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Welcome to Charm by Tonya Penrose is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #romance #romcom #giveaway


Author: Tonya Penrose

Genre: Contemporary Romance Rom/Com (Alternative Universe setting)

Book Blurb:

A few unexplainable facts have left botanist ABBY DRAKE dazed and confused: why she can’t account for three lost hours, why a road detour she was traveling changed into a closed loop around a mountain town called Charm, why she can’t find the place on her map and a route home, and way too handsome, MAYOR NASH WALKER has appeared offering an introduction to Charm’s uncommon ways.

Nash’s words hold Abby captive on a park bench. She’s stuck in Charm. Needing to discover why and agreeing to complete a series of lessons taught by sage, GITA GREENLEAF helps chart Abby’s course. Humorous encounters follow Abby. She tries to adapt to living in an enchanted village where money isn’t needed, but acceptance of the impossible is required. Over the next couple of weeks, Abby comes to recognize the unique beauty of living a charmed life. Unable to resist her growing attraction to Nash, she questions her desire to return home, assuming the portal opens.


Chapter 1

“I’d like a raspberry sorbet…in a cup, please.” Abby Drake’s honey-colored hair framed a face that many might say begged a magazine cover. Her unusual eyes, a shade of rich cognac, captured the breath upon first meeting, and after, simply mesmerized the looker. This was the image presented to the man taking her order. The young professional woman didn’t yet know her summer afternoon was about to become one most curious.

“Here you go. One raspberry sorbet. Where you from?” A friendly Elbert wiped the counter with a towel, never taking his eyes off Abby. His wiry frame complemented the dairy bar’s narrow space.

A grinning Abby tasted the sorbet and noticed his name badge. “How’d you know I’m not from here?”

“Easy. No one’s from here.” Elbert offered a dismissive nod.

Abby frowned and stepped aside for the next customer. She took her puzzlement to a picnic table tucked under a massive oak tree. Glancing at her watch, Abby’s expression froze. “Two o’clock. That’s not possible. It has to be at least five.” Of course, she thought, there’s a logical explanation. Her watch must have stopped. Releasing a pent-up breath, Abby noticed a mom with her toddler walking past. “Excuse me. Do you have the time?”

The woman smiled. “It’s a few minutes past two o’clock.” She wiped the ice cream drip from the little boy’s chin and kept going.

Abby sat transfixed as the word impossible played in her head. Her travel day had been uneventful until now. What’d happened to the missing three hours? The time was off, way off.

Anxiety crept into her mind as she licked the sorbet from the spoon. Abby studied the scene around her. The dairy bar resided in the town’s square. People of all ages wore happy faces as they bustled up and down the sidewalks. The setting appeared typical, and yet, upon closer observation, Abby sensed a kind of peculiarity that defied description.

She’d never traveled through the quaint mountain village until a road detour brought her the introduction. Feeling more intrigued, Abby wondered about the town’s name and spied a routed wood sign a few yards away. It was painted in an iridescent gold shade that glowed the word, Charm. Pulling the state map from a straw tote, her frown returned. Charm didn’t exist on the map.

“Hello there.” An approaching older woman gentled a gaze on Abby. She moved with the grace born of finishing school. “May I encroach and share the picnic table?”

“Of course.” Abby admired the beautiful antique cloisonné barrette that held the woman’s silvery hair in a French twist. “I see you’re a fan of sorbets too.” Abby placed the napkin in her empty cup. She debated whether to ask the woman if she’d experienced any strangeness with time.

“Oh, I confess Elbert’s concoctions call to me almost every summer day. Are you new to Charm?” The woman scooped a spoonful and waited for Abby’s reply.

“Yes.” Abby attempted a friendly tone. “I was heading home from a long weekend visiting a friend from college. An unexpected road detour brought me here.”

“Ah, detours can become a powerful influencer.” The woman extended her hand. “Forgive me. My name is Gita Greenleaf, and yours?”

“Abby Drake.” She clasped Gita’s outstretched hand for a brief second. “You said a detour is—”

“A powerful influencer, yes.” Gita took another bite.

“Right now, I’m inclined to agree. Since you live here, maybe you can answer why Charm isn’t on my map. You’re probably going to think me a loon, but I’ve also managed to lose three hours since arriving here.” Abby elected to keep silent about Elbert proclaiming no one was from Charm. Surely, he misspoke.

Gita gave an imperceptible smile. “Welcome to Charm.”

Abby managed a nod and gathered her belongings. “I suppose I should head home.” She paused, considering her next words. “I’d like to return to Charm for a longer visit. The village has a unique vibe. Who knows? Maybe our paths will cross again.”

Gita waved to a passing couple. “Perhaps they will, Abby Drake, and soon.”

Sitting in her SUV, she felt a strange melancholy envelop her at the thought of leaving. Glancing at her cell phone resting in the console, she deliberated calling Edward but changed her mind. He was probably engrossed in a corporate strategy session. Abby thought how their romance of late seemed a bit off-center. She stole one final glance at Charm and steered toward home.

While driving, Abby noticed how the sunlight painted a shimmer on the trees. The passing scene, while beautiful, felt a tad disconcerting. Light can play tricks with the eyes, she told herself, and flicked on a jazz music station. “Wait a second. Didn’t I pass that same red barn when I came into town?” She shook her head. “Nah, it’s a look-a-like. Red barns live everywhere.”

Abby pulled off the road minutes later and stared out the windshield in disbelief. She was back in Charm.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What’s your favorite thing about autumn:

Picking apples and our mountain's fall color show is a sight to behold.

What inspired you to write this story:

Typically, which isn’t so typical, my stories show up when I sit in my writing chair. When the character, Abby Drake, introduced herself, I learned a road detour had delivered to a mountain town called Charm. A town that didn’t exist on any map. More she’d lost three hours arriving there. I was hooked and showed up each day to experience what living a charmed life was all about. Problem? Yep. I didn’t want to leave the town or its characters.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs September 1 – 30

Drawing will be held on October 2.

Author Biography:

A word about the author…

As an author, Tonya’s moved by the effect humor and narratives have on readers. That observation illuminates why her stories often convey messages inviting personal exploration. She is enthusiastic about crafting stories with beguiling characters, adding dashes of snappy humor and engaging dialogue that leaves her fingerprint on each page.

When Tonya relocated to the mountains, she found fresh writing ideas waiting. From her favorite porch chair gazing at a tranquil lake, the nudge to scribe her first novel came calling. From her beach chair, she got the idea for a cozy series, Shell Isle Mysteries. Tonya confesses new respect for a chair’s ability to motivate writers. She chases her writing joy from the mountains to the seashore.

The Shell Isle Mystery Series introduces four novels: Baubles to Die For, Red, White, and Boom, Murder by Numbers, and Teatime Trouble, releases this year. The characters of Page and Betsy keep chattering to Tonya, so expect future stories in this collection.

Tonya’s other books include Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons, A Secret Gift, Welcome to Charm, and Venetian Rhapsody. An exciting collaboration with award-winning composer David Bazo offers a fully immersive experience with the book Venetian Rhapsody and the companion soundtrack album found at

Her fiction and nonfiction stories are published in numerous anthologies, e-magazines, local press, and literary magazines. She’s a member of Poets and Writers. Tonya Penrose is her fiction pen name.

Social Media Links:

X: @TonyaWrites

Instagram: @TonyaPenroseWrites

1 Comment

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N. N. Light
Sep 21, 2023

Thank you, Tonya, for sharing your book in our Fall Into These Great Reads Bookathon!

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