The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face...

Whenever I hear Roberta Flack singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, the song tugs on my emotions, makes me reflective, sends me to a time years ago when I met my first true love. Just listen...

First impressions are so important, especially in romance. Me and a few friends of mine would like to share some of those first impressions. Okay, maybe some of them are second or third impressions. Okay, okay, some of them are ah-ha moments when the heroine first realizes the man she's ogling might be her new hero. All of them are moments that take the heroine's breath away.

Click on the book cover for the Kindle buy link.

Here's the blurb...

Peyton Chandler has done everything to protect her son Jake from the evil men who would destroy her by destroying him. For years, she has allowed another woman to raise her son, kept herself apart from him, and hidden behind her dead sister's identity, never allowing herself to get close to anyone--not even Sheriff Brian Parker, the one man whose love and respect she craves. When Brian receives a note claiming there's an impostor in town, he doesn't know where to start his investigation. Peyton fears she will lose the man she loves if he discovers she's not the woman she claims to be.

Here's the excerpt...

Emily arched one finely chiseled eyebrow before making her announcement. “He’s in the kitchen.”
Could she pretend ignorance? Peyton didn’t think so, but she tried the tactic anyhow. “Who?”
Emily pointed toward the community center before she scooted away.
I wonder if she heard us talking. Oh well! So she’s on to me. Big deal. As long as he doesn’t catch on, what does it matter? I don’t have to find him. I can leave now, and he might never even know I changed my mind and came to this thing anyway.
She didn’t leave. Instead she sauntered toward the building, muttering to herself about Emily’s unspoken insinuations. The clang of large, institutional-sized pots bumping against each other filtered out the door. Standing in the threshold with the brilliant sunshine behind her, she tried to adjust her focus to peer into the dark interior.
A man whistled an inconsistent melody. She couldn’t see him, but she was certain the whistler was Brian Parker. The tune stopped mid-note. “Well, if it isn’t my angel of mercy. I thought you weren’t coming!”
She overlooked the angel of mercy reference. She was no angel. “Well, I changed my mind. A girl can do that, you know.” She shifted out of the glare so she could see his face.
He grinned at her. “How’re things going with you?”
With one smile, he brightened her entire day.

Here's the Blurb...

A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a gorgeous schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach. Officer Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time—ask any woman in town. But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it. Madeline Scott is unlucky in love. All she wants is a quiet place to heal, away from cheating, womanizing men. However, her life is far from peaceful once she stumbles across the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene. Terror spreads in Pleasant View when the small community hears a killer is on the loose. All evidence points to Donovan, and he realizes someone is trying to frame him. When troubling suspicions from his past surface, even fellow officers believe he’s guilty. Madeline might be the only person who can clear his name, but first he has to win her trust. The body count rises and no one is safe. The murderer makes it clear Madeline is next. Soon, Donovan’s whole world is focused on protecting her and keeping himself out of prison. The more time he spends with her, the harder it is to fight his growing attraction. However, she’s been burned by love, and convincing Madeline he’s interested in something more than hot sex may prove harder than keeping her alive.

Here's the excerpt...

She put the cell phone into her pocket and watched as the rescue people ran down the beach. There was no reason for them to hurry, except for the rising tide.

The first officer approached, his attention focused solely on her. He didn’t even glance at the body. “Miss Scott, is it? Dispatch said you discovered the body?” He gave a friendly smile as he closed the remaining distance between them. “I’m sorry. That must’ve been a shock.”

Madeline nodded. “Yes, it was, Officer...”

“Andrews, Donovan Andrews.” He stuck out his hand and gave another reassuring smile.

Madeline smiled back, trying to offer some reassurance of her own as she shook his hand. No, Officer Andrews, I’m not going to faint. I promise I won’t complicate your crime scene by breaking into hysterics. Madeline almost laughed, though she wished she really could faint.

She shivered and hugged her arms tightly to her body. Having been idle for several minutes, the bite of the cold wind chilled her skin. While she and Brutus trotted along at a quick pace, she’d been warm enough. Now, Madeline wished she’d brought a jacket.

Officer Andrews must have noticed. He slipped his arms from his black windbreaker and slung it around Madeline’s shoulders, battling the wind to wrap it around her. He adjusted the collar against her neck and his fingers brushed her skin lightly, sending a tingle of awareness through her. The gesture, and her body’s reaction to it, caught her off guard. Madeline took a step back, avoiding his touch.

“Sorry,” he said. “You look like you’re freezing. I know it’s April, but you really shouldn’t go around without a jacket in the evening, Miss. It gets mighty cold.”

Madeline grabbed the edges of his jacket and pulled it tightly against her. His spicy scent tickled her senses as it wafted up from the fabric. “Thanks. I’ll remember that. Normally I run with Brutus and don’t stand around long enough to get cold. Next time I find a body, I’ll keep running.”

“Touché.” A grin flashed across his face briefly. “Seriously, though, are you okay?”

She nodded and looked up at him, pleasantly surprised she had to look up. At five foot ten, Madeline was a giant compared to most women. She’d long since given up the dream of being one of those petite, delicate things men loved to wrap their arms around.

Andrews was very tall with a slender body. His police uniform didn’t offer much in the way of discovering what his body looked like, but Madeline sensed a core of strength. At least if she dated him she could wear heels.

And where did that thought come from?

Activity whirled next to them as the EMS team attended to the body. Officer Andrews spared a glance for the corpse, and his blue eyes tightened around the corners. His face paled and when he met Madeline’s eyes again, he looked shaken.

“Did you know him?” she asked.

The officer nodded.

Great question, genius. In a town of less than 3000, of course he knew the victim.

Here's the blurb...

Stella Matson has had it with handsome guys who schmooze their way into a woman’s heart and walk out the door when they get a better offer. As far as she’s concerned, she needs to focus on the one thing that won’t leave her teary-eyed on a Friday night – work. That plan goes horribly awry when drop-dead gorgeous, Alex Clay, is temporarily assigned to her department. He frustrates and excites her, and she’s afraid her heart is in danger again.

Alex Clay is trying to find his place in the world of business. His boss seems to be grooming him for big things by giving him a taste of everything from the mailroom to the boardroom. When he does a short stint in the advertising department and meets hardheaded but intriguing, Stella Matson, she challenges his convictions and stirs an unwanted desire. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her until they’re both breathless, or find a new job.

Will Stella and Alex act on the attraction sizzling between them? Or will they extinguish it since office romances spell trouble?    

Here's the excerpt...

One foot in front of the other, Stella repeated while walking the painful-plank back to her desk.
She tried to collect herself. Any minute Alex would join her and she didn’t want to fall apart in front of him.

Before she could blink, he was there.

“Stella.” His voice cracked. “I wanted to tell you what was going on, but I didn’t think I would need to. I thought all of this would blow over.”

Anger turned to pain and suddenly Stella hurt in places she didn’t think possible. She wanted to ask him if he wanted to tell her when he was kissing her, or unzipping her dress, or when he was making love to her and whispering tenderly in her ear.  
“I should’ve told you,” he said quietly. “Please don’t be upset.”

Being upset didn’t begin to skim the surface. He’d known all along and still seduced her. Stella felt the color drain from her face at the same time her fists clenched. With absolute preciseness she enunciated her words so he couldn’t mistake any of them. “I – want – to – be – left – alone.”

Alex made a swipe for her hand, but she quickly crossed her arms. “Go away.”

“No, Stella. Let’s deal with this now. They made me an offer and I turned it down.” He groaned from deep in his chest. “I told Maggie no. I told Jett no. I told Marc no.” He shook his head. “And then Maggie pulled this stunt.” 

Stella waved him away. “Seriously, go away.” At that moment she was thankful she didn’t cancel the trip to Key West. More than anything she needed sunshine, margaritas and space from self-serving pains in the neck.

 Alex’s voice was thick with tension. “Stella.” 

“Please leave.”

“Don’t shut me out,” Alex pleaded.

Too late, buddy. The door is being sealed.

Here's the blurb...

She went looking for an old flame and found a serial killer instead.

When Beth lost her father to cancer and her husband to another woman, she didn’t know where to turn.  So she retreated to the family cabin at Stutter Creek.  Some of the best times of her life were spent at that cabin.  That’s where she met her first crush, a boy named John.  But that was many years ago . . . could he possibly still be around?  Or would she find something sinister instead?

Ann Swann is the author of All For Love, a contemporary love story published by 5 Prince Publishing.  She is the author of Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, and Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student, tales of the supernatural.  She has also written numerous award winning short stories.  She lives in West Texas with her husband and their rescue pets.  She loves libraries and book stores and owns two different e-readers just for fun.  Her to-be-read list has taken on a life of its own.  She calls it Herman.

Here's the excerpt...

Amanda Myers was making a conscious effort to keep her heavy foot off the Toyota’s gas pedal when she spied what appeared to be a small boy standing beside the road. An old fashioned newsboy cap nearly obscured his tiny face.

Mandy hit the brake and steered the Celica toward the gravel shoulder. With a practiced hand, she quickly texted her coworker, Myra, and asked her to concoct a cover story for her tardiness.

The kid had seemed very small in silhouette—maybe five or six years old—and no house or vehicle in sight.

When Myra texted back to say the boss was on the warpath, Mandy replied, “Well, just tell him I stopped to pick up a boy on the edge of town. That should really turn his face red!” It was an inside joke. Everyone knew when the boss’s face was red it was wise to give him a wide berth.

Myra sent back a row of question marks.

“L8R,” Mandy responded. She looked all around. She had assumed the little guy would come dashing up to the car as soon as she had come to a stop. But even when she could no longer hear the crunch of her tires on gravel, he still hadn’t materialized.

I didn’t pass him by that much.

Craning her neck to see past the Toyota’s blind spot, Mandy dropped the phone into the center console drink holder and shoved the gearshift into park. A thick stand of live oaks cast a deep shadow over the bar ditch. The setting sun made the trees appear as black-paper cutouts in a landscape collage.

After checking her mirrors to make sure no one was behind her, Mandy pressed the button to lower the passenger-side window.

It was almost all the way down when a man yanked open the door and exploded into her world like a tornado into a trailer park.  Her hand flew to the gearshift, but she couldn’t engage it.  Even as her flight instinct kicked in, part of her mind was telling her this was almost certainly the same strange guy who had requested her section at the restaurant the night before.  His eyes had seemed to follow her all around the crowded dining room, and his oily stench had made him stand out like a spot of mold on white linen. 

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