Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Blog Tour: Rafe by Sawyer Bennett

We are beyond excited to celebrate this release from Sawyer Bennett with you today by participating in the blog tour! RAFE is part of her Arizona Vengeance series and it is releasing as part of 1001 Dark Nights. Check out an excerpt and book trailer from the title below. Click here to grab your copy now.

Purchase your copy of RAFE today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

About RAFE:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett comes a new story in her Arizona Vengeance series…

I was living my dream until one phone call changed everything.

As the second line center for the Arizona Vengeance, my mind has been on one thing—helping my team bring home a championship. But that all changed when I found out my dad had cancer and only months to live. In that moment, nothing mattered more than getting home to North Carolina to be by his side. That meant asking for the unthinkable—a trade to the Carolina Cold Fury.

Now I’m home and when I’m not on the ice with my new team, I’m helping care for my dad. And in the midst of my grief, I find comfort from the one person I never expected.

Calliope Ramirez stole my heart at a very young age. The beautiful, smart, headstrong girl next door, she was my first… everything. She has never forgiven me for leaving her, believing that I chose hockey over a future together. What she doesn’t understand is that every decision I made was for her, and I’ve never given up hope that one day we’d be together again.

Watching my dad slip away is a harsh reminder of how short life can be, and having Calliope by my side makes me realize I was a damn fool before. That changes starting right now. Calliope Ramirez is mine and I’m not going to waste the second chance that I’ve been given.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Add RAFE to your Goodreads TBR here!

4 stars
Review by Trinette Dungee

Rafe Simmons was enjoying the high life, he’s moving up the rank with the Arizona Vengeance until he get the news that sends his life into a tailspin. His father is dying, and he needs to spend his father’s last days with him. Thanks to Dominik Carlson, owner of the Vengeance and Gray Brannon, owner of the Cold Fury, he’s on his way home to North Carolina as the newest member of the Cold Fury. Not only does the work of these two power house owners allow him he time with his father he needs, he puts him face to face with the only woman he’s ever loved.

Calliope “Poppy” Ramirez has no use for Rafe Simmons. At one point in her life, she loved him more than anything else in the world and was prepared to follow him across the country to live his dream, but when it came time for them to go, Rafe left her. He told her he’d changed his mind and left her behind. She feels for the pain he’s going through watching his father deteriorate but beyond that, Rafe can kick rocks.

I love a second chance romance, and this was the perfect story. This was a quick read that took off and never stopped until the final page. Rafe learns the decisions he made about his relationship with Calliope weren’t really his to make. While his intentions were good, the lack of communication left a hole in Calliope’s heart. As much as she hates it, Calliope is still hurting from Rafe’s dismissal of their relationship. It left her feeling as if she weren’t good enough which in some ways spilled over into other aspects of her life. Having no closure with the situation has left no room for forgiveness.

The minute he sees Calliope again Rafe has to admit what he’s always known, he still loves Calliope and he makes it clear to her that he wants to revisit what they had. Rafe figures if he paces himself they can at least start off by being friends again. Calliope’s agreed to help him through understanding what his father is going through during his final days, but that’s it. A friendship is non-existent in her eyes and the possibility of a relationship isn’t even worth considering. Unfortunately for Calliope, while she may have suppressed it, her love for Rafe is still very much there.  

This was more than just a second chance romance though, it was a second chance on relationships in general, specifically for Rafe. Rafe was definitely closer to his mom than his dad. While his dad was a great provider and he was proud of his son, the father-son connection was never quite there. During this hard and emotional time, Rafe and his dad learn more about each other and have the opportunity to say the unsaid and make amends.

For quite some time we've read about Tacker and knew his story would tug at our heart strings. Well, while Tacker tugged at my heart strings, Rafe just ripped them out. NOTHING prepared me for the one particular scene in this book that had me swallowing lump after lump in my throat. This might have been a short story but it packed a powerful punch. 

Purchase your copy of RAFE today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU


“Each time I read a new book in this series, I have a new favourite, they just keep getting better and better. This was an entertaining read that I thoroughly enjoyed.” ~ Erin, MI Bookshelf
"Is it weird that I want to give this book a standing ovation?
It was perfectly done. So beautifully written and so emotionally fulfilling. It was absolutely everything I was hoping for and my heart is overflowing with feels." ~ Shelly, Bookgasms Book Blog
"This series is by far eclipsing any other I have read by this author. This is the story of Dax and Regan. Brother's best friend, friends to lovers, hockey romance, and just a great read about two people who deserve to be happy together. " ~ Suzi, Obsessive Reading Disorder
“The writing was observantly insightful and sneakily emotive. . . . The storylines were briskly paced, well plotted, written with my favorite dual POV, and kept me continually entertained with a pleasantly engaging romance while also tickling my curiosity as I waited for the looming threat to arise.”—Books and Bindings
“Add together an incredibly sexy story and a swoon-worthy hero with the intensity of a hockey player and you have an absolute winner. Sawyer Bennett has long been an instant one-click author for me, and Erik’s story is a fantastic addition to the Arizona Vengeance series.”—Stacey Lynn, author of Knocked Up
“Forbidden fruit always tastes better! With the kick off of a new hockey series, Sawyer Bennett introduces us to the Arizona Vengeance team and brings us Bishop’s story. The characters are quick to grab attention, and keep us entertained throughout.”—Thoughts of a Blonde


Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

Connect With Her:

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Review Tour: My Favorite Souvenir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

A Contemporary Romance Novel
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

My planned trip for two unexpectedly turned into a trip for one. Rather than let
my breakup get me down, I packed my bags and decided a week at a luxury
resort was just what I needed.
But one calamity after the next, and suddenly I was stuck without a hotel room,
along with a few hundred other people.
It looked like my fancy vacation was about to turn into me sleeping on the hotel
lobby floor.
Until I overheard a gorgeous man pretending to be someone he wasn’t in order
to steal a reservation from a guest who hadn’t shown up yet.
When I realized there were two rooms, instead of calling him out, I pretended to
be his sister. That’s how the story of “Milo and Maddie Hooker” began.
We were the Hookers.
My depressing trip quickly made a U-turn into an adventure.
My fake brother spent the next few days showing me around his hometown.
When it was time to leave, neither of us really wanted to go yet.
So, instead of flying back to our respective homes, we ventured on a road trip.
At every stop, we’d pick up souvenirs.
But as hot as our chemistry was, we never crossed the line.
Milo knew I’d just come out of a tough relationship and didn’t want to mess with
a vulnerable woman.
So instead, at the end of our trip, we made a pact to meet again in three
It was always my intention to meet him.
But when I got back home, reality hit in a big way.
And I worried I may have lost my handsome stranger forever.
Was there a place for him in my future?
Or had the memory of him just become my favorite souvenir?

4.5 Stars
Review by Lisa Kane

I love this writing duo. Their works are consistently funny, heart wrenching, interesting stories with characters that connect with the reader. They are real, they exist, if only on the written page.

Hazel is in Vail on her honeymoon. Ok, so she's not married, her ex broke up with her when he told her he wasn't sure he wanted to be married. But the honeymoon was paid for and non refundable, so Hazel decides to make the best of it.

Only she didn't count on having a hell of a time getting out of town. A snow storm causes all the flights to be cancelled and she is without a hotel room. When she spots a gorgeous traveller, who also seems stranded at a hotel, she checks out what he's up to. Seems he writes down the front desk's attempts to contact guests who haven't shown up. When she hears him claim one for Milo Hooker (kid you not, that's the name!) she hops on his crazy train and claims herself to be his sister Madeline Hooker. Yep, she's looking for that second room that was booked under Mr. Hooker's name.

Thus begins a beautiful, nutty friendship. The two keep up the scam, and find that they are having a hell of a time. Neither reveals their real name to each other. There is an undeniable chemistry between them, but they aren't going to ruin a good thing. They share intimate things about their lives but both know this isn't going anywhere.

When they decide to kill some time and travel the country their bond deepens. Milo (really Matteo) hasn't felt this way about someone since he lost a woman he loved deeply. These two bring out the nutjob in each other. Believe me, when you get to the part about the pineapple party, prepare to get rid of your flag-you know the one with the Welcome Friends writing, with the giant pineapple underneath. That's the one I usually put up at the end of summer. Think I will keep my flip flop flag up a few weeks longer. Sheesh, I never would have thought pineapples and naughty sex were connected!

But all good things must end and it's time for Maddie (really Hazel) to go home. Milo comes up with a plan for them to meet again a few months later. Remember, they don't have each other's phone numbers or real names. Fate can be a real bitch can't it? This is when the story really took off for me. I liked the beginning of the book, but I am an angst lover and I need my fix. And boy did I get my feel! No spoilers from here on out-read it, feel the stomach plummets and enjoy the ride!

I loved this book-the characters are adorable-flawed and imperfect and the story is fantastic!

the day he came back


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the day he came back


Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal
bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as
a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son,
and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and
the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a
dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.


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the day he came back


Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA
Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in
over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five
languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children
where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Review: Absolution by LD Davis

My life didn’t take the path I’d intended years ago, but I had much to be thankful for. My family, my new friends and my improving health, just to name a few. I thought I also had Marco to be thankful for, despite our differences, but after a trip to Italy, his relationship with his past made my hope for our future slip through my fingers.

This is the conclusion of the Disenchanted Series. Disenchanted (Book 1) and Perseverance (Book 2) should be read first.  

This book is the conclusion of the Disenchanted series. Books 1 and 2 should be read first. Disenchanted and Perseverance are both available on Amazon.

5 Stars 
Review by Jen Skewes

Like anyone else who has read this trilogy I was waiting not so patiently for the conclusion to Lydia and Marco’s story.  Absolution is everything that I could have hoped for and so much more.  The angst, the drama, the way LD Davis put me through the wringer, tugged hard at my heart strings, and made me feel every emotion possible.  In the end my heart was perfectly pieced back together.  This is LD Davis at her finest and the reason I love her writing!!  

When we left off Lydia and her children were on their way to Italy with Marco to see his family and be there for his brother who is very sick.  Lydia and Marco have not had an easy start thus far and trust me when I say it just gets harder for the two of them.  Lydia has her reservations about going to Italy with Marco, but she has agreed to be all in where their relationship is concerned.  She loved him, and he adores her children.  But there is one thing that keeps getting in the way and being in Italy is not going to solve that issue.  It only seems to get worse now that Celia and Marco are in the same country. 

Marco is blind to Celia’s motives and all that is really going on, but Lydia knows not to trust her.  There is something about that woman that Lydia does not like, and she has every right to feel this way.  Celia is the wedge that will drive these two apart if they both let her.  

I don’t want to spoil this one for you I am just going to stop right there.  This book wrecked me in so many ways.  I loved Marco but boy did he piss me off at times.  My heart was beating out of my chest through most of this book.  Not sure what would happen next, what would Marco do to piss me off even more.  And then there is Lydia.  I loved her but at times she was strong and fought and stuck up for herself and her feelings and then other times just gave in too easily for me.  But in the end she held her own and stuck to her gun and I loved her for it.  I loved how things happened in the end and nothing about it felt forced.  

Absolution and the rest of this series was amazing.  This was my favorite of the series and for me had the drama and angst that I love from Ms. Davis.  She know how to twist your stomach in knows, how to bring out every emotion, make you have a love/hate relationship that her characters and yet after all of that she manages to piece every part of your heart back together.  This was absolutely the perfect ending to this series.   

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Release Blitz: 'Til the Last Lyric by M. Robinson

Release Date: April 21

From Wall Street Journal & USA Bestselling Author M. Robinson, comes a rock star contemporary romance filled with angst and all the feels.

From Wall Street Journal & USA Bestselling Author M. Robinson, comes a rock star contemporary romance filled with angst and all the feels.

Once upon a time…
There was a little girl who believed in fairy tales and happily ever afters.
For her prince to come. 
Together they’d conquer the world.
Slaying dragons, demons, and villains. 
Until her Prince Charming let his demons prevail.
She cried and begged and prayed. 
She hated him. 
She loved him. 
She couldn’t save him. 
“I’m sorry.”
“I love you.”
Were five words she despised more than anything. 
Her fairy tale had become her worst nightmare.

She didn’t know how much more she could take.
She didn’t know love could turn into hate.
There were so many things she didn’t know. 
Especially, how to tell him, “No.”

3.5 Stars
Review by Lisa Kane

I've seen the reviews for this book and I'm in the vast minority by my lack of passion for this one. Usually, I am quite a fan of this author's. She's written more than a few of my "go to" stories. But for me, this isn't one of them.

I liked the first book, From the First Verse, but I just lost interest in Cash's story. I think it was the endless number of times the phrase "Junie" was uttered. I get the reference, Journey is the June to Cash's Johnny. I had a hard time not thinking of Samantha Towle's The Storm series. Her character Jake Wethers called the heroine, Tru the June to his Johnny Cash. That story might be seven years old, but those nicknames stayed with me. So I had a definite disconnect every time he called out that name.

While Cash fights his addiction demons while loving his life as the bad boy of rock, Journey has her own battles. She swears time and again she will leave him because of his drinking, but she never seems to be able to walk out the door. She melts into a puddle of hormones when he comes on to her, which happens a lot. A whole lot. I couldn't help thinking that a little more tough love on her part may have cause Cash to have a come to Jesus a lot sooner.

The rebellious rocker who has disdain for the endless intrusions into his life, is a common theme. The fly in the ointment is sometimes drugs or booze or both. Cash runs from his poor decision making years ago that scarred his life. So goodbye family, friends, connections. It's only by facing up to what he ruined that he can ever move on.

There are a few really good scenes towards the end. One serves to shock and one to feel the main character's self loathing and fear. Both are well written. The story is well written, the characters just didn't hold my interest.

Grab Your Copy Here:

Grab Book 1, From The First Verse in the Life of Debauchery Series Here!
Meet M. Robinson

Wall Street Journal & USA Bestselling Author M. Robinson loves to read. She favors anything that has angst, romance, triangles, cheating, love, and of course sex! She has been reading since the Babysitters Club and R.L. Stein. 

She was born in New Jersey but was raised in Tampa Fl. She was pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, with two years left. However, she dropped out of school and became a fulltime writer.

She is married to an amazing man who she loves to pieces. They have two German Shepherd mixes, Kobe and Trooper, a Wheaten Terrier, Teddy and a Tabby cat, Gio. 

She feels blessed to be living her dream.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Release Blitz: Tell Me Pretty Lies by Charleigh Rose

TELL ME PRETTY LIES by Charleigh Rose

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Three things my mother acquired when she became engaged:

1. A brand new Tiffany’s ring.
2. A lavish home on Heartbreak Hill.
3. Three privileged stepsons.

The last thing I expected was to fall for one of them, least of all Thayer Ames.
Beautiful, brooding, and untouchable.
I knew it was a bad idea. He warned me himself.
But he was a thunderstorm, and I never could resist the rain.
It was perfect…
Until it wasn’t.
One night was all it took for our world to crumble around us, leaving only secrets and lies between us.
Now, I have to face him again, and the boy I used to know has become the man who loves to hate me.

About the Author:
Charleigh Rose lives in Narnia with her husband and two young children. She’s hopelessly devoted to unconventional love and pizza. When she isn’t reading or mom-ing, she’s writing moody, broody, swoony romance.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Release Blitz: Fast Burn by Abigail Davies


FAST BURN(Burned Duet #1) by Abigail Davies

Release Date: April 1, 2020

Cover Design: Pink Elephant Designs

Photographer: JW Photography

Models: Natalie Herbst & Dan Krogman

Genre: Contemporary Romance





Guys like him didn’t want girls like me.

Or did they?

My life was a battle, one which I was losing.

Each moment I struggled to keep everything on lockdown.

And yet all it took was the man with the enticing eyes to draw me out.

He thought he knew my secrets, but he had no idea the pain I felt.

The torture I suffered.

The agony I held deep down inside where no one else could see.

Dancing had been my only savior.

But now he was too.

The marine who knew the deepest part of my soul.

The tattoo artist who turned my black and grey world into full color.

The man fourteen years older than me.

He’d vowed to protect me. To shield me from the evil I encountered.

But there was a dark cloud hanging over us.

One which promised to rain terror.

The battle had turned into a war, and there could only be one winner.

5 Stars
Review by Jen Skewes

I always look forward to an Abigail Davies book.  I love an ae-gap romance and she knows how to write one like no other.  But her books are so much more than that.   She knows how to completely wreck you, rip your heart out in a way that you keep coming back from more.  But in the end she knows how to put you back together again.  But not before leaving you with a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers, keeping you waiting until you find out how it ends.  And that is exactly what she did with Fast Burn.  I have love every book in this series but I think she tool this one to a whole new level, perhaps saving the best for last.  

I don’t really want to give anything away other than this is Asher’s story.  It is about 15 years later.  After serving in the military, he now owns his own tattoo parlor.  He meets
Elodie one now while she is working.  There is this instant attraction and connection and after that night he cannot stop thinking about her.  There is so much more to this young woman than anyone knows about.  He doesn’t care about the age difference, he just knows that he needs to protect her and he wants to spend time with her, but things seem to get in the way.  

The relationship between Asher and Elodie is a very slow burn, which I am not always a fan of but this one worked because for one, it never once felt like it dragged on.  I was consumed with this book from beginning to end.  Also given Elodie’s current situation and all that she has been through, it makes sense that that things between them went a little slower.  

Elodie has a story that is completely heartbreaking in so many ways.  I loved her and the strength that she shows but I also knew and felt her pain.  Asher has his own pain but the way he is there for her and wants to protect her and love and care for her is everything.  I lo ed the connection and friendship between her and Leo.  It was just perfect and adorable.  

This of course ends with a big cliffhanger that is raw and intense but makes you want more.  But this wouldn’t be Ms. Davies if it ended any other way.  Perfect reason why I love her writing.  I cannot wait to see how this all ends.  



DEEP BURN (Burned Duet #2)

Release Date: April 20, 2020






Fractured into a thousand tiny pieces.

I’d promised to make it all better.

To heal the blows she’d been dealt.

But she wasn’t the only one living in a nightmare.

I’d tried to forget about my past as a marine, but it echoed in the edges of my mind, chipping away at my sanity.

The violent memories haunted me.

But now so did she.

I’d let my anger take over.

I thought I’d gone too far and destroyed everything.

But she was still there.

Waiting for me.

Waiting for us.

Our pain threatened to eradicate everything around us.

A roaring flame no one could extinguish.

But it was nothing compared to the fire in our souls.

The deepest love always burned the hottest.

And ours was set to ignite an inferno.


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Abigail Davies grew up with a passion for words, storytelling, maths, and anything pink. Dreaming up characters–quite literally–and talking to them out loud is a daily occurrence for her. She finds it fascinating how a whole world can be built with words alone, and how everyone reads and interprets a story differently. Now following her dreams of writing, Abigail has found the passion that she always knew was there. When she’s not writing: she’s a mother to two daughters who she encourages to use their imagination as she believes that it’s a magical thing, or getting lost in a good book. If she’s doing neither of those things, you can be sure she’s surfing the web buying new makeup, clothes, or binge watching another show as she becomes one with her sofa.



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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Review: Sweet Destiny by KC Lynn


Three cups of a long-standing rivalry between two families and a wedding that will force them all under one roof.

Two tablespoons of a bride and a groom whose love is put to the test when they find themselves caught in the middle of it.

A slice of a secret that will change the course of their lives forever. 

A pinch of fate.

A dash of friendship.

A sprinkle of seduction.

Mix together in a large bowl to create a hockey game that turns into a brawl, a rehearsal dinner that ends in disaster, and an unexpected guest no one saw coming.

Bake at 350° for a rich serving of life and a love that transcends lifetimes. A love so powerful it may just be the ingredient needed to end a longtime feud between two families.

A timeless recipe that is sure to fill your heart with a generous helping of Sweet Destiny.

NOTE: Sweet Haven must be read prior to this Novella. If you wish to start at the very beginning you can start with A Recipe for Love, which has Sweet Temptation and Sweet Love but it isn't a must.

4 Stars
Review by Lisa Kane

Jase Crawford is about to marry Samantha Evans. Sam's brother is Sawyer Evans, and he and Jase are fierce rivals. But Jase left the life and career he had to start over and live where Sam had moved. Sam wanted to be near her family and Jase respected that decision. This is a good man.

"I promise to love you until your last breath, Samantha Evans, then I promise to find you again and love you even harder."

There is a touch of the paranormal in this story. Sam has long had dreams of another couple, Rose and Joshua. Lost in another time, their love is doomed. Both Sam and Jase feel the same pull, as if their souls recognized each other from lives previously lived. But will their love also be doomed?

There's lots of family drama and commotion. The Evans' and the Crawford's have long been enemies, the heads of their families being stubborn old coots. Is this wedding going to be a fiasco?

Expect lots of pies and humor and love as well. Familiar characters all come together to celebrate the nuptials of Sam and Jase. The previous characters all mesh together so well and their stories blend together seamlessly.

This is a sweet novella, kind of like one of Grace's delicious pies!

Our souls destined to be one forever. 


Three cups of a long-standing rivalry between two families and a wedding that will force them all under one roof.

Two tablespoons of a bride and a groom whose love is put to the test when they find themselves caught in the middle of it.

A slice of a secret that will change the course of their lives forever.

A pinch of fate.

A dash of friendship.

A sprinkle of seduction.

Mix together in a large bowl to create a hockey game that turns into a brawl, a rehearsal dinner that ends in disaster, and an unexpected guest no one saw coming.

Bake at 350° for a rich serving of life and a love that transcends lifetimes. A love so powerful it may just be the ingredient needed to end a longtime feud between two families.

A timeless recipe that is sure to fill your heart with a generous helping of Sweet Destiny.

NOTE: Sweet Haven must be read prior to this Novella. If you wish to start at the very beginning you can start with A Recipe for Love, which has Sweet Temptation and Sweet Love but it isn't a must.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The Best Man by Winter Renshaw

I didn’t know her name, but I heard her laugh, tasted her lips, felt her warm skin as I held her in my arms. Together we watched our young children playing in the sand, the warm ocean lapping the shore behind them as the setting sun painted the sky. She was my soulmate and this was our life, our beautiful forever … 

Then I woke up—alone in a hospital room, connected to wires and machines. 

There was no wife. No kids. Not a single soul waiting for me. That life I dreamt of … never existed.

I’d been in a devastating wreck, a nurse told me when she rushed in. Comatose for weeks. I’d have a long road to recovery, but I was going to make it. 

From that moment on, the dream haunted me. I saw that woman’s face every time I closed my eyes, searched for her in every crowd, ached to be with a stranger I felt I’d known my entire life … and I swore that if I ever found her, I’d do anything to make her mine. 


Then I found her.

And it was both the best and worst day of my life because the woman of my dreams … was about to marry my best friend.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: No cheating, no love triangles. That’s all I’m going to say … ;-)


Beep … beep … beep … beep …

​I wake to a steady sound, slamming into an unfamiliar shell of a body, which as it turns out is mine. A dreamlike haze envelopes me, and when my surroundings come into focus, I’m met with white walls, white blankets, white machines connected to white wires leading to a strip of white tape on my wrist holding an IV in place.

​I’m in a hospital.

​I try to remember how I got here, but it’s like trying to recall someone else’s dream—an impossible task. And it only makes the throbbing inside my head intensify.

​“My wife …” My words are more air than sound, and it’s painful to speak with a bone-dry mouth and burning throat.

​ “Mr. James?” A woman with hair the color of driven snow leans over me. So much fucking white. “Don’t move. Please.”

​She’s a calm kind of rushed, hurried but not frenetic as she makes her way around the room, pressing buttons, paging for assistance and adjusting machine settings.

​The room fades in and out, murky gray to pitch black, and then crystal clear before disappearing completely. The next time I open my eyes, I’m fenced by three more women and one white-coat-wearing man, all of them gazing down on me with squinted, skeptical expressions, as if they’re witnessing a verifiable miracle in the making.

​I’m certain this is nothing more than a bad dream—until my head pulsates with an iron-clad throb once again, accented by a searing poker-hot pain too real to be a delusion.

​“Mr. James, I’m Dr. Shapiro. Four weeks ago, you were involved in a car accident.” The doctor at the foot of the bed studies me. “You’re at Hoboken University Medical Center, and you’re in excellent hands.”

​They all study me.

​I try to sit up, only for a nurse to place her hand on my shoulder. “Take it easy, Mr. James.”

​Another nurse hands me water. I take a sip. The clear, cold liquid that glides down my throat both soothes and stings. I swallow the razor-blade sensation and try to sit up again, but my arms shake in protest, muscles threatening to give out.

​“Where’s my wife?” Each word is excruciating, physically and otherwise.

​She should be here.

​Why isn’t she here?

​“Your wife?” The nurse with the water cup repeats my question as she exchanges glances with the dark-haired nurse on the opposite side of my bed. “Mr. James … you don’t have a wife.”

​I try to respond, which only causes me to cough. I’m handed the water once more, and when I get the coughing under control, I ask for my wife once more.

​“Has anyone called her?” I hand the cup back. If I’ve been out of it for weeks, I imagine she’s beside herself. And our kids. I can’t begin to imagine what they’ve been going through. “Does she know I’m awake? Have my children seen me like this?”

​“Sir …” The nurse with the dark hair frowns.

​“My wife,” I say, harder this time.

​“Mr. James.” Dr. Shapiro comes closer, and a nurse steps out of the way. “You suffered extensive injuries in your accident …”

​The man rambles on, but I only catch fragments of what he’s saying. Shattered pelvis. Spleen removal. Internal bleeding. Brain swelling. Medically-induced coma.

​“It’s not uncommon to be confused or disoriented upon awaking,” he says.

​But she was just here …

​She was just with me …

​Only we weren’t in this room, we were at the beach—the little strip of sand beyond our summer home. She was in my arms as we lay warm under a hot sun, watching our children run from the rolling waves that rolled over the coastline, leaving tiny footprints up and down the shore.

​A boy and a girl.

​My wife smelled of sunscreen, and she wore an oversized straw hat with a black ribbon and thick-framed cat-eye sunglasses with red rims that matched her red sarong. I can picture it clearer than anything in this damn room.

​I can hear her laugh, bubbly and contagious.

​If I close my eyes, I can see her heart-shaped smile—the one that takes up half her face and can turn the worst of days completely upside down.

​“We’re going to let you rest, Mr. James, and then we’ll order a few tests.” The doctor digs in a deep pocket of his jacket, and then he sneaks a glance at his phone. “I’ll be here for the next eight hours, if you have any additional questions. The nurses will ensure you’re comfortable in the meantime. We’ll discuss your treatment plan as soon as you’re feeling up to it.”

​He tells the nurse with the dark hair to order a CT scan, mumbles something else I can’t discern, and then he’s gone. A moment later, the room clears save for myself and the third nurse—the one who’s done nothing but stare at me with despondent eyes this entire time.

​“There must be a mistake. Someone needs to call my wife immediately.” I try to sit up, but an electric intensity unlike anything I’ve ever experienced shoots up my arm and settles along my back and shoulders.

​The thought of her not knowing where I am sends a squeeze to my chest. What if she thinks I left her? What if she thinks I disappeared? What if she has no idea what happened? And what was I doing in Hoboken when our life is in Manhattan?

​“What’s her name?” Her question comes soft and low, almost like she’s trying to ensure no one hears her. “Your wife?”

​I open my mouth to speak … only nothing comes out.

​I can picture her as vivid as still blue waters on a windless day—but it’s the strangest thing because her name escapes me.

Nothing but blank after infuriating blank.

​“I … I can’t remember.” I lean back, staring into the reflective void of a black TV screen on the opposite wall.

​The nurse’s gaze grows sadder, if that’s possible. “It’s okay. You’ve been through quite an ordeal.”

​She doesn’t believe me.

​“Would you like me to call your sister?” she asks.

​My sister … Claire.

​If I can remember my sister’s name, why can’t I remember my own wife’s?

​“Yes,” I say. “Call Claire. Immediately.”

​She’ll be able to sort this out, I’m sure of it.

​“Would you like me to adjust your bed?” The nurse straightens the covers over my legs. “I’m Miranda, by the way. I’ve been assigned to you since you arrived. I can tell you just about anything you need to know.”

​“Just … call my sister.”

​“Of course, Mr. James. Can I grab you anything while I make that call?”

​I lift my hand—the one without the IV—to my forehead. “Head’s pounding like a goddamned jackhammer. Got anything for that?”

​“Absolutely. Be right back …”

​Miranda hurries out the door, and I’m alone.

​If I close my eyes, the room spins, but I can picture my wife with impeccable lucidity—the square line of her jaw, her heart-shaped lips that flip up in the corners, the candy-apple green of her eyes.

My heart aches, though it isn’t a physical pain, it’s deeper.

​More profound.

​Like the drowning of a human soul.

​I remind myself that the doctor’s said it’s normal to be disoriented, and I promise myself everything will come back to me once I get my bearings.

​The clock on the wall reads eight minutes past seven. The sky beyond the windows is half-lit. I haven’t the slightest clue if it’s AM or PM. I couldn’t tell you what day it is or what month it is for that matter.

​“Mr. James, your sister is on her way,” the nurse says when she returns.

​She hands me a white paper cup with two white pills.

​So much fucking white.

​If I never see white again after this, I’ll die a happy man.

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi. 

And if you'd like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here --->

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