Friday Feature: Excerpt from The Truth About Hope

Erica here! It’s my pleasure to share an excerpt from Kate James’ new Harlequin Heartwarming title, The Truth About Hope (Erica insert: I love the title already and can’t wait to read this one!). I’ve been a fan of the Heartwarming line since it was revamped, and I hope you’ll enjoy this line of clean reads that pack an emotional one-two punch combo that will have you snot-crying and happy sighing in turn. You can learn more about the line’s author’s here. Now let’s dip a toe into The Truth About Hope!

In the pet store, Hope pushed the shopping cart up and down the aisles and tried to set her negative thoughts aside. But she found it more challenging to put Luke out of her mind.

            “That’s a lot of dog food,” the young clerk behind the counter commented as she rang up the two thirty-pound bags, a box of dog treats and a couple of chew toys.

“Yeah, and you’ll be seeing me back sooner than you’d think,” Hope said as she slipped her credit card and the receipt in her wallet. The clerk was too young to know her. After the encounter with Miranda, it was nice to have a pleasant interaction, free of tension. Hope slid the shopping bag over her arm, then hefted the first of the two large bags of kibble.

“Let me give you a hand with that.” The clerk came around to help just as the phone started ringing.

“Go ahead and answer that. I can manage,” Hope told her.

“You sure?”

Hope nodded.

“Thanks,” the clerk said as she rushed to answer the phone.

Hope pushed the plastic bag farther up her arm and hoisted the other bag of dog food. Weighed down and barely able to see over her load, she was glad her Jeep was only a few steps outside the shop. She maneuvered one of the bags farther up as it began to slide and raised her leg to balance the other one so she could reach for the door.

Just as she was about to open it, the door was pulled out of her grasp. She lurched forward and tumbled out the doorway. She hit the sidewalk hard, landing inelegantly on her hands and knees, her purchases scattered about. One of the bags of dog food had split and kibble was strewn around her.

Hope pushed to her knees and winced as raw skin scraped across the rough cement.

“I’m so sorry. Here, let me help…” A pair of large hands reached toward her. They froze and withdrew abruptly as Hope looked up and, from under the brim of her baseball cap, made eye contact with a pair of gold-flecked amber eyes—Luke Carter’s lion eyes.

The man before her was tall and fit. His face had matured in a rugged, handsome way. He looked the same and yet he didn’t.

Hope’s immediate reaction was excitement, that little thrill she’d always experienced when she’d been with him as a teen.

She lowered her head. “Great. Just great,” she muttered. Those mischievous fates just had to have another go at her today, didn’t they? Of all the people they could’ve thrown in her path, it had to be Luke. Probably served her right for not being able to keep her mind off him.

Erica again. Don’t you just love an awkward meeting? And apparently it’s not the first that Hope has had. I’m already wondering why Luke drew away so abruptly when he realized who Hope was, and why she’s been thinking aobut him. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to read this one!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Truth About Hope
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
May 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Who is Hope Wilson?

Is she the girl her former hometown thinks she is? Or the girl Luke Carter once loved–and maybe still does?

When Hope returns to Canyon Creek, Texas, to honor her father’s last wishes, there’s only one person on her mind: her high school sweetheart, Luke. The boy she lied to when she had to leave Canyon Creek as a teen, finding it easier to hide what she really felt than deal with the grief of loss. Her father’s fortune could make a big difference to Canyon Creek–but Hope finds that the townspeople have a long memory about his misdeeds. With a plan to make amends on his behalf, Hope learns the truth about herself. And the truth about love.

Kate James spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Her writing has been recognized with a number of awards, including first place honors for Silver Linings in both the First Coast Romance Writers’ Published Beacon Contest and ACRA’s Heart of Excellence Readers? Choice Award. Her November Harlequin Heartwarming release, A Child’s Christmas, received first-place honors from Southern Magic, the Birmingham Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, for the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence!

Kate married her husband, Ken, in an elegant, ocean-front wedding on a tropical island. When they are not traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada, with their beloved black Labs, Harley and Logan.

Kate?s next novel is the first book in her K-9 Squad Trilogy, and is scheduled for release on October 1, 2015.

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$30 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
5 Print Copies of The Truth About Hope (US/CAN Only)
1 ebook of The Truth About Hope (INT)

Ends May 15th

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First Page: Always the Girlfriend

Happy Friday all. This past week, I entered into a contest for Harlequin Heartwarming called “Write From the Heart.” I submitted my first page for evaluation by the Heartwarming editors. If you make it past the first round, they request a synopsis and the first three chapters; after that, the full manuscript. Unfortunately, my entry wasn’t chosen. There wasn’t any feedback present on the page, so I’m not sure why it was a “no” for them. I wanted to share it with readers and fellow writers here and get a bit of feedback. I’ll share my own thoughts on why it may not have been selected later, but I want to know what you all think. OAN: You can read some of my non-fiction samples by clicking on the (Untitled) link. 

Always the Girlfriend

This was the moment she’d been waiting four years for?

Peyton Hayes shoved her hair out of her face as another strong gust of wind pushed her farther along the sandy shore. The skirt of her dress whipped around her slender frame and her heels sank into the sand with each limping step.

“Peyton! Peyton, wait!”

Peyton kicked off her heels and gathered them hem of her dress in her hands so she could run barefoot to the pier. She wouldn’t look back. She wouldn’t. She swiped a tear off her cheek, sniffed loudly. She increased her speed in case Dane had decided to follow her.

This wasn’t the romantic scene she’d imagined when the day began. It wasn’t even close to the life defining moment she’d been expecting. When Dane said he wanted to do something special this weekend, she didn’t let herself get too excited about it. After four years of dating, she’d lived through enough false alarms to understand that every “special” date Dane had in mind didn’t equal a marriage proposal. Even when he mentioned the name of an expensive restaurant along Lake Serenity, she fought back all fantasies of Dane on bended knee. It wasn’t fair of her to presume that Dane knew the restaurant was on the list in her head reserved for birthdays, anniversaries, major promotions and marriage proposals. For once in her life she would be sensible.

Sensible? Ha! She grabbed the handrails and raced up the steps to the boardwalk. If Dane was following, he wasn’t close enough behind to be on the boardwalk. She heard nothing but her bare feet slapping the planks and the rapid beat of her heart. Still, she didn’t slow down. The fall of her feet took on a rapid-fire accusation. Stupid. Fool. Stupid. Fool. Stupid fool. Stupid fool. Stupid fool.

Peyton skidded to a stop as she came across the horse and carriage. Tears blurring her vision, she turned sharply to the right and resumed her flight. What man in his right mind follows dinner at a swanky restaurant with a tour of the city in a horse drawn carriage with no intention of proposing? Dane Ashton, that’s who! Only the most oblivious man, or the most practiced torture artist, would do something like that to a hopeless romantic like her.

If there had been a proposal on the beach, it would have been the crowning moment to a picture perfect day. The weather was perfect. Not one cloud marred the deep blue beauty of the sky or hid a ray of the warm June sun. Dane had driven into Serenity Cove’s historic downtown and they’d wandered through antique shops and boutiques with her small hand tucked into Dane’s much bigger one. He drew circles around her wrist with his thumb while his free hand tapped the pants pocket of his loose fitting jeans. She caught him staring at her at odd moments, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth.