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Hearts in Bloom by Sara Ohlin is a Binge-Worthy Festival pick #99cents #romance #bingeread #giveaway

Title: Hearts in Bloom

Author: Sara Ohlin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Blurb:

Home is where you open your heart to love.

Returning home to the beautiful coastal town of Graciella, Oregon, with a bruised heart and a brittle self-confidence, Gabriella Flores is determined to start afresh, opening a beauty salon downtown. Done with men, single, successful and fabulous is her new mantra.

Thirty-three-year-old single dad Luca Rossi has moved across the country to Graciella to give his small daughters a better life. He’s excited to partner with Lily Brockman in his new landscape design business…and may even be open to love again.

When the magic that is Graciella puts Gabby and Luca together to work on the Spring Blossom Festival, they fall for each other and realize they both want love and family. Luca is all in, dreaming of a life with Gabby and his girls, but Gabby has a secret, one she believes will make her ultimately unlovable—and unkeepable—by someone as wonderful as Luca.

With her biggest fear threatening to swallow her, can the couple conquer it and find their happily ever after together?

Let the magic of Graciella sweep you away again in a story of new beginnings, found family and great love.

CW: references to death of MC’s partner; death by drowning; manipulative former relationship; infertile MC; threatened miscarriage of secondary character


“Pretty morning.” Luca was right by her side.” It was only the two of them now. Gabby pressed her back against the brick of the building to find purchase as her emotions swirled around her.

“Where…where are the girls?”

“Preschool.” Luca took her hand and twined their fingers together and something settled inside her at the same time as her heart swooned.

“This…uh…this early?” she stuttered as he ran his thumb across her fingers.

“The Learning Center has early drop-offs, but considering they’re awake before the sun, this is practically mid-day for them.”

“Mm.” She smiled. “They’re morning people. I bet you are too. I should have known.” She rolled her eyes with the tease.

Luca chuckled and nudged his body closer. “You’re not?”

“Absolutely not.” She shuddered.

“I love the early mornings.”

His voice had gone husky. Oh wow, how sexy he was when he spoke low and needy. Was that how she affected him?

“When everyone and everything hasn’t woken up yet. Quiet, full of potential. If you’re really lucky, you might see a brilliant colorful sunrise.” His hand smoothed over her cheek and behind her neck, cupping her there, holding her head preciously in his very competent hand, his thumb teasing along her ear, so soft it flirted between a caress and a tickle and had every cell in her body standing at attention.

“Kiss me,” she whispered and grabbed onto his hand, feeling the pulse on his wrist throbbing under his skin. When she spoke, she got to see the smile light his eyes.

“You sure?”

“Oh yes.” She nodded as if the words weren’t enough on their own.

Fitting his other hand to her back, Luca gently pulled them flush against each other. She could feel his body everywhere next to hers. And he hasn’t even kissed me yet. Her mind was still cautious, but her body had other ideas. Barely restraining from wrapping her leg around him right here in this glorious early morning, out in the open for anyone to see, Gabby leaned up the last inch and brushed her lips to his. Her eyes fluttered at the soft contact.

For a second, they explored each other tentatively, soft lips, warmth unfurling around them, weaving a spell. Luca groaned and tugged her to him. There was no mistaking how he felt, how every last inch of him felt. He tipped her head and took her mouth like he was possessed. He tasted like mint and sunshine. And she wrapped her hands around his head and held on.

She made a sound that was not of her body, or at least not in her life so far. And he ripped his away from her.

“Damn,” he swore. “Meant to take you out on a date first. A classy woman deserves some classy attention. Some dancing, walking hand in hand in the moonlight, delicious meals…”

His eyes were fixed on her mouth as he rubbed her bottom lip with that thumb of his that sent shivers right to her pussy. Her imagination was in overdrive. Whoa. She set her heels on solid ground and he took a small step back. The soft summer air flitted between them, making her ache to be plastered against him again.

This was so different from anyone she’d ever been with—her body’s one-hundred-percent physical awareness of his, her mind’s synching with his, her heart beating out of control. She hummed with an intimacy she’d never encountered before. Everything else around her washed away in a blur. Her only focus was his face and the intensity in his eyes and, for everything that was magical, the sweep of his fingers against her electrified skin.

“Got carried away,” he said and cleared his throat. “Been a long time since that’s happened. So long it feels like the first. First kiss, best kiss I’ve ever had.”

Oh, damn. He was killing her. She sighed into him, and he wrapped his arms around her. It felt so good. No one, absolutely no one had ever hugged her the way he did, with desire and protection at the same time. Or kissed her that way. Her body was still lit.

She pulled out of Luca’s arms. He stepped off the curb so she was slightly taller than him.

“Want to go out on a date with me, Gabriella? Saturday night? You could wear one of those sexy dresses and I could fantasize about you the whole night?”

“A date with you sounds lovely, but Saturday is my opening. We’re having a cocktail celebration at five that evening, here. You could…uh…come.” He made asking her out on a date look so easy, and yet inviting him to her opening was anything but. Her neck heated with embarrassment. Maybe she shouldn’t have asked him. Did one do that for a casual relationship?

“I’d love to come.”

Simple words and her flush of anxiety burst into happiness.

“You remind me of a sunrise, Gabriella.” His voice had dipped low and husky again as he directed all his beauty her way.

“I do?” she whispered. What is he talking about? He could say anything to her right now with that stroke of his thumb and she’d follow along.

“Each hint of color another layer to discover. First lavender, streaks of orange and peach seeping into bright pink. Until the sun is fully visible over the horizon, then…” His voice was its own caress.


“Then…” He cupped her cheek. “The day is fully formed right before your eyes and there’s this beautiful bright star, shining her brilliance on you. Infusing the whole world with color.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Book is on sale for $0.99 during the first week of August!

What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?

One of the first I can remember is the Born In Fire from the Born In trilogy by Nora Roberts. It was so full of emotion and tension and passion and it just sucked me right in. It was one of the first books I read by her and of course I had to go devour all her other books.

What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?

Hearts in Bloom is full of emotion and longing and it tugs at your heart for Gabby and Luca to find their happy ever after. It also features a lovely fictional small town and lots of great family and friends, the kind of town any of us would want to get lost in.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs August 1 – 31, 2023.

Drawing will be held on September 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of nine contemporary romance novels with Totally Bound Publishing.

She has over twenty years of creative non-fiction and memoir writing experience, and you can find her essays at, Panorama,, Feminine Collective, Mothers Always Write, Her View from Home, Literary Mama, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from Women Caregivers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Sara loves creating imaginary worlds with tight-knit communities in her romance novels. If she’s not reading or writing, you will most likely find her in the kitchen creating scrumptious meals, or perhaps cooking up her next love story.

She once met a person who both “didn’t read books” and wasn’t “that into food” and it nearly broke her heart. You can learn more on her website

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Aug 07, 2023

My fave binge worthy author right now is Drethi Anis!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Aug 03, 2023

Thank you, Sara, for sharing your book in our Binge-Worthy Book Festival!


Rita Wray
Rita Wray
Aug 03, 2023

Great excerpt and cover.

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