Title: Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms
Author: Dalia Dupris
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Strong-willed Elaine Hart is determined to save Hartland Ranch, her family's California orange groves. After the recent ending of a turbulent relationship, she vows to keep her professional and personal life separate, even though she's attracted to the man who holds her family's fate in the palm of his hands.
Serious-minded banker, David Cole, has two goals- collecting on the delinquent ranch account and resisting his attraction to the unpredictable and beautiful Elaine Cole.
When a series of circumstances bring them together, they must decide if they will continue to suppress their emotions or succumb to passion and take a chance on forever love.
“First this.” He leans over, pulls me into his arms, and gives me a scorching hot kiss that sends an electric current through my body.
“I like that,” I say, when I finally come up for air. This man’s kisses are even hotter than his massages, but I need to focus.
“Seriously, I wanted to be headed back home tonight. That’s why I left so early.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen.” He smiles mischievously. “You’ll have to spend the night.”
“No, I can’t possibly do that.” I think of Morgan and all the tasks I need to complete at home, including the sorting out of my father’s things, which I haven’t been able to force myself to do. I had planned on a quick turn around trip. “Morgan will be worried.”
“Morgan’s a big girl. I’m sure she’ll be fine without you for one night. “Why don’t you call her now?”
“I don’t know.” I’m not sure how Morgan will feel being alone in the house for the first time since our father’s death. I turn away from him, quickly dialing Morgan’s number, while in the distance I see a tow truck heading in our direction. She picks up on the second ring. I quickly explain the situation and she assures me that she could use some time alone. “You’re right. Morgan encouraged me to do whatever I have to do. She said she’ll hold down the fort in my absence.”
“Great.” Smiling, he squeezes my hand. “That’s taken care of then.”
“If I have to wait until Sunday for him to repair the car, I’ll need to find a hotel.”
“There’s one inn and one bed and breakfast in town and they’re both completely booked months in advance.” His eyes twinkle and he laughs the deep, echoing laugh that I’m starting to get use to. “I’m not making this up. You can call and check for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Strawberry Festival is a big deal and people travel from out of town to come and enjoy the festivities. You’ll have to spend the night with me.”
The last thing I need right now is to spend the night with David. With the undeniable attraction between the two of us, I know exactly what will happen. My vow to not mix work and my social life has completely gone haywire, because here I am sitting in the cozy intimacy of his car. Betsy is on the way to the mechanic’s garage and I’m stuck in a remote little town that I never knew existed until a week ago. On top of that I’m with the most magnetic man I’ve ever met, who manages to make me feel emotions that are simultaneously new, exciting and frightening.
“I’m okay with that.” He’s the kind of man that I can trust. I’m more worried about me. If we are going to be in close proximity, I’m not certain that I can keep my hands to myself. “Do you have a two-bedroom apartment in Littleton?’ I try to sound nonchalant.
“No, I don’t.” He has a twinkle in his eyes. “I have a one bedroom.”
“Oh,” I sigh, resigned to the fact that this is going to be one big awkward weekend. “We’ll have to make the best of it then, won’t we?”
He throws his head back and lets out a deep, robust laugh.
“What’s so funny?” Here I am getting all sweaty, nervous and yes, even a little aroused, thinking about the possibility of sharing a bed with him and he’s laughing like its one big joke.
“Okay.” He gains control of himself—finally, casting a more serious expression in my direction. “You should have seen the look on your face. As if it would be torture to have to share a bed with me.”
“That’s what’s so funny?” I glare at his remarkably even features. If only he knew that I was wondering what kind of underwear he wore, boxers, briefs or God forbid, that the man slept in the nude. “Better that you don’t try to read my mind. Although, I’m glad to see that you have a good sense of humor.”
“Of course I do.” He gives me an odd look, and his words are slightly defensive. “Who doesn’t have a sense of humor?”
“Can we stick to the subject?” I tap my fingers on my leg and l glance at him inquisitively. “So...we’ll be sharing a room, is basically what you’re saying?”
“Not exactly. I do have only one room, but it’s in my parents’ house. But you don’t need to worry, they have a guest room you can use.” He rubs a finger across the palm of my hand. “Does that make you more comfortable?”
“Of course.” So why am I disappointed that I’ll have my own room? Better to change the subject away from sleeping arrangements. On top of meeting with my mother, I’ll now have to meet David’s parents. Can this day get much worse? There’s got to be a safer topic. “Where’s Roscoe?” My eyes linger over his distinctive profile as he starts the ignition and we begin the next half of the journey to Littleton.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Small town, big stakes, sizzling romance and more plot twists that will leave you stunned and cheering for our heroine. Elaine Hart and David Cole weren’t looking for love, but it found them anyway. The last person Elaine Hart wanted to fall for was the one person who had the power to destroy her family’s legacy. How far would you go to secure your financial future?
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Dalia Dupris has always enjoyed reading and writing and grew up surrounded by a wide variety of books, from westerns to romance novels. She published her first short stories and poetry when she was eight years old in her local newspaper. She loves stories—watching them, listening to them, reading them, and writing them. Her emotion-driven, contemporary novels include complex and diverse characters that grapple with family, love, loss, and laughter as they face the challenges of life.
She has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Her experience as a licensed psychotherapist is instrumental in her ability to create relatable characters. When she’s not working on her next manuscript, she can be found bike riding along the beach with her husband or exploring the mysteries of the universe with her daughter.
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Instagram: Dalia Writer