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WELCOME TO MY

JOURN+AL JOTS BLOG ...

A journal where you can learn what I'm up to on my books, giveaways, fun things I'm doing or even my own personal devotional for the day. It's a broad mix of what's on my mind, allowing me to feel a little bit closer to some of the most important people in my life -- YOU! So please stop by from time to time, and if you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you via the "Contact Julie" tab or via my Facebook page.  Hugs, Julie

 

8:43PM

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Human beings see insurmountable problems,

but God sees golden opportunities to bless us, grow us,

and most importantly, set us free ...

to be the people He created us to be.”

—Love's Silver Lining


Boy, isn't that the truth?

I have been crazy busy this last month, trying to get Love's Silver Lining out to you before summer, and I will admit that at times, that has caused what appeared to be "insurmountable problems."

Suddenly I had too much to do, which is, in fact, the reason you haven't heard from me via Journal Jots in a while. I apologize, of course, but one thing I'm not sorry for is the "golden opportunity" to lean on God, to trust Him rather than my fears.

I always have to laugh how God likes to pinpoint one truth in each of my books to remind me that He is my All-in-All. Not my career, not my dreams, not even my family. Only Him. And the quote above from Love's Silver Lining above is a prime example.

You see, I told Keith that today I needed to get up bright and earlywell, "early," anywaybecause I have a ton to do before Love's Silver Lining releases next week on May 19th.

It seemed that as soon as the calendar page flipped from April 30th to May 1st, I suddenly felt like I was sprinting to get things done. Not only did I have to meet a May 15 deadline to write several chapters in a writer's book I'm part of, but I also had to write a Seeker blog, a newsletter, a Journal Jot blog, get all my free download and sales (see below in this blog) set up on Amazon, and then finish editing Love's Silver Lining in time to get it formatted and uploaded by Amazon's deadline of May 15. On top of that, we have out-of-town company coming bright and early tomorrow, so I won't be able to get a ton done over the weekend.

So, if you know anything about me at all—and you do if you've read my books—I am a highly wired individual who has to have all her ducks in a row. Problem is, my ducks were scattered all over the place, along with my peace of mind. And that's where those "golden opportunities" lie.

Because I then turn to one of my favorite Scriptures on peace—Philippians 4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Oh, AMEN AND AMEN!! Because when I am overwhelmed, be it by stress from a job or just stress in life, I immediately take God's "steps" to transform those "insurmountable problems" into "golden opportunities" to be the person God created me to be:

Free.

Mature.

Blessed.

How? By simply following God's Philippians 4 "step-by-step instructions":

1. Rejoice that I do not carry my problems alone, but God is with me.

2. Refuse to be anxious, choosing to trust Him instead.

3. Present my problems to Him in prayer and petition.

4. Thank Him for all He has done for me and all He has given.

5. Fix my thoughts (and praise) on Him rather than my problem.

6. Put this into practice over and over.

And you know what? Suddenly, it's not my power that's getting everything done, it's His. His power. His wisdom. His calm.

And his peace.

Jesus has never let me down before when I have asked Him to help me get things done, but instead, as Hebrews 4:16 so beautifully states, I have found "grace to help me in my time of need,” knowing full well “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” per Philippians 4:13. Which means I am dead sure that my deadlines will be met because "my God will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

So today, I will be working on my final formatting edits so I can get Love's Silver Lining to YOU by next week, and totally at peace, I might add. Which, if you think about it, is the true "silver lining" for each of us who are called children of God. And not just "children," but "coworkers in God’s service,” according to 1 Corinthians 3:9.

Because we belong to him, people, this AMAZING God Who turns problems into blessings as easily as water into wine.

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.  

—Isaiah 43:1

So ... let's each of us go today ... and be wonderfully, amazingly, and gloriously HIS!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!

Julie


🌤 Pre-Order Sale Ends May 19!

Eeeeeeeek!!!! I can hardly believe that book 1 in my Silver Lining Ranch Series, Love's Silver Lining, releases next week!! So ... if you haven't pre-ordered it yet, you might want to "pull the trigger" before May 19th when the price goes up. Here's the blurb:

   She tampers with his life.
  He tampers with her heart.
Love tampers with them both.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a womanizer, twenty-two-year-old Maggie Mullaney flees New York for Virginia City, Nevada with her Aunt Liberty, two spunky suffragists intent on bettering the lives of women. Fresh out of nursing school, Maggie hopes to devote herself to serving others rather than just one man, a goal quickly affirmed when she encounters Blaze Donovan, a womanizing cowboy who both riles and rouses her pulse. But when Aunt Liberty’s parents' house burns down, she and Maggie are coerced into staying at the ranch of Liberty’s ex-husband, Finn McShane, who just happens to be the uncle of the cocky cowboy Maggie had hoped to avoid.

If there’s one thing twenty-nine-year-old Blaze Donovan can’t abide, it’s respectable women who spout piety and prayer, so when he butts heads with perky Maggie Mullaney at St. Mary Louise Hospital, he wants to stay as far away as possible. Unfortunately, she now lives in the bedroom next to his in his uncle’s ranch house, a revolting development that sends Blaze to The Ponderosa Saloon more than usual. But when Maggie interferes in Blaze’s life by converting his favorite “disrespectable” girl, Blaze is determined to make her pay. Only problem is—the price HE has to pay may be a little too steep for his heart.

To Pre-Order at Discounted Price
Before Release Date of May 19th!

 

🇺🇸 50% Sale on Liberty!

 

 "JULIE LESSMAN + WESTERN ROMANCE = GOLD RUSH! You heard it here, folks. I think Julie Lessman was created to write westerns." -- Reading is my SuperPower Blog

Okay, people, if you haven't had the chance to read my 5-star prequel novel, For Love of Liberty yet, NOW is your chance!

In honor of the release of Love's Silver Lining, I am cutting Liberty's price in half because you really should read Liberty's story before you forge into Love's Silver Lining.

Why? Well, you know how I like all my novels in a series to connect, and it's no different with the Silver Lining Ranch Series, so I hope you will take advantage of this sale to start at the very beginning!

A VERY good place to start! 😍

A Match Made in Heaven?
Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?

She’s stubborn, educated, and looking
to give women the vote.
He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking
to give her a piece of his mind.
But when things heat up, they just may give each other
a piece of their hearts.

 
 To Order For Love of Liberty
at Half Price!



📕 Free Download May 10-14 Only!


Many of you have already read The Gift of Grace, but for those of you who haven't, I am offering a FREE DOWNLOAD for five days only, so now's your chance to read about sweet Grace O'Malley, a saloon girl who fled Virginia City, Nevada after Maggie Mullaney—the heroine from Love's Silver Lining—brings her to the Lord. Here's the blurb:

She's the Accident
to His Prayers ...

Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s caught fire to the kitchen, dyed his long johns pink, and scorched nearly everything she cooks. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come.

Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died.
But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

 For FREE DOWNLOAD!



🏖 5-Star Beach Bundle!



WHOO-HOO ... SUMMER IS COMING!! I don't know about you, but this has been one cold spring, and I am sooooo ready for summer! Not only for the warmer weather, but because I am putting out my very first bundle of books, and where better to start than my favorite indie series, Isle of Hope?

Why is IOH my favorite indie series? Well, true, it's my only full-fledged indie series so far, but also, it's one of the most personal and spiritual series of all I have written. Within each book—especially Book 1, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Loveyou will find personal spiritual lessons I learned the hard way (as do my characters), so I promise it's not only 5-star fiction, it's 5-star spiritual lessons as well. Here's what one reviewer said:

 "If you haven't read
Julie Lessman, you  don't know
what you are missing. This is the best series
I have ever read. And that's saying a lot because
I read 200-300 books a year!
This is book One!"

-- Joy Chattin Hannabass, Splashes of Joy Blog

All three novels in the Isle of Hope Series have 5-star ratings on Amazon, and the prequel novella has a 4.6 rating which, when you average it out, is a LOT of 5-star reading, my friends!

So ... if you haven't started this series yet, now you can do it all at once at a greatly reduced price, WHICH will not last forever, so take advantage!

I don't have a pre-order date for you yet, but I will soon, so if you want to be notified as to when this bundle releases—or when I release ANY new book—just click on the link below to "follow" me on BookBub, okay? You will then be notified via email whenever I have a pre-order or a book release.

 CLICK HERE

To Follow Me on BookBub & Be Notified
About New Releases!

 

🗓 Blog Giveaway!

 

You don't want to miss my TUESDAY, MAY 15TH Seekerville Blog because the subject is: Anatomy of a Kiss! Plus, not only will I be giving away a paperback copy of Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets, but also your choice of any of my indie e-books.

BUT ... for Journal Jot readers ONLY, if you mention your read my Journal Jots blog in your comment on my Seekerville blog, I'll throw your name in the hat for a signed paperback copy of ANY one of my indie books. So do come on by SEEKERVILLE to say "hey" on Tuesday, 5/15, and you may just win a book! Hope to see you there!

 

🗓 And Finally ...


I am SOOOO excited about my next Facebook Live because I am starting a brand-new video series called NOVEL INSPIRATIONS, which will be a series of life lessons I learned the hard way and put into each of my books.

It should be a lot of fun, so I hope you will join me on Julie's Facebook Author Page on May 18th for LOTS OF PERSONAL STORIES, INSPIRATION, AND PRIZES. Hope to see you there and don't forget to ...

              Mark Your Calendar!

  🗓 


4:33AM

Friday, March 30, 2018

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
-- Thessalonians 5:18

I don't know about you, but I find myself giving FAR more thanks on Easter than I do even on Thanksgiving. Because frankly, without Easter, there wouldn't BE a thanksgiving for me or for anyone else.

As far as holidays, yes, I like the food and decorations of Thanksgiving and Christmas way more than Easter, although my mom did make a pretty cool Easter lamb cake as I recall. And don't even get me started on Easter lilies -- I LOVE the way they smell!

But if your talking spiritual significance and falling-down-on-your-knees gratitude? Yep ... that would be Easter! Because, you see, between Good Friday and Sunday morning, my heart overflows with gratitude to a God who gave His precious Son on my behalf and yours so we could be free. Free to enjoy peace, joy, hope, love, and the most important thing of all -- salvation.

So I just wanted to take today -- Good Friday, another truly special day to me -- to say THANK YOU to the Father and the Son for their amazing sacrifice of love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

-- John 3:16

Did you know that according to this Fox News article, research proves that grateful people are healthier? That's what it says, claiming that "maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being" and that "adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics and earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.”

Doesn't surprise me one bit. Especially after an incident I had few weeks ago.

You see, I'm doing a wonderful Bible study by Priscilla Shirer called The Armor of God, and not only is it fabulous and life-changing, but it taught me how to use one of my favorite Scriptures as a means of putting on the shoes of peace (one of the pieces of armor in the study per Ephesians 6:15).

And trust me, I needed those darn shoes when I was sending out a time-sensitive e-blast for my St. Patrick's Day sale weekend. Because after spending HOURS putting the e-blast together and $100 to email it, I couldn't get it to send. I did the silly thing over and over, to no avail. And the worst part? The Help Desk at my newsletter provider was closed for the weekend.

Can you say "meltdown"???

So, what did I do? I put on my shoes of peace by applying this Scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything.

But in everything by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God that surpasses

all understanding
 will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

-- Philippians 4:6-7

Soooo ....

1.) I immediately stopped doing the e-blast and prayed/petitioned for God to help me.

2.) Then I thanked Him that He loves me and cares about me whether the silly e-blast went out or not, and that He would bring good from it either way, not the least of which was the peace He gave me in place of my meltdown.

3.) I got busy doing something else, then went back hours later to try it again. And lo and behold -- this time it worked! Yes, it went out late, but you know what? It ended up being an incredibly successful sale, so all's well that ends well with God! And the best part? The devil didn't steal my peace!

So, gratitude is a handy thing to have iN EVERYTHING like our header quote says, not only because it blesses us beyond measure, but it blesses God too!

 

🌤 Love's Silver Lining is Coming!

Speaking of gratitude, I am SO grateful for your prayers and God's help in getting book one in my Silver Lining Ranch Series out sooner than I thought! Love's Silver Lining is available for PRE-ORDER right now and will release May 19th!

Here's the blurb:

She tampers with his life.

He tampers with her heart.

Love tampers with them both.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a womanizer, twenty-two-year-old Maggie Mullaney flees New York for Virginia City, Nevada with her Aunt Liberty, two spunky suffragists intent on bettering the life of women. Fresh out of nursing school, Maggie hopes to devote herself to serving others rather than just one man, a goal quickly affirmed when she encounters Blaze Donovan, a womanizing cowboy who both riles and rouses her pulse. But when Aunt Liberty’s parents' house burns down, she and Maggie are coerced into staying at the ranch of Liberty’s ex-husband, Finn McShane, who just happens to be the uncle of the cocky cowboy Maggie had hoped to avoid.

 If there’s one thing twenty-nine-year-old Blaze Donovan can’t abide, it’s respectable women who spout piety and prayer, so when he butts heads with perky Maggie Mullaney at St. Mary Louise Hospital, he wants to stay as far away from her as he can. Unfortunately, she now lives in the bedroom next to his in his uncle’s ranch house, a revolting development that sends Blaze to The Ponderosa Saloon more than usual. But when Maggie interferes in Blaze’s life by converting his favorite “disrespectable” girl, Blaze is determined to make her pay. Only problem is—the price he has to pay may be a little too steep for his heart.

I hope you love the cover as much as I do, because it's SO Maggie Mullaney, my sweet suffragist heroine who is Liberty O'Shea's (from the prequel novel, For Love of Liberty) goddaughter. I have to admit, I am realllly excited about this book, and I'll be giving you another sneak peek in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned!

🐰 HUGS AND HAPPY EASTER!

Julie

 

 

6:51AM

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Faith grinned and threw the dishrag at her sister. “Hey, Collin’s not that bad.

And I suppose Mitch isn’t a pain in the posterior at times?”

 ☘️

Charity bobbled the dishrag in hand while a wicked grin surfaced on her lips.

“He’s stubborn, he’s Irish, and he’s a man. What do you think?”

☘️

A chuckle parted from Faith’s lips as she shook her head.“Apparently God

thinks nobody teaches patience better than Irish men. Must be a gift.”

--A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

 

☘️

Oh trust me -- it is! And if you have ever read any of my books, I hope you would agree that Irish heroes DO have a special gift -- to make a reader swoon! ❤️

And don't even get me started on what they do to the authors ... 😍

But, speaking of "gifts," I have one for you in honor of St. Patrick's Day and ... drum roll please ...

 

☘️ My Next Facebook Live!

Sweet saints above, you're gonna want to mark your calendars for my next Facebook Live THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018, 12:00 Noon CST because I am giving away:

☘️ Winner's choice of a $25 Amazon gift card OR 3 signed paperback copies (or e-copies) of ANY of my series: The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, or Isle of Hope.

☘️ Plus having a St. Pat's sale of 50% off all my Isle of Hope novels. 

☘️ Plus a special 5-day freebie on one of my books, but I'm not going to say which one -- you'll have to come by to find out, okay? But I guarantee you will love it since it's one of my very favorites.

So wear your green and a grin to join me this Friday when I just may answer a question you asked in my last Rafflecopter contest. You know, things like ... "Will we see the O'Connor family again?" or "Why Irish family sagas?" or "How many serious relationships did I have before I met my husband?"

Hope to see you there!

 

❤️ Did You See My Valentine's FB Live?

I talk about the most romantic thing my husband has ever done for me, how we met, and how he proposed, so if you haven't seen it yet, check it out below:

 

That's it for today, but sweet saints in heaven -- DO have a a happy St. Pat's! ☘️

Hugs and Happy Reading!

Julie

 

 

12:14AM

Monday, February 26, 2018

❤️ Special Contest Announcement! ❤️

Hey, guys,

Just a quick announcement to let you know about a reallllly cool contest beginning today, February 26th through March 4th where you can win 20 novels AND an e-reader, so I encourage you to take advantage. It's an easy contest to enter!!

📚 20 INSPIRATIONAL NOVELS & AN E-READER?? All you have to do is enter this amazing contest by clicking the following link. It’s easy and it’s fun, so GOOD LUCK! http://bit.ly/christian-feb2018

 

☘️ My Next Facebook Live!

Sweet saints above, you're gonna want to mark your calendars for my next Facebook Live because I am giving away winner's choice of a $25 Amazon gift card OR 3 signed paperback copies (or e-copies) of ANY of my series: The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, or Isle of Hope.

So mark your calendars right now for FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018, 12:00 Noon CST when I will have a special St. Patrick's Day Facebook Live on my Facebook Author Page including a special 5-day freebie on one of my books. Hope to see you there!

 

❤️ Did You See My Valentine's FB Live?

I talk about the most romantic thing my husband has ever done for me, how we met, and how he proposed, so check it out below:

That's it for today, but I'll be talking to you soon!

Hugs and Happy Reading!

Julie

 

 

11:40PM

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Let us not love with words or speech

but with actions and in truth."

-- 1 John 3:18

 💜 Happy Valentine's Day! 💜

As far as I'm concerned, the true meaning of Valentine's -- LOVE in all its glorious forms, be it Agape, Fraternal, Familial, or Romantic -- deserves FAR more than a single day! It deserves EVERY DAY, and that's exactly what our header Scripture above means to me.

In anotherwords, "actions speak louder than words."

Don't get me wrong, words are great -- heck, they're my livelihood -- but they don't mean a whole lot unless one can put feet to their faith and show love through their actions.

Which is a pretty tall order for my secondary hero Finn McShane in book 1 of my Silver Lining Ranch series, Love's Silver Lining. If you read the prequel novel For Love of Liberty, you have a pretty fair idea what ol' Finn and Liberty's marriage is like in Love's Silver Lining. Because in FLOL, those two were locking horns (and lips) A LOT before they got hitched, employing a LOT more words than actions due to taut Irish tempers.

But in Love's Silver Lining, Finn has learned that true love is manifested in the actions behind the words, which is no easy manner for him with a fire-breathing, red-haired lass like his wife. So I thought in honor of Valentine's Day, I'd give you a sneak peek at the patience Finn has to exercise with Liberty, who has holed herself up in a hotel room to keep the hotel manager -- and Finn -- away. You'll find the excerpt at the bottom of this blog.

But first!

A sneak peek at some of MY favorite valentines, and YES, Genevieve (also known as Genebebe) is doing GREAT, so your prayers DO make a difference, my friends!

 

❤️ We've Got Winners!

MEGA HUGS to everyone who entered my FAMILY FICTION CHRISTIAN ROMANCE READERS POLL contest -- you guys ROCK!!

Family Fiction's poll results will be announced in Family Fiction's 2018 Christian Romance Special Edition, which will be available for FREE TOMORROW at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyFiction/

But the results for my contest are being announced right now, so let's give a great big SUPER CONGRATS to the following. I will be in touch:

Grand Prize Winner:

CHANEL MONROE

—Choice of Ten Top CBA Books* or $50 Amazon Gift Card

—Character Named for You/Loved One in Upcoming Release, Love's Silver Lining

—Signed paperback copy of Love's Silver Lining

*10 new or almost new books by top CBA authors such as Rachel Hauck,

Denise Hunter, Becky Wade, Beth Vogt, and more!


Two Runners-Up:

DEBBIE CLATTERBUCK

ANDREA STEPHENS

   —Character Named for You/Loved One in Upcoming Release, Love's Silver Lining

—Signed paperback copy of Love's Silver Lining

 

❤️ Did You See My FB Live This Week?

I talk about the most romantic thing my husband has ever done for me, how we met, and how he proposed, so check it out at the video link below because ...

IF you leave a comment anytime after the FB Live up until midnight on Feb. 15, you will be eligible to win your choice of my e-books, so GOOD LUCK!

 

 

❤️ Rare Blog Giveaway!

Join me on MontanaMade Tell Tale Reviews Blog on FEBRUARY 14, 2018 when I talk about KISSES and you'll be entered to win your choice of my indie e-books INCLUDING my most recent release, For Love of Liberty, or my upcoming release, Love's Silver Lining, or even Romance-ology 101.

So mark your calendar, and hope to see you there!

 

 

❤️ Rave Reviews for Liberty!

"JULIE LESSMAN + WESTERN ROMANCE = GOLD RUSH!"

--Meez Carrie from the Reading Is My SuperPower blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

❤️ Sneak Peek at Love's Silver Lining

 As promised, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book Love's Silver Lining, due out late spring or early summer. To set it up, Liberty O'Shea McShane has locked herself in her hotel room to keep from going home with her husband, Finn McShane.

 Tap. Tap. Tap.

Liberty stifled a groan, ignoring the gentle knock on the door. Go away, Mr. Wilkinson. She held her breath, hoping he would.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Not responding, she squeezed her eyes shut as if that would make him disappear.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

“Go away, Mr. Wilkinson, I’m in bed and nearly asleep,” she called, yanking the covers over her head.

BANG! BANG! BANG! She shot up, her temper suddenly exploding along with the stupid door. “I am in my nightgown, sir, so you can bang all night, but I am not opening that door!”

“Fine by me.”

Liberty froze to the sheets at the sound of that voice, goose bumps popping like measles while the turn of a key in the lock sucked all moisture from her throat. She caught her breath when the door squealed open, bucking up against the headboard so hard, it rattled along with her teeth. “W-What are y-you d-doing?” she hissed, covers clutched to her neck.

“Taking you home, Mrs. McShane,” Finn said with a polite tip of his hat, his frame so tall and broad, he had to duck through the door.

“For the love of decency, you mule, I’m in my nightclothes!”

“Uh, I’ve seen it before, Libs.” A polite smile hovered on those full lips as he quietly clicked the lock behind him, draining all blood from her face. He leaned against the wood, hip cocked to the frame. “It’s time to go, darlin’.”

“Don’t you darlin’ me, you … you … bull-headed letch!” She wrapped the covers around her the best that she could, chin rising along with her temper. “And I’m not going anywhere with you, Finn McShame, so you can just march right back out that door.”

A slow grin slid across his lips that annoyed her even further when it fluttered her stomach. Or maybe it was nausea.

One could only hope.

He nudged his hat up. “I’ve missed the nicknames, Libs, but I imagine I’ll get a bellyful before all is said and done.” Pushing off the doorframe, he stood to his full height, the grin fading into that equally irritating half-smile that always pitted his calm-and-collected against her flustered-and-fuming. “I’m taking you home, Libby, so we can do this easy or we can do it hard—the choice is yours.”

“My home is in New York, you insufferable bully, and since when did you ever give me a choice? I didn’t even have any say in marrying you in the first place—I had to be drugged to do such a moronic thing.”

He idly scratched the back of his neck, that shameless twinkle causing more “nausea.”

“You weren’t drugged the next morning as I recall,” he said softly, laughter crinkling at the corners of hazel eyes that had always cast a spell. “When you woke up in my bed”—he paused long enough for the fire in her cheeks to crawl clear up to the roots of her hair, then winked, his voice taking on a lazy drawl—“buck naked.”

“Get out!” So much blood pulsed in her cheeks, she thought she might faint, the audacity of this scalawag snatching the breath right out of her lungs. Without a second thought, she hurled the brass and metal alarm clock at him with a grunt.

Catching it handily, he bobbled it in the air with a crooked smile. “Mite heavier than a teapot, for sure, but at least it won’t shatter into a million pieces.” He casually strolled over to set it back down, and she lunged to the far side of the bed, covers wadded to her chest. Hands on his hips, he nodded toward her arsenal of blankets. “Now, are you going to get dressed on your own, Liberty Bell,” he said, employing the maddening nickname he’d coined long ago just to get on her nerves, “or am I going to have to do it for you?”

“Over my dead body!” she screamed, scalding him with a bug-eyed glare.

He shifted, his manner patient. “Maybe. But either way, Libby, you’re coming with me. So are you going to put some clothes on or should I do it for you?”

“Neither!” she shouted, swiping a book from the nightstand. “I said, get out, you … you belligerent brute!” She fired it at him, aiming for that obnoxious smile.

Finn nabbed it easily, brows lifting as he held the book up, shaking his head with a tsk. “Flinging the Word of God around, Miss Bell?” He set the Bible back down. “I doubt that’s going to earn you any favor with the Almighty, ma’am.” He moseyed on over to the bureau and opened a drawer, gathering up a chemise, skirt and blouse before tossing them on the bed. “And I’m not the belligerent one here, Libby, so I’m going to ask you one more time, real nice and slow—you going to dress yourself or do you want me to do it?”

“You wouldn’t dare!” she said in a near gasp, remembering all the times he’d given her an ultimatum—and won.

He folded his arms, mouth clamping into a tight smile. “Try me.”

“Oooooo …!” Frustration surging, she crumpled the chemise up in a ball and pelted it straight in his face.

“Suit yourself,” he said in an unruffled tone, moving around to her side of the bed with the chemise in hand.

“You are nothing but vile, Finn McShane,” she rasped, scurrying to the other side of the bed as quickly as she could wrapped in blankets like a rolled dumpling. But apparently not quick enough given the fist that Finn latched on to her foot. Bucking like a thorn-saddled mule, she tried to kick him, but he had her pinned to the bed in a blink of those deadly hazel eyes that now studied her with affection. “Holy saints above, I’ve missed you, Libby,” he whispered as he hovered, the husky sound of her name on his lips disarming the blaze of her temper with a fire of a whole ’nother kind. Her tongue parched dry while her so-called nausea barnstormed her belly like a herd of hummingbirds.

No! She was so stunned, she couldn’t speak, and when he leaned in to nuzzle her mouth, his groan stole her protest altogether as she gasped, those deadly lips taking advantage with a kiss so deep, it collided with a weak moan of her own. “Libby, I love you,” he rasped, “and God help me, I’ve never stopped.”

Never stopped? His words instantly paralyzed her to the bed, dousing the heat of his kiss when she suddenly remembered the day of their awful fight. The day Griffin Alexander McShane bullied instead of loved, giving her no recourse but to storm right out of his life. The truth cramped in her chest.

And he let her.

 ❤️Hugs and HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Julie

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