Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cherry Blossom Capers

Cherry Blossom Capers
Four townhouse neighbors encounter romance and mystery near our nation’s capital. In State Secrets, White House assistant chef Tara Whitley and FBI agent Jack Courtland stop a plot to sabotage a State dinner—and find love still hidden in their hearts. In Dying for Love, attorneys and opponents Ciara Turner and Daniel Evans uncover love while searching for justice. In Buried Deception, archaeologist Samantha Steele and security guard Nick Porter dig up love while uncovering a forged artifact.  In Coffee, Tea and Danger, amateur sleuths Susan Holland and Vince Martinelli find love while investigating a string of mysterious accidents.

Four stories in one book, offered to the Barn Door Book Loft readers by two of the authors, Gina Conroy, and Cara Putman.

Gina’s Novella: Buried Deception
Mount Vernon archaeology intern and widow Samantha Steele wants to provide for her children without assistance from anyone. Security guard and ex-cop Nick Porter is haunted by his past and keeps his heart guarded. But when they discover an artifact at Mount Vernon is a fake, Nick and Samantha need to work together, set aside their stubbornness, and rely on each other or the results could be deadly. Will Samantha relinquish her control to a man she hardly knows? Can Nick learn to trust again? And will they both allow God to excavate their hearts so they can find new love? 

Book Excerpt:

   Alex, come back!” Samantha Steele’s heart jolted, and she darted after her seven-year-old son. The little renegade ignored her pleas and ran full-throttle toward the dig site behind the slave quarters at Mount Vernon Estates. She glanced at Callie, her nine-year-old, who huffed after her. Why’d her sitter get sick the first day of her archaeology internship?
   Samantha pursued Alex through the upper garden toward the archaeology pit where tourists gathered. Her chest tightened. Squatting in the dirt, her boss seemed oblivious to the runaway locomotive about to cause a train wreck.
   Samantha prayed that her first encounter with her boss wouldn’t be her last, but two years earlier, God didn’t intervene.
   Why would He now?
   “Watch out!” Her warning came late as Alex crashed into a dark-headed man in a navy uniform. God’s answer to prayer wasn’t a surprise. The God she knew remained distant, often turning up the heat when all she wanted was to escape the fire.
   Something thumped against Nick Porter’s hip. His drink blew its top, spilling Coke on his security uniform as he dropped his sack. His double cheeseburger and fries tumbled out. “Hey, watch it!”
   The kid who’d plowed into him jumped back.
   Two weeks on the job and he’d made a mess of things.
   A petite brunette in khaki shorts scurried to his mangled meal. She stuffed it back in the sack, hunching as she offered it. “So sorry.”
   Nick’s stomach growled. Just what he wanted. A side of dirt with his burger.
   She nudged the freckle-faced kid forward.
   The boy resisted. Nick’s frown softened. So much like—
   She sighed. “My son is sorry, Officer.”
   “It’s Nick Porter, and I’m just security.” Security. He hated the sound of it.
   “What happened to the Mount Vernon police?”
    “One of many cutbacks.”
    She wrote on a business card and handed it to him. Samantha Steele. “Send me the dry-cleaning bill.”
   “Don’t worry about it.”
    The blond girl waved her brochure. “This says there’s no food allowed except in the designated eating areas.”
   “This one yours, too?” He pointed to the cherub-faced girl. “Charming kids, Mrs. Steele.” He couldn’t hide his sarcasm, the one emotion that remained.
   “It’s Ms. Steele. My husband died two years ago.”
    Nick spotted Samantha’s naked ring finger. Stupid. As a cop, he never missed a detail. “Sorry.” He paused. “I lost my wife, too.” Why was he confessing to a stranger?
    Her eyes sympathized as if she understood his pain.
    The kid dug into his pocket. “Here.” Tiny fingers tickled Nick’s palm as the boy released the coins. “I’m really sorry, mister.” The boy’s hazel eyes pierced Nick’s soul.
   Nick fought the stirring as memories surfaced. A heaviness descended as they walked away. He should’ve thanked the kid, or at least refused his money. If he could rewind the last few moments, he would. But God didn’t give second chances.
   If He did, they certainly weren’t free.

  Dying for Love by Cara C. Putman

    Ciara Turner sucked in a breath, trying to calm the adrenaline addicted hummingbirds filling her stomach as she straightened her shoulders and adjusted her grasp on her attaché case.
    She pasted a smile on and pushed into Judge Banter’s still-dark anteroom. The judge had issued one of his infamous pre-hearing orders on Friday, so she’d rushed to the office extra-early for the first-thing-Monday-morning-appearance. His secretary’s desk stood abandoned, but the judge would expect her to enter anyway. She strode to the judge’s office door and glanced down the short hallway to the clerks’ desks. Based on the silence, neither of them had arrived either. It looked like she’d even beat opposing counsel, Daniel Evans, to court. That in itself made the day an unusual one. They’d raced each other in when both clerked for the judge, a race that continued when they found themselves on opposite sides of a case like this one.
    Ciara shifted her hold on her briefcase and rapped on the judge’s door.
    “Judge Banter? It’s Ciara Turner.” She pushed on the cracked door and stepped just inside. “Sir?”
    A rustling sound reached her, and she stepped deeper into the darkened room. She frowned. Usually by this time in the morning Judge Banter would have opened the curtains and filled the room with sunlight. Most in the legal community knew Judge Banter usually arrived by 6:00 a.m. so he could capture the early morning peace. He liked to attack whichever legal puzzles waited on his desk with the windows thrown open, no matter how cold. He’d always commented on how healthy sunlight was for a person.
    With spring giving hints it had arrived, he should have the windows open. She’d worn a cashmere sweater under her suit in anticipation of the chill.
   The door to his private restroom stood cracked with fluorescent light spilling on to the carpet and the walnut desk. The rows of bookshelves behind the desk were as crammed with books and papers as they had been during her clerkship. It all looked as she’d expect, except the judge wasn’t sitting on his towering leather chair.
    Ciara glanced over her shoulder at his assistant’s desk. Still no sign of the woman. Guess she might as well pull out the motion she wanted to file. Daniel wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t care. Virginia still required alimony, and his client would not get away with the paltry amount he offered. If it took filing a motion for an accounting, then so be it. The cuckoo clock perched on the shelf behind the judge’s desk wound into its song and dance. Now the judge and Daniel were both late.
    Where was Daniel? He knew Judge Banter’s intolerance for anyone arriving late for a hearing. The judge insisted each counsel be present when speaking to him about a case. Ciara set her bag on one of the wing chairs, then startled when the outside door opened. She jerked to attention. Maybe Judge Banter had returned after stepping out. The strong strides of a man approached chambers.
    “Ms. Glenda?” She closed her eyes as Daniel’s smooth baritone called for Judge Banter’s assistant. While she’d relished her clerkship with the judge, Daniel Evans was the do-over she longed for from that two-year stint. With his all-American looks and smile that could twist her insides into knots, she’d fallen head over heels the moment she walked into the tiny office and found him at the desk next to hers.
    “Anyone here?” Daniel’s steps approached the door.
     She turned, pasting a smile on her lips. She refused to let him know that five years later he still made her heart somersault. “Good morning, Mr. Evans.”
    His slow, lazy grin stretched across his mouth as he took her in. She resisted the urge to shift under his inspection.
    “Is my dad here?” He looked over his shoulder then caught her gaze as she shook her head. “I always look for him when someone says Mr. Evans.” He shoved his hands in his pockets, his stance relaxed. “Now this is the way to start a Monday morning.”
   “I’m sure you say that to all the girls.”
   “Only the ones who bring a ray of sunshine with them.”
    Ciara bit her lower lip to hide an answering smile. “Are you ready to get to work?”
    “Sure.” Daniel examined the room. “Where’s the judge?”
    “I haven’t seen him or a clerk, but someone must be here since the door’s unlocked.”
    Daniel frowned. “That’s not like him, especially when he issues a summons like this. He would have made us come in early with him for these command appearances.”
    “I know. But I haven’t seen Glenda or a clerk.” Ciara shrugged. “Maybe he’s loosened up since we clerked.”
    “Doubt it.” Daniel walked toward the judge’s large walnut desk. Stacks of legal treatises and briefs covered the surface, except for the desk calendar. “This doesn’t show anything but us until a ten o’clock hearing.”
   Ciara followed him to the desk, then glanced at the bathroom. She froze when she saw a shoe. “Daniel—”
    He glanced at her, a question in his eyes.
    “Is that Judge…Banter?”
    The next moment Daniel inched the door open, then eased to the floor. “Judge?” He touched the judge’s neck, then stiffened. “Call the sheriff’s office downstairs and ask for an ambulance and officers.” Without glancing at her, he started chest compressions.
    She froze, her gaze captured by the image of Judge Banter’s lanky Abraham Lincoln frame splayed across the cold, tile floor.
      She jerked to attention, reaching for the phone on the judge’s desk and sending a pile of briefs cart-wheeling from the top. Her fingers fumbled as she dialed. “This is Ciara Turner. I’m in Judge Banter’s chambers, and he’s unconscious on the floor. Please send an ambulance.”
    She stumbled as she remembered Daniel’s other request. She looked at him, still kneeling next to the judge. “Daniel Evans says we need officers, too.”
    The deputy on the phone barked at her. “You need what?”
    “Medical help and officers.”
    “In Judge Banter’s office?”
    “Yes, sir.”
     Muffled shouting filled the background as she waited for the deputy to come back on the phone. “Your name again?”
     “Ciara Turner. C-i-a-r-a.” She rubbed her temples trying to stave off the building pressure.

Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she's leaning on the Lord to show her the way.  She is a busy mom of four and founder of Writer...Interrupted  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God's timing is perfect, even if she doesn't agree with it! ;)
Gina’s first novella, Buried Deception, in the CherryBlossom Capers Collection, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012, and her first full length romantic suspense/mystery Digging Up Death will be available early October 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions.
Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter, or find her pursuing her new passion…ballroom dancing!

You can find Gina at her Blog: her Website: 

Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life. 

An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy. 

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey.
You can find Cara at her Website:  Her Blog: Facebook:  Twitter:  Pinterest: 

Purchase the book at:
 Or ask your local library to get it in for you!

Gina Conroy and Cara Putman are giving away one copy of Cherry Blossom Capers. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Judy said...

I would be thrilled to win a copy of this book. Looking forward to more books by these great authors!


cjajsmommy said...

Oh wow -- every excerpt is great! I'd love to be picked for this one! djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

Teela said...

WOWZA..4 stories in 1 book....great giveaway...I HOPE to win!

Amy Campbell said...

This sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would like to be entered for this book. Two great authors. How lucky can we get? Please enter me.
Maxie ( )

Anonymous said...

I love the 4 stories in 1 books !! So do the ladies at the church library where I work.
This would be a good addition to the library's collection.
Janet E.

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win the 4-in-1 book. love these books.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Pam K. said...

Romance and mystery; a great combination. I'd love to win a copy of Cherry Blossom Capers. Thanks for the chance.


Jo said...

I would love to read this book. Each story sounds so interesting.


Joy Hannabass said...

This sounds like a lovely book and would love to read these four stories...

misskallie2000 said...

Both are great stories and can't wait to read them as well as the other 2 in this book.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Amy R.S. said...

Would love to win this book. Please enter me. Thanks.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Jes said...

This sounds like a great collection of stories. Loved both excerpts!

jswaks at gmail dot com

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