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Willow Bay series by Laurie Ryan is one you'll want to binge-read #romance #bookseries #bookboost



Welcome to Willow Bay, the perfect place to stick a chair in the sand, your toes in the water, and get lost in the ebb and flow of life and love.


Title Last Resort (Book 1)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb

Torn between love and obligation.



This sensual, friends-first story, complete with a wily matchmaker and an endearing dog named Duffy is the first in the Willow Bay series, which can be read in any order.


Excerpt


Chapter One


“Where is she?” Josh Morgan muttered as he stared across the rain-drenched street, his gut churning. Dana opened her shop every single day, and on time. Well, mostly. He glanced at his watch. Almost noon. She was two hours late.


The streets were empty except for pools of water and the constant barrage of Mother Nature’s rainspout. Not a moving car in sight. Even the quaint C&C Coffee Shop where Josh waited was devoid of customers, except for him. Welcome to February at the beach in Washington.


“Looking for someone, mayor?”


Connie, the café’s owner, filled his coffee mug. Setting the pot on the table, she plunked into the booth across from Josh with an oomph, shoulders rounded and worry lines etching her face. She looked older than her forty-five years and the short brown hair that framed her face showed touches of gray.


“I noticed the gift shop isn’t open yet.”


“Look around. Nothing is, except me. Too much rain, too few tourists.”


Focused on Dana’s shop, Josh hadn’t noticed the other stores on the little strip. Connie was right. Everything was closed. Not unusual for a Monday, unless you were Dana Ricci.


“She’s open every day, though. Maybe I should check on her.” Except he didn’t know where she lived. Josh reached for his coffee.


Connie grinned. “Why, mayor, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were sweet on that girl.”

The cup hit the table with a thunk, coffee sloshing over the sides.


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Grab this book free at all retailers!








Author Biography


Sensual romance like a warm hug. Author of fantasy and romance. Lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, within two hours of mountains or oceans. :)


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Title Finding Home (Book 2)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb




Suffering burnout as his search for an endangered teen brings him to a small coastal town, Paul Gibson becomes embroiled in the lives of two people. One, a neatnik teenager whose home life wasn’t what he’d been told. And another, a feisty, redheaded pizza joint owner who makes him believe he could have a future in this town.


He's legally bound to return the girl to her home, but when he learns things are not what they seem, Paul works with Bernie to do whatever it takes to keep the girl safe. Even if it means losing his job.


Can he also convince the beautiful loner to give them a chance?


Excerpt


Chapter One


Gladys pushed a grocery cart piled high with who-knew-what along the sidewalk. People driving by must have wondered how the frail-looking woman managed it, but there was steel beneath that feigned fragility. The persona had served her well so far.


“Almost to the pizza joint,” she mumbled. “Halfway home.”


Thankfully, the May weather was moderate and patches of sunshine graced the beaches. The street Gladys walked was long, one of two main roads in the ocean-side town of Willow Bay. Traffic had picked up, which meant more tourists. Good. Willow Bay needed tourists. Barely past a long, hard winter, most of the businesses could use the pick-me-up.


For her, the day was just about over. She had almost reached the red sign of Square Peg Pizza Parlor that marked her halfway-home point. All had seemed well in Willow Bay as she’d walked her route checking on the town. It was time for her to rest. She wasn’t as young as she used to be.


A rustling in the bushes next to the building got her attention.


“Who’s there?”


The leaves stopped moving, so she pushed her cart beyond the pizza parlor door, out of sight of the bushes. She then rounded the building and pounced, coming up with a ragamuffin teen who wore more dirt than clothes, if Gladys’s eyes—and nose—were still any good.


“What are you doing in the bushes, girl?”


Startling blue eyes glared back at her as the girl remained mute.


“Well, if you won’t tell me, maybe you’ll tell the owner of this establishment. Come on.” She grabbed her by the ear and walked her to the front of the building and inside. It was early, so there were no customers in the dining area.


She tugged the girl, who continued to glare at her, toward a chair. “Sit.” Leaning over the counter, she hollered toward the kitchen. “Bernie!”


~~~


“Gladys?” Bernie came out wiping her hands on a towel. She smiled when she saw the white-haired woman wrapped in her usual layers of clothing. “I was wondering if I’d see you today. Want some pizza?”


“Nah. You gave me enough yesterday to feed me for a week. Thank you very much for that.” Gladys patted Bernie’s cheek. “I brought you a stray.”


Bernie leaned sideways to see behind Gladys. “A stray?”


“Yeah. You collect them, don’t you? Find them homes?”


“Stray animals, Gladys. Animals. Who’s this?”


“I don’t know. Found her rustling around outside your place. Didn’t look like she was up to much good.”


Bernie edged around the counter to stand in front of the girl. Young, maybe preteen by the look. Hard to tell through all that familiar dirt. Bernie sniffed. Been a while since the kid had bathed, too. She leaned in for a closer look and the girl yanked her head back.


“Don’t touch me.”


Warning bells jangled in Bernie’s head. She knew this defensive posture too well. Damn.


“What do you want to do with her?” Gladys asked, having sat in a nearby chair.


Bernie watched the girl for a long moment, then took a deep breath and let it out slowly, shuddering at memories she still couldn’t quell at the age of thirty-two. She should call Social Services and let them deal with the kid. That was the right thing to do. At least, that’s what the law said. She knew differently. The idea of sending those angry blue eyes off to some foster home didn’t sit well. Some places were good. Some? Well, not so much. Bernie rubbed her churning stomach. She couldn’t believe she was about to do this. “Leave her with me, Gladys. I have an idea or two.”


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Title Chances Are (Book 3)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb


Danger follows her.


Tired of overbearing men who think they know best, self-sufficient attorney Aimi Larson moves to the coast hoping to leave that all behind. She can take care of herself. But when her past follows her, she must enlist the aid of Willow Bay’s sexy sheriff to find a man bent on deadly revenge.


Confirmed bachelor Jackson Smith isn’t interested in anything but a hookup. He’s seen firsthand what relationships do to people. Someone always gets hurt. When Aimi moves to town, he’s determined to keep his attraction locked down tight. Right up until she needs his protection and he vows to keep her safe at any cost.


Jackson knows how to shield Aimi from harm, but Aimi has a few ideas of her own. The only way to neutralize the lethal threat against Aimi’s life is to work together and never let her out of his sight. Even if it means losing his heart in the process.


Excerpt


Chapter One


“You may now kiss the bride.”


Jackson Smith clapped, then laughed along with everyone else as his friends kissed. Josh’s enthusiasm over being a married man showed big time. The man had loved Dana ever since she’d moved here and bought one of the gift shops near the beach. Josh had been waiting for this day for a long time and had even gone along with the flower-bedecked church.


What a fool. Jackson shook his head. He had nothing against women, of course. They were great as friends and offered a perspective that he found important. But once you let them into your life, everything changed and nothing lasted forever. Nope, he’d never be the one waiting at the front of the church. He’d become a born-again bachelor and nothing would change that. He was happy with his life, though an occasional dalliance wasn’t out of the question. Rules were a big part of his life, but every once in a while, he liked to toss them out the window and show his appreciate for a beautiful woman.


He glanced at the wedding party again, particularly at the maid of honor. He’d seen her once before, briefly, when arresting Dana’s ex-husband for forging her signature. There’d been no time to talk to her, and when he’d gone to Dana’s shop the next day, she’d already left town.


Maid or matron? He couldn’t see her ring finger under the bouquet she held. She intrigued him, with her long, sleek, dark hair and eyes that shone with happiness while she watched her friends exit the church. Next, she and Bernie walked down the aisle together. Josh had selected Bernadette Gibson as his best, umm, person. A nontraditional moment in an otherwise very traditional wedding.


Once again, Jackson tried to get a glimpse of the woman’s left hand. Still buried under flowers, damn it. Something about her drew him in. He’d planned on ditching the reception. Weren’t they all alike, anyhow? But now, maybe he’d pop in. Just to satisfy his curiosity about the mysterious woman.


As he filed out with everyone else in the church, Jackson noticed Gladys, Willow Bay’s most familiar street person. “Looking mighty fine there, Miss Gladys.” He took her arm as she hobbled along.


“Thank you, officer. For the compliment and the arm. I don’t get around so well without my Mabel.”


Jackson held back the urge to shake his head at the name Gladys picked for her grocery cart. She and Mabel were a staple in Willow Bay. She refused help with lodging but would always take food. The town had accepted responsibility for Gladys, and she probably ate better than most because of it. Still, she looked thinner today. And her white hair looked different.


“Did you get a new outfit?” Jackson asked.


“Had to have a dress for the wedding.” She pirouetted with surprising dexterity. “Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Cost $3.99 at the thrift store. Even got my hair washed at Mae’s.”


Wondering where they’d mailed her wedding invitation, Jackson smiled at the mention of Mae’s. The salon offered haircuts for free to Gladys and she loved a good deal.


“You look lovely.” They’d reached her cart. “Want a lift to the reception?”


“In that thing?” She glanced at his nearby squad car. “No, thanks. Town’ll think you’ve finally arrested me for loitering. No, Mabel and I will be just fine. It’s not far. Looking forward to some good food at that reception. Oh, yes.”


She and Mabel ambled their way out of the parking lot. One of Mabel’s wheels wobbled, making a racket as they left. Jackson laughed. There was no one like Gladys. It hit him why she looked thinner. She usually wore two or three layers of clothing. Today, she only wore the dress, probably due to the unusually warm June day.


Yep, Gladys was definitely one of a kind.


He got in his squad car, intending to follow the procession from the church to the community hall until his phone beeped.


Damn.


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Title Tender Tide (Book 4)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb


He’s home from the war. She’s back in Willow Bay to care for ailing parents. Both transformed by time and trauma, can they reconcile their present with the love they left behind but never forgot? Jasmin Powter has put her ambitious life on hold to help her parents and their failing horse ranch. If she can’t find a way to safeguard their future, her family will lose everything. Luke Taylor, the man who left her all those years ago, has been helping her parents. Seeing him again opens old wounds—and old attractions.


Weighted by regrets, Luke only wants to escape the guilt that robs him of sleep and haunts his days. No penance is enough, and he can’t give Jasmin the love she deserves until he’s a whole person again.


Can the tender tide of a love remembered bring them peace and help them realize how much stronger they are together?


Excerpt


Chapter One


Gladys Hawthorne sat in her gray leather recliner staring through the open brocade drapes at the September sunshine, so rare on the coast this time of year. After last winter’s abundance of rain, no one in Willow Bay looked forward to winter. Summer had been a glorious respite from mud puddles and flooded roads. She, for one, did not look forward to traipsing around in the rain. Her old bones complained more these days than ever before and her bobbed white hair went frizzy at the first drop. Still, it was the only way to keep an eye on her town.


That’s how she thought of Willow Bay—as hers. She’d moved here after her husband’s death several years ago and had adopted the town. And the town had adopted her. Except its people had no idea who Gladys Hawthorne really was. To them, she was the local street person, always around, eyes wide open, always with an opinion on how the town should be run. She’d harangued Josh Morgan, Willow Bay’s Mayor, more times than she could count, yet he continued to treat her like a friend and always asked after her welfare. Did she have enough food? Did she want a place to sleep?


That wife of his, Dana, had helped him to relax. Gladys smiled, knowing she’d had a part in making that happen. Same with Bernie, the fiery redhead who owned Square Peg pizza parlor, and her husband, Paul. A few choice words in the right ears had gotten them together and now they were expecting a baby, just like Dana and Josh.


A deep sense of satisfaction filled Gladys as she sipped her morning tea from a dainty, floral cup. Mornings were her favorite time of the day. So much promise. New problems to solve, people to help past their stubborn nature. Speaking of which…


Noise, like a toolbox closing, sounded behind her. Lucas Taylor walked from the kitchen into her light and airy sitting room, carrying said box. Construction and handyman work had certainly done right by the ex-marine. The man’s tall frame had muscles in all the right places, honed for work, not for show. But show they did. She might be old, but she had eyes and could appreciate a handsome man. With that short, thick blond hair that stood on end more than lay flat and those startling blue eyes, Luke was the quintessential boy next door. Man, she corrected herself. No way anyone of any age could call him a boy.


Gladys tapped her lips with her forefinger as if shushing a child. Luke was also very much a loner, something Gladys had mused about for some time now. With all he did to help others, he should be surrounded by the love of a good partner. And she’d finally come up with a solution for that.


“Leak’s all fixed, Gladys.”


“Thank you. You’re a good man to come spur of the moment.” She stood up and patted his arm. “And for keeping my secret.”


“When are you going to let Willow Bay in on this whole ‘not really a street person’ thing?”


“When I’m good and ready, Luke Taylor. And not a moment before.”


He shook his head. “You are an enigma, Miss Gladys. Not sure I’ll ever understand you.”


“Just keep fixing what breaks around here and we’ll get along just fine.” She pulled some cash out of her housecoat pocket and handed it to him.


“I don’t like taking your money.”


“If you don’t start taking more of it, you’ll end up like my alter ego for real. You don’t charge enough for what you do.”


He shrugged, so Gladys dropped the subject and moved on to something much dearer to her heart. “So, how are your neighbors doing?”


“The Powters? As well as can be expected.”


“That stroke of Katherine’s was a close call, wasn’t it?”


“Too close. They almost didn’t get her to the hospital in time.” The frown on Luke’s face showed his concern. “And Ned’s health isn’t great, either, with that bad hip of his.”


“I heard that their daughter has moved back home to help out.”


Luke’s eyes brightened for a moment and Gladys worked hard to keep her glee under wraps.


“Yep,” he said.


“Jasmin was always such a lovely girl. I don’t understand why she moved all the way to New York City.” Gladys had lived there for years and it didn’t hold a candle to the quiet, small-town life of Willow Bay.


Luke shrugged, the scowl firmly back on his face. “Some people need change.”


“Yes, they do, don’t they? Sometimes, a change like that helps you figure out where home really is.”


Gladys met Luke’s sharp gaze with satisfaction. She’d planted the seed. Now all she could do was pray it would grow. Maybe give it the occasional nudge, but too much interference would send both these introverts in opposite directions.


That couldn’t happen. They were perfect for each other. So Gladys changed the subject to safer ground. “You going to the Cannery Park opening?”


“Yep. Want a ride?”


“Oh, no, dearie.” She put a hand on his arm again and walked him to the back door. “Wouldn’t do to have me seen on the arm of a hunk like you. Everybody would start thinking I’m off the market.”


Luke’s frown disappeared as he chuckled. “Like I said, you’re an enigma.” He reached down to kiss her cheek, then left with a wave, walking through her backyard at a casual pace. Because of her need for subterfuge, he would take the alley to the side street and walk around to his truck, which was parked several houses away.


“Such a good boy,” she said, closing the door and heading for her bedroom. It was time to get dressed and out and about to see what was happening in her town today.


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Title Reluctant Christmas (Book 5)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb


He embraces Christmas. She just wants it to go away.


When Cade Huntington limps out of Dr. Grace Janson’s ER without using the crutches she gave him, she’s glad to see him go. Except the arrogant, carefree cable guy keeps showing up in her life. It doesn’t help that he’s taken her on as his pet project and is determined to prove how extraordinary the festive season can be.


What he doesn’t know is that Christmas is the worst time of year for the doctor who relies on logic and organization to get her through. She wraps herself in work like an ostrich hides his head in the sand. Nothing will ever bring back the Christmas spirit she lost as a child.


Determined to show her why Christmas is the best of all times, Cade thunders right past Grace’s warning signs and right smack dab into a past rife with emotional fallout.


Can they unwrap their tangled emotions and find the joy in each other and the season?


Excerpt


“Dr. Grace. I’ve been waiting for you to come back.” His husky voice almost made her fail to notice his use of her first name.


Grace narrowed her eyes, which only made him grin wider. Arrogant and self-assured. Something she would never be and never wanted to be around.


“Your X-rays don’t show any fracture, so this,” she pointed to his ankle, “is most likely a bad sprain.”


“Just as I thought. Will you have dinner with me?”


“What?”


“Dinner. You know. Food? You do eat, don’t you, Dr. Grace?”


“I— I— ” Grace took a couple deep breaths. Although she was used to flirtatious patients, it irritated her that he was flirting with her. “Mr. Huntington, that is not proper. You will refer to me as Dr. Benson. And no, I will not have dinner with you. I don’t date patients.”


“Good to know you date someone. The rest, we’ll have to figure out as we go.”


She really needed to regain control of this situation. “Mr. Huntington, we’re going to put you in a boot and send you home. The sprain is pretty bad, so you’ll need to stay off that ankle—no weight bearing at all—for at least a week to give it time to heal. We can give you crutches.”


“I won’t need the crutches,” he said, the grin never leaving his face.


“You can’t be non-weight bearing without them.”


He didn’t respond, just held her eyes captive with his own. Grace wanted to fall into them, to smooth the unruly waves in his dark hair, to taste the lips that smiled so readily.


Damn it. No. She was not falling for some snake whisperer’s charms. “I’ll get your orders written up and you’ll be out of here within the hour. Do you need any pain medication?”


“No. I can take ibuprofen. I prefer not to take anything stronger.”


“Good.” She turned, intent on getting the hell out of the room.


“Dr. Grace?”


Double damn it. She couldn’t just ignore him, so she turned back. “Yes?”


“I will convince you to go out with me. I want to make sure you know that.”


Her face felt like it was in flames. She whirled and fled as quickly as protocols allowed. Once she’d found Stan, she shoved the clipboard with her final orders at him, then went to the lounge for ER personnel, empty at this time of night, thankfully. Whatever that had been, whoever Cade Huntington was, she wouldn’t have to see him again. Her nice, orderly world would remain as it was.


So why didn’t that thought, normally calming, settle her now?


No new patients came in for the next while, so Grace remained in the break room for a solid forty minutes. Figuring the coast had to be clear, she headed back to the nurse’s station. A few hours remained in her shift and she wasn’t one to shirk her duties.


As she rounded the corner, she glimpsed the waiting room. Cade Huntington was limping his way to the exit, one foot in a boot, and carrying his crutches. Damn it. He should listen to her. She knew what she was talking about. If he didn’t stay off that ankle, he’d have worse problems to come.


As the door swooshed open automatically, he stopped and turned, his gaze finding her. With a smile, he waved his crutches at her and limped out the door. And out of her life.


Thank God.


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Title Operation Ethan (Book 6)

Author Laurie Ryan

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Silver Sage Press


Book Blurb


Red Rover, Red Rover, send Ethan right over.


When rule-following firefighter Ethan Walker doesn’t even crack a smile at Joey Sanderson’s flirtations, she decides it’s time to teach the hunky firefighter that it’s okay to have a little fun once in a while.


Spontaneous hotel manager Joey doesn’t like rules. They give others control over her which she won’t ever let happen to her again. Free of that smothering rigidity, Joey needs her job to maintain that independence, and her boss is a stickler for doing things according to the rules whether they make sense or not. Just like Ethan.


Ethan knows what happens when rules are broken. People die. His lifelong focus on safety is all that’s important to him. Until Joey turns his life upside down. How can he keep everyone safe when she seems intent on throwing caution into the fire?


Excerpt


Gladys Hawthorne sat in the Pacific Lodge lobby and watched the goings on, her ears perked in the direction of her nice friend, the manager. Joey Sanderson stiffened as the older gentleman, presumably the lodge owner, tossed papers in the trash.


“Street people in our lobby? Absolutely not. Get rid of that… woman.”


Pompous ass. Gladys glared at the man as he strode out. This was exactly why she’d left New York. She’d become fed up with that kind of holier-than-thou attitude from her husband’s cronies. Men and women who’d called her their friend right up until she’d taken things in a direction that didn’t suit them. More pompous asses. This one went through the revolving door so fast, it almost hit him in said ass. Gladys smiled. Too bad it didn’t actually happen.


Her smile widened when the cute manager plucked the papers out of the garbage and smoothed them out on the table. Joey had guts and Gladys liked that in a woman.


“How are you doing today?” Joey asked as Gladys patted the seat beside her and Joey sat down.


“Much better now that I’ve seen your smile. You light up a room, young lady.”


Joey grinned. “Why, thank you. You always know how to brighten my day.”


“I guess that makes us both happy people.”


The young woman’s lilting laugh settled like a warm blanket around Gladys’s heart.


“Your husband is lucky to have you,” Gladys said. No ring didn’t necessarily mean unmarried and Gladys decided it was an important matter to clarify.


“No husband. Not yet anyhow.”


“Not even a boyfriend?” Gladys’s eyes gleamed.


A brief shadow touched Joey’s face. So brief, Gladys almost missed it. She knew about regrets and hoped this young woman didn’t have the same type she herself carried.


“No. I’m pretty married to this lodge at the moment.”


“But you still find time to get out and enjoy life, don’t you?” Joey wouldn’t have that air of perennial joy if her life wasn’t balanced.”


“Oh, yes. I think it’s important to include both work and fun in my life.”


Gladys patted her arm. “Good attitude. That’ll keep you young.”


“Like it has you,” Joey said as she covered Gladys’s hand with hers and looked her over. “You doing okay? Do you need anything? A place to rest? Some lunch?”


“What? You’re not kicking me out like that stuffy boss of yours said to?”


“Never. You’re welcome here anytime. You’re part of what makes Willow Bay so special and I look forward to our visits.”


She said it like she meant it, too. Gladys had been watching Joey for a while. The girl generally took people at face value and tried to be uplifting. She also wore her emotions on her face including a wariness at the edges, as if something haunted her. She needed someone to help her break through that final doorway and come fully into herself.


“I don’t need anything to eat, but thank you for offering.” Gladys stood. “I’ve had my rest and now I can get on with my day.”


“You can stay longer, you know.”


“I know, and I appreciate it. No need, though. I’ve stayed the perfect amount of time to regenerate.” Gladys patted Joey’s cheek. “You keep on being you, being happy. The rest will sort itself out in time.”


A confused look furrowed Joey’s brow for a moment. She said her goodbyes and walked back behind the front desk to talk to the red-headed woman working there. All that sunshine and fun-loving was wasted here, Gladys thought. The girl needed a project that fed her soul.


Gladys knew exactly what—or rather who—fit the bill. With a secret smile, she stopped at the red fire alarm box. Her grin widened as she yanked the lever down and slipped out of the building, walking off as the alarm blared behind her.


And feeling very, very pleased with herself.


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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
05 apr. 2023

Thank you, Laurie, for sharing your completed book series with us! It sounds so good!

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