I’d like to offer a warm welcome to author Jana Richards. Enjoy today’s spotlight on her latest release, Unexpected – Book 3, Masonville Series.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Unexpected – Book 3, Masonville series
By Jana Richards
Genre: Small town contemporary romance
Themes: Marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, second-chance love, family conflict
Keywords: smalltown romance, addiction, damaged hero, infertility, troubled past,
ISBN: 978-1-5092-3829-3 Paperback
Length: 352 pages
Heat Level: Spicy – R
Release Date: September 27, 2021
Cover Artist: Rae Monet
Tagline: A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.
Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife’s parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.
Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She’s intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They’re determined to show the world, and the girls’ grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns to unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie’s efforts to save their family as betrayal-they could lose everything, including each other.
Excerpt #1 – 281 words
“Is there anything I can say to make you change your mind about running away?”
“Say you’ll marry me.”
The words were out of his mouth before he knew he was going to say them. Jamie stared at him, eyes wide.
“Marry me. You’re the only woman I’d trust with my girls.”
It suddenly made sense. If Jamie married him he could keep his kids.
She jumped to her feet, waking one of the dogs who’d been sleeping on the couch next to her. “What kind of marriage do you want, Ben? Are you proposing something for show?”
“No! I don’t know!” He stood and grasped her arms. “If you’re asking me if we’ll sleep together as man and wife, I don’t know.”
Her mouth twisted as if she was holding back tears. “You know I love the girls, but please don’t ask me to pretend. The last few months of my marriage, all I did was pretend. I pretended I had a husband who loved me. I swore I’d never do that again.”
Ben wanted to take her in his arms and hold her. He hated doing this to her, hated making her relive unhappy memories. He was asking too much of her and he didn’t blame her for saying no.
“Please, forget I said anything.”
He’d stick to his original plan. He and the girls would disappear. He’d change their names, go someplace where no one knew them. A life on the run wasn’t what he wanted for his children, but he’d do whatever he needed to do to keep them.
“I’m sorry, Jamie.”
Ben was out the door before he could hear anymore of her objections.
Excerpt #2 – 385 words
Ben was assailed by an overwhelming need to talk to someone. Jamie had been a good listener. He’d told her more about his circumstances, and his feelings, than he’d shared with either his brother or sister. He wasn’t sure why he’d opened up to her. He only knew she’d been kind to the girls. And to him.
Before he could talk himself out of it, he was looking up the number for the clinic on his phone. A moment later he listened to the phone ring.
What the hell am I doing? She didn’t want to hear from him, especially in the middle of a busy day at work. He was about to end the call when someone answered.
“Masonville Veterinary Clinic. How can I help you?”
Ben cleared his throat. “Can I speak to Jamie, I mean Dr. Garven?”
“I’m sorry, she’s with a client right now—oh wait, she just left the examining room. Can I tell her who’s calling?”
Again, he considered hanging up. Instead he heard himself say, “It’s Ben Greyson.”
“One moment please.”
The line went silent as she put him on hold. Ben paced back and forth on a small patch of gravel road in front of the clinic. He stared at his shoes, noting the dust covering the smooth leather. He didn’t know what he was going to say to Jamie. Why was he even calling her?
The moment he heard her voice, his whole body relaxed. “Hi. I’m sorry to bother you at work. I know you’re busy.”
“No problem. What can I do for you?”
“Well, the girls have been asking about meeting Hector. Do you think it would be all right if I brought them over some time?”
“Yes, of course. I’m not working on Friday. Why don’t you guys come over for dinner?”
“I wasn’t angling for a dinner invitation.”
“I know. I’m offering. I’m a fantastic cook, if I say so myself.”
That made him smile. “Now I’m intrigued. Thank you. What time should we be there?”
“Come a few minutes before five and I’ll introduce Bella and Sophie to Hector.”
“Okay. See you then.”
“See you. Bye.”
Ben grinned as he put his phone in his pocket and began walking back to his office.
Everything was going to be okay.
Excerpt #3 – 414 words
Jamie didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The logical part of her brain told her if Ben lost custody it wasn’t her fault. Circumstances beyond her control, and Ben’s, had conspired against them. But guilt and worry wouldn’t let her rest.
The crazy thing was she could see the four of them together as a family. And she could see herself with Ben. She’d been fighting her feelings for him since the day they met. Learning he was a recovering alcoholic was a shock, but she knew he was much more than that. He was kind and funny, and a loving father.
But he didn’t love her.
She remembered what it was like to watch, day by day, as Carson fell a little more out of love with her. Every day another piece of her soul withered. To the outside world they probably still looked like a happy couple. But she could feel Carson pull away bit by bit, like water trickling out of a broken vase. It was in the awkward silences between them, the unexplained absences, the times he didn’t reach for her in the night.
Eventually the slow trickle turned into a torrent and he was gone. It had nearly destroyed her.
Could she live with a man who didn’t love her for a second time? Could she willingly step into a relationship, knowing it would likely end the same way her relationship to Carson ended?
Thoughts and emotions whirled in her brain, making her dizzy.
At four a.m. she gave up all pretence of sleep. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water and as she ran the tap, she saw the lights were on in Ben’s house. He probably couldn’t sleep either.
What must he be going through? She couldn’t imagine losing a child.
The old longing ache she’d worked so hard to dispel pressed on her heart. This is your chance, her heart whispered. Maybe your only chance to have children.
Jamie groaned out load. She couldn’t say no. Ben and the girls needed her.
Yet how could she say yes and expose herself to almost certain heartbreak?
Maybe some things were more important. Maybe it was enough to be a mother to the girls and create a family with them. She couldn’t expect Ben to love her as well. It was asking too much.
She couldn’t let him lose the girls. And she couldn’t let her one chance to be a mother slip away.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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