After making the biggest mistake of her life, Olivia wasn’t
comfortable anywhere — ever. Except in her dreams.
Is he really real? For so many years, I’ve wondered if I imagined
him. I’ve lived too many years in fear of never being free. It
wasn’t even about happiness. Everyone always asks, “Are you
happy?” Does anyone really want happiness? We all just want to be able
to breathe. We all just want to be comfortable in our own skin. I was
completely comfortable in mine, until I married Christopher Brewer. After
making the biggest mistake of my life, I wasn’t comfortable anywhere,
ever. Well, except in my dreams.
Rarely do you find a book that deals with alcoholism/addiction and a
About the Author
Kellista Keaton has been writing fiction since she was nine years old. She
prides herself on having taken creative writing classes across the nation.
She holds a BA in film studies from UNC-Wilmington and an elementary
teaching license. She resides in Kansas with her husband and two children.
Her secret is that she was lucky enough to work on the set of Dawson’s
The water that surrounds Oriental, N.C. a5racts people who need to heal. In
Heather Cobham’s debut novel, Hungry Mother Creek, Maya Sommers landed
in Oriental reeling from the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and the death of
her husband. Now, Sloan Bostwick, a successful realtor from Raleigh, returns
there in hopes of regaining the peace she experienced during the summers
with her grandparents. Sloan purchases the oldest home in the county with
plans to create a retreat center. Unbeknownst to Sloan, part of her property
contains the Mother Tree, a live oak, where for over a hundred years, women
have gathered. It was here, with the help of her women’s circle, that
Maya recovered from her husband’s death.
Maya and Sloan’s lives intersect over the fate of the Mother Tree
when the women’s circle rallies the community to protect the sacred
tree. Travis, the handsome kayak guide Maya had a brief affair with, joins
their efforts and Maya’s feelings for him are reignited. Will Travis
fill the sense of yearning she’s had the past few months? What’s
standing between her and true happiness? Meanwhile Sloan must admit that
wounds from her childhood are still festering, waking her every night and
distracting her from the retreat center.
Though Maya and Sloan clash over the fate of the Mother Tree, they have
more in common than they realize. Join them on the banks of the Neuse River
as the wisdom of women, past and present, helps Maya and Sloan transform
their suffering into resilience.
At 3:20 Sloan woke by instinct. Except for the rise and fall of her chest and the rapid motion of her eyes as they scanned the dark room, she lay perfectly still. Had someone come in? She lifted her head a few inches off the pillow and listened. The familiar sounds of the window air conditioner and Peter’s heavy breathing reoriented her. She’d had another nightmare. She put her head back on the pillow and took some deep breaths.
Would she ever stop waking before dawn? Sloan had hoped her move to the quiet sailing town of Oriental, North Carolina and a new house on the Neuse river would change this pattern but it hadn’t. She closed her eyes but sleep wouldn’t come. Worries clambered over each other to get her attention and for the past ten years Deidre always landed at the top of the pile. If she’d been a better Mother, would Deidre have become an addict? Like a gymnast performing a well practiced routine, Sloan ran through all the reasons she’d contributed to Deidre’s drug addiction. At least now she had something positive she could focus on; Deidre was alive, had finally agreed to get help, and Sloan was able to pay for it. This immediately spiked her next worry. Where would she get the money to renovate her new home into a retreat center? She’d had it set aside but now it was paying for Deidre’s rehab.
The whole purpose of moving to Oriental was to create a retreat center for businesses and other groups, and without it she’d have no income. Peter’d reduced his teaching load at North Carolina State in Raleigh to spend more time painting here, and was counting on her to pay half the mortgage. Had she made a mistake giving up her real estate business in Raleigh? Would she lose everything she’d worked so hard for? Could a bi-racial woman even create a successful business in rural North Carolina?
Sloan turned on her side, away from Peter and tried to relax. If you looked at the numbers, it hadn’t made sense to buy Magnolia Bend and come to Oriental but she’d used numbers all her life to make decisions. This strategy had given her financial security in exchange for the time she could have spent with Deidre and her older brother, Anthony. Now in her 50th year and with encouragement from Peter, she’d made a decision based on feelings, not numbers; the peace she felt being by the water here in Pamlico County and the connection she felt to this area, where she’d spent childhood summers with her mother’s family.
……. Sloan slid her long legs out from under the sheets and walked to the closet for her silk robe. She moved carefully across the bedroom and out to the hall. She and Peter had moved into Magnolia Bend at the beginning of May and in the 3 weeks since then, she’d stubbed her toes and bumped her head too many times to count. The house was built in the early 1800’s when people were smaller and it would take a while for her almost six foot frame to adapt.
Sloan rested her right hand on the banister and gracefully moved down the staircase with her white bathrobe trailing behind her. The years of ballet lessons had infused her body with grace and balance. These qualities combined with her stature gave her a strong physical presence. Sloan was aware of this and used it to her advantage in her Wake County real estate practice.
Being a biracial woman automatically put Sloan in the minority in a roomful of corporate realtors and businessmen, but her confidence and ability to look the white men in the eye helped equalize thepower differential somewhat. Sloan didn’t miss that part of her real estate job. The negotiations were exhausting, being twice as prepared as anyone else, monitoring eye contact and body language for prejudice and censoring her speech to avoid the slang she’d picked up as a teenager from her cousins.
In the kitchen, Sloan removed a bottle of water from the fridge to take outside. She paused with her hand on the french doors that led to the patio. She saw herself on the other side, peeking into the kitchen through this exact door 40 years ago. Magnolia Bend was just down the road from GG’s home and several times each summer she would explore the abandoned property, looking into every window she could reach. The home was in disrepair then, with plaster coating the floors like snow, and vines growing in through the cracks.
GG had told her there were chains and shackles in the basement left from when this had been a plantation, so she’d crawled along the foundation until finally she found a small window. On her hands and knees she looked in and saw four sets of shackles bolted to the wall. She immediately wished she could un-see it. It was more then her 10-year-old mind could comprehend and she threw up in the boxwoods, overcome with anger at what half of her ancestors had endured and shame at what the other half had inflicted. That was the last time she’d been here until she came with the realtor back in March.
Sloan realized she was shaking and sat down at the kitchen table. She hadn’t shared this memory with Peter or her realtor, but knew it had influenced her decision to buy Magnolia Bend. She couldn’t erase the past but now had the opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of Magnolia Bend. It would become a sanctuary, a place to restore and create rather than to suffer.
About the Author
Heather W. Cobham is the author of the duology, Hungry Mother Creek and The
Mother Tree. She is a licensed clinical social worker and has her own
counseling practice in New Bern North Carolina. The strength and resilience
of her clients, provides inspiration for the protagonists in her books.
Heather lives by the water in Oriental, N.C. and maintains her own health
and balance by spending time with her husband, running, paddle boarding,
yoga and reading.
Random circumstances brought them together. Love made them family.
With Jo O’Malley’s busy career as a lawyer in Chicago, she
rarely gets home to Idaho, but this year is different. Her little sister is
getting married on Christmas Eve and she has two whole weeks to spend in the
snow-covered mountains, with the three foster sisters she loves and Maddie,
the woman who made them a family fifteen years ago.
Things get off to a rough start when the wedding is canceled, but Maddie
asks them to enjoy their holidays together at the festive lodge as planned,
in order to console their sister. It’s straight forward enough until
Jo, through a chance encounter with a gorgeous golden retriever, runs into
Luke, a boy she knew from her early childhood when she spent all her time at
the local library.
Jo’s not sure how to handle the unexpected attraction and her new
feelings for Luke, who is all grown up now, handsome, and as kind as ever.
He’s set on staying close to his family in Granite Ridge and she has a
plane ticket back to her life in Chicago after the new year. Are the sparks
between them merely due to the nostalgia of the season, or will Luke open
Jo’s heart to the prospect of passion for something beyond her
If you’re a fan of small towns, heartwarming holiday stories, and
second chances, along with a few furry friends, you’ll fall in love
with Jo and her soul sisters in CHRISTMAS WISHES, Book 3 of Soul Sisters at
Cedar Mountain Lodge, from USA Today bestselling author, Tammy L.
Don’t miss a Soul Sisters book – download them all today!
Book 1: Christmas Sisters – perma-FREE prologue book
Book 2: Christmas Kisses by Judith Keim
Book 3: Christmas Wishes by Tammy L. Grace
Book 4: Christmas Hope by Violet Howe
Book 5: Christmas Dreams by Ev Bishop
Book 6: Christmas Rings by Tess Thompson
About the Author
Tammy L. Grace is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author who
entertains readers with perfect escapes in women’s fiction and clever
whodunit mysteries. Her works in women’s fiction include her
best-selling Hometown Harbor Series set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest
and Beach Haven, the first in her new Glass Beach Cottage Series, set in
coastal Washington. She also writes the Cooper Harrington Detective Series,
featuring a quirky private detective and his faithful golden retriever. Her
heartwarming Christmas in Silver Falls novellas are perfect for readers who
enjoy Hallmark Christmas Movies
She is a fan of dogs and includes furry companions in all of her books and
has published two dog-centric novels for Bookouture, under her pen name,
Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age.
With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of
writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time
with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate.
She and her husband have one grown son and a new golden retriever
Random circumstances brought them together. Love made them family.
Hailey Kirby plans to spend a wonderful Christmas holiday at the Cedar
Mountain Lodge with her family, celebrating her sister’s wedding as
Maid of Honor. Things go awry when the wedding is called off. Hoping to
comfort her sister, her mother and three sisters decide to go ahead with
their winter vacation plans at the Lodge.
Hailey works in town as the children’s librarian, and under the pen
name of Lee Merriweather is secretly the author and illustrator of picture
books. Young children adore the stories of Charlie and his dog, Zeke,
including Regan, the niece of Nick Hensley, a rock star musician who’s
recently moved back to Granite Ridge. When he reaches out to the author to
seek permission to write songs to go with the stories, Hailey is forced to
confess who she is and the painful reason why she’s been hiding behind
As Hailey and Nick put their creative minds together, they form a
friendship that quickly grows to much more. Hailey learns to trust and
discovers some chances in life are worth taking.
Find more books in the Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge series on
The entire Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge series includes:
Christmas Sisters by Tess Thompson, Tammy L. Grace, Ev Bishop, Violet Howe,
Christmas Kisses by Judith Keim
Christmas Wishes by Tammy L. Grace
Christmas Hope by Violet Howe
Christmas Dreams by Ev Bishop
Christmas Rings by Tess Thompson
About the Author
Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or
visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her
Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two
very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form
an unexpected bond…
1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls
working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a
white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out
among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the
challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love
for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her
side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to
death and the other to dire circumstances.
1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich,
aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to
forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is
finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman
she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago
Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her
firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her
troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s
case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old
debutante with seemingly too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine
eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s
long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she
doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally.
Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more
like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets,
About the Author
Shelly Stratton is the penname of an award-nominated women’s fiction
author who has published more than a dozen novels in her career.
She is married and lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughter.
She loves to paint, read, and watch movies. Visit her at her web site www.shellystrattonbooks.com.