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Scandalous Redemption (Ladies and Scoundrels, Book 2) by Amanda Mariel – Tour & Excerpt

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SCANDALOUS REDEMPTION
Ladies & Scoundrels, Book 2
by Amanda Mariel
May 31, 2016
147 Pages
 

She never wanted him…

Ruined by scandal, Claudia Akford survived years of marriage to a cruel brute. Widowed, she is determined to regain her standing in society, but Lord Shillington personifies temptation. Kind and gentle, yet masculine and sinfully handsome, he would make the perfect lover, but he wants more than she is willing to give.

He needed her…

While Henry Shillington knows a little of the beautiful but notorious Lady Claudia Akford, he is struck by her kindhearted, accomplished, and witty demeanor. The more time he spends in her company, the more he dreams of a future with her. But the lady resists his honorable overtures, and a mistress will never do for him.

Can two wary people overcome past hurts, an old scandal, and social strictures to embrace true love?

 
 

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Lord Henry Shillington strode across the music room of Lord and Lady Morse’s country estate intent on locating his sister. The force of someone bumping into him sent him stumbling backward. He whirled around, auburn curls catching his gaze as he reached out to steady her. “Excuse me.” He offered a slight bow but did not release his hold on her.

The lady peered at him through narrowed, fierce green eyes the color of emeralds. “You should watch your step. Kindly unhand me.”

Henry met her icy glare. She radiated the sweet scent of champagne. It clung to the air around her filling his senses as if she had used it for perfume. “Good God, you’re foxed.”

Her earbobs danced and sparkled as she leaned in close, the fire in her eyes growing more intense. “My state is not your concern.” She jerked free of his hold and took a step back. Her blue jewel-toned gown swooshed with the sudden movement.

He grabbed her arm, halting her. His pulse pounded through his veins. “You cannot stay here in your condition. You will cause a scandal for yourself and our hosts.”

“What concern is it of yours?” She rounded on him.

He had to prevent her from causing a scene. “Allow me to escort you outside. We can stroll through the garden.” Part of him worried for their hosts, Lord and Lady Wexil were dear friends, but, if he were being honest, he would have to admit he wished to know more about this beauty. Something about her captivated him. Perhaps her unusual eyes or the misery he saw in them.

A slow smile spread across her full lips. “Very well.”

She swayed and clung to his arm as he led her out through the veranda doors and into the country air. What would compel a lady to become foxed so early in the evening? The sun had yet to give way to the moon’s glow. And who was she? Surely, they had never met before.

He turned her down a path lined with flowers and green foliage. The details of who she was and why she’d overindulged did not signify. She was clearly in distress, and he intended to help if he could. He studied the profile of her delicate face.

“Might we sit…what is your name?” Her exhilarating laughter floated through the empty space.
He had never heard a sweeter sound. “Lord Shillington. And yours?” He stopped in front of a cast iron bench. He couldn’t look away as she lowered herself onto the seat in a flutter of skirts. She was a mystery he wished to solve.

“Do sit with me, Lord Shillington.” She patted the bench next to her.

Henry positioned himself near her, but not too close. Being out here with an unchaperoned lady was scandalous enough. It was not his desire to compromise her–or himself. Given her state, he had no choice but to remove her from the gathering. However, he also had a responsibility to control the propriety of his own behavior.

A cool breeze ruffled her elegant skirts, drawing his attention to her body. Heat fanned through him as he studied her. She was tall and lithe, yet she possessed curves in all the right places. He offered a polite smile. “Your name, my lady?”

She looked at him through hooded lashes. “Lady Claudia Akford.”

His heart skipped a beat as his throat tightened. The notorious Lady Claudia Akford.

 

 
 
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About Amanda Mariel
 

Bestselling, Amazon All Star author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.

Amanda lives along the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long-standing love affair with sugary junk food.

 
 


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Review & Giveaway: Doing It Over (Most Likely To, Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

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Doing It Over
(Most Likely To, Book 1)
by Catherine Bybee
334 pages
Montlake Romance
(Contemporary Romance)
Format: eARC NetGalley
 
Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?
 

 
 

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‘Doing It Over’ is the first of Catherine’s contemporary romances I have read.  I love her historicals, and decided to give this one a try.  I am so glad that I did.  I love, loved this book, and I can hardly wait for the next in the series.

Have you just wanted ‘a do over?‘ I know that I have a time or two.  That is what Melanie is hoping for when she returns home to River Bend, after being gone for ten years.  Melanie is a little embarrassed to be returning to River Bend as an unwed mother, no job, and a car that ‘died’ 25 miles before reaching town.  She knows that everyone expected more from her, and they all think that she was married to Hope’s father, Nathan. She wouldn’t change being a mother to Hope for anything in the world.  It’s her ex, Nathan, the dead beat dad that she could’ve done without.  Melanie is stronger than she realizes, and that is something she will come to realize the longer she stays in River Bend around her family and friends.

Melanie and her two best friends, Zoe and Jo were inseparable, and in high school Melanie was considered  ‘the most likely to succeed’  , while Zoe was considered the most likely to never leave River Bend, and Jo, the most likely to end up in jail. They all have grown up, and while they have talked over the years, they haven’t seen much of each other.

Wyatt Gibson is not from River Bend, but he has come to considered it his home. He is keeping out of trouble, and building his contracting business. He is confident, sexy, protects those he cares about, and down to earth. He is also just about the only contractor in River Bend, so he stays pretty busy, and has made some good friends along the way. He is not looking for a serious relationship. The truth is he could have his choice of women, he just chooses not to. He steers clear of women in River Bend, because he doesn’t want all of the drama in case something goes wrong (and it usually does). So when he does want female companionship he goes to the next county over. He wants a simple life in River Bend with his family and friends. When he meets Melanie for the first time, he is determined to have her.

I loved that Melanie and Wyatt’s relationship wasn’t a ‘cat & mouse’ game. They were honest about their attraction to each other, and that is refreshing in romance books these days. Mrs Bybee did a wonderful job! I enjoyed the secondary characters, Zoe, Joe, Luke, William ‘Wild Bill’ Gibson (Wyatt’s father), Miss Gina (I wish I had a Miss Gina), and Hope was an absolute delight. I despised, Hope’s father, Nathan. Mrs Bybee knows how to make you dislike the bad guy. Well I am not sure ‘bad’ is a strong enough word. He was a disgusting, pitiful excuse of a father and human being.

I felt a kinship to Melanie, and I believe that is why I liked her so much. Everyone needs friends like the ones Melanie has in River Bend. The characters were believable, the story was fun, and the plot kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I liked the town, and people so much that I felt like I was right there with them every step of the way. There are a few laugh out loud moments, and a few times I actually cried a bit (yes I did).

I am betting that the next book in The Most Likely To series will be Zoe and Luke’s. I suppose we will have to wait and see. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romance, likeable characters with depth, an H&H with real chemistry, and a story that isn’t only about the sex (while there is a scene or two), but about family and friends that takes care of each other, and new beginnings. I loved this book!
 

Happy Reading!
 

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I received a eARC copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I have received no compensation for this review, besides the free eARC.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  You can read my Disclosure Policy here.

 
 
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New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.

 
 
 

 
 

Praise for Doing It Over

“The romance between fiercely independent Melanie and charming Wyatt heats up even as outsiders threaten to derail their newfound happiness. This novel will hook readers with its warm, inviting characters and the promise for similar future installments.” –Publishers Weekly

“This brand-new trilogy, Most Likely To, based on yearbook superlatives, kicks off with a novel that will encourage you to root for the incredibly likable Melanie. Her friends are hilarious and readers will swoon over Wyatt, who is charming and strong. Even Melanie’s daughter, Hope, is a hoot! This romance is jam-packed with animated characters, and Bybee displays her creative writing talent wonderfully.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 
 

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Book Blast: Knight Defender (The Knight Chronicles, Book 3) by Rue Allyn

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KNIGHT DEFENDER
The Knight Chronicles, Book 3
by Rue Allyn
(Scottish Medieval Romance)
April 25, 2016
Crimson Romance
146 Pages

Sent alone to Scotland to wed a wild scot and serve the needs of her father and her king, Lady Jessamyn plots to escape the marriage and make the life she wants. In Scotland she finds not the wild boorish monster she imagined but a Knight Defender who would claim her heart, if she will only give up her dreams.Baron Raeb MacKai is done allowing himself and everyone he loves to live in poverty and despair. His betrothal to a wealthy English heiress will solve a decade of problems. He will do everything necessary to defend his home and his country, but can he defend his heart?

 

 

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  -EXCERPT-

“Unhand me.” She pushed against the massive chest and writhed in the arms cradling her body.

He gathered her closer, mashing her cheek against him.

For an instant, his blazing gray eyes held her spellbound as tightly as his strength gripped her body. Unable to look away, she shivered, but not with cold. The odor of damp wool and man nearly drowned her. All sound faded away save her own harsh breathing.

“Ho, ho!” His chuckle was impossible to miss. “So you are no dying, are you then? Well liars and deceivers must suffer the consequences of their actions.”

She refused to be intimidated. She forced her head away from him. “Is rudeness the customary greeting for your guests, Baron MacKai? I’ve a mind to refuse to wed you. Then King Edward will decline to pay you rent for docking his ships in your excuse for a harbor.

“You think you could resist me?” More chuckles shook his chest.

“It would be a small matter to deny an oaf such as you.”

Flames of some inner fire shone in his unyielding stare. She was unfamiliar with fear, but what else twisted in her belly and skittered just beneath her skin? She wanted to deny his effect on her but in all honesty could not.

“I could make you beg.” He growled low, like some big cat poised to pounce.

“Never.” She could be honest with herself about her body’s betrayal, but she’d plenty of reason not to give the churl any hint of her weakness.

His forward motion halted, his head dipped then stopped a finger’s width from her face. His gaze bored into hers.

Her breath froze at the frenzy of emotions she saw there. ‘Anger, threat, resentment, and something she could not identify. She refused to care. Her fingers itched to slap him, and she raised her hand.

“I wouldna, if I were you.” He anchored her hand beneath a brawny arm and started walking again.

“You’ll regret insulting me.”

His brows rose. “We’ll see about that. For now, I need you safely stowed away.”

“Stowed away!” He made her sound like bothersome chattel, useful for only one purpose. She squirmed and finally released her outer hand from his hold to beat her fist against his chest. “Beast! You will treat me with the courtesy and respect due a lord’s daughter.”

He made no response other than to quicken his pace.

She hit him harder. “You and your entire cowardly clan will rue this day.”

He stopped abruptly and shifted his grip. Her feet fell downward but found no purchase on solid ground. She hung suspended from the large hands thrust under her armpits. The heels of those palms pressed against her breasts, and heat flooded her body at the intimate touch.

“You, you …” He and every MacKai disgusted her beyond words. Raising her head to berate him further, she stilled. Once more, the gleam in those stony eyes compelled her attention. The downward tip at the outer corner of his lids gave him a slumberous appearance belied by glints of indecipherable emotion. Those deceptive lids narrowed. She longed to hide but could not look away.

“Listen to me.”

His quiet words slid over her skin, causing a rise of goosebumps.

“You are naught but a troublesome woman. You have no power or authority here, so if you value your overly pampered English hide, you’ll nae insult clan MacKai. Do you understand?”

She swallowed and nodded.

“Excellent.”

He tossed her over his shoulder, secured her legs against him with an arm, and continued walking.

“How dare…”

One of those huge palms smacked her rump.

“Oooo! I’ll make you regret you ever touched me.”

A second smack was followed by an order for silence.

Since her backside began to throb, Jessamyn subsided in favor of plotting retribution. She’d start with boiling in oil followed by a sound beating and end with banishment.

She was deciding whether or not to add tar and feathers when she heard the creak of leather hinges. They crossed a doorway, and she went flying through the air to land in a heap, face down on a feather bed.

“Dry clothing will be brought. Dinna imagine I care for your comfort. I simply canna be bothered to find another woman if you catch an ague and die.”

She struggled to right herself, sputtering and pulling her hair from her face. The brute deserved the sharp side of her tongue. She gathered breath as she turned to speak, just to see the coward disappear and the door bang shut behind him.

He was not getting away that easily. She leapt from the bed, ran for the door, and nearly jerked her arms from her shoulders when the wooden barrier refused to budge at her angry pull.

Dumbfounded, she could only stare.

He’d barred the door? Boiling oil and banishment are too good for him. I must see him drawn and quartered.

 
 

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About Rue Allyn

When not writing, loving her spouse, or attending Toastmasters meetings, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at contact@RueAllyn.com.  She can’t wait to hear from you.
 

 
 
 

 Knight Errant (The Knight Chronicles) has been nominated for a 2016 Rone Award. You can vote for Knight Errant HERE.

 
 

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Lady Juliana Verault gladly left England – and its men – far behind in her quest to live as a Beguine. But the Christian community ceases to provide a safe haven when she’s called to travel to Palermo, Italy, where she’s entrusted with a letter from the pope that could radically change the church’s stance on women. Juliana holds the key to upending the power structure throughout Europe, but only if she can dodge her cousin, King Edward I of England, and his plans to marry her off as political leverage.

Edward sets Sir Robert Clarwyn, a knight errant and loyal hunter of criminals and traitors, on Juliana’s trail to retrieve her. Robert has never failed to bring home his target before . . . but then, he has never encountered a quarry like Lady Juliana, who can befuddle and bemuse him with just a smile. If he can’t find a way to compel her to return to England, he’ll lose any chance of regaining his family lands and redeeming his heritage. Yet Juliana must complete her mission or risk endangering her gender’s future in the faith.

With danger and intrigue mounting, Robert and Juliana must rely on each other and be willing to risk everything . . . including their hearts.

 
 

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Book Review: A Moment to Dance, Book 2 (A Whistle Stop Romance) by Jennifer Faye

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A Moment to Dance by Jennifer Faye
(A Whistle Stop Romance) Book 2
Published on April 28, 2015
Format:  Paperback
294 pages

When trouble strikes…Whistle Stop pulls together

For Ella Morgan, moving to Whistle Stop is a chance to start over, put her horrific past behind her. But now she’s living in a mountain cabin—in dire need of renovation—that her grandmother left her, along with a sizable tax bill. Her job teaching school isn’t going to cover it. She needs cash, and soon.

Volunteer firefighter Tony Granger has returned to Whistle Stop to run the family ranch and be guardian to his orphaned nephew, Johnny. But being a single parent isn’t coming easy, and he’s worried sick he won’t succeed with his plan to adopt the boy, especially if Johnny’s grades don’t improve. He needs a break, and fast.

When Ella finds out Tony doesn’t have a partner for the Dancing With the Firefighters’ benefit—which is offering a large cash prize—and he hits upon hiring her as Johnny’s tutor, it looks like their problems might be solved. But taking dance lessons to win the competition sets alight a burning attraction between them. Can they let go and learn to trust again, or will the scars of their pasts still haunt them?

 
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A Moment to Dance is the second book in the Whistle Stop Romance Series by Jennifer Faye.  Although you can read this book as a stand alone, it would be more enjoyable if you read A Moment to Love first.  Jennifer introduces several of the towns characters in the first book.

 

Ella Morgan has recently moved to Whistle Stop after her grandmother passed away, and she inherited her cabin.  A cabin that needs more work than she can afford.  She is working as a 4th grade substitute teacher, until a permanent one is hired.   Ella is hiding a secret, and she is terrified that if anyone finds out, especially Tony Granger, that they will find her repulsive.

 

We were introduced to Tony Granger in book one, A Moment to Love.  Tony is a Firefighter in Whistle Stop, he runs a ranch, and cares for his nephew Johnny.  He has a lot on his plate, and feels inadequate at being a father to his nephew.  Tony has a few demons of his on.  So when he meets Ella for the first time, he feels guilty for being attracted to her.

 

Out of the first two books in the series, A Moment to Dance was my favorite.  I believe it had something to do with, Patch, the orphaned puppy, and Johnny.  Kids and dogs do it for me every time!  Jennifer Faye has a way of making you feel at home in her stories.  The plot was set at a nice, slow pace.  I liked Tony and Ella’s blossoming romance throughout the story, but it was predictable.  Predictable is not all that bad, because I enjoyed reading it.

 

I do feel that the issues, and demons that Tony and Ella were dealing with could have been delft with more swiftly in the story.  Communication.  I wont say what those issues are because I don’t want to give too much of the story away.  I liked Tony’s mother, Carlota.  She is a sweet woman that loves her son, and wants to see him happy.  Like A Moment to Love, A Moment to Dance, reminds me so much of a Hallmark movie.  I love Hallmark movies!

 

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Jennifer Faye’s writing, small town romance, and a sweet and clean love story.

 

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3.5/ 5 Hearts

*There is kissing in this book, besides that it’s clean
*I was given a free copy of this book by the author, in exchange for my honest review

 

HAPPY READING!

 
 

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A Moment to Love (Whistle Stop Romance, Book 1) by Jennifer- Book Review

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A Moment to Love
by Jennifer Faye
Series:  Whistle Stop Romance, Book 3
Published by Lazy Days Press on February 3, 2015
Format:  Paperback Book
292 Pages

 

Welcome to Whistle Stop…where anything can and most likely will happen.

The notorious cowboy meets his match…Cord Lawson instantly distrusted the young woman in a smart suit who’d just arrived in Whistle Stop. She was very pretty and clearly a city girl—but with memories of his failed marriage still darkening his mind, he’s determined to steer clear! But she’s sniffing around his land—land that has been in his family for generations. There was no way he’d let it go—even if the bank was threatening to foreclose, and even if selling could give Whistle Stop a new lease on life.

Alexis Greer had one mission—close the deal on the Lawson ranch; without it, her father’s land development company would go bankrupt. But the word around town is to keep clear of Cord and to stay away from his precious land. What had happened to cause such a handsome cowboy to live such a solitary existence? However, determination was Lexi’s middle name. She just had to keep on trying to breach Cord’s barriers, to appeal somehow to his head and heart—even if it put her in danger of losing both of hers…to him.

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‘A Moment to Love’ is about the third or fourth book I have read by Jennifer Faye.  I was excited to start this series, because it is takes place in a small town called Whistle Stop in New Mexico.  I have visited New Mexico, and it is beautiful.  So it wasn’t hard for me to visualized the scenery as I read.

 

Cord Lawson has lived his whole life in Whistle Stop.  The Brazen H, his ranch, has been in his family for as long as he could remember.  His great, great grandfather founded the first town, Haggerty, which is now referred to as Ghost Town.  Cord keeps to himself, and the town folk believes him to be stubborn (which is true),  and have a bad temper.  So they don’t get to close to him, and he keeps his distance from them.  He has had a rough time of it in the last few years.  He lost a chunk of his money to his ex-wife in a divorce, and he has been spending his days trying to save his ranch.  The last thing he needs is the bank, and a beautiful, blonde land developer trying to take his land.

 

Alexis Greer is the land developer that is trying to buy Cords land.  She was their to buy the land, save her fathers company, and go back home to New York.  She didn’t count on being attracted to the man whose land she was sent there to buy.  Alexis is a city girl at heart, but after spending some time in Whistle Stop she starts thinking she could get used to the small town life and the residents.

 

My Thoughts:  I liked this story, and I adored Cord and Alexis.  I liked the story line, and I feel Jennifer Faye did a great job of fleshing out the H & H’s character.  I liked the lazy, slow feel of the town, and her description of Whistle Stop and it’s residents.  I have always wanted to visit old, deserted Western towns, and Haggerty (ghost town) appealed to me.  I love that Cord felt the need to fight to keep his land, because he promised his father and grandfather he would take care of it.  He felt that he had let them down.

 

I liked Alexis also.  She’s a fighter, and she doesn’t give up easily.  She loves her father, and wants to protect him because he is still recovering from a heart attack. She has a good heart and wants to do what’s right, but is torn between her father, and following her heart.

 

This was a sweet story, with a few heated moments with kissing.  I felt the chemistry between Alexis and Cord sometimes, but it didn’t jump off the page.  While I liked and enjoyed reading this story I felt some of it was repetitive.  Cord and Alexis were constantly repeating why she was there to buy his, and why he didn’t want to lose it.  I skipped over some of those parts.  I would have liked to have seen their relationship blooming, instead of being told that it did.  With that being said, I will continue to read the rest of the books in this series.

 

This book would make a perfect Hallmark movie.  I thought that the whole time I was reading it.  I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys small towns, sweet romance, with a slow, steady feel, and happy endings.  Now I am off to read the next in the series.

 

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

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My Rating:  3.5 out of 5

 

Cursing- none
Kissing & one closed door sexual scene
Hot Factor- Sweet with a little steam!

 

Happy Reading!

 

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About Jennifer Faye

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming romances. Jennifer has won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous awards. Now living her dream, she resides with her patient husband, amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats.

Jennifer loves to hear from readers—you can contact her via the follow buttons below.

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Doing It Over
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