Please join me in welcoming Claire Gem back on my blog today with her new release, upcoming Haunted Voices novel, CIVIL HEARTS, due out in February of 2018. She's sharing a brief excerpt here, and would welcome new subscribers to her Author Reader Group. Be sure to sign up so you will be the first know when her book goes on pre-order. Here's the link. http://eepurl.com/burn4f
Blurp: After her husband's sudden death, Liv Larson finds herself out of place in her previous circle of all-couple-friends. With no family, no real roots to hold her fast, she questions whether she truly belongs in the big city--the only place she's ever known. A dart thrown at the map lands on a tiny town in western, rural Alabama. Liv falls in love with the Belle Bride, an abandoned, antebellum home, the first time she sees it.
Heath Barrow lives a quiet, conservative life managing his antiques business in sleepy Camellia. Alone since his childhood-sweetheart-turned-wife left him for the big-city life, he has no intentions of removing the armor from his heart anytime soon. Especially for the new girl in town--a city girl, no less. Yet he can't deny the synergy between them.
Then, Liv discovers she's not entirely alone in her new home. And the previous occupant isn't too pleased about a Yankee living in his house, since he fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War--almost two hundred years ago.
Tall and willowy, Heath knew just by the way the blonde carried herself she was a city gal. Oh, she'd made an effort to fit in. She wore the casual, Southern uniform of jeans, tee shirt, and sneakers. But the jeans sported a razor-sharp crease down the front. The sneakers, with their floral-printed laces and shiny metallic stripes, didn't come from Wal-Mart. And the cup in her hand—clear plastic, with a straw and jiggling ice cubes—featured the logo of that fancy new cafe out near the highway.
Cold coffee. What was it they called it? Iced something or other?
He watched her wander along the display at the front of the shop, pausing to run slender fingers down the cut glass shade of an Astral Oil Lamp, one whose brass base had been re-worked to hold electrical wiring instead of its original power source. She flipped the dangling glass pendants with one finger and they made a tinkling noise, making her smile.
Something warmed inside Heath's chest, though he wrote it off to the slice of cold pizza he'd eaten on his way in. He pushed himself away from the computer desk at the back of the shop, rising to lean on the display counter.
"Help you, ma'am?"
Her head snapped around, sending her golden ponytail to swing wildly over one shoulder.
She pressed one hand to her throat and chuckled nervously. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you back there." She pressed the dewy side of her drink cup to her cheek.
Guess he'd startled her. Oh well. Did she think the local yokels in a small town left their businesses unattended while they ran errands?
Heath cleared his throat. "Looking for anything in particular? Or just browsing?"
Wasting time, he thought wryly. Mine and hers.
The passers-through in this part of the South were usually just that—passing through. Camellia didn't have any well-known tourist attractions, other than a few marked Civil War battlefields and a couple of dilapidated plantation homes. They didn't even have a chain hotel.
But his interior bitch session screeched to a halt with her next four words.
"I'm new in town."
Heath blinked. He knew just about everybody in this small burg, and surely would have heard if--
"I bought the old Belle plantation home. The Bride Belle, I think they call it?" she said. She was walking toward him now, and he couldn't help his gaze from straying down. The thin cotton of her shirt didn't do much to disguise the generous, peaked mounds beneath them.
Probably plastic too, he thought.
He cleared his throat again, and felt sweat prickle the back of his neck. "You did? Wow, how did I miss that bit of town gossip?"
Her eyes narrowed, pink lips pressing into a thin line.
What the hell was wrong with him? He scooted around the counter. "I mean, well . . . congratulations. That place is in need of some TLC. I drive by there now and again, and hated to see it standing empty."
She was studying him now with a critical gaze. Pale, grey eyes. Or were they blue? Hard to tell in this light. Big, wide-set, pretty eyes.
Then suddenly, she was laughing. Embarrassment flushed her cheeks and she covered her mouth with her free hand. "I know this is going to sound ridiculous. Impossible, even. But I bought a gigantic old plantation house, and I don't own a stitch of furniture."
Her giggling sent a warm flush through him, and he smiled back. "Well, you've come to the right place. Welcome to Heath's Heirlooms." He stuck out his hand. "Heath Barrow."
She hesitated only a moment before grasping his hand with her soft, smooth one. Her grip was confident and strong. Meeting his eyes, she said, "I'm Olivia. Olivia Larson. Nice to meet you."
And it was.
This sounds so intriguing, Claire. I can't wait to read. So, let's find out a little more information about Claire!
Strong Women, Starting Over
Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of spicy contemporary romance, women's fiction, and supernatural suspense. She also writes Author Resource guide books, and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.
Her awards include:
Hearts Unloched (Haunted Voices I): 2016 New York Book Festival winner, 2017 RONE awards finalist.
Spirits of the Heart (Haunted Voices II): 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards” finalist
A Taming Season, the first Love at Lake George Novel: 2017 HOLT Medallion Award finalist.
The Phoenix Syndrome: 2017 National Reader’s Choice Finalist
A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.
Amazon Author Page
That's quite a list of accomplishments, Claire. Congratulations. I can't wait until the book is released.
Readers: Please leave a comment and let us know you've stopped by. We love to hear from you, and don't forget to sign up for her Author Reader Group. Here's the link again: http://eepurl.com/burn4f
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