The third book in my King’s Valley Romance series is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and print editions. It’s also available through Kindle Unlimited. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series yet, they are ON SALE April 24-30 on Amazon.
Now I’m focused on the fourth and final book in the series. And, oh my, this one is very romantic. All of my books are, but Annie and Jake’s story is really something special. I love all of my characters, of course, but Jake Lancaster is my particular favorite. I want to reach into the page, pull him out and hug him tight. Kind of like this: *Sigh*
Anyway, to celebrate the final book Annie and Jake, I’m pleased to offer it for a pre-order price of ONLY $0.99 cents. This is a steal! This price will only be available through the book release date: May 22, 2018. After that, the regular price will be $3.99. This book will not be available on Kindle Unlimited and will never be offered for free. Sorry. I need to keep a roof over my head. So, buy it now.
Here’s a little sneak peek of Annie and Jake’s story:
Zelda awoke that Wednesday morning as she did every morning, with the sun. She lay quietly for a few minutes, thinking about the day before her, all of the things that needed to be done.
In three days, her youngest grandchild, Gracie, would marry Matt Lancaster. The wedding would be at St. Stephen’s on Saturday at two o’clock in the afternoon. Afterwards, everyone would come back to McAllister Farm for the reception.
Zelda touched the fingers on her hands as she added up the family members who’d be staying at the house for the next few days. Gracie had arrived last night. Sean, Gracie’s father and Zelda’s youngest son, would be arriving later this morning with his wife, Jean. Her oldest son, Drew, had phoned last night to say that he and his wife, Ruth, should be arriving today in the early afternoon. And then there was Nate, Drew and Ruth’s youngest son. He said he’d be coming for dinner tonight and staying the weekend, and would it be all right if he brought a date?
Every room in the house would be full. She’d closed the bed and breakfast for the week, of course. Rita Gonzales and her sister, Anna, had come over yesterday to help with the heavy cleaning. Lindy Wakefield had come too. Together, they’d dusted and polished and vacuumed. They’d even taken down most of the window curtains and washed them before hanging them out to dry on the clotheslines strung across the backyard.
The weather had been perfect these last few days. The April rains had done their duty. May had arrived with clear blue skies and a glorious abundance of spring flowers in the garden. And the cherry and apple trees were at full blossom.
Gracie’s wedding day was going to be beautiful.
Zelda sat up, flung back the comforter and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She stretched her hands to the ceiling and took several deep breaths. She’d be meeting Jo and Bert for yoga class at the community center at nine o’clock. Then Gracie and Jessica were taking her with them to get manicures and pedicures. She’d get the chicken marinating before she left. It’d be a simple barbecue for dinner tonight. She’d put Drew and Sean in charge of the grill. They’d like that.
She stood up and did some side stretches before walking over to the window that faced the front drive. Pulling back the sheers, she paused to admire the pink and apricot roses climbing over the white picket fence. The lavender was doing nicely too. She’d pick some and fill up mason jars to place in each bedroom.
A red pickup truck rumbled up the drive and backed up to the pasture where the reception was to be held. Jake Lancaster hopped out of the cab, strode to the back of the truck and lowered the tailgate. He pulled a sheet of plywood from the truck bed, picked it up with ease and carried it into the field. Then he came back for another sheet.
Zelda watched him for a few minutes, a tiny frown furrowing her brow. It was six-thirty in the morning, and Jake looked as if he’d been up and working for a couple of hours already.
Sighing, she pulled on her quilted robe and headed for the kitchen. Ten minutes later, she walked down the drive, purple garden clogs on her feet, a mug of fresh coffee in her hand.
Jake paused in his task when he saw her. “Good morning,” he said, taking off his gloves before accepting the mug. He gave her a brief smile of gratitude as he leaned on the tailgate, booted feet planted firmly on the ground.
Zelda folded her arms on the side of the truck, eyeing the stack of plywood still in the bed. “This is for the dance floor, I take it?”
“Yep. Ethan and Matt will work on it today. Devin Wakefield, too. I have a project to get to in town.”
“Have you had breakfast?”
He gulped down the hot coffee like it was milk before handing the empty mug to her. He stood up, slapping his leather work gloves on one jeans-clad thigh before slipping them on. “Had a bowl of cereal around four.”
“Come on up to the house when you’re done here. I’ll have eggs and bacon waiting.”
“I don’t have t—”
“Make time,” she said sternly. “You’ve lost weight. You need to take better care of yourself.” She held up her hand. “Ten minutes.”
The edge of his mouth crooked in a wry smile. “Yes, ma’am.”
When he entered the kitchen ten minutes later, she set a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon on the table. “Toast is coming right up. Do you want some more coffee?”
“Sure.” He washed his hands at the kitchen sink before sitting down at the table. Picking up a fork, he dug into the pile of eggs like a man who’d been wandering the desert for days on end.
Zelda finished buttering the toast and brought a heaping plateful to the table. She filled two mugs with coffee and then sat down across from him. She observed him as she sipped at her coffee and nibbled at some toast. Beneath his tan skin, his pallor was ashen. Shadows lurked beneath his eyes.
“You’re working too hard,” she remarked, keeping her voice light.
“Have to,” he replied between bites of bacon. “The business is taking off. I’ve got more projects lined up than I can handle.”
“Any that you can delegate?”
“Sure. And I’m hiring a few more guys next week.” He winked at her. “Don’t worry about me, Zelda. I’m fine.”
She begged to differ, but she knew better than to argue with this stubborn man. After taking another sip of coffee, she said casually, “Drew and Sean and their wives will be here today. And Nate’s driving up from the city for dinner. He’s bringing a date.”
Jake made a mocking face. “Yeah? Who is it this time? Miss Apple Blossom? Or the Garlic Festival Queen?”
Zelda laughed. “He knows how to pick them.”
They shared an amused look.
Jake sopped up the remnants on his plate with a piece of toast and popped it in his mouth. “How’s Gracie holding up?” he asked once his plate was empty.
“Like a star.”
He pushed his plate aside and leaned back in his chair, savoring the last sips of his coffee. “Still can’t believe she’s marrying my little brother. I always thought she’d end up a movie actress, not milking cows on a dairy.”
“Love has a way of covering everything with sunshine. Even manure.”
He threw back his head and laughed.
Zelda was struck with the thought that she hadn’t seen Jake laugh in a very long time. And now she was going to spoil the relaxed mood that had settled in the room. Ah, well. It needed to be said.
“Annie’s arriving tomorrow.”
He went still, his face a blank mask. “What time?”
“Some time in the early afternoon. We’re waiting for the flight number. Ethan will pick her up from the airport.”
He stared down at the table, nodding his head in an abstracted manner. The room fell silent for a stretch of time, the only sound the slow ticktocks of the grandfather clock in the front hall.
“Will you talk with her?” Zelda finally asked.
He looked up, but his eyes were distant. “I’m done talking with Annie.”
“You can’t ignore her for the entire weekend, Jake.” Her tone was faintly scolding.
“Don’t worry. I won’t do anything to upset Gracie’s wedding. I’ll be polite.”
Zelda heaved a great sigh. “At least she won’t have that man with her this time.”
“They’re still together?” His question came reluctantly.
“As far as I know. They were when Drew and Ruth visited her back in February.”
“I take it Drew did nothing to persuade her not to marry that ass.”
“Of course not. She’d only dig her heels in deeper. She’s just as stubborn as you are.”
“She won’t marry him.” Zelda’s tone was certain.
Jake held his coffee mug in a white-knuckled grip. For a second, she thought he might throw it across the room, but then he visibly relaxed. He set the mug on the table with a careful, controlled motion. “It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other,” he said quietly.
He stood up from the table, collected the empty plates and carried them over to the sink.
“Leave those,” Zelda insisted.
He turned towards the door. “Thanks for breakfast.”
“You really mean it, don’t you,” she said to his back. “You won’t give her a second chance?”
He paused in the doorway, his back still towards her. It seemed he was choosing his words carefully before he said, “You know that saying about if you love something, you set it free?”
“And if it’s yours, it’ll come back to you? Yes. I know it.”
He glanced at her over his shoulder, his silver-blue eyes like shards of ice. “She didn’t come back to me. She was never mine to begin with.”
She reached her hand towards him, wanting to comfort him as she’d done so often when he was a boy. “Jake. That’s not true.”
“There’ll never be enough sunshine for Annie and I, Zelda. Don’t waste any more of your daydreams on us.”
He went outside, the screen door banging shut behind him.
Zelda bowed her head over her folded hands and thought about what she could do to help make things right between Annie and Jake again. There had to be a way. There had to.
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