    As always your books sound amazing. I can’t wait to read 🙂
    Hope you have a beautiful evening and start to the week

  55. Stephanie Shipley says:

    This book sounds lovely! I love the theme of the prize pack as well.

  56. Linda May says:

    The books sounds amazing, Thanks for this amazingly generous giveaway.

  57. Tammy Beck says:

    Good excerpt! Thanks for the chance to win.

  58. Johanna Mallozzi Owen says:

    Love your giveaways Melissa and your books.

  59. raishel says:

    I would love to read this book & its such a cute giveaway 🙂

  60. Johanna Mallozzi Owen says:

    Love your giveaways Melissa and your books. Thanks for the chance

  61. Sharon Yarrell says:

    The book sounds great. Thanks for the chance.

  62. amy guillaume linderman says:

    this sounds so good! would love to take it on a trip to the lake.

  63. Jodi Hoppe Wresh says:

    Sounds great! looking forward to it, when days ere not so hectic

  64. Kate Sparks says:

    I’m so glad you re posted this on Facebook!! I now have found another place to hang out! I do love your books!

  65. This looks like such a great book

  66. Kate Sparks says:

    Wy live in the midweat, so beach is more like lake front! I just like hearing water movement!

  67. Amber C. says:

    The book sounds good. Thank you for the awesome chance in your giveaway prize pack!

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