- N. N. Light
Child of Mine by @JanaRichards_ is a Book Series Starter pick #romance #smalltownromance #giveaway
Title: Child of Mine
Author: Jana Richards
Genre: Contemporary small-town romance
Lauren didn't intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband's funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she's not sorry. Cole's given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He's been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she's afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn't his.
Cole's been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother's. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren's heart ever be his?
Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
Cole got to his feet and held out his hand to Lauren. She rose and put her hand
in his, holding it tightly as she stood beside him and faced the assembled group.
“We asked you to come here this evening because we have something we want to tell all of you. Lauren and I are getting married.”
The room went deathly quiet. Lauren tightened her grip on his hand. Her face turned pale as she stared at her family’s stunned expressions. Cole put his arm around her waist, afraid she might faint.
He needn’t have worried. She lifted her chin at a defiant angle and turned to face the others.
“Cole and I have decided this child needs the best possible start in life and that means having a mother and a father. We’ve always been friends, so what better way to start a marriage then with friendship?”
Garrett pushed himself to his feet and came forward. “I think it’s a hell of an idea. You two will make wonderful parents.”
He enfolded Lauren in an embrace. Cole heard her murmur her thanks to her brother. “I think you’ll make a wonderful uncle.”
Charlotte was next in line. She kissed Lauren’s cheek. “I’m so happy for you, sweetie. When’s the big day?”
“In a couple of weeks,” Cole said. “As soon as we can arrange everything.”
Lauren’s parents, Robert and Grace, also extended their congratulations. If they had reservations, they kept them to themselves.
Only his mother remained in her seat, staring at them in disbelief. Cole sat next to her. “What do you want to say, Ma?”
“You can’t replace Billy.” She choked out the words.
“I know that.” He’d known he was second best in her eyes all his life. “I wouldn’t even try.”
“But to marry his wife, to raise his child? It’s wrong. They don’t belong to you. You always wanted what belonged to your brother.”
He wanted to shout at her that the baby was his, that it had nothing to do with Billy. And Lauren was his, too. He’d loved her first. His brother had never appreciated what a gem he’d had in her. He’d squandered his marriage the way he’d squandered the love that had been lavished on him all his life, from his parents, from Lauren, and even from him.
Instead he pressed his lips together and said nothing. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and saw that Lauren stood beside him.
“I know this is difficult for you, Ella. I know you’re grieving. But I have to raise my child in the best way I know how. Aside from my brother and sister, Cole is my best friend in the world. He’s a good man, and I know he’ll be a wonderful father. You should be very proud of him.”
His mother stared at Lauren as if she couldn’t believe what she was saying. Her face twisted. “Don’t you miss Billy at all? Don’t you grieve for him? Nobody understands. Nobody.”
He said the word a little sharper then he’d intended, but at least it got her attention. She looked up at him in surprise.
“I’m sorry if it hurts you, but Lauren and I are getting married. We care about one another and we care about the baby. The three of us are going to be a family. I wish you could be happy for us.”
Ella dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. Finally, with a shuddering breath, she turned to look at him.
“For Billy’s baby’s sake, I’ll try.”
The pain was swift and unexpected. If she’d stabbed him through the heart with a dagger it wouldn’t have hurt as much. Lauren squeezed his shoulder again, telling him she understood. He covered her hand with his, absorbing her strength.
Grace approached his mother. “Ella, would you like us to drive you home? Robert and I are going right by your apartment.”
“Yes, thank you. I think I’d like to leave now.”
She got to her feet and brushed past him, not bothering to say goodbye. Grace kissed Lauren, and Robert shook his hand before they ushered his mother from the house. He closed his eyes in relief at her departure. Garrett clapped him on the back.
“I don’t know about you, but I could use something stronger than tea. What’ve you got?”
“Scotch. In the cabinet over the fridge.”
“Perfect. Two fingers?”
“Sounds good. No ice.”
Garrett left to retrieve the scotch. Lauren sat next to him and reached for his hand.
“I’m sorry that was so hard on you.”
He grinned at her. “And here I was worried about you. You were a tower of strength and I was a puddle of mush.”
“Hardly. But even if you had turned into a puddle of mush, you could be excused. Your mother isn’t the easiest person to deal with.”
The understatement of the year. “Yeah.”
Garrett handed him a glass of scotch and he drank, the amber liquid burning a trail to his gut. Lauren’s brother raised his glass.
“To Cole and Lauren. May you have much happiness in your marriage.”
“Hear, hear,” Charlotte said, holding up her teacup.
Lauren clinked her teacup against Cole’s glass.
“To us,” she said.
Cole smiled into her eyes, loving her so much his heart ached with it.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
The Wild Rose Press: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/child-of-mine-the-masonville-series-book-1
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Mine-Masonville-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07MBVK9LY
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/child-of-mine-jana-richards/1130197427?ean=2940161413616
Kobo (Canada): https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/child-of-mine-16
Kobo (US): https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/child-of-mine-16
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jana_Richards_Child_of_Mine?id=4WGHDwAAQBAJ
What makes your featured book a must-read?
CHILD OF MINE introduces the reader to the small-town of Masonville, North Dakota and its inhabitants. We not only get to know Lauren and Cole and learn their secrets, we also meet some of the people who will have books of their own later in the series. Like Cole’s co-worker Jamie (UNEXPECTED, book 3, available now) and Lauren’s brother Garrett (TO HEAL A HEART, book 2, available now). Her sister Charlotte’s story is told in book 4, STRONG ENOUGH, coming in 2022.
CHILD OF MINE sets the stage for the series. It lets the reader know what it’s like to live in a small town when it feels like everyone is watching you and judging what you do. For someone like Ben (UNEXPECTED, book 3, available now) who moves to Masonville from Chicago, small town life is quite an adjustment. You wouldn’t want to be seen with your attractive neighbor too often or people will start to talk.
The Masonville series is all about overcoming adversity and trauma through the healing power of love. CHILD OF MINE proves that second chances are always possible, especially when it comes to love. Sometimes what you think is a mistake can turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs January 11 – January 20, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on January 21, 2022.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do.
Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal.
In her life away from writing, Jana is a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG
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