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Release Blitz: Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas | Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

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Release Date: November 15th, 2022

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Welcome (back) to Christmas Valley. Where it’s Christmas every. F@$#ing. Day.

It’s your typical Hallmark movie plot: my big city boyfriend dumped me, so my adorable five-year-old daughters and I moved back to my hometown just in time for Christmas. I guess the magic of the holiday is going to show me what I really wanted all along, or something.

But on Hallmark, people aren’t usually mainlining their mother’s Xanax. Or stealing the last available Peachblossom Pony Pal from their hot doctor because they have to give their kids the best Christmas ever. And when they run into their high school sweetheart, they don’t usually face the gulf of lies that exists between Cass Sullivan and me.

Oh yeah, and their hometown isn’t located directly up Christmas’s butthole.

I left Christmas Valley because I couldn’t listen to one more carol or look at one more tinsel-wrapped streetlamp. But moving to Boston meant leaving Cass, and that has always been my one regret. I mean, I also regret the box of Franzia in my closet, being publicly dumped, agreeing to take tap dancing lessons with my mom, and the fact that I can’t seem to open my mouth without a little white lie popping out. But mostly Cass.

When I need someone to play Santa for my girls’ favorite Christmas tradition, Cass steps in. Suddenly, I’m falling for him like we’re seventeen again. Can we put aside two decades’ worth of baggage and give each other a second chance? Can he help me build a life in Christmas Valley? And has he really been banging our former geometry teacher?

Only Christmastime will tell. If the holidays don’t kill me first.

Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas is a sweet, low-heat holiday novella featuring a second-chance romance, a hot mess MC who could use a steadying hand, adorable kids and dogs, and a guaranteed HEA.

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I stood in the produce section of the Christmas Valley Save-Rite, a place I hadn’t stood in eighteen years, reminding myself that a nice bag of turnip greens was just what the doctor ordered. And then trying not to imagine a scenario that involved me doing precisely what my doctor ordered, all night long, because Dr. Stephen Florris had a blinding smile, a smooth baritone voice, and an absolute peach of an ass, and I was fairly certain that winning his love was the key to my elusive happiness. I focused on the greens, vaguely embarrassed that I even needed a doctor to tell me what I should eat. I was an RN and ought to have known better than to spend the last two months living on Lofthouse cookies, Pepsi Max, and White Cheddar Goldfish.

Dr. Stephen Florris had told me gently but gravely at my last visit that it was no wonder my anxiety was through the roof, with all the sugar I was consuming. I’d had the highly inappropriate urge to tell him the reason I was mainlining sugar was that my boyfriend had broken up with me via the Kiss Cam at a Sox game (I’d leaned in, and he’d turned away to ask the woman on his other side where she’d bought her pretzel), and so I’d moved from Boston back to Christmas Valley, OH—a town of 3,915 people, five different holiday shops all purporting to be the Midwest branch of Santa’s workshop, and three annual tree lighting ceremonies; two near actual Christmas, and one for Christmas in July.

Christmas Valley: for the undiscerning gentleman in the throes of a mid-ish life crisis who enjoys driving past Jim Jordan 2024 signs and gagging on Christmas’s dick year-round.

I’d gracefully accepted a nursing job at the community hospital and the attendant pay cut. For the past two months, I’d been driving fifteen minutes to the next town for groceries to avoid seeing anyone I knew. I’d enrolled my girls at Christmas Valley Elementary, the playground of which still harbored the segment of concrete tunnel where I used to hide from bullies with my imaginary friend, Liar Bob. Liar Bob had a tragic backstory where he’d been a compulsive liar until a fairy made it impossible for him to tell anything but the truth. I’d ask him things like, “Will I ever be hot?” and “Will I ever get away from this place?” and “Why would my parents name me Frances?” He’d said, “Yes, Frances, yes you will. And yes, you will. And because they are monsters, Frances.”And I’d believed him.

Now I was starting to think the whole story about the fairy making him tell the truth had been a lie. Because here I was, eighteen years after graduating from Christmas Valley High: Home of the Fighting Reindeer, feeling far from attractive and certain I’d be stuck here until the day I died.

Instead of telling Dr. Stephen Florris—who, mercifully, was not someone I’d gone to school with—my whole sob story, I’d tried to let him know that I was going through a stressful time but that obviously I understood the importance of getting enough sleep and enough B vitamins. He’d asked me, in an unconvincingly offhanded way, what my daughters ate, and I’d looked him right in the eye and told him they ate a healthy, balanced diet—except for the occasional fried potato pizza from Cocca’s—and that the White Cheddar Goldfish lived in Daddy’s secret closet. I didn’t mention the White Cheddar Goldfish’s friends who shared the closet: Box of Franzia, Some of Mom’s Xanax, and Just a Couple of Weed Gummies.

Dr. Stephen Florris had looked at me with mingled pity and suspicion and told me to follow up in four weeks.

My phone jarred me from my reverie and my search for a bag of turnip greens that was not past its sell-by date. My heart thumped when I saw Ben’s name on the screen. I couldn’t have ignored the call if I’d wanted to.

I swiped to answer and said, “Hey,” as casually as I could manage.

“Fran, it’s Ben,” he said, as though I required clarification.

“I know,” I said.

“Do you have a minute?”

“Sure.” I rummaged through the greens. The loudspeaker suddenly blared festive music and the sound of jingle bells, and a cheerful voice said, “Attention holiday shoppers, did you know that now you can get twice the ho-ho-holiday deals with a Save-Rite advantage card? Just fill out our form online, or ask one of our elves to…”

Ben and I both waited until the announcement ended. Then he spoke.

“I’ve been thinking. About Cookies with Santa.”

My heart sank. “Ben…” I said warningly. Maybe a little desperately.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

I closed my eyes briefly. Tightened my grip on the phone. “Why not?”

“For reasons I would think are obvious,”

“You said you would still see the girls.”

“Fran, you moved them eight hundred miles away. I care about them a lot, but if you’d really wanted me to keep seeing them, you wouldn’t have taken them so far.”

“This is where I’m from. I didn’t pick it at random. I needed somewhere to go after you—” I cut myself off. I was not going to get into an argument with my ex in the produce aisle of the Save-Rite. The parking lot, maybe. “Please, Ben,” I said, even though I’d promised myself I would never beg Ben for anything ever again. “Just this year. By next year I’ll have found a replacement, but Christmas is three weeks away, and I—I’m just dealing with a lot.”

“There have to be companies that do this shit. Rent-A-Santa or whatever.”

“They’re used to you. Your Santa. They’ll know if it’s someone else. And come on, the surprise of getting to see you on Christmas Day…”

“I know.” For a moment, Ben sounded genuinely remorseful. “But the truth is, I’m trying to move on. I’ve met somebody.”

Time seemed to freeze. “Met somebody?”

“Yeah. He’s really, really great, actually. You’d like him. Things are going well for me, and it would be really hard to explain to him that hey, so, I have to fly to Ohio because I pretended to be Santa for my ex-boyfriend’s daughters for three years and ate cookies with them every Christmas Eve, and my ex wants me to continue to do this even though he called me ‘the Armie Hammer of mid-level insurance executives’ and said he hoped I died alone—”

“I was in a dark place.”

“—and then he also wants me to spend Christmas morning with him, as myself, because his daughters miss me. So you don’t mind, hon, do you, if I remain inextricably bound to my ex’s life?”

“That’s not what I’m asking.”

“Isn’t it?”

“The girls do miss you. You treated them like they were your daughters. You created a set of, of expectations, and now you’re just—”

“They’re not my daughters, Fran.”

That thumped me in the gut.

“I want to spend Christmas with my boyfriend. I want you to be able to move on, like I have. And I don’t think you can do that if I’m still in your life.”

I couldn’t explain why I did what I did next. I just hurt so much, so suddenly, and I was so angry and confused and unsure whether he was exactly right or being an asshole. So I opened my mouth and pulled a Liar Bob, pre-fairy transformation: “I’m actually moving on just fine. I’m seeing somebody too.”

“What?” He sounded way too surprised.

“His name is Dr. Stephen Florris.” Should not have given him a real name. Fuuuuck. “He’s my doctor.”

“Isn’t that a little unethical? Or a lot?”

Was my doctor. Now we’re dating, so I have a different doctor. Dr. Richmond.” Stop talking, Jan Brady.

“Okay, well, I’m glad to hear that.”

“So even if you did come to visit, it wouldn’t affect my moving-on trajectory, because I’m happy in my relationship. And Stephen doesn’t think it’s weird that somebody who was an important part of my daughters’ lives for years would still come to visit them.”

Ben sighed deeply. Idiot that I was, I’d missed that sigh. “I’m happy for you,” he said. “Really I am. But I can’t do this. It’s too…painful, and awkward. And I just can’t.”

“All right.” A numbness was beginning to set in.

“And I think it’s best if, going forward, we don’t have any contact.”

I nodded, my hand frozen on a bag of turnip greens. People were starting to stare. I realized Ben couldn’t see me nod, and so I would have to say something. But it felt good not to move or speak or think.

“Attention holiday shoppers. Now you can jingle all the way to our bakery for some tree-light-ful holiday deals on cookies, cakes, and more!”

Once more, Ben and I waited in silence for the ad to finish. At least, I thought we were both waiting in silence. But when the cheerful voice stopped speaking, Ben had already hung up.

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About the Authors


Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.

She also has a Facebook group where you’ll be kept in the loop with updates on releases, have a chance to win prizes, and probably see lots of lots of pictures of her dog and cats.

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Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | Twitter |   Lisa Henry’s Hangout


J.A. Rock is the author of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices.

J.A.’s books have received Lambda Literary, INDIEFAB, and EPIC Award nominations, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Novel Award.

24/7 was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

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To celebrate the release of A Husband for Hartwell, JA & Lisa are giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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Blog Tour: Stronger Than Longing by Katherine McIntyre

Stronger Than Longing | Katherine McIntyre

Chesapeake Days #3

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Release Date: October 22nd, 2022

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For one night with the man of his dreams, Taran’s willing to break all his rules…

Taran’s always been the reliable one. Safe. Which is why he keeps getting dumped by the assholes he dates. And after the latest round of “too boring,” he’s ready to drink his blues away. That’s until Silas King shows up—the gorgeous guy he’d swooned over through high school.

Silas wants one more night of distraction before his new reality sets in, and he sets his sights on Taran, his friend’s little brother who’s looking sexier than ever. It’s not like he can get in any more trouble than he’s already found himself in.

After Taran and Silas spend one unforgettable night together, feelings emerge, ones quickly stamped out when Silas confesses why he’s back in town. He’s returned to meet his three-month-old daughter.

With that chaos in his life, Silas can’t pursue anything further with Taran, and having longed for Silas his whole damn life, Taran isn’t sure he’ll survive the aftermath. Yet the more they try to avoid their connection, the more they keep colliding… until the passion between them detonates.

Return to small-town Chesapeake and fall in love with the single-dad bad boy who keeps breaking hearts, and the adorable geek who can’t help but fall head over heels for his brother’s best friend.

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Taran had a bad feeling about tonight.

Not because Kevin had chosen Hickory Taproom for dinner instead of one of Taran’s brother’s establishments in town. Not even because Taran had been getting one-word answers from his boyfriend of eight months all week. No, this ominous premonition hit because it was Friday the Twelfth, and ever since he was a kid, Friday the Thirteenth’s cousin caused more heartbreak and devastation than the unlucky day could ever hope to.

Found out his best friend was moving away? Friday the Twelfth.

Caught his first boyfriend cheating on him? Friday the Twelfth.

Dad got into a head-on car collision, killing him instantly? Friday the fucking Twelfth.

There should be a moratorium on the day, honestly.

He looked the menu over, his glazed eyes blurring the black print on cream paper as his nerves tick, tick, ticked. This was just a Friday-night date. No one was going to rob the Hickory Taproom, and Kevin wouldn’t show up with his tongue crammed down another guy’s throat.

For some reason, neither of those thoughts reassured him.

He glanced up, and Kevin strode in, his blond hair artfully styled and a grim look on his face.

Apparently, the sight of Kevin didn’t reassure him either.

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Start The Series

Stronger Than Hope

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One man looking to set down roots, the other looking to leave…

Fresh out of a relationship, Nate’s searching for a change—what better way is there than renovating his uncle’s old coffee shop in Chesapeake City? He has a new job, in a new town, and a new lease. And when he almost runs over his hot neighbor, Linc, who happens to be his contractor? Well, based on the explosive attraction between them, maybe he’ll find something new there too.

Linc’s been treading water ever since his wife passed away in childbirth, focusing all of his energy on raising his son, Beckett. The obvious solution? He needs to get the hell out of Chesapeake City. But when Nate charmingly fumbles his way into Linc’s life, he finds his defenses lowering for the first time in years. One date leads to another, and hell, this man makes him feel in ways he’d forgotten.

Even though Nate just finished piecing his heart back together, he falls fast. Yet Linc’s made it clear he’s a bad bet. The man hasn’t clicked with anyone since his wife, and if Nate ends up being “not enough” again, that won’t shatter just his heart—the fragile home he’s trying to build in this town will crumble too.

About the Author

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Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix.

As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

Want to be an active part of the ‘making of’ process? Join my FACEBOOK SQUAD or sign up for my PATREON for exclusive freebie reads and all sorts of awesome perks!

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Release Blitz: No Wrong Moves by Becca Seymour

No Wrong Moves | Becca Seymour

Zone Defense #3

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Release Date: October 20th, 2022

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Pining for your best friend sucks ass—and not the good kind of sucking. But I can’t back away, and I definitely can’t let go. Eddie Phelps is too damn important to me. He has my heart and soul. Well, he and his daughter, a ten-year-old who one day will run the world.

It’s not like I can even blame Eddie for mixed signals or anything. He’s done everything right. He always does. Honestly, that’s part of his problem.

But I won’t put pressure on him. That means it’s down to Eddie to see how freakin’ awesome a catch I am. I just have no idea how exactly I’ll get him to do that.

Sure, I’m a professional basketball player. But once upon a time, so was he. It’s going to take something huge to get him to see beyond my age *cough immaturity cough*. But since Eddie isn’t one for making wrong moves, I’m not sure a grand gesture will work.

That leads me back to pining, and hoping somehow, someway, he’ll see me as more than a joker. More than his best friend—even though I’m a kick-ass one. Maybe someday, he’ll know I’m exactly the person he needs to make the move on.

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I bobbed my head. Eddie, and sometimes Lottie when my games didn’t clash with school, made regular trips to see me play. Every single time, I was overwhelm­ed he made the effort, all but pinching myself knowing he valued my friendship as much as I did his.

“I booked us in at the hotel restaurant. I hope that’s okay.” His gaze flicked to his daughter, and I glanced at her still in my arms. Her head was against my shoulder. While her eyes were open, I figured she’d be exhausted. Not that she’d ever admit as much to either of us.

“Sounds good. The perfect place to spend time with this crazy kid.”

Eddie’s smile was soft, and when my gaze traveled to his face, I realized it was directed at me rather than Lottie.

I held his stare for a beat before glancing away, too terrified he’d see longing in my eyes. The last thing I wanted was him to feel awkward. And the thought of not spending time with either of them wasn’t worth the risk.

“You want me to drive?” Eddie asked as we stepped into the secure parking lot. My relieved smile was instant, as was the flutter in my stomach. He knew I always had a mini adrenaline crash post game, where I was overcome with tiredness until I got a decent meal.

“That’d be great, thanks.” I passed him the key to my SUV, which I may have upgraded to last year with Lottie in mind.

We got settled in the car, and Eddie started the engine. “With this traffic, it’ll take us at least forty-five minutes. Why don’t you rest? You know I’ve got you.”

Our gazes caught, a whisper of a smile tilting his lips. I closed my eyes, aware he spoke the truth. The only trouble was, I wish he had me in every way possible.

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About the Author

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Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

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