Love in Deed by L.B. Dunbar- Blog Tour!

My Take: I really enjoyed the storytelling in this book. L.B. Dunbar really takes you to a magical place, and I adore that they deal with a slightly older cast of characters. Everyone could use a good mature romance in their life- I’m in my 30s but I’ve really gotten to the point where I struggle to read books about young people since its hard to relate anymore. I liked the subplots with Jedd’s siblings at lot.

My problem lies more in the characterization of Beverly. I’m not saying she hasn’t had her struggles and she doesn’t deserve to be bitter, but every other line out of her mouth was her snapping. Literally the word snap, snaps, snapped was used so repeatedly. She said such horrible things to her daughter and Jedd it was hard to understand why anyone would want to be near her, especially why Jedd decided to pursue her. She redeemed herself by the end but I just really couldn’t understand why Jedd stuck around like that. Jedd seems like an absolute stud though! 3.5 stars 


BLURB: Sometimes it takes an outsider to force us to see who we are. The real struggle is accepting what we learn. For Beverly Townsen, nothing could be closer to the truth. Virtually a shut-in, Beverly has pulled back from Green Valley’s community, preferring the isolation of her farmhouse and her daily routine of viewing home improvement television shows. When the opportunity arises for her own home improvement and a personal re-assessment, she’s not so excited about the reality of real life versus DIY programs.

Jedd Flemming understands physical pain and personal loss, but it’s never stopped him from bucking forward in life. A former military man and rodeo star, his life as a nomad comes to an end with false accusations and a family matter back in the Valley. It’s been a long journey to find his way home and once there, there’s nothing he wants more than to reclaim what he’s lost…and maybe the elusive female reclusive who holds a sliver of his past.

With an unprecedented proposition, Beverly finds a stranger living in her barn, raising horses on borrowed pastures, and plowing his way into her vacant heart. Old hurts linger, but sometimes love in deed is louder than words.

‘Love in Deed’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #6 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt

“Momma,” she whispers, and I turn at the soft question in her voice. Her eyes scan my face. Does she fear she’ll look like me one day? Those bright eyes will dim, and lines will form in the corners. Will they be rivers formed from tears, or will she eventually find laughter? Does she wonder if her lips will match mine, permanently curled downward? Can my girl still smile? Will her hair go gray too young as mine did? Will the stress of her life turn her into someone lonely and lost?

I blink back the tears fighting for release. I won’t cry. Nothing left to cry over. It’s all gone.

“Do you fancy him?” my daughter asks, and I choke on the question.

“What…? I…of course not. Don’t be silly. I’m sure he’d be more interested in the likes of you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Hannah asks, brows rising in surprise.

“I’m sure I don’t need to explain the birds and the bees to you. Men like him only want young things and only want one thing from those young things. I don’t think he should stay here,” I sneer, recognizing the pulse at my neck and the thump of my heart. My daughter is a pretty girl, and this older man could be attracted to her for all the wrong reasons. Young girls go for older men to solve their daddy issues. 

 “He’s sleeping in the barn,” Hannah counters, her voice deepening in displeasure. Ticking off points on her fingers, she continues, “We don’t need to feed him. He’ll rebuild at his expense or hire what he can’t do himself. The back field will be plowed and prepped for spring planting.”

I snort in response, but my eyes return to Jedd’s movement. Into the barn. Out in the yard. My observation traces down his perspiring spine to the waist of his pants where his shirt has untucked. My fingers curl on the armrest of the rocker as my eyes outline the fine globes accentuated by those smooth pants. My mouth goes dry. 

What is it about this man? Why am I suddenly lusting after him?

I can’t. That’s the bottom line. I can’t anything him. Under fifteen percent and tight pants and a perfect backside is still a man with empty words.

My eyes fall blindly on the reality television program. The only man a girl can count on is the fictional kind. I force my attention away from the barn, but my eyes seem to have a will of their own. 

“We can’t have a stranger living in our barn,” I huff. Jedd stops, turning in his tracks with a pile of lumber on his shoulder as if he heard me, which is impossible on two counts: the panes of glass and his lack of hearing. Still, he stills, and his eyes narrow on the house as if he knows I’m watching him, I’m talking about him, and I don’t agree with this arrangement.

“Too late. He’s moving in.” Hannah definitively nods, dismissing my opinion as Jedd swings back around. She leans down to kiss my cheek and then exits my room, but I remain transfixed.

Suddenly, reality is more fascinating than television.

My eyes continue the cat and mouse game of watching Jedd disappear and then reappear. I don’t know how much time transpires, but eventually, the bed of his truck is empty. Still, I hold my breath as if the barn is a giant octopus, swallowing him whole. I fear he might disappear forever like Howard did, which is the silliest thought I’ve had in a decade. I don’t need Jedd. We don’t need Jedd. There will be no attachment to him. 

But then, Jedd appears at the open barn door and gives a single wave toward the house, and I smile in spite of myself.

About L.B. Dunbar

L.B. Dunbar has an overactive imagination. To her benefit, such creativity has led to over thirty romance novels, including those offering a second chance at love over 40. Her signature works include the #sexysilverfoxes collection of mature males and feisty vixens ready for romance in their prime years. She’s also written stories of small-town romance (Heart Collection), rockstar mayhem (The Legendary Rock Stars Series), and a twist on intrigue and redemption (Redemption Island Duet). She’s had several alter egos including elda lore, a writer of romantic magical realism through mythological retellings (Modern Descendants). In another life, she wanted to be an anthropologist and journalist. Instead, she was a middle school language arts teacher. The greatest story in her life is with the one and only, and their four grown children. Learn more about L.B. Dunbar by joining her reader group on Facebook (Loving L.B.) or subscribing to her newsletter (Love Notes).

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Holidate by Monica Murphy- Blog Tour

My Take: (ARC REVIEW) This is a super lighthearted sweet story that would fit right in on the Hallmark channel. It reads almost more like YA than contemporary romance, even though the characters are in their 20s due to the lack of heat or action and Candice’s simplistic naivety. She’s never made out in a car, lives with her parents, and doesn’t like swearing. She bounce and claps her hands when excited. Though it doesn’t have a lot of depth or passion, it is a fun easy breezy read that’s perfect for Christmas. 3.5/5 stars

Blurb:

Candice Gaines loves Christmas. Not only does she bask in the twinkling lights, sing Christmas carols and go crazy with the decorations, she’s also in the giving spirit, donating much of her time and wealth to various charities in the local area.

Charlie Sullivan despises Christmas. Though it keeps his family afloat, considering they own Sullivan Family Christmas Tree Farm, the main provider for Christmas trees on the Monterey peninsula. He’d much rather work among the trees versus have to deal with people.

But Charlie’s parents are taking on more philanthropic projects—and as their oldest child, they want him to be their official public representative. He just has to play nice and convince everyone he’s not a total holiday hater.

When Charlie’s mom asks Candice to accompany him to a variety of holiday parties and events, she reluctantly agrees. She thinks Charlie is a big ol’ Grinch, but is determined to change his mindset and help him spread Christmas cheer. Charlie finds Candice too chatty, too sweet, too much. Do people like her really exist?

Why yes, yes they do. The more time they spend together—along with a few kisses under the mistletoe—the more they start to like each other. Hopefully Charlie can convince Candice he doesn’t have a heart that’s two sizes too small before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.


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Excerpt:

I go chasing after Charlie, thankful he hasn’t hopped back on that ATV and torn out of here. He’s headed straight for the giant red building, and I follow behind, having to pick up my step since one of his long strides equals about three of mine. He’s just so stinkin’ tall.

And handsome.

And gruff.

And he smells good. Have I mentioned that? He smells like a pine tree, of course, and his scent is mouth-wateringly delicious.

Ugh. I hate myself sometimes.

He pushes open the door of the building almost violently, sending it swinging wide, and I sneak in behind him, causing him to turn and practically snarl at me when he realizes I’m standing in front of him.

But I forget all about his snarl when I see how enchanting this room is. It’s not an office, but an actual store, filled to the brim with holiday decorations and knickknacks for sale. Candles are burning—I can smell cinnamon and spice wafting in the air. The scent of the real pine trees laden with ornaments standing in the room also lingers, and I breathe deep, closing my eyes for a moment so I can take it all in.

When I open my eyes, it’s to find Charlie standing there, his hands on his hips, his brow lowered. “Are you okay? That head injury still flaring up and giving you trouble?”

I roll my eyes. “No, you idiot. I’m enjoying the festive atmosphere.”

Oh, that was mean. I shouldn’t have said that.

But I don’t think he even noticed.

I slowly turn in a circle, pure delight flowing through my veins. I don’t know what to look at first, it’s all so beautiful. And there are layers upon layers of decorations. On the walls, cluttering shelves and tabletops, overflowing giant baskets. And of course there are the trees. They almost sag with their bounty of sparkling ornaments and twinkling lights. It would probably take me hours to explore it all, and I’m dying to start my exploration right at this very moment. “This store is so adorable!”

“My sister Victoria runs it.” He glances over at the counter where the register sits, but no one’s there. “I don’t know where she’s at, though. Maybe you could talk to her about—whatever it is you want to talk about.”

No way is he pushing this agenda onto his sister. Isabel wants Charlie to do this, and no one else.

“We’ve wasted the past five minutes with you huffing and puffing and refusing to speak to me.” I reach into my large bag and pull the folder out I wanted to show him. “Give me ten minutes. That’s all I need to talk about what we’re going to do over the next few weeks.”

He grimaces. Sighs. Tugs the cap off his head, all that gorgeous hair spilling across his forehead, and my fingers literally itch at the chance to push it out of his eyes.

But I restrain myself.

Barely.


Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

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