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A Festivus Miracle, a Tempting Jo Prequel

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I sit at my desk, glaring at the door, waiting on my morning newspaper and daring someone to interrupt my foul mood. Why did the Boss have to choose that do-good fucker, Raphael, to interfere with my plans for the lovely Jolene? Why not Remiel? At least he has a sense of humor.

As expected, the timid knock sounds. I envision fire erupting from my mouth, as I command, “Enter.”

Jolene pokes her head through the door. “Uh, Mr. DeVille, sir, I, uh–” Her unintelligible speech is interrupted by an infuriated feline screech.

“Why is there a cat in my office?” I narrow my eyes at the squirming white beast in Jolene’s arms. The impertinent feline glares back and hisses.

“M-my cat, Atticus escaped, and I uh, have to take him home.”

Her eyes are wide and the pulse in her neck pounds. I eye the white fur on her black sweater with distaste. Jolene inches toward me trying to control the growling, hissing, fractious feline. She places my morning paper on my desk.

“Get that disgusting animal out of here,” I snap. I’ve never been a cat person.

Apparently, the feelings are mutual. For at that moment, the animal leaps from Jolene’s arms on to my desk and proceeds to hack up a fur ball the size of a golf ball on my pristine paper.

Jolene’s face pales and her hands shake as she picks up the puker, cooing at him as if he was the one just wronged. “I-I’m sorry, sir. I’ll clean it up, just let me take him home first.”

“You expect me to sit here with the stench of cat puke permeating my office while you take your cat home? I’m not cleaning this, you are. Now.” I roar.

“I’m sorry, he didn’t mean it, sir. I would’ve taken him home first but you insist on having your paper on your desk precisely at 8:01.” The smug cat appears to be grinning at me as he purrs in Jolene’s arms.

“Get out.” I keep my voice level, face impassive. I don’t want her to know how much pleasure I get watching her squirm.

She lifts that stubborn chin. “Make up your mind, sir. Clean the mess first or take Atticus home?”

I love her gumption, it’s part of her appeal. I fold the vomit-soaked paper and shove it in my garbage. “Take that animal home and then you and I are going to have a nice little chat.” I smile, but my displeasure colors my tone of voice. I turn my chair and in the reflection of the window, I see my assistant bob a smart-ass curtsy. I bite my lip to keep from laughing. She never fails to intrigue me. Her cat flicks his tail with feline disdain, as if to say fuck you.

***********

Good grief, of all days for this to happen. The day of the stupid office Christmas party. I’m both relieved my cat’s okay and furious with him for putting me in this predicament.

Atticus had shot out of my basement apartment as I was leaving for work this morning. No amount of coaxing had drawn him back to me. I’d been sitting at my desk folding Mr. DeVille’s paper and crying, thinking my beloved, mean old cat was gone for good. I heard him meowing and looked up to find him in a co-worker’s arms.

“Lose something?” He’d teased. I didn’t take the time to ask how he knew it was my cat.

Everything would have been fine if I’d just given my friend the key to my apartment and asked him to take my cat home. I need to learn to think! I unlock the door to my apartment and Atticus marches in as if he hasn’t just cost me my job. I run to the corner newspaper box, but of course, with my luck, the box is empty.

No! I stomp my foot and look around, wondering where I could find another paper. I see a business man at the bus stop scanning the last page of the paper. I approach him.

“Sir? If you’re done with your paper, may I buy it from you?”

He looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Which I probably have. Giving Mr. DeVille a used paper? I truly am going to be fired… I turn to walk back to the office, mentally packing my desk.

“Miss? You can have it, but I have to keep the coupons for my wife.”

I spin on my heels and shake his hand, thanking him profusely. Coupons aren’t a problem, Mr. DeVille makes me remove them, anyway. Maybe this will at least buy me some time before I’m fired. Folding the paper the way my finicky boss likes it; I scurry back to the office.

I knock, but there’s no answer. Cautiously, I open his door and peek in. He’s gone. The office smells of Clorox. I tiptoe in and place the paper on his desk. I glance at his notepad and giggle. He’s drawn a pretty good likeness of Atticus, even if it is mean-spirited.

atticus

I pick up the folded note with “Friday” written on it. Mr. DeVille isn’t listing things for today. It’s what he calls me because he doesn’t remember my name.

Reschedule my barber appointment. I’ve been called to an emergency board meeting. I expect the files for the upcoming merger on my desk when I return. Make sure all plans for tonight’s mandatory Christmas party are in place. No mishaps will be tolerated.

I smile. I’m not fired. It’s a Festivus Miracle! And I didn’t even have to hear the airing of his grievances!

© Nancee Cain 23 Dec 2016

tjcoversmall
 

Forbidden love is hell…

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God’s gift to women–and she couldn’t be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms–and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman’s dead body…

Rafe, Jo’s best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he’s always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo’s caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo’s going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway!

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All I want for Christmas….

I snuggle into Santa’s lap. Wow, he’s comfy. I wonder if it’s the real Santa? I tug on his beard a bit. It’s real!

He winces and removes his beard from my grasp. “Ho, ho, ho, Nancee. What would you like for Christmas? Oh, and you have a birthday on Christmas Day, too. Can’t forget that.”

Wow, this guy is good! “Why thank you, Santa! I’ll be 28…”

Santa’s brows pull together. “Ahem.”

“Never mind, you know how old I’ll be,” I mumble.

“So what’s on your Christmas list?”

I like how he seems to genuinely care. And yet, my mind goes blank.  At least I’m not screaming and crying like I did as a kid. “Uh, world peace, end of hunger–”

He chuckles. “Nancee, I’ve known you a long time. Stop with the fake requests and be honest. You’re more selfish than that. Besides, Steve Martin did it better on SNL.”

*Busted* “Um, hubby already bought me my new computer. Gosh, this is hard to do on the fly, ya know? My family will all be together and I’m healthy despite needing to lose 5 lbs…” I desperately try to think of something, anything…

One bushy white brow rises. “Maybe you should quit being a pantser and plan… And only five pounds?”

“Okay maybe a few more than that…”

I stop and reflect. I’m super lucky, I have my family and we all get along. I have a wonderful hubby who puts up with me, a daughter who is the kindest, most talented beautiful person I’ve ever known, and supportive friends. Even the evil day job isn’t that bad. I even accomplished my dream and have two books published that people seem to enjoy.

It dawns on me I need to remember to count my blessings daily.

Astonished, I blurt, “I don’t truly need anything.” Now you’ve done it, you’ve lost your chance until next year!

“Okay, nothing it is! NEXT.” Santa gently pushes me off his lap motioning to the kid behind me.

Mildly disappointed, I thank him for his time. Next time I’ll have my list ready. Liar, you’re a pantser!

“Oh, Nancee…” His eyes twinkle and he laughs deep and long. His belly wiggles like that canned cranberry stuff from Thanksgiving.

I’m not the only one that could stand to lose a few…

“Gotcha! I know just the thing for you. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Nancee.”

holiday-review

rafexmas

Forbidden love is hell…

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God’s gift to women–and she couldn’t be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms–and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman’s dead body…

Rafe, Jo’s best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he’s always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo’s caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo’s going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bGubal
Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/2c3Ytri
Itunes: apple.co/2bRuW4D
KOBO: bit.ly/2bMUsa9

sexmasad

Evangeline is the town pariah. Everyone knows she’s crazy and was responsible for the death of her last boyfriend. Even her mother left her and moved cross-country. Lonely and desperate, Evie decides to end her life.

Rogue angel Remiel longs to return to earth, but there’s just one problem. He tends to invite trouble and hasn’t been allowed back since Woodstock. The Boss sends him to save Evangeline, but there’s a catch: he can’t reveal his angelic nature, and he must complete the task as Father Remiel Blackson.

Forced together on a cross-country trip, a forbidden romance ignites and love unfolds. A host of heavenly messengers tries to intervene, but Remiel and Evangeline are headed on a collision course to disaster. Will his love save her, or will they both be lost forever?

Save

Save

Bonus Scene for Saving Evangeline

As a new author, I am humbled by the response to my first novel, Saving Evangeline. This past week I hit a personal milestone. I have 75 reviews on Amazon. To thank my readers, I’m giving you a bonus scene with our favorite bad boy angel who’s been sent to save Evangeline but has to do it disguised as a priest. So without further ado…
drivethruprayer

“I’m hot.” I have the window down because Remi’s smoking. I glance in the side mirror, disheartened. My hair looks like I styled it with an eggbeater.

“Quit nagging, Evangeline. And if you’d roll up the window, the air conditioner would work better.”

“Well quit smoking.”

“I’ll quit when you stop griping. Since I know that isn’t going to
happen, I probably need to pick up a carton when we get gas.”

“Maybe you should pray about it,” I snipe back. “Can we please stop and stretch our legs? If I don’t get out of this car for a few minutes I’m going to go to jail for murder.”

“Orange isn’t your color, Crazy Girl.”

“Well at least get back on the interstate, I’m sick of small towns, Father.

“Fine, if it’ll shut you up.”

He does a U-turn and immediately blue lights flicker behind us. Dumbass. He’s done an illegal turn in front of on an unmarked police car.

“Leave me the keys when they haul your ass to jail. You’ll probably look great in orange,” I quip with a smug smile.

“No one’s going to jail. It might help if you’d start crying.”

“What?”

“Cry,” he hisses. “You know, sob, wail, blubber or weep. You should be a pro at it by now.”

“I know what the word means, asshole.” Although I’ve cried way too many times in front of this priest, for the life of me, I can’t summon the tears. I find the entire situation hysterically funny.

He runs a finger around his collar and sweat beads his brow. Hiding my laughter in my hands, I peek through my fingers, not wanting to miss this for anything. Let’s see how the glib Father talks his way out of this one.

The officer peers in the car, and his eyebrows lift at the sight of Remi’s collar. “Uh, sorry, Father. You just did an illegal U-turn.”

“I did, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention because I was comforting this distraught young lady.”

Lady? My shoulders shake with my repressed laughter. He pats me on the back more forcefully than I think necessary.

“There, there, Evie. Don’t worry. The officer is just doing his job.”  He hands his license through the window. I snort and hiccup trying to contain my giggles.  Reaching for the registration and proof of insurance, Remi pinches my leg, making me yelp.

“Everything all right, miss?”

Keeping my face covered, I shake my head. If he sees my face, I’ll be busted for lying. I suck at poker.

“This poor child has led a sinful life and is full of repentance. I, uh, saw the sign over there and thought we’d give it a try. My way doesn’t seem to be working, bless her heart.”

Oh no, he didn’t. Every Southerner knows the phrase bless her heart is always offered with a healthy side of sarcasm.

The officer glances behind him. “It’s a non-denominational church, not Catholic, Father. You need to go about thirty miles up the road to find your kind.”

“My kind? Would you like to discuss the theology of forgiveness, son?”

Remi’s condescending tone sends me over the edge. Real tears now streak down my face as I bite my lip to the point of pain trying to control my laughter.

“No, sir, but—”

“You’re concerned about a U-turn. I’m concerned about the direction this poor unfortunate’s soul is taking.” Remi leans out the window and stage whispers, “If we don’t get her some help now, she may very well spend all of eternity at a permanent barbeque, if you know what I mean. Do you want that on your conscience?”

I hunch over and scream with laughter.

The poor cop jumps back at least six feet. “Dear Lord above, does she need an exorcism?”

“She might, you volunteering to help?”

“No sir, I’m Baptist. Y’all go on now.”

“Thank you. I’ll say an extra novena for you.” He rolls up the window and waves as the cop drives past.

I’m laughing so hard my side hurts. “You’re going to hell.”

“Nah, I’m not leaving without you.”

He takes my hand in his and gives it a gentle squeeze. At this moment I’d follow him to hell gladly. I can’t imagine my life without him. To my surprise he pulls into the parking lot of the non-denominational church.

“What are you doing?”

He points at the sign. Drive thru prayer.

“You’re joking, right?”

“You wouldn’t want me to bear the sin of lying would you?”

“You just said that stuff to get out of a ticket.”

“Tell me something. Where will you spend eternity?”

I roll my eyes. “In the dirt, rotting. Or hell.”

He sighs and taps the steering wheel with his thumbs. “Maybe this will convince you otherwise. It appears open and no waiting. Let’s go. Besides, they offer a free carwash with every prayer, too.”

He drives up to a window that looks like a bank teller. A young man looks up from his Bible and smiles.

“Well hello, uh, Father, sir.”

“Just Remi is fine. We’re all in this together, right?”

“I guess so?” The guy looks to be my age or younger. “My name is John. What can I do for y’all? Do you have a specific prayer request?”

“Well John, you look like you have a good head on your shoulders.” Remi snickers at his own joke while poor guy’s eyes practically bug out of his head. “I’d like to order a prayer for salvation, to go.”

“A prayer for salvation to go?”

“That’s what I said. Can we get super fast delivery? She’s on the fast track to hell. Just ask her.”

I punch him in the arm.

“Ow. She’s violent, too. Did you see that? Better make it a double, John.” He grins. “I’d ask for a side of fries, but that’s what we’re trying to avoid. She thinks she’s gonna be a crispy critter.”

John leans forward, hands on the glass and looks all around us. “Am I being punked?”

An older gentleman steps into the booth. I have to wonder if John pressed some sort of emergency prayer button or something for back up.

“Punked?” Remi turns to me. “What’s that mean?” he whispers.

“He thinks you’re playing a trick on him,” I gasp between giggles.

“Father.” The gray haired man greets him. “I’m Brother Forsythe, the pastor here, can I help you?”

I laugh and motion Remi to drive off. “Just go, we need to get out of here.”

“No, we came for prayer, so prayer we’re gonna get,” Remi insists.

The minister frowns, and his white bushy brows knit together. “Sir, is this some sort of hazing prank? If it is, you need to just move along. We take the Lord very seriously here.”

“Oh I’m sure you do.” Remi nods with a smug smirk. “But trust me, Bubba; no one has a better sense of humor than The Boss.”

The younger guy smirks as the pastor gasps his outrage.

Remi leans toward the window. “I mean think about it. Look at the poor platypus and aardvark. What’s up with them?”

“Son, I think you two need to move on.”

“Let me get this straight, I’ve gone from Father, to sir, to son. Are you refusing to serve us?”

“I don’t appreciate mockery of my religion or foolishness,” the pastor huffs.

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. See? We’re on the same page, Brother. Except I don’t think you’re being very gracious. We’ll leave, but I want my free carwash.”

The poor man looks ready to stroke. John grins and the drawer opens with a token, which Remi palms. He offers a quick blessing and makes the sign of the cross. By the time we pull away, John is fanning Brother Forsythe.

I finally let loose laughing. “I don’t think I’m the one going to hell.”

He grins. “Me either. Luc wouldn’t put up with your woe-is-me bullshit and he certainly doesn’t want that sanctimonious poop. Let’s get this free car wash. We earned it listening to that pompous guy. Besides, they’re fun.”

“You’re so silly.” I can’t stop grinning. I realize I’m enjoying myself. Life has certainly been less gloomy since I met the sexy priest.

A few blocks away we find Carl’s Christian Carwash: Where Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.

“Look at that!” Remi points to the colored suds on the windshield, but I’m looking at him. He stares at me, and I’m mesmerized by the flickering flames in his pupils. The air in the car sizzles with a sexual awareness that’s undeniable.

“Evangeline…” His breathing sounds harsh and the longing I feel is mirrored in his face.

“I want to consume your foolish lips, Father,” I whisper, tracing the outline of his mouth with my thumb.

He smiles and leans toward me. “I graciously accept.” My breath catches. It’s finally happening, what I’ve daydreamed about since meeting this man. His lips tentatively explore mine and then take what I freely give.

It’s the kiss to end all kisses, a toe curling, breath stealing, soul consuming kiss. I’ve wanted this and anticipated it more then a five-year-old waiting on Santa to visit. It’s even better than my dreams, a deep connection that rocks me to the center of my being. He’s my missing heart.

He sighs. I pull away as the enormity of what we’ve done crashes around us. Reality sucks. I can’t have him. “Damn you,” I whisper.

I look into his eyes and see pain mixed with desire. “Probably so.” He brushes my cheek with the back of his fingers. “But worth it.” He kisses me again, softer, gentler and whispers, “This is why you have to stick around, Crazy Girl. You’re mine for eternity, no matter what happens. Trust me.”

The car jolts and sunshine pours through the now sparkling windshield. The mood dissipates, but my happiness remains. For in this one stolen moment of happiness, I’ve found hope for the future. Just like a kid on Christmas Eve…
© 2016 Nancee Cain

If you’d like to view the book trailer for Saving Evangeline, please click this link:
https://studio.stupeflix.com/v/cJDX4GMGQjQc/

 

If you’d like to hang out with me and other Cain Raisers, come join my street team! I offer giveaways there!

I consider myself a reader first, writer second. I’m still pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming. I want to thank all of you for your encouragement and support. Coming soon, Tempting Jo! This will be Rafe’s story.

xoxoxox
Nancee

*´¨✫)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)
✮ (¸.•´✶ (¸.•`SAVING EVANGELINE

She’s hell bent on ending her life; he’s heaven sent to save her. But, there’s a catch. God’s rogue angel must complete the task disguised as a priest. A forbidden passion ignites, love unfolds and meddlesome angels from above attempt to intervene. Will Remiel’s love save Evangeline or cause them both to be lost forever?

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The party is over and yet it’s just begun…

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I’m at my computer with a purring cat in my lap and a cup of coffee, enjoying the peace and quiet. The party is over. Saving Evangeline has celebrated her 2 month book “birthday.” In my musings with my husband (who still doesn’t quite understand the publishing industry) I likened it to a “coming out party.” Who hasn’t read a regency novel where the debutante is released into society? I’m the doting “parent” praying for my “baby’s success. Saving Evangeline was well-received and has had many successful “dates” with blogs and blog takeovers. (They are crazy busy but loads of fun.)

But then the excitement starts to die down. Where, as an author, do I go from here? Rankings drops off, sales drop off… other books become the center of attention. As an author, I can handle it many ways. I can get depressed and lament the fact I’m not a NY Times Bestselling author. I can whine. (I admit I’ve done that, I’ve noticed during those times the Devoted Hubby isn’t wearing his hear aid, smart man!) Or I can reflect on what I’ve accomplished and learned, enjoy my modicum of success and get busy writing.

I’m choosing the last option. Yes, launching a book is expensive and time consuming. Yes, it’s a frustrating roller coaster of emotions. Sure, I’ve cried and beat my fist on the desk over things I have no control over. But the rewards far outweigh any of the heartache. Why? Because I have gained something much more valuable. New friends. Other authors, bloggers and more importantly, readers. I’m still amazed when a reader reaches out to me and tells me how much they loved my book. I almost do the *look over the shoulder* thing and whisper, “You’re talking to ME?” I have a street team of core friends/readers who bolster me up when I’m down. We don’t just talk about my book. That would be boring. We discuss other books. We post silly pictures, jokes and eye candy. Lots of eye candy. And we’re there for each other. We celebrate birthdays and mourn losses and worry about illnesses. I love this core group and can’t thank them enough for their support. They mean the world to me. While the initial “party” is over… the friendships formed will last a lifetime. I hope to meet everyone in person some day.

It’s the morning after. I raise my coffee cup and salute the Cain Raisers. You all are, quite simply, the best. Book friends are indeed best friends.

xoxoxoxo

Nancee

If anyone is interested in joining us, you can find us here: CAIN RAISERS

A Red Letter Day

Several years ago, one of my dearest friends, Jill Odom, revealed she had written a romance novel. I was astounded and excited for her. For years I had written stories, but it never went further than forcing sharing them with friends. Shaking, terrified of her hating my story, I showed it to her. She smiled, patted my hand, and said, “Come, follow me.”

She led me to an fantastic group of writers, Southern Magic, RWA. These amazing women (and a few men!) meet monthly to help each other learn the craft, share experiences, offer advice, and navigate the choppy waters of publishing. They pick me up when I’m down, talk me off the ledge when frustrated, and cheer my milestones. They epitomize my favorite saying, Book Friends are Best Friends. I’m honored to be associated with these talented folks. They are my book family. If you’re just starting out, I encourage you to find a group like mine. Writing can be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. You are not alone.

When I first joined Southern Magic, I perused every link the website offered. They have a list of members. Those who are published are listed in red. I clicked on every single author link. And I dreamed…

Today, my dream came true. My name is in red. I’m humbled and grateful.